About preparing

So just coming from sitting for a mock exam. It’s not a secret to say, I don’t examine well. The stress of exams, whilst I may not wear it on my face, I certainly carry it with me in my soul, and I either can’t sleep at all, (spent the last three months last year sleeping an average of 4 hours per night because I just could not initiate nor sustain sleep from stress), or, worse, I sleep way too much, like try a straight 9 hours last night because of the mental fatigue I was feeling. Either of which are not helpful, at all!

Yet as I sat down to partake of that mock exam, mock as it was, the way my body tensed up, and the way I was typing away and concentrating like my life dependent on the outcome of this exam; the first thought that came to mind soon as I was done was how I just did not have time within the exam to think. Either I knew something, or I did not. There was no time to think, try conjure up answers from the magical world of hogwarts or Narnia. Second thought was how important this exam actually was to me. Which leads to what I want to talk about today, preparation.

The old adage holds true, failure to prepare is preparation to fail! Quick question, what are you spending most of your time preparing for? If you are as young as I think most of my readers are, that is, below the age of 50, then surely however you are spending your days is a preparation for the future. If you quickly review how you spend your typical day, what does it look like you are preparing for? What do you invest most of your time doing? I will tell you of one of my worst indulgences, daydreaming! My goodness, I waste so much time day dreaming. Either replaying things from the past, or conjuring up new things from my imagined future, or editing this and that of my life. If only I had said this, or not said that, or done this, or not done that! It steals so much time from me. I could wake up at 5am and spend two hours in my head having done nothing productive save for write or rewrite the script of my life. C. S. Lewis said this about his dad. That his father was always so busy in his head, that he could not learn any new information as a result of all the noise going on up there. That’s me to be honest. And like C. S. said, unless I learn to quieten my mind, no new information shall enter it and therefore no growth will take place.

In the exam, The answers coming to me quickly were of topics I had prepared well for, and funny how soon as you have answered the question and clicked next, you forget about it and move on. The ones I did not get write, I kept kicking myself an hour after, such that my colleague had to remind me that it was just a mock exam, and i still had a month to polish up what I needed to polish up. Somehow my moaning to my cousin led to me telling her about the words that ex boyfriends said to me when we were splitting up. So random right? I know! Yet the human brain is a funny thing. It stores up the most painful words spoken over you, for years, years, and sometimes, you even bury them so deep down you forget how much they cut deep and wounded you. Let me list, for your reading pleasure of course (lol), the words I was gifted with on my break-ups. Bf 1. I was just never attracted to you in that way. Yikes! After 3 whole years of dating! Gees man, Thanks for that! Bf 2. I don’t understand you. I feel like I don’t really know you, at all! Are you an artsy typa person, or are you into science? Fair enough, I’m a little mixed up myself on that. Bf 3. You have too much energy I just can’t keep up with you. You are like a go go go person all the time and it’s a little much. Fair enough, maybe? I don’t know. Point is, the fact that I am able to conjure up under stress, the exact words said to me, some a good ten years later after they were said, show how deep those words cut. How deep the wound was, and how it’s slowly festered underneath all the gunk iv buried it under.

After the exam, I decided to write down what is really important to me, so I focus on that. For starters, it’s really important to me that I pass all my modules and all my exams, so I don’t waste money paying fees for something I in the end don’t obtain. That helped me realize, certain things that seem to matter in this season, actually don’t.. like Netflix cough cough.. Two. It’s important to me that I have a full social life and that I have good relationships, romantic and otherwise, and so, that said, I must make good use of the time I have each day. And whilst I can, I must deal with the wounds on my heart inflicted by previous people, so that my future is free of baggage and ready for what the world has to offer.

So folks, what’s important to you? And what are you doing to attain it? What steps are you taking to ensure you block out that which doesn’t matter, and replace it with that which does matter to you?

Do not be fooled, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will surely reap. Galatians 6:7

God bless and may we remain safe in these perilous times. May the souls of the dearly departed from us rest in peace, and may we the ones still living, find comfort, and cherish each day given us.

Break up guide

Let’s face it. Breaking up sucks! I often pray I never have to go through another one ever again in my life. Doesn’t matter which end of the stick you find yourself, the one ending it, or the one being told its ending, either way, it sucks! It obviously usually is worse for the person who is on the receiving end of it, especially if it comes as a total surprise, mostly because it feels a lot like rejection, and leaves you with a whole hoad of emotions that you would rather not be dealing with. What’s worse is that people honest to God do not know how to break things off well and a lot of break ups always leave you feeling more confused and hurt than is necessary.

I speak from experience though. Breaking up sucks! Now, while I have always been the one who verbalized the end of the relationship, I feel as if I have more often than not been the one who was dumped. I say this because all my relationships have ended because of a reasonable cause. Like… I don’t know, dude just suddenly goes mute on you for weeks on end, and rumours of his being seen up and about living his best life with a female someone reach your ears, whilst your messages go unmistakably unread with those double Grey ticks on app assuring you that that which you fear the most is what is at play. I think the ability to see whether or not your messages have been delivered is the worst bit of technology in these cases, because stalker ish tendencies you had no idea you had suddenly creep up on you. You see his status board change to online, then last seen with your message Grey status update not having changed. After a whole 24 hrs the Grey ticks turn into blue ticks which gives you some form of false hope, because you think, ah, finally, an end to my suffering, only for you to see that nope, back to last seen and still yet no ping on your phone. Sigh..

Coincidentally, for the past two weeks I have been coming across articles and sermons which all have been talking about breaking up, so I thought maybe I shld write a guide on how to break up with someone. I have never used it myself, but I honestly think if I had known this information earlier, it would have helped me end things in a much smoother way in all my relationships past.

1. All break ups hurt, somewhat. We somehow think that just because we have decided to end it, and we feel really terrible, as in have an actual sore heart, that it must surely mean we are making the wrong decision. But news flash! All break ups suck. Even if it is the right decision to make, most often that not it feels as if you are letting go of a potential beautiful something. So if you find yourself thinking about breaking up, and you have the reasons lined up in your heart as to why it would never work, then just do it. Your feelings can always play catch up later.

2. Do it quickly. This is important. I have always broken up with someone, then felt bad, and somehow ended up back together again with the same person, yet I would know for a fact in my mind that this isn’t going anywhere. My very patient friends learnt not to be surprised when after a heartfelt coffee date with them, me pouring my heart out about how I just cannot be with this person, they found us together again over the weekend at some party. This did not do me nor the guy any favours. Once you have decided it is not working for you, quickly get out.

3. Do it cleanly. Now this is important. Just because you and this guy are not compatible, does not mean either of you are bad people. It just means you are not compatible. Running a well sponsored, loud mouthed smearing campaign to ensure you bring his name down does not help anyone. Close friends and family can know why you two ddnt work out, but the whole town honestly does not need to know the nitty gritties of what went wrong. I think allowing people to walk away from your life with their dignity intact preserves both your reputations and allows healing to come quicker to the both of you.

4. Say the truth! Recently read a blog y someone who said, “I wish people would just say what they need to say” and couldn’t agree with this more. Say the truth as to why this isn’t working for you. The whole “it’s not you it’s me” cliche honestly doesn’t help anyone because what that has always left me feeling like is confused. Because u ask myself, if I am so great, then why am I not a keeper? So speaking the plain truth whilst it may hurt at the time, will be the most constructive. You talk way too much for my liking. You don’t honour the things that are dear to me. You suck at communication. You are too much of a flirt. You are not what I am looking for. etc etc It may be a lot for me at the time, but it helps me understand why it is it has ended.

5. Once it’s over, it’s over. Once saw a meme that said, kana relationship yapera yapera Amana, this whole just checking up on you yave yeizve futi, uri social care worker here iwe?” lol Basically, once the relationship is over, it’s over. Give the person time to heal, to move on without you confusing their already mixed up emotions. Sending a message to say hi, just thought I’d check up on you only adds confusion (I think) and makes only you feel better. I speak from my personal experience, because these checking up on you messages have led me to get back together with folk a number of times, only for the train to derail again the roller coaster of emotions to start, again! So no.

Finally to the person being told its over, believe and accept it first time around. Noone jokingly says those words. I have unfortunately found out the hard way, because when I was told I want out, I took it to mean that the person was delusional, and surely my stepping up my game would make them change their mind. It did, for a season, only to find myself back right where we had started, me being told no, I want out, again! So save yourself some time, go through the motions of a heartache, and trust me, healing will come to those who seek it. One day you will wake up, and not feel as bad. Then one day you will wake up and can’t even really remember his second name. Lol. You may never get the apology you deserve, nor the closure you need from him/her, but chin up friend, better is always out there. Even if the better means being alone.

A little about grey-zones

There is something about letting go, or discerning a change of seasons and embracing that change, that is always very difficult. If we find ourselves in a good season, we want to stay in it. Build tents there and make those seasons permanent. If we are in a dry and bad season, we want it over and done with as quickly as possible. Human nature I suppose.

Recently experienced a very good season. I was on holiday, managed to travel, got to see friends and family, got to relax, unwind and spent time with a potential significant other and man, it was beautiful. Found myself day dreaming of the season not ending, of how if possible I could be on holiday until year end and get to relive the same moments over and over again. So you can imagine the sulk that was me this morning when I woke up back to my busy life, with a 7 am meeting to attend, and coffee doing nothing to rub the sleep off from my eyes.

But, surprisingly, I enjoyed the meeting. Enjoyed the shift in gears I felt in my brain as I had to now ponder all these difficult scenarios and questions being posed. Enjoyed the learning taking place and realized I had actually missed that bit of my life. This got me thinking and eventually lead me to what I want to talk about in this blog post today, Grey zones and soul ties!

Now I don’t know about yol, but I have had a good number of those in my short years of existence. I am not quite sure what about the manner in which I handle relationships always leaves me with a soul-tie, but I know the heartache and time spent on trying to undo them. I shall try highlight a few mistakes I have made that unintentionally I have found led me to having soul ties. I hope my use of the term soul-tie doesn’t put you off. It’s just a fancy way of describing a relationship with a particular person that you just somewhat cannot let go of. Even if you officially break up, if you tell yourself you are done, you tell yourself you deserve better, five months later this person could send you a text that could have you spiraling all over again and you find yourself in the exact same spot you were however long back when you had just decided you wanted to let go.

Mistake number 1. Not properly defining the relationship If I had a penny for each time I have allowed a Grey zone relationship to go on for far too long that it ought, I most certainly would have a couple of pounds to my name. I’m not the sort of person whom after the first few dates I’m already like OK, bruh, what’s the story, where are headed. Have never been that sort of a person. I love living in the moment, and not rushing into anything. But! But, there is a big difference between living in the moment, not applying pressure, and a full year of living in the moment.. I have “hung out” with the same guy for a full year, doing everything with this said guy, everyone asking me if we are together and me replying with a “not as far as I know,” and allowing this to continue. All the while I will be head over heels into this guy, and just twiddling my thumbs wondering when he will officially ask me out. I have not done this once, not twice, nope, a good three times, that’s a good three years of my life I have dedicated to Grey zone relationships.

2. Prolonging the undefined season This is kind of like a shackle around your feet. It slows you down. You may not even realize it, but it does. Most of your free time is spent with this person, you begin to pour out bits of your soul that truth be told you have no business pouring out to this person. Intimacy with this person grows as you develop your own person jokes, your way of doing things, he becomes your go to person when you have things around your house that need fixing, when you need an opinion on which couch to buy, what to buy your dad for Christmas, etc etc. The more time and energy you invest in this undefined thing, the harder it becomes for you to step aside from it, because the more entangled and comfortable you become in this relationship that’s not a relationship. I know we live in an Era where not defining things is deemed the cool thing to do, but take it from my personal experience, undefined things, lead to unmet expectations, and that is a highway to heartache and disappointment. I don’t know after how many dates or hang outs one must define things, but surely a year of undefinedness is not on.

When you finally decide to let go after either bracing yourself for the talk, or just realizing that this isn’t working for you, the heartache is a very difficult heartache to deal with. Because this person was never a boyfriend, it is difficult to mourn for him as such. He technically never asked you out, so blocking him and asking for space to move on seems a tad harsh and irrational. So begins the journey of untangling yourself from his grasp, which is OK when he asks you out for a movie or dinner and you decide to do something else, but it is very difficult to do when he is in a fix and needs your help, e.g. His mother suddenly falls sick. Such a situation with a clearly defined boyfriend who is now an ex, would be very easy to deal with. You would rather not have snythibg at all to do with his life for a season at least, until your emotions have caught up with the fact that he is now an ex. But with a Grey zoner, it’s not that simple. And this complicates your letting go and finding your feet again and just makes your emotions spiral.

3. Leaving your heart unguarded guard your heart for from it flows the springs of living water proverbs 4:23 I love this scripture, mostly because I struggle at it dismally. Lol. I have had proper relationships which ended, but on analysis I have found that I tended to overshare bits of my soul in the undefined relationships. I am not sure why, whether the false sense of a good friendship let me let my guard down, or because my sharing made me think perhaps if I tell you so much about myself you shall change the manner in which you see me and actually decide to define things, I don’t know. But what I do know is, post shutting it down, I have found myself wondering if maybe the oversharing contributed to his not taking the next step, and it’s just left me in a hot mess emotionally and mentally so no. Guard your heart, guard it, for from it flow the springs of life.

4. Thinking I wasn’t in control Finally, in as much as I would like to blame the other party for not defining things, for stringing me along, etc etc, the truth of the matter is that only I am in control of my destiny. Things went on the way they did for so long, and history repeated itself thrice, because I was a willing participant in all of those entanglements. As is often said, you may go for 20 dates and report back that all the guys you have dated are losers, but the truth is, there is only one common factor on all of those dates, yes, you. So perhaps it’s not so much about the loser dates you go on, but about the manner in which you conduct yourself which allows people to treat you like you are not worth the time and effort. It’s often said that we teach people how we want them to treat us, and I have to admit there is much truth to this. I was so afraid to define things, so afraid to share my expectations and desires because I feared the rejection that would come and yet the rejection came anyway, I just prolonged the rejection phase.

I propose that we learn to be the masters of our own destiny. That we cut off cleanly and quickly that which isn’t for us, we learn to discern and embrace the different seasons in our lives, and live in the moment of the current season, and not prolong seasons past as that only hinders our progression in the current season.

God bless.

We need new names

We need new names, Noviolet Bulawayo whispered in my ear

For the old ones carry too heavy a burden,

One we simply can no longer bear.

Past hurts, past poverty, ghosts of Graves dug with no cause

These haunt our names and beat us down.

We need new names, for the old ones carry with them a curse we cannot seem to break.

Yokes added to our necks, each new day’s surpassing the previous one in weight

Eyes gorged out, we cannot see where we go

So we scream out instead, in full hope that a neighbour, stranger or friend, will hear, take heed and pity us

Rumors of people hearing our plight reach our ears

Rumors of messengers sent to bare witness to our plight so as to bring forth help, flood the streets

Hope arises within our hearts, yet fades faster than it sprouted up

All is well, they report back.

All is well? All is well?

Do our bleeding empty eye sockets not speak of horrors past?

Do the slashes on our backs, the tattered t- shirts soaked through with blood, not scream loud enough for us?

Do the muzzles on our mouths, and shackles on our feet not stir your conscience neighbour?

We need new names, for the old ones simply cannot do.

A new heritage, new history.

For the one associated with our names currently hurts too much to hold onto

Rejected both at home and abroad

Hurts to hold on, hurts to let go

Stuck in this conundrum I try silence the voices within

For tell me, how do I bury my name and past, and not bury myself in that grave too?

To hold onto hope, I’ve tried

But each time my feet reckon we have hit rock bottom

It turns out, rock bottom has a basement.

And another, and another, until finally, knee deep in hot molten lava I find myself

We need new names, for perhaps only then will our plight be taken seriously

Perhaps once we have been re-baptized, and introduced by a new name, will our voices be heard

As voices among the living, voices worth fighting for, voices worth loving.

Voices to be counted, alive and powerful, and not to be thought of as ghost whispers in a graveyard long lost and forgotten to the world of the living

Tell me, how do you sleep at night?

Tell me, how do you sleep at night?

How do you roll over in your bed, all the loud voices drowned?

The children mourn and groan all day

Their bellies growing bigger as they swallow their tears, their skinny arms a testament to days gone by with no food or clean water.

Do you not hear the cries of the hungry?

Do you not see how your own suffer so at your hand?

A beautiful land you inherited.

Land of milk and honey, laden with promise

A beautiful people you were made to lead.

Peaceful, humble, accommodating

Yet to false gods you have turned them

Have opened up doors to torture, suffering, torment and unspeakable woes

They lament, they languish

Regretting the day they endorsed your position

So tell me how do you sleep at night?

Knowing that those you count as enemies are your own people?

You have given yourself the role of persecutor, judge and jury, dishing out the harshest sentence to those whose only crime is to dare raise their voice against the oppression.

People dropping dead like flies

The unmistakable stench of death fills the nation

Despair, depression, hopelessness

Darkness and woes all around

This a direct cause of the hand you have dealt

So honestly tell me, how do you manage to sleep at night?

Do you not fear your own mortality?

Do the wrinkles that appear with each passing day not remind you of how fleeting life is? Does the death of another friend or relative not remind you of how our days are numbered?

Behold the day of reckoning draws near

Where He who owns the world and the people will call you to account for your actions.

Where He who watches with a still yet ever patient eye and hears all the cries of the land will arise and decide it is done.

Woe unto you on that day

For you shall turn to us and ask for pity and mercy, but the same grace you dealt the nation will be the same hand generously dealt to you.

About over-texting

So apparently I am what they call an overtexter. I just cannot help it. I never leave any message unreplied, even if I don’t like you. If you send me a hello, I shall send you a hello right back. If I like you and haven’t heard from you in a while, I shall look for you. I never consciously keep a record of who looks for whom first all the time. A great facet in building great relationships with friends and family. An apparently very unattractive trait when courting. Hmm.. Who knew?!

I have always dated wrong and never realized it. I have had a couple of relationships/flings and just went on with life thinking I knew what I was doing. In my defense, no-one ever sat down with me and gave me a talk on how to date, so well.. My dating formula was simple, the less Shona you were, the better. Now by this I mean, the less you acted like a shona person, the less you spoke the language, the less cultural you were, the better. That was the starting point.

The way I was brought up was this, relationships are about you giving. I mean any relationship. Friendship is all about you giving. Family is about what you can do for them. So using this philosophy I approached my relationships, armed with two things, the less cultural the better, and the more I gave the better. Insert a head rolling cackle here! Not only is this philosophy bad! It is the perfect recipe for abuse, self hatred, self loathing and everything a relationship is not supposed to be.

Now don’t get me wrong. There is merit to giving. I have some of the best friendships anyone could ever have. I make a great friend sometimes, I do have my faults, but generally my friends know they can count on me when the need arises. Iv just been lucky I guess to have friends who give so much more to me than I could ever imagine, and also to have a family that pulls its weight and gives just as much to edify the relationship. But but but! Big but! A relationship is as much about receiving as it is about giving. It’s very annoying to try help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. One has to be in a position whereby he/she can receive the love he/she is giving out to edify the relationship. Whatever form the relationship.

I recently started rethinking about dating. This year has just been a strange year, a year whereby I have not at all thought of dating. In fact, all I had planned for my future was my two dogs, Mukudzei and Mavambo, and maybe my two adopted kids. I am a dog lover, and dogs love me back. I have rented at two different properties with dogs my adult life, and both times by the time I was a month in, the dogs would have defaulted to treating me as their defacto owner. Lol. My last adopted dog was Duchess, and she loved me fiercely. She would even sulk when I left town, and would continue to sleep on my doorstep each night till I returned. Lol, talk about devotion. And, the night I would return she would refuse to sleep anywhere else save for right next to my head, just in case you thinking of leaving me again Missy! Lol.

I mention Duchess because I think she really taught me how to receive love without having to empty so much of myself. But just to be appreciated and loved as a companion nje. Recently finished reading a book by Mike Todd on relationships, great book, and his wife wrote a chapter right at the end of the books which was meant for the guys, but tjo, that chapter jumped right out at me because it suddenly became as clear as daylight to me how it is I have always dated wrong! She says, women have certain needs, not wants, needs! That must be fulfilled in the relationship for it to work. The same way guys also have their own needs.

So apparently a woman needs security. Financial, emotional and physical security. Whoa! This blew my mind, because all along, I have dated like security was a want. Dating people who do not give me the security I need, because in my mind I was playing down all these needs as wants. I want financial security, I don’t need it. Big mistake! Because you see, when I do not receive the security I need, I cannot open up and unlock the inner me that can flourish in that relationship.

Please stay with me. I’m not saying we should be gold diggers. No. But if you are a go getter typa chic like me, then downplaying your need to feel like your man has what it takes to pay the bills and take care of you, will only lead one way, down the road of frustration. But because I put myself in this precarious position whereby my inborn God given needs, I downplayed them into carnal wants, I time and time again found myself cozing up with the wrong sort of person for me.

I mentioned earlier that to me, the less Shona the better. Very strange considering I am a shona girl. It is only recently, and I mean in the last two years of my being single, that God has really been opening up my eyes to what I shall deem self hate. Hating absolutely everything about myself, so much so that the very thing God created me as, a Shona girl, is the thing I was trying hard to wash off of me. Anything to me, was better. Why on earth honestly I have no idea. But as a person, unless you learn to love yourself, and I mean love yourself the way you are, absolutely fall in love with yourself, everything abt you, you shall never be in a position to receive love well, and hence culture and nourish good relationships.

One of my most favourite musicians of all time, Oliver Mtukudzi has a song in which he says kusvikira riini? Tichinyara mimvuri yedu, kusvikira riini? Ko zvaingori tsika nditsikewo.. Nemumvuri wacho tsika nditsikewo?? This loosely translates to for how long shall you waste energy trying to outrun your shadow?

I don’t know how to end this blog post. I have so much to say. I can say for now, I’m really glad I’m single. God is opening up my eyes to what it means to learn to love. To learn to give and receive love. To love absolutely everything about me and not feel the need to empty of myself in a bid to try and earn love. Oh, don’t worry, no cats have come knocking on my doorstep as yet, so perhaps it means not all hope is lost as yet in the dating scene, lol

God bless

The country burns


The country is burning, 
my being seems to burn along with it.

I cannot seem to remember who I used to be, 
or what I stood for before, or why I even stood for it.

Each time I’m asked where I’m from, 
I feel a part of me shrink and recoil
As I watch their faces respond to where it is I say I’m from.

They mean well, but they can’t help but wonder;
how I could be a normal human being 
and yet allow a few people to burn to the ground 
that which I claim to love so much.

The country burns,  
my self confidence burns with it.

Just the other day,
A colleague turned to me and said, 
“You’re a very quiet person aren’t you?”

Quiet person.. Me?
Words that have haunted me ever since. 
Never in my life has the word quiet reflected me.

The country burns, 
my umbilical cord buried within feels the heat, 
and seems to be transferring the heat directly onto me.

I look around and see people speak with such pride about their heritage. 
I too have much to say, but the words clog up in my throat; 
refusing to make their way out.
not because I do not have a rich heritage, 
but for now it counts for nothing.

How do I explain to my privileged friends 
why we do not vote out the current system?
That votes count for nothing where I’m from?

How do I explain that where I’m from: 
complaints of hunger are perceived as revolting.
Treason against a “constitutionally elected” government. 
Complaints result in chains and death
with no judge nor jury having presided over you.

The country burns, 
my history and memories burn along with it.

I speak fluent shona as often as I possibly can.
I speak it to myself and others to keep alive what seems to be dying.
So I hold onto the little I can to remember of my heritage, 
for surely one day it shall not be as it is now?

They say the darkest hour is just before dawn. 
It has been dark for longer than an average hour, 
with no sign of light over the horizon.

KuzalungaZvichanaka.. 
A persistent joke masquerading as an African proverb. 
Kuzalunga nini
Zvichanaka riiniko
When shall it get better?

My brain is tries to reconcile, 
my faith with the current situation. 
Poverty all around the country. 
People dying of hunger. Actual death. 
I send my neighbor a bag, 
cooking oil, sugar, peanut butter, 
Basics you say.
Yet eliciting profuse gratitude that makes me recoil and feel worse.
“I haven’t had sugar or oil or anything like that in months,” she says.

My heart languishes as the country burns 
I too am set alight alongside it. 
Careless talk comes from the head. 
How can one be so aloof? I can’t help but wonder. 
How does the head grow to hate his own limbs,
Feeling no pity or self love? 
Your own skin and bones groan.

The country burns, 
the citizens burn with it. 
Both within it and abroad, 
hearts languish in the flames, as we cry out to God. 
One day is one day,  
one day zvichanaka chete, kuzalunga
For surely God cannot be mocked!

Swiftly He shall move, swiftly rendering justice, restoring order.

And that which is mocked and rejected shall become the corner stone.

Glorified, restored to its former glory.

Aive mazambuko achave madziva!

Prejudice

The news this year has been terribly depressing. Everything about it. From rumors of war, to Corona, to the unrest in America. As a black woman, I honestly feel all of this deep within my heart, feel everything resonating with me, all the pain, all the complaints of being misunderstood, being mistreated and then, on the few occasions you master up the courage to confront people, they turn around and tell you that it is all in your head. The whole black lives matter movement with a counter movement created to silence the voices of BLM has opened deep wounds and questions I just do not have the energy to try address or understand. It’s only July, but 2020 has been a tiring year already.

I am a voracious reader, but don’t take well to being called a nerd (because I am not one, obviously, insert eye roll here, lol) and one thing I have noted is that the more things change, the more they indeed remain the same. From as far back as Martin Luther (died 1515),to Shakespeare’s time (died in 1616), through to the time of Jane Austen (died 1817), to Martin Luther King (1968) right through to modern literature being written today, the one thing human beings have and have always had in common across cultures and religions and spheres, is this tendency to put each other into classes. To find some form of system to classify each other as either my sort of class, or better (we put very few people in this class) or worse off than me. It is from this classicism lense that we then view the world and determine whom we interact with, for how long and how we are to interact. If I look at you and deem you better than me, then I am “lucky” to be in your presence when you afford me the time, and likewise if I deem you beneath me, then you should feel lucky to have me grace you with my presence.

This tendency has unfortunately not been spared even in the church. In the new testament church (1 Corinthians) we read of how the rich people were now refusing to have communion with the poor people, but not in so many words, they were a little subtle about it. Instead of waiting for everyone to gather so they could have communion together, the rich were now arriving earlier than usual, so they could eat their food on their own, before the poor people arrived, so that they did not have to share it. Paul calls them out on this superciliousness.

Again in the new testament we see the Jews separating themselves from the gentiles on several occasions. One was to do with distribution of food to the poor and widows, the Jewish widows were getting first class treatment compared to the gentile widows, and the disciples had to call out the saints out on this and set up food distribution committees. A little while later, we see Peter, not having a problem with the gentiles, hanging out with them, until his other fellow Jews arrive, and suddenly, he too starts separating himself from the gentiles, and Paul has to address this issue again. Scary stuff huh? That the exact same thing keeps happening time and time again. In the church too! Tjo!

I am not going to write about race on this blog. My heart is too loaded and hurt to comment on that right now, because I have been on the receiving end of that spectrum, and it’s a tiring position to be in. But, I shall talk about classicism, because in all of the examples and writters I mentioned above, this thing of putting people into classes has been something that has stood out for me, and it really made me go before God and say you know what, Please show me my heart. Show me how I too am like all the characters I read about in all these books whose manner of looking down their noses upon people leaves me with such a bad taste in my mouth, for if even the early church Christians had this tendency within the church to behave in this manner, surely I too must have this tendency.

So, as faithful as God is, he has been revealing to me the state of my own heart when it comes to looking my nose down upon other folks. My tendency of thinking, you are not as educated, as well read, as refined, as cultured, as respectful… Etc etc as I am, therefore, you should count yourself lucky to be in my presence. Now it certainly may not come off in that way to most of the people I interact with on a daily basis, but I had to admit that there was a lot of that tendency in my heart, to classify people.

Ever dated someone whom it does not matter how much you bend over backwards for them it really would always never be enough? You could literally go searching for a fallen star for them at their request (this is a reference from the movie stardust) but it would still never be enough to satisfy them because according to their view point, you are not at the same level as them and never will be! I have both dated such a person, and been such a person to a few sorry boys out there. Bent over backwards, gone out of my way to please, buying gifts that put me way out of budget, doing things in a bid to try and earn their love, their affection, their respect! In order for me to be viewed as worthy! And shame, a few well Meaning boys have done the exact same thing for me. Each time thinking surely, surely she shall see that I can be the man she wants me to be. Yet meanwhile the truth is that my very shallow self would have already written off this boy based on his background. (oi be kind, God has opened up my eyes to my pettiness ok.)

I had a lengthy conversation the other day with a friend of mine who is single, fairly wealthy, and a really great guy. He said to me you know, I think I have been told one too many times that I am awesome, and any lady would be lucky to have me, that it has actually got to my head. Because now suddenly, it doesn’t matter whom I date, I am low key always thinking to myself, but I could do better! So at the end of the day I am this theoretically great guy out there, but when you get to know me, you find I am egotistical and make you feel like you should be lucky I chose you! Tjo! I was very grateful for his honesty, because it helped me also examine my own heart and take it to God to say God help me change as well, because I have a tendency to do the exact same thing. Sigh…

With all that is happening around us, with all the prejudice, all the pain that comes from that, I pray for us to receive healing from all of it, because holding onto all the anger and pain sows seeds of bitterness and hatred within us, and those seeds when fully grown will destroy the soul! But, I think it is also a good time to look within ourselves and try and see how we too are prejudicial and make other people feel as if they are less of human beings, less worthy of being died for on a cross, less worthy of receiving the same grace, mercy and forgiveness that was extended to us on that cross, and as our hearts are opened up to this by the heavenly father, may we repent and extend the same mercy, grace and love that we received from the throne of grace.

God bless.

Offensive

I look in the mirror and all I see is me

The me I have always known

The familiar face that has always looked back at me, smiling.

The familiar face that has seen my tears, my smiles, my sheepish grins, my blank expressions.

All I see and all I have known looks back at me from the mirror and I can’t help but wonder

What about me do you find so offensive?

Why does my skin colour offend you so?

What about my skin colour reminds you of a monkey or a baboon, and makes you feel entitled to label me that, and yet love the monkey/baboon more than me?

What about my hair offends you so?

What about my hair makes you feel you must dictate to me how I am to style it, to make it as straight and shiny as yours, despite the chemicals damaging both it and my scalp and the weaves damaging my hairline?

Honestly as I look in the mirror, the reflection smiling back at me fails to understand what about me you find so offensive?

What about my language hurts your ears so much so that you insist I do not speak it in your sight? Despite your being in my country, on my turf?

What about my name offends you so much so that you feel the need to replace it with one easier for you to roll off your tongue, ignoring the fact that I too struggle with your name but the thought never occurred to me to replace your name with one more convenient for me?

What about my accent hurts your ears so much so that you have to correct every single word I say, not appreciating the fact that the words sound “funny” to you because they are not natural to my native speaking tongue?

What about me offends you so much so that you feel my culture counts for nothing and it needs reshaping?

That my people’s ways of marriage you label as barbaric and you in turn enforce your tradition upon me and label it ‘the proper way to go’?

That unless I repent and marry the ‘white’ way my marriage is doomed to fail and is a sin before God? I can’t help but wonder about my grandparents and aunts and uncles who never got married ‘the right way’ but grew old together and were happily married.

What about my continent offends you so much so that you feel you can walk in and rename our sacred places we have always known as mosi o tunya, a befitting name to a smoke that thunders, and you feel entitled to rename it after a queen of a land so distant?

What about my very being offends you so? But more importantly, what about God creating me the way I am offends you so? If we were all created in the image of God, What about God’s facet portrayed in the African person offends you so?

Of expectations and longings

So recently my new way of coping with the world has been to lower my expectations. I walk into work expecting someone to shout at me, something to go wrong, and if neither of that happens, I declare it a good day. If one of the two does happen, I declare it a good day still because at least I was anticipating it. That coping mechanism seemed to be working well for me.

I went to church today and the very first thing the preacher man said was “Some of you have lowered your expectations of God so much so that you expect bad things to happen, and when they don’t you declare God’s goodness to you as if the only thing God is capable of doing is putting out fires in your life.” Tjo! Talk about God stepping on my toes right from the word go!

So I came home and have been mulling over this word all day. Read Matthew 15, about Jesus walking on water, and it suddenly struck me how the disciples were terrified, absolutely terrified when they saw Jesus walking on water. Not that they hadn’t seen him perform miracles before, oh no, just before he left them he had just fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fish, and healed a gazillion people. This was all in a day’s work, but not a single one of the disciples thought when they saw him walking on water, “surely this must be Jesus, doing his thing again.” No. They instead thought it was a ghost and figured they were done for. They knew Jesus was good, but their expectation of him was still limited.

That’s me right now to be honest. In spite of all that the Lord has done for me to show me that he is good, kind and faithful to me! my expectation of his goodness has been reduced, depleted to me just thinking that He loves me enough to just ensure I don’t burn, but not enough to give me a good and fruitful life. Tjo! The bone of contention of coz lies with the talk of the biological clock, the one expectation that hasn’t yet been met and has no sign of being met anytime soon and it makes me forget how good God is, how everything else is aligning itself to his glory, how he is moving in my life, oh no thoko let’s go ahead and ignore all of that and concentrate on the unmet expectation of your not receiving flowers this past valentine’s day shall we? Sigh, God forgive my stubborn heart.

This past week I haven’t been able to sleep well. Or eat well. Or do anything really. Iv been paralyzed with a terrible fear of failure. It’s literally had me paralyzed that I kept breaking into a sweat each time I thought of the fast approaching exams, and had me panic studying, which we all know makes one retain even less information. I woke up last night in a cold sweat unable to study, unable to sit up, unable to do anything literally paralyzed with this fear of failure because I have lowered my expectation of God so much so that I believe he has cast me out into the sea to drown. The same way He has forgotten about my ‘need’ for flowers from a significant other is the same way He has now forgotten about my studies and exams. Sigh…

You see I love God because no matter how much I give up on him, He never ever gives up on me. I spiral out of control and just allow myself to drown in my emotions but he reaches out and grabs my hand the way he grabbed Peter’s hand when he was about to drown and said to him “oh you of little faith! Why did you doubt?” Why did I doubt? Why did I doubt? What good did doubting do me?

So here I am, once again letting go of fear, and holding onto the “have I not commanded you be strong and courageous, do not be afraid for I am with you every step of the way.” A very difficult thing to do, to raise your expectations of God, to expect a good day, to expect God to bless you when a part of you feels like He isn’t exactly fulfilling every end of the bargain on his side you know. A feeling I’m pretty sure Abraham resonated well with, considering he was told you shall be the father of many nations, only for him to grow very old, eventually have a son, yes one legit child in God’s eyes, and die. Like ummm, and then? Where is my nation God? That would have been me on my death bed had I been Abraham. Yet Hebrews then tells us that because He kept the faith, kept the hope alive, kept expecting God to fulfill his word, it was counted to him as righteousness and he became the father of the priesthood of believers. The father of nations just as God had promised him. Tjo tjo tjo. I’m still processing all of this folks, because issa lot. But what I do know for now is this, God wants me to expect good things from him and He shall reward me for diligently seeking, believing and taking his word at face value.

I don’t quite know what that looks like, taking God at face value. But maybe it means me embracing every single season of my life with Thanksgiving. Expecting God to fulfill my deepest longings whilst not missing out on that which he is already doing in my life. Such that even if ten more flower-less valentine’s days come my way, may my heart still truly believe that God is a good God and that He is good to me and fulfills absolutely all of my hearts desires as He promised to do. But in the meantime, may I rejoice, dance and smell the flowers in my garden as I enjoy the many other facets of goodness that God has bestowed upon my life.