The Need to feel for the self (first!!!)


At this point in my coaching journey, my greatest challenge has been to work on being self-compassion. This has been primarily because I thought I was there and at the same time I hoped that self-compassion works out on itself without conscious and deliberate action towards achieving it.  I realized that of all the things I did not nature, one of them has been the skill to feel for myself. For a long time my life has revolved around feeling for other people easily and actually working to ensure that I do the maximum possible to help them feel better whenever I can. But I forgot this girl.

So I reflected on the three things I am committing to in this journey in order for me to scale on.  This is part of the process of coming from a place where I was struggling with my past in the last blog post as a way of finding space within myself to rise and be me despite all that has happened. It is not an attempt to perfect anything about me, it is a process of acceptance, affirmation  and compassion for the self. Because at this point I really can’t express the three concepts enough I have penned my aspirations for them in a poem. I just want them to be tangible in my memory.

“Self-Acceptance”

I receive myself as I am

I am a struggle walking towards freedom

I am a woman whether that is understood or not I rise anyway

I am an emotional creature; I express myself to passion and feeling

I meet up with frustration, but triumph is a portion I commit to

I hold on to the past, but my dignified option is the future I will create for myself

All this I receive to the self and accept,

Self-Compassion

Is where I should be as I am going there?

I see myself there

Self-care being my priority and only option

Harnessing self-joy, uncontainable

I rise and rise there

Even if I carry of the burdens of this world, nothing will move me anywhere else

I am kind

I am kind to my self

I am kind to myself enough to accept, love and take care of myself

All this I receive to the self and accept!!!

Self-Affirmation

I am joy

I am happy

I am alive

I am heartbeat

I am inspired and inspiring

I am hope

I am good at what I do

I am kind to the self

I am living whilst I am alive

I am on a purposeful journey

I feel

I love

I relate

I engage well

I communicate well

All this I receive to the self and accept!!

I reflected on the need for these three things because I noticed that negative introspection placed me in a fearful place where I could not fully appreciate myself for who I am and for the experiences I have gone through. Personally , the coaching experience is the future for me, it is a journey so far that has taught me slow down and look at the very things I thought I had but were invisible in essence. This explains the reason why I have always felt for a long time that there has been a gap in my life and I just couldn’t place what was missing.  Therefore working through this reflection is propelling me to focus more on myself which is still very difficult at this point.

Despite all this I have a picture which I am visualising every day and the beauty of it is that it evolves as I work through myself. It’s a picture of self-joy and genuine happiness that sips into my external relationships. So for me the struggle to discover that self is worth it.  !!!

Something is wrong and I can’t fix it (yet)


My coaching journey continues and something I wasn’t expecting happened. I crashed a few days back. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. In my first post on my coaching I explained that I really wanted to find myself again and make that work for me. But what hit me after starting the process is something I did not see coming at all. I have had to discover that this journey is also about learning new things about ourselves –both positive and negative. From life experience getting to point out the things that are not good about us is a very difficult process. And as I got into this journey I am fully aware that I am not being coached because there is something wrong with me, but it’s to get me to a better space. However, through my reflections and through the exercises I I’ve been doing I couldn’t really resist going there , to that space where as you process the challenging task of making an effort to be self-aware you instinctively search  for what is wrong with you, that thing that needs fixing so you can be a better person. There must have been an animal making me the kind of person I so desperately want to change. So I inevitably started looking for the wrong this about me in this regard.

I did and it broke me.

Initially all I did all I could to remain positive and focused. I tried hard to protect myself from the harshness of confronting the personal. It is a very challenging process; in the moment, I almost hated myself. But then, who said the coaching journey would be easy? I remain the same girl still burying myself in my work and reading -I was hoping that would be fixed as soon as possible, I was hoping that I would make an effort to become more relational with people- in the hope that I ‘d get to know that girl’s relational side . I was there in that space –nothing changed. It is a journey right and a process. I wanted everything to be perfect and to flow from day 1 I guess it’s the NGO syndrome –it’s always about results never mind how you get there. Reading through the reflections I have been penning in my journal is not motivating at all. I am failing to be kind to myself.

It’s almost as if ever since I started the search to find myself I am alternating between multiple identities shaped by my past experiences. Some of which I chose to ignore yet they needed to be resolved. Past hurts that I thought I would ward off by simply making a decision to ignore them. Every time I sit to reflect, they are there waiting to pounce on my thoughts, scurrying t to control and remind me of where I have been.  In noting this ,I am learning that whiles life moves forward your everyday life is almost like you are re-living what you have been through (the good and the bad) from the time you were a child till now. It’s true what they say the past shapes the future. I never in a single moment imagined that a lot of my life experiences would come flooding in through this process and for me this seemed not good in the moment.

I am not bashing myself against the wall and trust me, I hate negativity and when I found myself reeling with negative thoughts I tried to work on stopping them to a point of frustration. That’s when I made a decision to just let it be. I will reflect on the things I think need fixing even though this journey is not about fixing. I will reflect on what low esteem has stolen from me. I will reflect on the time I lost loving people who didn’t love me back. I will reflect on that one time when my heart was shredded right before me and I couldn’t do anything about it. This man walked away with his dignity and I didn’t. He got it all then almost like It was his reward for hurting me.  I will reflect on the pains of trusting people who didn’t deserve it. I will reflect on the times when things were hard , whenI almost thought I’d lost a chance to a dignified future and the struggle to get out of those thoughts, I will reflect on feeling helpless watching the people I love suffer , I will reflect on loss.

I also noted that my peers on this journey had reflections which seemed better than mine. Spurred up and all. But I wasn’t. It worries me yet my mind is not letting me go. Maybe I should go through this and work through it. Maybe the fixing mode is not so good after all. I find everything is a struggle but as always I will try to push through.

And the questioning continues where I can find myself –some sweet healing to save the day. ?

(This blog was due some weeks back but I had to hold on to it. I wasn’t so sure what to do with it. I felt that the reflections would expose me on this public space but today as I posted it. It feels vulnerably liberating to know that I can be true to myself and to the commitment I made. Even now I continue to struggle in this space but I am hopeful I have you reading it –I have the consolation that this might help someone.. Much love.

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Celebrating Andrea Bocelli


My evenings these days are musically filled but they remain calm and quiet. there is so much pressure around me and I am not sure if this phase will end at any point in my life. I struggle to find time to relax and build on the few things which glamour has not not stolen from the world . For instance I miss talking to people having a genuine conversation that has nothing to do with work. just to talk about the weather would do..In the dusty streets of where I come from. I long and yearn to hear that ice cream bell , noises and voices. my world is a bit silent at the moment because I feel drowned. As I realize this I am working on lifting this shadow up to reclaim the very things that bring life to my being…and it all started with Music. 

I feel that listening to Music is an art. Music offers a liberating space for reflection and I always put skill, time , commitment and passion in selecting the kind of music I listen to. Growing up, music was  just teenage thing , a craze rather, where we would listen to Music according to the trends of the top radio hit list or whatever song my cool cousin brother was listening to. adding to that it was also because I needed people to sign in my ”auto book” so it had to be cool and well arranged with enough lyrics of songs to get the cool peers want to sign in it.  When the Autobook era ended, we got saved and forgot about music and somehow my musical identity got lost. A decade and a half later , I find myself tracing back to my early music journey , just to find out what  to listen  to and live with now as I get older by the day. It has been challenging a  process because now they are trillions of musicians who ”excel in one hit wonders”.  I just can’t keep up with the music ,the dances , the lyrics ,and their dressing. I have also done myself a favor in that regard-I acknowledge that I am getting old fast.

So as a way of toning down, I have religious late night episodes of listening to music ..Beautiful as it comes , not really choosing what to listen to but carefully winding into genres, I never would have given an ear in my early years. Opera is one such genre. A friend introduced me to Andrea Bocelli and I have grown to really appreciate what humility and passion can contribute to song.  I felt that I needed to pen a bit  on this guy because his music is not only the exceptional thing about him. I actually find his background more interesting than his music. 

The Blind Man who lights the world with Music

His life story in summary would have been a sad one , Born partially blind , he became  totally blind after a soccer accident at 12 and went on to get a Phd in law before he decided to  change his career to music . The visually impaired, Tuscany-born, vocalist has emerged as one of the most exciting voices in contemporary opera. I refer to this story in my moments of seeking true and genuine inspiration. In his state he must have seen something  within himself to get to where he is. the fight did not begin with him, it started with his mother who refused to abort him against the advice of the doctors who had predicted that he would be disabled. I respect her she fought for her foetus now barely recognised as humans. But who would have known? 

So tonight i just want to celebrate Andrea , to honour him for the 70 million records he has sold, and for him just brightening up my musical life. 

After my interaction with his music and his life story, I have the same dreams for the visually impaired in our lifetime. I hope they see within themselves and become. Helen Keller did. If anything it’s a prayer. Image

This girl


Visioning
For a long time, I have always been clear on what I want to do with my life. Setting my vision and goals from an early age, the last thing I thought I would need was a coach. As my career progressed, they are processes that I went through that helped me define who I wanted to be ; a campaign strategist. This came to being because I fell in love with campaigns simply because they made my working life easy and I found them to be more impactiful that the normal programmng routine. Having set all this, the next thing was to establish a project. At that point, with the pressures comming up with the new project I had set up, I realized that I didn’t know this girl who had decided to call herself the campaign strategist. All of a sudden there was a lot of conflict within me. Perhaps my A type personality had taken it’s toll (even though I felt I wrongly assumed that it would take me to greater heights and make me an achiever) The question which haunted me was-what could have gone wrong for such a seemingly vibrant young girl who had it all together ,(at least to the outside world)?. I just couldn’t place the source of conflict.

Two women in one
They are things I have mastered in my life , things that I do well such as my writing ,reading and my work. However reflecting on the conflict within me made me realize that behind that prowess there is fragile girl dying to come out as positively vulnerable to a lot of experiences around her. I am not always strong, driven and daring . They are times when I have to struggle to put a brave face in the struggles which life presents time and again. Coming to terms with this has not been an easy process,it has just been necessary. My search for balance has propelled me to reflect on a lot of things lately and I feel I need to step up to get to know my self better. I progressively realize with each day that  the Nyasha who goes to work and the Nyasha who is at home is different.  If I can connect that, then perhaps maybe I can sail through as I evision a better future for myself and for the women I work with.

To discover that was quite a red flag for me. It appears as if there is need to bring in some kind of alignment on board in my life , which confirms that perhaps what I am searching for is not balance but alignment maybe. It is that need for alignment that has motivated me to go through a coaching process in the next 12 months of my life.
The Coaching Experience
The inception of the coaching was greatly insightful for me as I had thge opportunity to explore my personaliity type in wake of the conflict which I am going through. For thge first time I am reflecting on everything around me focusing on the self and to try and synchronize the value which I give to my family and my work. I have also decided to lay down the rule of self care in my life. I need to take care of myself and become more self aware of the things I can do without straining myself . In other words, I am searching for a better relationship with myself in order to build good ones out there.

The Day Odinga let me down: Ordinary relfections on Kenyan Elections


I’d like to believe that the Kenyan elections were somewhat free and fair judging to the previous standards of Kenya in regards to elections and broadly their handling of the electoral process from the start. I applaud them being Zimbabwean I must say , Kenya transitioned over the past five years through processes which one can follow more than what is happening in Zimbabwe. In a week I am expected to vote for a constitution I know nothing about. . I am afraid I can’t say the same for my country. We don’t respect process. At this point, I will express my disappointment and say I thought Odinga would win but he didn’t and was thrashed by a wide margin. Recognising this, we should note that these elections were not explicitly or rather out rightly rigged amidst the alarmist calls by one to many comrades who lost the struggle they thought they would win easily without uniting the tribes in Kenya. I feel that tribal issues have been the underlying factor of the results we got out of Kenya.

Now this post is not out to fuel hatred amongst the Kenyans and their different tribes. But it’s an offhand caution of the thoughts of a young woman who is scared for this nation and all the other African Countries going through transitions or rather those failing to go through their political transitions. We must learn from Kenya and watch them very intently. If my notion pointing towards tribal gymnastics had any part in influencing the outcome of this election then Kenya is in trouble and Africa has some real democratic shit to shovel out of its system. If I am wrong then the next 6 months need to prove me wrong. Kenya must prove me wrong.

The Day Odinga let me down- So after the violence which rocked Kenya some 5years back, we thought perhaps maybe they will be space for change and it was actually going to happen. Naturally as a Zimbabwean I was hoping that Odinga would win so that we have a message that is sent out to assure those of us without hope in political systems that change may come if proper political procedures are followed. I was hoping that it becomes a wave after Zambia. And deeply dreaming that young people would become a greater part of that revolution. This is what I thought. Tracking the Kenyan results was depressing, I don’t think anyone can pull off rigging with an 800 000 margin with an electronic voting system. It’s practically not possible. Odinga failed , being the candidate I would have wanted to lead Kenya as he was the most visible figure in Kenyan political agenda. He failed and we need to reflect and analyse his failures objectively. Forget the rig talk, critical conversations need to follow the Kenyan debate because I feel that it spills over its influence into other nations particularly Zimbabwe which has been borrowing concepts and ideas from Kenya at a close call. Let’s get rid of emotional sentiments and dig on what really happened to Kenya. Who/What  is  tipped to bring in the ideal change –the people, a specific tribe or the process of transition whether it was flawed or not?

Who needs the olive branch?

Uhuru offered Odinga an olive tree branch to his opponents which was not accepted by a single one of the presidential candidate indicating a surging energy of unacceptance. In this case I begin to question these movement for democracy entities. Are they going to mourn and groan over the lifetime of their politics and tell us that they are not moving g fast enough to democratise Africa because elections are being rigged (timely) in their face. Who started the rig talk? What was the intention of it all? I keep thinking that sometimes in Africa’s real politics we keep thinking of how we have been short changed, how they are beating and throwing us against the wall, we speak and go on top of mountains and lament. Never have I seen these democratic stalwarts on top of mountains speaking real strategy and action. They mourn all the time and reflective of apathy and their failure to come to the throne and deliver their rants, it seems they this cycle in African politics will forever stink of one party politics. Perhaps they should all line up at Freedom Square in Nairobi and accept the branch after all they opted to work in a divided Kenya.

 For five years, they preached peace and passively pointed towards unity not knowing that Africans will always value their own first. There is no way the Kikuyus were going to put Odinga in power and they happen to be the majority. I don’t know why the opposition expected this to happen. The dynamics of power and money are at play here. Kikuyus own most of Kenya and there were no possibilities of them letting that wealth grip go. In fact, it is a common trend in Africa and the politics is more about the money than the people. So why did we over look that? I have no idea what the other tribes have or own but I suggest that the Kenyan fight becomes less about who has the power but on who owns what .Yes explicitly like that. Money is power and that power shall remain in the hands of who have it. Odinga can dream on now.

Adding on, if elections have been presumably rigged can we make it about the people more than it is for the political parties? What are the Kenyans saying about the result? Can we reflect on the common conversation on the streets and the village? In wake of this, political leaders who rush to the people and seek sympathy should know better. The last thing that we expect from our leaders is for them to be cry-babies in our sight. Playing victim all the time when they are not building their strategy for attaining power enough. I hate it when I have to find myself constantly disappointed by those whom we expect to save us at least when they are outsmarted at the peril of their sweat. Odinga worked for the new Kenyan constitution and it did not work for him. God knows he tried to follow the trench without missing the ideal corners but today he emerges the loser. I hear the echoes of the same trend in Zimbabwe. I can almost predict the speeches which will be made in the near future in regards to this. They will grace podiums and say we were on the right track but the rules were bent etc. We, the people do not want to hear that nonsense. We are tired of it. Political leaders can outsmart each other not the people.

Post Kenyan election, Odinga should know better than to complain and disregard the fact that he ignored the elementary tribal factor and its impact in Kenya.  It’s not over yet for him but I think he should bank on the fact that it’s never going to be an easy humiliation to serve a man who was once your subordinate. He is on his own now.  

And a few words for Kenya, I think the people of Kenya are tipped to learn the hard way in the political period which they have entered. Uhuru Kenyatta is an echo of the previous systems we dare not remember. Here’s to hoping that the Kenyans will not re-live that memory. I am not saying that Odinga was going to be good leader, I am just saying they ought to watch their backs and this time beyond the political space….

Its time for Kenya to look past the tribal lenses before its too late.

Dreams for Miss Stacey which came late


So Stacey visits family, as always they escorted her back and left her after helping her cross the busy part of the road to finish off her journey. On she went and from that point everything becomes blurred. She goes missing for three days and is found raped and murdered. Everything on her body was intact nothing was removed on it according to reports. It was not a ritual murder since nothing was taken from her body. So what was it? What happened to Stacey beyond the raping and the murder of this child? To say nothing was taken from her for me would not be true. She was found dead with a lot of things taken from her though not visible. Life, breath, peace, warmth, her smile was gone, no voice, nothing was left except a lifeless body. Left there thrown in the maize fields without hope and we say nothing was taken from her body. I don’t think so!!

Tracing this story from the time it happened, I find myself failing to raise enough questions in regards to Tsitsi’s tragic ending. What is it that we are really supposed to question as rape is increasing by the day? The gap in the legal system, rape culture, and patriarchy, our naivety – leaving her safety to chance and assume she will get home anyway, women’s organisations not doing enough, the government, anyone: who could have acted in a way that may have saved Miss Stacey’s life? Who deserves to die because society has watched as rape culture is anchoring itself and scarring our society. Are we still dreaming for our children to live on ,long enriched lives?

I have dreams for Stacey even in her death and they are clouded with shame.
I have a dream that whoever raped and killed Stacey will be caught by the police and justice will prevail for her.
I have a dream that one day rape will be a thing of the past
I have a dream that one day men and women will see the need to collectively rise for their children and erase the scars of past abuse and end it in the future.
I have a dream that one day, work around protecting the sexuality of women and girls becomes high priority for everyone.
I dream in my moments that Stacey’s Story shall be told in all genuineness and that every one of us will keenly push for justice for her.
I have a dream that someday we will let our children run put to play in the streets without fear
I pray that the dreams of organisations working on gender based violence go beyond their need to be visible, but reach deep down to the trenches of the soul to transform minds and to build movements for ending such atrocities.
Dreaming on, I want us to work on not having misplaced sexual desires that are blind to the future of Zimbabwe

In the pit of my dream, I sit and watch governments not lifting a finger, not even raising thier own voices for the women and girls. I watched as they coerce us –we the women- to vote for them yet our children are lying dead in maize fields bruised and battered, and stripped of their bodily integrity. It’s like a nightmare where my value is attached to the ballot only. I can’t vote for a leader who will not fight for my body, in aguish I ask the maker to wake me from that dream. No I cannot go to the poll with a bruised body, I cannot stand in the same queue with the perpetrator when he is supposed to vote from the cells stinking as the soul that rapes our children. I will wake up from this nightmare.
I keep dreaming that maybe we may pursue our understanding of consensual sex…just once!!

In the dream I fight on hoping to get an answer. I want to meet whoever did this to Stacey. I want him to explain why he picked Stacey? Why he raped her and what he got out it? I want to know and also have a feel of how he thinks. I want to see the hands that pinned down the body of a young girl not yet developed. I want him to tell me the source of his sexual fetish. Yes I want him to explain why grown up women cannot fulfil it where there is consent. I want him to explain and explain, yes in that dream. I want him to tell me if he can distinguish wrong from right. I have a dream I want talk to him and make him respond to my anger in person.
I will keep dreaming for her!!!

I dream for her every day because I have hope for her.


nyashasengayi:

Our fight against violence on women is a time capsule ..future generations are going to look back at our actions and the loud voices, and ideas and be truly thankful just as we are thankful for the women who strated the women’s rights ideology..thanks Melinda for such insightful writing ..we will fight for her memory!! with love from Zimbabwe!!

Originally posted on Africa is a Country:

Guest Post by Melinda Fantou

The road that leads to Bredasdorp, a small town about 180 km from Cape Town, meanders through barren fields shaved of the wheat they once nursed to maturity. The sheep sidle through protruding stalks, stomaching the lack of greener pastures. The resilient blue gums – the only trees that seem, ironically, to break the dullness of the Cape Agulhas region – lay their leaves to roast in the harsh sun. A “Beware of Children” sign stands at the entrance of Bredasdorp with its 15,000 inhabitants.

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