Faces In The Street/ This Road (to Greatness)

05h30am
Winter
Sitting in a semi-upright position under my blankets, I ask myself why I have to go to work. I question my decision to take a lecturing job at the beginning of the year. I wonder how I ended up here. Here being back home, as somebody’s daughter. But then I think about women who inspire me. I think about what gets Michaela Angela Davis up in the morning. I think about creative people changing our worlds through Art. I think about Winnie Mandela and what she did. I think about who I want to be, what this job actually is for me. A stepping stone. I think about my parents and their lives. What they went through to get to where they are today. I think about my ancestors. Nomads. Warriors. And when I’m about to cry, I think about the struggles and tell myself: “Who am I to not wake up today? Who am I to not be great?” I get up and make my bed.

 

07h00am
I close the gate. Check that I put everything in my lunchbox. Breakfast, snacks, lunch, coffee. A quick sigh. Make sure my bag is firmly in place. As the darkness clears, I am hugged by the morning cold and my shoes greet the morning dew. I can see my breath as I walk. To my right, I see the security guard. He’s here at 6am on most days. Wearing his beanie and coat, he stands guard. I wave. He waves back. The Laundromat is already open. I can hear the women chatting and laughing. The liquor store staff are arriving. They wave at me. I wave back. I cross the road.

07h10am
I am walking fast. Not because it’s cold but because I generally walk fast. Besides, my first class is at 07h45. I don’t want to be late. I am grateful for my coat and beanie, as I go over my lesson plan in my head. I hear the cars drive by as parents take their children to school. I spot an 18 year old learner on her scooter. I give her a high five in my head. The construction workers are arriving. Blue overalls with glow-in-the-dark lines around the knees. Some are already working. A woman stands next to a stop sign holding a red flag. I pass an old woman walking her dog.

07h20am
Students wait at the shuttle stop as I enter campus. I greet the security guard but he ignores me. I make a mental note to never greet him again. I hear a shuttle drive past as I head towards my office. A student approaches me: “M’am, when can I come talk to you?” “I have a 07h45 class now but I will be free afterwards.” “Ok, thanks.” He runs off.

07h30am
Nobody’s here. I can drink my coffee in peace. Hallelujah.

07h45am
I head to class. I pray for more than five students this time. It’s winter so I know I’m pushing my luck. But maybe, just maybe, this morning will be different.

For Today…

Today I get to be Writer. I get to wear my bright red harem pants, my boyfriend’s grey t-shirt with a faded picture of Bruce Lee, (which I’ve unexpectantly become attached to, which means I’ll probably never return it) and my colourfully striped socks. These are my favourite socks and will probably wear out soon because I wear them like slippers. I hate wearing shoes indoors. I digress.

I get to be Writer. With no guarantees of writing. With no pressure to write. No expectations. I’ll walk up and down this house in silence. I’ll eat. Refill my coffee. My mind will come down from its high and remind me of my life. But until then I get to just be Writer. I get to feel inner peace. I swirl ideas in my mind and look forward to the results.

I get to breathe. Really breathe. I’ve missed this so much. I don’t know when I’ll feel like this again. This must be the calm before the storm. But until then, I am allowing myself to exhale.

Just for today.

Day 14: Heartache

heartachePic courtesy of Check Out My Ink

It’s this heartache
That makes me go deep within myself
Poke holes into wounds
That should’ve been healed by now.

It’s a reminder of what I lack
What I should be chasing
What I should leave behind
Whether to cry
Sink
Feel
Fall into nothingness
Forget
Destroy
No longer care

Or

Re-evaluate
Search
Find
Trust
Keep moving
Set Boundaries
Hope

Day 12: Never Enough

It’s not enough anymore
To just write poems.
You have to also perform them.
Because publishers won’t touch you
If you don’t have some sort of relevance in the “industry”
And people pay you no attention if you’re not itching for the spotlight in some way.

It’s never enough to just create an album
You have to go on tour.
Sign endorsement deals and whatnot
Coz that’s where the money is apparently.
Plus, you have to pay back the label’s expenses.
Since sales alone aren’t enough
If you’re indie you need the performances
To live essentially
But also for relevance
Coz who are you really if nobody knows you.

We’re encouraged to be brands.
To be human is to be a business.
It’s to push products
To break even
Because forget what you heard
Commodified creatives are the real ones now

Economics runs this here Art.
The only law that counts is contract.
Best to get on with that SWOT analysis then
Before you pass your prime.