Tuesday, 13 January 2015

My community

A little over a year ago I attended a creative writing course. As part of the course, we had to do various creative exercises, one of which was to take a walk around Kleinmond and write about the experience we had during the walk. I walked to the beach area with a friend, and it was very interesting what the smell as I entered the beach area did to me. On today's blog post, I will share what I wrote and I hope its heart comes across.

"Today I stand & I do not represent you well,
not because that's not who you are,
but because, well, you are not!
All I see around me tells me I need not fear,
but soon as I, at the centre of a bush,
I hear so loudly with my nose an unpleasant sound...I fear!
You in me convince me that the safeness I feel is all a lie.
You remind me of the seemingly out of place man in rags I saw a little while ago,
and with his picture so clearly emblazoned in my mind, I smell blood on him.
Then you in me keep start thinking:
"could he have anything to do with the pungency of what I can't touch but smell all around me?"
For you, my community, have without relenting, instilled in me a fear I carry with me wherever I go.
A fear that reminds me whenever I start to feel comfortable & safe,
that I should not!
However far I walk from the thoughts,
you echo silently loud through every vein in me and tell me "fear is your companion, do not be deceived, you are not safe." 
The smell will not go away, just as you, my community, will not set me free,
not even for a little while to taste the freeness that is carried on the wings of fearlessness.
I look about me as you, my community, 
through all the experiences you have blessed and cursed me with,
start to see with my mind's eye what happened on the day the smell, in flesh, moved into the beach. And it happened like this:
"See, she was taking a long walk along the beach,
but now her destiny she will never reach.
He walked up to her because she was his niche,
when she told him he was not the ish, he had a lesson to teach.
He said one,
she did not say two,
but to him if they could not be one,
he would show her a thing or two.
All we can say now is she was transformed, and changed her address.
If he could not touch her, no one would.
Just as he smelled her on that day,
he determined to make everyone smell how he felt when she rejected him."
My community, you have crippled and have stolen from me the ability to not fear.
You, today, robbed me of an opportunity to take in and enjoy the solace and tranquillity promised by my surroundings.
This was one of those situations that creep up on you and make you realise things you did not know were happening or realities within you. When I had this experience, I realised that I had taken in so much of the violence that goes on in society and that it had affected me more than I had cared to admit before then. Makes me think, what other stuff influences the way I see the world, without even knowing it. #Selah

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Fruits of rejection (#LoudThoughts)

From very early on in life I have had to deal with rejection, even though I did not necessarily know its name at the time. I was rejected by society from the moment I was born, because I was too black, I was too fat, I was too short, I was deemed not good enough. But I thank God for His love and redemption and for Him restoring in me the person He created wonderfully.
Me and big bro rocking nerds
I remember growing up in a community where my family was rejected because we were said to think we were better than others. But see, all my family did was their best efforts to be better than the system that told them they were not good enough. My family never tried to be better than anyone else, instead, I have a recollection of my grandmother always having people come to cry to her and she did all she could to make them better. All we were even interested in was beating the odds that enforced worthlessness onto a black person. We strived to pull ourselves out of a mentality of blaming the world for what happened or didn't happen for us or to us.

As much as I was young, I imagine that my family hoped that the rest of the neighbourhood would join in and pull together, but the exact opposite happened.
Be assured my community, our efforts have never been about you, we did not go to "good schools" to make you feel small, we did not live in a bigger house because of anything else but the fact that there were 15 of us living in the same house. If you knew anything about us, you would have known that there was room enough for you too in our "mall" as you choose to call it.
Mother Hen
If there was any group of people that was raised to uphold humility, it was my family. See, my grandmother used to wake up at 4 every morning to bake fish and get kids ready for school. As soon as her 5 children (plus extras in the form of nieces/nephew), that she was raising alone left for school, she would clean the house and soon start making her way to her first school where she would sell her fish so that her children would have food in their stomach. After school, they knew they could not go play with other children, because they had to help granny buy more fish and clean it for the next day, others had to walk around the neighbourhood selling some more fish. Tell me then, how could such a people have a complete disregard or think they were better than others?

Love abounds

The rejection that me and my family suffered did us great though, because it has kept us together as a unit and taught us that there are times when all we have is each other. I value my family and as cliché as it may sound, if I had a choice, I would choose them over and again. 
Dinner with the family

Fun times

I don't know where I am getting with this post, but I will say this, I thank my grandmother for teaching us unity and humanity, I thank God that we are eating the fruits of her humility. As for rejection, she taught us to live with what we had, people included, and to look beyond hurts and commit ourselves to what mattered, FAMILY.  To other people, family is mother/father/brother/sister, but I have a family of 20, and that blesses my heart all the time.

The brotherhood
It is your choice what you will do when people reject you, you can choose to retaliate or you can allow the rejection in one place push you towards a better place. Because of the rejection I mentioned at the beginning, I spent most of my time reading and getting to know myself, and if I could love myself anymore than I do, it would be conceit, haha. I made a choice that the rejection and what people thought of me or did not think of me, would not define how I would turn out. Let rejection be a teacher, do not wallow in pity when rejected, find the treasure that others have  not seen and embrace it.

For generations to come...

Until the 10th generation

These are only but my #LoudThoughts