Hello, from Barcelona.
I’ve moved once again and before I go on an enormous rant about how I move cities/countries and/or jobs every one to six months, I’m going to stop myself. Yes, I feel like a flake and somewhat of a loser, but in my defence I am trying to find myself. I’ve experienced a job I love in a city I hate, and a job I hate in a city I love. Now, I’m finding the perfect fit so that I can continue to be inspired.
While I feel somewhat inspired right now (Barcelona is fucking fantastic. I look up at the architecture every day and feel utterly speechless at the beauty), I know that I haven’t found what I am looking for. It often leaves me feeling uneasy, incomplete, lonely, and or sad.
I went home to South Africa about a month ago and it was weird. I wasn’t bright eyed, I wasn’t like a tourist in my own city. In fact, I barely felt a thing… until I stood at the boarding gate with my brother. He could see something was missing. He felt something that I hide from the world.
What is it though?
After almost seven weeks in a brand new country, you would think that I would have a lot to say. In actuality, I’m struggling to find my words. The age old irony of the writer that has lost her words.
While I felt immense dread before coming to Spain, I naively had a thought that perhaps things would be different for me. Surely there is a place, a man, and a career out there in one or other country waiting for me to grab it? Sadly, Spain has proven to be quite a let down and truthfully… it’s all my fault.
I was silly to think that I could go back to ESL teaching after having experience a life as a professional writer. I fooled myself in believing that Spain would hold adventure and love for me, and that it wouldn’t matter what job I had if I was living in one of the most breathtaking countries in the world. This is one of many lies I have told myself.
I am living a lifeless life. I don’t speak the language. I have no friends. I am about to embark on a career that I don’t love while giving up on one that I do… and it’s all my fault.
I’ve taken a million steps backwards in my quest for happiness and I am overcome with guilt. I’m stuck and I don’t know how to get out without upsetting someone. Help.
I left London. I left the chaos of London. I left the disappointment of England. I left behind the love/hate relationship that I was in with the country, with the city. While I know that living there made my dreams come true, professionally, I feel as though I have failed.
Losing my job at the only company that I loved, was heartbreaking. I feel as though I had it all and now, I have nothing. The experience left me with skills that are irreplaceable and while I am still doing what I love, writing, England had a way of chewing me up and spitting me out, on many occasions. That is why I will always love and hate London.
I left it, though. “You are really living your best life,” my friends say. Truth is, I am jumping from country to country, pretending to love the adventure when in actuality, all I am searching for is love and happiness. Will I find it in Spain? I hope so.
For 22 years, I drifted my way through life. I rarely felt passion, I acted carelessly and I gave myself away too freely. What did it matter, though? I didn’t need to do anything substantial because I was constantly being taken care of by people in my life. My parents paid for everything, my friends took care of me when I was too drunk to get home and I didn’t have my first job until I finished university. Life was a mere spectacle. People loved my stories of how I ended up in dangerous situations and I loved telling them. I have always lived for adventure – the destructive kind.
I spent five years studying a degree I didn’t care about – little did I know, that it was this degree that would land in me in places I had only dreamed of. I ended up spending four years in Korea, teaching English, meeting locals and other foreigners, experiencing things that I thought were fascinating yet strange at the same time. I knew I had to take advantage of this situation, I knew that I was destined for more than a scandalous story.
I booked tickets to countries that excited me as often as I could. One such time, I ended up on Boracay Island in the Philippines on a solo trip. My hotel room overlooked the sky-blue ocean, great palm trees and the sun beamed into the full-length windows like rays of happiness. My bed was decorated with my favourite flower – the frangipani. Regardless of the abundance of geckos and lizards (my worst fear), I breathed in life. I talked with the locals who taught me about humility. I learned about the island in all its beauty that was jaded by social issues. The people were poor, but they were happy.
I visited a piercing and tattoo parlour on the beach and decided I would get my first tattoo – an outline of Africa on my back. It’s not big and it’s not magnificent but it is meaningful. After all those years I spent trudging through a boring and predictable life, here I was in the middle of nowhere, by myself, with a permanent symbol on my back that reminds me of who I was, who I am and where I come from. Africa will always be home.
No matter where I go (and I plan to go everywhere), Africa will always have my heart because now, I am in a place where I can truly love and admire the beauty of my home country, the inspiring people that encouraged me to live my best life and the astounding diversity that makes this world spectacular. I no longer crave destructive adventure – just, adventure.
I felt that feeling in the upper half of my chest that I get when men break up with me. I would say it was my heart that was aching, but we all know that isn’t literally it. The feeling can only be described as a physical cry out for help, from the inside out. It’s a selfish feeling for it will not allow you not to cry – regardless of circumstances, where you are or who you are with. That feeling doesn’t care about you.
I sat in the chair on the left, as naturally it’s been determined that people of a powerful stature sit on the right, not expecting to feel that ache again. Breathing does not help it, walking does not help it. Crying extensively just does not help it. Time helps, but time is a fickle thing. It “doesn’t have the time to give you all the answers to the never-ending ‘why?‘”. Why am I special that I get to complain about my rejection? My doctor has me on anti-depressants. I am depressed, so thus I am allowed to complain. I am allowed to justify that I feel things a lot more than what you do merely because I am “depressed”[this is utter bullshit].
Before I end my ridiculous rant that is illegible, I pose you these questions: What is life to you? Do you move cities and countries in hope to find your happy ending? Do you feel as though you’re constantly running at warp speed trying to find something? Is that a normal feeling? Is it normal to feel as though you’re being kicked in your phantom balls nearly every single day because you clearly are not good enough to compete with the rest of them? Maybe I’ve lied to myself so much that I actually believe the running is good. I don’t need anyone, I was born alone and I will most certainly die that way.
I should have known when you persisted to call me by my childhood name that this was not going to go anywhere profound. I’m not that person anymore (or at least I’d like to think so). Something keeps pulling me back though. It was as if you know that I would be taken back to that negative train of thought and hatred for myself.
Just when I thought my life couldn’t get any better. When I thought I had figured out the secret to living a happy life – everything came crashing down. I am back to the place where I know that life isn’t about being happy, it’s about continuously searching for more.
I know that people will do anything to win or gain the upper hand. They don’t care about you or your feelings. They care about themselves because people are selfish assholes. In the process, I’ve lost my voice. Everyone is always stealing my voice so that I fade away so easily in the crowd. I’m not even a face that stands out, I’m the person in black that is hardly recognisable in the shadow.
I’m tired of hearing the same things from you though. “You deserve more” “everyone goes through it”. It’s something you say because you really don’t have the balls to say out loud what’s been going through my mind from the time that I could process meaningful thoughts.
Here’s my voice, here are my thoughts, this is what I am saying – don’t edit me, don’t change it and don’t misconstrue it. This is me.
I remember a time when online dating was something to be embarrassed about. Now, we’re looking at young millennials using these platforms to find someone to love… for the night. But here is why I am not a girl who is up for “Netflix and Chill” as written to the future love of my life.
In a world that is driven by sex, I want you to be the guy that cares about me as a person. I don’t want to be deemed a body that you can use to gain pleasure. I want the pleasure to be both mutual and meaningful, when that time comes.
I want to meet you on a train. I want to meet you at a place that we call our favourite restaurant for decades to come. I want to meet you.
I want you to love me for my brains first and my appearance second. I want you to know that I like frangipani flowers and staring out at the rain. I want to know where you went to school and who your first kiss was.
I want to get angry at you for not folding the washing or forgetting to bring home onions on the way home from work. I want to be passionate with you when our bodies crave each other with familiarity and animal instincts.
I want to cry with you when you lose someone special and I want to hold your hand when I cross the street. I want to watch terrible films with you and laugh until my face hurts.
I want you to want me even though I have no interest in politics, science or maths. I want you to be open-minded when I want to try something new or go on an adventure. I will be understanding when you want to experience something new, too.
I don’t want to use degrading words in conversation with you. I don’t want to come over and visit you late at night, either. I am not a girl who is up for “Netflix and Chill”.