As someone who prefers avoiding mentors, and their advice over coffee, I realise its influenced me into thinking that problems don’t need to be talked about. So the only things which need to be spoken about are professional successes, projects in the pipeline, fresh perspectives, and just how dandy everything is.
Well, its not. Dandy just twisted into the harbinger of doom – a calm of sorts before the storm. Its not just any old storm this time. This time it has hit home. It hit me as a smart enemy hits you where you think you’re the safest.
That omnipresent enemy, and sometimes guardian angel, is called Karma. Or the Universe. Or God, if you really must.
She doesn’t care if you’re a good person everyday of your tax-paying life, because if there’s a lesson you have to learn, she’ll be the one teaching you how to fly whilst you’ve only just begun to walk. She’s scary like that, manifesting as both the crisis and the opportunity, and suddenly you don’t know where to look, what to listen for, or which way to go.
This is my progress so far in Lesson #1.
That’s been me as of Wednesday, 28 September 2016. The day Rhodes University turned on the Government, the management, other students, and itself. The day the #FeesMustFall movement re-surged was also the day my foundation began to crumble. Again.
Everything I love – no, this is not an exaggeration – is hanging in the balance of whether this institution can survive this sociopolitical turmoil. As easy as the option to leave seems to most of us, and as tough as the conditions the financially struggling students face annually, I’m allowing myself to be selfish for just a moment. A moment where no one else’s pleas for what passes as common sense, cries for financial assistance, or even the family’s divided opinion on this matter count. A moment of silence. A moment of peace. A moment when I can afford to think about how I am dealing with this epic mess.
If I think about it, and I mean really think about it, I’m not dealing with it at all. Neither have I come to face it, nor have I accepted its role in my life. I’m only focusing on the good things while the crisis clamours for attention. What I chose to treat as a minor inconvenience in 2015 has now herded me into this deafeningly loud corner of silent introspection. It sounds fancy, but it isn’t. Its lonely, dingy at times when the could of doubt rolls in over my horizon, and its certainly as damp as the pillows which often comfort me in the place of strong, capable arms. I’ve spent a while in this corner now, thinking which life lesson I missed out on to go through this frigid hell of self-doubt and emotional fatigue. I still don’t know.
While I have frantically completed assignments, read through articles, and applied for positions and exchanges, at least I have lived some semblance of a life untainted by the unrest at Rhodes.
Here’s what makes the dark bits better:
I’m blessed to have a mother who, with all her mom-jokes and solid professional advice, gives the best self-help authors a run for their money. Yeah, she’s cool like that, leading by example and all; whether the sun comes up or not, she’ll be up bringing out the best in every situation. Plus she knows just how I like my dosa – no one can compete with that. She’s my standard for most things.
There exists my best friend, who enrages me with his indefatigable sense of optimism, but also holds my hand through the worst days. He hasn’t missed out on making my best days either. From Tuesday Regulars to reading me stories, from being my legs during late nights on campus to handling the many, many teary afternoons. He’s pretty cool.
Blue hearts to you, Lu.
Ach crivins! Take all of them.
And then there’s the Little Man. I’ve never met another 4-year-old as thoughtful as he. Whether its sharing his Nutella sandwich or bringing me the toilet roll I forgot to replace in the bathroom – he’s finally of some use now. My brother is as much a pain in my life as he is a master instructor of unwavering patience and unconditional love. He makes me question myself more than the adults in my life could have me doubt myself. Yes, there is a difference, and Samai knows that forcing me to think differently (even with incentives) is not going to work. As seriously as I take his wild stories of finding alligators in our garden, he takes my need for hugs, kisses, and following rules in the house just as seriously. The kid gets me.
Obviously they aren’t the only ones. There’s uncles and aunts, friends, authors, and my trusty dressing gown, cloaking me against the world for those few domestic hours I spend at home. There are good things and the best people in my world, and I don’t think I would be half as alright without their presence – however scarce.
I’m working on learning what the Universe has to teach, but I’m afraid if it’s about letting go before I’m ready to its a lesson which might take a little longer than the others. Either way, I am free to choose but never from the (sometimes amazing) consequences of my choices.
I may not be world-ready according to most, naive to the intentions out there (gasp!), but how am I to know the difference if I don’t go out there and see for myself, right?
Lesson number 1.
Image Source: http://pdlcomics.tumblr.com/post/135337069480/a-dream