Fight Song

“The ones who notice the storms in your eyes, the silence in your voice and the heaviness in your heart, are the ones you need to let in.”

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It’s been three months since my last post here on Prince’s Palace. I’ve got no real reason in particular for my silence, other than it just being silence itself. I needed to switch my writing head off for a bit and focus on me for a while.

But, you see, the thing with passing time is those events transpire and you find yourself staring at the calendar trying to see where time flew off to. As Ellis Grey famously in Grey’s Anatomy: The carousel never stops turning.

Nonetheless, I’m back. Dusting off the furniture in my palace. Opening the windows, letting a weep of fresh air fill the dusty rooms.

To update you guys on what I’ve been up to and where I’ve been hiding out:

As you all might or might not know, 2015 was a huge journey for me. I had a lot to tackle and find myself standing at the doorstep of navigating what it meant to be a “widower”. 

After R’s suicide, I was stuck dealing with the grief and pain that came along with his decision. I was dealing with a new issue every week, standing host to a lot of his ghosts and kept him in the back of my mind constantly to try and make sure I don’t lose sight of the war I was waging. Little known to me: I was poising myself with his toxic life and decisions. Holding onto him was making me sick – I was dealing with a stomach ulcer and the onslaught of anxiety, post-traumatic stress and some other mental health issues. Instead of battling this I opted for extreme denial.

In some major award-winning performance, I made everyone around me understand that I was fine. That I was over everything that happened – the loss of someone close to me, his betrayal in the form of his cheating and me being left to clean up a few messes. And between that, I was boarding myself up behind walls higher than the tallest mountain on Earth. It was really not doing me any good – it was just making me sicker.

Also: by robbing myself of the love and light of those who were trying to help me, I pushed away, hurt and upset some great, fantastic and amazing people. Some damages I’ll never be able to repair, while other’s I’ll be able to repair with time and love.

So, these past few months, I have been seeing a fantastic therapist. This happened shortly after I lost someone dearly to these selfish and weak actions and I finally awoke to the fact that I needed help.

I have come to face a lot of negative people after I’ve started seeing a shrink:

“Wow – you’re an actual crazy then?”

“You seeing a shrink? It must be amazing to just lie on a couch for an hour and talk shit?

“Oh, a shrink… That sounds like fun.”

People seemingly don’t have the balls to admit mental illnesses exist and that seeing someone to help you is an extremely stupid thing and silly thing to do. And it takes a lot of effort to make them understand that it’s a brave thing to do and seeking out professional help makes you a stronger person… Trust me. Try arguing with an ignorant idiot. You’ll soon realise it’s the worst mental illness around.

But, I digress.

Having chosen to start seeing my therapist, was simply put the best decision I could’ve made in a difficult time in my life. My journey with her has so far been one of immense self-discovery, learning to rewire my neurosis, channel my anxiety and stress, unload my baggage and break down the walls and let the right people in.

As I’m typing this post, I think back to my first session and my last session I had. In the way I’ve begun feeling a burn in bones again, has shown me that I’m starting to become a little more me again.

In a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy (spoilers ahead), Meredith meets with the hospital shrink to discuss her latest trauma. At the end of the episode, she stares at the shrink with a huge smile, saying: “I came in here, and I felt great. And now I don’t know who I am or what I want.” It basically sums up my whole experience before I chose to seek help as well. Just like Meredith, I’m now asking: Who am I? What do I want?

In a way, I’ve also been standing at the crossroad. Who am I? What do I want?

I’m not the grieving partner anymore, nor am I sad, alone, broken or confused. I’m finally able to be me, with me and explore myself.

That’s just the thing: many people who lose a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend or partner these days never reach this point of clarity. We’re left to our own good or bad – we need to puzzle this road out and we need to pave the way for our healing. And seldom, we as the “Widow and Widowers Club” are left in just that role, to never become something great or something more.

Somehow, I want to raise my voice a little louder today to let everyone who’s lost someone they love know, life moves on. As sad as it is, don’t ever stand back and let life walk past you. You’re robbing yourself from the greatest opportunity to become something amazing and something more than just a widow/er.

Life may have felt the need to kick you square in the stomach and rob you from something, but life’s also created a platform for you to stand up and be the warrior you were meant to be. This is just a chapter in your book – not the entire book.

Just a few thoughts I want you to ponder on:

  • If you’re reading this and feeling like a little light has gone up in your head, you should put your boxing gloves on and start fighting for yourself again. It’s your time and that time is now.
  • Open up those walls you’ve been hiding behind and start letting the right people in – let the light seep through the cracks and allow yourself to be someone who can look at life now, a little bit wiser.
  • Dealing with grief and all his friends is a mental illness on its own – and we as the victims of a loved one or someone close’s death is the one thing that can break you or build you. Allow it to rather build you than break you.

Create your own manifesto, your own fight song, and don’t allow yourself to give up on that important person: you.

And keep those people who are trying to nudge past the walls close – let them in and allow them to love you. Love is the one cure that makes a warrior’s spirit tougher for the battles ahead.

 

 

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Reflections

rain, umbrella, and photography image

 

 

It’s been a constant thing this past year and a bit: Me looking in the mirror, staring at the person in it and not remotely recognising him.

It happened shortly after R’s suicide. When I lost a great part of myself. I would catch a glimpse of this person in the mirror and feel the chills run down my spine. I didn’t know who this person was anymore – and this was scarier than hell.

So, it’s safe to assume that I avoided a mirror as best I could wherever I would go. I was not up for the reminder that I was not the same person anymore.

Needless to say, my style and appearance fell a bit down a hill and soon I had to overcome this fear and stare into a mirror again. The same stranger was staring back at me, but at least his hair looked kept and his beard was trimmed neatly.

This continued. I had an understanding with this stranger in the mirror. I wouldn’t stare to long and avoided the dead eyes, while I would do my thing and go about my day.

Time passed by and soon I became comfortable with this stranger. But soon, he wasn’t a stranger anymore. I recognised him as the person who now was – not the one I remembered and wouldn’t be.

It’s been quite some time, but yesterday I woke up, walked to the bathroom and stared at this person in the mirror.

For the first time I didn’t avoid the eyes and I stared deeply into them. Somewhere far in them, a flicker of fire was burning. Small. But it was there. It was the first time in a while that I stared at this person and saw something that I had in common with him. We both might be so damaged inside, but there’ll always be a fire burning inside us that can’t be extinguished. I did the most impossible thing I didn’t think I would do next: I introduced myself to this person staring back at me in the mirror.

Through these past weeks I’ve faced a heartbreak, reliving ghosts of a loved one that has passed, demons inside my head and the terror of the dark side of this world. But, there was still a fire burning deep inside me.

The honest truth is: I will never be the same. Holding onto a hope that some version of the old me would return is now buried. I’m a new me – this is a rebirth of sorts. By taking all this pain I’ve endured, I’m just going to become a better version of myself.

I’ve only wanted one thing for this year. Only one resolution: To fall in love with myself again. I might have lost sight of it and took a detour, but this detour brought me to a point where I’m so much stronger now. And I’m finally opening my heart to the one person that really deserves it: Me.

Should you find yourself at a point in life where you’re at a low, shut out the world, reflect inwards and listen to your inner voice. Open your heart to yourself and be kind to that person trying to reach out. Always love yourself and always have your own back.

This in it’s own is enough to give you strength to face what ever troubles you need to face.

In the words made famous by The Help: You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

Love yourself.

Resurgence

“And I won’t wait any longer
When you left me down, I got stronger
If you want to wait for lightning
I’m on the horizon
Well, I’m coming back with the thunder
Well, I’m coming back with the thunder
Well, I’m coming back with the thunder…”

butterfly and cocoon image

The most mesmerizing thing about a caterpillar is that it lives with a potential inside of it. This potential is ridiculed and laughed off – how can a worm become something more. It’s not until they become a cocoon that these laughs are silenced and it’s not until they morph into a beautiful butterfly that the non-believers cover their mouths and start wishing they could do the same.

But, as you all might gather… I’m not talking about a butterfly here. And at the least am I talking about a physical transformation that leaves people stunned.

You see, I’m talking here about a metamorphosis on a spiritual, emotional and mental level that brings out a light in one that can only but inspire people.

So, here goes my 01:00 mind boggling and word changing musings:

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I’m scared

You see, my fellow bloggers, the thing is that from since what I can remember, I’ve always been afraid of myself. If this statement raises your brow, please calm down. This is not a case of me fearing a split personality wanting to kill of people.

I’ve always been afraid of really being me.

I think this is a true curse that comes from being different. In this case my difference is my sexuality – but let’s face it, society has dictated that it’s a difference and not me. I think this has from an early age crippled me beyond a point where I spent so many years of my adolescence trying to be someone who I am not. Disassociating with the different feelings was maybe some form of survival, just as a butterfly needs to be a cocoon or caterpillar to survive. If it was not the bullies, it was from the haters out there who wanted to break me and make me conform.

Let me tell you, for a young gay child, the worst is being told to one thing when deep inside you, you die a little each day not being who you really want to be. This is a torture and hardship not many people won’t ever understand. On it’s own, this fear is mostly out of someone realising who you really are and breaking you down again or the people who love you rejecting that what you truly are.

Even after R’s suicide, I was robbed of a lot of who I was at that stage. He left, taking a huge part of me and who I was with him. This on its own has created a fear within me. I lost a lot of who I was in one untimely demise… Years of trying to become a person who can stand in the light and not be afraid…

After this, I had/have had a huge battle with trying to overcome that fear. I didn’t want to build up myself again, to just have it all be robbed from me in an unguarded moment.

Fear crippled me. I was stuck in my cocoon. I didn’t want to come out.

The tiring fight

It was not until recently that I stopped fighting the fear, everyone, society and life. 

Inside me, I became so tired of trying to walk down a road that was becoming more self destructive to what was left of me. I had not yet really stepped up to the game after R’s passing and I was still afraid of life. This was clearly evident and I think a lot of people dealing with me saw this. I don’t apologise for this at all and I’m actually thankful for this limbo I was stuck in. It gave me the appropriate time to heal and become stronger – more importantly it served as a wake up call as to the pending questions that were really left in my life: Who am I? What are my plans/goals? Where to now?

I think it was during this period of reflection that I grew tired of the cocoon. I had wings and I wanted to test them out – I was too tired of being afraid and I was too tired to really care what others think.

Life lesson: At the end of the day it is what you think of yourself that really makes the difference. You can’t expect the world to hang on every word you say if you don’t even love yourself or remotely believe in yourself.

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Resurgence 

So, here goes. I’m done with the cocoon. Even though I’m scared shitless, have a million questions and emotions rushing through my head and I don’t have a clear plan in mind as to how and where to go forward from here, I do know that I’m ready to throw open my wings and do what I know I can do best. Fly.

I’ve done enough hiding, surviving and barely breathing to get sick of just barely living life. The bumps, bruises and aches are all a part of life. Will I get hurt again? Yes. But this time I’ll be able to fight back and do something I now know I’m well equipped to do with everything inside me.

The main goal in life shouldn’t be to just survive. It should be to fight back, stand tall and be an unstoppable force. Me being classified different by society is whats exactly going to make me, me and the world throwing punches my way with loss, grief and heartache is tests to see if I’m still the brave fighter I’ve always been.

Life. As scary as it is, it’s a beauty on its own and deserves to be lived.

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Something better

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A gaping hole. That’s what it was. And when something came along, she used that to fill the hole. Everything was complete. The puzzle was complete. Or was it?

Unbeknownst to her, it was a temporary fix. Her heart got broken, the puzzle piece fell out and she felt empty again. She scrambled to the people in her life for help. They stood by, wiped off the tears and offered kind and caring words of comfort. They wrapped her tightly in cotton wool, protecting her against the inevitable risk of a Big Bad Wolf.

This cycle continued. Viciously.

Each time she’d find something new and forgot about the ones who protected her, built her up and made her feel loved. She’d found her above all-end all. Her alpha, her omega. The promises that she would focus on herself and her friends from there on out, was as left behind as the dreams she once had as a child.

Her friends, protectors and confidants waited in the shadows each time to catch her, when she fell. Again.

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Ladies and gentleman. It irks me that I have to resort to imagery and metaphors to explain how hurt I am at the moment. I so wish this safe space I have created for myself could become one where I could voice the harsh situation in my life at the moment, but being a skilled writer, I’ll mask it.

You see: I’ve just cut ties with a dear friend. She doesn’t know it yet, but I need her to see this for herself.

For once, I’m done being that friend who stands by someone when their heart is broken, but when they find someone new, I’m nothing less than a blank piece of paper. A zero. I’ve done it too much, and I’ve decided that it’s finally time my self-worth becomes something that needs to be more important than wasting time on a selfish, wavering and insecure little girl.

I am thankful for the times, memories and help this friend has offered me, but she’s finally just sent me over the edge. While beckoning with me that I’m the one who shuts her out, never shares anything with her or involve her in my life (all illogical conclusions by the way…), she does the exact same to me, without batting a lash. I kid you not…  #ohtheshame

I pride myself on friends and have always had a vast group of people who I have surrounded myself with. It’s been the one thing I kept dear and close to me. But, with me getting my life on track, being a little more selfish and standing back more, I’ve noticed this circle shrink down a lot. And I’m okay with that.

You see, just as she has seeked out something better, I too am seeking out something better. The only difference is that she’s seeked out something temporary and shallow, while I’m seeking out something more substantial and permanent.

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I do not wish her bad or any hurt. No sharp edged daggers in her back. Zero bad luck. I only wish her the best.

The only thing is that when her heart crashes to the ground this time, I won’t be there to help her pick up the pieces. If this makes me an asshole, so be it. If I’m in the wrong here. Then I’ll be. But, somewhere along the line you need to remove yourself from situations in life where some people only take and take too much, than they ever give you in return.

If you could throw me away so easily, I can walk away just as easily.

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I’m sorry

I’m sorry.

With these two words, dear fellow bloggers, I’d like to apologise for my silence these past couple of weeks. In short: life got the upper hand this time. And my head’s been a mess – a mess I can’t afford to be capable of creating posts for this site.

To catch you up…

I met someone new.

After R’s death last year, I didn’t think I would ever fall in love with someone again, nor be capable of trying to pursue something romantic at the least. But it was like a semi-drunk, fully hungover student trying to write a test: magical.

J walked into my life around February this year. He was the perfect gentleman, well spoken, someone with a soft heart and the most delightful manners – a complete 180 degrees from the most guys I’ve dated before.

It all started out with a simple comment on my one photo on Instagram, which later led to an inbox message and subsequently us exchanging numbers and started to chat on Whatsapp. A wonderful friendship formed, where we could literally speak for hours on end about anything and everything.

After a few months we finally met – it was at the KKNK in Oudtshoorn in April where we had a quick lunch for an hour. The conversation flowed and it was like we have known each other for ages. Something sparked when we said goodbye to each other – to this day I don’t really know if this was when I realised I had a crush on him or if it was when I knew that he had crept into my heart within a short amount of time.

Naturally this scared the living daylights out of me. Me, falling for someone again? (queue Jaws-esque music playing in the background).

But, as life has it, you never really get to control your emotions and what path destiny has set out for you. I had no control over the next visit from him in Cape Town (he’s from Gauteng), no control over me feeling a bit more whole with him, no control over the butterflies that erupted in my tummy after our first kiss. I had no control: and I loved it. For a control freak like myself it was absolute chaos, but for the first time in my life I stood back and just left life do what needed to be done.

What also happened during this time was J’s ability to walk in at moments of chaos in my head, calm the storm and make me realise that I was strong enough to deal with everything and that I was an amazing person. Never before had I dated someone who would uplift me like this – it was a good feeling to finally have a partner in crime who could lift you on their shoulders and make you feel like what you were worth.

Finally I was able to run past the dark tunnel I had been trotting along with after R’s death. J brought the light to the end of the tunnel into perspective, made the view possible and equipped me with strength to stand atop the hill and see the dawn of a new day.

He saved me. An unlikely Prince Charming.

Although he claims I saved myself, I know he reached down and pulled me from the dark, cold waters of self-destruction I was heading down. He was like a breath of fresh air.

But, this fairy tale does not have a happy ending.

I wish it had though. Some of you must be reading this, thinking: Can the universe cut him a break, already?! To which I respond: Maybe the universe isn’t ready to give me that break yet, guys…

J and I had a bit of tumultuous falling out – things were said, realisations were said aloud and reality broke past our bubble we had been basking in.

He couldn’t give me more than I wanted.

I wanted more, but was still too guarded and closed off from R’s death.

For weeks we tried to circumnavigate this territory of going back to being friends, leaving the ideal and hope of relationship behind and straying away from being strangers. It was not the easiest time – hence the silence.

If you all really knew what’s been walking through my mind these past months, you’d hit unfollow or try to have me institutionalised.

For now, I’m breaking the silence and saying sorry. Sorry to you all, but mostly sorry to myself.

I’m sorry I disappointed myself again. I’m sorry I let the last pieces of my broken heart, get broken even more. I’m sorry I didn’t love myself enough to save myself. I’m sorry I didn’t love myself.

A very profound quote that has stuck with me in these past days is one by my favourite author, Liz Gilbert. “Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the path to transformation.”

Smile like you mean it: Eat,Pray,Love

At this point where my heart is virtually severed, my head more confused than ever, and the battle with who I am and need to be still raging on, I recognise this as ruin.

You see, the beautiful thing of my life being in ruin, is that I can now start from scratch again. Build something spectacular. This time, I will do it on my own. No saviours. No Prince Charmings.

I’d like to invite you all to join me on this new journey. I will be blogging about every step along the way and every new twist and turn – ’cause for the first time in my life, it will be just me, myself and I.

It’s a daunting thought – I’ve always been between love interests or heartbreaks, but never really with myself. I’ve never really had my own back or even trusted myself. I’ve never really been confident to speak up when asked who I am really. Never have I ever really loved myself.

For now, let’s together divulge in the single life. Let’s see what the world has to offer. Let’s create an unstoppable force. Let me create someone who everybody wishes to be with.

Some of you who’ve been following me for a while now, might be thinking: We’ve been here before. What’s new. This is old hat. Why do you keep repeating history?

I can only tell you: Stick with me. This adventure is going to be one for the books.

Most importantly, just find yourself

As I was sitting in the room, I stared over at the couples who were leaning in to on another, whispering sweet nothings and cradling their hands in each other’s. Like many times before me, I felt the familiar feeling in my gut: You are missing out big time on this feeling. A feeling called love.

Later, as the party was in full swing, I saw a couple outside the ballroom fighting. The passion in their eyes alight like the fire of a thousands suns. Words being flung around carelessly. Anger making way for what use to be love. As I was staring at this fight, I realised how there is always that one person who will be left with nothing. Have it be after the fight has subdued or if the fight leads to a breakup. One person is always left with nothing.

It’s sad.

In these modern times, I have found too many friends running to me with the same crisis after a breakup. They suddenly disembowel the entire relationship and breakup to try and find why they are an empty shell now. A full autopsy is performed to see where the core of their being as a person went lost and how they can try and revive it. It’s almost an impossible task at times, while others sometimes have to start from scratch, having lost everything they were.

I’m more than happy to help them. Not because they are my friends, but because I was once/ am now where they are and it’s easier to have someone plot a course and trajectory for you than having yourself stumbling around in the dark, blindly.

About 11 months ago, when my boyfriend passed away after a battle with depression, I was the one who was disemboweling the relationship, trying to find the point where it all went wrong. It’s more excruciating than it sounds. Trust me – relieving every moment in your head, trying to put the broken puzzle pieces together, is not for the faint of heart.

At one point, I remember waking up one morning. It was a normal morning, with me having slept nothing at all that night. I had been up, tossing and turning, trying to make sense of it all. Questions still remaining without any answers. As I was slouching to the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror. Something like this, is a normal action for many each morning. No second guessing it. Automated. But this morning, I caught a glimpse of my eyes. What followed terrified me.

They were dead. My eyes were lifeless and hollow. I could see it shine through. Like that couple who were fighting, passion shining through their eyes like burning suns, the lifelessness shone through mine. Like a fist to my chest, it hit the wind out of me. I can say, it’s safe to assume it was then that I knew I had lost me.

Like the person I am, a full postmortem followed after this. Soon, it was becoming clearer to me, that I was the one who had to be left with nothing. Being the nothing, rather.

I think most people’s sadness after a breakup these days, are because of this reason. That they become the nothing when their something is ripped away. I resent that this even has to be something you have to go through, upon losing the one you had/have loved. No one deserves this at the least.

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Now, I want to appeal to you: You can find yourself again.

Even at the point of losing your everything, your core, your being, the thing that makes you, you… At that point you can start finding yourself again.

It’s not easy, but it’s doable.

When all is lost, you have so much to use again to build yourself up from scratch. Go out, explore life, yourself and do something unexpected and new. Life, cry, laugh, smile and disappoint yourself ’till you reach a point where you have found yourself again.

Knowing who we are in life, is one of our greatest strengths. When challenges and potholes come our way, this is what we use and fall back on to get to the point of ultimate conquest or strength.

If you are reading this right now, thinking that I am speaking about you or to you, then you should probably sit down and start thinking about things. Just know, you are not the only one going through this.

Will you ever find yourself completely? No. You do however discover yourself across your life. Many facets reveal themselves and equip you even more in dealing with things.

Just for now, be proud of yourself for conquering that mishap, heartbreak or tear in your life and still being able to stand.

But most importantly: just find yourself.

Travel.