The first memory I have of me as a young girl is getting dressed to go to nursery school. The rule was that if I could dress myself then I could dress exactly how I wanted. In the days before Miley, Bratz and Powerpuff any ordinary 4 year old would have pulled out her favourite pink frock and paired it with a My Little Pony clutch circa 1989. Not me. There I was, in the middle of winter adorned with a Liquorish Allsorts bakini top and ballet tutu, high pony tail and Pep shoes. Ta da!
I can remember hearing my Mom laughing about how the other mothers called her to complain about my ridiculous wardrobe antics and how they had nagging daughters at their heels begging them to wear their swimming costumes to school. That was the first time I realized that I was never going to blend in. That I was magenta and that the majority of people in and around me were beige. That maybe I would always be the “odd girl” in their eyes, but in mine I was a leader, a trend setter, a maverick.
Reminiscing about those first defining years got me thinking about other “First Times” that did or didn’t contribute to the splendiferous Lady you see today. There are lots of first times that make me laugh to and at myself. This may appear, to people in the cars next to me in traffic as late onset of Joburg 5 o clock, Schizophrenic, temporary insanity. (This is a real syndrome, if you live in Jozi like me, you’ve had to have experienced it at least a handful of times! I recommend a good Mix CD, maybe some 60’s sing along jams, to ease symptoms.)
I remember, very clearly, the first time I used sex as a shiny and nifty manipulative tool. I was 5 and so was my “long term” boyfriend… let’s call him, MacGyver. We were sitting at one of my parent’s friend’s houses and I wanted the toy he was playing with. Instead of snatching it away, pulling out the tears or sulking I took another approach. It went a little something like this:
Carly: “Hey, if you give me that toy, I’ll show you my cookie.”
MacGyver looked at me, looked at the toy, bowed his head defeated and in a sheepish voice said. “Ok.” The toy was mine. It was that easy! (And between you and me, sometimes it still is)
I cringe inside when I think about the first time I was dumped (This was pre “He’s just not that into you” and “The Rules”. The emotional-needy-freaky-ex girlfriend cup runeth over), the first time I faked an orgasm (I’m an actress so you can only imagine the performance, poor guy probably thought I was having a seizure), the first time I got good and proper drunk (“Mom, I’m just tired ok?” Cue vomit), or the first time I had a fender bender (“What? That tree came out of nowhere!”)
And then there are those few “First Times” that not only make for great stories but also make up part of who you are today. Everyone remembers their first kiss and if anyone can tell me that the experience was any less awkward than bumping into your old headmistress naked in the gym sauna then you must be some kind of teenage supernova!
There we were, me and… let’s call him Ferdinand, Valentines Day at the St David’s Social. Ferdinand: "Do you want to go for a walk?”. My heart sank, not at the tall, gorky boys’ romantic request. I knew that in a matter of minutes I would no longer be “Green” (this was a name you were labeled if you were unkissed). I would have kissed (we used to call it “Grabbed”) with tongue for the very first time. We approached the Hail Mary, moments of agonizing silence dripping in awkward anticipation droned on as I watched him try to make his move. He turned to me and said: “Happy Valentines Day” and then he launched in. Tongue, Saliva, Lips, everywhere. It was terrible. But I felt like a million bucks! Thank you Ferdinand for breaking the seal and giving me right of passage to kiss… oh so many boys.
I’m sure every reader is waiting with baited breath to hear about the big “First Time”. I bet you’re all hoping it come attached to some funny disaster story about how I probably went out and spent all my Makro weekend promotions money on beautiful white expensive lingerie. I bet you think I filled my room with candles and had some cheesy love jams to lower those inhibitions. I bet your thinking that before I could even get to the bedroom I completely effed things up by planning this special evening on NEW YEARS EVE. That I probably got drunk and did something really stupid in true New Years Eve fashion like stripping down to my bra and panties and pouring black currant liqueur all over my new white lingerie (real classy early reveal) in a Jacuzzi full of my boyfriends friends. And you are most definitely assuming that in the final act, something was bound to go south. Literally. South. More South than it should have. More South than any man should go without warning in my opinion. (In my head all I can hear is that soothing British GPS voice saying “Recalculating, when possible, make a U turn. Make it NOW!”) And all I have to say to these lewd accusations and assumptions is that I regard the art of love making as sacred and personal so you’ll just have to draw your own conclusions.
Just to be clear, these events are in no particular order. Because that’s the one thing I did get right the first time. Love… then sex. Somewhere out there my mother has just put down a glass of Merlot and breathed a sigh of relief, hoping that I am not about to launch into 3 paragraphs on the benefits of Strawberry Cheesecake flavoured lube. (Not yet Mom, saving the good stuff for later).
I think that any love or relationship leaves you with a resonance and a lesson to take forward into new romantic adventures and endeavors but it’s that first one that can really hit you in the solar plexus isn’t it? My first love taught me so much about who I was and who I wasn’t. It taught me about what I wanted from life and from love. Most importantly it taught me never to allow anyone to opportunity to eclipse who I am. 3 years of my life spent sharing beautiful memories, youth, laughter and raw, untarnished, vulnerable hearts with no limit of giving… followed by months of picking up the tiny fucking pieces of that heart off the floor and gluing them back together. Ah, l’amour.
The first time I was hired was a proud moment just like the first standing ovation I received for my performance in my one woman show “A Pineapple in my Panties”. Those are the times I’m reminded of how unique and sparkly I am.
Think about the first times that have moved you out of your comfort zone and softly pushed you forward as a person. The first time you got the perfect revenge on an ex-boyfriend or cracked a super hard recipe or hot the high note on your favourite karaoke track (Alicia Keyes – Fallin, just saying!). The first time you had to give up something or someone you really cared about, that first moment in the heat of an argument when you realize that (oh fuck) you’re wrong. Maybe it’s the first time you stood on the scale and it made you smile or the first time you really believed a strangers compliment. No matter how big or small the moment, a first time always leaves an ink smudge on your life story and maybe it sprinkles a little more “you” dust into the pages.
So here’s to you, readers, experiencing my “First Time” as a bonifide blogger. Good news is, unlike a lot of first times; the condom didn’t break (I hope not because that would be weird… why are you wearing a condom and reading my blog? Then again I have always secretly wanted a stalker! Keep it on mate, whatever flips your pancake), your mom didn’t walk in and hopefully your mans GPS was programmed before you reached an uncomfortable destination (if you know what I mean).
In the words of my Dad: “Life is about short queues and long stories!” and I look forward to sharing more of mine with you.