Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Day That Was...



3rd December is behind us but the memories of left with me this time round shall last a lifetime.

I love watching Sign Language Interpreters at work so much so that I usually take videos of my back up man whenever he is doing his thing in my presence. As impressive as I find him to be; none has ever left me in awe like the little girl with DeafBlindness from Sense International that I happened to share the tent with.

Watching tactile Sign Language in action is an experience I shall never forget.
For those that don’t know, people with DeafBlindness communicate through touch and their language mimics Sign Language with the exception being the respondents or communicators touch the person with DeafBlindness to communicate with them.

Whenever the little girl received visitors that knew the language; I’d stop and watch them communicate for the sheer pleasure of it. Seeing the visitors with happiness written all over their faces while communicating with her made the experience unforgettable. I’ve been in company of a few people with DeafBlindness but none as adept at communication and expression like the little girl.

Sense International finally made its presence in Uganda visible and I believe that it being the wind beneath the empowerment of people with DeafBlindness, children and their parents, we shall learn a lot from people with DeafBlindness and communication between us wont be as stilted like before.

Just as I was marinating in everything I’d witnessed at the Sense International tent, there zoomed in to my line of vision an exuberant and excited man with the widest grin I’ve seen in a long while. Seeing his infectious smile made me smile in return as we made eye contact. I took all of him in searching for the reason for his happiness. It’s not until I saw the film wrapping clinging to the shiny metallic ring of his wheelchair that it made sense.

He had just received a new set of wheels aka wheelchair (probably his first because happiness and excitement radiated off him in waves!) He took off soon as the realisation dawned on me and I couldn’t be anymore excited for him because I know what it means to finally be mobile. To not have to depend on anyone when you have your own strength nor limit your journey or movement due to lack of assistive aides to help you get to your destination.

That health camp from the Ministry of Health Uganda really did a good job in availing Persons with Disabilities in Nakaseke with assistive devices. So many amputees walked off with artificial limbs while children with Disabilities most especially those with severe effects from epilepsy were given table aided wheelchairs to help their postures.

We take so much for granted sometimes that we forget how the littlest of things could mean to someone like communication and mobility. People with DeafBlindness are left isolated because of the lack of communication skills with the hearing and seeing world yet we all deserve the right to hear 👂🏽 and be heard regardless of the manners in which we choose to communicate.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Test Yourself and Your Skills!


A fortnight ago; I received the most unexpected phone call inviting me to an interview for a job I couldn't recall applying for. Aside from an E-Mail inviting me to an interview over a concept note I had come up with for an advocacy video at work, this was the second best thing to happen to me, this year.
I am a firm believer in not turning down interviews unless your mental, emotional and physical state are compromised in a manner that makes it impossible for you to give it your all. I was in that kind of state and knew I would not be able to make it for the interview while the details were being given to me over the phone. I immediately declined and thanked the person for the call.
You would not believe the joy I felt after that phone call. As much as I had to turn down the break of an interview, I could not help but be happy over the fact that the application I sent in on a whim got me that far.
When I sent in the application: a week to the day of my accident, early June according to LinkedIn, I was not looking for a job. I was testing my skills and credentials. During our volunteer workshop for Interns and Volunteers, a former Supervisor once said that always try for a job if you meet 3/5 requirements of the job description. I realized that LinkedIn made this so easy with its system because all a person has to do is press "apply" when a position of interest comes along. However, this piece of advice is not restricted to technology. One can take the traditional channels available to them and apply for any position as long as they meet half the requirements. You do not necessarily have to be looking for a job. Take the time out and periodically test your skills and credentials of your professional field to ascertain that you earned your position and that your current and additional skills are good enough to get you an interview elsewhere.
To make up for the lack of experience in the other half of the job description requirements, take advantage of the internet and its vast resources to learn. Teach yourself some of these things. Invest in yourself and your career especially if you wish to grow. Personally, I never knew anything about creating a newsletter until I was thrust into the role without help. I watched tutorials on how to use MS Publisher, downloaded the manual and practiced until I got the hang of it. If you have free access to the Internet make it beneficial to YOU and your career growth.
Another thing; once in awhile, ask a friend of yours to anonymously call up the people you list as referees on your job applications. When a friend of mine said this, I could not get over the sneaky yet cleverness of it. Sometimes, the people we do use as referees sabotage our career development because no one wants to lose a good employee but what about you when you feel that it is time for you to move on? Getting your friend to find out if your referees sell you or curtail your chances is a good way to be sure that nothing stands between you and your next place of employment.
Like I mentioned earlier; I am a firm believer in not turning down interviews unless your mental, emotional and physical state are compromised. Over the course of my young career, I have had to turn down two interviews on account of my health. The first turn down in 2016 hurt me a lot because I was sick, unemployed and really needed the job. I almost asked for a postponement until I remembered that appealing to the emotions of a Messenger was not the way to go. I sadly apologized and hang up. I contemplated going for it but the memory of me taking my final exams under the grips of poor health with the cold sweats randomly popping out did not seat well with me. I would have done more harm than good. The last thing you want to display to the interview panel is you at your weakest. They might empathize but will not take pity on you for showing up in that state. Always show up when you are at your finest and can think on your feet.
Truthfully; I have experienced a lot of failures in my pursuit of development programs to enhance my skills, knowledge and experience in my current field of operation but this invite to an interview even if it never materialized restored my spirit, faith in myself and capabilities.

Image Credits: googledotcom

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Plus One

It has been a year since I composed this  under the influence of a sugar high and poor health. I was so chafed to see it in today's Facebook memories because I have been anxiously anticipating its revival, in a good way.

I still want to be someone's pain in the ass but maybe not exactly at this point in time. A later date or year or months when I am emotionally and mentally in a good place... possibly.

At this point in time:
I'd love nothing better than to be someone's plus one,
I want to be pampered,
I want to be cosseted,
I want to be a sugar-babe :(
I really miss the 3 am texting,
The ordained time for a soul-soul connection,
When insomnia was more of a friend than enemy,
I want to be someone's pain in the ass,
In the name of love!

Shanah

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Distance Between Us




To
My Former Love;

I still think that you're the one that understood me best.
I would have given you a chance a million times over, if you had shown a modicum of the interest I thought we shared. But, you never did. Neither when I asked you nor I forced your hand. You still played your cards close to your chest and I wasn't built for it. I wasn't built for uncertainty yet you thrived, no, savoured it like it was the most delicious morsel of meat you have ever tasted.
My needs and I have always played second fiddle to the needs of the people in my life and seeing myself taken as a by -the-way was something I couldn't settle for. Even though murky water runs beneath the makeshift bridge we built, it doesn't take away the handful of good memories I have left of you.
You can't deny that I tried for you. I tried a lot more than you would ever know but it wasn't enough. The deal was too raw for me to settle given the uncertainty of the terms. It was either your way or not at all.
Taking you from the person I shared every little detail of my life with, to someone I share a handful of memories with wasn't easy. You were my waking thought. The person my thoughts ran to when something happened in my life and my 3 am companion. You were a habit I nurtured with each opportunity that came my way until...
How many times did we try to mend the cracks between us? Once? Twice? Thrice? I can't even remember because there were instances where you were so callous in your treatment; instances I forgave you for because I liked you a lot, until that day.
Do you ever wonder what happened? Do you think about what you did wrong that drove me to that point? Should I tell you: now that we have a few years worth of distance between us?
To you; it was another empty promise you were making me yet it was a little bubble of hope for us on my side. You gave me the teenage experience I never had by making me wait for a call that never came through. Given our history; that wasn't unexpected but the bitter taste the experience left in my mouth was something I didn't relish. That day made the decision for me.
I had made a lot of moves for you, given you a lot more chances than I have ever given anyone in my life, watched from the side-lines as you publicly mocked every little thing that I did for you. It was enough. I couldn't give anymore. I had nothing left. You took it all. Even the fight I should have had on reserve for your successors.
Am I angry? No. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't know what to look for in anyone I might consider sharing my life with. You are the other yardstick on which I measure their worth as men especially when it comes to their treatment towards me.
It took me years to give others chances. Unfortunately or fortunately, the first person I gave a chance to failed miserably. He said all the pretty and flowery words that I longed to hear from you and I was sold. No. You know I do I do not fall that easily. I thought the years and affection between this person and I would provide the firm foundation for this stage in our lives only to be disappointed. Like you, he failed to live up to his words.
Do you remember that girl? The one that fought for you? She couldn't garner the energy to fight for him once he started being indifferent towards her. That girl just unfriended him so he could do it better from a far. Fighting never even crossed my mind yet it was an uncontrollable urge for your case. Mend it! Fix it! Give it one more try! I was always bridging the distance between us that to this day - I do not have the energy it takes to fight for or chase after a guy, however much I presume to like him.
My life is a revolving door of comings and goings. I should be used to it but I am not. Seeing your successor go hurt a lot because I thought we had a good friendship. The years alone should have been enough to intercede and stop this outcome...
I have never regretted you. I still do not regret you. You meant much more than you knew at that point in my life. What I regret are the feelings you evoked in me. They were too intense to handle. Feeling that way taught me that I never want to be that vulnerable towards another human being and I still don't.
Twice this year; I have been asked on two separate occasions if I would consider us being friends? I loved our friendship. You understood me better than anyone I had encountered in my life. I would have considered it if it was at your instigation and not hearsay. They do not know how dark the murky water that runs beneath our makeshift bridge is and that there's a lot more to it than the distance between us.

Yours,
In love and thoughts,
Shanah

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Past Re-collections



Me checking out the statue of our former President Sir Milton Obote
I chanced upon a post from a twitter follower about her 2018 mid-year review. Her post reminded me of my promise to keep a gratitude journal to help me focus on the positive and dwell not on the lemons life handed me. I admit; I lost my way after 2015 and it has been a lot of work trying to find myself again. I derived a lot of pleasure in keeping a gratitude journal and sharing it in that I was driven to leaf through my collections for 2017. I spent equal measures of 2017 terrified of death and worried over the state of my health. I lost 3 people within my immediate family and a close friend to both of my best friends. Those surprise deaths shook me to the core and exhibited the fragility of life. To date; the possibility of death still lingers in my thoughts.
"Why not 2018, you ask?" 2018 is HARD at the moment. However; this is not a dreary post so I shan't make it as one. These were some of my thoughts and bits of gratitude for 2017.



January
Alhamdulilah for the opportunity to work and earn a living.
I was involved in a documentary talking about issues affecting Women with Disabilities at national level.
When you get the chance to be good and do good for someone don't let it spill out of your hands.
The Story of You - Poem

February
I received and signed the work contract
Dear Girl - Poem
Artistic inspiration struck after 3 months. Alhamdulilah for my talent

March
You Don't Know Me Enough - Poem
Impressed with my "Expression of Happiness."
Inked my "Expression of Happiness" and the details came to me slowly but surely
"Write - when the words are ready to be written and flow without effort."

April
We Have No Say Over - Poem

May
Online interview
Even In Love - Poem
Thank God for good company and the ability to take oneself out
My obsession with Korean Dramas was resurrected with the discovery of kissasian.com
"Every girl deserves a guy who tells her that her smile blinds his sight." I wish we had met at a different time
Surprise birthday cake from the sister and brother-in-law
Spent the day in the company of a man. May it be a better year. Ameen
BIRTHDAY! Alhamdulilah for another year

July
I had the most wonderful dream that gave me a little hope.
My opinion made it to the news dailies.
July never fails to make me feel like the loneliest soul in the world

August
Work trip to Apac and Lira where I met the most inspiring woman with a disability and paid a trip to the home of Sir Milton Obote
Life may not be as perfect as it should be but it is totally OK at the moment
It is a shame that the people we care for never hold us in the same regard

September
"Vanity is making feeble attempts at not looking too helpless and sick in front of your lover." - Temptation

I had kind of hoped you would be my ocean
I almost told you before it went awry
I guess, I was wrong.

Busy week! Busy Month!
Goodbye September. You were quite a hard month but I managed to muddle through it

October
Your Face On Mine - Poem
Its sad having to watch everyone's ship arrive but your own. Even sadder is the fact that it may never arrive.
I'm more terrified of death as an adult than I ever was as a youth
I miss the innocence of youth

November
I have lost so many people this year that I keep wondering who the next person to go might be
Her Mother - Poem
Yoga fix got my thighs looking smaller!
Happy to have more responsibility at work

December
Moments - Poem
Weddings make me sad

The innocence of youth is believing in your dreams with infinite faith that they shall come to pass. Never knowing that life interrupts the best laid plans and that nothing ever turns out the way we thought it would.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Walks Down Memory Lane


In the recuperation period  of a recent traumatic event I experienced, I find myself adding on a Facebook break because of my need to detach. Not only am I dealing with the reparation of broken bones but also the disappointment and sorrow that comes with matters of the heart.
Ever since 2015; which I diligently documented here when the feelings weren't so raw, I consciously took a break from dating, liking and entertaining thoughts of me on the arm of a significant other until I was both mentally and emotionally strong. The road to single girl business hasn't been all that smooth considering the fact that last year, many of society's voices were in my ear over my lack of a significant other. It has never been easy being a girl more so since our achievements are still measured by the yardstick of the fruits of our womb if not the man by our side. I took all criticism and well meaning "advice" in stride and much as it bogged me down and made me question my noteworthy accomplishments, I shook it off in a matter of months and continued with the derivative pleasure of single girl business until a two-legged human that wears pants and shorts on a permanent basis decided to interrupt.
Clearly; there is no rest for the weary because in a perfect world, someone in my current situation would be dealing with one problem, not two. Life is that funny. After two years of single girl business, being alone but not lonely, I promised myself to try but wasn't actively searching. No. I left all that to God and any man or woman kind enough to hook me up with their friends albeit at my inconvenience.
Then came the declaration I never expected to hear in my lifetime. I resolved to give the declarer a chance because I thought he knew what he wanted (he sounded it because I believed him for those two months) until I spotted emerging traits of behaviour that precipitated my depression and led to my prior decision, the decision to stay single until someone that cares enough for me and actually means it comes along.
Whichever way I look at it; I do not think I am asking for too much from someone I choose to love or vice-versa but it seems to be for the people I give chances to. I have never relished the thought of being an after thought to someone I choose to love and I do not expect them to treat me as such but alas, that is the way they want the cookie to crumble and I refuse to settle.
I was having a repeat performance of 2015 whereby I watched this person be active on social media without as much as "hello" to me in the morning or a "how was your day in the evening", at least every other day because I do not expect someone to be texting me on a daily basis. It hurt a lot back then and it still hurts. That is the behaviour I have been putting up with for close to a month and seeing it killed me every fuckin day. I spent a full weekend in tears over the disappointment in myself and knew that if I do not mitigate before I spiralled, I would lose myself along the way yet I had put a lot of work on my emotional and mental health to let myself drown into an abyss once again.  This informed my decision to deactivate my account, take time off to neutralize feelings, fully detach and leave him to concentrate on the people he cares for enough to mean it.
How am I supposed to heal broken bones with a broken spirit? I need to look out for me since I am only good enough for myself and no one else. Until I come first for the person that chooses to love me and actually shows; I am not settling, even if it means becoming the spinster aunt I find myself resigned to.
I hope to fruitfully use the time off Facebook and Twitter to build my spirit and engage in activities I let slip like reading and writing. I missed this space and the flow of words.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

He Called Her At Midnight




There it was. The invite. A chance to step into his world again. She had kept it at the back of her mind that they would cross paths, but, never thought of the manner in which it would happen. Not this way, anyway.
Alexandra took stock of her surroundings with a cursory glance at the design she was currently working on. She had done good by herself. It had been hard, but, in the five years of their separation; she had chased the career she'd desired and went on to become the most sought after graphic design artists in New York. Everything around her gave her a sense of pride and fulfilment she'd never expected to have without him by her side. It meant that much more that she had succeeded on her own.
"Alexandra?" are you still there?"
Max's voice brought her back from her little reverie. He needed an answer and she needed to see him again, if only to see how he was holding up.
"Yes. I can come over, just not tonight. I'm under a tight deadline and I can't interrupt the creative process at this moment. Can you give me two days from now?", she asked?
"It'd mean a lot to me if you could make it tonight, please. Think about it."
With that entreaty, Max hang up.
Alexandra listened to the incessant beep of the dial tone for awhile longer before she finally took the phone from her ear and looked at it in disbelief. It was so like Max to ask for something monumental and act like it wasn't a big deal. If he could be so nonchalant about it, so could she.
After hanging up, she made her way to the mantle holding all the accolades she had received in the five years. Fine things. Appreciation for jobs well done and trophies from the Women's entrepreneurial groups on which she was a Board member. Encompassing all the trophies was the wall on which hang a few pictorial prints of her work. She unerringly reached for the largest print on the wall and took it back with her to the work table.
"Beautyin Ugly". The one design that held more of a personal meaning to her than the rest of her designs. Its title and frame held secrets only she was aware of and never shared with anyone. Beauty in Ugly was a result of an onslaught of despondency and despair, on a night she never thought she'd be able to get through without him. The fateful day she broke up with Max, she had acted so cool and stoic in his presence yet her heart was breaking into pieces. Her staidness only got her far enough from his presence before the shattered pieces of her heart pricked through the facade.

The Day That Was...

3rd December is behind us but the memories of left with me this time round shall last a lifetime. I love watching Sign Language Interp...