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.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Love OR Life?



No filter or filter?

Four months down the road; and I am just getting the opportunity to share with you my 'happy new year' design. although, it was completed in March.

March. Quite the despondent month for me. A lingering feeling leftover from February. Between the end of February and beginning of March, I had the strongest urge to write, to the extent that I carried my journal wit me to work for a fortnight.
Two weeks of just opening and leafing through the pages without an entry. Two weeks of going through past entries in search of inspiration. Two weeks of staring at the numbers: 2018, that I had written a few weeks into January, to mark the year and subsequent entries that would follow. Two weeks of nothingness but the numbers 2018... 2018... 2018...
I, then stopped carrying my journal with me to work.

He Called Her At Midnight. Earlier in the weeks of March, I went through the last entry to the short story I was trying my hand at... He Called Her At Midnight, to gather more ideas on where I should take the story. As the ideas emerged and were quickly noted, I felt the need to transfer the noted to he pages of my Journal because that was where the story originated from.

2018. As I was going through my Journal, I hesitated on the page with 2018 on it. I looked at the dullness of the numbers and decided to give them a bit of shading for, I had left them as an outline at the beginning. In the process of shading; I mulled over my mental resolutions and wondered if any would come to pass.
'Would this look pretty if I added an I? How about this 2? Does it look like an L? Do I want it to be Love for Life or Love or Life? Which one is better? Life or Love first? Should I add an R to the 0 or make it For? It seems lengthy. Better an R at the end to make or.
Something is missing. Can the word happy fit at the top of the page? How will I draw it in? Won't I spoil the design? Let me put it next to the 2 and make sure it forms the H without losing the number.'
As questions plagued the mind; the fingers flew over the page, in an attempt to answer them while bringing the ideas to life.
In that moment; my first design for 2018 was borne and the installment to my story quietly forgotten. I blue inked the additions before settling on color. Seeing that it was my first design of the year, I went on a coloring spree and don't regret the decision for it the color added a bit of cheer to it. So much so that it leaves a smile on my face whenever I look at it.

It might be a little late to wish y'all a happy new year but it's not too late to ask God to make it better, if not the best, for all of you. :) I have shared the completed design with a few touch-ups for pomp. You can follow up on my creative work and process on Instagram at ShanahOduty  and Facebook as ShanahOffDuty.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Media Relations



Disabled People’s Organizations have held a series of trainings in media relations for both Civil Society Organizations and Journalists, to try and fill the chasm created by the Media in its inability to air human interest disability related stories. If aired; these stories usually come with victimization and helplessness overtones which are rarely the case for most Persons with Disabilities.
Civil society organizations should take interest and build lasting relationships with both media houses and journalists. This should come through various interactions both professionally and outside of work as they get to acquaint themselves with each other and their work. The comfortable and easy relationship will make it possible to give disability related stories coverage based on facts and experience instead of assumptions.
Provision of information prior to the event is very important for maximum coverage and it can be done through a press release. Although some may argue that a press release is devoid of flesh for a news story, others say it acts as a cause for investigation leading to a newsworthy story. The issuance of a press-release covers the therefore to misrepresentation Civil Societies and Persons with Disabilities face when it comes to print media.
Niche journalists well versed on disability and the language will go a long way in the coverage of disability related stories. Civil Societies working with Persons with Disabilities need to look out for editors and journalists who are knowledgeable on disability and build their capacities further, and involve them at disability related events so they can be the agents of change in the media for Persons with Disabilities.
When it comes to interviews; Civil Society Organizations need to be as open as possible with journalists albeit within limits. Giving the journalist a lot of room for questions and conversation invariably leads to misquotation in the media yet it was information provided by the interviewee. Civil Society Organizations and Persons with Disabilities should try not to deviate from the topic in an attempt to be as informative as possible during interviews at events for better coverage and representation.
Journalists believe that the real stories worthy of front page coverage are the ones coming from the grass-roots, in the districts of operation for Disabled People’s Organizations. They therefore wish to be requested for coverage during field work activities so they can get firsthand information and experience on the work done by Disabled People’s Organizations and Persons with Disabilities towards the improvement of their livelihoods.

Use of alternative media to put across issues of Persons with Disabilities should not be ignored. Social media has become such a powerful tool in communication that journalists are looking to it now as a news source. The use of social media gives the user full control over the content and tone they wish to use when delivering stories pertaining to Disability and Persons with Disabilities.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Moments

There are moments when he looks at her,
Seeking the love that shone brilliantly with each gaze.
Searching for the little smile that crossed her lips with each interaction between them.
Aching for the acts of affection that were given so lavishly but went unappreciated.

There are moments when he looks at her,
With bated breath and a frightfully hopeful gaze.
Looking for the love that he thought was infinitely his,
From eyes clouded by his disappointments,
And a heart forever broken by them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Her Mother

Her Mother.
Her strength,
Her courage,

The adoration she basks in with each success,
The source of pride in her uncompromising values,
The beacon of hope in an uncertain future,
The unwavering faith behind her pursuit of happiness,
The will behind her indomitable persona,

Her courage,
Her strength,
Her Mother.

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...