Unfiltered #throwbackthursday. This photo comes up on my Facebook memories every year and it always takes me back because this day was such a complicated day. I was out with friends and outwardly was having an awesome day but I was so depressed during this time.
And this day internally was one of the lowest days I’d had in a long while. And I was distracted because I was out with people I loved and who loved me but for each year this comes up, I’ve always had such a visceral reaction to this photo because I remember how conflicted I felt on this day and I hated seeing it represented like this.
But it also reminds me that things do change and get better. And God is good. And getting help is great.
When I think about depression, one of the poems that comes to mind is this raw, powerful spoken word poem by Sabrina Benaim titled ‘Explaining My Depression to My Mother”
As a child of immigrant parents, one of the toughest things to bring up has been my struggle with depression and anxiety, both because it’s hard to own anyway and also because saying “I am depressed and need help” in a culture that does not cater to the importance of mental health is one of the hardest things to do.
Have a listen to this poem, I find it so comforting:
It’s been a while (I often seem to begin my posts in this way!). A lot has happened over the last month and a bit. Let’s see…I went home to Nairobi for my sister’s wedding and a desperately needed break, came back and moved to a new city for a new job, and picked up a writing project that I had put down because I was in an awful place mentally and had nothing creative to give. Whilst I was away, I was drafting my thoughts in bits and pieces and so here are some of those thoughts…
My God how I needed this trip. To be reminded that my world is not so small. That it contains the absolute beauty of my nephews laughing; the joy and miracle of knowing they are living in the same world I am in. The trust when they look at me and say “hug” or the confidence that I will play with them whenever they want to. In my world, I am an auntie.
My world is not so broken. This year has been filled with pressing weight and anxiety, panic attacks and weeks spent hiding under the covers but still, it is not so broken. I am not so broken. This trip has reminded me that in my house, I am the peaceful one. The one that’s goofy and silly and happy to be childish. That my mother leans on me for strength. And my older brother enjoys my silly humour. That my younger brother turns to me as a confidant, and my older sister loves me despite how often we rub each other wrong, and my sister-in-law enjoys my company. I am many things to the people who love me and know me and those things are worthy.
Moving is terrifying. Doing something for just me is terrifying. It’s ironic that I have spent the past six years dealing with some pretty heavy health-related things both personally and with a dear and close family member but this move away from home and alone again makes me feel more scared than I have been in a very long time. Perhaps because I got used to the situation I was in, it wasn’t setting off the alarms in my mind quite so much, but right now, I’m spending a lot of time telling myself to breath easy.
She arrived at the country mansion in a silver limousine. She’d sent out invitations and everything: her name written twice with “&” in the middle, the calligraphy of coupling. She strode down the aisle to “At Last” by Etta James, faced the celebrant like a keen soldier reporting for duty, her voice shaky yet sure. I do. I do. “You may now kiss the mirror.” Applause. Confetti. Every single one of the hundred and forty guests deemed the service “unimprovable.” Especially the vows. So “from the heart.” Her wedding gown was ivory; pointedly off-white, “After all, we’ve shared a bed for thirty-two years,” she quipped in her first speech, “I’m hardly virginal if you know what I mean.” (No one knew exactly what she meant.) Not a soul questioned their devotion. You only had to look at them. Hand cupped in hand. Smiling out of the same eyes. You could sense their secret language, bone-deep, blended blood. Toasts were frequent, tearful. One guest eyed his wife — hovering harmlessly at the bar — and imagined what his life might’ve been if he’d responded, years ago, to that offer in his head: “I’m the only one who will ever truly understand you. Marry me, Derek. I love you. Marry me.” At the time, he hadn’t taken his proposal seriously. He recharged his champagne flute, watched the newlywed cut her five-tiered cake, both hands on the knife. “Is it too late for us to try?” Derek whispered to no one, as the bride glided herself onto the dance floor, taking turns first to lead then follow.
Hello! Another long few months of silence but never fear, I yet live! I’ve had the intention to post at least once a month over the last few months but alas, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that… it has not quite worked out that way. Life has been tough and kicking my butt quite a bit over the last two months but still…we persevere.
I think a lot of the experiences we go through, however difficult, at the very least give us the chance to learn something about ourselves and how we go through the world. Whilst thinking of this over the last two months, I realised I have a habit of holding on too hard and too long to things I should let go of. And this inspired the following…
Sometimes Let Go
Sometimes let go. Sometimes leave. Sometimes take the option with the least amount of pain. Sometimes run. Far and fast and with everything you can salvage after the war you’ve been fighting. Sometimes let go. Leap and dive into the unknown Because what you’re leaving behind is worse than What you might meet on your way. So let go.
There are times when taking care of you, your mental health, and your peace means walking away, even when you don’t want to. And that’s okay.