Mahlohonolo a selemo se setjha

Mahlohonolo a selemo se setjha

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“Rea o boka, Morena. Re ntse re thabela wena. Re sa phela hamonate, ka bapallo ya hao Ntate.” A fave Sesotho hymn of thanks giving to Ramasedi (that would be God in the orthodox).

I don’t know what it is about a new year that invigorates hope and faith. The last time I felt this hopeful was many eons ago. Probably in 2009. I don’t recall what my mood was in primary and high school. For as long as I can remember, there was an omnipresent sense of “Who am I and why do I see things that are dismissed by my elders?”. There was also a deep sense of longing and loss that I felt on and off. Then there would be days where I couldn’t peel myself out of bed.

At the age of 14, I was diagnosed with depression. I didn’t pay much attention to the severity of my diagnosis. All I knew was that I was drowning in a sea of nothingness and wore a heavy grey blanket around my shoulders that affected my emotions so deeply, I couldn’t escape. My therapist, in conjunction with my GP, prescribed medication for the nothingness I felt. I diligently took my pills because I wanted to escape the claws of the grey blanket. Instead of getting better, I felt like I was sinking deeper. I felt nothing. I wanted nothing. I had even stopped crying. I was the walking dead, watseba? I had even stopped dreaming. That was the first indicator that something was amiss. Dreams can provide a sense of comfort and direction. I had absolutely nothing to hold on to while the pills tried to clear the mist. When I finished the initial prescription, I told my parents NOPE, can’t do this anymore. I refuse to be displaced in my own body, anymore. NOPE NOPE NOPE. They respected that decision and I continued with therapy.

When I turned 19, I experienced an encounter with higher beings. I don’t know what to call those beings, seriously. I was somewhat used to having encounters with beings I didn’t know, that neither felt sinister nor benevolent. They were (as in I AM). This is when I knew that hayikhona man, there’s a reason I am constantly feeling like I do not belong. I carried on living through university, tough as it was, with the grey blanket coming in different intensities each day. Sometimes it was bearable. Sometimes I didn’t want to live. Then there was the in between of, “M’kay, let’s face the day even though we do not want to.” In 2013 my paternal grandmother, who was my primary caregiver for many years, passed away from cancer. I dipped into the abyss again. She came in a dream to tell me she loved me and that she always would. She asked me to cry as much as I needed to, but that I shouldn’t block her out of my life. She also told me there would be a baby girl brought to the family and she wanted her to be named after her. Enter Lehakoe Nomvo Tsoaeli, in 2014. I woke up from that encounter and I howled. I remember it very vividly because it was in the early hours of the morning, abamama hours. My heart was sore and happy at the same time. I had interacted with my departed grandmother as if her existence in the physical was unaffected. I hugged her and she hugged me back. We pecked each other on the lips and I asked questions pertaining to death. Questions that bothered me deeply in my waking hours. She answered all of them. That dream felt like it went on for an hour or two, but it was probably 10 minutes long. Badimo have a way of getting all your senses involved in an encounter with them, time falls away. They’re las namba woke those ones.

Throughout 2013, 2014, 2015 (things started looking up, with my mental health), to the first half of 2016, I was a mess. MESS. Things started coming together post-phehlo (remember iphehlo is intwaso, so post-phehlo= after ukuthwasa). Honestly. The nothingness I felt most of my life, has gotten so much better. I am coping with my depression, anxiety and living with badimo. Of course uvalo/letswalo (let’s simplify it as anxiety) is sometimes idlozi announcing itself; picking up on someone’s vibration ozonqonqoza endumbeni/ ya tlileng ho kokota ka seromong (a patient seeking healing); or a message to stay woke, among other things ke. I could describe this as a state of equilibrium. Yes. I am where I need to be, doing what I need to do, making positive strides. Of course life isn’t without its challenges. No. What I am saying is that there’s a lot of progress in this Gogo’s life, and for that I am grateful. I am hopeful. My faith is restored.

If you’re going through hard times, you will honestly make it through. The only state that cannot change is death of the physical body. Otherwise, if your physical body is still on this plane, there will be changes in your life. I do not want to oversimplify the positive message, because there are other factors at play that influence our lives as humans, specifically humans who have faced oppression over centuries and having to start from scratch, with alles. I recognise that, but what I am saying is that your current state will not always be that way. Change is always on the horizon. There’s a Joyous Celebration song I listened to religiously when I was going through things. The lyrics that always comforted me were, “Lonk’ uvalo, nokwesaba kuzodlula sekuyasa. Inyembezi ziyosulwa, sekuyasa qinisela, thula tu.”

Kuzodlula. Letsatsi le tlo tjhaba ese kgale. Le wena o tla fumana thabo (whatever that means for you). Lerato la Ramasedi le badimo, le be le lona ka mehla <3

Lesedi bana ba thari e ntsho.

Gogo Malepena

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