Yesterday I was rushing home to beat the Eishkom rush …you know, that 30 minute window we have to cook, clean, bath Hamish, put everything on charge and boil the kettle for coffee before Eskom hits that button and switches off all electricity , plunging South Africa into stage 4 darkness.
Anyway here I was chatting to Hamish as we approached the house and my neighbours lazed on the grass outside.
Kommetjie is very much hippyville and as well as not wearing shoes…like ever, the locals can be found just sitting in the street on a normal Thursday afternoon.
There they sat, the foreign woman across the road holding onto some champagne …not that I blame her, after all she is the mom to a very busy and adorable toddler ….she deserves the champagne.
The grumpy guy next door growling at me because I’ve managed to get myself the reputation for being a staunch non supporter of misogynistic males in this town and him, being friends with them has heard the rumor and sadly even with his mansplanning I’m still not giving in like a good submissive woman should. ( I also think he’s more upset about this than I am )
A strange car with a couple I don’t know and a man walking a dog all approached as I heard my neighbour, the foreign woman,ask ….
” When do you move ?”
We got chatting and I answered that we would move by month end and I was overjoyed.
The grumpy guy grunted for the fiftieth time and disappeared. The elderly couple moved closer to join the conversation and the man with the dog bent down to pick up his little girl before the dog trampled her.
The woman turned and said ” I see it in your face”
Totally confused, I asked what she saw.
Her answer shocked me.
She explained that in the year she’s known me she hasn’t seen my eyes light up as they just did. She heard real joy in my voice and I was even wearing my hair down and smiling.
I agreed with her and told her it had been a long year.
Inside the house I later sat with my thoughts ….
She wasn’t wrong. It has been a long year. A year of upheaval, disappointment and depression. Of feeling stuck and whilst I may be living in one of the most beautiful towns in the Western Cape, knowing this was not at all the place I wanted to be.
I was unhappy and lately I’ve noticed the change in me.
It’s easier to get out of bed, I’m more motivated. More focused. I’m excited about the day and slowly I feel like my old, busy and vibrant self again.
I wake up knowing that soon, I’ll be where we are welcomed. Where we belong and more importantly where we are treated respectfully ….
Living here has been a challenge. One I realise, led to me not being myself. One that stole joy from my days ….consciously and unconsciously.
A challenge that played way heavier on my heart and mental health than I was willing to admit.
It’s been a year since I cared if my hair was dyed or if I was matching my make up. It’s been a year of chucking on tights because I’m not seeing anyone anyway instead of dressing up, which I love.
So, yes I noticed the change in me two weeks ago , when I grabbed the hair dye and ordered new makeup. When I bought city shoes instead of beach sandles and yesterday when I genuinely smiled in happiness for the first time in far too long.
I’m greatful to my wonderful neighbour for pointing this out to me and more importantly for seeing in that brief moment of joy on my face who I really am.
When you are truly happy you see it on your face.