Monday, 6 February 2017

0 weeks to go

Last year, I counted 40 weeks to my 40th birthday. I just wanted to know. Deep inside, I assumed that I will take these 40 weeks and transform myself: sort my unfinished things to prove that I am grown up enough for the next decade and put my body into a shape reminding me of my late 20s (ha ha on that one) or at least back before daughter was born.

I didn't realise that I will still be sleep deprived, that starting nursery will take its toll, that I will be depressed and undecided whether I should grab my life and transform it or carry on with trying for another baby, miscarrying, worrying, crying..... I still don't know. And as yet, 40 weeks past, I am not a new better version of myself. I am myself. I am working on my novel day by day. I get my house in order every morning and going to nursery is fun, not an issue anymore. I meditate and exercise, I can go to swim once a week which is an unbelievable luxury for a full time mother (as is anything you can do for and by yourself - 15 hours childcare a week is a blessing).

I am not panicking about time running out. I don't think I worry about getting old, although I do see a wrinkle or a grey hair every now and then and my weight doesn't seem to be moving in any way. It is just sitting high, too high. I put it on after full time breastfeeding, while still sleep deprived, eating too much basically. The food substitutes bad sleep and there is too much bad or no sleep. That is it.

I will be 40. I never had list of goals, I was lucky, life was good, things were happening. I am a different person. Life seems more stationary, settled. It is a good thing. I don't like people who insist staying in their twenties mode, who don't want to grow up and change. I reflect more now. Reaching 20, I was looking forward. The only backward glance was towards the realisation that I didn't make it as far in the modelling industry as I once hoped and I knew that 20 was more or less the threshold. Once my booker said I would be great to play the mums in TV ads, I knew I can pack it. Only years later was I happy about the fact I never made it to the desired measurements which wouldn't be possible in any way for a woman of my height - to have as narrow hips as imagined by designers I would somehow have to change the structure of my hips as I was not fat (although I was called fat many a times). It was nice not to have to dream about loosing 10 kilos I never needed to loose, to give it all a finger. It hurt at the time, it is so not important now.

 I remember how happy I felt after 30. I finally had stable relationship, I could make plans for my future. I was very happy in my skin. All of my late teens and twenties, any other female around was a competition, even a friend. By 30, I lost the need to be the prettiest girl in the room, the slimmest and tallest and best and most popular one... I was happy to pass the baton and watch the new girls to steal the limelight and I didn't care. I wished them well but I could finally see how little it all matters. Being first in anything is nice but it doesn't mean that it makes one happy, there is much more to that. Only in my thirties did meditation, reflection and silence make sense to me and I started needing it.

So what will 40 bring? Everything changed in the last decade and I can afford a little bit of nostalgia now, but looking to the future is tricky. Around 30, there was a map - finding love and moving in together would logically lead to things like setting up home, building a career in a new country and hopefully starting a family. Now this is all done. So what can I look forward to? How will our relationship continue? Most aspirations and worries are for my daughter, not for me, I know I will manage. I just want to be healthy and find a way to fulfil myself. As for looks, I want to be strong and happy in my body, I don't want to go back to my 20s thank you very much. I am still learning to live in my post baby body, realising what I can  and what I can not do for real, not because of lazy excuse... But what will I be really managing in the next decade remains to be seen...

Monday, 16 January 2017

My TV Moments 2

   It is already a year since BBC started showing War And Peace. It was very well made. I know I am pretty late writing about it, but here I go.

   There is a scene where Natasha, a young but poor aristocrat, goes to a ball with her family. It is important as young girls were introduced to society, met their suitors, marriages were arranged, lots depends on the way how Natasha will be accepted. Yet they stand there and they are being avoided. Even old friends, now young men who know what it means to be seen with someone, avoid eye contact. There is no money for them in that match. And Natasha's face goes from happy and excited to very anxious. And her parents' faces tense more and more even though they knew on arrival it may not go well. But they hope that their family's fortune will turn.

   It reminded me about my own youth, the anxiety around boys, the unending popularity contest, the hope to fall in love and experience romance....

   But then Andrei Bolkonsky shows up. And he is handsome. And rich. And from a great family. He is the best possible suitor for many girls there. He looks like most girls in any century would love their first love to look.
   He sees her and doesn't pretend she isn't there. He goes straight to her. He asks her to dance. He takes her hand. And very slowly, they get into position and start to dance. They dance and everyone can see them but they can only see one another.

   As this scene was unravelling, I was getting more and more emotional. Because the scene had the perfection of a love scene, the atmosphere of first love, it had everything I remember from the times when a boy's look could give me butterflies. It had so much romance and so much hope in it. And I realized in that moment that I will never feel like this again, that this time of my life is long time over and I didn't realize it. Only then, watching Natasha and Andrei dancing did I realize all of that. It didn't make me sad, of course that I moved on, but it made me super nostalgic and aware of all the years that passed and how different I am from the girl I once was.
   There are no more illusions, no more great hopes. There is stability and a relationship I don't have to fret about, a partnership and a family, so I do have my happy end, I am not writing about this because of sadness. It was only made so that it stirred these emotions in me and made me think how much I actually lived. As well as caring for the characters, of course, and waiting for their story to continue (and it didn't go well for them, sadly).

   So that is it, my big TV moment from year ago, which stayed with me for so long and I which I won't forget. For a while after that I went through a bit of 90s nostalgia, listening to old music and watching old videos, remembering old shows and the fashion, how much more normal everyone looked back then (no botoxed up fake hair orange looks and every character in every story perfected to abnormality, no reality tv, less political correctness...). I thought the world would change a lot for the better, yet all through last year I thought people are still the same, nothing is changing, same mistakes keep happening, issues are more or less the same and we are not better or wiser... Oh well. At least now I know that and can carry on with my life and hope that my daughter's ideals will end up better one day.....

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Girl, Unconnected

I am going on and on about connectedness. Maybe because most mornings while I am trying to get daughter ready for school and absorb some of the news before Milkshake takes over the tv set, husband descends down the stairs and sticks his phone screen into my face to show me some important moment/photo/joke his friends shared on their special whats up page. He does it to me when in town together as a family, which happens about three times a year. He talks to me about friends' problems while I am trying to use the moment he is away from his computer (works from home) and find out what to do about car servicing/diy emergencies/daughter's stuff. He makes me feel like much less important person. He takes daughter out and I can see her running down the street, him hunched over phone. When she does something nice or funny he tries to film it so he can share it.

I do often say that if I want something done I should whats up it to him. The problem is, I am not on whats up. I do not own a smart phone. The one I have could theoretically connect and work the app but I can not be bothered. Phones are for calls. I like to use camera for pictures, too. And an alarm clock - no phone in the bedroom (or on my side of the bed). I am a dinosaur, I know. Sometimes husband accuses me of cruelty towards him. Do I not want him to keep in touch with his friends? In his very difficult cushioned 21st century life he struggles to keep friendships alive. He misses his dear friends. Do I not want him to film daughter for grandpa? If you want your close knit family and tight friendships why do you move across the world, I ask. Years ago in Cape Town, he would call his dad in Durban twice a month and see all his friends for 'gentlemans' dinner' once a week plus ocassional weekends outings sometimes spoiled by presents of wags. They used to have real interaction. Now they share 24/7 and even those who still live in the same town can not be bothered to physically show up unless is big birthday/wedding/christmas party.

It takes me back in time to the dark ages of my youth which was pre mobile and pre internet. Internet grew up alongside me. I saw the beginnings. I used to visit internet cafe once a week to check mails and had a list of things to research, too. It was enough. Now I couldn't live without a broadband at home. But back then, I could have some secrets. I see girls making money through social media and I think it is great that they can utilize the technology like that. I watched documentary about call girls who function solely through some special website and I am glad that they can do what they do without any pimps or brothels. When internet went mainstream, sex exploded and it wasn't only porn. However, I spent enough time in the night clubs' world to miss the old enigma of it. To see girls to strip or to sleep with you, you had to go and find them. As a customer, you created a story about yourself. As a girl, you did the same. I knew many wives, mums, nurses, who substituted their income with prostitution in small clubs and private flats. I met strippers who travelled the world and their mums and partners thought they were working in casinos, modeling, doing 'proper' dancing in dance clubs. You could keep secrets back then. Owners of establishments weren't interested in big promotions, too. They wanted very little information available on them. And the girls could function absolutely differently in the daytime and chose what information about themselves they would share with the world. Nobody could google us back then.

It all changed. Not only the underworld, even the modeling world, which I frequented, too, is ruled by online existence. In my years, you would get your 'book' and go to castings and try your luck and hope to be in a magazine and make a name for yourself. Today, if you don't have online army of devoted followers, you will not get your lucrative contact. And for the underworld, you dad is only three clicks away from finding out what really pays for his little princess's rent. It is a two edged sword, it can lift you up, make you and liberate you, but it can also undo you if you are not wise about what you post about yourself. Or if you do not have control about what is posted about you, how images of you, taken with or without consent, are used. For me, I am glad I was there at the beginning and I am proud to be a dinosaur, happily unconnected. And I really don't care what my nearest and dearest have for breakfast at any day of the week.


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Back From the Wilderness

I took long time off. I did expect to blog a little less and focus on other things but truth is, my revisions are going extremely slowly and I spent most of this year in a weird state of doing what has to be done and surviving.

I think that 3 miscarriages in less than a year do leave their mark and I can not not to mention them. I don't want to be defined by them but I can not undo them and I can not deny that experiencing these losses took its toll. I had no need to go out into the world. Just to exist around my own family was hard enough. I had to deal with my 3 years old, fussy eating, potty training, nursery and anxiety associated with the new big world that awaits a 3 years old little madam. And I had to keep the household running and try to function. I struggled to explain myself to Husband and I don't think that he even realizes how low I felt at times. It's hard to explain to a man something that is actually quite clear in your head.

The funny thing is I don't really want to write about my miscarriages or about my disillusion with marriage. The writing could go on and on forever and I would not come to any conclusion. I lost four babies in my life and I have a husband who loves me but doesn't always understand me. And I am trying my best to live the best life I can.

Loneliness is scary to most people. To me it is healing. I went 'in' and kept to myself because it is what helps me. When I am ready, I can write about it. I know I am not the first one. There are many posts on mental health issues and miscarriage and all else. There is hardly an issue of modern life that wasn't written about on someone's blog. There were times I was anxious, times I was terribly down and didn't want to do anything, I didn't sleep good. Time helped. At the end, exhaustion helped to get better sleep, that led to more energy. At times I felt inspired, started to meditate, swim, walk and revise my book. It all helped. Walking daily to school and focusing on my daughter and settling her in nursery helped. Being alone, people watching, anything. And when the darkness returns and I sit in front of day time tv for a day so be it. I don't have a need to be perfect.

And the self enforced time by myself made me very appreciative of the possibility to be alone. The constant 'switch on' mode that most people I know operate on seems impossible to me. I can not count number of friends I lost over the years because I or them moved to different country and didn't join this or that online network. Even email feels like too much of and effort to most. So be it. I accept my friends, but not by these conditions, and if I am not worth an email the friendship is not worth pursuing in my eyes. And it is all nice and good to share the good times but when you are down, really down, for days on end, what do you whatsup or facebook? And if existing from day to day is hard, why make it harder by maintaing an ideal online version of yourself? I like to look at the world around, I love to see people, I am an observer and I have no need to see my life through the screen. I don't have the urge to reach for my smart phone every time something noticeable is going on. I may not share the moments, I live them and remember them. To many, what is not shared online is invalid. In the reality, it happened and that is that.

Observing makes me think, thinking makes me to write. Again, lots of us see reading as a waste of time. And there are too many informations and stimulations thrown at us every day. But one of the things that helped me this year were good old fashioned books, most noticeably books I suddenly remembered from my youth, sourced through antique shops and read with great pleasure. Nothing beats a book. Some stories stay with us forever and reading is the best escape for troubled mind. That is what makes me want to write - love of stories.

So that is it for today. A little flood of words. I will carry on with my musings on switched on life and I hope I will do it soon. I wanted to create mini- musings on favourite tv moments earlier this year before I got bad. If anyone was eagerly waiting, I hope to revisit these, too. And I hope that I am back for good (or at least for a while)...

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My TV Moments 1

This year brought two big TV moments for me. I don't know if it means that my life is desperately sad. But last week's episode of The Good Wife definitely brought a sort of insight to me, and it stirred my emotions, there were tears.... Is it silly or just a part of growing older?

Alicia Florick had her moment in the last episode, with everything falling in pieces in her work and personal life, the ever cool and perfectly looking woman finaly lost it. She screamed, she cried, she opened to her partner Luca, who, in exchange, expressed her own soft side and explained that she trully cares about Alicia, gave her the long needed hug and explained how lonely she is in her life with no friends.

It made me think. I am on a crossroad myself. Child is growing up and I am thinking about the next steps - school and work. What is next for me? I decided to stop waiting for the next pregnancy. I don't want to dwell on it any longer. To have more children was the big plan, I saw myself as the busy mummy you see around and don't understand where her strength is coming from. But with one child in tow, you seem to have it easy. And I should not write about this any longer, this post isn't about my three little tragedies that defined a year of mixed hope.

But all of it plays on my mind. Life isn't what I expected it to be, not only with the way motherhood is working out, with everything. Sometimes, when husband and I argue over nothing, I do wonder whether it was better that our subsequent pregnancies didn't work out, because bringing up one child is putting its own strain on us. I am much more dependent on him, which isn't what I expected to happen to me, ever. But to have a child and to provide for myself while bringing the child up is quite impossible to do. If I had the means to support myself, would I still be here? It the big love different now, past all that we were through together, or is it gone?

So here I am. One fantastic child, no hope of others. Supportive husband who doesn't seem to understand me. No career to go back to. No friends. Lots of dreams but no way to follow them - who would take care of the child while I wonder around like I used to?

So Alicia's and Luca's little TV moment spoke to me. Of course it is only a drama, but there was a moment that made it real for me and when I was crying, maybe I was crying for myself more than for the characters. The truth is, like Alicia, I feel stuck. And I don't know how to 'unstuck' myself. It will probably work out at the end. One thing is, I am surprisingly happy to be a home maker, again, something I never imagined I could be or enjoy to be, and maybe I don't really want it to end. I don't see it as laziness, I just lack ambition. I want to write and learn to meditate and be healthy and do sports. And be with my child and be there for husband and take care of the house and the garden while doing the little things I like. I don't need titles, money or impressive CV. I like to be alone. I was considering further study, but I don't think I want to start and build a career. I will probably carry on with odd jobs which I can leave to do my own thing before I have to work again. My lifestyle was a nomadic independent lifestyle and it doens't correspond with a family dynamic.

Husband had the 'proper' goals, he wanted to progress in his career, have a family and he doesn't understand that I don't really need to hang with other wives, am not keen on all the get-togethers and do not have much to talk about with people. I often wonder why was husband so crazy about me when he was getting to know me, saw the oddball I was and yet thought that I was ideal wife material. I went on with it, because if somebody loves me so much than it is worth it, but I will not become someone else. So I have my private cry with The Good Wife and carry on with my quiet existence.

It is a strange mix - being not obviously unhappy but not being happy enough, wanting to be happy with what I have but needing to reach certain steps in order to feel happy, as if I did not deserve it right now... What a nonsense sentence. In every day moments, life is good. That is what matters. But it is also OK not to be floating with happiness all the time, isn't it? I probably just need to put myself together. Just like Alicia.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Lets Get On

It has been a while. I dedicated my November to writing a novel and I succeeded. It meant no disturbing myself with thinking about blogging, doing blogging, reading other blogs. I built up a great habit of writing every day. I had to rush because on November 29th we left to visit my family plus sort out some things that couldn't wait. And with the anticipating departure came more work around my neglected house. So I have made the words count needed to win and shaped a story. And I left it with a great feeling.

Than came the great family trip. And upon return, by December 8th, with all of us being tired and suffering sniffles, the Christmas countdown downed on me. There was so much work to be done and before that work there was the planning of the work to be done. There was no more lovely writing routine in my life. It would feel like a big travesty to sit down at the computer first thing in the morning and write for a while. No problem, I thought. As soon as Christmas is over the quiet time comes, husband will be home, I will be able to do something. Ha! I forgot that the lovely time between Christmas and New Year is the time when we absolutely have to see everybody. Idealy, husband would have all people around for Christmas. I believe it is time for family, time when people have their own rituals and stress and do not feel a need to cook for twenty. So I have to spend few days going around meeting people, hosting, hooking up in forsaken National Trust parks. No energy for writing. No time, too.

So here comes January. Christmas tree is put away, the poor thing was so dry it wouldn't last any longer, house looks normal again and finaly, husband is off to work. His big plans about potty training his child didn't materialize. So here I am, ready to revise a novel and potty train a child who isn't bothered by any signs it should be giving me. Will I do it? And what will be achieved first? I hope I will manage to build a new habit and keep it up. It is time to clear up my writing drawer. And about dear child? It needs to learn some good habits, too. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Just a quick one

I need a nice deep long breath..... I need a rest. September has been the most hectic month in my and my family's lives and October is all about picking up the pieces. But here we are. Home. Finaly.

Moving is exhausting. Husband did the heavy lifting but I was there for the boxes packing and unpacking, cleaning of the old house, sorting out the paperwork, deciding what will go where, organizing, and now decorating. I rediscovered the pleasure found in doing things by hands, be it a simple curtain or pillow case.

As if it wasn't enough, I decided to take part in Nanowrimo this year. Mainly because there is an idea in my head and I need to take care of. it. I need to put it on paper. I know, there is the novel from 2012 stil unrevised and an outline in a notebook. I should focus on finishing. But I can not help it. I did my first Nano when I was pregnant. I thoutght I would be able to revise, prepare and present a novel while on maternity leave. Ha ha. Nothing prepared me for the total change in my life, I didn't realize how impossible it will be to do something properly. But I do know that I can steal moments in the day and write. And I need discipline. So I will do Nano and then I will see.

Wish me luck. I will not be blogging much during November. But I will be writing a lot!!!

Child is fine. I am bit guilty. Moving meant slight increase in You Tube time. What shall I say. At the moment, I am not strict about screen time. Cormoran Strike novel arrived. It is fantastic. But we do explore our new neighborhood a lot, there is some structure in my child's life. Today is raining a lot, though... One more chapter then.... Go on......