Colors Of The Mind #3
Make Life Worth Living (MLWL) is a project by Zaluso Arts whose goal is to explore and spark conversations about issues concerning mental health, through art.
I’ve been told that nostalgia is the biggest liar out there. Our brains delude us into accentuating the reality of splendid moments. These memories contain a feeling of being irreplaceable. This fact alone numbs you from experiencing the present moment due to the fact that your mind has convinced itself that the present will never match up to the past. The most ironic thing of all, is that the memory never existed at all, you made it up. We find ourselves trapped in a void of lifelessness handcuffed by the chains of delusions of a better time, a filtered memory. We find ourselves depressed.
One Wednesday afternoon in Malawi at my parent’s house. I found myself depressed after scrolling through Instagram, where I saw pictures of my former high school classmates and friends who looked happy to be travelling in places I could only dream of at the present moment. I started to feel jealous and compare myself to them. Phrases like, “I was smarter than this guy, he’s just fortunate to be rich” followed. That led me to think of past holiday moments spent with my family as a teenager, specifically in Harare, Zimbabwe. I remembered the superficial things. The morning buffets at my dad’s favourite 4 star hotel, an almost childlike innocence was visible through his excitement of the meals. I remembered my mom, immaculately dressed all the time and posing for pictures to be taken by me or my sister to be uploaded on Facebook at peak hours. My siblings were very excited to be out of Malawi for once but still quite timid when we were in public spaces. As I continued to reminisce, I had an alarming epiphany. Not everything was as perfect as I want to remember it. There were moments where my parents would pick at me for being an emotional teenager. They would say things that would have me silent for hours and wallowing in sadness. I’d play my thug music and silently curse at everything. I constantly had to look after my energetic little brother that wanted to play in the elevator or take things from the stores when we went to the supermarkets. I’d get scolded for letting him touch things in the first place like I control his hands. It was actually a miserable experience for the most part! These aren’t memories people like to share but they do go through similar struggles regardless.
Nostalgia can be very deceiving and it has got a tight grip on the young people of today because of the noise on social media. The myriad of filters adds a mood to memories. Moods that could alter the memory entirely. As we participate in mental health awareness, let us remember to surround ourselves with people willing to be vulnerable about their experiences to help cultivate a seed of transparency between us. Let us go outside and have serendipitous encounters that could potentially shape the course of your life, whether professionally, spiritually or socially. Nostalgia is a dirty liar.
Author: James Jamu
James Jamu is a Zimbabwean born, journalist, writer and documentary photographer based in Windhoek Nambia. Currently studying for a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and Media Technology at Namibia University of Science & Technology. You can follow James on instagram @iamjamesjamu