Source: The Fairytale
Like most things in life, this heading is misleading…
I don’t have much recollection of this part of my journey but the blank spots came straight from many horses mouth. And I don’t know how easy it will be for me to bring this story to life, not because I will struggle with words but because it’s damn near the hardest. I try to detach and look from outside in to capture this part with little feelings but my heart flutters thinking of the magnitude this story had on my life.
“You are forbidden to bring that child in here, her mother said. Another illegitimate child, eighteen months after the first? Take it away as here is no place for it” She did the next best thing, taking it to the father’s sixty year old mother, who has survived two world wars and had her fair share of hardships in life.
Abandoned at two months old, scarcely dressed and struggling to breath, my life in the ghettos started..
Knobby knees, round red cheeks, a plat either side of my head tied with two massive ribbons bigger than the plats I sat legs swinging in the pews, blissfully unaware of who I am. I only have eyes for her. She’s so soft, I don’t believe I’ve felt anything so comforting ever again in my life. I play with her beautiful hands, and kiss her on her full mouth ” I love you mommy”. “And I love you too, sssh now and be quite”
I realized I am alone again, without her, my rock, my comfort, my protector. I’m starting to hyperventilate because I know what’s about to happen next, I am going to be punished for something, but not sure what. I never understood why she hated me so much. I couldn’t have done something so bad in the short time I’ve been on the earth? She tells me how ugly I am and reminds me that he is not my father…my blood is not the same as his. And all that I’ve done is trying to mess up her life. Why,why, why..she asked while filling the bath to the brim with ice cold water..I stand whimpering in the corner, waiting on my faith..I don’t know what it will be but I know she’s going to punish me for who I am..But who am I?
I struggle to breath, and before I could get enough air in my already struggling lungs, I get plunged to the bottom, pulled up again, pushed down again, sputtering water, lungs burning, silent tears running down my face…what did I do?? I lived? I existed, I was born..and was it for this?.. “You don’t say a word” and I never did…shaking my head furiously, hoping that she spent her anger..until the next time.
Who is this man? , a stranger in my house, patting my head, smiling, handing me sweets but as quickly as it happened it was gone..She couldn’t see that ever, and I realized that after a while. I see his nervousness when she’s around, he doesn’t even look my way. I wanted that smile again, the mirrored image of my granny’s. Who is this man?
I have done something terribly wrong to my stepmother for her to hate me this much.
( it’s the present time and I can’t sleep…I puff up the pillows..maybe I can get in a paragraph or two..)
She reminds me of Goldilocks…she had gold spun hair, fair complexion, a full mouth and apart from the scar running from just above her eye to just below her cheekbone, I think she was the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen. This part of my history is not her fault, she was a child herself seeking to belong. Many years later I realized that we share the same father, of course I was the ugly duckling and she was the beautiful Swan. And she shared the same hatred and resentment towards me as my stepmother, at the time I had no idea why, and neither did she..
We were both used as puppets and were strung along when and where needed.
I am the center character in the Fairytale we got to know and love as kids.., Cinderella. But I just wanted to be loved and liked and this was the quest I seek until I reached my forties. By now I don’t want to belong, I do belong. I’ve built my own cocoon of love and stability. I dictate who I want in my life..but the story continues long before I find the peace and contentment I now have.
I have so many invisible scars inflicted by the past that I sometimes don’t believe I’ve ever outlived them, or ever will.
Then there are the visible scars..the mark around my neck of being hung with a scarf, a cigarette burn in the face, I can’t stand my hair being touched as it was pulled and jerked every time I would walk pass them, all because I’ve existed. The injustices however did not define my destiny. I am the one who came out tops, I am the whimpering, scared innocent little girl that survived all of this and I wasn’t the one carrying the burden of guilt. They have inadvertently made me into a protective and caring mother.
My biggest regret is that my children was robbed of a grandfather. It took them forty years to say “We are sorry, we were young and made stupid decisions”, a lifetime of lost opportunities trapped in a few meaningless words. Their decisions is what carved my relationship, I could never just think about myself, of what will make me happy, I never had the guts to make a selfish decision to give up, because of them I’ve vowed that my children will never grow up without their parents…no matter what…. the decisions they’ve made sooo many years ago, the lack of thought, the selfishness has ultimately resonated in my life.
When the most amazing man come into my life, or should I rather say, when I stumbled into his life I found it extremely difficult to say “daddy”. My father in law knew this and he made this transition so much easier, he showed me how to trust again.
( The present…every so often I can hardly see what I’m typing, I can only feel, it’s still so hard, it feels like it was yesterday..)
The words I’ve been waiting for all my life, the moment I had envisage in a million different scenarios, the stage I’ve set was nothing to the silence I felt..the emptiness, the lack of emotions..I am detached, and cannot truly say that I have made light of their burden. Many will say you forgive and forget, but do you really….? I couldn’t give them the closure they seek if I was denied entry…
Wow I’m super excited, I’m finally here after procrastinating forever. I’m a mom of three beautiful well balanced kids and recently a single mom. Growing up was hardly a walk in the park but for others it’s normally ten times harder…I believe in counting your blessings and be grateful for the heap you have, never envy the next, try to be true to yourself, marriage can only work on a solid, honest foundation, don’t stay angry, never question loyalty, be straight up, look after yourself, smell great and don’t judge.
After years of hard work I am a qualified accountant during the day and a great mom the rest of the time. I believe in always feeling good and looking good. I am by far the biggest Whitney Houston fan and music was always part of my life growing up and I dance like no one is watching always bopping to music.
Yoga is by far the best exertion one should allow. It stills the mind ( and this is not something that comes easy to me, being the Queen of multitasking!) it tones the body and it gives you that extra patience, something I’m lacking and not proud of.
Two of my best sayings are 1. Listen to understand and not to answer 2. Your staff is a reflection of you.
I am an avid, borderline, obsessive reader! I’ve started reading from the time I could 🙂 writing was always on the cards..And whoop, I’m here, at this point, bubbling with pent up stories!. I’m writing about my journey first, as I believe writing comes from something…so here goes..
High five! And stay around…
Where do I start…? I wonder if I’ve chosen the right heading . We all start being a follower to someone you believe is a role model, be it a teacher, your best friend or gangster in the neighborhood. I was once a follower who idolized people that has very little or no common sense. I cringe when I think of it. .I have learned however that is what it is
I come from poverty and hunger and begging. I should maybe have said I come from ” difficulty”..hmm that would be”mincing” words and I don’t want to do that here..This is where I’m baring my soul and say it like it is.
I remember having plants on our stoep, stuffed in coffee tins with soiled sand on the second floor,2 bedroom flat, somewhere in the ghettos. Always a hustle and bustle..my son now refers to it as ” always alive with possibilities”. How ironic that at the time there was hardly a possibility..It always seemed so hard, so out of reach…
When watering the plants in the morning, I could easily transport myself to a greater world, a world where I was walking through a magnificent garden filled with every possible flower. Seeing how flower buds push their way to full bloom and how everything looks bright and beautiful. But hearing a siren in the background, that fantasy is crushed as quickly and believable as much as how unbelievable it was. Quickly shooing the little girl inside who was enjoying the few minutes of adventure, even though it was only sitting on the stoep, playing with her meagre toys…ended that fantasy. Once you inside the cozy, sparse furniture flat, the lost opportunity is forgotten..You learn to accept, to adapt and know that that will soon passes and not long, rumors will circulate as who the unlucky person was who got locked up in jail,or who’s demise was long time coming.
This is all done in the midst of soaked washing flapping in the centre, desperately trying to dry. Whilst listening to that mindless chatter, of how bad or good the person was, how long jail time is forecasted, how many lives he has taken, and how he has put food on people’s table and yes he was good…. I came to realize that ambition is no where to be found in the ghettos unless you go seek it.
This inspiration I found in books, endless and endless reading I am going to carve it, I’m going to grasp it, I’m going to make it mine.
Having to put food on the table was one of my biggest daily challenges. I have 5 mouths to feed and have no idea how this was going to happen, but my granny always said God helps those who helps themselves. Still what to do? I have two sets of baby eyes looking at me, begging me to feed them. Do I share the last two slices of bread between them now or shall I get dinner sorted, feed them and then at least there will be two slices of bread for breakfast the following morning. Healthy porridge was for the rich and was only one of many dreams.
Dinner can only be organised with the four rand I have or do I go borrow another two rand from the neighbor which means I would be able to buy a half a loaf of bread as well…
Seeing everybody sated makes the humiliation I had to endure all worth it. Silent promises were made, ambition always there…this is all going to change, please God!
I now know why I don’t appreciate crowds in a small space as we never lacked hordes of people in our house. I witnessed many things that a child my age shouldn’t had to. I can’t imagine having my sweet twelve year old daughter exposed to that maze of confusion, the groping, the foul mouths, the smell of alcohol, the music constantly blaring away until the early hours of the morning and picking up the pieces after the last two bodies stumble out the door.
The dawn of a new week is here, all of last week to be repeated, keeping granny comfortable not forgetting her insulin injection, wiping of a continuous running nose, airing out a wet mattress, airing out the chaos, letting in my dreams of making my life a complete opposite of the only life I know…the little girl with the two ponytails and chubby cheeks long forgotten. Rushing through my chores to find the solace I crave, that I need, to keep sane, barely hanging on for dear life, running but not moving to devour the next book, where I will find all of this and where no one else can find me…