Of the self. Of a collective. Of the heart.
There are so many things that are considered ‘expressive’ nowadays: tattoos, piercings, clothing, literally anything. To me, being expressive encompasses a whole wad of things, but cannot be pinned as one thing or another. It is wholly subjective and is up to no one other than yourself.
What I find to be most important when it comes to expression – particularly of the self – is that it is 110% organic. It has no restraints, boundaries, or guidelines. I have two methods of expressing myself: through sport and through words.
Sport has become a home for me. Since I could walk, I was hitting golf balls and swimming like a majestic sea creature in the pool. From moving between these various sports and becoming a comfortable landlord, I found myself renting a permanent space in the world of soccer.
“But you don’t look like a soccer player,” “Really? Isn’t soccer just for boys?”
Since the age of eight, I have been kicking a ball around (with more skill than I am letting on) and discovering a safe space that I later became a part of. Because South Africa is highly underdeveloped in its offering of soccer at a grassroots level for girls, I started off with the boys. I was made fun of when I was the only girl amongst 50+ boys who rocked up to the first practice. Little did they know that they would be competing with me to be selected for the A team. In hindsight, I felt so empowered and wanted in a way that did not have anything to do with the way I looked: people wanted me because they recognized me as a person with a talent and passion that they shared. I was not treated any differently to the boys and I freaking loved it.
The soccer field has become the canvas onto which I channel everything inside of me. I am in control, leaving a trail of passion behind me whenever I dribble the ball. The field is where I come to take on my feelings of empowerment and strength and leave my worries and weaknesses on the sidelines. On the field is where I express who I am unashamedly.
When I leave the field, I go to my words, primarily written ones. Most of my days are spent fumbling around trying to pick out the right words to say, but that fumbling becomes more navigable when I have a pen and paper in front of me. When I reflect upon myself I often find it remarkable how I am flawless in my footwork on the soccer field but awfully clumsy when it comes to anything more verbal. Writing has become so important as my self-prescribed therapist, where I often feel the bursting need to get my abstract thoughts out onto a piece of paper for me to see. Sometimes my mind changes, but other times I am able to make more sense of myself and what I am feeling. Sometimes the rug in my mind under which I sweep all my unwanted thoughts gets a little overcrowded and dusty, and writing helps me confront that dust.
So that is why the expressive part of people needs to be explored, as we may not know why people do the strange things that they do. It is not up to us to decide what their battles are and how they are dealing with them, so we should rather hear them out. We can’t be limited by our own forms of expression just because they work for us and not for others. Being expressive is a part of who we are as human beings. It would be a shame if the world was denied the chance to observe the beauty of other people taking what they are feeling or thinking on the inside and putting energy into the things or spaces that surround us.
Have a look at my personal blog, too: http://gabiblombard.wix.com/sportsandthoughts