Thursday, August 27, 2015

Another Change In My Life

I've been feeling like I need a change (clearly just settling back in from over a month in Indonesia and Philippines, my engagement crumbling and moving into my own flat wasn't enough for me). 

After my heartbreak, I felt different internally but on the outside I couldn't really see a change. Having just spent every penny to my name hopping around Southeast Asia, traveling wasn't an option - so I went for possibly the most cliche / fun thing of all: a haircut. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't stick with one look for too long. Whether it be blonde hair, brunette, red, black or purple - whether it be shaved all off, a pixie cut, a bob or layers - you name it, I've done it. 

They say change is as good as a holiday. As a self-confessed travel-junkie I disagree, but I am a fan of change. So I took a pair of professional scissors and gave myself some bangs.


What do you think!?

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Problems Only Women Who Live Alone Will Understand

I don't want to be a sad cliche... I really don't. But after a month of living alone in my own flat, there's a few things I've noticed that I'd like to share with you all. 
This could either be to prepare you for this new venture or to raise the red flags and tell you that perhaps, if you aren't good at being alone - find a bloody room-mate. 

Many of my friends live alone - mainly men I'll admit, but many do.
Did I ever ask them what they do on those quiet evenings in by themselves??
I never really thought about what it would be like because I've always had people around me. I never thought living alone was a situation I'd find myself in.
Boy, did things change.

I found myself in the one situation that petrifies me the most. 

Being alone. 

I'm not good at it, I don't like it. It's just not for me... which is funny considering I'm a writer and I love the quiet. I need to shack myself up into a dark little corner and get lost in writing for hours on end with no company.... but I like to know the company is there if I need it.

Such a contradiction, I know.

Does anyone else ever feel that way? 

Sometimes, I can't stand people. I don't want to engage in pointless small talk or smile at people when I'm not in a smiley mood. Hell, if I want to leave my onesie on for twenty-four hours straight, keep my hair in a messy bun and if I want to go makeup free and not bother wasting a bottle of pricey perfume spritzing it all over myself - then that's what I want to do!
But when I do get like that, I usually just have to close a door to the outside world and open it back up if I need some contact. Living alone doesn't offer that. If I open a door, it's just as silent as it is with it closed... unless I ditch the onesie and go and find some poor person to deal with me. Sad fact.

You begin to question who you really are. 

Am I an introvert or an extrovert!? 

I always thought I was an extrovert... 

I think everyone did... but I think I realized through this that as much as I love being surrounded by people - I might like being alone just that little bit more. Even if it is something I'm still getting used to.

Though, if I need a companion to watch my beloved horror movies with, you're most welcome :)

In light of my new living arrangements and shattered heart, I've compiled a list from a Crazy Cat Lady (yours truly) of things you need to know when living alone 
(enjoy... and please, feel free to laugh at my expense):

Not having someone to open that jar of gherkins for you. 
That really killed my night. I tried EVERYTHING to open that jar... and ended up defeated. Usually I'd ask my (ex) fiance, my dad, my brother.... now, it was a battle between just me and the jar.

The jar won.

Apparantly there is actually a contraption you can buy called a Jar Opener.... I didn't know that. I don't know where to get one, but I need one. Can Christmas please hurry up???


Oh my God - I'm actually going to be waking up alone on Christmas morning. I think I literally just got clinically depressed.

Buying a first piece of furniture (a really stunning bookshelf) and realizing I can't carry it up the stairs by myself... you figure out pretty quickly that whether you want to be alone or not, you do need support in some areas.

I was warned the Talking to Yourself would start at some point... because you have no one else to talk to. I thought, ahh what the heck, I already talk to myself occasionally anyway...
but my God it's become worse.

About two weeks ago I was still feeling pretty heartbroken about my breakup and I was nursing a rather bad hangover - so I sat up in my bed, submerged under about four winter blankets, clutching pathetically onto my hot water bottle and stared at nothing in particular.... I just sat there in some sort of meditation, not really thinking of anything. I just didn't want to move. Eventually, I had to though (obviously).

So I caught myself say,"I don't really want to get up and do anything with my life today.... but I have to."

I was literally giving myself a motivational pep talk.

It made me laugh out loud.... which is awkward because your laughter fills the silence around you. Crickets......

Things got worse... because my cat hasn't joined me in my flat yet (crazy cat lady = sad), I live completely alone and the silence is literally deafening at times. So... much to my amusement... I plodded into my bathroom to brush my teeth and looked up to see a spider just living it up on my wall.

A pet!!!

I kid you not... that's what went through my head.

Clearly I am in a very sad, sad stage in my life....

(I called my spider, Boris, by the way...)

No one else is going to get rid of that spider / cockroach / sixteen legged demon for you...... that's all up to you. 
Oh shit.

You know what really sucks about being single and living alone though? That I can't even watch the new season of American Horror Story - Freakshow. I tried watching the first episode on Monday night and it freaked the absolute hell out of me.
Those clowns! Argh.... I usually love a good horror or thriller, but not alone.
Unless it's The Walking Dead. That I can do.
But American Horror Story in my new little flat that I'm still getting used to....? Not gonna happen.
Now I have no one to curl into and clutch onto when I get scared. I have my hot water bottle..... that's it and that sucks. That sucks a lot.

On that note, my next big point would be:

Binging on television shows..... it happens. I was really excited to get into my flat because I had tons of series to watch. I had the final season of Hart of Dixie to get through, Bachelor in Paradise, After Paradise, American Horror Story, Suits etc.....
I thought I had enough to keep me busy for ages.... but the truth is that I had nothing else to do so I curled into my new bed and watched everything in almost one sitting and then I was stuck with nothing.

Make sure you have enough series to keep you busy. That, or books. Or if you're a writer like me, stop procrastinating and WRITE damnit! Far easier said than done...............

Right... onto a more serious note:

Dying. Honestly... I suffer from asthma and panic attacks. The fact that something could happen to me and no one would know or be able to help?? Pretty scary. I have no advice for this one... I'm still trying to figure out what I'd do.

I also heard that if you decide to live alone, your chances of getting depressed and / or suffering from real depression increases dramatically - so why I decided to live alone for the first time in the same month that my engagement crumbled and my Grandmother kicked it I don't know!

What was that noise??? If there's a knock on the door or something goes BUMP in the night, guess who's got to go and check? You.

Another thing that sucks? Having to jot things down in my notebook literally every night. Things I forgot to pack or haven't acquired in my life yet. The simplest of things!!

On Monday night for instance, I made tuna pasta salad for myself. Cooking for one is pretty pooh, especially when you don't even have a kitchen in your flat - but I tried to make it work on my new Two-Plate Hot Stove.
It was only when I pulled out my onion that I realized I had nothing to chop it on. 
Item number of on my flats shopping list. 

1) Chopping Board.

But wait... there's more. 

2) Bottle opener for my delicious wine. (Although I'm trying to detox during the weeks, it completely skipped my mind that I'd need a bottle opener.... duh!?)
3) A colander - upon finishing up my tuna pasta salad, I had nothing to drain my water out of the pasta pot in... joy.
4) Tin Opener
5) More than 1 towel

Figuring out how to grocery shop for one.... HOW?! I bought a bag of banana's and a tub of yogurt etc and by the time I'd come down to the last banana it was brown and bruised and the yogurt kind of went all watery and sloppy.
If I buy things they usually go off before I have the chance to finish them!
Epic fail.... at least I got my milk right. No, I'm not pregnant. But I enjoy black coffee anyway so don't need much milk at all. The most funny thing in my shopping bags is definitely the tiny carton of milk you give to a child, it has the straw on the side of it and everything.
Hey... it's all I need.

I'm sure the list is going to be endless to be honest.... this is my first time living completely alone.

In all honesty, living alone is pretty great but it has its moments of being a painful bitch 
(please see above). 

I share a flat with my books and my macbook... and it's actually pretty cool for a writer like me. I can write, read, get drunk, dance, cook and BE - I'm discovering a side to myself I never knew was there. The side that is embracing being alone - a side that makes fun of myself and laughs out loud at random shit when no one else is going to laugh at me.

I think everyone in life does need to live alone at least for a bit.

You'll learn so much out about yourself.

I learned that I am a bit of a neat freak. I always  knew that when I was upset, I cleaned. But living alone, I realized the extent of my cleanliness.
When I lived at home with my parents, we had a cleaning lady - so I got a bit lazy.... although I prefer to think of it as giving her something to do.... whereas now, it's just me that is going to make my bed and wash my coffee cup - so hey ho I do it! I get back to a pristinely clean flat after work and I love it.

Have you ever lived alone??? 

How did you find it?
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Take Back My Life

My life has taken a major turn. Things have changed. I thought I was going to be a wife within the next six months. I was a fiance. I was happy. But now I have a wedding dress collecting dust. A dress I'm never going to wear. My ring finger is empty and my heart is shattered. It’s taken a lot for me to be able to finally write this down. I couldn’t for weeks now. It still hurts – and I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t been going to bed every night and crying myself to sleep.

A friend of mine, Tara over at Where Is Tara sent me a song (Fight Song by Rachel Platten) to try and cheer me up. To be honest, I couldn’t believe how completely perfect it was for my current … situation?
The lyrics – the strength.. even the music video was bang on perfect for what I am busy going through. Since the split, I have been focusing on just being me. Taking back my life and reconnecting with long lost friends. I’m overwhelmed by just how many people have been there to support me and try to make me smile.  
To me, this music video is following a heartbroken girl with a wardrobe literally completely replicating my own – who is trying to be OK. She’s going to be strong and move on. She’s got fight left in her which I really thought I didn't over the last few weeks. I was an absolute wreck… literally while my engagement was crumbling to dust my grandmother dropped dead. I moved into my own flat which was really exciting but living alone is lonely at times and I’m not used to that – and now I don’t even have Sam to be there.
Why did we break up? Well... there were many reasons and some I don't feel right about sharing with the world. But I can say that we both made huge mistakes... mistakes that were impossible to recover from. I wish him all of the best even with all of the hurt that has been done. That's really all I can say. 

So right now I'm just going to do what Rachel Platten sings about in this beautiful, encouraging song:

"Fight Song"
Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

Losing friends and I'm chasing sleep
Everybody's worried about me
In too deep
Say I'm in too deep (in too deep)
And it's been two years
I miss my home
But there's a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe

And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

A lot of fight left in me

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

This is my fight song (Hey!)
Take back my life song (Hey!)
Prove I'm alright song (Hey!)
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong (I'll be strong)
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

No I've still got a lot of fight left in me

Here's a couple of my memories over the past couple of weeks since my life, my future and everything about me changed. I think I'm living up to the song pretty well... as best I can anyway:

Meeting one of my long lost friends first baby! God... a) I'm getting old... b) my life really is going no where! Jokes...

Of course my best friend, Lucien, has been here all the time to support me and give me unconditional love. 

Then of course, one of my 'would-have-been' Bridesmaids.. Chanel.. precious girl time getting CRUNK in clubs and dancing our absolute asses off!

A disastrous amount of shooter which lead to this:

Don't ask.... just watch.

Reconnecting with an entire group of long lost friends... 

Endangering my life with fire dancing... I actually did burn myself....

Nephew time....

 Oh right.... a couple of you wanted pictures of my new flat. Well - there hasn't been many. I haven't had the time and there isn't really much to photograph to be fair... but I've included two below which I'm sure will do for now at least...

Enjoying a morning coffee in my cute little flat (v. proud of my bookshelf BTW!!)

 Right now, no, I'm not alright... but I will be. Time will heal my heartbreak and I will take my life back. As you can see, I've already started.

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Friday, August 7, 2015

My Mint Home

It's been exactly a month since my last post. I'm finally back from traveling Southeast Asia, barely escaping earthquakes that rattled me to the bone, volcano eruptions that delayed millions of flights and typhoons which incidentally forced me to stay in gorgeous 5 star hotels for three nights. It was... an experience! Filled with ups and downs that I soaked up in my sun-kissed, freckled skin. Being back home in South Africa, I have learnt to appreciate the hygiene and cleanliness of a bathroom. A warm shower, a flushable toilet... it's the tiny things we so often overlook that condition our lives. That being said, I'm starting yet another new chapter in life... today! Never a dull moment. I'm really excited to announce that as of today, I am officially renting my first flat. That's right, I'm moving out of my parents place finally! It's taken me a lot longer than I thought it would - but I've finally gotten there.

About three and a half years ago or so I moved out of the cottage I rented with my ex and moved back in with my parents. It was wonderful at first to be back at home, mothers cooking and laundry done for me and all that... but as time went on, living back at home after having my own place took strain on my relationship with my parents. I felt like I had to tiptoe around them. I couldn't have people over, I couldn't talk on the phone late at night... and I drank, a lot. It became habit to enjoy not just a glass of wine a night but more often than not, a bottle. By living back home I managed to save up a lot of money and live luxuriously - but after a couple of recent events I've realised I need to bite the bullet and move on with my life. I'll be sacrificing a lot. Everyone who knows me knows that travel is my life, my love, my everything... now that I'll be having to pay rent each month, that means there's a huge chunk of money I could have saved for that next plane ticket, gone. But after Asia, my priorities have changed. I need to grow up. I need my own space. I need that independence I've been lacking for far too long. 

So today, I move. 

I have found the cutest little mint green flat on the lagoon with an arched roof and pure white windows. You walk up a flight of steps along the side of the house to get to my wooden stable front door. You enter into this quaint entrance where I'll be putting my white-washed bookshelf and full-length mirror that is also a lockable cabinet to hang all of your jewellery inside. There isn't a kitchen (which I'm disappointed about because everyone knows how much I love to cook,) but there's space for a mini-fridge which is all I need being alone. I can just squeeze in a counter where I can put my two-plate hot stove and a kettle and make do with that as my kitchen. The bathroom has a small shower, a toilet and a sink in which I'll be doing my dishes in too (yes, it will be cramped but it's what I can afford!). Then onto my bedroom. It's just big enough to fit a bed and a bedside table in. There's a built-in cupboard which won't even fit half of my clothes in so I'm going to have to be sensible and pack clothing only necessary for the current season: winter. There's a communal barbeque area and a big patch of grass overlooking the water and I can already picture myself with my steaming cup of morning coffee, enjoying a brisk morning walk around the garden before work. The best part??? India, my cat, can come too. So technically I won't be living alone. I'll have her... and together we'll make this new chapter work. 

What I expect from this new start is peace and quiet. Some time to myself to reflect on life and to write my little heart out. I want to read books in that comforting silence I've never had before. I know so many people say that living alone is a lonely debacle - but I've never had my own space. I've never had an evening purely to myself, to do what I want, when I want. To walk around naked if I so wish! I am so looking forward to not having to shut a door to try and muffle the blaring sounds of my parents television on some mindless channel that I don't understand why they watch. I am so looking forward to being able to just look after myself and not worry about anyone else for a change. I don't have to stir in the middle of the night because someone else is walking around or coughing or still up at all hours talking.
(God... I've just realised I sound like such a grumpy old Grandma.....)

It's finally time for me to lay down some roots. I'm almost half way to 50 and so far my life has been all travel and fun which I wouldn't take back for the world -- but it is time to grow up. Living alone is going to make me shine and it is going to do wonders for my writing. I've deleted Facebook which is a huge distraction for just about anyone I know. I don't need it anymore. I started to realise that I was probably just annoying everyone with some stupid status update that no one really cares about but the most random of people would 'like' it anyway. Who really CARES about all the photo's and updates I post? Facebook is invasive and consuming and I just don't have time for it anymore. I hate getting emails from random people asking how I am. Do you really care??? I hate that I can't end a relationship or start one without advertising it online for the world to see - like somehow if it's published online then it's more real than otherwise. I'm so over it! I'm over the politics. I'm over the procrastination. I'm over it. Perhaps I'm also in a slight bitter stage of my life too which is making me feel this way. My grandmother just passed away and I've lost someone, something, I put everything into. So I guess I've just decided to hit the reset button... and deleting Facebook among other things was just one of the many repercussions.

Living alone, I won't say I won't get lonely sometimes, I'm positive I will... but it's a loneliness I've never felt, even though right now to be honest I feel more alone than ever before. A lot of changes have been happening in my life. There's been some seriously unexpected turns but it's helping me get motivated to DO something more with my life other than living with my parents and saving up like a bloody Jew for my next plane ticket. Things had to change at some point - and they finally did.

I have to be out of my flat in December, so it's about a three and half month stay there... but it's a start. All it takes is one foot out of the door.... and then the first step. That's the milestone I'm taking today... and because it's such a tiny place I can still afford to save away some cash at the end of each month so that hopefully by December I can scrape enough together to pay a deposit for a bigger and better place and take out a longer lease... (oh.. and invest in my first sofa. Golly they're expensive!) on a place I can call home.

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