Lessons

What Happens When ‘They’ Have Faith in You


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After spending over three months without access to the internet, I can comfortably tell you that my life went on normally — sort of. I found out — among other things — the following:

1. My fear of failure easily leads me through a cycle : despair, then mild depression, then the search for the easiest exit.

In secondary school ( and even during my undergraduate years), I could do “mini-quits” — where I’d disappear from school from a couple of weeks, totally immerse myself in whatever new interest I’d had, then return for exams or catch-up with notes from my classmates.

Eh, good times.

Because I was smart enough to pass tests and major exams, no one noticed the momentary world I’d need to swathe myself through my moments of resistance.

This had always worked for me. Then I became productively accountable to another human — I got a job. What I found out with an employer ( who actually cares about you) is that you can’t climb into a self pity and stay home without showing up for work. You can’t carry a sad mane around the office and expect smiles and pats on the back. You can’t deliver sub-par work and expect cakes. Accountability demands and upgrade in dealing with self-inflicted despair. Which leads me to…

2. When you have people who expect much from you, you tend to do much.

“No expectations, no disappointment”– the popular maxim goes( I hope it’s not as popular as my brain thinks it is). This holds true for expectations in others — if you don’t expect much from anyone, you hardly get disappointed with anything that happens. You know, because you didn’t exactly root for or against his/her ability to achieve anything. This, my friend, is safe.

Too safe.

My boss expects a tonne from me. So do the members of my new family aka colleagues. I was navel gazing and licking my broken heart ( yep, doing it for the nth time), forgetting to see how much they’d invested in me. I almost irreversibly let them down.

The fact that you’re reading this means I didn’t. And that I have learnt more important things about love, life, work, family and friendships. Things like…

Real friends get worried when you quit too easily. They’re not afraid to tell you in your face.

Real friends don’t sugarcoat your laziness. They don’t make it a mean joke either.

Real mentors don’t babysit you. They show you the way. You have to walk it.

Weak ties are powerful. They could pay for your airplane ticket. But you’ll never know if you stay depressed in your room.

Business plans are important. Learn how to write one. It could save your life. Or fund it.

Same for life plans. “If you don’t know where goal post is, where do you shoot?” ( Somebody said that. I don’t remember who. 🙂 )

Resistance is real. Acknowledge it. Respect it. But do what you must.

You are responsible for how you handle your emotions. 

I now practice mindful meditation- I label my thoughts: “useless”, “useful”. I’ve stopped draining with replays of “useless” conversations in my mind.

If you think you don’t have friends, maybe you’re right. But maybe you aren’t a friend either.

 We all have 24 hours. You get to pick your family, gain weak ties and garner identity capital. It’s important to learn how to let go, how to be honest with ourselves.

Guilty as charged. 80% of previous paragraph comes from Dr. Meg Jay.

I have always rushed over my issues by writing every itty bitty tiny things that happens to me. Now I know better: everything takes time. Heartbreaks. Disappointment. Loss. 

Because we see our neighbours smiles and carry on doesn’t mean all is well. 

It’s better to stay on the road to recovery than to rush (with the mind) to the end. The whiplash may be lethal.

And love yourself. You’re worthy.


Tchassa Kamga lives in Buea, Cameroon. This part of the country just got its internet reinstated! Previously, he’s had to travel a long distance to post. However, this was written in his pyjamas. At home. Under myopic influence.

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.

Easily get him on Twitter.

The Alter Boy Who Panicked #Poetry

Not long ago, in a church yonder,
A suave neighbor swept Martha.
I was there, I watched from the altar.
The Mass went on, and me, being a server, couldn’t falter.

They giggled and wiggled during the sermon.
The itch in my throat grew strong.
An attempt to clear felt wrong.
Even the priest seemed worried. It showed in his stare, long.

Mother had warned me of love come fast.
In the age of twitter”, she said, “these things do not last”.
I could feel her eyes on my skull as I stared into the crowd aghast.

The burden of loss is never a light one.
To ponder alone at the time all was fun.
When I thought my Martha was my only one.
Even against my mother’s wishes, I’d promised her we’d run.

When mass ended. I rushed to clear my robe.
The crowd moved slow-a well played joke.
I found Martha crossing the road with the bloke.
I screamed and cursed at the heavenly poke.

Now, here’s the real joke, that was Martha’s long gone cousin who just came back from four years out of the country.

She was so excited she literally burned all her home including the pantry.

When I found out, I rushed in tears and reached her home panting.

She took me into her arms and said those words I needed to hear: It’s okay boo boo, I am not angry.

3 Lessons from Gatekeepers

“Gatekeeper”.

That’s the word that has been on my mind for a couple of hours now.
The people. The System. The laws. Verbal and non.
In my life I have come across them. I am sure you have too. Maybe they were blatant. Or maybe not.

I found it fascinating today

Exhibit A: You come up with a brilliant solution on how to accomplish a task in the group. The leader of the pack, who happens to be your classmate, finds the idea interesting. She is almost tempted to congratulate you.
Then she stops.
She remembers her “status”. She then takes your “good idea” into advisement. That’s the end of it.

Exhibit B:
You’re the leader. You come up with a carefully articulated strategy to raise funds. You just need to get to the head of the company/class/group/family for him to sign the cash and approve.
The secretary doesn’t like you very much. Ergo, you never see him.

So, back to my thoughts.
Facing a gatekeeper has taught me three things.

1. It’s all in the mind.
Especially with the current state of the information economy, you can easily find an industry leader on Facebook, LinkedIn or even Skype. From my past experience, most of these top people are really nice guys. Caveat? They know the value of time. So get your pitch perfect at any time. Those stopping you only “think” they’ve stopped you. It’s up to you to find a path around the wall.

2.Your “why”.
Simon Sinek. Rings a bell? If not, Google him. I won’t talk about him today. Knowing “why” you’re doing anything is essential to guiding the way you do it and ( as you would find in Google) the people who follow you as a leader. You cannot afford to not have a “why”. In the face of a gatekeeper, remembering why could be the airbag that stops your crash. I mean, it really sucks. I felt horrible.
But thinking of why you want to accomplish what you want to accomplish turns on the bulb that shatters the figment of the whole notion of a gate keeper.

3. You always have a choice.
Always. The economy might be against you. The government may have laws against people who bear your name, you have bills to pay, you live in a shack. Whatever. If you’re reading this, then you have a choice to either continue reading, or not.
You can let the challenge bring you down, or be creative about it.
You don’t feel creative enough? Read! Watch a TED Talk, talk to your mentors or your parents. Find someone you trust and express yourself. Give the universe your thoughts. Never underestimate the value of a hive mind.

Bonus 4. Learning from the past.
Every second is an opportunity to better the next. There’s always an opportunity to improve on what was and on what could be. Therefore, leaning on negativity is never a wise option.
I could have felt horrible. Blamed the system. Hated my position and the person gatekeeping my options.

Here I am, writing what I learned and hoping you learn from it.
Cheers.

Boh, You’ll be fine

[ I wrote this for you. But I thought of all the others like us who feel this way sometimes. I hope you don’t mind that I posted it here.
I know you you won’t mind :)]

Life’s short boh.
I’m sure you’ve lost more than one person you really cared about.
Someone you’ll never see again.
You have an obligation to make that love worth it.
You have a duty, as the one left, to live a happy life.
A joyful life. A meaningful life.

You are going to have troubles. Shit storms. Hate.
You’re going to feel fucked.
A lot of the time, you’ll wonder whether this life is worth the trouble.

“All di suffer na for wheti sef”?

Those are the times when you need to forget about the who- you.
Forget about the when- now.
About the what-life.
And think about the why-the why.

Why are you here? Why were you born? Why are you alive?

To suffer? To hate?
To love? To create?
To be angry? To stay sad?
To destroy? To build?
To support? To enable?
Why did He let you see today?

Why aren’t you dead?

In you darkest moments, when you’ve disappointed everyone. When your eyes swell with sorrow. When your head bows in shame. When your alarm rings. When you get the rejection email. When she says no. When he cheats.

When you think to yourself: Lord, why is this happening to me?
The answer is in the question.
It is happening because it IS happening.

Because.

Your existence is bigger than you can comprehend.
The sacrifice for your salvation is larger than your puny mind can mingle with.
You are bigger than you think.
Don’t let the petty roadblocks of this stream called “life” derail you my friend.

Get up. Smile. See how far you’ve come.

If you could do anything in the world? What would it be?
Guess what? Your existence is a miracle. The air you breathe is another chance. Your heartbeat is hope for a better future.

Every pain is a reminder of the joy of peace.
Every tear is a collection of the price of freedom from all kinds of slavery.
Boh, you don’t have time to regret.
There’s this gift the Lord sent to us all. I’d like to have piece of it too.
It’s the gift of “you”.
Thank you for being you.
Go. Be. Live.

I love you boh. You’re a gift. I’m here.

Five Lessons I learnt from My Parents’ Union( or I want to get married too). Started on Thursday, March 14, 2013 6:21 PM

I had a dream last night. No, it was not the Martin Luther King Jr. type. I was in a hurry to have a child of my own so bad, I forced open the egg in which my kid was before it was time. My child came out with one malformed arm. I was devastated.
I have no idea why I included the above information in this post. I guess I’m just as crazy as my mates say I am.

Anyway, I have been home since Tuesday. With mom, dad and two French…”tourists”. They are here to work with my dad so I guess “Wourists” is an appropriate term . They are two young ladies. We won’t talk about them.
Marriage. I will be returning to school by Sunday the 17th. The second semester resumes on the 18th and I am not yet done with registration. Not mentioning the collection (and deposition) of copies of my internship letter. The exams took a toll on me I have to admit. I had to come home to re-vitalize .The hidden reason is to finally come to terms with a morsel of truth: My parents will be celebrating their Church wedding on the 6th of April.
Mom’s Catholic. Dad’s not. Not that I particularly care. He does. He is sometimes (always) complains about Catholics and their “customs”: “Vous les Catholiques!” as he says.
[Note to self: write a post titled : The Ultimate Worship showdown: Catholic VS Presbyterian]
The Union is thus a mixed one. Why on earth will they be called that? #Ihatelabels.
I am 23.February 8th this year did that to me. I can therefore assume confidently that my parents have been together for that amount of time. The age difference between them six(6) years give or take. I have never been curious enough to find out why. Don’t ask me. I won’t tell you. Therefore, in my short stay on the globally acclaimed unique planet capable of supporting human life in the milky way, I have learnt a thing or two concerning marriage which could be applied other relationships in general; friendships, lovers, dates, whatever.

1. It sometimes (really) does get better with time.
No matter how happy ,excited ,pissed or mad you are at the beginning of any relationship, we can all agree ,(some people never do…of course…),that a previous inside joke could one day spur heated arguments or/and lead to bloodshed. The reverse too is as plausible.
When I was a kid,7 or so, they used to fight. Verbally…mostly…LOL! My father has never raised his finger at any female, especially not the woman he loves. Trust me, If I were him I would probably have raised bodies. My mother is a woman, you see, and women possess the queer ability to know when, how and what pushes her man’s buttons. I thinks it’s a “Swuper Power”.

Right now ,when I try to recall, I don’t remember the last time they ever raised their voices (apart from when in unison to reprimand me or one of my clones).They operate in a symbiosis that one can achieve when one gains both pleasure and happiness,(yes, there is a major difference), from knowing someone way back. It is very similar to(but far more earnest) to the feeling that pushes one to smile when saying something like:
“Oh! James? I know that fellow!!We went to high school together! He was such a nerd at the time. He works at….now. We used to….”
It’s a really nice feeling. I hope to earn it someday.

2. Some things will never change. Deal with it(or You can’t teach an old dog new tricks).
My mom ,like almost every other regular lady, owns a “mobile phone”. I personally think she understands only the latter half of the term. It always rings at least 50 Meters from her! I justify her action with a likely desire to avoid brain cancer. But she constantly debunks my argument by NEVER KNOWING WHERE SHE KEPT IT!
My dad doesn’t cook. I mean every word in the previous sentence in its basic sense. He has never and would never. He loves eating(good food only) but that is where his culinary practice ends. He is a wonderful food critic too. In all honesty, he has never needed to and he probably never will. After all, what is a kid’s job if not take care of those who took care of him/her? My dad has worked too hard his whole life. He still is. He deserves the best(food).
I have known them all my life and there are definitely many habits and attributes they have that have stood the test of time. Old habits truly die hard.

3. Your Children(products, exudes of your relationship)must be smarter that you If you want to survive the changing times.
Till date, I still type my mom’s emails. If her phone acts up…I am her guy! A bug on any PC it’s us before they even think of a maintenance guy. The only thing I know my mom is really good at is make-up!(I’m kidding, she is the best cook ever. This is NOT a perfunctory statement. She probably will never read my blog anyway…)
When any appliance has issues, we the kids are the momentary parents-passing out commands, instructions-“Turn of the switch….give my the nail…hand me the tape….”I get not to say please all the time…yay! There is this feeling of pride on both ends: as the son ,you are very enthusiastic about showing off your skills your parents (…to the neighbor’s daughter even more…hehehe…cool me!) AND you parents feel really glad to know you know…you know?!
Time waits for no one. I heard from a report on the BBC that the human mind is like plastic and can be molded. It’s not fixed. I also do extrapolate that a child’s mind must be more malleable. We clearly learn more when we are younger. Kids learn faster. Parent can’t do something!?…Kid help parent. Everyone happy…”Now who’s your Daddy? :D”

4. Do not Expect too much.
Hope is good. It is the perfect fuel. But if you set your expectations too high, the outcome could be heart wrenching if not alienating. This is probably a regular maxim for some people but I will hone it toward marriage.
Parents: Your kids are individually unique constructs of nature. You cannot mold them into your image. You may succeed (or think you have)but if they are not happy ..you have failed completely in parenting…IMAO.
Kids: Parents will(under human circumstances) always seek to satisfy your varied needs but in a world where the global economy creeps, where capitalism and communism clash and where Nigerian Movies are the new African Standard (I really REALLY do not like Nigerian movies…seriously…I will write a post on why to justify my stance…not that I need to justify anything…),nothing had ever seemed so gloomy. They will try. Trust me. They will promise you. But keep this in mind…OTHER FACTORS BEYOND THEIR CONTROL WILL CRUSH you.
5. This post is getting way to long and I am getting out of hand…let me go to school!!

Thanks for reading 😉 !
P.S: My next post is “Why My Parents Killed me!”