everything is not ok

if i weren’t like the cat with 9 lives or the phoenix always rising from the ashes, i would be dead right now, because the last week has slain me.

the news, the incessant news of another woman victimized, disregarded, disdained… this time she actually has a name, something more than just another statistic.

anene booysen.

only 17 and discarded on a pile of rubble like so much rubbish. RIP anene. you deserved so much more.

i have been taking a mental health break from my accidental activism, but this makes it impossible to stay silent. and like i said on twitter this evening, every time i talk about rape on my time-line, i suspect that people go, “oh, there she goes again”. well i don’t care. i didn’t choose to be the poster-child for rape survivors. i don’t create the news. i don’t rape. but i sure as hell can not keep quiet about the horrors happening all around us. like prime-media’s campaign the other day, setting off a ping every 4 minutes… ping….ping….ping….ping….ping. ad nauseum. infinitum.

i’m angry and i’m sad and i’m outraged. maybe this will get people galvanized enough to start changing things.

maybe.

this is a poem i wrote the last few days.

“everything is not ok.”
 
i’m a survivor
 
a survivor who after silence
has found her voice
do the things i say
make you flinch
make you uncomfortable
no apologies
because rape      is       uncomfortable
imagine the discomfort of being ripped apart 
 
it is     not     comfortable
it is not        ok
 
it’s an outrage
 
and when i read about 
a little baby in a back room
a grandmother in a shack
yet another girl on a bus
a girl treated like just so much rubble on a construction site
 
violated yet again
by men who think
that our secrets are theirs to flay open
that  what  we are 
are theirs to claim and maim and scar and discard
another statistic 
in an endless mobius strip of numbers
looping escher-like
into infinity
 
it makes me want to scream 
and rage 
and yell that something must be done.
so i am using my voice 
i am the alarm going off next door
the screeching siren that says
the windows of someone’s soul have been shattered
a holy portal broken into
the doors broken down
another temple violated
 
this is not okay
 
and i’m going to say so
i’m going to keep saying it 
i’m going to keep up the clarion call to rise up 
to stand together to ward off this nightmare
to do     something
to make a change
i’m going to shout about this
till everybody listens
 
and i’m not going to shut up

year end quiz – wenchy’s meme

can you believe it? 2013! we survived the end of the world (yup! still here!) and more importantly, we survived 2012. it seems there are a lot of us who were only too happy to see the tail end of last year.

there’s a meme doing the rounds which was started by wenchy a few years ago. i came across it on angel’s blog and was inspired to do my own version. i hope 2013 treats you all fabulously.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

    • i got divorced after 19 years and 9 days (and being separated for about 8.5 yrs)
    • I started an e-commerce site for my clothing line, sassdesigns
    • i wrote some new poems – something i haven’t done in ages
    • i pretty much stopped working out and got heavier than i’ve ever been in my life
    • i mc’d 2 events at afrikaans festivals
    • got treated like a rock-star in namibia
    • took a holiday road-trip
    • spent new year in a place called red stone just outside oudtshoorn with 3 other couples and had an awesome time
    • i went to afrika burn for the second time since the year it first started and had a blast
    • i bought a new pair of powerisers and went bouncing about on them
    • we bought a caravan in anticipation of going to afrika burn again.

the caravan - i feel totally middle-aged now!

the caravan – i feel properly middle-aged now!

 

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year

i’m not one for new year’s resolutions. why set yourself up for failure? i don’t need more reasons for self-flagellation.


3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

no, but there are so many  buns in so many ovens right now. 


4. Did anyone close to you die?

no. let’s keep it that way – but i fear because my mom is now 81 and i got a shock seeing how much she has slowed down in the last year.


5. What countries did you visit?

i went to namibia for work, but otherwise my passport stayed in the drawer – i’d like to change that this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

  • to get out of my head, get over myself and  pay more attention to my loved ones.
  • movie roles would be great too.
  • more mc work.
  • new adventures and lots more travel. 


7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory?

the week of afrika burn. our combined birthday party which was awesome. 


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

wow, this one has me stumped. and it shouldn’t. i guess it’s getting the sass designs e-commerce site up and helping to organize slutwalk johannesburg again. 

9. What was your biggest failure?

my biggest failure was getting to be the most unfit, inflexible and fattest i’ve ever been in my life. but that’s changing. i looked in the mirror last month and thought, this is the year i turned into an old woman. 2012 is also the year in which i started thinking about mortality and the fact that in terms of “3 score and 10” life expectancy, i am long past the half-way mark. 

but i have living to do yet.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

i’m happy to say that i made it through winter without one of my usual respiratory infections, though i was plagued by knee injuries and an injury to my achilles which kept me from exercising the way i’d like. 


11. What was the best thing you bought?

ooh… right now, that would have to be the russell and hobbes 1000w blender and the stick blender which i love. the blender isn’t quite the vitamix i had before, but so much better than anything else. 


12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

my other half – he got to direct the biggest reality show in nigeria, called the gulder ultimate search. it was great for us financially and great for his self-esteem. i always knew he had it in him.


13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

my own, mostly… and then our lawmakers and supposed leaders.


14. Where did most of your money go?

living. 


15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

  • my other half getting the directing job.
  • going to afrika burn. 


16. What song/album will always remind you of 2012?

“the greatest man in the universe” by bobby womack was my most exciting musical discovery this year. 


17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

  • Happier or sadder?
  • Thinner or fatter?  fatter. by  far.
  • Richer or poorer? richer. For the moment. Sort of.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

more yoga. more exercise. been more loving. blogged more. my blog basically died this last year – hopefully it will receive some much-needed resuscitation in 2013. i wish i’d had more time to read. i sometimes say that i’d like a reading holiday, a period of time in which the only thing i do, is read.


19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

i wish i’d eaten less badly and drunk less alcohol. and spent less time in my head. 


20. How did you spend Christmas?

Xmas was awesome. we spent it in cape town with wolfgang, my first boyfriend (31, yikes, years ago) and his husband. we spent the day of xmas eve preparing dinner for 23 people and it was beautiful. xmas day i went to my mom’s house for a small lunch and then went to my sister’s house where she had a huge gathering for extended family. 

the table magnificently set for 23

the table magnificently set for 23


21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

i don’t spend much time speaking on the phone at all. it’s not my favorite thing. i use my phone mostly for email, social media, twitter, fb.

22. Did you fall in love in 2012?

yes. several times. 🙂


23. How many one night stands in this last year?

none of your business. 😉


24. What was your favourite TV program?

i loved, loved, loved the newsroom and homeland. and i watched the entire series of  smash  within one weekend. i’d watch it again. 


25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

i prefer not to hate anyone, but i’d have to say, every asshole who perpetrated violence against any woman or child makes my list.

26. What was the best book you read?

i’m ashamed to say that with the number of scripts i have to read, i read hardly any books this year – and this is from someone who grew up in the library and used to read a book a day. i listened to the audiobook version of the steve jobs biography – mainly on the treadmill at the gym. i’m reading damien echol’s “life after death” on my ipad and we listened to a great book, “beautiful ruins” by jess walter on our holiday roadtrip. i’m also halfway through listening to “the unlikely pilgrimage of harold fry”

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

bobby womack – the greatest man in the universe

and also “tiny prayers” by aaron embry who i knew when i lived in topanga


28. What did you want and get?

a pair of powerisers, a vintage singer sewing machine and a new blender


29. What did you want and not get?

oh, isn’t it the human condition to constantly crave for more? there’s always a wishlist – i want an iphone 5, i wanted a replacement for my vitamix whose motor burned out, i wanted my clothing line to grow and be more successful than it currently is, the elimination of violence, the end of rape…and so on and so forth, etc, etc


30. What were your favourite films of this year?

hmn… i watched mainly series this past year, but the ides of march and searching for sugarman are on the list – i have a long list of movies that i still want to see though: shame, looper, life of pi, the master, tiny furniture


31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

i turned 48 – i don’t remember what we did on the day, but we had a fabulous birthday party a few days later that everyone talked about for ages afterwards.


32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

actually being paid the alimony which my divorce agreement says i’m due!


33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

dress to look good, but mainly to feel good. if the dress doesn’t fit, then the dress is the wrong size.

i’ve always been a quirky dresser – that doesn’t really change.


34. What kept you sane?

being creative. having awesome friends, fabulous dinner parties and the once every few months, champagne club gatherings.


35. Which celebrity/ public figure did you fancy the most?

hmn… i’m not really a schleb follower, but i did think the guy who plays the ass-hole director in smash was hot – in a quirky way.


36. What political issue stirred you the most? 

violence against women and children. i am after all the poster-child for surviving rape and sexual molestation. *ironic voice*

37. Who did you miss?

my friend ineke who died of cancer a few years back. i think about and miss her often and always will. and then all of my really good friends in LA and other parts of the world.


38. Who was the best new person you met?

i didn’t meet them for the first time, but this year i got much closer to two women – my friend lauren and someone i work with, hanli, has become a good friend.


39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

  • everyone has a story. everyone has troubles they are dealing with. everyone, no matter what is on the surface, is going through something, so if you can, be nice to everyone around you.
  • at the same time, i’ve learned to disengage from other people’s drama and not make it mine.
  • and i’ll say it again: just be nice.
  • oh, and don’t forget to play.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

sometimes a song will  pop into my head like something rising from the bottom of a murky pond. at first i can’t quite make out what it is and then i’ll realize what the words are and invariably it will be a comment from my sub/un-conscious on something that’s going on in my life.

i don’t know if it sums up the year, but over the past few days, this tune popped into my head and then i remembered the lyrics:

“Joyful Girl” – Ani Difranco

i do it for the joy it brings
because i’m a joyful girl
because the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world
i do it because it’s the least i can do
i do it because i learned it from you
i do it just because i want to
because I want toeverything i do is judged
and they mostly get it wrong
but oh well
‘cuz the bathroom mirror has not budged
and the woman who lives there can tell
the truth from the stuff that they say
and she looks me in the eye
and says would you prefer the easy way?
no, well o.k. then
don’t cryand i wonder if everything i do
i do instead
of something i want to do more
the question fills my head
i know that there’s no grand plan here
this is just the way it goes
and when everything else seems unclear
i guess at least i knowi do it for the joy it brings…

dumb ways to die

i don’t know if this has come your way yet, but i think it  epitomises australian humor and gets the message across in the most clever, funny and catchy way. don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along.

wings…

i used to play the guitar. not great, but well enough to accompany myself on the 60 plus songs i’ve written.

it’s been years since i’ve played consistently what with having a full-time day job and a business on the side. there just hasn’t been enough time. or so i tell myself. and the dream of recording my songs has slowly slipped away like a fallen leaf down a fast-flowing stream. now, every once in a blue moon, when i do make the attempt, it’s like i’ve never played before. i can’t get through a single one of my songs without getting stuck. i can’t remember the chords and my voice cracks like a rusty door-jamb.

it’s so frustrating – and it’s my own fault, i know.

anyway, this is very unusual for me. maybe it’s to inspire me to get back to it, more than anything else, but for your edification and to prove i’m not making this up… 🙂

here is a demo of a song i wrote a very long time ago and have just uploaded to soundcloud: wings

 

 

Sass Pasella

I was interviewed by Vicky Davis for an insert on Pasella which is an Afrikaans magazine show on SABC2 – here it is for those of you who missed it and might be interested. 🙂

It’s in Afrikaans, but it’s sub-titled in English.

cock’s crow

after lying awake for at least 4 hours, at 02h45 this morning, i posted this tweet:

It’s been 20 years since on this date, at almost this exact hour, a man broke into my house & raped me. Wish it didn’t still keep me awake.

the irony is that for many years now, the date has come and gone without me even noticing it. this time however, maybe because i was home alone, i succumbed to paranoia. i knew that i’d armed the  security beams, yet i still got up at least once to make sure. on more that one occasion i held my breath, training my ears for any perceived sound, making sure that this time no one had snuck into my house, that there was no-one lurking outside my bedroom door, unlike that other time.

it reminded me of the one time i stayed alone in my other house after i’d been raped in it. i spent the entire night walking the length of the house, from the front-door to the back-door, convinced that the guy had come back and was trying to figure out a way in. and ironically i was probably right because not 2 weeks later, when i was out of town and had 2 women staying in the house, he found a way back in and nearly broke down the bathroom door to get at them. fortunately they fought him off, but i came back to chaos and having to change all my locks, as he’d taken off with my keys.

last night i lay and listened to a cock crowing inappropriately somewhere out in the dark. i tossed and turned and tossed and turned some more. and when i finally fell asleep for 45 minutes, i had a spectacular nightmare about someone trying to break into my house, wielding a huge knife – with my screams once again stopped in my throat. silenced. helpless. mute.

i wrestle with thinking it weakness – that i once again allowed that man power over me, my life and my actions, versus recognizing the strength in realizing my vulnerability and making sure to defend it –  like putting in perimeter security beams after waking up to find 2 men on my property.  some people might think that 20 years is a long time to still be affected by something, but i don’t think that they realize that rape changes one forever. you will always have a different perspective than someone who hasn’t experienced that violation. you will never again consider yourself immune. that’s the biggest loss. and the journey to healing is one you’ll travel till it ends in a grave or a pile of ash.

i did later tweet this, in honor of all survivors and also in honor of myself:

On this day I’d like to say to all survivors: there is a steely strength in even your most fragile moments. Know you’ll be ok. #thisiknow

i might have stumbled on the side of the road last night and bumbled bleary-eyed through my day, but know that i will get up. in fact, know that i am up – and moving right along. some of you are ahead of me on this journey and some are coming up behind.

i wish us all strength and maybe i’ll see you out there on the road.