The colour is blue

Written for the Daily Prompt: Singing the blues

I take myself somewhere where I can be alone.  Standing up, I fall back, get caught by a wall, shrink to the floor, forehead to knees,  I cry, and cry and cry and cry from a deep place.  I cry until I look so terrible, that I look like something I feel so sorry for I could cry.  And then I cry some more.  Then I get into bed, curl up head under the covers and cry myself to sleep.  Its a good feeling in a strange way.  Much better than feeling sore deep in the gills.  Always wake up feeling better.

Somos que somos

written for the Daily Prompt:  Que Sera Sera

Don’t quote me on this.  Its not a fact.  But we are what we are.  It doesn’t matter how much you look like a downs syndrome alien, how irritating your lisp is, how clever you are, or how confident.  It doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how many degrees you hold.  It doesn’t matter how many marathon’s you run or if you climbed Mount Everest.  There is a cloud hovering over each of us, shaped by our childhood, that cloud is destiny, and the real substance of what rains down on us is determined almost completely by what happened to us in our most influential years.  Though we may have free will in principle to change the substance of the rain of destiny, its harder than most people are able to do.  Somos que somos.

Moments to remember

Written for the Daily Prompt: Moments to Remember

Sports days were happy days, at least on this day they still were.  I was good at sports.  Third best at running sprints.  Angelique White was the fastest.  There was nothing anybody could do to beat her.  By the time the rest of us started running she was already finished.  Rebecca Swanepoel was halfway finished when the rest of us were only starting, and then I finished slightly ahead of the rest of the pack, coming in third.  The first three would qualify to compete against the other schools in the surrounding suburbs.  We were handed cards numbered 1, 2 and 3 which we took to mister Oliver who wrote it all down.  As I handed him my card he remarked in a jolly happy tone: “Alweer jy!”.  I could hardly believe that he’d noticed me.  I never thought anyone did.  It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

To this day, I still don’t know if this, the most romantic moment of my life, is real or just my imagination.  There is very little I remember from my early childhood.  Worryingly less than others.  But there is one moment I’ll never forget.   I must’ve been about 3 or 4 because we were still living in Saltriver with Mama, my granny.  There was this one boy at creche.  He was the little prince of my imagination.  When I’d lay in bed, knees up creating a little tent with the blankets, I had my own little private space, I’d close my eyes, and see myself in a dress all the colours of the rainbow, not pretty, like the other girls, but like me, my beams of course hair around my face.  Just looking like that.  And him, my little prince holding my hand looking at me.   In real life, other than when he was saying funny things to irritate me, he never paid me any attention.  Then one day, when it was time to sleep, he ended up on the sleeping mat next to mine.  We slept head to foot all of us, and when the teacher wasn’t looking, he stretched over to my head side and kissed me … on the lips.

In primary school, I was an outcast.  I did well, but I was poor.  I was a nerd, but I didn’t have a proper school uniform.  I used to think the other girls were always making fun of me.  I had one or two friends.  They were also nerds, but not the clever kind.  They looked better and had fancy stationary and every piece of the standard school uniform, even the track suit.  They were not good enough to be popular so they were nerds.  I was like nobody, in a bad way.   There were the popular girls that all the teachers would favour and all the boys would like.  The were not as clever as me, but they were pretty.  I was clever, usually the top of my class, but no teacher showed me any favours.   I didn’t look the part, and poor children were never favoured.  The popular girls were very nasty.  I blocked most of the memories out, but there’s one particular day that will never go away.  After returning from PT, to the dressing room in the toilet block, I looked all over for my dress and could not find it, And then, I don’t remember how, but it was found, in a toilet pot which had not been flushed.  It was covered in shit.  I was the only one in class that had a dress like that because it was home made.  My mother couldn’t afford to buy one.  I cried and cried and cried.  I don’t remember what I felt, it could have been anger, embaressment, sadness.  I think it was mostly sadness and rejection, but I don’t remember.  The feelings are blocked out.  All I feel about it now is deep deep sympathy for that little girl that was me.  She didn’t deserve it.

I am and I am not

Written for: Writing Challenge – Reflections

My palms were hot and sweaty, heart beating fast and hard in my chest, face burning, sick to my stomach, regretting every word I’d written.  How could I have misunderstood.   It was nothing like any of the lines that Mr Erasmus was reading.  The other poems were fun, and feisty. Nazeem, the laserbeam, Alice who lived in a palace, Frank who went to the bank.  I hoped somehow the page with my poem would get stuck to the back of someone else’s and be missed.  As he finished reading each poem he placed it face down on the table.  It seemed like an eternity, anticipating with dread that each poem he was about to read might be mine, and the embarrassment of it.  I almost thought that my wish had come true.  Then as he looked at the last paper in his hand, he paused a minute.  Looked up and took two breaths.  In words I should remember vividly, he proclaimed that he’d saved this one for last because this was the work of a future poet.  That it was beautiful and filled with emotion and artistry and imagination.  And then he read it.  It was my poem about Spring.  I knew he was sincere.  I knew and I nearly cried because I also knew he was wrong.  I felt small enough to walk under the door.  I was nothing wonderful.  How could it be?

A woman in control

We all know some.  Women between 35 and 100.  Totally ripped.  Six pack Abs, and not a stitch of fat anywhere.  Firm to the core.  Androgenous.  Or  rake thin, seemingly anorexic.  This is where some women gain control.  A chronology of photos reveal a lovely beaming 20 something year old, soft and feminine.  Then as the time progresses they gain control of their bodies to the extreme.  And all the working/ thinning has a bad effect on the body part that reveals most about what battering they are subjected to, the face.  The face looks like it was photoshopped to the body.  Only its real.  Totally a mismatch.  I wonder how much time these women are spending on their bodies.   And if its worth it to lose out that time which they could spend on working on the rest of themselves.

Time and beauty

written for the Weekly Writing Challenge:  The Golden Years

Being a child in South Africa, at the time when I was, was a very strange time to be a child.  At that time, somehow, I don’t know where I got the idea from, but I did not think I was pretty.  I must have got it from the wider South African perception of beauty.  My hair was not quite kroes, not quite straight.   I had brown eyes, not blue, green or hazel.  And of course there was also the color of my skin.  For some reason, I thought I was also fat.  Which I wasn’t.  All these things were also affected by the fact that the cousins I was closest to were tiny, and had smooth, long shiny Indian hair.  Whenever we would have a beauty pagent amongst ourselves, it was always one of them winning.  Once I asked my mother why she had to marry a man with kroes hair.  I swore one day I would get married to a Chinese man so that my children could be pretty.

In South Africa at the time, inside brown circles, beauty was at a high level if the hair was straight, skin light, eyes hazel, blue or green.  If you looked more Malay, more Indian, more white.  Truly, at the top of the beauty ladder was anything white.  At least in my mind that was it.  That thought must have come from somewhere.  People were big on admiring other people with these politically beautiful characteristics.  I did not get admired much.  My sister did because she had dimples.  I will always remember being offered a compliment on being ‘pragtig‘ after the person realized they were complimenting my pretty sister and that they thought I would feel bad.  Looking back even now, I’m sure that’s the way it was.  I’m sure.

Today I look around me and see people who look like me walking around looking and feeling beautiful.  No special dainty, or other facial features, hair half kroes, half straight, brown eyes, not surfboard flat abs or other picture perfect bodies.  People born at least a decade later.  And yes, I too think they are beautiful.  Because yes, they are, and also because confidence is beauty.

After three decades, this warped perception is somehow living inside me still.   Its hard to change something that has become so deeply part of one’s psyche.  In the future I suppose everybody will have to come to terms with losing their physical beauty as age slowly erodes it.  I look forward to that time when beauty is irrelevant.


written for the Daily prompt: If you leave

I have this fantasy that I’d like to not be where I am anymore.  Sometimes I wish I was just an orphan with no human ties.  No family weddings and funerals and formalities.  I’ve never known how to act in awkward situations like comforting someone who’s experienced great loss.  I struggle to say ‘I love you’ to my mother.  Not because I don’t.

I have this fantasy to just find a way to leave here and go live somewhere natural and beautiful where there’s nothing much else around.  No people.

Pardon me for everything I’m about to say

written for the Daily Prompt: Never surrender

Today is not about me.  I’m trying to give up gossiping so I’ve nobody to talk to about this.  And I don’t really want to because I really like the woman I’m about to tell you about.

There is a certain kind of stubborn.  The kind we don’t even realize we have.  It keeps us in denial.  Constantly finding good excuses for keeping on doing silly things.  We are too stubborn to learn the lesson.

I have a friend.  Recently I’ve gotten to know her well.  And I like her quite a lot.  She is an older woman, nearly 60, white, single, friendly.  She has this one issue though.  She only dates younger black guys.   Now this is not the problem.   The problem is they see her coming like a treasure laden freight train.   They use her financially because she has a good heart.  And she falls for it time and time again.  They move in with her, have no job.  One of the guys perennially lied about his camera getting stolen and each time she bought him a new and better one.  That guy eventually cheated on her with her best friend to whom he is to married now.  Needless to say he is milking her too (She is also an older white woman).

So lately there’s a new guy on the block.  This one again has managed to get an ‘investment’ out of her for a business he wants to start.  Somehow in a strange way she swings it in a story that the investment seems to be of benefit to her as well.  Then in the latest development, she has paid for his travel expenses to his home country to gift him the opportunity to see his dying mother.  Needless to say, it turns out his mother has had a miraculous recovery and won’t be dying anymore.  She says she couldn’t live with herself if he didn’t get to see his dying mother and she says she fully believes the mother recovered because she got to see her son.  Sigh.

Oh the lies we tell ourselves.  The truths we refuse to see.

I’ll start tomorrow or the day after tomorrow or the day after that …

Written for the Daily Prompt: The Heat is On

I was the postponer.  The one who survives (not thrives) under pressure.  The avoider of facing things until just before the last minute.  The excuse maker upper.  The just-just over the fence scraper.  The loser of the best and the taker of the rest because I just barely passed the test.  And why?  Not because I’m stupid or lame, but because I acted that way.   Waiting for the pressure to squeeze out the bare minimum of my potential.