The morning I decided that the love I will cultivate for myself will no longer be a conditional and sacrificial act, I fell ill with a head cold. The irony of it all is simply hilarious. But the metaphor behind the fever is stunning nonetheless, and absolutely worth unpacking because it is quite telling of the kinds of impurities clenching my jaw shut; the ones that dissolve bone and leave the blood in your arteries coagulated. It is no secret that when your body is experiencing excessive amounts of stress, whether it be short or long term, your immune system is rendered weak and is left highly susceptible to disease. Listen. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being exposed to a healthy amount of stress. In fact, it is pretty good for you to experience it because otherwise, well, natural selection would wipe you out if you couldn’t cope with change. However, I was carrying the type of toxicity that made me more vulnerable to negative energy and kept me in the cycle of depressive thoughts–which inadvertently affected how I went about my business on this earth and how I related to the people around me.
As annoying as it is, I am thankful I got sick as now I am shedding behaviours I am forever done with.
Truth be told, I really didn’t realise how much back breaking tension I was walking around with until it was was time to embark on the process of letting go. The morning I decided the love that I will shape out of my marrow will not require a seal of approval, my body consequently collapsed from the release of the heavy weight. As if to say finally say “thank you”. I have been a different kind of tired for a long while now. The kind of tired no amount of sleep can really fix. I recognise that there are still remnants of people, places, and things I have let burrow deep into the thinning skin of my ribcage– like burr seeds hook onto the old shoelaces of passer-byes. They follow me into spaces they do not belong and greet lovers they should not. So that Sunday, I peeled back my bruised eyelids and steeped myself long in a piping hot bubble bath filled to the brim with frothed milk, raw ginger, and whole honeycombs: revitalising tea for lost souls in need of recuperation. Add castor oil to taste.
The morning I decided that the love I will harness between the gaps in my teeth will be nothing but clean; one that does not internalise other people’s actions or mistakes, claiming them as its own, I laughed up an entire earthquake strong enough to rift open the sky and all of the anger sitting in me. When two tectonic plates separate and start to spread apart, new oceanic crust is created–the molten rock slowly rises up from the mantle and begins to fill up the open spaces. Things in me are shifting fast and fissures are being filled. I am taking up more ground the ever and I am not sorry about that. I am making something beautiful out of my anger and my loss and transforming the fault lines on my face into countries with new borders.
The morning I decided that the love I will paint for myself will be one that is vibrant and one that will not fold my voice small, I apologised profusely to my body. And begged it for forgiveness. I am exhausted from trying to make myself more palatable to the world when really it is the world that is in desperate need of changing. That morning I slowly ran my brown stubby fingers across the smooth contours of my parched lips and down the insides of each supple stomach fold. And as I inhaled deeply, I felt the crisp coldness of the air tickle the pink ridges along my soft bloated belly. I looked up and found myself completely captivated by the radiant beauty of the ethereal stranger now standing opposite me in the oil stained mirror. I greeted her fatigued eyes warmly with a basket full of sweet red grapes and a crooked smile ripe with kindness. I exhaled long and hard and opened my arms wide while I whispered the words, “welcome back home lover…”
I have always been somewhat of a soft-spoken human but that does not mean my demands for respect and dignity will come quiet or catered towards the needs of another. Quite the contrary actually. The morning I decided that the love I will grow in between my dimpled thighs will be untamed and satiating, I stopped looking outside of myself for validation and confidence. My job on this earth is not to spend my precious time trying to convince anybody that I am worthy of their time or their touch. I am empowered in my own gentle being.
So. May the stone walled temples we raise on the corrugated roofs of our blistered mouths be holier than the crushing grief we spent way too many years worshipping and bowing down to.
The morning I decided that the love I will hold in my aching hands will be pure and absent of worry, I wept myself a salt river wide and long enough to cater to the cleansing of my rapturing septic wounds. I will use the water to offer baptisms to the lost little girl in me who begged and begged to be seen and I will tell her “baby, it is perfectly okay to cry as much as you do”. I am not a difficult woman because I feel too much. Or because I ask for my heart to be approached with caution. By nature I have always been a giver. But this world is ridden with selfish sirens who will hallow you out clean if you are not careful. They will take everything they need from you without considering the mess they are consequently leaving you in. I am learning to draw harder boundaries around my love and how not to give up my wants for people who will not bother to extend their borders to accommodate my arrival. Any relationship you enter must be mutual in its reciprocations and its energies spent.
The morning I decided that the love I will build for myself will be bigger than anything I have ever built in my entire life, I stopped apologising for the amount of space my queer black body takes up. I am learning to be my own kind of beautiful and that is enough to quench my thirst. The love I will have for myself will no longer be shame or guilt ridden just because it does not emulate the status quo. The status quo is boring and it does not diversify perspective.
There are people in this world who will want you small because they are afraid of difference. That is their problem to solve, not yours adapt to. The morning I decided the love that I will gift myself and my daughter will be fuller than ever, I pulled out a rusted silver spoon from the kitchen cabinet and moulded my soul into a half crescent moon to use as a bowl. I want to fill every acre of it with everything that is magical in this world. The love that I am writing into my story is for me.
Until next time my lovelies!
P.S I am doing just fine in the sanctitude of my aloneness. But do not ever confuse that with loneliness because I am far from lonely. Remember, it is still very much possible to feel lonely in a room full of people. I am at peace with the silence that surrounds me. I am building a loving home out of the rubble leftover from the shit storm.
Love, strength, and light,