Being black, young, and female has been a very confusing and interesting journey I’ve had to walk thus far. Each day may feel the same, but each day is also somewhat different – I learnt this recently when I found myself going through a phase of heavy procrastination, the uncertainty of who I am, what I want, where I want to be and having to deal with grief in the midst of it all.
I found myself flowing like the water in my own life. Not knowing where this stream is headed, but knowing that each day I wake up and face yet another 24hrs of nothing. This type of feeling is very unsettling when you’re the type of person who has always had some direction in life and has always found a way to achieve their goals – year in- year out. When I found myself in this situation I started “gowishing” all day every day; gowishing because I had no control over my life at that moment and gowishing because, in the same sense, I didn’t want to move a muscle in making things better.
I cried almost every day for a year and a half. I lost all sense of myself, I lost the urge to pray, lost the urge to speak to my ancestors and lost the urge to put in the effort at work. My love life? That was another aspect that added to this mgowo because “hoe was life” and that wasn’t who I am.
When my grandfather died in June 2018 I was sad for a long time, I tried to revisit my old self so I could get a sense of who I was before all this mess, but I couldn’t. March 2019 my cousin was murdered; we were scheduled to meet that very weekend he died. May 2019 my grandmother, my favourite person in the world died after weeks and weeks in hospital – this death made me crack open. I died. She died with a piece of me and I felt it. I’ve never been so sad in my entire life.
The pain demanded to be felt and for the first time in my life, I allowed the emotions to play themselves out. When you’re perceived as the strong one, you aren’t exactly allowed to let the world break you – you aren’t allowed to let emotions swallow you because everyone else needs you. The pain was and is still is so deep that I stopped living in the moment and I realised this on my recent family trip to Thailand. My body was there, but my spirit was absent, and when I found myself crying on the balcony of a beautiful resort and spa at 04h30 in the morning, I knew I needed to start the journey of going back home to myself.
I sit here now, a few days before my birthday and vowed that even though times are tough, I will never let the world and its things swallow me up anymore. Pain is inevitable, confusion happens, BUT I can’t let that deter me from my dreams, who I am and what I want out of life. It’s not fair to me, the God I pray to and my ancestors whom I continue to seek help from but never put in the effort to meet them halfway.
I am fully aware that the journey back to the self is never-ending; we can never say we fully know ourselves but we can say that we are still discovering ourselves and hope to be the best we could ever be, and that’s where I am. The road to shedding off toxic habits, people and situations. To taking accountability in the part I played in the disappointments I faced, acknowledging that one can learn from their mistakes and that your past won’t define you unless you let it. I’m also re-learning how to love myself with all my flaws and to keep remembering how amazing I am despite it all.