Kids, the Year of WTF, 2020, was finally, FINALLY coming to a f***ing end and Gods, was I glad to see it go!
2020 had started out with your Nan being hospitalized and having a second stent implanted; me being diagnosed with having high blood pressure and taking chronic medication; me stuck in the toxic stalker situation with Jet and finally, me getting a new nemesis at the office that I was desperate to get away from.
Then, the pandemic arrived and we all went into the lockdown.
It took months of quiet reflection, a deep depression and a f***ing painful ankle injury for me to change my circumstances and here, I was, at the end of a f***tard of a year, in a better frame of mind, a new job and mostly, living my best life at home.
But, something was still missing … You.
Most nights, in my best Tony Stark impression, I did this:
2020 was meant to be the year I met you. I dreamed of you so often, I knew your every dimple, every smile crease and the beautiful sound of your laughter like the back of my hand.
Being safe at home meant I was spared the agony of having babies smile at me in queues at the stores and having it tug at my heart strings or making my ovaries ache. Being at home didn’t stop the onslaught of family, friends and acquaintances’s photos of their offspring on social media, though, and that… that sometimes was too much to bear. You are in my thoughts all of the time.
I am making my way towards you, my darling loves. It’s taking a little while longer than I thought it would, with so many detours and unexpected twists, but I am coming for you. I just need you to hold on, ok?
Kids, it was once again the most wonderful time of the year – when nosy and rude relatives, friends and strangers were getting all up in my business about being single and I had to resist the urge to strangle them with wire, dismember them in my Kill Room and shove their black bag stuffed bodies into the ocean.
Where’s Dexter when you need him, right?
You would think that because we were in the middle of 20WTF, a global pandemic, experiencing a second wave AND not having to attend any social gatherings, that I’d be spared the fucking singleton Spanish Inquisition about the dire state of my love life but alas…
I tried killing the rude assholes with sarcasm like:
But that just made them come back at me harder via social media and masked run-ins.
I could have shocked them all with the tale of my most recent WTF Tinder moment where Mr Over Confident in Las Vegas sent me a Whatsapp video I DID NOT FUCKING ASK FOR of him ejaculating (yes, REALLY!) but that would have caused some unnecessary heart attacks so…
Anyway, here are my top comebacks for those annoying festive “why are you still single?” questions:
“My vibrator and I are in a committed relationship and he’s just not ready to bring a live third party into it”
I have too many masked orgies to attend this season but let’s, uh, come back to this in the new year, ok?
“Wait, your husband hasn’t discussed taking me as his second wife with you yet? Awkward.”
I’m too busy putting the Hoe in “ho, ho, ho!” but thanks for asking.
That’s so sweet, honey, but you’re just not my type.
7 September 2020, sometime in the middle of the godforsaken night…
“Oh God, I am never going to be able to leave this bed and walk again. I’ve been put on unpaid sick leave, my boss hates me and I am never going to walk again. I’ll never be able to finally resign and say fuck you to this energy sucking job. That means I’ll be broke, homeless, never travel again, never meet the father of my kids or ever have them. I’m nearly 35, trying to restart my life and I am going to die alone and really, what the fuck is the point of living anyway…”
Kids, the national lock down had seen me have a couple of breakdowns, most of which I shook off after a week and were helped by two hour- long phone calls with your aunt Lutfia, thousands of texts with your Wyrd godparents Leo and Tendai and your Nan’s epic cooking but fuck it, that endless night in September had me beat and was the first time in a very long time that I seriously considered just ending it all.
I scared myself.
I still don’t know how exactly I made it through the night but, to quote Two-Face:
I’d learnt from my previous depressive episodes: reaching out and letting the people who love you know you’re struggling and asking for help is the first step so that’s what I did. I told Leo and Tendai how bad it had gotten the night before and what was fucking me up big time.
A problem shared is a problem halved (or split in three in this case) and together, we worked on a plan on how to get me out of at least some of the shit I was in while I was on my six week forced unpaid sick leave.
Starting with …
A new job:
Gods, if I had to tell you the amount of jobs I applied for, the number of online interviews I attended and the hours and hours of freelance work pitches I did!
I hustled so hard in that month and a half at home and it paid off. Besides scoring a few freelance gigs and interviews in September and October and being reintroduced to my damn fine self (talking about my past achievements and career highlights really helped to remind me that I was incredible LONG before I’d become a mountain rock star and I was capable of everything and more that my nemesis had made me feel I was failing at); I clinched a really cool new role in a totally different sector.
I wasn’t going to be homeless or starve (at least not for another three months anyway) and if I was smart about it, I could travel again when the lock down and pandemic ended.
Speaking up for myself:
Even before securing a new gig, I was determined to resign from my current awe-inspiring role and not allow the bully, who had been making my life and injury recovery a living hell for 7 months, to dim my fucking light anymore. Enough was fucking enough!
But, oh, that sweet, sweet moment of justice, gratification and vengeance when I stopped her ,mid-rant about “the way things were going to work from now on” with my “I have a new job so I am resigning!” declaration…
The look on her face and the absolutely incredible feelings of relief, courage and closure flowing through my body were more than fucking worth it.
While I had been slowly transforming into a female Howard Hughes in lock down and the injury had extended my couch life by a couple of months, I realised I did have to get out and about if I was going to socialize again. That meant saying yes to invitations from friends, occasionally venturing further than my backyard and agreeing to activities outside of my comfort zone.
2020 had forced everyone to hit the pause button on their lives but I was SO done waiting! Let’s do this, Baby!
Sure, it had taken me longer than expected – between his overbearing stalkingand constant need to force his way into my personal space for six months and my occasional breakdowns during the national lockdown – but finally, it happened. Much like this:
I’d run the gauntlet of emotions over 12 long months: being devastated, being numb, being so fucking angry I wanted to smash his stupid face every chance I got, being so sad I could feel my heart breaking, being mad again, being hopeful he’d changed his mind when he wouldn’t leave me alone, being pissed as fuck that he was still messing with my feelings, being annoyed, being indifferent, being raw with missing him etc until I just felt… nothing.
I missed the carefree (or as much as I was able to be) girl who adored and was adored by a young, handsome, kind, funny, awkward young man as he appeared to be at the time. She was never coming back but here I was, a wizened woman ,born from the hours and hours of crying on my couch, from the long, dark sleepless nights and from the constant love and support of the people who truly loved me, and I was still standing.
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:
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.