The Dilemma of Having Big Time Dreams but a Small Time Heart: A Discussion of Self and the Family

Opening Comments: The picture I chose to use for this post is of a group of human beings who are very close to my heart. The people who I can never imagine my existence without (there are three people are missing from this picture. Those three are my sister, niece and brother). The picture was taken on the late evening of the 10th of January 2016, it was just a spur of the moment thing. The Squad (my niece and my two nephews) were the instigators of this photo shoot. Which is how we ended up taking an impromptu “family portrait” (which might explain the missing three people). I was very excited to be honest, probably much more than the Squad was. The lounge/sitting area in the house was chosen as the best venue for the shoot. I will make a generalisation here and say that black families do not usually take family portraits. Because after reviewing the quality of the photos plus the bad lighting they were taken in, having a proper family portrait entered my bucket list very quickly. What I want is the kind of portrait that high society people take of themselves and their families. The kind that would make the Motsepes and the Sexwales of the world highly envious.

The theme of this post and a few others after it will be centred around my journey of self-discovery and development, while still being rooted to my family. And to all that keeps me grounded. The people in the picture seated from left to right are my mother (Mrs F.V. Ngwekazi), my eldest nephew (Lungelo). My father (Mr G.W. Ngwekazi), seated on my father’s lap is my youngest nephew (Zamokuhle) and last but not least is my niece (Asanda). In this post I will discuss mostly what in English terms is defined mostly as the immediate family (mother, father, siblings and siblings’ children)

To reiterate what the name of the post says, “I am Sthembiso Ngwekazi and I have big time dreams but a small time heart”. I will try and explain this as clearly and as shortly as possible, while ensuring that the post is as short and to the point as possible. So here I am, continuing with this writing thing of mine. If I had half the sense I lacked when I started this blog, I would not be writing this follow up post. Nor would I be contemplating fulfilling the obligations of having a blog, which is that I as the author have to essentially write, or come up with strings of words that will somehow be of appeal to someone. Or maybe constantly live in the shadows dreading the thought that someone might actually come up to me and ask something like. “So, Sthembiso I read your latest post. Can we discuss it?”. The first thing I would want to do is to run, hide and avoid that person as much as I can. Or anyone for that matter. Which is why I always say some people have it easy, in terms of their wishes, talents, aspirations, destinies etc. Basically some people are certain about what they want to do with their lives, and all the beautiful things they wish to accomplish.

The singers sing in their beautiful voices, the farmers plant glorious plant, the actors act their hearts out, the teachers teach (I ran out of examples of people with easier aspirations). Almost everyone has an idea of what they wish to do, and they have clear ways of achieving that. For me though I just cannot help but think that there are so many great things that I could have had inclinations to, like the examples I wrote above. But somehow I was always drawn to words, ideas, stories, writing, breathing life into any situation I can conjure up with my brain. Dreaming and thinking as far as my brain allowed me to go. By saying this I am not saying I am fighting or pushing away my dream of writing. I am writing in this blog after all, even if it’s not serious I am doing it nonetheless. And as for making a living and a future out of this I do not know how the end result of such a situation will be. What I do know though is that I have to reach a point where in as much I may be supporting my family one day, I will be living the kind of life I envisioned for myself. Doing what I have always wished to do, in the way that I wish to do it in. The exact things I am currently doing now, are in fact the way in which I am building a life for myself outside of home. Coming up with ideas or things which will be for my own self gain and for my own upbuilding. As I always tell myself that I am going to run my own race at my own kind of pace, and to try and fulfill all that I wanted to in its entirety. Because in hindsight they will gain from any success I may receive in all my endeavours.

Which is why I constantly evaluate and question all the choices that I make, the kinds of thoughts I allow to stay in my head. Because my overall vision is to move each and every one of them out of the current life they are living materially, physically, emotionally and psychologically. To take them to places they have never dreamed they would find themselves in, not just in terms of visiting specific geographic locations. But also in terms of familial unity and peace. Which is mainly influenced by what I say YES to, what I say NO to. Who I choose to ASSOCIATE myself with, who I choose not to. I am always on the lookout for such things, because it is very easy to lose one’s self in the glitz and the glam of this world. Which might also take me away to the things I have always wished to achieve and enjoy. So maintaining a figurative magnetic pull which reminds me of where I come from, and where I intend to go is very important. I find it very helpful when the gale force winds of the world try to dissuade me from my objective. They (my family) are the roots that ensure that I am as unshaken as an old oak tree.

Granted that I am very family-centred person, I do have my own personal goals and aspirations that I wish to achieve, which are independent from any of them. Most of the time they have no say into whatever I wish or want to do with myself. In that I can honestly say that once I have set my mind onto something, whatever it may be, I aim to accomplish it by any means necessary. Which is why I can also admit that I mostly do not like being told what to do, as I am a very much rebellious person. Though I may not come across as such but those who know me will attest to the fact that I am in fact my father’s son. Who is a man of few words but plenty action. In all my rebelliousness though I always ensure that the choices I make align with the core values I learnt from my family (my parents mostly).

One of the main reasons I play this mental or internal volleyball with myself is that I see that I am not alone anymore, the Squad is at an impressionable age. There are certain things they are learning from me, so I also try to be the best babomncane (uncle) to them. I always make sure that I am actively aware of the fact that in everything I do or say they will scrutinise, nit-pick and even copy it. Whatever it may be. And what scares me the most is that I am young myself, and I still have a lot I need to learn and unlearn. So that I can be well equipped to be a suitable role model for them.

So overall the BIG TIME DREAMS I have will greatly take me away from my family and to some of the things they have taught me. It may even alienate me from them. But I can always rely on my SMALL TIME HEART to remind me of all the things that matter to me. To show me how to strike a balance between developing myself and still being firmly rooted to these individuals who mean everything to me.

“Just like uMkhul’ uStephen Bantu Biko I will write what I like, you may not like what I write. I will still write nonetheless, because by doing so I will be passing on his message to generations that will come after me. Who will also write what they like, so much so that in the grand scheme of things we will not have other people telling our stories in their distorted narratives. We will own our stories.” – Sthembiso TTV Ngwekazi.

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