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(I’d hate to think who else’s underwear I could possibly be wearing!)

I’ve had an interesting two days, and there is much that has been learnt.
After my emotional and soul baring meltdown post, I felt guilty and very miserable. Yesterday, I realised why. So before I mention all the things I have learned the last two days, let me say this :

At the very forefront of my mind right now is the reminder that when we are out of alignment with our core values, we not only lose sight of purpose, but we become increasingly miserable and lose sight of everything else too. And that is what I allowed to happen.
The very real lesson, however, was how easily this can happen. And how long it can last. And how increasingly more difficult it makes day-to-day life as the misery descends like a cloud.

But it DOES happen. And we can’t fault people for it. And we also can’t blame ourselves when it happens to us. The important thing, as with many other situations in life, is to acknowledge that it’s happening/happened and work on changing it – changing ourselves – continuing with our journey in alignment with our core values.

The lessons of the last two days have been more reminders – mainly two of them – much needed ones, that have put me back on track and allowed me to feel calm again, despite the storms that continue to rage.

First reminder : Bad things happen, even to good people. Situations and circumstances that are validly negative will happen. And while we cannot ignore that and need to keep ourselves aware and prepared, at the same time we need to ensure that they do not consume our focus.

Second reminder : Honesty about where we are at can not only be a lifesaver, but a life changer. When the cloud begins to descend and the negativity is overwhelming, there will be some people who will shy away from you – and that is okay. But hold dear and appreciate the ones who are there. Listen to their hearts.

As I listened to hearts who reached out to me, I was once again overwhelmed. But this time with a joyous emotion and a comfort that I cannot explain. Nobody held me tightly in their arms and made me feel secure and loved. And yet it was as close as it gets. Distance is merely a physical barrier – and souls can still support each other despite it.

So to those who commented, have prayed, and emailed –

I know that ‘thank you’ suffices, and yet it doesn’t express how truly grateful I am. You made a difference. To me.
I was also completely overwhelmed by a phone call – the funny thing is that it didn’t dwell on the negatives, which inadvertently shifted my focus and served as a reminder of sorts all on its very own.

WordPress World – you are special to me.

Yes, the situation in my country is ”impossible”, dire, worrisome.

But in life? I am actually doing really well.

We have a roof over our heads; we have food to eat; We have people who genuinely care for us; We have clean clothes (although some are a bit religious 😛 ) ; and we all still have a dream.

Shifting focus – thank you again for the love and reminders.

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Photo credit : Quotemaster.org

 

A long version of dire straits

THIS IS NOT MY USUAL TYPE OF BLOG POST – and yet in it you will find the pieces of me that tie up with previous posts. I am apologising BEFORE you read it for the raw emotions that will come across as negative – but there are snippets of positivity and lessons to be learned in reading it. Thank you for taking the time ❤

I’ve been struggling. There, I said it.
I didn’t realise how bad it was until I bumped into an acquaintance on Friday who asked me how the New Year has been treating me so far, and my eyes welled up with tears in response. I swallowed a lump in my throat and shrugged. I don’t know who was more embarrassed, him or me. I do know that when I threw the question back at him, I found myself in a situation yet again where I was the counsellor. Half an hour later we parted, him saying how grateful he was to have bumped into me and how much better he was feeling. I paid for my purchases, got in my car, and cried the whole way home.

This entire blog post will seem like a senseless contradiction – but there are moments where we just have to share what we’re going through and so that is what this is.
Because guess what? You are never going through anything alone.
I have no doubt in my mind that someone out there who reads this is probably in the same place as I am, but with different circumstances.

I read a blog post last week where someone listed their reasons for being depressed. I commented about them all being quite valid and I loved the response : ” I’m all for positive thinking and all that, but also believe in fully feeling and expressing our emotions so they don’t fester.”

It’s no surprise that the picture below is one that I agree with completely :

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Photo credit : onsizzle.com

I am WELL AWARE that things could be worse. I KNOW we could be suffering more. And hearing/reading about other situations and circumstances certainly makes me grateful if I am not facing the same – but just because my struggle is ‘less’, doesn’t mean that the hurt, anger and frustration that I feel has no validity. It also doesn’t mean that no one else can rely on me to be there for them and help them through their struggles.

I DO take time to self care, and just be. And I don’t know quite how to explain this next part, other than that this is my purpose – for some reason, even in my pain and tears, I will always make a way and be strong for those who need help. Yes, it’s a momentary distraction from my own circumstances, but that isn’t why I do it. And the strength to do it is not mine. My friends know better than to say to me, ”I didn’t want to ask you because I know you have a lot going on.”
Yes, I have boundaries. And there have been times where I have had to say to them, ”I’m sorry, I just can’t.” My levels of endurance are far too great though – and as much as I fight discussing religion and politics because of the damage that has been done to so many due to both, I KNOW that my help comes from above.

Recent events have left my faith feeling somewhat shaken – but unlike James Bond (shaken NOT stirred), something within me has stirred too. 

To be completely honest, things are looking grim. But I’m NOT giving in!

To outline some of the circumstances surrounding these things, I screenshotted a dear friend’s shared Facebook post – she is one of the most positive people I know, and very seldom dwells on the negativity of our country as it stands right now.

SAA is our airline. Eskom is our sole electricity provider. SABC is our broadcasting commission. Transnet is the custodian of ports, rail and pipelines.
The Eastern Cape is hit the hardest by all of the above – and that’s where I live.

With major infrastructure falling apart, it is no surprise that the effects are being felt astronomically by small business. There are no jobs available – the ones that are advertised have to select 1 employee from over 180 applications. Employers are offering very low salaries and wages because they know how desperate people are.
Here, if you work for one hour at minimum wage, you will be considered fortunate to be able to use that one hour’s wage to purchase one loaf of bread and one litre of milk.

I have lost four people in these 27 days of January to suicide – the reason being financial.

There has been a recent outbreak of a terrible stomach bug here – people have been hospitalised, and I believe that in the rural areas there have been deaths. It’s no surprise when you see my town’s main water supply – and consider the amount of chemicals that need to be added to make it run clear in the taps (pic from November last year)

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My children and I DO NOT drink tap water – which means we have to PAY for drinking water. And the three of us are water babies when it comes to drinking preferences (as well as coffee for me).

If it wasn’t for my brother, the children and I would have starved to death by now.

But all doors are closing, fast.

Small business closed. 😦 No jobs available. The chain of payment for services rendered is completely broken – A didn’t pay B, so B couldn’t pay C, so C couldn’t pay D, so D closed its doors – which left E, F, G completely stranded etc.

I have extensively researched moving overseas. Those doors are all closed too. I cannot go anywhere without securing employment first – a company that will petition their government/immigration procedures and possibly give me a chance to be approved. The list of candidates and people doing their utmost to follow this route is extensive, to say the least. Their advantages? They are gainfully employed and have some sort of university degree behind them.

I didn’t get a university degree because I fell pregnant, and after being abandoned by the father, I chose to keep my baby. I then chose to get married. Youth, and the struggle of being a mother and a wife and working full time blurred my vision. As did the after effects of abuse. I should have done more. I take full responsibility for that, and understand that my complacency in the years that counted is the reason I am where I am now.

Stuck. Stressed. Frustrated. Angry with myself. Hurting. Sad.

I can’t afford to study now. And with our education system being what it is, there is a very real fear that in the three years it will take, any degree issued here will be worthless anyway.
I am deeply concerned for my son. He finishes his degree in July. There are NO JOBS. Many young people finished their degrees two years ago (I know three personally) and are still without employment. My only hope is that HIS degree will somehow be enough to open an overseas door for him – but he doesn’t want to leave us behind. There is merit in that – but at the same time, I need him to at least have a future.
(I’ll admit that recently I felt more pro New Zealand, for the simple fact that we could all go together – his age would allow him to still fall under me, 24 being the cut off. He can’t go with me, as my dependent, anywhere else. I don’t want to leave him behind either.)

My daughter has been selected for two dancing competitions this year – qualifiers for world championships. My mind is racing with regards to fundraising – I cannot carry costs and will not ask my brother – he does enough. And in the back of my mind there is that voice screaming, ‘how will you fundraise when people have nothing to give’. Impossible.

I’ve looked extensively at further study – diploma wise – with overseas correspondence institutions. I even went so far as to first search the possible industries and fields of jobs available to me in the US and the UK, and then find qualifications relating to those. The financial implications make all of this impossible.

There is a saying something along the lines of this : ‘Sometimes when one door closes, we are so busy staring at the closed door, that we miss the window that has opened.’

And based on the recent reblogged post, how dare I limit God???!!!

My mind is reeling – and I am trying to make sense of it all. Last night, I was just quiet. A meditation of sorts. But there has been no great revelation – I do know though that good things take time 😉

And for now we have food to eat and a roof over our heads – something NOT to be taken lightly in our country at this time.

It’s all hopeless. It’s all impossible. It’s all every negative emotion that you can possibly think of.

BUT

While I have no control over the circumstances and all economic indicators show that it is indeed looking dire, and hopeless – I have control of me. I may be a walking contradiction at this time, because I FEEL hopeless – and yet, I remain the prisoner of that beautiful word : H O P E. I want so desperately to just give up, because I really am exhausted. BUT I CAN’T. And not just because I have two beautiful ”children”. It’s just not in me. My spirit refuses. It simply will NOT.

The negative emotions are screaming loudly at me at the impossibility of it all. The choices I made in my youth, and as a defiance to everything I probably knew because of hurt and abuse that once again were not in my control, add fuel to the fire of those emotions, screaming belittlement and blame on me – leaving me feeling guilty and downtrodden.

But every tear, and every pain in my heart (and yes, it is almost a physical heart pain), whisper to me : It IS possible, there IS hope, keep going. You’ve come too far to give up now. 

And so, dear reader, do not doubt… I may FEEL that I want to give up.

But I won’t.

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Photo credit : Facebook

 

I’m going to look for my dancing shoes 😉

An Unholy Rant

I read this today, and it HAS to be shared.
Current circumstances and situations have me saddened and stressed – I will probably blog about it in the near future.
It’s not personal as such – all things I can do nothing about that are completely out of my control.
They have left me feeling despondent and doubtful.

I logged on to WordPress to type a blog – this blog post was the first place I visited though instead.
The tears are streaming down my face as I type this.
What a pertinent reminder – He is a Big God and we need to trust His abilities!

Letters To Pogue

Dear Pogue,

This is a letter that I have started several times only to find it populating the waste bin. I know what I feel and want to say but have never found the right way to express it. You see, this letter will start with an idea, a rather passionate one, something I need to say, and before long it will take on a life of its own, choosing its direction. It’s all an adventure.

Here’s my issue. When I talk about God I have come to realise that the entity that I am defining is not understood by others in the same way I do. What they’re hearing is not what I am saying! Indeed I get to wondering if we are even thinking about the same entity. So, Pogue, I have a question for you, even a challenge:

Are you a big Godder or a small Godder?

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Where do you write?

 

“Two friends were walking through the desert. At one stage in their journey, they had an argument and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything he wrote in the sand, ‘Today my best friend slapped me in the face.’

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to have a wash. The one who had been slapped got stuck in a mire and started drowning, but his friend saved him. After he had recovered from his shock, he wrote on a stone, ‘Today my best friend saved my life.’

The friend who slapped and saved his best friend asked him, ‘After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write in stone, why?’

The other friend replied, ‘When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.’” 

~story from thoughtcatalogue.com~

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It’s easier said than done, I know. But I read this story this morning, and it really made me pause and think. Everybody hurts sometimes, and we all get insulted on occasion. But what do we do with that?

I realised this morning that there are some hurts from the past that I have ‘written in stone’. They are things that, when I think of them, still hurt me deeply. Some of them are recent, and some of them are from many years ago. Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. I need to make a choice, and a conscious effort, to pull those stones out, and perform a rewrite. Otherwise those things will continue to hold me back.

If something is written in stone, it is permanent and cannot be changed. However, when it comes to hurt, I believe that we can roll that stone away. And destroy it. With the chemicals of love and desire – a desire to change and move forward in our lives.

I’m going to take a chance and make a change, and try and write the negatives in sand – even do a rewrite, if I must.

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*Personal update*

I am doing a lot better health wise – a little bit tired still, but other than that, all is well.

Weather wise, your prayers (or cool thoughts, if you don’t pray 😉 ) have worked wonders!
As you may know from previous posts, our dams were emptying quickly and we were on water restrictions.
On Friday, it started to rain, and it still is, off and on. HOORAY!
Of course, there wasn’t an immediate change in our ghastly humidity levels, and Friday night was horrific, sitting at 93% at midnight. But by yesterday, it was a lot cooler, and we were even blessed with a cool breeze! This morning, when I got up at 05:00, I had to dig for a lightweight tracksuit top to ward off the slight chill in the air.
Cooler weather makes for a very happy Meg 😉

Behind the curtain

Some excellent food for thought in here. As difficult as it is to ‘let stuff go’, it’s imperative for growth. Suppressing emotions and holding things in are indeed threatening to your physical health. I have found that negative emotions not dealt with quickly lead to bitterness. And none of us really wants to be bitter – we’d all prefer to be better 😉
Please take a look at this post, and hold it close to your heart. For the words are wise, and the advice is helpful.

Letters To Pogue

Dear Pogue,

I’ve had a really good few days. I’ve been with people who I feel able to talk with and really say what I am feeling and ask the questions I usually only turn over in my mind. That rare breed of people you can let your guard down with and explore some craziness. It’s been good. Feels good.

So, as we sat over a coffee at the airport on the way home, still talking, we got round to the last letter I wrote to you (I shared the contents – hope you don’t mind). We discussed the case study of the woman who suffered a trauma and went from a healthy functioning person to a total wreck. We wondered if she had received more than medication, if she’d had someone, somewhere, where she could have given expression to the events, the people and her emotions that maybe she…

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hot update

My knees are feeling weak. No loving notions here… other than the fact that they have been working hard to protect me from kissing the floor today. 😛

We have had two weeks of humidity levels that have been higher than 70%. At 05:00 this morning, we were on 90%. It has dropped now to 70%, and I see there is a gradual increase predicted throughout the day today, so that by 21:00 we will be back to 90%. On the few days where we have been blessed with the much needed rain for our empty dams, humidity levels have remained the same. It’s that ‘I can barely breathe’ type of heat. I think that this is the worst our weather has ever been. February is always our hottest month, but it’s never been as bad as it is now. Which causes me to become overly concerned about what we have in store for us next month.

Our Winter months were a huge disappointment. June is usually the coldest time here – and that’s when things started going terribly wrong. June last year arrived, and we still walked around in short sleeves. In our entire Winter period, I seldom wore a scarf and lightweight jacket. My Winter sleepwear lay folded in the cupboard the entire time – I never even put a blanket on my bed. By the beginning of August, still Winter time, people were flocking to the beaches already.

My house is tiled, except for the bedrooms. The floors remain moist, and slippery. The brickwork on the veranda outside my bedroom looks damp. My indoor plants are wilting, despite me watering them.

And I think I am wilting too.

Bacteria and viruses thrive the most in humidity levels above 60%, so it’s no surprise that our healthcare system is currently under a lot of pressure. Due to very favourable conditions for bacteria and viruses, illnesses are resembling plagues at the moment. One of the greatest downfalls being the fact that most homes here do not have air conditioning – air con is reserved for the wealthy.

When humidity levels started getting uncomfortable at the beginning of December, I actually investigated the costs of purchasing smaller units – hoping to be able to put one in each of our bedrooms. The cost of one was the equivalent of what I earn in two months. So it was a no. Especially when I took into consideration the fact that we have such an unstable electricity system at the moment.

Having said all this, it will not surprise you that I got bronchitis shortly after New Year.
(I do usually get it around Christmas time, *rolling my eyes*, but 2018 I managed to successfully skip all that!)

I don’t like doctors. And with some of them the dislike is even personal 😛
I also have an aversion to antibiotics. They don’t react well with me – any of them. They leave me feeling listless and tired, and the heat is doing a good enough job of that already 😛 They also make me tearful and overly emotional. And did I mention tired?

But knowing my bronchial history, and putting my stubborn self in the naughty corner 😛  I hauled myself off to the doctor. I didn’t even fight with him when he gave me my prescription for antibiotics, and I cheerfully filled it and popped the first one. It was a rather strong 5 day course, and yesterday was 5 days post antibiotic. And I have felt no better – in fact, I am feeling worse.

A quick off-the-books consult with a GP friend of mine confirms what I suspected. I’m now at bronchial pneumonia stage.

No. I am not on another antibiotic – not yet anyway. I have promised to go and get another lot if I feel no better by Sunday though. For now, I am doubling up on a natural antibiotic that we have over here, and hydrating. I am going to rest a little more too. Speaking of which, I should probably go and lie down now for an hour, before I need to go and fetch my daughter from my school. Car drives are always great – I have air con in the car 😉

If you pray, please do – especially that these little growing suckers stay with me, and stay AWAY from my kids. But also that my health improves 😉
If you don’t pray, some cool thoughts will help too 😉

heartfelt contact

I received an email yesterday. Someone was genuinely concerned about me, and my absence from WordPress. This person wanted to know if I was okay – and to be honest, I am still not sure how I am, really. But this post is not to dwell on that. (There has been a lot going on the last ten days! Safety wise, the children and I are fine, though!)

I felt really bad when I received the email. Ridiculous, right?!?! Let me explain…

I tend to forget that there are people out there who may be concerned about me – people who actually miss my input… be it overwhelmingly me, or simply just a blog post. And I felt quite terrible/bad due to guilt of having someone worry because of me.

More explanations are necessary 😛

My real friends know every truth there is to know about me. My family don’t, because they’ve never bothered to ask – brothers, parents, cousins etc. have no idea of the things that I have been through. They’re too busy judging what they think they saw, and denying their roles. But my real friends know, because they’ve asked, and loved me unconditionally. A lot of those friendships have been built on 10 – 25 years of knowing me… that’s GOT to be unconditional love, right? 😛

Those real friends are my people. And they know me as ‘the strong one who always has a smile and a word of encouragement; the survivor who is always somehow okay’. And you can ask any of them, even in moments where I am not sure whether or not I actually AM okay (like now), or in moments when I SAY I am falling apart, none of them are deeply concerned about me… they just know that I will get through whatever it is I am going through. And although they reassure and encourage me with forwarded picture messages, and tell me that I have meaning in their lives, if they don’t talk to me for a few days, they don’t worry about me.

And because of this blessing (although sometimes it feels like a curse.. explanation to follow) in my personality, I am also the one that everyone comes to for help so that they don’t fall apart. And for some strange reason, there IS always a part of me to give. Even when I am sapped and think there isn’t. (Although admittedly, I take a personal sabbatical sometimes… but I struggle to resist the temptation of helping!)

The ‘curse’ part of this is as follows : there is very seldom just a concerned message asking if I really am okay. No, my friends are not shallow, and they definitely care for and love me. I don’t think I can explain it in a way that makes sense. I HAVE reached out previously, in moments of distress, and they HAVE been there. And the love and support has never been lacking in those moments.

But it’s very seldom that they will reach out to me just to ask if I am okay.

We have the types of friendships where we can not speak or see each other for six months, and when we get together you would think we had seen each other just yesterday.

And every now and then, the fact that no one checks up on me, sort of hurts. I was discussing this with a therapist friend, who comes to me for therapy sometimes – because even a therapist needs therapy 😛
Her recommendation to me was to tell them how I feel – and when I did, I got the answers I told you above – I am the strong one, I am the survivor… they know I am okay.

AND THEY KNOW that if I am truly feeling like I am at breaking point, I’ll let them know.

I’m okay with that.

Yesterday’s email made me cry. 

(I’ve been ill, and it always makes me feel a little more emotional than usual… but it also touched me deeply.)

The kindness shown in popping off an email and telling me that ‘you’ were concerned about me was completely overwhelming. While I felt terribly guilty that I had caused worry and concern, at the same time I felt cared about and missed. And I remembered what a comforting and soul-feeding emotion that was!

I’m still sick, so this is not the best of blog posts. But here’s what I’d like to say :

Think of your strongest, most encouraging, survivor-style friend… and send them a heartfelt ‘how are you’, please. They’ll probably say they are fine 😛 😉
But please check in with the ones who always take the time to check in on you 😉
That type of kindness simply has no measure.

And thank you to my blogging friend for making my day. 😉

And thank you to everyone who reads and comments on my WordPress – your input makes me feel loved and valued too. This community rocks! ❤

Season’s End

The season has come and gone. This one was particularly difficult. All the bad stuff that happens – abused and abandoned babies, fatal car accidents, fatal muggings – all seem to escalate around Christmas time – particularly Christmas Eve.

People were hurting, and in some cases, acting out in their hurt and hurting others. It’s been exhausting, and busy, and quite draining.

Then, on the 31st, my cell phone broke. It was only going to be fixed yesterday. And I knew…

It was time to rest. 

Sometimes it takes extreme measures to remind me that ”you can’t share water from an empty cup”. That said…

know it’s not selfish to take time for yourself – I DO do this. I know it’s important to rest and eat right – I try and do this (but junk food is just sometimes waaaaay too good 😛 )

But when there is a lot going on and a multitude of needs to be met, I have a tendency to push myself to running on empty. And that’s never good. Some days I recognise it instantly – the moment where I am ‘low’ and then I am able to retreat and rest. Other times, I need something drastic to stop the whirlwind that is me – like a broken phone.

I spent the last two days in a peaceful haze of birds chirping, and bees buzzing – my hands dirty with freshly turned soil and less weeds in the garden. (it’s Summer here)
Other times, I just lay around loving my dogs, and reading – I finished two books 😉
There was plenty of food in the house, and so I just didn’t leave. I stayed cocooned in my security. And I even had an afternoon nap! I most especially tried not to think.

A forced sabbatical, of sorts.

And I feel stronger for it. Which is usually the point of it anyway 😉

I was reminded last night of a letter I read. Now, if you haven’t yet visited Letters To Pogue from Wic, then you really should. They don’t just take me back to my favourite thing (old fashioned letter writing) but each one is rather thought provoking, and there’s something there for all of us, not just Pogue.

The latest letter has been playing on my mind a lot – A Letter To Me

And now that I am recharged enough to dare to allow my brain to think and ponder, I have to admit that it’s at the forefront of my thoughts. Perhaps this particular letter is the ultimate in self care. It might still take me a while to write it… but I’m definitely thinking about it.

So I’m ending this post, feeling thoughtful, and dealing with attachments, one cup at a time 😉

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