Images by Eric Tshuma | Words by Rutendo Mahofa
As much as the path matters, the shoes you wear on that path equally shape the journey ahead.
Growing up I always imagined my parents’ path was eternal and any obstacle they faced was temporary plus they had matching shoes to journey together always! I found comfort in the path they shaped together knowing that I could walk confidently with the two people who loved me most. However, along the way, I found myself at crossroads, two paths ahead of me and each path had either mom or dad. Mom’s path still felt warm, secure, full of love and comfort but whenever I crossed over to dad’s path, there was a new version of “mom” with different shoes, that I had to learn to walk within a path that wasn’t secure as what I had known. I cannot recount the number of times I had to say “ngiyathaba ukubalazi” each time a new woman joined my father’s path. Maybe it makes sense why my relationship path has been bent and curved with different shades of pink along the way and never any real commitment.
I always ran to my favorite and more familiar path, which had consistency and the woman I truly loved, mom. But a rude awakening shook me one day when I tried to travel to get to where she was but the road was closed and there was no detour to get to where she was. Someone once said “grief is just love with no place to go” and though I knew who I wanted to go to I could not go to her anymore. The gap she left was too wide to fill and I tried substituting her absence with anyone who tried to make me feel loved and wanted, but nothing ever really felt fulfilling. I thought maybe if I ended it all, it would make the pain go away, the loss, less real and finally I would have created a detour path to her but when I remembered her dream to save lives, to be a doctor, I felt her saving will calling me to live a better life, so I started searching.
I had to socially distance myself from the noise and drama at home. My father’s voice was the loudest, and I couldn’t take the yelling, and complaining, so at daybreak, I would escape to a digital path not easily traced and where my steps would be hard to find without the right tools. After sundown when I emerged back home, the wrath close to that of the titans would be unleashed on me which made me escape more.
As fate would have it, one day I met what I would name in my own words as an alchemist. He introduced me to photography and it became love at first sight. I wanted to know more, so I immersed myself in research through different materials. I felt as though I had found the me that was trapped inside, a new way to express the beauty and harshness of life. A freeway to express stories, experiences, through my own style. I truly believe when Picasso discovered his passion this is how he must have left in some way.
The power of imagination began to well up in me and I want to always translate that in my photography. To create is to imagine. I imagined loving myself again. I imagined genuine happiness. I learnt to love myself again, to be kind, to be joyful regardless of which path I am walking and what’s ahead of me. I can always edit the color into my life because it’s not about what is captured in my life but it is about how I choose to see it. I am sure my mother is looking down and smiling because I can truly say I am becoming a better version of myself and the kind of son that would make her proud. The law of attraction works for good and for bad, so free yourself to experience joy, smile when you feel it and when you don’t! It doesn’t have to always be the world that’s waiting for you, YOU are waiting for YOU, and don’t let another second go by trapped inside of yourself.
An eMoyeni Digital Storytelling collaboration | #eMoyeniDig