“Non nobis solum nati sumus. (Not for ourselves alone are we born.)”
— Marcus Tullius Cicero
Music was an integral part of my home while growing up — the cycle continues to this day. Under my childhood bed, exists a world of its own, one that I wish I could Jumanjify.
From Michael Jackson vinyl collections, One studio Dancehall hits, LL COOL J cds to Whitney Houston greatest hits are just some of the things that you can find under my ‘upside down’. Rhythms and rhymes became the beginning of my music vocabulary at a young age. Obsessed with relationships and patterns in words, ideas and sounds, I was introduced to my first rap song —- I can’t live without my radio by famous rapper LL COOL J whose early style is reminiscent of Coke La Rock. In fact, I really could not live without my radio, and on my eighth birthday, I received my own and the nickname Radiohead. Addicted to the hooks of a rap song, I would try to write down words and make my own. But, like LL COOL J said ‘I need a beat-beat.’
Sadly, it did not work out as planned and for some reason, I could not find my flow. However, I was still the baddest rapper in my parents’ eyes. I would perform for them by making my bed the stage and a yellow brush that detangled my kinky-coily hair my microphone. Long after the disappointment and before I gave up, I discovered that words could create a different rhythm called poetry. A new art form for me at the time, my mom gave me a book that had the poem,
“Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou in it. The poem spoke about oppression, freedom, and told the story of the bird with clipped wings struggling to escape its cage. I thought at the time, that I was the caged bird in my own sadness because I didn’t have the talent, I wished to have. Therefore, I decided to re-interpret the poem aforementioned above in my voice, and I found my flow in poetry.
I leaped forward
in my chrysalis.
The room filled with light,
And I am It.
For the sun kissed my earthstone,
and my mom gave birth to bliss.
Caged no more in my metamorphosis.
Z, age 10
Before my grandfather died, reading for him was like an escape from reality; he would pour himself into the pages of stories from books or magazines. You could always tell when he is about to go into his state, especially during a cryptic crossword puzzle. On the verandah, he would sit in silence with his legs crossed, and the reading materials was laid neatly on his lap. Beyond the wide spectacles, his goggled-eyes were in deep concentration on the well crafted words on turning pages. I imitated this action, even wearing his spectacles, thinking they might help me find my state. If you took a lucky guess and say that that didn’t work for me, you are absolutely right. To get my creative juice flowing, I had to development my own state. Over the years, I prefer being on the floor with chill lofi music in the background while writing poetry, articles or conjuring up concepts for my next painting, photo or video shoot. The development of the human brain is a dynamic process; you can never stop learning.
The act of immersing yourself completely in your work of art is the heights of the flow state.
Timelessness is the aim when it comes to creating something out of noting. To put a limited price on talent, does not truly speak value unless every penny is worth sharing the experience. I think it’s really exciting to leave something of yourself here so that people from future generations will see what creatives were like — call it your time capsule legacy. For this era, as we know it, will soon be referred to as back in the day. It is important that we celebrate the gifted across all art forms whether visual, performing or conceptual while they are still alive. At some point in life, we find ourselves and we must embrace our talents.When a creative utilizes their gifts, they can ultimately change lives and that is the reason to that I launched my project — Zhaneirie 40 Days Around the World. Before the existence of travel bloggers, there was Jules Verne , Nellie Bly and now Jessica Nabongo. Hearing someone else’s story can be refreshing and open the mind to new perspectives. For 40 days, I intend to interview and compose feature articles about creatives from 40 different countries. I want to share their stories to my valid readers who are looking for encouragement and inspiration. At times, many talented creatives have famously struggled with mental health and end their own lives. I believe that words are powerful and can make a difference. Join me on this journey inside the flow state!
“To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.” — John Dewey
( See Around the World in 40 Days countries, features & updates here )