Thursday, 14 November 2013

An Appetite for Good Reading

A little while back (okay, I'm lying, a way while back) I was asked to review Casey B Dolan's book "An Appetite for Peas". After getting over the initial excitement of being asked to review a book in my professional capacity as a blogger (yeeeeeeeeeee-haaaaaaaaa) and getting over my suitable envy of Casey on the cover of the book, I settled down and begun to read.

The introduction to the book is superb, having no idea that it was Casey writing about herself, I was convinced that it was from a male perspective the entire time. When I got to the very last sentence I was really impressed with how brave those first two pages were. I was hooked.

Many may ask what the point is of writing an autobiography, I for one have never met Casey, nor had I even really heard of her - in the 90s I was a preteen {girl} fixated more with punk music than FHM schmodels. So yes, even to me it was surprising that she would have a book about her life and fame of which I knew nothing of.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons why I found the book so enjoyable in the first place, not knowing anything more than that sometime ago she was something to do with FHM something something dark side. Staying away from using real names, she describes the different faces she came to meet in her life in a similar fashion to a way a young girl would. I believe one of the purposes of her writing this book is for young girls to read, young girls with a certain kind of hunger for more, and a warning label for it. I may be the only example relating, but I'm quite certain I'm not. The first love, the older guy with his fancy (read: as-seen-through-the-rosey-glasses-of-a-teenage-girl) car and bad boy charm that every teenage girl has fancied. And that same bad boy loser that only wants one thing and one thing only from you as a young girl. Yeah that. See, I knew I wasn't the only one. And Casey certainly doesn't shirk about how this experience was for her, and it's something that needs to be admired about this book.

And then there's the experience we've all had as young women. You know, the one where you're not really all that much older but you think you are.. the time when you think you've got more experience than you've actually earned, the confidence in making the right decision. And it's all because of a boy. And I use boy because no matter how old the man-boy actually may be, he's really just a stoopid boy. Speaking of which, as long as you remember that, you will know everything - thank you Coco Chanel.

So yes, when Casey broaches the topic of the ordeal she went through at {insert popular radio station name here} you relate on the level that is universal amongst women. He's that guy you want to save, change, love and protect because you're so much older than you actually are. He's just misunderstood and if I love him long enough, he will also love me in return. Yes every woman has been there. I remember my version of this story and going through it simultaneously with my room mate at the time. Every time I decided to end it, it was all too easy to go back if he showed even the smallest amount of human emotion -- how you can find emotion in a text message, you just ask any 20 year old girl. And I remember how much we used to encourage each other to not give up. Silly girls. If only we could be spared that torment by knowing from the first time that things fall apart that he will only love you when it's too late for you to still love him.

Of course, it never happens this way. Ever. There'll always be that emotionally unavailable asshole that steals your heart and toys with it till it breaks into a million pieces along with your self esteem and slim figure. Yes, the jerk who makes you feel utterly useless and disposable. He doesn't deserve you but you just keep going back, convinced that this time, with that small part of affection he showed you to lure you in again, it will be different. You convince yourself that there is a happy ending to this story. Until that girl that convinced you to wait for him begins sleeping with him herself. Okay so perhaps my story's a bit different from Casey's with "So-So" (I approve so much of this apt name for his character) but the universal line is there.
And imagine the victorious feeling of reading about getting that kind of closure that she so desperately searched for.

Whilst a lot of people may pose the question of why would Casey choose to write a book about her life, my question would be when is the earliest age that you could give this book to a young girl to read? Okay so I'm sure the horrible heartaches I went through as a younger tart may or may not have molded some parts of who I am -- after all there is no way that I would allow any boy-man to treat me that way again -- but I cant help but think it would have been nice to have someone else's perspective to save me a little time. Hurt is good to learn from but time you cannot get back.


Monday, 4 November 2013

it's a kind of magic..

this here be an engaged bitch..

Johannesburg is a city that moves very fast. Ask any Joburger and the contemplation of such a statement is very short and usually met with a curt nod. Case point. But really, living in Africa and facing common occurrences like dealing with "African Time" (- I mean, who comes 3 hours late to their own party? Only in Africa) we may be tricked into thinking that it's not but trust me, Johazardburg is a mover and a shaker. 

I have not been back 2 months yet since my escape to sultry and swelteringly hot summer destinations in Europe, whereby I was gone for the appropriate amount of time (think four weeks bitches) and I feel like I haven't been any place at all. This could have something to do with the fact that @markstry has been hoarding the hard drive with all our delicious photo snaps so I haven't done much reminiscing but the fact that the day I landed in JNB I bewilderingly put myself through inescapable traffic to have my roots done speaks for itself. By speaking I mean screaming and trying not to pull out {already} sun-damaged hair. 

I am heading off on a tangent here because the purpose of this post is not to bitch about how I launched straight back into the swift swing of Johannesburg but rather, to capture without the visual aid of photographs (I really am hoping that I can show you these sometime...) my beautiful journey into real adulthood. The kind of adulthood that pays for its own travels and returns perhaps not quite finding oneself but rather the grown-up-ness which a betrothal brings.

It is two days after my 26th birthday. I have awoken without the familiar feeling of a hangover. I now understand why it is concerned bad luck to celebrate one's birthday before the event as my mom had always told me. No-one, and certainly not me, likes to wake up dehydrated in 35+ degrees to the not-so-sweet pounding headache that simply refuses to part ways until MAYBE your next alcoholic beverage.  I blame my cousin Jan (the baaar-maaan) for this misfortune, the man is decidedly obsessed with sambuca (coldest shivers) and flames. And all that sugary shit is for the worst headache-l hangover. 
an extraordinary view from the top..

Either way, I woke up feeling two days after my birthday feeling far better than I did when I was freshly 26 to @markstry asking me if we could visit the island's fortress that day. Okay, settle in for the long story here folks, this part takes a while..
Now, the island's fortress (of which there are two but I refer to Tvrđava Španjola)  has been home to many a nation and event (this is the place my parents met) in its time and is easily accessible by foot. By easily accessible, I mean that this journey should be taken in the early evening to avoid spontaneous combustion. So it was decided that we would depart for the long walk up the mountain at around 18h00. I have to mention that unless we were trying to make a flight or ferry, reaching things timeously is not a priority or strong point on vacation. So when we were still on the beach at 6pm, well the only reason we tore ourselves away was the promise I'd made @markstry that morning; that today we would go to the fortress. 
@markstry's perch during the 'timelapse'

So under the guise of wanting to take a timelapse, @markstry threw me off any trail of romantic proposal by inviting our friend Ryan to join us on our adventure to the fortress. Ryan had joined us in Hvar for a few days to celebrate my birthday before he departed on a contiki boat tour. Ryan had fully embraced the life of an insatiable vampire that only stalked the night during his time in Hvar. I have been coming to the island every couple of years but recently it has become to resemble more and more of a teenage/college spring break you see on reality shows than the idyllic summer holiday it used to be. No matter though, there are 1243 other islands in Croatia that you can find serenity and unspoiled landscapes.
the path around the mountain leading to the fortress..

So considering this detail, it was to both our surprise that for the one and only hour on his holiday, Ryan chose this hour to not drink beer. Again, I was unsuspecting, as was Ryan who was frettfully hungover and food deprived of what @markstry had in store at the fortress. To get to the fortress, one must climb at least 100 steps (this is a generous underscore, because I am quite certain that there are in fact many, many more than a 100 in number) to the top of the old town. From there, there is a further (possibly) 2km walk around and up the mountain upon which the fortress sits. @markstry pushed me (okay, let's not exaggerate, I don't need any pushing) to wear something nice (all I honestly thought was; PHOTO OPPORTUNITY) so there we were, us three, clambering up a steep path in silky pants (okay, maybe only I was wearing silky pants) without a single groan amongst us. (total lie). And in the hour that Ryan chose not to drink alcohol, @markstry feigned a timelapse shoot. Of course, at the time I had no idea that he was merely pretending to take shots, I was patiently waiting for it to complete its course. Okay, maybe not so patiently. After all, throughout the entire charade, he wouldn't let me look through the viewfinder to at least see what he was shooting -- you can't pull wool over a producer's eyes bitches, I know some things about cameras, just not always how to operate them.. Still we soldiered on and waited for it to hurry up and finish. 
like I said, photo opportunity!

Eventually it was night and there was no longer any light in the sky and @markstry was ready to strike his little setup. FYI this was the one and only time that the tripod was used in the entire 3 weeks that he lugged it around. So we made our way down the mountain path once more and Ryan started running ahead, the hunger had come to a point where hungry human should not be around other humans. At a less hurriedly pace, when me and @markstry reached the stairwell surrounded by bougainvilleas at the entrance of the old town, I watched Ryan's shrinking back. After dating @markstry for four and a half years, I think the amount of times the man has asked me to take his picture, I believe the count may be less than one hand. But here, in this stairwell, he stopped me and handed over the camera and said: "This looks like a good place, can you take a photo of me?"
a very bad and dark photo of the stairwell.. moments before he asked..

Still nothing friends, no sense of what's going to happen next, I take the photo, in portrait, and take a snap of him. But before I hit the fire button, I am incredibly confused as to the dirty frame that is in my viewfinder. Especially in the portrait way that I am holding, I tell him that there's some writing here. I take a quick look at the shot I just took and there isn't any writing on the picture. Lifting the camera up to my eyeball again, this time in landscape, I see that there really is writing. And suddenly, a feeling encompasses me, a feeling I've never had before. 

I lower the camera and see my man gripping onto a small silver box and nervously grinning. He says to me; "say yes please?"

I grab him and kiss him.
"Yes! But right now, I need to sit down."
"oh good, me too"
and we both collapsed on the stairs. Much to Ryan's horror. 

And this was the first time that I looked at my ring. Perhaps it's not the ideal thing for @markstry to hear, his entire plan was to make sure that I couldn't say no and the ring was the largest part of that plan, but I believe it's a good thing. I said yes to the man and not the shiny trinket.
Not that my ring is at all a shiny trinket. It is single-handedly the most beautiful piece of jewellery I have ever seen. And it's mine. And not only is it mine, but it was designed for me.

I always said, the subtle hint dropper I am, that I wanted yellow gold and rubies as my engagement ring, I didn't care if it wasn't the common idea for a ring. In fact, I got a little obsessed with old, antique rings from ancient eras where gold was king and rubies glittered with emeralds and sapphires. So @markstry, during my first business trip to Cape Town (where I purchased my engagement slacks) took my faazha out for dinner to respectfully ask for my hand and show him the selection of jewels that would make up my favourite shiny thing in the world. To which my faazha replied: Overboard. 
Not to leave out any fine detail, my fiance placed my treasure into an antique silver box dated to 1888, a heart shaped silver box that he clutched onto whilst he executed the most nerve-wrecking event in his life. 
so here's a shot of my ring during the day..

And as I stared at my magical finger on the stairs, like I catch myself doing right now as I am writing this, so began what I named our engagement honeymoon. Island hopping, dining in alleyways, trying every variant of plavac wine, swimming topless, tanning topless, exploring old cities, cocktails in old castles, it was the time of our life. In conclusion, we have thus far to date, decided that the year of our marriage will be 2015. Any other detail is just too much to think about right now, we're still enjoying the pleasures of being newly engaged. #happyface.

@markstry's feelings about the betrothal..

PS. Ryan had no idea of @markstry's intentions that night.