Lessons, unlearning

Trust no-one

You are not enough

You will never be enough

It doesn’t matter how hard you work

You will never be enough

Once they know the real me they’ll hate me then leave me 

You are fractured

You can’t be fixed

Learn to live your life broken

Therapy is for cowards

They just tolerate you ’cause they have to

They’ll always like him more than you

Fact

You’re a bitch

No-one will ever see you if you’re not the best

Humiliation is justified if you fail

Never grieve

Never show weakness 

Cry only when you’re by yourself

Shut up 

Keep your head down

Walk fast

If you must talk, make it brief then shut up and look down

You will never step out of the shadows

They don’t get it

They don’t get me

I’m not sure they even like me really

You talk over people

Your passion is misplaced

Keep the details to yourself 

You’re not as good as they think

Look the other way

You’re a disappointment 

Trust no-one

You’ll always feel alone

Don’t burden people with your mood swings 

Don’t burden people with your problems

Don’t burden people 

Don’t burden

Don’t

Nobody cares

Stay invisible

Nobody sees you anyway

Glasnost

Untitled.

When I was six years old, I gave my first blowjob.
“It’s a game”, said He. “Don’t you want to play?”
It was too big, and I threw up on him.
He said I’d do better the next time.

When I was seven years old, I watched a group of fellow second graders cheer as a boy in my class tried to kiss me. He hugged me from behind, giggling all the while.
I threw sand in his eyes, and was sent to the Principal.

When I was eight years old, I had an elderly teacher ask me to stay behind in class. He carried me on his shoulders, and called me pretty.
“Teacher’s Pet!” my friends declared, the envy visible on their faces.
They ignored me at lunch that day.

When I was nine years old, an older girl on the school bus would ask me to lift…

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Port Elizabeth, South Africa

An extract…

Port Elizabeth is the popular football player or cheerleader who believes they’re the bees knees and looks down on everyone outside of their circle. Till they finish school and move to a bigger city to study further only to discover that they are actually just small fry. Despite this, the city has a superiority complex underneath its friendliness. Sometimes this friendliness is genuine and lovely and meaningful. Other times it’s just small town etiquette. A formality.

This city is complex. It has baggage. It shows you the beach but hides the townships. You see, townships are the reminder of this city’s wounds. Of the deliberate and traumatic division of its people through architecture, race, class and language. The city’s signage calls them Ibhayi. (Strange, since this word is supposed to refer to the entire city and not just a section of it.) PE struggles to bridge these divisions. To reconcile and heal from them. But the city is trying to develop. Build itself. Make itself better. Revamp itself. Taking its cues from its role model, Cape Town.

Genius.

Is it lonely being so smart?
How does it feel when they call you crazy for talking over their heads? Do you ever sleep with your restless mind?
What’s it like flying through leaves like the wind knowing they can only acknowledge you if you’re contained?
To be built to swim against the tide yet you spend your days wishing you could let go and swim with the rest of them. Let their tide carry you for once.
What’s it like to die everyday so others can live?
To see the end game all by yourself. To be everywhere and nowhere at the same time?
How do you keep going?
Why do you wake up and do it again?
Tell me.

Invaded Spaces

On this 8th day of September in 2012 around 5 o’clock in the late afternoon, I sat on the cold steps of the front entrance to our house, head in my palms. My mother stood opposite me, leaning against the wall, her head down. We were waiting for my dad to get home. Atlas security were perusing the premises. I asked my mother if I could open the beer which sat on the step to my left. An odd request, but she said sure and I shattered the silence with my opening of the Guinness.

You see, our house had been broken into. And 3 hours prior, I had left the house and walked down to the beach to hang out with a friend and have a beer. I needed to break routine. I needed to do something different. I was sitting on a bench near the beach about to open aforementioned beer when my phone rang. It was my mother.

“Are you home?” she asked

“No. Why?”

“Are you near the house? Can you get home? I just got a call from Atlas and they’re saying there’s been a break in. I can’t get hold of your father. Can you go?”

“Yeah, sure.”

I thought nothing of this. You see, the alarm had malfunctioned so many times, I figured this was another case. “Everything’s fine,” I rehearsed in my head. But when I got home, I saw one of the windows pried open and the doorknob looked as though somebody had tried to unscrew it. I knew something was wrong. Honestly, at this point I don’t really remember what happened. But I was calm. I had to be. I was met by one of the security guards. I don’t remember what he said now, but I walked around the house with him, calm as can be, paying attention to everything he said. Because I would have to brief my parents when they arrived and I knew that they would have tons of questions, as I did already. The story goes that the robber pried open the window of the bedroom next to mine, raided it, found nothing then moved next door to my room. The robber took one of my empty bags and used it to pack my two laptops, after going through my wardrobe and all the drawers. Fortunately, I am not as organised as I would like to think and the Jennifer Burton bracelet I got from my sister as a gift survived as it wasn’t in my jewellery box. However, my parents’ jewellery was taken.

So I opened the beer and I took a sip and I felt no different. I had to sit outside. I couldn’t be in my room. I didn’t want to think about all the writing I would never get back, the digital music I spent hours collecting. I didn’t want to start figuring out how I was going to get a new laptop. I didn’t want to mourn for my lost work. I didn’t want to get upset when I knew of people who had been through much worse than a burglary. I didn’t want to feel any emotion over the fact that my space was violated. All those years of being so attached to the concept of having my own space. The happiness that I felt when I first got my own room at age 13. It all just seemed so…trivial and pointless. I blamed myself also. You see, the story goes that the robber or robbers had probably been watching us for some time and were familiar with our routines and patterns. So they probably had been waiting for me to leave the house. Something I rarely did as a homebody. So when I finally did, they struck. If I hadn’t left home, this probably would have never happened.

I drank my beer and stared into space. We waited with dread for my dad to return. I finished my drink and braced myself mentally for the questions. I joked with my mother about how the robber had not stolen any of my jewellery because my stuff is proudly bought from flea markets and street hawkers. So no whatever carat gold or silver shit in my stash. We laughed.

I spent the night at a friend’s house. I couldn’t bear to be in my room, but I had to be at some point. It took a detective 2 days to get to our house and dust for fingerprints and whatnot. By the time he came, I had already moved everything back as it was. As I thought it was. He said I shouldn’t have done that. Because now there was no point in dusting for prints.