(c) Unathi Nopece
I’m 31 now
I’ve been saying this over and over to myself so I don’t mistakenly tell someone I’m 30. I’m technical. I like to be accurate. A blessing and a curse. I laugh when people ask when I’m getting married. Or why I don’t have kids. I laugh because I understand their perspective as well as mine. They co-exist peacefully and that’s ok.
I spent 5 years trying to return to a city I loved, but when I finally got there, I realised I no longer loved it. Because I had changed. Home is wherever I lay my head. I’m still living off of one bag between cities. Movement is the move. A nomad’s lament
I’m at the finishing stages of my Masters and I’m stressed. I cry when I think about it every morning. But I play happy music and I keep going.
I can’t complain.
I chose this.
The way I dress and how I adorn myself is my business. I should have more piercings and tattoos. But I’m no longer edgy or trying to be. That left with the anger. My shaved head was long overdue. I don’t miss my afro one bit.
I get anxious when I have a lot of money. And feel guilty when I spend it. What happened? I wonder.
For two years, I watched everyone’s lives evolve while mine stayed stagnant. I watch my creativity burn to ashes with my hands tied behind my back. I said a prayer though. Hoped for some phoenix-rising type shit
I’m envious, I guess. I fell prey to the illusions of social media. But I say nothing.
Because I chose this.
Mixed feelings consume me. I saw my memories on Facebook this morning. I remembered my friend who passed away. For the first time, I was able to scroll through his profile page without crying. I still can’t listen to his music. Baby steps, I suppose
20 000 women marched in protest on my birth date in 1956. They called it Women’s Day and declared it a Public Holiday in 1996. My 12th birthday.
Friendships are changing. Some are dying. Others stay strong despite distance and time differences. Such is life.
My homie is the one. 4 months apart. Two sides of the same coin. He attracts people. I repel them. They love him. I’m the her in “What on earth is he doing with her?”
I say very little. I keep to myself. Isolation beckons me. The hiatus is calling. As always, I say no for there’s no relief for people like me. Very few off-days. We find solace in almost losing it. In torn seams. In the aching of our backs. Knowing full well that no-one will ever quite understand. We look down from ledges. Hoping nothing tips us over.
And despite all this, I’m ok. I’m on the way to my greatness. As it is. As it always has been and forever more shall be.
You said you guys should just be friends…
He came to the boarding house that evening and asked someone to call you. You were wearing your navy denim jeans and your brother’s red and white Michaelhouse top. He had come to talk about the kiss. You told him you didn’t want to pursue it further. This was a good move.
It’s ok that you told him you think you should be friends even though you wanted more. Granted, you’re suffering for your choice. You get to watch him take other girls to dances. You have to answer that “Why not you?” question over and over again. And your heart aches for what could have been. It hurts like hell. Let it. This is temporary. You’ll be fine. For one, there’ll be more guys… But when you’re in your mid 20s, you ‘ll say hi to a guy while sitting at the bar waiting for a show to start. He is one of the performers, but you’ll miss his performance. You’ll make small talk and you won’t think much of it. This is a pivotal moment. Thank me later.
A few months from now, someone will enter your life and make you question everything about it. She’s abrasive, but you’ll like her. Because she’s honest. She reminds you of what your life could’ve been if you’d had a different upbringing. She’ll make you reflect on yourself. You guys will grow close. You’ll get attached. She’ll be your best friend. She’ll leave after a year. You’ll cry over it. But you’ll email each other. You’ll lose touch. But you meet again years later and it’ll feel like she never left.
It’s not too late to change subjects. I know you want to do Art. Rather badly. But you’re scared. What if you suck? You’re reconsidering French. But you won’t drop it. Good move. As interesting as Biology is to you, you won’t use it. Along with Chemistry and Physics. I hate to break it to you, but…You won’t be a Medical Scientist. Or a doctor. In fact, you won’t even need the Sciences that you’re studying. But they’ll teach you planning, structure, organisational skills, logical thinking etc. You’ll need these later in life.
Your obsession with The Cranberries? It doesn’t die. Ever. It helps you form a life-long friendship with someone. You won’t realise this until your ten year reunion. She’s a great guitarist. She can sing. You believe this. She doesn’t yet. But you’ll play guitar and sing together. She’ll join some bands after high school. You’ll pay to watch her perform. It’ll be mad fun.
I’m not sure yet if you’ve started dancing. But when you do, you’ll love it! You’ll consider going professional. Because you’ll be that good. Or so you think. But life will get in the way and you’ll give it up. Don’t be too bitter about it.
Your relationship with your brother is changing. You’re not quite sure what happened. Maybe you’re outgrowing him. You can’t do anything about it. Let it be.
You envy your sister’s relationship with your Mom. You wish the 3 of you could find some kind of common ground. You won’t. Instead, you’ll develop your relationships with them separately. First your relationship with your sister will grow through emails about boys and phone calls and texts about balance sheets and income statements. [Accounting right? Who ever thought?] Then your relationship with your Mom will be built through fashion, beauty, accessories etc. Yes, this is the same mother who stopped buying you clothes because you would cut and resew them. But you guys did pierce your ears together that one time when you were 9/10. Remember?
Two years from now, your position in your family will change. It will start with a strange conversation in the sitting-room with your Dad about a financial decision he made. You’ll get freaked out. You’ll wonder where Mom is. This is the beginning. You’ll be given a lot more responsibility. This will make you angry. You won’t understand why. But you’ll grow into this role.
You have such a strong sense of self. I love this about you. You are also ahead of your time in many ways. Many people your age aren’t thinking the way you’re thinking. You’ll feel lonely a lot. Some of your friends are far away. But there are others in your school who feel just as misplaced as you do. You’ll befriend them. You’ll hang a banner on a roof with some of them towards the end of high school.
Keep finding solace in those novels. Keep writing in your journals. Keep your wit and sense of humour. You think it’s weird that you like to study maps, but you’re a dreamer. You need your imagination. You will go through so much. Discover so much. You are exactly the person you imagine yourself to be. All that and more. The time will come when you can express that freely. Your life will truly begin after high school. You will grow so much. It’ll hurt. People won’t understand. You’ll lose friends along the way. You’ll make new ones. But you’ll be ok.
Oh, and those girls in your boarding house that you don’t like all that much? Well…let me just say that something interesting happens before your 30th birthday. I’ll leave it there.
Your soon-to-be 31 year old self
You are showing me how to live in the present.
Unknown futures always determined my present and as a result I am always forward-thinking; unable to relax and just be (present). Things go wrong when you get too comfortable. I must be prepared for anything. I must stay alert at all times.
I am learning to trust in my abilities. Not to entertain the hypothetical too much. To believe (and ultimately know) that I will figure it out when the time comes.
You remind me always to count the small victories. To take (deep) breaths. Eat that slice of cake if I want it. Buy that jacket/CD/book and not feel guilty about it. To talk. Sleep when I’m tired. To take stock of my achievements. Allow for all self-expression regardless of the outcome.
You tell me to appreciate myself always, but it’s hard. I worry too much about others. I put them before me. They’ll never know how much.
I carry residual guilt, suppressed grief, unhealed wounds, voids, low self-esteem and general insecurities. And we deal with these together in our own ways.
It’s difficult to be strong all the time. I need off days too. Life is heavy. Laughter helps us. Other things too. Private things. ;)
My mirror, my kindred spirit, my ultimate homie, my twin-flame, fellow bibliophile, my coffee-drinking partner. You carry me. And I you. And we make sure we’re never down at the same time. Pillars to each other. With each other.
You think I’m the coolest person you’ve ever known. And I’ll never get why. But that’s ok. I accept it regardless
Originally posted on The Rising Phoenix Review:
I believe in boys with sad eyes and soft smiles.
I believe in girls who roar back at the thunder
and still kiss like the first time they fell in love.
I believe in the people who’s skin never felt like home to them,
so they carved home out of the dust beneath their shoes
and kept on going.
I believe in all the ones who are told they don’t belong.
I don’t think I belong either.
I don’t know what it means to “belong”
but I know the ones shouting have nothing to offer,
that fitting in is the fad diet we’re all starving ourselves to.
I believe in us.
The ones who have never felt good enough.
I believe in the girl next door, who likes to be called “her”
but who woke up, today, with a gender that felt like
hand spun wool and spilled milk,
View original 395 more words
Originally posted on The Artist's Way:
- Visit an artist’s supply shop.
- Spend some time outdoors with your journal, sketchbook, craft supplies, etc.
- Go for a walk, and take your camera with you to document the experience.
- Stop by the library, and check out some CDs.
- Set a timer, and spend an hour working on something you’ve been putting off.
- Create an artist’s workspace in your home.
- See an Oscar-nominated movie or a foreign film.
- If you don’t have an artist’s blog, start one.
- Visit a “creative” shop that has nothing to do with what you actually do–an art supply store, a fabric shop, a music store.
- Grab a stack of magazines, and clip whatever looks interesting or cool to create your own inspiration board.
- Support the local arts scene. Go to a local festival, music event, art show, play, museum exhibit, etc.
- Plant something. Start your own herb garden. Butterfly garden. Plant a tomato or some…
View original 1,124 more words
You don’t owe people the person you used to be. You don’t have to talk to people who are speaking to the old you. If they want to drag old you out, and you’ve already left that person behind, they don’t get to talk to you. When you’ve gone from weakness to strength, you don’t owe a show of your former self to someone who just can’t wrap their head around your change – Dig Yourself (via BUWA Mosadi)