currently

currently, i am trying to figure out how i want to look, what makes me feel good, why i don’t like my body & my face, and what i can do about it. i am trying to figure out if the way my body moves is alien to me because it has never moved like this, or because i’ve never noticed. i’m not sure how much of a difference it’ll make.

currently, i’m growing old trying to get into college and to make sure that neither of my sisters have to go through the long winded process that i am currently going through (to self: shalom, have you emailed mrs. hind for your sister?). i am trying to find work for the american summer, because…well, point five. i am unsure of what the future looks like from as early as june, and i don’t enjoy the uneasiness that comes with it.

currently, i am trying to make my way into freelance writing because i’m broke and because i really want to write. so far, a byline from women’s republic (a start up magazine that i am honoured to write for) looks possible. i’d like to write for the establishment, though. i need to get on that.

currently, i am dealing with the fact that i don’t have clothes outside of sleep shirts, a pair of jeans, and sweater dresses. i’m becoming more aware of how i think i want to present myself, and i think i need clothes for that. there’s a running joke in my family about me and becoming a nudist because of my lack of clothes, and it sounds like a joke, but oh, the possibilities….

currently, i am broke. as usual. i didn’t get the job at lush which sucks so hard. i am trying to scrape up R200 because i will not miss vodka party if you paid me. i mean, maybe if you paid me. seeing that i’m broke, and all.

currently, i am lonely. i’m not in school, so friends from school are (1) far and few between to begin with, and (2) in school. it’s a bit shit, the lack of platonic and romantic partners in my life. i need friends. and maybe someone to make out with. or maybe just some sleep.

currently, i’m putting on a pair of joggers i stole from a friend (she let me keep ’em tho, tell ’em ash) & going to run errands for my mom. am i going to lament over the price of tampons and yoghurt? probably.

there’s a lot going on right now, and i’m trying my best to ease into it. with my track record, i probably won’t. you’ll find out, though. chronic oversharer and all that.

love and light,
shalom


featured image from death to stock

music to watch boys to

hello! it’s tunesday! except it’s thursday. (edit from future shalom: this got published on a friday. yikes.) i come bearing music recommendations after a really hard twenty four hours and a need to write but my inability to write something that isn’t worrying. tunes ahoy!

the title is a reference to a lana del rey song of the same name off of honeymoon from 2015. while it’s not in this post, it’s lovely. bit dark if you listen long enough. lots like lana. on with it!

 

102 by the 1975

this song hurts a lot. matty explained it like this: “This song is about a girl [friend] that I had. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I loved her but she didn’t feel the same way. I don’t even think she knew I loved her. This song is about the times I had with her. As she and I became close friends, we had traditions. It was kinda like our thing, y’know? We’d somehow always coincidentally be out at exactly 1:02AM, so that was our thing. Now whenever I’m awake at 1:02AM, I think of her and I let her go.”

on this shirt
i found your smell
and i just sat there for ages contemplating what to do with myself

 

still sane by lorde

the way this song, and lorde, presents its(her)elf is what leaves me connecting to her music the way i have since 2013. ‘still sane’ talks about anxiety and birthdays, and being so very out of it that it’s hard to be. however, at the end of the day, it has to be fine. you have to be fine. this is fine, right?

i’m little but i’m coming for the crown
i’m little but i’m coming for ya
i’m little but i’m coming for the title held by everyone who’s up

 

isabel by the wombats

this is a song of undoing. of realisation and confusion; of struggle and surrender. ‘isabel’ speaks to craving the experience and committing to the consequences: undoing. everyone has an isabel. you know one. they take up enormous heart space and have an irrevocable ever-expanding capacity to be loved. they are dangerously wonderful, like all good things. take care when it comes to them, friends.

i’m much better isabel
when you’re ripping my life apart
i think it’s you who’s the true rock star around here

right. that’s that. i’m tired & i think i’m indulging myself by listening to sad music when i’m already sad. issa bad idea.

love and light,
shalom xo

of mondays and joy

experiencing fully fledged joy that isn’t mania as a depressed person is a strange experience. it’s very alien, and today has left me fulfilled yet super tentative of tomorrow, because i know something has to go wrong or back to normal, at least. it’s regression to the mean.

in the northern hemisphere (and now, all over the world too), the third monday of january is known as “blue monday” – the supposedly most depressing day of the year. it’s recognised everywhere and people really feel terrible and everything sucks, until tuesday. on tuesday, things go back to the way they were, and people no longer feel blue. for most people with depression, it doesn’t work like that. it definitely doesn’t for me.

i’m a happy person who’s depressed. i love people, and i thrive on the happiness of others. i adore belly laughs and tired sighs from days full of loving, but my brain also doesn’t make the neurotransmitters it needs to be making, so what we get from that equation is me. i rapid cycle between excessive optimism and damning despair far too much and far too fast. i’m dealing with it okay, though.

however, today has been a really great monday.  much like this one.

i didn’t get any sleep because i don’t get sleep, and had a really teary two a.m. i freaked out because i had so much to do including mailing transcripts for university admissions (keep those fingers crossed for me please!) and an interview for Lush. LUSH. The super amazing smelling, ethically brilliant and people focused brand. I was so stoked that I got an interview, but I was pretty sure it was all going to go to shit because of how my morning went. It was 21 degrees outside and I was sweating like a Christmas goat while trying to do my eyeliner because ya girl was anxious as HECK and also I was running late for a thing with a friend. It’s okay. I got there. Then the goodness began.

Jo bought me a hazelnut honey latte and I lost my mind because it tasted so good. We ran generic errands and I bumped into a storybook boy at the printing store. STORY. BOOK. As in curly hair big smile British accent story book. BOY. I sang to him about capitalism and he had a very cute laugh. I ran away because I’m an IDIOT and Jo gave him my number. He probably won’t text, but I’m glad I met him nonetheless. I have a boy to put in my stories now. I played with a Newton’s Cradle in a birthday store and got really giddy about science.

By DemonDeLuxe (Dominique Toussaint) – Image:Newtons cradle animation book.gif, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3717500

I then almost skipped out of my interview because anxiety, but went ahead and did the damn thing. I have a trial shift on Thursday! I am SO EXCITED. I then went to get some tea, paid for a short and got upgraded to a grande for free. YES. I then got free samples of cheese and of bread at Woolworths and bought a cheese and tomato baguette that surprised me with the best tasting basil & mayo I have ever had. My eyebrows also did the damn thing. I got home and napped for three hours, ate a pie for supper, found a blog that’s probably my new favourite (do check out Dora @ For The Goldfinches because wow – follow her on instagram too! She’s a joy.) and got invited over to swim with a friend tomorrow. It’s also MLK Day, so I got to smash down some microagressions regarding not being black enough, which was exhausting but necessary. I’m glad I did. Happy birthday to my biggest writing hero, Lin-Manuel Miranda, too! There’s a gif party on twitter if you wanna come. #gifTparty

I’m a bit sad that today is over, honestly. It’s been the best day that I’ve had in years. I’m grateful for it, but also hyper aware of the fact that everything has to swing back to the middle eventually. I learned about regression to the mean from Teen Wolf. I have a weird relationship with that show.

Despite how well today went, I still have the undercurrent of despair running through me, but I’m okay with it. It’s not the loudest in this moment, and every moment that my brain allows me to just be is one I am grateful for. I’m about to knock myself out with some heavy sleeping pills, and I’m really glad that I can. On Saturday, I didn’t think I’d make it to the end of the day. Thank goodness I did though. Who else would have taught that cute boy the capitalism jingle?

love and light,
shalom xo

of resolutions and old new years

Hi, gang. I’m working on a better salutation that doesn’t only have it’s desired effect when I say it out loud because this is a blog. And you’re reading, rather than hearing. Anyway, I’m working on that.

New year’s resolutions (see how I placed that apostrophe correctly? Huh? Huuuuh?) are weird for me. Not because I don’t make them, though, because I make the hell out of them. I usually do pretty well when it comes to accomplishing them too. For example, my 2016 resolutions – or, as I wrote down in my purple planner, “for 2016” – included the following:

  • more acceptance
  • big moves
  • dedication
  • take care
  • more water
  • save $$$
  • keep learning

…and more of the sort. While super vague, they all made sense to me because I wanted them to be a little cryptic so that I wouldn’t expose myself if someone found my planner and called me out on not being dedicated enough. The dedication could have been dedication to eating more pizza rolls…if I’d ever had a pizza roll. But you’re catching what I’m throwing, yes? My resolutions have been big on a small scale that only I understand. I usually make them on the first day of the year and have a page in my planner and it’s all really lovely. Can you sense what’s about to happen? How I’m about to tell you how that’s not happening right now? Good.

This year, for starters, I don’t have a planner yet. It’s almost the middle of January, and I am yet to create a January spread. The new year is old! It has lost the sparkle that makes people believe in hope and change and all the good January first things. I have three events in the next week and I’m freaking out about each of them on a really high level because I haven’t written them in the 2017 book because Shalom’s “get a planner before the year ends” ass was too busy getting and fighting off malaria in the Ivory Coast.

(It’s dawning on me presently that I would have much better made this a video. I feel like the way I’m hearing this in my head is a lot better than the way you’re hearing it in yours. Do you hear what you’re reading in your head? For real, that’s a question I’d like to know the answer to.)

I’ve decided to share my resolutions with you. I feel a little strange about typing them because they don’t yet exist in another format. So, here we go:

for 2017:

  • Acquire (because I didn’t feel like saying “get via self purchase or gift from parental party) a phone (an iPhone, maybe?) that will not be stolen four months after purchase (or at all). (2016 had a bad track record for phones and me.)
  • Stop (or do my very best) cancelling plans (or not following through with them) to sleep or eat or cry or *insert Shalom activity*. I am the worst. I will straight up ask you what time you’d like me to be there when I know I’ll be in bed. Anxiety and depression suck, but I’d like to stop saying  “yeah I’ll come” then not, in favour of saying that I’m having a hard day and I won’t be coming. Start doing that, future Shalom.
  • More girls loving girls! More seeing girls as people and not objects & influencing the worldview of girls! More girls that don’t interpret other girls as competition! Girl love! (!!)
  • Move back to the US. Is my timing off on this one? Yeah. Yeah, I know. I’m scared too. I am, however, moving continents, and that’s exciting all on it’s own.
  • Work a full-time job (it’s that simple. I need a job. I’ve gotta get one.) and save meaningful money from it (for next travel adventure or for life. We’ll see.).
  • Get into college. No, I’m not in high school. Yes, I have done a year of university already. Yes, I’m still playing the game of hanging in the great continental education system divide. (Note: Apply ED or EA if you can. It makes the waiting less painful.)
  • Take better care of my body and be healthier (without letting intrusive eating disorder thoughts back in)This is a hard one because the balance is so, so delicate and I really don’t know if I can handle it? We’ll find out though. I’m an oversharer.
  • Make some friends. That’s it. It’s that simple (it’s not simple). I’m just trying to make some friends outchea pls help
  • Get my driver’s license. I really didn’t want to do this until I drove a quad bike on the beach on Christmas and I think that maybe I can do this.
  • Tell more people that I love them (because I think just not being kind to everyone I can is having a backfiring effect on me? Like, I have too much feeling and I am suffering.) and practise intentional kindness more often.
  • Don’t break my glasses! 
  • Create more, unashamedly. For real. Being afraid is a thing, and anxiety and consequences and dealing with them are all things that I need to just handle. I need to say what I need to say. I need to make stuff.
  • Be more perspective of my mom and her feelings. I’m not explaining this. I love you, mom.
  • Become fluent in (at the very least) one of the languages I’m half fluent in! I feel like I’m more willing to take on Portuguese than French. But either way, I’m doing it!
  • Learn to cook a good pasta sauce. I’ve learned to cook a lot more than I thought I would have, but I’m lacking in the pasta sauce department. It needs to be stocked.
  • Perhaps, just…give less damns? (I was going to use a better choice word but I realised I haven’t sworn this whole post and it is EXCITING.) If you add the handy cocktail of neurotransmitters I get at the pharmacy because my brain doesn’t make them, the effort I put in on a daily basis to do the life thing, and the being a pretty okay person, I think I’m working really hard. I think I’m doing okay. I think people who want to jump on my back for existing can enjoy the ride (especially the part where I fall over. Several times.).  I’m gonna be a better human if I can, and I’ve written things down so now I’ve got a plan.

Thanks for being part of my old new year so far. I appreciate you. Years years bears.

love and light,
shalom xo

about my face

Formalities: happy new year! (It felt strange not to capitalise that.) I hope your holiday season was lovely! I hope some people got over their irrational anger over the phrase, “happy holidays”! Congrats on living to today! This is a little mess of what I think will become a little collection of essays about my insecurities on the internet. Yes, that is dangerous if some day someone finds a way to use these all against me in some super saiyan attack. Yes, I am posting it anyway.

Hello, gang.

It’s 3:57 AM and I have a day full of adulting that includes seeing other people (some of which include people from church and a 10th grade weeklong boyfriend), talking to university management, sort out this ear infection from hell, do my laundry and go to the pharmacy.

It’s not the busy that bothers me, really. Nor is it the lack of car, the ineffective public transportation system, or the lack of sleep I’d have gotten by the time I need to be up. It’s the fact that I have to see people. It’s also not the people that are the problem. It’s my face.

This isn’t a pity post. Even if it was, that’d be fine because this is my corner on the internet. This is a sort of…organising my thoughts about my face and my dislike of it post.

Growing up is hard to do. Growing up as a cis female in a somewhat accepting society has been a lot easier than it could have been, but it’s still been hard. I can’t say really when it started, but I think as I got older and became more aware of myself (and in turn, my face) in society, I really really didn’t like it. I just didn’t like my face.

For a while, it was anti-blackness. Oh my GOODNESS did I want to be white. It was a messy, messy stage, and I’m glad to be past it, but I understand where I was coming from. I was in the middle of primary school, and I wanted to be pretty. It was that simple! I was already smart, but every book I read told me that being just the smart girl was not enough to be liked by anyone; that the pretty girl always won; that the smart girl gets bullied, and that the smart girl only wins if she becomes pretty. So I wanted to be pretty. Pretty in 2008 was a petite white girl with blonde or brown hair in a pony tail some days and in two another. I wanted pretty, and I couldn’t attain it. It made me sad, because I didn’t really understand why I couldn’t be pretty. I had never done anything to make myself particularly ugly, except that one scar on the bottom of my chin. Why couldn’t I just be white?

When I got to high school, my sister told me that I didn’t like my face because I didn’t take care of my skin. A plausible reason, I took it seriously and started a face care routine. I also started watching Glee and did almost exactly what Rachel Berry did because she was a star and goddammit if I wasn’t going to be a star! My skin was pretty good, and I never really went through any bad hormonal changes in terms of it. I hated the fact that I had this baby moustache that I couldn’t get rid of, no matter how hard I tried to pull every hair out, and three or four random hairs near my chin stitches’ scar. I used to think they were the scar’s fault.

I learned the magic of threading and how a little less hair on my face could make me feel so much better – and I never really understood why that was so – and really wanted to feel better. And some days, I do! Some days, I think that my face isn’t too bad a face. Most days, I talk about how I want a head transplant but want to keep my brain.

I don’t like my face. I don’t like that it looks smooth but really isn’t. I don’t like how it makes me the go-to less conventionally attractive friend (cue society denying its very, very loud anti-blackness). I don’t like how, before, when I liked my body, I felt as though I could achieve much more if I did a trade-off and got a face that matched the body of a lean, strong, smart dancer and athlete. I don’t like how make-up brands think that black people darker than the preset brown on MS Paint don’t exist. I don’t like that for a year I decided to pull ridiculous faces in every photograph, because I figured I’d rather look bad on purpose. I don’t like that my hair made such a difference on how I felt about my face, and how I only felt pretty when I had enough hair to put into one long, flowy pony tail, or sometimes two. I don’t like how people answer, and will answer, “but you’re pretty, Shalom”, because it does nothing but make me feel bad for having convinced them to speak with that pitiful lilt in their voice. I don’t like how I’m fighting back tears while I write this because I don’t like how much I don’t like my face.

I don’t like my face, and I really wish I did. I wish I felt the slightest bit better about it. I wish my mother and sister didn’t say “but if you just _____” every time I tell them. I wish I could take it seriously when I get called pretty amongst my friends. I wish I could help people to understand that I’m really not being modest, and that I really can’t accept compliments because it feels like fraud on a massive level. Pity fraud. I wish that the lipstick, the eyeliner, the gold eyeshadow, the glasses that used to make me feel better still did. I wish I could work out why I felt like this. I wish I liked it here.

I don’t know if I just need more therapy or if I’m just going to keep on feeling this way for the foreseeable future (I hope the former), but I’d like to not feel this way in a couple of years. Self hatred can be really tiring, you know? It also plain sucks.

win_20170109_045317

an awful quality webcam photograph courtesy of five a.m.

It’s after 5 AM and I have to be a human now. Now, you know even more about me than you’d thought you would. Do your best to have a good day. Do your best not to put any more hurt in the world when everyone’s doing their best to deal with their own. Congrats to Donald Glover and Tracee Ellis Ross on their Golden Globes!

Good morning.

love and light,
shalom xo