Hypocrisy- a look in the mirror!

Hallo all,

its been a while l know. Well I have been struggling with penning stuff out lately, not that l didn’t have anything to say but just because l could not find the right words to say it. See writing for me comes naturally. On days like these, the words just tumble out and l type like a woman  possessed and in some kind of typing frenzy. Anyway enough of that, let’s get to the matter at hand. Today l want to talk about Hypocrisy, my hypocrisy to be exact.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, Hypocrisy is

 situation in which someone pretends to believe something that they do not really believe, or that is the opposite of what they do or say at another time:

There’s one rule for her and another rule for everyone else and it’s sheer hypocrisy.

 

As the new year begins, l like everybody else am trying to be a better version of myself. Built on the positives from 2017 and equally so, correct myself and learn from the negatives. So in the pursuit of that, l caught myself being a hypocrite on the following points. And l have decided to share these with you as l stare at this young woman in the mirror, hopefully it will be enlightening.

Perhaps a side note before we jump in, luckily for me l have a key trait which allows me to pinpoint my hypocrisy moments, and that is eye rolling. Oh honey l am the queen of eye rolling, it is so bad that l now actually do it even without noticing. It is now a normal reflex in the life of Cleo. I do it all the time, either out of boredom, sarcasm, irritation, ridicule, exasperation etc. In fact it is so bad such that my friends even joke about how one day my eyes will not roll back and l have this recurring nightmare where my eyeballs are just white.

So back to the matter at hand, l took time to analyse the moments when l do the eye roll, and l am so disappointed in myself because l found out that most of the times when l do it l am being a hypocrite. So here we go,

  1. Social media– oh this is a big one. Dear Cleo why do you find yourself rolling your eyes as you scroll down your timeline or people´s stories? Are you under duress to follow those individuals? Do you not post the same nonsensical coffee/ exercise/ Party videos showing what such a good time/life you have, although 99.9 % of the time you are just on the break even mark? I hate to admit it but yea l am the biggest hypocrite when it comes to this. Sad part is l am a social media addict, and l cant seem to separate myself from that very monster l despise at times. l don’t know how many times l have deactivated my account only to log myself in back a few minutes after, or have deleted an app only to download it again within the same day. Social Media Anynonymous, where are you? l need you brav.
  2. The 2018 Friendships Resolutions- oh boy another big one, lets tread now carefully shall we. About 80% of my contacts had a status that had to do with cutting off bad friends and negative vibes in 2018… and lo behold l just rolled my way through all your updates and even skipped some of them the moment l saw the word friend because it is such and old song. But, dear Cleo just because you renounced your freedom to openly declare your 2018 resolutions, simply out fear of failing to meet the sound of your trumpet, which you would have blown so loud as in prior years, does not mean you now get to judge others and the way they choose to express themselves. The friend song is a very old one you all, and try as we may, friendships and life are very complicated. So yea maybe let’s try and be more honest  and upfront with each other and break the cycle of always having friend drama.

l think l will stop here for today, its getting uglier in there, and want as l might to dive in deeper, if there is anything that l have learnt in 2017, it is to never use your podium to talk about things which may destroy rather than build. More often as we sit behind the keyboard, we so clearly see the wrongs of others or injustices that are being done to us and we forget to turn the magnifying glass on ourselves. We destroy with our words, rather than build. Hurt rather than heal.

Hence in a spirit of kindness, dear Cleo there is no one rule that applies to yourself and another one for everybody else. And with that, have a good year everybody!!! Stay true to yourselves and just get started with whatever it is your heart desires.

And as my former president would say,  Asante Sane!!!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Things we do for society

I had a work meeting across the border the other day, in the beautiful Netherlands city of Arnhem. On our way back, l decided to  take the train instead and let my boss drive back alone, seeing it was a more direct route to my house.

Unfortunately for me, Murphy´s Law is constantly at play. If anything can go wrong, it will. So there l was waiting for my 18:29 departure, when they suddenly informed us that a goods train had broken down on the rails and no trains could travel to Germany at that moment. The next train would depart at 19:29.

Two hours later we were still stuck in Arnhem Central Station with no other possibility to cross over the border. Finally at around 21:30 they arranged for a bus to take us to the Emmerich city of Germany and from there we could then proceed with the train.

It was at this point that my evening gained momentum and 5 hours later l would still be baffled and confused about society and its norms. A fellow passenger and l struck conversation as we headed out to the bus, giggling on how we both were calm while all around us others were losing their heads in anger. We both saw no point in agitating ourselves really for it was not anybody´s fault nor did we have any other choice but to wait. An alternative route would have meant another four hours of travelling.

By the time we reached the front entrance, another middle-aged man had joined us and we amused ourselves with his statistics of how often this had happened and how accurate the reason given to us was, seeing he was a regular traveler on this route and apparently had worked for a train company before. Our trio soon grew to five, and we  soon set sail through the conversation seas tackling everything and nothing and even my former President and future prospects of Zimbabwe.

Anyway, the bus finally arrived and we hopped on, and of course the friendly man sat next to me with the remark,

Na ja, wir haben uns ja sehr nett Unterhalten, darf ich…?”  (we just had a lovely conversation, may l?)

to which l offered the seat next to me with a smile !!! Little did l know.

The bus had hardly driven off and he had already picked up from where we left.  Soon enough he was on about how the bus was taking a longer route to the highway and how we would not make our connecting train, before l could respond he was on to the history of this lovely city filling me in on all the pre war and post war details, before l could respond he had switched on to NRW German region and how it is badly governed, before l could respond…

This was just the first five minutes.

When we hit the highway, my fellow passenger switched on to full mode and this time around he was unstoppable l tell you. We were now on his court case, and fervently he narrated the events of how he and his friend had started a project and and and… I tried to be attentive at first and follow the story, but gradually my occasional grunts were replaced with nods and eventually nothing. His voice soared above the still night sky and above the hum of the engine. His tone was so emotional like one possessed. He talked and talked and talked, now even oblivious of the people around him and indeed forgetting his bearings.

The over-the-shoulder stares started to attack us from all angles, but oh dear l was now slurped in my seat, totally drained of all energy and l could not even. Throats were cleared, false coughs initiated, the usual grumbled grunts, but my fellow passenger was already in the Cloud. Only Siri could get to him now. My head was spinning, the bus was full and l weighed my options, to speak out or not to? And l found myself having this conversation with myself while fellow P provided the background soundtrack.

It was okay for me to speak out and tell him l was tired right? But the way fellow P was going on, l began to envision him being one of those cat man, just glad to have an audience for once. I could hurt his feelings? Maybe he was sick? Something was definitely not okay because we all can read situations, body language etc. How would he respond? aggressively? In the end l decided to let him be and l endured the forty-five minute ride. At some point a woman called him out and fellow P just acknowledged the disturbance and rumbled on immediately after as if nothing had been said. When l stepped off that train, one lady gave me a pat and said “ du hast was gutes getan!” ( you did some good). But did l really? Did l have to put myself through that?

Recently l have noticed l am beginning to struggle with communication. In the times gone by l have always prided myself in my ability to be blunt and call a spade a spade. But experience has continuously shown me that people say they love a straight talker but in reality nobody likes being on the receiving end and as l have learned the hard way it hurts people’s feelings.

What troubles me the most is, what then is the perfect recipe? l have done trial and error and unfortunately messed up some of the most important relations l had with people l care for very much in the process. l lost someone who mattered to me only because l went with the bottling approach and instead of the situation improving the lava seeped out disguised as anger and bitter sarcasm. Before that l tried the honesty approach but rather than resolve the conflict it set up a wall instead. For years l went with the being me approach, but the history books between mother and l can tell you that didn’t work out smoothly as either.

so how then does this communication thing with society work?

Lord 

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Psalm 121.

I am Ndebele first

l am Ndebele first.
Regardless of how far l may evolve, l am and always will be Ndebele first.
A lot has happened in the last few months, but still l kept my pen capped. But now that things have slowed down a bit l would love to share some of the lessons l have been picking up as l go about life. And as l always say l get better at life with each passing day.
My trip to the motherland has of course been the highlight of my year where everything came full circle. I emerged from the Ndebele kraal equipped by the Oracle with wisdom and understanding, l touched ground, became one with the earth and was able to see beyond. Are you dizzy yet? Okay let me stop with the jargon and get on with the business of the day.
In as much as l am tempted to start with the good bits, l will take it slow. Let me pick up from where l left with the reality slap then ease my way through because quite frankly the things l picked up while home are so deep and l feel they can not be gulped down in one big chunk.
So for today l will start with the basics. I have been reminded that l am Ndebele first, before anything else. Though l understand that the time l have spent in Europe would have begun to fade that. I mean you begin to eat healthy,  start to have your routines and be that modern young woman you have always aspired to be. But just like in a steamy hot shower when your image begins to fade behind the mirror, behind the mist, you stand unaltered.
l guess what l am trying to say here is no matter how you much you have evolved, the principles you apply in life are still the basic principles that were instilled within you as a child. And for me those are the Ndebele ones, they are drilled so deep even into my subconscious.
Once l understood this everything began to make sense. I began to understand all my inter cultural relations and the way l resolve conflicts. l began to understand why l communicate the way l do and why l treat people the way l do. l could go on and on, but the essence of the matter is know who you are and how you were raised.
It essentially governs what type of human you are.

The Lifestyle Choice of an immigrant

This week I am in Manchester, spending some much needed family time with my sister and  niece. Something happened though this afternoon and again i found myself perched in a corner zooming out and pondering on the topic that had been thrown at me.

The lifestyle choice of an immigrant.

We had driven down to visit this older Zimbabwean lady, who has lived and worked in England for years now. She has a great home, spacious, modern and tasteful and she was unapologetically Zimbabwean. From the minute we walked in, she spoke our Mother language in its original tone, no alterations whatsoever. She handled herself in an original manner, like a woman still at home. In a nutshell she has not allowed her geographical location to change her, she has adapted yes, but she is who she is. It got me thinking.

While l was still in awe of such strength to be unapologetically you, they started to talk about the behaviour of fellow immigrants who choose to isolate themselves from everything Zimbabwean and of how those individuals tend to fall prey to drug addiction, depression and all that mess which is considered a white people’s thing in our culture. Even though I don’t share the same sentiments, it got me thinking. It got me thinking of where I stand as a person.

So basically there is two lifestyle choice extremes for most immigrants and everything in between. You either get to a foreign land, adapt and integrate into the society and have your “white friends” ” white habits” and bury everything and anything that links you to your roots. I will call this extreme end one. At extreme end one you will find those individuals that take it to the deep end and are embarrassed and nauseated by being linked to their background in any way. And then there is the other extreme end, extreme end two, the one with immigrants who get to a foreign land but stick to their own, speak only their language, buy only from their shops and basically live in a foreign land as if they are still in their own country.

Both extremes have their positives and negatives, and I try not to judge either although I have my strong feelings towards both. I believe you should maintain a balance, be open-minded enough to adapt and integrate into your new environment but at the same time not lose your identity and uphold your roots. Or maybe that’s just a libra trait, always wanting to keep the balance.

Today though as they spoke, I wondered, so where do we draw the line. Where is the cut off point of the perfect lifestyle choice of an immigrant.

I perused through my immigrant chapters. During my time in South Africa, I never hid my identity but people always assumed I was a local, and this meant no control stops from the police for me. This even played in my favor as a safety net during the xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans at the time.  So yea i noticed i was mistaken for something i was not and i let it be because it played out in my favor. And i am also aware of the hate speech given to individuals who act this way by my people and at that time i was willing to take the punch.

Fast forward to Germany… I would love to believe the years of dating my German ex were viewed as leaning more towards extreme end one. But yet again for me, the person in the situation, all I noticed was me adjusting my lifestyle to the compromise levels of a relationship needed to make it work. Everything had to be neutral enough for both of us not to be exposed to any dominant extreme. And after the breakup when I reverted to my habits at no compromise level, my connections from end one believed i had flipped to extreme end two. So it’s all a matter of perspective really.

So even though what people say is not relevant, because you live for yourself and not for people. For me, the question still stands, where does the perfect point lie on this curve?

How much of a foreign culture can I incorporate before diluting my own culture?

Up to what level do I mix in my indigenous flair?

Where is the perfect equilibrium? lf only there was an equation for this.

I havent found the answer yet, but hopefully one day I will strike the balance.

Life as a Coffeeholic

Hello, my name is Cleo and l am a coffeeholic.

Caffeine completes me l swear.

Today l experienced that Aha moment, not that l did not know this already, but today was just special.

Being a lover of my own company l spent half of the day in bed with my kindle. I only stood up once for a cup of tea and a sandwich. Around five however, l suddenly remembered the shops were about to close and l still needed extensions fr my hair. So in the shower l hopped, slipped on my comfy leggings a blouse and my all-weather sweater.

PS* you need one believe me if you live under the German weather. Mine is an olive-green, neutral all-rounder color, suitable for all seasons. Light enough fr me to cope when its warm and warm enough for when the going gets cold.

Anyway, back to my coffee moment.

l made it to the city in thirty minutes max, got the extensions and fell victim as always to the Zara and H&M sale signs. Having spent a few bucks on some skinny jeans, one can never have enough of those now can they, l was ready to hit home.

It was at this moment that l spotted Backwerk across the street and remembered l had not had my coffee cut for the day. The minutes which then followed were bliss l swear.

Coffee in one hand, wind blowing through my hair, sun on my face. Gosh life has never been so perfect as that moment. Suddenly l swapped my resting bitch face with a big bright smile.  A spring came to my step and l was so happy.

This is the exact feeling l get when l sit at Starbucks, and take a sip on my coffee. Occasionally my eyes will close and l just linger on that high. l don’t mind the price, l am willing to fork out all my hard-earned cash for that Starbucks moment, and indeed l do.

Same feeling l get from that first cup at the train station while waiting for my connection. The world immediately goes still l swear, and for those few minutes l am at my happiest.

I don’t care if it is insane, l dont care if it is an addiction that has me licking out of the palms of its hands. I just know that l love my coffee.

Happiness in little things

Just the other day, someone expressed how there was such a tone of melancholy on my blog as compared to the person they see. To which somebody answered, yes that is also her. To which l will answer, yes that is also me. But mistake me not for sad.

My happiness is in the little things.

It is in that moment when l wake up and look out the window and behold the day unwinding with all its fresh things in store for me.

It is in that first sip of coffee as l stand on the platform waiting for my train.

It is in that morning train ride, kindle in one hand coffee in the other with all the familiar strangers in the train.

It is in that morning playlist that makes me start my morning closer to God.

My happiness is in the little things.

Those moments were l sit with my friends each engrossed in their own tasks but still sharing the same oxygen.

Those silent moments where the person l am with understands what l am saying without having to put it into words.

That one emoji my friends and l will see and be sent into spasms of laughter irregardless of time and space.

That smile you get when you look into the innocent eyes of a child.

It is all in the little things.

That heartfelt note left on your desk.

Those fresh flowers on a table.

That simple greeting or thank you.

The rays of the sun on your face.

The sound of your lover’s voice.

That compliment from your mother.

Every day, l find something to smile about, mostly in the little things.

So slow down, take a moment, look around you, and take it all in.

For happiness is in all the little things.

Life at 27

At 27

I don’t feel entitled 

But l refuse to settle 

It’s either the highway or no way

If l be left empty-handed 

So be it!

Recently l have written about five posts and deleted them without even publishing them. But then today l decided to be true to this blog. The initial reason for “the girl from Bulawayo” was to pen my heart out. So why then am l holding back now that only dark ink is oozing. I refuse to run my blog like my social media painting life with filters and fake smiles.

Anyway back to the topic at hand. Life at 27 is brutal. Its one of those crucial stages basically shaping what direction your life will take. Personally am feeling the pressure from all angles. Having pitched up late to the university race, l only started my Masters recently. Something l don’t regret though. I believe the mature me was better equipped for my university life than the younger me, and all those moments that leveled me to zero, would surely have carried me to the grave yard.

My career ambitions are not the only boulder pushing in at 27, but the expectations my family has of me. At 27 back home in Zimbabwe you are married with a kid or two, and with a life expectancy of 62 for women, at this stage you have almost lived half of your life. So basically technically all the conversations with my family start with,”When are you coming home?”, followed by “When are you getting married?”. And thereafter a long lecture on how am not getting any younger blah blah blah. Family please l know the clock is ticking, and no one is better qualified to remind me of my own ovaries than me myself and l. That’s why am really avoiding most of them now by the way. If only they read my blog, maybe the would give me a break.

And while we are still here can we talk about the dating game at 27. Another extremely brutal playing field. A friend of mine explained it beautiful for me, he said its like walking blindfolded in a field of landmines. Better still you are relentlessly pursued by the ones that don’t matter and the ones you care for are aloof and basically the worst as***. Toying with your emotions and not even realizing it.

Life at 27, means am basically a b*** especially when it comes to friendships. Am done with everything and anything that has drama attached to it. It means my circle is limited to five people, and l really can not handle more. Good friendships are about giving and taking and l do not have the capacity to give and take beyond this.

Life at 27 means weekends spent in bed, sipping on my tea reading or watching my favorite series. Or partying three nights in a row.

Life at 27 means me living healthy and indulging in all things healthy. Little 10 minute workouts, cooking healthy, drinking enough water and motivational exercises are all part of my routine. I am more aware of how quickly those fast food burgers head to my waist. My cereal diet days are now a thing of the past.

Life at 27 means knowing me and the things that make me happy. And believe me its all in the little things. Life at 27 means me knowing not to compare or gauge myself according to my peers, because each one of us has their own path.

Life at 27 also means dealing with and sorting all of these emotions. Hence the dark days tend to be frequent . Days where l just refuse to get out of bed and battle feelings of being overwhelmed. 

But as long as l am fighting on, taking every day as it comes. The road will finally smoothen out, it wont stay on this sharp edge forever.

I refuse to settle 27.

New Zodiac

A few days ago my friend sent me a text,

Her: Did you know that you are Virgo?

Nothing could have prepared me for the next few seconds of that day. Even today, I am still very much upset. Very. But yea here is how it went down.

Me: What are you talking about 

Her: Whats your star sign?

Me: Libra

Her: Better luck next time, 

Capricorn: Jan 20 – Feb 16

Aquarius: Feb 16 – March 11

Pisces: March 11 – April 18

Aries: April 18 – May 13

Taurus: May 13 – June 21

Gemini: June 21 – July 20

Cancer: July 20 – Aug 10

Leo: Aug 10 – Sept 16

Virgo: Sept 16 – Oct 30

Libra: Oct 30 – Nov 23

Scorpio: Nov 23 – Nov 29

Ophiuchus: Nov 29 – Dec 17

Sagittarius: Dec 17 – Jan 

Her: New signs according to NASA 

The panic that gripped me. I was like wait a minute, Nooo way!!! I am a libra inside out, the traits and characteristics match perfectly. It can’t be. Nooo way!!!

Ridiculous I know, but that was my initial reaction. In those few seconds, my life flashed before me. I was convinced science and technology had perhaps a sound explanation. But being a Libra is something i have carried proudly since birth, followed and believed up to this day, hence you can understand how robbed i felt in those few seconds. What now, l thought. Does this mean i am a Virgo? So of course the next thing I did was race to the Virgo horoscope, my so-called new Fate and hastily I read through all their traits and characteristics. Actually, only a few were farfetched from my person, hence i solemnly accepted my fate. 

In that moment I mourned the loss of my Libra sign and was saddened at the life i have lived as lie. Only it has not been a lie. I guess it is important to always read and understand before jumping into conclusions.

Well seeing I was still flooding my friends wall with my wailings, she kindly sent me the link to the following Cosmo article, which i must say took me out of my misery: http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/entertainment/news/a45943/star-sign-horoscope-change-2016/  

First of all it was equally satisfying to see the reaction of the author, which pretty much reflected mine. ” SORRY WHAT.” The new sign added in by NASA made me yell, and boy oh boy was I satisfied to read the authors reaction 

Oh yeah, let’s talk about ol’ Ophiuchus, shall we? NASA sneakily added a 13th zodiac sign a while back, like’s it no big thing. WELL. IT. IS.

Well all this happened in just about five minutes, and I am still to read further on this new development. Will probably scout for a ted talk while i am at it, to get a clear understanding of what this actually means. Does it mean l get to live the fist two decades of my life as a Libra and now l will be a Virgo till the axis changes again? Or was l already a Virgo, we just took long to catch on.

But seeing my initial reaction has been jolly wild I thought l would pen it down and share my shock waves with you guys.

For now all I can say is i have understood that the earth..blah blah  blah…has shifted…blah blah blah and as a result the new signs…blah blah blah. Oh and apparently astronomy and astrology are two different things. So we all good, whatever that means.

Change is an emotional rollercoaster man, am not ready!!! I will hold on a little bit longer to my Libra sign. End of discussion.