down the rabbit-hole…

i am not particularly popular at work with some people at the moment….

here’s why:

a good friend of ours has an annual big-bash-birthday party, usually with some crazy fancy-dress theme. last year it was nympho’s and nuns – and this was my outfit:

 

nympho with a habit 😉

 

this year’s theme was “down the rabbit-hole”. i knew whatever outfit i came up with would require some kind of top-hat, so i spent one morning scouring the internet for ideas (there’s lots of inspiration out there) and making a miniature topper. lots of messy glue-guns and cutting out and gluing, but i thought for a first attempt it wasn’t bad.

 

 

come saturday night, i still hadn’t decided on a character or what i was going to wear, though it all came together at the last minute and i was quite satisfied with my creation. on the bottom was a victorian looking skirt, on the top a striped top i made,  under a sies! isabelle coat over which i wore a red belt i’d hand-sewn a while ago. it took a bit of last minute alteration to the top-hat, but i was happy.

the party guests loved my outfit, but they seemed to enjoy my introduction even more. so guess who/what i was? tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee’s lesser-known sister, tweedle does! it took a minute for the penny to drop and then they’d all grin like the cheshire-cat.

 

dum dee dum!

dum dee dum!

 

 

(note, that brooch is made from a button i found in my mom’s sewing-kit. it’s probably about 40 yrs old! and yes, that’s some of my art-work up against the wall).

ok, so enough preamble. the party was in full swing when one of my friends showed a sudden interest in my hula-hoops. (i’m reknowned for showing up at my friends’ parties with hoops on hip).  i’ve been hooping for over 10 yrs and it’s been incredibly frustrating for me that i haven’t been able to generate much interest for it here in jhb. in l.a. i’d take my hoop out and people would ask about it and want to try it out. not here. so when someone shows even the slightest interest, i’m ecstatic and just short of prosthelytizing.

so there we were in the dark with my 2 LED (light-up) hoops and i was showing her some advanced isolation moves which require holding the hoop and moving it like a big steering wheel infront of you. next moment she loses control of her hoop and i feel this searing pain in my eye. i’m so used to hoop -injuries though, that i kept on for a moment until my wildly tearing eye made it impossible. when we stepped back inside, i realized that i had my contact lens in my hand, my make-up was running and what met me in the mirror, was this:

 

 

of course my first thought was, oh shite! what am i going to do  about work?! i’m in the middle of quite a big story-line on the soap, and this was going to put me majorly out of continuity. then my next instinct was to go home and cocoon, but fortunately i countered that and the discomfort and pain and stayed for what turned out to be a really fun party, even though i was wearing diva sunglasses for the rest of it to protect my eye.

when i showed up at work on monday morning, i had just about everyone recoiling in horror because by now, my eye looked like this:

 

 

on-screen it looked even worse. i was looking like i was stumbling around in  twilight, like a demon from some teen-vampire movie. unfortunately, the show must go on, so for once i was allowed to shoot with my hair covering my eye (usually a major no-no) and a lot of angles had to be adjusted. seems we’ll be reshooting one scene and picking up 2 shots.

today the director told me how much he’d been cursing me the night before as they painstakingly painted 500 and something frames to fix my red eye. as a friend quipped, next time use the red-eye reduction setting! it’s actually much better by now, my homeopath friend’s recommendation to up my vitamin c intake to speed the healing, seems to have made a big difference.

though i don’t think i’m going to be forgiven at work anytime soon. apparently i owe a lot of people a lot of whiskey to make up for this.

i feel bad  that my injury has made life difficult for the production, but if you think i’m going to stop hooping though, here’s mud in your eye, mack!

(and elisabetta, if you’re reading this, don’t feel bad, i don’t think anyone at work believes i didn’t do this to myself!)

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post goa comeback

hey there, happy new year! yup, i’m back folks!

actually, i don’t know if that’s necessarily true.

physically, i’ve arrived back in johannesburg after 3 mostly blissful weeks in goa, but i think there’s almost a lifetime of thoughts and experience and change swirling round my brain – most of it inchoate, little of which has had time to congeal into words – and i’m not even sure how much of it is fit for public consumption. 

3 weeks sharing a tiny, cramped, little room with my friend crystal, sleeping on a single bed with a mattress so thin it took weeks for my hips to stop complaining. cold bucket showers with no towel, having to dry off with my face cloth and air-dry the rest, smelly indian-style squatting toilets –  an exercise in deprivation – yet, suffice to say, it was beautiful.  sweaty, melanoma-temptingly hot, gut-wrenching, with cows, soul-splitting, inspiring, with more cows, question-inducing, extreme polarities of light and dark,  a few more cows and some flies,  playful, fun,  a lot more cows, flies and mosquitoes plus  facing my demons and being met by the light. about on par with a first trip to burning man – except for the cows. and the flies and mosquitoes.  life-altering.

life altar-ing…

i’m grateful and i’m blessed… and i’m going to try very hard to remember to stay that way.

 

new year's eve sunset on arambol beach

new year's eve sunset on arambol beach

another beautiful arambol beach sunset

 

the view from our little room at the oceanic

offering digestive biscuits to the durga's tiger at magic park

view of arambol beach from the gate of the oceanic guest house

 

with crystal and new old friends, tapesh and chandra

 

laser peel recovery – day II & III

friday mid-morning, after my micro-laser peel the night before, i head back over to the CENSORED for a check-up with doctor CENSORED.

i am not feeling good. i think i’m taken by surprise by the amount of pain i’m experiencing. i look terrible. i attempt to wear a hat, but it chafes my fore-head and the vaseline i’ve been told to slather on my face sticks to everything. i opt for a scarf loosely tossed over my head.

the doctor says it’s looking good, so this must be normal (and i do recall 2 rather scary-looking patients the night before). he puts some yellow powder around my eyes which he says will absorb some of the moisture. i look even scarier. halloween has come early and my gruesome burn victim mask takes first prize. as i pay my not-insubstantial bill, i start to feel a little light-headed (not just because of the feats required by my credit card) and have to go take a seat in the waiting room. CENSORED, the very sweet receptionist, gets me some powerade. dr. CENSORED asks if i want to lie down, but i opt to stay where i am (i’m sure i’m not being a very good advertisement right now for the other clients in the waiting room). they very kindly order me a sandwich as i think my wooziness might be as a result of skipping breakfast, combined with the flu and the stress on my system.

i can feel that all the blood has drained from my face. my body seems to be in shock. another client very kindly offers to drive me home, but i gratefully decline and slowly make my way back. i spend the rest of the day on the couch, my face simultaneously shiny and crusty, watching the opening of the olympics which is pretty awe-inspiring and provides at least a little bit of distraction, though i am in pain.

during the course of saturday morning, after i’ve washed off the crusty yellow powder with the (not inexpensive product i bought from the doctor), the pain and swelling begin to subside. i’m beginning to feel better.

however, i still have to prepare for the fire-gig i’ve agreed to. i spend the day getting my costume and tools together and choosing music for the performance. putting on make-up, though, is far more interesting than i’d like. i’m still very crusty and it’s hard to cover that. i also feel like my face is cracking under the make-up. i end up covering my eye area in a huge ring of black cream-based kryolan and end up looking like the corpse bride.

we get to the venue (which is breathtakingly beautiful – stone buildings nestled up against the koppies) and set up. i’ve been ignoring the fact that i have the flu, but by now i’m beginning to lose my voice, my lungs hurt and my face, now that i’ve got make-up on, feels like it’s splitting open. i get through the 2 sets, dismally it seems to me, for the level i’m used to performing at, but it goes over well. only problem is that i have to wear goggles for the fire set, just to protect my eyes, but instead it winds up chafing off the skin around my eyes. i wash off the make-up in the ladies room immediately after and have very interesting conversations with women coming in and out to use the facilities (especially the ones disappearing into the stalls in pairs – not necessarily to relieve themselves, though definitely to powder their noses).

it’s a strange experience. i get home feeling like i’m done being the entertainment. i used to love fire performing, but on this night, when i’ve performed mainly to honor my word, seeing that i have the flu and my face is on fire, it is interesting to see how my highly distinctive make-up and costume, make me invisible. to the people who don’t know me, i am the hired help, somehow beneath them. it is not a feeling i enjoy. it interesting to see the change in response when i take my make-up off and they actually talk to me and some realize that they’ve seen me on tv. the irony is that apparently there’s a lot of interest in booking me, but i don’t know whether i’m any longer interested in spinning for anything but fun.

(to be continued)

bite me!

this has been one of THOSE weeks where the actual events blur, but the emotional hang-over remains. days have blurred into each other – working hard, lots of scenes, long days at the studio, little time to write. 

tuesday started with a huge blow-up between the head of the make-up department and i. we are usually friends, but i’ve been experiencing a really snippy tone from her on and off and on tuesday it turned out to be that straw by which this camel’s back refused to be broken. all i’ll say is that it involved knee-highs and hairdryers and time constraints, and took all week to (almost, but not quite) resolve. i suppose when one works with people for such a long time in such proximity, the fit sometimes begins to chafe and needs some adjusting. i also think that when one first meets people, the possibility for friendship exists, and you go on that presumption and you work at creating a friendship. one day down the line you wake up and you suddenly realize, “wait a minute! we’re NOT friends – and it’s okay!”. and you stop trying.

oh man, self-righteous anger… it feels so good, but really who does it serve? reminds me of that other 12 step maxim, “resentment is the poison we take expecting the other person to die”. there’s some sage advice.

i realize that my many years of childhood abuse have shaped me in so many ways i’m not always aware of. that the past from time to time comes back to bite me in the butt.  it took me 12 years to realize that what was happening to me wasn’t my fault, but when i finally did, i got really pissed. for a really long time. and at that time it was what i needed to recover. now that’s no longer necessary, but i still have the same pattern. i’ll take people’s shit for the longest time and then one day it’s like i have an epiphany of outrage and explode. and the reality is that it’s no longer necessary. i’m not that helpless little girl anymore. i am a strong and empowered woman and i need to speak out at the little things which bother me – you know, deal with the mole-hill before it turns into mount everest. because i can.

and the past can bite me!

wow, i didn’t know i was going here when i sat down to write today. so maybe it’s appropriate that i add this here:

it’s always been my intention to do hoop workshops with abused women and children and just over a year ago, i got the chance with a group of school-girls and another group of women, organized by FAMSA. it was a very emotional week-end which started with me racing from the studio where i film to get to a town 2 hours away in time to get to the girls before their school day finished. these girls have so little that their gratitude towards me for showing up, talking to them and hooping with them was overwhelming. they couldn’t believe they could keep their hoops (even though i was somewhat disappointed at the crappy quality that we managed to get donated for them). the average age is about 12 and many of them have been either raped or molested or abused in some way.  

the workshop with the women happened the next day. i gave a 20 minute talk about being a rape and incest survivor and we then had a huge hoop taping session so the women could personalize their hoops, followed by a hoop demo and then a hoop jam/teaching session. it was overwhelming how many women would sidle up to me, whisper their thanks and then proceed to tell me their stories. and all i could do was listen, hug them and tell them it does get better. 
just as i’m reminding myself right now – it does get better.

hanging over

so thanks to face book, i find myself up at 6:15 on saturday morning in order to go and join some women i’ve never met, for a run. the person who’d facilitated the whole thing, i only discover when i get there, has gone out of town!

ok, let me back up here a minute. a few days ago, i notice a journalist who’d interviewed me for a magazine article, has updated her fb profile to say that she’s entering a race. i’ve been searching for running partners for ages with no luck, so i quickly get in touch with her. i promptly sign up for the race and she then hooks me up with the woman who’s organizing the run, which is how i’m out on the road at 7a.m. on a cold johannesburg morning. with said journalist nowhere in sight.

i discovered the local university of johannesburg track on my very first run in march, so this is my first time out on the road since that day. it starts out ok, but one of the ladies ups the pace (they run almost every day) so that we run 5k’s in about 31 minutes, which is about 5 minutes faster than i’ve been managing on the track lately, and i really feel it. we were going to try for 10k’s (yeah right!), but i feel like i’m pushing at the limit of my endurance and it doesn’t feel good. my toes hurt. i should be feeling all amped, getting ready for this race, but i actually feel somewhat discouraged. i’m been looking at my schedule for this coming week and i’ve got quite a lot of scenes, so i’m trying to plan my runs, but i’m not feeling very enthusiastic.

we plan on going out to a club called playground saturday night, in view of jon qwelane’s article last sunday, but my friend shirley cancels at the last minute, so my friend crys and i move the living room furniture and hoop up a storm. it feels sooo good. it’s been too long since i had a regular hoop practice. i used to hoop almost every day, but since i bought this house, i’ve slipped.

crys leaves for another engagement and her ex, simon comes over after breaking up with his rebound french girl. (i really dig simon and crys, so it’s sad that these days there’s a lot of negotiation as to when either or them is coming over. we have to make sure it’s not at the same time, so as not to cause any awkwardness – and invariably they come over on the same day! i think they’re beginning to be friends again, so hopefully we can all hang out together soon). anyway, si persuades us to go to a birthday party with him. i take some hoops as well as my psi-hoop and poi and do some more hooping while managing to get thoroughly plastered over the course of the evening. when we get home, we stay up till about 3, watching “fur” starring nicole kidman and i wake up with what feels like construction workers breaking down walls in my head.

no wonder i’m feeling out of sorts today.

happy birthday madiba!

early february 1990, i’m sitting on the spanish steps in rome. my then boyfriend, later husband, is working on the godfather III, so i get to hang out while he films. however the movie started filming in december the previous year and by now i’ve had enough. i realize, i want to go home. 

smash cut: 10 february 1990 – we’re in the airport lounge in brussels. i see someone i know and she shouts out, “mandela’s free tomorrow!” wow, we are floored by the news! at long last (27 years past due) – and we’re going to be home when it happens.

we land sometime in the early hours and head straight for soweto to watch madiba’s release on tv with friends of john’s. it is momentous! the man walks out, taller, more charismatic than anyone could have imagined. larger than life. a survivor of the seemingly impossible.

i don’t have many heroes, but madiba, you are my ultimate hero. you are a man who has taken whatever has been thrown at you in this life, good and bad, and you have synthesized it into something better. i could not have hoped you would still be here with us, almost 20 years later, but i’m grateful you are.

happy birthday! may you live forever! 

(i went into my garden this afternoon and hooped in your honor!)