Watering Dying Plants

In mourning- I have tried to cut myself, broke my ribs and pushed two children to try and love him again by sacrifice.
I spent hours on my knees, chanting prayers with my tasbeeh, trying to resurrect our union by making everything new-
I emptied out the rooms, re-furnished the living room, tried to make our home a livable space.

Desperate, I watered the plants by our bedside, ….tried to bring them back to life- thought they might change colour by sunrise-….only for the leaves to wither and die.
They used to make the room smell of gardens- now the stench is so familiar, I see the fumes of his scent.
We lay on our sides of the bed, sharing the same space- dreaming of different lives.
I have forgotten the colour of his eyes, I see only an aura of dimming lights-
Now I wish he loved someone else.
I would feel less guilty for thinking of starting again,

…of taking our kids and running away, changing my last name- be 19 again.
I dyed my wedding dress black, wore my veil at the death of my marriage.
Spilt some whiskey on our bedroom floor,
The rest is for memory- of all the dead leaves we didn’t water enough…..
Oh the time we wasted watering dying plants.
©Sabrina Najib

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Surrender to Win

My hair was always my glory… “You have such strong thick hair, it’s beautiful” they would say, but I have never been my hair. I woke up today and decided to G.I Jane my look and take off the façade. It felt like there was too much weight on my head that was a collection of mounting pressure- I needed some sort of relief. I have been able to fake a smile through the pressure my whole life- it felt necessary to break the system of conforming to and creating high expectations.

Our lives are a gradual succession of checkpoints, we finish high school then we go to college and then land our first jobs then we are expected to get married and start a family. If only it could be so logical. Suppose you graduate from a good college and land a good job at a good establishment- and yet you forget to be grateful, because somehow you have carried the burdens that you inherit, or those that you promised or even those you never lost.

I remember when I rejected a scholarship to an Ivy league school after high school, not telling my parents or my friends because I feared that the pressure I put on myself to perform in school would never come to an end. I knew I would never be able to enjoy college and that I would carry my anxiety into my twenties- I felt so desperately the need to breathe.

This year, I felt myself back in that cycle, only this time my heart was not in for the win….. I became doubtful of my accomplishments and my skills- I couldn’t recognize myself. I was stuck in a routine that was interfered with different characters of chaos and disappointment. I felt overworked, but I also knew that I was underperforming socially, professionally and spiritually. The difference with this version of myself and 1.0 stressed out Sabrina was that I didn’t see the worth in changing my perspective.

Feeling trapped, I struggled to look for solutions- I was comfortable to just get through the day and to try hard to sleep at night. Though I shamefully accept that I am spoilt, knowing well and good that if I were to drown in my problems I was fortunate to have lifelines that would keep me afloat; it is a quality I no longer wish to have. That’s the problem with wanting change but not practicing change; we become contradictions of what we think we know and what we actually deliver. Then what do we become…… a whole bunch of potential that cannot channel their best self because we are resistant to move out of situations that we are comfortable in.

The past few months have been a test of acceptance and rejection on all fronts- overthinking and underperforming, sleepless nights and trying but still failing. This week I made decisions to let go of things that I loved, hated and once believed in to start over- where or how to start afresh I cannot say for sure….. but they all feel right and for the first time in a long time I feel fearless. I woke up with a gut feeling to let it all go, for my sanity- I let go and let god.

At some point you realize that you are not fooling anybody with a fake smile, when your mental state is in shambles and you are exhausted- people notice. Peace of mind is freedom ; sleep is priceless; good health is golden. I have learnt from the best, I have been mentored and guided by support systems that have pushed me to be the best version of myself and to take ownership of my faults. I will take those lessons with me wherever I go as I unfold myself to get back to ground zero.

Shaving my head will not take away the overthinking nor is it a remedy for feeling the world falling on my shoulders. But it is a symbolic moment for me because it is a choice that is purely my own. I am taking ownership of my own decisions without the pressure of feeling I need to do anything for anyone else or anything else. I feel light headed- I feel free.

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Remedy for Memory

Waiting for you is exhausting….. Yet still I crave you daily.

I would chainsmoke your mindgames until my lungs started choking….. just so I could learn to hold my breath- long enough to keep my hopes up.

When will you arrive?….. to puncture holes into my heart so I can feel some life between my legs.

I evicted your existence from this house.

Swept away leftover strands of your curly coiled hair,

Covered your scent with frankinsence,

Bleached your footprints off the floor, Broke every mirror that stored your reflection,

Burnt the sheets you stained with deception….

So that this house

…My house

……..Plays no host to the memory of our home.

How do good people fall into relationships that birth their own nightmares?

Star Signs

In the end, our souls will become astronauts.

Masses of weightless suits, floating through oceans of night sky

…..and even then, when gravity is lost to us,

It is only by constellation that I will collide into you.

Somewhere between the rings of Saturn and the baby boom galaxies,

I will amass a force so meteoric…..that I will launch the remains of myself-

Into streaks of crusading lights;

…… and those who spectate through telescopes, or those who lay in open fields….Will even for a glimpse of a second, bear witness to the most impeccable timing that is the act of God.

A marriage after death- a reunion with the soul destined to be my mate

©Sabrina Najib

Celebrating Women in My Circle: Flora Njau

“A seed grows with no sound but a tree falls with huge noise”…… Dantan Wasobokha

Fresh from college, I had just landed my first “real” job at the Aga Khan University in Tanzania as a graduate Trainee. Overly eager and driven to make impact- my energy levels were on a high. Hindsight 20/20 I know that I needed to curb my enthusiasm and listen more than I spoke; assuming I knew how things needed to work was me being more naïve than being overconfident. Other than my mentor who was my boss at the time, I needed Flora to act as a medium to offer perspective and guidance to recognize the areas that I needed to work on.

When meeting Flora, you might assume that she likes to sit in the sidelines, to simply put her head down and deliver the expectations of her job description. After getting to know her, you recognize her ambition and drive when she breaks down her vision and talks to you about her passion for agriculture and her ideas for new business ventures. A young mum and hands down one of the busiest foot soldiers in the office, she reminds me of Roald Dahl’s classic: “The B.F.G”.

She represents a different type of strength that I did not see in the movies or in the books I read; growing up I always envisaged successful women as tough, aggressive and competitive women who either needed to bang down doors or stare down their competition. Flora is different, her strength is quiet and gracious. I believe that the foundation of her success will be her kindness and her gentle ambition. She is a listener who absorbs the lessons of her peers and elders, and when you least expect it delivers an outlook that is shaped by ethics, kindness and truth.

My first  IWD woman of the year is my snarky life hustler- Flora Estella Njau.

Balance

The history of measurement has been calculated so that one is always more and the other is always less.

Both quanitites may have gained in weight, but still…. the scale has remained that one tips to carry the other because one has been better fed.

The shop keeper has developed a habit of favouratism for certain clients; where he has consistently sold a bag of rice just under a kilo of what mama rehema has paid for. But for Mr Yusuphu, he has opened his shop at closed working hours to sell him a few hundred grams over the kilo.

Perhaps it is just a “coinsidence” of sequential errors in measurements; but surely if the scales are “broken” one should surely fix them.

The habitual shortage has made meals smaller for one and has cooked plenty for the other.

Mama Rehema has not qualified as a “special client” but if her meals were the same as Mr Yusuph’s- nothing less and nothing more…..she may gain the weight she lacked to finish a kilo of rice.