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Archive for October, 2011

‘God is inside me, like me’ – Liz in ‘Eat, pray, love’

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The end???

The rest of my life has been pretty predictable. I’m not a ‘wow’-person, I’m just ordinary an the bad and good parts of my past don’t make me special in any way. The purpose of this blog is mainly to write down my own personal thoughts and the earlier posts was just information – something I did to help people understand who I am as a person. What happened does not define me……that is my soul’s job. In the end my life turned out very normal. I have been married since 1988 and the marriage is wonderful – we GET each other and we have a way of adding value to each other’s life. I’m still totally enchanted by my husband. We have 3 children – good kids and they are everything to me. We live in a nice house in a decent suburb and I’m a fulltime Mom. I’m happy an thank God for my life – despite the sadness and difficulties I’ve endured, I will not change anything in my life.

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The change

Many people have said that they know of an event in their lives that changed them forever – a catharsis. I have one like that too….down to the hour. In my last post I told you about my final year in school and how I went to work at a bank. I also started dating my future husband on 13 January 1985 (to be exact). Life was good then, it was perhaps not perfect – it never is, is it? I didn’t follow my dream of going to university or moving overseas or anything, but I had a job, I was in love and my parents still cared for me (yes they were controlling and was still fighting, but at least I had them and I know I belonged somewhere); in addition I had a brother and sister who were both happily married and I adored them and their little ones. So you see, I had nothing to complain about and my life went on, I was content and simply never wanted anything more. Then, strangely enough, the real troubles started with the one I loved the most, not my future husband, but my brother’s little girl.
That moment when my whole life changed, when I went off-road into the swamp, happened on Saturday, 7 September 1985 at 1 o’clock in the morning. I answered a call from my brother who, hysterically, informed me that his little girl was dead. She died in a car accident that took place the evening of 6 September. That was it……..from that moment on my life, as I knew it, was over forever. I remember sitting beside our pool later that afternoon. I looked up at the sky and wondered where she was, if she could see me. I missed her so….that child was my life, she was everything to me and now she was gone. I cried for her that day and then for a very long time I refused to cry at all. I made a decision sitting their on the lawn chair – I decided to be strong; everyone in my family was crushed by the loss and they needed someone to give them some kind of direction, someone to stand up and help them get through this and I was nominated – no, I nominated myself! So I did just that; I got up from that chair and made lunch for everyone, cleaning up afterwards. I took care of my brother’s little boy, I cleaned the house when the people left, I comforted people when they cried. Today I wonder why no-one ever thought of comforting me and then I realise that it is no use wondering about that now – that time has passed, its over, its done. After her death I started losing myself; I can’t remember things that happened between September, 10th, and late 1987. It’s as if that time is a total blank and the last thing I can see in my mind is her coffin, resting on two chairs and the pink flowers on top. There was a song my sister played for me in the car after the funeral; Jimmy Swaggart’s ‘Let You’re living water flow over my soul’…that’s the last clear memory I have. I think I was insane during that time, insane with grief. I developed anorexia nervosa and now I understand that I was slowly trying to kill myself. It was only when the doctors gave up hope, when I weighed a mere 31,7kg, that I realised what was really happening. I made another decision then, a decision to save myself and with the help of my boyfriend, I did it. God made me strong to survive, even after the doctors gave me only 2 weeks to live. It is true what they say, nothing can break the human spirit. As I sit here now, 25 years on, it suddenly dawns on me just how brave I must have been. This is very strange as I have a tendency to think very little of myself. Maybe it really is a very good thing for me to write all this down so that I can understand my own worth. Isn’t it funny how a person can sell himself so short? We are so quick to fuss about others, to tell other people how well they look and how clever they are, yet we are careful never to do the same to ourselves. Living is not easy, dear reader, living is a goddamn horror movie and if you survive just one day, you need to say to yourself: ‘Well done, you! You made it through another day!’

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I finished my last post with the thought that basically boils down to the fact that we can decide how life experiences affect us. Keep this in mind as I tell you the last few details about my early years.

Well, so my brother got married in 1979 and a dear friend, whom I met when I was only three, remember, became my sister-in-law. To me, though, she will always be a true sister, none of that in-law nonsense. I started high school in 1980 and the following 5 years became a blur of studying and exams and tests. I hated the school environment, but loved the work and was often seen with my nose in a book, rather than doing sports. I had few friends and many of my fellow scholars thought I was a bit standoffish. I never was though; I always felt a bit out-of-place, as if I didn’t belong in their crowd. Many of them had well-to-do parents, and my Dad was, by that time, already a pensioner. We had nothing in common, expect sharing classes in school. I never fought with people, but often got the feeling that I was disliked or even scorned behind my back. This never bothered me…I loved the schoolwork and thrived on studying. My favorite subjects were Biology and Geography. At the end of grade 12 I received distinctions in both Biology and Afrikaans and for my Record Exam I received distinctions in five out of my six subjects. I had my own fun in high school and could still entertain myself, after all.

At home things did not really go well any more. As I mentioned, Dad was now a pensioner and stayed at home. Mom had had enough of playing housewife and returned to work when I was 16. There was some stress in the house regarding this decision and Dad often turned to alcohol to nurse his pride. This caused fighting and a lot of strain. Sometimes, when I think back, I wondered how on earth I survived that battle. Perhaps it was just me who felt the worry and strain; I know that most of the family will simply deny its existence. Anyway, life went on, and at the end of 1984 I graduated high school. I received a bursary and decided to study nursing, but Mom was up in arms about that and in the end I chickened out and went to work at a Commercial Bank.

You will notice that throughout my story it seems as if I make light of everything. You may think that I pass over things too easily, and you may be right, but I feel that what I’m doing here is just telling a short history of my life, I do not intend to share my own pain and hurt, especially when it is in the past. Which brings me back to what I said at the beginning of this post. Many other things happened, things that I remember as clear as if it happened this morning, but I do not choose to have those events hurt me or change me in any way any more. It is in the past and I have decided long ago that one lives through tough times, learn from it, embrace it and then you move on. You never keep picking at the old hurts, you don’t reopen the wounds – you accept its reality and then go on. It is the future that is important, not the past.

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VIEW SLIDE SHOW DOWNLOAD ALL

This album has 1 photo and will be available on SkyDrive until 2012/01/19.

Sharon Hattingh
0724360562

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Yep, last time I was telling you about my very exciting endeavours during the first two weeks of my life (busy, busy – being born and moving to another city and then also tagged as a fat, ugly, changeling, jikes!!!). Anyhow, so we lived with my grandparents in Pretoria for a few months and then moved to Johannesburg to settle down. We moved into a house in Newlands, Johannesburg – kind of a VERY downtownish place, but we had a nice house on the right side of the street – ha! My brother (then 15 years old) and my sister (she was 13) enrolled in high school ‘Die Burger’ and I stayed home with Mom. Dad worked at the Railways and I hardly ever saw him as he worked in shifts. I remembered being cuddled by brother and sister all the time, although brother had a tendency to tease.
So, I grew up and things remained relatively normal until I turned 3. That was a VERY memorable year for me! I met my future brother-AND sister-in-law AND I ran away from home for the first time (to school no less!). I loved my family dearly through all those years, but sometimes, as it is with families, things become difficult. Mom was a very tough cookie and us girls (sister and me) knew better than to get in a ‘tangle’ with her. My brother, though, wasn’t afraid to challenge everything she demanded and that lead to many a fight and unpleasantness. We survived, though, and when my sister left school and brother went off to join the army, I was still able to convince myself that everything in life is wonderful. Sister got married in 1973 and I was her flower girl (yellow and purple was the ‘wedding colours’ – ugh!!). She was only 19 at the time, but that wasn’t strange, given the times we lived in then. In May 1975, when I was 8 years old, we moved back to Pretoria, leaving my brother and sister in Johannesburg. He was studying at the old RAU and she was married and worked for the South African Airways. Life was becoming a bit lonesome for me, but I never really worried about that. I was always used to entertaining myself. What got to me, though, was being alone with my parents. Mom was getting to be really difficult at times and I got the brunt of her mood swings. From the outside, people thought we had a wonderful family – we did, actually, it wasn’t really SO bad, my Mother wasn’t a serial killer or something – but sometimes I remember how I wished they would just divorce and get the whole mess over with. Mom and Dad used to fight endlessly, but when people visited, they were fine and talked and laughed all the time; but when the guests leave it was back to the old cold war, etc, etc. Despite all these things, though, I never complained, I still don’t and just mention this as part of the story – it doesn’t MAKE the story, you understand. My parents took good care of me and my siblings and we never lacked anything. Sometimes the emotions ran a bit high, but I guess that happens to all families. Once again I would like to say that it isn’t what happen to you that can make your life of break you spirit, it is what YOU decide TO DO with it that matters the most.

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In the beginning

I believe I had some mysterious past life, but have absolutely no idea what it was. I do, however, remember things that happened in my family BEFORE I was born. Smells and sounds, flash images…..that kind of stuff. Anyhow, I became part of this world on a Monday morning in March 1967. My earliest memory is of rosary beads….clicking softly and the squeek of shoes on lino-floors. I was born in a convent, you see. A beautiful place in the Valley of a Thousand Hills outside Durban. I can describe it to you, but you’ll probably think I’m nuts as I’ve never been there since my birth. Nuns took care of the new Mom’s and babies. I was a gigantic 9 pounder with a head of unruly black hair. My Mom thought I was very ugly….not to mention blind as well. I was so fat that the folds in my flesh made it nearly impossible for me to open my eyes! Shame, poor woman…..it must have been such a disappointment! Mom was 36 at the time and Dad 40 – I was NOT planned and well, obviously my first impression didn’t, shall we say, errr…..impress??? Anyway, my brother said that he always thought I was a changeling……definitely NOT his sister, especially when, after a year or so my hair turned pale-blond to go with my fair complexion and blue eyes. My entire family is olive-skinned with jet-black or dark brown hair and dark eyes……you don’t have to be a genius to spot the oddball! We moved to Johannesburg when I was only 2 weeks old, but stayed with my grandparents in Pretoria for a while, as my Dad still had to find a house for us. We’ll take a little rest here. Its late and sleep is starting to look like a real good option. I also have to finish my book (Shadows by Shaun Hutson) – I’ll continue my tale and also tell you about the book when I log in (or is it ‘blog in’ again). Rest well, dear reader.

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