Musical Finds: Another Story

“I hear your voice and it seems as if it was all a dream, I wish it was all a dream.”

Sitting cross-legged, cross-armed, cross-hearted on my bed, listening to this song on repeat and trying to stop it from meaning so much.

It’s been a long weekend, a long 6 months, a long existence. I’ve filled the past few hours with poetry and hardly-known songs in an attempt to feel less exhausted.

“Every time I hear another story
Oh the poor boy lost his head
Everybody feels a little crazy
But we go on living with it”

I am a melancholic, water-colour bullet shell. All my psychedelic shrapnel is lying at my feet – every piece of my cadmium soul has been swallowed and spit out by you. We exploded into a hurricane of colour and tones and this song is currently the only thing to make sense.

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May 29, 2016 · 11:24 pm

You are so much more than this.

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Source: weheartit.com

Friendships are complicated webs. Two people decide they like each other slightly more than they like other people and therefore they entangle their lives in joint memories, shared secrets and a blur of complimentary character traits. As soon as the web is spun, glistening and dewy in the morning light, it’s difficult for it to unravel without someone getting trapped in the chaos of cut strings and unpleasant emotions.

Relationships are slightly trickier. They are more fragile, require more maintenance. Relationships, at least the ones I’ve been in, are made of a more brittle kind of silk than friendship, they’re tenuous and devastating.

Both kinds of interaction are as disastrously beautiful as they are lovingly crushing. They represent the pleasure and pain of what it means to be truly human, I’ve been hurt by both.

The worst thing to deal with, besides for the fall out, is when friendship and relationship blend in a delicate and confusing emotional masterpiece. Especially when circumstances allow for only friendship to grow, where does the lust stop and the platonic begin?

Yesterday I had a leisurely post-lecture, pre-devastation chat with my friend Su. We discussed the positive traits we see in each other and how important they are to our lives, a bit of an uplifting tête-à-tête before exams crush our souls. She told me the one thing I willingly and selflessly give to people, is my time.

I’ve always understood that time for another person is the best thing to give them. I’ve never been the type of person to buy affection – I don’t demand attention with sad stories or gifts. I’m not exactly rolling in cash money. I could be eating 2-minute-noods out of a rusty tin can, or trying to diabolically take over the world with lab rats and soggy cheese rolls and I’d still take 10 minutes out of my day to remind the people I truly love that I am still a happy presence in their lives.

That’s the thing. That’s the snare in the web of friendship/ relationship/ weird hybrid of emotions, I give and I give and I give my time sometimes to people who don’t have a minute to reciprocate it.

That’s the hamartia of this whole thing. The fatal flaw in an otherwise devastating fuck up of fate. My love language is time and the people I waste it on don’t understand that they’re taking the most precious thing I can give them, for granted.

 

I tried to type out the story of why I’m writing this blog post, why I was angry crying at 7 o clock this morning, why it feels like a scalding ball of rage and disappointment has settled in my chest – but I still deeply care for the person this is about, regardless of the imbalance of energy we invest in each other, so I won’t.

I’ll leave it at this. I’ve waited months for a phone call, and the one I got wasn’t nearly as wonderful as I thought it would be. I did a happy dance in the middle of a crowded bar when I found out it was going to happen. I clutched my phone to my chest and beamed around the room whilst assuring the people I was with that I wasn’t getting in too deep, that we’re just friends, that my emotions were not dangling on the promise of a ringtone.

Then everyone around me got to see the heartbreaking plummet of my emotions from ecstatic to disappointed. There was no more happy jigs, my heart stopped clawing its way out of my chest, I stopped beaming and got angry. I’ve never been so angry at someone I care about so much. I never expected to be hurt by someone I put so much faith in.

Su sent me a message about it. She has a wonderful way with words and what she wrote to get me to stop crying made me weep like a small child. I’m talking big fat ugly tears, foetal position, howling.

Forgive her if it does the same to you.

You are so much.

Not too much, but so much.

You are light and rambunctiousness and serendipity with dashes of serenity. You are more than a horny slur at night when someone is too lazy to be decent any other time.

You are a muse. Worth more than dirty words in dark hours and worth more than just a thought.

You deserve the love of legions. And one man who has behaved so cruelly (it is cruel) does not deserve that honour. He doesn’t get to make you feel this way and then let you down so hard.

Darling, you’re more than this and even if he forgets, everyone else remembers. You need to remember that also.

I am so much. I give my time to the people I love. I would spare 10 minutes in the busiest of days if it meant I could add value to my favourite humans on this planet.

I have recieved an apology, it’s going to take time for me to sift through the carnage of the web I got caught in. I’m going to have to figure out how I expect people to treat me and the minutes I give them.

I am complex and caring and a light-stained street of emotions. I can’t afford to settle for less than I deserve.

Neither do any of you.

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I promise this time will be different.

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source: weheartit.com

I am not going to cry when you leave.

I know that’s what you’re expecting, I don’t blame you. All my actions leading up to this point have been emotionally raw. The last time you left we sat at the train station for 45 minutes with my head on your chest, trying to pull ourselves together.

I promise this time will be different.

When you leave, when I finally stop smelling your sweater, stop running my hands through your hair, stop leaning over to kiss you gently on the cheek; I will allow myself one minute to let despair catch up with me. I will clench my fists, breathe deeply and then choose to be happy.

I am going to miss you, my god, I am going to miss you. But as I’ve learnt, my dear, I can not afford to burden you with the responsibility of my happiness. You are a small part of my joy, but you are not the force holding me together. I am my own little hero, I am saving my own little heart.

When you leave, when I stop living in the golden haze that comes with you, I am going to continue studying for my test tomorrow. I am going to wake up early for class, celebrate my birthday with the people I love and read books that I will clutch to my chest, laughing until my breath stops.

When you leave I am still going to sprint down boulevards, yelling after all the devils I’m chasing. I am still going to dance around my bedroom to aggressive banjo solos and obscure bands. I am still going to grin maniacally at absurdities.

I am my happiness, darling. There may be a place for you in my ribcage, but I own my soul.

And my soul has decided to be euphoric.

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Sexual Harassment is not a joke, I’m not laughing.

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Source: weheartit.com

When I was in high school my teacher redefined the terms “rape” and “sexual assault” to mean “a forced invasion of someone’s personal space” and everyone laughed. Of course we laughed, we were not yet 18, still living in loving, sheltered households and it was funny to walk too close to your friend and make a rape joke. What comedians, we didn’t know about the impact of our own naivety.

I went on to university, still not fully understanding the concept that lesson had placed before us, yet knowing that I needed to be wary that nothing of that definition ever happened to me. Since moving away from home, I’ve had to endure varying degrees of personal space invasion; men grabbing me in nightclubs, trying to steal kisses without even caring about my name, men standing too close to me at ATMs so I’ve had to yell at them to back off, one of my own contemporaries, drunk and needy – stroking the back of my neck and holding my waist, despite my protests that I didn’t want to be touched.

Society has taught me that as a single woman walking by myself to class that I need to carry pepper spray in my hand. It’s taught me to shrink away from groups of rowdy men in supermarket aisles or on the street. Watch your drink girl, don’t walk home at night, use your house keys as a weapon, be aware of your own weak, victimised and objectified body and what it does to sick men’s brains-because the way I dress is apparently now an invitation for someone to attack me.

And then it happened. In the broader sense of the definition of sexual assault, it happened- multiple times, yet I only recognised it for what it was at the last minute.

I went out with this person for drinks last week, simply because he’d been hounding me for months, having difficulty taking “no” for an answer and I was mad at someone who deserved it a little bit. We went out and he bought me drinks and I got drunk, then he tried to kiss me. I pushed him away the first time, he played it off like a joke and I went along with it. The second time I succumbed and then told him it was never going to happen again. I didn’t want it to happen again. I didn’t like it.

He assured me that it was a once off thing, he wasn’t going to try and kiss me again, he wanted us to stay friends. I went home early and didn’t tell my mother because I was scared of the look she’d give me.

“How could you be so stupid Harriet, going out for drinks with men you barely know and letting them kiss you when you weren’t so sure you wanted it? You idiot.”

I kept it a secret, put it in my pocket and went back to university.

Then he showed up, wanted to take me out lunch. I said okay because despite the slip up I liked his company, I had nothing else to do and I knew he’d hound me for months if I didn’t.

At lunch he made jokes about how attractive I am, how he only has 20 more days to “get with me” because when I turn 21 I won’t be the youngest he’s ever had, then he leant in to kiss my cheek.

I pushed him off, he said it was a joke, I wanted to go home, so he took me there.

This is when it gets scary, this is the part I keep reliving- bile rising in my throat every time I think about it.  When I said goodbye to him he said he wanted a kiss for good luck. I refused, told him I didn’t want to, but he held my face and did it anyway. I told him it counts as harassment, told him it was too far before he grabbed me from behind and pressed himself against me.

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Source: weheartit.com

I’ve never pushed someone away so hard, walked so quickly through my gate and into safety, felt so confused – standing in my bedroom, trying to make my brain work.

“Sorry, the joke got out of hand” he texted.

What joke? It wasn’t a joke. Trusting this man with my company, having him abuse it, ignoring my no’s, invading my personal space to the point where I felt physically sick and uncomfortable. Where is the joke here?

I sat on my bed, texting various friends to make sure I wasn’t overreacting, that this wasn’t normal. And then I cried. For 2 hours I lay down and sobbed, feeling dirty and used. My best friend phoned me from Grahamstown, she knows how I feel, she understands how tainted a touch can become and how quickly intentions can turn sour. She let me cry into the phone, told me I was probably always going to carry a part of the incident with me- like a devil on my back.

I haven’t told my mom yet. I don’t know how to. She’ll read this post and phone me and I’ll probably cry all over again.

Everything has changed. I’ve started calculating people’s intentions, watching my back constantly, and if I go out at night I know I’ll see the shadow of him in every corner, behind every villainous smile and feel sick.

Assault is a spectrum, like most things in life. There’s no black and white- there’s a very real grey area that some people think is okay to cross into. In the broader scheme of things he didn’t touch me inappropriately, he didn’t place his hands anywhere deemed “private”. Yet I still feel dirty, waves of nausea come over me every time I picture this man’s face. I’ve received so many hugs and messages from the people who care, and they aren’t okay with what happened.

There’s something about this grey area that’s stripped me of my fearlessness. The girl who sees good intentions in everybody, who trusts so willingly played with matches and got burned.

This person has been blocked, from everything, from my life. If I ever see him again I will yell until the sky falls down. I will beat my fists and scream “no” until he and the rest of the world realises that abusing someone’s personal space like that is never okay, that sexual harassment is not a “joke”, no means no and I’m not playing around when it comes to my own safety.

I’m not laughing.

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My god, please stay.

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My head’s a little fuzzy from all the positive reassurances I’ve been feeding myself since 11 last night. They’ve managed to fill my cranium with white noise, bumping into each other every few seconds, trying to squeeze themselves into tight spaces to make room for the demons who are hosting them.

Hello. It’s been a while. I’ve been busy, trying to fill my days with as much thought-numbing joy as possible before all the monstrous thoughts come back. I’ve been happy, so happy. I’ve shaken my fists at gremlins and run down stormy avenues in rain boots – shaking poetry out of my hair and out-sprinting every anxious pang I’ve ever held captive in my chest.

But happiness has a nasty bite. It roars and shakes it’s dreadful mane, daring me to beg it to stay.

My god, please stay.

I don’t want to be left alone with this terrible wave inside me, let me cling to you for a little longer.

I’ve had this pounding ache since 11 pm, a precariously explosive bubble of emotions that I’ve weighed down with an iron anchor.

Don’t you dare escape, do you want to expose us? Stay still and quiet, don’t erupt, don’t scream, don’t show him or anyone else how much you’re hurting. Shut up.

“I am spectacular, I am smart, I have worth, I am not falling apart, I am going to tackle this with the tenacity and stubbornness of a mother-freaking grizzly bear.”

No matter how this turns out, whether the raging winds and torrential rain tear me apart or leave me just a little battered- there is still life within my veins. I will rise, I will eventually thrive, I will guard my heart with an iron casket next time something like this happens because I can not afford to let hurricane emotions whisk me away again.

If you’re going to go, then go. But if you want to stay then please, please do.

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The Pretoria Chronicles: The craziest freaking tale you will ever read. Ever.

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Source: weheartit.com

I haven’t posted in about 2 weeks, basically because adversity is the best fuel for writing and I’ve been floating in my own solace for a while (thanks Angelo for the solid observation). It’s been 2 weeks of lectures and reading and driving lessons and maybe the occasional glint of personified hope sending me voice notes, but other than that nothing particularly inspiring or noteworthy wormed its way into my otherwise predictable routine. I wrote a rather mundane post about how nice it is to walk in the rain, and then I forgot my umbrella during a deluge which changed my mind about the matter entirely. I’d basically been drifting through life at a rather sleepy pace until Friday night happened.

Before I carry on with this post I would like for my Mom to either shut down her computer now and continue as if nothing has happened, or to treat the following story as a work of fiction. The same goes for any future employers or husbands.

Right.

Friday night.

Friday night I went on a pub crawl with my ultimate homie, let’s call her D. D is pretty much ride or die- one of my housemates actually pointed out that every story I tell starts with “So D and I…”. I guess this one is no different.

So D and I went to this pub crawl with a bunch of other girls, some of which are so lovely and poised they look airbrushed. These girls probably don’t trip over things or graze their knees climbing down trees, they’re actually pretty mythical, and they’re really really nice. The plan for the night was as follows: meet up at a local bar, move on to 3 of the university’s clubhouses, try not to graze your knees on the way, Harriet.

I think I’ll have to put a time stamp on the various locations and events to keep the story comprehensive. It’s kind of a mush.

18:00: D got to my commune. We had 1 and a half drinks each to get us going. All was good, we looked hot, I had a long debate with myself over whether to take an umbrella in case it rained.

Pros: my hair won’t poof, remember how much I complained the last time I forgot it

Cons: I am almost sure to lose it somewhere

The prospect of smudgy mascara and dreadfully spiraled baby hairs was too scary to risk.

18:45: A brief walk, sheltered from the rain (HA!) to said local bar, we’ll call this “Bar A”.

18:50: Arrived at Bar A, got complimented on my hair (thanks, I grew it myself), had one shot of Strawberry Lips (Nesquik for adults), took a few selfies (millenials, amiright?) before running for cover and cars and Bar B.

19:10: Bar B. Hello, Bar B. What a delight you were! There were glasses of wine for R10 and quite an alarming number of animal heads on the walls, hopefully haunting the taxidermist who put them in that position.

Not much came from Bar B, except the Solo Cup of dry red that warmed my heart and probably caused my quick deterioration over the sobriety line into “tipsy”.

19:45: Bar C. Bar C introduced itself in the form of R3 shots, Beer pong and a tipsy me trying my hardest to worm my way onto a beer pong team.

The conversation went like this:

Me: “Hello,hi. Can we be on your team?”

Rude male: “Um, sorry, no, we’re kind of winning and we’re about to play another game.”

Me: “Oh my gosh, do you mean you don’t want to play beer pong with 3 super attractive females?”

RM: “No”

Me: ” What the hell dude? I mean collectively we are a solid 8.” (D says it was at this point she didn’t want to know me, to be fair- I didn’t want to know myself after such a display of word vomit.)

21:00: Away from the accursed Bar C and onto the magical land that was Bar D.

Bar D was packed, shots were just as cheap as Bars B and C and I locked eyes across the counter with a certain tall mystery man from my lectures.

A brief note on mystery man: I call him Dark Chocolate, not to his face. Simply because one day he arrived in a tight grey t-shirt and I was bored and almost died. It’s also really fun to make puns about his cacao beans (MOM, THIS IS TOTALLY FICTIONAL).

Dark Chocolate poured his way into my immediate vicinity, flexed his muscles and asked me why he’s never seen me out before. Then Dark Chocolate bought me drinks. A lot of drinks. I was close to getting some of that velvety Aztec goodness when 22:00 closing time hit and he told me to meet him at Bar E.

22:00: D and I had lost our lift in the process of fooling around at Bar D. So we walked from D to E, somehow I still had my umbrella. I don’t remember much of this bit, except that it was a really short walk for such a far destination, maybe it felt short because I’ve forgotten most of it, I’ll have to consort with D.

22:30: Made it to Bar E. At which point I started feeling like I was on a train I couldn’t get off of. Ran for the balcony to get fresh air, D in pursuit, I became vaguely aware of some attractive male trying to talk to one of us. I had a moment when I considered using my charm on this man, but then figured it was better for D to handle it- I was not on my A-game, in fact we’re looking at more of the later letters of the alphabet. I was on my P-Game.

*Disclaimer: I am a smart girl. I look both ways before crossing the street, I eat vegetables sometimes and I never, ever pull stunts like this- until I do.*

22:45: I hugged the toilet briefly to no avail, D ordered an Uber somehow and got me water (my request- she was smart enough to know water = disaster).

22:55: Made the Uber pull over so I could properly chunder onto the side of the road. D made some comment about how much was coming out.

23:00: McDonalds. D got out to order for me, I wretched out of the car and had a quick nap. Apparently at this point one of the nice mythical girls saw me in such a position and asked if I was alright- damn it.

23:15: Home, a few chunder scares in the car. D found out her phone was missing once we got out of the Uber. Shit.

23:30: Chaos. Freaking chaos.

D ran through commune screaming for someone to help her phone her phone (I had no airtime). I lay down in the flower bed/ also the place my house mate extinguishes his cigarettes and was perfectly happy to stay there until morning. People thought someone was dying due to D’s hysterics, they weren’t entirely wrong. I saw the white light people, I knew my time had come and I was going to meet my demise in a glorified ashtray. Time to repent.

23:45: McDonalds had D’s phone. I don’t know how, I didn’t really care (sorry D).

I got placed on the couch for the night by my house mate in first year, who I also subsequently used to go to aftercare with. I have now officially lost the respect I used to conduct at my living establishment- I am no longer a wise mature student, but a train-wreck.

03:00: The inebriated animal woke from her slumber in search of food, found D in her bed and a double cheese burger on the floor, score.

The next day: Tried not to die.

So there you have it. The most intense night of my life, and the night I realised that the allure of R5 shots and a certain slab of 90% pure attractiveness isn’t worth the fuss.

I’m still alive by the way.

 

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Don’t You Dare Tell Me You’re Broken

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Hello you bullet shell of a person,

You like listening to “Hand Me Down” by Matchbox Twenty  because you like to think it describes you. You poor, 2nd hand, misunderstood, emotional mess. It’s so fun playing the innocent bystander isn’t it?

Poor Harriet. You’re too much and not enough and everyone’s always leaving and you’ve put too much of your life into other people’s universes without thinking about the consequences. It’s easier to be someone else’s equation, someone else’s magnetic force, someone else’s someday than it is to be your own damn everything.

Poor you. You self-inflicted, broken human being. You like writing midnight drafts about how much of an idiot you are for loving people too much and not expecting anything back. You think demanding what you want will make people leave, you think if you stay light and breezy and happy that you’ll finally be the thing they pick first.

Poor you. You absolute idiot.

You’re not a fucking hand me down. You’re not a substitute person, you’re nobody’s second choice.

How can someone so voluminous and loud and flammable make themselves so small just to feel wanted?

Remember the nights you danced through the rain to smoky bars and tight embraces. You splashed through puddles and twirled down light-stained streets- don’t you dare tell me you’re broken. My darling, you watercolour palette of a human being, how dare you wait for someone else to make you feel worthwhile. Don’t you ever cry golden tears over cosmic promises-you are worth more than the tiny piece of infinity they have to offer you.

Remember how hot your words feel when they sit in your throat.

You

Can

Burn

Them

To

The

Ground.

Get explosive. You were born with a gun powder heart and dynamite thoughts.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You’re a god damn super nova.

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