News / Opinion / Columns

Yvonne Fontyn
3 minute read
11 Jan 2018
7:55 am

A sudden burst of energy

Yvonne Fontyn

With this new self-motivation I would have the energy to address all my tasks and responsibilities.

I woke up yesterday feeling surprisingly chipper. After just 10 minutes of wanting to go back to sleep, I got up and fed the startled cats, who danced off to chase mice or whatever they do.

Loading the washing machine and stacking the piles of dishes, I felt I had a sense of purpose – I could put the past behind me and confidently face the challenges of the future.

There need be no reliance on impossible imposed routines – with this new self-motivation, I would have the energy to address all my tasks and responsibilities.

The guilt and regret over mistakes I have made, when I have gone right instead of left, or vice versa – had vanished. A new leaf, a fresh page.

The gate buzzer went and a gorgeous person came to my door, wearing a red dress and glossy braids.

Thoko, the domestic worker. “Happy New Year,” she said. “Same to you. Nice braids!” I said and ushered her in.

My mother phoned. “Hello! How are you?” The Christmas angst forgotten, we had a cordial chat and afterwards, when I switched off the phone, I didn’t spend a second unpicking our exchange to see if something else lay behind the actual words that had been uttered.

My desk had everything I needed for a day’s work – a plan stuck to the wall, some mementoes I just like to have around, and bunches of notes here and there, books, pens – the perfect mix of order and complete disarray that I prefer.

My favourite filter coffee tasted just right and when I opened my e-mail there was a chatty message from dear Jenny C, raising an interesting point about the late writer Doris Lessing.

She was known to be grumpy to journalists and when I met her in Johannesburg at the launch of volume one of her autobiography, Under my skin, I was struck by the glum, almost hostile look on her face as she signed my copy and handed it back to me.

As I recall, I quickly swallowed all the comments I was about to make about being a fan. Or maybe I did tell her, hence the glum expression.

I’ve been rereading the autobiography, exchanging thoughts with Jenny about Lessing’s upbringing on a farm her father, who lost a leg in World War I, hacked out of the Rhodesian bush.

She criticises her mother, a former nurse, for being cold and pragmatic, and denying her the love a child needs.

“Is tolerance built in genetically or is it something you learn from your family environment?” Jenny asked. “I think you can learn tolerance,” I wrote back to her.

“I’m sure I’ve become more tolerant over the years. The problem is where to draw the line. Sometimes I think I am tooooo tolerant.”

“You can’t help feeling sympathy for people who, lacking (demonstrative) love growing up, become the same type they come from,” replied kind Jenny.

Nope, not me, I am surrounded by love and abundance. And on to the next glittering moment – muesli and soy milk, but surprisingly tasty and satisfying – munched as I read up on someone I interviewed recently.

Who would have thought SA political history could be so fascinating? Maybe, if this burst of energy and optimism continued, I could make it to the gym, start the exercise programme I’d been planning in my head for months. And for a change, it all coincided with new year.

Yvonne Fontyn.

Yvonne Fontyn.