26 truths as I turn 26

  1. I don’t remember turning 25, as a friend had poured half a bottle of tequila down my throat. But that makes me happy, not remembering.
  2. I cried at the birthday party at my house – in private – and then was expected to give a very public speech… which was terrible.
  3. I have low expectations for this birthday – I don’t want to be disappointed.
  4. As it stands, I’m probably not going to get married… less of an option are kids, although being a surrogate for my best friend is still on the cards.
  5. I suffer from extreme anxiety – to the point where I begin blacking out – but I’m unwillingly to do anything about it because I don’t want to have to deal with “you’re broken, let’s fix it” rhetoric.
  6. I’m convinced that one can only have one soul mate, unfortunately my time is over. That doesn’t mean however that I can’t love another person, I’ve proved time and again I can.
  7. I’m insanely jealous of some of my peers and friends who live the life I imagine for myself.
  8. Every night I pray, despite my hedonistic lifestyle.
  9. I wish I wasn’t so selfish, but then again I wish more people are, or admitted they are.
  10. Talking about my rape is not healing.
  11. I still get hung up on the death of my grandmother, she died when I was 7.
  12. I haven’t spoken to my family since November 2015… I’m okay with that, because I need to protect myself and take care of me. But I really miss my sister.
  13. If I had to die today, I’d regret nothing because I take ownership of all the decisions I’ve ever made, and would probably repeat them again.
  14. I value friends more than I do family, because I choose them and they choose you – there are no obligations and burdens placed on each other.
  15. My darkest moment of 25 was attending midnight mass, essentially alone.
  16. I wake up angry sometimes, because I’d rather not have woken up ever again.
  17. I wish I could have more alone time, and I’m saving  for a trip and dreaming of a good 3 to 4 months without having to connect to anybody.
  18. I don’t value honesty, I think everyone has the reasons to lie and I’m okay with it as long as it serves a purpose.
  19. If a genie popped up, I’d have him wish me away… we can start in Peru, or Jordan, or Japan.
  20. My latest addiction is going onto online shopping sites and property sites and liking/building a wish list of things I can’t afford.
  21. I generally am future-orientated more than anything. It’s a strength and a weakness of mine.
  22. The real reason I haven’t finished one of my many novels, is because I fear rejection and fear that I may realize I’m not a good enough writer.
  23. I generally believe that I am better than a lot of people, friends and loved ones included, and narcissism is a helpful safety net to get me to where I want to be.
  24. I have no clue how to handle money, and firmly believe more money will solve my problems. I am adamant to be debt free by next year.
  25. For once I am so sure of every step and calculated risk I take – I can’t wait to see the results.
  26. Even if 2016 is not my year, I’m determined to make it so anyway.

Selfish, impatient and a little insecure

1 Corinthians 13:4- My Version

Love is impatient, love is unkind. It makes you jealous, possessive and a braggart and removes all sense of pride. You dishonor the rational voice inside your head, you become attention-seeking, quick to anger, every wrong doing recorded and internalized and never forgotten.  Love blinds you from the evil of others, and denies the truth that is so painfully apparent. It exposes you, ramifications make you distrustful and destroys all hope and perseverance. 

Love often fails. There is no way to prophesize this. There are no tongues that will indulge you in information that you could’ve, should’ve, would’ve known before hand. There is no true knowledge of love – no lessons learned or anything gained. 

Although I don’t want to believe this is true, love often takes away everything from me. I am someone who is logical, trusting and strong but in love I become jealous, moody and paranoid.

“I’m fine”- Fucked up. Insecure. Neurotic. Emotional.

I’m trying to change though. To believe in the ideal world of Disney and even Bible versus. It’s not easy and sometimes I slip up. I just need that special person to wait it out through this journey with me.

From Adam to the Gods… I’ve walked side by side with all

I have been travelling a very long time – but my gait wasn’t always so laboured, my strength so forced. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’ve come to be here, but the story is sketchy, parts distinguished only by those who I  happened to be travelling and who helped or hindered me along the way. It’s not a love story, it’s not a parable, it’s an account from my extremely subjective point of view.

It is about how I wound up, walking through their Inferno. 

“Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!” – Robert G. Ingersoll, The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. Iii

Every Eve has an Adam- not necessarily her first but her genesis into a new story. Adam didn’t want me at first. Story of every girl’s life, there was another. But I befriended him and drew him in and eventually he was mine. Or so I thought. You see, Adam had a few issues. It could have been his one-rib-less inadequacy but Adam would blow hot and cold. I became his everything and with that, my behaviour was dictated to me, our ever-lasting planned. I put up with it, I mean my experience with men was minimal, him being the only one on Earth and everything, so I figured this overbearing nature was normal. But I always wondered what lay beyond the garden… surely there was more to my life than a luxurious episode of Survivor.

I went for a walk, near the edge of garden. I hadn’t travelled so far before but what I saw amazed me. So many paths were available to me, that diverged and intertwined and separated again. Paths that were far from the nicely laid out walkways that I was used to. The path abruptly ended, leading me towards a large tree. It was so massive, I couldn’t see around it. The branches too high, I didn’t dare climb it.

The wind rustled and shook the branches. I watched a gloriously red, shiny apple drop down from the bough. It hit the grass with a gentle thud and rolled away, around the roots of the tree, until I could just see it on the other side. I’d never seen anything like it, it was destined for me. I had to tell him. I ran back to the gardens. Adam sat languidly, admiring his surrounds. His life had not been changed like mine. After much coaxing, I took him back to the tree and tried to show him where the fruit had fallen.

At first he insisted that he could not see it, but after my insistence he began to feign interest. That was when I told him that I wanted to walk around the tree – leave the path,  pick up the fruit and try it. Adam thought me made- how could I leave the comfort of my home for the unknown. I was ungrateful, I traitor. I assured him that it wasn’t like that, that I had to see for myself if there was a better life out there than in here. His hazel eyes were hurt, as he acquiesced to by desire for adventure. Then he suggested that he come with me to see too. I could tell he didn’t want to, that he saw it as an obligation. But that was not why I recoiled and took a step back. This was my apple, I had found it. It was my desire to see the world not his. How dare he think he could share what was so sacredly mine? I realised then that there was no space on my journey for a companion. That day I left the garden, I picked up the fruit but chose not to eat it. Carrying it proudly against my body. I felt naked, but never more alive.

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”

The sign made me chuckle as I walked passed it. It was so sensational. You cannot lose hope from entering the unknown. I was in fact invigorated, hopeful that I was about to learn everything to my hearts desire and live through experiences never before felt.  I revelled in my new found freedom for a while, enjoying my social isolation and surrounding myself with all things beautiful and wonderful.

One night I wandered beneath a full moon- the fragrance are jasmine drugged me and I felt powerful and more like a woman than ever before. As I walked amongst the blooms, I came across a woman picking a stem and smelling with such a radiant look of ecstasy. It was such an intimate act I looked away blushing. I couldn’t help looking back and my eyes met piercing dark brown ones. They looked amused, intense and curiosity. She was so strong, so confident and sure. I’d never seen another woman, a person, the likes of her before. Silently, she offered me her hand and we danced, and danced underneath the moonshine, in a field of jasmine and sharing curious glances.

Her name was Persephone, and she was my guide into the underworld. The sign I had dismissed marked the entrance into hell- into a world unknown, into a cosmos of adventure and mystery. She called me Artemis, even though I told her that was not my name. She said it didn’t matter,  that no one here was who they seemed, but who we wanted to be. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just different. Artemis, I found out, meant that I was strong, that I couldn’t be touched without permission and that I embraced womanhood and power. I liked that, those were ideals that seemed wise to embrace. From a wanderer I became a warrior, championing crusades with Persephone guiding me all the way. She awakened my thoughts, my questions and drew out within me, my anger at the world, at my confinement and my desire to be free. We met fellow thought leaders, Socrates and Homer, Cicero and Ceasar. I felt welcomed, I belonged to something greater than myself. I had purpose.

Oh she was amazing- so wonderful that I showed her the apple I had been carrying from the beginning. She marvelled at it, as if it was a prize, with such cautious desire. I offered her a bite. She took it. And then she shared it with me. The taste was heavenly. I’d been transported, I ascended over 6 feet – out of body and out of mind.

For much time I stayed with Persephone. However the sense of adventure waned and I begun to feel like I had stayed too long. We made each other so unhappy. She couldn’t leave the limbo we had found ourselves in, and I didn’t know if I could dedicate my life to being stuck in an in-between. Actually I did know, and the answer was that I couldn’t. So I left.

“Curiosity is the lust of the mind” – Thomas Hobbes

I should admit that I had an indiscretion. As I said, purgatory was not for me. During an argument with Persephone, I ran away.

He introduced himself to me as Amun. Amun was strong and funny, full of life with many consorts. He thought himself king of his world and many women agreed. To me he was “the hidden one” who didn’t necessarily provide me answers to what I was seeking, but gave me more questions. He was a friend, and then he was more and he had the power to make me overlook my morals and explore a darkness that I had not thought about before. With a presence that could be described as lion-like, I felt bewitched within his harem. I was a fool for what he could show me, a fool to my body, to touches, to desire. I had joined the harem of Cleopatra and Helen.

But with my actions came with consequences. Persephone discovered that I had entered the second circle and her fury and mistrust came down upon me like a tornado. All the we attempted to mend our relationship, it never reclaimed that wonderful experience that was. My relationship with Amun was never meant to be anything more – we both recognised that. Eventually we became friends, until he felt that ascended to greater things than I. But he will always remain an important reminder of my flaws.

“Curiosity is gluttony. To see is to devour.” – Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

After leaving purgatory, for what I’d decided was the last time, I continued on my travels. The questions that Amun had point in my mind needed answers and for that to happen I had to explore my own darkness and my own ideas of sin.

And when you are open to that, Dionysus will find you. Oh he was everything, everything that was opposite to what I needed. He brought humour to my serious world, boldness to my inhibition. We feasted on selfishness and worldly pleasures. Our gluttonous acts sated my curiosity again and again. It was a wild party everyday with women and men coming together to in a common goal of self-servitude.  We ate until we could eat no more and then ordered seconds. Life was a buffet for our enjoyment and taking. My apple was less shiny but there were those who I wished for them to enjoy in my discovery. Apple pies, toffee apples, sorbet and appletinis – what a feast!

“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” – Erich Fromm

I alternated often between the banquet and another new discovery of a treasure trove. Here Pluto entertained me. We lived lavish lives where those we met were for our entertainment. Even when I thought I was satisfied, it became amusing to make a mockery of those who accidently joined our parties.  It was all in jest – there was no guilt.  But the addiction of needing constant entertainment weighed on us and I found myself pushing further and further the limits that were hardly set in stone in the first place. Lust was mistaken for lust. Enemies were mistaken for friends. But in this whirlpool of false pleasure, it is easy to be mistaken and stray from the path.

Which is what happened. And I will never make that mistake again.

“Now pierced is her virgin zone;
She feels the foe within it.
She hears a broken amorous groan,
The panting lover’s fainting moan,
Just in the happy minute.”  – John Wilmot

I knew him as Hades, he was often spoken about with disdain and no good will. Hades was pleasant to me, not a friend but hardly an enemy either. One night after a banquet, he offered to transport me across the river Styx. In that moment I recognised Hades for what he was, the Devil, Lucifer.

In that rickety wooden boat he took every sinful desire I had been celebrating and used them against me. With greed, lust and gluttony and a certain new anger he took it all away from me- my ability to explore, my curiosity and my hope. There were so many bodies around but no one could or would hear my screams… all inebriated or  sated by their hedonistic lifestyles. When I was throne off the boat, I battled to rise. I dragged myself along the embankment, not quite sure of what to do next, what I was looking for or needed.

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” – Voltaire, The Age of Louis XIV

I fell. I was lost, and I had travelled so far from comfort and from what I knew. No one would believe me if I spoke on what had happened in the 5th circle. I was a heretic – how could a hedonist possibly be telling the truth. There were flames everywhere, licking at my body as kept falling through the darkened tomb.

I committed violent acts to myself, destroying all forms of my identity and relationships in the process.

I met Poseidon and he helped me up and travelled with me for a while. I told him my story and he made me promises about exploring the sea together. But like the change in tide, Poseidon wasn’t there to stay long – betrayal never stops hurting.

Apollo swoops in and out of my life but he is honest about where he is at and how he wants to explore and discover greatness on his own.

I’m not sure why I felt I needed to put down my journey… maybe its because I’ve travelled so far, the only way to turn is back. Maybe it’s because I’m not sure which pathway I’m supposed to take next. Or maybe it’s because it’s time to rest for a while. I’m tired…so tired…

I shall not fear no man but God, though I walk through the valley of death, I shed so many tears (if I should die before I wake), please God walk with me.

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: The first step

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate… our deepest fear is that we are more powerful beyond measure”

Watching Coach Carter and his Richmond Oilers climb their way to victory is a great lesson to remind me that “playing small” serves nobody. The system is designed for me to fail, the system needs to be beaten. 100 steps of happiness is my daily tribute to finding and achieving happiness every day over the next 3-4 months.

This doesn’t mean I need to be consistently happy and walk around with the Joker’s smile on my face. It means that I should strive to find a bit, a step towards happiness in at least one moment during my day.

I woke up in a terrible state. I had the most amazing, fantastical dream where the man of my dreams demanded me back, apologised for making a mistake and we moved forward together. To wake up alone, and broken hearted after that was humiliating, emotional and confusing.

The day steadily progressed with my journalism project not working out the way I’d hoped. My team wasn’t in sync and I was still in a foul mood from earlier this morning. I couldn’t wait for the day to be over, I hated that this week was flying by which means that the stress of returning to work and all the problems there, were nearing.

But I forced myself to start writing again, committing myself to 100 blog posts over the next few months because logic knows that whatever I internalise must come out in some form- rather let it be a creative output.

My dad was surprised at what his new ringtone was when I played it for him. Rowan Pope is my dad- despite his issues he want’s nothing better than for his daughter to be the greatest. But most importantly, he says this to her when she decides to throw her future away over a boy:

“You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have. For God’s sakes. You know to aim higher…At the very least you could have aimed for chief of staff. Secretary of State. First Lady — do you have to be so mediocre?”

The segment of the episode I’m referring to can be found here.

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An awkward start

This is not going to be easy. I’m one of the most cynical people I know but it starts with the first step. So on this first day I decide to stop being mediocre. My nickname in varsity wasn’t first lady, it was Mrs President. I am going places- what I have control over is how fast I get there and what impact I have on those around me.

A new year, a new story

If my life were a novel, it would be pretty easy to find it at the bookshop. You’d skip past the sci-fi and the vampire obsessed Young Adult section, way past the romance… keep going, snicker at the anxious OCD business woman who’s raking the shelves at self-help and head straight to the Drama section where you’d expect to pull out a glittery purple book with black pages and silver writing. Sounds like a terrible idea right? Thank goddess that’s all changed.

My book definitely didn’t make the Bestsellers in 2012, so in 2013 I decided to spare the trees and go digital. Here I could be a bit esoteric and quirky and my life could change on a whim. Of course it meant that only random people would be interested in it…possibly because it was free to download on Kindle, but it meant that the book of life was really all about me writing it, me living it as opposed to how other people would respond to what I’d lived.

I think I’m happy with the pages I’ve written so far, I may not have written all 50 000 words as I’d wished but I was close and I’m on my way to achieving my goals. You have to understand, this is a huge step for me. Usually when I don’t achieve everything, exactly the way I envisioned it, with everything checked off my list, my mind reacts like a virus-ridden computer and I shut down and go haywire. So for me to be content, satisfied with what I’ve done and recognize the hard work that went into 2013 is a great step to self-improvement.

So in 2014, begins the sequel to my e-book, keeping with that same steady commitment to constantly updating my writing. It’s time to work in more happiness, more goals and perhaps have my heroine who’s saved herself in the previous story now work towards enjoying her happily ever after. That is definitely going to be a hard one to write. No one ever writes about the Happily Ever After, because frankly there’s no climax- it’s boring. I’m going to challenge myself to write happiness into the monotony of life.

Last year, I needed to say “No” a lot, to protect myself, to be selfish and to work on and focus on all aspects of me. This year, it’s going to be nerve wrecking but I’m going to try and say “Yes”- not in terms of being a doormat but rather being positive and confident enough, to take risks and experience happiness as much as I can. Yes to breaking down walls, yes to unsticking myself from emotional messes, to be easy and like in my previous post– to be congenial and tranquil much like the element of Air that I have such an affinity to. I have to trust that the more I say Yes to life, the more life will reply in the same way to me.

Ms Congeniality: NY Resolutions 2014

I’m not one for New Years resolutions, but I do believe in using a key-word to focus my energy and direction instead of making empty promises. The key word for 2014 is congenial, basically I want to smile more and be a happier person, to open up and allow people into my life.

There are four areas I’d like to work on in the upcoming year:

My Physical Health– feel confident with my body and look after it, so that I’ll be comfortable around people more

My Spiritual Well being– find again the goddess out there and within me, not just during troubled times

My Intellectual intake– I want to focus my mind, quiet negative thoughts and bring positivity to my understanding… and (this is for my BF) try not to OVERTHINK things, or at least calm down on that front

Social Investment– I don’t do charity, it’s not something I feel good about but what I can do is give my time and energy to others who are in my life who need it. I can be generous with my time.