For Valentine’s Day, I Quit Tinder. 

I’m alone in the adult world for the first time and that feeling of camaraderie- constant cheering and support from a large group of girlfriends has slowly tapered to “are you alive?” texts in between coffee runs and pap smears.

The first and and last time I had a Valentine was in my last year of high school. And thank God for that. I say thanks because at my high school, up until the 4th form (grade 11 for you muggles), Valentine’s gifts were delivered to your homebase classroom by your class prefect during the second last period of the day. (These details are fuzzy but stick with me).

So, the bell would ring and overexcited young girls who had worked themselves up to hyperventilation all day, would scamper past their lockers, playing Oracle about who would get what from whom. (Or, who would get nothing from nobody.) What this meant was that if you were like me and weren’t popular with the boys (read not popular in general), the absence of flowers, oversized stuffed creatures and other love themed paraphernalia from your desktop was only witnessed by approximately 27 other females. (Yes, I’m an elite all girls school survivor).

This worked really well for me because I always got that one face- saving gift. From my young brother at an all boys high school at which he was much like I was, fighting for his life. In exchange for his familial duty, I would do the same. He was a dork, I was a nerd, it worked well. Of course everyone knew where the roses would come from because we would inspect each other’s takings once the handing out ceremony was done. I made it through this custom unscathed for 4 years straight. Then final year happened.

The difference with 6th form (the final two years of high school, again, for the muggles)  is that all the sixth formers were required to congregate in the school hall and travel from the seats on the floor, to the stage, in front of each other, to fetch whatever presents the vermin had deemed we were worthy of receiving. This was fine if you were in Lower 6. You were new to the senior game. Your importance was viewed the way one considers a wet piece of leftover bread-with just enough disdain to imply that whilst you are an eyesore, you aren’t enough of one to be paid much attention.

In Lower 6, you’d assemble with your crew, sit at the back and hope the final years wouldn’t notice you almost crawl to the stage to get your measly parcel. And they wouldn’t because they’d be concentrating on one of two things. The first was each other-she who received the largest/loudest/most of anything, ruled. Forever. The second was to make sure that said ruler was  not a Lower 6th former. (read wet piece of bread.) If that ever happened, ESPECIALLY if the gifts came from someone whose affection had been mentioned in the same line with the word “dibs” by a final year, then screwdom. (use your imagination here).

Right. In my final year, I began a fated dalliance with an attractive, popular young man who happened to attend the same school my brother did. When I say I was a nerd, I mean it-glasses and all. But I was a clever, smart mouthed, sporty, funny nerd. And one of my best friends was the most beautiful and popular people in our stream. So I wasn’t a complete social pariah – I just missed the cool factor. So when I look back,  I know 17 year old me could not believe that this popular individual picked me. I digress.

So when V-day (vomits in mouth) rolled around, panic levels were at Defcon One. “What if he’s just a fuck boy?”  (we didn’t have that term back then but the species was strong), “what if he sends nothing and my crew is embarrassed because I got only the customary present?”I was a wreck.

I need to emphasise that at this point, I’d come into my own pretty nicely. I was a school prefect, well liked and respected by my peers and staff and showing some promise in the boob department. Boys still however, baffled me.

Final period rolled around, we congregated in the hall and all eyes were on us. And guess what? My name was called TWICE that year. I went out with a bang. I had a boy friend (kind of, I think)  and clearly the boobs were working.

Fast forward 9 years. I’ve been in relationships and situationships but never have I ever had a Valentine -not  since that February afternoon. The first two years I looked back with sad fondness at my high school triumph and wondered if I was to die a bitter spinster (melodramatic phase). The last 6 years have been a breeze. I’d book myself a movie and kill myself with red wine (my favourite anything) and live. Because Valentine’s Day is a scam. I’ve been quite happy.

But this year, in the build-up to today, I’ve experienced  a sense of aloneness. Not loneliness. Just being alone and mildly concerned. And when I consider the sheer volume of dates I’ve been on in the last year, and for what-cheap thrills, bad kisses, mommy issues, short man syndrome, mediocre conversation and egos the size of The Donald’s head?(I Tindered A lot). 

I’m alone in the adult world for the first time and that feeling of camaraderie- constant cheering and support from a large group of girlfriends has slowly tapered to “are you alive?” texts in between coffee runs and pap smears. I’ve tried to fill the empty feelings with dates to keep busy. See, I wasn’t even looking for meaningful connections or even the traditional Tinder hook-up. I was looking for time pushers just so I wouldn’t be that girl who really likes to sit alone on her couch after work and read a book for three hours whilst listening to scratched New Edition CDs. All so that on Monday when people asked how my weekend was, I wouldn’t say “great, I watched 32 episodes of Arrested Development and finished a book”. I was looking to have something to do for one Valentine’s Day.

This morning I deleted Tinder and went shopping online for a book I last read in high school. I found it at a book store near my house. I’m on my way to pick it up now (along with a good bottle of wine because I can afford non-poison now). This Valentine’s almost reduced me to that insecure mess I was on the last V-day that meant anything. All to prove to perfect strangers that I’m loveable.

I’m alright. I’m alone and rather pleased that I’m not frantically calling restaurants for a last minute booking (because that’s the human I am). So to you who doesn’t have a date tonight and is currently swiping right on everything (with your “I’m going out” settings on), it’ll be okay. Today doesn’t define you. The huge chocolate cake on your counter you bought as backup? That defines you. (chuckles at own joke)

Happy Valentine’s Day (read Tuesday)

The Empress. x



Happy birthday Sunshine

Tomorrow is her birthday. She’d have told me not to get her anything-I asked her every year and the answer was always the same. She’d have said something wise and witty and we’d have chuckled. We’d have then made plans to play in the sun. It would have been lovely.

Thousands of memories. Etched into our hearts. More vivid because you breathe light into our souls.

A couple of months ago, I woke up to the news that one of my oldest friends had passed away. I remember it was super early and I fumbled for my phone in the dark to check the time. You know that desperate ‘please let me have a few more hours’ plea you make when you went to bed late and you knew better but the Wi-Fi was so nice at 1am. My too bright device informed me it was about 5am and I rejoiced at another hour and a half of loving  from my bed.

That’s when I saw a message notification from her sister and was curious as to what she’d message me about in the middle of the night. I remember now thinking I’d check it later and I put my phone back on the table next to my warm comfy haven. But my thoughts wouldn’t settle, so I thought I’d just fiddle with my phone. I read the message over and over for a few minutes. I couldn’t reply. But the more people responded I knew I had to say something. I think I said something short. Then I called another one of my besties. I don’t think we talked. I just cried.

I sat in the corner of my bed and rocked myself. It was a quiet weeping. It was also really just denial. I got out of bed, showered and got dressed because I figured I needed to do normal life things or I’d lose it. In my bath towel, seated on the floor, (my bath sheet is white mind you) I called my mother.

I hardly ever call my mother. She’s one of those no-news-is-good-news people. She’s very practical like that. So when I called her at 7am on a Tuesday morning she answered her phone in a bit of a panic. I got the words out. She called me a liar. I cried some more. Please note, my mom doesn’t like tears but was blessed with a daughter whose tears are just so easy. My water works rendered her helpless. She soothed me and gave me instructions. I carried them out like a good soldier.

After calling two other friends, I steeled myself and went to work. Baaaaaaaad idea. Fast forward two days and I was in a plane trying (and failing miserably) to get the chattiest woman I know to just. Stop. Talking. To. Me. I mean, I had earphones on and I was holding about 4 packets of Kleenex. How did she not get the message?

It’s been a rough couple of months.

2 or so weeks ago I woke up missing my friend. I wanted to be  close to her so jumped out of bed, took a shower and hopped on a train to her favourite beach. On the way there I remember sitting with my feet on the seat and staring out the window, thinking about what we’d take about when I got there. I’d tell her my hair was healthy but the salon ladies keep trying to make me relax it. I also wanted to tell her the boy who hurt my heart didn’t need the hernia I ordered- God was fixing me. She would laugh and tell me it was too late. I figured I’d tell her it’s okay that she’s gone because she was fine where she was and at least I could always come here and catch her up.

I didn’t make it. When the train pulled up to the station, I exited the carriage, but I couldn’t leave the platform. It hurt too hard. All the water in the ocean couldn’t wash away the ache. I didn’t want to walk down the strip and talk to myself. I wanted her. Here. I sat cross legged on the opposite platform and caught the next train back.

Tomorrow is her birthday. She’d have told me not to get her anything-I asked her every year and the answer was always the same. She’d have said something wise and witty and we’d have chuckled. We’d have then made plans to play in the sun. It would have been lovely.

It hasn’t stopped hurting. Grief is a cruel thing because it lies to you about what time does. But tomorrow is like a time capsule, the one day set aside where I MUST be happy for you because well we’ve scratched bridesmaid duties off our list. I’ll smile.

Happy birthday Sunshine. Let your light sprinkle a little joy upon us for a day. Because the day after, we’ll be sad again.

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Things I whisper To The Walls

Pity parties are no fun because can’t nobody dance with you (Update, I’ve changed my mind re psychologists)

There are few things as dumb founding as waking up one morning and realising that one is teetering quite precariously on the edge of depression. A few months ago, after going for days without chocolate or reality TV(and noticing an odd bruise on my right thigh that was turning green-no recollection whatsoever of how it was acquired), I finally accepted the symptoms as out of character and evidence of some mysterious forces forcing me to abstain from my addictions. (the bruise was an incidental and I still have no clue how…why…).

The things that have been going on in my life for the last ±12 months have all boiled down to one situation-I have been unhappy forever and the only therapist I’ve allowed my non-progressive self to cry the inner workings of my slowly shutting down mind to has been my low rental, cosy and white walled room. (I’ve always looked down upon people who see shrinks because I could never imagine pouring out my deepest, darkest and nastiest to an absolute stranger who probably has devil spawn children and is still in the closet).

Red wine became my best friend and I was always armed with gallons in my blood stream before tackling a night on the town. I mean this is standard behaviour for a college girl from across the way who can’t afford a cab to Long Street, entry into my favourite club AND to walk in sober – all in one night – but I’m talking everyday. One of the managers at the Tops around the corner yells “Shiraz or Pinotage today?” every time I walk in. (Hides face behind perfectly manicured nailed hands).

Anyway, on the morning I self diagnosed as an angry unhappy (albeit sexy and charming) 22 year old female, I got up, picked up my celly and messaged my brother (thank God for BBM- a la Xigubu) and told him I loved him. I WhatsApped my little brother and told him he’s made me proud because he’s the first of his siblings to don a gown and graduate-we never thought we’d see the day. I emailed my parents and let them know I was content with the life they have provided-for now. One day I’m going to be insanely successful and own a walk-in closet to house my many many shoes along with a well stocked wine cellar to cater for my vice.

The moral of the story is pity parties are no fun because can’t nobody dance with you. I love the people in my life that make me happy. I even love the assholes the contribute to the drama in my life that allows me to tell ridiculously entertaining stories about the numerous awkward moments and fantastical escapades. I have too much to live for to spend my time wallowing in misery and drowning in my booze (although I don’t mind the drowning that much).

Peace, love and the absence of psychologists.

The Empress

Something Old…

Update, He’s no longer my “What-If”

AN open letter to my “What If”

As my vac drew to a close I realised that another chapter of my life was also nearing its end. As I reflected on the events of the past month I felt a slight disappointment at the way I handled a lot of things. No, scratch that, more than a slight disappointment – more like a tragic sense of failure. Failure by people in my life to do and say what I needed, and failure by me to voice my opinions and show my true feelings concerning matters that cut very deep. Many times in our lives we are faced with situations that require us to look into ourselves and in a split second, make a life altering decision and a lot of us falter under such pressure and make the wrong or less correct choice.

When I think about the chances I had to stand up for someone I love dearly and I kept quiet, I hang my head in shame and frustration because I know they would have done it for me. So I typed out an e-mail to one of the parties and told them exactly what I thought and an argument ensued but I had a guilt-free conscience and I felt like I had made a difference in the world of someone I cared about by planting doubt in another’s head and such doubt meant the benefit of that doubt would result and perhaps heal a few wounds.

So now that you know where this is coming from…

Dear What If

When I first fell for you I was not sure where it would lead. A lot of the circumstances pointed in the direction of epic failure yet here we are now, still in each others lives. Still poking fun at the other’s misfortunes and laughing at others. Hating when it’s necessary and reassuring each other when reassurance is needed. In my head this would be as easy as the stuff you see in movies, but we all know life has an uncanny way of throwing you curveball after curveball when you have laid out your best plans. When it comes to love and life, the concept of pain and disappointment being ever present are acknowledged. The understanding and not shedding tears when we reach speed bumps in our journeys is however, elusive.

I always imagined how this would play out and in my daydreams, I would walk away with a smile on my face and a promise in my hand that one day this would be concrete. In reality I’m walking away happy but not as happy as I could be. So I have decided to let this chapter of my life end mid air. I don’t want to write its ending because its not over. I believe in the fact that when something is meant to happen, it will happen eventually. If not, tough shit (excuse my French). You walk away with life lessons and memories. I will finish this chapter when the ending arrives. I’m not closing the door on this part of my life and one day, you’ll walk through this open door and be who you were always meant to be t me – whoever that may be. Perhaps you won’t be who I want you to be but your presence will be much appreciated.

Maybe I’ll forever wonder what if (insert fantasy situation here) or maybe I won’t. Until then I’ll live my life comparing every potential to you and feeling nostalgic when someone does or says something that reminds me of you. I promise to never ever keep my mouth shut about my thoughts again and perchance, when the epilogue of this chapter of my life gets here I will have mastered the art of not holding back and I will have mustered the strength to tell all this to your face and not post my emotions of Facebook…sigh…how I long for such a time.

peace, love and a heater on this cold night

The Empress

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