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

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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

Too much

How much is too much?

I waste so much time deleting captions and text because I can not seem to decide when too much is too much.

God forbid we appease the enemy by revealing too much of the contents stacked up in the many boxes of pain that we carry. The bigger boxes labelled shame, failure and regret. But who is the enemy?

Perhaps self; for freely giving the paintbrushes of progress that were custom made for it’s healing. When do we realise that we are on our own timetable? That the real healing begins when we stop thinking about them, thinking for them, making decisions to annoy them. Seeking their attention by continuously numbing our potential and instead squeezing our fat bruised bodies into the spaces of their dreams?

When did this become his, her or their story? Not a minute in my shoes and I have given the power to write my ending? You have already carelessly rewritten chapters in my book with ink you did not purchase. You stole the bottle that leaked of colours that looked like mine, spat your lies into it and began to paint with your unwashed feet. Now I fear your two bit opinion about the pages written with actuality? Piss off.

I love Nomfundo Xaluva’s Bayathetha. It resonates so deeply with me because wow, can people talk! For similar reasons as those relayed in this post I refrained from sharing the cover on my Soundcloud because what if;

What if I am stripped naked for the umpteenth time for the world’s laughter to gnaw at my stained skinned? I dropped out of the Jazz department to resume my administrative position in the department of your dreams and my voice dropped out of my voice box. My 3.3 octave range reduced to one. My scatting into lazy lines 2mm off the walk way of scales. Listen, I heard them talking then and I hear them talking now but I fail to learn the lesson.

I can feel this pen slipping and it shatters me to think that perhaps you, they, I was right to think I could not paint with all my talents.

Too much is the principal of myths in the institution that houses tales that teach us that yellow bones are more attractive and us berry babies should sharpen our wits if we wish to gain any attention. Too much gives a shoulder to the whining of women who stepped into the battle grounds for men who still failed at the pre primary tasks of zip up and keep your shoes on when it rains. Too much told you to bow your head in pity when I mention that my children were never born and labour is twice as hard when it is in vain.

Too much will receive it’s dismissal letter on Monday. Here’s to a weekend of forgiving ourselves and letting our ink flow as we silence the humans who have found nothing better to do but walk outside of our shoes.

All errors should be blamed on my picking up my phone at 23:30 to type and insisting on publishing at 00:05. Let’s proof read on Monday too

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.

I am no Saint 

I am no delinquent neither.

How do you confess an ill that carries the potential to topple you as the narrator before it hits anyone else? Confessions don’t begin with the person who has been wronged or situation that you have mishandled, no. There is a conversation with self that is usually held off because it begs the question, how on God’s good earth are you this person?

I am pretty good at a number of things, including playful banter right down to calculated self serving manipulation (Aries are made this way). At some point in my life I could drive almost any decision to suit and serve my wants, not needs, and sometimes I could achieve this in complete silence. Before the age of 21  I was well aware of the power of the mind and how malleable emotions can be, and I used this knowledge as a tool to chisel a world I thought I preferred. My older sister became aware of my not so pretty side very early in our childhood. For a couple of years she would not exclusively enjoy a birthday celebrations birthday gift. If I liked what she had, I would seek it and best believe I would get it. I loved her deeply and sometimes envied her “girly” disposition, her less husky and hard voice, curvy body and well manicured hands. But, I would literally die before she was dubbed “the favourite”. To combat this I learnt to pick locks so as to gain access to her diary which I offered to my mom for her early evening reading, precisely marked pages and all. I hated the boarding school we both attended and had convinced myself that it was her fault that I had grown so miserable and was subject to an openly lesbian stalker who pushed me to the verge of suspension twice, so I “retaliated”. I slow brewed the tears, called my father and went on a desperate rant about my deep worries for her spiritual life after discovering that she planned to get her tongue pierced. My father was livid. She has no piercings to date. I had my tongue pierced a year later.

My parents seem to have known about my unique personality almost from birth, but apparently had more faith in how it would shape a resilience and determined spirit that would later fuel my more noble strengths. My father is intelligent and insightful. My mother? Let’s just say she has her God on speed dial and He seems to drop what ever information or remedy she may need or want as soon as she mutters, “Hello, it’s about these children again…”. I learnt the art and gift of confession and forgiveness from my parents and through religious teachings. Confession to self, confession to whom you have wronged and confession to God. There was a greater teacher, who’s methods were not supported by cushions of grace. Her name? Karma.

Karma may force you to do one of these three things, if not all three at the same time;

• Suffer in kind, tenfold

• Take a long hard look in the mirror and see a part of you that you may not have known to exist. A part that is not easy to look at

• Announce her arrival, be visible during her stay and leave a parting card noted “That was me sharing what you deserve. Kindly do not mistake me for that boring guy called Unfair”

In my life, karma was not responsive towards my flawed personality traits. Those were handled by my ability to love to a fault, my swift call to empathy, my anxiety and God. Karma answered to mistakes, bad decisions and carelessness. I mention mistakes before decisions because a repeated mistake is a choice. If you are of sound mind with a reasonable level of common sense, there is truly no sense in a second time. A second time breeds a third, the fourth may begin to numb your guilt and the filth will suffocate your conscious. Then comes habit, weak friends called lies and the most pathetic, meaningless and over used phrase; I am sorry. Sorry? As meaningless as saying grace at a table stacked with fuel before mass indulgence in fornication.

Consequence does not bow to apologies. Consequence will have it’s day.

There are things I will take to my grave, that I only mutter when my room is dark and my windows are sealed. But please know this, I am no saint. I don’t wish to be remembered as one. I am flawed, beautifully so and that has moulded me into a being who constantly seeks to become better.

My greatest sin? The breaking of a heart. Both unintentionally and once with the greatest will. This is why the response matters more than the cause. See pain changes you, shifts you to an unrecognisable state and the easiest way to respond is to inflict it as far as your mind allows you to stretch your constructive imaginings. And when we fear facing this pain, we mask, we soothe. We give of our bodies, our time, our money. We change how we talk and switch the music we listen to. We download messager apps for easier access to the bodies that will climb us and squeeze the life out of our moral graces. We have conversations with boring minds and schedule dates in dark spaces. And when we are found out our tongues trickle the words I am sorry but sadly or hearts are streaked with cobwebs of sinful stone.

I have been afraid of a shift in perspective that could be birthed by the telling of my shortcomings. Then it stopped, the being afraid of external perspectives; How did I perceive me? I walked into the shower barely breathing, bitterly sobbing as though someone had died. I felt dirty. I felt false. I was burdened with a weighted apology but I couldn’t make one until I confessed to self, to him, to God. Perspective.

These days, I am more afraid of laughing about what should sicken me. I am afraid of the texts that are welcomed on my phone after the sun sets. I am afraid of the hearts I may have left bleeding only because mine was gushing. I am afraid of lies and smiles that hide them. I am afraid of the words “I love you”.

I am not proud of my lack but I am pleased that the extreme opposite exists and by grace, it currently dominates my being. I am no delinquent.
My sister calls me loving now and I lock her secrets in my heart. My mom still dials Jesus for intel and dad? Still shakes his head quietly when I fib about the mismanagement of my monthly budget.

And I? I am Sorry

And scene (2017).

I peeled off my legendary  ‘mask of composure’ for all of two seconds but the tears continued dropping for roughly an hour. I had my Samsung in hand, plotting via Whatsapp text, the moves and manoeuvres I have prepared to carry into January 2018. Most of the faces on the other end of the line will not be able to tell that on some days my heart still shatters. On some days, I really don’t have it all together.

The year 2017 has been far more gracious than the two years that preceed it.  Thank God! So much so, I finally caught a glimpse of my not so familiar “happy weight” and I remember to eat at least twice a day. Again, there are earthly angels who have held my hand through even these things, that seem small, like chewing and swallowing more than one spoonful.

My Montessori practicals brought about routine, which was necessary.  I had forgotten that my best days are Mondays, just before sunrise. Should I tell you about Mondays? The promise they carry? Maybe another time.  I am so beautifully privileged to live, learn, grow and love amongst children in the Montessori environment.  These humans cleanse my spirit. They are God’s tangible reminder that He can make anything new. And that when He creates He does this with great delicacy coupled only with the agape kind of love. That even through challenged speech, crooked walks and difficult tantrums there is so much beauty and potential. So so much.

I laid my favourite uncle Stephan to rest on my birthday, 06-04-2017.  I walked into my parent’s living room and my father held me as if he would never let go again. My mother tried to break the news as gently as possible; This birthday like a few others would be heavy.  I smiled, genuinely on that Thursday afternoon.  Every mother who raised me, remembered that their little girl was growing up, painfully yes, but growing still. One mother sang quietly whilst holding me in the warmest embrace at the gravesite. Oh the joy.  My cousin sister Phumzile loved to sing. She had a stunning contra alto and was so humerous. She has 3 young children who with us bid her farewell about a month before. Death snatched her before her very own birthday.  The Wednesday after her passing, my mother would lose her cousin, my maternal uncle. I could continue with this morbid list but rather not. I will share this however; Never have I anticipated and yearned for a text from the being who became a stranger as I did during that time. If not for my comfort, just to know that they are still breathing.

I got rid of those dreadlocks that most of you had come to appreciate. And they will not make a return in the new year, or ever. There were a few lessons locked in those loose curl locs though, such as patience. Could we learn to be just a bit more patient with ourselves? Allow ourselves to break down so we can build bigger canvases for the masterpieces we were born to become. We are made of so much, to be so much, so why the rush? Who are you pitted against except you, that you must hurry sometimes with no plan or pleasure in the moments pocketed in your journey?

I am realising that if I attempt to breakdown every pivotal piece in 2017, I may lose you half way through this blog. We can’t risk this in case I have some epic one liner to share right at the end. So please stay with me, almost there.

Music. We are still an “old married couple”. We bicker quite a bit but the love? Endless. I placed The Verse on a partial hiatus for many reasons, including seriously not having enough time to be as dedicated to the music and management affairs as I should be. Also because I am exhausted of coming home with only enough to cover petrol for a night and squeeze in those horrid burgers from that place which is closely matched to my surname. I have the pleasure however of working with the most talented artists, who constantly feed my soul and mind with their art. I am grateful for this. Theatre fits into the neat bag of goodies carrying the better part of my year. What a beautiful medium. Stories that break your heart and mend it all at the same time. Have you seen Masasa Mbangeni on stage? You should.

“You need to own the fact that you are an actress” said the director after the acting workshop. “You are magic” said my gorgeous Tess after the shooting of a pilot with our mutual friend Kabomo. I had completely forgotten this. I became so familiar with appreciating what was around me, what was inside me was brutally silenced. I reach into the bag of better things and scream chants of gratitude to the angels that walk in dust as humans do because I am now AWAKE.

I can not call you all by name but know that the God who sees me, sees you.

I’ve stopped crying, for now. I have things to giggle about. I have things to sit in praise about. I have stuff to pray for and pray about.  Because I want laugh as I did in this year; tenfold at the break of a new season. I want to blush and bite my lip while my eyelashes fall in a dry(tearless) curl. I want to make you laugh too. I want to be strong for you. So I cry when life asks me to, so that I better understand your tears and gently drag you to a place of quiet.  You can then choose to burrow and break so that you can begin to rebuild but if you need a bit more time for it to make sense, that is okay too. I have been here.

Mondays are full of promise. So is a new year. The 1st of January is just another day, if you choose to see it that way. I thankfully have OCD, hahaha, so the first of anything is brilliant really. Ask me personally about this

Happy New Year

@Mluart

The UNposted Post 

There are roughly 30 (thirty) posts uncomfortably sitting in the drafts folder of Mathunzi Macdonald’s personal blog account. Ridiculous?

There are things I have been unable to speak openly about for fear of ridicule and possible public shame. There are topics I realized I had very little interest in and would be posting, well for the sake of posting. There are things I could have shared that had the potential to label me a complete “sham” as they would simply be depicting my “social media appropriate life”.

The launch of my website http://www.mathunzi.com came with a promise of regular blog posts about everything Mathunzi. I assured friends and family that I was ready to wear my scars proudly and share in my “Johannesburg City Life” and all the various things that I do work wise and in my leisure time. What I did not anticipate was yet another dramatic twist in my lifes story that would leave me seriously wounded. That wound would be left gaping for cups of salt to be splattered inside throwing me into blissful constant agony.

The launch of my site in itself was, to put it mildly, a MIRACLE.

It would surprise even the developer himself to know that the means to compile content and afford his services, literally streamed from heavens windows. Poor health sent my photoshoots soaring into black holes leaving me indebted and without a single pretty picture to continue the public display of “I am fine, but not if you look close enough”. Dazed by my circumstance, I fell into habits of mismanagement of funds, neglect of studies and business development (let us not speak of the neglegence of self, we will need a bit more time on that), disregard of good health, grooming or/and an ordered environment (OCD took leave on most days). The short of it; Things were a mess, I was a mess.

Two therapists have shared common opinion regarding my failure to grieve and process traumatic events, having suffered quite a few in a short space of time. Knowing that this process is necessary, I still have barely begun. So how could I possibly write about something I have not yet experienced? Instead I would continue recycling pep talks which are constructed around what I assume my readers may want to hear, may sympathise with or what may blind them to how devastating certain realities really are. What is the point then? Why am I the “conversationalist” having this conversation if I am not willing to HAVE the conversation?

For instance, the cutting of my hair and re-design of my first tattoo (yes brethren, I am inked).               These were not fashion statements, neither was it testiment to my Malawian genealogy which allows for rapid hair growth in a preferred texture or the seemingly new found “liberal rebellion” exercised within the church by openly flaunting ink and piercings. I simply wasn’t and probably still am not ready, to discuss in a meaningful and purposeful manner, what carrying the lifeless body of your baby until it is surgically removed really feels like and spells out for the rest of your life. Or the symbolic meaning behind the removal of the product of the hair journey you started only because he said he preffered it on you. How you trusted it would be part of a new beginning that never came and how life not so politely shoved your nose in the dust and said “Start again, and please leave that mess on your head behind. I doubt you can afford to maintain it anyway with that odd textured curly hair without the support of a suitor”.

Call me a liar however if I deny that I remain blessed and well set up, and that I should have less excuses around the commitment to these conversations.

I have lived a relatively charmed life in the greater scheme of things. I am surrounded by beautiful beings who indulge me in genuine support, love and memorable shared experiences. I am blessed with talents, intent and a know how in multiple fields. “Broke” remains relative as I still enjoy certain luxuries and perks. (Necessary)Opportunities have been made available to me by both man and the universe. I am able to better discern as far as who is FOR me and who is simply there to add colour to my already colourful life. And I have learnt to have a very different kind of conversation with God.

I have spent a lot of time asking God to fix IT and not to fix ME. I have asked Him to help me forgive him or her and forgot to mention how I need to forgive myself. I prayed (or rather recited the popular petition text) for my daily bread and failed to simply ask for assistance in meeting my blog deadlines.(We only talk to God about serious business huh? In our best English?)                                      God had become some mystical figure and not my father and friend. I had to reintroduce my self and allow Him to do the same. My conversations with Him now make for better conversations with YOU.

May I kindly not make any promises at this point but assure you that I want to be in constant, honest, purposeful conversation with you.

My site http://www.mathunzi.com, developed by Sibisi Media Group, will be updated as regularly as possible to keep you up to date with what is happening in my life and the work that I will be doing and progress I hope to make. It will open a window of communication to explore what can be achieved in collaboration in the various fields of work and play.

Thembekile Tsoari, with the assistance of other artists, will help document the interesting and exciting moments in my life through photography and videography. Most of these engagements may be found on my Instagram accounts, my personal account being @thunzy_

I will be healing, learning, living, laughing and loving. I will be going through this life thing understanding that I only get to do it ONCE. I will be having conversations with YOU.

Here, 29 August 2017 at 03:30 – POSTED.