Slow but steady.
At the moment, I’m going through something that requires me sit still for twenty-five minutes, three times a day, in the most awkward of positions. Literally.
There are moments in which sitting still is my default position. Writing. Reading. Driving. Physically, I am still, however the most active part of me is active. My mind is occupied with all kinds of things – and I am unaware of exactly how much time has gone.
However, this thing I’m dealing with requires me to be still in the actual sense of it. I cannot do shit of any of the activities that keep my mind busy while my body is in rest. It’s almost as though I have to watch paint dry – that’s how dry this activity is.
The first time – I freaked out after four minutes. I couldn’t do it. I just rose and walked out of the room. Just like that, feeling like one bad guy. I mean, I’ve been coping so far, this is not going to kill me, will it?
Thing is tho, I’m not well. The purpose of this…this ‘cleanse’ is to make me better. It’s to help rid of something I’ve been living with for a moment. It’s not terminal – but it’s a huge inconvenience. And I remembered the story in the bible where some general had leprosy and a prophet of God – Elisha – had asked him to bath in what was a not-so-clean river – and he had taken offense. ‘There are far better rivers all over the place,’ he grumbled to his wife later. ‘How dare he tell me to go bath in that – ‘
Women have always been more mature and intelligent than men – especially in moments like this, and she did not disappoint. ‘But, my darling, the love of my life, such a small thing should not bother you na. Isn’t the goal for you to feel better?’
Oga swallowed his pride and went to the river to bath. And when he was done, his skin looked like a newborn’s. Imagine. Uncle would have missed out on that because of pride.
NOTE: I took plenty liberties with the story as per writer, so don’t quote me. You can however check out 2 Kings 5: 1 – 17 for details.
Sigh. I thought about this story a lot, in between the days I was angry about doing what I was told to do. At the end of the day, I acquiesced and went back.
Twenty-five minutes? Child’s play.
The second first time, I did ten minutes and hated every minute of it. When I was done, I felt somewhat downcast because I had said what I said earlier about it being ‘child’s play’. The person who was supposed to watch me through it put a hand on my shoulder and said, ‘You did four minutes before. You did ten now. I’m sure you’ll be closer tomorrow.’
In that moment, I remember one of Denzel’s movies, The Equalizer. In the beginning of the movie, he worked at a mart and was helping this young guy lose some weight. The guy wanted to be a security guard and there was a maximum weight requirement. So he was helping him, guiding his diet and workout routine.
One afternoon, they meet at lunch and Denzel asks what he is having. He says something about bread, salad, tuna and so on. Denzel nods approvingly and reaches for his own meal. The guy bites into his sandwich – and a loud crunch is heard by all. He looks at Denzel guiltily and hands over the sandwich. Denzel opens it – and there’s a whole layer of Pringles.
Denzel says something and hands over the sandwich. The guy takes out the chips and smiles. He says, ‘Who needs chips anyway?’
Denzel responds; ‘Progress not perfection’.
Progress. Not perfection.
Someone; memory eludes me now and I’m not online so I can’t Google – said ‘I have failed many times. And that’s why I succeed.’ Nobody; and I mean NOBODY has this life thing figured out. We’re mostly all just weaving like a bunch of drunks, figuring it out as we go along. Sometimes we nail it, sometimes we don’t. What matters is we try.
I always try to remind myself; I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not where I was. And that’s that. We all need to be kind to ourselves; when this social media age starts making us put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. When it makes us want to go from 0 – 100 in a blink. Remember, fly, run, walk, crawl – no matter what, just keep moving.
And if you want to rest too, ain’t no shame in that. Just be kind to yourself. It’s your life. Your journey. You’re good.
Progress not perfection.
Thank you, Denzel.