2016…..

2016 has been a rather interest year for many reasons. Work has been crazy…although to be fair I suppose my work/life balance always goes just a tad out of whack in terms of the work craziness. I am a workaholic and while I don’t measure my success on how busy I am and how little time I have outside of work, the facts are that I love being busy, I love my job and for the most part I don’t mind the extra hours.
2016 has however taught me to focus on the rest and relaxation and on the “life” part of work/life balance too. To invest in quality, happy time with the people I care about more often.

If all goes according to plan, 2016 will also be the first time in 10 years that my little family gets to spend Christmas all together….My parentals, my bro, my SIL, my two beautiful nephews and myself all together for a crazy cold and *hopefully* white Christmas. I CAN’T WAIT!

2016 has also been the year where (hold on to your horses) I started cycling. It’s a crazy thought…me on a bicycle…but it is true. I got dragged along earlier this year on a cycle and since then I’ve actually grown to love my Saturday mornings in the saddle. I’ve grown to appreciate the tender nether regions after 2.5 hours in the saddle, grown to appreciate the stiff muscles and the aching wrists. Because once I get to the end of my ride I feel like I’ve accomplished something. And not only that…I’ve been afforded the opportunity to be healthy, to completely zone out from everyone and everything for the time that I was on the bike and to be grateful for what I am able to do.

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And last but not least 2016 has been the year where my romantic journey with The Gypsy began. I’ve been alluding to his existence on twitter for a while and if you follow me on Instagram you would have seen his face creeping into my timeline. There isn’t much to the story really. Fact is I’ve known him for a few years but I’ve never even considered a romantic relationship because I’ve always had someone else. And I am one of those people who never even consider or think about the possibility with anyone else when I’m with another.

But somewhere between breaking up with the Guy Person and grabbing 2016 by the horns, The Gypsy once again popped into my story….and this time he appeared to play the role of the potential leading man. Once he became aware of my newly single status he simply asked that once I am ready to move on I give him a chance. And due to the circumstances around the breakup and the 6 months preceding it I was ready a hell of a lot sooner than I had anticipated. And somewhere in between the cycling and laughing and late night chats and dinners and random whatsapp conversations he became more than just a friend.


He’s weird…I’m weird…and we are completely and perfectly weird together. My relationship with him is so different from every other relationship I’ve ever had and his European frankness is refreshing and in stark contrast with most other guys I know, let alone guys I’ve dated. A spade is a spade is a spade and no topic is too awkward…apparently.

I love how we can passionately and heatedly debate on different sides of an issue the one minute and laugh and hold hands the next, not allowing a difference of opinion to cause anger and irritation. I love how he appreciates the fact that I am opinionated and independent and how he isn’t threatened or intimidated by my personality, independence or my sometimes scary and hectic job. I love how he respects my faith, beliefs and choices. I love how he is constantly encouraging me to grow and do new things and how he not only welcomes but insists that I always speak my mind. I love how he chooses the moment I probably look at my worst to stare at me in wonder and tell me how beautiful I am…it’s all really lame and really corny and really awesome.

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And while I have absolutely no idea what the rest of 2016 will hold I know that this year I have chosen to live in the moment and that so far, despite the fact that it hasn’t always been moonlight and roses, 2016 has been good. It has been filled with new beginnings and adventure and challenges and it has presented me with a million ways to make new memories.

P.S. So subsequent to this blog post 2016 got even better when a LOT of hard work, all nighters and mentorship resulted in a promotion announcement on Thursday *grin*.

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#DineInTheSky

A couple of weeks ago I received an e-mail from Diners Club International about a Dine in the Sky competition…..as per usual my attitude was “why the hell not” and I entered without giving it so much as a second thought. Then at the end of May, during my first few days spent on engagement in Cape Town I was bombarded by a bunch of missed calls from a number I did not know and a desperate voicemail plea to return a call as they “do not want me to miss this great opportunity”.  I did not recognize the details of the company calling me but I took a chance and returned the call and it turns out it was a representative of SABC3’s Afternoon Express.

What I had not realised was that the Diners Club International competition was hosted by both them AND the Afternoon Express and I was chosen as one of 3 lucky winners. <insert excited squealing and jumping up and down here>

The prize?  Myself and a partner was invited to join one of the Afternoon Express presenters, representatives from Diners Club and 2 other winners to enjoy a beautiful champagne breakfast high up in the sky at Val Bonne Country Estate one saturday morning.

Guys…it was amazing. The view…the experience…the people..the goodie bags:P and everything else was just fantastic.

We arrived early in the morning in order to ensure that our hair and make-up was done to perfection as it was all being filmed for the Afternoon Express in HD.  We were then strapped in and hoisted 40m into the air by crane where we dined, chatted, were interviewed and enjoyed the amazing view.

I had expected to be super nervous as I am normally pretty scared of heights.  But a few years ago I had adopted a new approach to things that scare me. How often will I be presented with the opportunity to do something again in the future? I guess the fact is my fear of missing out is FAR greater than my fear of heights and even though I sometimes want to DIE on the inside I insist on pushing through…simply because life is too short to be scared.

Surprisingly enough I was calm, confident, even slightly dare devilish…twisting around in my seat…leaning out to take selfies with most of the table and swinging my feet out of bounds of the platform. What was even more surprising is that the Gypsy, whom I took as my + 1, who is usually so chill and very rarely gets freaked out was a nervous wreck once we reached roughly 20m. The most entertaining part was that while they were interviewing him 40m up he was all calm and confident but the moment the cameras moved he was back to secretly gripping the table and glaring at me for carelessly swinging around in my seat.

We had an absolute blast though and were proper spoiled the entire time.  I have no idea when this is supposed to air and even if I did know I probably wouldn’t tell anyone as I’m fairly certain I sound like a complete chop:P But it was a truly fantastic and fun experience:)

Being totally silly post make up and before the big hoist
I loved this random photo i took by accident of our shadows….I’m keeping it!
Breakfast (40m up in the sky) is served…..this was also accompanied by bubbly which is sadly NOT featured in this pic.
Just one of many splendid views from the top
The crew doing their thing at 40m
Cause when you’re dangling 40m up in the air selfies are important
His smile is a complete lie I assure you….
Pulling faces when the camera crew can’t catch me:P
DON’T LOOK DOWN!
Half a table selfie….the camera man managed to take a shot of me taking a selfie of them taking a shot of me taking a selfie of them……inception at it’s best.
My size 4 feet look like they belong to a giant in comparison to the buildings and tables at Val Bon Country Estate

P.S. This is most certainly not a paid for or sponsored post.

The thing about hindsight

So here’s the thing about hindsight….it is 20/20…it is perfect vision..it is all revealing, unsympathetic and brutal….it is honest.

I must be honest.  Since the break up I haven’t exactly spent time mulling over things or replaying events and conversations or missing the guy person (shock horror, I know) or remembering moments or wondering about things or him.  It’ s weird I guess…but it’s the kind of person I am. Once I’m done with something….I AM DONE.

But recent events and things and people have forced me to spend at least a bit of time evaluating my previous relationship. And hindsight, that cow, has shown me a few things I didn’t like seeing.  There was A LOT wrong with our relationship even before the ex guy person’s personality made a complete 180 due to medical reasons.

I’ve been looking back at a few of these and I’m shaking my head…at myself. How on earth did I let it come to that?! I am a strong, independent, stubborn, vocal girl…how did I get to that point in a relationship where I was OK with him being THAT selfish, with me sacrificing THAT much of who I was and what I wanted, with me LETTING myself be treated in a certain way. I look at a big portion of our relationship and I want to smack myself..because none of it makes sense.  I mean it didn’t start out that way……but it became that way, and I wish I could fully understand why.

What I need to point out here is that I don’t blame him for this…this was a mutual path of destruction.  Sure he acted in certain ways, but I let him….the blame is as much mine as it is his. Additionally please don’t read this and think that he was mean or awful or a horrible person…he wasn’t. He wasn’t a bully and he wasn’t mean and he didn’t treat me badly.  It’s more a matter of treating me as an after thought rather than a priority…and I have no idea how we got there…because that’s not where we started.

The only explanation I have is that I think we are more inclined to skip over things that bother us or skip over our own needs and our own dreams when we get so caught up in someone else needs and wants and dreams. Perhaps because I truly believed everything would return to the way it should be post op and because I truly believed he was my forever person I was more inclined to ignore myself and my needs and focus on him and his instead…all the time. I don’t know…all I know is that personality change aside there was no way we would have survived past the break up date. Hindsight…it’s a wonderful and awful thing all at the same time.

The last few months have been interesting, but I am happy, I am busy, I am living my best life right now and doing the things that make my soul content. I’ve never been a person who needed someone to be happy…..and it’s nice to be back to being me. Life has been filled with happy moments and big plans and working on making dreams and goals realities rather than a pie in the sky.

And while hindsight might be perfect and perfectly brutal it has also been doing an amazing job and confirming that I made the BEST decision. So I guess I should give myself some credit and maybe a high 5 and a glass of wine to celebrate.

 

 

Weekend roundup

I found this on Instagram over the weekend and it made me laugh. It is exactly how life should be:

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So my weekend was filled with a lot of awkward, some mucking about, a lot of awesome and even a lot of chilling.

It all started off with a last minute visit to my hairdresser on friday afternoon for a trim. SO….in November (and I still blame this on the crazy emotional time I was going through) I decided to completely change my hair. Essentially I gave my hairdresser free reign to do what every she wanted within 3 simple rules:

  • Remember I work in a very corporate environment;
  • You can play with the length all you want but please make sure i can still tie it up; and
  • Just show me a picture of your plan before you actually go ahead and do it.

She was super excited and I ended up with an angular long bob and a balayage. And I love it! The reason I had to go for a trim is because my hair grows SUPER fast and it had grown too long for the style and no longer hung nicely.  She ended up taking a bit more off too…so it’s still the same style just quite a bit shorter…which is taking me some time to get used to…but I love it none the less.

The chop was followed by drinks and snacks with my colleagues at the Slug & Lettuce.  We had a ton of fun and we ended up only leaving around 19:30 only. I proceeded to go and watch a movie at a friend’s house there after.   By this time I was in agony. (Let’s just travel back to 10am when i went for 5 difference vaccines shots for an upcoming work trip into Africa…Yellow fever, typhoid, tetanus, polio, Hep A&B, etc etc, etc). I was unable to lift my arms and by then i was unable to touch my arms and they were throbbing. By the time i got home i was in tears and my attempt to rub them with arnica oil (as advised by the nurse) ended in disaster as they were too painful to touch. Thankfully painkillers helped a lot!

Saturday morning was spent at a baby shower for a very special little boy who will be making his appearance in March. But this is where the awkward comes in. It was my ex’s sister’s baby shower. I know I know…you’re all thinking i’m completely mad for going….but here’s the thing. After the breakup his sister kindly contacted me to let me know that I’ve been her friend for so long that she desperately wants me to attend despite not dating her brother anymore. HOW COULD I SAY NO TO THAT?

His family has always been amazing….and I love them all dearly. I couldn’t say no…so I went. Her entire family (including my ex) was there. This i hadn’t quite expected. The family was super excited to see me and i was showered with hugs and chats and stories….heartwarming stuff really. Until i ran into my ex and we exchanged a really super awkward greeting. It was at this point that I decided that we weren’t 5. We weren’t angry. We didn’t hate each other and therefore I refuse to let the awkwardness rule whatever form of relationship we choose to have post breakup (i.e. whether we choose to ignore each other completely or eventually become friends). So I put on my big girl panties and went to have a chat to him. It was slightly awkward at first but as we started catching up the awkwardness faded completely.

But I realised one very important thing as I stood there. I don’t regret my decision to step away one bit. In fact…it served as confirmation that I absolutely, 100% made the right choice. And even more surprising was realising that there was absolutely no tug a my heartstrings while I spoke to him. I have moved on completely and I was in a much better place. It was as if my closure process had come full circle…and it’s amazing.

The baby shower was followed by mucking about with a mate taking silly, lame and completely chop like photos (See exhibit 1 below) and a movie marathon. It was awesome.

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EXHIBIT 1

Sunday was spent with family. I visited my aunt, uncle, cousins and godson and swapped stories (since I haven’t seen them since like October).  We’ve also come to realise that my godson LOVES the taste of my hands. He whines if i dare take my hands away and refuses to accept anybody else’s even when i’m not the one holding him. It was highly amusing really. Silly little boy…stolen my heart and now shares it with my two beautiful nephews.

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Speaking of which…how adorable are these two dashing lads in the epic snow they had last weekend?  There is no way to explain the love i feel for these two little boys who live so far away. There is NOTHING  i wouldn’t do to keep them safe and happy. I can’t even begin to imagine how much more insane it is when you’re a mother!

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On making choices

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So the facts are fairly simple….I haven’t blogged in a VERY VERY long time. There are a number of reasons for this, but I’m fairly certain I can link the lack of writing to the difficult and straining couple of months I’ve endured. There was no motivation or energy or wanting to blog…because who wants to chat to the world when your own personal world is filled with pitfalls and slowly falling apart.  This general lack of everything even made it’s way to my twitter profile where I have, without any doubt, been more quite than ever before, not to mention the lack of socializing with my friends.

The facts are that I’ve never been good at sharing my own emotions and struggles. For the most part i prefer keeping my cards close to my chest, fighting my own battles (emotionally and otherwise), helping others with their struggles and generally dealing with my own issues in my own way, in my own time and without any help from others. It’s not always the healthiest way to live life, but it’s what I’m good at. I’m good at compartmentalizing and generally shelving issues in my mind.

So this is not a “I’m trying to cope emotionally” or a “Please give me a hug I’m suffering” or a “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing“, or a “OhMiGosh what have I done” or even a “I’m trying to figure things out” type of post.  It’s more of an “FYI this happened and I’m OK with it” kind of post. A post of hope, a post that helped me realise I’ve made the best possible decision for me and others. A post about making healthy and positive choices and embracing them.

In the last 7 months I’ve been taking incredible strain personally.  The guy person went for a very serious operation in June (out of respect for him and his wishes I’m not really willing to share a lot of detail about this here). The operation and the time spent in hospital in itself was crazy stressful on him, on me and on us. Little did we know that this was only the start of it.

I didn’t realise it at first  but his entire personality had changed subsequent to the operation. So much so that by the time i finally realised what was going on I barely recognized the man I had grown to love insanely. We were struggling….I was struggling and taking huge emotional strain. And I dealt with it in the same way I always do. I shelved the emotions and focused on work. I put in an insane amount of billable time and kicked ass professionally (at least that part of my life wasn’t falling apart).

We eventually sat down for a serious talk in November when the truth finally hit me like a TRUCK. He had changed…a lot…we weren’t really working. We were always irritated and frustrated and i had stopped being myself around him. I was tense and unhappy and his moodiness and grumpiness had started affecting me in more ways than i could possibly imagine. We decided that we needed some space while he sought medical advice.

And it was during this “space” period where it dawned on me. Suddenly I was happy, I could BREATHE again, I could live and laugh and just be my usual carefree self. It was a really HARD thing to realise. I love this man, or rather I love the man he was, not the person he became. As such I started dealing with a “break up” without even breaking up with him and when I finally made an appointment to see him at the start of January to make it official we both knew it was the best decision for both of us.

Do I blame him? Most certainly not. This was not his fault or his choice…..but it is what it is and at some point I needed to make healthy decisions for me. I was caught in an unhealthy situation and I needed to get out.

Am I OK? More than. I realised very quickly that due to the 2 months of “space” we had, I had already emotionally dealt with the break up. I made the final decision in December already after having a long discussion with my parents (who know and love the guy person) and they agreed with me. I spent my December holiday making peace with this decision and realising that life goes on.

Do i feel like I quit on him? I must admit I struggled with this the most at first.  I felt like i was choosing to take the easy way out. Like i was quitting on him, on us and on everything we had built in the last 2 years.  But the simple facts that I have come to realise and which he himself reminded me of are as follows:  (a) This is not working (b) I fought hard for him and for us for 6 months, I didn’t take the easy out (c) I can’t fix the situation because it’s not within my control (d) It takes courage to walk away from an unhealthy situation.

So….after 2 years and many many happy moments I am single again. It’s a bit surreal. And it was hard walking away from the person that, till not so long ago I was convinced was my forever person.

The thought of going out and meeting people and going on dates and having to run the gauntlet of dating is quite frankly looking exhausting. And I suspect unless I meet someone in my day to day life as it is now I’ll probably be single for a while. But here is the important thing: I AM OK WITH THAT. 

I’ve always been quite happy to be single. I don’t need someone to complete me. I don’t need someone to enjoy my life, and I certainly don’t need another person to make me happy.

So 2016 has certainly started with a BIG BANG, but I certainly hope it’ll be better and happier than 2015.

I would make a terrible feminist

Now before everyone gets all up in my business for making that statement..please read the post.  I would make a terrible feminist, a terrible activist, a terrible lot of things actually. I recently read a post written by a friend of mine about his little girl, and that’s what got me thinking about this topic.  In this post he refers to an article written by a feminist:

“Here is an example from Devorah Blachor’s New York Times article titled “Turn Your Princess-Obsessed Toddler Into a Feminist in Eight Easy Steps“: “Propose that the hatred that Anastasia and Drizella feel toward Cinderella is not the fault of the step sisters, so much as it represents a complete indictment of Western society and its attitudes toward feminine beauty. Suggest that all three women might be victims of the same impossible societal pressures. Work in this timeless Naomi Wolf gem: “The contemporary ravages of the beauty backlash are destroying women physically and depleting us psychologically.”

So, here is my issue with what she proposes.  While it might be true that society often discriminates against less than beautiful women, do we then condone or justify the fact that the 2 ugly step sisters were mean to Cinderella simply because she was beautiful and they hated her for it? I mean surely that’s just doing the exact same thing in reverse? And how does that teach a little girl anything but totally skewed values?

Here’s the thing…when everyone is getting their knickers in a knot about the fact that only 10 of the 50 journos invited to an event were female, I sit in the corner rolling my eyes…loudly. I have many reasons for that and I’m going to try to explain at least some it to you. I don’t believe in women’s rights. THERE I said it.  The simple fact is…I don’t.  What I do however believe in is equal rights.

True, historically (and often still today) females have been severely discriminated against purely because they weren’t male. The same is true for skin colour and many other things…..And this should be fixed.  But to let the pendulum swing in the complete opposite direction and to therefore allow women certain benefits for the pure and simple reason that they are female does not solve this problem…it just creates a new one, building on the already existing problem.  All this serves to achieve is to make sure that a bunch of idiots who can’t do the job are placed in positions of power, which very quickly escalates into chaos. How ridiculous is that?

The problem won’t be fixed until a balance can be achieved…a balance where nobody is discriminated against.  I don’t want to be chosen to do something because I’m female. I want to be chosen to do something because I’m good at it and I deserve it.  I don’t want to constantly fight off people’s opinions because they believe I got something for the pure and simple reason that I’m female.  I’ve been told on many occasions that my opinions would be different if I had ever been the victim of discrimination.  NEWSFLASH: I work in completely and utterly male dominated world where the general male opinion is that I have hair, boobs and a bum and I wear high heels and therefore I HAVE to be stupid, my opinions don’t matter, my ideas are never good, I should be bringing them coffee and I can’t ever be as effective as they are. (Please realise that while I refer to the general male opinion I most certainly do not include all males)

The kicker here is that while it is frustrating and while I have to work twice as hard to prove myself, I kick ass at my job. I’m good at what I do and I constantly prove that. And while it would be nice to be treated as an equal by all my male counterparts I refuse to be treated differently or better or to be given a promotion because the percentage of females in the profession isn’t high enough. I want the promotion because I deserve it.

So here’s what I propose….equal rights.  Give promotions and jobs to the most deserving candidates based on qualification, experience and compatibility.  Give it to the hard worker who towers over all the competition because that is the person who deserves it, regardless of whether that person is male or female.  Sex, race, skin colour, etc should never even feature in this decision.  So returning to my scenario about the 10 out of 50 journos being female….send the 50 most deserving journos, or the 50 most well-known journos or the 50 journos with the biggest reach.  Or randomly select them. But for crying in a bucket please don’t ever send me to an event for the pure and simple reason that I’m female and exclude someone who deserves that spot about a million times more than me. THAT WILL NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

The above only serves as the tip of the iceberg as to why I’d be a terrible feminist. The fact is, I also like it when a man opens doors for me, offers to carry a heavy package, offers his seat to me when there are no other seats available and allows me to walk through a door first. Why you may ask.  Well while everyone is freaking out because they feel like the guys are saying they can’t do it themselves, I’m standing over here going: “Thanks dude!” I feel respected and cherished, I immediately assume that the guy probably has impeccable manners, that he treats his mom like solid gold and that one day he will move mountains to make his wife smile. (yes yes, I realise this isn’t ALWAYS true, but you get my point) You see, my dad does all these things for my mom, and whenever I’m around he does them for me too.  And when a guy does these things he automatically scores points in my mind, because he is a gentleman. And we could really do with more gentlemen in this world, except that the few that we have are almost too scared to be nice to women because they get accosted by the feminists.

And the kicker.  If one day I should be blessed with a little girl I will tell the feminists to stuff it. If she wants to be a fairy princess and wear pink tutus and crowns she may, and if she would like to do so while yielding a sword or a light saber I will cheer her on and if she chooses books and jeans over tutus and crowns I will applaud her choices and encourage her to be the best damn princess/warrior/bookworm/superwoman she can be. And If ever I have a little boy I will teach him to be nice to little girls, to respect them, to see them as equals, to understand that nobody is better than anyone else, to open doors for all females, to offer his seat for the little old lady and to let even the most insignificant looking girl walk through the door ahead of him. I will teach him that he never has to apologize for being male. Because one day my child will be one kickass gentleman.

So hate me if you will and call me what you want. But the cycle of discrimination will never stop if we keep swinging the pendulum back and forth from one extreme to the next. At some point someone needs to reach out and bring it to a standstill right smack bang in the middle. Equal rights for ALL!

P.S.  Guys, I realise that this is my opinion and other people have different opinions…and that’s ok.  Imagine how boring life would be if we all thought about things exactly the same way.  I also realise that while I’ve expressed my thoughts here this is only the tip of the ice berg and does not include all my reasons or arguments for making certain statements.  If I were to include it all here you’d be reading one post for WEEKS.

Dear New Beginnings

So 2014 wasn’t a great year…I think we’ve all established this. It jumped between unemployment, employment, emotional turmoil, overseas trips, near death health issues and utter chaos more than I ever want to be reminded. But here we are in 2015 with a bunch of new opportunities knocking on my door and it is with great excitement that I embark on a whole new, and totally different kind of journey.

You see, on Monday I joined the ranks of a rather well known big corporate as a permanent staff member. I am very excited about the opportunities and experience that this well thought out, overly debated and sleepless night inducing decision will bring. Truthfully, it wasn’t an easy one…but it’s the best decision for me right now. So here we are…standing on the brink of something new and looking all bright eyed and bushy tailed and scared half to death.

Can I do this? Can I really really do this and make a huge success of it? OF COURSE I BLOODY CAN! Or rather that’s what I proudly exclaim to the world while my insides shake and my heart skips a beat (or two or three). So far so good….I haven’t been required to do anything except look pretty and professional, collect a laptop and sit around…this will hopefully change soon as “ledigheid is die duiwel se oorkussing” (as my gran would say). I’m not a fan of not being busy….as most of you know I’m that overly busy person who thrives under pressure and laughs in the face of unrealistic deadlines.

So here’s to new beginnings and exciting changes and a splendid 2015. If nothing else it will most certainly be better than 2014, that much I’m sure of.

Love,
Ruby