by Ryan Dalton
How are you faring in Nashville? I know you miss South Africa dearly; there are probably few who understand that as well as I do.
The year-and-a-half I was in Tennessee, in between living in Cape Town and living in Brooklyn, was one of the hardest seasons of my life. It did, however, feel somehow necessary, though I maybe don’t understand the fullness of that necessity even now. Necessary nonetheless.
It is so strange living somewhere when your heart is somewhere completely different. Cape Town was my home for so long. Cape Town was my heart. They say “home is where the heart is,” and that year-and-a-half in Tennessee often left me wondering if I was homeless or heartless; though I was probably a mixture of both, as dramatic as that sounds and is.
All of that to say, I get it. I can imagine your deep longing for South Africa; I can see it in my mind, feel it in my stomach.
My laugh is too loud for America, my eye contact is too strong, and my smiles-to-strangers are too frequent.
I think the laugh was invented on the continent of Africa, and if not, it was most definitely perfected there. Most Africans I have met, from all different countries, from old to young, have learned how to laugh from the gut, from the heart, from the soul. There is nothing better than a whole-hearted, unapologetic, uninhibited, booming laugh. Musical. Poetic. Beautiful.
But not really.
As blasphemous as it might sound, I miss Cape Town less than before. And that has nothing to do with Cape Town, or Tennessee, or Brooklyn. It has everything to do with me. You see, that year-and-a-half in Tennessee, I didn’t really make many major attempts at seeking out Ubuntu, that sense that we are all in this together. I just kind of sat in my own misery, with the occasional wallow, and waited for a savior; forgetting, or maybe not realizing, that I am my own savior or oppressor in those times.
I was rarely living in the moment, and spent more time resenting the past and longing for the future. But rarely just being. Not a healthy place.
I snapped out of it when I moved to Brooklyn.
I started giving of myself again, allowing myself to really be in the moment and not wish for something far off, and I started allowing others in again. I have made such wonderful family here in Brooklyn. I feel so content. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely miss Cape Town, but I am slowly making my home here in Brooklyn, and it feels good, great even.
Enough about me. Please let me know how you are doing. Have you managed to find any favorable signs of Ubuntu where you are?
Say hello to Woodie and the nephews for me. I miss them very much.
Positivity and love from Brooklyn,