A few years back, I found myself committed to the Elizabeth Donkin Hospital. I was in a manic state and since I would not hospitalise myself, my family saw no other option (as difficult as I know this was for them). I was treated and diagnosed with bipolar. Shortly after being released, I entered the phase of depression. For six months, I spent most of my days in bed grappling with a sense of despair. For the six months that followed that, I focussed solely on the task of completing my masters and allowed myself to be consumed by my research. I rarely socialised and struggled desperately to interact and engage with others. Then I got a job that fit like a loveless marriage. While I would not say that I have taken nothing away from my experience teaching English, I realised it was time to challenge myself further and to step out into the light a little more. My mental breakdown had cost me my voice and it was time to reclaim it.
That is what this blog is for me. It is an active step in reclaiming my voice. Writing is, amongst many other things, a process of self-rediscovery and of growth as well. I have always believed in choosing our words carefully, thoughtfully, and then once we have done so, to stand by them, to live up to them.
Slowly, I am learning to love again the things that I had lost. Once an insatiable reader, it is only now that I have picked up my first book in two years (not counting of course the setwork books I had to teach and had read before). I have begun to learn the simple art of pasta making and am finding myself at home once more in my kitchen, even being bold enough as to cook for friends in the hope that they will like my somewhat experimental attempts. I am also beginning to reach out to others more, extracting stories from them, laughing with them, sharing in their pain and frustration.
This blog is aptly named because I am humbled daily. Past experiences have taught me not to take happiness for granted. It has to be nurtured. As long as I am living in awe of others, I know I will have happiness close by. But it is not good enough simply to live in awe. For my life to feel truly fulfilled, there is an appreciation that needs to be shown. In cooking for others, I demonstrate that I love them dearly, that they matter to me. In the act of reviewing a book, I am taking the time to share the beauty of what someone has written. In telling the story of another, I am communicating my gratitude for the many incredible souls who make up this world. When I write on living in South Africa, I am acknowledging that our country still has a great deal to overcome but that we are capable of the compassion it will take.
I hope that you will join me on this journey of self-rediscovery and growth and that you will be encouraged to embark on your own if you feel that you are living an unliveable life.