Keep Going

I checked the weather prediction as always before leaving the house, the prediction was that there was a 35% chance of rain by the time I would be walking back from my Sunday walk. I had it all calculated, 30 minutes walk to the park – sit around and read a chapter of a book, enjoy the sound of water and appreciate nature then another 30 minutes walk back home. I am sure by now you can already guess what might have happened. 5 minutes into my walk it starts to get cloudy and windy, so I keep walking, bearing in mind the weather prediction, I still felt safe. A further 10 minutes and the wind continues but it also starts to drizzle…2 minutes later, heavy drizzle. I hesitate for a few minutes and start talking to myself as per usual. ‘Turn back…wait for the bus instead (then I discovered the next bus would be in 40 minutes)…okay just keep going, you are already half way there and you are already wet.”

I decided to keep going, to say the least i was pretty much drenched because the water and the wind were clearly conniving against me. I was going against the wind, so that meant my whole front was wet, and the back was dry. I made it to the park and after a little while it stopped raining and I managed to sit down for a while. If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s taught me mostly that regardless of the amount of planning or predictions, things may change.

As I was walking back, the sky had cleared and it had become sunny. It was warm enough to even remove my jacket and warm enough to dry up by the time I get home. As I walked back something kept ringing in my head – the power of not giving up. In my reflection as I walked back I thought someone probably needs to hear this; maybe you are facing difficulties as you try to achieve a certain goal (this will mean different things to different people) and you feel like turning back, yet you are already half way through – just keep going. You will walk in the sun again, and the sun will dry up all that you are going through now. Tough times never last they say (someone said, not if you are Zimbabwean, #funny_notfunny), but the truth is tough times really never last, the sun will still shine and if you can, enjoy the rain as you walk through it #smile_through_it_all, even when it hurts

P.S – listen to Even when it hurts – Hillsongs United, after reading this, you’re welcome.

Re-Naming

So now that you have met yourself, what name would you give yourself? Would it be able to encompass all that you have become? Would it tell the story of all that you have un-become? What would your name describe, your best parts or the flaws? Would your name tell what you think about yourself or will it project what others think about you?

Now that I have met myself, I would name myself Murwi (Fighter) – I have fought many battles that no-one knows about and I have come out strong.

Now that I have met myself – I would name myself Zvivindi (Brave) – I have managed to achieve so much that was beyond my ability. I have stepped into places that I had no human right to have been and thrived.

Now that I have met myself – I would name myself Chandagwinyira (Stubborn) – because of the many things and person I have refused to be due to expectations or because I was told to. For knowing that I can achieve all that I have set my mind on.

Now that I have met myself – I would name myself Nyasha (Grace) – because this describes my life journey and many undeserved mercies in my life path.

Now that I have met myself I would name myself Muchero (Fruit) – just because I can. For no reason at all.

Now that you have met yourself, is everything that you are determined by your environment and your surroundings? Is all that you are shaped by what everyone else thinks about you and never about what your heart and mind wants or believes?

Would you name yourself after a tree, your favorite color, your favorite place or car? What’s your new name?

Credit for the thought provoking prompt – @catbeloved

From Zimbabwe, with Blogs

Day 7 of the #WinterABC2020 blogging challenge and today is pretty easy because I just have to share the content of other bloggers. Easy and exciting at the same time. I have been reading some of the content coming in from other bloggers during this challenge, exceptional content I should say. Today I will share some bloggers that I have interacted with over the years but are not part of this challenge. If you love content that is different and of a different narrative, you need to check these out;

  1. Bhachura Diaries

So I have it on “drunk” word that my milk is now sour. Yes drunk word. And no, not the store bought milk in my fridge. My breast milk!!!! 🤣 not a laughing matter though, because apparently no one wants sour milk! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Okay let me “sober” up 😂😂😂😂 and tell you the story.

Mukaka Wakakora…

2. Sassy African Feminista

So no one had ever dared to ask me anything until recently a woman who is not a regular at our meetings, asked me why I keep using maiden name instead of my husband’s.’
‘I don’t use my husband’ surname. I didnt change my surname to his.’
‘But still you can just say you are Mai Chawatama, even without changing surnames.’
‘I just choose not to use his surname. I prefer mine.’

For many people a woman insisting on referring to herself by her own family name is a sign of disrespect for her husband. A lot of older women in my church circles still call me Mai Chawatama and I answer to that graciously, but I never introduce myself anywhere as Mai or Mrs or Godess Chawatama. But why is the surname issue so important to me? Because it is, VERY important to me.

The Surname Issue: to change or not to change

3. Faith Panashe

Chest pains do not even begin to describe the feeling you get when you find out your ex has settled with the girl he cheated on you with.

Its one thing to move on from the relationship and its a whole new scenario that needs healing when he finally marries this girl.

All along you have been hoping he slips up and she finds out the douche he actually is, but no he’s actually her prince charming.

It makes you feel like shit ! Unworthy, unwanted. Where did you go wrong? What did you not do? But maybe to make you feel better what did could you not tolerate, you know what, same difference. He still settled with the girl he cheated on you with.

When Your Ex Marries The Girl He Cheated With

4. Catkai

This is for the girl who never felt like her boy cousins were better than her. The one who could give as much as she got and would squint her eyes at injustice and stand up to the adults who were not used to being questioned. That girl who ones asked a teacher to apologize for teasing a girl who could do nothing about her height, or the shapeless uniforms her parents got for her. The girl who remembers her name was Tsitsi. The girl who remembers the boy who hung himself in the toilet at home after using all his fees to buy stuff for the girls who wouldn’t give him the time of day otherwise. The girl who remembers seeing him in his coffin, wondering why he didn’t look like the boy named Archford. The girl who did not know that in the future she would consider suicide and wonder what it is about death that made people we knew, strangers.

This is for the girl who felt Pacesetters were below her being simplistic in their stories. The girl who would rather read poetry and Greek mythology before anyone thought she should. The girl who was once told by a teacher that her composition was too good to have been written by her not knowing she had the imagination, the range. Sad

This is for the girl whose Mama used to shout at her for drawing tattoos on her hands and arms with mighty markers because she saw the body art of wrestlers and she liked it.

Dear Me…

5. Be sure to check out the various bloggers from all over the world that are taking part in this winter blogging challenge.The content will jjust blow you away, guaranteed. Check out the list here.

Not my Monkey, Not my Circus

You don’t have to engage with all the content available on social media. Sometimes it’s okay to just let it pass. And other times it is okay to ask to continue the same conversation over the phone or at least in person…there is so much to be misunderstood via social media and if you encounter this, it may have an impact of your relationships. What you feed your soul isn’t only what you eat, but what you read and what you see and what you engage in; be watchful of what you decide to feed your soul.

During the second week of the lock down I just got up and deleted my social media Apps – I needed the break, The constant bad news, a clicking counter of deaths around the world, conspiracy theories, added to some more bad news – the whole combination was giving me literal anxiety attacks and a mild mix of depression. The detox for the few days made such a great difference and even when I reloaded the Apps, I was managing to limit my time on social media and this has had a great impact on my sanity. Second lesson from social media for me is; it’s okay to take time away which is closely linked to having learnt that too much social media is not good for anyone, well at least not me.

Thirdly, social media has taught me to stay in my lane. There is so much pressure on social media, so much so that if you fail to stay true to yourself you will put enough the pressure for yourself in wanting to achieve what someone else has. One of the biggest lessons has been to stay true to yourself.

Lastly, the realization that social media is toxic may assist in the way that one approaches it. Zimbabwe social media for example has become more and more toxic. There is a lot of hate going around and depending on the ‘streets’ you hang around, and it has often led to unwarranted abuse of women. So do you reinstate the common patriarchal stereotype that ‘women should only speak when spoken to’ in a way to avoid the online violence against women? But regardless of women’s silence on social media, they’re still subjected to verbal violence and threats, some that they often fear will not only end in the DM which then restricts their movement and increases their fear even when going around.

Bonus lesson/approach – Parts of the poem by Rudyard Kipling’s titled ‘IF’ generally summarizes the lessons from social media and a some what best approach to social media for me;

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Ndingati uri munhu (pa social media) mwanangu…

Jill of all Trades, Master of (none) All

If you were in my class, I am pretty sure I would probe more questions than answers, I would provoke more conversation than teach. So here goes for this class today; I was going to say Jill of all trades and mistress of all, but knowing you, my students, (that you do not associate mistress with being a feminine of master) I will use master as a universal term. If we turn your books to page 15 you will see that it reads ‘The feminine word for master is “mistress “. … It’s “mistress”, but nobody really uses “mistress” to mean “a female expert”, “master” is used for both genders in that sense, in fact it usually refers to a woman in a relationship with a married man, who is not his wife.’ But we move along;

Class in Session…

I was told to choose one, I could only be this but not the other. In form 3 I made first team for both Basket Ball and Hockey, my coach told me to choose one. I had to put all my effort into one, but why couldn’t I be good at both? At some point it became about either focusing on academics or sports, then about focusing on a business or a career. We’re taught throughout our lives to pick something and specialize at it. Think of the classic “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question, as if you can only be one thing. Patrick Allan says specializing certainly has a multitude of undeniable benefits, but it’s not necessarily the only way to find success in life.

I have always wanted to be this and that at the same time, I wanted to make use of all the hours of my day doing not only one thing but all I heard was a Jack (Jill for that matter) of all trades is a master of none, but is that even true or right? I know there are some benefits that come from focusing on just one thing but it surely is possible to focus on different things that you are talented in, that you are passionate about and still be able to thrive at them all. Many people have had to give up on a talent and focus on another because they were told it was the only way they could become a master. It is only recently that I read about Deborah from the bible;

Women often get overlooked in the Old Testament, but Deborah is one spectacular exception. As a military leader, poet, prophet and judge, she used her talents to inspire Israel during a dark time. Deborah won her fame leading a desperate nation to victory. With Israel under the thumb of a cruel foreign ruler, she gave orders for Barak to lead a revolt. He refused to go unless brave Deborah would agree to accompany him into battle. With her giving the orders, Israel’s ten thousand troops routed a better-equipped enemy. Deborah’s triumph led to 40 years of peace. It is hard to think of an area in which Deborah did not excel. She was a mother and wife. Her wisdom was so renowned that people brought their disputes to her as she sat under a large palm tree, the Palm of Deborah. As a prophet, she had the ability to understand God’s message and relay it to his people. When she sent Barak into battle, she stated it this way; “The Lord, the God of Israel commands you…” (Judges 4:6). Finally, Deborah was an accomplished poet, as chapter 5 of Judges demonstrates. One of the oldest and most expressive poems in the Bible, it was sung as a duet by Barak and Deborah, but the words give Deborah proper credit (Judges 5:7). Throughout the Bible we can hardly find a more well-rounded leader, male or female, than Deborah.

Multi-talented women

So wait a minute, you can actually be a Jill of all trades and be a master of them all? James Liu suggests that you can not be a jack jill-of-all-trades without being a master of at least one. Perhaps it is social skill, doll making, mathematics, language, emotional awareness—you must be a master of at least one in order to be a jack Jill of many others.

If you take away nothing else from this class today, take this at least; Some of the benefits of being a Jill of all trades in this modern day society are;

  1. You are adaptable
  2. You learn how to learn
  3. You fit well into leadership roles
  4. You build more confidence in your life
  5. Variety is the spice of life.

Homework

– In what areas could you develop your talents and passion to become more well-rounded?

– What talents have you had to let go of to make way for another or to only focus on one?

– Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of being a Jill of all trades here

Class dismissed – homework will be marked out of 50 points and is due in the next class!

Becoming…A Journey not a Destination

“All we can see are fibroids which we will have to remove sooner or later”. The doctor tried to explain this to my mother but she was convinced that she was carrying just more than a fibroid, and indeed she was. A miracle child she says, though she hoped this would not be her last and tried to escape the scheduled day for her c-section waiting a further 12 days in an attempt to have a natural birth but as fate had it, the operation still continued.

Born on Wednesday the 4th of May, 12 days later than the Estimated Day of Arrival (22 April) and named Tinashe (meaning God is with us) by her elder brother, the miracle of how she could have been ‘removed’ as a fibroid explains why she goes crazy with her birthday, starting an official countdown 100 days before.

They say the two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you discover why #profound. Whilst others may have their path laid out straight for them, finding herself took the longer route but once she did – living with purpose brought a whole new meaning to life.

From enrolling at a local university for a Network Engineering program, to dropping out and later enrolling for a Chemical Engineering program and dropping out again – talk about confusion right? Well, some called it that but she is grateful to her family that understood it as finding herself. From starting businesses, thriving at them, failing at them and then picking up again to going through a pit of depression and managing to pull out – her journey through the darkest stages is what has made her who she is today. She is still becoming, but the journey is now on a different path.

If someone 10 years ago had told Tinashe that she would be studying towards her master’s degree in 2020 in a foreign land on a fully funded scholarship that she earned by grace and merit, she would have laughed. If someone 10 years ago would have told Tinashe that she would not only be pursuing a career but one she actually enjoys waking up to and feels passionate about, even those around her would have laughed too. If someone 10 years ago would have told Tinashe as she lay in a dark room that there was light at the end of the tunnel, she surely wouldn’t have believed them.

Becoming…it is a journey and not a destination – this is not the end of her story but the goodness is that it has BEGUN!

Come Dine With (Me) You

“Fonera baba vako uvabvunze kuti vanoda kudya nei manheru.” (call your dad and ask him what he wants to have for supper).

This was a daily call that had to be made every day. By the time he came back from work the food had to be ready, regardless of days that I had stayed late at work, or days that I had to attend to school functions at one of the children’s schools. If I didn’t make the call myself, one of the children made it on our way home after the daily school run.

It was my birthday that week and my best friend asked me out to dinner to a local restaurant of my choice. I could pick depending on what exactly I liked to eat. What I liked to eat? I don’t even remember the last time that question had been directed at me. Did I even know what I enjoyed eating, I didn’t even remember what I liked to eat before. My whole eating pattern was determined by the children or my partner – it was easier that way. The family comes first right? My needs can come after that. Are my needs really important though?

source – multibhashi.com

The thought of picking a favorite place to eat took me way back, back to growing up in a family where as children we were never asked what we felt like having for dinner, you ate what was there and what had been made. On a bad day you may have been told to leave it if it wasn’t something you liked. On a normal day I would be forced to finish all that was on my plate regardless of if I enjoyed eating it or not. Choice was never in the vocab. I had moved from that into this; same script different cast.

source – netclipart.com

This goes deeper, a favorite movie, a favorite place, just a favorite. It is easy to loose yourself as a person when you begin putting others before yourself. You tend to loose what makes you, you. After I had thought long and hard about where to eat with my best friend for my birthday, I responded – “You can pick a place, I do not mind”.

We look for answers outside ourselves.
Some women usually feel like they have to get permission from Daddy. Or Mommy. Or the stand-ins for those folks, like our partners or our boss. We run to “Honey, should I do this thing?” versus “Honey, there is this amazing thing I am longing to do – can you help me figure out how?” We have absolutely no training in how to source ourselves and our nearest and dearest from the clarity of our desire. It is time for us to enroll others in support of what it is we want, and to teach everyone in our world to conspire with us. – Linda Edgecombe

Why the Munhukadzi Blog?

My goal and hope is always that at least one person who reads a post from my blog can identify with the situation I will be addressing. Not only identify with the particular issue but also to start identifying issues of gender based violence and mental health in their own life and that of the people around them.

My hope is always that just one person is able to get out of a situation that they are in or to prevent a situation after reading a blog post. The goal is that someone learns from the mistakes of others and not have to live through the same thing, of if they do, to know that they are not alone.

My hope is that my blog encourages someone to start something they have been pushing aside because they do not think they are good enough. Maybe that thing is not blogging, or writing, or journaling, but whatever it is, my blog goal is to encourage just one person to do that thing that nurtures their soul, regardless of how good (or not) they or anyone else think they are.

The main goal is that my blog may represent a space where we can challenge the status quo and also bring awareness on issues that are not always spoken about. I won’t say the blogging streets are safe and accepting, but the goal is to write to trigger conversations least spoken about.

The name munhukadzi is a Shona word meaning woman. Ndini munhukadzi, I AM WOMAN (as broken English as that may be, lol…that’s exactly what I meant). The personal is political, every issue is a feminist issue and in any way possible it will be blogged about in this space.

#WinterABC2020

At this point I am considering turning this blog into a #challenge blog seeing as if the majority of posts have now come from the various challenges I have taken part in. That’s not a bad thing right? But it really would be better to run different blogs that focus on specific different topics – I am seriously considering. This month of June I have taken up the challenge to participate in the #WinterABC2020 which is a blogging challenge for African bloggers put together by @AfroBloggers .

My name is Tinashe, most of my friends call me Tina but most people know me as Madaz. I am a ‘not-so-consistent’ blogger but I journal more than I publish I should say. My blogging journey started as a journaling journey which I had begun using as a method to get out of depression. I wrote about it is another post which you can read here. I blog with a gender lens and use the experiences of both myself and those around me to especially bring out issues surrounding domestic violence and mental health issues.

I enjoy these blogging challenges because they get me to publish vs. keeping many posts as ‘drafts’ . It may be summer where I am based at the moment but it’s winter were I originate from. Blogging challenges have also been a great way to meet other bloggers from different parts of the world and more than the writing, I enjoy reading the different content. I am looking forward to the challenge and to meeting new bloggers and interacting with new content.

Let the games begin, I am here for it!

Periods in Pandemics

I woke up so confused, my body kinda felt weird. How they had explained it in the ‘girls only session’ was not what it felt like. Thinking back to it now, I am not sure if anyone could have actually explained how it would feel like. It was a school day and sooner or later I had to explain to my parents why I was taking so long to get ready for school. I took a bath and started psyching up to how I would be say it. I secretly hoped one of my parents would leave the bedroom so that I could have my mother alone, after all men were not supposed to know about periods right?

noone left the bedroom and I also did not want to be late for school so I just had to break the news, ‘if I die I die’ kind of moment. I walked in and headed to my mum’s side of the bed and whispered ‘mama ndiri kubuda ropa’ (mum I am bleeding) and you can imagine what her next question was; not even in a whispering voice #palmface. I whispered again, I don’t even know why I was whispering because my dad had obviously heard already. After mentioning that I had been bleeding ‘down there’ my mum quickly got out of bed and brought some pads to my room.

As the years went by I found it embarrassing to walk into a shop and only purchase pads, it was a constant reminder that no-one had to know that you were on your period. The other difficult bit was disposing off sanitary wear when at school or in public places. I was in boarding school at a mission school for form one and I remember we had a duty roaster to go and throw out the used sanitary for the whole hostel in the school incinerator; this was one of the worst duty days you could have, ever! Something that I found different and fascinating was how we all disposed our sanitary wear differently and also how different women used different sanitary products.

My period was always irregular from then on, I also had no period pain or signs that my period was coming, it would just arrive. I could never estimate my days and on many occasions I would only discover when I went to the toilet that Aunty Rose had arrived. Whilst my friends called this lucky (which I appreciate that I was blessed) but what I lacked in period pain, I received in 7 days of heavy bleeding. I have managed to use the period tracker for a few years now which has helped with predictions but I won’t even talk how this is a real form of data harvesting by companies. The connection between my app and my social media platforms is also unbelievable. If I forget to log in my period, I begin to be shown more baby adverts on social media, lol.

My heavy bleeding has over the years made it a big stretch on the pocket every month when purchasing sanitary wear because it means I need more packets than average. Imagine life on days you cannot afford, or on days in this pandemic where women have lost their income during this pandemic. Somethings got to give in some instances; women will forgo sanitary wear for the upkeep of the family and choose food over pads. How are women that already could not afford sanitary wear doing in this period? They are once again led to using unconventional products which in turn result in negative health effects in the long run.

The World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020 theme is ‘Periods in Pandemic’ and the idea behind choosing this theme is to highlight how the challenges faced by women during menstruation have worsened due to the ongoing pandemic. The main idea behind marking this day is to change the social stigma associated with menstruation. The date May 28 was chosen to observe the day because on an average the menstrual cycle for most women is 28 days and the menstruation period for most women is for five days. Hence, the date was kept as 28/5.

What challenges have you been facing during your menstruation both before and during the pandemic? What challenges do you face with your period in general?