May 26, 2012
As a teenager, I used to flex my calves anytime I walked past people by the side, whenever I wore shorts, to make them look bigger. I’m skinny & I’ve had lots of issues with my body type, ever since puberty. People in school would always laugh at my natural features: Long legs, thin arms and a tall frame. Growing up, I remember my parents struggling a lot to make ends meet. We never lived like the many affluent people of my school. We were always way below their spending-power. Family life was hard & I never really got stimulated by school. My spirit couldn’t stand the type of education: All scholastic, not creative. Skinny, young me had problems often in class & got poor grades, averagely. Apart from excelling in Fine Art, Sports & English, I sucked at school.
I used to expect negativity from groups of people I’d walk by. Feeling insufficient, not good enough and/or just not up to ‘their standards’ would make me anxious. Being one of the few black people in a German private school, I wasn’t everyone’s taste. I still get that anxiety from time to time. Paranoia.
I have a gap between my two front teeth and from a young age felt self-conscious about my ‘incomplete smile’, from a period a growing number of school-mates would notice it & pick on it. I am emotional, sensitive and could never really harness it throughout the bulk of my life. Though I’ve started, I’m still working on it today. It took me 26 years to realize that being emotional & sensitive is incredibly powerful. Self-teaching: When you win a battle, you remember how you fought.
I have a birth mark over a corner of my lips and my family regularly used to ‘tease’ me about having a characteristic of the supermodel, Cindy Crawford. Being male, I never really knew how to take that, and it caused issues.
I live very much in my imagination, ever since I was I was a toddler, animation used to fascinate me. Because animation is pure imagination, I sometimes had troubles living in reality when switching from imagination. I once placed a pin upside-down on a teacher’s chair and when she came in the class and discovered it, I couldn’t really distinguish the severity of the action in reality from the anything goes in animation.
I used to stammer from my childhood until my mid-teens. The older I got within that period, the more embarrassing it became to me. I got embarrassed because from the time it was first noticed, my classmates used to laugh at me and news spread quickly. Every time we would sit in class and the teacher would make us read a text out loud individually in turns, I would agitate loads all through the exercise, inside. When it got to my turn, I would just pause and not say anything until the stuttering inside me would recede and I’d be able to read fluently. I did that in conversations as well, regardless with whom. And people would be weirded-out wondering just what my problem was but I would just stay silent. I still do that, intermittently. Rather than pausing though, I try to think of alternate ways to say my words in order to suppress my stuttering, then just say it. Now I’m all grown up. I outgrew most of it, I suppose – but when I hear kids stammer, I can’t help but to feel related!
I used to play on the basketball team in school. One time, we had a championship with other schools and we played an important match. We were doing well until the last 7 seconds of the game where I was passed the ball, decided to go for a lay-up and traveled instead. The opponents won the game and the team never forgave me. Never having addressed that, caused a handicap mentally that knocked my confidence. I made other teams but never saw myself as a competent player again – I would prefer to pass the ball once it was given to me. My game has now changed & my ego is making me state that but the scars remain.
I love to dance! Ever since I was a kid I used to dance hardcore. As a teen, I looked funny often when trying to do what I saw in videos. I thought I looked good, but apparently reality & perception are two different things. Eventually I stopped perceiving myself positively and bought into criticisms of my wackiness on the floor. I would secretly drill hard on myself when I’d be watching videos but I’d never get up to my adopted, external standard. Disabled self-perception.
At about 12, I couldn’t do 3 push-ups. I was too skinny. I was ripped apart for it in class and that made me to always hang around with and compete against the more athletic guys in class, exclusively in sports. I felt I had to prove something to them. I’d be good at marathons, but would choose sprints instead, just so I could compete against the guys & prove myself! I would regularly lose (badly), but inside I’d feel a bit good for having done it with them. I still see ricochets of that in my adult life sometimes. The need to always have something to prove, to everyone but myself; for pains I suffered way back some time ago, tucked-in deep in the past.
Being skinny made me muscular. Being the dumb kid in class, made me work hard later in my studies. Being in education I couldn’t stand, made me dive into my strengths & interests. Being lanky, made me not stop dancing. Being indecisive and discouraged drastically changed my game. (Hello, Ego!) Being insecure, inferior & paranoid made me ferocious towards living my life. Being blessed & in touch with my feminine side made me gratifyingly love myself. Being a stammerer made me accept myself. Being imaginative made me confident in the world. Having a gap between my teeth, taught me how to smile.
We always hear about self re-invention, becoming the new you and re-engineering yourself. Personal development is good but what isn’t is when we’re conditioned to hate our ‘past’ selves and embrace our ‘new’ selves because that’s who we are now. And it couldn’t be further from the truth. There is neither a ‘new’ you, nor an ‘old’ you. Just YOU! When we start to see ourselves for the great big achievements we’ve earned, the things we’ve overcome, the behavior we’ve adopted, our ego takes over. And that creates problems. We start to only see ourselves for the changes we’ve made and/or gone through but not for the the great pain, hurt, tribulation, woe, sorrow, agony & misery we’ve endured, with all their negativity. One-dimensional monsters. How can we become one-dimensional, when we are truly multi-dimensional? We exist in mind, body, soul, spirit, art, time, literature, love etc, each of which combine not to make us one-dimensional monsters but PERFECT humans!
I am my pain. I am my healing.
I am the better moment. I am the painful memory.
I am all these things.
I am what I have experienced. I am what I experience.
ACKNOWLEDGE and you shall be set free. Because you never went nowhere – you were always you. Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful perfectly fits the bill here. When Lady Gaga appeared on Ellen, she explained her song ‘Marry The Night’ as the negativity you’ve had that is a part of you and made you who you are today. She was so eloquent, when she said people should not deny it as a part of who they are.
We are. We are our successes but we are also our failures. Acknowledging the bad, helps stabilize us in our perception, in our psyche, in our lives. Think & be positive, absolutely, but know it’s been the same you who went through your suffering. The discarded self, and there’s now no re-incarnated persona. We acknowledge our darkness. And that’s OK because Jesus saves. In the end, he will!
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus Christ, Matthew 11:28
Disclaimer: This article is for motivational purposes. I do not accept any liabilities that may arise on your part, for acting on it. And I include this disclaimer because a blogger who doesn’t take legalities seriously, is only a conviction waiting to happen.