MENTAL HEALTH // WHEN YOU’RE JUST TRYING TO LIVE BUT FIGHTING THE SYSTEM WON’T LET YOU

No doubt the last couple of weeks has been difficult if you give a fuck about how to deconstruct the things that are holding millions of poor people back in South Africa, Africa, The World.  One day I’ll look back on these days and probably roll my eyes at the level of emo I become about the smallest things that to some people are normal but to me give me the feels that can only be compared to chewing lighbulbs. Experiencing the pain of the daily doses of patriarchy, white supremacy and the perverted capitalism that permeates our consciousness is a trip. And in relation to last week, I am not even a student.

I can’t imagine how the students around the country who have been involved in protests, toyi toying for a better future must be individually feeling after everything.  There’s this poor woman whose pain I couldn’t just ”like” and ”share” as just another passing number.  How did she feel the next day when she woke up? How is she doing today?  Oppressed bodies inherit and go through an added layer of trauma, in addition to the general fuckery that comes with being any human.  From daily micro aggressions that one can pick up on a Facebook timeline from a seedy ”friend” or a pharmacy to what we saw last week — full on confrontations with guns, dogs, water canons, police nyala’s and a seemingly indestructible power bloc that is the state and its machinery. It’s an anomaly how depression and mental illnesses have never been seen as members of the black community when there are incalculable ways systematic oppression affects the lives of oppressed people all day long. The only thing I kept thinking last week after marching to Luthuli House and visiting the Wits Campus was, how the hell are these people coping when the chanting is over? What’s their state of mind when they are sitting on the toilet taking their first pee of the day? How did the nights of the leaders who were shouting ”AMANDLA” to swollen crowds unfold when the sound of Iyoooo Solomooon was silenced by a sliver of everyday life? Where is the mental and emotional outlet for them during this process? What kind of therapy or coaching do they need to be able to continue their fight or their lives as they know them?  Is there a ready made self-care treatment for being completely conscious of your environment, your body, your race, your sexuality, your level of education AND having a stun grenade in your face?

What I’m trying to say is that being constantly (and I really hate this term because of how divisive it has become) ”woke” can drive a person bat shit bananas.  Just yesterday I think I had my rock bottom (hence this beautiful song which has been my nectar). I’ve been having a ”come down” from last week.  I’ve been trying to start living again after everything that happened, trying to spend time alone again, trying to wean myself off social media so I can think and just trying to just be. My man decided to take me out to the movies yesterday  because I’ve been feeling down.  Instead of being appreciative of the gesture, I picked the movie apart afterwards, complaining about the representation of the sole black character amongst other things.  This unfolded in an epic car ride scene (of me on the passenger seat of my man’s car) that ended with me rage weeping on the corner of Oxford and Cotswold to the sound of, I kid you not, Adele’s new song, which juuust happened to be on the radio at the precise moment I realized that I was being a complete and irreclaimable asshole to my lovely lovely partner. Obviously my breakup level tears had nothing to do with the movie and in a way, that was a deeply dodgy way of asking life ”can I live”? ”please, can I be ignorant for just 2 hours”? ”can I just experience this cheesy moment for what it is and not take it any further?”.

It’s a couple of hours later and I feel better, I feel like that moment needed to happen even though I wish I had more poise in conveying the delusions of my mind. I feel like something in me has been rung out but the problem is still there.  This kind of nuanced hyper awareness needs a standardized general coping and i feel like it can only come from the community of people that understand how this all feels.  I met a guy last week who does Kemetic Yoga, a special kind of ancient style of Yoga derived from the ways Kemites in what we today call Egypt  used to do yoga, and he tells me it is specifically designed to heal oppressed bodies.  When I’m feeling a little stronger, I’m going to organize a yoga session cos he’s in Joburg and he’s keen.  But for those who are not in Joburg, who are going through these types of things, it is important to cater to your mental and emotional needs on the back of such events and just nje, to counter the micro aggressions, otherwise the road to a mental breakdown will be paved with your intentions.

We need a directory of healing where there can be panels, meditation sessions, purge cyphers, sharing circles, herbs, yoga and definitely a feminist house somewhere where women just check in for a couple of days to escape whatever terror led them there.  Currently, this house lives in my mind but if it was real, it would be like this: It would have big comfortable beds where the pillows would absorb tears and the bedding would gives hugs and be alarm resistant.  The mirrors would tell you you’re fwuine everytime you look at them.  There would be no network and no questions asked as to why you are there.  There would be a giant TV room to watch the Kardashians and other guilty pleasure trash TV. The TV room would have fresh doughnuts suspended from the ceiling, wine on tap, a herb garden that has all kinds of natural medicines including pre-rolled joints.  There would be conversation chairs in the garden, steam rooms and a hair salon.  Uber would deliver Paul’s Home Made Ice Cream on demand.  There would be a big forest on which to take walks and be in nature.  There would be a writing room, a music room, an art studio and of course a library.  There would be a seminar room where visitors get together to plot the demise of abusive bosses, partners and family members while simultaneously planning a better world for everyone.  And there would definitely an imminent period indicator. Everybody would take turn controlling the machine that cleans everything from dish to bedding.  Ahhh it’s nice to dream 🙂

I’m happy to be writing again because my voice has been MIA for weeks, hence the silence up and through here. Plus I immediately got my life back after I was introduced by the internet, to Zola the Sex Worker and her intense story! You’ve never read anything crazier.  A part of me was like okay this is actually not funny because Jess is pretty much being human trafficked but the line between choice and force is so so thin in that story.

 

// Comments (3)
  • Afrojunky87 says:

    O.M.G this describes what I feel each day. I have stopped checking twitter and videos of black bodies dehumanization just so I can have peace. Its like I end up dissecting every situation and something inside of me wont let me ignore the pain all oppressed people go though in this world. Being “woke” brought so many ugly things to light and I don’t know if I can survive knowing.

  • Milli Bongela says:

    Me too Afrojunky87, I’m like how am I going to survive seeing the world in this way for the rest of my life?

  • Ntombi says:

    Hi Milli, your blog is my guilty pleasure I say that because I’m a strong Christian. I can’t seem to shake off the icky feeling I still have of the world, race and belief. I love reading your work.

    The question I wanted to ask is that dont you think what we really need as a nation (black people) is to create wealth for our selves. Ways: create products and trade them amongst our selves. Make conscious decision to buy black no matter what (even if the service may not be good). The most important thing would be to create and produce as a nation as much as possible. There is a movement that’s called Purposly buy black that has started, they are encouraging that mindset of being conscious of where we spend our money plus encouraging black excellence.

    What do you think?

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