Facebook the Toxicbook

Two years ago from today l started my blog, and to celebrate it might as well let the ink run. Especially today were l woke up waked up by Facebook!!!Facebook the Toxicbook!!!

A few days ago as l was going down my timeline, l came across a video of soldiers executing two women and their kids. The other must have been four or so, and the other was on the mothers back and still looking around curiously when the endless tirade of bullets hit them. For quite some time l lay paralyzed in bed, I was totally taken aback and shocked. Nothing had prepared me for that inhumane act of violence.

Several days pass but finally my scrolling addiction takes its toll on me and l find myself back on Facebook. This time around a friend had shared a video and it popped on my timeline. Unsuspecting l tapped on the uncover video button, mostly it is nudity or strong language that lays behind. Nothing that my 28-year-old self can’t take, but lo and behold, that day it was a woman beating her two infants almost to the point of death because the husband had left her. Even though l immediately closed the page, it stung straight to my heart and the eyes and screams of that child stuck in my head. I even had nightmares that night.

Now, maybe some of you are unphased by violence but does anyone else realise the nasty turn Facebook has taken. Where are the silly innocent honest status updates?  Facebook was a place where l could keep in touch with my extended circle of friends and family. Then the endless features came, some desirable than others, then the manipulation and addiction came, then the marketeers took over, and now Facebook is just this world, almost like a departmental store where you can find anything and everything.

A few days ago I came so close to deleting my account but a few things stopped me, mainly

  • Our Next Step Page: a movement we started to make information accessible, inspire, advise and mentor. That vision is bigger than me, hence l cannot exit the Toxicbook.
  • Free Marketing Tool: toxic as it may, Facebook is still the fastest free way of sharing information and reaching many people simultaneously. Being a creative myself l cannot deny myself of this necessity.

Other than that l am so over Facebook. It is has become so toxic and one has to be very careful about what content they expose themselves to. Two weeks later l am still fighting the trauma of those posts.

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Netflix and Learn

Have you all noticed how Netflix is not only Netflix and chill but Netflix and Learn.

So whenever l watch something on Netflix, my phone is always in my hand and l am googling away. A few examples of shows l have watched while researching more are, The Crown, Unsolved, Making a Murderer, My Next Guest is.

l for sure know that with The Crown l was not the only one, Wikipedia reported an influx of people looking up the Queens and her husbands page. And when l saw that, l was like yup, am one of those.

Are you all part of the Netflix learners? l sure wont be stopping anytime soon because it makes me feel less guilty about time wasted watching tv.

Who were you before they broke you?

Like most of you, l have my routines, and my morning ones which l have even come to term rituals play an important role as to how my day will shape up. Hence l always try to start the day on a positive note.

Reading is part of my transit ritual, but l only pick up my kindle once l am in the train. My 10 minute bus ride is dedicated to you alls status updates, mainly WhatsApp Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook is now so ancient to me and only comes as a last resort if l still have to time to kill.

So yesterday one of my friends had a status that caught my attention. l mean its always the usual verse of the day, quotes, memes, your smiling faces etc. l always race through them at lighting speed. l don’t even understand how l do it, its like an automated scroll tap tap tap process, l am quite detached from it but my brain absorbs the information. Nevertheless once in a while l pause,,,, the deep stuff holds my attention.

And so it was yesterday when l read that first line,…

who were you before they broke you?

l didn’t even bother with the rest of the text she had written, but that line alone was enough for me to stow my phone away, pick up my shovel and dig away into the archives and boy oh boy, was that a question.

who was l before they broke me?

…who was l before they broke me? You know what l cant even tell you guys anymore at this moment, because the person l am now wont allow it.

But this has stuck with me all night and l find myself taking steps to find that girl again, for l can not allow it.

So you all think about it will you.

How pilots (I to be precise) behave as passengers.

I thought this was a very insightful piece and l would share because the curious George in me is always asking these questions.

AviaConnect - cleared for takeoff

Ever noticed how hard and at times irritating it is driving a car with a driver on the passenger seat. It literary takes you back to driving school or gives you that feeling that you are not driving your own car lol.

Fortunately its a different experience in aeroplanes as a pilot who is flying as a passenger is always tucked away in the passenger cabin, not in the cockpit in full view of the flight crew. This however does not stop pilots exhibiting some interesting or maybe rather annoying behavior at times. Pilots fly as passengers for various reasons such as going on holiday, positioning flight or home flight after their shift.

pilot repo Image – Pilots journals

I have to admit I was pretty bad at the beginning as well. I remember after just completing my training for my private pilot licence, whenever I flew as a passenger I just…

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Are Zimbabwean School policies counter productive?

I had a conversation with my mother yesterday in which l was left speechless. Apparently a cousin of mine who just wrote her O’ levels in December is unable to collect her results as the school said she lost books, and she must first replace them before she can get her results.

This is nothing new to me, l grew up with those policies as well. Policies whereby we were sent home if we had not yet paid our fees. Results and certificates were withheld until we had cleared our arrears.

But for the first time yesterday, maybe hearing it from a different timezone, culture and mindset gave me a different perspective, and l thought l will share my thoughts with you all.

Are these school policies in an economically dilapidated country like Zimbabwe where most families are even struggling to put their next meal on the table, reasonable or counterproductive?

So l had made plans for my cousin to move to the city for her A’ levels, as she is quite gifted academically. But guess what the process of finding a place for her and initiating her studies is now being delayed.

She will be lucky because l will pull hook line and sinker to make sure l motivate her to still continue her studies, but what of the other kids?

Yes l understand that the schools hardly have enough resources and have to take desperate measures to maintain them, but is this the best way to do it?

Can we not come up with better ideas? The textbook struggle, why can we not invest in E-books and make print outs?

The fees situation, we cannot continue to deprive children their basic right to education. We cannot blame their parents and guardians for not being able to provide.

We need better solutions!

This act of sending kids home because they do not have the correct uniform must stop!

This is our future generation, and instead of us equipping them with knowledge to run the future, we are pulling them back.

The Zimbabwean government and Ministry of Education needs to realize that our current situation is not the yellow of an egg and do away with these self inflicted stumbling blocks.

We need better solutions!!!

“When in Doubt, dont.” Benjamin Franklin

Today for a minute or two l doubted myself and l must admit it was not a lovely feeling.

So l found myself in the train with an old classmate. Just as you would expect, the prospect of catching up on each others lives since we last saw each other, in our 6th semester that is, had been an exciting one for me, but boy or boy five minutes into it, l was in a solemn state and putting up a happy act as my mind raced a thousand directions.

All it took was one simple question for the wind to leave beneath my wings. But why are you still here? they had asked. Why are you still here, everybody is gone, everybody is working now and they have their lives.

l reached for straws and mumbled some explanation . They didn’t sound convinced and as desperate as l was to be understood l went on and on trying to paint myself in a positive light, which only made me sound more ridiculous of course and it didn’t cut it. So we moved onto other things. An inquiry thereafter into an incomplete project of mine hardly did any good too. We survived the rest of the hour by turning our attention to some sociopolitical issues, but the arrow had hit.

I walked out of that train feeling like crap, and had to give myself some major prep talk before the colleagues arrived. Luckily for me, work came to the rescue . By lunch time l had recollected my emotions a bit and  thrown a casual question at my boss about the foolish path l chose for my life and career. He of course gave me the are you crazy look and patiently explained how people go down different paths in life.

l have since recovered a bit, but today l have learnt how doubt can utterly put you off-course. As sensitive as l am, chances are if l had withstood this little encounter on my way back home l would have spent the whole of this week brooding and adrift. l am still feeling a bit skeptical but l am learning to accept such hard reality slap moments, and remember that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

And with this in mind, l will hold onto Benjamin Franklin’s words untill the light shines,

When in doubt, don’t!

 

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!!!

 

 

 

 

Radical preaching made me burn my Diary- cry my beloved diary.

“Burn them! Bring them down to ashes and set yourselves free!” he said.

A melachonly mood fell upon me today, and for a second l was imprisoned in the past and felt sad.

A thought had come across my mind, and l struggled to piece together the puzzle of that memory. And then l remembered how l had meticulously written down all the details in my diary, a diary l had owned from the time l was eight right until eighteen or so.

See ever since l was child, the art of writing has always captivated me and l carefully recorded all the major events, believing l would one day draw accurate details from these transcripts for conversations or whatever need may be.

And today as my human mind failed me, l missed my diary and regretted my foolish decision to burn it.

See it was after one Sunday morning when the pastor had taken to the pulpit and talked about how we hold on to pain. How we pen down our sufferings and reflect on them day to day thereby setting ourselves back. Well he had a point, it is not good to hold on to pain… but maybe you might have used a different example Pastor.

“Burn them he said,bring them down to ashes and set yourselves free!”

Having taken a survey by asking those of us who had diaries to raise their hands, the main message that day became our diaries. An alter call commenced and those who had their diaries in their Handbags obediently surrendered them over to the Pastor to be destroyed.

l was one of the few who had theirs at home, but honey l raced home after service, and went straight to that drawer like a woman possessed and put my baby in flames.

How sad. Oh how my heart bleeds for the younger me. Ten years of my well detailed life went up in flames that day. It had everything from birthdays, funerals, first day at school, pets, holidays and so on. Things which now only remain on the circumference of my mind but can never be vividly remembered again.

Ok l will stop now, for my heart is getting heavier with every word l say about this. Nonetheless l will leave you with this,

Africa will surely perish from these radical preachers with falsehoods. Extreme Religion will destroy us.

Cry my beloved Diary.

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.

Reality Slap!

Five days from today I will be in plane headed home after four years of being away. It is a difficult trip with a mixed bag of emotions. So let me pen it out a bit and ease the pressure before I go insane.

See my September has been a rollercoaster of emotions, one minute I am excited and happy I will finally get to see my family and all those beautiful landscapes of my motherland that i have so dearly missed. l will get to sleep in my room again, see my childhood friends have real food, beautiful sunrises, breathtaking sunsets, wildlife etc, the list is endless.

Then the next minute I am shivering and reaching for the blankets afraid to face the misery of it all, the poverty at home, the depreciated infrastructure, the economic hardships, the battered souls, everything and anything l ran from six years ago. Will I cope?

I am afraid of those coming to embrace me with a smile with the hope of me upgrading their lives materialistically even if just for a day. I cannot, I am but just a student.

l am afraid of going back and not being able to fit in no matter how hard I try to camouflage myself. Will my misfit behaviour no longer be labeled as different but arrogant now that I have been away for a while?

I am afraid of being me and voicing out my opinions on some of our cultural practices, and offending family in the process.

I am afraid of so many things…

Anyway, moving on

So last week l decided to escape to England and visit my sister for a bit until my travel dates were near. l had started loosing sleep due to my stress levels. Pulling all strings of my budget tight to allocate as much as I could for the home trip. Getting as much work done as i could to give myself enough time to enjoy the time i will spend home. Studying hard to try to compensate for those 3 weeks i will be away. My planning OCD didn’t help either, see with me everything is always meticulously planned. Everything also means a detailed plan B, C, D and E incase A doesn’t work. So yes l was definitely loosing it, thank God for the England getaway.

While here l have refused to acknowledge or entertain anything and everything reminding me of the trip. The only significant thing i did was to go and get a short tapered haircut ( the naturalista movement girls out there know!). By the way my sister aint very pleased about it, she feels my sophisticated haircut makes me ooze of a gay vibe and the family will be gob smacked and totally fail to recognise me at the airport, I mean this is the first time I have cut my hair in six years. Fail to recognise me? Please!!! I will start world war three single-handedly! Better not try that with me!!!!!

So yea,

it’s not easy being the girl from Bulawayo. On top of that I have to gear myself up for my two different lifestyles I lead when in Zimbabwe. See at home my life is equally divided into two halves, moms family versus dads family and weirdly enough they are the extreme opposites. So in a nutshell half of my holiday will be spent lounging around the different mansions, chilling by the pool going for game drives and just living the life. And the other half will be spent in constant worry, living from hand to mouth, hustling for the next meal and trying to survive. Both of these worlds are me and i have come to accept that at the moment everything is beyond me to bring these two in unison. But hey i am the libra in the family, one day is one day.

Okay so putting all my whining aside, today I got a reality slap. So real so deep I had to observe a minute of silence. One of my brothers, the eldest has up to now not been on social media. So today out of the blue, he appeared on my whatsapp and we had the usual brother sister banter. After the chat, i decided to check his profile picture. By the way i have not seen any image of my brother in six years. We just communicate on the phone, and you can imagine how deep that moment was. That one picture summarized my brothers last six years for me in one phrase. The Zimbabwean Struggle.

Staring back at me was a middle-aged Zimbabwean man, father to five. Skin singing tales of the savannah sun, eyes telling of a bitter truth, a life lived in struggle. But despite all the hardship that was embroidered on that face, the expression was happy.  How do they do that?

That picture was a reality slap for me, it vividly reminded me of how I came to study in Europe and of the cushioned life I have lived ever since. What will i say to him in a few days when i look at him? How do i even look him in the eye? Why is the world such a unlevel playing field? Why is my country in such a mess?

I am bleeding, and I don’t know to handle it. I am at a loss for words, my heart is breaking but I can not cry when i see them now can i. For i know only joy and sound of ululating will await me at the gates. Shall i wear mask while i die a thousand deaths inside? How,? How do you undertake a trip like this?

Oh well, love can only prevail right?

and where there is love there is hope and where there is hope there is a future.

Love will prevail.

Where there is love there is Hope

Where there is Hope there is a Future.