Chortle, you’ll love it!

As the words for this post came to life and gained momentum in my mind, I found myself pursing my lips quite a few times.  I’d stop and wiggle in my chair and try and push it away, just for it to creep back a little bit later.  What was formulating raised a “disapproving” nudge somewhere inside of my.  “How can you be promoting the use of drugs and alcoholism?  You’ve seen first hand how it destroys lives!”  “But I’m not!” a part of me shouts back, “it’s just…’s just….heck, I don’t know what it is”

Let me backtrack, life got in the way of living lately.  We’ve been so busy being busy that we haven’t had any time to just ….breath.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that it is a worthy cause and we’ll reap the benefits (hopefully sooner than later) so I’m not complaining, but phew….. being busy is tiring and when you find that the idea of going to bed at 7PM is enough to make you want to do cartwheels, you know you’ve been just way too busy


During a recent visit to our favorite sushi restaurant (because it’s easier and faster and less effort to get them to bring you the food than it is to shop, prep, cook and clean), I found myself staring at a 4 year old for most of the evening.  His dad was entertaining him by pretending to drop the sushi every time, trying again, dropping it and then FINALLY getting it right.  This blue eyed blonde little boy just couldn’t stop laughing.  You could see the giggle build in his tiny body and then completely lose it as the laughter ripped free and filled the entire place.  His eyes pinched together, tiny button nose pulled up into a wrinkle and his entire body shaking.  It looked so free and honest and real that it brought tears to my eyes, I was in total awe of this child’s innocence

The next day, while stuck in traffic leaving the airport, everyone desperately trying to make it onto the N2 and get home, or get to a meeting or a conference or whatever it is that we are all chasing, I caught sight of (what appeared to be) a homeless man.  He stood there on Airport Approach road, laughing so much he couldn’t stand.  He quite literally had to grab a hold of the fence to prevent himself from falling over and he stood there and just laughed and laughed and laughed.  Scold me for this, but my first thought was “tikkop”, because obviously no one in that condition could be that happy that he would be laughing that much.  As we went past him and turned onto the N2, I was reminded of the little boy and how he laughed and it saddened me, again.  So what if he is as high as a kite?

(See this is where the one part of me goes all bitchy and tell me to stop promoting the use of drugs)  Bear with me, I’m not saying we should all become junkies, not at all, so please don’t judge, just yet.

So I say again, so what if he was as high as a kite?  For that moment his (undoubtedly) miserable life – through whatever circumstance (and that is irrelevant in the context of this post; a different topic for a different day) – was not miserable at all.  It was filled with a childlike innocent joy and freedom and happiness.  Yes, it is a false sense of happiness and yes, all of that, I get that and I support that, but he was happy and laughing; laughing like I haven’t done in the longest time and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what this post is about.

The next day as we sat with friends, I told them about the boy and the homeless guy and how they laughed, and I asked when is the last time you laughed with such abundance.  “O”, the shrugged, “every time we get stoned” they looked at each other and burst out laughing

That really got me thinking.  When is the last time I laughed like a child?  The last time I was really… inebriated.  Well, I can’t really get drunk every time I need to have a good laugh, can I?

We get jokes every day via some form of social media and we “laugh”, but we don’t really laugh do we?

Go look at the different definitions of laughing and you’ll see that we smile, grin, smirk, giggle, snicker and chuckle.  Hardly ever do we get to the “chortle” stage – Chortle: originates even deeper in the chest and involves muscles of torso; usually provokes laughter in others;


So why don’t we laugh more often?

Let me be very clear about this:  I am not unhappy, depressed, sad, going through a midlife crisis or anything like that.  To the contrary:

Spiritually, I am connected

Relationship, happier than I’ve ever been

Studying, yes and acing it!

Working, with real job satisfaction for the first time in years

Finally started a business of my own and it’s taking of nicely

My son and I have a better connection now than we’ve had since he entered puberty and brought all the hormones that comes with that

I’m happy, really really happy

It’s just that life get’s in the way of us living the way we are meant to.  We are so pressured to meet deadlines and budgets and get kids to school and to work on time and make it to the shop and cook dinner and catch up on admin and and and and and……………

My friend google led me to a very interesting website.  I learned about the benefits of laughter and then found some laughing exercises

So, next time you find me having a good cackle in the face of someone throwing a tantrum or at any other inappropriate time or place for that matter, just know that I have not lost my marbles, nor am I high or drunk, I am just improving my quality of life.  Well, as long as said tantrum thrower does not assault me for laughing at them 😉

Whatever you do today, find something to really laugh at, you’ll thank me later!

How NOT to wax at home

Us girls have so much to do.  We wax, we pluck, we color, we tease, we Brazilian (both kinds), we gel and…. the list goes on.  Can I just, again, put on record how lucky men are?  They have no idea what we have to endure in the name of beauty.  But we do it with a smile and are filled with anticipation at the idea of a pamper session.  In a way all girls are slightly masochistic, I guess

See this than as my personal contribution to any girl who have considered waxing at home; a guide if you must.

A short while ago, just before we were meant to attend a wedding, a friend told me that there is no way we are doing the wedding without some serious waxing on my part – I’m hairy by nature.  Very hairy, a true lioness.  She whipped out her bag of magic and the process started.  “It’s simple”, she said.  “You simply melt the wax in this very convenient cup that is provided with your product, apply, wait for it the dry and then … rip.  All done!”  Wow, that is really simple, I thought.  Why do I pay to get this done, I thought, and off to the shop I went to buy my own.  That was over a month ago and, for the life of me, I simply could  not find this specific product.  I’m a bit of drab when it comes to buying stuff.  If I know it works, I buy it and I won’t settle for anything else.  Imagine my excitement when the store phoned today to say that their stock have arrived!  I rushed home, finished the last-minute work my boss had given to me and set out on my first attempt at a smoother, sleeker, sexier me.

Because I love you all, here’s what not do.

  1. Do not under any circumstance touch the mug when you take it off the stove.  It is made of metal.  Metal, surprise surprise, is a very good carrier of heat.  Use a glove or oven mit or dish towel or anything – anything other than your bare hands.  It took everything I had to not throw the entire lot on the floor.  The only thing that saved it was the fact that I remembered that I paid for it.  Back on the stove it went while I scampered for the flour.  FYI – another useful tip since I’m already sharing – flour works brilliantly for any kind of burn.  Just stick your hand in the bag or cover the burnt area with flour and leave it to cool.  Once you rinse it off with cold water it will still be sensitive, but it won’t form a blister.
  2. Do not stick your finger in it after (what you imagine to be) a sufficient cooling period.  It’s not going to be cold enough and you will have to go for the flour again.
  3. Do not go for the full facial wax on your first attempt.  You have no idea what you are in for.  Baby steps sister, baby steps.  That little face of yours ain’t so little when it comes to ripping hair out of it
  4. Do not underestimate the amount of hair you have.  Just because you can’t see them, it doesn’t mean that they’re not there.  Believe me, when I tell you this.  There must be a scientific formula for this, but I’m sure it goes something like this.  The amount of hair on your face is an exponential opposite of the number of hair you can see.  Or maybe that’s just me.  When I started this, I could probably spot let’s say 30 wayward strands of hair.  Once wax is applied they breed and 30 turns into a thousand in the blink of an eye.  I’ve always known that there is no such think as the stork and that my parents did actually catch me in the mountains and chopped off my tail.  Today it was proven to me.  OMG do I have a lot of hair!!
  5. Do not underestimate the staying power of hair.  Those little f…… suckers wanna stay.  They like it there.  It is their home.  It is easier to rip the skin off than it is to get those pesky little hairs to up and leave.
  6. Not too thin, Not too thick.  Apply the layer of wax too thinly and you end of yanking of tiny pieces of wax of about 1cm by 1cm.  Apply the layer of wax too thickly and you end up with a clump of gunk on your chin that won’t even crack, let alone give you half an inch of grip to yank it off
  7. Not to fast, not too slow.  If you rip the wax of too fast, it tears.  Too slow and you are just delaying the torture.  You will know exactly where each little hair is based and it will hurt.  Every time.  Without fail.  Get your yanking speed right.
  8. Know the level of torture you are willing to inflict on yourself.  This one is very important.  If you are easily hurt, rather leave this to the professionals.  There is nothing worse than finally getting a decent piece of wax, thin enough and long enough to yank off in one go only to stop halfway because your DNA stops you from inflicting any more pain on yourself.  Again, referring you back to point 3 above.  Baby steps.
  9. Do not start the process while you are waiting for your hair dye to develop to the perfect shade.  It’s not a quick process.  30 minutes into my color developing to a luscious vibrant red, I was only about three-quarters of the way done.  At this point I was torn between rinsing my hair and finishing the wax job.  Wax won and after 45 minutes of developing, my color has turned to a sullen mulberry.  Not at all the vibrant vixen I had in mind.
  10. Get everything of your face before introducing said face to water.  Mmmmm.  I don’t really know how to describe the result without putting a PG rating on this post.  After 45 minutes of yanking and pulling and pleading with every last piece of wax to come off, and my color turning darker by the second, I gave up and headed for the shower with little pieces of wax still stuck to unrelenting pieces of hair and skin.  It turns to gunk.  Think C, no wait D-grade, porn movie.  Sorry if that’s too much for you, but that’s all I can come up with.  It melts and congeals and becomes gooey and stringy and ….. yuck!
  11. Do not forget the finishing wipes.  I, being a newbie, did not even consider that when I made my purchase.  Every pore that’s been relentlessly cleansed of whatever was covering it is now very much alive and in need of some soothing.

Having said all of that, it’s not all bad.  I have (in general) a less fuzzy look and my fingers are still constantly finding little flecks of wax sticking to a tuft here and there like there’s no tomorrow, so it’s keeping me busy.

Save to say, I won’t be trying this again soon.  Ms T, I will need a standing appointment with you every month until we’ve used up every last drop of wax.  You are way better at this than me!

Happiness and hope

I want to write happy stories

I want to capture the magic that is falling in love – flushed cheeks and a fluttering heart, the heat in the pit of your belly as a million butterflies takes flight when your eyes meet, the insomnia that you welcome with open arms as you dream up possibilities and live and breathe hope.

I want to tell long tales of searching and finally finding that thing that fills the whole in one’s soul. The internal – and, yes, sometimes the eternal – battle that ravages your soul as you fight in denial that this might be it and then when you are done fighting and can only accept, then the falling into that thing. The peace that comes with knowing that your search is over and your spirit has found a kindred one; the serenity and comfort as you allow yourself to be wrapped in a warm and nurturing silence where you don’t need to fight or explain or rationalize, where you can just…. be.

Just like the masters of these tales since time immemorial, I want to pen those tales. Those tales are what makes us human, but why does there always have to be pain? I’d like to find the fairy-tale where it just goes smoothly. The one where you can love with the innocence of a child and the completeness of God. If you know of such a tale, please share it with me. Ours is still in the making so it doesn’t quite count. Our story is not done yet.

Is that the kind of love that can only be known in God, when we are dead? What then is our purpose here on earth? It is said “it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all”. Is that true? Is it not better to not know the pain of having your heart ripped out and chewed and spat out on a sidewalk like it never carried life at all? Is it not better to not know the highs and lows of this specific ocean? To what end do we have to endure this suffering.

If I look at Shakespeare, Juliet had to die and Romeo too. If I look at Bella, she loved Edward and Jake the same but different and in the end, only one could win

Love, the central theme of humanity

Why then is it so hard to find the happy ones. I want to tell those tales.

I don’t want to write about fear and anger and I don’t want to cry for every happy ending in a movie – perhaps that’s why I prefer plot-less horrors or predictable thrillers, because I can distance myself from the murder and mayhem and psychosis. Maybe there is something to be said about my psychosis then. Or is that just who I am? Am I just doomed to forever ask the questions that no-one dear speak, to see love blossom and wonder

What if?

To cry at the beauty of a wedding, the innocence and hope….. to cry for the what if… to madly want to protect that and fight for that and nurture that

I want to write the happy ever afters…

Critter Control

Apply yourself
Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not
come easily to you.

I’m a nerd.  Always have and always will be

Learning is something that comes easy to my so my initial thought was to just skip this prompt all together.  What kind of writer would that make me though?  So, I started to think..

My mind went back to school and new jobs and diplomas, but they all came easy.  AHA! My driver’s license, now that surely didn’t come easy (still hasn’t but soon will), but it’s still not in line with the prompt.  I’ve never had my driver’s licence because of a long list of reasons – some valid, some cop-out’s.  The Universe, I suppose, have conspired against me and I against it.  I’ve had my learner’s licence 4 times and am now, FINALLY, at the point where I will be booking my driver’s licence on Tuesday.  With a couple of lessons under the belt, my instructor reckons “I’m a natural”.  Heck, I’ve been a backseat driver long enough, I suppose it’s time for the real deal.  I’ll let you know how that pans out.  So again, I seem to be a quick study…

After my little tantrum earlier in the week, I’ve taken the necessary steps and registered at a college.  Ladies and gentlemen, I now officially have a student number.  I am excited and scared at the same time.  It’s been years since I last studied, but I’m sure I’ll take to it like a fish to water.  The end result is going to take about 3 years to complete, but if you stick around for long enough, I’ll let you know once I’m qualified as an accountant!!!

This is the point where my mind sort of went blank and I couldn’t really come up with anything that has ever been difficult for me to learn.  Just as I was about to give up on this prompt altogether, it dawned on me..

I don’t know if it was a flutterby that gently reminded or a cockroach that tried to derail me, perhaps if I look deep enough, you could call it denial.

Dealing with my bugs is the one thing that’s never come easy to me.  If I had to be brutally honest, I guess in a way I’ve been nurturing them for many years.  It’s only recently that I have recognized their existence and started to make an effort to get rid of them altogether.

A couple of days ago a few of them desperately tried to derail me – and it’s funny how they always try to mess things up when I am making a comeback; when I am strong and confident and raring to go.   Two days after my slight emotional meltdown, I was in full fighting mode.  Confident that I won’t give up and that I will get this done, regardless of what it might take.  Out of nowhere in a moment where I was caught in awe at how much my office plant has grown, they crawled into my brain.  After about 10 minutes of debating and rationalizing and trying to fight them, I managed to scare them off.  It might sound like nothing to you, but it was quite a major feat for me.

To love is easy, to look past someone’s flaws and only see the good in them is easy.  Trusting is not.  Believing is not.  Fighting the critters that come to throw you off track, that is not easy.

So, by the help of Socrates, the wisdom of my love and years of experience, critter control is what I am applying myself to.

Round 1 – me 1, critters 0


Free association
Write down the first words that comes to mind when we
say . . . home. . . soil. . . rain. Use those words in the title of
your post.

Our minds work in mysterious ways…

This prompt immediately took me back to my primary school days: afternoons in my gran’s garden between the fruit trees and vegetables, listening to the neighbor calling his homing pigeons back; then to my mom and I establishing a flower bed in the most horrendous circumstances; then to my carefully manicured garden in Durbanville before it all went up in smoke; then to the garden I have now and how much care I need to take to gather water for my plants; then to the severity of the drought – farmers committing suicide and the total hopelessness that prevails as family estates go to ruin; then (from out of nowhere and for the first time in ages!!) to this – complete fiction.  I hope you enjoy the read (even though it’s sad, but hope always remains)

“Why, Lord, why?  What do you want from me?”  Gertrude’s thermos cup makes a thud on the barren red soil as she drops it on the ground.  The last bit of fight she had in her seeps away as the hot coffee turns the dust to a dark splatter of blood; the ground crying out for water.  She had no more tears left and sat completely broken next to, what used to be, their oasis, willing the skies to fill with clouds and restore this place to its once crowning glory.  Memories washing over her as the last rays of sunlight disappears over horizon turning the now defunct windmill into a dark skeleton on the top of the hill, the Karoo skies open and clear.  Day 1680 without rain had come to an end

“Let’s go away” Cobus had said to her on that evening 10 years ago.  They were busy clearing the dishes  after, yet another, successfully hosted lunch celebrating NatGro’s latest major contract.  Their guests had gone on and on about the perfectly cooked shank paired with a beautiful Franciacorta, an Italian Pinot Noir they brought back from their last visit.  They both smiled dutifully and made small talk as they willed the evening to an end.  They were tired.  Tired to the bone and their souls carried an insatiable hunger for more.  Corporate life had taken its toll, not only on the them but their marriage too.  The glamour couple wanted out.  They longed for the careless days of reading a book, doing a crossword together or going for a walk on the beach; the beach they always dreamed of and eventually bought.  Gertrude turned to Cobus, his reflection a perfect silhouette against the setting sun, waves gently lapping at the shore behind him and suddenly she couldn’t remember the last time they had set foot on that beach. 

“What do you mean?  We’ve just come from France and Germany is 2 weeks away”

“Everything.  Let’s get away from everything.  I love you and I miss you and I’m done with the rat race to signing the next contract and the next one and the next one.  I want my life back.  It never ends!”  The crystal shattered in a million directions as the wine drew a new picture over the painting he bought on auction not even 6 weeks ago.

For a moment of stunned silence Gertrude stared at him, shocked at this sudden show of anger and intrigued by the urgency in voice.  A light flickered in her eye as a spark of excitement flared up within her core.  Getting away from it all has been her biggest desire for a very long time, but he was doing so well, how could she possibly expect him to give it all up because her spirit longed for home.  The small Karoo town where she was born have always been home to her.  Their house was perfect, built to match her every dream, but it was never home.  The more they traveled and the busier they became, the more her soul longed to go home. 

“I thought you were happy here?  Where would we go?  What would we do?”

Cobus took her by the hand, a bottle of wine and two glasses in the other hand and walked her down the pier.  They sat in silence and watched the ocean turn from blue to orange to silver.  He pulled a box from Brown’s out of his pocket and handed it to her.  “I bought you this to celebrate, but I couldn’t remember your favorite color.  Then I realized that there’s a lot I don’t remember.  I don’t remember the smell of your hair as you come out of the shower.  I don’t remember the blush on your cheeks when you are excited.  I don’t remember the last time we had pancakes on the veranda as we read the Sunday paper.  What are we doing?  I see you everyday, we go to bed, we wake up, we talk and eat and travel, but when last did we see into each others soul?”

She tried to speak, the words silenced by his lips as he draws her closer.  The salt of her tears mingled with the smokey white pepper of the wine on his lips.  They sat their and talked as they hadn’t done for ages.  The sky turned black and the milky way shone bright.  When they eventually made their way back to the house, his jacket draped over her shoulders, the full moon lit the way and Gertrude was at peace once more, she knew it was all going to be OK.

5 Weeks later it was all done.  Cobus’ share in the business transferred to his partners, the house sold furniture and all, her SLK and his X5 traded for a WildTrack… all they had in front of them was the 6 hour drive to their new home “La Tranquillita”.  When Cobus first mentioned it, she thought he had gone mad.  A game lodge in the Karoo?!   He was adamant and had already signed the deed of sale.  She was going home!

The next 6 years was spent in bliss.  Cobus spared no expense as the run-down lodge was turned into the most popular place to say outside of the Karoo National Park.  Their days were spent taking tourists on game drives, their evenings next to the fire as he pointed out the constellations she could never remember.  Sundays was her favorite though.  They would take the day off and spend it next to the dam, reading and eating and drinking wine and making love under the willow tree.  They were madly in love and didn’t want for anything.  

The harsh “kak-kak-kak” of a Lanner Falcon rips her from the memories.  She’s surprised to still see one in this area.  The animals and birds which had not died had all migrated by now.  Their oasis lay bare before her.  To think of how it looked…. That was 4 years ago before the rain stopped.

El Nino they had called it and everyone said it wouldn’t last long.  But they were wrong.  At first tourism slowed down as more and more animals died and water restrictions were put in place.  Homes put up for the sale in the first year still found new owners, but the empty skeletons that litter the town now are testimony of lives that were once lived there, of people moving on and starting afresh somewhere else.  Year after year now the farmers had to watch as their sheep die of thirst, how the last bit of greenery disappeared into dust.  Her own vegetable garden turned to nothing more than a highway for tumble-weed, her chicken coop dilapidated and falling apart.

This morning over coffee, exactly 10 years after Cobus declared they had to get away, he looked up from his paper and again said those words.

“We have to get away from here.  Our savings are running out, it’s never going to rain here again.”  The defeated look in his eyes told her what she had already known.  “Mark made me an offer.  I can go back.  We can start over.”

She fled and came here, looking for answers, looking for a way out.  Deep down, however, she knew they had no other choice.  The rat race had won.  They had to go back.

“It won’t be the same, I promise you that, as God is my witness in this barren land, it won’t be the same”  Cobus’ voice jarred her from thought as his arms wrapped around her.

He gently kissed her on the head “This time will be better, going back will not be the same”

Definitely NOT in South Africa, definitely not for me and I going to do it.

I need to be very careful as I put the pen to paper today. I’m seething with anger, hurt, disappointment and disbelieve, so bear with me. I could easily write from an emotional point of view, which is the norm as you know, but doing so could lead to a list of repercussions longer than my arm, so I need to think…

Life is kinda hectic at the moment so I read the daily prompt in the morning and formulate a post as the day goes along. The plan is to pen it at night….

Tuesday’s prompt read like this:

Polite company
“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

Wednesday prompt read like this:

Toot your horn
Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are
not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself

Then today:

In a crisis
Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations.
Are you happy with the way you react?

I still actually don’t know how to not have a full on tantrum right now or how to formulate this post to make it readable or to get across what I have to say.   Do I go back to each of these prompts and deal with them individually or do I take what happened yesterday and just tell the story as a whole?

I just arrived at the office and the lump that was forming in my throat as we approached the office can no longer be contained.  As I sat down at my desk the walls broke and tears are streaming down my face as I write this.  Tears of disappointment and hurt and a knowing that what I’m doing here is pointless.  Tears of anger.  Someone please tell me WTF is up with that?  Why do girls cry when they are angry?  Taking a break to compose myself…

OK, I’m back.  Tuesday’s prompt had me thinking for the longest time.  So much so that I couldn’t really formulate anything coherent by Tuesday evening.  Thing is, you have to be so very careful when you discuss politics in SA at all.  South Africa is a boiling pot of uncertainty and idea of Madiba’s rainbow has disintegrated into nothing.  I don’t like to talk politics, it’s a nasty thing that just seems to get worse by the day.  As I write I constantly have to remind myself to be careful of what I say.  It is, to the best of my knowledge, the only country in the world where the laws are all put in place to protect the majority from the minority.  Crazy hey?  One part of our nation is allowed to say and do what they want and, when lightly tapped over the knuckles for doing so, their defense is that it was taken out of context.  The smallest remark by the other part of our nation leads to huge fines and the threat of imprisonment.  I am stopping myself from saying much more on the topic, because if I allow the floodgates to open, the words will spill uncontrollably.   Madiba’s dream of a rainbow nation is dwindling fast and the last smoldering embers of hope that I once held for a future in South Africa are struggling to say alive as water is poured on it daily.

An opportunity presented itself at work last year for me to study this year and I grabbed it with both hands.  I was so eager and couldn’t wait to start.  It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for years, but have just never been able to do.  Every morning this year I’ve gone to work with the anticipation that today would be the day where we sat down and discussed what’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen.   Yesterday, as I was pondering about what I consider to be my best quality, there was a conversation which sort of opened up the floor for me to ask “About me studying…”.  I wish I didn’t ask.  At least then I could still be in peaceful bliss that it is going to happen.  My best quality in my opinion is my loyalty and work ethic.  You’ll go a long way to find someone who can beat that.  Both my bosses have reiterated that to me.  Clients have confirmed it.  I work like a donkey, everyday without lunch breaks, evenings and weekends if I need to with no overtime, I put everything into my work, my heart and soul, everything.  I was gutted when my boss very nonchalantly answered my question.  “Yes, well,, studying is not going to happen in the next financial year.  It’s not completely off the cards, but it’s going to happen in this period.  You studying will ‘water down’ our BBBEE status and we’ll have to do a learnership for a candidate that will help with our BBBEE status because that is very important.”  Even as I write this, the disappointment saps every little bit of motivation I had out of me.  What’s the point of going the extra mile.  It means nothing because I was born into a group that is considered to be a bad for the economic growth of the company and country.  I can go on for hours about this, but anything I say will be met with “don’t make this a race issue”.  How am I making this a race issue when my opportunity is being ripped out of my hands purely based on my skin color and everything that I do, all my time and effort and loyalty and dedication, means nothing and there is no opportunity, no inkling of hope for advancement?  How can that be fair?

What do I do in crisis?  I fight back.  Somewhere between my tears, lady lion is clawing her way to the top.  I will find a way.  I will study this year.  If I have to take a second job to fund it, I will do so.  I will find a way.

And there, my dear friends, was my eureka moment.  It just dropped.  I remembered one of the scrolls.  Thank you Og Mandino:

“I will persist until I succeed. I was not delivered into this world into defeat, nor does failure course in my veins. I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd. I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep. The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny. I will persist until I succeed.”

That which remains unsaid

On my return to WordPress, I was very disappointed to learn that the “daily prompt” no longer exist. In my amateur opinion everyone, even Steven King and Khalil Gibran needs a spark to get the creative juices flowing. They must, I’m sure, be able to find that spark in the little things every day – a walk in the park or a spilled cup of coffee might lead to a bestselling novel. This aspiring writer is not there yet. So, I rifled through the web in search of something similar and came across their 365 Days of Writing Prompts, which will have to do for now. Granted, I’m a day late, but here’s the one for yesterday:

Ripped from the headlines
Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.

The first headline that caught my eye on News24 was the news that Margaret is now divorced. For those of you who don’t know Margaret, here’s the long and short of it

Margaret, the farmer’s wife on a small town in the middle of nowhere decided to spice things up and delve into the world of sexting with her husband. The photo ended up going to her daughter’s hockey WhatsApp group and went viral from there.

What is not being said in this little story? Who’s to say her husband didn’t ask her for the picture? Who’s to say it wasn’t a regular thing between them? Who’s to say if it was not meant for someone other than her husband? Who’s to say…. Fact is, with it being a small town she was ridiculed and their entire family suffered as a result of one message. Strange thing then, that she decided to move to town while her (now ex-) husband stayed on the farm? It if was me, I would have high tailed out of there in the blink of an eye. So, what is not being said…

The story that developed in my head was a bit 50 Shade-ish (gasp), so I’ll rather not bore you with those details. It got me thinking, however, about everything that remains unsaid and how well we really know people.

I’ve often said that we only really know people as much as they allow us to know them. No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. The smiling, obedient wife might be the victim of abuse. The busy executive who is always away on business might be having an affair. The couple who’s always hosting and throwing lavish parties might be struggling financially. The cheery blond, who is always the life of the party looking for the next adventure, might be an extremely lonely, hurt and scared little girl with tons of issues. The quiet one in the corner with the “leave me alone” expression, might have more to say that anyone would ever know.

There’s a lot to be said for not being a “quiet” person. I would much rather sit back and listen and observe than make small talk. You learn so much about people if you just stop and listen – really listen.

The biggest communication flaw we have is that we hear to respond, we don’t really listen. If you stop and listen instead of just hearing, there is so much to be learned from every day conversations. People don’t realize how they allow little vulnerabilities shine through with things that they say, and when they do it is usually quickly fixed with a joke that leaves everyone roaring with laughter to distract from the truth that was spoken – the truth they don’t want people to know.

If I could have a super-power, it would be to be able to read people’s minds. Then I will really know what is being meant or what truth is hidden or what lie is being sold as gospel. The world has taught us to not verbalize what we really think or feel – we might get rejected, we might be misunderstood, our fears might scare people away, our dreams might be too big for them. So, we keep it to ourselves. We don’t share our innermost wishes and fears and hopes and dreams, because we don’t know how it will be received. And that is where things go wrong.

I could for instance say that I enjoyed my December home making so much that I don’t want to go back to work. My boss might read it and see that my commitment to work is waning, which is completely wrong.

If you can’t be totally truthful about what you feel and want and need – however messed up it might be (I take you back to Margaret and her husband now) – how can we ever have successful relationships? Perhaps Margaret and her husband found themselves in a slump in their marriage and instead of giving up on it, they read 50 Shades and decided to spice things up and work at their marriage. Granted, some people might say if that is the case they went about it the wrong way, but we will never know will we.

The thing is that our thoughts and needs and emotions can be scary. One of Robin Sharma’s tactics is “speak your truth even when it’s scary”. A lot can be achieved by doing just that if, and that’s a big IF, we don’t allow our fears to cloud our minds.

A friend recently suggested that we do a 100% truth evening. The thought of it was so uncomfortable that we decided not to follow through. Do we really want to know the absolute truth of what someone thinks about us and our ideas, would we be able to handle it?

If your “truth” is too much for someone to handle or if your “truth” is not what they want to hear or accept, is that person really the kind of person you need in your circle? I don’t know. Until I’ll do, I’ll continue to listen and share my truth here.