My mother raised a brick house

A brick house: Zaza Hlalethwa (Samuel Aviles)

A brick house: Zaza Hlalethwa (Samuel Aviles)

When my mother raised me, it was as if she was building a replica of her brick house.

Those looking on saw a large, stable and firm structure, adorned with perhaps too many flowers and trees for shade. Inside was a warm space where everything was brown or gold, and smelled of rooibos and cinnamon. It was the perfect home for everyone — but me.

Looking at it now, it reminds me of the restrictions and rewarded silences I was brought up on. Like the space between bricks, cement fills the connections between my hips and feet. I can’t remember the last time I danced, the last time those parts of me felt like water and air.

But I try now. I put on my favourite song, attempting to wind my waist and twerk to the bass, but my efforts are useless. My body, the house I was brought up in, does not feel like a home. 

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