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)...