Four of wands (R)

I have a bad habit of wanting things I can’t have. Mallory you can’t have it all. You can’t have it both ways. And I’ve never been able to process that sentiment. But over these past two years I’ve proved otherwise, that I can have everything I want – I just need to want it hard enough and go for it.

In my career and dreams, this has actually been my guiding force, succeeding through pure willpower. However when it comes to making an emotional connection – whether family or relationships, I come up short.

4wrxEvery week I pull a card out my deck, and use it’s teachings and meanings to help shape and focus my week. This week was a curious one as I drew the four of wands, reversed.

The four of cards is a wedding card – but my life is hardly one that will tolerate such at this stage. It’s happy card, even when it is upside down. So at the root of it all I am happy, but there are issues.

Am I ignoring something important in my life, that is prohibiting my completion? Is this a warning?

This week is about being grateful for all the opportunities that I’ve been given. I appreciate those around me, and the support system I have that gets me through each day.

I have a tendency to create unstable connections with people. When I meet someone I’m excited by we will have a whirlwind relationship whether platonic or other but there is something so freeing when you meet someone new. I think I’m someone who is learning to express herself more and more freely – why? Because I know myself and want I want and it’s confusing when I am limited by what I can and cannot express or feel.

My friends tell me to me not to be impatient. Why the rush? It’s true I don’t have to blitz through the world and through people, but sometimes I feel like I’m running out of time and I sure as hell aren’t dropping dead without having experienced life and people to the fullest. So in turn, I put it out there… why wait?

Let’s say you ‘ve been hurt in the past – why is there this need to pause before jumping into a relationship again?I’m not talking foolhardy behavior though – but once you know why something didn’t work out and have done your introspection, and you know what you want out of life next, why not go for it?

I think people do know themselves; they just don’t want to admit the truth. But maybe I can be narrow-minded when it comes to believing that people deal with issues the way I do.

I on the other hand don’t want to focus on the small details – it weighs me down, makes things complicated, but for other people it matters. At the same time, maybe this card is telling me to pause and acknowledge where I am in live, who around me matters and give thanks just for that.

Hello 2017.

“Always forward” – Luke Cage

9 days in but the New Year kicks off for me tomorrow.

A new year is always very overwhelming to me as I get daunted by the goals I set for myself over the next 12 months. This year it wasn’t any different as I readied myself for what has to be a successful and progressive year. This time I have more to lose, because I have gained so much in the previous year. The constant battles, the fights to get where I am… and now I am being called again to duty, but what’s needed isn’t flashes of brilliance but to consistently, constantly exceed expectations and shine.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to purpose. It is so easy to get distracted but what has helped me, and what I hope will serve me well this year, is ensuring each day is a deliberate step forward, and if that is not possible, do not allow for a thoughtless, unconscious step back. What I cannot do is find comfort in a safe zone, sit on the fence and let life pass me by.

I’ve laid the ground work, and all I need to do is just follow the path – it’s really that simple. It’s big picture thinking, with a map in hand.

I can do this.

Mzansi to Maputo – 22 Dec

Off on an adventure

Whoop! 

Yes this is definitely a whooo moment for me! My first time out the country in over four years! The girls and I are enroute to Maputo, Mozambique. I’ve been anticipating this holiday for so long, in part to practice my travel writing  but mostly so that I can keep a running social and witty commentary of my holiday with Sherlock observations and perhaps sexy encounters with tourists that could teach EL James a thing or two. 

I scored the backseat in the first leg of the trip and after a glorious nap I feel alive. My housemates aka travel companions knew better than to try engage me in conversation. It was me,chicken nuggets and nap time to make the world tolerable.

We have around four hours to go, not taking into account the dreaded border post. Mpumalanga is so beautiful and green and thankfully it’s not too hot.

We are nearing Komatipoort and the vegetation has gotten darker and more thick. Taps has taken the wheel and we are hurtling towards the border. I have not been asked to drive yet… I guess the girls are enjoying my comic relief.

Just squealed as we went swerving off the road. “Pothole” Taps says as a means of explanation.

The police are living their best lives today… A roadblock every 5kms. Luckily our car looks completely uninteresting and not worth stopping to solicit a bribe. Truthfully though the road police have been amazing pulling over taxis and busses and heavily loaded vehicles. A very gruelling and underappreciated job.

Near the border, some travellers have pulled to the side of the road to nap off the sweltering heat. Little sheds have been constructed where you can pick up some oranges or a cold one out of a bar fridge. No stopping for us though, we are Joburgers of course.

The border is 4ks away and I’m nervous about the process and looking forward to relaying my experience. I’m hoping to go in as Un-South African as possible… Basically not pessimistic and argumentative.

2kms away from the border post the traffic begins.Taps is impressed by the lack of influx into Moz, apparently the Zim border is worse.

Some people are getting out to look at what’s happening… We don’t have a clear view just yet. Naturally I’m jealous of theTaxis VIP lane.

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to popsicles everywhere. We take you out of the freezer only to let you painfully melt. For the first time ever I feel your pain. If only I was lucky enough to find someone to lick me so I may pull it together. The crowd present I would not dare ask. We’ve been stuck at the toll for at least half an hour and Caths aircon really is working hard. Sandwiched between two trucks, one of which keeps rolling back as if we are participating in Final Destination.

Taps is killer at this border game. Any gap bigger than 14cms she will insert herself into. It’s quite thrilling actually. Fast and furious without the speed and a lot more anger issues.

We finally get to the border and things immediately go wrong…. Oh what’s this? Redaction? ………

3 hours later we are finally in Mozambique. If you close your eyes you would think we were in KZN. There are tons of billboards advertising washing powders and Vodacom.

Mozambican driving is also another kind. I have a feeling that what hazard lights mean to South Africans…Translated into Portugese it’s another story. Luckily the Mozambicans are polite… Or know their place as Joburgers come barelling past, bullying them onto the yellow line.

We drive for another hour and a half when Taps and I realise something is horribly wrong. Yup Cath has inputed the incorrect address into the GPS and since we don’t have a local SIM card, ta tudo fodido.

We find some friendly looking officers to help us on our way. Cath greets them with an “Hola” which has me snickering and shaking my head after providing the wrong language to greet in. Duolingo for the win!

Luckily my 17% passable Portugese has allowed me to understand the directions given… Or rather the accent in which halting English is delivered. Whoop enroute again only to find out we actually aren’t staying in Maputo but Catembe which is an island which we can only get to by ferry. A helpful official dials me in on the details. Half an hour to load. Half an hour trip. 16 Cars per trip. We were 33 in the queue. Do the math.

The girls go explore the city after holding their bladder for 3 hours while I hold down the fort. It’s fascinating watching hundreds of people load and off load between Catembe and Maputo. I also note whose driving the best cars… Mostly white diplomats, Asians and Indians. The traders keep me entertained… Trying to sell me an iPhone charger for my Huawei or paco robane… Even a brand new Sony cell phone fresh off the pocket of a tourist was on offer. Taps and I are considering hunting for a Samsung Smart TV while we are here… We aren’t fussy from which province or hotel it may have been acquired from.

By 9 we are driving up the gangway which I’m all too excited about. Driving to sail…It’s like Turducken. We are jamming awesome tracks while we wait… Quite tired as the sun has long set. But we reach the other side, no fatalities no thanks to my over active imagination. 

But also Catembe doesn’t have paved roads. It’s okay I tell myself as I kick the little Sazuki Swift into Alex Taxi metamorphosis. We hightail it over sandy potholes and anthill sized speed bumps, narrowly missing hard to see civilians. At some point on the dark lonely road we come grinding to a halt in front of a young turnt and probably high youth. His outstretched arm lands heavily on the bonnet and the passengers in the car simultaneously hold their breaths. I debate what to do but my options are limited…And I’m not trying to see the inside of the Mozambican prison system. He meanders along to the side of the car, hand dragging along the body. I put the gear in first. As I hear Cath screech as the human tries to open the door handle, I hit the accelerator and leave him in our dust.

We arrive at Catembe Gallery Hotel only to face another situation…. Due to our late arrival the bar closes at 10.30…20 minutes time. Although our cooled welcome drinks were perfection we needed something to take the edge of our day…. Much of which has been redacted. We left the house at 6am only to complete check in at 10pm. Cape Town drivers what’s good?

Boob sweat, deflated hair and swollen feet did not slow me down as I raced to throw my bag upstairs and clamber down to order that double Rum and coke.

Now Mozambique is known for its R&R… No not rest and relaxation… Rum and Raspberry! I made sure to quickly put one away after that. My roommates ordered some of the largest most succulent prawns I’d seen since Thailand.

The girls are snoring now as I struggle to finish this post. I’ve given up completing it by midnight… It wouldn’t matter since I sit-in the hotel’s second power outage tonight since we arrived.

I’m excited for breakfast but mostly to order Cervaja… The most Portuguese word I’m comfortable with… But completely useless against bribe seeking soldiers.

Today I kept repeating myself that “This is Africa” but it’s lacking the Sandton intonation. This is Africa, this is an adventure. My first day across the border… What do i remember the most? The helpful people, feeling safe as I sat on the pier waiting to drive onto the ferry, the vibrancy of the city and the smell of grilled prawns.

Buenos Noche

Mephobia

Did you know there’s this phenomenon called “Mephobia”?

Mephobia: Fear of becoming so awesome that the human race can’t handle it and everybody dies.

When I learned this new word I actually laughed aloud. Not because it wasn’t plausible, but rather when you’re that awesome, who cares if people can’t handle it and you cause mass extinction. Now I know my thinking is quite firmly along the lines of dictators, evil villains and Superman (okay let’s put him in the alien invasion category)… but these are sentiments that have me thinking.

As I’m making my way to the top, it’s getting lonelier and lonelier. Sure I have amazing friends and a support system, but really it is just me, my decisions and the ramifications of each one fall on me. I scroll the romance all over social media – everyone has weddings and babies on the brain. I won’t lie, I’m jealous as hell… because I worry I’m missing out on a feeling that I’ve yet to want. It’s just not where life is taking me.

I once wrote how much I feared my own ambition. Everything I’ve set out to accomplish I’ve achieved or it’s very much in progress.  I guess this is where my Mephobia comes in… am I dreaming hard enough and big enough? Will it ever be enough, this constant addiction to wanting more for myself, to being the greatest, wanting to be so awesome…?

I’ve honestly struggled to see how ambition could be a double-edged sword. Ambition always has its price, something must be sacrificed for you to achieve greatness. Should an ambitious person be faulted for recognising and taking on the opportunity cost? I don’t think so. I am willing to pay the price of my ambition – whether it is seen as greedy or not. In some eastern cultures, and I guess African too, ambition can be categorised as evil, not living within societal and spiritual restraints. But the West obviously values it – as long as it fits in with their checklist of acceptable values.

I don’t think I’ve ever been able to play life safe – I’m someone who’s swung from extremes in terms of actions, behaviour and thoughts. I’ve never felt safe, or capable of playing it. The adrenaline of achieving something, doing something by yourself – it’s meaningful. Being remembered is powerful. At least to me.

Why do you risk? To what extent are you willing to sacrifice?

Slave to my plan

“The art of being a slave is to rule one’s master.” – Diogenes

I told a very important person to me, the other day, that I am a slave to my four year plan. I used to be a wild child, spontaneous and free-spirited. But I can only say how much freedom I have found in structure, in planning and organising. Making a plan for myself, setting myself goals and logical steps as to how to get there hasn’t dampened my spirit or made me dull or any less spontaneous – instead I find I have more freedom to do the things that I want, more time spent in meaningful ways and the possibilities are endless.

There is a certain kind of liberation when you are a slave to your plan. For an over thinker like me, knowing that you’ve overthought and speculated all the possibilities and with a firm foundation, you don’t have to think anymore just do – I can finally relax and let all my preparation speak for itself. Go with the flow.

As I type this is sounding like quite the contradiction but it’s true. For the first time ever this year my mind-set is on point and I have achieved every single thing I wanted out of 2016. Every.Single.Effing.Thing.Achieved.

So excuse me if I’m high on #blackgirlmagic … melanin mojo is a powerful thing.

23 days till the end of the year and it suddenly occurred to me – what are my goals for the next? Now my plan is functioning well, and I’m on my way… what must happen? This year was about my career, about getting money and paying the bills. Next year I’m giving in to wanderlust. Wherever the road may take me, I won’t be held captive by these Gauteng borders too long. Oh and of course slaying education – I can write a thesis on a flight to Ireland right? Read about Fanon and Biko while sipping cocktails in Bali is doable no? And obviously Tanzania and Zanzibar – hub of pan African expression, it’s a great excuse to research into the great African thought leaders…while exploring the spicy streets.

I don’t mind being a slave, if I am my own master. Let the master in me dream and devise, and harness the slave within to submit to that ambition. Together, duality of consistency and vision – I’m kind of going to be unstoppable.

Little Lost Girls and Finding Neverland

I made a remark to my friends that our new 3 bedroom apartment we started renting a month ago should be officially named “Neverland.” Peter Pan was a lucky sun of a gun and all his homies, The Lost Boys too. To have the choice as a young man to never grow up is a choice that no young woman ever has the chance to make.

I suppose you could call the inhabitants of the apartment Lost Girls – but really it seems there is an active choice between us to be ‘lost.’ This is not a negative choice, I’m surrounded by the strongest of women who’ve chosen their happiness and at times sanity over convention, over family, over community. We’ve been friends since primary school but it shocks me to discover that we aren’t only united by a typical friendship and love of gossip, boys and fashion, but we share similar versions of the same story when it comes to our relationships with our families.

We aren’t the same, we are a mix of older children and an only child. WE are different races, different nationalities yet we’ve all had to deal in some way with being the black sheep of our respective families. Among us are do-gooders, and rebels, there are bad bitch characteristics and absolute nerd tendencies.

So how did we get here…?

Some view the black sheep of the family – there is an assumption that as soon as fluffy leaves the fold, things will get better. But in my reading, I’ve found another line of thinking. The black sheep plays a crucial role in family dynamics, they are the “care taker or holder of discharged family drama”. Through an unspoken agreement, one person will be and be used as a martyr for every familial problem.

Once this agreement or assumption is in place, the black sheep goes about living life and experiencing their own challenges. The family gets used to judging and placing blame on the black sheep for their difficulties as well as the family’s own difficulties too. Even events which the black sheep is not responsible for, somehow the family believes in their minds that the fluffy is culpable.

When enough is enough…

There is a general agreement among us that a major reason for some of the darkness within us, the issues we face is because we were too damn polite. Any criticising of our parents we felt would be seen as rude, disrespectful and honestly nothing good would come of it…it’s just the way things were. But everyone reaches a boiling point, whether they are doing it for themselves or seen to be self-sacrificing.

I think there is a hope with every little girl who decided to ‘get lost’ that the family will realise that without a scapegoat in the mix, they can turn the microscope on themselves and evaluate who they are the decisions they make. That the lost girl believes is the only way true healing can begin. Because healing is a two-way process. But she knows she cannot go through life believing she is the only one broken, or in need of ‘fixing.’ Of course while LG is trying to heal herself she hasn’t left in her entirety. The symbolism of her is still attacked, there is denial that she has healed, there is a denial that the family has issues, and a denial that someone could actually walk away from the family fold.

I’ve made it my year to reflect and not feel guilty about walking away from a situation that I believe was toxic, or pretty damn close to it. I was hurting by staying, and hurting others. And I knew that there would be backlash, sometimes its peaceful, sometimes it can be pretty ugly. But I figure each to her own coping mechanism.

Finding Neverland and what I have learned…

  • I made the right decision to stay lost and I will continue to do so until I can handle re-entry. This is something only I know when that will be, and there is no forced deadline or pressure.
  • I do not have to feel obligated to communicate – I do sometimes, when I feel I want to and can. But if I see a potentially hurtful situation arise, I give myself leave to stay clear of it.
  • I break patterns, I’m creating my own rituals and traditions
  • I get help, I have an entire support structure who are there for me in many different ways. I use it when I need to.
  • I have the power.

 

 

Un cauchemar vivant

When I was young I used to have terrible nightmares. They would wreak havoc on me as I woke up screaming, willed myself to die in a dream just so I could wake up. It got to the point where I not only became afraid of the dark, I’d fear falling asleep too. I’d do anything I could to stay awake, read books with a flashlight under the duvet…stay up texting…listen to music until I would eventually pass out from exhaustion. The darkness too was a no no, my bed the only safe space. I used to dread the duty of switching off the lights, as I found myself sprinting to my sanctuary before anything could grab.

I was gifted and cursed with an over active imagination. I didn’t have imaginary friends or anything like that, but it was a struggle to separate what was real compared to something I may have dreamed. Did this happen to me, or was this a character in a book? Was this a memory or just a remnant of a nightmare?

From puberty onward, these fears translated into second guessing myself and has remained with me since. It’s something I battle with and have actively worked to be mindful of. I guess that’s why I keep a diary and write creatively – to separate the fact from fiction.

Imagine having a memory that you know you have experienced to the infinite percent. You are so sure. This is your truth. Now imagine being told you are a liar for it – it didn’t happen. You are still sure, yet…you cannot help but doubt yourself. That’s the funny thing about memories – what is so critical and resonates with you doesn’t necessarily apply to those who experienced that same moment, in fact one instance to you which fundamentally shifts your perspective could be next to irrelevant or non-existent to the other participant.

The problem with being forever branded a liar about your experiences leads to two situations. Firstly, the doubt you feel… suddenly you question your sanity, is this a delusion? The torment comes from knowing what you know to be true, but a similar voice of reason saying it cannot be possible. This leads to the second problem, that one moment when you finally get through and receive a moment of belief, when someone believes you… how real is that? How candid was that moment – or perhaps it was another delusion… made up things in my head.

As someone who has dealt with many insecurities I can honestly say my memory for every nasty, over-the-line, and hurtful conversation far outweighs my memory storage of happier times. It’s just how it works. Ingrained into me disgusted looks, and off-hand comments – comments that may not be memorable but shattered me.

If someone approached me about something I allegedly had said – my first comments would be questions. When did I say this? What was the context? If it still doesn’t ring a bell, I’d say so and try to understand why this person may feel I have wronged them…Why would I do that? Because I know I have many faults, many flaws and sometimes I do say callous things. It is not outside the realm of possibility that I may have hurt someone badly by my words or actions.

I keep thinking about how happy I’ve been with consistency in my life. People around me I know to be true. Working with the facts I have at my disposal. I am not in a position to have to second-guess my truth. I act on what I know, and I’m starting to trust what I feel. The point is I have my facts, and others have their fiction… but it’s the same story. And I’m not about to start doubting my sanity again, not after all the hard work I did ensuring that nightmares stay in the darkness.