My childhood was one unique to myself, as they are to all others. It was not the typical story often seen in publication, where a rough and dark upbringing births a great person with deeply moving origin story worth becoming a global bestseller! The story of my childhood is one that most often leads to an entitled man-child or spoilt princess; one who often ends up believing that they are at the centre of the universe, with little appreciation for what they have that others may not, and whose tale usually ends in a terrible but well-deserved downfall! My upbringing was not immersed in material wealth, but rather it was an environment saturated with love and warmth beyond measure, in a perhaps normal home with nothing worth bragging or complaining about.
My father passed on in 1998 when I had clocked four years of age, but that was also when I had just begun to cognise my presence on this planet, therefore I did not really experience the loss as much as the rest of my family may have at the time. To me, it was as if my life began in his absence, in a home consisting of his widow and four sons.
From then on – with great thanks to my mother – my life was rather simple! I did what normal kids do: wake up in the morning and not want to go to school, get pulled by the ear towards the bath, go to school in my bulky shorts that did no justice to my skinny legs, hate class, love recess, bathe in sand, duel over a juice box, come back home and rat out my brothers’ mischief! I was the fashionably late sibling, and therefore took every opportunity to torrent misery over the others from my customary throne, just before a deserved bruising in the absence of the most high! Such was basically my early life.
Besides minor childhood setbacks like facing the rod and crying about the littlest of things, I felt good most of the time, and frequently got off from the favour I received over my classmates because of my outstanding school performance. I lived with absolutely no worries – until I hit puberty, when my genitals began acting strange around my elusive crush! My face reflected the irregularities in my self-esteem as well; it was a very anxious, fragile but thrilling stage. Again, besides the body odour and sweaty setbacks, I felt good most of the time, at least to the extent possible for an awkward teenager.
I had it all, and I got to know what a good life was like by living it! All went remarkably well until one fateful day when we had a visit from a stranger, who lodged for longer than desired. I much later understood that my mother wanted some sort of companionship, but I never liked our new guest; not because he did anything wrong in particular, but because he upset the balance that I was used to. “Is it alright if he sticks around?” I was asked. I responded ‘yes,’ knowing I really had no say in the matter but appreciating being asked anyway.
I used to detest school-time in comparison to staying at home, but the tables had turned and now I could not wait to go back to where things made a little more sense; where my math teacher would spend a good deal of the class sessions venting out the anarchistic nature of his domestic life! “I can relate, my good sir, I can relate,” I would sympathize.
Three years later, I joined a high school with the crudest of faculty and what seemed to be a massive enrolment from the Palaeolithic period! Among my first year’s worries was getting to my dorm room in one piece. I used to long for the fleeting holiday periods, for anything was better than that brief but seemingly eternal period in hades! In the second year of high school, I spent most of my time with an ancient library of sixty-six books that I carried wherever I went, constantly trying to ignore the awareness that I was scornfully annoying the marrow off the other ninety-nine percent with my pungent righteousness! As a result, though, the endeavour awarded me with my best academic performance! I had found the elixir, I believed, but I was not willing to go through the daunting brewing process again.
Besides my mother taking her new relationship to a government consented level, I hold off details of my third year, except for the final month. That was when I attended a church camp with the hope of releasing my soul into the eternal hymns, but instead laid my eyes upon the most wonderful of God’s creations – an angel of great beauty whose heart painted the world around her with majestic colour, igniting a fuse that caused my heart to soar and blow open like fireworks glowing majestically in the starry night sky above her! Sure, it was no more than a teenage fling accompanied by an engorgement of the nether regions, but the true wonderland was also yet to blossom!
My senior year was amazing, walking with my head held high and my shoulders to the clouds! Everything seemed unusually glistening! I became good friends with most of my horrible teachers and had a gleaming confidence around me.
“Eh Max, kwani mzae amejengwa mkoba?” – which translates to something like, “Did your parents just get a promotion?”
“Kitu kama hio” – “Something like that” – I ironically responded, since the exact opposite had just taken place. But it did not matter; I was in love!
As the year drew to an end, a certain shift occurred. What I felt about my stepfather began to stick a foot through the door, and 2013 dawned with the couple throwing pebbles at each other. Said as lightly as possible, it was enough to change my character almost entirely! I became two people; each alter-ego fighting for centre stage. I would text with my girlfriend in delight, only to turn and hold a raging gaze onto the squabbles of Ms. Frankenstein and her monster poking each other with sticks, which was metaphoric until it wasn’t!
That year was a rocky dirt road. I was no longer the jovial lad that everyone knew. With one quake after another, came a ripple effect that began to crack the mountains of my spirit. The leaves of friendship began to dry, and the flowers of hope withered. The dark winter had arrived. As I gradually took myself off the grid, our household followed suit, literally, cut off from the city’s power supply. Our neighbours had had enough of the constant barking and turned a deaf ear, followed by the district police, and then the extended family and finally the household, which temporarily broke apart. As much as I tried not to, I found myself stripping the wings off the butterfly that was my relationship with my girlfriend. I had no idea what was next, as any hope of going for further studies had gone out of the window. I even lost all communication with friends as I could no longer keep up with the lifestyle that I was used to.
My dreams and plans for the future had been blown away along with the ashes of what the participants called spiritual war. I had no one to turn to; my mother was busy doing metaphorical tours in Afghanistan while my brothers sought refuge elsewhere. My relatives and friends ceased their aid and relief efforts. I had nothing more to hold onto, all upon which I had based myself was no more. I walked each dismal day with nothing but a thoroughly practiced plastic smile:
“How are you Max?”
“Very fine, my friend, very fine! And how are you?”
“Fine as well.”
Then I would give them the slip to avert any real conversation.
While flailing about in the abyss, in the far distance a spark lit up, a miracle it seemed! I was offered a sponsorship from a distant relative to study for a civil-engineering course. It brought a great sigh of relief to finally find something to hold onto. I enrolled the following year and moved to a location nearer school. A year later, as the excitement of the new places and faces began to dissipate, the flickering flame of my relationship finally burned out. I would sit in class looking ready to learn, but on the inside, I felt ready to die. Trying to get ready for an exam, the thought of my domestic situation would creep in and cause my heart to cringe like a dried date and my eye to twitch as if I had just bit into a lemon. I blamed it all on that one boar who showed up to muddy my perfect spring waters. The pain grew so much that I began to distract and detach my mind from that reality by heavily engaging in certain campus vices which I will leave to your imagination.
And then, during my third year, my sponsor ceased to blow the bellows of my forge! Only my passion for music kept me from clocking out altogether. Done with the pain and the cascade of disappointments, I went into the emotional paralysis of total apathy. I let everyone out of the unbalanced equation that was my life and closed down, dead to the world so I would not have to feel anything anymore. All I had was God and the Devil playing out their long and dreadful battle in our household.
For a long while I insisted on pointing fingers at those two vessels as the cause of all my misery. Of course, that did not help matters, and the more I did it the more I dug into it and the harder I spiraled, until one day, I received an idea: to write down a list of things I appreciated about my mother, which I did. (This was inspired by a good deal of nauseatingly repetitive Abraham-Hicks audios I used to listen to. I later dropped those for the much more substantial and direct Crimson Circle Monthly Shoud videos, which brought a whole new set of experiences that I will discuss someday!)
Within a few days of my newly found listing activity, my mom began to change her behaviour around me. I tried to do the same with Frankenstein’s monster, but it felt easier to teach a salmon how to plough! However, moments later, he took care of something that happened to be quite convenient for me and which gave one thing to appreciate. I took that opportunity, got a few more things to appreciate about the goblin, and then stayed off the subject. A few days later I found a few more, it slowly got easier and, having nothing to lose, I continued. I could not actually tell whether he changed, as we were not on speaking terms, but he began to exhibit a bit more absence than presence. I had not much insight into what was really happening, but I was discovering that I could change what was around me by changing what I felt within, eventually coming to appreciate the serving role of those once seemingly dreadful characters. I began applying the same principle to the people I had slight hiccups with, eventually being able to forgive everyone who seemingly offended me, and from then on, life has never been the same! I had begun to truly take responsibility for my experience.
So, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Which comes first, what someone does to you or the story you tell about them? There is just one version in which you have a say.
I live according to the latter now, consciously choosing the stories I tell. It is not easy at first, I must admit, because it takes quite a lot for one to accept full responsibility for all that has ever happened to them! I must emphasize though: I do not mean self-blame or guilt, but responsibility, and there is a vast difference.
Indeed, there is evil – which I consider as nothing but blame – in this world, but it would not flow into your experience if you are not a participating conduit. There are plenty of detrimental influences, but that is all they are – influences. Whether or not we act on them is purely our choice. Whether or not we feed them with our attention is entirely up to each one of us.
Max says: “My energy is currently serving my Realization as a 27-year-old African male living in Nairobi, Kenya, happy to illuminate amongst the souls around these parts that I have held dear for so very long! The events portrayed above happened immediately prior to my discovery of Crimson Circle, which I immensely appreciate and honour for being an integral part in helping me allow my Embodied Realization!” Max can be contacted via email. Find more of his stories at maxachar.wordpress.com.