A.k.a. twenty-MINE-teen. So I always have this weird thing about my thought or experience related posts that I write. They always want to be written – but then I need something that makes me write them. This one in particular was initially a 2018 reflection and a peek into my hopes for 2019 (hence the ‘a.k.a’ – because that was the original title). But today for some reason I had this Kelly Clarkson song on repeat in my head. Which actually isn’t the song where the title is from, but I think I had to listen to it to get to the actual song (in the same album) that led me to write this. Bear with me… I’m getting to the point. I’m sure I lost some of you when I mentioned Kelly Clarkson. For those still reading, the song is called ‘Long Shot’ and was written by Katy Perry (oh God I’m making it worse) and it’s about taking a leap of faith into a statistically risky and improbable romance. When I got to the chorus while listening to in the car on the way home, I was like – oh snap!
It’s a long shot, but I say why not
If I say forget it, I know that I’ll regret it
It’s a long shot just to beat these odds
The chance is we won’t make it
But I know if I don’t take it, there’s no chance
‘Cause you’re the best I got.
Obviously I wasn’t thinking of any love interest or shaky relationship I want to dive into, but more on some experiences that I had in 2018. The ones that led me to learning more about myself and the decisions I make or don’t make. Experiences I could have easily said ‘forget it’ to because of fear, anxiety and tricking myself into thinking I already knew what the outcome was going to be without ever actually taking the chance.
Just to summarise a bit on the magic of taking a shot at some things even when they may be foreign, surrounded by cynicism or even familiar but seemingly completely out of reach. Firstly was early last year when I consulted a psychic medium, I received a message that I had to start this blog. For one – psychics or mediums aren’t exactly like going to see a trained doctor or anything, but my belief in a higher order and spiritual realm beyond this world helped squash any of those views. Secondly, from starting this blog I rediscovered my love of stories, imagery, collection and writing in my own unique voice. So then I enrolled in a 8-week creative writing course which opened up the creative beast that was lying dormant in me for years who only needed acknowledgement to get out.
To me these were long shots because I have always stood in my own way and was so very comfortable with limiting my capabilities. It was always – “you’re an engineer, what the hell do you know about this or that”. But the more I said “why not”, the more I started creeping closer to my limitless talent. Closer to being that kid who loved playing dress up, who didn’t have a gender (or so I thought), who created stories from nothing, who drew comic books, who danced and entertained, who was smart and logical and also sang Celine Dion’s Power of Love album in full soprano with their Sub-B teacher (that’s Grade 2 for the youngens).
All these things kept rushing back to this very moment where I’m typing this post – on this blog that I started with no idea what wanted from it. This moment where I’ve started a YouTube/IGTV Channel (also no idea what it will or wont become), posted pictures of me dancing to my own freestyle choreo and this moment where I sit with a book full of song lyrics, story ideas and outfits I wanna wear. All that and still engineering my ass off on a daily basis. It’s all in one spirit.
My biggest long shot by far was fully sharing my authentic self with my father last Christmas. I’d always had a picture or idea in my head of who this man was. How he would react to a queer son who played around with gender, dyed his hair and wore nail polish. I used to always cut my hair and remove any trace of make-up before heading down to the Eastern Cape for the holidays. This time I didn’t. Bleach blonde hair, Mediterranean blue toe nails and some short shorts for control.
My dad started the convo by asking me how the reading went. It went well. His mother who I don’t remember, uMantshiza, came through with a message that now makes complete sense to me. Eventually we were sitting in the living room for almost 3 hours talking about my not-so-great life in school, how I was so great on stage and how it hurt to never be supported in the arts as much as my brothers were in sports. We laughed and cried a little and tried to make sense of the toxicity of our society’s idea of masculinity. How hectic? Also so damn beautiful.
We both miss the woman who raised me and the one who raised him. I never in a millions years thought I could have this kind of connection with my dad. If I never chose to fully be myself with him, I would have robbed us of this moment. So you never know what you could uncover from just taking the chance. Asking “Why not?” even if it seems so far from reality or even impossible because of where you are in life.
There is much to be learned in those chances and less to regret when you realise that you truly are the best you’ve got and have so much to give.