Reflections

Witnesses to our lives

By Sebenzile Nkambule:

It's about the people we wish to be witnesses to our lives. That's why we choose the companions we do. That's why we stay with those we claim to love, sometimes based on what could have been, and not on what is. But because they know so much about our lives, our dreams, and most intimate misgivings, we hold them in precious places in our hearts. We call them our better halves, our loves, our reasons for being and our reasons for existing. Silly! But real! That's why people marry, shack up for real, commit themselves to each other and spend their lives together, hopefully forever. We want witnesses to our lives. This truth, I received from a corny romantic comedy, about dancing with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gear. The woman who plays Richard's wife in the movie poignantly says to the private investigator she hired to investigate her husband, whom she suspects is cheating on her, in that scene, having conceded to the idea of her husband's supposed infidelity, comes to this truth. We all want witnesses to our lives. I too want a witness to my life.

Our parents can't be our witnesses, because they always believe they play a role in shaping and directing what our lives should be. Our siblings share our lives in relation to theirs, the bastards are selfish! Being a sibling to a couple of people, I know how selfish I am with regard to my siblings and the happenings in their lives. In all honesty, their lives are more interesting to me if they involve me in a pleasant and beneficial way. That's why we get upset if we're not the first ones to know about a pregnancy, an engagement or a new item that could be of use to me in the future. Any sibling who denies this, is lying to themselves. And, to be blunt, you can't sleep with them. That would be disgusting. So they can't witness our lives in any honest, intimate and holistic way.

But it seems there are rules to who this witness can and should be unfortunately. For tribalists and racists, your companion should be of the same culture and race respectively. For the religious ones, your companion must be of the opposite sex, because same sex relationships are obscene, dare I say sinful. Our anatomy determines the journeys we take, the people we are attracted to and the people we will eventually love, and desire to share our homes with. Yes, it has everything to do with our genitalia. How dare I think it should be about more? Dreams shared, visions aligned, purposes unveiled together, all these do not matter in who we choose to love, because according to the above mentioned groups, it's all about whether the union is between a man and a woman.

So, bigots, homophobes and the ones prone to judge and discriminate, what gives you the right to deny anyone the opportunity to be with people they believe will be great witnesses to their lives, when it is essentially what you desire as well? The fear created in many women who desire to hold hands boldly, even when approaching a group of men, a group of Black men, who appear to believe that women are meant to be controlled by them and that the demeaning passes they make at these women are warranted, ok, justifiable and funny. When all they want to do is hold hands and be left alone. A harmless act that brings joy to them without disrupting anyone from their moral high grounds. They just want to share their lives with each other. They just want to exercise their right to choose a witness for their lives.

Sadly many will go by forgotten, or understood in a limited way because they are forced to live in secret, live in closets, lie about a part of themselves because it is dangerous to be truthful. Dangerous to live freely. The untold stories of many homosexual geniuses will forever be a loss to the world. When one part of you is suppressed, it is difficult for other parts of yourself to be open fully and free to reach their highest potential. To live fully. A privilege of a few. A life un-witnessed. The lie gets comfortable sadly, the unhappiness bearable after sometime and life a misery of tragic proportions, until some sort of liberation. Some form of revolution. I'll find my witness I'm sure, when I stop asking permission to do so.

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2 thoughts on “Witnesses to our lives”

  1. I like your thoughts here Sebe… I think it is sad that we live our lives so apologetically, trying to seek human permission to simply be who we ought to be. We lose out on freedom because somewhere, somehow, we learned to first raise our hands and ask for permission to be. A pity!

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