There is mind energy in the cycles of life that have become the norm transforming the ways in which we think about indoctrination and religion, thinking and psychopathology, overthinking and psychology, education and neuroscience. In the love/hate relationship we have with the self, the ego, the illusory image that we have with our bodies something is distorted, misrepresented and misplaced to a certain degree. Self-love is an act which is not engaged with at a basic level of understanding. When we change, when any transformation takes place on the cellular level, physical, biological, psychic, intellectual, mental and emotional there is no movement towards fear, no understanding of the lack of energies or separation anxiety. We as humanity only engage with self-love when we experience relationship. It somehow leaves us satiated. We enter this essential dimension without ego. Only with a brain drained with surrender. Surrender to God, faith, will, discipline and stamina. I understand my own psychological pain. I did not hurt myself as a child. Adults hurt and wounded me very deeply. They left a detailed blueprint upon my conciousness of all the negative traits and characteristics I had. I was stupid, I was not capable of being loved because I was not good enough. Both my parents decided this. I did not finish high school. Both of my siblings went to university. My brother, a highly functioning drug, sex and pornography addict went to the University of the Witwatersrand. My narcissistic and obsessive sister went to the University of Cape Town. In my early twenties my parents had me certified. I would have been sent to Sterkfontein an hour outside of Johannesburg. I was the black sheep of the family, labeled a basketcase who could not get her act together and “mental”, “sick” were words used to describe my maladjusted personality and my maladaptive behaviour.

As a child, the more I tried to adjust my behaviour around my neglectful and mentally ill mother the more I was punished for it. My childhood and adolescence was difficult and challenging. My younger sister became extraordinarily successful. I knew (instinct told me) that my mother did not love me in the same way she loved my sister and brother. I knew I had to improve my behaviour, my personality, the outline of the borders of my psychological framework but I was only causing more physiological damage to myself. My sister was loved by the same sex parent. My mother motivated her, encouraged her, they participated in surrendering rituals like shopping together. My sister has inner peace. She lives in Europe. She is a socialite. I live like a recluse. I am lonely but in my past, present and future loneliness I have found a spiritual perspective on life. I remain prayerful in the silence of the hours. Often there is no one to speak to about my ideas, there is no one to ask me how I am doing and this has all been an authentic choice.

In silence I meditate on nature, solitude and my inward life. The external world around me, my external locus of control and my immediate environment is imperfect. There are days that it shatters my quiet and then fear becomes a choice, my choice. I become fearful of my future. I have never had men, alpha males become agressive towards me, brutalise or become physical towards me but the emotional pain that I carry stems from my dysfunctional family, from my addict brother and his girlfriend, my sister and my parents. My mother has never told me that she loves me, I am 43 years of age now and she has never said that she is proud of me. Her feedback is critical. She devotes herself to my sister. She dotes on my brother. When I had a bipolar relapse and landed at Sunnyside when she came to visit me she would ignore me and speak to the other patients. I have come to accept this behaviour from my family. I don’t become emotional. My tears would only make them mimic me.

Everything has life and an innate ability for growth. In the case of an individual life guides the overachiever to success and personal development, the weighing down of stress and negativity and the lightness of inner peace. When I think of the lightness of inner peace I think of redemptive love and salvation. The believing in and of a higher power and being a practising Christian for most of my life has led me through to a warped pleasure and pain time cycle. This source has often led me to conflict that I haven’t been able to overcome within my family. I have turned to books on self-help and how to improve myself. Sometimes my behaviour has improved when I am in an environment that benefits me, where there are advantages for my personal growth and fulfillment, when there are gaps for me to become empowered and uplifted.

The phantom for me is my uneasiness in crowds, disharmony within and rooted in the family nucleus and dynamic, the inertia that existed within my insomnia and chronic fatigue, the near fatal relapse after a recovery after episodic bipolar. When I was at Provincial Hospital (certified by my mother who did not trust my then boyfriend’s intentions towards me at the time) I had a brief glimpse inside myself. My mother was right and I was wrong. I became suicidal and was aggressive towards the other young women in the ward. I was placed in an isolation booth for two months. I was later diagnosed with covid. When I was released I lost the love of my life (I told myself he would be understanding of the situation but he broke up with me via text message). I became stronger as the weeks went by and began to understand what exactly purity meant as time went by. Sexual purity, ritualistic purification and the dimensions of light in a prodigal vessel.

I am in my forties with still so much to learn about the psychology of the brain. I am a work in progress trying to improve my physical and mental health, the relationships within my family and I am learning not to engage with my toxic siblings (although this has been difficult since they are demanding of my attention, my time and they are very consistent). When my parents ignore me my world falls apart. I feel they did not give me the tools, or teach me coping skills, how to deal with men who make inappropriate or lewd comments, who try to force their company and conversation upon me. I have this mental picture of myself that I have to calm down in order for me to interact with other minds of either gender.

My inner power has a poetic force. I have experienced hardship and despair, suffering and the malevolence of others towards me. The world leader Nelson Mandela said that it always seems impossible until it is done. I volunteer, I strive to donate goods, shoes and secondhand clothes and I hand out sandwiches and coffee and have found my purpose. To be kind to others but most of all to myself.

Abigail George
Abigail George
Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.