Happy New Year, friends! I’m feeling very happy and relaxed. I had a really good December. And I left 2017 feeling light but grounded. You want to relieve yourself of the burdens that make the journey ahead heavy while still staying rooted in the things that give you clarity and a sense of direction.
I’m starting my year off finishing Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things‘. Heh- I don’t know what to say. It’s an exquisite book. Wonderfully and delicately written. I’ve always struggled to give an answer to the question ‘What’s your favourite book?‘. Now I have a response.
This year, I want to become a better writer. I really enjoy writing. I also think it’s an essential skill- to be able to communicate and articulate your ideas clearly. I’ve been trying to flesh out what it means to be a good writer and obviously there’s no universal standard. I’m not going to be Arundhati Roy. Or Chimamanda. I’m Tessy– and that’s all I’ll ever be. But there’s a gap between where I am and where I’d like to be and 2018 is about closing that gap. Or at least, moving as close as possible to it. Practice makes perfect, ama?
I’ll also continue to read. For new ideas. For fresh vocabulary. To see the possibilities and to push them. I think readers make better writers.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17) | Knightsbridge, London
I’m asking myself, what does it mean for me if I’m a better writer? Writing is how I express myself. Becoming a better writer is about making room to understand myself more deeply. For people who love me to understand better. To know what I think. To know how I think. To be honest. To document and capture a journey that sometimes feels unbearable. To read this and remember what I’ve been able to overcome. To see the distance traveled. To bear witness.
I’m approaching 2018 with deep conviction and intention. It’s going to be beautiful!
© Tessy Maritim
Remember when you were in Year 6, and someone tried to copy the picture you were drawing? If you were cheeky like me, you’d be doing your best to slyly cover your paper so that your classmate couldn’t keep glancing over at your work.
Much like that scenario, as an adult, I’ve found myself being very protective over my ideas. I want what is mine to remain mine. However, this possessiveness is highly problematic.
Firstly, I challenge the notion that there is such a thing as your idea. There’s really nothing new in this world. Ideas- they’ve all been done somewhere. There’s a verse in the bible that says “What has been done will be again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The difference is in the method- people find new ways of doing old things. Events, places and even people inspire ideas.
Secondly, competition is great. Anyone trying to do similar work to yours will always challenge you to find what is unique about what you do. We’re all unique in the way we do things and so naturally, execution of ideas will often be different.
Finally, touching on purpose which I spoke about in my last post, what’s yours will always be yours. No one can take that away from you. I strongly believe that if something or someone is supposed to be part of your destiny, it will be. That doesn’t mean we become sitting ducks. Purpose requires us to step into a realm that allows it to operate. If you want to be an author someday, are you writing somewhere now to practice? If you aspire to be a stellar athlete, do you practice your sport consistently?
I’m not sure my Intellectual Law professor would be particularly proud of this post. That being said, the law is there for when you think you and your ideas need protection. Please use it if necessary.
© Tessy Maritim
We all have things we worry about. I certainly do. My anxiety is particularly worse when I’m alone. The scope of anxiety extends far wider than it should when you are alone because your mind is idle. If you’re not occupied doing something, your mind takes the opportunity and runs wild- sometimes with positive thoughts but more often than not with negative, poisonous thoughts.
I think my anxiety is far worse when I’m away from home. I spend most of my time alone and if my mind is not occupied, I start to think about home. I’ll remember that I haven’t heard from my Dad in a couple of days. So I’ll text him and wait on a reply. If there’s no reply after an hour I check to see if he’s seen my message. After another hour, I’ll text my Mom, my sisters, my cousin(s). And sometimes there’s no reply from them also. At that point, I get obsessive and stop everything I’ve remotely been doing and focus on waiting for a response from anyone. Why is no-one replying?! From there, it all goes downhill.
If you’ve been in a similar situation you understand how paralysing it can be. The worst thing about anxiety is that you don’t stop until you solve what you’re worried about- and sometimes that’s not possible.
Most times, you’ve created a situation in your head that actually does not exist. Or rather, as they say, “You’re mind becomes the devil’s workshop”. I’ve realised that sometimes you just need to focus on keeping productive.
My sister Tebby sent this list to me a while back with things to do to keep busy (I’m quoting her exact words from here):
- Buy a pot and seeds and grow a plant.
- Go ring window shopping (get fitted and all lol)
- Cook something special and have a special dinner for one
- Hire a bike and ride ride away
- Go to the park and run
- Make some flavoured water
- Draw something
- Do push-ups. Loads, the right way
Create your own and refer to it whenever you feel anxious.
As I conclude I’d like to highlight something very important- sometimes anxiety can be kept at bay with simple activities like going to the gym or cooking. But be aware that there may be a more complex underlying mental health matter that you need to speak to a medical professional about. Don’t let your mind paralyse your existence.
© Tessy Maritim