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Amazing how a year can change a story

It’s August 15. I’m enjoying the Joburg spring weather at a table at one of my favourite haunts, Doppio Zero in Rosebank, typing up copy changes on a client newsletter in between forkfuls of salmon fishcake.

On this day a year ago I spoke at TEDxJohannesburg. You can watch the video here.

“In the end, all we have are our stories,” I said, “and all we can do is tell them as best we can.”


So this is my story, continued.

A lot has happened in the past year. I know I’ve been scarce around these parts, and I owe you an explanation. After all, you’ve been following my journey for more than six years, and I need to update you.

Things that have happened in the past year include, in order:

• Sobbing my eyes out after the TEDx talk because my mic failed, then getting drunk with a friend and twerking with sad middle-aged IT guys at The Baron on Main.
• So irritating it was that if I jumped, I’d only break my legs because the fall wasn’t far enough.
• Flying to Cape Town in December, on the day of Madiba’s memorial service, to negotiate a buy-out of the agency I started with my partners.
• Hearing in January that the deal wasn’t going ahead, picking up another client, and feeling that we’d finally started a real business.
• Going on a non-Valentine’s date on February 13 with a friend I’d known for years, who I’d never looked at in That Way.
• Launching another solo art exhibition.
• Agreeing to a buy-out by the global agency I left two and a half years before and moving our agency to new offices on July 1.
• Presenting in a big new business pitch on August 1, for the first time in years, and doing it well.
• And, most importantly of all
• Eloping on August 9.

Yes, dear readers of Thought Leader, I am married.

I’ll let that sink in.

We got married before we’d been dating for six months. You only do that if you know that what you have is completely, nonsensically wonderful, and the more irrational and unnecessary marriage is, the more you want to do it.

And yes, you are part of the reason. I first met my husband, my Best Beloved, thanks to Thought Leader. We stayed in contact over the years, and this year something changed. It has been one of those astonishingly intense, passionate relationships, the ones where reading and TV and emails go out the window because you want nothing more than to be entangled in the arms of the one you love.

Butterflies and zebras

So the blogger who wrote about how marriage is like buying a pair of shoes, how I’ve catfished people as a car, and why there are many very good reasons to never ever have sex again, has completely changed her tune. I glance at the rings on the fourth finger of my left hand — two plain white gold bands on either side of a simple diamond ring and reflect on how Orlando, the eponymous heroine of the Virginia Woolf novel, felt that itch despite herself.

At the end of the month, I celebrate a birthday, a big one, 40, a number that used to terrify me. In contrast to previous birthdays, I’ve decided that I’m going to go big before I go home. I’m inviting friends and family to share the journey with me, and take pleasure in the fact that I’ve been in hell for five long years, and now it looks like I’m out the other side. I’ve constructed a mezzanine over the abyss, and I will do my level best not to fall in there again.

In case you’re worried, I’m still definitely me. I still grapple with self-doubt. Depression has shadowed me since I was nine years old, and the black dog will always trail me even when I ignore him. I will probably never read the comments. But I have found love, and every day I work out what that means.

In the words of the hashtag I use for everything that has happened this year: #SoMuchAmaze