By Noluvuyo Bacela

Something broke when I was younger and it shattered everything that was holding my core together…

Gradually everything that I thought I knew for sure spiraled out from my grasp leaving me clasping at leaping straws for about 20 odd years — leaping straws that I then chased all over the country but seemed to just slip through my fingers time and time again.

“What is it that was broken, what is it that I lost?”

Questions whose answers seem to be buried within the rubble that I liked to call nothing. I have searched my soul countless times, shut my eyes real tight and wished for the grey cloud to be lifted but nothing. Nothing would never leave me be so I fueled the gaps with foreign substances, nestled my being in the arms of a thoughtless man because his shoulders were ‘broader than mine so I thought you could help carry my cross.’

I cried, read just to spend countless hours out of my own head. I tried, I lied my way into people’s houses as I dreaded being on my own and  I overstayed my welcome, then when that failed I surrounded myself with literature. I stumbled upon Sylvia Platt and liked how she embraced her disposition. Someone asked me, “Why do you always look so sad? You look like a gangster but when you laugh rainbows and butterflies pop up as you giggle.”

All I know is something broke when I was younger and I’ve been trying to mend it all my life.

But then came a time to entrust this heart into a potter’s hands and it was hard. It was as if I had gone past the point of being molded into a beautiful jar of clay, but now a fault had been found within me and I had to restart the process. Everyday a new challenge was raised and in every one of those days I got to choose between living in that moment and skip the patience and endurance part or stick it out till the end.

 In order to fix what was broken – God and I had to start from scratch. Not from where my late father had left off or even from where I had started harboring bitter grief , feelings of self-loathing where I would compare myself to other people. We started where it hurt which was the heart of a fatherless daughter who had now found solace in broken men and was now caught up in trying to fix them with her own lacking idea of love and comfort. And these “men” would never stay not even for a cuddle. I would lie within the belly of my now empty and cold bed, clasp my A-cup breasts within my hands look down on them and think, “Will these ever be enough?” as it seemed like they never were …

Sometimes we think that God is the ultimate fixer of our problems but actually we must fix ourselves first. Developing habits like allowing yourself to enjoy your own company, remembering your favorite things like the smell of old furniture and licking spoons while someone else is baking. Its difficult to trust someone who says they love you when you can’t really work up the strength never mind the desire to love your own self. They say trust is hard to earn after it being broken but the journey is worth the travel.

Learning to trust myself again has been one journey that I will be on for as long as I live especially after realizing that I was the thing that was broken.