… And no, that is NOT an invitation for you to follow your spirit sister‘s dreams of becoming a skilled performer who dances for rich,handsome men on poles to this song:
As we approached National Women’s Day in 2019, I started thinking about just how much I love you and you don’t even exist yet.
I think about everything I want to teach you, to learn from you, to experience with you for the first time and over and over again. I think about how lovely you’ll be, how utterly unique and how strong you’ll be. I worry about the challenges you’ll face but I know that you will be brave enough to overcome them. I cannot wait to see your endless smiles and wipe away your tears.
Being a woman in South Africa and in the world in my current time is far from easy – in some countries, women’s rights have regressed so much, I fear for my fellow sisters. I know it might hardly have changed in your time but I hope it will be slightly easier.
I could carry on and on about this but I’ll let this TEDX video explain more:
You are blessed, you are wise and you are loved, my daughter.
Kids, in the winter of 2019, your Nan was facing a potential huge health crisis and while I knew I could and would support her as I had through two heart attacks, a stroke and bell’s palsy, I also wanted to take the time to appreciate her.
She’s a tough one, your Nan. She survived an overprotective and religious fanatic father, an abusive marriage, a premature baby, young widowhood, raised two headstrong daughters ( including your rebellious, short-tempered, creative mother), supplemented her nursing degree with post-grad courses, retired, changed careers, returned to nursing and had recently sold her home of 25 years to move into a seaside apartment.
We’d had our differences over the years, mostly because we are alike in so many ways but the one thing that remained unchanged was that no matter how often we fought, we were there for each other when it mattered.
And this health crisis mattered.
Life, Kids, hits you with unexpected curve balls but trust me when I say this: where there is love and family, there is hope and you can and will get through anything.
Kids, in the winter of 2019, your Spirit Mom Leo and I took your god-brother and god-sister Kris and Heidi on a magical night out to watch Disney on Ice at the GrandWest Casino’s Grand Arena.
Despite initially protesting that the show was for children, your moody teenage god siblings ended up singing along to most of the songs and actually enjoying themselves.
During the post- how supper and ride home, though, is where the real magic happened as Kris and Heidi (mostly Heidi, who has been ragging my ass about the dire state of my dating life since she was nine-years-old) proceeded to serve up some hot, unsolicited teenage love advice.
“Fazi, you really should try online dating. It is where all of the cool kids are. Double check those profile photos, though, ’cause they are dodgy” – Heidi
“Fazi, aren’t you too old to have kids? Forty is old!” – Kris (note to reader: I was NOT 40).
“Fazi, maybe you should consider being someone’s side chick. I mean, my YouTube crush is nine years older than me and when I am 18, I am going to be his side chick” – Heidi
Ok, so my Spirit Children still had LOADS of growing up to do before I would take their advice or let them babysit you but I know their quirky little teen hearts meant well.
With Kris and Heidi by my side, your future father was going to have his work cut out for him, trying to pursue me 😉
I’d come back from an offsite meeting and was frantically typing away at my desk when Mr Asshole makes some wisecrack about stripping the boards in the shop.
“No, Fazielah, not stripping like that!”
Seriously, all that was missing from this sleazy throwaway line was this:
Firstly, as mentioned I wasn’t even looking at him or being a part of his conversation with Anthea, my work BFF and secondly:
I kept my resting bitch face in place and ignored him while he asked Anthea if he was seriously not even going to get a smile out of me.
No, Jackass, inappropriate commentary will not be rewarded with smiles.
Anthea left and as Doos 1 walked up the staircase, Jet came running down it, dazzling me with a gorgeous smile and “Hey!”
Naturally, because Jet’s smiles made me go all weak at the knees, I smiled shyly (ok, read that as awkward AF) back at him:
Mr Jackass, seeing my reaction to Jet, angrily turns around and goes:
“What the hell was that, Fazielah?! Why does he get a smile from you and I don’t?!”
I didn’t have the time to explain the simplicity of the fact that Jet being single plus me being single = us being free to smile with each other whenever the actual f*** we please and also it had F*** ALL to do with Doos 1 since he is a married man, who has no right to get mad at me.
Me: “I am not going to dignify that with a response”
Asshole Supreme marched off behind Jet to ask Anthea why he was getting the cold shoulder from me but Jet wasn’t and I laughed out loud.
We’d moved beyond the shy greetings and gentle teasing at the office with plenty of interaction at our recent company staff party. We’d been seen together so often and there were videos of the night’s events where he was caught on camera staring at me, people were constantly asking him if we were a couple.
Which is exactly where our problems began. Jet was apparently SO uncomfortable with all of the goodnatured teasing from our co-workers, he’d start ghosting me (in f***ing person no less!) at the office for a few days each week.
What the actual f***, man?!
If you guys can recall, until roughly seven months prior, I’d barely known Jet existed, let alone that he liked me. Now, when I was finally catching feelings too, Brother Man was getting cold feet and running for the f***ing hills.
He would ignore me during the day but deep like my old Instagram posts at 1am. Are you f***ing kidding me, Boy?!
Listen, to quote my favourite:
Our mutual friends still held out hope for a romantic ending because Jet was always either asking them to help him keep up to date with Game of Thrones so he could talk to me about it, demanding to know what they had done with “his Fazielah” when I was out of the office or pausing on the stairway above my desk until I was forced to look up at him and say Hi.
I, to be quite f***ing honest, was feeling my inner Avengers Ronin on this:
Hope,Kids, would be the death of me…
I deserved far f***ing better than being a 26-year-old’s maybe. I was a “I knew I wanted her from the moment I saw her” kinda girl.
After one of those nasty AF Discovery Wellness days in May, I realised that if I had any hope in hell of giving you guys a healthy mom, it was time to get back on the proverbial fitness horse, no matter how difficult it seemed:
Thus began my long farewell to Netflix and Chill sessions for one with my trusty box of Oreos, chocolate and Amarula and hello Promenade Mondays, Zumba Wednesdays and the occassional fun runs like the 10km Spar Women’s Challenge event:
…to indulging my inner child at adult colouring-in Meet-Ups:
It had taken me more than three decades but I was finally able to just feel myself and be comforable in my own skin:
And everyone, from Jet, my lingering office crush, to my friends and family were feeling my me-ness too. From eagerly wanting to attending comic cons with me to tagging me in every Game of Thrones post ever and sending me sweet treats, celebrating my Wyrdness:
I was loved for me … more importantly, I loved me for me.
Your Dad had no freaking clue how lucky he was about to get by meeting me!
Kids, in the Autumn of 2019 I had promised your Spirit Mom Leo that I would get my beautiful ass off of Tinder and focus on IRL (in real life) dating.
What I didn’t tell her was that I was still on Bumble. I know:
I knew she was going to kick my ass when she read this post . Literally – she was earning all of her belts in karate at this very moment in time, so :
So, it’s entirely likely I wasn’t going to gain any sympathy for what happened next…
Bumble Stumbler the short story:
Sean, an American engineer with a passion for travelling, and I swiped right on each other and he quickly caught me up on what a busy weekend he’d had with a friend’s wedding, going on a safari and hanging out with friends. Not that he bothered to ask me what I’d been up to… men, such selfish creatures!
Ignoring the red flags, I went onto ask him what his must-see Cape Town bucket list items were. He launched into a detailed itinerary of his visit to the Kruger National Park, his week in Hermanus and Greyton and how, almost on his way to Namibia, he decided to rent an AirBnB and stay in Mouille Point.
Me, trying to pretend like I’m totally fascinated by what an amazing traveller and storyteller he is:
Eventually,Sean hit me with the” So,if you were interested in a face to face meet with me halfway between you and I, when and where would that be?”
Me, thinking a casual meet-up couldn’t hurt: “Well, I run along the Promenade quite often and there are pleny of cool places around there. I’m free Saturday afternoon, if you are?”
Now, I don’t know what the fuck it is with guys, but the minute you call them out on their bluff and show interest in them too, they do shit like this:
“i really don’t know if I will be … I am at if you come to a fork in the road, take it status right now.”
I looked at my screen and went:
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but this motherfucker had asked me to meet up, right? Why the fuck was he now giving even poor Yoda a fucking headache with his estoric bullshit?!
Doofus Deluxe’s explanation:
“I have no plan, and if something comes up, I may do that…Conflicted about going to Namibia or just exploring here, is all I’m saying.”
Of course, because this is my life, and the Universe likes to make sure I know exactly how wrong I can be, in the space of two months I got served up some of the craziest creepiness I’d ever experienced until that point in time.
Behold, the one with the creepy guys:
Avada Kedavra, Creep:
There I was,helping your Spirit Mom Leo putting the finishing touches to the birthday cake of the magical organisation we both love, when a seemingly harmless looking guy comes up to take a photo of us.
Thinking it’s one of the new students’ parents and that I always have to be happy, friendly and approachable, I smile broadly and pose for said photo.
“Great”, he says, lowering his phone, “now I have a photo of you so I can look out for you on Tinder!”
Are you fucking kidding me?! In the one place, other than the comfort of my home, where I can just relax, be myself and feel safe, I was being objectified and harrassed! No, just FUCKING NO!
The interaction immediately made me feel sleazy and like somehow I’d provoked him by being me – I know it wasn’t my fault but in that instant, it felt like it. I spent the rest of the night always in the company of one of my fellow witches and made sure to give He Who Must Not Be Named a very wide berth…
As it turned out, said creep was now also someone I was going to have to work with on a regular basis. I worked around that by opting to only deal with someone else who was doing the same thing. Since casting the killing curse was impossible, at least for now, I had to be extra careful going forward.
The IG DM lurker:
A Sunday morning, at just after 6 fucking am, a direct message request arrives in my Instagram app.
Eye roll from me, because no one who knows me would dare to contact me before the perfectly acceptable time of 9am but hey, there’s always a first.
I hit open and I’m assaulted with this missive:
As I’ve said countless times before, I am not against being complimented but when it’s a virtual fucking stranger sliding into my DMs, Momma’s gonna have a few choice things to say, my loves.
Curious as to who this wanna-be Lothario is, I did some investigating on his profile. Turns out he is a professional photographer of sorts and actually gets fucking paid to take people’s photos and interact with them so why in the name of the Gods was he creeping on me?!
There is no law against telling a woman she is beautiful, for sure, but sending me a private message on a social media app that is NOT for online dating is overstepping boundaries.
I dreamt of giving ol’Mc Creep the Khaleesi treatment …
… but alas I had to do it the mere mortal way of block, report and delete.