Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cutting the umbilical cord

The safest way to avoid major tests in your life is to decide not to fulfill your vision. In other words, just decide not to be yourself, and you won't have too much trouble in life. Of course you also will end up being and doing nothing." - Myles Munroe.
Photography by Joseph Osei-Bonsu

Once upon a time, there lived a young man called Ajingo. He was a senior at the University of Cape Coast, in Ghana, pursuing Music as his major. He was a natural at playing both the piano and football. He pursued both disciplines passionately, against the desires of the wicked Dean of Music. The Dean was an arrogant and heavy-handed professor, who made the lives of all his students miserable with his somewhat inhumane attitude towards them. As far as the Dean was concerned, every music student in the university was his subordinate, and all the music students were expected to behave as such. Ajingo played football as both a passion and as a necessity. You see, he was from a very poor family. Playing for the university's football team secured scholarships, accommodation and meal plans for him, which drastically reduced his educational expenses. He simply had to keep playing football, but the Dean of Music was not having it. Every effort Ajingo put into winning the affection of the Dean was met with repulsive and condescending responses from the Dean. Ajingo decided enough was enough: he was not going to be subjected to constant humiliation, just because he needed a Music degree! Though he didn't quit pursuing the Music degree, however, he stopped participating in the Dean's compulsory classes and piano sessions. Ajingo instantly became the Dean's number one target for failure, and the Dean shared his diabolical intentions openly with Ajingo's classmates; including Ajingo's best friend. One day, this best friend of Ajingo's tried to convince Ajingo to stop being 'hard-headed', and simply do what the Dean was asking. Ajingo understood that his best friend was concerned for him. After all, what is the point of going through four years of university education, knowing that you're destined to fail anyway? Ajingo however, argued his point strongly against his best friend's counsel: turning the mild conversation into a full-blown fight. He had just lost his best friend, and Ajingo knew it. Was he being stubborn for stubbornness's sake? No, Ajingo had a plan to thwart the Dean's operation against him. He had consulted one of the Music professors about his difficult relationship with the Dean of Music. Knowing exactly what Ajingo was going through, the professor offered to help Ajingo out. And so every evening, Ajingo would borrow notes of the Dean's lectures from his friends and go for private instruction from the professor. He spent the very, early hours of the morning, practicing the pieces he was assigned to play for his final assessment, everyday. On the day of the final assessment, the whole school gathered in the Music Department to witness it. The panel of judges comprised of all the deans of Music in all the major universities in the country, including the Dean of Music for the university. When it was Ajingo's turn to play his main piece, he stated that he was going to play Pachelbel's Canon  - a complex chord of progression which was usually attempted by pianists with long and slender fingers. The panel of judges raised their eyebrows in shock because they had noticed that Ajingo had big and short fingers. The Dean of Music shook his head in disbelief as Ajingo took his seat behind the university's grand piano. Ajingo played the piece so well that, by the end of it, the audience in this fully-packed auditorium were already giving him a standing ovation. He answered the quick fire questions of the Dean of Music effortlessly, until the Dean was eventually stopped from querying Ajingo any further. Ajingo's former best friend rallied some of Ajingo's friends from the football team and the music class, and together, they carried Ajingo up high, chanting his name in victory. Ajingo graduated from the University of Cape Coast with an A in Music. It wasn't long before the Vice President of Ghana hired him as a private music tutor for his children. This caused a domino effect of tours after tours, concert after concert all over the country, Europe and America, for the young man whose name was, Ajingo.

    Someone once said that, "The best ways to lose friends and alienate people is to become arrogantly rich or egregiously poor."...or something like that. However, I have discovered from experience that, it doesn't matter how rich you get or how poor you become, some people don't never want to leave you! That's kind of a good thing(if you're thinking about supportive friends or family members), right? Well, not if you're trying to get rid of them. Or better still, not if they're what's standing in between you and your destiny. It seems criminal for me to say this but it needs must be said: SOMETIMES PEOPLE WILL LITERALLY LOVE YOU TO YOUR DEATH! There are some loved ones or concerned fellows in your social circle whose love for you, or your love for them, is literally killing you. These loved ones may include a spouse or lover,  best friend, childhood mate, favourite teacher, parents, siblings, a beloved kin, and even, your own self. As counterintuitive as this may sound, it is true that the love you share with such people can sometimes become the greatest stumbling block to the revelation of your identity, the unleashing of your ability, the fulfillment of your vision, and the appropriation of your destiny. It is natural for a person to become attracted to who they think you are. However, it is unnatural for you to entertain their assumed perception of who you are because of your emotional, familial, filial, historical, romantic or platonic relationship with them. People, especially those who claim to care about and love you, are comfortable with you as long as you 'behave' the way they want. They expect you to be nice and condoning, even if it means, bearing responsibilities that aren't yours or haven't become yours yet. Their expectations are like a boulder, rolled over the well of your life. And until you realize who you are, you'll never be able to discern the people who are really stagnating your self-discovery. How would you? Almost all of them claim to love you.

    Someone else also said, "The devil you know, is better than the angel you don't know."...or something like that. It insinuates the idea that, it is better to stay in a familiar territory where one has NO CHANCE of security, than to wander off into an unfamiliar territory where there is a SLIGHT CHANCE of security. This is ignorance at its intellectual best. I believe the author of that statement was hiding his or her tail in between his or her legs while penning that statement. Owing to emotionally, romatically or platonically motivated ties, people are encouraged to trudge through the gutters of self-abasement, so that everyone else can be themselves, at the expense of their true selves. This is a tragedy. No, I am not encouraging the homosexual to come out and 'be himself or herself', because I believe homosexuality is a direct violation of natural law. A rectum is a natural exit that no senate or parliament can legislate into an entrance. And no female was born with the physical and natural ability to satisfy her own or another female's vagina. When I talk of 'being' yourself, I am referring to the making of a conscious effort to serve your gift, vision or dream to the world. What some people call 'sacrificing for others' is actually unadvised altruism. They abase and suppress themselves because they feel burdened to be liked or accepted by people. Self-abasement does nothing but to impede, stagnate and eventually, destroy the real you that is trapped inside of you. Ergo, what is the question? "To be or not to be; that is the question". If you will 'be', then you must cut the umbilical cord between you and the so-called 'lovers' who want you to you to 'be' someone or something else.

    Someone said that, "Your best friend, can become your worst enemy."...or something like that. The general emotion that this quote elicits is that of betrayal and the loss of an erstwhile, loved one. The death of a relationship: this is the inevitable result when two people who are headed in totally opposite directions, encounter a crossroad, after travelling the same road together for a period of time. People will hate you for it, your family will criticize you about it, you'll lose some or all of your friends by it, your spouse may leave you because of it and you might become alone with it - self-discovery. Discovering who you are is inherently connected with discovering what your purpose is. Well, how does one know what his or her purpose is? Some say God determines it. Some say it isn't God, per se, but it some 'Intelligent Designer' out there who determines our fate or purpose in life. Others also say, no external entity decides what our purpose is or will be: we choose the purpose we want for our own lives. This is what I believe though:

If there's a dream or idea in your head that won't go away, God put it there, period! 

Following the God-given ideas in your mind that contribute to the welfare of humanity in a unique way, that is true purpose. Anything else is either an obsession, or a private ambition. Because you are the only one who knows this 'thing' that is gnawing at your soul for release, it is ridiculous for you to expect everybody(or anybody for that matter) to 'get' you, or to agree with you. It is impossible! 'Being' your true self around people who don't like you is not so much of problem. At least, you know that they don't like you for whatever reasons they may have. 'Being' your true self around people who claim to love you is a totally different matter altogether. By virtue of their 'special' relationship with you, they feel the need to rebuke, correct or advise you for being 'arrogant', 'overconfident' and 'proud' when you become your true self. This is where their 'love' becomes cancerous to your soul. This creates an impasse which cannot be resolved by explaining one's self(how can you explain something you're still figuring out?) to the 'concerned' people or by abasing yourself for their comfort. The only solution to this, is to sever ties with such people, mentally i.e. The actual cutting of the umbilical cord between you and the loved ones who have now become your opposition, is 100% your mind's responsibility. However, if you can relocate, separate, resign, or disassociate yourself from such people, do so! Cutting the umbilical cord is not easy. It may require months of sleepless nights, starvation, deprivation of comfort, isolation, tears, pain, homelessness, and even death. But would you rather live someone else's life; or would you rather die as your true self?

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