Guest Post: Crossdressing would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

I barely made it past the second year of marriage before going through the “getting caught (crossdressing) and promising to abstain” routine.

Seven years later and nothing but the carcass of life remained, the lights were on but nobody home. The last thought before (finally) succumbing to sleep usually entailed a familiar prayer: To be spared the agony of awakening, only to be forced to breathe through another day of a dull, dreary and meaningless existence.

It may be incomprehensible for most but dressing up lies at the core of a person like me’s psyche. Without the outlet expression provides, one tends to whither away. I was “morbidly depressed” but too much of a coward to do anything about it.

The message was clear: Either grow courage (yes, kill yourself) or re-negotiate. It was tough, but I managed to do a bit of both: I grew the courage to re-negotiate. It got worse, the fall-out more nuclear than anticipated in the worst of nightmares. But, somehow my wife had to learn to hold the “moral high ground” over your crossdressing husband does not guarantee victory in every argument. BOTH parties in a relationship have the right to some measure of happiness. “Happy wife, Happy life” is the single biggest lie sold to men (and some women for that matter) everywhere. If it doesn’t read “Happy spouse, Happy house” you’re headed for trouble.

It was terrible. Still, now, some days play out worse. Arguments tend to bring out your most primal instincts. The price of hurt (by both parties) is incomprehensible but somehow we are working through it whilst managing to not split ways.

I’ll highlight one lesson I’ve learnt (through all the strife) regarding women which I hope will help someone somewhere: They are resilient enough to adapt to things and circumstances that really don’t suit them and they’d rather do without. They can (even somehow) regain their (inevitable) loss of libido (for you) experienced after seeing “their man” fully decked out as a woman the first time. (Though I suspect this is not universal and provided you don’t insist on making “undesirable” items part of your love life). But… But…

If there is one area you need to know you are seriously mining for shit it’s this: Lying to her. That’ll get you EVERY time and is the reason why Jenny’s life is an open book to her now. At any given time on any day, she has the ability to check up on what Jenny is getting up to on every conceivable platform. No more secrets.

wenchy

Footnote: A friend (rightfully) pointed out that though my journey may have been a matter of life and death, my wife’s was one of her own choosing. I salute her for that, she could (very easily) have opted to walk away blamelessly.

Thank you, my love. ❤️


Jenny occasionally blogs at jennydoeswriting

She also contributed to my August Woman’s Month Guest Posts in 2016, so check it out:  So let’s get this out the way … I’m a crossdresser

Guest Blog: A note to suicide.

I grew up believing that there are honour and dignity in suffering in silence and in covering certain traumas to protect those that you love. But after spending 21 days at a mental health facility I don’t know how much of this narrative I still believe. I also don’t know if I have the capacity to change it, but through sharing my story and lending my voice to the world I hope to, at the very least, inspire women to find their most authentic voices, and most importantly, when they do find it to not be afraid of it in spite of the cracks and “imperfection” there.

Wenchy

Having lost everything that I held dear to my heart – my relationship, my family, my home, my comfort, my finances, my health, my dignity, my values, my mind – my need for external validation and love has completely diminished and as a result I don’t care much about being judged. I have come to learn that “people’s perceptions of me are a reflection of them, and my reaction to them is an awareness of me”. I’ve had to be deeply hurt by people whom I loved, and I have hurt them in return to get to the place I am in now – an awareness of self, a recognition, and appreciation of the gifts that God has planted on the inside of me and an acceptance of everything that I’ve had to endure that continues to mould me into the woman I was called to be.

Almost four years ago, I learned that the man who’s seed I was carrying had given me HIV – a month after finding out that he was legally married to someone else – and I have carried this “secret” for years. But like the locusts on the book of Exodus, it has covered the face of my being like the ground of Egypt and devoured whatever little hope I had left after the hail my life had been. I’ve fallen in and out of love with myself a hundred times. I’ve meditated on these words to the point where they became my daily bread – you are not good enough and no one will ever love you. And when I felt too afraid to deal with the pain of it all, I plastered a smile on my face and chose to masquerade, until one day it all fell apart. I have cursed God seven times seventy while cutting open the veins on my wrists. I begged him to enlighten what was dark in me, to strengthen what was weak in me, mend what was broken in me, bind what was bruised in me and heal what was sick in me – then cursed Him even more for not following through.

Wenchy

What is the point?

I have asked this question many times and I am still praying that an answer comes to all of us seeking for one. But after surviving a number of suicide attempts what I can tell you is that there has to be a reason why. For if we are as useless and unworthy as we have somehow convinced ourselves that we are, then why does God waste His time breathing life into our lungs every day? I’ve been given a second chance – and a third and a fourth……and maybe this is my last. I don’t know about you but I refuse to die below what God has called me to do because of fear and my unbelief.

The truth is you’re not always going to be a good person and people are going to hurt you. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes, they will pile up within you and it will be in your nature to grip at them until your hands are bruised. But we have to learn to let them go and choose to accept the narrative that our mistakes and our stories are not meant to define us, they are only meant to help us define ourselves. I’ve lived with shame for a very long time and I do not endorse it.

You are more than what happened to you.


Aviwe Matandela

God. My son. Art. Love. Faith. Happiness. You can follow Aviwe on Instagram

Guest Blog: Sometimes we all lie…

I’m no expert, not on life or work or being a woman or being a mother, but what I do know, is that sometimes we all lie…

When people ask us “how are you?”, almost always the answer is “Great thanks, or good thanks, or amazing, or awesome”. When was the last time that someone said “It’s not going well. I’m not coping. I don’t know what to do. I’m sad. I’m broken. I’m in trouble. I need help. I need to talk”? In my case, I can’t remember the last time someone said that to me or I to them. (Insert that little “IDK” emoji here). I remember a joke doing the rounds a few years ago, it stated that when people ask how you’re doing, don’t tell them, they don’t really want to know. But guess what, if you’re struggling with something, and I can possibly help, I DO want to know. And I’d like to think that someone will listen to me when I need to talk or vent or ask for advice or guidance.

Why are we so afraid to open up and ask for help? Why are we so scared of showing who we really are and what we’re going through? Why are we so afraid of showing our humanity? I fully understand not wanting to confide in strangers, but what about friends, or family, or those soulmate people that the internet is so full of? Is it shame? Is it not wanting to show weakness? Is it not wanting people to truly know us? Is it not wanting people to truly see us? We all need to talk and be talked to.

Nocturnal Wenchy

I’m almost 50. I completely accept who and what I am, (ok not totally, if I have to be honest, I’m not happy with my body or my wrinkles, or my crooked toes or the bony elbows), but I’m happy with my heart and my soul. I’m secure in who I am as a woman, a wife and a mother. I will not tolerate being judged for what I’m going through at any particular time of my life, or how I feel when things get to me or get me down or make me sad. As for confidants, I keep my circle small, but damn, those that I allow into it, are people who have crept into my heart, and they happen to think I’m damn amazing, crooked toes and all.

How do I cope with things? Day to day things?

Some days amazingly well, other days I sneak into the bathroom and have a good cry (which I call a sinus attack). Do I always tell people what’s going on? No, I don’t want to bother those close to me with something silly that’ll blow over tomorrow. But when it’s a big thing, like a really big thing, I tend to talk and talk and talk, to those who live in my heart. Sharing with them ensures that I have invisible support, whether it be a motivational meme or just a “have a great day” message. In actual fact, my life is pretty damn awesome.

I have an amazing job, great husband and incredible kids. They know me as nobody else does, and they understand the “sinus attacks” which happen from time to time. It’s weird when your 18-year-old son wants to just hug you and not let go, and gets mad when I say I’m alright when he can clearly see that I’m not. I don’t want him worrying about me, or why I’m sad, it’s not his job. The same applies to my girls, they know their mother with an intuitiveness that scares me. One look and they’ll ask if everything’s ok, or ask if I want a glass of wine. (Yes, I’m a wine lover). I’m also a control freak, so when I do have a glass, it’s only on certain days, and never more than two… On Friday afternoons I have a “party for one”, that’s when I dance around my living room to ’70s and 80’s tunes – my poor neighbours).

Nocturnal Wenchy

I think I’m pretty normal, sometimes. Yet there are a few things that are chipping away at my strength and my internal rock and they are making my heartache, a lot.

Here are a few of my “things”.

Unemployment: My husband was retrenched at the end of March this year (for the third time in 3 years). He’s 50, so the job market is not exceptionally welcoming, but we persevere, the right opportunity will come along, of this I’m certain (I’d kinda like it to happen soon though, pretty please). In the meantime, we do what we can with my salary. Luxuries are non-existent, but we pay the bond, pay the car and eat. Those are great accomplishments I think. We have two kids still living at home, they’re 19 and 18, they understand the situation, and handle it in an extremely mature way, by adding no unnecessary pressure).

Mom Stuff: My eldest daughter (25) emigrated to NZ in January this year, jeez, talk about emotions! Hubby and I raised all our kids to be strong and independent, yet when they do strong and independent things, we freak out and don’t cope! Not seeing her or hugging her is physically painful, even though I know she’s happy there over the sea, it still hits me daily. She has a good job, an apartment that she shares with her partner, and they’re doing well. Yes, I cry often (not the sinus attack kind), real tears, that I don’t mind showing anyone. My heart aches with the fact that I know I need to let go, yet I don’t think any parent is really ever ready to let go completely. I miss her terribly, even though I know she’ll visit and we’ll eventually save up enough to go and see her too. I wish sometimes that there was a parenting handbook, that could prepare us for these things, but hey, live and learn like my dad used to say.

More mom stuff: I worry about my two younger children, will they find employment, will they be happy, will they be safe, why do they roll their eyes at me, will they do their chores, you know, normal mom stuff. Are they really ok, when they say they are? Are their friends ok? Are they carrying burdens that they should not be carrying, at this age? Do they know and understand how much they are loved? Do I show them enough love? You see, I worry.

Getting back to talking to people, confiding in them, letting them in, letting them truly know us.

I recently spent time with a friend, and we talked, really talked. She asked me how I was doing, and instead of saying “fabulous, thanks”, I actually spoke to her, about everything, and in turn, she spoke to me. We didn’t judge, we didn’t say the others’ worries were silly or unimportant, we talked, truly talked. I offloaded my thoughts and worries and she did the same. We covered topics from marriage to family to work to shoes. It took hours, hours so very well spent. I left the conversation, feeling lighter than I had in years, with a little bounce in my step, knowing that she knows. Knows me and why I’m sometimes sad, or angry, or worried, or quiet, she now understands me even better and I, in turn, understand her. The support we offered to each other was easy, heartfelt and without a trace of falsehood. Our connection was strengthened in the knowledge that we’re both human, both women, both mothers, both wives, and both quite normal.

After that conversation, I am paying closer attention to those around me. Looking a little deeper, giving longer hugs, asking more questions, listening more patiently, and talking more. Not speaking. I actually talk. I talk about real things, true things, valid things. I listen to what they say, the tone of their voice, the lift of their shoulders, the look in their eyes. You see, talking is just one side of it, listening plays an even bigger role. If we don’t listen, we can’t hear. Sometimes we can hear even the unspoken word, we can see the sadness in someone, we can identify hurt and anger. And we can identify with it. Truthfully. Once we do that, we can help, and be helped.

I’m done with lies, those little lies we tell people, and those little lies we believe. I’m done. From now on, let’s just be true. True to ourselves, and to others. Always true.

M.


M loves oldies, cars, laughter, red wine & people. Entrepreneur, Wife & mother to three amazing brats. Bulls & Bokke. She loves Elvis and … more wine!

You can follow M on:

Beauty of the rainbow.

Congratulations Queen!
Cape Peninsula University of Technology student, 25-year-old Zozibini Tunzi is our Official Miss South Africa 2019!

Zozibini Tunzi was born in Tsolo, Eastern Cape and raised in the nearby village of Sidwadweni. She later moved to Cape Town where she studies and is clearly living her best life.

Wenchy

This beauty queen was born on my Ouma Rentia’s birthday, 18 September in the same year my eldest son Kev was born (1993), who celebrated his 26th birthday today. 😊

She loves a bit of Game of Thrones, (I wear a Crown and I know things?) eating out, is passionate about educating our youth (basically we are twins if I stopped here) and Marvel. Okay, she lost me there.

I love that the all-female judging panel chose this girl who proudly wore her natural hair and #yassssqueen – power to every woman!

Zozibini will be representing South Africa at the 68th Miss Universe 2019 competition in South Korea on 19 December 2019.

This beautiful girl is the first to wear a newly designed, 3D-printed, moulded and manufactured Ndebele patterned crown with 2 586 sparkling zirconia stones which I have read took about 192 hours to manufacture.

Nocturnal Wenchy

Weighing in at 517g and rumoured to be worth R500 000, I am not sure I would want the responsibility not to drop it. (Not that there is any chance of me coming close!) The crown was created by American Swiss in collaboration with jewellery designer Johan Louw of Uwe Koetter Jewellers.

The crown has been named “Ubuhle Bethungo Lenkosazana“, which means “Beauty of the rainbow” in Zulu. I think that is beautiful. As this year’s pageant was about celebrating diversity, I love that a Ndebele design received a Zulu name.

Go well African child!

I wish you enough,

Wenchy

Guest Blog: Dr Victor – Ma Se Kind

Met die August wind waai ek by ons apteek in. Miskien meer ‘n aptekie… So met die inwaai neem ek waar dat ek alleen in die apteek is. Geen apteker of assistent nie… en geen ander siekes nie.

Wie daar wel is, is Dr Victor en “Wie se kind is die?”

My voete trap sommer so hier vir jou en hier vir my… en ek lang arm net daar verby die baba produkte. Ek maak n buiging voor die cutex en gooi ‘n Two Step daar by “vir my sal jy moet hok!” By die weggooidoeke en “That Man” doen my heupe so n dubbel swaai.

After my se n manlike stem “Môre Gogo”.

So met die omdraai lag ek, en ek en ‘n jong kind kyk in mekaar se oë. Hy gooi sy lang bene die lug in en ons wikkel sameswerend tot voor die voorskrifte toonbank.

Net daar sien ek Suid-Afrika soos dit kan wees. Die Gogo en Impi wat saam met Dr Victor sing….”Wie se kind is die?”


Yvonne Griffin is an avid reader and an active member of more than one library, in more than one province! She is a strong believer in the good at the core of every South African especially the hearts of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild.

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She is married to her very best friend and she longs for the serenity of the Karoo landscape.

Guest Blog: Pairing whisky and food

Last week I saw a request on Social Media from Nocturnal Wenchy asking for female guest bloggers for her blog during the month of August.  I have been following her and her journey for a long time, and I knew I wanted to be part of this special initiative.  I was unsure what to submit as I usually write about whisky, but in the end, I decided to write what I am passionate about, whisky and food pairings.

Many weekends you will find me (and the hubby) relaxing on the patio with a braai going or inside with the delicious smell of stew in the slow cooker drifting through the house.  While the food is cooking, I usually stroll over to our whisky collection and look for something fun to pair with the food.  And of course to sip on while we wait.

Continue reading “Guest Blog: Pairing whisky and food”

Press Release: Because I Couldn’t Kill You

The much-anticipated debut memoir Because I Couldn’t Kill You by Coloured Mentality activist Kelly-Eve Koopman will hit the shelves nationwide on 7 August 2019.

Nocturnal Wenchy

ABOUT THE BOOK

Kelly Koopman brilliantly interrogates the complex beauty and brutality of every day as she struggles with the legacies of trauma in the homes and bones of ‘ordinary South African families’.

She wades through the flotsam and jetsam of generations, among shipwrecks and sunken treasures in an attempt at familial and collective healing.

Sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious, she faces up to herself as a brown, newly privileged ‘elder millennial’, caught between middle-class aspirations and social justice ideals. An artist, a daughter, a queer woman in love, she is in pursuit of healing, demanding justice while trying to lose that last five kilograms to the great disappointment of her feminist self.

‘Part memoir, part queer feminist anti-capitalist manifesto, Koopman has written a story for our times! Her elegant writing dazzles as it shines a light on the darkest crevices of broken families and psyches. It is a story of love lost and remade, in which the personal and political overlap with heartrending clarity. Koopman has a rare gift and is a talent to watch!’ – Barbara Boswell, author of Grace

Because I Couldn’t Kill You is published by award-winning MFBooks Joburg, an imprint of Jacana Media

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelly-Eve Koopman is one of the co-creators of the hugely popular online platform Coloured Mentality, which engages in conversations about coloured identity in post-apartheid South Africa. Koopman is also a multi-disciplinary storyteller who dreams of a more just and equal South Africa.

Guest Blog: What’s in a name?

It’s just a name, just change it. If it’s just a name, why is everyone so upset that I want to keep the one I was born too?

You are not normal, you’re being disrespectful, how does your husband feel, you going to confuse your child, you are selfish, anything to challenge tradition, you are not really married then, you are supposed to submit, the husband is the head of the home, what’s going to happen if you have another child… I have heard it all thrown my way.

Continue reading “Guest Blog: What’s in a name?”

Press Release : The Joburg Zoo opens for free on 12 August 2019 to commemorate #WorldElephantDay

The Joburg Zoo opens for free on 12 August 2019 to commemorate #WorldElephantDay

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo will observe #WorldElephantDay on Monday, 12 August 2019 by providing free access to all its visitors in line with this administration’s commitment to enabling access and providing meaningful redress.

The annual event is dedicated to the preservation and protection of elephants by engaging on the current-day plight of the species.

Nocturnal Wenchy
Pic: Johannesburg Zoo

Continue reading “Press Release : The Joburg Zoo opens for free on 12 August 2019 to commemorate #WorldElephantDay”

Guest Post : Tampons and toxic masculinity.

Yesterday at Dischem I was paying for some randoms when the lady behind the counter reached below and then, without blinking an eye, placed a smallish box of tampons on the counter.

We both kinda stared at each other awkwardly for a few seconds before she loudly asked; “Do you mind?”

I did mind, I thought as my emotions swung from embarrassment to anger. Embarrassed because she assumed I would have a lady friend waiting outside in the car for me and angered because I thought maybe she was taking the piss; this 105 kg guy who just splurged on supplements, muscle gel and caffeine shampoo for his thinning hairline. Yeah. Surely the little bitch needs a tampon to help stem the stench of toxic masculinity oozing from him. Continue reading “Guest Post : Tampons and toxic masculinity.”