Happily ever after: A guide for the princess who picked the wrong prince

So you’ve picked the wrong prince.

I told you so, says Mom. Being married to the wrong prince is a predicament she knows all too well. She was hoping to protect you from similar misery. But you were blind. Until the blinkers fell off and there, at your dinner table, sat a frog. Now you have time-share, a bond, a few children, property jointly owned with in-laws, and a school reunion coming up. What to do?

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Gatvol gebraai

Ek’s 'n regte Suid-Afrikaner. As die son Saterdagaand water trek, dan soek ek ‘n houtvuur en ‘n wyntjie. Ek wil braaibroodjies eet terwyl die wors op die kole sis. Ek wil lag en gesels en trane afvee oor sinnelose goedjies en diep sake, terwyl die naguil se roep my geanker aan Afrika hou. Maar deesdae raak ek lugtig. Of dit die drank of die donkerte, vrees of gewoonte is weet ek nie, maar alte dikwels, om ‘n braaivleisvuur, moet ek teen wil en dank luister na die een of ander half-besope rassis, wat met passie sy ondeurdagte opinies oor die regering en sy landgenote lug. Regtig? Hoe is dit oukei?

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Step 1 to a joyful life is… Uhmm, anyone?

Last night, I got a voice note from a friend.

“Hilde, you’ve got to tell me how you do it. I’m so jealous. I wish I could just go away by myself like you do, just up and leave. I really need to figure that out. Teach me!”

Of course, I don’t ‘just up and leave’ whenever I want to. What mother, wife, worker, employer can do what she wants, when she wants to, all by herself? But truth be told, now and again I do take off and go fill my cup. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes for a few days. I got that she envied that. And I truly wanted to give her some profound words of advice. So I started typing my response. 

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There's a psychic in my bed

Personality types have always fascinated me. Mostly, of course, my own personality. How do I relate to people? How do I respond in conflict? How do I show love? To what extent do I include others in my life? In short, who am I, really?

I can tell you all about the MBTI, the Big Five, Jung, 16PF, and many other well-researched personality assessments. Nothing much wrong with them. But I have discovered the best one of them all. It is spot on. Brutally honest. As balanced or unbalanced as you are. It accurately describes your light and your shadow sides – a spectacular display of your very best and very worst characteristics.

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Hallelujah, I'm super-average!

I had always been special. Born to parents who lived in the public eye, in a generation and community where the public eye was all that really mattered, I understood the importance of applause. Lucky for the small, special me, my older siblings did not buy into the pleasing-others scenario. Or if they did, they didn’t pull it off. Whatever the reason, I got centre stage as I wooed my way through years of extraordinary eisteddfods, exams, and badges. 

Of course I was lonely and miserable.

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