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

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.

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.

“GODritude” (an attitude of gratitude towards God.

God is described in so many different ways by different people. In fact, to some He does not exist. Not the God of christians or that of spiritualists, there simply is none.

Gratitude is relative. It is experienced and expressed in various ways and forms. I for instance have spoken of “love languages” which are sometimes used to express gratitude for the existence of others or their presence in one’s life. Or to share in what one has been blessed with.

So what is “GODritude”?

The simple answer; A term I coined whilst rolling around on my bed on a Thursday night, while trying to avoid this somber trail that has befallen my timeline. Listen, there was some quarrel about how to form the word, if to use it, how to use it and how it would be received. I honestly wouldn’t want to offend anyone. Thankfully, the meaning I have attached to my newly formed favourite word, allowed for the progress of this piece.

I complain, a lot. Sometimes in the private rooms of my mind, but boy I can go on. I sometimes complain myself into literal depression and lose an entire day sobbing hopelessly in bed (I seem to really like my bed huh?) Anxiety has it’s hand in this but we will revisit that topic another time.

I also get snippy with God a bit too often of late. I am of the Christian faith, but I have had the privilege of experiencing God as a similar but different (in a good way) entinty to friends of different religions, cultures. I suppose I have had quite a few meaningful conversations with my maker, but more recently, I imagine He has thought of extending his being into a human hand big enough to slap me upside the head and bless me with a godly dose of sense.

Yes, I wish I could only speak of good things, share good memories, make use of a completely healthy & clean tongue but as life would have it, this is pretty close to impossible. However, isn’t there still so much good surrounding one’s existence? If you have become blinded to your blessings, which happens often to most of us, try this here trick. It’s old, but it works, and we will give it a modern twist.

Thank heavens for social media (See, the gratitude seeping in). Now log on to twitter, scroll past the celebrities, blessees and bloggers and click on the handle of a reputable newspaper outlet. Now read only the titles. As you do, provoke your imagination to place you in some of those situations or events. Your mind may fail in some instances to simulate the very emotions, mental burden, trauma or confusion that would have gushed generously over your being had it been you. Unfathomable.

In my complaint state, my mind has moved from “I wouldn’t cope with this, and it could happen to me” to “God, but why should it happen at all, to anyone?”. And as written in a blog post long before He simply responds “If not you, then who”.

A friend of mine sometime ago insisted that we never fall asleep until we affirm something we are grateful for. This friend would call, listen to your long story about your long and horrible day and still remember to ask, “So what are you grateful for?”. In the same way that we make an adult choice as far as who we wish to be and how we wish to live, one must make a choice about how you perceive your God. I have the option of God the tyrant who is waiting on every false move to whip me in to shape with pain, death or disaster. The other option is God of love, the God who is love who decided to honor me with the task of proving His love, power and greatness by costantly scooping me out of the filth (sometime my very well crafted home made filth) in this already defiled world.

A heart of gratitude is so much easier to carry. So is the belief in a higher power or higher being. Too much happens in this life for me to walk about not believing that someone is walking me through it. Humans will fail you. Humans will taint your happy. You, in your human state have managed to dismantle structures of living and living well that others have built. So we choose Him. Or Her to some. I am not here to speak you into conversion. I am her to ask you to take a second, stop and say thank you or thank goodness.

Be grateful also in your ability to be. Look at what you have experienced. The moments where your heart was pretty much yelling that it was ready to stop. You lived through it and now you have this long text of mine to get through, haha. The ability to be, the potential to be more, the grace to manipulate your circumstances so that you can be in a space that constantly says no.

Now be. See God, see you, and be. Don’t forget your manners, say Thank You.

“GODritude”

I took a walk… (Short Poem) 

I took a walk mid watching ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ for the 3rd time, to ease a sudden panic attack. I thought perhaps I was responding to the movie and the rather sad story, but as soon as I picked up my phone all I could think to write was…

For each breathless, chest clenching and heart wretching anxiety attack I suffered at the memory of the hurt you generously supplied to me.

For the days when my legs failed to carry me out of these four walls that suffocate me because the pins and needles had almost become visible.

For the tears I watched my mother shed because her heart bleeds when my skin breaks.

For the humiliation of giggly girls and boys who aged only in years and inflate your ego with falacies.

For the days when I forgot how to pray… I hope I learn to forgive.
I pray to forget