Music has always been an integral part of my life. With my dad being a professional musician, it’s difficult to remember a time where music wasn’t echoing through our home. I grew up watching him perform, spellbound by his sheer talent and stage presence. I wanted to be just like him when I was older. He also introduced me to the greats: from the incredible vocal harmonies of Uriah Heep to the insane guitar skills of Eddie Van Halen. Thanks to him, I was never void of great music.
I studied classical piano for six years and Cardyé dabbled in drums and guitar. We both sang in various school musicals, and had always hoped to follow in our father’s footsteps and make music our career. Cardyé went on to study vocals at Durban’s Campus of Performing Arts, but somewhere in my matric year, I changed my mind. I no longer wanted to play piano professionally, and explored another passion of mine: travel.
When I was 18, I developed an insatiable desire for adventure and exploration; I wanted to see the world! One of my high school teachers spoke to my class about an aviation school she had discovered, and I subsequently enrolled in a cabin crew course the very next year. The obvious plan was to join an international airline such as Emirates and spend every third day in a different country. However, my young age made me ineligible to be considered and I therefore applied to a local airline, of which I was successful.
What followed was disenchantment; I knew from the first month that this lifestyle was not for me. It seemed so glamorous in the movies; the beautifully groomed women walking through the airport alongside the pilots while the mere mortals that surrounded them stared in awe. Has anyone watched the TV series, Pan Am? They looked like rock stars! Unfortunately, that was the only glamorous part. The second you stepped into the aircraft you regressed into a nameless servant.* I hated the passengers; you really realise how shit human beings can be when you’re on the other side of a food trolley.**
Chicken or beef?
Crazy early morning sign on’s, irregular working hours, and only one weekend off per month were just a few of the cons of this job. But the money was good and I got to travel for free – which was my ultimate goal. I stuck it out for two years, which allowed me two overseas trips, countless local holidays, and a very nice savings’ account. But every day was a struggle, physically and emotionally. The environment was so stagnant, lacking the inspiration and progression I so dearly yearned for.
Being a multifaceted individual, I struggled with the mundane routine of the two dimensional ‘trolley dolly’ character I was playing.
Since I didn’t want to be a senior cabin crew member, there was no more ladder left to climb. I handed in my resignation and served my last day in August of 2015, and never looked back. In retrospect, I don’t regret a single thing. I was able to experience things that I’d never have been able to without that job. I also learnt about my strength of character, which helped me keep my eye on the prize(s). I have nothing but the utmost respect for cabin crew.
Something that has remained a constant source of joy is music. Wherever I am in my life, however I feel in that moment, music penetrates my soul – in the most poetic and cliché way – whether I’m moshing with the crowd at a music festival or singing at the top of my lungs while making breakfast. It has a way of eradicating any apprehension or negativity that I harbour from time to time. Dan and I have our sporadic music making. He’ll pick up his guitar and play that catchy melody we’ve been humming to for the past week, and then I’ll sing along with sweet harmonies until our voices break. Music actually brought us together; we met during his high school’s musical back in 2010.
I much prefer spontaneous creativity to routine piano lessons. I suppose that’s why I’m not a successful musician. I’m the first (tied with my dad) to call myself out on all my wasted potential. I’ve nailed it down to my indecisiveness. I don’t know what I want. I’ve contemplated many potential career paths. Doctor; my opa was a missionary doctor who gave up his life in Germany to provide medical care for South Africans in rural areas. I decided against it because if I’m going to study anything of that sort, it will be to keep animals alive and not humans. I wanted to be a volcanologist but unfortunately (fortunately) there aren’t many volcanoes in South Africa. I even wanted to be the next Britney Spears but I couldn’t quite get that nasal vocal technique down. I was a strong swimmer in school and considered taking that further. I also modeled for a few years and did quite well before I lost interest in that too.
I’ve always cursed my uncertainty but I appreciate my inability to settle. I think I’m the type of person who has to experiment and try different things to truly know what I want to do with my life. The fundamental values are there, I just have to find an acceptable way of executing them. Right now I’m trying out the field of ‘broke-ass freelancer’.
*I will say that the cabin crew are not there to attend to your every fucking need, but to make sure you reach your destination safely, and to save you in the event of an emergency. Cabin crew are highly trained in first aid, fire fighting, ditching, and undergo annual safety and emergency training.
**That’s a bit of a generalization. There were many days when I borderline loved the job. I’ve met amazing people and I really liked my fellow crew members. Most of them, anyway.
Band Tees-Dusk ’til Dawn
Images by Sarah Grace3