By Lucinda de Leeuw
Five things I am grateful for
I am not the same person who walked into the house that broke.
I step out on the other side weathered by the storms that threatened to unravel it all. The sky sits overhead and it reassures me that although there is no rainbow to boast of, or no sun to make hay under, I have accomplished. It instructs me to walk with my head held high (as the old saying goes). I look down at the ground without feeling any type of way. I know better than to doubt myself once that door had shut. I know better than to retrace my steps, trying to fix old ways or to pave new paths. I could never deceive this psychology again. My mind is made up. Rainbows don’t appear—they are made. I built one myself.
I exist in more than one dimension. I am complex. I am a multitude.
You cannot define me with words you believe are absolute— I am not. I have layers and layers of cells and constellations that make this woman a whole, waking, work of art. I inhabit a body of skin that knows how to renew itself more times than I can forgive and avenge all that came before, that hurt, and that broke parts of me. I know in another dimension I am complete and I have never needed restoration or repairing. In that alternate space, I have no tear stains—I am an unblemished canvas.
I am white and bright and alive with colour.
I honour love in a way that surprises me constantly. The digits are double and the events are a string of programs that run all year long. I look this way. I look that way. The road to my haven is not a one way street. There is more than one coordinate to find your way to me. In the same way I traverse many parallels to make order out of this disproportionate dissonance. Once you have traveled long enough, you will find your way to me. You will find the house I built. It sits on the last bend in the road. It has high walls. It is the colour of the rainbow.
I know Audre Lorde. I know Frantz Fanon. I know Alex la Guma.
I know Bessie Head. I know knowledge. I have sat at many bunks and in many lecture halls. I was afforded an education that many are not privy to. I will learn still. I learn yet. I know the ways of books. I can read, I can count, and I will write. I can unlearn the injustices that will be a legacy ingrained in others. I have unlearned the ways that inhibit me from being true to myself and the spaces I navigate. I know the roots of my hair, even though the essence of my heritage still eludes me. I know there is a root I stem from. And, sometimes: Sometimes that is more than enough. I can read the maps to tally the amounts of ways I can be me and be happy. I know what it means to be enraged by gross human and social injustices. At the same time, I know enough to not let my spirit seep in the anger and colour it thick like molasses. I have studied rainbows. I have built them too. Hell, I live in one.
I am. I exist. I know. I hope.
I am a twenty-something year-old woman born in the month of November from JHB, South Africa.
I exist as a full-time employee and part-time magic maker [for context, read: The Pen’s Manifesto].
I know light, I know loss, I know love—my parents taught me how-to splendidly. I know words and how to punch ink into paper. I know that there is so much more out there, and together, we will explore all there is to know.
I hope that this space the founders of Odd Magazine have created for me here will lift, inspire and provoke you as we wish to. I hope to hear from you. I hope to grow with you and this creative journal that has carved a wonderful space for so many voices around South Africa and the world.
We will learn and exist in this odd realm together, for as long as you will have me.
Until next time,