Home is where the mind belongs. Home is the environment, which puts it at ease, nurtures it, and helps it to grow. I am twenty-two years old and for half my life I have been trying to relate to and accept the nature of my surroundings, yet the older I get, the harder it is. I now feel like an outsider in my community.

I have heard so many fables about how hell is worse, but my community is the worst. The sun is grilling, the land pale like the wilderness. Communes of people with hearts possessed by the green-eyed monster – a place where voodoo is always lurking to antagonise the individuals who are trying to accomplish something good and unique. Living everyday feels like walking in a battlefield where one has to dodge bullets, avoid booby traps and tolerate the noise from explosions, all while hoping I am concealed. If we were to compare military war with life in my neighbourhood, war has no match for the terror that is felt here. Having a conversation with my peers pierces my heart – I feel the same pain that you would feel when strolling in a garden of thorns with bare feet. It feels like they are throwing dust into my eyes, when I hear the mockery and taunts about my personality, how I walk, and dress.

It takes a community to raise a child, but it is evident from the deeds of my community that they have never heard of this saying. The spirit of Ubuntu is misguided here. The environment torments your spirit. A walk to the bush for peace of mind feels like being a train that has gone off the rails as big rocks temper with my pace and high mountains look like prison bars that confine me within the area’s borders. The community is pessimistic and hates to see change or individuals who try to better themselves. The community is harsh and tortures my soul. I have created my own life within a world of fantasy – a world where anything is possible, where I feel like a royal being. This is a space where my mind feels at ease and everything I ever wanted from my surroundings is brought to life.

I wake up on a daily basis and brush my teeth, clean my room and have the most important meal of the day – this is where normalcy ends. I then go to my never-never land, where I go to the room of possibilities, lock the door, and dive onto my bed. In this world, I become a millionaire, an inspiring author, a successful entrepreneur. This was until I read the short story ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ – ever since then, I have realised that I am suffering from a threatening mental illness.

I have told myself that I need to find a way to better myself. To find a way to separate myself from both worlds – from the Walter Mitty syndrome and from the cruel environment that introduced me to the Walter Mitty syndrome, a world which is full of negative atmospheres and forces.