I’ve been thinking for a while about how I would summarise this year. I wrote a post last year about my experiences of 2010 , and decided that 2011 was going to my year. Guess what, it has been.
I started 2011 with a whole bunch of new things. I’d cut my hair, I’d resigned from my job, I’d started on ADHD medications. It was to be a year of change.
Any year in my life has to have a variety of women involved. 2011 started no differently. I met a woman not long after the “Great Breakdown of 2010” at a camp. She was smart, funny, lovely, and a vegetarian. We chatted on facebook for hours and got to know each other. I learned some fantastic things with her. I met people I never would have met, I had conversations I had only dreamed of having, and I ate some of the most glorious food Cape Town has to offer. We drove to Knysna, spent time in the beautiful trees there. She wrote her thesis, I created little cubes for her research and introduced her to some people to include in her thesis. It was a rather magical time. It lasted for the first half of the year, and then she went back to where she came from. It has hurt, and ached and felt like a relief. But I’ll always remember the trees, the cubes and the confidence. And the most fantastic reading voice ever.
I got to see Roxette, Rammstein & Tori Amos this year. If that sounds like a weird combo I guess going to see Phantom of the Opera just adds to it. Roxette was an awesome night with my sister, laughing, remembering our younger days of singing together in the bath and the first posters we had on the inside of our closets.
Rammstein was a sweaty, pyromanic release of energy. It was the most incredible show I’d ever seen in my life. I was standing maybe 5m from the band and could feel the heat of the flames they spit over our heads. The crowd was 100% taken by the performance, and it felt like a living organism responding to an outside influence. I wish I could describe it properly, but suffice to say, if I’m EVER close to a place they perform I will move heaven and hell to get there.
Tori Amos was Tori Amos. Pure mindfuckery. Her voice soared, my heart fell, and when she did Me & a Gun I know I wasn’t the only person crying. Reliving that kind of experience and still being able to call up that kind of emotion years later is what makes her genius.
And then on my birthday I was joined by my sister, mother, oldest friend and her mom for Phantom of the Opera. I had never ever before seen any kind of show of the kind with my mom. It was totally the best gift ever to be able to sit next to her and see her enjoy the magic on stage.
A fantastic friend casually asked on facebook who would be interested in hiking the Fish River Canyon. On a whim, I said yes. As time drew closer I was petrified. I knew exactly how unfit I was, but I also hoped to clear the fog from my mind in the simple and harsh beauty of Namibia. We met our hiking friends the night before and morning of the hike and made some great buddies. On the first hour of the descent my boots and their soles parted company. Completely. We cut extra straps from my backpack and used Carine’s elastoplast and stuck my soles back to my boots for the rest of the way down. Going down made me 100% convinced that I’d rather walk out barefoot than trying to scale the canyon.
As we reached the bottom of the canyon I had to take off my boots and take a swim. It was so so refreshing. To feel for one moment that you’re going to collapse in the heat and the next to be in glorious cool, clean water. After everyone consumed as much as possible to not have to carry it any further we started walking again. This time I wore some sandals i borrowed from a new friend. I had to walk about 5 steps and then shake the sand from my feet. After about 1km (maybe) I was exhausted.
On the second night after walking barefoot in the morning on the cool sand and burning my feet to hell when it started heating up I asked the guys if we could consider the emergency exit. Adam said he(being a frikkin mountain monkey) would get out as quick as possible and find a lift to fetch the bakkie at Hobas for me and then wait for us at the top so I would have a way of getting back to Ai-Ais. Philip was my knight in shining Merryl’s and promised to carry my backpack out. Adam sat through half the night sewing my soles back to my boots with some rope. My boots were about a size smaller but it worked. We hiked for half the day to get to the exit and then we took the long and windy and very very confusing and hot and dry road out. If I had known what was waiting for me I might have kept walking. It was the most insane thing I had ever done. The details are thankfully foggy, but I was sure I wasn’t going to make it out. The thought of getting to talk to one person made me drag myself out of the canyon. I got out. I stopped some German tourists for water and drove to Ai-Ais. It’s now 3 months later and I still don’t have big toenails and I have one rope sewed boot in my closet. The other is hanging in a bar on the Orange River.
It’s a very long story about one experience, but it was life altering. I realised I was capable of so much more than I had ever thought. And also, that you don’t just collapse and die. Well, not me anyway.
The rest of the year was pretty much consumed by work. I worked hard. I bought myself all the gadgets I wanted, I bought an almost new car and I survived this year financially. It seems like such a short little paragraph, but I get to sit at the close of a year with a type of contentment I’ve never known. I wanted change, and I changed things. I did it. I took 2011 to be mine.
I got to spend xmas with my closest family for the first time in 10 years. It was the perfect ending to this year.
As every year, I met some awesome people, renewed some friendships, realised that some people will always be dickheads and that no person is just one thing. Some of the best people have some of the worst habits, some of the worst people also have good in them.
And finally, if anyone made it this far, I’ll leave you with my thoughts about 2012. Since it’s supposed to be the year that we’re all gonna be wiped out, I proclaim it to be the year of dreams. What would you do if you knew the world was going to end on, say 31 Dec 2012? There’s always the chance that it won’t so I’m not going to be giving up work and becoming a hobo like I planned when I was 15, but I’m carefully considering what it is I really, really want and want to do, and then?
Then, I’m going to do it.