Thank you very much for reading my stories, commenting and loving me through them on this blog site. I know some of you have been gently disgruntled by my lack of material.
This blog has served as a journal of some sort through some pretty dark times in my life, peppered by moments of light – hence the name of the blog I suppose. I don’t think I ever intended it to be that, but that seems to have been the natural way the chips fell.
I’ve missed writing, for any reason, I’ve missed publishing my own work on the blog and receiving your feedback, whether a critique or compliment. However I knew that this journaling part of my life was closing in. I’ve had a few false starts in creating words for posts. But none of them felt right for this space.
Lockdown and unemployment have given me much time on my hands. I was able to have a rough idea of how I would like to structure and feature anything I’d to do in the future, on a new site.
I bring you the Bookishguma blog. I want to stretch myself creatively on here, do the things I have felt the dare to pursue, but for the little voice inside my head also daring to ask me “who the umph do you think you are anyway” and made me retreat almost right away. Silverlines is too important to me to let go off. I won’t be deleting this site. It’ll just continue to rest for a while until I know what I’d like to do with it.
Bookisgguma is a home not yet completed, I am still placing things “just so” around each room category. Please give some grace as you navigate through it. I have waited too long to be brave and to shine, for perfection to hold me back. I love what I am creating here. It will get better, it will get more and more excellent and I would love to have your input and support, as I navigate this new sanctuary I’ve created for myself and others.
Keep me accountable and once you have the general idea of what my new home is, please come at me with suggestions too.
Much love to you and your loved ones at this weird/interesting/challenging/difficult time.
I heard about my cousin’s death and screamed. My mind shouted at me, saying; “If you don’t get this out of you, it will never leave, it will eat your inner belly and grief will inhaliate you”.
I screamed and slid to the floor, it was hard gritty cement. I wasn’t aware of slipping down ,the painful map of indentations on my leg, brought the awareness. My mother, as gently as she could, told me Id’ lost my most beloved family member. It is the worst phone call I have ever received.
We’ve experienced much death in our family over the last three years or so. It’s been hard, but in the process, our hearts grew accustomed to it. Not an easy statement to make.
Our hearts grew accustomed to death
In the ritual of reminiscence and catching up, we often call people to memory as part of the conversation flow. Mxolisi and are catching up. Our conversation is spotted with disbelief for the number of beloved family members we’ve lost. Mxolisi tells me there’s been so many deaths, that none of them feel real.
It was in attending our uncle’s funeral that I saw and spent some much needed time with Mzoxolo, who is unashamedly my most favourite cousin. We laughed, made our grandmother cry with happy tears, took photos, made jokes. Each moment a treasure and privilege I would not experience again, this side of heaven.
I attended his funeral the following month.
The end of a funeral can either mean the beginning of the mourning period or a start of the healing process; it’s usually the start of healing for me. I waited for the inner trigger to click, for the wheels of healing to start moving.
Returning home to Cape Town; I unpacked my bag and put each item where it should be. I took my bus clothes off, washed the bus smell off me, made tea, to the soundtrack of calm hipster coffee shop music. In these menial tasks I listened to my inner belly. Attentive to the turn of the ignition, I was waiting for the “click” signal to my mind, body, spirit and soul, announcing start of healing. It didn’t come. So I gave in.
I sat on my yoga mat and cried fat chunky drops of tears. New fresh waves of sorrow assailed me.
You see, I keep thinking about that box going down that hole. I stared at it as it went down and willed the whole thing to be a bad dream or a terribly distasteful joke. I could not grasp that my cousin was inside that box.
My loving, kind, stubborn, hardworking, respectful, unifying cousin is now in a box. His eyes, his laughter, his thoughtfulness, his cheek, his love for his daughter. All the laughter we will never hear again, all the smiles we we will never see again. Reduced to a box in a dirt hole. My cousin Dolly asked a question to the wind when she heard about Mzoxolo’s death. “What is Unathi going to do?”.
I don’t know. I don’t know what I am going to do, but I know I want to be wholesome and restored from this grief. I want to talk about him without crying, as I am doing right now, without my heart turning sharp in my chest. It will happen. Not today, not tomorrow or next month. But it will happen.
I am putting this out here like this because I need to spill it out of me. My chest feels densely congested with grief, I haven’t learned how to put it away or unravel it nicely.
In the mornings I wake up shivering as if my bones are cold, for a few seconds I am confused. Then I remember. But this won’t last.
For the first time in a long while, I think I’m quite upset with my heavenly Father for this one. I wanna take this death and slap his heart with it as though He doesn’t love my cousin more than I ever could. As though He’s not the one who fashioned him in his mother’s womb and gave breath to his lungs.
The day I arrived at makazi’s homestead, I went to the four corner house where the church service was in process. There my makazi sat next to my grandmother. They both looked up when I came through the door and gently made room for me to sit between them. I was held by strong hands of love, two of the strongest women I know, outside of my mama held me. They don’t show affection easily these two, this is a moment branded in my heart forever.
My dear cousin.
When I think of that heartbreaking weekend. I drive that memory of your mama and our grandmother to the fore. I become a child pleated in love.
I think of laying you to rest; not in pain, not in hurt, not in mourning; but pleated in love. I will love you forever dear cousin. God is healing me, I haven’t arrived there just yet, but I know I will. Our family will heal from your devastating death. Perhaps one day when we mention you, there won’t be tears. You are in a much better place now, I look forward to seeing you in heaven when I am full of years and God calls me to heaven one day. Rest in peace Ntondo kamakazi wam.
Ntondo: nickname meaning last born.
I had a mini heart to heart with Tumelo Thursday about my outlook on the whole “some friendships are seasonal” concept. In short, I don’t believe in it. However, I am aware that situations change as do people’s trajectories, so the focus shifts and as do individual interests. And though this might affect how the friendship is navigated, I don’t believe it should die nor do people have to reject each other and stop supporting each other’s dreams because the other has “found” success, while the other is still finding their way.
In the past four years, I have lost friends to, what I have diagnosed as this rubbish way of thinking. Some of them stopped inviting me to those all-important milestone celebrations, others stopped talking and socialising with me. No explanation.
You’re reading this and (maybe) thinking “could you be the problem perhaps?”. Well, I don’t know, now we’re both left pondering the same thing.
On the one hand you want to accept the situation and move on, on the other, you’re trying to understand if you unintentionally hurt your friend. Did they hear/see anything at that offended them in you? Is this elusive “thing” the reason for their distance, their silence, their rejection? Which, by the way, hurts like a female dog.
I am obsessive about my friendships, I love my friends hard, I love them wide and very deep. So, I take “losing” them very, very badly.
You don’t simply give up on a relationship, you try fixing it. You do that untill you bruise yourself trying to dig into the root of the rot, so you can painfully pull it out and flourish freely. If it all fails, you walk away with a broken heart but having exhausted all options.
I agree that one should not be self-pitying. Why complain about a pit you planned to fall inside of from the start, right? Self-pity.
Sometimes we treat hurt people like their expression of pain and disappointment is nothing more than a hangover. As if they went out had a grand old time with their choice of alcoholic drink, then woke up with a massive hangover and now they’re merely complaining and moaning about a self-inflicted consequence. Hungover people probably get more sympathy than emotionally hurt ones anyway.
I did not intentionally choose (possibly) emotionally inept people to be my close friends, giving them the power to hurt me deeply, so I can then go out there and write a blog about it.
In the grown-up world; playgrounds have been done away with and so have lunches in the quad, civvies days at school, 13th, 16th and 18th birthdays are a distant memory. If you surround yourself with people who add value in your inner belly, are for you, genuinely for you, the drama and pettiness also stops.
But not completely. The awful thing about being an adult and having friendship dramas is that it’s embarrassing, to admit to. We’re grown now, we’re, “above all that”.
I was unarmed for them because I believed that I had chosen my friends wisely in my mature and insightful age. I am saved, I love Jesus, my friends love Jesus so they are what I refer to as “safe spaces”.
So the morning after my conversation with Tumelo I prayed for fruitfulness, I surprisingly heard myself say:
“Lord, please don’t take my friends away from me, don’t let me reject them or push them away. If I am in a fruitful (or hard) season and they are not, show me how to love them, include them and take them along with me.”
I prayed this because it had occurred to me to pray “REMOVE ANY AND ALL FRIENDS IN MY LIFE WHO NO LONGER BEAR FRUIT FOR ME AND WHERE I WANT TO BE”.
But actually I have gone through too much rubbish, nonsensical friendship hurt and rejection for this to be my prayer. I can’t be helping the devil win in my life by praying prayers that make him win.
I am still hurt and still healing, it is hard to trust new people in my life, but I am learning to work through that valley.
To end off and clarify, toxicity is never an environment you should be forcing yourself to be around, so I am not advocating that in this post.
So silverliners and sunnyday lovers, go out there and flourish in your friendships and have your people’s backs instead of turning your backs on your friends.
Drop me a mail if you can relate or would like to vent and speak on your hurt.
It’s always been a tangled mess in here.
I can’t seem to undo any of it.
The harder I try, the messier it becomes and the tireder I get.
Can I sit right here and never, ever move again.
Please Lord Jesus.
The opinion of a leader. Tangle.
Past failures. Tangle.
Stage fright. Tangle.
All these invisible knots tied tightly to me, tripping me, chafing me, pulling me back.
Oh, and FEAR.
So much fear…
am I good enough?
For you Jesus
for my friends
for my family
for my church
for my work
Do I deserve life?
Carrying this fear in my voice; I sing – spirit lead me where my trust is without borders – inside I cower but Lord Jesus how will I ever reach these waters when even the sand on the shore looks like it will sink me in.
Again I sing –Holy spirit burn like a fire, all consuming, consume me– inside I still in a corner and reason with Jesus, saying Lord please not too much, lest I be seen as a distraction on platform. Let me only ever burn and be free in the quiet walls of my home, the time when it’s just you and me, allow me to keep my dignity in public.
Over and over again I shout out – I’m gonna sing until my voice won’t let me, as thunders roar I’ll shout your praise- then whisper… Please don’t let me be singing too flat, off key, too loud, too distracting… For the sake of those around me.
Always busy with knots and the fear,
Yet a still small prayer prevails, refusing to be silent, relentlessly beseeching,
Teach me Jesus, teach me, show me, lead me to let it all go. Unfurl me and guide me to being who you made me to be. The worshiper you whispered in me and gave life to as you lovingly molded me with your hands from your heart’s desired imagination. Lead me to living as that person. Fearless, abandoned and wholly stitched in your glory. Moved only by your breath. Remind me who I am and grant me the grace and freedom to be that person.