Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Boxing day 2004

Never one to take anything for granted, I am even more overwhelmed at the fragility of life in the light of recent events in southeast Asia and the east coast of Africa.
The figures being blasted into my consciousness by hours of CNN coverage are as amazing as they are tragic and as appalling as they are unfathomable. Figures such as 9.0 magnitude, 160km long, 4th largest quake in recorded history, tsunamies 7 meters high, 9 countries affected, confirmed death toll presently at 33,000 with projections in excess of 55,000, millions displaced, billions in damage.
Harrowing tales of death and destruction just break my heart along with miraculous survival accounts that send shivers down my spine and make me catch my breath.
Words fail me and I am left with disbelief that the Indian ocean was considered low risk and so activity was not being measured there and no warning system was in place. The informed estimate 2/3 could have been saved.
All in all, its just too, too sad. The most we can do now is hope the governments and the people around the world step up to the plate and fast to help the survivors, not least with basic clean-up operations and food supplements, so as to avoid the spread of disease culminating in further tragedy and loss.
Numbers are relative, the individual becomes a statistic. We must never forget each person has a story. One of the most poignant to be brought to light thus far is of one man in Sumatra, who has lost his home, his parents, his uncles and aunts, his brothers and sisters, his wife and all of his 6 children. What becomes of him now.
I am always thankful, but more so today.

my cup overflow'th and not from joy

Out of the mouths of babes...and drunks.
I cannot abide drinkers.
At least not once they pass the very fine line between merry and drunk. If someone has a bone to pick, pick the damn bone, I say. Why wait until defences are low. Am I really that fearsome that people dare not confront me without a liberal amount of dutch courage! Certainly, it seems to be when friends and relatives have had one too many that they all of a sudden bring up things that have obviously been festering - and 9.9 times out of 10, their grievance is just plain rediculous.
No exaggeration - I give and so they expect, whereas I never expect and seldom receive - thus I have no time for this nonsense. Please - save me from your idiocy. Ha di ha - the joke's on you and P.S., thanks for ruining the extended family annual Christmas lunch.
Think of me like a cup of water - I can accommodate thousands of single drops, but one day my cup and my patience overflow'th.
Don't try to cite your list, as mine is a million times longer.
Bye bye, baby, bye bye.
Life is just too short.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

My mistake

I had you on a pedestal
My mistake, I guess
Yet you made me believe in you
You made me think, you were special
I felt you loved me
And perhaps you do
I know that I still love you
For we share both blood and name
But I have no respect
The things you have done
And the things you will do
Are so against my beliefs and principals
That were you not my _________
You would have been forgotten long ago

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Its a matter of priority

Problems are such an interesting concept.
They are truly just a matter of priority.
I detest the saying "Cheer up - things could be alot worse!". First of all, its stating the obvious. Secondly, no problem large or small is anything other than a problem. If one is miles from home in the pouring rain trying to change a flat tyre, then this problem takes priority at that moment in time. It is always nice however, when one feels down and out, to get a wake-up call and realise things really could be worse.
Hitting rock bottom can be a great thing, as it makes us appreciate the important things in life, that others may take for granted.
A good piece of advice is never to take anything for granted.
I don't, therefore I smile wide and often.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The most important word

The most important word in the English language and in life:

For yourself, for others.

Friday, December 17, 2004

21st century morality

Lately, I found myself pondering one of the great moral questions of the 21st century. To have or not to have plastic surgery ;-)
I'm happy with how I look, but like most, I have areas which I consider less perfect. Plastic surgery is so much the norm nowadays in my part of the world, but I have never considered it. In some ways, its wrong to play about with what God gave us and makes me think of Nietzche, although I do not blame those with exceptional features (negative) wanting to change that certain part of their anatomy. I can understand well, how one thing can become the only thing focused upon.
So, I've always thought, regular exercize and good nutrition would prevent lumps and bumps, and if I should ever resort to any form of cosmetic surgery in a decade or two if gravity has played havoc, it wouldn't be something that would change me, but rather something like an eyelid or breast lift.
I have an interest in psychology, and thus tend to become embroiled in some of the current reality shows clogging up airtime on prime TV. One of these was a programme called "The Swan", where ordinary women, suffering a lack of confidence in their appearance as well as some emotional issues, are given 3 months of intensive councilling and exercize after having undergone multiple surgeries to rectify their physical imperfections.
Really, I could argue a dozen examples of all that is morally wrong with this show and its message, not just in relation to the partakers but also those members of the viewing public unhappy with the way they look. Mainly, the whole point of the therapy is to alter their perception of self, eradicate their feelings of unworthiness, combat various complexes, realise they have merit as people regardless of how they look and learn to love themselves for who they are. However, at the end of the 3 months as they encounter their reflections for the first time, they have become little visions of perfection, dolled-up, symmetrical, pert, pouting, thin versions of their former selves.
How did that teach them to be happy with themselves? It only reinforced the notion, they were former ugly ducklings now transformed to swans courtesy of a scapel, liposuction, botox and silicone.
Thing is, I had to ask the question of myself, if all the treatments and surgeries were offered to me free of charge and performed by top-class experts, as they were to these women, would I accept? After all, some of these women truly did have amazing transformations going from girl-next-door to cat-walk-queen. I consider myself attractive, but it would be nice, shallow but nice, to be amazingly, stunningly, drop-dead gorgeous without effort. I think, it would be too good an offer to turn down. It was interesting to realise, I was as hung-up on looking perfect, as most everyone else.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Millionaire Christmas

I wish myself and the members of my family were millionaires, simply based on my theory that it would make Christmas less stressful, more personal and probably a great deal more fun.
If we were all millionaires, we would be able to buy ourselves whatever we needed and even wanted, and I should have to insist thereby upon gifts being exchanged, but never purchased. A knitted sweater, a painting, a scrapbook - a gift from the heart made with ones own fair hands. I think, it would be lovely.
It would put an end to queueing for hours only to realise, when one finally reaches the counter, that particular item has sold out. An end to hours of trudging around in the cold, wind, rain, sleet and snow loaded with heavy shopping bags from a gazillion different department stores sporting tension headaches and aching soles. These personal trinkets would show the thought and feeling behind a choice of gift much better than the top-selling CD-rom or Chanel no. 5. Moreover, and best of all, gone would be a Christmas eve held hostage by impossible instruction and sweatbreaking construction of toys and gadgets, only to find batteries aren't included.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Don't speak

Emotional time travel is a very real concept. Whether its replaying memories like little reels of film, meeting old friends, reliving past hurt, revisiting an old haunt or encountering an aroma. By far the most interesting of these and perhaps even the most evocative is music. Time travel through music is almost tangiable.
Wherever I am and whatever I am doing, certain songs pick me up by the collar and hightail me back to the past. It may be sad, but my best time at a party was at the age of 10, and I have Tina Turner's "What's love got to do with it" to remind me of the event each time I hear it. Don McClean's "American Pie" puts me before an audience. "Survivor" by Destiny's child takes me to the pearl of all cities, Florence, Italy. Anything by Dr Hook and I am transported to the inside of a Cherokee Jeep driving north through Norway and Sweden in a heavy snow storm. "Sexy Eyes", however, puts me in a nightclub in Kuala Lumpur and serves me an unwanted and rather spooky declaration of love. "He ain't heavy, he's my brother" brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it, just as "Nights in white satin" by the Moody Blues makes me want to curl up to someone special. "Night Fever"'s very first bar plays and my younger brother appears before me shouting "I need some Bee Gees". My parents have the ultimate love affair alive and strong and tied to "Smoke get's in your eyes". "Lipstick on your collar" Connie Frances and "Its my party" - 5 years old, singing and dancing in the livingroom. Boy George "Do you really wanna hurt me" - teenage-hormone-causing mood swings and anger at my parents.
Most overwhelmingly, "If you ever" by East 17 feat. Gabrielle to fall in love to and No Doubt's "Don't speak" to vigourously tear it right back out of my bruised and broken heart. Robbie's "Karma Killer" to combat feelings of anger and the desire to avenge the disregard of love once given. Finally, "You've got a friend" bestowes upon me from the heavens someone otherwise lost. I could go on and on and on and on. I won't, but it shall never cease to amaze me, just how music can evoke a time gone by .

Messy biology

Along with public speaking, loss of loved ones, the concept of infinity and finding a dead body, shivers down my spine accompany contemplations of the prospect my daughter's father may procreate anew. My CD's and books are alphabetized upon my shelf, receipts and documents are filed chronologically, birthdays and anniversaries noted and more importantly remembered, so on and so forth. Everything has its place, except disorganization.

Things rarely turn out the way, one had hoped. We are four siblings, but the closest age gap is 7 years +. We have also led somewhat of a gypsy lifestyle, in as much as we have moved far and often. Its common to focus on the things one was dissatisfied with as a child, and mean to live one's life differently in adulthood. As said previously, one soon realises it is by far the most, one cannot control.

If one could, I would have married before having children and since I would like to have more at some point, I will also have children with different fathers - not something I had hoped or even at all contemplated the possibility of in relation to myself. It is a messy state of affairs. But its a common occurence, not just in this day and age of sexual liberation, equality and openmindedness (all of which are GREAT things), but all through history. Genealogy research into any family will in all likelihood bring to light a host of illegitimate children through the ages. The age gap between myself and my siblings resulted in a wish that my children would be close in age, so as to benefit as much as possible from each other, but alas, my daughter is already 7 years of age.

Its all good, and I have come to terms with the fact that my wish did not come true.

My daughter is who she is, because both my and her father's blood runs through her veins, and no other child would have been her. I believe in fate, and things are as they are and were as they were, because there were lessons to be learnt and life was meant to turn out the way it did. My daughter is the child God intended me to have and he has my eternal gratitude. Be that as it may, I do not really understand why her father was the father she was meant to have, as he is no father - at least not over and above his role in the biological sense.

Spite plays no role (neither lie nor self-delusion). In fact, I shall always have love in my heart for the man, if for nothing else, for the gift he bestowed on me as I bestowed on him, namely my daughter. Unselfishly, may he never have more children, on the grounds the general consensus is, with good reason, he is unfit. Selfishly, may he never have more children, as it would be true hardship to know my daughter had siblings, she would likely never know. Its a mockery of family ties and blood lines - too, too sad and much too messy.

Making amends

When one takes into account the various episodes of my life, the time I would change if I could, isn't the obvious choice. If time travel were possible, I would plonk myself slap down in the middle of a funeral. I have a great-grandmother still living, who has not only been left behind by her parents and siblings, but also her husband and all her children. Thankfully, funerals are still a seldom occurance at my age. The result, however, was an unfortunate incident at the funeral of the someone closest to me to have passed away. I had forgotten in all that was going on that it is customary to give eulogies. Everyone was in deep shock and in deep grief, and it seemed that all had forgotten the prospect of an invitation to eulogize. With each passing second, I became more aware, that no-one was about to rise. One of my great fears is of public speaking, and by the time (probably only 10 seconds), I had overwon my temporary paralysis, the moment had passed, the priest had moved on. Sadness overwhelmed me at the thought that nothing personal had been said.
With being sorry comes the desire to make amends and thus I gave a very long and very emotional speech at the memorial service on the anniversary. I was shaking like a leaf due to the content of the speech, but equally and perhaps more so, due to the size of the congregation. Though regret remains still that all voices were quiet at the funeral, I'm glad, I bared my heart and soul and made amends as best I could.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Bad Ikea

I'm so upset!
The most wonderful picture that I long to possess is no longer on sale. It was a picture of the most beautiful tree taken at Central Park in the autumn time. The array of autumn shades, crimson, aubergine, burgundy, copper was perfectly captured on this one great big tree. "I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree."
Bad, bad Ikea!

Green eyes

I watched a rather silly film a few weeks ago about witches. For very good reason, one of them cast a spell about her true love. It entailed a list of traits that she believed no one man could possess. Surprise, surprise - he showed up one day. I may have scored 155 on an IQ test, but that still leaves plenty of room for silliness - My list:

  • Green eyes - my fetish, and as fetishes go, this one is harmless
  • Rhythm - I love to dance, be nice to have a partner.
  • Height: 5foot10inches plus - this will be the only way in which he will look down on me
  • Eloquent and well-spoken - words are my passion
  • A love of Soul and Swing - let the music touch his soul as it does mine
  • From a large family, several siblings - I've always wanted more siblings, we can share each others
  • Infectious smile - smile at the world and it smiles right back
  • No children - mine and ours, preferable to his and mine and ours
  • Never been married - selfishly, I would want to be the one and only Mrs Perfect
  • Artsy in some way...plays the saxaphone, takes beautiful photographs
  • Excellent cook - let him intoxicate with exotic stirfries and decadent chocolate moouses
  • Spontaneous - Life is grand, whenever one takes a look around
  • Caring and respectful- These are a given
  • Gallant - love the romance of oldfashioned gentlemanly values, they do not retract in the slightest from equality
  • Well-travelled - To be well-rounded and accepting of others, one needs to have experienced more than ones own backyard
  • Strong name - What's in a name - in my opinion a great deal.
  • Excellent taste - and therefore exceedingly appreciative of me, also will save us from chintz and polka dots
  • Clean shaven - no tickly moustaches or crumb-catching beards
  • Nice bottom - after green eyes and great smiles, nice bottoms bring up the rear of most attractive physical attributes
  • Longish hair - no crew cuts
  • Occasional drinker only - a glass of wine at dinner, champagne to celebrate
  • Nice teeth - to go with the great smile
  • Strong chin - strong chins often equal strong characters

Asking too much? Sound impossible? I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Santa's magic

The children in my life, my 7 year old daughter and 8 year old sister (sister was very much an afterthought), will no doubt have one or several bones to pick with me, when they are older. I love the fairy-tale world of children and seek to preserve it for them for as long as possible - strive also to have them always keep an open mind. What we haven't seen, we can still believe exists - its a matter of faith, of their own beliefs, of making up their own minds. At my house, we believe in the Santa, as well as mermaids, angels, ghosts, fairies. Watching the expression of delight on my daughters face, as she empties her stocking has brought back the magic of Chrismas for me.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Approaching 30

On the 20th of Febuary 2005, I shall turn 30 years of age. The thought used to frighten the living daylights out of me. Perhaps because its a decade closer to old age, but mostly it was about not being 20something anymore. One's 20's are all about fun - its still okay to screw up on a regular basis, to not know where one is headed or what one desires out of life. The 20's are all about development and realising who we are. Its given therefore, that by ones 30's these things should all be in place. When I was young and idealistic, I saw only two shades, black and white. As I grew older, I came into contact with the infinite shades of grey that lie between. Question: Does anyone ever really simultaneously have every aspect of their life in the place they would like it to be? Perfect synchronization. Extremely doubtful. The lucky few. Let's call them the blessed. I do not relish the prospect of turning 30 for purely shallow reasons - wrinkles will start to appear no doubt, gravity will increase its onslaught at an even more alarming rate and I shall no longer be refered to as a young woman, but simply a woman. Be that as it may, the 30's are when we come into our own. Besides, since youthful death played its prank in close vicinity, thankfulness for each impending birthday has replaced the spot once occupied by dread.
Nowadays, I am looking forward to my 30's. This will be my decade - the decade in which I shall reach the top of my mountain. I would advise anyone to set a plan and to stick to it. Give oneself at least a task a year - a single dream that if one accomplishes little else, this one thing will be achieved. The future is bright and full of promise! .....Anyway, 30 is a lot younger than it used to be!

Let the world wait.

Its said that time travels fast, when we are having fun, but I think the opposite is true. Its perfectly fine to approach the new year with renewed vigour, if one feels confident in the accomplishments of the year gone. Otherwise that year has been of little or no use and there is no way of getting it back. There are few real choices in life. Usually the ones which shape and mold us and those that pave the way forward, stem from decisions over which we have no control. That's the unpredicatability of life. Welcome it or loathe it. One moment is all its takes to change the entire course of ones life and send us tumbling in one direction or another. For better or worse. Pessimists are damn fools, and this is something I vow never to become. So I welcome the unpredictability that life offers - afterall we are all bumbling along the same road, just in different lanes. We will all arrive at a different pace.