I was following my normal humdrum “wake up” routine today and scrolled though my social media timelines when a video of our safe comfortable lives in the West was juxtaposed with the war and poverty in the East and across the African continent. This struck a cord with me, as my subconscious was already saturated with images of climate crisis, flooding, fires, starvation, plagues, disease and death. I felt compelled to write, because that’s what I can do. That’s my strength, the power of written word. Some will chastise me for not doing enough when they, themselves, have done nothing. But that’s okay, we all have our strengths and parts of play.
In Search of Myself
About three years ago, I wrote Advice from a Failed Startup Founder. Back then, life was very different for me, and I was determined to paint another picture for you: the rarely ever seen picture of failure. You see, most people only ever speak about their successes because they are ashamed of their failures, or they are afraid of the judgement from their peers. I can totally understand that, but I am neither afraid of judgement nor ashamed of my failures. Failure to me isn’t really failure; quitting means failure, giving up means failure. What most people view as a failure, is really a lesson for me, a crash course in what not to do next time. When a child learns to write or draw or even walk, they learn it through micro-failures that teach them all the ways they didn’t achieve their objective. Similarly, failure to me is just a lesson in what not to do next time.
Stop on your way to work for 30 seconds and look around you. What do you see? The postman is out delivering mail, people are rushing past you on the busy street to get to work, Amazon delivering a midnight order of nappies, construction workers continue to toil on, a child is throwing a tantrum with a frustrated parent, cyclists whooshing by, and impatient drivers blowing their horns in traffic like it would make a difference.
When you stop, the world continues around you. No one has really noticed that you stopped moving. Nothing happens. No crisis at the office as happened because you took 30 seconds to breathe. Look at how insignificant you actually are in the massive world we live in.
Every day of my life, I grapple with feeling like I’m invisible, or at the very least, semi-transparent. It’s like living life, but never really being a part of things, but just a spectator. Often, when people walk into a room, they don’t notice me until I speak up, as though I blend into the walls, partly in this dimension and partly in another. And when they do notice me, it’s almost in shock because I’ve startled them, or embarrassment because they didn’t see me sitting there for the last ten minutes.
I will admit, I’m a physically still individual who prefers to speak up when necessary, or at least I aim to. I tend to keep my thoughts and opinions to myself, as in the past, they were always met with some level of hostility, so it’s probably best if I kept my mouth shut. But what baffles me is that people say that I “blend” into my surroundings, as though I was some form of human chameleon. I’m often forgotten and left out of things, and most times, I never feel included.