Lentedag: ‘n Nuwe begin en die einde van irrasionele vrese

Ek het ’n irrasionele vrees vir enigiets wat eindig. Miskien is dit eintlik net rasioneel. Of my rasionaal in elk geval.

Ek kan nie die laaste episode van ‘n TV-reeks kyk tensy die volgende reeks reeds bekend gestel is nie. Die afwagting maak my dood. Dieselfde met boeke. As daar meer as een in ‘n reeks is moet ek almal hê, anders kan ek fisies nie die boek klaar lees nie. Die Hunger Games het vir my geëindig driekwart deur die tweede boek.

Ek is seer-seker die enigste persoon wat nog nie Game of Thrones klaar gekyk het nie, want ek het opgehou met die voorlaaste episode in die eerste reeks.

Netso kan ek ook nie konflik hanteer nie. Dit beteken dat ek eerder ‘n vriendskap of verhouding sal laat doodloop eerder as om die konflik en die einde daarvan te moet ervaar.

Dit fizzle maar net in stilte tot sy dood.

In my gedagtes gaan dit dalk nog aan, iewers, miskien in ‘n parallelle heelal.

Soos ek sê, irrasioneel.

Ongelukkig affekteer dit ook die manier wat ek werk. Niemand kan ‘n deadline uitstel en uitstel tot hy fisies nie meer kan as ek nie. Dit frustreer almal wat saam met my werk en ek besef dat hierdie verklaring moontlik daartoe gaan lei dat ek nooit weer werk kry nie. Of dalk gaan dit juis nou verander! Ek het immers die eerste tree gegee in die regte rigting! Mens moet immers jou foute aanvaar en erken wanneer jy ‘n probleem het, dan nie?

Vandag is lentedag! So ek het besluit om ‘n end te sit aan hierdie baie slegte lyn van denke.

Om mee te begin: Ek kan ook nie die laaste bietjie sjampoe uit ‘n bottel gebruik nie. Ek raak antsy die oomblik as dit te min raak en sal dan nuwes koop voor ek uithardloop. Die probleem is, dat na ‘n jaar lyk my badkamer so:

Dus het ek besluit om op te ruim, skoon te maak en uit te gooi. Uit die puin het ek ‘n HELE bottel sjampoe en opknapper kon red! As ek dit laas week geweet het kon ek dalk my geld beter aangewend het. (Die wintermaande is maar skraal.)

Ek voel egter uiters verlig. Ligter, beter, skoner met die wete dat ek vandag iets kon bereik.

Ongelukkig is dit deel van depressie. Jy stel uit en uit tot jy nie meer kan nie. Dit het ook natuurlik my werk (skryfwerk) beïnvloed aangesien ek nie ‘n pen kon optel nie. Dus is hierdie storie oor meer as net sjampoe. Dit gaan ook oor die feit dat ek dit kon neerpen, vir die eerste keer in maande.

Dalk kom my vrees uit meer as wat ek hier noem. Dalk was daar net te veel slegte eindes en dis makliker om net nie te weet HOE dit eindig nie. As daar ‘n ope einde is, beteken dit dalk daar is ‘n beter uitkomste as dit wat ek weet onvermydelik is. (Daar is heelwat stories hier, maar dis vir ‘n ander dag.)

So, aan almal wat ek laat gaan het oor die laaste paar jaar, weet net dis nie jy nie. Ek hoop daar is ‘n toekoms, of ten minste ‘n afsluiting, aan ons gesamentlike avontuur.

Om terug te kom na die sjampoe: Het enigiemand sulke bottels nodig vir ‘n projek of ‘n organisasie? Ek het hope!  

Oh, to be remembered

Said someone last night: “It’s nice to be remembered.”

This after a guy recognised me in the bistro I work most nights. To my estimation it had to be 7 or 8 years since we met. He remembered that I was a writer.

I think everyone wants to be remembered. I recall a poem from my years at school about someone who wrote his name on a jail cell wall – his way of being infinite. I can’t remember who wrote it anymore, but the whole idea was that the poet wrote the poem as his own way of being infinite. In a way, it worked. The idea of the poem has always been in the back of my head.

I guess as a journalist the hardest thing is that no one really remembers your name. Not in the sense that an author of a great book becomes a household name. Think Elliot, Bronte and Hemingway. When it comes to a news article, however, readers are only interested in the facts of the article. They don’t care about who it was that wrote the words or the blood and tears it took to put pen to paper. Most people knew who I was, yet couldn’t remember my name … only the name of the paper I worked.

I guess that’s why journalists are so irreplaceable.

It doesn’t take much to rewrite a press release or put together the facts.

My masters degree makes me too expensive and the experience I bring doesn’t mean much if you can appoint an intern at a quarter of the cost.

I used to be very very good at chasing the story, building relationships. Being first on the scene … But at what cost?

It broke me. It broke my heart to have to interview the people who had just lost someone to a crime committed in their home or in an accident. The job you have to do as a journalist is extremely important. You are the voice of your community. You are the one to warn families about all the bad that happens around them. The voice of reason. Of caution. The messenger.

I gave up that life to write about the things I wanted to write about. Another journalist once told me: “You’re like me. You have to write. The ink flows in your veins.”

Yet, if someone asks me what I do for a living it is difficult to say. I have seven bosses, including the one at the bistro where I am “Elbé the waiter”. (There is only one letter difference between writer and waiter for a reason I think … )

So I traded. Not up or down, but to something completely different.

And tonight it was just nice to be remembered. Even if he could probably never say what exactly it is that I wrote.

UPDATE: I had to call my Afrikaans teacher to find the poem I referred to. As it happens it is part of the matric curriculum! It’s called “Besoekersboek” (Visitor’s book) and written by Fanie Olivier. You can read it here.

Making new friends as a freelancer

I think the hardest part of starting as a freelancer was all the time I suddenly had to spend with myself. I actually think that I’m rather good company and always up for a laugh, but that becomes a bit difficult if you only have a cat for company most of the day.

I then suddenly become anxious to meet new and exciting people, something that has never been an issue for me, but now I have to find creative ways to do so.

Hanging out with a visiting friend, I actually realised that I tend to know a lot of people. Yet, when its time to light the fire for a braai, I don’t really have that many people to call. The other night however, we decided to have a nice steak evening and invited a few friends over.

As it happened, all the guys were busy and we ended up being only five girls on the night. And what a wonderful evening it turned out to be!

We had beer on tap, thanks to my buurvrou, Die Biervrou, steak and salad and wonderful conversation. We laughed and drank beer and later wine while telling stories and supporting each other and mostly just having a good time.

Making friends in a new job is hard. When you don’t technically have a job its even harder, but enjoying the friends you have around you is a wonderful blessing!

How many guys do you know that could say they had a perfectly braaied steak and beer on tap at their last get together?