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Are you in control? Am I even in control?

I woke up this morning, like most mornings, with a to-do list flying around my head. It’s as if there’s a tiny sergeant major in my mind with a whip who’s looking over me and screaming out instructions of things I need to get done. Things that are “overdue”, responses that people are waiting for, deadlines that are coming up, tasks that need to get done today, goals that I haven’t yet achieved… the list goes on.

It’s not a nice way to wake up but it’s been my reality for probably the last seven years or so. I’ve gotten a lot better at having control over the voices in my head, the voices that simultaneously motivate me and bully me, but there’s one voice, one message that I can’t shake. It’s the most gentle one, the kindest… the softest… but the most impactful. It’s the one that keeps telling me that I need to write. Write my own story. Write my thoughts. Write my feelings… And publish them. I don’t know why, I don’t even know who would want to read what I have to say but it’s been this deep-rooted feeling, a feeling that comes from the core of my soul, for almost a decade and I’ve never really acted on it. So today I wanna explore why… I want to look at control, and desire, and responsibilities, and truths. And how all of these things interact with each other to guide the decisions that we make in our lives.

I launched The New Dawn about a month ago, and haven’t posted a single blog or piece of content that I had planned to go along with it… Why? Because I’ve been inundated with work… accepting a Chief Executive Officer role at one of South Africa’s fastest-growing organisations, moving back to Cape Town, and finding my grounding again, all while still managing my own business, hiring new staff, and training my team to take over the day-to-day running of my own businesses while I move into this new phase of my life, it’s all been A LOT.

Wait.. Shakirah WHAT?? You moved back to CPT? You started a new job? Yes, and yes… major major shifts… but we’ll chat more about that in a different blog :)

The point is… I haven’t been writing, because I’ve been busy, with a capital B U S Y. But… If I’ve had this soul-clenching desire to write for all these years, why have I never done it? Whenever I ask myself this question, it always makes me feel as though I’m not really in control of my own life. Because, surely if I was… then I would be doing the things that my soul desires, right? I would be following my heart and working in the arts full-time, or writing books for a living… but I’m not. So why not?

Maybe it’s because I value the freedom that financial security can provide? The opportunities and experiences that it brings me in life. Maybe it’s because rent is due, clients are knocking, I have staff salaries to pay, insurance premiums, car repayments and so many other things that demand my attention. Things that have real-life consequences. I’ve been extremely blessed in my life, alhamdulillah, in that opportunities have almost always presented themselves to me… without me having to look too hard to find them. I’ve always been someone who just puts my head down, does the work… and the rest follows. I’ve been a firm believer for most of my life that you should grab every and any opportunity with both hands, so that’s what I did. That’s what I do. But, just accepting everything that comes your way, without being intentional about it, also means that your fate is chosen for you. That you become who and what other people and your surroundings want you to be.

It often means growth, but in what direction?

I don’t actually know the answers to these questions that I’m posing. I’m exploring this with you. These thoughts are raw and unfiltered, and hopefully, as we self-actualise together, we’ll be able to answer some of these questions for ourselves, and I’ll be able to find my answers.

But something I do definitively know, is that… I want to write. I need to write. And if it’s something I keep saying that I truly truly want… no matter how busy I am, no matter how many deadlines there are, no matter how tired I am… I need to make the time. I will make the time. Because, how can you say you want something but not actually make the time for it? Not prioritise it? Not carve out spaces where your desires can come to life?

For as long as you don’t… for as long as I don’t… I’ll never feel in control. I’ll always feel like capatalism is winning. Like, my destiny is being decided for me.

I understand that we live in a system where certain things are non-negotiable. Paying bills, making money to buy food and survive is paramount to anyone’s existence, and I never want to take away from the very real realities that people need to go through in order to make this happen for themselves. All I’m saying is, that I’m tired of feeling like I’m not in control. And that if I say I truly want to do something… if my entire existence is pulling me towards a particular calling… How can I not answer it? How can I live with myself ignoring this truth?

Time is how you show commitment, living your most authentic truth is how you show bravery and I want to be able to wake up in the morning not being shouted at by some fictional sergeant major in my head… I want to wake up in the morning knowing that I’m intentional about making the time to be brave.



Written on 8 November 2023

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