Kids, in January 2018, random babies were literally throwing themselves at me…
At McDonald’s while I was chowing down a Happy Meal (quit judging me, HMs are like 20 bucks cheaper AND I was collecting toys for my younger cousin Israh… that’s my story and I am sticking to it!)
At Spar, when I was doing my evening shopping.
Those cute dimples, the curly hair, the womb-tugging giggles that rose from their little bellies as they delighted in my cooing at them.
These run-ins constantly had me fantasizing about dressing you guys up in Wonder Woman or Superman costumes for your first photo shoot…
My biological clock wasn’t ticking so much as it was imitating the Jumanji’s insane drumming schtick:
The only New Year’s resolution I’d made was that man or no man, come hell or high water, I was having you in 2020 and I knew I was working hard on my mind, body ( by restarting my ankle-interruptus running career) and soul ( more travel, less drama) to get to that goal.
Seeing adorable babies just made the need to have you a little too much to bear, my loves…
Kids, as you know Halloween is my absolute favourite holiday of the year… not least of all because it is when the undead rise in the Mother City for the annual Zombie Walk Cape Town event!
My zombie personality had been everything from a cheerleader to a nurse to a bride so what to go as in 2017? Well…
I was a precocious five-year-old who a) was convinced that big school would be like an episode out of the Wonder Years and b) was determined to be a police woman.
Never mind the fact that this was pre-1994 South Africa and women, let alone women of colour, were not allowed to be officers of the law.
Your Grandpa, though, liked to encourage my big dreams and, in addition to getting me a toy cop police set with handcuffs and a baton, let me tag along on his early evening neighbourhood watch patrols. Man, were those exciting times!
Fast forward to 27 years later, and with a little help from your godfather Leon, and I was ready to embrace my inner Zombie Cop:
My more-than-willing rocker zombie prisoner was your aunt Lee-Anne and damn, was she dead hot:
“You seem like a sweet and amazing person and I just had to speak to you…”, he said, his light blue eyes twinkling in the afternoon sunlight.
I blushed prettily and thanked this kind and soft-spoken cute guy on the bus for his compliment:
“You’re too kind, sir.Thank you for being brave enough to talk to me. I won’t forget this unexpected encounter”
He disembarked soon after, leaving me to marvel at the wonder of life and surprising moments…
Sounds like the makings of an incredible meet-cute, right?
Well, my sweet and cute guy was an 80-year-old Greek man who felt moved by the Seven to talk to me on a winter’s day in 2017.
Usually, my resting bitch face was enough to stop anyone, except my loved ones, from even attempting to talk to me on a MyCiTi bus ride to or from home.
As you may have noticed from years of living with me, I am NOT a morning person… I am not much of an afternoon person either, depending on the type of day I’ve had.
And on this particular Friday, after dealing with an egotistical radio personality at the summit of Table Mountain, I definitely was not in the mood for any kind of chatting up by anyone.
Santos,proving that they just don’t make gentlemen like they used to, didn’t let my scowling demeanor deter him, though.
“Can I offer you some advice from an old man? No matter where you go in the world – Russia, Greece, Spain, America, there is no place better than Cape Town. You will do well to come back here again – where are you from? You’re not from here, right? You don’t look South African. Come back here and settle in this beautiful city.”
I smiled, temporarily shaken out of my bad mood, and pleasantly surprised by Santos’s confidence:
“I am from here, born and raised in Cape Town. You are right, though, there is no place like the Mother City”
In the space of 5 minutes from the Gardens Centre stop to his Highlands Avenue one, Santos reaffirmed my belief in men, people, love, family ( he had his first child at 32 – “There is time,my dear, there is time. You will be a mother when it is meant to happen”) and that making your destiny happen is up to you.
“My darling girl, God/Allah/Buddha moved me to speak to you today so before I go, remember this: Where there is a battle between will and imagination, imagination always wins. You can do, be and have anything. Keep smiling that beautiful smile. Until we meet again…”
It was enough to make a grumpy girl swoon:
You were way out of my age category, Santos, but yes, until we meet again …
Kids,every so often online news agencies and magazines picked up on my never-ending hilarious tales to you. In February 2017, your aunt Nadia convinced me to share some of my horror dating stories with her.
I was absolutely mortified for a split second, thinking that I had now further endorsed Americans ‘views on African citizens being uncouth. Then I realised, well f*** it, at least one other person had seen my fabulous ass in the Big Apple, and that’s ok with me.
Kids, in 2016, New York City was stalking me like my all-time favourite musical character, The Phantom of the Opera…
“In sleep he sang to me In dreams he came That voice which calls to me and speaks my name “
Yes, yes, I know, being in love with a dark, mysterious man and hoping he’ll lure me to his underground lair indicates a seriously weird view of love but I was six when I fell in love with the Phantom, ok? You can’t undo a lifelong passion for Erik ( not coincidentally the name of my other forbidden love Alexander Skarsgard‘s character in True Blood!) …
As I toiled through a seriously f***ked up year with my dying grandfather, losing friends and general adulting f***ery, the Big Apple was appearing in my dreams on a regular basis – showing me visions of hosting my baby shower in a hipster-styled warehouse in downtown Manhattan, with the Backstreet Boys performing as special guests ( don’t ask!) and walking beneath Brooklyn Bridge with that jackass.
I didn’t have to be a shrink or a psychic to figure out that my dreams were wish-fulfillment, fantasies of wanting to escape my current situation and longing to have you but damn, did New York look enticing in my slumber!
In September of 2016, I unexpectedly received an invitation to accompany a friend and her family to the Big Apple for Christmas and I was totally floored – my secret wish to return to the concrete jungle was coming true… OMG!
Three months of planning and making arrangements for my daily life followed and by the first week of December, I was SO excited, I couldn’t wait to jet off to my dream city.
My travelling companion cancelled at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances and it devastated me. I felt like the same rejected kid I had been my entire life – always chosen last by friends, family, colleagues for everything.
It totally threw my life balance out of whack and I turned into this scared Moaning Myrtle who was suddenly too afraid to travel solo …who was this insecure person and what had happened to the fearless adventurer I had been before?!
After a few days of indecision and agonizing, I decided f*** it, I was still travelling to New York City … I was stronger and braver than I knew, I could do this.
Solo travel had always helped me discover myself before and helped me fall back in love with the independent, free-spirit I knew myself to be.
After a year of putting my family’s needs, my clients’projects and my friends’dreams before my own, I needed a time-out to just be me – to break out of the constraints I’d put on myself, to live, to breathe, to be me.
And that, Kids, is how I re-met New York.
Follow my Big Apple adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook from Thursday 22 December, 2016 to Tuesday 3 January, 2017!
Kids, in the Spring of 2016, I felt a lot like Kate Winslet’s Iris in one of my all-time favourite movies, The Holiday …I was once again hurting like someone had tortured me for hours in the pits of Hell because the object of my unrequited love had been a complete and utter f***er!
See, after years of knowing me and after I had sent him a personal, secret birthday message on his special day, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named neglected to wish me on mine.
“Mom, you can’t expect everyone to remember your birthday every year!”, I hear you say, but, my loves, this is the same self-centred jackass who regularly stalked my social media feeds, liked posts and shared them and could quote things I’d said or done which he shouldn’t know about, on a regular basis.
And that was besides the stalking -in-person; standing on corners of streets watching me or sneaking up behind me at events and getting so far up into my personal space, it was indecent;that he did too.
I was hurt AF but still, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt until…
We ran into each other at an event a few days later where, not only did he brush my birthday and his non-wishes aside, he couldn’t be arsed to congratulate me on a big career achievement properly and was quite mean about it too.
As he stood there, droning on about some unimportant thing, trying to engage me in conversation, I saw him clearly for the first time in a very, very long time.
Underneath the gorgeous face I had devoured with my eyes a million times over the years, aching to run my fingers over his handsome features, lied the true face of a narcissistic, cruel, sadistic jackass who knowingly and willing toyed with my heart and emotions for his own f***ed up pleasure.
My heart broke a little, thinking that it couldn’t be possible that someone I loved and cared for so deeply could be so incredibly cruel…not after I had spent so long, and especially the past year, supporting him, praising him and making him feel good.
In the past, if I so much as said a bad word to him, I couldn’t stand the hurt look on his face and I’d want to fix it immediately. So, how, HOW could he inflict pain on me so carelessly?!
When silence crept up on us this time, it wasn’t because we were lost in the bubble of each other – it’s because I had nothing to say to someone who was only looking for a fan club and was stealing my joy.
For years, I’d been going around thinking and telling friends how amazing he was, how talented, how sweet, how special … but actually, I was all of those things and he was denying me the right to be them.
I could tell that he knew the exact moment I fell out of love with him completely… he could see it in my eyes and the way he wasn’t having an effect on me as he’d had before.
Like Iris in The Holiday, I was miraculously cured:
Heartbreak and surviving it was by no means easy but as your aunt Lutfia often said to me, it takes a certain amount of bravery to fall in and out love with someone who doesn’t reciprocate and realise that you deserve so much more.
Kids, on the eve of my 31st birthday, I was feeling overstimulated, overwhelmed and over-stressed by social media.
Besides the fact that it was literally my bread and butter, just trying to stay up to date with everything that was happening out in the digital world and my loved ones ‘social lives was incredibly tiring.
Not to mention the soul-crushing depression that comes with knowing exactly which people couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge my special day… I didn’t need that kind of rejection!
I’ve told you about how I became selectively social both online and offline after turning 30, right?
For my 31st birthday, I decided to try a social media experiment: I would go Internet, Wi-Fi, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, email and WhatsApp free for 31 hours.
Friends and family were freaking out about how they were going to contact me:
My response was:
“We’ll do it like people did it in 1985 when I was born … send snail mail or pick up a damn phone and call me!”
Physical interaction in the digital age was going the way of the Dodo and I, as a relic of the glorious 80s, refused to participate in its untimely demise.
Besides, if I wasn’t spending my birthday with my eyes glued to a screen, it freed me up to take in the (hopefully) handsome and available male sights all around me.Who knows if your Dad might have been lurking around somewhere?