immortalizing love

in the moment that i realize i love him, i am sitting up on my bed and he is diagonally across from me. i tell him, “i really like you”, and he says “i think you’re looking for a stronger word”. it’s the first time he’s right. he’s right nearly every time after. and when he’s wrong, he’s the first to say it. he’s the first to say that i’m right when i am. how lovely it is to be reminded.

on the day before his birthday, we are cruising down the highway in his minivan, and ribs by lorde is playing. he smiles at me, and i tell him to keep his eyes on the road. his smile widens and so does mine. in this moment i become aware of the fact that i want to love him forever. i decide when the lyric “it’s not enough to feel the lack” plays, and for the first time i am thoroughly sure of what i want to do with my life.

when he goes hiking a couple states away i convince myself that he will be eaten by bears. he makes it back like he said he would, and we celebrate two months of bliss wrapped in each other, arms a poem repeating a refrain that says “together is better if it is with you”. the words etch themselves into the deepest parts of me. it is always better with him.

after a rough patch, we are seated at a restaurant. he reaches his hand across the table, and i am scared to offer my own. i do it anyway. he always pushes me to be brave. on the way back home, his hand rests on the back of my neck. i feel like i’m floating. when we kiss later, i feel like i’m floating. i float on the feeling and land in the present: what a lovely time to be in when one is in love.

many things happen – we go to a wedding, we turn twenty one with each other, we dance in the basement of my old apartment, we sing fleetwood mac in the car, we eat copius amounts of sushi, we play with his dog, we go to the fair, we road trip to pittsburgh – and his hair grows and grows. i love his hair.


booger,
i love you more than i can write, more than i can ever hope to help myself remember how much. i love you with everything in me, with all i am, in any way i can, in any way you need. thank you for showing me what it’s all supposed to be like. thank you for helping me heal. thank you for being yourself. i always think that i couldn’t be more in love with you until the next day rolls around and i am. every day i love you more. thank you for letting me, and for loving me back.

love and light,
shalom xo

and we back

well, it’s been around three or so months since you’ve heard from me. i am alive. i am, in fact, well. i am now aware that my audience contains some people i would rather it didn’t, and i am writing anyway. i am writing anyway. hello, my friends!

i’m not sure what this post is – i don’t know if it’s a monthly me, or an update, or just words, or something to keep me busy because i’ve finished all my assigned tasks at work. you know, i’m probably gonna tag it as all of the above because who cares? who really cares? i care that i’m writing, and that’s that. onto the good stuff:

first, a message to everyone who’s given me shit for being open and honest. man, fuck you.

thank u, next! i am in love, again. this time with an aquarius that looks strikingly similar to hey arnold. i am in love with his left handed everything, the way he looks like a balloon made of heart emojis about to burst, the way he is excited by every aspect of being alive, and the way he loves. it’s nice to know that i am not somehow a disaster magnet. after the ex, the lies, the hurt, the ex’s ex, the new girl – i felt like i attracted everything i tried so hard not to. until i stopped trying, and an old friend asked me to dinner. i almost said no. say yes, my friends.

i am in school! still! despite almost dropping out last semester – that was a wild night of panic attacks and rain – i am still here, still double majoring in linguistics and communication, still kicking names and taking ass. it’s going alright. i’m currently in my most difficult linguistics class to date and i’m still sort of looking forward to it? i love words. i love language. i love/hate the brain scramble that comes from studying it.

i wrote this last semester and i love it. it makes me think when i reread it. you can read it too, now:


i like to be, and to go. sometimes, the going is the only good part – the end is simply that: an end.  sometimes the end is a big sigh that feels like it could have come earlier or later – nothing special about the moment in and of itself. but even if the end is somewhat disappointing, the journey always holds promise. sometimes, everything lies in the getting there. sometimes the cotton candy sky out of the window and the chips dropped on the floor of the back seat is enough for you to step back and say, yes – this life, this is mine. sometimes it’s a laugh you haven’t heard before or a tender touch you never expected that makes you open your eyes wide enough for the first time in years. sometimes it’s the people you meet on the way, and sometimes it’s the way the summer peels with your heart in late august.


the journey is your hand out the window. it is the inside joke you missed and made up for yourself. it is the dream that you come to see you are living. it is the realization that you will survive. it is the surviving. the journey is surviving, and if you can cherish surviving, who needs an end?

i’m back. i love being back. happy february.

love and light,
shalom xo

waltz for pony

tumblr_oiresb4Woz1ugp61po1_1280time is such a hungry beast / it swallows all my memories

twenty years on a planet is a short long time. so is twenty-two, and twenty-three, and all the other twenties that come with a second decade on this spinny ball. this isn’t the point. the point i’m trying to make is that no matter how much time you spend here, time always wins by stealing some of the things you hold dearest. memories, people, places – time is hungry and swallows them all.

you are my wildest witch come true / i love the way you love and move me

if you’re lucky, maybe two or three times in a lifetime, you get to experience an all encompassing type of love that shocks you more than the last one did. while i’ve been all sorts of unbearable on all the other parts of the internet, i’d like tot take this friday afternoon to be unbearable here. i am in the midst of the most splendid of loves, and i’d like to write about it because there’s nothing i do like write about my feelings.

my love is a wonder in himself; he is brave and caring, kind and understanding, and smart and free flowing. he believes in time and patience, and believes in love. he believes in love and believes in me, and friends, what a joy it is to have love itself believe in loving you.

he is the closest thing to purity that i’ve ever had the good fortune of coming across. see, purity as a blank slate is overrated. a purity born from experiences and mistakes, from a flawed person keen on a self understanding – this is the purity i’m interested in. i love him for his multitude of selves, for the ones he’s come to resent and the ones he wishes he could have back. i love him because he is purely himself, and because he is always changing to be better.

tumblr10

like anyone, i love being loved. i crave the close touch of another, the tenderness that comes with the touch of pinkies. i would trade very little for the two a.m whisper of “i love you,” and even less for reruns of that 70s show with him. with him is my favorite place to be, which is a lot to say for a girl who makes a drastic move every two years (check my record). i love the soft sound that tells me that i’m beautiful, not because i don’t believe it otherwise but because i love the goosebumps i get from believing it. i love how my whole body reacts to words coming out of my favorite person. i love him.

it’s not just two of us, we’re three / you, the hungry beast and me

in this vingette of my life, it is me, my love, and time. and for the first time, i am not afraid of its passing. for the first time, i am excited to grow older. for the first time, i am excited to be here for longer. this time, the time is ours, and i love it. i love him.

love and light,
shalom xo

// l o v i n g s o m e o n e //

ohhhhh we’re back with those the 1975 song posts aren’t we just! well, i’ve had this one in my drafts since june and i just got a moment to get this out of my head. so, here we are. loving someone. also, i’m trying to write something every day this month. bedid?

you should be loving someone, shouldn’t you? i like to think that despite what we may have conditioned ourselves to do, we all are loving someone at any given point. despite being what i believe is the base human emotion, loving is difficult in every way it is simple. loving freely can be illegal, loving wholly can be all consuming, loving at all can bear a kind of hatred that burns with the passion of a was-love – loving is complex. but i think, you should be loving someone.

tumblr_of1z60XRA81vd4wlqo1_500

as easy as it is to see love and chalk it up to romance or familial duty, i like to think the joy lies in the choice. you should be loving someone, if you choose to. you should embrace the freefall of romance, if you choose to. you should throw caution and advice out for the end goal of more than you could give your heart yourself, if you choose to. if you choose to, you should be loving someone with your heart out.

d9126d47f44326a8c881bbb6a335b1fa

i think for the most part, all actions are based in love. i think that the default human emotions are love and apathy. the opposite of love is apathy. in any case, the two motivate everything that anyone’s ever done, as far as i know – be it a love for control, or apathy towards the plight of others. regardless of which is at work in any given situation, there are people. people with hearts for others and desires to live, people with nothing to live for and nothing to die for and yet, here we are. loving what and who we love without ever fully understanding why. i think that’s a part of the human condition – not fully knowing. what a shame it would be to know everything at all.

amy winehouse sang that love is a losing game, and i sometimes i wonder if she was right. if we’re all human and we’re just loving to be more whole, then it really is a losing game. love isn’t the cure for brokenness, and i think that using it as spackle really gives way for further destruction. loving as we may be, the human condition is a fragmented one – the quest may not stop but neither will the cracks that appear in us all. love can’t fix that. i don’t think it can – not when loving someone holds the power to jam a crowbar into those cracks. maybe i’m naive. sometimes i hope so.

tumblr_ofme7s3SjC1uw8q7do1_500

i am forever in alongside the boys in jumpers
on bikes from schools and cars
with autumn leaves fallen sparse across mid-afternoon
she blazed about how
cultural language is an operating system
a simple interface rendered feeble and listless
when tested with a divinity or a true understanding
of the human condition
i never did understand – the duality of art and reality
living life and treating it as such but with a certain disconnect
to touch that cajoles at the artist with comfort and abandon
and between the spires and rolling roofs of the white city
that orange, english light cast only one, singular shadow
for you are not beside but within me

you should be loving someone.

love and light,
shalom xo

venus | atlas

 

credit: wired / wired.com

atlas is a series based on the planet songs off of sleeping at last’s atlas: year one.
this is venus: a reflection on discovery and love .

The space between the tangle of limbs that we are is heavy with wonder and potential. I remember the first time I stood close enough to you to realise that I could see you, after years of telling myself that I would never find you. I checked and double checked every feeling I had, just to be sure, but there I was: leaning into the white-hot heat that you were and are; my calculations for naught.

Like this, bodies touching no longer a dream, I start to question whether this quest was worth what I set out for. I looked for you and somehow, despite my search, I was the biggest find of the search. Me and all one billion fragments of myself spun far out looking for whatever we thought could be you. I learnt that too many different focuses really mean no focus at all, and found myself caught up in the sparkly wreckage of everyone and everything else. Somehow, you saw me looking out. You pulled me into frame, and I wondered if I knew that I could see you. I saw you, but did I know I did?

Now, your legs draped over mine and our fingers knotted together, I see you. Without the charts to fill, without the measurements that I religiously held this search to and without mistaking you for a mass of dancing stars rather than the celestial superpower that you are, I see you. I am helpless for the most part. My undoing is my becoming, and I see you.

Together is a place with you. Here – together – I realise that what I’m saying, what I’ve been saying is that this has been an awakening. That you are my awakening.

Astronomy in reverse; it was me who was discovered.

could this be earth?

this was written for “white” by frank ocean (& odd future at the time). i’m not sure what this is other than prose for “white”. listen to “white” below.


if a gravity wave hits a rotating thunderstorm, the thunderstorm can spin up into a tornado. nothing around the thunderstorm receives a warning beforehand. what gets swept up, gets swept up. i looked at her. i was swept up.

when someone puts their hands on you, their lips on yours, their body on yours, there’s little that holds you down. little is more important than trying your best to stop your body from betraying your mind: do you focus on the feeling or the memory? which will be preserved first? which will stay longer? i don’t know where i was, or how i hadn’t been carried away into another world where i could balance the two. i slept, and gravity kept me around.

after the big bang, scientists thought that the universe would slow down in its expansion thanks to gravity pulling it together. it hasn’t, though, and the universe has only expanded faster than ever before. for this to make sense, the theory that the universe contains enough energy to overcome gravity must be true. i revelled in the dark energy, and expanded ever outward. she rested in gravity, and stayed.

in the dark, she pulled me together. i woke to touches lighter than the part of me that stayed in space, and to everything around me being more than i remember leaving it. i fought for my brain to remember rather than my body, but i lost. the silence that was once lonely held me down and i asked questions of love, light, and space. gravity doesn’t give answers.

the thing about a tornado is that the start is hard to remember. i know that there is damage and that new buildings are rising where old ones were levelled. i know what i hoped for before, i know what i  danced to during, i know how i slept after. i don’t remember the start. i don’t feel the same as i used to. my brain doesn’t betray me anymore. i forget things like tornadoes, first loves, and time-specific dreams.

we’ll all fade to grey soon on the tv station.

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

a love letter to/from lisbon

take me with you
’cause even on your own
you are not alone

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

i love you.

i love you, so much.

i have to keep pinching myself to remind my brain that you’re real, because loving by halves, like austen, isn’t my nature, and if something else has been taking up all the space in my brain, i’d like to know.

take me with you 
’cause even by yourself
you are something else

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

this city has consumed me. i have been lost for more hours than i have been asleep; danced drunk for longer than i thought possible, eaten so many pastries i thought i would turn into one; made so many impulse maroon purchases that i wanted to forget that money was a thing; fallen on slippery cobblestone in the rain despite several attempts not to…

one summer turns into ten summers
one lover turns into ten others
but this memory is still with me

15110240_1244456432294989_4915126142649020364_o

you are a wonder amongst wonders. you are more than i can comprehend. you are all that i need to be thinking of to find myself. you are pale blue skies and obnoxious church bells ringing. you are every combination of strength and gentleness that i ever wished to find. i don’t wish for much anymore.

so close, bring me in so close
your clothes underneath my clothes
once upon a time in portugal

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

in lisbon i have found parts of myself that i didn’t know i had lost. i found that a hostel can really become your home, that 3 am is an acceptable time to start partying, that getting a reassuring squeeze from a then-stranger from calgary, maine, los angeles, virginia, spain, luxembourg or india can really alter the course of your night, and that sometimes swiping your card and seeing what happens is really the best adventure that there is. i learned that i can write a short story about a thunderstorm of a person from a perspective that isn’t mine in dour days, and that it can be good.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

i arrived in lisbon with an arfrikaans property developer that i met on the plane, food poisoning, and a fear that i would run out of money. i start my journey back home via luanda in about 8 hours. i’m leaving lisbon with a cold, a new sweatshirt, no money, and a very, very full heart.

thank you for having me, lisboa.
thank you for having me, you.

i love you.

love and light,
shalom xo

to the one who broke my heart | honest letters #1

A friend of mine is posting a series of twenty-two honest letters to people in his life. I find the idea extremely brave, honestly, and I also really need to say what I need to say to some people, regardless of whether they can appreciate it or not. So. Here are some honest letters. Shall we?

Oh, love.

I remember falling in love with you hard and fast and with every part of myself. You are still the happiest time of my life so far. I remember longing to be with you when you left to get water, and I remember sitting in your lap hoping that I’d always get to see you looking at something from under your eyelashes. I remember the way that you thought your hands were too coarse to be good to hold, and I remember the silly half-mouthed kiss you gave me when I told you that I thought they were lovely. They are lovely.

I know you didn’t break it on purpose. I know. It was more of a civilian casualty: things were flying everywhere and decisions had to be made and the tornado that is my head didn’t help your balance either – and then you dropped it. It broke into three pieces that I broke further. With every drunk text and every “I just miss you” and every textpost and every “Just, call me if you miss me back, okay?” I dropped what was left. I shattered the fragments that you unintentionally left behind, and dissolved the rest of it in alcohol and tears and sweat.

I’ve come a long way from being the living embodiment of Tove Lo’s Stay High. I do miss you, still. I miss singing for you, and arguing about breakfast. You know this.

You know that I love you. You know that I always will.

You know that I have no sense of self preservation, and that if you came back with a piece of the broken heart that I left you with, I’d be on my hands and knees looking for fragments that had been missing for a year or three; that I’d dedicate myself to drawing up equations concerning where I can find exactly what we’d lost; that I’d cut myself down to size, again and again and again.

You know.

I can’t do that, though. I miss you, but differently now. The only science I was good at was our chemistry, and we both know that an attempt at complex mathematics would be better suited to you. You’re not too into maths, though.

I’m sorry about how things turned out. I’m sorry that nothing ended like we hoped; with off white walls and early morning espressos. I miss you indefinitely. I love you. I’m sorry that we’re finished, but we are. I know that now. My drunk heart knows it now. The pages of my journal know it. The Internet knows now, and so do you.

Stay well, and take constant care of yourself.

love and light,
shalom xo

bite, chew, chew, swallow

People used to say, (and they probably still do) “don’t bite off more than you can chew.” My genuine response to that for six years was, “don’t worry, I have a really big mouth.”

My mom had a way of teaching me to chew with my mouth closed: she’d tell me in a singsong way to “chew, chew; swallow, swallow.” I tried to sing the song while I ate. The food went everywhere and it was gross.

In high school, I wanted to take French and biology as extra subjects. They’d cost quite a bit of money to do outside of school, and my grade tutor warned me not to overwhelm myself. I wanted to tell her about this gif:

So far, this post has been full of stories of me trying to do the absolute most, and forgetting about the tiny human defect I have: being a human being. I forget that I am a person who is more than the number of things she couldn’t get done that day. I forget that forgetting to eat for two days isn’t really a good start to a semester. I forget that I get to take a step back and chew, then step down and swallow before I get back up again.

If I’m talking to you when I say what I’m about to say – and I am talking to you- listen. Take time to chew. If you’ve bitten off too much, chew slowly. Sing a song and let the food fall out of your mouth. Take care of yourself.

Keep eating. Drink some water.

I’m proud of you so far! (Spoiler alert: I always will be proud of you.)

Love and light,
shalom xo