2012

2012 was a disappointment – of my own making. I’ve been trying to find something to say about 2012 for a month now. I started this yearly review thing and now it feels like I have to. But it’s also pretty awesome to sit and look back at a year. And yes, 2012 was the year I disappointed myself.

There were no spectacular breakdowns, no incredible highs, just a year where my ego got the best of me. And maybe that’s exactly what I needed.

I alienated some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life, I’ve managed to hold on to a few people who seem to be almost immune to my abuse. I’m having the most surreal experience right now – for a moment I felt like I was rising out of my body, my hands incredibly heavy on the keyboard, not wanting to continue this specific excursion over the keys. But honesty requiring it.

I have a tattoo on my back. A tramp stamp. It says: “Freedom lies in truth.”

I’ve twisted the truth, molded it into what I wanted it to sound like. Because I could be free, but instead I built myself not a shelter, but a prison of words and thoughts and emotion.

I sent this message to someone earlier this year:

“I’m good from a distance. I’m not the same person when I’m not giving someone words to read. I hide behind them. I know very well how to construct a little shelter of words. You can see the walls, but not me. I can’t be vulnerable. Can’t let people see. So I choose the words, and I make them think they see.”

This is possibly the most disjointed thing I’ve written in my entire life, but the thoughts need to go somewhere.

I went back to full time employment. I met someone who actually loved me, and cared for me like no one else before, and I broke her heart and threw it back in her face. I met someone who challenged me in every single way possible. And somehow I lost her too. If I look hard enough I’ll probably find the answer to that one.

I thought I’d figured out how this life works, but it laughed at me, chewed a few times, and spat me out.

But, I’m getting up.

Slowly.

2011

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.

2010

365 Days ago I was happy. I was engaged to a beautiful, smart and funny woman. I was on the verge of starting a life with her. Though for some reason I was sick. My sub conscious was terrified of all this change, of things I had never expected to happen in my life, of this absolute happiness. It had all happened so fast, but seemed so perfect. Almost too good to be true. And my body was trying to tell me that.

2010 Started horribly. I was sick, I was scared and I was completely and utterly confused. I ended up hurting the person who had loved me the most in my life, who made me feel like I deserved happiness. The most amazing time of my life ended with some of the hardest moments. In retrospect I know that it was what had to happen then, that I had built a fantasy on my flaws but I will always love that very special time of my life.

27th January my beautiful niece, Katherine Jane, was born. It was a beautiful day between a lot of sadness.

5 Months of 2010 passed in a bit of a daze, I didn’t see many people, I didn’t do much, I just was.

31 May I left for 2 months in the UK, to look after my little niece, spend some time with my brother and his wife and just try to get my head, my heart and my life back together again. I was deathly exhausted and running away was just the thing to do. I arrived at Heathrow after the long flight to meet Katherine for the first time. She was certainly the most beautiful baby I had met in my life, the friendliest, sweetest little thing. I knew that looking after her for 2 months wouldn’t be the hardest thing ever.

4 Days in Paris was a little gift to myself. I had seen somewhere that Lucian Freud was exhibiting in Paris and decided that I wanted to take the trip to see his work. And considering that I’d never set foot in Europe, I thought Paris would be a great way to start it. And it was. I fell in love with Paris instantly. It wasn’t a ‘homecoming’, of returning to my European roots, but it was like I understood Paris. The hideous and the beautiful are the same thing there. I walked for hours, many kilometers. I cried with the overwhelming beauty of the Sacre Coeur. I used my broken university french to order baguettes. A Parisian bus driver drove off his route to take me to where I needed to go when he understood that I was South African and not home for the World Cup – blasphemous! It was a place I could explore on my own, I had no connection to any other person there. Paris was mine.

I returned to London, exhausted – this time physically, and filled with the beauty of Paris. Katherine and I didn’t need to long to get used to each other. It was a bit tough working and looking after her, but I loved it. I loved spending time with my brother and his wife. Watching darts with them and eating the tonnes of meat my brother insists on braai-ing every few days.

A few months before I had started a slow friendship with a Scot. We talked a bit, laughed a bit and made a loose arrangement that should I get to Scotland I would come say hello. As Katherine was my only conversation during the day, the Scot and I started talking more and more. She turned out to be one of the smartest and funniest people I had met in my life. And on top of that we seemed to be so very similar. I spent a day on the west coast of Scotland with her, just driving and talking and going to the most absurd jail for a tour. And at the end of my 2 months in the UK,  she offered me her house just north of Edinburgh to go stay in. I was exhausted! The initial plan was to spend a few more days in Europe, but I decided to rather just go stay in the country and recover. I spent most of the time in her big rambling house alone, but she also surprised me with the occasional trip to random places with the most amazing food thrown in.

The Scot started change in my life. She wanted me to be happy. She believed in me in a way few other people had. She initiated a chain of change in my life, that I will be forever grateful for.

The last few months of 2010 was a rough, tumble rush of emotion, change, tears and at the end, light. When I came back from the UK I asked my psychiatrist to change my medication to something that would make me less tired. And for 2 and a half months I spiraled downward. Not realising that the medication wasn’t doing what it should.

9 October 2010 I reached breaking point, and I broke. Writing this now, makes me feel sick. I was a dark, broken shell of myself. I saw no light, no way out, and no reason to live. A small part of me wanted the light. I wanted to live. To love. To be, and be better. I have written previous posts about this, and how that day changed me.  I have someone in my life I’ve always referred to as ‘The Juggler’ in my head. I called her, and asked her to help me. And she did. She came to get me, and told me that I could be ok. And I was.

The Scot and the Juggler have never met, and I’m rather sure they never will, but together they changed a few things in my life, pointed me into some directions and got me going again.

I started seeing a psychologist. He made me remember some things from my past, made me understand why I say certain things, do and don’t do others. He also diagnosed me with ADHD. My psychiatrist had mentioned this before, but I didn’t see it then.

1 December 2010 I turned 30. I had an awesome party the weekend before, with so many of the people I love and who have been there for me in ways they never realised. My one friend said: “Look Cindy, you made it to 30.” And that’s exactly how I felt. That I’d made it.

3 Days after my 30th I started taking the ADHD medication. The change wasn’t instantaneous, but it’s been such a fun journey. To wake up every morning, refreshed! I can’t remember the last time I didn’t want to roll over and keep sleeping. I now wake up happy and ready for the day, about 2/3 hours earlier than I normally would be able to drag myself out of bed.

I’ve cut my hair, I resigned from my job. I threw out old clothes for the first time in probably 6 years. I’ve sorted out most of the crap around my house.

I woke up this morning and made my bed. Other people do this every day of their lives, without thinking about it. I could never see the point. I still don’t really see the point, but now I can take the 10 seconds it takes me shake out my duvet and drop it over my bed.

I’m not tired anymore.

The journey isn’t over. But for the first time in what feels like my life I feel that I have the energy to take this journey. And that going to sleep isn’t the best/only option.

2011 is going to be MY year. I’m going to live it.

So, with this, I want to thank my friends. The people who saved me, and those who didn’t run. *

I wish you all a very merry Xmas – I hope you get to spend the time with people you love.

I wish you a fantastic new year – I hope that this year will be one to remember for only the good things.

And I wish you love.

*After re-reading this I realised that I want to thank the people who did run. It opened my yes, slowly, but I now understand why.