Say no to the club

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It has finally happened, that thing I was convinced would never happen: I no longer have the energy to go clubbing. I have the energy to dance (dancing is the main reason I go to clubs). I even have the energy to drink (drinking is the main reason I exist). But I no longer have the energy to deal with some of the people that go to clubs. I’m not discussing all club goers, I’m discussing a few of them. Men. And again, I’m not discussing all men, I’m discussing some of them. And again, I won’t discuss all of the “some men” I’ve had issues with while out clubbing, I’ll be discussing one of them.

Once upon a time, ouside a club in a land far, far away, a friend and I stood waiting for a taxi. The alcochol was wearing off, we were tired and ready to go home.  A man neither of us knew walked up to us and said: Hi ladies.
My friend caught my eye and gave me a look that said: Get rid of him please.
I turned to him and said: Hi, I hope you’ve enjoyed your night. My friend and I are exhausted; we are just waiting for a taxi. We are not the best company right now. Sorry.
Him: But I haven’t said what I wanted to say yet.
Me: I know and I’m very sorry but whatever it is you wanted to say my friend and I do not want to hear it.

I turn back to my friend to strike up a conversation in case the man did not fully comprehend that he was being asked to leave us alone. I opened my mouth to speak and before I could get a word out he asked no one in particular: Why are mixed race girls so rude though?
He must have really wanted my attention. When his polite approach did not work, he decided for an alternative approach. I aim to please, so I gave the man exactly what he wanted: my undivided attention. A few moments later his friend removed him from my presence because according to reports (heavily biased reports I might add), I was behaving like someone possessed and everyone was slightly terrified.

The next day I thought about what happened the night before. I was still enraged but I needed to pinpoint what triggered it. So I ask you ladies and gentlemen of the jewelry: is it rude to politely decline speaking to a man you do not know and/or want to know? And if it is rude, does this mean if a man you do not know from Adam apporaches you politely, you must listen to what they he has to say? (Let us explore the answers to these questions in a future post).
I do my best not to be rude when people approach me because I believe in many cases it is possible to make a point without being rude. I am a mere mortal and I admit I may come across as rude on occassion -shrug- but I was not rude to the man in question.
When he accused me of being rude, I would not have felt anything. He asked (in sheer frustration?): Why are all mixed race women rude?
It must’ve been the mention of my race that angered me. Because he was implying the reason I did not wish to speak to him was because I was mixed race (he was black). I imagine he thinks I consider myself above others because of my mixed heritage. He could not be more wrong. He could not have said a more insulting thing to me. My mother was a dark skinned black woman, my father is a white man. They never once spoke to me about race or any issues related to race, or perhaps they did and I cannot recall. But I saw how they treated all the people they knew (various races involved); with respect and tolerance. When they disliked someone it was based on something that someone had said or done, never that someone’s race. So I grew up in an environment which taught me that we are all equals. To have a black man suggest I was rude because of the white half of me (it can only be this half the issue lies with as we know many white people believed and still believe themselves to be superior to others) was enraging.

But now perhaps I should step into his shoes. What if he has approached some mixed race women in the past and they have looked down on him because he is black? I hate the thought of that even more than what he said to me. I appreciate that historically, nonwhite people of lighter complexions were viewed more favourably by white people. I know it still happens today. But what is most tragic is that some light skinned people, and perhaps some dark skinned people as well, today still buy into it… they still think being lighter is better. I am here to tell you it’s a foul lie. As I have said in a previous post, there is no superior race. Being white or light skinned does not make you better than anyone nonwhite or dark skinned. Dark skinned people out there, know that I have never and will never look down on you just because you are dark skinned. My own mother was dark skinned and I think she was perfect and taken far too soon from me. She would haunt me mercilessly if she even suspected her daughter had a problem with someone because of their race. BUT, she would understand if I ever had a problem with someone based on what they said or did to me, regardless of their race.

In conclusion, I say this: I hope we continue to realise that the colour of our skin should not affect how we treat one another. I hope we treat one another with respect and tolerance. I hope we can appreciate that not every person we approach wants to speak to us, listen to us or get to know us, and that is their right. I hope the live-action Mulan will be amazing. I hope my ramblings made some sort of sense. And last but never least, I hope I never recover the energy to go clubbing.

 

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I’m back, I think

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I’m back. If those two words don’t make you think of Arnie I don’t know if there’s any hope for you. In fact, if you didn’t read them in his voice, I say again: I don’t know if there’s any hope for you.

But never mind that, I have good news – I’m back. Back to what, you ask? I don’t know. I’m writing again, for the first time in 3 years… so I must be back. I missed this place and I missed writing. Sometimes things disappear from your life for a while and you wonder why you made such a fuss of them in the first place. When I stopped writing I asked myself: why was it such a big deal anyway? It’s not as if I was a famous blogger and or even a really good one. But now as I type I shout to myself (inwardly of course because I am sat on a park bench typing this and I can’t very well shout at myself here) HOW COULD YOU THINK THAT WRITING WAS NOT A BIG DEAL?

Writing is a big deal, and though I sometimes stop (for years at a time apparently) I do hope I never stop entirely. So I gladly say: I’m back. I went through some strange times, I stopped writing (alarm bells ringing) and then I stopped reading (dials the police). I knew it wasn’t the greatest time in my life when I stopped writing, but when I stopped reading I was forced to ask myself: Chama, if you don’t read and you don’t write… who are you? I’ve read and written all my life (yes even in the womb). So when I stopped doing both… I was terrified. Then slowly, I started reading again. And finally today, I have started writing again. So I am back.

Yesterday was the day that my mum passed away 20 years ago. And I think even she is looking down at me proudly and saying: yes that foolish girl is back. Will I stay? I don’t know. But for now, all you need to know is I’m back, I think. And I reckon this is the beginning of a series of interesting posts.

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H is for…

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Hunger. I feel this post is best explained with a tale, and like most tales, this one begins with the phrase: It all started with

It all started with a visit to a prominent fast-food outlet. I had no cash on me and my purchase was made with my debit card. As I was leaving, a homeless boy whom I often see hanging around, asked me for some money. I told him that I was sorry but I didn’t have any money. [Not entirely false; I didn’t have any cash on me.]

He said ‘Sorry doesn’t help my hunger.’ He then added rather nastily, ‘You are not a good person.’

I was too far away to hear him clearly, and it was only after proper reflection that I realized what he’d said. Naturally I was livid. Of course I am not a good person but I don’t need to hear that from a f*cking tramp, do I? As luck would have it, I had my revenge the very next Friday. This time, I had money on me. I was about to hand it over when I realized who he was. I couldn’t very well not give him the money, but I also couldn’t not tell him how offended I’d been. [Feel free to stop reading this altogether due to double negatives] I opted to do both.

I said, ‘You! You said I was not a nice person the other day. Well I know that but I really didn’t have any money.’

He said, ‘Ah, sister, I never said that.’

I replied, ‘It was last Friday! I know you recognize me.’

He started mumbling and then he said, ‘Sister, I know you give me [money] when you have.’

I handed the money over to him and said ‘Damn right I do!’

As I walked off I thought to myself, can I blame a hungry boy? I then considered the times I’ve felt hungry. Dark, perilous times. 90% of the time I’m hungry because I get so caught up in my daily activities that I often forget to eat at proper intervals. And the result is that before I know it, I am Kraken-like ravenous. This kind of hunger is accompanied by headaches, nausea and a desire to commit numerous violent acts. According to the World Hunger organisation, 925 million people were hungry in 2010. And unlike me, these people had no choice. Make no mistake, I am very much aware of how fortunate I am.

A little birdie told me this homeless boy buys weed with a lot of his money. This then begs the question, am I helping him by giving him money? I keep telling myself that if I were homeless I’d be brave and strong, and I’d fight to get off the streets. But if it were so simple wouldn’t there be less homeless people? If every aspect of your existence was a nightmare you wanted to wake up from but you couldn’t, wouldn’t you turn to drugs or alcohol to sweeten your dreams?

What am I doing? Starting a charity? Hardly. I’m thinking, reflecting, contemplating. Have I helped him by doing this? Not a chance. And yet here I am indoors while he is out there. How I ever thought of him as that ‘f*cking tramp’ is beyond me. I have no idea what he does to survive and he has no idea that he has been on my mind for the better part of two years.

Memory Valley

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Down yonder in Memory Valley, there is pleasure and there is pain. It is a valley worth visiting from time to time, to remind yourself what you have lost and what you may gain. On my trip to this particular valley I remembered a song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Truly Scrumptious. Observe:

‘Our hearts beat so unruly, because we love you truly, honest Truly, we do.’

I found myself tempted to allow a considerable amount of liquid (liquids? *scratches head*) to exit my body via my eyes. But I was brave. Or was I cowardly? I do not know. But I know this: Love is a beautiful creature. And allow me to tell you something you’ve never been told before: If you love someone you should tell them.

After listening to that song I tackled my youngest sibling to the ground and professed my undying love while I laughed at his futile attempts to escape my loving and slightly asphyxiating embrace. He is still unconscious and I have matters that require my immediate detention, beg your pardon, attention. I leave you but I love you because we all need love… honest, we do.

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NB: No persons were injured in the making of this post.

I am who I am

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Today’s entry is not for the faint-hearted. Let me tell you a story of champagne, loose tongues and self-deception.

I was at a dinner party with people I can safely consider my family. One woman asked: Why are you so tanned? And I said: I’ve been in the sun, and I must say I don’t feel I’ve tanned enough. And she said: But you’re not usually that dark are you? And before I answered I looked at her closely and I saw in her the glow that comes with self-deception. Often it’s masked, it hides under a thin layer of confidence, and it tricks you into thinking it’s the glow that comes with self-love; but let me tell you, it’s the glow that comes with successfully lying to yourself about who and what you are. So I said: I tan quickly and I do get quite dark. My mother was black, the darkest woman I ever saw, and her blood flows through me, so when I tan and I become dark like she once was, I feel such pride, such joy, you cannot begin to understand.

And let me say this, the woman who questioned me about my skin colour, is in fact light-skinned, but she is not white. She and I are both of mixed heritage, but she is far lighter than I am. The look I saw in her eyes is the look of someone who has fooled themselves into thinking they are white, and in truth what she believes is none of my business. It becomes my business when she tries to transfer her nonsense to me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being white, or black, or whatever Michael Jackson was (who’s bad? me!). But there is something wrong with believing that one race is better than another, that one race is superior to another. And that is what I saw in her eyes, the desire to be seen as white, because she feels white is the best race you can be. And that is, excuse my French, the f*cking saddest thing ever (and also a massive lie).

My father is white, my mother was black, they both were generous to a fault as they decided to gift mankind with me. I am so very snug in my own skin, whether it is tanned or not. When you question me, you will be answered. And no one can make me doubt who I am or where I come from. I am an African woman and I love my brown skin.

Afterwards, she was silent. And I sipped champagne till I forgot all about that conversation. But I awoke this morning with a deadly hangover and I felt the need to share and to say: I am who I am.

Trust in you

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A deep mistrust of others stems from a deeper mistrust of yourself. Before you snort and say: This one has had too much to drink! (Which in fact, is true but irrelevant.) Hear this: When you trust yourself, you believe in your capacity to live. That is, you have faith in your ability to survive, to make small or big decisions, to pursue your dreams, to explore, to question, to feel and to control your emotions and responses. Because you trust yourself, you will trust your judgement and your instincts. And you will be able to trust others. Granted you may give your trust out sparingly, but you will give it out wholeheartedly. Because trust and faith are interlinked. You trust yourself, and you trust others, and you are aware that they may or may not be trustworthy, but you have faith in yourself, you understand that regardless of whether they turn out to be worthy of your trust or not, you will still trust yourself. Because you trust yourself, you know you can live through anything. When someone breaks your trust, and this will happen, you will be able to learn from the experience and move on, because your trust in yourself remains intact. When the day comes that your self-trust is shaken to the core, and you feel that perhaps it is not them but you that cannot be trusted, do not turn to logic or sentiment to comfort yourself. Turn to the mirror and look into your eyes. Blink once, twice, open your mouth, close it, wave at yourself. You are in command of your body, you are in command of yourself. Doubt, fear, insecurity… These are dogs that will always and forever bark, but whether or not they bite depends on whether or not you let them. When you trust in yourself, you will be at peace with yourself because you know that trustworthy people are valuable, and valuable people are hard to find. And leaving without a joke is just plain rude.

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Hello Friday

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Life is tough but for everything else there’s Friday. Close your eyes, raise your arms and salute the sun which shines brighter today than ever before. Life is not easy but for everything else there’s Friday. It’s more than just a day of the week, it’s a state of mind. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, feel the gentle breeze tickle your eyelashes, hear the song of the birds… Breathe and salute the sun, it shines for you and warms your soul. Be free this Friday, let the shadows of the past melt away, let the sun’s rays dry all your tears. This Friday you are beautiful, next Friday you’ll be more. Live beautifully. Live long. Make everyday a Friday.

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