4:48 am

I went to breakfast with Jemma on Sunday and between medium poached eggs and talk of Joan Didion’s writing style, the topic of our seemingly abandoned blogs came up.
It’s been almost a year since either of us posted anything. Our excuses converged at schoolwork and months long creative blocks- with each of us describing the feeling of knowing exactly what we wanted our writing to be about but struggling to reach that point where it’s ok to shift the conversation to something other than explanations about why we haven’t written for so long.

Jemma: “My last three posts have all been apologies.”

Something I could easily have said if she didn’t already.

The varsity commitments, personal commitments, lack of inspiration; or possible aforementioned excuses to compensate for an overarching feeling of guilt are possible contenders for why All Zuri has become a ghost town. I’ve realized that for the most part of last year I actually felt guilty about most of my fashion thoughts. Guilty enough to stop writing so often and direct my full attention to school but not enough to stop thinking fashion thoughts all together.

I started a lot of other things.

I filtered my aesthetic, my thoughts and aspirations for what South African fashion media could be through channels that didn’t necessitate as much commitment from me. Well at least not the same commitment required to maintain an entire website.

My Instagram became an obsession of mine, having nothing to do with attaining followers, but everything to do with the immediate and regular hit of adrenaline accompanied by posting an image that matched almost perfectly with the visual smorgasbord I again managed to maintain.

I recorded my outfits in mirror selfies – examining the picture file and smirking at my ability to never repeat outfits despite the limitations of my 1 by 2-meter filing cabinet of a wardrobe.

I started a street style twitter thread in reverence of the celebrity masters of personal style. I started a Soundcloud podcast, a contributing writer contract at Superbalist, another Instagram account.

My daily bread consisted of actual bread (duh) as well as reading all the fashion articles I could cram into the allotted minutes between classes or on bus rides.

 Perhaps the reason I wasn’t posting wasn’t because I felt guilty- but rather that I felt inadequate at writing altogether.

So I read more- in order to get better at writing.

My engineering thoughts seemed to be fogging my linguistic abilities- and piles of Fitzgeralds, Hemingways and Tolstoys seemed to be the solution.  Every time I thought about writing- I read instead, delaying the commencement to a time where my grasp of the English language mimicked descriptions of Daisy Buchanan’s thoughtlessness and beauty, bared similarity to Salinger’s melancholia or perhaps the soul crushing abruptness in Winner Takes Nothing.

I circled back to modern writers- studying Man Repeller articles, Margaret Zhang think pieces, Carrie Bradshaw’s SATC narrations and essays by the venerable Joan Didion (yes, we’re back to her).

Don’t get me started on my Vogue pile.

Listing all of these things stretches the last year out for me. I thought I was doing nothing and I’m only now realising that I was doing a lot of things that seemed insignificant or deviant from my original path at the time. I started as a blogger and quit that for a bit to become a picture thread making, Instagram curating podcast host. My thoughts became jumbled as I simultaneously tried to expand my mind and avoid reconciling any of this new knowledge in a concrete way. I read and read and used Instagram, soundcloud and twitter to satiate my hunger to do something creative while I continued to read and read. I didn’t know enough to write so I had to absorb more, wait for the guilt to pass, the writers’ block to finally lift.

The last drops of coffee and orange juice were done so Jemma and I decided to explore the cafe's adjoining nursery and take some pictures. That’s when a pang of reminiscence hit me. We quietly echoed our first-year selves as we took pictures of one another next to a water feature. DLSR camera turned to iphone snapshot and furious blog writing reduced to unfinished drafts and ticking text cursors.

That moment trumped my frustration about the sub-par local digital content-sphere. It trumped the secret competition with other writers I was in. It made me go home and immediately start typing. The cheesy flashback to our younger more determined selves was like a conscription I could no longer ignore. A catalyst strong enough to bring all my thoughts together and get me in front of this damn keyboard.

So here I finally am.

Still trying to slough off the last layers of writers’ block, guilt and self-doubt, but here nonetheless. 

Photography: Refiloe Mokgele

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