FML

FML

I was with Stella for nearly two years. Two years of love, hate, spite, fights, break-ups, make-ups, breathtaking beauty, travels, merry and everything else that accompanies a relatively long-term relationship between two smitten individuals. The relationship seemed to drag on through every hurdle along the way, looking back at it now, it sort of reminds me of that time when I drove a truck through our farm the morning after a rain storm; as I left the parking lot gravel had me absent-mindedly turning the dial on the radio and fidgeting with the seat adjustment but the closer I got to farm, the ground turned soupy so I put the truck in first gear, then slowed down to a crawl, but there wasn’t any traction so I mucked ahead with the tires slurping as they picked up more goop with each turn, by the time I really got into the thick of things they looked like black medicine balls. The truck slithered on languidly, noisily, rear end sashaying as it slewed and swayed across the bog, soon enough the rear wheels started to spin as they churned back geyser of mud and the engine shrieked. There you have it folks, me and my co driver were waist deep in relationship mud we simply gave up driving. Comparing my relationship to a muddy driving experience might be a little awkward but hey, that’s exactly what repetitive mistakes and unforgotten sins feels like when you’re both vindictive people who hate each other every single second your not having obligatory sex.

Me and Stella weren’t always like this though, when we started we both enjoyed the passion and flame that make-up sex came with. Maybe it sounds cheap, it’s hard to explain. But even before the conflict we truly enjoyed each others company. I loved her innocence, she loved my kind nature. I lived to look into her sparkling, light-brown eyes and she to experience every waking moment with me, a stubbornness I found endearing. When she wasn’t with me she spent her time with Grace, her best friend, classmate and confidante. Grace is the same height as Stella and has a mannish stride that is concealed by her hips which forcibly sway with each step she takes.
It was a sunny afternoon and classes had been cancelled till the following week because of the planned staff union strike. Grace was bored from the lunch-break small talk she had engaged in during lunch break with some girls from class, a waste of free time she had concluded. The afternoon heat filled up the classroom they had occupied for the International Law lecture and soon as the professor left she turned to her left and shouted “Stell…” and as if they had practised, Stella too was shouting her name. Stella had missed all the morning sessions but this wasn’t an oddity, her boyfriend was about to propose and take her to honeymoon on mars, school had lost all its lustre, everything had. “So how’s the boyfriend?” Grace asked as a matter of formality, after which Stella’s eyes rolled to the back of her head and she immediately started rambling. Grace watched without joy, she was too sane for all this relationship stuff. In as much as she was unhappy with this line of talk she couldn’t do anything, it was her own fault that Stella believed that she was ripe for unrestrained discussions of that matter. Of late her time with Stella was characterized by endless talk about her boyfriend and his over-exaggerated pros. Grace knew him inside and out, she knew his taste in clothes, colour, food, even  his thought process. Or at least she knew what Stella passed on, in its most unrefined or validated state.
The first day I met Grace was at my friends place. She was brought along by Stella for a pop party that happened every friday that I somehow happened to attend following a few implied threats and incessant pleading. Grace was silent throughout the whole thing, so silent infact that I pitied her. She looked like she was out of place, a dirge singer at a wedding. She was dressed in all black and a cloud of gloom hung heavy over her head. As if matching her attire with her mood, she mechanically pulled out her black sun glasses from her black bag soon after she had summoned Stella and decreed that her and her friends should all leave. It was rather selfish if you ask me but I was still obliged to escort them to the least rude point at which I could kindly excuse myself. Once we got to the street Stella formally introduced us. There was a severe sadness to Grace, a hollow in her soul and emptiness in her eyes. She had the kind of eyes that get you wondering whether she’ll hang herself when she got back to whatever dungeon of suffering they had liberated her from. Her forearm had multiple cut marks, self-inflicted during sad moments in a desparate plea for attention. I was heart-broken for her so I gently held her wrist and turned her hand over as I inspected the cuts as if I could make them disappear then kindly told her they looked beautiful. I must have reeked of booze and I didn’t want to embarass myself so I walked to Stella who encouraged me to head back inside as she insisted they would be fine. Hug. Kiss. Wave.

My professional life, seemingly inversely proportional to my love life, was going great. I’d just been promoted and there I was walking towards some uptown hotel for a conference I was facilitating in the presidential suite and that’s when I saw her. She looked horrible. Not in the general sense but literally, her clothes were in all sorts of colours, her hair braided in thick knot with whatever baby hair on the front of her head gelled so extensively it looked like a slug had passed over it. You really didn’t have to look at her for too long to get distracted by the mop of hair on her face, so I said hello while looking her straight in eyes, if I looked down I would have frowned, up and I would have puked so like a cop with his perp, straight in the eyes. The conversation bordered on small talk and awkwardness. I was concerned why she’d changed her number, for all I knew, she was my inside man whenever I wanted to know what my lovely good-for-nothing heartthrob was up to and she was hell-bent on getting to school. I embraced her quickly and rushed to the hotel, enough wierdness for two days.
Grace was awake a little later than usual but she only had one class in at three in the afternoon so there wasn’t any reason to be rush. She took a warm shower as she thought about her life so far, nothing worthwhile had happened in the last few weeks and the running water wasn’t as soothing as she hoped it would be so she turned the tap and clumsily threw her showercap at the hook below the window. It fell but she was in no mood to pick it up. She entered her room and stood infront of her mirror staring at her naked body with no specific thing in mind. She was wearing a new hairstyle, six or seven thick cornrows that reminded her of some low-budget alien movie she half watched a few months ago. Grace didn’t expect to be in town for too long so she threw on a striped black and pink vest over a lime-green bra and paired it with purple pants. Her step-mother was screaming something at her brother from the kitchen and she heard him mention her so she took that as her cue to escape the mad house before they infected her. There was barely any traffic and once she got to town she dragged her feet patiently, stopping only to inspect a red dress and pair of wedges she thought would match with a blouse in her wardrobe she could only vaguely remember. ‘Maybe I should give Diana some of my clothes,’ she was thinking when someone called her name, It was Stella’s boyfriend. She would have been more relieved if an asteroid fell out of the sky than meeting him on such a dull day. He was rather chatty, seemed to be in a good mood but she couldn’t stand being there, alone, with him, the street had melted away and the din had subsidided as she stood there rooted into the ground as her heart tried to break out of her chest cavity. Truth was she felt something for him, something she couldn’t quite explain, like how you read about a character in a book and your somehow attched to them, their experiences, their emotions. They were walking in town, so awkward at this point because she both didn’t know how to approach this situation, then the bastard gave her a compliment and held her wrist, then her hand. That touch felt like heaven for her. It was barely there, he touched her so gently, teasing her, getting her excited just thinking about when he would tighten his grip. Then what happened? Nothing. Nothing happened. That’s the whole point, if something had happened it would have broken the spell. It would have let out all that incredible energy. But it stayed locked in. It remained there boiling at this insane breaking-dawn-manic level, just waiting to explode. She couldn’t get him off her mind all afternoon, they were meant to be, she believed, and the guilt of betrayal gnawed at her so much she didn’t tell Stella anything. They spent the evening drinking whiskey at some tacky hotel in the city and like clockwork Stella was telling them all about him after a few drinks, talking about how he looked at her as if he could see through her soul and soothe it without saying a word. She thought she could imagine the look he had given Stella, in fact she could see it perfectly, though no one had ever looked at her that way. Nobody had ever made her careless and willing as he had made Stella in the stories she told about him. It seemed to Grace that she already knew him, and that he knew her, as if he had sensed her listening to the stories and was conscious of her interest.
Stella was spiralling out of control, but isn’t that the reward of every other immature love story. I found comfort in Grace, she had one of those telephone voices and whenever I got overly concerned about Stella’s behaviour I’d call her to try and understand whatever it is I was doing wrong. I must have leaned on this shoulder for too long because I was soon calling her every other time I felt lonely or straight up raunchy even though I was never innappropriate with her. I might have implied a few times but my heart was someone else’s and as much as I was actively assisting her to leave me, I still loved her more than anything in this world.
Grace had spent the last few months witnessing Stella attempt to drown in alcohol, an inanimate lover she found more consistent than her subtly abusive boyfriend. She wasn’t any angel either, her cheating and conscious attempts at driving her boyfriend crazy were bearing fruits and she hadn’t really thought if those irresponsible desicions would affect her.

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The Politics Of Our Fathers

KwaZulu, Natal. My dad sat me on his lap, my brother on his side, and began an intriguing story “Let me tell you about a man called Nelson Mandela.”

See, that day my mind met Mandela, not a man, but an idea whose premise was freedom and humanity. So what does a 5 year old girl do with stories of heroes, struggles and looming triumphs that damn sound like fairytales, they imagine… I imagined that day.

 

Mandela’s freedom would become an image of a man who walked proud on the dusty street with his briefcase and shinning Crockett Jones that put a spring in his step as he greeted everyone at the taxi stop or charmed women selling fruit at the market who in turn laughed out loud clapping once in that African way having being infected by freedom’s ideals of a free South Africa, all on their way to work at the enemy’s garden, Eden infact, and you best believe the serpent was there, only this one spoke not in seductive tongues like that which eve fell for. Oh no, this one spat a different kind of tongue that must have been handed up from hell.

 

And humanity… Oh! She was a beautiful lady, a nurse, like my mom actually. She was extending her hand to a wounded man giving a smile and saying everything would be OK. But how could it? His house was burnt down, his daddy lynched and his sisters raped, now carrying the enemy’s child that would denounce its lineage immediately at birth for there was no way it could be linked to the white man in the main house, if anything, coloured was a better word. See, it takes the proximity of black to white in its blood as a burden to bear, not merely as a different colour group, but as a responsibility unspokenly bestowed upon him by his mother to right his father’s wrongs. The denials of the semi-white man!

 

I’m telling you a story about 1990, when I met freedom. She was my parents holding their fists high saying, “Africa is Free,” on the Sunday Mandela was released from prison. I, in my yellow dress, dust in my hair, was mesmerised by how quickly our street filled with people who came out with flags and photos of a man who had been but a concept in my mind that bore no resemblance to morgan freeman. Mandela was actually a chocolate-coloured man with a smile like sunrise and eyes like a bonfire and I liked him for he reminded me of one grandpa who sold beer at the corner house and I wondered if he was his brother.

Midnight in Paris

Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present, the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one’s living in – it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present. Isn’t that what the present is. A little unsatisfying. Because we all fear death and question our place in the universe, life is unsatisfying. The writer’s job is not to succumb to this despair, but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence with sufficient passion, to push death out of men’s minds… until it returns, as it does, to all men… and then you must read really good writing again. Maybe that’s the problem with writers. We’re so full of words. But no subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure. Be courageous enough to question why people find your story terrible, If your an athlete, be nothing but first, if you’re a writer, declare yourself the best writer – but your not, as long as I’m around, unless you want to put the gloves on and settle it.

The Moon Can Melt

“Me? I’m great,” isn’t that what you want to hear, nobody’s honest and we don’t find it queer. 

 

Money makes the world go round, without it would the sun frost? If money makes your world go round, how much does your soul cost? Has money bought you happiness, don’t you wish your weren’t grown, our childhood holds the best memories and we made them on our own. Busy paper chasing, petty hating, is a whole generation really drawn by the allure, will money worship ever have a cure? We want to drive big cars, pollute our world, who even cares about the poor, in a few years go bald, and soon after your dead for sure, your money lives on, your just a pawn, even the person who’s face is on it – long gone.

How many things with society are wrong? I laugh by choice, smile automatically but I’m forced by life to frown.

Sheila doesn’t think she pretty enough, Patrick won’t date a thick girl, so she lives in gyms, watches the Kardashians, and is somewhere looking for a cream to make her tits perk, everybody’s doing make up like clowns and every place I visit now is a circus town.

Insecurities rule our lives now, and status is all we craze, we’ve replaced work and deeds, like feigns and thieves, for quick riches, some Instagram pics and few Twitter favs. Everybody has so many faces now, social media is giving cowards an outlet, we promote gossip and hate, profanities all for a better subscribe rate. Would you parade yourself like so in real life? Just because your parents aren’t on your friendlist, it’s not a licence to be obscene

 

Facetious. What I feel for the easy life tests I haven’t passed. Tired. Thank God tomorrow today will be my past. Taking it serious doesn’t count if I’m not part of the solution. Medication is for confidence, we heal by our own volition. I’m trying make a difference, change what we all witness, as immorality dilutes our virtues and our way of life is still improper, if you were Jesus wouldn’t you have stayed a little while longer?

 

Who is this guy? What does he know? My identity is of no value, I only pray the roots of my words grow.

Freedom of Excellence

In Weigel‭’‬s essay,‭ ‬‘Two Ideas of Freedom‭’‬,‭ ‬he first mentions freedom of excellence while referring to Servais Pinckaers‭’‬ opinion that St.‭ ‬Thomas Aquinas‭’‬ thinking about freedom is best captured in the phrase freedom for excellence.‭ ‬He goes on to identify freedom as St.‭ ‬Thomas saw it,‭ ‬a means to human excellence,‭ ‬happiness and fulfillment of‭ ‬destiny.‭ ‬Weigel‭ ‬further expounds ‬freedom as the‭ ‬capacity to choose‭ ‬wisely and act well as a matter of habit,‭ ‬the organizing principle of a moral life‭ ‬– and‭ ‬since this possibility of a moral life‭ (‬the‭ ‬capacity to think and chose‭) ‬is what distinguishes‭ ‬the human person from the rest of the natural world,‭ ‬freedom is therefore‭ ‬the organizing principle of‭ ‬a life lived in a truly human way‭;‬ The capacity that unifies all other capacities into an orderly whole,‭ ‬and‭ ‬directs our actions toward the pursuit of happiness and goodness.

In‭ ‬identifying‭ ‬freedom of excellence he refers to Aquinas‭’‬ awareness of‭ ‬our‭ ‬ability to do evil and yet in face of manifest evil he still insisted that we have within us,‭ ‬a freedom through which we can do things well,‭ ‬rightly,‭ ‬excellently,‭ ‬a philosophical anthropology‭ ‬with‭ ‬moral convictions about the inalienable‭ ‬dignity‭ ‬and value of every human life.‭ ‬We are‭ ‬made for excellence‭;‬ and‭ ‬freedom developed‭ ‬through prudence,‭ ‬justice,‭ ‬courage and temperance‭ ‬is the‭ ‬method by which we‭ ‬achieve‭ ‬‘human excellence‭’‬.

Freedom of excellence ‬relates to our human dignity‭ ‬in having‭ ‬an objective value,‭ ‬as‭ ‬explained above, and can‭ ‬therefore‭ ‬be described as the ‬inherently‭ ‬human‭ ‬ability‭ ‬to‭ ‬constantly‭ ‬achieve‭ ‬-‭ ‬to‭ ‬achieve‭ ‬human excellence,‭ ‬to‭ ‬achieve‭ ‬human‭ ‬happiness,‭ ‬to‭ ‬achieve‭ ‬fulfillment of destiny,‭ ‬to‭ ‬achieve‭ ‬growth in virtue‭ (‬and thus growth in freedom‭)‬,‭ ‬achieve‭ ‬free societies – and to create‭ ‬inexhaustible‭ ‬possibilities‭ ‬for the development of‭ ‬human development,‭ ‬through freedom,‭ ‬by living virtuously.

After the sabbath

It’s the first working day of the week, and my favourite, Monday. A day of hope resolve, limitless possibilities ahead and an invigorating sense of purpose brought about by all that much needed and tiring two day rest preceded by a night, or two, of life threatening partying that somehow didn’t end in alcohol poisoning. What are you making that face for? I’m a hardworking twenty-something year old in a country whose most prolific brand is a beer. My life seems to be in a state somewhere between hopelessness and despair. In other words if I could represent my preferred way of life as a clearly well laid out path in the middle of a wilderness then I’m in the business of wandering into the bush every few paces.
I’ve been ravaged by wolves, trampled by elephants, stung by bees, pricked by cacti, bit by snakes and poisoned by seemingly harmless plants, but still, with the memory of a goldfish and myopia worse than a bat’s, I somehow talk myself into taking a walk back into the wilderness to rediscover it’s non-existent endless beauties. Sadomasochism and fiction-grade stupidity may be a bit harsh but accurate ways to describe this history.

I’m not out here alone, trust me. I see hordes of people all around me, friends, family and previous lovers all trying to make sense of the shopping frenzy in this market of instant gratification. We’re all in the same boat, some holding gold compasses against ever-changing maps and others tagging along on someone else’s ride. I can’t see their faces clearly though, my vision is blurred by the log I put in my eye to prove I could handle much more than a spec. There’s another more putrid group of people here, the fools. They don’t even know they’re lost. They’re comparable to a seeing man born into a dark world to blind parents, the possibility of a life well lived is completely ludicrous to him. He doesn’t even rise to the dignity of existence; he has no struggles and lives completely carefree. They’re achievements in diluting the development of mankind are endless. The worst thing about the fool is not in his foolishness but rather in his ability to comfort the lost. They look at him and instantly feel better, going about their self destruction in relation to his. Sort of reminds me of the story of the rich drunk who believed alcoholism was dictated by how much your drink cost.

I’m currently going through the painful phase of dropping habits and making new ones, I have come to understand that the hallmark of my limitations is my freedom. I am fated and doomed to be free and responsible, I am thrown into this world and forced to struggle and swim. My possibilities are limitless, I can be one of them and in being one, I have for that occasion categorically excluded all the rest. There is ruthless destruction of possibilities on my every decision. Choice has always been the ultimate ground of my anguish, for this I can blame nobody because you too are only trying to swim. No more wasting this freedom on silly choices.

If you pity the fool why then are you living like you envy him?

This article is only partly from my own experiences but its eternal origin lies in that I have confronted a form that wants to become a work of art through me. It is not a figment of my soul but something that appeared to my soul and demanded my soul’s creative power.

Objective Value

Everything we interact with as human beings has an‭ ‬‘ordinate‭’‬ and intrinsic value.‭ ‬A worth beyond all predicates.‭ ‬This‭ ‬fact,‭ ‬that objects do not merely receive,‭ ‬but also merit our approval or disapproval,‭ ‬our reverence or contempt,‭ ‬clearly indicates a doctrine the Chinese refer to as‭ ‬Tao‭;‬ ‘the greatest thing,‭ ‬reality,‭ ‬nature and the way the universe goes on and things everlastingly emerge‭’‬,‭ ‬the doctrine of‭ ‬objective value. This appreciation of objective value as a reality,‭ ‬and not just an idea,‭ ‬has been echoed throughout history by different schools of thought,‭ ‬cultures and even religions.‭ ‬Shelly described it by comparing the sensibility of man to a lyre with the power of‭ ‬‘internal adjustment‭’‬ that‭ ‬‘accommodates its chords to the motions of whatever strikes them‭’‬ as he described how we interact with objects.‭ ‬Trahene further emphasized that every object has its‭ ‬‘due esteem‭’‬ and Aristotle went on to tell us that education‭’‬s main aim is to teach us what,‭ ‬already,‭ ‬ought to be liked and disliked,‭ ‬a sentiment shared by Plato,‭ ‬long before him,‭ ‬in nearly the same exact words. By this reality,‭ ‬certain attitudes are true or false according to how the universe works,‭ ‬and our approvals and disapprovals are recognitions of a quality which demands a certain response from us,‭ ‬recognitions of‭ ‬objective value.‭ ‬In line with this,‭ ‬our emotional states are therefore alogical and‭ ‬cannot be judgements in themselves‭; ‬they are all‭ ‬viewed as either reasonable or unreasonable in their conformity to reason and objective value.‭ ‬In Lewis‭’‬ lecture on‭ ‬‘Men without chests‭’‬ he gives the example that we call children delightful and old men venerable as recognition of their objective value and not simply a record of our emotional perception.‭ ‬He further tells us how he does not enjoy the company of children.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬regardless of his own preferences he acknowledges,‭ ‬just as a man may recognize that he is‭ ‬colour blind or mute,‭ ‬that this is not caused by a defect in children but rather himself. An individual‭’‬s refusal to acknowledge objective value is absolutely non-rational as it therefore forces that individual to hold the stance that nothing has any value.‭ ‬When one tourist,‭ ‬in the story of Coleridge at the waterfall,‭ ‬called the cataract‭ ‬‘sublime‭’‬,‭ ‬he was not only talking of how his emotion of‭ ‬humility was ordinate to the reality,‭ ‬just as to say that‭ ‬‘a shoe fits‭’‬ is to speak also of the feet.‭ ‬The emotion considered by itself‭  ‬is thus neither reasonable or unreasonable but rather does not even rise to the dignity of error.‭ ‬In this view,‭ ‬also the world of facts,‭ ‬without a trace of value is non-rational.‭ ‬Therefore when an individual cannot provide grounds for identification of objective value he lacks the rationality of thought necessary to acknowledge the dignity of the person,‭ ‬and by extension his own.‭ ‬Just as no amount of justification of virtue will make a man virtuous,‭ ‬virtues of human dignity cannot be coherently justified without‭ ‬any appeal to objective value.