It’s funny. When you move to a new place you make a lot of new friends. You assume that they “see” you and “know” who you are. You assume that the person that you are is on show for all to see. I certainly don’t try and hide parts of my personality – that’s way too much hard work!! In London my friends all know me. They know that I am a very organised, very crazy, hard ass bitch! I look after myself, and I am nobody’s fool. I’m shrewd, independent and candid. Men are always a little put out by my confidence and capability. My friends and family mostly forgive my freak outs and military planned events. They know that I am a product of crappy formative years – I’m very short tempered and have zero patience. Luckily they all give me some lee-way and put up with me. In return though they do get a fun, loyal friend who loves to do crazy stuff! I can actually be quite cool to be around, other than this “other person” I just told you about!
I’ve made a lot of friends in Jozi, but one group of friends in particular I’ve become very close to (the bloggers obvs!). We hang out all the time, and we literally do not shut up talking. From the minute that we meet up the girls mouths are going a hundred miles an hour. We have to talk over each other to get a word in edge ways. We do really fun stuff together, and just chill out too. We have learned each others stories quickly as we spend so much time together.
One of them mentioned to me that a mutual friend, that I spend less time with as we don’t live close by, had made a passing comment that they thought that I would freak out in a certain situation. The first friend knows that I would not even flinch in this situation and told her so. She pointed out that this other person knows me largely from my blog, so doesn’t see that harder side of me
It got me wondering about what I am actually showing these new people, and all of my readers that don’t know me personally. How I write. What I speak about. What impression people are getting from me. You just assume that by being yourself people can see you, warts and all. Actually (and obviously)maybe they don’t see all the demons that you have overcome (unless you have not actually overcome them yet), and they maybe don’t see all of the baggage that you carry around too. Because it is a part of you, you just assume it is all on the outside. People here don’t see the crappy, impatient side of me as living in Africa without a full time job means that I am no longer that frazzled person that I have always been – my patience and breaking point for my temper are growing (which Rob is very thankful for!)
At first I was a little annoyed that this person had underestimated me – I pride myself on the fact that I can deal with any situation thrown at me. I mean, I have always had to as I have not really ever had anyone looking out for me before the age of 22. Then I took a step back and realised that it is not necessarily a bad thing that people see me in a different light to the one I still see myself. I still kind of see myself as that angry, hard girl that for years and years wouldn’t let anyone “in” and was fiercely independent, to the point that pushed people away. That this friend, and I’m sure others, hasn’t seen this in me means that I am growing up, and am socially adept enough to bury all the pain I have carried around with me for the longest time. Also, being in Africa is changing me for the better. I’m actually pretty proud of myself for becoming this new person, and it has made me realise that all those years where I was so bitter, stressed and angry are in fact behind me. I’m a new person. I still carry that old person around inside me – I just appreciate that this baggage has contributed to the person that I am becoming, but doesn’t dominate me anymore. I’m happier, and well rounded and easier to get along with than I have ever been before. I’m enjoying life for the first time in a long time, and it must be showing
You know what, I think I’m going to have a drink and toast my achievement. What do you mean it’s too early to drink cheap plonk at 9am? This is Africa – anything goes!!!