Life: An Open-Ended Question

And here I am, sitting in my bed, in my lowly lit bedroom, writing again. The truth is that I have been too shattered to find a space to face my insides the way I used to. Bold. Brave. The way Didi knows how. Why? Well, my insides have been (and to some degree still are) recovering from a heartbreak. My heart exploded in such a way that the shattered pieces went in all kinds of directions, I suspect I will still find some shards of glass hiding away in some obscure places, I will leave the discovery of these to future encounters. But, for now, I am okay enough to be here writing. For that I am thankful.
I don’t even know where to begin with sharing the biggest chunk of what has been causing the heartbreak, so when I find myself lost as to where to begin I just dive in. So here goes… I lost 2 very important people in my life in a space of 2 weeks in the month of March. One was a trusted and well loved and cared for friend and the other was a lover who I had shared countless hours and weeks, amounting to months nurturing and being nurtured by.

The loss of a friend

The thing about friendships is that they seem a lot more “mendable” than intimate relationships. That’s my take at least. There is this feeling that I can work anything out with friends because there is no physical contact that could potentially manipulate and sway my emotions. Hugs can try but they just don’t have the power that intimate physical contact has. My friend and I probably actually ended our friendship months ago, perhaps I was a fool sitting with an extended arm in an imaginary room, with an open door, a door that I was waiting to see my friend walk back through so that we could talk, fight, cry, laugh, do whatever it was that we needed to do in order to mend the tears we had collectively created in the fabric of our friendship (more and more I find that my strongest friendships are the ones where the fabric is made up of patches of sewn up holes. They have texture. Those friendships are the ones I value most. Never did I think I would admit that in writing, but here I am.)
I sat in that room, arm extended, aching from the strain, with an open door for all of 4 months but my friend never walked back in. Once I had begun accepting that he would never walk back in I began a process of figuring out how best to go about being okay with not having him be a part of my life, after seeing him every day of my life for over a year. It was painful, heart-wrenching, nonetheless, acceptance was needed here, and so was unclenching my sweat-drenched fists and gently releasing my feelings, thoughts, missed opportunities of words that could have been shouted, vomited, said or written. They had to be let go of – a necessary first step towards any level of acceptance. Once I began unclenching my fist and letting go of all the “unsaids” and “could-have-dones” I began feeling my own power returning to me in all its essence. The power that allows me to unapologetically feel and know that I am allowed to be sad, angry and upset about how things have unfolded. That it’s completely okay to feel whatever my heart wants to feel about how the chips have fallen. I am allowed to.

The death of a love once shared

A space we both entered into courageously. Knowing full well that in order to stand any chance of seeing each other, kissing, touching, holding one another we would need to overcome a distance that would take a flight lasting between 11 and 12 hours. I loved him. I don’t know how I know it. I can’t measure it nor can I prove it, but somehow I know that I did. Without a single doubt in my mind I know I loved him. Nothing will ever shake that deep knowing. The relationship was a short course, a crash course of sorts, which ended in an unbelievable crash-landing resulting in a heart ripped open on the runway, bleeding uncontrollably, an aura dripping with sadness and devastation & a new kind of darkness I never knew I could reach. (For a moment the concept of suicide didn’t seem quite so outrageous). The file labelled “lessons learnt from being in this long distance relationship” is currently being put together, I imagine I will keep adding to it throughout my life. Isn’t that how it works? We never truly know what we have learnt until we are faced with opportunities to put our past pains to good use.

Life is an open-ended question

According to the internet “An open-ended question is designed to encourage a full, meaningful answer using the subject’s own knowledge and/or feelings.“
Perhaps I do hold somewhat of a clear list of “lessons learnt” but am too scared to begin to unpack them, certainly not here, not right now. However what I will share is that the hardest thing about losing both the lover and friend is that I was left with feelings of being unlovable, the feeling that I was only loveable when I had a bright smile, a pocket full of jokes, enough rays of sunshine to power a solar-powered household for a year, but not worth the trouble and time when my darkness showed itself, when I myself needed those rays of sunshine I so happily handed out, when I was bursting at the seams, then I was reduced to a burden too heavy to carry, a burden so easily discarded and dumped.

A note I discovered whilst cleaning the mess my broken heart left inside me

With my increasing amount of years on this planet I have found that conflict is an opportunity to engage with something that wants to be discovered and worked with, something that emerges, and something that was previously invisible and is now brave enough to make itself visible to our eyes and hearts. I am intrigued by conflict and what it asks of us.

I am a seeker, a searcher, a curious mad-woman.

searchersImage found here ---> (Click here)
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Say Hello… to amazing!

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you a band that is already beyond it’s time, a band that makes me feel like I am looking back on my life. John Wizards (click here and go and fall in love)

These videos are brilliantly brought to you by my amazing friends at Glow LDB (click here and be amazed!)

and here is one more to shake you up while you have  your morning tea….

My work ignites me!

Since I have started working at my new job (which doesn’t feel so new at times) I have been completely stimulated by the conversations, insights and knowledge that I have been encountering.

I can not begin to describe how overflowing my cup is at this very moment. I feel like a school-child learning new things every single day. I didn’t think it would be possible to feel this way about my work. And to think hat I get paid to be here makes me even happier.

Let’s just say that since I have started working here I am realising more and more the importance of cities and their huge potential to become hubs of inclusivity, productivity and creative engagement. (Please note that I am fully aware that these words do very little to describe the kind of vibrant city I am speaking on, but they are all I have for now)

Here is a little video I cam across which gives a little glimpse into the kind of work that has been done in the city of Medellin in Colombia. I am a HUGE fan of what has happened in that city and how it has come about. Some of you know that I have put a lot of love and energy into 100in1day Cape Town as I see this a potential new form that could solve a lot of current global and local issues. Glocal solution finder 🙂

This is what I love about what has happened in Medellin

Please click this link to access the video on the Monocle website

 

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Source of image – here

Important things for Didi to remember…

This weekend marks the first gasp of breathe upon reaching the shore after a long, deep swim in the waters of hard work.

What better way to unwind and reflect than to spend a weekend in a wonderful wooden home on a mountain overlooking the sea?

A busy train ride to the seaside transported me to a totally different space. One of the things I appreciate most about this place I call home. That it is possible to hop on a train and be by the seaside.

This weekend highlighted to me some really important things. Things that I very often forget and take for granted. Here’s my top 5 list of important things for Didi to remember:

  • Surround yourself with strong women: Powerful women replenish my energy levels, they hold a deep understanding like no other. Remember to connect with them in order to remember that which you forgot that you have forgotten.
  • Drink Tea: There is some ancient wisdom that comes in each tea-leaf. This wisdom enters through your taste buds and stays and restores some kind of calm. (I discovered PMS tea this past weekend. What a wonderful invention, made up of a concoction of wholesome herbs)
  • Read a book: In my rush of getting things done, I have been reading loads, staying up late cramming into my brain; information about some serious topics to be used in my daily work. This weekend I packed a book I bought in Belgium that has been lying patiently by my bedside, wishing me goodnight and goodmorning each day for months. We re-connected again. I had lost touch with how good it feels to travel to some other place, using words and the imagination as a decorated vehicle.
  • Sunsets are a free reset button and sunrises are a reminder of the blank canvas that is each new day: A kind, gentle reminder to breathe and let it go. Let it go. Whatever has happened has happened and the only way is forward. Let it go.
  • Long baths offer some healing for the body and soul: I’ve mentioned in this Blog a few times before; the power of healing that water holds. I was very quickly and beautifully reminded of that by taking a wonderful hot bath with oils this weekend. I want a bathtub! I’m not sure how. But I do!

The last 3 days have been a gift from heaven, thank you to my beautiful friends for this. Next week is more of the same with a different pocket of friends and the next week sees me playing bridesmaid for a good friend of mine who is marrying another really good friend of mine. How lucky! I am nervous and excited. Mainly nervous because I don’t know if I’ll fit in the dress…eeek! Time to get jogging!

November looks like it will be the soft bed I’ve been fantasizing running home to jump up and down on!

businessman-jump-sky-clouds

Okay, Okay, more like….

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Source of image 1 – here

Source of image 2 – here

More about the work I have been immersed in in the next post…

The dating mis-adventures of Didi

Very recently I cried myself to sleep. It made me so sad that I had nobody to hold at night. But deeper than that, it was deep dissatisfaction with who I found myself to be. I found myself questioning every single part of myself. My looks, my smell, my hair, my finances, my outlook, my path so far, my eating habits, my hobbies, me everything.

I began to question where I went wrong, why was I not worthy of love? The kind of love I felt I deserved that particular evening.

The sadness I felt that night stayed with me a for a long time to come and it forced me to re-think and re-work some aspects of my life. I wrote a poem which now lives on my wall. It is titled “I am enough” and goes on to detail why I deserve the best and am the best no matter what, whether I have a lover or not. Another favourite discovery was this here quote:ggg

Since then I have lightened up a little and have decided to have a little fun with my predicament. Seriously, the tears of sadness have been replaced with tears of laughter, the kind that roll down your cheek and often result in the contribution towards a 6-pack. Yes. I have been looking at my dating history and laughing at my timeline.

At some point I remember being wooed by a guy who had a pet stuffed parrot. Yes, a PET, STUFFED, PARROT. This guy proceeded to romance me with evening phonecalls where he would proudly divulge that he was reading articles about cadavers… this did little to quieten my suspicions that I might soon be turned into a real life cadaver that would reside in a freezer in some basement that “he knew nothing about”. The thing with me is that I love uniform, he was a marine. A marine who sailed with a STUFFED PET PARROT perched on his shoulder. I think no.

Then there are the numerous times I have found myself in the friendzone dumping ground, I have done some market research and have subsequently discovered that the main reason behind this, is that I am TOO NICE. Please re-read that sentence and once you have made sense of it explain it to me.

I have since taken stock of this diagnosis of friendzone by too-niceness to heart and have taken some time away from Cape Town where I spent days in the highveld sun reading “Why men marry bitches”  a book that was not particularly well written but quenched my thirst for understanding what exactly it was about my nice-girl attitude and way of being that made me a friend zone ragdoll. After pages of what seemed like strange advice, I get it. Be aloof, get a man. Pay no attention they will come running.

I haven’t managed to put this into action, if anything I have a sealed envelope beside me which I plan on dropping off at a friends place on my way home, a friend who might be a little minor crush, I’m not telling.

The problem is that I like who I am, I like that I write people notes and hand written letters and drop them off. I like creating experiences that make people go “wow”, I like being nice.

Given this finding I have decided to start a project. This project is going to be undertaken by my alterego – little miss-match. Let’s call it a social experiment called 7evendays 7evendates.

You will meet her soon enough. She is busy fixing her outfit and preparing her profile image. She is somewhat of a character. The project itself will have you glued to the blog. Just watch.

There is more where these misadventures come from including drunk dialling my crush who I subsequently refused to kiss…(more on this later), a marriage proposal to James Blake and much more.

This piece is meant to quench a mini thirst…

My words have power. So do yours…

This post was meant to be about my experience at Pecha Kucha Cape Town and how powerful words and sharing them is. But this morning I opened my facebook to find a wonderful message from a young lady from Hawaii who is going to be embarking on the  Social Entrepreneurship experience I have experienced on YIP in Sweden. The very experience that activated me to start this blog.

“Aloha Didi, My name is Kailea Frederick I am from Maui, HI and I am going to be participating in YIP this year ~ I just wanted to be sure to let you know that your blog on your YIP experience has proven to be such an extremely powerful tool for me. I myself had started a blog with the intention of chronicling my YIP experience for future Yippies, because I was having a hard time finding anything written online regarding personal experience in Jarna. I was so pleased when I stumbled upon your words, and have since used them in times of doubt when it seemed my YIP goal was out of reach. I have now started reading it as a way of preparation. I found it to be incredibly insightful. I appreciated how truthful you were in chronicling hard moments. It has been a great reality check!

The time you put into it, is so appreciated.

Mahalo, Kailea” 

Power of blogging

This note gave me a little pat on the back. I often wonder who reads my blog (apart from some really close friends) and what they get out of it. This reminds me of the power of our words and the power of sharing them. Also this highlights the power of blogging!

Check out her blog over here. Paying it forward.

The above image was taken years ago by my wonderful friend Nonku Phiri, lover, music-maker, artist, extra-ordinary female human soul.

Picking up the pieces

The last few weeks have been easily the most stressful few weeks of my life. I plunged into a dark phase that I never knew was possible to reach. I struggled with the fact that that was where I found myself. In the pit of some dark place I had never previously visited.

During this phase (which I am slowly coming out of) I have had to learn some serious lessons. Lessons that I have known, felt and adopted as my own knowledge before this, but have had to re-learn. Here are some of them. I share these difficulties with the hopes that they make some impact on someone else. I share these here, publicly, because these words will outlive me.

  1. Friendships and human connection are a very vital part of life. Never ever disconnect from this. It turns you into a cold, lost whisper of a soul.
  2. Debt is a real form of slavery. Grips you by the wrist and takes your freedom of movement, freedom of enjoyment and freedom of being human and alive. The shackles are real and very uncomfortable.
  3. Be patient. Why? Because “This too shall pass” as with every, single thing in our lives. This is but a bus stop on a much longer journey. It is the natural order of things (let’s call them the ebbs and flows of life, the peaks and dips of a mountain range, the calm and turmoil of the weather, the beauty and equal ugliness of our world, both inner and outer)
  4. Each new day is a step towards something. You might not know what this something is, but oh boy, it is there and it is important and it will reveal itself soon enough.
  5. Surround yourself with goodness, as much as you can. People who make you laugh, friends that come to your house, cook you a meal and then sit in your warm bed with you while you watch Cloud Atlas.
  6. Pray. I talk to God often and throughout my day. I forgot him in this past little period. I lost contact with him. Things were much much heavier because I carried the burden of my worries and struggles by myself. Remember to share the worries with God (or your version of God – whatever positive force that may be for you)
  7. Be honest. About the state of affairs. Both with yourself and with others. If you can’t afford to pay rent that month, see it, realise it, be okay with it and then be honest about the fact. Most people are understanding enough to get that it happens sometimes.
  8. Kiss someone you fancy. I kissed a boy last week. I enjoyed it. It made me feel loveable and beautiful and added an extra spring to my step. The boy in question is a rather beautiful being and I consider myself lucky to have been in a position to do so and to explore this with him, even if for a little while.
  9. Red wine is a remedy of sorts. I have not been drinking for a long time now – nearly a year. Very intentionally so. I won a trip to Belgium (the beer capital of the world) and started drinking again. I came back and for the first time in almost a year enjoyed some wine at home with friends. We cried, we laughed and we saluted what was, is and still shall be.
  10. Pick up the pieces. Because those pieces lying all over the floor are the pieces of a puzzle you are yet to figure out. Just pick them up. They might be shards of glass for now, but one day they will fit into a bigger picture. Without them the puzzle will never be completed.

necessary darknessI am by no means ready to fully face the world and bounce about with joy. No, not yet. I still need wheelbarrows of love and hugs and home-cooked meals. The sadness of my difficult hike in the dark woods still lingers and sits inside me. But it is slowly coming to the surface and will soon leave me and I shall no longer be its host. I don’t know when this will be. But I have to be patient, with the kind reminder of #3 listed above.