Posts tagged growth

On Being the Same Ol’ Gee

“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.”

– Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth and Being Free

 

Do you know how stretch marks come about?

 

Stretch marks are these seemingly unsightly marks or veins that appear on the skin. They usually come about after weight gain or even a sudden weight loss. When you gain weight suddenly, your skin stretches to accommodate the extra weight. It’s why women have them after child birth and why teenagers always have them. The skin gets overstretched and is unable to keep up with collagen production. So the skin stretches, a painful process that causes itching and leaves scars.

 

But stretch marks aren’t entirely bad, they mean different things to different people. For some mothers, it’s a badge of honour, and a small price to pay for the blessing of being a mom. For some, it’s the prize of their weight loss. And for other people like me, it means that you finally now have booty, free of charge!

 

You didn’t go through all of this not to be able to tell your stories.

 

I’m listening to Jhene Aiko’s “Spotless Mind” and the very first line says “Change is inevitablle”. Strangely, as constant as that is (that being change), that’s usually the most difficult thing for us.

 

We’re always too eager to show the ones who have known us for so long that nothing has changed and that we’re still the same old people we were. But we also want to grow. And growth is hard – all the stretching and adjusting to fit your new size. Growth is a result of learning from all our failures and misadventures. Growth is leap of faith after leap of faith, or maybe just blind trust that lands you outside God’s will but still smack dab in the middle in His love.

 

I’ve written in the past about how painful the becoming has been for me. Sometimes, I imagine what it must be like to be God and have to deal with my tantrums and worrying, or the days He literally has to drag me crying and kicking to the next phase. There have been the days when I knew for sure that I was losing my mind, and other times when I wished that I could just hibernate for a while and sleep through my storms. But that didn’t happen, and  I didn’t die. And I grew!

 

I am still a Work-In- Progress. I find it incredibly amazing that God held me through this all. I didn’t just survive, I grew. And I didn’t go through all of this so I could be the same old Gee. I didn’t go through all of this so I could fit in your little box, and I definitely didn’t go through all of this so I could play small. All these scars, are not for nothing. Understandably, not everyone will understand the growing pains and the new person that I have become.  And that’s okay.

 

Because not everyone belongs in this new phase I’m in. If you only see me for who I was then maybe you should remain in the previous phase of my life.

I’m not the same ol’ Gee.

 

You’ve Got the Love

Originally posted on April 20, 2015

“Well I’ve been searching high, I’ve been searching low (to)

Feel this completeness, everywhere that I go.

Maybe if I just keep walking, walking, walking

Through my mind I’ll stumble on it somewhere

And somehow in this space and time I will lose my worrying mind”- No Love Child, Corrine Bailey Rae

 

They say when all you can see is your pain, you lose sight of God. I used to write about love and sorrow, and pain and heartbreak. I used to be filled with longing for the things I didn’t have and it consumed me so much that I lost sight of the things I already had.

 

For a long time, all I did was ask God for things that I wanted. I had a long list and one of the top 5 items was a partner. Seeing as I had done a shoddy job at choosing for myself, I decided to wait for Him to help me with that last major bit. I had prayed about it before then, albeit subjectively. So this time I went all in and prayed again. And all I could hear was “Live Child. Live”

 

I had written previously about living and all the things you could do while you were single and waiting for something to happen. It turned out that I never took my own advice. I’d write the things that I thought and felt at the moment, but I never went back to read them when I needed the hope I always wrote about. Well, early this year, I told myself that I would start taking my own advice and living freely. There’s so much I missed out on not living to my full potential, and now it’s a herculean task trying to catch up.

 

Three months into 2015, I wonder where this Gbemi was hiding before. I know that there was a time for standing still, the time when I was supposed to grow root and be strong for the future. And I don’t think that I regret any part. I just wish that I had been a little braver. I’ve seen doors open only because I dared to knock. I’ve seen all the love around me only because I dared to open my heart. I’ve learned that God didn’t use the potter analogy for nothing. Because no matter how many times I’ve felt broken and torn, He pieces me back together piece by piece till I’m whole and brand new again.

 

Above all, I’ve come to realise that the greatest love I’ll ever have is my Father’s love. And that’s manifested in my love for myself and the love that I have to give. I’ve learned to open my heart to the endless possibilities that life can offer. I’ve learned that it’s okay to reach out to grab the things I want, because not everything is a mirage.  I’ve grown to a whole new level of self-love that scares me sometimes. I went from the girl who was (and is probably still) too shy to speak in public to being the light of the world.
In the end the love was always here, only it was within.

Letter to My Younger Self: Sierra Tango Oscar Papa

 

“Now before I finish, let me just say

I did not come here to show out

Did not come here to impress you

Because to tell you the truth when I leave here I’m gone

And I don’t care what you think about me, but just remember

When it hits the fan brother, whether it’s next year, ten years

Twenty years from now, you’ll never be able to say

That these brothers lied to you Jack” – Sean ‘Jay-Z’ Carter, PSA

 

 

Dear Gbemisola,

I wish I had written sooner. I hope you get this in good time, it will make things a whole lot easier for you. But then again, maybe the beauty in life is in the stumbling and sauntering. Whatever happens, you are reading this now, and it means you are still alive.

 

If I had to give you one advice to live by, it would be a single word: STOP.

 

Stop obsessing over everything. You’re 15 and ready to take on the world. I know you think you have it all figured out- graduate at 19, serve at 20, get married at 23 and have all your babies by 28. But I need you to let go off everything that you’ve planned. The thing with life is that most times you don’t even know what you want till you see it. I wish I knew a better way to explain this, but I don’t. Don’t be so pre-occupied with what you want that you lose out on all the beauty in life.

 

Stop obsessing over love. I know you don’t like to hear this, but you’re only just fifteen. You may think that you know what love is, but what you feel has not even scratched the surface. Love will kill you. Love will raise you up. Love is your mother working seven days a week for you. Love is your father buying drug after drug so that strange illness doesn’t snuff life out of you. The things you’ll do for love, the things you’ll do in the name of love, some of it will make you wonder if it was ever worth it. Love is amazing, but it’s never enough. You’ll find out though. And oh that boy you think about every night before you sleep, ten years from now you may hear he died and not feel any emotion.

 

Stop being so easily swayed. There’s so much that you’ve been taught already. You’ll find some of it to be utterly useless. You will learn that it pays to be your own woman. You’ll find the things that you think you should stand for in life. When you do, hold on to them. Never let anyone’s opinion shape your perception of someone or something. There’s over 6 billion people on earth, and we all have opinions. Not everyone will agree with you, and you shouldn’t agree with everyone either. Just don’t go on the offensive.

 

Stop being so damned soft. You’re still a good person, emotional, romantic, and godly. But good don’t always win. You’ll learn though. You see you may have been taught that if you give good out you’ll get good part. The earlier you stop expecting everyone to be nice to you, the better. People will hurt you, sometimes intentionally, other times unknowingly. Grow a backbone. We’re all living breathing people sauntering through life and trying to get home. Don’t expect too much from other people. Don’t take everything so personally, otherwise you’ll grow into a bitter lonely woman.

 

Stop putting other people before yourself. Stop putting yourself before God. You’ll find that you’re clueless about this thing called life. Put your hands in the hands of the One who designed the journey. Stop worrying too much and trust Him. I know that this is hard for you, but just wait and see what He does with you.

 

And Oh, no matter how much you cry, find the things that bring you joy. Regardless of how many times life knocks you down, there’ll be so much to laugh about if you only took the time to look. Enjoy every moment as much as you can. Love yourself. Life is hard enough, you need to be on your own side, just in case no one is rooting for you. But there are people rooting for you. When you think everyone else has left your side, a stranger will offer you a handshake. That’s the beauty of life.

 

Love yourself Kiddo. Love.

Taking Steps is Easy, Standing Still is Hard

Originally posted in November 2014

Chinese Bamboo: Growing up, I experimented with planting – beans, corn, tomatoes, pepper and much later even pawpaw. It was pretty straightforward – plant some grains/seeds where there’s sunlight, water them and in a few days or weeks, watch the first few leaves sprout. I guess that the thrill for me was watching them come to life and going on with the fulfilment that I had “created” something, so to speak.

Years later, I would come across Chinese Bamboo in Paulo Coelho’s Aleph. Unlike other plants or trees, when the Chinese Bamboo seed is sown, you see nothing for about five years, apart from a tiny shoot. Everything else that grows is underground – a complex root system reaching upward and outward is being established. Then suddenly, at the end of the fifth year, the bamboo shoots up to a height of twenty-five meters. I wonder if as a child I would have been able to wait five years for a silly plant to grow, when I’d have been eating pawpaw and harvesting tomatoes in that time. It would have been a waste of space and energy, and maybe I would have tried to uproot it. It would have driven me crazy.

 

And it still does.

 

I think we’re the “speedy” generation. Unlike our parents who probably worked in only one or two places most of their careers, our own measurement of progress is defined by movement. We don’t want to be stagnant so we don’t stay too long on one job. We get into relationships and get out, or we get married and divorce and move to the next one. We move from one house to another, make new friends and do all we can to convince ourselves that we are making progress. While in reality, some of these changes are necessary and taking us closer to our dreams, sometimes, all of this motion is just what it is- motion, not movement.

Last week was my second year anniversary (a la LinkedIn) on my current job, the longest I’ve ever been on one job. A friend joked that it was a lifetime and honestly, it feels that way sometimes. I’ve lived in the same house, dreamed the same dreams and just gone through motions for 2 years. There’s so much that I’ve seen happen in two years – people have gotten Masters Degrees and other qualifications, people have gotten married and had children, people have gotten in new relationships and gotten engaged, gotten new jobs and moved on. And even though I wish them well and I try to be available and show support along their life’s journey, it doesn’t necessarily help to come back from playing Wonderwoman and see that my life is exactly what it was the year before. It doesn’t also help to try to explain to people that you’re on the same spot because you’re waiting for something to happen – a certain something that you can’t even put a finger to.

 

“Be still and know that I am God”- Psalm 46: 10a.

I love “Orange is the New Black” and I admit that the first line that jumped out at me is from the theme song “You’ve got Time”- taking steps is easy, standing still is hard. I always read “Be still and know that I am God” and thought to myself “I’m a calm person, I have no problems being still”. The past two years have taught me what being still is. Being still is David in the Bible being anointed King of Israel and having to wait years till Saul dies before he would reign. It’s having the chance to kill the only person standing in his way and still choosing to do the right thing – wait for the One who promised to perfect it. Being still is when Hannah cried like a drunk woman at Shiloh and Eli saw and blessed. The Bible says her countenance was lifted and she went home. Being still is Abraham waiting for over two decades between the first promise and the actual manifestation of the seed, Isaac. There are no shortcuts to being still, ask Sarah about Hagar. Being still is trusting every single word that God has spoken and is speaking, and trusting Him to direct us. Being still is knowing that the Owner of the cattle on a thousand hills always, always come through and we can still hold on, being certain that He will open windows in heaven if He has to.

Being still is hard, but I don’t know of anyone who ever went wrong waiting for God. Besides, who decides what is right or wrong or what is good or bad? Everything that happens to us, regardless of how we see it is shrouded in God’s goodness; it always ends well regardless.

 

Above all, being still is not just sitting and waiting for things to happen. It’s being deeply rooted and nourished while waiting to sprout. A tall tree without deep roots will snap in the storm, however you look at it. So while you are waiting for things to happen on the outside, you can make things happen underground too.

 

Be still. Be deeply rooted.