You know the adage ‘never judge a book by its cover?’ Well, sometimes your first thoughts (or in my case feelings towards others) may be scarily accurate. As Maya Angelou succinctly put it, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
In my desire to see the good in people and to give others the benefit of the doubt, I have tolerated some nonsensical behaviour, incredible selfishness and haughty monologues which all resulted in inevitable disappointment.
There comes a time for the madness to stop. My ah-ha moment came when my mum and cousin sat me down and had a frank conversation with me (based on their observations) about the sort of ‘friends’ and acquaintances that seem to gravitate towards me sometimes. It was a sobering talk. But I was grateful.
Towards the end of the summer when I spent time with a real ride or die friend, with my love of book stores in mind, she took me to the Aladdin’s cave you are about to see below. I’ve never seen anything like it! If you’re ever in Carlisle please go and check it out, it’s called Bookcase and is one of the UK’s largest independent bookshops, with over a quarter of a million books in stock across 30 rooms. A quarter of a million!
Anyway, while sitting in one of the many arm chairs dotted around and reading some poetry (obviously), I remembered the conversation with my mum and my cousin and Oprah’s words (based on Maya Angelou’s quote) sprang to mind:
“Remember this because it will happen many times in your life. When people show you who they are the first time believe them. Not the 29th. time. When a man doesn’t call you back the first time, when you are mistreated the first time, when someone shows you lack of integrity or dishonesty the first time, know that this will be followed many many other times, that will some point in life come back to haunt or hurt you. Live your life in truth. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. You will survive anything if you live your life from the point of view of truth.”
If I had a friend like you; like sturdy pillars keeping the roof of my life from caving in on the days when troublesome worldly wolves huffed and puffed and tried to blow this house down, or someone to keep hope alive when the Earth’s gravitational pull threatened to ground my dreams as it tends to do, then maybe the tears cried; often enough to fill the baths of wild birds, shed in one hopeless stint could have been spared their unceremonious exit and be put to better use. A friend like you would answer when I called knowing that the occasions when I do, would be the moments faith had fled and taken courage too. Packed a suitcase filled with my sunshine and smiles leaving nothing but unfamiliar dark days and frowns. One day, I will have a friend like you, to pull me back from the edge that my demons often take me to and tell me to jump. Leap into the atmospheric silence of loneliness because current companions will never catch you. Never listen or hold you to mutual promises you both have made because my friends often leave me alone. My family on the other hand stick together like the locked lips of teenage lovers but yet, we give each other time to breath.
©Assumpta Ozua 2009