Ruin

As a young boy I loved delving into our bookshelves at home. My parents didn’t love me rummaging through our prized set of encyclopedias, but I didn’t care for much of it.

I remember how one particular day, a typical Cape Town-storm brewing outside, I was hunched in a nest of blankets and pillows in my room pouring over the pyramids of Egypt. For hours I stared at the pictures, trying to imagine how these behemoth structures were erected and ’till this day stand tall, peering over Egypt’s deserts and cloaking the tourists in their shadows or bathing them in sunlight.

One piece from the caption an illustration still stays with me today: “These ruins stand preserved as beautiful structures, being one of the most enigmatic, yet breathtaking modern wonders of this world.”

So, my fellow bloggers, ruin… How can ruin be beautiful?

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The realisation

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You’ll remember a few posts ago how I was telling you about the new person I met. The person who was able to restore my broken heart after the superstorm of R who took his own life and left me to deal with the aftermath of it all.

J… The one to put a flicker in my dying heart.

As the story goes, J and I both had a huge falling out and things just continued to spiral out of control. It was something ugly – tearing our hearts apart. Neither one of us meant it, but neither one of us really knew how to really deal with this.

So, this past weekend, J came to Cape Town again. After I pleaded one last time for him to fight for me, he hopped onto a plane to come fight for me.

Seeing him again, felt good. It felt like I was back home, in a safe space. Like I was where I needed to be. Where I was meant to be.

This all didn’t last.

As later the evening, during a Halloween party, I got a little bit drunk and saw him talking to someone else. A jealous rage swept over me like a red mist and before my tongue could stop itself, I was lashing out towards him. Blaming him for the mistakes of R’s infidelity (a story I will get to another time). It was irrational. He saw it, sat me down and tried to break through the walls I had built around myself these past months. After telling me how hard it was being around me when I was closed off, shutting people out and hurting people by being a stone wall slowly crumbling under the pressure of everyone’s troubles on my shoulders and more importantly my own troubles that I reflect inwards… I realised how bad it really was.

It wasn’t ’till he told me how R’s cloud had followed us from Day 1 and that he couldn’t compete with a dead man anymore, that I lost it. A little something inside me died and I got up. Luckily, my two friends Ancomien and Mienke, were at hand to intervene. Mienke stayed behind to talk to J and Ancomien swept a frantic, panicked me away.

Guys, I don’t remember much. All I know is that I had what could best be described as a meltdown. Soon, my friends also started telling me how they were tired of me not relying on them and slowly fading away in front of their eyes… I on the other hand, kept crying hysterically, feeling every emotion in me slipping away.

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The next 24 hours was spent with loved ones intervening.

On Sunday evening, J and I made a mutual decision to not force anything now, and that it would be best if I went to heal myself and that I stay away from him, to stop hurting him on the jagged edges of my heart. This on its own hurt me beyond words and broke the last broken pieces of my heart into dust.

Ultimately, as I laid in bed that evening, I realised that I was never okay. I was not over everything. I had never accepted what had happened to me. And I was losing a lot more than my life… My friends were ready to call quits on me (even though they love me too much to say that me).


And now?

I’ve been on pretty strong tranquilizers since Sunday.

The emotions are all gone from me for now. I think they symbolically left with my tears and washed away. I really do feel empty, for the first time in a while, I really am scared of how empty I feel.

It was one huge mistake. Me, taking everything that happened, the unresolved issues, emotions, pain, hurt, sorrow and plastering them up behind the walls in my head. The biggest lie I have told myself to thus far hasn’t been that R might still be alive, but it was that I was okay with everything and over it all. I was so desperate to be okay again, to be someone who I once remember in passing or even remotely a version of something that I could be okay with. In plastering all those stuff up behind a wall in my head, I did the greatest injustice to myself.

After my friends and people who love me walked in with sledgehammers, looking for that one wall where everything was hidden behind, I’m literally left in ruin now. I needed to be saved from myself. Guys, the worst thing is having being saved from yourself by friends.

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Ruin

Hi everyone, I’m David. And my life is in ruin.

The first step to me getting better and healing is for me to admit this.

Right now, like those pyramids in Egypt, I’m in ruin, but still standing. I’m a beautiful mess. And the great thing about a beautiful mess is that you can either choose to gather your mistakes and carry on forward and be who you are now or you can wipe the entire slate clean and start a new.

As I mentioned, my blog is going to go onto a new course. And I still stick to that promise. From here on out, no more bars hold. I’m opening the doors of my life wide – it’s time for a major spring cleaning and I’d like to invite all of you to walk with me.

For the one thing that ties all of us together is that we all feel pain. We’ve all been through hardships, broken hearts, loss and grief. And we’ve all stood up from ruin to either rebuild our lives.

Let this serve as a reminder to us all – never, EVER, convince yourself you’re okay and then try to bury non-resolved feelings and emotions. Face your demons, fight them and move on to the next battle.

And this time – I won’t lie to anyone again. I refuse to be the Boy Who Cried Wolf. I’m not okay and I’m okay with that. Because I know I have amazing people in my life and supportive readers who will see me through this hardship.

Upwards and onward.

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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.

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…

Dream a little dream of me…

[26 weeks]

There was an intense stare. The words reverberated through me. My heart was racing and my fists were clenching tighter. It was a fight that had started for some absurd reason, but it seemed like it had a purpose. Like it was happening for the right reason and that whatever was being said, needed to be said. His eyes hit mine again, trying to stare me down. I remember them, the same way as they stared me down the last time we had an intense fight.

I shook violently awake. It was a dream. A nightmare? It was a dream. I tried calming myself, but it was 03:00 in the morning and the darkness, tears rolling down my cheeks and the emotions flooding over me that was far more overpowering than me seeking refuge from calamity.

This was not the first dream I had of R. But it was the first dream in which we violently fought over everything that had happened. It seemed so real to me that even as I sat in the dark room, breath racing, crying, I felt like he was there beside me. Waiting for me to retort and him to dish out the next argument.

I laid my head back down. It didn’t help to lull myself to sleep. The damage had been done. I stared at the ceiling. I suddenly longed back to the glow in the dark stars I had stuck to it when I was younger. They always calmed me down…

The next morning I hopped onto the train. I could feel the dream still rattling on my cage. I couldn’t remember what we were fighting about. It was like I knew we fought, but my brain was somehow cocooning me against the already painful experience of a ‘fight’. As I sat down in the seat, and I looked out of the window, my tired brain lost it’s grip and I got a flashback from the dream.

I wasn’t fighting at full strength. The hatred was there. Anger was plenty and the resent was flowing over the cup. But, somehow I knew it still wasn’t the full capacity at which I wanted to fight with against R’s decision to end his life. Something was keeping me back. I also saw how I let him march over me and try and pilot my feelings and arguments. I shook my head as to physically try and force the flashback to dream out of my head.

An entire day was spent on the dream. Analyzing it. Analyzing it some more. Trying to put it out of my mind. Trying to remember some more.

That night, I got home and felt like I had just ran a marathon. Plopping myself down on my bed, I started once again at the ceiling.

Before I closed my eyes I took in a deep breath, jumbled the words I wanted to say around in my head and summoned the courage to talk to R.

Surely enough, I was choking the words out.

It was like a steam engine. At some point, I was gasping for air and I felt a bit stupid that I was talking to the walls and expecting my dead boyfriend to listen and hear me. But, I powered on.

When I was done, I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

This time, I dreamt I was walking along the V&A Waterfront and browsing the stores. Soon enough I spotted R in the dream. He was sitting on the docks looking over the water. I was hesitant to go talk to him. I didn’t go talk to him. I left him on the docks…

I still feel guilty to a great extent for not being there enough for R before everything went down. That he might have been throwing so much signs my way and been crying for help and I just chose to turn a blind eye. In a way, this guilt wracks me and I don’t know how to cope with it.

I just wish I could turn back time and make more of an effort.

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Denial: It’s not just a river in Egypt…

[9 weeks]

All aboard the Denial Express. Last call for you to board under the huge banner of avoidance that is clouding your life. Thrust all baggage down onto the docks and bring along only your best running shoes and amnesic tendencies.

The above might easily be how my life is advertising itself at this moment in time.
Denial has become the number one element to my survival after R’s death, and in a way it’s not working for me anymore.

You see, I really love hiding under the banner of avoidance when things become to hard in life.

When I was younger, I hid under the bed if things got bad at home. When I was a teenager, I hid myself in loud music and the magical universe of books if turmoil was brewing. And as a young adult, the banner of avoidance involves psychological warfare, countless nights out on the town, chasing down ideas and thoughts that take me nowhere and a bottle or two of red wine.

Denying to myself that R had passed away, was probably normal. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross defined the six stages of grief during her years of working with terminally ill patients, and listed “denial” as one of the stages. As far as Elizabeth was concerned, my life was dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s. But to me, it felt like pure insanity and madness that I was denying the one fact that was more black and white than a 1940’s television set.

Whilst aboard the SS Denial, it was way better to cope with life and the bystanders who still treated me like a fragile porcelain doll who already had a few nicks and cracks away. It was far easier to believe that R was alive and that the looks I were getting from people were due to a questionable fashion sense of the day. Just facing the nasty truth was too much admin and heaviness to bear…

But, we all know that in life you don’t get to avoid and deny things that easy. Nope. In a cruel twist of fate, there is always something around every corner to remind you that pretend-time was over and reality was looming.

Still, I had the audacity to take the shot gun and shoot reality in between the eyes every time it came in and dared rip me away from my safe zone. Why was I wasting so much time and energy denying that R’s not here anymore? Honestly? I’m too afraid of what hurt might come as soon as I let that reality creep in through the front door.

Although I’m already numb after the events, I know that this could easily be changed by a new set of feelings. Let it be known: grief is not a pretty thing. It’s a one way train speeding on, wrecking your life in every worst way possible. Luckily, what can be wrecked easily, can also be built up again. But, I’m not close to having all the needed materials to build my life up again.

Grief was still having his way with me and was sneering at me from a distance, letting me know he was not done breaking down barriers. This round belongs to grief and denial. May their love affair not last that long and their divorce be bittersweet…

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