Interlude

I haven’t written anything in a while and I’m really not in the mood to go to bed. I just had an International Political Economy lecture followed with my usual hour long discussion with a friend on global politics.

There’s this stupid semi-presentation thing I have to do next week. I hate it. I really, really hate it. At times I get depressed about this. About this defect. If I could speak clearly I would change the world. I would join parties, debate people in class, preach, tutor or work as a lecturer (I would love that), make YouTube videos on either politics or just gaming. Or perhaps do book reviews. I would sing. I would tell my future girlfriend a poem each day. I would read stories to my kids one day…

But I can’t. All I can do is be silent. I have no choice but to be “quick to listen, slow to speak”¹. It’s really depressing.

To make it worse, even when I speak clearly I don’t. This is due to two reasons. The first is that I don’t always know how to describe something. I mean I’m almost finished with my honours degree and the one problem all the lecturers point out is still my grammar.

The second and more painful thing is this: whenever I use some obscure word people will not understand what I said. Even when I say it clearly, they won’t know. Why? Because they assume that as I am often unclear, that they misunderstood me because of my problem. To give an example, if I say I learned about Tenochtitlan. If someone SAYS it, people would probably say nothing. But because it’s weird AND because of my problem they would think I’m being unclear and that I probably mean Tennessee or something. So even when I’m clear I am not.

N. T. Wright talked about this. As this is my blog I’ll share it in length:

One of the greatest journalists of the last generation, Bernard Levin, described how, when he was a small boy, a great celebrity came to visit his school. The headmaster, perhaps wanting to impress, called the young Levin to the platform in front of the whole school. The celebrity, perhaps wanting to be kind, asked the little boy what he’d had for breakfast.

“Matzobrei,” replied Levin. A typical central European Jewish dish, Matzobrei is made of eggs fried with matzo wafers, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Levin’s immigrant mother had continued to make it even after years of living in London. To him, it was a perfectly ordinary word for a perfectly ordinary meal.

But the celebrity, ignorant of such cuisine, thought he’d misheard. He repeated his question. Levin, now puzzled and anxious, gave the same answer. The celebrity looked concerned and glanced at the headmaster: What is this word he’s saying? The headmaster, adopting a there-there-little-man tone, asked Levin once more what he had had for breakfast. Dismayed, not knowing what he’d done wrong, and wanting to burst into tears, the boy said once more the only answer he could honestly give: “Matzobrei.” After an exchange of incredulous glances on the platform, the terrified little boy was sent back to his place. The incident was never referred to again, but to him it was a horrible ordeal.

I’ve also noticed that due to both the above issues, the longer my sentences are the less chance people have of understanding me. So my replies are always short. Then I come off as irritated or blunt.

There’s also another thing. I noticed that it also depends on my confidence and my personality. When I’m angry I speak clearer. Yet when I try to be comforting I am unclear. I’m clearer around certain people like my friends, and less so around others. It also seems to vary depending on the time of day. In the midday it’s good, by night it’s bad. I’m not sure why. Probably because I’m tired. Sometimes during the day it could be bad. So I never know how it will be.

Even worse, I developed this unhealthy habit of avoiding people’s eyes when I speak. It wasn’t always like this. I avoid them because I have become terrified, as in psychologically frightened, at the faces people make when they didn’t understand you. That “huh” face.  It always cuts me deep and makes me miserable for a while.

You would think that the older you get the more used you get to it. That you finally make peace with it. That’s not true. The older you get the more you become aware of it. The more you realise what it means for your life. How it influences your relationships, and your career, and even something as stupid as a 5 minute discussion in class.

It was actually a really good day today. I enjoyed singing along to my awesome music on my way home. And I did well on my assignment again. And things are really good the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure why I wrote what I just did, but it needed to come out.

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Heavy Dreams

At the moment I’m sitting in this class at the fourth level of the library. I’m feeling rather awkward. They are planning to have some video connection with people in Germany. And to the left of me are sitting two German exchange students as well. The blond one is pretty.

That is all totally off point. Lately I’ve been having very dense dreams. Not always nightmares, but not exactly lucid dreams about love either.

I dream I’m swimming in the sea and I forgot to put on sun protection. For some reason I’m really worried that I will be burned red. A few days ago I dreamt a dentist is literally hammering at my teeth. A while before that I dreamt that my cleft was divided, like it was at birth. That was horrifying. Or, as commonly happens in my dreams, I’m struggling to escape the waves rushing onto the beach, struggling to get over something grabbing my foot.

The two common themes in my dreams, the ocean and being barefoot, are common recently. I don’t know why I’m having these.

Yeah I have worries, but compared to a month or two ago my life is peaceful. I just wish I knew what the reasons are for these dense and tiring dreams of mine.

I’m The Idiot

He is either a physician, or really a man possessed of exceptional intelligence who can foresee a great deal. (But that he is, when all’s said and done, an idiot, of that there can be no doubt whatever.)

There’s this book called The Idiot by Dostoevsky. It is about Prince Myshkin (with “prince” being a common title for many people in 19th century Russia). Myshkin, or just called “The Prince” suffered from some mental disease which kept him from being normal until about 28. As in, he couldn’t reason quite well before that.

But, at the beginning when we are introduced to him, he is in a very good state of mind. He could read people, understand and analyse situations, and, most importantly he is a “wholly virtuous man”. He’s just a good guy. He never lies, is socially awkward, and tends to do what’s good.

I read this book once before and I’m reading it again at the moment. I know these last 80 pages will be disaster on every turn. No one will be happy at the end.

What bothers me the most about Myshkin is how people would call him an “idiot” while acknowledging his good heart and even his intellect. As I said, initially he was well aware of people’s motives and he could come up with ingenious solutions. What I hate is them calling him an idiot because they think it is stupid to be so utterly good hearted. And the tragic irony is that by the end of the book all that has happened to him made him return to be an actual idiot, devoid of reasoning. That’s tragic indeed.

Now I’m not a “wholly virtuous man”. But I’ve found that people tend to think “Oh, he’s nice, and naive”. They confuse trying to be good with being naive and unaware of the intricacies of life. I’m reminded of Chesterton’s Father Brown which the author made to intentionally reflect on this idea: people think Father Brown is naive on “worldy” matters when at the end of the day he knows MORE about it than others. But to come back to myself – this is my blog and I will talk about myself – I encounter this on every turn with my friends. I really love them and I need them in my life like I need water. They respect me – sometimes – when it comes to religion and being good, but they can’t help but be condescending when it comes to “real” issues like sex and love and dating.

Like right now I’m talking about that girl. And the one thing I’ve realised the last while apart from being patient, is that I should actually do effort for her. And I have. I first began our conversation on Tinder, I’ve been the one to always message her, constantly afraid that I’m irritating her. I’m the one who bought her a book, who first asked whether we could meet, asked again a week later, and when we planned for this weekend, I went and bought a nice packet, a bookmark, gift wrapping and chocolate. I drove in a hell of a distance to sleep over at my friend so I could meet her, and then drive from there another hell of a distance to where we meet, and then double that distance all the way home. I really tried. But my friend, on hearing how my first meeting with her went, told me I shouldn’t be afraid and that I should really try otherwise I will never know. But that’s just damn it! That’s what’s been motivating me! But no, I’m the idiot here.

 

Wat ‘n Dag

Net een dag nou! Net een damn dag! Ek onthou laas week het ek gedink: “Jinne, ‘n week en ‘n half! Hoe gaan ek dit maak?”. Ek het baie gebid vir geduld.

Gister het ek gedink ek moet net by jou seker maak of als nog reg is vir Saterdag. Ek het afgekom op so ‘n trending Facebook post wat mense spot wat nie uitsien na ‘n date nie. Op dit het baie mense gepraat van hoe dit beter is om net die ou te laat wag. En dit het my net bekommerd gemaak: die ergste wat kan gebeur is nie dat dinge Saterdag sleg loop nie, maar as jy nie eers opdaag nie! Ek het geweet jy sal darem nie dit doen nie, maar dit het my laat wonder oor of jy dalk second thoughts het. Dat jy spyt is. So toe dink ek ek moet net confirm die volgende dag (vanoggend).

So ek gaan slaap sommer vroeg want ek kon nie langer wag nie. En toe, vir een of ander rede, word ek vroeg wakker! En ek kon nie verder slaap nie! Dit gebeur bitter min. Ek het probeer slaap, probeer videos kyk, enige iets sodat dit by 7 uur kan kom sodat ek jou net kon vra.

En gelukkig het jy vinnig geantwoord met ‘n voicenote. Vir ‘n oomblik het ek gedink dis ‘n slegte teken dat jy ‘n voice note stuur, maar jyt darem entoesiasties geklink. Dis goed.

Mmm…

Soos ek hierdie tik begin ek besef hoe weird dit is om hier te skryf as of ek dit vir jou skryf. Ek doen dit gewoonlik met almal, of dit ‘n vriend is of wieookal, maar ek wonder nou of dit weird is. Nog iets om aan te dink…

Anyway, dit was ‘n helse lang dag. En die lecture was nie so goed nie. Die verdomde lecturer dink eks ‘n idioot of iets. Seker my gesig en my “ek weet nie wat aangaan nie” tipe expression. Byna al die vrae wat jy gevra het het ek geken, Oom! Moenie my stilte vir dwaasheid verwar nie!

Maar anyway, ek het ‘n realisation gehad. Ek hou aan dink asof Saterdag die moment of destiny is, as of ek onmiddelik gaan weet hoe ek oor jou voel. En ek het net die obvious skielik besef dat dit nie nodig is om dan al te weet nie. Dis nie verkeerd om jou eers ‘n paar keer te sien nie voor ons besluit nie. Maar nog ‘n ding is jou absolute wonderlike beauty. Jys is letterlik TE mooi. Soos in, ek moet bieg, die afgelope tyd fokus ek meer op dit as op jou persoonlikheid. En dis verkeerd. Ek het begin wonder of ek meer in jou belangstel omdat jy mooi is as jou persoonlikheid. Maar na ‘n bietjie gewonder weet ek dit is nie so nie. In die klas het ek gekyk na al die meisies daar en ek het imagine hoe jy is. Ek meen ek weet nog nie, dalk gaan jy Saterdag baie skaam en stil wees, of dalk gaan jy vol lewe lees (eks fine either way). Maar in die klas het ek jou mentally vergelyk en jy staan kop en stert bo hulle.

Ek dink wat my aan jou heg is jou lag. Op jou voice notes is dit jou lag, en jou stem oor die algemeen, wat ek so van hou. Dostoevsky het gesê jy kan uitmaak of iemand goed is net gebaseer op hulle lag. En dis waar. Ek like jou lag! Ek like jou stem.

Ek weet nie. My kop spin heeltyd. Dit gaan goed gaan of dit gaan sleg gaan. Ek weet nie. Ek weet regtig nie.

Geduld

Die afgelope week of so skryf ek nou amper daagliks op hierdie blog.

Jinne die een ding wat heeltyd voor bid is geduld. Ek lees weer 1 Korintiers 4-7: love is… patient… not self-seeking, always hopes, always perseveres. Ek het dit gister en vanoggend gelees. Geduld! Ek kort dit! Ek begin meer en meer dink dat die hoeveelheid wat ek moet wag is bedoel om vir my geduld te leer. Ek bid al ‘n baie lang tyd vir dit want vir meer as ‘n jaar al kom ek agter hoe maklik ek geirriteerd kan word. Geduld.

Vanoggend het ek nog gesukkel met dit (en wie weet, dalk sukkel ek weer vanaand). ‘n Deel van my wil kwaad wees, self-serving wees en demanding wees. Maar in my hart het ek duidelik besef dat ek geen reg het om te wees nie. Ek verdien jou nie. En dis die einde van die saak. Ek verdien jou nie, so ek kan niks teen jou hou nie. En ek wil nie.

Ek het so ‘n maand terug ‘n short story van Dostoyevsky, White Nights, vir ‘n vriendin gestuur. Syt dit vandag klaar gelees en op haar Whatsapp status die laaste bladsy opgelaai. Dis presies hoe ek voel. Of tenminste, hoe ek bereid is om te voel. Of, as ek te sleg is vir dit, hoe ek weet ek moet voel:

But to imagine that I should bear you a grudge, Nastenka! That I should cast a dark cloud over your serene, untroubled happiness; that by my bitter reproaches I should cause distress to your heart, should poison it with secret remorse and should force it to throb with anguish at the moment of bliss; that I should crush a single one of those tender blossoms which you have twined in your dark tresses when you go with him to the altar…. Oh never, never! May your sky be clear, may your sweet smile be bright and untroubled, and may you be blessed for that moment of blissful happiness which you gave to another, lonely and grateful heart!

My God, a whole moment of happiness! Is that too little for the whole of a man’s life?

En honestly, na ‘n bietjie van ‘n down oggend, het ek weer geduld gekry. Ek het jou maar net gevra om, wanneer jy kans het, my net te vertel watse flieks jy van hou. Eks bly om geduldig te wees op die oomblik. As jy dit werd is, dan wat is nog ‘n paar dae?

Wow Dit Voel Kak

Ek moet seker gewoond word aan hierdie. Ek moet nou nog ‘n week wag om jou te sien. ‘n Hele week! Ek het netnou nog gebid vir geduld en wysheid. Wel, dit was wys om te bid vir geduld. Want nog ‘n week! Ek wil jou net sien! Al is dit net 5 sekondes! Dis al. Ek sal al die pad inry net vir dit. Net om te ontmoet. Letterlik net dit.

Maar nog ‘n week…

Hel ek voel skielik so vreeslik down. Die Here weet hoe om jou op te hype!

Ek wens jy kon my teleurstelling voel, net genoeg om twee keer te dink, maar nie so veel as om sleg te voel nie.

Isak het 14 jaar gewerk vir Ragel, en dit het vir hom soos dae gevoel. Maar wat hulle nie sê nie, is dat elke dag soos ‘n eeu kan voel.

Nog ‘n week om myself te haat en alles te oordink.

Nog Enetjie

Vandag is ‘n vreeslike vervelige dag. My suster is uiteindelik weg. En ek weet nie eintlik wat om te doen nie. Ek dink baie aan jou, maar ek besef dit het te doen met my boredom. As ek take het en dinge gedoen het sou ek minder aan jou dink, en eks seker wanneer ek dan aan jou dink sal ek dan nog meer van jou hou want dan is dit omdat ek wil en nie net omdat ek bored is nie. Don’t get me wrong, ek like jou anyway, ek bedoel net as ek werk sal my liking vir jou opreg en eerbaar wees.

Eks op so ‘n rollercoaster van idees oor die toekoms deesdae. Vir so ‘n week het ek alles van myself gehaat. Maar onlangs vir ‘n paar dae, veral sedert jou voice note, het jy my hoop gegee vir die toekoms. Ek kyk gewoonlik op na die toekoms en dinge wat kom. En ek dink dat na al die kwessies van ‘n werk en so gaan my lewe maar uneventful wees, en dalk distant van my vriende. Maar jy! Net die idee, die hoop, dat iets tussen ons dalk kan gebeur gee my hoop vir die toekoms en maak my uitsien daarna.

En nou in my boredom sien ek weer my reflection in my rekenaar se display. Ek sien daai skewe lip en ek haat dit. Dis nie soveel dit nie as die idee dat jy dit moet sien en met dit moet opsit. Jou lengte was aanvanklik iets onverwags, en hoe meer ek daaraan dink hoe meer like ek dit. Maar hierdie… sal jy dieselfde kan doen? Watse reg het ek om te verwag dat jy ook verby dit moet kyk? Kan jy regtig so goed wees?

Ek wil jou nog ontmoet, en die hele dag wonder ek al of ek jou moet vra of nie. Vanoggend het ek gedink ja, en ek het begin wonder hoe ek dit moet vra. Maar soos ek begin het met Dostoyevsky se Adolescent, het ek begin dink dat ek wel moet wag. Wag want ek wil nie ‘n fout maak en jou deur my vingers laat glip nie… maar dalk as ek wag is dit juis wat sal gebeur?

Ek moet admit, om Kaap te toe te gaan met die wete dat ek jou ontmoet het (en dat dit goed afgeloop het) sal fantasties wees! Maar ek gaan nie jou ontmoet net sodat ek goed kan voel wanneer ek Kaap toe gaan nie. Ek wil jou ontmoet want ek wil jou ontmoet, en ek wil hê jy moet my wil ontmoet.

Wil jy?

Eks Jammer

Eks so geïrriteerd op die oomblik. Ek moet hierdie lesing doen. Dis maar net 20 bladsye. En ek het later vandag weer klas. Maar ek dink hierdie gevoel is nie die stupid lesing nie. Dis daai stupid graduation. Sien hierdie post dan weet jy wat ek van praat.

Daai dag van graduation was ek in so, so ‘n slegte bui. Die dag voor die tyd al. Ek wou nie gaan nie uit bitterheid. Ek wil dit nie admit nie, maar ek dink ook uit spite uit. Hoe stupid van my.

En daai dag, toe ek hoor hoe jy daar is, hoe jy wou hê ek moet daar wees, hoe hy daar is, hel dit het my depressed gemaak vir dae. Hoekom was ek so stupid? Ek gaan nie dat dom onnodige en onverdiende bitterheid ooit weer simpel, mooi logika oorweldig nie.

Ek dink die probleem was nie (stupid) idee dat ek julle nie gaan sien nie, of dat dit net vir ‘n minuut of twee sal wees. Hoekom gaan as ek julle nie gaan sien nie? Of hoekom gaan met die hoop dat ek julle gaan sien, as dit dalk nie so gaan wees nie? My bitterheid het daai punt gemaak: “Hoeveelkeer, J-, het jy gehoop om iets saam met hulle te doen (sonder om hulle te sê) dan stel hulle jou teleur, al was dit eintlik jou skuld? Dis beter om dit te los. Hierdie mense, jou vriende, wat nie eers weet wat vriendskap is nie.”

So om te hoor hoe julle daar is, en hoe julle my mis, en selfs sy wat gewonder het waar ek was. Dit het my laat besef dat dit nie julle is nie wat nie weet wat vriendskap is nie, maar ek. Eks die een wat uit bitterheid dit wou boikot. Eks die een wat my vriende verlaat het, seker die laaste keer wat ek julle saam sou gesien het.

Almal van julle vrae my waar ek was. En ek vertel net ‘n halwe waarheid, wat alles wat ek bo gesê het uitlos. Eks jammer.

oN-DuI-dE-LiK

Ek is so, so vreeslik, wat is die woord? Gefrustreerd. Dit voel of ek elke jaar net al hoe meer onduidelik word. En ek bedoel dit in ‘n letterlike sin. Ek is gebore met ‘n versplete verhemelte en ek het my hele lewe lank al erg spraak probleme gehad.

In Graad 10 het ek gedink ek sal my break kry: ek gaan ‘n massive operasie hê waar hulle ‘n halo-frame (google dit) sou opsit wat ek vir tien weke dra. Dit het my boonste kakebeen min of meer dieselfde grote gemaak as my onderste een, en hulle het een nasale gat oop gemaak.

En toe?

Toes ek flippen meer onduidelik as ooit. Ek het die kapasiteit gekry vir duidelikheid, maar omdat daar skielik soveel meer lug uitkom was ek vreeslik nasaal. Maar ek het aangepas en dit het beter gegaan.

In eerste jaar van universiteit het ek spraak terapie gehad, en ek het actually gevoel asof ek vorder. Teen die einde van die jaar het ek amper normaal gevoel.

En in tweede jaar het ek begin sukkel. In einde derde jaar het ek dit weer bygewoon, en gehoor van probleme wat ek nog altyd gehad het maar nooit besef het nie. Soos die “s” en die “f” wat ek nog altyd gedog het ek okay sê, is eintlik sleg.

Het jy ‘n clue hoe dit voel om bewus te wees van elke flippen letter in elke flippen woord wat jy sê? Het jy ‘n clue hoe dit is? Daai gesigte wat mense maak wanneer hulle nie verstaan wat jy sê nie: daai “huh” gesig wat so skeef na jou kyk. Dis hoekom ek nie meer mense in die gesig kyk as ek praat nie!

Ek stres my gat af vir ‘n werk eendag hieroor. Ek stres oor hoe duidelik ek gaan wees as ek eendag my vrou vra “Sal jy met my trou?” en die speech wat ek op my troue moet gee. Wie stres oor sulke goed?

En wat my so pla is dat ek regtig, regtig duidelikheid so goed sou gebruik. Ek sou speeches gee, preek dalk, politiese dinge bywoon, mense inspireer in elke daagse goed, vir my toekomstige meisie sing, veg vir die waarheid… kinders grootmaak.

Het jy al ‘n droom gehad waar jy skielik verlam is? Of jy is doof? Of stom? En het jy al iemand verloor, dan word jy wakker en jy is van “hierdie is nie ‘n droom nie, dit is die werklikheid”? Daai gevoel in beide situatisies is wat ek af en toe ervaar.

Die kanse dat ek is soos ek is, is soos 1 uit 700. En dis ek! Dis soos om te besef jyt die lotto gewen… net om te besef dat wat jy gewen het is die eer om die eerste een te wees om in die gaskamer in te gaan.

En die cherry op die damn koek?

Selfs wanneer my woorde duidelik is, is ek nie duidelik nie. Kyk na hierdie damn post. Kyk na my ander posts. Of ek skryf  en of ek praat (al is my stem duidelik), verstaan mense nie wat ek eintlik probeer sê nie.

En dis soms net flippen erg.

PISS OFF

This is a quick rant to those all too common WordPressers who merely follow you, or like a post, just so they can be followed back. I’m talking of those whose blogs focus on increasing traffic, protests, success and all that other bullshit.

I don’t want you.

In this blog of mine I share some of the deepest secrets of my life. I don’t appreciate you cheapening my scattered thoughts.

PISS OFF. 

To those who actually read what I say, and out of appreciation like it. Thank you. I do not post with a like count in mind. I post because I need to write down what I’m feeling. I need to get my burning thoughts out of my head. Sometimes it helps just knowing that at least one other person understands what I’m saying, that I’m not mute in both speech and writing.