30 May 2014

A Song Flung up to Heaven.

Awul iPhone3 pix

I was around 14 years old when I first read Dr Maya Angelou's autobiographies in a jumbled fashion. I started with the last volume, in which she mention starting to write Caged Bird. I clung onto her relationship with her brother because all I've ever had is myself. I now know and admit with no shame that I long for that sort of connectedness and belonging WITH someone. I read these books and talked to no one about them. Not my own mother or the girls and boy I spent a lot of time with at school. Not the people all over the country with whom I exchanged letters. The worlds of Marguerite Johnson (and her lived experiences) were my experiences by myself. Even when one of the girls I spent most of my school time and I stole a copy of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings from the school's dusty library and read it in turns -- I never spoke to her about it. It was between Angelou and myself. I have not yet read every book in her autobiographies.

My mother died when I was 17 and as the daughter of a dead mother all that  stands out vividly from what I've read of Angelou's life -- in her own words -- now is Vivian Baxter. When I first became obsessed with becoming a Mad Woman and self-identifying as A Mad Woman in the making I had women like Baxter and Angelou herself in mind. I also had my mother's mother in mind. I know more about both Angelou and her mother than I do my own mother's mother but all three feature highly on the wide spectrum of women who've influenced me and have coloured my life. Even her beautiful but very traditional life with her grandmother stands out for me. She lived.

She became a young mother, was a rape survivor and was so in control of her life. Dancing and singing and healing. Going where her heart and good conscience took her. 

I bought her essay collection Letter to my Daughter from one of the pop-up book stalls that are spread thinly all through my Jozi. This was at beginning of the height of the depression -- a height I've been living through for the last couple of years. I'd read the collection between 14 and 15 and wanted to revisit it. I still do. As soon as I can focus enuf to absorb a book from start to finish. I know the day is coming. I feel better more often than I feel like weeping in corner now. Most days are mending.

As a black girl born into the life I was born into I feel lucky to have had (to continue to have) Maya Angelou's words and generosity in her writing.

This marks the second time in the last six months I've sat in taxis filled with other people having FEELINGS because a great person had just died. 


My life is me publishing things days after writing them now.

- Nomali

26 May 2014

Something to do until the wars start

These are not my pictures

I don't like where I live or the food I eat. I haven't enjoyed what I've done in the three years that I've been out of college and working. The boys I've sat beside at movies or kissed haven't felt like more than "well, I could be lying in bed and reading erotic fiction." I prefer reading erotic fiction. I always feel as though my current life is "something to do until the wars start." The war being the big picture and perfection and not now. My life is waiting. My life is questions.

There are succulents I could be buying -- they look cute and I remember chewing on them as a child. My history of wild plants I've eaten -- both edible and not -- is colourful. There are wall mirrors and shrines I wish to erect. There's my business idea and yoga practice at the foot of my bed most mornings.  These are the things I see at the end of the tunnel that is my current life. Nice things I deserve. The anxiety comes from figuring out how to get there. How do I get a job I enjoy 99 percent of the time? How do I cook all the food I love and want to eat often, when I can barely get out of bed most days? How do I care for succulents in a place that feels like my personal hell? How do I erect mirrors and creative objects in a place that hardly big enuf for me to breathe in let alone create? And time. I've been keeping time for over five years and it makes me shrink. Each birthday is a reminder of all the time spent not loving or walking every second.

This state has, often,  felt like lack of gratitude and whining. But sometimes it has also felt like self-esteem, like there's more and I deserve all of it. It is in this state, of awaiting the war, that I battle these feelings within me. I battle myself. And I rally around myself. These brown hands are the ones that unflinchingly wipe the tears away, without fail. This voice is learning to not chastise or invalidate feelings everytime. I am always thinking of a plan.

I've listened to Big Sean's verse on Control for three consecutive days. //// This was written on Thursday, so make that six days. I've listened to that verse for six days.

20 May 2014

Inspire me | Girls of Blaze x A Fashion Friend x Bee Diamondhead

Since last week, I can officially say with little hesitation -- i.e don't call the internet cops on me -- that I'm obsessed with stylist and Marie Claire fashion editor, Bee Diamondhead . While I was dealing and coming to grips with my newly found obsession Ms. Diamondhead dropped this awesome look thing through A Fashion Friend for Girls of Blaze. You probably remember the original lookbook done by Solo, I think this is a solid interpretation//take on the Puma Girls of Blaze Discs aesthetic


Bee wanted amagoda aka maphondo aka bantu knots for this shoot so she rolled her sleeves up and gave her models amagoda.

Her tumblr and instagram are worth checking out. She's (in my opinion) part of the cool kid crowd I so loving wrote about here. BUT she's a Cape Town cool kid so that's a whole other level of narce.

6 May 2014

10 gross things that show we care about people

(and are therefore not disgusted by their humanity or germs.)

People are gross by nature and the more comfortable we feel around people the more we show of that grossness. If you've ever cared about someone or had someone care for you then you're likely to have experienced this fuckery.

1. Share a straw.

I share straws with my sister often and I've shared straws with boys in the past. It's a gross habit if you think of it but it still happens because if someone you like is drinking something delicious asking to use your own straw is waay out of mind.

2. You ask them to check weird shit on your body.

Who do you ask to look at that sudden bruise, weird bump and hair on your body? Especially when it's not in awkward places. Nothing says I don't think you're a total waste of space like "hey, does this bruise on the side of my thigh look green or blue to you?"

3. You know what I mean!

If you're unfortunate enuf to have a bigot care about you or feel comfortable around you then sooner or later they will share one of their disgusting beliefs with you hoping that you will "know what they mean" I hope you never do.

4. Phone to say hello.

I detest speaking on the phone. Don't phone me. But I have phoned a couple of people for no reason at all in the past and it wasn't a not gross thing to do. rme

5. You tell your worst best jokes.

As in, the most disgusting. Because hey, you care about this person and they deserve to know the real you. Toilet humour and all. [I have repeated the jam/peanut butter thing from HIMYM once. Not as a joke but as a reference. :(]

6.  Gas shitty behaviour.

If you've encouraged a sociopath then consult a doctor and//or the police. I'm talking mild stuff here. Like laughing when your bff does something extremely terrible and unkind -- think Rih x Melissa Forde. Not only this but you also encourage their judge-y, jerk attitudes. Like, naaaaw. Stop it. Real love calls you out.

7. Thumb and swipe

My mother did this A LOT when I was much younger. If we didn't look put together she'd tell us off then swipe her thumb in her mouth and wipe away whatever mark was on our faces. Nothing says I care about you more than this gesture. Ever. Unless we count the following.

8. Bucket Buddies.

Someone holding your braids away from your face while you weep and vomit is right up there with the grossest but heart-warming things known to humanity. It's a totally solid gesture.

9. Speak through the door

When your person (friend, lover, friend you want to be a lover et plus) is in the loo and your latest joke cannot wait the two minutes and you stand on the other side of the door and chat away because you waited all day to come over and tell them. You want to get them laughing, you don't care about the rest or giving them privacy. .

10. Morning kisses.

Apparently lovers kiss first thing in the morning. I don't like the taste of my mouth in the morning, what would possess anyone to kiss it or have me kiss theirs? Oh, ja, feelings.

Which of these have happened to you or at your hands? Trust me with your gross past actions so I know it's real.

© Nomali from Soweto | South African lifestyle blog. Design by FCD.