Solange’s Subliminal Messages Expounding My Present Life.

The cover of Solange’s album ‘A Seat At The Table.’
Source: Pinterest.

The other day I was trying to understand the reason for the events of this year that have occurred in my life. As humans we constantly have the urgency to feel like we are in control and to know why certain things occur, which explains why I was so desperately trying to put into perspective all these unpleasant things that have been occuring to me and around me. I failed to define my present self or to find the reason why, so I turned to music to try put my thoughts and feelings into perspective. Finally, Solange’s album was the solid resonance of my life – specifically three songs which I will speak about in this blog post.

Track number two on the album. Weary. This song explicitly yet subliminally conveys the first part of myself. When I took to the internet to find out the vision and idea behind this song, I immediately felt like the lyrics were myself looking right back at me –

The song starts off with Solange proclaiming that she is weary of the ways of the world. She has grown weary of the ways of the world and she is ready to take care of herself and ready to fight for her purpose. The lines that highlight this for us are the ones “I’m weary of the ways of the world…I’m gonna look for my body yeah, I’ll be back real soon.” These lines of the song speak about me wanting to find my self as an individual in society.

Solange also asks the listeners to question the state of the world – social hierarchy and inequality based on gender, race, or sexuality. ‘But you know that a King is only a man, with flesh and bones, he bleeds just like you do.’ This greatly suggests that he who created a social hierarchy has placed himself on a high pedestal yet he is human, just like you and I. Due to all these inequalities and social injustices, one might end up feeling like there is no place for them in the world, but there is. And we all belong here.

As mentioned before, listening to Weary at this specific time of my life, was a solid resonance of who I am right now. Given that I am an unemployed millennial, I am in a predicament where I am trying to find my place under the sun. The social hierarchy in South Africa, does not make a black woman’s journey any smooth, making it even harder to find my place in society as a black woman. But do I belong? Yes I do just as much as the white woman and white man.

“You’re feeling like you’re chasing the world, you’re leaving not a trace in the world, but you’re facing the world.” This part of the song describes my sense of resilience in trying to find employment, trying to become and basically chasing the world and its riches so that I leave a trace when I am no longer here on earth. This part depicts a series events where I am chasing my dreams, my aspirations and simultaneously fighting against the odds of the world. Which is not a very pleasant predicament.

Solange’s subliminal messages of Weary expound the part of me that – this year – has been trying so hard to make a place for herself in the world. It put into perspective my feelings of self doubt and uncertainty due to questions of whether I belong here, if this is where I am meant to be in this moment. It explained the uncomfortable feeling and weariness that comes with growing, adulting, and becoming.

An image from the Cranes in the Sky music video.
Source: Pinterest.

Cranes In The Sky. Number four on the album. If there has been a song that I have played numerous times on repeat, it has to be Cranes In The Sky. The meaning of this song is not as hidden as the others. It is quite apparent, just like my feelings and actions of this year. Solange describes her attempt at avoiding painful feelings. In an interview,, when asked about this song, Solange says she was in a season where she had to look at herself outside of being a mother and wife as she had just been divorced to her son’s father.

This song speaks about the part of me which is failing to see herself outside of being unemployed with nothing to her name. We all see the world through the lens of how one identifies and has been identified at that time, so at the moment I am identifying as an unemployed 22-year-old looking at the world through the lens of unemployment. One almost feels socially excluded. This song told me to feel every feeling I am feeling, to internalize every thought and emotion but to also, most importantly, work through it. It reminded me of something Chimamanda Adichie said in her Dear Ifeawele read, she suggests that to be a feminist one must be a full person – to not define oneself solely by motherhood/being a wife and in my case, being unemployed.

In the same interview, Solange says that “… every woman in her 20’s has been there, where it feels like no matter what you are doing to fight through the thing that is holding you back, nothing can fill that void.” As if it could not get any better the song then helped me clarify my emotions of void. Nothing can fill the void of being unemployed. Nothing can fill the void of feeling heavy. And that is okay, but the trick is to get through it and to not build a home in those feelings.

The first verse is the epitome of trying to fill the void, trying to avoid painful feelings: I tried to drink it away, I tried to put one in the air, I tried to dance it away, I tried to change it with my hair. We indulge in unhealthy habituals just to get away from constant feelings of self doubt and to escape the ever so present painful reality. This song reminded me of everything I had ever done to fill the void – there were vivid memories of it as I resonated with the lyrics.

But then there is also a part of me that is not so blue and gloomy about this year. Borderline (An Ode To Self Care). Number fourteen on the album. This song speaks about my resilience to preserve myself and to not lose myself to the mess and the ugly that has been staring at me in the face. In this song Solange took us to a time when she explored the tricky balance of engagement with the world’s struggles and the need for self-preservation.

I am one to want privacy and to protect parts of me in a world where everything is made public, in a world where some humans actually live on and in tiny devices. We are living in a time where people can very well express themselves through emojis and memes but struggle to do so in spoken words. We live in a time where our minds are so muddled that they feel like a complicated space to navigate and visions of ourselves are almost pixelated images. Self care and self preservation is the only way to survive all of this.

Although I am living in it, I am not a part of that time, thanks to self care and self preservation. It is so important to preserve the sentimental parts of yourself so that you do not run dry.

So this week I give thanks to Solange’s subliminal messages which expounded my present life. A Seat At The Table really makes me feel like I have a seat in the world despite the social hierarchy and despite the feelings of heaviness that come with not being the person you envisioned yourself to be. It made me feel like yes I belong, we all belong among the stars despite all odds being against us as individuals.

Week Four of Consistent Gratitude.

This morning something so revolutionary occurred. I was in bed and I felt my heart beat and I told myself that I have a purpose. I felt like I was reclaiming my life consciously and not just saying it – it was a very reassuring moment for me.

This Sunday I am grateful for life – I thank God that I am here breathing. I am grateful for self-awareness; so many of us unconsciously walk through life and we need to realise that that itself is not okay. The need to own your emotions, own your self, to own your thoughts is very vital. I am someone that is always so greatly aware of my thoughts, my emotions, and my self and I find this ability to be such a blessing. There is nothing as powerful as being one with your self.

Although, this past week I was mostly feeling like a child failing to adult successfully, I am grateful for Sundays that give me a chance to put into perspective my ways and thoughts so that this coming week is better than the last. Sundays give me a chance to forgive myself for being so hard on myself and to surrender to life. I am thankful for the knowing that I can re-evaluate my life and choose how I want to go forth with this journey of life.

Ever since I started blogging, it has become some form of therapy for me. I find healing in releasing and creating, its very therapeutic and for this reason I am thankful for life cause without it I wouldn’t have reached this point. Sunday gratitude also allows for vital re-adjustments to happen, it is accepting that okay this is where I’m at right now, what can I do to be better and to do better.

Sundays are gentle reminders that I am a wonder, Gods greatest creation and I hold the power I seek, the love I seek and that I am constantly unbecoming to become; unlearning to learn. Even though I am not where I want to be but I believe that I am where I need to be in this moment.

In closing, I would like to say that consistent gratitude is something that I think we should all partake in. Its opens up a channel for all life’s blessings to fall through. I have come to the end of my consistent gratitude challenge but I will obviously continue doing this but will not blog about it the way I have been.

Evolving Unfolds Your New Self.

As human beings we are ever evolving and that is a great and much needed part of life. Yet in times of evolving we must be weary of the fact that each version of oneself is the right version for that time – each version of yourself is there to serve a purpose at that time. In other words, the current version of you is the right version of you for this moment.

We are always so quick to think of our next move – after high school comes college/university after that I need a job – and most times we are so quick to define ourselves by our situations or what we do for a living not realising that by doing so, we are allowing ourselves to be defined by temporary situations or things. How many times have we heard this line before after someone has been asked to introduce themselves/tell the audience who they are: ‘hello my name is so-and-so, I’m 26 years old and I am an engineer.’ Obviously each line pans out according to the individual but the point I am trying to make here is that, in that introduction you have told everyone about your current affairs – you won’t be 26 years old in a year and there is always a possibility of that you not be an engineer forver.

Why do we do this ? Why do we continuously define ourselves by what could be non-existent in a split second, by things that are not from within? The only answer I could think of was that it is because we give our situations and/or materialistic aspects of our lives so much power without realising that your true power is what resonates from within, it is what you create, what you believe is your sole purpose in life. This conclusion led to an epiphany that in the process of being so fixated on our next move or what we don’t have or what we need to accomplish we lose the essence of life which is being present in your present self which will ultimately serve you graciously.

When one concurs that their current version is the right version for this moment, life becomes smoother to some degree. To surrender means to stop resisting whatever it is you are trying to fight against. Now imagine surrendering to your current self, what are you to lose – nothing. This is not to say one must stop working towards being the person that they want to be, instead it is simply saying ‘okay, I surrender to who I am right now but in the meantime I will be putting in the work to become the person I want to become.’ By doing so God and the universe will respond and give you the blessings and lessons this self needs in order to birth your next self. Essentially, that is how evolving works – in my opinion atleast.

The last thing I would like to say or suggest is that we allow ourselves to be the people we are in that moment because that will open up a way for the next version of yourself to unfold.

Here’s to evolving and becoming better people whilst allowing our current selves to flourish.

You might want to read this blog post which is closely related to the one you’re reading:

Week Three of Consistent Gratitude.

I am on week three of my consistent gratitude challenge and I think this might become a ritual for me. To be honest though, this week I am finding it hard to gather my thoughts and I am having to think very hard as to what I am grateful for. So I am here thinking of this past week and two things come to mind: solitude and God.

Solitude. Many people cannot spend time alone neither do they feel comfortable in their own skin. I do not struggle with either one of these in fact I find peace in solace. It is a place I go to when I am feeling out of tune so that I find myself again. I am grateful for the fact that I am able to live in solace. I have found home in me and I think that’s very important – for one to live in themselves and to be comfortable with that.

God. Everlasting hope and grace. This week I am grateful for God and the relationship I have with Him. I know that in Him I find hope and grace which is always so mind-blowing and so fulfilling. I thank Him for the friends He has blessed me with because those friends have become my family.

I hope that those that said they would join me in this challenge are still sending out gratitude consistently.

Finding my place under the sun through Feminism.

I have never thought of myself as being a ‘feminist’ neither have I ever really understood the notion behind it or how one defines it. Reading the book ‘Feminism Is’ somewhat changed and erased the idea I had that ‘feminism’ was all about women empowerment and women solidifying the ‘men are trash’ movement which initially started as just a hashtag. I believe that reading this book at such a time of my life – being in my 20s and still trying to find my place under the sun – has really impacted me and I doubt I will ever forget this book.

The book ‘Feminism Is’

The book ‘Feminism Is’ comprises of a collection of essays written by South African feminist writers on the topic ‘feminism is’ and is edited by Jen Thorpe. The main thing I gathered from reading all these essays, that were clearly articulated from different angles, was that: feminism means something different to each and every person but in all essence is inclusive of every person regardless of their gender, race or sexuality. Feminism has a place for everyone.

In this post, I will be talking about the writers which mostly impacted my view on the whole ‘Feminsim’ concept and movement. The first is Pumla Dineo Gqola. Her essay was based on her experiencing feminism and learning what it is through her interaction with certain people in her life. She is a mothering feminist meaning that she is simultaneously a mother and a feminist.

My perspective of this essay is that sometimes, as a female feminist, you will defy conventional concepts. From going against traditional practices to not viewing marriage or motherhood as an achievement and not sacrificing your life for your children. None of these things make a woman a ‘bad woman’ instead they make her ‘her.’ Being a feminist, according to Gqola’s essay, sometimes means that you as a woman will go through many failed marriages because you refuse to settle for what does not serve you or your values and beliefs. Feminism will sometimes mean that you are a single parent also fighting against outrageous work-place politics undermining you as a woman.

“Feminism is fierceness, it is absolute refusal to be associated with anything you cannot claim in broad dayight. It is the unshakeable commitment to belong to oneself. Feminism is about knowing when to receive and when to let go” – Pumla Dineo Gqola, 2018 found in ‘Feminism Is’ p23.

Forty pages into the book, I found myself saying ‘woah, this woman is a god, how could she write such a mindblowing essay’ and that was when I was reading Danielle Alyssa Bowler’s essay/chapter. I kept turning the pages and I could not stop reading because I strongly felt that I could relate to everything she was saying and my mind was deeply resonating with her views.

I remember reading her chapter and feeling like I was looking right into my soul because everything she was talking about, I was either living it or someone else in my generation was living it. What struck me the most about her chapter was when she spoke about how we as people – millenials in particular – were living in a time where our lives are embedded in tiny devices and we struggle to live outside social media. Reading Bowler’s chapter was like reading about a world that profoundly reflected my own.

I was reading this book with a notebook in my hand, jotting down lines to remember. I had the urgency to commit these lines to memory which was prompted by their deep resonances. Bowler (2018) states that “I do not express myself – my feelings or my thoughts – through emojis, memes, and various manipulations of language. I am quite blunt and I am as naked as they come.” I could not help it, it felt like my mind was having a spasm.

The more I read this book, the more I found parts of myself I did not know I was looking for. I looked and found myself in sentences and paragraphs: to recreate or solidify myself and my ideas. My life, like many others, is profoundly concerned with the search for clarity, the need for everything within me and around me to be distilled into a clearer and cleaner sense of meaning.

The last chapter I will speak about was a chapter by Gugulethu Mhlungu. I will speak about it because it felt very personal, I could see my life and my grandmother in every idea she touched on. She greatly put into perspective what most of us black African children go through – being raised by our grandparents. Her chapter enlightened to me that feminism is also the very struggles our grandparents endure to ensure that we live a particularly beneficial and exceptional life. My grandmother was the epitomy of this – she would break her back to ensure that my sister and I live the good life.

In conclusion, I would like to greatly emphasize that feminism is not about hating men and burning bras. It is much bigger and deeper than that. Feminism is for every single body, for every race, every gender, every sexuality. I cannot say that I am now a feminist after reading this book but I do know that I have a solid idea of what feminism is and what it is not, but essentially it carries different meanings in different contexts.

Week Two of Consistent Gratitude – Meaningful Friendships.

It’s week two of my consistent gratitude journey and this week I send out gratitude for meaningful friendships.

I remember praying for a friend or friends that would love and appreciate me as much as I would them, because well, we all need friends that will share the same sentiments as us. I have that friend and most days spent with them is very meaningful and intentional.

On Thursday, the 26th he took me out on a date – a very simple and calm lunch date at an outdoor coffee shop. As people, we are constantly trying to make sense of our lives, our emotions, and our thoughts that we end up unconsciously carrying so much heaviness in our hearts. I had not realised that this was me until the lunch date. When we were leaving, I was feeling very light and good – and so was he.

We all need friends that will remind us of what friendship means and how meaningful friendships should be. I think that as people we do not realise that friendships should be treated like any other intimate relationship, when one is in an intimate relationship, they put in the work to make it work and I constantly find myself asking  myself why we do not do the same for friendships, I mean they are just as important – if not more.

As I was thinking about this friendship and what I used to pray for and long for, it dawned on me that we are the ones we have been waiting for. So this week I am really grateful for friends like these –  the love we both share and the times we share together which also remind us that we are more than enough and we are doing just fine in this life.    

this is a picture we took on our lunch date.

Week One of Consistent Gratitude.

So the theme is ‘four weeks of consistent gratitude’ and this is my first week entry. Looking back at my diary entry last Sunday, the 15th of September, I can boldly say that I am most grateful that I had a fruitful week. Last Sunday, I wrote down that I would like to be intentional, to be consistent in all that I do and to be hopeful. I send gratitude to God and the universe because all of this has happened this past week.

I wanted to be intentional, to do things and say things with intent so that I do not feel as if life is just passing me by. The moment I released that into the universe and included that in my prayers, I was very mindful of my words and actions. I believe that this would not have been as easy if I had not included God in my plans, and for that I thank Him.

I also send gratitude for consistency. Having enough discipline to be consistent is very hard. I have to pray for this and to really push myself to be consistent. I decided that I would not have coffee this whole week and I actually managed, the cup I am having right now is the first I am having since last Sunday. Everyone who knows me knows that coffee and I ‘sika nje’ and for non-Zulu speakers that means ‘we are one.’ I was also consistent with working out, this past week I went jogging for two days, jumped rope for the other three days and Saturday was rest day. This was a major level-up for me because I had been ‘resting’ for the whole of the previous week.

Being hopeful is hard when you are 22 and your life does not seem to be going the way you envisioned it to go, so this is also something I pray for: hope. God answered this prayer and reminded me that it is only in Him where I will find everlasting hope and that He is still very mindful of me.

Side Note: being grateful and sending gratitude is very easy and fulfilling when one does not wait for that big prayer to be answered or for that big dream to come true. Life is progressive and everything happens in due time, and once we start allowing that to marinate in our hearts and minds – life becomes more rewarding and fulfilling.