So, it’s the first hour of the first day of 2011 and I really should be in bed but somehow the thoughts in my head just seem too loud so I thought best to set them free. It’s a new year again and I find myself pondering resolutions… you know, those things we think we’re going to do but never will despite our best efforts and intentions. Well, last year I tried to be realistic about my goals and I did give them an honest effort. I did lose a teeny tiny bit of weight but only after gaining tons more and I started taking care of myself at first but somehow fell back in that trap of self doubt. Saving? Well, let us just say that the recession got the better of me. I grew my hair to beautiful length but split ends swiftly ended that. As for my studies, somehow there was just never enough time to do those assignments.
It’s funny really, 2010 was a really big year for South Africa. We waited for it with bated breath, we changed our infrastructure, unified our nation, put on a show for the world to see and what was left afterward? Well, just the infrastructure and too many damned vuvuzelas! I guess for the non-soccer loving South Africans, it was just another year. I can’t even say it was all that wonderful but maybe that’s just the pessimist in me speaking. Okay so let’s see… what were the highlights of my 2010?
- 1. Winning my arbitration against the Department of Education and being made a permanent educator which brought with it job stability and perks such as subsidized medical aid.
- 2. The birth of my beautiful niece Gabby who is just such a blessing in our family.
- 3. Winning a major environmental competition for my school which brought me some acclaim as a dedicated science teacher but the best part was definitely the joy it brought to my students, my beloved Green Team.
- 4. Reading the Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead which promptly led to an obsession with all things Vampire Academy. Some (most) people think I’m a little crazy when it comes to these books but through them I have broadened my horizons, met (virtually) wonderful new friends like Allara McCall Brocherie and the hugely talented Janet Cadsawan (jewelry designer extraordinaire) and I even finished first in an online Vampire Academy treasure hunt.
Well, those seem to be my highlights. I haven’t included winning the tickets to that Twilight party because it turned out to be a wasted trip to Johannesburg and a huge expense that I could have lived without. If nothing else, it was an experience.
The biggest thing that happened to me was definitely reading the Vampire Academy series. I don’t know how to describe it really. You know that feeling you get when you fall in love? That complete and utter satisfaction you have with life? That bittersweet yearning for more that drives you crazy but yet you still savour every second of it? Well, that’s what reading those books was like to me. I know that they are classified as young adult and I’m well, just plain adult, but I can’t resist reading anything mildly vampire related. In reading those books, I got to escape my dreary life and live through the words of Richelle Mead. I got to fall in love with a handsome mysterious Russian warrior and a scruffy yet entirely charming social outcast. I got to fight battles to save those I love. I lost myself in those pages and found myself there too, a changed person. I got to visit places in my mind that reality won’t ever let me see. I had my heart broken. I had my heart mended. I cried, I laughed, and I loved in those pages. I recognized in myself how I had been so dead inside and had lost my yearning for life and adventure. I came alive through these books and that experience, the way it moved me, it has led to this obsession. So naturally, I joined every facebook page related to Vampire Academy (VA) and through my rantings and discussions on these pages I met other likeminded people. These are strong beautiful woman, inspiration woman from all walks of life, of all ages, colours, backgrounds, etc. and we are all united in that we all experienced something so beautiful in reading these books. I sometimes feel like I have more of a relationship with these people who I chat to than with those people who exist in my reality. Maybe it is because I can relate to these women and they understand me. Sometimes I feel so lost and alone in my world but they seem to know me. They understand how the written word holds so much intrigue and power for me. I feel that in these VA groups, I belong. I am somebody. I am important. How I wish I could have that sense of self in the real world instead of feeling so utterly invisible.
I feel sorry for the youth of this generation, so few of them are readers. It saddens me to know that they will never have experiences like what I’ve had through books. The internet, movies, games… it’s like bubblegum. You take it in, you chew on it for a while but then you spit it out. It gives you nothing. It cannot sustain you. Good literature, now that’s food for the soul. I don’t think I could be the person that I am today if I had never read. I mean, think about all the words out there in the world. I think of ‘The Prophet’ by Khalil Gibran. Such a short book, so few words yet such profound words. If the whole world could live by those words, we’d be such better people. Words can be weapons but words are also saviours. It’s the words we chose to use that make a difference. Somehow, the words that sprung forth the mind of Richelle Mead were just the words I needed. Her creativity inspires me. The way she could create such vivid characters, such rich history, capture the essence of good and evil so honestly, describe places so perfectly that they spring to life in perfect imagery… her power over words is just so phenomenal. I wish I could relay to her how much her books really mean to me. When I was in hospital, I was so afraid that there was something in me that could end me. I was even more terrified in the realization that I have never truly savoured life. After days and days of tests, scans and countless needle-prodding, it turned out to be nothing serious but those days in hospital gave me time to think about life, love, and God. In my darkest hour, I drew strength from those books and my faith. I loved them so much I even chose to mark myself with elements from the books. A rose to remind me of my femininity, a molnija to remind me of my inner strength, a promise mark to remind me to be true to my word, a zvezda to give me the courage to endure all life’s challenges and the words ‘Beauty, Love and Honour’ to remind me that that is what I should live for.
And so, I head forward now, into a new year. I have no idea what 2011 will hold for me. None of us do. I know that I am dissatisfied with many elements of my life right now, some of which can be altered and some which cannot. I just need to try not to get lost in the every day. I need to remember the bigger picture. So that brings me to my resolutions for 2011.
- 1. Lose weight, not for anyone else but for myself. I need to be happy with my own reflection. I had a head start with this by joining Curves a few months ago.
- 2. Take pride in my imperfect self because my imperfect self is perfectly me.
- 3. Save up to go on that European tour with my friends so I can experience the world through my senses and not just my imagination.
- 4. Try to write again be it prose, poetry or blog. I use to have power over words and I know that I can wield that power again.
- 5. Learn to paint so I can share all that beauty in my mind with the world around me.
- 6. Learn to belly dance for no other reason than I want to!
So to anyone out there who stumbled across this blog, I hope that my words have given meaning to some aspect of your life. So go take a walk, visit a museum, go out and just live this amazing life that you were blessed with. There is so much beauty out there if we just seek it but before you do any of that, please go to the library and pick up a book. (I strongly suggest Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.)