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WHEN I’M HERE
NOTE: Contributing to discussion on UNSTUCK – The Refinition of Manhood
“I live with no doubts. If I have any doubts, I don’t do it. If I do it anyway and get burned as a result, too bad. What’s done is done. If I die, I die. Closed chapter. If I don’t die, no regrets. I pay the price I have to pay, and move on; assuming that I can still breathe, stand, walk, and think,” Simon Chilembo.
It was as a four-and-half-year-old on my first day at school in Lesotho that I first became aware of my hereness. That was as an immediate response to the awareness of my differentness. The latter arose from my consciousness awakening to find me surrounded by many people. I somehow just understood that all were school children of all ages. There were numerous of my age, and others older. My guide, Dineo, was an older girl from the estate where I was staying not so far away from the school.
I found Dineo alternately being aggressively protective of me, and talking proudly about how far smarter I was compared to local children: I was of course tinier and blacker than all the other children because I was not one of them; I was not of their blood since my father came from a land far, far away in the north. In this so distant land, no Lesotho person had ever been. Dineo emphasized.
She went on to remind everyone about how ruthless her father was. So, if anybody was unkind to me, her father would come and destroy their lives the whole lot of them! Also, my father could do terrible things to them using powerful wizardry from his lands. Otherwise I was a sweet and happy child easy to be with, Dineo concluded.
This was a strange and fascinating scenario I could only watch without uttering a word. I did not only not know what to say or do, the atmosphere was also overwhelming in its simultaneous bewilderment and euphoria. The following day my grandmother took me to another school. I recall hearing whispers that word had been going around in the village that it was not safe for me to be at the first school. The alternative Peka Catholic school would be a safer bet for me, therefore.
At Peka Catholic school I recall being initially received by a group of nuns and the parish priest, Father Hemmel. The next thing was that I found myself in a room with several other children. We were singing “I am a tea pot. This is handle. This is mouth. Pour me out! Pour me out!”
Tracking animal pictures pasted up and around the walls of the room, I recall us repeating after the teacher, Mme Blandina, “A baby cow is called a calf. A baby sheep is called a lamb …”
And then, “A cat mews. A bull bellows. A hen cackles …”
Such began my school career. I would be at Peka Catholic school for four years, 1965-69. These remain the happiest years of my school life. This is the time I understood that I somehow grasped lessons faster than the lot of my classmates. I further found out that the teachers were extra fond of me. All nuns. The warmth they afforded me is unforgettable.
My popularity extended to older pupils, especially girls, in higher grades. At the same time, though, there were older boys that were not fond of me at all. They used to engage me into fights almost every day after school. I got my beatings much as I gave my share of the same. It ever infuriated everyone so much because I was unusually strong and stubborn for my age and, especially, body size.
I never thought too much about limitations of my personal attributes. All I knew was that I could never allow anybody to beat me up and get away with it. This was particularly so from age six, after my mother had instilled in my head the warrior heart attitude of learning to fight my own battles and settle scores alone.
I was already a seasoned fighter by the time that in my older youth years, my Karate teacher, in response to a report about a legendary fight that I had put up against some of the most notorious and dreaded street-fighters of Lusaka, Zambia, said, “If you must fight, fight. But don’t lose!”
That ethos drives my survival instincts in all situations to this day.
In the commotion typical around street fighting scenes, I would pick out ludicrous utterances that I was the way that I was as a hard-fighting child because of the strange blood that I carried from my strange, alien father. I was a little wizard that had to be killed whilst I was still a child because I was going to kill everyone else if I was to be allowed to grow up into a man.
These were really not nice things to hear for a child not even eight years old then. Now I’m a grown-up man soon to be sixty-years-old. Not a single person has perished in my hands yet. On the contrary, I have in my work saved more than one lives.
I thus learned how to balance getting unwanted extreme attention very early in my life. That, together with receiving much love on the one hand and buttressing myself against prejudice and hatred on the other, inculcated in me a strong sense of awareness of where I am at any one time.
Therefore, when I’m here, I’m here. What has to be will be. I shall do what I have to do to sustain my hereness for as long as possible, or for as long as it is necessary. If I have to love, I shall love. If I have to fight, I shall fight. The assumption being that my presence is valued here and now, and that my being here is not detrimental to my continued real and conceptual existential imperatives.
It’s not uncommon for me to hear that I take too much space when I’m here. It’s of little interest for me to seek to impose my hereness to personal and conceptual spaces that cannot, or are not willing to accommodate my being here.
If I’m here for a specific reason, I’ll do what I have to do to the best of my ability according to expectations, if not instructions. If it is really fun, I tend to go beyond, though. I’ll perform and deliver to the extent that what has to be done is compatible with my values and defined obligations vis-à-vis the given situation.
If I succeed, I succeed. If I fail, I fail. If the latter is due to factors I can correct, I shall do so accordingly. If it’s beyond my powers to correct, or do anything else in order to attain the original desired outcome, then I let go and move on to next level challenges; paying the price I have to if need be. It is what it is.
I never carry on with regrets. I carry on with new learned experiences that often empower me to perform better in the next level, even if the next level may not be related to the previous fiasco in any way. What matters is the new mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical fortification I’ve attained for the new way forward.
Throughout my life I’ve lived with the consciousness that I’ll meet all kinds of resistance in my endeavours to live my life as I see it, and as I wish to live it within the parameters of established life-supportive societal norms. I learned very early how to exert my presence with all my outward expressive faculties. This was an important skill to develop given the fact that I, as earlier stated, was a tiny child in a partially but grossly cruel world. In my adult years I never grew up to be the physically biggest man around either.
My mind, my intellect is my weapon. I load my mind with knowledge acquisition pursuits. I fire with my words: I write, I speak. I can sing too. My body is my combat machine. In this state of being, self-doubt is a known but non-applicable phenomenon to me. That is how I’ll always rise above negative forces working against me. Indeed, I might fall and lose one thing or another.
Actually, I have lost a lot of tangible and intangible things during the last twelve-to-fifteen-years. If I don’t die, I’ll rise again. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, but I will rise again. I am on the rise again as it is. My death can wait. I ain’t got no time to die as yet.
It happens time and time again: for each knock and fall I get, for each loss, at least tenfold new options for the better present themselves upon my rising again. For that reason, I never cry over spilt milk. When it is clear that the milk loss is inevitable no matter what preventive measures I may apply, I let go without shedding a tear.
No resistance. When change is gonna come, it’s gonna come. If one of the new options emerging after the milk loss will be a dairy cow, I hardly ever get surprised. Nevertheless, I remain ever humble in the face of continuous favours bestowed upon me by nature, my ancestral spirits, and my God. The resilience I put forth in times of trouble, in my darkest hours, does wonders for my ego. But that resilience is of origins far beyond the realms of my ego’s mind games’ current manifest performance and ultimate potential.
Deep down inside of me I know that constant pursuance of being a decent human being is my inclination by default, much as are my human fallibilities. When I get a knock for my own failings, my inadequacies, I shall with dignity take the punishment I get. My sense of dignity gets even more profound in the face of injustice and malice directed upon my person. Always.
I am cognizant of my strengths and vulnerabilities. These two qualities annihilate any sense of self-doubt I might have in any given situation. Because I know, i.e. my personal cognitive and intuitive data bases are adequately supplied with relevant information and energy, I’ll always have options in both good and challenging times.
The phrase Machona Awakening came not only from that moment I finally understood for myself that a place called home can be more a function of thoughts and feelings, contra its being one’s place of birth only. Machona Awakening is also about that moment in time it dawned upon me that I, indeed, am that I am. I am that I am with all the beauty and the ugly that define me in the eye of the beholder. That with respect to the conscious and unconscious display of my deeds as I dance through the intricacies of my life for as long as I live.
Fear I might have. Insecurity I might have. These may arise in times and situations where I lack applicable functional and conceptual knowledge. When and where I don’t know, I’m likely to be invisible; silent. If I’m ignorant relative to a given reality, it may perhaps be because it’s neither interesting nor important for my existential needs here and now, or there and then. Knowledge is power over fear, insecurity, and self-doubt. It’s about knowing what branch of knowledge is relevant where, how, and when.
I’m not a thrill-seeker. As such I’m not given to blind pursuits of the unknown at any cost. So, let it pass. Ain’t no love lost. No regrets. Self-doubt possibilities eliminated. But does that not limit maximal growth potential? Well, all things considered, I can only grow to the level I reach today. The next levels of growth tomorrow and beyond are only dreams with today’s growth experiences as their launch pad; as certain as the sun shall rise tomorrow for all living creatures of the earth. No doubt from the self, neither from nature. Solid knowledge. Self-doubt expunged.
March 02, 2020
IN THE FLESH, IN THE BLOOD
Found myself in her territory
She was in full
Flesh and blood splendour
She was blonde
She was brunette
She was rouge
She was melanin rich
She was petite
She was medium
She was voluptuous
Then I hear a voice say
Keep your mouth shut
She came to me
She kissed me
You are so sweet
Into my right ear this time
My left ear the next time
I held my breath
I was in a straight jacket
I was words
In the book
Of her life story
I’m still in a daze
©Simon Chilembo (17/ 02- 2020)
February 17, 2020
Scientifically speaking, at the moment of human conception, there is no telling what perfections or imperfections shall take place as the to-be-human-being develops until birth. Not in the least as the new human being steadily grows up into adulthood and advanced old age, if so destined. There never is any guarantee that the new to-be-human-being shall in fact be born, to begin with.
Depending on the genetic material quality of the sperm and the egg of the respective parents, children born can turn out to have and to be anything. Life is by default a game of chance from the start. Consideration of infinite other internal and exterior variables prior to, during the mother’s pregnancy and actual eventual birthing is crucial in this regard as well. Children can be born still. They can be born healthy and strong, weak and ever fragile, with or without arms or ears. They can be born with all kinds of everything and/ or nothing, including sexuality.
Sexuality is a manifestation of a neurological state of being; biologically determined, needless to say. Therefore, sexual orientation is not a choice, it is an intrinsic aspect of being human as naturally programmed in our genetical construct as living organisms.
To strive to change or work against human sexual orientation is as good as working against God’s work and wonders of her infinite creative potential and its expressions, both for the relative good and bad of human existence on earth. This has to hold true if indeed all born and unborn human beings are made by God in her own image. God cannot be God only for socially constructed “normal” people.
Discrimination and loathing of people whose expression of being goes contra man-made social norms essentially invalidate the existence and relevance of God. A God who “so loved the world that [she] gave [her] one and only Son, that whoever believes in [her] shall not perish but have eternal life.” It is clear that God is aware that there shall be those that shall not believe in her because of the imperfect, non-predictable nature of being human, whether made after her image or not.
Amongst other things, assuming that we are indeed manifestations of God’s creation, she imparted in us the power of will. Therefore, people can as per their natural prerogative choose or not to choose to believe in God and take the consequences. Some people will, vis-à-vis artificial social precepts, be defined or judged to be anti-God only because they cannot do otherwise but live according to the essence of their being what or who they are. That as nature, or God, designed and subsequently brought them out to life on earth.
A really genuine and benevolent God simply cannot intentionally design and give life to sexual orientation “abnormal” people to, then, punish them upon their expression and living of life according to their inherent compulsions.
In a perfect world, it can be predicted that the act of human sexual intercourse shall under “normal circumstances” take place only between males and females only. But normalcy in nature is a fluid reality that is scientifically verifiable.
To, in the name of God, deny people of the same sex the privilege to love one another and enjoy free, mutually satisfactory sexual intercourse in a free world is fundamentally an outrageously spiritually vain, anti-God endeavour. Even worse when it’s expressed in the form of parochial, archaic “it is not our culture!” utterance.
And then there is “Even animals don’t do it! Why should we allow it in our society?”
This takes the cake of ludicrous logic founded on misguided understanding, if any, of how nature really works: human neurological wiring and hormonal propulsion influencing behavioural manifestations have no direct correlation with that of non-human animals, that emanating from mutually incongruent genetical constructs and preconditions. Basic science.
Humans and non-human animals need to have a common genome in order to be socially and, by extension, sexually comparable, if not compatible. In the same vein, for example, lions and buffaloes naturally don’t socially or sexually mix because they are inherently driven by different genetic factors. On the other hand, be they straight or gay, humans of all races, colours, religions, and creed will always be socially and sexually attracted to one another as a matter of course. That as a given attribute of sharing a common and invariable human genome. Elemental science.
“Green people and magenta people simply cannot mix! Ever seen hyenas and giraffes mix together out in nature? It’s not racism. No, not at all. It’s just the way things are. It’s God’s plan, you know, my friend!”
If I really am made by God in her image, then, everything I do and stand for in my life is but a small manifestation of her stupendous wonders in the universe. If she made me a Human Rights driven heterosexual with passion for fairness and justice for all, including homosexuals, then I’m a happy, humble, and obedient servant. This resonates 100% with my innate being as scientifically and/ or Godly constructed man. What I preach here is the word of God, therefore.
Conversely, should God punish me for performing my instinctual human or social obligations as per her design of me, she can go to hell. Hell ought to be yet another one of her self-defeatist masochistic creations. It’s absolutely preposterous that God can create me, send me to propagate her words and deeds in the world, and then shoot me for carrying out her commands exactly according to her designs. Amen!
DECEMBER 05, 2019
REALITY IS I AM HERE, I LIVE, I LOVE, I DANCE.
I AIN’T GOING NOWHERE
“Winter is coming now, Simon. If you have any doubts about coming back to Norway you still have a chance of returning to South Africa, you know,” said Sofia.
“Are you sure you have no regrets about coming back to Norway, Simon? You still have a home in South Africa, not so?” several others remark this way many a time.
I live with no doubts. If I have any doubts, I don’t do it. If I do it anyway and get burned as a result, too bad. What’s done is done. If I die, I die. Closed chapter. If I don’t die, no regrets. I pay the price I have to pay, and move on; assuming that I can still breathe, stand, walk, and think.
If I can think, I can contextualize my feelings. If it feels right to do so because it’s turned out that I’ve really screwed up, I’ll beg for mercy if given a chance to do so. When I’ve been unfairly screwed and the perpetrator is cool about it, exercising their own capacity not to regret unjust screwing up of other souls, I leave them where they are. I never look back. I never go back. I’ll always find new playing spaces.
I’ll always find new playmates. We might play on until our dying days. We might wear each other out in the midst of the golden years of our lives when some shit suddenly happens: somebody gets screwed up somehow, another one bites the dust, whilst the other glosses in new-found glory at the expense of the screwed. It is what it is. That’s how we roll. Falling out of glory is like milk spilling out of a glass. I never cry over either.
Exactly one year ago today, I came back to Norway more shattered than I was when I left for South Africa six years ago. At that time, I watched with dismay as the success empire that I had built came crumbling down. Getting to South Africa soon felt like I had evacuated a sinking ship without any safety equipment to wear or hang on to. Because I’m not a good swimmer, I knew that the only thing I could do was to let go and allow the ocean to take me where it pleased.
If any creature of the oceans came to eat me, I prayed it would be a shark: agile, precise, in perpetual motion straight on ahead. In my naked least-to-no-resistance state of mind in the middle of the waters, I decided to play dead, though. I survived. I marvelled at watching the last vestiges of my extended empire go with the wind to places beyond my fantasy.
By the time my mother died I had been thoroughly humiliated for five years and three months in South Africa. She died a disillusioned mother of a once indomitable son that had come on the verge of falling into the dreaded pit of poverty that is the fate of the vast majority of Black South Africans. On my part, I had long read and understood her despair. I had already long made peace with the fact that her inability to help me to fix my world would slowly but surely kill her. It was not only about me, but my two siblings also. But I had previously been a pillar of strength for the family.
I know that in her old age, my mother’s fear of living in abject poverty ate her soul like cancer did body cells. So, I am convinced that her death released her spirit to a place of lasting peace and abundance. I know that that’s what she aspired to achieve during her life time, anyway. My fourth novel and sixth book, Machona Mother – Shebeen Queen, is inspired by my observation of hers and other mothers’ and wives’ lives in South Africa. Through this I reflect on the challenges of wifehood and parenthood in oppressive societies the world over.
On the eve of my mother’s burial, I was threatened with a bullet in the head. My torment in South Africa had come to a head. I had to leave. Three months earlier, she had in fact finally acknowledged that my future in South Africa was bleak. The only thing she could do was to give me her blessings, and I’d have to find my way back. I should leave whenever I could. She was laid to rest on October 13, 2018.
Eleven days later I landed in Oslo. In grief. Tired. Bankrupt. Homeless. Businessless. Jobless. At total mercy of other people and the state for the first time in my adult life. I received unprecedented overwhelming support and love. This gave me a refreshing new taste of humility in my heart.
Alas, I’m still shocked by the discovery that love has inexplicably diminished, if not vanished altogether in certain quarters. But then again, love is like milk: when it’s spilt it’s gone. No salvage. No cry. Like milk, fresh love abounds. Always. Spilt milk tends to be messy. Post-spillage clean-up is ever so necessary, therefore.
Left unattended to, spilt milk can go stale and stink. Poison. There is a poisonous dark cloud of love lost hanging over my head. Apparently, this cloud is at alarming speed spreading itself throughout the extent of domains that are crucial for my continued existence as a free and happy man of the world.
I now feel that the time has come for me to dissipate the treacherous cloud. Had I lived a hermitic life somewhere oblivious to the real world of real people, I really wouldn’t bother. My imperfections notwithstanding, as an ethically conscious man living in a morally charged world, I have no doubt as to my personal integrity in every step I make every day of my life. It isn’t just about my ego. I respond from a need to protect the honour and legacy of my late parents. Through the latter I reach out to my ancestral spirits throughout the entire Sub-Saharan Africa.
My own legacy matters too. It’s not just about me. It’s all in the name of the living of my people in the afore-mentioned part of the world, particularly my clans in Zambia and South Africa. I have in mind my bosom friends, my godchildren, my teachers, and colleagues all over the world throughout my life’s journey thus far as well. I intend to stay the course until my last breath on earth, which won’t be tomorrow. I’m here for the long haul.
My thoughts also go to all the people the lives of whom I have impacted before, I impact today, and I shall be allowed to impact in the future anywhere in the world: my raison d’être. It is my wish and hope that all the people falling into this broad category shall never feel shame, embarrassment, guilt, or fear at the mention or thoughts of my name, my deeds. My legacy.
I’m proud of my roots. I’m protective of my heritage. I value highly the love and faith of my confidants. I am in awe of the big religious and philosophical thoughts of the world that daily inspire and guide me in my search of liberatory enlightenment in the labyrinth of life. Truth must never shy away from me.
With the poisonous dark cloud of love lost hanging over my head cleared, the following shall be revealed:
- I have been unilaterally charged and convicted without a trial.
- I am not a sexual pervert. I am not a dirty old man. I am not a sexual predator.
- I am not a paedophile. Neither in practice nor by inclination.
- I am not a rapist. I am not into the habit of imposing my sexual power over women. I am not in the habit of taking advantage of sick, weak, and vulnerable women. I am not a sexual manipulator. I am not a philanderer. I shall never engage in sexual intercourse at any price, with anything.
- I love power. But I am not power-hungry. I am not a powermonger. The essence of my being is not defined by the power that I wield as attendant to the things that I do. For example, when I’m revered for being a 6th Dan Black Belt Karate Master, I don’t take it personal. I am nothing more than a conduit between higher knowledge and the people that my position empowers me to serve.
With or without Karate and its inherent existential and functional attributes, I remain the same original Simon Chilembo ever aspiring to be a decent human being each and every day of my life, my fallibilities considered. Karate does not define the essence of my being. It is but one mirror of many that reflect the infinite potential of the essence of me as a human being, a social change force.
I shall never fight for power acquisition and sustenance at any cost. But I shall fight with all of my life against deliberate malicious application of unfairness and injustice as tools and manifestations of power against me, my own, including the values that I stand for.
- I am addicted to love and peace.
- It is preposterous to seek to delete my existence in the historical developments of certain phenomena in my worlds. History never forgets. The wise will always query. Answers will have to be given, no matter how murky.
Having stated the above, I encourage anybody with any compelling evidence to contradict me to come forth and present their cases. This evidence shall be tangible, derived from real-life circumstances. It shall not be derived from ill-founded conclusions obtained from subjective misinterpretations of my literary works. It shall not be derived from malicious rumours about me either. Otherwise, people can just lay their weapons down and move on with their lives. We all deserve happily-ever-after living once love has found new hearts to entice. That’s the way of the world.
Character assassination claims and rumours about my person have been doing the rounds in Oslo and environs especially since the publication of my debut novel, When The Mighty Fall, in November, 2015. I feel strongly about these. Such that, in the unlikely event that it can be objectively proved that I am a molester, I will kill myself. That not as a manifestation of any suicidal vice about my character. Moreover, I will consciously choose to kill myself for my sins to save society resources and troubles of arrests, tedious court cases and all that goes with dealing with issues of crimes against humanity. It ought to be as simple as that, really.
I am not a fan of capital punishment. However, my abhorrence of sexual abuse, especially with respect to children, ignites the most primitive of my human instincts. Were I to be found actually guilty in this case, I wouldn’t hesitate to execute upon myself the ultimate punishment that my primitive instincts see as justifiable against child molestation.
I will publicly nail myself on the cross. I will invite the world to come and practice archery on my body until there’ll be no more flesh and bone left for an arrow to pierce. Then my corpse must be set on fire whilst on the cross. No funeral services. No urns. Let the wind blow the devil’s ashes away to places far away into outer space. No memorial services. Denialism of my place in history will be just fine, then: I was never here. I was an accident of nature. I was a figment of my imagination. I was just an illusion.
I say to my enemies all the time: you don’t know me.
Tel.: +47 925 25 032
October 24, 2019
WOMAN OF THE MOON:
It is the 1990s
My decade of
Big books, big love
Big moon, big moves
Big pushes, big rewards
This big bassline
Big moon song
Now I know
Through the decade
As if it was born
On January one, 1990
Only for the vehicle
To succumb to
The millennium bug
Zero, zero, zero, zero hours
January, year 2000
Splitting the old
From the new
Big games, big monies
Big broken hearts
Big losses, big spaces
Of silence after
I recall seeing her on TV once:
When she was a little girl
Her mother told her to drink milk
So that she’d grow big and strong
She did as implored
Strong she became
Big she became
She became so big
That when the big love
Of the 1990s
Came with moments of
Too dark to handle
Dark clouds of despair
I looked at her
The big woman
She filled my ears
Big bass line drive
Her voice singing
In praise of the moon
Gave me strength
Gave me hope
I looked forward
To every new full moon
Coming on ahead
Hoping, praying that
This time around
It’s gonna be alright
Alas, the Y2K bug struck
As the big glow of
The 1990s love faded
In spite of
New decade full moon rising
Big love crashed
Pulverized into the
Of sweet moments
Big loving here
Big loving there
That once was
And now she’s gone
The big woman
Big dark clouds of despair
Became a thing of the past
A long time ago
That is how I could
Watch the moon
Full and big
And dream again
The week just gone past
Big moon’s glow lingers on
In my mind’s eye
That is my comfort
To drown my grief
I shall do what she kept
Telling me through her song
During that decade of
My big love
That is history
Of mixed emotions
She said that
Whilst the moon
Confident in wisdom
Amongst the stars
People dancing in circles
Looking for life’s answers
Big moon says no word
I too shall become
A pupil of the moon
So that I can
See my pain heal
See my joy
See my love
Return in silence
I shall remain
Pupil of the moon
‘till I see her again
Big woman of the moon
For she knows
About my world
A tear the size of
Full moon gracing
A star-free night sky
Has just dropped from
The eye above my heart
Jeg er månens elev
I shall cry
I shall sing
I shall dance
For I know that
If the moon is forever
So is her soul
Love x Love
©Simon Chilembo, 26/ 08- 2019
WHAT MOTHERS AND WIVES DO
The little I know about my mother’s life inspires my forthcoming fourth novel, which will be my sixth book. As I progress with the work, I get to appreciate more and more that a wife and mother will do what they have to do for the good of their children and the honour of their husbands. At the same time, wives and mothers are also made of flesh and blood; they are human too, just like everyone else.
They shall slip and fall, gather dirt like everyone else. They shall rise, shake themselves from the dust, and fail to erase the stains; just like everyone else. If the good they did for their children, and the honour they bestowed their husbands is greater than the outcomes of their fallibilities, then, who is anybody to judge?
ODE TO WINNIE MANDELA:
APRIL 13, 2018