Are We Alone in the Universe?

I know this may come as a shock because previously, I have been saying the opposite of what I will say in this post. I have been contemplating my journey in life, especially my recent discovery about my mental health. The thing I have been asking myself is this, “Would there be suffering if there was loving and caring guardian angels? Would I have OCD and suffer so much throughout my childhood and young adulthood if there was an angel by my side, protecting me and watching over me? I can’t believe I am about to say this but is there really a kind and caring God who would still love us unconditionally but let us suffer in so many ways?”

I am not going to say I am sure of anything anymore. In fact, I will vow never to force any ideas about the universe on this blog ever again. As far as I am concerned, I could be wrong about so many things. I could be wrong if I said there was a God and angels and I could be wrong if I claimed there was not. For this reason, I choose to stay away from any mention of a loving, caring universe filled with loving beings who watch over us and make sure we are okay and happy. I will instead choose to believe that there is me, and all the challenges I have been born with and what I decide to do about it: whether to fight on or survive or give up and just be. My eyes have opened to the cruelty that this world is capable to meting out on us human beings. I now see that this world may not be kind to us. How can a kind world cause so much pain and leave us to our own devices. I am not saying I am going to be a pessimist, no. I am saying I am going to step down from my search of a divine purpose for our suffering. Suffering is just that. It has no purpose or reason. It just is. And we have to find our way through or around it as we deem fit. There is no one coming to rescue us. There is no one who is going to make our life better. There is just us and our strength or the lack of it. It is after all, survival of the fittest as Darwin so rightly puts it. Are we strong enough to survive?

On an important note, now that we know we are all we have got, we may need to start strategizing in order to survive through our suffering. I will start by identifying my own ways to get through this mess we call life. I need first and foremost to prioritize self care above everything else. That subscription to the gym is number one. If I can afford it, the better option would be to be a member of a sports club and be able to use their pool for daily swimming and their gym for those intense workouts to keep my OCD in check. I also hope to join a dance school where I can learn my favorite pastime. Movement helps me feel better and so I am going to have to move my body as much as I can so my mind can be under control. In the meantime, I am still going to pray, with hope that there is someone out there who can hear me and help me. I don’t want to rule out prayer because I feel better when I cry out my sadness to something or someone. I am going to take charge of my life by avoiding anything which makes me anxious or out of it. I want to gauge things and people by how they make me feel. This I believe will spare me so much stress. I also hope to read the books I love and learn something new every day.

My Intrusive Thoughts

Where are you? Who are you? Why are you saying these things to me?

There is a voice inside my head that tells me things. Some very horrible things. No one likes you. You are a bad person. Selfish. Go kill yourself. You are never gonna find someone to love you. All men are jerks cut them off, cut them off! He doesn’t love you, he is only using you. No one can be that nice, so stop pretending to be. You are ugly. No one cares about you. You are all alone! Everyone has abandoned you.

I never knew before that this mean voice was the root of my depression and anxiety. I never realized it was an untrustworthy little monster crippling about in my brain, trying to distort my reality so I could only see greys and blacks everywhere I looked. I used to think it was just normal for someone to have these negative thoughts. All they had to do was find ways to stay positive. I didn’t know then, that no matter how many motivational books I was going to read, or affirmations I was going to listen to, the problem wasn’t going to go away. I needed to identify who was causing these obsessive, incessant thoughts which would ruin every fleeting good moment and good relationship. I never understood why I would be flaky and seem to change my mind about how I feel about something as fast as lightning. I never understood why I would sleep happy and wake up feeling all sad and hopeless the following morning. Until now!I know why my life has been so tough and it is good old OCD I have to thank for that.

I am not complaining. Far from that. I feel grateful for finally catching the thief that has been stealing my happiness and wellbeing. I must have been so blind before. How could I not see the symptoms? How was I so clueless? I knew that something wasn’t right with my mind. I guessed my way around every other illness and landed at depression. However, what I didn’t know was that depression was the result of these obsessive and intrusive negative thoughts which keep haunting me non-stop. Somehow, they managed to hide themselves for so long behind a façade of sorts: Feelings of aversion towards romantic love would masquerade themselves as an after effect of a very bad break up- I hate the idea of love because it brings me pain and men are losers who are not worth the time and energy. Frustration about my career would be because I chose something I am not good at- If only I chose something I was passionate about I would enjoy it. Loneliness would be translated to mean if I got married one day and started my own family, I would no longer feel the way I do now. I didn’t know that most if not all these feelings were unreal. They were lies my mind kept telling me over and over again. I am not lonely, I have people who care about me. I am not abandoned, my family is invested in my life. Love is not a bad thing and not all men are jerks.

There was always a reasonable excuse for the way I have been feeling whenever these thoughts were at play. My rational mind would try but fail even more miserably, to make sense of them. In fact, I believe every time common sense tries to come up to the surface for some air, these thoughts pull it back down under. I cannot trust the thoughts in my head anymore. They could be pretending to be my intuition and do some big damage as they have easily done in the past. What voice is mine and what is the monster’s? I don’t know. There is no way to find that out.

In hindsight, I see how these thoughts ruined my relationships, blocked every chance at happiness, and held me back from doing my best to maximize the opportunities I was given by the universe. Thinking that I even tried manifesting any blessings in this condition breaks my heart. Why? Because no matter how many treasures will be showered on me by the universe, I would be too tied up in the prison of my mind to even notice them. And if I did notice them at all, I would be too afraid to act. Just like I am now. I feel like the universe has tried to bring me into my dream life but because of these fears brought about by my thoughts, I am unable to take full advantage of the auspicious chances that arise here and there. I am wrapped around in self-doubt and I can hardly step out into the outside world without feeling vulnerable to the world.

On the bright side, not everything is lost. I gained some serious self-awareness and all the wisdom that comes with that. I have learnt to be alert and on guard as far as my thoughts are concerned. I know it might be hard to control them and get them to shut up but I feel I have unmasked the traitor and that is a big first step towards healing. I will commit to my self care more than ever now and put up those boundaries against all the unnecessary stress and triggers which have only just made my OCD worse. I plan on returning to an active lifestyle of dancing and swimming, things which I love very much. I also plan on getting a good night of sleep. I will commit to eating healthy and watching out for compulsions of shopping and overeating, two things I jump straight onto whenever I feel too stressed out. Now suddenly, it is not a husband I am praying to have, but my own healing and wellbeing. Husbands can wait, but healing can’t!

I am Tired of Fighting

Today wasn’t easy. In fact, I feel like I went way too hard on myself and that guy at the cyber. I had gone to print my resume in the last minute hoping to make it to town before the law firm closes. If the universe allowed it that is. Well, it turns out the universe wasn’t in a good mood for anyone’s biscuit, not even mine, her favorite human on the planet!

So I went into the empty cyber, gave the dude a bunch of documents to photocopy and left the resume for after they were ready. gracefully, he completes the first task and then asks me to share my resume and some recommendations via WhatsApp and just then, the whole lot from the World Association of Customers stormed into the tiny and dingy kiosk of a cyber and suddenly our guy is now too busy for me. I was there first, didn’t God say , “First come, first serve?”. The pressure cooker that was me at the time tried so hard to keep cool but we both know that level of self-control and calm only happens to monks who live far, far away on a mountain top somewhere in the part of the world with no phone service, wifi, and most importantly, no humans!

After trying to count the cobwebs on the inside of the tin roof and failing miserably, I noticed he was trying to haphazardly print out my resume without making sure it looked right on his laptop as he tended to the other guys’ tasks in the same breath. I don’t know about you, but it took me forever to arrange all the parts of my resume and revise it a thousand million times over and over again, rewriting and streamlining until my eyes were pissed at me. The least I could expect is that the guy pays some mind to my hard work so it doesn’t come out looking dismantled and unkempt. And that is exactly what happened! The resume came out looking like someone walked all over the letters and threw them around as if they were a tennis bouncing off of a racket. I heard myself say, ” This came out messy and now it is useless!” and before I was conscious of anything I was doing, I ripped the resume apart until it was only little pieces. Mind you, I wasn’t shouting over the top of my voice or jabbing fingers into his face, (even though he totally deserved it). I simply spoke my mind honestly and of course the ripping part is so that nobody could read my resume later when I put it in the trash. But in hindsight, I realize how I might have come across to him at that time. He must have thought I was doing it in spite because he went into a defensive mode faster than I could say “banana”. I had to tell him to serve the rest of the world first and I would wait until next year, standing there as time quickly went by without a care about my deadline.

Several years went by as I was debating in my head whether or not to skidaddle out of there and take the next quickest bus to town in time to catch the office before 5 PM. All the while, I felt a war brewing in the guy’s sharp movements and his energy was giving off really bad World War I vibes. I braced myself for an attack any time soon and he delivered. I spent the next minutes painfully listening to him as he patronized me and turned all the blame on me for not giving him the chance to open the resume and see if it was good to go or not. I am sure somewhere in those words I was called stupid several times. I believe it was during this moment I realized that the movie, ” the Purge” was justified after all. It is during times like these, when people push you to the extreme and you just let them, that you would need that special day when you can do absolutely anything, to purge. I was already thinking of some ideas if ever there was such a day, I would start with…).

As was expected, I couldn’t make it to the office anymore. I went back feeling all kinds of emotions, mostly hopelessness, for missing to make my application for the pupillage. On top of that, I just got bullied in front of fellow learned friends by a guy whose livelihood depended on us. I also felt I was to blame for choosing to go to his cyber when I could have gone anywhere else and most likely have made it in time to deliver my resume. I broke down and cried tears which could fill a well the size of Africa. Somewhere during that time I just gave up on even trying to get anything done anymore. I am too tired to fight to get simple things done in time. I am tired of experiencing setbacks here and there. At this point in my life if things don’t just start happening for me, I would rather not bother with anything at all!

P.S I am fine and very much alive. A little shopping after the ordeal lifted up my mood and what’s cool is that once I have written about something, it is not so powerfully painful any more.

R.L Stine and how he influenced my childhood

Photo credit: Rakuten Kobo

Say Cheese and Die! Is a memorable nostalgic book on my top ten list of the most mysterious childhood books of all time. I didn’t realize how special this book was to me until recently, when I remembered and looked for it. There is always a mystery hidden behind every one of R.L Stine’s books. I haven’t gotten to read a lot of them but the ones which I remember most are, Say Cheese and Die and Monster Blood. I was twelve or thirteen I think when I would frequent the only old and run down library in my village, which had a chalky and frayed secret treasure chest of books marked “discarded” to look for my next adventure. I believe the old, musky, yellow pages in those books were the reason I cannot stop dreaming about books. In fact, I grew fond of the precious elixir coming off of the golden leafs of mostly coverless novels. I love the smell of old books and there is a special place in my brain, which lights up with dopamine every time I close my eyes and put my nose in between the thousand-years old pages of a book that has persevered and matured, like red wine, on a dusty creaky ancestor of a shelf. If ever there was a perfume which smelled like old books I would be the first to buy!

He followed her into the long, narrow dining room as bare and dusty as the other rooms. A low chandelier still hung from the ceiling, so brown with caked dust it was impossible to tell that it was glass.

“Looks like a haunted house,” Greg said softly.

“Boo,” Shari replied…

R.L Stine, Say Cheese and Die

An Ad from Masterclass shows R.L Stine sharing behind the scenes of his fifty something books. I saw him in his element, surrounded by what looked like thousands of books all around him. If it wasn’t for the hefty subscription fee and the negligible range in topics, I would have been too happy to learn from him. I am sure whatever he has to say about his technique of writing is worth its weight in gold!

“This is impossible,” Greg Said.

Making a disgusted face, she handed the camera to him. “Okay I give up. Check it out yourself, Greg.”

He took the camera, started to raise it to his face, then stopped.

Uttering a low cry of surprise, his mouth dropped open and his eyes gaped straight ahead. Startled, Shari turned to follow his shocked gaze.

“Oh, no!”

There on the ground, a few yards outside the first-base line, lay Bird. He was sprawled on his back, his neck bent at an odd and unnatural angle, his eyes shut tight.

R.L.Stine, Say Cheese and Die.

The Inspiration behind my blog name

Believe me or not, I named my blog from the best teenage drama of all time: The Secret Life of the American Teenager. They stopped making masterpieces like this one. No other teenage drama compares to it in my eyes, not even Riverdale or Pretty Little Liars! Ahh! Doesn’t it occur to you when you are scrolling non-stop through Netflix for hours, trying to find anything good enough to stimulate your five senses, that somehow after 2010, no series or movie produced is memorable? I feel that older movies and series have made such a beautiful imprint on my life that every time I am reminded of them, a smile comes to my face as I bathe in the sweetness of nostalgia. Every movie or drama I have ever watched back then was so special that it brings back good memories to my mind and just the thought of it lifts up my mood.

Now you know the secret which I have been hiding for over four years.

Warrior Mode

Today I spoke my mind and said exactly what I meant without any sugar coating. Normally, I would swallow my words against my better judgment to say them because I would fear coming across as rude or aggressive. I don’t know what happened to me in the past to make me scared, but I realize now that I have been living in fear all this time. I think it might be because of that time I barked at a rude and condescending secretary in my university who refused to do her job and help out a student in need and I almost got sent to the Disciplinary Committee if I hadn’t kissed up to her ass in time. But then again, secretaries in public universities have always been that way and will always remain so, for a reason I haven’t been able to figure out. Is it because they look down on students? Could it be perhaps they feel accomplished in life and wish to rule the world from behind their counters? I wouldn’t know. Anyway, I believe I became a chicken after testing the cruel consequences of free and fair self-expression. It turns out this world prefers if you shut up and just endure everything without a squeak!

So I had to zip up my mouth and throw away the key. It sure explains the depression and resentment I have been struggling with in the past years. When I suppress my voice, I give instructions to my brain to go fluff itself and it dies little by little, taking me along with it.

You see, I haven’t always been a victim. Even when my life couldn’t look any more pathetic back then, I stood my ground and refused to give in. I fought and the fire within me, which others might have taken to be too much or too crude, was the reason I survived. Had I given up the fight I would have died a long time ago, way before this blog could even see the light of day. Imagine a world without the life of a Kenyan Arab. The thought alone sends shivers down my back.

Nevertheless, the fire hasn’t died out yet. All I have to do is allow myself the freedom of speech. As long as words are not stones which could break glass, I need to let them out without any filter. Yes, I know what that sounds like but believe me when I tell you that I have suffered way more by keeping mum. My life is worth more than making a few enemies or risking a few relationships. I couldn’t be happy if everyone was pleased with me when I was slowly killing myself from within. It might have taken me a good number of years to find my voice, but I am deciding to be the fiery, spicy, scorpion who is not afraid to sting when threatened. I may lose more than I am comfortable with losing, but at least I won’t lose myself.

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