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Category Archives: Writing My Wrongs

It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango (Part 4)

It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango (Part 3)

It was quieter now as we walked further away from the club. And as we walked, I could feel a sense of excitement building. None of us spoke a word the whole time, despite the fact that we were all quite inebriated. I guess everyone was lost in their own contemplation of what was unfolding.

What were Lola and Hannah thinking? Where they having second thoughts? Excited? Scared? I couldn’t read much from their body language save for the fact that they seemed unusually amiable for two people I had assumed shared a mutual animosity towards each other. Maybe it was the anticipation but my heart was racing as we approached my front door and I finally caught up with the girls. I reached for the doorknob and unlocked the door ushering Hannah and Lola in. This is it.

There is no turning back. I immediately make a decision to finally start playing a more active role in this unfolding adventure. I set about making the girls comfortable by putting on music and then making a bee line for the kitchen for the kitchen so I can make some drinks for the three of us. Luckily I still have some Tequila left over from the pre-drink up from earlier in the night with the usual suspects … my boys. They are not going to believe how the night ended for me. I could never have imagined it in a million years but here I was, about to live the fantasy.

Jose-cuervo-tequila

When I return to the kitchen I am holding good old Uncle Jose Cuervo in one hand and three shot glasses in the other. I am out of mixers, but I managed to find some cut up lemons from earlier so it’s going to have to be straight shots. Not that anyone is going to mind. I quickly survey the room as soon as I make it back to the lounge. Lola is dancing rather provocatively and as her hips sway seamlessly to the dancehall rhythms of Kevin Little’s “Turn Me on”. Damn, this girl can move. Watching her dance seductively in the middle of the room I am remember why I have been sleeping with Lola on and off for so long even though I can’t really stand her when we are not busy getting our freak on. Lola had this knack of sending me the most lurid sexts every time I swore I had hooked up with her for the last time. Sexts that always seemed to get me from flaccid and disinterested to Django unchained faster than you can say Broomhilda. Lola was insatiable. A nymphomaniac in every sense of the word. But so was I.

Across the room Hannah is sitting on the edge of the couch watching Lola dance, an incongruous mix of curiosity and envy written on her face. When she looks my way and as her eyes meet my own I see a flicker of excitement register in her eyes as she stretches her hand out for a drink. As I pour the shots Lola pulls Hannah from the couch and they both start dancing body to body. The taboo excitement of the scene that is unfolding in front my eyes is heightened when both girls start touching each other slowly and sensually as they continue dancing. That is my cue and I quickly take a shot as I make my way to the girls. After handing them their shots they sandwich me between them and as both their hands explore my body I am now completely drunk on liquor and power. I feel like an Adonis. I chuckle to myself and as they begin to undress me right there in the lounge I have this boyish grin on my face. Up to that point in my life, it was the best moment I had ever experienced.

Even though Lola had since always claimed that it was her first threesome experience, she seemed like a seasoned pro as she led the two of us through it. There seemed to be a voyeuristic element to the way she basically allowed me and Hannah to get comfortable as she lingered on the periphery for a while before joining and displaying unreal multi tasking abilities. Still no one said a single word. And from then on we all seemed to go on autopilot. If there is one thing I have learnt from that and many other experiences during those hedonistic times, it’s that human beings are extremely accommodating and adaptable when life presents itself with a novel opportunity for a sexual escapade.

Later the exertions of the entire night having taken their taking a toll on me I had simply collapsed on the carpet between the girls and just laid there staring blankly at the ceiling.

To Be Continued …

 
 

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How I Got Over: Lessons From Running And Writing

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When I turned 30 at the end of January this year I was going through a bit of an existential crisis. My default state was one of constant angst and for a while I struggled to put my finger on what exactly was the root cause. This was an unusual and daunting experience for me because I am a naturally positive person and for the most part that is my default state. Whatever dark clouds life has sent my way I have always been able to see the silver lining. I have overcome much greater challenges that the ones I was dealing with at the time, but I also failed to remember that. In fact I can’t remember any other time in recent memory that I have retreated to cynicism as much as I did during that time. It probably didn’t help that at the time I was also dealing with the painful breakdown of a relationship that had basically consumed nearly every waking moment of my 2013.

So there I found myself at the top of 2014, my friends all seemingly pairing off en masse’ and beginning their happily ever afters’ and my own relationship was going nowhere fast. I wish I could say it didn’t bother me that my friends were all getting married but that would be a lie. It did. More than I was willing to openly admit at the time. And the fact that all this seemed to be happening around the time I was saying goodbye to my twenties only seemed to compound matters even further. My twenties have been the best years of my life so far. But when I looked at where I was in my life on my 30th birthday it seemed like I had nothing to show for it. I felt like a failure and a ‘has been’, doomed to sip from the cup of nostalgia for the rest of my days.

I felt sorry myself, and became more withdrawn from the people that matter the most to me. It was pathetic, unnecessary and uncharacteristic of me. For a moment I forgot who I was. I forgot to live my truth. I stopped doing the things I love. I was unkind to myself. But worst of all I stopped living in the moment. I found myself oscillating between thinking about what once was and daydreaming about what could be, but I was hardly ever in the moment. I wasn’t doing any living. That was the root cause of my existential crisis. As soon as I figured that out I became determined to get out of that rut I now found myself in. But being the chronic over thinker and part time procrastinator that I am it would be weeks before I actually took any decisive action.

My plan was simple. I needed to pay more attention to my health. I wasn’t getting any younger and I couldn’t get away with the bad habits I got away with in most of my twenties. I need to become more physically active. I also needed to start doing the things I love more and more like writing.

It’s been six weeks since I put that plan into action and I am in a much healthier and happier place than I was before. I have worked out and written every single week day during those six weeks and the results speak for themselves. I have managed to write almost 40000 words during that period. I have posted 30 blogs which is almost as many I did all of 2013. I have also covered a distance of a little over 350km running and combined with my daily workout routine I have managed to drop 5.3kg in those six weeks. This leaves me just 2kg over the my three month target weight. I am hoping to achieve in the next six week cycle. I am definitely in greater shape both mentally and physically than I was when I started out but this is only the beginning.

Throughout the whole process I have been able to pick up on a few parallels between writing and running. When writing you start somewhere and resolve to get somewhere else. You get there one word at a time. Running is the same.. Both also require discipline and a sustained resolve. With both acts all you can do is stretch one stride and write one word. The Zen of both, is letting go, not thinking about the ground you have covered or the words you have written, not worrying about whether or not you’ll fill the page with what you want or make it the next km, but just being as present as you can be in the instant of a stride or the stroke of computer keys. And that has been how I have slowly started to learn how to be in the present moment as well as appreciate it.

My goal is that by the time I turn 31 next January I want to be in the pest physical shape I have ever been in my life. I am under no illusions as to how difficult of a challenge this is but I have proved to myself over the last six weeks that it is achievable as long I stay dedicated and put in the work. And that is exactly what I plan to do. Initially when I sat out on my first six week cycle the main objective was that not quitting. I succeeded in that regard and managed to follow through on my goals which is something that I am very proud of. As a little reward fir myself I am going to take a mini break over the Easter holiday to reassess, re-calibrate and refocus before I embark on the next six week cycle. I already know that I want to improve the quality of my writing as well intensify my workout regime. So I am going to use this little break to formulate a plan that that I will start execute after the break. That means for the first time in six weeks I will be missing a couple of days of actually posting anything on this blog including the still to be concluded It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango series.

I will return to posting regularly later next week after the Easter break. In the meantime In case you missed some of the posts you can always catch up on the blogs I have already written. I have listed some of the most popular as well as some of my personal favourites below.

Kinstukuroi: Finding beauty in brokeness

A Few Good Men

It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango (Part 3)

Love In The Future

Lobola 101: It’s A Family Thing

A (Yellow) Bone To Pick

My Very Own House Of Stones

Reflections Of A Struggling Culture Vulture

Her: A Story About Technology, Love & Relationships

I Have Never Been IN Love

Enjoy and Happy Holidays.

One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself. ― Leonardo da Vinci

 
 

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It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango (Part 3)

It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango (Part 2)

My first and only threesome experience was not something that I could have ever imagined happening the way it did. It was totally unexpected. Even when I think about it I find it incredulous that it even happened at all. It all still feels a bit surreal. Even after all these years that have passed. But I guess that’s the thing about living out a fantasy. You daydream about it, but never really expect it to turn into a reality. And when the reality turns out to be so much better than the fantasy you find yourself retreating to nostalgia just to take one more hit, because the fantasy just doesn’t cut it anymore.

My threesome experience signaled the beginning of the end of one of the most hedonistic seasons in my life. It was also part of the genesis of what has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding relationships I have ever been a part of. A relationship which brought me to my own attention and helped me grow in ways I am still appreciative of today. If I was to pick one relationship that did the most to shape me into the man that I am today it would be that post-ménage a trois relationship. It was the relationship in which I became emotionally mature and became more emotionally intelligent. In this series of posts I have spoken a lot about my ego. It was in that relationship that I first acknowledged my ego and in which I began the difficult journey of managing it. And for the better part of that relationship I succeeded, until I didn’t but that’s a story for another day.

Back to the story at hand.

Mine wasn’t just a random hook up with two random girls as I had once fantasised. It actually involved my “friend with benefits” and the girl who would go on to become a long term girlfriend after that experience. And that is why I am sharing that story today. It would be impossible tell the story about that part of my life without discussing that experience. And it would be a disservice to describe that threesome without putting it in that context as well.

I wish I could take credit for orchestrating the threesome but I can’t. That would be an unnecessary embellishment of a story that I am sure most will find hard to believe. Also for those who might be hoping to get some insight on how to pull off their very own threesome you are probably going to be disappointed because I don’t have a playbook you can follow. I genuinely believe the circumstances of my experience were as unique as it might sound improbable. I don’t think I will ever have a threesome again, but I am OK with that. That one time was more than enough for me. Besides I still wouldn’t know how to convince two women to have a threesome with me even after having been a participant in one before. The only insight I can probably provide is on how to handle one once you find yourself living out that fantasy.

So how did I find myself having a threesome with two women?

The short answer is I was ‘the chosen one’. Without any prompting on my part they had coordinated and agreed between themselves and I just got an invite to the debauchery that ensued. I later learned that the instigator in chief was my ‘friend with benefits’. For the purpose of this blog I will call her *Lala. For Lala the whole experience was some sort of power play that I am not quite sure I understand to this day, but one that backfired horribly for her. When I asked her after why she had pushed for it, her response was ‘I wanted to see what it was about her that you were so caught up on. I wanted to compare and prove to myself that I was better than her … and some part of me half expected her to chicken out.’

As for the girl I would go on to date, who for the purpose of this blog I will call *Hannah, she had suspected that I had been hooking up with Lala but hadn’t been sure. Whilst I had hooked up with Hannah before it had been randomly and we had never discussed the issue of exclusivity. We also happened to get along very well outside the sack but neither of us had made any effort to pursue anything more meaningful. Hannah for obvious reasons didn’t like discussing the threesome and the only insight I ever got on her reasons for taking part was that she perceived it as some kind of challenge and didn’t want to give Lala a win by default or something to that effect. Like I said I don’t fully understand why it happened. I can only share the story with you of how it happened. And that is exactly what I am going to do now.

How it happened …

As the three of us make our way out of the club I find myself a couple of paces behind Lala and Hannah who are walking in front of me with their arms intertwined. This is all too weird I start to think to myself but before I can finish that thought I find myself lusting after both Hannah’s beautiful long legs and Lala’s exquisite derrière, hardly believing my luck. My excitement is building with each step and it is taking all the willpower I can master not to break into a little jig. Keep it cool Taf, you only live 10 minutes away. 10 minutes stand between you and the ultimate fantasy. Don’t blow it. Just keep calm and just follow the girls lead. They are the ones in charge. The ones calling the shots. Just keep your cool. It can’t be that hard. Save all the energy you can anyway. You are going to need every ounce of it tonight.

Now a million thoughts are racing through my mind. Is this really happening? Or is this some cruel joke they are playing on me? Or maybe it’s some sort of test? Are they bluffing? But why would they? Just hold your nerve Taf, and please don’t say anything stupid. Not now. There is nothing to lose here and so much to gain … But surely one of them is going to chicken out. My money is on Hannah … but Hannah is the one I want more. If push comes to shove and I have to make a choice it will be Hannah. That’s a no brainer. She is the one I need to pay a little more attention to. Lala seems determined to go through with this no matter what so I am not too worried about her. Damn, the prospect of both of them at the same time is just … Oh shit, I need to figure out logistics before we get to my place. How is this going to work? I really didn’t think this through even in all the times I fantasised about having a threesome … Man, none of my boys are going to believe this. Shit, I can’t even believe this is happening. I am going to need all the tact and diplomacy I can master to see this through. I have to see this through otherwise I will never be able to live with myself. I can’t blow this.

I suddenly think back to the club where this whole night had started. I hadn’t known what to think when I had seen Lala approach Hannah in the club. They were not friends. They knew of each other but as far as I knew they had never spoken before. But that night they spoke for what felt like forever but in reality were only a few minutes. The next thing I knew they were dancing with each other. They couldn’t have been more contrasted both physically and in terms of their personality. Lala like me, was black African, and Hannah was a white Australian. Lala had a more natural rhythm about her dancing but Hannah was nevertheless holding her own and had more of an intangible aura about her. Lala was extroverted and Hannah more introverted. But there they were dancing away Iike the very best of friends having the time of their life.

I couldn’t make sense of it all, and before I had any time to decide on any course of action I saw them both calling me over to join them. To be honest at the time it felt like I was walking straight into an ambush but being the masochist that I am I joined them anyway. Surely this could not possibly end well.

TO BE CONTINUED …

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Writing My Wrongs

 

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It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango (Part 2)

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In my last post I started to write about a season in my life I described as the most reckless and hedonistic of my life. It was also the truest I had been to myself until that point. It was all about me, my ego and my dick. Nothing else mattered. In Part 1 I rambled on in attempt to give a proper prequel to the story I wanted to share. I was at pains to try and explain the process and purpose of writing and sharing that part of my life. That phase of my life is one in which I began to peel away the layers from idealised self and uncovered the unfiltered, raw and real self. In many ways I became the antithesis of the good conservative catholic boy I had been raised as. I don’t know if it was a conscious rebellion but I do know I revealed myself to myself. I played by my own rules. The real me stood up. I am rambling again…
If you missed the first part you can read it here

It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango (Part 1)

Now that you are all caught up, let’s continue …

There I was laying on my back her sobs drifting slowing off into the night. This wasn’t part of the script. This was a breach of protocol. I feel blindsided and am trying to gather my thoughts. Despite having an intimate knowledge of each other’s bodies we had until this moment managed to stay strangers emotionally. It was just sex. Great sex. Fulfilling sex. And for months now it had been the perfect arrangement. Anytime either of us got ‘thirsty”, depending on availability we happily indulged each other. We hardly ever texted and when we did their were either sexts or “Are you home” texts at 1am. But here we were. Even in conventional relationships in which emotions were shared , nurtured and encouraged I always felt out of my depth whenever tears were shed. I now had to deal with them now. This was going to be awkward.

“I can’t do this anymore Taf…” What do you mean” I replied pensively. “ This … we can’t keep doing this, it’s not right. It’s not healthy. I want more than this. I need more. I know what we agreed on going in but things have changed. I want more than just sex. This is not me. I can’t be living like this. It has been fun, exhilarating and convenient for the most part but things have changed for me. I want more. I need more than this. I know you can’t give me that and I don’t know why and I know I shouldn’t but that makes me sad. When we started out you were in this dark place. You were so emotionally detached from anything and everyone. You didn’t care about anyone, not even yourself. But yet I found myself intrigued by you. I liked who you were as a person and I knew I didn’t have to worry about either of us catching feelings because I was in the same place as you. The last thing I expected was that I would be the one catching feelings. Deep down I guess I also hoped that when you eventually got an emotionally healthier place or wanted something more I would be a consideration. You would at least consider me. It was naive of me. What happened last weekend dispelled that notion for me. I see the way you look at her. The way you are with her. You have never looked at me like that. It shouldn’t bother me, but it does. I can’t do this anymore. “

After the events of the last weekend I had been half expecting to have this conversation at some stage. I just hadn’t imagined it under these circumstances. We hadn’t been in touch since though and now here I was having this conversation post coitus in the backyard. I was still at a loss as how I got here and judging from the sudden turn of events I might never find out. There is an awkward silence for what feels like forever. The tears have stopped. I struggle to come up with anything meaningful to say and I mumble under my breath, “Ok if that’s what you want I will respect that.” And with that eyes displayed indifference. She got up, put her shorts back and left me laying there still coming to terms with what had just happened.

The Weekend Before …

A ménage trios. A threesome. One guy, two girls. Every man’s fantasy. Myself included.

A fantasy most of us never get to live out. As much it was a fantasy of mine I had never seriously thought about actually living it out. I didn’t know if I had the skills, charm or tact to convince two women to sleep with me at the same time. It was a hard enough challenge getting one woman into my bed on most days, let alone two. But I was looking at it all wrong. Approaching it as a primarily a male fantasy. I did not consider that it could also be a female fantasy, that two women could actually collude to have a threesome with a guy without being prompted. I never imagined that if that were to ever happen I would be that guy. That I would be a pawn in someone else’s fantasy and ego trip. In hindsight I guess that is the only way it could have possibly happened for me. That is what had happened over the previous weekend. I had unexpectedly found myself having a threesome with my f**k buddie and another girl who I had been interested in romantically. The very same girl who would could on to be a long term girlfriend. I couldn’t make this shit up even if I tried.

TO BE CONTINUED ….

 

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Writing My Wrongs

 

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It Takes Three To Tangle, And Just Two To Tango (Part 1)

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A while ago I set out to write a series of blogs the purpose of which was to explore some of my past relationships. I wanted to look back on the influence those experiences have had in shaping me into the man that I am today … For better or for worse. It was supposed to be an exercise in introspection to see how much I have grown, changed or otherwise. It was an attempt to write my wrongs. In the process I hoped that someone out there might learn from some of my experiences.

A recurring theme in the few posts that I actually completed was the domineering role that my ego had on my decision making especially when it came to matters of the heart. This wasn’t too much of a surprise because I know I can have a big ego. Unfortunately I did not follow through and actually finish that series of blogs. After only three posts I quickly shifted to writing about less emotionally demanding topics. Why? Well, because I was at a crossroads as to whether or not to write about a particular experience or should I say season in my life. I found myself questioning what good it would do anyone to share that story. I was unwilling to confront my own demons. I wasn’t sure I could even tell that story in its unfiltered entirety. Anything else would not do it justice.

At the time I couldn’t summon the courage to confront myself within the blank pages margins. It was too daunting. So I chickened out. It was hypocritical of me for several reasons. For starters I pride myself on always following through on whatever personal goal set for myself. In that regard I failed. And that more than anything is why I am here again going around in circles working my way into actually finishing that series. Also the whole point of that series was to take stock of where I have come from, where I am, and where I want to go. It was never supposed to be easy. If I was true to the process it was going to be challenging, but only by overcoming those challenges and confronting my past would I be able to gleam anything meaningful from the whole process of writing and sharing those stories.

In the three posts that I wrote on my past relationships with women all the relationships I wrote about where your conventional and stereotypical boyfriend/girlfriend monogamous relationships. The revelations about how big my ego is and how it can often get in the way of any meaningful relationship were not really groundbreaking. I already knew this. I was just sharing and acknowledging it on this space. Writing my wrongs per se.

But this story that I avoided writing about until now was totally different. That season of my life was characterized by most reckless behavior both emotionally and physically. Although I probably played Russian roulette more with my penis than I did with my emotions. The emotional recklessness I displayed at the time had more to do with the feelings of the people I interacted with at the time. Nonchalant aptly describes my attitude then. Hedonistic, my way of life. It was also the most revealing, selfish and honest period of my life up to that point. It is a period in my early twenties that blasted almost two years from when I was 22- 24 years old. It is a period that I hardly ever talk about or reminisce over. In fact I avoid it like the plague.

A big part of the reason I didn’t write about before is that I have never known where exactly to start. I also worried about how it would be received and whether or not it would somehow awaken any sleeping dogs. Granted this all happened a long time ago now and all the parties involved have moved on but hey, you never know with these things. I was also embarrassed of some of my behavior and didn’t know whether I would be true enough to the story. But then I am aware of how much clarity and closure I have been able to get from writing about even more traumatic events in my life and that is what gives me the confidence to go ahead this time. I have been able to hold myself accountable to myself by simply writing my wrongs on the blank page. It might seem like a trivial way of dealing with issues but it works for me. So that is what I am going to do. As for where to start, in an ode to the anarchism that prevailed at the time I will start somewhere in the middle of that story. On the night of my 23rd birthday party.

The night of my 23rd birthday party is blur that is fragmented by random flashes of memory. If it wasn’t for the pictures I have of the day I’m not sure I would have be able to properly reconstruct some of what happened that night. Neither would I have been able to tell you who was there or what mischief they got up to. But there is one scene that I vividly remember without the aid of pictures or even friends. There is no need to reconstruct it because the images are indelibly etched in crystal clear high definition quality in my memory.

I am in my backyard. Everyone else is either in the house or elsewhere. Well, not quite everyone. There is one other person with me in the backyard. I am laying on my back, intoxicated out of my mind, with no idea at all how I even got here. I don’t realise it at the time but I am ruining my friend and housemates $300 white blazer I had borrowed for the night by laying in the grass like that. Anyway, like I said there someone else in the backyard.

I can make out the silhouette of a woman. The southern cross forms a beautiful backdrop above the silhouette that my drunk self appreciates for a second as I become more and more aware of my surroundings. Now I can feel her gluteus maximus gently cushioned on my person. My pants are pulled down to my knees. I feel the cool summer night’s breeze against my legs. I feel myself inside her. I have no idea where her pants are or when they came off. But she is the teetotaler so I am sure she will feel in the blanks for me later. We have been here before. One too many times in fact. Not in this exact spot in the backyard, but definitely in this situation having casual sex with each other in the most random of places. It has often thrilling So whilst I have no recollection how I got here I am relieved because this is a familiar body. I know all it nooks and crannies,it’s contours and all it’s intricacies. I have navigated my way around it’s curves countless times.

We are not dating. We are not even an ‘item’ per se but we are very familiar with each others bodies. We are ‘friends with benefits” or to put it more bluntly we are F**k buddies. We have managed to keep the boundaries clear and the arrangement has been mutually beneficial and fun. We see each other in spurts. No fancy dinners, no roses, no gifts, no bullshit. We satiate each others libidos with zero emotional distractions. Get in, get off, get out. And so far it has worked. Ours has been a clandestine affair grounded in sexual hedonism, a mutually beneficial and satisfying one at that. None of my friends or even hers knows of our little arrangement. Most of her friends would probably be shocked. That is the way we like it and want it.

But as I meet her gaze I am confronted by her tear filled eyes and for the first time I realise that she is sobbing softly. Now this is a first. I am more accustomed to her lustily pinning me down with her eyes, her luscious lips curved into a knowing smile. Not today, now it’s just her bottom lip that’s quivering uncontrollably. This is uncharted territory and the realisation sobers me up quickly. I try desperately to put together the jigsaw in her eyes but my head is throbbing incessantly and I am struggling to make any sense of what is actually going on. As she reads the puzzled look on my face, she mumbles to me between sobs “ I can’t do this anymore Taf … ”

To Be Continued

In the meantime you can have a read of the blogs I mentioned earlier in which I explored my past relationships here and shared some of the lessons I picked up from them

I Have Never Been IN Love

Where I Wanna Be

The Pretender

 

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Writing My Wrongs

 

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The Pretender

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Some time ago a child hood friend of mines wife asked me why I was single. My response was an instinctive “I get bored easily” and I quickly followed that up by laughing rather uncomfortably at my own response. Days later, sitting alone with my thoughts I found myself querying myself as to why I had given her that particular answer amongst all the many possible answers I could have offered up. Did I believe the answer that I gave her? That when it came to relationships perhaps I had some sort of ADD? Or was this just another lie I was telling myself. And maybe I was afraid to dig deeper and really look at myself and really analyse why my previous relationships have failed. Anyway I didn’t end up thinking about it for too long and carried on just doing me., Or maybe because I actually do have ADD.

More recently another friend I grew up with asked me to accompany him to go visit his soon to be new in laws. He wanted to initiate the process of negotiating Lobola. Lobola is a dowry/ bride price that a groom pays to the bride’s family when he marries their daughter. Traditionally this was in the form of cows, but nowadays it’s usually in the form of a cash amount that is set by the bride’s family. As such the concept of Lobola is often misconstrued by those alien to the cultural nuances as the process of purchasing a wife. It’s not. The purpose of Lobola according to Shona culture is for ‘Kuwaka hukama” which loosely translates to ‘building relations’. Lobola is meant to facilitate the creation of a bond the two families – that of the bride and grooms. When not abused it’s a great custom. Anyway on this occasion my friend asked me to accompany to go see the girl’s aunt. The Tete as the aunt is known in Shona who would act as the go between him and the bride’s family. She would also give us advice on what was expected of him when the Lobola discussions took place. All in all that visit gave me further insight into the whole process of Lobola, something I will discuss in more detail in a future post.

What I want to discuss today though is how that visit brought me back to that unresolved question on why I was single and even more so that despite all the relationships I have had I have never got to the stage where I even considered Lobola. As such I never made a conscious effort to understand it properly. I just knew of it. I think this is indicative of my lack of impetus when it comes to making long term commitments like getting married. But as more and more of friends are getting married and I find myself in the minority I have actively begun to inform myself so I can have a better understanding and ultimately forge my own path. Whatever that is. It is this that made go back to trying to understand for myself why I don’t seem to have the same urgency that my friends seem to have about settling down. Why made friends wife asked me why I was single.

I think there is some element of truth in my instinctive response that ‘I get bored easily’. I love the process of getting to know someone, revelling in the possibilities that lay ahead. But when it comes to actually going the distance I always seem to come up some way short. One of the reasons for this is that sometimes when I have found myself in the middle of that boundary defining ‘what are we’ conversation I haven’t always carried out my due diligence. It’s often been a case of not having strong enough reasons not to go into a relationship as opposed to having the right motivations to enter into one. Plus I don’t like sharing and monogamy settles that. Because I want that person to myself I sometimes end up in a relationship that I haven’t really thought through. In that way I have always sabotaged myself and it’s no surprise that I haven’t been able to go the distance.

The longest relationship I have ever had ended over four years ago. We dated for almost three years, although the last year we spent breaking up and making up more times than I care to remember. Compared to my other relationships this one I can confidently say I tried to make this one work. We both stuck around through the ups and downs. We tried to deal with our differences and disagreements maturely. It is probably the most grown up relationship I have ever had. A relationship in which I didn’t always feel like call it quits anytime there was trouble in paradise. But as meaningful and grown up as that relationship was I never completely opened up to her. I was committed but for some reason I kept my guard up, never fully letting her get to know all of me. In doing so I cheated both us from fully exploring the potential of that relationship. And even though I kept my guard up I left her to believe that I was an open book and she knew me completely.

So after two years of dating when she pressed me on what my long term plans were and whether I was part of them I buckled. Because I hadn’t fully opened up to her I was afraid she didn’t fully know me. Thinking she did know me (because that is what I left her to believe) she gave me ultimatum to give an outline of plans for our future within 6 months. And so began the slow and protracted end to our relationship. At one stage I tried to explain my hesitation to her. I remember that what she said hurt the most wasn’t that I didn’t completely share the core of who I was with her. It was that I sold her a dream. I left her to believe that she knew all of me. She rightly pointed out that it would have been better not to sell her the idea that I was an open book. “You made it your thing, that you were totally open” she said. She would have been perfectly Ok with me sharing whatever I struggled to share with her whenever I was ready if I hadn’t sold her onto the idea she already knew all of me. She said I was a pretender. Those words have haunted me ever since.

In the aftermath of that relationship I never really took the time to get to the bottom of why I couldn’t be open with her. I just knew that going forward I didn’t want to be called a pretender ever again. The question of why I couldn’t be open with her is one I am not sure I have a conclusive answer for even after all these years. I am tempted to say that maybe part of me knew that we had no long term future no matter how hard I tried to convince myself otherwise. And why that rather meek explanation?

Just based on all the relationships I have had I have noticed a trend with the breakdown of all my relationships. Issues that have remained unresolved going back to the first major fight have always turned to be deciding factors in all those break ups. So using that logic I probably knew from our first fight that we didn’t have a long term future and maybe that is why I never fully opened up to her. In my misguided efforts to make it work I inadvertently made sure that it would never work.

 
 

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Where I Wanna Be

DONELLJ2

As I sit at my desk writing this Donell Jones intones in my ears “ But when you love someone you just don’t treat them bad/Oh, how I feel so sad/Now that I wanna leave/She’s crying her heart to me/How could you let this be?/I just need time to see where I wanna be…”

This is not just my iTunes randomly accessing my memory bank; rather it’s a deliberate effort on my part to get into the headspace I need to be to write this post. You see, there is a story behind this song. It’s a story that goes back almost a decade ago now, when I was 21. Back when I was in university and dating my first serious girlfriend as a twenty something. We both loved the music of Donell Jones. So much so that he provided the soundtrack to some of our most intimate moments. Little did we both know that he would also inadvertently gift me with the soundtrack to our break up. Donell sang my stupid young self into a sticky situation.

“Never did I imagine/That you would play a major part in a decision that’s so hard/Do I leave, do I stay, do I go?/ I think about my life and what matters to me the most/Girl, the love that we share is real but in time your heart will heal/I’m not saying I’m gone but I have to find what life is like without you…”- Donell Jones(Where I Wanna Be)

Truth is we shouldn’t have even been dating in the first place. In the beginning we were amazing friends and with the benefit of hindsight I realise that we should have probably stayed just that. But what did I know? She was a vibrant, witty, smart, vivacious and focused woman. And I was just horny little boy, still several more mistakes away from becoming a man. We shared most of the same lectures and were part of just a handful of African students on campus so naturally we gravitated towards each other until one day I found myself in the middle of that boundary setting “What are we ?… where is thing going?” conversation. Thinking only of quenching my lust and without giving it much further thought we agreed to date. It was the only way I figured I would get the booty.

Despite the idealistic view of myself at the time as a romantic, there was nothing romantic about that union on my part at least. I was probably more enthralled by the idea of such a vivacious and vibrant woman giving me the booty. And she had quite the booty too so I am not even mad at my younger self for that. However I am disappointed in my younger self betraying my own views on what I thought romance was and going even further to try and convince myself that that was what we had. It wasn’t. It is probably the first time I can recall that I allowed my ego to make a call that my heart should have been making. It wasn’t going to be the last either.

This was a relationship that was convenient for me at the time more than anything else. At the time I was also working part time to support myself. So come time for lectures I often tired and struggled to always pay attention. But luckily for me I now had a girlfriend I shared most of my classes so I was covered. I could always count on her to catch me up on anything I had missed and often relied heavily on her own personal notes. For most of my second year of university exams I also relied heavily on the cheats sheets she would prepare. And that is how I made it through that year.

Despite all this I still felt I could do better than her. Why? Simple. Ego. Not to mention that I obviously wasn’t in love with her. Also as is usually the case when you are in a relationship you start frequently getting attention from other girls that you weren’t getting when you were single ( I’ve never understood that). And for me this attention was coming from all the different kind of girls of different races and nationalities and it got to my head. I thought was the man and even though our relationship was seemingly fine I wanted out. So what did I do? Well, I basically plagiarised the lyrics to Donell Jones’ “Where I Wanna Be” in my break up speech to her.

“I said I left my baby girl a message sayin’ I won’t be coming home/ I’d rather be alone/She doesn’t fully understand me/That I’d rather leave than to cheat/If she gives me some time I can be the man she needs/But there’s a lot of lust inside of me/And we’ve been together since our teenage years/I really don’t mean to hurt her, but I need some time to be alone …” – Donell Jones(Where I Wanna Be)

I went even further and gave her some spill that went something like “Even Michael Jordan quit the game when he was on top.” The logic I was trying to sell to her was that it was best we go our separate ways whilst we still had fond memories of each other. My naivety and douchebagery is not lost on me.

She begrudgingly obliged me. I didn’t really give her much of a choice. And as karma would have it our relative fortunes would go on comically. I quickly learned that the grass isn’t always greener and that attention I had been getting fizzled out eventually. And she went to date someone else some time after we broke up.
Nothing could have prepared me for what would follow. For the lows and embarrassment I would put myself through all because my ego was shattered that she had actually moved on. There is one incident in particular that’s comes flooding back as I write this.

So there we were out one night post break up and I am acting the fool with my boys. That was until I until I spotted in corner of my eye grinding up on new dude. I still don’t know why but I flipping lost it. I won’t lie, I surprised even myself. But I didn’t make a scene; I just glared menacingly in their general direction whilst trying to comprehend why it bothered me so much. I was the one who ended it. The one who thought I could do better. So why was I was I upset? By now my boys had picked up on the source of my agitation. I remember one of them drunkenly offered to ‘take care’ of new dude if that would make me feel better. I was tempted for a second, but I just as quickly declined and made a bee line for the mens room. My ego was now in cruise control. There was no way it would let her think I was bothered.

My brilliant plan was to pull myself together in the mens room. Now in mens room my ego proceeded to give the man in the mirror an impromptu pep talk. One moment I was holding a glass of scotch in my hand, talking to myself and in the next I was hurling it at the mirror and shouting in frustration at myself “This is what you wanted … what the hell is wrong with you?” As the mirror came shattering to the floor new dude simultaneously walked in. wanted to crawl into the toilet bowl. That’s how embarrassed I was. So much for her not finding out that I was upset that she had moved on.

When a much older and wiser self looks back on this episode all I see is my allowing my ego to call the shots. From entering the relationship to not wanting her to move on, it was my ego that got me in those situations. That is not love, or even being in love with someone. It was selfish, self centred and petulant. But hey I was 21. Surely as I grew older and matured over the years I would learn how to starve my ego and feed my soul instead. Or would I?

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Writing My Wrongs

 

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