Monday, 29 July 2013

Snow Stone

I found a pretty rock. A white, sparkly, quartz crystal rock. I was walking with Husband a few weekends ago by one of our favorite fishing lakes and noticed for the first time that the ground is literally littered with these shimmery bits of stone, like frozen pieces of sun-kissed snow slopes, all glittery and white. I am a HUGE fan of snow and the gleaming wonderland that snow covered mountains bring us, and so this stone is right up my alley! It reminds me so much of a gorgeous, pure white, opulent Alpine slope in the sun. And I found it right here, in Sunny South Africa!

I guess I have never seen these 'snow' stones there before because whenever we go to this particular lake, we go to fish, and my mind is focused on that. So much so that I guess I never thought to look down. This time, though, we had a sort of strange fishing weekend away - in that we didn’t fish at all. Life changes, work stresses and some big hurdles to be cleared kind of hijacked our weekend, and so we rather went walking along side the water, tucked away so neatly in the beautiful farmland and mountain slope surroundings, to talk and to think. The sky was a perfect winter blue and the wind was ice-cap chilled. A few sprinkles of snow had made a first seasonal appearance on mountains near by, trickling down in melted streamletts to green patches that made me think of the highlands of Scotland. It was a perfect moment in a perfect day outside, while inside us, a perfect storm raged down.

After I picked the pretty rock up, and admired it briefly with Husband before he moved on, I had my own little moment with it and decided to slip it into my pocket.

As we walked and talked about the problems ahead, about the figurative mountain he was facing, and therefore as his wife, I face alongside him, I clutched the gleaming rock in my hand in my pocket for the rest of the walk. I couldn't help feeling that there was something special about this rock. It gave me an instant hope. I saw in it a glittery future, and felt as I wrapped my fingers round it that the solid hard surface made me feel strangely grounded. It fit perfectly into the palm of my hand, big enough to hold on to but not too big to get in the way. Just a token, a symbol, a simple piece of something beautiful and pure. A piece of the earth that was exactly what it was.

It has been next to my bed back home ever since and I find myself looking at it, picking it up and holding it quite often. I even think about it when I am not at home. In fact, this weekend while I was a 2 hour flight away, I wished that I had brought it with me. For what reason, I don’t know. I just know that I love this little stone and feel better that it is now with me. I feel that I should keep it close to me for a very, very long time.

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

How Models, Magazines and the Modern World ruined my Perception of Myself

I was never 'ugly'. Not really. Sure there was the year I had braces, and the teen-hormone laced tomato-faced flushes, the stupid fashion decisions any 9 year old makes, or 14 year old, or, OK, 15, 16 and 17 year old makes, with the unfortunate photographic evidence certain brothers harbor of a string-bean sproutlette in a baggy T tucked into oversized high waisted jeans. (For the record, when he brings that photo out at gatherings in an 'oh how cute/ugly she was' way, I blame the 80's entirely). I was actually never ugly. But I was an ugly-duckling of sorts. Pointy, awkward, tall, freckly, flat chested, red headed and pale. Wide set eyes in a world that praised bombshells such as Cindy Crawford, who, I noted somewhere along the way to adulthood, had eyes exactly the right distance apart. My eyes are wider than that. And of course I never ever did grow into my front teeth.

Regardless of all of the above, when I reached my early 20's, my string-bean turned to 6 feet of lean. My gawky turned to graceful. I figured out which way was up with a make-up-brush, and my freckles and red-tinged hair turned to something, believe it or not, desirable. All in all, I was doing pretty OK in the looks department. So much so that I became used to being asked 'Are you a model?' by strangers passing by in shopping centers, became accustomed to offers from solicitors of modeling agencies, and reached expert level at fending off advances from would-be suitors who hunted based entirely on looks.

At some point I allowed my own enjoyment of being seen as beautiful get 'all up in there', and took myself off to a modeling agency to sign up. It went great! A passing whirlwind of photo-shoots, calendar prints, champagne parties, free designer dresses, VIP club passes, catwalk attempts and even a few media mentions ensued. I made some money, I did an overseas TV commercial, I got a few killer shots of myself to keep, I started brushing elegant star-dusted shoulders with some of the hot international talent the modeling scene Cape Town had to offer and I met and started dating a truly sculptured specimen that had catwalked alongside the likes of Kate Moss in Milan. (Seriously - he had abs that looked as though they were carved from stone!) It was nothing if not fun and fabulous. Except that it wasn’t.

Happier times? Look closer. I absolutely hated this shoot.

Have you ever felt beautiful? You had a morning where everything just worked? Your hair woke up on the right side of the ghd, your skin glowed, and any puffiness was situated in your cleavage area rather than directly below your eyes? You managed to dress that particularly toit little ass in a particularly gorgeous little outfit, full of effortless glamour and glowing mirror appraisal - only to walk into a room and find that you are sitting next to Miss South Africa...making your fluff fall flat, your fab turn drab, and basically watch in horror as your so-thought-beauty shriveled and deflated like a popped air balloon?

Well I had that happen to me - literally. Not only with a former Miss SA at the time (Vanessa Carrera) but many times before that, in fact, EVERY time before that when I went to a casting. For those who don’t know, a casting is a nice glossed-up magazine-world word for kick-you-in-the-nads. Before modeling, I would walk into a room and be one of the top 10% best looking girls there. But when I started going to castings, I would walk into a room and be just another one of the models. Just another tall, leggy woman with firm thighs and perfect skin. And in all honesty, not even in the top 10 tall leggy women with firm thighs and perfect skin. I was no Charlize! I was a small-timer, average. I had to keep my diet to below 1000 calories a day, exercise frequently at a bare minimum, tripple-stuff my bra, and I needed, as a smart career move, to keep my looks as 'current' as the agency saw fit to try get work. I had to fry my skin at a sunbed tanning salon, loose all discretion when it came to dressing in public (albeit publically female, thank goodness) and stand while older, raggier women diminished me to a clothes horse with no mind - just a body. And even that was not good enough. I did not like the make-up that was caked on my face, dark contours coloured in to try fake my wide-set eyes closer. I did not enjoy the 5am photo shoots on the beach in freezing conditions where I was told to look 'less pissed off', or the strict 3-weeks-bfore-any-show lettuce and water diet, or the play-monkey demands of casting agents that ranged from 'now turn' to 'squat more like a stripper!' I was hungry, miserable, and felt ugly. Permanently ugly. But the photo's were what needed to look good, and I had to suck in my empty stomach because it wasn't thin enough, stick out my gym-stiff rear because it wasn't pert enough, my chest never did come to the party, and I had to hold my arm above my light-headed head for what seemed like hours in attempts to capture a single magazine moment. Only to be told 'We're going in a different direction for the cover', and my photo's wouldn’t be used. My very hard earned size 8 was simply not enough. I was inferior to the other models, the better models. The ones who could stay super skinny, pout at the camera, and fill out a decent cup-size while doing it. I started to develop that horrible 'Look at her - ugh, I hate her!' monologue I have always been against. I had to fight myself to remember that it's not her I hate, it's the way I feel.

I HATE HER...oh wait...thats me

And I think that's when it started. I started to just blame myself. To compare myself, to judge myself, to take myself down to a disgustingly shallow level of 'Is my butt high enough? Is my chin chiseled enough? Is my upper arm toned enough?' It wasn’t something I verbalized - but I raged against the whole industry till the point where I quit, saying that I would rather be myself than a wisp of what they wanted me to be. But even though I tried to let on that I didn’t care, it was the beginning of a now never ending argument I have with myself in the mirror on a daily basis, internalizing all that hatred. I don’t remember having these worries as a gawky teenager - I accepted who I was then and didn’t place much inner-peace on how I looked. Now, I page through a fashion magazine, a cooking magazine, even a fishing magazine and I immediately feel inferior to the images portrayed in the pages. But it's like heroine. I cant stop. I even use the images here in my blog! (yes, the irony is not wasted on me) But you see I LIKE pretty things. I WANT to see them, admire them, appreciate their beauty...but the problem comes when I then go and hate myself for not being one of them.

I struggle to believe that any man would find me attractive anymore if I was placed in a line-up situation with the models, that I would never be the top 10 but rather left out completely. Why do I even care? I am happily married and do what I can to stay fit and healthy, dress well and look generally acceptable, but still I believe that I am not beautiful. The weight that has found me in my 30's mocks me and I honestly don’t understand why I give it a voice. My now Size 12 practically screams hate-crimes at me every time I see a photo of myself, but why do I listen? Is it this unrealistic image I have learnt to hold myself up to? Is it the image that keeps getting held up to me, on billboards, in shop windows, on screens, on the covers and in the pages of every magazine out there? On my own blog? They even use these models to sell fast food that not only rips our inner bodies apart, but does so with the most spectacular 'Hulk-ish' results! Only instead of muscles bursting out of clothes, its more like the inner Michelin Man making an appearance. Lets admit it, no one ever uses the girl who lives on french fries to sell french fries. So why do we keep portraying these images of the super skinny? And more specifically, why do I feel personally attacked by it all?

On WHAT planet?!?

I know I am not alone in feeling this way. There is a world of women out there who looks at the very same images as me and feels inferior. Perhaps it's a bit more ingrained in me thanks to my own time spent as one of the models in those pages, or do we all feel this way? Perhaps its an escalating problem the modern world is perpetuating, presenting a picture perfect image of what we woman should be. An *ahem* airbrushed image to be precise. It's the 50's housewife all over again, only now instead of rolling-pins, pearls and cinched-in aprons, it's skinny thighs, handle-less abs and sky-high lashes. I mean, what does that even mean!? The world should just be honest, and instead of sporting headlines like 'Have It All, AND Stay Thin' or '5 Minutes to the Perfect You' or 'Wow Him in the Bedroom', rather just say, "What? You don’t have a career, 2.5 kids and a happy satisfied husband while looking like Victoria Beckham? What's wrong with you?!" I feel as though the whole world expects me to be superwoman, when in actual fact, it's just me who expects that.

And today I shall save all the world, one perfect lunge at a time...

I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t believe that the entire industry should shut down, and I am in no way blaming all those beautiful images for my problem, but I don’t know how to stop the self-destructive inner judgment when I do see them. Maybe I should just get over it and Of course skin-deep beauty isn’t the only place I find my value. I have many other facets where I excel and can develop, and so maybe I should just try to invest myself in them rather than the completely useless activity of feeling 'ugly'. Maybe I should come up with a mantra of words, values to chant to myself when I look at a gorgeous tanned FHM model with 0% body fat and feel like blobby insects are creeping around all over my thighs. Words such as Kind, Loving, Good natured; Like Helping people, having Integrity, being Honest; Such as being Creative, Loyal, Companionate...but will that work? I fear that the need for 'thin' is so ingrained in me that it will still plague me. Whatever the anecdote, a bandaid over feeling ugly and inferior won't take that feeling away. And something tells me that this is only going to get worse.

Well, on a bad day at any rate. I guess on a good day I can rise above it, forget about it, ignore it, laugh at it even. There are days where I appreciate my gained mass - love my curves. Now I actually do look like a woman, not a straight-up-and-down skeletal ladyboy. And after all, I do have those photo's that I can keep for the rest of my life to look at and remember when I was still young and beautiful.

Sigh. I don’t know. I just don’t know. If you know the answer to returning to the child who doesn't see or concern herself with these things, please let me know.

The real 'before' picture...

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Liebster Award saga continues

O.K. So there is this award thingy going round in the blogsphere that I was nominated for. (Aw shucks, Kitten of Discord. You are always so kind!) The point of it all as far as I can see is to help our fellow bloggers, who despite their favour in our eyes don’t have much of a following, gain followers. Hence! The rules are as follows:

So here goes:

11 Random facts about me:

1.    Pink is actually not my favourite colour. I love quite a few and wouldn’t feel the need to choose, but for the sake of being a persona (which is a little like a novella) pink is my favourite colour.

2.    Learning to drive was very important to me as a young’un, and to this day was one of the best things I ever learned to do. I attribute my freedom to being able to get in a car and go.

3.    I am way better in writing than in person. Words come through my fingers a whoooollleee lot better than through my mouth. I suspect a malfunctioning wire somewhere but am too scared to investigate.

4.    I write music and poetry. And they are always just so sad! Except for one song I wrote for Husband for our wedding day which was happy (duh), but even that one came out in a distinct ‘minor’ key.

5.    I am terrified of singing or playing music in public, and would simply die a thousand deaths if anyone ever found and read my poetry.

6.    I have written a novel – VERY lighthearted and fluffy  – but I actually am extremely proud of it and will spend the rest of my life striving to have it published. (and keep writing more of them of course)

7.    I am a short blonde trapped in a 6-foot red head. Hence the heels and highlights.

8.    I HATE being called ‘Pam’! It is my namesis.

9.    Pami, PamiPamPam or even just PamPam don’t bother me. Figures.

10.  I love books, but am a slow reader. I blame this on the fact that I also love life and have spent many years living ‘out there’ rather than staying in reading. I am not sure if this depresses me or defines me or if I should in any way be regretful. At least my books are still here for me, always a new one ready and willing to be opened, always a library available if I end up too broke to live the fabulous and busy life to which I have become accustomed.

11. I always dream that I can fly, like Superman, and I am starting to believe that I actually can. Its just the whole gravity thing I need to work out, but one day, when I figure my way around that – I’m sky high baby!

And now for the part where I answer the rather interesting (read: strange and unusual) questions that Kitten of Discord set out for me.

1.            You're given the option to permanently relocate to either 100 years in the future, or 100 years in the past. Which one do you decide and why?

100 years in the past. Because Baroness Orczy. And Richmal Crompton. Those pulp magazines, 1920’s fashion (there and there abouts) and spelling was still kinda not so set in stone so I would be seen as ‘poetic’ rather than dyslexic. Also, so I can say things like ‘I remember when in 100 years time…’. Yes. Small things amuse me.
Of course I am aware that things wouldn’t exactly be the way I see it now (so neatly laid out on google), but I get a real kick out of walking around ruins or ancient dwellings in lands with history up the wazoo. So I guess I’m a bit of a nostalgic fool.

2.            Who was your first celebrity crush?
Erm, Steven Segal. Thanks to my brother’s evil influence. (YOUR fault, B Slaveboy!)

3.            What is your alignment?

Neutral Good, I guess. With a strong soundtrack of Nicky Minaj in my head going “Wrah, Wrah, like a Dungeon Dragon!” since reading up on alignment.  (YOUR fault, Discordian Kitty!)

4.            You get to become a professor in something they teach at Unseen University or Hogwarts. What is it? (made up subjects plausible in an alternative magical universe's magical school acceptable.)

The Art of Un-Aided Flying. No brooms. No planes. No flying contraptions of any kind. Just your body and you going WOOSH! Like Superman. Because I can.

5.            Putting aside common sense, skepticism, personal conviction and fear of hell, what religion of all the religions in the history of the world would you choose to be the right one?

Jesus-moralist-ism. With a Shintoistic slant. Basically be nice and good and enjoy life without hurting anybody. Nothing that involves the need to wash pots. Oh, but it’s probably best if you wash your own body every day, whether you need it or not.

6.            Comedy or Tragedy?

Definitely comedy. Life is tragic enough as it is without having to inflict more sorrow and sadness on my poor self for entertainment value.

7.            You have a button that not only destroys Facebook, it removes all traces of it from everyone's memory but yours. Do you press it?

NO! DO NOT PUSH THE BUTTON! The question itself makes me break out in a cold sweat! Without Facebook, how will I remember everybody’s birthdays?!?

8.            All YOU need is?


And wine.

And Cats.

And a good book.

And you have got yourself a fabulous evening all to yourself!

9.            If you were not the sexual orientation you are now, who would you want to make sweet, sweet love to? 

Hmmmm… still my hubby bubbly, but then I’d have to kick his cheating ass for betraying me with other me. Probably safer to go with Jessica Alba.

10.       List five of your favourite words.

Extraordinary.  Sis-Horrible (giggle). Husband. Rosemary. Dude.

But actually, in real life, ALL the words. (not including the f-word, or the k-word. But the c-word has made a recent happy appearance…see here.)

11.       Name something silly that makes you happy for irrational reasons.

When I was 100 years older… hehehe

And thats it for now folks! I'm going to have to think this thing through a bit more before I nominate other bloggers and set them questions. Till then,

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A Little Piece of Abroad

It's been awhile since I posted, but I have an excuse this time. I was traveling!!! I did, however, manage to write this post for another blog last week, so thought I might just copy and paste in an attempt to re-jump-start my territory. After all, it's not plagiarism if it's your own work :)

A Little Piece of Abroad
It's been three weeks since my return from England and Scotland. People keep asking me what the highlight of the holiday was, what moment stood out amongst them all to be The One, the Shining, the Most Awesome. I have tsay, it has been a very hard question to answer. There were so many moments that I loved! Catching an Atlantic Salmon in the Scottish Highlands; Whiskey bar hopping (and subsequent tasting) in Edinburgh; Watching The Phantom of The Opera from the balcony at Her Majesty's Theatre in London; Visiting the Jane Austin museum in Bath, and also her grave site in Winchester; Sunset at Stonehenge; Seeing buildings that Kings walked in; Sitting in rooms where Mary Queen of Scotts fought verbal battles with John Knox; Walking through the ruins of historical clergy; Visiting side streets and train stations and school yards where the Harry Potter books were envisioned and created; Slumming it in SoHo; Attending the Highland Games just in time to see the hammer throwing and kilt-clad wrestling; Becoming an actual Lady; Sniffing the little Greyling fish that I caught to try catch a whiff of thyme (I was told they smell of the herb) and fly fishing in the rain alongside wild swans, pheasants and my fabulous Husband...
And of course a legendary shopping trip down Oxford and Regent streets in the fashion district, resulting in a very particular pair of Jimmy Choos...
They were all such amazing moments!
But now that I'm home, it's all calmed down, the jet lag is long gone, South African Cape Town winter is settling in and I am no longer 'getting back into the swing of things', I have had the chance to just be. And today it finally hit me: My highlight was the bluebells!

The glorious bluebells! Of course they were the best! They mesmerized me with their scent, so much so that I went into every soap and fragrance shop I saw to try find a bottle of bluebell-smell. No one sold anything bluebell at all and I was devastated. But still, everywhere I went, the bluebells were growing in clumps and were anointing me with the most heavenly scent, so beautiful and unique it was quite a striking theme. You see, I noticed all kinds of spring blossoms everywhere, from Winchester down south, all the way up to the highest parts of northern Scotland that we visited. Timeous, given that it was meant to be spring, but spring had not so much 'sprung' as had slithered forward, and so had it not been for the blossoming trees and bushes and lawns everywhere, I would not have believed there had been a Spring at all! But there they were, the blossoms, and my most favorite of them…the bluebells.
When I got home to Cape Town, I took myself off to Jo Malone at the V&A Waterfront in one last attempt to catch hold of this bluebell-scented memory of mine, and lo, they had it! I parted with a staggering R600 for one bluebell candle, and it is now next to my bed, a little piece of Abroad here at home for me to treasure and remember :) Happy!

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Lady Cherry Blossom