I am here: As I retire to bed diaries

As I retire to bed tonight, I am reminded just how fickle life really is. A friend narrowly missed a fatal accident. Yet another was involved in one but survived. I won’t even talk of the death of the millennium- Madiba`s nor of the highly talented DJ Smoove. Death all around- seems to be a rude reminder that we all live on borrowed time.

I opt to look at life like that because I am one of those people who dread debt so much that I go to great lengths to avoid it. When I do borrow, no matter how negligible the amount, it weighs heavily on my mind until I pay it back. And that, is how I have come to view life- it is this debt weighing heavily on my mind. If I am to borrow, then I better borrow a good sum and put it to good use. It has to make sense why I have debt weighing heavily upon me, right?

Much as I am a Christian, tomorrow is never guaranteed. It is not mine to plan for and to arrogantly assume is mine. Today is literally the breath in my lungs, I might not even live long enough to expel it. Reminds me of the Shona proverb- Uswa hwenyati ndouri mudumbu, uri pamuromo inofa nahwo. Literally it reads- the grass of a buffalo is that which is in its stomach, it will die with that which is on its mouth- it’s probably similar to the English saying- A bird in hand is better than two in the bush.

Anyway…

So whilst I’m on this earth, I owe it first to MYSELF to be the real me. To be unapologetically myself that it encourages everyone around me to be the same- to be real them to themselves! Some of us live life as if we’ve been asked to live it on behalf of someone cruel who might rock up one day and accuse us of ill-living their life and subsequently banish us to some lifeless life of torture! Some of us, if anyone dared look at us, we would apologize for the very breath that we take in and take out, for having thoughts that we fail oh so dismally to reign in- we live life as if it’s some expense account with a huge credit order that we would eventually pay up ourselves! In short- we live our lives to try and please others and apologetically.

We all have scars in one way or the other and I know one too many people who have totally changed their wardrobe just so they can accommodate covering up these reminders of our struggles and triumphs. I know several people who go around with make-up, tryin to mask other people`s scars, claiming that the scars are ugly and no one wants to see them and neither must they be exposed for viewing! Ha! Whiskey Tango Fox-Trot! It is scars that make us beautiful! I’m tired of make-up welding folk tryin to powder, conceal and goodness knows what else scars- As if that’s not enough, they want to photoshop my image!

Take me as I am coz I do. I go to bed with me and spend everyday with me. I have come to that point where I have accepted who I am, so all I ask is for everyone else to appreciate that. I know it’s a tall order asking for people to accept my scars and I but a little appreciation goes a long way. Keep your make up kit to yourself, use it on you- if you must.

All this is something I was made to think about when I learned of the passing away of Peter Hayes. I watched a play of his titled- “I am here”. It was a hauntingly beautiful experience watching a man get naked (literally and metaphorically) before an auditorium full of people he most probably had no previous knowledge of, at least that is what I think because my team and I had never met or heard of this guy prior to watching this play. Well, as far as I could tell. Peter took me thru a journey he went thru in trying to find himself. He found love and lust and a moment of poor judgement and pedestrian diagnosis left him infected with HIV. There was nothing devastating about being HIV positive, as far as he was concerned. What he found devastating was that knack in human beings of suspending all, well most, reasoning when faced with what we want/desire/lust after. This is one lesson that resonated deeply within me and I related with this white South African in a way no black, young, female Zimbabwean could possibly.

His was a moment of pure lust and possibly a sense of ‘oh my! All this fine flesh wants ME? Oh yeah, have me it shall’ (We have our own versions of the people and things we rush to have without a moment`s pause to think clearly or rationally, logically, practically etc so don’t let me bore you with examples.) And it was that one night of reckless indulgence that would see him unable to adopt a child way after the incident- {forgive my rusty memory of finer details. I’m tryin to recall something that I watched over three years ago, in the midst of an amazing festival at that.}

Anyway, Peter told this story in a manner I’ll probably never see again but I’ll hold onto its aching memory within my heart. He did not stop living because he could not have what he wanted. He did not stop doing what he loved, theatre, because of people`s perceptions about being HIV positive. He chose to live his life without feeling pity for himself for his moment of ‘sexual insanity’. He did not blame! He lived.

What I find ironic about his life and how I lived my life was this-
At some point, I feared living to the fullest because “I would die one day and it would all amount to nothing. I would die one day before I’d accomplished anything and it would be wasted effort. At the same time, it crossed my mind that I could exist until I was 95, frail and old having accomplished nothing much as I lived in a shell of a life!”
The irony comes thru when I lie in my bed and reflect on people who have impacted my life positively and Peter comes to mind.

He lived the best life he could, sharing his story as a way of encouraging people to stop and think carefully before tucking in to whatever they desired. He died at a young age of 48 (I could be mistaken on his exact age) from a suspected heart attack! What a way to depart this earth!

Interestingly, I’m thinking of my own ‘I am here’ episodes of reality check. How do I live my life in a manner that shouts out, “I am here, scared and all but taking this huge credit called life and making some meaningful investments out of it”

Go well- Peter. Rest in peace. You are there and I am here- living on borrowed time. I had better make the best of it.

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