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LOVE IS LIKE YOUR HEART, IT ONLY BEATS FOR ONE

Helloweeni Peeps!

“If our two loves be one, or thou and I love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.”

John Donne (Good Morrow)

The weird thing that life is keeps throwing us major curve balls – unexpectedly presenting us with challenges and disruptions that not only alter our moments, but our lifetimes.  2015 has been filled with curve balls that made an immense impact in the course of my life; this has been the best year of my existence, surpassing 2012 & 2002 (Yeah, I rate my years… I’m that weird).  Recently I was part of the #FeesMustFall student protest that has been causing unrest across the country’s universities (I may not have been at the forefront, but my presence made a difference in the course of history).  But this year, nothing makes me more prouder than being Best Man at my older brother’s wedding.  Oh yeah, the wedding…  Didn’t I tell you about that?  Sit down mpintsh’ yam, coz it was the most memorable night in the Klaas Family’s history (and hopefully,the Bunu family as well).

Amanda and Khanyile

The Happy Couple [Khanyile and Amanda] — PHOTO: Laresa Perlman Photography

I’ve delayed posting this, as the wedding was three weeks ago, because I was busy being kicked out of res by the university *furious*… But that’s a story for another day.  This journey for these two beautiful souls began as a story of patience.  Boy was this nigga (Khanyile, my big bro) patient… His pursuits for a relationship with Amanda (his wife) were turned down numerous times, and when she finally entrusted him with her precious heart, she turned down his many marriage proposals for four years.  Amanda you made ubhut’ wam suffer hey… But it’s all good in the neighbourhood. (click here for their whole love story)

She’s been a rock for my family.  She was part of our family long before she uttered those two heavenly words that are: “I do.”  2011 was one of the most difficult years for my family.  My father was diagnosed with Leukemia, a type of cancer found in your blood and bone marrow.  We had countless trips to the hospital, hefty hospital bills, and no decent pay cheque to speak of.  Khanyile, as the eldest male in the family, had the responsibility of holding the family together and had to be the strongest.  He was the trunk holding the branches of our family tree.  But then if he was the trunk, she was the roots, the main source of his strength.  Everytime he had to update us on our father’s deteriorating health, I could see he was moments from breaking, but Amanda was there to help him keep it together and wiped his tears behind closed doors.  And when my father finally succumbed to the disease, we never crumbled.  I owe it all to her strength.  She never needed a ring nor a change of surname to make her part of the Klaas and Amayirha clan (but we glad she did though…lol)

“I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.”

~ Forrest Gump

Amanda

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” ~ Maya Angelou — PHOTO: Laresa Perlman Photography

The step that followed from there on were moments I have already shared with you… the Lobola negotiations [check out MY FIRST LOBOLA EXPERIENCE and MY FIRST LOBOLA EXPERIENCE… PART 2].  Those were dope, and very successful…  Hence we had the wedding.  Duh!

Amayirha

Left to Right – Xolani (Groom’s Man/Step Choreographer), My Big Sister Khanyiswa, Me (The Best Man)

Sihle and Thuli

Left to Right – Sihle (Bride’s Maid) & Thulisa (Maid of Honour)  —  PHOTO: Laresa Perlman Photography

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Fast forward to the wedding.  The wedding was to be on Saturday, October 31st, so I arrived home, in Ashton, two days earlier.  Usually, long distance taxi rides are as comfortable as a colonoscopy, but this one, I must say, was very pleasant.  The day before the wedding, the Rolihlahla Community hall was unrecognizable with the Top Billing décor that produced endless ooohhh’s & aaahhh’s.  Family members flooded in from all corners of the earth (including uJolakazi a.k.a Debbie, my favourite cousin in the world whom I hadn’t seen in two years).  But it dearly warmed my heart when two friends and classmates of mine, Akhona & Sethu, arrived to share this wonderful time in my family.  I ran around like a headless chicken ’till the early hours of Saturday morning, while Xolani was left bullshitting Debbie to hysterical laughter and Akhona & Sethu took countless bedroom selfies. But we finally got about four hours of sleep.

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The boys in the front though… lol

The next morning we got dressed and looked like movie stars ready to party like rock stars.  The day was just surreal to me.  I couldn’t believe how good my family looked.  I mean it was normal to see my mother, a.k.a the diva of the family, all dressed up, but uMakazi (my aunt) and my sister looked really amazing.  With million dollar, balloons taped onto cars and wedding songs reverberating around the house, we were ready to be on our way to the N.G.K. Church in town, where the matrimonial ceremony was to be held.  But first… a prayer.  I’m not sure as to who was praying, but I so wished it was my father saying that last prayer in my brother’s bachelorhood.

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“You may kiss your bride.” PHOTO: Laresa Pearlman

We left to loud but sweet-sounding car hoots.  “You’re getting married, bra!”, Xolani kept reminding my nervous brother during the car ride.  We arrived; our family and friends took their seats.  Then we, Abenathi & Olwethu, Xolani & I, then the groom walking with my uncle, entered to the sweet sounds of the soulful Nathi’s “Nomakanjani”.  We had a long nervous wait, with the first few seconds of the wait seeing some tears streaming down my face.  The Bunu family arrived and took their seats.  Then, the two flower girls, Sihle &Thulisa (the maid of honor), Nandi (matron of honor), then the blushing bride bride with an elder family member, entered to the sounds of Jennifer Hudson’s “Give Myself”.  You’d page a whole dictionary looking for an intense synonym for beautiful to describe her.  The were long speeches by the pastor, but let’s skip to the vows… No eye in the church building was dry, as the groom pleaded with his bride to never forsake his mother, as she stuck with our father through thick and thin to make him the man he is today.  An amusing moment occurred as the rings were being exchanged.  “I don’t care even if you’re washing the car, Khanyile – I want to see this ring on your finger!”, Amanda demanded of the groom.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom left in style – being driven in a sleek 2015 Maseratti Ghibli (which I never got a chance to ride in *furious*).  After taking some amazing pics, we made our way to the reception.  We entered the hall to the jamming sound of Black Coffee’s “We Dance Again” and killed it with our own version of the “Nae-Nae” dance…lol…  Later on, my best friend and classmate, Siphosethu Phikelela, wowed the guests with her enchanting IsiXhosa poetry.  The food was stupendous, the company amazing, and the night unforgettable.

The following day was the traditional ceremony.  The day was wet with rain, but no rain could dampen our families’ spirits.  Presents were brought, the singing was loud, and sheep were slaughtered and turned into delectable mutton and lamb chops.  The Bunu family brought their bride to us one last time with songs, but were blocked at the gate by the women of the Amayirha clan.  Then the battle of traditional songs ensued.  I, my cousin Debbie and my classmates (Akhona & Siphosethu) didn’t experience the traditional ceremony that much as we had to leave for Cape Town later that day.

What I have learnt is that, none of these families lost a son or a daughter to the other, they instead gained a son and the other a daughter.  For the love these two families share has synchronized them into one entity.  LOVE IS LIKE YOUR HEART, IT ONLY BEATS FOR ONE.

Here are the pictures of the day.  A special thanks goes to the amazing talents of Laresa Pearlman, the photographer.

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Nathi looking like he just saw a naked woman on the side lol PHOTO: Laresa Pearlman Photography

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Olwethu & Bonga Bunu (who caught the garter)

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Bonga (middle) with Siphosethu the Poet (Left) and Akhona (Right)

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‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHABHAYINI!

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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KEEP CALM AND LOVE DATA

Helloweeni Peeps!

The intriguing yet intricate field that journalism is, is unbelievably broad and should be practiced with an open mind.  Broad in the sense that it incorporates different passions.  Whatever’s your forte, journalism can cover it.  One should develop an open mind because we live in an ever evolving world where the rules simply state that we should adapt or perish.  So one need not change what they believe is a way of doing things, but should also absorb the changes of their surroundings.  Like Data Journalism for instance; it need not take over, but we should make full use of and derive benefit from it as a resource.

Uhm…  Let’s talk about Data Journalism for a sec.  As we now find ourselves living in the digital age, journalists should be building a relationship and interaction between journalism, statistics and computer science, so as to produce competent stories by making use of large databases.  South African journalists would benefit greatly if they would embrace this concept.

Computer Assisted Reporting

Computer-Assisted Reporting

The use of computers should be mandatory and equally common part of news gathering, as it is important to use computing power to gather, analyze and present stories.  Computer Assisted Reporting gives journalists the opportunity to dig for truth in data, and the comparative analysis that a computer can do often reveals pertinent questions.  What reporters are able to learn from using Computer Assisted Reporting provides readers with knowledge and insights that can cut through the collection of opinionated noise and celebrity obsession.  It also can allow even relatively small news operations to delve into problems affecting the global community, yet speak to readers and viewers.  As the number of documents that we have grows, it becomes impossible to read each one individually. Computers are vastly superior to humans when it comes to doing things quickly.  This becomes even more apparent when you look at thousands of numbers.

A lot of work has gone into creating tools that make working with data much more accessible.  But there still is that question that lingers: seeing as blogging and Social Media is taking over the role of journalism, has the quality reporting and professional journalism been put at jeopardy?  Because the people demand quality reporting, background, news analysis and investigations, and this demand is very much rising.  One of the possible ways we can bring some life or soul back into the field of journalism, is Data Journalism. Data journalism works best when there is cooperation between print and online media, and demands some convergence between hard copy and online platforms.

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Social Media Journalism

The reporting of news in South Africa would be greatly improved should data journalism be used on a regular basis.  People who should account will be held accountable as data and statistics will be doing all the talking.  Now what generation of journalists would not want that?  And as they say, numbers do not lie…

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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LET’S LEGALIZE PROSTITUTION!

Helloweeni Peeps!

Relax ladies and gentlemen!  Before you all viciously attack me, hear a brother out…  I know I can be a pervert at times (well, most of the time… okay, all the time. But that’s not the damn point, okay?).  What I’m trying to say is, I’m not rallying for the legalization of prostitution for reasons of me freely going to Voortrekker Road to fork out cash for nooky.  I’m just saying that there are greater crimes the police can focus on than arresting adults engaging in (consensual) sexual activity (for payment).  South Africa has greater problems to resolve, like the ever-escalating unemployment rate, the substandard quality of education most black kids receive, and our ailing public health system (wait, did all this smart shit just come out of my brain? Damn! 🙂 )

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figure 1: “Working Girls” in search of that paper

Okay, back to the subject at hand.  It is important to distinguish different kinds of markets in sexual services in order to determine the appropriate response.  For example, markets in sexual services that involve children, fraud & deception, and non-consensual & exploitative sexual practices, are immoral and should be restricted.  Terms often used are “human trafficking,” “sex trafficking,” or “sexual slavery” to describe such practices, and the service providers in these practices have the status of a victim or slave.

But there are markets in sexual services (brothels or escort agencies) that do not appear to involve forced sex, and in which the workers seem reasonably well compensated.  Debates over prostitution often focus on the issue of whether is it possible for prostitutes to voluntary do this sort of occupation, or whether brothels are oppressive, harmful and forcing the individuals who participate.

Prostitutes are highly stigmatized for the work they do, and those who condemn this work believe that it is shameful and immoral, and has no place in a just world. Others believe it is a necessary evil, in that if men (mainly) could not satisfy their sexual urges through some form of sexual service, these urges would lead to unruly methods like rape.  Many “sex workers” (I think I should use this word from now on, “prostitute” seems too vulgar) report that their clients have various reasons, but mainly to find relief from loneliness or to have uncomplicated sex. These sex workers believe that they are providing a valuable and morally legitimate service to their clients and, by earning a living doing valuable work, they are making a contribution to their societies.  Before you ask how I know all this, I actually have met a sex worker before (& no, I wasn’t a client… or a pimp for that matter).  In short, women (and men) who offer their labour in various types of sex trades believe that the stigma that is attached to them and their work is unfair and undeserved.

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figure 2: The Legalizing of Prostitution Shouldn’t Be Confused As The Authorizing of Human Trafficking!

The appropriate response to human trafficking and slavery is abolition or termination.  This approach criminalizes only the activities of the client and others who profit from sex trafficking, but not the provider of sexual services.  Providers are treated as victims whom others exploit by tempting them (mostly by threats or blackmail) into sex trades.  For brothels or escort agencies not involving forced sex, there are two standard approaches we should use: legalization and decriminalisation.  The legalization approach tolerates sex markets and businesses, but restricts them in ways that are specific to this industry.  Regulations may include compulsory STD testing or condom use, special licensing for businesses, government registration of sex workers (I know I’m kind of pushing it lol), and minimum age restrictions for providers and customers.  The decriminalization approach removes criminal restrictions and treats sex businesses the same way as non-sex businesses.

Some sex workers are not forced by conditions to do what they do, some actually live lavishly and love and enjoy what they do, whether you think of it as morally right or not.  South Africa is a liberal nation, is it not?  So let them ladies free the nooky if they want to.  Let’s legalize prostitution!

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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OPEN JOURNALISM: A Journo’s Nightmare

Helloweeni Peeps!

Like-Comment-ShareTwo of the main components of journalism is to inform and strike a debate among your audience.  But sometimes qualified journalists can be too out of touch with the people as they may sometimes be a little bit, and I say this with respect to news followers, too intelligent or do things too much by the book with using journo terminology.  And this, most of the time becomes borderline robojournalism.  As there seems to be no human effect or human touch in a story.  But one thing the audience or the public really enjoys is the concept of open journalism, where they can throw in their two cents’ worth on a matter.

Open journalism is the openness, acceptance of whatever ideas or input the public has on a published issue, story or opinion piece. (click here for full story) What is really working and perpetuating open journalism is the emergence and ever-rising popularity of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.  News is now readily available from major media houses as it happens on social networks, and this is where the public can really put in their opinions, notions, perceptions and sometimes concerns about the reported matter.  Should they choose, they can even share it and with a caption that is biased to their point of view and sometimes it is of a misleading nature.  The invitation and grant for a response inspires participation and creates synchronic interest from people around subjects, issues or individuals.  This form of journalism can very easily be conjugated with other material on the internet.

FEELING THE FINANCIAL CRUNCH

Recently this year, a very well respected national news agency, The South African Press Association (SAPA), experience an unfortunate period of financial troubles and were, on the 31st of March this year, liquidated.  Now this was some kind of wake up call to most media houses to do some cutting back on costs. (click here for full story).  Now cutting back included the retrenchment of some journalists (well respected journalists at that).  So this was a sort of an evolution of journalism, as now pieces and stories that are written are those that require debate.   This is to get the public audience involved.

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But this is not very much enticing to journalists as they feel people with no journalistic quality, integrity or qualification can influence people to believe and allure them into helping them promote or push their particular propaganda. And sometimes the negativity can be brutal.  Now imagine working so hard to inform someone, only to end up with your character and well supported findings being brutally bullied and butchered in the public eye by someone with opinions making sense only to them.  And the fact that some of the the most important, interesting and relevant stories are remembered by their comments line/column.  News24 recently, after much debate and deliberation (so they say), bid their comments line adieu, voicing that they wish to be known for the quality of their content rather than for their comments (click here for full story).

I say this is absolutely a journalist’s nightmare because open journalism can be unfair.  Journalists are not politicians, there should be no platform to invite unnecessary bashing of their craft.  Should they not promote propaganda for war or promote hate speech and incite violence, they shouldn’t answer to the public.  Their job is to create debate, so the audience can have their debate in their own spaces.

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHABHAYINI!

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

WRITERS ANONYMOUS: A 3 Step Program

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[Step 1: Admission]
Hi, My name is Yolanda.
I’m a write-a-holic.
I can’t control it, can’t restrain
the urge to write.
I need help.
I want my life back.

[Step Two: Commitment]
I write stories or poems on fast food napkins,
with toothpicks, using tomato sauce for ink.
I write ideas for future blog posts
on my ashy arms and legs. When I run out of space,
I use my shoes.
I make motions
similar to Michael Jackson’s moonwalk
when I need to erase.

I make up stories
while imagining myself making love to my crush.
That bitch’s got a man now. But who needs her?
She was suffocating my creativity, anyway.

I await comments after posts
like an addict, hands trembling,
head shaking in disbelief.
Not another bout with rejection!
I’m bipolar.
I’m happy to be here.
No I’m not.

I live for revision.
Instead of sex, I have words.
I eat feedback.

[Step 3: Satisfaction]
As a recovering write-a-holic,
admitting my problem
has provided a much needed emotional release.
Joining this support group has
taught me to reconcile my past
and move forward.

(Excuse me, you with the blue t-shirt,
are you going to throw away that paper cup?
That’s good paper!)

by King Yobho…

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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SAFE SEX VERSUS FEMALE SANITATION

Helloweeni Peeps!

South Africans are using fewer condoms, sleeping around more and becoming less knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS, says the latest household survey by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), released in March last year. And yet, as part of its newly launched safe sex campaign (probably the 100th safe sex campaign in South Africa), the South African Department of Health plans to distribute 3 billion flavoured male condoms, 54 million female condoms and 60 million lubricant packets during the next three years. The rebranded condoms and lube will be dispensed to 4,000 sites nationwide and will cost South African taxpayers 3.5 billion rands, according to The Conversation, an independant news source (I bet I impressed you with the stats hey, thank God for Google).  I can think of a few things that are much more needed in South Africa that 3.5 billion rands can buy, instead of flavoured or scented condoms.

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I am not denying that HIV/AIDS is a major problem in SA and free condoms are a huge necessity.  But why should other major factors that we’re facing take a back seat?  Female sanitation is a very serious yet ignored and widely considered taboo issue.  Now I have never heard of any complaints of fault about the original/normal Choice condoms, yet we unnecessarily throw billions away on grape scented condoms.  Yet poor South Africans, barely affording to buy a loaf of bread, have to buy basic sanitary pads to salvage whatever dignity they have left as government doesn’t seem to care enough.  In rural areas, many girls use unhygienic alternatives to sanitary pads, such as newspaper or even sand and leaves, which puts them at a huge risk of infection.  Many of these girls do not have mothers and come from child headed homes.  Nine million girls aged between 13 and 19 miss a week of school every month, for lack of sanitary pads or tampons.  They are missing over 25% of school because of something they have no control over.  Now isn’t that reason enough to have sanitary pads available for free in a similar manner as condoms are?

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Menstruation should not be a taboo subject, there is nothing shocking, dirty, embarrassing or shameful about it.  Condoms used to be just as taboo, if not much more, yet we did manage to turn that around and made everyone realise that they are a necessity to the sexually active beings that we are.  Excuse me for bashing the government, but they are the ones most needed to get involved.  There is an amazing woman called Sue Barnes who started this organization called Project Dignity.  Recognized and awarded the Clarins Most Dynamic Woman Award of 2013 for her tireless efforts to achieve her dream of a better and dignified world.  She used resources not provided by those elected to protect our basic human rights (the government) and her fashion industry knowledge to help combat this struggle.   She has created washable and reusable undergarments for girls (creating much needed jobs in the process) to be worn while they are on their periods.  These undergarments are called “Subz”.  She has been handing them out to underprivileged girls at schools for free.  These undergarments are SABS approved for absorbency.  This is an invention that has gone beyond just assisting those who couldn’t afford sanitary pads and tampons, it has also helped so many young girls to be comfortable and confident with themselves.  But she did not only hand them out, she cared enough to talk to the girls and realised that they knew nothing about what was happening with their bodies.  So she then began educating them on puberty and menstruation.  She gladly lends them her ears and offers a caring shoulder to cry on.  Now imagine if she could get some backing from our government how much of a difference it would make on millions of lives in our country.  But all they care about is organizing Women’s Day High Tea events.  Information on how you can buy Subz or give much needed donations to Project Dignity are available at: http://www.subzpads.co.za/ and http://www.projectdignity.org.za/

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Sue Barnes, Founder of Project Dignity – Photo: projectdignity.org.za

The problem we have in South Africa is thinking one has to be directly affected by something to care about it.  And we think one has to be rich to help the needy.  Bill Gates once asked, “Who has ever became poor by giving?”  Now I hope people have understood me well, I am not undermining the government’s efforts on fighting HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy, I am just frustrated that they are treated as though there’s no other struggle South Africans are facing that is as sad and less dignifying…  >>>The views expressed in this blog post are not that of Sue Barnes, Subz Pads or Project Dignity, they completely belong to me<<<

Now I bet females be like, “Nigga, when did you become an expert on sanitary pads, all of a sudden?”… I’ve dated, okay!? Get off my case 😉

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A DAY ON THE OUTSIDE

Helloweeni Peeps!

Ever experienced so much discomfort among “friends” that you get so mad you want to punch something so hard that you hurt yourself?  Hurt yourself because you’re being so stupid!  I mean, why get mad at someone for being who they are?  I was being freakin’ stupid!

(I’m sorry if this will bore you, but writing is the only way I can ever say what I mean and mean what I say)

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It’s Friday, 10:21 am and I’m supposed to be in class, but instead in my room.  As I’m typing this, my roommate’s puffing thick clouds of weed smoke and I’m sitting in front of his laptop coughing like an aged TB patient.  Steam is coming out of my ears with anger as I run the images of yesterday frame by frame inside my head, while steam from my two-hour-old cup of coffee has all but vanished.  Never have I ‘not belonged’ in my whole life.  Yesterday I stood staring blankly as they chat about their shared passion of politics in terminology that sounded so foreign to me.  An occasional question about a certain minister of a certain department popped my way every now and then, and as expected my reply would come in the form of shrugging my shoulders and a look of indifference on my face.  And then her eyes would roll in frustration and annoyance at my idiocy.  But she always gets the desired answer from them – those she sings praise of when alone with me or any other person.  Her (lol).  There’s always a “her”, isn’t there?

Why do I always feel this way around her?  I feel like she wishes I was more than I am.  Like whenever we have a conversation I could see it in her eyes who she wishes she could be having this conversation with.  My confidence is getting shattered as my fondness for her grows larger.  Driven by a heart’s desire but blinded by jealousy.  I’ve spent months analyzing her ambiguous Facebook statuses; making myself the smallest satellite without ever realizing I have made her my gravity.  Wondering if she’s okay.  Does she miss me?  Does she want me?  In my story I’m no longer the narrator.  What is it I hope to gain by folding my frame small enough to fit her palm?  When I can be as large as hope instead of being as small as regret.  I just want to fit into her world, because when I’m being myself I seem to extend the already existing distance between us.

Never have I ‘not belonged’ in my whole life.  On the sideline being the grumpy cheerleader whose as useful as a fur coat in summer.  But it was awesome seeing young people speaking so passionately about what they want to do; discussing how they should or will go about doing it.  The glow in her face as she belonged – her home away from home.  My face almost turned blue as I suppressed my anger and jealousy, suppressing it because what sort of insensitive bastard would I be if I’d ruin her mood.  Never have I met anyone who is such a quilt of dreams stitched together with blood, bone and limb.  I’m glad I am witnessing her promising journey.  A journey to where I definitely do not belong.

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2015 in Uncategorized