Farewells

December 4, 2007 at 8:58 am (friends)

I’m not good with goodbyes. It’s one of those things that doesn’t sit well with me. Not only do I choke up completely, I can’t deal with it so I shut down and it seems as if I don’t care.

Problem is, I care too much. And whenever I face emotions that are to heavy to deal with I close off completely.

Anyway.

Today I say goodbye to someone who I’ve grown very close to in the past year. We’ve been friends for a while but have really bonded this year which makes her leaving so much more sad.

She’s an amazing woman with unbelievable strength, even thought she doesn’t always know it. There’s something special about her – her unfettered joy, her ability to make people laugh, her big emotions and neverending warmth.

I’m going to stop here because as I’m writing this I’m getting that choked feeling. My throat is closing up and I feel a tear starting to form. I’m just too sad (even though I’m also happy that she’s going).

So all I can say is, goodbye Mrs M. Until later.

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Why are you my friend?

July 13, 2007 at 8:34 am (friends)

Why are my friends my friends? Do we choose our friends because they’re mirrors of ourselves? Do we get irritated with parts of their characters because we ourselves have that characteristic?
A friend and I were discussing this yesterday and he reckons we there’s a bit of a mirror aspect going on in friendships.
I’m not entirely sure what he meant but it got me thinking about my friendships and why I’m friends with my friends.
I should also qualify that friends here include people I’ve met online and people who I don’t necessarily see regularly but with whom I communicate often.*
 

Rossgen: In many ways we’re so alike it’s not even funny. More sisters than friends. We did everythign together: fell over, well, everything; grew up; had bad hair days and fashion faux pas. We went through puberty and DOH100 together. And, importantly, we survived our families together. We have conversations without finishing sentences. One word means five paragraphs. It doesn’t matter if we’re silent for a while because our friendship is the kind that doesn’t need that many words.

Mrs M: I’ve learnt to be more open and express my feelings more thanks to MrsM. She’s generous with her emotions and feelings and I’ve tried to bring some of that to my very  introverted personality. And her perseverance in the face of adversity is inspiring.

Mel: She’s the person who has given me so much inspiration since we’ve become friends. I want to be a better person because of her. She’s completely unique and even though she’s on another continent I still feel as close to her as when we had our girly DVD nights.

Inner Bubbler: We ‘socialise’ more online than anywhere else but I so recognize aspects of myself in her. I also have painfully shy moments in public (yes, really!) and find it easier to converse in writing than actually speaking. She’s definitely got a bubbly personality hiding behind her shyness and I think I’m like that too.

Kash99: She taught me the word “meisie”! Ok, seriously though, Kash has a strong personality; one which I admire and which I hope to have when I grow up. She calls it like it is but will go the extra mile for her friends. Kash is like the popular kid I wanted to be when I was in high school. I also suspect she’s the reason why nobody dared mess with me in high school!

Batman: He has taught me the meaning of patience. I wish I had more of that. Batman is also very true to himself and stands up for what he believes him even if it’s not the most popular option. He’s got a wicked sense of humour and, although he would never admit it, is actually just a cutie pie hiding behind batwings.

Zel: She would go the extra thousand miles to help a friend. No matter how difficult she won’t give up. If I had half her commitment, I’d already be a better person. Plus she has a fabulous way of finding out the most obscure things.

Pampoentjie: She and I are kindred spirits. She’s one of the few people who understands that it’s ok to not want to be nice all the time. It’s okay to not want to be all chatty and shit when you just don’t have lus. She has perfect timing with her one-liners and her acerbic, dark sense of humour is like a beacon of light. She’s the peri-peri on the gêtsby.

Rosie: She’ll also go the extra mile for anyone who asks and is one of the warmest, nicest people ever. From her I’ve learnt what it means to be a perfectionist and one day I’ll be just like that. I hope.

Lyntjie: She’s crazy! Very open, very honest and has a hectically complicated life but seems to  live it to the fullest. Takes courage to do that and I admire her for it. 

* If you’re not mentioned here it doesn’t mean you’re not my friend. It just means I’m all drugged up and can’t think straight…if you think you should be here (if you’re not) let me know and what it is about me that makes me your friend.

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Thanks friend

May 30, 2007 at 8:29 am (friends, private personal space)

There are days when you feel so low there’s just nothing that can cheer you up. Except the company of a good friend. Even when everything is at its lowest ebb just being in the presence of that person can cheer you up. We all need someone like that in our lives.
Friend, you know who you are: thank you for all the lovely words and the absolute faith. It did a lot more for me than any amount of hot chocolates and cigarettes. Even more than chocolate (and that’s saying a lot!).

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What kinda friendships have you?

May 11, 2007 at 6:14 pm (family, friends, love)

There are a few things in life you should always be grateful for. One of those things is the presence of good friends. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been with you for life or if they’ve been with you for a few years. If they’re there, they care (cheesy ne?). Some I hardly see and only occasionally email, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about them.
Seriously though – I have cut out all the people who pretended to be my friends because they were taking too much of my spirit. Poisonous friends, I call them. They’re the ones who sap your strength, your energy and your goodwill. And not to mention your wallet.
No matter how bad you feel or how guilty they make you feel (manipulation is one of their key characteristics), you need to cut them loose. Let them go. Clear your space because they’ll just bring you down.
Once you’ve cut away the dead wood you’ll have the ones who love you, care about you and will help you wipe away the snot when you’re too weak to lift your hand.
They’re the ones who will tell your man he’s a doos but support you if you stay with him. They’re the ones who will appreciate your inner beauty – because that’s what makes you special. Not the size of your boobs or the colour of your eyes or the length of your legs.
These are the friends you should treasure because they’ll be there no matter what. Mountains, oceans, Mango flights and frequent flyer miles doesn’t matter to them because when they’re with you in spirit, that’s all that counts.
To all my friends: thanks for being in my life and making it all worth it.

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How we have changed

May 10, 2007 at 8:10 am (chocolate, diets, exercise, fat rolls, friends)

“Toby, you were so thin at varsity,” B says when looking at some pics of me way back when (ok, ok, three years ago). “You’re nogal a bit chubbier now, ne?” Yes, point this out while I’m in my Lindt-gorging phase, old buddy, old pal. Just what I need after a hellish week. I still love you to bits though and will have an extra bit of chocolate to celebrate your keen observation skills.

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Farewell my friend

May 9, 2007 at 7:57 am (friends, missing, moving, packing)

To have the courage to just pack up and go – that’s what I want. My good pal has now said her final goodbyes before she heads off for the sunny, sandy beaches of
Thailand for an unknown period. A sabbatical, she says.
I am, of course, incredibly jealous but also in awe of her ability to do something like this. She has no job and only the money she’s saved up in her past four years of work but she has no fear because she’ll be traveling, seeing the world and not having to endure the drudgery of a nine to five.
My rational side practically winces at such a whimsical plan but there’s another part of me that wonders whether I could be a bit more like that. See, I’m a worrier.
That’s what I do – I worry about stuff that don’t need worrying about. What about money? Job? Plans? What if something happens? Will everyone else be okay? How will I cope? Etc, etc, etc. Worry, worry, worry. Geez, I should change my name to Worry Hanks, not to be confused with Horry Wanks.
Sometimes I wish I had some of her carefree spirit – alas, I’m too much of an eldest sister to throw so much caution to the wind. But perhaps one day I’ll, too, embrace my inner wild child and head off to the wide open spaces with nothing but a plane ticket and a twinkle in my eye. Now that would be the life.

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Who are you calling coloured?

April 18, 2007 at 9:54 pm (family, friends, private personal space)

So who are you anyway?
This question – some would call it esoteric – was first raised by Mrs M and it spun out to quite a debate. Who are you? What is your identity? Do you have a problem with being called coloured?
Tricky one this because it’s actually so loaded. Unless you’re very sure of who you are, where you come from and where you’re going.

Is being coloured related to false teeth, gatsby’s (although a friend from Malmesbury says they only do chip rolls); is it pickled fish (as mentioned in a previous post); is it kitting out your car in the latest mags and sound systems (even if it’s a skedonk); is it talking about “keeping you white” when you don’t acknowledge old friends in public places; is it struggling with not being white enough or not being black enough; is it never wanting to pay for something when you can get a freebie; is it loving Fiela se Kind; is it feeling anxious when you saw the play Bacchus in die Boland; is it not knowing where you fit in in the fabric of South African society; is it having fond memories of going to see the coons at Green Point stadium while your mom bought your sausage rolls (with cheapy tomato sauce) at a vendor in the Gardens; is it feeling a connection with the sea…I could go on.

The problem with being any kind of label is that it comes with baggage of all kinds. Whether you’re black or white or coloured – every group has a negative connotation attached to their labels. But it is up to us to remember the positive aspects of our collective identities and encourage these ones to flow readily.
If you allow people to take control of identity and define its parameters for you…well then you’re screwed. But you shouldn’t allow that anyway. I am who I am because I want to be this way.

My friend asked me to say what I am in one line. My answer: I am a 24-year-old South African woman. That is all.

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Regrets and other vague memories

April 17, 2007 at 9:04 am (colleagues and friends, family, friends)

My friend has gone in for his op today. I tried calling him but he’s on his way already. I should’ve called him two days ago, I know, but waited until it’s too late. Sigh. Just another thing to regret. In that spirit I’m listing five things I’ve regretted doing this year. But also five things I have absolutely no regrets about.

Regrets:
1. That I didn’t phone my friend sooner.
2. Not spending enough time with my family and friends.
3. Keeping quiet about things that made me unhappy.
4. Not reading enough books.
5. Not taking more holidays and planning overseas trips.

No regrets:
1. Applying for a new job then declining even when I got it because it wasn’t the right thing at the right time.
2. Only spending time with the people I love and/or care about.
3. Not eating any more pies.
4. Weeding out undesirables from my life.
5. Starting this blog.

 I very seldom reflect on things I’ve done – whether right or wrong, but sometimes it helps to get a little push in the right direction. Sometimes we just need to think about the things we’ve done and where we’re going.
Tell someone you love them today still.

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Turning the page

April 16, 2007 at 8:44 am (friends, gossip)

I’m going to be part of a book club. Ja, I know I’ve said before that I think it’s pretentious, but this one will be cool. We’re going to be a bunch of smart-but-fun types being very fabulous. Oh, and talking about books of course. If you have any books you think are deliciously wonderful and should be discussed, drop me a line at tobyhanks@gmail.com with the title of the book and a short description of why you liked/disliked it and why we should give it the time of day. If your ideas are original and fantastic I’ll post them up here so others can share in your literary genius. Come now, don’t be shy. 

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Yeah, I guess I love ya

April 10, 2007 at 6:51 am (brain, friends, hormones, pituitary gland, tumour)

Every so often something happens that makes you realise all the stuff you have – laptop, car, cellphone, house, money in the bank…all of that stuff doesn’t really mean anything in the grander scheme of things.
Yesterday I got a call from a good friend. After the small talk and catching up on stuff he dropped this little bombshell: he’s having an operation. Not just any old op: He has to have a tumour removed from his brain.
There’s probably no need to panic as medical science has progressed phenomenally but I’m still freaked out. Brain surgery, after all, isn’t exactly having a bunion removed from your toe.
My friend’s tumour is benign, thank heavens, but he still has to have the tumour removed. Problem is, it’s in the big MacDaddy of all glands that control the hormone – the pituitary gland. The entire gland has to be removed to get rid of the tumour.
This means he’ll be on medication for the rest of his life. He’s only 24.
I’m sure it’ll be fine and the operation will be a success but this bit of news made me realise, once again, that you simply can’t take anything for granted.
Tell the people you love that you love them. Live your life with as much gusto and oomph as you can. Get married at 24 if you want because you don’t know if you’re going to reach 28. And if you reach 28 and you don’t want to be with that person, then it’s ok – just move on. Go on that holiday next month because you don’t know if you’re going to have the chance in five months time…you get my drift.
I know I don’t spend enough time with the people I care about. My career is important to me, sure, but the people I love are more important. And when you get news like this, and realise how finite life is, you just have to let those close to you know how much they mean to you.
It’s not easy for me; I’m not that kind of person. So for those (you know who you are) who are on the top end of my People I Love list, know that I do…

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