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 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

UNdo (18.09.2012) 

Five years ago today, at roughly 08:00, I stood waiting outside the magistrate office. I would legally and otherwise bind myself to the picture of forever that I had carefully woven in my heart and mind. Today, I can’t commit to a celebration. So instead I will rabble in reflection below…

“That only happens in movies” they said. We defied their limited notions with a timeless kiss in the dirty streets of Johannesburg, while clinging to our pockets lest those who picked them, found them. Weeks later a meeting you would have with a familiar stranger would anger me and have me tuck my heart’s keys away lest YOU found them. But your eyes sparkled with ambition and your hands struck me with desire; I loosened my grasp.

My father said “dare not be unequally yoked, how then would you raise your children?”. He said this deeply simmering with delight at your wish to take my hand and make an honest woman of me. We lay excitedly gazing at the single pearl on my finger, speaking of what WOULD be. Rarely did we speak of what COULD be if we lost the keys we both had been entrusted with.

My diamond ring which pardoned the single pearl, after the familiar stranger made a mockery of it would be tainted still… My old lover would leave this earth. You asked me to mourn, maybe wishing that, that would wash the corners of my soul that you still hadn’t occupied. I could only dream of being called your wife. My tears were aimless. Was I mourning the one who was or what was predestined to be.

Before you watched me walk down the isle, fame, money and adoration found us. No, wait… It found you. I happily walked with you, sapphire and diamonds in hand. I had a piece of paper now that carried all the promises of “for better or worse, till death do us part”. This little piece of paper wrapped the keys inside of it and invited my mind to it’s warm abode. I became delusional. Your eyes never wandered and neither did mine, why worry about those would pry lustfully at my flesh and your status? Our cellphones carried no weight of passcodes. Our home reeked of pleasure and satisfaction. Our eyes glistening with promise. We have found what we were looking for in that timeless kiss on the dirty streets of Johannesburg.

I remember the first time I cussed at you. The first time I threw something at you. I remember how I broke the promise never to slumber in anger. See, we understood that heart’s stop beating in the mornings too. What we didn’t know was that the covenants of lovers had hearts too.

“In 5 years we will review this contract.” We laughed loudly.

I laugh now remembering the fourth. The fourth of six. Six years of analysing the colours in your eyes. Six year of birthdays and deaths, of humans and covenants too. I want to forget. The death of the colours in your eyes that painted my heart’s canvas.

Year seven pending year five, I bought a bucket of paint. Black. I poured it over my soul. It dripped. Down to my feet and left bare the lessons I HAD to learn from YOU, from LIFE, from LOVE, that were specially crafted FOR ME.

Love with no reservations. Love stupidly. Love completely. Love to death. Love beyond death. Love beyond pain. Love your scars. Love the flowers on the graves of your hand written happily ever afters. Love YOU first, after God. Love the journey. Love him. Love him despite. Love him inspite. Love prayer. Love commitment. Love recreation, rehabilitation, restoration. Love your children. Love their children. Love their joys. Love LOVE.

This piece of paper no longer holds my mind. This was no choice of mine. Life spat in my face often enough and entrenched it’s vile stench in my hands; Each time I dared to wipe my tears I would smell the struggle. The struggle to be who I promised to be while loving you. Loving us. Loving this. So my mind detached in search of cleaner spaces.

Almost eight and safely at five, I would only changed two things. The deaths of the beings we coloured in hopes of creating masterpieces.

The rest should stay the same. How else would I undo the knots of premature promises I made to you. How else would I learn to celebrate what has become at FIVE.

It was/is NECESSARY

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