Friday, March 07, 2008

Is home as bad as I've been hearing?

I’ve been getting a few emails recently from mates overseas asking if “things” really are becoming as bad as they are hearing back there in the northern cold.

Uhh… I don’t know… how bad are you hearing it? No, we have not cracked open the bomb shelters and finally are opening up the 1994 tins of beans. But yeah, we are finally able to burn away those 1994 candles. I’m still just doing my usual thing – looking over my shoulder as I drive into my driveway, dancing through protest marches in high heels, hanging with friends from the south to the north, usually still with wine and still getting boozed. The news stories slap us, the music concerts revive us. And through it all I am always still wondering where the hell this is all going, and how it is planning on taking me with it.

I tell them that I think we have had one massive knock of faith. Mainly to the Eskom trauma. Suddenly each of us is asking, do I need to finally create that Plan B or, for the ever-always-forward planners, is it time to bring in Plan B?

For how much longer does each individual accept that our upheavals are because of This Transition Period? When does each of us individually decide “no more” to this transition explanation. Are we even allowed to say “no more”?

How long is “transition” a valid reason for what we are experiencing, most especially in the levels of psychological stress and exhaustion each of us experiences in our own ways?

When does an individual get to say that they personally cannot cope with what South Africa is going through and still has to go through, to heal, to change, to whatever.

But then what??

And it is that “But what” that I think terrifies so many of us – into anger, into action, into inaction & rather facing work or personal, into leaving, into everything inbetween.

I say to my international-experiencing mates that I think a lot of what we have faced in the past few months is our collective realisation that The Bubble Has Burst. The status quo HAS to change and IS changing, and this has great tidal wave effects on all aspects on every South African’s lives.

And as I was typing away to one friend on my thoughts, I realised that “this” - what we are going through at the beginning of 2008 - might be what a great leader is about. Or how a charismatic dangerous leader (read: Hitler) weasels his entire self through the door.

Right now I think South Africans are in need of someone to tell us that, “Yes, it is all fucking up and scary right now, we ALL feel this, but we will ALL work through it”. We are all feeling unsupported and worried, because the future is leading in so many directions right now. And better the evil we know, that the “anything” we don’t.

I think we all are desperately needing to follow someone and trust in someone. But yet, no one sufficient is offering. And instead, we are all just turning on each other or getting away from it, or as always, sticking our head in the sand even though now the problem is plucking each and every feather out of our hiding ostrich.

[ALTHOUGH! Dear old Zuma might be the man filling this need for some South Africans. Blind hope unfocuses the man’s faults so quickly, so easily].

A friend, who is one of those psychological analysing types you get nervous telling your thoughts to, was telling me yesterday evening to watch the trend… Firstly, everyone gets stressed out, angry, and worked up by the compounding national or global problems. We all then become overwhelmed. And suddenly everyone is “hectically busy at work”. Which was the topic of my Wednesday night – we all were saying how strange it was that everyone suddenly was disgusting busy and crazy in their jobs. We work to get away from what is scaring and stressing us out but what we cannot control. And then we all hit a national/ global calm. We plod along, all while the problems start to compound …. And we start it all over again…. (For me, this explains my post & my everywhere thoughts yesterday so well).

So ultimately, I don’t know if it is as bad as you oversea’rs are hearing it is. Or even as bad as we believe in SA.

I think we are on a tipping point. We are tipping towards either Giving Up All Hope or…?


fuzzy logic said...

Champs - this exact topic has been on my mind a lot lately! I'm only going back to SA in about a year, so I'm going to have to wait and see on the sidelines. It's all a bit scary (particularly when all you hear is a bunch of hype), but we don't want to give up hope just yet! Keep up the good work babes.

noodle said...

What is with the Hectically Busy at Work thing? This year has been insane… I really can't keep up and everyone seems to be in the same boat. It's only March dammit!

Champagne Heathen said...

Fuzzles - I don't see me throwing in the tea towel just yet. If even not for the many other Optimistica reasons, then because I haven't the first clue what my Plan B would even resemble!

But how sweet would some good leadership be right now!

And I can't go anywhere afterall, when I have to get this place all ready & sorted for crazy you!

Noodle - I know!! This weekend is one of catching up on ANY energy I could possibly find. I am EXHAUSTED. And yeah, I think it is us trying to get away from those daily national problems we cannot find solutions to - ignore it to maintain sanity and take control over what we can - usually our work lives!

Good luck to you with yours!

Anonymous said...

Champs, as you might have seen, I wrote about this last week.

Just one point: we don't need someone to trust in and follow. The masses need that, but we (us, the smart ones, you included) need to start trusting ourselves; and trusting our ability to make a real difference, instead of waiting on someone to do it for us.