Will that basket of vows be card or cash?

Confidence it extremely sexy. Arrogance on the other had leaves very little to be desired. The line in between the two? Rather thin!

I recently discovered that I have been carrying a very inflated and superficial idea of self in relation to my marital status. My psychologist reduced me to tears when she explained where a bulk of my issues stemmed from. I was failing to reconcile what I thought I already knew to the constantly changing state of a regular marriage and what the changes implied. I had dropped my value and esteem into a matrimonial jar and had begun to suffocate once the lid was closed shut.

Men treat you differently depending on what they see or do not see on your left hand. Will the ambitious handful still make an attempt for your affections? indeed. But, it comes with a bit more consideration, finesse and “respect”. In fact, some men will walk you through the muted yet merited CV that your wedding band is. How another man is currently leading the charge in using your potentially dwarfed view of womanhood and marriage. Further perpetuating the culture of religious bred patriarchy, which your mother continues to advocate for in the annual #TeamBekezela meetings. And how he simple is purposed to empty what’s left of your reserve before society deems you a whore and him a hero.

Women will treat your differently, usually depending on how deeply their own minds are crippled and/or how limited their ambitions are. A woman will side eye off a sidewalk simply because your war began at 21 and they have had to wait till 30 to hear anything more than “thank you for a good time”. Gossip is definitely the perfect tool to screw up what was left of our dignities and defiance. Spitting and swallowing conflicting commentary such as “marriage is not an achievement” alongside “her man was in my DM’s before she trapped him with her families money”. Rarely do we discuss as woman how to protect the next generation of daughters from this form of femicide by sacrifice. Some will glorify your status by starting to dress like you, speaking as you do and completely abolishing anything that remotely reflects a standard.

There is no warmer embrace by the church family than that which they offer one who is married. Oh no goodness, there are the “blessed tithers” but that is definitely a conversation for another day. If you offer the church and it’s affiliates the bragging rights of your upbringing, engagement announcement, wedding ceremony and blessing of children, you are well on your way to earth’s paradise which is governed by mortal salvation. I still long to weigh in on conversations with congregational elders about pursuing education, careers and true self actualization before cooking classes and knee bending for in laws. I still hear very few sermons that articulate the concept of ‘submission’ in marriage appropriately without subtly encouraging various forms of abuse and an invitation and acceptance of these. Will our mothers ever tell us the truth of what to look forward to before the clockwork reminders that you dare not embarrass the family name?

And somehow I’ve been wondering why any space outside of being a partner or a wife has been gravely uncomfortable for me in the past few years.

My yoke is not only furnished with the general marriage title. With me it has always mattered “who” I am married to. Before anyone else, to myself. So much so I completely lost Mathunzi and found myself walking around with the stinking corpse that is “Mrs Someone”.

Mrs MacDonald. Hah! Listen to that. How could I not trip over my own ankles at every glimpse of my new signature? The branding on my handbag was also of world class standards; what a gorgeous man. So gorgeous some of my “friends” had him as the wallpaper on their cellphones and for years I was completely oblivious to the insult and disrespect of this. It bothered me little to hear that chitter chatter suggested that I sought material gain in my agreeing to be betrothed because how many envied me? How many begged for a life that replicated what I chose to post on Instagram? How many praised me for my wife material personality, what ever that means, and helped me ignore the necessary investment in personal growth that I abandoned for the grace and dignity of being a modern makoti.

Marriage made me someone without me having to be someone of substantial value. At least that is what I thought. The price would be constant deposits and very few withdrawals leaving my being bankrupt. If fact at some points leaving me financially bankrupt as well.

What breaks my heart is an inability to break the cycle because of a failure to realize how deeply embedded this social and psychological conditioning of what defines a woman is. Worser so in religious settings and homes; and I assume our parents have no cooking clue as to the deep dark pits their good intentions keep digging.

I no longer hold being married to such great esteem. Marriage as an institution I do respect, honour and advocate for but I am completely against the mess we have made of it. Especially in assuming that in becoming one flesh we no longer have to cultivate our individual existence. And please stop organizing your vision board with images and text from Instagram and the likes. Why would we not ONLY show you what we know you wish to see? Could we also respect each other on a basic human level and not the possession of a certificate void of actual qualification. Most of these rings are cubic zirconia anyway and with time will fade like the broken glass that they are.

And with that out of the way let me get back to the Confessions of a young Wife series as promised.

Remember that the value is on you. Not your marital status as defined by law or life.

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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…”

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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

Exhale (Poetry)

​I need to exhale. 

The time has seen me turn black and blue from the poison infiltrating my lungs that I refuse to spit out. I can not breathe. 

I am ashamed of failures I did not instigate or carry through. I am a victim who over time has learned to victimise. I now know how to suffocate you.

I am built to withstand the stakes darted at the lungs of my core being, but perhaps my manufacturer forgot the final piece.

I no longer feel but see the air oozing out. Left empty, there is nothing left to pick up the bicycle patch that could extend my survival. 

I have been ridden. A bicycle has seen more care. Like a horse and then like a dog used to fight for small change. I have been tossed aside and flicked out of my own space and reality to gather the pieces of me with the hands that were bitten and chewed by those who said that they love me.

I can’t blame those who take pride in the multiple punctures they have inflicted. Two punctures left a hole big enough for human life to seep through me. I partly blame myself. I saw the sharp edge. I felt it carress me. I remember the first time it grazed me. Of course it would crave depth.

I am not yellow. My color is off putting. So why not deflate what you have come to fear simply at a glance. 

Peirce me.

Poke me.

Plunge into me.
Slit my throat and quicken the torment. Maybe when my blood flows my color will turn to red. Even if it is for but a moment.
I want to breathe. I want to be the time keeper to an open heart that craves only me and not my death. 

I have been holding this evil in… inside my being. 
Where is the pen and paper? Where is bag of change? 
I need to exhale. 

Mathunzi Macdonald