Broken Bread

There are plenty ways bread, bones, roads… promises, can be broken. There are plenty ways they can be glued back together too. There are days when the bread and the bones are glued back together by a group of friends seated on the floor next to a roaring fire. By reassurances, affirmations, and plenty of hugs and laughter between glasses of wine, bullet coffees and sometimes herbal tea. Other days, the roads and the promises are glued back together by sitting on the floor of an older woman’s lounge, hands hugging mugs of lemon chai, with mouths full of nut cookies while creating soul collages in shared silence.

Now more than ever, the gluing back of the broken stuff is happening in isolation. This is hard. It is hard and it is scary and it stills demands that we show up with whatever capacity we have, in order to do the work in community.

The unbreaking will not restore prior illusions of perfection. But magic is what happens when open hearts join together and rest in compassion of what it means to be human. We may not be able to touch and feel and show up as we usually would.

And yet. Where space is created is where the questions can be asked and the curiosities given a voice. Where doubts, disappointments, betrayals and losses can be picked up to the light so they too might be given a seat next to the fire. Where the breaking can maybe make the thing, behind the thing, unbroken.

Capture my walls: On honouring the calls to create

A few weeks ago, I rose to the day with a simple nudge to get a sketch book. I shook it off with my waking grog until it presented itself again during my morning ritual. It remained with me as I folded my linen and lit my candle to set my intentions for the day. It stepped into the shower with me and stirred itself into my morning cup of tea. It walked with me through the garden as I caught my daily dose of Vitamin D.

One of my intentions coming into this year was to remember the voice of my intuition. Somewhere along the thread of my early- and mid-twenties, I began to rely solely on logic and rationale even though that has never been a primary expression for me. I have witnessed the many ways that way of being has failed me. And having known the darkness of the pit, I was stretched until I remembered. That my internal compass has never led me astray. That it has always led me home. Even when the urges and nudges have appeared arbitrary at the moments of their arrival.

So I took the drive to a local art supplier. I wandered through the various paints, canvasses and brushes until I reached the sketch pads. I may have felt like a rookie as I did – I had not held one since I was in school and attended mandatory art classes. But I did anyway. And just as naturally as I had known the kind of paper I wanted to work on, I began to draw. I researched the types of drawings I had found myself drawn to and began to practice them.  Soon, I began to practice my guitar again. I began to learn the ukulele a special friend recently gifted me. I began to paint and wrote even more.

A sketch pad had been the gateway to this space. Where words and water colours and pencil strokes and strumming fingers go to play with abandon. Pandemic and all. On the other side of this nudge has been a slew of creativity waiting to be minded and tended to.

I recently reconnected with a friend who invited me to a photoshoot of a brand he has been working with. It was a gorgeous scene to walk into; make-up stations, light setups, beautiful fabrics, nervous faces. I observed as each model finished their make-up and stood nervously before the photographer. I witnessed the chatter between various members of the team as they adjusted the vision whenever necessary. I smiled and whispered encouragement when shots were finally made exactly as they needed to be. I was enlivened in a way I had not expected. He must have noted this as he handed me his camera with a challenge to take shots of the scene from my own perspective.

For a moment I noted my own belly well up with nerves. And yet as soon as the camera began to click, it felt just as it has each time I have sat with an instrument on my lap. Whether it be a pencil, paint brush or pick; I was just as electrified when I captured a photographer who had been shying away from his own photographs being taken.

A few months ago I awoke from a dream in which I had received a message. A clear instruction to lean into my creativity even though I do not know what it will look like. I have thought about this dream every day, except now it is no longer a merely a dream and a thought, because I choose to honour it each time I carve out the space it calls for.

I am discovering a gateway as I do. Having lost my voice before; I have grown less afraid of surrendering to those calls inside of me that know how best to let it speak. With no judgement or need for perfection. With no expectation or need for production. It is simply how I am breathing life into my authentic expression again.

When Dreamers Witness

Note to Self: When the next person spontaneously shares that sacred piece of their souls that fires up when they talk about their dreams… remember to witness that moment closely.

Remember to listen, truly, without the accessories you would normally draw on to encourage such an outpouring.

Remember to remove the penetration of your eyes, to lay down the distraction of your smiles.

Just for that moment, be as still as you can. Remain as present as you can. Dwell within the motion of their mind’s meander as they draw the landscape of their heart’s best kept desires.

Few things are as sacred as watching – in silence – the cascading power of a dream igniting the eyes of a dreamer before you.

From that single, precious moment; you will remember this power in every fire you light and allow to transmute your own.

Note to *Ella: Thank you. For allowing me the grace to touch the sanctity of that space as you dreamt today. As you do every day.

Old Photos

Nostalgia is hypnotizing.

For a moment I gaze

at old, grinning photos.

For a moment I thirst

after forgotten days gone by.

Except that is not all there is.

There are many tales,

hidden behind the nostalgia.

Many demons,

suppresed by smiles for the camera.

Happy Face

I have come to know beauty as the light that dances in my eyes. Sometimes I walk past mirrors and stop to check, again, that it’s really returned. And then slowly, I smile at my reflection so I can see the light do an extra twirl in the dance.

I was looking back at my blog while mulling over ways to revamp it after not writing for years. I noticed that often, I have written myself through to the end of the dark tunnels, barely have I written myself further into the light. Almost as though I did not believe it would last and so my writing was a gift given to me only to love me back to the light.

This is a story I am changing.

Because I want to remember what my heart will say each time I witness the well-being in my eyes. I want to know the secrets my smile and laugh will whisper.

This is how I am choosing to stop punishing myself for all the times I was not able to show up for myself. It is how my happy face will learn to commune and forgive the sad one. Because both – and all the faces that pass in between – are valid.

On water

There is nothing I find quite as soothing, quite as terrifying, as water.

This is a knowing I have found my thoughts wandering towards each time I have come to this place to tend to my heart. It has become a ritual of sorts; to take the solitary drive, always with my favourite music blaring in the car, only to sit silently and stare at the ocean. Many a time I have become so enthralled with the simple rhythm of the waves crashing along the shore, that I have forgotten to look up into the waving sunrises.

And yet that has been my favourite part. That the waves will continue to move, to climb one over the other, each with its own unique level of fervour, whether I am here to listen, to witness, to stand in awe of their magnitude, or not.

I liken this to my ancestors, to my spirit guides and light bearers. For all the ways that they have brought me back to this place, time and time again, to remember and revere their power. To remember and revere my own.

Today, it was the ocean that beckoned when I set the intention to cleanse my crystals. I watched as a single seagull landed beside me and went on to hop along close by. The sky was getting grey, threatening with the possibility of a heavy release, but it was here that my spirit felt most at home. Because even as a child, I always stood by a window as soon as the rain started to fall. I still open my windows and sit quietly to listen each time a shower comes to visit. It is my favourite thing in the world. I have never been able to really put into words why I love the rain, the ocean, water, so much – I may never be able to. But perhaps it is the silent breaks within my spirit that contain the answer to this curious love.

I only recently learned how to swim. I did not go for lessons with a professional instructor, only that one day just over a year ago, I put on my partner’s flippers and followed her in until I no longer felt the ground at a resevoir we liked to walk and picnic along. Within days, I was following her in deeper and deeper, until weeks later her father taught me the technicalities of the various strokes. I cannot say I have perfected my strokes, and that is far beyond the point of it all.

Because more than training to do a swimming race and snorkelling to my heart’s content has been the gift of silent spread-eagle floats to watch the stars. It is here that I have said my quiet prayers, Where I have listened, and felt the presence of those spirits I thought would only ever visit me in my dreams. It is in the stillness that comes with being carried by infinite bodies of water that those things that often bring healing can be just as dangerous if they are not respected. Which is not to say they should be feared. Only that I can never truly know my own power and that of the elements surrounding me, until I have honoured them as they should be.

I know I will continue to come to this place. Not only for the silence but for all that it has come to mean. It is where I began writing again. It is where I began healing again.

It is where I began to come home again.

Learning to breathe again

A beautiful life lies within me.

It is words that have remained my closest companion. The whispered prayer that echoes in my mind when I am alone and the negative thoughts come knocking. They do not come around, unannounced, for lounging visits as often anymore. But knock they do.

It is words that remind me to slow down. To stop some of the moving parts, to take a breath, and to allow the mind clutter to go. Which is to say; my healing need not happen right now nor does the process have to be “fixed.” Perhaps the point is that it doesn’t need to be fixed at all. Because ultimately, even when my black girl magic grows weary, having it all neatly lined up is not the point.

And just as I have always channelled my pain to create a beautiful life, I am doing it again. Because I will always have it in me to learn, to shed, to hold my story with kindness. Except today, the channelling is simply in breathing again. It is in holding no requirement for a specific pace. Not unless it is packed alongside those intentions and truths where my black girl magic rests her head when she grows weary.

Unfinished Pieces: Untitled

We never talk about the houses.

About these  houses in Gardens, Woodstock, Observatory and Rondebosch that we have turned into homes.

One Christmas Eve morning when my fiancée and I had our families over from Centurion and Durban, our oven packed up. So in the midst of all the happy chaos, I ended up on a friend’s couch, stoned, with the aroma of lamb roast wafting through her home. It was here that I realized; the space was beautiful, but not entirely personal. On a gut level, I got that. In my own silent effort to cushion the blow of a body displaced, I have always filled my spaces with personal, sentimental paraphernalia when I have moved to unfamiliar places. Yet even that does not mean that beyond the door will be comfort, safety, love, from those closest to us.

“Another one (who looks like me) was killed today.” – Koleka Putuma

And for most who are not, home is no longer the place we grew up in.

Unfinished Pieces

Those words again; Change. Moving on. Adaptation. It struck me today how hard it is to personify these realities. To be within the throes of uncertainty and anticipation and above all, nervous excitement. To travel along the South African coast with my best friend and Fiancee (eek! a whole other post) after packing up the lives we built individually and then together in Cape Town, fill the backseat of our little car with all the luggage we could fit into all the nooks and corners, and to then drive  our asses to Durban. It has been an incredible journey to share with the love of my life. But it has also been hard.

I have struggled to simply rest. It struck me as I was attempting to make pancakes at 05:40 this morning that perhaps this was precisely the thing I have been struggling with over the past few weeks. We designed our trip specifically so we would pause along the beach for a few days at a time in order to rest and to care for ourselves. Instead I have battled to truly quieten the noise and to pause in a way that would allow me to even begin to be restored.

Yet the incredibly wholesome -to-my-core thing about being a woman who runs with the wolves AND having the moon show up as she has chosen to is the ocean of twilight insights that will still knock on your door specifically when you now stand with arms wide open to receive the affirmation that has been having patience with my mind and my body.

Once again, I was called to remember that it’s okay to not be okay, that it’s okay to be restless about not having “anything” to do within a specific time frame or deadline. That it’s okay to make the decision to break from it all; the academic obligations and patient care . That it’s okay to simply sit for a whole day and read a book in a sunroom.

To say struggling with the guilt and frustration behind this would be grossly and understated. And so I let go. For the first time in a while, I surrounded myself with those affirmations and intentions I would set alongside a patient I care for.  It is difficult to reconcile these  two experiences which I do not yet have the emotional capacity to make sense of.

Because ultimately, this is all to say; slowly, I am coming back to myself. To do what I can – sure, but to also hold myself accountable for enhancing the self-love  I know my very soul deserves. This has started to mean accepting those parts of myself that are not always able to show up to life. Because that’s the thing with mental illness and health too, that you at times strive only for a day at a time. And now that I am able to show up in this way again, I want to also celebrate my bad-assery – for  still being here and shit.

Which is also to say; I want to share those attempted blog posts I never quite finished, the ones I could not sit long enough to write til the end. Because they – those parts of me too – they are worth being given the honour they deserve for simply being there throughout my journey even when it was hardest. This is the hope even though I have battled to write for over a year now. For the ones that matter more for all the ways that they speak to the scariest bits of this twenties thing too.

For now, I look only to walk the path while celebrating the unfinished pieces I merely thought were mistakes.