Love Languages & Childhood Trauma

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The lesson: Love is understand in many languages. I am still learning how to love.

Firstly, for the purpose of clarification – the title of this post, is not simply a play on word to sound poetic or eloquent, but rather it is a clear statement of the term ‘love languages’. What is a love language? Love language refers to the way in which we all understand or perceive love and how we translate specific actions as expressions of love or gestures of love, such as gift giving to express love. The five types of love of languages are the following: Physical Affection, Words of Affirmation, Gift-Giving, Acts of Service and Quality Time.

Read more on each love language here: 5 Love Languages by Dr Gary Chapman

I am an advocate for love, more specifically – open expressions of love. I dotumblr_okhv3tq3kG1uw8q7do1_400 not believe in playing-coy, in repressing positive emotions, and I certainly do not believe in diluting who I am for the comfort of others. Over the years, my love language has adapted, grown and evolved due to the various types of love I have experienced and my exposure to love languages and expressions of love that I had yet to discover at a young age. Throughout my child-hood, up until my late teenage years I understood love in the language of gift-giving and words of affirmation. As a child, it is without doubt that I knew how to get what I wanted when it came to material possessions, and my parents failed to firmly speak the word ‘no’, in fact, the minute the word ‘no’ was spoken, my mind translated this to me as ‘you are not deserving’ and the hurt I experienced as a result led to tears. Now, I am well and truly aware that this sounds like a cry for pity from the mouth (or fingers, in this case) of a spoiled girl, however something that must be understood is that my self-worth was equated to that of my material belongings, my confidence, my entire image was built around what I had, and if I did not have these possessions then I simply wasn’t good enough. I could not understand love in other forms, therefore where this love language of gift giving was absent, in the eyes of a younger self, all forms of love in my life were also absent.

For the sake of honesty, and for the sake of remaining true to the purpose of this blog, I will openly admit and express that the absence of my parents at such a young age, whether due to business trips or illness meant that I could not understand love as quality time or acts of service, and the ‘coldness’ or lack of affections within parent-child relations prevalent within traditional African culture meant that physical affection as love simply did not cross my mind. I will say however, that this is not at the fault of my parents, far from, particularly as my family as a whole has always done what they could do to ensure that both my brother and myself would live successful lives. It is also worth noting that ‘words of affirmation’ were continuously expressed, if it wasn’t for my father I wouldn’t have the confidence in myself to be anything or anyone that I want to, if it wasn’t for being told that I determine my destiny and my path, and that I should not allow anyone else’s opinions or views get in the way of this, I would not even be writing this particular post. My point is to express how childhood love acts as a blueprint for the ways in which we understand love at a later age.  

What is my ‘love language’ now? Still gift-giving… but also acts of service, physical affection, words of affirmation and spending quality-time. In understanding these love languages, I have allowed myself to become multi-lingual in the art of love languages and because of this, I now allow myself to openly express and receive love in all forms. This is truly important because I also understand that everyone speaks and understands a different love language, therefore I also allow myself to express love accordingly, in a way that prevents miscommunication or misinterpretation by speaking in a language that the recipient of my love… understands. 

Do you know your love language?

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TRIP TO TANZANIA: Fractions of Family Affairs

be selective with whom you share your soul to.

In 2016 I spent my Christmas in the motherland Tanzania and met the new year under the same sky. I exchanged winter for summer and confronted 2017 sat beside those closest to me… those closest to the roots of my family tree.

DAYS IN MOSHI:

The early mornings were a struggle, both a blessing and a curse. We experienced a full day but bared witness to it through the lenses of sleep deprivation.  

NOT CRANES, BUT STARS IN THE SKY

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img_2690In the distance of the mountains, past the sounds of chirping birds, moving leaves and a running river, singing is heard. The faint sound of community and unity travels through the hills and small mountains of Moshi.

I found connection in natural land that the city of London could not offer me, somehow I felt so compelled to the smells and the sounds that London’s city lights could not compare and a knowing sadness easily came to me.

Something about witnessing a town sheltered from the rain and blessed by the sun, unlike those around it seems almost holy.  

A blessing. Although I understand that this is the London-raised girl in me speaking against the dull skies of my city and not the native Tanzanian unwelcoming to the dry winds. 

THE ROOTS OF MY FAMILY TREE

Her hands shook with weakness, but her face displaced a long history of strength and bravery. It is rare to find many these days who openly wear love and an honest vulnerability, but along her laugh lines both qualities sat perfectly as a pair. Visiting a great auntie of ours triggered a change within me. In front of me sat 90 years of experience that my 19 years could not match, nor relate to but admire in a way one could only admire an elder – awe. 

fullsizerender-1History holds the ties of our family, wirings and knots which link us to one another and through this we understand life, experience that we must witness through a pair of eyes that are not our own.  

I consistently

fall

in

love

with words that are spoken from sophisticated tongues, tongues which rest heavy with the weight of life’s lessons.         
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I learnt of kindness and I was met with a gaze that shared the same familiar longing for family that I did. 

 

 

 

LEAVING A MARK

Today we planted trees along the hidden bushes of Moshi in order to leave behind a legacy and to restore the land. It can be said that we blessed each plant with the power of community, family and pure happiness. The laughter and chaos moving away from our family and toward the trees so that they may be filled with richness. *Walking, or shall I say sliding down the hills, I had realised that my footwear was not the best. 

The chaos of the situation, the thin planning and the spontaneity was enough to convince me to find my own roots amongst the trees of Moshi, it was enough to create a want and a hidden need within myself to place my own feet firmly in the ground and refuse to leave. I longed to remain and never return to London.

 

LOST IN CONNEC/TRANSLA/TION

We sat in a circle, as family affairs with Christ and religion were laid out upon the table. It was confession out of love… confession in the purest form. Words spoken and tears let out, I felt moved by the devotion in the room. I felt I wanted to be more, do more, be better and do better. An uncle of mine spoke to me shortly afterward and left me with the reminder that most families do not often unite without reason, but ours comes together not out of obligation but a want… and a need. 

We forget sometimes, the unfamiliar familiar intimacy that arrives with the presence of distant family and the shift that occurs within us, as if something of a longing has been fulfilled. Years without visitation and yet it is until we’re all sat amongst one another that gratitude sits deep within me and a longing that I had not known until that very present moment is fulfilled.

 

“It can be said that we blessed each plant with the power of community, family and pure happiness…”

Big City Dreams & Small Town Sentiments

“I did fall in there and that was love and you did catch me and that was love.” — ANNE SEXTON

“Who here has ever left the country?”

..a mere fraction of the class raised their small arms in response, confusion and pride synchronised on their small faces in conjunction to the majority who wore shame in a way that they themselves did not and could not understand.

I was 14 when the above took place. I was the minority when the above took place. I was prideful, innocent, judgemental, naive… when the above took place.

Growing up, I’ve taken for granted the opportunities presented to me, the returns to my home country during the winter season, exchanging Britain’s chilling winters for Tanzanian sandy beaches, easy weather and an inviting dialect. Or even the escapades to Spain’s busy cities and tourist attractions. It wasn’t until I was spread out on the sandy beach of Palermo, Sicily, surrounded by both natives and tourists, exchanging laughter and conversation in an unfamiliar language how lucky I was to be here, struggling to make sense of the fast-paced conversations, how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to  live out that particular experience.

It saddens me to know that there are some out there, who have not only been unable to leave their home country, but worse so that they are not in possession of a passport. We speak of the right to move freely as a human right, but it is the majority, rather than the minority who are unable to put into action this right to its fullest extent.

Driving towards Palermo International, sat in the back seat of a cab, it hit me as I peered out of the window… how strange it is to think that there areimg_1901 people who live in the sunny city all year around – make friends, study, create memories, fall in love… grow old. All of this ‘living’, moving, seeing happens with the shores of Modello’s coast and Palermo’s mountain line in sight.

 Travelling, I believe, opens up our eyes to the unfamiliarity of familiar exchanges of those who share different cultural practices to our own. It teaches self-growth, shakes up an understanding within ourselves, of how small our own world’s are, how our own insignificant cultural norms appear almost a spectacle to those unfamiliar with them. I think it builds an appreciation in ourselves for own lives, but also creates a longing for further experience, to explore the world further in ways we do not even know of yet, to create memories in small towns and big cities.

I think travel teaches us to dream bigger, better, teaches us to expect more of ourselves and of the world.