“The worst thing about that kind of prejudice… is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds you self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough” -NINA SIMONE –

I never knew why I connected so much with this woman’s voice and songs so much, until now.

We seemingly have nothing in common- she was a trained classical pianist, jazz and soul singer, and a proud African  American lady, actively a  part of the  American civil rights movement.

She hung out with Martin Luther King! She was born in the 1930’s.

I , on the other hand, was born and grew up in South Africa. I am white. I was born in the early 1980s when the apartheid regime was crumbling.


Recently, I watched a documentary about her life on Netflix and I identified with this  wild spirit within her.  A spirit demanding justice. She was a  person who had a name but couldn’t truly own it.

There is a song she sings  – AINT GOT NO -I GOT LIFE (she is simply mesmerising to watch)


The song ends with her singing

“I am my freedom. I got my freedom.”

That is my connection to her.  For a long time I wasn’t accepted,I may well have been another skin colour.

In fact-  in post-apartheid. -early 90’s -I spent most of my teens taking drugs with the colored or black  and Indian community ( they identify themselves with these terms in South Africa btw ) and spending less  time with white people.

At various points in Nina’s life she felt like she had lost her mind.


I nearly became mad.

In fact I am sure I did.

Many times.

I   nearly died -countless times  too.

I was forced out of South Africa because my mother couldn’t stand by and watch me die.

It took 17 years to get  to the person I am today.


I should be dead.  I guess life has bigger plans for me.  It is not for lack of me trying every possible way to kill myself by my hand or another’s..

I have always wanted my freedom to be me in my body  and mind and be comfortable in it.

In my search for Freedom I even became like some feral creature to get it.  I  could say I only imitated what I saw other people do.

It’s strange how other people are quick to judge. They don’t seem to see that they do the same things to cope.

 Oh,how they just took .





People just took  from me what was useful to them  and discarded me like a used condom. Making sure there was no evidence to be found that linked them with the theft of my own creativity and soul.

People took a lot from Nina – she left the U.S.A. for many years to find her mind and peace.

One of my favourite sayings I always tend to tell people is

“I’m a person with good intentions”

“My actions and heart come from a good place .”

I think I must have picked it up from the lyrics in the song  ‘DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good – Oh lord please don’t let me be misunderstood”

I’ve often  felt misunderstood.

 I have made one hell of a journey.

So these days if someone misunderstands what I say, I have to pretty much cut them off and be direct and tell them  that they have misunderstood or not heard or misinterpreted what I am saying .


To have a soul, you have to be free.

Completely free of your mind and body -you mustn’t covert away any part of you , you must reveal your soul to the entire world.

People will either get you or they won’t but that becomes their problem not mine or yours.

There must be no shame in revealing your soul to the world.

Your story.

Your journey.

Nina  was diagnosed with Bipolar in the 80’s  and I guess she felt displaced.

Bipolar,huh ?

Displaced ?

Now I know that world well.


I felt displaced in so many situations in my life. I did actually do something  Nina did  (at a point in her life)-

I  turned inwards on myself.

I couldn’t win the political game of  “normal” social life.   I never fit in one social group or culture.

I stood out for all to see.

I didn’t fit. Yet, I felt comfortable in more than one place or with one type of people simultaneously.

I didn’t want to have to choose just one set of people to be around. I tried to conform but my soul rebelled

I struggled when I was growing up.

Not being able to fit into one box  came with high levels  of recklessness on my part. I  was probably the first person in my social group who displayed crazy- off her head signs.

It was awful because I was only 13-17 years old.

You could be a certain type of crazy but not my kind of crazy.

People backed up the fuck away…

Never mind that later many of my peers would have had more life experience and with that , they had gained a few extra pounds of  experiencing the not so great hand life deals us at times.

There would come a time when many I knew would have  to deal with  whatever  it decides to throw at you. Whenever it chooses to do so.

 Maybe a few of them went

“Oh,now I get it.”

I took on adult responsibilities from a young age.

I didn’t  fucking want them.

So it then  became a political inquest into my soul…

My soul fled from me – leaped out of my heart, got lost in my head , ran- in search of the nearest exit.

It found that exit in a secret tunnel at the furthest part of my unconscious.   It did a backflip out and  over the balcony of my  mind, landed on its feet and made for the ocean.

It went into hiding , to the deepest part of the ocean. A place it knew it could surrender to without protest. It could go with the current and not be examined for doing something as natural as just being its nature and of nature.


I searched to reclaim mine back  for years.

Soul can’t be questioned, it must be  felt.

Nina felt stigma,

I felt stigma,

Many feel stigma.

She connected to so many because  she wasn’t afraid to share her humanness and be her and speak up for ‘her kind’.

She inspires me to carry on  speaking out for people who still suffer inequality with their mental health issues. I will never stop using my voice and writing to break down stigma and prejudice and ignorance.

There are four songs I want to  share that she sang.

 The only way she knew how to help change and shape the world she lived in -was to get political with her music. It killed her singing  career and nearly killed her.

I can’t help but see Nina as such a positive role model for all genders, race, sexuality, age and faiths.

About Daisy Willows

'Words are my everything' - Jon Wayne . A writer of poetry, stories, stage scripts, fiction, border line poetry & freestyle works, Music reviews, Guest Features/interview & shout outs. She is also passionate about raising anti-stigma & awareness for Mental Health. A trained co-facilitator in Wellness Recovery Action plan by Mary Ellen Copeland Natasha goes by many moniker names-Daisy Willows, bahtuhkid, GOAT2Bdazee. She has had a colourful life. Travelled. Natasha co-owns a second-hand clothing & accessories business -La Bella Bijoux Ltd Natasha was born in South Africa & is a French national. She currently resides in the UK Natasha Bodley holds a postgraduate in the Humanities. A BA in Myth in the Greek and Roman worlds & Advanced creative writing. She also holds a Foundation degree in Acting performance. She is currently working on her first novel (semi-autobiographical creative non-fiction). She has published one short story on Amazon called 'Number one' Connect with Natasha Collaborate with Natasha & feel free to Communicate her too. Light, Peace & Love!

Posted on Jul 16, 2022, in THOUGHTS and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on AriseAfrica and commented:


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this essay. It’s beautiful. It resonated deeply, especially this line. “they had gained a few extra pounds of experiencing the not so great hand life deals us at times.” 💝

    Liked by 1 person

  3. talonthrasher

    What a powerful post! Nina Simone was amazing and her legacy will go on forever. She poured her heart and soul into every song she performed, from “I Loves You Porgy” to “A Single Woman.” I’m still blown away when I listen to “Sinner Man,” especially the battle cry at the very end!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Talonshrasher , I never really understood my connection to her until I watched wetched that nina Simone documenary. And it all made sense when I did a bit more research how a young chilwho group in aparth white chlid , South Africa had this connction to her music . Her passion and soul. I’m currently hav ingva bitvof a mind life crisis so I’m getting my gead together but as soon as I’m back on form I’ll defo be checking out new and old blogs . Thank you so much for reading


  4. Totally relate. People wonder why I write the way I do. It is simple. I don’t fit in a box and I don’t want to. I write to a broad audience and the small-minded and intolerant just cannot deal… oh well… I’m sensing the same spirit in you. Be strong… and… Bravo!


  5. What a great post – revealing so much of you – speaking your truth! I listened to her so many years ago when a friend of mine played her songs. From what I remember her songs were melancholy with so much emotions.


  6. Daisy…its like this was sent to me from God. I am writing an essay on oppression in the ethnic minority and the prejudices and aversive racism. I am so grateful for you post. Not only does it help me within my tma but mentally you have touched me. I thank you so much


    • Ha ha. had this sense of urgency to write a draft on this post -something I hardly ever do. I think t was your energy trying to get in contact . hah ha”! You must watch the documentary. This should be you last tma now? Aren’t you studying with the OU ?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I an studying with the ou. I’m writing about eugenics at the moment and the Darwin theory. I also had a conversation about a film called freedom writers. You daisy…are my message from God. X

        Liked by 1 person

      • I had to google that – ha ha- wow! Bit of a controversial topic you are studying. I’ve seen the film. It was such a long time ago . It’s always awesome to help some one any whatever capacity. Good luck with your degree in ?


  7. Daisy, I love the way you draw connections between yourself and Nina Simone. It really says a lot about who you are and I’m glad that life has more in store for you. 🙂


  8. Great post Daisy.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice post Daisy, you sure have life! Keep rocking it out gal! (or jazzing it out..) 🙂


  10. Reblogged this on Music Teacher Lifestyle and commented:
    This is powerful! You gotta read this.

    It’s just what we need to celebrate on JazzDay! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I see you also put the Jazz Award as a widget <3…my heart is filled. And this post…is just awesome and powerful! Thank you for including this on the JazzDay celebration. I didn't have these experiences, I couldn't put this in words at all. I love it! 🙂


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