“She’s terrified that all these sensations and images are coming out of her — but I think she’s even more terrified to find out why.” ― David L. Calof
I overheard Riyaahd the other night, in what seemed to me like a very private, intimate conversation. My PTSD made me stand at the end of the passage, hidden like 007, behind the wall.
“You are so beautiful. Yes you are. And you spoilt”, his voice was tender, almost passionate.
My heart stopped. I was frozen. I wanted to catch him in the act, probably on the phone with someone who was gorgeous and thin. I haven’t even done my eyebrows this month.
“Come lay on my chest”, the butterflies I felt years before, whenever I was about to check Lyle’s phone as he slept, tickled my gag reflex.
I took a deep breath and walked around the corner, ready to interrogate. I entered the lounge, and saw that Riyaahd’s phone was on charge on the counter. He was lying on the couch… holding our cat in the nook of his arm.
“Yes… you a lion! You daddy’s lion… you a lion… a big lion”.
My husband was sweet talking our pet.
I haven’t heard a compliment from him in a while, but to our fucking Cat he’s DJ Khalid.
“Congratulations, you guys… It’s a girl”.
The above anecdote seems harmless and sweet, until I have to admit that I’m not joking. In my last post I exposed the intrusive thoughts that have started leaking back into my psyche since finding out that I was pregnant. But I have only just scraped the surface… No, that wasn’t another abortion metaphor.
You see, the main problem with being pregnant is that I have had to stop my medication.
For new readers, I will digress.
I have Bipolar disorder. I have OCD. For the most part, I was living a fairly functional life, while on my medication.
I don’t care about the stigma that surrounds my condition. When I am not on meds… the problem is that I don’t care about my actions. I’m tormented, yes. But not as much as my loved ones.
You see, I get irked, or triggered if you will, by these “how OCD are you?” posts that occasionally pop up on my timeline; with half bitten KitKat’s or botched tile patterns.
I wish real OCD was that playful.
I sometimes wonder if I should write my own Buzzfeed quiz, with more pertinent questions:
How many times have you asked your husband the intricate details about his high school girlfriend?
How many times have you checked the sturdiness of the window you just superglued shut, so that you don’t throw your newborn through it?
Which knife will end your misery the quickest? Please be sure to rank them in order of size… remember, symmetry is everything.
I was nine years old when I first realized I wasn’t like the other children. While saying the Angeles (As you know, I went to a Catholic school), I bowed my head to pray, and noticed my school shoes, with way more intensity than usual.
The prayer ended and everyone went out to break. I was stuck though.
Not physically, but I remember that I hadn’t quite gotten the ‘right’ look at my shoes.
I looked up. I looked down. I looked up. I looked down.
My breath was getting shorter.
At one point I felt I had gotten a ‘satisfying look’, which I can only now say felt the same as an orgasm. And I was ready to continue with the day… until again, I caught a glimpse of my feet in my peripherals… and was stuck in that Limbo, until I found the satisfying view of my feet that made me feel accomplished.
I remember climbing into the car that afternoon, finally being able to cry; “Mommy, I can’t stop looking at my feet”.
This was the start of several psychologist meetings, that never really concluded.
Over the years, my OCD slithered its way into many aspects of my life, manifesting in different things.
And when I had children, obsessively stopping myself from hurting them.
Before I continue, I feel it pertinent to emphasize that my recent blog posts are not for sympathy.
I have no desire to garner the pity vote, or look for attention.
There is no motive behind sharing.
It purely just is, what it is, because it is.
The ready for the D show.
“Äre you Sidney-Jonah’s mommy?” Ilvana, a child in my son’s class ran up to me and gave me the tightest most sincere hug. I had dropped Sidney at school late that day, and he couldn’t miss the Teddy Bear picnic! So I accompanied him to his classroom, even though it isn’t really permitted for parents to be in the halls.
Sidney had complained of this little girl before. Apparently she was a bully, who liked to pick on him specifically.
“Yes I am, and you are Ilvana!”, I wasn’t passive aggressive towards a seven year old, I swear. I just wanted her to know that I knew her too.
She hugged me again, and Sidney meandered off into the crowd of his ouense, without even giving me a second look.
I had already spoken to Sidney’s teacher about the issue with the bullying and as far as I knew, it had been sorted.
I smiled at her again as I left.
The day progressed as usual, and when I picked Sidney up, he was in high spirits.
We hit the road.
“Mama”, he said nonchalantly, and I nodded to signal that I was listening.
“The girl that hugged you was Ilvana. That mean girl”.
“Yes Joe, I know, but we have to forgive her. Teacher sorted it out”.
I know mom”, he said… “But when you left, Ilvana told me that last time you came to the school… you weren’t so fat”.
I have not stopped obsessing about this comment, made by a 7 year old, since.
I was rushed to the doctor again the other day. The same pains. The same headaches.
My placenta is low.
My sinus and bladder are infected.
But what made me cry, is that I now weigh 102kgs.
Possibly the weight of Ilvana’s comments resting on my shoulders. Possibly the late night Breyani. I am open to theories.
None the less, the insecurities that build up as a young girl, and persist as a young woman don’t magically vanish, especially when your brain isnt ‘quite like other people’s.
Above this, I think that there is a misconception that I believed even as an adult that once I found a man that married me, I wouldn’t suffer from ‘pathetic syndrome’ anymore. You know, that condition we assume all single women are secretly nurturing.
Ask any married woman if she thinks that she is slightly better off than her single friends and she will coyly smile, no matter how useless her husband is.
When we found out we were having another girl, the thoughts that flooded my mind were rational, irrational, scary, predictable, and very telling of the world I grew up in. Even if that world seemed fictional to other people.
[Side Bar; I always laugh politely at my husband’s friends who have daughters (and actually, every man who has a daughter), who professes loudly that no brasse will touch his princess.
They say things like, “Ï know what the ouens do with kinnes, she is gonna be wys”. They say, almost boastfully that they were naughty with the kinnes, so their daughter isn’t going out till she is 30].
Personally I want to hide my daughters till they are thirty, and fully trained to differentiate between good and bad men. Good uncles and bad uncles. Good daddies and bad, bad daddies.
And I want to make sure that their minds are in tact. And the only things that irk them as adults are badly bitten chocolates and missing tiles.
“Congratulations, you guys… It’s a girl”.
My mother was with me in the gynecologist’s room when I heard the news. Lyle wasn’t with me though, he was with his new girlfriend, who was also named Nadine.
No, not the same one he cheated on me with in the backseat of my car. Another Nadine, also from Strandfontein… you know, to add insult to my herpes.
A naïve 24 year old at the time, I flourished at the news that I was having a girl this time.
I knew a girl would change him. He couldn’t be rude to me, if he was raising a young lady.
No one was that evil.
I called him, and he received the news as uninterested as he did anything I ever told him.
“Yeah, whatever but how can I know it’s my laaitie?
I guess he couldn’t definitively know.
Rose was born. He insisted on being in the theatre. I wanted my man back, of course.
I have already written of the things that happened that day in previous blogs, I do not wish to revisit them again (and again, and again, and again, and again).
As time passed, he agreed to watch Rose on several occasions. I always felt uneasy. But as he was her biological father, amidst the threats on my life, I trusted him with OUR daughter.
One day, shortly before his death I fetched Rose, and he had a smirk of sorts on his face.
“You looking lekker ne”, he said. That had long stopped being a compliment. I had already started respecting myself, my blog was in its infancy, much like my relationship with myself.
“I had to change her nappy earlier when my mom was at church”. His smile persisted, but I still didn’t think anything of it.
“Her koekie looks just like yours”, he laughed.
“Ï soema get stiff”.
“Congratulations, you guys… It’s a girl”, the sonographer at Al-Neesa said.
Riyaahd and I had already discussed the names we would pick for each gender.
Rose thinks that Princess Sophia is a perfectly acceptable name on the Cape Flats.
Jonah is set on Saharah- Lilly.
We broke the news to a mixed crowd.
“But I am the girl”, Rose said, almost in tears.
Jonah seemed defeated and let out “Another sister? I only have two hands, mom!”.
Me too, Jonah. Me too.
We got home and I had the sudden urge to glue the windows tightly shut.
“The oven is large enough to fit a baby. Ask Riyaahd to seal it”, my mind whispered.
Maybe the cat will lay on the newborn while she sleeps. No one could blame me for that.
I should put the steak knives in the draw. Out the draw. In the draw. Out the draw. In the draw. Out the draw. In the draw. Out the draw. In the draw. Out the draw.