Archive for September, 2012

Today was better

So yesterday I was a bit all over the place…

Today, it was better. I felt really tired for no real reason but I did manage to get a lot done and that is always a positive. So I guess this is one of those rare moments where you get to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel; that every dark cloud has a silver lining and what ever other cliche you can come up with… in a really short space of time.

I share a lot of the darker moments on here (not darkest) and sometimes I forget to share the small victories with you too. So this is just a little ‘Thank You for caring’ along with a glimmer of hope… You may not realize it but every time you notice my ramblings, I feel less alone and that support is invaluble. I appreciate your support and I am offering all of you my support as well.

Much love

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Too tired

It’s been a hard/weird few weeks… not that a lot have been going on, just that it’s been getting to me. I’ve had a bit of trouble keeping everything negative away from me but instead it has just overwhelmed me.

There hasn’t been anything in particular that should have made me feel this way. In fact it’s been a pretty low key month so far. And that’s coming from someone who has instinctively always hated September. But I just don’t have any energy and zero drive. It’s hard enough trying to get up in the morning but then half way through the day it gets sort of worse because not only am I frustrated that I can’t make more out of the day but I also start thinking about how soon this day will end and how little I would have accomplished only to have to attempt it all over again in less than 24 hours… this feeling sucks.

I know a lot of you feel this way too. So here’s my bit of wisdom thrown in with this too tired to talk attitude: it’s ok. Today can suck and tomorrow can suck too but one of these days it will be better and in that moment it really is worth the effort. I’ve learned that no matter how much I want to withdraw and hide from the world, I must resist the urge and take that first step. Simply saying hi to someone or taking a second to allow others in is a big part of recovery… It’s not easy but I really need to do that more…

So here’s the deal: when you feel at your lowest (so low that even your favourite artist can not make you smile) talk to someone… talk to a friend; talk to a colleague; talk to an old high school friend; talk to a cousin…. or talk to me.

We all feel so alone, yet we really aren’t. There are more people who suffer in silence than we realize and it is up to us to break that silence. So here I am, saying that my week sucked but writing this little post that someone might read some day and that might just give them a little bit of hope, this makes me feel a whole lot better.

Just sharing my view, hoping you’ll share yours too…

The Other Side Of Racism

I grew up in South Africa, so I’ve always been really aware of racial conflict and the prejudice that can come with it. My country has worked really hard to make sure that there is a generation that cares more about your intentions than the colour of your skin…

We always talked about the aspects of racism… a lot…. and I also spent a lot of time apologizing for things I didn’t even do. The thing is, racism is very much about misguided hate and cultural ignorance. So why am I talking about this? Well, today I was walking down the street and… wait, first I need to make sure you know that I now live in Zimbabwe. There are a lot of similarities between Zim and SA but there are also a whole lot of differences – the positive ones are the reason I moved here and the weird ones are the reason I started this blog…. So, I was walking down the street in a small town in Zimbabwe and I greeted a stranger.

OK, I’m pretty sure I lost you there. I know it’s polite to greet people and throughout my life I have greeted a lot of strangers and none of those times have been worth mentioning. SO what makes this time different? Well, I guess it’s the way I felt and what I thought when I was greeting this stranger. I felt relieved and a faint recognition. Like I was relieved to see another person who has the same cultural back ground that I do. I felt recognition because for the first time in my life today, I felt like a minority. I felt completely out-of-place and seeing someone who could speak my first language, reminded me that I’m not alone.

It was a weird feeling. Really weird. I’m not really sure how I feel about this. On the one hand I feel guilty because in that one moment I obviously reacted to a part of me I didn’t know existed and I’m not sure I liked it. But on the other hand, this is not something that I do. It is not something I have ever done in the 25 years I have been alive and it is not something I think I’ll ever experience again, so technically I didn’t do anything wrong… I mean, it’s not like I disliked someone for having a different culture to mine or even liked this one who has the same culture I do more… I just felt comforted by not being alone…

Not sure how much sense that makes. This is just a moment in my life that felt different and made me feel like an outsider in my own life. Something I can’t explain but for the first time in my life I felt like a minority… I felt ‘different’… like I wasn’t allowed to be me… Since I’ve lived my whole life as a minority I find it strange that this sneaked up on me, now. Even all of those times we were in school and forced to learn the same piece of History over and over again and discuss the same one-sided books and we’re allowed to have an opinion and all those times you were looked at weirdly because of your appearance… even through all of those moments, I never felt isolated or like I wasn’t allowed to be this part of me that I can not change.

So, I guess today I just want to say: I may be a minority in a lot of aspects of my life but I refuse to allow anyone – even myself – force me to feel bad about it.

Be Kind To You

Last week I launched an impromptu challenge to all of our twitter followers. The concept seemed simple enough: write something positive about yourself down on a piece of paper and then stick it to your mirror…

Nothing complicated about that right? Well, not really. Have ever really thought about it: thought about the things that you think about? Thought about the way you see yourself? Thought about all of the times that you judge yourself? Well when it comes right down to it, there are way more negative thoughts floating around inside our heads than positive ones. This needs to stop! We need to get rid of these negative leeches but by doing taking this challenge with our followers, I discovered something. A big flaw in my strategy… You can’t just push the negative thoughts aside or magically find positive ones, it takes work and time.

So, we’ve adjusted the challenge. Basic psychology reminds us that you can’t change a habit (which is what thinking these negative thoughts is- a habit) You have to replace it with something else. So the revised challenge is to start by admitting that you are thinking negative thoughts and then re think the thought while looking for a positive silver lining…

Yes, ok… it might seem idealistic but why? Why can’t we take back control of our thoughts? Why can’t we fight to be positive? I don’t see any reason why we have to allow ourselves to stay trapped in this sucky circle of destruction. Yes, I know that sometimes we have mental health issues or even physical issues that can contribute to our negativity but that doesn’t mean we get to stop trying… it is still your life, no matter what!

So here’s the logistics

Step 1: Write down the negative thoughts that have gotten stuck in your head, on a piece of paper and stick it to your mirror. This might seem counter productive at first: why would you want to be reminded of the negative thoughts? Well, you don’t want to be reminded of it but you still have to admit to it to yourself before you can start working on changing it.

Step 2: This is crucial!! You need to take a second and re-think that negative thought and finding a silver lining to that dark cloud. Once you have thought of a less negative way of seeing that particular feature, write it on a piece of paper and stick it OVER that negative thought.

Yes, that is the challenge… Get rid of the negative thoughts in your head by putting them on paper and then replace that negative thought with a positive one: first on paper and then in your head and your heart.

This isn’t always going to be easy. This isn’t something you can do for a day and suddenly be fixed. This is just one more step we can actively take to get our lives back get control back.

Are you up for the challenge? 

Get me through today

Spent yesterday sitting around a table drinking and eating and chatting with friends…

This might not really sound interesting to any of you but for me it’s a big deal! I use to like going out and hanging out and just being out. But slowly it’s become harder for me to do these normal things. It’s effort for me to sit there and just relax; it’s like I’m always on edge; expecting something bad to happen or like whatever I’m doing is not enough and if I take my eye off the ball for a second my whole world will fall apart…

But yesterday was different. I actually had fun. I laughed out loud in public! And I wasn’t surrounded by the usual 4people who have become my social safety net. I was sitting there alone with people I haven’t seen in months and people who knew all about me even though I barely knew a thing about them; people who were judging me and expecting things from me and I didn’t mind it. In fact, I enjoyed the attention. It was really amazing!

It started with a very normal coffee and shopping for lunch for 30people followed by a slow drive out to the dam. Headed to the kitchen to cut some onions and wash some potatoes. Standing by the fire with a beer in one hand and sunglasses in the other. Just chatting and hanging out… Something I have not had the guts to do in a really long time. We talked all day, ate some food, had a few more drinks and talked some more. Here’s the thing though: even though I drank way past my capacity, I wasn’t drunk. I didn’t want to be… I could actually handle the social anxiety without a vice.

And you know what the best part was: waking up this morning. Waking up and not regretting it! Waking up and smiling because I remember the fun we had yesterday. Waking up and feeling revitalized because I made the most out of yesterday. Waking up and having hope that today could be filled with the same kind of… fun. Waking up and knowing that I can be happy.

Yesterday allowed me to get through today… I need to have more days like yesterday.

I’m a Fucker

I wanted to start this post by saying that all of you know that I am a P!NK fan but then I realized that it’s been quite a while since I actually spoke about it on here…

So for those of you who haven’t been around long enough to experience this side of me: I’m a P!nk Fucker! I never really got around to liking music when I was in High School. I mean, I listened to music – stuff my parents played that I will always love and probably make my children listen to one day as well and also all the pop stuff that I didn’t really get… I listened to Westlife and Michael Learns To Rock because that’s what my friends were doing; I listened to Country and because that’s what my parents danced to; I listened to because that’s what made my grandmother happy; I listened to Katie Malua because I liked words more than the beat because I still have no rhythm; I listened to Avril Lavigne because my boyfriend made me a mixed CD and I listened to the most awesome Christian Rock music because I got to express my faith openly.

You’re probably wondering when I’m going to get to the P!nk part, well in High School I sort of touched on it but growing up in South Africa meant we were a bit behind in ‘new releases’ so all I really got was Get The Party Started. I wasn’t impressed by the song on the radio because it wasn’t really the type of thing I listened to and also the artist sounded totally pompous… BUT then I saw the music video. At this point in my life I was still very set on becoming a movie director so I judged all things visually with a harsh air of pretentious arrogance (yes those are both synonyms for pompous… ironic). I was surprised to find out how young the artist was, I was also pleasantly surprised by the humour in the video… it gave the song a new depth and to me that is exactly what music videos were suppose to do. So that was my first encounter with P!nk. During the next 5years there wasn’t a lot of P!nk in my life but I did come across ‘You Make Me Sick’ I found the music video… disturbing and frustrating… I loved the car spinning upside down; I loved the throwing stuff fight but the whole naked rose pedals thing freaked me out – I know it had to do with the whole ‘war of roses’ theme but at that age the whole naked famous person in a video made me feel like she was selling out to an image and that disappointed me a bit. In her defence, she was still pretty young and new to the industry.

A couple of years went by and unawares to me, P!nk was a busy girl and turned into an amazing women who went after everything she wanted and didn’t mind opening up about everything that she was facing. In 2009 I was working in a 5* hotel in London and we were in the middle of trying to win – ok steal – a huge client from 2 other top hotels. It may not sound like a big deal but this account was worth a lot of money so the pressure was on and there were 4 of us who were still studying Hospitality Management and we really wanted to prove ourselves… we were good at what we did and we always wanted to finish what we started, which in this case meant that we were at the hotel every day from 5am until 2am the next day (most days we didn’t even go home, we crashed in a random hotel room – benefit of working in one – or just drank a lot of coffee to get through the day) for 5days a week for 6weeks. We also had other functions to attend to during this time so don’t think we had a day off… a slow day was one where we actually got to go home or worked less than 16hours. We had a huge team of inexperienced guys that we needed to control and motivate. So during the first week we were in the Ballroom and resetting for lunch and the Gigantic Screens were down playing Sky News and we sort of looked at each other and realized that we could change the channel and put on MTV. As we did this, So What by P!nk started playing and everyone picked up the pace. Needles to say: the song got stuck in my head – first time that I heard it. Around 2pm we were clearing up after lunch and people were getting quite tired and irritable. Most of our morning team would be leaving in an hour at which point we would be getting fresh reinforcements. Those of us pulling double shifts were slightly irritated by the complaints of people who would be able to rest in an hours time leaving us behind to complete another 11hours of non stop work… and in a spontaneous fashion which was highly unusual of me I sang ‘Nanananananana I wanna start a fight!’ and everyone laughed. It was at this point that I realized that music could relieve the tension and that I didn’t know the rest of that song… I also called the song ‘I wanna start a fight’ and was quickly corrected by a few French Fans who continued to educate me about all things P!nk and that lead to a marathon of listening to all of her albums.

I fell in love with ‘Long Way To Happy’ on I’m Not Dead and as I finished reading the words in the album cover booklet I glanced over at the credits and saw A.Moore listed as writer on almost every song of the album… It didn’t get it just then, I had to google it before I realized that A.Moore was P!nk… Alecia Beth Moore.

This changed everything! She went from an ok singer who made a few cool music videos to an artist who was daring to bear her soul to an unforgiving world. There were still so few artists who were actually good enough to write their own songs and few of those actually write about their own experiences. I simply had to hear more of this honesty and with the magic of the music store down the road, I had them all! At work ‘So What’ became our theme song. Every time we got frustrated or tired or just annoyed we started singing and everything seemed less stressful. So at the end of the event we were all exhausted but we survived and we won the clients over. One of the chefs who were with us through it all bought us tickets to P!nk’s Funhouse show at the O2.

Even though I was pretty hooked on her writing, I hated live shows because I use to organize them and feel sort of left out watching them rather than being behind the scenes – probably why I did so well with event management at the hotel. So when we decided to go to the show, it was more like a joke. Just a way for us to celebrate that we survived a hectic month and I didn’t expect much, we even got tickets quite far in the stands and it was more about us than P!nk – I feel like I should apologize here… Any way, P!nk sounds a million times better live than on an album! She also came out and did an entire song on a couch! A couch!!! I didn’t think that was possible; how can you spend 5min in the exact same spot and keep the attention of thousands of people? Well she definitely kept our attention! And then there were all of these insane acrobatics and Cirque du Soleil stuff that would scare the crap out of most people and she did all of it while singing live!! Yes LIVE!! While hanging upside down! Without a harness!! She sounded amazing!! She was funny – even after almost falling because her silks were not properly secured! As if that’s not enough, she slowed it down and sat at the edge of the stage – barefoot – singing ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ accompanied only by her guitarist… It was amazing!!!

Anyway, moving on from the awesomeness that is P!nk singing live: what impressed me most was her faith in humanity. What I mean by that is that the songs she wrote was so open and honest and raw and the fact that she was sharing her experience and views knowing full well that the world will judge her for every single word but she had faith that for every one who judged her, one person would accept her and thank her for allowing them to feel less alone. She is willing to take on issues most people tip toe around or feel to embarrassed to talk about and she’s doing this because to her writing is therapy and sharing her realizations might just help someone else who is also trying to fight through the same pain…

I’ve always said that I like music but I don’t really have a particular artist I like… until P!nk. I am a fan. I am a P!nk Fucker. I am an underdog! I am fighting my demons and willing to stand up for those who are doing the same. I always felt like I came late to the P!nk party but recently I’ve realized that that is the best thing that could have happened. If I had listened to Can’t Take Me Home religiously, I might have fallen into the trap of believing that P!nk was just an angry teenage girl who was the anti-Britney but instead I skipped right to the awesome part; the part where P!nk started showing Alecia Moore to the world… I am completely in awe of P!nk and don’t see that changing anytime soon!

Every song that comes out of her heart is even better than the one before; as a fan we have the opportunity to grow with her and usually end up learning something about ourselves as well or at least having one of those I-feel-that-way-too moments. Being a Fucker is way more than listening to P!nk’s music, it means you care about the things she cares about… it means you understand what she feels… it means you connect with other people who feel the same way she does and essentially the same way you do… you connect with people on the other side of the world of different ages who have felt the same emotions depicted in her songs. So I will always be a P!nk Underdog…

Worth the fight

I don’t do discussions about ED just because I care; I do it because I’ve been there. Every bite is a mixture between a victory lap and the sinking feeling of defeat. I don’t talk about mental health just because a few of my friends have tried to commit suicide, I do it because as soon as I open my eyes I have to start fighting a daily battle just to make myself get out of bed… And then I look at the person next to me and it seems to come so naturally to them. I don’t speak openly about self-harm just because I’m worried that my little cousins or even my kids one day will be stuck in this same pattern of pain. I do it for them and everyone out there feeling as alone as I have felt most of my life… to a large degree I do it for me.

There are a million things I feel I should say to all of you bothering to read this little piece of me but basically I just want you to know that you are not alone and slowly but surely we are all learning to understand not just the disorders and illnesses that mess with us on a regular basis but we are also helping others understand that there is more to us than a frustrating diagnosis. You are amazing and if today is not going that well. Just remember one little good thing that has made you smile in your life so far. You just need one little reason to smile, even just for a moment… It does get better and it is worth the fight.

You are not alone

Blogger

I’ve been wondering for the last few weeks why I still have this blog. When I started it 18months ago it was partially to help me deal with my new surroundings but mainly to share this new experience with others who might never have the opportunity to see what I see on a daily bases. Hence the name: Sharing My View.

And that’s exactly what I did… in the beginning. I shared deeply personal feelings and quite a few political experiences. But I seem to have become desensitized. I stopped reading the local news and it’s sort of an ‘out of sight out of mind’ thing. So that sucks. A small town has its own set of politics but as is the case with most small towns: it’s easier to trace everything back to the source and keeping a secret is never a long term plan.

As for sharing what’s in my heart, I just don’t know… I find it hard to care about the people around me because experience has taught me that when I spend the majority of my time focused on their issues, I’m usually ignoring my own. Which is very unhealthy. Besides, I know more people now and they know me so if I say something – even if I try to be anonymous – it’s not difficult to figure out who I’m talking about. So I do have to consider that my actions have consequences for those around me. But that’s part of life right?

Everything we do affects everyone else too, that’s what the whole butterfly concept is about after all. So as of right now I will stop being a scardy cat and start dealing with what’s real and inevitably sharing it with all of you who take the time out of your busy day to check out my excuse of a blog. I promised to share my experiences not for those who share it with me but for those who will never be in my shoes or have to make the choices that I have to. I vow to care, not just about world views and the lives of those around me but also to care about myself…

I haven’t done that in a while so the next few posts will be dodgy at best but I’m starting with some scary but honest decisions and as soon as I have informed those who will be affected, I will keep you posted… I can’t promise that it will be interesting, it might be average at best but it is still my life and my view and I believe we all have a responsibility to share it…