Trust the Process

For those who don’t know… It’s my second attempt at doing honours. The first time I wasn’t invested – but this time things are different.

 

giphy (50)I must say, I was damn nervous. I’m not sure why – I know I can write, and I can read. Already that seems good. And I have a great capacity to understand. Honours to me seemed overwhelming. I rid through the curriculum and immediately started to doubt myself – was I smart enough (on paper) to pull this off? Add the pressure of wanting nothing less than a distinction shouted out as I cross that grad stage in the future, and I could feel the anxiety start to drown me.

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When I spoke about my mini thesis with my best mate it was clear by his facial expressions and constant topping up of wine that I had little to no idea what I was doing. I was all over the place with ideas, and questions and just general blank stares.

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I was disheartened, but I sat down and started writing anyway.After a good two or three months of perseverance… something weird happened. I started to enjoy myself, I started to realise that there was an argument somewhere hidden between verbosity and the vagueness. In fact – I think I was starting to sound smart on paper.

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I had a process, I trusted in it, and I got to it. I’m feeing so confident right now, working weeks ahead of deadlines and staying consistent. I think that doing this degree – it’s an inception-like metaphor for my life right now…

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What I mean by this really is that I’ve been speaking my 3 year plan into existence, and I’m so close I can almost LIVE it. I just need to trust in my process, my plan and keep at it. There’s really nothing else to say aside from that.

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Slow up… speed down

Slow down little gemini – always  in a rush to be here, there and everywhere. I would be rich if I had a Rand for every time my horoscope told me to just be chilled take it easy, be patient.

I know this is true but I fight against this advice time and time again? Why? Life is the most beautiful thing given to us – yet it has problems, pain and challenges… but that’s what makes the really good stuff even more special.

I don’t want to waste my life, my time… act or be a certain way to appease people. At the end of the day, I am living for me.

I’m amazed at how good I feel when I put it all on the line. You know in sport, we are told to leave it all on the pitch… by the time you come off you know you’ve worked and done your damnedest. Even if you take an L, there is nothing more to be done but at least you will never worry if you could’ve, should’ve would’ve tried harder if the circumstances were different.

There is so much fear in a generation and age when we are supposed to thriving. We are growing and have grown… and my impatience and rush may be immature, but it comes from the concern that I may have wasted a happy moment, an opportunity…and considering how unpredictable life can be, I don’t want to be regretting inaction, months even years down the line.

Did I take a L this weekend? Maybe… maybe not. The optimist in me says that time will tell… maybe I should rush to show patience, so that the rest of the world can catch up. Slow up to speed down.

An addiction to the odds / Dancing around the salt

Sometimes I feel so brave… invincible even. Apparently it’s a sign of youth. You aren’t restricted by mortal concerns, in fact you flourish more knowing that the opportunities are endless, that the world is yours.

I feel out of sorts because the older I get, the more I want to risk more, do more, try more and be more. I’m almost 27 years old, birthdays are a big deal for me – I know my friends don’t get it, but each 25th May is like a marker – measuring how far I’ve come, how much I’ve learned and how much learning I still have to do.

I’ve always admired courage – and I never saw myself as someone with valor. I don’t see myself as a hero, or a warrior even although I’d like to be considered a fighter some what.

But I realize that when I finally realize what I want, I’m going to go for it – no matter how hard. That it’s worth trying.

Everything in my life in 2017 is going according to plan – except one thing. See you cannot be brave without fear… you cannot have fear without potentially losing something.

“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.” – George R.R. Martin

Once upon a time, my shrink told me I had a gambling personality – she made it sound bad, an addiction to the odds. I didn’t like her, or that statement although sometimes it is true. Why should we not take a gamble on life – if we truly believe that the goal is worth it. It’s a frightening thought. I’m supposed to be settling down, becoming more conservative and stable… yet the more I gain, the more I want to push myself, and push those around me to realize that life is fleeting and shouldn’t we be living it to the fullest.

You have nothing to lose if you go for it – the worse that can happen is that it doesn’t work out. But at least you will have your answer… perhaps the dice didn’t fall in your favor or you bust.

I had a long talk with my girl Amy, the other night. And what she said resonated with me so  much…

“What are we waiting for? If the excuse is not good enough, then I’m sorry you’re wasting time”. I hate wasting time. Amy uses this perfect imagery while we are at dinner. She places a salt shaker in front of me, then uses her fingers to tap the table around the shaker. She calls it “dancing around the salt”.

I think it would help if I didn’t feel that being brave wasn’t all on me – that it resonated in and amongst those I’m closest too. It’s hard being brave alone. But I have to do it, until someone joins me for the ride.

I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I’m free. – Dominic Toretto (The Fast and Furious)

When you just can’t anymore

Sitting at my desk this morning – I can’t believe I survived this past week. As I reflect on the emotional wreck I was, no really it was touch and go for a split second.

From Wednesday morning, en route to work, all I heard on the radio was the horrendous story about taxi rapes… this was not a once off incident of a woman being raped in front of her child. This apparently had been happening since 2016 – the police did nothing, the community did nothing. Until Wednesday there was no anger no will to act. In fact it was quite surprising hearing men get angry. As the day went by, more rapes came to light – more stories were told on Thursday.

It was then that I was done.

I remember driving my car to soccer practice and then swerving off to the side of the road.. I cried quickly, I cried hard. And then once I had gotten it out my system, I continued on my journey. Life doesn’t wait for you when you are going through an ordeal. It keeps on going, and you either need to move with it, catch up or get left behind.

But sometimes you can’t anymore… when the whole world expects you to can.

You accept a ride with someone you relatively trust – a taxi driver, or in my case – someone I’d had many conversations even jokes with. And well… the journey you come out different, the destination is not what you planned. A single ride which can change your entire outlook on life.

I can’t be scared anymore but I am. I was mugged on Saturday and I could care less about my phone. What I feared most was the invasion into my space…again. That as always, my thoughts go to the ‘it could have been worse’… and that this is our reality as women… that can’t be okay. It doesn’t make it easier if it’s happened before, it makes it harder because you expect. In every face, around every corner.

So this weekend I couldn’t…

I couldn’t be the sounding board for my friends and offer advice

I couldn’t leave my bed and I couldn’t put down my drink

I couldn’t give permission to someone to worry about me

and I couldn’t be strong and in control .

 

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Dearly apart-ed

A good friend of mine had a parent pass away recently. And it shook me more than I realised these past couple of weeks. Being in our late twenties, my friends and I… we are at that stage where this is going to be a regular or at least normal thing – death. Our families are getting on in their years, and with life being so unpredictable… it really doesn’t matter what age you are because anything could happen.

So yes you could say that death has been on my mind – or rather unresolved issues.

If you were to let me know that by the end of this blog post, if I had dropped dead would I be okay with that… I think for the most part the answer is yes. Of course, I have my plans – so much to do and see but in the trajectory I’m going (which is definitely upward)… I have put myself out there completely into the world.

“The man who lives fully is prepared to die at anytime” – Mark Twain

The way I see it, leaving things unresolved has little to do with the dearly departed and everything to do with those left behind. The guilt, the anger, the shock etc.

“Life asked death, ‘Why do people love me but hate you?’ Death responded, ‘Because you are a beautiful lie and I am a painful truth.” —Author unknown

What is it about death that brings a people together? That we then start to glorify a person’s character or actions. Suddenly words like forgiveness, reconciliation and atonement are what matter. For some people, their biggest fear is no one pitching up for their funeral…for some it’s never freeing themselves of the resentment or pain they’ve kept burdened by for so long.

Death is almost always selfish, people taking ownership of pain and suffering. Who is entitled to hurt more? It leaves me confused – holding onto issues which are important to me, but am I just supposed let go out of fear of my own or another’s mortality? Wouldn’t that mean that the issue was petty and a complete waste of time or I was too prideful?

We anger for a reason. We become vengeful or bitter, depressed or indifferent. What matters is the present and future, and if these emotions aren’t holding you back from moving forward… if people are unhappy with your path or your gait… that’s for them to concern themselves about.

Respect

“Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery” – Malcolm X

“Mal, people who don’t respect others, don’t respect themselves” – I took these words away with my last night. The ending to a wonderful conversation with two gentlemen who waiter at my favourite pub. We were having a conversation about certain regulars who enjoyed throwing their weight around and I was horrified at some of the stories.

I have a great admiration for those who work within service, and now that my path has taken me to public service… it has increased even more. There is a calling that comes with being of service to someone – whether you are a parent, a waiter or a minister in government.

It got me thinking – what do I respect and how do I show it.

When I was screaming the most unseemly things at our soccer match yesterday, I surprised myself. I didn’t cross the line, but I could if I wanted to. I wouldn’t say I was respectful to my parents, but compared to what I observed in other families my parents were getting it easy.

Then theres all this talk about respect needing to be earned, that you aren’t entitled to it. But I read somewhere that when someone earns your respect, you don’t really respect them at all as a human being, but rather their talent or achievements.

Respect is very important to me – for selfish reasons obviously. As a matter of pride I want to be treated well, but also to be seen as a good (reasonably) person. But more than that I respect myself a lot and I think through finding that self-love, I found more of an ability to love others.

Now that I write this I know it is true. I’m loving easier. Forgiving and letting things go more freely. Communicating better.

Before I get too preachy – who do you respect, why and how do you show it?

“Love of others is the appreciation of one’s self. May your egotism be so gigantic that you comprise mankind in your self-sympathy.” – Mina Loy

Sit in gratitude

I was a bit of a dork last week and attended a Vision 2017 planning seminar. We had a limited amount to dig deep and realise what we wanted out of the year. My reasons for being there were simple – I didn’t need to define my goals, or know how to make them actionable… what I needed was a way to not feel so overwhelmed with my need to be consistently great, every single day of this new year.

We had to think back on a time that was most memorable – and IMG-20161207-WA0005.jpgI was completely blank. I stared hard at the page, struggling to remember anything, something that would give me inspiration. Suddenly it came to me – the month of October. The job I wanted had come through. I’d gotten accepted into my chosen honours degree program. We were on our way back from the spa, girls day out, buzzed on free champagne and with all this festivity I couldn’t let the celebrations end. I pulled over at the liquor store and bought two more bottles of pink bubbly, and we drank, danced and laughed on the balcony.

 

For the first time, in a very long time, I allowed myself – and felt that I could and should – celebrate. I don’t do that enough. I recognise how far I’ve come and how hard I’ve worked, but that usually just pushes me further and harder. I rarely celebrate, and I think that this year, I need to sit in gratitude and enjoy my life and where I am currently.

So I’m going to take the time to laugh a little. Love a little. And be thankful for every opportunities that come my way.

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‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding – Alice Walker