Day One

It has been a hard year. Actually it’s been a hard couple of years which culminated in a break down of my health. There were points when I thought I would break down so I made a promise to myself: to keep pushing until the office closed for the December holidays. It wasn’t easy and on some days I could barely keep up a smile which was hard because when your core focus is people, you need to show up. In the end I succumbed and ended up going to see a doctor who diagnosed me with gastritis. Great I thought, now I had something to tell the team which justified my mood and lack of appetite. Finally I had an outlet with which to mask the truth of what was really going on with my system; and they bought into it, phew. This probably sounds idiotic but it made sense to me.

Anyway, so here I am, Day One: December 21, 2017. I am finally on leave and can focus on restoring myself. I am going to be taking it easy, moving at my own pace – meditating, reflecting and working out. I am going to learn how to love myself again, put myself first and eat right. So far so good. I woke up with a smile this morning and even though there was a moment where I was thinking of work, I didn’t jump out of bed instead I went back to sleep. I have a couple of things I need to do before we re-open but I am going to do it at my own pace. When I finally woke up and got going, I worked out for about 45 minutes and although I couldn’t keep up all the time but I did it and that is all that matters (pats self on the back).

I took some time out afterwards to record a little video because I want to document this change. I also took a selfie, something that I am going to do more often to remind myself that I exist and that I am beautiful. There is a history attached to this but it is too soon for me to delve that deep. They say you know you’ve overcome something when you no longer cry when you talk about it. I am not ready.

It will have been 18 days on this journey when I go back to work. When I got n the scale this morning, it read 99.7kg. I won’t be getting back onto it until a month has passed because it is not my main measure. I am just including it because it is one of the health measures that exists. My main focus will be on healing myself, confronting issues i have not dealt with, being kind to myself and enjoying the simple things in life. I thought I was doing this all along and to some extent, I have been, but I have also been short changing myself – postponing it to ‘tomorrow’. This is what we do, get so caught up in other things and forget ourselves. I am returning to self and as a treat, I am heading out for a Thai massage because it’s something I love, be(the)cause #LoveLaughterLight.

 

xo xo

Yaya

 

 

 

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Sunken place

I have entered this place but I know the morning comes with jubilation Be(the)cause #LoveLaughterLight

Rebirth

I kissed you goodbye as I stepped out of your shadow,
And watched the skies fill with swallows of sorrow,
How long had you stood in my mirror,
Shielding me from the world that consumed me,
Immediately I felt the loneliness coil itself around me,
Snakes that pretended to house my heart,
Whilst sinking their fangs into my beat,
How I miss you,
How I no longer miss you,
How I long for you,
That even in the dryness of my tears the salt still lingers,
Bitter sweet memories of a confused soul,
I too died that day,
Drowned in a shattering silence.

© Yaya, unpublished, November 2017

But some animals are more equal

In response, having had encounters with thinkers of thoughts such as these, the experience has prompted me to  write this following piece, titled “(un)BUNTU. Thank you for the inspiration.

(u)BUNTU
you will forgive me, Little Bird,
for not applauding now that you have come to say my name,
took you long enough to learn and still you have missed the mark,
for my name is not just enunciated vowels and consonants pushed out from behind pursed lips,
but rather a paragraph in song with each line the acknowledgement of my being;
(the gentle flutter of kimímela),
(the captivating eyes of fatima),
(and the fierceness of oya),
sung only by those with hearts of pure intention who worship both sun and moon,
and shine with the flawlessness of stars,
and yet they sit on reed mats to ask of your well-being;
(my people celebrate the wind),
(my people dance in the rain and huddle around fires),
(and my people are moulded from the earth and bring light to life),
the question posed not only to I but the we that surrounds me and the we that is within me,
we are spread further than the eye can see,
further than the arms can reach,
further than your imagination can even begin to perceive:
(north, south, west and east),
(the in between and into the darkness that is infinity),
(the above and below, the be-all and end-all),
further than the lies you tell yourself when in accepting defeat still you deny my existence,
handing me a branch whose leaves are diseased with a hatred for my presence,
and so you will forgive me for what may appear as silence as you stand there pleased mouth opened,
because my existence is alive and living in the breath of different shades and different melodies;
(I call the wolf my brother),
(I call the baobab tree my friend),
(and I call even the most barren of deserts my home),
for it is these that shape the we in me and give birth to the wisdom that is I am;
and so I hope that one day you too will come to discover;
that a name is not just a name but a heritage;
and when spoken, its sound is a song and this song, a tribute to the great I am!
and so, when you say my name, Little Bird, it is not only the pronounciation that stirs my people;
but the honeycomb that rolls off your tongue.

© Yaya, unpublished work, October 2017 (v2)

 

In Memoriam

Being young is all about being carefree, unbothered by the goings on of the world, lost in your own imagination. How then do we explain the traumatic experiences that invade this tranquility? Who gives them permission to happen and scar us for the rest of our lives?
I have come to better understand such things but the child in me remains confused.
Caught in the crossfire (For Lungile)
It was a senseless war that took your life Lungile,
One that fills my heart with so much pain,
Like the bullet that striked you in the head,
I never asked if your death was instant,
Never asked if you cried out in pain,
And I never got to say goodbye,
God must have planned it that way,
Knowing that I would have jumped into your grave,
Overcome with grief of losing my best friend.
My dear cousin,
You were my life and I miss you so much,
Over twenty years later and still I mourn you,
I have felt your absence as I battled through life,
Missing how you constantly teased me,
As we spent every holiday heads together in conspiracy,
You were there for my first kiss and we got into so much trouble,
Because we were stupid enough to kiss those boys in our own yard.
The world is lonely without you Lungile,
But all the pains I’ve been through bear no light to your death,
Because as my world tumbled you were the stability of my childhood,
And then they took you away and I never got to say goodbye,
A bullet in your head as you walked that day,
A path we had walked many times unbothered,
How I never expected that my letters to you would be posthumously,
Gone too soon and left a hole in my young heart,
Caught in the crossfire of man’s evil ways.
© Yaya, unpublished work. May 2017.
For my cousin Lungile who was caught by a bullet to her head, caught in a faction fight while she walked home from my grandmother’s house like we always did. I was at boarding school by then and I never got to say goodbye.

Goodbye my Lover

There are people who enter your life and you fall in love with them immediately or in trickles of appreciation and respect. They become an important part of your life, of your journey; sometimes without even playing a particular role but just by being there, being present. I have been very fortunate to have met many of these people whom I call my lovers because they spur an emotion so deep within me, it can only be love. In my eyes they can do no wrong and even when they do, I love them nonetheless. And when our paths go different ways, still the love persists and every encounter is like a breath of fresh air. This is one part of my life experience I have opened myself up too, drinking it up like sunshine and allowing it to fill me up until I too am glowing. This is a love that has no expectations and does not announce it’s appearance – it just is.

A couple of years ago, I found myself in the midst of yet another lover. I did not know it then, only that our paths would cross outside of the circumstances that led to our meeting and I held onto that feeling. Well, it has been over a year now that I and this lover have shared each other’s company. In what seems to be a short space of time, I have learnt so much from this lover and only hope that I have reciprocated the love. I feel so alive with ideas and dreams that it almost saddens me that we are going to part ways. You see, not all of our lovers are meant to be with us forever; not physically anyway, only in our hearts.

We never forget them – these family members, friends, colleagues and every now and then, strangers. And as my soul stirs with a new song, a yearning for an even bigger experience, it saddens me that I will be leaving you soon my lover. It hurts me that we only have eighteen months remaining together and I dread the day that I will have to tell you. But you are wise and you see the signs. Perhaps they keep you awake at night but I ask that you see the beauty of this. That my emancipation from you is saddled with beautiful memories and is inspired by all that you stand for. You have helped me step into the great light warrior that I am about to become. And I want you to know that I carry you in my heart, forever darling.

 

To the boy who rejected me

I have shaved my hair. Not all of it. Just enough so that I am still recognisable as a woman but unrecognisable to the girl who faced so much rejection from you. I do not blame you, let it be clear. Even though when I showed my cards, you chose not to play the game. Even though I chose you, you chose to still go with someone else. Even though I married you, your eyes never stopped wandering. And even though I prayed and pleaded with the universe, still you did not come my way.

    Your face still runs through my mind time and time again. Your crazy hair that I would run my fingers through. Your masculine body – short, tall, slim, bulky – as I looked ashamedly at my own, first through the ignorant eyes of youth and later through eyes that have seen its fair share of toil – childbirth and plain old obesity.

It has taken me many years to realise that I am beautiful, through my own eyes. You see, for a very long time I judged myself based on what I believed you saw. Beautiful but not beautiful enough, interesting but not interesting enough; and intelligent but not intelligent enough. Over and over again I would stare at first girls, then women, whom I believed you were in awe of and wanted to be with. So I wore different weaves and starved myself but still it was never enough for you. 

    Eventually I broke down when you took off with someone else, when you cheated, when you proposed to someone else and when you did not pitch up for our wedding because the universe was obviously not hearing my song. With every instance I would label myself a fool and for my own sanity, which was in fact insanity, I would throw my arms into anyone willing to be with me. When the right man finally fell into my arms, I could not breathe because they did not smell of you; so I ended it. But in ending it, I fell right back into your cold arms and so the self loathing began all over.

But one day I remembered a boy who did choose me. A boy who patiently waited until I was mature enough to be with him. Unfortunately for us, or perhaps unfortunately for the things we desired for our lives; our paths went separate ways and this was my first taste of defeat. He still pines for me even in his married life, pines for the love lost out of circumstances beyond our control. If only you would pine for me this way and not in the stupid messages you send me which speak only of lust and the non existent messages I imagine receiving out of my own lust. 

     The last time I fell in love, I was certain it would be true because I had cast a wish on the universe and it produced you. You, the last boy I fell in love with because the relationships after that were a mere desperation in an attempt to forget you. I had loved over many seasons, fooled around too but truly believed, because I had changed the game; that you were the one. I told the world about you but nothing happened, you never appeared except as a name in the long list of boys who reached me.

And so here I am surrounded by the memories of a boy who did love me; and remains my best friend. At first I took it as a sign that love is something not meant for me. I allowed myself to wallow in the sadness of all your faces as they flashed before me. How you chose someone else and how you never appeared, no matter how much I begged the universe to turn you into a reality. I drowned in my own misery, remembering all your fingers upon my body and your fingers that never got to touch me. I cursed the universe.

     But then I remembered the boy who loved me, who grew into the man who pines for me. And I realised that I was capable of being loved, without the weaves and the skinny body. And I started to look at myself differently. To see myself as me, a lovable being. I began to love me. And to mark this new beginning, to from the former me who did not like herself; I shaved my hair. But not all of it because who we were makes us who we are.

I look forward to the self love and I thank you, for rejecting me because it has allowed me to love me. I saw you in the super market queue with your children and I wanted to strike up a conversation. Instead I smiled, to myself, as I sent a note up to the universe that I was willing to wait. Wait for the man who would be drawn to my love because of his own love. I know he is out there – the man who will accept me as I am because I accept him as he is.

The Girl with a Dream

In 2013 I decided that it was time to go back to full time studies, on a part time basis. It seemed a little crazy since I already had a couple of qualifications under my belt – ranging from Finance, Project Management and Development but I needed to prove to myself that I could. Which makes it the more stranger since I had already proven myself. Let’s say, I was in search of just that little bit extra. I went one step further and set my self a goal to finish the degree in four years, never mind that all other past attempts had ended abruptly mostly due to work commitments. Anyway off I went, armed to the teeth with determination and what an uphill battle it was. Everything that the universe could fling at me it did – excessive workload, horrible managers, family challenges, unemployment, failed relationships – everything. There were moments when I was so close to the edge of quitting and I would bawl my eyes out, scream at myself in the mirror, give myself serious pep talks about laziness; just about anything to get myself back on track. And it paid off. I remember receiving my final result and finding all the weight lifting off my shoulders. I had achieved what I had set out to do and nobody could take it away from me. From the onset and during the challenges, I never took my eyes away from the image of myself wearing a graduation gown (again). And so on the 20th of June this year that vision became a reality. I am officially a BA in Community Development graduate.

Graduation, 20 June 2016
The girl with a dream, June 20 2016

Three days later, I was writing an exam. What’s that you say? Well along my journey I had decided to pursue a PhD. Why? Because it’s a possibility and my rule is that if someone has done it, that’s already half the work done for you. So earlier this year whilst anxiously awaiting my results, I decided to register for the three modules that would get me into the Honours in Anthropology programme. And whilst I wait for those results I am doing an online course on Divination (prediction) Systems. But wait there’s more. Before the month ends I would have registered for a BSC in Informatics. It may all seem like madness but for, I am just a girl with a dream.  And the studies might seem disjointed but trust me, there is method to the madness.

I have learnt to trust gut feel mixed with a bit of logic and it has paid off. Watching the graduation proceedings I kept my eyes on the graduates in red. I watched them get onto that stage and be awarded the status of Doctor. In my mind I ran through the title of my thesis which I had decided on in 2013, I saw the e-mail I had written this year to one of the lecturers explaining my study path and I saw the little girl who had stood in her parents’ garden dreaming of working in the then Zaire. Over the years I veered off that path but I understand now that never once did I lose my way. I am just a girl with a dream and I am making it happen, bit by bit with Love, Laughter & Laughter.

xoxo

The Informatic Anthropologist