Flight or Fight: Growing Through The Cracks

The way to get through life is to count your blessings but there are times  when you feel that there aren’t any to count. There are moments when you feel like your life is useless and you haven’t achieved anything that makes your life all a bit more meaningful. Have you ever felt like this? Well I know this has certainly been the case for me far too many times. There are days when I feel like I have nothing to be thankful or blessed about. Where is the blessing in losing loved ones? That’s right! There is no blessing in that-none whatsoever. Having these negative thoughts made me so bitter and pessimistic; to the point where I actually started  believing there was no hope left. “This isn’t the way to move forward”, I kept saying to myself once I came to the realisation that my emotions were getting the best of me. There is no way I can be negative and happy at the same time it’s one or the other, but certainly not both.

Granted, losing my parents was a painful and still is, however the experience was also a humbling experience. Their deaths changed my whole outlook on life; allowing me to truly realise what’s important: my friends, family, and my mental health. I have a tendency at times to ignore what’s going on in my head and keep telling myself that ‘I’m fine’. In actual truth I’m far from fine, I have my moments of sadness but I try not to let them consume me to the point they disturb my positive energy. Being positive isn’t about crying less or a guarantee there won’t be bad days, it’s more of a choice (emphasis on the word choice) to purposely grow through the cracks despite the hardship. I have personally made the choice to grow through my pain and be positive no matter how hard it is (and it will definitely be hard).

I see positivity as choice between fighting or flying. Both are a matter of acknowledging your negative emotions that has you torn on the inside.  When you choose to fly, you’re letting these feelings of pain and endless sadness consume you to the point where you don’t even attempt to address them. What you’re essentially doing is letting these feelings ‘fly away’, instead of fighting the good fight. Choosing to fight is simply about confronting these emotions and controlling them rather than letting them control you. It’s an active choice to find ways to positively overcome these negative thoughts.This is all easier said than done, because I’ve been through times where I’ve let my emotions ‘fly away’ or get the better of me. The feeling of defeat and loneliness  led me to think life was no longer worth living. I felt like a massive failure, I didn’t want to push through the cracks (hardship) or even be positive as I didn’t see the point. The pain felt so deep that I didn’t see any way of overcoming it. In these moments I felt like giving up on everything.

 

It isn’t always easy to fight and combat negative emotions but a part of me knew that fighting them (mentally) was the right thing to do. I’m trying to live positively and choose to not live in a perpetual state of mourning. I want to grow through the pain,the sadness, and the hardship.I can’t change or erase my experiences as much as they have affected me, but I choose to live implicitly without fear.

Jermaine Omoregie. 21.09.16

 

 

 

Advertisements

“Pain Is My Microphone”

Dad is gone, Mum is gone,and Grandad is also gone. How many losses can one take until they reach breaking point? I ask myself this question all the time and wonder whether this is all a test from God. I’m convinced that it is, that is the only sane and somewhat logical explanation I can attribute to all this bereavement. I have been hit so hard with the death (consecutively) of my Mum and Dad that I can’t weep anymore for anyone else as there is only so much loss I can take.

‘I am doing fine’ is often the blanket response I deploy when people, who have heard what I’ve been through, ask me how I am or how I am coping with it all. There are days where I don’t feel like being expressive about my true feelings, so on those days that response just prevents me from engaging in a heart-to-heart conversation. I am not always like this, I just have my days when the pain just hits me harder so I don’t feel like talking to anyone. A lot of the time I’m told: “with time you will heal”. This is so generic and somewhat unnecessary at times. I almost hate hearing it now because it’s not true as I personally feel that you learn to adjust with time rather than heal. On the other hand some people say it because they don’t know what to say, which is understandable. I don’t lash out when people say this because it’s not easy trying to console someone who has been through ‘hell’ in such a short space of time.

There are days when my pain gets deeper, and days where I feel like it’s completely gone. I’m grateful for these days because it’s part of the grieving process. In a weird way I enjoy the pain because it urges me to use it for something positive. As, author and pastor, Levi Lusko put it: “Pain is my microphone”. I have been reading this book Through The Eyes Of A Lion,  which looks at how one man (Levi Lusko) deals with unexpected death of his (five year old) daughter, and the ways in which he uses the pain it brought to minister to the world and give encouragement.

I’m not a pastor nor am I trying to be, but I do feel that my pain can be used as a microphone to speak to those who are hurting, those who have nobody to turn to, and those who are suffering in silence. I want to grab this mic and speak loud, and just let it all out. It is easy to keep things in, but speaking about your deepest thoughts and telling the world about your pain is so hard. There have been times where I’ve felt like caging my feelings and shutting people out because loss of this magnitude is too much to bear.  I felt that telling people about my losses would make them feel sorry for me because it is so sad to lose your loved ones one after the other.

The past few months haven’t been easy and each day is a battle, but I have come to the realisation that I can’t control or stop God from taking loved ones away from me. I wish could so badly! The only thing I can do is control how I think and the energy I emit to the world. My pain will be constructive rather than destructive because I have this desire to use it to help others who have experienced my pain, or simply those who are suffering due to bad experiences which may not be from bereavement. I don’t know what lies ahead in the coming days,months or even years, but I’m trying to feed my mind with positive thoughts and believe that there is still hope for a brighter future amid all this darkness.

 

Jermaine Omoregie. 23.08.16.

 

Bent But Not Broken: Compensating For A Loss

When I was told that my mum passed away, my head felt like it was going through a rollercoaster of emotions. My heart sank that day and a part of me felt that life, as I knew it, was truly over. “I will never smile or be happy again” I mournfully said to myself a couple hours after the news had hit me. The thought and realising that I may end up in a perpetual state of mourning for the rest of my life scared me. In hindsight this was simply the bereavement talking and truly getting the best of me. I began to envisage a myriad of happy moments that can take place in my life that will surely help me get over this loss: marriage, nice house, new car, etc. Once I experience all of this I will be happy again and my sanity will be restored. Yet again hindsight has turned out to be a beautiful thing as this feeling was nothing other than a false belief. Associating true happiness with an idea or an object to compensate for bereavement is simply a recipe for disaster. The truth is, as I’ve come to realise, nothing or anybody can change what I’m going through. A part of me will always be empty and, as weird as it sounds, it’s oaky knowing that this emptiness can never be filled.

 

Two days ago made it three months since the Duchess – which is a nickname my mum gave herself – passed away. Feelings of sadness resurfaced, as expected, and emotions ran high as I began to reflect on her life, and admire the courage she had to live it to the fullest. ‘Days like this are normal and are part of the grieving process’  I said to myself, ‘Everyday can’t be a happy day and a loss of a loved one is not something that can be compensated for’ I continuously said in my head time after time.

Three months on, I’m mentally stronger,smarter and wiser, hindsight is a beautiful thing. If I hadn’t allowed myself to process things and naturally grieve then I wouldn’t have peace of mind or even be able to remain sane. I’ve come to realise that when you are dealing with a loss of a loved one the best thing to do is allow yourself to mourn in whatever way you see fit. That is exactly what I – and still doing to this very day – did, I’ve learnt to take one day at a time and let feelings flow naturally. One day I may be really down and just want cocoon myself from the world and another day I feel motivated and inspired to take on the world and make my mum proud. This is how life goes when you’ve loved and lost someone dear to you, it’s a feeling that you can’t stop or control (to an extent). I can’t bring my mum back to this world – as much as I would like to – but it’s life and I have to deal with it. She is gone but her wisdom and attitude towards life lives on and most of all it lives through me.

‘I will never smile or be happy again’ an emotional me, that felt that there was nothing else to look forward to in life, once said. In retrospect I couldn’t disagree more, as I have plenty to look forward to. Writing this article has been a self realisation that I am able to coureagously move on. Three months ago I wouldn’t have been able to string a sentence together about my ordeal, but today I can compose a whole article let alone a sentence. To me this progress and progress is always a good thing to smile about.

The time will come when I celebrate many more milestones (marriage, children, first home,dream job/car) and I believe that I will be able to celebrate them – in whichever order they come – because I have learnt to be happy in this present moment. There is no such thing as compensating for a loss of a loved one. As I have stressed constantly, you simply can’t replace or fully get over that loss. So rather than thinking I am going to be better and feel more happy again when  I finally get, that new car, engaged or decide to start a family, I have realised that these things will not change what has happened. Instead I have learnt to be happy where I’m – in life – at now and come to understand that I’m in charge of my own happiness. Nothing will change my experience and I’ve accepted that attaching happiness to objects or a destination will also not change my experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bent But Not Broken: Dealing with Bereavement from an early age

The strongest people are those that have been given tests in life and have no other option but to be strong

The strongest people in life are those who have been given challenging tests and have no other option but to be strong in order to get through them. As a result of this strong mindset they learn how to deal with life changing events when they occur. I can tell you now that I am a testament to that and I have to say I never thought I would be one of those people who are forced to be strong or most all have to deal with life changing situations.

Last year I lost my Father and it hit me hard but with time I learnt to deal with the pain and after a while I felt that it subsided. When I was told the news my mind was not in shock but more at rest knowing that he was now in a better place but that didn’t stop me from crying uncontrollably. That morning after my aunts and uncle dropped the news I rushed to my room to be alone with  my thoughts. I paused for a moment and stared deep into my mirror feeling really dazed and confused then the tears started flowing down my cheeks uncontrollably. At the back of my head I felt that this day would always come, due to the years of suffering and pain he was in, but I always had a sense of hope that he would get better and I hanged on to that for so many years. Needless to say this loss hurt me badly and I went through a phase of feeling crap about myself and life in general. I began to doubt and worried about how I would get through the days ahead. Eventually I got back on track and started feeling good and optimistic about my life again.

However things were about to change without me even realising it and I thought my experience of dealing with bereavement was over. On Friday the 30th of October 2015, pain and suffering came knocking again. This time it was the loss of my mother that struck me, which by no means was an easy thing to deal and come to terms with, even now as I write this I still haven’t fully accepted that she is no longer with me. I had been given another blow but much harder this time. I was so baffled when the news came in as we (my sister and aunt) all felt that she would pull through as she did last time she was in the same situation.

My Mother suffered from Sickle Cell Anaemia, for those who are not aware it is a rare blood disorder, so throughout her life she has had to take a lot of medication and have regular visits to the hospital. After a while there is only so much your body can take when you’ve been taking medication throughout your entire life. As we get older, illness or not, our body starts to wear down. This was the case for my mother who had travelled and loved to see the world, at 52 her body was in a state where it couldn’t handle anymore medication or exhaustion. On her first trip to Nigeria this year in April she was ill and her blood level was lower than normal. She was taken to hospital where doctors were working round the clock trying to help her and thankfully they gave her a blood transfusion. My aunt, sister and myself  back in London were so worried but when told that she was okay now and would be able to fly back home we were very relieved. When she arrived back in london we urged her to take things easy and relax so we wouldn’t have to go through another scare like that again.

As the months flew by I felt so happy that my mother went through that experience and had come out on top. It allowed me to realise that she was such a fighter and wouldn’t let anything stop her from enjoying life. When she travelled in October, for the second time this year, to Nigeria I was so worried and even asked her angrily and as a son who was worried about his mother: “Why are you travelling there again?”. I didn’t get many answers that were satisfactory enough but deep down inside I knew I couldn’t stop her from doing what she wanted to do. Then a couple weeks into her trip we had received news from family in Nigeria that she had fell ill again and needed urgent medical attention. At this moment I was not worried at all as I felt, and so did my sister and aunt, that she pulled through this situation before so she can surely do it again.

I kept calling family members back there trying to get news on her current state and I kept being told that she is poorly but there were signs that she would be okay. So on that night I felt a bit at ease. However this feeling changed as we received news the next morning that she had taken a turn for the worse and doctors were scrambling around to do the best they can to give her the help she needed. On that same morning I remember getting dressed for work but I decided to stay at home so I could be well informed on her condition. We waited and waited and I kept thinking she will pull through again and certain of it too. All that changed when my aunt, who came to my house to keep an eye on me and my sister, received a phone call. Before she said a word I started crying and my heart felt like it had dropped, the look in her eyes and the silence that surrounded the room told me that my mother was gone. I started crying, screaming and punching the walls asking God; “Why” …. “Why are you doing this to me?”. At that very moment I felt like I was going to die and was in so much disbelief at the same time. A part of me was hoping that the call was a mistake and they had got the news all wrong.

I continued to cry for hours and hours and I felt that my life could not continue from that moment on. I was worried,scared and my mind was in overdrive. That night of the day we were hit with the news I cried myself to sleep like a baby. A  grown 25 year old like me had to cry himself to sleep. How sad I thought to myself.Then after the news people started coming to my house to pay their respects and offer condolences, which is normal I guess but after a while I wanted to be left alone and just have my own space to be at one with my thoughts.

The day the news about my mother came in will always be remembered as  Black Friday and one that I will never forget. As I am writing this my heart is heavy and I miss my mother so much. I never would have ever imagined losing both my parents at the age of 25. It hurts and it hurts more as the days go by, but whether this happened 25 years from now the pain would still be just as bad. I have had negative thoughts thinking that my life is over and I will never be happy again. As 2015 is coming to an end, the year has made me realise, as cliche as it is, life is too short but even shorter when you spend it not doing what you enjoy with the people who mean the most to you.

My Mother  is gone and no matter how much I dream about her returning she isn’t coming back. Knowing that makes me so sad but it is all about choice; I have a choice to be sad and allow myself to be depressed or  I can get on with things and make my mother proud. I chose to go with the latter because it is better to be motivated by bereavement rather than consumed by it.  I personally feel that my mother lived a wonderful life and most of all left behind a fantastic legacy. There is no way I am going to allow that to be ruined by negativity and darkness instead as her son I am going to honour her legacy and continue to be the man she raised.

There is no easy way to deal with death especially as a man, child and young adult like myself. The only way to get through it is to find something that keeps you going and allows you to stay motivated about life. This can be anything from a craft, memory or even the person. My mother is my motivation in everything I do, now more than ever, and for that very reason I will achieve the things I set out to achieve. It is easier said than done because when you lose someone the pain never really disappears and there may be things that reminds you of that person. You have to remember that it is okay to cry now and then and feel sad but never lose faith or your belief that things will get easier. Things will get easier depending on what you allow yourself to think day in day out.

I chose to remember the lovely memories I had with my mother and I also chose to use my mother’s death as a blueprint for my own life. She lived a wonderful life and was good to people in so many ways, as a result I want to live my life in a similar way and emulate that good spirit she had. It is the idea of this that keeps me going, positive and allows my mind to be sane. The loss of both parents a year after each other has affected me but I have been bent and not broken.

 

 

Homeland to Bond: Damian Lewis set to star as next 007

There has been a lot of speculation into who will play the next James Bond, once Daniel Craig decides he’s had enough of the high-speed car chases and seducing irresistible femme fatales. Idris Elba was a name that frequently came up in the rumour mill of who would become the next 007, but that rumour has been well and truly buried, as Damian Lewis has been given the unofficial stamp of approval that he would be producer’s first choice to take over (Daily Mail,2015).

I personally have no objection to Lewis taking on the role, but I wouldn’t mind a bit of diversity too. Idris Elba has – arguably – made his mark on Hollywood and in the acting business as a whole, he’s shown his versatility in a number of fantastic roles (No Good Deed, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, American Gangster).  On that basis I generally think that playing the next 007 would be perfect, and not to mention he is a hit with the ladies.

Picture: Vogue

Picture: Vogue

Ah well! We don’t always get what we want in life. Now that speculation is over, well for now anyway, it is reported that the new bond film: Spectre is due for an October release. If you liked Daniel Craig in the previous bond instalment  I’m sure you will enjoy this one. There are set to be a few new replacements and faces, as Ralph Fiennes takes on the role as M (formerly played by Dame Judi Dench), Naomi Harris still plays Eve Moneypenny and Christoph Waltz plays the bond villain; Franz Oberhauser.

If this happens to be Craig’s last hurrah as the martini drinking protagonist I’m sure he will like to end with a bang, but then again it isn’t good to put too much high hopes on a film. If you are wondering what to expect in this latest instalment the trailer would be a good starting point, in terms of giving you an idea into what 007 will be up against.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Review: Legend

Double trouble is not even close to describing identical twins Reggie and Ronnie Kray in Brian Helgeland’s (Mystic River, 42, Man on Fire, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) latest crime movie; Legend. The film, which is also a biopic, chronicles the volatile life of the Kray Twins, starring Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max,Inception) who plays both Reggie and Ronnie. I must say this is one of Tom’s finest work to date and he really did well to pull off a double performance as both twins. I felt I gained a better understanding into the life of two of London’s most notorious gangsters.

The film depicted the violent, but also glamorous, lifestyle lived by the Kray twins in London during the 1950s and 1960s. Violence, accompanied with fear and intimidation, helped the pair gain power and become rulers of London’s underworld. Their notoriety made them celebrities in their own right, it was evident throughout the movie that they enjoyed their high-profile status and loved being in front of the camera, always seizing an opportunity to be photographed.

Crime may have been a key focus in the movie, but it was more than that, as Frances (played by Emily Browning) and Reggie’s ‘love story’ added that element of romance to the storyline. This didn’t bother me at first but as the story progressed I had to question whether this was a film about the rise of the Krays or a woman who fell in love with a gangster. I understood that there had to be a love interest thrown in somewhere, but I felt that in this particular case her role was giving too much significance. Her being the key narrator throughout the movie gave me the impression that the story was about her and how she fell in love (which she later regretted) with Reggie. This often shifted focus from what the film was about: the Krays rise to power and how they gained notoriety.

As a frequent cinema-goer it’s always good to know you’re getting your money’s worth and I can definitely say Legend was worth every penny. If they were alive today Reggie and Ronnie would have probably given Tom a pat on the back for doing such a good job on his portrayal of them. If you’re a fan (like myself) of Tom Hardy then Legend is a must-see even if crime/gangster films aren’t your thing. The movie is available to watch at cinemas across the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainy Days

It’s crazy how 2015 has flown by so quickly and quite scary too. The time,  where some start with the whole: ‘new year .. new me’ and making resolutions for the upcoming year, is almost upon us. I have never really been one to make resolutions or vowed to be a new person once a new year approaches.  The beginning and end of the year shouldn’t be about exercising a ‘ new you’ it should merely be about reflection and thinking of ways you can improve, if not, achieve those targets you set for yourself within that year. Well that’s certainly how  I look at it.

At the start of this year I got a pen and paper and wrote down a list of things I wanted to achieve by the end of the year. There were about 10 objectives  I set for myself, but I was only focused on one in particular: being able to have better money management. This isn’t to say that the other nine objectives weren’t important, but I just felt that this in particular was what I needed to work on the most. I have never been good at saving and spending money wisely. I have always lived by this notion that so long as I am working then it is okay to spend how I wish and not save. Well I have certainly discovered that this was absolute nonsense and the wrong way to think.

Around the end of October last year I was made redundant from my former job, and whilst I was happy about this because I wanted to leave that job, but it made me realise why it’s crucial to save money. Normally when you have a  job you save because anything can happen and we all know that in this day and age absolute job stability is a myth. Despite knowing this I still didn’t take my own advice, but instead spent how I wanted to and didn’t worry because the twentieth of every month was  pay day. How silly can one person be? So when I finally left that job I wasn’t really worried as I wanted to leave and  had also secured another job, which was scheduled to start in January. I thought to myself, at the time, ‘It’s only two months away … It won’t be that bad’, unbeknownst to me it was.

I hadn’t saved much from this job and my new job wasn’t starting in about two months, so I felt that it would be easy to grind, as two months didn’t seem that far away. I soon realised that I couldn’t, as  I had received a call from my  recruitment consultant informing me that the job would now commence in March due to some issues the company were having. To cut a long story short, it was at that very moment I knew I was screwed because there was no way I could financially survive, with the little I had saved, until March.

I was so pissed off and angry,but I only had myself to blame and anger wasn’t going to solve anything. Then it hit me! I realised that I needed to get practical.  I had begun to apply for jobs, desperately seeking anything that would have at least given me some form of cash flow until March. I had secured a few interviews which, unfortunately, followed with very little success and with the same old cliches: ‘we’ve hired someone with more experience’, but that didn’t bother me much, because it’s the nature of job interviews; you win some and you lose some.My concern was over the fact that I practically had little money to sustain me through my period of unemployment. This was constantly on my mind, I knew something had to be done and quickly too. I (with great reluctancy at first) signed on for Job Seekers Allowance at the Job Centre, which didn’t entirely solve the problem but, the £114.00 going into my bank account fortnightly, was a start.

Every week I would have to talk to a careers advisor and tell her what it was I wanted to do with myself career wise, which in return she would offer advice on the necessary steps to take and the sort of jobs I should be looking at. This was a nice gesture and all and my advisor probably had my best interest at heart but I just felt it was a waste of time. Which was probably cheeky of me to think because that money was helping me get by.

When I think back and really reflect on the situation, I must say it’s embarrassing.They say experience is the hardest  teacher but teaches you the most valuable lesson (well I think that’s how the saying goes anyway lol), regardless of how the saying goes or whether that is an actual saying, I most certainly learned a lot and why it’s important to save for a rainy day even if you have a good, well paying and ‘secure’ job.

I will never go through such an experience again because I’ve figured out a way to manage my income better so that  I can prepare for hard times and the scary possibility of unemployment however long the spell may last for. We should never let money control us but it is safe to say (well as my aunt always says)  that cash is king when managed properly and when possessed in abundance when faced with unemployment or lack of a substantial income.