Written by FISIWE ZWANA
When all else has seemingly failed, what is left?
Each one of us faces the universal human experience in our own stylized way. Disappointment, failure, insecurity, mistakes and unforeseen misfortune target and catch us all in moments we’d just as soon avoid. And it seems the faster we run from those moments, the harder they bite our heels. So what are we to do?
I often find myself unconsciously running the lists of my missteps and flaws like a ticker tape across the surface of my divided attention. While the action may be unconscious, it certainly is not ineffective. Ego is a subversive, divisive…hell, ego is downright vicious and will do anything to keep the resilience of the unconditioned essence of my perfect soul submissive.
In our daily lives, we encounter apparently endless pricks and pokes that try to penetrate our resolve as the world has its way with us. Every stick leaves a hole.
Call it faith, call it grace…resilience is what is left. After the questions of “How…?” that have no graspable answers, resilience brings me around to the answers I can’t see with my eyes or make with my hands.
The world is busy and loud with the collective asking: How will we “survive” with no money, no skills, and no choices? How will we “succeed” with no savings, no wealth, and no fortune? How will we “be remembered” with no notoriety, no fame, without award winning accomplishments to brandish on mantles or display on walls?
Call it faith, call it grace…resilience is what is left. After the questions of “Why…?” that when answered only lead me to more whys stretching out to infinity, resilience hoists me up and pushes me into the continuity of not knowing for sure, ever, why anything happens the way it does. Resilience propels me forward to the wholeness that can only come from not stopping in the face of temporary answers and finite definitions that give us a rigid “here” is where the buck should stop.
In my vision of a worthy life, I have fashioned my desired outcomes from the themes we’ve all been fed from what we see in other’s lives. An unspoken envy is the insidious flame that burns in the mind day and night as we pursue the dreams and goals we’ve been given. I’ve accepted that this or that is what I should want for myself, and I judge myself harshly for always running short of what others have more of than me. Someone out there always has more love, worth, ability, more things than we have.
Though with increasingly less frequency as I introspect and grow over the years, when I am at my weakest I still have a tendency to discard myself and beg for others to give me a piece of them so I can feel fulfilled. Each of us in our own way needs someone to make us all right: we wear their clothes, we sing their songs, do their dances, we kiss their lips.
Most of us have watched our parents and grandparents work themselves to death or struggle until their faculties fade, wanting more for us and giving all they ever could earn away grudgingly to those who demand payment for the right to be, live, hurt, grow and cry in rented, leased or financed space. When the end comes, what is left never serves to replace their presence. Still what we keep with us is their affect on us in the words they so earnestly spoke to us or the effects they indelibly ingrained in us from how we experienced them.
None of it makes us whole; it only becomes a part of the whole of who we are.
Call it faith, call it grace…resilience is what is left. After the questions of “When…?” that hang in the gap between my perception of time and the reality of timelessness, resilience erases the deadlines for me and teaches me to accept each moment as it is knowing that trouble doesn’t last always. Only one thing does; it’s not happiness, not contentment, not assurance, not the wounds of our battles…it is only change.
Considering myself an intelligent woman, though un-degreed; a strong woman, though prone to vice; a beautiful woman though often insecure, I must converse with both my daily human experience and my undefined internal experience simultaneously and this shit ain’t easy but it’s precious. Despite any pain or misdeed, despite any modicum of success I may achieve on any front, resilience keeps me humble in times of turmoil and open for the redemption of change. Resilience allows me to accept myself in full with all my brightness and my blemishes. I can laugh one moment and cry the next because this is the way of an existence whose only consistency is inconsistency.
With resilience we all have the ever present opportunity to become quickly or slowly, a new and vital thing, to stand in a new and awesome place, even if familiar and whether we find value in the moment or not, there is value in it. Resilience is the building block of evolution, the unwillingness of the ultimate life force to be undone by too much or too little of anything. I am indefinable, though self determined and I am both sure and unsure that this is how I should be.
I guess it makes me kind of hard to live with, but that’s a whole other conversation.
Until next time, Be Awake and Be Well. May Metta "Lovingkindness" Fill Your Life.
Fisiwe is a writer, singer and performance poet. She is the author of Lovewords: Poetry From a Place Called Love, and she is the host of her own internet radio show, Love Art Life Radio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.