When I said I was going to teach my body how to find home in this new city, I never knew it would be this hard. I either underestimated Bwari or I overestimated myself. If you have been to Bwari, I think you will agree with option one. After shedding hot tears and getting over it, I think I can say things are getting better and that I’ve found my feet a little better now.
A good sign about me feeling better here is my being able to draw inspiration from my surroundings. Like I’ve said in the past, Bwari is actually an oddly beautiful place. The landscape consists of deep dusty browns, with bursts of illuminating purple and a vibrant blue sky. On days when everything feels very meh, I can take a bike ride and feel a little better. A small gift.
I have seen something where I live that I would love to share with you. There is a potted plant right outside my room, on the first floor of my building. It’s roots and the lowest part of its stem are nestled in a dusty pot, tucked away behind a pillar. The rest of the plant is not in that pot though. The branches of the plant have done the most outstanding thing where they have bent themselves towards the sunlight. This branch is littered with the most beautiful flowers that bathe themselves in sunlight daily, even as the pot languishes in the shadows.
That tiny plant inspired me. I am particularly impressed by this because plants usually grow straight and upward. This particular plant though did not. If it stayed straight and upward, stuck in its own ways, it would not grow and flourish in the sunlight.
You need to stretch and leave your comfort zone to grow and flourish. It’s an active process. You have to get up and move.
It is so easy for us to become complacent in life because truly, life can be difficult and draining. That’s completely true. It is possible that the goals and aspirations you have set for yourself begin to fade into the background as you focus on surviving, one day after another.
But the truth is that the growth that you want to experience in any area of your life is more likely to happen when you are intentional with your thoughts, actions and plans. When you push yourself out of your comfort zone, you initially experience some discomfort but eventually, your strain begins to bear fruit. People always say, ‘bloom where you are planted’ and they have their own point too but sometimes you need to reach for something greater, while remaining rooted in your core values and in what is most important to you.
Using myself as an example, I am a very self-sufficient person, that’s my comfort zone. I believe that I should always be capable of sorting out stuff on my own. The career path that I wish to embark on is one I don’t have a lot of information about. So, these past few days, I’ve been really anxious and worried about my future because I’m trying to sort everything out by myself. This is like that plant branch remaining inside the pot.
I need to bend towards the sunlight. This means that I have to surrender my desire to know and control everything. This means that I have to own up, first to myself, that I can’t know or do everything. Then I have to step out to people in the industry. It means me looking silly and sending out cold emails, calling people, putting myself out there. For someone like me, opening up to say ‘I know nothing about this, please guide me’ is not an easy thing for me, at all. But is something I am learning to do. Just this morning, I have sent out two cold emails and look at me, I did not pass out.
I am learning that with the kind of growth and impact I want to have in my life, I cannot just resolve to do only things I like or things I feel good, comfortable doing. I have to make sure that I do due diligence and that I have pushed myself. I can’t just be dreaming dreams, I actually need to show up to achieve them. Achieving your dreams is not easy, but it is doable. And we can do it.
In all this, there is something to be said about living one day at a time, not endlessly worrying about your future. There is a thin line between worrying about everything and making careful, well-thought out decisions for your life. Stepping out of your comfort zones to honour your dreams does not translate to running around like a headless chicken wrought with anxiety. Sometimes, it looks like small changes to yourself. It looks like making a future mind map (loosely, not those one with strict dates so you keep feeling like you’re running out of time, not those.). My best mind map till date is one that has my core values written on it and what I want to achieve and all the possible path ways I may take. What is most important is that we are taking every step possible to become the best versions of ourselves. Even when these steps cause us to do more than we are used to, we stretch and reach higher. Or at least we try.
Sometimes, everything you wish to achieve, can be reached if you stretch a little and refuse to be afraid. If you stretch out of your comfort zone and it still doesn’t work out the way you want, celebrate your growth and bravery. You tried, and being the badass that you are, you will try again. Lovelies, you must honour your dreams by trying to achieve them. The least you owe yourself is the effort.
So, my darling, bend towards the sunlight.
Chase after the light. You do not belong in the shadows. Surprise yourself with your tenacity.
my darling, bend towards the sunlight.