Author Archives: veryvodka

About veryvodka

I'm a lady and a tramp, a nonsense-writer at best, a drunken teddy bear at worst. Let's spread peace and love together and if that fails there's vodka.

Adventures of a Foolish Girl: Act 1

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Welcome one, welcome all. Much has occurred since I last found time to tear myself away from my many projects (I have no projects) and tell you about my very interesting (it is boring) life.  If you bear with me a little while longer, I shall tell you a tale of travels (to London), visions (my vision to be specific), loss (my loss of vision), betrayal (or at least deception), healing (or perhaps partial healing) and acceptance (or valiant attempts at acceptance). But before I continue I must tell you this: I know what you are thinking.

You are thinking: There had better not be any more stupid things stuffed into brackets or it will make the story difficult to follow (or impossible).

Followed by: Sh*t! I just used the brackets in my own mind!

Please take a moment to compose yourself dear reader.  I say to you that in the interests of making this an easy read, the brackets will only be used where absolutely necessary (i.e. everywhere). I am so glad that we are in agreement. It is as if we are of one (sound) mind. But enough about boring brackets, onto the tale.

Once upon a time a very foolish, frivolous but quite funny girl, decided she wanted to have her vision corrected. She had been wearing glasses for 16 years and contact lenses for 4 years, and she felt that those were a few years too many. She spent many weeks in the library researching the various types of… that is to say, she Googled her options. The two procedures that appeared to be the most common were LASEK and LASIK.

LASIK – this is done with two lasers, one to open up a thin flap in the surface of the cornea, and another to reshape the cornea underneath. The protective flap is then smoothed back over and stays in place without stitches.

LASEK – the clear skin covering the cornea is removed so the surgeon can reshape your cornea with a laser. The skin then grows back naturally.

Above information taken from NHS Website.

Now this girl thought the idea of someone fiddling with her eyes in such an intense way was surely not going to comfortable. You will note the neutral language used in the above explanations for each procedure. The first mentions that one laser is used to open up a tiny flap in the surface of the cornea. Sounds almost pleasant, the flap will be opened much like one opens a drawer or a door. Except drawers and doors are designed to be opened whereas your darling, dear cornea is designed to be left well alone. More neutral language is used to explain that the clear skin covering the cornea is removed. Sounds perfectly natural, the skin over your cornea will be removed much like one removes their shoes when one arrives home after a long day of pretending to be fine. And of course shoes are designed to be removed. The skin covering your cornea? Not so much. Anyway, despite the neutral language the girl began to seriously suspect that the two procedures would not be a pleasure cruise. But as I already mentioned, the girl was foolish, so she dismissed these worries and went about her merry way to a free consultation. There, she was told that she was certainly suitable for the surgery. Oh how ecstatic she was.

 

And finally, the day arrived. She travelled to London with great ease which is to say her train was delayed and she was barely able to conceal her frustration as she chomped her way through various unhealthy snacks. She had no trouble locating the building in question which is to say she walked around in circles for a quarter of an hour before coming to the unavoidable conclusion that the decision not check Google Maps every 2.7 seconds had been a terrible one. Finally, she arrived and with plenty of time to spare since she had done everything extra early because she had known she could not rely on the train times, her map reading abilities or her sense of direction. She walked in, fully expecting to be sitting around in the waiting room for ages while things happened around her but immediately she was ushered into a room for pre-screening. Alarm bells went off. She was not used to things happening this quickly or efficiently. Mere minutes after entering the building she was walked into the room which contained two assistants in blue scrubs and those hair nets you like to see on the friendly person handling your fries at your favourite fast food restaurant (did someone say alliteration?). One hair net was immediately put onto her head before she could say hello, I like those hair nets. Things were moving too fast for her liking and she understood that it was really happening – she was having LASIK.

By then, her heart decided it was time to pack its bags and take up residence in her throat while her palms decided they were going to focus on producing gallons of sweat. But even in her panicked state she did not lose her wits (though I would venture to guess she had very few to begin with). She decided to stall for time. Time for what you ask? Well, time to devise an escape plan of course. She knew she could not go through with this and that it was just a matter of distracting the assistants long enough for her to disappear in a cloud of smoke (and shame). She asked about the machinery, they answered while they led her to a bed. She asked for their names and the names of their ancestors going back roughly 20 generations, they answered as they helped her onto the bed. She asked when the floor was last mopped, she even asked what brand of paint was on the walls. She asked and asked and before she knew it she was flat on her back (if this is beginning to sound slightly seedy I assure you the assistants were professional and polite at all times). She was just about to muster the courage to slap away the hands of the kind assistant who was putting tape around her eyes and make a giant lunge for the door when the surgeon walked in and told her she was doing just fine. She wondered if he had failed to notice the terrible tangle of flesh (formerly known as her two hands) that rested on her lap. She was wringing her hands together so tightly that she felt sure she had damaged them both irreparably and she wondered how costly hand correction surgery would be. Then the words ‘Let’s begin’ caught her attention and she knew it was far too late for her to escape.

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(Image source)

 

 

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Say no to the club

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It has finally happened, that thing I was convinced would never happen: I no longer have the energy to go clubbing. I have the energy to dance (dancing is the main reason I go to clubs). I even have the energy to drink (drinking is the main reason I exist). But I no longer have the energy to deal with some of the people that go to clubs. I’m not discussing all club goers, I’m discussing a few of them. Men. And again, I’m not discussing all men, I’m discussing some of them. And again, I won’t discuss all of the “some men” I’ve had issues with while out clubbing, I’ll be discussing one of them.

Once upon a time, ouside a club in a land far, far away, a friend and I stood waiting for a taxi. The alcochol was wearing off, we were tired and ready to go home.  A man neither of us knew walked up to us and said: Hi ladies.
My friend caught my eye and gave me a look that said: Get rid of him please.
I turned to him and said: Hi, I hope you’ve enjoyed your night. My friend and I are exhausted; we are just waiting for a taxi. We are not the best company right now. Sorry.
Him: But I haven’t said what I wanted to say yet.
Me: I know and I’m very sorry but whatever it is you wanted to say my friend and I do not want to hear it.

I turn back to my friend to strike up a conversation in case the man did not fully comprehend that he was being asked to leave us alone. I opened my mouth to speak and before I could get a word out he asked himself out loud: Why are mixed race girls so rude though?
He must have really wanted my attention. When his polite approach did not work, he decided for an alternative approach. I aim to please, so I gave the man exactly what he wanted: my undivided attention. A few moments later a friend of his removed him from my presence because according to reports (heavily biased reports I might add), I was behaving like someone possessed and everyone was slightly terrified.

The next day I thought about what happened the night before. I was still angry but I needed to pinpoint why. So I ask you ladies and gentlemen of the jewelry: is it rude to politely decline speaking to a man you do not know and/or want to know? And if it is rude, does this mean if a man you do not know from Adam apporaches you politely, you must listen to what he has to say? (Let us explore the answers to these questions in a future post).
I do my best not to be rude when people approach me because I believe in many cases it is possible to make a point without being rude. I am a mere mortal and I admit I may come across as rude on occassion -shrug- but I was not rude to the man in question.
If he accused me of being a rude person, I would not have felt anything. He asked (in sheer frustration?): Why are all mixed race women rude?
It must’ve been the mention of my race that angered me. Because he was implying the reason I did not wish to speak to him was because I was mixed race (he was black). I wonder if he thinks I consider myself above others because of my mixed heritage. He could not be more wrong. He could not have said a more insulting thing to me. My mother was a dark skinned black woman, my father is a white man. They never once spoke to me about race or any issues related to race, or perhaps they did and I cannot recall. But I saw how they treated all the people they knew (various races involved); with respect and tolerance. When they disliked someone it was based on something that someone had said or done, never that someone’s race. So I grew up in an environment which taught me that we are all equals. To have a black man suggest I was rude because of the white half of me (it can only be this half the issue lies with as we know many white people believed and still believe themselves to be superior to others) was enraging.

But now perhaps I should step into his shoes. What if he has approached some mixed race women in the past and they have looked down on him because he is black? I hate the thought of that even more than what he said to me. I appreciate that historically, non-white people of lighter complexions were viewed more favourably by white people than non-white people of darker complexions. I know it still happens today. But what is most tragic is that some non-white light skinned people, and perhaps even some non-white dark skinned people, still buy into it… they still think being lighter is better. I am here to tell you it’s a lie. As I have said in a previous post, there is no better or superior race. Being white or non-white with light skin does not make you better than anyone with darker skin than you. Dark skinned people out there, know that I have never and will never look down on you just because you are dark skinned. My own mother was dark skinned and I think she was perfect and taken far too soon from me. She would haunt me mercilessly if she even suspected her daughter had a problem with someone because of their race. BUT, she would understand if I ever had a problem with someone based on what they said or did to me, regardless of their race.

In conclusion, I say this: I hope we continue to realise that the colour of our skin should not affect how we treat one another. I hope we treat one another with respect and tolerance. I hope we can appreciate that not every person we approach wants to speak to us, listen to us or get to know us, and that is their right. I hope the live-action Mulan will be amazing. I hope my ramblings made some sort of sense. And last but never least, I hope I never recover the energy to go clubbing.

 

I am back, I think

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I’m back. If those two words don’t make you think of Arnie I am almost certaint that there is no hope for you. In fact, if you didn’t read them in his voice, I say again: I am almost certaint that there is no hope for you.

But never mind that, I have good news – I’m back. Back to what, you ask? I don’t know. I’m writing again, for the first time in 3 years… so I must be back. I missed this place and I missed writing. Sometimes things disappear from your life for a while and you wonder why you made such a fuss of them in the first place. When I stopped writing I asked myself: why was it such a big deal anyway? It’s not as if I was a famous blogger and or even a really good one. But now as I type I shout to myself (inwardly of course because I am sat on a park bench typing this and I can’t very well shout at myself here) HOW COULD YOU THINK THAT WRITING WAS NOT A BIG DEAL?

Writing is a big deal, and though I sometimes stop (for years at a time apparently) I do hope I never stop entirely. So I gladly say: I’m back. I went through some strange times, I stopped writing (alarm bells ringing) and then I stopped reading (dials the police). I knew it wasn’t the greatest time in my life when I stopped writing, but when I stopped reading I was forced to ask myself: Chama, if you don’t read and you don’t write… who are you? I’ve read and written all my life (yes, even in the womb). So when I stopped doing both… I was terrified. Then slowly, I started reading again. And finally today, I have started writing again. So I am back.

Yesterday was the day that my mum passed away 20 years ago. And I think even she is looking down at me proudly and saying: yes that foolish girl is back. Will I stay? I don’t know. But for now, all you need to know is I’m back, I think. And I reckon this is the beginning of a series of interesting posts.

 

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H is for…

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Hunger. I feel this post is best explained with a tale, and like most tales, this one begins with the phrase: It all started with

It all started with a visit to a prominent fast-food outlet. I had no cash on me and my purchase was made with my bank card. As I was leaving, a homeless boy whom I often see hanging around, asked me for some money. I told him that I was sorry but I didn’t have any money. [Not entirely false; I didn’t have any cash on me.]

He said ‘Sorry doesn’t help my hunger.’ He then added rather nastily, ‘You are not a good person.’

I was too far away to hear him clearly, and it was only after proper reflection that I realized what he’d said. Naturally I was livid. Of course I am not a good person but I don’t need to hear that from a f*cking tramp, do I? As luck would have it, I had my revenge the very next Friday. This time, I had money on me. I was about to hand it over when I realized who he was. I couldn’t very well not give him the money, but I also couldn’t not tell him how offended I’d been. [Feel free to stop reading this altogether due to double negatives] I opted to do both.

I said, ‘You! You said I was not a good person the other day. Well I know I’m not but I really didn’t have any money.’

He said, ‘Ah, sister, I never said that.’

I replied, ‘It was last Friday! I know you recognize me.’

He started mumbling and then he said, ‘Sister, I know you give me [money] when you have.’

I handed the money over to him and said ‘Damn right I do!’

As I walked off I thought to myself, can I blame a hungry boy? I then considered the times I’ve felt hungry. Dark, perilous times. 90% of the time I’m hungry because I get so caught up in my daily activities that I often forget to eat at proper intervals. And the result is that before I know it, I am Kraken-like ravenous. This kind of hunger is accompanied by headaches, nausea and a desire to commit numerous violent acts. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 925 million people were hungry in 2010. And unlike me, these people mostly had no choice. Make no mistake, I am very much aware of how fortunate I am.

I mentioned my experience with the boy to someone and they told they don’t give him any money as they have heard here and there, that he uses it to buy more than just food (perhaps alcohol or even drugs). This then begs the question, am I helping him by giving him money? I keep telling myself that if I were homeless I’d be brave and strong, and I’d fight to get off the streets. But if it were so simple wouldn’t there be less homeless people? If every aspect of your existence was a nightmare wouldn’t it be easier to turn to alcohol or drugs to sweeten your dreams?

What am I doing? Starting a charity? Hardly. I’m just reflecting. Have I helped him by doing this? Not a chance. And yet here I am indoors while he is out there. How I ever referred to him as that f*cking tramp is beyond me. I have no idea what he does to survive and he has no idea that he has been on my mind for the better part of two years.

Memory Valley

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Down yonder in Memory Valley, there is pleasure and there is pain. It is a valley worth visiting from time to time, to remind yourself what you have lost and what you may gain. On my trip to this particular valley I remembered a song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Truly Scrumptious. Observe:

‘Our hearts beat so unruly, because we love you truly, honest Truly, we do.’

I found myself tempted to allow a considerable amount of liquid (liquids? *scratches head*) to exit my body via my eyes. But I was brave. Or was I cowardly? I do not know. But I know this: Love is a beautiful creature. And allow me to tell you something you’ve never been told before: If you love someone you should tell them.

After listening to that song I tackled my youngest sibling to the ground and professed my undying love while I laughed at his futile attempts to escape my loving and slightly asphyxiating embrace. He is still unconscious and I have matters that require my immediate detention, beg your pardon, attention. I leave you but I love you because we all need love… honest, we do.

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NB: No persons were injured in the making of this post.

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I am who I am

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Today’s entry is not for the faint-hearted. Let me tell you a story of champagne, loose tongues and self-deception.

I was at a dinner party with people I can safely consider my family. One woman asked: Why are you so tanned? And I said: I’ve been in the sun, and I must say I don’t feel I’ve tanned enough. And she said: But you’re not usually that dark are you? And before I answered I looked at her closely and I saw in her the glow that comes with self-deception. Often it’s masked, it hides under a thin layer of confidence, and it tricks you into thinking it’s the glow that comes with self-love; but let me tell you, it’s the glow that comes with successfully lying to yourself about who and what you are. So I said: I tan quickly and I do get quite dark. My mother was black, the darkest woman I ever saw, and her blood flows through me, so when I tan and I become dark like she once was, I feel such pride, such joy, you cannot begin to understand.

And let me say this, the woman who questioned me about my skin colour, is in fact light-skinned, but she is not white. She and I are both of mixed heritage, but she is far lighter than I am. The look I saw in her eyes is the look of someone who has fooled themselves into thinking they are white, and in truth what she believes is none of my business. It becomes my business when she tries to transfer her nonsense to me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being white, or black, or whatever Michael Jackson was (who’s bad? me!). But there is something wrong with believing that one race is better than another, that one race is superior to another. And that is what I saw in her eyes, the desire to be seen as white, because she feels white is the best race you can be. And that is, excuse my French, the f*cking saddest thing ever (and also a massive lie).

My father is white, my mother was black, they both were generous to a fault as they decided to gift mankind with me. I am so very snug in my own skin, whether it is tanned or not. When you question me, you will be answered. And no one can make me doubt who I am or where I come from. I am an African woman and I love my brown skin.

Afterwards, she was silent. And I sipped champagne till I forgot all about that conversation. But I awoke this morning with a deadly hangover and I felt the need to share and to say: I am who I am.

Trust in you

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A deep mistrust of others stems from a deeper mistrust of yourself. Before you snort and say: This one has had too much to drink! (Which in fact, is true but irrelevant.) Hear this: When you trust yourself, you believe in your capacity to live. That is, you have faith in your ability to survive, to make small or big decisions, to pursue your dreams, to explore, to question, to feel and to control your emotions and responses. Because you trust yourself, you will trust your judgement and your instincts. And you will be able to trust others. Granted you may give your trust out sparingly, but you will give it out wholeheartedly. Because trust and faith are interlinked. You trust yourself, and you trust others, and you are aware that they may or may not be trustworthy, but you have faith in yourself, you understand that regardless of whether they turn out to be worthy of your trust or not, you will still trust yourself. Because you trust yourself, you know you can live through anything. When someone breaks your trust, and this will happen, you will be able to learn from the experience and move on, because your trust in yourself remains intact. When the day comes that your self-trust is shaken to the core, and you feel that perhaps it is not them but you that cannot be trusted, do not turn to logic or sentiment to comfort yourself. Turn to the mirror and look into your eyes. Blink once, twice, open your mouth, close it, wave at yourself. You are in command of your body, you are in command of yourself. Doubt, fear, insecurity… These are dogs that will always and forever bark, but whether or not they bite depends on whether or not you let them. When you trust in yourself, you will be at peace with yourself because you know that trustworthy people are valuable, and valuable people are hard to find. And leaving without a joke is just plain rude.

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