Walking in borrowed shoes


I don’t want to get married. Ever! In fact, I’d rather jump off a cliff into an ocean than agree to marry anyone.


No one has ever gotten married and lived happily ever after in my family; if they got married – they always came back and were “oomabuy’ekwendeni.” Also, what scares me is the fact that all the women I look up to have either never been married or are divorced. They are psychotic. I take so much after them, and I’m smart and intimidating (I’m told); which man wants that? I feel like as a woman, if you want to get married, you kind of have to let some of your fire die, and I don’t think I want to do that. Besides, I’m not the girl with the most inspiring love stories; they always end the same way. I get bored quickly or he cheats or was never mine to begin with. I fall in love, I get hurt, I bounce back, lick my wounds, swear never to do it again and then, I do it all over again. I’m a mess, like a lasagne-gone-wrong type of mess.


For the most part of my life, I have internalised my experiences with love as my destiny. I fell hopelessly for boys many times, but the first time I really fell in love with someone was when I was fourteen. For me, it was a whirlwind affair, and in my hallucinations, his girlfriend did not exist. He was a choir conductor at my school and we started off by staring at each other a little too long, soon those stares became calls after school, leaving my world feeling like a shooting star. Oh man, he was my satellite, my dream and boy was he thirty years old! You could have spun the statutory rape dice to me a hundred different times, I would not have given a damn because that was the love of my life, I was going to marry him and he was going to break my virginity. Soon.

I had a boyfriend my age at the time as well and when one of his friends (who was also my friend) found out about the older man, he was outraged and asked me to break it off. I didn’t. Then one day, in our Life Orientation class, he raised his hand and told our teacher about a dilemma he was in, basically telling the teacher my story. I was shaking from fear; I prayed he doesn’t say my name and he didn’t. I stayed angry at him for the longest time, but now, I know he was trying to save me from myself. He was trying to get our teacher to give him an advice including how much that man was just using me. I’ll admit that she spoke a lot of sense so I left the thirty year old man. The spark had already been dwindling and he was telling me about his girlfriend more often than not.

After him, the next boy I dated had a girlfriend, which I only found out later about. I then cheated on him with another boy who had a girlfriend, so I was a side-chick to two boys. We all hurt each other terribly – especially me and the two other girls they were with.  My bruises led me to believe that this “love” thing isn’t really for me. “I attract the wrong people,” became my tune for my own victimization, something which I internalized.


Looking back at everything now, I know how much not being raised by my parents hurt me. I wished they would just take me and suffer with me, not give me to my aunt like I am just a parcel. I never felt home there, not only because of problems there but because I wanted my parents. So, the non-belonging “homelessness” premise became my existence, so much that relationships were boys and men I couldn’t make my home at. That was my pathology, my energy, my attraction, my inheritance. And, it had nothing to do with me – my parents were the ones who couldn’t raise their kids so we ended up always negotiating space and how to behave in it. My aunt was the one who was bias, who could not treat me the same way she treated her son. I had not orchestrated any of this shaky existence but I internalized it and made it mine. I even wore my aunt’s single-mother shoes until I thought they were mine. My aunt was essentially my mom, and her context of raising her kids alone after the men (who were not her’s) went back to their wives was how things should be in my mind. You were supposed to raise your kids alone as a woman. You weren’t supposed to get married either. Especially if you were a strong woman like my aunt. In my life, strong women were left during their first trimester, still taking care of everyone, pretending it doesn’t hurt.

I never wanted to get married. Ever! In fact, I would have rather jump off a cliff into an ocean than agree to marry anyone, until I realised all of this. Part of me felt this way because I didn’t think I deserved the beauty of marriage – my parents didn’t have it. I didn’t think it would ever happen for me, so I rejected it so that I may never be disappointed when I am 45 and still unmarried.

Tonight, I sit here desperately crying over the amount of time I have spent walking with borrowed shoes, carrying my aunt’s rage and all of what my parents couldn’t do for me. But, I am happy for the lessons, and I know re-imagining is going to be a journey of its own. But, at least now I know that none of the things that happened in my past and to the women I love are my destiny, I need to clean my life and my aura from all of that. I am not the women who were left during their first trimesters, I am not destined to negotiate space apologetically, I am not the woman who attracts men who are “taken” – I am not my aunt! I am not my mother either. If I have a marriage, it will not be filled with beatings and my constant death for my husband to live – I am not a woman who tiptoes around any ego.

I am the women of my dreams, in transit, re-imagining themselves, home and men. I am a reincarnation of my mother. I am the women whose fire will always reign even as it relentlessly rains.




One Comment Add yours

  1. Brenda Rhode says:

    Wow ! obviously much self reflection ,action research has led to this amazing personal growth .

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