Tag Archives: 2016

Happy New Year Ya Filthy Animals. 


So I survived 2016…we all survived 2016 (unless you are some weird ghost/corpse/zombie who has somehow obtained my URL, or you are from an alternate universe where silly things like time has no meaning, in which case: Welcome!) 

Welcome to 2017, people. All that has happened is the calendar has reset itself in a supposedly significant way, the 6 is now a 7 and the 12 is now a 1 and we can all continue living the debaucherous and immoral lives we’ve been cultivating this entire time. Go humanity!

I am pleased, however, that I have managed to survive yet another routine trip around the sun, especially since this year I started driving, which has significantly increased my sense of mortality. 

My sense of morality however is still, I admit, a little shoddy. 

I spent the last few seconds of 2016 outside in the cold, walking along the streets of the Spanish town Moraira, listening to the people inside scream “Happy New Year” at each other. It was nice to feel like I was watching everybody else get on with their new year whilst mine stood still for a bit. Then I had to watch a very loud and disorganised fireworks display because NYE is full of cliches.

My first few moments of 2017 were spent in a club I have actively avoided for about a year and a half, because the last excursion ended in me puking my guts out over the side of a Catamaran into the Mediterranean Sea (holiday life is soooo hard). This time I was smart enough not to puke, and therefore I spent the night dancing awkwardly with people who were a lot more inebriated than I was. Happy New Year. 

I got a taxi home before everyone else did (because I’m old and need time for my wrinkles to reset before the sun comes up), snuck back into my dad’s house and sat on his kitchen counter eating ham by myself. We’re off to a good start if my first meal of the year was ham. 

At this point I had enough clarity of mind to consider my resolutions, or “very relaxed guidelines for the year ahead” as I like to call them, because then I feel less ashamed if I don’t achieve them. 

My guidelines for last year were as follows: 

1. Stop getting drunk on my own emotions and sending psycho messages to unsuspecting victims. 

I like to think I achieved this. I no longer send messages, I just write blogposts of subversive intent, and maybe I subtweet a little. In terms of embarrassing texts, 2016 blessed me with a few incoherent voice notes to my friends and one failed attempt at a sort of booty call in July, although I don’t think he got what I was talking about because I just kept sending weird winky faces. (Note to self: try the eggplant emoji next time). 

This success may be due to the fact that I now have a Whatsapp group with 2 other emotional individuals, so all my angst has been channelled into them (sorry gals). 

2. Actually read all my English setworks. 

I am proud to say that I read 70% of the subscribed reading material this year. I no longer skim through study guides, I actually lugged around the tombs prescribed by the English department and became that nerd who did her homework at music festivals. 

3. Write more. 

I need to stop thinking I have the diligence or the time to churn out a blog post every week. It’s just not going to happen. 

4. Actually save my money because I need a car. 

I’m really freaking proud of myself for doing this. To be fair, the fact that I turned 21 and I have a really nice and generous grandmother paid off. But at least 26% of my car came from me carrying hot plates of food to fancy rich people and heavy beer steins to sloppy drunk people. A lot of carrying for a lot of people went into paying for 26% of my car, and his name is Slartibartfast because that’s what he sounds like when he starts up, plus Douggy A is my ultimate home boy. 

5. Get my license so I can drive the car I’m sacrificing so much disposable income for
3 failed tests, 2 driving instructors, 50 hours of lessons, thousands of rands, so many panic attacks and almost a year later, I finally have that stupid piece of paper that confirms that I can, in fact, drive by myself. 

Now I really hate driving. 

6. Focus on nothing but myself because I get a little distracted and forget to look out for number 1.

I’ve done a lot of weird shit this year. I jumped about 50 metres into an old mine that was filled with water, played pool volleyball with my friends in my underpants, declared war on the neighbourhood watch because they’re self-righteous dicks who do nothing, told someone I really cared about to buzz off, hosted some really good parties, passed out in a flower bed, climbed a few campus buildings, high fived a pope, and kissed a lot of people on the forehead. 

And I did all of it, pretty much, for myself. 

Which brings us to this year. The big one-seven. Here are my very relaxed guidelines for 2017:

1. Stay away from Dangerous White Men (DWMs)

Source: Disney


My best friend Su has figured out that pretty much all the angst in my life stems from my weird interest in Dangerous White Men. The ones who are clearly up to no good and will probably tear down your land in search of gold (it’s just a reference to Pocahontas, but take it as a euphemism if you will). 

2. Get better at driving. 

It’s self-explainatory.

3. Learn to walk in heels before my graduation. 

Despite my freakish height, I really want to be one of those girls with nice calves in nice heels in her nice graduation get up. I want to look fancy and tower over everyone when I take my cliched cap and gown photographs in front of a fountain. 

4. Figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. 

Like I said “relaxed guidelines”.

5. Probably go to the gym more. 

At least I can now drive myself 600 metres to gym instead of walking all that way. 

I should probably also do more things like stop procrastinating, eat less junk food and drink less gin and tonic. But I’ll take the year as it comes. 

I hope everyone reading this has a good year. I hope you fill it with mistakes and hugs and the people you love. I hope you dance a little in parking lots and that you learn to love yourselves a little more every time you do something shameful. May you call people out if they’re being ableist, sexist, racist, ageist, bigoted or insensitive. 

Just be decent, flawed, majestic human beings. 

I love you all, 

Stay interesting. 

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Romanticising other things.

snow

Source: weheartit.com

I haven’t written anything on here in over 2 months.

I totally get that these moments of total writer’s block happen from time to time. I’m only human, my brain can only spew out so many melodramatic metaphors before it gets tired of itself. There’s only so many cliches I can avoid before I become a walking one.

I’m not sure why it’s been so long. I’ve been writing things down, obviously. Disappointed little scribbles in my journal. At one point I experimented and wrote out an entire paragraph whilst under the influence – there was a lot of wiggles and a lot of pent up angst, wow.

I lost my muse…well, my muse lost me. So I’ve had to kind of learn to romanticise other things – like the suffocating smell of festival toilets and the feeling of new socks on cold feet. But over my brief hiatus from publishing anything on my favourite corner of the internet, I’ve managed to write down a few short little blurbs.

So here it is; Harriet’s random 2am/ every day thoughts: an anthology.

On places I’d rather avoid:

“I equate places with feelings. And if it were up to me, the train station where I last saw you would be simultaneously the favourite and most despised place in my entire world.”

In an email from my grandmother:

“I went to New York when I was 20 to see if it was any different from Nottinghamshire. If it was the same, I could always come back and settle down. Instead I found your grandfather and no, New York was not the same as Notts.”

I went to the edge and found you.

On weekends that turn into melodramatic moments:

“It’s almost tomorrow and I don’t want to go home.

Ever have one of those weekends? The spell-binding, soul-searching, over-the-moon kind of weekend? I am at the end of one and I’ve got this sinking feeling that I’ll never feel something so definite, so completely euphoric. I feel my youth creeping up on me, I can feel the fire start in my heart and I can feel my toes curl as I yearn for moments that last.

I don’t want to stop being 21. I want nights that beat the sun and glowing embers that don’t know how to die.

I want to carry on living this spontaneously forever.

It’s almost tomorrow and I don’t want to go home.”

“I’ve had a weekend.

A destructive, ridiculous, incredible weekend; filled with sobbing and catchphrases and loving people despite it all.”

shhh

Source: weheartit.com

On people who don’t know how to stay:

“I can’t blame you for walking away. How can I possibly? We both know I burn too brightly to be extinguished. There’s a ‘no vacancy’ sign just for you hanging over my vibrant, unbelievable, explosive life.”

“Because our entire existence was me trying to hold on to what you used to be, and you trying to show me how much you’ve changed.”

“I hope when you retell our story, you describe me as ‘the girl who screamed poetry at you when you told her to run, even though she was never yours to walk away from.'”

“I’m glad you’ve found ways to smother your grief for humanity, but don’t you dare do it at my expense.”

On what they never taught me in school:

“In 5th grade English class they told us to write down everything with as much detail as possible. They told us that parts of speech were imperative, adjectives meant something.

They never told us that, in reality, adjectives are just as superficial as their intentions. And some people will say anything just to gain a piece of your soul.”

On how much can change over several months:

“I am not the person I was last November. I am nowhere near the girl who blushed electric at your empty cosmic promises.

I am not who I was last November. I got ripped from that body by circumstance and change. I got pummeled into this shape by disappointment. I am not who I was last November.

I am not last November. I haven’t written poetry in months. I don’t believe in shutting out the world any more, I let the cold seep in to wake me up and chill my bones.

I am not who I was last November. I am not a Mississippi sunset, I am not burning up as I race down a wooden dock towards you. I am not superlunary, I am not yours.

I am not who I was last November. I have run out of time; you wasted it. You, and all those after you. I have run out of time and sand and clock hands.

I am not who I was last November. I have an iron soul that can’t be thawed and eyes that flash sunlight. I will burn you up. I will make you miss me. I will drive you insane, kiss you catatonic and then leave you to combust.

Because I am not who I was last November. I am not who you pretended to love. I am not even myself.”

On how much better everything has turned out to be:

“If I end up living a life that is anything short of vibrant, I won’t survive. Tonight I braided a man’s hair whilst sitting on the floor of a bar. I drove around my neighbourhood yelling promises at strangers, I kissed my friends goodnight and flopped onto my bed. I am blissfully surprised at how wonderful everything has turned out to be.”

The bit about festival toilets:

“There’s nothing more carnal or cathartic than finally having a poo in a festival porter-loo.”

And despite all these ridiculous metaphors, here is my final WTF moment:

“Squeaky swings sound like children screaming.”

(What the fuck, Harriet?)

Think of this as a farewell to all the moody posts about something that is now a nothing.

There you have it. The sneakiest peak into my drafts folder.

Not much else to say, except goodbye.

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Unconventional romanticism and why Valentines Day is a farce.

image

Valentines Day is this Sunday, hilarious.

I’m not a fan of that holiday, in fact, I actively do not take part in it (mainly because no one loves me enough to actually be my valentine, but let’s not get technical here).

I’ve always been an unconventional romantic. I used to have debates with my best friend about the merits of receiving multi-coloured shoelaces instead of flowers (he, who writes thoughtful letters like they’re crack, does not agree) and there’s a dinosaur toy perched on my bookshelf from someone who also revels in the delights of unconventional romanticism, what a gem.

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Maybe it’s because of this quirk that I’m averse to the holiday, maybe it’s my background as a child of divorce that has made me cynical about unnecessary, clichéd and relatively meaningless displays of affection such as giant pink love bug plushes and commitment-scented bath salts. Perhaps it’s just because for me V-day is also no-D-day (get it? Cause I’m dreadfully alone…haha…love me)

Whatever it is, I’m pretty much doomed to spend the most commercialised and capitalist holiday of the year eating pizza in my bedroom and trying not to listen to my housemates getting it on with their respective lovers, yay.

So Happy Irrelevant Consumerist Holiday, everybody. The most action I’ll get is probably a fist-bump from the drunken car guard on Prospect Street, but at least it’s something.

Someone drop a fast food menu on my doorstep will ya? I have a lot of feelings to eat.

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Coffee dates from Hell, not really- I’m just picky.

I went out for coffee with someone this week, and it was actually the most difficult hour of my young, angsty, emotional life.

That sounds nuts right? The indigenous extrovert, who can often be found drinking lots of coffee with lots of people and staying bonny and blithe in her quest to perceive the full spectrum of the human experience, goes out for such an event and immediately wishes she hadn’t.

However, coffee is only fun if you do it for the right reasons- I really didn’t.

Queue in the poor unsuspecting victim in this tale of woe, a male acquaintance who I’ve been conversing with casually, in an attempt to give way to a new friendship or, at least, to bag a date taller than me for various formal events this year. He probably wasn’t aiming to land in the friendzone so quickly, I placed him in there willy nilly for self-preservation’s sake.

He picked me up, a bunny in headlights expression clouding his face as he looked over my rather grungy, newly darkened aesthetic, I didn’t expect him to like it as much as he did- damn it. He took me to a cafe where the sitting arrangements were too small for our hands not to touch, so I sat on mine. He bought me iced tea, made long eye contact and leaned way too far across the  dollhouse sized table to be deemed comfortable. I’m sure he would have charmed the contour lines off of any other wholesome, fun-loving, bushy-tailed nymph spirit, yet I remained motionless as a heavily kholed, exasperated cloud, immune to his efforts and raining all over this poor guy’s one-man parade.

He asked me about my favourite TV series and expressed his amazement at how avidly I read. He disregarded my blog as soon as I told him it was about “my feelings” and proceeded to embark on a long monologue about quantum physics. I almost exploded from trying to slurp my iced tea in a dignified manner without removing my hands from my butt and trying to figure out how to get out of the entire situation early.

He exited, oblivious to the bear I sent after him, returning my rag doll hug with a tight embrace and a salutation that listed all the things he hoped we could do together on another date.

I got home, slid down my door like a cliche and cried into my knees, because in the Jane Austen novel of life, I am eternally Marianne Dashwood- all sensibility, all feeling, very little logic. I cried because he was actually quite nice, despite his Vanilla disposition. I cried because I am cursed to crave people with more flavour to their personalities and to disregard anyone and anything who doesn’t make me excited. I cried because the only reason I went on that stupid coffee date was to feel like I’d somehow won something, like I wasn’t sitting at home waiting for the void to stare back, like I was achieving shit like bagging tall dates to formal events and moving forward a little bit.

He bombarded me with messages enquiring after my well-being and when he could see me again, I plagued him with several blue ticks of death until I eventually let him off the hook by expressing my desire to take myself out for coffee dates from now on.

I guess I can always pay attention to myself if there’s no one else exciting enough to do it for me.

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This is not how I expected independence would be.

drown

Source:weheartit.com

I’m stressed.

Holy fuck, this must be adulthood. I do not like it one bit. I’m not even out of University yet, I’m not even at the stage of having to buy my own toothpaste and paying my own mortgage (or whatever it is real adults do) and I’m panicking.

This is NOT how I expected independence would be.

I have a growing list of, so far, about 20 things I need to get done in the next 2 weeks, most of which involve money, some of which include tracking down rogue lecturers in an attempt to figure out what is required of me for this next year- all of which I desperately DO NOT want to do.

I’ve recently found myself in the company of several recent university graduates who are on the cusp of adultish oblivion. As they stare into the void, waiting for it to stare back, I am standing nervously in the background listening to them stress about things I forgot existed- things like tax returns and monthly incomes and petrol prices.

I assure you, when I crawled out of my mother’s womb almost 21 years ago, I did not sign up for taxes.

There is a ball of anxiety growing in my chest that has been festering since I moved away from home. It’s about the size of two fists and it’s punching its way out of my torso. If this is what it means to be independent and self-sustaining, I would really like to retreat back into my pillow fort until all my responsibility goes away.

When I was 8 I remember looking at my incredibly stressed out mother and asking her what was wrong. She replied with a curt “I’m just worried”. Thus 8 year old Harriet did the only thing she could do and started to worry about the day when she would have to start worrying too. I was worried about worrying.

What a dumb kid. You have no idea how to worry, grade 2 me- eat an oreo and read your book, you’ll be fine for the next 10 years.

Here’s the thing though, 40 year old me probably envies almost 21 year old me. Look at her- so young and dependent on her parents. She has no kids to yell at, no bills to pay, no husband to boss around. She can travel after she studies, she’s currently worrying about things that are supposed to happen 2 years in the future, she still thinks she’s going to figure everything out. Almost 21 Harriet is actually doing okay.

I have 20 things to cross off my list, none of which involve taxes or monthly installments on things. I’m terrified for the day that’s no longer true.

But for now I think I’m just going to be almost 21.

 

 

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Kid, you gotta love yourself.

face

source: weheartit.com

I got to spend time with one of my favourite people this January which is significant as we’re currently averaging on seeing eachother every 700 days. The distance between Canada and South Africa is a bit awkward for visits to be more frequent, so we make do with the time we have.

We met on his 15th birthday, I was 14 and obsessed with side-fringes, converse sneakers and bright skinny jeans. I thought jumping off a golf cart would look super cool and ended up with a spectacular face plant to leave a lasting impression. He has therefore essentially seen me at my worst and most embarrassing- it’s been 6 years of tripping over my own feet, running head-first into fire places, acquiring various black eyes and dropping a number of objects he has chucked at me to realise that not a lot of people have seen the parts of me that he has.

When I was 17, I got to spend almost 2 weeks with him in Kenya. It was 10 days of constant exposure to the pros and cons of a particular human being. We both learned the colours of each other’s anger, we spent a full day in the hot sun after getting half an hour of sleep and by the end of it were bickering more than usual, we spoke about our respective futures like they weren’t right around the corner and some days when we ran out of topics of conversation, we’d sit in silence until the things we desperately wanted to say came bursting out of us.

We had such a moment this week. It was hot and we had stopped talking for a bit. He was lounging on the couch that I had my back pressed against and I was feeling rather conflicted about the emotions that were running rampant in my chest. He looked at me like he knew what I was thinking, I stared back, trying to figure out how to phrase my crazy.

“Do you think that someone can wake up one day and just stop missing you?”

He gave me a skeptical look, a constant calculation shooting off in his head, I’d told him about everything that’s happened and how I’m still trying to figure out where I fit, he knows me well enough to say the right things. So he leaned over and flicked the bottom of my chin before stretching back and uttering this resonating statement:

“You don’t need to be missed Harriet. You have to learn to be autonomously happy, regardless of whether you are missed. You can’t tear yourself apart being emotionally dependent on anyone.”

He knows me. God, he knows me. He knows how easily I leap into my emotions like they haven’t let me down before, he knows how I feel about effort, how desperately I cling to any hint of romanticism. It’s been 6 years and countless mistakes and so many letters home trying to figure out why I like my life to be filled with intensity- and the man summed up what I needed to hear in 3 succinct sentences.

I do not need to be missed.

I need to have autonomous happiness.

I can’t afford to tear myself apart.

I can’t afford to tear myself apart.

 

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Another year, another 366 days worth of poor decisions.

mugI wrote a post like this last year, when 2015 was still but an infant. I was sitting at my aunt and uncle’s toasty kitchen table, trying to be all dramatic about the hardships of 2014. It was great, I enjoyed it far better than a sloppy kiss in a crowd of strangers, and who wouldn’t? I’d rather reflect on all the first world problems the universe has thrust upon me for the past 365 days than actually BE a first world problem by jumping on the generic bandwagon. The public will see none of Tequila Harriet tonight and that is my New Years gift to all of you.

Last year, like the boring human being I am, I wrote myself resolutions that were destined to be broken by January 2nd. You can read them here , or you can peruse this very condensed recap:

2014 Harriet’s New Years Resolutions for 2015, a recap:

  1. To have fewer hangovers and less junk food. This one was broken at by week one of University. I even closed down a bar on a Monday AFTER walking 2 blocks just for a large Double Whopper meal. I’m clearly a disgrace.
  2. Blog more. We did okay in 2015. I wrote 21 new posts, which is just under 2 a month. I also rediscovered my obsession with Twitter, which is a badly punctuated, less pretentious form of blogging, I guess.
  3. Learn the guitar. LO-Fucking-L. I learnt the D chord (insert stupid “she wants the D” joke here) and then I gave up and subsequently forgot the D chord. I was not the douchey guitar guy at parties, I was clearly, according to resolution 1, the girl slurping Stroh Rum off counters on a Monday and washing it down with double cheeseburgers and extra large fries, classy.
  4. Stay single until July. I had a pact with my dear friend Richard that we would remain solitary and soul-searching until July. I am still relatively solitary and soul-searching. Around April I discovered the joys of sweatpants, Chinese food and series and decided to dedicate all my pent-up love energy towards pigging out in my underpants. I am clearly very good at being single. This is a skill I’ve decided to list on my CV.
  5. Learn how to say ‘no’. I’m so proud of this. I actually discovered the joys of telling people when I don’t want to do something, and surprisingly, no one disappeared from my life just because I told them so. “No” is my new favourite word next to “Tom-foolery’.
  6. Learn how to be angry. Meek 2014 Harriet was WAY too chilled. She didn’t get why anger was sometimes required and she was often too scared to actually tell people when she was. This year I told several sexists off, chastised a few line-cutters and kicked my house mate out of my room when he said something offensive. Anger is good and necessary sometimes. I like the notion that I am capable of such an emotion.
  7. Be happy. Despite what my relatively piney and depressing blog posts may convey, I am so happy. In the midst of all the human waste and misery, all the spilled tequila shots and the tears and the lying on my bedroom floor listening to The Cranberries- I came out content.

5/7 is a pretty decent score.

I don’t think I’ll be able to beat a 71% pass rate. That’s a solid B, I’m proud of my B.

I haven’t reflected much on what I want for this year, maybe to stop talking about myself so much and to cut down on the selfie taking (note to self: staring constantly at your own selfies is concerning and probably an indication that you’re a shameless narcissist, Harriet.)

Right so my resolutions/goals/meaningless attempts to self-improve (please improve!) are:

  1. Stop getting drunk on my own emotions and sending psycho messages to unsuspecting victims. As my mom likes to remind me “you’re not crazy- stop acting crazy.” Turns out not everyone wants to hear about how my heart feels like it’s going to fall out of my chest, it gets tedious and receiving multiple texts about my feelings probably makes people scared of me.
  2. Actually read all my English setworks. I must not rely solely on Sparknotes, I must not rely solely on Sparknotes, I must not rely solely on Sparknotes.
  3. Write more. Ugh. Every year.
  4. Actually save my money. You do not NEED that back-scratcher Harriet, nor do you NEED 15 different black eyeliners. You NEED a car.
  5. Get my license so I can drive the car I’m sacrificing so much disposable income for. 21 years old and unable to make it to 3rd gear is not a good look.
  6. Focus on nothing but myself. I get a little distracted, I forget what matters, I perceive other people in my life as being more important than myself. I am the hero of my own story, I can’t keep on tearing myself apart for people who are only looking out for themselves. Sometimes you gotta be your own little hero and save your own little soul.

That being said I hope everyone has a good year and you learn to kiss the people you love more often on the forehead.

Forehead kisses are the way of the future.

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