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Vangile Gantsho

Freelance Artist/Writer - "I don't suffer from insanity. I thoroughly enjoy it. You're just jealous coz the voices only speak to me." -I'm crazy enough to be loads of fun - sane enough not to be locked up (...well, permanently that is..) smart enough to hold my own - and shallow enough to not be a bore!

You gotta walk, run and dance in my shoes, before you can tell me what to do

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So for one glorious month, women have license to reign. For the duration of August, we can laugh, cry, be hormonal, victorious, disappointed and ALL things women! We can shop, eat, laugh, love and surround ourselves with the beautiful men and women who make US incredible women. For a month. And then in September, we can hope that global warming doesn’t mess with our schedule so we can usher in spring.

Being woman is many things to different people. For some, it is that deep connection to life: that mothering – your womb is umbilically-connectected to the source of the earth – new ageism. For others it’s diapers, and groceries and bills; or power suits, and boardrooms. But to me, it’s shoes. Heels, wedges, stilettos, sneakers and boots; different shoes for different occasions. Nothing defines being a woman, to me, more than shoes. The shoes we own, the ones we want and the ones we know we can never afford; shoes can make a woman smile like she’s won the lotto or cry like she’s just found out her soul mate married her high school nemesis. It really doesn’t get more woman than shoes.

But before your read this poem, remember: as sad as some lessons may be, the beauty is in learning, loving and healing. Be blessed.

Heavy Souls in New Shoes

I took a few steps
and soon learned that
the walk through womanhood
would leave me corned and blistered
That my shoes would rip
and I would patch
and they would break
and I would limp
That my heels would crack
my souls would wear thin
and the road would be cruel
I learned that
there is more gravel than tar
and falling on either hurts like hell
that stilettos sink in grass
and stuck in mud
that even walking in wedges is difficult
and flats cause flat-foot
Sneakers get sweaty
and boots never fit my calves
I have learned that
one must crawl before
one walks before
one falls before
it starts all over again

I have learned that for every
dance
there are girls in youthful skirts
that expose innocent thighs
to predator loins
That these BABIES grow corns
in Guess knock-offs
find themselves knocked up
and blistered on gravel roads
Coz Lebo said it:
Tits in Jozi are a bitch!
Hell! Tits. Period.
heavy with milk to feed
suckling sugar-daddies
and produce bastard babies
who will in turn
be tormented
by perverted boys

For every
graceful stride
I have watched post-puberty younglings
throw caution to the wind
and dance to intoxicating
drums while telling virginal lies
after being sold to 50year old kings
These NOT-YET-LADIES grew corns
in On Sale stilettos
sailed through strangers’ beds
found themselves passed-out
and plagued
with : could-haves
should-haves
would-haves
but have none

You see,
Their heels broke
and the fall was hard
It forced faithful wives
onto ARVs,
breast-bleeding
soon-to-be abandoned babies
And THOSE WHO DON’T
grow corns
in Green-Cross flats
they remain without child
in fear their blistered wombs
will bear damaged victims
or heartless villains
So they take off their shoes
tip-toe around
egos of mid-life insecurities
and sneak into early graves
coz shoes without feet
grow cobwebs
and rot barren deaths

But the saddest lesson learned:
there is no finish line
though our strides are hopeful
the corns hurt
and the blisters spread
and our heels don’t always walk on carpets
and the tiles are always slippery
I have learned that
the walk through womanhood
is Cinderella
waiting
desperately hoping
for Prince Charming
to return her glass slipper

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