Like dark cumulonimbus clouds covering the atmosphere, the plants worried about how they would photosynthesise without the sun shining. So was my life without a pen. Not that the pen wasn’t there, but ink from within wasn’t there.
From the tender ages, while in Moni Primary School, I was in troubled cages of fear. The mist of growing up and studying in rural areas, far from waves making soothing sounds of serenity and hope, conveyed a future filled with fear. At that time, I could only write whatever the teacher was writing on the board as notes. I would memorise the notes then write them on tests, whatever answer was in the fixed box of memory which was seemingly similar to the terms in the question. Life was revolving around that circle filled with a sense of stagnancy – no critical thinking, no growth psychologically, and let alone socially.
I grew up in a society where there were no role models to look up to. I would arrive home to my grandmother who always had the best ‘over the moon moments’. She believed I was going to school to learn and be a doctor in years to come.
These were the worst moments because they always reminded me of how my present life was. My father, who was financially stable, had thought it would make my life easier by getting me to luxurious places and expensive schools to explore and experience. Unfortunately he died when I was six years old.
At the time I never knew that behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.
In 2014 when I was fourteen, my grandmother died. That circumstance was painful but I knew the future was principled. You know how grandmothers instil principles! It was only then that I could change the rural atmosphere to an urban one where my mother was working. My grandmother loved me so much that she did not want me to get segregated with her. You can’t imagine the fear of being underprivileged I felt while my younger and older brothers were living with my mother.
My drastically and fantastical involvement in debates, poetry, storytelling and English Club in my Grade 11 in 2015 implanted a really astonishing impression to my family.
“Seems exceptional for someone who was never involved in extracurricular activities,” said one of my cousins who doubted my capability for changing to an urban high school. The Matric Certificate acquired in 2016 was a flabbergasting win for this flamboyant flower. I got four distinctions, none in my family, including cousins who went to Model C schools, ever obtained.
Then I realised the cumulonimbus clouds will always be there, first to ignite faith from fear so I may never ever again fear to hold a pen and pour out every pain I’ve gone through. Now the enthusiasm I have when holding a pen can never be compared to the exhaustion I’ve had before I got the mind-set of holding a pen. Let it flow, especially through poetry, and soothe myself to cling not to the past.
I would say I would have never found a better bin (paper) for bruises and brokenness if I never found faith. I would have never have found the inspiration and audacity that I would speak publicly if the words from my pen could not speak and tell me: “You’re the writer, the poet and the speaker, the world awaits for these words out of your pen.”