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.