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May 2019
Whenever I think of putting pen to paper
Intangible thoughts into words
And translating the foreign tongue of my heart
My body starts to shake, my cold blood begins to boil
And tears fill my eyes, but they refuse to flow

Explaining depression is like trying to conquer writers block
Unfortunately, I suffer from both
To my parents, I’m just stressed
To my siblings it’s typical me
And to my friends, it’s taking a joke too far

My mother says she doesn’t understand
Depression doesn’t exist in her culture, but patriarchy does
So, I smile and say it’s nothing, but the ***** in me rears her ugly head and screams
‘Look at me, don’t you recognise the face you wake up to everyday
The feelings you were taught to stomp out and ground down for your husband’s morning coffee
I am you…’
But the coward in me smothers these silent pleas

My father is more eloquent than my mother
He brandishes words as if they were swords
But throws them like poison daggers, twice as deadly
So, he twists and mangles my words, skewering my perception
The heart’s silent screams turning into never ending tears, turning into rivers of blood
I tell him how much I despise him and how I wish I were dead
But one look at my mother’s stricken face, her warning glare,
Reduces my courage into ash and I degrade myself further with an apology

My siblings are a confusing, unpredictable bunch
My brothers don’t know what’s going on, but they understand
How I envy their innocence and ignorance
My older sisters are more complicated
One is my rock, the only thing keeping me from ending it all
She says she’s been here before, that I need to be strong and that she understands
But that only makes me feel guilty for never being there for her
She’s leaving home soon and all I can think is ‘What about me?’
Our eldest sister is a nassistic sociopath
She thinks she’s helping…

Now I don’t have many ‘friends’, but I do have a Best Friend
When I tell her that I’m depressed, she doesn’t ask me why
On most days, she’s my polar opposite, the Yin to my Yang
She’s as skinny as I am fat, loves horror movies which I hate
She can’t stand anime, this is her only flaw
But on some days our stars align
And it’s eerie how much our life experiences mirror each other
To my other friends I just laugh everything off
As if curing this emptiness was as easy as getting over a broken heart
Zukiswa Mvunguse
Written by
Zukiswa Mvunguse  20/F/South Africa
(20/F/South Africa)   
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