It’s been six months since my last blog post and it feels as though I have managed to stuff a whole lot of magic into such a short space of time. I turned 30 and it’s been amazing, nothing close to the frightening life changing experience I expected, instead it’s a refreshing time of achieving goals, working hard and living my best life… Yes, the most cliché’d cliché ever. I am thoroughly enjoying my headspace in relation to what is shoved in my face – definitely a continuation from my Jerry post. I met an amazing man who has awoken my child-spirit with continuous smiles and the most real friendship and it’s ‘heart-warmingly’ special, and something I have NEVER experienced before (but that’s all you will get on that topic for now).
Aside from all this magic and happiness, I still seem to these moments of realization, no matter what the number attached to my years is. In the past few months, I have a renewed appreciation of friendship. The past year has been toughest for me because of my lack of ‘friends’. Being in a new city, cultivating new relationships and understanding how this VERY different culture functions, with all its gold and glitter and sometimes plastic people it’s hard to find the real between it all. After going through some of my toughest ‘new friend’ lessons over the past year I have been allowed the opportunity to sit back and appreciate the very real people I have around me, the friendships that encourage me, the relationships that build me and the people who I know have my back, front and sides for the rest of my days. I also have the pleasure (or wisdom) to be able to see that realness a lot quicker these days and so the relationships I have managed to develop and maintain since my Jozi arrival are amazing ones and are definitely the beginning of what will grow into the same greatness I’m lucky enough to share with so many. I’ve been lucky enough to have surrounded myself with an array of characters, each with their own uniqueness and makeup which all at once create a rainbow of colour in my world.
I have a group of brothers who protect me constantly, no matter the distance. I have called on them for men standing on corners, for broken hearts and moments of disabling fear and they have shown up, every single time – with strength (and sometimes fists ready) but their friendships, although not filled with constant communication or regular contact are to me more important that anything in the world. Their success and happiness is something I will always find joy in and the moments that change their lives, change mine. I have girlfriends who listen and deal with hours on the phone to balance my brain and heart. They have opened their homes to me in pj’s and tears, we have shared countless litres of alcohol to deal with emotions and we have a strength in togetherness that allow us to take on anything. Boyfriends, babies, husbands, work, life. I have couples who encourage me through their bonds, who give me insight into #RelationshipGoals and relationship realities, I have friends whose faith inspires me, I have friends whose success motivates me and those whose hard work and goals encourage me. I have friends who love like me and others who don’t. Friends who need constant communication and others who show up after a while and we pick up where we left off. I have the most real friendships that are filled with encouragement, visits and calls at just the right time and an understanding of who Carla is, in the most amazing way. I have real friendships and for that, my life is full.
I recently celebrated my 30th, a small gathering of all the people who have touched my life in a positive way. Each one of them has contributed to who I am today and for me, the party was not just mine, but was a celebration of the meaningful impact they have had on me. Every single member had an amazing memory attached to them, from my first trip to the strip club, overseas holidays, heartbreaks that I thought would end me, terrible boyfriends, death, babies, big moves and lots of job changes. Each of those special people made up the fabric which was my entire life and celebrating with them was the best thing I could have done.
One of my best friends gave a speech which brought me to tears (and that doesn’t happen too often). It’s sometimes very difficult to hear how the world sees us. While we know that our friends are there because they choose to – getting insight into their respect and admiration of who we are is something that we aren’t always privileged to see. I will share the speech with you… (that’s my bragging right)…but the good stuff comes at the end, so wait for it…
Good Evening Uncle Ed, Aunty Shar, family & friends,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on the day that marks Carla’s 30th rotation around the sun. This day is often met with a mixture of emotions and if you’re close to Carla, you will know that the emotional preparation for her birthday begins around August of the previous year. We are thankful that we’ve reached this milestone with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts Carlz!
First and foremost, the good book tells us “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee”. In saying this, I’d like to honour Uncle Ed and Aunty Shar, for the phenomenal job they have done in raising this beautiful human being. God really equipped you with the grace and skills to rear a fine young woman like the daughter we see here today. Your love and compassion for her is evident in the unwavering support you have provided Carla with, regardless of the decision she has made… whether it be ground-breaking brilliance or earth-shattering catastrophe. The confidence you have in her, is the confidence we see her exude in each and every encounter with her. Thank you, and we honour you!
Carla… 4 words come to mind when I ponder about the person that you are. Curiosity, Bravery, Faith and MY WORD… You are ENTERTAINING. I’m sure you can all agree with me that at some point in your relationship with this woman you have witnessed her demonstrate one of these qualities on a level far beyond you’d ever expect from her small & petite frame. Carla is testimony to looks being deceiving and dynamite coming in small packages.
I’ll start with Carla’s curious nature. Your ability to question and pick apart situations and scenarios is a gift Carlz. Your relentless investigative nature is one of your biggest assets. The ability to not stop until your soul is at ease, is discernment or a 6th sense that will ensure you never find yourself being duped or caught with the wool pulled over your eyes. Carla always teased and said “I’m a 6”, which is both humourous and brilliant at the same time. It shows that you are fully aware of where your strengths lie and that will forever be to your advantage. Never lose that.
2ndly I’d like to dwell on Carla’s bravery. My friend, the life encounters and storms that you’ve straightened up your spanks and walked head on into leaves my jaw on the floor. Whether it be making the bold decision to leave your parents’ home and take residence away from the comforts and joys of your fathers’ house to be committed to your studies; change courses from Law to humanities, with or without consultation with Mum & Dad; Up and leave the city you call home, in pursuit of bigger and better in the City of Gold – almost losing your life in a Hijacking situation; opening your home to a stranger in need of a kickstart in life… opening your home to a family suffering the wrong end of Xenophonic attacks… You’ve done it all and so elegantly, you’re worthy of being Miss World. Bravery is certainly a page out of your book of life I’d like to borrow and photocopy before a test, like we used to do in Varsity.
This leads me into your faith and faithfulness. It’s not hard to tell where that comes from… You grew up in ministry with God-fearing parents and you have a sister that is on FIRE when it comes to the topic of belief, so there’s no doubting your readiness to take on any challenge. You have a curiosity and a bravery that is rooted in your faith and that will serve you well all the days of your life. Carlz has imparted knowledge to the little ones in the Sunday school department, she’s imparted wisdom and knowledge to both my wife and I at the various stages of our life’s progress, she’s offered her services to kid’s in a home on Saturday mornings. (You’re not too shabby hey…). It’s so evident that you get your joy in being a blessing to others. You are so selfless and you’ve proven that time and time again, never asking for anything in return… You helped me set up a world class engagement – even if I say so myself. You’ve been the Maid of Honour and gone above and beyond on numerous occasions. You’ve been one of the boys and worthy of Best Man status for quite a few of the gents in the room here… there’s just no stopping you when you’re on a mission for someone you love and each of us here tonight can honour you for that.
Lastly… Dude… you are one of the best sitcoms I’ve had the pleasure of watching… From our arguments which never end because we’re both convinced we’re right and no other opinion matters. To that mouth of yours that lacks a filter at the best of times, you’ve contributed to some stomach-aching, gasping-for-air bouts of laughter! Something that Carla also does really well (which is scary at times)… is make HUGE mistakes. This girl has walked full-knowingly into some of the WORST decisions an individual can make but my word has she taken ownership of each and every one, and either skipped out of them with a smile on her face OR crawled out of them battered and bruised having learnt to never venture down that road again… But what does she do… She puts her indicator on… drops the sun roof and heads down that road at 180km/h with nobody telling her otherwise… The entertainment that that brings us as your friends and the life lessons you – and we – learn while you’re doing it is 2nd to none and THAT my friend is why we can’t help but LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!
No matter where you go in life, I have no doubt in your ability to stand boldly, marked out from the crowd and destined for greatness. Not only will you shine as a woman of character strength and power but you will have an everlasting impact on everyone you come into contact with. Go forth and be great… 30 is the start of weird and wonderful manifestations in your wildly entertaining, emotionally uplifting and awe-inspiring life.
Real people see you! That’s it. Beyond any façade, any active change in who you are or any growth or weakness – real people see you. The joy of friendship is that your real people see past your mistakes, past your sometimes dark heart moments and anger. They see into your soul and love you despite yourself. Even after enjoying years of friendship with this guy, after sharing secrets, tears and almost all life’s greatest moments together. He never sat down and said “Carlz, this is what I think of you” and then he gave that speech and tore open the depths of who I am and gave me the most satisfying joy. MY real people see me.
As I sit back and look at the past few years of life – the times when ish got real and bright lights woke me up from the fairy-tale I sometimes created – I see my real people, who have showed up in the best way. I understand their importance and I know their place. For the next 30 I will appreciate those friendships, I will continue to build up those friendships and I would encourage you to do the same. But while you’re busy appreciating, make sure that you’re seeing your real people that you are showing up, growing up and not giving up on them when they need you most. Make space in your world and life for the people who deserve that space, hug a little harder when you need to, and encourage each other…because life happens but friendships make it a whole lot easier to handle.