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.
Kids, in March 2020, the world was in the grips of an unprecedented crisis: the COVID-19 virus, or CoronaVirus as it was known, was sweeping the globe at a rapid and frightening rate, claiming lives and forcing countries into lock down.
As South Africa settled in for its own initial 21 day lock down, naturally my online dating app DMs started blowing up. Some prime one liners included “Wanna be my lock down buddy?” and “I wish I could self-isolate with you“.
Gods, the thirst was real:
One persistent suitor, though, really got my ass twitching to smack the shit out of him… I’d told Sachin that I was working from home and as such, wouldn’t be able to chat to him until either lunch time or my usual clock out time of 4pm.
Despite initially saying he, as a 30 -year- old architect who was perfectly capable of keeping himself occupied for four hours, understood, I kept getting messages and notifications from him. Behold:
I’d told him previously that I HATE being called any kind of pet name so you can imagine how doubly pissed off I was at him for being SUPER needy and not listening to me.
F*** it. Life was too short to be stuck with this shit …NEXT!
Kiddos, you’ve heard me talk about my black clouds days – entire months where I could barely get out of bed in the morning and felt dead inside like October 2019; periods where I struggled with being different; ages where the bad dating was getting me down.
2020, far from being the Year of Yes I’d intended it to be, was kicking my ass full force and by March, I was feeling overwhelmed, insecure and out of control.
Your Nan had had two cardiac episodes and bouts of hospitalization, I was diagnosed with high pressure and anxiety and my main job was giving me all kinds of f***ing stress. I needed help and for the first time in 34 years, I wasn’t afraid to ask for it:
I’d spent October hugging puppies, talking to good friends, letting my friends and family take care of me. I’d spent November to January partying, flirting with strangers, going on cruises and generally living my best life but it was time to get real and face EVERYTHING that I was avoiding because it was affecting my health.
I developed a game plan, with the help of the people who loved me most: to see a counsellor, get a recruiter to help me find a new job, give the online dating a break, invite friends and family to walk and dance with me to get fit and plan social outings that did not involve excess partying.
It wasn’t a cure all – my Eyeoreness wasn’t ever going to go away because depression is a lifelong condition. What I could do was try and manage it in small bouts.
Asking for help isn’t a weakness, my loves. I hope I’ve taught you that.
Kids, in the Year 2020 of the Old Gods and New, I made a promise to myself to live a fearless, unapologetic Year of Yes.
2019 had seen me shed many tears over people and things unworthy of my awesome self but I was determined to live my best life, ahead of having you.
That meant saying:
Yes to the dress:
I committed to only wearing dresses, when I wasn’t in my mountain uniform, and f*** a white walker, was it getting me attention from the male species!
I got plenty of compliments, including a very hearty “Kan ek net se : jy lyk fokken sexy!” (May I just say that you look f***ing sexy!”)
I was embracing my femininity and loving it!
Yes to spontaneous outings:
From a Greekish day break to the West Coast with our family to shaking what your Nan gave me with your godmother Anthea and friends at a Micasa Kirstebosch Summer Sunset concert, I was all about living in the now in 2020.
Yes to new experiences:
I’d gone through a very rebellious phase in my teens which meant there were very few new experiences for me to have but that didn’t stop me from making the most of those that were available. Like, getting extra ear piercings, which your Nan didn’t approve of 😉
I had great plans for 2020, including jetting off to London to visit your Auntie Leilah, work remotely in Bail, frolicking in the New York snow with your Spirit Mom Leo, go horse riding on Noordhoek Beach, changing jobs and of course, meeting your father.
Kids, in December 2019, I was out in the streets of Cape Town and online, dating up a storm. Granted, I’d lowered my guard a bit, in an attempt to get over my depression and have the best summer EVER before you guys happened.
Which leads me to my next big Bumble failure. Having decided to forget about the terrible American comedian fiasco on this site before, I swiped right on Warren (38) and was delighted when it was a match.
We kicked off the conversation with the usual how are yous and then got down to what did you get up to this weekend. Filling him in on the 40th birthday bash I attended, I perked up when he said his weekend had been particularly interesting.
Me: “Oh? How so? “
Warren: “Well… I was with a man for the first time.”
Look, I’d like to consider myself pretty fucking open minded, especially in 2019 when everyone was supposedly sexually fluid, but why the actual fuck would a dude who was on a straight dating site, chatting up a woman, tell me he’d been with a man?
Not knowing what to say to his truth bomb and also, because I didn’t want to come across as freaked out or judgemental, I didn’t reply for an hour while I caught up on one of my favourite series, Empire.
A message arrived an hour later…
Warren: “I hope I didn’t upset you“
Me, trying to act nonchalant about it: “Nah, I was busy catching up on series.”
Warren: “So… you don’t want to talk about it?”
Me, wondering where the fuck this was going:
“Look, you chose to share your story so whatever you’re comfortable with, is up to you”
Warren: “Oh, so you want details … LOL.”
Ok, mother fucker, no! This is where I draw the fucking line.
Look, I am as accepting of all sexualities, all personalities etc as the next girl but jackass, there is NO world where I need to hear the details of the sex the person I am interested in, had with someone else! NONE!
Just to prove to myself I wasn’t being a bigot and this guy was in fact stepping over the fucking line of online dating etiquette , I gave some thought to the fact that had I been a lesbian and the woman I was chatting to , wanted to tell me the details of her first experience with a man, how would I have reacted? And you know what? I’d probably have said EXACTLY what I said to Gay-for-the-Weekend Warren:
“No, thank you. That’s private and should remain between the two of you.”
Silence from Warren and then, do you know what the mother fucker did?
He unmatched me!
Listen, the trash took itself out, thank the fucking Gods, but still! Why did online dating have to be so fucking hard?!
Kids, it was Friday the 13th and I was about to get unexpectedly lucky…
Far from meeting my untimely death with this dude:
… I’d wandered down the back staircase of my apartment building because thanks to the ever reliable Eskom, load shedding had hit and our gates were not working.
As I wandered down, I came upon the cutest dog ever. Now, you guys know how dog crazy I am. In fact, if I could live my days like this, I would be endlessly happy ( I’ll take Keanu too… just don’t tell your Dad!):
Stopping to pat this furry cutie, I welcomed him with my usual doggy-specific greeting:
“Good Morning, Handsome!”
Seemingly out of nowhere, I received a reply:
No, I hadn’t suddenly turned into Doctor Dolittle with the ability to talk to animals… as I raised my eyes to look for the origin of the greeting, I locked eyes with a drop dead gorgeous, half-naked man:
Mr Tall, Dark and Naked was obviously my new fur pal’s dad and my neighbour. How had I not noticed him before?!
I blushed, said a nervous “Hi!”back at him and ran towards the exit.
Kids, shortly after my 34th birthday, which had been an extravaganza of love and celebrations with all of my favourite people ( besides and before you!), I was about to embark on my very first cruise ship vacation.
See, life had been pretty shitty, mostly because Jet was still being an entitled asshole whose fucktard shenanigans included throwing boxes around to get my attention, making highly offensive sexual innuendos in a ploy to get in on conversations I was having with other people, ignoring me when that didn’t work and then hanging around until I was forced to look at him.
The anticlimactic stunt: running towards me like the lead guy in a rom com, scooping me up and hugging me so tightly and for so long as he wished me a Happy Birthday, it surpassed the limitations of appropriateness, caused coworkers to comment on it and lead to him unfollowing me on Instagram because he’d been caught showing his feelings again. For a boy who claimed I was just a “dear friend”, he had a funny way of showing it.
This sums up what I wish I could have said to the jackass:
Anyway, I digress… Jet’s bullshit aside, I was coming out of my depression but I needed to remember who I was before he, and life had fucked me over in 2019.
Basically, I had to follow this sage advice from the Internet:
A five night girls’trip with your Aunt Yoli and her friends, to celebrate our birthdays, seemed like the best fucking way to do that.
Honestly, I was done trying to figure out why the Universe had fucked me over with Jet, why I wasn’t any closer to meeting your father and having you and why everyone else seemed to be able to do it at the drop of a hat.
Cocktails, fun in the sun and nothing but miles and miles of ocean between me and my first world problems seemed like the perfect solution.
I’d get back to my “Operation Baby 2020” plan soon enough… I knew you guys were waiting for me. Momma had to have some uncomplicated fun first.
But … three weeks post-heartbreak and with the news that Zombie Walk had been postponed, I knew that I could not let 31 October pass by without some celebration.
The undead life was for the living so off I went to my local King Cake Party City for a sexy witch’s Halloween costume, hat and broomstick the day before.
On Halloween, I texted your Auntie Cynthia and arranged a drinks meet-up at my new creative hotel crush, the Radisson RED Cape Town. To my utter delight, their staff was killing the Halloween costume looks and my bewitching get-up fit right in.
Confession – I should have tried my costume on when I bought it because it would have saved me the realisation that my lady pillows were ALL over the place and I was about to flash all of Cape Town!
I mean, sure, it got one of the older, half naked ( because he’d been swimming!) hotel guests all hot and bothered, to the point that he couldn’t help but lean over and pinch my… hat tip. All’s fair in love and cosplay!
The important thing I learnt, Kids, was that I couldn’t let sadness about one person destroy my joy and lust for life and the things I love doing.
Jet, after falsely accusing me of discussing him with co-workers and yelling at me from the very staircase where I’d fallen in love with him , rejected me twice as just a “dear friend” in a series of Whatsapp messages.
After a nearly a year of flirting, texting, spending lunch times together, sexual and emotion tension – all of which he’d initiated – I was being friendzoned… again.
Understandably, I lost my shit… I wasn’t eating and sleeping. I felt like shit all of the time and it was a struggle to just be alive for a while. I wasn’t okay.
I thought I’d had depressive episodes before but this shit was really, really bad.
Which is when he decided to reveal the monster that lies within.
The yelling should have been the tip off that Dr Jekyll was actually Mr Hyde.
After telling your aunt Anthea that he really respected me as a coworker,cared deeply about me as a good friend and had been taking his time getting to know me to see if this could have gone somewhere despite not wanting a relationship at work, he decided to ignore my fair request to give me some space and understand that I would be keeping my distance until I was over him.
Pissed off that I was giving him the cold shoulder, that I could barely look at his face or say more than the basic hello, Jet starting amping up the bad behaviour.
He’d try to include himself in conversations I was having with other co-workers and get up close in my personal space in the kitchen when we were alone, under the guise of getting his mug.
He’d take phone calls on balconies where I was sure to see him at lunch times. At a staff party, even though I hadn’t spoken to him all day, he got really close into my space, said hi, clinked his glass against mine and said a fake cheers. He spent the rest of the night watching me on the dance floor, being near to wherever I was and brooding in a corner when no one would speak to him.
His behaviour was unnecessarily cruel. He’d made his point about not liking me the way I liked him. I’d asked him for space and he’d ignored it. Was his male ego that fragile that me not continuing to moon over his very existence spurred him into hurting me even more?
For someone who only considered me a “dear friend”, he was sure acting like a possessive, obsessive almost-boyfriend.
I’ve never been one for loving or disengaging half-heartedly. I either love someone like they are the centre of my fucking universe ( I know, not healthy… I should be the centre,always) or I cut off all feelings and engagement so quickly, it’s like hell froze over.
Jet had become addicted to my attention, had lapped up every bit of my concern, my care, my adoration and was now having to go cold turkey without it. That shit hurt, I got it.
But I couldn’t keep hurting myself by being kind to him. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. My favourite Grey’s Anatomy quote came to mind:
I was a good person, for fuck’s sake … so why did this keep happening to me?!