This was a draft that I had forgotten about since October… but the beginning was fire so I decided to finish it today. I hope you click on the ads and like it. SS’ will be secure soon, I just forgot to pay my hosting site lol. Anyways, enjoy.
Last night grief rushed in, pulled up like a family running late for Easter Sunday service, knowing full well it’s going to take 15 minutes to find better parking but also fully aware that their chances of finding seats are dwindling by the second. Grief pulled up on me like an ex in a club when you’re a little bit too nake. Grief pulled up on me yesterday, characteristically ill-timed. It was ill-timed because I was satelliting as a baddie – as is my final forum, I summoned her. The invite read ” FANCY AF” – I will not @ the friend who offered me an opportunity to overdress, as it is my nature (always over than under, always) and in all likelihood couldn’t be helped. In any case, over-dressed and delicious as I was, in the new S* Casa (which is basically just a club now? Like I was sitting in a section with faux suede black curtains as a backdrop, with a pipe that refused to behave and thought to myself… this is why people hate Joburg. I know now) and I felt moved to cry. Sometimes grief flies in like a strong wind, the kind that Cape Town knows all too well, the kind that turns umbrellas inside out and can force you to change a date outfit – that kind. Sometimes grief is like having all the oxygen being sucked out of a room, replaced with something heavier and less palatable.
When my father first passed I spent a great amount of time running from it, hiding underneath the bed of new experiences and trying not to allow myself to be sucked into the void of ‘what the fuck-ness’ because what the fuck. There’s nothing eloquent about these moments, there’s no illumination to be provided by this kind of pain. I rate myself (and many of my peers with whom I weep) far too young to understand the meaning of this all – the tremendous pain of somehow needing to navigate an all-encompassing concept made manifest. I had been one of those people who counted myself lucky. I hadn’t known death intimately until now and now… now I just deal with the exhaustion of having its fingerprints indented on everything for the rest of forever. Grief had always been more of a conceptual thing for me, I understood the process but it was foreign to me. I knew grief to be a great sorrow, the end. Lmfao. An acquaintance of mine (read: hater-ass hoe) is dealing with sickness in their family and as we spoke over the horrors of people close to us falling ill she mentioned the seminal occasions that could be amiss; weddings, anniversaries, graduations, children est. I think we mark our lives by these notches we create in our collective belt of experience and they remain so substantive and necessary for our growth but it’s the bridge between these moments where I experience the greatest amount of longing and the most intimate pang of need. I’m in my early twenties, I wanted to be… radiant and audacious and daring and exuberant and work on my grammar more. I did not imagine myself to be walking the tight rope of… I donno waking up feeling like:
There’s no antidote to grief, it’s just unruly in its composition and ill-timed and unwanted and anything but desirable. Grief just hurts (constantly) and like a pothole in the main road we learn to negotiate around it – remembering it always, hoping it to one day be filled. Grief is anything but desirable and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I have been thinking, in a pain-staking way, about how we frame desirability with regards to our emotions and I blame girl-bossism and toxic positivity for lazily pathologizing and relegating the very real, substantive moments on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum as undesirable. The truth of these moments, in this fragile and distasteful framework, is that these emotions aren’t viewed as monetizable, they are not understood as gainful leverage in a capitalist mindset, and as such – they’re undesirable. I think for women, especially in late-stage capitalism, we feel pressure to renege on our emotions, set a reminder to cry later, feel later, live embodied later – as a means of distancing ourselves from patriarchal understandings of hysteria. But as a Cancer, I can’t help but love a bit of hysteria, to understand its value as something intrinsic and necessary – and while this may be true I am yet to understand whether or not my inclination to indulge in hysteria should be expressed in the public or private domain. My internet musings are a bit of both but less so as I grow older and some of my cringe moments seem less escapable, and my self-preservation increases on a bi-annual basis.
What has surprisingly, become less and less consequential is the idea of embarrassment – I no longer actively acknowledge this as an emotion that I partake in. Hear me out, I have on occasion been known to do (and or say) incredibly embarrassing things however, embarrassment is only real to you. I find embarrassment to be much like a secret told to you by a stranger, something jarring at the time but undoubtedly forgettable. The truth of it is that people just don’t dedicate as much time to thinking about you as you do. Most embarrassing moments are fleeting and filed away in your mind, in a drawer called manifestations of internal awkwardness. My embarrassment just isn’t as real to me these days because I just don’t breathe that much life into it. My profound theory is that embarrassment isn’t real unless you believe it to be – and much like flat-earthers convictions, it is simply not real to me. Try it, this approach to shame has allowed me to find even greater humor in my own awkwardness and alleviated the need to explain myself to people. Anyways, my point is that I hope you’ve also found ways to pathologize your emotions and experiences in ways that are beneficial to you (as long as they don’t rest on the erasures of collective experiences or re-writing narratives of others because that’s just dangerous behaviour).
In any case…I’ve been spending an interesting amount of time trying to re-establish the constitution of my life – the fundamental building blocks which comprise me and this shit is like sorting through 3000 pieces of leggo strewn about a small room by an enraged toddler – it’s tedious. I am no longer conceptualizing a new reality but rather teaching myself to come to terms with living in a world without the sun, or perhaps one that feels simulated like the one that they test-launched in China. I have a major in philosophy and understand none of it really, and I’m too black and woman and African and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and (I believe in the power, nuance, and brilliance of an ‘and’) to pretend to invest the height of my intellect in being able to interrogate and regurgitate dead white men’s musings of their colonialist world but when we learned about the allegory of the cave – I always wondered how it must have felt for those imagined characters, to have the fabric of their life be proven illusory – and now I know. Also please, resist the urge to be obtuse and project my vast disinterest in philosophy’s pompousness as an implication that black and brown femme philosophers cannot exist or that their work is not important because it is. I am just glad I don’t have to partake in intellectual exercises that ask me to divorce my humanity and positionality in order to excel. Anyways back to grief.
Watch from 0:26-0:55 because that’s basically me. I have done away with trying to whittle down my hysteria into something consumable, didactic, or poignant and instead understand it to be a profound extension of my uninhibited psyche unleashed. I have, at times, loved myself more in episodes of mania than I have in sanity – only because the former houses an honesty unincumbered by others’ opinions of me. A blogger who I thoroughly enjoy (Internet Princess) wrote of this the following:
“i am still filtering my experiences through the eyes of a consumer; the desire to editorialize our own experiences (to romanticize the unseen, to live for our biographies) has become an autonomic facet of womanhood as unavoidable as breathing.”
And while my, now distant, (hormone-induced) manic episodes allowed me the reprieve of drowning in my own love, this kind of love was entirely divorced from reality – which then begs the question is some of the greatest love I’ve experienced completely embedded in delusion? and how, if possible, can that delusion be made manifest as something substantive and then perhaps completely devoid of delusion itself.. and is this then not a dream made manifest? I think so much of our understandings of ourselves, as relational beings, as conferred onto us by others and it is in this conference which great interrogation must take place. Who do we let confer meaning onto us? How? and how much of this is in conflict with our own narratives of the self as other? and the other an enduring reflection of the self? To understand this is to also understand that our individualism (or ideas thereof) is only a possibility because of our compliance and participation in community. As an individual, in community, striving for uniqueness (as we all do, don’t lie) how reactional is our relationships with ourselves in relation to the other? I think that is much of what Internet Princess is also getting at, we struggle on a base level to detach ourselves from the other’s gaze – despite our ability to curate who constitutes the other in our lives.we struggle on a base level to detach ourselves from the other’s gaze – despite being well aware of our inability to truly access anothers’ perceptions of us, as we cannot inhibit another. As women, who ostensibly rage against the patriarchy and late-stage capitalism, we still exist very much within systems that commodify our positionality and experiences – and how much of that do we actually have control over? How predetermined is the lens, and how much do we alter it with our various ideas of individuality? I have no answers to these questions by the way, these are just thoughts that I’ve been sorting through in my minds lego room.
And I decided to write about this because I don’t know why I ever really stopped… Well, I do actually and it’s mostly because I’m not a cishet man – I don’t feel the need to speak and contribute to discourse when I have no fucking clue about what’s going on, and honestly? Since my dad fell ill last year I’ve had no idea what the fuck is happening most of the time – so I’ve just kept quiet.
It is in this silence and unwitting observation that people have taken to make of me nothing but a fool?
You see, I used to be a strong proponent of the school of ‘cuss them (and their father) the fuck out today’ but in this envelope of grief that I’ve neatly slid into, prioritizing my family and mental health above all else, I unsubscribed… I can’t really comment yet on the efficacy of this unsubscription but I can comment on the power of my newest ideology ‘bimbofication’. Now if you’re on the fun side of TikTok, you already have an idea what this is, but I think I’ll write a separate post on it later?
Suffice to say my new ideology has helped me interrogate my own understandings of an ego and ego death respectively. On one hand, I am an aggressive advocate for the femme ego, I believe that if women participated in the delusion of having an ego – this disembodied self which occupies a great deal of social space, housing only the best qualities of its haver demanding a fragile and yet substantive respect… we would be saved from innumerable insecurities, neurosis and disrespect. Right? Right. And yet, on the other manifestation loving, affirmation-listening hand – I fully understand the dangers of moving from a place of ego and the limitations its efficacy has, which is primarily based in its removal from reality and self-aware understandings of space and time. Anyways, as a bimbo – devoid of thoughts and the burdensome shackles of crippling self-awareness coupled with seemingly insolvable insecurities – I have been navigating the idea of my own ego death.
If being a bimbo means adopting the idea that there is something wondrous to be gained from unincumbered joy and a divorce from the harrowing neurosis which often plague intelligent, women-deemed unintelligent in a masculinized world, is our intellect therefore at the forefront in a more certain and unshakeable way. See… I went through, and continue to go through, experiences where a combination of my high-pitched voice, breath-taking beauty, makeup and enviable fashion sense have rendered me a subject of assumed stupidity. But its in this flawed assumption, and lowered expectation, that my intellect has been emboldened something fearsome. Not in the desire to disprove the assumption, and somehow make myself worthy, but in the underestimation, my intellect is unincumbered to the idea that it must subscribe to a specific format in order to be valid and therefore sound. For example, the man that I was most recently involved with disappointingly (and like many others) doesn’t actually like women, as people, as a collective. And so I’d find myself in a position where my arguments were failing, not because they lacked merit or characteristic wit- but because the rules were embedded in patriarchy – the kind of arguments men who think they’re Descartes like to make to hide their thinly-veiled misogyny. And I was unrelenting, not in the arguments which I quickly stopped engaging in because of their sheer disregard for nuance – and therefore everything of substance to me, but rather because of the idea that I would be willing to abandon post in order to win an argument. God has blessed me with many things, one of which is common sense. I’m not a guys’ girl – never have been, so I’ve never learned to adapt to the idea that arguments need to be rooted in (fragile and egotistical understandings of) rationalism in order to be right. The logical implications of many mens arguments can often quickly be undone through the introduction of nuance which is where my argumentative HQ is stationed. I’ve never been a post-enlightenment babe who longs for constructivist arguments that lack logical coherency. In almost every argument there exists contradiction from which the sturdiness of the argument is made profitable. And to be positioned as what is always understood to be the hysterical femme, I have chosen rather to embrace this aspect than reject it. However, its embrace in direct contradiction to the self-assumed logic that many men believe they possess is always to be at a formative and argumentative odds with “logic and rationalism”… and it is in this space that I’ve interrogated my own ego death. Not the shrooms induced kind, but the kind that argues that many arguments do not need to be engaged with when you know and understand yourself to be right – devoid of validation. As a thriving femme my intellectual validation has routinely been embedded in other queer femmes such as myself, which has perhaps made engaging with cishetero understandings of intellect as jarring as they have been. Being an emboldened bimbo has allowed me to navigate my intellect devoid of the male gaze (ironically) and the desire to understand my intellect in a reactive fashion. So my arguments are unashamedly littered with ‘likes’ and ‘ums’ and nothing can derail the validity of the format as its self-conceived and therefore inherently valuable. @gsgetlonelytoo on TikTok is truly a pioneer for this egotistical venture, as is @loloakola, as is @madelineaford.
In any case… I leave you with my plethora of unanswered questions, the reality that I’m re-subscribing to ideas of ungodly feminine rage, a fluctuating femme ego, a deep disdain for men, the idea that you’re just as hot as you believe yourself to be and these few videos:
Maybe I’m always speaking in questions because I’m so used to being cut off.
My vanity is insanity unless it helps get you off.