Midnight swim

There’s something so seductive and witchy entering a pool of water late at night

The air was green-blue, created by the patio lights. The waxing moon cast a silver glow on the trees.

It was quiet. The earth was at peace.

The summer heat had been tormenting me, no reprieve since the setting sun hours ago. The night was calling me, taunting me to break my fever by dancing beneath the stars.

It felt like the devil himself possessed me to leave the save haven of my house.

I was nervous and excited. Titillated even. The soulful sounds of jazz to keep me company. That and the whimsical breeze carrying no other sound except whispers from branches.

My first step had me shivering in delight. The water stroked my thighs, I was being seduced by my own doing. Warm, undisturbedIMG_20150201_201422_resized – I felt wanton and alive.

In that moment I was as inappropriate and as hedonistic as I pleased. I only had to answer to myself and the moon.

Fearless.

Say it. Mean it. Don’t run from it.

I was nervous. I must have changed my outfit a good 5 or 6 times. I don’t know why my friends had decided to pick this party of all the usual turn ups that we’d normally go to. Crop top and skirt. No it doesn’t match. Crop top and shorts – I’m trying too hard. Crop top and jeans, why am I wearing a crop top at all? I ended up getting so frustrated and just put on what I’d been wearing the whole day. Just before I left, I grabbed his ring which sat on my dresser. Obviously it was to return it, but there was no harm in wearing it tonight.

I didn’t want to think about seeing him there. I didn’t want to think about why I cared what I looked like. I distracted myself on the drive to the party with wonderfully misogynistic hip hop which spoke to my soul about bad bitches and twerking. Arriving at the party, I was immediately put at ease when I saw that he and our mutual friend hadn’t arrived yet. The atmosphere was incredible and I ran into so many old friends, colleagues and of course my closest mates. I then realised however, that as it got later into the afternoon, I was bound to run into him. There was only one answer – tequilla.

Back in forth I went, with a new friend each time grabbing a shot. It didn’t mean anything – I just wanted to have a good time. Beer. Tequilla. Beer. Tequilla. Oh this was fun. There were plenty of cute boys eyeing me – it was easy to paste on a friendly smile, but before anyone of them could get to comfortable, I found a reason to excuse myself. Just as the sun was sitting, my friend had arrived. I immediately started looking for Bugz, standing on my tip toes and searching for that trade mark bun. I spotted her and hurried over, she was standing by the bar and jumped on her giving her the hugest hugs. We were gushing over each other and giggling and hugging, and as I pulled away I realised he was standing there.

He looked so good – I was thrown by that. Why wasn’t he a mess? Why didn’t he look as miserable or as nervous as I felt? I felt time slow down as I was trying to process this. There was definitely an uneasy feeling between us, as I leaned in for an awkward hug. I could smell his woody scent, I could feel he had been working out. I thought I’d feel nothing after these 3 weeks, but everything was sensed at that moment. I wanted him. And I had thrown it all away.

This wasn’t going to work – I couldn’t be in his presence. I wasn’t ready. Due to my level of intoxication there were only a few ways that could go… I act crazy and embarrass myself, throw myself at him and look like a fool or do what I usually do and run. I tried to find my friends, but they were all busy with their respective hook ups.  I found myself returning to Bugz and him, the sun was setting and I was barely listening to Bugz as our eyes kept catching each other’s attention and starting. There were no smiles. Just stares.

We decided to dance, however that misogynistic hip hop I was listening to earlier had no appeal. I couldn’t dance ratchet when less than a metre away stood  a guy I shared Ella Fitzgerald and Common and Flight Facilities with. I ended up uncomfortably shifting my weight from side to side and watching him out of the corner of my eye.

He was drinking a lot- and he wasn’t a big drinker. What was that, his 6th or 7th beer? His 5th smoke? I didn’t like it, but who was I to like it or not? It was about this time that he and I were vying for Bugz attention, using her like spy to recon on eachother. What did he say? How is he? Poor girl, caught up in all of this.

It was time to check in with my other group of friends, and I left but they had disappeared somewhere so I was forced to return to Bugz and him again. However he was talking to a girl – she was beautiful, about my height but all smiles and flawless skin. He looked happy, his arms were on her shoulders and they were laughing. I walked away. This was not good – I didn’t want to see him happy, especially with someone else. My friends were teasing me earlier in the day about how I could look so miserable when I was the one who had put an end to things, how could I be so emotional over someone who I had only been with for 2 months. These were the questions I wasn’t supposed to be thinking about, I was supposed to be having fun – clearly he was.

No, I had to go back. We were all going to have shots, but I really shouldn’t drink anymore. I suggested a selfie instead. One of my friends grabbed my phone and aimed the screen at our group.

My heart stopped.

I watched as my reflection watched stunned at the left of the screen where he was kissing that smiling girl on the cheek. That smiling girl wasn’t me. But everything about that pose and that kiss was mine, well it was supposed to be mine. We used to take pics like that all the time, with his head resting on my shoulder, and me (well her now) beaming with so much excitement. I locked eyes with him through the screen – I saw his surprise. I knew that he hadn’t realised I was there. Selfie moment over I grabbed my phone and knew I had to get away. There was just so much pain and confusion over how I was feeling. Why was I feeling this way?

He reached out to grab me but I pulled away angrily. Bugz tried to call me back but I had yelled something about needing to get out of here right now. But to where? This party was in the middle of no where, I didn’t know where my friends were. Drinking again seemed like the only option. I took the long way round back to the bar, and stood in the queue. He appeared suddenly next to me, and I turned my head to the side, foolishly hoping he wouldn’t see me. We were close to each other, I couldn’t exactly hide.

“So you’re not going to talk to me?” … I can’t remember my reply, all I remember is wanting to hurl accusations, shout at him, hit at his chest, ignore him, hug him, kiss him, hold him. Say I’m sorry. I ordered us two tequillas and then lead him to a quiet dark place to sit and talk.

He said a lot, he said so much and he said all the right things. Things that scared me, things that made me run in the first place.  I had a decision to make, flight or fight. In all that confusion, I started crying – which I hated myself for. Because I wasn’t crying in a moment of weakness but because I had achieved a moment of clarity. That I wanted, this that I wanted him. He was enough and worth the risk to make me stay.

Somewhere between the tears and the hugs and the kisses I said it, but he didn’t hear me. That was okay, I was saying it more for myself more than anything. But was we left, I said it again for us now.

And after that night, I knew I would never run again.

Believe your own hype

For far too long, I have been made to feel inadequate, useless and defective. That I needed people to fix me. Unfortunately, this was a life lesson learned from those closest to me- and I made the mistake of internalising and defining my life by that lesson.  While this lesson was taught with the best of intentions, my addiction to perfectionism and my quest to be an ideal student has attributed to the often toxic behaviour that sometimes escapes me.

What became choices that were align with who I was, were made out to be acts of rebellion. I was a trouble maker, a concern and a headache. As someone who thinks about her actions, thinks too much really, it is very confusing when my actions aren’t warmly received or accepted. I know in  my heart I’m not someone who intentionally inflicts harm, so why am I constantly called to the metaphorical principles office for bad behaviour?

It’s a difficult idea to accept when your friends become your support system. While family are your foundation, teaching you values and morality, it is friends who become your walls on which to paint your personality onto. When I was a child, I realised something-family is obligated to love you, friendship is a choice.

My friends are the most fucked up people I know. Time and time again my parents have nagged me to make better choices, to be around people that are better than me to aspire to. And while that sounds great being friends with Steven Covey or TD Jakes, that is not what I need in my life. I hang around with these messed up people because I recognise myself in them. They’ve gone through death, financial difficulty, addictions and everything and anything you can think of. But despite all this, they continue to rise above it all and try make themselves better for themselves and in their lives. THAT is motivational.

What I’m beginning to recognise is that greatness is not the destination, but the constant journey to be better than the next day.

Life is a battlefield with land mines waiting to explode at every wrong move, but it is our job not just to avoid those land mines, but when we are hit, realise that we are still living and have the strength to go on. I haven’t lost most my family, or have a very sick relative-in fact I’ve lived a very pampered life. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I recognise that there is greatness in myself. It’s just going to take a little while longer than everyone else to achieve that feeling-no to believe in my own hype again.

I’ve started to. Believe in my own hype I mean. Last week on holiday with my closest mates, they sat me down. It was a random conversation, we were supposed to be holding a friendship intervention for one of my other friends, but we used this time to address concerns that we had for each other. They wanted to touch base in a non-judgemental, comforting way that had me nearly wanting to crawl up the mesh fence because of how intimate and truthful it was. One of my guys said I had to stop my shit and just start believing in my own hype. And if I couldn’t do that, why should they. He didn’t come at me from a point that I was in the wrong, or had done something bad-he came with a story that I was already within greatness and I just had to recognise it, because my lack of awareness at my own awesomeness, lack of realising my perfection in my own way, was bringing me down and would continue to do so.

Why I should believe my own hype:

  1. I have survived an attack and continue to open myself up to love in all forms
  2. Despite almost losing my job and working in a toxic environment, I continue to have ambition and love for the work I do.
  3. I can find something to laugh and smile about everyday, and I know I look good doing it.
  4. I’m intelligent AF,
  5. Because everyone who I love, and loves me, already does

I feel like as a disclaimer, I should say that I have absolute love for my family. They have given me nothing but 100% support, love and devotion. This is not an attack against them, I am not ungrateful and they are an endless source of wisdom when it comes to issues such as work and family life. But I also have to recognise that my spirit can’t be contained, there are some orders I can’t follow and although it may seem selfish, my actions, it is selfish of you to think that your way is the only way. I am aware that if I don’t do things my way, even if it’s not the best way, I cannot authentically be me. My choices are what I need to live with and it’s hard enough recognising which of my choices are right and wrong, when I have to factor in someone else’s beliefs on what is acceptable behaviour or not.

So I’m spreading my wings, and if the cage comes down, I’ll pick the lock. I need to be free to explore independently and when I’m ready, return home.

Choices have to be made, and I choose me

I do not consider myself a selfless person, I am selfish and self-interested. I’ve messed up quite a bit in the past, always putting myself above what is really important. Partying instead of focusing on my studies, choosing friends over my family- I’m not the greatest of decision makers, I almost always make the wrong choice.

Because the honest truth is that when it mattered, I put how people would perceive me as more of a priority than how I would perceive myself. I chose to put others before me and it has never worked out.

I’ve been struggling to have a conversation with someone who I really respect, who gave me a chance and who I’ve grown close to. I want to tell her that I am not happy, that I’m not in a place I want to be and I want to move on to the next best thing. But I struggle to get the words out because I fear that she will be disappointed, and to me that has been worth staying miserable in my situation for so many weeks.

The place I want to be in is where I will feel in control and not constantly undermined and disrespected every day. It is a place where I can be creative and have more of a chance of balancing both work and studies- It’s something that I’ve always been passionate about and always wanted to do.

And I do feel guilty that my current situation is only a stepping stone to somewhere better. But should I feel guilty? If it is something that truly makes me happy, that is all I see myself doing.

I didn’t immediately get what I want because I was in a situation where I didn’t have the luxury of choice, hence I was given a small window of opportunity and I took it. But now I feel almost ashamed- I feel I am abusing this luxury, this chance and opportunity to want more. It sounds silly as I write this, but the fear is definitely there- the fear of wanting more. Only I stand in my own way.

But life is too short, too fleeting to be miserable. I am not an unhappy person by nature, moody yes, but being absolutely depressed does not suit me. I don’t want to be in the position that I complain every day, feeling worthless. Complaining can be so futile and exhausting, especially when the person who most needs to hear about my feelings is completely unaware.

So this week my goal is not only make the right choices for myself, but to also choose me. Because if I am going to be selfish, I may

as well be happy about it.

 “If thou openest not the gate to let me enter/ I will break the door, I will wrench the lock/ I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.”– Ishtar, Babylonian goddess of fertility, love , war and sex

Seeking the Goddess as a Daughter of Eve

If we think about it, Eve is where it all started- literally the genesis that would dictate the way the mother of mankind and all her daughters would be treated for the rest of their lives. The traditional religions may not agree who gets the Holy Land in the religious clash of ideologies, but they Judaism, Christianity and Islam sure as hell share a common belief that Eve screwed up paradise for them.

In some lore, Eve is seen as Adam’s second wife, coming in after Lilith (yes the epitome of a female devil) who refused to be inferior to Adam and runaway from him and paradise (and had raucous sex with a number of demons thus populating evil on earth), therefore God decided he shouldn’t be lonely and created Eve to be more submissive and a more appropriate companion- not that it helped much with her giving birth to a murderer.

Lilith, Adam's first wife

Lilith, Adam’s first wife

Whether I am actually a daughter of Eve or a hell spawn of Lilith, is irrelevant to this topic. I choose rather to discuss the ramifications of Eve, the positive effects that she had on womyn.

Eve, through eating the fruit of knowledge, brought curiosity and wisdom to our world. This would later spark innovation, questioning, awareness and thought to human beings. We have her to thank for separating us from animals and basic instinct. Poor Adam, had he his way, we would be walking around naked, not questioning our purpose in life, not looking for meaning in the world. Say goodbye to our philosophers, our inventors, our scientists, our liberators and our freedom fighters.

Eve recognised that there was power in knowledge, and for some odd reason man will always be uncomfortable with feminine authority, resourcefulness and command. Eve’s power wasn’t destructive, nor was it malicious as we see when men come into power. There was nothing corruptive about her intentions. Instead of keeping the knowledge to herself, she chose to share it- her compassion and wish for others to grow in wisdom should be admired rather than criticised.

Power is as delicious as an appletini

Power is as delicious as an appletini

Knowledge is power as the clichéd saying goes. I’m unashamed to want power, to continuously absorb and grow in knowingness. But this power is for me, to enable to do my sacred and divine duty to help mankind, just like Eve and Lilith. I may be tossed aside and be labelled a witch, a jezebel or worse and I think as soon as Eve took that bite she knew, but she continued to share her knowledge and her power for the greater good.

South African women need to rise up and eat that apple, pluck it right off the branch instead of waiting for it to fall into expectant hands. Then take that bite, not the danty one, but rather the dribble inducing, sweet juices running down your chin kinda bite. You have to get dirty sometimes and now is the time to do it.

Book Review: A Bantu in my Bathroom

I considered myself a bad friend for not having gotten to Eusebius Mckaiser’s book sooner. In all honesty I was a bit hesitant. There is always a possibility that even admiration of a good friend who is constantly in the public eye and who I’m very much proud of, can be warped into a reluctant disappointment when you read verbose, narcissistic ramblings.

I was even more hesitant by the fact that seemingly EVERYONE at Primedia (owners of 702 Talk Radio and Highveld) was writing or just completing some sort of memoir- but not everyone can be that relevant can they?

I’m glad to say that I was wrong. A bantu in my bathroom was more than a wonderful piece of written work, it affirmed and questioned my very thinking from my identity as a coloured woman in South Africa, to my mostly-African dating style to even my sexual history and sexuality. Eusebius dealt with issues in a balanced and more importantly personal matter, which made me connect with him on a whole other level than I’d done before. I found myself crying and sharing his anguish as I read about his brutal past. His story was my story. His story was many South African citizens’ stories.

Now that I’ve started working for Powerfm, the new Gauteng station, I realise how important it is to be able to tell a story and to have people connect with it. Different stories can affect different people, but we all share the same capacity for pain and joy. I want to tell people’s stories, and have the courage to connect it with my own. Honesty and compassion is how we will once again build South Africa.

Book Review: Scarlet Letter

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while. I did my literary good deed for the month and finally completed one of the most well known classics and must reads of the ages.

The Scarlet Letter rose again in popularity with movies such as Easy A and it helps that such an important form of prose is still relevant. I did find it a difficult and somewhat boring read but tenacity kept me going.

I’ve never believed in “The Devil” which may be shocking or unheard of. I mean most Christians are brought up on good vs evil, heaven and hell and obviously there are consequences for all actions. However for me to believe that there was some fallen angel that would torture you in the after life was a stretch. Its easier for me to believe that evil is within us all, not that we are but we all have the capacity for it. Sin is what separates us humans from being truly divine and unfortunately it is something we can’t escape, something that is firmly attached to the notion of free will.

To sin is part of our humanness, which doesn’t make it right however it makes it natural. Sinful nature exists within us, and it is up to us to keep this nature in check and be the best people we can be. Sin, hitting rock bottom and being in a cloud of darkness can be used as a lesson in personal growth, to initiate change. Sometimes I feel its too easy to ask for forgiveness from some divine power, penance and thought needs to go into the atonement. But what is even more important, is the forgiveness of ourselves. Who ever created us gave us the choice to be good or sin, and with that came forgiveness of our actions. Therefore when we feel guilty, this is our souls telling us that we are are not rightly balanced and something needs to be done about it, before the burden is eased.

With so many complicated rules, I like to stick to the most basic of Christian teachings that Jesus summarized for his followers:

1) Love your God

2) Love your neighbor as you love yourself

This encompasses all manners of actions and if you keep thinking along these lines, that essentially is all you need to be a good person without retreating to Old Testament thinking about hell and damnation.

What is important to me is Hester’s embracing of her public humiliation. She could have fled at any time where she would have been able to remove the badge of disgrace and continue about her life. However that would have meant that she would have allowed society’s prejudice to affect her. Instead she sticks it out and determines her own identity, finds her own place in society rather than allowing herself to be exiled by the town.

She turns her public shame into an act of education and a representation of her own experiences and character. She doesn’t  hide away from her past and pretend that it never happened- that would mean denying a part of herself. She integrates her sin into her life, utilizing it as a tool to teach her daughter and to reconnect with her spirituality.

Rinac