Refusing to put the light on because I didn’t want to be alert enough not to be able to resume the glorious slumber I had been enjoying before, I stumbled to the bathroom to well, expel the demon was causing the stomach cramps that had awoken me. Muttering to myself about the wee hours of a Wednesday morning being a crap time for a bowel movement. I heard a kind of scratchy sound, which I attributed to my medication not being completely absorbed into my system.Continue reading
Time in a Bottle
So, Charlie, knowing that I was saving for a bottle of perfume I’ve wanted ever since Granny fell of the bus, gave me money for my upcoming birthday before he left to go back to work. The notes were safely packed away in my underwear drawer. I also told all my friends that if they wanted to get me something, money or a gift certificate from the perfume stockist would be much appreciated. During this week, I found out the stockist had all beauty products, including their perfume range on a 20% discount, so I charged there as quickly as I could after work, only to be told, Sorry Ma’am, but we are sold out and have not reordered. I left there, deflated and irritable. I’ve wanted this perfume for almost twenty years – that’s how long it hasn’t been available in South Africa! Yes, I searched online during that time too, and found many perfumes by the designer, but not the one.
Turns out that thing about one door closing means another one opens is sometimes true. In this case, I found the same perfume (in a smaller size) online. Placed the order and received it the very next day. I haven’t been so excited to receive a parcel in ages; I nearly tackled the delivery man.
The instant I saw the box, I smiled and the moment I retrieved the bottle from the box and removed the top and smelled the familiar scent, my olfactory sense took me back in time to some happy memories.
I received the bottle of perfume as a Christmas gift from The Toppie’s stepfather the Christmas before my final year of high school. I often wore it on a Friday or Saturday night when Cousin Lara and I would go dancing at the local haunt. I also wore it for my first formal red-carpet event: my matric farewell/senior prom. I remember feeling so grown up in my black evening dress. My shoes were slightly scuffed; already well worn-in from the weekly langarm’ing*, which was a blessing, because the last thing I wanted on that Magic Arabian Night, was aching feet.
I used the last droplets on my 21st birthday, which was a fun event in its own right, because it was a whole weekend of celebration. The Friday night, my at-the-time-boyfriend, Joe, drove me home and hit a bump, which claimed my car’s exhaust as a trophy. The next morning when we started it, it sounded like a John Deere on steroids.
I think it’s only fitting that as the dawn of a new decade awaits, with much of it unknown, unfamiliar and a little scary, I have something familiar to keep me company and take me time-travelling when things are a little daunting to deal with.
Thank you Charlie, and thank you, Oscar de la Renta!
Not Even Death can Kill a Forever Love
I’m in a philosophical mood, a little melancholy too. Chalk it down to conversations I’ve been having-, or the books I’ve been reading of late, being a little tired again, the chill of winter, or simply because my brain needs something to think about.
I saw Harriet on Friday after work. We spoke about a few things and somehow Paul came up. I haven’t spoken about him in a very long time, literally years. It was bittersweet to reminisce about the memories I had made with him. I still listen to Leonard Cohen’s music, Hallelujah in particular, and a memory will escape from my eyes down my cheek. I know we would never have ended up together, but as I spoke, I wondered what he’d be doing now if Death hadn’t come to take him.
I went to the farm on Saturday to spend some time with Shayla-Rae, her husband (who is jokingly referred to as my skelmpie – which loosely translated implies that we’re having an affair), my precious Godchild, Lily-Rose, and SR’s mum. SR’s dad exchanged this world for Another four years ago, yet when here mum talks about him, it’s clear that her heart aches still for him. They were together for forty-seven years. That’s longer than I’ve been alive!
SR’s grandmother, Granny Wood, who turns 100 in October this year (yes, she will be a centenarian!) also remembers her late husband with fond tears and smiles. She regales tales of their time together with crystal clarity, despite her mind being addled by dementia that is setting in.
Now, in SR’s mum and Gran’s case, they married young (as was custom) so I’m not sure if they’d had the opportunities to meet more than the one or two men they did before they settled down into marriage if they would have said they experienced love more than once. For them it was a case of One Great Love, their Forever Love.
I’ve not dated many blokes either (my track record with the opposite sex has been nothing short of disastrous!), but I’ve loved more than once, and I mean greatly loved. The sad thing though is that as boundless as I can love, it never seems to be enough.
I know that just because it’s what I feel, doesn’t make it true, but it’s on my mind and I’m getting it out because topping (overthinking) about my worth to others (which is a huge thing for me) is not going to do me any good in this state of mind.
In the meantime, I’ll console myself that not even death’s sting can conquer forever love.
Oh, and just a side note, my brain is getting food tonight… Elena and I are going for sushi!
Who knows what this Misfit’s fed brain will come up with next?
I guess y’all just have to wait and see 😉
Gracious Old Soul
I have a few photos on my fridge; Happy Memories – Carmen & Ewan’s wedding invitation, Mary and Martin’s too. Sandra in her bikini on the one day years ago in December that I ventured out to the waterpark with her (and learning that I’m not as young as I thought I was!), Jack and I when I still had my braces (at 28!), an outing to a local wildlife ranch ages ago with The Bean and Aunty Carol one Mother’s Day (when The Toppie was still working); Lesley was with us that day, having lost her mother shortly before, so there is a photo of the two of us too, and another photo of Charlie and I, taken last year at the same place. There are photos too of Aunty Carol, Uncle Barry, The Toppie, The Bean and I taken while we waited to board a passenger liner for a holiday, one of Elizabeth and her two sisters taken at Lesley’s wedding (which was on my 33rd birthday), Emma, Nathan and I at his 40th, and one of my precious little Mouse (which is the nickname I have given to my beautiful godchild, Lily-Rose).
Now, I see these photos every day, but honestly, I don’t notice them anymore. Except this morning I did, and my Mouse’s smiling face transported me back to the day she was christened, December 10th, 2017 – and the message the minister gave that day: What’s in a Name? Your Name…
I’ve thought a while about putting my real name here, and for the sake of this entry being authentic, I’ve decided to do so.
Hello World, my name is Priscilla Anne. If The Bean had had her way I would have been Avril.
I never liked my name, until I realized that its meaning is spot on – Priscilla means “Of Olden Times” and Anne means “Grace”. Avril means “Opening buds of Spring; born in April”. The Bean sent my biological father (aka The Sperm Donor) to register me, and he came back telling her, “her name’s Priscilla Anne”. For the record I was born in September, on the Equinox, so Avril clearly was never meant to be, although I doubt The Sperm Donor had the savvy to research any name meanings. Avril though to me is worse, because in my warped mind I hear a tinny-airport-announcer-intercom-voice saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts as we prepare our descent. Thank you for flying Avril airlines.
When I decided to start this blog years ago, Reflections of a Misfit just popped into my head and it stuck. I still have difficulty sometimes accepting that people see me differently (and I mean that in the most positive sense) than I do when I see my reflection in the mirror. I’m the piece of the puzzle that doesn’t quite fit, quite literally a Misfit, but my given names are perfectly suited to the person I am – I am an Old Soul, who has Grace with everyone, often at the expense of myself (but I’m working on that as part of my therapy).
Thinking back to Lily-Rose’s christening, the reading was Isaiah 43:1.
The minister explained that each of us have a name (some of us even the same one), but that our given names have meaning and speak to who we are, and that God knew what our names would be, long before our parents even knew of our existence, referring to Jeremiah 1:5.
Today when I looked at how happy little Mouse is in the photo on my fridge, it stirred something within me, and that is that this Gracious Old Soul is loved and cared for, not only by the earthly angels that I am surrounded by, but by God too.
There’s comfort in that 🙂
Inspiration to Travel Down Memory Lane
Last night I was reading The Brain Bleacher, the final short story in the second Sticky Fingers anthology by JT Lawrence, with whom I was at school with for a short time before moving to Mossel Bay.
I was chatting with Charlie after I’d finished the book, and said to him that one day I will write like that – as in short stories, because while I know I have a writing gift, I do not possess the mad skills to weave a tale in a limited amount of words that grabs you from the word go. JTL just has it.
One quote in the story above really resonated with me: “While a memory is a mental snapshot of a moment, it carries with it layers of emotion and texture and scent.”
It reminded me of quite a few mental snapshots and something my colleague, Carla and I discussed when we spent a girls’ night away at a local lodge about three years ago one November weekend. She said when she looks back in time, she doesn’t necessary remember the things that were around her at a time, but she does remember the smell of the air, or the warmth of the sun on her skin, or the song in the breeze; most importantly she remembers how she felt in that moment. Thinking about that outing, I remember being stretched out on a long wooden deck chair, with a book listening to the trickle of the stream nearby. While I don’t remember the title of the book, I remember the feel of the parchment between my fingers and the smell of the ink. I remember feeling completely content, even if only for a few fleeting moments.
Another memory that popped into my mind was our visits to Mossel Bay when I was a child. The Bean and I would catch the train from Johannesburg and travel to visit my matriarchal grandparents and all the aunts, uncles and cousins. The one olfactory memory I have of these journeys is pulling into the station and smelling the oceanic saltiness in the air – a world removed from the Johannesburg smog that enveloped us during our time in that concrete jungle. I remember loving the feel of the sea sand between my toes and being bribed out of the freezing cold water with what was probably an even colder ice-cream cone.
I recalled other memories too – and with focus on the emotions, texture and scent, I was transported back to those moments in time, and it felt as if I was there again.
In one, I felt the gooseflesh rise at the receipt of a gentle touch in a tender moment, even though my heart was racing with uncertainty and angst and flaming desire at the same time.
In another, I felt the dread and horrific realization induced by the smell of burnt chicken (I won’t live it down either, I promise!)
In another I was warmed by the soft heat of a gas heater with the fairy-tale lights of a Cape Town Waterfront Christmas display to illuminate my friend, Andrew’s face as we caught up five years’ worth of news over a chocolate-berry-spiced red wine and lekker South African fare. I also remember the indigestion that followed shortly after seeing the bill.
In another I remember sitting against the trunk of a tree, after a particularly trying parkrun. My hair was plastered to my forehead with glue-au-de-perspiration and my breathing was laboured, so much so I’m sure I could have given The Big Bad Wolf a run for his money (bacon, anyone?). A woman approached me asking about Herbalife (yes, I was branded for the walk – not my finest advertising moment) and we got chatting. Eighteen months later, that woman, Harriet, is one of my closest friends. I haven’t been able to do our routed parkrun since though because of my bum knee.
I could reminisce like this for hours, and I think each day I shall get in my time machine and take myself back to at least one happy (or funny) memory – where I can relieve the sensation, feel the grain, and inhale the fragrance of times gone by. And sure, sometimes it’s necessary to revisit the sad and bad memories, to remind oneself how far you’ve come, but for the most part, I want to simply revisit the happy times, filled with laughter, hope, friendship, family and most importantly the love that surrounds all those things.
So, here’s to joyous recollections, all inspired by a single line, from an incredible book.
Cheers to you JTL! I aspire to be an author like you. You are a creative genius and an absolute legend.
I Need YOUR Help! Yes, You!
I should write more. That’s the consensus among the close friends I have that read my blog. It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s more a case of The Muse being a bigger hibernator than I am. But, they’re right *sssshhhh don’t tell them I said that*; I’m not doing what I love on a daily basis.
In an attempt to write more, an in so doing, pursue my passion – whether poetry, prose or anecdotes – I’m going to need help. Please would every one of you that reads this particular entry, leave a comment of what you’d like me to write about – it can be anything – I will do my utmost best to do right by you.
So, who’s first?
Desiderata: A Memory
It’s funny how some things are stored in one’s memory bank without your even knowing. Many years ago, I was at an all girls’ school in the town of Potchefstroom, in the North-West Province of South Africa. In the beginning I hated it, but once I’d made friends, I grew to love it. Some of my fondest memories were made in those grounds and some of the friendships forged, still live on today. Had I been able to make a decision on my high school career, I would have opted to stay in boarding school until my final year.
During my time there, I had many friends, but three in particular really touched my heart, Remy, Kendra and Astrid. The four of us were almost inseparable – the proverbial awesome foursome, if you will. A quarter of a century down the line and we’re all still in touch, thanks to the wonder of social media. Add siblings to this mix, and you have a whatsapp group called Twisted Sisters.
Remy’s mom in particular, Aunty Ang, was always open to having her children’s friends over for sleepovers on weekends or for sarmies after school. I remember Aunty Ang with great fondness. She had the gentlest blue eyes and a soft voice that could calm even the testiest teenager. My last visit with her, in the late ‘90’s she whupped my ass at Scrabble numerous times. Sadly, she contracted cancer and lost her battle with the awful disease.
During our visits to Remy’s house, Aunty Ang would always sit in her chair in the living room and behind it hung Desiderata, printed on a black velvet-like material, with rose-gold-coloured lettering. I never took the time to actually read it, but when it came up in my FB newsfeed today, I thought I should share the memory and the poem, (which I discovered was written by Max Ehrmann, in 1952) itself with you, because it contains some great life advice.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.”
As I write this post and read these wise words, I am grateful for the privilege of having known Aunty Ang, if only for a short time, and for the memories I have of her and the friendships I have with Remy, and by default, her siblings, Carin and Shelley.
From Semi Good, to Good…
…I am truly blessed with wonderful friends – who are supportive beyond description, and who I often fail to appreciate enough.
A number of my friends sent me touching text messages after the darkness gripped my soul on Monday night – a dreadfully lonely feeling engulfed me and I did something I haven’t in years – I cried myself to sleep. My mind was racing with all sorts of negative emotions, that it was the only outlet that I could make use of.
Last night Mom, Dad and I went to Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry’s house for dinner – fresh fish, chips and coleslaw (which I made). It was a lovely evening, so we dined outside. When we got home, I had a chat with Jay – the issue between us has been resolved, which I am truly relieved about. He was my shoulder to cry on last night about a number of things that have been plaguing me the past couple of days. He listened, offered advice and asked the right questions to provoke me into thinking a bit differently.
I woke up this morning feeling like a bit of a zombie, but that is because I have started drinking my prescription sleeping meds again – just ’til I can sleep through again. I plonked myself in front of the PC to check my mail; hoping, wishing, praying that there would be something about employment there, but alas…Instead I got the results from my fifth novel-writing assignment. I scored a whopping 95%! With this high mark, my average is now running at 91%. I am so proud of myself. Now, if I could find something freelance to get my foot in the door, it would be wonderful, but I have no idea where to start.
Looks like things may be starting to look up a bit 🙂 On the upside, things could be a lot worse. I need to learn to be thankful for the blessings bestowed upon me every day.
On a totally different subject, another blogger commented on the sign at the strawberry farm I posted earlier. This is a sign I took a pic of – it is on the toilet door at a restaurant at a farm stall just outside the lovely town of Robertson.