Stories Set To Music: 1/11/2018
The original version of this story appeared around 2018-2019 and began with this quote from a Blood Orange song, “I can be the only one / but do you even want me to …”; the point was to highlight the highs and lows of romantic love as well as the perils of infatuation with material objects or possessions. It was really first written as meditation or a note emerging from the inspiration of music. As I am re-writing this from the original handwritten copy, it may not appear exactly the same as the earlier versions.
Even when people can no longer afford anything, somehow they can still afford to Love. There is no denying that like all aspects of living or existence, Love can be excruciating and if unhindered, can also bear the most terrorizing effects. People who for some reason feel unloved, under-appreciated, or whose presence and existence are denied can react very horribly. In other words, some of the worst interpersonal, social, and humanitarian disasters can all be traced to a deficiency in love. Think of the pervasive generalization that states that “hurt people, hurt people”. It has become a generic stereotype precisely because it is so widespread.
South Africa has seen the deaths of many young artists lately, this has prompted the public, media, and other institutions to engage in really robust discussions around the subjects of Depression and related causes. This is a very healthy conversation and allows so many possibilities for gaining understanding and identifying solutions. The conversation also gives people an opportunity to emerge from their private dark spaces, to see themselves not just as burdens or abnormal, as we all realize that the challenges we face are quite similar or shared.
Lack of love does not always manifest as depression. There are various other internal and social pressures that are drivers of the early deaths of artists and indeed other lesser-known people. This specter of death is a sign of a break from cosmic law or harmonious social cohesiveness. Music is about harmony and requires the kind of attention that is akin to loving. Storytelling and the patience it requires of both actors ( the teller and the listener) can help our society to function more harmoniously. When various members of a society can devote themselves to Listening, really listening to each other, so much can be achieved. Qualities and virtues gained from listening can enrich our lives so much more than the avoidance of emotion and social responsibilities that we have become so used to. Sometimes we avoid hearing others as a way to avoid caring or responding, as that may require us to stop and consider doing something outside of our plans or set course.
How does Listening enhance wellbeing?
Well, well-being begins within oneself, primarily. The prime being, and one that seeks to be Known and Understood, is the Self. When we can listen to ourselves well enough, we can better find the best qualities in hearing, listening, and intimately engaging with others.
Sometimes these things do not happen naturally, we often struggle to accept each other’s idiosyncrasies, and each other’s behaviors, and it requires Love, whose main attribute is Understanding and Acceptance – to really listen and hear another. Sometimes it just takes more time.
As one of the attributes of Love is good attention, one has to know intuitively how to measure what is enough attention and what is insufficient, what is excessive, and what is simply not attention at all.
In this regard, I have been observing the behavior of my three children. My Triplet boys could not be more different from each other. They may display a lot of common traits, but what makes them so beautifully unique is the consistency of their individuality. Each requires the specific attention of their parents, albeit in a different way. Mvulandlela, the firstborn, is boundlessly energetic and yet so very sensitive to noises, music, smells, and other stimuli. Sometimes the Helpers assume that he is cowardly, excitable, or timid, yet I see it as their failure to pay more careful attention …So I have made it my duty to ensure that he gets the kind of attention and discipline that is positively stimulating and conducive to his natural progression.
While I have told the Helpers/Child-minders that each of the boys should be treated with adequate care and special attention, the onus to lead our children up an intelligent and harmonious path is up to us and of course also themselves as beings. I will write about the other two boys later, they each would require a dedicated essay for your special attention.