We have yet to travel the world, and our savings for the Round the World ticket is in dire straits. But we’re driven and passionate, and you can trust that our ten-year plan to climb Mount Everest will happen.
I think it’s important I remember that, too.
There are a myriad of reasons why I can’t do this. I don’t really believe that I even know where to begin. But I can’t do this. And I’ll try my very best to tell you why.
I can’t do this because when you tell me that I’m beautiful, I believe you. And I can’t have that. I can’t have someone convincing me that they see beauty in me. If I believe you – and sometimes I do – then what’ll happen when you leave? Because you will leave.
That’s another one. I can’t do this because you’ll leave. You won’t know it yet, but I do. I’ll ignore the fact, however. A sort of emotional masochistic endeavor. But I won’t be entirely ignorant. I’ll convince myself that this time it’ll be different. This time I’ll be loved. This time you will stay and I can feel safe. This time…
What else? Well, for one thing, you have soft pillows. There. I said it. You want to know why I can’t do this, and that’s a perfectly viable reason. The pillows on your bed are so soft it feels as if I’m sleeping on a marshmallow – which actually isn’t as pleasant as it sounds.
I can’t do this because when you look at me, I can’t breathe for a second. And if you were to look at me for longer, with the meaning in your eyes that I hope to find, I’d die. Just keel over. You may not know this, but breathing is necessary for living. Yup. And your taking my breath away is for one thing, decidedly rude, and for another, impeding the efficiency of my living processes.
I can’t do this because you make me laugh – even when I’ve had the worst day. Your eyes captivate me. Your voice enthralls me so that I just want you to tell me stories all day long. I can’t do this because you have made me forget about the other 3,456,782,396 men on the planet. I can’t do this because if I did, I’d never want to not do it. I can’t do this because you hesitate when I tell you how I feel. You hesitate when I ask you to kiss me. And you’ll hesitate when I ask you to love me.
I can’t do this, us, love, because… Well, if I’m honest – completely 100% honest – I can do this.
And I want to. But if I need to find reasons not to, to protect myself, then I will.
Even if the only reason I can find is those damn pillows!
Reconnect with an old friend, or an old flame, a lost chance. Chat one day on Facebook. Comment on how many years it’s been. Accept when he suggests you meet up for a drink. Know it’ll be a once off. Put it out of your mind until the day arrives. Be nervous whilst you fret over what to wear. Don’t understand why. Eventually settle for the outfit you first chose. Go.
Smile when you see him. He hasn’t changed a bit, and yet there’s something different about him. Talk over one another at first, in the rush to catch up. Resolve to let one another take turns. Laugh at the things he remembers about you, and the one and only date you ever had. Smile slightly when he tells you that he’s recently single. Say good night eventually realising that six hours have passed and you didn’t even know it.
Be thrilled when he messages you to say how good it was to see you. Tell him the same. Say yes when he suggests you do it again. Go out drinking together almost every night for a month. Find yourself, on every one of those nights, in a drunken haze of happiness. Wonder why he hasn’t tried to kiss you yet. Try to grin when he tells you time and time again how happy he is to have found a friend like you.
Pluck up the courage one night after another drink-filled night out and ask him to kiss you. Sit with your heart pounding in your chest. Wonder if he can hear it as loudly as you can. Listen out for the beat of his heart, too. Wait for him to do or say something. Practically faint when he finally leans in and your lips touch. Lose yourself in the 3, 4, 5 seconds that you kiss. Hide the disappointment you feel when he pulls away again. Search for a sign of emotion; a sign that it meant to him what it meant to you. Ignore the awkward silence that’s settled in between you. Say good night without seeing a sign of anything at all.
Wait to hear from him all the next day. Jump out of your chair every time your phone goes off. Ignore the pit in your stomach each time you realise it’s not him. Hang around on Facebook on the off chance that he’ll log on. Get butterflies when he does log on. Ignore the sinking feeling in your gut when he doesn’t message you and then logs back off.
Regain hope when he eventually messages you. Ignore that he calls you ‘dude’, ‘bud’ and ‘friend’. Make plans to go out with his group of friends.
Spend the whole night checking his face and body language for a sign. When you say good night, notice that there’s something he wants to say to you, something that’s been on his mind. Hold your breath. Keep a straight face when he tells you how glad he is that the drunken kiss didn’t ruin the friendship. Try smile even. Say goodbye. Cry as you drive home.
Find yourself waiting for him to realise how he feels about you. Go on dates to makes him see. Feel confused at how he seems genuinely disappointed for you when the dates don’t work out. “You’ll find someone,” he says, trying to reassure you. Hate him in that moment because you have found someone.
Try not to let him hear your heart break when he tells you he’s met someone. Feign excitement at the chance to meet her. Hate her before you’ve done so. Hate that you like her from the moment you meet her. Hate how beautiful, intelligent and funny she is – love that she’s the exact type of woman he deserves. Hate the way he looks at her; the way he places his hand on the small of her back; the way he leans in and whispers in her ear. Hate that they have eyes for no one but each other. Hate that you have eyes only for him. Hate yourself. Love him even more.
When it’s good, it’ll be right. And when it’s right, you’ll know. You won’t have known all the time, but there’ll be moments when everything is suddenly so clear that you can’t understand why you’d ever considered doing things any other way. When it’s good, it’ll be so right that to behave, think, speak or feel any other way, will be wrong. And when it’s wrong, it’ll be the worst.
When it’s good, it’ll be the best. And this doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be perfect. No one ever said that perfection was naturally the best. And whilst it may not be perfect, it’ll still be good. In a life where so very many things can go wrong, be wrong, feel wrong, the ability to recognise and hold onto what’s good may get a little lost. We’re so busy concerning ourselves with how the people and “traditions” of the world dictate us to feel, and who we ought to be, and what is or isn’t acceptable, that we lose sight of the most important fact: you get one life. One. And you’re the one who has to live it, everyday. So why would you choose anything other than what’s good, what’s right?
When it’s right, you’ll know. You can have faith in that. And when it’s wrong, you’ll know, too. The only thing that ever gets in the way in the pursuit of what’s right, is ourselves. We sit, and worry, and think, and wait. Instead of wondering who you are to have so much good, ask yourself who you are not to?
When I wonder who the people I have respect for are, my answers are probably somewhat unorthodox. It’s the man or woman who says “I don’t” when standing at the alter – arguably one of the most unacceptable places at which to be completely honest about how you feel. It’s the young rape victim who, pregnant with the rapist’s child, brings the child up to be the very antithesis of all of the evil of the man who caused his conception. It’s the mothers who love their children through the terrible two’s, teenage angst, drug addictions and worse. It’s the man who follows his heart in pursuit of the woman he loves, because even though his friends may tease him for being “whipped,” he’d rather sacrifice a man card or two, than ever risk losing her.
When it’s good, it won’t always be good, but it’ll be right. And you’ll know it. With every part of you. Once you know it, the times it isn’t so good will be okay. Because no one ever promised you that it would be easy, just that it’d be worth it. So, let go of the past. Let go of the fear. Start again. And this time, give more. Trust more. Love more. Find what’s good. Find what’s right.
Kiss me, stupid. And you’ll wonder why it took you so long to do so in the first place. You’ll blink when we finally stop, before kissing me again. Just because you can.
I believe that the people of the world are divided by one thing, and one thing only. And this divider is not race, or socio-economic status, as most of you would believe. Oh no. The people of the world fall into two groups. The first group consists of happy-go-lucky morning people who can’t wait to launch themselves into the day as soon as their eyes open. And the second group consists of people who struggle to formulate full words let alone sentences before noon, and will very readily stab you should you even look in their general direction with the hint of a smile on your face. I, am fortunate enough, to fall into the first group. However, for those of you who can’t function unless you have a mainline of caffeine every morning, here are some tips should you ever wish to make the transition to the brighter side of the waking up!
In an ideal world, our morning ritual of awakening wouldn’t mean we’d have to get to the office with a workload from Hell – a tortuous task often perpetuated by the tendency for this work load to be quite notably more large on Mondays (the day of the week I’m convinced that the world will end, should it ever do so). However, since the world in which we live is far from ideal, you have two options to make the most of this daily phenomenon called work. On one hand, you could go bat sh!t crazy and blow up the building, thus ensuring your staying in bed a few hours longer is the least of your boss’s troubles. Or you could ensure that the work you do, is the work you want to do. I know it sounds like a cliche, but you have one life to live. So, why would you spend it doing anything other than that which makes you happy? Especially when it comes to something you’ll be doing everyday for what may be a large portion of your time on Earth? As a wise old Greek man once told me, “do what you love. The money may follow, the money may not. If you’re happy, you’re already rich beyond measure.” Happiness is priceless.
See the face you want to see when you open your eyes. It may sound somewhat insubstantial, but waking up to someone every morning can have a wonderful effect on your mood – so long as it’s not someone whose name you can’t remember. That’s a little bit awkward. Should the person you’re waking up to be the same person with whom you share a crazy, wild, wonderful love – well, what else could you ask for? If you’re lucky enough to be able to do this, it makes sense that you’ll find waking up a lot more pleasurable when it’s waking up to someone you can’t wait to wake up to. Wake up to the person who makes you happy. It’s truly that simple. I promise.
I’m ashamed to say it – mostly because it represents a move towards adulthood *shudder* – but exercise in the morning can actually make my day! I never thought I’d ever be a morning exercise person, but low and behold, when I wasn’t looking, it happened. Living in Cape Town meant a daily early morning run along the promenade – a daily ritual that I actually looked forward to! (I know, you may as well put me into an old age home and just leave me there.) It’s not all bad news, however. Not only do you feel better because of the endorphins pulsing through your blood stream, but you’ll perform better whilst doing the actual exercise. Honest! Now, wipe that horrified look off your face, and go for a run already. Sheesh.
If all else fails, just accept that there’s little else to be done. I’d recommend waking up to a sea view with a breakfast buffet awaiting you, and several smalls midgets to tend to your every whim as you slowly go through the motions of feeling better about being awake… But I’d also be giving you false hope. Maybe these little things won’t help transform you into less of a monster before midday, but maybe that’s okay. As long as morning people and non-morning people alike give one another warning, there’s no reason we need lose anymore individuals to the deathly wrath of flying knives and coffee cups. At least, I hope there isn’t.
For now, I’ll just go on being a bouncy, happy morning person… outside… by myself…. where there’s nothing you can beat me to a pulp with… I hope!