Tag Archives: Love

How I Met Your Father: 5 things travelling solo to the US taught me

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself…” Cloud Atlas

 

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Kids, in 2016, I was in a bit of a rut… seeing friends’ engagement, baby and new job announcements on social media gave me huge FOMO (fear of missing out).

It made me nostalgic for a time when I was doing something epic – like travelling to the US solo for a two week Contiki trip across Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York in the (South African) winter of 2014.

Sometimes I need to leave home to get some perspective

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the fishbowl that is your life when you stay put.  In 2014, I was up shit creek with the disastrous Monroe flirtation, hating aspects of my job as a Cape Town marketing writer and trying to figure out what to do with my life.

 

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Travelling to the States wasn’t so much running away from my problems as it was getting a new perspective on them.  Seeing world-renowned icons like the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and the Golden Gate Bridge up close, made me realise that while my problems were important, they were small in comparison to the rest of the Universe.

Looking at it that way made me calm the f*** down and just enjoy being me.

Conquering my deepest fears was possible

I’ve had a paralyzing fear of theme park rides since I was three-years-old and your grandfather decided to rock the cabin of the Ferris wheel we were on, scaring the hell out of me.

That fear, though, wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying or at the very least, attempting to enjoy the rides at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

20140722_111009I’m not saying all of it was fun – in fact, between the Transformers and The Mummy rides, my pancake breakfast kept threatening to blow all over my fellow riders – but I pushed through my fear and did it anyway.

I held hands with complete strangers in the Haunted House; screamed for all I was worth during the King Kong ride and held on for dear life in that final drop of The Mummy roller coaster but at the end of it all, I was extremely proud of myself for conquering my deepest fear.

Being just me is more than ok

The greatest thing about travelling solo is the chance to shake off all of the labels and personas people you know impose onto you or force you to be (you know what I am talking about – some relatives, co-workers and friends push your buttons so much that you react negatively and get labelled as the nasty/mean/perpetually single one in your social group) and rediscover who you are.

On this trip, I discovered how much I actually enjoy magic, separately from it being a requirement for my passion project. I was totally prepared to attend Criss Angel’s Believe show in Vegas on my own but just by being so excited and passionate about it, a few of my tour mates eagerly joined me too.

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People liked me for being the weirdo, magic-fanatic I was and you know what? I liked me too.

Most importantly, I also realized that I like doing things solo – something I’d be reminded of again a year later in Mauritius.

I am capable of pretty much anything

A week into my trip, I was standing in front of the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and I suddenly had an Oprah-style A-Ha moment…

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Image credit: http://www.travelonline.com

I realised that little ol’ me, who had sold my first car, worked crazy hours and saved for eons just to be able to afford this trip, had actually done it! As I stared up at the full moon in Sin City, I realised that I could, and was capable of doing just about anything I set my mind to.

I knew I’d wanted to visit all of these cities since I was a teenager hung up on Sex and the City and I had made my own wish come true.  I was my own Fairy Godmother, Superhero and Guardian Angel and I was awesome!

 Letting go of my inhibitions every now and again is a good thing

A lot of crazy things happened in the Big Apple, like Drew, and that one time I wandered around Times Square high on Nyquil trying to treat a cold while almost being kidnapped by a Hispanic man  (don’t tell your Nan – she will never let me travel alone again!).

 

My favourite memory of New York, though, is the final night of our trip when my Contiki group and I visited a local karaoke bar. Emotions were running rampant in the group, knowing we’d have to say goodbye to strangers who had become family in the two short weeks we’d been travelling together.

With various tour mates getting up on stage to humiliate themselves belting out their favourite hits, it was only a matter of time before my three closest friends Candice, Natasha, Cheree and I followed suit.

Yes, we were totally out of sync doing the mermaid dance to Cher’s Shoop Shoop song but boy, was it fun and the perfect way to end off a trip that had totally changed my perspective on life and my own capabilities.

By 2016, with all of the adulting I’d been doing, I was aching to rediscover myself via travelling again. All I needed to do was choose a destination … but where to next?

 

 

 

How I Met Your Father: The One in which we say goodbye to Pa

“Dear Fuzzy, I am sad to hear about your grandfather. You are very lucky that you had a grandfather your whole entire life. Love from Kris.”

Kids, your Great-Grandfather, Mogamatdien Shellar nee Percival Francisco Shellar, gently left this world on Thursday 30 June, 2016, causing my Universe to come to an abrupt halt. Of all the condolences I received, this one from your 11-year-old Spirit brother really hit home.

Pa 1

Kris was right – I was indeed ridiculously lucky to have had a grandfather my whole entire life. Bittersweet moments from more than 30 years flashed through my mind but they didn’t seem to be enough.

Eulogies aren’t really a thing in the Islamic faith the rest of my family follow but I’m a rule breaker of note so, here is what I would have said if I had had a chance to speak at Pa’s funeral:

Dear Pa,

A week ago today, you took your final breath and left us to join your beloved Tiema in Heaven. I know you’re super excited to get all of your kisses and hugs and make up for lost time (away from prying grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s eyes) so while you’re doing that, let me look back at some of my best memories of you…

2015 …

Last year, I lost you in a Strand beach parking lot. Sameehah, Freddy, Mishka and I had treated you to an afternoon out and you gave us the slip so you could go on a walkabout like a naughty teenager.

I don’t know how you did it with an aching leg and a walking stick, Percy, but like a magician, you were there one minute and gone the next!

Sam panicked and call Hiema – I took a deep breath and realised you probably needed some me-time, something you’d had fairly little of since your health starting deteriorating.

I found you eventually, sitting on a bench that you and Mama often visited on your day trips to Strand, gazing out on the crowd and view. You had a wistful look on your face and I realised that what you had needed was to be close to her – the only time you ever let on that you were still mourning.

The love that was evident on your face that day and whenever you spoke of her since, makes me want to live long enough to experience my own someday.

2013 …

I freaked out when I received my first ever traffic fine for Mr Winchester, my Opel GSI, and couldn’t for the life of me remember when I had been speeding along Vanguard Drive.

I checked the date and looked at the photo and saw that actually, Old Man, you were the one breaking speed limits as you cruised in my sports car. By then, you weren’t allowed to drive your own vehicles anymore so you had taken mine for a joy ride under the guise of returning it to me ahead of a magic event.

I couldn’t stay at mad at you for that – after all, just a month earlier you had held my hand while yelling at me for crashing it into another car on a highway.

Buying, driving and fixing that car together are some of my favourite memories with you because as much as I was coming into my own as an adult, you were right there with me every step of the way, guiding me as you had in my childhood.

And yes, you still don’t know that I have the worst road rage known to man – I never swore when you were my passenger 😉

Faz and grandparents

2000…

I’m 15 and going through an “I hate my life and my family” phase but you insist on taking Sam and I for our weekly Sunday drive to Sea Point.

On the way back home, I am wedged between you and Mamma on the front seat of your van and the two of you are pointing out the landmarks of where you first met.

You turn to me and say:

“And that is where your grandma and I used to park and “watch” the view at night. I showed her things she’d never seen before.”

I protest and mock vomit because no teenager wants to know their parents, let alone their grandparents, did things like that but secretly, I like being entrusted with details of your courtship.

That courtship gave birth to the lasting love Sam and I were raised in. How lucky were we?

1996 …

I’m 11 and I wake to the sound of you crying … in all of my life up until that moment, you had never done that sober so I immediately knew something was wrong, horribly wrong.

My dad, your son, was dead and you were inconsolable.

Your sobs were so terribly heart-breaking but soothing too because if you were crying, it was ok for me to cry too. You showed me that you were human- that we all are and it’s ok to miss the people you love most when they’re taken from you.

PA AND FAMILY

Today, I am a heart-broken, grown woman trying to be strong for the family when all I want to do is be the tiny, sassy little girl you taught to read time; called your “Charra Meid” ( Indian Girl) and gruffly held tighter when I tried to squirm out of your hugs.

I miss your hugs.

I miss your smile.

I miss your voice.

I miss hearing you say “Ok, I love you too, Zielah”.

You were so proud of the eulogy I wrote for Mamma on “Facebrick” as you called it, I thought it only fitting you get one on my blog too 😉

I love you, Pa – I don’t know if I said it often enough, but I do.  I don’t know if I said thank you enough too – there aren’t enough words in this world and all of the universe to express my gratitude for loving, raising and being there for Sameehah and I.

I will miss walking into your house, my childhood home, or calling you up and saying “Hello Percival!” and hearing your voice light up at the sound of mine for the rest of my days…

Give Mamma and Daddy a hug for me and know that I love and miss all three of you so very, very much!

All my love,

Your Charra Meid xx

 

 

How I Met Your Father: 3 things I wish I could say to your Great-Grandpa on Father’s Day

 

Pa Eid

Kids, in the winter of 2016, your Great-Grandfather was dying of diabetes.

Watching him battle this silent and dangerous disease, the way it ravished his body at a rapid pace was almost too much to bear. Seeing the once powerful man he’d been reduced to a withering, childlike figure in constant pain broke my heart.

Emotions, as you can guess, were running rampant within the family, further annihilating existing estrangements and making things even more difficult so I was determined to remain strong, the voice of reason and not verbalize my own reactions.

But I did need to express my feelings so here are three things I wish I could have said to Pa on Father’s Day 2016:

  • You were more than my granddad… you were my Dad:

My father was murdered exactly a week after my eleventh birthday and for most of my life, I carried that sorrow as a HUGE chip on my shoulder.

I hid behind my identity as a fatherless child and used it as the excuse for all of the s*** I got up to in my tween years but it wasn’t true… I wasn’t fatherless.

My dad’s Dad stepped up and did all of the fatherly duties a second time around – he was the one who picked me up from school and my first internship; searched for me when I ran away once (long story); helped me move out of the parental home TWICE; taught me to be responsible for my actions; grounded me a lot; helped to pay for my tertiary education; collected me from the airport after my international trips; disapproved of the bad boys I seemed to love; helped to nurse me through various illnesses and helped me navigate the tricky parts of adulthood.

Anyone can be a father but it takes a man to be a dad and granddad!

  • You were imperfectly human and my superhero:

Pa wasn’t perfect – far from it. My childhood Sundays always ended with him being a drunken, crying mess because he’d helped himself to one too many drinks from his business.

He always seemed to say the wrong things at the wrong times and seemingly favoured my siblings over me. Most of my teens and early adulthood were spent crying over insensitive things he’d said about me, my life plans etc.

But …

As I entered my 30s, I realised that actually, Pa was my superhero role model for adulthood. If he was doing the best he could and winging the rest of it well into his 70s, I wasn’t doing too badly either.

  • Thank you for loving me:

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Pa had been raising kids for nigh on 30 something years by the time I came along and he thought he knew how to do it well … but then there was me.

I was a sensitive, strong-willed, prone to emotional outbursts creative who refused to conform to any of the customs set by the culture, religion and class my family adhered to.

For years I rebelled against these constraints and vocally so. It led to endless fights, countless time-outs and dramatic stand-offs because I felt that no one, least of all my grandfather, understood me.

It wasn’t until my mid to late twenties, when I learnt to accept myself as the emotional, weird writer and unconventional woman I was, that Pa let go of the apron strings too and our relationship improved dramatically.

We could joke about my drunken debauchery in the US and his fumbling courtship of your Great-Grandma; talk about work (even if he still didn’t know exactly what PR was); debate religious convictions (he was the only one in my entire family who accepted my deflection from the Islamic faith without having a nervous breakdown or keep pushing me to choose another religion) and be honest about our feelings ( my proudest moment was when he said I love you to me without me having to say it first).

When I finally learnt to love myself, I discovered that Pa had loved me as I was all along.

The thing that frightened me the most about Pa dying was being truly fatherless for the rest of my life – of not having someone who fiercely loved me, worried about me and looked out for me being there when I needed him the most …

But…

He’d raised me to be a formidable, independent woman who could and would be the pillar of strength he and our family needed during a difficult time. I hope I’ve made him proud.

Happy Father’s Day, Pa! I love you xxx

How I Met Your Father: 3 reasons online dating depressed the hell out of me

Kids, in the autumn of 2016, I had pulled on my big Wonder Woman panties and decided it was time to get back into the dating game – specifically, the scary, murky world of online dating.

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Gods …

How I wish I hadn’t!

Here are three reasons online dating depressed the hell out me:

  • Forget bimbos, guys are airheads too:

Look, I was well aware that apps like Tinder and OkCupid were not designed for long, soulful and intellectual talks but dear mother of dragons, some of the men, nay, perpetual boys, whom I was chatting to barely seemed to have a pea, let alone a brain ,between their ears.

Asking simple questions like what their favourite movies or interests were, was consistently met with “I don’t know” or “cars and money” … hell, at 30 and over, one would hope they’d experienced enough of life to develop wider preferences.

  • Being stood up was par for the damn course:

If I was keen to meet up with a potential mate, I had more of a chance of Orlando Bloom showing up that getting these online jerks to put in a guest appearance.

Oh, sure, they would be all eager in the beginning, super psyched to set up a date, time and place but when the actual day arrived, they vanished faster than a Dementor. Did I get apologies from these slime balls? Of course not!

Good manners, like dating, didn’t exist in the 21st century ..

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Image credit: www/memeshappen.com

I quickly learnt to agree to meet at restaurants I liked so at least I’d still enjoy myself …assholes.

  • Getting back on the online dating horse was more f***ing difficult after each failure:

No, I did not want to hear that there were plenty more fish in the internet sea … for the love of Westeros, being stood up or talking to yet another airhead felt like an assault on my heart and senses and I was tired – so tired, Kids.

The bad dating, the ever-ticking biological clock and having my social media timelines flooded with engagement, wedding and pregnancy announcements were driving me insane in 2016.

I was SO over it!

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Image credit: www.eonline.com

I knew, logically, that I was already living a full life with loving my family and friends, helping to care for your ailing great-grandfather, training for a 10km marathon and living out my cosplay fantasies but it still felt like I was missing out and it was getting really, really difficult to believe that I would ever meet your father …

 

How I Met Your Father: The One with the Game of Thrones Cosplaying EVERYWHERE

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:

April 2015…

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.

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Rocking it House of Wyrd style at a Game of Thrones viewing in 2015!

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

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Image credit: http://www.netwerk24.com

BUT

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.

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Image credit: www.instagram.com/leoniemollentze

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!

 

 

How I Met Your Father: 5 things I learnt whilst being on a dating pause

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Image credit: http://www.kampungwanita.com

Kids, as you know, in the autumn of 2016, I hit the pause button on finding your father and dating.

Too many disastrous online and speed dating episodes had left a bitter taste in my mouth about the whole process and I decided to rock the art of going solo for a while.

By March, I had been on my singleton kick for just over a month and I picked up a few well-deserved lessons along the way:

  1. People will gossip: and sometimes those people are your own family. Mine came up with the ingenious thought that if I wasn’t bringing a man home, I must be a lesbian. Cue awkward “so, where’s your partner or is it your friend?” questions.                                                                                                                                                                                   There is nothing wrong with loving girls, as you well know, but clearly my relatives had not been exposed enough to my Alexander Skarsgard obsession, my stalker war stories or met He Who Shall Not Be Named.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Their gossip hurt for a while, especially when all I had been doing was killing myself trying to meet the right guy for so long but then I figured F*** it! People who talk are fans and have nothing better to do with their time.
  1. Meeting new people was more fun: without the added pressure of always wondering whether the hot barista or fellow runner was a potential mate, I could relax and just talk to guys.                                                                                                                                                                             This time, I wasn’t even worried that I’d end up as always the best friend and not the girlfriend. I could and did just truly enjoy having normal conversations with relatively normal guys.
  1. Less time spent on dating woes meant more time to do great things: like train for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Fun Run; get my geek on at comic book movie premieres; indulge in my love for magic and spend time with your Great-Grandfather.

     I was spending more time being me and that was always a good      thing!

  1. I developed a super power for spotting time and emotion wasters: He Who Shall Not Be Named decided to poke the bear during this period by asking for special favours and trying to be the centre of my attention at events.
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Image credit:  www.33.media.tumblr.com

He did not succeed, much to his utter disappointment. Ditto for the ex-boyfriend of a  friend who was always trying to be something more to me but only when it suited him. Ain’t nobody got time for that …NEXT!

  1. Being alone did not mean being lonely: and I was perfectly ok with it. It tired me watching family and friends agonize over relationship issues and the fear of being alone. I did not want to be that scared to be alone when I was in a  relationship someday so  taking some time to figure out who I was and what I wanted was just fine by me.

I owed it to both you and your dad to have my shit together by the time I met him … and man, am I glad I did!

 

How I Met Your Father: 5 things your Great-Grandmother taught me

image credit: www.flickr.com
image credit: http://www.flickr.com

Kids, on the eve of your Great-Grandmother’s third death anniversary in March 2016, I missed her terribly … it still had not sunk in that the fierce, dynamic and strong Fatiema Williams-Shellar who had raised me wasn’t around and a part of my life anymore.

Being an adult sucked on and off for the better part of my late twenties and early 30s and not being able to call her so she could distract me with family gossip or the latest soapie updates when I was having a particularly bad day really cut me deep.

She was vibrant with a quick mind and even sharper tongue but man, was she a soft cookie under all of that and I missed her more than ever.

These are five of the many, many amazing things Mama taught me:

  1. Sometimes swearing is the only way to express yourself: Yip, every foul word you have ever heard coming from my mouth was this champion curser’s creation 😉 Whether she was yelling at Pa or threatening to whip my butt for not putting my school uniform in the laundry, she knew how to drop an F bomb! When I started freely swearing in her presence in my 20s, she’d be all like “Zielah, do you kiss me with that dirty mouth?!” and I’d cheekily respond “Of course, Tiema, I learnt from the best … you!”
  1. When Life hands you lemons, eat a chocolate (or a sweet): My feisty grandma endured her fair share of problems: a dead son, man woes, divorce, unexpected pregnancies, breast cancer scares etc but there was always a stash of chocolate and sweet treats to take the edge off a little … or at least stop her from beating people (usually Pa) with a broom.
  1. Having eye candy is a must: Just because she was married with children, grandchildren AND great-grandchildren didn’t mean Mama had lost her keen eye for a good looking man. Whether it was swooning over Jean Claude van Damme in e.tv’s Friday night movies or admiring how well David Duchovny filled out his X-Files suit, she knew a stud when she saw one and wasn’t shy to say “Hy is nogal sexy, ner?” (He is rather sexy, hey)
  1. Dress up no matter the occasion: A trip to the shopping mall, a family wedding or an outing to the Fugard Theatre required a touch of lipstick, a sprinkling of talc powder and her best scarf because you never knew who you would run into. Man, I wished I’d retained this bit of wisdom when I ran into Orlando Bloom!
  1. If the music sounds good, dance: Mama knew how to get down on the dance floor (or her living room, but whatever!). From Frank Sinatra to UB40 , Cher and everything in between, Tiema could give us youngsters a run for our money and she didn’t care if we laughed at her or not. In fact, at my 21st birthday party, she danced until 3am when all of the guests had left already 😉

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I wish you could have known her, Kids. I know how much she would have loved you and enjoyed telling you crazy stories of my and my father’s naughty childhood escapades.

How I Met Your Father: Old school romance in the Mother City

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Kids, by January 2016, I had completed 21 of the 28 dates challenge and was about to embark on date 22 with very little expectations. After Impala Fanatic’s stone cold silence, I’d taken a bit of a dating break and was just coasting through life until Merlin39 popped up on my DatingBuzz radar.

At 39, Merlin was a little bit out of my dating age range (I’d settled on 35 as being close enough in life experience that we’d still have plenty to bond over). He was also a divorced father of two teenagers, ran his own financial management business and very close with his mother.

Still, I was intrigued by Merlin’s emails and the way he responded to the 20 questions game I started ( yes, after years of online romances, I’d learnt to quickly ask questions that helped me get a better sense of possible paramours ’personalities) so when he asked me out on a date, I didn’t hesitate.

On a hot-as-all-hell Saturday afternoon, we met for lunch at the Company’s Garden restaurant and my aging Romeo totally bowled me over with his old school romance – not only was he polite, well-dressed and well-mannered, he also presented me with a bouquet of gorgeous roses and a box of Lindt chocolates. Who still did that in 2016?

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Total brownie score for being a reminder that wooing the objection of your affection is so hot and a lost art. Modern men seemed to have lost all sense of chivalry and it was a welcome respite to have it lavished on me, even if just for an afternoon.

Over lunch, we chatted about our jobs, our families, our travel experiences and the scary online dating world. Conversation flowed easily and sure, he seemed a little too obsessed with stressing how financially secure he was and how generous he is with giving money to people he cares about ( I have never been particularly money or status conscious so these things do not hold an appeal for me) but I was enjoying this date.

I enjoyed it enough to suggest a second date – which for me was totally unheard of, and incredibly, for the first time in a long while, I was actually looking forward to it!

I had hope, Kids, and hope lead to me being open to new experiences, new people and ultimately you xx

How I Met Your Father: 30 and a week of the good, the bad and the ugly

Kids, as the saying goes, in life only three things are certain: death, change and taxes.

The week after my 30th and return from Mauritius, I had a brush with all three. Since I hate them equally, you can imagine how utterly delighted I was they decided to show up at the same time … not.

These things, I know, were part of being an adult but who the hell decided I was ready to do that, huh?

icant adult

I won’t bore you with the monotony of taxes … suffice it to say that e-filing, as we old folk called it back then, did NOTHING to simply the goddamn painful process, so let’s move on to the other two.

Change …

After switching gears between a highly stressful job and a more relaxed one in 2014, I had committed myself to spending more time with our family, my friends, potential partners and two projects I was involved with.

For a while, I felt like I could expertly manage all of them – and I did. But, as the year progressed, I felt myself becoming increasingly short-tempered and spread too thin between everything, leaving very little time for that precious commodity I was harping on about last week – me time.

I agonised for months about what to let go of and fretted about how it would impact certain relationships. Needless to say there were plenty of sleepless nights and bargaining with the Universe for energy, more time, Channing Tatum showing up to ease my stress the Magic Mike way ( oh, quit the eye rolling, you guys!)  etc to help make my decisions easier.

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I hate change with a deadly passion and nothing unsettles me more than the not knowing what happens next. The indecisiveness drives me absolutely crazy and I would rather know for certain one way or another that what needs to be done is done than living in the in-between forever.

As it turns out, when the death brush happened, making the change choice was a no-brainer. Nowhere close to easy, of course, but ridiculously simple and a relief.

Death …

In the week after turning 30, I was faced with the realization of my own mortality in two successive and painful blows.

Not only did I have a mammogram, which briefly caused alarm but your great-grandfather’s health took a really bad turn for the worst.

I’ll tell you about the boob-squeezing mammogram next time (dudes, appreciate the fact that I did my best to ensure my lady pillows were in tip top shape for your arrival!) but for now, let’s talk about Pa.

He’d been a diabetes-sufferer for all of my life but somehow, after your great-grandma died, it just seriously took over his body. By mid-2015, he could no longer move about without a walking stick and in late November, he’d completely lost the use of his legs. His arms looked set to follow the same route soon.

I’d known he was ill, of course, and rushed off to see him at Groote Schuur hospital the Monday after my island holiday, when the diagnosis of irreversible nerve damage  was handed down to him  but seeing how frail he was a mere week later really, really got to me.

As your aunt Sam and I massaged oils and lotions into his now stiff legs and ever-thinning body, I could barely contain my tears and I didn’t dare speak because I knew my voice would betray the depth of my grief.

Faz and Pa

This is the man who raised, fed, clothed, educated, disciplined and loved me for most of my life.  A man who had always been the most powerful force in my tiny universe and whom I had spent a lot of time angry at because I didn’t think he loved me enough or as much as he loved my sisters. I know now that wasn’t true – he loved us all differently because we were so different.

The fact that we didn’t share the same blood was never an issue– he’d been my granddad from my first moment and no one could have done more for my siblings and I than he did. He loved us as he had loved our father before us.  The greatest lesson I’d ever learnt from him was that family wasn’t always blood.

Pa was the UB40 –loving, Frank Sinatra –singing, Vienna smoortjie (spread) – making goofy grandpa of my childhood; the believer of my teenage studying dreams and my voice of young adult reasoning. The idea of further adulting without him just didn’t bear thinking about.

But I wasn’t ready to let him go and I was seriously pissed off at the Universe. We’d barely gotten over Mama’s loss  – what fucking right did the gods have to want to take the only father figure I’d truly known away from me now?!

So, I got mad – Hulk mad – at the sheer bloody audacity of the Fates to do this to my family and I twice in the space of two years and at the unfairness of it all. How the heck were we supposed to be adults and responsible about this when the grown-ups in our lives were dying all the time, huh?

hulk mad

For me, being angry was a hell of a lot easier that being sad. The sadness at seeing my grandfather so very weak and knowing the inevitability thereof, just broke me, kids.

When faced with the loss of someone you love, all of the other things in your life pale in comparison. I knew now what was important – spending as much time as possible with Pa and making good memories with him…. I freaking love you, Percival x

Next week on How I Met Your Father: Getting felt up for all the right reasons in all the wrong ways – a scan by scan mammogram story.

 

How I Met Your Father: The Art of Going Solo and Things I Love to Do

Kids, after spending a week with family and friends on an island for my 30th, I realised something profound about myself – I liked being alone.

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As in, I couldn’t get enough of having me time and was especially grumpy if I didn’t get adequate supplies of it. Which, considering I was knee-deep in the search for your father, posed quite the dilemma. How was I ever going to be a part of a couple if I loved being alone?

I was perplexed and frustrated with myself about this for a while until I realised that actually, being comfortable being alone is okay. Too often, I’d see people in relationships who were lonelier being part of a twosome than I was being single and they were miserable! I wanted to meet your dad- desperately, it’s true – but not enough to give up all of my glorious freedom just yet.

Not everyone was as comfortable with being alone as I was…. In fact, I got a microscopic view once into one friend’s life who couldn’t go one day without freaking out about eating alone or checking their social media platforms for validation from their online peers. Watching this person physically ache for company because they couldn’t just be one with themselves tired me and made me appreciate my ability to rock the solo vibe all the more.

Maybe it was the wisdom that comes with turning 30 (more likely all of the Mojitios I was ingesting!) or maybe it took me seven days in the constant company of others to realise that to be a part of a successful pair, you need to be a successful single first.

me time hammock

As I gazed out towards the gorgeous coastline from my hammock, sipping a Pina Colada or three, I made a list of all of the solo activities I loved doing and which I was determined to do more of before (and after) I welcomed you and your dad into my life and which I would gladly encourage others to do too:

  • Dine alone, whilst gazing out at a beautiful view: it helps me appreciate the silence, the food and the wonders of nature without having to make meaningless conversation with someone else when I don’t feel like it.
  • Go see a movie whenever I want: Not everyone has similar movie tastes (I ADORE horror movies and anything with Alexander Skarsgard so I usually rock those alone.I also dig really bad movies that everyone else hates and since your Spirit Godmother Leo does too, we do this together occasionally), so if I really, really want to see something, I’ll go see it and hog the popcorn and chocolates to myself!
  • Read a captivating book: I know I’ve instilled in you the importance of reading – not only does it open new worlds for you, it’s a great way to spend quality time with yourself. And no, you are not being rude when reading in company you’d rather not have. Sooner or later, the person will get the message and bugger off (hopefully).
  • Be a couch potato: Sometimes all I wanted to do was switch off my phone, shut my door and have a True Blood or Games of Thrones series marathon without having to speak to another human being or take their fragile feelings into account … and you know what? That was ok. Like they say in the flight attendant instructional video: “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first – THEN you can help others”. Similarly, you have to spend time with yourself before spending time with others.
  • Have a solo picnic or beach day: Guys, my best parts of these kinds of days is just lazing about, watching the tide come in or listening to children squeal with laughter around me but not needing to physically be a part of it all. It’s a great reminder that we all play a part in a much bigger picture.
  • Go to an event alone: In October 2015, for various reasons I attended Zombie Walk solo and I still had a shitload of fun.

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I ran into other friends I didn’t expect to see and that was great, but the best part was striking up conversations with strangers who shared the same passion as I did. I learnt so much more about people and myself and that there was a whole new set of weirdos for me to get to know.

Going solo to events make you step out of your comfort zone and meet new people – who  knows if one of those not-so-handsome undead could have been your dad? 😉

What it boils down to is this, kids: I couldn’t wait to meet your dad and have you but until then, I was perfectly happy rocking my solo act like the fabulous and flirty thirty-year-old that I was!

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