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.

 

 

Reflections

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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.

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 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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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.

Caution – Landmine ahead

In a blur, almost 31 days of the first month of 2015 had passed by and I was still reeling and trying to hold on for dear life. This year had started with a bang and
I was probably still in perpetual bomb shock from the event. It still didn’t seem like a month later. Wasn’t it still New Year’s Eve?

Facing a stark reality, I was facing another one that was looming around the corner: Valentine’s Day. February the 14’th was less than a month away and in my current state this was even more of a shock to me. The day I had been fearing is rapidly approaching and I had no idea to cope with with might come, follow or happen on that doomed day.

A year ago I was in a relationship, happy, content and enjoying the company of the most wonderful guy. Now, I’m “widowed”, alone and partying up a storm around town. What a stark constrast and a prospect that could have anyone facing Valentine’s Day in the face think of emptying a bar just to numb the pain.

Fuck.

It’s 8 months later since R passed away and after a brief hiatus I’m back on the blogosphere to type away my feelings. Since my previous blog, lots has changed up inside my head. The emotional rollercoaster I’m still on seemed to have reached a brief pause and everything I was feeling has slipped away into thin air. The anger and resentment has now moved out momentarily and made place for a little of the Old David to just reclaim some normalcy and stability to his life. My life.

Somehow this had become my window to the world around me, magnifying it’s gaze on the empty shell that has been left to fend for itself since R comitted suicide. For the first time in a while I was asking myself: What is it you’re planning on doing now? A question with no easy answer, but one I was willing to investigate for sure.

This whole new outlook had something to do with the fact that it was a new year where I could embrace some sort of new beginning and leave a huge chunk of what had happened last year in the past and start writing off that chapter as a loss. Although I have not made much progress on adopting a new plan, New Year – New David, I had begun thinking what it is I want to get out of this new year and that alone seems good enough to me. The actual challenge was now to put this over in actions…

But why was I mortified by Valentine’s Day, you might wonder. Well… It’s not the fact that I’d be spending it alone as so much as being reminded of the fact that I was with R last year and now I’m not. It felt to me as if this reminder alone would halter the plans I was trying to put into motion to move on and reclaim a bit of my life back.

In each time period, there was a certain event or date that would seem like a landmine in my road to reclaiming myself, that would pop up and blow up in my face and also blow up any progress I’ve made. Each time I was left to just pick myself and the pieces of my heart that I had been carrying around and just try and venture on again.

You might notice why I’m scared shitless of Valentine’s Day aproaching… This progress I’ve made, that was so valuable to me, was going to be blown to smithereens and I would have to head back to the drawing board again, just to have the next big reminder and date explode in my face.

Another startling realisation: I’ve hence become scared of living. Hideaways and secret forts has become my solitude, keeping me safe and cushioning the nasty blow
each time. But, being so safe each time is what has been irritating me and pushing me to start making new plans and think of myself again. Was I being a misogynist? Was I doing this to myself and was I stuck in a viscious circle?

What I knew was: I hated being safe and hiding, making excuses and lying.

All I wanted and needed to do was to wear my scars with pride and keep my head held high. And with each landmine, I just need to keep going and leave whatever plans and progress I’ve made that’s been blow to pieces and just keep rolling with the punches.

It was maybe easier said than done, but I was done of hiding from life.

Life, with it’s drama’s, up’s, down’s and flair was something I was missing out on and the one thing I cried about really hard these last few weeks. I’ve mourned a dead boyfriend – I didn’t want to mourn the loss of my life as well.

I miss him…

[23 weeks]

I’ll never be able to feel his arms around me. Hugging me so hard that it almost felt like he was trying to put all of the broken pieces together again.

I’ll never hear him laugh again. Never hear him jokingly calling my name or sucker punching me if I made a lame remark.

I’ll never see him again.

It may be five months late, but the pain still hasn’t lessened and it hasn’t lessened as much as when I come to realisations like these.

And to make matters worse: As much as I hated R for leaving me behind, I still love him so much. I’ve watched countless Disney movies, but none of them have ever had a curse as powerful as this: one where you could hate someone with everything in you, but at the same time be able to love them with every last shred of light in you.

Of course, the second I heard he had passed, I started missing him. It was like all the cells in my body were inching to be with his and started aching when it couldn’t find his. And about 23 weeks later, it’s still not much less of a challenge to control the surmountable pain I experience when I accidentally think of him.

What isn’t much of a challenge though, is making the words: “I miss him”, become background noise in my head. Even when I think of him and the longing to be with him flares up, it’s not as bad as when I realise that he’s not here and won’t be returning anytime soon.

23 weeks later it’s becoming more of an occurrence where I started feeling him drift into the nothingness inside of my mind. In clinging onto him and his memory for dear life, my own mind had begun fooling me by shrouding some of the memories of him into becoming vague pieces and fragments my mind couldn’t conjure up anymore.

This in it’s own was a longing I couldn’t explain. A longing to just have one good memory that wasn’t cloudy or vague.

Even though I keep building sandcastles in my mind, imagining him to be alive and living his life, there are times Life has a funny way of reminding me that he had passed away and then I was stuck with this new, all too familiar feeling, of missing him.

After 5 months, I don’t know what else to do but miss him.

Crying won’t bring him back. Being angry wouldn’t bring him back. Hating him wouldn’t help. Would missing him help me?

All I know is, I’ve never longed to touch his hand or hug him one last time more than in these last few days. And I hope he knows how much I miss him.

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