Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: deeply personal (Page 1 of 93)

True Story

About 5 years ago I bought a Cape Honeysuckle and planted it in our back courtyard, up against the wall, in a tiny patch of sand after I had lifted one of the tiles. I also planted a Black Eyed Susan. These two went absolutely mad, took over completely and were impossible to control. I was really sad when I had to make the decision to chop them down, especially since their colours were extraordinary. The Honeysuckle had deep red flowers instead of the more common yellow or orange. But, they were becoming a big nuisance and were threatening the wall, so I chopped them down.

A year ago I noticed that a shoot of the Honeysuckle had taken hold and was growing in a tiny crack in the corner. We had a conversation, me and it, and I warned it that I was going to be absolutely ruthless with it; I was keeping an eye on it to make sure it only went upwards and more than once I chopped off big runners that went off on their own. And I have been keeping an eye on it.

Imagine my utter shock and surprise when I saw these.

These lilac trumpet like flowers have absolutely nothing to do with the original plant whatsoever. I have no idea how this happened.

I had another conversation with it after seeing the first bloom. I was, “What are you doing? Where do those come from, and wow, they are a beautiful surprise.” Bad idea. It went mad and there are blooms and runners and shoots and leaves all over. It was as if it had tried me out on this new floral expression and now, with permission, it was going to show off, a lot.

This is a true story. No idea what is going on here but it is beautiful.

PS. My accidental tomato plant has also gone totally bonkers and I harvest about 30 teeny tomatoes a day. They are delicious.

For Lazer

I’m living in

Your shedded skin

Your echo voice now faint

Your tiny trees died

within six months of you leaving the planet

But huge ones,

Standing fast,

Reach arms across divides

To touch.

Shamed on Social Media

I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be able to come back here, but I guess it is like riding a bike: Fall off, climb back on again. I am not sure that if your legs are broken it is even possible, but, given time, even with broken but mending legs, it is said to be the best medicine. Right now I probably need this medicine. I am doing this with my heart in my mouth.

When is the right time to respond? Is it too soon? Is it too late? Will I be accused of starting it up again?

Just over a week ago I made a hideous mistake based on a completely knee-jerk reaction about a goat that I perceived was in distress. Coupled with my reaction was an idiotic post I made on a Facebook group that I am part of, asking for help. After I saw what had happened, and how the thing had spiralled down into hideous, racist, Islamophobic assumptions by idiots commenting on my post, I rushed to make a very public apology, so fast I even messed that up, and then apologised again, and then again. The family who I hurt accepted, and then later questioned and rejected my apology.

I will be very surprised if you, my readers, have not seen the resulting fallout from #goatgate, on social media, in the newspapers and on the radio. I was made fun of, threatened, trolled, called names. I was sent private messages of the most filthy abuse. My blog was targeted, my apology rejected, my personal details distributed, screen grabs (not including my apology) shared, my work threatened, my name ridiculed, my past discredited, my politics rejected. I was made fun of by South Africa’s comedians, I was given lessons in what I should have done, I was threatened and silenced and warned that my actions were indefensible. I was vilified by actresses in the industry; some who know me and some who don’t.

Three articles featured prominently on IOL, M&G and Cape Times. These were shared like holiday sweets on Facebook and Twitter. One of the articles was written by a Facebook friend. Not once was I asked for my side of the story, or even to comment. With all my contact information totally accessible to anyone (for abuse), I was not contacted by the ‘journalists’ even though I was quoted by them, when they lifted what I had written on Facebook. The only media outlet that made contact with me was Radio Islam who asked if I would come onto their morning show to give my side of the story. Of course I said yes. They were the only ones ever who asked.

Alongside the deep shame and humiliation I felt about this horrible thing was the powerless sense of my silence. I understood the temperature of the room and realised that anything I said was fuel to the fire and I had to keep quiet, get off social media and only invest in one-on-one interactions. It was clear that my apology didn’t support the narrative and was mostly left out of any further portrayals of me, the racist, hater, whitesplainer. Two people asked to meet with me, to hear what I had to say, of the hundreds who sent messages of abuse and name calling. Two people who were very offended by what I had done; one publicly and one privately schooling me and putting me in my place. These meetings have not happened yet.

The fallout has extended further into my world of work. I have always understood that I have a public profile that lends itself to controversy. I don’t do myself any favours by writing about theatre, here on meganshead and for Weekend Special. I saw two plays last week and couldn’t write about them. I knew that people would be looking at the ‘who’ of the review instead of the ‘what’, and that everybody would suffer.

When I think about it with a bit of distance the one thing that is funny is that I am always desperate for publicity for my work. I struggle to get media attention for my plays; always begging friends and colleagues for airtime and press. I haven’t been on the radio talking about my plays in years. I have to rely on my own small publicity machine on social media for any exposure. But all over all media, Megan Furniss – well known theatre maker, actress, director, famous in South African theatre circles, made headlines.

I still feel sick about this. I still feel silenced and ashamed. I still wish I could turn back the clock and take it all back. And yet, I know, in a world more gentle, and kind, my real concern for an animal in distress (regardless of it being part of a petting zoo at a children’s birthday party) would have been just that. Me. Super sensitive about an animal tied to a pole.

A small difference

So much has happened to me since I last wrote a blog post, mostly a soul altering, mind bending, heart stretching trip to my tribal homeland of New York City.

I have been back for just over a week now, and have spent most of it getting over jet lag and jumping straight into performing improv, teaching and directing and dubbing and trying to find my body in Pilates after over 50 hours of crippling flying.

One of the priceless things about travel is that you can see home and home problems at a distance, with fresh insight and renewed vigour. There is also a moment (although not long lasting) where the things you thought were big suddenly seem not to be, and visa versa.

On my return I called someone out on Facebook for a clueless post that was inherently racist. We had a small private conversation in which he was defensive, but in pain, and I was kind but firm. He messaged me later. He had shifted his viewpoint. Even in his pain he had been jolted to see things differently. I was so happy. I had helped him see that he was wrong. I made a difference.

The lesson has been to ‘speak’ out. Say something. Leave a comment. Call someone out for sexist or harassing behaviour. Speak your mind when someone does something racist, or hurts another person in front of you. Let children hear you stop someone doing something bad, or wrong, or rude or insensitive. We can all make a difference.

 

 

A by itself tomato

I have been in a stomping rage. It has been so bad I have even shouted at innocents, just because they were there. Granted I am still on the edge of illness, and seriously impatient about getting well, but, honestly, white people. Let me not go there.

So, I have turned to a tiny miracle in my life and I am celebrating the magnificence of the smallest tomato. A month or so ago I noticed the first fragile leaves of a tomato plant, growing by itself in our front patch of garden. I had to toss the devouring caterpillar next door because it would have eaten the whole thing, and I have managed to just let the plant grow, and watch. I hadn’t planted the seed, and can only assume it got there in bird poo, or because someone tossed the tomato from their sarmie over the wall, but the conditions seem to be perfect, and the plant gets on so well with the star Jasmine it shares the trellis with, the lavender it shares the bees with, and the blackish flowered creeping geranium it shares the soil with.

Because the plant has just arrived and flourished, I have no idea what kind of tomatoes to expect. Big, small, cherry, Italian – they could be absolutely anything. I have no control, or choice here. I am so delighted by this.

Bursts of little, spiky yellow flowers have appeared. Such a good sign of fruit to come. And today I looked beneath a starting to shrivel blossom and saw, as small as a dewdrop, the beginnings of an actual tomato.

This plant has grown defiantly. It has broken all the rules of special seeds, and tender care, and timing, and seedlings. It has extended strong stems, hairy green leaves and blossoms all over the place, showing off, taking over, announcing itself. It has a secret history that will never be known, but will never hold it back.

Thank you fierce rebel tomato plant. You restore me to my natural self, and I honour and love you.

This Racist Place

Calling Tumi Morake a racist is not just wrong, it is idiotic. It also smacks of the worst kind of arrogance and entitlement that certain white people are audacious enough to lay claim to. Honestly, Radio Jacaranda could do no better than clearing out their listenership, making them more representative. And who gives a fuck what those white, disgruntled racists listen to anyway?

I am disgusted that white people still take offence when POC try and unpack the hell on earth that was Apartheid, with no clue about how their pathetic mediocre selves have been advantaged into a whole category of entitlement just because of their skin colour.

I get hysterical when white people whitesplain their hurt feelings with not a single thought for the noise they are making at the wrong time and wrong place.

I get fucking furious when I accidentally read the comments and realise that most white people in South Africa are on a par with Donald Trump and his alt right nazi supporters.

Enough. Absolutely fucking enough. Stop them. Don’t give them space, airtime, breath. Enough.

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