Survive… an emotional rant of sorts

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Photo credit : strictlymotivationalquotes.wordpress.com

The last two weeks seem to have flown by. There has not been a lot of productivity within them for me. The message in the picture above is one of great value, for we all know that time is the one thing that we cannot retrieve once it has gone.

For some, passing time in the best possible way is simply curling up in a chair with a good book – for others it involves physical busyness.
Both are correct. It’s about what matters to you the most.

For me the past two weeks? It has been consumed with ‘survival’. I’ve struggled through the most horrific physical pain due to a tooth abscess unlike any other I have ever experienced before. And that pain came after the visit to the dentist, and an attempt to treat it, and the filling of a prescription for strong antibiotics and painkillers. Thankfully, the dentist managed to solve all the issues on Friday. But it took a full three days thereafter for me to recover physically – from an exhaustion point of view.

Survival has been a theme the past two weeks though. And Covid19 itself has not been an issue. Things in my country are unhealthy – and the virus is but the tip of an iceberg that will destroy many ships before this is over. I will not be sharing details or news articles or facts – or any of the destruction I am seeing happen.

My personal social media has been void of all of it.

Because people are on the edge already. I choose not to be part of the overwhelming problem. And I find it frustrating that I cannot be part of the solution either, simply because everything that is happening is completely out of my control.

I have tried to comfort myself, and remind myself daily, that the only thing I can control is my actions, my responses, my emotions, my part that I play where I am right now. 
do know myself well enough to know that the exhaustion and physical ill health makes ‘everything seem worse’ to my heart and mind.
But as I sit here, pretty much pain free (other than a twinge of a sinus headache forming) and fairly well rested? I feel just as frustrated and overwhelmed and sad and burdened as what I did a week ago. As what I have over the past few weeks, watching the devastation around me – happening to people that I am connected to, even if just as acquaintances.

In a country where desperation has marred us for far too many years, circumstances have become even more desperate. In a country where crime and corruption has surpassed most others in the world, it has reached an even more alarming level. I can’t even find the words in my heart or my head to describe it all. And when I do talk about it to the few that I am close with, the advice is always the same : ”It’s not your burden to carry.”

I hear. I know. I even understand that. It is still extremely difficult to just only feel heavy concern for my children and I. I know a line needs to be drawn… but how.

I have had the training, I have done the research and I personally know a partial solution that may make these circumstances ever so slightly easier. (And right now, even that ever so slightly could make a huge difference.)
But I can’t do that either. And this is something I WILL share and reveal…. 
Not to create panic and a sense of hopelessness, but to help put our current situation into perspective in a small way.

When I was in my twenties, I used to joke that by age 40 (I am older than that now!) I would be living overseas in a cabin in the woods, preferably near a forest and a waterfall. Fairly isolated. But I knew, even then, that ‘no man is an island’ and that for the majority of us, human contact/physical presence is essential in some form. So part of the joke/dream was always this : there would be a small town nearby, and I would visit it once a week for the day, to get supplies, enjoy a coffee and a chat at the local, and just be around people.

Our country is currently in the longest recorded lock down IN THE WORLD. It has been declared invalid and unconstitutional – but nothing is being done.
The part I need to share is this : in the beginning, phone calls, online chats and video calls were enough. (And as much as it’s a horror when it fails, I will forever be grateful for technology!) So please don’t get me wrong and think that I am only seeing the problems and am ungrateful for the gifts.

But we are now on day 76 – SEVENTY SIX DAYS – of not being allowed to visit our friends or family. Even lingering too long in one spot in your car (like perhaps trying to sit and watch the ocean) is not allowed. Our beaches are still closed.
Coupled with all the other crazy rules and regulations, people are becoming depressed on levels unlike anything I have ever seen before. And I hope that when this is over, that I never have to see it again.

I am longer afraid of the virus.

Many, in sheer desperation, have rebelled. Thankfully, they have not been caught. And the difference after just an hour with their nearest and dearest is evident in their mindsets. I have continued to follow the rules because of my children. I love my children dearly, and although being cooped up together has been challenging, we’ve only experienced the usual minor bickering – and the sibling rivalry levels have remained the same. I am very thankful for that too. The three of us still have a great glue 😉

If you get caught breaking lock down regulations (being in a house that is not your own)….
You not only receive a ludicrous financial fine – you also get a criminal record.

I just want to sit in the same room as one of my nearest and dearest and have a cup of coffee and good conversation in their physical presence. 76 days, and no end in sight.

But I want to leave you with this …

Yes, I am overwhelmed and frustrated. I am sad and angry. I am stressed and worried. I am probably every negative emotion I can even think of right now. There are moments in the day where I feel I am teetering on an edge that is about to break off and just take me.

And yet….

At the same time, there is a flame that flickers within me. The winds of circumstance have blown heavy and hard, and it just refuses to die. There’s darkness that keeps telling me to just give up, but it continues to flicker. They say fear shouts, but terror whispers. My eardrums hurt from both.
That flicker remains. It is that strong.

My greatest lesson in all of this? It IS possible to feel all the negative, but still know that it’s not hopeless. 

As a young lady, when needing to come up with a handle for a website, I chose ‘Prisoner of Hope’. Perhaps I spoke that into being, who knows?

But dear friends, while I ask that you think of each and every person living here in South Africa (and spare a thought for me too, of course 😉 ) I also ask that you take a moment and remind yourself that there IS always hope. 

May your flickering flames burn a little brighter 😉

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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

 

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! ❤

I’m a match!

She was 44 and we’d been friends for 22 years when the call came.
“I’m dying.”
She had been diagnosed with cancer a few months before this, but the cancer had ravaged her body to the extent that these were the calls she was having to make.
She passed away about six weeks after that call. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to spend last moments in time with her, and that I was able to love her and say ‘see you later – keep me a place’.

But her life was too short and she was gone too soon.

I met a lady four years ago, on her seventieth birthday. Her life had been difficult and painful, having buried her husband in her thirties after losing their child, and then burying her other two children not even ten years later.
At the age of 65 she was diagnosed with cancer, and every day thereafter increased her suffering in this life.
On her deathbed, shortly before turning 71,she whispered to her sister,
“I’m ready to go now. I have been for a very long time. They’re waiting. Sometimes I think that this life of mine has just gone on too long.”

Some people say life is too short. Others say life is too long. I say that it doesn’t matter – it’s not worth anything unless you touch the lives and hearts of others in a positive way!

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