Archive for January, 2011

One Country

So for those of you keeping up with my life and the people in it, I thought you’d like to know that JS’s parents got their farm back! The two main reasons for this are that the Land Grabbers are idiots and the War Vet’s are most certainly not!

Basically the War Veterans are smart enough to know that they need people who can farm the land in order to produce food otherwise they might all starve… They loved JS’s grandfather and his family because they looked after the people who worked on their farm, always! The family also worked just as hard as the people they employ and they won’t expect anything from them that they aren’t willing to sacrifice themselves. So basically the War Vets appreciated this family’s effort and the blood and sweat that went into it. So when these Land Grabbers walked in and decided to take [without consulting the War Veterans] well, let’s just say they were not exactly happy!

After several meetings and protests in Harare at the Land Office and with the War Vets Association, those Land Grabbers were brought to the forefront. Besides the fact that this guy already took 3 other farms and ran them straight into the ground; he doesn’t qualify for land redistribution… he just has some friends in high places who really didn’t like the close relationship this family has with their employees and other War Vets. The Land Office had no choice but to revoke the ruling and give the farm back to the family. The Land Grabbers will also be brought up on charges but their main concern at the moment is derived by the looks they are receiving from the War Vets.

You see, these War Veterans fought for their country and risked their lives. They spent their younger years in training so never had the opportunity to build a business or get land, so the government rightfully wants to give them land. Unfortunately this comes at the price of the farmers who spent their youth working the land or ironically fighting in the same war… just not on the same side. As much as these War Veterans would like a piece of land to call their own and to give to their children one day, they are smart enough to know that they don’t all posses the skills to run a farm. They are perfectly content with working on a farm where they are taken care of and can help produce much needed food for their country.

That is exactly why these Land Grabbers annoy them so much! These Land Grabbers don’t deserve anything! Most of them are too young to have even been in the war! And now they just want to take for the sake of taking. They don’t want anyone to have anything- over looking how hard these people worked to get it in the first place. And to make it worse, when they get the land handed to them on a silver platter, they just let nature take its course and nature can be vicious! They don’t know how to plan and they have no idea what they’re doing and what’s worse is they don’t care… They just don’t care that people are starving! People they went to school with; people they sit in church with! They just want the status and to hell with the rest.

The problem is knowing the difference between Land Grabbers and War Veterans… This is the part that most news networks never pick up on, because they’re not here… they don’t know the people here and they don’t understand the country… Truth is I barely do and I grew up seeing it from a distance and hearing about it over dinner my whole life. I appreciate what the War Veterans Association has done and I’m glad the Land Grabbers won’t just get away with it.

I think it is really important to realize that this isn’t a one sided story. The War Veterans had a tough life; the farmers did what they thought was right their entire lives and now these Land Grabbers just want to walk in and rip off both parties. People in this country are not blind! They don’t miss a thing; they can see what is good for the future of the country, even when the government can’t. They are realizing that fighting among each other is only giving the government more power over them. Since the government officials [corrupt ones of course] are the ones enabling the Land Grabbers, it is becoming increasingly clear to the War Veterans and the farmers that they need to be on the same side: the side of the country! The very thing they went to war for in the first place…

It’s not easy to stand up and say that you now choose to be on the same side as the people you once fought during a war… but it is even harder to see opportunistic bastards destroy your country. The balance in Zimbabwe is switching and new alliances are being formed and the old stereo types are losing its value. Slowly hope is returning to people who have had to endure far more than most of us will ever be able to comprehend.

These people aren’t fighting against anything, for the first time in a really long time, they are fighting for something: their country! This makes me smile.

Sharing my view,

AM

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Zimbabwe Elections

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about Zimbabwe. Mostly that’s because this country is just like any other: we have flood warnings and more summer rain than we’ve been use to in the last few dry years; we have the latest songs on iTunes and the exact same problems that come with living in the 21 century as anyone else. However, in typical African fashion, we’re a bit self-involved…

What I mean by that is that our news only includes 5min of international news and even then it’s mainly based on Africa. So the world could actually collapse and we’d probably only find out about it next week. Instead we are very focused on what’s happening here, right now. One of the major things is this year’s elections.

President Robert Mugabe has been in charge of Zim since their independence 30 years ago. He may be old and rumoured to be even more ill than most people believe he’s been for years but he’s not going anywhere. A lot of people are obviously opposed to him and feel that he is unfair and wrongfully giving certain people privileges they did not earn. He’s also been hugely criticized for behaviour such as going shopping in Paris while half his country can’t afford to buy a loaf of bread. And then there’s the fact that he’s been president for 30 years even though his last 3 elections were less than above board. In the last election he ran unopposed because his adversary wanted to reduce the violence in the country and with protest in mind; he withdrew from the ‘unfair elections’. This forced the world to wake up and look. They had no choice but to step in with sanctions and the Queen of England finally revoked his knighthood a few years ago.

This is all part of resent history but let’s get back to right now. You’d think that with half the country not being able to pay their bills and no municipal water [everyone has their own bore whole] and regular power cuts/ load shedding [most people now have generators] that the citizens of Zimbabwe would be thoroughly fed up and NOT vote for Mugabe again. This is not the case! Firstly there is still a lurking gloom of intimidation, if you don’t vote for dear old Uncle Bob you die… To be honest this intimidation has reduced or at least isn’t as open as it was 10years or even 5years ago. But the fact that the previous elections were surrounded by so much violence has left that threat in the back of the minds of every citizen who wishes to rebel. This knowledge of history and desire not to repeat it or end up like the ‘rebels’ of the last decade is a far more effective scare tactic than anything the current government could come up with.

You need to remember that if the current government is over thrown or loses the election then most of the ministers and party members will be subject to charges of in-humane behaviour. It’s like they are currently still under the protection of ‘post-war’ so they can get away with bending the rules and disregarding the human life but as soon as they are no longer in charge, they will be held accountable for their actions. This provides a very strong motivation for them to remain in control!

The other important factor is the opposition party. They suck. I really can’t put it any clearer than that. I’m not a news blog, so if you want to know how exactly they have managed to become more hated than the current government, you should check out The Herald or whatever news network you prefer. I’m just here to share my view; share what the people around me feel and the things I see that you on the other side of this computer screen can’t possibly know… So the opposition party has managed to disappoint everyone and through their internal power struggle, they have managed to alienate their voters.

In Africa our loyalty lies with our families. We will do anything and everything to protect them and give them the best life possible. But that is as far as our loyalty goes, we don’t have loyalty to our governments because they have proved to misuse that trust through all of the years of corruption. We obviously have loyalty to our country and the physical land, so if a war would break out all our differences would be placed on hold and we’ll be one hell of a force to reckon with but in everyday circumstances, if our government doesn’t live up to their promises, we want them out! We don’t care who our parents voted for or what this party has done for the country in the past; we only care about now and the future. If they can’t deliver, we just won’t vote for them.

In Zimbabwe the level of ‘alleged vote rigging’ is of such a high elevation that people have lost faith in the process itself. So half of the people I know are simply not going to vote. These people are absolutely NOT supporters of the current government but since they have no intention of voting, it’s 20% of the country that Mugabe’s people win by default [if they don’t vote against him it almost counts as a vote for him]. The fact that the opposition party is in a bit of chaos and having their own power struggle is not helping them gain support from the citizens of Zimbabwe. The fear being that they are headed down the same corrupt road Mugabe chose to walk. See they are fighting about power and status within their party and Zimbabweans have seen it enough to know that once you become power hungry, you don’t go back. So far the MDC has been able to portray themselves as human rights activists who want equality for all Zim citizens but as their internal power struggle started to rear its head, people realized that they are not righteous, they are just like most other African leaders: power hungry. Obviously the current government has their fair share of in-fighting but since no one really expects anything from them, we just don’t care…

If the villain in a movie steals candy from a baby it’s not that shocking but if the hero does it, you can’t help but feel betrayed. That is where most Zimbabweans currently find themselves: trapped between hating the current conditions and feeling betrayed by the people who once offered them hope. Considering their dissolution with justice, it is no surprise that most are choosing “the evil we know above the one we don’t”. The way they see it, Mugabe has unequivocally messed up this country but it’s going better than it did 5 years ago and it’s still getting better so maybe, just maybe Mugabe isn’t that bad… The hope being that the worst is over. If they allow someone younger and someone who doesn’t really have the eyes of the world on them, to gain power like those currently on the opposition party, history could repeat itself and this country could end up going through the exact same controversy 30 years from now. That is something this country and its people will not be able to survive!

The current government has its issues but at least the people of Zim are use to their issues and can anticipate what is coming. If a new government that’s proved to be equally power hungry, steps in now, they will have new strategies and unpredictable game plans that will cause far more stress and concern to the voters. So here’s the line I’ve been dreading to write all the way through: Zanu PF can win a fair election come June. Yes, you heard me: Robert Mugabe’s government won’t have to cheat or even make threats to win this year’s election.

There really aren’t that many people left in Zimbabwe [I could give you numbers from a census done a year ago but they would be incredibly inaccurate as so many un-happy Zimbabweans have left the country already]. Those people who should be voting for the opposition because they are truly unsatisfied with the current government has left the country; those who are left and not a fan of the sitting president have spent the last 15 years being threatened or their families murdered so they’re not willing to risk their livelihood for someone less than honourable to come take his place. Most of them agree that voting for the party who threatened you is immoral but simply abstaining from voting is the closest to a protest they can reach. Basically this election the current leaders will once again run unopposed: not because their opposition is protesting but because their voters are.

It’s terribly depressing realizing that your leaders aren’t fit to lead. Whatever you’re reasons may be, not voting is not the most effective way to bring about change. But change is scary and unpredictable and unfortunately in this case, change appears to be for the worse so in an effort to reduce the usual violence that accompanies Zim elections, not voting seems to be the smartest choice…

Just sharing my view,

AM

Happy Endings

In case you missed it: I recently moved halfway around the world to be with my perfect guy in Zimbabwe. Most of my family and our friends still think I’m insane and to be honest I’ve wondered about my logic too but then I just say his name and I can’t wipe the smile off my face…

Our relationship is not exactly or even remotely what you’d consider to be normal. We met 6 years ago and I don’t believe in love at first sight but I really don’t know how else to describe it. The amount of intense feelings that developed between two people who logically knew it was never going to be… I wish I could download the memories from my brain onto the computer so you can see what I mean. Our families have known each other for years so when we met at the age of 16/17 it felt incredibly natural. Unfortunately we lived in different countries so it was destined to be just a summer thing but 3 hours after they started driving home, I was literally love sick. It was the worst feeling in the world, wondering if I’d ever see him again… So we talked and decided to give long distance a shot. Back then it actually worked out well because I would have been way too busy for a 24/7 boyfriend anyway. Obviously we were young so about a year later we called it quits and there were no hard feelings.

We kept in touch and went our separate ways and ended up on different continents. It took the premier of The Proposal and an awe inspiring performance by P!nk followed by a few interviews where she, among other things, declared that “Carey [her almost ex-husband] and I can be apart for ten years but if you put us in a room together, someone’s going to end up pregnant”. The second she said that I recalled saying something [slightly more innocent] about JS when we were together and even after we broke up… so I sent him an email… nothing huge just a ‘hi’ and that led to a really long conversation about regrets and love and what if and I made the choice to not have one of those ‘the one that got away because I was afraid to risk it all’ stories… So I walked away from my entire life and walked directly to him. It’s the easiest decision I’ve ever had to make and I will never regret it.

But now I’m here. Now there’s no 8hour Skype conversations or random emoticons we text each other, it’s full on face-to-face. Don’t get me wrong I love it and there really is nothing as amazing as falling asleep in the arms of the man of your dreams but it’s equally terrifying. The problem is that everyone sort of knows our history and our families and the fact that we fell in love so quickly 6 years ago has translated into everyone believing we’re suppose to act like a couple who’s been together for 6 years… We haven’t… in fact the last 3 months has been the longest we’ve ever been in the same country! You can’t just expect to flip a switch from long distance to intimate and have it all fit perfectly…

When you’re forced to communicate through pixels on a computer screen it’s so much easier to talk about your emotions and show affection than when you’re sitting next to each other and instead of typing “I want to hold your hand” or “lay next to you so that I can hear your heartbeat”, you actually have to do it… That’s the hardest thing for me… it’s like all of a sudden I’ve discovered that I’m shy. Like now people are actually looking at us and seeing that we are in love and eventually they will expect us to get married and have kids and all of that and as much as I love him and, in theory at least, the idea of growing old together makes me smile but it’s a bit much for 2 people who’ve technically only been together 3months.

I think the fact that we are both fiercely independent makes it a bit more difficult for us to realize that we don’t have to do everything alone anymore and we can actually just be next to each other enjoying the moment without thinking about where it’s headed… It’s not easy making the transition from two separate lives into one entity… We still have a lot of work to do in our relationship and it would be a bit easier if we weren’t being compared to every other couple but it’s nothing we can’t handle.

To an extent we both have this overwhelming feeling of: “I’m so incredibly lucky to have him/her in my life” and I think that’s great and hope we never lose it but because we see all the amazing things, we’re willing to settle for less and that has the potential for catastrophic consequences. There’s this saying I’ve used a lot: “Love isn’t blind but because it sees more it’s willing to see less” It’s basically the counter answer to “love is blind” but I never stopped to consider that it could be a bad thing to see only the things that make you great together… like those things you’re suppose to bicker about or despise in each other is actually what makes your relationship grow… The things that prevent you from becoming passive in your love life and settling for anything less than the absolute happiness you deserve.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not enough to just love each other for the individuals you are, you still have to work out how to merge your two lives into your own happy ending.

AM

Five Steps Of Grieving

Call it a poem, call it a song, call it a random string of words but either way this stream of thought I wrote awhile back has always helped me feel more stable when missing someone I’ll never see again became intolerable.

So I thought I’d share it with you: Five Steps Of Grieving

*****

It always gets me how they through around the phrase

Five steps of grieving, like it’s a ‘how to’ page

You don’t know what I’m feeling inside

I don’t even know, coz it’ll come and go

 

Denial is just the start of a process I must face alone

It didn’t happen; it’s not real; this couldn’t happen to me

Sitting in the dark scrolling through the messages on my phone

The light goes on and the penny drops. How can it be?

 

It always gets me how they through around the phrase

Five steps of grieving, like it’s a ‘how to’ page

You don’t know what I’m feeling inside

I don’t even know, coz it’ll come and go

 

Anger follows like a shadow that never leaves, just grow

How could I let it happen; he could’ve done more

Punch a wall and push everyone away, what else can I through?

One wall wouldn’t budge, instead embraced me and calmed my core

 

It always gets me how they through around the phrase

Five steps of grieving, like it’s a ‘how to’ page

You don’t know what I’m feeling inside

I don’t even know, coz it’ll come and go

 

Bargaining is short lived but a desperate cry to our saviour

If this is undone, I promise I’ll be better, I’ll do everything right

Writing up a contract, negotiating the favour

I can’t sign on the dotted line, because it’s a false plight

 

It always gets me how they through around the phrase

Five steps of grieving, like it’s a ‘how to’ page

You don’t know what I’m feeling inside

I don’t even know, coz it’ll come and go

 

Depression is lethal; a combination of issues to stumble threw

Pretending not to be awake, hiding in the corners of my mind

Need to find my inner voice and those who love me too

Picking up and seeking sunlight where ever it, I can find

 

It always gets me how they through around the phrase

Five steps of grieving, like it’s a ‘how to’ page

You don’t know what I’m feeling inside

I don’t even know, coz it’ll come and go

 

Acceptance alluding, mostly fleeting, not set in stone

Everything happens for a reason but so do I

Can’t change it, I feel it, through a dog a bone

I’m fine for now, with a family that loves me, knowing tomorrow I might cry

 

It’ll come and go

Love will surround me

I’ll survive

I’m not alone

*****

 AM

I see you

Since the release of P!nk and Dave Meyers’ F***in’ Perfect music video, there has been a lot of talk involving suicide and the sheer hopelessness many people feel every day.

Unfortunately we live in a world where practically no one can say that they have never known someone who contemplated giving up on life. We live in a time when there is so much pressure, not just from the outside world but even from the family who’s suppose to be your corner stone during times of doubt. And what’s worse is the pressure we place on ourselves… you rarely hear someone say: “I’m awesome!” and actually mean it and in the unlikely event that they do, we tend to label them as arrogant and obnoxious. It’s almost like we designed the world so that we can’t win.

Then one day a musician takes the time to look at her fans and see that they are terrified; terrified of being no one; terrified of letting themselves down; terrified to let their true colours show. Instead of just ignoring it, this amazing person who has a great talent for writing and an even greater one for getting people to listen, decides to upset the apple cart once more: she writes a song about alienation and depression. She’s not arrogant enough to believe that she has a solution but she’s willing to give it a shot… Her goal: “That it promotes awareness and change, or at least some discussion”. So far that’s exactly what’s happening!

In my final year of high school three of my six closest friends wanted to commit suicide. Actually to be fair the one guy was just severely depressed and refused to eat or move and he only talked about suicide. It’s that ‘only’ word that sends shivers down my spine. Like thinking about giving up on your life and yourself isn’t bad enough? Well it is! And believe me, I have spent many a day since then worrying about my friends because I missed ‘the signs’ the first time around and I said ‘only’. My friends who went a bit further than just thinking about it tried it, thankfully for us they didn’t know what they were doing so we found them in time but they still spent months [some of the best months of anyone’s life time] in hospitals and clinics. They still have to make that choice everyday: choose life. Every time they face a challenge they have flashbacks to that moment they felt so absolutely powerless that they couldn’t see any way out of it… And then they remember that they made it through. It wasn’t easy and this challenge ahead of them won’t be easy either but they’ve made it once so they can survive anything. When we talk about those years in High School now, they don’t remember the millions of little things that kept piling up on them, they remember us, their friends, huddling around them. They remember the strength they got from knowing that we are there for them.

It’s just sad that they couldn’t realize that we have always been there ready to tell them that they are amazing and a simple conversation with them about the weather would make us smile. It’s tough knowing that we came so close to losing our friends to the insecurities of feeling unseen and unheard. It’s something that has altered my perception of showing emotions: I always preferred being stoic and showing emotions only when I really had to but the fact that my best friend could be standing next to me laughing and joking one minute and attempt suicide the next shook me to the core. To think that behind that laugh was thoughts of feeling utterly alone and numb… Since that memory still haunts me, I now live by the rule that ‘I call them as I see them’. If I get even the slightest inkling that you are not 100% alright, then I’ll tell you that you’re fuckin’ perfect to me! Remind you that you make me feel more alive simply by allowing me to be in your presence. I still wonder if one line of approval or that one hug could have saved my friends this entire trauma… but we can’t dwell on the past, all we can do is help others walk a different path.

Loosing someone is never easy! Losing them to suicide or depression is a lot harder because the guilt is so much worse! We see so many friends and acquaintances every day and instead of telling them that their tie looks awesome or that their hair due brings out the blue in their eyes, we just walk by. We keep it to ourselves thinking they already know or that someone else will tell them. What if no one ever tells them? What if you could make their day simply by acknowledging that you notice them? In the traditional Zulu culture they don’t really have a word for ‘hello’ and if you translated what they use instead it would akin to “I see [the real] you”. They’re pretty much saying they see your spirit and the person you really are. So next time you think about walking past someone without a word, just think about seeing them and say hello. Let them know that they’re not alone and more importantly remind yourself that you are not alone!

A song and a video won’t reduce the number of suicide attempts but maybe the people who listen and watch them will.

Please,

AM

*If you or someone you know needs help, please visit TWLOHA

*If you ever want to talk the quickest way to reach me is through twitter @am_mf

Public Display Of Affection

When I was little I use to love hugs. Giving them, getting them and even sharing them. Then I grew up.

We moved when I was 7 and somehow to me hugging didn’t seem as natural and part of me thought: ‘why bother, if you get too close to people you’ll end up moving again’. But I had this one friend in High School who wouldn’t give up long after everyone else stopped trying to hug me because they knew how uncomfortable it made me. My friend didn’t seem to notice the expression of ‘get it off me’ every time she hugged me but I sure noticed the expression of joy on her face every time she hugged me. So logically I drew the conclusion that something that could give her that much pleasure couldn’t really be that bad…

Anyway, I became a hugger again and had no problem with showing emotion that is until I moved to London. It’s like the rush and chaos has a way of closing you up. Like if you let your true colours show for even just a moment, you would immediately be vulnerable to the judgement of 2 million strangers. So I learned how to be stoic around everyone except my 10 closest friends and it seemed pretty sane and logical. That is of course until I moved to Zimbabwe and wanted to greet JS’s (my future husband) grandmother with a handshake.

In my defence, I honestly didn’t know who she was and for all I knew she could have been a random stranger who was just buying chickens but still: a handshake? I guess to some extent that is a reflex I picked up working in the hotel. It’s not like you’d hug a random guest right? But here’s the thing: I want to be the hugger again. When it’s just me, JS, his brother and parents its ok, I’m all affectionate and lovey-dovey but as soon as we’re out of that comfort zone it’s like ‘what? Holding hands? In public?’ and that’s weird!

Seriously, I love this man more than words could express and I hate having to get up in the morning because I’d rather spend the entire day in his arms. So why is any public display of affection such a challenge for me? I really don’t know. I’m still working it out…

I’m just glad our whole lives aren’t lived in the public eye. I’m glad for those moments when it’s just the two of us and we’re watching some Disney classic while our heartbeats try to find its sync.

AM

Believing

I’m a Christian. I think our religion is pretty passive. The whole ‘free will’ thing has led us to believe that we don’t have to convert others, we just have to live our lives with our beliefs and sooner or later everyone else would come around. Just to be clear: this is not a testimonial or a big speech designed to make everyone choose God. In fact I have several friends who are Atheists and I respect the fact that it is their choice, personally I have just seen too much in my life not too believe in God. For instance- my aunt has a form of MS (Multiple Scyros’s), I really can’t spell the full name of her condition but needless to say it is not something you recover from. For the last four years her body has slowly been giving up on her. About two years ago she was in a wheelchair and couldn’t sit up for more than 3 hours at a time. Doctors told the family to say our goodbyes because she wouldn’t make it to Christmas. Well that was 2 years ago. And to the astonishment and total disbelief of some of the best doctors in the world, she got better. With MS ‘better’ is generally classified as ‘not getting worse’ but in my aunts case a considerable amount of prayers and faith did what medicine could not as she regained her motor skills.Her biggest achievement was being able to take a bath on her own again. Something as simple as getting in and out of a bathtub without help gave her the strength to carry on. Doctors have tried to explain this recovery and with all their science and research have come up short. To me there is no question that God is in control. Trust me, I’ve done my best to disprove this life style choice and even screw up His master plan or at least the one He has for me but no matter how deep into trouble I manage to get myself; He still finds a way to pull me out. To turn something I see as the worst possible ‘my life is over’ moment into the best thing that ever happened to me. At the moment my aunt is in hospital because her heart is getting tired of beating. A lot of people have asked how I can believe in a god that allows suffering. I don’t know how to answer them, except to say that she has had 2 years more than her earthly doctors would have given her; she has had time to reconnect with her sisters and brother; she has had time to see her children graduate and fall in love. This won’t make up for any of the moments she might miss out on but it’s something none the less. Right now my family is praying for her to pull through and continue her normal life. But in all fairness, I can’t pray for that… Firstly because I can’t see the future and I don’t know what’s best for everyone involved and secondly because I know what her family has been sacrificing over the last few years and I know in how much pain she is every day. I can’t pretend that if she pulls through this that everything will magically be ok, because it won’t. It might be ok for a bit but her kids have placed their lives on hold to be close to her in the last few years and her husband barely sleeps because he’s afraid if he closes his eyes for too long, he might wake up to her not waking up. So instead I’m choosing to trust in God and know that He sees further than we can. “Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see” so I’m sure everything will work out for the best and certain that my family will continue to love each other and God forever more. It may sound corny but it’s my beliefs and I will defend them to the ends of the earth. I believe in God and that His gifts and call are irrevocable. I have always been open about my religious beliefs and I don’t see that changing. I don’t expect everyone to share my view but as long as you have one, I’ll be willing to discuss mine with you. At the end of the day it is good to know that God is in control and not some silly president sitting in an office somewhere… AM

I’m a coward

I was sitting around for most of the day talking to some friends. I call them friends because they know more about me than the people I grew up with…

I can tell you about the number of friends I have on Facebook or Linked or about my follower count on Twitter like it even matters; I can tell you about my best friends in High School and I can tell you about my amazing buddies from college or that group of friends I experimented with on my 21st birthday but if you were to ask me right now where I’d go when it felt like my whole world was coming apart or even if I just needed a hug, I wouldn’t be able to name one person.

I think that’s pretty pathetic, actually I think that makes me a huge coward! In this day and age, I can’t even trust one single person in my life with the most important part of me? How messed up is that? I can’t pin-point the exact date it happened, because I wasn’t always like this. I use to trust. I just remember this series of moments where in I discovered the person I cared about most throughout my life, never even cared enough about me to listen to me and my mother, well let’s just say that I chose to believe the lie rather than believe that she could lie to me. And as it turns out my family has this deep dark secret no one wants to let me in on but I know enough to know that my father wasn’t who he seemed to be… So that pretty much rules out all blood relatives.

As for friends, yeah I have those… I’m not a total recluse but the thing is I know their lives. I know the problems they are facing and honestly don’t want to bother them with whatever pathetic thing seems to be bugging me right now. So here I stand… very uncertain and very scared… My friends are amazing but if I can’t trust my family, I have no hope of trusting my friends so I’m just stuck. Stuck in this place where I keep everything to myself and hope that the feeling will just resolve itself.

You know what the weirdest thing is: I’m writing something that any random stranger with internet can pick up on and even though I’ll never meet anyone who reads this, I’m still too petrified to let it all out. I know I’m just ranting and none of this really has a point, I just thought it would be a good idea for me to document this moment, so ten years from now when I find myself unable to trust my future husband I won’t have the excuse of: “I didn’t see it coming”.

Clearly I’m having a weird day and I’m not even upset about anything, except the fact that I wouldn’t have someone to talk to if I were upset. Whatever, I’m just having a weird day. I’m a coward for not trusting the people in my life, even though I have every reason in the world to trust them.

AM

@MrKennethTong’s Retraction

The conspiracy theorist in me wants to believe that Mr Kenneth Tong’s retraction of all his obscenities is just his way of back paddling.

For those of you not exactly in the loop, this guy basically enraged half the world by stating that thinner is always better. He also went way overboard by stating that there’s such a thing as ‘managed anorexia’ which is where he picked up most of his haters. This debate about body image and eating disorders have been going on for about a week now and last night @MrKennethTong proclaimed via Twitter that it was all a hoax. That he only did it to prove a point. Basically he endangered hundreds of lives and billions of minds to win a bet.

If you think I’m giving this guy way too much credit, then maybe you haven’t been paying attention to social media! This man, whoever he may be, proved that you can go from nothing to world famous using less than 140 characters. Another example of social marketing gone wrong is this Australian company who decided to use a tragedy like floods to gain popularity and well, needless to say instead of people liking it, they were looking for the ‘just donate asshole!’ button. If anyone in the 21st century still doubts the importance of social networking, you’ll probably catch up next week when all of this news makes it to your TV screen…

To get back to the dipshit who managed to bring up insecurities in SO many people simply by typing a few letters on a keyboard, while hiding away behind his computer screen: I’ve been wondering why we as a population got so upset? The majority of the world believes that inner beauty is what really matters. So if we believe that we should not judge each other and that no one should be allowed to judge us then all that remains is, well… us. Did we get so upset simply because we walk around judging ourselves all day? Did this guy accidently manage to stumble upon something we all thought wasn’t a problem anymore? Honestly I cannot explain why we all got on our high horse, advocating self love and looking deeper than appearances, unless we did it to convince ourselves. Why else would everyone on my twitter feed have thrown in their two sense?

I actually think Twitter was the best place for this debate to start. Firstly because of the shear amount of human traffic: you can’t deny that news spreads quicker and feedback is instant. Secondly and slightly more importantly: how many of you actually know what the people on your feed look like? I can honestly say that out of the 90 people I follow, I only know what a handful of them actually look like. So, on a site like Twitter, the temptation of judging a book by its superficial cover is completely removed. With social media it is your opinions and thoughts that create the appearance not your age or body size. Did we accidently manage to create the start of an utopian-like world by getting so into social networking? Maybe, maybe we still have a long way to go. Maybe these outrageous comments have sparked a trend to ensure that people never stop standing up for their beliefs or at least remain willing to fight for their opinions.

In the end it doesn’t really matter what Mr Kenneth Tong really believes because he’ll still be spending this week and a great deal of his life talking to the media about eating-disorders. No matter what his intention was, he got people to think and that’s never a bad thing…

Sharing my view,

AM

Normal

I always believed I was exceptionally ordinary and in a lot of ways I really am very normal. But I spent Christmas completely out of my comfort zone. I spent it with my future husband and his family. As it turns out there were actually a lot of my second cousins at this Christmas lunch but that’s a story for a different time. I grew up an only child and here I was with JS and his brother and we were doing sibling-like stuff and it was all brand new to me! Their mother and father treated me like their daughter and like we were still little kids covered under their protective watch. It was so relaxing: to just be there without having to be responsible for anything or even play referee and peace maker. It reminded me of a time (when I was about 3 or 4 years old) and I could sit on my dad’s shoulders and playing with my mom’s rings in church. A time when I felt safe. A time when my biggest worry was whether to put the catch-up next to or on my fries… This all seems rather silly but it’s like I’ve managed to be the adult in my relationship with my parents for so long that I honestly have no idea how to rely on them anymore… I’m always on guard around my mother and even my aunts and other relatives because I know it’s only a matter of time before they’ll need a level head to sort their little disputes and somehow, that level head has become me. The cherry on the cake was the cooler box. When we were leaving after spending the week there, they packed this cooler box full of fresh fruit and vegetables out of their garden and milk and meat from the farm and I actually stood there with my mouth open. I remember my grandmother doing the same thing for my uncle when he was still in college but my dad didn’t believe in that. My dad believed that parents raise you and give you everything they can until you finish school and then it’s your turn to start taking care of them. So when we went to visit my grandparents, we always took meat and chips and drinks and whatever along. We’d use most of it while we were staying there but at least it’s the thought that counts. So seeing them give JS this cooler box was the single most amazing thing I’ve seen all year! I know that you probably won’t see this as significant at all but to me it was huge! To have your parents still take care of you and show you this kind of love was something I had completely forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, my parents gave me everything I could ever have wanted and I know they loved me, I just haven’t experienced it in a while. My dad died 4 years ago so he never really had the opportunity to hand me a cooler box and shortly after, I moved to London which made the whole concept irrelevant since my mother was still in South Africa. I don’t really know how to explain it but it feels like I’ve lost touch with my mother, even though we Skype and call all the time… ok, maybe not all the time, more like once a week. My point is just that this simple thing that is so normal to this family that they don’t even notice it anymore has had me longing for simpler times for two weeks now… My mother will never give me a cooler box full of food: firstly because we don’t live in the same country and secondly because I won’t let her. I am the one who’ll send her a care package and make sure she doesn’t need anything, not the other way round. That might not be exactly normal for a 23 year old but I’m sure it’s not that uncommon either. And then there’s the matter of my mother’s boyfriend. That is such a weird phrase: my mother’s boyfriend. When did that become normal? When did family dynamics start changing? How did I get from Mom, Dad and me to Mom and her boyfriend and his son and his girlfriend and his mother? How did normal change definition without me even noticing? I just thought I’d share these questions that have been crossing my mind over the last few days with the rest of you. Maybe you’ve been wondering the same thing? Maybe normal really is relative or rather: irrelevant. Maybe I should stop focusing on what I’ll never have and just enjoy the many blessings I do have… Just a thought, AM

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