Sometimes it does. Sometimes we stumble upon those events that light us up like firework. Other times we don’t.
Truth be told, life can be hard. So hard. And we’re all looking to achieve different things, walking up staircases that, at times, seem endless. We feel drained. Our muscles need oxygen. We may resort to coping mechanisms ranging from binge watching Netflix to binge drinking alcohol to get through. But that only drains us further.
It’s at those times we need to remember that we don’t have to wait for the magic. The magic is already within us.
As we walk up those steps, we can turn on that magic. The song that makes us dance. The melody that makes us remember something out of this world. The clothes that make us believe we rule. The food that makes our heart sing. The friends who make us smile. The little treats that make our life worth living.
And the funny thing is, once we do that a kind of glory lights us up from within. We start to skip up the steps. And the magic we so craved, but could find nowhere, suddenly returns. Those magical events we thought had deserted us come back in abundance. And so magic comes from within and without.
It’s true what Steinbeck said–that sometimes we encounter people and events that light us up. But it’s also true that we are the light in our own life. And from time to time, we are the light that fuels someone else’s glow. We are the event that sets the night sky on fire.
No excuses. I think I’m going to frame this and hang it on the wall.
To all of us, life happens. We all deal with circumstance that’s less than ideal. Sometimes it’s downright horrifying. But don’t use that as an excuse. Instead of being weighed down by it, move beyond it.
If I wake up with the mindset that there are no excuses, I get excited. If I wake up worrying about things, I get depressed.
We can either worry and moan about the things that happen to us, or we can decide on what we want and go for that no matter what. Going for it will keep us motivated and taking action that serves us. Moping, moaning and worrying won’t.
We all have choice to be the best we can be and enjoy all life has to offer. But we also all have areas of our lives that are fucked five ways to Friday. We have the choice to change them for the better. But it’s usually not until we’re at the stage of do or die that we choose to change.
Personally, I am going to do everything in my power to power up my life. And that means no more excuses.
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.
I read a book many moons ago that practically saved my life. Yes, I know, lots of people say shit like that, but I pretty much literally mean it. Because it saved my hands.
Many years ago, I bought a book called Curing Back Pain: the Mind Body Connection by Dr. John Sarno. I never read it. When I left LA I gave it away, or packed it away somewhere never to retrieve it.
Fast forward a few years, and I found myself getting shooting pains in my hands and arms. I was told I had repetitive strain injury and it was incurable. While it supposedly stemmed from typing, working as a writer, it affected everything I did. It got so bad I feared I couldn’t drive anymore.
I tried healing, I tried acupuncture, I tried using a chiropractor who also put needles in pain points, I tried massage, I tried raw foods, I tried medication, I tried Chinese medicine… The massage and needles into pain points helped for a short period, but then the pain returned with a vengance. People said it could have been triggered by stress. I went through all the stressors in my life. All the potential causes.
When I asked friends on Facebook about tips and recommendations, someone mentioned Sarno’s book. I dismissed it, thinking something stemming from “repetitive” movements couldn’t be caused by the mind. Stress can lead to a lowered immune system and general malfunctioning, but I had a physical condition that needed a physical solution. Or so I thought.
Back in LA and on a trip to Vegas I one night, in a bout of desperation, googled help once more and once again came across Sarno’s book for the purpose of repetitive strain injury. I was desperate. So I read some of the reviews. And I got the book.
A few days later I was typing again.
Sarno talks about how pain can be caused by the brain by a physical condition he calls TMS. This syndrome comes from the brain signaling the body to narrow the blood vessels and thereby causing pain from mild oxygen depravation.
His theory is that most of us repress anger. Usually we get angry with the people we love the most. We’re angry with our parents for fucking us up. With our children for throwing tantrums. With our boss for making us do things we don’t want to do. With our partner for not loving us the way we want to be loved. With our friends for acting in ways we don’t agree with. Then we feel ashamed. Because we know these are the very people who love us, or at the very least help us, or support us. So we bottle up our emotions instead of facing them, or discussing them.
Sometimes we suppress the anger because we’re scared of losing people if we confront them. Sometimes it’s because we feel ungrateful because the person is doing so much good for us, or love us, so why can’t we just let that one thing we’re angry with go?
I think we bottle up a lot more emotions than anger, but think about it: is there any one person in your life that you haven’t been angry with? And have you dealt with that anger? Discussed it with them? Have you even faced your own anger?
Sometimes it’s really simple as well — something we would face in a heartbeat if we only knew we were suppressing it. But we suppress without thinking. For example, we feel anger towards our baby for keeping us up at night, then ashamed as that’s what babies do. We’re the parent. We’re supposed to love them. So the brain, without us as much as realizing, suppresses the anger and distracts us from it with pain. If we think about the pain, we don’t think about the anger.
Some wounds cut deeper. The parents who loved us, but fucked us up. The friends in school we never stood up to, who semi-bullied us for what felt like an eternity, but were our “friends.” The partner who was constantly working to provide for us, but never spent time with us and who we didn’t want to pressurize too much, because, well, they were working. Guilt often stops us from dealing with anger. We could just express a want to spend a little bit more time with them, while also acknowledging the importance of their work, but we don’t. Or we could tell our well-meaning parents that we really don’t want to live as they want us to, no matter how much we love them. But we don’t. Because guilt, or fear of losing them, or simply fear of conflict in general, stands in the way.
If you don’t stand up for what you want, you’re constantly angry even if on the outside, you’re cool as a cucumber.
Learning to communicate your feelings, without for that matter blaming someone else for you having them, can help you overcome anger. Standing up for what you want, without for that matter putting someone else down, can help you overcome anger. Acknowledging that you get upset and it’s alright (even if you’re upset with a baby keeping you up at night) can help you overcome anger.
I believe, the closer we are to someone, the angrier we will be with them. That doesn’t mean we don’t love them. That doesn’t mean we can’t look upon them through the eyes of understanding. It simply means we have needs and those close to us are the ones that most often don’t provide us with what we need. Usually not because they don’t want to, but because they’re either incapable of doing so, or don’t know what we want in the first place. Chances are half the time we don’t either, we just feel something’s wrong. We’re dissatisfied. It took me reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman to figure out we have different ways in which we need to be loved to actually feel loved. Relationships are a science in their own right. And it took me reading that book to figure out why people who love each other can still be in a bad relationship.
People try to love us by telling us what to do. By not telling us what to do. By forcing their religion upon us. By forcing their beliefs upon us. By punishing us. By staying away from us. By giving us gifts. By not buying us anything. By showing they love us so much we suffocate. By refraining from showing love at all.
People do all sorts of things in the name of love without asking us what we need, or sharing how they feel. And as a parent I’m guilty as hell of this. And when it comes to our own childhood, the truth is, not a single person in our childhood didn’t fuck us up in some way, because they tried to impose some idea or other on us that wasn’t right. Because that’s what they’d been taught to do. That’s how their life had shaped them. And we know they loved us, so we feel guilty about being angry, but love doesn’t prevent people from making mistakes. And just because we love someone, doesn’t mean we have to agree with them.
We’re all guilty of doing things in the name of love, that have nothing to do with love. They’re just things we’re hardwired into believing we should do. Just as we’re guilty of being angry with every single person who ever crossed our path for longer than a minute.
Understanding dissolves anger. It’s hard being angry with a person once you understand them. And once you look upon someone’s past, you understand them. You understand why they became who they are and why they act as they do. However, you still have to stand up for yourself. Just because you understand how someone is acting doesn’t mean you can let them act in ways that ruin your life, or dissatisfy you. It just means that when you approach them about it, you can do so from a place of love, instead of a place of blame.
Suppressed anger doesn’t just cause physical pain; it causes psychological pain too. I don’t necessarily think that repressed anger is the only emotion that can cause both physical and mental pain either. However, I do believe most unpleasant emotions lead to anger in one form, or another.
So who are the people you’re angry with? (Or should I ask: who are the people you love the most?)
And what book is it that you know would change your life, that you’re not reading? I guess I finally have to pick up Seven Habits of Highly Effective People…and then regret I didn’t do so ten years ago. But as my post Your inner dominatrix… can attest to, regret and punishment doesn’t take your life forward. Encouragement and praise do. So when you pick up that book you know you should be reading, do that thing you know you should be doing, take that course you know you should be taking…don’t regret you didn’t do so sooner. Congratulate yourself upon finally doing it instead. Finally doing what you know you really must to get the life you’d truly love.
It’s hard, isn’t it? Getting to the bottom of an issue. We all have these defense mechanisms. We start thinking certain thoughts as if by default. Thoughts that have nothing to do with what the real issue is.
Personally, in personal relationships, my personality goes wacko (you see what I did there? Couldn’t resist. Apologies…). I micromanage. I manipulate. I demand. I provoke. I tease. I do everything but facing the fear that I might get hurt. This can be with the kids I raise, the men I date, the people I work with, or close friendships.
First, I think I’m doing the right thing. I’m planning. I’m thinking ahead. I’m setting boundaries. I’m enforcing rules. I’m managing. Call it what you like. I’m caught up in solving one problem, or another, using one tactic or another, refusing to face my main fear: that I’m not good enough. That I’ll lose all the people I love, or projects I care about, because I’m not good enough.
Yesterday (now the day before yesterday), I said something so incredibly stupid to one of the kids I raise I’ve spent 24-hours beating myself up about it. She wanted to stay with her grandmother, like her brother, just coming home here and there when she feels like it. I told her that was not acceptable and she needed to come home to do homework. Of all the idiotic things I could say. Homework. Really?
I’m worried about her attitude, her friends, that the township has done a number on her, but as my head has been stuck in “if I only had the money to get her out of there…or hadn’t spent all my money on her brother, we wouldn’t have these problems as we’d live a nice life in a nice house and she’d be in a nice school.” In short, had I at least gotten her into a better school, she’d be better off and we wouldn’t have half the problems we now have.
In my mind, the future scenario of her tanking school and ending up miserable using drugs, played out. The scenario everyone around her have been fretting about. In my head another scenario was playing out as well: the past couple of years of visa problems and issues with her brother and feeling inept as a mother because of it.
She wants to be loved, not lectured. She has over and over again said she wants to stay with me, but I’m “too strict.” And hearing those words on the phone yesterday I flipped. Fear. Panic. A sense of failure.
I understand she wants to be with her biological family too. I have never prevented that. She has always been allowed to stay in Hangberg for that reason, but in the past I didn’t like it because of her carer’s adult sons being drug addicts and she never having any rules, resulting in hanging out with the wrong people in the middle of the night. So I enforced rules.
Staying with her gran is different. There are no crazy drug addicts there. They still live in the thick of gangsters, addicts and thieves, but the house is relatively safe. And as there are so many of them, her brother can’t cause much harm.
Parenting kids born into a drug den, one of them being on the autism spectrum with severe behavioral problems and aggression, without the financial structure to support it has been hell, frankly. I’ve done everything I can and usually it hasn’t felt like enough. I’ve been stuck in other countries swearing and panicking about losing the children. I’ve awoken at night hearing them scream my name. I’ve cursed the fact that I couldn’t afford enough therapists and special needs schools/better schools. I’ve cursed not having enough money to take them on stunning adventures. I’ve cursed the fact that I have to work twelve hour days to survive instead of spending time with them. I’ve cursed the fact that I couldn’t afford investing five million rand straight away to get a permanent residency. I think I cursed the whole of South Africa in the process. But somewhere along that road I woke up. I decided to take charge of my life and do what I can. And ever since that day it’s been a journey up a mountain instead of falling down a mountain. It’s been hard. It’s been so fucking hard I’ve wanted to kick down walls and sometimes I’ve felt so overwhelmed I didn’t want to live. Not like I wanted to kill myself, I just didn’t want to keep going. I didn’t know how to find the power. But every time I did. And life changed.
A friend of mine once told me that she looked upon her children and realized they weren’t hers. They belonged to themselves. And that’s what I’ve tried to remember, while also remembering that children, as much as they kick and scream, sometimes shouldn’t get their way. Because what they want isn’t good for them. Being a parent is sometimes not about being loved, but about doing the right thing.
What this journey has taught me is that you can’t allow circumstance to dictate how you feel. I often get stuck in my head (I mean I’ve been berating myself for twenty-four hours by now — see the post about Your inner dominatrix…), but I’ve learned that if I pay enough attention, I can unstick myself.
Today I wasn’t feeling happy. So I decided, instead of running around thinking manic thoughts about things to distract myself, or simply feeling miserable, to sit down and ask myself what’s truly going on. This is going on. This and a sinus infection.
Every day is an opportunity to grow. To face our fears. To face our pain. To grow beyond them.
Still, when I came home yesterday, after writing this, I was sad. I was tired. I felt depleted. The toddler was gorgeous. He wanted to fall asleep on the kitchen sofa, so we were both lying under a blanket there, on one end each, so my toes faced him. He decided to play dog and bite my toes. He was hilarious. And so goddamn cute. And I just felt sad. Because I was worried about his siblings. I felt lonely without them. I was worried about his mother who sometimes thinks she can handle raising children, until she forgets to pick them up at daycare within two days. We’ve been discussing adoption. I’ll be able to soon. Six years late, but still.
And I’m scared man. I’m fucking petrified of losing the kids. For six years my life has been about finding solutions to get a visa. To find a way to launch my career and be with the kids. Permanent residency. Adoption rights. Movies. Magique. From time to time I’ve also decided to approach topics like men and friends. Sorting out my dating life and social life. And I’ve made every fucking mistake under the sun during this time. If only I’d known back then what I know now. If only…
But I didn’t. And as the post Your inner dominatrix… explains, there’s no point with regret. The best we can do is from now on live as we want to. To honor the people we fucked up along the way by making the mistakes we did. Honoring them by being better people. Honoring ourselves. Making the world a better place by doing better.
That’s the best we can do. And as I’ve barely had time to breathe in the past six months, maybe I also need to honor the fact that now that things have finally calmed down a bit, I’ll feel the stress. I’ve been sick twice in two weeks. Four times in three months. And throughout it I’ve been pulling 10-12-hour days six days a week. Sometimes I’ve been in the office with a fever.
The past two weeks I’ve allowed myself to blog. Just that gives me feelings of guilt. Time to process emotions instead of work. I always try to teach the whole world my learnings through this blog. Teach myself. And it’s only when I write that I truly process things. And by writing down my learnings I avoid lecturing everyone in sight. Because people need love and encouragement, not lectures.
I feel like a big ass failure at the moment, while also feeling like I’ve come a hundred miles since last year this time. But as the story goes, I never stopped fighting because I was bleeding. If there was one thing my father taught me is that you get up, and you go. You keep going. Till you get there.
I’ll go see my kids. I’ll talk to them. I’ll explain. I’ll live. I’ll learn. And the truth is, just because something doesn’t pan out the way you wanted it to, doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. Maybe there’s a better plan. For one, I’m putting resources in place in the township to help the kids. Maybe this will work better. Maybe we will spend time together in a more functional way. And I finally have time to spend time with all the other kids I mentor too, as I’ll spend more time in the township. That’s where my heart is.
Plus, I’m gonna take dance classes again, because the mentor I’ve put in place for the kids is a dance teacher. That alone is worth celebrating. Seriously. There’s nothing much that makes me happier than dancing. I’ll be the fool with a big grin on my face. I’ll be happy.
Happiness is a choice. A damn hard choice. A choice to be the master of your thoughts. To make the most out of what you’ve been given. To let go of guilt and regret. To learn. To move forward. To flow with life. To constantly grow. It’s not always easy, but it sure as hell is worth it.
And remember, you are beautiful. We all are. We just get a little bit lost sometimes.
Ships dance on ocean waves, caressed by the sun and made love to by the wind. The stars shine the way, as moonlight makes the navigator’s life easy. Then comes the storm, when upset winds, shake their lover with a fierce force. And what seemed like an easy bit of sailing to reach the shore, has turned into a mad dance where everything seems to be moving; not even one’s mind appears to be still.
In the chaos that erupts, it’s easy to lose sight of the harbor. All one’s dreams of reaching shore. While the dreams beat inside one’s heart, the mind is furiously searching for answers. Why this storm? Why me? Why now? How can I continue when seasickness rocks me to my core? How can I see when winds are whipping at me and the rain cascading down? How can I stand another night by the wheel, steering my ship to shore when my legs are weak and my mind is sore?
When rough winds are making your boat twist and turn, and sometimes loose course, do you change course entirely, or do you simply adjust your sails to stick the course and reach the original shore?
Many times in life, I’ve changed direction. I’ve also had “false goals” dictated by my ego. Harbors I thought I needed to reach, but that were just places I wanted to go to prove something — not to be happy — and I had to change course because I was making myself miserable. But as the story goes, the Morning Star is always there — your inner compass will always point to true North. And you know where that is. Whether you make a detour, or you stick to your course, there is a place to which you will return. There is a truth which you cannot escape. And that’s the place you must find inside your mind, when waves crash against the hull and everything seems to be moving in odd directions. The ship can get rocked and storms will invariably delay you, but so long as you know where you’re going, you’ll get there.
There will come a day, when winds, once again, tease and play with your sails. When sunbeams caress your ship with its loving touch. When dolphins jump next to your ship and seagulls cry out their welcomes as you reach the destination you set out for.
It’s easy to get caught in storm winds and let the rain dim your sight. It’s easy to see no way out, when caught in fog. The more you think about it, the more lost you feel. You analyze, search for meaning, look for alternative routes, when all you have to do is step inside your heart and find true North.
If you want to read some of my ocean inspired poetry, have a look at Instagram… www.instagram.com/CarnavalDuDesir It appears I often sit in a harbor somewhere, looking for peace and answers.
They say dreams speak their own language and while I believe dream lexicons and set ideas about symbolism are pretty far fetched, I do believe dreams contain messages about what’s on our mind, or in our subconscious. It may also be we are more receptive to other people’s thoughts, or messages from mysterious sources (if such exist), when we dream. The dreamer in me is still hoping that I’ll discover all the mysteries of life and divinity in my sleep…
Alas, the other night I wasn’t receiving intruiging messages from God, or the Universe, in the form of direct contact explaining all the mysteries of life, but dreamed about someone I haven’t seen for twenty years. I woke up confused about dreaming about this person, because while we went to school together, they were never someone close to me. So what on Earth prompted me to dream about them?
In this particular dream, a scenario that’s very familiar to me played out: I felt inferior as the other person got what I wanted. This sensation of feeling inferior begun at a time in my life when the person I dreamed of was part of my life and part of the click of people who were “cool” while I was as uncool as could be. It was a time when I accepted that I would never have what I wanted because of who I am — the uncool chick.
The interesting part was that as I contemplated this dream during the day I realized that how I feel is unrelated to who I interact with — sooner or later I will feel inferior and unlovable no matter who I am around. Usually due to some perceived imperfection. I feel judged, but the truth is that I’m the one judging myself, which creates a sense of inferiority, followed by a sense of unworthiness, rejection, or the idea that I can’t be loved/am unlovable. And then I act with that feeling inside of me, which, of course, causes rejection.
As you can imagine, all of this happens subconsciously. All I really feel is a nagging sensation something is off. I don’t feel like my confident self. I don’t feel on top of the world. I shy away instead of “sparkle.” I start to feel uncomfortable instead of free. Sometimes I go aloof and push people away. I feel ashamed of myself, so I don’t want to be seen.
Dreaming about a person that’s so far removed from my life I can’t even piece together why ever on Earth I’d dream about her, allowed me to see that my states of mind often have nothing to do with reality. I will create situations where I feel like I felt in the dream, irrespective of who I am with, or what I’m doing. I mean I dreamed of someone who has absolutely nothing to do with my life, yet the feeling I had in the dream is the same feeling I have around pretty much everyone I meet, at one point or another. It’s almost like the dream allowed me to look at myself from the outside and see how my mind is still reacting to something that happened twenty years ago.
Of course, then my best friend went and ruined it all by telling me she Googled this particular person the same night I dreamed of them…so maybe this dream had nothing to do with my subconscious and everything to do with my best friend’s curiosity about the people that she used to know…
Tonight I’d prefer a naked man in my dreams. Please. Oh no, wait, that’d be better in reality…
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.
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.
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.
Dare to stick your neck out...into the flower field...
Knock, knock, who’s in there? Will you come out? Will you show me the beautiful you? Will you share your love and laughter with the world today? Hiding in the shadows doesn’t bring much light to your eyes. Walking in the sunshine makes your skin sparkle and your eyes twinkle with delight.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a master at hiding. Since age nine, or so, I remember walking in roundabout ways to avoid people I thought would rather not see me. I remember locking myself into my room to avoid my step family. I remember looking down when a cute guy passed my path in fear of rejection. I remember feeling like a burden; an unwanted piece of something, that was better off hiding so as not to disturb others.
To this day I sometimes still retract; hide in a corner. Frightened that my company is unwanted; a burden on someone else. I don’t dare to open up and show the beauty that is me. I don’t dare to give.
If you aren’t sharing the light that is truly you. If you aren’t showing off your talents, your smile, your gorgeous, gorgeous laughter, you are doing the world, not to mention yourself, a disfavor.
The world is not here to judge you – the world is here to love you. The world is not here to put you down – the world is here to enjoy you. The world is not here to punch you in the face – the world is here to fall in love with you. You see though, the tricky thing is for the world to enjoy you, they have to see you. For the world to receive your gifts, you have to give them. For the world to laugh at your jokes, you have to tell them. For the world to hear your stories, you have to share them. For the world to fall in love with you, you have to fall in love with the world.
And if you want for someone else to open, you have to love them open. Like a flower opens to the sun, humans open to love. That doesn’t mean there can’t be boundaries and discipline and telling someone right from wrong, that too is love, but without love all is empty. Without love we all close up. And so, you also have to love yourself open, so that you can see the beautiful you. So that the world gets a chance to enjoy you and you get a chance to enjoy the world.