Murky water…

Today I am a little boat floating in a dark, moonless ocean.  I am not sure where emotion ends and thoughts begin.  I don’t even know where rational stops and irrational claws its way into my being

I’ve been crying non-stop since I first opened my eyes this morning and then I get mad at myself because it’s so stupid because I am happy and loved and then I cry some more out of anger.

I can’t stop

Today was supposed to be my 20th wedding anniversary.  Even though I am happier now that I ever was in my married life, I’m sad because my fairy-tale was stolen from me and I’ll never have a second chance at that.  One day everything was fine and then, out of nowhere, it was ripped away from me and no matter how hard I tried or what I did or how much of myself I sacrificed it was taken away – my fairy-tale turned into a nightmare that’s haunting me to this day.  I’ll never have that – I’ll never have my fairy-tale.  I’ll never walk down the aisle and live happily ever after in marital bliss and get to celebrate a 10th or 20th wedding anniversary.  That’s all I’ve wanted since I was a little girl and I witnessed my grandparents live that dream.  Don’t get me wrong, I know they had their ups and downs.  That’s par for the course, but they kept going at it.  They never gave up, they never allowed anything to destroy their fairy-tale.  They had a commitment to each other, a bond that they protected.  They worked at it every single day.  I didn’t have a chance.  It was taken from me and there was nothing I could do to stop – and that, my friends, is what’s scaring the daylights out of me.

I look at new relationships form, I look at people falling in and out of love, I look at break ups happening around me, I look at the effort being put in from one side and not being reciprocated, I look at miscommunication and misread signs, I look at people cheating and being cheated on, I look at divorces happening – all of these happening in front of my eyes and the realization that there is nothing to be done to stop it is just too much for me today.

We have no guarantees, do we?

We can’t make someone love us forever.  We can’t make someone want to stay.  We can’t force a fairy-tale

This thing called love is such a fragile and unpredictable thing.  I know I am loved and happy and what we have work.  I know that, but in the back of my mind there is always the knowing that there are no guarantees and it scares me beyond reason, beyond all rationale.

They say fear has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise – how do you face a monster you can not see, a monster that you don’t know exist?  How do you fight a fear if you don’t know what you’re up against?  You can’t face something that you don’t know exist, can you?  That’s the thing with love.  When it’s ripped from you, it often happens unexpectedly and you didn’t even know that there was something lurking in the background.   How do I overcome that paralyzing fear that drives me beyond reason?  How do I make my heart and my mind believe that this is forever and I can relax and just enjoy it and live happily ever after without fear?  How do I make my heart and my mind understand that I don’t need to fear if there are no guarantees?

Today I am a little boat floating in a dark, moonless ocean

What I learned from “The perks of being a wallflower”

perks

Earlier in the week, while trying to explain the term “Wallflower” to Luke, I came across the movie “The Perks of being a Wallflower”.  I was ecstatic; finally a movie that could describe me and make sense of this dysfunctional brain-to-mouth filter!

This morning Luke and I watched the movie and what I got out of it was completely different from what I expected.  Of all the issues covered in the movie, there are three statements in it that really hit home with me:

Why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?

Is that not an age-old question?  It is one that has certainly been around for as long as parents have had to sit by and watch their children fall in love with the wrong kind of person.  Love is the one thing in humanity which will have a different definition every time the question is asked.  The one true description of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13.  Unfortunately we are only human and it is tough to not allow emotions and memories and baggage to ruin that definition for us and we say “well, if only it was that simple”.  How many times have you, as an outsider, stood by and watch the definition of love being twisted and turned to suit the person in control?  Let’s face it all relationships have a dominant and a submissive.  There is always someone who needs to get more out of it and pulls the strings to his or her heart’s content in order to feel like they are getting a fair deal.  There is always someone who takes a step back in order to keep the peace or simply to make the other person happy, even if it comes at a costly price to themselves.  In an ideal world, it would be a complete 50/50 scenario, but how often does that really happen?

Let’s take a moment to look at how relationships start.  Men are visual creatures while woman are emotional creatures.  Generally speaking, relationships start out with the sugar-coated version of ourselves and there is no denying the fact.  How many second dates do you think there would be in everyone came out on the first date and said all there was to say?

Hi, my name is Suzie and I suffer from paranoid schizophrenic tendencies, but refuse to have myself tested as my denial is my stronger than my conscience.

Hi, my name is Mark and I have severe trust issues and it does not matter how far this relationship goes, I will never trust you.

Would life not have been a lot easier if you could plug into someone’s psyche from the get go and know all there was to know, the good and the bad?  Yes, discovering things about each other as love grows is a beautiful thing, but it would save us from a world of hurt if we could know beforehand that we would be wasting our love on someone who is not prepared to change or not prepared to settle down.  Unfortunately we only start to discover the warnings signs once it is too late and we are already completely and utterly in love.  Or, even worse, the warning signs are there from the get-go, but we choose to ignore them, thinking that we are over sensitive or paranoid or too judgmental.

So why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?  It is something that I have always wondered about.  As mentioned in the past, I am completely in love with love.  Unfortunately, however, I do not understand it.  Is it a matter of fate or life handing you a raw deal when it comes to love?  I don’t think so.  There must be more.  There must be a reason why some people meet the love of their life in middle school and live happily ever after, while someone else goes through four or five marriages to only find happiness at 60.  Why does that happen?

It is because we choose to only accept the love we think we deserve.

Now that is a loaded statement!  In itself, the statement makes it clear that we choose the relationships we are in.  Whoa, stop right there!  Do you mean to tell me that the woman who continually find herself dating an alcoholic or drug addict or wife beater, chooses to be in that situation?  No, you did not intentionally go out looking for someone like that to date, but when you see the warnings lights, you choose to ignore them, thinking that this time around it will be different.

Falling in love is easy, it happens in the blink of an eye.  As mentioned above, the initial sunshine and roses disappears after a while and we see the person’s true colors emerge as we grow on each other.  It is when the true colors emerge that we need to take a step back and decide whether that is really what we want or deserve, and this is the difficult part.  That is the part which takes a lot of character.  The problem comes in when we do not have a clear sense of what we deserve.  The little foxes that hide in the darkest corners of your soul all have different names: insecurity, low self-esteem, confidence issues, to name but a few.  These little foxes emerge and overcome reason, telling you that it’s not as bad as you think or you won’t find someone else who will be willing to accept you and love or it will get better once we have overcome this one bridge or, aghh, the list is endless.  So we stay and hope and dream and pray that we are right and that things will change and that the little voice inside is wrong.

Every time it happens, you fall for the beautiful lies and choose to believe that things will change.  Every time it happens, you put all your hope and dreams into that one little promise: it won’t happen again.  Until next time and the time after that and the time after that.  We think that you are not worthy of more.  We think that this is the best we will ever have.  We think that we have been placed there to make a difference.  So, we choose to accept the love we think we deserve and stick around for more of the same.

On the flip-side of the coin, could it then also be that we choose the fight the love we think we do not deserve?  How else do you explain it when someone is presented with true love and he / she then fights against it, fight to protect and guard themselves?  How else do you explain someone refusing to let down the walls built around their heart in order to let someone in and embrace the warmth of love?  Is it because they feel that they do not deserve that love?

It is one and the same condition if you think about it actually.  One the one hand you have someone who feels like they don’t deserve better and on the other hand you have someone who feels like they don’t deserve as much.  So they stay and try to make it work.  They love and laugh; they scream and fight; they try to make sense of it all and things just spiral more and more out of control until one day…

If you are one of the lucky ones, you wake up one day and you feel dead inside.  You wake and can’t wait to get to work, just to get away.  You dread the end of the day because you need to go home and don’t know what to expect because you are just so tired of fighting.  One day you wake up and you decide you need to get away for a while, just so you can put a temporary end to the escalating pain and suffering.

If you are not one of the lucky ones, you just don’t wake up and there is no time to fix it all.  You don’t wake up because you were killed in a moment of rage and you never have the opportunity to choose differently.  If you are not one of the lucky ones, the little foxes win and you are destroyed as was their intention from the start.

There comes a point when you realize you are not a sad story and that you are more and deserve better

The human nature intrigues me immensely.  It is just fascinating that, caught in one body, you can have a heart telling you one thing and a head telling you something completely different.  The conflicting emotions that inhabit our bodies can become so overwhelming that we just want to run.  Then you run and you run, but it doesn’t matter how far you run or what extent you go to, those feelings and emotions run with you, taunting you.  You think and think until you can’t think no more and still the emotions conflict each other.

When do you know that whether what you are doing is the right thing?  Is it right for you based on past experiences or based on where you want to go? Is it right for you out of selfish reasons or is it right for you because you are growing?

It would have been so much easier if there was a program you could plug your emotions into; a program which could decode the emotions until one true answer remained.  How simple would that be?  We would see a significant reduction in the divorce rate.  We would definitely see more tears of joy and less anguish.  Life would just be better all round.

If only it was that simple right?

Once you get to the point where you realise that you deserve better, you have reached the point where you can start to turn things around.  I personally feel that psychology should be made available free of charge (ya right, if only, I know!) to every person who wishes to enter into a relationship and couples therapy should be a definitely pre-requisite before things become serious.

Decoding the human mind and human heart is something which we will never be able to do.  Even the best psychologist can only base their diagnoses and treatment on what they are being told.  So how do we ever really know someone?  How do we ever really and truly understand?

I guess that is something which remains to be answered.

Pat on the back

Tell someone you’re proud of just how proud you are.

luka

My Luka-boo

You have been always been a little chatter box and can talk the ears of an elephant!  Imagine our surprise when your Grade 1 teacher (and every teacher after that) told us that you are very reserved in class!  For the past five years I have had to endure teachers telling me that they need to drag answers out of you and that you would never put your hand up to answer a question.  Year after year they keep complaining that you can’t focus or sit still in class.  I have had to hear countless times that you are disruptive in class as you keep chatting to friends, but don’t want to participate in class discussions.  Do you remember how many times we’ve spoken about this?

Then came Grade 5 with more subjects, more assignments and more responsibility.  Of course it also meant you having to stay after school for detention.  We tried all forms of discipline and it would work for two, maybe three days and then we were back to square one.  I honestly thought that I was failing you  miserably as a parent and that there was no hope left.

Then we discovered Mindset and out world was turned upside down, hey?

Your report card came and I nearly jumped through the roof 🙂 but we still had the dreaded parent-teacher meetings ahead of us 😦

I sat outside each class, nervously waiting on my turn, and watched as parent after parent departed with long faces.  My turn came and I kept our tablets secret, because I first wanted to hear what they had to say.

“Luke has suddenly started to blossom into a child which truly reflects his intellect”

“Luke has changed and is suddenly offering answers, every time”

“Luke has become a joy to have in the classroom”

“Luke has undergone a huge change during the holidays and he has not once been written up for disruptive behavior”

Then I brought out the trump-card: Mindset!  They were all united in saying that, whatever happens, I should not stop giving the tablets to you.  the deputy-headmaster even said that he has seen a bigger change in your attitude, behavior and performance than on any child who was ever placed on Ritalin.

Victory!!!

My angel, I am so proud of you!  I cried all the way home and still want to cry when I think about everything we have been through to get here.

My trooper, you soldier on and finally we will be able to see what you are really capably of!

I am proud of you sweetie-pie!

 

Some proud bloggers:

  1. Political Anomaly: The Peculiar Case of Jose Mujica | I am Mike Obiora
  2. This is how we weigh the dog | weliveinaflat
  3. Gratitude to an Angel | In Harmony
  4. Pat on the Back | Books, Music and Movies : my best friends
  5. Kids |tanka| | STAIN
  6. Abstract | Kunsten
  7. Daily Prompt: Pat on the Back | Under the Monkey Tree
  8. Daily Prompt: Pat on the Back | George and Nigel
  9. Daily Prompt: Pat on the Back – show us SUCCESS. | masadiso79’s Blog
  10. Reach for you Military Dream | Daily Prompt: Pat on the Back | Being a Huntress
  11. Daily Post: Pat on the Back | I Work for a Jerk
  12. Pat on the Back | Motherhood and Beyond
  13. Sara’s Success | clarior e tenebris
  14. You’re on the Right Track | King Jeremy Chronicles
  15. A Successful day… | The Rider

The Road Less Traveled

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.

road

I have written on The Road Less Traveled before, although from a different perspective.

There have been quite a few “points of no return” in my life and I am really struggling to find one to pinpoint for this prompt.

I guess you could say it was a momentous day when I had the choice at 13 whether I want to go live with my mom or my dad.  My brother was already out the house, my sister opted to go live with my dad and I chose to stay with my mom.

Also you could say that it was a turning point when, at 18 halfway through my matric year, I decided to move to Johannesburg – on my own.

Another big one was in 2011 when I realized that I have died on the inside and, despite the fact that we really do love each other, our marriage can not be saved.  That is a big decision right there; 12 years of marriage is not something to snort at, but sometimes you have to do what is right for you.

A lot happened in my life.  Not all good, but more importantly, not all bad.  I like to think that everything that happened, happened for a reason.  All of those event shaped me into the person I am today.  Through it all I had God’s love and grace over me, and that is what has given me the strength to carry on.

I am not one to sit and ponder about “what could have been”.  Thus the reason why I can’t pinpoint a specific situation for this prompt.

Yesterday is gone, never to be seen again.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  The only thing you are certain of is right now.  Live your life in a way that would make right now the most important, the best moment of your life.  Learn from the past, but don’t hold on to it.  Don’t worry about what could have been, you could never really know the outcome.

You are where you are now, right at this moment, as a result of a lot of circumstance and choices you have made.  Contemplating about what could have been is just torture.  You can not go back and make something “un-happen”.  Regardless of how much you would like to, you can not go back and retract those words or actions.

If you make today count, yesterday and tomorrow loses its power and simply does not matter.

I am alive now, I have this day and for that I am grateful.

Companions for life!

The Weekly Photo Challenge asked us to post a photo which shows companionship.

No photo could ever be a better example of companionship, than one of my mom and Luke. Those two are the best of friends and nothing could ever get between them. I have my hands full when they get together and you would swear that you have to 8-year olds in the room instead!

I had a hard pick to choose the best one, there are so many. The one I chose just shows so much love and “softness” between them and it is one that I will treasure forever!

Moments of Kindness

Describe a moment of kindness, between you and someone else — loved one or complete stranger.

mark twainPhoto:  http://theanjananetwork.net/

Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions

Kindness is, in my view, the one thing of which there is way too little of in this world.  I have shared some acts of kindness with you in the past.  The top two, which most moved me, are:

An unexpected act of kindness towards me

My act of kindness towards an unknown man

Aesop said “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”.  How true is that!

We often think of kindness as being huge acts, which would require time or money.  Kindness, however, can be shown in so many ways which would require very little of you:

  • Kindness is letting someone else take the cab you just hailed.
  • Kindness is smiling at someone who is obviously experiencing some kind of emotional turmoil.
  • Kindness is buying bread for the homeless person you passed on your way to the shop.

Here are my Top 10 Kindness Quotes:

childPhoto:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nature-Playgrounds/161407910556192

gandalfPhoto: https://www.facebook.com/GemStateMenOfIntegrityInAction

mother theresaPhoto: http://www.itsworthquoting.com/kindnessquotes.html

humanPhoto: http://stuffpoint.com/thoughtfull-quotes/image/110241/kindness-02-picture/

lookPhoto: http://wahsegavalleyfarm.typepad.com/wahsega_valley_farm/2008/11/kindness.html

platoPhoto: http://comments.funmunch.com/kindness-quotes/

lao tzuPhoto: http://mylovelyquotes.com/perfect-kindness-acts-without-thinking-kindness/

importance-of-kindness-in-lifePhoto: http://www.yoursayings.com/importance-of-kindness-in-life/

a_single_act_of_kindness_quotePhoto: http://www.garengpung.com/3450/an-act-of-kindness-quote/

kindPhoto: http://www.searchquotes.com/search/A_Strangers_Kindness/

A life is lost, a soul reclaimed

Photo: whatislistening.com

I first saw him yesterday morning. Standing on the corner, his posture spoke of a defeated man. He turned and raise his face to the morning sun, the wintry rays of sunshine turning his tears to shimmering rivers. The rivers traveling down the landscape that was his face, found a final resting place in a bushy white beard.

I last saw him yesterday afternoon. Standing next to the hearse, the coffin blurred out by his tears. He once more turned his face upwards, they had to hurry. The day was running away from them, disappearing into the ocean. The funeral had to be over before the final light vanished and night came in to hide the black hole in his heart. The setting sun turned the world into a marshmallow pink, a warm mountain wind would bring rain over night.

We turned the corner and the procession disappeared from my sight. The prayers called to heaven by family and friends silenced by the hustle and bustle of life that carries on.

A tragic yet realistic reminder that we do not know the number of days in our life. Spend every day in gratitude and let those who live in your heart know that they are loved.

Happy Fathers Day!

Photo: http://www.e-devotion.blogspot.com

I love trees and I love my dad. No, my dad is not a tree, but every time I walk past a tree and hug it (yes, I am a tree hugger!), I think of my dad. I think of the magic he can do, what he can create from that old tree, when it come to the end of its life. When the tree dies, he will give it new life in the form of a TV cabinet or wardrobe, kitchen counter or a desk for the executive’s study.

Since I can remember wood has been an intimate part of our family. The smell of WoodDoc, mahogany stain, varnish and sawdust mixed in with Old Spice after shave (I don’t think he ever used Old Spice, but for some reason it’s part of the equation) will forever be “daddy” smells to me. His furniture has adorned houses around South Africa for many years and, just like him, these items are strong enough to wither the storm and stand the test of time.

What is a father? Someone said “Any man can father a child, but it takes a real man to be a daddy”. Pope John XXIII said it is easier for a father to have children, than it is for children to have a real father. The meaning of father will be different for all of us. What makes my father a daddy?

His roots are firmly grounded and will not waiver. He knows what he stands for. He has a very firm set of beliefs and even though he will never impose them on you, they are always there. He taught me about Jesus and taught me about life.

Like a 100 year old tree in the Amazon, he is always there. We are both stubborn. In fact, I think I got that from him. This, of course, has led to a somewhat explosive relationship over the years. If I make a decision, my dad will never, ever tell me not to do it. Instead, he might tell me why he thinks it’s not a great idea and send me off to do my thing. If I make mistakes, as well all do, my dad is there with open arms, waiting for me to return. Never will he tell me “I told you so”, instead he will do what he can to help me pick up the pieces and start over fresh.

Like the tree accepts the weather, he accepts me for what I am. My dad has never tried to change me. I know that I am good enough and that he is proud of me, no matter what. He loves me unconditionally. Never in my life have I felt that I am a burden to him or that I am intruding on his life. His door and heart is always open, filled with love and laughter.

Even though I might have broken his heart a hundred times in my lifetime, he has never stopped believing in me. He has loved from the day I was born and I know that he forever will. A daughter will forever be her daddy’s little girl. For a girl, her daddy will always be her first love. Someday she might find her prince in shining armour, but here daddy will always be her king.

A nonnet for my dad:

A tree standing on the river bank
Roots deeply settled in the ground
Tall and strong, unwavering
Branches gently swaying
Soaking up sunlight
Drinking the rain
My daddy
Always
There

Ek is lief vir jou pappa!

When ugly becomes beautiful

Today’s prompt asks us to find beauty in something considered ugly.

What, apart from Table Mountain, is the first thing that tourists see when they arrive at Cape Town International? What is the most visible landmark for anyone driving on the N2 outside Cape Town. Khayelitsha. Rural settlements or squatter camps as they are also known form a part of every town in South Africa. The one in Langebaan on the West Coast is the most beautiful one in the country to my knowledge. The rest are pretty ugly.

Homes consist of Wendy houses or roughly constructed shelters build of just about anything. Electricity and running water does not exist in these shelters; forget about inside toilets. Thousands of people are left to God’s grace and have to make whatever plan they can to stay dry and warm. Countless times have I heard people complain about places like Khayelitsha and how they negatively impact on the City’s image.

I don’t see it as ugly though. Look deeper and you will see the beauty and love that reigns supreme; the meaning of Ubuntu is explained without words.

Every morning with the taxi we drive through one of these rural settlements called Casablanca. Every property has four to five dwellings built on it, but to them it’s not about how they live, but how much they mean to each other.

I suppose Casablanca would be ugly, barbaric even, for someone who sees it for the first time. When you take the time to really see and listen – every day, morning and afternoon – the place grows on you. Let me take you on a journey.

Early morning Casablanca
A woman walk her husband to the stop where they wait for the taxi. She kisses him goodbye, coffee cup in hand. Her night gown sticking out from underneath the robe, slippers on her feet, she side step puddles, it rained a lot last night. Curlers in the hair, it’s time to start the day. In the next road, a lady is sweeping her yard with a makeshift broom – branches of a tree long dead. She has no grass, no flowers, just the bare sand, but by golly it’s her land and she will keep the dirt swept clean. Just further down an old man carries a bucket of steaming water from his neighbors house, the sleep still thick in his eyes. Children crisscross the roads, catching up on gossip before they get to school. In the next block, Rastafarians gather to exchange blessings for the day. A hung-over man tries to sidestep the noise, shielding his eyes with sunglasses. Everywhere people greet each other. They know about their problems and really care.

Late Afternoon Casablanca
Baby’s run around with shrieks of joy, naked as they day they were born. Children play in the road; anything from cricket to soccer, jump rope to hop-scotch. They don’t have cellphones, pay-TV or. Playstations, they play the games we used to enjoy as kids. Laundry, pinned to wires strung between houses, flaps in the afternoon breeze. A lady tosses her dish wash water into the road, the bucket needs to be used for washing the potatoes. On a corner at the mobile (a spaza shop that moves around from day to day in search of more customers) men gather to exchange jokes and predictions for the weekend’s rugby. A wife shouts to her husband to gather the kids, dinner is ready.

I’ve come to love Casablanca and the people who live there. They have this very strong sense of community. When someone is sick everyone pulls in to help with meals and homework. Weddings and funerals are community affairs and everyone gets involved.

It may not be pretty and it is definitely not what they want in terms of housing, but they are proud of who they are. Their culture is important. Ubuntu their driving force.

In Casablanca I don’t feel the ugly, I feel love.