Will We?

Will you come to my funeral?

Will you take your time to come and see if I have passed on for sure?

Will you shake your head and wipe a tear as they lower my corpse 6ft under?

Will you wonder when exactly I reached my breaking point?

Will you talk about how I’m going to hell because I’ve taken my life?

Will you share stories about the times we were together?

Will you write posts about mental illness?

Will you talk about how important it is that people check on those around them?

Will you mention that you noticed the scars on my arms but you thought it was nothing?

Will you wonder if you could have done better while I was still alive?

Will you think about the times I reached out and you could have helped but you didn’t?

Will you talk about how I wasn’t alone and I should have known?

Will you call me weak?

Will you call me selfish?

Will you call me ungrateful?

Will you?

Will I finally have peace?

Will I escape the voices that hound me daily?

Will I be freed from the shackles that have me bound to the walls?

Will I face judgement for my actions?

Will we find out?

On this world mental health day, it’s important that we make ourselves aware of the challenges being faced by the people around us and we position ourselves as best as we can to assist them.

Never Ending Grief

Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.Vicki Harrison

One of the very few things in this life that is certain is death. Whether it’s our own or that of people we know and love, it will certainly come to be. The only questions are when and how but it is without doubt that we will die. Death not only takes away a person’s life but it also takes with it everything that person represented to us. It takes away all the plans we had with that person. It takes away the conversations we would have had. With time, it even takes away some of the memories we had created with that person. Take take take. That’s all it does.

Grief changes shape but it never ends – Keanu Reeves

I suffered a great loss once. Although many things about the day she passed away are fading in my memory, the pain is as vivid as ever. That day changed me and my life. Everything I thought I knew changed on that day. Everything I believed changed. I changed. I didn’t understand the change and I wouldn’t for a long time. It took me a while to figure out that the very core of my existence had been ripped out and there was a huge change as a result. I am still figuring myself out but now I am better placed to learn about these changes and adjust accordingly. I also tried to fight my grief, to force it to end. I have come to the realisation that it never ends. The void left by my mother will forever exist and I can only learn to live with it. Until the day my own death comes, I will forever grieve for her.

So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love – E. A. Bucchianeri

I have come to a point where I have let my grief become a part of me. Grief is a product of love and I cannot change how much love I carried, so neither can I change the grief that comes with it. Today, the 2nd of June when this is published, would have been her 51st birthday. Yet another thing death robbed me of, the chance to celebrate her birthday with her. It will forever be a reminder to me that we do not have as much time as we think we do. The people we love must know it now that they are important to us. We have the opportunity to show that love because once it turns into grief, we can only feel it ourselves but never will we be able to show it to those we feel it for.

My grief made me focus on a lot of negative things. I spent a lot of my time asking questions to which I can never get answers. I spent my time seeking relationships with people I thought would fill the void in me. I sought healing from places which would never be able to provide it. Now I can safely say I have accepted my grief as a part of me. My grief will exist forever and I accept it. That is my healing.

May you forever rest in peace Martha Tikambenji

So Am I

Life is tough. I have heard those three words so many times but I have only grasped their full meaning recently. I have seen a fair amount of hard times myself and I have seen the people in my life go through theirs. Only recently though has the complete sense of life’s toughness hit me.

I recently had a dream that summed up where I am in life. In the dream, I was in a house that seemed familiar. I could find what I was looking for with a fair amount of ease. Gradually, I lost light and I was engulfed in darkness. It was so dark, I couldn’t see my hands if I held them up in front of my face. I couldn’t find my way in this familiar house anymore. Whenever I tried to move towards anything, I’d bump into something. A table corner here, a chair there, a wall that side. It was almost as if the house had shrunk and everything had inadvertently moved to block my movement. I was trapped and everything I was trying wasn’t working out. Eventually, I gave up and just stood in the dark realizing I had no other moves to make lest I keep bumping into things and hurt myself bad. I stopped trying.

Life is tough. It’s even tougher when you are a young adult in a country like Zimbabwe. More often than not, you will find yourself in a position that feels impossible to navigate. Sometimes it actually is impossible to navigate because the situation economically and socially is crippling. No matter how much you know there isn’t much you can do about it, the effect of the situation cannot be cushioned. We still feel as if maybe we could try harder, that we could exert ourselves more and we could equip ourselves more. We are wired to look at ourselves and find inadequacy even where it doesn’t exist. I, for one, lack the ability to accept that sometimes I did all I could and it’s not my fault things didn’t take a positive turn. It’s really hard to not blame yourself especially when it looks as if everyone around you has it figured out one way or another. Pressure. External and internal pressure. *sigh*

We want the best out of this life. It’s easy to turn that desire to achieve certain things into unmanageable amounts of pressure. We might even end up crippling ourselves in the process of trying to aim for the best. We must always strive to achieve the peak of our abilities. However, we must cut ourselves some slack and remember that we are human. Things don’t always work out and that is ok. It’s extremely important that we exercise a certain degree of self care. Without that deliberate effort to look out for yourself, there is a huge risk of losing oneself completely. I’ve been on the edge, I live there and I know what it’s like to be in a position to lose yourself. I am currently fighting to remind myself that I have done all I can and the darkness I’m in is not of my making. There is nothing I could have done and if I wait long enough, the light may come again. I will be patient with myself. I will allow processes. Life is tough but so am I. So am I.

Three Years Too Many 

Three years today. Three years…

Three years today. Three years since the day you departed from this world and it still hurts as if it just happened. The memories of that day are still as fresh as they were hours after the news was delivered. Three years mum; and the void is still as deep as you left it.

I remember everything from that day. I have tried to get rid of those memories hoping it would ease my mind but they refuse to go. One moment I was in Chitungwiza watching some social football hoping our team would win so that we would earn a few more crates of beer. I checked my phone once that morning to verify if you had texted that you had arrived in England but you hadn’t texted. I was patiently waiting for the pictures of you when you had arrived. “Muchanzwa nekuvhairirwa” (You guys are not ready for my come-up), you had said to me before you left. I patiently waited for you to announce your arrival and the next thing I was being told that you had chosen to depart to another world instead. It’s in explicable how personal tragedy connects to a victim’s soul. When Mike went by the side and took that call and came back with tears in his eyes, I felt it in my soul. He summoned Chale and Brian to the side to deliver the news, and although I never imagined it could be the news that you had left us; I felt something rip inside me. They didn’t tell me at that point. The match went on. We lost.

We left the pitch to head home and it would be a few moments before receiving the text that shifted my life, “I’m sorry about your mother”; it read. A text from a man who had no business delivering the news to me. A text from a man whose only connection to me is DNA. A text from a stranger who happens to be my biological father. You had arrived at Heathrow and collapsed. You were gone.

Not a day passes that I do not think of you Martha. I have many regrets and they haunt me everyday. You called me a few days before your departure and asked me to accompany you to South Africa where you were getting your flight to the UK. Gogo Chirwa was there with you when you made that call and we both laughed at you. You were going to South Africa with your brother so why did you want me there? “Iko kuUK ndiko kunoperekedzwa munhu nedzinza rese?” (Should the whole clan be present to escort you to the UK?) I asked and we laughed. If only I knew you were asking me to come and say goodbye. If only l knew you were asking me to see you for the last time. I regret not spending more time with you. I thought I had time. I thought I had a lot of time to do things with you. I regret every single moment I could have spent with you but didn’t for one reason or the other. I regret not buying you books. I regret not reading more books with you. I should have been there when you needed me and I am sorry. I am sorry that when you summoned me I did not avail myself. I am sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me, when you needed to say goodbye. I am sorry.

You are gone from this world but your imprint will forever live in it. The things you did and the lessons you taught me will forever live. I am grateful for the time we had you in this world. You made me who I am and by your hand, my and many others’ characters were formed. I am grateful for the times we sat and had a good laugh. I am grateful for every evening we sat and read a book. I am grateful for every call you made when Manchester United won or Chelsea lost and you taunted me. I am grateful for every memory we made and I wouldn’t trade those for anything. In your absence, my love and appreciation for you grows because with each passing day. I realise that I will never fully grasp how much you did for me. You protected me in impossible circumstances. You provided for me when you couldn’t provide for yourself. You gave when you had nothing to give. You loved me and you did so fiercely. Three years later and I love you even more Martha Tikambenji Phiri. 28 December is will forever be a painful day but it is also a day I celebrate your life. May you continue to rest in peace.

Dreams

I come from a land where it’s not easy to dream. I come from a land…

I come from a land where it’s not easy to dream. I come from a land in which it is financially restricting, mentally arresting and emotionally taxing to dream. That mixed with a ruling party that takes dreams to be a treasonous act and the welfare of its people to be something never to flirt with.  It is difficult to be a dreamer. My mother always pushed and inspired me to dream big. I did not realize how my dreams were born and deeply rooted in my mother and when I was forcibly detached from her, I got lost. The death of my mother was also the death of a part of me I thought I could never get back. I forgot who I was. I forgot my dreams. I became a shadow of what my mother raised me to be. Refusing to recognize that I needed to give myself time to properly recalibrate was my biggest mistake. I dived head first into life and I made a series of bad decisions. I found myself in situations and commitments that I shouldn’t have been in. I took jobs that I shouldn’t have taken and I wasted my talents and my potential. None of these helped the cause to further my dreams or the things I have always wanted to achieve.

With time, I have been fortunate enough to find myself in the company of dreamers. I have made friends with people whose potential is unending and whose dreams reach out to corners of the world I didn’t even know existed. I have found myself starting to dream again. The dreams have begun to resurface. I am constantly breaking the chains that have been holding me down. I started writing as a way to channel my grief. Since then, my writing has taken a different turn and now serves another purpose. I have extended my writing, which was mostly always just personal musings, to documenting the lives of the people I encounter on a daily basis. The biggest dream for teenage me was to travel the world, see and tour various tourist attractions and experience as many different cultures as I could.  That dream is back and it’s more powerful than I’ve ever felt it. It demands to be fulfilled but with a bit of a twist now.

I dream to give a voice to my people. Recently, the narrative about Africa has begun to change thanks to a rise in the number of African people who have decided to speak for themselves. The world is awash with false narratives about Africa because the story tellers of previous eras had a particular picture of Africa they wanted to paint. Now it is time for African stories by African voices and it is these voices that I want to chase and give a platform to be heard, or in this case read. This one time, I was speaking to a friend of mine about this dream of mine and she lit a fire under it. She gave me contacts in some of the countries I want to visit and I started making the necessary plans. In the midst of all this planning, the same person (bless your soul Vimbai) sent me a link to the #Faces2Hearts competition. I don’t know if it was deliberate on her end but the competition offered me exactly what I was looking for. Winning the #Faces2Hearts competition would steam roll my dreams in ways I don’t even want to imagine lest I overexcite myself. The experience I would get from the #Faces2Hearts journey would also go a very long way in preparing me for the solo journeys I want to embark on afterwards.

To whoever is reading this, you should know that your dreams are valid. As farfetched and as distant as they might seem, they are valid. I know circumstances may be extremely limiting but do everything in your power to pursue your dreams. You might feel small. You might feel incapable. Yet I say this to you, dare to dream. So I make this declaration and I make it with certainty. I will realize my dream.  It might take me a while and it might bleed me dry but I will attain it.

Please do watch, like, comment and share my application for the #Faces2Hearts competition here. Share using the hashtag #Faces2Hearts. Thank you for your support.

Day to Day Zimbabwe: Chapter 4 – Taka

The groans of his daughter wake him up. Her pain is apparent even in her sleep and another wave of….

The groans of his daughter wake him up. Her pain is apparent even in her sleep and another wave of helplessness hits him. He checks the time, 02:37. Takadini knows his daughter cannot endure the pain until daylight. He has to take her to the hospital this very moment. Trying not to wake his wife and ailing daughter, he gets off the bed and feels around for a shirt. Taka sneaks out of the house and walks to Steven’s house. He hopes Steven will be there and that he’ll be willing and understanding enough to help him. Steven is a cab driver and he may not be back from his evening shift. Taka gets to Steven’s house and knocks on the door. He hears some movement from inside and stops knocking. Someone is coming. “Ndiani?” (Who is it?), and Taka immediately recognizes Steven’s voice.  “NdiTaka” (Its Taka), he replies. The few minutes it took Steven to find the keys and unlock the door felt like hours to Taka. When the door eventually opened, Taka couldn’t wait for pleasantries or manners and he blurted out “Mwana wangu arwara. Ndokumbirawo kuperekedzwa kuchipatara. Ndamboedza kumirira kuti kuyedze asi zvaramba”. (My child is sick. Please can you take us to the hospital. I tried waiting for sunrise but it can’t wait any longer). Steven could hear the panic and pain in Taka’s voice and he knew what he had to do. “Rega ndinotora mota kucar park. Ndiri kuuya kumba kwenyu.” (Let me get the car from the car park and come to your house). Taka turned around and started jogging to his house. There was no time to waste on thanks.

He heard the soft sobs as soon as he walked through the door and he panicked. He immediately composed himself and he walked into the bedroom. He couldn’t let his wife see what he was feeling. It would feed her panic and he wasn’t going to do that to her. “Ndataura naStavho”, he said. “Handei naye kuchipatara”. (I spoke to Steven. Let’s take her to the hospital). Monalisa rose and started packing a few things in a bag. Taka went to his daughter and lifted her onto his chest. He cradled her and she held onto him. Tears started welling up in his eyes but he fought their flow. When Monalisa was finished packing the bag, they walked out of the house in silence and met Steven outside. Steven opened the car door and Taka laid his daughter on the back seat. “Ndiri kuuya”, (I’m coming), he said to no one in particular. He went back into their bedroom and rummaged through the wardrobe for the envelope in which he kept his money. He knew the exact contents of that envelope and although he knew he was taking a long shot, he still had to try. He took the $10 that was the last money in his house and put it in his pocket. He let out a heavy sigh as he locked his door.

He felt like the drive had taken ages but they had finally arrived at the hospital. Parirenyatwa had an eerie feeling and if he had a choice he wouldn’t have come here. The nurses had asked him to pay a $15 consultation fee so his daughter could see a doctor and be admitted. He had asked  to pay $10 while he looked for the rest but they had refused. “Hatibvumidzwe pamutemo baba” (We aren’t allowed by the rules), one of the nurses had said. His daughter was clearly in more pain and she was sweating. He stood up and paced around impatiently. He felt her heaving and he knew what was coming. His daughter threw up and he held her as she did. He saw the blood immediately and he called out to the nurses. One of the nurses stood up and walked briskly to where Taka was standing. She looked at the ailing child and went back to her station. Taka had seen the look on her face and he knew it wasn’t good. He overheard the nurses arguing among themselves. They were clearly conflicted but it sounded like they had their hands tied.  His daughter threw up again, more blood.

He had been in the hospital for 6 hours and his daughter had never been attended to.  The nurses had apologized over and over but it was pointless. His wife was sitting on the floor with her sister holding her. She had stopped crying for a while and she was just sitting there staring into the oblivion. The rest of her family was milling around, whispering among them self. If anyone asked him what had happened in the past hour, he wouldn’t be able to answer. He had a sea of question flowing violently through his mind but he had no answers. She was gone. Her body had eventually given up. He had no medical aid, he couldn’t afford it anyway. The money he had wasn’t enough to get his daughter treatment. He started walking aimlessly and found himself outside the parameters of the hospital. He sat down on a rock near the fence and that’s when he saw the headline. “President appointed WHO (World Health Organization) goodwill ambassador. He put his head in his hands and he wept.

Featured image source : https://static.euronews.com/articles/358636/400x225_358636

Day to Day Zimbabwe

I started a series to tell day to day stories of ordinary Zimbabweans, stories that wouldn’t be told under any other circumstances. I wrote three stories in the series but I had to abandon it due to an unforeseen turn of events. I believe I have the capacity to resume the series and see it to its end. The stories I tell in the series are based on actual events in the country. Although I turn these stories into ‘fiction’, most of what they communicate is facts and actual occurrences.

The first three stories appeared on The Lens Blur, a blog where people share their unfinished stories, incomplete thoughts, and drawings. Seemingly fitting that my unfinished stories were there, and this is my attempt to finish those stories. The links to the first three chapters are below this for those who didn’t get a chance to read them. See you in chapter four.

https://6legend.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/day-to-day-zimbabwe-chapter-1-matemai/

https://6legend.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/day-to-day-zimbabwe-chapter-2-amai-chido/

https://6legend.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/77/

Featured image source: http://img.freeflagicons.com/thumb/waving_flag/zimbabwe/zimbabwe_640

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