Monday, 24 March 2014

My Cheek Piercings and I: We Won't Work for You

There is one thing that you're most likely going to notice about me when first meeting me. Yes, I have two silver balls sticking out from both sides of my face. Some people question why I would ruin my dimples (which were never there before the piercings, btw) with piercings and others admire how "classy" I make them look. Either way, my piercings are very personal and the journey I've been on over the past two years since getting them has been just as personal and significant.

During the course of my time with these piercings I've received many curious questions: Did you have dimples before? How do you eat? Can you take them out and squirt liquid out of them? Is it one bar? How much did it hurt? What did your parents say?
Jup, those are all questions I'm familiar with and despite how original you might think your questions are, things can become pretty redundant over the course of two years. There is, however, one question I get asked often and that I feel is worth answering. I'm not answering this question because I have anything to prove to anyone or want to put anything to rest. I'm answering it because it allows me the time and space to think about what I'm being asked, the importance of it and it's relevance to my life.

Many times I'll answer some of the sillier questions I get with the same amount of bullshit I measure from the question. "Is it one bar that goes from one side of your mouth to the other?" Yes Sherlock, because it would make plenty of sense to do something like that. The entire purpose of these piercings is to limit how easily I can speak, eat or suck a dick.......because I'd intentionally like to make all three of those things significantly difficult for myself (Sorry, I'm aware that was a little crude).
....but unlike these, the question of what I'm going to do about my piercings once I need to get a job is a very valid one and definitely worth thinking about.

When I got my cheeks pierced I was a teenager dealing with teenager stuff and quite frankly, I did not think I was going to live past 20,  so employment wasn't at the top of my list of "Things to consider before getting a facial piercing". However, now that I am well-aware of my (hopefully) lengthy lifespan, I realize that there are a lot of reasonable things to consider and think about before getting a facial piercings, and employment is definitely at the top of that list.

I know for a fact that I probably won't keep these piercings in till I'm 30. Heck, I'll probably have them out by the time I'm 23 or even sooner. However, that has nothing to do with the fact that I hope to get a job someday. If anyone asks me whether I recommend cheek piercings I tell them that I can, quite honestly, not make a recommendation. This is not to say that I hate my piercings or that I regret getting them. If that were the case, I'd have them out and closing up by now. But it is important to realize that we are different people going on different journeys so I could not make a genuine recommendation with your best intentions at heart. Yes, cheek piercings are a fun conversation starter, I find them aesthetically appealing and despite being an iffy and stressful kind of piercing, they are still fun to have. However, I also know that I have no intent on working some job in which I'm required to wear a dress suit everyday like I'm Jessica Pearson (this is a Suits reference, just by the way). I am not opposed to piercings and tattoos in the work place, but I also know that every career path has somewhat of a uniform and cheek piercings do not fit in well with most of them. However, as an individual and someone who knows that she's going to be the captain of her own ship someday, be it at a self-made, independent magazine or wherever else I might find myself, I know that I would not want to work for or with anyone that is bothered by my cheek piercings.

Quite frankly put, if I were to get an interview with my favorite print press I would NOT take out my piercings. Apart from them being a large part of who I am, I would also not want to work in a place that strictly dictates how I'm supposed to look or that overlooks my abilities and capabilities because of something temporary. Don't get me wrong, I think it's important to make a good first impression when interviewing anywhere for an internship or job you really want and if you prepare yourself well enough and come to find out that the kind of piercing you have would not sit well with your potential boss and that is the kind of environment you want to work in, then by all means remove your symbols of rebellion and be an adult about it. But I am comfortable and prepared enough in what I want to do to know that I would not even apply for a job in a place that would force me to conform to a standard of appearance. I, for one, know that my piercings do not look outrageous and in my experience, I seem to wear them well. No cockiness intended there, but "whatchagonnadoaboutit"? Right?
I've worked with and around people that do not see any less significance in the things I do, make or say simply because they have a preconception of what people with piercings are like. I have worked in spaces where I am treated as any other person would be treated, where my intelligence has not been questioned and my aesthetic has not been ridiculed. I know places like this exist and that is an ideal working environment for me, which is why I am to pursue a career in something that would be just as accepting.

When push comes to shove, how you present yourself is an important part of being hired. However, when choosing a place of employment keep that in mind too. If at this stage in your life you feel like you want the entirety of your torso and face to be covered in ink, go for it, but also be aware that you're not likely to become a lawyer or a doctor. I mean, you could try. I am most definitely not going to stop you and hey, you might just make revolutionary advances in the field when it comes to dress code and individuality. But be aware of the constraints of the society we live in. Regardless of how much you want to break down the confines that it places us in, also be aware that you might not have the opportunity to do that.

My point is this, I know what these two unusual little things mean to me and at this stage of my life I am not willing to compromise that for a paycheck. This line of thinking is likely to change in the next few years as I evolve as a person and that is completely fine... But for now, I know myself well enough to say that I'd only want to work in an environment that is understanding and accepting enough for my face to not be weird. If that can't happen, I probably can't and do not want to work for you.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

BELIEVE. BREATHE. BE.

It's a very difficult challenge to try to understand oneself and one's own mind. It's a difficult thing to do because you question so much about yourself but are short of answers. It's a difficult thing because within moments you start perceiving yourself differently and in those moments of vulnerability all your "inadequacies" come to life.

I've come to understand this only because of the cycles my life takes. One day I find myself being so positive and ambient with an incredible zest for life. I look out of my window and despite the bland white color that covers the earth of my current location, I can see and smell the purple Jacarandas at home, blooming between the golden ambiance of Windhoek's glorious sunset. Despite the dull surrounding me, there is happy within me and my whole being exudes that. My face smiles, the corners of my eyes turn in just a little more than they usually would and my body is encapsulated by this golden aura.

However, just as quickly as the sun comes to set in the early afternoon and the moon makes the most of it's time, my sunny disposition sets. It doesn't take too much to trigger it, but this state takes so much away from me. Suddenly my smile is faded and everything around me seems so inexplicably bland. The skies and waters lose their bright shade of blue and the sweet smell of my lotion becomes stale. My mouth curves downwards setting a permanent frown on my face, and tears stream down from the corners of my eyeS the second I attempt to smile.

It's a phenomenon I've tried to fight time and time again as it occurs relatively often. Life is such a beautiful thing when the lenses I see it through are as happy as my insides feel. However, when bad energy finds it's path to me, everything I've worked so hard to build comes crumbling down. The things I used to love don't seem half as glorious any more, the little joys of life are far too insignificant, and the laughter of those I love is almost nauseating.

I just completely fail to understand why life hands me a red card every time I find a ray of sunshine on which to walk. I just question why the universe decides to kick me off my cloud once I find my peace. Perhaps I am blaming the wrong forces for all the wrong-doing I believe I've been dealt, but in my current state of mind I am unable to see who else could be behind it.

Life is a beautiful thing and 8 out of 10 times I appreciate it for that. I love walking outside and smelling all the sweet aromas of the small town I live in, I love having the sun eat through my sweaters and tickle my skin on the rare occasions that it decides to make an appearance. Even when it's below zero out and the wind bites my cheeks the second I open the door, I smile because every little sensation is a reminder that I am still alive, I am still living and that I am headed somewhere, be it the dining hall, the bakery for a bagel or a white-on-white office at Harper's headquarters; I am headed somewhere to do something and there is so much happiness in that for me.

It's difficult accepting that you are in this funk and it is even more difficult to try to get out of it. It's like a trap, easy to fall into and hard to get out of. However, instead of moping around and accepting the current situation for what it is, I reckon I ought to try to get myself out of this rut before it is, once again, too late. Sometimes all it takes is a moment, a moment in which you have silence, space and yourself and the room to put it all into perspective. To make this time, you might have to forgo a few things, but don't let that bring you down. Whatever you've missed can be made up for, losing your sanity and your happy, that really can't. The glory in our lives is permanently there, we just need to seek it out. We need to take the time to seek it out so we know where to go when the universe throws us a foul ball.

It's a very difficult challenge to try to understand oneself and one's own mind; so don't delve into it too deep. Take every moment as it comes and live in YOUR best interest. Be the kind of person that exudes enough happy for everyone around you.

All you need to do is BELIEVE. BREATHE. BE.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Pistachio Nuts

As a child, I loved pistachio nuts. They were something my mom would buy on occasion because they were expensive but she loved them too. But when she did, she'd be selfish with them and would only spare me some if she hadn't finished the pack within a few days. However, here I sit in a house where pistachio nuts are left on the island of an ombre, wooden kitchen for snacking in and between meals or rushed rides out of the house to whatsoever location.

As I stood there sipping on my wine and breaking open the shells of the pistachios, I realized the beauty of change and the things we value. If you asked me right now what my favourite type of nut is, pistachio would not be the number one contender. I might have a hard time deciding between almonds (which I am allergic to) or pecans (which I barely ever eat, and when I do, I can never really decide whether I completely love their taste, or totally despise it). However, pistachio is not at all at the top ranks. See, when things are rare to us, they are more beautiful and more desirable for whatsoever reason. There truly is something in wanting something you absolutely cannot have. This should be clear in the fact that I crave and love almonds even though I am allergic to them and they are one of the few things I cannot eat.

However, as we grow and have the pleasure of experiencing all these thing that were rare or kept from us, we realize that they are not at all as special as they seem.
....This revelation is something that I am going to take into the new year, because it is something that has been demonstrated to me time and time again, however, my child-like mind and naivety kept me from realizing it. Yet, all it took was a bowl of pistachio nuts and memories of my sweet, beautiful mother that brought the lessons of the universe into my perspective.

Rarity only means beauty because we receive it in small doses; but that does not mean that your diamond in the rough is more rare than the gem you've find amongst the many stones of a sandy beach. It really just lies in a change of perception and a change of perspective; and that is something I need in this new year. Because my diamond in the rough could well be hiding in the shore of gems I have so inconsiderably dismissed as inadequate.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Discomfort in my Own Skin

I was uncomfortable in my own skin for 17 years. I could not love myself because of the colour of my skin for 17 years. I spent more money than what was necessary to turn my mane of a head into flowing locks of golds.
....I was uncomfortable in my own skin for 17 years because every day served as a reminder of how imperfect my blackness was; because the vulgarities you yelled etched into my skin like the hot tongs used to mark slaves.

..and after 17 years I realize: My black skin is just as beautiful as yours, and my kinky hair is as it is supposed to be. Black does not mean ugly, and your laughs cannot define me. Your preference is not my concern, and your hatred isn't either.

I was uncomfortable in my own skin for 17 years....and that is exactly what is wrong with our world.

Monday, 23 December 2013

This Old Heart

Our hearts.....we're so in touch with them; or are we?

I hear my heart beating everyday. I hear it through my ears, I feel it pumping through my veins. I feel it reaffirming itself as it pounds against my chest when I well up in anxiety thinking about all the unknowns in my life. It's like a silent symphony that plays loudly but so often that it gets forgotten... but it is there, ever present, this huge fist that looks like it's covered in blood and meat.

My mind is far too plastered to think about any of this in the conventional manner it usually would....so I am allowing myself to type as I feel and I think without a second look to clarify my thoughts or what they intend to say.

But here I am; just letting my heart beat as I listen to the sound of angelic words that are supposedly empty because apparently words don't speak loud enough. But as I lay here, they are all I have. In my mind, in my thoughts, in my subconscious these words are everything and they are just pouring out of me, flowing so freely, against my own will. Much like my heart which pumps without any direct instruction from me, these words just keep coming..... And with words come memories. Images that need to be painted by only a collection and specific placement of alphabetic symbols.

.....and this old heart. This old heart that has been broken, torn apart, reassembled, shot at, stabbed, ripped out, put back in etcetera, etcetera, this old heart beats another day. And in the name of anything on which I can rest all my hope, I hope that it continues to beat against the wild current that attempts to drown me. Because I need this old heart to live. I need this old heart to spare me another chance at friendship and love, at happiness and lessons, at everything. I need this old heart.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

A Formidable Zest for Life

...as I sit here listening to Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight", I have a smiled sprawled across my face. As the tune tingles its way down my spine, with my head rocking from side to side and my shoulders bobbing up and down to the rhythm of this classic, I reminisce about everything.
As the days pass by and the year finds itself coming to an end, I find myself feeling happy and content despite the menial issues that prevail that would ordinarily have me wishing death upon myself. But for once, I go to bed thankful for the day that was and praying that the universe will grant me another chance at life come tomorrow. For the first time in a long time I want to be alive, and I have this formidable zest for life.
Yes, nothing has worked out how I had hoped. Nothing has gone according to plan, and I would cry day after day about it, feeling as though I had failed myself. However, now that I look at the situation again, I realize that everything has worked out the way it was destined too... Most of you probably rolled your eyes at that one. Blegh, destiny; who needs it.... amiright?
But I believe much of our lives have already been scripted, and the only role we play in it is figuring out how long it takes us to get there, depending on the decisions we make day to day. So, since I'm smiling instead of crying, I must've made a right turn toward my destiny.
....and now I'll lay here, soaking in my happy as the smell of my conditioner fills the ambiance, and smile with more than content.
Speaking of....I should probably write in my journal too.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Good Feeling

I feel good. I feel........something.

See I'm feeling and I'm allowing myself that luxury. Yes, it's a hurricane and beach days to storms and spring days. But it's divine. It's refreshing. It's like a cooling mint in a mouth that has been thirsting for days.

My life is a full one, honestly. My life has layers and layers that need to be dissected and that will certainly happen when the one decides to walk on in.... But all that baggage is an indication of my livelihood. It's an illustration of my mistakes, my risks; ambitions and hopes that tried to be reached but fell through the cracks. It's an indication of the soul that lies within the broken. It tells me that I've been living, despite the fact that I've been crying because I felt like I wasn't.

Man....I'm in such a good place. I'm breathing. I look in the mirror and see beauty and am content with the way I am. I know what my dreams are and I know what I want to pursue... But I'm okay with the idea that life will throw me curveballs and I'm excited for those too, because that only adds more dimension and depth to my life.

I have loved and I love and I am loved. I dream. I write. I aspire. I miss because I have people to miss. I'm lonely but I've found the beauty in it. Now I wait patiently for life to bring everything else it has in store for me. I'm reading to keep exploring and I'm glad to say that i don't know who I am. Because I am like a ball of clay and day after day I'm moulded into something new and different. And boy, like new clothes, gifts or cars, isn't that exciting!? It's all excitement..