Day 16

Today was a TV day. Somehow, I scored the TV in the lounge for the day. I did better than yesterday. I was showered and dressed by 2. I think. Maybe 3. I dunno. My body clock doesn't work anymore. I haven't worn a watch in ages. Does anyone bother to wear a watch these days? Unless you're an essential services person, is there much of a point? If it weren't for The Covid Chronicles, I wouldn't even know what day in lockdown we're on and I barely know what day of the week it is.

Other than TV and an obscene orgy of eating, there's really not anything to chronicle. I say an orgy of eating and not food, because what I ate for the day doesn't really qualify as food. At some point, Ghaalieb and Amaanah had rooti and curry. That's was the foodiest our household got. For the rest, each of us moved on from snack to snack. My body is going to pay for today.

TV was intermittently paused by my Cuzzies and their antics. They did the coolest video, but, alas, I don't have consent to share it here. PJs are other vanity issues. I'm gutted. ๐Ÿ’” They're so darned funny. Today's little intermissions were like rainbows on a rainy day. Not that today was rainy, literally or metaphorically. It was a totally chill day.

I persevered with the Money Heist. Despite my sincerest intentions to give it a shot I had to concede defeat. I turned to movies instead. On my own. Each one of us was on our own today. Our paths intersected for prayers and occasionally in the kitchen. But that's it.

The highlight of my day was when my sis-in-law took some supplies to my dad. I'm so glad and so grateful to her for popping in by him and for caring so much. With her mask on, she looks like she's in niqaab. Love you long time Fawzia ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

(Random aside: As I am typing this, it is 21h55. Adam's just come to ask me if he could have lunch. What time is this kid planning on having supper?)

I've been blessed with really beautiful, kind, generous and caring men in my life. Maternal and paternal uncles, teachers, neighbours, colleagues, bosses, friends, Ghaalieb, and my Daddy.

The cool cat in the cover picture to this post is my Daddy. He is the first and the most extraordinary of the men I've been blessed to have in my life. A more generous, sincere, patient, kind, principled and soft-spoken man you won't find. The first feminist I had encountered, he inspired my interest in philosophy, as well as in classical and contemporary history. My father imbued in me a love of language and an insatiable love of learning. He taught me to earnestly seek substance even if it is buried deep beneath kilometers of fluff. To distinguish between beguiling oratory and substantial leadership. To do what is right, especially when it's hard. To bravely wage the external war if it will deliver inner peace. To go to great lengths to seek knowledge and to receive it from whoever offers it. To choose my character and not to be defined by my circumstances. To give, especially when that giving inconveniences my comfort. To know that life comes to test us, not to break us. I could go on and on and on. My father is the template against which I've designed the boundaries between myself and the various men in my life. The closer they are to him in character and temperament, the closer I will allow them to my heart. Generally speaking. I will say though, my Daddy's dad jokes, they gotsta go ๐Ÿ™„

My Daddy is now making his way into his late 70's. He still earns a living and contributes to society actively and supports numerous relief and other non-profit organizations every month. [Oooh jinne. He is going to reprimand me for sharing this. My Daddy and my Mommy fervently practices the philosophy that what the right hand does, the left hand is not to know about.] He refuses to take from me and in sneaky ways through my children, tries to provide for me. He is such a sweetie. About 6 years ago, my daddy suffered some indiscernible neurological damage that impairs his strength and his steadiness. Despite this he insists on carrying things and won't 'let' me carry them. Thankfully, he encouraged my rebelliousness, and I am not averse to administering an appropriately placed dose of disobedience.

Even more fortunate am I to have had uncles in my life whose example echoed my father's, except that they added different nuances and flavors to my tutelage. I think in particular about my father's brothers, uncle Ebrahim and Uncle Hima, and my mother's brother, Uncle Dientjie and cousin, Uncle Boebie. These 5 men are so prominent in the making of me, that I've no clue who I would be in the absence of any one of them. Collectively, they taught me to strive. They were an invisible shield that protected me from being consumed by the mediocrity and depravity that threatened to consume me from time to time.

They say that a girl marries her father. Barring 1 or 2 radical exceptions, Ghaalieb is my father. In substance and in character. Where he is different to my father, he is similar to one of my aforementioned uncles. Sure, I want to shove a 10cm nail through his ear sometimes, but like my dad, he is goodness itself.

So where am I going with this? I don't know really. I'm just grateful that Fawzia popped in by my dad.

I am eternally grateful for the love and leadership I have received from my father and the male role models I had has in the formative years of my life. They had shaped my choice of a life partner, and despite our troubles and quarrels. my life partner and I can build a good life because of the values we bring into our relationship and our home. One of the most important decisions we make in our lives is our choice of partner, and with bad leadership in our formative years, we are more likely to make poor choices in this part of our lives, resulting in pain in almost every other part of our lives.

An estimated 60% of children in SA are not actively raised by their fathers. I have no idea what the statistics say about children being raised by abusive and unhealthy male role models.

In the absence of positive leadership from men, we cast a dark, ominous cloud on our country's future. Good, healthy choices require good, healthy examples from women, and now, more than ever, from men.

During this lockdown there is an opportunity to reflect on the example you offer.

Regardless of gender, our best examples are needed. And men, I know that your masculinity had taken quite a beating in recent years. That beating ironically mirrors the very toxicity that women and children are bearing the brunt of. We cannot deny that we have a problem. There is undoubtedly toxicity in the way in which both men and women bring their gender roles to life. BOTH. I don't buy into the idea that there is a masculinity problem per se. I think our challenges are far, far, far more nuanced and complex. We have fallen prey to so many compounding societal ills that far too many of us are just not willing to confront and to address. In the pursuit of simplistic scapegoats, we forfeit the opportunity to have real, honest, earnest and necessary dialogue. Real dialogue that challenges ALL of us. That induces discomfort in ALL of us. That gets ALL of us to reflect on the shifts and the growth we must make. Not for the world. Just for those we co-exist with. This is an opportunity to reflect not on the growth and the shifts required by others, the proverbial them. This is the time to immerse ourselves in reflecting on the changes to be brought by you and I.

I leave this wisdom below. With it, I offer no judgment. Just a gift, for you and for me.

I give gratitude to the beautiful men in my life.


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