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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On my mind 30/03

22:12

The pockets of my universe are spilling all at once.

The peices of my heart are dropping all at once.

The gaps in the passage ways of my mind are widening all at once.

My laughter invited my tears to travel on the path that runs through my lips all at once.

The spoils in my bank account have depleted all at once.

Weeds of resentment and restoration grow all at once.

Oh how I wish you could have loved me all at once and not in pockets that broke the stitches that held my happiness bound

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

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 2

Before we go any futher, let me mention that although I have improved greatly, my mouth still has its moments. It is as if the more you uncover in marriage, as far as your spouse as well as challenging dynamics are concerned, the more you have to say. Anyhow…

There are many ‘love languages’, and today I want to share my experience with the kind that has less potential of causing emotional damage. Funny though, as much as it is commonly related to the physical, I personally find it emotionally and mentally stimulating.

A wife who cooks and cleans. (Feminists just put down their mobile devices, kidding). Growing up, cooking and cleaning was a chore. A hideous one at that. Possibly one of the reasons the above ‘cliched statement’ grew to be a sore point for many women. Domestic duties became an exercise set to prepare us to adequately perform in our ‘wife’ capacity within the institution of marriage. To cushion the blow we were told that “a way to a man’s heart is through the stomach”. I battled to associate a pot belly with happiness, the harms of literal thinking.

I am generous at heart. This translates in to me being what I call a ‘feeder’. I want everyone to be fed, and fed well, all of the time. This however does not mean I have an interest in cooking daily. Bless the soul who developed the concept of Mr Delivery. I also did not suffer the stereotypical behaviour expected from black/african men (Come home and demand you plate full of home cooked food). Many attributed this to my husband having an English father and being of Scottish decent, but this sadly is not the cause.

My husband spoke a similar ‘love language’.

Why do I believe cooking is more than a chore? My husband’s reasons for taking his turn to cook, do the dishes or make a cup of tea were varied, but at its core his wished to remind me that he was present and wished to meet my needs. He came how one evening, after we had consumed take outs for a while (way to long honestly) and said “Tonight you are cooking, what do you need”. I turned around with such vigour and enlarged my playful eyes and responded quite swiftly “What the hell for?”. His response was simple “I miss my wife’s cooking”.

My husband did not miss my cooking (as good as my cooking can be if I say so myself), he missed my attention, consideration and warmth. The things that homes are built on. Cooking, when done well, is an art. The reason our ‘quick meals’ and failed lasagnes are found acceptable however is the heart behind the art. Someone took the time to consider my physical and mental needs. The body and mind sadly do not function on romantic utterances.

Look at the concept of negligence. Failing to meet the physical and mental needs of a child by failing to provide regular and wholesome meals is considered negligence. Marriage doesnt suddenly allow us to evolve in to super beings whos needs suddenly differ from those of all mankind.

The mind also requires a sense of order in order for it to function in an orderly fashion. Creating a space where this is attainable speaks more of your ability to sympathise with the needs of those you care for than your domestic finesse.

I am appealing to the part of our beings that are able to put the needs of others before those of our own. This speaks more of us than it does of those who receive. An abundance of self love allows for an extension of genuine care an affection. With no expectation of a word of gratitude. How much more happier would we be if we found contentment in simply knowing that we have done good and we did it well.

Food speaks to all of our hearts. So men should not shy away from learning and speaking this here language.

I probably should mention that we live in an age of food channels, food blogs, cook books, cooking lessons, Woolworths (hahaha) so excuses have been reduced.

Explore the human condition. Relationships thrive on the reciprocating of meeting human needs.

Let me cook… Not

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

If not me then who? 

I asked why me and the answer was swift…If not you then who? 

My wounds are deep but my heart still beats
If not you then who? 

Am I losing the last few strands of sanity my feeble hands have desperately been holding on to?

If not me then who?

What happened to gratitude? Food on my plate, clothes on my back, a ceiling for shelter… I think I crave the light of blazing stars. A light that generates a glimpse of hope at the end of the dark tunnel called life…

If not me then who?

I am bitter,sore and cold. Stripped of my pride by the unintentional deadly grip of even colder hands… 

If not me then who? 

The child that was molested, or the mouth that has never tasted bread? The woman beaten, the man tormented for what he has no power to change? The race that continues to be oppressed, the womb that is cursed? 

Wait… Pain chooses not its intensity. It hurts, it hurts deeply. But if not I then who? 

God, I believe in you, but never have I felt so far away from you. The chills feel as though evil found a small crack in the partitions of your hand, found me, grabbed me, rooted its claws of sorrow and now won’t let go of my bleeding throat. I cant breathe Lord…
If not me then who? 

I cried till my tear asked me to stop. They had seen enough of the ground. And after a long while, I managed lifted my eyes to a once familiar place. 
I asked once more,why me? The answer was swift; 

If not you then who? 

Who would know the hurt of her people so that kindness could be made manifest in her?                      Who is yet to realize the enormity of her strength?                                         Who will carry a new generation and deliver a breed with a difference…    See, you are allowed to hurt, but never wallow for too long. You are allowed to feel as humans do. 

That question may never leave you, and neither will the scars be invisible to you, but let the answer be clear;

How can you be a better you if not you…