Believe your own hype

For far too long, I have been made to feel inadequate, useless and defective. That I needed people to fix me. Unfortunately, this was a life lesson learned from those closest to me- and I made the mistake of internalising and defining my life by that lesson.  While this lesson was taught with the best of intentions, my addiction to perfectionism and my quest to be an ideal student has attributed to the often toxic behaviour that sometimes escapes me.

What became choices that were align with who I was, were made out to be acts of rebellion. I was a trouble maker, a concern and a headache. As someone who thinks about her actions, thinks too much really, it is very confusing when my actions aren’t warmly received or accepted. I know in  my heart I’m not someone who intentionally inflicts harm, so why am I constantly called to the metaphorical principles office for bad behaviour?

It’s a difficult idea to accept when your friends become your support system. While family are your foundation, teaching you values and morality, it is friends who become your walls on which to paint your personality onto. When I was a child, I realised something-family is obligated to love you, friendship is a choice.

My friends are the most fucked up people I know. Time and time again my parents have nagged me to make better choices, to be around people that are better than me to aspire to. And while that sounds great being friends with Steven Covey or TD Jakes, that is not what I need in my life. I hang around with these messed up people because I recognise myself in them. They’ve gone through death, financial difficulty, addictions and everything and anything you can think of. But despite all this, they continue to rise above it all and try make themselves better for themselves and in their lives. THAT is motivational.

What I’m beginning to recognise is that greatness is not the destination, but the constant journey to be better than the next day.

Life is a battlefield with land mines waiting to explode at every wrong move, but it is our job not just to avoid those land mines, but when we are hit, realise that we are still living and have the strength to go on. I haven’t lost most my family, or have a very sick relative-in fact I’ve lived a very pampered life. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I recognise that there is greatness in myself. It’s just going to take a little while longer than everyone else to achieve that feeling-no to believe in my own hype again.

I’ve started to. Believe in my own hype I mean. Last week on holiday with my closest mates, they sat me down. It was a random conversation, we were supposed to be holding a friendship intervention for one of my other friends, but we used this time to address concerns that we had for each other. They wanted to touch base in a non-judgemental, comforting way that had me nearly wanting to crawl up the mesh fence because of how intimate and truthful it was. One of my guys said I had to stop my shit and just start believing in my own hype. And if I couldn’t do that, why should they. He didn’t come at me from a point that I was in the wrong, or had done something bad-he came with a story that I was already within greatness and I just had to recognise it, because my lack of awareness at my own awesomeness, lack of realising my perfection in my own way, was bringing me down and would continue to do so.

Why I should believe my own hype:

  1. I have survived an attack and continue to open myself up to love in all forms
  2. Despite almost losing my job and working in a toxic environment, I continue to have ambition and love for the work I do.
  3. I can find something to laugh and smile about everyday, and I know I look good doing it.
  4. I’m intelligent AF,
  5. Because everyone who I love, and loves me, already does

I feel like as a disclaimer, I should say that I have absolute love for my family. They have given me nothing but 100% support, love and devotion. This is not an attack against them, I am not ungrateful and they are an endless source of wisdom when it comes to issues such as work and family life. But I also have to recognise that my spirit can’t be contained, there are some orders I can’t follow and although it may seem selfish, my actions, it is selfish of you to think that your way is the only way. I am aware that if I don’t do things my way, even if it’s not the best way, I cannot authentically be me. My choices are what I need to live with and it’s hard enough recognising which of my choices are right and wrong, when I have to factor in someone else’s beliefs on what is acceptable behaviour or not.

So I’m spreading my wings, and if the cage comes down, I’ll pick the lock. I need to be free to explore independently and when I’m ready, return home.

100 Steps to Happiness: more than once in a blue moon

Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows anybody- Mark Twain

Despite a deeply frustrating day, something was truly pulling at my bones to be upbeat and happy. Only after sitting in an hour of traffic, when I was nearing home did I see a beautiful full moon. Aah c’est la vie.

I’d been stressing today. It wasn’t that everything was going wrong, it wasn’t. But I didn’t feel right either. Until I saw la luna belle. Did you know the world lunacy is derived from the belief that the moon (luna) has an effect on the behaviour of people? I didn’t turn South African Psycho but I sure as hell did feel stranger, freer.

The moon has always had a massive pull over me. I’ve knelt at the feet of it’s ruler, Artemis, and danced beneath moonshine. The moon is mysterious, always feminine, always changing and yet so constant. The only light within a dark night. Have you ever looked up at the sky and wondered if someone you loved as seeing what you saw too? It’s incredibly romantic, and incredibly sad- hoping that the celestial object can unite us. The Sun will always be loved for the warmth it brings to us, it’s contribution to our growth and livelihood. The moon has no light of her own, she relies on having to reflect the rays he decides to shine upon her.

No one ever thanks the moon for safe guarding us at night. No one thanks her for keeping time, being omnipresent in all aspects of the feminine.

05.061A full moon, which officially happens tomorrow evening is all about the attainment of one’s desires, realising one’s potential. It’s a time to take a chance because from Saturday, that energy begins to wane. During this time, anything is possible, even if people think you are a lunatic to think that way.

 

Silent Night, Wholly Night

“The first Noel, the Angel did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields where they lay”

Oh it’s one of my favourite times of year again- Christmas which may come as a bit of a surprise since I’m the least Christ-ly Mass attending person I know… well besides the angry atheists. This afternoon I put up the Christmas tree, something I make a habit of doing every year by myself- even if 99% of the time we spend Christmas away from home.

It’s such a beautiful reminder of the season that we’re in- it’s easy to forget when you live in the tropical paradise of South Africa where the only White Christmas we have is sitting on a beach in Clifton.

Aside from the tree, I’m an absolute fan of Midnight Mass- it was a tradition introduced by my very Catholic mother and while I detest any mass longer than an hour, I have a special place in my heart for Midnight Mass. There’s truly something spiritual about everyone gathered in darkness on 24 December, dressed up with no where to go.

The reason why mass is so long is because an entire hour is dedicated to Carols- the soul of the mass. Oh Silent Night! The First Noel! We Three Kings! beautifully crafted and timeless songs that transports me back to Medieval times where minstrels played for the court- and there was truly an understanding of what such a splendid day meant. A meaning that doesn’t come from the swipe of a visa card.

Yule tide is nigh 

It is during times like these where I can see Christianity’s true connection with paganism- and that makes me so happy. To see the root of my family’s religion combining with the understanding of  mine.  Obviously I understand that Yule is only celebrated during December in the Northern Hemisphere… but I think it’s the one day I can cut the Catholic Calender some slack.

Yule,the winter solstice, gives us the longest night and the shortest day of the year. It marks a time that spring is on it’s way as from this day on, the sun will reign for longer in the sky.

Back in the day, bonfires were lit and spiced cider was toasted with (which sounds absolutely delicious). Holly and Ivy were made into wreathes and hung outside and inside homes in the aim that nature’s spiritual creatures would join in the party.

More importantly, yule tide is a time of introspection and planning for the future- something that as a Gemini, I cannot help but do. I’ve never been one for New Years resolutions but gee can I dream of what’s to come.

On a side note- which is obviously completely relevant- a good friend of mine is set to propose to his dream girl. I’m reminded that I’m a romantic, but more importantly, I love seeing those I care about happy.

So here’s to the start of advent, the week before Christmas and to me realising and recognising what I want from the future. Without the materialism. Without the distractions. Taking it back to basics, taking it back to the root of my beliefs, values and feelings.

Iqniso lami

In my ideal day, the sun isn’t shining. In fact, it is a gentle Johannesburg rain that is warm and soothing- and instead of beating at my window, it caresses it and slowly wakes me up. It is not an ungodly hour, 8 is reasonable enough as I’ve gotten my adequate beauty sleep, but the right side of my bed is still warm, a reminder that my boyfriend held me through the night. I am in a beautiful apartment, it is not very large but it’s homey and comfortable and represents the quirky relationship we have. Piles of books on my nightstand, ticket stubs from the Rugby game we watched this weekend on his

I roll out of bed- not in the glamorous Disney kind of way with annoying birds ready and willing to help me dress- but that lazy, content manner. The apartment may not be living it up in Joburg North style, but the view is incredible- the clouds blocking the horizon, the grey and calming torrent of water slicing patterns through the trees, onto the asphalt.

Of course I am late for work as always, but it doesn’t bother me- or the traffic that I will be sitting in for the next hour because it’s the perfect time to listen to the latest Adele. And when I get to work, looking and feeling good- wearing ridiculously inappropriate high heels, I smile all day- dealing with random callers and watching the presenter run my show which I conceptualised and scripted. I remember something awesome to include, that I know our listeners will love and we are working in sync, the callers keep coming.

Show done, feedback and prep work complete I can swing by my sister’s school and pick her up- something I haven’t had time to do in a while. She’s going on about this insane design project of hers and her latest romantic problems, and it’s good to reconnect. We drive back to my place, and while she does homework I slip off my heels and get to cooking supper- imitating something I learned on Masterchef. I’m home early enough to catch the news, and I don’t have to download the latest Suits because I can watch it live- commercials and all.

The boyfriend comes home and over a glass of wine (I’m already on my second) we catch up on our days. He joins my sister in the lounge and I bring through supper. My mom arrives to pick her up- we make plans to go to the book sale next weekend, and I remind her that I owe her and dad brunch after church.

My day is not over as I pull out my books and read next to my guy, honours is hard work and I’ve got to put in the hours. He goes to bed, and I continue late into the night with my studies. Finally I’m satisfied I’ve made enough progress; I close my books and breathe in a deep sigh- taking a moment to myself. I head to bed, and snuggle under the blankets, enjoying the warmth. I realise that it has stopped raining. I smile.

This is obviously, just a fantasy- but what was so beautiful about the way I felt when I wrote it, were the potential reality and the deep yearning place that it came from. Nothing is stopping me from achieving this dream, and what it is even better is that I am frighteningly amazed at how on track my life is to achieve it.

This weekend I started thinking a lot, which is not unusual, but now I began to think about HOW I think. It started with talking about what kind of house I saw myself living in one day. I automatically went on about how much I hate clusters, because they are on top of one another, and how I always envisaged a freestanding house with a giant yard. My boyfriend was surprised as my dad had told him that I wasn’t much of an outdoors person.

This got me thinking; do I want a yard and a house because it was expected, because my parents’ opinions had passed down to me? Yes- I regurgitate a lot of what I’ve seen and heard from my family. And that’s ok, because I really do want a house and a yard- but what was now interesting was that I had to re-evaluate for myself why.

This may sound small and futile, but if something so insignificant could make me pause- how much of my truth and identity is regurgitated, how much do I need to re-evaluate about my life.

For example, it may surprise you to know that in my entire 23 years of existence, I have never drunk a full cup of coffee, and can in fact count on one hand the amount of times I’ve tasted it. My parents are coffee addicts- I think we have around 3 different types of machines and over half a dozen different canisters with words like golden, mocha, blend and decaf- which I can’t pretend to understand. But I have never been able to get used to the taste, from infrequent forays to inspect my parents’ cups to accidently chewing a coffee flavoured biscuit, and subsequently spitting it out. No amount of homogenisation by my parents could convince me that caffeine could go into my body without becoming a Coca Cola or Red bull addict. I can proudly claim that I truly loathe coffee.

Now I can spend the next few hours going into what I should do- but if I really wanted to do it, I would have done it already.

So this week, I’m going to do things my way, I’m going to do what I want (not irresponsibly) and more importantly the manner in which I want to do it. Although honesty to everyone is important, I’m going to try and be honest with myself first.

We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be”- Mansfield Park, Jane Austen

Seeking the Goddess as a Daughter of Eve

If we think about it, Eve is where it all started- literally the genesis that would dictate the way the mother of mankind and all her daughters would be treated for the rest of their lives. The traditional religions may not agree who gets the Holy Land in the religious clash of ideologies, but they Judaism, Christianity and Islam sure as hell share a common belief that Eve screwed up paradise for them.

In some lore, Eve is seen as Adam’s second wife, coming in after Lilith (yes the epitome of a female devil) who refused to be inferior to Adam and runaway from him and paradise (and had raucous sex with a number of demons thus populating evil on earth), therefore God decided he shouldn’t be lonely and created Eve to be more submissive and a more appropriate companion- not that it helped much with her giving birth to a murderer.

Lilith, Adam's first wife

Lilith, Adam’s first wife

Whether I am actually a daughter of Eve or a hell spawn of Lilith, is irrelevant to this topic. I choose rather to discuss the ramifications of Eve, the positive effects that she had on womyn.

Eve, through eating the fruit of knowledge, brought curiosity and wisdom to our world. This would later spark innovation, questioning, awareness and thought to human beings. We have her to thank for separating us from animals and basic instinct. Poor Adam, had he his way, we would be walking around naked, not questioning our purpose in life, not looking for meaning in the world. Say goodbye to our philosophers, our inventors, our scientists, our liberators and our freedom fighters.

Eve recognised that there was power in knowledge, and for some odd reason man will always be uncomfortable with feminine authority, resourcefulness and command. Eve’s power wasn’t destructive, nor was it malicious as we see when men come into power. There was nothing corruptive about her intentions. Instead of keeping the knowledge to herself, she chose to share it- her compassion and wish for others to grow in wisdom should be admired rather than criticised.

Power is as delicious as an appletini

Power is as delicious as an appletini

Knowledge is power as the clichéd saying goes. I’m unashamed to want power, to continuously absorb and grow in knowingness. But this power is for me, to enable to do my sacred and divine duty to help mankind, just like Eve and Lilith. I may be tossed aside and be labelled a witch, a jezebel or worse and I think as soon as Eve took that bite she knew, but she continued to share her knowledge and her power for the greater good.

South African women need to rise up and eat that apple, pluck it right off the branch instead of waiting for it to fall into expectant hands. Then take that bite, not the danty one, but rather the dribble inducing, sweet juices running down your chin kinda bite. You have to get dirty sometimes and now is the time to do it.

Book Review: Scarlet Letter

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while. I did my literary good deed for the month and finally completed one of the most well known classics and must reads of the ages.

The Scarlet Letter rose again in popularity with movies such as Easy A and it helps that such an important form of prose is still relevant. I did find it a difficult and somewhat boring read but tenacity kept me going.

I’ve never believed in “The Devil” which may be shocking or unheard of. I mean most Christians are brought up on good vs evil, heaven and hell and obviously there are consequences for all actions. However for me to believe that there was some fallen angel that would torture you in the after life was a stretch. Its easier for me to believe that evil is within us all, not that we are but we all have the capacity for it. Sin is what separates us humans from being truly divine and unfortunately it is something we can’t escape, something that is firmly attached to the notion of free will.

To sin is part of our humanness, which doesn’t make it right however it makes it natural. Sinful nature exists within us, and it is up to us to keep this nature in check and be the best people we can be. Sin, hitting rock bottom and being in a cloud of darkness can be used as a lesson in personal growth, to initiate change. Sometimes I feel its too easy to ask for forgiveness from some divine power, penance and thought needs to go into the atonement. But what is even more important, is the forgiveness of ourselves. Who ever created us gave us the choice to be good or sin, and with that came forgiveness of our actions. Therefore when we feel guilty, this is our souls telling us that we are are not rightly balanced and something needs to be done about it, before the burden is eased.

With so many complicated rules, I like to stick to the most basic of Christian teachings that Jesus summarized for his followers:

1) Love your God

2) Love your neighbor as you love yourself

This encompasses all manners of actions and if you keep thinking along these lines, that essentially is all you need to be a good person without retreating to Old Testament thinking about hell and damnation.

What is important to me is Hester’s embracing of her public humiliation. She could have fled at any time where she would have been able to remove the badge of disgrace and continue about her life. However that would have meant that she would have allowed society’s prejudice to affect her. Instead she sticks it out and determines her own identity, finds her own place in society rather than allowing herself to be exiled by the town.

She turns her public shame into an act of education and a representation of her own experiences and character. She doesn’t  hide away from her past and pretend that it never happened- that would mean denying a part of herself. She integrates her sin into her life, utilizing it as a tool to teach her daughter and to reconnect with her spirituality.

Rinac

Opal: The stone of hope

“Now the melancholy god protect thee, and the tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is a very opal”- Twelfth Night, Act 2 Scene 4

This year, I’ve chosen to wear a Blue Opal to guide me through 2013. It is not my usual stone of choice, so completely different from the Lapis Lazuli I’m continually drawn to.

Opals are a water-based stone and as an air sign, it’s not the most compatible thing to have handing around my neck. It’s fascinating that they were appreciated by the Romans in 200BC. The Ancient Greeks believed the stones to be the joyous tears of Zeus. The Arabians believed that the stones had fallen from the heavens, the Asians believed it would provide great hope and in medieval times, Opal was said to possess the power of making the wearer invisible and enhancing intuition.

The reason why I think I’m drawn to the Opal is because of its properties, which I feel are something I need to enhance- especially through during such a turbulent period of my life. The properties are:

  • SoMy Stone of Hopeothing unpredictable emotions
  • Personal courage
  • Enhances the ability to communicate what is in my heart
  • Prevents self-sabotage
  • Promotes introspection
  • Sparks imagination
  • Awakens intuition
  • Enhances clairvoyance
  • Assists in transitions
  • Persistence