Saturday, 26 July 2014

Travel Diary // A M S T E R D A M

On the ten hour flight from Johannesburg to Amsterdam, I imagined tall, lanky blond Dutch people who cycled around, recycling everything and eating, I don't know, fish paste and asking if I knew Die Antwoord or rode a lion to school. I was almost completely right. What I didn't imagine was how completely in love I would fall with this city.

From the architecture, to how incredibly well-dressed, beautiful and surprisingly diverse the people are, to the shopping, to - I'm at such a loss as to how to aptly describe what was the greatest time of my young life. To describe that I will never feel at such a peace anywhere else again and that if only I could have another three years to explore and love that city, it wouldn't be enough. It would also be shit expensive on my stomach but hella on my calves and quads.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Will You Pour Me One for the Road?

The above blurry, iPhone photograph was taken by a stubborn party-goer who was wearing chinos and a bad attitude about taking un petit photo of me and my girls while also trying to hit on us and perhaps try to take a bad photo of Kelicia (middle) which, as he found out, is scientifically impossible and morally wrong.

This was two days after change-your-hair-change-your-life applied to me (see: weave) and a less than 24 hours before I would prepare to board a plane heading to the greatest two weeks of my life: summer in Europe. Think of this photo as the beginning of Daydream Nation or whatever Indie film where our heroine's all like, "... before everything changed forever."

I've been back in sunny South Africa for almost a week now and I haven't had the courage to write or blog or stay at home all day because that would mean my European summer, my climb up Kilimanjaro if you will, was officially over and that it would all only exist in shared memories and unflattering photographs.

So I've been looking at life before Europe, laughing at how completely different life turned out to be.
I just wanted to show how cute my outfit was - well, at least I felt really cute because I had frilly socks over my tights. Also, my panther jersey never gets to go outside to play. Also, my friend, Kate, made that top five minutes before we had to leave the house. 
So, my little Northern Hemispherites (and, yeah, some of you Southerners), how has your summer (or "summer") been going?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Last Days of Summer

"Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance." - Yoko Ono (I think.)

One (you, me) starts to look at time and things laterally, as simply location. Like, when your gran looks back on a time, she mentions the place first; or how certain things only exist in terms of certain places. Like, you were happy in that townhouse and your baby brother started teething when you were in that gross flat behind the highway. Where as, something my brother mentioned in passing (that I know aren't his words but the sentiment is there), "The question isn't where are we but when are we." The big, ol' fat daddy Time. And nothing makes you more aware of the all-encompassing Self than the changing of seasons and position of the moon.

I. THEY CALL IT FALL
I was woken up one Sunday morning by the rustling of the leaves in the tree behind my bedroom window. I was still fully clothed from the night before and had my phone under my breast. My knees were locked and my back ached from hunching over myself. Before I had time to register the night before or the day ahead, I was hit with that creeping sense of waiting and uncomfortable aloneness that comes with the feeling of waiting, dreading that you get on a Sunday. Usually it comes around 18h00 and you think about the English essay you still need to write. But this wasn't the 'I want to hang myself' weight of a Monday morning. No, this was just waiting. Like, in the beginning of a fantasy/sci-fi film when the a wind howls through the main character's room and they're woken up by just the moonlight. A faceless voice whispers, "It's time." Except that I felt like I was waiting for the moment that it would be time.
That's how I knew summer was over.

II. THE POWER OF WALKING
No one appreciates walking anymore. A boy once told me it was possibly the most redundant form of transportation. He found the whole act of depending on your own feet, leaving it all up to numero uno, to be such a waste of time. I guess he spent so much time by himself that the trip from his house to the gas station for Marlboros was overkill. I'm not so fortunate. And I guess there's a connection between not feeling Self and never walking enough. Maybe that's why the middle-aged, grey cheeked, who spend hours inhaling exhaust fumes and monotony never feel quite at home anywhere. Maybe that's why driving through the yellow tinted suburbia you've known so well strips you of those feelings of independence and grown-upness because the lawns aren't as green and the dogs don't bark like they once did. Maybe that's why the first thing he did after you both exploded over the marble counters and dirty dishes, after you'd cried venom and the door frame shook was walk and walk and walk.
I vow to walk everyday.

III. DESIRE
"I think desire isn't lack, it's surplus energy..." - Chris Kraus, I Love Dick.
I remember reading this earlier in the year, the more rosier of the days before I started to feel grown, and wanting to apply it to everything. Chris describes desire as this sort of claustrophobia, where in desire seems to only fill you up. It's not this want for, need for, quest for more. More and more and more. It's an, 'I need to give and give and give.' I can't be exactly sure that's how I felt because I journaled it three months ago and never revisited it.
I'd recently found myself in a relationship of the romantic sort after declaring myself as emotionally ready and independent and filled with Eartha Kitt goodness and it freaked me out. I abide by the Justin Timblerlakian philosophy of 'what goes around comes around', osmosis, really. So gaining all this energy, this desire (for another person, for moments, for warmth in these bones) would have to mean losing this energy somewhere else. I hate admitting it to myself but it seems like whenever I enter a phase of, I don't know, happiness or contentment I can't create. I worry I'm depending too much on ache to do things or those moments of pity and uncomfortable intospectiveness you go through when you come off of a high to make.
Then Maya Angelou passed and I cried for a death for the first time ever. And I read Toni Morrison's Beloved and in the preface she talks about the day she quit her job and went home to relax and live off of novel royalties. Then she was overcome with this sensation. It was unfamiliar and a little disconcerting at first until she realised that she was, well, happy. Just simply and purely and truly content. Then she wrote Beloved
It's not really desire or pleasure or rose stained glass if you have can'ts. Then you're just passing Time.

IV. PINK DAZE OF YOUTH
I saw something on Tumblr that was along the lines of, "Locate your feelings. Don't analyse. Locate. Are they in your stomach, leg?" It reminded me of an article I'd read (what could've been) weeks or months ago about theories on where certain emotions stem from. 
I think all the hours of making/admiring art, crying into poetry and trying to understand everything about Sofia Coppola films means that I had come to spending a lot of my time trying to analyse feelings. Beat them until they confessed their motives, until they revealed every intention they'd ever had, until I could kick them in the shins and make them leave my bones so I could be self-aware. 
And I guess that's why I'd also grown so disinterested in Instagram and Tumblr and Twitter and, eventually, blogging. It felt like I was beginning to spend a lot of my time watching myself and my thoughts and my feelings instead of just being assured by the fact that all those things are there and that I'm alive in the most exciting time to be a person and that my friends are great, my relationship is wonderful and I have all these beautiful things to look forward to. Journaling and photo-taking just felt like abuse of these moments of 'Strange Magic' I so desperately wanted to keep so that I could look back on an aesthetically pleasing life.
I started a diary then. I was just going to write down a play by play of the things that happened that had some sort of long-lasting impact on me. Be it, Katy calling me 'my boy' with a huge grin the one Monday or when I got invited to a house party by ex-boyfriend (and spent an hour wondering if I was lying to Lilita when I said that I wouldn't go) or how I scribbled Donald Glover's open letter (to himself? The world? His future? Me?) on my bedroom wall. I was just going to have to locate feelings.
I want to look back and enjoy or cringe at these moments once again for what they were. Not the grey balls of putty I would mash and twist and wring out to be whatever I needed them to be.

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