Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down.
And I’d like to take a minute,
Just sit right there,
I’ll tell you how my children taught me self-cav*, and healed me.
So, remember when I said I’m done making babies, and then my ancestors said YOU THOUGHT and sent bats to announce our pregnancy with Yeye? No? Here’s a recap:
Our pregnancy came at the end of a very busy year for me, dlozically as a brand new gobela (I’d been trying to avoid this as well). With the support of my gobela, I had initiated new izangoma with roots in Lesotho and Zimbabwe so I travelled a lot!
Initiating women who are around my age, and are also mothers, made me wonder how my life would have been, if I had become a sangoma later in my life, instead of at 23.
Living with idlozi for most of my life, I have struggled to articulate “who” I am, in the way people like to ask women to define themselves outside of their relationships and kinship with others.
I’ve struggled to reconcile the spiritual authority and sacred sight of my practice, through the Gifts of Spirit from amadlozi, WHILE having to live in constant surrender of, and faith in the unknown and intangible in my own life. I don’t really even know where idlozi ends, and I begin…is there even a distinction?
Pregnancy for me, has been a similar experience of surrender and service, having to share my body and life forever with someone in a way where I can’t even imagine anything else. I am in awe, grateful, growing, exhausted, annoyed and deeply in love… The relationships with my children and amadlozi make me both powerful and vulnerable beyond measure.
Both ubungoma and motherhood, especially Yeye’s Tadaaahhh! have brought me closer to understanding my Self, and individuality as intrinsically woven into a tapestry of past, present and future; with those around, and within me – a concept I once resisted in pursuit of the “English” type of self-centred individuality and autonomy that sold me dreams. TBH, Shit is mad alienating.
Every single time I’d get to a point of actualising a self-centred version of my autonomy, I’d get boombasted with something that tied me to a past or future, and made me question what I thought I knew about independence and being my own person.
Puberty – BAM 💥 spiritual gifts and idlozi. Early adulthood – BAM 💥intwaso…late 20s, just as I found my rhythm as a single woman in the city, BAM 💥 I’m coupled up and having a baby, then another one. Just as I got used to that…BAM 💥 amathwasa…and then when I finally began to get my head around having biological and spiritual children, BAM 💥 enter Yeye.
Now, I’m not saying I have no agency, or that my life happens at me. I’m just saying there is a Guidance in my life that is beyond my desires, intentions and influence. There is a me that expands beyond this moment. It’s been very important for me to remember and re-accept the following lessons from my children and amadlozi so that I stay strong and also humble.
1. Just because I’m not ready, doesn’t mean it’s not time
Our children and my Gogo gyaldem shook up my life and challenged me to grow and step up in ways I just wasn’t prepared for (and didn’t want to, really. It’s petulant but true) I had to deal with my shit quickfast to give the guidance and leadership they deserved. I wasn’t ready, but it was time. Some days I still feel like I’m still not ready, but oksalayo, I’m within, and I’m bringing the pots.
The best things for my life and bigger picture, aren’t always pleasant, simple or convenient for me. I have had my heart broken and spirit shaken while on the journey to a better me. The lie of the “English Me” had me almost believing that if something is meant for me, it will flow sweet and easy like Christmas custard over canned peaches. Nope. Sometimes the best thing comes with struggle, and struggle isn’t always synonymous with suffering.
3. Self-cav is the best cav’
I spent many years feeling fearful of scrutiny and failure, and feeling undeserving of my accomplishments and the support of my community. Just watching my children grow has taught me so much. Children DGAF. They celebrate themselves unapologetically, push ALL the boundaries to learn something new, and they just don’t give up. They live entirely in the moment.
Seeing my babies just gooi on the daily, has inspired me so much. I want them to grow their little sparks of life into huge flames, and I need to honour them by fanning my own.
I am Mama, Gogo and Baba. I am me, and I’m part of a Cosmic “We” – a cell in the organism of family and community. Super important and tiny. Remembering to see myself in this context has helped me to find courage and confidence to live my best life, because really, what’s fear and failure when I’m cocooned in ubuntu and love of generations?
I imagine my entire bloodline and the cosmos just laughing at me, every time I thought I could define myself on my lonesome as if I materialised from thin air.
I didn’t come into, and survive this world alone, neither did my parents, nor their parents before them…and so it is with our children too.
* Self-cav : self awareness, self-confidence, recognition of one’s worth.