It's a no picture kinda post.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today I received a really wonderful thing that we are conditioned to covet every day by the magazines and the television and the internet. It's a Louis Vuitton item that is part of a goodie bag I received at a wonderful tea hosted by Marie Claire Magazine this afternoon.  When I opened the bag, my breath was momentarily suspended by the sight of this beautiful mercury silver object that smelled like happiness.  I thought, mmmm I really want this, but wouldn't it make a lovely gift?  It turns out my best friend celebrates her 31st birthday on Thursday and as much as I want this beautiful thing, I think it would make my friend smile that beautiful toothy smile of hers.

Initially this was a hard decision to make because I never have to make such decisions. Naturally, all goodie bag gifts go to me. me. me cos I'm a selfish child that Nana sometimes calls ''Milisukusa'' or ''Miss Milli Bitch''.  Our housekeeper has a special place for all the beautiful paper bags that I receive on a weekly basis.  I look at them, just like I looked at that brown and black Louis Vuitton bag and think mmm, it's nice, all these things are nice, but they only make me temporarily happy, not really truly happy. After all, they are just things. 

When I was a child, I used to think white people must be the happiest people on earth.  They have money, big houses, cars, sweet cabinets, swimming pools, their parents make lunch for them, they go on aeroplanes and miss school while on their overseas holidays and they have straight hair that is not painful to comb every morning.  I was convinced that they were better than us blacks who always seemed to possess an air of entropy even when we were smiling.  Of course I grew up to know the facts of life and that that was almost a win for the apartheid ideology which tried its best to perpetuate that silly notion that white people are better.  Unfortunately, a lot of black people still live lives that might lead them to believe this nonsense, because when you look around, little has changed for white people and only a fraction of black people's lives have been truly transformed.  Anyway, this is not what this blog post is going to be about. Let me get to the point, because it's long. 

So here I am now, honestly living the life I planned for myself.  I am 27 (older people you are welcome to roll your eyes), I have a great career that I have carved out for myself, I have friends that I not only love, but I really like them as human beings and I simply adore my family.  I even have some money at the end of the month, a big apartment, a car, a sweet cabinet, I  occasionally go on an aeroplane to foreign places and I don't have to comb my painful natural hair because I have braids.  There, I have it. The life I thought was the gateway to happiness. I should be happy right?  

Three years ago, I used to walk down Louis Botha from work to my cottage in Norwood and almost everyday, I would to say to myself, ''When I get my licence my life will transform and I will be happy.''  Then I got my licence and the saying changed to ''the day I get a car, I will have achieved my dreams''.  Then I got a car and it became something else that was supposed to guarantee my happiness.  I then learned that life is not about reaching a destination and then sitting back, arms behind your head, reclining in satisfaction.  Those moments are great but they do not last.  

My favourite wise guy, Hugh Prather, puts it best: ''No one becomes permanently comfortable.  Life is not solved.  Like a large hibernating animal, it turns on its belly and once again we have to crawl out from under it.  If we don't move, we die''.  I am at a point where I have reached some of the goals I set for myself two years ago.  But the time has arrived for me to turn on my belly and crawl out from under my comfort zone.  

I have been finding it difficult to maintain the level of motivation that got me here and in my many moments of trying to figure out ''what is wrong'', I realised two things, one practical and one slightly esoteric.  The first thing, I realised while going for a ralk (a run + walk) yesterday.   It is that that two years ago, I was motivated by motivation.  I was motivated and inspired to do things to test myself, to see if I could really achieve something from nothing.  [If you think I am bragging, perhaps you are not getting my angle or perhaps I am not explaining myself well enough.  This is not me ''waxing lyrical'' (gosh I hate that term) about how great I am, in fact, there are many moments where I think ''I am so wack'' that occur every single day.] 

Now that I have seen that I can start something from nothing and get unsolicited recognition as a result, I now realise there is something else that needs to motivate me.  Unfortunately, as a person responsible for a business, this something else to some degree is money.  It's a bit of a contradiction to say I have never been motivated by money because I am involved in a number of businesses, but it's the truth.  Because I got the ball rolling, the ball has got to keep on rolling, payments are due at the end of the month and clothes can't exactly walk over to customers and sell themselves.  This doesn't thrill me, but it's forcing me to grow up and set bigger goals for myself and to find something new to motivate me enough to be excited about waking up everyday. 

I must say, that feeling of excitement when I wake up has escaped me the last couple of months, which leads me to the second ralk realisation:  ''Unbroken happiness is a bore.  It should have ups and downs''. I remember reading this Moliere quote in Half of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  Depression is actually a very natural occurrence in human beings, I don't know why we are told otherwise, or made to feel like there is something deeply wrong with us if we are feeling dark.  I don't want to cut myself or do anything drastic, but I am feeling a bit under the weather and it could be a winter gloom or it could just be some energies that need to be released from my being.  Whatever it is, with trepidation and not really much of a choice, I am embracing it and understanding that it happens to the best of us.  I think the most important thing is to acknowledge it and then try and figure out a way to move from it.  I'm not really ready to make any moves at the moment because I don't have a direction.  I have been advised to keep my mouth a little more closed than I usually would and observe more.  I have stopped my column in the Mail and Guardian, much to the happiness of people like Bongani Madondo who sends me late night SMSes to tell me how terrible I am despite the fact that we have never met nor exchanged numbers.  I stopped because I want to enjoy writing for writing, not because I have a deadline every Monday.  And because I have nothing to say any more, at least while I figure out what's happening.  I wanna try a little bit of shut the hell up for a while and see how that goes.  Yes it's a bit of a luxury to be able to quit an income producing activity on a whim but it's done and I am sure I will learn to improve my skill by the time I am ready to write for that kind of publication again.  

So there, girls and boys.  These are mostly the adventures that occur between the pages of my personal journal.  I am not having the greatest time these days and it's fucking ok!  There are little pleasures (like having written this today) that every single day offers, as much as there are maggots of displeasure.  

And so far, what's come out from under my little dark cloud is that I would like to be in the business of discussing feelings and ideas rather than people and things (Lawd, what will become of this blog I wonder?).  And no this is not some grand announcement of an impending calamity - no moves remember, I am just sharing! This is me just being me. I felt like writing an honest post today.  And the joy of this all?  I know I'm not the only one going through what I'm going through. Mwaha ha ha ha ha ha. Bitchez. Ps Sit down if you think this is a #middleclassproblem.  

6 comments:

taryn said...

Bravo!

Akona Ndungane said...

I love you.

Mzukisi Gwata said...

Hayibo, M&G column gone? Xa kanye ndiqala uqhelana nayo. Ilishwa.

Thando said...

It's the peaks and troughs of life... ride it and prepare for your next peak. I can't wait to see the results of it.

Vuyo said...

I wanted to write about that man who texts you at night telling you how terrible you are. The irony, he thinks about you, get's out his phone, writes the text and clicks send which means you occupy such a space in his little life...poor soul, I will pray for him to love himself more...Good place to be my angel, the rewards of these questions will be much greater...mwaaaaa :-)

Thoby Gule for Christ said...

Only saw this a year and some months later, I am somehow happy I saw this only now. Had I seen it a year ago, I would not have understood. Thank you Milli

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