I love writing, reading and in recent years I have fallen in love with the art of blogging – a way of keeping record of the story of my life by having an internet website domain dedicated to discussing the things I love, fear, hate, cherish and don’t understand.
It’s become my way of making sense of the world around me and I am not the only Zimbabwean woman that’s blogging.
There are many of us, like a rising tide, we are many whispers on cyber-space whose audibility comes from the fact that we’re many and even though we’re just whispering – we’re becoming so loud.
We whisper about our heartache infusing our personal stories with questions we have about the world we find ourselves in, about our contribution to its condition and about the obligations we have to make it better.
Sometimes things get better by smashing them down or letting them crumble.
Sometimes they get better by patching up the gaping holes and mending the tear on the social fabric.
And at times we make things better by making ourselves better and I think that is often the best way of making things better.
Recently I noticed that something had changed about the way I saw the world and it pointed to the fact that something had changed about me.
Don’t ‘they’ say we see the world as we are and not as it is?
The problem was, I was not sure what had changed about me, and that bothered me so much – I have a tendency to overthink stuff; I just can’t let it be or ‘go with the flow’.
So I stopped writing until I knew what had changed about me because otherwise I wouldn’t know what matters enough to be worth writing about….I find trivia to be a mild irritant to my psyche.
Some changes don’t announce themselves with the pomp and fanfare of a comet plummeting onto earth’s surface…no sometimes the changes are subtle, hard to place finger on and sometimes we change in the most fundamental ways without realizing it.
We begin to question assumptions and scrutinize our own convictions and beliefs – testing their substance against the ever-changing realities that are pervasive to our day to day existence.
I finally figured out what was different about me now.
Last week during a seminar on Media Theory and Research; the convener asked us to think about how we write and what our weaknesses were as writers.
My knee jerk reaction was ‘I don’t have any weaknesses in writing. I’m actually a fantastic writer.”
But something about that confident assertion didn’t sit well with me; something just did not ring true.
Yet I was sure that I am a good writer (this is my feeble attempt at modesty); so why was there this niggling sense of doubt, this intrusive feeling of uncertainty as if there were something I had overlooked or some obvious thing that was eluding me!
It was quite frustrating and fed into the feeling of some transformation within me whose nature I still could not fathom.
I found the weakness in my writing…it sort of floated into my subconscious while I slept and remained there waiting for me to awaken and find it.
My writing has not been whispers…no.
It has been a harsh, shrill, shrieking…it has been hysteria marinated in bitterness.
It has been scream upon scream and the loud unyielding cacophony of tumultuous noise that drowns the very message it tries to share.
Perhaps because I started writing opinion pieces on topics I thought mattered directed at an audience I thought couldn’t care less – my writing has been confrontational bordering on militancy.
My ideas have been shared in the aggressive manner of one who is certain they shall be opposed and wishes to make it clear that they are not seeking common ground but merely pitching a tent of their own on the ideological landscape.
So I found the weakness in my writing and also discovered what had changed about me.
The hysteria – I lost my hysteria.
I lost the impulse to shout when shouting was not necessary and now I even doubt that it ever was necessary.
I lost the desire to confront where I can just tolerate; because tolerance seems to be a greater virtue than stomping other people’s ideas into the dust under the guise of ‘showing the way’.
I gave up the need to be right in order to gain the ability to understand those whose ideas are contrary to mine – for surely I cannot possess the whole truth.
I gave up too, the temptation to lend my voice to the struggles of others without sufficient knowledge to authoritatively speak on their behalf because it is imprudent to speak of things we know little or nothing of.
When we do so we often tend to fill in the gaps with assumptions and seal the conversations with hotly asserted opinions that would be better if substituted by cold and hard facts.
I am glad I lost my hysteria because now perhaps I have the suitable emotional detachment to finally write the book I have been carrying inside me for so long.
Had I written the book before this catharsis occurred, it would have been like an endless echo of an ear-piercing scream….emotion drowning reason and inflaming where calm would have served a better purpose.
I am thinking already of turning my energies to a career in research….so that I afford myself the chance to write not just what I see but also what I have studied first hand.
The world has opinion enough and people have assumptions about everything that’s why they have to shout so loud because somewhere along the way it ceases to be an engagement of ideas but becomes inevitably about personalities, race, gender and every ‘difference’ that allows us to create an ‘otherness’ out of people.
Explaining why they don’t agree with us by pointing out just how different they are from us… however that difference manifests, we latch onto it and use it to bludgeon each other’s dignity pretending we’re just having a difference of opinion.
Well thank goodness, I lost my hysteria… the prejudice that tinted the lenses with which I view the world has gradually softened into paler hues and I can see that in the ways that matter most – people really are the same.
Now I can whisper it.
It’s okay we are different and yet we’re alike.