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profound

It’s safe to say that I’ve had some pretty terrible relationships in the past, with men who probably weren’t the best fit for me. However, it’s nothing to regret or wish away. Every relationship we have will end until the one that doesn’t anymore. And every interaction with another person, be it for a month or five years, allows us to learn more about ourselves, as well as what we need from a relationship and a partner. However, this process of learning is made useless if we can’t articulate it. And so, bear with me as I try to define to you how I will know when I’ve found him, the man of my dreams.

He’ll buy me books. And not because I can’t afford to. Oh no. It’s usually a safe bet to assume that I’d rather live off cereal for a month than go a couple of weeks without the purchase of a new book. He will buy me books because he’ll know how very happy it makes me. He’ll know how in love I am with the weight of an entire world in my hands, and the smell and feel of the pages as I follow the author’s words on a journey unlike any other. And because he loves me, he will buy me books.

He’ll be nice to me. My parents have been married for 42 years, and when asked what the secret was to their success, the answer was simple. It was a reference to the film Venus, wherein a senior citizen explores a love affair with a much younger woman. When asked what it is he can provide her that no other man has given her before, he merely replies: “I’m nice to her.” This moment dictates my parents’ relationship in that they realised that it was the very least you could do for the person with which you intended to spend the majority of your life. So, the man of my dreams will be nice to me. And not because I ask him to be, or because he’ll feel he has to be. He’ll be nice to me, because being any other way towards me never even crossed his mind.

There will be no need to imagine the potential in him, or us, because it will be all I ever dreamt it would be – and more. This may sound like a tall order, but when it comes to forever and finding the one person next to whom you want to wake up for everyday of the rest of your life, we should never, ever drop our standards. He will be the kind of man with whom I can be whether things are going well or not. I don’t care if we make millions in our first year together and live comfortably for the rest of our days, or if we’re bankrupt and sleeping under bridges every night. He will want to be with me regardless, and I with him. It won’t be about putting off our happiness until things are better, because no matter how things are in that moment, happiness will be he and I. Together.

He will go on adventures with me – even if it entails nothing more than trying to find a different route home in the dead of night. Impulsivity is, I believe, the key to staying young. That doesn’t mean never making plans or sticking to the plans you’ve made. But there are few things more riveting than coming home one day to find both of your bags packed because he’s decided you’re getting out of the city for the weekend. Or perhaps, you want to try something new such as surfing or kloofing. If I suggest it, the best answer he could ever give me would be “why not?” It may sound a cliche, but I want to live a big and beautiful life – and he’ll want to live one with me.

As bad as any fight gets, I won’t be afraid that he’ll leave me. It may stem from the many experiences I’ve had with men over the years, or the fact that I never saw my parents fight and make up when I was growing up. But when I fight with him, I won’t be gripped by the fear that it will end us. It’s taken me a while, but I’m slowly learning that couples can – and ought to – fight, without it being the be all and end all of the entire relationship. And whilst I know I’ll still get scared, he’ll understand this. And he’ll remember to remind me, even in the middle of the screaming match in which plates and pillows are flying at one another’s heads, that he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

He’ll be real, flaws and all. I don’t want perfect. I want flawed. Because I’m flawed. Oh man, am I flawed. These flaws will never mean we treat one another badly, however. And whilst we may take one another for granted sometimes, it won’t be too hard to remember how wildly, crazily and incomprehensibly we love one another. I want to know him, warts and all. And I want to be known. I want that connection wherein words need not be used, but everything is understood and clear. Even if we aren’t near one another the whole night we’re out with friends, a single look need be all that lets me know I’m the one he came with, and I’ll be the one he leaves with. And if that look has a smile beneath it that makes me blush, well, that’s alright too.

He will make me understand why cliches are cliches, and what all of those love songs were trying to say. The words of love penned by poets and authors will take on a new meaning, and every sense of mine will tingle with a renewed awareness. He will listen to me, he will hear me, and he’ll know when there’s nothing to be heard. There are so many things we can look for in our significant other. And maybe we spend too long waiting for a partner who ticks all the boxes. But I’m lucky, perhaps, in that I have a heart that let’s me know exactly what it wants. And so I trust that it will invariably shout and kick and scream with delight when it finds the man of my dreams. And maybe he won’t be at all as I imagined. Whoever he is, here’s hoping I have the courage to go and get him…

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They say growing old is inevitable, but growing up is optional. And I believe I’m walking, talking proof of this. I may be giving you all a whole lot of somewhat embarrassing evidence to use against me, but I’m not ashamed. And to prove it, just read on and find out what sorts of things I’m not ashamed to admit that I still do.

1. I sleep with a teddy bear, sometimes. Mostly when broken hearted. It helps.
2. I can get scared of the dark, making the space beneath my blankets the safest place to be.
3. I still sing through the alphabet to figure out what goes where.
4. I die laughing at the farting noise the custard box makes when it reaches it’s end.
5. Bubbles are fascinating.
6. I cry when I get overly tired.
7. I can’t resist not stepping on a crack (it’s just not worth the risk!)
8. Skipping is still the best form of manual mobility.
9. Fairy tales are still magical.
10. Cloud busting still ranks in the Top 10 list of ways to waste an afternoon.
11. I can sing the theme tunes to Gummi Bears, Dexter’s Lab and Captain Planet; and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles still rock! 🙂
12. Easter egg hunts remain the only way by which to find chocolates.
13. I will not deal with a spider or Parktown Prawn by myself. Actually, I won’t deal with either of them at all. Unless running in the opposite direction squealing can be defined as dealing with them.
14. I don’t quite know what all the knobs on the washing machine mean, but usually if I fiddle long enough it ends up making a noise and producing wet clothes (that may or may not be discoloured and 3 sizes too small).
15. I don’t like olives or egg plants and I’m pretty sure I never will.
16. I’d rather play outside on a sunny day than work or study.
17. I still forget to floss. Every single day.
18. I never think my actions through, and have thus been referred to as ‘foolishly brave’ (read: impulsively stupid).
19. The Zoo & the Aquarium still fascinate me and jumping castles may still be the best fun you can have with your clothes on!
20. I still frequently hear ‘I told you so,’ in a disapproving tone of voice.
21. I still believe I’m invincible (when it comes to physical activity, mostly: “sure, let’s climb that tree/mountain/100-year old rusty lighthouse.”)
22. I can’t conceive of ever being alive without my parents being alive, too.
23. A fight with a parent/sibling/friend still reduces me to tears.
24. Chocolate Steri Stumpie is STILL the best invention ever (and its arrival in a 1L box just gives new meaning to my existence).
25. Any technological device (a cell phone, laptop, or iPad) will be used primarily for games, and for work and communication second.
26. Jumping on a trampoline still lets me believe that I can fly.
27. I still want to be an explorer.
28. Roald Dahl still blows my mind.
29. Death is still the scariest and most painful loss imaginable.
30. I’ll still always try to run before I can walk, speak before I’ve thought, and surf before I can swim.
31. Jumping into the deep end will always be the only way by which to get into a pool.

The End.

It’s come to my attention that my dating life, up until now, is being used as the example section of “how not to do it” in the conversations of my family and friends. I’ve become that girl. The girl that’s invited to tell the horror stories of her past relationships to make other women feel better. And I’m sitting here wondering when I let it get this bad? I mean, did my mother read me one too many fairy tales, instilling in me a deep desire to kiss a frog (or 100) and find a prince? Never disheartened, I’ve resolved to come up with a few guide lines for myself, and any other ladies, who can’t seem to take the psychotic glint in our potential partner’s eyes as reason enough to run.

1. If he uses his cell phone whilst you’re on a date – especially the first date – even if he apologises. Come on! He carries his phone around with him 24 hours a day and can’t take an hour or two off to meet your eye line and actually hold a conversation that isn’t punctuated with message alert tones? What, must you learn to mimic the sound his cell phone makes in order to come top of the charts? How about no. Next please.

2. If he uses any one of the following to describe himself: asshole, commitment phobe, serial monogamist, jerk, free spirit, lone wolf, etc. Come on ladies, I know this guy. I’ve been there. A man who’ll tell you that he’s one of these, but adds that “perhaps things will be different with you,” had said this line before. And guess what? It won’t be different. It’s never different. Take him at face value. He’s giving you a warning, so dodge the bullet honey. Let’s not run face first into this brick wall again expecting a different result.

3. If he’s flaky. Are you constantly waiting to hear from him so you can arrange to see him? And when you do make plans, does he cancel them last minute or just never get back to you because he was super busy? Well, maybe he’s busy, but I’ve yet to meet someone who can’t send a text that takes all of thirty seconds to type to ensure you don’t sit around feeling worthless. If you have time to pee for Heaven’s sake, then you have time to send a text! And ladies, this guy, the one for whom you’ll make excuses to yourself and your friends, he’s actually sort of magical. Want to know his most effective trick? The moment you stop making excuses for him; stop texting him; and stop waiting around for him, he will disappear from your life for good. Kinda neat, huh?

4. If he never compliments you. Now, I know what it’s like to wish a guy would like you. You’d be wiling to do anything – ANYTHING – and yet, you can never quite NOT get upset when he tells you how beautiful he thinks another woman is. She may be in a film, a magazine or walking passed you on the street. Either way, when you’re trying to be the best you can be, and that STILL isn’t deemed worthy of a compliment from this cheap and insensitive waste of time you’re seeing, I have one word for you: run. You’re incredible. You’re beautiful. You’re sensitive, and your capacity to love – as a woman – knows no bounds. So dammit lady, give yourself the compliments he won’t, and move on.

5. If he won’t hold your hand, give you a hug, or kiss you unless it’s the prelude to sexual intercourse. Enough said, it’s that simple.

Relationships are tricky as hell, and Lord knows I remain in square one when it comes to them. But if we’re the ones in control of our lives and those we let into them, I think we ought to resolve to be a little bit smarter about these decisions, don’t you? I’m done chasing, and I’m done giving everything for nothing in return. I’m going old school. Chivalry is not dead, and it’s the least I demand. I am woman, hear me roar. No more grey area, no more murky, no more “it’s better than nothing.” I do well by myself, and I will not be tamed. It’s never too late to not settle for anything less than you deserve.

I’m bored of the cynics. I’m bored of the moaning, and the people who give up because they got hurt. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s time for some tough loving. Having been on various social networking websites for a couple of years now, we all know the various motions that are bound to take place at certain points in the year, and in our lives. These include (but aren’t limited to): the Valentine’s Day “it’s a commercial holiday created by card and candy companies to boost sales” banter; the “my life is over, I’ll never love again, and I can’t even remember how to breath or brush my teeth without you” post-break-up statuses; and the “I am single and staying that way. You all suck. F*#% off,” posts that frequent our various news feeds. Well, I’m bored.

I hate to break to you all, but being a cynic, it’s easy. It’s a cop out, if you ask me. Seeing the negative in everything, it’s doesn’t take a genius. There’s so much of it out there in the world. It’s easy to focus on all the ways in which love, life, and people fall short of your hopes, dreams, and expectations. Oooh why don’t you be real controversial and say something about you hate love and couples in love? Look at you and your bad self. Because that’s all there is. You. And yourself.

I want to challenge you. Step up to the plate. Take the bat in hand, and swing! Stop reiterating the thoughts of the 92-year-old angry man next door. Let it go. Oscar Wilde stated that “hearts were made to be broken.” And it’ll happen. And when it happens, it will suck. It will hurt. It will cause you pain that starts in your toes and sits in your stomach and chokes at your throat. You’ll wish you were dead. You’ll cry. You’ll hope every SMS and phone call brings the words “I made a mistake.” You’ll laugh with your friends, but feel like you’ll never truly laugh again. And after all of this, you’ll move on. You’ll heal. A little bruised and scarred perhaps, but wiser and more thankful for all that you experienced.

We’re in a leap year that some say will end with the end of the world. Whatever your views on this, I just see it as a another reason to live. When it comes to things in life, if you’re doing them half-heartedly you may as well not do them at all. Having one foot in the door, means that you still have one foot out of it, ready to run should the smallest of reasons arise. And I’m bored with it. I’m bored with the excuses, the damaged goods, the baggage we choose to cart around with us. That’s right, we choose what we carry with us. And we choose what we let go. So when you eventually get far enough the road of love, turn back and be thankful for the moments and happiness you shared; send love and light, and let go.

I believe that we’re given fire to teach us about water; death to learn about life; and pain to learn about joy. So take the good with the bad. Pick yourself up when you fall. Never settle for anything less than butterflies. Never stay in a relationships when your loved ones ask you “how bad does it have to get?” And give yourself another chance. Believe in romance, in love. Have hope. And leave the cynicism to someone else. It’s not a good look for you. Rather reach for the moon and land amongst the stars.

I challenge you to be strong; to never give up; and to hand out love whenever you can. Remain open to the possibility that you, too, can be loved. And you will be. I promise.

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 🙂