What contributed to the stress I was under when I wrote S.O.S, is that many friends and suitors recently fell by the wayside. That is until they saw me on television.
Hey, hey, hey. Welcome, welcome, welcome. I’m Aziza Kibibi and this is Self Published episode 8.
It doesn't matter how successful you are, no one reaches that success without the help of someone else.
I’ve been called an overachiever, hyper-ambitious, a know it all, a do it all…everything that you could label someone who has the passion and drive to achieve many goals and achieve them. This may all sound great but the truth is, its a lot of fricken pressure. When people know you through your successes and you have a reputation that you break through steel walls to get shit done, it piles on a lot of pressure. You find yourself in a spotlight that while it brings attention to your successes, it can also expose your failures. So when you’re struggling, you are afraid that asking for help may make you seem week or incapable.
I’ve struggled with this throughout my life and this blog I’m going to share with you talks more about how difficult that struggle really can be. So enough with the intro, thank you for allowing me to caress your eardrums and penetrate your mind with this next….
I'm not sure if I should be blogging while I'm in this state of mind, but I'm going to anyway.
I'm not usually one to pity myself; shit happens basically. I've had children looking up to me all my life. First my siblings; they depended on me to entertain them for the hours our parents weren't home, to figure out what to eat when I wasn't old enough to use the stove; to keep them focused when we had to do our homework and stop whichever baby from crying when our mother wasn't around to breastfeed. When I had my own children I had to do some of the same things, but on top of that be a better example of a mother than what my own was. And that included protecting my daughters from my father.
My father favored my children which also created animosity amongst everyone else. There were so many psychologically confusing dynamics in our family that it's made me somewhat of a pro at dealing with stress in my life today. In addition I feel like I have to project a certain level of togetherness and strength to those around me. I can count the times on one hand that my children have seen me cry. Eighty percent of the time that I'm sick, I still go to work and school. Depression is not an option and if I feel a rut coming on I get exercising, or writing. You may ask; what is your point Aziza? And my reply is: despite the fact that I am doing very well considering what my life has been, there are times that I need help. But I have a serious problem asking for it.
When my father came into my bedroom when I was nine, he'd tell me that telling my mother would make her go crazy and I'd never see her again. This was only one of the many lies he used to confuse his daughter to maintain control. After beating me because I tried to fight back when I was twelve, he said that my compliance gave him the strength to take care of the family. I became used to having a lot of responsibility with little assistance. There were decisions I had to make as a child that affected my entire family. And I was led to believe that if I asked for help, the result would end in someone else's peril or sacrifice.
Today, I don't want to put anyone out of their way, or have them inconvenience themselves for me. It's natural for me to put the needs of others in front of my own, but I have to convince myself that I'm deserving of the same treatment. Which is work in itself. So If I have a problem or a challenge, I pull up my boot straps, buckle down and handle my own business.
But just lately I've been feeling overwhelmed. There aren't enough hours in the day, days in the week, weeks in the month or months in the year for me to get all I have to do done. At the same time if I have a day where there isn't as much to do or things can't get done because they are outside of my control, I feel useless and unproductive.
What am I suppose to do with myself? And that question is not rhetorical either. If anyone reading this post has any suggestions, I implore you to let me know. And while I'm at it, if you know a literary agent, a publisher, an editor, how to write a grant proposal, a financial advisor, a lawyer and have suggestions on dealing with a fourteen year old boy who's father is his grandfather who happens to be in jail for molesting, beating and raping his mother; please tell me. Because I need some help.
Unknown January 7, 2014 at 11:54 AM
I have been abused by someone in my family and lived in what i call a verbally abusive household with my mother and father at each other's throats. I know that your life and my life are totally different in the circumstances but when it comes to the emotional damages it is the same. You feel the same way I did when i was letting go and you are struggling the same why i did....I can see it in ya eyes. My suggestion to feel better....cry. I know crying is a form of weakness but in my eyes is a release of emotions. It helps me let go of what my body is going through and i mean I cry. Please please don't ever deny yourself the feeling you going through because if you do it will only get worse...I promise you that. I have more advice but not sure if you want it. If you do please email me.
Stay as strong as you can and if it becomes too much...ask for help."
Aziza Kibibi January 10, 2014 at 2:45 AM
Dear unknown Thank you for your comment. My father taught me to not cry. He said it was a sign of self pity, which he loathed. Now that I am away from him, I don't really cry out of habit, but I allow myself to feel all of my emotions; and yes, sometimes it does come out in the form of tears. I am not afraid of my emotions because though sometimes they can lead us astray, I believe God gave them to us to help navigate and enjoy this existence. Thank you for your input and suggestions, they are a big help. I will email you.
Anonymous January 8, 2014 at 8:44 PM
I just read of your story today on another media site, I had to google your name, I wanted to hear your story. Funny I never heard your voice, today I heard you loud and clear. I hear you my sister, I hear you. I am a gang raped survivor, and a fatherless daughter, and I ask my self all the time, why me? I was raped by 2 boys who I thought were my friends when I was 16 years old, today I’m 45 and I still ask why. Aziza you have a purpose, and its bigger than yourself. I know how you feel in more ways than you know. My hand is genuinely extended to you when ever, if ever, I’m here. Mizzjayeg@gmail.com
Aziza Kibibi January 10, 2014 at 2:53 AM
Thank you luv. I will email you.
Cynthia Orlando January 10, 2014 at 6:39 AM
I too was sexually abuse by my father, and most of my life I thought my self to be a victim of my circumstances..and I told my self I was a survivor but even this is not healing to me..I am more than a survivor , I am a child of God, and this entitles me to miracles. I have being going on a healing process most of my life and I've come to the understanding that feeling like a victim only serves me to keep holding on the the suffering. I have learn through A Course In Miracles ..Who I AM. And this has empower me to create the life that God has intended me to live, and I learned that my function is to forgive myself, the people that I perceived hurt me and forgive the world I see. My pain is real and I honor it . However My suffering is a choice and I finally understood that my power is in the CHOICE I make for myself. I choose Love.
Here is a practice I do to help me let go of all the suffering and embrace my power. Hope it helps you, I do believe Forgiveness is the key to peace of mind. I am on Facebook if you want to be friend me I would be honor I extend my love to you, because i now know we are really ONE.
DO THE WORK
Complete each of the following statements with the first thought that comes to mind.
Today I am struggling to forgive myself for ___________________
Today I am ready to forgive myself for ___________________
I realize if I do not forgive myself I will continue to feel___________________
I forgive myself for thinking ____________
I forgive myself for believing ___________
I forgive myself for feeling _____________
Today, I am willing to forgive myself for ___________________
Today, I commit to walk the path of self-forgiveness in support of my healing, growth and evolution.
I send you Love and Light Cynthia Orlando
Hey you, just a quick reminder if you want to learn more about anything I share here whether it be resources, inspiration, how to prepare to testifying court, etc, etc, please I follow me on instagram and facebook and subscribe to my youtube page. Everything is Aziza Kibibi and for even more resources on abuse prevention and recovery for yourself or someone you know, go to PreciousLittleLadies.org. where we strengthen the bond between mothers and daughters to combat child molestation, incestuous abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault and our motto remains its ok to tell.
I don’t talk much about my personal relationships. Yes I’ve written explicitly in my book about the indiscretions of my ex husband and how that affected me as a young woman. Yes I’ve been openly candid about how being a survivor impacts my interactions with other people. And yes I even pointed out the potential suitors at the time in my life when I wrote the introduction to my book. But believe it or not, I’m actually a private person who keeps my romantic life to myself.
That being said, what contributed to the stress I was under when I wrote S.O.S, is that many suitors and friends recently fell by the wayside. That is until they saw me on television. A couple of months prior my car had been towed and I didn’t have the $500 it would take to get it out of impound. So I reached out to some of those who I'd been there for when they were in a bind and all of them either ignored my phone call or put me off! And it wasn’t just interested parties. Family…. same.
So when those who were ignoring me suddenly became interested again after my television appearance, I was so taken a back by the change in behavior, I cut everyone off. And call me petty if you like, but I sent everyone messages that they had been dismissed.
I think it’s safe to say some of the greatest writers suffered from or was inspired by traumatic experiences that challenged their their mental well being.
James Baldwin wrote the semi-autobiographical novel, Go Tell It On The Mountain to share and cope with his experiences being a young black boy growing up in Jim Crowe America. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was about her own experience suffering sexual abuse. F. Scott Fitzgerald was an alcoholic who fell in love with a schizophrenic…Sidebar: I want to note that while it’s been reported that Zelda Fitzgerald was diagnosed with an ‘illness of the mind’ and committed to a mental institution, women were often diagnosed from a perspective of chauvinistic bias and indiscriminately labeled due to a lack of knowledge and a whole lot of presumption. So in my mentioning Mrs. Fitzgerald, I use her as an example of Mr. Fitzgerald’s perspective of her since it is he who had her committed.
My point is, great inspiration often comes out of suffering. Fantastic tales are often sourced from pain. The best stories are never remiss of tragedy. A lot of writers are basically a little crazy or trying to keep themselves from going crazy; Myself included.
I believe that at its essence, creativity is chaos. And as creators, we are maestros of that creative energy, converging, organizing and translating it into something that can be understood by an audience. So is it a wonder that the ability to tap into that creativity reacquires a little bit of insanity?
Nonetheless finding a balance between the toiling of a creator, the alchemy of the created, the normal world and the efficacy of maintaining the line that determines if the entire process enables or is a remedy for the insanity can take it’s toll.
That’s why I recommend allotting time on a daily basis to decompress, center oneself and monitor your mental health.
Along with some of the very insightful suggestions recommended by my readers of my blog post S.O.S...
- Meditate: Not only will this help relax you and train your mind, you’ll gain clarity and discover ideas for your work. If you’re religious, I always say, if praying is talking to God, meditating is listening to God.
- Exercise: Exercising produces endorphins, the feel good hormones. It also increases blood flow and and facilitates detoxification. I love to box because it gets my adrenaline going kicking other physical defense mechanism into high gear.
- Clean your space: Monotonous housework like washing dishes, folding clothes or sweeping the floor can have their own meditative effects. You tend to zone out and your mind relaxes. Often when I hit a roadblock in my projects because I’m just thinking about it too much, I clean the kitchen. Usually by the time I’m done, I’ve cleared all the counters right along with the mental roadblock as well. And the solutions just come to me without me even trying.
- Chant. The vibrations created from your own voice is very polarizing to disruptive energy.
- Pray. As I mentioned earlier that meditation was listening to God, praying is talking to God. Whatever your faith is. I'm sure you know the drill.
- Burn sage. Clearing the energy in your space is a good practice for anyone. Burning sage with intention helps to focus your mind and put your intentions into the universe while dispelling negative energy.
- Watch a movie. I know it sounds extreme sophomoric after all the profoundly esoteric advise I shared earlier, but come on. Another person's story is a great distraction from the complications of your own life. As long as you watch for entertainment and not to study character development and editing.
While writing Unashamed a life tainted, as therapeutic as releasing pent up energy through tears was, if I didn’t take breaks I would’ve found myself drifting aimlessly toward an emotional event horizon. That’s why when my daughter passed away, I had to set my work aside. Sure my writing was helping with my trauma pertaining to my childhood. But losing my child who was a result of the that childhood trauma, only exasperated the pain. I instead started a blog about her and it allowed me to compartmentalize aspects of my life by only focusing on my daughter and my experience with her independent of the other traumatic events.
Had I not stepped away from my memoir for a moment, it would have been even more difficult for me to heal after losing her and my book would’ve been more sad than motivating.
I’m well aware of deadlines, goals and creative juices bubbling that you just have to let flow. But remember to take care of yourself. You are a powerful tool, a conduit of sorts. And conduits can’t afford to crack. If you catch my drift.
Hey you, thank you so much for listening and allowing me to caress your eardrums and penetrate your mind.
If you have any questions feel free to email me at email@example.com and if you enjoyed what you heard in this episode, do leave a review and I’ll shout you out in a future episode.
I can’t believe there are only two more episodes in this season! Wow. I guess time does fly when you’re having fun. I really enjoy producing this podcast in hopes that my listeners find inspiration, motivation and learn something in the process. We are spiritual beings having a human experience and I am honored that my experience can be useful to yours.
Well, that’s all for now. Until next time. Be bless for you are a blessing.
Most Music and effects: Epidemic Sound
Other Music and sounds:
"Sourire à la Vie" - Josephine Baker
"Lean on Me" chanted by attendees at the 50th anniversary of MLK's March on Washington - Aziza Kibibi
Self Published is written, produced, edited and hosted by Aziza Kibibi.
Music by Yomoti, Gunnar Johnson and Arden Frost via Epidemic Sound.
Resources and Offers
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