REPUBLISHED: Love and Loss – the heart’s siamese twins

[First published on 24 February 2010…..for all those we loved and let slip through our fingers]

I’ve written to you every day since you left. Formulating sentences in my head and stringing together words that hopelessly fail to capture the depth of what I feel.

I have written to you every day since you left. My mind tiring of the constant need to run away from the thoughts of you that haunt me – my heart tiring of the exhausting enterprise of trying to bury beneath layers of nonchalance what I feel for you.

I’ve written every day since you left. Failing to hold back the miserable tears that take over from where speech fails – a language that only an aching heart can speak. Tears – how eloquent they are and how I welcome them.

Welcome the relief they bring, welcome their silence as they course down my face for it would not do to let the world see my misery – for it is private grief no one can share and a sorrow I cannot seem to escape.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 1.03.29 PM

….our lives are contradictions: how loss and love can be two sides of the same coin and how we can stay whole even when our hearts break

I write to you every day since you left. In a language of sighs and when the mask I wear slips off to reveal how truly wretched I feel – I feign a headache, plug silent earphones to my ears and hope to keep the curious eyes and inquiring glances away from me.

I write to you every day since you left. Crossing roads where we once stood, my mind refusing to forget, even the most mundane of things.

How perverse is the heart, to cling so tenaciously to every memory, to guard so jealously every feature of your face and store so faithfully every dimpled smile that lined it and every frown that marred it.

I write to you every day since you left. Write – because I cannot bring myself to speak of you – cannot bring myself to get the words past this stubborn lump that permanently lodges in my throat… I cannot think your name without this flicker of pain flashing across my heart and I cannot bring myself to speak of you for the tears threaten to overwhelm me. So I write to you every day.

I write of trivial things. To tell you of a bad day at work, with the shadow of your absence hanging over me, to tell you of a headache that I nurse from morning till night from the constant effort of trying to outrun my misery.

I write to you every day since you left. To tell you of my long nights, how I still wake up in the wee hours of the night, in the room that we once lay trying to recapture the scent of you; knowing there’s no trace of you that remains – yet that night is faithfully preserved in my thoughts carefully stored in my heart.

I write to you in my head –every day since you left. But the words freeze at my finger tips and my hand refuses to meet the keyboard… so I know you got none of the letters I wrote.

Now as I lay in that room where we once lay; the wind howling outside my window – I allow myself to weep. To grieve for you as I have refused to do; for to cry would be to acknowledge that I am hurt – that the pain is real and not a figment of my imagination.

I cry now, because the yawning silence between us has not diminished what I feel; I cry because that’s what I do when I run out of options – when my mind has tired itself and my heart has grown weary of the constant ache.

Tears are an ugly thing. So pitiable, they are a capitulation – an acceptance that life has beaten me once again, that I must accept defeat and that I must embrace my loss.

I write to you every day since you left. I write of places I avoid because they remind me of you – no more spicy pies from that Oriental deli you loved and I write of the pathetic lurch in my chest that I can’t stop every time I come across the car you once drove, my heart squeezing in pain at the maroon sight of it.

I write to you every day since you left. My feet hurrying to work each morning in a vain attempt to outrace my thoughts – how I drown myself in work, trying to marshal my thoughts to coherence and gather my scattered emotions into a mask of composure.

I write to you every day since you left. I write to tell you of my longing, of my yearning and of my impossible love for you.

Impossible because you are too far – yet I would follow you to the ends of the earth… my heart leading me to find you wherever you are.

Impossible because you were too late or I was too hasty.

Impossible because our paths crossed when I had made promises I had naively thought I could keep – yet I would give it all up; my own happiness taking precedence over any sense of duty. I never was one who could live a lie in order to conform.

I write to you every day since you left. To tell you of little sorrows – of a cellphone that got stolen, of how my only regret was that your precious numbers vanished into the void of an automated voice telling me the number I’m dialing is not reachable.

I write to you every day since you left. Sorting through the clothes I wore when I was with you, the bitter-sweetness of remembrance and how I smile against my will as my mind relives moments that only you could have given to me – moments preserved by a mind that refuses to forget you and a heart that refuses to stop loving you.

I write to you today because the words would not remain sealed within the confines of my mind. Because for once, the fingers were willing to let the emotions come alive on the computer screen – to give shape to the feelings that elude me.

I write at last – fearing that I may drown myself in the attempt to drown what I feel and that I may lose myself in the attempt to forget you.

So I go through the motions – laughing on cue and pasting a smile on my face; I fool the world but I do not fool myself.

I miss you. I miss you as if —-

As if I could not face the next hour without you – and yet I find I do.

As if I could not face one more day without you – and yet I find I do.

As if I could not go through one more night without you – and yet I find I do.

As if I could not endure one more week without you – and yet I find I do.

As if I could not survive one month without you – and yet I find that I almost have.

As if I could not make it till the end of the year without you – and yet I suspect I shall.

I write to tell you of these things – of the irony of life: how life has the audacity to go on despite our pain. How the sun has the temerity to keep shining despite our gloom and how the birds have the gall to sing in spite of our personal grief and oh, the brutality of it – how the flowers dare to bloom while our hearts wilt.

I write to you every day. To ask how you are, to tell you that I wonder if you think of me as much as I think of you. I write to ask whether you still remember me at all or if in travelling, you have had the fortune to meet new faces and the luxury to forget old ones?

I write to you every day. To ask you whether the ache in my heart resonates with yours? Or whether you have perfected the art of insulating your heart from the inconvenient tangling of emotions?

I write to you every day. To ask you if your mind ever strays to me – if you ever allow your fingers to hover over the keys thinking you might want to write something to me.

I write to you every day since you left. To wonder what you’re doing, to wonder whether you’re happy, well? To wonder every other minute whether you’re smiling, laughing, talking, sleeping or walking. I write to tell you that I hope you are happy, that I hope you are loved, embraced and accepted – that you are treated with kindness because someone as precious as you deserves no less.

I write to you every day since you left. To tell you that I hope those who meet you recognize you for the special soul you are and that one day as you unpack your suitcase, from yet another journey – you may find the heart you unwittingly packed from Africa – my heart.

From one sister to another…

My dear sister, since you are so intent on dating a married man, I hope the sex is good because that is all you will have to cherish when the whole thing inevitably blows up in your face.

I won’t waste my breath trying to make you see reason because before making the choice to date that married man; you reasoned with yourself and it appears to have had little effect on you.

….if you don’t have the sense to look out for your heart ~ maybe you deserve to get hurt

I know you’re going to remind me (as you no doubt remind yourself repeatedly) that he asked you out, that he sought you out and it’s not your fault that he came chasing after you.

Of course it’s not your fault.

You are not to blame when a tout cat whistles at you or a drunk grabs a huge chunk of your buttocks or a mad man dives at your bosom and squeezes your boobs.

You are not to blame when a married man makes a pass at you.

But you are to blame when you entertain him, when you decide he’s yours for the taking and when you make the choice to become a third wheel.

Anyway, I hope you get your heart broken sooner rather than later, while you’re still young enough to find someone unattached whom you can build a future with.

I know some women will go on for years, even decades, being strung along by a married man who has no intention of making an ‘honest’ woman out of her.

I hope that is not your fate, I would hate for you to waste the best years of your life being a side dish to someone’s main meal.

I am not going to ask whether he’s going to leave his wife for you or not — naivety is a luxury I can ill afford and in fact, I hope he never does.

I imagine if he did leave his wife for you, he’d then marry you and what good would that do you considering that you’ll have tied yourself to a philandering man?

That is hardly a prize worth holding your breath for and I certainly hope his wife (who seems to tolerate and indulge him) can hold on to him so that you’re spared the grief of suffering what she is suffering.

I won’t remind you how unfair you are being to that man’s wife or to his children because you’re not a fool and you already know the impact your unbridled horniness is having on that man’s marriage.

I am certain that you will not let a small matter like the fact that another woman’s marriage is crumbling get in the way of your next earth-shattering orgasm in the arms of your married lover.

You have always been headstrong and I am embarrassed to admit that while I disapprove of your behaviour, I’d still stand at your side when they haul your unrepentant backside before the courts and sue you for knowingly dating a married man.

But I draw the line when it comes to changing your soiled underwear after you’ve contracted some disease and are wasting away because you know how I feel about consequences — we must each face the consequences of our actions.

Can I recommend at this point that you put a little money aside (don’t spend it all on those riotous Dubai shopping sprees) to facilitate a good medical aid because you’re going to need it.

Lastly, dear sister, I hope you grow up fast and the only way people grow up fast is through pain.

So I hope that someone (preferably that married man) hurts you and gives you no option but to grow because you do not seem inclined to do so willingly.

Perhaps something good may yet come of this sordid affair if at the end of it all, you get hurt enough to finally change for the better and grow the hell up.

Feelings are fragile…

This article first appeared in and was written for the Sunday News – a weekly newspaper based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Feelings are fragile things; they get hurt even when they’re not supposed to. Even when the brain explains to them why they shouldn’t be hurt by a certain action or statement — they still curl up in pain and demand that some reparation be made.

Feelings are fragile things and they should never be left lying around for some random person to carelessly trip over them with some reckless word or deed.

Of course hurt feelings heal but they heal only to a certain extent, in fact, they heal only to the extent that you can guarantee that the same harm will not be inflicted again.

So when someone says sorry the brain has to convince our feelings that the apology is sincere and that the harm will not be repeated in future and that the remorse is genuine so that the emotional pain can subside.

But if you live with someone who never apologises for hurting your feelings, you begin to nurse a reservoir of pain and build a wall around your emotions with layers upon layers of resentment because feelings are fragile things.

I think the only thing worse than a person who never apologises when they’ve hurt your feelings is a person who apologises but doesn’t change his/her behaviour.

It is the apology without repentance that wounds the heart because it says that your feelings are inconsequential.

And many married women live with this kind of emotional torment every single day — pasting smiles on their faces to mask festering wounds in their souls.

I know this is true because of the many married men who have small houses and have no intention whatsoever of ever being faithful to their wives or even bothering to respect their marriage.

Feelings are fragile things and too many women live with men who just don’t care about the hurt they cause.

If the prevalence of small houses has taught us nothing, it has at the very least demonstrated that there is an abundance of unrepentant husbands prowling our streets and by extension there are too many wounded wives living in despair.

When someone hurts you, I think there are usually two options — you either fight or flee but when you’re married fleeing is a very frowned upon course of action and fighting is never recommended (because you have a physical disadvantage in that regard).

So married women are told to hold their tongue when their feelings are hurt, apparently keeping silent is the best foolproof marital elixir.

I doubt that pretending something doesn’t hurt and bottling up one’s feelings makes things better but I am open to being persuaded (since I don’t know it all) as to how having someone hurt your feelings and suffering in silence is supposed to make things better.

How does anyone decide that it’s okay for someone to trample all over your feelings, constantly humiliate you and be an endless source of pain to you?

There are many things I find to be outrageous but none of them is as outrageous as the idea that our lives are not within the ambit of our own control.

Your friends see a little clearer… sometimes

If you’ve ever been head over heels in love with a guy, you’ll admit that that guy became your blind spot. And sometimes the only thing standing between us and a horrible heartache-waiting-to-happen kind of relationship is the vigilance of good friends.

When you’re in love with someone (or you fancy them a lot), your emotions cloud your judgement and you need to have good friends whose judgement you can depend on when your own judgement is compromised. It’s easier said than done.

(pic from: forum.xcitefun)

Meeting a new person is great and when you really really like them – you want to make sure all the other important people in your life like him too. And what better way of making sure your friends approve of the new man in your life than to launch a massive marketing campaign in which you highlight how wonderful he is?

When they ask what he’s like, you’re going to be eager to paint a picture-perfect portrait of your newfound Romeo, and occasionally you may be tempted to oversell him. Because the truth is our real friends tend to be non-negotiable in our lives. We never want to find ourselves in a situation where we are forced to choose between our girlfriends and our new man.

So we are desperate to make sure the new man impresses our friends, charms and wins them over because their approval is like a badge we can proudly wear knowing that there are witnesses to our good fortune. We want to feel we’re lucky to have found this guy and we want our friends to validate our feelings.

(pic from: friendship quotes yorkshire rose)

And there is nothing inherently wrong with this, except in those times when we just happen to fall for the wrong guy or for the guy who’s just not right for you. You need your friends to have your back because they’ll be able to see what your blind spot prevents you from seeing. And to say what you don’t want to hear but what you may really NEED to hear.

Friends are good at looking out for us, especially when they know what’s going on with us. Here are few tips to help them spare you a little heartache. You’ll thank them one day.

1) Be frank. If you’re the one actively chasing him, you know there’s a problem right there but you can’t help your obsessiveness because you’re soooooo into him. Confess this to a friend and they’ll scold you out of acting so desperate.

2) Be vulnerable. The funny thing is we get very embarrassed to admit to our friends when we know there’s something dodgy about the guy we like because we know in their protectiveness our friends will work round the clock to pry our hearts out that man’s clutches. Have a little faith in your friends.

(pic from: forum.xcitefun)

3) Don’t mislead. Lying to our friends is not cool so in instances where we feel the truth might not serve our purpose (i.e. marketing the new guy) we go for half-truths. We don’t tell the whole story because we want our friends to see what a great guy he is. Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth because people’s true colours always get revealed eventually.

4) Don’t fake it. When we like a guy we over-exxagerate how great he is and how accomplished he is. We fake some social credentials to beef up his CV to our friends. Wrong move! Be vulnerable – your friends already know all the dumb shit you’ve ever done and they’ve watched you make a fool of yourself countless times so you can let your guard down. They can’t protect you if they’re ill-informed.

5) Confide. Don’t cover for him – its one of the worst judgement calls to make. Tell your friends what worries you about this guy. The things that just make you feel ill at ease. of course you’re welcome to pretend he is a saint but eventually you’re going to want complain about his faults anyway – you might as well come clean about the things you don’t like about him. Covering up for your man eventually leads to self-isolation and compromises your support system structure because no one really knows what’s going on with you and what you need them to help you through.

6) Trust. Your friends love you, they really care about you and your happiness is serious business to them. So don’t assume they will be out to diss your new man for the fun of it. Chances are they would all really rather see the good side of him for your sake. And they’ll make an effort to like him because you like him. Usually they’ll take your word about his character until they get know him for themselves and make independent (usually more balanced) judgements about him.

7) Don’t get defensive. Your friends know you and they will notice the change that new man brings in your life. They will see the transformations in your personality and priorities no matter how subtle they may be. And when the changes are good, they’ll be rooting for you and for him but if the changes are bad – don’t get defensive. Hear them out because they will never accuse him of being bad for you without the evidence to back it up.

Friends are good at gathering evidence and usually their main evidence is YOU and how you’ve changed. Every relationship changes you because every relationship requires some degree of behavioural modification that is specifically tailor-made for that particular new person who’s entered your life.

(pic from: friendship quotes and poems)

Not all friends will be able to look out for you because some of them don’t want to offend or hurt your feelings. And sometimes they just know you’re stubborn and figure the best way is to let you see for yourself what a loser this new guy is. But sometimes, friends do see a little clearer – trust their judgement. They may not know him like you do – but they sure as hell know YOU. They may not be authoritative sources when it comes to him but they are expert sources when it comes to YOU.

… a husband is like a chair

A husband is like a chair. The only way to be certain that it’s exclusively yours is to sit in it …perpetually!

I mean you can cherish your chair – love it with all your heart – but if you leave it unattended it has the potential of being noticed by those that are standing.

And you have no way of knowing – absolutely no way of knowing – what’s happening to your chair unless you have your butt firmly planted in it.

So you use your hard earned money and buy yourself a good chair or you can acquire yourself a husband (by whatever means or currency used to ‘purchase’ husbands).

Hell you even have a certified receipt (or marriage certificate) with your name boldly written on it clearly stating that you own this chair (or that this fellow is your legal matrimonial ‘property’) – you still have no way of knowing who’s gonna decide to just sit in your chair (or have a roll in the hay with that husband of yours).

Really, husbands remind me of chairs. If they’re left empty those who are standing don’t mind taking a seat. No, not at all.

.....should spouses come with such signs!

Even if you put a big sign written, RESERVED, some disrespecting “freelancer” is going to decide – she’s been standing too long… can’t wait to get a chair of her own… her back hurts from all the standing…and her feet are killing her so… f**k the sign…she’s gonna sit her arse down! (Excuse my French).

But husbands are not chairs to be owned. I think husbands are companions not property.

Husbands are not things you stake a claim on – like a chair. I think they are more like companions you choose to invite along on a journey you prefer not to travel alone.

There’s nothing to say, you won’t reach your destination if you go without one.

There’s nothing to say you cannot make the journey alone.

There’s even nothing to suggest that the texture of the journey will be enhanced; the loneliness lessened or the experience more enriched in the sharing – it’s just that many prefer to travel with them.

Husbands are not owned like chairs; they are companions choosing daily to walk in step with you and sometimes they may decide they’ve got better places to be than walking along life’s path in your company!

Maybe chairs are even better than husbands, you may insure them and if they get stolen or damaged – you might get a brand new replacement.

Irresistible looking chair...

But who is to say that when you have this brand new replacement chair; some greedy “sister” (who has her own shabby chair at home) is not going to covet what is yours and decide that your replacement chair was designed with her own butt cheeks in mind?

In the end, shouldn’t you have a clear understanding of the things you can claim to own?

Things like your dreams and your hopes?
Things like your strengths and the quirky imperfections that make you an interesting human being?
Things like your smile, your laughter and even your tears?
Things like your body, your heart and the integrity of your soul? Things like your memories – shared with friends or with companions – always made in moments of love, light and laughter?

I suppose I could be wrong, perhaps a husband isn’t that similar to a chair; he is not something to be ‘owned’ or something you bind to yourself with excessive sentiment.

If you must own anything – perhaps you might like to start by owning yourself?

…why we wait in vain

We wait in vain because we hope in vain. That is the problem with hoping – we just don’t have any idea where to stop – where to just admit that it’s hopeless.

HOPE... keeps you thinking the end is in sight

We hope in vain because sometimes we love in vain. That is problem with loving – we just love so deeply – we are blinded by emotion and fail to see that we’re wasting time that we can never reclaim.

We waste time because we’re so desperate to get what we desire that we believe the lies, the promises and the assurances despite the fact that the actions negate what the lips claim.

Recently I voiced out the opinion that a couple who had announced plans to get married after having known each other for just six months were “rushing” into marriage and should really get to know each other better before taking the plunge.

Feeling like a sage, for dispensing this morsel of wisdom; I was surprised when several male colleagues made it their business to tell me in no uncertain terms that that sort of logic doesn’t follow when it comes to deciding on a marital partner.

They shared of how they had been in long term relationships with women they later on did not marry – some going on for as long as 8 to 10 years and the families of both individuals comfortably settling into in-law relations assuming that it was just a matter of time before the relationship was formalized.

...when we hope in vain we shut our eyes to reality

It occurred to me then, that there was a lot of truth in their observations because I know many women who have stuck it out with a guy for years and waited in vain for the fellow to pop the question.

Shifting from hope, to frustration, to anger, to desperation (and back to hoping again) – over a series of years while life passes them by as they keep vigil over a man who has no intention of marrying them.

They watch the days melt into one another, worry over their biological clocks and hang in there hoping their patience will pay off and that the years they have invested in the relationship will count for something because starting all over again is too daunting a prospect to contemplate.

So sometimes we wait in vain because we want the years we’ve invested in a person to count for something – we want it all to have been worthwhile.

Too many people just won’t cut their losses – they don’t want to be a laughing stock; they don’t want to lose the image they cultivated for years as one half of a couple.

So they wait in vain – give up on opportunities to travel, to explore, to pursue certain careers or further certain goals – academic or otherwise – because they want to stay with the one they love. They don’t want make decisions that will jeopardize the stability of the relationship because being in a stable relationship guarantees them a greater chance of getting married and so they sacrifice – sacrifice and wait in vain.

In the end I think we wait in vain because we’re afraid that we’ll be sorry if we never find someone as “wonderful” as the person we’re with. We wait because we’re convinced a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.

...sometimes when we lose hope it is the only way we can let go

We wait because we have expectations and dreams we’ve built around that individual and we’re not willing to relinquish those aspirations. No. We want it to work. We want to make it work. So we wait… and wait… and wait. But it’s all in vain.

Perhaps the problem with hope is that it is seductive, luring us into a false sense of security, enabling us to hold on to our illusions a little longer – permitting us to make our fanciful wishes appear legitimate and sapping our will to walk away.

…is anyone worth it?

Recently, a 16 year old girl was lured into a house, tortured, assaulted and disfigured because she was suspected of being involved with a married man.

Her attackers were a 22 year old woman (the wife of the man) along with the sisters of the married man who are still in their teens.

The story makes for a spine-chilling read and demonstrates the most barbaric, horrific and brutal acts of cruelty women inflict on one another in their bid to win or keep a man’s heart.

The trio lured that 16 year old to their house under the pretext that they would help her to secure a job as a house maid and the unsuspecting teenager paid them a visit.

They beat her up severely, they burnt plastics and let the molten liquid drip onto her inner thighs as “punishment” for her being a prostitute who slept around with married men.

They forced her to drink their urine and then broke pieces of glass which they used to write the insult, “wule” (whore) on her forehead and her back – then to make sure that the marking becomes permanent – they used pieces of crushed charcoal to write over the cut and broken skin.

It has taken a while for the sense of outrage that first consumed me at the news of this vicious attack to subside.

And now I have since had occasion to wonder about the man at the centre of these despicable acts – I wonder what he looks like.

Does he have the face of an angel… is he handsome beyond compare that anyone would go to such great lengths to mutilate another person over him? Does he have a six-pack and oodles of sex appeal?

Does he shit gold and pee honey? What makes him special, worthy and deserving of women to go to such extreme lengths to keep him?

Does he have loads of money, a fancy car or is he endowed with a record-breaking lengthy male appendage?

Or perhaps he has charm, intellect and irresistible charisma? Or maybe he exudes power, confidence and success? Or is he kind, loving, gentle and generous? Is he tender, compassionate, devoted and loyal?

What are his credentials as a man and as a useful member of humanity?

I mean where’s his damn CV so I can at least understand why these women went on a rampage over him like that?

Is there any man worth it?

If there is – point me towards him, please.

I just wanna know what kind of man it takes to invoke such senseless, mindless and needless malicious sadism.

Has any woman ever fought for or over a man who was really worth it? And has any man fought over a woman who was worth it?

In fact, is anyone worth it – is anyone worth getting maimed for or worth maiming for?