Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blessed are the lost

If you have ever been through this, you will understand the heartbreak and jubilation of this advert.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The characters on the stage...

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages
- Shakespeare
When I was little I had the idea that everybody's lives were plays that God had scripted before we were born or that the universe was just one big movie in which everybody that had ever lived or was ever going to live were characters. There are many characters in my life, some feature more than others and in turn I play a part in their lives however big or small. It is difficult talking about them on this blog because I write anonymously and I owe it to them to protect their privacy as well, especially since some of these characters are children. Therefore I have created aliases for them and before I continue with this blog I should probably introduce you to them all so you will know who I am talking about. Some of them are pretty simple like:
Mom- she's my Mom
Dad- he's my Dad
Sister- she is my younger sister

Go figure. I have a feeling somewhere on this blog I have mentioned my mothers name and she may have commented on some blogs as my mother with her real name but I have decided not to use her name in anyway from now on. Here the list of characters in my life:
Little B- those who have been reading my blog for a long time know that Little B is my second cousin and my Goddaughter. She is now eight years old.
Miss Muffet- this is Little B's youngest sister she is five years old and also my Goddaughter. She and Little B are extremely close.
Brown Eyed Girl- This is Little B's oldest sister. She will be fourteen in a few weeks
Mel- She is the mother of Little B, Miss Muffet and Brown Eyed Girl and my first cousin. My parents fostered her until she was about sixteen. She and I were very close growing up.
Karen- She is my best friend and lives in America. This girl saved my life and I miss her more than anything.
Big Sis- She sixteen years older than me and is my half sister from my Dad's second marriage. She and I were estranged for many years but now maintain a very distant relationship. I have been meaning to write a post about her for the longest time since I saw her for the first time in nine years last year.
Big Bro- He is thirteen years older than me and also from my Dad's second marriage. Big Bro was my hero growing up and is quite a character. Unfortunately he is very distant but he and I generally get on well whenever he decides to pop up in my life.
Surfer Girl- I had to decide between that and Skater Girl since she is both a surfer and a skateboarder but in the end went with the former because Skater Girl reminds me to much of Avril Lavgine. Ugh. Surfer Girl is the daughter of my mother's best friend of 40 years. She and I grew up literally as sisters. She is several years younger than me but is one of my best friends despite the fact that we have nothing in common and can bug the hell out of one another.

The Cat- A pretty tortoise shell cat that the previous owner also left and is currently residing in the dilapidated pool house. I am in the process of trying to make friends with her but given my track record with pets in recent years maybe she'd be better off in the pool house :/
F- Yep I wish I could add three more little letters after that first one, that way I will be able to describe how I feel about her. I will use this blog to work through a lot of issues that I have as the result of F and her minions in the past

Probably more characters will be added and taken off this list as time goes on. Let the show begin!.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Moving along...

So the last blog post was something I didn't exactly plan. It was meant to be an update of all that has been happening since last year. But the absolute irony of what happened and the storm of emotions that followed was something I had to get out by writing.

Anyway, moving on...

Like I said before I don't know who still reads this blog but I have been largely absent for the past nine months. Because of that I probably have lost a lot of readers. It doesn't really bother me, I don't regret the time I had away and a lot of it was beyond my control.

In September last year our service provider got fed up with replacing the telephone lines that had gotten nicked over and over again. This is a problem in South Africa, people steel the telephone lines for the copper. The service provider eventually refused to install new lines. This meant no Internet for me other than what I had on my BlackBerry. Trying to post from my BlackBerry was a mission since the email post option didn't work very well. So I just thought "Screw it" and took a break. There have been a lot of changes in my life since then so for anyone that is still reading or interested here they are...

My baby boy Milo disappeared before Christmas last year. Milo had been spending more and more time away from my house as he seemed to be more interested in having adventures with his brothers. Eventually he only came home to eat and for a quick snuggle before setting off again. I knew I was not going to be living in the area much longer and would soon have to make a very difficult decision on what was best for Milo. But sadly I didn't have to. Milo would come home to eat but one day he just stopped coming. His brothers also disappeared we searched the area for all of them but they had vanished without a trace. We later heard that seven different cats from the farm had gone missing and someone had sighted a mountain cat- there are only two or three in the mountains where we lived. I hate to think about it so I rather would like to think that Milo and his brothers found a field with lots of mice and butterflies for them to chase. I was so heartbroken at loosing Milo...I don't think he ever forgave me for the time he broke his leg- he completely changed after that.

Since January I've moved three times. I have discovered that I do not take moving very well. It causes so much anxiety and instability in me that I become virtually useless and am prone to panic attacks. This is very surprising since I have lived in three different countries and the vast majority of my childhood was characterised by moving. The last move was significant in that after three years I have finally moved out of my parents house and onto my own. Earlier this year a friend of mine moved into a house where she needed to tutor a little girl for an hour a day in exchange for room and board and one meal every day. She soon grew tired of having children around her twenty- four- seven and offered the room to me and moved back home.

The house has got to be the oddest I have every seen. My room is very large with a bathroom that has a shower so small I need to open the door just to be able to wash properly. The house has a interesting history. It was bought by an American tycoon for his son who he later disinherited for marrying a stripper...who kept on stripping. My room was used to coach newly hired strippers on their technique. The two stripe poles where removed before my friend moved in but the floor still carries a reminder. The disinherited son later had to flee because he was wanted for questioning in a murder investigation ( he gave the gun that was used in the murder to the suspect as payment for "garden work" bet he regrets that) and agreed for the family that I am living with now to stay in the house rent free as both parents had just been retrenched from their jobs.

The family I live with are very nice, a little rough around the edges. The Dad who is a boat builder, cooks sometimes delicious and sometimes disastrous suppers that we all eat together in the kitchen and the wine is free flowing!. There are two children, a nine year old boy and a ten year old girl which is the one I tutor. Since I started with her about a month ago, I have started to strongly suspect that she is either dyslexic or ADD or both. It is a massive struggle for her to read and write and instead of spending just an hour a day with her I am spending four or five hours with her. It's tough and I feel for her, she knows somethings wrong and she genuinely wants to learn and do well. I am just waiting for the right time to broach the subject with her parents about getting her help. She is writing exams right now and it is just hectic.

Unfortunately three weeks after I moved in I found a notice from the sheriff taped onto our gate telling us that the house was being auctioned off by the bank because disinherited son had gone through all his inheritance and was now defaulting on his mortgage payments. Fortunately for us, it is very hard to evict someone in South Africa on account of the country having so many homeless people and squatters. So even if the house gets sold we have more rights than the actual buyer and the buyer by law, actually has to find us a new place to live. We also plan on evoking "Squatters Rights" ( yes they have rights)...I can picture my high- flying sister gasping in shock if she had to hear that. It sucks that I may have to move so soon after having just gotten settled.

As for work, after six months of being unemployed...I am STILL unemployed.I had a temp job covering maternity leave that come to an end in December. Employment is a real problem in South Africa. If you are a teacher, a lawyer or a doctor jobs are plentiful but most of these professionals head for foreign countries where there are more benefits, better salaries, less crime and the cost of living isn't so high. As for everyone else, South Africa for workers is a bit like Hollywood for wannabe actors and actresses. Most people here get jobs through word of's who you know and all about being in the right place at the right time. It is vital to start building your connections starting even in high school, to get ahead. It is not unheard of to hear of someone with university degrees and even PhD's being unemployed for six months and struggling to find a job. As my connections are not exactly up to par looking for a job has been like banging my head against a brick wall.

My sister has sub-contracted me on her copy writing work and is giving me a small salary for my trouble. It is good for buying food and maybe a pair of jeans and a movie here and there, but if I had to pay rent I would be screwed. I am still studying and will be doing that full time through correspondence from July. It is ironic...I don't think I have ever worked so hard in my life as I have been doing so now...and I am the poorest I have ever been.

Anyway this has gotten a little long and I hope I haven't bored anyone to tears. I will have to break this update up into two parts as there have been two "happenings" that have had a massive impact on me this year and are very emotional to talk about.

Stay tuned....

Friday, June 1, 2012

How cruel is....

…when I finally get a job interview with a company that I have been dying to work for, spent all night preparing for it, wake up the next day incredibly excited, do myself all up, arrive on time feeling confident and positive....

only to walk in the door and see the girl that tormented me for three years straight when I was in primary school...who has now worked her little biddy up to be the executive PA to the owners.

I spent three years from Grade 5 to Grade 7 being this girl's punching bag and she relentlessly picked on me for EVERYTHING from the shape of my body to my intelligence to my family. Looking back I realise the bullying was borderline sexual harrassment. I went into puberty very early, I started developing breasts at nine and I got my first period a week before my eleventh birthday. I went to a small private school where there was some hormonal freak show happening: not only was I developing early but the rest of the girls in my grade were late developers. Seriously, by age twelve pretty much every single one of the 22 girls in my grade still had a flat chest and that was like, soooo cool. The way they treated me you would have sworn that I was the only girl in the history of planet earth to sprout a pair of boobs. Never mind that they were all heading the same way in the boob department they were all disgusted (that is the best way I can describe it) by my boobs.

Although the boys took part in some of the teasing it was mostly the girls and it was relentless. When I was eleven I got at most two or three hours of sleep at night because I would lie awake with my stomach full of knots knowing that day after day I would have to go back into the "boxing ring" where I was called endless amounts of names, have songs made up about me, have to deal with being held down while someone would attempt to open the front part of my uniform. I would throw up before swimming lessons because I knew that my swimming costume would show up everything I was trying to hide. And then there was the dilemma of actually changing into said swimming costume. The teachers would not allow me to change in the bathroom stalls, no I had to change in front of everybody else because, "If you don't hide it, they won't tease you about it". What idiots.. That just meant that they would take my tog bag and throw it out the window so I couldn't change back into my clothes, or they would take my bra and throw it to each other in some sadistic game of piggy-in- the- middle. I would get my skirt lifted up to see if I was wearing a sanitary pad and I would get hit and punched in the chest.

If this all wasn't bad enough I had a learning disability, all my life and even now that I am at university I have had to work my butt off just to get a mediocre C aggregate. My family was poor- my parents broke their backs to put us through that school so we didn't have the Mercs or the BMW's or live in big fancy houses. I had very few clothes all cheap and crappy stationary for school.

This girl... let's call "F", she was the school's superstar. She was the class boffin, she was one of the top gymnasts in our province and was in numerous sports teams. She was from a wealthy family who owned an apple farm outside of town. Her parents had nice cars, she had a wardrobe stacked full of the best clothes and she travelled the world with her family. Her mother was also on the board of directors at the school and knew everything about my unstable, dysfunctional family and our financial troubles ( at one point my sister and I had to be given a bursary because our parents could not pay the school fees).

So F was pretty much the ring leader in that whole sordid mess. She treated me like I was a disease. She found joy in describing my body in the most disgusting ways, she mocked me when I struggled to do the same Maths sums that she flew through. And she would inform my classmates of the embarrassing details of my family- her mother was a nice well- meaning lady but a real ditz, as I can only think she let F know those details accidently.

F and I went to different high schools and I would see her occasionally. When I left South Africa in 2004 one of the things I took comfort in is that I would never have to see F again. I last heard she went to university and then became a steward for a private yacht company. Of all the bloody companies in South Africa that she had to work for, she had to choose this one. When I walked into that office and saw her all the air left my lungs and my face became like fire. It's been 15 years, I am 28 now have been through so much, have achieved so much and am a completely different person. But the minute I saw F I felt like an eleven year old little girl again. She gave me a fleeting glance took a look at my C.V/ Resume like it was chewing gum and floated to the back of the office. I stumbled my way through the interview.

Seriously, this is not supposed to happen!. What I have heard happening to everyone else- they get bullied at school by the cheerleader or football captain. They go on and turn out to be beautiful and hot, earn a tone of money and then come across their nemesis 20 years later either a broke divorced mother of three or a used car salesman who had to drop out of university. But F is still coming out tops even to this day. While I am still struggling. Her bullying me was never dealt with directly. I mean come on...her mother was on the board of directors, she was the schools poster child. My mother believed that I needed to fight my own battles and that what was happening to me was a part of growing up ( she now regrets this ) but when she did finally get involved the class was given a talking to by the teacher and told that if anyone else picked on me they would be sent to the principal. F never had to answer for what she did.

And what’s worse is that she probably doesn't remember any of this now. It is not affecting her at all. And I can't hold something against her that happened when she was still a child and didn't know any better.

If I do somehow miraculously get this job I am going to have to once again face her every single day. If I don't get this job, well she'll just continue to think that I am a looser. And right now I really do feel like one.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Times...they are a changin' !

Does anyone read this blog anymore? Anyone??. If you are that anyone then you deserve a "faithful reader" award. Since January this year my life has undergone some big changes. Things have happened some good, some bad. And so life goes. For the past 5 months I have been relying solely on BlackBerry Internet Service as my ONLY connection to cyberspace. And I have been busy, hence my neglect of this blog I am happy to report that I now have a proper Internet connection...on a computer (well half a laptop should see it, it's hilarious!) which sits on a desk, with a chair in my new house.

Anyway I am still getting settled and have a writing project that needs to be done in a few days, so this is just a little message from me to you to say that I will be back soon.

Thanks for sticking with me ! xxx

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Farewell my friend

Dear Auntie Mave,

I would like to congratulate you on conquering your one greatest fears- death.

I'm told that you went like a real lady, I wish I could have been there for you.

For me I feel like the world has lost something unique and a great event that will never happen again has ended.

When someone dies those left behind gather up all the memories they can and hold onto them.

I would like to share my memories:

There were times of stress: You let me sleep on the floor of your tiny one bedroom flat for two months when I had no where to go. There was the day I got so sick I could hardly breath. You spent £12 of your own money (which is a lot for a pensioner) to take a taxi to the doctors. You held my hand all the way there and refused to leave until they had checked every inch of me.

There was the bizarre: Your very FRANK conversations about the 'facts of life' were rather shocking at first!. One thing is for sure you were NEVER afraid to speak your mind. I shall also miss your tendency to burst into song in the middle of a serious conversation or suddenly jump up and do a random dance!

Then there are the fabulous and magical memories which I will always hold very close to my heart: Our nights out at the theatre and shopping sprees. Dinner parties for two (where you tended to drink a shocking amount wine). I will treasure all those talks we had deep into the night. I was glad to have found a kindred night owl in you...someone to go to bed with at 5am and sleep until 2pm.

Despite your eternal outspokeness your heart was still an ocean of secrets that I always hoped you would one day make peace with. When I think of you I think of that poem by Robert Frost, "The road less travelled".

You knew me during the one happiest periods of my life. You made London come alive for me, fill of vibrant colours and magic. Every street corner had a story.

I must confess that I feel very alone knowing you are no longer part of this world. But I am grateful to God for our friendship and our time together. I will walk with your love in my heart, your wisdom in my hands and your grace in my step for the rest of my life.

Thank you for always being you (without fail!), for your friendship and for loving me so unconditionally with all your heart.

I shall now go out and get myself a fabulous pair of red heels in honour of you!

All my love Auntie Mave,


Mavis Winifred Knoesen
1932 - 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Magical Friendship Fairy Tale…

I follow many blogs. Some are informational, some are funny, some fascinating, some are downright controversial...I like those the best :) As a result I come across many amazing and unbelievable stories. I am so thankful that I live in a world where technology allows me discover things about people and the world that I might have not known had I lived in another time.

Once in a while I come across a story so incredible that I spend days thinking about it. I have been spending a tranquil day at my sister's flat with her, my Mom and her house mate. During the course of the afternoon, my sister read us a post from a blog written by a twenty- six year old South African girl who has just been re-diagnosed with leukaemia for the third time. It doesn't take a smart person to figure out signs of battling this disease for a third time are not good. What makes this story all the more tragic is that she is the last surviving child of her parents. Her brother went missing a few years ago and her sister died during operation.

I admire this girl- her name is Lucille- not just for her bravery but because of her honesty. Having been a victim of a rather serious physical illness myself I remember the enormous pressure I felt to always be optimistic. To never show I was in pain or afraid because I feared hurting the people I loved. Lucille is full of hope, Lucille is brave and a beautiful person. But she knows that things are not okay, she is afraid and angry that life has dealt her and family this brutal card. She uses her blog write all of these feelings down and to express her love for her loved ones. She is not afraid to talk about what everyone is trying not talk about: the inevitable. There is a good chance she will die.

I encourage to read the blog of this beautiful girl, who's wisdom, bravery and honesty amaze. We all have problems both big and small, but once in a while I believe that we all need to be reminded to be thankful for what we've got and it is not the end of the world. I am including a post that was written straight from her heart to a friend she meet on Twitter.

Be blessed Lucille xoxo:

A Magical Friendship Fairy Tale…

Once upon a time in land far, far away..
Okay no, this is the tale of a story that happened, is happening right under my nose every single day.
I used to think that friendship starts with a smile…
Reaching for the same crayon…
Being on the same sports team…
Listening to the same music…
Lifting as heavy as the other guy…
But this friendship started in an odd way, by a follow:

I followed right back, of course, he’s a CT Runner… ((again, 2 of my favourite things))
We never said anything to each other, other than a few random retweets and “Good Luck”‘s and of course I read every tweet of his about his running journeys in the beautiful city of Cape Town.  It wasn’t until December last year when we both expressed our absolute dislike of broadcast messages on bbm and how that guarantees a straight delete that I decided that I could sure as pie get along with someone like that… This is the beginning, after the beginning of this tale…


It was right before Christmas 2011, while out at an end of year function where you were drinking too much, uhm, let’s call it awesome juice… and your typing absolutely sucked (keeping it real), but even though it looked something like this “candrjoja ojdjroejodkj kdj” I still made out every word and answered you like it was no big deal.  I’m an expert in slurred typing :/ lol.  It got to a point where you could see you made no sense, and you quoted me this:
“Me Tarzan, You Jane”

and that was it – that moment right there, that was the moment this friendship began.
I just remember us getting along really great, talking about running and awesome things like the beach and Cape Town and I thought you were absolutely great, and weird and a little bit insane – but you laughed at my lame jokes and that has been absolutely priceless to me.

Me Tarzan, You Jane

You were even goofy, yep said it, enough to watch Tarzan “with” me, although we’re 1405,3 km’s apart – made my soul happy that you’d do something so silly for me.
On Thursday, 19 January I was rediagnosed with Leukemia.
On that day I felt like my entire world fell apart, that everything I was trying to achieve and build up to was never going to happen.
Matt, you were one of the first people who I told the news to – which is insane, because I have obvious trouble dealing with real things.  I would much rather make jokes and be lighthearted than admit I’m falling apart, but with you it was okay to have this severe experience of being human…
I remember the first words you said to me after I gave you the news was this: “It’s ok Lu, it’s ok” and then you sent me the link to this song

The words in this song that struck me the most was

It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.Seasons are changingAnd waves are crashingAnd stars are falling all for usDays grow longer and nights grow shorterI can show you I’ll be the one
I will never let you fall (let you fall)
I’ll stand up with you forever
I’ll be there for you through it all (through it all)
Even if saving you sends me to heaven
Matty, you haven’t let me fall.  Not once.  No matter how tough treatment got, no matter what news I shared with you, you always responded with the same “It’s ok Lu, it’s ok”.  Somehow we have this insane connection – I remember a few days after treatment started, as I was having one of my just past 1am nausea attacks, without saying anything to you ~ you sent me a message telling me that everything will be okay. Ha! Coincidence? Maybe.  But this wasn’t the only time it happened, it has happened throughout.  When the rest of the world was telling me to get up, be strong and fight, you told me that it was okay to be weak for a bit.

Never leaves my side 

Matty, today was one of those hard days – one of those not so strong days.  Today I felt my body start to give in, piece by piece.  Gosh a few times during the night I wished, hoped to just be rid of the feeling.  I’m ashamed to say, I wanted it all to be over.  I was ready to let go of life, but I kept strong, I held on, because  “It’s ok Lu, it’s ok”.  Earlier when I woke up and read your messages, I got these flashbacks from the day we met… I never told you, but hugging you for the first time wasn’t weird or awkward at all – it felt like hugging an old friend again.  You made me laugh and smile and even that night when I wasn’t feeling well you told me “It’s ok Lu, it’s ok” and you took my hand and just held me.  Magical moments, memories that keep me strong.  You went running for us tonight Matt, for your legs and my heart and you took me beautiful pictures of the scenery of my, our Cape Town.  I’m good with words, but the feelings spilling over my cheeks as the tears leave my eyes is the best way to describe how I feel about this gesture.  It felt like I was right there with you, only in my mind we’re running that route but sweating heavily and smiling, not crying. :)

There are no guarantees in life, but Matty, you’ve made me see that it doesn’t matter how many times my stupid pride tries to push you away – you’ll stay.
Thank you for being a shoulder I can soak with my tears, thank you for fighting away my fears.  Thank you for making me smile, no matter how much life gets me down.  Thank you for making me live this magical friendship fairy tale every day!!
Sometimes a hero isn’t the person who will run into burning buildings or shield you from danger – sometimes a hero is the person who will stand beside you, hold your hand and whisper quietly“It’s ok Lu, it’s ok” .  Matty, you’re my hero.
If I can’t hold on long enough to be your friend always, I need to say to you:
It’s okay Matty, it’s okay…
You know…

Thursday, March 15, 2012

5 years

5 years
This is an obituary for Stephanie Gwen. She was born in America but grew up in South Africa. She loved nature and dogs. She wanted to have a dog farm when she grew up to give a home to all the abandoned and unwanted dogs in the world. Her favorite food was chocolate. She believed in God and felt guilty because pleasing him seemed impossible. She loved the theatre more than anything else. Her favorite plays were Phantom of the Opera and Oliver! Andrew Lloyd Webber was her hero. Her greatest dream was to act in his musicals. Unfortunately although she held the heart and talent for acting she couldn’t sing or dance very well so being in a Lloyd Webber musical was out of the question. Stephanie grew up in a beautiful small town right underneath a magnificent mountain range. She dreamed of seeing the world, seeing all wonders that were in books and on TV. Stephanie was in awe of the splendor of the world she lived in, of the sky at dawn and at dusk, of the ocean and trees and the stars. She was so happy and grateful to be alive in such a world and would find pleasure in the smallest thing. She had a gift of inner peace that helped her to hope for a better future no matter what heartache and chaos surrounded her. When she was 21 years old one of her greatest desires came true when she moved to London. There she had to work very hard to survive but she had never been so happy in her life. She made many friends and had even more adventures. After and year and a half she left England to get to know America…the land she was born in.
5 years ago I was born….Stephi. It was 5 years ago this week that I had my break down in America. 5 years ago I was put onto antidepressants and have been on them ever since. At 02:50 am on the 14 March 2007 I woke up and found that the girl that I had been all my life had died and there was a new person in her place. Everything that I believed in was gone. There was no God. The world no longer held any splendor for me, I forgot all my dreams. The dreamy, loving girl, always full of hope was replaced with an angry, cynical cold hearted woman. It was like something had sucked the life out of me and left me hollow. Ever since then the world has became devoid of colour and totally joyless. Happiness became and impossible distant memory. The antidepressants saved my life but they have dulled my heart to the point that I am unfeeling of any kind of emotion.
But despite my cold, unfeeling heart I miss Stephi, the girl I once was. So every year during this week in March I celebrate her life. I light a candle next to the last picture that was taken of me before my breakdown. The difference between that picture and pictures taken of me after my breakdown is visible. This year I am living in temporary accommodation and all my stuff, including that photograph is in storage. So I have used a silver ring that I bought in England and some earrings that my friend gave as a memento of my former self.
As I always believe in looking for hidden blessings even in the most awful circumstances, I also use this time to remember the blessings that came out of that period of my life. I met one of the best friends I ever had, a girl who had known me for two months before I had my breakdown. She should have been really freaked out by what she was seeing and run for the hills. But she stayed and helped me get well. She saved my life, I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t had her there.
And of course the other blessing would be that I am alive, I made it through. I thought that week in 2007 would be my last. I was sure I would never see my family in South Africa again. I was losing myself, dancing along the edge of insanity and I wandered when the moment would come when I would cross the point of no return. But yet five years later here I am. I can’t say my life has gotten any better it has been so hard. I have had to mourn and get to know myself again. But at least I have dreams. Whether or not they come true is irrelevant. I want a better life.
So this is in memory of Stephanie Gwen and acknowledging Stephi and the road that I am still travelling.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all – 2 Corinthians 4:17