Sunday, December 14, 2014

Friends Forever!

There are different types of people that come in and out of our lives. There are those that leave because you outgrow each other and those that stay usually do so because you choose each other.

And then there  are those that walk in and stay by accident. Karolien is that friend. We played in bands together at university. We never really moved in the same circles, but we always got along relatively well. When university days came to an end, she was the last person I expected to still have in my life 5 years later. It started with daily google chat conversations when we both hated our jobs and lived for our google translate conversations that varied from French to German! In retrospect she really got me through those 15 months. We had an opportunity to catch up today; see each other again for the first time in years.

I walk away now so grateful to have her as a friend and grateful for such flukes in life. We don't always know who is best to have in our lives. It's nice to have certain people that we have no choice in having.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

"Drink from that wishing well but may it never quench your thirst."

 I hate this concept because it encourages us to keep desiring more from our lives. But when you want more it's usually out of dissatisfaction with how your life is in the moment. It's the dissatisfaction that I hate. On the seventh day, God looked at everything he had made and said that is was good.He was satisfied. Sure, it was really the beginning of huge disasters that He knew were coming, but in that moment, He was satisfied. I don't want to be God (obviously) but I want to be able to look over my life and say the same thing. I want to be satisfied with the way things are in all the different aspects of my life and to make changes based on a desire to tweak what is already there. I am nowhere near this point because I feel there are too many big changes that I still need to make. I'd like my thirst to be quenched in that sense and the continued thirst to be about smaller things; things that will not leave me anxious because  I haven't changed them.

I hate discomfort. I hate constant change. I hate that I have not yet arrived where I'd like to be. I hate that I am constantly restless. Take that away and I think I will function better and enjoy my life a bit more than I am right now. I'm rambling again...

Monday, November 10, 2014


I wrote this last year in an attempt to romanticise what has now become my nemesis. Every day I wake up in the wee hours of the morning - wide awake.

Sleep deprives me.
Thoughts crowding my head.
So many hours lay ahead.

Ahead. I thought I was moving ahead.
Now I'm five steps lagging.
Ahead is now actually behind...

What lays behind me, I'll one day say out loud.
Alternatively, I'll always hold it inside in hope that someday, I'll forget...

Forget. It's easy to forget what I mean to you.
Have I forgotten or have you just not told me yet?

Yet through it all, He sees it all, knows it all and will take me through it all
It's all for my deer feet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

An Open Letter

Dear Married Gym Instructer

I'm sorry I didn't respond positively to you rubbing my chin, smiling and winking at me flirtatiously. You may have chalked it down to me being too serious but hey, that's me.

Just because I am "too serious" though does not give you permission to ignore me in your classes. Please understand that I'm not trying to flirt with you to make up for the awkwardness you caused with your gesture.

Believe it or not, I go to gym so that I can tone my body and have a little fun. Yes, there is a rather fetching young man in my Monday spinning class but I promise I don't attend this class for him. In fact, in the last two weeks he has not been to that class and I still attend.

Because I rejected you that one time many months ago, I feel that your bruised ego could not and cannot handle my continuous attandance of your classes. That is not my problem. I don't attend for your amusement. Yes, you may look at my bum as I do your squats. I have no control over that and there are usually ten other women doing the same thing so I grin and bare it.

You being able to look and not touch is not my problem either. I hate that you can look and you hate that you can't touch so I guess we're even.

Do me a favour, though. When I have a problem during your class, it is your job to help me, not shrug your shoulders and watch the rest of the class in disregard. That will make me angry!

I have many things in my life that make me angry.  Sometimes it's plain and simple PMS but please do not make yourself one of them. I go to gym to let off a bit of steam, not to be sexually harrassed.

Yours sincerely
Disgruntled Gym Member

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Me, Not New Girl

I wish my life was a serries. It takes 40 minutes to solve life's  problems and  it is done one problem at a time. I often feel like I'm swimming in many problems at once or rather one problem spills into another ( because my problems are in compartments, of course) and contaminates it. I watched an episode of New Girl this morning and that Jessica Day made a life changing decision in just 20 minutes and in the very next episode solved a sibling problem she had had in just one deep and meaningful conversation!

Serries have a nice way of tying sections of one's life up with a neat little bow while I, in real life,  go back and reopen that little box within a bigger box called my past and feast on its toxins all over again.

It's official. I need to spend less of my leisure time watching television because  it makes me set very unrealist expectations for myself and let's be honest, no teacher is as strange as Jessica Day!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

An Ode to You, My Friend

Friends don't let friends struggle to get to the airport. They shrug their shoulders and say, "Sure, just make sure I don't forget to wake up at 5am to get you there. Sure, I'd love to keep your car and park it in my carport so it doesn't get damaged by the hail."

Friends don't let friends spend a weekend in the winelands without a winetasting adventure sending her back to the concrete jungle with a bottle of her own so she never forgets that there is more to the Cape than just its flat mountain. They dont let friends forget that one of the most important things in life is quality time spent talking, laughing, remembering a simpler time and marvelling at how sweet life has turned out to be.

Friends allow you into their intimate space. They won't let the most important day of their lives go by without you there to witness it and cry tears of joy at the beauty of those moments.

Friends don't let friends leave without a quick hello over a cup of tea, biscuits and a breakfast punch. A quick hello that results in a race to the boarding gate and a smile at the thought of the adventure that resembles theirs.

Friends don't let friends forget that any amount of time spent is a treasure as long as it is spent together. Friends don't let friends go through life unappreciated. They are true witnesses to your life. I salute you, my friends.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

How to Go to Gym

After I was rebuked for my complaints about living alone, I decided to join the gym if only to get out of the house. The plan wasn't to get skinny but to be able to walk into my jeans not to negotiate my jiggly bits in there.

I was lucky to bump into an ex neighbour who showed me the ropes. Rule 1: get a gym buddy! When you slack, they pull you back into gear, ask you where you are and even make suggestions about things to try once there. What I love about gym is that whether you enjoy working out alone or in a group,  you're covered. At first, I just went onto the treadmill followed by a variety of machines that have a kind of gym by pictures so you can't do it wrong, but I love group activities and hearing someone grunting next to me reassuring me that they too feel my anguish.  There's no greater motivation than a fifty something year-old woman doing the same workout as you and not breaking a sweat. You keep going just to maintain your dignity!

The workers are also very friendly and eager to help or suggest exciting classes you can join. Rule 2: Gym was designed for fat, unhealthy people. You are in good company so don't worry about how you look!

Thanks to my gym buddy I found some classes I really enjoyed and soon I wasn't going to gym because I was paying for it or because it's the right thing to do. I actually looked forward to all my classes and felt really good after every single one. Rule 3: find something you really love over there whether it's just a machine or a hectic spin class. That one thing will really keep you coming back!

So after a few months and skipping sometimes a whole week at a time, I decided to broaden my horizons and found myself one class every day of the week that I comitted to trying out. In 2 weeks I was going to gym a minimum of 4 times a week. For just a one hour class. I tricked myself into thinking that it wasn't too much work or commitment but doing what I enjoyed every day.

I also discovered the steam room. Sometimes on a Sunday, I pack a gym bag with a swimsuit and shower kit. I reward myself with a half hour lounge in there. The serenity in that room is priceless and probably the best way to start the week. Rule 4: gym isn't all about hard work but can also be a place to unwind. Take advantage of that. You are paying for it, after all!

All in all I believe that a gym contract has been money well spent and the best part is seeing the results of my labour. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Play That Funky Music

Today, I decided instead of staying at home, I should pay my brother a visit at the Vaal.

After waiting - I hate waiting!- in my car outside his house for almost an hour, he finally arrived. We took a drive in his car to get some food and the prettiest song came on. We had arrived back at his place at this point, but because he knows me so well and gets me - as few people do- he switched the car off and in the quiet darkness of his car, we sat and listened until it was finished.

It was quite fitting because when I was driving to the Vaal a thought occurred to me that one should always have the kind of playlist in their car that makes you want to drive around the block just one more time so you can finish that awesome song. Of course, you will have heard it a thousand times before, but one more time won't dilute what draws you to it.

My brother and I never grew up together and so we keep discovering new things we have in common all the time. Tonight our shared love for music was re-instated.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My People

For my birthday, my brother gave me a measly 10 second call at 2am. I was a little disappointed, but a week later he called to tell me that he wanted to throw me a birthday braai 2 weekends later. I was over the moon!

But then I realised that I was going to once again spend my (belated) birthday with someone else's people. To remedy that, I decided to invite some of my friends - or at least enough friends to fill my car for the drive to the Vaal. I was hesitant doing this because I didn't  know who would actually come. After days of procrastination and overthinking, as only I know how to do, I managed to round up 3 friends for the festivities.

I was still worried though. These ladies only had me in common, as far as they knew anyway. What if they went all the way to the Vaal just to have a terrible time because of me? The drive down was akward at first, but conversation eventually flowed and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Within minutes at my brother's house, these 3 women immediately commandeered his kitchen. Lebo did the dishes, Thula started on the salad and Kholu marinated the meat ( and later braaied it all like a boss!!). I stood at the door and watched them work and realised that these guys were making themselves at home in a place they were not familiar with. They were taking initiative and turning a house into a home. It was awesome to see it being played out because that's exactly what I would have done if the tables were turned.

Now, it may not sound like much to you. But all those episodes of Grey's Anatomy make sense. I watched my friends with their people all the time. I fit in with them, but I always wonder if they would ever fit with each other, in my world. And if they did fit in, what would make them distinctly my people? Here were these ladies showing me that they were in fact my people. These were just a handful of my friends working away in an environment they were not familiar with and enjoying themselves, because of me!!

So there you have it. From  now on I vow to no longer compartmentalise my friends, because all you need for a successful social gathering is just one thing or person that those people have in common. And then, Bob's your uncle! I'm greatful that I can say that I have people that I can call my own! It makes a world that often seems big and lonely a little brighter.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Daddy Issues

"I'm a child of divorce. Please don't make me choose!" I always pull out this card when I have to make decisions. The kids that grew up with both parents HATE this comment while the kids who were raised by their mothers roll on the floor laughing.

So I am one of many kids out there who were raised by their mothers. I know what makes an amazing mother, but I really have to think about what makes a dad great.

I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed today and saw so many status updates saluting moms for doubling up as fathers as well. One friend even stopped midsentence saying "I don't know where I'm going with this [father's day wish]". I was suddenly so sad. Yes, Our mothers did a great job raising us and we are fortunate to have them. But they raised us on their own because they had to. If they had a choice, I'm sure they would've chosen differently. I know I would've chosen differently for my own mother because she really deserves better. I have always wanted to make things better for her. As big and ugly as we are, we turn into little kids on parents' days. We remember everything that they did or failed to do for us.

I guess the little girl in me. The one who used to set the table at dinner and  make my mom and her then boyfriend sit at the table so I could have a family for 20 minutes. That little girl has this to say to men. We need you! We need you to teach us how to ride a bike, how to drive a car. We need you to drill holes in our walls so we can put up our pictures, to tell us to have our engines cleaned and how to fix things. We need you to tell us what we need in our toolboxes. We need you!!!  Your role is vital in our lives.

Monday, May 19, 2014

When I grow up

One of the first questions that gets thrown around upon meeting new people is "So what did you always want to be when you grow up?"

I've never been that kid, though. I remember wanting to be a pharmacist once; that was soon replaced by a marine biologist. I don't know why but at the time ( I must've been 10) those careers seemed glamourous somehow... I've always wanted attention. I've always yearned , above all else, to be validated, I think. I still get taken aback when asked if I always wanted to be a teacher. The best answer I can give is I don't stand in front of my kids and wish I was elsewhere doing something else. But I do sometimes fear that I am making no impact on them. When that boy drags his feet into my classroom, slouches in his chair, and let's out a long sigh before responding with half-opened eyes, "I dunno", I feel a little defeat seep into me. I'm trying so hard to make this exciting!! Why aren't you excited?!

I've learnt and  continue to learn that I am restless. Sometimes I squirm in discomfort and I question and overthink everything! I convince myself of the biggest lies and drive myself almost over a cliff. It's good to know this  because once you understand it, you can live with that thing you hate about yourself until you see it's not something to hate but to understand and embrace. Afterall, restlessness is what has often compelled me to make a move.

Through all that discomfort though, you should always remember never to under estimate your ability to influence. In a good or bad way, we influence people. No one walks out of our lives untouched by us.  Sometimes it'll be obvious and on other days, you'll have to say it over and over again to yourself while hugging your knees in a corner, but believe me, it happens.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to Live Alone

Finally, after over a year of wishing to live alone, here I am. I finally got what I wanted and all of a sudden, it seemed like I had all this time on my hands and nothing to do with that time but wonder if I made the right decision. What if I choke on my dinner and die? How long will it take for them to find my body? Which brings me to rule number 1; do NOT overthink it! Your mind will go to very strange places!

There I was, at Joburg Zoo thinking out loud to two married-with-kids colleagues and one of them finally cuts me short and says, "You singles irritate me! You're young. You have no responsibilities but yourselves but what do you do on  Friday nights? Sit at home doing absolutely nothing! Go out! Have a little fun, for goodness sake! You're gonna want these days back when they're gone!" This brings me to rule number 2; don't stay cooped up at home. Going out -  even if it's just to gym  or staying a bit longer at work - makes you appreciate coming home to the serenity of an empty house.

I spent one Sunday  afternoon waiting for my brother to fetch his couch. I nearly burst into tears when he didn't show up. Who was I gonna talk to? My hard drive provides the illusion of interaction, but those people are interacting with each other, not me! Rule number 3; when you are home, don't be too idle. There is plenty to do.Your dishes (I'm sure you have them in the sink!), do your laundry. It wasn't just piling up with ex housemate's clothes, you know! Clean your floor! Whites are not the only ones who shed hair! And cook for yourself for crying out loud! There's no harm in learning to cook smaller portions.

Speaking of watching others interact, rule number 4 - sometimes the silence is good. It's an opportunity to read a book, write and think about your life. You'd really be surprised how much there is to think about and plan for. True story!

So far, these  rules have helped me through the first month of single living. It was hard at first and I still have days when I throw them out the window, curl into  a ball and feel sorry for myself, but slowly the silence doesn't seem so loud anymore and I've realised that this living alone business, it's not bad and it can only get better from here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Self - Embrace

"I want someone to bare witness to my life", I said. "Is your life that amazing?" he mused.

Actually, it is because  I believe it is not amazing. In fact having a witness to one's life is what would make it meaningful, in my opinion. His perspective on a desire that lies hidden in the deepest part of me was interesting because I've realised that I depend too much on people's affirmation when it should be mine that I cling to the most.

You see, I'm not beautiful because people stop and stare at me.I'm not good at my job because my learners eat out of the palm of my hand. I'm not funny because they laugh, I'm not smart because of straight As. I'm not musical because they sing along. So my worth should not depend on them at all. It's time I embrace who I am and more importantly understand who I am and know what I'm about - not what they say I'm about, because they wonder in and out of my life as they see fit, but I am not going anywhere. Surely it is my opinion that should matter the most.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Be Kind - Always

Today is the last day of school. For the first time in a week I didn't wake up feeling like jumping off a bridge. It was a relief but also very strange, because when you are not happy, but you're not in pain, what is left, but rubble, really? I made my bed and picked up the clothes from my floor for the first time in over a week. I didn't know what to wear today and didn't care to put any care in my appearance so I threw on a pair of skinny jeans - since our new boss is going to be doing away with those next term- and my trusted old sweater and a pair of pumps. I didn't bother with make up and I combed my hair back into a bun the cherry on top being the absent colourful ring on my right middle finger. Today, I resolved, would be a naked day.

So I walk past one of the ladies at work that always has a compliment for me, be it my skirt or hair any general compliment about my beauty and she says to me, " Ya, now this is a woman who knows what she is about! You look so good today!" I was taken aback. This woman has no idea what my heart and mind are chewing on right now. She has no idea how lost I feel and how I am literally just going through the motions, yet she sees in me someone who has it together. How is that even possible?!

So I guess life for me has become very very complicated. I've experienced that people who see themselves as good do not necessarily do good all the time. People who are strong can be put to the ground by circumstances. And people who are not easily shaken can crumble. None of these circumstances make them less good or strong or levelheaded. It makes them human.

I don't wish any of my pain on my worst enemy. No one deserves to be hurt that way. But I do wish that when one makes a decision, always always, they should bare in mind that though we are strong,we have moments of weaknesses and that getting back to being strong is not an easy process. Strength is not the absence of weakness... Be kind to one another always.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This is the Life

At my age not only do I have to contemplate a life alone; a life where I pay my own bills, dream my own dreams and find some kind of contentness in that life - as much as my heart cries against it. I find myself also having to be extra careful around men, the species I've always felt more comfortable with.

I've never been much of a flirt. Men have always seen me as "one the guys". As a kid, my fondest memories are of my boy classmate who lived nextdoor to me.  He would make me play goalkeeper with 10 other boys. I didn't know, but he secretly liked me and said as much in a love letter he wrote to me which, by the way, I ripped to shreds along with his heart in front in his face! (I still deny that! I don't remember doing it!)

Fast forward a few years and I was the awkward 16 year old who had really never been kissed. I had no idea how to be coy or to catch a boy's attention in a flirtatious way, but I knew how to crack jokes, talk sport and just hang out ( because relationship talk would be different wouldn't it?)

Moving on to my early 20s and I was still a dork. A young man had his sights on me but I fumbled my way so badly through that that he lost his patience and left me to my awkwardness.

Now here I am, 28 years old and I look back on years of continued blunders, but now it's more serious. I meet men who are in  serious relationships  and wish they had met me sooner ( his words), married men whose wives are forever looking at how I'm dressed or how I bend so I don't lure their huabands into my trap (seriously?!)

I don't know how I went from a tomboy to a some kind of fox, but I'm here. I can't change where I come from and I'm glad I've grown into my womanhood and I don't like having to feel like I must apologise for it, but I don't want to offend anyone at the same time. Sometimes I wish my heart would be spoken for so I would not be used or made to look like a common harlet.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


My phone rang with bad news and for once I wasn't alone. Hugs, words of concern were both ready at my service, but I didn't want any of it. I longed to be left alone to deal with the news. I couldn't describe what it was that I needed...

For many years things would fall apart when I am alone and every time I would wallow in self pity wondering why I deserved to be so isolated; why I was always left to my own devices when I wanted to be smothered with support. But the thing is, when everything fails, the people who are "there for you" are actually unknowingly there for themselves. They check on you and fuss over you so they can call themselves good friends in the end. It sounds harsh and unwelcome, I know, but I understand that the intentions are good...

I always saw myself as an extrovert with a love for people. I never wanted to spend a moment alone. At first I resented being alone, but now I prefer it. I don't know how to co-exist. I can give support for as long as one needs it. I can perform acts of kindness that will make you weep in gratitude, but when the tables are turned, I don't know what I need from anyone. I'm not even sure I know what it is that I need from myself at that time....

I remember an old blog I wrote. I longed to be The Man in the Arena. Here I am in the arena, stratergising, sweating and even bleeding. I wonder now if I understood what I was really asking for because the Man in the arena is in there by himself and depends on his own devices to survive to the end. I think I want to go back to the bench... I didn't watch this game attentively enough to know how it is actually played.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Last Sunday, my pastor preached about believing God only. And it has just been coming up everywhere since then...

My grade 9s did prepared speeches this week. One boy had such a well researched speech, but he stutters and isn't very confident in front of people. I caught myself in the middle of commending his speech. All he had to do to make it better was believe that his speech was good. The rest would take care of itself. The goosebumps stayed with me for the rest of the day.

After receiving a cool keyring from a friend, I went on the hunt for another for my car keys seeing as my starfish split in half and I could only keep the back half. The one I found had ladybugs and leaves - and a little plate with "believe" written on it....

Of  course I'm in disbelief about only one thing so when these things kept, coming up, only one thing kept coming to mind every time....

Belief is such a difficult thing, though when your life is in one place and the thing you've got your sights on seems farfetched. Of course that's the one thing he wants me to believe in!  How else does he come out looking like a boss?!! Sometimes I wish he didn't believe in me so much!