Dear Cape Town – I have a dilemma

Soundtrack Suggestion – Nakhane Toure “Just like heaven”

I’ve been pretty silent of late regarding issues of current affairs. Well, it’s been more that I have been fairly silent on social media.

Towards the end of last year I embarked on what I called #TheGrey Series which was a way of me vomiting out some of the prominent darkness in my system. I had been encountering numerous awful experiences, thoughts and feelings which I was battling to find a space for. So I decided to be pro-active. I found a therapist. Together we began to open up this box. A box that I hadn’t even realised I had tucked away in a dark corner. I was completely surprised by the pain that sat in that box. I was taken aback by what flung out of the box. Bats flew out, gigantic spiders and unidentified creepy crawlies that remain nameless came out as soon as the box was slightly crammed open.

I was overwhelmed. I was in pain, exhausted and felt like I couldn’t breathe.

If I had to give some of these ugly things names, it would go something like this – racism, sexism, injustice, inequality, dishonesty, violence, abuse.

I was suffocating from the inside out. These creatures that had come out were quietly strangling me. It became clear that they needed somewhere to go. It was as though there was no other choice but to let them out. So #TheGrey Series was born.

(#TheGrey Series was meant to be comprised of 10 posts originally shared on facebook. Through the help of a friend based in Denmark we will be transforming this into an accessible format in the form of a zine)

Before I reached the end of #TheGrey Series I encountered an unexpected bright light that felt like a rescue mission. The mental picture is of a geared up concerned someone entering into my insides with a torch, coming to investigate what was there. In so doing bringing the sort of light my dark creatures needed to dissolve and scatter.

This unintentional rescue mission came from my dear friend Terry-Jo Thorne who is the master mind behind a blog titled IDontSpeakMyLanguage. The light came in the form of this beautiful piece she wrote about me (read here).

Funny enough I haven’t posted any more “grey” posts since then. I suppose it speaks to the power of light? This is not to say that the darkness is not still there – however it’s not there in the same way as before. It’s not begging to come out as it was previously.

Following this experience, I am sitting with several big questions that perhaps you could assist with:

  1. How do I engage with the ugly creepy crawlies of the world (some of which are named above) and still remain happy?
  2. Where do I go to release the pain of the ugly realities of the world (also referred to as the creepy crawlies of the world)?
  3. How do I continue to engage with the topics that make so many people’s lives a misery (my own included) without coming across as a bitter “Debbie Downer”?
  4. I owe a large portion of the comfort of my existence to those that came before me who lived uncomfortably so that I may not have to. How do I honour those people (some of whom lost their lives in terrible ways) for my better, improved life?
  5. I have a talent of using my voice. How do I do it in such a way that does not consume my every ounce of energy? I feel so energy drained when I do. I honestly can’t enjoy a drink out with friends in peace, someone just has to walk up to me with some or other comment, question, gripe or high-5!

I’m seriously battling with these questions. I want to be happy. I want to live the best life that I know is possible, and I’m struggling to separate myself from the fight.

There is an inner elder that is whispering to me “Didintle my dear, your best fight and contribution is achieved by simply being yourself in the most authentic way you know how. Trust me, through the painless act of being yourself you are re-creating realities (your own included) and inspiring others with ideas of changes they could make to their own life and therefore the world”.

As much as I value and adore my inner Ouma, any answers to my questions posted above will be greatly appreciated.

At the moment I have almost completely stopped reading news of any kind – because I’ve realised that it helps turn me into a paranoid, self-loathing, people-hating, moaning, distressed, tense, bitter, wide-eyed non-believer in the beauty of the world. These are not good for anybody let alone someone suffering from anxiety!

Help.

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The Speaker – Didintle Ntsie

This is a wonderful post my dear friend wrote about me. I find it completely wonderful that people see so much beauty in me, a beauty that I don’t always see in myself. This piece has given me an opportunity to stop and appreciate myself and my various contributions and efforts. Thanks TJ! You have breathed love into my soul!

idontspeakmylanguage

This rad human is someone I’ve had the very good fortune of being acquainted with for at least 7 years. We met, initially, through the fluid madness that was Observatory in the mid 2000s – to be honest, we may have been living in the same house, but one can’t be sure of living arrangements in Obz.

didi5

Why is she featured here?

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Harfield, I’m out.

Meanwhile in Cape Town…

idontspeakmylanguage

Hypothetical scenario. You have a dilemma. You live in a neighbourhood which you sort of enjoy (mostly because of the high ratio of bars to residents). It’s built on lies and bad history (aren’t they all?) and you want to make a change. Change the legacy, make a bit of a dent in the future you see ahead of it. But you’re damn well exhausted. For many reasons. What do you do? For example, you’re tired of posts like these:

Watch

I’m very concerned about safety, as I’m sure that most people are. But the shit starts with these sorts of posts and this sort of commentary. You see, I’ve been digging into the history of this neighbourhood. And, as I touched on before, and probably will write about again, my dad used to live here. Until he was kicked out under the Group Areas Act. The person’s post above might…

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I’m a work in progress

Quote

As many of you already know, I am all for figuring out how we can disagree in a healthy way, how we can have many different, opposing views and still co-exist in a healthy way. I consider it a form of wealth. In most instances I will make time to have a conversation and see it to the end (no matter how hard it is), so when I say I wanted to get up and walk away from this conversation, please understand what that means. I felt that I had reached a dead end. That there was nothing of value that I could add to the conversation or take from the conversation, it was almost as though I would have been contributing by walking away. Afterwards, I got home, still feeling fragile and worked up from some of the personal attacks I had endured in the conversation. That is where this thought process was sparked from. I shared it as a status update and the over 100 likes and comments showed me that it resonated deeply with many people (some of which stopped me in the streets to say “thank you” and “I agree”) so I thought I share it over here too.

“I am not a socialist, nor am I a capitalist. I am not black. I am not a coconut. I am not anti-American nor am I pro-African (I know that I have just compared a country to a continent – no need to point it out). I am not a feminist either. I am an individual that is bi-polar & schizophrenic and wild and tame and confused and self-assured. I am masculine and feminine. I am confused and certain. I am a puzzle made up of beautiful as well as ugly. I’m a talker. I’m a listener. I’m loud. I’m silent. I’m passionate and apathetic. I am part of the “system(s)” and I am not. I am all of this and none of this. You know why? I am a product of all I see and encounter. I am a work-in-progress. I’m allowed to be.”

Life: An Open-Ended Question

And here I am, sitting in my bed, in my lowly lit bedroom, writing again. The truth is that I have been too shattered to find a space to face my insides the way I used to. Bold. Brave. The way Didi knows how. Why? Well, my insides have been (and to some degree still are) recovering from a heartbreak. My heart exploded in such a way that the shattered pieces went in all kinds of directions, I suspect I will still find some shards of glass hiding away in some obscure places, I will leave the discovery of these to future encounters. But, for now, I am okay enough to be here writing. For that I am thankful.
I don’t even know where to begin with sharing the biggest chunk of what has been causing the heartbreak, so when I find myself lost as to where to begin I just dive in. So here goes… I lost 2 very important people in my life in a space of 2 weeks in the month of March. One was a trusted and well loved and cared for friend and the other was a lover who I had shared countless hours and weeks, amounting to months nurturing and being nurtured by.

The loss of a friend

The thing about friendships is that they seem a lot more “mendable” than intimate relationships. That’s my take at least. There is this feeling that I can work anything out with friends because there is no physical contact that could potentially manipulate and sway my emotions. Hugs can try but they just don’t have the power that intimate physical contact has. My friend and I probably actually ended our friendship months ago, perhaps I was a fool sitting with an extended arm in an imaginary room, with an open door, a door that I was waiting to see my friend walk back through so that we could talk, fight, cry, laugh, do whatever it was that we needed to do in order to mend the tears we had collectively created in the fabric of our friendship (more and more I find that my strongest friendships are the ones where the fabric is made up of patches of sewn up holes. They have texture. Those friendships are the ones I value most. Never did I think I would admit that in writing, but here I am.)
I sat in that room, arm extended, aching from the strain, with an open door for all of 4 months but my friend never walked back in. Once I had begun accepting that he would never walk back in I began a process of figuring out how best to go about being okay with not having him be a part of my life, after seeing him every day of my life for over a year. It was painful, heart-wrenching, nonetheless, acceptance was needed here, and so was unclenching my sweat-drenched fists and gently releasing my feelings, thoughts, missed opportunities of words that could have been shouted, vomited, said or written. They had to be let go of – a necessary first step towards any level of acceptance. Once I began unclenching my fist and letting go of all the “unsaids” and “could-have-dones” I began feeling my own power returning to me in all its essence. The power that allows me to unapologetically feel and know that I am allowed to be sad, angry and upset about how things have unfolded. That it’s completely okay to feel whatever my heart wants to feel about how the chips have fallen. I am allowed to.

The death of a love once shared

A space we both entered into courageously. Knowing full well that in order to stand any chance of seeing each other, kissing, touching, holding one another we would need to overcome a distance that would take a flight lasting between 11 and 12 hours. I loved him. I don’t know how I know it. I can’t measure it nor can I prove it, but somehow I know that I did. Without a single doubt in my mind I know I loved him. Nothing will ever shake that deep knowing. The relationship was a short course, a crash course of sorts, which ended in an unbelievable crash-landing resulting in a heart ripped open on the runway, bleeding uncontrollably, an aura dripping with sadness and devastation & a new kind of darkness I never knew I could reach. (For a moment the concept of suicide didn’t seem quite so outrageous). The file labelled “lessons learnt from being in this long distance relationship” is currently being put together, I imagine I will keep adding to it throughout my life. Isn’t that how it works? We never truly know what we have learnt until we are faced with opportunities to put our past pains to good use.

Life is an open-ended question

According to the internet “An open-ended question is designed to encourage a full, meaningful answer using the subject’s own knowledge and/or feelings.“
Perhaps I do hold somewhat of a clear list of “lessons learnt” but am too scared to begin to unpack them, certainly not here, not right now. However what I will share is that the hardest thing about losing both the lover and friend is that I was left with feelings of being unlovable, the feeling that I was only loveable when I had a bright smile, a pocket full of jokes, enough rays of sunshine to power a solar-powered household for a year, but not worth the trouble and time when my darkness showed itself, when I myself needed those rays of sunshine I so happily handed out, when I was bursting at the seams, then I was reduced to a burden too heavy to carry, a burden so easily discarded and dumped.

A note I discovered whilst cleaning the mess my broken heart left inside me

With my increasing amount of years on this planet I have found that conflict is an opportunity to engage with something that wants to be discovered and worked with, something that emerges, and something that was previously invisible and is now brave enough to make itself visible to our eyes and hearts. I am intrigued by conflict and what it asks of us.

I am a seeker, a searcher, a curious mad-woman.

searchersImage found here ---> (Click here)

Why you should say YES to the most impactful year of your life – study in Sweden…

The name of this blog rests completely on the reason for starting the blog. This blog was initially intended to be a portal of information and keeping in touch while I studied in Sweden at the International Youth Initiative Program. It has since evolved into a space of connection, sharing and a place that others that have studied there come for comfort, joy or the reminder of times gone by.

Today I received an email which announced that applications for the 7th year of YIP are now open.

yip-apply-now (CLICK HERE TO APPLY NOW —> DEADLINE 15th MAY 2014!)

It is only now (about 2 years since completing my year of study) that I see the invaluable experience that YIP was. Since YIP I have seen my dreams and wishes come to life. Since YIP I have re-discovered myself and the power that Didintle Ntsie possesses. I have felt so inspired that there was no other way to live life but to live it as I have always wanted to. YIP offered me the fertile ground to plant seeds, nurture the plants that grew and take the fruits from that plant and share them in the world.

YIP has been the catalyst to me finding the best version of myself (an ongoing expedition…)

YIP is the reason I forgive, it is the reason I understand people better, it is the reason I am able to accept, it is the reason I am able to remember that there is nothing (and I mean that) that can stand in the way of me reaching my goals, dreams and desired outcomes.

It made real to me the truths I had whispered in my ear since I was born, that “anything is possible”

(CLICK HERE TO APPLY NOW —> DEADLINE 15th MAY 2014!)

Since YIP I have been an important part of a team that co-founded an amazing global citizen-driven initiative called 100in1day Cape Town, I have also finally plucked up the courage to birth an idea I have had for over 4 years, it has come to this earth as The Travelling Speech Bubble. I am now working in an organisation that is forward thinking and impactful in it’s work. I am where I should be, and there are no doubts in my mind.

Since YIP I have begun writing a short story.

All these things because YIP reminded me that I could and I can.

Take some time to think about the things you would like to achieve.

Take a moment to think about the YOU that YOU would like to become.

Take a moment and think about a wall of mirrors that are all there to show you something about yourself.

Take a moment to do this for yourself, in order to better share yourself with others.

I humbly, warmly, lovingly invite you to apply to participate in the most enlightening year of your life with other phenomenal beings from all over the world.

YIP_Testimonials_Orland

The price of Freedom

I came across this image a little while ago while searching images for “Church Square”. This image of the well-known Church Square in Pretoria (the capital of South Africa) popped up. I found myself staring at it for much longer than I had hoped to. I began to feel sad.

I remembered some stories that my dad had told me on my recent trip home to Ga-Rankuwa.

Church Square

He told me of how beautiful Pretoria was when he first arrived there, he spoke of the Jacaranda trees that brought on a burst of purple streets accompanied by fresh fragrances which now remind me of home, he spoke of the trams that ran through the city centre, he stopped a second and mentioned that he never ever enjoyed a ride on one, I absent-mindedly asked “Why?”, and he turned to me and said “I wasn’t allowed to”, it dawned on me, black people were not allowed to. Instantly that sentence transported me to a time that I have never known, a time when my parents’ movement was restricted simply because they were “non-white”. This conversation with my dad weighed very heavily on my heart.

Apart from the sadness that surfaces every now and then when I look back on this conversation and the life my dad was forced to live I learnt a few things:

– Beauty belongs to us (nobody can take that from you). My dad still saw the beauty of Pretoria despite the terrible reality he and others faced.

– We are incredibly fortunate to be living in a time when I (a dark-skinned female) can sit at a computer, sharing this with you, in the centre of Cape Town, before catching a bus to my home on Kloof Street. I need to remember to enjoy these things I take so for granted.

– What is our offering for coming generations? People died for the life we now enjoy. We walked into a life previously dreamt and fought for. What kind of future do you dream of? What are you doing to contribute towards that?

– Speak to your parents (and other elders): It is such a deep wealth to have the opportunity to live through them. Live through a time you have never and will never experience. This also is a free wisdom exchange. Make the time, find the space and drink their wisdom.