Uncategorized

But I couldn’t 

If only I could say what I really mean. 

With a passion for writing and a natural ability to engage, you would assume that I would take any opportunity to bare my raw thoughts, but I couldn’t. Not with prying eyes and spectators who are more concerned with the business of others. Not as a practioner in the entertainment industry who’s partner is growing daily in celebrity status. Not as someone who has already suffered front page stage lights and lashings on the Internet. 

I am also a musician. I could have written songs that tell my stories and choreographed dance pieces that paint the picture, but I couldn’t. My eyes would swell up with tears, my chest would grow tight, my hands numb with anxiety, I would simply buckle.

For a while now I have alluded through my blog, social media and other mediums that I am having some difficulty navigating this ‘life thing’. I can now attest to a human flaw in the digital age. We rarely can draw the line between what we share and our personal lives. From rants to encrypted status updates to bible verses, we hold back very little. People close to us however can usually tell. They will send a kind text warning you of the possible repercussions of airing your dirty laundry. But, when you are filled with enough ills you begin to emit the vile toxins, sometimes without intention.

My anxiety disorders are amplified when various stressors present themselves. My disorder also presents itself physically. If you have had to say to me “Mathunzi, you look tired”, this is probably why. In itself, anxiety is something that is very hard to explain. Even those closest to you, who have perhaps observed an intense panic attack, or have read a page with your diagnosis cannot always fully grasp what you are experiencing. I have grown tired of trying to explain it or how recent events make it almost impossible to get through it quickly enough. Everyone has a solution by the way. The most popular is “Pray”.  Do not get me wrong, I sincerely appreciate these sentiments. Sadly my silence does not give you a large enough scope to allow you to prescribe a remedy. (Prayer is always appropriate, but is it enough).

An emotion I experience quite often is rage. I am angry. And even angrier that I cannot speak as I please. I am angry that some decisions about my life were made void of my presence or opinion. I am angry that my temper and reactions to being taunted and abused were used to guilt trip me into submission to suffer more, and sometimes even more aggressive abuse. It upsets me greatly that, more so as a woman, you must find ways to mask your pain and still miraculously show up. The horror in discovering that women are woman’s greatest oppressor. From vague disrespect to out right cruelty. A generation of inhumane social predators.

Not all my experiences were cultivated by another person or people, some of it was beyond human control. It however does not take away from my failure to comprehend the active and purposed participation of humans in destabilising anothers entire existence. Obviously no one has the power or capacity to achieve this, but they will at least try. With a need to feel superior or greater than, humans who are made of weak moral fibre and poor self actualization will do just about anything to “thrive”. Sometimes sadly, the people closest to you will embark on this damaging assignment, leaving not only you and loved ones empty, but themselves entirely worn. When this occurs the most likely turn is that of ambition to bitterness, causing for more evils to stir.

Someone said to me recently that I refuse to accept that there is very little good in some people. This then poses as a problem in accepting my circumstances which are conditoned by such persons. Maybe this is why I fail to speak. I fail to speak because I am yet to process. I fear being ridiculed for premature outlandish vocalisations of my truth. I fear my decisions to protect myself may not be seen as “normal” enough to be found acceptable.
I have said enough in writing this to trust that my voice has not been consumed and one day I will speak. It’s funny how I always urge others to speak. Not only speak, but seek help and support. To value themselves and the one life they get to live. To love themselves fiercely. I ask them to come to be and never fear judgment. I ask God to make things right. To elevate them from the confines of confusion and hurt. But I couldn’t do this for myself.

I am not ashamed of my scars or my fresh woulds which are salted on occasion. I am simply enslaved by the fear of exposing what lays beneath these bandages in case I fail to recover. I love myself enough to have started the process off removing things and people who do not serve me well. I simply don’t know how one learns to ‘unlove’ in learning to better love themselves.

I will write about learning to forgive myself another time. What a necessary process. My apologies again to the reader whom I did not satisfy by leaving out all the tantalising details. Maybe over a cup of coffee 

 

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Coffee, Food, Thought Box

Confessions of a young wife Part 2

Before we go any futher, let me mention that although I have improved greatly, my mouth still has its moments. It is as if the more you uncover in marriage, as far as your spouse as well as challenging dynamics are concerned, the more you have to say. Anyhow…

There are many ‘love languages’, and today I want to share my experience with the kind that has less potential of causing emotional damage. Funny though, as much as it is commonly related to the physical, I personally find it emotionally and mentally stimulating.

A wife who cooks and cleans. (Feminists just put down their mobile devices, kidding). Growing up, cooking and cleaning was a chore. A hideous one at that. Possibly one of the reasons the above ‘cliched statement’ grew to be a sore point for many women. Domestic duties became an exercise set to prepare us to adequately perform in our ‘wife’ capacity within the institution of marriage. To cushion the blow we were told that “a way to a man’s heart is through the stomach”. I battled to associate a pot belly with happiness, the harms of literal thinking.

I am generous at heart. This translates in to me being what I call a ‘feeder’. I want everyone to be fed, and fed well, all of the time. This however does not mean I have an interest in cooking daily. Bless the soul who developed the concept of Mr Delivery. I also did not suffer the stereotypical behaviour expected from black/african men (Come home and demand you plate full of home cooked food). Many attributed this to my husband having an English father and being of Scottish decent, but this sadly is not the cause.

My husband spoke a similar ‘love language’. 

Why do I believe cooking is more than a chore? My husband’s reasons for taking his turn to cook, do the dishes or make a cup of tea were varied, but at its core his wished to remind me that he was present and wished to meet my needs. He came how one evening, after we had consumed take outs for a while (way to long honestly) and said “Tonight you are cooking, what do you need”. I turned around with such vigour and enlarged my playful eyes and responded quite swiftly “What the hell for?”. His response was simple “I miss my wife’s cooking”.

My husband did not miss my cooking (as good as my cooking can be if I say so myself), he missed my attention, consideration and warmth. The things that homes are built on. Cooking, when done well, is an art. The reason our ‘quick meals’ and failed lasagnes are found acceptable however is the heart behind the art. Someone took the time to consider my physical and mental needs. The body and mind sadly do not function on romantic utterances. 

Look at the concept of negligence. Failing to meet the physical and mental needs of a child by failing to provide regular and wholesome meals is considered negligence. Marriage doesnt suddenly allow us to evolve in to super beings whos needs suddenly differ from those of all mankind. 

The mind also requires a sense of order in order for it to function in an orderly fashion. Creating a space where this is attainable speaks more of your ability to sympathise with the needs of those you care for than your domestic finesse. 

I am appealing to the part of our beings that are able to put the needs of others before those of our own. This speaks more of us than it does of those who receive. An abundance of self love allows for an extension of genuine care an affection. With no expectation of a word of gratitude. How much more happier would we be if we found contentment in simply knowing that we have done good and we did it well. 

Food speaks to all of our hearts. So men should not shy away from learning and speaking this here language. 

I probably should mention that we live in an age of food channels, food blogs, cook books, cooking lessons, Woolworths (hahaha) so excuses have been reduced.

Explore the human condition. Relationships thrive on the reciprocating of meeting human needs. 

Let me cook… Not 

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Uncategorized

Confessions of a young wife Part 1 

My sincerest apologies to all those who were getting ready to indulge in tabloid type gossip. Perhaps I will visit that realm in Part 4. There will only be 3 parts in the year of 2016 and I am hoping to have numbed all traces of “woman scorned” by 2017.This then suggests that Part 4 may never come to exist,(In short, don’t hold your breath). 

Growing up I spoke very little. I was extremely opinionated but I used my words sparingly. I then got married in 2012. The flood gates were opened and I just could not stop. My endless jabbering was fueled by the fact that my husband, who also spoke very little to most, and kept his opinions to himself, was responding. Not only to my commentary, but in equal quantity with his very own. Where lies the problem you ask? I no longer seem to know WHEN to simply keep my mouth shut. 

Marriage is a tricky maze to navigate. It requires excellent precision, patience and dedication. “Communication is key” is probably one of the most heard of statements by those embarking on a marital journey and those who are curious about it. What “they” (the people we assume know better) rarely emphasize that silence is just as, if not in certain circumstances, more important.

When dealing with annoying habits or when things get a little heated, what runs the fastest is the tongue. Sterotype exist for a reason. Woman tend to excel at this. I personally learned just how much I could say in moments of frustration. Put into play the power struggle of “who has the last word” and you have yourself a full episode of Game of Thrones in your living room or bedroom,in 4D. 

I have sat too many times in retrospect and realized that all I had to do was hold my tongue. “Winning” an argument could be a loss as far as the cause. Fighting to get your point across is a breeding ground for war. Listening is truly a skill many do not possess.

From a wife’s perspective, I wish our gift registries included a box full of ‘Shut Up’. Don’t get me wrong, I am an attentive listener, but in a fit of rage most of what you hear sharpens the weapons of your responses. Now, once things are said they can not be retracted. “I am sorry I said that” is not a marital vacuum cleaner. Some times what you have to say may be right on the money, but in the wrong place and/or at the wrong time it may turn into the most useless piece of information that is expressed on planet earth, in that moment.

The ability to ‘say something’ may also become the birth of spite. How many time do you say something simply to touch a nerve because you feel wronged? 

The tongue can be damaging. From either spouse, be it either sex, what comes out of your mouth may be the glue that keeps you and your spouse together or the match stick that destroys all you have worked so hard to build. 

This is a lesson I am still learning. I sadly seem to be a slow learner in this regard. When choosing a partner I’d assume one would pick someone with a decent level of reasoning power. Saying what is necessary and leaving your spouse to process the information, without interruption could allow for them to find confidence in who they can become for you. 

Once voices are raised and insults are hurled, the aim is lost.

Looking back, even if all it served was retaining my dignity in how I am considerate of my spouse in what I said, there are times I could and should have kept quiet. 

Knowing also the debilitating feeling of being on the receiving end shouldn’t one remain mindful? 

Not only in marriage, but in all engagements, I am going shopping for the biggest box of Shut Up. Empty vessels make the most noise. Thoughtless women destroy with their tongues. 

Cook or something,I hear it’s calming 

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Thought Box, Uncategorized

Finding hope in emptiness…

I saw two absolutely gorgeous girls in princess costumes. My heart leaped with adoration. Then it stopped for a second. Am I allowed to dream about the day when wands and ballets shoes fill my corridor. The day when soccer balls stain my walls. I have never seen so many expectant moms and young children in a short space of time,as I have at my most longing. Is the universe taunting me or am I just more aware because my dreams still haunt me. 

I have always been good with children. In fact I believe my life’s purpose it to create better spaces and a promising life for all the little ones I can reach. My studies, even in the arts are directed towards their well being. I am always the first to offer to babysit. Baby showers generate a ridiculous level of excitement inside of me. So with all this, what now? 

I believe in God, in his divine purpose, but never have I ever struggled so much to ask him what this plan is all about. All I have managed is a request for calm and a heavenly dose of pain management. 

I appreciate and adore my family and friends who have shown up and continue to embrace my struggle and give me reasons to smile. 

Recent posts have been pleas with the world to learn the art of not poking at situations that may be sensitive, but till this moment I am asked why in my 4th year of marriage I have nothing to show as far as children go. Why I don’t ‘bless’ my parents with grandchildren. I was always swift in my polite responses,but of late I use every inch of strength to hold my tongue and not sharply ask that you mind your own damn business. 

An advocate for adoption,I worry how in this space I can adequately do what Iv always sought to do,which is to love those who never asked to be born and tossed. 

Its pretty dark in here. So where do I find hope? 

Im writing and posting this as not only a step towards the liberation I seek,but a call to women and men alike to liberate themselves. Allow your heart to speak. Empty your soul,so when new hope is found,it finds a place to settle and bloom. 

   

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Thought Box

Her untold story 

Losing a child to miscarriage may be one of the most painful things any woman may suffer. To society, it’s not a true loss because you had never ‘met’ your child or they had not ‘developed enough’. The pain one feels as a coffin is lifted into a hearse, is the very pain experienced. And what’s  worse,is that you cannot talk about it. I mean it is so ‘taboo’ and possibly ‘shameful’ to your family. So you grieve and suffer in silence, whilst people confidently ask ‘so when are you having a baby?’. It is also something we are not educated about. There is something called a missed miscarriage. Your baby passes away but your body doesn’t recognize the death. So you happily continue being ‘pregnant’ until the doctor breaks it to you. You may choose to wait for the baby to pass on its own eventually, or be induced and suffer labor pains only to deliver a lifeless being. The trauma of carrying your lifeless child lingers. Then you must wake up and carry on as usual lest people wonder. Throw away the baby magazines, delete the apps, and break the news to family and friends who really don’t know what to say. Then the choice to get pregnant again comes into play. How do you begin?  Knowing that babies die before you get to hold them, kiss them… How do you process all this in your quiet corner. What do you say to the disappointed faces who’s pockets had begun to shake for your baby’s sake and who’s hearts were just as eager? How do you not think of 10 000 things you must have done wrong, even though science says there is really nothing you could have done. You must then attend baby showers, and babysit, and listen to careless girls toy with the idea of abortion or careless mothers complain about their gift. If only they knew that in a second your life can change. I still pray for every woman who has suffered a loss, early or late pregnancy or even after the child was born. Somebody does understand. Understands that you had named your child and sang to them,and had worked hard to prepare for their arrival. Someone understands the guilt when you consider barren women and others unlucky as this. This may sound petty, but what an enlightenment when the world discovered that Beyonce had had a miscarriage. The most affluent are human too and suffer the sting of death. 

No one is seeking pity. Just a release from the solitude. The freedom to celebrate a life that could have been. 

The person to tell her story. 
Again,be kind to everyone,because you simply cannot know what battles are being fought within. 

Acknowledge her strength but love her in her weakness. 

Call her mother,she has given life that was cruelly taken away. 
Each child is a blessing… A miracle 
‘A letter to my unborn child’ she wrote… 
Mommy loves you… 

  

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Music, Uncategorized

Ncamisa Nqana 

  
You could almost always guarantee that where she is present there is laughter and a whole lot of noise. In my first year in the Jazz & Popular Music department I knew Ncamisa as the girl who set the music building alight (not literally) with her quircky dances, fits of laughter and friendly banter with almost everyone. I had no clue as to what lay beneath all that sass. 

And then I heard Ncamisa perform ‘Body and Soul’ for a peer’s recital performance/exam and I was taken aback. Her rendition was almost flawless, shaming some singers who came before. This was jazz… We started talking and soon became friends. Ncamisa would assist me with music theory and backing vocals for live gigs. One of the few people who would give me feedback regarding the flaws in my performance, and I could walk away feeling enlightened, a better vocalist, as I knew it always came from a good place with the intention to help me grow. 

Many of us constantly nagged Ncami about going solo. Personally, I now feel I was still not aware of the magnitude of her talent. When I saw the poster with the details of her performance, my heart leaped. I had heard Ncamisa perform some of her original pieces at a charity event organized by her older sister (also a musician), family and I. Her writing was impressive. Her co composer is Teboho, who is also her and my pianist, ( His feature is coming soon). Now lets skip to the good part. 

Friday night, the stage was embodied with greatness. Clean jazz tones, creative lyrics, humor, classic vocals, a warm and put together band. Ncamisa had her moment and lived her truth. After what had been an intense week, my heart was lifted. Not only by seeing a good friend finally live her dream but what a worth while, quality performance. I cant really describe it, so here are a few snippets. 

Her name is Ncamisa Nqana, find her and follow her musical journey. 

 Link to Ncamisa’s biography will be added soon    

 

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Food, Thought Box

Caked up & Tired 

 
I have better days, but some days almost reduce me to tears with an intense craving for cake. Really good cake. Rich, soft sponge, perfect filling, fattening cake! One morning I told my husband how much I would love cake for breakfast as I had been craving it all week. His response was peculiar. He asked if I was sleeping well. Now what do my sleeping patterns have to do with the price of cake? He continued to explain how the craving of cake is associated with insomnia. 

I had to consult doctor google urgently. And lo and behold. Craving cake, carbs and junk found is one of the major signs of insomnia, poor sleep, anxiety and depression. Speaking to a psychologist I confirmed all this. 

This is when I began to trace back to my ‘weakest moments’. I generally enjoy all things fatty and delicious, but intense craving did come about at my ‘low feeling’ and ‘poor sleep’ episodes. 

My mother has waved her hands in the air and ranted about my father’s poor food choices at random. My mother is a vegetarian and has been for 25 or so years, my father a pescetarian. He does however have the random craving for junk food. Now notice, he is one of the people I know to suffer from insomnia. A very busy man who is constantly ingrosed in various studies I wonder how and when his mind rests. So here mom, the better we sleep the better we eat. 

The body and mind attempt to find a substitute for the things necessary for the body’s function that are found in sleep. Also, the imbalance created by an irregular sleep pattern must somehow be compensated for. Carbohydrates seem to offer such substitutes. You can read more about this study online. 

Personally, I should thank my lucky stars that rapid weight gain is not familiar to me or I would quickly emulate the shape of many birthday cakes. The best way to combat the symptoms is to deal with the cause. 

So here’s to beating insomnia, somehow… 

   
   

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