Review: Shit I Can’t Say

Seeing a one person play spring from the pages of a gifted writer to life on stage is amazing. To have the writer be someone you coached as a basketball player as a teen. An ever larger sense of amazement. To see the focus of the play greet, embrace and thank his son – priceless.

All The Shit I Can’t Say to my Father
I went to see All the Shit, in August 2019. A friend, an ex baller, I coached – Abraham Adeyemi has written a modern day sensation. The night was the performance of sublime art.

Charming
The performance was led by a young charismatic actor, Zackary Momoh, who reminded me of a younger Chiwetel Ejiofor. There was something about his delivery that was precise and filled with presence. The audience were appreciative of his deft delivery and intimate bringing to life of Abraham’s words.

Autumnal Feelings

Partial Delays
News broke earlier in July that due to unforeseen circumstances ‘The Shit…’ was going to be changed to just a reading and a performance (How does that work you may ask?).

It’s part rehearsal, part working through of the words to the stage, set and possibly with an audience. The actor reads through the script aloud like a read through. Similar to a sound check for a music performance.

I thought the reading was a brilliant way to introduce the concept of what we were doing there. What we potentially could be see. A one person play engaging and interacting with the audience. Seeing the finessing of the script was seeing a craftsperson work their skills to a High Art Finish.

Throughout the play Zackary read and cast aside the pages almost as though this was part of the play. Him screwing up a few of the pages at one moment (after he had read them). Then came the toss towards a wastepaper basket was thrilling. I smiled ridiculously at that and may even have clapped. I instantly recognised both Abraham and many peoples dream of being a top performing NBA/WNBA star.

Engagement
The show felt both lyrical and compassionate. ‘The Shit…’ entertained me fully. The audience and I, were involved to see AK the protagonist’s journey. As he begins to acknowledge and unravel his taught relationship with his father.

The AK’s father is Nigerian. A Christian. A multi-talented labourer, a craftsman of often obscure and unwanted jobs. It was at this point the flexibility of the play shone. AK asked a member of the audience what her dad did.
She replied “Carpet layer – Handiman”
AK “Yeah, my dad probably did that too”
Audience – Whoops of laughter and applause of recognition.

The father, AK’s father should have been an engineer, but due to the racist notion that countries outside of the more favored commonwealth countries like Nigeria couldn’t possibly educate to the standard of British trained engineers were denied entry to the professions they trained for. Took what roles and jobs that they could and raised their families as best they could.

Off stage
The scene that caught my imagination was of seeing Abraham stand with his father. The moment happened off stage after the crowds milled out. I do not know what was said. That moment being private – Abraham’s and his fathers. What I perceived was a bridge of admiration begin to form. An acceptance of something that had been lost. The awareness that maybe something new has possibly been found. This meeting between father and son, through drama, through ‘All the Shit I Can’t Say to My Father’ is the making of new stories and about letting go of old ones.

My Bridge
I realise now that reconciliation was an impossibility for me and my father. A dream unobtainable. A number of significant changes would have to have happened in both of us first. To have approached a turning point that began a new start for us. The moment of second chances and water under the *bridgedness passed aeons ago and I am invited by circumstance, to allow it to pass too.

Duality
He was a man of the late 1930’s Ghanian, African, lacking in humility, compassion he believed, was a concept for the weak and foolish, arrogance and bull headedness was his way to confront the world. His religion was dual Christian and Muslim. A Ghanian former politician living abroad was how he saw himself. UK politics was of mild interest behind his own ambitions. Fatherhood suffered. 

We never found ground between us that felt comfortable for each other to be on. His death on October The 31st 2016 ended without a neat bow. Ours was not a story book ending. My father left not speaking to any of his children and without making amends for the pain he caused. That will be ours to tidy and pack away.

Reflection
For Abraham the play appeared redemptive and restorative. Like a deep cleanse. I was happy I got to witness that for him. For me and my siblings I hope that the clearing and cleanse happens with acceptance moving on in to forgiveness. The chalice was never ours to sup from.

The intention is set for me to start from near the beginning. Refreshed and unburdened. Again.

Resources

The Dope Black podcast – Raising Kids While Black
Revisionist History – Talking to Strangers
2 Black Guys with Good Credit – Black Power Money Power
The Stoop – Unexpected Family

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Working out the steps

Oh No. Not another one about dance?
This one’s about Multiple Sclerosis. Again.

Overall my health and physical ability have been steadily declining. The decline is because of inaction.

Disabled But Not Really

(sloth and laziness and for sitting and writing and planning and getting all up in my mental for far too long. Here, mentally, at least I am not disabled. My mind for the most part still works.)

Possibly due to a range contributing factors that include time management, MS, experiences of low mood and high frustration.

Noticing Selma Blair stand on the Black and White Carpet with a cane earlier this year, brought to mind the significant journey I have been invited to take part in.

(Unwillingly. At times kicking off. If I were to be 100% honest!)

There has been resistance. Lots of resistance. As the Borg in Star Trek have stated ‘Resistance is Futile!’ And so acceptance has been my next begrudgingly shrugging shoulders move.

Core Work
I would say I am limping into this one, with balance issues, drop foot, lowered centre of gravity, weakness in the back and legs, not to mention the burning pain in what feels like the spinal column near to the pelvis. It’s been an experience of ever diminishing returns.

The aim of writing this piece is to explain what I have done to check and correct the downward health spiral I have been forced to look at.

I contacted a personal trainer that I know and an osteopath. They both put me through my paces exploring my limits, stretching me beyond them and explaining what has been happening to my body. They have both then followed the assessment with the support to help me blow past the limits that my body was attempting to put on me.

Hand Written by Anna Snow, a comprehensive breakdown of what exercises to work on

An example of Anna’s outline.

The MS Treatment
As a 2nd rounder of Alemtuzumab/lemtrada treatment, I had thought that the physical elements of Multiple Sclerosis had been checked off and put behind me. After years of neglect, my body has come back screaming and yelled “Ahem, what about me? Uh uh, uh, that’s right if you don’t pay attention over here it’s gonna be pain!”

Both Daniel (Osteopath) and Anna (PT) in their own way stated that
we should be
(that’s you out there reading these words and me)
putting more importance and time to making our bodies work better. Just 10 -15 minutes a day. For pain free movement.

Daniel even suggested I do yoga. Yoga? I have been thinking about attending a local class for about 2 years. My thoughts are to help increase my body’s flexibility and overall brain body connection. I will let you know how this goes. If and when it goes and if there any of the desired gains made.

Flip It
So the point of all of this is to invite you to take a few moments to reflect on what ails you. Spend some time putting right what is going wrong or has the potential to and get moving to make what troubles you most – better.

As a Consultant, Coach, Counsellor, Supervisor, Writer there is help available for every situation that you would like to tackle so make that enquiry and ask for the help to get better.

Exercise Routine

Daniel the Osteopath further exercises and stretches.

So what did Anna and Daniel do? Anna helped me to identify the root problem – which are my core muscles in my back and stomach areas. She put together some exercises and routines that focus on improving my core strength. The aim here was to improve overall stability, flexibility and strength. As an MS client I found her approach enabling and supportive.

Simple tasks like crunches or lateral planks were broken down and carefully explained with what the benefits of getting into these positions are. As a Personal Trainer (PT) Anna also observed my gait, eating and other exercises I was doing to make sure the routine she had planned was not going to compromise me or add to my physical output load for the day/week. Which would be counterproductive.

Daniel was equally supportive and informative however as an Osteopath his approach was hands on and caused some pain. Okay, hands up who likes prodding a bruise or massaging a sore muscle? Well if you do, this is what I experienced. There were shouts and yells and then serene moments as the muscles bones and tendons were coaxed back from atrophy to life once more. There’s a glute stretch that was performed on me that did all of the above.

Daniel was patient and explained the 4 steps he was going to take to assist me working it out and back to health. The walking assessment and then the assessment of the tender parts of the spine with touch. The muscles that support to gain a sense of what is going on were also carefully reviewed. Not much pain here. Stages 0-1. This part was like a rudimentary vehicle check.

Stages 2-4 Pain and release and sore relief.
This is the part where my legs were stretched and pulled and massaged to ease fluidity of movement. Ham strings and quads were focused on as were my calf muscles. All of this to resolve pain in the back?

Daniel’s Outline
Yup. It’s hard to believe.

The back is the highway for everything you are. It connects the upper body to the lower body. My lower back is where I have been experiencing a lot of pain. Disabling pain. Pain that simply won’t leave. Ibuprofen lightly touches it but doesn’t nullify it. The help of Anna and Daniel have helped a lot!

In short don’t leave getting in to shape until the last moment. When all that can be looked forward to is the end of, the bike ride, swim, row, pilates, kickbox, gym session, walk, sail, kayak, surf, climb, garden, football, basketball, netball, volleyball, badminton session, horse ride, cross country run, tough mudder assault courses. Find enjoyment whilst doing them.

Set small achievable targets and No Matter What it! Do it, sign up for that event be it a park run with friends and attend no matter what, or surf event in SA. The point, your wonderful life is counting on it.

So do it.

When you do, share what you find!

Further thought/practice

Science of Success Hack Your Bio-Chemistry

Tim Ferris The Art of Getting Things Done

TED Talks NPR The Big 5

In Conversation with Lenny Henry: Who Am I Again?

I had waited a long time for this moment and was glad of the chance to see a living legend. Lenny Henry in conversation.

Wooph
I had little expectation of what an evening would be like spent with Lenny Henry and Romesh Ranganathan. Perhaps it would be 2 brilliant men one-upping each other. Laughing at the loops wound around the audience and themselves that the other tried to vault over. Clumsily failing and falling. It wasn’t like that at all. I came away from the evening feeling lighter. Like after a therapy session. Wooph describes the reaction in energy that Lenny would get at a show when an audience laughed uproariously at a piece in his set.

Without Me
Arriving a few minutes after the show began, due to train cancellations and me not being able to run for the 18:36 train (another loss MS has had me suffer. It’s either MS or age. I just don’t feel old in my mind, at all. I want my body to know and hold on to that fact too).

The Train pulled off, with me looking on, deflated. Shaking my head then looking up at the board for the next one. Hither Green Monday evening – the choices were limited. 2 Choices I was invited to take. Wait for the train that might get me to there on time or try and hop skip and jump at London Bridge to get a connect for a faster train to Waterloo East?

Selection
The choice I made was to wait and hope. Hoping and waiting got me there late and frantic. I eventually walked in and Lenny was mid flow through the end of his set introducing Romesh. He was finishing with something about the physical abuse he experienced at the hands of his mum. Had I made it on time I would have been laughing too, like the already seated audience.

Sit Down
I took my seat in the Royal Festival Hall and for the hour and 25 minutes I had left sat and was amazed by Lenny’s and Romesh’s mutual appreciation of what they had contributed to the cannon of British comedy and to reversing the march to an un-coloured comedy and TV scene.

Context
My moment I had not anticipated came when after a flurry of mutual appreciation both men took stock of where they were and fist bumped like two men on the street. Only these two men were some of the funniest, most daring, Black and Brown men sat on stage at the Royal Festival Hall watched by several hundred people. Taking stock of how far they had come and what it had taken for them to get there. Both men could scare you with their intense observations and perspective and have you crying with pain and laughter as their on point humor bit.

Represent
I was saddened by the number of Black and Brown people that I did not see there. I had wanted the theater full to the rafters of people that looked like me and Romesh. Lenny was our champion. A winner of a fight, he won by not throwing punches with his fists, but with the wisdom of a sage.

That fight – won – has enriched him and lightened the hearts of many. I was saddened that Lenny’s brilliance, his story may have been
too political,
too sad,
too funny,
too hard to accept for many to make an effort to be there for a wet Monday night attendance.

Those that were there laughed and laughed hard at some of the memories Lenny shared. The fight at school, with the bully where Lenny beat him with words and had a crowd turn on the aggressor. Another story was of having things thrown at him by his mum, that always found their mark – even around corners.

No. They. We. Missed this. Him talking about his new book. Who Am I again? About the process of writing being like therapy. About his experiences of playing at clubs around the country and being racially abused and slowly winning these difficult crowds round. I was saddened because I would have wanted the under represented to be over whelmed by his story’s show of strength. That even through his saddest times, success and challenging adversity became towering achievements.

Pull Up
I was saddened that for the ‘community’ not to have come to support and show appreciation for a sage that has worked hard at his craft and worked at demands of the BBC and ITV to make. The face of British TV and the widening scope of achievement and attainment of BAME communities has been altered. Those that may want to make a career in the media, either in front of the camera/mic or more importantly behind the camera/mic will pay attention to what Lenny has pointed at. He has called it ‘Rubbish’ and said ‘this thing here, needs changing. NOW!’

Shouldering
For me, what I came to see, what I was waiting to see was Lenny’s passion at wanting to change the culture and face of British media. His deft, clever brilliance and memory of both his ups and downs of his career showed his resilience and how he has put his weight behind wanting to shift the colour line to be more representative of the young, the forgotten, the talented and the Black.

Who Am I Again is his 1st Autobiography available at all good book stores. With luck there will be others. My only CTA…

No Longer A Therapist

I consider what my role as counsellor/psychotherapist is, after 10 years of practice. Change is present and I am simply bearing witness.

What am I?
A Shaman. A mental health practitioner. A support. An educator. An enthusiast. A Creative.

Tune this
The dial has swung on this thing called therapy don’t you think? Treatment for mental illness is no longer clinging to an outer boundary of the:

‘Never!’
‘No!’
‘You will have to drag me outta here to see a therapist.’
‘Sedate me first, please?’
‘Do I look like I’m crazy to you. Well? Do I?’
‘If you think I need therapy, why don’t you just lock me up?’

Accessing support has become more socially acceptable. Changing the perception to another resource for those requiring support. Those with the means to pay for it do. Signing the contract and attending to treatment with studious intent.

Therapy can be a choice. Enter from stage left: IAPT providing access and enabling a great many more people to access the support so few previously sought.

Taking Flight from Counselling to… http://www.michaelforfiehcounselling.com

Choose Wellness
Now therapy sits alongside health as a must for those in emotional, physical or psychological pain. Many have come forward sharing their change. Championing their therapy and the counsellors/ psychologists/ psychotherapists that walked with them through their dark spaces.

Half Life
Enough time has passed for the shame of a half lived life to be released and relieved. I thank those like Paul McGregor who champions the cause of C.A.L.M. Talking therapy is a way through blocks and barriers, as is homeopathy, hypnotherapy, walk n talk therapy, coaching, osteopathy, dance, sport, gym and dietary support.

Staying
Some of the approaches mentioned above I have been able to use. I realise that the change for me is as a result of what people have asked of therapy.

Be in the room with me. Don’t leave like those others did (Dad, Girlfriend, Mum, Boyfriend, Work, Gran and Grandfather, evn my Friends!).

“Help me understand my story. Make sense of these experiences with me.” With the experience I have, I am able to interpret and meet some of what is asked. The call is pressing. The call is also immediate.

The call is a now (exclamation mark) not, a later. And this is where therapy meets coaching meets mentoring entrepreneurship and consultancy.

Orbit
This is where I find myself. I am not sure there is a final word for where I am finding myself. A therapist? Of course. Yes. A mentor? Yes. A coach? Yes. A counselling supervisor? Yes.

I feel that consultancy is what is pooling for me currently.

Pulling me in like a form of magnetism.

A New Approach to Support
http://www.michaelforfiehcounselling.com

Therapy Sloth
The time we are living in now is almost of immediate gratification. If it cannot be had within moments of the request – abject fear, loss, failure, ignorance and paucity ensue. Or a sense close to. I ask and within microseconds, no longer minutes, goodle or facetram or instagaboggle will provide.

What then of therapy? The old model was to be a blank screen allowing the client to project their fears and desires onto. With newer versions of therapy the therapist stayed in the room and aimed to be a vehicle that supported the clients change.

Perhaps the model is to change once more. The next adaptation is to be in the room and be an active agent, an instigator of change that is significant and meaningful for the client being supported. The work could find a breakthrough in one sitting, 3 or 23.

Transitioning
Change has no signature.
No off, on, or now, time stamp.

Change happens as a result of the relationship between the supporter and *supportee. It is the twang of tension. The confusion of misapprehension it is the stuff of the in between. I stopped being a therapist the moment when I applied psychobabble to the vast complex life I am living in. Take a look at Haunted as an example or The Alienist blog featuring in Patterns: A beautiful way of thinking.

Ending With
I am here for those who assertively, dramatically and seriously want something amazing to happen. Change is available for those who want it! More importantly it exists for those who ask for it and continue asking until that change arrives.

I work with those who are ready and waiting for the next turn on their wheel.

I am a…

Soothsayer
Father
Husband
Friend
Artist
Brother
Uncle
Lay philosopher
Writer
Counsellor
Coach
Mentor
Psychotherapist
Supervisor
Baker

The Call
I am a consultant transforming the art of conversation. Now, if you would like to work with me and that project, idea, challenge or concern drop me a line or visit www.michaelforfiehcounselling.com.

Resource
The Art of Getting Things Done GTD

Structure Them

As with most things in life structure is an important part to creating anything.

Taking Inspiration and Flying
My blog writing has been a flight of fancy, of fantasy and for me a moderate success.

Flight
In 5 years I have grown my readership organically from 10 readers to just over 100. Organically meaning I have posted and readers have liked and then followed the blog. I have attempted campaigns where I have invited friends and family to take a look and subscribe. This took me from being scared to being willingly vulnerable. I had to as Brene Brown would say call on my courage to complete this task. The worst that could happen is readers, family and friends state that they are not interested in reading my work and not click subscribe.
That’s it?
Yup.
Bad huh?

1000’s
The number of readers could always be greater. With time. With consistency. With diligence. With transparency. With vulnerability. With a clear call to action and a clear message the number of quality readers/responders will grow. I am interested in the number of readers growing as some of what I write and think, I intuit is relevant, useful and slightly educative for a few people.

Tate Modern London

Structure Meaning
I will be spending time over the next few weeks re-writing most of my blogs so that they are clear in what they are inviting readers to act on. The blogs are written with the intention to be informative. I have found that the thought that begins the blog post sometimes does not travel all the way to the end. The inspiration leads on to other thoughts and ideas that could be confusing. Leading you astray is where I can get better as a writer. The craft of blog writing is about clarity and information leading to an action.

Action
For me the intention of the blog was to inform others about the thoughts I had about the life I am living. I am still interested in that aim, however the call now is to drive readers to take action. That could include responding to the blog post or any of the 70+ I have written. Read the links included in the blog to increase perspective of what I have written and then respond. Read or buy the book listed in the hyperlink (I currently am not an affiliate marketer), listen to the podcast I have included or watch the youtube video.

Pointing
The aim here – I am interested in having in depth conversations either online or in person with others who have a wider appreciation for the life we are living/leading. The writings of the blogs helps articulate my thinking the aim is not to end the conversation there but to grow the thinking and generate further ideas.

To End

My blogs are going to change. Bare with them and me. A metamorphosis is happening, it possibly is happening for you too.

CTA

The aim of this blog was to share that from a simple and chaotic yet interesting beginning the Therapist on a Journey is changing. If you have read on to the end can you:

  • Send this on to 5 people that you feel would benefit from reading these words
  • Post a comment below or drop me a line at michaelforfieh@gmail.com

A Poem for Narcissus

Educating Narcissus

Show a distorted
Image almost
a picture of
Dorian Gray.

Display in good enough 
Light, invite 
Introspection.
The image pointing
Through the grotesque,
The distended
Wanting horror
To shock 
And drama and 
Show no mercy.
Never – invite in
Pain.

Wanting the subject to
Ask, is that how 
People see me? 
Is that How 
You
See me? 
Is that really 
Me? The answer 
always 

Yes!
To me
As horrible as the image you see
And more
And worse
Bloody and bleeding
Seething knot
Weeded seedlings
Killing, tangling
Feeding a never.

They in handsome 
Refrain, now 
Strained fighting to 
Escape change in 
Small things, notice
The armaments, denial 
Shame, angling to 
Reframe, growth may 
Arrive next and
Demand sought to 
End Pain, transgress 

Frustrate this
No more. 

A Review- Black Leopard Red Wolf

Black Leopard Red Wolf
Imagine if you will a non linear telling of an African history told without colonial conventions about story time and whose voice is the narrator or the keeper of the story. 

Black Leopard Red Wolf 
Is Marlon’s invention of an African past unsullied by the misapprehension of the European. Marlon crafts this book breaking away from the idea of past present and Future. Skillfully he weaves a story together from a possible ancestral past that is rich with magic and risk and myth. 

Black Leopard Red Wolf 

Marlon James and Black leopard Red Wolf 1st in Trilogy

Is a book to lose an idea of up down and other *polemities. The book teases and plays with language timing and of telling a story in a fashion that other stories are often told. It is an opus, an operatic explosion diverse and divisive in creating a new African mystery. 

Black Leopard Red Wolf
Is to be read with care. The misdirects and loose narrative can befell the unweary traveller. There are moments of outstanding beauty, and times where Marlon plays with the idea of trauma and horror. Take your time and enjoy a new way of being told a truly original story. There are moments too when you will laugh out loud and be surprised.