There are three things I’ve given up in order to find some explainable meaning to my life. I’ve gotten rid of the mental, physical, and spiritual garbage that seemed to make it hard for me to stand up and confidently say that I am not a bad person. I want to embrace new energies, to be proud, to feel great, and live a life that’s as pure as water in a Priest’s glass. So I have given up beer, church, and women.

I’ve quit alcohol, my beloved friend for as long as I can remember, my friend who has been with me through breakups, deaths, losses, and celebrations. It hasn’t been easy, a heart wrecking separation that’s akin to a marital one. It’s had its share of tears, its share of nightmares, and loss of belonging. It’s a decision that has torn a very visible line between two groups of people in my life, those who care for me and those who care for what I’ve got.

In the first group are people who commend me for doing this. They tell me I did the right thing, that it’s the right path to take because beer would’ve ruined me (and they point out some notable scars to prove it). So this group still hangs out with me, I’m still cool to them.  The second group thinks I’m no longer fun to be with. They just can’t believe I’ve quit, every chance they get they try to lure me back. Then when it’s apparent to them that I’ve actually quit one by one they disappear from my life. They disappear faster than fame of an evicted big brother housemate. I won’t mention their names, but come on guys you know who you are..

Also, from the time I put the bottle down I’ve had to endure some of the most unimaginable insomnia patterns. It’s hard to sleep, not when sobriety allows you to see things from a more detailed and attached point of view. Rapidly, things are not seen from it–will–sort–itself–out point of view but everything is now in the what–I’m–I–going–to–do perspective.

It’s hard to just switch off the light and sleep, not when you’re me. I do that and the guy in my head who likes to torment me with things I hardly have any control over switches the light on in there. All of the sudden, I find myself thinking about things, reliving things, puzzling over earlier conversations, wincing at mistakes, and regretting some choices. I begin to hear voices, some of them good, but most of them tell me bad things, very bad things. It’s these kinds of voices that keep me awake, they scare me. I get so freaked that I pick up my phone – regardless of the time, and begin to text people, hoping their replies would help me calm down.

At least I have people I can rely on, like Martha and Tendai, people who no matter the time will always text back and that beats the manic in me to calm down. But imagine my dilemma when they don’t buzz or text back? I start loathing them, wondering why they are abandoning me, and so thoughts continue and the pattern becomes longer, I can’t sleep. Alcohol used to get me through these episodes, with some of the heaviest shots pumped into my system I simply fall on my bed and like a corpse sleep comes ‘naturally’ (if you dig the metaphor). But hey I quit beer about eight months ago. I have had only one drink this year; destiny knows how close I’ve come to having more than that lately.

I’ve quit church –for real this time, in truth I haven’t stepped foot into the holy house since those days when my best friend Mwelwa would invite me over to her church (not taking into account the two occasions during my cousins’ weddings). And that was more than four years ago but before that I can’t even remember, so let’s just say I started quitting nine or ten years ago but I finally did it this year. Don’t get me wrong though, I am religious.

I believe in God just like I believe I’ll die one day. I just don’t believe most of the harsh qualities attributed to Him by the same institutions that are supposed to enlighten us on His word and purpose for us. To be honest, if it weren’t for God I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t even be writing this, so for that I am grateful. But what I don’t like is the idea that God is some mean Creator who will kill you if you enjoy yourself a little or the idea that He only exists in one faith. To me, the fact that you know wrong from right deep down your heart is proof that God exists, that He’s in your heart, your soul and nowhere else. I mean, after all only God knows you completely, right?

So I have quit church because I can’t step foot in these so-called denominations that can’t seem to get along. They are the ones who are supposed to preach about peace, togetherness and all that yet it’s them who cannot stand each other. Isn’t it ironic that every church says they know the real truth and the others don’t? But isn’t God the same?

Anyway, I can’t go to Catholics because there are just so many rituals, so many things to say, do, or perform. Plus, the whole ‘Holy Mary’ thing. Is it just me being religiously naïve or is there anywhere in the bible where it says pray to Mary for you to be saved? Wasn’t it Jesus who said the only way to the Father is through me? Or something like that, you know, when they asked Him to tell them how to pray, remember when He gave the Lord’s Prayer?

I can’t go to the Seventh Day Adventists (SDA), for both personal and religious reasons. Personally, on Saturday I hate doing anything that involves rules. It’s a day I get to be me, be liberal, have fun, and distance myself from all the pressure. And church is just too much pressure, so much effort in behaving the right way, dressing the right way. Then religiously I hate that SDA spends most of their time speaking about other churches, particularly the Catholics. They are like a person who constantly tells the world how his parents were bad to him, how they abused him, somewhere along that line it becomes too much, it’s played out and people stop listening, much like the boy who cried wolf (if you can dig the metaphor). So maybe Sunday is not the actual Sabbath, but who cares? Get over it; you are supposed to pray every day anyway.

For the Jehovah’s Witness, well, let’s just say I like my freedom..

And for the Pentecost, there are just so many of them that are inauthentic. Which reminds me, about the church my friend used to invite me to, it turns out they are fake too, driven by their perturbed perception that success means material things. Thank God she switched to another church, that she’s finally found somewhere she feels right at home because their idle talk and rumours almost ruined her relationship, let alone her life.

But do you know the real reason I gave up church? I quit to remove the middle man. It’s one of the cardinal rules of effective communication. I know for a fact that come Judgement Day, I’ll be alone with my creator. No pastor, no parent, no brother, and no friend to vouch for me. So I figured “hey, why bother trying to save face when come that day they won’t be of any help to me”. So from now on I don’t care what you say about me. Yes, I don’t go to church but I speak to God directly, it’s just me and Him. No pastor, nothing. I live morally correct; pray every morning to thank Him that I woke up and every night to thank Him that I lived. Believe you me; our relationship has grown to insurmountable heights.

And then I have quit women (well, at least for now). Finally I’ve figured out that maybe I’m not cut out to be their reason for breathing (again, if you dig the metaphor), it’s too much pressure. There’s a time when I used to be good at keeping them happy. I used to put them before me; it was about them, them and their needs. I’d spend hours thinking of new ways to show that I loved them, that I cared, and that they mattered to me. I would call them, text them, email them, take them out, invite them to parties, buy them random gifts, just be there for them financially, sexually, mentally, and physically, and then just at the right time I would distance myself just a little bit, you know “to make their heart grow fonder”. But even that wasn’t enough. Maybe I had their needs all confused? But I would spend time listening to their dry jokes and laughing like they were funnier than Chris Rock’s. I would be there listening to them whine about their homes, friends, bosses, and lecturers (sometimes even teachers). I was there through it all, and sitting there listening to them talk, I’d tell myself “look passed whatever the hell she’s saying, just remember how she’s feeling”. I thought that was it, and believe me I tried keeping up but I guess I just wasn’t ready to understand when she was feeling depressed, when she was feeling needy, feeling down, feeling pretty, feeling ignored, feeling misunderstood, or feeling betrayed. There were so many feelings I didn’t even know which to expect!

I am no quitter, never have been my entire life but now I can quit putting people’s needs before my own, quit pretending, and quit enduring. Frankly, doing that has always led me to drinking, it has led me to church (yeah seeking to be forgiven for all those evil thoughts I had about you every time you talked about your feelings), and it has led me to other women, who’ve led me to other women who’re just like the rest of the women.

So I have to break the chain, stop the cycle. Honestly, I already met the woman of my life many years ago and I screwed up! All this while I’ve been looking for her, for someone like her, and now after 8 girlfriends, 11 flings, and 4 one-night stands I figured I probably never will.

 So yes, I am no quitter but I have finally quit three things this year; beer, church, and women. This is to find some explainable meaning in my life, to embrace new energies and all that. I am supposed to be proud now, to feel great, right? But how come I don’t feel any better…

(My Intellect Is Loud And Noisy-MILAN)

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