Body Series: Self.

relationship with body (n). always a little complicated, hesitant and begrudging. most importantly, ongoing.   

can i decisively point to the moment where the grapple between body and self began? not with any honesty. all i know is that it happened, and continued to happen for the next two decades. something triggered that contention. and we are still here today. learning, unlearning. breathing, trying. sometimes gloriously wonderful and deeply fulfilling. other days darker, messy; to be tolerated as best can be, shrinking and hiding.

re-emerging, waving. “i am still here.” affirming. 

what does the world say? faster, better, stronger. most importantly? lesser. be smaller, therefore more attractive, better than. consistently thinner. non-negotiable and to-be-obeyed.

youthful foundations: discipline, timeliness. acceptance and grace. there was this body, so good at navigating the world. shiny medals, flying the flag, excelling. even in the midst of all that celebration and joy, the mind always reminding: thinner, smaller, better- never forget. careless to forget. 

what was this desire to disappear, to be less visible even while becoming more? less and therefore more desirable? where did that yearning come from? forever grappling with that question. thinner echoed consistently. running, sinister whisperings. running, disappearing. obsessively striving to be less, to not be too much. much too much to ever be loved even as i was loved for being so much. navigating. 

“i see you’re not on this perpetual mission to destroy yourself any more.i’m glad you finally think you’re worth saving.” upile chisala.

at some point, impasse. sheer exhaustion from over a decade of mutterings. an enduring affair began in lieu of therapy. a little peace followed. then a lot of it. then the strength. smaller, certainly, but no longer cruelly demanded. what mattered was no longer smaller but stronger, faster. a relief to add happier, kinder, softer, more honest, committed.

recovery.

life from what was once so desperately sought to be destroyed. a jealously guarded home. 

learning to sit quietly, to listen deeply. to let go of the fear and whisperings. fear of failing. not enough. too much (from and to all the men i purported to love- thank you).

“what about this theory. the fear of not being enough. and the fear of being too much. are exactly the same fear. the fear of being you.” nayyirah waheed

sensible. ongoing.

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soft.

A rare pleasure to be listened to.

To be seen, to be felt, here.

Softly understood and loved.

 

Keep a keen eye out for the most little of daily joys;
For the spirit that sees your own,
For the steady hand with a grip unflinching on your heart.

Cling to them deeply, lovingly, unrelentingly.
Until you can no more.
Then let them go.

This will save your life.

Remember not to lose yourself in the grief.

Let gentleness heal you. Let the pain teach you.
Every curve on your body,
Each hair on your precious head.

A caress, a whisper, a promise. Remember not to lose yourself in the grief.

This will save your life.
And your love.
And your life.

 

Ngoma Kurira

Early this year, my friends and I resolved that we would make  a a concerted effort to try new things. Specifically, we wanted to get out of the city more and see the rest of the country. What no one will tell you is that Harare is a very small city, with a limited amount of things to do, which can very quickly become not only boring, but pricey. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a few fun places  to hang out but it does get tedious finding yourself at the same three places every other weekend.

Fortunately, Zimbabwe is one of the most beautiful countries around, with breathtaking views and generous weather.  (This is not an ad I promise😉 ). There are some hidden gems that can buoy your weekend experiences at a pretty limited cost. You just have to be willing to try new things and have some hardy form of transportation (the roads can get a little dicey, I admit). Grab a hat, sunscreen, glasses, cooler box and a picnic basket, and you are all set for a fun day out.

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Tired from the hike, we fell asleep on the warm rocks.

About an hour drive from central Harare,(due to the road works; probably 30 to 40 minutes on a good day) is a great spot for a day out of the city.

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Roadworks slowed traffic a little.

 

Ngoma Kurira is located in the Domboshawa area.  The name loosely translates to “Beating of the Drums.” It is fantastic for a weekend hike with friends. A lovely steep climb to the top that will leave you sweaty and a little breathless true, but not overexerted. The views are gorgeous and what really strikes you is the  overwhelming quiet and calm.

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You pay about 4 dollars for entry as a local and 10 dollars if you’re a foreigner. The mountain does have cultural and spiritual significance so visitors are urged to be respectful while hiking, to pick up their trash and most importantly, to not  remove any artefacts found. You never know what you may take home!

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There are baboons on the mountain; some locals we met on the mountain explained. We were a little apprehensive when we heard them barking far off but they didn’t come near us. We initially thought someone was screaming loudly in the distance and that was a little less terrifying thought than that of a troop of angry baboons trying to scare us! You might also see some locals praying on the mountain. It’s very peaceful and quiet otherwise. There are also a number fresh water pools for a quick swim if you fancy. Particularly useful for a hot summer day.

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An afternoon out in the mountains is definitely a fantastic alternative to a day in the city limits. A great and cheap alternative way to spend the afternoon.  Load up the 4×4 and enjoy your weekend!

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Look East

I think I am always speaking on how much I love the Eastern Highlands. It has held a special place in my heart since my childhood holidays spent in the mountains, and I make it a point to go there once every year where possible. Over they years,  it has become a bit of a family tradition.

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psx_20180319_113855-1514196232.jpgIt is so reassuring to be able to go back to a place which never changes and which speaks to your spirit. Time slows down, things get a little clearer, and breathing becomes easier- literally and figuratively. I hope everyone has a place like that and that they never lose it.

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Zimbabwe is a really stunning country. There are parts of it that can leave you breathless, and the Eastern Highlands area has more than a fair share of those magic spots. Recently, some friends and I decided to head down for a weekend out of town and it was a really fun time. We did some hiking, some paragliding, a Skywalk. Unfortunately we didn’t get to do the white water rafting planned, but it was still a great weekend.

We stayed at an AirBnB in Selous, and drove out to do activities on Saturday and Sunday before heading back. There were 11 of us, so that definitely kept costs down. We filled up 3 cars, packed some food from the pantry, a few board games, a bar of alcohol, and headed out at early dawn.

 

The roads are smooth, wide and winding; the air is crisp and heady, and the spirit lifts a little with each step.

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Here are a few snaps from the weekend. Do you like travelling locally? What are some of the hidden gems in your country? Get out there and discover them, and drop me a comment below!

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A great weekend of fun in the mountains.

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