Happiness found in laughters that seem to come from an endless spring inside of me. Sadness that is made worse by the breakup of one of my favorite authors in my country. And pictures to forever remind me that life is kind sometimes.
Which one goes first?
Sundays were always intense days for my heart. We would dress up in Sunday wear. These are dresses(definitely dresses) that are too pretty for everyday wear. My friends don’t get how I have Sunday clothes. Well, this is how, where I grew up, all days except Sundays are work days. Work days mean wearing clothes that we can comfortably carry chicken feed in. That we can move oil in, knowing it’ll spill on you definitely. So on the day we get a break to be pretty and clean the whole day, we shine, both literally and figuratively.
We forget the tiredness of the week, the days we slept with our backs paining, the days we woke up early to deliver orders, the end of days when our math didn’t add up and we calculated and recalculated for the a thousandth time to find the missing penny. We push all that at the back of our minds, dress up to look like people who grew up winning in this life and go look for a miracle.
And even in the city, the cycle repeated itself in me. At least figuratively. Dress up and try to forget the week. The emptiness, the depression, the anxiety, the darkness in my soul, the skeletons in my thoughts, the heaviness in my chest, the dirt in my spirit and the complicatedness of life. For that one day, I forgot all that and went to church.
Looking for a miracle. I just wanted to be happy. Happiness. That is all I ever looked for in life. And for the longest time ever, that has been the most elusive thing for me.
But I thought I would find it in church. So I tried. So I took my burdens to Jesus. They said that would lighten my burdens. So every single Tuesday, I went to church for my personal prayers. I made sure I left no burdens at home. I carried all of them to his cross. And I cried. I cried as I let it all out. Tuesdays were cry days. I let it all out. All of it. My darkness and pain. Hurt. All of it.
But every single Tuesday, found me at Jesus feet, unburdening myself. Burdens that never ended. Burdens that this cross never really got rid off. Burdens that were clearly too large for miracles. Burdens that sexual purity talks didn’t remove. Burdens too strong for ‘God loved me so much that he gave his only son…’ sermons. Burdens too heavy for Trust in the Lord and he will direct your paths verses. Burdens too heavy for the cross to bear.
We even burnt those burdens in an exercise of faith. Were given a sheet of paper full of burdens to tick where they apply. Like a hundred burdens. You ticked what was most appropriate for you. Things like depression, witchcraft, drinking too much soda and taking too much sugar were also burdens. I ticked furiously on that Friday night. You should have seen me. Then we had a bonfire. We burnt those burdens down in Jesus name. Burnt them things down.
The next Tuesday found me crying in church. And the next Sunday found me all dolled up. Waiting for a miracle. Searching not for happiness, we had long ago realised that, that one fruit of the holy spirit, may never locate me in this land of the living. But searching for a painless life. For sleep. For existence that functions. Searching for thoughts that don’t torture and hearts that don’t bleed.
And fast forward those Sunday to yesterday’s Sunday.
Seated on top of a moving bus in a wildlife sanctuary, observing giraffes, staring at wildebeests, ogling at zebras, laughing so purely with friends and strangers turned friends, I found what happiness looks like finally. Hearing my own laughter spill over and over again as if it never ends, I can now say that I know how happiness sounds like. And feeling this space in my chest fill up with joy, I know how happiness feels like.
So when I read this heavy story about that break up, I understood it deeply. That some things, though beautiful don’t work out. It cut my heart across literally because I could tell he wanted it to work out so badly.
Because that Sunday girl would have given up her two lungs and kidneys to just have life work out. To just live. That girl wanted it so badly. So damn badly.
And I remember one day wondering, that if I lived, would the happy days have been worth that sort of anguish? That if I one day saw the light, will that kind of pain have been necessary? That if I one day laughed, would the Tuesday cries camouflaged as prayers, have been a well deserved price to pay for this happiness?
And I remember knowing that regardless of how many motivational stories I read of appreciating the low moments because they prepare us for the high ones, that my answer will never be a yes. I would never wish living death on anyone.
And so when someone close to me said something spiritual about my life in the morning, I got all worked up inside there.
I now understand why some people amass and amass wealth( okay, I still don’t actually) . But if hunger was what you were running away from, then you would never want to go back there ever again. Ever again.
I realise that I will never ever go back to a place where a miracle, that depends entirely on a deity’s whims, is the difference between a smile on my face and anguish in my heart. That shit almost killed me man. Almost did. It was this close.
That I don’t mind if anyone tries to hurt me in any way. But don’t touch my soul. Don’t you dare take me back to that place of hopelessness, anguish and unburdening burdens that just don’t end. Don’t take me back where I an unworthy and undeserving, because then I would rather be dead dead. Like literally dead.
Coming from all that indoctrination, to smiling in the mirror, and seeing the most worthy person in this life, seems like the kind of miracle I was looking for all along. And I found it outside miracle centers. The irony of life.
Had you asked me before yesterday, if I had something I would kill for or to maintain in my life, I would have said no. But seeing all that beauty and feeling how good a day can be, I knew that no one is dragging me back to that Sunday girl. Nothing and no one. Its not even negotiable.
Nowadays i’m a Monday girl. We lazy around on Mondays. Sundays are just days of the week like the other days. On Mondays we rest, and plan for the coming week. We think of what we would love to read and do for that coming week. If its a month, we figure out what our desired outcome would be. We trust our souls to know the way.
Unlike before when Sundays were days of drowning the sorrows of the ending week, Mondays are the days of welcoming and anticipating the future. We look forward to living some more nowadays.
And days like yesterday, prove that happiness did indeed locate me. Just not in a deity. Or in environments that sought to tell me what to do or be. Instead it found me in me. When I finally faced myself without squirming. When I finally dusted of my eyes and saw myself for real.
And if I had a choice, I would commemorate all my Sundays. I know, sounds really extra to just go out there and try and replace every anguished Sundays with a happy one, but I get how tempting that can be.
I saw someone write that those who grew up in love and those who grew up on survival view the world from very different lenses. And most replies were of how its difficult for those who grew up in love to date the survival group. I’m the survival group. And I see how letting go of all that memory of pain is hard. Not just because its all we’ve known, but because nothing scares me more right now, than anything that seems like it’ll take me back to my Sunday self. That’s my ultimate nightmare right now. Like i’m willing to cross mountains and cut friends if that’s what it takes.
But I also realise that, that in itself is a binding thing. So we work on that on Mondays. And look forward to beautiful Sundays ahead.