Day 1: Mea Culpa.

It’s a brand new day…

Last year was a strange year. Two parts tragic, one part horrific, three parts infuriating and six parts just plain ol’ insane. It got to the point I stopped reading the papers, stopped watching the news, turned off the radio and sunk into a brainless abyss of…and I say this with great shame…’Keeping up with the Kardashians’. That’s right, I, (not) Alex, was a slave to reality TV. For kendo 5 months. You know you’ve lost your way when you know who French Montana is. You don’t know who that is? Thank your gods. It was a scary spiral into lethargy the likes of which I haven’t seen since I was in my mid 20’s, fresh out of college and at a loss as to what to do next. Throw in the completely unrelated fact that I was on a misguided crusade to grow an afro, because it occurred to me that it was time to liberate my wallet from the clutches of the evil beauty industry, and the ‘lost at sea’ look was complete. I felt ragged, I looked somewhat ragged (combing natural hair sans moisturiser is not easy, at all, and these buggers don’t tell you…), my thought process was ragged and, as you probably noticed, my blogging was most ragged. I felt adrift, yet motionless, melancholy seeping out of every pore like salty sweat on a hot January day…

And I have no idea why.

Well, I do, sort of.

Work was slow. My personal life was, shall we say, odd. My president was, is, visibly angry. Things were shitty all around. But that wasn’t what got me lethargic. I think it was simply that I got off the hamster wheel that is this rat race we live. I didn’t mean to get off mind, at least not for that long, I got off it for World Cup back in June and I just never got back on. True story. I took those four weeks off to watch football and in the process I somehow lost the urge to get back to the grind. Work hard? For what? I went on an unofficial go slow. No one noticed. Once I realised I could wade through life with a bare minimum of effort, well, everything else was promptly ditched. Write maybe? Because that worked out so well in the past, she said sarcastically, as she detangled her ‘fro. Why not get my hair done, that always puts a spring in my step, right? Bitch please, I’m on a go slow, no? Read a few books then. Again I ask, for what? You know how much I love to read, but the thought of picking up a book filled me with dread. If it wasn’t for the reading I kept doing online, I would be illiterate by now. Why not get laid more often, at the very least? The complexities of getting laid at my age are astounding. Yes, I will tell you about it one day. No, wait, I already have. Which brings me back to, write maybe? And on and on and on. All with the chattering Kardashians in the background, flipping hair and flicking blackberries, all while delivering the most useless monologues in the history of television. I tell you, there are afternoons I could feel my brain decay, one numb cell at a time…

Fuck me, it was absolute bliss.

I know, I know, how dare I call such nothingness bliss? How dare I be happy about doing nothing? My lovelies, it really was fucking bliss, once I realised it couldn’t possibly kill me. The way I figured, sometimes there’s nothing to be done. Sometimes the endless running around chasing the next deal is meaningless motion without movement, an elaborate pretence at being busy rather than actually being productive. Sometimes we just need to sit down and stare at a TV screen for way too many hours, without engaging in any form of meaningful thought. Sometimes, its worth your own sanity to stop shouting into the wind and just shut the fuck up, if for no other reason than to rest your tired voice, and maybe rest other people’s tired ears. Sometimes, but only sometimes, its better to get yourself off, rather than spend countless chasing that elusive shag, chasing and chasing. Sometimes you gotta let go…

I find myself just a little bit stronger, got the weight up off my shoulders,
Feeling fine cause I’m in a new way…

Ladies and gentlemen, Rahsaan Patterson, also known as he that would father my babies if he wasn’t gay (dammit!). This song was my ‘you’re ok now’ song about four years ago, I was going through a ‘Neo Soul, in touch with my inner spirit, wooosaaaa’ phase as I adjusted to being alone (read lonely) in a new house. ‘Sometimes’ was that song I’d blast at obscenely loud volume on Sunday morning, on loop, singing along like he was singing my truth. At the time he was, I think. I stumbled across the CD in early December as I was doing my annual clearing of accumulated junk (I am a reformed hoarder), I set it aside for a listen and promptly forgot about it. Then I thought of it on Christmas Day morning for some odd reason, stuck it in as I was getting ready to drive to the village to cook for the clan…

I’m clear of the storm, now I feel some joy,
its a blessing, a blessing, I don’t hurt no more,
Nowadays…

This is the thing about music, and it’s why music is such a huge part of this blog, these songs are tied to memories. Memories of people and places, events and mishaps, feelings and frames of mind. This song takes me back to a boozy dinner (aren’t they all?) with my almost baby brothers on a hot evening not unlike this one, dirty dishes shoved to the side as we sat around the table arguing the merits of whatever music one of us was newly obsessed with (for the record, they didn’t much care for this song, useless philistines…). Maybe that’s why I thought of it on the day I was going to have another boozy meal with my somewhat philistine clan (my brother has been talking shit about The Expendables. ‘Eh?’ I asked him, aghast, ‘How is that even acceptable that a grown idiot of right mind doesn’t get Stallone, Statham and co.? Shameful!’ I have digressed…). This song takes me back to a happy place, even as it reminds me of a particularly lonely, yet liberating, time in my life.

As it turned out, this song became the bookend to a lovely period of bleh, a period that had to end, some might say fortunately, if only so I could wash the stain of reality TV off my body and re-enter the world of intelligent conversation and productivity. Four days later I was back at work, soon thereafter the TV was turned off and a book was picked up. It was inevitable, once I had no random voices in my house to distract me, that I would return to tell you all about my many issues, such as I do, and to warn you about French Montana…

Sometimes you gotta let go, although its not easy,
Sometimes you gotta let go, of a love that ain’t so pleasing,
Sometimes you gotta say no,
Sometimes you gotta give it up, baby let it all go…
It’s a brand new day…

Happy new year, my lovelies. May this year be kinder to us than the last.

In recognition of my tardiness last year, I want to try something different this week. I’ve signed up for the #YourTurnChallenge, kinda. inspired by the always lovely Ms Malaka (I’m participating in the #YourTurnChallenge …Yikes!). The idea is 7 posts in 7 days, on pretty much anything, starting today. I figure the best way to get back into to swing of things is to get back into the swing of things, yes? Good plan, no? Stop shaking your heads, that means six more posts for you this week. I can’t vouch for their quality, but hey, they’re free. Minus internet charges. And the cost of your time. But otherwise free. And probably short.