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

In Which I Consider Vision Boards and Their Effectiveness

Aside before we begin: somebody just went into my blog archives and read all my posts from when I was 15. I am cringing for them.

Do you believe in vision boards? Like, I know that you believe that they exist, because they exist, but do you believe that they work? That you can attract things into your life by…visualising them, I guess. It sounds like a lotta lotta mumbo jumbo, and I don’t know if I’m fully here for it, but it doesn’t hurt, right?

Vision boards are said to work on the law of attraction, which is “the name given to the maxim “like attracts like” which in New Thought philosophy is used to sum up the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life.”. Thanks, Wikipedia.

I don’t know if this is entirely true. I mean, Roald Dahl believed it to an extent, and I took most of his writings as gospel truth when I was younger:

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I still do, for the most part.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve made a vision board. Well, I’ve started it.The distinct lack of magazine-y things in my house has made it a little difficult, but it still looks pretty rad. I also made it on a day I skipped school. I haven’t put up a section regarding graduation or this degree yet. I probably should.

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Welcome to my vision board! There’s a lot of mess up here, but it’s meaningful mess. (Anyone catch my Hamilton reference?) What’s up here right now is all the things I’d like to be associated with, things I’d like to have, things I’d like to do…things that I’d like the future to bring. I seriously need to dedicate a corner to this degree.

I’m not sure what I’m aspiring to yet. I’m (1) aspiring to not being so crippled by the future or the idea of time, and I’m not too sure what else. Beyonce Knowles. (That’s a pun. Beyonce knows. Get it? I’m laughing at myself.)

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Do you really get what you give? Because I’m waiting for the truckload of all the positivity to explode on my forehead. For real. Not that I’m positive to receive positivity, but that it’d be nice to get some back. I don’t know.

If the New Radicals said it, it must be true.

Today is the coldest wintery day so far and I am loving it. I’m also about to try to convince my sister to drive me out to get Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Or any doughnuts. I’m just in need of doughnuts.

love and light,
shalom xo

Passions & Pageants (and other rambly thoughts)

Hi friends! (Exclamation points make everything look super cheery. It’s disgusting.)

This week has been a little bit of a crazy time, no different from any other weeks. I’ve been battling with the ever expected ‘”DID I SCREW UP BY CHOOSING THE WRONG MAJOR” crisis-at-midnight’ since Wednesday, listening to nothing but two musicals by the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda. He’s the guy that wrote Hamilton & In The Heights & 21 Chump Street. (You should listen to all of them.) There’s probably a post about Hamilton coming soon.

I’m a law major. I don’t know if I want to become a lawyer, or if I want to become a law lecturer, or if I want to be Harvey Specter. Or Jessica Pearson. (Definitely Jessica Pearson. She’s the only one whose name has been on the door from the beginning.) Enough Suits talk – I’ve been having a big think about passion & purpose, whether the two actually exist, or whether they should have as much emphasis placed on them as they do.

This Humans of New York post & comment has fueled a lot of my internal monologue:

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Everyone talks about their “passion” as if it’s some pre-determined thing that’s somewhere out there waiting for you. Like a soulmate, if you believe that there is literally someone in the world you were “meant” to be with.

I don’t believe there are careers or hobbies you were meant to have any more than there are people you were “destined” to be with. I’ve been in enough relationships to understand that, yes, you can fit really well with someone, that fate can appear to have aligned perfectly for your getting together, but the success of the relationship is still dependent on your own decisions and how hard you’re willing to work for it.

The same is true about your “passion”. I study neuroscience; I want to go into research. I could have just as easily (if not more easily) become a writer, simply because I absolutely love writing. In college, I often enjoyed my writing classes more than my science classes. In fact, if money wasn’t an issue, I might have chosen to become a writer instead.

Does that mean I’m not following my passion by choosing a career in science over writing? No. Because I could never give up science. I could never give up my curiosity and desire to learn about the world, and the opportunity to actually be on the forefront of that discovery.

Your passion is what you put your energy into. It’s what you decide, consciously or not (but sometimes it has to be consciously!), to care about, to strive towards, to give your life to. It is a reflection of you and not of whatever the actual subject of your interest is. It can change.

People forget that “passion” doesn’t describe the object of your devotion; it describes the energy and emotion you invest in that object. People who jump from career to career, actively searching for something they can enjoy doing, can very well be exhibiting just as much passion as someone who’s stayed in the same career all their lives and loved every day of it.

Huh. Isn’t that something? I have crazy passion for theatre. Like, if you had to ask me what my ideal career would be, I’d probably have to give you the hodge podge that is “a lawyer librettist performer teacher”. Quite something, right?

Passion is specific. (Here’s a very smooth segue to pageants.) My friend, Errin, is probably one of the most crazy determined people I know. I struggled through math in grade 10 with her, planned THE BEST prom the school had seen with her in 11th, and now have the pleasure of calling her my friend & fellow law student. Errin has been doing pageants for a while, and apart from the fact that she is crazy good at them, she defies stereotypes while she kicks ass.

She’s just won Miss Wits (my university’s internal pageant), and is now competing for the title of Miss Varsity Shield. If you’d be keen to drop her a vote, you can click right here. The public vote counts 33%, and she deserves it. Love you, gal.

Things have been crazy. I work 12 hours a week, and I’m trying to be really good at school. I’m trying to save enough to buy my phone back (it got stolen here)& replace my laptop. Gertrude is having a rough year, like me. At least one of the banks I’m battling with got back to me today.

Here’s to an easier weekend.

Love & light,
shalom xo

Guess Who’s Back

How does one start these things? Yeesh. A month is a long time to be away from blogging.

Hello, readers! If you’re returning, get comfortable – your seat has been waiting & warmed. If you’re new, the new passengers’ seating is located by clicking the ‘follow’ button on your right. (Just kidding. You’re welcome, follower or not.)

Since December 2015, a lot has changed. Welcome to 2016! Congrats on making it this far. Here’s a list of things you should have left & brought with you, courtesy of Nathan Zed – one of my top five favourite youtubers at the moment, and also the funniest. And smartest. And one with the best hairline. (I like him a lot.)

Quick recap of January:

  • Matric results (Confused? Look here and here.)
  • Finished uni applications!
  • DRAMA. Family, friend, internet – you name it. All of it.
  • Said goodbye to so many of my friends who started new adventures in Cape Town, the UK, Stellenbosch, Rhodes, Mafikeng, Pennsylvania, Any Other Place That Does Not Permit Me To Get To Them In Under Three Hours…
  • Got dreadlocks? Hopefully, one day they look like Tiffany Ima’s – style icon and ULTIMATE EVERYTHING. That’s her in the featured image.
  • Started uni in SA in the hopes developing my brain before the HOPEFUL OVERSEAS ADMISSIONS LETTERS COME
  • Bank card. Bank fees. Bank. Gross.
  • DID NOT BUY DOMAIN BECAUSE I DO NOT HAVE $18.
  • Lived in filth, i.e. my bedroom & the couch in the lounge that I inhabited (and have since been chased away from).
  • The theme has changed! The About & Welcome pages will be changing, too, soon enough.

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My life currently consists of cards, cords, and contact lens solution.

The heatwave and drought South Africa is experiencing right now makes just about zero things easier. I’m melting, my eyeliner is melting, my ice-cream is melting, my patience is melting…things are a little crazy up in here.

Despite it all, I’m making it. My future is still a little (read: EXTREMELY) uncertain, and I’m not sure what’ll happen in the next six months. Hopefully, it involves a scholarship or two, and a flight to a colder part of the world.

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David and I have similar to-d0 lists. I, however, am without a single Apple device.

I’ll be posting on Tuesdays and Saturdays this year, and maybe a little more frequently when (a) important things are happening, or (b) a mosquito has bitten my finger and I need to move it. Both situations are applicable today.

Thanks for sticking with me, team internet! I know a handful of you personally, but the majority of you all think that I’m interesting enough to read what I have to say. I appreciate you all, and I hope that 2016 is a heck of a wave that we can all ride together. On separate boards. Mostly because I have no idea how to surf and wouldn’t want to drown you all.

love and light,
shalom

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photos from death to the stock photo here, and first covers here.