Being Brave

Savage-Jungle-by-CrynnI daydream a lot, it’s a habit I picked up at a young age because I grew up without brothers and sisters so I’d often just burrow deep inside my head and stay there for a long-ass time.

It’s still one of my all-time favourite places, as self indulgent as I know that sounds. Over the years, a hundred thousand different things have taken root in there.

It’s become this swampy, jungly place – all overgrown and soupy with humidity and mist. I stalk through it silently, the mossy ground squelching under my paws, wandering through mires of memories and mangrove forests of dreams.

It was here that I stumbled on the memory of my New Year’s post, any of you guys read that one?

I re-read it a few minutes ago because it was a classic SlickTiger post – simple, straight-forward and nothing to write home about at face value, but given the right key, the right sentence, it suddenly takes on an entirely different meaning.

See, when I wrote that post on Dec 31st 2012, I already knew I was going to be a dad.

So all that waffle about the SlickTiger mantra for 2013 being “Be Brave” wasn’t really me trying to convince you guys to be brave, it was me trying to convince myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready to be a dad, in fact the thought of having a child with J-Rab fills me with indescribable awe. My daughter is growing inside the woman I love! How crazy is that?!

But there’s another part of me that’s started taking stock of my life, weighing up all my achievements and failures in a desperate attempt to figure out what it really is I want to do with my life and that’s scary.

I always thought that when it came time to have kids I’d be financially secure. I’d have money saved in the bank and I’d be ready to give that kid the very best of everything, because that’s what my parents did for me.

The sad truth though is that we aren’t financially ready to have a kid. It kills me, but there it is.

Everyone (including myself) has said that it will be ok, things will work themselves out, J-Rab and I will figure out a way to make ends meet and I’m sure we will but sometimes, at moments like these when it’s 1am and thoughts about the future are running riot in my head, clouds of doubt cast ink-black shadows in the jungles of my mind and the way forward becomes impossible to see.

My entire life, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I’ve wanted to publish award-winning fiction and make millions, so I took a brave step a few weeks back and enrolled on a 10-week GetSmarter Creative Writing course even though there’s no way in hell I can afford it.

The course started yesterday and I eagerly read through all the material they sent us, watched the videos and jumped on the forums to take part in the discussion topics.

My goal is to have a finished manuscript ready before the birth of my daughter. I have five months to make this happen.

After that, my daydream camera lens gets the Vaseline treatment and the world takes on this soft, warm tone as I hold my daughter for the first time, as I get a phonecall shortly thereafter from a publisher saying they love my book and want to put it in bookstores all over the country, as I tour the length and breadth of SA, signing books and doing interviews while money keeps rolling in and I eventually settle down to work on my second and then third and then fourth novels.

J-Rab becomes an award-winning designer and photographer, I marry her, we move into our first house together and when our daughter is a little older we try for a boy and have one.

We look after our little family and give them everything they could ever need and more. Some of my books get optioned as movies, I start writing screenplays, I make a living out of telling the world the stories I keep locked in my ghostly heart.

I’m a great dad and an attentive husband. My kids grow up strong and learn to always do the right thing, no matter how hard that is sometimes.

J-Rab and I leave a mark on this world. We look back fondly on the time we spent living in our ropey flat in Vredehoek, the transitional years before we hit the big-time.

We grow old together, our kids have kids, we look back on our lives without regret or spite or anger and we continue to touch the lives of those around us until we finally, gracefully, leave this world for the next.

The credits roll…

I want that story to be mine.

I will sweat blood to make it happen.

I will throw myself with reckless abandon against the wall that the world has built between me and my dreams until it collapses.

In 2013 everything changes.

All I have to be, is brave Winking smile


5 Responses to “Being Brave”

  1. 1 Milly
    March 5, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Inspiring post for all those going through a transitionary period. I think we all want a version of the life described. At least both you and J-Rab have accepted the difficult truth that it has nothing to do with fate and everything to do with action. Go Slicktiger, GO!

    • March 5, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Thanks Milly, really appreciate the comment 🙂
      I think the road ahead is going to be a tough one for a lot of us this year. When life comes at me, claws out, I think about this line from Macbeth where lady Macbeth is telling Macbeth to man up and says “We fail! But screw your courage to the sticking-place and we’ll not fail.”
      You’re right, it has everything to do with action, and the time for it is now.

  2. March 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I loved this post!

    Here is a ridiculously long piece of unsolicited advice for which I must apologise in advance. 😉

    Since I had my daughter, I’ve been able to think about little else. The weird thing is, I had so many aspirations and anxieties before she was born about the kind of mother I’d be, the world we were bringing her into, the person I was and what I always thought I’d have achieved by the time I became a mom.

    But now that she’s here, I take everything day by day. The big picture is just too massive. The reality of sharing your life with the single person you will love more than any other person, ever (until you have another child) is too mind-blowing to dwell on – I suddenly have more to lose than I can deal with.

    When your baby arrives, I’m sure it will be similar for you. You just have to take each (exhilarating,exhausting) day as it comes, and try to be your best, every day. Your daughter will not care if you are an author or not. You will just be her Dad. There’s only one of you in the world, and she will love you like nobody else.

    It’s great that her birth is an impetus for you and that you are motivated afresh to write your book – and I’m sure with your passion and your being-brave, you’ll succeed. But don’t let it get you down if you don’t – your daughter can share your and J-Rab’s journeys to becoming rich and famous. You’re a family now, and your victories will be even sweeter when she’s there to celebrate with you.

    On a more flippant note – babies don’t cost very much in the first year, in my experience. Invest in a good set of fitted cloth nappies, buy a good 2nd-hand pram, ask for clothes for your baby shower. Sorted. Babies don’t need much – just shitloads of love, which I know you’ll manage without a problem.

    • March 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Thank you so much for this comment Michelle, seriously, there’s a lot of wisdom in what you’ve written that has helped set my mind at ease.

      NEVER apologise for long pieces of unsolicited advice on this site. From telling people how to KLAP GYM to telling them what movies to watch and music to listen to, this entire blog is like one gigantic, 3-year long piece of unsolicited advice, so we’re cool on that front 🙂

      Also, I loved the more flippant note. Luckily we’ve got friends who are happy to donate car seats, cots and all that stuffs, so godwilling, we should get through that first year without me having to work nightshifts at Teaze-Hers.

      Here’s hopin! 😉

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