I am going to argue that my mind is not broken, rather unfortunately for me, I have some very self unaware people in my life who in their own clumsy way were trying to help me and show care. This translated as them being hell bent on proving that I am mentally unwell as opposed to accepting that my life is good and I am an amazing artist.
To me, it appears, they are more comfortable attacking me with emotionally charged situations and words when I am most vulnerable to drive me into a state of anxiety. So much so that in the past, I have experienced what abathakathi and isangoma (a being of songs) call ‘ukuthola amadlozi’. I am not sure what the exact meaning for this is, but on the surface, the words mean ‘receiving ancestral spirits’. For me, my mind retreats into music and songs. I can only communicate via songs and dance and creating artwork. I do experience what I identify as ancestral spirits communing with me. You have to understand that in this state, everything is symbolic. What I call an ancestral spirit someone might identify as a knitting pattern. I identify them as ancestral spirits because of my upbringing. I am Ndebele, was born and raised in Zimbabwe and believe in amadlozi. Honestly these states are very beautiful and deserve to be observed in a nurturing way without being pathologized.
This definition from Wikipedia is helpful:
Amadlozi are African spiritual figures of the Nguni people. The Nguni people believe that these entities can be summoned for assistance and protection. This belief plays an integral part in explaining some of the attitudes Nguni people have around subjects such as fertility, life, death, fortune, and misfortune. Amadlozi are also believed to have the power to guide their people towards a life of purpose and integrity.
(Zim Ndebele people are part of the Nguni people)
When I am in this heightened state, I become very scared. TBH I would argue that every emotion is heightened times a million. In the past once friends & family had convinced me that I was unwell and a danger, I would believe them over me.
You have to understand, I have experienced people gaslighting me and the last thing I want to do is harm others so I picked their version of events cz I was the one experiencing hallucinations, writing that aliens exist, painting on my walls with lipstick…….
Naturally I trusted their judgement over my own.
“I must have deliberately hurt them and my mind removed the memory because my mind was doing something that a lot of minds cannot be trusted is doing right?”………..nope,
- Every time I was violent, someone was violent to me first.
- My sister cried because I had sesame seeds in my hair. I guess to her it was a sign my mind was broken but to me, I had counted sesame seeds in one hand, thrown up in the air to see how many i would catch in my hair…..
- In medical notes a doctor said me having ‘unkempt’ hair was a sign that I was unwell (I was deliberately growing locs),
- Some people only hang out with me when they are on drugs and assume that I must be on drugs too. Listen, I know how to have fun without drugs and I would argue that drugs are no fun at all and actually dangerous…..
Basically things that just make me different that are actually not dangerous have been used against me to diagnose me as broken. As you can imagine this makes it very dangerous for me to even create anything original because people are likely to say ‘oh it’s her mental illness’ completely forgetting that I have accomplished the following:
- 10 GCSE A grades (incl. maths, all the sciences, french, english language & lit.)
- 3 B grade A Levels in Fine Art, Maths & English Literature
- 1 C AS Level in Biology
- a distinction in art & design foundation course
- I was on track to get a 1st on my textiles design degree course at Loughborough university where I specialised in woven textiles. I learned how to make fabric from scratch, designing where each little thread would go, what colour it would be…
- I speak isiNdebele fluently and plan on learning plenty more languages
- I am an artist and am always learning new skills to express myself
I have so many more accolades and accomplishments but I have never thought the status they afforded were important. I deliberately didn’t finish my 3rd year of uni to prove that you didn’t need a degree to be successful (excl courses like law and medicine).
I am very efficient and use my time efficiently. I don’t just chase things for the sake of it. I have had many more social media accounts under different names in the past. I would argue that I am already big on the underground. I am running circles around my peers.
I got my own flat in the most exclusive area in Surrey, I am surrounded by greenery, I have access to very good healthcare and food, I create what I want when I want to. I plan all my days as I see fit. As you can imagine, I feel like it really would be more appropriate FOR ME TO ASK YOU if you are ok and sending you ‘peace and love’ cz most of you are living struggle lives.
With each episode I experienced, I realised
- Most often those who were quick to pathologize did not like me. Yes they loved me but hated my success. Or simply saw me as a celebrity and themselves, my fan.
- Some have been close female friends who assured me with multiple breaths that they were not queer yet resented me for not flirting with them.
- Some are poets who told me they felt very uncomfortable seeing me shake nyash. Why me dancing makes you feel uncomfortable, I don’t wanna know. But I would like you to know that since primary school I spent a lot of time growing up emalokitshini, townships in Bulawayo where we danced all day every day. I still do that now to manage stress and anxiety. Why that makes you uncomfortable – angikwazi……
- someone was triggered that I was awake that late. Honestly in that moment the anxiety was so high that the best thing for me to do was to dance & write my own song lyrics inspired by the songs I was dancing to…to tire myself out. It worked. I worked up an appetite, ate lots of food and clonked out …..
- only to be woken up prematurely by many people calling me to tell me how much they were worried that I was not sleeping (Carmina is exempt from this because honestly that was my fault). The irony. Because of your so-called ‘looking out for me’ I was so anxious to reply to you all that I was in a bad mood when my friend and her daughter came to visit me in the early afternoon. I was in tears and tired because I didn’t understand how me expressing parts I don’t usually on instagram would suddenly warrant violence targeted at me loosely veiled as ‘peace and love’ messages from people who don’t know me.
You all, in your own ways tried to convince me that I was going mad for dancing to Kendrick Lamar’s album DAMN and creating lyrics inspired by that. What does that say about you? So what if that was psychosis? And then? Was I harming myself? My headphones were on, I ate, I was drinking water…..I wasn’t bothering my neighbours or anyone so why were you so bothered? Madams and sirs your MISOGYNOIR is showing.
Also to everyone who messaged me/called me in the last 36 hours to ‘see if I was ok’ and ‘being safe’ – respectfully choke on my dick. If you really cared, you would know more about my life now and know better to not be scared when I am posting things you don’t understand on my socials.
If you only have my 499 phone number or social media information, you are not part of my support network so there is no need to message me if you are worried. Focus on soothing your own anxieties. That is my work phone. I don’t care if we are blood relatives. You have not proven yourself to be emotionally mature for me to let you into my personal space when I am experiencing altered mental states, so respectfully I am going to keep you at a distance since you can’t separate my personal life from my work life.
Yes creating, writing rhymes, songs, poetry is work for me. Yes it is glamorous and has all the trappings but honestly I recognise it as the most efficient way to acquire, process and transmit complex ideas to those around me without forcing them to sign up to an unnecessary expensive university course.
Those who are in my support network know exactly where I live, have my most up to date phone number where they can reach me anywhere, some even have spare keys to my home. It’s my way of maintaining a healthy work life balance.