Why I published Colliding Into Place
I've been stuck after releasing Colliding Into Place. It was my first solo publication inspired and influenced by love, loss, and mental and emotional collisions, collisions that I believe guided me into place. None of the pieces in my manuscript are replicated from something I read from another. They are all as raw and elucidate on the pages, drenched in pure vehemence.
So why do I feel empty and stuck? Why do I feel light yet sad with considerable melancholy on the inside?
First, let me release my melancholy and self-inflicted shame, failure, and disappointment partly stemming from not hearing from purchasers and my discomfort in silence. Let me tell myself my story again - from the beginning and reveal the intention in hopes of finding solace.
Let's begin with the title. I had two titles to decide on. The first title being Nomtondo Speaks, and the second, Colliding Into Place. Nomtondo was the name given to me by my village, Roumtenga, when I served with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso. It means "your presence pleases us." It is a gender-neutral name, as I later came to find out. It was important for me to know and hold on to the fact that I was not named after anyone in my village, although few had the name. I adopted that name wholeheartedly, and little did I know it would become one of my brand names.
There is a back story I will later tell about the phrase Nomtondo Speaks- how it came to be and what sparked it into existence. Nomtondo Speaks, to me, is a complete sentence. It is my way of saying I was not incapable of speaking up, timid, or afraid - that I feel too, and when I voice my hurt, it is equally important and deserves the space it needs. It was my way of rejecting the social punishment that soared when I spoke my hurt and did not keep silent to keep the peace in favor of the offender, the culture, the relationship, and the discomfort. Nomtondo Speaks is the expression of my feelings brought alive by my words and mine alone.
Now, let's listen to how Colliding Into Place won the vote.
In 2017 I worked in Senegal as a Program Manager for a little over a year. My time in Senegal is eminent of a timeline that dangerously shook me into who I am today and nearly pushed me over the edge of who I could have turned out to be. Let me be clear: God saved me from the alternative - a fatal alternative. I left that job due to the annihilation of my mental health, abuse of emotional well-being, and a near sexual assault. To say I was broken is to fluff and disrespect the entire ordeal and myself. I was jobless for close to a year. Misery and hopelessness danced so intimately that I could not differentiate life from living. My state of mind and inner pain eroded my spirit so deeply. I was unrecognizable in the end. I have never been the same and never will.
My years of recovery after that experience started with naming what had happened and what was still happening to me. Forgiveness of the characters who purposefully played a damning role tormented me as I saw them move on with their lives, get promoted within the same company, and only receive a slap on the wrist if that. I could not understand why I was given this cross to bear and why it came at the price it did. Nothing made sense but darkness, prayer, and hope. But even those were hard to do and stay in most of the time. Finally, time passed, and I found a job. A job I was overqualified for and one that humbled me even more: a receptionist. That job led to good memories, a fast title change, and a healing season. Sadly, it ended years later when I lost my job again. But this time, it was different. This time I knew what not to do to stay on the living side, the light, and what to do to stay alive. Let me be clear; it didn't hurt any less. It hurt better because I could manage it using prior experience. I decided there was no better time to release my marred self into my years of collated poems and stories. Amid the uncertainty, no cash flow, and anxiety of history repeating itself, I heard a voice nudge me to free myself and release my agony, abuse, tears, loss, and pockets of happiness into the great abyss - to empty it all through the publication of my book.
Colliding Into Place was born in that revelation and turmoil. I was freefalling, yet I felt hope, and the promises of God were freefalling with me. It was lonely but not alone. I was crushing, yet still. I was colliding into place. I was colliding into where I needed to be for my next phase. During this time, this freefalling, while still, the confirmation of the title came to me gently, and with open mind and arms, I welcomed it gently.
My journey and reason for publishing Colliding Into Place has been a release of my past to permit my present and future to be better acquainted. I did not expect to sell a hundred copies and have been humbled by the number of people who ordered from my site to support me. So why do I feel empty and sad that no one is reaching out to tell me about it? My work is not a shared trauma but a graduation to a path of healing. I graduated to this fluid halidom, and I intend to remain there. So why did I expect people to write back and tell me their thoughts - was it for approval, acknowledgment, empathy, or something else? I may be want to hear if there was resonance, understanding, or encouragement. It is not easy to decide to be in the arena, and I am sincerely proud I chose to step in.
So when those self-limiting and shaming thoughts come to taunt me, I remind myself of this: I am not the next best writer of my generation, but I am not the worse by a long shot, and I will not allow myself to put myself down. I write raw emotions from lived experienced. They are candid, can be deeply sad, and sometimes hopeful. All that means is I have gone through so much too fast, too early, alone, and still here.
I hope you and I continue colliding into place. It is part of life, and we must go through it to get to the next phase. But tell me what you saw, felt, and thought of as you read. You might have gotten to know me a bit more from my book, and I look forward to sharing some stories about the pieces. So reach out; let's just chat!