Kintsugi: the art of broken things is for sale

Why Kintsugi?

It is our pleasure to announce that Kintsugi: the art of broken things is now available for sale for R 180 at the home of kintsugi.

Kintsugi – the art of broken things is really a personal, and universal conversation about the secret hurts of all people, about waking up and your life is on fire. The book is spilt into the different lessons we learn through love – from the first love, to the first hurt, to learning how to love the person you emerge as on the other side. A mixture of prose and poetry, the book’s form may appear haphazard, but that is because that is how love often is – haphazard.

Watch author, Mathabo Sekhonyana, at the official book launch:

Please support.

Love and light to you as you find Kintsugi in your own pain.

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If you are going to leave, stay gone

I have been in love with the same person for seven years. Sure, I have dated, I have liked and even loved other people in between our many break-ups and make-ups but it has always been him. I am not one to speak lightly of soulmates or “the one”, mostly because I think they are bullshit statements but perhaps because I am also scared of the enormity of saying that one person, one flawed and fallible person, is the only person placed on this earth to love you.

What I have had to come to terms with however, is that while we will love often and hard (or not) we cannot run away from the fact that some stories will imprint themselves more deeply than others. That some people will cause a shift in our universe, a crack that seems impossible to repair.

My person broke my heart, several times and I have been angry and in love about it for years – carrying that pain into each time we have attempted to make it work. That was ok for a while, pretending, but at some point there are too many cracks to fill.

In the introspection of it all, when we lay it all bare and tell ourselves truths we can barely utter out loud I was forced to realise that I never really left him but I also never really stayed. The mistake many people make, because we can’t seem to stay gone, is to stay without doing the work to forgive. It is that quiet under the carpet rage that poisons things, that makes it impossible to rebuild.

In the end, if you want to survive without the bitterness in the back of your throat, you need to truly choose. You need to put in the work to stay and start over or you need to put in the labour of self-love and stay gone.

In my case my “soul mate” is broken in ways that will cut me if I get too close but even so, if I wanted to choose him, really choose him, I should have walked over broken glass to be with him and hoped to God he was enough to soothe the pain. But no, why do that when we could spend years in an on again, off again rollercoaster of who could hurt the other more?

If we are honest, we do not choose the love we want, we settle for the love we can get and hope to god our emotions catch up. May we know better next time.

Ps. Here is some Drake, just in case you haven’t unravelled enough.

Ode to the unburnt

We talk to our friends and to our timelines all the time but do we talk to ourselves? About the secret hurts, the secret pain, the quiet moments lying down with monsters we look at like Gods?

I think life and love in this generation is hard because the world is so ugly in the daylight so we look for something beautiful in the cracks, in the darkness, in the exquisite lies of someone who says they love you (and maybe they do in their way). The world is a harsh place for two people who love each other. So we plant flowers, tulips, line the cracks with sunflowers and try to make a garden of the tiny spaces we have, try to make some peace. Maybe a part of his lie is our lie, praying for our gardens not to die but starving them of sunlight.

Warsan Shire writes “We loved like two people who did not know God,” and we do don’t we? Love, lust, make the kinds of decisions we can’t bear to tell anyone about. But what happens when the light comes through the blinds, when it reflects off his spectacles and breaks through the bubble, through the deceit and we have to ask ourselves the hard questions? Is this love? Is it enough?

Today, waking up to the culmination of years of a love on fire, I recognise the warmth of the inferno; but only now does it make me miss lying down in a greener pasture with the sun on my face. Only now does it make me want to do something different on my knees. Maybe that is it, in the end, the final straw that burns everything to the ground.

It is always perplexing to me, how people think there is a formula to leaving, to staying gone. Women should always come apart with dignity, we should shut the door gently behind us, to unravel in private and “glow-up” in public. I no longer believe in that. In running away from what might heal you just so no one refers to you as the crazy non-ex. Just so he does not have a story to tell the next girl he convinces he loves them.

The love of my life once quoted that some men just want to see the world burn, I finally understand that. What he doesn’t understand is sometimes that is only to make room for something new to bloom.

If you are mentally ill, you are on your own

Being mentally ill while black is an extreme sport. From our well meaning grandmothers who don’t really get it, to our friends that can’t seem to understand that you are just not feeling up to it. The way we treat mental health in our homes, our communities, and our workplaces is with a lack of understanding, carelessness and a disdain that has our peers hiding their brokenness behind Instagram filters.

For many black people, we have been taught for much of our lives to endure because re tlameha ho “tsoara thipa ka bohaleng,” and that means grinning and bearing things that are quite frankly unbearable. We romanticise “enduring” in black culture and in the case of mental health this means lying, daily.  This is being unable to get out of bed in the morning because the walls are closing in and your mom dismissing it or telling you to stop with the mood swings, or it is the day I told my grandmother about my anxiety and she asked me to simply stop being anxious.

This “suppression of emotions” often leads to broken people in society masquerading as whole and healthy. This also speaks to a general understanding when growing up black that we do not have time to feel depressed or that anything can be fixed with determination and prayer. This contextualises mental illness as weakness (“you need to get up and get on with it”) and therefore reinforces it being seen as taboo. For example, toxic masculinity is one social ill that I feel is, in some instances, a culmination of numerous events of anxiety and suppression experienced by men throughout their lives. Because we teach our boys that vulnerability is something we leave for the women.

These undiagnosed traumas and the complete lack of support means that as a mentally ill individual, you will often struggle to recognise the signs and symptoms of your condition or dismiss your depression or anxiety as moodiness they can simply snap out of. This is problematic because it assumes that your feelings are necessarily predicated on a particular event and are therefore within your control, which is not necessarily the case. While some things or events can be triggers, it is overly simplistic to view mental health issues as based on self-control.

It is issues such as those that make it difficult to be frank and open about your problems. We fear the stigma, the embarrassment and the pity of being looked at as different or “other.” Very often this can feel like society has made an indictment on you which is why many people simply suffer in silence.

This can make black communities appear to be harsh and ill-equipped to deal with the sensitivities of mental health but this is not the case. Our mothers do not dismiss our pain because they are cruel, it is because they do not understand mental health and can often not differentiate between a tantrum and a cry for help. The fact is that illness in the black community is seen as solely physical, anything else has simply been beyond comprehension (outside of allegations of “witchcraft” and “the calling”).

I often wonder however, how thin the line is between a lack of education and burying your head in the sand, because the truth is that living with mental health issues is hard and the black experience is hard as well. It is feasible to me that our parents are often afraid to accept that there is yet another millstone around our necks making it harder to get out of bed and take what we deserve. Further, because of the stigma of issues such as witchcraft, families and communities would rather pretend it isn’t happening than accept the scorn of their communities.

My cousin’s best friend committed suicide. She died. And that was not because she was not loved or protected but because there are so few spaces to be heard and to cry yourself whole.

My varsity crush committed suicide. He died. A friend wrote about him on Instagram saying, “I wish I could have done more too keep you safe.”

I don’t want to feel that way, as a society we should strive to never feel that way, because we should be doing everything to keep them safe. There is no quick fix solution, but what is necessary is a shift in mindset – not just for our families and friends but also for ourselves.

There is a strength to vulnerability and this means swallowing the hard pill of fear and opening up as much as we can to the people that care about us. Even if it is just to give the next person the strength to examine their own mental health and maybe simply feel a little less alone. Perhaps that starts with a dialogue, with telling our stories, asking questions and interrogating our surroundings.

If you need help organisations such as @MphoFoundation  and @MentalWealthZA can help connect you to mental health professionals or just be a safe place to connect with people who understand the battle for wellness.

 

*This post was first published on http://www.power987.co.za 

The thing you are most afraid to write

Nayyirah Waheed says “the thing you are most afraid to write, write that”. I always found that so beautiful – the idea of living like an open wound, choosing the sharp edge of honesty, but in reality it is incredibly hard. One of the most difficult things about loving, and hurting and being unable to stay gone is that people see you. They see the humiliation. They see you getting the love you think you deserve and that is difficult. So we lie, little lies and big, gargantuan lies until we stay gone.

What I am starting to learn is that there is freedom in the truth, in standing naked and bruised and not quite healed. There is power in honesty, even if the truth feels ugly. I am always so incredibly afraid that people will read Kintsugi and think that I have reached Nirvana, that I somehow know better, I do not. The thing that I am most afraid to write? Sometimes nostalgia ties me to a bed and forces me to forget myself. Sometimes I am drawn to the fire even though I know it to be an inferno. Sometimes, I do not choose myself. Sometimes I drunk dial.

I think that is what is so important to me about this blog, for the first time really owning the journey, the flaws, and standing in front of a jury of my peers and finding them more loving and understanding than I could have imagined.

Love and light to everyone still trying to unravel.

 

Love is not love that alters

I hope someday I can say it’s over.

That this love that trips head over heels will stop bruising it’s knees trying to rush back to you

That you will stop playing chest cavity Nascar with my heart

That this caterpillar love in the pit of my stomach would either blossom or cry itself crushed butterflies

 

God, I hope it can be over

God. I hope it can be over

GOD.

 

But my god, the way you look at me stops me dead in my tracks.

But my god, the way you look at me.

On group chats and hyper-masculinity

[Image courtesy of @thejpgvibe

There is nothing new – about men banding together to share nudes and violate women in a plethora of little ways. It’s not a big deal right? People are just letting off steam, having a bit of a laugh. But no, my existence cannot be a punchline in your conversation.

I have often found that hyper-masculinity in the 2018 world is so often amplified by technology – whether this is the faux feminism of some men on Twitter or the open sexism in these all men group chats. Very often these all male group chats operate as sort of microcosms of the “old boys club” mentality. Women cannot join because? I am willing to say it is because men know that women would not be ok with the conversations they have there and that is because so much of those conversations expose men as being sexist, misogynistic, patriarchal and rapey.

The group chat is the final safe space for men to peddle their privilege and hatred without any fear for what people will think – think white people at a dinner table. The problem with this all boys club is it normalises what is fundamentally problematic behaviour. It allows men to hide their true selves in the proverbial closet while masquerading as feminists and writing “Black women are beautiful” under our Instagram pictures.

The all male group chat phenomenon is really the worst kept secret of our generation and yet somehow no one really speaks about the core of what it means. There are so many times I or other women I know have been the subject of problematic male behaviour in these hallowed halls of masculinity.

My most recent experience of male whatsapp groups and aggression brought into sharp focus the bigger discussion. It reminded me that I can be friend, lover, partner, wife, mother but when it comes down to it men will almost always see you as JUST a woman. It reminded me, as aptly put by one of my favourite women, that at the end of the day you are still just a sexual play thing that if the “opportunity” presents itself they would still “hit”.

When it comes to this particular issue I am happy not to generalise, I think some men do try to unlearn the nurture that has taught them to see women as as sub-citizens. I also think however, that the concept of men “growing” and “unlearning” is so often used as an excuse to be ok with ill treatment and that I will not do, anymore.

I will not excuse lovers who treat me as though my vagina makes me a less important component of the relationship, or male friends who expect me to hold their hands as they unlearn and unravel their misogyny at the expense of my own trauma, or myself for standing for it. I will no longer make even one more excuse.

There is an unlearning there too. Unlearning the internalised behaviours that have made us complicit in our own pain, as women and as people. Today we must each choose, ourselves. We must choose ourselves vigorously, wildly, and with abandon.