I Broke Your Heart Today.

Nobody ever actively sets out to hurt their child. Sure, things may happen while raising a kid that will hurt them, but nine times out of ten those thing are beyond your control. Crime, accidents, bumps and bruises. These are all things that – try as we may – we cant always prevent.

Today, I knowingly and actively went against every single good piece of parenting and broke my sons heart. Knowing full well what I was doing. And I’m feeling like a pretty un-spectacular human being because of it.

I’ve always been the first to tell you all that marriage is hard – having a kid is nothing compared to the daily work a relationship entails, and anyone who tells you it’s easy, is bullshitting you. It’s fucking hard.

Barry and I got into a fight. It started yesterday over something so silly and innocuous, but on day two had grown into such a large festering ball of anger, resentment and trudged-up-he-said-she-saids from 2011 that it finally imploded at 6 am this morning in a very ugly screaming match. I did and said things I wasn’t proud of (I’m hoping he feels the same) and short of airing all our dirty laundry, it escalated so badly that my poor little two-year-old who was sitting on the bed during the incident burst into tears and sobbingly cried and begged us to stop.

It broke me. And today I am a complete wreck, because I took away a little bit of innocence from my perfect, pure boy and showed just how ugly and mean humans can be. Worst of all, I brought him into a situation that he didn’t deserve to be in and I showed him his mommy and daddy acting like idiots.

I like to think that we removed him from the situation quite quickly, sorted our shit out (like we should have done in the first half an hour of the stupid fight) and that he will never ever remember this, but I do believe that I’ve done some damage to his sweet little soul. The way he sat on my lap hugging and kissing me afterwards hurt me inside until I felt bruised.

Growing up I barely remember my parents fighting. The only time I can recall is on an overseas holiday when I was about 12, and I vaguely recall my mother storming out the hotel room and my dad chasing her down the street. Does it make it easier or worse that we were seldom exposed to it – that I remember that one specific event? Is it normal for our kids to witness such ugliness, and if so, is it wrong?

All I know os that I cant wait to go home his evening and see my little dude, feel his little hands monkey themselves around my neck and to make sure he’s OK. I also want to tell him how very sorry I am for making him the adult in the situation, and for forcing him to watch a screaming match (that may or may not have involved a cup of coffee being hurled across the room).

We do the best we can, but yoh, sometimes the guilt just eats away at us.

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Oscar Pistorious, Mob Justice And The Frying Pan.

Several years ago I broke up with a long-term boyfriend. We were living together at the time – in his house – and I was renting my house out to tenants. The breakup was innocuous with relatively little drama. I wasn’t happy, he wasn’t happy, we decided to part ways. He left for the weekend while I packed up my things – including all the items I had brought in when I moved in –  furniture, art, accessories, utensils, crockery etc. I had two friends come stay with me over the weekend to help, and on the Sunday I left, the place was spotless – I even left a vase of flowers and a note reading something along the lines of  “I didn’t know how to split the gym we both paid for, so I took the boxing bag. Please take care of the fish, and yourself. Goodbye”. I do remember, in the rush of that weekend – which tends to happen when you have 48 hours to pack up your entire life – that we had run out of toilet paper. I think my friends and I used serviettes and Carlton roll-a-towel for those 2 days. We were drunk on wine and emotions, and didn’t really care.

Fast forward a few days and I was living like a nomad, sleeping at friends, my brother and my parents. I was exhausted, sad to my core and had zero stability. Then my phone beeped, and my world seemed to crumble even more. “You little lying bitch”Thief” “Fucking robber”. The messages poured in, relentless. Then they started appearing on my Facebook wall, on my email, and on my voice mail. I had no idea what was going on – perfectly nice people, albeit now considered my ‘exes friends’ had started attacking me in the most vicious of ways, attacking who I was, my character, my feelings and my heart. And I had no idea why.

I made contact with the ex – we hadn’t exchanged one word since the split – and asked if he could shed some light on what was going on. “My mom says you stole my pots and pans” he said.

Excuse me?

Apparently this (grown) man’s mom had come to Joburg after the breakup and had inspected the now emptier (naturally) house, and deduced that I had stolen everything from under her son’s nose (I don’t think she realised, or cared to understand that I had simply taken with me what was mine, and left what was his). Spurred, obviously by her maternal concerns he then decided to jump on the bandwagon and mentioned that I had also maliciously stolen the toilet paper.

I realise how ridiculous this sounds, and even when I relay the lead up of events I can’t help but wonder how something as petty as a mom’s assumption and finishing the 2-ply could have resulted in what happened next.

Shit escalated. Badly. Friends of his jumped on the bandwagon. Friends of mine did too. Turns out that they weren’t very nice people, and my world is better off without them, but the several months of abuse, bullying, defamation and character assassination that followed was nothing short of illegal. I didn’t know what to do. Suddenly a toilet paper issue and supposed missing pot had turned into the theft of the century. Suddenly I had ‘robbed him blind’ ‘taken everything he owned’ and ‘left nothing behind’.

I kept my mouth shut for weeks, sobbing uncontrollably. I thought if I let things die down then it would simply blow over. I didn’t want to go out and shout my innocence from the rooftops. It was all simply too bizarre. What would I say? “Um, hey guys, sorry about the loo paper confusion. Also, that mirror was actually mine’? The thing is, after weeks it hadn’t stopped, in fact my new reputation preceded me and I had random people stopping me at social gatherings asking if ‘I was that girl who stole from X’. After weeks of silence I phoned my mom in tears – I told her I wanted to find a lawyer and sue. I wanted to fight back. I have many, many flaws, but honesty and integrity are my strengths. I’m the person who hunts down owners of lost wallets and who always defends the underdog. I hated what was happening to me, how people were attacking me, and how low and close to suicide I was feeling. My mom told me to hang back, to not say anything. She assured me it would all blow over. During this time the friends who had helped me pack up (my) things didn’t say much – I wanted to shout at them, ask them why they weren’t helping to defend me. I don’t think they ever realised just how bad it was. I wanted to die. I was broken, devastated and absolutely stunned at the ferociousness of human nature.

It’s been years, many years, and I never spoke up, never called a lawyer, and never caused a scene. I’ve never really even spoken about it, until now. And then yesterday Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to six-years in prison, and people reacted. I witnessed again the brutal force of mob justice. Of people forcing their opinions on to anyone who would lend them half an ear. I saw just how brutal a mass of bored, angry, internet police could be, and it shook me.

This story is not about Oscar, nor is it about the verdict. This story is about people who – without fact, evidence, reason or proof – believe that they have the right to character assassinate another human being.

I was there for many years – without trial, without defense and without a voice – I felt mob justice first hand. And for what? For finishing the loo paper. For something that – in other cases – would have made quite a funny story had I bumped into my ex several years later, when we were both in different stages of our lives.

“Hey Kate, remember when we broke up and you moved out, you know you finished the toilet paper?”

 “Yes, how funny, the girls and I were wiping our bums with pink scented tissues”

“I know, I had a shit and had to wipe with a kitchen towel. Oh, by the way, I also found that frying pan I thought you had taken. LOL”

And we would laugh, wish each other well, and go our separate ways.

That’s what should have happened. Instead, people who I knew and loved decided to forge an opinion based on feelings, not fact, and ruined a solid chunk of my life.

I’m good now. I’m married to a guy who would never actively hurt someone he once cared for. I have the right friends in place and I’ve learnt a major lesson: Empathy can go a very long way in today’s society. So, until you are 100% affected by something, and until you have 100% of the facts in place, shut your mouth and don’t cause a scene. At the end of the day, the person on the receiving end of your opinion is a living, breathing human being.

emapthy-illustrated

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Reasons I’ve Cried During My Pregnancy

I woke up this morning and realised I haven’t blogged in a few weeks, because I had nothing to write about.

3 hours later I got stood up at a meeting that took me 2 hours to get to, I ramped a curb and damaged my car leaving said meeting, I was spoken to rudely by several people and my colleagues played a harmless prank on me. All before 1 pm. All which made me break down in a sobbing fit about 5 minutes ago.

Other reasons I’ve cried during my pregnancy?

  • Money worries. How am I going to afford everything that comes with having a baby. What do I do if my baby is sick and I am at work. Can we afford a nanny? Can we afford nappies? Can I still afford Mitchum or do I have to move to Shield?
  • My neighbours dog died. About 30 minutes ago. It happened while I was on a conference call with Ireland and he was frantically messaging the neighbourhood WhatsApp group asking for help. All I could do was Google the number of a vet and ask someone, anyone, on the other end to phone the vet. I was too late and his dog died and now I feel like I have a hole in my heart the size of Texas because I couldn’t do anything to help him.
  • I thought I had lost something that someone had loaned to me, and after frantically searching and asking for it I had to tell the person I loaned it from that I had lost it. Turns out some colleagues had hidden it from me as a harmless prank. This is now the reason I’m hiding out in an old boardroom in the office (that smells like feet) and sobbing into my keyboard. (Me, crying over a prank. I invented the prank. What.The.Actual.Fuck is going on with me)
  • I couldn’t eat fishcakes. This happened really early on (around week 8). I bought expensive Salmon fishcakes from Woolies and realised, as soon as I started cooking them, that if I ate them I would be sick. I sobbed and sobbed while I watched my husband eat all 8.
  • Someone finished the rusks. And the Marie biscuits.
  • My husband forgot to buy dog food, and after a massive brief altercation I drove to the shops in my pyjamas and bought 16 bags. I also tried to slam his hand in the door when he tried to stop me.
  • I baked. And I fucked up 20 perfectly good cupcakes that I was making for a colleagues birthday.
  • I was told I was being ‘hormonal and pregnant’. Now, this is a tricky one, because if there’s a sure way to fuel that fire, it’s to cry when someone tells you that you are being ‘overly emotional’. That being said, blame my emotional state on my pregnancy one more time, and I will stab you in the fucking face with an unused box of tampons.
  • My mattress is shit. I cry for a sturdy mattress I will never know.
  • Traffic. But who am I kidding – traffic makes me cry even when I’m not spawning a child.
  • Most TV adverts and movies featuring the following:
    • A wedding
    • A pet (extra points for dogs, triple points if the dog dies)
    • A homeless person
    • Any Tracker ad
  • The sight of my naked body in the mirror. (fun fact, the other day I was trying to view my belly button, convinced it was bruised. Dr D says it’s because my stomach muscles have split and my stomach is now just a round piece of fat holding my uterus in. Awesome)
  • People’s opinions. If I’m planning on tattooing a Swastika down my baby’s face after birth, then by all means, say something, but for everything else – unless you plan on paying for a portion of my baby’s life, your opinion is null and void.

So, on that charming note, I’m off to dry my mascara and have a cup of tea. I just hope it’s not with full cream milk, because that just may set me off again.

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I'm Feeling A Little Glum

Someone last night said to me they had recently stumbled upon my blog, and now dedicate Fridays to reading it for their weekly laugh. That made my day. But Bron, I’m sorry, today is not going to be one of those days.

You see, I’m feeling pretty glum. It could be the late night and lack of sleep, it could be the preggy hormones, or it could be that for the first time my rose tinted view of South Africa is less rosy, and more realistic.

Last night we went to go watch Alan Committie at the Pieter Torien theatre at Montecasino. If you haven’t watched him live, do yourself a favour and buy a ticket- he is true comic gold.

As with all South African comedy shows, the majority of the fodder is always based on real life events in SA – load shedding, Zuma, crime and the ANC. We go there to laugh, because the state of affairs in this country make it so much easier to do so – we as South Africans are forced to find the humour in what is becoming a rapidly deteriorating country. At one point Alan turned to the audience and said “But despite it all, we truly have one of the most beautiful countries in the world, right?” and the audience cheered and cheered. Normally I would have joined in, louder than them all, but last night, I couldn’t.

Have you driven up and down our roads lately? Have you seen the rubbish, the mess, the weeds, the derelict buildings and the taxi ranks? Unless you travel by helicopter, you too would have been stuck for hours on end during load shedding, wondering why the robots weren’t solar powered (it’s a crime issues you see). You, like me, may have also seen pedestrians get knocked over, motorbike accidents and car accidents ranging from irritating bumper bashings to body bags. When you finally reach your destination you too may have had to use a bottle of water to wash your hands and rely on a generator or gas stove to cook your food.

In December we drove to Port Alfred. The carnage on our roads has me debilitated to such a point that for 11 and a half hours I could not close my eyes – even as a passenger – because I had the irrational thought that unless there were 2 sets of eyes on the road at all times, something dreadful would happen.

Coupled with this, our recent incident has left me paralysed with fear when driving home, and pulling in to my own driveway is now a mute-radio,unclip-seatbelt-watch-gate-close-whiles-keeping-an-eye-out-for-suspicious-activity process. And that’s during daylight! I wont even go to gym or out at night unless I’m driving with my husband. This weekend I’m home alone and I’ve already planned to be locked up indoors by 6pm.

All this while Zuma makes a mockery of what used to be my favourite place in the entire world, Robert Mugabe memes and load shedding schedules flood my Facebook feed and I pee in the office bathrooms with a torch because we have no power.

I suppose my entire view has shifted because it’s no longer just about me. In 100 days or less I am having a baby, and that baby is going to be born into an environment where I don’t know if I can fetch him from creche on time because I may or may not be stuck behind a dead traffic light. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to heat his room in winter or protect him from a taxi playing chicken at a 4-way stop. I don’t know if I will be able to walk him in his pram in my street without holding my breath, and I don’t know if I will find him a school we can afford where textbooks aren’t burnt and the teachers aren’t on strike.

So excuse me friends, for I am feeling fucking glum. I hope it lifts and I hope my fleeting thoughts of emigration fade very quickly. Because if there is one thing worse than the way I’m feeling today, it’s the thought of moving to a place where I don’t have my family and friends by my side.

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