By Anneke Roux
Wake-up, get ready, go to work, go home, sleep and repeat. Life is monotonous. The way we respond and engage with everyday activities becomes robotic and when we wipe the sleep from our eyes Monday has become Friday and it’s weekend, baby! Only to repeat the same boring routine from the previous week. This makes us bored with life and our choices. We then spend hours googling new jobs or vacation ideas as we long for an escape. We’re complex creatures and we want complexity. As much as we need routine, we also need a break from it. We can find this in our everyday lives by enjoying moments of awareness. Moments in which we discover or realise something new (whether it’s about ourselves or the world).
It all started with a fig.
(By “it all” I mean my engagement with this theory of awareness. But back to the fig.)
A colleague gave me a fig. It was huge, juicy, and ripe. I took a bite immediately. As the fruit burst open in my mouth and the sweet juice entranced my senses, I looked down and had a moment –an intense sexual moment – with the fig I was holding. It looked delicious. The pink flesh and sweet smell took over. I was aroused. I could feel a kind of tingling that one should not feel at work. This happened at school, in the passage, after break. I had an intense sexual moment with a fig at school.
I am a teacher. This is not okay.
Just for clarification no learners were involved in this moment as it was in the staff passage, but none the less. I questioned my own morality. How could I, a teacher have such an encounter at school? How inappropriate, not to mention weird! I might have listened to too much “My Dad Wrote a Porno”!
And then I laughed. I laughed from the depths of my quite large belly and I truly enjoyed this moment. A moment in which I was so aware of my humanity, my femininity and my sexuality. A break from the normal rush to class. I remembered that I am not only a teacher, but Anneke, a fabulous human. It made my day.
Another moment like this was in December in Pretoria. It was incredibly hot. Clothes sticking to my sweaty skin. An “I-will-hit-you-if-you-mess-with-me” kind of irritating heat.
Stupidly, I decided to walk up the street with my little brother. The street was a hill. We almost died. When we got back home I saw the garden hose and sprinkler. We ran through the sprinkler. It was heaven. While we were having a ball I had a moment. There was a beautiful rainbow in the sprinkler, the water droplets were cold on my hot skin and the sweet laughter of my 11 year old brother sang in my ears. The grass cracked under my toes and my hair was all over the place. I couldn’t recall a moment of greater peace or joy. I squealed like a little girl and for a second I was 11 again, too. It was the highlight of 2019. I was aware of how precious the time with him is, how beautiful a moment in a seemingly horrible and unnecessarily hot day can be.
Now for the last moment – and warning the tone takes a steep curve to the depressing side – Last year one of my grade 10 learners asked to speak to me outside. Her heart was broken. Her boyfriend broke up with her for no reason and he was still in class with her. She struggled to deal. Little did she know that at the same time I was struggling with exactly same pain and hurt. I was rejected, broken and trying to pick up the pieces. As I held her in a bear-like hug while she sobbed (I know I am not allowed to touch the kids, but would you be able to just stand there?) I realised how connected we as humans truly are. A 16 year old girl and 27 year old woman shared a moment of pain and intense vulnerability. As I told her that she is worthy and will feel better, and that her heart will be whole again and loved by another, I was reminded of that myself. I shared all the empowering Instagram posts about healing after break-ups, (you know, the ones we save for the next time it happens) with a student who for that moment was just a sister struggling. I was thankful and in awe of the power of vulnerability (shout out to Brene Brown!).
These moments of awareness can happen at any time. They caught me off guard every time, but what was constant was how the day changed completely thereafter. I have had many more of these moments, and I’m sure you do too, you just need to be aware. Seek them out and when they come embrace them, whether they happen to make you laugh from the pit of your belly or cry in a moment of vulnerability. It’s these moments that give meaning to life and breaks the monotony.
This story was written by a guest contributor, Anneke Roux. If you enjoyed reading about her experiences, follow her on Instagram at @rouxanneke. And if you’d like to become a contributor for Essential Millennial, please contact us and we’ll help you share your stories far and wide.