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I get sad sometimes. Writing about it saves me from madness.

The Day I didn’t Want to Talk To Anyone

The Bimbia Slave Site Captured with my LG G4

I’m scared of the direction my life has been headed in the past couple of months. I dropped out from my graduate programme. I took my first real job working with a small (but impressive) team where we’re singlehandedly sculpting the cultural landscape of the country — the potential is huge.

My poetry collection sits in this same computer unpublished. I haven’t posted anything on the internet in weeks.

Oh, and I got dumped. I could tell you about how painful it was. Or what I wish I hadn’t said or done. Or the lessons I learned or how much I would miss her. Truth is, up until recently, I thought I had ‘survived’ this. I hadn’t. I may not. In fact, given my propensity towards extreme emotional engagement without building the initial required foundation upon which most long term relationships are built, I woke up a few mornings later and sobbed.

I cry when I watch emotive movies or read texts with similar properties. I cried when I received a surprise birthday cake for the first time with my name on it.

I still consider myself cold and unemotional. I’ve trained myself to not express surprise, fear or elation unexpectedly. Dealing with subtle forms of rejection in secondary school and during my first years in the Uni gave me that skill.

That morning, I sat up and prepared to head to work, I don’t remember the exact sequence of events that led to my sobs, but I felt a deep sense of loss, like my reason for existing had been stolen. I could not find words to describe what my mind didn’t comprehend. As I struggled to make sense of it, I muttered to myself in hope that words would soothe the excruciating feeling that boiled in my abdomen. It made no sense. Yet, the tears flowed. They were hot. Enough to make me stop. Enough to let off a little of the pressure from within. I’d never cried over a breakup before.

Great. One more item off my bucket list.

I washed my face and wore the adequate thespian features. Then I left home.

Because that wasn’t the day I couldn’t talk to anyone.


Last month, someone on twitter interviewed me for her dissertation. She said she’d come across my writing on the web and her work focused on black writers living on the continent. Another amazing writer said I was quite a talent. I felt important. This is not to say that I have a bad case of low self-esteem.

Because I do have a mild case of it.

I don’t think I am particularly handsome. It is for this reason that I feel very nervous in front of anyone’s camera.

I don’t think I am a good writer. I sometimes fear that I may die and never accomplish my dreams. Of course, you will tell me it is probably a legitimate fear that everyone has. Honey, I get you, but I am not everyone.

I am me. I’m scared.

I feel like a fraud. I try hard to hide it behind jokes, and smart talk ( boy, do I steal from books). Which is why it takes me a long time to trust anyone to open up and really get them to enter my world.

(Fun fact, you ( yes you reading this) probably know more about me from reading me on the internet that most people in my immediate surroundings. That’s how much of me I am able to hide from everyone around me)

On the other side of this deep fear of disappointing my inner self, I also have a sense of things I can do that no one else could. I play with words in ways that never seizes to amaze people around me. I speak two languages and I ( sort of sing). I am also sort of funny — when I’m not depressed.

As you can see.

I am very much in touch with the things I don’t like: I find it hard to do work that is algorithmic. I thrive with creative tasks. However, I have recently observed that even heuristic tasks if given constraints, offset my juices and literally- believe me when I tell you- render me totally incapable of making coherent sentences.

Yesterday, during a workshop, I had to create a story from a theme I absolutely hated. I think my brain died for the next half of the session. My ideas mortified instantaneously.

But, it wasn’t because I was scared of dying alone, unfulfilled and without dreams that I decided not to talk to anyone. I was because I had had enough and I was exhausted. For the first time in months, I’d reached the trough of my mild depression and I decided I didn’t want to do anything. Except this.


When I woke up that morning, everything was the same; the car horns through my window, the sun’s sly smile pouring through. My eyelids were heavy, but my stomach too.

“I could read a few pages before I go up there”, I thought to myself as I grabbed the Samsung tablet on the table.

A journey to the loo wiped the thoughts of another dive at the warm covers. It was my special moment with myself. While I did my business, I flipped to my ebook app, ‘Born Standing Up’ was open.

As much as I’d never paid attention to Steve Martin’s work as an entertainer, I noticed that his writing gave me insights into his life that would never leave me. I quietly continued my not so challenging multitasking ordeal.

8.15am

I knew because my phone alarm started ringing as soon as I got into the room. Steve was saying something about Nina Lawrence and her change of name. But I knew I couldn’t afford another sluggish read.

8.30am.

Fifteen minutes couldn’t have gone this fast. I knew something wasn’t right that morning the moment I started freezing during my workout. I wasn’t unlike the rushing antelopes away from forest fire deep in the country. Or the birds leaving the island before the volcano.

Even when I took the cab, my head moved with difficulty. My smile felt plastic. I could hear my voice. Even I didn’t believe my destination when I told the driver.

In a sudden rush, I wrote an email to my best friend in over 11 years. The network was shitty but I was grateful for Gmail’s HTML version . I told her what I was going to do. I know what I wrote in the email, but I couldn’t believe I was going to do it. When my phone rang and I saw my superior calling, I silenced the device and turned the screen face down.

I wasn’t in control anymore. That was when he told me what we were going to do that afternoon.
End of part one.


Tchassa Kamga lives in Buea, Cameroon. This part of the country hasn’t had internet in over two months. So, he’s had to travel a long distance to post this. He’s learning the intricacies of curating events and documenting them at the fine dining restaurant and cultural hub- IYA Buea. He has three episodes on his podcast . He also takes blatant pictures on Instagram.

He co-writes with C. Befoune on this publication — Self-ish . Their goal is to share the lessons they’ve learnt from multiple sources in the domains of Self-improvement, Content Creation and Human Relationships.

You can easily get him on Twitter.

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How He Killed Affection

pexels-photo-14303
Let him tell you of heartbreaks. Of tears he hid and dreams he killed. Of the memories he replayed long after the kisses died. Let him tell you of rejection. Of unrequited love. Of emotions suppressed and denials endured. He could tell you of the time when she said: “This is not working out.” Or of when she needed space to think. He will tell you with a smile. While you hold your throaty lump tight. He will tell you the blouse she wore and the dog that strayed. He might tell you of the date. If you’re not lucky enough, he may only remember the hour and the minute.

Let him tell you of failures of the heart. Of the laughs he faked and the lies he told himself. Of the persona he forged and the mechanisms he acquired. He may tell you of the letter he wrote…and burned. He may tell you of the unsent SMS, or the cancelled voice note. He could recount the old pillows that saved his teary tale in cold, liquid embrace. He will tell you of the body weight he hasn’t been able to gain. Of his incessant penchant for jokes and laughter, of his book drug abuse and his writing exorcism.

He may mention his new resolve. His understanding of love and the day he killed affection. He could paint the clouds, but he won’t. He could tell you about the song on Trace at that moment, but he won’t. He could tell you of the matching shoes she wore and of the speech she had prepared. Yes, the speech, he will. He will tell you how at that time it made no sense to him. How he laughed with his boys and texted the next available glass heart. He will not tell you of the supper he left cold. Of the desires he left enflaming. Of the rage he carried, chiefly against fiction, for making him believe in soulmates.

Let him tell you of the decision he took. Of the vow he made. Of the smile he wore as he said to himself: I’m too old for this shit. As he deleted the pictures and edited his memory- a task he would tell you, was a waste of time, but that “I had to at least try”. He may mention that it was the day he realized he’d changed. The day he saw his own worth. The day he finally admitted to himself that he would never find what his was looking for, simply because he was always looking.
It was the day he said, earnestly, without reserve and believing with his soul: fuck this shit. I’m done.
——-

What a comeback post huh? Did you miss me? 😀

Now you know why I left.

Leaving you was the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t mean this in a “happy” way. More of in an I-should-have-done-this-a-long-time-ago tone. We had a good time together. A great time.

The fact that I am writing this expresses how much the last couple of months meant a great deal to me. You took care of me. You really did. You were a mother, friend, and a lover. You looked at me like I was the only thing that mattered.

You made me believe that I could be loved. Not that I don’t have friends and family who love me, but, I had never imagined the effect the touch of someone who isn’t your blood could have on one’s mood.

Do you remember the time when I was sick and had to stay home all day? When you cooked in the neighbor’s house and brought for me? We stayed home all day and you dabbed my forehead with a wet towel.

Only my mother had ever done that for me. Loving you was the only thing I wanted at the time.

At the time.

At the time, I was struggling with who I wanted to be and the kind of life I wanted. As well as the type of people I would be willing to let into my life.

Time moves fast, doesn’t it? Only a few months ago, we filled memory cards with selfies. We made the neighbors jealous.

Even I was jealous of us sometimes.

“Where have you been all my life?” I’d sometimes wonder.

At the time.

At the time, I refused to acknowledge that I was not ready to be your friend. That I did not trust you. And that the series of events that led to our last conversation were simply a domino effect that lined up nicely from the very first evening we met.

Do you remember that evening? Do you remember our subsequent conversations? And the trail of crumbs on the internet? Do you remember how offhand I was and how everything seemed so…okay?

IT was fun, wasn’t it?

At the time.

At the time, I wasn’t the same person writing this. I am free, now. I can tell you that I don’t need you. Not in a “you’re useless” way. But in an I-am-not-emotionally-available way.

I hurt your feelings. And I want you to hate me. In the same light, I want you to move on fast enough to be able to spread the happiness I used to hear in your giggle.

You are more than you believe. Yes, you cannot stand alone you’d say. I think you’re wrong. However, I cannot change what you believe. But if you focus on how weak and inadequate you are, nothing will ever happen. Nothing.

I thought you were the missing rib. The soul mate I would make my life with. At the time.

Today, I see the world through a prism of honesty. No, I don’t walk around being honest with people. More about being honest with myself and the things I want. The things I need and the things I am good at. The habits I must kill and what I am willing to sacrifice.

Sweetheart, I am willing to sacrifice you. And I mean this in a very selfish way. Not morbid. Selfish.

I care about myself and my well-being. And one thing I have come to accept is that when I go against everyone to make sure I am happy, somehow, everyone goes through the stage of disparaging my choices to finally coming around.

At the time, I was scared of disappointing my parents and everyone else who believed in me. Even you.

At the time.

Today there is only one thing I fear: having to regret my life on the day I die.

If losing you now is the price to pay to living a life I can be responsible for, then, sweetheart, now you know why I left.

What happened?

What happened?

There was a time when you were so passionate about our country? When you talked of our heroes and how much you’d love to meet them.

What happened?

There was a time when you were so polite. When you greeted with both hands and smiled respectfully before the handshake came.

What happened?

There was a time when you’d hurry to keep the house clean as soon as you heard the car screech. When you’d turn off the TV and jump into the bathroom.

What happened?

There was a time when you won’t wake Mummy up when the neighbors came. When you’d stand your ground and have them leave a message.

Wheti happen brother?

There was a time when you’d return home with clean uniforms, all your pens and all your buttons.

There was a time when you’d scream from wherever you were when Mummy called. You’d sprint like Bond across the gate if you had to.

There was a time when you’d stop in the middle of the street to tie Daddy’s lace. You’d be proud of yourself and him all at once.

What, the hell happened to you?

That now you post pictures of your drunken hangouts with peers? Now you post videos of Sheeshah infused scenes?
Now you bet for Cristiano to score within the first 3 minutes (since you have become a dibia)?
Now you share censored videos in the name of showing support?

Who are you?

I don’t know you. I don’t recognize you.
The sad thing is, I used to.

You used to be me.

Broken

Old respite, I bid thee farewell.
I’m gone. To a place I do not know well.

I broke my branch before I flew.
I’m not going back to the place we knew.

My old friend, I bid thee farewell.
Do not think my actions aren’t swell.

Caution :you may not recognize me.
I’m broken. In pain. And I bleed.

A pain I’ll need.

I’ve lost you, and it feels right.

The blaze is gone.
Wet flames, all that is left. Mud ash.
Your touch is foreign.
I can see it in your eyes- I failed you.

We used to chat, on Facebook, for so long.
Stale talk, all that is left. Burnt stash.
Our embrace now means nothing.
You know I see it too. It’s no more “we” but “you”.

I know it’s my fault. I’ve known all along.
You tried, with all you had. Never brash.
I could do better.
They don’t speak. But they sense it too.

This is the longest bond I have forged.
Or did I? What’s left? Pictures and emotional mash.
I don’t deserve you.
They knew this day was coming. I did too.

For a long time, I have been alone.
You showed a page I’d never read.
Pores through which I’d never bled.
With you, for an eternal second, I was at home.

I know what would happen.
Its inevitability is almost hilarious.
It has happened before. I have been here before.
Only, you have too. But not with me.

Hence, we will thread new territory.
One I am all too familiar with.
We had more than our own moments of intimate revelry.
We will bleed. I know I would. I will need stiches.

I wish we could hug over a cup’a coffee and shake hands.
I wish in a few years, we would laugh over the past months.
We would think of how much we grew and how much we out grew each other.
Lies. Falsehood. Sky bound castles.

I have grown. I see this coming and I feel nothing.
No pain. I bleed, without pain. Without strain.
I knew this would happen.
The first time you smiled, I knew this would happen.

So, when I say “It’s my fault, not yours”, I am not being flattering.
It is the truth. I don’t know how to do “this”.
Actually, I do. I just don’t want to.
And the mashed stashed of thoughts I need to scream is because of this.

You are a good person. You have shown me love.
You have shown me care. You have shown me tenderness.
You showed me reason. And I thank you, for showing me one thing:
Family.

I have grown. And I know I am not cut for this.
I have accepted, finally, who I am. And who I want to be.
Who I must be. Who I need to be.
What and who I am ready to sacrifice.

Love is a choice I make every day.
Love is a concept I learn every day.
Love is a feeling you articulated.
Love, is what I saw in you.

What I saw. But, no more.
Goodbye, my pillar. My anchor.
I sail to my lake. One I know all too well.
One in which I built the island on which I thrive.

I hope you feel pain. I hope you miss me.
I want to have meant something to you.
I want to have meant something.
I want to.

I hope you hate me. I hope you forget me.
I hope you ignore my calls. I hope you don’t reply my messages.
I hope you unfriend me. I hope you block me.
I hope you blacklist me.

I won’t forget you. My mind is my curse.
The same mind that doesn’t comprehend love.
The same that would look back at this moment in the future and mock raucously.
The same that needs you to hate me now.

Slap me. Plot against me.
Tell everyone how truly heartless I am.
Tell them the truth.
They don’t deserve to know. But you deserve to tell.

I am not a good person.
I don’t deserve your forgiveness.
So, don’t forgive me.
But, by all means, don’t ever think you could have done anything differently.

Because I knew how this would end.
I knew it all along. For months I fought.
And now, I’ve lost.
And it feels right.

Goodbye, my pillar.

Don’t wait till death, my friend.

Then I chewed on the battery. The liquid spewed easily. A sting. Liquid metal. A cold drenched feeling took over me as I pictured my entrails wailing in chemical unrest. My mother came in, saw my dirty hands and the broken remote…then she…

No. That’s not the story I want to tell you today. Let’s talk a bit about death. Given the abrupt circumstances with which she visits, I will be ..well… brief.

This is not the first time I am talking about death. And it might not be the last. Please eh, forgive my momentary morbid mental inflections.

Prince died. I didn’t enjoy his music. Many, many humans did.

Music lost Papa Wemba as well. Right on stage! I didn’t enjoy his music either. It is said he was an African icon.  I believe those two wonderful artists would be truly missed by those who knew, cared and loved them.

May their souls, and countless others who die each day, some as you read this, rest in peace.

Now, I have issues with these deaths- the media coverage AND the outlandish expression of sorrow/affection/ quasi-affectation that now seems to be omnipresent thanks to social media and the digital age.

Here’s my problem: forget the stars. Forget the icons. Forget the national heroes. Take “Joshua”. He’s your friend. You grew up together and went to school together. You dodged classes together. You were there when his heart first got broken and he was there the time you got drunk and made a fool out of yourself.

Fast forward 10 years. You’re both working. Joshua runs a fledgling startup. You have a very demanding job. You both have kids. You don’t see each other as often. Sometimes, you pick your phone and you just want to chat with your buddy.

Then you think to yourself: “Why should  I be the one to call? It’s not like I am the only one who should miss him!”

So, you never call. Joshua has the same mental soliloquy.

Then, one day, Joshua’s wife calls you. Joshua is no longer of this realm.

Your eyes well up with tears. You wish you’d called him. That you’d given him some money to bootstrap the company. That you’d offered him that old car you weren’t using so often.

You wish you were back in high school with Joshua.

Now, we both know where I am heading to with this.

Prince, the world will miss you. Same for you Daddy Wemba. But before you splurge my timeline with how much you will miss those who are gone ( I wonder why no one wrote about them this much when they were alive), take up your phone and call a “Joshua”.

Mom, Dad, sibling, friend, spouse, colleague, buddy.

Send him/her a tweet. Give ‘em a Skpe call. Send a snap.

Don’t wait till death, my friend.


P.S: I should take my own advice. I think this is the earnest reason why I write. I have so much to improve that the only way I can remind myself to do it, is to write about it. You may have noticed the “entrepreneurship” tinge here and there. I am working on a venture which requires a lot of guts and a lot of patience. The past months have NOT been peachy. But writing about these things gets a lot in perspective for me. It’s a sort of therapy because I still believe I need professional help. So far, I haven’t gone down the streets naked. So, we’re good.

Thanks for being here…Joshua. 🙂

Blue Bird #Poetry

There is a bird on the tree.
The blue one.
No, not the blue bird, the blue tree.
The one in my mind, the one I am so fond.

There is a bird on the tree.
The sad one.
No, not the sad tree.
The sad blue bird.

The blue bird sings a song I know.
A song of pain not long ago.
Of pain beneath the skin, way below.
A song within the bone’s marrow.

There is a bird on the tree.
The bird that shares my mind with me.
The bird that scoffs and shares my dreams.
The same bird that hugs when tears reveal.

There is a bird on the tree.
My calm betrothed friend.
Last night he watched the tears fade.
He watched the cutter approach with haste.

My bird left the tree.
He found peace in another’s mind.
My troubles he couldn’t solve.
Now, I’m alone.

He left me, all alone.

Three Ways I See Death

Almost everyone, has lost someone. A friend. A sibling. A parent. A lover. A neighbor.

Almost everyone.

Do you ever think of “death”? Not the action. Nor the importance it plays in the cycle of life. No. The concept.

Death.

Steve Jobs in his 2005 commencement speech said of death as being “Life’s most definite creation”. Or something like that.

The concept of death seems so far away. Especially for young people like me. I have never witnessed a child die. You might have. And I have heard of people younger than myself dying.

So, is anyone every truly too young to die?

Considering the fact that no one knows neither the place nor the time, shouldn’t we be actually embracing the concept of death? Or is it one of those “your thoughts have powers” sort of situations where you avoid to think about certain things because:

a) Karma is a …not very nice thing and
b) The Law of Attraction works?

The fact that you are reading this means that you and I are alive.

(Or maybe you are a ghost. If the latter is the case, then I guess I would still be able to update my blog when I die. Yay!)

What does death remind you of? I don’t think about death all the time. I have never been close to a near death situation and the last time I felt truly terrible for the death of a family member I had grown truly fond of was over 15 years ago.

So, you’re right. I am no expert on death. And you shouldn’t be reading this.

However, here is what death reminds me of:


A. Death is inevitable:

I know it is obvious. But I don’t think we pay attention to how truly obvious it is. This life will end. All you see will finish. Everyone you know will die. Sooner or later.

Take that in. Absorb it.

Now tell me, would you live a carefree life if you had this little voice at the back of your mind telling you: “Dude, it could be today. It could be now”? I won’t. I try not to.

The inevitability of death, in my opinion, should be the driving force behind every life changing venture. It should be the reason we don’t need an alarm clock. The reason we are polite to everyone we meet on our way and more importantly, the reason why we stay true and honest to ourselves.

B. It could be right now.
If you’re reading this, it means I was able to press publish.

Unexplained deaths are that way for a reason- the fact that a creator exists means there are things as humans, we can not understand. I believe He simplified a lot with reasons such as: cardiac arrests, brain aneurysms and other ‘salient’ causes of death.

Your heart could literally stop right now. Or your brain. Or a some vessel, somewhere.

The more I think of this, the more I understand why many of us can’t stand the thought of death.
How sad would it be to have these thoughts all day long? You might as well be dead! The design of death is indeed macabre.
Especially given the glorification of the process through literature ( Dorian Grey, Frankenstein, Vampire Diaries) and the blurring of the obvious (The Walking Dead, Evil Dead, iZombie, et al).

It seems the “global quartier” has succeeded in carefully packaging the afterlife into a commodity that can be consumed in 40 minute intervals. Or binged watched. Depending on your mental palate.

Sure, not everyone is fooled into thinking that zombies exist. But a seed well planted and carefully fed will surely grow. Even if it just ends up being a dwarf plant.

C. Death could be a source of joy:

When Princess Diana died, I had no idea who she was. I cried. When I lost my uncle in 2000, I felt terrible grief. When my classmate died in 2009, even though we weren’t particularly close, I did feel a painful loss.

First off, there is no way my pain will ever be equal to yours. It could either be more or less.

Second, my pain could be a source of joy. Keyword: empathy. Thinking that today could be your last day ( or whoever you are talking to) could be the only reason you need to be…you know…nice.

I miss my Uncle. And the only place I can see him is in pictures. So, now that I know that I could miss you too someday, I take my phone and I call you. I smile to you. I do well to be in good terms with you and for us to be, simply, happy.

I think grasping how futile our lives are with respect to the infinity of the universe and the incomprehensibility of creation should be the only reasons we have to do our best.

Right now.

Clearly, this is just an argument of perspective. This is the way I see it. And this is the reason why I don’t bear grudges. Of course, I get pissed.

All the time actually.

I am human. But rather than getting pissed for two months, and not talking to my friend, or siblings, I ask myself: if this were the last thing I would do, would I be this angry? Would I really feel this way?

For me, things become really clear when I put death in perspective. When I use it as a source of inspiration rather than fear. When I accept that this life will never be truly understood and that all I need to do I do what is in conformity with my soul.

This is why I suck at politics. And why I don’t pay attention to the news. Yes, James Altucher may have inflenced the latter but I take his arguments and fit to my context. Watch CRTV for a week and tell me if you get any value from watching “the news” or any other “content”.

Death cannot be explained. Each religion has its understanding of the concept. Each person has his/her perspective.

Thank you for reading mine.
I’d be very happy to read your perspective in the comments below. And if you think others could see death like I do, please share. Have a great week ahead.

All that matters, is what we do now.