Day 123: Wyn vir die Pyn (Wine for the Pain)

If there was a Pandemic Prevention Olympics, South Africa would be on the podium taking gold medals by the barrel full. We’ve had the longest #Coronavirus lockdown in the world.

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Day 41: Movies, Veges, Gutter Dogs and Moods

I watched Contagion on Monday night. What a stellar cast! The movie itself was spooky in a sense – how a work of fiction released nine years ago is so close to what’s happening today. I keep wondering if any of the clever people have checked the DNA sequence of our novel virus with the fictional one. With the truth being stranger than fiction, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a match. Anyone who hasn’t seen it, should watch it. It puts things into perspective.

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To Love, or Not to Love…

…Either way, you’re going to end up broken-hearted.

While Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote the poem, In Memoriam A.H.H. about his best friend who died while travelling abroad, it is often mistaken to be about heartbreak following a breakup.  After all Tis better to have loved and lost,/Than never to have loved at all is one of the most famous lines.

I was triggered into a spiral of sadness this morning, by a well-meaning colleague who joked, “is it age that’s making you forgetful?  Or are you in love?” I merely replied, “Being in love brings trouble.” He laughed and said, “Not too long ago you were so in love you were glowing.” I wanted to reply, something witty of course, to hide the stab of immense pain I suddenly felt at his correct observation, but my mouth had turned to the Sahara and my brain was completely blank: an empty, dark void.  In that moment that felt like an eternity, I could feel the burn in my eyes and the longing for being in love with my best friend, who just wasn’t able to reciprocate my deep-seeded starry-eyed passions.  In those fleeting few seconds, I felt like a complete failure, wondering why I’m always the proverbial bridesmaid, but never the bride; why I’m always one of the boys, but never the one for the boys.

I don’t have a bad life; not at all.  I have abundant blessings:

Incredible parents; solid, reliable friends, a well-paying job with decent colleagues, a car to drive, a comfortable flat, food when I’m hungry, my health and opportunities to see new places and experience new things (not as often as I’d like, but still).

I embrace my singledom, because I know many people would love to be in my shoes; not tied down by a husband, wife, kids or even pets, but sometimes it is lonely.  Sometimes there are things that would be so much more enjoyable coupled with a romantic partner.

So today I’m in a mood of reflection… was Lord Tennyson right?  Today it doesn’t feel like it ☹

 

Say What?! Arrogance & Stupidity

I’ve taken to writing once a week at a new spot that opened in town. They serve killer cappuccino and incredible fare. The fact that the spot I’ve made mine is close to the fireplace has nothing to do with it. I’ll admit, as I was driving here this afternoon, I had zero inspiration. I even asked Allan to send me some random topics, but nothing jumped out at me. I don’t know how some authors, like JT Lawrence, who I was at school for a while does it – the woman is a machine!

I was going to write a piece about something Elizabeth shared with me about a guy in an open relationship being dosed with an experimental drug by his date for the evening – because seriously, what could go wrong, right? Said experiment stupidity has resulted in him having had an erection for ten days already and he is concerned that he may not be able to have sex again. First thing that popped into my head is that he has Viagra poisoning (because if you take the little blue pill, and you have a boner for more than four hours, you need to call the doctor) or he has a spinal injury resulting in this priapism. The spinal injury theory had my picture-brain spinning colourful theories of kinky, pretzel-bending sex. I was ripped from this porn-fest when an ambulance nearly took me out on its way to the scene of an accident.

Now, that I’ve got your attention…

It’s been said that there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity, which is kind of illustrated by the example above. There’s also, in my humble opinion, a fine line between self-assurance and arrogance, and between arrogance and stupidity too.

Four years ago, I met someone, who I really cared about. Things were complicated. Long story short, it didn’t work out, because about six weeks after his divorce was finalized, he got engaged – to a waitress who is a decade younger than me that he met two weeks earlier at a party he’d attended with me. I admit I was stupid to have become close to him while he was still married, but the rejection still hurt. I woke up one morning and forgave him because I was drinking poison expecting him to die. The best thing to come out of this disaster is that I made friends with his (first) ex-wife, Angelique. For those of you a little slow on the uptake, he is now divorced from the waitress too. I heard what happened from Angelique and it sounds like anything but a fairytale.

So, imagine my surprise when I got a text out of the blue last week from him, which read “Hi P, it’s me D. I’d really like to catch up with you again. Can we talk, please?”

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Stunned doesn’t begin to describe it. Neither do speechless, gobsmacked or flabbergasted. I suppose aghast is close. My knee-jerk reaction was one of immediate animosity. Elizabeth and Angelique both told me he’d asked them for my number but they were unwilling to offer it up without having spoken to me first. Turns out he got my number elsewhere from another friend who wasn’t fully acquainted with this particular episode of the soap-opera that is my life.

I spent that evening with Eliza and Nathan, and slept on my reply, because therapy has taught me that knee-jerk reactions often lead to regrets. I expected that I might toss and turn during the night, but I rested, like the Sleeping Beauty.

Staying with what therapy has taught me, I put myself first and sent an honest, to-the-point reply.

“It seems that in almost five years you haven’t learning anything about respecting another’s wishes. You asked both Elizabeth and Angelique for my number and when you didn’t come right with them (because they respect me- and our respective friendships), and Elizabeth told you I’m in a fragile state of mind, you forced things and got my number elsewhere. I have no desire whatsoever to see-, nor ever hear from you again. Please don’t contact me again.”

I didn’t expect a reply, but seconds later I got this:

“I am truly sorry. I got your number from someone else and did not get an answer from Angelique and Elizabeth, that’s why I contacted you. I did not know that you didn’t want to speak to me. I do apologize P. I was a dick. I know that. You were only good to me and I hurt you. I pray that one day you may forgive me for what I did to you. I AM SORRY.”

I suppose many of you reading this may be thinking Ah, have empathy with the guy, but my reaction was the opposite. My blood B.O.I.L.E.D to the point of me feeling I could knot a rattlesnake with my bare hands – and I was out of CalmTheFuckDown capsules. The arrogance and/or stupidity (or both!) of his whole approach had me seeing more red than a livid bull being taunted by a tiny matador, triggering me into a spiral of binge-eating and sleeping during the day. Thank God I’m not allowed to drink on my medication, because I might have ended up day-drinking too.

Catch up – as if we are buddies.

I didn’t know you didn’t want to speak to me – Hello?! What. The. Actual. Fuck? Is this man serious? The tragic thing is, is that he probably is.

I opted for the final word. Possibly cut-throat, but the self-care of my mental health is number one on my list of priorities at the moment.

“I’m sure you are, but seeing or talking is not going to change the past. You can make peace with yourself as far as I am concerned knowing that I am making this decision on your behalf, the same way you made a decision on mine when you walked away to be with (the waitress). There is nothing left to say. What’s done is done and no amount of “I’m sorry” will ever bring me to a point of trusting you. I accept your apology and I forgave you a long time ago – for my own peace. I wish you well for the future, but ask that you respect my wishes and don’t contact me again.”

He’s heeded my request at least.

So, now it’s back to the recovery board, and re-answering some of the same questions I asked myself five years ago. I’m glad to report that the answers have changed, and that they now reflect growth, acceptance and excitement about the future… particularly my upcoming solo-vacation to Victoria Falls – a destination I’ve dreamed of since fifth grade! But that dear readers, is another post, for another time.

For now, I’m going to bid you all adieu, I have a Coq au Vin to enjoy.

‘Til next time…

Sleepless Mindfield

Now, I am meant to be sleeping, but despite taking a full sleeping tablet (I usually only do half during the week) and my other medication, I’m still awake. Charming!

My legs feel like lead. Steve pushed me to leg press another 10 Kg more than last week. That I could still handle, but hip lifts… Good Lawdy, them things are in a league of their own! My thighs are going to probably be stiffer than a corpse tomorrow.

Tarryn, my hairdresser (aka The Fairy because she was the most beautiful pregnant fairy ever) was at the salon on Tuesday when I went to Elena for my nails. She asked me quite bluntly, Where’s your ass. I told her it’s there, but because all my clothes are getting a little baggy, it doesn’t look like it. Truth be told, I don’t really have a well-rounded derriere, because my butt cheeks are on my chest. I’m very aware of (as Charlie put it) my great rack or as my Capetonian friend, Allan refers to them, The Girls.

Anyway, my bustline wasn’t originally what I planned on writing about when I started this post. Love was. Or rather the sacrifices one makes for those we love. When faced with a situation where you would have to either cause- or suffer heartbreak to save the one you love, would you really do it? And I’m talking about relationships between two adults here, not a parent for their child because that’s on an entirely different plain.

On the subject of plain, why is plain yoghurt apparently healthier than its flavoured counterparts? Is it because it’s free of colourants? Or is it just because it doesn’t taste pleasant? Like Chaimberlain’s cough medicine – tastes like battery acid, but my Grandmother swore by it. That, and cod liver oil. Blegh!

Personally, I believe almost any ailment can be fixed with warm salt water. Sore throat? Gargle. Sinus? Inhale. Constipated? Drink a glass of warm salt water and you’ll be shitting through the eye of a needle in no time. Guaranteed!

Okay, so this post went from tits to shit in just a few paragraphs, but at least my eyes are starting to feel heavy. Here’s hoping for some REM because if I don’t get any soon, I will not only have lost my mind, I may very well be Losing my Religion too.

Zzzzzzzzzz

This Star is Being Swallowed by a Black Hole

I’ve had a foreboding for quite some time that something is amiss, but I have yet to pinpoint exactly what it is. I’m so out of sorts – a chameleon on a Smartie box doesn’t even come close to me.

I’ve had ridiculous migraines the past few weeks, and insomnia for ages again.  But for the first time in almost two years I had a panic attack on Thursday night during my mandatory sleep over at Erica and Nathan.  It was one of the worst I’ve ever had, but I didn’t want to disturb them or their two boys aged 2 and 5, so I dealt with it as best I could.  The attacks exhaust me physically and mess with my brain chemistry, which may also explain why I am feeling like the world should just end and be over with it.

As a result of the physical tiredness, I spent virtually the whole weekend sleeping as I was able to.  My body and my brain are taking strain and I’m doing the best I can, under the circumstances not to be the proverbial camel.

February is one of the worst months of the year for me.  It has been ever since I can remember.  It brings with it the Hearts & Roses Hallmark Holiday (excuse me a second while I go an vomit in the nearest trashcan, will you?) and with that reminders of how I’m always good enough to be with until someone younger, prettier and less intellectual comes along.  Every year it gets worse, and as the big four-oh looms later this year, I am feeling it extra hard this year.  This month also brings with it memories of loss that make my heart ache with melancholy.

Yesterday Malcolm would have been 48. I wanted to send Aunty Lynn and Uncle Derick a message to say I was thinking of them (I was!), but I was too afraid they’d call and want to talk about him.  June he will be gone four years; his death hit me harder than I care to admit. What I’d give to have one more conversation with him.  I miss him so much. For an entire lifetime he was my cousin, but for a few years he was my best friend.  He’d totally get what I’m going through now.  He’d probably crack some corny joke to get me to smile, but more than that, he’d open his arms and let me cry on his shoulders until my eyes were swollen enough to resemble those of a boxer on the wrong side of a tight left hook.  In this screwed up world, he was one of the few people that ‘got’ me and he loved me with no judgement.

I had been very reflective as a result of the pending date, and already feeling a downer on the prowl during the work-week, I made arrangements to take a walk with Carla yesterday.  We walked for almost an hour and I measured it with the car – 3.2 Km, because the stupid GPS froze and according to the fitness app I was using to map our walk, we did less than a mile.  Argh!  The walk didn’t have the desired effect of physically exhausting me to the point I’d have liked, so I lay on the couch reading The Book of Joy, which I borrowed from Erica.

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I’m enjoying it, although I will concede whatever I read yesterday, I’ll have to reread, because I wasn’t in the right mindset.  The book deals with the very feelings I am having now, and how to still have joy despite them.  I definitely want to get myself a copy because it will be a book I will definitely reread in the years to come.

The heavy cloud that has been following me for the last few days was also darkened by the fact that the guy who I was good enough to see through his divorce four years ago before leaving me for a blond 10 years my junior (17 years his) and getting engaged to her on Valentine’s Day (a mere two weeks after meeting her) decided it would be a good time to try and catch up by following my (very seldomly used) Instagram.  The first thought that went through my head, was Fuck you, Jack and the second one was block.  I had heard rumours from a quite trustworthy source that there is trouble in paradise and shortly after he pulls a (dick) move, thinking I won’t notice.  It angers me immensely when people insult my intelligence and my intuition.  I’m probably one of the most compassionate people you will ever meet, but I can cut you off like a dead branch and toss you into the fire without looking back.

The heaviness I feel is because of many small things all rolling towards me at the same time.  Think scourge of mosquitoes and you’ll have an idea of what I mean.  The only difference is that I could be sleeping with the G.O.D fan on and they’d still get to me.  I have to keep reminding myself that this too shall pass and that everything happens for a reason, but right now those mantras are not grounding me enough to focus.  I’m a mess -Shattered, hopeless and resentful and I hate it!  I’m a strong person, but sometimes I just need someone to take my hand and tell me Everything’s going to be alright.

So, I’m going to do what I must, to look after myself first, because I’ve been too strong for too long and it’s catching up to me.  The best thing I can do for myself is to rest, even if that means sleeping for two days straight and saying NO! when I can’t take on more straw.  I try to get away once a quarter, but I have a goal I’m saving for (the silver lining is already out in The Universe :)), so the rest will have to be at my flat, where I’ll have to fight the distractions that are all over the show.  Another thing I should do is write more, I know, but right now, that in its own is undue pressure.  I’ll get there. Eventually.

I will also remind myself of this every day until I feel better:

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I promise my next post will be more positive.  Who knows, maybe I’ll do something I haven’t done since school and review a book – The Book of Joy

Friends: They Leave Imprints on your Heart

I rant when I’m particularly irritated or feel that there is injustice happening to those I care about – many of you who have been following my blog for a long time will know this. I feel the urge to rant, because I am tired of the same shit repeatedly, but realize that it isn’t going to solve anything; it is only going to steal my joy.

On the subject of joy, I’m going to share its opposite with you for a paragraph or two and then end off on a happy note, because while it’s normal to experience negative emotions, it’s not okay to allow them to take root in our minds – after all, our thoughts become our actions, not so?

Yesterday was an extremely busy day at the office, so when I got the news that a good friend of mine, Frances, had left this world for the next, I felt a pang of shock (although she’d been ill for a long while), but I couldn’t really think about it.  We hadn’t seen each other in a very long time, but for the last nine months or so, we’d reconnected online.  I often chatted to her about alternative things, and she always gave me her honest take –  No holds barred.  Even when she was at her worst, she always gave her best.  She listened without judgement and never hesitated to tell me the truth, even when it was hard to hear.  Now she’s gone, and part of me feels lost.  It’s odd really, because we were close for a short time, then so far removed from one another for over two decades and then close again.  A kind of ‘concertina friendship’ if you will.  She leaves behind an ex-husband, who despite the divorce, I know she loved ‘til her dying breath, and two children, who I’ve not met.  I’m devastatingly sad at her departure.  I’ve lost close people – even family – before, but with her it’s different.  I can’t articulate it, because I don’t know what it is.  The world is emptier without her.  One thing that is a relief, despite the heartache, is that she is finally pain free.

I said to Charlie yesterday that I think I have only a single photo of Frances and I together, and that if I do, it is in a dusty album in storage somewhere. I hope one day I’ll find it and be able to have a proper reminisce over it. Until then though, I’ll remember her for the amazing person she was: mother, fighter, friend.

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Onto a less sad subject, Saskia, who “adopted” me as her big, but thin sister (we met in the gym…) is tying the knot in November and asked Yours Truly a while ago if I would be a bridesmaid. I was like, “is a duck’s arse damp?” followed by unexpected tears, of both joy, and surprise – because she has so many friends, and well, in comparison to them, I’m old.  She and her beau too live far away, but they are here for a few days, and she, her best friend of the past eighteen years (and Maid of Honour), another bridesmaid and I are getting together for dinner this evening to talk about the shindig.  I’m counting the hours because I just know we’re going to have a great time.

As I type this post, thinking about these two incredibly special ladies, I am reminded that making memories is important.  The digital era in which we live affords us the ability to capture those memories at the click of a smartphone button.  Sure, it’s amazing, but we need to caution against being lost in that action, as opposed to being lost in the people we’re with – so tonight, while I know the young ‘uns will be doing their millennial selfie thing, I’m not going to even take my phone with me. This evening, I’m going to imprint memories of this jubilant occasion in my mind’s eye.

Here’s to a night of uproarious fun, hysterical laughter, and most of all, the love of friends!

 

The Winds of Change are A’Blowin’

Sometimes, something happens, and you find yourself (for lack of a better term), different.  Out of this Misfit’s book, I give you two personal examples:

Dining Alone

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I’m not sure which one of my girl friends it was, but she said, “It’s like when you reach 40 you just don’t give a rat’s ass anymore what people think.” Pretty much everyone 40+ in the company agreed.

I’ve always been one that enjoys my own company; growing up as an only child in a building where there were no other kids taught me quickly how to keep myself entertained.  As I grew up, I became an extremely social person; I was a relatively well-liked teenager (albeit a book nerd) and post-21, I had many people I considered friends.

As we all know, life happens, and people’s paths diverge – there is no definitive turning point, or fork in the road.  One day you’re still cruising on a Sunday-roadtrip-to-nowhere with your best friend, a year later you’re sitting in a coffee shop alone, having an oversized brunch, chased by a double-thick-peanut-butter-milkshake.

If anyone had told me a year ago, that on the brink of thirty-nine, I would be that person, I would have laughed because I’ve always been of the opinion that there are certain things nobody should do alone – like have a meal in a restaurant, or go to the movies, yet yesterday, I was that person. And it felt surprisingly good. I paged leisurely through some tattered magazine while waiting for-, and during (my mother would just die if she knew I was reading at the table) my meal. I was lost in my own little world, oblivious to what was happening around me, until a stranger accidently bumped my table on his way out.

The point I’m trying to make, I suppose, is that I’ve reached that point, where I’m okay to go out on my own (although solo-movies are still daunting) and not be fazed by what the people around me think.

It boils down to acceptance of self, but more than that love of self – because face it, if you don’t love and accept who you are, how can you expect others to?  I’m confident and independent – and that epitome is the greatest thing ever; just a pity it’s taken me almost forty years to realize it.

Social Media Slow Down

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It’s been eleven years since my friend, Vixen, nudged me to join Facebook – the magical world where I could play Texas Hold ‘Em Poker without losing any real money, stay in touch with friends, plug my Herbalife business, share photos & random thoughts (some of my memories have me wondering, What. The. Actual. Fuck?) and Lord knows what else.

Round this time last year, the appeal was just gone.  I woke up one morning thinking, how many people really bother with checking up on me there, as opposed to getting in touch with me by other, more immediate means? I’m not saying I’ve become a total social media luddite, I’ve merely tapered down my use of almost all the apps related to it, except Whatsapp, because it is my main go-to means of comms, mostly because I use my almost ninety-five hundred percent of my allocated 100 minutes of talk-time on my contract to chat to my friend Trisha, in Durban.

Being a complete social media hermit is not normal in the age we live in, so I’ll still log in and check what’s potting in Facebook-land, sometimes I’ll even post something, but quite honestly, I’d much rather save my data to chat with the circle of people on Whatsapp that matter to me, as much as I do to them.

Maybe it’s also because I’m almost forty, who knows?  One thing’s for sure though – there is a change in me, and I’m embracing it.  I feel like a new person – more accepting, more open and sure as hell, more awesome.

Change is not a bad thing – sometimes it is more necessary than we’d care to admit, and it’s a part of growing up, and enjoying life.