| This is the 239th story of Our Life Logs |
Being the granddaughter of a famed, yet tormented writer is both a blessing and a curse. My grandmother and the other women in my line have been deemed mentally unstable, depressive, and worse. I am the only one not to have been electroshocked or institutionalized, yet many times in my life, I have thought that was my path, my unavoidable destiny. It has taken every ounce of strength to beat that fate, and still does. I have seen my father jailed when I was three years old, seen my mother walk out the door when I was five, been witness to the fights and the endless cycle of drug addiction and co-dependence. My path has been strewn with seemingly impossible obstacles, hard-to-beat odds, yet it has had so much beauty and good in it that kept me going to reach the other side.
I was born in February of 1986 and grew up in apartheid South Africa. I was part of the few white families that were against “white domination,” and thus one of the few poor white families at that time. Poverty, drugs and instability rocked my world for as long as I can remember, and by the time I turned 15, I had moved over 20 times with my ragamuffin family. The repercussions of living in poverty were enormous.
Yet at the same time, a guiding force sheltered me from the worst and helped me to always find an escape, and feel connected spiritually. My playthings as a child were the Tarot cards my father carted around despite our many moves, the coins that my mother used to toss the I Ching with and the cut-outs of Krishna and his consort Parvati. The Gods inspired me and I felt a profound connection to every variety of religion. However, it didn’t save me entirely.
In 2001, at the tender age of 15, rebellious and neglected, unloved and unstable, I dropped out of school. I told everyone it was because I had to help with the family business—the truth was, I was partying so hard that when my dad told me I wasn’t suited for academia, I leaped at the chance to spend the rest of my life making enough money to buy party tickets and drugs. Partying became my religion, and I was a fervent devotee.
Eventually, still 15 years old, I found crystal meth and was sucked into the tornado of drug addiction. And not only was I doing meth, my best friends and parents were too. They had no idea I was using, and they thought I didn’t know that they were. We played a game of pretending no one knew how fucked up we all were, and it was a lonely and lost time, albeit sprinkled with magical festival experiences.
Fast forward to age 16. I met someone who promised that if I stayed with him, he would quit doing heroin. And he did. We both decided to clean up our acts. After two crazy years where every party was mecca, where we used every drug imaginable, from LSD to meth to ecstasy, we stopped. We stopped it all, and I went clean for many years. Instead, I filled the void with alcohol and became a weekend binge drinker.
Then, when I was 18, I moved out and at 19, got my first “real job.” I became a shop clerk, and for the next six years, I climbed higher and higher. I rose to shop manager, then headed off to London and started a new career as an office manager in Knightsbridge in 2008. At 21, for the first time in my life, I felt the world was at my feet. Gone were my dreadlocks and tie dye festival clothes. In came heels and suits. It seems like the perfect life to an outsider, but my heart was not settled. Through all the success, I was still binge drinking each weekend, and I had been physically ill from the drugs and had a stomach problem that never quite went away as my body recovered. I moved back to South Africa later that year and lived in a small town.
My partner was off drugs too, but his work ethic hadn’t ever sobered up which led to us breaking up in 2010. This was devastating because I had no idea who I was apart from him. From 16 until 24, I had lost myself in our relationship, escaped into it and substituted substances for love. I gained sobriety from drugs and knowledge of the world, but I lost myself. Still, I knew I had to leave him, so armed with a qualification, a small car, and a few belongings, I left for the city in early 2010.
I started a new life, and with that new life, came freedom, but heartbreak still lingered which led me to return to old habits. In the free wheeling and exciting trendy city that I lived in – Cape Town, South Africa, also known as “Escape Town,” or even “Coke Town,” it was easy to tumble back into drugs.
I promptly fell for a man within a week of my breakup, and man, was he toxic. For two years, we fought, cheated, used mountains of coke, partied far too hard, went to all the clubs, and pushed the extremes. He broke my heart countless times but I stayed out of fear of being alone.
I somehow still maintained a steady job as a personal assistant for a design college. I’d work hard in the office, then black out at clubs and consume enormous amounts of coke, MDMA and Khat on weekends. There were a few occasions that I would use in the week, party all night and go to work and still function, but I was usually strict, keeping my recklessness reserved for the weekends.
In the middle of all the madness, however, there was a sparkle of peace that drew me to a new path in life that ultimately led to my passion. My boss, a dear friend to this day, gave me a voucher for a yoga class and a crystal healer. I was hooked from day one. I loved the calming feeling I got doing yoga. The crystal healer was even better. Within three days of seeing him, I abruptly stopped smoking, a habit which had been my crutch for over 10 years. After my second session, I left my toxic boyfriend, something I didn’t have the courage to do before. By my third session, my world had opened, and I was finally dealing with the pain and disappointment of a childhood lost, parental neglect and a deep wound of love absent. I realized I had little to no self-esteem, had immense escapist tendencies, was terribly vulnerable and yearning to be loved.
And so, I spent those years of my twenties in exploration, mostly lost, in darkness, partying, searching, making mistakes. I dated the wrong men, the wrong women, used too many drugs and had too many blackouts, I went into therapy, did immense alternative healing, lost weight, put on weight, went on the pill, went off the pill, all in the sake of healing.
It was no easy process, this healing. On this path, I began studying Astrology with my uncle, and within two years I had enrolled for a three-year diploma in Traditional Astrology when I was 27. While I was in the program, I met my current partner in 2014. By then, I had calmed down—a little. I was still a party animal, but I was no longer blacking out. The therapy was doing profound things for me.
After finishing school at age 30, I realized that I had a hunger to help people, and that had always been my goal, even when I was little. People asked me what I wanted to do, and I always said, “I want to help.” Astrology became the obvious route to do that, to connect to something bigger than me to understand life in all its mad chaos. It was also a way to try and make sense of my life, and to control it in some way. And so, my partner and I decided to travel together to Asia, leaving my job of six years to begin the trek on the brave path of doing the work I had studied for.
We returned to South Africa after eight months. My partner and I broke up for what I thought was for good, and I threw myself into work in Astrology. Single and determined, I rose fast and worked quicker than I could ever have expected. I was broken, but mending myself, slowly but surely. I began making a name for myself, and at the same time, I began believing that there was a force outside of myself, within myself, that was helping me, guiding me. Support showed up in the most tremendous of ways. I was given a place to stay, a classroom to teach in, multiple job offers and clients who seemed to really love the work I was doing.
I began hosting courses and retreats in Astrology and Tarot, things I had always had around me as a child, soaked in subconsciously. I started becoming a respected member of the local spiritual community and it gave me deep satisfaction that nothing else could. I was finally serving, using my wounds to let the light in, to be the light for others, to show them their paths. I was using my suffering for a purpose, and urging others to find their own purpose. I became a light bearer for those who needed it.
Four months later, my partner and I reconnected. The time apart helped us figure it out, figure out what went wrong, and as I changed for the better, I saw that he had changed too. We slowed down on the drugs and partying because I couldn’t—and no longer wanted to—maintain a lifestyle that promoted cocaine on a Tuesday night.
After two years of being sober of drugs, I can say that I have begun to live in the side of light. I no longer escape. I am wounded, but my wounds have only served to help me dive deeper into my purpose and passion, and every day I give thanks to the angels, guides and humans who have protected and provided for me, who have picked me up when I couldn’t. Most of all, I allow myself to love myself, just a little, every day, so that I can build up a more powerful version of myself to keep lighting the way for others.
I am one of those lucky human beings that has found my passion and my purpose. I know, heady words, right? It took me time to get here, but it doesn’t matter how long it took. What matters is that I made it. And aren’t we all ultimately on the same path? Don’t we all want to find what makes our hearts beat, what makes our souls sing?
This is the story of Annika Magoro
Annika’s freethinking parents named her after a heroine in a cult novel who learns witchcraft and loves to be invisible with the ability to fly. She aims to live up to her name, and is currently practicing Wicca with a special interest in learning how to fly her broomstick. At age 15, Annika fell into drug abuse and battled it through her life, getting sober then relapsing. After discovering her passion for Astrology, she became a changed woman and is now two years sober of drugs. Having graduated at the top of her class with a distinction in Traditional Astrology at age 30, she has blazed an astrological path and now takes her practice all around the globe. Annika is in love with the moon, the ocean, and cats—in no particular order. She is also passionate about yoga, which she practices daily, Tarot, which she teaches, and Celtic Mythology, which she reads about avidly. Now, in 2019, she is hoping to head to India to do her yoga teacher training after 10 years of practice.
This story first touched our hearts on December 17, 2018.
| Writer: Anonymous | Editor: Kristen Petronio |