I indeed do.
And, my heart goes out to people who know not much except for that feeling; people who have experienced pain for a large part of their lives. Suffering to them is a normal state of life – present them with ideas of a much better life, and they’ll get upset with you. You’ll easily be seen as selling them dreams. Lies.
Better the devil you know than the one who is a stranger; familiarity cradles you to sleep, and, although it ideally shouldn’t, the chaos soothes you somewhat.
I know the feeling moments before a person decides to give up on their dreams.
Some times, being overly motivational is shallow, without the back story the words become superfluous and useless.
And often times, merely telling another person, “Don’t give up”, is a sign of gross ignorance. Their situation might not need cut-and-paste solutions and thoughts – the one-size-fits-all viewpoint, I think, frustrates the other person to no end.
Taking a walk in another person’s shoes – while they are wearing them – is a bit of an arty thing to pull off. Not to mention difficult. Or ‘impossible’. Having empathy is a difficult thing to do – no surprise at all why so few have it.
Eventually getting tired is not a beautiful thing to experience. It means before you finally succumbed you fought many difficult emotional battles, got knocked down, got up, pulled yourself by the bootstraps you did not have and journeyed forth. It took a lot out of you. There were glimpses of hope there and there, like something was about to work out – a sharp light shone through at what seemed to be the end of the dark tunnel you’ve been holed up in.
And now, here you are, about to give up on your life.
I know the feeling a person gets moments before they take their own life.
Suicide is a phenomenon we are not often prepared to talk about openly. When we do, we point fingers at those who commit it. We lament their selfishness – how dare they leave us behind in such a thoughtless manner … in such searing pain and guilt?
I have heard before people say, “However difficult my life gets, I would never kill myself”! And it always makes me wonder how they are able to paint the future in their heads so clearly that they know precisely how they will deal with unforeseen problems they might face.
Some have retorted: “I don’t know how people who kill themselves think”!
They would then have this back and forth, apportioning blame to people “who cannot deal with their problems” head on.
I know the feeling of being left all alone because I do not fit in other people’s lifestyle bracket; of being called through only when they need help with the things I am dizzyingly gifted in.
It is those experiences that have taught me how to firmly say “No”. They taught me my self worth and that I ought not to lower my standards because they make other people uncomfortable. Those experiences, as they tore me apart, showed me how valuable … how special and rare I am. They taught me people – I am emotionally astute and can size people up in thirty seconds and know how to engage with them and what to say to them.
I know the feeling of failure.
And it is not nice. Especially when that failure then gives birth to a sense of inferiority and a lack of self esteem. When that happens, it is often all downhill from there.
I know the feeling of helplessness.
I know it intimately, the feeling of looking at yourself pitifully, of looking at the world with a sense of pessimism – with the attitude that nothing or no one will ever be on your side.
I know the look in someone else’s eyes, as they watch their life disintegrate even before it could take shape. They feel useless. They don’t know what to fix in order to glue it all up – they genuinely have no idea.
I spend time with people like that from time to time. My emotional sharpness allows me to open a channel of communication with a person who sleeps under a bridge and fends for food from dirt bins – although I have not had to eat from dirt bins myself, I can connect with them on a deeper level.
So, I am aware of these gifts my father bestowed upon me. Abilities one cannot go to school for, sharp knowledge that cannot be found even in the greatest of books.
I have them, with me.
I am blessed; hectically gifted.
And I have come to realise that it would be unfortunate for me not to see and use those gifts for myself and to touch and transform others. Perhaps they would be taken back, who knows.
I know feelings and experiences I have not even begun going through – mere observations and being in touch with myself and thus, the earth, has unfolded before me things it takes many other people a lifetime to understand, let alone appreciate.
I know the feeling of greatness.
The feeling of what happens when you are unusually gifted.
My father went through it all.
“Kushawa edonsayo mfan’ wami!”
He always passionately said those words to me.
He knew and had experienced things I had no idea about. He also knew that my turn was coming, and, so, his words keep unraveling themselves, making so much sense, as the days go by.
Today, I also say “Kushawa edonsayo”, and know intimately what it means.
I have come a looong way.
I know the feeling of being special, of being a prodigy and the challenges it all comes with being gifted.
I know myself, fully. And I am thankful.
I know people and the human soul.
I know many things – I don’t know how I know a lot of the things I know and use every day. But I do, and that’s enough.
I know the feeing of happiness, of sadness, of helplessness and I know I will be switching back and forth between them until I come to my demise.