If she knew what she wants…

In the light of my renewed life, as someone put it: Natasje 2.0, I find myself not knowing what I want. Life is a bit like a menu with too many options right now. A couple of days ago I woke up with the Bangles in my head, If she knew what she wants… It really is true what they say about the lyrics becoming true the older you get. And what’s worse is how your subconscious mind knows just what to play to help you demons do their job. Uncanny.

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It’s not entirely true that I don’t know what I want. I know what I want. I know it in my heart and my stomach and in my cells. What I don’t know is, what I want it to look like, and that is the hard part. What is also true is that I don’t have the cahoneys to say what I want… to put it in words. Words make things real. Words breathe life into things. And I guess there is a level where once you’ve said it, your lack of commitment to the execution of getting what you want can’t be explained away. No more justification of why you are still on your ass in your pyjamas… and lazy is worse than cowardly.

What is also remarkable is the invariable need to know how. How will it be, when… with whom… where and most importantly, what will it look like. This recent round of “dating” reinforces this whole… I don’t even know what to call it… ideology? You know what you want and you order it, like it was food on a menu. The strange thing of course is that people order people like they order their food, and it’s just not how I imagined love to be. I really am a little lost. And of course you do get sucked in by the paint my number nature of everything… the formula. The formula encourages you to want to know how, where, when and with whom… to have all the answers to life before you live it and eliminate all surprises. How we suck the life right out of life…

The deep wants are not things that have a “look” though… or hows, wheres, whens and with whoms. Let’s say for instance, happiness. It looks different to different people. It isn’t a burger or a pizza you can order with specs and instructions and then it will land on your doorstep just so… and be perfect and you will be in heaven. The big wants are different like that. Big wants are for the greatest part driven by a feeling and the most satisfying thing happens to you when your big want is satiated in a way you did not expect.

This space I am in now is where the cognitive dissonance of these things births itself. It makes my head hurt and my skin literally itch.

On good days, when I can let myself resign to what I don’t know my prayers are just: God… that. That that you know and I don’t… just that. On the tweener days my mind bounces off its own ramblings like a squash ball midst a crazy game. A part of me wants to fast forward to the end and see how it will turn out and the other part doesn’t want to spoil the end.

So more floating I guess… more if she knew what she wants… 

I guess in this, there is also a place where I’ll have to admit it’s not in my hands and no level of commitment from my side, no amount of effort will change the outcome or in fact guarantee one. It just is… it is what it is. There is nothing you can do to make this better. Nothing I can do to make this better. It just has to be…

… I am not a coward or lazy. This is life. It’s like a river and you’re in it… I am in it. And you just have to give in to it. Stop fighting it. Stop trying to control it. Just go with it.

It’s a vulnerable thing: living.

 

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It’s been a while…

I haven’t blogged since two laptops and a PC ago. But I was driving today and I had so many thoughts that were so clear in my head… like back when I used to blog, so I thought fuckit. Just write.

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Captain’s log 4 September 2018. Three days to my forty first birthday, which is not significant at all, and probably at the very heart of it. I do tend to get a mini existential crisis, severe bout of depression… to name but two… round about this time of year. Every year. Set your clock.

It is also worth mentioning that at this point in my life I have a lot happening. At once, as the Universe usually wills it. I moved, my dog got cancer… my oldest dog has kidney failure, so to put it concisely: I now run a hospice; all the small things moved themselves out of my life and change is everywhere from the scatter pillows to my cellphone. And my heart just woke up and beat again… it said: Okay, I can try to love again… whatever that means. My brain is not on board with this, so we’re having severe cognitive dissonance moment to moment… I run a business now, in a hostile business environment. And when I say hostile: I’m in animation and let’s just say it’s a sandpit full of five year-olds. You get thrown with sand often, and poo at times. But the gods are smiling on me and I live in a state of expansion and abundance. This comes with its own challenges that no one ever prepared you for.

I guess I want to write because the journey is too big to keep inside. And God and the muses have given me this voice to write, so I will write.

It’s been a while… it’s been a while since I looked around and saw people in their state of really just wanting to be loved. It’s been a while since I looked at myself and admitted that I too, just want to be loved. Years ago when I started writing it was because the pain of transition cut so deep, and I felt a deep NEED to be loved. Just for anyone to love me through it. Of course I had to love me through it. And I did. Well done, me.

Now I have a want… I don’t need like before. Maybe it is still a need, but the way my heart beats now, it’s a want. It’s a want for the warmth of sharing, and arms to hold you and a soft place to fall. What I’ve learnt on my road to this place, is that friends and chosen family have shoulders and hearts ready to embrace you if you need some warmth. And you are your own soft place… but it takes work, so the need is met. Now I have a want. Let it be easier, God. If I must fall, let there be a soul to witness with a hand to help. If I must constantly be at war, let there just be someone to hand me my next round of amo or a sharpened axe, as I wipe sweat from my eyes, before I go back in. If I must constantly be running, let someone hand me a cup of water on the way. I have a want.

In this new place, I also have a want of sharing a journey of someone else’s. I find this strange as an only child – that is a conversation for another day. But I find myself fascinated by the journeys of others, how their path has made them think about things and how they see the world. The most interesting beasts are those who have hurt and healed and grown into these interesting humans. Maybe because that is where I am and I love seeing a reflection of the same experience, only it’s like looking in a mirror and seeing something different. It’s unexpected. The unexpected gives me great joy. I relish it.

Immersed in this, I suddenly have a want. A want that was either not here before, or it was hiding. Like champion hiding. But here it is now. There is a small part of me that, because of this new want, is kind of glad I never found love sooner… (or that I loved and lost), so I could be here with this want and relish this. Feel this and experience this whole new thing. The other part of me hungers because of the want. I think that part is my heart who has been so neglected for so long.

Aside… to best describe my heart right now, I think of The Originals – you know the Vampire series. You know how they can get staked and put in a coffin, for ages… so they are alive but trapped in a box for centuries, but cognizant enough to be well-pissed when they get “un-staked” and come back to life. That’s how my heart feels.

It’s a roller-coaster of emotion, ebbing between the hunger of the want, pissed-off state… waves of pain and hurt. I’ll tell you this, there is a reason my head staked my heart and put her in a coffin for a long time. That girl has triggers… and anger… and hurt… and love unexpressed. And love unrequited. And love. She is filled with so much love, it’s dangerous and scary. And it’s always been bigger than my head’s understanding and the world’s capacity for accepting. All that pent up love is angry… to the point where I have moments of real fear at feeling it all. But feel it, I must.

It’s been a while since I’ve been here. In a place where I feel so much. I am grateful for it. I know the road forward will hurt like a motherfucker, but I’m walking. If I am here, I must be ready.

 

Looking back at love

Every year, about two weeks to my birthday I get reflective.

Yesterday I had a grand old “aha”-moment. After an OMG-moment on something I saw on Facebook, a friend said to me: “Why do you have friends like that?” And I said, “It’s not mine! And it was an accidental curser-hover that caused the damage to my retinas.” Cue “aha”-moment.

I think a lot about the advice I would give to my unborn daughters one day. Likely an act of reflection in itself on my younger self. This is what I learnt from my “aha”-moment: You may be blind to the flaws of a man when you are in love. But look at the company he keeps, because you can’t very well be blind to that. Blindness is a nasty side-effect of Love. The lines from the song “Blind” by Aubrey Peeples in Nashville accurately describes it:

Crying under water

Breathing in outer space

Putting faith into something that could never take place

But you give every shard of my heart back to me

Would you come through the wreckage for it’s life to receive?

I’ve been searching for answers

I’ve been workin’ on a cure

I’ve been a slow-song dancer to a rhythm that ain’t pure

I will come around tomorrow and forget yesterday

I will bleed out the sorrow that you put in me today

because I’m going blind.

I look back and time and again, I see “princes” who hang out with skanks and ho’s. He can’t very well be a prince if he hangs out with those quality individuals, now can he? Only Jesus did that and maintained integrity. Man doth not, darling.

It takes me back to my first love… And now I have to remind myself that ended because I was not ready then, and he did not see space for me to become who I am. I must do this to avoid the “The one that got away”-thinking, because I do believe there is no such thing. The right one, won’t leave. Not if dragons came and threatened to incinerate him.

Back to the story, Paul was a tall, handsome man. And he was great at everything. He was the fastest man in Northern Ireland, a self-made business man, and unbelievable creative… wise beyond his years and just all-round remarkable. And Irish. Which I do believe is next to godliness. He was so confident, he was like a lighthouse. The best part was, he loved me.

He loved me kindly, patiently, passionately and committedly. From halfway around the world, he loved me. He literally crossed continents to be with me and flew me to Belfast to be with him. I loved him back, with a love that made me feel red in the face all the time and stunned me to silence. He made me laugh, he indulged my crazy notions and we could make fun of Jeff at work who made his girlfriend a Valentine’s card together, which I think sealed that deal.

Paul was so confident, and he was famous back then in the big city of Belfast because he was an athlete. In South Africa athletes are not famous… unless you violently gun your girlfriend down through a bathroom door. It was just enough fame to make random girls in bars hand him their numbers while I was standing next to him. Brazen hussies! It never made me feel insecure though, because I was so insecure at 22. I was woven together with insecurity. The reason is, it actually brought a sour taste to Paul’s mouth when women did that. He used to say: “Quality. It’s about quality and I don’t mix with that quality human being.” You have to re-read that now with a Northern Irish accent, they have a special roll with the word “quality”. He was a quality human being. The reason I couldn’t say yes to him was because I was so insecure then. I wasn’t trailer park like the brazen hussies, but I was always afraid, that one day he would see the extent of the brokenness and run. And he was the fastest man in Ireland and Scotland, imagine the embarrassment, and the jokes.

My almost 38-year old self knows now that the myriad of breaks let my light shine through so much brighter and that is probably why he loved me with Yeats-like zeal. Alas, had I settled in Belfast and raised many blue-eyed offspring, I would not be here. I would not know me the way he saw me, and that’s the real gift.

Over the next two weeks, I plan a clean out, clear up and reboot. It feels like Yesterday is still lingering in corners of my consciousness, like stale dust.

I am too good for that. I am quality. And a prince can tell if you are quality. Real princes don’t do anything less. So looking back at love, I don’t see many princes. I see a lot of dodged bullets. I don’t see men who would be fit to be my daughters’ father… Which is funny, because I’ve always joked and said I can only be fertilized by the seed of a righteous man. How true that ended up being.

Looking back at love, I see only lessons learnt. Compost growing me into the stellar and confident young lady I am now, at the ripe age of (almost) 38. Who cares if I am a late bloomer.

Looking back at love, I have many many many regrets. MANY. I always wanted to not have regrets, but I guess if you learn the lesson the regret serves as a little brownie badge. “I suffered a philanderer and lived” …. without a scarlet letter. You MUST get a medal for that!

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“Let go of what you think the answer is….”

I fretted and fussed and worried and generally spent a day made up of only anxiety, because of a perception I had. Then these words came to me and I thought…. Natasje, you don’t know that what you are thinking is true. What you are concocting in your very creative mind is a great story but it is not necessarily true. It’s not even based on anything.  Suddenly I relaxed. I exhaled. Like the weight of a day has been lifted.

I ran a beautiful bath with my favourite bubble bath and all my favourite essential oils. I lit candles. I made gluhwein. I relaxed. Then I thought of all the many many many… I can’t say many enough so just repeat it in your head a couple more times. I thought of the many times I worried, made decisions, planned my life, created who I am around what I think the answer is. My exhale turned into a sigh. Trepidation. Mostly what the fuck have I been doing. The answer is, the best I could with what I knew. I now of course realise that what I knew, I didn’t know at all but was a perception on what I thought the answer was.

It’s not very constructive to sit around taking stock of all the times I thought – for no real reason other that, that’s how things work / are etc. – I knew the outcome of a situation or a “play” or the answer to what someone is feeling or thinking or what motivates their actions; And of course if you think you know, you act accordingly and inadvertently manifest that exact outcome. Not because that was going to be the outcome, but because you willed it into being. It gets terribly complicated when you ponder it too much. Let go… again the key phrase. Let go. Let go. Let go.

But sadly, the more life wants me to let go the less I want to let go. Ironically, I am probably stealing my own happiness in each moment of hanging on.

Fear brought me here. You often hear, make decisions from a place of love not fear.  Love let’s go. Love says, “Go on, do what your heart tells you. I will be right here if you need me.” Fear doesn’t even have time to say anything it is so busy clenching and tightening its grip. Fear comes from insecurity. Fear comes from the belief that you are not loved and supported. So I look at myself and say, You don’t feel loved? You don’t feel supported? An honest yes flushes through my body.

This morning everyone I was supposed to meet with was not at the office – thanks for letting me know, guys. Appreciated. I wasn’t upset. I enjoyed the think-time in the car. It was like mini-road trip. So much so that I looked forward to driving home. I kept saying to myself, let go of what you think the answer is. All the way there and all the way back. And every time I felt that tightness in my chest I thought, that’s you fear. Tell me your name. What are you afraid of?  Still I kept saying to myself, let go of what you think the answer is.

Now close your eyes and look with your heart. What does your heart see? Look. Don’t be afraid.

I still can’t see. I am still afraid.

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I was going to start a new series of writing on sculpting the self or uncovering the self… something about remembering who you are. Peeling off layers. I was going to start this more than a year ago already. Like I was going to do many things more than a year ago already.

Instead I lost myself some more. In work. An old escape. It’s very easy to lose yourself there. I happen to love what I do for a living and be very good at it – excellent reasons to get lost in my work. Also my work has the added benefit of being a very fluid thing that can easily spiral into becoming more of itself. So in a blink of an eye, there can be just so much work that every waking minute is devoured by my work. And I’m not miserable being lost there.

I have a friend who goes through phases like this losing himself in online gaming – creating avatars and losing himself completely in alternate lives as an alternate person. When he comes up for air and realises what he’s done and where he’s been, he’s always shrouded in disbelief – how could that have happened? How could I let myself get so lost? I’m not surprised. From where I stand that looks much more believable. A clear escape. Mine comes dressed up as something else and I tell myself I am being responsible. I easily buy it and before I know I am lost. Now that is something worth going How did that happen? Over. It is an insidious thing.

For the past month or so I keep starting to write again. I tell myself, do only 500 words. It’s easier for people to read only 500 words at a go anyway. I’ve become adept at lying to myself. I don’t like it. But it’s a necessity. Survival. Ironically, when I started the blog the promise was 100% truthful, even when it hurts and especially when it hurts. Why else do it. I write fiction for payment, for myself I would write the truth.

But the thing is, the truth is what makes you face yourself. You can’t go to all the trouble of losing yourself in work, and in “busy” – “busy” is a big escape, very convenient like a rabbit you can always pull out of a hat. Truth makes you feel things… and brave as I am… or as I used to think I am, I cannot bring myself to feel. And if I can’t feel, I can’t write. I even did a course, and it marginally helped. It nudged me. Moved me one degree in the direction of feeling.

The time is now. The metaphorical stars are aligned, the universe laid a path out in front of me, I just have to step onto it. Just open your heart and feel… feel anything. Start with anger. Anger is easy. Anger takes no courage at all. But alas. It’s like my heart only has one setting. I can pry open the gates, and all I can do is start crying. Uncontrollably. Tears that don’t stop for love or money. And then I do feel. But what I feel is so far past its sell by-date it’s not right to still be crying. And feeling. Because it hurts so deep. It’s a wound that is incapable of healing. I’ve tried everything and then some…. I’ve tried just cry it out – how long can one person cry anyway. I think my heart saw that as a dare. It won’t stop. I went to Paris – didn’t help one bit. I just cried in Paris. All I can do to stop the river of tears is to lock my heart up, and just switch off all feelings. Stale mate.

P.S. A friend of mine recently fell in love for the first time. The love where you can see the other person’s soul. I said to him: “The Kleenex with the calendula lotion is best. And coconut oil. For your chaffed nose. Buy both in bulk.” He laughed. Bless him.

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heartI share very strange and intimate experiences with my dogs sometimes. Charlie usually spoons with me at night and keeps my tummy warm. This morning, he turned to face me and put his paw on my heart. Not like they sometimes do when they stretch out and steal bed-space. He gently put his paw on my heart. So I put my hand on his paw and we felt my heart beating.

My heart beat differently. It always feels like it pound so hard and booming, outward. Like it’s going to pound into everything outside me – go into the world – beat boldly where no-one has beaten before. But today my heart beat was different. Like it was the exact opposite. It strained to beat. It beat inward, like it had to be forced to beat. Like the only thing driving it was my biology, and it wasn’t having an easy time of it.

I lay like that with Charlie listening to the backward beat of my heart for a long time. It was so incredibly sad that a heart could beat so backward. More sad even that it was mine. I closed my eyes and imagined my heart open so I could see what is inside that makes it not want to beat. It slowly opened and out flowed silvery rivers of things that felt like cold metal – unsaid things. Not just things that I don’t say, but things I can’t say, because I don’t have words to ascribe to them… even if I wanted to say them. Which I obviously don’t. Or what would they be doing in my heart stopping it from beating.

When I was in Paris I felt this feeling for the first time. I knew I should be happy, I knew my heart should beat. I knew if there were anywhere in the world that my heart would beat it would beat here. But it didn’t. It just felt like a cold rock inside my chest. Lying there, heavy, dark. Not even nice dark… just grey. The only time I felt anything for real was when I went to the opera. I think the orchestra reverberating through my body was like a shock – forcing my heart to beat again. But when I walked out. It soon stopped. I miss Paris. I miss the grey. I wish I could melt into it and disappear.

I am almost certain this is why the Universe is sending me back – and why it will keep sending me back until my heart beats on its own again. One cannot simply stay alive so someone will take care of the dogs and so someone will keep Pam employed and put her child in school. One certainly cannot work this hard for it.

It is a strange thing… I have my dream job, my dream house, my dream life. I have so many people who love and care about me, so many exciting things in my future. I am surrounded by so much beauty and love. And my heart is dead. Except not biologically.

Making a Life

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Life is a very precarious thing. It has a life of its own. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. When life gets a little out of balance, this way or that – I had a Primary School teacher who used to say anything with a “TOO” attached is not good. Not even too good – my experience is that very soon it starts settling the imbalance. Even “too good” will balance itself out with a firm “too bad” and the little pendulum will swing this way and that until it again achieves balance. The sweet spot in the middle where there is not too much of anything.

In my day job I don’t get to let my thoughts meander, so I am so relieved to let my mind meander through its musings to finally get to whatever it wants to get to. In this case: Balance –

Back to the precariousness of life, and its will of its own. This is probably a good time to admit that I know the rule of “TOO” but I don’t seem to learn the lesson. I guess part of me is an artist, I live for the extremes, I gravitate to the “too”s. At this point in my life I find myself working too hard.

When I started this contract, my big boss told me about ten times, don’t do too much, work too hard and burn yourself out. Maybe she told me more than ten times… I was obviously not listening. The thing is, I love what I do. It’s the most fun thing I can think of doing – making up stories. When I was 10, I used to play Barbie relentlessly – it was a whole soap. There were only two Ken’s and 4 Barbies and the little girl, whatever her name was. Sometimes they ran a ranch and had to brush the horse  – my maltese poodle had to play the part of the horse, since I had a Barbie poodle (I think it was a poodle) and it was already the dog. I could play from the moment I opened my eyes until 10 o’clock at night, when my mother had to come and say, “put them away and go to sleep.” I loved playing with characters and making them do things. So as an adult writing TV… I can’t stop.

I came back from Paris on New Year’s Eve and missed my shows so much I wrote all night! It makes me happy. I am both addicted and a little married to my job… It’s way out of balance. TOO MUCH. And Universe says “No”.

There’s a meme going around: “Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” I need to start making a life.

Indulge in distractions.

For some reason, maybe because my cells can feel winter is coming, I’ve been nesting. Blankets. Linen. Towels. Fixing… It’s a little odd. But I think even my cells are saying, “Honey, make a life.” I have one more month of crazy work hours and then in May, I start a normal job again. And in June, I run a Masterclass and then I go to France. Holiday. Will I even remember how? Will I know how to make a life… well, I’m sure if I just hang back and let my body take over, I’ll be fine.

I feel my breath become a little shorter and my chest close up a little, but… It’ll be okay. I’m sure I will be happy with a “LIFE”.