Monday, 15 August 2016

Ubuntu

(*Photo credit to the girl who makes my every day brighter, my wonderful Ash*)

There was a doctor, at the hospice I worked at, who retired in the days after I left. She had thick, wiry hair that seemed to move after the rest of her, and she wore decorated skirts that looked like seventies curtains. I always felt that how she looked on the outside was exactly how she was on the inside. A little chaotic. Effervescent. Beautiful, and full of colour.

She'd worked at the hospice for years and years: an embodiment of knowledge and wisdom and hope and this wild, kooky sense of humour that always forced a crack of dazzling light through the black. She became everything to so many of her patients because of it. I watched her heart break a little as she stood, amidst a sea of adoring faces, to say goodbye.  

'So many of you have come up to me to share kind words,' she began, 'to tell me that I am all of these wonderful things. But I want to remind you of a South African philosophy by which I live my life. Ubuntu. It means, essentially, that I am me because you are you. I am what I am because you are what you are.' 

Ubuntu.

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Sunday, 7 August 2016

8 things we should all do more often


Send handwritten letters/cards. In our busy, technology centric, social-media-scrollin' lives, nothing says 'I actually really bloody care' quite like taking a few sedate moments to scrawl some messy, heartfelt words. It's special. It's intimate. And you know what? It's pretty damn therapeutic too.

Take a digital detox. Ultimately, as fascinating and convenient and lovely as it may be to have the entire world and all of these wonderful humans at our fingertips, the most fervent charms of our existence stem from seeing and feeling and doing. I think it's important, now and again, to completely switch off: to surrender ourselves to the perpetual beauty of the world around us and the people we hold close. To drive into the wild, orange sunset that bleeds spectacularly across the horizon. To listen, closely, to the details of her day: how her bra bunched up and the sweat dripped from her brow and how she laughed, how she laughed, as she missed her third bus of the day. To simply be present in a world that is in no way filtered or saturated. To be present.
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Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The evolution of grief


When somebody dies, people so often say that they had a 'heart of gold', and I think that maybe, sometimes, we remember people as being more than they were once they're gone, because it would feel wrong, dishonourable, at such a time, to do anything but. We said those words about my friend, Zac, too. Except, this time, those words simply weren't enough. You could not attribute any amount of letters to the warmth and vibrancy of his soul. I remember, that morning, how the world was stripped of the August sun and how it just rained and rained and rained, and I remember thinking what a perfect metaphor that was for the loss.
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Monday, 18 July 2016

The woman who jumped

(*photo credit to Negativexposive*)

I thought about her for most of that day. I imagined her walking slowly, purposefully, towards the platform. Knowing. I wondered if she'd left anybody at home: if she'd left anybody. I assumed she probably had.

I thought about whether she'd had breakfast that morning: whether she might have chopped fresh strawberries onto her porridge or had poached eggs on brown toast, yolks perfectly runny, because they had always been her favourites. And perhaps, if you had a choice, you'd choose your favourite as your last. Perhaps.
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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Book review - 'Ctrl Alt Delete: How I grew up online' by Emma Gannon


There are many things I'd forgotten about before reading Emma's book. Like how my best friends and I would snigger mischievously as we huddled around my first ever grey, clunky laptop, circa 2003, stealing an unsuspecting neighbour's Internet to google things like, 'how to give good blow jobs', practicing the listed techniques on four month old cans of 'Charlie' body spray. Or about Elliot, the cute, sun-kissed stranger with the disheveled blonde hair who, for two short weeks, became my MSN boyfriend, putting 'Kathy' between blazing hearts in his screen name. Of course, I wouldn't actually go near an actual, real-life boy, for many painful, hormonal-house-party years, but I was curious, just like Emma. The Internet allowed me to be.
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