Thursday 29 October 2020

Thought Picnic: Sophistication above the fray

We feel what you said and did

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

The quote above is often attributed to Maya Angelou and I will take it as that. In many of my blogs, I have written about storytelling, the telling of our own stories and some stories that were once taboo of generations before us and never given voice to then have somewhat become acceptable narratives in our own recollections.

When it comes to the stories regarding our parents and the relationships, we had that became the broad template of our lives and lifestyles, we could be a little shy of going into much detail. Out of respect, out of the need to heal, out of the necessity not to air one’s dirty linen, or out of honouring them.

Sophistication out of humanity

Yet, some of these factors allow our parents to get away with the reprehensible because they are not made to face up to what they said that hurt, or what they did that harmed, but especially how they made us feel out of their actions or inactions that now defines the kind of relationships we have with them today.

None of this is to castigate our parents, far be it from us, we have through strife, adversity, pain, and privation learnt sophistication. The sophistication that allows us to act out our humanity and kindness regardless of the personalities whose words and deeds have left indelible marks in our lives. We can be formed by these experiences and yet not be defined by the negative things they were at the time meant to portend.

Forgiving after dealing

We can be quite forgiving, but that must not be used as the instrument to forget without addressing the matters boldly, directly and without dissimulation. My father will say, let bygones be bygones, that is convenient for him. However, that bygone is a significant source of the present, a forming instrument of life and experience, an influence of such magnitude as to be a principal actor in my own story, even if it is not in theirs.

What he dismissed then was what was significantly altering the course of my life in ways I could never have thought would happen, when it looked like tomorrow was too far to have a feel of any reality. Those tomorrows became years and decades, and each of those events of how I was made to feel are my story.

Protecting our interests

We are not softies for overlooking much of what a lesser person would seek to avenge or punish, I hope we raise ourselves to a higher plain and have the grace to recognise that providence has given us the capability to teach a better way.

Many things are temporal, including life, that we need to be careful that when we are no more around to sort things out, we will be remembered for the good we said and did, such that people will protect our interests, memories, kith and kin with just as much passion as if we were around to address them ourselves.

When the stories are told, they are about us, the ideas, the events and the people that contributed to the experience and everyone whether they like that narrative or not has inadvertently contributed to it, we are the people who will never forget how you made us feel.

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