Little City.

In early 2007, I wrote an essay. Yes, over the years, I have written many essays. But, this one, stuck with me, because – at the time, I was living alone, in the depths of a horrible heartbreak, and I was steeling myself towards the idea that I was going to be alone for the rest of my life. No, really, I’d accepted it as what I was meant to do. What I would do to cope with accepting that weird void, was write. I’d write and enter strange competitions (which I never won) or I’d write just for me (most of which is littered across this blog, pieces of paper, journals and diaries I keep in my house). Thanks to this newoldfriend, I read this essay again today, as I look back on the woman who wrote it seven years ago, at about 3am when she couldn’t sleep, would watch her kid sleep and the words just tumbled right out. This essay’s purpose, for me, I now realise was my own inner self hoping, still, that I wouldn’t end up alone, but desperately aware that that may just be the reality of it all anyway. Perhaps the strangest part of this essay, is that it came true. Funny-haired, 3am Cath didn’t know it then, but she was writing her future. Anyway, I thought I’d let it see the light of the Internet today. Here it is.

Little City – Cath Jenkin. 

This used to be a much younger girl’s city – this city inside my head.

On the left, off Main Street, lived Regret. He spent his days on a toilet seat and was flushed daily. Just past him lived Guilt. Guilt was a useless emotion. He did what other useless emotions do, and he left.

Off right on Main, lived Anger. But right beside her, lived Sorrow. They shared a garden where nothing ever grew. Their houses were built with solid stone, eroded by time and tears. The houses’ foundations extended right onto Motivation’s plot and anchored all the Bad Deed’s families’ houses to the ground.

Up the hill that every citizen climbs to survey the beauty of their town, lived Happiness, Peace and Love. Happiness was nomadic – passing through, sticking around and then moving right on. Peace grew flowers and tried to start a vegetable patch but Anger’s fires spread right up the hill and singed her cabbages.

There was one house, where many had been welcomed and had resided. But they never stuck around for too long. They never stayed long enough to re-decorate, hang up a curtain or even throw around some new paint. The door always stayed open though. That was Love’s house. But, one day, Love slammed her door shut, ran out the house and towards Sorrow for consolation, while she warmed herself on Anger’s flames.


This is an older girl’s city now  – this city inside my head.

Everything continues as it was but Naïveté is leaving town. Exhibitionism is still there but is taking some time out to rehearse her new, quite difficult show. Vanity still washes her windows every morning and Self-Preservation has decided to take a vow of silence because she doesn’t feel like talking to anyone at all.

There was a day, not so long ago, when Happiness looked across the way and saw a visitor at Love’s door. Happiness told him that Love had gone away but she knew in her heart that Love would return some time – she just wasn’t sure when. He asked where Love had gone, and Happiness showed him the way down to Sorrow. He bravely went to Sorrow – none had done so before – and Sorrow thanked him for the smile but Love had been and gone away. She pointed him on to Anger.

Anger fumed when she saw the visitor and spat hot fire at his face. But he wiped it off, washed it away and asked for the way to find Love. Love had been and gone and left anyway.

He wandered around the town, helped Naïveté  pack her bags and let Exhibitionism give him a little show.

When he finally needed to rest, after a long day of being helpful, he returned to the path that led up the hill to the house where Love lived.

He knocked again, but no answer came. Love was still away. But he elected not to scurry off, because he needed to see her so he chose to stay. He opened the door – it had remained unlocked although closed. He walked in, seated himself on Love’s couch of perfect blue. He waited.

Love knew not where to hide or go, so she tried to find Peace. The answers always lay with Peace, you see. Peace told Love of her visitor and, in shock, Love ran away.

But night did fall, as night does on every day, and Love had to return home, for darkness is when Anger reigns, and nobody’s safe outside when Anger reigns.

And when Love, scared as hell, opened the door to her perfect home, she fell to the floor in surprise.

For there, on her perfect couch of blue, sat You.

the changing definition.

And, here we are. On the very cusp of change.

The very facet of life by which I have defined myself changes within the next twenty-four hours.

And change…this change is good.

The selfish ways of my life are ending. The one where I focus entirely and only on two things, now become three.

Today, I sleep for the last time in a home I have created and forged and cobbled together alone, with the cheerleading and pom-pom shaking of my daughter.

When I became a single parent, she was still in diapers. Nowadays, she’s choosing curtains and reading books at night.

From tomorrow, there won’t just be me to investigate things that go bump in the night. From tomorrow, there will be two people to dry tears, read stories and run bubble baths.

I’ve done this on my own for more than five years…I feel like I’m graduating.

As I walk towards the greatest of our life changes, I am grateful for the strength that has guided me through it. I am thankful for the love that this life change has created. I am fall-upon-my-knees grateful for the daughter I’ve been blessed with. It is this experience that has moulded me.

I’m overwhelmed that, from tomorrow, two become three.

The extraordinary thing…

There’s no secret that I’ve spent many years of my life relating to the fictional character of Bridget Jones. In truth, many of us girls can, but mine goes a little deeper (and if you knew me many years ago, you’d know this to be true). There’s always been a line that’s stuck with me, throughout life. It’s when she says:

“I’m still looking for something more extraordinary than that.” 

That’s resonated with me for a very, very long time. Every time I’ve been disappointed by someone, I’ve come home to that line, and consolingly convinced myself that I’m just searching for that extraordinary thing. That I’m worth that very thing. It’s hard, at times, especially when you’re alone, it’s 2am, and you cannot sleep because you have no idea where your life is going. We’ve all been there.

I realised, more recently in my life, that the extraordinary thing that we all look for (because we are all looking for it, even if we don’t admit to it), is more than just an action. It’s a constant. The extraordinary thing should be a way of life, a way of meaning and a way of intent. The extraordinary thing does not have to take on the form of some grand gesture, but it can also live in the every day. It’s in the little things.

Shmooshy and I started off much like an interesting conversation. A giggle, a flirt. Harmless enough. To be honest, at that point, I wasn’t looking for more, nor expected more.

And then came the unexpected surprise of the post-it note. You all know about that piece of stationery.

And, since that funny, wonderful evening by my gate, sewn together with kisses, there has been the extraordinary thing, every day.

Perhaps one of the first extraordinary things was, one Saturday morning, I awoke at ten am, and immediately went into a flat panic. Why was I only waking up NOW!? Where was my kid!?! What is going on!?!…I shouldn’t have worried. She and Shmooshy were cuddled up on the lounge floor, playing and talking. He’d awoken before me, and taken care of her so that I could sleep in.

And it’s been like that, all the way through. I’ve been wooed, I’ve been comforted. I’ve been able to share all my secrets with someone I love. He is with me at every important event, he held my hand all the way through losing my mother. He celebrates my kid’s every success – no matter how small it may be, it’s big to him. He dances with me while we wait for dinner, and doesn’t care who sees us. We’ll dance anywhere and it doesn’t matter. I can rely on him, and I rest in the soft comfort of his love.

I can pick through our chronology and select these little moments, where the extraordinary thing has been the daily life of us. As we’ve progressed, moved forward and laughed our way through the sad days, the extraordinary thing has not diminished. As it was with the first post-it note, I’m still thoroughly awed every single day. I’m awed by the easy, stands-by-me-always love. It’s sincere, and thorough. We’ve had our share of disagreements – who doesn’t? But even those are done through love. It’s more about conversation and compromise, than it is senseless fuming.

And then, just as the extraordinary thing is the every day love we are so lucky to have, he surprises me still. Like, this weekend, when he whisked me away to my second-favourite place in the world and made sure we got spoilt like never before. He did so much behind the scenes to make this surprise a completely speech-stealing moment for me. I’m still dumbfoundedly trying to put the words together. I hope he knows it meant the stars and all the planets to me. I know he knows he means all the stars, planets and galaxies to me.

Then my thoughts turn to that beautiful daughter of mine. The metamorphosis of her personality is both age and home-related. Sure, she’s always been a generally happy child, but the evolution of her character over the last two years is evident to anyone who looks at her. Her self-confidence and ability to trust people (only those who pass her muster, mind you :P) has expanded. She’s a proud, self-assured child, who is about ready to spread her wings into the world of big school.

I owe so much of her evolution to his presence. I cannot thank him enough for it, every day. I’ve watched her grow from a drawing-little-shapes-in-only-one-colour person to creating artworks full of colour, life and joy. If you still don’t get me on this one, I’ll explain. A long time ago, when drawing people, she would only draw one or two. Nowadays, she asks for extra paper so that she can include everyone in her family.

That leads me to family, indeed. The sting that life gave me, of feeling like an orphan…feeling parentless and living life without being able to just pick up the phone or hug them. That sting is significantly assuaged by the welcoming arms of his family. His funny, warm, wonderful family. My kid and I aren’t invited guests, we’re family, and that’s how it is.

I’ll end with this line, from another movie I love very much – Juno. It goes like this:

“In my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.”

And you know, I have that. I have that in abundance. I’ve had two full years of it and I’m going to carry on having it for as long as life allows me to.

Happy Anniversary, Shmooshy. Love you like cows love to moo.

Nando’s does it dictator style…

You know what’s embarassing? Being at home, having the doorbell ring, and you answer the door…to someone who bears significant resemblance to Robert Mugabe…and he’s bringing you a present from Nando’s…And you’re wearing your Nando’s shirt!

If you know anything about my Shmooshy, you’ll know that he’s the biggest Nando’s fan on the planet? This man has every Nando’s branch on speed dial on his phone, and can accurately predict the exact moment he wants Nando’s – exactly every mealtime! Hehe.

Anyway, Nando’s are running an awesome campaign at the moment – Last Dictator Standing. Check out today after 4pm for more information, and check out the latest Nando’s television commercial too! You can win daily prizes from today, until 2 December, as well as a fully catered #mealfor6 – for you and your five besties at your home, prepared by a chef! Sounds pretty awesome to me!

All you have to do is tweet the names of five people – living or dead – who you’d want to have dinner with, and include the all-important hashtag: #mealfor6

there is an old lady, who doesn’t live in a shoe…

There is an old lady in my life. It feels weird to say that, because she’s anything but old. At 75, she’s more awake and sometimes lucid than most people at 22. She’s got more energy than I do, and, as I often say to her, she’s crazy with love.

She’s crazy with love, and sometimes that gets misdirected, sure. She gets emotional over the things that us hardened humans are desensitised by. She cries over television episodes (note – I do too – who on earth doesn’t when confronted with the story of an Extreme Makeover Home Edition!?!), and she’s passionate about the love she has in her heart. True, I don’t always agree with her. True, we have sometimes differing opinions on faith, but this is where I respect her most, strangely.

She lives her faith. She lives her faith through her words and her actions, and yes, that can be overwhelming at times, but she does it with heart and good intention. I believe that, and it’s probably for that reason that I love her so much.

She is the Shmooshy’s grandmama. Now, bare in mind that I never really had grandparents of my own, and, I believe their role in children’s lives is incomparable.

So, when I first met her, in her crazy-with-love state, I don’t mind to say that I fell in love too.

And that’s how we’ve been ever since. So it’s weekly phonecalls, manic SMS sessions, love and conversation when we see each other. We can talk for hours and it seems like mere minutes.

I love her, and I love her perspective on life. I love the way she loves and lives for her family, even though it can feel invasive at times. I love that she LIVES love. She doesn’t just talk it, she LIVES it.

Most of all, I love that she is mine. I call her mine, because I believe she was given to me to have. At a time in my life when I felt I had a diminishing family, I got all the family I could ever want, and more. And she is that – she’s family.

What a lucky, lucky me. X

A few good men.

<insert schmaltzy but serious post here>

Today is one of my bestie’s, aka, Sheena‘s two year anniversary with the fantastic Jon.

Upon waking this morning, after calling my Shmooshy and waking him up as he wanted me to (*heart*), I was alerted to the fact that Jon woke Sheena up this morning with coffee and beautiful flowers. Having just had me and the Shmoo’s 20 months, I’m all hearts and flowers myself. In fact, scrap that, for just over 20 months, I have been all hearts and flowers myself. Sheena has been for just over two years.

That brings up some perspective. Some very serious, very life-changing perspective. You see, I have some favourite love stories. My all time headline top one is that of my friends, Angel and Glugster. I know Sheena will agree with me that, this one, is a love story that inspired us on the days when we both thought, for a long time, that love – real, enduring, curl your toes and soothe your soul all the way through, love, was beyond us.

You see, when Sheena and I lived together (in our much younger, less schmaltzy days :P), we would often discuss the topic of love. Of how we’d both been led into love, led out of love, and how we had both made some absolute mind-boggling errors in supposed love. Sheena saw me a through an ultimate heartbreak, that ended up with me realising more about myself, and led me to realising some life dreams. Were it not for that heartbreak, I would not be who or where I am today. Were it not for that heartbreak, and all of them that went before, I would not know or have the love I have today. And I have it, in abundance.

Here’s the thing, though. Sheena and I would talk of love often. Daily, in fact. We’d laugh over our follies, muddle through our sometimes lack of faith that it existed for us in the future, and resolved to just marry each other if noone worthy ever showed up on our doorstep.

Oh. How. Wrong. We. Were.  

The thing about love, real love, is that it is almost always unexpected. Sheena did not expect that, one day – in the not too distant future, she’d be taking  a road trip home to her mama and fall in love on the way. I did not expect that, one day – in the same not too distant future, I’d be coming home from a trip to Cape Town and have someone waiting for me. I did not expect at all, that he’d get down on one knee and give me a post-it note that would change my life entirely.

We expected none of this love.

And, in there, I guess is the life lesson. When living without expectation, great things happen. You see, we’d always been told that, but we never really thought we were entirely worthy of it. Instead, we preferred to laugh at our own (and each other’s!) mistakes, and try and fathom our way towards a life that was without that great love story.

Today, though, we look back and we email each other and laugh. We marvel at how our mood swings get dealt with by our significant others, we laugh at the notion that we have significant others and how it’s not a weird cosmic joke that they’re really ours to love.  We share our cute stories of things they’ve done, and marvel at our stupendous luck. Our extreme joy.

There was a time in our lives when we felt let down, disappointed, and eager to cover up our hurts with a flippant “I’m fine”. There was a time in our lives when we’d pretend we were the poster girls for Surviving Singledom – we’d watch Bridget Jones over and over again for inspiration, and commiserate over the rather apt resonations of ourselves on the screen.

There was a time in our lives when we believed that love was for other people. Today, we both know that love…our love that we’ve been so incredibly blessed with, is for us.

Happy Anniversary Sheena and Jon.

(and Jon, apologies for my heinous hair and screeching nature when we met the very first time in my driveway. I promise I’m sane).

(and Shmooshy, I love you like there are not limericks enough)


my cynicism is gone.

I’ve never really been one for fairytales. Yes, I read them to my daughter, and I let her immerse herself in the world of princesses and dragons, and I’m not afraid to let her believe in gallant princes on white horses. It feeds her imagination – one that so grows every day.

But when it comes to real life, the reality in which I live, I’m not party to living for them. Yes, I get whimsical (especially on very special days), and yes, I allow myself to daydream. Sometimes the best ideas come from those mental meanderings down Dreamside Avenue. This piece is one of them.

Anyway, I’m cynical, at best, realistic, to a point, and often curb my own cravings for dreams by snapping myself back into reality, by making lists of things that need to get done, or reading the news. It’s awful to do, but I have to kick my own bum sometime. The thing, my point is, is that, when it comes down to it, I’m a hard-nosed realist who doesn’t make space for dreams in day to day life. It makes me question everything, and seek to understand every nuance of a statement or situation. I deal in bare facts, and accept them as best I can.

In fact, I’ve told you this before.

But, oh boy, my cynical dragon is slowly being slain.

Unbelievably, at the time when I was at my most cynical, an absolute  prince walked into my life. And there he’s stayed, for nineteen months so far.

And, with him, came a whole troop of heroes and heroines, each one of them singularly and tremendously spectacular. This troop of loved ones, have become like family over this time, and I cannot imagine life without them, not for one second. So too, has his family, who are, to me, closer than I could ever have imagined, and so absolutely wonderful to love. And they love us, through and through. They are all woven into the fine texture of every day. We are so very, very blessed.

So, yesterday, my best friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Grace. Now, what you don’t know, world, is what I know. I know that this child has been dreamt of for longer than I can tell you. I know that she’s the most anticipated and strongly longed for baby, that I have ever known. That’s not my story to tell, though. My story is this…

That, in the midst of waiting to hear of her safe arrival, I sat on my balcony, oscillating between pure glee at the notion that this dream was coming true, and pure fear over “how it was all going”. By the time I heard of her safe arrival, and listened to her father speak of her tiny beauty, my heart was sitting somewhere in my throat, and my nerves were more shot than ever. I’ve never so desperately waited on a text message, as I did yesterday evening.

When I woke up for no reason at 2am today, for once, I didn’t lie there worrying about life/bank balances/work demands/the eternal am-I-a-good-mother questioning…

I lay there, cuddled up in bed, and swooned over pictures, looked around at my life and smiled. There was no nervous tension, no grand designs of “how on earth am I going to get out of a pickle”, no furrowed brow over things I have zero control over. I watched my own daughter sleep, and marvelled at how quickly she’s grown, and just how much love she has in her little body, and the amazing dreams that live in her head. All I had was peace.

Dear Grace, you are barely a day old, and you’ve got me believing that fairytales do come true. Well done. 🙂

I cannot wait to meet you.


sotd 23.04.2011


do you want to know a secret? – the beatles.

You’ll never know how much I really love you.
You’ll never know how much I really care.

Do you want to know a secret?,
Do you promise not to tell?, whoa oh, oh.

Let me whisper in your ear,
Say the words you long to hear,
I’m in love with you.

Do you want to know a secret?,
Do you promise not to tell?, whoa oh, oh.

Let me whisper in your ear,
Say the words you long to hear,
I’m in love with you.

I’ve known the secret for a week or two,
Nobody knows, just we two.

Do you want to know a secret?,
Do you promise not to tell?, whoa oh, oh.

Let me whisper in your ear,
Say the words you long to hear,
I’m in love with you.


I’ve been thinking all day about what to write on this day.

It’s been side-stepping me, to be honest. I went from not wanting to say anything, to wanting to say everything, to just waiting for this day to pass.

For those of you reading, I apologize. I am not my normal sunny self today but, this day will pass and I’m sure you’ll understand. For the moment, though, I’d like to write to my mom.

Dear Mom,

Today’s your birthday. Funny. It crept up on me without me taking much notice until, this morning, I clocked my calendar over and there it was. It’s always been remarkable to me that both you and dad were born on the 27th of different months. A funny coincidence, probably and, that would be a nice thought if I believed in coincidences. I don’t anymore. I just believe that things happen as they are meant to, and even when they are untenably crap, they do pass. Even more importantly, when wonderful things happen, one should savour them, capture them and envelop oneself in the mystery of that moment. Moments pass too quickly, and sadly, life does too.

Yours passed way too quickly for my liking but, there is nothing I can do to change that. All I can do is live on, and hope, somehow, that I’m making you proud.

It’s Sunday, and I’m sitting at my computer with tea and a cigarette. A true Jenkin artform, that is. We’re brilliant at it. Heh. Yes, I know, I need to stop smoking. I will when I’m ready. You know this about me. I’ll only do things when I am good and ready. You knew that from when I was potty-training. Teehee.

Mom, Cameron lost her first tooth. I wasn’t at home, I was at parent’s evening. Paul covered that life event for me and he did it so damn well. Lucky, lucky, lucky me. When I was creeping into Cam’s room to nick the tooth, and replace it with a fairy’s blessings of five Rand, your voice resonated in my head. Once, when I was little, I heard you filling up our Christmas stockings hung on our door handles. When I asked who was there, you said “shut up and go back to sleep, it’s the Christmas fairy”. Thing is, mom, in my sleepy-headed state, I believed that. In fact, if there’s one thing I can thank you for, and wish to carry on with Cameron, it is the childhood belief in fairies and pixies, and an encouraged imagination. Forget that, encouraged is the wrong word. Absolutely stimulated and nurtured imagination. I’m proud that she’s obsessed with mermaids, and has created a whole notion of the wild mermaids who live deep in the ocean, complete with expressions and fearsome eyes. I’m proud that she lives for stories, and loves the written word, even though she’s still just learning to read. Cam loves rhyme, and she picks it out of every day, or inserts it into conversation. She high-fives me when she gets it right, and giggles when we make words rhyme with pooh. It’s the silly things but, they are the ultimately important.

I’m happy, mom. I’ve done nearly all the things you told me to do, just before you died. That hazy afternoon, with Cam snuggled in with you, we talked and I knew what I had to do. I’m thankful for the opportunity to feel that through. Some people don’t get it, and if anything, I am grateful that I had that afternoon. It was just us, and I think I learnt more then, become more sure-footed then, than I have ever been in my entire life. Thank you for helping me to make and live a plan of action that would enable me to reach a quiet happiness that has become a theme of my life. I know it’s what you and Dad always wanted for me to have, but knew you couldn’t give it to me outright. You knew I had to make it on my own, and live towards it. Now I live towards that theme every single day, no matter what that day brings. And, I won’t stop, nor let anyone derail me from that.

That’s made me a little unpopular with some people and, I realise now, that they’re actually not that important. Thank you for that clarity, and ability to suss out a way through difficulties. To do that, with a smile on my face and a heart at rest – that is your greatest gift to me.

Grief is such a funny thing, mom. It doesn’t stop you from living, you just live differently. You never get used to it, it just becomes part of what you do. In a way, that’s liberating to know. I never knew that before.

Paul just arrived to give me flowers. Bless. Just because he knew today would be hard for me. Lucky, lucky, lucky me.

I hope you’ve had a good day, mom. Whatever it is that you’re up to, or not. Who knows really. All I hope is that you’re proud, you’re happy and that you’re at peace.

Happy Birthday to the UM. Tell dad you’re off duty tonight and he should make his famous omelette for dinner. And that he can be in charge of washing up afterwards. 😛