Pole Dancing-NOT for sissies…

I’d always had an interest in giving pole dancing a try, but between heavy workloads and mama duty I never got around to trying it. And then fate intervened. A few days after moving into our new home, I noticed a sign next door: ‘Nouveau Dance Studio’. Nouveau is a well known dance studio in Durban, run by Bronwyn Waite, a highly accredited and qualified dance instructor with numerous awards and qualifications under her belt.  Since her very first dance class, 24 years ago, she has lived and breathed dance. There are 3 studios in Durban, and they all teach a wide range of dance styles and workouts, including Zumba, burlesque, aerial yoga and, of course, pole dance.

I immediately arranged a try out class, convincing a work colleague to join me so that I wouldn’t be the only newbie.  I didn’t really know what to expect. Well, I had an idea in my head-the same idea that most people have of pole dancing. A group of gorgeous, lithe, scantily clad girls shaking their asses and swirling sexily and effortlessly around gleaming poles, with slinky and sultry tunes pumping in the background. Having been a dancer in my younger years, as well as being graced with both flexibility and double jointedness (I can do some awesome party tricks…), I thought to myself: “I’m going to rock this!” Oh how terribly, terribly wrong I was.

The class started off with some stretches and head rolls and prepping. Easy enough. Then, out of nowhere, came the cardio. (Keep in mind that I HATE cardio!) Jumping jacks, pole squats, shoulder lifts. It suddenly dawned on me why this was called Pole ‘FITNESS’.  After the warm up, with much puffing and panting from my side, we finally got to hit the pole. I was super eager and prepared myself to learn some sexy moves. I watched as the instructor gracefully, and with what seemed like no effort at all, slithered up the pole and somehow ended upside down, using only her arms as support, ending with her legs in a perfect split. I would later learn that this move was the ever popular ‘invert’. I suddenly felt more intimidated than eager. To be completely honest, that very first lesson, I couldn’t even climb vertically up the pole. Not even close. My hands kept slipping (those poles are RIDICULOUSLY slippery!), my coordination was completely off, and I realised just how weak my puny little forearms were. Even the spin-you know the one-the stereotypical spin that you see in the movies, where the hot, naked stripper spins around the pole slowly and seductively in thousand inch stilettos, was impossible. That pole left me battered, bruised and shaking. Add to that the notorious ‘pole burn’. Basically, you use your own skin to grip the pole. The result? Red, burning inner thighs, knees, feet and arms. I walked out of class, stumbled home and proceeded to sit slumped on my couch for the next three hours. My body was in agony for the next 4 days and I sported an enormous bruise on my hip for two weeks.

All of this is probably putting you well off ever trying pole dancing. But let me tell you why, even that first lesson of torture, I keep going back and look forward to every class. It is the best workout I’ve ever done. It works every single muscle in your body-even ones you never knew you had. Your coordination and flexibility will increase. You will feel stronger and more confident, and let’s not forget the happy hormones your body releases when you have a great workout. So, if, like me, you like a challenge, then pole dancing is the sport for you. Yes-I said ‘sport’. The best part for me though, is that almost anyone can do it, regardless of age, size and even gender. It’s all about practice.

I still remember desperately asking Bronwyn after my first class: “Please tell me it gets easier?” Her response? “It doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger.” Brilliant. Finally, let’s not beat around the bush here. Once you get it right, bruises, calloused hands and pole burn aside, pole dancing looks sexy as hell.

Bronnwyn WaiteYou can get hold of Bronwyn on 083 727 3243 or visit the website: www.nouveaudance.co.za

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Not much to say today…

So I’ll post a song that I can relate to a lot at the moment.

Here’s the story
About a little boy who wasn’t so bad
Stylin but he feelin so sad
As a young lad he lost his dad
Momma didn’t have much
But thankful for the things she had
Mom and sister was the parent and system
Tucked him in his bed at night 
Then on his head she kissed him
The lights go out
Thats when it started yeah
Little Christopher became very scared
So then in his closet
things began to move back and forth
That of course all in his head
Don’t eat no sugar for bed
What’s the meaning
Waking up from a dream screaming
All the while singing that

I got an upside down
Smile and I
Got to wipe my frown
Dry my eyes
Kids this is how it is when you’re older
Wake up and you’re bipolar
an upside down
Smile and I
Got to wipe my frown
Dry my eyes
Kids this is how it is when you’re older
Wake up and you’re bipolar

Before he became a man
He almost lost his fam
Since his momma
Get in the school bathroom promadin
Shakin up mood swings
Cool swings
From wakin up
Dude seems cool
but really breakin up
People go in and out of his life
He missed out on his wife
So he decides to go and grab a knife
And take himself to the other side of the sun
Cause if he stays here then more pain’ll just come
Take him away from this
Cause he couldnt escape from this
Hed even pay to make this his last day
Then a ray from the sky shined on him
And god smiled on him
Now the whole world gets to hear him sing that

I got an upside down
Smile and I
Got to wipe my frown
Dry my eyes
Kids this is how it is when you’re older
Wake up and you’re bipolar
an upside down
Smile and I
Got to wipe my frown
Dry my eyes
Kids this is how it is when you;re older
Wake up and you’re bipolar

Pull yourself up out it
Even if you doubt it
You can live without it
Just forget about it
I know you tried to drown u
Tried to get up out it
Head to the sky and shout it

I got an upside down
Smile and I
Got to wipe my frown
Dry my eyes
Kids this is how it is when you’re older
Wake up and you’re bipolar
an upside down
Smile and I
Got to wipe my frown
Dry my eyes
Kids this is how it is when you’re older
Wake up and you’re bipolar

For Tristen

I was meant to write this a few days ago, but, as usual, time got the best of me and the craziness of life kicked my ass. As usual. But let me do what I should have done, now.

Dear Tristen: I am sorry I wasn’t there in your last hours. I’m sorry I didn’t persist in the insistence that your cast was too tight. Even though it was too late and the damage had probably been done. I resent myself deeply for not pushing harder. It was a domino effect-everything that could have gone wrong, did. A series of screw ups that took you away from us. And we all (your family) blame ourselves in some way or another for your death, and the agony that you so bravely endured until the very end. It haunts me, still, to this day, when my mom told me how you said to her; “Aunty Paula, I’m going to die.” How you said “Tell Lia I love her.”. You brave, brave boy. I would not have had that courage.

Your funeral was unbearable. I had my brand new, 4 day old son. I sat there with my baby, holding him so tight, while I watched slide shows of your short yet full life. You did so much. You experienced so much. You weren’t like other kids your age. You were different. You weren’t into girls, and experimenting with booze and cigarettes…you were more interested in fishing, and identifying wildlife, kicking ass at poker, a complete computer genius, and finding snakes with your dad. You were a child of Africa. You were different. I watched your little coffin being taken out and a piece of me went with it.

I have tried, this past year, to repress thoughts of this whole tragedy. I get angry and ruffled up when people other than your parents bring up your tragedy. I feel it’s not their place to mourn. I guess that’s a defense mechanism. I think if I allowed myself to feel the pain I have pushed down into the depths of my mind, I would break down. I would cry, and probably not stop.

Last Friday was the one year anniversary of your death. And it was beautiful. We sat in a beautiful candle room, and even though we didn’t say it, we were all thinking of you, in our own special way. Just after 9 P.M, your dad went out, and he cried for you. And I cried for you, and for your dad, and for your mom. You no longer feel pain, you are free. You left this world unblemished. No heartbreaks, no hardships. You’re in a better place, and I believe that. You will never be forgotten. And it’s important to remember what amazing things you did and experienced in your life. Not the way you left. I will always see you as a little baby, trying to teach you to crawl, babysitting. I remember being left alone with a poopy nappy and being completely petrified. Your’s was the first I ever changed. You should see me go now! *giggle* I see bits of you in my beautiful son every day. I wish you had met him. Your dad is his godfather.

Oh baby boy, Indigo Child, how we miss you. But keep sending signs, your mom and dad need them. You were a gift, an angel on loan, and I know you are happy, wherever you are.

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28 ain’t so great.

Firstly, I’ll start with my previous post. Because that will bring me to the point of this one. People are so so fickle. The friend I spoke about. The one that I could drink light wine with and bake muffins with. Well she chose to walk out of my life. Which brings me to something that someone said to me the other day. I care too much. Which means, when I get hurt, I get REALLY hurt. Also, apparently, I take things too personally.

Can you really care too much? Isn’t living your life as a good person and someone who cares deeply what matters. Is it wrong that when people drop me when times are tough, it hurts me deeply? I don’t have the greatest self confidence in the world, and when these things happen, I wonder what I have done wrong. Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t me? Maybe people are truly fickle. And maybe I should realise that, dust myself off, say “their loss”, and carry on walking. Maybe I should thicken my skin. Maybe this is all the result of letting my walls come down nearly 3 years ago when I met my husband.

I just turned 28. I’m not a kid anymore. I HAVE a kid. And that should be all that matters. That, and the handful of very special people that love me for me. When I’m happy and fun, but more importantly, when I’m sad and no fun at all. They are the ones that truly matter. You know who you are. Yeah, maybe I care too much. But that’s just who I am, and I probably need to rebuild those walls simply for my own self preservation. There are some truly horrid people in the world, but I need to remember that there are also those that care, maybe too much, like myself. Isn’t it sad how those with the biggest hearts, end up being the ones that are hurt the most?

So, 28 will be a year of personal and emotional changes. It will be a year of caring more about the people that matter, and caring less about those that don’t. How sad that life has to be that way. Humans suck.

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So much to say. So so much.

I haven’t written for a while. I haven’t been well. I’m still not. But there are things that have happened over the last few weeks that have to be spoken about, because my head is bursting.

Friendships:

The first is family-Pooks-this is for you. We have had our differences-we have hurt each other over and over and for that I am sorry. The things you have suffered through so harshly have endeared me so much to you. I want you to be safe and never hurt. We may not be blood, but in my mind, we are. And even when you are happy, my door will always be open, and I will make you sweet tea and run you a bubble bath. I love you.

The second is someone that, when the world discovered our new found friendship, probably exploded a little and shifted off of its axis. At least I think that’s how some people felt. I understand that people may be wary of this friendship, people may think it’s nuts and could only lead to drama and hair pulling. But it’s nothing like that. Nearly three years of externally perpetuated feuding, having never met, and now we are friends. And we are more similar than I ever would have imagined. And no matter how twisted the idea of our friendship may be, it is what it is, and I’ve found someone I can vent to, who can vent to me and someone who I can just drink light wine with and bake cupcakes with 😉

Love:

My husband has been amazing. We have been through hell and back, and he has stuck with me. Through my illness, the misdiagnoses, the rages and the tantrums. He is the kindest, most patient person I know. He will not walk away and that shows me just how loved I am. For that I am forever grateful, and I know in my heart and soul, if we have survived this, we can survive anything. Fairy tales don’t exist. We’ll bicker, we’ll annoy the crap out of each other and we’ll disagree. But isn’t that the fun? Who on earth wants to date a carbon copy of themselves?

My son. I never knew that I was capable of feeling such love. He makes my heart burst with happiness and break with sadness at the fact that he will suffer his own heart breaks, failures, disappointments. And as I watch him grow, he becomes more beautiful with every passing day, it hurts because he is growing so fast. If I did one perfect thing in my life, he was it. I am so so proud.

The bad people:

One person in particular has had a hand in destroying a part of me in the last few weeks when I was most vulnerable. She is popular on social networks, plays a role and is the best actress I know. We used to be best friends. Why? I don’t know. She is nothing like me. She is the most manipulative, sharp tongued and cruel person who has ever come into my life. But I pity her, because I know that, at the end of the day, to be such a hateful person, she must be hurting very deeply on the inside. I will build myself back up, but I don’t think she will ever be fixed until she honestly faces herself. And I doubt she ever will. She hides behind an identity she has created for herself.

So much has happened. In the blink of an eye. I am hurting, hard. I am confused, and it feels like my life is a blur. But something tells me everything will be ok. It has to be. I have no choice. I have people who need me, and that means more to me than anything in this world.

From Womb to World…

Yesterday, after 5 glorious, challenging and love filled months with my baby, I went back to work. It was pretty darn heartbreaking, and I can’t think of a single sane mother who doesn’t question her decision (if she has the luxury of choice) to get back into the rat race. The cruel thing in life, when you’re a mom, is that the transition from womb to world has to happen, eventually, whether you like it or not.

It got me thinking about how sad life really is. As natural as it is; all animals eventually leave the safety of their parental unit at some point to fend for themselves; it hurts. With humans at least, you spend almost 10 months, sharing your body with another person. Watching your body contort and adapt in order to accommodate the new life that lies within, in order for it to grow. That’s almost a year. You get used to being pregnant, and eventually (at least for me), you almost forget what it was like to NOT be pregnant!

Finally, when you don’t think you could possibly expand any further or accommodate any more growing life, your baby is born. But those first few months, even though you no longer share one body, you are still attached to your baby in what can be and has been referred to: The Fourth Trimester. Your baby is always within sight, many women breastfeed, further accentuating the feeling that you are still “One”. This stage goes on for a few months and is a natural, understood order of life, hence the privilege of new mothers being granted maternity leave. And then, suddenly, it’s time to say goodbye.

It may happen at 5 months, as it has for me, maybe at 3 months, as most women have within their maternity leave contract, maybe as old as 3 years old, for stay at home moms when pre-school becomes a necessity in order to prepare your little soul for the world. But it WILL happen. And man, does it hurt. It almost seems unfair. He may only be a few kilometres away from me, but for the first time in his life, we are apart. And it has all happened so fast.

What it has made me realise is just how precious time is. Everyone  would say, “You will see, when you have a child, time will go so fast.” And it’s true. Becoming a parent is like being thrown into a time warp, where days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months before you have a chance to blink. I know that I will look back at this post in a few years and wonder where the time went. Cherish every moment. Take in every smile. Even the hard times are precious minutes to be savoured. He’s gone from womb to world now, and I can never get that time back.

Happy Birthday, Mommy.

I never saw the significance in birthdays until I had my son this year. Until I was in my twenties, birthdays were all about fun and presents-after that they became ugly reminders of how much closer I am to old age. But now I see the significance. That one moment in time, a special moment reserved for you to make your grand entrance into this mad world, and the legacy that would follow. This is your moment.

For 27 years you have been my mother, my nurturer, my protector and, as years have passed, my sister and best friend. We are two very different people, as those who know us well will often acknowledge, as will we, but these differences only make our bond stronger. I have always been “mommy’s girl” and am proud of the fact. I intend to continue to wear this label until I am a crumpled old lady.

While I could continue to wax lyrical about how much I love you, your strength, your kindness, your empathy, unwavering beauty, I must say a big thank you. Once again, as a new mother, I finally understand the true beauty and selflessness you have bestowed upon me.. Through good times and bad, the fights and the sorrys, the tears and the laughs. For giving me the softness that evens out my rough edges, my love for animals and the ability to wear my heart on my sleeve. Thank you for giving me life. I hope you are as proud of me as I am of you.

Happy birthday, mommy. I love you.

Hold on.

Sitting at my P.C after pretty much zero sleep, on my second cup of coffee at the early hour of 7 am, I was tempted to write about all of the tragedies and meaningless, heart-wrenching events that have occured in little more than a month. But today I will be positive. Because I have so much to be grateful for. The sadness can be saved for another day. But today, I am grateful.

2 years ago I was a shell. An empty vessel on a self destructive ride. I had no meaning, no value to my life. Seeking out any thrill just to feel something and find a reason to carry on. If I died tomorrow, I thought, so what? Drugs, parties, meaningless friendships, destructive relationships. I was lonely. I was numb. I was sad. If someone had told me that in less than two years, I would be married to my soulmate and have the most beautiful, perfect little boy, I would have laughed in their face. But it happened.

I don’t know how I got here, but I did. I wasn’t looking for it, but I somehow found it. I am so loved, that I know. And while things aren’t perfect, and I’m still hurting, and terrible things still happen, I now have something to hold on for. J and J-you saved my life. And if this could happen for me, it could happen for anyone. So hold on.

Love is NOT that simple.

This is, I suppose, a tongue in cheek reference to a slogan a former friend of mine has branded herself with. Not literally, but in her life language and the way in which she prefers others to believe she views the world.

The truth is, Love is NOT that simple. Love is messy, painful, happy, sad, exuberant, shy, exciting, calming. Love is complicated. Love takes effort.

“Love is a grave mental disease.”-Plato

Plato was right. But that isn’t to say that it can’t be beautiful too. Why is it that complication holds such a negative connotation? Challenge is good. Caring enough about something to want to nurture it and put great effort into it is good. Caring so much that you ALLOW it to hurt you, confuse you, exhilarate you. THAT is what makes love so fabulous!

Weltschmerz

So the other night, I cried for 5 hours straight. I am not one of those people who gets worked up often (at least in terms of crying like a small, annoying child), but, when I do, I think I make up for all the crying I haven’t done, like a burst dam wall. Needless to say, two days later, I am still exhausted and feeling like crap. Crying like that sure as hell takes it out of you. When I get like that, I am not just agonizing over one thing, like most normal(ish) people. I cry for myself, for my family, for friends who have been hurt, for people I have hurt or have hurt me. I cry for every animal that is hurt, neglected, homeless, loveless. I cry for every person that is hurt, neglected, homeless, loveless. I remember reading up about this kind of sadness. It’s called ‘Weltschmerz’- a German word, meaning, in English “World Pain”. Coined by author Jean Paul,

Weltschmerz German [ˈvɛltʃmɛrts]

n: sadness or melancholy at the evils of the world; world-weariness.

Most times, my ‘Weltschmerz’ is triggered by something silly and selfish. Bad day at work, a fight with someone I care for, not looking after myself physically, remembering a traumatic event, or, just a straightforward chemical imbalance. That’s how it starts. Then the other stuff comes flooding in. All of the world’s injustices. The daily horror I encounter with regards to animal cruelty-things that most people would be better off turning a blind eye to. I think about things that don’t even really have much to do with me, and things that are in far off places. Starving kids, beaten wives, sacrificial slaughter, the fur industry. I could carry on, but these are things that are sometimes better left in the dark depths of the human mind. I found myself saying to a friend just the other day that, despite what good old Freud said, sometimes repression IS the better option.

With all this being said, as much as it hurts-and when I say hurt, I mean hurt to the point of physical manifestation-empathy is good. But you need to find a balance. I’ve always said I would take any amount of physical pain over emotional pain. Maybe that explains all of my tattoos. I remember walking into a tattoo parlour once, and there was a little sign on the wall that went something along the lines of “Physical pain has a clearly defined beginning and end, emotional pain is less clearly defined.” This is so painfully true. But, like I said, there is a balance in everything. I think I just need to hone on those skills.

Find a way to be empathetic, but not to the point where my empathy is rendering me so useless that I can’t make a difference to those situations that need my attention. At the same time, find a way to hold back and not let my emotions consume me, but to not become jaded, so that I don’t care anymore. This may benefit me in terms of my sanity, but I would rather die trying to save the world than feel nothing for it.