Kids, on the eve of my 32nd birthday, I was feeling particularly thankful for all of my many, many blessings and it made me feel a little bit nostalgic.
I started thinking about the very best birthday gifts I’d received over the last few years and here are my top 5:
The gift of a social media blackout: In 2016, I practiced the first of my no socials on my birthday cleanse and by Gods, it was fantastic to have the silence! What’s more, people actually took the time to call me and what’s better than talking to your loved ones on your special day? I was going to do the same in 2017!
The gift of being surrounded by friends and family: Each year, I had birthday parties surrounded by the people I love… whether it was an intimate dinner where the whole #howimetyourfather campaign kicked off or high tea with your Spirit Mom at the Mount Nelson Hotel.
3. The gift of a kickass studio tour and being on my own show in New York: In 2016, my f***ing amazing Wyrd Sister Leo gifted me with a NBC Studio Pass for my upcoming trip to New York. It was by far the highlight of my solo Big Apple vacation AND I got to record and star in this epic mock late night show interview:
4. The gift of a fantastic 30th island holiday: My angst at turning 30 in 2015 was majorly alleviated by the incredible week-long birthday celebration and vacation your Nan booked for us in Mauritius. Your aunt Sam, Nan and I really reconnected, doing aqua Zumba, snorkelling, catamaran cruises and water side dinners. It is also where I learnt to appreciate the art of going solo and lessons I have implemented in my life ever since.
5. The gift of love and life: Kids, in the spring of 1985, your Nan risked her life for mine with a two month hospital stay and a risky emergency C-Section. She’d regularly remind me of the crazy circumstances leading to my birth:
When I look back at photos of my birth I can’t believe how incredibly strong my then 24-year-old Mom had to be to care for a baby born two months early:
I’m so thankful, though, for her bravery and for always being there for me. I love you, Mom!
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:
It’s actually quite intoxicating. So much so, that when it is time to leave their beautiful city, one really does want to say “Don’t cry for me, Argentina!” :
Be in the pursuit of magic always:
I’ve seen jaw-dropping magic shows in Las Vegas and New York so I was quite keen to see one in South America. As my journey came to an end, time constraints were real and it didn’t seem like I was going to find my taste of magic in Buenos Aires.
During a night out at the Tango Porteno, in the middle of a tango extravaganza, female magician Inga Savitskaya appeared and dazzled us with her Invisible Partner act. Lesson learnt: always be in the pursuit of magic!
Embrace your sensuality:
From shamelessly indulging in dulce de leche, the sweet caramel treat Argentina is famous for , to giving into the erotic tension of a tango show, the Argentians are decadent, hungry and sensual beings.
After watching the intensity of dancers on a lunch time wander through La Bocca, a colourful downtown neighbourhood, I wandered down the cobbled streets of Galerías Pacífico .There, the most handsome, well-built men made a point of stopping what they were doing to openly stare and appreciate the sight of me.
Bearing in mind that I was in work travel mode and didn’t do anything fancy to my appearance, other than tie my hair up in a braid, I was equally flustered and flattered at the same time.
Far from being creepy, these men’s visible appreciation of me made me rediscover my sensuality. I made a promise to myself then that from that moment on I was going to embrace my inner sensual self by wearing sexy underwear and make-up and styling my hair everyday. Not for any guy but for myself – to celebrate the strong, independent, creative, free-spirited, beautiful, sensual, world traveller and woman I was.
To paraphrase your uncle Herman, I was in the prime of my life and I should be out in the world, swinging from the chandeliers ( or at least taking life by the horns!).
Kids, on a cold Spring Saturday evening in Cape Town in 2017, I found myself waiting in gale force winds for yet another no-show online date.
Joe (31) , a lawyer from Tinder, had aggressively pursued me online the week before and, after moving to Whatsapp, asked me out on a date.
Safe for work photo-exchanging occurred quickly:
Him: “Wow! You’re really attractive!”
Me: rolls my eyes but blushes because: “Awwww”
During the course of our conversations, he revealed that not only was his name Yusuf (already a red flag for me because as you guys know, my type was most definitely more the blue-eyed, agnostic, tall and handsome kind); he’d unknowingly had an affair with a married woman (another red flag for me since infidelity is a major trigger point) and he was looking for friendship fun (his definition of going on dates and kissing… right, brother man, that’s swell but I date with a capital D).
I know, I know… why the f*** did I agree to go on a date with someone who was obviously so wrong from the get-go?
Well, because after Brazil and Argentina, I’d rediscovered my sensuality and wanted to test it out on the male species. Also, I hadn’t been on a date since the catfishing episode. A girl has to get back on the dating horse sometime and Joe , though flawed, seemed like a good practice buddy.
After confirming the day before with messages in which he genuinely seemed excited for our date, I spent the afternoon taking in the Cape Town Buskers Festival at the V&A Waterfront before meandering down to the Green Point Lighthouse.
Our date was supposed to be a walk along the Promenade before getting ice-cream.
I arrived 10 minutes early and texted Joe to let him know I was waiting just beneath the lighthouse.
10 minutes after our agreed time, I called and left a voicemail…
And still the wind blew with a mighty force. I began making alternative plans, thinking we could move to Caffe Neo across the road and still admire the sunset while getting to know each other.
20 minutes and another text….
30 minutes later and I realised that this f***ing coward wasn’t going to show at all. I’d been stood up AGAIN!
Look, we all get nervous about meeting new people but what grated my tits was that he didn’t have the f***ing decency to call or text and say he wasn’t coming.
You know things were bad when my Uber driver had the grace to let me know he was running late to collect me but my goddamned date did not.
Women were screwed because 21st century men had no f***ing manners! It was unacceptable!
After sharing my shame at being stood-up with your Spirit Mom, Uncle T and aunts Yoli and Lutfia, I went home and cried.
I cried because dating was hard, Kids. Putting myself out there, time after time, only to be catfished, rejected, stood-up, felt-up inappropriately, time after f***ing time by cowards was demoralizing and for what?
So that I didn’t have to listen to family and smug marrieds ask me why I was still single? To have to nod politely at their god-awful comments on my life, attractiveness ,personality and being too damn fussy?
Kids, with #WonderWomanDay being celebrated on Saturday 3 June, 2017, in honour of the ultimate female superhero’s 75 year anniversary and the release of her first live motion film, it was only a matter of time before I dusted off my Amazon Princess suit and took to the streets of Cape Town in it…
Ok, maybe not the streets – but definitely to Readers Den, my home away from home since age 5, for their Wonder Woman Day event:
Kids, in the autumn of 2017, your Spirit Mom, Uncle T and I were having one of our daily WhatsApp conversations about life, work and crushes when Tendai threw a curveball at us…
We’d been discussing his latest cougar crush and teasing him about all of the very naughty things he wanted to do to her and he stopped my and Leo’s decidedly NSFW (not safe for work) lewd talk with this one liner:
“No, I just want to hug her and tell her that everything is going to be okay. That’s all I wanna do”
Leo and I both hit back with “What’s that code for?” and “Why does a guy just want to cuddle and hold? That doesn’t make sense!” because come on, hugs from guys ALWAYS meant they wanted more, right? RIGHT?
Nope…according to Lord Grey, sometimes a hug from a guy who likes you or whom you like is just that …a bloody hug.
Leo and I were floored, crushed, heartbroken, DEVASTATED.
As your Spirit Mom put it:
“I feel like my entire life’s outlook has just been turned upside down. I’m so confused now “
As for me, my world was spinning on its axis because those bone-crushing hugs that bordered on the inappropriate that I received from Monroe ( remember him?) still topped my all-time favourite crushee moments!
My mind was blown:
Leo was struggling with all the guys she turned away in her youth when they hugged her and said “Come to my flat and see my etchings”, thinking it was the 90s version of “Netflix and chill”. I was having a hard time seeing all those “moments” I thought I’d had with Monroe and past versions of him going up in smoke.
Lord Grey had messed us up worse than any of our previous “sandwich” experiences… F*** a zombie!
Tendai, realising how this had fundamentally changed my and Leo’s entire man-woman relations ideals, expanded on his theory a bit more:
“A man’s thoughts aren’t always the worst. Ya, we wanna get in and get out…that’s 90 – 95% of our thoughts but then there are those moments we wanna cuddle. Cuddling is a warm, relaxing and comforting feeling… especially after a long day.
He continued to drop this bombshell with:
“It’s platonic. Guys have no intentions for anything more. Just cuddling and maybe talk through the night. Just to forget about the madness of the world. It’s like how a woman says “Let’s go for a drink” and a guy thinks it’s code meanwhile, it’s literally just a drink!”
It would take days, weeks even, for Leo and I to recover from this explosive news…and when we chatted to other women about it, they’d had similar reactions. Life, as we knew it, was no longer the same…
Dearest Godkids, the year was 2017 and believe it or not, your fave uncle Leon had just turned 29 for the third time.
Kids, by the time you read this, you will probably be 30. After navigating the perilous waters of your twenties and going through multiple quarter-life crises you (having not been raised by me) would have come to learn a few hard truths.
As your mom’s year of being dirty thirty had come to an end I thought I would weigh in on what to expect when you wake up after your big 30th with a dry mouth, a sore head and sans underwear to the horrible realization that alcohol poisoning was not one of the gifts you received.
A lot of things happened in my 30th year, but two major life changing events led me to become a better person, or rather, someone who knew where they are going and what they are doing with their lives.
Our 20s were spent stalking, kissing boys (and girls) and generally discovering who we were. So what have I learnt?
Don’t be afraid of change
Sometimes things happen that are out of your control and that’s okay. Put your control freak tendencies aside and accept it. The more you resist the greater your chances of not succeeding. If it seems that bad, identify why you think that and provide solutions not problems.
They say the only constant is change.
Love always don’t come easy but nothing does.
Kiss a lot of frogs and don’t be ashamed about it. Finding that mythical “the one” is a load of hogwash despite what your mom would have you believe. Find that one for now, whether it be 3 months, 3 years or 30 years. Your time will come. And if it doesn’t, then fuck it. Next!
As clichéd as it sounds do your best to do something you love or have a great passion for. Or that pays you a truckload of money.
Waking up every day miserable and becoming physically ill at the thought of going in to work is never a pleasant experience. Don’t be afraid to risk it and just up and quit. Having a back up plan helps but sometimes you go wherever life may lead you.
It may not always be easy but you won’t be able to say you didn’t learn something along the way.
Go on adventures
Lots of adventures. It can be slut night out discovering the city like you haven’t before, a weekend stalking mission pretty much like how your mom first encountered your dad or just deciding to save up and travel the world. Alone. But do not ever be afraid to live your life on your own terms.
Appreciate your friends, loyalty is important
Your mom and I have been friends since forever. Trust and loyalty is key. Pretty boys and girls will come and go but your friends are always the ones to help pick up the pieces. Surround yourself with people who “get” you. Who forgive your flaws and imperfections and celebrate your successes.
Be healthy, take care of yourself.
You can’t have fun if you’re constantly feeling like death warmed up. Start your heavy drinking early so your liver knows how to deal with alcohol. Stay away from substances that require more than just blowing smoke.
Drink water, eat carbs and try to exercise at least once every six months.
Just be you.
You is special, you is smart, you is kind.
Or something like that.
Don’t be afraid. Remember your fucks are finite so don’t go handing them out all willy nilly. You’re my godkids so of course you are awesome. Remember that.
Kids, every now and again, when the horrors of online dating got too much for me, I’d pack up my bags and hot foot it to another city to clear my head. Johannesburg, or Jozi as it is affectionately known, and a visit with your godfather Leon beckoned in March 2017…
In celebration of Lee’s 29th (again, haha) birthday and so that I could be his personal photographer all weekend long, we sampled all of the city’s ample delights including:
Your Spirit Mom Leo and I have been to the Cape Town branch of Beefcakes so often, we have our designated table so it was only right for me to pay the JHB restaurant a visit too…
And boy, was I delighted with their considerable, uh, assets:
My imaginary love affair with the hot AF theatre legend Jonathan Roxmouth was well documented on social media and so I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to watch him again in the local production of the iconic musical, West Side Story.
To 2017, my favourite Tony has my heart:
@FazielahW much much appreciated Fazielah. Thank you