Abigail George's Blog

April 19, 2020

The Outsider In A COVID-19 World

"Community" in response to the life of the Greek poet, Virgil. Dear Astronomer, I have turned my head away from all my arrogance and fear, my limited thinking and awareness in the arms of the universe. There are still subjects difficult for me. Sometimes it is hard to love the people you find yourself with. Sometimes it is hard to get hurt but I always return to the great matters of the wildflowers. You are my quiet awe, you have my heart, you are my responsibility and I remember the imprint of my deepest wounds as I turn to you and it is like a dream now. For you are the river that provides the sustenance of living water for my soul. You are blessed with authority and power, authenticity and greatness. I gather the harvest. The reward of obedience. Birds sing, thoughtful and principled. In the greener valleys the foundations of the oceans are found there bold and cheerful and brave. You are commanding. You are masterful. You are chariot and messenger. Believe in yourself, as I believe in you. The way I believe in you speaking gently, creator of the stars, the alignment of the planets and all the dimensions of the universe. I remain steadfast in prayer, mindful about breakthrough, reassured that I am loved the way I am and you never say I am too much. You document all my acts of grace. The power of the leader in you is qualified and this goes for all of the astronomers in my life constantly at work.

We are all physicists. In response to my father's writings. See the world through a lens, my father taught me. Collect all the data that you can on all of humanity's achievements. Remember the shadow of nothing. Remember where you came from. Remember your childhood. Remember all of discipline and the endurance of the human spirit. Remember what makes you feel most alive. Live in the moment for the science of happiness, the honourable pursuit of beloved truth, the theories of stars found in beauty and for all the outsiders, my father taught me. The proof of love is found in the all the lectures of the sun. You are to be found in all my lectures of the sun, my father told me. You are to be found in the golden age of the era I was raised in, my father sang to me. He sang to me about collective gravity, about the inheritances found in there, the morning glories carried by time travel to all the dimensions of the world we live in. And now I think about cultivating intimacy in all of my vulnerabilities, writing to all the possibilities in the universe, being thankful of relationship, thankful for the ship of friends, the boats they carry me in when I feel tired and worthless and depressed and for every beautiful meditation in this world. Thank you for being my beautiful meditation today, Virgil the Greek poet. Every day for the rest of my life.
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Published on April 19, 2020 01:22

April 8, 2020

How many lives can I live Virgil with you by my side

It hurts me that I still get wounded sometimes. Sometimes even deeply wounded by the woman that I call mother and hope and muse. It hurts that my brother is king in my life and sometimes it feels as if I don't even exist in her world, but then she will stand up for me or buy me something that I fall in love with just because it is a gift from her, and that feeling of love is amazing. It is a talent and a gift. It is a reward, increase and favor. It is an arrow to the heart. It is gospel.

For the people who inspire me to greatness in my own life, inspire others to greatness, learn to react with precision in your life, learn to give. Giving and being kind will transform you. You will, I promise you become the best version of your life. You make me laugh with tears running down my face and an ache in my soul. You inspire me to write. The singular most important event in my life and to transform the whole world in its entirety on a daily basis around me. We relate to each other in good, truly good ways and in all the beautiful spaces and things in the world and that the universe offers us both as sanctuary. I knew you had greatness in you every divine meeting that forecasted itself like the weather in my life. I don't have time for the pain, as Carly Simon so eloquently put it. Virgil, you are dazzling beyond compare or comparison with your every sense and sensibility, without any arrogance I love you. For you are always going to be the roar, the champion of the sea, the re-thinker, re-inventor of my soul and I can hardly put it any other way when I think about you and art, or, you and my art, how I have lived to express myself my entire life. So, how can I reach enlightenment. You can reach enlightenment the same way that I did. Fall in love with the world around you. Fall in love with humanity again. Pick wildflowers. Play pretend with your eye to the telescope or the microscope or the magnifying glass and wait upon the wonderland you will find there, Virgil, for you are all my reasons, Greek poet. It waiting to offer you life and hope and sanctuary. All the possibilities, vulnerabilities and potentialities of the world.
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Published on April 08, 2020 02:13

Be Great!

Everything about being in love is supersonic-personified. I don't know yet if I can change the world, but today for a smart change I am going to try. I am not going to explain to my inner girl child anything about the torment of the world, I am going to talk about finding the joy, the giddiness of falling in love with your soulmate, falling in love again with humanity, falling in love again the with the universe like I did when I first read A Brief History of Time. You are the master of the universe, I am the master of the universe. See what I did there. I made a breakthrough. I broke through the "human stain" and the inequality of inequality and it feels as if I, yes I just invented the belief of gravity. Its urgency and its push and its pull. Its sway and roar. The fact that it is a champion and a well-built machine. It feels as if I invented the sea.

I remember the sea of my childhood. Teenage couples on the beach. Married couples on the beach holding hands and with their children. I remember that every day I went to the beach how spectacular the people were. I wanted their happiness. To want happiness is never feeling fulfilled. I certainly never felt fulfilled as a child, growing up. It was tough. It was insurmountably hard to find myself. It took the better part of twenty odd years to find the purpose and meaning in life, in my own life. It took me twenty odd years to fall in love, to fall in love again with me. And realise this. That you should always be the most important person in your life. I don't know if I can change the world yet. These I know, I know, are not the last words I have. These words are my own. They belong to the elements and dimensions and particles of the universe. It is exclusive to nature. To the wind and the rain. These words are amazing to me. Uncomplicated, not as complicated as I am. Simple, not as complex as I am. Have I said yet, that love, all of love, the return to love, the spiritual awakening of love is supersonic-personified. I am trying not to think of COVID-19. My life is a dream with words in it.

When I wake up it turns into reality. It turns me into a storyteller. It turns me on a good day into a poet, a diary page, an entire journal filled from beginning to end, and a wristwatch. This is me, waiting for my turn to talk in that moment when I met you, and COVID-19 that turned the world into a pandemic.

So, I release my potential into the world as an empath and as a storyteller, as a poet and an epic communicator. Whether there is love and injustice in the world, know this, know this sweet and indefinable truth, that we are all inter-connected. That we are all loved. That we are all spiritual disciples. That we are all poets. For me, words are like an art. Art is what I know. So, I write these words to you, VIrgil, because you have become all my reasons, my art, my philosophy for living. You have inspired me to greatness in my own life and most all, you make me laugh with your cute self and your noble smile, and your forward-thinking ideas that are innovative and phenomenal and all I want to do is inspire greatness in your own life.
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Published on April 08, 2020 01:27

September 1, 2019

Saying goodbye to a sister who is going to teach English in Prague, speak broken Czech to someone speaking broken English, and drink fancy beer in a cafe

This is goodbye. I haven’t got time for the pain. When I’m through with you, I will still hope. There’s an ocean meeting invincible ocean pouring into my eyes, you are far away in another city now a devil in disguise, with sadness comes a mania of relief (it is just a part of me). There is a part of me that is an experiment (a playing field, a work in progress). (I was born that way) to feel my way in this world with trepidation, to a ghost feeling her way on land. You’ve left, you’re gone.

And you’re a ghost, something wickedly despicable but I understand you so much more now. The last time I spoke to my sister was a Sunday and I know that soon the months will turn into years between us. Your beauty personified with the sameness of Ezra Pound. I’ve abandoned you; you’re gone, like Alba. You’ve made history young, standing with your ticket and your visa in hand. At the boarding gate work for tomorrow. There’s something purified in the hoping. For something sweet in the novelty of youth.

So, the aftermath will come one by one. We’ll forgive each other like the appearances of the moon, we’ll exchange gifts and we’ll remember the commodities of childhood. I’ll close that chapter (I won’t pursue him). I hate him so much now I could spit blood. It came from childhood continued. The damage is done (what are the meanings of trauma and casualty), only this remains. When I’m through with you strangely I will still hope. I’m standing here, asking for forgiveness. You’ve arrived on a scholarship.

Left all the lions and elephants behind. Parents that you’re sick to death of the sight of, a sister who is mentally ill and who has all the sinister potential of making it anyway and a brother who doesn’t believe that smoking is for grownups. You’ve detached yourself from your childhood, grown as cool as an iceberg. Darling, you’ve made it as far as America. How far is up? To the blank slate face of the moon, the fat orange sun that shimmers, and glitters in heat waves.

And so you stuff yourself with Chinese food and decide this is the life; to live like the rich do, as you take their coats and hang them up with a number at an elite country club in New York, and do everything American as you can possibly do before you die; so, you forget about us. Four stone gods, Buddha-like in your consciousness, all owners of lonely hearts in a wilderness of biochemistry and decay. Once I nestled your head in my lap and breathed in the scent of your hair.

Of talcum powder, scent, perfume, skin against skin, not yet old, wrinkly like fingers like prunes from a bath, smelling old; no longer an extraordinary machine, now, you can hardly bare me to touch you. I see less and less of you; you don’t ask to be taken care of (like bipolar me); there are no longer whispers in the dark as we camp out in front of the television, there is only your magical thinking. Your purity, your humanity, your alchemy. You were born to be a mother (I was not), a saint-maybe.

Wife waiting in the wings. Already posed in your natural habitat. Your dewy eyes are gems, once diamonds in the rough, once you wore a crown of thorns in childhood in those rough, tidal, shadow-boxing teenage years when bad, bad things happened to show up in your life. A yellow balloon shout of melancholy, no bounce of little hope and so your innocence was snuffed out and planted into a dead nothingness. And yet it still left you with the mind of an angel. Cradled Magus, journey forth destination anywhere.

And I as a woman, as a woman I am in search for, and of my identity everywhere. In philosophy, psychology, education, literature, films, and even television. Psyche, imagination, heartbeat, every impulse, stimulus, vibration in my society, my environment, my relationships both familial, dominant, and minor in my life. And, most of all, I hope to be honest in my writings.

The room in which I write are like all the rooms in a splendid mansion. The room in which I write, at the kitchen table, in the dining room, in the sitting, or, family room, every single room is my sanctuary, but the world is where I make my home, and writing, writing is my hometown. It’s my village. It’s my tribe. People either like you, or, they don’t like you. People either accept what you write, approve of the currency that you deal in, which is honesty, or, they reject the protagonist, declare the writer foe. What am I going to do without you.
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Published on September 01, 2019 15:54 Tags: competition, siblings

August 13, 2019

Not like the movies: The Cape Corps and the legacy of the apartheid-government

It is another violent day outside, it is another day of eating the dust of the colonial masters, the breadcrumbs from the kitchen table of the masters, the men, the soldiers, the “boys” are animated, and cool under pressure. But this is a documentary by the filmmaker Vincent Moloi of shoes and a bicycle, this is the legacy of the apartheid-government, this is the story that has not been told yet of the Cape Corps. They have seen combat, they have seen death, they have seen Kenya, and these “agents of terror” serve and protect their country selflessly and will define future generations to come. This is not like the movie. This is real life, a reality based on the “interpretation and illustration”, and “idea and ideal” of survival-training.

The Cape Corps (that served in the Second World War) was about the adrenaline rush of camp life, the transformation of brotherhood, these “elite killing machines” knew about honour and loss, the charitable engagement of reward, discipline and obedience to the cause, and in the end they were the winners, because the war was won on the backs of soldiers of every nation, of every faith, of every creed, and of every race. The Cape Corps, the soldiers who served selflessly, fearlessly, saw destruction and death and law knew much about sacrifice and service, and this is what writing means to me now. The continuation of legacy, liberation, fraternity, honour, honour, honour, service and reward, even if it meant imprisonment, or death, or casualties of war.

I’m not with you, the former-elite (see minority-rule), and the majority is now the democratic-elect in South Africa. I see a fragile darkness visible found in the minds of those soldiers who returned home from the war, I see major clinical depression, I see unspoken incidents of trauma, injury, infirmity, and besides the loss of life, these soldiers had to return to a semblance of normalcy somehow, they had loved ones, families, wives who had waited for their return, they had children, they had to survive by any means necessary, they had to live, provide for their families, and some of these veterans chose addiction because there was simply no other release. In those days there was no state psychiatrist, no rehabilitation centre, no psychotropic drugs, anti-depressants, or mono-amine oxidase inhibitors, no education about the neurotransmitters (in particular, dopamine and serotonin) of the brain.

The millennials have a modern way of thinking, the “inner music of their soul” is not nostalgia, or even sentiment, (my next book will be called “The Elders, the Patriarchs, and Matriarchs of the George Family”) and the millennial thinks in functioning-code, data capturing, and not usurping, uprising, the collateral damages of war, rogue agents, intelligence, defence capabilities, the primitive wars that human lives have always fought in the name of commission, and honour, the mandate of obligation, military duty, service, and conduct. The politicians say it is the political way or the internet-highway, the technological advancements made in the name of human potential, but gender-bias still exists today in our still patriarchal society.

Our future leaders are technocrats and socialites, alpha dreamers, iconoclasts, teaching intellectuals, scholars, academics, educationalists, and it is still the West seeking key independence in mapping out trade routes, fighting democracy in this age or iron lost in the translation of the African Renaissance that began, that had its roots in the twentieth century. Now we must look to our fractured writing style, and our grassroots-techniques when it comes to our spiritual-and-collective gospel-truths, our “tribal” literature, flexing the muscle of language, the intrinsic flux of literacy in our rural countryside and our metropolitan cities. I write to write the almost spiritual, where the lines of the external meets the struggle of the internal.

The alpha-males (Akin Omotoso, Dr Ambrose Cato George (Ph.D.), Rehad Desai, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Ayanda Billie, Mzi Mahola, Winston Ntshona, John Kani, Athol Fugard, Athol Williams, Neville Alexander, Fikile Bam, George Bizos, Vincent Moloi, Moses Molelekwa, Ken Oosterbroek, Kevin Carter, Patrice Lumumba, Rick Turner, Kwame Nkrumah, Stephen Bantu Biko, Samora Machel, the Eastern-Cape based filmmaker Mikale Barry, the South African award-winning journalist Lee Gary McCabe, comrade Chris Hani, comrade Julius Malema, comrade Trevor Manuel, comrade Johnny Clegg, the lions, ex-president Thabo Mbeki, ex-president Jacob Zuma, and president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Of course, the alpha-females are in a league of their own (Dulcie September, and the Mother of Africa Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nadine Gordimer, Dorothy Alexander, Jann Turner, and the list continues ad infinitum).

It is strange to me, the homage, the tribute, the price I pay as a writer (see Nadine Gordimer) who lives with silences, solitude, loneliness, as poet (see Ingrid Jonker), as blogger, and diarist, as essayist, as playwright, to have domestic responsibilities, to live with the legacy of a post-apartheid government, the consolation of my paternal grandfather, Staff Sergeant Joseph William George, a highly decorated war hero who on his return from the Second World War received a coat and a bicycle from the then South African government. What about compensation for their devoted widows, the devout clergymen who prayed fervently for their safe return, their children, and great-grandchildren?

It is therapy, modern-day psychiatrists, the indoctrinated-church, the African Renaissance, and conditioned-thinking of religion that has always defined my identity, my self-worth, my mental health, my reality and my non-reality. War heroes, what conditions their thinking, did the members of the elite Cape Corps suffer from auditory hallucinations, are these questions that we will never find the answers to, and what exactly was their extra-sensory, extra-ordinary comprehension of their reality and their near-catastrophic non-reality. What did they remember about the casualties of war when they returned home, the fallen heroes, the genocide of war, their mental illness, or melancholia, or their depression, the flux of their state of mind?

Our “sins must be washed away” (but how you ask), for the work must continually be published, the history of the liberatory struggle must be rewritten, and in death, the lives of our “scholars of trivia” must always be celebrated. If I may be allowed to digress, we (white, black, brown, of mixed-race descent, Khoi, Griqua, San, Asian, non-European, Afrikaner, Sotho, Xhosa, Venda, Zulu) must decolonize ourselves mentally (see oral tradition, information communication technology, the digital divide), we must decolonize ourselves intellectually, we must write in the eleven official languages with a “spiritual sensitivity” and a “divine intuition”.

We will be defined by our Pan African-consciousness, drumming “the Jerusalem, our Jerusalem at the gate” in the images of our visual artists, our photographers, the art is to look for succession, extraordinary succession, situations of mischief, conflict and otherwise, and idyllic opportunities for us all to learn and grow in grace and mercy. I have become older, but write frankly to talk about my generation.

You see for us to understand that the “figurative storm” is over, the work, the education, the philosophy is just beginning, that war makes pariahs out of all of us, that writers must unmask the , that poets must have the turning point, the edge, a world of sacred neural energy to turn their energies, sacred space, the system must demand all of their attention, that there will be music and fragility and darkness, but that yes, we can.
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Published on August 13, 2019 04:53 Tags: cape-corps, depression, mental-health, mental-illness, post-apartheid-government, suicide, tragedy

July 26, 2018

Finally diagnosed with Bipolar and understanding God's purpose for my life

I've outlasted a lot of things. I'm over 35. I am nearing 40 years of age. I've made mistakes and lived with regret but I don't anymore. And I'm finally able to make peace with the mistakes I've made in my past. I can forgive someone who brought me pain. The suicidal thoughts that I've manages to overcome. I think of our happy my parents were in my childhood. I think of every childhood experience as happy except the memories brought back to me of apartheid. I don't have to tell myself anymore, you can make it. By the grace and mercy of God, I've survived. And it is God that has outlasted my storms.

So for the millions of people out there who have been diagnosed with a mental illness or have a loved one living with a mental illness, be brave. You are going to get through this storm. You're a fighter. You're going to make it and when you come out on the other side, talk about it, or write about your survival, tell someone about it, become a storyteller, or give your testimony. You might save a life in the same way yours was saved.

As I write this I think of Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and being fake-happy. Pretending to love being alone and not being the proper example of a good daughter. You want someone to love you until the end of time. I want someone to love until the end of time. I want people to love me. To remember me. In some way I want to belong to the world. I grew up with a narcissistic mother who passed this trait to her only son and middle daughter. That and beauty. That and arrogance. But beauty fades like fast cars. It's just tears I tell myself. Tomorrow I'd have forgotten about them. Anticipating waves or the vibrations of depression does nothing for the way you look on the outside. It is all for you. I do it, I write it for you. I don't know who you are. I just know that you accept me for who I am. I'm growing older and in the blue-dark I can't see that I am growing older. All I do, the poetry, the writing is for you. I'm selfish that way, I guess. I don't want happiness. I just want a brave personality. That and the writing is what gets me through the hours, the day, the night. And sometimes I try very hard through the tears not to even think of going there. Of letting go. Sometimes I think I love this world too much. I love you, the Reader. I do love you. Perhaps in the end you're the only thing that's keeping the chemicals from balancing me the right way up. It's all for you the Reader. Everything that I've ever written. You're the assignment. Perhaps you're the mission.

I was finally diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder after Tara. I spent 6 months in a mental institution in Johannesburg. Mental illness stamped on my forehead for all to see, alongside a stigma, a family (and paternal and maternal family) that saw to it that I quickly became an outcast, felt like an interloper when spoken to. I was ignored, and sat quietly by myself at family functions. It was as if I was in high school again. I never cried about it, but I don't think that made me brave.

I was half-mute like Princess Diana, and Maya Angelou as a child. Something had happened to me. Somehow I had been transformed intrinsically in childhood (it was because of my mother's mental, verbal, and emotional abuse), but was it the environment that changed, no, no. It was human nature. All the humans around me. Bright children, no matter how bright they might seem even if adult words come out of their mouths, all children are still innocent. And all children want is the mother-love, and I felt the lack of mother-love acutely with an acumen and focus beyond my years.

I was called insubordinate by a male teacher once. Years later when we met at a prayer meeting, he spontaneously embraced me. In that moment, I forgave him. For the corporal punishment he had meted out to me for letting someone else, a popular girl, copy out my answers in a test. I thought I would be liked. But I wasn't. I was still a goody two shoes. I still sometimes would spend break in a bathroom stall.

As a moony-moody teenager I would read. I was mostly withdrawn, serious, never smiling (I never smiled once at Collegiate, it hurt too much to smile, my mother would go on rampages then, hurling mental abuse at me in the morning for breakfast, afternoon tea, and supper which my sister made for us. My mother was depressed too in a sinister and deceptive way). Now let me get back to never smiling, and never playing team sports.

Let me talk about the (good) old days. Collegiate High School for Girls in Port Elizabeth (a Model C school). That year, 1995, I was of course a perfectionist. A bipolar perfectionist who only ever understood the world of achievement, achievement. It had nothing and everything to do with having a Khoi-ego, Khoi-identity, Khoi-personality. But I would only understand the knowledge of Khoi-anything later on.

In those days I relaxed my hair. My hair was so straight it made no curls or waves, and I wore it in a ballerina bun. I was skinny, not voluptuous or buxom like the other girls. Late to bloom, as the saying goes. At 17 years old, or 16, I forget, all I could think of was my shame. My shame that I was not White. The shame of not having straight hair. The mortifying shame of not being athletic, not being able to play sports, not being able to be singled out first for a game during P.E. period I did not play hockey, or tennis (my mother got her Transvaal colours for tennis in high school).

I did not have blonde hair, and freckles on my face, forehead, knees, and the rest of my body. I did not have freckles in secret places.

But I learned quick, and I also learned very slowly that people don't easily forgive, and forget if you live with a mental illness. This made me withdraw even more into my mute-self. For most of my life I lived like this with a mute voice inside of me until one day I began to write. I was 8 years old.

In later years cousins on both sides of the family despised me (because I was mentally ill). I could see it there in there eyes, as they did not meet my gaze whenever I spoke. Family despised me (because I was mentally ill). I was not invited to weddings, or kitchen teas. Women-fold women-folk kind of things. They despise you (this I told myself) because society despises lunatics, and for a long time I was happy encompassing whatever this word meant. Lunatic. It was me who was more in touch with reality than the ones who thought I was mad, I have come to accept this now. I have other much more important, and significant things on my mind, and I am about to begin to write my first novel. This is what moves me to write this for other people suffering in silence, people who are being told to pull their socks up (or that they 're beginning to be too big for their britches). Don't live a half-life. Don't live a half-lie.
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Published on July 26, 2018 04:37

July 24, 2018

God, thinking of the film "A beautiful mind", the life of John Nash and almost being misdiagnosed as schizophrenic

I've lived with relapse and recovery, the hospitalization of mental illness recurring every six months or so since my early twenties. I don't talk very much about my nervous breakdown in my twenties. I don't have the words. Perhaps they will come one day. I feel I have to write about mental illness now and I'm not just writing it for my dad who had his own uphill struggles or me, I am writing for millions. Mental illness affects millions. Mental illness is relevant for millions and everyone out there has an opinion about it. The more we talk about the more the stigma of mental illness will be removed. People say things. There is still injustice. How mental illness is portrayed in films, amongst family members who won't accept you or love you. You'll be labeled but I've come to understand that that is not the worst thing. The worst thing in the world is the stigma. The silence that surrounds the voice of mental illness. The voices of mental illness.

Azania, the African continent, every African exile and citizen, you are gifted beyond anything than you could ever imagine. There's so much injustice in this world and so much evil. Let us think before we act, before we speak and then think and act with intelligence. The drugs, the chemicals give me a quality of life, a semblance of life. Illness, any sickness, disease is a mere bridge between two worlds. The links to health and ill health. How to overcome ill health, chronic ill health I have no answers for that if answers are what you are looking for but there is always hope and God and the writing keeps me sane. You have to find your own bridge, crossing over from relapse to recovery, health and ill health, find your own motion, you own motivation and movement across that bridge.

Risperdal, do you know it. Zopiclone, Pax, Ativan, Lithium (yes, the drug that has brought millions to their knees, that sent me reeling and flying into a coma, and nearly killed me). Do you know Epilim (the wonder drug of wonder drugs, the mood stabiliser), Centroforge (for the high blood pressure), Eltroxin (for the underactive thyroid). I think of the multi-vitamins when I can afford. The herbal teas that my sister gifts me with when she comes home from Johannesburg.

I have taken up raja yoga meditation (taught to me by my parents from a young age), read Chopra's books, "The Anatomy of the Spirit", and all I am doing is to hear the voice of God in that still moment. Prayer has become important. In those moments I talk to God. There should be nothing embarrassing about someone who is mentally ill talking to God (in prayer). It is people who make it so. Having a mental illness is the sickness of our time. In this, a time of technological advancement and millennial-fever. When I use to be a child-adolescent I used to think that the church was a lie because it was filled with Sunday-Christians. The women wearing their meringue-like hats on top of their heads. Dad said I should be forgiving. He still tells me this to this day.

I have a love for other people now. Especially other people living in Africa in these times. Although I am shy I find people lovable now. Everyone has a gift. Not everyone has a talent for finding what their gift is before they die. In sonic youth I had a profound self-confidence (because of bipolar). No longer, (because of the same reason, because of bipolar). The self-confidence (arrogance to most who knew me then in my early twenties in Johannesburg) has ebbed, ebbed, ebbed away-a-way out of me. I have become profoundly neurotic over the years. I cannot explain my neuroses away. They have helped me form this type of, kind of Khoi-personality, and then I think of Krotoa, and Saartjie Baartman. Ask myself, are they in my genes. They must be. They must, for my paternal family were slaves in some distant past. I think of St. Helena. The island of Napoleon's exile. The island were my paternal grandfather was born.
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Published on July 24, 2018 09:28 Tags: bipolar

July 23, 2018

Grace, mercy, human angels, thoughts while reading flashes of brilliance in Rilke's "The Book of Hours"

Yes, I believe in angels. Have come to accept that there is even angels who appear in human form. That there is their mission in life. To console the grief-stricken, to feed the hungry, to become teachers, role models that our kids can look up to, people who can inspire others in their deepest darkest storms. There are many of my teachers I'd like to thank. Who made a difference in my life. And without whose encouragement I wouldn't have become a writer and a poet and without their support and unconditional love I wouldn't have my goals and dreams. Find your own human angels and tell them how much they mean to you.

I don't know what people really think of me and if they really understand what a madness life is all about. A bipolar life. Motherhood has been on my mind these past weeks. What did I sacrifice, I think to myself. Did I make the right decision. Never marrying. Never having children. Never being in longterm relationships. Now I want a child. But bipolar is menacing and has sharp corners. It is misery and miserable. It is no good for anyone. So how could I wish it on an innocent. And as the years went by it became my national anthem. You can't be married and have children and be bipolar. That would be reckless. You won't imagine the pain and frustration that I've lived with having a brilliant intellectual writer of a father who was also mentally ill. I see children everywhere and I think to myself I see my smile there, that could have been my laughter, would I have had a son or a daughters. Sons or daughters. My sister is living her own life. She's off abroad again very, very soon. She's not going to look over her shoulder at me or my dad. She's going out guns blazing never to return. I wouldn't want to, put all that pain, wounded feeling and frustration on a defenseless child who wouldn't know how to deal with my moods. I am powerful beyond measure but a child is often powerless. At my worst I am a mess. No child can pick up those pieces without being as deeply traumatized as I was with my dad.

I'm not just mentally ill, or a depression sufferer, I am also a writer and reflect a lot on what is going on in modern society today, what took place in history to shape us into the individuals that we are today. And for the most part of that life journey we lived with racial tension, racial strife still to this day all because of apartheid and apartheid's social evils. We think it is being debated or discussed but if it was, thoroughly, we still wouldn't have the race issue on our lips.

I think of French women and the freedom that they have when it comes to ownership of their bodies and their sexuality. How they frame the physical, mental and emotional psychologically. Here's a literary bucket list of thoughts. She (I) wanted to write a narrative reminiscent of the context and rich language and experience of Simone de Beauvoir. Sartre's lover, and intellectual equal.

A madness life, a bipolar life is one in which every word has a right or a wrongdoing, a word can be subtle, mothlike, subtle in a complex, and uncomplicated way. So, what I do as a writer is blunder furtively into the distance, into the future, into tomorrow-land. Sometimes short and dumpy like the Humpty-rhyme, sometimes slithery, sometimes the bipolar is like a Radiohead song. Mostly "Creep". Sometimes "Karma Police". Sometimes you get tired of thinking all the time. What to do with all of this critical thinking, and then I have to visit the posh clinic again until I am restored to (a measure of brain-cleanliness, sorry I can't put it into any other sanitary word) sanity. I've become accustomed to that word insanity, and the other one sanity like the clouds that look like Napoleon on some days, and Gandhi the other days.

I forgive her for what she said. She was only a sister, after all (my sister who I thought sometimes saw right through me, and what she saw was the madness, and my insane life.) She was a blood relative, and dad always used to say when he was all there, lucidly, the words like a steady acrobat in the air holding everyone hostage, suspended in disbelief, dad always used to say you could never squeeze blood out of a stone. I had written "Stone Voice". It had come to me out of the blue murky depths of pain. It emptied itself out of me, I pruned the words harshly, but still it was accepted and is all there for people to read now. About Tara. Tara was a mental institution. I fell in love there, and I was loved there. I had friends there. And for a time I was popular too like those sexy high school girls who would walk past me in the corridors and not meet my eye. The same sexy high school girls who would not eat lunch with me. I had to hide away in a bathroom stall breaktime. I did have a friend. We would stand on the fringes, on the outskirts of the high school society, just watching, and observing life with dejected faces, withdrawn, serious.

I told myself I would forgive her. I would forgive my sister.

I think of the despair and hardship of displacement and being momentarily an interloper, then accepted, then I was an interloper again, then accepted again. And it would go on and on like this for what seemed like forever. Rejected by the coloured bourgeoisie, the middle class, the liberals. Was I too educated, too ugly, too misshapen by mental illness, by the bipolar that threatened my every move.

I'm afraid that we are going to have to start speaking about sexuality, our "apartheid", this separateness from a race, gender, faith and class issue. It's not just good mental health practice, let's us do it for the next generation and the generation after that instead of wasting our pride on petty jealousies, and the politics of the day.
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Published on July 23, 2018 12:59 Tags: equality

Thoughts after reading Kiran Desai's "The Inheritance of Loss"

You will experience happiness, I was the one who told myself this. No one else. The museum has invited me again to one of their lectures, but I never go. They will stop inviting, like they my father, one of these fine days, and then where will that leave me, and the fine museum built with my father's hands. The South End Museum in Port Elizabeth, at the cusp of the Eastern Cape where in 1820 the English arrived. Sir Rufane Donkin who was to be the governor of the Cape (did he plunder, steal, rape, colonialise I thought to myself or was it kismet, fate, destiny written in the stars. Sir Donkin came with a mad wife in tow. Was she a Mrs Rochester, like me, like me, like me.

Bipolar, mosaic, atlas that it is, well for me it did the impossible with its overpowering (aplomb), uplifting gift that it gave me. Sometimes the day itself is perfumed with good thoughts of T.S. Eliot, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, Nabokov, the Russian writers, the Russian poets, the Russian masters, Isobel Dixon, Ingrid Jonker, Plath and Sexton. To me the women had superpowers, and the men, intelligence seeping through their every pore, I wanted them to talk to me, pull me into their arms and hug all my sadness, grief, loss, loneliness, frustration away from the secret chasms of my heart. I wanted them to lull and pull the self-pity that looped itself like cobwebs about my self-worth. Beautiful people, the beautiful women, that beautiful lady that was my mother that smelled just like Yves Saint Laurent's Algeria, the beautiful men, seemed on the surface tension of things to get everything. They were rewarded. I was not.

I have this imperfect list of thoughts when I was reading Kiran Desai. Oh, how I hope to be a respected and wonderful writer as she and Anuradha Roy is. Arundhati Roy, the writer of "The God of Small Things". Sometimes I feel like a guardian, or rather a guardian angel when I write. I am hidden subtly, but also at the same time beyond opinion, and I also find that I am beyond caring for the approval of others. And by that of course I mean my sly and beautiful mother. Hair attractive as it falls about her face, hairpins/hair scarf/hair band loosened by her movements during the day and I try not to think of her telling me to make up my bed, or how they laugh at me, and look at me with this infuriating smile on their faces as if they know better. Sometimes I think to myself who is the enemy now. Is it me, is it me who has to every year be put away for a week for my own good, to recover from ill health

I was sixteen years old when my mother dragged me to the Indian-looking psychiatrist who had studied in Vienna. And as I think back to that year I think of my identity coined now. That "term" on the inhale, and exhale of every breath that I take. That of a Khoi-female identity. Khoi-writer of prose, and poetry.
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Published on July 23, 2018 12:17 Tags: grief

October 16, 2017

The Holy Spirit and Mother Mary

There’s a Eucharistic art to it that we must we aware of when we discuss the roles of the Holy Spirit and Mother Mary. The natural environment. The supernatural. The neurological. The psychological. The monk in prayer and meditation. The celibate life. The immaculate conception. I often gather new insight into modern religious doctrine and teaching from the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Let us look at the Christian in awe of God. In awe of the biblical teachings of the supernatural. From an early age, we are taught hope, faith, love.
 
For the church, for the believer, the non-believer, the atheist believing in spirit is a calling. As the believer is called to service. In suffering the believer must serve. In sorrow we are tested. In sorrow, the believer must serve. Conflict and war will always result in pain, emptiness, futility. Physical wounds are healed, scars remain as a reminder just as stigmata. It is psychic wounds that remain. Words that hurt. Words that challenge us to the very fibre of our being. When you give of yourself to the supernatural God, the believer is uplifted and empowered.
 
That there is still hope, faith, love for the soul of the non-believer and the spiritual progress of the atheist. Humanity is at a point in time where we are disregarding empathy foolishly and without a second thought. We no longer regard our eternal brotherhood as sacred. And so, I come to humility. The grace of humility and the gracious mercy it offers us. What is the meaning behind the organic semblance and docile acceptance of the living embodiment of Christ. The holy sacraments. The sacred positivity that stems from the rituals of prayer.
 
Supplication in the church, the crowning of thorns, the thirst, the Kingdom come, angelic realm, obedience and forgiveness are all sacred gifts like the fruit of Mother Mary’s womb. This is life. The figuring out on which side we are on. The simple matter or the complex mandate. How do we choose worship? How does worship exist in all of the pre-existing structures of the church? Why do we believe in the first place? We spend our whole lives celebrating ceremony, searching, studying, observing, education ourselves in rigorous teachings of past scholars.
 
Scholars that have come before us. Prayer, is it just subtle? Is prayer and meditation on the fruits of the spirit mere moral subterfuge. We have this longing for understanding of the divine and the mysterious, the sacred and the blessing, the understanding of our cultural gifts, tradition and heritage. What is the meaning and the purpose behind the moral fibre of our humanity? Where does it come from if not from an omniscient and omnipresent God? Now let me come to the holiest of holies. God, the Christ. The Christian Saviour. The sacred divine meaning.
 
The sacred purpose. The sacred sanctification. The moral compass. Is the living Christ a conservative God? A transformative figure that renders every psychological construct in the being of man, every paradigm shift in modern society, the framework of psyche and intellect, the mental and emotional faculties, the physical body and attitude that commands all self-control. That gives rise to a self-concept, the ego, the identity of man and church, the branch of motherhood, sisterhood, obedience, prayer, meditation, spiritual progress and confidence.
 
The believer sees the effervescent and vital energy, synergy and synchronicity behind the beauty and the ugliness of poverty and death. And in poverty and death, in the cultural background of poverty, looking at it from a religious perspective of piety and grace, we find supernatural signs there. Hidden meanings and a rich symbolism there. In death, the self-concept, the physical body is diminished. The physical in death renders itself to the ether. To the unseen, the eternal (eternity) and the hereafter. In death time stands still. Suffering ceases.
 
Look at this statement. That humanity is complete in the eternity of poverty and death but is it not our knowledge for the hunger of how we continue to exist that has perplexed humanity for all time. Death and poverty pulls and pushes the believer in the direction of ultimately being perplexed about what spirituality and the spirit really is. The biblical landscape offers us proof and understanding beyond the physical scope. The biblical landscape offers us so much more insight. Is the church nothing but an empty ritual or is it sacred beyond measure? It is not dogma.
 
It is not dogma that defines who we are. It is our longing for the fruits of the spirit. It is coming to the realisation that there is more to the ideology of the sonship, the fatherhood and the Godhead. For millions of years, this landscape that we know of as creation is nothing more but proof of the living and unspoiled legacy of the Saviour. Of Christ. Of our Lord Jesus, son of David that was promised to the disciples (the followers), by the sanctification of the brethren. All who seek an audience. All who sought the King of kings. The alpha and omega. The son.
 
To have an audience with Him, the son of God. The creator of the universe. Priests in ancient time were the gateway keepers to Abba, the living and self-fulfilling prophecy of Jesus Christ, the son of David. What perfect meaning does the Eucharist give to our lives. It is not an arrogant or proud or weak God that we serve. We are taught through the sonship about the privilege of the church, the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, the fact that he died on the cross of Calvary, that he was sent to earth to save us from our sins. Man, man worships with a sacred impulse.
 
It is a divine mystery. It means to honour, to obey. The ten commandments are a manifesto of sorts. In prayer, in silence, there is no moral ambiguity, no singularities of deceit, no acts of immorality or theological deception embedded in doctrine and religious treatise. No matter how much we would like to think of our holy Father as just being, He is also a mystery. A mystery of joy and sorrow, grace and mercy. In the past, the biblical teachings were taught about God in such a way that the believer was held hostage to an unforgiving God.
 
This is where purification takes place by partaking of the body of Christ. Humanity has laws and systems in place that govern us that continually test our faith. The living example of Jesus Christ lives through us. Our norms, values, belief systems that were taught to us through Mother Mary and the Holy Spirit protect us. God is forever omnipresent in these views and statements. We are given the Holy Spirit in the universal household of the church. Mother Mary is our mother. The sonship belongs to us. Holy communion, the body of Christ, the flesh and blood.
 
Mankind, humanity, the church is raised in the family. Mother Mary becomes the matriarch and the Godhead the patriarch in the family unit. Raised from birth to believe. From the cradle until death we live with the promise of eternal life. We are taught from an early age that the mother-figure is nurturing. The father-figure is caretaker and protector not only of his children but also of his family. It is the same for the living Christ and the resurrected figure of Jesus Christ. We are all descendants from a higher unseen power. A power of spirit. Of holy Saints.
 
That in and of itself is a powerful statement. Another, the descendants of the Lord Jesus Christ, son of David, the religious teachings, mandates, doctrines passed down from generation to generation, the fatherhood, the sonship, the holy spirit and Mother Mary when taken out of the church makes for an important and significant statement. It is the good news of the Redeemer. Of the Saviour. The eternal trinity. The fruit of the womb of Mother Mary when the immaculate conception took place was a blessing veiled in disguise. It teaches us to have a forgiving heart.
 
The psychological framework and truth of the spiritual Father, the Christ-like energy and progress is not something that is a complex ideology. The Christ-like effigy, the absolute energy of the Saviour is never arbitrary. We are making a serious mistake (but this is common) if we look at the Christ-like figure as a grave illusion. This Christ-like figure is capable of love, hope, faith and empathy. For without empathy there can be no religious doctrine. Our spiritual maturation comes with the understanding of benevolence and devotion and worship of Mary.
 
To realise what the gifts are of the holy spirit and Mother Mary is to look at the biblical perspective of the sonship and the Godhead. The gift of the truth belongs to the believer. We only have to contemplate, meditate upon, worship this figure, of Christ, our Lord and Saviour who leads His believers. It is the Godhead that reigns supreme.
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Published on October 16, 2017 17:43