I never really used to feel things, I didn’t allow emotions to take over. Either a biological defect or being born African. I did not cry when my mother died. Whenever I say this I feel like I sound like Tambu from Tsitsi Dangarembwa’s Nervous Conditions. But of course we are different, she was not sorry and I just didn’t cry.

I felt the loss but I just didn’t express it, she felt nothing near pain or loss. Rather she was sad for the people who mourned for him but not her own personal loss and on the other hand people were sad for me as my mum’s youngest child. I knew I had lost a mother, gone for good, so I guess between the denial and trying to cope crying just wasn’t part of the deal. Or I just don’t like crying in people’s presence. It’s not my style really.

But life has taught me that crying is necessary, if not for expressing one’s emotions then for the health benefits. So from time to time I cry to clear out impurities from them eyes. If time really did heal then we wouldn’t be having so many wounded people who end up bleeding on the wrong people. It is what you do during that time, trust me I’m a living testimony. Unless you face the loss or whatever situation and the emotions involved you are only short-changing yourself and those around you.

It was only after about nine years that I finally grieved for my mother. It was a freaking difficult time and because a friend had complained I was bleeding on her. Of course I had acknowledged her passing away but because I had not dealt with it, it meant that I did not recognise or acknowledge how it had affected me. I unconsciously pushed people away. Did not allow myself to be attached to people because subconscious mind be saying “just like mum they will leave too”. Let’s stop here, I can go on and on really but I hope you got the gist of the matter.

Over and above I have learnt that all emotions are meant to be felt and expressed. From depression to total exuberance and everything in-between. If jumping up and down on the bed works when things are going on well go ahead. Just make sure the bed is strong enough though. Cry as much when things are not ok, it will also clear our eyes and you’ll see things more clearly. Laugh as much as you want because you’re genuinely happy or just heard a really nice joke. Tell that friend or colleague you didn’t like what they said, did or made you feel.

It will be awkward at first but it means they are aware they wronged you and are likely to act accordingly next time. You also don’t get to harbour the negative feeling. Same applies to the positive emotions, express your happiness and gratitude, pass that compliment. That for me is the art of living. Fall in love, fall out of love and still fall in love again. Encounter disappointments, pain and hurt; go through the emotions, face them head on, heal and bounce back. Laugh your lungs out, cry your heart out so that when you smile it is genuine and deep from your heart. They are feelings, FEEL them and show them.