I thought my parents didn’t love me when an expectation and a demand to go to school were placed on me. I don’t remember whether it was the morning of preschool or grade one commencement that I held my breath and pretended to be dead so I could avoid the ordeal, but I remember that at either stage I had spent as much of the night as a toddler can, awake, devising ways of skipping school.
I am not sure I had planned to hold my breath every other morning had my plan worked, as my little brain was just preoccupied with that first morning. Needless to say I couldn’t hold my breath long. I was alive and frankly, not so chuffed!
Well, I’m still alive decades later but at that time I felt like I was being thrown into an ocean. I didn’t understand why the teachers urged me to speak, to be seen and to interact. I was quite comfortable in my own quiet space doing the bare minimum. After all I had showed up! Now, I didn’t struggle academically; most of my report cards read ‘brilliant’. It was the crowd aspect that challenged me and I found it incredible that fellow classmates were keen and groovy when my school days started with wishing they wouldn’t; then when they started anyway, with wishing they would just end.
I think it’s obvious I was very socially awkward and even today I can be the square peg.
School was school, home was home and I loved being home. Home was my true north. I loved the familiarity, the security, the love I trusted to be genuine and the freedom to be me. At home I didn’t have to deal with incessant queries into why I was so quiet and disinterested in mingling or if I was Ndebele. I didn’t think I was quiet though; I simply didn’t think I had to say anything and I certainly didn’t think it was worth the effort…
Except for that one girl of course.
I thought she was worth the effort – all my effort actually and yet all the effort never went past my guarded thoughts and heart. I never took any of the opportunities I had to at least say hi. There were just so many uncertainties. Life went on and I watched her live hers oblivious of being my true north. Even Steve Urkel had more game than I did.
So, I thought school would kill me yet I’m still here. There are a lot of things I didn’t understand and just as many I was unwilling to deal with. I shunned those very things when I should have seen them as opportunities to learn, to grow and be more balanced. I’m still uncomfortable in uncertainty but I don’t need to have everything figured out to move forward do I? I think of the great men and women whom we quote today and King David is one of them. Surely he didn’t have everything all figured out – one moment he was a shepherd boy; the next he was being anointed king and running for life as Saul sought to kill him.
Arnold is a body building enthusiast; I would have pasted his physique here but #nodistractions 😁. Anyway, he helped me understand that when starting out you cannot push heavy weights and cannot do many reps (repetitions) but the more you keep doing, the more strength you build; the body adjusts, adapts; fitness level goes up and you gradually do more sets with less effort. A ripped body is work. Many people quit gym or routine workout during first week when the body gets sore yet that’s the time to push through the pain and build / develop muscle / body.
I get that I am introverted. Some things come naturally and others are work but that’s the same with everyone – introvert, extrovert or in-between. There is always a cost attached to reaching a goal and avoiding it is a disservice to us. I still can work on being better and often I wonder what beautiful relationships I would have built had I pushed through the discomfort and awkward first conversations. Maybe I would have said hi to True North. I can’t believe in all the +/- 18 years we were neighbours we only had two conversations that lasted barely a minute. Of course I would know but I don’t think the first of the two even counts as a conversation. We were fundraising for some school activity; I bought something from her; she gave me too much change and I gave back the extra. Maybe it wasn’t a mistake – maybe she liked me too! Dreams!
Maybe you had a dream; maybe you still have a dream and maybe there seems to be an ocean between you and your ‘true north’. Maybe you have been to the gym – literal or figurative – only to quit after a day of pain feeling like you were going to die. Perhaps all hell broke loose when you stepped out towards your purpose and all the fight was sapped out of you. Perhaps you were well on your way when what or who you trusted failed you – don’t quit; keep pressing and keep pushing. Don’t let the dream die even when you are shaken. Show the same diligence and determination as that of a bodybuilder.
you cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore. William Faulkner
I don’t know if you know this but when babies are born they can’t walk. They actually learn to walk and at times it’s not pretty because they fall a lot… But they keep getting up. Yesterday is gone and it’s a new day. Keep getting up after a fall; keep focused on the true north.
One of my favourite Proverbs says; “do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God to bring victory.”
Thank you for taking the time to read the blog. I appreciate it so much and I hope you keep going, learning, failing, and growing towards your dream and ‘true north’.