Life has been keeping me more occupied than I care to admit and very little of it has been constructive but some things have been pretty damn good. I will go into the deets in a later post but for now here is a project I am working on.
It doesn’t feel “complete”. I am not sure why but I will be tweaking it in the future I imagine.
Beside the Murky Stream
Upon a stream of memories,
You road a float of hope.
I watched you sail away from me,
Without a backward glance.
You took a sliver of yesterday
Wrapped it in a cocoon of tomorrow
And nestled it into today
Tied in a bow I didn’t know
I kept on my sandy path,
Loyal to torture and solitude.
Under the shade of remorse,
I tried to sing but only sat.
You took a sliver of yesterday
Wrapped it in a cocoon of tomorrow
And nestled it into today
Tied in a bow of wispy string
You watched me from afar
As my fingers danced on sunlight
I didn’t feel your stare
And dug deeper into yesterday
You took a sliver of yesterday
Wrapped it in a cocoon of tomorrow
And nestled it into today
Tied in a bow I couldn’t see
The stream began to overflow
Carrying you back with it,
The sun blocked my view
But you rode it all the same to me
You took a sliver of yesterday
Wrapped it in a cocoon of tomorrow
And nestled it into today
Tied in a bow of forever
We took our time wiping the mud off
I’m sure there is still some left
And sitting under that tree of remorse
I finally noticed some fruit
Ever since I was a little girl I have glamourised new places, not really “things” because they didn’t stay new for very long and I had to share which I didn’t find fun at all. There was always something very private about discovering new corners knowing only I could see them in the way I was. I created stories for people and things with less to go on than stereotypical movie quips (South Africa was nothing like Sarafina when I moved there but in my head it was but in a happy way, like The Sound of Music in Brown Skin (in my head)). Beginnings give me hope that what I have had is not the best I will ever experience and fascinate me more than endings. This can be a problem when you are trying to be a writer because your stories need to end at some point or in some way. So how do you give endings to things when you are enamoured with starting new ones? Haven’t the foggiest but I need to figure it out soon because beginnings don’t really help me if that’s all they remain.
For as long as I can remember I have been in LOVE with Japan, not enough to learn the language (I have a concrete tongue that cant grasp the tones that my ears can) but I have wanted to “go” there and even declared that once I saw Japan I could die because there would simply be nothing else to live for… I may have been 13 or 23. I can’t remember. I planned on moving there to teach English after graduating but my graduating took longer than planned and by then I was a ‘responsible adult’ and that was nothing more than a longing of a little girl that didn’t exist anymore. Or so I thought.
A little before my 28th birthday, however, I took the plunge. Work was frustrating and draining me, I felt unaccomplished and miserable in my personal life and couldn’t appreciate the good I had because I felt I was swirling in miseries. The good moments seemed so few and far between that they became a punishment of their own. So, I convinced a friend of mine (from university) to go with me to a country neither of us could communicate in for an adventure that only we could share and since it wasn’t going to be cheap, we should do it in winter. Now… as the headline above says. I am an African… I had never crossed an ocean before and I get goosebumps at temperatures below 24 degrees centigrade and here I was saying we should frolic in below freezing weather because I needed a beginning (and my loon of a friend was cheering me on!). I needed something that said that what I had wasn’t the best I was ever going to have but I also wanted to know if Japan could still be the escape I had romanticised in my naïveté. I needed a whisper saying there was more to life than my daily toll.
Plus I needed to learn to give myself permission to give birth to schemes that defied my own personal logic. Responsible girls didn’t do such things and I was very responsible.
Again, as an African, I do not have the luxury of ‘getting up and leaving’ when the mood strikes me, it starts with the visa requirements and then the cost of the plane tickets (Oh my word! They should sooooo put better seats on planes for what they charge for long hauls), plus the whole not knowing anyone or the language made the whole thing rather daunting. But mostly I had to look at my own finances. A few of my previous posts point to me being somewhat of a people pleaser, so selfish trips that gave me no ‘direct benefit’ definitely are not the norm. My father was a civil servant and my mother was a teacher, they are retired now and have a very productive farm that keeps their greys at bay and when I told my father, he did not understand why I would spend my hard earned money on a trip ‘with no purpose’ when there were more responsible things to do with it and he was right. There is always something I could do that would benefit the family more than it would help me but that obligation was adding to me need for some kind of ‘fresh air’. But my Dad is awesome and didn’t try to stop me, and my mum quietly said I should do what I could because eventually I would not be able to, not in a miserable way but I am still young and there is nothing stopping me was more her line of thought.
Those two weeks in Japan were the best two weeks. Ever. On divulging my crazy plan to another friend, she gave me details of some of her friends and they were gracious enough to spend some time with me (and helped my friend and I birth that atrocious snowman in the picture above). I will be forever grateful to everyone who helped me out with that trip and I have tried to hold on to the memories of it because I want them to remain safe, inside me and pure, not tainted by life. That trip to Japan is my personal Patronus Charm, it defeats my personal dementers. It also helped me answer a very important question. Could I still move away if I wanted to? If I decided I wanted to live in Japan, could I settle there? Or atleast stay there long enough to study something while deciding. The answer was an un-resounding ‘YES’. I once had a Chinese maths teacher who felt I must have been Chinese in a past life and I can safely say she was wrong. Its more likely I was Japanese (oooh, or maybe I was a Chinese spy in Japan…that’s an interesting premise for a story… and African-Japanese spy on the Chinese mainland with a time warp element… ooooh! I like! See? Beginnings).
I cant ignore that after that trip, my savings were not the same but I do not regret it. Not the getting lost and wandering for hours looking for a sight we just could not see, or accidentally wandering into a ‘naughty’ store or heaving our baggage in the piddling rain not knowing where our apartment was because I read the map wrong (my friend did not know what she was signing up for when she agreed to go with me). Those experiences showed me that as restrained and sensible as I am, my imagination needs fuel and perhaps I don’t need to fly to the other side of the globe (but that’s immense fun) but when you know that doing something allows you to be the best version of you there is, why not dive in?.
If you don’t feed who YOU are, YOU will starve, you will wither away. I sat on trains in Tokyo watching people around me and gave them stories and imagined histories, saw a hot fella with a guitar on a platform in Kyoto and cursed my luck for being on the wrong platform (everyone knows that all musicians have stories and I was after stories, you pervs!), I watched families in museums in Osaka and wondered which kid was the favourite or what was the last argument between the parents about. I walked always looking up to take in as much as possible, its probably the tallest I have walked in a while. I ate way more than I should have of ‘cheap’ food that tasted divine. My relationship with God is not very solid at the moment but I felt at peace at the temples (except this one time, another guy took a picture with a ginormous camera so I thought it was allowed and whipped mine out, only to be finger stabbed but a very stern guard/policeman in a very smart white coat) and in those streets in general. I don’t know how much of that trip I will share, because it didn’t last very long and my friend is extremely private and may not approve me blabbing about our odd happenings but I am making a few of my own personal discoveries offline and I guess I should share them here. The fella in my life gives me odd looks when I mention the joy you get from being immersed somewhere new and he thinks I romanticise adventure; if you said there was free accommodation somewhere and all I needed to do was ‘be there’, you’d hear me knocking, he is a ‘purpose traveller’ my fella. I probably do romanticise it and I hope the next time I am planning a Japanese escape I lug him along and will refrain from reading maps as that served with incredibly negative results.
I hope you take the time to feed your inner cogs because if you don’t grease them, you cant do or be you.
I hope your transition into the new year hasn’t already dashed your hopes of a positive start to those new year resolutions. I am generally terrible with resolutions so I wont even bother trying but I usually start making vision boards around my birthday (which is less than two weeks away) and finalise them sometime in April… That’s not an awesome track record but we can say that I have jet lag from moving into the new year and getting a year older so quickly 😉
For those of you that got pummelled by 2013, here’s hoping 2014 is kinder and gentler and those of you that swam in all kinds of awesomeness, My hat off to you and I hope you don’t even notice that time is moving!
In my last post I spoke about all the things I was working on and had this massive surge of positivity that was kind of the decline but I wanted to trap it before the well ran dry. And then things happened that I had no control over and I crashed. Everything just “stopped”. I couldn’t function other than to do the bare minimum and then you do that little bit extra to “show” that you’re all right. You know that extra ‘show’ that takes people off your back about how you are or what’s wrong? Aced that.
Disclaimer: Please not that I am not a psychologist and am in no way qualified to impart advice. I am merely expelling my thoughts but they have no scientific justification and are biased based on my own experiences.
This was especially strong in the final two weeks of November and I am still trying to shake it off. There is no need to go into what happened but I lost my faith in certain things (that I guess I have taken for granted), and it forced me into a negative space. Now negative spaces (by their very nature) are not fun, and people in them are not fun to be around in general but if you have smidges of “people pleasing tendencies” it is likely that then you will fight your own urges to obey what your mind and body are telling you so that other people can be happy. This is counter productive, highly counter-productive! Because all you do is make everyone (especially yourself) irritable and unhappy.
Now, you should not make any decisions when you are drowning in negativity (some may argue the same rule applies for positivity) but generally, you are not likely to be as informed as you should be if you’re about to do something that will “bind” you and your vision is obscured by feelings that taint the possible outcomes beyond what is actually feasible. Your quiet inner voice that whispers on the edges of your dreams, will often guide you on a certain path but you need to balance that with the loud one yelling in the heat of the afternoon sun. Those two need to, if not agree, then “balance”.
Usually the quiet voice directs your intent and the quiet one gives you actions (or inactions depending on your circumstances), and when those two are out of alignment your head can really screw with you and the longer you let it do that and that “divide” widen, the unhappier you will be, well, the unhappier I am because I try to ignore that inner dialogue… it always screws me in the end.
My selfish needs require me to spend quite a bit of time alone and I have not been able to do that nearly as much as I would like to and I understand that this is a pretty strong need yet, that people pleasing bit of me forces me not to and when you’re already aware that you’re not in a mental space you want to be and then you put yourself right in the path to cement that unhappiness where it can mulch and spawn other trampolines for mutated dissatisfaction… you end up with generally varying levels of unhappiness which clouds your whole perception of EVERYTHING. You pollute your own life.
Eventually, you will lose your ability to “spark” at anything because you are being “dimmed” by all this negative energy that just warps in on itself and multiplies and before you completely lose yourself you have to STOP.
And try and claw your way out. I’d love to hear what your methods are, some people need to do something physically strenuous and I think I belong in this camp, I need to sweat the feelings out then I can find the words I need to get back to being me.
So, I’m shortening my ambitions and goals list, getting more physical and spending more alone time.
Be honest with that you need for you to be content.
Live in the moment in the best way that allows you to see all the colours out there.
Then maybe, your reflection wont hate you so much.
Firstly, I have no direct affiliation with Anna Akana. I am featuring a number of her videos so I need to put that out there, our only connection is in my mind and her cat collection freaks me out but I think we would have awesome conversations over stuff… non Batman related stuff, that’d be a black hole into nothingness… but I feel like I am running away from topic here.
Sometimes it is bloody hard to keep a grip on what you know is important because so many other things keep getting in the way, do you know the feeling? You set off roaring at the start of something and before you even get to the first bend, you lose all steam and it seems like everyone you left in the dust took over while you blinked… or as you stood holding your aching sides expelling what you think is a lot of effort?
What have I imaginarily (its a word in my head) held onto lately? That I am more productive than I actually am. And I come to the crushing realization that I am not in fact an organising machine even though I tout myself to be (in my head).
When it comes to the work I am paid to do, you bet your kushy toushies that I will be on top of everything! What I need to know is rarely more than 10 minutes away and if it is, then I was probably the wrong person to ask in the first place but when it comes to my personal stuff, I feel like I am losing a spark. I am Smeagol searching for My Precious and even though I know it was stolen I wont stop looking where I know I wont find it. Does that make sense?
This is my positive space so I will not mope or have a pity party (people I know in real life have that pleasure, weep for them). I believe once you realise that you are getting in the way of you not being your absolute best, your own fabulousness, you need to do something about it. And that’s it at the end of the day. You have to be the person that says, “Yeah… what I did back there? I know I said I would go full throttle but I didn’t really dig deep enough to even fire off a cylinder and I am going to do something about that now.” Whether that now is a day, a year or a decade later than when you intended on doing it, once you own up, put yourself in a position to actually claim your awesomeness!
And that’s the hard part, actually accepting that the person you want to be is who you can be. In my part of the world, maybe even in yours, as liberating as the idea of following your dreams and doing what you love is, you need to remember to “be responsible”. Your pay cheque means a lot more than your happiness because your pay cheque is going to help out a lot more people than your happiness will. And I don’t mean in a metaphorical, do good with a donation here and there kinda way, I mean you’re going to see a chunk of your salary going to some cause in the family that will help other people out, sometimes its people you don’t mind, like your parents or siblings, other times, its a cousin in a remote village that you never speak to but calls you to ask you to buy a phone and you cant remember if she even has electricity to charge the phone! In such moments, you cant help but lose sight of those lofty goals that could make you impoverished but happy because other people rely on you to stay where you are for them to be comfortable, and if you are like me, that pull at being needed is a pretty binding tug.
But how long can you sustain living for responsibilities you never asked for? People treat us how we allow them to treat us (and I know this is a deviation from the video but I am already so far ahead, where else am I gonna go?) and you need to decide when you want to stop making other people comfortable with and in your misery. Then, organisation will be your best friend. You need to plan how you will make yourself proud of you and that will be work, deep, “gouge your eyes out in frustration” work at times.
Get to the finish line you want to hit, but know that there is one heck of a climb between now and then, and part of that may mean alienating the same people keeping you where you are now, and when you think of it that way, maybe it isn’t so bad after all.
November already? Where did time fly away to? In my part of the world, Halloween isn’t really “a thing”. I don’t know anyone who actually has a party without knowing a foreigner planning/holding it (generally American) or a local person feeling nostalgic about the time they spent abroad (again, usually in America) and wanting to re-live the ”epicness” with varying degrees of success.
It’s been a quiet two weeks on here and I have to apologise. I have not been nearly as productive as I meant to be and of course that got me down. Many things get me down, I should really kick that habit but failure sucks even if it’s the only way we learn, and I wallow before I ‘surge’. Tis my process.
Anyhow, so what’s been happening in my corner of the universe?
1) Short Story Collection – That’s still a struggle because I keep trying to put the book together and lose sight of the stories which kind of zaps my creative abilities and convinces me that it will amount to nothing more than an idea in my head.
2) Procrastination – I am a GRAND procrastinator. This applies to all facets of my life, if there is a delay I can do/have on anything, you betcha I will make that stick! Heck, I even procrastinated graduating.i figured I could do it later (no, not really, I graduated later because I was a terrible student at university, really terrible… that’s the only reason).
3) Fresh Stories – I have this useful little app on my phone that I make notes of ideas that pop into my head right before I nod off and that document is getting a little long but, number two kicks in and I don’t finish anything. I may plot or just plod ideas down for something and then leave it alone to fester. This isn’t a great plan because when I go back for inspiration I think of all the things I am not doing which leads me to…
4) Performance Anxiety – Now, most people have some kind of ambition or dream. Some are grand, some are not. But when you understand what your personal goals are and you set out to achieve them, at some point you will find yourself second guessing your abilities. Your ability to translate that desire into what you envision it can be seems further that you think you are able to go. When this happens you need to find the joy.
5) Assignment: Finding the Joy – You need to re-discover why that goal is important to you. My happiest moments are when I create something from nothing. I don’t yet have a process for how to regularly churn out my work and reading other people’s methods cripples me because of all the excuses I come up with at the time.
So, how am I going to find my joy? As it needs to link back to my writing I will be doing NaNoWriMo this year. I have never finished it successfully and only really tried to twice but this year my goal is to enjoy the process.
I will be writing about three friends who re-unite at a school re-union and try to reconnect while dealing with their own disappointments and accepting who they are now versus who they thought they would be then. This will probably will never see the light of day but it will help me bring the fun back to my process. It is tentatively titled “My Skirt Wasn’t That Long”. If it isn’t too terrible perhaps in the future I’ll make some snippets available here. But I really don’t expect that to happen…
So, if anyone reading this is also doing this, check me out here
Death is hard enough for the living when they can blame someone else for taking away someone important from them. It’s even harder when within their grief they blame you. Death is easy for dead people because well, they don’t have to deal with anything anymore (probably not my smartest line). I am Catholic (by birth, I inherited it like I did my creepy long, skinny toes), I don’t really have a problem with the Catholic faith but no religion is perfect, I think half the test is picking something to believe in and sticking to it… but I digress, death sucks for the people left behind to death with the gap caused by you no longer being there.
I haven’t had a suicide that was that close to me really. In high school I had a friend who had made a suicide pact with another friend of hers but he decided to go it alone and she was left behind to deal with not wanting to do it without him, they weren’t dating and she had a lovely sweet boyfriend who seemed there for her and for the life of me I can’t remember why she wanted to commit suicide because her life was well… pretty damn perfect. She had the ‘normal’ issues a teenage girl would have with a Dad… she was well liked, she was so damn pretty I wanted to wear her skin for a while…yeah, I may have been slightly creepy in school.
When I was, I think, in the tenth grade, a cousin came to stay with us for a week or so, to do some school shopping before going back home. I remember hanging out with him like any other cousin but we weren’t that close really, “cousin” is used very loosely in my family… most terms for any relative is randomly chucked about, you never can be sure there is actual familial attachment when you refer to someone as an aunt or uncle, again I digress. So this cousin of mine, a few weeks after going back home had a disagreement with his father and decided to make him ‘pay’ by killing himself. He succeeded. His dad was not the same man after his son killed himself and even though there were other factors that led to his Dad’s eventual death, his suicide did not help.
In both these cases, I saw what happened after, the pieces those left behind had to put back together. For one it was the broken promise, the other it was the constant internal back and forth over what could have prevented the suicide, both different forms of betrayal.
Suicide is selfish, it is a self centred escape from whatever you think is caging you in or what you are running away from. I fear the nothing of death more than I do the misery of life because as much as I want to believe that there is a heaven waiting and a room with my name on it, I don’t believe I have earned passage into paradise. I understand the forgiving nature of God as I understand him can wash away my sin but that just makes me a clean slate, no different from that slave in the parable of the talents who didn’t multiply what his master left. We have to “do” to “earn”, that’s what I believe. And when what you do is leave behind holes in people’s hearts because you feel your internal hole is too heavy to bare… you need to reach out to someone, anyone. Allow other people in to reel you in from drowning in yourself.
What am I trying to say… when you choose to end your life, people get hurt. If you are thinking of ending it all, chances are damnation from God isn’t going to deter you, but surely the pain and devastation you leave behind cannot be worth the empty sleep you are rushing for.
Talk to someone, try and find something that can ease the pain of what you are going through instead of passing it onto loved ones who will have no way of washing out the stain of blame that festers within their grief.
Please just watch the video and get help if you feel there’s a chance you may need it.
There’s always someone who can help, even if you can’t see them yet..
*I have been having some technical issues so this post is slightly late but enjoy!*
First up: Often I can hold multiple opinions about something at the same time, my mind is fluid like that.
Second: No one but the people within the relationship know what’s REALLY going on and even then, chances are just one person knows and the other is winging it.
Now, originally I wanted to ignore the story, I saw a comment about it somewhere, thought “Yeah…there’s nothing positive I can add here” and I walked away from it, then I found this video by The Young Turks and I thought, “Wait… what?” So went over to the 300 Sandwiches site here (I love bread and potatoes but may have a slight intolerance for them but that doesn’t stop me eating them because my intolerance wont kill me). I like the look of the blog and the sandwiches actually generally look good so on a food front alone, its gorge and I like me my yums.
But I am struggling with the idea that this was tongue in cheek humour and yet the pursuit of the wedding band is still on…Or maybe I am having a translation problem. Here’s why, (sadly) it doesn’t matter how successful you become as a woman, you are still judged “harshly” if you haven’t chosen to get married and have babies. And its unfair that that is the case, but it is. And when a woman chooses to do that there are even more things she must now give up in order to still be viewed as successful, cut her working hours, be there for the children. I don’t follow “Giuliana and Bill” but I saw the hate that Guiliana garnered for not being as visibly involved with her son (Duke) as Bill was and putting her appearance ahead of her health. As I didn’t actually follow that particular story I wont put up any links for that. But other than celebs, in my “real life” women set targets for themselves to be married by, date for not more than five years, if he hasn’t proposed by then, “make him”. This can come from having a “my eggs are shriveling and I want to know if your swimmers are going to be available soon” kind of conversations or “trap” him by making sure you are negligent enough for his swimmers to actually do some “damage”.
Thing is, all relationships are about give and take, the knee jerk reaction to this is: “You mean that’s what I have to do to get a ring?” I have been told on numerous occasions that women cannot feel for something without personalising it, that it is wired into our heads. I need to be “in” whatever it is that I am liking or see myself being “hurt” by what offends me. The person may have been referring to me alone because I have basket case tendencies on occasion and it may be “safe” to generalise but he had a point (of course it was a guy who said it).
On principle, this idea that women need to convince a guy that she is worth marrying and he is in a way doing her a favour of providing marriage is disturbing. I am in a long term relationship and have been for a while and my mind sometimes chaffs against the idea that doing certain things makes me more “marry-able”, because I think, if you want to marry me, you will. If my single sandwich makes you think you could eat 300 more (or 299 more), that’s awesome, but I shouldn’t need to prove I can supply those 300 for you to ACTUALLY decide you want to marry me. Plus I make lunches for us almost everyday, mostly because I am an awful person when I am hungry (no seriously, I don’t get PMS or mood swings, I get hunger pangs that go to my brain and drain me of all rational thought. Its terrible!) and I need to eat and he’s generally free at the same time so we eat together. Then Saturday is his day to cook or we cook together, as long as that “exchange” happens, I don’t feel like I am being taken advantage of. So what is she getting out of the exchange to not feel taken advantage of? He cooks regularly according to her and I think that’s grand! You cant just turn your relationship to a chore pursuit for that ring, its about the journey and I really hope they get that.
So while this may have been tongue in cheek, I really do hope that she enjoys the process, and this guy is worth it if it isn’t in her to naturally make sandwiches three times a week for someone else. But at the end of the day, they know what goes on behind closed doors and if the two of them are both on the same page, great! We all want to be happy after all, and if this is her choice then there is no problem here.
We live in an age of choice and people should be allowed to do what they want to do to meet whatever goals they aim to achieve. Marriage by 300 Sammies! Do it! If he proposes before 300, I hope she enjoys the process enough to keep going!
I’m working on a few short stories and that’s a first for me, I usually handle one project at a time because I thought it allowed me to “give it my best”, but that means I kill ideas because I don’t feel “ready” to flesh them out and that could be a cop out (most likely is). So right now, I am trying to tweak three stories for my first collection of short stories and I’m working on two half stories that involve running away and travel but they are so raw, I have no idea where they are going.
But I digress, today I am sharing two videos because last week I didn’t put up a post. And this week I am typing this while drinking a cup of green Japanese tea. My stash is almost done, nooooo!
First up: When Your Boyfriend Asks You to Strip For Him . Oh my word! Can I just say how much I ‘gasmed over this? I honestly don’t even know. I felt my stomach lurch and my heart flutter when she reached the end, and I swore at her… many times! How dare she make me feel all these damn emotions! Granted I re-watched it multiple times and shared it with everyone I know who would share my feelings. Why don’t we (women) love ourselves more? Why do we project our (imagined) faults onto our partners? I sadly find it very easy to depreciate myself in front of other people especially my physical appearance (not my mind, since I am posting its produce here, overinflated view of my mental abilities). My flesh and bone is “distinctly average” and sometimes I find it hard to believe someone would think I am the sexiest woman in the world because… “c’mon!” Like this morning, I was trying out some yoga and I noticed cellulite on a part of my thigh that I didn’t know it collected and cringed but was fascinated by the fact that it wouldn’t matter to “my person”. Granted I haven’t shown him that particular pose so he hasn’t seen that cellu-pocket (as I like to call it) but wouldn’t it be great if we could see ourselves the way the people who love us see us? That would be amazing. Allow yourself to do that. Somehow. Don’t become an arrogant git but own your “perfection”. Coz we all have a dose of it, so don’t binge but take a sip once in a while.
The Little Things is just a reminder to keep our eyes open to the good things that people around us do. Sadly I can often “miss” the nice things and to those nearest and dearest to me, I love you spades and boatloads. I am thankful for having you in my life and even when I can’t physically help you, know that I think of you, and your nuttiness drives me and my fiction. Whether I am escaping from it or drowning in it.
Thank you so much for getting to the end, I know this is very random… watch the videos. They’ll distract you from the lack of direction going on here.