love is out there | 2016

i spent the post shower hour (that weird space where you’re clean and naked and have more than enough time to think) watching the google zeitgeists from 2016 all the way back to 2010 & had a good cry. more than the average 5’8 girl, I am ready for 2016 to end. i am ready to be done. so, gang; a look back.

in 2016 we were made aware of how cruel time can be. we saw wars go ignored, we lost heroes, we witnessed bigotry on a 1945 scale, and tweeted for peace in berlin, baltimore, aleppo, lebanon, and so many more because we couldnt pray faster than our thumbs move.

2016 decimated my morale. 2016 completely broke my heart time and time again, and gave me no chance to put it back together before it crushed me again. 2016 & it’s robber friends ended up stealing 18 000 rands (!!!eighteen!!!) worth of stuff from me – not to mention my health: i came down with my 6th & worst case of malaria on christmas day and i’m trying to get my body to repair itself. i have beem exhausted from the fight against sexual violence & the fight for human rights every single day. i have sang and shouted and cried that black lives matter. i have put all i have to put on the line for equality. i have hit, and 2016 hit back. it’s been a trying year.

“And it has been
one hell
of a year.
I have worn
the seasons
under my sleeves,
on my thighs,
running down my cheeks.
This is what
surviving
looks like, my dear.”

– Michelle K., It Has Been One Hell of a Year.

despite this all, hope has prevailed in the strangest way. i wouldn’t say that 2016 was a fiery beacon of hope that restored all of us, but i think it ,forced us to hope simply because of how dark it became. 2016 was an incredible year for music, and an amazingly powerful year for the arts. (suicide squad was trash. don’t @ me.)

in 2016, i must have tumbled out of a plane, because i freefell all year (walk the moon, quesadilla). i went on some pretty cool dates. starbucks came to south africa! i went to university in a weird fluke of events and met incredible people who turned my world upside down every which way (thanks ashvini). i had a lot of arguments that tested my character & my faith, learned from the coolest philosophy lecturers to ever exist (shout out to shaun stanley & philosophy of religion [but no shout outs to st. anselm who confused the hell (heaven?) out of me]), hosted students who changed my life (bekah, cid & laura – thank you so much for everything), got into trouble for standing my ground on some ‘controversial’ issues (they’re not controversial so much as they are issues of human rights but anyway) and felt so proud of myself for not betraying my heart.

i introduced SO MANY people to Hamilton: An American Musical (maybe the best thing since november 2015), bought okayshalom.com, ran from police officers & rubber bullets, took being party mom to a new level by ubering people everywhere on my own account, realised when i’m being manipulated  (and as such, no longer uber people everywhere), i touched the atlantic ocean,  i told people i loved them, I got a new nickname (it’s panda, thanks phil), and i loved. this year, i loved so much.

i spent 2016 mostly crying over the astounding amount of hurt that there is in the world – over hate crimes and a lack of humanity, the cruelty of death and heartbreak and the terror of tomorrow.

reasonably speaking, 2017 won’t change much. the world will not stop freaking out because we changed the last digit of the year. bad people will not all stop being bad. those who crush hearts without remorse will continue to have stained hands. it’s a pity that a new year doesn’t provide a fix, but it is a joy that our being part of it does provide love.

over and above anything, commit to love. do not betray your heart. keep your word. believe in people.

believing in people has an unprecedented power. love is out there, somewhere, and joy comes in the morning. search for it. if you can’t find it, make it. celebrate every tiny victory. every one.

i hope the holidays have been peaceful for you. i hope that if you’re waiting for admissions decisions, like me, you’re a little bit calmer than i am. i hope you believe in people, in yourself, in hope, dreams, and love. keep your head up & your heart strong.

thanks for coming along with me this year. let’s grow.

love and light,
shalom xo

MISTER RACIST JOKES BRITISH MAN.

Hello gang. I went on the completely rad ridiculously fun filled trip of a lifetime to Lisbon in the middle of November, and had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people. I feel so lucky to say that I have a friend from Maine who ate ice cream at sunset with me, that I have a friend from Calgary who is my favourite person to teach dance moves, and that I have a friend from Miami who may or may not be secretly (definitely not) engaged to another friend from Ireland. (We’ll see how that goes.)

I also, as such, have the joy to provide you with a story of one of the not-amazing people I met on this trip. I don’t know if you can tell by the title, but he’s Mr. Racist Jokes British Man (Who BROKE MY GLASSES)™. Buckle up, buttercup: we’re about to go on a ride down pink streets and several alcohols and toasted sandwiches and shitty people. It’s storytime.

My friends, cast your mind’s eye to the 21st of November: a regular day in a hostel in the Lisbon city centre. I eat breakfast, I walk around the city centre. I fall in love with Portugal some more, while listening to WALKTHEMOON’sPortugal‘ on repeat. I return to the hostel, sign up for communal dinner by Mamma, and meet two brilliant human girls from Massachusetts. They inform me of a party. Word about the party travels down the table, and after a quick session of getting dressed and drinking green wine in the street, at least a third of the hostel is headed to Brazil. It was a Brazilian themed party. We didn’t walk to Brazil.

Brazil is mad, and there is much drinking and dancing. After a while, we leave, and the group I am with separates from the group with the Massachusetts babes. We try to find another party, come across a dodgy girl who asks us to wait for her on a street corner while she fetches her friend (we don’t) and sing along with a group of people and a seemingly homeless man playing ukulele. I yell, “what is happening?” a lot. (That’s not new.)

We return back to the hostel for more dancing, drinking, and toasted cheese sandwiches with lifesaving capabilities. Mr. Racist Jokes British Man (Who BROKE MY GLASSES)™ has been with us the whole night. He’s fine. Cool enough guy. Talks a lot about very random things and becomes less likeable by the longer he keeps his mouth open, but he’s alright.

At this point, the way that the conversations (there are about 96 happening) got to where they are is beyond my comprehension. In the conversation I am currently in, we are talking about boobs and birth control. I don’t know how or why. I, being well-enough versed in both boobs and birth control, am contributing to the conversation. Mr. Racist Jokes British Man (Who BROKE MY GLASSES)™, who is not very well versed at all in either, chooses this time to enter the conversation. He turns from the bar and says to me, “You’re not on birth control, are you? No, you don’t take that, no”. He is laughing, and I laugh because I am confused. I say, “How would you know?” and he says, “Oh, that was a racist joke! Because you’re black!”

Y’all.

I can do a lot when I’m drunk. I can do the splits, I can do six shots (with deep regret in the future), I can demonstrate my life saving hair-holding skills – I can do lots. I can’t be calm. Nope. Calm? Far friend. Second cousin thrice removed. Calm?

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I sat down, alone, and for four minutes went OFF. In a very drunk fashion, I mumbled to my cheese sandwich about how I wanted to tear this human man’s limbs apart. I didn’t tear him apart. I got angry and then drank some wine. So. Here’s my anger.

WHAT THE FULL FRESH EVER LOVING FUCK. Mr. Racist Jokes British Man (Who BROKE MY GLASSES)™, what the hell are  you on? You understand that a racist joke is racist, right? That it’s not a joke and that you’re a racist asshole? Why did you open you mouth and have your entire adult brain create that sentence and then expel it like it was okay? Are you jas? Are we going to talk about how (a) you stink of pigheaded white colonialism mentality, and (b) you know fuckall about black women? I don’t know if you know, but you know nothing about black women. You’re also not a black woman. Actually, the fuck do you know about boobs or birth control? Ugh. Male birth control is necessary. Please. It makes sense to take the bullets out of the gun instead of putting on a bulletproof vest. You’re also the same human man who thought that saying, “Yeah in high school they painted my face black because I was playing the black guy from Fiji”. You???? You are the STRAIGHT UP WHITEST BRITISH PERSON ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET AND YOU SAW THE ONE BLACK GIRL IN YOUR COMPANY AND DECIDED THAT THAT’S THE WAY YOU SHOULD TAKE THE CONVERSATION? Wow. Wow. What a wow. You are a whole wow.

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This foolish ass man also broke my glasses. Grown human man breaks glasses of human woman, laughs and continues his attempt at macking on her. It reads like an Onion title. A lot of my life reads like an Onion title.

Anyway, I thought of all these things because I’m wearing the same dress I was wearing then tonight. And, because I miss Lisbon.

I’m doing Christmas baking with a pal in twelve hour. I hope I never see Mr. Racist Jokes British Man (Who BROKE MY GLASSES)™ again. I got v annoyed looking at him for the last couple of days he was at the hostel.. I’m also really tired, and really glad I got this off of my chest.

Happy time of day to everyone except Mr. Racist Jokes British Man (Who BROKE MY GLASSES)™. My petty ass is being petty. The end.

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love and light,
shalom x

(all gifs from giphy.com xo)