Monday, 16 May 2016

The Soundtrack Of My Life

*Self indulgent post alert!!*... and also because I am still on weekend brain and procrastinating! Mondays are bleh.

The other day my son came to me and asked me to make him a list of songs that I feel everyone should have in their collection because he wants to 'download them for posterity' hehehehe He also wanted to know which songs inspired me through my life... Pondering this I have noticed that each different chapter of my life had more than one anthem but instead of putting ALLLLLL of them down I will do my best to only choose one. It's going to be pretty tough methinks but my son will get the entire list of songs I think are epic. Songs by artists like Rodriguez, Cat Stevens, Leonard Cohen, Elton John, Guns 'n Roses, Lenny Kravitz, Led Zeppelin...

The first one absolutely has to be 'I Can See Clearly Now' by Johnny Nash. My late Oumie told me that I would walk around the garden singing it to myself when I was about 3 years old and to this day I get a feeling of comfort mixed with a touch of melancholy whenever I hear it. 

In primary school I started doing modern dancing. It was very popular in the late 70's/early 80's! I loved every single thing about it. Every. Single. Thing. Besides, I was way too much of a tomboy to even think of doing ballet like most other little girls. One of the dances we were taught was the epic one from  the movie Flashdance, 'What a Feeling' and every time I hear it I wish I could still do it. I would probably break a hip now if I attempted it hahaha #AgingSucks At the time I also used to go ice skating at our local rink in town once or twice a week and whenever they played it I would try and emulate the bits from the video. It's a miracle I never broke a limb. 

I met Hubs in high school when I was 13 and he was 15 and about a year or so later the movie 'Highlander' came out. We went to watch it and I was completely bowled away by the soundtrack! I'm sure I heard Queen before then but that soundtrack made me an instant fan for life. 'Princes of The Universe' was unlike anything I had heard before and Freddie Mercury became a god in my eyes. 

In high school I was the poster child for "Rebel without a clue" (naturally I blame Hubs, I was a straight A student until I met him, one of those nerds who would get a merit badge for academics every term) and spent far more time than I should have at our local night club, Jacqueline's. I was way too young to be there but Hubs and I never got stopped at the door, so technically it's on them right? They had an afternoon session on Saturdays for 'teenyboppers' but I wouldn't be caught dead there! I mean really, you couldn't even buy beer. It was around that time Madonna released her first album and I was hooked! The movie 'Desperately Seeking Susan' came out and that's when my inner dufus got wings. 'Into the Groove' was my song back then. I would spend hours getting my look just right before heading to the club, copied the dance, everything. But the absolute worst *cringe* moment thinking back was that I would also turn the hand dryer in the bathroom upside down to dry my hair and underarms like she did in the movie. All the while thinking I was super cool! #TeenageFails

When Hubs was dispatched to the Angolan border just after we got married he told me on his first pass home that the very first night he arrived there he was lying on top of the barracks roof with his Parabat buddies passing a blunt around and they had a tape deck up there with them. He says that almost at the exact time 'No Woman No Cry' by Bob Marley started playing mortars started flying above them in the night sky and every time he hears it he gets catapulted back in time to that moment. I can't even begin to imagine what a mind fuck that must have been for a 19 year old boy from the suburbs! As a 16 year old bride it made a huge impression on me and that's why I chose it for this particular chapter. The almost 2 years I was alone while my husband did his duty to God and Country. 

Shortly after Hubs got back from the army we moved into our first flat. It was a block away from Pretoria Central Station and the area was a bit erm... dodgy. nasty, trashy, dirty, slummy, urban. It's faaaar worse now but back then it was more entertaining to hang over the balcony watching the people than watching telly. We were young, very young, and having that sort of freedom we really didn't pay much mind to those who were horrified at where we chose to live. It's not like we had a budget for much better though, our only furniture when we first moved in was a mattress on the floor and 2 fold up garden chairs. What made it very convenient was the fact that the local weed dealer plied his trade on the corner so scoring was no problem. What? I've never been secretive about the fact that I used to smoke enough weed to make Bob Marley proud! Anyway, I seriously digress. One night in said flat we had a bunch of friends over and we all got stoned out of our minds. 'Purple Rain' by Prince started playing and I was so stoned and just so into it that it honestly felt like I was right there on the stage with him. It was awesome. 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant and I spent the next almost 9 months having nightmares about my baby being born with an extra limb or something. Apart from an attempt that ended with me hitting my head on the edge of the toilet seat a few years ago the night that was playing was the last time I got stoned but I have always loved that song. I loved it so much that I used to play it to my pregnant belly every day. My son can't stand it though so go figure! Maybe I overdid it hahahaha When I was about 4 months pregnant Hubs slipped in a hobo's pee on the stairs and that was it. We moved right away! Childhood was officially over. 

Flash forward a couple of years to when Hubs and I were both working full time jobs and with a toddler and all the responsibility that comes with taking care of your own selves life could be a bit on the dismal side sometimes. Especially when one had to be up at 5am every morning to go to a job you absolutely hated! Most of our friends were still living it up without a care in the world while pretending to study on their parents' dime and since neither of us was born with a silver spoon and since we didn't have anything remotely resembling a safety net we had no choice. I don't know if it was the moon or what but some days the drudgery of it all really got to me and I had a few go-to songs that I would play before my day started. To help me sack the fuck up! There are quite a few but this one was the best of all, P.M. Dawn 'Gotta Be Movin' Up'. I STILL play this sometimes because quitting is not an option. Ever! 

When I told Hubs about it he told me that he would play 'Bat Out of Hell' by Meatloaf in the car on the way to work every morning to pump him up for the day. Funny thing is that we both had songs to boost us but never discussed it until recently. Maybe we both thought that we each had enough on our own plates to deal with so we decided to self motivate in our own way :) #Love 

When our son was 5 years old we were both earning very good salaries but living past each other because of brutal work hours so we decided it wasn't worth it and we relocated to Cape Town. We packed our kid and whatever possessions we could fit into the car and left. It was the best thing we could ever have done. Terrifying but liberating at the same time. We literally started over. Our first place there was a tiny furnished garden flat in Glencairn and life was beautifully simple. I discovered my inner hippy and my days were spent combing the beach with my son and watching the sun set over the ocean every night while Hubs and I either drank wine or Irish Coffee. Weekends were spent visiting the local library, nearby parks and also hunting for mussels at Misty Cliffs which we would braai in the garden on Saturday nights. At the time Hubs was working for a start-up company who were supplying wine on tap machines to local bars and restaurants so we had a constant supply of red wine and ice cold white wine on tap. The flatlet didn't come with a telly but it had a stereo and we played a LOT of Scrabble. We were poor yet rich, if you get my drift. My son says that when he thinks of those laid back days he thinks of Crash Test Dummies because I would play it often and his favourite song from back then is 'God Shuffled His Feet'. So, a no brainer then that this is the song I choose for that particular chapter.

When our son was about 10 years old Hubs got an opportunity to work in Barcelona and history repeated itself when we packed what we could take on the plane and left. I always laughed at myself when I would play this very late at night when I was rather well lubricated *ahem* and get all emotional and shit about South Africa. In retrospect I suppose that despite it being one of the best adventures of my life I felt a bit isolated and that had a lot to do with not being able to do much more than order a beer in Spanish at first! So... 'Africa' by Toto most definitely has to be on this list.

A few months after we got back from Spain my beloved Oumie died and I was broken. She was everything to me that a mother should be and more and to this day there are still times when I reach for my phone to call her. I remember her telling me when 'Holy Mother' by Pavarotti and Eric Clapton came out how much it reminded her of her own late mother and now it reminds me of her. I took a boom box to her funeral and insisted they play this loud! It's seriously one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard and just like Oumie with her mother, the part where they sing about hands always gets  me... 

About 10 years after we got back I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and this song was my anthem for months before I knew what was going on with me. Let's just say that I completely embraced my craziness and when I first heard 'Crazy' by Gnarls Barkley it promptly became my anthem. Now? It's a reminder that I'm one tough bitch! 

After my operation I was stuck on the sofa for months, safely tucked into a hazy bubble of morphine and codeine based painkillers and I honestly can't think of a better song than 'Afternoons and Coffeespoons' by Crash Test Dummies to commemorate that particular chapter. I was so far removed from my surroundings and thinking back now I don't know how I didn't really go insane. I also had bleeding on the brain and being rushed to hospital at 4am wasn't exactly what I would chalk up as a fun time. I guess that's also why I love this video, I think it's hilarious! #DarkHumour

Hubs eventually suggested I start a blog. That's when GeeGee was born and I gave my inner Drag Queen wings, especially after I loaded a whole lot of Disco songs onto my iPod and discovered 'I Love The Nightlife' by Alicia Bridges. To this day it's still the one song that I am absolutely incapable of sitting still through. The boa's have to come out! Thankfully Hubs is used to my antics so if I've embarrassed him he's been gracious enough not to say anything about it. 

Right, there are a ton of other songs and I don't know yet which one will remind me of this chapter of my life but I guess by the time this chapter is done only my son will be the recipient of it. Hopefully by then I will also have a better answer than "the 80's were a very innocent time" (insert halo caption over my head when I said that) when he asks me again one day what wisdom I can impart having lived through so many decades *cough* Cheeky little shit! 

Live well, love much, laugh often and always remember to dance!
GeeGee xxx

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Because #tbt Dear Constant Headache

Someone asked me the other day to repost this piece that I wrote a few years ago on my old blog because it apparently helped them to deal with something similar. So I thought why not? I found it very cathartic at the time. Sort of like taking control of my fear and anxiety about having another shotgun headache that will more than likely kill me... I don't know why PTSD counseling isn't offered to people who stare death in the face medically, it really does change one. At the time of my diagnosis I joined a couple of online forums because I thought it may help me but they only ended up making me even more anxious and paranoid so I unsubscribed. Since I wrote this my constant headache isn't constant anymore, I only have the odd episode when I have too much pressure building in my head and I have no more anxiety or fear, even though I have been avoiding my annual MRI which is now about 5 years overdue hahaha. One doesn't always have control over the shitty things that life throws your way but you DO have control over how you deal with it. I know this post may offend piss many people off but if it helps even one person then it's worth it. So, here goes... #tbt !
Live well, love much, laugh often and always remember to dance!
GeeGee xx

Dear Constant Headache,
We started doing this fucked up little dance almost 5 years ago and I ignored you for months. You obviously had no idea how good I am at sailing on that river called denial which is probably why you decided to drop me like a sack of shit when I was in the shower 4 years ago with that lovely shotgun headache. Fine, so I lay there like a drowned rat for ages until the cold water woke me up and I finally dragged my wet ass to my bed, popped 6 Myprodol’s and went on with my day. There was no way in hell I was going to be found with my nekkid ass out for all to see which is why you didn’t kill me, even though you were supposed to. When they found the tumour it finally explained why my constant companion Irene was around, especially when I was having a few toots and we could entertain ourselves for hours on end. She was a crazy bitch but I loved her. Irene, rest her soul, ended her days in a medical incinerator and I was left with a very sexy titanium plate to remind me that she existed.

R.I.P. Irene
Fuck Alone Knows - 28.08.2008

When you didn’t manage to kill me outright, you did your best to make me have a melt-down by having me diagnosed while Hubs was away on a business trip to the UK. On the plus side, once I got over the shock I was quite relieved that I wasn’t losing my mind. For months I’d felt like the song ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley was playing softly in the background while I went about my day. Waking up spooning my Doberman in his bed with no idea how I got there, going shopping and coming home empty handed having left all the packages gawd only knows where, driving over my own handbag and freaking out when someone picked it up and followed me to return it... the list goes on and on. People thought I was mad when I insisted on getting completely plastered with a few close friends before I went to hospital, but the way I saw it I was about to iron my wings and wanted to have one for the road. What a party that was!! We had so many liquid cocaine shooters our pee was blue for 2 days...

Many things are preserved in alcohol - dignity is not one of them! 

 It’s also the only time I wore all my diamond and sapphire jewellery that I still haven’t been at a fancy enough occasion to wear. So I was wearing jeans and a hoodie at the time, so fucken what. Can’t see anything wrong with that... Was I supposed to curl up in a little ball and have a pity party? Sorry!! That’s not in my nature... Hell, I even got annoyed at other people feeling sorry for me. If I’m going to buy the farm I’m going to do it with grace and I’ll be fucked if my son remembers me as a wet snivelling snot nosed heap of fear. The hardest part was being wheeled into that elevator to surgery like a lamb to slaughter and being convinced it’s the last time I’d be laying eyes on my boys. I felt like my heart was being ripped into pieces but there was no way in hell I was going to show it and I gave my husband and son a smile because that’s how I wanted them to remember me. Nobody was more surprised than I was when I woke up in ICU – even the doctor couldn’t believe that I came out of a medically induced coma but I did. Because I was being bed-bathed. With a cake of Lux soap! And one of those blue disposable kitchen cloths... ‘Nuff said!

The Bride of Frankenstein

Ok, so I survived and I don’t think you liked that very much so you decided to make me a codeine addict. Almost 9 months sitting on the sofa looking like a drooling Bride of Frankenstein with my shaved head and another 2 years of being lost in a lovely bubble of prescription drugs. You knew I wouldn’t go to rehab but you didn’t count on me going cold turkey, did you? 4 months of wanting to crawl out of my own skin but I made it. Then 3 months ago you woke me up in the middle of the night and I thought the time had finally come, the Grim Reaper was in town. What worried me the most was that I had Bridget Jones comfy knickers on (what? who sleeps in a bloody g-string??) and I hadn’t had a wax or a pedicure. Death? Nah, not so much.

Breakfast, Lunch and Supper of Champions...

I’ve bumped my head so many times you can serve soup in the dent it’s created but what’s a spaz like me to do? Walk around with a helmet on all day? My neurosurgeon said I’m never allowed to do contact sports again and the look on his face when I asked him if rough sex counts was priceless! I couldn’t resist, the poor man... Serves him right really – I mean, do I look like the type of person who does Sport?? Oh, and that fugly snow hat I have to wear in bed in the winter to keep my plate from giving me brain freeze? I’ve learnt to ROCK it you motherfucker! As far as the titanium plate itself is concerned, it's become a party trick with my son's metal detector, always good for a giggle to hear the 'shoowoong' sound it makes when we're pissed!

I know the ‘kill shot’ can come any day, any time BUT I’ve made my peace, so do your worst... Just make sure it’s fast. I’m NOT going back for more surgery. NEVER again. That’s why I’m almost a year overdue on my annual MRI, I mean what’s the point? I already got rid of everything I don’t want people to find when I’m dead, I’ve planned my memorial (my boys know who’s banned and that the pyramid of shot glasses on top of my ashes better reach the Rabbit Hole ceiling), I’ve learnt what’s important in life and I’m content.

What every Diva needs in hospital

You’ve taught me a lot Constant Headache, and I thank you for it. I know the ‘pain scale’ better than I should. A constant 3 out of 10? Bitch puuuhleeze! Is that all you got? After experiencing the loveliness called bleeding on the brain that’s nothing! You taught me that I’m tough, that I can feel like I’m bleeding from my eyeballs and still won’t give up but most importantly – you’ve put a built-in blood pressure monitor in my head which has helped me get rid of the dead weight in my life. The assholes that drained me and never gave anything back, not even loyalty, and even though it’s been hard it’s been worth it! A lot of people think I’ve become a complete bitch from hell but I couldn’t give a flying fuck through a rolling doughnut to be honest. If I’m going to die tonight or tomorrow I’m sure as hell not wasting any more time on fucktards and users. So what if I happen to be related to some of them? I’ll explain myself when I get to the pearly gates. If I go downstairs instead? They better have vodka there... and Drag Queens... and poker games, that’s all I’m saying.... And you know what? Irene might have gone up in a ball of flames but GeeGee was born out of the ashes like a motherfucking Phoenix and she’s growing on me.

So fuck you Dear Constant Headache. You're not getting the better of me, no matter how hard you try. I'm done with pills and I'm done with you. 


I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place.
Even your emotions had an echo
In so much space

And when you're out there
Without care,
Yeah, I was out of touch
But it wasn't because I didn't know enough
I just knew too much

Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Possibly [radio version]
probably [album version]

And I hope that you are having the time of your life
But think twice, that's my only advice

Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,
Ha ha ha bless your soul
You really think you're in control

Well, I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
Just like me

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb
And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them
Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun
And it's no coincidence I've come
And I can die when I'm done

Maybe I'm crazy
Maybe you're crazy
Maybe we're crazy

Uh, uh