Welcome to the pity party. It’s a certain kind of glorious celebration of all our flaws and misfortunes, where the champagne flows together with tears, complaints and general misery.
Here’s the deal. I don’t know about you, but I, myself, and several of my friends, acquaintances and even people I’ve overheard talking in general, have been known to complain.
For example, you know the person who’s terrible with finances, but would like to become a millionaire (that’d be me), yet have never picked up a book about mindset and money, nor about how to manage personal finances, nor gotten a budget app. The person who can’t keep a boyfriend for more than two weeks, but would like to get married, yet have never ever read a book about what healthy relationships are all about, engaged in personal development to learn about themselves, or gotten therapy. The wannabe entrepreneur who isn’t running a business (also me), who has never picked up a business book, nor takes steps towards launching their business. The person complaining about being fat/unfit, but who won’t eat healthily, nor exercise. The person wanting to be in excellent health, but who smokes all the time. The person who’d like a job they would enjoy more, but who is not educating themselves, nor trying to work their way up the company, nor looking for another job. The person who wants great sex, but have never told their partner they’d like to try something different, nor picked up a book about sex, or sensual pleasures. The person who is feeling like shit all the time and would like to get happy, but does not attend therapy, nor read personal development books, nor attend personal development courses. Possibly they also don’t eat well, nor exercise, nor sleep on regular hours, nor have a healthy social life, nor engage their brain in interesting tasks, nor practice meditation and mindfulness, nor spend time in nature. All which are scientifically proven to improve one’s mood. The person who’d like to live in a fancy mansion and always complains about their apartment, but have never ever tried to decorate the place better, or improve it in any other way.
In short, there are a lot of people who want certain things and complain about not having them. They also have excuses for why they don’t have them, be it excellent health, or smashing finances. It’s a matter of time. A matter of money. A matter of not having the education. A matter of it being too difficult. A matter of someone, or something, getting in the way. A matter of…whatever the heck it may be.
I have excuses for the areas in my life that aren’t what they couldn’t be. A lot of them. They aren’t so much excuses as they are reasons. I don’t have great financces, because I spent all my money trying to rescue a child with PDA from himself. Ways I thought I should live life. But one day you wake up and realize that unless you flush those reasons, those behavioral patterns and those “look what got in the way” down the drain, you’ll never live a better, happier, healthier, more financially secure, more pleasurable and more fun life. You can wave goodbye to your dreams, your hopes and your desires.
I’ve been filling my brain with personal development lately. I’ve also been really annoyed with some other people not getting their shit together. And by listening to personal development books and making certain distinctions, while studying other people’s patterns, I’ve also seen my own.
There’s always an excuse not to go after your dreams. There are always habits that will get in your way. There are always people who will get in your way. And there is always going to be shit happening that’s going to derail you for a while, or be annoying as F. But there is only one way of getting to where you want to be — do everything in your power to get there and stop at nothing.
If you spent one week, just one week, focusing on a goal you want to achieve, letting yourself be derailed by nothing, how far would you get? If you ignore the house that needs cleaning, the bills that need paying, the lawn that needs mowing, the Netflix movies that need watching, the… If you just focused on that one thing, how far would you get? And if it was a matter of your mother needing surgery and you finding the money in 24 hours, how far would you get? What lengths would you go to? When the stakes are high, we usually get very creative and resourceful. When we think we have till forever to get off our asses and do what we know we must, we usually don’t move.
Move. Run. Go.
Your life is now, not tomorrow.
And if you really want to get that guy naked — there are no excuses. Just act like a cave woman, club him down and drag him to your bedroom. If he doesn’t like it, you weren’t meant to be. Now you can start fantasizing about someone else. (This is a metaphor. Don’t club him down. Just whip his ass and tell him to get his clothes off. Pronto.)
Dizzy Blonde — aspiring entrepreneur and millionaire
I just got a text saying I qualify for a weekend of free gaming. Now, had it been free chocolate, ice cream, or massages, I’d been down. Or you know: buy whatever you like for your home and body at the V&A (Le Creuset, here I come). Or, at the very least: the mop and bucket I know I need to buy today (because it’s 20% off for Black Friday — when you have to buy something as boring as a mop, do it on Black Friday…). But no, free gaming.
This text annoyed me. Basically, because I’d really like a weekend of free…something that’d be useful. And I have a migraine. And I took the kid to the doctor’s for a checkup after being stuck in a traffic jam and lost half my workday because of this. And I’m waiting for an international transfer to clear so I can have my car back. It’s supposed to clear today. Today. It says it’s taking longer than expected. I was gonna cruise home, the sun in my hair, sing along to Jared Leto, or Rihanna, enjoy the rays dancing over the ocean and…have my car back. Because I really need it. I also really need sex, cuddles, $100k, a new wardrobe, a Vitamix, an air conditioner, a roadworthy and…
But then, it’s really sunny outside. My kid is doing well. He got a free gift at the doctor’s (hello Mr Giraffe and cool sunglasses). I’m super inspired by my career. I’m filling my head with every personal development book there ever was (thank you audio books on Scribd). I am getting my car back, be it today, or not. And someone just smiled at me. A stranger in the office. Smiled and said goodbye. And her smile totally made my day.
You see, sometimes we get stuck in a rut. We start thinking about something we want. Today I got stuck somewhere in between a boyfriend and my grandparents coming back to life. It was an uncomfortable position. Particularly with the migraine.
Yesterday I was on top of the world, because I managed my thoughts. I was so excited about life and work that not even leaving my charger at home faced me. I just kept doing what I could to move forward and accomplished a shitload of things. Today, instead, I felt overwhelmed by deadlines, bills and sexual frustration. Or love frustration. And somehow, in the midst of it all, I really wanted my grandparents back. Possibly because I did have a migraine and was thinking about all the things that would make me feel better. So on the bus I spent an hour feeling sick and miserable and wanting anything from ice cream and long lost grandparents to hot men to perk me up. I could have none of that on the bus, so I just got more and more annoyed. Then I started getting annoyed about lost time for work. Then I started freaking out about deadlines and bills.
This is the power of your mind in action. Take control over your mind and you take control over your life.
When the woman in the office smiled at me, I suddenly remembered how beautiful life is. How wonderful people can be. And started feeling ever so silly about, uhm, being annoyed with texts for free gaming.
Today we got a new family member: Mr Giraffe. He’s pretty small, cuddly and perfectly goofy. That’s a blessing. So is 20% off a bucket for a mop. Why focus on anything else?
I was working on client copy today and in the process researching Shakespearean quotes. I love Shakespeare. I know, I know, not everyone does because he’s hard to understand…but once you do understand…the guy was deep, funny as fuck and smart as hell. Unfortunately, not all his characters act particularly logically (hello, my name is Viola, I was washed up on the shore after a shipwreck where my twin brother supposedly died…let’s go dress up as a boy and live with the Count…uhm, er…sure…), but his prose is simply stunning.
Anyway, the guy cracked sex jokes long before this blog. In fact, one day I’ll rewrite one of his plays into modern English and prove it. Prove my humor isn’t all that bad, after all. Shakespeare started it all…
So, today I found this quote: To thine own self be true.
Are we? Are we true to who we truly are? Are we acting in accordance with our hearts and souls?
Do yourself a favor, take five minutes to feel in. To meditate, or simply breathe, while thinking about who you truly are. Deep inside.
Are you acting as that person? If not, how could you act differently? Be true to yourself. Because the greatest crimes we commit are usually not those toward others, but toward ourselves. Simply by not acting in accordance with who we truly are and, therefore, not achieving what we’d truly love.
Are the choices you’re making on a day-to-day basis adding up to the life you want to live? Are the bigger choices you’ve made in the past true to who you are today? Or do you need to revisit them?
Change is scary. But it’s even scarier looking at your own life, and feeling as if it isn’t your life at all. As if you’re a stranger in your own life.
Yes, change is scary. But it can also the most exciting thing ever if it’s a change for the better.
Have you ever had chocolate instead of sex? Oh come on, who hasn’t?! Or are you a chocolate virgin? If so, congrats. You’re the first I’ve ever met…
Yesterday, I talked about relieving tension when we feel something uncomfortable — the urge to replace the discomfort by something else and, in the process, doing more harm than good as we aren’t dealing with the discomfort. We are putting a bandaid on a wound that needs surgery. It temporarily feels better, but the wound is only getting worse.
But we also usually seek to relieve tension when we desire something we don’t have. Be it sex, intimacy, love, intellectual stimulation, etc. These are natural urges. All good in their own right. But how we relieve the tension when those urges aren’t fulfilled, isn’t always great. For example, you’re bored at work (you desire intellectual stimulation), but as you can’t have it as you need to finish the darn Excel file (never let me touch an Excel file), you check your Facebook. Other times, we have sex with one person, when we desire to be with another. We may also eat ice cream instead of having sex, or go for a run. Anything to distract ourselves from that burning desire.
Sometimes it’s good to relieve tension. When you’re sexually frustrated, going for a run isn’t a bad idea. It will help you get fitter. It will release feel-good chemicals. You’ll get your high. Eating a ton of ice cream, on the other hand, may not be so helpful. A long run and then a piece of chocolate, or a little bit of ice cream, is a better idea. (That said: there are days when a whole pint of ice cream is totally justified, depending on the brand of ice cream. If you’re eating shit ice cream it just won’t work.)
In the beginning of this year I met a friend of mine for coffee. I was upset. I felt like crying. I was mourning an acquaintance who’d committed suicide. A man I never got to know properly, because when he reached out to me, I was too scared to get to know him, even though I felt drawn to him. You see, in my mind various scenarios played out and I settled for the worst case scenario.
He could be someone I’d get to know and nothing. No connection.
He could be someone I’d get to know who’d become a friend.
He could also be my soulmate.
And he could be depressed and end up committing suicide, whether we have a connection or not. So it’s probably best I don’t go near him. Don’t explore him. I’ve created enough drama in my life as is.
The week he committed suicide, I was planning to reach out to him about something. He died before I got around to doing it. And once again those scenarios were flashing through my mind. I felt a sense of regret I’ve never felt before. I felt sure God was making some sort of joke. That it was all wrong. That I’d wake up the next day and he’d still be alive and I’d talk to him to find out. Find out if we had a connection, or not.
When I met with my friend in the coffee shop, feeling like an emotional wreck, he didn’t react at all like I’d expected. Simply, because I’d never expected him to say he was jealous of me. He was jealous that I felt something so strongly, because it’d been years since he’d done that.
The other night, when I came home, I felt pain. This time about someone else. I didn’t want to feel that pain. I thought about speaking with one of my neighbors. I thought about talking to a friend. I thought about reading a book. I thought about doing an array of different things to distract myself from the pain.
Then, as I was sitting on the toilet, because as we all know, that’s the perfect place to sit, I thought to myself: I’m feeling. This is what it means to be alive. And in that moment, the pain dispersed, because I allowed myself to feel it instead of holding onto it while fighting it.
By that I don’t mean to say that all the sadness went away. It didn’t. I was told I looked like a wreck the next day. Always charming. But I was still ecstatic about life. I knew other experiences would follow. Good and bad. I knew I was alive, because I was feeling something.
Life is a journey of ups and downs. Good and bad. Happy and sad. If we numb the bad stuff, we also numb the good stuff. And if we numb the bad stuff, it doesn’t go away. It just gets stuck somewhere and we have to keep numbing it. Keep fighting for it to stay away from the forefront of our mind. But by fighting we hold onto it.
Relieving tension can be good. The day after I was sad, I went to see a friend. Took in some rays. Sat by the beach, getting hugs. It was nice. It took my mind in different directions. Getting stuck reveling in something isn’t good. Be it sexual frustration, or the pain of losing a loved one. You need to purposefully focus your mind on things that move your life forward.
In short, if you feel a strong desire, or pain, watch out what you do to relieve that tension. If you want to create a great love life, for example, it’s better joining an online dating site than fucking your neighbor. Fucking the neighbor will bring instant satisfaction, but you’ll wake up without a great love life the next morning. Joining a dating site may feel like a mission and bring no instant rewards, but in the end, it’s likely to take you closer to your goal.
Lastly, sometimes it’s good to do nothing. Hang with the tension. The obvious path forward will reveal itself if you are just willing to wait for it. Stay with what you’re feeling until you find the obvious thing to do that will propel you in the direction of your dreams. That’s to say: the direction that will fulfill your desires and remove your pains.
In short, if you can, hang with the tension without for that matter reveling in it. If you need to relieve the tension, think of good ways of doing so — ways that take you closer to your goals. If you can’t come up with any, put on a pair of jogging shoes and run for your life or do P90X till you want to kill Tony. Scrap that, you always want to kill Tony. Do it till Tony is killing your body. Then bliss out on chocolate. Or pasta. Or both. (And FYI it’s been scientifically proven that the ups and downs of love addiction, i.e. the highs and lows you have in a relationship, can be counteracted by exercise and carbs. And if it works for love, it must work for other things too.)
Have you ever listened to someone’s logic and found it completely illogical? I have. Many times. Just enter my mind and you’ll have the most logically proven illogical ideas floating about.
You see, as humans, we support our own logic based on anecdotal stories, beliefs, opinions, experience…you name it. What seems logical to us, is, in fact, completely and utterly illogical.
Here, let’s do an example.
I have two people in my life who don’t like seatbelts. Both claim it’s because they grew up in Africa and they love the freedom of driving without a seatbelt. Plus, they believe when your time is come, your time is come. So why bother with a seatbelt in the first place?
Let’s imagine these two going bungee jumping. They have a choice between two companies offering bungee jumps. One has a sign reading:
Bungee Jumps Offered Daily. 5 Out of 100 People Die as Ropes Sometimes Break. 10 Out of 100 Get Injured Due to Bad Quality Ropes.
Bungee Jumps Offered Daily. 100% Secure. No Deaths. No Injuries Caused by Equipment.
Now, what company do you think they’d choose?
It’s the same thing as wearing, or not wearing a seatbelt. Every day there are accidents on the road. Every day someone dies, or get injured. If you wear a seatbelt, chances of death and injury are less. If you’re in an accident wearing a seatbelt, you may end up with whiplash. Without it, you may end up with severe brain damage. Your choice.
Our subjective realities constantly blind us to logic.
Another favorite of mine: I drive better when I’m drunk. The proof? I’ve only had accidents when sober.
If we drive better when drunk, then science would long ago have proven that our ability to react is much better when drunk. On the contrary, it’s proven the opposite.
It’s like saying: I have only had accidents after eating peanut butter sandwiches, therefore, peanut butter sandwiches cause accidents. Sure enough, if you believe it, you may start driving more erratically after eating them… But it isn’t the truth. It only become true if you let your mind act on the belief.
The real truth is, we all have these things we believe to be true because we have stories and beliefs backing them up. And as is the case with drunk driving, some examples are pretty extreme. You’re willing to risk your own and other people’s lives because you believe in your own story.
Similarly, look at the story about “who you are.” Look at me. As a kid my mom died and I felt she rejected me before she died. Then I had to move classes a few years later due to circumstance and I was put in a class where I got picked on. I went from popular to nerd over night. Then I got a step-mom who emotionally abused me.
Now, that added up to me thinking there was something wrong with me. I thought that was a logical conclusion. I was rejected, therefore there was something wrong with me. Logical, right?! Is that the truth though? No. It’s not the truth. But I believed it, so I acted on it and my way of dealing with it was hiding away. I became shy. Very shy. Wouldn’t speak unless spoken to.
Being shy was a protection mechanism. I literally remember thinking I wasn’t going to let them see my real self, therefore they couldn’t reject the real me. If I just disappeared, they couldn’t judge me. And moving forward, I became the person who didn’t speak. Therefore, I became rejected. That meant that I could hold onto the belief that there was something wrong with me.
In short, I was the person believing peanut butter sandwiches cause accidents and therefore driving erratically.
I also had coping mechanisms. Like reading stories and escaping into another world and I practiced my skills to receive praise, so even if I couldn’t be loved, I could be admired. Fleeing into imaginary worlds and receiving admiration became my drugs. That then fell apart when I didn’t go onto becoming a world famous director straight out of school, but had to work odd jobs. I ended up depressed as hell, reached rock bottom and learned that actually, I didn’t have to achieve anything to love and accept myself, or be loved and accepted. All I had to do was open up.
That was the first time in years I started to feel like I didn’t have a gaping hole inside myself. The first time since my mother died, I suppose.
The thing is, not everyone change their story. They just keep doing things to back it up. Keep proving to themselves they’re right.
I was having an argument with an addict recently. My argument? Get help. Their argument? “I’m not ready, I’m waiting for “my moment,” plus right now I prefer being an addict. It makes me feel good for now. But it’s OK. I’ll be OK in the end. Because I wasn’t born an addict so I won’t die an addict.”
If you have ever been around addicts or read literature on it, you know that addicts use stories to support their addiction. And those stories are controlled by the addiction, not their real selves. Just like my actions used to be controlled by a story I made up about myself, not my real self. I was shy, because I believed in that story. I became rejected because I was shy, which proved my story to be true. I sought to achieve massive things in life to relieve the pain of that story. That was my addiction. And I sacrificed a ton of things for that addiction.
Usually addicts sacrifice a lot. They give up on doing everything they love or do significantly less of it, they’re neglecting relationships, they stop caring for their own health, they no longer hold themselves to the same moral standards they used to and they either isolate themselves, or surround themselves with people who enable their habit. In short, they’re slowly ruining all areas of their life (sometimes they manage to keep one area decently clean, depending on importance, such as a job that enables them to buy drugs is far more important than friends, for example) and putting the drug of choice in center stage. The drug slowly becomes more important than anything else.
I’ve spoken to people in recovery about this. How the drug is always right. If getting the drug means not seeing your child, then you don’t see your child. If getting the drug means stealing, then you steal. If getting the drug means lying, then you lie. Whatever it takes to get the drug/get high, is justified. It becomes the new logic. Because it’s the only thing that makes them feel good.
From the outside, it’s lunacy. For them, it’s totally logical. They feel good. They’re fine. Their bodies are shutting down. They’re living in squalor. They’re fine. Because they have their drug.
Of course, they have moments of clarity, but it’s fine. It’s all fine, because they’re in control. When they want to get well again they will. They can handle it.
Their logic is completely fucked. And they can’t see it. Because there’s always an excuse, or an argument backing up their story.
Hopefully, one day they break a hard limit. They do something that make them wake the fuck up. Like you know, the religious person stealing from a church to buy drugs. Or, like me, they hit rock bottom emotionally. The turning point. The place where they know they’ve sunk so low the only way is up. But some people, sadly, never stumble across such a thing.
The thing is, we all have addictions, or if you so like, do things because they’re supported by stories we tell ourselves. Like me hiding away in a corner, which was supported by the story that I had something wrong with me and couldn’t be liked/loved. And by hiding away in a corner, I got reject, which provided my story to be true. But I also had a story that I could be admired for my skills and hard work and, to some degree, my acquired personality. That was my drug — I used work as a coping mechanism. To me achievement was my drug.
My life fell apart when I thought I couldn’t be admired. When my drug of choice was removed as I was outside the school system, where I’d always been admired. That’s when I faced my truth. That’s when I realized I could be happy without achievement.
The thing with any kind of addiction, or coping mechanism, is that it’s us acting on our emotions. Like I feel unloved and believe I can’t be loved which hurts, let’s do something to get admired which feels good. Temporarily. Once the high is over, you’ll end up feeling empty again. Same thing if you use sex as a coping mechanism (a drug) when wanting love. And by doing it, you only prove to yourself that you can’t be loved. That you can only be admired, or only get sex, so you feel even worse. But as you still hold onto the idea you can’t be loved, what are you going to do? Have more of your drug, of course!
When the emotional brain takes over, we fuck up. We become illogical. We rationalize behavior that’s completely and utterly illogical.
When we act on our feelings we end up fucking ourselves over five ways to Friday.
If you’re feeling unloved, the logical thing is to deal with the root cause of it and realize it isn’t true, instead of chasing an Oscar (that would be me). That’s why people who win Oscars become depressed — they realize they still don’t feel loved. They’re still empty. All they did was relieve their tension by getting admiration. The real problem is still there.
If you’re feeling stressed, the logical thing is to deal with the cause of the stress (such as a heavy workload), not watch Netflix (and the next day have an even heavier workload).
If you’re feeling sad, the logical thing to do is to deal with the cause of your sadness and fill your life with happiness and genuine connection, not have a drink and the next day still have the sadness, plus the reality of having wasted a night drinking.
When you feel things — impulses to do certain things — it’s a good idea to ask yourself a) is this part of a pattern of mine and if so, has that pattern led to me achieving great things? b) will this really lead to the end result I desire? c) what place am I acting from? Principle or feeling? If it’s principle, you’re acting from a place of integrity — doing the right thing. If it’s feeling, you’re likely trying to resolve your tension, unless the feeling is coming from your heart. If you can’t hear your heart, act from principle. Your heart would tell you to do right by yourself and others. So does principle.
Another test is this: will this lead to genuine happiness? Will this serve my health? Will this serve my soul? Will this serve other people? Coping mechanisms will make you feel good while destroying your life. Genuinely good things will make you feel good while making your life better.
Will you be held hostage by your own emotions, or will you create the life you’d truly love to live?
In short, sometimes, not giving a fuck about your own emotions is a very good idea.
It doesn’t interest me what you’ve done wrong. What your sins, or twisted thoughts are. I don’t care if you’ve been to jail, or been involved with a gang. We’ve all made mistakes. All desired the wrong things. All fucked up miserably. At some point, we’ve all failed. Simply because we walked into life backwards somehow. Got the wrong end of the dick stick. Were conditioned to do things that didn’t serve ourselves and others. We were turned sour by life.
And it doesn’t interest me what drugs you’ve taken to cope with it, or how much sex you’ve had to get through it. I don’t care if you’ve tried killing yourself, or ate till you couldn’t move. I don’t give a damn. So you weren’t given an instruction manual for life. None of us were. We all tried coping in different ways; some more successful than others.
No, what interests me is what’s inside your soul. What makes you smile, even when no one is watching. What makes your heart come alive with wonder and your eyes widen in amazement. I want to know what turns you on in life; what quickens your heartbeat and sends shivers down your spine.
I want to know your capacity for loving; how much love you have for your favorite passions and how much love you can give to another human. I want to see your willingness to serve another soul.
I want to know how much you’re willing to sacrifice to do the right thing. But I also want to know you don’t sacrifice so much you’re left wounded.
I want to see your soul, naked and beautiful.
I want to hear your heart beating with love.
I want to know that the passion within you is still there. And I want to see it awaken, like a spark turning into a fire. I want to see you set ablaze. I want to see you burn with the beauty of all that you are.
P.S. This post was inspired by Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s The Invitation (as seen to the left on this page…while I don’t agree with all of it, most of that poem is brilliant), just as For my lover: an invitation… was.
I had a chat with someone recently who is “waiting for inspiration.” Let me ask you this: do you sit on a couch waiting for a hard on? Because it’s kind of the same thing.
To get inspired, you need to take action. Consider someone who is living off fast foods and is 100 kgs overweight and hasn’t exercised in two years. Will they feel inspired to exercise? No. They’re lethargic from their eating habits, because they’re malnourished, and carrying too much weight around which makes them tired. Even breathing is difficult, because they’re so unfit. Likely they are also depressed or the very least fatigued for the same reason — if you don’t get the nutrients you need, nor exercise your body, you end up depressed. It’s a medical fact.
They feel like shit, so they have another cookie. At least that gives them a temporary feel-good. Simultaneously, they loathe themselves for eating the cookie. So they want to hide away from others so they can’t see their shame. So they stay inside, having another cookie. Then they want to punish themselves for their own stupid behavior. So they have another cookie.
This is what’s called a downward spiral — you’re caught in a negative pattern that only makes you feel worse and worse.
It’s a bit of a catch-22 for these people. To have energy, you need to exercise, but to exercise you need energy. You will NOT be inspired to exercise. Unless, one day, you realize, you could actually have a life. All you need to do is get off the couch and get going. Or maybe you have such a fright you decide to get a life. Maybe you have a heart attack. Maybe you realize you’ll never see your kids/nieces/nephews/grandkids grow old if you don’t change. Or maybe you just realize you’ll never do anything you dreamed of while sitting on the couch, gaining weight by the hour.
We all feel uninspired by one part of our life, or another. Our finances. Our work. Our fitness level. Our eating habits. Our social life. Whatever it may be. Likely fears, unhelpful beliefs about ourselves/the world, feelings of inadequacy and a number of other things are making us feel uninspired. And sometimes we’re lucky — we have a moment of inspiration, whether fueled by fear of where we’re heading, or inspiration for where we might get to if we only get going. If we get off the couch.
I asked a friend of mine the other day what made he change his life around. He told me he almost died three times. Actually, once he did die. Went to the other side. Had a near death experience. Still, even with that, even with seeing the divine and simultaneously freaking out about dying, he told me it was hard to change. Very hard. He had to fight. But what got him through was his son’s voice. His son needed him. His son believed in him.
I’ve been depressed twice and twice I’ve had a moment when things shifted. When the road to recovery became obvious. The first time I was seventeen years old and didn’t even know what depression was. I just knew I slept a lot, I had very dark thoughts, I felt funny and I shook a lot. Like, I’d be shaking when out and about. I think my period stopped too. I didn’t know what it was. But my friends knew, spoke to one of my teachers and set an ultimatum: I had to get therapy or they’d seize to be my friends. They actually stopped speaking with me. The lot of them.
The day they told me that, I remember standing by a bus stop wondering how to break it to my father that my friends wanted me in therapy. I was ashamed. I thought mad people had therapy. I felt like I was a fuckup. Like it’s one thing to fail a dance competition, but to fail your life? I felt humiliated. I felt like a bad person. I felt all sorts of things. But I knew I’d fight. I knew I had to do something. And at that moment the sun burst through the clouds. Literally. And for the first time in months I felt something other than what I’d been feeling. Maybe it was hope. I don’t know. I just know that something shifted in that moment. I’d made a decision to get well.
Ten years later I got depressed again. I never cured the root cause of the depression in the first place. I improve my confidence and hence stepped out of the depression, but I wasn’t completely healed. When events in life led me to once again feel like I had no confidence, the depression came back. A relationship had gone tits up. My grandmother (a.k.a. the one source of unconditional love I had) had gotten senile. I’d started studying again and meeting new people I felt shy and awkward — I’d learnt to cope socially over the years, but meeting so many new people all I did was sit petrified, trying to figure out what they thought of me; too paralyzed by fear to speak. I couldn’t find my path career wise and I’d put most of my pride — most of my confidence — in my skills and talents. I was always the smart kid. The talented one. And I was what…doing fifteen weird jobs instead of making it as a world famous director; eventually going back to study out of pure desperation.
And those were the thoughts going round in my mind — I was a failure at everything.
Then I spent a day in Malibu with friends, standing on the beach, realizing I felt nothing. I was surrounded by beauty and felt fuck all. That was a feeling I had a couple of times a day/week and it scared me like crazy. I was much more scared of that feeling — of feeling like there was no meaning to life — than I was of pretty much any outside factor. In short, I was scared of myself, of my own feelings. And standing in Malibu surrounded by beauty and feeling nothing really made it hit home.
That night I sat in a hot tub under the moon praying to God/the Universe for an answer — I’d read all the books, tried everything to become successful and not a single area of my life seemed to be working. What should I do?
The answer came to me: my life was my own and I could do anything. I didn’t HAVE to achieve anything. I could just be.
Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.
In that moment, my road to recovery begun once more. I learned to accept myself without having to do anything. The hole I’d felt inside of myself since I was a kid slowly started to disappear. I found confidence. By doing nothing.
I learned that I was my essence — my heart and soul — not my achievements.
Those were mine and my friend’s “sparks” — our moments of inspiration to turn our lives around.
I also believe you may find inspiration from faith. That if you truly believe you’ll be handed a moment of inspiration — a spark — then it will come to you. But you still have to engage your will for that to happen. You have to surrender to not knowing; to the idea that a path will be provided even if you can’t see it now. You have to believe you will find your spark. You have to pray every day. Have faith.
I also think you can change without that moment. It’s a decision. Engage your will. Sometimes outside events give you a reason — a source of inspiration — but you can just as well simply decide you’re going to do it.
So back to the story about the cookie man…
Even if you have that burst of enthusiasm, getting to a life where you’re no longer depressed and overweight takes engaging your will. You will need will to do this. That little burst of inspiration will not last forever. You will feel exhausted, not filled with enthusiasm when going for your daily run. You will feel bored by eating a salad instead of a cookie, because you won’t get a feel-good moment from the salad. (Just as when I was recovering from depression, I had to constantly work to shift my thoughts. I had many dark days and you feel like doing fuck all those days, or you simply don’t know how the hell to get through them. But I kept going. Until feeling good became more normal than feeling bad.)
That’s why acting from principle (I will do whatever it takes to live a healthy life) is a lot better than acting from feeling (I feel like shit, so I won’t move — I don’t feel like I deserve a life, so I won’t move — I am tired, I deserve a break).
That’s also why having a support network — people who show up to hold you accountable to exercise and eating healthily — is so important. Because if you don’t “feel” like moving, they’ll make sure you do so. And if they can’t make you, they’ll send you to a wellness retreat in the mountains where they’ll force you to do so. Structure has integrity — if you can’t change the structure in your life (your habits), then hire someone who will. Or put yourself in a place, such as a health retreat, where they force you to.
However, as your lifestyle improves, over time, so will your mood, your body and your inspiration. Changing your habits will lead to you becoming inspired. But it won’t happen over night. It takes time. It takes discipline. It takes some fucking will to get off that couch and decide you deserve a happy life. And you do. Deserve a happy life. We all do.
Remember that: you are a beautiful soul. Even if you’ve lost your way in one area, or all areas of life. You can still find your way back to your heart and soul. The essence of your being. You just need will.
Think about it this way: you may need some whips and chains to take you to the strawberries and champagne. Not all pain is bad. Not all discipline is bad. So welcome the torture. It will lead to pleasure.
Do yourself a favor: if you want a hard on, go out and date someone who gives you one. Or, you know, give someone a booty call. Don’t stay on the couch waiting for it to happen. It won’t.
Inspiration comes by doing. The more you do, the more inspired you’ll become.
Yours truly, dizzy blonde.
I get up in the evenin’ And I ain’t got nothin’ to say I come home in the mornin’ I go to bed feelin’ the same way I ain’t nothin’ but tired Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself Hey there, baby, I could use just a little help
You can’t start a fire You can’t start a fire without a spark
I learned that the search for God is a Dark night, that Faith is a Dark Night. And that’s hardly a surprise really, because for us each day is a dark night. None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, and yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.
And if you missed yesterday’s blog:
You’re a beautiful soul you know. You sparkle and glitter. You’ve got kindness and love twinkling away in your heart. Maybe you’ve fallen on the ground a couple of times. Maybe you’re still lying on the ground. Maybe you can’t get up…maybe you’re crawling. But you’re still beautiful. You have gold speckles covering your body. Divinity floating about you in a cloud. Maybe you can’t access that right now. Maybe your mind is broken. Maybe your body too. But your heart and soul are intact. They always will be. You just need to find your way back to them if your life currently isn’t true to them. If your life is not a reflection of who you truly are deep inside. Allow yourself to recognize that you are love. You are divine. You’re no less, no more, than the person next to you. Life shaped you one way or another. That’s all. Inside of you are still all the wonders of the world and some. You’re beautiful. And maybe I’m not great at telling you that, because, well, I’m more prone to kick your ass, but I still see you, you know. I see the miracle that is you. And that’s why I’m here. Not because you’re broken, but because you’re whole. Because you are a heart and a soul. All the rest is just the topping. Continue reading…
Tomorrow’s blog will be all whips and chains. You know, a kick in the ass before the weekend. I like those Kicks up the ass.. The harder you kick, the more I’ll fight. The bigger the challenge, the greater my enthusiasm. Some people want offers they can’t resist. Personally, I tend to go for challenges I can’t resist.
I’ve thought about that a lot lately. I like to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I thrive on challenges. I love discipline. The harder you hit me, the higher I rise.
I’m never gonna stop loving challenges I don’t think. They’re addictive. Adrenaline fueled adventures into the unknown. Or simply running as fast as I can until I get high on endorphins. Try talking to me after a run and a cup of coffee. I will be delirious with happiness and overcome by enthusiasm.
The thing is, how I treat people is greatly the same as my father did: I give practical tips and enforce discipline. Often, I just wanted him to hug me and say it’ll be OK. Now, I’m the one dishing out “for fuck’s sake (wo)man up and change your life.” I don’t lovingly support people. I tell them to wake the fuck up and sort their shit out.
That’s how I treat myself as well. And in some ways, it’s really effective. Holding a gun to my head and telling myself to move, to do something — anything — to sort out whatever problem at hand, or rise higher in life, works pretty well at times. It’s just, when I need a hug, a helping hand, a caress, a pat on the back…I don’t know what to do. I think I’ve gotten better at it. Better at self-care. Better at asking for help. Better at allowing people to hold me, without me simultaneously telling them what my failures are. What I can get better at.
It’s just…you’re a beautiful soul you know. You sparkle and glitter. You’ve got kindness and love twinkling away in your heart. Maybe you’ve fallen on the ground a couple of times. Maybe you’re still lying on the ground. Maybe you can’t get up…maybe you’re crawling. But you’re still beautiful. You have gold speckles covering your body. Divinity floating about you in a cloud. Maybe you can’t access that right now. Maybe your mind is broken. Maybe your body too. But your heart and soul are intact. They always will be. You just need to find your way back to them if your life currently isn’t true to them. If your life is not a reflection of who you truly are deep inside. Allow yourself to recognize that you are love. You are divine. You’re no less, no more, than the person next to you. Life shaped you one way or another. That’s all. Inside of you are still all the wonders of the world and some. You’re beautiful. And maybe I’m not great at telling you that, because, well, I’m more prone to kick your ass, but I still see you, you know. I see the miracle that is you. And that’s why I’m here. Not because you’re broken, but because you’re whole. Because you are a heart and a soul. All the rest is just the topping.
Yin and yang. We need discipline. We need structures that hold us accountable to our highest self. But we also need love. We need someone who recognizes the divine in us. The purity that can be found within our soul. The love that exists there, even if it’s buried under a hundred layers of sorrow or hatred. Underneath all that is a diamond waiting to shine. You are that diamond. So am I. We are all beautiful.
Beyond our failures and achievements is a person — a heart and a soul — waiting to be seen. Someone who just is. I usually find that person by the ocean. A girl with her feet in the sand, or sea. Just a woman standing there. Not a failure. Not an achievement. No, just a heart and a soul, with her toes in the ocean. And that, that is the woman I want to be seen for. And that, that heart and soul, is who I see in you.
It’s been said that the quality of our life is proportional to the quality of questions we ask ourselves.
Have a look at these questions, for example:
How did I become a failure?
What can I do today to achieve something small today?
Why am I such an idiot that I’ve allowed myself to become so unfit I can’t even climb a set of stairs without panting like a dog?
What’s one thing I can do every day to improve my health?
Why is life boring?
What can I do to infuse my life with passion?
Why is depression so difficult to deal with?
What can I do to deal with my depression?
Why is my husband so incredibly boring?
What can I do to spice up my relationship?
My boss is so unfair, why do I need to have a boss like him?
What can I do to make my life at work better? And if I can’t, where can I find a better job?
Why do I never go to the gym?
What’s an exercise I can do at home every day that I know I can handle doing and have the time for? OR What friend of mine can join me in an exercise challenge, ensuring I show up when I said I would?
Why did Mandela die and leave South Africa in such a mess?
What can I do to improve South Africa today?
Why are people bitches?
What can I do to spread kindness? What’s a random act of kindness I can perform today? (Kindness, as we all know, is contagious.)
Why are my orgasms so short?
What do people do to have longer orgasms?
Why do I keep making a mess?
What’s one action I can take to make things tidier?
Why am I feeling so listless and lazy?
What do people do to invigorate themselves/feeling awake that actually makes them feel good about being alive?
Why don’t I have the money to launch my $1M venture?
How can I start a business with $1 in three weeks?
Why aren’t I having fun?
What can I do to have some bloody marvelous good times?
First of all, ask questions about things you can do something about. You can’t control others, so control yourself instead.
Secondly, ask questions that move you forward, instead of burying you in a bunch of undesirable thoughts.
So, what are you asking yourself today? Me? I’m going to ask myself…what can I do, one tiny — really tiny — action, every day/week to improve a number of different areas of my life. Because I’ve learned that those tiny actions eventually lead to big results. 40 situps a day (or 10 situps, four times a day) are 280 situps a week, 1120 situps a month. 100 situps a day that aren’t done, are 0 situps a week, 0 situps a month. Or a 1-hour workout a day that there isn’t time for, is zero workouts a day. 15-minute workouts every day, well, they add up. You can do the whole of Ab Ripper X in that time. That’s 275 bloody ab exercises. IN 15-MINUTES. The next day you do 275 leg/butt exercises, the day after that 275 arm/upper body exercises, the day after that 15-minutes worth of high-impact cardio. For me, this works. 1-hour workouts? Don’t have the time apart form my weekly dance class.
When I try to do too much, too soon, it doesn’t work out. When I do a little bit a day, it works.
Oh and I’m totally googling how to have longer orgasms.
So what questions are you gonna ask yourself today that change your life?
Dizzy blonde, over and out.
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.
I just tried to Google duck recipes, but ended up with dick instead of duck. Just the way to start a Monday morning. Oh, and the toddler got out of bed to pee in the toilet, but peed standing on the floor next to the bed instead.
Frankly, I’ve had a wonderful morning. These are just little funny events. The sun is shining, Cape Town looks glorious and people have been nice to me this morning.
I was thinking about this the other day. People being nice. I was feeling a bit sad and angry because of something. Like I’d imagined this perfect day that just wasn’t happening. And instead of making the moment great, I just felt disappointed. Just then I ended up talking to one friend of mine that showed me kindness. Simply by helping me with some car issues. Just hearing his voice I calmed down, because I knew I have people in my life who care about me.
And it hit me how much kindness matters. Yesterday my business partner went on a rant about how as long as I don’t have a stable boyfriend in my life, he is going to make sure I’m OK with the things that, in his opinion, a man should handle because clearly I have to multitask too much. It was really sweet.
My kid’s homeschooling teacher this morning asked me how I was doing. Left me a message asking questions. That perked me up as well. Just knowing people care.
I think it’s important to acknowledge the people in your life who are showing up for you by showing up for them (as mentioned in a previous blog, it doesn’t come natural for me to check in on people, I’m learning to do that) and sometimes, by giving them a gift or something else to show you care. I don’t always take time for this, and sometimes I’m too shy to do it, but I must start doing it. Because it’s who I want to be.
Also, remember focus. When I was upset I was focusing on something in my life that wasn’t working as I wanted it too. When I spoke to my friend, I started focusing on things in my life that were working, such as beautiful friendships. That shifted my mood.
The thing is, we often get stuck thinking about how to figure out what’s not working. How to solve problems. Or simply reveling in the problems. When we do, we feel like shit. I could have been very upset about the peeing episode this morning. I wasn’t. Because I didn’t waste any time thinking about it. It took three minutes to clean up. Big deal. But when we’re frustrated, or sad, any thing is a big deal. When, on the other hand, we think about what’s working, such as living in gloriously beautiful Cape Town, having amazing people in your life and making more money an hour than some make a week here, we see these small events as funny. OK, I was temporarily frustrated as I didn’t understand the logic of peeing by the bedside, but it didn’t take long to see the humor.
If there’s a problem, deal with it. Man up to it. Take charge. Don’t get stuck thinking about it. Take action. Any action. Start moving beyond it. If one thing doesn’t work, try another until you find a solution. Just don’t bury yourself in the problem. Everyone goes through shit. It’s how you deal with it that determines if it sinks you or you conquer.
I can write you a long list of problems I have and that Cape Town has, but I live in a city filled with sunshine and star shine, glorious beaches and tall mountains, incredible city scapes and natural wonders, tasty foods and delicious treats, roaring fireplaces and beautiful gardens, laughing people and shining intelligence… I live in paradise. If only I choose to see it that way. It’s my choice. Mine alone. My choice to see the wonders in my life and my city. My choice.
Funnily, when you start seeing the things in life that shine, you start to shine. You start to sparkle. You become a star in other people’s night sky.