A book where fiction, raw truth and courage meet.

Umbilicus: An autobiographical novelUmbilicus: An autobiographical novel by Paula Gruben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The character, Charlotte and I are roughly the same age. I could identify with the person, the culture, the language and what living in South Africa was like as a teenager growing up during the time period the book is written in.

Many of us question who we are, what we are about, what are our details? .. and what am I going to be when I grow up? Charlotte is no different, except that Charlotte knows she is adopted and therefore has some extra questions that need answers.

I found Charlotte to be a strong character, honest about her weaknesses and flaws and open to forgiveness and truth. Charlotte’s adoptive parents showed a little less emotion than I expected to the subject matter. They seem emotionally unavailable and cold to her needs throughout the book and I questioned why they adopted two children at all.

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… He believes in me, I don’t know what he sees in me …

… trespassing on a farm outside Clarens in August 2008. We parked our day old 4×4 on the highest, smallest ledge on a koppie, after playing in the stream.

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

From the beginning he was all in. While I analysed the unexpected love, devotion and absolute certainty he possessed about our future (not to mention the chunks of sexy that was coming my way), he was mixing our CD’S and DVD’s which at the time closed my throat with anxiety.

I came into the relationship with a healthy dose of fear, a mountain of debt, a geyser that kept flooding the basement and many children.

By the time he unpacked a reasonable amount of books, I felt more at ease with whatever amount of baggage he came with.

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A Transgender Life

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

On the evening of the launch,  I purchased a copy of Anastacia Thomson’s book,  “A Transgender Life in South Africa” .

The book is a first hand account of a woman, who was assigned male at birth, due to external genitalia.

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42 you said?

Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

Some bonds cannot be broken. Not even in death.

It may be 17 years since Tim died, but I had a very real sense of him yesterday. I could not understand why he lingered yesterday. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Usually I am able to pin point an emotional from him, a smile, a look in his eye – yesterday I just felt him here.

He always visits, sitting on the right hand side of the bed, regardless of venue. Before he died, we had never even been in a bedroom together before.

Seeing Tim isn’t scary or creepy. It can be both comforting and heart breaking. Sometimes I smile, other times I feel renewed grief.

I am not big on “speaking to the dead”, or “crossing over”. I’m merely relating that somehow Tim keeps contact. Often followed up the next day or two in a quote or a song, an item that was of value only to us.

Have you ever experienced anything like this?

I wish you enough,
Wenchy

The Nocturnal Wenchy

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Dear Tim,

I’ve told you before. The thing with death is, I have no new pictures of you. So I had to improvise a little.

As I have been preparing for my Grahamstown festival trip next month, I could not help but think of you. Do you remember?

You were in school uniform. Matric blazer. I was sitting on the steps of the church on the square in Grahamstown. I went to a private school so no uniform. I remember I was wearing a very stretched out purple jersey and brown leather shoes I had bought at the festival.

(Remains the most expensive shoes I’ve ever owned. Haha! I would much rather buy books. I had no idea at the time how much purple was still to follow.)

The sun was setting.

You came and sat next to me. I had never seen you before. You sat, silently. I remember…

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Check your mate

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

Random thoughts:

* My anxiety is playing up at the moment and I am not loving it. My default emotion is anxiety so it does not require an event to plague me. It is not fanTy. Forgive me if I am not as chatty as usual. Although … I’ve become really good at hiding these issues.

* I love my husband, @SirNoid. He won a big ass TV and put it in our room for me toimage watch DVD’s. Not that I watch DVD’s all day long but it made me feel special that he did that. I do not want it hooked up to our DSTV! Perfect just like that.

Oh yes, dear @SirNoid gives magnificent massages. Not sure if I could return the favour in an equally fabulous manner with my lovely illness inflamed hands, but I will try.

* Before you pick up your phone to call me, think… Is this textable? I do not answer the phone (deep psychological reasons which surfaced after my Oupa Mike died. No therapy did not help). So, unless I gave birth to you, or I let you sleep in my bed, don’t phone me. I am not going to answer. Text or email. Flowers (yellow roses really do the trick) is lovely, and you are welcome to WhatsApp me. On the odd occasion that I may call YOU, know that you are incredibly special!

* I need to colour my hair at least every 7 to 10 days for the optimum #purplehairdontcare look. Been just over 18 months of having totally purple hair and I am loving it ! Even my @SirNoid loves it ….and he was very sceptical in the beginning. 💜

* After five or so years, it appears our furniture needs replacing… as does our linen. Electrical appliances seem fine but our bedroom, bathrooms, lounges etc need some attention / updating / love. How long does these things last in your house?

* @SirNoid and I do not share a bathroom. Very progressive thinking I must say. My husband says I’m odd to not share a bathroom, but why not, if you have another bathroom that isn’t being used? Would you like your own bathroom?

* ♡ I am posting my birthday #wishlist tonight, as requested. I love that I still get asked to do this. 😄 My friends are so proper.


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I’m posting this as a request from my friend Janice who tagged me on Facebook.

Four names I go by:
1. Momma / Mother/ Mom
2. Nancy / Nancy Pants
3. Aunty Stel
4. Wenchy / #MammaWenchy

If in any doubt, Wenchy is the name to go with (no surname – think Madonna, Cher – they don’t need surnames and neither does Wenchy).

Only my Mammie and Bank Manager calls me by my proper name. When my name is mess up. it annoys me LOTS. It is Christel-Michel or Wenchy. I dislike being called Chris, although I guess that would be the natural way to go for people who want to be friendly but don’t know me well. Yes, I may have some issues.

(My close family and perhaps those who would give me a kidney …call me Stel. I’m old fashioned that way, so respectfully, kids get to call me Aunty Stel.)

Four places I’ve lived:
1. In my head
2. In your computer
3. Potchefstroom
4. Johannesburg

Favoured things I love to watch on TV:
1. Game Of Thrones
2. The Blacklist
3. Chicago Med / Greys Anatomy
4. Blue Bloods

Four favourite places I have visited:
1. Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
2. Uvongo Lagoon where the water is forever deep (South Africa)
3. Pebble Beach at Storms River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma National Park (South Africa)
4. Grahamstown (The National Arts Festival, South Africa)
…..and as a bonus:
5. McGregor (South Africa)
6. Top of Sani Pass (Lesotho)
7. Drakensberg (South Africa)

Four things I love to eat:
1. Crème Brulee
2. Baked Cheese Cake
3. Pork Belly
4. Rare Fillet Steak

Favourite drinks I love to have:
1. Water
2. Strawberry Daiquiri
3. Cappuccino
4. Salted caramel milkshake

Four books I adore:
1. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
2. Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
3. Seks, Drugs en Boeremusiek deur Koos Kombuis
4. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Four people I TRUST will respond ( … and not be beige!) You can either respond on your blog, or in my blog comment section, or Facebook , but please tag me :

1. Birthsay Girl Jenny
2. Our Ky
3. My #bestie Gail
4. Tayla-Jade
….and bonus, dear 5. Shell (You can also join her group (all about beads) while you at it!)

Anyone else who wants to play is very welcome! 😇

I wish you enough,
Wenchy

There is no great divide.

Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

It’s cold. The shadow creeps deeper into the black hole of a non existent shelter. The wind has no boundary and freely flows into every available space. There is a plastic sheet picked up from a delivery bay held tightly in an effort to provide warmth.

This could be me.

This could be you.

If we be truly honest, there are many of us who live from payday to payday. Take away the lifeline of your monthly income and perhaps no family or friends willing or able to help, where do you go? There is nothing that leaves you above ending up on the street … with nothing. Nothing.

People living on the street are no different from you or I. They feel hunger, love, dislike, just like us. Woman have periods. Their digestive system did not conveniently shut down because life hit them hard. There are very real issues. All people have hopes and dreams. We all want to be loved, respected and feel we are special.

Every person born, will die. Did you aid your fellow man in his journey between the beginning and end?

I was introduced to the Twitter Blanket Drive in 2013. It was the second media event I ever attended. This year I was approached to take on the role of National Brand Ambassador.

#TBD2016 needs a boost in Johannesburg as it is well established in Cape Town.

We would be grateful if you would hop over and “like” the page and stay informed. Jozi TBD Our Twitter account is @JoziTBD. We are using the hashtag #TBD2016 nationally.

Twitter Blanket Drive was started by @MelanieMinnaar ‘s single tweet. We are all influencers. We can choose to touch the lives around us. Each one, reach one.

Please join us at 6pm tonight, 26 May 2016 for soup, song and smiles as we donate blankets. Our drop in the ocean.

This could be you. There is no great divide.

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I wish you enough,
Wenchy