How do you define your own success?
I say the clue is there in the question, and the quote up there in my subtitle by H. R. H. Maya Angelou — hits the nail on the head for me.
You define it. The ‘idea’ of success — does not define you.
Success is not a monolith. I repeat: Success. Is. Not. A. Monolith (damn, I would love if that line doubled up into a nice little acronym, but ‘SINAM’ just sounds dumb to me *shrugs shoulders*).
Sometimes I get fooled in this modern era of the ‘like me’ ‘look at me’ social media ‘interverse’, that success comes from an external source.
But I know, I really know — it has nothing to do with any of that.
It’s ALL about the internal, my own Universe of inner space.
Even though I behave badly sometimes, like when I’m yelling at my kiddies for the twentieth time in any single day for not doing A or B or for doing C and D, or like this morning, or quite honestly — most mornings, when I’m driving them to school and have a swearing fit at bandit drivers who cut us up or honk their horns our way.
I like who I am. I’m an unapologetically African, stubborn, sarcastic, irritable, empathetic, passionate, petulant, introverted woman.
I like what I do. I’m a Writer of words that tell stories about stuff that’s light and dark and high and low — with a lot of Poetry and Prose.
I like how I do it. Allowing myself to be human and acknowledging feeling all things sometimes.
By writing, endeavouring to keep reading and reading other Writers who are different to me or similar to me and always try to pick the words I write like they are things that can be consumed and become part of your own skin.
“pick a word like you pick a melon. examine its skin. its weight. its viscosity. its sound. its texture. its ability to be juice and meat.” — Nayyirah Waheed
Don’t get it twisted though, I have goals like writing loads of books and making loads of money to ensure the financial stability of myself and my kiddies and my family and friends.
I don’t like seeing people’s characters being so distorted by the pressure to obtain money in the struggle to pay rent and taxes and feed and clothe ourselves, that we keep drifting further and further away from relaxing into who we are really meant to be.
I can only hope that by the time I’m done with this life, I have spilled enough of the love in my veins back into the Universe and written words into story after story that have heartbeats that echo all the layers upon layers of this fascinating life stuff and are read by many eyes and fingertips — like memories left behind finding new life.
I don’t know anything about tomorrow, but I do know — I am a heady mix of sunshine and thunderstorm, laced with fear yet leaning heavily into reckless abandon, armed with the knowledge of my cluelessness (is that a word? I don’t know, i’ll google it later no doubt) about everything and my curiosity about everything.
Since I like all those aspects about me, and I understand I am always evolving and improving my self awareness — all whilst fucking up here and there along the way, I humbly, define myself as a successful human in my own skin — today.