Blond or Brunette? There is a lesson here

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I have been a blond my entire life. Never changed my hair color. Until now.
A drunken afternoon with friends convinced me that I needed to change my hair color drastically at least once before I turn thirty.
At the first opportunity I went dark brunette. At first I loved my new hair color, then, slowly, I started hating it. It cost money to maintain and was more admin than I had time for.
Unfortunately there is no ‘undo’ button for this kind of change, and now, five months later, I am still trying to get my natural, beautiful blond back.

This taught me something valuable. To be happy with who I am and how I look. In the end, that’s the best look for me as it is what nature intended.

I can safely say, I will not make that mistake again. Mess with nature and end up ginger.
Don’t say you were not warned.

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At the scene of the accident

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Mangled steel, glass, blood, screams… All the things one cannot prepare oneself for when arriving on the scene of an accident.

This week I had this experience. A truck had skipped a Stop Sign and t-boned four of my staff, leaving the car mangled and my staff injured.

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Needless to say, when I got to the scene and saw the aftermath, I thought we had lost someone. Luckily everyone is alright and no serious injuries were sustained, though we are all somewhat emotionally drained.

The thing that stood out the most about the happenings of that day, was the support of strangers. When I got there, there were people everywhere, not just gaping as you would expect, but helping. They were reassuring the people stuck in the vehicle, holding their hands and making sure that the emergency services were on the way.

This renewed my faith in humanity, too many times, people stand and gape or actually steal from people trapped in vehicles. To those nameless Samaritans, thank you for being there for people who I care about. You will not be forgotten.

 

Dlala Nje – Changing a City from within

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Today I would like to take the time to appreciate my friends that have undertaken an amazing initiative and made it a roaring success in less than a year, through the upliftment of their own city.

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Dlala Nje meaning ‘Just Play” in Zulu, is a games and cultural emporium that has opened up in the heart of Hillbrow, in Ponte City – one of the most notorious suburbs in South Africa.

This play center gives all the children of Hillbrow’s, Ponte Tower a safe place to play and a chance to develop themselves in a positive environment.

The store is owned by Mike Luptak, Nickolaus Bauer and Neil Underhay and was opened in the hopes of changing the negative perceptions surrounding inner city living in Hillbrow, Yeoville and Berea.

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I was there on the day they opened, and let me tell you, I was blown away!

They have since hosted a Christmas Party for over 500 children and orphanages in the area. The day was a roaring success and Dlala Nje was on the map.

They have hosted and Easter event and often have movie nights for the children in the shop. On Mandela Day this year they walked from Hillbrow to the Maboneng precinct where they handed out blankets to the homeless and the children had a wonderful day.

What sets Dlala Nje apart is the fact that they aim to uplift the area, that is it. No ulterior motives.

They showcase African artists, teach the children skills and provide guided walks in the area to open the eyes of those that still have the perception that the area is ‘off limits’ and that people could not live in the area safely.

This little games emporium has affected so many lives in the short time that it has been running and has already come so far in changing the perceptions of the people both in Hillbrow, Tourists and those South Africans that have been avoiding this part of their own city, through the guided walks that they offer of the area and Ponte City . They have also managed to find themselves in the press a few times.

I am so very proud to know these guys and their initiative has changed my life and perspective on my own city and I am always proud to be involved in their events.

LET’s CHANGE THIS CITY!

Here are some pictures of the amazing work these guys do:

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She left a smudge on my heart

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They Say There is a Reason

(Author Unknown)

They say there is a reason,
They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason,
Will change the way I feel,
For no-one knows the heartache,
That lies behind our smiles,
No-one knows how many times,
We have broken down and cried,
We want to tell you something,
So there won’t be any doubt,
You’re so wonderful to think of,
But so hard to be without.

 

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Nobody can prepare you for that phone call – a baby is dead. A beautiful, vibrant little girl – my cousin’s little girl. Little Adrianna, only 3 months old.

 

I have experienced death in my life, been to funerals, yet nothing has affected me as much as the loss of this little one and my heart breaks for my cousin and his wife. My mind cannot comprehend what pain they are going through, if the way I feel is only a small smudge of what they must be feeling.

cryingHow do we as a family get through this? I feel completely unsettled as there is nothing I can do to make it better, the feeling of helplessness is overwhelming. The news sent me into a spin to read up on her cause of death, which is commonly known as Cot Death. This is a phenomenon that they cannot fully explain – why do perfectly healthy babies just stop breathing? It makes no sense. As each day passes, this question goes unanswered and I feel lost.

Tomorrow is the funeral, with the little coffin. I am dreading it. I do not know whether I am going to be able to handle it, but for my family, I must. One thing that this horrific event has taught me, is that even though family is often neglected and forgotten, when a tragedy occurs, they pull together and focus on what needs to be done to help.

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Dearest Adrianna,

You came to us full of laughter and joy, sweetness and light. You blessed us with your smile and laugh, you made a home in our hearts. We will always carry you in our hearts and miss your beautiful face. Until we meet again, we carry with us every second of every day.

The burden of guilt

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The worst guilt to accept an unearned guilt.

Hindsight can be a wonderful thing, it can open your eyes to so many things you just could not see before. Once you have separated from a situation  hindsight plays its part in unraveling the mysteries of the aftermath of emotionally apocalyptic events.

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Guilt. What a loaded word. You can feel guilt and not know it. It can affect your behavior  your emotional state and play like a virus in your mind, resulting in self punishment of the sub conscious.

The kind of guilt I have been experiencing is the type where I hurt someone I loved very deeply, to save them from more pain. To stop the madness.

Pretending I didn’t care whilst watching someone so close to me suffer as a result will always linger and never leave me. Did I do the right thing? Absolutely!

 

My penance for this has been harsh and unrelenting; now, I believe my punishment is over. It has been sufficient. I am now ready to move forward with my life, my conscience clean.

The thing about guilt, is that it is healthy but can become soul-destroying, dragging you down into a place that is very hard to get out of again. I do not want to live with it for the rest of my life, I want to learn and grow from the lessons I learnt.

The people that punish us the hardest are ourselves.

 

The little things in life…

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This morning whilst lying in bed, trying to shake off the sleep that still weighed heavy on my eyelids, I considered for a moment; what always makes me feel better?

Think about it… Whether you feel tired, hung over, dirty, sick, sore or just down, the one thing that always leaves you feeling better, is a shower.

So today I would like to thank the ancient Greeks for inventing showers and making life just that much more bearable and wonderful.

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The thing about taking a shower, is that it can make you feel better in so many different ways. If you need to feel refreshed, soothe sore muscles, be clean, be warmer or colder; it can all be done through having a shower. Magical isn’t it?

If we do not stop from time to time to both appreciate and enjoy the small things in life that makes us feel better, what is the point in living?

So the next time you stand in your shower, take a moment to appreciate what a small, yet wonderful invention it is and enjoy.

If it’s not hard, it’s not worth it

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This week I somehow managed to contract a viral gastro infection of body racking proportions. As my luck would have it, I ended up in hospital due to serious dehydration.

Whilst lying in the hospital bed, after a day of wishing for death, I gave death some thought. We as humans are very aware and afraid of our own mortality.

What is it we are afraid of? The pain of death itself (that’s my fear)? The people we leave behind? What comes after?

Then, I thought of what would have happened to me, if I had lived a hundred years ago, before modern medicine. I would not have made it to the age of 10! This lead me to come to the conclusion, that life is a fight, every day and we all lose eventually. It all depends on how long we are willing to fight. The day we stop fighting is the day we start dying.

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We can either choose to live in fear of the day that we finally expire, speculating and questioning OR we can say, screw it! If I’m going to die eventually, and it is probably going to be excruciatingly painful and who knows what happens after, then I am going to make sure that all of these worst case scenarios are worth the life that I live.

Living is hard. Very hard. Is anything that isn’t even worth the trouble?

I will leave you with some of my favourite quotes on the matter..

“Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.”
― Markus ZusakThe Book Thief

“Krishna was once asked what was the most miraculous thing in all creation, and he replied, “That a man should wake each morning and believe deep in his heart that he will live forever, even though he knows that he is doomed.”
― Christopher PikePhantom

A rolling stone gathers no moss

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Moving. I never stop moving. I guess I am a rolling stone, not much moss here!

 

 

Since the age of 21, I have not lived in the same house for more than two years.

I am reaching the point in my life where I want to find a home to settle in, one that is my own. It is not quite the time for that yet. Even though I want to own a home, I find myself overwhelmed with the excitement I get whenever I move to a new house.

It always feels like a fresh start. A new beginning.

So, once again, I am in the process of packing to move into a new home at the end of the month. I couldn’t be more excited! All the plans for how I am going to decorate it, how I will love reading in the beautiful garden whilst watching my dogs playing or what I will do with the loft space.

I imagine that I will cook in the new kitchen, dabble in some gardening and have a space to myself. Yes, I will have a housemate, but the space is big enough to ensure that we do not get in each other’s space, which is most important.

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I believe that one should find joy in everything – even though it is hard sometimes. Moving to a new home is that joy for me right now.

In conclusion, this old Irish poem always reminds me of what a new home should be:

Three Traditional Irish blessings/toasts for a new home (Extract)

May your home be bright with cheer,
May your cares all disappear,
May contentment come your way,
And may laughter fill your day.

May you have warm words
on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill
all the way to your door.

When the bird doesn’t leave the nest

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Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein

I was 21 years old when I moved out of my mother’s house. I left for another continent and lived in the UK for three years.

Lately I have noticed a pattern in young adults my age. The women move out very early, whether through marriage, a boyfriend/friend or moving in on their own. Unless their religion dictates otherwise.

Most men do the same, but there are two more types in this gender category.

The first type, are the men that still live at home at the age of 30 and their parents don’t charge them rent. That is simply bad parenting and a lazy man. Typical Mommies Boys.

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The second type is the one I am here to discuss today. The men that still live at home at the age of 30 and pay rent. Therefore, they can afford to move out of the house, they simply choose not to.

This raises the question – why?

I have a few of these friends, and these are my findings. They live at home for one simple reason, they do not have to budget for bills, they do not have to cook, do laundry or grocery shopping. They are basically living in a hotel.

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Ladies, be very carefull of both type 1 and type 2. These birds have not left the nest. If you decide to take it under your wing, you will either end up as a secondary mother or a man who does not have any life skills in terms of managing his own life and finances.

Do not say that you have not been warned ladies. These men are nice to take care of for a little while, but I am not looking to be a mother or a maid to my guy!

So in closing, gentlemen, here is a little cup for you:

A Real Man
Men are of two kinds, and he
Was of the kind I’d like to be.
Some preach their virtues, and a few
Express their lives by what they do.
That sort was he. No flowery phrase
Or glibly spoken words of praise
Won friends for him. He wasn’t cheap
Or shallow, but his course ran deep,
And it was pure. You know the kind.
Not many in a life you find Whose deeds outrun their words so far
That more than what they seem they are.

There are two kinds of lies as well:
The kind you live, the ones you tell. Back through his years from age to youth
He never acted one untruth.
Out in the open light he fought
And didn’t care what others thought
Nor what they said about his fight
If he believed that he was right.
The only deeds he ever hid
Were acts of kindness that he did.

What speech he had was plain and blunt.
His was an unattractive front.
Yet children loved him; babe and boy Played with the strength he could employ,
Without one fear, and they are fleet
To sense injustice and deceit.
No back door gossip linked his name
With any shady tale of shame.
He did not have to compromise
With evil-doers, shrewd and wise,
And let them ply their vicious trade
Because of some past escapade.

Men are of two kinds, and he
Was of the kind I’d like to be.
No door at which he ever knocked
Against his manly form was locked.
If ever man on earth was free
And independent, it was he.
No broken pledge lost him respect,
He met all men with head erect,
And when he passed, I think there went
A soul to yonder firmament
So white, so splendid and so fine
It came almost to God’s design.

Edward Guest

Snake in the Grass

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Snake in the Grass

Wickedly venomous and underhanded
snake in the grass ploddingly disguised
Counterfeit smiles and phony concerns
patiently waiting to taste the next prey

Beautifully displayed outlook
secretly plotting ugly schemes
Harm and sting underneath
without a conscience and unforgiving

Pretending to be obliging and useful
bait to lure without compassion
Snake in the grass vigorously maneuvering
scattering seeds of iniquity and trouble

Cloaking its actual resolve
fittingly bejeweled to mislead
Belly crawler and evil spirit
creatively about to defeat

Discovered from a birds-eye view
collected for a nest of a young hungry few
Snake in the grass eaten alive
justified poetic way to die

Dennis .A. James

What do you do when you wake up one day and realise that a person has infiltrated and started taking over your life bit by bit, friend by friend, without you noticing?
Last time I looked, this person was a harmless, happy person. Boy, was I wrong. By the time I realised my mistake, the level of manipulation and betrayal had gone so deep, my head was left reeling! Now, this person is going to be living in the same house as me, this cannot be prevented, so I have to make a decision on how to deal with this, how do you say, little problem.

I could move in on my own (impossible, I do not have enough cash flow at present) or I can ignore the petty passive aggressiveness aimed at me, stemming from insecurity and jealousy, and simply carry on with my life. I have big plans for 2013, they do not include petty politics with petty people. If they want my life, try live it for a day or two, they would notice that just like them, I have problems, weaknesses, heartbreak and insecurities, so why all the fuss?

Lucky for me, I have many true friends, those lost, made their decision. Different strokes for different folks. I am not left wanting, for that, I am grateful and not affected by the people attempting to inflict pain on me and others around me.

So how have I decided to approach the situation? With indifference, that’s how. I have more positive things to focus on and achieve – I am taking the high road on this one and not giving the snake what it wants, a reaction.

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Eventually, everyone reveals their true colours, so do your worst! Karma will eventually catch up with them.

As JayZ says:

When the grass is cut, the snakes will show.