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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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.

I’m kind of a big deal

Before the heading of this post makes you vomit, please keep on reading.

After various interventions, a change in my mindset has finally occurred.

You see, the thing is: I don’t really ever make myself off as being important, always raising others above me and making some people and their needs more important than mine. It’s not something intentional, but just the way I have been wired. Helping and supporting others makes me happy and I feel more on top of the world when I’m able to sit down and help a friend in need.

Having always had a superhero complex, this is the only reason why I do what I do. Not for seeking attention or making myself off to be a martyr or a philanthropist of sorts. I do it ’cause it’s what makes me happy and my life worth living.

Unfortunately, as human beings are, this has been taking advantage of countless times by many people. Sometimes, I willingly sat back out of intense love for this person, other times I didn’t know what was happening and I was being blindsided.

But, the thing is just, when you give too much to the world and everyone else, you seldom spare a thought to yourself.

After a recent discussion this weekend with my two of my best friends (Mienke & Ancomien) and my best friend’s mother, who is like a second mother to me, I have had the cogs and gears in my head grinding overtime and re-evaluating this. The first thing for them was that I needed to stop sparing thoughts for others while skipping myself, secondly I needed to stop defending people who were robbing me dry of my good warmheartedness and thirdly I needed to start valuing myself MUCH more.

With a shocked expression, I sat back and didn’t reply at first. I then continued to tell them that this is in my DNA and that I really don’t see myself changing it. I will always help people and never spare a second thought to myself. But, I was reprimanded that I could achieve a well enough balance between the two. Valuing myself enough and caring for others.

Recently, a lot of teen suicides and 20-somethings giving up on life have graced the front pages of our local newspapers here in South Africa. I suspect this is not just a local occurrence and that it’s like this throughout the world at the moment. Suicide, being a thing close to me, is something I have come to condone, judge and understand all at once.

Looking at the overall moral among youngsters, we have all seemingly succumbed to the demons of this world in some way or another. With their fingers lingering up our spines and whispering sweet nothings into our ears, there is a general stigma these days that we are worthless and at most nothing special. The world has broken most of us, while some survivors barely cling on and other just make the final decision that their lives aren’t something special at all.

Two weeks ago, I met with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, for a drink or two. Halfway into the discussion I had to hear that he was recently in a clinic after trying to commit suicide. It was a shock to me. Anger welled up and I was soon interrogating him to try and find out what made him do and why he would try and hurt so much people around him.

It was soon clear that he believed he had no value here at all and that he felt like he couldn’t help anyone anymore, if he couldn’t even help himself.

Nonetheless, we continued talking about everything. As I divulged about how hectic my life was and that I also felt like I was letting a lot of people down, and maybe most importantly myself, he lost his cool. “Pot calling the kettle black, much? You preach to me that I need to value myself more, but you don’t even remotely do the same? Really now – you of all people who has so much going and a lot of people at your feet, and people who would give the world to you should raise you self worth a lot.”

All in all… After much deliberation and thinking, I’ve decided to sit back and up my own ante. It’s time that I need to take things up a notch and start knowing that I am kind of a big deal – without becoming egotistical and a douche bag.

And I think it’s time that this becomes a movement I can reciprocate to others out there who are in doubt about their worth.

Just know, that even if it doesn’t seem that way, you are worth a lot more than you’re making yourself off to be. Your value is what drives you and you just hanging in there makes you a superstar in your own way.

Serve as a waking inspiration and inspire others by being a big deal and never stop fighting against the world.

Just always remember: You’re kind of a big deal. So roll with it.

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Curate those words carefully

It’s one of those lessons in life that I had to learn the hard way. You know, those lessons that leave you so drained and wrecked that you literally question every moral fiber of your existence. A lesson that I certainly would never forget.

Words are the building blocks of history, society, people, relationships and evolution. So much as words and actions go hand in hand, words are still those powerful weapons in your arsenal that you have to look after carefully. While your mind is filled with thoughts, it’s words that make up these thoughts and hold more than enough power to devastate a small country at most… (Ed note: maybe I was being a bit too dramatic there… At least maybe a small community?!)

I had to steadily learn that in life you can’t drop words like hot potatoes and expect people not to run and hide for cover or hold out their hands to scoop them up like ice cream. First problem being that you shouldn’t drop them like hot potatoes, second problem being that you should always carefully think what you want to achieve with words.

It was the night before R committed suicide that I came to realise what purpose words really play in our lives.

We were out for dinner with someone he knew. (ed note: I refrain from calling her a friend, as the lesson of this tale is that you should curate your words properly and she is not worthy of being called a friend.) At some point during the evening he asked us both what method of suicide do we think would be faster: carbon monoxide poising via a hosepipe through a car window in a shut garage or a makeshift barbecue an enclosed space. I really didn’t think much of this, but didn’t answer his question. Our companion at dinner went on to elaborate her theory. I just sat there.

I waited till she left for the bathroom before I turned to him. He rubbed his face in the familiar way he use to when he was stressed. I was half dreading to hear what was eating at him, as I had been expecting for a few weeks now that he was ready to end our relationship. But, the comment he made seconds ago was picking at me and I dropped the words like hot potatoes.

“What’s up? Are you okay? One does not simply ask that sort of stuff and there’s not something going on. If you need to talk to me, then you should do it. I’m listening and I’ll help, but I refuse to entertain such talk.”

My words weren’t really that carefully curated. They just fell straight from my brain and I was left to just sit there and receive the backlash he was about to give me.

“Stop being such a freakin’ drama queen. Just keep quiet and stop worrying about things that aren’t really there.”

The words dropped on me like bombshells and pounded me. ‘Till this day I still don’t know if it was the icy stare or his tone of voice that hurt me, but all I do know is that both our words weren’t carefully curated at all.

So, the night went on and I was still left disturbed by the conversation.

The Monday afternoon was the last physical written talk we ever had. Our last texts were me joking about him still being alive and him joking back saying “it’s just as luck would have it”.

It’s only today that I am left to realise what importance words hold in our lives. When we do not attempt to curate them carefully, we drop hot potatoes to the floor and at the worst throw bombshells towards people we care about the most.

Words hold a powerful, significant and subconscious impact on our brains even long after they have been spoken. Not a lot of us realise this and as a result people have been left broken, hurt and shattered due to the wrongs words having been spoken.

In this day and age where hatred, sadness, hurt and pain are precursors to every day we roam this planet, we need to start finding a balance in curating the words we speak a bit more carefully. Maybe this is just me thinking wishfully, but I’d love to see us a human race curate the crap that comes out of our mouths at times…

*sigh* In a perfect world hey…

Choices are like dog poop…

[20 weeks]

Today, a memory from my childhood came up to me again as I was walking home from the train station.

A fond memory I’ll always have of my dad is that he loves reading. As a child, I would creep up behind his back and peer over the pages of the book he was reading, just to share in the wonderful wonderland he was constantly escaping to.

One school holiday, my dad had this book laying on his stack. It was thick and I knew I would never be able to finish it in time before he’d have to return it to the library. Nonetheless, I picked it up, perched myself against the wall of his study and started reading.

The tale was of a young Russian prince who was out exploring the kingdom on his horse. In the intro, he describes this bird made of fire and ice. When it was winter, it would heat up and burst into flames, protecting their land. In the summer, it would cool down and give shelter to the crops.

One sentence I’ll never forget from this prologue, was a phrase the kingdom had adopted to suit the behavior of this bird: Adapt to survive and stand tall.

So, for the last three hours this phrase has been stuck with me. Not being able to escape the maze that is my head. It made a lot of sense. After all, we as humans have been blessed with the curse of choice. Everything in life is a series of choices. Choices we get to control and make.

Whilst everything in these past 20 weeks has been the most worst experiences of my life so far, I’ve come to learn that we all have a choice when it comes to dealing with grief. We can either have it destroy us, or we can survive, adapt and stand tall.

Something that still baffles me is that we as humans have the ability of free choice.

We get to decide our paths, our futures and our circumstances.

I know my previous post was not a very positive one… Here I have to hang my head in shame to my followers and readers.

But, I’ve since had some time to be quiet, reflect and realise some things.

Sometimes, we are not left to deal with our own choices, but others as well. And it’s not sometimes a choice we necessarily wanted to deal with or agreed with.

As the quote said: Survive and adapt.

Just as the ever changing landscape of life with it’s intricate choices doesn’t allow much space for us to sit down and throw and hissy fit, we just have to buck up and adapt to survive.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: Never forget that the right of choice is a privilege is a gift life has extended to you. Although you might be roped into others choices, you still have the right to control what you decide after that.

Also: Choices come in various forms which ranges from Easy as Pie to Slaying the Basalisk-difficult. Life has not extended a manual to us which helps these choices to be made with ease. Some choices are made with good or bad intentions and can go either way. Yes. Life’s an asshole for not extending a manual, right?

Still, in this masterclass, learning a lesson through a bad or good choice, you’ll always get to carry a lesson with you. A lesson you again get to share with the rest of the world.

Remember: Survive and adapt. Stand tall and change your circumstances – you have the choice to lead your life where you need to be. But never sit back and exclaim you didn’t have a choice. You’re just screwing yourself over. Big time.

In this case, the choice is simple: Choose to be in control of your decisions.

Seemingly, choices are like stepping in dog poop. You either step in it pretty deep and you’re screwed, and you complain all the way, whilst stinking up everywhere you step once you get out of it. Or you face the fact that you’ve stepped in it, get out of it, scrape it off your shoes and avoid the next puddle of crap in your way…

🍃

It’s not fair.

[R* 19 weeks – Tamzin* 8 days]

It’s not fair.

This sentence has been on repeat in my head for the past week. Like a stubborn mule, I’ve not moved past these words and I’ve been muttering them silently during the day and screaming them in my sleep.

It’s not fair.

Last week, a dear friend passed away in a car accident.

Tamzin was truly one of the people on this earth you could point to and say: There goes a beautiful soul. And so this beautiful soul was ripped away from us by a tragic course of circumstances that has left everyone asking why it had to happen to her.

To me, it was not fair. Tamzin was such a vibrant soul. She wanted to celebrate her life on this planet and experience as much of it as she could. For her not having this opportunity, shakes the pieces of my already broken heart.

What breaks my heart even further is the loss her parents, closest friends and loved ones have to endure right now. Seeing them all pouring their hearts out on Facebook rips at me.

It’s really not fair.

During her funeral today, I was reminded of how Tamzin lit up a room with her smile and presence, what an example she set to many and the love she carried with her being a moral compass to all who shared in her life. For Earth to lose someone like this was indeed a tragic loss and one that could understandably not be comprehended.

A while ago, I blogged about a tale from my childhood in which my mother use to tell me that people who pass away are recruited as guardian angels. This tale had been a saving grace for me after my boyfriend passed away four months ago, and with Tamzin passing, it rolled around again to remind me that we are all on borrowed time on this planet.

For one moment you could be laughing with someone and the next they might not be here… It’s a scary realisation when you’ve had to say goodbye to a few people in the last couple of years…

After a while, you fear the next phone call or message coming through on your phone, as you wonder who is gone now. I know I’ve certainly come to stop breathing when my phone rings or a message comes through on my phone…

I know all of my blog posts usually have a silver lining at the end. It’s what makes my posts unique. But, this post won’t have a silver lining.

Instead, I’ll just say again: It’s not fair.

Cause we all know it is not fair that this planet is a bit more dull now that we’ve lost another beautiful soul.

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Autopilot

[17 weeks]

I kept slamming at the dashboard. The light that indicated my plane was on autopilot had gone out and it was freaking the living crap out of me. Slamming the dashboard didn’t help and it sure as hell didn’t calm me down. It’s when the thought struck me: This is all on me now.

Using the metaphor of a plane on autopilot has been the best way to describe my life after R passed away in May. It was like a force of some kind had taken over my body and mind and had been directing me in the right way and making sane decisions that I wouldn’t ordinarily make under these circumstances.

Now, 17 weeks into this stint, my body had decided to leave the autopilot function behind. And it was becoming a torment and hell of its own.

Whilst on autopilot everything seemed more calm and collected than it was right now. Which to me and maybe to you could seem weird. Right after someone passes away, you shouldn’t be in the calm of the storm. The storm should be ripping you to shreds and tearing every inch of you apart.

Now, after I’ve been left to pilot my own plane, it seems to me like I’ve been thrown smack dab into the middle of another storm.

Whilst R’s death has its own set of crisis and issues I’ve had to deal with, my life crept on forward. And that creeping action brought along more and more layers of crisis’ and issues to deal with upon everything else. In this storm, I was swerving from left to right just to avoid hitting something or causing damage.

Let me not lie: this was tiring. Exhausting. Straining.

At this moment in time, I felt really defeated. It was not like me to just sit down and claim that I’ve been beaten to the side, but it was growing more harsher to get by every single day, fearing at the same time that something might happen to add to the growing pile of bulltwang.

My plane, with damage to its exterior, hull, engines and fuel line was still miraculously in the air. Despite all my problems and the storm raging on around me.

While I was claiming “defeat”, I’d not noticed my plane still powering ahead. Why was I so hung up over a stupid “autopilot” phase?

Fine, It might have been less painful back then and I was wrapped in layers of wool and cotton to be protected from the world. But, why would I wanted to hung up over a phase where I didn’t really register what was going on around me and act like a robot. This was not what life is about. Life is about living, through all the bumps and nicks.

Although I’m no expert pilot, I’ve managed to keep powering ahead in the storms heading my way and I have a sinking feeling that I will continue powering my way through these storms, till I’m back in the sunlight and ready to face the world.

Lesser to the fact that Indiana Jones has nothing on me, I know this chapter in my life will just be one I’ll look back at in a few years and realise what lessons I need to take out of this.

For now, I’ll get up on my feet and not admit defeat.

As for Life’s punches: She hits like a little bitch. I’m ready to hit back. Or even, while I’m on the ground, I’ll tie his shoelaces together and watch him fall flat on his face.

I won’t go down that easy.

fangirl me~