Kids, by the spring of 2016, my cosplaying obsession was in full swing and with my all-time favourite holiday of the year, Halloween, coming up, there was just one more character I simply had to inhabit: the Zombie Bride of the Mother City at the Zombie Walk Cape Town 2016 event.
Your Uncle Leon laughs at me for this but my zombie alter ego had been steadily building up to major life milestones for several years – I’d been a cheerleader in 2014, a nurse in 2015 and now it was time for me to tie the undead knot.
Your Nan also really got into the spirit of wedding dress shopping … I know how much she’d been dying for that to happen!
29 October, 2016:
Cosplaying events are always way more fun with friends and so off your Uncle L and I went with Kaanita, Daniel, Ethan and Tania in tow, to join the hordes ( and I mean HORDES) of rotting bodies for Zombie Walk 2016.
These are some of our cool undead memories of the day:
Here are 30 things I learnt about myself and life after turning 30:
I have no more f***s to give and it’s ok:
No, really. Before 30, I would be stressed about what people thought of me and whether they’d accept me for the weirdo I was.
After 30, I was like “well, f*** a f***ing zombie, if you don’t like me, screw you!” I liked me:the dressing like a hobo writer; dance in the car and the supermarket; can’t be bothered to even pretend to like people I should me and that was all that mattered.
No was my new favourite word:
As in “No, I am not attending a family function where I have to pretend the perpetually divorced aunt’s comments about my inability to land a man doesn’t hurt my feelings” or “No, I really don’t want to pay for your mother’s birthday cake just because you’re broke AF and didn’t plan ahead”.
I especially loved saying Hell to the f*** no when friends, acquaintances and potential dates tried to talk me into going to places or doing things because it was more convenient for them.
My comfort, after 30, came first… f*** the rest!
Here are my boundaries, now f*** off:
So-called friends who couldn’t deal with not being the centre of my universe whilst I was in the middle of taking care of my dying grandfather and dedicating myself to passion projects or clients who contacted me after hours were not so graciously told where to f*** off to because I have boundaries.
Staying home was my new favourite past time:
Time was when I’d be out there with the most narcissistic of socialites, snapping pics on red carpets and attending every event or show opening under the goddamn sun.
By 2016, I was tired of the constant fake behaviour and forced friendships with so-called celebrities so I found new events (GOT premieres) and red carpets (my bedroom’s) to frequent.
Shutting myself in my apartment for at least one day a weekend where I didn’t have to go out at all because it was too peopley out there was how I held onto my sanity during all of the adulting I had to do.
Holding my tongue was no longer an option:
I learnt to be blunt AF because it was the only way people would understand me when I kept saying no (see point 2).
My entire life, I was always worried about protecting other people’s feelings and not daring to retaliate when they hurt mine.
New me didn’t have such qualms. If you were a guy wasting my time with small talk about the weather or asking me to send you boob pics on dating sites, I told you exactly where to stick your small member and not ever f***ing contact me again.
If you were a client who wanted me to rise at the crack of dawn to fill in for you because you were going away for the weekend, I told you where to get off on the bullshit train.
Biting my tongue to keep the peace was no longer my modus operandi.
I am a cosplaying freak:
Who loves nothing more than donning tights and a cape and showing off at events to other geeks.
Your aunts Sam and Mishka and your godparents Leo, Tendai and Leon are the only five people in Year 30 that I felt completely at ease with.
They loved me when I was crabby and happy over silly things; they let me cry when I needed to or just be quiet when I couldn’t put into words the things that hurt me and they weren’t afraid to call me out on my crap when they needed to.
Feeling guilty is a waste of time:
So I finished yet another tub of Nutella without using it for the pancakes I actually bought it for… so freaking what?! Did anyone die? No? Then, shut up, Brain, and just let me enjoy my chocolate high right now.
Ditto for not finishing blogs, reports etc for work when I was ill. I was delirious on medication and sleep deprived, for Drogon’s sake, it’s not like the company would fall apart without me!
I am worth showing up for:
Old friends who bailed last minute on plans and dates who stood me up were no longer worth my tears.
Spending time with me, especially when I had to rearrange shit so I could see them, was a f***ing privilege. If they couldn’t be bothered to show up, I wouldn’t be bothered to answer calls and texts in future.
I will not settle for mediocrity:
I deserved the very best I could give myself – from a future partner to what I ate and who I spent my time with to where I travelled to – so if those things were not up to par, they had to go.
We are so focused on making sure everyone else (family, friends, significant others etc) is happy and getting what they deserved but what about ourselves?
In 2016, I made myself my priority – f*** anyone who thought that was selfish!
It’s never too late to do anything:
Like read the Harry Potter book series for the first time (yes, I know, considering I saw all the movies and worked in magic, I should have done that yonks ago but whatever!)
If I don’t know how to do something, I’ll ask Google:
Dudes, what I knew about being an executor of an estate or how to process a medical aid claim back was dismal. Being an adult doesn’t come with an instruction manual so thank the Seven for Google!
Eating breakfast for supper is ok:
As a kid, I would laugh at my Dad and your Aunt Sam for tucking into a bowl of Kellogg’s at 6pm but I came to appreciate the wonders of a good scrambled egg or waffle at supper time.
Life is short, do shit that scares you:
Like training for and running a 10km race or lasting five minutes in a paint ball game (I am NEVER doing that again!)
I felt broken and strangely well-put together at the same time. I cried at the most inappropriate times, like being surrounded by 13 000 people at a public running event or went for weeks without shedding a tear because I was so busy organising his affairs.
I laughed at his multiple memorials because he would have loved seeing his entire family together for once.
There is no rhyme, reason or quick fix to grief and I had to learn how to be patient with myself until I got to the other side.
Being afraid and insecure are realities of adulthood:
I can’t take money with me when I die, so I spend it:
I splurged on spa days at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel with your Nan and went to several 3D movies with Leo a month.
I did body shots at Beefcakes; applied for loans to go to Mauritius and bought multiple cosplay costumes because I could. Life was for the damn living!
I can let it go:
That grudge I have against the boy who broke my heart; the too tight dress from 2007 I’ll never fit into again and the paperwork of things I sold eons ago – I’ve cleared them out.
The awesome Bennii was a HUGE inspiration to me in this regard. I watched her give away sporting equipment she didn’t need; disperse advice freely or say exactly what she was thinking and it made so much sense to me.
Cleansing yourself emotionally, mentally and physically is important so be like Frozen’s Elsa:
I will not compete for anyone’s time or affection:
Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, people, especially family members would compare me to my siblings or cousins, making me feel like I had to compete for their affection because I wasn’t good enough.
That belief spilled over into my friendships and working relationships. By 30, I realised that this shit had to come to an end and it started with me.
I was f***ing awesome just as I was – I didn’t need to be more like anyone else. Again, if you didn’t love or appreciate me for who I was, f*** you!
I hate SMS texting:
I also hate people who use it. If you are over 18 and writing lyk dis, I will f***ing disown you.
I detest selfie sticks and their users:
Unless you’re Zoolander and Hansel – then let’s do a #selfiestickselfie and can Alexander Skarsgard be in it before I lure him away for a long, LONG stay in my love dungeon?!
I can’t party like a 22-year-old anymore:
Dear gods of Westeros, my liver roared its dissatisfaction at being used as a chemical waste ground the minute I turned 30 and I couldn’t manage more than one glass of bubbly or four watered down cocktails on a night out.
Gone were the days of bar-hopping with Tendai and Leon down Long Street …a damn shame!
I can still shake what Soraya gave me:
Sure, I couldn’t down shots anymore but man, could I still dance like no one was watching!
Clubbing occasionally whilst sober or you know, giving everyone in my local Spar a show by dancing in the aisles still felt really, really good as I got older.
I do not have to pretend to like every theatre show or movie I’ve seen:
Man, I wish I had learnt this earlier so I could get some hours of my life back.
I love babies, children and animals:
It is other adults I have an issue with. Seriously, if people could just keep their unwanted opinions, their filthy habits and oversharing to themselves, that would be great.
I adore food:
I will eat anything and everything and I will not feel guilty about it.
If you are going to be one of those annoying as all hell women who talk about how many calories are in curly fries, I will silence you with a death stare or get up from the table and let you eat your cardboard in peace.
Spending time with my family and friends is more important than anything else:
I don’t care if there is a conference or launch happening that simply everyone has to be at – I am not everyone and the people of my heart come first.
Tag me in shit if you have to and I might retweet, repost or like it but my must-attend moment is where my tribe is.
Equally important is me time:
Even Wonder Woman needs a break from everyone else’s troubles and to find her centre. When I am having me time, I am not doing nothing, I am being me.
Age ain’t nothing but a number:
Aaliyah was right (though she may have been referring to something else!).
Age is a state of mind – at 30, I felt more in tune with my 18-year-old self and rediscovered the values I had as a teenager. When applied to my adult self, those ideals made life really simple for me and I was far happier for it.
So, when the opportunity arose to transform into Hermione Granger for the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child launch party, there was NO way I was going to miss out on it!
Your Spirit Mom Leo, lovely mermaid Emma and I had to complete quite the rigorous process to get our owls and golden tickets to Hogwarts aka Exclusive Books ‘party at the Canal Walk Shopping Centre – I mean, seriously, with the amount of hoops we had to jump through just to score an invitation, I practically had to give one of you up before you were even born…
After two months of emails, registration AND costume planning, The Night finally arrived:
30 July 2016 …
Any fan of the book or movie series will know the feelings that hearing the signature Potter music conjures within you.
Add that to the incredible sense of belonging you feel when you see hundreds, nay THOUSANDS, of fellow Potterheads dressed as Dementors, Dumbledore, Luna Lovegood; Moaning Myrtle and more and you’ll understand when I say that I felt like finally, I’d come home.
Leo, Emma, your aunt Bennii and I were utterly gobsmacked at the realistic and detailed costumes on display. While we rocked the crazy hot Bellatrix, gorgeous Quidditch Seeker, beautiful muggle and sexy student looks; other fans were unbelievable Snitches; Sybill Trelawneys and more:
As I said, the atmosphere was utterly magical because of all of our die-hard Potterhead enthusiasm and seeing everyone in costume BUT I need to stress that the event was no party.
By the mere mention of the word party, we’d been harbouring fantasies about chocolate frogs, a sorting hat ceremony etc …what we got instead was a four hour long queue and preferential game playing cards with very little communication from the Exclusive Books staff about what was happening.
The organisers either desperately needed to hire Leo and I to do their book launch parties for them in future because we’re kickass publicists, magic fanatics AND awesome cosplayers or they should have taken a leaf out of Ster Kinekor and Mnet’s, uh, books (pun TOTALLY intended) who rocked a feast with music and entertainers worthy of a Westeros wedding for the Game of Thrones Season 6 screening.
Kids, by now you know that I am weird and I own that s*** like a superhero. Wonder Woman, to be exact.
So it should come as no surprise that when I heard the comic book store I virtually grew up in, Readers Den, would present a local version of the Nirvana of Geekdom, Comic Con to the Mother City as FanCon Cape Town; I decided to suit up and have a Wonder Woman costume designed.
You’ve seen the cool as ice photos of my and your Spirit Mom’s Game of Thrones cosplaying, but did you know my dress-up antics date back all the way to the 80s?
1985/ 1986 …
The story goes that your Grandpops was desperate for a son after two daughters from his previous marriage and because he was a huge, and I mean, HUGE Superman fan, he was determined to create a costume for his heir.
Luckily for him, your Nan was crazy about knitting and geek boys so whilst he drew the Kryptonian emblem, she crocheted a blue, red and yellow onesie, complete with a cape to accompany it.
Their last ultrasound revealed that I was, well, me … and the doctor turned to them to say:
“As it turns out, Superboy is actually Supergirl”
I “flew” into your super grandparents ‘lives two months earlier than expected and had to spend several weeks in an incubator so my lungs could grow.
Two months after they took me home and I had grown to a satisfying size and weight, your Nan and Grandpops suited me up for my first ever cosplaying session … meet the Girl of Steel:
Fast forward some 30 years later and Supergirl had evolved into Wonder Woman.
I had loved Gal Godot as the Amazon heroine in Batman vs Superman and was determined to rock her modern look because it was a sure bet no one else was going to (patterns for the new costume were hard to find on the internet).
Yeah, the skirt was short and the look required LOTS of skin to be shown but f*** it, you only live once, right?!
When I told your Nan about my plans, she was more excited than I was and promptly took me shopping (her favourite activity!) for material and accessories.
Luckily for me, because I loathe shopping like a cat hates bathing, we found all of the material we needed to bring Wonder Woman to life at Fabric City in the City Centre.
Keeping your grandmother in check as we searched for toy swords and shields was like trying to contain an over-stimulated child in a candy store so I let her run rampant 😉
The material paired with the corset I’d commissioned from fellow cosplayer Candice-Lynne Barker, left me satisfied I had everything we needed to breathe life into my iconic character. I reached out to your Great Aunts Shamiela and Shanaaz and their back-up team at the Bernina sewing shop in Claremont for assistance in creating the costume.
Several fittings, late night sessions and tons of comparing it to the movie look, I could shimmy into my suit and blow fellow cosplayers away at Fan Con.
Your Aunts Sam and Mishka joined in on the dress up fun as Harley Quinn and Catwoman ( yes, yes, I know, how can two DC Comics villains hang out with a Justice League member, but we made it work!):
FanCon itself was such a mind-trip and it was so amazing to be able to roam about with other like-minded people, exchanging compliments on costumes, ideas on characters and thoughts on movie adaptations of our favourite comics and graphic novels.
Having your Nan, Great-Grams and your Great Aunt there to support me was also a ground-breaking moment in finally being accepted as the Wyrdo I was.
Sharing the stage for a cosplay competition with other contestants was thrilling but I still had time for one more costume change…
FINALLY! Khaleesi Fazielah could claim her Iron Throne 😉
What, you may ask, has this got to do with meeting your father? Well. Kids, as my own parents proved, there is a handsome geek for every Wonder Woman and mine would do a superhero landing in my life pretty soon. You guys listening to my wacky adventures are proof of that!
Kids, you know that the one key thing I have wanted and always will want for you is for you to be yourselves completely … as your Spirit Mother Leonie and I have done with our numerous Game of Thrones, Comic Con and Rocky Horror Show dress up evenings.
Rally around, my progeny, and let me tell you about those times Winter came to Cape Town:
A year previously Leonie and your Uncle T had introduced me to Game of Thrones, a series that not only truly spoke to my inner historical romance-loving book worm but also totally touched me on my geekiness.
I had spent a month binge-watching the first four seasons and the characters, especially Daenerys, Mother of Dragons, felt like family – I cared deeply about what happened to them.
So, when the opportunity arose to win tickets to the season 5 simulcast at the Nu Metro at the Canal Walk Shopping Centre, I did not hesitate to enter. I win almost everything I enter and so, of course, I won a double ticket for your Spirit Mom and me.
Rocking the Arya Stark and Khaleesi looks, we were instafamous on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – people couldn’t get enough of the gorgeously crafted dragon eggs Leo had so lovingly designed; our costumes and our interaction with other cosplayers.
You’d think our popularity would have reached its peak at the time but then …
April 2016 …
Fast forward to a year later and we were once again attending the simulcast – this time at the Ster Kinekor at Cavendish Square with the lovely Lady Fuzlin in tow.
Now, getting suitably dressed, applying make-up AND having a great attitude at 3am in the morning takes quite an amount of dedication – something Leo had in spades.
Not only did she rock the undead out of a heart-stoppingly awesome White Walker costume
She also walked away with the coveted Best Dressed Award and won a DStv Explora decoder (because, you know, even White Walkers need to watch TV sometimes ;)!
As a Cold One and Melisandre, the Red Woman, Leo and I had people asking to take photos with us all morning, reporters asking for quotes and generally feeling like important stars.
As Fuzlin remarked: “Geez, it’s hanging out with celebrities!”
Yeah, it was! Everyone from KFM to Netwerk 24 featured us and the attention was intoxicating – not enough to distract us from the fate of poor Jon Snow AND that major Melisandre shocker but enough to make us SUPER proud of being alternative and getting our House of Wyrd name out into the world.
The ultimate dream, of course, would have been to showcase our quirky selves on the international set of the show but back in 2016, it was just a mere pleasure to bring the Games of Thrones to life in gorgeous Cape Town!
P.S: Remind Uncle T to tell you the story about the time we raised our banners at the 2017 simulcast – it was all kinds of epic!