People Are People

So my name is Ipeleng. I’m born Tswana, raised in a Setswana-speaking household. Although I suck at history, I love my heritage, my lineage, my language and my family. Flipside. I’m not fully fluent in my mother tongue, I have a lot of stereotypically white interests, I love European languages, and – this pisses people off the most – I’m attracted to white guys. Allow me to spit my thoughts on this race thing. 

I’ve always wondered about dealing with black identity in South Africa, especially as a Tswana girl who is predominantly surrounded by and associating with white people. A dilemma I’m often faced with and profoundly bothered by is the question of where one draws the line and calls people out. What can and can’t people say? Obvious racist slurs, names, stereotypes, yes. But what about the subtle stuff? And moreover, what about the rude shit I agree with? In the targeted discussions, sure, a lot comes out and one can only hope that feelings are clarified. But in jest, so much is said that makes me go, “Okay so would you be able to say that to my mother?” because I genuinely wonder why our levels of ‘okay’ vary so widely. 

What I often come across, coming from the background that I have and with my personhood, is comparison. “Why aren’t all black people like you?” Or following something that prompts my protest: “No no, not you, bro, you’re different.” Now I’m very non-confrontational, to a fault – if you need me, I’ll have my head in the sand – so often when I hear something like this I’ll roll my eyes and passively admonish. But both in these times and when I come at it strong, I want to know: why in some situations does my race come to (general reference) your mind? Listening to music, sitting and chatting about nothing related, my work ethic – I find my being black pops up. But in that jest is the undertone of a kind of prejudiced curiosity or (for lack of a better word) appreciation? Which I can only interpret as offending on purpose meet the pretense of a joke as opposed to offending by accident through straight asking. 

On the flip side, I wonder why in this day, being hateful toward all white people has become a new requirement of being a black person. Without ignoring the obvious prevalence of racism, passive or active, standard or reverse, it feels like a black person who doesn’t treat every single white person defensively is siding with injustice. I’m a happy-go-lucky pessimoptimist (yep, I’m both) who takes people as they come individually as best I can. But it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain this when the world is tangibly polarizing. Love one side, hate another. Call me utopian, but I find it stupid and tiring. Hate the racist, not the race.

Pretty much, I just wanna know when a black person will be a black person and a white person will be a white person. And when they can be astronauts, criminals, priests and prostitutes, without the first thing coming to mind being how well they fit into the racial mould we all carry in our heads. The answer to that is probably never, but a “coconut” can dream, eh?


Un bacione dalla ragazza negra x

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Post A Day: Day Two

I’m sticking to my own challenge, yay! One would assume that this wouldn’t be a very difficult feat, seeing as it’s of my conception, but I promise, I can talk myself into and out of anything. It’s the little wins, guys. BUTOKAYSO. I’m posting after the fact because last night my face met pillow and all was lost to me, but here I am to tell you about the most interesting things that happened to me yesterday. Prepare to interested.

So I went in to work for the first time in a while and I get SLAMMED with the bustle of show prep (SIDE NOTE: our yard is having a training show this weekend), so I get stuck into downloading documents, emailing people and other such prepping stuff. Finally comes the part I’d been raring for all day: the part where I go work my two very handsome Thoroughbreds. Both were an absolute treat, but they were both very different today. The first one was stiff and defiant to begin with because my  co-rider has decided to focus on forward pace and completely forgo the horse’s frame. So after I figure that out the hard way and then somewhat correct it, he goes beautifully and sweats like a beast. The second one, my own horse, was legit a gust of wind away from tearing off into the distance with me – he was so damn fresh. AND IT FELT GREAT. I haven’t had a ride on him where I’m kept in pace by him and not vice versa in so long and it just felt like it was him and I alone again. And then we jumped up some steps and he actually did fuck off for a couple of steps. Which was interesting.

Fast-forward to last night and my friends and I went out to our favourite spot, after I handed in three assignments in a scarily short amount of time. We had an amazing night; not one of those benders that ends up with you hungover and sad and taking refuge in your bed. What’s interesting is the night shifted setting very early on – we went from our favourite gay bar to a friend’s house and chilled there until we all started falling asleep. Which was great, but still notable in that we didn’t even touch the rest of that vibey street. It was a quieter jam than usual, which made it all the more enjoyable. Am I making sense?

Allora. That’s my second day of interesting things. Today is National Women’s Day, so it definitely won’t be a dull one. What’s the day got in store for me?

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Post A Day Challenge: Day One

FELLOW BLOGGERS, LEND ME YOUR SCREENS.

I’ve recently been afflicted with a severe need to blog for a living. What I’d like to know from the veterans, the experts, the amateurs – every one of you – is how one goes about reaching that path? Tips, tricks, rules – lay them on me! I think I’m going to get into exploration and document the journey. It shouldn’t be that as I get older, I get tamer. I’m going to dip my toes in every sea and learn some shit, and I’m going to drag people along with wit and cool pictures.

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This week, I’m challenging myself to a blog post a day about the most interesting moment or person of the day. Today’s most interesting moment, besides my moment of resolution, could be the moment I took my first ever puff of an inhaler. After a hectic sinus infection, the doctor decided to do a lung function test on me, the results of which show that I’ve got restricted air intake. I didn’t think anything of it – I’m always short of breath, what’s new? – until he says “I’m going to prescribe you an inhaler”. Say what? So I go to the chemist with my script, get the inhaler, and get a quick crash course on how to use it. I was honestly expecting to walk out of there with a clean bill of health, but at least now one of my accumulated curiosities has been satisfied. The others should probably stay unrealized (glasses, braces, a broken limb… I don’t even know).

Anywho. Day One done. I’m back riding tomorrow, which should prove interesting with both my boys. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

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Baci a tutti x

Appreciation Post: My Damn Self

I’m responsible for my own happiness.

So, yesterday was quite an internally venomous day. With the pressurizing friend, the boss who doesn’t seem to remember that not everyone’s equipped to take on the workload she does, the standard existential crisis – shit just wasn’t slotting in in a way that I could roll with, y’know? But today I got out one of my going-away (to where??) presents, which is a book by Anna Barnes called ‘How To Be Happy‘. It got me thinking that I get stuck a lot, swilling the bad stuff around and around my mind until I end up crying the friction sparks out. But I forget that there’s a lot I’ve done that deserves a pat on the back, or a celebratory vino. Let’s have a look at what this little pessimist has gotten done this year so far:

  1. I took a leap. It didn’t end well (hence the fact I’m still in South Africa), but I did it. It took bravery to decide to try leave the country for a few months with nothing but a rented apartment and a vague idea of what I was going to do over there, and goddammit I did it.
  2. I started a course that I’m really enjoying. The psychology degree is still going on – the results of which we’ll see at the end of this year – but I decided to boost my knowledge of the field I work in with some good ol’ academia. The material really sinks in and what I love is that I can put everything I learn to practice immediately.
  3. I ride two very handsome horses who love to jump. Granted, the owner of the one can be a little bit of an … adverse effect, but both do me proud in some small way at the very least literally every single time.
  4. My curiosity has piqued again and I’m looking outward for new things. There are myriads of opportunities popping up and, although it’s a little overwhelming to say the least, it feels good that people see potential in me and want to push me out of the tree, so to speak.
  5. Speaking of opportunities, I now essentially have like five jobs. Pay (what’s that?) aside, it’s interesting to think that I went from desperately searching for one to practically drowning in multiple. Hopefully there’s room to grow, which would be all the better.
  6. I do a lot more for me now. Unlike the old days, you’ll seldom find me in a place I really don’t want to be, or with people I really don’t want to be with. My own company’s good enough. Plus it gives me time to explore my own mind and see where I can take myself.
  7. I learned the word ‘NO‘. Next step is learning how to say it without feeling the need to ‘cushion the blow’ with an excuse or reason. But I’m damn proud of myself for listening more to what I want.

This is a pretty damn impressive list, if I may say so myself. But the most important thing I thought of while writing this is simply that I’m acknowledging my efforts and the fact that I’m doing okay. If I could pass this little moment of clarity and serenity on to people who need it, then I’d hyperlink the shit out of this post. If anyone is struggling with accepting their own pace without measuring it against that of another, just remember that it’s not their sweat running down your skin, or their muscles working to keep that forward momentum – it’s all you. And you’re brilliant for it.

Next up: mastering Italian.

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Baci a tutti xx

Rant Mode: The Skeleton Key

Hi, my name is Ipeleng, and it seems to be the general consensus that I can do anything and everything at any and every time.

So I consider this my transitional year. The year where I really throw my shoulders into finding my niche and standing on my own two feet. Naturally, I’ve been having a tough go of it – jobs on which a person can survive outside the family home are few and far between. But what I’ve noticed up to this point, is that some people don’t seem to understand that in order for me to take action, I must explore different avenues.

My previous (now current) boss kind of hit me with a rope-a-dope, and I sort of fell into working for her again. Which is fine. Except I’m going to have to lay down some of my concerns because right now I’m literally working like five jobs, all of which pay peanuts, if anything at all. So with her it’s an easy solution (in theory): grab myself by the balls and tell her straight that I’m overwhelmed. Hopefully she listens without throwing her toys.

One of the aforementioned five jobs is a pro bono work rider for one of the people I consider a friend. Now I love riding that horse and I love helping out a friend, but this friend’s tunnel vision is going to wear me paper thin if she doesn’t cop on. Enter third job: riding instructor. So I quit my teaching job when I thought I was going overseas (HA) but now, as I mentioned, I’m coming back into it. During the week ONLY. Aforementioned friend just can’t abide by this. “But Saturday’s the busiest day and I simply can’t take on anymore”, is the tune I keep hearing on repeat. Yes I know that it’s the busiest day. It is not, however, the only day. I’ve agreed to work Tuesday to Friday (riding her horse included in that time frame), Monday included even if need be, yet she makes it sound like I’ve said “oh I can’t, I have scheduled chemical peel treatments and mimosa sundowners on Saturdays.” I. HAVE. A. LIFE. 

All in all, I just feel very much like nobody’s taking into account that I don’t want to be busy as shit all the time. I like doing stuff, but I also like relaxing into life. I’m 22 and essentially aimless; I’d like to figure some semblance of a plan before I end up having my honeymoon in my mother’s spare bedroom. There are opportunities popping up like daisies everywhere but because I constantly feel run over, I can’t think straight enough to capitalize on them. It’d be amazing to call this place my sanctuary again, but right now it’s feeling more and more like the stage for the battle of wills.

RANT OVER.

I’m not sure how I feel about the diary approach to blogging, but I felt like this was something that needed to be put down in words. I dare say I do feel much better. Hopefully I won’t need to rant again any time soon. To those who are, thank you for reading! ❤

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Baci a tutti xx

Little steps

I’m lying here, unable to sleep, scared of my own existence. Every time I start writing about it, I almost chastise myself because I don’t want people to know exactly how confused, sad and scared I am. Oh sure, I lay my shit bare onTumblr, and like a true youngster I dutifully post the melancholy pictures on my Instagram, but when I want to sit and put it into words where I can actually read it and kind of try to make sense of it, it’s like I feel I don’t deserve to.

April 5th was the seventh anniversary of my dad’s passing, so naturally I was shaky on my foundations. But yesterday? Even under the influence of an overdose of tranquilizers, I fell into a fitful sleep and woke up only four hours later, feeling like the air is avoiding me. 

I just read a beautiful post about writing for the sake of writing, so once my head forms a line of best fit (completely straightened out? I doubt it), I’m gonna start that up. But for now, I desperately need to grip onto something before I disappear altogether. 

I do have an assignment due, after all.

Piango, ma sarà meglio.

Pain Knows No Limits

Yesterday I watched my dog die, after cautiously stepping towards the hope that maybe he’ll get better on his treatment. Watching him take his last breath and realizing I’m the last thing he looked at, I’ve only felt pain lace through me like that once before. My hands reached and faltered and I screamed and screamed and screamed as if either the pain would go away or I’d wake him up, but neither happened, so eventually the hollers ebbed away to pitiful sobbing and desperately petting him. Saskia, my poor girl, watched for a while and then eventually went to lie down. She’d cried all week as if to say “Say it now, I can feel him going.” I bit the bullet and got tattoos on that morning, but now I’m starting to believe it was my subconscious giving me one dose of endorphins before it came crashing down.

People still don’t give much value to the life and death of a pet. Being Tswana, the first encounters with dogs for us were centered around one thing: dogs are for protection. But what I got out of getting a dog, and then many more, was not protection. Or maybe not the protection they were talking about. How do you disregard the way they devoutly bow to you, even though they can happily fend for themselves? How do you ignore the way they treat your appearance as a blessing? 

Yesterday I watched one of my blessings die. And I felt a part of me die with him.