So today I turn 24. And I really.. what a year this one has been. I’ve been pushed to feel things, I hadn’t allowed myself to before this juncture. I’ve taken risks I can’t believe I was even allowed to (don’t worry nothing illegal). But unfortunately I have to say. I’m not one of those people who really enjoys birthdays.
This day for me, for as long as I can remember, has always been about reflection. And with the critical mind I have been gifted this means that there are no failings the go on undetected and reflected.
But in this year where I turned 24. I definitely feel like I’ve turned a few corners. Having begun to address issue – at least in public – that I always kept protected. Behind the boarders of “civility”. Caught in a nexus. Pushing to reach agreement with everyone – particularly with people I like – traumatised by the reality that two people who love each other, in any which way, can come to fundamental disagreements. Can reach an impasse. That can leave the two damaged in pretty irreparable ways.
It’s not difficult to hold an opinion. I’ve never had an issue with that. But it’s a whole other issue accepting the consequences of disagreements. And to accept the repercussions of holding affirmative opinions. Opinions that will almost always break the trust between you and someone you love. It makes it harder for me to be true to myself. When I know that this truth can damage what I hold with “you”.
So in a bid to write myself unto existence. I have tasked myself with document the awful thoughts and beautiful ideal conceptions that both marry to steadily eat away at my psyche. With great persistence.
“You’ve got to find somewhere in between”
Please don’t be that guy. Or that girl. And suggest this after you read it. As if languishing on the extremities of positions I really want to be doing with my time. But what else do you do when you are frustrated?
There is some kind of “drunkenness” that it seems one needs to get through life happy. You kind of have to be able to stand while walls fall all around you. And be prepared and resilient enough to move on. And seek shelter under something new.
And looking back I guess that has been one of the more important lessons of 24. Learning that indeed while everything might be “broken”.. If the very thought of it is to consume you. Very quickly there will be nothing left. It seems that there is some kinds of imperfections that you have to learn to look past. Or at least that’s what I’ve been told. If only that was easier to accept. If only practical trade – offs didn’t often leave my blood running cold.
So recently I’ve been tasked by my family and friends to think and to write more positively. The best I can really promise is that I will try to do both, Affirmatively. And I agree with the obvious message behind this suggestion. But to be honest when I sing a positive tune. Within me it feels rather hollow.
I mean these days I call myself an “African”, right? And by know I think you know the politics of that decision. But in truth. How much hope for this adopted identity am I actually holding? The obstacles facing this adoption are very heavy to carry. So I guess one could call these feelings Growing Pains. So that I can learn to carry the weight.
But really I’d buy that a lot easier if I trusted the generations of Africans before me a lot more. The Africans I know. Who I see before me. Who have “grown”. I see no reason to believe they have resolved my tensions with their age. These aren’t simple musings of a “20 something” that eventually mature into something more consolidated. Something that one can actually hold.
I just want some hope man.
There is such a shortage of role models. At least ones promoting a language of freedom that I can understand. I want to believe that certain things are possible. Especially with regards to social justice. Especially when I am continuously slapped in the face by the realities of my own crimes. And the injustices in front of me committed by others. And countless structures. It makes so many dreams feel “improbable”.
Now please. Please don’t interject with a Richard Branson quote about defying the impossible. Resist that urge for me today, please.
These are simply the musing of someone just like you. Someone who is trying to grapple with the realities of what should “be” juxtaposed with the realness of what greets him on the streets.
Turning 24. Has been that sort of year. I guess. One that I feel immensely grateful and privileged to have had. To have the time and space to indulge my aspirations of self actualisation. I feel so damn grateful to experience the realness of choice. My life now is definitely unimaginable in so many ways to so many in my bloodline.
But now faced with the responsibility of that realisation. Of holding the unarticulated wishes and dreams that are infused in my blood. That flows right through me. Holding ambitious of countless souls whose stories I will never know. Acting as a custodian of the collective efforts that have gifted me the opportunity of “living”.. I simply have no choice. But to fight for what I think is right.
I must be prepared to take more affirmative positions. To be prepared to bare the brunt of those very same affirmative decisions.
I must contest reality. Even though it makes me increasingly unhappy.
I must continue to grow. I don’t know why. I really don’t. But I just kind of “know”.
My life could conclude at any moment.
But I formally commit to you. My intentions to live a life addressing injustice. Living in Atonement.