Call him by name

Does naming and “shaming” out abusers truly liberate us? Are we overwhelmed with a great sense of freedom when our peers, family and friends are invited to what was happening behind closed doors? Do our open mouths and bleeding hearts fix even a fraction of the frame?

What happens when your abuser is say a celebrity, wealthy or good looking? Say he is a respected member of society or a man of the cloth. Perhaps you were involved in a romantic relationship with your abuser and he is married and the wife sits quietly in her home and marriage. Who is the fool now? The abuser could be a family member who lacks deeply in emotional intelligence. What if the abuser was abused as well, and suffered a little more than you if that is at all possible.

Shame. We seem to believe that we can cultivate sympathy and grow consciences through shaming. Not realising that our sheltered upbringing kept very essential truths from us for a very long time. What we assume to be shameful, hurtful, abusive or self destructive could be considered absolutely normal on these circular streets. We also do not realize how deeply embedded the roots of patriarchy are planted within our so called new age, new thinking beings.

We hold men to a much higher esteem. We teach men not to be accountable for their thoughts or actions. We aid them in the abusing of our time, means and bodies by pretending that “sorry” fixes a damn thing. We pick up the phone to chase. We buy the birthday gifts, do the cooking, drop the panties before we are wooed. Shame? No longer a thing when females are buying condoms and lubricant because we are now in charge of our sexual appetites. No, we are definitely not teaching our younger sisters that cultivating ones mind is a safer bet in possibly retaining ones dignity if all hell breaks loose. Do we discuss that your womb will be scrapped bear when he finally confesses to having a much more preferable being in his life who his mom who always greeted you lovingly completely adores.

Run to Twitter, compile the hashtags and shame him.

Did it work?

Did he lose his job? Did his following decrease? Are the women who encouraged you to air your laundry standing in solidarity with you or are they his new most frequent Whatsapp contact?

How much time did you spend with your therapist understanding that you may never expect an apology but may have to move on as though you received one. How much do you understand about personality disorders, attachment styles, relationships, abuse beyond the physical, sociopaths, narcissism and the demons mothers marry their children to through neglect?

Before we sensationalize our truths and cause their testimony to lay void, let us stop to think;

What good will it do me to invest more time in my abusers publicity. Are all my wounds well bandaged and my mind sitting in good balance that I can handle the possible backlash. Will I cope with the means of retaliation when he drops buckets of my deepest darkest secrets. Will my family understand why it became necessary to leave us all raw and exposed. Did I prepare them for this? Did I prepare my children, my current partner.

A moments glory is never worth a lifetime of brokenness. Who is shaming who

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The death of me

I have this thought; that I may not wake up in the morning. That someone else’s bad day could result in my family receiving that dreaded call that I am no more. I do not think that death in itself is what I fear. I am instead constantly troubled by how I would be remembered, and if any tangible meaning could be attached to my name beyond it’s lyrical and potent meaning.

Would I have given birth to a child with the same big eyes who would give those who mourned for me promise of a better day? Would I have made my parents proud and returned enough for their countless sacrifices. Would God know me by name, works and the effects of grace?

Would I have told my story?

‘Intrusive thoughts’ they call them. The monsters that live both under and inside of your bed if you suffer from Anxiety and/or OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I won’t be hiding behind my many ailments today. I’d like to bring to your attention something that constricts my thoughts in a far more greater way; the truth.

I had decided that a book would be my chosen medium. Forgetting that I most probably form part of the world’s top ten list of people who are lazy to type. An opportunity to create a reality tv show was a dream only a few steps away from being actualized. But God knew that I was not ready. I would have been so far gone in the gimmicks and soul draining tactics of money making and high ranking seeking that I would shift from testimony to tabloid star.

So I’ve had to wait. Wait to be further taunted, abused and humiliated. Wait to fall in and out of love again. Wait for others to pen down their preferred version of my story. I would have to wait to be completely broken before I could begin to rebuild.

I currently have very little to no desire to drag you all back to the early 90’s where some of the madness began. I will tell you this however as a prelude to the bitter kiss I pray my book will place on you. I too was born a female in South Africa. My odd personality put me on a self driven family shaming adventure at the age of 4. Malnutrition in the presence of plenty.

I was a coconut by the age of six which meant that I did not quite fit in. English speaking dark skinned girls with skinny legs were fair game for all sorts of verbal abuse.

Fist fights with members of the opposite sex were a norm by age 11. By age 14 I had been labelled a bitch by the greater popular church society. I had changed schools because my lesbian suitor did not take well to the word no and had a personal relationship with the HOD who would have expelled me for breathing loudly if he could. I lied to my father about being molested by the resident pedophile for fear he would snap his neck after my then 8 year old cousin had bravely shared her horrors with her mother. The other girls and I had kept this secret well enough so far and he had told me of my ever so attractive maturity and promised to stop with the other girls if I didn’t let go of his hand.

I honestly didn’t think the 20 year old was doing anything out of the ordinary when he shoved me against a wall in Tasbet Park and shoved his rough tongue down my throat. It wouldn’t happen again would it? His future fiancè had already given me a piece of her mind and must have taken my number from him so we all should be square then.

Fast forward past the dating a medical student at 16, followed by rumours of abortions and another man’s hands up my thighs uninvited. He is a pastor now so let us do as we are taught and shame him not.

I would get married at 19 until my engagement was broken by the man of my dreams.

I was engaged again to a different man when I discovered that I had spent age 20 with a married man. He passed away two weeks later and my heart has never been the same again.

My story has not begun. Not the story that I need to tell before life signs me off with my last breathe.

I have been open about the loss of my two children before birth. Recently I discovered that I am sometimes blamed for Aya’s death because of my “infidelity”. And even when these stories that disgustingly dim the lights of my miracles are told, I still pause on the truth.

On the 18th of September 2018 I will continue with the Confessions of a young Wife series yet I warn you not to hold your breathe. My truth will remain on mute.

Pray that I see the tomorrow that I so desperately seek. Because…

“In 2010 I met a boy and he was not handsome; he was beautiful…”

http://www.mathunzi.com

Instagram @mathunzimacdonald

info@mathunzi.com

Yes I do but no, I don’t

Backspace;

The opportunity to begin again with the telling of what it truly on my mind.

Interruptions have forced me to reconsider the structure of this post. This being the fourth attempt, I hope that what I wish to share translates as it should.

I hate asking you for help. I hate the crippling and shameful feeling that follows minutes after you agree. Agree to step into the gaps that I am yet to separate into the categories of “just human” and “all my fault”. I hate the marks left on my small round mirror when I spit mouthfuls of insults to self. See, I’m failing to get my script right as I rehearse my plea, and I can’t seem to find any ticket holders to the seats of my plight’s screening.

You laughed at me when I last told you that my petrol tank was empty. Audi drivers carry fat purses which cover the exhausted engines of our tireless hustles. So we laugh with you when we have to pretend that our vulnerabilities are but a big fat stomach turning joke.

I called my mother who scolded my tears because what are a few hundreds between family?

They are the story between 18 and 28 and every thing that did not go your way. They are the fees you donated to your lover which left you unqualified. The job you lost when tabloids were distributed as your curriculum vitae. Those tears are the exam you missed when the GAD you are constantly mocked for robbed you of sleep until the sun sung you a lullaby.

I stopped crying when you offered to drive me to the hospital. We both knew what could be otherwise. I had successfully dismantled the back bumper of that man’s NP200 when I so elegantly rammed my car into his at 40km’s p/h because my legs decided it was more fitting to be still. Sadly, you would be at work the next time I needed to visit the hospital, so I took an Uber to my 2nd child’s funeral. Card not cash.

I couldn’t blend my makeup for my social media appearance, where I would beg anyone who was going through even a fraction of what I was, to never shy away from asking for help. I opened the doors to my email and DM’s then tip toed to quickly shut the windows of my ever dramatic life. The light may expose the poor application of the foundation you suggested I purchase to cover my embarrassing skin. I noticed that you do not invite me to “our spots” anymore. Needy me might need you to defend me to your posh, prim and proper, ‘we only exist for the good times’ friends.

I needed a hand walking into September. I needed a hand packing what’s left of my photo albums. I needed a ride to pick up my medication. I needed a prayer. I needed you.

But I dare not burden you.

I dare not burden myself, as I already have by giving you parts of me that you never deserved and failing still to simply say no.

You remain entitled to my time, money, mind, body and soul. You get to laugh it off and forget my birthday. You have permission to remind me of what you think my father makes and how by some miracle it has become ours yet he does not know your first name.

What then do you call me? You call me Empath. Co dependent. Sucker for punishment

empath

ˈɛmpaθ/

noun

  1. (chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual.

    Deemed ‘kind to a fault’. A fault perceived as a gift. A gift that gives but leaks through the cracks of my naivety.

    Teach me to ask

    (H) Hope
    (E) Empathy
    (L) Love
    (P) Progress

    God grant me the diligence to discern when my being needs to be mounted on the wings of those who’s intentions are moulded by Your will.

    (Share if you struggle to ask for help even when you desperately need it)

    info@mathunzi.com

    Deemed ‘kind to a fault’. A fault perceived as a gift. A gift that gives but leaks through the cracks of my naivety.

    Teach me to ask

    (H) Hope
    (E) Empathy
    (L) Love
    (P) Progress

    God grant me the diligence to discern when my being needs to be mounted on the wings of those who’s intentions are moulded by Your will.

    (Share if you struggle to ask for help even when you desperately need it)

    info@mathunzi.com

    Deemed ‘kind to a fault’. A fault perceived as a gift. A gift that gives but leaks through the cracks of my naivety.

    Teach me to ask

    (H) Hope
    (E) Empathy
    (L) Love
    (P) Progress

    God grant me the diligence to discern when my being needs to be mounted on the wings of those who’s intentions are moulded by Your will.

    (Share if you struggle to ask for help even when you desperately need it)

    info@mathunzi.com

    Deemed ‘kind to a fault’. A fault perceived as a gift. A gift that gives but leaks through the cracks of my naivety.

    Teach me to ask

    (H) Hope
    (E) Empathy
    (L) Love
    (P) Progress

    God grant me the diligence to discern when my being needs to be mounted on the wings of those who’s intentions are moulded by Your will.

    (Share if you struggle to ask for help even when you desperately need it)

    info@mathunzi.com

It isn’t all in my head

I was alone in my humble apartment when I fell just the other day whilst on the phone with my assistant, trying to make a cup of tea. I had been struggling to sleep well for a few days, even with the aid of prescribed sleeping pills. So after a very taxing weekend of driving, singing gigs and the usual struggles of “adulting” I took a much anticipated nap. I took my pills as prescribed and climbed into bed, savouring roughly two hours of decent slumber. I woke up and picked up my phone to inform a few close friends that I had managed to get some sleep even though I woke up to a pounding headache. This isn’t unusual. I suffer from migraines now and then mainly due to tension. The hamster wheel in my mind is running on a V8 engine of late, therapy and calming agents aside.

The kettle was boiling and I mentioned to my assistant that I would climb back into bed as soon as I had used the bathroom which I desperately needed. I remembered feeling light headed and telling Vuyo that I would call her back in two minutes. I had convinced myself that two minutes was all I needed for my bathroom visit, pouring of the water into the already prepared cup and sliding comfortably back into bed. I repeated the phrase to Vuyo and whilst questioning why I had in all of 30 seconds forgotten that I had already pardoned myself I heard my phone fall. When I came to I realised that I had fallen with it. I sat in a daze and used my more sober voice to convince my self that it was safer to stay on the floor until my eyes weren’t cloudy and my head did not feel like I was hit by an unruly Putco bus. A quick scan of my body once I made it to the pillow confirmed that I wasn’t physically hurt. My mind however was in turmoil; Is this normal? Would it happen again? Should I call my psychiatrist?

Truth is that I was exhausted and had jumped back into work prematurely. My fear of going hungry due to insufficient funds had trumped the doctors orders to take it easy after my discharge. That and something I am not quite ready to share (keep reading, I will divulge the juicy details in due time).

My discharge from Vista Clinic in Centurion, a psychiatric and wellness hospital, was followed by rather vile tasting events. I was coming to terms with the reaffirmation of my existing disorders; anxiety, ocd and the likes but had two more to wrap my already clustered head around. The more pressing one being MDD.

MDD is the abbreviation for Major Depressive Disorder. I discovered that depression at this level may be caused or exasperated by events, circumstances and trauma but the main cause is a chemical imbalance. Therapy is a wonderful aid but medication (let me stress, the right kind for your body’s make up and other affiliated disorders) is necessary to alleviate the sometimes crippling symptoms. Symptoms range from instrusive thoughts, crying spells, fatigue to body aches and numbness. Insomnia and more frequent anxiety and panick attacks may also form part of this list of unpleasant symptoms if you have also been diagnosed with anxiety. Take note that only a psychiatrist can diagnosis and prescribe appropriately for this disorder.

I had lost a month of work during my admission and there were people who needed my assistance with pressing matters.

Why not top it all off with a flimsy, misinformed and quite honestly annoying newspaper article. Being in the public eye is not all that it is cut out to be, trust me. It’s crazy what the art of writing and journalism has been turned into a playground for sensationalism. And how carelessly we speak about people, their lives and families, around issues that society formerly deemed as both personal and delicate. I guess this “comes with the job” but one can’t help but wish humans would be a little more sensible and considerate of the effects, especially on the extended members of our circles who did not choose to dabble in this industry.

I am not writing this to complain about the pros and cons of celebrity status (a status I honestly believe I have not personally reached in any case) but rather about the lack of awareness, knowledge and understanding of mental health issues. How they can affect one physically, how they are not a “white peoples sickness” and how I’ve realised just how many people don’t know how to treat it because they can not call it by name.

I would love to collaborate with professionals to better explain the issues around mental health. I mainly have my own experiences and those of family members and close friends to share at this point. I do not wish to overwhelm you so we will take it a post at a time.

Keep this in mind in the meantime; YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. You are simply human burdened with a force most persons do not understand. You are allowed to ask for help, in fact you should. Asking for help does not make you a burden, it makes you brave. Brave enough to find ways to survive, overcome and conquer. You are not alone and you are amazing. Waking up to face the world with any or many of the mental health issues we suffer from is almost supernatural.

Take time out. If you need a minute, take it. I needed a month and found some quiet during my visit at the Clinic. Feel free to email me for more info regarding the clinic and other institutions that are setup to help, sometimes with the simple burden of being an adult.

A brave and compassionate creative @mluart had a conversation with me which resulted in an agreement to take a more creative route in creating awareness around mental health.

Follow my Instagram page @mathunzimacdonald for more on this and other awareness projects to follow in the near future.

My email address is info@mathunzi.com. Open for more information, sharing and support, business and collaboration enquiries and bucket loads of love.

I only deal in love. Let’s leave the negativity to Black Twitter.

Strength, Love and all things beautiful

The pain and shame

The pain and shame of showing up alone

You can’t understand it until your body and soul was meshed into one with another in the name of love

The pain and shame

Weddings and funerals, parties and lunch dates

The pain and shame of showing up alone

Doctors appointments and surgery, recovery and holidays

The pain and shame

Of lying while smiling, protecting while crying, burning in the pit of your stomach because your value, time and efforts together cannot be matched to that of a stray dog.

The pain and shame

Of phone calls and texts that go unaswered and put on affection only when in want

The pain and shame

When a stranger decides if you get a yes or a no then laughs about it with your friends

The pain and the shame of showing up alone both at the dawn and dusk of your birthday

And now you look like pain and shame and somebody else must show up? For broken old you?

What soap does one use to scrub of the pain and the shame of showing up alone

Image Nigel Sibisi

Glass

“Your lip is bleeding..”

So are your ears. I took a bite of your lobes in retaliation.

My pallet has acquired the taste of blood; how is your face dealing with the sensation?

Drip!

Your bastard hands fed me glass in the place of the croissant I asked for when you offered breakfast in bed. I sat soaked in the sheets now leaking in the aftermath of your poisonous passion. Your eyes travelling up and down the ridge of my nose as the tray shook.

Nervous?

The bottle of orange juice she asked you to give me was heavier than expected. The sacs were not birthed from fruit but from trees. I reached out to grab it in wanting thirst but that curtain interrupted your step and you dropped it.

“Ignore the spill, I don’t want your breakfast to get cold”.

But windows shiver with cold dew and here you carried pieces of the one that cracked when you saw my car lights as you dropped your keys after walking through our kitchen door at an unmentionable hour.

If only tongues bent like spoons off a hot stove I would still have the half that was brave enough to say you are breaking me.

Swallow…

Your bastard hands fed me glass.

Why are you pretending to be unfamiliar with the smell of my blood? On depletion you drank from my heart’s flood and still asked for more beyond the rainbow coloured by my exhaustion. The words you hear are the products of the excess waste your hands delivered to my mouth. How then is the sting of my bite unbearable when you designed this menu?

Ask me where the napkins are…

If you are kind to me for just a day I may show you in gestures how to wipe the blood just enough for cameras not to see it. If the smell begins to choke you, like me, tell yourself you signed up for this.

Don’t spit into your hands. You need them to replace her bottle of orange juice and refill it with your own sweet tea.

She like me will become accustomed to the taste of cold broken glass; If the smell of my blood doesn’t repel her first.

The sharpest piece just purchased a one way ticket to my heart.

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