I hate that I fear

Learned emotions can create a physical reaction in you so instantly, you have no time to deliberate, migigate or suppress it. You feel the giddy euphoria of joy, the heart racing knot of fear in your stomach, the jaw clenching, bile taste of anger. Whatever the emotion is, it can be so deep-rooted, that no amount of trying to rationalize it away changes what it was, and nothing can make it sit well.

I fear black men.

There, I said it. How perfectly horrible those words look, in black and white, on a page. Of course, I do not fear all black men, but strangers in the street? A car full of young black men behind me in traffic? Someone crossing too close to my car? All of the above can make my heart pound and my hands sweat. In the new South Africa, the one in which we are forgiving and reconciling, I have these ugly, horrible emotions that I feel betrayed by. I am passionate about SA and making it better, and yet on Reconciliation day, of all days, I had to face the ugly, uncomfortable truth, that we all carry lasting effects of the past.

Reconciliation means literally to meet again, a re-establishing, reinstatement, restoration, renewal of a relationship that was damaged. On this public holiday I was driving out of my parents street, in Pretoria. I am more aware of safety there, than at home in Cape Town, as it has a statistically higher crime rate. I was doing all my pre-journey adjustments: seat belt, changing the angle of my dad’s mirror and locking the doors. Which happened to coincide with a black man crossing the street near my car. I cringed. I just hoped that the sound was not audible outside the car and that he did not think I was locking the door because of him, but I did feel the momentary fear. I can not even imagine how he felt, or if this reaction is so commonplace, that it is not even noteworthy anymore. Even if that is the case we are both poorer and separated by these feelings. There is nothing restorative about fearing, or being feared.

I am a white South African woman, 33 years old. Old enough to have known apartheid as a child, young enough to embrace change and want SA to be different. I have written before that, whether I agreed or not with the way our country was governed, in profound ways, I benefited – you can read it here.

I remember visiting the Apartheid museum before my daughter was born 6 years ago and being shocked at just how much propaganda I had been fed, as a child. I came from a liberal household but still, through news, media and school, the seeds of belief in the threat and danger were sown and allowed to germinate. Die Swart Gevaar ( the black danger) was a deadly, menacing force and something to always be aware and afraid of.

The problem is, that creating a blanket, unfounded fear in people, results in individuals on all sides being harmed. Long-term. As much as my rational self will fight against the notion, and try always to do more and work harder for a better SA, the fear remains.

I hate to admit, that sometimes I am scared. I hate that this fear is so undiscriminating, I hate that I fear someone’s, husband, son, brother, lover, friend. I hate that I have a blanket fear of good people. I hate that because of history, socio- economic reasons and certainly just pure demographics, it is true that more crime is committed by black males, which “truth” aids and abets my fear, offers it foundation. I hate that because I HAVE HAD a gun at my head, my coward brain says: “See? I’m right!”. Fear.

But overwhelming feelings like this are what keeps us apart, keeps us from breaking down the barriers, because for every one criminal that walks down the street, thousands are just normal, good people.

This country’s history has damaged us all in so many ways. I hate that I feel what I do, I am ashamed to even say it out loud. I could ignore it, and not blog openly about it, avoid risking anger and hurting others. I could pretend that it is easy to change the past, and that if we all blow enough vuvuzellas and act unified, it will be enough. But unless we look at these issues, and face them, instead of feeling them in stomach’s pit, and denying them, we don’t learn. Unless we stare these ugly truths in the face, and talk about them, we can not change.

For every person I fear and have built-up a barrier towards, I am sorry. This “thing” has eroded my soul. And yours. We are both poorer for it.

It made me think of this video

Gender

I have a dare devil daughter and a cautious son, they do not fit the normal gender roles. Yet in some ways they are so typically a girly girl and a transport crazy boy. I stumbled across this from a twitter link, it originally came from here Sometimes we need to remember to treat people like individuals and not box them because they are one or the other gender. I hope I give my kids the freedom to express themselves for who they are and not expect or inhibit behaviour because they happen to be a boy or girl.

Sorry I know the picture looks a bit like a punk in a hospital gown but I like the words

(From http://queerstianity.tumblr.com/)

We all do it

I got a video link to a DUI ( driving under the Influence) video via email this week and it was so full of human emotion and always a good reminder. For one small sanctimonious moment I felt ‘oh well this does not apply to me – I am knocked up so not drink driving’
But I have, we all have, I am as guilty as anyone else, but glad I never hurt anyone. It has strengthened my resolve not to do it even when not pregnant. We are pretty good and either Yme drinks or I do never both.

But my bubble of piety was popped when I realized that I do worse. I use my phone when driving, a quick tweet, an sms etc. Then I heard on the radio that you are 6 times more likely to be involved in an accident texting on your phone than when Driving under the Influence! Phone now stays in my bag, it can ping or ring all it likes, nothing is so important it can not wait until I arrive.

So if you ever have even one too many or drive using your phone, this is a good reminder not to. It has shaken me up a little.

What happened to NaNoWriMo??

I tried, but circumstances proved otherwise, Yme sister has been very very unwell, he was writing exams and unlike most that have time to write at home after work. I am busy with the kids all day and then run my business Earth Babies and knitting for my new idea and generally trying to have time with the Geek at night. This month was just too much.

Besides I did not like my book, the idea was one I wanted to write and then realized that it is not the style or type of book that I am actually any good at doing. It was a valuable lesson and I am glad that I tried it. I am glad that I learnt where I want to focus my writing energy one day. I know life is always busy and that you have to make the time to write. But this was just not the right moment.

If and when the right moment comes, then I will know, so I tried and I learnt, all in all worth while

Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Oh boy does this meme showcase how much of a Non Completer Finisher I am. This link to the Belbin Team Roles chart will tell you what a completer finisher is if the name was not enough to give it away.

But Day 30 needs to be done so I can stop avoiding my blog and get on with other news

So a letter to myself. Sounded easy but I just deleted most of what I just wrote, I can not write this whole thing to myself and try as I might I kept just writing to you all about how I feel about me and where I am now. So sorry I am changing this. I am writing to you, to anyone who reads Pinky.

What I have learnt

Life is never ever going to be perfect but this has got to be close. Sure we could do with more money and less stress and more time etc etc but driving along the coastal road today watching the kite surfers and the beautiful Blaauberg conservation area, I was thinking how lucky I am that my normal driving around everyday is what people pay heaps of money to come and see on holiday.

I have realized looking back over the last year that it was a tough one, shew wee, but somehow I made it through and the other side is not a place. Worries do not disappear and everything is not just as you wanted, no it is real life, just as it was before. There are financial worries, parenting guilt, daily annoyances, in general normal life. But this place of comfort and happiness for lack of a better word is people. Those that surround us

Life continues to be what it was, the sun rises and sets and we are gifted 24 hours as always, but having been through a journey of discovery are and learning to be true to myself has lead to the most amazing people in my life. People who love me and who I love – now that is the place one wants to be. You soon see who the real supports are and who is willing to walk and stay even when they might not agree or when the going gets tough, These are the people the ones that make this place a good one to be in.

Yme is what I convinced myself did not exist in a man and that a relationship could never possibly feel this supportive or like a team effort. We fight, we are stubborn but above all what shines through is that we love each other and want to make this work. I am lucky to have him, I hope I never forget how special he is.

With this wonderful man came a family, I have the best ‘Almost-in-laws’ in the world. His family is amazing. They are kind welcoming and have just opened their arms to me and the Pinklets. They did not have to accept a strange pink haired woman with kids, but they did. And more than that, they did not just accept us they made us part of the family and really helped to make the transition to the Cape easier. They help to provide the family structure that the Pinklets need. Ouma Annatjie is very very special to them and me.

Andre: my guardian and true friend, you watch my back. I know that you will always be there and be around for me to talk to, with wise words and the perspective that my huge emotions often does not let me see. I would be lost without you. Thank you for all your help with the thousands of things and queries you help me with, but most thanks for just being there. You are another one that I count the Pinklets lucky to have in their life. Stable, strong characters for them to look up to and see admire. And besides I still think you have one of the best views ever!

Barbara: I miss you so much, the kids are 6, Earth Babies is 6, what a roller coaster of years. Thank you for walking them with me. Births, deaths, moves, divorces wow we have been through a lot in 6 years. Thank you for being you, never being afraid to say what you believe but always being willing to walk besides me no matter if it differs from what you think. Thank you for movie nights, Sunshine Cleaners and all the others. When you surprise visited here the other day it was amazing. You looked relaxed and happy. I still think you should come to the west coast 😉

My parents, they just support and love us no matter what and I could not do it without them. They have the Pinklets this week for a holiday and as much as I miss my kids deeply, I love how comfortable they are to fly off with my mom and visit Bumpa, Stanley, Peter, Christina and Kitty. These are the kind of grandparents every kids should have. My dad is not a man of many words but the other day I was moaning about something and he just said “Sally, where you are now and what you have is so much better, focus on that”

There are many more, Sharon who listened to many of my adventures and just shook her head and laughed, Elaine and Liz who have helped with Earth Babies, Scott and Karen for just being awesome friends. Suzanne, Shelly, Ilse and Jane a few of my babynet friends who have really stood by me. The twitter crowd who shares 140 character snippets of your life, and on the surface it is easy to think that these connections are just shallow and lacking but time and time again people show me how much they care. To everyone who reads and comments here, I am not sure you realize just how much it means to me and how much the support helped me through some very tough times.

It is life changing to realize the impact people can have on you. So I end by saying again, the perfect place to be is not a place, it is not circumstances and it is not unending blissful happiness it is knowing that you walk every step of the way with an army next to you of those who love and support you.