With this Ring…

I am just a girl trying to do something with her life,

So if you see me with a potato sack on my back,

Be kind enough not to ask anything,

I know your tongue burns with the need to question,

Why I walk in muddy shoes and less than flattering clothes,

But I plead with you not to mention it.


Money means freedom, so I seek it where I can,

If that means waking up and going to the market,

Or haggling with women over how much a bucket of potatoes costs,

It might even mean contemplating carrying the sack all the way home,


On days when I am not pressed for hope,

I allow myself the luxury of having a boda carry it for me.

It’s impossible to foretell where you will find me,

But if you see me leaning over a fire by the side of the road,

Blowing all the air in my lungs towards a fire that won’t listen,

Please don’t feel the need to ask questions.


Yesterday you came by; your purpose was unclear,

A pretty girl like me, you said, had no place doing the work I did.

I know you couldn’t ask why I was doing it, but I saw your mind racing,

One conclusion after another, I am sure your mind was exhausted,

From all the scenarios you created.


A pretty girl like me shouldn’t be doing the work I was doing,

You said it again like you had a clue,

Then, you walked away, from the smoke that burnt my eyes,

I wish you had bought something,

Maybe then your concern for my beauty would have been founded on support.


But you left me with my smoke and my potatoes,

And like we did at the end of every day,

Me and the children who own my heart,

Carried the many things that had become my office,

Dirty pans, empty mitungi’s, and left over chips and bhajias.


But hope has never left my heart,

Fortune has never skipped me,

I would have jumped when he called,

This friend who offered relief,

A new office, a new county, a new life,

I was ready to run from my life,

From the people who reminded me,

That a pretty girl like me shouldn’t do certain jobs.


I am one with the universe, but the mind often forgets,

So I ran from my life and unknowingly, towards destiny,

I couldn’t tell the significance of where my feel landed,

I am blind, and I am human.


If you see me strutting around the school,

With a smile struggling to stay within,

Because teachers aren’t supposed to be happy,

Please don’t ask a question,

We don’t want funny teachers, that’s what they said,

I think joy is forbidden in schools,

So if you find me struggling to be grumpy,

Don’t worry about it.


This joy I get from teaching, is mine and no one else’s,

Lest someone senses my joy and gets angry,

But then the universe doesn’t respect discipline,

It doesn’t bow to conformity,

So, with the breath that my mother gave,

The fire she shared so generously,

And the conviction that feels like a flame within,

When you hear calls from your ancestors,

From honesty and truth, you respond,

You do what you know to be right.


I have been led all my life, most times I couldn’t see it,

And like a child that had to be pushed,

I was sent out of my new office,

With a scared heart and worried mind,

But believing that everything falls into place eventually.


I have been led all my life,

It’s the sponsorship to study in the best school in my area,

The ability to catch up with the syllabus after years of feigned learning,

It’s the mind that could undo six years at a school that never gave knowledge,

The grace to be a top performer in a national exam.


It’s the lecture who ignited flames in my soul,

It’s the way he spoke with confidence and finality,

It’s how he balanced authority and understanding,

How he sort to give life to every word spoken around him,

And like his life depended on it, he taught with grace and passion,

Forever redefining what it meant to be an educator.


My eyes are more open than they were then,

My mind more receptive to change,

I am one with the universe; I listen to her when she speaks,

She pays attention when I call out,

And one by one, she has broken down walls,

Replacing them with people and situations that are good for me,

I have been led through my life, but there is one thing I have carried,

No matter what the leading dictated.

This has been my conviction that I would not allow myself to care.


These walls that I pride myself in keeping up,

As I hide from any pain that is from humanity,

Came down with no warning,

It’s the way I sat in bed crying,

Asking to be done with the anguish,

And like I had done so many times,

I sat and waited for a miracle to happen.

with this ring


A knock on the door, a smile on her face, and care in her words,

There’s a lot I could tell you about the giver,

But that’s someone I am still thanking the universe for,

When I am confident in my gratitude, I just might.


It’s the way she gave this ring, or maybe how it felt,

It’s the kindness that I didn’t expect,

How it melted my heart so easily,

It’s how genuine it felt,

The laughter it brought, and the fear that followed,

Brick by brick, with every second I spent in that moment,

As a receiver of something I hadn’t asked for,

Something I wouldn’t have thought I wanted,

This ring felt like the one thing that could help me get back on my feet.


When I wear it now, I am reminded that most things I have, I couldn’t have fathomed,

The life I live was not something I could imagine,

But the universe gave it all, as it gave this ring.

When I wear it now, I am grateful for the giver,

I remind myself that there is a wall that denied me life,

One that told me I had to be the giver, never one the receiving end.


I am working to breakdown this wall,

With this ring, I remember that I am seen,

Even in moments when the world is falling apart,

With this ring, I recommit to living my best life,

Now, that means allowing my heart to experience abundance.

I have been led all my life,

Even in moments I couldn’t see or understand it,

With this ring, I acknowledge my fortune,

The magnitude of the love around me and within,

Promising to do whatever I can to share it.



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