Triple M

“And they lived happily ever after…”

somebody lied.


More like “and they lived with each other, in love, frustration, annoyance, effort, passive aggression, tears, 3 day tension, passion and quiet friendship”… and when they had kids, they lived in exhaustion, money-woes, what-are-we-doing-are-we-raising-these-kids-well, super quiet rounds, and “it’s your turn to change the nappy”.  In those nyovadam days, especially when children are under 3 years old, happyhappy is just a song by Pharrell.

Happiness is just one of the many emotions and experiences of marriage and motherhood. And I don’t think it’s even necessarily the most important one. Not all the time, at least.
Maybe that’s just me. 

Wait… let me explain – I don’t buy the idea of happiness as we are expected to consume, perform or experience it in this world, you know, in this age of mass consumption, instant gratification and self-at-centre isolating individualism…that thing.

Joy, peace, ubuntu, positive effort, …yes, I know all about these spirit places. Pooping butterflies and rainbows? Nah. This world can turn Sarafina into Maleficent.

Maybe because I’ve become so accustomed to the deep, still and sometimes heavy darkness of ubungoma, and I gave birth in flames of pain and “fuuuuccckkkk I’m gonna die”. I’m just not swayed. My lessons have come from unlikely places, so I STFU as a form of meditation now.

I’ve grown up afflicted in the way spirit mediums are afflicted by love, empathy and psychic sight. And then I became afflicted in the way of mothers who have taken on too much for others and too little for themselves. Imagine the combination. I invented umzwangedwa*.


Am I unhappy? No, my life full of joy, peace and wonder. I’m just not always happy in the ‘English’ sense of the word. It is complex. I don’t know how I do it, but here I am.

Taking care of my mental health, in our marriage and my mother self is a delicate embrace-surrender-release balance. I need to (remember to) constantly check in with myself and my husband so that I stay present in our love and life, while honouring the tides of my internal seas.

I’ve blogged before about the importance of medical help, routine, spiritual practice and naps for my mental health so in this post I’d like to share my inner dialogue practice for when I hit a wobble.

1. What is the truth?

Anxiety tells me ugly lies about who I am and what is happening. This question helps me to find the truth, embrace challenges and surrender to the unexpected. It also helps me to release harsh self-criticism.

2. How does it feel?

My go to response used to be “I’m tired” when I may have actually been feeling sad, overwhelmed, frustrated or even just hungry. Scanning my body and heart before I answer that question helps me to embrace my vulnerability, surrender to my humanity and my limits, and release guilt.

3. What do I need?

This one is the most difficult question because it often means reaching out to others for support and help, which I must feel allowed to, to begin with (see 1).

When I am honest and vocal about my feelings, I can embrace my husband’s affection, tenderness and acts of service without feeling like Rapunzel. I can embrace my friends’ kindness and surrender to the generosity of my community. I also learn to release my sterring tendencies and be taken of.

On my bad days I only have one question for myself: “WTFWTFWTF?!” but it’s too late because I’ve freestyled my way into adulthood, did grown up things like marry a man, and now there are these two kids in our house looking at me like I know what I’m doing because I’m big and they want me to take my knowledge to the kitchen to make snacks.

* umzwangedwa – describes complex internal experiences and emotions that may cause a person to feel low/conflicted/isolated

Private Practice 

Happy New Year. Wow. It’s nice to be here. We have just passed the equinox*, signalling the new Spring Season, uMandulo: The Time of Beginnings, as well as a Black Moon*. 

 I’d like to thank my ancestors for being so advanced in science, mathematics and life in general, that they aligned with and charted their life cycles by the seasons, sun, stars and moon. 

Ashe. Ashe. 

The year 20Nywiwing was a year of big lessons (again), big realisations  (again) and  great challenges  (ugh). My whole life nje is just one looonnnggg schooling. 

Me, this whole year: weeehhh kanti how much more do I need to release, resolve and unlearn?! Akhant.

Guidance: Congratulations, that’s  wonderful. Continue, avoidance champion. * proceeds to fuck up all my shit *

 ALL my worst behaviour, patterns and nightmares came through like “oh, you thought we were resolved because you know all about us and talk about us in English, praxis nywaxis.”

 This past year was truly the year amadlozi stopped playing with me, and you, and the whole world, just look around. Baptism by fire, baba. 

I thought I was so grown, resolved, woke and spiritually evolved, getting married, raising kids and talking to spirits, becoming a gobela…kanti I have not even begun. Hello 30s. Moer.

These Flames of Verstaan that have engulfed my life since puberty were just getting me to the starting line. For fuck’s sake.
  

I know I have work to do. I just don’t always feel like doing it. I don’t want to know better, I don’t want to do better…I don’t want know or try. I just don’t want.

But I am a person, one in a bloodline, under stars…a link in a chain, so even when I don’t want, I will learn and heal and grow. I must. Guidance, nature and my ancestors make the things to be done, dark or blue.

For example: My life’s milestones all occur in Autumn (March/April) and in Spring (September/October). Not much happens in my life over winter, so I also try to lay low during that time.

The moon rules my cycle. I don’t even use an app to track the moon’s phases because my uterus stays doing the most.

The planets are also outchea, also, but don’t know these conjunct and retrograde things, I feel them all but I am lazy to read about them, so I listen to and learn from those who know.

I don’t know it all, but I try to be prepared to receive what I need to know, when the time is right. These are some of my personal practices for mindfulness, clarity and grounding: 
1. Paper Trail 

I try to write twice a day – morning pages and journal in the evening. I find that when I can be still, and write, it brings mindfulness to my emotions and spirit. Guidance is clear, and I get a chance to focus on what is inside me, and in my dreams, rather than what’s out there in the world (on my phone, I never leave the house)

2. Keep it Clean 

I don’t like to do housework but I find it therapeutic. When I am feeling mentally cluttered or anxious, I do housework to get some relief. Doing repetitive tasks (like scrubbing or dusting in the house, or watering and weeding in the garden) is a form of meditation I can vibe with. I can get out of my brain (when it’s a trifling mess) and into my body. My spirit can power down, during those times.

3. Let it go

I try to do a big clean out every spring and autumn. Those are also the seasons for big changes in my life. I try to meet those changes by being as open via clearing out my living space. I never know what changes are coming, but they always do, at the same time every year.  I don’t know what is coming this year, but something is going to happen. I can feel it.

4. Ask for help

I have a great network – friends, family, doctors, etc who are always open and ready with help and support…but…this one is still very difficult for me. I’m very hard on myself and overly concerned about burdening others. I can accept help when it’s offered but I don’t always know when or how to ask. When I do eventually ask for help, I always wonder why I don’t do it more often…

5. Say it Loud

 I am always praying. Like, always. Informally, I stay connected in spirit when I am chopping vegetables or driving, I give thanks, ask for guidance in my day, find my zen when I get pissed off…

I ask other people to pray with me and for me. I receive prayer in gratitude from friends and family. 

Prayer is the most grounding and consistently peacebringing of my personal practices. 

I have umsamo**  where I kneel and speak formally through ukuphahla, using impepho and candles, to amadlozi as my elders guiding me. 

I often still use the songs and scriptures I learnt growing up, to connect with the Divine.

6. Nice Things 

I eat, do, buy, bathe in, create and enjoy them whenever possible. I deserve.

Obviously I (and we, as a couple) have a bunch of other practices that are embedded in my practice as isangoma. But these are my daily, safe to share with ya’ll practices that don’t require you to be a super-saiyan somebody. It’s important that your personal practice is expressed within parameters of spiritual safety and cultural sensibility. 

I am still learning to balance True Guidance with preparedness, I am continually learning to be deliberate and open, but I would like to add that I am quite fucking advanced in the spiritual connection department.
—-

On Offerings and connecting in spirit https://youtu.be/4amkYOH-__k

* For you to research 

** sacred space in a home where rituals and ukuphahla are done.

Motherhood is…

M is for “Moer.” Never Again. Nope. No more children 😑✋

O is for “Ok” as I surrender our children’s lives to the guidance of ancestors because they don’t even care, they just gooi. Zero sense of danger 😓👏

T is for “Tonic” as in Gin and Tonic 😠🍸

H is for “Halala” when we survive a day of tantrums, interrupted naps & potty disasters, and still get them to bed in record time, while the foundation of our marriage remains unshaken in the process.💑💏

E is for “Easy” which is our lives,  never again 🙈😥

R is for “right there” because he knows exactly how and where 🔥😍

H is for “Help” I didn’t know I was allowed to ask for. And the hell of that all. I know better now. 😧😧

O is for “Ohm” when I meditate and find peace because someone (usually grandparents) has fed the kids something I asked them not to.😱😰

O is for “Overheads” because shit is expensive.😱😬

D is for “Dates” what we do alone, to be together, away from our kids, only to spend the whole time talking about them 👀👀

Weekend Special

As I type this, I am lying alone, as in, by myself at my mother’s house. Where are the children, you ask? Not with me.

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It all started when I was on the verge of losing my shit (once again) and my mum asked my brother and skwiza to take Kima for the afternoon to hang out with his cousins. They kept him overnight. He didn’t die. I didn’t die. Nini joined them, and they’ve been there for a few days. OK, they’ve been there for many days.

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It’s a bittersweet feeling. Our kids are old enough to make their own missions with our family, which means rest and QT for us. Yay. Then we miss them and phone, but they are too busy rolling in the dirt to speak to us. Ugh. If they don’t miss us, what are we? Bad parents? What happens now? Do we have to make another baby who will love us? Let’s just go fetch them before they forget all about us…

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The first time we left them for more than 12 hours, was 2 weekends ago, to attend dear friend’s wedding. We were out there in The Midlands, confused by all the peace and quiet; we scrolled through our phones looking at pictures and videos of our Leadership, chesties trending. Phela a weekend is a long time when you’ve left your hearts in another town.

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1 Hour later:
Whats a “children”? Is that an app?

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We had the whole weekend alone – long conversations, silences, dinners, rounds. Aaaah….This is who we are, kanti. We are not just a tag team against the United Long Ting Force and Allied Cuteness. We are also lovers, individuals. We like to nap and chill…and this is what it feels like to lay in a bed and not be treated like a jungle gym. It’s nice to be here. Shiiiine.

We left them again this past weekend when we went to Mpumalanga on my Gobela duties. Imagine. We were away from our children for two weekends in a row. Wow. And it was fine, you know?!

In the past:

Family: let us take the kids for a while, you need to rest/be together/get things done

Me: OMG Yes Please

Anxiety/Guilt and Other Useless but pervasive feelings of Parenthood:

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It turns out that we are still parents who love our children, even when we let people who are not us, take care of our children for us, so that we can do other important things, like work, or each other.

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This Lemonade Tastes Like Medicine

When I first watched Lemonade I was like “is Bey really doing what I think she’s doing? What’s happening?!” I doubted myself because I had had my edges snatched and obviously was in shock and hallucinating.

So I watched again, with a semblence of calm. My sangoma eyes were seeing things in the videos and I don’t think they were simply visual references.

All this water, black womyn, choice of colours, drum beat and bass…it reminded me of something I know very well – sacred, feminine spiritual practice. Ah! Bey! Just like that? YAAAS! Slay us and bring us back to life!

Last night I woke alliancepartner up at like 02:00 because I finally joined the dots. Lemonade is saying exactly what I need it to say to me right now. As a young healer, I draw strength and affirmation from the work of my ancestors recognised and so beautifully presented by Beyoncé and her teams. Is she not one of the most powerful minds and voices of our generation? She is. End of story.

So I lay quitely, being snuggled by my husband (who’s in trouble like all the world’s men right now). All the while, my mind raced between 1. Yoruba sacred practice and deities; adapted& disguised practices in the Diaspora, like Santeria& Candomble which were born in the waters that were the passage of our stolen people to foreign lands. 2. Similarities and parallels between WestAfricancestral practice, her Diaspora daughters and  our very own Southern African spiritual practices both in ubungoma and Postoli faith (which adapted and evolved in very similar ways to Diaspora spiritual practices) And 3. How does Beyoncé weave all this so seamlessly into her visual album and snatch the whole world’s edges and bring what I interpret as necessary and overdue healing and the beginning of a rebirth for the bodies and spirits of black womynhood.

Obviously she’s speaking as an African American womyn,  but there is so much in the imagery and symbolism that I can identify in our own practices, rites rituals and experiences.

As isangoma, I interpreted some aspects of the album to be a creative representation of the ritual of Ukufemba: a ritual where a medium channels the umNdau* water spirit, which in turn embodies people, spirits, and other celestial beings to perform a cleansing ritual on a subject, or subjects, by ‘sweeping’ the body of subject/s from toe to head, picking up dis-ease, malaise and curses from the subject/s into themselves, and the medium using their body and life force to transport the curse or whatever and leave it at the water. The ritual centres around water, fire, song, the use of colours, dance, numbers and money – again, similar to the Postoli faith practices and Santeria.

I will not go into each individual song but you will feel it when you see it.

Beyoncé is the medium, the initiated healer – initiated by virtue and fire of her black womynhood. We are the subjects.

What is the link between Santeria, Orisha, Sacred Feminine, umNdau and ukufemba?  Water. I also note the lunar significance of the Lemonade release.

Bey brought alladat.

Bey is invoking THE feminine archetypes that are at the very base and pinnacle of our beliefs and sacred practice from all over the continent and Diaspora – Crone, Mother, Maiden: Nomhhoyi, Yemoja, Oshun, Nomkhubulwane. I refer to both Zulu and Yoruba Deities and archetypes because I see them all in Lemonade.

She is channeling the lives of the women in her lineage including her own mother, sister and daughter (and channeling herself in those respective roles) – singing, dancing, fucking shit up and celebrating – sweeping the collective body of Us to draw out, enact, and destroy the violence, hopeless hope, defeat, whatthefuckery of all our efforts and betrayals to rebirth Us all over again in our ancient and current carnations. There’s something visceral and personal in Lemonade. This album is medicine.

It feels like she’s letting us know that she knows that all the womyn in her and our breath and bones are fed the fuck up from fighting and loving but being rewarded with murder. she’s also saying they/we are still outchea. Even though we are also dead. You know, like ancestors do.

She also served the necessary and often shunned darkness and madness of the healing path. She’s tryna wear another’s skin on her skin and confetti herself with teeth. I am here for it!

Her words “Try not to hurt yourself” are an incantation AND a threat as much as they are a statement of power reclamation and Universal Truth. “Mfkr, when you end me, you end yourself. Dafuq you think this is?” And this has basically been the motto of black Grancestry since since. Mbuya Nehanda epitomised this. You feel me?!

And the whole menses and holy book vibe? Because we know that the world’s biggest religions were butchered and removed by force from between the secret lips of the Divine Feminine. Levels.

Who can craft ancient rites – birth, death, banishment, coming of age and the madness of black womyn pain so deliberately, with both subtlety and boldness into mainstream culture and wrap it all in breathtaking music and visuals? Bey. And she knows exactly what the fuck she is doing. She’s encoded her album and woven symbols, lessons, affirmations, war and love for us to take what we need, even if it is only our blood that recognises that need. This is for us.

umNdau* water spirit : guardian spirit relayed to our bloodline through commerce or conquest. Takes care of the material and sexual aspects of out lives – resides in the root chakra

Two Legit

I’ve been into Yung$tunna’s  room like 4 times tonight. He’s finally asleep, but not before making me eat so rough, I’m contemplating popping four more Biral for my nerves.

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He’s gotten into a new habit of wailing as soon as the lights are off and the door is closed. You go in, he wants a towel, or a toy, or an extra blanket, no, not that towel…nywe nywe until he’s so worked up we have to start the bedtime routine from scratch. Tonight, he’s snuggled with a tv remote, giant cowry shell,wooden truck, fluffy penguin, water bottle, two towels and three blankets.

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Usually, Alliancepartner handles BabyLeader’s bedtime while I handle TheOga (she’s 11 months old now, so she’s not so tiny anymore) and when he keeps getting sucked into His Majesty’s chambers over some manipulatears, I always side-eye him because I think he can be too lenient.

Me, when alliancepartner is dealing with bedtime wahala: Don’t pander to him. Don’t let him smell your weakness.

Me, when I’m dealing with bedtime wahala: I can’t let my baby cry like that!

The inverse also applies, by the way. I’m not the only Judgey McJudgerson. That is why it helps us to check in with each other and take turns to do annoying, frustrating parental duties, it breeds patience and understanding. The only way is to tag team the hell out of this thing. Kids are tricky.

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Our toddler is always trying his luck and being defiant while totally still being a baby at the same time, who needs patience and guidance.

He needs boundaries and discipline as much as he needs room to express himself, learn his lessons and be guided through the consequences of his actions as well.

We’ve discussed a variety of approaches and theories on how to survive the Terrible-Twos, but we actually had to just pay attention to the child in front of us, to develop a way that works for us as parents, and for who Yung $tunna is as a person.

1. Routine:

He’s very secure in his environment because we try to keep the basics the same on the daily. He always knows what is happening next. If there are any changes, we speak to him. We have found that if he is comfortable and familiar with what’s happening around him, he’s a lot more chilled.

What he learns:
– There is a time and place for everything.
– We’ve got his back.
– We see him.

What we learn:
– Consideration of his space, needs and feelings.
– The importance of communication.
– How to continually establish a stable and safe environment for him, and our family as a whole.

2. Consistency:

Once we say no, it’s (usually) no. So if he wants to do something and we say no, 8/10, we stick to it even if he screams. The rest of the time, we just give in because we want him to STFU or realise that it’s not that deep.

What he learns:
– There are rules.
– Tears don’t always count for shit
– We are in charge.
– We as parents can make mistakes and/or change our minds

What we learn:
– To be firm and honest.
– To set a precedent of the way our family works.
– A bit of flexibility is needed sometimes AKA don’t sweat the small stuff.

3. Fairness and Positive Affirmation:

We feel that it’s important to discipline in a way that our he understands that we can disapprove of certain actions while still totally loving him. We believe that discipline is not just about discouraging behaviour that has a negative impact, it is also about instilling a desire to behave in a way that is positive. Discipline is also about empathy which you can’t teach by telling, you can only teach by showing.

What he learns:
– Actions have consequences.
– Getting into trouble doesn’t mean he’s    not loved.
– To consider the impact of his behaviour on people around him.

What we learn:
– To use our words and tone carefully – say what we mean and mean what we say.
– To be mindful of our authority.
– To apologise when we are wrong or hurtful
– To comfort him when a tantrum turns to distress because he’s still learning himself, shame.

In a month’s time, before we have even been able to catch our breath, TheOga will be turning a year old, so we will be revising these lessons, while teaching and learning new ones, as her personality and character continue to take shape.

We are about to have two toddlers, and practically double Terrible-Twos, which is ok, I guess, because we will die once, and then come back to life just in time to have two teens. Khalil Gibran’s prose on children did *not* prepare us for this.

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Living and Loving

Before we had our children, we asked ourselves and each other questions about if and how we would love our children because phela we didn’t know what it would feel like. How will we know if we truly love our children? What if they really irritate us? What if they grow up to vote for the DA?

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At first, loving two children was a bit confusing because ok sho, there’s all this love but it’s completely different for each child, so I worried that maybe I wasn’t being a good parent because I didn’t love my children in the same way.

This caused me to reevaluate what I thought love was, and how I felt about myself as a mother in general. And I confronted a whole lot of muck about feeling inadequate, and guilty and and and, which I’ve shared about a lot in previous posts.

I eventually came to a place of resolution and peace that fine, I don’t love our children the same, because they are not the same, but I love them equally.

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When Kima was born, I fell in love with him exactly how I loved him with all the stars in the sky, when he first appeared to me in a dream in 2008. My whole everything radiated love for him. I didn’t think I had the capacity for more love, and then we had Nini (who was a complete mystery to me, plus her pregnancy was very difficult) but there was more love, a whole ‘nother love, a new love.

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The love I have for them is dynamic and infinite. It grows with them and reflects their needs and uniqueness.

Sometimes this love causes me to pray gazillions of gratitude into the heavens, sometimes it’s the only thing stopping me from running out of the house and going to The Saxon to spend our grocery budget on champagne.

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Learning and embracing all the different ways I love my children has brought new dimensions to how I love myself and how alliancepartner and I love each other as lovers, friends and co-parents.

We can be selfless while putting ourselves first. We can give and give and take and take while our hearts and spirits remain full. Love is whatever it needs to be, and does whatever it needs to do. It’s work and sustenance; it’s a challenge, lesson, and an affirmation.

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