Tag Archives: Love

It’s time to pull the zipper down…

There are moments in life that undress you. One moment you stand there fully clothed and the next you’re stark naked.

I always liked when people got naked. Usually it’s when they run into trouble, face their demons and crack open. Their carefully crafted coping mechanisms fail. The ego driven patterns they’re hiding their flaws behind crack. And suddenly they find themselves naked. Usually uncomfortable for them, but nice for the onlookers, who suddenly see their heart.

Maybe they need to wash off some of the crap they’ve landed themselves in, but their heart is right there. And it’s beautiful.

I had one of those moments the other day. Someone asked me something along the lines of: “Wouldn’t your gran like to have had one more experience? Like if you’d asked her before she died, wasn’t there something she wished she’d done?” And my reply was: “No, she’d just have wanted to spend more time with her family.”

When I said it I didn’t think too much about it, but when I came home it made me teary-eyed. One, because that side of the family is gone save from my sister and I. Two, because I’ve been driven by so many other things than my gran was — she was driven by family and she was happy and content, save from when people started passing over. That was her downfall — she couldn’t deal with that and let new people enter her life.

I, on the other hand, have had many incredible experiences all over the world, but it wasn’t until the past five odd years I started feeling remotely happy being me. And it wasn’t until last year I started taking my social life seriously. Because even though I knew more people than most could dream of, I was so scared of rejection I never focused on actually stitching it all together. And while this blog can attest to my many epiphanies surrounding dating over the years, I never truly thought myself capable of finding a man who loved me that I loved. Until possibly earlier this year.

I know I’m a bit of an adrenaline and experience junkie. And I get high on breaking convention. I also get a sense of fulfillment from film and Magique, as well as Little Angels, that I don’t think my gran got from her work. But I also know that as a child I filled my life with stories because I felt lonely — I was bullied and unhappy around my step-mom so I hid in books.

Yesterday I went to the doctor as I’ve caught the latest Cape Town epidemic: a stomach bug. Nothing serious, just an upset tummy, but you know after a week you start feeling a tad drained. The kind doctor put me on a fast — rehydration drinks for 24 hrs followed by bread and potatoes only for 24 hrs.

Now, I’ve done a lot of juice fasts in my day and they’re fascinating, because food is one of those feel good things. Makes you happy when you taste yummy things. Also gives you energy. When you don’t have energy you get cranky and start facing your demons. Same thing if you’re bored and alone without distraction.

Today, I realized, while tired and grumpy, just how addicted I am to food. And get me right: I’m pro a certain level of food addiction. Life should be tasty, if you ask me. But I can also see how a good book and a glass of wine, or a treat and my favorite Netflix, is a substitute for going out there and meeting people. I think good books, food and Netflix are wonderful,  it’s just using one good thing to replace another isn’t a great strategy.

Co-incidentally (if there is such a thing) I’m reading Brand’s Recovery at the moment as I always wanted an excuse to attend an AA meeting so I could learn the darn steps. Now there’s a book for that. Not that I think it can substitute what you get from the group meetings, in fact I believe if you suffer from any kind of addiction AA should be your next stop (take it from one who has known and dated enough former addicts to break the rules of probability), but for us who don’t want to turn into addicts to join AA it’s a great book. At least if you’ve lived in London and are used to foul language.

Anyway, my point, dear readers, is that I realized I have my little addictions. I already knew I had patterns. Run from loneliness by creating loneliness is one of them (sounds counter-intuitive, but hey, constantly moving round the world and being a workaholic you’re too busy to get a stabile social life so you never need feel rejected). Using food and stories to combat loneliness is an addiction though. I always said that books were my drug as a kid. If it hadn’t been for stories I thought I’d ended up committing suicide or taking drugs. I never wanted to do either, but I figured that’s because I had something that gave me hope. People always look at me with incredulity when I say those things these days, because I’m no longer the shy kid hiding in my room, petrified of my step-sisters cool friends, but I still carry that child inside me. The child that couldn’t for the life of her understand why she didn’t have friends. Couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her, but figured she was seriously flawed somehow.

The truth is, I never fully opened up. I tried. Just as I tried liking myself. And it gets better all the time. I no longer want to run into walls because I hate myself so much and the experience in hospice was the latest thing that made me feel like I cracked open. And that comment about gran’s greatest desire brought it home even more — because there are few things more important than the people in our lives. I need to open myself up to those people. Unlike gran it isn’t just about family for me. I think everyone we love is family. And there are a whole bunchload of people I really love. I’d like to be fully present with them. And spend as much time with them as physically possible.

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Pieces of our soul…

I believe there are many people in our lives whom we meet and form bonds with so strong that those people come to live within us. Sometimes our meetings are brief, but powerful. Other times, people become part of us due to the sheer amount of time they spend in our presence. It’s as if these people become part of the canvas that make us who we are; part of our portrait. 

Some of these people leave our lives, for one reason or another, but I still believe they somehow nurture our life force; our heart. We may not think of them, we may not cross paths with them, but they somehow form part of who we are. I believe when these people die, so does a part of us. That part of them that lived inside of us die with them. That force that nurtured us, disappears. It crumbles and dies; turns to ash and earth and in it a seed is planted and a flower blooms. That flower is the memory of what that person brought us; the lessons they taught us and the love they gave us. 

Sometimes these days, as I do something, a scent wafts through the air that reminds me of the scent of death. A note, or two, is similar to the scent that emanated from my gran as she was dying. It’s a horrible scent. 

In the last few days of my gran’s life, I lived with her in a hospice. My bed was next to hers. My mind was attuned to her — I woke when she moaned, when she stirred, when her breathing went funny and, eventually, when her breathing seized. I flew up to hold her hand as she took her last breath. I called the nurse, then I went to open the window to let her spirit fly, breathe in the fresh air and see the snow dance outside in a beautiful farewell ceremony. 

The week and a bit I spent in that hospice changed me. Or maybe it was the following weeks when I was trying to absorb it all that changed me. There was one night when my father and sister left for the day when I thought: “I can’t do this.” I can’t take another night of little sleep, only to wake time and time again to her suffering. The night before I’d argued with the nurse in charge about giving her more “calming” medication to take away her distress. The nurse thought I was the one who was upset as she didn’t hear the moans coming from my gran when she left the room. Finally the day team arrived, heard the moans and gave her the meds. In hospice they generally give you as much meds as you like — their main duty is to relieve the suffering. 

That night, when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, was better. Someone must have told the nurse to give out the meds. Maybe because I had complained, or maybe because she’d realized I wasn’t a loony bin. Yet, that moment when my dad left me, an apologetic and pained look on his face, I thought I might break. I felt like I had barbwire running inside of me – the barbwire being my gran’s suffering. At least I knew I was there for my grandmother. The knowledge that there must be others, as weak as my grandmother — too weak to press any button to get help when needed — alone in their beds at night made me feel sick. No one would give them water, or wipe them down when they coughed things up all over themselves. It was a horrible thought. 

One morning, I believe it was after the horrible night, gran suddenly started saying: “Hold my hand, hold my hand.” And I could do that. 

I was a shy kid. I was bullied. I became scared of what others thought of me. I responded to it all by closing off; withdrawing. Too frightened of rejection to expose my heart. And I’ve spent many infuriating years trying to undo the wounds of my childhood; years of trying to open up. 

Spending that week in hospice I had one thing clear as daylight in my mind when I walked out: I would love as much as possible and for all the world to see. 

My gran was no saint. Truth be told, for all her kindness and propriety she could also be a right bitch to people, family included. Not out of any desire to do harm, but simply because she lacked all sense of tact and often got things completely wrong and reacted to imaginary hurt. But she loved me and I her. The part of her that used to sustain me — her heartbeat in mine — has wilted and died, only to be replaced by a blossom of love and memories. 

Relationships are never perfect. At some point or another we hurt one another, or get annoyed because we’re pulling in different directions. What my grandparents taught me is that if you love enough, you don’t feel the hurt when there are misunderstandings. Because you know the misunderstandings, the arguments, the whatever won’t break you. There is no real harm intended — only pain caused by confusion. And you will work it out, because you are family and family is there for each other. If you don’t have love as the main essence, if you don’t try to understand, if you don’t know that you want to be together, but actively go out to hurt one another, then it’s another story entirely.  

There was a leaflet in the hospice that said that when someone dies they sail off on a ship into the horizon; disappearing out of sight. We no longer know what journey they are on. And so it can be said for many of the people we meet — they cross our path and then sail off to new shores. They live in our hearts in one way or another. As a child this petrified me as mom died and I felt like I was left with a gaping hole inside of me — a pain that could never be cured — but I realize now that while I will never see my mother again the way she was (though I may see her in another form), I have a flower inside my heart. That’s something her mother finally came to teach me by dying holding my hand. And I still cry, but I don’t feel pain. Not that kind of pain. I feel like I have something incredibly beautiful in my heart, which no one can ever take away. 

I was miserable as a child — my grandparents, summers on the boat and the books I read that made me believe in a future different from my present, are what kept me alive. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here today without those. And now, when all of my grandparents have left, I received another gift. The gift of loving more. 

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Image Source: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/507780926719627960/ 

For all those times you stood by me

For all the truth that you made me see

For all the joy you brought to my life

For all the wrong that you made right

For every dream you made come true

For all the love I found in you

I’ll be forever thankful guys

You’re the one who held me up

Never let me fall

You’re the one who saw me through through it all

You were my strength when I was weak

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see

You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach

You gave me faith ’cause you believed

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

You gave me wings and made me fly

You touched my hand I could touch the sky

I lost my faith, you gave it back to me

You said no star was out of reach

You stood by me and I stood tall

I had your love I had it all

I’m grateful for each day you gave me

Maybe I don’t know that much

But I know this much is true

I was blessed because I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see

You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach

You gave me faith ’cause you believed

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

You were always there for me

The tender wind that carried me

A light in the dark shining your love into my life

You’ve been my inspiration

Through the lies you were the truth

My world is a better place because of you

You were my strength when I was weak

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see

You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach

You gave me faith ’cause you believed

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

You were my strength when I was weak

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see

You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach

You gave me faith ’cause you believed

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

– Celine Dion

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Filed under Friendship, friendships, Love, mourning, Soul, soul brothers, soul mates, soul sisters, Uncategorized

Final goodbyes…

Friday I got the message I’ve been waiting for: “It’s time to come home to say goodbye to grandma.” I’ve been waiting for that message and yet it took me an hour to book the ticket because it freaked me out so much that once it’s booked that’s it. That’s the final goodbye.

A few months back, Liezl’s sister, Jess, died and I wrote a letter to Jess that I gave to Liezl. I wrote that letter because I wanted to help Liezl and I wanted to say goodbye to Jess in my own way. Below you can see an excerpt.

Liezl always tells me that she knows when I’m hurting, because she can feel it. Well, I know Liezl is hurting now, because I can feel it. So please, let her see life as a puzzle of moments made up of experiences with those we love. We only get so many puzzle pieces with each person. We never know when they will leave for another world. It feels so unfair when they do, especially when they are young, or when we have lost many people we love, but that’s life. We can’t change it. All we can do is treasure the moments we have with those we love. The ones who are here. And carry the wisdom and love of those we have lost in our hearts.

In a few months I may have to write another letter to my extra nieces in Cape Town, as their father, Tony, is dying. And I promised him I’d be there for them when that happened. Liezl and I plan to take them to see the stars — to look at their dad.

About a year ago Tony had one of his bad spells and he took the time then that he was entitled to live in a hospice for a few weeks. That he has survived till now is a miracle, but when he was in hospice I sat with Liezl and another friend of ours in the little chapel they have there. We were talking about grief. About mourning. And I felt so happy that I had those two women next to me. I knew I wasn’t alone.

I think when people die, what we need is something that anchors us to life. We need to feel love. We need to feel the joy of life. We cannot allow ourselves to be bitter about what life is: a limited period of time. Instead we need to cherish what little time we have and make every moment with those we love special. Because it is special. Every single moment you share with the people you love and care about is special.

Yesterday I was speaking with Liezl on the phone and at first I was rambling on about how this just wasn’t happening, because I needed someone to hug at night. My gran couldn’t die, if I didn’t have a man whose heartbeat I could hear through the night. I needed to know I had life next to me. But as I spoke to Liezl we spoke about the kids I raise, about the kids I mentor, about our friends in the township, about Liezl’s family and about all the plans we have for Little Angels and Malaika. And somewhere I started smiling and I didn’t stop.

My phonecall with Liezl anchored me to life; to what I love. The kids I help raise are the most important part of my life and Little Angels is the part that’s brought me the most joy.

When I got that message Friday I was overwhelmed by memories from my childhood. I was petrified of losing the one home that’s always been my safe haven — my grandparents’ flat. It’s where I lived for part of my childhood. It’s where I ran to away from my stepmom. It was my haven. It was where I built the dreams of the future.

My grandparents taught me that love is real and that the reality of it is commitment. In a family you don’t always see eye to eye, you don’t always understand each other, but you are always there for each other. You take care of each other.

My grandparents also taught me to look after what you have. You take pride in your home. In your clothes. In your being. You look after what’s yours.

When my mom died my grandparents on both sides became substitute parents. They were always there. It made me realize that family, really, is just simply the people who show up. When I moved to South Africa and started looking after children I did that because I believed all children should have what I had as a kid — someone who’s there for them. A rock.

I am coming to terms with now having to create my own haven. I need to find my own footing. I need to be my own rock. But the truth is that none of us are a very good rock on our own. We need each other. We need life. We need the sound of the heartbeats that we love.

Cherish those hearts. And commit to look after them, because that’s what family does. I’m a firm believer, as my life is a testament to, that family is the people you care about, not the people whose blood you share. My family is part South African.

I feel like I’m losing a part of myself right now. A part that’s always been there. And I keep bursting into tears. But I also know that there will be many more parts to my life; many more blessings in the shape of human beings; in the shape of beautiful souls. And together we will go on adventures and create moments filled with love and laughter.

It’s all an adventure that comes with a breathtaking view. – The Greatest Showman

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When your butt gets in the way of romance…

Does your butt ever bother you? I know mine does. I mean my butt doesn’t bother you (at least I sincerely hope it doesn’t), my butt bothers me. I often call it my greatest asset BUT…

Do you ever make excuses? Like you know you want to ask someone out, eat a healthy meal, say sorry, launch a business, confess how you truly feel, work out, apply for a better job, get dressed up like you actually cared, go for creating what you’d truly love…BUT. But that big butt of yours just feels too heavy to move. In short, you can’t be bothered. Not that you’d put it that way, but there’s always a but. Either you’re too broke, too scared, too lazy, too busy, too ugly, too inferior, too…

You get the idea.

The problem? The problem is that half of the time we don’t even realize what we’re doing. We feed ourselves our own excuses and they’re so big the desire to do what we know is right can’t even be felt anymore. We can’t see our heart, for whatever it is our ego is doing to us, be it telling us we’re not good enough, or that we will certainly fail if we try.

Think about it this way. You want to sing karaoke, but you have a fear of singing badly and being humiliated. The thought of getting up on stage just to be humiliated isn’t a nice one. So your desire to sing doesn’t even feel like a desire anymore, because the fear of humiliation is blocking it.

The desire to sing is still there. You just can’t feel it, because your broken ego has gotten in the way of your heart. And just like that our egos destroy our joy. We don’t do what we’d truly love, because of fear.

90% of people who sing karaoke sing badly. It doesn’t stop them. Because they go there to have fun. Their focus is on having fun. Not on humiliation. No one will humiliate you if you sing badly. It’s just what your ego is telling you, because once upon a time you got humiliated doing something you loved.

Life is a lot like karaoke. We avoid doing a lot of things we’d love to do, because we have something holding us back. Or we do the things, but focus on the fear, or humiliation, and end up creating that instead. Like having the most amazing singing voice, but falling headfirst on stage all the same because we’re so nervous (i.e. fear of failure/humiliation) that we can’t keep track of our own feet. That’s how we prove our fears to be true.

Personally I used to have this kind of fear of humiliation when it came to showing I cared about guys, because as a kid I was humiliated in various ways when I liked them. Once someone I was in love with even stood up in front of people and said no one could fall in love with someone like me and that was the tip of the ice berg of humiliating situations. I was only a kid. A geeky kid who didn’t love herself very much, so I believed he might be right.

He was acting like a twat, but I also realized that he only said what he did because of the position he was in. I’m fairly sure he quite liked me. But his discomfort of being put on the spot in front of other people was greater than his desire to be nice to me. His butt got in his way of doing the right thing.

I was a teenager who felt I’d been humilated in front of an entire school. My coping mechanism? Showing I didn’t care so no one could get gratification from my broken heart.

What should I have done? Turned around and said it hurt. The only thing that would have affected that guy would have been speaking from my heart to show him that his actions weren’t right. I didn’t have to condemn him for them — you can’t really condemn people once you understand why they do what they do — but you can condemn their actions. You can honor them by showing them that their actions affect others and give them an opportunity to do the right thing.

I let my butt get in the way back then, just as much as he let his. I was way too scared to speak my truth. Instead I spent the next twenty years perfecting myself (removing the shy, inferior, geek) and pretending not to care when dating and proving every fear I ever had to be true.

Recently I realized that the only thing that stops two people who are a fit from being together, is either not sorting their own shit out, or not caring enough. If you aren’t a fit, you aren’t. Nothing you can do to change that, so you can’t really fuck up in that way. Nor is it humiliating finding out you aren’t a fit — you just aren’t a fit.

So you can’t fuck up with the wrong guy and the only way to fuck up with the right one is not caring enough.

For the first time in my life I’m more worried about not showing I care, than showing I care. All thanks to realizing I cared about a guy I was dating and I was OK with that. I felt hurt and I didn’t try to prove I wasn’t.

What you want from a person you date is the same that you want in your own life — someone who can be bothered to move their butt. Someone who doesn’t let their fears, or anything else get in the way of their desire to be with you. Someone who does the right thing, even when it’s uncomfortable. Because there will be discomfort in relationships — we all have baggage and we all fuck up. You need someone who is willing to go beyond their own comfort to fuck it right. You want someone who fights for you, the way you fight for your own dreams. And to have a healthy relationship, you first have to start caring about moving your butt in your own life.

We all know what the right thing to do is. We all know what we feel. We all know what we want to create. The question is if our our fears are making us feel like we don’t want to do what we truly want to do? Is our fear preventing us from creating a life we’d love? Are we sitting on our butts, or are we creating our dreams?

My gran is dying and I keep thinking she doesn’t have a chance to create anymore. I can. I can choose to create all the things I dreamed of when I was a kid sitting in her kitchen. I can tell her that my life is finally going somewhere because I ditched the excuses and the fears and started working from the heart.

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Filed under adventures in life, Dating, diary, Inspiration, Inspirational, Love, Motivation, Relationship, relationships, romance, Uncategorized

A Valentine’s confession…

It’s Valentine’s Day and I’ve been sick for a week, so I feel like a cross between Frankenstein and your grumpy old grandma. Naturally I decided that the only thing to do was to kick the blues and put on my red little dress….and sneeze some more. Nothing better than to dress up for the sake of dressing up, right?

Wrong.

While I think all the people posting about self-love and looking after yourself on Valentine’s is sweet, I also think half of it is a load of bullshit. I don’t know about you, but Valentine’s is about Mr Hot and Bothered being bothered enough to tell you that you’re effing amazing and going out of his way to prove it. It’s the day for romantic love. And if you don’t have a date, it’s more productive to upload a new Tinder profile shot than drinking Chardonnay with your girlfriends, though I’m not against the wine per se. I just think the best thing to do if you want a date for next year is to get on with it, not to pretend that Valentine’s is about galentines.

That said, drinking wine with your girlfriends is a lot better than moping. Most people get hurt in love at some point, or lose love, or simply don’t find it when they want to. The only person that can change that is you. You are the only common denominator to your love life. If something isn’t working, change it. If you keep thinking you lost the only true love, or you aren’t good enough to find love, change it. Because it simply isn’t true. Unless you make it out to be true, because people have a funny way of proving their own beliefs.

I’m in awe of all the people who have found a person they love and cared enough to create an amazing relationship. I’m in awe of all the broken hearts who have gotten over themselves and opened themselves up to love again. I’m in awe of people who have fucked up and had the guts to fuck it right. I’m in awe of all the people who confess to wanting the big L instead of pretending they don’t give a hoot.

I used to be the person who pretended not to care. I think I’ve made every possible mistake in the book of love. But do I believe in love? Yes. I believe in every unrealistic tale of beating the odds there ever was. I believe in moonlit walks and starry eyed picnics. I believe in family and commitment and giving a fuck.

End of rant. Now go hug someone. Everyone needs hugs on Valentine’s, because one thing is true: the more love you have in you, the easier it is to find love all round. And we can all help people feel more loved. In turn, we’ll probably end up feeling a lot more happy ourselves.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ohmigosh, did someone say Valentine’s?!

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Filed under Love, Love-life, relationships, Uncategorized, Valentine's Day

Why wiping someone’s ass should be a dating priority…

I was speaking to my ninety-one year-old gran last night and her body is falling apart. Quite literally. She has breast cancer which came back and now her body, apart from being old and frail, is struggling with coping altogether. It was a harrowing phonecall.

It’s not that my gran is at the ICU at the moment, or in a hospital bed. She was at the ER yesterday though, because her body is filling up with fluid and she has diahorrea. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s pretty damn horrific.

I was with my gran a year-and-a-half ago when she was first diagnosed with cancer and had surgery. I was raised partially by my grandparents and I’ve seen gran and her body in some of the most compromising positions you could imagine. I’ve also seen her struggle as she got older. Struggle to walk, struggle to get dressed, struggle to stand up… Her body is old.

My other gran, before passing away, became senile. With her I saw the struggle of remembering things, as well as fighting demons from the past. I got phonecalls about old lovers and heard of bitter regrets. I was there to help her use the bathroom. Ever since I’ve said that true love is wiping someone’s ass when they can no longer do it themselves.

My grandparents were my saving grace when I was a child. They were there through mom dying, through the bullies, through evil stepmoms, through teenage depression, they were there through it all. They were the place I ran to. They were my safe haven.

That doesn’t mean that my grandparents and I have always agreed on things, or understood one another — far from it. But I grew up with them serving me by raising me, so I always wanted to give the same back. Protection and care. And I think that’s the bottom line of any relationship. If that kind of commitment isn’t there, you have nothing.

We inherit the best and the worst from people. My grandparents brought me life, security, artistry, creativity, smarts, asthma, cold sores and vericose veins. I’ve never disliked my body, nor have I ever really understood if someone has loved me, or my body. Because, you know, I have flaws. I couldn’t breathe properly as a child, how’s that for being flawed?

My childhood had my self-confidence obliterated, save from the confidence I had in my skills. It’s taken me a long time to rebuild that other confidence; the part of me that’s OK to just be a human. It was only when I pretty much had nothing going for me in South Africa that I started to realize that I needed to learn to live anyway. You know, really live. Breathe in the moment and have fun.

In my battle for visa and adoption rights I’d pretty much lost everything I had — there was a business in limbo, no money in the bank, no social life, no career successes, no nothing. There was just me and what looked like a hopeless situation fighting for the children. And somewhere I decided to take responsibility for that situation and kick life in its balls.

It worked. Wasn’t pain free, didn’t provide immediate solutions, but it worked. I still have nightmares pretty much every night about the children, business, finances and visas, but I learnt to be happy in the face of it all. It hurts with the kids. It hurts to high heavens and back again, but I let it go and I live. I cry too, but I live. And I keep fighting. I just make sure to live too.

Feeling like you’ve fucked up your entire life can be a really good lesson in learning to live and love. Love yourself.

Now, my point with all this, is that we all have a choice to take responsibility for our lives. We also all have bodies that will one day fall apart. We face events that will, at some point, break us. We make mistakes that we regret with bitter tears. And sometimes we face pain in ways we never thought possible. Like being separated from a child, or losing a husband, or getting arrested for a crime we never committed.

But the only way to conquer that is to learn to live in the face of it. And slowly climb the mountain to overcome it. It doesn’t happen over night, but it is possible. Your wrinkles, your flaws, your current pissy situation, none of that is an excuse to hate yourself, or stop finding moments of happiness. It might feel impossible, but you can and will love yourself and your life, if you just decide to do it. Little by little. So if it’s only finding one moment of belly deep laughter.

No, you probably aren’t perfect. Nor is anyone else. And everyone will annoy the hell out of you at some point, hurt you and make you mad as they come. But if you are committed to loving them and loving yourself, I think you have a fair chance of living a happy life. Even in the midst of all the chaos, unfairness and everything else that is life.

So do it. Go have fun. Because you can. Because you’re not ninety-one years-old and falling apart. Because you haven’t yet reached a point where there is nothing you can do about your regrets and failing memory. So live. Live a little.

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Gran and I. 

Want to see an inspirational woman embracing her body? Watch this! http://video.allure.com/watch/dispelling-beauty-myths-disabilities (Unfortunately WordPress wants me to upgrade my account to be able to share the video with you directly — so hence the link.)

 

 

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Love is a beautiful battle…

A few weeks ago I was having a phone conversation with my best friend. I had flown to Athens to see her and was really looking forward to seeing her, so I was trying to arrange a meeting. She launched into a monologue about what her schedule looked like, that she never came into central Athens during the weekend, or evenings, when I was free, she was so busy and blah, blah, blah.

I had had a shit week, I had PMS and the one thing that kept me going was the idea of alone time, on a beach, or anywhere in nature, with my best friend. As I did have PMS I was struggling with an insane amount of thinking I was unlovable, so by the time I hung up the phone, ready to cry because somehow I had now triggered my best friend into treating me unlovingly as well, I felt like shit.

I knew I had to do two things: I had to tell my best friend she was behaving like a twat and I had to excuse myself for, most likely, trying to provoke her into behaving like a twat. Because if you feel unlovable, you provoke people into doing things to prove you right. And you have to understand, when I have PMS you can tell me I have coffee on my nose and I will think you hate me, or that you are the biggest idiot alive, the world has come to an end and we can all just prepare for doomsday.

So I wrote my best friend a funny message about PMS where I pointed out the above. As it turned out, she had turned around and just yelled at her boyfriend a few hours later and he had calmly picked up the calendar and told her she had PMS.

She had had social demands on her, for a week, so when I told her to come into Athens she lost it, because she had PMS.

I didn’t enjoy messaging my friend to sort out whatever weird “actions” (drama school language for mental as well as physical actions we have towards people) and purposes (drama school language for what our psychological gain is for doing something) we had during that conversation, but my relationship with her is a lot more valuable to me than my discomfort is discomforting.

Which brings me to the next point.

Last night I came home after a long day. I had been rockclimbing the day before (amazing!) and spent all of yesterday out with friends. You see, last week, I decided that it was time for me to do what I love in order to build my spirit and regain my strenght, so as to have strenght to work and get back to the kids after visa hick-up number four. I had an incredbile weekend, but I was physically spent. That’s when I received a message from my baby girl in Cape Town.

As some of you know I help raise a pair of ten-year-old twins and their now one-year-old baby brother in the township and I’ve fought visas and adoption rules for about four years; having known them for five. This journey is the hardest journey I’ve ever had and I’ve been on the brink of emotional collapse more than once.

Last night I got all these messages saying she loves me, the baby has taken his first steps, and then she sent me this crying emoji and I asked her why. She’s like “it’s just the baby ❤ ❤ ❤ ” and I said I wish I was there to hold him and she sent the below picture. Cue me bursting into tears. She even found an image with the right skin tones. I don’t know why that made me more emotional, but it did.

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I had just been thinking of how tired I am. I have spent you don’t want to know how much money setting up a business and going round the world on a visa mission to be with these kids and I’ve messed up my career, my social life and my life in general and I’m beyond exhausted. Sometimes I don’t know how to keep going.

At that moment, all I wanted was a hug. Not from a friend, but from a man. It’s all I’ve wanted since I started helping the kids, because I’ve wanted someone to be there for me. Support me. Not do my job for me, just be there. Just hug me. And it’s the kind of intimacy you’ll never get from a friend, because it feels different. Friends help, but a relationship is intimate on a whole other level.

Yet, a few weeks ago when I was talking to my coach and he was giving me “love goals” I was telling him I didn’t understand how to achieve them, because let’s face it: I might know a gazillion things about relationships, and I might get 800 men swiping right on Tinder in a few weeks (true story, ego hallelujah), but falling in love makes me feel so terribly uncomfortable (unlovable and not good enough) that I spend most of my time trying to become perfect (impossible) and end up giving up on the whole thing because it’s too uncomfortable feeling like I’m not perfect.

This is when my coach told me that he’s seen me with the kids for five years and no matter what life threw me, I didn’t stop. Nothing stopped me.

I remember thinking when gran got senile and I was helping her in the bathroom, that love isn’t pretty, but it is beautiful. Love isn’t easy, but it is worth it. And my childhood didn’t make it easy for me to accept love, instead I strove to be perfect feeling I wasn’t good enough. I’ve often felt my adult life has been a long fight of not giving into the demons of my childhood; a long fight of opening myself up to love and joy and letting go of depression and self-hatred.

The question maybe I should ask myself is this: if my kids and best friend are worth me overcoming my demons, my fears and my discomfort, maybe my own happiness (a.k.a being loved by a man I truly have a connection with) would be worth the same? It’s a question of will.

I’m not perfect. My best friend isn’t perfect. My gran wasn’t perfect. My kids aren’t perfect. But we are all perfectly lovable. And it is perfectly possible to create great relationships. You just wade through the discomfort, is all. Because it is worth it.

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Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926727114399/

 

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