Monthly Archives: March 2017

My Work Is Not Mine


This is a post I wrote in early December of 2016. Unfortunately, like many of the posts that will follow this, I have only just been able to see my way clear to posting it now. However, the content is still relevant especially for where I am now.

Today, I was so depressed. Sad about many things. The main thing is money. Where will it come from? How will I get what is due me? I have a friend I lent a substantial amount. She was supposed to pay me two months ago and then at the end of last month and I am yet to receive any news from her. On one hand I am angry that she is so nonchalant (seemingly), on the other hand I do not know whether to just take it easy with her as we are in a recession. But I have issues too, and I deserve an explanation, right?

The second part is that some money that I was eagerly expecting, as a start-up fee from somewhere I had been has now been attached to so many conditions that I am certain that I cannot meet. This particularly upset me because it upset the plans which I had carefully laid out in my head, and disrupted the dream which we had been encouraged to have. So in one way, I feel cheated. The thing about it is that I need something to fall back on, and now all that is there is an empty space. So I was afraid. And for a moment, I thought maybe this dream of social engineering, and change is just a pipe dream. Maybe I needed to tuck it carefully away in my ‘things I have dreamt about’ box, and return to the ‘things I really need to do’ life.

Then I read two articles.

One was from a friend, Uwana, talking about the physical abuse her mum had endured and the sexual abuse she had suffered. The other article, from a woman on a totally different continent spoke about how she learned from her mother and grandmother to stash money away to be able to withstand and avoid the horrors of a bad marriage. Then it clicked again.

My work is not for me.

It is for the women that have come before and for those that go after. It is for my mother, whose only escape from a life of drudgery and living with a man that does not appreciate her for decades was her parents’ home. Where she could be a daughter and a sibling again. Happy and carefree. Then her parents both died in quick succession and she seemed trapped. Not one day off. For 40 years.

It is for her sister who has survived a poor and very sick husband who later died, extreme poverty (so bad that she had to be given used underwear by her siblings), and a schizophrenic child.

It is for my daughter, who had a glimpse of what it meant for a revolting stranger to violate you, albeit unsuccessfully.

It is for all the former classmates and the juniors in secondary school who sent me inbox messages about what they had endured in their marriages, in their lives and to their person.

My work is not for me. It was given to me. And the provision will be made to accomplish it.