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

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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

Pies and pretty things 

Cooking calms me. When it is not perceived as a task it then becomes rather pleasurable. 

Growing up, all things associated with the kitchen were chores. The worst of these being the dishes. Even if there were two mugs, a few plates and spoons, squeezing diswashing liquid into the sink pained you. Dish washing was so horrendous a task you would ration it into three (3) parts. “I wash, you dry”, and drag someone else into the kitchen to pack them away.  Our parents must have looked on in horror at a growing generation who found defeat in stroking pieces of porcelain with a dish cloth! How could possibly handle a giant piece of metal with four wheels attached to it some day? 

In our home, cooking was a skill that one had to grasp by the age of eight (8), latest nine (9). My sister and I would alternate all week, and fight each friday when it was time to prepare for the Sabbath. We’d each list what we had supposedly prepared the friday before, adding all sorts of fantastical dishes to the list in an attempt to make our toils seem so heavy, that it would be gravely unfair to be made to do it again. This must be the reason I have issues with odd numbers. 

We have not yet established all the problems of this here dynamic.  Here is what I feel was the nail to the culinary coffin. My mom has been a vegetarian for about 25 or so years. At some points in her journey she adopted a vegan diet. My father however, was the extreme opposite, and enjoyed his meat product. This left is children with a constant swing vote which was mostly driven by craving, but at times by what my mom chose to include on the grocery list. 

I have no issues with a varied diet, none at all. My problem was that both parties expected a well balanced meal each evening, which left you cooking double the ordinarily required amount. So you would spend 20 minutes staring at two different pots of rice, for one evening’s sitting. Daunting does not begin to describe it.  

I needed an out so I found on in pasta. No one knew that whole wheat pasta existed at that point so the starch option was standard to all. Id create the same base and in the other pot substitute the vegetarian option with soy mince. This worked of course until my family realized that, that is all I ever prepared! 

I did explore in the kitchen, just as to know how far my skills did stretch, but my attitude towards cooking was tainted. Until recently…

My husband has always known that I can cook and bake. But, this was a basic chore, and these were mediocre meals until I learned what cooking means to me. 

I consider myself a ‘foodie’. I enjoy good food, I am knowledgeable about food and I have a relatively strong pallet. (Will blog about super tasters soon). Being able to add the preparation of good food to this list pleases me. I now cook and bake because I enjoy it. Immensely! I won’t deny the moments where the aim was simply to impress my husband lest he forget that he married a winner hahaha. 

Below is a display of desserts I prepared recently. A pumkin pie and an apple crumble. The recipes are not my own so I will not share them. This is simply testament that I have discovered the beauty in food and art in cooking. Despite the trauma of soy products.