Day 26: (Apocalyptic) Acceptance

Today has not been a good day 😦

The alarm clocked sounded this morning and upon opening my eyes, my head pounded. Migraine! I’m partly to blame for the headache, what with binge-watching series and movies to not have to think about how lockdown truly is impacting me, the people I love, and those I don’t even know. My head is still sore, my stomach is churning like a top-of-the-range cement mixer, and my heart is heavy.

In an attempt to get some work done, I closed all the blinds in The Cave. Darkness! A slight reprieve from the sandpaper that still scratches my eyeballs every time I blink. Thankfully I can type with my eyes closed. My ninth grade typing teacher would be so proud.

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More Questions than Answers

I thought a lot about death over the weekend following Mr. Doeps’s memorial service on Friday.  Even though I don’t know his wife well and his children at all, I couldn’t help but think he was a few months older than The Bean (who is 73) and she’s a few months older than The Toppie (72). My brain then fixated on Psalm 90:10: 

“The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.”

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#EkOok

My friend, Yolandi Claassens, writes Afrikaans motivational, Christian-based stuff drawing from her own testimonies.   She has published one anthology already, entitled Padlangs (translation in context of her writing:  The Journey), which started as a blog and Facebook page (much like Reflections of a Misfit).  Padlangs and it as well as her second manuscript, Padkos (translation in context of her writing:  Soul Food) are currently being edited by a different publishing house for publication later this year.

The story of why she changed publishers is outlined in this book I purchased from her today.  It is entitled #EkOok (#MeToo), a collection of stories written by various South African women from all walks of life who share their stories of hope after disappointment and rising after defeat.

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Obviously if I only bought the book today, I haven’t done much in the line of reading.  I jumped to Yolandi’s story, where she had penned the message “Jeremiah 29:11 – make it yours”.  I then happened upon another story about a woman who found out about her husband’s infidelity when she received a text intended for his mistress.  She fell pregnant and came to after the birth, only to discover her husband and his mistress in her hospital ward.  But that’s not all, he went on to tell her that due to her disobedience, he would not be tending to her-, nor the baby’s needs.  If she wanted anything, she would have to ask his mistress.  If your jaws haven’t all dropped in disbelief, then I’d like to know what is wrong with you?!  The writer goes on to say that she has moved on, forgiving her (which I gather must be her now ex-) husband, in order for her to be able to live her life to the fullest.

From my own experience, I know forgiveness is hard.  Especially when you did nothing but care for someone who betrayed your heart so badly, you would rather have died than go on.  But (there’s always a ‘but’, isn’t there?) forgiveness does enable one to move past the hurt, resentment and anger – eventually.  Also, drawing from my own life, forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to let them back into your life when they have (apparently) seen the error of their ways.  I wrote, well ranted, about such an instance here.

Both Yolandi, and the other lady’s story have one thing in common:  We are not always in control of what happens to us, but (this is a good ‘but’) we do command the power of how we react.  As someone who needs medication to keep Darkness at bay, I do know that I can either decide to let It envelope me, or I can take a rest and give myself time to regain perspective.  That is where my authority lies – in knowing that I need to heed the warnings and that having a boundary of I’m not able to (insert whatever seemingly normal activity may become overwhelming at times) is not a weakness.  I can choose to do what I need to do to remain strong.

There are seventy-one stories in #EkOok and my intention is to read at least three a day, because there are stories in it that remind me that no matter how hard things seem for me, there are women that have faced worse and reached a point in their life where they can share their story – that’s true healing, right there.  There are times when I feel unworthy or unloved and there, on the crisp pages of this book, ink dances to remind me that I am enough!

 

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

Not Even Death can Kill a Forever Love

I’m in a philosophical mood, a little melancholy too.  Chalk it down to conversations I’ve been having-, or the books I’ve been reading of late, being a little tired again, the chill of winter, or simply because my brain needs something to think about.

I saw Harriet on Friday after work.  We spoke about a few things and somehow Paul came up.  I haven’t spoken about him in a very long time, literally years.  It was bittersweet to reminisce about the memories I had made with him. I still listen to Leonard Cohen’s music, Hallelujah in particular, and a memory will escape from my eyes down my cheek.  I know we would never have ended up together, but as I spoke, I wondered what he’d be doing now if Death hadn’t come to take him.

I went to the farm on Saturday to spend some time with Shayla-Rae, her husband (who is jokingly referred to as my skelmpie – which loosely translated implies that we’re having an affair), my precious Godchild, Lily-Rose, and SR’s mum.  SR’s dad exchanged this world for Another four years ago, yet when here mum talks about him, it’s clear that her heart aches still for him.  They were together for forty-seven years. That’s longer than I’ve been alive!

SR’s grandmother, Granny Wood, who turns 100 in October this year (yes, she will be a centenarian!) also remembers her late husband with fond tears and smiles.  She regales tales of their time together with crystal clarity, despite her mind being addled by dementia that is setting in.

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Now, in SR’s mum and Gran’s case, they married young (as was custom) so I’m not sure if they’d had the opportunities to meet more than the one or two men they did before they settled down into marriage if they would have said they experienced love more than once.  For them it was a case of One Great Love, their Forever Love.

I’ve not dated many blokes either (my track record with the opposite sex has been nothing short of disastrous!), but I’ve loved more than once, and I mean greatly loved.  The sad thing though is that as boundless as I can love, it never seems to be enough.

I know that just because it’s what I feel, doesn’t make it true, but it’s on my mind and I’m getting it out because topping (overthinking) about my worth to others (which is a huge thing for me) is not going to do me any good in this state of mind.

In the meantime, I’ll console myself that not even death’s sting can conquer forever love.

Oh, and just a side note, my brain is getting food tonight… Elena and I are going for sushi!

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Who knows what this Misfit’s fed brain will come up with next?

I guess y’all just have to wait and see 😉

The Bleeding Heart of Rejection

I have the most awesome friends, and blog followers! I’ve received a few topics after my request for assistance, and I’ll get to all of them, even if it means writing every day for the next decade.  Okay, that’s a hyperbole, but still, I have stuff I have to write about. Yippee!

My friend of a quarter of a century, Kerry, gave me four topics to write about:

  1. The Meaning of Friendship
  2. The Bleeding Heart of Rejection
  3. One Wish, and;
  4. Simple Little Things

Number 2 is what caught my eye first, because honestly, we’ve all been there. If you haven’t, then you’re either still a child and shouldn’t be reading my blog, or you’re a Cyberman.  If you don’t get the reference, you need to brush up on your British Sci-fi, otherwise we can’t be friends…LOL

Jokes aside, rejection comes in many forms, but none so sore as the loss of someone who owns your heart, because you decided to give it to them, trusted them to keep it safe, not to rip it to pieces and stab you continuously with its shards. After every heartbreak, there is healing, but the scars remain.

Before you all stop reading here, thinking God help us, this is going to be a morbid post, it’s not – because after every rejection (regardless of the shape it takes), something better comes along.  I’ll admit it sometimes takes ages, but it does happen.

The very first sting of rejection I can remember was in 1986, my first year of school. I always finished everything last – because I wanted it to be absolutely-, faultlessly perfect. Virgo trait, which today, thankfully, I have learned is not the be-all and end-all of everything. Organize chaos is a thing, and it works; for me at least, anyway. Every month there would be an election of Class Captain, and every month I’d be passed over. I couldn’t understand why. I was also the kid that always got chosen last for a team. I couldn’t understand why trying my best, wasn’t good enough. It confused me, but more than that, it hurt. At the end of the year though, during prizegiving, I received a book prize for First in Class: Grade 1.

My first heartbreak happened the year I was to turn twenty-one. A lot happened during the time Peter and I were together, and many things were said (and we all know that the tongue is a two-edged sword) that left me feeling not only rejected, but utterly worthless. I wanted to die. I lost almost 2 stone in a matter of a week, and I didn’t even want to shower, nor bath (and if you know me, you’ll know I cannot go a day without washing my hair).

Years have passed, and there’ve been some other disastrous relationships in between – all of which have ended because they chose not to be with me. Each time has been hard (I’d be lying if I said it gets easier), but looking back, I learned valuable lessons from every single one of those guys.  Their behavior towards me, I came to realize quite late in life, is not a reflection of who I am, but who they are. I have come out stronger, more confident, and for the most part, happy – albeit it sometimes lonely. I’ve learned to love me and bask in the uniqueness of the person I am.  Some people see it, others don’t, but as I said here I’m over what people think. I’m loved by the people in my life now – because they value me and appreciate my individuality, even when I sometimes doubt myself.

In closing, I want you to look at these two images:

Both hearts are clearly wounded – the choice lies with us whether we pull out the knife and continue to let the wound bleed indefinitely, or whether we bleed for a while (which is natural) and patch the wound and try again.