A TRIP DOWN NOWHERE

In the middle of nowhere

Lies a path just like everywhere

For many this path leads somewhere

For me it still leads to nowhere

And I’ve found peace in nowhere

The winds lead the trees in song

As the branches dance to the breeze

The peace fills everywhere

 

In the middle of nowhere

Eyes reach everywhere

The sun sets in the east

The air rushes from the west

As if running after the sun

There is calmness in my heart.

There is hope in being nowhere

Coz a step from there leads somewhere.

 

In the middle of nowhere

I see windmills everywhere

The wind whispers in my ear

“Solomon, there is energy far and near”

I just can’t figure out where.

I guess a trip down nowhere

Will give you the energy to go everywhere

So never cry because you’re nowhere

Trust me, I’ve been there.

Solomon

For everyone who feels like life isn’t worth living anymore, for everyone in some sort of pit, there is hope in being there. Nothing good ever came out of a comfort zone. Just hang in there and you’ll get somewhere.

HOW TO GET WORK DONE WHILE LIVING WITH DEPRESSION

Like many people out there, we discover later in life that we didn’t learn the first thing about ‘living this life’ while in school. When we’re younger, we take many things for granted, the friends we gave, family, resources, the happiness and many other things. As we grow, we start seeing, experiencing and learning things we didn’t while in school. And learning is an endless process.

One of the things I’ve come to learn personally is that in life, not everything can go my way. In fact, I’ve learnt that most things will probably go astray and that’s part of life. It’s very normal. We are living in difficult times. When I scroll through my Instagram, I only see happy posts, success stories! And one may get the impression that every other person out there is living happily but that’s not the case. No one takes pride in talking about or exposing their failures. But the truth is, at one point or the other, sadness and depression creep into our lives. And no one talks about it. And when it does, it comes in the way of our daily routines. But that shouldn’t be case.

I am not a yoga guru to know everything about turning depression into happiness. Nope. I’m not. Like many of you, I’ve learnt about the issue by actually living and experiencing it. After all, experience is indeed the best teacher. I’ve developed personal techniques that have helped me go through my depressive episodes to the point where I am able to keep afloat whilst living amidst a storm and here they are; (Hope you have a pen and paper coz we are going to learn)

  1. Understanding your situation
  • Many people tend to confuse sadness and depression. It all depends on your definition of the two anyway and for most, it narrows down to the same thing. I beg to differ. In my opinion sadness is more of a short term thing whereas depression is more of a long term thing. And the effects of the two follow much the same trend. Sadness will affect you on the short term whereas depression will affect you on the long term. But prolonged sadness can indeed lead to depression. So before you diagnose yourself as depressed, it is very important to understand whatever your situation is. Is it simply sadness or is it actually depression?
  • It is also very important to understand the root cause of your sadness and or depression. I can’t fully answer the ‘how’ question though. Personally I always have my moments of self-reflection or meditation so as to figure this out. And to fully understand why I am sad or depressed, I write my feelings down. (I’ve learnt that journaling is very useful) And when you write things down, do not sugar coat them. Write the truth about how you are feeling. Write down why you are feeling that way. And by so doing, you sub cautiously develop a deeper understanding of your situation, its causes and how it’s affecting your life.

 

  1. Accepting your situation as the reality.
  • Living a fantasy is one common reason why many people’s depressive episodes last longer than they should. Failure to accept your depression, your sadness and or its causes is probably why you still feel that pain inside. ACCEPT that what happened indeed happened. Living in denial holds you back. It stops you from getting work done. It is what keeps you in bed all day. It keeps that pain inside alive longer than it should have. So every time you face a depressive episode, accept it as a reality. And remember that much as it is a truth, it doesn’t define you. And it doesn’t define what the future holds for you. You define that.
  • “How do I ‘ACCEPT’ my situation?” one may ask.. Well, I can’t tell you 100% how to do that. Like I said, there is no school that teaches us certain things. We only learn them by living certain situations. I can give you tips that I have personally developed and that has worked greatly for. Remember that life is ‘trial and error’.
  • WRITE; Write it down. In-fact, write everything down. Write down your feelings, your plans (Long or short term). Literally write down everything. It enables you to accept the reality. Write about your depression until you get to the point where you can explain it to a 9 year old kid and they understand it. When you do so, it means you have moved from the point of defining your situation as ‘complicated’ to a point where its easily understandable. It shows that you have accepted most of it. Here is an example of an entry in my personal diary on 11th March, 2019

“The thought of smoking has overwhelmed me!! The temptation to smoke as a result of the continued —*not clear*— loneliness!! I won’t let it overwhelm me. I shall fight the good fight”

Here, you clearly see that I know and have accepted that my loneliness is making me sad.

 

  1. The Importance of time. Give yourself time to feel. (MUST BE COUPLED WITH POINT 4)
  • It is NOT PERMANENT. Always remember that whatever you feel isn’t permanent. It doesn’t last for eternity. If you’re sad and or depressed, and its taking longer than you expected or longer than it should to fade, then you probably didn’t give yourself time to feel. You have to learn to take in the sadness. Physically cry if you feel like. When we feel things, we are easily able to let them fade you. It is probably why the intensity of the love in relationships fades. Just like love, sadness and depression are all feelings. The intensity of these feelings varies over time. Love only fades over time because we allow ourselves to feel it. Therefore, we ought to do the same for depression and for sadness. We have to let ourselves feel them.
  • But what happens when it doesn’t fade? Well, the truth is even when it doesn’t fade, you learn to live with it! All biological species possess the ability to adapt to changes. With time, your body can adapt to living amidst the sadness and depression. This is not something we love to hear but it’s the truth. It is easier to get work done when you understand all this. This is the importance of time. Give yourself time to get to this point.

 

  1. During this time, develop the hunger to grow.
  • The time you give yourself to feel should also be the time you develop the hunger, the need to become a better version of you. You have to learn to turn your emotional turmoil into a driving force for growth. There is no defined formula for all this. You learn it by living it.

I recently bought a camera, a Nikon D3500. When I told a close friend about it, she said, “Solomon, you are trying too much. You just can’t be everywhere. You can’t be a nerd and ‘not a nerd’ at the same time”. Basically she was referring to the fact that I sort of have a mixed up personality and that I have many interests, photography being the newest she was getting to know. I told her most things I do are simply because I want to add value to myself. And if to her that showed someone who was “Trying too hard”, then, I was proud to be that person. The desire to do everything I do didn’t come from my comfort zone. I developed all this from my depression, from my sadness. And that is something we all can do. We can turn our depression into a hunger for growth. Strive to learn new things. Search for knowledge. Do the small things. Something       as small as waking up early! WAKE UP! Get the f*** out your bed! In fact, the first to having a good day is waking up. You can’t have a good day in your bed however rich and successful you are. We are talking mental health here not success. If you want to slip out of sadness and depression, You have to wake up, both literally and figuratively. Eat healthy, Plan your day (WRITE). I’m not going to tell you which activities grow you because only you know the things you have always wanted to do so wake up and do them. And by doing those side activities, you will develop the mental strength to get your work done.

 

  1. The Work Part

At the end of the day, it all comes down to this part. How can I increase my effectiveness at work/School yet I feel depressed or sad? Well, truth is not every day is going to be a Sunday. Some days will obviously be better than others most especially if you are living and working with depression. But if you have followed all the above, then over time you start feeling better and can actually function normally. But when that fails, you still have to get things done no matter what most especially if you have responsibilities.

  • WAKE UP! I can’t stress this enough times. You can’t get anything in your bed. That should be quite obvious. But on top of that, you have to wake up EARLY. This will help you set the temple of your day.
  • PLAN the day. I always have my days planned. Most especially those whereby I know I have to get work done. Plan even the smallest of details.
  • Don’t let social media fool you. Instagram stories, posts, snaps and what-not shouldn’t make you feel bad about yours situation. No one is willingly going to share their depression because we are ashamed of it. We all are. When the worst gets to the worst, avoid it completely.
  • Invest in your appearance. Look good. You develop the confidence to actually live the day and get things done
  • Stay away from people {By people I’m not referring to family and TRUE friends. I’m referring to acquaintances and other people we simply “know”. The “hi-bye” kind of people (UNPOPULAR OPINION-)}.
  • Every time I check my old diaries, I realise I have more entries on days where I had more social interactions. This is mostly so because I tend to write more when I’m sad. When you are depressed, there is a very big chance that people worsen it so avoid them all in all. At least for the time being. Remember that it won’t last forever. Give 100% of your attention to your work and not to people.
  • At the end of the day, write your achievements, your feelings and your plans for the next day. Before you sleep, remind yourself of your value. Encourage yourself as much as possible to feel good. Be sure to go to bed early enough so to be ready for the next day. Get enough sleep.

The thing about emotions and feelings is that there is no defined formula with which we can understand them. For example, I don’t understand the first thing about love which is embarrassing given my intellectual capacity. But like I said, we learn ‘Life’ by living it. I have learnt to live and get work done with sadness and depression only because I’ve experienced it. I hope to develop an understanding of love one day, how the rules of attraction work and many other things. For now, I simply live life and share the things I learn on my journey. Always remember that you are the master of your fate. No one and no situation determines your destiny. I really hope this helps you all. And even if it doesn’t, at least always remember that you are not alone.

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SOLOMON

Lets talk about RACE.

I recently posted a question on my Instagram to find out what people’s opinions were on the definition of racism and what it means to be racist. The question was, ‘It isn’t what we do but how we think that makes us racist. Thoughts?’. I realised that I framed the question wrongly and sent the wrong message. Never the less, I was able to collect enough opinions on the issue. I however wish to clarify what I actually meant.

DISCLAIMER; You don’t have to agree with everything I say. This is just a normal persons opinion. If I’m wrong, be sure to correct me.

In my opinion, our thoughts are as much a determining factor as our actions in defining who we are. That doesn’t mean our actions don’t define us because truth be told, they really do. However, we often forget something even more important, our minds, thoughts, conscience etc. Doing “good things” for/with a person of a race different from ours doesn’t necessarily mean we are not racist! For as long as one considers another race inferior to their own, considers people of another race lesser men, that,  my friends is the most dangerous type of racism. And that’s because it’s not open. Its closed off within. It’s a mentality. It’s the kind that can live through generations untouched!

When I started this blog, I promised I’d never write about race. That’s mostly because it’s a very sensitive topic and personally, I just hate controversy. But truth is, the issue does bother me a lot. I’ve been lucky to have travelled. I grew up in a small village in western Uganda, East Africa. I remember being told that whenever visitors came home, the good stuff( the god chairs, good plates and so on) always and always belonged to the visitor. And so one time my mother organised a Rotary club party where many guests were invited. Among them was this Caucasian man. I remember the special treatment he was given simply because he was a visitor in the country. And so, that’s how we’re brought up. A clean conscience that reflects itself through the actions however small.

I’ve lived in Belgium close to two years now. And when I look at how many people define racism today, I feel like we all miss the point. Everyone tends to think that by doing good things, you know, charity in poor Southern countries, donations and what note, then they’re not racist. Or for example, because I talk to so and so, and they’re not of my race, then I’m probably not racist. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do all that. It’s a very good thing to do. Its Humane! But if we are going to talk about race and racism, then we have to tackle it from its very roots. From within. One can be involved in all kinds of charities and donations and still be the biggest culprit there is. And that happens when one is doing all this from the ‘Superior-Inferior’ perspective. You know, “I’m helping you but I consider you an inferior version or our species” kind of mentality.

I once went to a market with a close family, and I happened to be checking out some books, novels actually. The guy at the stand stared at me for some time before he whispered to his colleague with whom they handled the book stand, “Kan hij lezen?”( which is dutch for, ‘ Can he read?’). I didn’t mind that at first because its only normal to assume that a foreigner may not speak the native language. So I wasn’t bothered, I simply acted like I heard nothing. It’s what they did immediately after that that shocked me. They giggled and chuckled softly! Well, I was shocked but simply acted like I heard nothing. The man then came out from the stand and started being very friendly, took me around the stand, told me about most of the books and we laughed over a few jokes. That night however, I kept thinking about it. The hypocrisy!

I think we all ought to look deep within ourselves and ask ourselves the big question as regards to race. “Am I racist?” And let’s not let our actions fool us because they don’t fully define us. It’s the inside that really does. And that’s something practically everyone already knows but simply overlooks. I enjoy taking walks in the evening. I was talking to a friend on one of these walks and somehow the conversation shifted to race. As we talked I asked her if she thought she was racist and to my surprise she said yes. She really said yes. To be honest I was impressed by the honesty. She didn’t look at her actions( talking part in charities and other such projects in the south) to defend herself! No! She simply looked within and said yes! I am! To put this in perspective, I am one of about 6 black students in my school. Of the 6, I happen to be the only immigrant. So when you factor in issues like language barrier, different cultural background and social life perspective, it’s really hard to make friends around here. So here I was, with probably one of the few people one may think isn’t “racial” given the fact that they willingly accepted to take a walk with me(by now you should have figured that I’m black<in case you missed that>), and yet they admitted to being you know, that word. I admired that kind of admission, because it shows there is hope. It really shows that one is well aware of what lies within them. Something, I seldom see.

Admitting to possessing a racial mind-set doesn’t mean that one is a very bad person. Nope. Not at all! In fact, it’s better that the racial hypocrisy. And it all comes down to one thing, each and every one of us should really look deep into ourselves. We have to challenge our mind set and set out to find out what truths really lie buried in there. We ought to broaden our definition of racism and to understand that definition if ever we expect to rid the world of such evil. But even evil is a worldly thing. Even in the Bible, humans did bad. So it’s silly to expect a world where things like that don’t happen. After all, we are free beings and we all make our choices. And I have no say in the choices you make. All I’m saying is search for a true understanding of yourself. Then search for knowledge. Travel and see things! Learn as much as you can! Then base your decision on what you’ve learnt!

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Rain from a river

Let’s gather all our misery

From high above the hills;

Let the sadness

Run down the slopes

Into the darkest of valleys,

Down the silent streams

Slowly bypassing tearful memories.

And let the sun

Vaporise our worst fears,

Drying our tears,

And emptying our souls.

Let it all rise up

Through the emptiness of space,

High above the mountains

Into the clear blue skies

Casting a shadow,

A cloud over what’s gone.

And let’s all hold hands

As our pains slowly fall

Falling like raindrops

-Solomon-

Most Beautiful Rain Photos | Rain photography, Rain photo, Summer rain

Lone Wolf

“I get lonely sometimes.

No, I get lonely most times.

No, No, I am just lonely”

-Solomon-

We’re told that it’s the words we proclaim that build us or break us. Well, I know there is some truth to that. But sometimes, words simply can’t break us any further. Instead, those meant to break us build us. Lets learn to use our truths as stepping stones for greater things no matter how bad it hurts. Lets learn not to fear judgement of our situations and emotions for those who judge are simply not meant to understand. I guess we all have different destinies. For some, its roses and kisses, and others, pain and tears. But maybe pain is beautiful, just maybe.

LIGHTS

‘Moonlight’

The tall dark slender shadows

The contrast between deep and shallow

Chirping crickets, death’s silence

Remind me that never shall I be in your presence

Maybe in the afterlife……

 

‘Starlight’

The tiny little silverlings that line the sky

The breeze on clear nights, the air so dry

The depth, the distance between

Is our past, present and future in one dream.

But maybe one day…….

 

‘Sunlight’

Bright and yet so simple

Blue skies, a scene so humble

Nature, the confusion within.

You and I, the space in-between

So maybe NEVER.

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“The struggle for identity, the search for acceptance, Is it selfish? Does it make us any less of who we really are?”   -Unknown-

“The yams is the power that be.   -Kendrick Lamar-

SOLOMON

Heart of Stone

They judge and they stab,

they mock and they laugh

They rejoice when short you come,

But always remember this;

Your heart is made of stone

And not of gold.

SOLOMON

There will be people who will judge you on the first flaw in you, and there are those that will look past all your flaws. Its important that you remember that you dont have to be perfect. Your heart is not golden and it will never be.

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Deriving creativity and growth from your emotional and mental turmoil.

SPRING BREAK 2020

Looks like the spring is right around the corner. So far so god, we could all agree that 2020 has been a disaster. I mean, it took Kobe from us, it failed to impeach the Trump, Australia was on fire and then this corona virus we all panicking about. Basically its not the best start one would wish for. Personally, It could have been better but who am I to complain? Over the past few months, I’ve had a number of topics to write about but I got quite occupied with my studies and stuff. Luckily, last night, the Belgian government finally decided to close all form of social gathering and that includes school. So here I am!

Let me take you back through the years. I am going to tell you about a number of notable figures in our history and what they did to change their lives and those around them.

  • Benjamin Carson

My initial interest in biology as a child was mostly derived from Benjamin Carson. I had a friend whose parents owned a huge library and so I occasionally had access to these books. I remember reading the children’s version of ‘gifted hands’ and being blown away. Many of us are familiar with Dr Benjamin Carson. As a child, he grew up in a broken family.  To make matters worse, they were not really doing well. Young Bens mother had to work two jobs to make ends meet. Academic wise, he wasn’t the smartest child there was. In his book, ‘Gifted hands’ he tells the story of how he fought his way through all these challenges and finally managed to become the respected neuro surgeon he is today. (I don’t want to dive into details so I recommend that you find time and read this book, if you haven’t)

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Dr Ben Carson being awarded the presidential medal of freedom by President George Bush in 2008
  • Christopher Gardner

Christopher Gardner suffered homelessness while raising his son. His wife left him due to his poverty and failure to provide for the family. He had to roam the streets in an effort to make ends meet. At one point, he worked a non-paying  job to prove his worth and today, he owns his own stock brokerage firm. (For this one, you should watch the Will Smith movie, ‘The pursuit of happiness’)

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Chris Gardner is the proud owner of multi million stock brokerage firm, Gradner Rich and Co.
  • Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Now, I know this is an ancient one and many are not interested in very old referrals. However the Dante story is one I personally relate to. Dante was an Italian poet and writer. I came across Dante after reading Sylvian Reynard’s series ‘Gabriel’s Inferno, Gabriel’s Rapture and Gabriel’s Redemption’. Dante is most known for his poem, ‘the divine comedy’ and other popular texts such as ‘La Vita Nuova’. Legend has it that when Dante was 9 years old, he attended a party with his father and met Beatrice Portinari. He immediately fell for her. However the two grew up to take different paths. Dante himself ended up marrying someone else and so did Beatrice. After her death however, Dante relapsed into a depressive phase of his life and it is during this time that he composed some of the most revolutionary poems in the history of literature, ‘The Divine Comedy’

A statue of Dante in Florence, Italy

 

There are many other examples of notable figures I could talk about. The above three however are just enough to introduce the issue I want to talk about today. The importance of emotional turmoil in driving creativity and growth. The above three characters have one thing in common, A certain kind of suffering. We see that at the end of the day, it is that pain that drives them to achieve what they archived. Now, in life we are faced with a number of challenges. Everyone fights a battle of their own and there is no one I know, that hasn’t gone through some kind of storm. The difference between achievers and the rest of us is that achievers use the fall as and a stepping stone to something greater. I’ll give you a few examples in my own life. I started playing for a local rugby team a few months ago. Now, when I told my boyhood friends, they were all shocked. This was due to the fact that as a boy, I wasn’t really the strongest/fastest person there was. I was a weakling, both physically and mentally. I loved science, studying and video games. Your typical geek!

In February, 2019, I slipped into my first depressive phase. This had never happened to me! I questioned my very own existence. I had been hurt, I wanted to die. A few weeks later, I started to work out. And just like that, I achieved a tremendous step in physical growth. I only started working because I thought that maybe that will make me a better version of myself as regards to the physical aspect. Today, I can bench press about 45kgs and squat about 60kgs( I only weigh 70). The point is, I could never have gotten to that point had I not been in that painful situation.

The story above may not be the best example there is or maybe its true on a small scale, but we could widen the scope and relate this to many other things. For me, I turned my own pain into something positive, something that could make me a better person than I was yesterday. In-fact, I started this blog at around the same time. I am no professional writer or poet, but had I not been through that time in my life, then I would still be the Solomon of Yesterday. Today, I play rugby, I write in my free time, I go to the gym and move on with my studies ( although this corona thing seems to be getting in the way of things).

Now, I mentioned earlier that the difference between archivers and losers is that achievers use their pain to drive themselves, to become better versions of themselves. It doesn’t really matter how hard you fall, how bad your situation is, what matters is how you deal with it. It’s the reaction that counts, not the action. Like for example, something that defeats my understanding is how two people start hating each other because they fell out of love! I find hate as a reaction really dumb, one reason being that personally, I have no hate in me. I find it impossible to hate someone, however bad they treated me. And to be honest, I’ve had my fair share in being treated like trash. I however choose to remain true to my principles. If I tell someone that I care about them, I never stop. Even when we don’t talk or see each other, deep down, I remain caring and paying attention to the small things. For example, I was talking to a friend of mine last week. I told him about this girl I met and liked. However, she didn’t feel the same way because she is with someone. And so this guy responded, “to hell with that bitch”. And I said no, look! It doesn’t make her a bad person. It doesn’t change who she is. You don’t have to be disrespectful and act like a jerk simply because someone doesn’t feel the same way about you as you do for them. The point here is, its how we react to situations that makes the difference. The action doesn’t really count. The reaction is the most important bit.

In life, you have to be hungry to grow. I’ve never blamed anyone for thinking low of me. I moved into a first world country from a third word country and as a result many people tend to judge me on those grounds. But I never blame anyone. Because that judgement drives me to want to become something worth fighting for. I could tell you stories of people who have denied me and still assure you that I don’t blame them. The truth is, as humans, its natural for us to want the best of the best. And that is why I personally want to become the best. So instead of sitting and sulking at the fact that people’s social attitude towards me is to a certain extent influenced by racial preferences, I simply choose to actually motivate myself using that racial prejudice. With the aim that at one point in my journey, despite me being the way I was born, you would still want to fight for me. That is the version of me I’m working towards.

I have lost my identity over the years in trying to make myself worth peoples time and attention. And one would argue that we don’t have to adjust ourselves for others. But maybe sometimes “yourself” is simply not enough. Now, I’m not saying I am right. I’m not saying that you should listen to me, this is only my opinion. But when “yourself” simply isn’t enough, you should want to grow into something better. Today, I am convinced that there is a big chance that something is wrong with my character or personality. I don’t know what it is but at least I’m trying to figure it out. And if anyone out there knows what it is, I would be glad to hear it Afterall, I’m no angel! I’m trying to grow, physically, mentally and emotionally. We make mistakes, we fall, we have regrets, we hurt but at the end of the day its our reaction to all this that really matters.

We are a lost generation

SOLOMON

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