Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

December blues, greens and deep sea grey

As I type dust particles collect in the grooves of my laptop keyboard, blown through cracks in ancient ceiling boards, and under doors and improperly sealed windows. Courtyard plants stand sideways in pots and dog hair tumbleweed rolls through the rooms. It is December in Cape Town and the wind is here.

It is hot now and becoming dry. Traffic is mad, and impatient and brainless. And there is load shedding. Load shedding in Cape Town in December. Restaurants are losing their shit. Nobody can manage a traffic light turned 4 way stop.

Now it is 1030pm on a Sunday night and the wind is whirling though the courtyard, lifting the hatch that goes into the ceiling and battering the turning chimneys on the neighbours’ braais. I have spent the day negotiating the wind and load shedding.

I want to go to sleep but I am rattled and unsettled.

 

The Chat

Last night I spoke to my friend on the phone for an hour. I had been missing her – she lives in a different city, has a big proper job and kids, and we adore each other but seldom get a chance to chat at length and by ourselves. So last night, after whatsapp chatting for a bit, we ended up FaceTiming (ok, that is a game changer) for an hour, checking in with each other’s lives and getting a bit more granular and detailed, and it was the best. Honestly, I cannot remember when last I had a long, leisurely, uninterrupted chat with a friend, where there was no agenda, or urgency, or point of the call, just organic sharing of information and listening and talking.

I climbed into bed thinking about the little entrance hall in my parents’ house, where I grew up, and the grey telephone with the maroon handle that sat on a special telephone seat, and the hours I spent there, at night, in the dark, with only the lounge light shining brightly, and I spoke to my friends on the phone. I had friends at other schools and I checked in with them at least once a week. I would call their house and ask, usually their moms, if I could speak to them. Sometimes they weren’t home. and I had to ask, “can I leave a message?”. I remember missing the most important phone call inviting me to the matric dance because I was on the phone to my friend who had a pass and was home from the army. I remember spending two weeks of ‘being grounded’ glued to the phone, speaking to my friends and refusing to go to the dinner table. I remember lying to my granny and aunt, who phoned my mother two, or three or four times a day, and telling them she was in the bath and couldn’t talk to them then. I remember the arrangements we would have to make; the time and place, because they weren’t easy to change on a whim. I remember the second phone in my parent’s bedroom, reserved mainly for my mother, so she could lie on the bed and talk for hours too, and I remember picking up the other phone and being disappointed and irritated to find her on the line. I remember catching her talking about me to my gran, or aunt, and having a proper teenage meltdown. But mostly, it was the length of the chats we had then, in those days, that I was jiggled into remembering last night. It was about time, and energy and the lack of urgency. It was about connection, and holding that receiver, and listening and speaking. Sometimes there would be a cross-line and we would listen to and get involved in other strangers’ conversations. Sometimes, when we were bored, we would play trick phone calls in the holidays. “Is your fridge running?” was the standard, go-to one when inspiration was low.

I fell in love, had my heart broken, heard news about death, got school results, smoked cigarettes, in that entrance hall on that grey phone. (4)483612.

What we know what we don’t

Because I read tarot cards for people (not myself, I can’t), I understand and recognise the feeling before a reading where the person experiences fear. It comes in different physical forms; sweaty palms, an inability to focus, dry mouth, butterflies, or a weird growing heat that flushes the whole body. It doesn’t hang around, this fear feeling, because there really isn’t anything scary about tarot. It isn’t supernatural, or fortune telling. Still, in that moment when we believe we are about to come face to face with some truth we don’t know yet, or something about our future, we get scared.

I think this very human thing is really funny. Honestly, we should be feeling that feeling all the time (and some anxiety sufferers do, I am sure), but mostly we live comfortably blindly, knowing but not necessarily computing that things can change on a dime, and all good plans only sort of maybe kinda could possibly but probably won’t be realised. We live in the space between hope and despair, confidence and insecurity, future and past, and entirely dependent on the strange turnings of the universe and the unfolding story we are part of.

Tarot is like an idea sieve. It catches some ideas and presents them for closer examination. It allows us to ask questions and then see what could happen if we play things out. It presents us with a picture, symbol, and then meaning of things, all to help us understand how we fit in to place and time.

On a deeply personal level I live between knowing and not knowing, wanting to know and not wanting to, in the moment in a positive, could be kind of way, and at the same time out of that moment in a what is the world coming to kind of way. Sliding doors. Affirmations. Balance of scales.

Letting go. Holding on tightly. Thinking myself into. Wiggling myself out of. Tarot is a lovely way of gently telling one which one to do now.

Contact me (megan@improvision.co.za) or leave a message in the comments with your details here on meganshead for more info about my readings (R400 in person or on Skype) or to make a booking.

Ok Boomer, Yes Gen X

I went to a friend’s 31st birthday party this last weekend. It was a home party where young people gathered, sat around, spoke, took recreational drugs, drank, and hung out. I was the oldest by far, staring down 55 in a couple of months. I was literally granny age; a hard pill to swallow, but real. It is that same old thing; I don’t feel 54 and I don’t know how it happened to me, more especially since I was pretty sure I would never make it this far. I am in a world that is changing faster than I can think about things and my only saving grace is that, in most instances, I have been there and done that. This just means that in a world where the rules have changed or disappeared I have no judgement, no creepy warning bells of prudishness, just a growing sense of hoping these young people are safe and will also come out of the other side.

As I drove home with the turning, darkening sky around me, I thought about how lucky and fragile and mutating the world of young people is. I thought about my own near misses; driving drunk, relationship mistakes, wildnesses both social and political, friendships made and twisted and lost, friendships that survived, a career that started so late because I was scared, and insecure, and had low self esteem. I thought about things I had written when I had felt differently, and how I had lost those things; the feelings and the words, in notebooks chucked out in one of my many moves. I thought about my comfort now, in home and partner and animals. My choices now to be this, and do that. But mostly I thought about how I had survived it all, a small ant, circling the rim of the plate blindly, coming across a morsel by chance, and not falling in and drowning.

This ant me has been poked at by the stick of fates, sometimes cruelly and sometimes in jest. Only, the ant feels the end of the stick, not the intention.

The Power The World

I am half way through reading The Power by Naomi Alderman. She wrote this award winning book in 2017 and it is riveting. The premise, in the world that we know, is that teenage girls suddenly, and en mass, discover their power; an electricity that can control, hurt, destroy and kill. They can also ‘teach’ this power to older women.

The premise is loopy and very speculative fiction, but the world, and how it responds, is ours. Religion, gender discrimination, right wing conservatism and fanaticism, power, sexuality, crime, drugs, fear, politics. This is our world with the women in charge, and it is still as broken and dangerous as before. The truth is we have inherited a cruel and dangerous legacy, and colonialism, slavery, war, human trafficking, drug wars, capitalism, rich owned media and corruption are real and will kill us.

I am horrified and drawn to this book like a bible of our times. I will keep you posted.

Wrong Question BBC

When I was at varsity I became obsessed with a movie called A Dream of Passion starring the magnificent Melina Mercouri as an aging actress staging her comeback by playing Medea, and the extraordinary Ellen Burstyn as the woman she visits who is in jail for killing her own children.

This movie is complicated, layered and brilliant, because it pulls together the strands of the original Euripides play (with bits of chilling rehearsals and then performances, even more powerful in the original Greek) and intersects it with a modern day version of the story. Another layer is the actress’s own complicated relationship with her husband, their childlessness, his affairs.

Maya the actress visits the prisoner Brenda Collins, initially as a publicity stunt. There is a moment where Brenda Collins realises that Maya has brought a camera man with her to the interview and her reaction is etched into my mind. I will never forget that moment. It is one that has served as pure acting inspiration for me my whole life.

This camera becomes really important as the film develops. A BBC film crew is documenting the process of the play; following the actress, interviewing her, and recording her as she finds the character and then herself. It is riveting and beautiful.

In a late night interview around an outside fire, when everyone has had a bit to drink and the boundaries are blurred, Maya is asked about Brenda’s guilt. She replies, “Wrong question BBC, wrong question. The question is what would drive a woman to kill the things she loves the most.”

I have never forgotten that line. It pops up so often for me; when women are blamed for the violations enacted on them, when politicians are endlessly asked the wrong questions (like Jeremy Corbyn being interrogated for the false claim of his anti-Semitism), when the impeachment hearings testifiers are bombarded with Republican spewing in the guise of questions.

The BBC has been unforgivably Tory biased in the run up to this election in the UK. They keep asking the wrong questions, covering up Boris’s horrible blunders, and they keep bringing up the anti-Semite nonsense about Jeremy Corbyn. They have remained suspicious of the ‘sale of the NHS’ to America, even in the face of proper evidence that any true journalist should have been able to find and provide. We expect this rubbish pretend reporting from Fox News. From The Sun. They are the laughing stock. But the BBC? Sies. Wrong question BBC, wrong question.

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