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nonsense

I have no filter. I’m not sure if it was a side-effect of my mum already being 40 when she gave birth to me, but I’ve never had one. If I thought twice before I spoke, I’d never say anything at all. And whilst this may not seem so serious or negative a characteristic with which to be born, it is. As a result of my “I think it therefore I say it” condition, I only ever end up removing my own foot from my mouth, to put the other one in. As a result of this frequently placing me into somewhat awkward situations, I shall now launch myself into a description of what NOT to say when faced with similar situations to those I describe. Note: I don’t take responsibility for any repercussions of your reading this. I have no filter. And you have been warned.

“Oh. That’s nice.”
This phrase is basically the worst phrase in the English language. Deceptively simple and painfully monosyllabic, it is rarely used in the appropriate context and frequently results in an awkward silence that cannot be salvaged. I have been known to utter such a phrase when all other words fail me – and whilst this may not seem possible, it is. One such occasion that springs to mind, is when a young man divulged the details of his seemingly passionate and annoyingly immortal love for me. In person. With chocolates. And a Mix CD (the modern twist on an Old School favourite.) Aghast, and left without a clear notion as to where to begin explaining the myriad of reasons as to why this was just not for me, I choked. My brain blanked and the space where I’m pretty sure my filter ought to be, was flooded with this go-to utterance that left the two of us in a vortex of silence. It seemed as if there wasn’t a single sound in all the world except the echo of these three words off of every surface in the room. I’m not proud, but to be fair, this brain fail was probably the best response I could give. In my defense, a three word cop out was probably a lot kinder than the verbal tidal wave that might’ve bowled him over as every word I knew stumbled out of me in an effort to let this well-intentioned young man down gently, but firmly. Stop judging, I said I’m not proud, alright?

“Are you gay?”
I don’t know if anyone of you know this, but the myth about women having a gaydar that works 100% of the time is just that – a myth. Or at least it is when it comes to me. (Wondering whether I’m life’s personal joke as I fumble my way without either a filter or a gaydar – not ideal.) And whilst I’m pretty sure that when a gay man is around I can tell he’s gay; I can’t entirely tell when a straight man is straight. You must understand, it’s not entirely my fault, too! With the way men’s fashion is going, we’ll soon all be shopping in the same stores – and the stores will all be Forever New and Hip Hop. So, as a result, I may or may not have asked one or two men who may or may not have been trying to pick me up at a club, whether they may or may not have been gay… And I don’t know if any of you know this either, but that’s a question that I don’t think a single straight man anywhere on the planet won’t take offense to. I’m not an entirely awful person, I just genuinely couldn’t tell. And since my ability to shut up is as successful as Julius Malema’s, well, I always end up apologising profusely – and buying the offended individual a drink or ten. My bad.

I’m allergic to heroine.”
What? Stop looking at me like that. It’s not like I’ve tried heroine. I haven’t! And now I bet you’re wondering, how do I know that I’m allergic to it then? Well, smart ass, because I’m allergic to codeine which contains opium which is the base material for morphine and heroine. And yes, I did just stick my tongue out at you. Now, I’m not sure why, but people have begun asking somewhat generalised questions when attempting to get to know me (a practice which I find somewhat nonsensical). And so, when posed with a frustratingly obtuse inquiry such as “what can you tell me about yourself?” I tend to go for shock value. And without a thought of what reaction I might elicit, out rushes this little known fact about myself. I’ve never met anyone whose face hasn’t expressed either surprise, horror, or a resolve never to speak to me again, when I’ve shared this little titbit. In other words, I need to take up a new hobby so I can tell people about that instead.

Come play with me!”
This may come as a surprise – or it may not – but I’m a Never Never Land baby. This said, it means that childish things such as blowing bubbles, jumping in puddles, and building forts are still activities in which I like to take part. With friends. I like to play. And I believe it’s healthy for adults to play. All adults need to find some way of allowing their inner child out, and I do this successfully and frequently. So, when I call on a new friend who has yet to learn this about me, their expectations and reactions to my invite to play can be one of several. In the most extreme case, I never hear from the person again. Good riddance, I say in such a case. Bubble blowing is an activity reserved for the wonderful. Some people seem to understand me straight away and join into this revelry in all that is childlike and happy straight away – a reaction that has resulted in many incredible memories! And the third kind… Well, let’s just say that it’s rather awkward informing an individual what you really meant by play, when it’s been interpreted in a rather more, err, adult way. There’s no pleasant way of telling someone to put their, aah, toy away.

In the end, the examples that lend themselves as evidence to my lack of a filter are numerous and seemingly infinite. I’ve been informed that it’s possible to ‘grow’ a filter by many individuals who seem rather in control of everything they have to say. But on second thought, so long as I say everything I mean and mean everything I say, I’ll stick to this for now. Because that’s how I roll. Bitch.

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I foster puppies. It’s the same concept as fostering a child, in some ways. The abandoned or abused pups are found, and treated with deworming pills and other things, if need be. We’re then given a call to come and collect them and give them a home for a while. The whole things revolves around ensuring the puppies aren’t sick in any way, before they’re (hopefully) adopted to their new homes, where they’ll be given lives of happiness and love. I am currently fostering two gorgeous little puppies, one of which is 4 weeks and one of which is 6. I’m always delighted and amused by the very strong personalities that accompany each new pup I foster, and it’s no less amusing with these two. Spending all of my days with them, I’ve begun to pick up on a few invaluable trinkets of wisdom from them. I know it may seem surprising, but I feel we’re always able to learn from the various experiences we have, and the people (and animals) that cross our paths. And learning from two creatures that have been on this earth for so short a time, well, let me tell you that it’s humbling, and wonderful. I’ll try to express some of these lessons here.

The most obvious lesson these pups have taught me is that sometimes it’s okay to bark. I mean, not when you’re sharing your food. Barking or growling then is rude, and it just makes others around you not want to be there. But if you’re asleep and your friend bites you on the bum, or you’re playing and they sit on your head, then it’s okay. I know you’re probably not seeing the lesson in this right away, but bear with me. Puppies know what they want. They know when they’re hungry, they know when they want to play and with what, and they know when to bark and say “stop”! In this sense, they know where their own boundaries lie. And we ought to, too. We ought never let anyone push us into a situation or even a space in which we’re not comfortable. But since we’re the only ones who can hold ourselves accountable, and know where these boundaries lie, we need not feel too shy or embarrassed to speak up. Be honest, be loud, be heard.

Play is vital to a happy puppy – and, I feel, to a happy human, too. I admire most the fact that puppies have no sense of past or future. They’re entirely devoted to the now. One minute they’re enthralled with the crunchy leaf outside, and the next the squeaky chew toy has won their attention, and the attention each thing is given is whole and devoted. Now, I’m not saying we need to jump from one thing to another, one person to another, in a minute by minute flurry of activity, but I am saying we need to live in the now. The past has happened, and whilst we need to know where we came from to know where we’re going to, we can’t live in it forever. We need to make peace with it, be thankful for the experiences we’ve had – both good and bad – and then resolve to live. We also can’t exist with a fear of the future. We don’t know what’s coming, we never will. We can hope, wish and pray all we like, but there aren’t any crystal balls or palm lines that’ll let you in on what life has in store. So don’t let fear cripple you. If you spend all of your time worrying and waiting for what might/could/can’t happen, that’s all you end up doing – spend all your time worrying. Rather hope for the best, give life your all, and grab at every opportunity you’re given with both hands. A life half lived is no life for anyone, or anything.

Love. And love a lot. I fetched these puppies from the Haven late Thursday afternoon, and that night they were asleep in my arms. Every morning when I come down, I am greeted by whimpers and wagging tails, licks and nibbles that make me smile. I marvel at how these puppies, abandoned and possibly abused, can love to easily and so honestly. They will love anyone, as long as they’re given the chance to. If you treat them kindly and look after them, make them feel safe, they’re yours for life. I don’t really know if any other animal can love as unconditionally as a puppy. And I’m inspired. We spend our time rationalizing our issues, and finding complications, and reasons not to pursue a loved one or fall in love at all, yet I can’t seem to understand why… With all the horrors of the world, the deaths at the hands of man and at the events of natural disasters; with all the pain and suffering we encounter, why would we so quickly and easily turn down an opportunity to love? A friend, a family member, a lover… All of these people, in our lives, deserve the very best love we have to give them. I know things happen, relationships end and people fall apart, but when you know that the person standing in front of you is someone you could love, and when you know that they are standing there hoping you’ll let them love you, well, I don’t see how any amount of justification can excuse turning it all down. Like the puppies you need to jump in, all paws forward, and just trust it’ll all be okay.

There seem to be all manner of lessons one can learn just by interacting with a puppy, and I’m enjoying finding out just what these lessons can mean for me. At the end of the day, maybe they have it as simple as it needs to be. Eat when you’re hungry, bark when you have something to say, play whenever you get the chance, sleep when you’re tired, and never ever forget to love anyone whose willing to let you.

There comes a time, it seems, in most bloggers’ repertoire of the written word, for them to give up all the answers. They’re required to sit and write down all the answers their lives have produced for them, often at arbitrary age intervals, such as 18, 21, 30 and so on. Well, I’d like to think I’ve learnt a thing or two over my past 23 (and 8 months) worth of existence. At least, I hope I have. However, these things we learn, I feel are somewhat universal truths. We all get to these lessons in the end, whether we’re 21 or 100. These universal truths include things such as: the heart was indeed made to be broken, but the pain won’t last forever, and you will love again. Men think women are complicated, and vice versa. You’ll never forget the first time you fall in love, your first kiss, or the first time you get your heart broken. We’re all travelling along our own paths in life, and we ought to be kind because the people we meet along the way are facing their own demons, just as we face ours. Presidents will screw up; natural disasters will claim innocent lives; and paying your taxes will leave you with a familiar feeling to that of being robbed blind.

What stands out more, for me, are the things I don’t yet know. And it is the 23 that first come to mind that shall be listed, although I’m pretty sure the number of things I don’t know ranks far higher than that (just don’t tell anyone, because I’ve successfully convinced some people that I know everything, and whilst this could be attributed to the fact that I’m a woman, I like to think it’s more personal than that).

1. Who was the first person to look at a cow and think “I’ll just tug on these pink things down here, and drink whatever comes out”?

2. Actually, on that note, who was the first person to witness an egg come out of a chicken’s behind and resolve to include it in a big ol’ tasty Sunday breakfast fry up?

3. When will human beings realise that terms such as “endangered,” and “nonrenewable,” mean that whatever noun comes after it, has a finite number still available, and yet we still choose to shoot, use and consume to our heart’s content – and well passed our needs?

4. What’s the deciding factor when it comes to whose armrest is whose in a movie theatre – does it depend on the size of the person or the sharpness of the elbow?

5. Why don’t we have an Idols format based general election, where we are given the opportunity to begin with a bigger candidate base, and whittle it down through a series of tasks that allow us to see exactly what type of President they’ll turn out to be?

6. Is there a “One”?

7. And if there is, do I need to believe that fate will lead us to one another? Because this Earth is a pretty big place, and I sometimes get lost just driving across-country, now I must find one human being whose my perfect match in the whole world!? I wasn’t ever that good at Where’s Wally…

8. On that note, where is Wally and why do we want to find him so badly?

9. Is your IQ indirectly proportioned to how much you enjoy Twilight? i.e. the more you enjoy it, the lower your IQ? (I think I know the answer to this one…)

10. Will we always want what we can’t have, and would we stop if we could have it?

11. If it’s true that Great Minds think alike, and Fools never differ – are all Great Minds Fools?

12. If you expect the unexpected, is the unexpected then expected and the expected unexpected?

13. How come whenever I dial a wrong number, it’s always answered after the first ring and followed by an embarrassing and rather awkward interchange, but when it’s the right number it’s always busy?

14. When did everyone learn to speak and write in SMS language, and what the hell does ‘smh’ mean?! (And how do you all know you’ve got the correct interpretation?!)

15. Who coined the phrase “the alarm just went off,” when in order for it to go off, it needs to come on?

16. Is there such a thing as a love that is equal from both sides, and will I ever find it?

17. Why does the term “break down” refer to things that aren’t working, but “break up” refers to the end of a relationship – surely the relationship wasn’t working, and did, in essence, “break down”?

18. If depression is a leading cause of insomnia, and insomnia is a leading cause of depression, how are you meant to treat it?

19. Am I a hopeless romantic if I can’t let you go, but a hopeful one if I just won’t?

20. Who would we each be if we didn’t have others to tell us?

21. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? (And why won’t you just do it?)

22. If not now, when?

23. Why is the phrase that “life is short” so popular, when in actuality, it is the longest thing you will ever do?

So, there you have it. A mix-and-match hastily compiled list of 23 things I still don’t know… And yet, I’m ashamed to say, I could write so much more. Oh well. To finding answers, living life to the full, and never accepting anything less than butterflies 🙂