“We are the subjects of our own narrative, witnesses to and participants in our own experience, and, in no way coincidentally, in the experience of those with whom we have come in contact. We are not, in fact, “other.” We are choices.”

~ Toni Morrison, Unspeakable Things Unspoken

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Going back in time: Letter to my younger self

I know people wait until they are rich and famous – or at least poor and infamous – to write these kinds of letters; but I reckon I have a few things I can share, too. I’ve been doing that thing where you look back and wonder what you have accomplished over the past year, what you have learnt, and where you are going. Took me back to a time when I was much younger, and I wondered: what would I say to me five, six years ago? Realised, I’m not who I used to be back then, and surely, I have a few pearls I can give, too. And these pearls may help someone out there. So, feast.

My dearest Dusty,

How beautiful you are! Full of love and joy and warmth, even though you don’t know it. When your parents named you “Relebone Rirhandzu”, it wasn’t only because you arrived to much love, it was also because they wanted you to fulfil that prophecy. To be love, loving and loved. And it will happen, it will.

You are living in a strange, strange world; and you can barely navigate the madness without feeling like Alice in Wonderland, half the time. The darkness is deep, I know, but you are that unique thing in life called a ‘writer’ – you have the ability to not only be a mirror to society, to capture the zeitgeist, but you also have the power to write yourself (and society) out of the darkness. Your words are your superpower, wield them like the fiery darts that they are.

I remember that time when you were standing in the kitchen at night, with the light turned off, and a knife in your one hand. I remember the strength of the tide that threatened to pull you into a sea of depression, and how eventually, you walked away. Not even because you pulled yourself out, but because you were too much of a coward to go through with it. It doesn’t matter why you didn’t do it though.

It matters only that you survived it, and that you walked away from that edge. Now stop running. Stop running from the pain and face it head on. You’ll be surprised what strong stuff you’re made of!  Anyhow doesn’t help to run, because unless you deal with it, junk follows you wherever you go.

Now you have questions about your identity, about who you are, where you’re going. The answer to everything you think about yourself is (drumroll please) – it’s true. It’s true because you can’t help but live up to your expectation of yourself. What you think of yourself, your thoughts about who you are, these are like a memo for your actions. You will become that which you fear or desire, if you fear or desire it strongly enough. You see, fear is an expectation. Of, for instance, failure. We become what we fear because our mind internalises this fixation, subconsciously uses it as data to determine our action and who we will become. When we fear something we submit to its power, agreeing that it is more strong than the Power at work within us. And so we become what we fear because we’re working towards the expectation we set out for ourselves.

Choose to believe that you are beautiful, that you matter, that you are not only on your way to greatness, but that you are great. You don’t fall short in the things that are crucial – there’s nothing the matter with you. You were made whole and complete and perfect. You are perfect (yeah, I said it). Do not be afraid to be who you want to be – rejection may come but those who you need around you will accept you for who you are.

”You are perfect” does not mean that you are not going to make mistakes, or that you are better than others. It means only that you ought to stop thinking you will never measure up wherever you go. Your heritage, your circumstance, your experiences, these aren’t things to be ashamed of! By the bye, you’re not done making mistakes yet, either, so build a bridge and well, get over it.

Let’s talk about that annoying thing you do, you know that thing. That thing where you play the victim because you want to feel validated, seeking in others what is lacking in yourself. It’s not alien – we need to be needed and we need other people, as human beings; but we also need to be independent. To be certain of ourselves. I know your pain comes from a real place and that your cries for attention come from a crushing hurt, but the healing you’re looking for is in something Other than where you seek it now. Follow the Light. That’s where you will find the salve. And stop being so needy, girl. (~> “How you go win, if you ain’t right within? Uh uh, come again.” ~ LH)

You’re a sensitive soul so I’ma speak to you kindly too, because I know you need affirmation. Wanna tell you (you hot thang!) that you’re a powerhouse walkin’ on two sexy legs (short as they are) and you have so much depth, wisdom, intelligence and heart inside that body that hey, it’s inevitable that you’re gonna leave a mark the size of legacy when you’re gone. (DUDE, THE WORLD AIN’T EVEN READY FOR ALL THAT!) Choose to see yourself as beautiful. Choose every day, to walk like the magnificent queen that you are. Besides, you know how Dimamzo hates it when you walk in that hunched-shoulders-defeated way you do sometimes (chuckles). Head up. Chin up. You’re magnificent!

Here’s the hard truth about people: they don’t owe you anything, hey. And because they don’t, they won’t always care about you, or take the time to get to know you, or love you like you deserve. I know that that scares you, but it shouldn’t. They’re on their own path and they stumble also, sometimes all over your toes, but it ain’t a thang to do with who you are! They are human, too. You have all of Heaven’s resources available to you so whatever gets thrown your way, head up, chin up, tswela pele. You’re magnificent.

I’ma end it here. We’re a writer so we wax lyrical about, well, everything, but let’s cut it. If you forget everything else: remember this one thing: live your convictions out courageously, love recklessly, go about life honestly. And, keep God with you.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid. 😉

**“Relebone” is the Setswana term for “we have seen” or “we have seen you”; and “Rirhandzu” is the Xitsonga term for “love”. Together “relebone rirhandzu” makes the sentence “we have seen love”. Parents were tryna be cute with the whole ‘merging-our-two-cultures’ thing. (chuckle)

**tswela pele is the Setswana term for “go forward”, or, used in this context, “keep it moving”.

Love and light,

DustySoul

“Sethe,” he says, “me and you, we got more yesterdays than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.”

He leans over and takes her hand. With the other he touches her face. “You your best thing, Sethe. You are.” 

~ Paul D to Sethe, after Sethe complained that Beloved (whom she considered the best thing in, and about, her life) has left her; in Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’