The Next Line Meetup
Purple Hand Africa collaborated with The Writers’ Cafe to organise a writer’s meet-up where we used the literary arts as common ground for starting conversations among LGBTIQ people and allies. 11 people attended the session.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing an unstable economy, political violence and a general intolerant atmosphere for sexual and gender minorities. When one is surrounded by such occurrences they feel like they are all alone, fall in to depression and in worst cases end up committing suicide. These are the occurrences that we are trying to avoid by creating a community that learns to depend on each other to move on to the next step.
The session saw participants sharing about the coping techniques they use when facing trying times. It was also a safe space where Millz shared about the friend he lost recently to suicide. As painful as it was to hear of another life lost, he spoke of his own challenges with depression and how it is important to always have someone to call and talk to. He spoke a bit about his new theatre play that he wrote as means of confronting and dealing with some of his emotional struggles as an activist.
“I am usually not the one to cry, but last week, I closed myself up in my house and I let out all the tears and all the pain I felt. There is nothing weak about shedding a tear.”
Zaza Muchemwa followed on by sharing the coping techniques she uses when dealing with pressure and stress. For her, self affirmation every morning when she wakes up helps her kick-start her day positively. The discussion that ensued revealed that a number of participants also use self affirmations as coping techniques. She went to share a couple of poems about self love and explained the benefits of pouring out your pain on paper when going through emotional turmoil.
Trevor introduced Purple Hand Africa and what it seeks to do in and with the LGBTIQ community, Purple Hand Africa is believes that improving the well being of LGBTIQ people can and will improve their livelihoods. He gave highlights on his experiences in India where he attended a leadership training course. He ended his session with a quote from, Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck which read,
If you feel crappy it’s because your brain is telling you that there’s a problem that’s unaddressed or unresolved. In other words, negative emotions are a call to action. When you feel them, it’s because you’re supposed to do something. Positive emotions, on the other hand, are rewards for taking the proper action…
Vera shared about the moments when she felt hopeless and down. She recounted the story about how her mother one day told her to put on her red lipstick and boldly face the world, especially during those moments you feel down. Vera spoke a bit about her art and how she has been exploring more of herself through it and also the hub she started this year. The hub is a space for female artists especially from marginalized communities to work and collaborate. She closed her session by doing the acoustic version of her song Red Lipstick.
The session was closed off with each participant giving their own closing remarks on how they felt about the idea of The Line and what it means to the steps their taking for their mental well being. Bee Pollan from a transgender and intersex organisation spoke of how we need talk more about mental health in the queer circles as this is a topic that is currently seen as a taboo and progressively stigmatized. “We look forward to these kinds of meet-ups where we can just be ourselves, we need more of such spaces where we can discuss about our mental health and not be seen as crazy or judged.”