I try not to eat polony because it is fake. There have been times, doing edu-theatre in the townships, when it has been unavoidable and I have had to eat a “kota”(quarter loaf stuffed with polony chips and atchar) in order to survive but, I know too much about polony to eat it capriciously, otherwise. Polony is comprised of all the unwanted and undesirable scraps of meat that have failed the criteria of every prior selection process. Neglected animal anatomy thrown in a heap and ground into a greyish green mass of eclectic flesh-paste. Even in this grainy indistinguishable mix it is so unappealing, that a bright pink food colorant must be added to camouflage it, brighten it, and make it seem consumable. Pungent flavourings like: monosodium glutamate, salts, other artificial ingredients and even garlic are added to further mask the true face, of this ‘recycled’ product. Websites flash bannered warnings about the ill-effects of eating processed meat. It is ‘carcinogenic’ (encouraging of cancer), they say. Every slice, every mouthful, is a lie.
I’m house-sitting for my folks in Deneysville on the Vaal dam. It’s been three days and the majority of these days, have been just me and the animals. Yesterday, Angelina came to clean and tidy, I sat outside painting so we hardly interacted at all. She’s not very chatty and although I usually am, for these few days, I’m on holiday from chatter (other than on Facebook, and even this I am trying to curb).
I’ve been writing, reading, painting and processing my own ‘polony’.
Despite the tranquil and beautiful (albeit winter-dried and yellow) surroundings, I am still reliant on my prescribed sleeping tablets to knock myself out. I want to make the most of the phenomenal bed I am using during my stay. Its mattress and linen is plusher than those I have, in my rented room in Greenside, and it is also extra-length, so I can stretch out catlike in the mornings without hanging a limb. I love this house. My mother has created her dream home and because of the love we share, it contains me very well. In the mornings, I like to journal in a spot of sunlight where my father usually sits. With great relish I resemble him more with every passing year.
My daily drawings and paintings are noteworthy, because they are pastimes I have not enjoyed for several years. As a little boy in Mafikeng I would entertain myself for hours with oil pastels and conjure magical birds and landscapes from my imagination. I made creatures and peoples from wire and clay too. Ironically, this stopped when I began to attend Art school in Braamfontein, as were expected to choose a certain field and the performing arts took precedence, because -presumably- I was better at them.
I’ve stopped drinking again. I say ‘again’ because there have been a number of times in my life when I have sworn off alcohol, for various reasons, and managed to live happily without it for years at a time. This time it is specifically because it causes me to ‘blank out’ (I wake up with huge chunks of the night before, missing from the otherwise credible and secure, vaults of my memory banks.). I struggle to do most things moderately and the very nature of booze is that it impairs my judgment, making any attempt at temperance, almost impossible. Why get ‘tipsy’ when I can get ‘toppled’?
Most of my 31st birthday is compiled of stories that I have gathered from those who witnessed it in a more lucid state. The following morning I felt like I was hearing about the adventures of someone else. It was all news to me. One of my grandfathers suffered from Alzheimer’s, when I was a school boy, my mother and I would often visit him in a home in Lichtenburg. She would trim his fingernails and lovingly rub cream on his hands. It was the only time he didn’t look frustrated or bewildered. In his prime he had been a brilliant mind, but towards the end of his days, his consciousness seemed to be grasping at straws. These ‘blank outs’, of mine, remind me of him in that condition, and I would rather remember any one of another of his attributes and influences.
An unhappy truth is that the sleeping pills I take, also cause ‘blank outs’, if I don’t get to bed soon after taking them. I have discovered e-mails and messages, weeks after I have sent them on my Blackberry, and read them as if for the first time. What is even more disturbing, is that these messages are often my; unedited, innermost hopes and fears, often sent “gung-ho” to a real live person, that I have to deal with later on, in the waking world. There have been times I have not known about a correspondence declaring my; attraction to, or disapproval of someone, until I have received a gut-clamping reply.
You would think the humiliation would put me off the pills and booze, but the reality is that; I often prefer to take the risk of ‘blanking out’, than to lie isolated in the dark for hours on end.
I know I sound melodramatic, but I am an actor for heaven’s sake! I have been indulging in myself, and making a simple story, into a saga, at every opportunity. Looking back it seems I would do anything to avoid boredom and mediocrity, whatever it takes to create intrigue.
I want the movie of my life to be interesting to watch, if it isn’t going to be a romantic comedy (which I would prefer).
There are so many different types of ‘polony’.
I created my show “Little Poof!” to provide a platform for myself to showcase my talents and acquired skills. But, I also created it in the hopes that; an attractive, intelligent and ambitious man would see it and fall in Love with me. I just assumed, should this person present them self to me, that I would automatically match their Love with my own. I was presumptuous.
After six months of touring with the show and an incredible reception all around the country, I found a different outcome to the one I had hoped for.
I was met with unbelievable generosity and support. Raving reviews and on occasion, even standing ovations. Nightly I got washed with a sea of laughter and even the odd trickling tear that I knew I had catalysed. I received affirmation as a writer, singer and actor. It was a lifelong dream, come true. Yet, I was keeping a secret.
It was incredibly hard work, emotionally one of the most taxing times of my life and, despite Cathrine (my MD and accompanist’s) consistent loyalty and presence, often a desperately lonely time. The nature of self-promotion is such; that it leaves very little space for anyone else.
If I am ‘lucky’ I could spend the rest of my life doing my own shows, touring the country and even the world, performing to full houses, but the thought makes me lose colour and dries my mouth out. Would all that money make it worthwhile? I love to perform and create, but I crave more intimacy in my life, and fewer exhibitions. I have to smile, knowing that I will publish this blog on Facebook for the whole world to see. But, if I don’t share my inner world, I feel as though I might cease to exist. Exposing myself through the written word sits more comfortably with me. For some reason it feels more authentic and also, buffered. I am a contradictory exhibitionist it would seem.
So, my heart has not chosen to fall for anyone recently, despite many obstacles and near trip-ups. I wonder if it will ever fall again, or, if it (like other unwanted organs) is inevitably headed for the ‘polony’ factory? I’m too much of a dreamer and an optimist to believe that!
There has got to be more to life than being in Love, romantically. Before I turned 15 I hardly gave it a second thought! I hear the mantras and pop-psychology manifestos belting: ‘Invest in yourself’, ‘Love yourself’, or as Shakespeare said: “To thine own self be true”. I know, I know! But, I also know all the irritating and unattractive things there are to know about me.
It would be so much more fun, to be coming to terms with someone else’s issues, even if they would eventually, lead me back to my own.
Tonight, I’m going to try for the umpteenth time to sleep without a pill fizzing out a ‘zizz’ in my belly. Maybe I’ll meet someone magnificent in the dark.