SUNDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 2005
Blue chair, green tree, green lawn, cobwebs glistening in the morning sun, a blue Bic pen and the same notebook that always travels with me like a passport.
Round One of Estrangement from People I Love occurred late yesterday afternoon. The topic was people’s domestic problems, relationships, so-called genetic tendencies, and so on. I wanted to go a little deeper than the superficial exchange of views (based, this I know, on real, heartfelt emotion), but cups were loaded in a tray, heads were cast aside and “Oh! Come on!” was yelled out. I followed up with a 90-second rant on how problems cannot be solved if there is no proper communication and a reasonable amount of discussion – and what problem can be solved, or more importantly, what problem that is not easily decipherable can be solved if heads are cast aside and “Oh! Come on!” is yelled out once one party begins asking questions that might require a proper discussion to answer?
Nevertheless, it is really nice to be back just five and half months after the last time I was here, under a tree, on a smallholding outside Bronkhorstspruit. It also feels good that this is not my Big Annual Visit but only a two-week flash vacation. It almost feels normal, like I actually inhabit the same planet as my family.
Also entertained a thought yesterday about the environment and the lives that I observe. The dominant impression was of a life of struggle – for survival, for hope to experience little moments of happiness like when you discover flowers where nobody believed any flowers will grow, for special times like a long weekend or a short holiday, and for Greater Things that Bring Happiness like pregnancies, and a child of your own.
I know many people, intelligent, educated people who distinguish themselves from the “rest”, as well as people who do not spend much time in contemplation on the deeper questions of life will pull back slightly, and ask me with a doubtful look: “So? Is this not life in general? Is this not what everyone hopes for? I mean, not everyone necessarily wants to get married and have children, but they do other things to make up for it. Where do you fall out of the bus? Are these things not also important to you? Is life not a struggle?”
Confrontation with reality. Accept what you cannot change. Implement measures for the sake of self-preservation and survival. I will not again talk with my family about my work, my thoughts, my beliefs or my opinions, until they sincerely ask about it. In actual appearance this means that I cannot be with them who and what I have become, and therefore who and what I am. This state of affairs will continue until they reach out to me with open minds. Then and only then, can I reappear as who and what I really am.
I love my parents and my two sisters. I know they love me. My hope is that my appearances to them, and my relationships with them, will be characterised by dignity, respect, and other things that come down to “love” in practice.
However, it has become clear that, because of their views and their convictions, and their own shortcomings, I cannot appear to them as the person I have become and who I am at this moment of our lives.
This is the reality. This is what I cannot change. This is what I have to accept. This is the measure that I implement for the sake of self-maintenance and survival.
[03/06/15: My family still does not reach out to me. They are always happy to see me, and we are all sad when we have to go our separate ways again. But they are not searching for me.
Do I search for them? Do I ask them what they believe? Do I ask them what is important to them?
It should not be an excuse to answer that I already know what they believe and what is important to them. Maybe I am wrong. Their answers might have changed over the years. Perhaps I should be more interested in what is important to them and what they believe in. Sincerely, one must of course add, and with an open mind.]