There I was, lying spread-eagled, legs in the air, searching for my underwear, panting hard and screaming the Good Lord’s name…
I know what you’re thinking but get your minds out of the goddamn (pun totally intended) gutter!
I’d recently torn my left ankle’s tendons and had realised, midway through trying to pull my pants over my ridiculously sexy ( NOT) moon boot, that I’d forgotten to slip my panties on first. To quote this lovely old broad:
Of all the ways I imagined exerting myself in my bedroom once the national lockdown levels had been lowered, this was not it.
And once again, 2020 was attempting to give Jumanji a run for its f***ing money. At this point, my New Year’s Eve was going to look like this:
With another two months of strict bed rest ahead of me ( yes, I’d painfully been granted my wish of not going outside just yet – the Big Guy has a sick sense of humour!), I would have more than enough time to make my life changing moves from my bedroom, which really is where all epic things start, right?!
Kids, in life, only three things are certain: death, taxes and change…
Problem was, I HATED change. Even for a water sign and as someone whose day job required a certain level of flexibility, I hated it.
Five months in lock down and a despairing sense that everyone’s lives were still moving along except mine, I realised I needed shit to change and fast.
It was time to put my big girl panties on and do something:
My Year of Yes plans for 2020 had included getting a new job, working remotely in Bali or Mexico ( those were replaced by my apartment but them’s apples!), taking care of my emotional and physical health and trying new things.
With five months left until the end of the year, there was still time to do some of those things. I was reminded of this platitude:
“Come, my love. Sit down and have this cup of tea I’ve made for you before we go to bed”, said Jason Momoa, my super hot husband and father of the two gorgeous children we’d spent the day playing with…
And then I woke up to the biting cold of a winter’s morning in the midst of South Africa’s national lock down. That’s right, my anxiety-ridden, over tired brain and subconscious were conspiring to give me a much-needed break from the #COVID19 reality and blessed me with this hunk as my dream life partner.
The dream had started off with me going at it in an all out Twitter war with Paul Rudd, who’d taken our DMs and made them public, declaring me public enemy number one. I kept replying with “Dude, I’ve loved you since Romeo+Juliet!”
Then, Robert Downey Jr came to my defence, taking on Paul, and fighting for my honour.
Eventually, I ended up with Jason.
Basically, I’d fought with Ant Man, got rescued by Iron Man and married and had beautiful babies with Aquaman.
As alternative life dreams go, this was a SUPER one 😉
Kids, in 2020, before and during the national lock down, I had people coming at me, trying to undermine me, sabotaging me and making me question myself and my abilities.
Where previously, I had no doubt I could rock socials for a major attraction, do a kick ass PR campaign in my sleep and write like it was my god-given talent, I now suddenly couldn’t write a single word without second guessing myself and forgot about the deep and long lasting relationships I’d built with media over the years.
I’d initially sought out help with my anxiety and confidence issues in March but the lock down had put a stop to that. Endless sleepless nights, tons of natural calming medication and a good helping of special “sandwiches” later, I realised something…
I am enough. I am more than capable and I am enough.
I knew both of my industries and how to do my jobs because I had done all of the work and research before. I’d had major career successes over the years – trending on social media and had front page, national and international PR coverage – because, I, Fazielah f***ing Williams, was and am a f***ing BADASS!
As I decided to ignore my haters and do me, I played Nathalie Emmanuel’s recital of Maya Angelou’s Still, I Rise over and over again:
Kids, in June 2020, the President of South Africa announced a further relaxing of the lock down restrictions which meant we could have sit-down meals at restaurants, go to cinemas, casinos and theatres and go back to work.
I had some feelings about this:
It’s true that being at home for three months ( but still working , even overworking at times) had turned me into a modern Howard Hughes:
From what I’d seen on my very few trips into the big outside world was that people weren’t wearing masks or not wearing them correctly and had NO concept of personal space, let alone the legal 1.5metres required for social distancing.
There was no f***ing way I was going back outside unless I absolutely f***ing had to,
I guess, what I’m saying is that in 30 years time when your kids wonder about my weird mannerisms, show them this:
Kids, in the Autumn of 2020 and in the midst of the South African lock down, I was learning the age- old art of letting things go.
You could call me the Queen Elsa of Emotionland:
I’d learnt that when people choose to walk out of your life and leave you, let them. Pre- coronavirus me would have been utterly devastated by a guy ghosting me but PJs-wearing, Nutella-devouring, Disney sing along princess me was at peace with it.
In fact, one such non-starter romantic prospect went exactly that way…
At the end of October 2019, when I was in the middle of my severe depression, I made myself accept and go on a date with Rudy, a 31 year old restaurant manager I’d been chatting to on and off for most of the year.
Rudy had the unfortunate habit of ghosting me for months at a time and then sliding back into my DMs whenever I uploaded a new WhatsApp profile photo. Talk about being thirsty AF.
I decided to give him another chance because I had previously stopped talking to him when I decided to focus all of my romantic energy on jerk face Jet. Since that asshole was no longer a factor and I had to do something to feel anything beyond the panic attacks, insomnia and utter numbness of my broken heart, off to Canal Walk’s Primi Piatti I went.
Bar Rudy being an hour late, we actually had a great two and half hour long first date, chatting and getting to know in each other in real life. He was funny, sweet, kind and a little shy which helped because I was free to be the same.
Sure, his comments about his mother being low-key racist raised some red flags ( he’d sugarcoated it as “my mom’s very traditional and doesn’t mix well with other people”) which surely meant I wasn’t going to be taken home to meet her anytime soon.
Good, I didn’t want to meet her either.
He also seemed to be very work-focused – only having one day off a week and choosing to spend that day playing video games on the couch. I am all for catching up on your me-time but that didn’t leave much time to nurture a relationship, did it?
Having those two major points in the back of my mind, the date at least ended well, with him walking me out to my UBER, even indulging my must-visit to the Lego store.
Furious back and forth texting ensued with Rudy sweetly saying he so badly wanted to kiss me or at least hold my hand but was too shy to do so and that he’d really like to see me again. I agreed that a second date would be fun but then…
Following six weeks of “I’m working too much – let’s do this when I have time” and him ghosting me again after a lame, insincere birthday wish, I decided to write it off as a fun way to work through my heartbreak and be done with it.
February 2020 …
When Rudy showed back up online in February 2020 with a casual “Hey, how ya doing. It’s been a while?”, I got real with him, telling him I’d enjoyed our date but that three months of not talking was far too long and we were obviously on different paths so it was best to quit while we were ahead.
You’d think that it would be the end of it …
This wannabe motherf***ing player had the balls to slide back in my DMs at the start of the lock down, asking if I was mad at him and then begging me for another f***ing chance. He swore he’d be more attentive this time, communicate more and make it up to me with an incredible date when we were out of isolation again.
To stop him from doing this…
…I agreed to give it a final try. I warned him that if he lapsed into silence again, didn’t keep in touch and treated me like his lock down virtual booty call, I would block his ass.
I know, I know, what the actual f*** was I thinking?
Because, of course, after sending me a steady stream of good morning and good night texts and photos of himself I didn’t ask for ( why the f*** are guys so eager to send you photos of themselves all of the f***ing time?!) for a month, the doos ghosted me again.
As I promised, I blocked his sorry ass. If he wanted to leave, then so be it.
Kids, by the beginning of May 2020 and six weeks of being safe indoors while COVID19 ravished the world, I was exhausted.
I was tired AF of all of the business Zoom calls, the family and friends’ WhatsApp video calls, the cesspool of garbage that was my Tinder inbox, the constant bombarding of social media posts encouraging fans and followers to bake banana bread, seize the day and live their best lives.
My instinctive response was:
I’d started to switch off my phone at night for some peace of mind (which, to be honest, wasn’t doing so great – the progress I’d made with going to therapy in early March was slipping away by the day the longer the lock down continued) but then I realised there must be other people who felt the way I did. The other outliers who did not, could not, muster up the f***ing energy to do anything more than survive.
After reading a few blogs on it, I accepted the idea that just getting through the worst crisis to hit my generation was more than f***ing OK:
2020 would still be my Year of Yes but for the moment, it was OK to just be.
Kids, in March 2020, the world was in the grips of an unprecedented crisis: the COVID-19 virus, or CoronaVirus as it was known, was sweeping the globe at a rapid and frightening rate, claiming lives and forcing countries into lock down.
As South Africa settled in for its own initial 21 day lock down, naturally my online dating app DMs started blowing up. Some prime one liners included “Wanna be my lock down buddy?” and “I wish I could self-isolate with you“.
Gods, the thirst was real:
One persistent suitor, though, really got my ass twitching to smack the shit out of him… I’d told Sachin that I was working from home and as such, wouldn’t be able to chat to him until either lunch time or my usual clock out time of 4pm.
Despite initially saying he, as a 30 -year- old architect who was perfectly capable of keeping himself occupied for four hours, understood, I kept getting messages and notifications from him. Behold:
I’d told him previously that I HATE being called any kind of pet name so you can imagine how doubly pissed off I was at him for being SUPER needy and not listening to me.
F*** it. Life was too short to be stuck with this shit …NEXT!
Kiddos, you’ve heard me talk about my black clouds days – entire months where I could barely get out of bed in the morning and felt dead inside like October 2019; periods where I struggled with being different; ages where the bad dating was getting me down.
2020, far from being the Year of Yes I’d intended it to be, was kicking my ass full force and by March, I was feeling overwhelmed, insecure and out of control.
Your Nan had had two cardiac episodes and bouts of hospitalization, I was diagnosed with high pressure and anxiety and my main job was giving me all kinds of f***ing stress. I needed help and for the first time in 34 years, I wasn’t afraid to ask for it:
I’d spent October hugging puppies, talking to good friends, letting my friends and family take care of me. I’d spent November to January partying, flirting with strangers, going on cruises and generally living my best life but it was time to get real and face EVERYTHING that I was avoiding because it was affecting my health.
I developed a game plan, with the help of the people who loved me most: to see a counsellor, get a recruiter to help me find a new job, give the online dating a break, invite friends and family to walk and dance with me to get fit and plan social outings that did not involve excess partying.
It wasn’t a cure all – my Eyeoreness wasn’t ever going to go away because depression is a lifelong condition. What I could do was try and manage it in small bouts.
Asking for help isn’t a weakness, my loves. I hope I’ve taught you that.
Kids, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in February 2020, I was standing in line with your Aunt Sam, waiting to pay for our parking ticket and wishing out loud that a handsome billionaire would find me, marry me and drag me off to a deserted island where we would have and raise you.
See, 2020 had gotten off to a rough start – your Nan had been having health issues, my stress levels with my three jobs were at all all time high and I was just generally not feeling the start of the new decade.
Suddenly, a knight in shining armour appeared…
He didn’t quite fit the bill of a billionaire wanting to sweep me off of my feet and make beautiful babies with me but the kind, cute, young man came rushing to my and your aunt’s side.
“Here, let me pay your parking ticket for you beautiful ladies”, he said as he waved a R10 note at us with a smile that lit up his gorgeous brown eyes.
The kindness of this stranger, who had obviously heard my pitiful lamenting, touched me to my core, Kids.
I flashed him a big smile in return, thanking him profusely and telling him how touched your aunt and I were.
Our parking ticket angel winked at us.”Don’t mention it, Enjoy the rest of your day, ladies”, he said as he rushed off and disappeared into the parking lot like a daylight-loving Batman.
That simple act made me smile for the rest of the day and had me wanting to say:
Sure, 2020 and I had fallen out of step with each other but we just had to learn the right dance moves and we’d be rocking together in no time… in the meanwhile, thank the Gods for the kindness of strangers!
Kids, in the Year 2020 of the Old Gods and New, I made a promise to myself to live a fearless, unapologetic Year of Yes.
2019 had seen me shed many tears over people and things unworthy of my awesome self but I was determined to live my best life, ahead of having you.
That meant saying:
Yes to the dress:
I committed to only wearing dresses, when I wasn’t in my mountain uniform, and f*** a white walker, was it getting me attention from the male species!
I got plenty of compliments, including a very hearty “Kan ek net se : jy lyk fokken sexy!” (May I just say that you look f***ing sexy!”)
I was embracing my femininity and loving it!
Yes to spontaneous outings:
From a Greekish day break to the West Coast with our family to shaking what your Nan gave me with your godmother Anthea and friends at a Micasa Kirstebosch Summer Sunset concert, I was all about living in the now in 2020.
Yes to new experiences:
I’d gone through a very rebellious phase in my teens which meant there were very few new experiences for me to have but that didn’t stop me from making the most of those that were available. Like, getting extra ear piercings, which your Nan didn’t approve of 😉
I had great plans for 2020, including jetting off to London to visit your Auntie Leilah, work remotely in Bail, frolicking in the New York snow with your Spirit Mom Leo, go horse riding on Noordhoek Beach, changing jobs and of course, meeting your father.
Kids, in December 2019, I was out in the streets of Cape Town and online, dating up a storm. Granted, I’d lowered my guard a bit, in an attempt to get over my depression and have the best summer EVER before you guys happened.
Which leads me to my next big Bumble failure. Having decided to forget about the terrible American comedian fiasco on this site before, I swiped right on Warren (38) and was delighted when it was a match.
We kicked off the conversation with the usual how are yous and then got down to what did you get up to this weekend. Filling him in on the 40th birthday bash I attended, I perked up when he said his weekend had been particularly interesting.
Me: “Oh? How so? “
Warren: “Well… I was with a man for the first time.”
Look, I’d like to consider myself pretty fucking open minded, especially in 2019 when everyone was supposedly sexually fluid, but why the actual fuck would a dude who was on a straight dating site, chatting up a woman, tell me he’d been with a man?
Not knowing what to say to his truth bomb and also, because I didn’t want to come across as freaked out or judgemental, I didn’t reply for an hour while I caught up on one of my favourite series, Empire.
A message arrived an hour later…
Warren: “I hope I didn’t upset you“
Me, trying to act nonchalant about it: “Nah, I was busy catching up on series.”
Warren: “So… you don’t want to talk about it?”
Me, wondering where the fuck this was going:
“Look, you chose to share your story so whatever you’re comfortable with, is up to you”
Warren: “Oh, so you want details … LOL.”
Ok, mother fucker, no! This is where I draw the fucking line.
Look, I am as accepting of all sexualities, all personalities etc as the next girl but jackass, there is NO world where I need to hear the details of the sex the person I am interested in, had with someone else! NONE!
Just to prove to myself I wasn’t being a bigot and this guy was in fact stepping over the fucking line of online dating etiquette , I gave some thought to the fact that had I been a lesbian and the woman I was chatting to , wanted to tell me the details of her first experience with a man, how would I have reacted? And you know what? I’d probably have said EXACTLY what I said to Gay-for-the-Weekend Warren:
“No, thank you. That’s private and should remain between the two of you.”
Silence from Warren and then, do you know what the mother fucker did?
He unmatched me!
Listen, the trash took itself out, thank the fucking Gods, but still! Why did online dating have to be so fucking hard?!
Kids, it was Friday the 13th and I was about to get unexpectedly lucky…
Far from meeting my untimely death with this dude:
… I’d wandered down the back staircase of my apartment building because thanks to the ever reliable Eskom, load shedding had hit and our gates were not working.
As I wandered down, I came upon the cutest dog ever. Now, you guys know how dog crazy I am. In fact, if I could live my days like this, I would be endlessly happy ( I’ll take Keanu too… just don’t tell your Dad!):
Stopping to pat this furry cutie, I welcomed him with my usual doggy-specific greeting:
“Good Morning, Handsome!”
Seemingly out of nowhere, I received a reply:
No, I hadn’t suddenly turned into Doctor Dolittle with the ability to talk to animals… as I raised my eyes to look for the origin of the greeting, I locked eyes with a drop dead gorgeous, half-naked man:
Mr Tall, Dark and Naked was obviously my new fur pal’s dad and my neighbour. How had I not noticed him before?!
I blushed, said a nervous “Hi!”back at him and ran towards the exit.
Kids, shortly after my 34th birthday, which had been an extravaganza of love and celebrations with all of my favourite people ( besides and before you!), I was about to embark on my very first cruise ship vacation.
See, life had been pretty shitty, mostly because Jet was still being an entitled asshole whose fucktard shenanigans included throwing boxes around to get my attention, making highly offensive sexual innuendos in a ploy to get in on conversations I was having with other people, ignoring me when that didn’t work and then hanging around until I was forced to look at him.
The anticlimactic stunt: running towards me like the lead guy in a rom com, scooping me up and hugging me so tightly and for so long as he wished me a Happy Birthday, it surpassed the limitations of appropriateness, caused coworkers to comment on it and lead to him unfollowing me on Instagram because he’d been caught showing his feelings again. For a boy who claimed I was just a “dear friend”, he had a funny way of showing it.
This sums up what I wish I could have said to the jackass:
Anyway, I digress… Jet’s bullshit aside, I was coming out of my depression but I needed to remember who I was before he, and life had fucked me over in 2019.
Basically, I had to follow this sage advice from the Internet:
A five night girls’trip with your Aunt Yoli and her friends, to celebrate our birthdays, seemed like the best fucking way to do that.
Honestly, I was done trying to figure out why the Universe had fucked me over with Jet, why I wasn’t any closer to meeting your father and having you and why everyone else seemed to be able to do it at the drop of a hat.
Cocktails, fun in the sun and nothing but miles and miles of ocean between me and my first world problems seemed like the perfect solution.
I’d get back to my “Operation Baby 2020” plan soon enough… I knew you guys were waiting for me. Momma had to have some uncomplicated fun first.
But … three weeks post-heartbreak and with the news that Zombie Walk had been postponed, I knew that I could not let 31 October pass by without some celebration.
The undead life was for the living so off I went to my local King Cake Party City for a sexy witch’s Halloween costume, hat and broomstick the day before.
On Halloween, I texted your Auntie Cynthia and arranged a drinks meet-up at my new creative hotel crush, the Radisson RED Cape Town. To my utter delight, their staff was killing the Halloween costume looks and my bewitching get-up fit right in.
Confession – I should have tried my costume on when I bought it because it would have saved me the realisation that my lady pillows were ALL over the place and I was about to flash all of Cape Town!
I mean, sure, it got one of the older, half naked ( because he’d been swimming!) hotel guests all hot and bothered, to the point that he couldn’t help but lean over and pinch my… hat tip. All’s fair in love and cosplay!
The important thing I learnt, Kids, was that I couldn’t let sadness about one person destroy my joy and lust for life and the things I love doing.
Kids, in the Spring of 2019, your Spirit Mom Leonie and I got our ultimate geek on at Comic Con Africa in Johannesburg.
On our first day at the Con, we brought A Song of Ice and Fire to life as our Game of Thrones counterparts, the Night King and the Mother of Dragons:
First up on our list of things to do and experience at the Con was the Game of Thrones meetup.
Expecting it to be a similar experience to our most recent GOT premiere screening, Leo and I headed into the Auditorium early to get some EPIC shots with the title slide and music:
Things kicked off well enough with our host quickly telling us his vision for the hour – a reworking of the disastrous season 8 as we would have envisioned it, choosing three key songs, including Queen’s I Want to Break Free… weird but ok:
Shockingly, Leo and I were the only ones dressed in full character so naturally, we were chosen to play our respective characters. Fans dressed as elves and Malificent were chosen to be the Children of the Forest and Drogon, respectively, while we had an under dressed Khal Drogo and Jon Snow too.
As we sped through Leo’s Night King fighting Jon Snow and leading her army of undead on a march to Westeros, the Children of the Forest resurrected the Khal Drogo cosplayer. The Khal fought Jon Snow for my hand and then… shit got weird.
Our host announced: “After challenging Jon Snow for the Khaleesi’s hand and heart, our Khal returned to his bride’s side to produce an heir”
Not knowing exactly where he was going with this, we all looked at him awkwardly and he turned around to look at the Khal and I.
“Guys, you know that this is Game of Thrones, right? What makes GOT what it is besides the dragons and the battles? The sex scenes! So go ahead and get down to it!”
Fuck a white walker… are you kidding me, Mister?!
My first thought was“I am SO not wearing the right underwear for this!” and my second thought was briefly about the Khal and Khaleesi’s love scenes:
I know… TMI, MOM!
The Khal seeing that I was as awkward as he was,said his wife was in the audience and he wasn’t doing that. He sat down next to me on the couch, put his arm around me and said “But I am glad we are both alive again, my Khaleesi!”
And that, Kids, is how your mother got out of an awkward public near-sex scene…. NEXT!
Jet, after falsely accusing me of discussing him with co-workers and yelling at me from the very staircase where I’d fallen in love with him , rejected me twice as just a “dear friend” in a series of Whatsapp messages.
After a nearly a year of flirting, texting, spending lunch times together, sexual and emotion tension – all of which he’d initiated – I was being friendzoned… again.
Understandably, I lost my shit… I wasn’t eating and sleeping. I felt like shit all of the time and it was a struggle to just be alive for a while. I wasn’t okay.
I thought I’d had depressive episodes before but this shit was really, really bad.
Which is when he decided to reveal the monster that lies within.
The yelling should have been the tip off that Dr Jekyll was actually Mr Hyde.
After telling your aunt Anthea that he really respected me as a coworker,cared deeply about me as a good friend and had been taking his time getting to know me to see if this could have gone somewhere despite not wanting a relationship at work, he decided to ignore my fair request to give me some space and understand that I would be keeping my distance until I was over him.
Pissed off that I was giving him the cold shoulder, that I could barely look at his face or say more than the basic hello, Jet starting amping up the bad behaviour.
He’d try to include himself in conversations I was having with other co-workers and get up close in my personal space in the kitchen when we were alone, under the guise of getting his mug.
He’d take phone calls on balconies where I was sure to see him at lunch times. At a staff party, even though I hadn’t spoken to him all day, he got really close into my space, said hi, clinked his glass against mine and said a fake cheers. He spent the rest of the night watching me on the dance floor, being near to wherever I was and brooding in a corner when no one would speak to him.
His behaviour was unnecessarily cruel. He’d made his point about not liking me the way I liked him. I’d asked him for space and he’d ignored it. Was his male ego that fragile that me not continuing to moon over his very existence spurred him into hurting me even more?
For someone who only considered me a “dear friend”, he was sure acting like a possessive, obsessive almost-boyfriend.
I’ve never been one for loving or disengaging half-heartedly. I either love someone like they are the centre of my fucking universe ( I know, not healthy… I should be the centre,always) or I cut off all feelings and engagement so quickly, it’s like hell froze over.
Jet had become addicted to my attention, had lapped up every bit of my concern, my care, my adoration and was now having to go cold turkey without it. That shit hurt, I got it.
But I couldn’t keep hurting myself by being kind to him. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. My favourite Grey’s Anatomy quote came to mind:
I was a good person, for fuck’s sake … so why did this keep happening to me?!
Kids, I didn’t choose the cosplay life, it chose me.
By now, you know the family lore: Your geeky grandpa met your creative Nan and when they found out they were expecting me, they worked together on creating a kickass Superbaby suit that I, your auntie Sam and countless future generations of bambinos would wear.
I’ll admit , I look SUPER adorable in that suit:
In 2019, I was embracing my cosplaying life like the weird fangirl I was and I wasn’t go to apologize for it! A lot of people thought I was crazy and that , as a 33-year-old woman I should grow the f*** up but you know what? Here’s what I thought about what other people thought of me:
Thanks to the friends and family, ESPECIALLY your Spirit Mom Leo, I was comfortable in my own wig-wearing, awesome AF costume donning skin and I wanted to do more of that shit:
As Leo and I embarked on our upcoming 2019 Comic Con Africa trip, I thanked the Gods, Old and New, for helping me find my Wyrdo tribe!
… And no, that is NOT an invitation for you to follow your spirit sister‘s dreams of becoming a skilled performer who dances for rich,handsome men on poles to this song:
As we approached National Women’s Day in 2019, I started thinking about just how much I love you and you don’t even exist yet.
I think about everything I want to teach you, to learn from you, to experience with you for the first time and over and over again. I think about how lovely you’ll be, how utterly unique and how strong you’ll be. I worry about the challenges you’ll face but I know that you will be brave enough to overcome them. I cannot wait to see your endless smiles and wipe away your tears.
Being a woman in South Africa and in the world in my current time is far from easy – in some countries, women’s rights have regressed so much, I fear for my fellow sisters. I know it might hardly have changed in your time but I hope it will be slightly easier.
I could carry on and on about this but I’ll let this TEDX video explain more:
You are blessed, you are wise and you are loved, my daughter.
Kids, in the winter of 2019, your Nan was facing a potential huge health crisis and while I knew I could and would support her as I had through two heart attacks, a stroke and bell’s palsy, I also wanted to take the time to appreciate her.
She’s a tough one, your Nan. She survived an overprotective and religious fanatic father, an abusive marriage, a premature baby, young widowhood, raised two headstrong daughters ( including your rebellious, short-tempered, creative mother), supplemented her nursing degree with post-grad courses, retired, changed careers, returned to nursing and had recently sold her home of 25 years to move into a seaside apartment.
We’d had our differences over the years, mostly because we are alike in so many ways but the one thing that remained unchanged was that no matter how often we fought, we were there for each other when it mattered.
And this health crisis mattered.
Life, Kids, hits you with unexpected curve balls but trust me when I say this: where there is love and family, there is hope and you can and will get through anything.
Kids, in the winter of 2019, your Spirit Mom Leo and I took your god-brother and god-sister Kris and Heidi on a magical night out to watch Disney on Ice at the GrandWest Casino’s Grand Arena.
Despite initially protesting that the show was for children, your moody teenage god siblings ended up singing along to most of the songs and actually enjoying themselves.
During the post- how supper and ride home, though, is where the real magic happened as Kris and Heidi (mostly Heidi, who has been ragging my ass about the dire state of my dating life since she was nine-years-old) proceeded to serve up some hot, unsolicited teenage love advice.
“Fazi, you really should try online dating. It is where all of the cool kids are. Double check those profile photos, though, ’cause they are dodgy” – Heidi
“Fazi, aren’t you too old to have kids? Forty is old!” – Kris (note to reader: I was NOT 40).
“Fazi, maybe you should consider being someone’s side chick. I mean, my YouTube crush is nine years older than me and when I am 18, I am going to be his side chick” – Heidi
Ok, so my Spirit Children still had LOADS of growing up to do before I would take their advice or let them babysit you but I know their quirky little teen hearts meant well.
With Kris and Heidi by my side, your future father was going to have his work cut out for him, trying to pursue me 😉
I’d come back from an offsite meeting and was frantically typing away at my desk when Mr Asshole makes some wisecrack about stripping the boards in the shop.
“No, Fazielah, not stripping like that!”
Seriously, all that was missing from this sleazy throwaway line was this:
Firstly, as mentioned I wasn’t even looking at him or being a part of his conversation with Anthea, my work BFF and secondly:
I kept my resting bitch face in place and ignored him while he asked Anthea if he was seriously not even going to get a smile out of me.
No, Jackass, inappropriate commentary will not be rewarded with smiles.
Anthea left and as Doos 1 walked up the staircase, Jet came running down it, dazzling me with a gorgeous smile and “Hey!”
Naturally, because Jet’s smiles made me go all weak at the knees, I smiled shyly (ok, read that as awkward AF) back at him:
Mr Jackass, seeing my reaction to Jet, angrily turns around and goes:
“What the hell was that, Fazielah?! Why does he get a smile from you and I don’t?!”
I didn’t have the time to explain the simplicity of the fact that Jet being single plus me being single = us being free to smile with each other whenever the actual f*** we please and also it had F*** ALL to do with Doos 1 since he is a married man, who has no right to get mad at me.
Me: “I am not going to dignify that with a response”
Asshole Supreme marched off behind Jet to ask Anthea why he was getting the cold shoulder from me but Jet wasn’t and I laughed out loud.
We’d moved beyond the shy greetings and gentle teasing at the office with plenty of interaction at our recent company staff party. We’d been seen together so often and there were videos of the night’s events where he was caught on camera staring at me, people were constantly asking him if we were a couple.
Which is exactly where our problems began. Jet was apparently SO uncomfortable with all of the goodnatured teasing from our co-workers, he’d start ghosting me (in f***ing person no less!) at the office for a few days each week.
What the actual f***, man?!
If you guys can recall, until roughly seven months prior, I’d barely known Jet existed, let alone that he liked me. Now, when I was finally catching feelings too, Brother Man was getting cold feet and running for the f***ing hills.
He would ignore me during the day but deep like my old Instagram posts at 1am. Are you f***ing kidding me, Boy?!
Listen, to quote my favourite:
Our mutual friends still held out hope for a romantic ending because Jet was always either asking them to help him keep up to date with Game of Thrones so he could talk to me about it, demanding to know what they had done with “his Fazielah” when I was out of the office or pausing on the stairway above my desk until I was forced to look up at him and say Hi.
I, to be quite f***ing honest, was feeling my inner Avengers Ronin on this:
Hope,Kids, would be the death of me…
I deserved far f***ing better than being a 26-year-old’s maybe. I was a “I knew I wanted her from the moment I saw her” kinda girl.
After one of those nasty AF Discovery Wellness days in May, I realised that if I had any hope in hell of giving you guys a healthy mom, it was time to get back on the proverbial fitness horse, no matter how difficult it seemed:
Thus began my long farewell to Netflix and Chill sessions for one with my trusty box of Oreos, chocolate and Amarula and hello Promenade Mondays, Zumba Wednesdays and the occassional fun runs like the 10km Spar Women’s Challenge event:
…to indulging my inner child at adult colouring-in Meet-Ups:
It had taken me more than three decades but I was finally able to just feel myself and be comforable in my own skin:
And everyone, from Jet, my lingering office crush, to my friends and family were feeling my me-ness too. From eagerly wanting to attending comic cons with me to tagging me in every Game of Thrones post ever and sending me sweet treats, celebrating my Wyrdness:
I was loved for me … more importantly, I loved me for me.
Your Dad had no freaking clue how lucky he was about to get by meeting me!
Kids, in the Autumn of 2019 I had promised your Spirit Mom Leo that I would get my beautiful ass off of Tinder and focus on IRL (in real life) dating.
What I didn’t tell her was that I was still on Bumble. I know:
I knew she was going to kick my ass when she read this post . Literally – she was earning all of her belts in karate at this very moment in time, so :
So, it’s entirely likely I wasn’t going to gain any sympathy for what happened next…
Bumble Stumbler the short story:
Sean, an American engineer with a passion for travelling, and I swiped right on each other and he quickly caught me up on what a busy weekend he’d had with a friend’s wedding, going on a safari and hanging out with friends. Not that he bothered to ask me what I’d been up to… men, such selfish creatures!
Ignoring the red flags, I went onto ask him what his must-see Cape Town bucket list items were. He launched into a detailed itinerary of his visit to the Kruger National Park, his week in Hermanus and Greyton and how, almost on his way to Namibia, he decided to rent an AirBnB and stay in Mouille Point.
Me, trying to pretend like I’m totally fascinated by what an amazing traveller and storyteller he is:
Eventually,Sean hit me with the” So,if you were interested in a face to face meet with me halfway between you and I, when and where would that be?”
Me, thinking a casual meet-up couldn’t hurt: “Well, I run along the Promenade quite often and there are pleny of cool places around there. I’m free Saturday afternoon, if you are?”
Now, I don’t know what the fuck it is with guys, but the minute you call them out on their bluff and show interest in them too, they do shit like this:
“i really don’t know if I will be … I am at if you come to a fork in the road, take it status right now.”
I looked at my screen and went:
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but this motherfucker had asked me to meet up, right? Why the fuck was he now giving even poor Yoda a fucking headache with his estoric bullshit?!
Doofus Deluxe’s explanation:
“I have no plan, and if something comes up, I may do that…Conflicted about going to Namibia or just exploring here, is all I’m saying.”
Kids, as you well know, your godparents and I were SUPER Game of Thrones fans, and as the premiere of the final season EVER dawned, Leo, Tendai and I were up for just about ANYTHING to celebrate.
Hence, entering an OMG Game of Thrones pub quiz at the Jack Black’s Taproom in Diep River, Cape Town.
With the aid of four of our fellow GOT experts and Lords and Ladies, a binge rewatch of the entire previous seven seasons of the show, some light online quiz taking and plenty of Entertainment Weekly post reading, House Wyrd crushed the opposition in a nail-biting, Tyrion-style drinking sudden death round of the quiz:
Tougher than the Battle of The Bastards, as brutal as Oberyn’s headcrushing by The Mountain and as bloody as Ramsay being eaten alive by his dogs… the pub quiz was vicious but House Wyrd prevailed!
Adding to our excitement over our win, Leo and I received an invitation from media giant MNET to attend the eighth and final Game of Thrones screening at Nu Metro Canal Walk…and that, my dear Summer Children, is a winter tale for next time.
Of course, because this is my life, and the Universe likes to make sure I know exactly how wrong I can be, in the space of two months I got served up some of the craziest creepiness I’d ever experienced until that point in time.
Behold, the one with the creepy guys:
Avada Kedavra, Creep:
There I was,helping your Spirit Mom Leo putting the finishing touches to the birthday cake of the magical organisation we both love, when a seemingly harmless looking guy comes up to take a photo of us.
Thinking it’s one of the new students’ parents and that I always have to be happy, friendly and approachable, I smile broadly and pose for said photo.
“Great”, he says, lowering his phone, “now I have a photo of you so I can look out for you on Tinder!”
Are you fucking kidding me?! In the one place, other than the comfort of my home, where I can just relax, be myself and feel safe, I was being objectified and harrassed! No, just FUCKING NO!
The interaction immediately made me feel sleazy and like somehow I’d provoked him by being me – I know it wasn’t my fault but in that instant, it felt like it. I spent the rest of the night always in the company of one of my fellow witches and made sure to give He Who Must Not Be Named a very wide berth…
As it turned out, said creep was now also someone I was going to have to work with on a regular basis. I worked around that by opting to only deal with someone else who was doing the same thing. Since casting the killing curse was impossible, at least for now, I had to be extra careful going forward.
The IG DM lurker:
A Sunday morning, at just after 6 fucking am, a direct message request arrives in my Instagram app.
Eye roll from me, because no one who knows me would dare to contact me before the perfectly acceptable time of 9am but hey, there’s always a first.
I hit open and I’m assaulted with this missive:
As I’ve said countless times before, I am not against being complimented but when it’s a virtual fucking stranger sliding into my DMs, Momma’s gonna have a few choice things to say, my loves.
Curious as to who this wanna-be Lothario is, I did some investigating on his profile. Turns out he is a professional photographer of sorts and actually gets fucking paid to take people’s photos and interact with them so why in the name of the Gods was he creeping on me?!
There is no law against telling a woman she is beautiful, for sure, but sending me a private message on a social media app that is NOT for online dating is overstepping boundaries.
I dreamt of giving ol’Mc Creep the Khaleesi treatment …
… but alas I had to do it the mere mortal way of block, report and delete.
Kids, for as long as I can remember, random strangers would walk up to me or sit down next to me and confess their deepest, darkest secrets or their unexpected joy.
In 2019, in the space of a week, three people I didn’t know from a bar of soap , confided in me and it got me wondering: “Was I a priest or a counsellor in my previous life?”
While I listened patiently, I was always silently screaming:
Here are three times people confessed their secrets to me:
The Baby Mama Whispers:
There I was minding my own business in the queue for the Clicks pharmacy when the beautiful, curly-haired woman next to me let out a few audible sighs.
Being quite experienced at this and realising I could no longer turn a deaf ear to the ever-increasing volume of her sighs, I turned to the distressed lady and asked:
“Are you ok?”
Gods, remind me not to do that again…
“Actually, no. I’m just feeling dizzy and here’s why”.
She proceeded to show me her script for folic acid so of course, I got excited because:
Kids, as much as I love babies, this mommy-to-be was WAY too open about how she’d suspected she was pregnant for a while, had her own blood tests done because she didn’t trust her doctor to, was feeling dizzy, wasn’t showing yet at 11 weeks but according to her OBGYN, the fetus was too big for the gestational age and she couldn’t find her boyfriend.
I mean, come on:
The Keyless Runner:
A week after the Baby Mama drama, I was waiting on my Uber to arrive at the Lower Tafelberg Road parking lot when a runner uh, runs, up to me and for several seconds, keeps exclaiming:
“Holy shit, I am one lucky bastard!”
Seeing as he very obviously was not going to go away, despite my very best Meryl Streep impression:
I ventured a cautious: “What happened?”
“Oh My God! I thought I’d lost my car keys and couldn’t find them. Which is horrible because I just ran around the mountain. I was completely freaking out and then ran back to the roadside tap I’d drunk water at three hours ago and my keys were STILL there! Amazing, right?!”, the excited runner exclaimed.
Since I could see he needed the validation, I gave him an enthusiastic “Well done, you!”
The Chatty Uber driver:
I’d had my fair share of run-ins with Uber drivers before. Some of them were actually quite inspiring and others were downright fucking insulting so I was not exactly overthrilled when Sean Paul started our ride with :“I can see with my third eye that you are like a dormant volcano – still on the surface but burning with passion beneath that exterior”.
For the next ten minutes before we collected your Uncle Tendai from his hotel, Sean Paul regaled me with tales of his traumatic childhood, how angry he was as a teenager and adult until he found Rastafarianism; how his third eye had grown due to his beliefs and how he’d recently played the white knight in shining armour for a female passenger when she was in trouble.
As the ride dragged on, I realised that Sean Paul was trying to hit on me . Did priests or counsellors ever encounter this problem, I wondered?
Thanks the gods that the minute your godfather joined us, my chatty would-be suitor and confessor stopped spewing his guts and life could go on.
Fuck it, Capetonians… please get yourselves some paid therapy and leave me alone!
Kids, 2019 was my Year of Yes – I was saying yes to new adventures, new places, new people and new experiences. I’d been wanting to try the Ceres Railway train to the Elgin Market and when your Uncle Moenier said he was keen to do it too, we booked tickets for the experience of a lifetime.
On a breezy Saturday morning in February, Moenier and I hopped on-board the luxury train coach, complete with suede covered couches, a dining cart, fully stocked bar and a steam engine at the station, opposite the Royal Yacht Club in Cape Town.
As we embarked on this thrilling steam engine train trip, we caught up over a quick breakfast in the dining cart and enjoyed the slowly diappearing views of Table Mountain:
Of course, because I am renowned for being the Capetonian version of Bridget Jones, I tumbled down the stairs of the train to take a photo of your Uncle Moenier and promptly sprained my ankle.
Luckily not the same one I’d hurt on that Gods-awful first OkCupid date that ended abruptly back in 2017.
I grinned and bore the pain so we could get this Harry Potter-inspired shot:
Since we were halfway to Elgin by then, I bore the pain for the next six hours but it was all worth it for this epic sight:
When we got to the Elgin Railway Market, it was easy to forget the pain of my ankle for a while as I took in the gorgeous sights, tastes and offerings:
However painful a journey it may have been, my train trip to Elgin was a great reminder that adventure is to be had anywhere , anytime, if we are just brave enough to take the leap.
Kids, Valentine’s Day tends to bring out the downright nasty in Tinder daters. As the great Dothraki would say:
In 2019, things were no different.
David and I had swiped right on each other, prompting what I assumed would be a mutually respectful exchange.
I was wrong. SO wrong.
My grandfather passed notes to my grandmother via the factory secretary at the company they worked at in the 60s to let her know he was interested. My Dad wrote my Mom “we’re going to have beautiful babies” messages in cute cards in the 80s.
What did my wanna-be suitor write to me as his first message? This:
Kids, I was feeling Jet hard… and although I tried to believe Jennifer Paige when she said it was just a little :
… it didn’t help that he was obviously feeling the same way.
I mean the guy was calling me his girlfriend to coworkers; eagerly greeting me morning, noon and night; playing the perfect gentleman and attentive date by pulling out my chair, getting me drinks and engaging me in conversation at work functions; telling people he was bringing me as his date to after hours events; taking every chance he could to hang out at my desk and just generally being all up in my business.
How was I reacting to all of this wanton lusting and office flirtation, you ask?
Oh, Sweet Child of Mine…
Your momma once again invoked the spirit of literary and cinematic singleton Bridget Jones, because really, why even try being cool about a real life flesh and blood man ( and a younger one, at that!) being into me?
One afternoon, Jet was bounding down the staircase, as he was wont to do, off to save some IT crisis or other, and I, as I was wont to do, was watching him … drinking in the sight of him, feasting my eyes and all but drooling.
So much so, that I … spilt my tea all over my desk and my pants.
It was a cold November night and I was wandering through Times Square, having just sobbed my eyes out at a spectacular performance of the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen…
I stopped, twirled around in a circle and took in my surroundings. Still feeling emotional after my sobfest and raw in a way I hadn’t been for years , I had a profound realization.
I was home. Home once again and I was impossibly, utterly, deeply in love with New York City.
For the third time.
This trip, my first one to New York shared with someone I loved, your godmom Leonie, was hands down my best. I loved solo travel, and I would soon venture off on another trip by myself, but a shared experience brought with it a sense of happiness, comedic moments of getting lost, frustation at losing each other at busy events, transcendent moments at a magical theatre show unlike any other we’d seen, discovering new places and showing each other our favourite spots.
Sharing New York with someone who adored it as much as I do, possibly even more so, made me love it on a deeper level.
Even if I never returned to the Big Apple in my life (Gods, I hope not! I still wanted to live my best upcoming writer and Brooklyn-living mom life there!), I was content to have loved this beautiful city and be a part of it at least thrice in my life.
Kids, in January 2019, I was about 13 months away from having you and I realised that while 2018 had been a year of learning and growing dating-wise, I had no time to f*** around anymore and I had to get serious about finding your Dad.
I knew he wasn’t going to just drop out of the sky like a romantic male Mary Poppins so I was going to have put in some hard work.
Things were progressing quite nicely with Jet , but it wasn’t a sure thing and I had to make some dating resolutions for the New Year:
No more messing around with f*** boys: those late night “I missed you tonight” texts, unexpected phone calls to “catch-up”; the ol’ “my friend can’t make it, will you go with me to xxx” last minute invitations and the “send me photos of what you are up to” requests bullshit would no longer be tolerated in 2019. Either step up , ask me out and tell me how you feel about me or please f*** off from whence you came, Sir!
Out with the apps, in with the IRL dates: Tinder, OkCupid, Datingbuzz and Bumble had given me MORE than my fair share of shitty online dating experiences in 2018 and the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. In 2019, I was going to give my thumbs a break from swiping left or right and let my eyes and charming pick-up lines work their magic… mostly. You guys know how I have no game but a girl had to try.
Live a lot: with just over a year until I would have you, I realised there was a SHIT TON of things I wanted to do , that wouldn’t be as easy with a baby onboard. No offence, my loves. I drew up a list of 100 things I wanted to do before becoming a mom ( which I will share with you soon) and invited friends and family along to help me do them. From day train trips to another town to spending a weekend at a wildlife reserve and having another beach resort holiday to exploring more of Europe, I wanted to do it all. I couldn’t be a great mom and life partner if I wasn’t fulfilled and had lived a lot so it was time to do it.
2019 was the year things changed, Kids… and it really was spectacular!
Well, in December 2018, Mr Asshole was at it again…
“Fazielah”, he said as he tapped my shoulder and got way too far up in my personal space for my liking, “I said, your naughty Santa’s Elf costume is only a quarter complete with that hat. Where’s the short, sexy mini skirt and hot red high heels?”
Now, Kids, please take a minute to appreciate the fact that I, in no way at all, was being overtly sexual in my demeanour or dress style at this point – not that it should matter,because however a woman dresses or acts,she is not asking to be sexually harrassed,ever.
I quite literally was wearing workman’s jeans, a standard work issue t-shirt, hiker boots and the afore-mentioned hat and unlike a nurse or fireman’s costume, my mountain clothing wasn’t a f*** sexy.
His comment made me see red.
Me, too f***ing outraged and surprised that once again this motherf***ing ass of a married man who clearly did not realise we were living in the age of the #MeToo movement, would be this f***ing oblivious and chauvinistic: “Uhm, well, that kind of attire wouldn’t be appropriate for the mountain.”
Prize Jerk Nr 1 laughed and walked away, leaving me feeling like I had just let myself and the entire female population of the world and generations to come down.
Why the f*** were men still getting away with this kind of bullshit?
I understand that decades of the naughty Santa’s elf imagery has saturated mainstream media and given rise to countless fantasies and role play scenarios but for the love of the gods, most f***ing people keep that shit to themselves, their partners and their bedrooms.
Married men, sure as shit, shouldn’t be saying kak like that to single women, or any woman for that matter, at all and utterly unprovoked!
It would take me a while to work up the courage to confront this world-class f***er about his inappropriate banter but I sure as f*** would.
Here’s what I did want to say to him and all men like him, though:
“Listen, you arrogant d*** … just because I was trying to be a good sport and get into the spirit of Christmas with a hat doesn’t give you the right to ignore all professional and personal boundaries and spew lecherous shit at me whenever you see fit!
I reserve the right to wear what I want, when I want to and to not have you comment on it. I f***ing love Christmas, I love Santa and by the gods, I wish I could be an elf but I do not dress up for you or your f***ing base pleasure. Take your dirty mind and go play dress up with your wife. Leave me the f*** alone!”
Kids, in the summer of 2018, I was taking a bit of a break from Tinder while I saw where things would go with Jet. In the interest of online dating research, though, I turned to my friends for their hilarious #TinderFail stories.
Faye had been chatting to *Greg*, a 39-year-old lonely boy on and off since March, consoling him when he claimed he wasn’t meeting any quality woman on the app and suggesting ways in which he could improve his conversational skills to help me with the ladies.
Fastforward to December and Greg was once again bemoaning how lonely – and for the first time- how horny he was.
At this point, Faye, exasperated at this man child’s inability or willingness to help himself, suggested he hire an escort to help with his needs.
Silence from Greg until…
He texted her to tell her he was, uh, getting himself off to her messages while she was online with him.
Uhm… motherf***ker, WHAT?!
There had literally been NO sexy exchanges of any kind in the conversation leading up to this. Faye had been telling him gently to get off his f***ing ass and do something about his loneliness and he took it to mean he had to give himself a happy ending WHILE talking to her.
It had all started innocently enough… Jet would borrow a pen from me, leaning over my shoulder and getting all up into my personal space when there were plenty of pens lying on other desks closer to him.
Hello Captain Obvious:
A month later, after I arrived back from New York,Jet got a little bolder, especially after your Aunt Anthea made enquiries about his socializing preferences, knowing I had a predilection for cute, awkward men.
Suddenly, he was greeting me enthusiastically every day, giving me birthday hugs, telling co-workers that his “girlfriend Fazielah” had invited him to a social night out (I had done no such thing – I could barely get out Good Morning when speaking to him- how the f*** was I issuing invitations, let alone being called his girlfriend?!).
Was I flattered by this unexpected attention? Of course I was.
I decided I couldn’t let the young Jet do all of the work – I was an independent woman of the 21st century, for f***’s sake!
One morning, as Jet zoomed by and up the staircase to his office, I shouted a very loud “HI!” at him.
Smooth, Williams, real smooth.
Jet, confused at first as to whether I was actually yelling at him or just talking to all of the mountain ghosts, stopped and then said “Goeie More!” in reply.
I hadn’t thought about what would happen after that so…
I hid under my desk.
And stayed there for a good 15 minutes until I was sure he was gone.
This, this is why I shouldn’t be allowed out into the dating world. I suck at flirting, goddammit!
Kids, in 2018, your Spirit Mom Leo and I took that much anticipated Girls’Trip to New York and it was magical…
Everything we did, without actually intending for it to be that way, ended up with a magical twist.
We started Magic Day (and Halloween) on 31 October with a visit to Fantasma to admire the Houdini artefacts , replace our stolen magic coin ( long story short, I’d left a coin I’d bought in Las Vegas with a hotdog seller in New York in 2014 for Leo to collect but then he ran off with it – the audacity!) with two new ones and get a visual magic effect for Leo to perform on Times Square:
On our way to the 2018 Village Halloween Parade, we found the amazing Fantastic Beasts #LivetheMagic mural:
Even the Fantastic Beasts marketing team got in on our magical adventures with this epic request:
We followed this enchanting experience up with a visit to the epic Brooklyn Bridge and a photo opp with our magic coins:
A magical stalking opportunity arises …
After a whirlwind week of exploring the city of our hearts together, Leo and I were shuffling through the tedious security queue at JFK at 6h30am when your godmom let out a huge “OH MY GOD!”
Me: “What? What’s happening? Who do I need to beat up?” ( sidebar: your Aunt Sam says I have anger issues and I am always ready to beat people out… not true… I am just not much of a morning person!)
Leo: “It’s David Copperfield! That’s him!”
Kids, I’d like to tell you that your godmom and I kept our ladies of magic cool in this moment but… come on, this is us! We were magic fangirling so hard that EVERY time David passed by behind us in the queue, we’d be giggling and hyperventilating.
We agreed that we’d let the poor man pass through security and then grab him for a magical selfie.
Of course, David vanished in a blink of an eye (ha ha!) and despite us going so far as to walk all over the domestic terminal searching for him, we had to give up the magical stalking eventually and make our way back home.
Leo tweeted our regrets to the magic man and he LIKED it:
My loves, allow me to get emotional here for a second: the biggest lesson I learnt on this incredible trip to New York is that there is no greater gift than sharing the magic of travel with someone you love. I cannot thank your godmom enough for one of the best trips of my life!
“You will find the missing piece of your puzzle … just walk with God and believe in it”
Kids, it was a Saturday night in November 2018 and my Uber driver Jean-Pierre was doling out love advice as we zipped from the Cape Flats to the City Bowl.
He’d just picked me up from your Aunt Anthea’s birthday bash and commented on how he’d sensed I had a good aura from the moment I’d walked towards his car, just like the one he’d sensed from his wife when he met her 20 years ago.
Me, rolling my eyes because come on, Mister, it’s 11pm at night and I am too tired and old for this mystical shit: ” Come on, JP! I bet you say that to all of your female passengers.”
JP: “No, I am serious! When I met my wife, she had this beautiful aura, the same one you have, and I knew I’d met the missing piece of my puzzle. I told her then and there: “I am going to make you my wife” and two years later, I did and put her in my house.”
Me: “Ok, JP, since my Mom and Dad have a similar story,I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here. But tell me some more about your puzzle piece.. are you still with your wife? Do you have children? Is this relationship everything you could have hoped for and more?”
JP: “We have been married for 20 years and there have been good, bad and incredible times. We have four daughters – three teenagers and a toddler. It’s been more than I could have dreamt about. And it’s all been possible with the help of God.”
Look, you guys know my relationship with religion is sketchy at the best of times and I was really having trouble believing that finding your father, the love of my life, my forever travel buddy and my life partner was as easy as asking a Higher Power for him.
Over the course of our forty minute drive, JP was slowly convincing me to at least think about being open to the possiblity of it.
JP: “Look, I can tell that you are a wonderful, kind and incredible woman. You’ll pick up many wrong pieces of the puzzle, trying to make them fit and they won’t. Those men are not for you… trust your intution when it tells you no. You will find your missing piece… just walk with God and believe in it.”
In all of my time using Uber, this was by far the most enjoyable ride and driver I’d ever had. I was actually quite sad when I had to say goodbye.
JP: “Ok, Lady with the lovely aura, this is your stop. Go now and pray. Believe that you will find your puzzle piece.”
And you know, Kids, for the first time in a really long time, I was ready to believe.
To say a legendary girls’trip with Leo in the city of our hearts was needed was a f***ing understatement!
I wanted you so badly, I’d allowed myself to get caught up in an impossible situationship that ,from the outside, and possibly my imagination, seemed like my own rom-com come true … but the asshat who’d been the unlikely Prince Charming quickly turned into the villain and I was once again back to square one.
I was tired, Kids. I was emotionally f***ing spent. Being around my very romantically successful family physically f***ung hurt and I couldn’t bear family gatherings. I loved them and I was happy for them but I couldn’t be around them.
I was falling apart in the inbetween – in the times when I was alone and no one could see my bleeding emotional wounds.
I was reminded of that popular saying:
It was time to reset myself and let New York heal me.
Technically, I should not have been spending any f***ing time with him alone, I know, but look, my heart and flesh were weak, ok? Quit judging me!
On your aunt Lee-Anne‘s suggestion that I have a shot of Dutch courage to calm the f*** down, I set off to down the last of the left over vodka in my fridge … but I didn’t have a shot glass.
What’s a desperate girl who refuses to drink directly from the bottle to do in these dire circumstances?
Why, pour a shot in a Benylin medicine cap, of course.
And of course, OF COURSE, because I was utterly f***ing nervous and shaking like a druggie needing her next f***ing fix, I half-missed my mouth and poured most of the goddamn drink down one side of my neck and onto my dress.
Me, on a call with your aunt Lee, shortly after this monumental disaster:
“Lee! LEE! For f***’s sake, help me! Does vodka smell?”
Lee, after laughing at me for a full five minutes (because she is SUCH a great friend): “No, dumb ass. Relax. Wash it off, spray some perfume and chill the f*** out!”
Not that the half shot helped plenty because the non-date confused the f*** out of me even further but hey, at least Lee had a good chuckle, right?
The holey-moley work day:
I’d been going from meeting to meeting all morning, wowing my co-workers with my epic ideas and generally thinking I was the shit when…
I got to the restroom to pay homage to Mother Nature and pulled down my tights, only to realise there was a hole the size of my bloody fist in it!
Since I very rarely sit like a lady, I’d most certainly been flashing all and f***ing sundry all day long.
Sweet Mother of Dragons, could my inner Bridget Jones please f*** off?!!
Kids, in 2018, as I further embraced my cosplaying, travel-loving, Comic Con-going, geek chick self, the ugly side of pursuing these passions revealed itself – in the form of several social media stalkers.
I’d heard about men taking things a step too far when randomly texting a woman with similar comic book and movie interests and experienced it only once years before but in the Spring of 2018, my personal experience with it intensified.
The Big Apple stranger danger:
Your Spirit Mom Leonie and I were super excited about our upcoming first joint New York trip together and I was periodically sharing photos on Instagram about it:
Enter iger @pacman52280 aka George Waldman whose account was set to private and only had 128 followers. George, whom I had never, ever spoken to and certainly had no interest in doing so either, took to leaving the following comments on my posts:
On their own, sure, the comments seems innocent enough but the fact that this man had taken the time to immerse himself in my feed, go through what in particular interested me, scrutinized my passions and kept commenting when I was clearly not responding to him, freaked me out.
The fact that he had a private account, was a stranger and was insisting on meeting me, a solo female traveller in a foreign city, also set too many alarm bells ringing.
I’d dealt with thirsty men before but this was just on another level and I did not appreciate it.
I blocked George swiftly but I hated the fact that I now had to censor myself when posting about the things I loved doing, simply because a man could not get a f**ing hint and stop harassing me… and this in the era of #MeToo.
It was the first time in all of my solo travelling adventures that I felt unsafe and it was utterly unnecessary.
Know where the f***ing line is, men, and toe it. It’s not that goddamn difficult!
The Twitter dirty bird:
Same year, different social media doos… a random Tuesday on Twitter elicited the following inappropriate DM:
Again, I had never spoken to this person before,and had not engaged in any behaviour or communication that would invite this kind of message.
A look at his Twitter profile revealed the following:
So, no, it wasn’t just me… this person was a certfied f***ing creep!
I reported him to Twitter immediately.
Social media is great for broadening your horizons but you also need to stay vigilant and be safe, Kids. While I would still be sharing posts about the cool and wonderful things and events I attended, these episodes definitely made me be more careful about it.
Kids, there comes a time in every superheroine’s life when she needs to step things up, to soar into an unknown stratosphere. For me, it was attending the very first Comic Con Africa in Johannesburg on Friday 14 September 2018.
I could wax lyrical for ages and ages about my experience but let me rather share the message I sent to your Spirt Mom Leonie and godfather Tendai about it instead:
“Arriving there this morning was like a treasure hunt on steroids ( because the Uber drop-off zone was k** far from the entrance and I had to work through an actual tunnel to get to the building).
After getting my media tag and the WiFi password, it was off to the main stage for the opening.
And the minute I walked through the single door to the main floor… damn, that high is hard to describe.
It’s Christmas morning, mixed with seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time, mixed with the first time you hear the Game of Thrones theme song in the first episode of a new season.
This… this is what I have been waiting for my entire geek like. It was Heaven!”
I’ll let the videos and images below speak for themselves but trust me when I say I fell in love and I fell hard for Comic Con Africa that first day. It’s totally the reason why you guys, your Dad, your Nan and godfather Leon attend it with me to this day:
I came.I saw.I Comic Conned 😎In what can only be described as the culmination of all of my comicbook heiress and geek…
Kids, sometimes when my ego was bruised by a date, like when the Boston man child walked out on me, I would seek validation by running into the arms of another unsuitable candidate… such was the case with the Needy Italian.
Mike had literally just walked out of the door when your aunties Cynthia, Gloria and I got down and dirty on the dance floor and three new guys started started dancing with us – a nerdy but seriously cute type and two Italian brothers.
Things were going the way of Dirty Dancing minus the epic lift for me with one of the brothers, Emmanuele, and even though I actually had my eye on an uber cute and buff blonde on the other side of the dancefloor, I was having a good time.
An hour later, I was ready to leave and also feeling quite bold, bolstered by a mixture of f*** Mike attitude and several ciders, so – after punching my number into Emmanuele’s phone, I grabbed him by his big beared face and laid a long but chaste kiss on him:
Fast forward to the next day when I was nursing the mother of all f***ing hangovers and I’d woken up to a barrage of texts:
“Is me, Emmanuele… you see me at Dubliner’s tonight, yes?”
“You wake? I much like to dance with you again”
My outrage at my own idiotic self made me want to respond to my very enthusiastic Romeo with:
Why? Why were millennial men so f***ing needy?!
I didn’t want to hurt his feelings,though, and I was feeling kind of guilty about using him to assuage my feelings of rejection by Mike the night before so I told him that I couldn’t make that night or the night after but perhaps we could try for the weekend.
The following Wednesday:
After ducking and dodging Emmanuele’s pretty intense advances ( with everything from following both your auntie Lee-Anne, who most certainly did NOT appreciate it, and I are on Instagram to liking every single photo I posted and constantly sliding into my WhatsApp with “I want to spend my nights with you” texts), I received the following message from him:
“I get on a plane back home now. I hope to come back next year. We please stay in contact. I will remember you.”
I wished him a good flight and then let him down gently,saying that I am sorry I kissed him when I had no intention of taking things any further and I hope he found a great girl who was more suited to his 29 year-old-self.
If I could have played that old The Manhattans classic for him, I would have:
I also vowed to myself to never use someone to get over someone else again – karma is a bitch and she may well come back to get me at some point.
This, Kids, is what the stupid AF married and religious person from my past who was also a co-worker yelled at me as he walked up the staircase to the next level of my office building.
I was initially too flabbergasted at the utter audacity and nerve of this man, who had not spoken to me in MONTHS, to respond.
Of all of the things he could have asked and chosen to start a conversation with me – how I am, how my family was doing, had I done anything interesting lately or met any celebrities at the Cableway, he f***ing chose to reduce his interest in me to my marital – or lack thereof – status.
I was so many amazing things – a cosplayer;a writer; a world traveller planning her third trip to New York City; an adult working student studying a digital marketing course; an avid movie geek and theatre nerd; a comedy lover;a sister, daughter, grand-daughter, niece, cousin, aunt, godmother and friend who loved her people fiercely and a weirdo with a quirky sense of humour– and yet, this asshole made me feel like none of those things mattered because I wasn’t attached and he was yelling at me about it.
I’d been in a pretty great mood before this f***tard verbally slapped me with his insult.
Considering that less than a year before, he’d been flirting with me – unsuccessfully, I might add, because I am not about that side chick life – I was very tempted to retort with:
” Why?Are you trying to figure out if it’s still ok to make a move on me?”
Alas, I wasn’t that brave yet so all I could be was outraged and the following exchange happened:
Me: “Seriously? Why the hell would you ask me that?!”
Him, clearly not expecting me to burst out in anger like that: “Uhm … because I keep hoping the answer will be different”
Then he made some wise crack about my lobola (dowry) clearly being too expensive for modern men.
This horrible interlude led me to issuing the following PSA to men who have no idea about how to talk to women:
“Dear members of the male species, please listen up! Insulting a woman to get a rise out of her in the hopes of it leading to other things is an archaic f***ing notion that should have died with the dinosaurs. Women, in all of our gorgeous, magical, multifaceted glory should be treated with the utmost respect at all f***ing times. Instead of catcalling, insulting or just being the poorest reflection of your sex in the history of the world, the next time you encounter an intelligent, well-spoken,beautiful woman, try engaging with her on a topic, any f***ing one, that both holds her attention and stimulates a quality exchange of ideas.We’re worth so much more than being your baseline entertainment for a minute, an hour or a day. Sincerely, a woman”
Kids, in the lead up to Women’s Day 2018, I matched with a visiting American tour guide, Mike*, on Tinder.
After a brief hello, how are yous , how’s your day going and a “Your gorgeous” (I’d over looked his atrocious spelling when I really shouldn’t have!) compliment, Mike asked me out for drinks and dancing the following evening.
Since I was already going to be at the Station on Bree for a night out with your Aunties Cynthia and Gloria, I told Mike he was welcome to join me there.
The next night…
Wednesday evening, whilst sipping on an Elizabeth Daiquiri , I waited for Mike to arrive.
A tall, hot guy walked in and started searching around the bar. I gulped a few times, slid down in my seat and tried to hide.
There was NO way I could have a blind date as it was with this Adonis! I swung from desperately wanting him to be Mike to not wanting it to be him because I, for sure, would be awkward AF if he was.
Gods, help me:
The McHottie turned out be the DJ… and Mike turned out to be the back-to-front baseball cap-wearing, earring stud-wielding, crazy pattened shirt-donning guy behind him.
I masked my disappointment to say hello with a handshake, while Mike leaned in for a hug.
Right… so let me very clear here: I do not hug people I’ve just met. My personal space is my personal space and I don’t care if you are the Queen of England, Barack Obama or a guy I met online, I am not hugging you.
Awkward non- hug out of the way, Mike and I got to talking about him. He was in Cape Town on the tail end of a 20 day trip to South Africa which he’d won through his travel agency.In addition to being a tour guide for senior people, this Boston native was also a hockey referee.
This was his last night in the Mother City and he was keen to see more of its nightlife. Considering I was in tourism, I was happy to oblige.
When your Auntie C arrived 15 minutes later, she picked up that it was rather awkward and Gods bless her, came to my rescue with her usual awesome badgering of questions.
Fast forward through Gloria arriving, us barhopping all over town, including a stop at our local Mitchell’s.
We had a great time, at least I thought so, talking about travels, books, Women’s Day, Boston, New York etc when…
Mike would randomly scratch my shoulder.
Your Auntie Lee says he was flirting and announcing his interest in me but if so, what a weird f***ing way to do it!
Look, I was not unfamiliar with a straight, hot blooded man displaying his intentions – from Americans who ran their hands down my back on nights out to Monroe and the work colleague who gave me extra long, hard, body consuming hugs, I knew when I was being hit on (occassionally!).
This chicken scratching shit was not it.
I flashed an awkward smile and carried on talking. There was a brief awkward pause when he tried to short change the others on the bill after but we merrily moved on from that and to our next stop, The Dubliner in Long Street.
Here is where things went downhill.
While we danced awkwardly, had another drink and hung out, Mike scratched my shoulder again.
This time I was not ok with it… as I have mentioned before, I do not like people, especially men touching me if I haven’t asked for it. Maybe this was an American thing like the other doos from Philadelphia who couldn’t keep his hands to himself but just because I was on a date with him, didn’t mean he had the right to grope me.
I gently moved away from him and tried talking over the music to him instead.
Two songs later, Mike turns emo on me with:
“I don’t think I am what you were expecting”
Me,totally confused at why this man was turning girly on me: “What? Why? We’re just hanging out, aren’t we?”
He excused himself to go to the loo and the next thing I know, he’s walking out of the door of the bar, never to return again.
No goodbye, no “I’m sorry, this isn’t working out”, just a straight walk out!
Your Uncle T says it was a classic case of Mike thinking he was going to get laid on his last night in Cape Town and it clearly wasn’t going to happen so he bailed.
Cool – I can understand the wanting to leave part but for f***’s sake, have the goddamn decency to at least say goodbye instead of hightailing it like a petulant child!
Could I have handled this better? Probably. I know I am awkward AF and a little shy andI probably should have spent more time talking to this guy online before meeting him. That still doesn’t excuse him having a bitch fit and running away, though.
It was a blessing in disguise because after Mike the coward left, Glo, Cynthia and I tore shit up at the pub and danced the night away with so many other people which lead to many more cool stories.
I was young,single and free, out with my amazing friends and having the time of my life:
As I was lazily scrolling through potentials one cold winter night, I swiped right on a visiting Italian. With the matchmaking gods ever in my favour (not!), he swiped right too and we were a match.
Almost immediately he slid into my DMs and the following exchange occurred:
Him: “Hi, I’m Andrea from Italy and I am looking for a lady to share sensual times”
Me (taken aback by his utter forwardness): ” Hi, I’m Fazielah from Cape Town and I am looking for someone to date and get to know with the possibility of it leading to sensual times”
Him: “I’m only here for few more days. If you are feeling spontaneous, maybe we can meet at the V&A?”
Me (rolling my eyes, because seriously, who the f*** just agrees to a hook-up like this?!): “Sorry, I am out with friends this evening and fully booked until the weekend. So it looks like I’ll miss you.”
Him: “Change your plans. Meet me for sex. You will enjoy it””
Uhm…wait, what the actual mother f***ing f***?!!
This asshole , whom I have never met, wanted me to drop everything I was doing and meet him in a public space to go somewhere else and just give him some, just like that?!
When I did not respond, he quickly unmatched me and that was the end of it.
Gods, Kids, 2018 was the year where romance and chivalry went to die.