Archive

Monthly Archives: July 2012


Dear 16½ year-old me,
What does one begin to say to themselves? I suppose, only the most simple and honest things. I write this at the age of 24, and you’ll be glad to know that you’re happy and healthy. Your family is as supportive and loving as they always were (even when your deepest, darkest, and most rebellious stories are revealed at your 21st) and your friends are all incredible people.
I’d say it’s momentous that I write to you at such an age, when you feel so invincible. It gets tough. But no matter how tough it gets, it’s never anything you cannot handle, and it’s certainly always worth it.
When you turn 17, you will have your heart broken for the first time by the boy you’re seeing. It won’t hurt for long, but it will hurt enough that for your whole matric year, you will swear off boys, and love. This is good for you – you learn more about who you are, and what you want. Although, it does ensure you also miss out on a boy who will on-again-off-again with you, right up until today. Even as I write this, I cannot fully assure you that we’re over him, but I can assure you that his love is vital to us. So embrace it.
When you turn 18, you will be raped. Not by a stranger, but an acquaintance. You will block the truth of the matter out for almost four years, until desperation and madness drive you to finally tell your parents. You will be diagnosed with depression immediately after this, and take anti-depressants for 6 months, until you decide that you just don’t want to anymore. On that day, I am so proud of you. You decide your happiness is in your own hands, and you begin a journey to discover it – without the aid of medication of any kind. I am still on this journey, but let me tell you, 2012 is turning out to be a phenomenal year, and a well-deserved reward for your bravery in 2011.
When you are 19, Hermy – our beloved sausage dog puppy – will pass away. It will hurt more than you could ever have imagined. You’ll wander the hallway of our parents’ home, and miss the pitter-patter of his little paws behind you. Our “shadow”, as mum always called him, will be gone – and for a long time you will not be able to speak or think of him, without an ache in your heart and a tear in your eye.
Sandy, our twin brother’s dog, will help to heal you, though. He will miss his brother, too, and the two of you will be able to console one another, giving you both another two years of licks and love. When he eventually passes, too, you will need to be strong. It will hurt. You will not get another dog for many, many years after. And you will feel alone.
However, you will channel this pain into something very, very good. After much discussion with your parents – and one or two heated arguments – you will be allowed to foster abandoned puppies through Kitty and Puppy Haven. You will fall in love with the little lumps of love, who come into your life, and leave it again – and you will cry every time you take them back to the Haven to hopefully be adopted. But you will remember that you have made a difference, even if it’s to only one animal – and it’s this memory that will cause you to continue this somewhat self-destructive community service.
 You may not be able to understand it now, but at 24 you have so much yet still to do. You always thought you’d have met the man you were to marry by now, but I’m rather thankful you were wrong on that one. I refuse to settle for anything less than magic, and I assure you that we’ll find it. One day.
 We have yet to travel the world, and our savings for the Round the World ticket is in dire straits. But we’re driven and passionate, and you can trust that our ten-year plan to climb Mount Everest will happen.
I could not wish to change anything about what has happened in the years between us. I want you to be the person that you are, the happy and fun-loving teenager I have so many photographs and memories of… You have hard times ahead of you, so cherish the years before they begin.
And one more thing… At no point are you ever alone with you pain and hardship, and it’s important you remember that.
I think it’s important I remember that, too.
At age 24, I want you to know that we intend to live forever. And so far, so good.
All my love,
24 year-old you

I had an aunt named Rose.

She was lively and determined. She hated people who were fake, in fact, anything that was fake. She, like me, had no filter, and if she’d ever thought twice before she spoke, she would never have said anything at all. She was brutally honest, and if she thought it or felt it, she said it. I’m sure you’ll agree that this kind of honesty doesn’t always go down well. As human beings, we ask for the truth but are often angered when we get what it is we asked for. However, this never daunted Rose. In fact it’s her words that I remember most.

My aunt Rose loved fiercely. She loved her friends, and her family with a fire that burnt strong and true. I remember she once told me, with a mischievous little smile, that if I married for love, I’d be materially poor. If I married for money, I’d be emotionally poor. And if I married a man with a foot fetish, I’d have the best in footwear that money could buy. The final bit was a fact she’d learnt from first hand experience, and a memory which always left us in a fit of giggles. But I know Rose married for love, and spent thirty years of married life filled with happiness as a result of it. And I know that I, too, could never marry for anything other than love – because Rose got it, and made me see, that if you found love – the real long lasting stuff – there’s a lot of other things you can do without.

My aunt Rose wasn’t happy all of the time. She had a life that wavered tempestuously and often found ways of kicking her when she was down. But I don’t have a single memory of her in which that sparkle in her eye didn’t grow to become a grin on her face, as she cooked up some new form of mischief with which to astound people. Whilst her body, as all our bodies, changed with age, her heart remained as youthful as ever. My aunt Rose never found herself out of place with young people, because the one thing she was always up for was fun!

I had an aunt named Rose, who passed away yesterday. I prayed for those she’d left behind, and I prayed for her – but some part of me knew she’d already found her way up to the angels in Heaven. She’d been reunited with her own mother, and her daughter, and was already causing havoc with the celestial beings around her. In my heart I knew she had begun to look down on each of us with the wisdom and love she’d always shared with me during each of our meetings. And I knew she’d always find a way to ensure her presence was still felt – in the final rays of the sun as it sets, and the ever-rolling waves of the ocean against the shore. 

I had an aunt named Rose, who I am blessed and proud to say I knew.
I will carry her heart in mine. I will renew my zest for life, and resolve to live as lovingly and honestly as Rose did, never growing too old for a little fun and a good giggle. 
I will never forget the words that she gave me on every occasion that we shared.
And I will never forget Rose, and her mischievous smile, and the twinkle in her youthful eyes…

1. Frequent trips to the Post Office.

If you ever wake up and spend the first five minutes of your coming-to-consciousness trying to figure out when you can slip in a quick trip to the Post Office – then you have grown up. There’s no hope for you, it’s done. And I’m just not ready for it, quite yet. I know, I know, I’m turning 24 in ten days, but I still can’t see how a trip to the Post Office will become a necessity – although I’m sure banks, insurance companies, and government billing offices feel differently. I’d rather spend the time browsing the bookshelves of a second-hand bookstore, baking muffins, or feeding the ducks at Zoo Lake. I do what I want.
2. Letting go of the belief that I’m still a Party Animal.

My mum frequently voices her concern as to how early I launched into the World of night-clubs and all-nighters – but even more concerning to her, is how long I’ve managed to keep it up! I mean, I’m going on a good ten years here! And I’m STILL not done! She believes any self-respecting adult (yuck) gets over these urges, but call it FOMO or a quarter-life-crisis, whatever the reason, 48-hour long trance parties have never seemed more appealing!
3. Marriage. Or being alone forever. Actually, both.

Now, I know I’m weird. I know, this. Read my blog and you’ll know this, too. But I can’t quite explain what it is I’m looking for when it comes to relationships as a whole. I mean, no one likes to feel lonely. There’s a huge difference between feeling lonely and being alone, and I’m fine being alone. However, when I start to feel lonely, then I freak out and convince myself that my best years are behind me and I will never find someone whose willing to take on a relationship with a ‘special case’ like me. But then I hear my parents talking about how they’ll never have any trouble “getting rid of me” (a.k.a. marrying me off) and I start to hyper-ventilate with commitment-phobe related anxiousness. It’s a conundrum, which has led me to the rather apathetic (and cop-out) notion of “what will be, will be.”
4. Getting a ‘real’ job.

You know, I’ve always been really quite fine with the notion of a pay check. Receiving money once a month, which see’s you live out your days for the following month, splitting up the cash between bills, bars and any other pursuits that might need a little cash thrown in their direction. However, I don’t know how I feel about the working bit that leads to the reception of this pay check. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never be adverse to hard work. I’m extremely diligent, and I am a perfectionist who will dedicate time, effort and care to everything. However, the idea of launching myself into a job for an extended period of time is somewhat daunting. Adults work, everyday, five days a week, from 8 ’til 5. And all I keep thinking is when will I find the time to play??
5. Sensodyn tooth paste.
Need I even explain this one? Is your mind not, too, filled with images of old folk brushing what’s left of the four or five teeth in their swollen, offishly-pink gums in an effort to not suffer from the “extreme” temperatures of their predominantly liquified food?! Yikes.
6. To be apart of the Next Generation.

On the occasion of the death of my Grandmother, nearly two years ago, I remember thinking “that’s it.” She was the last of my grandparents to pass away, and that meant my parents, aunts and uncles were the next generation up for that looming era of “old age” – however near or far it may be. Well, I’ve realised I’m not ready. I’m not prepared for my parents to go – not in any way close. And I know it sounds stupid, but I’m not prepared to have had 18-years less with them than my 18-years older brother.   I remember watching my father write out the eulogy he was to say for his father’s death, and feeling this overwhelming sense of dispair at the thought that I, too, will have this experience in my future. I’m not ready to open myself up to the thought that my parents just might not live forever.