There is a cyclical persuasion in my African *or African’t persona. Some days, waking early to calls of foreign languages, transmitted either in bird chirps or children’s cries, brings some solidity to my mess of a mind. I’ll wake, sweat soaked sheets sprawled about my mat, crawling for water, begging the air to enter and exit without stress, mind running, body in slow motion… but then also, I wake. I wake up and realize that I’m up. At’em. Alive. In Africa.
The bouts of depression, which have become a normality in my Malian life, though scarce in number are grave in severity, have become a bit more spiked. They come and go, busting down my gates of sensible security and self, with ease and creativity. Today’s came after a short night of sleep, lessened by small amounts of bad food, thus energy, in my body, calculated with a looming test and the upcoming, seemingly infinite loneliness of site.
Come and go. Come. Stay a while. Have a seat. Take my stomach, tie it into knots, and then throw out the remains in a fury. Then go, with what little self I have left, and remind me of the keyless entry it has upon me.
Taking control of these moments of helplessness, though moment might be the wrong wordage, is a very tough thing to do. Facing, boldly, the one thing that may bring my own destruction, is terrifying. Scarier than the rains. Scarier than the bugs. Scarier than the darkness.
Scary and terribly necessary.
Hold my hand, won’t you? Tell me it’s going to be ok.
Deep down I know its ok. That I'll survive this just as I have always survived these. But then, since when am I just surviving? Since when am I not striving to thrive? Soon, I’ll padlock my door, install a doorbell and chime and only answer when I know I can overpower it with wit and charm and cookies.
Until then, however, I could use some of that good old, American comraderie, state of the art, friendly, fondly delivered reassurance. (Thanks.)