Who am I

Who am I now

Who is this person I call me

Who is she


Is she the baby leaving the shores of her birth and first footsteps

Never to return to it again as home

Never to see the grandfather hanging onto the last breaths of his silicosis hardened lungs ravaged by cancer

Until she is safely deposited onto far flung shores

The one learning to substitute without thought the original language of her dreams

With the mother tongue of empire builders


Is she the toddler sitting on the Lombardy East wall

Smiling hello to anyone that passes

The young child paddling in the pool of the local convent play school

Lining up for the daily lunchtime soup

The one awakened in the night by an invisible hand suffocating her in the dark

Only to realise the sheet wrapped up under her pillow, the only thing holding her down

The one watching the nightly play of lights wandering the midnight bedroom hallway


Is she the primary school child running barefoot through the hot dry veld under the Windhoek sun

Growing up carefree in a world of friendship, athletics meets, flapjacks, Eisteddfods, sleepovers, movie night birthday parties

Swimming in the blue pools of privilege

Glistening against a darker background of Apartheid, Swapo, parent discord and depressive absence

Maternal attachment disrupted by pregnancy, hospitalisation, birth, illness, surgery, demands of new baby sibling

Relegated to school lifts home with parents attached to others

Afternoons distracted and enchanted by the treasure trove of costume sewing, of substituted warmth and care


Is she the one on the cusp of teendom transitioning through her land of birth

Out east, almost as east as one can go before being west

Transitioning out of childhood

Beyond the borders on the map

From innocence to a new land

Rendering her illiterate, culturally bereft, emotionally challenged

No ready guide points for this journey of identity and developing personhood

Negotiating the world between parental home and new frontiers bounded by hangukmal, GIs, new friends, school at the army barracks

The seashore not far from the front door not for sun bathing but walking

Arm in arm cobbling together unformed untranslatable sentences, ideas and questions


Is she the sporty teenager

Ahead of herself at school

Yet to discover how it is to fall

The youngest newly exposed to sexuality and drugs

A closeted Catholic upbringing never prepared her for this

The budding confident youngster stepping into an offered ride

Shamed for belonging to the nation of the Holocaust

Forever haunted by unfolding knowledge and the never to be forgotten spectre of suffering

And the ever present nonchalant brutality of humanity

Propelled onto a search for meaning, service,

A journey for the truth never to be found


Is she the teen at seventeen leaving her parent’s home

Traveling across another ocean eastward, to the west

Exploring the edges of loneliness, marginalisation, never quite finding comfort at the university by the star-spangled lake

Pulling up fresh pegs, starting anew on the continent of her childhood

Amidst the vibrant welcoming sounds and smells of a familiar land

Finally to have her eyes pinned wide open

To the exclusion, the bias, the hidden curriculum

Keeping out all who look unlike the ones occupying the ornate chairs

The student who rallies, falters, is lost along the way

Losing connection, a year here and there, almost herself to the depths of the abyss


Is she the one falling in love still unconsciously frozen by the fear

Seeking adventure yet sacrificing ideal to conformity

Finding death and loss amidst the beckoning transition points

Despite the joyous call of small hands, feet and sparkling curious eyes

Tugging persistently at her refusal to care

Her refusal to be called mother, until mothering finds her

The one lost in the cold loneliness of the internal tundra

Finally to thaw with the warmth of just one hand

The courageous one diving the deep well in search of the glittering coin

Thrown there long ago knowing one day to be found


She is woman

She does not break

She is fierce

She is unexceptional

She is here

About amindfullife

Passionate about living every moment as best I can. Continually emergent and a work in progress
This entry was posted in Life, stories & more and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s