I have finally gone through Week 8; it has been moving, frustrating, trying, freeing. The Artist’s Date? I’m now in London to spend the Easter with my mother. Right now, the time is 11.55pm and I’m typing this and at the same time watching the riviting Law & Order (the US one). The weather fluctuates between really warm and a miserable cold. And the cold is so cold that my left knee has quickly begun to react by throbbing a dull ache. Annoying! I’ve dug up my thermals and thick tights, telling myself I have to wear these daily, even if the sun unexpectedly begins to shine. I didn’t do the MP’s today but tomorrow I will read Week 9 and start my MP’s on Monday. Have a good week!
I read Week 8 then stopped. I could not believe what I was reading. Did Ms. Cameron specifically write this for me? As ‘it’ seemed to be so apt: talking to me, knowing exactly where I was in my life and what my problems were? It knew why I felt the need to blame someone, anyone; why I was hiding and therefore procrastinating on what I was meant to do. The conclusion drawn: fear was the driving force and I allowed it to dominate me.
But nevertheless I still need to read it again just to make sure I have not missed anything. Well in fact I have! I must read it again because I really didn’t have enough time to do the tasks and exercises which as any TAW follower, is a must! But I am finding this book to be thought-provoking, even to the point of being slightly disturbing. Will keep you posted!
I realize this is the wrong time to mention The Artist’s Way as I’m currently on Week 5. Never mind so what am I experiencing? Anything profound? Difficult to say only except that no matter what I feel that I have to keep going. I bought this book over a year ago and just watched it collect dust while it was on my book shelf. Then one day, I said to myself that ‘tomorrow’ will be the day that I will start this thing! And so I did. I did my Morning Pages, sometimes the Artist’s Date, occasionally the tasks and had to keep reminding myself to do the Check-ins, and then I stopped, without giving myself any reason. This year, I promised that I would restart it and complete it. When I completed Week 2 I understood why I stopped last year. I was afraid. Afraid that this book could impose some changes that I was not ready to handle. The strange thing was that after Week 3, I went for a walk to the nearby park and three Rottweiler’s charged towards me! As I stood facing the gate of house, hanging on and screaming my head off for dear life (as I really thought I was going to meet my maker!), two of the dogs ran past but the other one bit my calf.
Shaken, I went to a house and took refuge in the property until the dogs were harnessed put away. An exchange took place between me and the owner of the dogs. She apologized for what happened but was very defensive about her dogs. She insisted on taking me to the hospital and paying for any medication. I was given a cocktail of tetanus, anti-rabies and antibiotic injections plus a number of tablets. I found out several days later the owner lied about her dogs being up to date with their shots. But anyway, I am fine. But it got me thinking. Synchronicity? Even before coming across this word in the Artist’s Way I was never a believer in ‘coincidence’. So the question I put to myself was did I bring this negative experience into my life, and if so, why? I still don’t know the answer (unless any of you guys can tell me). But I pray that as I continue with this journey which I want so much to work that the ‘excavation’ does not unearth anything else profound.
Week 4, I found myself writing more than just three pages. Writing a letter to myself when I’m 85 and writing a letter from myself at eight years old I found totally cathartic. The experience stayed with me for the entire day, and just kept me thinking about my past. My past was not all that great but I guess I have learnt to bury all the debris deep within, believing that I would not have face it but in Week 4 I did. I’ll keep you posted.
I am running late. Just got back from a trip in Ghana, and whoa, it really was a busy and enjoyable experience. From going to Cape Castle, to Aburi botanical gardens and how could I forget Kakum National Park. The firework display on New Year’s Eve, at the hotel, was spectacular. I think just as good the one witnessed in Dubai.
Now back to everyday. One or two resolutions that I hope that I don’t break and that is to do The Artist’s Way without stopping or ‘breaking’. I started this book before and just got up to week 5 and then I stopped! Can’t remember why but I never got back to it again. Now I’ve restarted (just completed Week One), I try to make myself be more conscious of what I have to do. There are some principles that the author (Julia Cameron) wants you to follow, so I have to do that. Let see how it goes.
The second resolution is to lose weight. Gosh, how many times have I promised myself this?? I’ve lost count. But I just hate how my body shape seems to have settled down and refusing to accept change, aided and abetted by myself of course! But I will try my hardest to lose this weight.
2011 was a tense ridden year for me; from problems that involve loved ones to problems with the State. But as my Pastor constantly tells me: The Almighty Father never gives us challenges that we cannot overcome. I guess there must some truth in that as I’m still here!
I hope and pray for a more positive time, to be more forgiving and understanding to others and for peace to be given more of a chance.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Bullying for me was either being physically pushed around, ignored, called names and all the time trying very hard not to end up in tears. In those days you couldn’t complain to your parents (they just told me to get on with it), and you certainly didn’t have Esther Rantzen’s helpline to call and the teachers simply got fed up of punishing the bullies. I had a few friends but their loyalty was inconsistent because they felt it safer to stay on the side of the bullies.
I wasn’t aware of it but I was told that I had an ‘air’ about me and took a studious approach to school work that the other girls didn’t understand and did not like. The irony about this is that some of those girls were cleverer than me and most times performed better than me in exams, but they didn’t appreciate what they had and could not appreciate that I had to work to be ‘intelligent’. It did not help that I was attractive to the guys and the most attractive of them wanted to date me. It also didn’t help that I had parents who made sure my eye was always on that ball. My parents were oblivious to comments like they were behaving above their station or they were being ‘too ambitious’ as they were simply unconcerned about what other people thought. They pushed me like crazy to do the piano lessons, violin lessons, tap and ballet lessons, saxophone lessons to pass the entrance exam to a college of music and years later to get into University. When everyone was going to disco’s, having illicit relationships with boys and a quick fag in the toilets, I was at home seething with anger as my parents insisted that I should get on and continue either playing those scales or learning my Shakespeare! The number of medals, certificates and performing on stage (and being mentioned in the local paper) did not endear me to these girls, it just further alienated me from them and as a result, life was a constant misery without anyone having any idea that it was happening.
I married some years ago and my partner has become a successful banker. We have managed to live in seven cities, two countries, and at the same time have an interesting lifestyle. No doubt. But as for those who gave me hell, when I go back to my parents home I see them, or they see me and quickly cross over the road. I also see they’ve been burdened with having to look after a family from a young age or a few of them have gotten into lifestyles that can only make me take my breath away. I try not to give this too much thought otherwise I feel guilty of smugness.
I was determined that once I had kids and because I would hate for them to experience what I went through, my husband and I decided that our daughter would go to a boarding school and obviously it is a big welcome that there are now such things as anti-bullying policies and an awareness of how young people feel . Well before the story emerged about Kate Middleton’s time at Downe House, I selected this school and a few others as possible potentials. A beautiful school, a friendly Head, posh but serious-minded and intelligent girls. As to whether it was possible to detect that any bullying went on, it was difficult to say as the girls looked really happy. But we selected another school instead and so far, our daughter seems to be enjoying herself, as well as working hard!
From following all these media stories about Kate Middleton, I take it that it is more the media speculating as opposed to knowing what actually happened to Kate. We do not know what she experienced at Downe House but I do feel that whatever her experiences, she has been forced her to develop a thick skin: not really caring what people say or think. Kate speaks for all us who have played the role of Cinderella surrounded by so many ugly jealous sisters where we have emerged to marry our ‘prince’. May sound cheesy but I say well done to her and well done to the rest of us.
Well I have read Stephen Kelman’s book – Pigeon English and noticed that it has been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. Maybe I’m just a jealous frustrated writer or maybe I need to get real and see some of the themes he writes about of my community instead of me trying to write the decent things that do exist in places like Tottenham. But instead, this is a book that even before you get to the end you know damn well there is not going to be good ending.
Pigeon English is about a young boy who arrives from Ghana settles in an estate that could be Broadwater Farm; a story which features black Brit-on-black African crime, a story that makes you think about the murder of Damilola Taylor, a story which makes you think what it is to be young and black in modern day London. A story about parents/adults who are not engaged with the kids.
I guess my usual moan is what would a white middle aged man know about black youth? Okay, so the author grew up in a council estate but does that mean he has understanding of what it is like to be black/Ghanaian? It almost seems as if there is an idiot’s guide to black people that is available somewhere that writers of a different race and colour can imagine and write what they think it must be like to be black! I wonder if I could get away with as much.
But my really biggest moan is the ending. How dare Kelman conclude the story in such a way which suggests that for the black/ethnic youth there is no hope? The actions of the looters in the recent riots in England, already tell us that a lot of the youth are not engaged in their environments so I don’t think it helps to have literature that affirms that. Instead, the book could show how overcoming ‘adversity builds character,and character in turn builds hope’. I just wonder if a young person from a certain background were supposed to read this book, if they wouldn’t find it despondent, because I certainly did.
I made my way to the post office this morning so that I could use the cash machine. It must have about 10.00am. The weather was quite cloudy and yet it was warm. There was an eerie quietness: the usually packed launderette was empty, the post office was empty and corner shop that sold burgers and kebab was still closed.
As I joined the queue and waited to withdraw the cash, I overheard an elderly woman standing across the road at the junction where Mount Pleasant Road meets The Avenue waiting for the W4 bus. She said she had waited for more than thirty minutes for a bus, and now she was sure it wasn’t coming because of the funeral…
Was today the funeral I asked myself. As soon as I withdrew the cash, I asked a passerby if the funeral was taking place today. He said yes, then checked his watch and added that around 11.00am the cortege would pass through The Avenue then onto the High road. Instead of turning to go back to the house, I walked toward the burger and kebab shop and noticed people waiting outside the corner shop on the opposite side; I turned left into the avenue and my attention was focused on the young dread who shouted out at a group of photographers, asking to show ‘respec’. As I got closer to them, they were chatting and smiling, totally disconnected to the surroundings but they stopped, placed their equipment into their vehicles and left. I continued walking to Broadwater Farm. It was ominously quiet except for some people dressed in black heading perhaps to Duggan’s family home. More cars were moving up and down the street, the drivers stopping for half a second chat with each other and then were on their way.
After a while I left. I had to finish packing my suitcase for my journey to Nigeria. Whilst I was in London, a bomb went off in the UN building in Abuja killing 23 people and injuring many other. The Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility. Prior to leaving Nigeria in July, the police headquarters also in Abuja was hit by a bomb. Both buildings are not too far away from my office. As one Nigerian woman joked which will it be, Boko Haram or the riots in England. Is there anywhere, in the world, that is safe?