29 Days to 30; Changes

What has changed about me in the past 2 years? That’s what this post is about today. I sometimes used to think my sister was faking her eyesight or lack thereof when she spoke about failing to see someone that was just a few meters away from her. She could recognize it was a person but who it was she could never tell. 2 years ago #bang, genetic and karma bit me in the behind. It feels like it just happened. I didn’t see it coming. It’s like I could see perfectly today, then the next day I couldn’t, just like that.

I however only got glasses this year and now I am singing ‘I can see clearly now…’. But funny thing is even though my eyesight had become bad it isn’t that which got me to the optician but the migraines. If the migraines had not intensified, I am not sure if 2 years was as long as I would have stayed without bothering to get checked out. It is important to take care of yourself and your body, it’s the only place you will live in for your whole life.

I had literally become a druggy. The last 5weeks before getting glasses I felt like i was dying. I was literally surviving on pain killer. I’d take a dose every 4 hours but the migraines would not go away. I couldn’t actually remember what it felt like to be normal and not constantly feel pain. It really made me appreciate good health, something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. And people should stop assuming that a headache and migraine are the same thing; stop telling people to drink more water. It’s not about the water, it goes deeper than that.

The past 2 years have also changed how I see things (not physically). I now can pin point what makes me happy and do the most of that. Quiet often people know what they do not like or what pisses them off but we focus on the negative so much that we do not take time to determine what it is that makes us happy; flip the coin and focus on the positive. My last 2 birthdays have been celebrated doing something I am passionate about. I have decided to share my cake and birthday with little boys and girls that may never get the chance to celebrate birthdays the way I was blessed enough to growing up. The past 2 birthdays have been some of the greatest memories.

So much can change in 2 years, but even as people grow apart, seasons change; some things also remain constant. What has remained constant in your life?

#29daysto30
#may4yacho

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28 days to 30; What I wear to bed

So every time I decide to sleep naked I cannot help but remember that story of a fire that broke out at a house in the night and the occupants had to run out naked. #laughs.

It reminds me of 1 time in Maine when the fire alarm went off around 3am and we all had to leave the building. It was such a cold day outside, but because the heating system inside was really warm all I had on was a t-shirt. Now imagine waking up from a deep sleep at 3am to a fire alarm. All I managed to grab was my dressing gown and wore my morning sleepers. People wear the weirdest things to bed though, no one was laughing at anyone because we all looked some type of way.

What do you wear to bed? And why?

#28daysto30

#may4yacho

30 Days to 30; Weird things I do when I am alone #day30

The countdown continues. But just that now it goes a notch higher. With 30days to go, I am so ready for everything that the 30s have to offer. Many people wonder why May4 is such a big deal, and also wonder why I am excited to age. Well, you will soon find out. But bottom line, celebrate it or not, you are getting older.

I generally am considered weird by most of my friends and family, so I guess I do more weird things in public then even more in private. I talk to myself often #weird. I enjoy my own conversations and I tend to answer a lot of my own questions. When I drive alone the conversations get deeper, and I often continue with these conversations when I get out to open the gate. I am so sure those that hear me think I actually have someone else in the car. My partner thinks out loud and talks to himself often. I always laugh at him but he doesn’t know that I talk to myself when alone too. #laughs. Here are a few of the reasons why I talk to myself, you will understand after this.

I turn 30 in 30 days, join and enjoy the countdown.

#30daystogo

#since1988

#sofarsogood

#may4yacho

Besides talking to myself, I also scratch my bum and I take imaginary alcoholic shots 😆.

Enjoy conversations with yourself, how do you expect others to enjoy conversations with you if you don’t- Tinashe Madamombe (2018)

When Men Stand-Up for Women

When the He4She campaign came up I was or maybe still am a typical radical feminist about that view and thought *shoot me* #laughs. But I still believe that men should just allow. Many a times women are told they cannot achieve change without the help of men…eerrrmmm, wrong. Tell me women cannot achieve change without the help of other women and I will agree. I would rather the support and vote of the majority than the minority but then again that is a story for another day.

I received these images and story via a Whatsapp group from my church [disclaimer – I have not verified these reports but the placards speak the message]. We were not allowed to discuss this issue on the group for reasons beyond most of us, but because it involved something I am passionate about (women) I was itching to say more about it. So here I am taking it to my blog.

This was the message; “Nemaziso angu aya, nhasi ndaona mashura. Was in church minutes ago. Mufundisi vepa Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Dzivarasekwa circuit received an embarassment of a lifetime.Just as he was ready to preach varume vemu church vasimuka with placards written, “USANYENGA VAKADZI VEVANHU CHIGABA” Ambo freezer, akazowana hake maguts ekufamba achibuda coz abva anzi don’t preach hako, we will find another preacher. Ma funnies ini neimwe almost third of the church tabudawo. Ranga richanzwika shokoipapo? Problem ndiReverand here or madzimai ainyengwa acho ndodambudziko. A wasted Sunday, can’t even believe it happened right in my face”,

(directly translated this would read – with my own eyes today i witnessed a shocker. I was in church minutes ago The reverend from the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, Dzivarasekwa circuit received an embarrassment of a lifetime. Just as he was ready to preach, some men from the church stood up with placards written “DO NOT MAKE LOVE ADVANCES TOWARDS PEOPLE’S WIVES”. He froze for a while before getting the guts to walk out as he had been told not to preach as they would find another preacher. These were jokes, then about a third of the church and I also walked out. Would hearing the word have been possible after this? Is the reverend the problem or the women are the problem? A wasted Sunday, can’t even believe it happened right in my face).

First thing, it is pleasing when men start to get it and stand up against sexual harassment. These kind of issues have been swept under the carpet, especially in the church where not only do the women speak out, but even when they do, they are met with various threats and shaming from other congregants. When women do speak out, they risk being judged, being shunned by the church and it is very common that women are made to feel like they are to blame for these advances – do not mention if this woman is a widow, single mother, or a young adult. When women speak out, the issues are likely to be covered up not by the congregants alone,but also by the clergy #touch_not_the_anointed. But who stands up for the women who do not have a male figure to stand up for them? Who stands up for the widows and the single mothers? In the same breath I salute these men that were able to stand up to this abuse.

Secondly, can we talk and answer that last question asked by whoever wrote this message that was forwarded. They ask if the reverend is to blame or if the women are to blame. let’s just stop there. It is common for the first questions and the blame to be put on the victim, shifting the blame from the perpetrator. These kind of questions are amongst reasons why women do not report sexual harassment.

According to a research done by RAU, the problem of sexual harassment stems from the history of our country. Zimbabwe is a patriarchal society and women are often raised to be submissive to men even in cases where they are abused. Many feel powerless to challenge things that make them feel uncomfortable. When a woman does raise issues of sexual harassment she also risks becoming the subject of scrutiny; her dressing, her conduct, her lifestyle. She is often blamed for the behavior of the perpetrator. So sexual harassment continues to be a problem, something that we do not talk about yet it happens in our society all the time.

The other day i felt violated when one of the pastors only used words that describe the physical structures of the girls as the good on them. I remember complaining about it but after I did I started questioning my own complaint; was I being too sensitive, was I over-scrutinizing the whole incident? Was I over-imagining what had just been said? Not being allowed to discuss issues that include the story shared on the group about the reverend that was abusing women remains to show the oppression that continues not only in the church but in society. There are issues you are not allowed to challenge, once you challenge the status quo you are considered a rebel.

New Year, New Me

You honestly do not need the  first of January to change old habits or your character. This is just the begining of a different calendar month and year but change really can just happen at any time that you decide on changing. I guess it is easier to start on a clean slate together with the calendar year but how often do people keep up with this 1st of January craze?
 I miss writing and blogging most times and I have figured that if I do not physically and consciously challenge myself I begin to neglect my outlet and hence I begin to lose myself. So here goes another personal challenge for the next 31 days…get ready for a blog a day. September 2017 was a great month for me. It was as if I found purpose and fulfilled one of the reasons I was born for. The Blogtember challenge really challenged me and revived my passion for writing.

If you are a first of January person, my thoughts and opinions are that find something that excites you and do it. Something that ignites the fire in you, something that you are passionate about. Even if you are not a new year, new me person, find your passion and keep it alive. If you love collecting stamps, maybe you enjoy site seeing, or maybe it is volunteering; find it and do it.

Often society suppresses our passions by underestimating them, don’t dim your light…allow yourself to flourish.

I wish you all a blessed and prosperous 2018. May it be filled with passion and excitement.

Tears may fade, or do they really?

10 years later and I still find myself wondering how life would have been if  you were here. Stupid right? I’m meant to be over it by now, well moved on and having let go of all the memories I have.

It sometimes feels as if you were here this minute, then the next you were gone. As if you just left. I obviously would have wished you had been around longer to watch me grow, to watch  find myself and to watch me blossom.

For years I blamed myself; just maybe if you had waited for me to come and get you, maybe the accident would not have happened. If you had just agreed to wait…but destiny and fate were already at play.

I am greatful for the times we shared. I am greatful for the love you had for me. I am angry at your mistakes. I am greatful for your belief in me. Thank you for the memories we shared. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for allowing me to be me.

When fathers are present, and loving, their daughters develop a strong sense of self and are more confident in their abilities.

In order to develop positive self-esteem, a healthy father-daughter bond is key.

But when do you really get over the loss of a loved one? How many years or months does it take? 

When you Lose a Loved One to Cancer #Pinktober

Anonymous
I am a 28 year old Zimbabwean working as a receptionist. I am recently married and the last born in a family of 3, I have older sister and brother.
My mother was a book keeper. She was a mother of three and was married for over 30 years. My mother was strong willed and believed very much in God. She never doubted him.
She was diagnosed sometime in 1992 with breast cancer and won the fight, well so we thought. 10years later she was diagnosed with stomach cancer stage. She got really sick and weak kept going to the doctors and one even told her it was a mental disorder. A year or so later she just fell to the floor in pain and was rushed to hospital. A few nights before my grade 7 dance I was called to the room and my parents told me that she was given six months to live. I was young and I didn’t really know what was going on, I did not quite understand what it all meant. I guess all that hit me was that I might not get to see her again. Ever. Scary for a kid of 12. From there all I remember is growing up with the screaming from pain, vomiting and ups and downs. Up and downs from when she would be dancing to her favourite song to where she couldn’t get out of bed. From when we would sit as a family and have a meal to when she just couldn’t eat anymore.
It was the hardest, most painful and amazing journey of my life. To see someone you love dying in front of you and not be able to do anything to help them. She pushed me away so I wouldn’t get hurt but I saw more from the outside than they did from the inside. In a way my child hood was taken away from me. All the same, I wouldn’t be the women I am without seeing her be as strong, as happy and as grateful as she was for every day she had to live. It never broke her nor did cancer ever rule her life. She became close with God and together they went through this. I will never understand it but I will always admire everything I saw in her.
My family has cancer in both sides but mostly on my mother’s side. Her dad died of cancer, so did her brother. My mother and then my cousin (mom’s brother’s child) also died of cancer. I have never been tested and fear taking the chance of getting tested.
During this difficult time I was going through I lost almost every friend I had but one. Some of my family (uncles and cousins) that had nothing to do with my mother and some that my mother didn’t like craved the attention of someone in there family being dead. The same people looked forward to what belongings of hers they could get. It was a challenge we faced alone with my siblings. No one could understand nor did they know what to say so they distanced themselves from the unknown so as to protect themselves I am sure.
My resilience and strength came from the fight my mother put up; from her attitude of ‘life is what you make it’ and her trust in God which she had all the way to the end. Something else that got me through this journey is my belief in God and believing that he had a reason for everything, through to this day. I hated and I was angry. I couldn’t understand why us, why me; what did we do wrong? Were we cursed? Are we cursed? Did God think we were not good enough for him to let us go through everything we did? These were all the questions I had, and the emotions I felt.
The last thing is what message would I give to other women that maybe going through a similar journey? Maybe you have just found out that someone close to you has cancer, or maybe you are living with a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer, or you have lost a loved one to cancer. Don’t worry about how everyone thinks you should handle this do it your way go through this your way. If you have cancer fight but enjoy life and don’t forget that living for tomorrow is not more important then enjoying today. That goes for those watching a loved one with cancer dying too. Once they are gone it’s a whole different story, nothing is the same and you can’t wish them back-so don’t run or hide from this. Be together, embrace each other’s company, talk about everything, live as much as life together gives you. You will miss them at your wedding and miss them through everything else. Losing them is hard and the memories of watching them die stays with you. It’s what you do with that that matters. Let their death be a reminder that you come from a strong family and do your best to be happy as they live on within you. There is probably not much more I can say because it’s different for everyone. JUST REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of the disease. It is also important to document local stories of women’s journeys in this fight. Very often we read about the journey of women in another country, which at times sounds foreign. 

This series of local stories from local women aims at encouraging other women that may be going through a similar journey and also to encourage young women to get screened early, as early detection saves lives. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 1.38 million new cases and 458 000 deaths from breast cancer each year (IARC Globocan, 2008). Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the dieses remains the cornerstoneof breast cancer control. When breast cancer is detected early, and in adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured.

It is Finished #Blogtember

Day 30 of 30. I guess I can call myself a blogger now right? 

It has been a great journey. Not only have I enjoyed the tough experience but it has also reaffirmed that I enjoy writing, especially documenting women’s stories. Reading from other bloggers also opened my mind to different ways of thinking. Being part of the bloggers chat group introduced me to a space of respect and good conversation. Nothing is more enjoyable than knowing you can share your views and opinions freely with no judgement and also having an open minded conversation.

Wait…My blog followers and readership also increased. Woop woop. The scariest thing when you share what you have written is having to face the criticism. Not everyone enjoys hearing a different pespective. The joys of not agreeing with what someone else thinks is the respect that comes with it. Knowing you can share your thoughts and opinions but having people that can respect the difference in thoughts is a healthy environment. 
Wow, add the role of my accountability partner. I had days I did not want to blog but he would not let me. I’d often get the “we are waiting for today’s read”. I’d hear that more than I’d have wanted to. But it got me writing. 

What next? October  is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I will be documenting stories from young women cancer survivors, those who have cancer and those that have taken care of loved ones with cancer or those that have lost a loved one to cancer. The voice of young women is important to document in history (herstory), not only for later reference but because these stories may help someone going through the same or a similar experience. Watch the blog and other spaces for these and other stories.

I Kept Making Excuses for Him

I met him at the age of eighteen and he was two years older than me, ready to settle down. He was all I wanted in a man, tall, dark chocolate skin, and handsome. As if his physic wasn’t enough, he was focused, determined, respectful, loving and a go getter. His character and appearance combined made him simply irresistible. I was in love, and two years down the line we got married and I got pregnant. After our third child is when he started coming back home late, having unexplained work trips and the arguments had increased. What was wrong with me, was I not bathing enough? Had the sex become ‘not good enough’? Had I gained too much weight? Was I simply no longer woman enough for him?
He had changed, changed from the person I fell in love with. It felt like I was living with a stranger, someone I had never met and not the person I had said ‘I DO’ to. The children no longer knew him, he had become a visitor in his own home. I initially followed the cultural advice that since the man was the head of the house, you could not question his behavior (hanzi murume haabvunzwe). Rumors started building up that he was seeing another woman, I was in disbelief, in denial, and never imagined that a man that used to adore me that much would opt for another. What was wrong with me, was I not intelligent enough? Did I not dress up smart enough? Was I not cooking well enough? Was I simply no longer woman enough for him?

The day I decided to question him is the day everything completely changed. I had spotted his car at a local flat and after lying about his whereabouts that afternoon I told him I had seen him. He admitted to having a girlfriend but insisted I had to be punished for questioning his behavior. I had married a monster, my very own lover had become my very own abuser. All I did was cover my face as he bashed and shamed me, little did I know that my youngest child was watching. After this day I prayed he would change, I fasted for that man that I had fallen for to return. I blamed evil spirits and in my heart I believed he would change. This was not the last time he ‘punished me’, I had literally become his punching bag. When he had had a bad day, when he had had a fight with his girlfriend, or any other day, I had become his stress reliever. I needed to tell someone, but cultural advice that I had been given continued ringing in my head. (Chakafukidza dzimba matenga), you had to keep to yourself and not let the world know what was happening in your house. What curse had God brought into my home? What sin so big had I committed to deserve this kind of punishment? Had I not submitted all by plans to God prior to my marriage? Was I simply no longer woman   enough for him?

The day he came and told me his girlfriend was pregnant and he wanted to marry her is when I finally discovered that I was not the problem and neither was God. All this time I had blamed other people for his shortcomings and all his outbursts. Him banging the door in my face; waking up with a black eye and making excuses to the world on how I had banged my head on the cupboard. I had gone for years making excuses for him and blaming myself yet I was not the problem, neither was God but he was. I had not gained too much weight, the sex was still good enough, I was bathing just right, I was still intelligent, I still dressed up just right, my cooking was still on point, God was still God and I definitely still was woman enough! 
This is my mother’s story, her body, her right, she felt violated. Violated by the man she loved, and still loved, but after all the bashing and buttering, she had had enough and had the strength to leave. She had the strength to make the decision that she had had enough and it was time to take back her body, and her right. The day my father bashed her I was the daughter that was watching and this memory had lived with me twenty-five years down the line. 

Now, I am stuck in an abusive relationship. I have been making excuses because he does not beat me up, never has he laid his hand on me. However, he has raped me a number of times – he calls it conjugal rights because I am his wife. He does not allow me to work and says he will provide all I need but I have to account for every cent spent. All the nasty words you can think of, he has called me those. At times I wish he would slap me instead of the names he calls me. Why am I still here? Why am I still making excuses for him? It is easy to understand how you can go from an abusive parent to an abusive husband – or indeed to become an abuser yourself. It is a familiar place in emotional terms. It has a safety of its own. You understand the dynamics of abuse even if you don’t like them.
Day 29 of the #30DayAfriBlogger challenge and we talk about toxic relationships. Most of us know when we are in one but we keep at it for one reason or another. It is important to look at the reasons why women stay in abusive relationships but equally important is why some men are abusive. Knowing that you are toxic can be the root change for your next relationship. This can even be a simple friendship. Maybe you know you give crap advice as a friend, or maybe you have nothing to offer in a friendship; fixing that about yourself may reduce the toxiticy in your friendships.

If you don’t like it don’t look at it

The question for day 23 of the #30DayAfriblogger challenge is “would you let you significant other police your dressing’. Yes, this is another that I started but never got to post. But as I play catch up on the last day, here it is.
Subconsciously and sometimes intentionally we do not necessarily police what our significant others do or wear but we blackmail them into it. He can often say ‘Women who wear short dresses and short are doing so to seek attention’ or you often hear him pass bad comments towards women who wear heavy make-up. He won’t necessarily say it to you directly but he will pass suggestions that will ring in your mind the next time you are putting on that make up and suddenly you tone it down yourself. The next time you are putting on shorts you may start feeling as if you are losing confidence in yourself as you play those words you have heard before.
My answer to this is, yes he can, but he MAY not. Advising each other on what to wear for what occasion is different from policing. When visiting his side of the family my partner can tell me if what I am wearing is appropriate or not for his family and so forth. And when visiting my family the same.    
Women are being policed about what they wear, what they say, what they do, how they walk and a whole lot of other things. As a partner it would be great if you just gave her a break and allow her to flourish. At the same time, if you are attracted to women who wear very long dresses and no pants then stop dating women who want to show off their skin. The math is simple right. If you do not like men that wear skinny jeans then stop looking at them then try to change them when you enter into a relationship.

Funny we complain about our significant other policing what we wear yet most of us have grown up with parents that would police what we wear. It’s unfortunate for women who technically change ownership from the hands of a policing father to the hands of a policing partner. The struggle doesn’t end.