Did you think Your life would turn out like this?

After weeks in isolation, processing collective grief, and spending way too much on Twitter, I turned inward and started to question my life.

“Do you know who you are? Do you understand what has happened to you? Do you want to live this way?” – Christina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy 

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I was knee-deep in questioning my life when this quote hit my chest. 

What is my life and what is going on? – I ask myself this question every day.

From the conversations happening on social media lately, it’s clear that I’m not the only one.

A battle of the conscience, a war of the wills

This conversation was triggered by a Twitter trend based on “unpopular opinions”. Recently, a group of housewives released articles on not knowing how they ended up where they are now; mothers being forced to choose between their careers and their children; and people combatting the concept of “if you don’t do ABC by 25, then you’re late”.

Social media has been busy.

I’ve been in my feelings for the whole week. I’ve experienced rage, disappointment, and hopelessness as I’ve read the realities of many women. I’ve questioned my own life and wondered where I’ll end up in the spectrum.

I am aware that I tend to follow the non-conventional route in life – and it’s come with its pushback. Is it intentional? I’m not sure. What I do know is I’ve been faced with the choice to go the “right route”. Tick all the boxes and not have to worry about being called different – but it was also laden with trauma that wasn’t worth it at all.

But, often I do question where I stand.

Where does this put me?

The one thing I do believe in wholeheartedly is that people (read: women) should have the chance to think of the life they want outside of the pressures they’re met with everyday. 

On paper, this sounds great. But, reality shows me this thinking is idealistic. But, that won’t stop me from pushing for it. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

But when I think of me? What do I want? The clearest answer I’ve ever given is, “Peace.”

I don’t want to be at war in the relationships that are about love. I want to minimize the war I experience in my career as best as possible. I want to see my plans come to life. I want to be healthy. I want to be happy.

But, what does that look like?

Will this play out as me getting married, having kids, and finding balance with the desires of my heart?

Will it roll out as life as a single woman, content with her choices but often tired of defending her decisions?

Will I discover that the dreams in my heart mean nothing and I want a completely different path?

The truth is I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.

Am I meant to have the answers in the first place?

Probably not. I don’t think any of us are. 

If anything, the more we act like we have the answers, the more we set ourselves up. 

What kind of life do you want?

And I’m not asking this in a self-help guru kind of way. There’s no 12-step method that’s coming after your answer, no.

I’m genuinely interested. What kind of life do you want?

That’s the thought that dominated my mind when I studied the conversations taking place online. In the midst of the angst, rage, and hopelessness, I found myself asking, 

“What do I want?”

The next question that should follow? “Am I willing to fight for this?”

Bear in mind that fighting is hard. Fighting means letting go of the other side. Fighting means defending your choices – whether they’re traditional or not.

What kind of life do you want and are you willing to fight for it?

I understand there is a privilege in saying this. Not every one of us can ask, “What kind of life do I want?” Not everyone can fight.

If you live with an abusive partner, a life of freedom isn’t something you can get with the snap of a finger. If you’re in a stressful job, especially during these times, “just quitting” isn’t the answer. There are many situations that won’t qualify for this, and that is valid too.

It’s valid and it makes me sad because these situations remind me of the many systems that let us down. The justice system has let countless victims of abuse down. Don’t get me started on race. Or sexual violence.

The way the world is set up, financial freedom, or carving out your own career path is not an option for many of my peers. Especially now.

But, I’ll still put this message out there. It could help one. Anyone, really. Because, I know I’ve been that person before. The person who couldn’t use the advice because her situation has zero ways out.

That’s why we throw out messages of hope, right? To get to the one? The one we may never meet? The ones we might never hear from?

I also believe in miracles. Call me idealistic. Call me crazy.

But I’ve seen the worst situations switch up in the most unexplainable ways and I wish that for anyone and everyone in a situation where they feel like they can’t get out.

So, I’ll put this out there.

Ignore the noise around you. The noise that tells you what to do. The noise that tells you to follow the regular. Or the noise that tells you not to.

Who are you and what do you want out of your life?

Fight for your life. Fight for you. Fight for your heart.

There is space in the world for that. I believe this and I’ll carry it to my grave.

Fight for your life.

Fight for you.

Fight for your heart.

Lockdown Lifted: Life on the Other Side

The truth is…I’m still a bit scared.

artsy-solomon-nappy-

There’s an air of elation on the island as the government released an update on the lifted lockdown. By the end of this week, most businesses (including restaurants, hotels, and casinos) will be up and running.

By the 1st of June, most public facilities will be open and life will be relatively normal. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, after two months of intense indoor life.

You’d think that I’d be out on the roads right now, marveling at how far we’ve come.

But, to be honest, I’m still struggling to adjust.

Some parts of my mind have not accepted that the lockdown is over. It could be because most of my online peers are in locations where restrictions are still in place, or maybe it’s because I’ve only left the house twice to do my weekly shopping, but I’m still in “Vigilant Mode”.

Some may applaud this attitude of mine because the pandemic is still going on and we “can’t rest yet”. But a  part of me does wonder if my mind is still processing the intensity of what we went through.

I think a lot of us will have those moments of hesitation. We’ll find that our fear will overwhelm our relief and that’s okay.

Because this global pandemic is and was a traumatic experience.

The world came to a standstill with no warning and we were (and still are) processing it all at the same time. We’re all waiting for answers and the eventual end of it. It’s hard to think that while I live in an area with 0 active cases, there are countries with cases that go into the 10,000s.

 

Sometimes, it’s hard to celebrate when you know it’s a completely different story for other communities.

It hasn’t sunk in that the lockdown is over. 

I hear the traffic outside, the sounds of people walking and laughing together, and I see the stories on my social media. Everyone has eagerly embraced post-lockdown life – from beach visits to long walks and trips to the nearest ice cream outlet. 

You can think of this lift as a gift from summer – we actually get to have one. 

My chest definitely feels lighter, knowing that the COVID-19 situation was dealt with effectively. I’m grateful for what the government put in place to protect the country and it feels good to know that I can order food again.

But I can’t ignore the occasional tightness in my chest. The anxiety that flares when I think of my loved ones in other countries.

But, I remind myself to look for the light.

In last week’s post, I said the only way I’ve been able to navigate this pandemic is by putting in boundaries and holding on to hope – even if I don’t know what that hope looks like.

So, I’ll take this situation as a reason not just to be hopeful but to be glad. Two months ago, when the first cases were announced, we had no idea what to expect. I was scared and tried not to think of the worst. The uncertainty of the situation was overwhelming.

But two months later, here we are. Most public facilities will be open by the end of this week. I can see my friends again – with a mask, I know – and I can enjoy long walks to anywhere I choose to go. Public transport will be back soon and I’ll finally get to see my best friend.

 

In a world with so much angst and uncertainty, I think it is important to hold on to the moments of hope. To actively remember them and know that better days will come.

 

Yes, there is the fear of a second wave. Yes, I still worry about my loved ones across the world. Yes, the pandemic is still raging on.

 

But, if I focus on this alone and choose to neglect the slivers of light, how will I ever get to see the sun on my face again?