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The Lion’s Tunes #13

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Welcome to another edition of The Lion’s Tunes.

At the suggestion of a close friend, I decided to put my love of music to good use.

She pointed out to me that since I love music and listen to so much of it, I should share what songs I’m currently jamming to at the moment.

I usually tweet or Facebook about what music has got me all caught up and catching feelings, but putting it into one space really allows me to savour the music.

I’m by no means a music expert and I won’t pretend to be. Most of what will be written here is information I’ve learned on the net and just my personal opinions on the songs.

Since it has been a while since I have updated this will be quite long… There is a playlist for this edition that can be found of the end of this post.

· Song: Grigio Girls
Artist: Lady Gaga

This came off of Joanne, and I really really enjoyed it. It was from the deluxe addition, but it’s just such a great fun jam, while still being country.

Understandably there was a lot of Gaga fans who while enjoyed the country vibe of Joanne, they missed pop Gaga.
Much to the delight of Little Monsters, Lady Gaga delivered a new pop jam when she performed at Coachella Music Festival.
(Tidbit – While at the festival, she was filming with Bradley Cooper for their new movie “A Star Is Born”)

· Song: Rooting For You
Artist: London Grammar

There is something so beautiful and haunting about this song.

Lead singer Hannah Reid’s voice is so achingly beatiful with depth and emotion.

It was a great decision to leave the first verse half of the song as only her vocals.

· Song: 1000x
Artist: Jarryd James ft Broods

· Song: Stranglehold
Artist: Kevin Garret

There is something intriguing about the lyrics that this man writes.  He just taps into the deep emotion and I’m able to resonate with him.

Something I recently discovered was that he actually wrote Pray You Catch Me which is a great ballad on Beyonce’s Lemonade album

· Song: Issues
Artist: Julia Michaels

When I first heard this song, I became so enchanted with it, and it just stayed with me.

There was just something so truthful about the lyrics and vulnerable, which I completely find brave because writing something so revealing can be so daunting.

This was echoed when I heard her perform the song live, because this version of it, it is something that gave me goosebumps

· Song: So High
Artist: Doja Cat

It’s a vibe

· Song: Say Something Loving
Artist: The xx

· Song: Sleepover
Artist: Hayley Kiyoko

I am in love with this song and vibe. Especially after watching the video. This song made me want to be lesbian. Women are really beautiful creatures.

· Song: Phases
Artist: Howling

I discovered Howling when I came across him/she/them after watching a Taken movie. Yes, the ones with Liam Neeson. There is just soemthing so cool about the atmospheric music that they create.

· Song: Crowded Places
Artist: Banks

· Song: Stoned On You
Artist: Jaymes Young

I just really love the song and it’s so hypnotic. It really is.

I heard of Jaymes young before, but this was something different that really made me take note of him.

Also this other song of his is not too bad either.

· Song: Quit
Artist: Cashmere Cat ft Ariana Grande

What I love about this song is how Ariana Grande’s vocals sounds on this track. It also doesn’t hurt that Sia wrote the lyrics, and that if you listen closely enough you can also her here background vocals.

This is honestly such a smooth jam though

· Song: Lust For Life
Artist: Lana Del Rey ft The Weekend

This is the second time that the weekend has collaborated with Lana Del Rey, but the first time I have heard a song of theirs. This is so wonderful and their voices really complement each other so impressively.

· Song: Whatever It Takes
Artist: Imagine Dragons

This newly released song from Imagine Dragons is quite catchy actually. I thoroughly enjoy it. It is really quite a dope ass track. They’re a bad slowly settling into being under the radar, but that seems to be okay for them because they get to make the music they want and still have a loyal fan base.

If it means they keep putting out tracks like this then that is something that I’m okay with

· Song: There’s Nothing Holding Me Back
Artist: Shawn Mendes

I am so here for this new Mendes track. If this is what his next album is going to be like, then I am definitely excited. I really love this vibe.

· Song: Young and Menace
Artist: Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy is back with an new single, and it is quite the unexpected sound from the band.

It might not be for everyone, but there is definitely something here that has my attention, and is keeping it.

· Song: Reminding Me
Artist: Shawn Hook ft Vanessa Hudgens

I came across this because of Vanessa, it had been a while since she released music following her High School Musical Days and now to hear something new, it made me interested to hear what music she was lending her talented voice to.

Also the male artist she is singing with, has a nice voice that contrasts hers.

· Song: Amsterdam
Artist: Nothing But Thieves

· Song: Regret in your tears
Artist: Nicki Minaj

As much hate as Nicki Minaj gets, she is really talented.

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Playlist for all this edition of “The Lion’s Tunes”

Why I like quiet guys…

I recently had an epiphany, and was able to pinpoint my deep attraction to quiet guys.

It’s not because every Young Adult book and movie idolises the quiet, stoic and mysterious guys, but I realised it had more to do with my feelings and personality.

Whenever I speak to a guy I like or am attracted to, I usually hide my feelings and over-thinking personality, and I manage very well…until that moment when I don’t.

I can pinpoint that moment because it is usually a wall of text where after feeling particularly raw, the hamster wheel doesn’t just keep turning, the wheel breaks and the hamster keeps running.

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It’s a train wreck that I always regret after having sent the message until that moment I don’t regret it.

Usually after sending these essays of text I then send a “sorry for that, it just spilled out”.

However, what I’ve noticed is that I usually feel better after that because it feels like I’ve been suppressing my feelings and letting it out finally allows me to breathe a little easier.

My mind feels calmer and I feel like I’m not suffocating in my feelings as much.

It is really difficult. I like calling those moments my spirals – it is when my feelings spiral out of control but at the same time I feel like I regained control of my sanity.

I realised that with the constant running and churning of my mind, I liked the appeal of someone quiet.

I like someone quiet but not scared to speak up when they need to. Quiet doesn’t mean serious too but just having that quiet presence. The reason why I like someone quiet is because when my feelings gets the better of me, they need to be able to keep a level head.

There needs to be someone that can be the calm in a fast rising, fast dissipating storm and they won’t be moved/freaked/hurt by the storm.

A person who can realise that my feelings of worry isn’t always about them, but rather more about my concerns and fears  I have when dating/having feelings for someone.

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I’ve have always maintained that I hate developing feelings for someone because of how it affects me, and that I think is something that will always be true. Sure, I can’t help who I develop feelings for, but that sensation of caring so much and the wondering if they like me back or find me funny just causes something in my mind to short circuit.

[And if one more person tells me I need to relax, I swear I’m going to cut someone. Do you really think that I purposefully want to be this uptight, and controlled by my feelings? Get the fuck out of here.]

Not a lot of people can understand that.

A mistake that can be interpreted from this is that I want a knight in shining armour.

I don’t. If a knight comes along great but I don’t need someone to rescue me. If the last two years has taught me anything, it is that I can save myself.

It’s hard but succeeding on your merits is one of the greatest feelings you can ever have.

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Almost all the guys I’ve liked have been soft-spoken or had a calm demeanour – which I’ve felt have balanced me out.

Someone different enough from me who I can learn from, and who can learn from me – a partnership wherein we challenge, excite and love each other.

Someone I can weather the storms of life with, and also occasionally the unexpected storm of my feelings.

So far, I have yet to encounter a person who can withstand the storm.

I like the quiet wherein I can find solace, the quiet wherein I can find peace, the quiet wherein I can find love, the quiet wherein I can find knowledge – the quiet where someone can calm the noise and doesn’t always have to say something.

Also don’t mistake that I want to be with a quiet guy for selfish reasons, because when I care for someone, I’d go to the ends of the earth to make them happy. I can’t like someone for self interest, because one of things that make me happy is being able to make someone else happy.

Partnerships are the name of the game, and it is a partnership in which we can both thrive.

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Now how do I find that unicorn of quiet guy who doesn’t mind being with a somewhat loud guy?

Theo. Over and Out.

PS – While I do like quiet guys, I won’t rule out seeing someone loud. If I like someone then I just go with the feelings. Ain’t nobody got time to keep finding faults with people.

Dating outside of your social class… [Abstract]

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Given by the title, I’m sure you’re well aware of what the topic is, but I labelled it abstract because this post in many ways will be one.

Dating outside of your social class can play a big factor going into a relationship. It is one of the things that people don’t talk about because:

  1. They do not know how to articulate this OR
  2. They would like to believe that this is a concept that is only relevant when discussing business or economics, but that it is completely irrelevant when it comes to one-on-one relationships.

However, social class still plays an enormous role in relationships…

People often meet partners at events or places they frequent, and usually the people attending these events/places all come from the same social class. They tend to have more than their fair share in common because they were socialised in similar ways.

If you go to a particular club in a particular area, you are bound to meet a particular type of person.

Chances of you finding a millionaire in a shebeen is very unlikely because that is not the type of places millionaires frequently visit; barring of course this isn’t Saxonworld shebeen.

Again, these divisions in social class play a factor in our lives and they are impossible to avoid.

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Illustration: Devon Daniels

If you were to take all the people someone has dated (not slept with) and place them alongside each other, then you’ll likely find a pattern. It is usually because these people fit into an archetype. There are exceptions to the rule, but more often than not, people stick to familiarity.

Metaphors aside, people are creatures of habit which is why when moving outside of these habits they present challenges that people aren’t always ready for, and it isn’t easy.

I know that I have existed in various social classes given how I was socialized and raised.

It has certainly helped me in some areas of my life but in others it can be a haphazard.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times before I’ve only been in two relationships, both of which didn’t last long so whatever I write here comes from feeling more than experience.

This isn’t advice, because that would be like a virgin giving you blowjob tips. It doesn’t count. You never know what giving a blowjob is like until you have had a penis in your face, and then you gotta figure out the nuances of what to do with it.

With that said, let’s pontificate.

Dating someone who comes from a different social class can be difficult. Especially in South Africa where there are enormous gaps between our social classes. You have the upper class, upper middle class, the middle class, lower middle class, upper lower class, lower class and then the severely impoverished.

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We fit into these various subsets of our society and it does make it a challenge for some of us to relate to each other but it shouldn’t be something that should stop us from trying.

My ex-boyfriend was able to exist in a space where he had the luxury of studying whatever he wanted at university, he had a mom and dad still together, he could rent a house with two other people, he didn’t need to get a job, he lived close enough to campus where he could walk there, and he was still given a stipend by his parents as well and was able to enjoy his experience.

He wasn’t exactly living the high life given that he had type two bipolar disorder and get panic attacks which did give him his own set of challenges. But he existed in a social class much different from my own.

I had a single parent mom providing for three kids, I was able to get my Bachelor of Arts but there wasn’t enough money for me to do my honours, I lived at home with my mom and brothers (still do), took me two –four hours a day travelling just to get to campus and home (same amount of time to go to work and home). I didn’t have internet access at home, and I never got any spare money. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to work during my varsities days, but that was because my mother insisted I focus on my studies.

I had other privileges in that I had friends who would take me out and cover my part of the bill if I didn’t have any money, and that I didn’t have to battle any mental health issues, but again we moved in different social classes.

It was one of the factors that contributed towards the end of our short-lived relationship.

We had a few things in common, our love of music, books and we managed to enter each other’s orbit because of a gay dating app. There were enough similarities for us to forge our initial bond but we came from different social classes and meeting each other half-way took a lot of effort.

I wasn’t scared to make the effort because I had met him while I was working so I was earning a income, I would visit him and make an effort…but how funny is it that despite earning a income, I was still less well-off than a full time student.

He was probably getting a stipend as much as my income 274dba54dc2e8f3581e25609ea153408was at the time.

Got to love the irony in that.

I remember that as time progressed, I felt a growing frustration at a lack of understanding regarding what my life and social circumstances were but it is what it is.

Dating outside of your social class is not an impossible feat;  some couples have gone on to make it work and gotten married, married for decades and still love each other despite their differences, but they definitely had to put in the work for it.

Dating outside of your social class can actually be an eye opening experience, because it was one for me. I was exposed to someone with a mental health issue that I had no clue about and not only learned stuff about the issue but also about myself.

There are sometimes massive inequalities to overcome when dating someone from a different social class – their lack of wealth or their abundance of wealth are certainly issues that may arise, but it depends on the people.

It’s no one’s fault that some people grew up with wealth and others didn’t, but it is extremely important how in how people deal with contrasts.

If people are willing to meet each other half-way then it could lead to something beautiful and unexpected.

So don’t be scared when you come across someone different to you, it may be a life changing experience you never know you needed.

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Getting the interns to do this was a struggle.

Theo. Over and Out.

The Taste of Coffee

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Coffee…you love it, you hate it or remain indifferent to it, but regardless of which, it is the one thing that causes quite a lot of conversation between people; even revealing information about an individual.

If you drink coffee, it becomes a way to bond with a stranger, and the same goes for if you don’t because if you drink tea (or if you don’t drink coffee or tea at all) it allows people to develop a rapport with each other.

It‘s a conversation starter. Many relationships have started because of coffee.

However, what I find interesting about it is how a cup of coffee tastes.

I won’t be speaking about coffee beans or anything remotely to do with the technical process of making coffee, rather the personal meaning of coffee to me.

It seems like an odd thing to write about but I once came across a guy who had a really cool tattoo of the compound elements of coffee, so this doesn’t seem odd.

Growing up while experiencing the various iterations of a lower middle class family, it you shapes your life in different ways that you don’t always know how to articulate.

I recently had a cup of coffee, and the taste of the coffee stood out for me because it was something my palette was not used to.

Ricoffy was the coffee of my childhood. It was the coffee that every one of my family members and family friends had because it was what we could afford. No one knew anything about Espresso or filter coffee.

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It remains the coffee of many lower class and poor families who cannot afford the more expensive coffee. In many ways it is the coffee that most adequately represents the lower/middle class experiences that many South Africans had while growing up.

It was all that we could afford before Frisco – but Frisco was even still a luxury. It was for when we had run out of coffee with guests around, and if it was close to pay day then my family would get it.

Otherwise Ricoffy was coffee I grew up on.

The taste of it was the only taste of coffee my mouth ever knew…until high school where I met my unlikely best friend. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts before, he was the one who first introduced me to filter coffee.

It will always be a stand-out for me, because it was a moment that opened my mind and allowed me see things differently.

I remember everything about the way the coffee tasted because it was soooo different. When all you’ve ever know was instant coffee, filter coffee was this brand new thing.

Years have passed since that day and something that keeps coming back to me is how growing up on instant coffee has forever affected the way coffee tastes to me.

Every time I drink a cup of coffee, it is an experience.

What I find amusing are the coffee snobs too. I remember coming across a tweet a few years back that said something to the effect of, “You say you like coffee but all you’ve ever had is instant coffee…”

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At the time I thought that snobbish type of comments were cool so I liked the tweet.

What stood out for me about the moment was that it was this way for people to make themselves appear better than everyone else. It still happens all the time because you hear it all the time.

While that is all good and fun, it is important to remember that for some people instant coffee is the only coffee they will ever taste… if they even get to afford such a luxury.

Instant coffee is still even a luxury for some people.

Ever since the end of my high school career I’ve had Lattes, Cappuccinos, Espressos and quite a bit of filter coffee.

Interestingly, drinking those types of coffee don’t taste they way coffee tastes to me, and that whenever I have to have anything other than instant Ricoffy it’s almost like I have to remind myself that I do enjoy coffee I am tasting.

Like I’m reminding my middle-class taste that it’s not a bad experience, just different…which is something could be applied to most of life really.

The taste of coffee in some ways could be argued is the taste of our lives.

Isn’t that a thought?

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Theo. Over and Out.

Discovering my wanderlust…

In the main center in Grahamstown.

I had hoped to write this post sooner, but I have been extremely busy with work.

The Grahamstown’s National Arts Festival rolled into the Cape Times #ElectionsTrek and finally Elections itself. I have very actively lately complaining about how tired I am.
I am actually hoping to take off soon, but besides my complaints, my recently work activities did make me realise how fortunate I am.
I had never been on an aeroplane before until I was selected to go and cover the National Arts Festival in Grahamastown. The whole Arts Fest experience was so amazing and eyes opening, to quote the slogan it was “11 Days of Amazing”.
I won’t recap too much of what I did because I did write a live blog for work which you can find here, but it was a truly wonderful, sometimes stressful experience where I learned a little more about myself.

It was so great learning about a town that I had never been to, and if you ever want to learn about a town in a short span of time, the Arts Fest is it. You have shows across the town, and it forces you to be a little adventurer.
What I loved most about the whole experience was that it ignited this desire in me to travel more.
I’ve always had this desire to travel, but it did so in a completely different way.
I had only been back in Cape Town for about a week before going away another week-long work trip.
 It was part of the Cape Times’ election coverage where a reporter, a photographer and I travelled to a few of the smaller towns within our province to find out how people felt about elections.
It was enlightening because you are driving to towns, which people usually drive past.
We visited 5 towns in a week, and visiting these smaller towns made me appreciate them. I will never shy away from just stopping into a little town while on a road trip because you can never know what you might learn.
The people I have met through my trips, the stories I’ve heard and the experiences I had are all memories that I will never forget. All of these things have given me a greater insight into the world around me.
A super awesome friend and I are actually tentatively making plans to go on a Euro-tour in about two years, and I cannot wait. Sure I would love to go overseas before then, but I am not above hard work to get myself there.

I will definitely encourage others to explore the area and world around them because you never know what awaits, and for myself, it is something I look forward to exploring further.

Learning about Whiteness and Colourism

Something interesting I have learned in the past year are the subjects of whiteness and colourism; specifically how these words have helped me expand my vocabulary and articulate my feelings around race.

The subject that has captured my mind the most has been whiteness, because it is the ways in which people of colour (like myself) have been told how some of the things white people do, then becomes the standard of greatness.

Like how I made sure I spoke English in this overly enunciated manner so that when white/coloured people regularly told me, “You speak so well”, I felt so proud; even when I was saying nothing of importance. This is interesting because no one usually says that of white people.

Like how I ended up wanting to go to one high school because it was seen as the classier school where the white kids went, instead of a closer school that most of the coloured and black kids went.

Like how I would expect my parents (then eventually a single parent mother) to provide me with the things that some of my white friends had, when what I had was already the luxury that they could provide.

Like how growing up on Ricoffy, turned out to be fake coffee because my lower middle class family could never afford filter coffee, and only in high school did I learn that there was this thing called filter coffee.

Like how the media kept pushing this notion of “white beauty” on me to such a degree that it has subconsciously shaped my first instinctive preferences in guys, and beyond that they way my imagination often visualises fictitious characters.

I would stop reading a book when it repeatedly pointed out how “half-Asian” or “dark skinned” a character was, as those character traits would disrupt this image of a white character in my head.

I have had to become aware of all these things and in some cases needed to unlearn these habits, while in other cases I’ve needed to make peace with how I was socialized throughout life.

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Colourism is another part of this, as it is something which relates to racism and classism on those within your own racial class. An example being the snide/derogatory comments made about people from a poorer social group when you have exactly the same skin tone.

The only interaction with this I had was when I would judge people of colour for how they would speak English; never mind the fact that English would be their second or third language. As if their manner of speaking English would be a judgement on their intellect.

I haven’t dealt with colourism as much, but learning about this issue, and becoming aware of whiteness (specifically mine) has been a very enlightening part of this year.

The process of learning about these things have been extremely difficult and uncomfortable for myself but by learning more about this, I had found that it has made me more open to learning about the people around me instead of judging them first.

I know that I am still learning, but I am proud of myself for what I have become aware of thus far.

How you doing? I don’t know.

Anyone who has seen my most recent posts on social media has been bound to pick up on the fact that I am currently feeling extra emotional.

I am just not in a happy space.

There is a number of contributing factors to this, some of which I don’t really feel like I fully understand. I feel like I am at the beginning of a quarter life crisis – which is actually a legitimate thing surprisingly.

Maybe 2016 is just meant to be a more emotionally challenging year for me? I don’t know if it is true, but it certainly feels that way to me.

The older I seem to get, the more I feel like issues that I thought I had dealt with over the years are rearing their heads causing more shit for myself. Like I had just put paint over the cracks and now they are reopening.

I have no energy to list them all here because I feel like I am a broken record playing the same old depressing sob song on repeat. Woe is me *violins playing in the background*.

Basically, I am just not feeling it.

I’ve recently found myself noticing the generic “How are you doing?” question that always starts every conversation. I, of course, answer with the “Good thanks and you?” without really meaning it because often, people don’t really care how you are and they are just being polite and additionally, it also moves the conversation along.

However, with people who I care enough about, I answer the question honestly, saying: “I don’t know”.

It catches people off guard; and while it could be construed as an attention seeking ploy, that doesn’t matter to me because I am being honest.

It is not that I am uncertain of how I am feeling, but rather I find myself uncertain of why I am feeling the way I do – trying to experience the happiness that I find in everyday life, while simultaneously, feeling a sadness weigh heavy on my heart. It is exhausting. 

Further complicating things for myself is that I am a bad liar.

I can be a great liar when I put effort into in, and use my high school drama skills, but I do not have a heart to lie. I would rather avoid telling someone something than lying to them. My face is also pretty easy to read – the emotions are very easy to read on my face.

It takes so much effort for me to fake a “don’t worry, I am fine” and it is something that I have to do when at work. Going on a story or out of the office is a lot easier to “fake” it, because you have to be professional. You are doing a job and meeting people, focusing on them so it is easy to not think about what you are feeling. 

However when you are in the office, it is a bit harder.

People will say “Don’t be miserable” and “Smile a little” which I totally understand because newsrooms can be a bit depressing. No one wants to be surrounded by miserable and grumpy people who make things difficult for other people.

I get it.

The issue for me however, is that people need to be a little more sensitive when just blurting out “Don’t be miserable” because someone might be going through something or is not at their best and by telling them to not be miserable, you are being insensitive and inconsiderate about what they are feeling.

Faking happiness can only work so long. It doesn’t always work.

There is a lot happening with me, and it sometimes I don’t always want to speak about it or tell people about it. Sometimes I just want to be and figure my shit out. I actually went for a random 30 minutes walk during my lunch hour recently and it was a walk that had no purpose but it helped me.

If you ask me how I am doing and I go – “I don’t know” – just know that I care enough about you to answer it honestly, but also don’t feel compelled to ask if you don’t want to know, or get upset by a vague non-answer.

I am just rolling with the punches.


Theo. Over and Out.

PS- Do note that if I do look like I do need a hug, I will never object or reject a hug. Hugging is awesome and has been proven to help people feel better. #TeamHugsForTheWin