But I Can’t Blow Smoke-rings (A story)

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Sometimes I sit on my bed and smoke, and think about the things I’ve seen and heard; think about life, basically.

A man once told me that I’m an idiot for not using my God-given power. I’d asked him for a smoke in a club and he looked me up and down while opening his cigarette case. Oh yes. An ornate thing, red and gold, with white cigarettes neatly side by side on red velvet(een) inside. He picked one up and I checked out his hands. Nope. Not my type. He handed it to me.
“You’re a typical woman. Not smart.”
I took the cigarette, intrigued.
“Oh?”
“You’re a beautiful woman, you could get any man in here to give you anything you want, but you’re asking for a cigarette.”
I smiled at him, because he clearly thought he was telling me something I didn’t know. 
And then I answered, after taking a sip of my drink, and placing the short glass back on the bar. Yes, the drink magically appears. Deal. I told him,
“What I want from a man, sex can’t buy, because what I’m offering isn’t something money can purchase.  So, technically and potentially I could get any man to give me anything money can buy based on the monetary value we both place on my physical assets, except that’s not what I’m selling. What is the cost of a cigarette? A conversation in a bar. What do you get? To talk to a beautiful woman. A fair exchange.” I shrugged. He opened his mouth to speak but I’m yet to meet the man who can stop me in full flow.
“But getting to know me, really know me, and being known by me, spending time in my company and being loved by me? Money can’t buy that. And that’s what I’m looking for: the man who’ll take my loving in exchange for giving me his, another fair exchange.”
He’d been sipping his own drink as I spoke, and now he put it down next to mine, and held out a lighter. I cupped my hand around his and with the other put the cigarette to my lips and lit it. Then the conversation continued. He spoke first. 
“You talk a lot. That’s why you’re single.”

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Dreaming My Dreams

I want to tell you about my birthday, because I know you’ll get it. We’ll laugh about it, about the deep pleasures of simple things, of being free; and then we’ll talk about freedom and try to pin down what it looks like. And then you’ll tell me that you’re free, and I’ll chuckle to myself and think -free your thinking. But I’ll not say that out loud because you know, I don’t want to go too deep, because you’re not ready. But I want to pretend you are. I’m ready for the dream to come true -you know it, we’ve talked about it, but yet you’re still not quite ready. It’s going to be a fantastic ride, and I would have been, too (but then you know that); I wish you could come with me. But ke, this is life, and in life shit happens. So I can’t tell you about what I did for my birthday, or discuss the finer points of freedom with you, you’re not here. You’re not here; perhaps you were a dream, a foreshadowing of greater things to come.

On Love and Time

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I examined the picture above and I had to admit that that is the image of a mature woman, a grown-up. It is clear that I’ve done all my growing.

I thought I’d be saddened by this especially since I’m currently struggling with other realities of aging (such as salt&pepper hair (you know where!) and stubborn jelly-belly), but the realisation that I am no longer a girl, that I no longer even look like one, and that therefore I can demand not to be treated like one, came at precisely the right moment. Two days ago I had the sort of day that at any other time would have been debilitating for one prone to depression like I am (triggers are real). Incredibly (and a part of me is disbelieving and wary of my response), instead of falling headlong into that dark place (Lake Depression) and sinking unresisting to the very bottom, I asked: heartbreak for what?
The truth, I realised as I examined that image (as one does #leothings), is that I’m grown. Surely the thirty-four Christmases I’ve seen have not failed to impart a few lasting lessons on love and loving?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (but this time with heartfelt meaning): it’s ok not to love someone back, not to want the  fairytale trajectory they’ve mapped out, or to want it with someone else (it’s not ok to lie and pretend to buy into the dream, though. Not ok).
It’s ok not be loved back, even though it stings at first. The only alternative is to be lied to, and that’s not ok. Don’t worry, you’ll heal (again) and you’ll love (again). After all, love is the point of life.
It’s ok, it’s especially ok, to excuse yourself from the company of those who take you for granted, who demand emotional support but give very little in return, who treat you like you should be grateful when they spare you a few moments inbetween ‘things of great import’.
It is ok to walk away from situations and relationships that do not grow you. Life is too short to spend it with people who do not value you and have no room for you in their lives. Realise however that there are people who will choose not to have you in their lives in turn. Make no mistake: you’re neither martyr nor saint, just perfectly imperfect human.
It’s ok to hold people accountable for their words and their actions, on condition that you say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say you’ll do, too, and offer sincere apologies when life happens. As it does.
It’s ok to admit that you were wrong, and to change your mind, and to allow new information to direct your actions: stagnation is opposite to human nature.
It’s ok to mourn missed opportunity and to weep over failed endeavours and to cry for what might have been.
It’s ok to cry for what might have been.

In the morning put on your game-face and tell yourself that you didn’t live this long and make the choices you’ve made, only to surround yourself with caricatures, imitations and holograms of love. Hold out for the real thing. It’s worth it. You’ll recognise it because you won’t have to beg it.
-beauty’s daughter

The Thinking Woman

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There was a sculpture in the Revenue Hall Gardens koBulawayo called Tired Man. I used to walk from wherever I was in town just to go and look at it. I’d be like -asihlangane eCity Hall, as if I ever had any business being anywhere near City Hall #saladthings. For some reason I always called it Thinking Man. I once got into a very long argument with my then boyfriend over it, because I corrected him when he called it Tired Man. Anyway, I was looking at that picture and trying to caption it for Instagram, and I remembered that sculpure.

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Ah, the pain of loving that city. But that’s another story altogether.

Day 1 of Zimbabwe’s Revolution — 6 July 2016

On the 6th of July 2016, Anonymous Africa shut down the Zimbabwe government’s websites.

In a time when we thought we had nothing but our anger, that happened. We discovered power — weapons. We discovered that we can fight back; that we are not powerless.

Wherever you’re sitting right now, whoever you’re with, say something. Show support for the stay-away. Speak what you want (for our country) into being. Say it.

Stop telling us what you don’t want.

Stop saying ‘let’s not be violent.’

Say ‘I want peace in my country and I will do my part to achieve it,’ if that’s what you mean.

United we can work miracles, but we cannot unite if we’re not sure of each other, if we’re not sure that we all want peace in our country. If we don’t start having these conversations openly, conversations about Zimbabwe’s future and what it will take to realize it, we are doomed to fail.

The revolution will be televised, one way or another. If the national broadcaster can threaten jail for the ‘abuse’ of social media, that tells us a lot about what they fear most. Know your enemy’s fears and exploit them.

The revolution will be facebooked. Yes you commented on others’ posts and shared links; ask yourself why you did not write your own post. Ask yourself what your part will be in the revolution. If facebook is what you have, use facebook.

Bloggers. Did you blog about this? About what you saw and heard; about what you felt? About what you thought about what you saw and heard, and what you felt about what you thought? Is it still to raw? Igetchu. Send the link when the post is up.

The revolution will be tweeted. Oh yes. Believe it. Tweets today were sources of information. Did you tweet? Were you a source of information?

The revolution is here. No matter how long it takes, today will be the day it started. Where were you? What did you do? What did you say?

We’ve been avoiding this question for far too long. The question of: mina ngizakwenzani? Well, today you need to answer it.
The Zimbabwean diaspora is wide and Zimbabweans are scattered worldwide; sibanengi esingekho ng’khaya. That does not mean that this is not our war too, it does not mean that we are voiceless and powerless. The question is: what shall you say with that voice?

The revolution is going to be televised. And it will play out in real time on social media. Information (and mis-information, so be careful) will spread quickly and efficiently, and everybody who has something to say will have somebody to say it to. Ask yourself: what will you say?

Will you be the voice sowing doubt and fear, asking -singa tshaywa ke? Will you be the voice calling itself that of reason -kuncedangani? Will you be the call to arms -asitshiseni? What are you going to say?

Iqiniso yikuthi this was Day One. The time is now. The revolution is now. It is being televised (?). Facebooked. Tweeted. It is being written down for future generations. What will you say you said? What will you say you did?

When the annals are opened and they turn to you and say ‘let’s see your timelines from back then,’ what will your record look like? We have a Zim equivalent to ‘Where were you when JFK was shot?’ It is ‘When the revolution began, where were you?’

#ShutDownZim is the shot that was fired, and this one, too, was heard around the world, whether or not the world realises what it just heard.