Tag Archives: depression

If I can’t have you, I’ll have chocolate instead…

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.)

Yours truly,

Dizzy Blonde

No running shoes, no problem…


Filed under addiction, Behavior, diary, emotions, empowerment, Happiness, Inspiration, Inspirational, Motivation, Musings, Thoughts

The logic of not giving a F…

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. 

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Filed under achievement, addiction, depression, Happiness, Psychology, Self-help, The Mind

Waiting to get turned on…

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.

Paulo Coehlo

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

Bruce Springsteen

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.

Paulo Coelho

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…

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Filed under depression, diary, emotions, Inspiration, Inspirational, Motivation

Stop thinking, start living…

I read a book a long time ago that really impressed me. It was called Stop Thinking, Start Living.

The author, Richard Carlson, talks about a client of his who was seeing a therapist after a divorce or the death of his wife. I can’t remember which one. At any rate, the therapist kept asking him to talk about his problems. Analyzing them.

This guy wasn’t getting any better. In fact, he was constantly depressed, because all he thought about was his problems.

Carlson got him to start thinking about other things. Sure enough, as the man started thinking about other things and filling his life with things he enjoyed, he became happy again.

You need to face your pain/sorrow/problem, but once faced, it’s time to shift your focus. You need to allow yourself to feel it and learn from it, but you don’t need to hold onto it.

It’s hard I know. Because you feel like shit, or you feel nothing at all. Or you just can’t stop thinking about the person who brought you the best memories of your life, the job you lost, the mistake you made, the thing you fucked up… But, life is filled with people and events that can bring us happiness. No, it doesn’t feel like that when we’ve just lost someone, or something. But stop being selfish about who you miss and start offering yoruself to the world. Go out there with the aim of making other people happy. In the process you’ll discover there are other people who will make your soul sing too. And if you fucked up in the past, or are fucking up at the moment, OK. So you’re a failure, now put some energy into doing something good. Even if you’re still a failure you’re now also doing good — be that studying something, doing charity work, exercising, mentoring a kid, spending more time with your own kid, or giving away homecooked meals to people in need. And your self-perception will change. Which will fuel you to do more good things. Before you know it, you’ll start thinking about yourself as a person of integrity.

The thing is, whatever you put your energy into you’ll create more of. If you take all the energy you waste on thinking about things that make you sad, depressed, or filled with self-loathing, and invest that energy into something else, what would happen?

Imagine if every time your mind drifts towards thoughts such as: I’m depressed because x, I’m a failure because of y, I’m never goning to make it because of z, I’m shy, I’m aggressive, I’m a loser, I’m fat, I’m too skinny, I’m never going to be able to sort my finances, I’m never going to be able to keep a boyfriend, I’m never going to create the life of my dreams, you started thinking about the things in life that make you happy and how to create more of those. Then you get off your ass and go out there and create them. No, maybe it won’t feel great at first if you’re depressed, but the more energy you put into doing things that fuel your soul, the more you’ll start feeling good things again.

Personally, two years ago, when I was in Athens and saw that my thoughts were going down really unhealthy routes I made a vow to distract myself. I’d do pretty much anything to disrupt my thinking paths. Paint, call people, go for walks, watch a movie, anything… You see, I was working from home. And when you’re prone to depression and you’re feeling like a lot of things in your life are going awfully wrong, you start thinking about those things. And sitting by yourself thinking about those things don’t help. So instead I vowed to work on my social life, work on my visa, work on my finances and stop thinking about the horrible state of my nomadic existence. So if it meant I had to take a break from work that day because I couldn’t stop thinking miserable thoughts.

It worked. My life changed.

People often get stuck thinking “this is who I am.” I am bad with finances, I’m terrible at love, etc. No, that’s who you are creating daily. Most likely, if that what you’re doing, you’re a bully. You’re bullying yourself for what you’ve done, or who you’ve become. Stop. If you did something other than what you’re doing today, you would no longer be that person. So start telling yourself a different story. Invest your energy into a worthwhile cause. Such as becoming the person who overcame all their adversities. A person who overcame all the shit you’re going through.

You are who you make yourself out to be and that person is determined by your thoughts. So decide how you are going to think about yourself from now on; how you’re going to see yourself. Set down principles such as honesty, integrity and kindness. Act from the place of those principles instead of your old self image. Fuck your self image. Fuck the person staring back at you in the mirror. Choose the principles. I’m a person of integrity. I speak to myself with integrity. I act with integrity. Choose who you want to be. Forget about the rest.

In short, fuck the mistakes, the problems and the less glorious sides of your personality. Instead, decide that form now on you act from a place of integrity and focus your thoughts on the good things in your life. Then you decide to go out there and focus your energy on doing things that are good. Things that make you a person of integrity. And if you can’t see outside the life you’ve created — can’t see another life — then get someone else to help you see it. Because you aren’t a broken soul. Souls don’t break. Only our thoughts do.

My life changed when I decided to fuck my own fears and go out there and do things. I kept wondering where the start button to my life was? Why I felt like I wasn’t living? The answer was simple: I was thinking about living my dream life, I wasn’t living it. Because my fears kept me in my comfort zone. Today, today, I live a whole lot more. And every day I challenge myself to live more. To stop thinking, start living.

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Filed under depression, diary, Fear, fears, Inspiration, Inspirational, Motivation, overcoming fears, Thoughts

The state of the story and the naked self…

I was listening to an audio book today, where the main character bemoans some of his past mistakes, while on a journey to reignite his life. To start living again. Because for 20 years he’s shut himself down to life. All because of heartache.

In short, he’s been telling himself a story for 20 years that without a certain person, life is not worth living. That women betray. That he feels nothing. That he’s dead inside. Only to open the letter the woman gave him when leaving and realizing she left because she was dying, not because she wanted to leave him.

The character has lived a lie, but the truth is, whether it’s a lie, or not, the way he has lived his life is because of a story he’s been telling himself. Even if that woman left him because she no longer loved him, he didn’t have to live a life without deep feelings. Without love. Without joy. He could have told a different story. A story where he said that even greater love awaited him, or at the very least: a love as impactful, if different. He could have challenged himself to live even more; to honor what he’d learned in the relationship. To taste life. To drink it in. To fully live. The actions he’d have taken would have been different and hence, his life would have been different.

The quote I heard this morning though was about fear. The character says that fear is the most stupid thing of all. But fear is also just a story inside our mind.

If you fear a plane will crash, you are telling yourself that story over and over again. That’s why you feel fear. If you’re telling yourself you’ll land safe and sound on the other side, you’ll have no fear.

Likewise, imagine going to an audition. You have fear that the people auditioning you will be mean, that you’ll forget your lines and that you won’t get the part because there will be people there who are either better actors, or better looking.

When you get there, if one of the people auditioning you says anything nasty, it’ll trip you up. If you see one of the actors performing and it’s good, it’ll trip you up. If you momentarily can’t remember a line, it’ll trip you up. If you see someone better looking than you, it’ll trip you up. Because you expect that the moment you feel fear, you’ll make a mistake.

If, on the other hand, you realize you have fear and face it, you have an opportunity to overcome it by rewriting (or overwriting) the story in your mind. You close your eyes and imagine how you want to feel at the audition: calm and composed. If you see a better actor, one of the people auditioning you is mean, or you forget a line, you’ll take a deep breath, relax and keep going. When you feel fear, you’ll relax. This is what you imagine over and over again.

In short, you’re programming your brain. When the day comes and the fear hits, you relax. By relaxing, you’re able to remember your lines and pull off a great performance no matter what’s happening around you.

This is one very powerful way of changing habits: of imagining what you’ll feel and then choosing how you’ll feel next. If you have a problem with getting nervous with your boss and therefore not standing up for yourself, imagine seeing your boss, feeling the nervosity and then becoming calm and acting from that sense of calm. Imagine standing up for yourself.

If you have a problem with eating too much chocolate, imagine a time when you’re likely to want chocolate. Imagine the desire. Then imagine another feeling: the desire to go for a run, or become healthy. Imagine the action you’ll take when feeling that way. Imagine this over and over again until you’ve programmed your mind to do what you want it to.

I listened to someone recently telling me a story about a movie. In the movie the main character is an alcoholic who lands a plane during some sort of crisis and saves a lot of lives. However, because he was drunk when doing it, he’s sentenced to serve time in prison.

He stays sober in prison and then appeals for a lesser sentence. He’s left alone for a couple of hours and gets drunk, ruining his own opportunity.

I recently read an article where Brad Pitt talks about sobriety — Angelina Jolie divorced him due to some things relating to alcoholism and he went through a really rough time, which he spoke about in GQ. It was an impressive article and a sad one. The man looked like hell and felt like it too. But he joined AA and found a therapist and in this recent article I came across he talks about how he used to numb his feelings with alcohol, drugs, food, Netflix…now he wants to feel. Feel everything. Hear the birdsong. Because once he became comfortable with feeling pain, he let himself feel other things too, like joy. It was beautiful. And he no longer looks like hell. In fact, he’s fit as fuck and gorgeous as hell. And this is a man in his fifties.

Likewise, I’ve read Russell Brand’s book Recovery which is an incredible account of what it means to be totally fucked up and unfucking yourself. From heroin addict and bulemic to father of two and happily married. I read it because I’ve been around a lot of people who have raved about AA/NA and I was always jealous I couldn’t attend meetings (addicted to creativity…uhm), and the book talks about the 12 steps. But Brand is not your average writer. He swears more than I do. So I liked his take on it. And the book took me through a period when I was mourning my grandmother.

Now, as an addict you can either tell yourself the story about the man who had a chance of redemption and got drunk, or you can tell yourself the stories about Brad Pitt and Russell Brand. Your choice. How you act is dependent on the stories you tell yourself though. If you don’t think there’s hope for recorvery and staying clean, why would you try? If you chat to the millions of people who have recovered and stayed clean (and most importantly: become happy again), then you’ll be prone to go down the route of recovery. Because who doesn’t want to be happy?

When you start listening to your own and other people’s stories, you hear the most incredible things. I’m bad with finances. I get depressed on Thursdays. I have date night anxiety. Really? Or are they just stories in your mind? Stories based around some event that happened at some point that you then decided to keep repeating to yourself. Like the character in that book, all of us are living lies. Because there’s more to life than that one event. Even if that woman would have left that man, not all women betray you. Not all love affairs end in tears. But as long as you repeat the stories in your mind, you’ll keep reliving your patterns.

Life happens to all of us, but how you react to it is up to you. And that’s mainly dependent on the stories you tell yourself about what’s happening. You can sit watching the news all day long and feel miserable about the world, or you can head to the Amazon and discover the grandeur of nature and this incredible thing called life. You can be depressed by the state of the planet or awed by its amazing beauty. Your choice.

I can hear you say: but I must think about the bad state of the planet to do something about it. No, you don’t. If you celebrate the beauty of the world, you’re a lot more likely to be inspired to do something good. To come up with solutions that actually save the planet.

But more importantly, maybe, are the stories you’re telling yourself about yourself. About who you are. About how your relationships will go. About how tomorrow will be like. About how the next hour will unfold. Have a look at them. And if they aren’t working for you, overwrite them.

So who are you? Really? Beyond the stories you’re telling yourself. What is the truth? The naked truth. Not the imagined lie. Just you. Naked.

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Filed under addiction, Awareness, conscious lifestyle, Conscious Living, depression, drug addiction, drug recovery, Inspiration, Inspirational, Mindfulness, Motivation, The Mind, Uncategorized

I saved a life today…

I saved a life today. It was maybe not the way you’d imagine a person saving a life. It wasn’t an act of great glory with pompous trumpets playing in the background.

No, as I was walking from the V&A along the multitude of docks, I saw a crab. On the ground. How he/she got there I don’t know. The docks are far up and she/he was far from the dock. Anyway, I used to fish for crabs as a kid, so I know how to hold a crab without getting pinched. Hence, I lifted it and carried it back to the water. 

The crab isn’t going to send me a thank you note. Nor is it going to become my friend and check in on how I’m doing from time to time. Make sure I’m alright. It’s not going to lighten up my evenings with great conversation and moonlit walks. Nor is it going to send me gifts, or pat me on the shoulder when I’m crying. No, the crab isn’t going to give me a thing. 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: how to remove your ego from the equation. How to be of service without expecting something in return. 

A friend of mine, this weekend, was telling me about a friend of hers who just won’t show up for coffees. This friend has a history of alcoholism and depression (the two tend to go together). My friend is aware that nothing stands between addicts and their next fix. And we got talking about this and I told her it’s basically an opportunity to give up on your own ego when being friends with someone like that.

Imagine an athlete being in a car accident. Let’s say a female runner who loses her legs. Her whole life she’s taken great pride in her body. Her looks. Her physicality. And her main achievement has been her running career. 

She loses her legs and is put in a wheelchair. Not only has she lost her career, she’s also lost the body she was so proud of. She has no purpose anymore, as she can’t run. Things that used to seem important, like friends, being out in nature and experiencing things like travel and performances, no longer seem to not matter. She feels like her soul, not her legs, has been removed. 

She’s given painkillers and an option to have therapy. She takes the painkillers but doesn’t see the point in therapy. After all, has the therapist lost their legs? Is the therapist a celebrated athlete? No. So why talk to them? They wouldn’t understand her. 

People tell her she can restructure her life. Become an athlete in a wheelchair. She thinks they’re stupid. She was famous for her lower body strength, not her upper body strength. She’d be a lousy wheelchair athlete. Besides, she loved to run. She doesn’t love basketball, or whatever. 

The woman doesn’t feel much joy anymore. Sure she laughs at Trevor Noah and smiles when a child is smiling, but at the same time she feels pain. Because they seem to have something she doesn’t: happiness. 

You’re this woman’s friend. You call her one day and suggest you come by for coffee, she says sure. As you speak to her you realize you’ve missed her. Missed your friend. You also realize she’s sad. So you decide to make an effort. An effort to show up for her. 

In the coming weeks you call your friend, text her, and try to meet up with her. While she answers your calls and texts, she often cancels coffees and never asks you to come for coffee. She doesn’t have a will to do anything, so it doesn’t occur to her to do so. She’s disgusted by her own body, because it doesn’t do what it used to. Disgusted by her own habits that seem so foreign to an athlete — now she’s just sitting on her ass. She’s lost respect for herself. 

For an athlete, being unfit and sitting in a wheelchair feels so far away from who they want to be, she may as well just give up. Death would be a pleasant alternative to thinking about who she has become. Yet, she can’t stop thinking about who she has become. How she doesn’t know what to do, or how she doesn’t feel any joy anymore. It’s too painful thinking about how much she’d need to do to become the person she’d like to be that she’d rather not — she just takes another painkiller, or watches another movie to try to forget. Because if she decides to take action, decides to do something about the situation, she needs to face the fact that she’s an athlete without legs, who’s unfit and desperately confused and unhappy as she has no purpose anymore. She’d need to face the gap between where she is and where she’d want to be and the long journey of getting there.

You keep showing up for your friend and sometimes you get a smile, but you know your friend still isn’t really present with you. If your ego gets involved, you’re going to get angry with your friend. You’re going to expect them to get happy, because you’re trying so damn hard to make them happy. You’re going to want them to make you feel good, by feeling good. You’re going to expect them to ask you how you’re doing and actually want an answer. You’re going to expect them to ask you round for coffee. You’re going to expect them to be there when you’re feeling down and need a hug, or an encouraging word. You’re going to expect them to care. But they can’t. Because they don’t feel anything, or they feel too much like shit. Imagine feeling nauseous and puking — it’s not like you’ll pick up the phone and call someone telling them you love them in that moment.

The thing with depression though, is that you have to pick up the phone and call someone and tell them they’re amazing, even if you’re on the ground feeling like puking. You need to make the other person more important than your nausea. You need to make being a decent person, or winning a race (working a job, getting fit, traveling around the world on a motorbike to raise funds for a good cause…whatever it may be), more important than your own pain, or discomfort. Make it more important than your own feelings of disgust, self-pity and helplessness. Sometimes you have to start with small things. Like spending time with friends, or going for a run. You have to make that run more important than your own feelings. 

Once you’ve mastered the run, you can master something else. You have to master doing things that are good for you, even if you don’t immediately feel great doing them (you probably won’t feel a thing at first), or think you deserve them. Because by doing them, you’ll feel like a better person. And when you feel like a better person, you start feeling like you deserve having a life again.  

Maybe this friend will, so to speak, see the light. Maybe they’ll decide that an uphill road to becoming who they want to be/getting to where they want to be and therefore facing where they are, is better than feeling the way they do for the next ten years. Maybe the thought of the next ten years will finally make them realize that it’s better to start now, than pity themselves for the time they’ve already lost. Or maybe they’ll see a child sleeping in the street and decide to care for them and in the process of doing so forget about themselves, thus forgetting their own pain. Maybe they’ll stumble across a purpose. 

The only way for a person to change is to do everything they can to do so. If one thing doesn’t work, they’ll have to try the next. If you’ve told yourself for three weeks you aren’t going to have another hamburger, or a milkshake, for breakfast and you’re still having hamburgers and milkshakes, you need to try something else. And if you can’t figure it out, ask someone else to give you ideas about how to do it. We all think we’re unique, but it turns out we’re uniquely human. We act like 99% of the rest of the population when put in certain situations. We follow the same patterns. Other people sometimes know better than you do how you work, even if they aren’t an athlete without legs. They know human patterns. And they’re able to see the things you can’t, because they’re not stuck in your head. Plus, believe it or not, they can see you. Can feel you.

Maybe your friend will call you one day and ask you how you’re doing. Say sorry for the times they cancelled on you. Tell you that you’re part of the light of their universe because they can once again see the light. And maybe they won’t. 

I don’t know how many friends I have in my life who have gone gaga because someone in their life is going through depression and are either avoiding them, being needy with them (the example above is clearly not someone being needy), or driving them insane in some other way. All I can say is that it gives you an opportunity to:

  1. give without receiving 
  2. know that nothing you do is likely to have any effect whatsoever beyond maybe giving the other person a bit of joy, or the satisfaction of knowing someone cares — maybe you’ll give them a glimmer of life, maybe you won’t
  3. focus on encouraging them when they do something good, rather than losing your shit when you feel neglected — they’re already feeling bad, making them feel worse isn’t going to help. That said, calling them on their bullshit and telling them that maybe it’s about time they cared about someone else isn’t always a bad thing
  4. know that you’ll be rejected time and time again because you’re an obstactle to them being alone with their misery
  5. not let their sorrow weigh you down — emphatize with them as you know we all face difficulties and it hurts like hell, but know they are in charge of their life and if they want to feel better, it’s possible, they just have to take action and/or seek help
  6. know that people like to take pride in their difficulties, or fuckedupness as it’s a way of coping with it, by pretending to not care and being ever so cool, or pretending it’s a joke
  7. be fully aware that you may lose a person you care about and come to terms with that
  8. know that you have to focus all your energy on your own life, as you’ll get nowhere by focusing on theirs — you have the responsibility to create a life you’re happy with and that may mean limiting the time you spend with them and also deciding to not walk around worrying about them; it’s out of your control and the best you can do is have faith in them and pray for them beside being there for them
  9. know that from time to time you’ll get both angry and sad, you’ll pity them and yourself and be petrified of losing them to a dark pit and have a complete hissy fit about it, but also know you have the power to step out of that state of mind
  10. there’s a time and a place for forced hospitalization

In short, to be around depressed people, you have to give up on your own ego; your own self-importance, while simultaneously taking control over your own emotions. And to me that’s been a great learning. 

I’ve always been stuck in my ego, you see. I’ve cared about what people think about me. Wanted proof they care about me. Wanted to feel good thanks to the people around me. But as with the crab, some people won’t tell you your awesome, or send you thank you notes. And sometimes, I’ve been that person. In the past six months when my home life was a disaster due to the child I help raise with PDA, I got panicked if someone so much as asked for a coffee with me. I had no time or energy. The only thing I cared about was paying the bills and having people to help me manage the kids. That was it. 

But I got through those months, because other people didn’t give up on me. When I was practically catatonic one morning, my neighbor looked at me with worry and spoke to me. When I called people in desperation, needing help with the kids, they answered. Some of these people told me I was inspiring. An incredible person. I still don’t understand why. I guess because I kept going. Kept thinking I’d find a solution. Because sure as hell I wasn’t pleasant to be around, apart from those brief moments, hiding away in some coffeeshop and feeling like myself for a while. And I despised myself a fair amount. Despised myself for not being nicer. Despised myself for not finding solutions for my child. But I had to make a decision to every day aim to be the person I wanted to be no matter what I was facing. I failed continuously, but I tried again the next day.  

I’ve been much deeper in the depths of despair in the past. Times when I felt nothing, or was petrified of myself, because I feared my own feelings. But time and time again, I overcame those feelings. So I know it’s possible. Even if it doesn’t feel that way. It’s about deciding you don’t have a clue. Surrendering to not knowing shit. If you did, you wouldn’t be where you are. Then deciding you can do it, even if you don’t know how. Deciding you will find a solution. And you’ll stop at nothing.

Maybe I can sum up my learnings with both being depressed and being around depression with some of my coach’s favorite terms (which it took me a while to get my head around): 

  • don’t get caught up in your own or other people’s hairy bullshit (i.e. don’t let the stories someone else is telling themselves, or the stories you’re telling yourself affect you — change the stories going round in your head and when someone say they keep thinking they’re a disaster and therefore acting like one, challenge them on it — tell them to start thinking something else and therefore acting differently instead of allowing them to wallow in self-pity or disgust)
  • decide who you are going to be in the face of it (i.e. don’t let circumstance dictate your reactions — rather take charge of how you want to think and act)
  • become aware your own patterns — what are you creating and what will the payoff be (negative or positive)? (if you’re depressed, or unhappy with circumstance, you’re doing something to continuously create that — change the pattern, change your life. This is harder than it seems as it often means going against your own desires)
  • the person with the biggest hard on wins (i.e. the highest vibrational energy wins — no person or event can affect your mood for long if you have the biggest hard on)
  • when you’re happy you can be of service to others because you don’t expect them to make you happy and by being of service you stop thinking about your ego and therefore feel better
  • structure has integrity — by changing the structure of your life (thinking patterns and real life habits) you change your overall life (sometimes this is a bit-by-but process rather than an overnight overhaul of your life. Such as being a sugar addict, but deciding to have a run before each cake you eat, or being so used to beating yourself up about life you can’t stop, but you’ll write down one thing you like about yourself every day. Other times, it’s best to do a 180. Depends on the situation)
  • focus creates reality — what you focus on (i.e. what you think about) is your reality and determines what you create in your life. Change your focus, change your life (this also means that when someone depressed has aired about their issues enough, it’s time to change the topic and move towards the good things in their life, what they’re grateful for and what they are passionate about, as well as the things you love)

We all need our emotional needs met. Just after saving the crab, a woman walked past me and complimented my dress. She didn’t want anything in return. She just kept walking. It made me happy. It helped me meet my emotional needs.

Just minutes earlier, I had profusely thanked some semi-lousy service people for their service. Not because they made me want to do it, but because I knew who I wanted to be in the face of it. And because I hoped that maybe one day, by seeing other people’s gratitude, they’d start doing something people felt grateful for. 

We all have emotional needs. We just have to be clear where we get them met. Don’t expect to have them met by people who don’t know how to meet them. But also don’t become a bitch because of it. Decide who you are going to be in the face of it. And decide on taking responsibility for your own life. If you expect to have your emotional needs met by the wrong people, that’s your bad. Going to that coffee shop with poor service and expecting to be pampered and leave feeling great is just setting yourself up for disappointment. So you have to ensure you feel great no matter what they do. Maybe, over time, if you keep smiling at them and thanking them, they’ll change. Maybe they won’t. Give up on your self-importance. And get your emotional needs met elsewhere. 

The moral of the stories in this blog? Whether you’re depressed or around someone who is either depressed, or otherwise not meeting your emotional needs, the power is in your hands. You are in charge of your life and your emotions. No matter how much it doesn’t feel like that. Because oh, life happened to you. It will keep happening to you. Until you happen to it. 

Dizzy blonde, over and out. 

Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/838795499332072484/?nic=1

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Filed under depression, diary, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Motivation, Uncategorized

Naked thoughts on creativity, depression…and dancing in the dark…

heartbeats at midnight

the silence

apart from that heartbeat

and deep, slow breaths 

in and out

the feeling

of your skin

secret crevices


filled with stardust

and other inexplicable beauty

a weird sensation

of something




sparkling through the window


dancing by 

like a twinkling melody

invisible wires


made of starlight 

running through us 

connecting us

to each other

and the great beyond 

as we are just  the dust 

left behind

from an explosion 




You know, as a creative you’re always looking for the next big idea. The next burst of inspiration. Sadly, as a creative, when you’re not working on that big idea, or aren’t high on a burst of inspiration, you’re often caught in your own head.

I’ve learned to redirect my thoughts. It’s been a lifetime commitment of overcoming depression. Still. I have my moments. That’s why I’ve had to learn that when they hit, I need to move my ass. Get my mind engaged in something else. Usually something creative — paint, dance, write… And fill my life with human connections. Which has been hard for someone who grew up with social paranoias. But I’ve learned. I’ve forced myself to go out when I don’t want to. When I feel like a sad mess and am ashamed of my own life. When I’m petrified of what people will think of me. Because that was my problem as a child — I was ashamed of myself. And that still hits at times. And my gut reaction is to remove myself from the world. Hide away. Which only makes it worse, because you sit there reveling in your own thoughts, instead of changing them into something positive. Productive. Something which engages you in life and makes you smile. It’s pretty simple really. It just doesn’t feel that way when you’re sitting there paralyzed by fear. So as Audrey Hepburn would say — put your lipstick on and pull yourself together. Get the high heels out the cupboard. Get your ass out that door. 

Still, yesterday, I felt depleted. Frustrated. And I was getting annoyed with myself.    

Then I saw this guy. Biking. Down Somerset Road. He had muscles. He had style. He was hot as hell. And I caught myself raising my eyebrows. Then I started laughing. It was that moment. That moment that starts a romantic comedy. And I wanted to write. That comedy. A spark had been ignited.  

This was after a day of listening to Amy MacDonald’s Dancing in the Dark. Written by Bruce Springsteen after his producer or something told him one night that he had to write another song for his next album. He yelled he’d already written 71 songs. Then he went to the hotel room and banged this out over night. It became one of the most popular songs of all time. 

I know that feeling. That feeling of having someone standing over you with a stick, waiting for your creative juices to flow. Bizarrely, I love it. Even the anger I feel when they tell me they need more. Need something different. When you’re bleeding out the last of your creative juices, but you keep working. Keep creating. 

Sometimes when you go home, you feel like shit. Because your personal life had some sort of hiccup, or you were forced to do work that wasn’t creative at all that day. Or year. Take your pick. But your creativity — you have that. That spark. That something. That thing that makes you light your own fire. 

So this afternoon I’m gonna dance. I’m gonna feel my own body again. I’m gonna live. I’m gonna light that fire. 

You’re beautiful, remember that. You have a spark inside of you. A fire. A fire that connects you to all living beings. Because you are the Universe. You are stardust come alive.

Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926736097042/


Filed under confidence, depression, diary, Musings, Poem, poetry, Self-confidence, Uncategorized


Do you have faith? Faith in a higher power? Faith in your own abilities? Faith in the people in your life? 

When I travel I always have faith I’ll find somewhere to live that suits my needs. I have absolute faith that it will pan out. Because it always has. Even when I stood with a broken credit card no money in Paris at the tender age of nineteen, it panned out. 

When I travel I have faith life/God/the Universe will provide me with what I need. I also have faith in my own abilities. I know that if you ask enough people, someone will have what you’re looking for and I will find it. 

Moreover, I have faith that I’ll get through storms. I’ll get through them because I never give up. Even if I end up with one more scar, or one more wrinkle. I’ll win. 

Other people tend to admire me for this. Just today, my doctor was talking to me about this, as she knows some of what I’ve been through with the kids I help raise. A lot of people find me inspirational. Few see the pain that I’ve gone through with a lot of the “inspirational” things I’ve done. My doctor knows the pain. She’s the one dealing with my over worked immune system.

While I have faith I’ll get through storms, I am petrified of calm and quiet. I have very little faith I can live a happy life without a million storms. But I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being overworked. I’m tired of caring for others when not being cared for myself. I’m tired of facing crazy ass situations that are mentally and emotionally draining.

I’m not tired of challenges. I thrive on them. But I’d prefer working out how to spend the millions of dollars I’m making from movies instead of working out how to survive on a dollar a day. I’d like different kinds of challenges than the ones I’ve faced in recent years. 

You know what I want? I want to have fun. I want to enjoy myself. I want to go on dates where I laugh till I cry. I want to dance till I’m spinning through the air. I want to crawl on the floor to get the perfect angle for a shoot (yes, I know, we all have different ideas of happiness). I want to laugh with my children. I want to bake cookies and have whipped cream wars. I want to drive with the wind blowing through my hair and the sun tickling my skin. I want to come home to a happy home. I want to be happy. 

This scares me. I’m scared the moment I relax all hell will break loose. Bizarrely, always worrying makes me feel safe. Being in the middle of a storm makes me feel safe. I’m scared of letting go and relaxing when things are quiet.

In the twelve steps in AA one of the steps is giving up your power to a higher source. When I sat in a hot tub in LA bawling my eyes out and asking a higher power for guidance as I was so depressed I couldn’t feel anything and didn’t have a clue what to do, I surrendered to that power. That way my depression started to lift as my reason for having it became obvious. And from there, what to do to move forward became obvious. Likewise, when I travel I have absolute faith that the journey will reveal itself. And it does. 

Having faith doesn’t mean you don’t have to take action. You do. It’s not like I don’t have to look for accommodation when I travel. I do. It’s just I have faith I’ll find it. I feel safe in the hands of God or whatever powers may be. Then I move my ass. 

Similarly, you have to have faith in the people in your life. Faith that they’ll do right by you. Faith that they can handle what life puts in their path. Faith they’ll do the right thing. Some won’t. But if you have faith, you know the wrong people will fall away. Because they won’t get what they want from you if you let faith guide you. They won’t get the payoff they seek. You also know that the right people will reveal themselves. That they will show up when you truly need them. That your life will be blessed with the right people. 

I want to have fun. That means I have to take the necessary steps to get there. I know I’m happy when I’m dancing. So it’s really obvious to book a class. Then I have to show up to that class. Faith is just knowing that it’ll be alright. That I’ll find the right teacher — even if it’s not on the first try. Faith that it will pan out. Faith that I’ll be happy on the dance floor once more. 

The truth is, I’ve avoided dancing for a long time. Just like I’ve avoided being in a stable relationship. Just like I’ve avoided having a stable home. Just like I’ve avoided having a straight forward career. I’ve avoided things where I feel I need to let go. Things that would make my life stable. Simple. Things that would take me out of the storm. Things that would allow me to relax. Because that’s my fear. Relaxing. The feeling of being relaxed and unguarded. Unprepared. Vulnerable. 

I want to be happy. I want to have faith I can be happy. I have faith. I have faith that if I truly hand myself over to a higher power, the necessary steps to be happy will reveal themselves. All I need to do, is take the obvious action. And it’s always obvious when you tune into yourself and allow intuition/a higher power guide you. You know what to do. What you truly need to do to get there. 

You might not like what you need to do. It may be uncomfortable; painful even. It’s not like showing up to a dance class for the first time in three years is without pain. I’m nervous. I’m scared I’m not good enough. I feel old. That’s part of the journey: facing your own inner demons and the growing pains you get from taking action. But if you follow through, you’ll get to where you want to be. To that place you truly desire. And I desire being on a dance floor. 

Life is in our hands, but for it to truly be so, you have to surrender. Surrender to not knowing. Surrender to a higher power. Surrender to faith. Then you fucking move your butt. 

Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926736064341/

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Not tonight, darling…

Ever heard that one? I have a headache. I am tired. I’d rather watch Netflix. My pinkie hurts. My boss is doing my head in, so I can’t relax. Take your pick.

In real life, it’s usually more along the lines of: “I don’t feel like it.” Or: “I can’t be bothered.” Or: “I have no inspiration.”

You know what? To get inspired you first have to start. It’s not like anything turns itself on by itself. Right…

One of the rules of magic, according to William Whitecloud and co. is “Engage your will.” If you don’t engage your will, you’ll sit on your ass doing nothing. Hence, life will be pretty boring. Not to mention: depressing. If you sit alone all day wiggling your toes, sooner or later, you’ll end up thinking miserable thoughts. It’s like ahving a one-on-one with your inner demons. Which is why Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the desert. But that’s 40 days and nights to face yourself and move through and beyond your pain and demons. After that, you need physical and intellectual stimulation. Love. Companionship. Joy. Laughter.

Sometimes, it’s not because we’re lazy we don’t move our butts. It’s because we’re scared.

Imagine someone scared of heights living in a place like Australia. To get to another country, they’d have to use a boat, or a plane. Let’s say they get seasick. A plane is the only option. Unless they get over themselves, they’ll never see the rest of the world. They’ll never sip coffees in Paris, have tantra classes with the hippies in San Francisco, party in LA, check out the jungle in Mexico, see the Northern lights in Finland, or do any of those other cool things one can only do in certain places.

To someone not scared of heights, this doesn’t make sense. But fear is a very real thing, even if it’s completely imaginary.

Let’s say you know that it’s possible to overcome fear though, because you’ve done it. You’ve done it and you know how amazing it is to be on the other side. So you try to convince the other person to try it.

The problem? Most people also fear change. Or they fear the pain they may encounter overcoming their fear. Or they fear the effort it will take to overcome the fear. Or they fear they can’t do it and if they try they will prove that. Or they fear the happiness they may encounter as they don’t think they deserve it (see Your inner dominatrix… for more on that). Or they don’t want to face the emotions they’ll have once they get to the other side of the fear and realize they’ve wasted 30 years being afraid of something. Of course, that’s silly as they can just focus on the next 30 years and be grateful. But our minds work in silly ways.

Let’s have a look at an example of fear. I used to be scared of rejection. So let’s have a look at rejection. 

If you fear rejection, you won’t go on a date, because you’re too scared being rejected. Or you won’t talk to people, because you’re too scared being rejected. Or you won’t say what you want, because you’re too scared of rejection. Or you won’t apply for a job, because you’re too scared being rejected. It depends on your type of rejection fear. 

Now, rejection happens to everyone. Sadly, no one in kindergarten informed us that five out of ten people will give us a hard time. If you want to make friends with five people, prepare to be rejected by another five. Sometimes even more. 

Because no one told us about this, we take rejection personally. We end up thinking we’re not good enough, or some other such thing. We get wounded. It hurts. We don’t want to hurt. So we hide away, or become bullies, or we become aloof, or sit alone and eat lots of candy, or do some other such thing, depending on what strikes us as a good idea at the time. 

Basically, we put a plaster on top. But the plaster a) doesn’t allow for the wound to heal b) keep other people at bay — it’s a defense. Now, because we have a wound, every time someone as much as hints at rejecting us, it hurts more than if we didn’t have a wound. And with every hurt, the wound becomes bigger. 

The plaster (defense) will further add to our sense of rejection because other people, or at least the right kind of people, usually don’t get close to those who are shy, bullies, or aloof. So we become a self-fulfilling prophecy on top of everything else.

To find friends, lovers, great work opportunities, etc. we will need to handle rejection. It will hurt a little bit, but the treasure is worth it. 

It’s kind of like getting off our asses and going for that run, cleaning the house, or showing up for work: it will take some effort (pain) but it’s worth it. Because it makes us feel good. 

I don’t know what it is you’re avoiding doing in your life that’d make you feel good. Maybe you’re avoiding it because of fear. Maybe you’re avoiding it because you don’t think you’re worth it (you need to suffer to atone to some past mistake of yours). Maybe you’re avoiding it because you think the effort is too much. 

I’m here to tell you it’s worth it. Because whoever said life begins outside your comfort zone was damn right. It does. The real life. The one worth the effort. The one that will make you see stars. 

I mean just think about first time sex. The fear. The panic about getting it wrong. The knowledge that you don’t have a clue about what you’re doing. The fear of asking for what you want and doing what you want because of the possible embarrassment if the other person disagrees. The potential rejection. And then think about getting over yourself. And practicing. And doing what you want. Asking for what you want. Little, by litte. And in the end actually having good sex. And you’re worth it. You just have to claim it.

So, darlings, I’m telling you: orgasms are on the other side of your comfort zone. Enjoy.

Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926735621605/

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I take my hat off to you sailor!!! In loving memory of Dave Stafford Finney…

Some years ago a dating site had me work on an article about Dave Stafford Finney — a sailor in the Australian Navy. It was an article about men in uniform. As such, I read his blog, which was a stunning blog about what it truly means to serve in a war, save people, and end up with the scars yourself. So I commented on his blog. I mean, come on, the guy sounded amazing, why wouldn’t I talk to him? 

The thing is, he looked me up on LinkedIn and messaged me. 

He had read my blog and sent me a super sweet message about what an incredible person I am. Over the year and a bit that we knew each other, we’d exchange a couple of messages/comments and I remember I reached out to him when I felt my life was falling apart. I was fighting like a mad person to get a visa to South Africa to get the rights to adopt kids I was already raising. I had, by chance, or misfortune, or maybe in the end: fortune, ended up in a legal battle to be with kids I started helping out in a township I was volunteering in. I had been told by authorities I could adopt them, then that I couldn’t adopt unless I got permanent residency. 

I had seen things and been through things in the township that most people don’t get to see. With Dave I felt a kinship about these things. How you go through a “war” and you get scarred. You see shit other people don’t. You see the abuse, the crime, the fucked-up-ness of life. 

We didn’t talk that much over the years, but I know I told him he should come to South Africa to volunteer like he did in Australia. 

And ever so often, out of the blue, I’d just get some message/comment saying I’m amazing. 

That was the extent of our friendship.

Today I found out that Dave killed himself. That the PTSD that he fought, very openly, finally won the battle. That the battle scars won. That the hero succumbed to his own demons. 

I was wondering why he didn’t reply to a comment I made on his post the other day. I was planning to send him a message asking if he wanted to be interviewed by me for a new platform where I’m now the lead editor for the lifestyle section. I just didn’t get round to sending the message. But I kept thinking about him during the week, looking forward to speaking with him. 

Frankly, I want to punch him in the face and yell at him, or something, to wake him up. From death. From depression. Neither would work very well. 

I was “clinically” depressed twice. For me it wasn’t the wish to die that frightened me, it was that I felt nothing. I remember the fear of that feeling. It would last for an hour, two hours, a minute…but it was horrible. Feeling nothing. No joy, no sadness, no nothing. 

It was petrifying. 

But I was one of the lucky ones. I acquired tools. I fought. I got help. I read books. I won the battle with my mind. 

That’s not to say I’m not still fighting. I do. My mind has a tendency to walk down paths that aren’t helpful. To find weird and dark alleys that it gets stuck in, mistaking them for reality. 

The truth is, once you come out of the alley, you realize you chose to walk in there. You didn’t go there on purpose the first time, you just ended up there, because life took you there, but then you chose to stay. Not because you wanted to, but because your mind didn’t know the other paths. The other roads. The other alleys. The ones filled with beauty. You could be standing there instead. 

To make your mind walk into the right streets…it’s not easy. Not when you’ve been to a lot of dark places. It’s a constant effort. I can only imagine what it’s like when you’ve been to an actual war. I had childhood trauma that made my view of myself screwed up. I kept looking at myself seeing distorted visions that made me hate myself. Like the dark alleys, I was stuck in a place of my own doing. 

The reality is, this world is filled with a shitload of crap. Of really nasty stuff and bad humans and miserable events. Once you’ve seen them, you have to choose to focus on the other stuff, or you get stuck. 

For some, it appears impossible to get out of the dark alleys. With all the myriads of roads this life presents, they are captured in darkness. Always living in the shadow of their own thoughts.

Right now, I’m betting a lot of people are fighting a hard battle because Dave died. People who actually knew him in real life and was touched by his joy and friendship. People who have an emptiness within them nothing will ever remove. People who now have to fight not to go to the alley marked with “missing friend.” 

At the same time, I bet that those who knew what hell Dave actually lived through and saw the extent of the darkness, know that he found peace. Not in the way that anyone would have liked for it to happen, but they know that there was an end to the suffering. 

I guess I recognized myself in a small part of Dave, as he recognized himself in a small part of me. We put our lives in blogs that revealed all. Dished it out. I had a strong belief that if everyone would just share how they actually feel, no one would feel like I did as a kid. And I admired Dave for putting it all out there. The real life. The real pain. The real joy. 

When someone dies, it feels like a missed opportunity. That you should have done more. Said more. Fuck, at least gone to Australia to say hello in person. Frankly, I was furious with myself and the world at large today because I didn’t get to explore a connection I felt with someone. Like it was a cruel joke. If I’d only sent that message I wanted to send a few days earlier, if only I’d been braver, if only something… I mean I wanted to get to know the guy, but when he first reached out to me I was scared. I was scared of depression. I felt a kinship, a connection and jeez the man was hot…you know, it’s like that online crush right. But I was scared. And when a year or so later I wasn’t scared, he died before I sent the message. And it hurts. I know I made a mistake. I ignored the obvious person right in front of me. Maybe we would not have connected well at all. I don’t know. It’s impossible to know, because I didn’t explore it. I could at the very least have told him his messages and blogs really touched me. However small those messages were, to me they meant something and I didn’t say that out loud. Because I was scared. So I have regret. Things could have been different.

But maybe that’s not the truth. Maybe the truth is, that we all play exactly the part in each other’s lives that we were meant to play. That we gave each other what we meant to give. Maybe this is exactly what I was meant to learn: that you should never ever try to predict how things could go. That you should open your door and explore. And you should speak frankly. Because when you don’t, you end up with regret. I never told that stranger I wanted to get to know him. Never told him I lit up like a pinball machine when he messaged me. And now I can’t. And I never again want to feel like I do right now.

How do we choose to focus our thoughts? 

I choose to think that Dave brightened some of my days, as I did his. A tiny twinkle in our lives. Not the big bright light of those close to us, but a tiny twinkle that makes the world more beautiful somehow. Or as I said to the Dave, in the very last comment I sent him this week as he shared the memory of losing his baby to cot death: “Sorry to hear that man. You’ve come a long way since. Life is filled with so many painful things. Thankfully there are many wondrous things too, including the people we do get to keep with us.”  

So let’s all look after those wondrous people. Make an effort to smile. To hug. To check in on one another. Dave touched so many people’s lives. He’s not one who didn’t have friends. Not one who wasn’t loved. So let’s all strive to touch others with our honesty. The truth about how we feel. But also the joy and care. Even the strangers we meet, who are angles in disguise. Let’s smile at them. Hug them. Give them a word of encouragement. We never know who they are, or where they’re going. If they’re living in their own personal heaven or hell. All we can do is to be a star. However small the twinkle. However fast the passing. Be a light. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the times you told me I was amazing. And thank you for listening when I was going through my own personal hell. You were a star man. I think you still are. Out there, somewhere, brightening the night sky. 

P.S. I stole one of your photos for this blog. I’m pretty sure you’d just wink at me, not sue me for it.

If you want to read his words: https://davestafford.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/these-medals-arent-free/

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