Caterpillar

Mental health is a level of psychological well-being – the psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment”.

My sister and I revisited Caterpillar, by Mountains of the Moon.

We came down to the conclusion that it screams mental health awareness because it sums up the experiences of a person afflicted by a mental illness.

(The common signs of mental illness have been italicised.)

Here’s Verse one

I’m falling out

With everything around me now

Losing what I used to be

And I’m over it

Apathy. Indifference.

Our main character here no longer cares about anything at this point. Our minds are the control centre and when the control centre is in shambles everything else collapses with it shortly after: one tends to stop making attempts to stay afloat and them sinking doesn’t bother them at all.

They have been to the moon

I’m just a caterpillar dead in my cocoon

Difficulty perceiving reality

A cocoon is the place where a caterpillar is enclosed before it turns into a butterfly, during metamorphosis. What is startling is that this particular caterpillar is dead in theirs. It just shows you how detached they are from reality and how grave the situation is. The truth has been inverted now: growth is seen as confinement and doom.

Swept by my mind’s typhoon

And I’m all at sea

Another telltale sign

Confused thinking.

At this point our main character is their own worst enemy, their own thoughts are an insult to injury…this emphasises on just how much mental health should be taken seriously, I don’t think “at sea” is a great place to be.

The sea clearly symbolises a snare and this is justified by the chorus

I wish it could be different

Wish there was no dampness here

The moisture of the sea; the dampness, paints a picture of our specimen being heavily drenched in their problems and they wish that they were home and dry. Literally.

Oh we shouldn’t have listened

To the angst and the fear

Excessive worrying or fear

Now Verse 3

I had it all

Rivers of gold and forest so tall

But I ran my canoe down a waterfall

Started a wildfire

No matter how hard life gets, we all still have something precious that we can be grateful for and hold onto but a compromised state of mind has the ability to incapacitate us, it can skew our vision and cause us to throw everything, even the very little we have, away.

Mental health issues needed to be addressed with the utmost care, I believe of all the forms of afflictions faced by humans they demand the most attention. Our mental stability or lack thereof ultimately makes or breaks us.

This is where people lose the plot. A lot of the time we’re told “to get over it”

“Man up”

“You’re being dramatic”

Well if that’s the case, riddle me this…why are these stats here?

  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10 – 24
  • 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.

The outro puts the final nail in the coffin.

Here I sit in silence as it’s rising at me

And I’m afraid that I’m not taking my chances

How do I know it’s light in the horizon that I see?

I’ve seen questions, but never answers

Here the caterpillar is faced with “light at the end of the tunnel” but he is uncertain about whether he’s really out of the woods or not.

Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason.

That’s how sensitive this type of situation is, one is so deep in sorrow that they don’t even believe that they can be saved and a helping hand can easily be mistaken for being a source of harm.

The catastrophe brought about by poor mental health is made apparent here

I used to be the one with the grandest of dreams

But how can hope keep believing through the war?

The brightest of ideas can be dimmed by the dark cloak that is poor mental health, what a huge waste.

We need to bring back hope.

We need to help people win the war.

We need to eradicate the stigma.

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Bayou

A song by Mountains of the Moon.

It’s 7 minutes and 16 seconds of nothing but pure genius.

I was lost on an escape to love. Untraceable.

So it’s a story about a person who had a problem and instead of confronting said problem they ran away from it. Where did he/she find refuge? In a relationship. They thought bringing in another person to the mix would equate to fighting whatever was ailing them.

Clearly it doesn’t. I heard this from the horse’s mouth. The lyrics go on…

“It’s not the same. Not enough

You and me was like a vivid dream

Why’d you wake me up?

Why’d you wake me up?”

I’m further compelled to think that it isn’t at all a good coping mechanism and in the chorus he/she goes on to say.

“You were my coming down and my solid ground. Paramount.”

Your “demons” can’t always be kept at bay by dragging people into your life to do the fighting. People are so flighty, we cannot and should not be so dependent on them and most importantly, some situations demand that you be the one calling the shots, especially when the war is internal. Our main character knows this, this brings in the bittersweet nature of this relationship: it brings a sense of solace and at the same time it brings great ruin. Why? It’s not a permanent solution; the problem isn’t being directly dealt with.

Distant screams

The biggest lie

What are we if never intertwined?

Forever undefined

Wow. So now our dear specimen is being tossed around by the voice in their mind. It reeks of denial. Denial is saying that without other people we cannot be whole and it’s desperately trying to justify this unstable relationship. Yeah no man is an island but you can’t be extracting your self esteem from people affirming your existence. Did I not mention how flighty people are???

After more powerful lyrics and a very captivating instrumental comes the outro.

Nights are longer now

And I am, I am stronger

Without you. Without you

I have come around

Life is ocean, we were just

Travellers in the bayou

In the bayou

That we outgrew

Truth VS Lies. Truth won and the “quick fix” is gone. Our dear friend is stronger now, he/she abandoned their crutch and went to face their problem head on thus it may have been dark for a while. Well, don’t they say your darkest hour comes before your dawn?

The star of the song has been purged of the delirium that took over them when they made an attempt to run from their problems; they’ve come around.

Ocean. A large body of water with unfathomable depths and myriads of mysteries to unravel.

Bayou. A small body of water typically found in a flat, low-lying area, and can be either an extremely slow-moving stream or river, or a marshy lake or wetland.

We forfeit oceans in our feat to sweep our issues under the carpet.

We confine ourselves a great deal by not stepping up to bury our burdens.

It’s not just people we use to try and eradicate our issues. People’s escapes could be alcohol, drugs and even social media…

Don’t travel in the murky bayou. Don’t do that to yourself.

You deserve oceans.

Feel free to listen to the song while you’re at it.

Bayou – Mountains of the Moon

Bon Hiver

“Good Winter”

I remember when the scorching hot sun

would smooch the earth and you sought asylum

from the blaze – in the shadows cast by my mighty branches

Away from the burning rays-

You were such great company in summer.

I remember when I was in full bloom and my flowers

were quite the aesthetic.

Flowers, you liked to pick them

And the scent soothed your senses

You were such a heaven sent in spring.

I remember when my supply of flowers and leaves

dwindled subtly

Yes my leaves and flowers

were strewn across the ground,

a carpet of gold, red and brown

but you were doing all the “leaving”

I guess they call Autumn “fall” because that’s when things fell apart

I remember when the frost came by with mighty force,

all you could do was stay indoors.

Branches bare, like talons protruding from underground

and you?

Nowhere to be found

in winter.

This Is My Fourth

The title of this post is a product of an inside joke.

I saw a tweet and it read “I’ve been single for so long, I’m an album now.”

I took it a step further.

I’ve been “single” for four consecutive years now so I sang “‘Bout to drop an Album this is my fourth.”

You know, from that song “Run Up.”

This post was also inspired by someone who posed the question. “Zothile kanti why don’t you date?”

Have a seat.

The only “He” I know is Helium

The only “him” I know are the hymns we sing during mass

The only “dates” I know are the laxatives and the calendar related ones.

Firstly my mom is totally against it, her argument is that it could be a burden.

At this stage of one’s life it could prove to be a great liability. I can’t say I disagree with her, it makes sense, I for one have a lot on my plate already, trying to keep a relationSHIP afloat is the last thing i want added to my to do list.

Me, going against my mom? Not a chance, I don’t want to die.

The string of lies I’d have to concoct, the guilt that would ail me afterwards… it’s not worth it. Let’s not forget that Mrs N Zulu is like the FBI, she’d find out eventually, Bulawayo is quite small.

Reason number two.

These people? We got to know about each other’s existences over WhatsApp, Instagram or Facebook. So my issue here is that there is so much that can be watered down and filtered through a phone – honestly after series of conversations characterised by small talk I don’t seem to know a thing about them and they don’t know seem to know me from a bar of blue soap.

And its not easy to lie with a straight face but it’s easy to lie behind a phone screen.

I know communicating through a phone is the only way to go at the moment, it’s rather impractical to say to your family as you leave the house

I’ll be back in a few I’m going to look for a boyfriend.

Nooooooo

So what if I threw my mom’s advice out the window and looked past reason number two? There’s reason number three. I’m hellbent on the belief that these relationships are usually like the flames of a matchstick.

You strike a match and it burns so brightly and beautifully and before you can even blink there is nothing but black. Ash. Remnants of a matchstick.

So I’m quite skeptical when I hear “Zothile you and so and so would be a perfect match.”

Oh and let’s not forget that moment when you spasmodically drop the matchstick because the flames licked your hand and burnt you.

There are people who do date in high school. If you are reading this, it is not an attack, I’m just here talking about how I’m not taking that route. I’m not scowling at anyone’s decisions. You can cope, I don’t think I can right now.

All I can foresee is tragedy, fire and brimstone, I’m not sooted for this at the moment.

(I’m hoping you got that pun, suit is a homophone of soot. Soot is comprised of the black charred bits that remain after something’s been burnt)

K bye.

The Reactivity Series

Below are just some metals in descending order of reactivity. The most reactive being Potassium and the least reactive, Gold.

Potassium

Sodium

Calcium

Magnesium

Aluminium

Zinc

Iron

Lead

Copper

Silver

Gold

The more unstable an element is, the more reactive it is and when it does react it forms compounds with strong bonds.

You didn’t think this was a quick Chemistry revision did you?

In life…

There you go.

There are people who are prone to having violent outbursts

They explode if I may say

They blow things out of proportion

They are fond of fashioning tempests in teapots

They overreact

There you have it. They are unstable. They could have insecurity gnawing at their existence on a daily; they could feel like they are a little too much or just not enough at all, they could be defeated by their demons…

You naaame it

They could be going through a lot and their inability to keep their tempers in check could result in them taking out all their frustrations on you, the innocent bystander who is far from being the cause of their anguish.

So it’s quite alright to tell yourself “It’s not me, it’s you, K.”

(I hope you got that pun. K is the chemical symbol for Potassium and Potassium is the most reactive metal)

Gold on the other hand is stable, is relatively unreactive. It does not tarnish and by the way it’s really pricy.

Some people are Gold, they are reliable and are able to remain composed for the most part and they are precious.

and unfortunately they are few and far between.

This is just an analogy, I have no bone to pick with the Periodic Table.

You’ll never find the reactive elements in their pure form unless they’ve been kept under oil (this restricts reactions) they are found only in compounds and extracting them is quite a complicated process.

(Electrolysis. I’m not explaining any further than that.)

This just shows you how dependent the unstable people are, they can’t stand without something or someone to lean on. Alone, they can barely face the world.

It’s no walk in the park, but, let’s work towards being stable.

Wouldn’t life here be more bearable if everyone strived towards being Gold.


Au. That’s so sweet.

Cold Is The Night

If you are/were in the southern regions of Africa this winter you’d shiver in agreement with that statement.

Well I’m guessing after 21 blog posts you’d be able to connect the dots and come to the conclusion that this one will have absolutely nothing to do with the weather. I’m fond of throwing people off with my titles and introductions.

The Oh Hellos sang a song called Cold Is the Night and it aided me in writing this post.

Imagine the earth and the sun. The earth revolves around the sun. It’s our very lifeline; it gives us light, warmth, energy, tans…it’s basically everything. The earth also rotates about on its axis and this gives us day and night and as the earth orbits the sun some parts of the world will be closer to it than others at different times of year and this gives us the different seasons. The sun doesn’t move, so when we say the sun has gone down that is so very wrong.

Have I lost you yet?

God is the sun.

We are the earth.


Cold is the night without you here

Just your absence ringing in my ears


Whenever the temperatures get really low (winter) it simply means we’ve moved further away from Him and when we are stranded in the dark (nighttime) it’s because we have turned our backs on Him.

Oh and on cloudy days He’s still there, above the clouds.

You hitting a rough patch as far as your connection with the creator is concerned is just as likely to happen as the seasons changing and nightfall.

But.

The sun will definitely rise again.

In a couple of months/weeks it’ll be summer.

It’s only a matter of time until the clouds clear.


“Steady is the hand that’s come to terms

With the lessons it has had to learn

I’ve seen the things that I must do

But Lord this journey’s meant for two

So I am waiting here for you”

The Oh Hellos – Cold Is The Night

Beautiful People Beautiful Problems

“We have to walk through fire.” –Lana Del Rey ft. Stevie Nicks, Beautiful People Beautiful Problems

Beautiful, an adjective derived from the noun beauty. Beauty in this context does not refer to the aesthetics visible to the human eye. Beauty in the sense that
This is an amazing person
Great is an understatement
Their existence is aiding in the refurbishment of this broken world
An inspiration
You are always straining your neck and eyes to look up to them
PUN INTENDED.

Beautiful Problems on the other hand… some serious bad to combat, to contend against all the good that person is and the potential they possess to become even better. In the world of problems, those are the “best”, the most “beautiful” and in our world (in our right senses of mind) they are the most terrible things that could happen to a person.
(Like how you say “perfect” sarcastically when things go wrong)

At the age of 27 Meryl Streep was told she was too ugly to act, a rather bitter pill to swallow, but isn’t she one of the most esteemed actresses television has ever seen?

Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid” to do anything, he wasn’t left in the dark; he invented the incandescent light bulb.
PUN INTENDED.

Walt Disney was fired from his job at Kansas City Star because apparently he lacked imagination and good ideas… he is the definition of imagination itself.

One of the Kings of English Literature – Rudyard Kipling was eliminated from contributing to the San Francisco newspaper, he was told, “I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English Language.” Ironic.

Jessie J was bullied at school. Michael Jordan kicked off the basketball team. J.K Rowling had the Harry Potter Series rejected by dozens of publishers…
Keep it rolling.

I could go on; there are many examples of beautiful people and their “beautiful” problems.
I hope your story too can be added to this narrative.
Even the alphabet says to go from K to M you need to take an L. (to go from thousands (K) to millions (M)you need to take a loss (L) somewhere along the lines)
I hope the metaphorical lashings and beatings you endure mould you into a beautiful person.
Beauty is pain after all.

“No pressure, no diamonds.” -Thomas Carlylye