A Kind of TherapyBy Thandi Mkhatshwa

A Kind of Therapy

By Thandi Mkhatshwa

Published on Sat, Jul 11 2009 by Thandi Mkhatshwa
South Africa--I never thought I would say this, but being a journalist has taken me to new levels. I get to be nosey by profession, my kind of job indeed. I have been to different places, listened to all kinds of stories, and have met different people of different shapes and sizes.  It’s pretty nice since I don't have to deal with the same faces over and over again, like the people around my neighbourhood. I get tired just talking about them now.  I must admit though, my job is not always that glamorous.  Sometimes I have to write stories that I don't want to work on. And come to think of it, I have not liked a single story that I have written lately. It's not that they are not interesting to other people; I just haven't been myself lately because personal issues are affecting my thinking. I have to use my brain in order to write but I haven’t been functioning at my best. I must admit, it's been really hard to focus. But, I guess, everything happens for a reason.  I will know mine sooner or later.  Maybe never.

I have been trying to remain strong and not let anything get me down. Well, not in front of my siblings and friends. I don't want to see them worry. My problems are my babies to carry alone, and I don't want to bother people with problems that they may not even understand. I am not the sharing type. I was born that way I guess, which is not always a good thing because the problems suck out all the happy thoughts inside me and replace them with sadness, anger, negativity, and worthlessness. I sometimes feel like I am not normal, and that my life has no meaning. I look at everybody around me and see a different story from mine; they are all happy and giggling. How I so badly wish I had their kind of life.

Their lives seem perfect, but what you see is not always the truth. They, too, have problems and I learned that problems are part of the burdens we get in exchange for breathing. I learned that from a woman who I wrote a story about this week.  I am really thankful for being given a chance to meet her and listen to her story. Like many parents out there, she lost a son, but there is more to her story. She lost her son because he was killed by his own brother with a meat cleaver. She never got to see his body and his final resting place. Her ex-hubby buried him without her knowledge. I listened attentively as she told her heartbreaking story. I watched an old woman burst into tears. I suddenly found it really hard to watch her cry.  I felt so bad that I was asking her questions meanwhile she was crying non-stop. I suddenly felt uncomfortable and awkward. I mean, here was a girl finding it difficult to listen to another woman's heartache. How weird is that? I did not know how to comfort her. I am just like her. I just watched and hoped she would stop crying.

My own problems began when I lost my mother and had to take care of my siblings, one in need of serious medical care. That is what I have to deal with everyday of my life. Just like that woman, I am never going to feel at peace. Everyday is a constant reminder of my miserable life, and I have no way of running away from it.  Just like that woman, my problems live inside of me and will go with me wherever I go. I watched her tears fall from her brown eyes, and I, too, wanted to cry. But I could not let myself go like that; I don't like crying in public and for a moment felt like I no longer desired to know her full story. Yet, I was still happy to be there. It was really hard to watch a much older woman cry, but in a sense, it helped me cope with my own misery. I realized that problems don't begin and will never end with me. It’s just part of being human. I switched off my problems for that moment, all thanks to listening to another person's life challenges. That is so weird, I know, but it is working for now. I don't know what's going to happen next. When I went home soon after my interview, I was smiling. So I guess journalism isn't only about bein


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