Becoming your Mother

We think intelligence shields us from emotion. Then Life proves us wrong.  As one prone to depression and mood swings I can tell you that when your mind sets upon an idea, no matter how harmful it may be to you, your intellect tends to contribute to your [emotional/internal] downfall. All mantras and affirmations are thrown out the window as phrases like “You are beautiful and you should love yourself” lose precedence to the more cynical “They lied. You know better than to trust in the words of people.”


I’m no stranger to body image issues. We can all relate to feelings of inadequacy and most of us have had and continue to have the 2 AM “I will change my Life in the morning” moments when everything seems attainable with a little effort and possibilities seem to lie in wait, to grow under the guidance of the soon to be rising Sun.  I however, have not paid attention to these issues for years.  The logical part of me took over and I decided, if I can walk, run when I need to [my smoker’s lungs don’t allow for random running] and fit into my clothes, I’m fine. 

Until recently. 


During one of my not so appealing bouts of Fuck My Life  someone said to me, “Why do you look such a mess? I mean I’d still fuck but, I don’t know you to be this way.” And as much as I laughed it off, it’s been on mind for probably over a month now.

Why? Maybe because he said it at a time when my mind was ready and willing to accept every unflattering thing one could say in order to justify it’s already despondent thoughts at the time.  Maybe because, being an emotional masochist, a part of me enjoys having something to add to the file marked “Reasons Why You Sometimes Really Ain’t Shit” in my mind. 


It’s a funny thing when you think about it. Really, when one’s going through a time when all they’d really like to do is die, why would they even bother with looking pretty for the outside world? I’m not worried about being hit on by you, I’m worried about how I’m going to be able to leave the house tomorrow, assuming I make it through tonight.  A “You don’t understand, things are rough” didn’t seem to quite make him understand why I was as I was and so I left it.


While discussing it with a certain Sir he said to me “I don’t even know why you’d pay attention to that, you’re so smart. Have you..Do you even see yourself though? Goddamn.” And he looked at me in a way I haven’t seen in a while. In awe. 


The whole experience made me realize, what you know doesn’t save you from making silly decisions, accepting less than you deserve and words of affirmation could be nothing more than pretty lies if you tell yourself so.


I know a  Lady, she’s beautiful, young, ambitious and tied down to a man who treats her like surplus meat.  Does she know she can do better? Yes.  Is she lacking options? No. So why is she staying?


I said yesterday that I realize we’re becoming Women. We’re growing and even though our private school education, feminism and all round privilege made us think we’d be far from the women our mothers became, at the end of the day, somehow, we end up there. 


We’ve grown to undermine our mothers’ experiences and really it seems, only age and our own parallel experiences will humble us. And I’m taking them as they come.  We’re taking them as they come. 


Keep your Enemies close, and your Friends in the same category.

Privilege and prosperity will always bring contempt.  It’s not always a matter of people not liking you, you’re fine, you’re just a person like them. It’s the fact that you have what they don’t, are able to do what they can’t and experience what they are unable to. It’s a matter of you having/being more than them and that being a constant reminder that maybe their insecurities aren’t so baseless. Your success/ comfort in life is something they cannot relate to and therefore they will dislike you for that. For the mere fact that you are different from them in that respect.

Now I understand envy, it’s normal. You desire to have what you lack. What I don’t understand is the hatred that comes with envy lately.

 It used to be someone could look and say ” I want that..I really do. Let me see how to go about getting it.” Now it’s more “I want that. They have it. I don’t want them to, so let me find a way to take it away from them.”

If you’ve read enough of these, you know I’m from Botswana. Born and bred.  I’ve lived in Gaborone all my life. One thing people who’ve been here for long enough agree on is that this place is depressing as shit. But apparently, any other place always seems better than where you are. 

Getting genuine support here is a hassle. Damn near impossible unless you’re getting it from those who are trying to do some other shit and are also facing resistance.  A lot of people here hate to see others do better, and I don’t use that word lightly. They will stare at you in disgust as you walk by, sabotage, start rumours and befriend you just to know your weaknesses, to make sure you do not get the opportunity to be what you would like.  The energy that goes into their bullshit is amazing.

Your own family may not have your back.  And to a certain degree that’s alright because people are people before they’re your relatives/friends.  They have their own issues, desires and secrets. That’s fine. I just have an issue with the lack of respect lately, lack of trust and the fact that so many people just can’t be happy for/proud of another.. Fuck, really though, where is the love?

I thought about it. Do Black people hate to see other Black people because we feel like they sold out from the struggle? Being identified as Black has for a long time been synonymous with Struggle, Being Less Than.. Being ‘The Nigga That Made It’ pisses people off. Why you? Who the fuck are you and what do you have that they don’t? Never mind that you worked hard, we’re supposed to, it’s the Prospering bit that they don’t like.

I swear it’s the tiniest shit lately, a man smiles at you and your friend is checking for him. She will not tell you, but she will go the extra mile to be noticed by this man and in the event that they sleep together, she will feel THAT much better because she got what she thought you wanted, regardless of whether you even noticed the man or not.

When did friendly competition become an all out war? When did we stop respecting each other’s battles and hustles and decide it was easier to sabotage than work for our own? When did friendships become more like infiltrating enemy camps? Honey, when did we start being shitty? Was it around the time when ‘Fuck the world’ replaced ‘We are the world’? 

Things are all kinds of messy when you keep your truth to yourself and even those you consider close to you only get a fraction of You.

Right now, trust really is for the naive.