A Life Lesson From Circuits

I’ve heard a lot of songs with the words “without you”

With our without you, with or without you I- I can’t live, with or without you. – U2, With Or Without You.

That’s tough. I understand clearly why you wouldn’t be able to have certain people in your life. (Betrayal for example, and all those other unpleasant things)

But how is it that, sometimes, we feel like we cannot live without some people even though they are no good?

Let me shed some light on the situation.

Think about lights.

There are two ways in which they can be connected in a circuit, in series and in parallel.

Series connection

  • All the lights are connected along a single conductive path
  • The same current goes through them but the voltage drops and this drop in voltage means that the lights don’t shine as brightly as possible.
  • There is shared resistance.
  • OH and lest I forget, if one light is not functioning, the circuit breaks and all the lights switch off. (Like dominoes, one falls and the rest go tumbling after

Parallel connection

  • Lights connected in parallel are connected along multiple paths so that the current can split up; the same voltage is applied to each light and the lights shine brighter than they would if they were connected in series.
  • Get this, one light stops working, the rest keep on shining.
  • I repeat each bulb has its own circuit, so all but one light could be burned out, and the last one will still function

So I hope you can see where I’m going.

“People are flighty, they leave, you cannot and should not put all your trust in them.”

Psalms 118 backs me up on this
Verses 8-9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

No man is an island, we have to interact with people to live a fulfilling life, we have to connect with people. Now you must consider the connection you would like. Series or parallel?

Series connections perfectly illustrate toxic interactions where there aren’t enough clear lines and boundaries.

Robert Frost was right “Good fences make good neighbors”

In series you align all aspects of your existence to a person or group of people to the point where you feel like you cannot live without them, but since they make your light dimmer – you can’t live with them.. yet you can’t sever them because they complete your circuit. They are your lifeline – they falter, you falter. And if you fall they fall too. Just thinking about the constant uncertainty scares me.

Parallel connections.

You have clear boundaries, thus there isn’t shared resistance. Their problems aren’t your responsibility and your problems aren’t their responsibility.

In parallel, you live in comfort and you can be the best you can be because the voltage is not lowered by your affiliation with people. If the person has to leave for some reason or another, you’ll be able to live without them because, well, your lifeline isn’t based on something as fleeting as a human being.

People leaving

That is a lot to deal with in both cases, it’s just the pain of one kind of loss is more pronounced than the other. In series, the whole room goes dark. In parallel, the room just becomes less bright.

We’re supposed to complement and not complete each other.

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Here’s Why I’ve Been M.I.A

It’s been six months people!

“I can’t blog during the school term I’m busy”

“Oof I have writer’s block I can’t”

“I’ve got many drafts but I can’t post them because they aren’t good enough”

Oh and there’s the 30 day challenge going on this June Zothile. (Releasing one post for every day of this month)

“I can’t release a blog post everyday”

Those two words “I can’t”

Mean: I am not able to, it is not within my means.

What?

That means I’ve been lying to myself. If I managed my time better, shoved people’s opinions out the door, scheduled my posts (because electricity in Zimbabwe is unreliable) and actually put my mind to it – blogging could have been well within my means. I could have been consistent, but I chose otherwise.

I couldn’t have.

I could have, I just chose not to.

Then another argument I’ve raised is look at other bloggers Zothile some have electricity, some are paid to do it, some have better ideas, they are not battling A Level, you’re too young!

No. I’m shoving those excuses out the door.

I’ll counter those lies with this analogy I shared with my classmates two years ago.

A hundred dollars.

Hopes are high that you have a sound grasp of basic mathematics.

There’s many ways to get to $100.

  • 5 twenty-dollar notes
  • 10 ten-dollar notes,
  • 100 one-dollar notes,
  • 10 000 ten cent coins.

When it comes to getting things done some people are a single hundred-dollar bill and with one step they are at $100, others are a fifty-dollar note that has to work twice as hard to get to $100 and some are Washingtons (one-dollar notes)

That means that one-dollar note needs to exert itself fully and be multiplied by one hundred to get to $100. That is a lot of work but it can be done.

J.K Rowling, the author of Harry Potter had her work rejected by many publishers, she was living on welfare, she was a single mom and she’d write on her commute to work. She wasn’t at one hundred then, but her sustained efforts carried her up to >100. Greater than 100.

At the moment I’m a one-dollar note in terms of the scarce resource – time. (School is no joke) but if I manage my time well I can put maintaining my blog on my to-do list and actually tick it off at the end of the day. If I choose to put in the work I can do it. If I choose to be complacent and comfortable then I won’t be able to and you’ll hear “I can’t”

Nelson Mandela said “There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Don’t sink, don’t settle, that’s how you wind up at the bottom of the barrel.

Keep it moving, don’t lose momentum.

And allow me to re introduce myself…

Hey there, I’m Zothile Zulu and I am a sixteen year old living in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. As far as success and achievement go there’s no such thing as “I can’t” it is rather, a case of I can but I chose not to” and hopefully I’ll be making better choices from now on.

Hopes are high that you’ll do the same.

Caterpillar

Mental health is a level of psychological well-being – the psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment”.

My sister and I revisited Caterpillar, by Mountains of the Moon.

We came down to the conclusion that it screams mental health awareness because it sums up the experiences of a person afflicted by a mental illness.

(The common signs of mental illness have been italicised.)

Here’s Verse one

I’m falling out

With everything around me now

Losing what I used to be

And I’m over it

Apathy. Indifference.

Our main character here no longer cares about anything at this point. Our minds are the control centre and when the control centre is in shambles everything else collapses with it shortly after: one tends to stop making attempts to stay afloat and them sinking doesn’t bother them at all.

They have been to the moon

I’m just a caterpillar dead in my cocoon

Difficulty perceiving reality

A cocoon is the place where a caterpillar is enclosed before it turns into a butterfly, during metamorphosis. What is startling is that this particular caterpillar is dead in theirs. It just shows you how detached they are from reality and how grave the situation is. The truth has been inverted now: growth is seen as confinement and doom.

Swept by my mind’s typhoon

And I’m all at sea

Another telltale sign

Confused thinking.

At this point our main character is their own worst enemy, their own thoughts are an insult to injury…this emphasises on just how much mental health should be taken seriously, I don’t think “at sea” is a great place to be.

The sea clearly symbolises a snare and this is justified by the chorus

I wish it could be different

Wish there was no dampness here

The moisture of the sea; the dampness, paints a picture of our specimen being heavily drenched in their problems and they wish that they were home and dry. Literally.

Oh we shouldn’t have listened

To the angst and the fear

Excessive worrying or fear

Now Verse 3

I had it all

Rivers of gold and forest so tall

But I ran my canoe down a waterfall

Started a wildfire

No matter how hard life gets, we all still have something precious that we can be grateful for and hold onto but a compromised state of mind has the ability to incapacitate us, it can skew our vision and cause us to throw everything, even the very little we have, away.

Mental health issues needed to be addressed with the utmost care, I believe of all the forms of afflictions faced by humans they demand the most attention. Our mental stability or lack thereof ultimately makes or breaks us.

This is where people lose the plot. A lot of the time we’re told “to get over it”

“Man up”

“You’re being dramatic”

Well if that’s the case, riddle me this…why are these stats here?

  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10 – 24
  • 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.

The outro puts the final nail in the coffin.

Here I sit in silence as it’s rising at me

And I’m afraid that I’m not taking my chances

How do I know it’s light in the horizon that I see?

I’ve seen questions, but never answers

Here the caterpillar is faced with “light at the end of the tunnel” but he is uncertain about whether he’s really out of the woods or not.

Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason.

That’s how sensitive this type of situation is, one is so deep in sorrow that they don’t even believe that they can be saved and a helping hand can easily be mistaken for being a source of harm.

The catastrophe brought about by poor mental health is made apparent here

I used to be the one with the grandest of dreams

But how can hope keep believing through the war?

The brightest of ideas can be dimmed by the dark cloak that is poor mental health, what a huge waste.

We need to bring back hope.

We need to help people win the war.

We need to eradicate the stigma.

Bayou

A song by Mountains of the Moon.

It’s 7 minutes and 16 seconds of nothing but pure genius.

I was lost on an escape to love. Untraceable.

So it’s a story about a person who had a problem and instead of confronting said problem they ran away from it. Where did he/she find refuge? In a relationship. They thought bringing in another person to the mix would equate to fighting whatever was ailing them.

Clearly it doesn’t. I heard this from the horse’s mouth. The lyrics go on…

“It’s not the same. Not enough

You and me was like a vivid dream

Why’d you wake me up?

Why’d you wake me up?”

I’m further compelled to think that it isn’t at all a good coping mechanism and in the chorus he/she goes on to say.

“You were my coming down and my solid ground. Paramount.”

Your “demons” can’t always be kept at bay by dragging people into your life to do the fighting. People are so flighty, we cannot and should not be so dependent on them and most importantly, some situations demand that you be the one calling the shots, especially when the war is internal. Our main character knows this, this brings in the bittersweet nature of this relationship: it brings a sense of solace and at the same time it brings great ruin. Why? It’s not a permanent solution; the problem isn’t being directly dealt with.

Distant screams

The biggest lie

What are we if never intertwined?

Forever undefined

Wow. So now our dear specimen is being tossed around by the voice in their mind. It reeks of denial. Denial is saying that without other people we cannot be whole and it’s desperately trying to justify this unstable relationship. Yeah no man is an island but you can’t be extracting your self esteem from people affirming your existence. Did I not mention how flighty people are???

After more powerful lyrics and a very captivating instrumental comes the outro.

Nights are longer now

And I am, I am stronger

Without you. Without you

I have come around

Life is ocean, we were just

Travellers in the bayou

In the bayou

That we outgrew

Truth VS Lies. Truth won and the “quick fix” is gone. Our dear friend is stronger now, he/she abandoned their crutch and went to face their problem head on thus it may have been dark for a while. Well, don’t they say your darkest hour comes before your dawn?

The star of the song has been purged of the delirium that took over them when they made an attempt to run from their problems; they’ve come around.

Ocean. A large body of water with unfathomable depths and myriads of mysteries to unravel.

Bayou. A small body of water typically found in a flat, low-lying area, and can be either an extremely slow-moving stream or river, or a marshy lake or wetland.

We forfeit oceans in our feat to sweep our issues under the carpet.

We confine ourselves a great deal by not stepping up to bury our burdens.

It’s not just people we use to try and eradicate our issues. People’s escapes could be alcohol, drugs and even social media…

Don’t travel in the murky bayou. Don’t do that to yourself.

You deserve oceans.

Feel free to listen to the song while you’re at it.

Bayou – Mountains of the Moon

Bon Hiver

“Good Winter”

I remember when the scorching hot sun

would smooch the earth and you sought asylum

from the blaze – in the shadows cast by my mighty branches

Away from the burning rays-

You were such great company in summer.

I remember when I was in full bloom and my flowers

were quite the aesthetic.

Flowers, you liked to pick them

And the scent soothed your senses

You were such a heaven sent in spring.

I remember when my supply of flowers and leaves

dwindled subtly

Yes my leaves and flowers

were strewn across the ground,

a carpet of gold, red and brown

but you were doing all the “leaving”

I guess they call Autumn “fall” because that’s when things fell apart

I remember when the frost came by with mighty force,

all you could do was stay indoors.

Branches bare, like talons protruding from underground

and you?

Nowhere to be found

in winter.

This Is My Fourth

The title of this post is a product of an inside joke.

I saw a tweet and it read “I’ve been single for so long, I’m an album now.”

I took it a step further.

I’ve been “single” for four consecutive years now so I sang “‘Bout to drop an Album this is my fourth.”

You know, from that song “Run Up.”

This post was also inspired by someone who posed the question. “Zothile kanti why don’t you date?”

Have a seat.

The only “He” I know is Helium

The only “him” I know are the hymns we sing during mass

The only “dates” I know are the laxatives and the calendar related ones.

Firstly my mom is totally against it, her argument is that it could be a burden.

At this stage of one’s life it could prove to be a great liability. I can’t say I disagree with her, it makes sense, I for one have a lot on my plate already, trying to keep a relationSHIP afloat is the last thing i want added to my to do list.

Me, going against my mom? Not a chance, I don’t want to die.

The string of lies I’d have to concoct, the guilt that would ail me afterwards… it’s not worth it. Let’s not forget that Mrs N Zulu is like the FBI, she’d find out eventually, Bulawayo is quite small.

Reason number two.

These people? We got to know about each other’s existences over WhatsApp, Instagram or Facebook. So my issue here is that there is so much that can be watered down and filtered through a phone – honestly after series of conversations characterised by small talk I don’t seem to know a thing about them and they don’t know seem to know me from a bar of blue soap.

And its not easy to lie with a straight face but it’s easy to lie behind a phone screen.

I know communicating through a phone is the only way to go at the moment, it’s rather impractical to say to your family as you leave the house

I’ll be back in a few I’m going to look for a boyfriend.

Nooooooo

So what if I threw my mom’s advice out the window and looked past reason number two? There’s reason number three. I’m hellbent on the belief that these relationships are usually like the flames of a matchstick.

You strike a match and it burns so brightly and beautifully and before you can even blink there is nothing but black. Ash. Remnants of a matchstick.

So I’m quite skeptical when I hear “Zothile you and so and so would be a perfect match.”

Oh and let’s not forget that moment when you spasmodically drop the matchstick because the flames licked your hand and burnt you.

There are people who do date in high school. If you are reading this, it is not an attack, I’m just here talking about how I’m not taking that route. I’m not scowling at anyone’s decisions. You can cope, I don’t think I can right now.

All I can foresee is tragedy, fire and brimstone, I’m not sooted for this at the moment.

(I’m hoping you got that pun, suit is a homophone of soot. Soot is comprised of the black charred bits that remain after something’s been burnt)

K bye.

The Reactivity Series

Below are just some metals in descending order of reactivity. The most reactive being Potassium and the least reactive, Gold.

Potassium

Sodium

Calcium

Magnesium

Aluminium

Zinc

Iron

Lead

Copper

Silver

Gold

The more unstable an element is, the more reactive it is and when it does react it forms compounds with strong bonds.

You didn’t think this was a quick Chemistry revision did you?

In life…

There you go.

There are people who are prone to having violent outbursts

They explode if I may say

They blow things out of proportion

They are fond of fashioning tempests in teapots

They overreact

There you have it. They are unstable. They could have insecurity gnawing at their existence on a daily; they could feel like they are a little too much or just not enough at all, they could be defeated by their demons…

You naaame it

They could be going through a lot and their inability to keep their tempers in check could result in them taking out all their frustrations on you, the innocent bystander who is far from being the cause of their anguish.

So it’s quite alright to tell yourself “It’s not me, it’s you, K.”

(I hope you got that pun. K is the chemical symbol for Potassium and Potassium is the most reactive metal)

Gold on the other hand is stable, is relatively unreactive. It does not tarnish and by the way it’s really pricy.

Some people are Gold, they are reliable and are able to remain composed for the most part and they are precious.

and unfortunately they are few and far between.

This is just an analogy, I have no bone to pick with the Periodic Table.

You’ll never find the reactive elements in their pure form unless they’ve been kept under oil (this restricts reactions) they are found only in compounds and extracting them is quite a complicated process.

(Electrolysis. I’m not explaining any further than that.)

This just shows you how dependent the unstable people are, they can’t stand without something or someone to lean on. Alone, they can barely face the world.

It’s no walk in the park, but, let’s work towards being stable.

Wouldn’t life here be more bearable if everyone strived towards being Gold.


Au. That’s so sweet.