Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Now you're lost/Lost in the heat of it all/Girl you know you're lost/Lost in the thrill of it all

I grew up leaving, always leaving. Packing bags, moving again. New place, new friends. Not a bad life, right?!

But it also made me think that leaving was the only place I could go. After school all I wanted was to leave, to not see this city, these friends, this family, not seeing what had raised me. There was so much more to discover, there was this world of experiences that I wanted to have and which I imagined wouldn't be possible in Pretoria. 

I hadn't yet learned that leaving is a lonely endeavour. It involves a host of questions ranging from the banal to the life-altering: Where to go? For how long? What to pack? What administrative documents would be necessary? Would I be missed? Should the favourite books really come along? It also shifts between an attachment to things and an attachment to people. Leaving is selfish, leaving is choosing what you want above what others might need from you in staying.  

I didn't care. Because you see, I needed, desperately, to see - see anything, everything, absorb all the visual cues possible. These past two years, I have had my fill. There have been countless concerts, festivals and trips across Europe. I have spent hours in buses, trains and other public transport. I have lugged around my luggage and bought items as reminders of these travels. I have seen cities, gone to their tourist attractions, visited exhibitions, eaten the specialities and gotten lost. I have had films developed after a few months that spanned all of these roads taken. As I said, I have tried to gobble down this place because coming here needed to have mattered.

And it has. I may not have done much academically, but even the darkest days here have been a learning curve. Sure, I still don't know where or as what I'll find gainful employment after these wanderings. I still struggle with being an adult. But there has been a settling of my person, a certainty that comes with knowing who you are, what you like and being unafraid of wanting a particular life. Just as the centre of gravity shifted downwards to the pelvis from the Australopithecus to modern Homo Sapiens to enable bipedalism, my own sense of self seems to have reached an agreement with my insecurities. I know that I am not without value, not without wit and humour and talent (even if all it amounts to is quoting rap lyrics at appropriate times). What a thing, to start liking oneself at 27.

As I write, most of my furniture has been sold off and I am packing my things. Leaving, again. This time for Paris, again with just a suitcase and the hope of being a better version of myself in a new but familiar place. After three months, two flights will take me home to contemplate what comes next. All I know is I want to stop leaving.


  1. I made Nigella's red velvet cupcakes today, and found myself clicking on your blog link in the comment section on her page. Little did I expect to find a blog post that resonates so much with me! I'm with you - I've been leaving my whole life, and I want to stop. But I can't.

    1. I hear you. And I feel as though often leaving is sort of encouraged by modern ways of living: constant moving for work and then the expectation to constantly travel and 'see the world'. Hope you'll find a place you won't want to leave again.