butterflies

Nope. I am not experiencing the flutter of excitement that comes with a new love interest.
Sorry. Not sorry 😛

But I learned something new today, and you’re probably going to laugh when I tell you what I have learned because it’s quite possible that you already know. It fascinated me though, and added to my perspective on butterflies and humans 😉

First though, I want to share some of my favourite butterfly quotes :

There are two ‘things’ that I absolutely love. Butterflies… and the colour purple. My friends often comment how easy it is to pick out a gift for me – if they can’t find anything with a butterfly on it, then they just buy something purple. Anything purple! 😛 My dad gave me the best thing I have in my kitchen – a clingfilm hard plastic holder…. IT’S PURPLE 😛
If I ever got to immigrate, it would be packed in my suitcase! 😉

When it comes to butterflies, and likening them to humans, I usually say this :

A caterpillar gets one chance. There is one process of change. And then it goes from being what some consider ‘ugly’ to a creature of great beauty. In that process of change, the caterpillar thinks its life is over, and yet its life is just beginning again… giving it wings to soar.
And I have told more than one person how grateful I am that we get those processes and opportunities to change and become more beautiful MORE THAN ONCE in our lifetimes! That sometimes to us, when we are in a bad place or feeling down and depressed and anxious? Well, let’s admit it, we have actually all been there at some stage or another and the burden is heavy and we feel that life has no purpose, that this moment will never end, that there is no point and that true beauty will elude us forever. BUT THEN? Something blows on that tiny flame of hope within us that is still flickering, and it suddenly flickers a little stronger and we are able to carry on. How wonderful is that? We find ‘new wings’ and are able to soar once again.

What I learned this morning just added to what I have told more than one person!

I did not know that during the caterpillar’s process of becoming a butterfly, in the Chrysalis, the caterpillar ‘melts’ almost completely! :O It releases enzymes that literally digest nearly ALL of its OWN BODY!
So basically, it dissolves into a disgusting pile of gooey substance before it can transform into a beautiful butterfly!

My new addition (and takeaway from the process above) will be this :
So you think you’re having a meltdown? It’s okay! Let yourself FEEL it! Pull the covers over your head and hide if you need to. Take a little time.
Just don’t stay there too long! Remember to emerge!
You may still feel ‘sticky’.
Keep going!
But what if I fail?
Well, what if you fly? 😉

Can you change it?

I have never viewed myself as a control freak. In actual fact, my history with narcissism has meant that I have always been the one who has been controlled. And sadly that took me into adulthood, and created a form of ‘inability to make decisions on my own’. Which in itself was terribly destructive – some people will help you make choices that are beneficial to only them, and not you.

There were so many issues that were borne of my childhood, and resulting adulthood, that I certainly kept my therapist busy. 😛  But eventually, because I was willing, small steps became giant leaps and I grew into a ‘newer, better’ version of ME. I also worked really hard on accepting the responsibility of being in control OF ME, and ended up even having to take a course in decision making – something that comes so naturally in others, and yet something that I simply couldn’t grasp on my own. And I haven’t stopped growing, because life keeps teaching me and I am very willing to learn, even though it sometimes hurts.

I do know that there are many things that I cannot control – and I think that the past 80+ days have caused far more frustration than what they should have. As mentioned in a previous post, have continuously reminded myself that I can only control MY reactions and emotions to what is going on around me. But for some reason, I remain frustrated.

I was called on recently to ‘assist’ a couple who had decided to part ways. Except that I am friendly with them both, and so while I am always honest and will offer my opinions when asked, I don’t like to get involved at times like these. But they both asked. Under our current restrictions, I am still not able to ‘work’, or help others, as I would like to – I prefer personal interaction, one on one. But (once again, thanks to the beauty of world wide web inventions) I was able to do the next best thing. I did a video call with each of them, individually. The end result, sadly, is that they will not be getting back together. Because, they both agree, that the love is gone. Add to that a multitude of other things (including that they both want completely different things for their lives) and we all realised that it was never going to work.

But I was reminded of something of great importance to me personally.

THIS MAY NOT BE APPLICABLE TO YOU – this is all my personal experiences and journey, and perhaps food for thought for you.

I hopped on here, to write this blog post, and decided to pop in and check on a blogging friend. I was surprised to find the same sort of theme. And it made me want to share this even more.

daron2

The words in this picture used to be me.

Up until about five years ago, I complained, a lot! Kid whining, instead of adult wining 😛 😉 

There were times where my complaints were valid though – like the time my entire town was without water for five whole days. By the third day, I was having to buy expensive bottled water, and use it to flush the toilet – and our municipalities and water workers were giving us no indication of how much longer things would be that way. Yes, my household adjusted – we took bucket showers, and used the basin spillage for the loos, wherever possible. I put buckets outside, just in case it rained. I didn’t let it devastate us completely – but I complained about the expense, and the lack of response from those who were in control. Something in me says though that I really shouldn’t have complained at all because it was out of my control and so complaining was futile.
But there ARE times where just being able to voice our complaint about certain circumstances bring a form of release.
And, sorry guys, I AM human, after all 😛

The problem came in where I complained about a lot of things that I ACTUALLY could have changed. Things I did have a semblance of control over. Now let me tell you, THAT is futile! 

I spent an entire year, at one stage, complaining about someone I had viewed as a close friend, and yet had not bothered to reach out to me – I complained about her neglect, and her lack of caring about how I was. I pretty much complained every time someone mentioned her name, or I saw something that reminded me of her. I was hurt and angry. And I made sure to voice it. But I never voiced it to her. I never told her how I felt. I DIDN’T REACH OUT! I just complained, and gleaned sympathy from others, which sort of became a driving force for more complaining.
Two years later, I actually sent her a message and organised a coffee date, and spent the first twenty minutes of that coffee date, apologising.

Because in my learning, and in my growing, it hit me that I hadn’t bothered to try and change things. I hadn’t bothered to reach out to her either. Complaints may have carried a small amount of weight and validity IF I had reached out more than once, and she had just blatantly ignored me. But I was so caught up in me, myself and I, that I had not once considered sending the first message.

I am no longer that way. I learned from the experience. I worked on ME and effected CHANGES IN ME, and so now I am different. 

It’s very easy to place blame on other peoples shoulders. It’s very easy to knit pick their actions. It’s very easy to see the weaknesses in others. It’s VERY DIFFICULT to do the same with ourselves. But oh so necessary if we want to grow into the next, and better, version of ourselves.

There will always be hope, so long as you are willing to try. And willing to see that perhaps there is something within you that needs work.

I was asked the other day, ”What’s with this being ‘the next best version of yourself?’ Aren’t you happy with who you are?”

I smiled.

I am happy with me. Sometimes, I may still do or say things that cause me to be a little bit disappointed in me, but I have the tools to effect change, and I work through those moments, and do better.
What I have discovered for me PERSONALLY, on MY journey that I am on?
Every little bit of growth and new realisation in an area of personal development? It unlocks something new in me. Each one seems to unlock a new gift/reward. It not only benefits me as a person, but takes me to a new level, and opens up a new window for me. I used to just stare at the closed door – I personally wasted far too much time doing that. The open windows are bringing freshness and newness and light.
So yes, I am happy with me.
But there is so much more potential to unlock. And who doesn’t like a gift/reward? 

inside the box

As I have been making my way through the book a second time, noting down things that are important for my journey, I was reminded of something that I would like to share.

I thought of the ‘me’ I was twenty years ago, and how she would have reacted had she read this book back then. That ‘me’ was inclined to still be quite naive, and opinionated in a sense that what I believed was the only way and if you didn’t agree, you were wrong.
Oh my! How I missed out on so many valuable things along the way!

It had a lot to do with the belief systems that were taught to me from a young age – passed down to me. (I wrote a post about belief systems here last year – pardon the language.) The thing is that I was never encouraged to form and build on my own belief system. There was no freedom to think out of the box – it was a scenario relatively close to ‘’it’s my way, or the highway’’. And if I didn’t live inside that box, then I was a failure, and unworthy. And I BELIEVED I was!

But you see….

That particular belief system probably originated from the generation prior. Because we build and live according to what we know. And some of us are not fortunate enough to ever ‘broaden our horizons’. I’ve had a lot of life experience in a lot of areas – sometimes I feel like I’ve already done life three times over. 😛

There are studies that have shown that as a child, the more we get exposed to, the more our immune system builds. It gets strengthened by the yucky stuff. I often joke that part of the reason my immune system is so strong can be accredited to gravel (a selection of small stones all together).  When I was 5, our school had gravel beneath the swings. In hindsight, it wasn’t such a wonderful thing because if you jumped off the swing and lost your balance, it hurt! I would sit in that swing and gently rock myself back and forth, sucking stones that I had picked out from the gravel. Ewwww! I know! I also played in the dirt a lot, even in my white dress with red polka dots, much to my mother’s horror. (I ruined that dress on my 6th birthday at my party when I fell out of a tree 😛 )
But I also wasn’t very sick as a child, so perhaps that’s why?

Here’s how I think this relates to my own belief system (which is continuously growing, just by the way) :

I was brought up inside the box. To the extreme. And from a little girl, I fought with that lid.
I have had more than my fair share of bad experiences – some where I carry the responsibility, and some that were circumstantial and out of my control. I have also had some good experiences, and although they have left me with positive emotions and a lot to laugh about, none of them have ‘changed’ me.
The bad experiences have allowed me to grow, and become stronger. The lid has flown right off that box, and I am no longer bound by the way I was taught that things ‘should be’.

I don’t fully agree with everything written in the book I am now ‘studying’. Does that make the author a bad person, a failure in some areas, not worth listening to? NO! Because there is a LOT that I do agree with, and needed to hear. And the things I don’t agree with? I have ‘listened to’ anyway, because it has given me another view of something in me that was ‘concrete’ (no, I didn’t swallow any of the gravel 😛 ). And quite honestly, I need to think about what she has said.

It comes down to a firm belief that everyone is different, and that just because I believe or think the way I do, you don’t have to! And it doesn’t mean that you are worth less as a person, or that you cannot impact my life, or that we can’t be friends.

My perspectives and my beliefs and values? They’re mine. I can share them with you, I can hope that my experiences will help you or just impact you positively. But I can’t fight with you and be angry with you just because you aren’t in complete agreement with me.
Besides, you may have much to teach me if we don’t think alike, and I might miss out of the beauties of friendship and life in general if I build myself back into a box.
(I do have to add this though: I can’t put myself in harm’s way, and so sadly there are some interactions that I am forced to avoid. But these are definitely few and far between.)

We need to embrace what makes us different – celebrate your quirks, and even the things that you can’t do. And then pause for a moment and accept that someone else is probably in the same boat as you : different… trying to embrace themselves.

I’ll end with this : Someone told me the other day (in agreement with me saying that I am a very open person who doesn’t leave much to the imagination) that ‘mystery is not my superpower’.
I loved that! And had a good laugh! Of course I’d like to NOT always be so open, because I love a good mystery and so do many other people out there, but it’s the way I am and it makes me ‘me’. And I have learned to embrace it and celebrate it.

Besides, I have other superpowers 😉 *stands and swoops her cape dramatically and clicks ‘publish’*

 

Who Do You Need?

 

mistakes

Photo credit : sayingimages.com

 

“Nobody’s perfect, but some of us are closer than others.”

The above statement about perfection was written on a wooden board sign hanging in my brothers room while I was growing up. Every time he caught me looking at it – which was usually about the same time he caught me in his bedroom (his room was no man’s land, and definitely not a place that I was allowed to be) he would say to me, “Sorry for you, but you’re not some. Now get out of my room.”

I never fully understood until my other brother, the oldest of the two, explained that he was telling me that I was nowhere near perfect. I can remember that for many years, this hurt me. Looking back now, I laugh about it – and regret the time I wasted in my growing up years allowing it to upset me.

Because here’s the thing : while I sound like I know what I am doing, the only reason I can be this way (and sort of know what I am doing) is because of the mistakes I have made – sometimes the same one a number of times. It used to be ”classic Meg syndrome”. Make a bad choice/mistake – say sorry. Get another chance. But everyone knew I would do it again a few more times.

I never struggled with learning at school, unless I was being lazy 😛 And although I don’t think I have a brilliant IQ, I do think that I am intelligent enough to be able to hold my own. A comment I often heard growing up, and in adult life too, was, “You’re a beautiful girl and you’re not stupid. So WHY? It just baffles my brain.”

Unfortunately, a lot of bad choices were circumstantial. And a lot of those frustrated people who made that comment about me were the greatest ‘influencers’ of the circumstances.
Quotes-About-Judging-Peoples-Choices

Photo credit : therandomvibez.com

They say that life is all about making mistakes – there was a time where I was succeeding beyond my wildest dreams! 😛 😉

Perhaps I was striving for genius status – since we learn from our mistakes? 😛

Here’s the thing though : while I have always been a responsible and caring person, with a kind and loving heart, I have not always been very wise – and I have had my moments of my own form of rebellion, and have done and said things that I cannot take back.

In the past few years I have aged greatly. Apparently I still look young – even though I don’t feel it. My son is very complimentary with regards to this, and was not surprised when a 27 year old asked me on a date. I was horrified – as was my daughter, because I am old 😛 And yet, when I say I am probably best suited for a man in his fifties, she tells me I am too young for that. Kid can’t make up her mind 😛 (My son agrees with me though – but always tells me I look younger than what I am. He’s not just flattering me, which makes me feel good. But not good enough to date a 27 year old 😛 )

But I have aged greatly – and not in years (or looks apparently). In the past few years, I have gained a lot of wisdom and insight, and I have grown a lot. 
Much more than many people my age. I’ve always had a bit of an old soul, so that has already sort of set me apart. An elderly lady I encountered a few days ago told me, “You are not like the youth of today. You have a lot of wisdom. You’ve obviously had a challenging past.”

Yes. I have had a challenging past. Yes, I have done things, and said things, that I am not proud of. I have had things happen to me that have caused pain beyond just their occurrence. The things kept coming, and the circumstances wouldn’t change, and I kept making bad decisions. And it made things challenging. And I was too busy playing the blame game and making excuses and wallowing in my misery to face those challenges. 

I’ll admit – when it comes to my physical appearance, I still don’t see anything worth writing home about. I still struggle with poor self image when it comes to my outer being – partly, a woman thing; partly for other reasons. I do work on that, and am trying to change it. I will say that I have grown to love my eyes – I do see, when I look in the mirror, that although they are a boring brown, they are far from boring. I know how expressive they are, and acknowledge that physically they are my best feature. People who see me speak – my friend in the US only on video calls – have always told me the above. I have only accepted in the past few years. And that’s as far as I have got with physical image.

I am too busy with matters of the heart – my main focus is on what is going on inside of me. Who I am. Because on my blog pages, and in emails to distant new friends who I may never meet, who I am inside is what shines through.

I have worked hard the past few years, at facing my mistakes and taking responsibility where I needed to. And learning. It’s been difficult, and I have suffered. The pain has been insurmountable at times – particularly when having to forgive and move on with people who will never say they are sorry.

Because of my mistakes, I am able to counsel and advise others in many areas.
Funny enough, a lot of the time, I learn something new while doing so.

But please don’t ever be under the impression that I have always been the way I am depicted here. While my core has always been good, there have been many moments of bad. When I write here, I write from personal experiences and my ‘wisdom and goodness’ come from having made some awful mistakes. This alone should terrify you a little 😛

And the thing is, I still make mistakes. Thank goodness. Or there would be nothing left for me to learn! Some of those mistakes come from choices I willingly make : being too trusting, and too honest; my willingness to accept, acknowledge and embrace the fact that everyone is different, and that everyone deserves kindness and consideration, and as many chances as it takes for them to heal and ‘get it right’.

Yes, I leave myself exposed and vulnerable. And get hurt. But I’d rather be making these types of choices and mistakes, than be selfish and bitter and wallowing and blaming, like I tended to be in my younger years.

One of the things that had the greatest influence on me (there have been many), and brought about HUGE changes was a picture I saw on Facebook a few years ago – I googled and found it :

be-who-you-needed

 

‘Nuff said!

 

vulnerable bridges

It’s been an interesting 24 hours. I’ve felt quite overwhelmed, with good things, and bad things. And loadshedding (read the post here) continues…although not quite as bad as it was – we’re down to only being without power for four hours a day – I can handle that!
The funny thing is that even though we’re conscientious with the scheduled times and switch off plugs etc to prevent damage from power surges, the surprise cuts seem to have affected things somewhat. My modem appears to be confused – it seems to think its function is now that of a strobe light 😛 It’s rather fun watching the internet light go on and off every minute or so. Green…red….green….red…. it’s a special kind of Christmas tree 😛 adding holiday spirit to my home 😉

With regards to yesterdays post :

Thank you to those of you who have offered support, prayers and encouragement. It is very much appreciated at all times, please know that.

Up until a few months ago, I wasn’t aware that I could be reached at my private email address through WordPress. This isn’t a problem for me at all – as you all know, I love to communicate and make new friends – and of course I am always there for support and encouragement. I’d like to thank one lovely lady in particular for emailing me – I won’t mention her name but she knows who she is – your continued encouragement and outpouring of love and prayers touches my heart deeply. 

I did receive another email though, from someone that I wasn’t even aware was reading my blog. The irony of this email is that it’s from an ex-South African, now living overseas, who only returns to SA every few years for a week or two on holiday. I haven’t responded… I guess I’ll do so a little later… or maybe I’ll just leave this here :

I am well aware that yesterdays post was rather negative, and reveals that I have ‘that side’ to me. Unfortunately, living with, working with, seeing and being emotionally involved with the atrocities that are occurring here daily, it sometimes does affect me in a negative way. My heart is not made of steel. While I have the ability to practice ‘tough love’ in situations where it is called for, this does not mean that I do not shed tears when I am alone, and that it doesn’t affect me in any way.

So in a round about kind of way, this post is actually about vulnerability.

I am an extremely vulnerable person. And no matter how you try to convince me otherwise, I will never see this as a weakness. 
I AM an open book. You can pretty much ask me anything, and I will answer you. But I won’t just give you facts. I will share in a way that exposes my emotions and will ultimately open me up to the possibility of getting hurt. How else will I connect with you?

And you see, that’s the thing…. I truly believe that I am designed for the purpose of connecting – not just with God, but with other people. In order to achieve that purpose, unfortunately, I need to make myself vulnerable. 

And yes, it means I get ’emotionally hurt’ sometimes. (Other times it is the most rewarding thing for me!) But through all those experiences, the rewarding ones and the hurtful ones, I learn life’s greatest lessons, and the crucial skills that I need to continue with living this life.

Raw truth is necessary to connect. But it has another function too. If I am not prepared to be vulnerable and share the truth of my experiences and failings, then how will anyone ever be able to walk away from me knowing hope, kindness, goodness, grace and joy? 

I am about to make a statement that many are going to possibly attack me for :
I understand and a part of me has to agree with Ghandi : ”I’d be a Christian if it wasn’t for Christians.”

Except I AM a Christian. And now you’re as confused as a chameleon in a bag of skittles.

So I’ll explain it like this : I grew up in the church. And there were some who didn’t preach God, but showed me who He was. But from a little girl, through various stages in my life, I was emotionally, physically and sexually abused by people in the church who were in positions of leadership. I left in my late teens. I have returned many times, to different places, and found much of the same, sadly – except now it has added judgment for some of the bends in the road of my life.
It has been preached to me on numerous occasions that I am a dying ember – because to be a burning light, I need to be with the coals in the fire – a church. While I understand what they are saying, and agree that it is an amazing thing to worship with a group, I remain a dying ember. I guess? Well, in the churches opinion (and the opinion of most of my family members too). That’s where it all gets confusing, even for me…and we’re talking about me… so confusion reigns! 😛

It has taken me a very long time to fully appreciate the statement that ‘God is God, and I am not.’ In the same way, all those people seated in church, as well as all their leaders, are also not God. Which means that like me, they also suffer from sin – hidden or exposed, their choice. They choose to wear masks, instead of being vulnerable enough to admit to their failings. And this means that they never learn anything, and can never be helped. It discredits any good that those who know their secret sins could ever glean from their words or their seemingly perfect lives. By not making themselves vulnerable, they have prevented growth, not just in themselves but in their ‘victims’, because many of those ‘victims’ have turned their backs on God as a result.

I am no longer angry about the abuse I suffered personally. It’s been a long and very difficult road to get to that place. The circumstances surrounding those different types of abuse affected the options that were open to me – and while I could have made different choices, at those times the circumstances affected me negatively and I made a long list of bad choices.

In the past few years, I have grown. And here’s what I know :

I will never come into contact with someone who isn’t loved – I need to be kind always.

I have learned NOT to judge – because I don’t know what choices you actually had. And here’s an additional thing to add to that – take time to find the person they are at that very moment, and not who they were yesterday or last week – based on fact or rumors. Change takes time, but the choice to change takes a minute. By judging and making it known, you may just undo that choice.

Don’t preach it – be it. At the end of the day, my words are meaningless if I can’t show you.

Unconditional love. The hardest of all. So important though because it sums up all of the above, and so much more. I struggle with this particular one a lot. It is hard to love others, especially those who have hurt us. It’s a journey all on its own. 
I love my children dearly – but they know when they disappoint or upset or anger me – a statement often used in my house is this : I love you, but I don’t like you right now because…..
And my children have free reign to use it on me. And they have. I have learnt from those moments – sometimes I am unreasonable, and sometimes I have worded things in a hurtful way. If they did not have the opportunity to tell me, “Mom, I love you but I don’t like you right now because…”, we would all live in a war zone in our own home right now. Being able to say this, and then walk away, leaves time for what has been said to sink in. When the initial anger and hurt has passed, there has always been apologies, calm discussions and resolution. And the freedom to continue loving and liking one another.

So yes, I am vulnerable, even with my kids. How else do I teach them that not everyone is right all the time, and that even parents/adults fail?

Vulnerability HURTS sometimes! It opens me up to judgment and criticism, and nastiness and negativity. But it also grows, helps and heals.
There may be ten people judging me, attacking me, and hurting me when I am vulnerable enough with admissions of guilt and failings. But there may be ONE person who is listening…. and hurting…. who connects with me and experiences hope in their seemingly hopeless situation; who somehow finds healing in a broken piece of their heart; or feels a kindness that no one else has ever shown them and sparks a ‘kindness seed’ that they in turn sow themselves. 

Vulnerability is also sometimes VERY REWARDING! I would not make the beautiful connections and friends that I do along the way if I wasn’t. And many of them patch up broken pieces of my heart in their own way.

And that, for every person who is reading this, is MY purpose in life.

Words and actions WILL hurt me. I WILL spend time crying and experiencing a form of brokenness. I WILL wish that I had a steel heart. And I will have my moments where I fight being ‘good’. I have tried being bitter and angry – I even think nasty thoughts. I have the potential to be all those things – and I’d probably be very good at it. In my head, I do great…for about twenty minutes.

But I WON’T change. And I have come to accept that. I am, and always will be, vulnerable. 

(there’s green light on the modem, so I’m hitting publish! 😛 😉 )

funny fat stuff

 

Sing with me…..

 

IMG-20191128-WA0004

The above was sent to me by my friend of 20+ years. She knew I would appreciate the humour in it. And of course I do….even though some of it is true for me 😛

I discovered recently that I have a very toxic relationship that I am truly struggling to let go of – the relationship I have with my body. It’s a recent discovery for me because I have never viewed my poor physical self image in this light. It truly is a ‘woman thing’ (although, sorry girls, we’re not exclusive! There are men who suffer too!) – we all experience it at some stage or another. But my stage has lasted way too long. For me, it is linked to what can only be described as emotional baggage – a culmination of negativity, lack of support, stressful events and criticism dating back to childhood. The result was poor self esteem in every area of my life. And while I am managing quite successfully to learn lessons and grow in all other areas in a positive way, I am still struggling with this one thing – my body.

b3cda28e185c7866706a55b0f0b54b62

And I have to admit that the funny image above carries with it a semblance of truth – because I have always felt fat, fussing over finding something to wear that doesn’t make me look it has never been an issue.

Strangely enough, this has never sent me along the path of having an eating disorder. And I am truly grateful for that.

But it is still an unhealthy obsession to have, and it is definitely a toxic relationship to be in. It’s understandable when your body is quitting on you due to ill health – my body is slowly giving in to a variety of health issues, and so to be upset with it for that reason still carries a small amount of justification. But to be mad at my body because of fat? Well, that’s just ludicrous! Because my fat is not entirely owing to medical issues.

And here’s the really funny part….. I’m actually only 10 kilos (22 pounds) ”overweight”.
Before my daughter was born, I was at what I thought was MY perfect goal weight – 55kg’s (121 pounds). It was my perception of what ‘looking good’ would be for me. No big surprise that even then I was critical of my body, claiming that I was still too fat. *rolling my eyes here*
Last week I found a photo of my son and I from those days, and I was horrified. And my children agreed… I looked terrible!!!! That ‘thin’ me didn’t suit me at all. My body looked great, but my face looked gaunt and drawn – I looked ill! It gave me some perspective.

I’m not designed to have a body like all the other ladies I want to look like, because it doesn’t suit my face! 

Yesterday I read this quote by JK Rowling : “Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.”

I’ve read it before – a few times, actually. I think that the self growth journey I have been on and working so hard at in recent years may be starting to influence my body image too, because yesterday the words finally made sense deep within me. As I stared down at the tyre tube formed in the place that used to be my waist, a new appreciation in my spirit formed.

Summer is here and I have a built in flotation device for swimming! 😛

Okay so, no, that was not the appreciation.

This morning it was confirmed for me : I need to at least try to, in everything, practice what I preach. I can’t keep pushing, ”you’re beautiful on the inside and that’s all that counts”, when I lack appreciation for that in myself.

The world will always make me feel physically inferior, for as long as I keep allowing it to make me compare my physical attributes to others.  

My physical body is not my character – who cares if I am known for having a stunning figure? Does it really matter that much to me that I have a great figure if my character is ugly? In all honesty?
NOT AT ALL!

Most important to me is to be known for my heart.

And from personal experience (mentioned above when my body looked great) I also know that no matter what my body looks like, I won’t be satisfied. I really need to end this toxic relationship – so yes, I’ll be looking for ways to do that….if you have tips and tricks, feel free to leave them in the comments.

I ALSO KNOW THAT….

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Two babies, actually 😛

Health and age may be motivating factors for the extra pounds piling on…. but I have to take some form of responsibility too! I don’t exercise enough, and although I try and eat healthy I also have a tendency to give into tasty temptation a little too often. And I definitely need to change that!

While self care and self reflection in an effort to grow and build positive character will always be of the utmost importance to me, I need to remember that there should always be a form of balance – and physical me needs attention too (and not just for appearances sake).

But then again…. there’s always this 😛 :

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I Need A Man

So now that I have your attention *ahem* it’s not what you think 😛

  1. There is a plug that needs changing in my house
  2. I am not a useless woman

While I am great at dangling precariously from ladders to change light bulbs in my ridiculously high ceilings (it doesn’t help that I am quite short), and while I have managed to fix my drainpipe with some ‘super tape’ and loads of instructions from the guy at the hardware store; I have never learnt to change a plug.

Google is great, and I know I could learn. But I don’t want to.

You see, I don’t mind being a woman. Or actually even being considered ”useless”, to a point. While I agree that feminists have it right in some aspects, I’m not a great advocate for feminism as such. I actually like the fact that there are some things that men ‘are supposed to’ do.

Society is very different these days. As are the general opinions. And we’re all raised different ways. I was raised that the man is the head of the home, so long as he submits himself to God. (Yip, Christian upbringing – which came with its own trials and tribulations) I was raised in such a way that the man was the provider, and the protector. That it was his responsibility to carry the burdens of the household. And in a lot of ways, I view that as correct, and possibly incorrect. But…

My own experience may have warped that thinking all together.

When my son was eight and a half, and my daughter was just twenty months, I became a single mom in every sense of the word. I initiated it because there were no longer any other options available to me – unless I was ready to welcome death. Full on parenthood of both sexes was NOT on my agenda, however. Long story short, after failing at every other option he thought was available to him, he settled on, ”If you divorce me, I will never see the children again and you will suffer for it.” And no amount of counselling or help changed his mind. So at those young ages, that was the last time my children heard from and saw their father.

And suddenly everything was my responsibility. There were no weekends off, and co-parenting was non-existent. At that stage in my life, I was pretty clueless about a lot of things because I had always been a girly-girl. I had to learn about home maintenance in a hurry, and how to be a good mom, and dad. Discipline became that much more difficult, as did dealing with all the emotions of both genders of children. I was now the sole breadwinner, provider and protector in every sense of the word (I never got maintenance out of him – long story, big battle). He passed away last year and there was nothing for either of the children. In fact, I heard of his passing purely by accident. Such is life.

It took four years to get back in the dating game. It was a disaster. I don’t blame the men entirely – I had done divorce recovery courses, but I wasn’t healed…not that I knew that at the time. I made a lot of mistakes in those dating years, and I paid dearly with the last one, because I had never fully healed. 

I had to pay a huge price for it, but finally full healing began. That intense pain and traumatic experience was the catalyst for mind blowing change, and a form of rebirth. Proof that even the most negative experiences can have very positive outcomes!

Anyway… when my daughter was 10, I was asked on a date by an attractive man I had got to know through friends. And for the first time in a long time, I found myself actually considering it. My son was non-committal when it came to his opinion on this – he didn’t mind either way, apparently. My daughter was rather vocal.

“But you don’t need to date anyone, we’re perfect like we are. We don’t need anyone else.”

The full impact of her words never hit me till later, even though for years my children had been giving me Mothers AND Fathers Day cards filled with appreciation.
I actually wasn’t failing them the way I thought I was – I wasn’t a struggling single mom. They were happy and secure despite the fact that they only had me.

I rejoined the dating world anyway, and BOY, HAD IT CHANGED! I made it through first dates just fine, and always got a second one. But there was never a third. Completely my own fault. And yes, here it comes….
some brutal honesty regarding a taboo subject : S E X. 
There seems to be this trend that when you’re a mature adult, you’re considered a consenting adult, and none of the normal rules of dating apply. Thus the expectation of an exchange of bodily fluids by date number three. UGH! What?!?!?!

(While I have no issue with the exchange itself and have always found it rather enjoyable, I am very much a relationship kind of girl and stuff like that needs to wait. Sorry fellas!)

(side note : not all men are like this – I just haven’t found the ones I have come into physical contact with to be different.)

When discussing this with a close girl friend, who has been in a committed relationship for over four years now after going through her own divorce and jumping back on the bandwagon a little faster than me, she suggested to me that possibly I was meeting the wrong type of men. It was a subtle hint from her to focus only on good Christian men.

Now, let me very clear. THE GOOD GUYS ARE OUT THERE! Do not, for one moment, in your never ending frustrations at not being able to find a mate, doubt that THERE ARE STILL GREAT MEN in this world!

Imagine how disheartened my friend was (as was I at the time) when I shared with her that one of those ‘no third date’ guys was the attractive man that I had spent ages getting to know and called a friend – excited for the possibilities – who happened to be a man who was studying to be a pastor. Sigh.

So I came up with a new motto at that time, about three years ago :

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And what a journey that was! The sudden acceptance of the fact that I was single taught me more things than any romantic relationship ever could. Acceptance brought about a change in my attitude. And it provided me with the time to explore my emotions, my mind, my heart. That exploration was not always pretty – there were some very ugly truths that I needed to accept about myself, and dealing with them – learning about them and changing them – was HARD! My childhood and past left me with this ‘lonely’ feeling much of the time – but I discovered that being alone didn’t mean I had to be lonely. 

And I discovered that in order to be able to give of myself to anyone, I needed to actually KNOW myself, and love me for what I knew.

(I still fall short with typical female rants of, ”I’m too fat”; “I’m not pretty enough” etc. But not to the degree where I dislike myself like I used to – it’s more of a laughable, ”I’m such a woman” thing 😛 )

AND THEN…

The other day I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, and came across a friend of mine who had played one of those OMG games. Apparently Santa is bringing her ‘the perfect man’ for Christmas. Her caption was, of course, ”Yes please”!

LIGHT BULB MOMENT! (must be the one I changed in the bathroom last week 😛 )

Now we all know that NO ONE is perfect. But I think when people speak of a perfect situation, or the perfect partner for them etc. it’s basically their own personal perception of perfect. And so I don’t criticise my friends when they tell me they have found ‘the perfect man’, because in their perception that may very well be exactly what they have found, for them.

And that got me thinking about MY ‘perfect’ man. And something popped (broken light bulb that needs fixing) in to my head :

My perception of perfection may be what I WANT, but it may not be what I NEED!

In getting to know myself I have learnt that there are a lot of things that I want for life, and from life, but they’re not always the things/tools/equipment that I actually NEED for life. I am continuously given moments where I learn that annoying fact. It’s annoying because I don’t like to be wrong. I like things to be clear and concise.

And this suddenly became an epiphany for me on romance.

I can have my list of all the things that I want in a man. I can seek him out, or check items off the list when he somehow finds me. But at the end of the day, those are things I want and because I am continuously growing and learning, they may not actually be things I need. (And here’s where my Christianity comes into play) God knows what I NEED and in His time, he’ll provide it. And He’ll provide me with discernment with regards to that – I just need to keep asking!

When I shared this with a friend yesterday, she was discouraged by my views. I thought I was being quite positive. I shared the above with her, and ended with, “So if it means I spend the rest of my life single, I’m actually really okay with that.” And I really am. I can’t explain it. I just am.

I am not closing myself off to the potential of a future romantic relationship. I am not in  state of lonely depression. I am not shutting myself off and withdrawing to an unlit room – I know how to change a lightbulb 😛

But I am also not going to chase after what I want, because even in my successes with regards to getting to know myself, what I want may not actually be what I need. So I’m leaving it up to Him.

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For now it might have to just be my dog – but if you knew my dog, you’d understand that he’s worth it 😛

It might always just be the air – but for the chance to wake up each morning to a new day, and have the love of my life only being the breath that I take – well, that’s pretty much worth it too 🙂

Goodness, this really was a post of ‘relationship randomness’. Here’s hoping someone got something out of it…even if only just a good giggle somewhere along the way 😉