Perfection Can Shove It

I’m writing this on a day I pulled scabs off my calloused knees that kept crawling to people who never once loved me. I’m not writing of romantic love. Just that intrinsic respectful love from an acquaintance who wishes you well because they know you’re not a prick. I’m remembering the whispers I repeated to myself many years ago…“Maybe if I could try harder. Be thinner. Be more loveable. Be less me. Be more willing to inconvenience myself,” and so on.

I’m remembering walking into rooms quiet as a mouse for fear of my very existence in some spaces being loud. My breath sounding like a South Easter to my ears. Sometimes it was debilitating to breathe in the presence of some souls. My self-doubt screaming in my mind, paralysing me in moments I should have objected to hideous behaviours at my expense.

Today I looked in the mirror. Really looked at myself. I saw a boy. A little boy who kept longing for a space to play. A space that had no bullies or hateful spirits. Those spaces have been few and far between. So now I’m on a journey to create my own. And they shall be beautiful and inclusive.

I’m finally learning that I never really was full of bullshit. I always choked on the desire to be wanted by those who didn’t want me. It took several gasps and feint grunts, but swallowed the pain silently and kept walking. Mostly walking in whatever direction would have me. That walk and journey aren’t over.

Today I woke up and liked myself a little more. Day by day I keep finding myself. I keep cutting myself more slack. Because nothing is or ever will be perfect. I hope I never find perfection, because for me, it’s a place governed by the fear of not being enough or being the best at whatever. And that honestly is the mother of all emotional and mental fatigue.



⁠— Frank Malaba

Frank Malaba is an actor, playwright and a published poet. He was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa. He has performed on stage and television in both countries. He has a passion for using poetry, storytelling and theatre as a method of healing for both himself and others. His poetry has been presented both at home and abroad. Frank is currently developing a two-man play entitled “Broken Pathways” which will be touring internationally. In 2014 Frank was recognized by Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans as an Achiever in the category of Arts & Culture. View all posts by Frank Malaba

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