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It’s A Long Shot. But Why Not?

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.

 

xo,

ALN.

 

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Category Is…

Inclusive Safe Spaces.

Ok… granted that’s not an actual ball category, it is however a very important topic for discussion. Probably more important for the folk who are sick and tired of being victimised in violent, rapey and femmephobic spaces. Lord knows this isn’t of much importance to cis folk who fit the so-called everyday norm of the gender binary or those who show acceptable levels of masculinity that afford them the privilege to move through such spaces with more ease.

Femme bodies have always been and continue to be targets of assault and violence by hateful energies that are fuelled by fear, self-hatred and a hunger for exerting an ignorant power this society has taught them they are entitled to. That’s just the thing with this kind of negative power – it feeds on those who have been identified as weak and unworthy. Trust and believe that femme energy is none of these lesser words the majority relentlessly associates with it. It is in fact the more positive power. This is something I’ve learned from my own experience.

To nurture this seemingly unpopular power a handful of femme, queer and trans identifying peeps in Jozi have gone ahead and created their own inclusive and safe spaces. Spaces where self-expression is encouraged. Where vulnerability, creativity and femininity is praised and tolerance of nonsense from the negative power is very low if any at all.

I still remember buying a tight white lace top and stashing it in the back of my cupboard for months before I eventually got the courage to wear it at my first Cunty Power last year. The courage wasn’t because I was wearing a lace top. The courage was deciding to present and express myself the way that I’d always wanted to. It was a understandably tough for me. Especially the moment we had to leave the safety of the space I was in to go to Great Dane. It was ‘Same Sex Saturdays’ but I had never dressed like that publicly, at least not outside of a costume party. As fierce as I looked, I couldn’t help but shrink and feel some type of way because of the space I was in. Which mind you was mostly gay men, but femmephobia is no joke. Some of it was my own internalised stuff for sure but the night took an magical turn to where this girl walked up to me, took my hand and told me how beautiful I looked. She then put on a red beaded bangle on my wrist and went on her way. That act of love and connection did something to me. I’ve never looked back since that day.

Embracing my femme energy and loving the versatility of wearing whatever I want regardless of what the store clerk or gendered shop signage says is the very reason I choose spaces that deliberately and explicitly protect people like me. Anyone who knows me will know that I religiously go to Pussy Party at KCB in Braam. The message of PP is very clear – protect, uplift, nurture and love of femme and queer bodies. Anything against that is refused. It is undoubtedly my second home where I get to dance my queer ass off until the early weekday morning with zero fear or apprehension. Maybe a teensy bit of fear of a violent hangover the following day, but that ain’t never hurt nobody.

Just a month back a spectacular event was born in Joburg called Vogue Nights. Ever since I watched ‘Paris Is Burning‘ (available on SA Netflix 😉 ) only a just few years back actually, I’ve been obsessed with ball culture, voguing, metamorphosis and the notion that you can choose your family. Vogue Nights surely gave me that hope and promise that sizoba grand. The voguing beasts from V.I.N.T.A.G.E Crew turned it out on the floor battling MrAllOfIt and other gorgeous divas dressed in beautiful silks, fishnets, shiny gowns and colourful hair. I myself played it down a little because I had a dinner in Rosebank before and wasn’t about to put myself in any kind of a situation with Uber drivers or bigoted patrons of Doppio. That of course is my own struggle and another reason I live for these events that tell me it’s OK to be you, to be extra and to do the most. I did however put my choppy black wig, called Yolanda, in my pocket which later came out to play downtown with all my other femme, butch, queer and trans brothers and sisters.

The M.I.A. concert, KOP JHB, Afropunk and other iconic events I’ve been to in the past year have been shameless at promoting and supporting the LGBT+ community and putting strict disclaimers that do not tolerate any sort of ill treatment of any human, period. Many will try and play ignorant or make excuses for the toxic spaces that turn a blind eye to what they know is true. Some will demand to be educated on this matter instead of taking their own initiative to learn from global standards institutions such as the Afropunks have set in their governing principles.

What I really do hope for is that the many and the some will do better in striving for inclusiveness and safety for the folk that attend their parties, events, homes, restaurants and bars. It’s time we connected on the real things and allow one another to have fun without compromising any bodies (femme or otherwise). It’s hella idealistic hope for sure, but It’s hope nonetheless. We’re pretty much nothing without it.

xo,

ALN.

femme power

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AyaWasLikeTotally30…

…3 years ago. Yesterday I got one of those ‘Facebook memories’ reminders of a picture of my personal best dressed faves; Inge, Dylan and Amanda dressed as the iconic trio from Clueless, at my 30th birthday party in July 2015.

I really just wanted to do a young throwback of this just so I could share this invite I made for the party. If you know me well, you’ll know this is one of my favourite films EVER and it had turned 20 years old when I was turning a whole 30.

I still remember being about 12 years old in boarding school and tagging along to the video store to hire the weekend movies. This was like ’98 so trust it was VHS upon VHS. Lord knows who I was with, but I forced them to hire Clueless among two other typical boy movies like Naked Gun or some hyper masculine action or sport film (those were all the rage back then – Kevin Costner I’m looking at you!). I had obvs seen the movie like a million times with my cousins so I was already fluent in eye-rolling, saying “what-ever” at every turn and pretending to know what Cliff notes or Haiti (said Hadey) was.

The movie played on a 51cm colour TV that sat suspended at the top right corner of the overcrowded hostel TV room with it’s wooden framed cushioned sofas, screaming red and gold floral carpets (which gave the worst f-ing carpet burns ever), oppressive white walls and it smelled of shampoo, soap and puberty. We had all just showered ten minutes before. I was obviously having the best time! Quoting every line and doing the whatever double hand gesture the hateful Amber character abused at almost every classroom scene. Surprisingly everyone else really liked the movie. Most of them commented on how they finally got all the random crap I always said. Even for a little bit I felt totally understood and happily continued to flip my non-existent hair over my shoulder whenever I crushed a maths test. Which was hardly ever to be honest. I was more of stage queen back then.

Wow. This post turned out to be a whole lot more than I intended it to be. Lol. Writing it had me go down memory lane to some really fond experiences at my time at D.V. Taylor House. Experiences with my then closest mates who actually always had my back through and through now that I think of it. Until high school came of course… then there were all sorts of plot twists and melodrama. Shout out to the OG dorm crew Senzwa, the two Mawandes, Dyasi, Anda and Phiwe.

Here’s the email invite I modelled after Cher’s speech:

ayaisliketotally30-invite

The rad flyer I made on PowerPoint:

AyaIsLikeTotally30

What a glorious moment during one of the darkest times of my life. Just 3 and half months before my mother passed and never got to see me turn the big 3-0. I know that I had to continue. Celebrate my life. Remember her influence and always know that I come from a place of love. It has certainly taught me to not cling onto big ages or events that occur in my life but cherish the joy and love every day offers, being authentic and honest, trying to be present, making the most of this temporary thing called life and even more so to be grateful for it.

Now at 33 I can say I live in gratitude of this body, this mind, my amazing friends, family, this earth and it’s beauty and of my gorgeous life giver who did the absolute best she could.

It’s all like TOTALLY great you know? 30 was a good start.

xo,
ALN.

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A_Y_A by LittleMissKay

The super talented Khosi Mbobo a.k.a LittleMissKay blessed me with these super epic digital works of my picture from Afrika Burn. I’m obsessed so obvs I gave them their own post.

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Rebel. Be positive.

Aya-Mariana-Brutal-23

(c) Mariana Martínez de Alba

Ever been given a compliment and instantly shied away from it or watered it down to a point it was unrecognisable to you? Almost as if it bounced off and didn’t land where you knew it was intended for. How about if someone said something mean or seemingly nice but it was covered in spikes and ill intent? Those, in comparison, tend to cut through and make a lovely little nest inside of you. Granted this isn’t the case for everyone but I reckon it rings true for most. It certainly rings true for me.

This year has had some life changing events for me. My one hour meeting with a psychic-medium being one and five days in the desert at Afrika Burn being the other. The latter was were I was confronted with this notion of struggling with compliments and positivity. Be it how much people loved my thought out outfits, how beautiful I am or what a phenomenal dancer I am. None of these were untrue. It’s not that I didn’t know any of these things deep down inside. Under that shimmering blanket of stars in an endless sky, I did. I do. It’s just that somewhere along the way you’re made to feel bad for being so sure about your gifts. You get bullied, called names or even defriended because God forbid you make someone else feel small.

After the burn I came back feeling so raw. Exposed. As if people could see inside of me. Everything I had felt and shared with all those strangers from all corners of the world. All those strangers who too were dancing in vulnerability wanted nothing from me. Nothing but the truth. They lost nothing in themselves from these exchanges. If anything, I surely believe more was gained.

I shared these feelings with my housemate Andrew the week we got back from Tankwa. What he said to me shook the hell out me. While I was busy freaking out about feeling so vulnerable and being overwhelmed by how easily accepting of me people were, he hit the pause button and pointed out how I’ve mastered the art of navigating this world expecting negativity. Be it from my skin colour, my sexual orientation, being from a broken home, my dorkiness or strange humour. The list is probably much longer than this, but you get the point. I am so well equipped in receiving negativity and knowing where to put it. This behaviour leaves no space for positive reinforcement. So I get awkward or shy about it. Mostly because even though it’s true… I myself don’t believe it.

Fast-forward to Bushfire while having a conversation with friends Sisi and Sisana. We were sitting around our campsite during a magnificent sunset and at one point they began showering me praise about this very blog and my sense of style. What does Aya do? He gets all weird and tries to redirect the compliments to something else. Sisana, bless her heart, immediately clocked this behaviour and then made up “negative” things to say to me to prove the point that I would accept them easier than I would the positive truth. This led to further dissection of the sources to my ease and comfort of receiving negativity externally and internally. I’m still dissecting. It was as if they were listening in on everything I had spoken to Andrew about.

In the last few months I’ve gotten better at letting the negative bounce off with no room to make any damn nests. What has helped a lot is from listening and finding readings from spiritual teacher and author, Marianne Williamson. I’ve taught myself to channel what I was overwhelmed with during and after the burn into the place it originated from. A place of love. Love of self and love of all living things. The negative stuff operates from a place of fear. To tie the essence of this post with what Marianne so simply but powerfully says – “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” I do not fear the negativity because I know it. It’s comfortable. I’ve mostly lived within it. The real fear is in the positive. For me it has been uncomfortable. Tapping into that power and light is the real tough stuff.

So I say let’s accept and receive the kind words from friends and strangers who want nothing more than to spread the positive thoughts they have for us. Give back that positivity a thousand fold and always trust and believe in what we know. Speak, act, live and give from a place of love. There is such rebellion in that. Let’s rebel.

xo,

ALN

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Remembering Karissa

Karissa Samuel

25 April 1984 – 06 April 2017

It’s been a year today since my friend Karissa passed. I only have the fondest memories of our time together. She is one of the fiercest women I have ever known, and I’m sure she would be in all black today commemorating Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, another relentless powerful force.

As you may have read in my previous post Karissa was the reason I finally started this very blog. She was always a source of inspiration for me and many others. The way she lived her life and always made a point to give back was so tremendous that I truly believe she was an angel among us.

We met back in February 2009 on Valentines Day. We dubbed it ‘Anti-Valentines Day’ because we hated the whole idea of the day and the commercialised Western mess it was. I knew we’d be besties from that alone. Never mind the fact that she was there with her boyfriend Fazlur and I was rolling solo. Still am. I didn’t mention this in the last post, but she gave me a massage regarding finding love and not to bother with people who don’t deserve me. She said this often in the living too. I know better now.

I spent part of this morning looking at her Facebook page, reading her posts and laughing at memories captured in photos. I LOL’d at the pics from her 25th or 26th birthday where she hung out the sunroof of a friends car with a bottle of champagne in her hand. I was obviously terrified, but this daring girl always acted on her feelings and at that moment she wanted to feel the wind.

Our friendship consisted of a lot of laughter because we were complete dorks and were obsessed with comedy and silly things. We’d spend hours on YouTube and if weren’t watching it together, we’d be sending each other BBM’s (I know right!) on what we needed to watch. We danced, and danced, and danced! Karissa didn’t care for my love of pop music, but we clicked when it came to Hip-Hop. She and Lerato (her housemate and bestie – a very unlikely trio) had their own dance moves which were HI-LARIOUS. The KSam and the Lamz dance. I wish you could’ve seen these two shimmying to the “This Is Why I’m Hot” reggae remix, amazing!

She saw so much in me and my hidden talents that she asked me to join the board of her brain child, The Ntshulisa Foundation, helping out with Marketing and Social. A non-profit organisation that started as orphanage Christmas parties which grew to prominence in Gauteng and Cape Town with it’s many projects helping underprivileged youth with dental care, self-esteem workshops and sanitation drives for girls, annual winter drives and many more. Karissa would stay up at night dreaming up and actually implementing the best ways to help those in need. Her name is popular in Alex and Hillbrow because she impacted those communities so much that they really knew her as a Godsend with the hugest heart. Features in the South African O magazine, covers of Destiny Magazine, this lady was unstoppable. She is the true example of walking and living in your purpose to such an extent that the universe (as an energy and being) will walk right beside you.

I remember the day she called me to tell me of her breast cancer diagnosis. I was in Aachen, Germany for on-the-job training with my previous employer, Ericsson. It was a bright sunny day that suddenly turned dark gray. “How?” “You’re so young!” “No, my friend. No.” I was in complete disbelief. It was particularly hard because my mother had shared the same news. Twilight zone. True to Karissa, she was so positive and made something so awful sound like some sort of opportunity. She was wild like that. Her and my mom got in touch with each other and supported each other through that time. Only they could fully understand what they were going through. The mood swings, the chemo, the hair loss, trying to remain strong and unaffected in the face of a cruel disease. I really appreciate the comfort and advice she gave my mom.

A couple of years on, my mother was late and on that very week of her passing I was at Karissa’s bedside at Mill Park Hospital. She was weak. Her bones were basically paper-mache from the cancer, but her eyes were bright with strength. Her soul could not be broken, but mine as. After that period I became distant and destructive. Seeing Karissa only highlighted the grief I was carrying and reminded me of what I had lost. I never got to speak about this with her, but I know she understands and forgives me.

KSam turned what seemed to be a curse into a beacon of hope, love, light, discovery and fearlessness. She was a conqueror and did everything she need to do on this earth. I am so proud of her mom for continuing her legacy and sharing her memory with the world so as to spread the kindness her daughter so generously did. I am so grateful to have known someone so special who only added to everything that I was.

I love and miss you so much my friend. This ones for you.

xo
ALN.

Karissa Samel

Follow Karissa’s Legacy on Facebook to find out ways you can help those in need at various orphanages through donations, volunteering or just seeing her amazing legacy and the lives she’s touched.

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Crossing Over to Starting Over

Arm with geometric feather tattoo

What a dramatic title. Sitting here feeling like Carrie Bradshaw (sans shoe collection) with this title. I’m into it. Anyway, so as promised this is the post about my consultation with Cindy Kruger. She’s a pretty well known psychic medium who has unbelievable gifts. I was fortunate enough to be able to get an appointment with her and she didn’t disappoint. The outcome was tremendous and like I said in my first post it’s the reason I started this blog as quickly as I did. It’s a long read, so maybe grab a snack or bookmark it for later.

Why see a psychic medium you ask? Well I’ve had some really big losses in my life starting from my caregiver who basically raised me from baby to a grown person, to the biggest and most devastating loss being my life-giver and the most recent loss being my very first friend in Joburg, Karissa “KSam” Samuels. It’s crazy to think that these women who are such important pieces of my existence are all gone. The thought literally just hit me now while typing this at 10pm this rainy Tuesday evening. How I’ve managed to keep it together through all this only God knows. I’m a rather secretive person when it comes to emotions of grief and don’t want to feel like I’m burdening anyone with these heavy feelings. I’ve since gotten better at this through time. At this point I can say I am very grateful to have known these amazing souls and am so blessed to have had them take care of me while they were living and even after they have passed.

I got to booking my consult via Pamela Samuel, Karissa’s mom. Mama Pam, as I call her, inspired me through her openness of sharing her grief and pain after losing her only child through a number of posts on Facebook. I had not so much as shared a single post or anything about losing my mother as I found it futile and unnecessarily attracting insincere messages from people I was barely in touch with. I was so wrong. Seeing other people share and express their loss allowed me to also engage with my own pain and suffering. I then understood the importance of sharing such experiences not just for the person sharing, but for the people who are or have gone through the same experiences but are struggling to cope. A type of therapy if you will. So thank you Mama Pam and to anyone who has ever shared such personal and deep feelings. Many have and will find healing in that.

As I’d expected after making the booking via Whatsapp to Cindy’s assistant, the next available date was in March! I made my first enquiry in like October or something so Miss Cindy is busy! It all worked out fine because I felt like I did need some time to mentally prepare for our meeting. The preparation was more for surety in what I wanted to get from connecting with my loved ones and less about fear or scepticism as I have always been a firm believer in angels and the spiritual realm so I knew they were going to come through.

Fast forward to 17 March 2018. A day I will never forget. One which gave me the most liberating and soul changing experience of my life. A couple of weeks before I started a 7-day detox where I cut out sugar, coffee, most dairy, wheat, red meat and alcohol. At the time I did this because I felt like I needed a system reboot after months of a lot of a lot, but in retrospect I think I really did it to clear myself of any kind of obstructions to my energies before trying to link up with my peeps. Probably sounds silly, but I know my mom wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. So on that Saturday morning I woke up a ball of nerves. As expected. This was a huge deal. I had some oats in silence thinking about the day that lay ahead. I had a baby shower, a farewell and a last day of summer party to attend and was wondering how I was going to do all that after seeing Cindy. Was I going to be miserable and sad all day and just make up a bunch of excuses to avoid people? Or was I going to come out of the session a new person and ready to share the experience?

In all my anxiety I lit a candle which was given to me by my dad to use whenever I felt sad and missed my mother. It was probably only the third time I had lit it because I couldn’t possibly light it every single day because that’s how often I thought and longed for her. After the candle was lit I asked her to be with me as I go meet with Cindy. I then put on Sampha’s “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” which previously had me burst into tears when it came through my earphones without any warning early last year. Now it makes me smile with peace in my heart. With the rest of the album playing, I got dressed and made my way to Cindy’s place.

It was rainy that day in the city which gave me comfort on my drive. Blessings they say. Once I got to the house, Cindy came to collect me at her gate and commented on my choice of music. It was still Sampha, I had taking him along for a trip as he fit the mood. Cindy was all smiles and very welcoming which made me feel comfortable – I think I looked obviously nervous. Inside I sat down in an armchair opposite the one she sat on. After asking me for my name and jotting it down on a blank page she got straight into it.

First thing that came through strongly was my “destiny”. What she sees for me in the future. I totally didn’t expect so much detail on this because I was really there to connect with my mom. The first thing she wrote down was the word ‘media’. Which instantly sparked a bit of panic in me. She asked whether I was in media or wanted to get into it. As you know I’m obviously not in the media industry, but I have always known that’s where I need to be. Her picking that up out of nowhere was shocking, and even more so when she listed the different talents that I tend to hide from people was even more shocking. She noted down personal styling, theatre, singing, voice over and other practices that lie deeply in the arts. It was as if she had peeked into my true dreams and shown them to me for the first time even though I’ve always known. This part gave me such a sense of relief and has now allowed me to pursue my instincts and use my talents I’ve kept from myself for so long. Writing and producing came up, so best believe I’m unleashing every “silly” and “crazy” thought I have in my head onto paper. I’ve already written some songs and constantly have melodies and movie ideas swirling around. The idea that I can allow myself to do this and not limit myself, in a way we’re almost taught to, is the best feeling EVER!

After the destiny reading, my grandmother from my father’s side burst through (I was not checking for her at all as she passed when I was 2). Her message had to do with my relationship with my father and how I had to stand in who I am. She wanted me to understand how my father was raised and how it’s very different to me. She emphasised my fathers relationship with his father and how that was a hard relationship. I really think she knows my struggle with my relationship with my dad and wanted to offer that message as some sort of relief. It did. Cindy then asked me who I wanted to connect with (as if she didn’t already know) and I told her. I wasn’t to say anything more regarding how they passed or when etc. She immediately connected the three to how they passed; cancer, a virus and high blood pressure. My mother and Karissa lost their battle to cancer and Bukelwa died from illnesses caused by HIV and AIDS. The high blood pressure was also linked to Karissa as she may have had some complications with it. At this point I was sure about everything I was going to be told. It became more conversational and revelational from this point.

My mother came through and thanked me for lighting the candle and saying a prayer to her that morning. I know right!! Insane! This part was a lot because only I had access to that information. And it literally happened an hour before. I was so happy to receive that and know she is constantly with me. Cindy then continued to share messages from her – how she loved her burial, she thanked me for speaking at her funeral, she assured me that nothing could have been done to save her and that it was her time. I was so relieved to know she was at peace and with her family. She appreciated the fact that I believed in angels and told me to look out for feathers as it is her way of blessing us and showing me that she is there. This past Easter Friday I got a tattoo (pictured in this post) of a feather to honour that beautiful message. The messages that had me in a state were the ones where my mother shared that the relationship with my father was one of great pain for her. I was in a state because I witnessed her have to raise 3 small boys on her own and I had always resented my father for ever putting her in that position. I remember making a decision as a pre-teen bobble headed boy to not burden my mom with anything and to try in any way, shape or form to alleviate some of her life stresses. She told me she had forgiven him and that I also need to because I’d always felt like I couldn’t be his friend. This was the message I came for. I didn’t know this before, but now I do.

uBukelwa aka MaBuki also came through to thank me for reading her tombstone at her funeral. She acknowledged the role she played in our family and how much she loved us. She also mentioned how she was in my life to provide healing over all those years. Which I fully received and agreed with. She told me that she never got sick from being promiscuous but that someone she loved and trusted betrayed that trust. I know that person, and I can now forgive him. I still miss her very much and miss our chats lying in the dark listening to 12 down on Umhlobo Wenene.

As soon as Karissa came through I knew it was her because Cindy started dancing and singing. This was so crazy because that was literally all KSam and I did. We loved to dance. We shared so many common interests, but getting down to the boogie was by far our fave. She encouraged me to follow my passions as she ALWAYS did in the living. She believed in me when I wasn’t capable of believing in myself. We were so in love with each other and were great supporters of each other. I’ll always regret that we grew apart in her final years as we were both discovering ourselves and trying to find purpose. Me after losing my only true reference in this life and her fighting a cruel and devastating disease. I know she knew why, I’m just glad we had the time we did and I’m so very proud of everything she achieved in the brief time she had in the physical world.

A very important message from Karissa which is why I’m up at midnight with cramping fingers, was that of starting this blog. She explicitly ordered me to start it. We had spoken about it for many years as a way of having an outlet for my creative thoughts but I never got to starting it. Needless to say, that following Monday I logged into my WordPress account (I had gone that far at least) and decided on the name, look and feel. ALN. She had her own blog which shared her journey and spread positivity to anyone who needed it. I used her blog to give shape to mine. The poetry of it all. Friday is going to be one year since her passing. Saturday will be three years since my mother’s departure. The timing has been everything and I am not sad. I am hopeful. The lessons and love that these angels have given me is more than I could ever ask for. I am truly blessed.

Meeting with Cindy and receiving messages from these extraordinary women is truly one for the books. I am forever changed after that 50 minute session. I am sure of who I am. I am sure of what I am capable of. I am proud of these women. I am looking forward to a face to face, stripped down chat with my father, but most importantly I am looking forward to all my possibilities from here on out.

xo
ALN

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