Feelings

Good with Turning 27

Yesterday I turned 27, which is actually kind of strange of me to type, cos it’s weird to think that little me is 27.  Little me you know, with the baby face and all that, but 27 I am and I am good with that.  Very good with that.

Saying that I’m good with 27 is an even weirder thing for me, because I have disliked the thought of getting older for so long.  I hated turning 25 with a passion and although I was fine with 26, the thought of getting older still filled me with dread.  For a long time, the age of 27 disturbed me and I tried to avoid it, especially as it feels even closer to 30, but I’m not feeling too bad about that age either now.  As long as these good genes of mine hold out, I’m still gonna be looking young and I love that.

I also felt really blessed and grateful to God to not only see another year, but to see another day of my life, as I’ve wanted to have my life taken away from me on way too many occasions to count over the past three years.  This earth is a sick, twisted, sad place, which I know I’m not made for and wish I could leave, but I’ve also felt that so many others should be still breathing in place of me, who is often so ungrateful for the breath I have in my body.  That was not the case this year.

I was extremely happy on the day, and I had been in a great place during the days leading up to it, which is always a positive thing.  I’ve also had a positive year on the most part, with a number of amazing things happening and God opening a number of doors.  I got baptised this year, my platform became an official organisation and celebrated three years this year (through God’s help only), I won my first competition with my poetry this year, I delivered my first keynote address this year, and I had my face plastered over a storefront this year.  This is just a snippet of some of my many highlights, and we’ve still got four months of the year to go.

At 27, God has given me more than I could have ever imagined or asked for.  He’s put me on a path I never expected or planned for, but love with all my heart and gives me a reason to keep fighting on.  He’s also blessed me with many beautiful people, who contributed to making my day so special and a whole lot of fun, especially my sister who was there throughout the whole thing.

Usually, my birthday feels like a new chapter, but this year feels more like the middle of a chapter that is still being written, which probably won’t be finished until the new year comes and I am more than good with that.  I just can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings and what other blessings God brings my way, cos I know that I’ve got a whole lot more work to do, more love to spread in the world and more people to empower so that their voices are heard.

I’m only just beginning to tap into my true power and potential.

Perfect Peace

People have consistently been asking me how I’ve been since I got baptised on the 23rd March.  I say it’s just been life, because it has been, but I haven’t really gone into it in-depth.  This poem, though, says everything.

If God were to take my breath from me today, I think I’d be content.
Laid back comfortably on the bed that is nothing but a source of joy
Listening to the songs that have warmed my soul.

Having become the director of an organisation and collated a collection of poems
Facilitated creative activities and gained friends from all walks of life,
Grown as a person and performed in a spoken word show
Found purpose, discovered myself and made my way into a career I love.

Most of all, I developed a beautiful relationship with my Creator, Saviour and King
Studied His word and had amazing conversations in abundance,
Became better through Him, before giving my life wholly to Him.

I’ve also poured myself out, over and over, rarely ever re-filled
Often barely standing or getting through the day,
Dreading minutes and hours I have to be among others, smiling in their faces.

Tired of being drawn from and pulled on by countless sources, expecting free labour consistent
Drained by the state of our contaminated world, forever breaking my heart
Exhausted from trying to remain happy and positive, everyone sees me beaming
Fatigued by friends who turn out not to be friends, repeatedly out-of-place;
I feel I may have reached my peak and am giving from an empty well
Cos I’m blind to envisioning, it’s covered in black, unable to see a future for myself.

I’m ready to embrace sweet sleep where I won’t be used, stressed or hurt
No longer tired of being tired and fighting with myself,
Won’t have to wrestle with not feeling good enough or that I’m insignificant on this earth
Because I’ll finally be at perfect peace; seeing, hearing, feeling     nothing.

Shaniqua Benjamin

They Taught Me More Than They’ll Ever Know

I couldn’t write about the people who played a special part in my 2018 without writing about Queen’s Gardens.  I spent a significant portion of my time in Queen’s over spring and summer, bringing me into contact with a number of people who I continue to love, in spite of what may have passed between some of us.

Queen’s is one of the strangest and most interesting places in Croydon, because of the mixture of characters you will find there, and also because of what takes place there.  It is kind of like a bubble, a community within a community, which you come to realise the deeper you ingratiate yourself with the people there.  I learnt a lot – good, bad and useful – which I will definitely be taking forward in my life.

I’ve developed relationships with some beautiful people, who I happily speak to and spend time with whenever I see them.  Due to some of their lifestyles, I won’t be using their “government” names or naming them at all.  If they were to read this, I’d hope they know who they are though.

I’ve known my Jamesy-James for a couple of years now, and he’s always been someone I find easy to talk to, although I can’t put my finger on why.  I guess he’s a great listener, and is definitely an all round lovely person.  I’m always excited to see him.  I’ve known and been friends with Gamma for a couple of years too, but I got to know him a lot more this year.  Gamma always finds a way to make me laugh, and I’ll never forget when he had me cracking up when we were hanging out in the summer one time.  I also love that he calls me ‘Poetry Queen’ – just saying.

Win is a really, really lovely human being.  He’s easy to get on with, easy to talk to and easy to be around.  We got on immediately, from the moment we met in summer.  After not seeing him for a few months, it was nice to bump into him randomly, spend some time chatting on a walk and then go to Kaspas.  Whenever I’m with him, I know I’ll always be looked after and treated right.  And you’ve got Frankie, who I first met in spring, but quickly warmed up to and also got on well with – he looks out for me too.

I saw more of a beautiful lady I met last year, who is always warm and quick to greet me.  When I ask her how she is, I love the response she gives, which is such a mouthful that I cannot remember it all.  I also met a young woman this year, who I found sweet, despite being very rough around the edges.  She is always quick to greet me too and ready for a little conversation.

After meeting him at the soup kitchen the church I attend puts on, I came to see more of this ball of energy at Queen’s during the summer months – let’s call him My Darlin.  Like I mentioned, My Darlin is a ball of energy, talking quickly, walking quickly and often on the move.  He is truly lovely, with a heart of gold and caring nature.  He’s always got a story to tell too, which can often be amusing.

There are so many others I could mention, including a kind-hearted sweetie who made me feel like family, and a group of Eritreans, including a beauty who brings me joy with his beautiful, bright smile and shining eyes.  However, I came to spend quite a lot of my time with a particular group, who will always have a place in my heart (some of them have a special place).  No matter what has gone down with them, I want the best for all of them and I will always keep them in my prayers.  I don’t think they realise the impact they have had on my life and how much I have learnt from them.

Through one member of this group, I came to meet a genuine, down-to-earth, lovely person, who is studying youth work (I think he’s going to be a great youth worker), and I could have proper conversations with.  I have time for him any day.

However, it was the one who introduced us that has probably had one of the largest impacts on me this year – we’ll call him my Knight (in Shining Armour).  Out of everyone from Queen’s, I think I ended up spending the most amount of time with my Knight.  I initially met him last year, but we didn’t really speak, which all changed this spring.  Somehow, we began to talk more and more, as we became properly comfortable with each other.  The conversation flowed and we got to know each other better, which was made easier by his raw honesty.

Like people I tend to get on with best, he made me laugh, although sometimes he would joke around too much.  He looked out for me, like many of the people in Queen’s would do, but he went above and beyond in some ways by being very protective – not in a creepy way though.  However, what I think most stands out about my Knight is the sense of calm he would bring me, especially when I would get stressy over the actions of certain individuals – it was funny how much he would come up with sensible things my sister would probably say.  He’s got a really good heart as well.

As strange as Queen’s can be, meeting people from there has made me a better, more resilient person and more streetwise person.  I don’t think they even realise how much I love all of them.