Nosocomephobia

I feel so nauseous – and my hands are shaking, so I occupy them by swiping through my phone.The beige and butter yellow paint job does nothing to distract me from the smell of disinfectant. No matter how much money you throw at it, they all look the same with their fluorescent lighting and distant screams of a needy child.

No one greets you as you walk by. There are no smiles. This is a place where you come in the hopes not to die. It’s pretty much all you are asking for – that and a reasonable bill at the end of your stay.

It’s a hotel where you check in all control you may wish to possess over your body, your decisions. Paperwork is signed to ensure that those who were gifted to save lives, will not be blamed when death is beneath the ribbon. You can’t even have contact with the outside world, unless you utilise set times in which your family hopes it isn’t goodbye forever between the hours of 7 and 9.

I remember watching my grandmother die. We were all so cheerful – I wondered why we needed to buy flowers and teddy bears and write cards for her. While everyone fussed over her, I remember being curious over the bottom cabinet adjacent to the bed. In my grandmothers were her knitting needles and toiletries, a crossword puzzle and some sweeties. While I couldn’t inspect other cabinets that were occupied, the ones that were empty puzzled me. Who owned it last? What happened to them?

Did they perhaps have a pair of pearl earrings given to them by their husband? A pocket knife passed down throughout the generations? A torn comic book bought at a second hand store? It seemed that one day you would open the cupboard and there would be items to inspect, and the next day, nothing at all.

Everyday we visited my grandmother, it seemed that being in this place was slowly sucking the life out of her. Maybe that was what the bags of water were for, to hold her essence. She was a woman of rose gardens, and hymns on the piano. The only smells now were of urine, the only sounds heard were of incessant beeps that told you that at least for now, you are alive.

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27/10/2014 02:00

To see the world in multi colour

that’s special

the red and the purple and all the hues

makes my world unforgettable

I’m flying high above the arch

wishing my wings were the ones to take me higher

with all the fire

inside of me

not us not we

recognising that all I see

Infinitely

Has no answers, questions or perfect

summation about me

breathing, crying, sighing

avoiding all that lying

about what I feel

No time to heal

Baby please conceal the fact that I’m hurting too

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.

An unexpected family…

I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful family. We are close, we talk and we laugh together. I am supported under my parents roof and not just financially. However despite this, I am always surprised and finding family in unexpected places. It’s not that anything was missing before… but there are people you cannot help but hold dear to you and care about.

On Whatsapp there’s a group called _We Social. I hated the idea of Wati adding me to it. After an hour over 150 messages had been sent…what could these people have to talk about? The chats were frivolous and I knew at once I wouldn’t take it seriously. I mean how realistic is it chatting with over 24 strangers who’s only clue to their identity were chat room nicknames.

Something in me forced me to get involved and the more I started chatting with them, the more I became fascinated with their personalities and stories.

Benita is constantly tearing up about something but always had something positive to say. Bugz is a trouble-maker like me, always ready with the dirty talk. Lee is the selfie queen and a tweleb in the making. Mpho, Ntando and Reuben and Riley are our guys who conveniently are only around when conversations about sex are happening. Then there are the creatives like Riz, Sihle and Trompie. Thatso has school and Tina is a single mom who is so compassionate and open. Wati is someone who brings us all together, surprisingly intuitive about what the group needs to get us talking or to change the tone.

Despite not knowing these people, my routine had shifted to needing to check the group as soon as I woke up and before I went to sleep. Appreciating everyone’s opinions and being able to share such personal experiences on an open platform with strangers- truly a safe space.  I’ve come to love and admire these strangers who set my phone vibrating.

Moving closer to home, my family extends from Johannesburg to Cape Town and all the way in between. I’ve found an older brother in Kasi who has given me some surprisingly serious and sobering speeches. Lindi I see now as a sister who I can battle out the confusing world of relationships with. My heart beats in Cape Town with my husband Lu and my brother in arms, Vuyo always keeping in touch with me, just to let me know that I’m still relevant in their lives and vice versa.

On 24 August 2014, I became a God mother. A sexy one of course. Her name is Athena Olerato Mothudi-Goremusandu and she has a Bots mother, an Zim father and four crazy local god parents. Athena is being groomed in my mind to take over the world, once I decide to step down from my throne. I hope to instil in her wisdom and a love of literature. Athena is also a physical presence of unexpected family. I fully recognise the importance of the role as a god mother. If anything should happen to her parents, I would be there for her in any way, she has a home with me.

This isn’t my most articulate post but the strongest sense I have of this familial connection that doesn’t always originate from blood. Being linked to these lives is a wonderful and inspiring feeling but it also comes with a certain responsibility. The more you expect others to open up to you, the more you must show of yourself and become vulnerable for them.

These unlikely family members are allowing me to slowly open up again and I’m loving every minute of it.

Ms Congeniality: NY Resolutions 2014

I’m not one for New Years resolutions, but I do believe in using a key-word to focus my energy and direction instead of making empty promises. The key word for 2014 is congenial, basically I want to smile more and be a happier person, to open up and allow people into my life.

There are four areas I’d like to work on in the upcoming year:

My Physical Health– feel confident with my body and look after it, so that I’ll be comfortable around people more

My Spiritual Well being– find again the goddess out there and within me, not just during troubled times

My Intellectual intake– I want to focus my mind, quiet negative thoughts and bring positivity to my understanding… and (this is for my BF) try not to OVERTHINK things, or at least calm down on that front

Social Investment– I don’t do charity, it’s not something I feel good about but what I can do is give my time and energy to others who are in my life who need it. I can be generous with my time.

It’s not all me

I completed this list in less than 5 minutes…

What is wrong with me?

  1. I have a very awkward tendency of asking any question that comes to mind, no matter how awful or embarrassing.
  2. I love to drink- and not just a glass of wine.
  3. I don’t look after my health.
  4. I struggle to connect with my family.
  5. I dwell too much in the past and obsess over the future- therefore forgetting to live in the present.
  6. I have high expectations of other people, but even more so on myself. I’m too critical of myself and less so of others.
  7. I am naïve. I care what other people think of me.
  8. I am selfish.
  9. I avoid conflict.
  10. I can’t handle rejection and criticism.

I then turned my negatives to positives…

  1. Asking questions is my job, I’m a journalist it is what I was born to do and it is just part of my tenacity
  2. As long as it is not affecting my health or causing problems for family, what’s the harm?
  3. At least that’s what doctors say, but I also don’t have serious health risks and I have never been completely over the top health conscious or dismissive of my health
  4. Who doesn’t?  But I make an effort and that’s what counts
  5. I’m a dreamer and a worrier if my dreams are at risk, I don’t like losing focus and I’m all about the long term
  6. I always want to better myself, and I want to hold myself accountable- rather than than be completely ignorant of how useless or lost I am
  7. I always see the best in people. I want myself to be presented in the best possible light.
  8. I want to be happy.
  9. I enjoy peace and harmony
  10. I invest so much into myself and my work that I can hardly understand the term of ‘not getting it right’ because at the time I did my best, or the best I could do with the situation I was faced with

The final list took almost half an hour to do, which goes to show how hard it is to believe in all the good things about myself

20 reasons why it is great to be me

  1. I can pee sitting down and considering how hectic my days always are, those 30 seconds of solitude are perfect for quiet contemplation
  2. My thighs, it’s almost summer and already I am excited to rock out miniskirts and booty shorts and feel the heat on my skin
  3. I have an amazing supportive family,
  4. and a ridiculously hot and sexy boyfriend who is smart and who challenges me
  5. My youth and combine that with my ambition- my future will always be bright and have direction
  6. I have my self-collected Beauty and the Beast-esque library going on, all paid for by me which I read devoutly and I have so many more waiting on the shelf for me to attack
  7. I love being short and petite as I get the greatest hugs and people automatically help me carry things- I often feel like a princess
  8. I can cook and bake- I’m often too lazy to do so but I can so shhh don’t tell my future husband
  9. I am an optimistic realist- I get excited about an idea but I never let it just stay that way and I have the ability to create realistic steps to achieve my goals
  10. I have a fantastic memory- which helps during arguments with the boyfriend or when I need to prove a point
  11. At the same time, I forgive and forget so easily because I look at the picture and know what is important if I want to attempt to live a happy life
  12. I retain a truly prodigious lexis which I habitually take the time to scrupulously use it in tête-à-têtes to remind myself and others of my smartness
  13. I get away with a lot when it comes to my diet as I hate to exercise and love to eat, but I hardly look like a contestant from the Biggest Loser
  14. I do not have any completely paralysing and weird phobias- nothing is unattainable, no obstacle is completely immovable
  15. I am a proud nerd- from being a Whovian, to esoteric and fantasy cults to being able to play Sims for days on end
  16. I feel that I am attractive, not too bad on the eye
  17. I have confidence and I can get on well with people- adaptable to most situations
  18. I have been spoilt rotten by my family and been offered amazing opportunities such as travelling overseas, top education
  19. I laugh, I love to laugh and smile and just be happy- I like to make others laugh and I have love-hate relationship with being tickled
  20. Sarcasm, one of my main gifts- always with a quick comeback and pride myself for the ability to think on my feet

Iqniso lami

In my ideal day, the sun isn’t shining. In fact, it is a gentle Johannesburg rain that is warm and soothing- and instead of beating at my window, it caresses it and slowly wakes me up. It is not an ungodly hour, 8 is reasonable enough as I’ve gotten my adequate beauty sleep, but the right side of my bed is still warm, a reminder that my boyfriend held me through the night. I am in a beautiful apartment, it is not very large but it’s homey and comfortable and represents the quirky relationship we have. Piles of books on my nightstand, ticket stubs from the Rugby game we watched this weekend on his

I roll out of bed- not in the glamorous Disney kind of way with annoying birds ready and willing to help me dress- but that lazy, content manner. The apartment may not be living it up in Joburg North style, but the view is incredible- the clouds blocking the horizon, the grey and calming torrent of water slicing patterns through the trees, onto the asphalt.

Of course I am late for work as always, but it doesn’t bother me- or the traffic that I will be sitting in for the next hour because it’s the perfect time to listen to the latest Adele. And when I get to work, looking and feeling good- wearing ridiculously inappropriate high heels, I smile all day- dealing with random callers and watching the presenter run my show which I conceptualised and scripted. I remember something awesome to include, that I know our listeners will love and we are working in sync, the callers keep coming.

Show done, feedback and prep work complete I can swing by my sister’s school and pick her up- something I haven’t had time to do in a while. She’s going on about this insane design project of hers and her latest romantic problems, and it’s good to reconnect. We drive back to my place, and while she does homework I slip off my heels and get to cooking supper- imitating something I learned on Masterchef. I’m home early enough to catch the news, and I don’t have to download the latest Suits because I can watch it live- commercials and all.

The boyfriend comes home and over a glass of wine (I’m already on my second) we catch up on our days. He joins my sister in the lounge and I bring through supper. My mom arrives to pick her up- we make plans to go to the book sale next weekend, and I remind her that I owe her and dad brunch after church.

My day is not over as I pull out my books and read next to my guy, honours is hard work and I’ve got to put in the hours. He goes to bed, and I continue late into the night with my studies. Finally I’m satisfied I’ve made enough progress; I close my books and breathe in a deep sigh- taking a moment to myself. I head to bed, and snuggle under the blankets, enjoying the warmth. I realise that it has stopped raining. I smile.

This is obviously, just a fantasy- but what was so beautiful about the way I felt when I wrote it, were the potential reality and the deep yearning place that it came from. Nothing is stopping me from achieving this dream, and what it is even better is that I am frighteningly amazed at how on track my life is to achieve it.

This weekend I started thinking a lot, which is not unusual, but now I began to think about HOW I think. It started with talking about what kind of house I saw myself living in one day. I automatically went on about how much I hate clusters, because they are on top of one another, and how I always envisaged a freestanding house with a giant yard. My boyfriend was surprised as my dad had told him that I wasn’t much of an outdoors person.

This got me thinking; do I want a yard and a house because it was expected, because my parents’ opinions had passed down to me? Yes- I regurgitate a lot of what I’ve seen and heard from my family. And that’s ok, because I really do want a house and a yard- but what was now interesting was that I had to re-evaluate for myself why.

This may sound small and futile, but if something so insignificant could make me pause- how much of my truth and identity is regurgitated, how much do I need to re-evaluate about my life.

For example, it may surprise you to know that in my entire 23 years of existence, I have never drunk a full cup of coffee, and can in fact count on one hand the amount of times I’ve tasted it. My parents are coffee addicts- I think we have around 3 different types of machines and over half a dozen different canisters with words like golden, mocha, blend and decaf- which I can’t pretend to understand. But I have never been able to get used to the taste, from infrequent forays to inspect my parents’ cups to accidently chewing a coffee flavoured biscuit, and subsequently spitting it out. No amount of homogenisation by my parents could convince me that caffeine could go into my body without becoming a Coca Cola or Red bull addict. I can proudly claim that I truly loathe coffee.

Now I can spend the next few hours going into what I should do- but if I really wanted to do it, I would have done it already.

So this week, I’m going to do things my way, I’m going to do what I want (not irresponsibly) and more importantly the manner in which I want to do it. Although honesty to everyone is important, I’m going to try and be honest with myself first.

We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be”- Mansfield Park, Jane Austen