Category Archives: Musings

The Power Within

I’m currently packing up my house, which is about as much fun as ripping my own arm off and beating myself with it. What has been interesting is coming across some old letters, photos and writings. I found a stash of papers which had moved with me years ago and I had not actually looked at in a very long time. In this stash, I found my high school creative writing portfolio. I realise now that I was a troubled teenager (but weren’t we all)? Nonetheless, I found this lighter piece that I thought would be interesting to share. The topic was “A Childhood Memory”.

gnarly_tree

The Power Within

The leaves hiss along the ground as we walk past. The birds no longer sing. Instead, the wind whistles eerily through the tree tops – warning us to stay away. We gather up our courage and climb over the fence into the darkness. We walk slowly, being cautious with each step, and reach the bent and gnarly ‘Tut Castle Tree’ where the voice of King Tut booms upon us, “Bring us our sandwiches, Rascals!”

At least, that’s how I remembered it. It was a simple game, invented merely to make us their slaves. ‘Us’ being myself and my neighbour Steven. ‘Them’ being my older brother John and Steven’s sister, Tarryn. John and Tarryn were ‘King Tut’ and ‘Queen Tut’, who lived in ‘Tut Castle’, while we were the ‘Rascals’ i.e. their naive, innocent slaves. Once we had done the chores that King and Queen tut told us to, we could join in with their ‘evil deeds’.

The cold wind blew my hair into my face. Steven brushed it behind my ears – he was always there for me. I looked up into the highest branches where our superiors hovered, and asked with my voice shaking, “C-Can we play now?”

“I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal, so call me ‘sir’!”

“Can we play now… SUUUUR?”

“Okay,” said the almighty king, “but you two can only sit on the first branch.” So we did as we were told.

The Tut Castle Tree prevented us from being seen by passers-by on the street, and that is where the idea of the ‘evil deeds’ came from. We could see them, but they couldn’t see us. We were like spies. King and Queen Tut said that they, being the superiors, controlled them.

“Okay, everyone keep quiet” was the order from Queen Tut. “When I say so, Rascals, whistle at the woman walking past”. We did and she stood still, confused. All of a sudden, she was bombarded with flying berries, soaring through the air from all directions. They bounced off her fat rolls like ping-pong balls.

Amidst the shouts and machine gun noises of the bloodshed, I sat and watched. I wasn’t a very violent child – I couldn’t be, in the dresses my mother dressed me in. So I switched off out of their world and tuned in to my own. I wanted to be at the top of the tree. I wanted the power. I was sick of being the ‘dirty little rascal’. I wanted to be important.

Some days, when nobody was in ‘Tut Kingdom’, I would sneak down to the bottom of the garden, and climb to the top of the tree. I had the power then. I would just sit and watch the passers-by. I was powerful enough to just watch and know that I was above it all.

Even now, when I feel down, depressed or unimportant, I sit at the top of that tree and watch. There seems to be some kind of power in that tree that makes all my problems disappear for a while. It makes me look deep into myself and find the power within.

-END-

If you know me personally, that explains a lot, doesn’t it?

[Tree image source: here]

 

 

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“We can change the world” Remembering Mandela.

Madiba

South Africans and people all over the world woke up today to the incredibly sad news of Nelson Mandela’s passing last night. The numbness that comes with the death of a loved one is felt all all over the country today. Even though I had never met the amazing Madiba, I feel very close to him and feel so intensely sad that such a good human being has left us. I am grateful for what he did for South Africa and the world.

Let us not forget the principles that he taught us and what amazing things we can achieve with kindness.

(Here’s a Facebook cover photo that I designed for my Social Ideas Facebook page – feel free to use it as your own cover photo in tribute.)


The Existential Bummer

I came across this video via Dorothy Black on Twitter and it touched me deeply. I’ve always been caught up in the ephemeral nature of people and relationships and moments. How do we immerse ourselves completely in them, knowing that they don’t last forever and eventually everything and everyone will die? Every lovely moment has a hint of sadness.


The low-down on online dating. I tried it. It sucked.

love-online-dating-heart

Over a coffee catch-up with a friend, we decided that this whole single thing is BS and we should try online dating. I didn’t see myself as an online dater (I had the impression that it is for some serious dorks with no people skills who can’t really make it out there in the real world), but having a partner in crime and a ‘what’s there to lose’ attitude, I decided to give it a go. We set up our dating profiles and carried on with our lives.

Checking back a few days later, I realised I was a hit! Mostly with guys who were looking for a one night stand, couldn’t spell, or thought that telling me I’m beautiful and sexy is a great opening line.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B:

Exhibit B

Exhibit C:

Exhibit C

I got hit on by a guy called “iaretarded” and received a very interesting proposal from a woman who said that she and her husband checked me out and really liked what they saw – would I like to meet them?

I did chat to some seemingly decent human beings. I agreed to go on a real life date with one of them. He turned out to be about half a metre shorter than his profile said he was and looked nothing like his profile picture. He also got lost 3 times to the restaurant (which is in his own area), brought his own wine and bored me to death.

I ummed and aahed about accepting another real life date proposal with another seemingly decent human being, but gave it a go. I landed a big project on date day, so had to postpone. He then went mental on me, calling me all sorts of names and really tried hard to make me feel bad about it. Wow.

I am also apparently very attractive to Middle Eastern businessmen who would love to have some company on their South African trip. All expenses paid – I just need to agree and we can hang out in their very expensive hotel, drinking champagne.

After a month or two of this madness, I shut down all my dating profiles, never to be visited again. After chatting to some other friends who tried online dating, I realised that I got out just in time. Apparently I was a message or two away from penis pictures in my face. IN MY FACE.

That being said, the friend who signed up with me in the beginning met an amazing woman, they are now crazy in love and he is very happy. She is also very normal.

And that, my friends, is the reality of online dating. It may work for some, but it is definitely not for me! I truly believe in the magic of meeting and connecting with a person in real life. You don’t get that online.


Dear Joburg, I’m annoyed with you

barbed-wire

Dear Joburg,

I’ve had some time to think about our relationship while we were on a break, and I’ve decided that I am not okay with how things are going.

Your roads are death traps. Aggression, aggression, aggression. At every intersection, main road, side street, quiet lane, anywhere I venture out in my car I am met with aggression mixed with stupidity. I refuse to speed up way past the speed limit because some wanktard is in a hurry and driving up my ass. Unauthorised back-entry is rude, my friend, and not socially acceptable. Leave 5 minutes earlier if you need to, but don’t make it my problem. I also refuse to drive through a red traffic light because you are hooting behind me. It’s red. Red means stop, fool. I don’t care that the road is clear enough for me to sneak through. It’s a red traffic light. Did they not teach you that in nursery school? Should we take you back there?

I don’t enjoy waiting at my driveway for 10 minutes while the taxi blocks the entire entrance while it offloads and on-loads far too many people than is safe. And you’re IN MY DRIVEWAY!

I don’t enjoy the competition to be the best, the biggest, the richest, drive the sexiest car, have the most Twitter followers, be retweeted by some lonely dork behind his Mac who happens to be big online, or to define my worth by the brands I wear or associate with.

I don’t enjoy that shopping is an activity. And that smacking a wannabe model into a promotional campaign to help you dress yourself is actually exciting. I don’t enjoy that there is a handful of people that you HAVE to associate with to boost your reputation and to get the “favours” you need to succeed. I don’t like that you can hardly trust a Joburg blogger these days because they’re likely being paid or getting free products for everything they write and sincerity no longer exists.

I don’t enjoy that your men think that women are objects and have forgotten how to care about anything other than their image and the way that others perceive them. When did you become a cesspool of douchebaggery?

I don’t like that I am constantly on guard, wandering what people’s ulterior motives are or what they’re looking to steal from me.

I think we should break up.


3 Reasons why you shouldn’t date your Twitter crush

www.heliosdesign.co.za

If you’re fairly active in the social media world, you’re likely enjoying Twitter and the inter-connectedness it offers. You’re meeting new people online and offline and sapping up all the networking that comes with it.

You’ve also likely got a Twitter crush who’s admired for his online status. Here’s why you shouldn’t date him.

1. He’s not what his bio says he his
He makes himself out to be just amazing. Desirable. He’s taken qualities that everyone loves and mashed them together into ‘I’m Mr. Awesome’. He’s likely just a dork in real life, compensating for the attention he missed out on in his pre-digital years.

2. If he’s big on Twitter, he’s only big on Twitter
These guys tend to take their online status VERY seriously. To the point that they actually don’t have all that much real going on offline. Offline, they talk about what’s going on online, ALL the time. They validate their worth by their online following.

3. If he chased you on Twitter, he’s probably chasing someone else there too
Twitter is not a dating site. Guys that use it as one like to break the rules and get a thrill from the chase. Once you’re there in real life, the game is over and it’s time for a new one.

Although social media is an exciting and extremely useful environment to be in, it also provides an easy opportunity for exaggeration and embellishment of the facts. Everyone wants to be noticed, and some are just clever enough to market themselves well so that you to believe what you read.

Don’t fall for the guy on Twitter, fall for the one in real life.

(Granted, neither has worked for me very well, but it sounds like good advice, right?)


Dear Airlines, I’m Hungry

Plane

Long-haul flights are painful. No matter how many baby wine bottles or Blood Marys you give me, they are still painful. The highlight of the flight is the meal sessions, because something is going on and we can do something while watching movies (when is in-flight Internet going to be a thing?).

What makes it even more painful, is the illogical ‘special meals’ system that you have going on.

I’m a vegetarian. Not anything too weird, I just don’t eat meat. I’m not too anal about the whole thing either, as long as there is not a dead animal in my meal and it’s decent, I’m happy. Now I understand that there are some anal folk out there, and that you have tried to trick us all into thinking that you cater for everyone by your very many types of vegetarian options and special meals, but it really doesn’t make too much sense.

I’ve always chosen the vegetarian lacto-ovo option, which is really just a normal vegetarian meal that includes eggs and dairy (it took me a while to figure out what it was in the beginning). I.e. Normal people food, without dead animals. Not vegan – vegan is all about not consuming any animal by-products, so eggs or dairy is definitely not an option in these kind of meals.  It’s really not difficult to understand.

So PLEASE tell me why I always get a vegan meal, labelled as vegetarian lacto-ovo? No cheese, no dairy, not anything much, really. Even when there is a perfectly suitable vegetarian option on the ‘normal people’s menu’, I’m not allowed to have it, because I ordered a ‘special meal’ (which does not actually match the ‘specialness’ that I ordered).

So while others are happily munching away on their pumpkin ravioli with Napolitana sauce, cheese and biscuits and nice full salad with dressing and cheesecake for dessert,  I am picking at a vegetable pasta and a dry salad, topped off with a bunch of grapes. Well, to be more accurate, because I got my ‘special meal’ early, I’m looking at the leftovers of my disappointing meal while drooling over the cheese on the tray next to me.

Yeah, don’t judge me on the number of Bloody Marys I’ve ordered, I’m hungry, dammit.

Kind regards,
The Hungry Vegetarian