I once read somewhere that the hardest test is staying true to who you are when surrounded by who you are not
You ever think you’ve above all the peer pressure in the world? Well that’s exactly how you get taken in
You try to do things the same way you’ve always done them and “they” tell you that if you keep doing the same darn things, you’re gonna keep getting the same darn results.
And maybe they’re right. But see, they’re also wrong. Because they don’t know you like you know you.
They don’t have that first class seat on the plane with the best window on the aisle, looking upon your life.
And they don’t have to listen to that accusing or disappointed voice in your heart wonder when you’ll finally get it.
You do.
They say it’s a question of principles. And apparently, you’ve got too many. And maybe you do. But that’s for you to decide, not them.
Because if given half the chance, they would be more than willing to let go of the steering wheel to their own convoluted attempts at driving, and instead, take over the very controls to your life.
And then, then, you’ll sit back and watch yourself twice, thrice or four times over as they maneuver you away from Lesson Learned to Oops, I Did It Again!
Principles, they call it. A grand name for something as plain as the simple truth. Your simple truth.
But oh how easy it is to get taken in by sweet lil’ fibs here and there, all in an attempt to escape being called ‘too prim and proper’, too ‘stuck in his ways,’ too ‘osafo dadzie,’ or, going with the Queen’s English, too “principled”
So you go along with the crowd, try what they would have you experiment, ignoring the truths that are yearning to be heard.
Until one day. Well, one day, you wake up to find yourself a hollow shell of your true persona. Wandering and lost in the valley of death.
And then. Then, we might ask, where are all those life coaches who thronged the nooks and crannies of your very existence? Well, I guess it would be just to say that as quickly as their unsolicited help arrived, in equal haste did it disappear.
Only this time, you’ve no longer your simple truths or internal roadmap to guide you back ashore.

So much for Principles.
You’ve succeeded in getting a rise out of me.

The burning, molten inferno that creeps upon you unawares until you’re consumed by its fire.
The dawning of a new reality, like flash floods stripping away the surface of an everchanging landscape.
That déjà vu second which brings with it striking clarity about something you hadn’t noticed before.

You’ve succeeded in getting a rise out of me.

One so powerful, I’ve literally had to get up, and like a babe who first enters the world, I encounter everything anew.
A tectonic shift of the phases of my life. Between the new and the old, the then and the now, and the me. Always the me.
A duel challenge delivered with such finesse I can only surrender myself to the charge, saying, “Ok, I accept your ridiculous offer. Let’s get to know one another, shall we?”

You’ve succeeded in getting a rise out of me.

One that offers up new surprises daily, and that won’t let me forget the simple fact that I am achingly alive.
An irritating, but necessary shove in the dark, taunting me about what I can and cannot do, and yet, that won’t let me even consider quitting.
The most advanced of recycling systems that churns out the old, slaps in the new, and makes me want to respond with Elizabeth Gilbert’s 
“What? Are you a transcript of my most evil thoughts?”

A rise so poignant I’ve chanced upon a…different version of myself.

One who beckons me out of confusion into certitude
Who whispers my hopes and dreams when fear looms
Who gets it all; the melody amidst all the cacophony
Who always succeeds in getting a rise out of me

A rise
To always go beyond mediocre
To always embrace the challenges and lessons
To always keep the vision afloat
And, most especially, to always get up, dust off, and strive on after each fall.