Blindly accepting …

In the last few years I have discovered something rather interesting. I am to blame for most of it simply because I just accepted what I was told and didn’t bother to explore it for myself. Why I did this is a mystery, perhaps at the times it was easier for me, who knows?

When I was married my husband and I had very different tastes in music and movies, as with all things there are always areas that overflow and a few bands or movies that you both enjoy. The same can be said for our favourite authors, he read books and told me they weren’t really my style so I just blindly accepted this and steered clear of them, the same with movies and music.

Here are a few examples, when Matrix came out he told me I wouldn’t enjoy it and I just accepted that and didn’t bother finding out what it was about or even watching it. Years later I happened to be bored and watched the second Matrix movie and I was hooked. I was also told that I would not enjoy The Lord of the Rings, so never even worried to watch the movies or find out more about them. He would take the movies out on DVD and watch them when I went to bed. For years I just accepted this and never really bothered to question it. Three years ago I finally got to watch The Lord of the Rings and since then have watched them several times.

Two weeks ago I was looking for something to read and stumbled across an author that I knew about but had never read any of her books. I know while married my husband read all her books and loved them and when I asked about them he said he didn’t think I would enjoy them. Again I blindly accepted this and steered clear of them. Two weeks ago I decided to try them and I am so hooked on them and loving them.

I don’t blame him entirely for this, I after all am responsible for my life and I should have ignored his response and told him I would try the movie or read the book and make up my own mind. What I do blame him for is that he thought he knew what I would like and dislike and that he never encouraged me to explore and try out new things. I know for a fact that I always encouraged him to try out new authors, movies, games and gave him the time and space to do this.

The big lesson I have learned is this: when someone says to me ‘you probably won’t enjoy it” it means that I will and I need to try it out for myself. I am in the one in control and know what I enjoy and don’t enjoy and as the years trot on I realise that my tastes and interests change and I need to bear that in mind and adjust the sails.


Call me crazy

Call me crazy and mad, but my motto for the past three years has been to embrace whatever comes my way and step out of my comfort zone.

This has resulted in some fun things as I have stretched myself. In 2009 I decided to enrol myself and my daughters in belly dancing classes. It was fun and something we could do together. Sadly due to finances we had to stop after a few months. A year later I saw a Burlesque show and fell in love with burlesque dancing. This resulted in me attending some burlesque classes, and the making of various burlesque costumes. Burlesque will always be my first love, and I will always look for other types of dance and things to add to it.

Last weekend I went to a Magical Medieval Market and there was a stall selling all kinds of interesting things. I fell in love with the “comets”, I could picture them been incorporated into a burlesque dance, so I just had to buy some. Let me try to describe a comet – it is a small ball, attached to a chain on the one side and on the other side it has two long silk ribbons. The idea is to swing the ball using the chains and the ribbons while floating around in the air look like comet tails. I have been practicing this week and have not managed to knock myself out but have come close. I am determined to master them, and realise that lots of practice is needed to make them sail effortlessly through the air while swirling them. Something like a gymnast using ribbons in a dance.

Then to add to my crazy things list I have enrolled myself and my youngest daughter into a fire sticks dance class. Yes, we are going to learn a dance using fire sticks! Thankfully tomorrow we will learn to make our own fire sticks, practice movements and then choreograph a routine using the sticks. In November we will have our second lesson, practicing our routine, learning about fire safety and then lighting our sticks. It sounds like fun and is a great party trick.

For me life is too short to not venture out and try some crazy things. For me many things I now do and am interested in have been because I went out and investigated them and tried them out. How do you know you won’t like something until you have actually tried it?

Living differently, thinking differently

Over the past three weeks I have had some criticism levelled at me directly and indirectly. I could lie and say it didn’t hurt and I was fine with it, it hurt and it still hurts.

Three years ago I made some very difficult decisions to make enormous changes in my life that would not just impact me but impact all those around me in different ways. Those changes were not something I thought about one night, woke up the next morning and decided to implement. The changes were carefully weighed up and lots of thought and time was spent working out what the best plan of action would be. The bottom line was that no matter which way it worked out it would shock, hurt and confuse people. I decided that I couldn’t allow those things to stop me from doing what I needed to do. I made a choice and would need to live with the consequences.

One of the hardest decisions I made was to leave a job that I had been in for 10 years, I felt that it was my crutch in life and how could I possibly survive without it? The second decision was to get divorced which we all know is not an easy decision to make. I knew the impact it would have on my immediate family and extended family and friends. It would have been far easier to remain in my job, even though I was not enjoying it anymore, it would have been easier to bite the bullet and remain in a marriage that I was very unhappy in. That type of decision would hurt no one but me and surely I could suck it up and learn to live with it. But could I really? I realised that I couldn’t, that I needed to be brave and do what I needed to do no matter what.

Since my divorce I have learned many lessons, some good and not so good. People have judged and levelled all sorts of criticism at me without knowing the facts, and sometimes just because they felt justified to do so.

These three years have grown me and stretched me in numerous ways. I have discovered things about myself I never knew, or perhaps had just buried deep down because it was easier to do that then deal with it or acknowledge that is how I was feeling about life and things. I have done all kinds of crazy things and enjoyed so much. I have laughed and cried and got really angry with myself, but I haven’t backed down, I haven’t buried my head in the sand I have faced up to it all.

I can honestly look back and say that it has been worth the pain and agony and I know that there will be more pain and agony as the years pass. The difference is that I now know that I’ll be able to handle it all and won’t be scared to deal with it.

The world according to …

Feel free to insert your name in or someone else’s. How many times have you heard people use this term, either when referring to something they are saying or something someone else has said. Whether this is said in jest or with sarcasm does not matter, we all understand the term and what it is alluding to.

A recent remark made me realise how too often we adopt this attitude in our own lives to serve a purpose. We may be sitting chatting to friends and make a remark that is totally ludicrous but we are serious about it and you realise as the words leave your mouth that it is clearly one of those “The world according to …” remarks and your friends are probably running that through their brains at the same time.

We do this without thinking and I know I do it in a way to understand the motivation or thinking behind a statement. When someone makes a brash harsh statement, I step back and think okay what and why, then think about how they operate their world and analyse how this statement fits into their world.

Their world encompasses so many things from their circle of friends, the work they do, the car they drive, where they live, what they wear, what they do socially, interests, morals, ethics etc. When you take all of these things into account the statement fits and might not be as abrasive as you originally thought. They are after all using their sphere of reference adding some personal feelings/emotions to the statement and it fits their world view and they feel comfortable with it.

I think that there is a fine line as to how you operate ‘your world’ and how it impacts those around you. If you have a set of morals and values that you expect others to adhere to and accept then please don’t do the opposite to them. If for example you state vocally “I am not judgemental and can’t stand people who are”, then remember those words, adhere to them, and don’t change them to suit a circumstance or whim. Treat people like you want to be treated. If you require people to respect you than you have to respect them back. If you want honesty and open communication then practice that, don’t harbour things and let them all explode at once and dig into past things causing a volcano of emotions and feelings to erupt and then expect your target to stand back and calmly accept your volcanic eruption, apologise to you and move on. In my experience there is always a chain reaction and you need to be prepared for that to happen. What gives you the right to get angry and mad and someone else must just accept that. Why are people shocked when someone dares to fight back? Why can’t they have their say and defend themselves?

So next time you climb onto your “the world according to …” horse, take a breather and think about what you are about to do and say and how you would feel if someone did that to you.

Why do we play games with people’s emotions?

This subject fascinates me, what makes us want to purposely hurt someone with words or actions? Why do we feel justified doing this? Does it make us a better person?

This happened to me the other day and it got me thinking. Someone said something not directly at me but directed at me. Come on, I am not stupid even though at times I might give that impression, because I generally keep my mouth shut does not mean that my head is filled with air bubbles! Still waters run deep and I often choose to remain silent.

Just why I was targeted is beyond me. I consider myself to be a very tolerant, kind and caring person, I have huge amounts of compassion and empathy. So why this person decided to have a dig at me, hoping that I would get it – baffles me. It was in reference to a caring incident that took place earlier in the year. Only problem the dig was in essence saying “your caring was not welcome”. This in itself astounded me, upset me and made me consider who I extend my kind caring nature to. Problem is that my nature will not allow me to simply ignore any ‘help’ sympathy or empathy that this person may need in future. I know myself without thinking I will extend a hand of help to this very person knowing that I will probably get shot down later down the line by them, knowing this won’t stop me because that is how I am wired. What it will do is make me consider how I interact with this person in future, I will be cautious but never rude or obnoxious, I would never allow them to feel rejected by me, but I will protect myself from them doing that to me. I will not allow them to manipulate or tramp all over me, to use me and abuse me. I will stand up a little straighter and face them head on, always been polite and kind but not at my expense. I won’t be as obliging as I have been in the past, things will be a little different and I am okay with that. They probably won’t even notice, and I am also okay with that.

I understand how the world operates, I understand how self centred and selfish humans can be. I never want to be lumped into that category but I can learn how I will deal with people who are like this. I certainly don’t have to make excuses for them, or feel sorry for them, they are responsible for the situations they find themselves in and for the things that happen to them. I can lend them an ear and a shoulder to lean on … and that is all I have to do. I do not have to fix it, offer suggestions, go out of my way to make it better.

Instead, I will be focusing on those who add value to my life, are like me ready to drop what they are doing to help me when I need it, like I would happily do for them. The great thing about this is that I have narrowed it down to a few caring wonderful people in my life. To B, S, A, A, D, L, E thank you from the bottom of my heart, you are all stars.

Morals & Ethics

These two words are buzzing around in my head today, I am digesting and contemplating their meanings. Not just their universal meaning, but the bearing they have on me and my life.

Recently a question was posed to me that directly relates to my personal morals and ethics and has made me seriously consider what they are. We all have some morals and ethics that we live by some more than others but at the end of the day they are present in some form. At times we stretch the boundaries of the two in order to accommodate changes in our circumstances and to get on with living. We have all done it one way or other, even when we have not wanted to circumstances have dictated it and we find ourselves adjusting our boundary lines.

I find myself confronted with a long list of cons and very few pros. My instincts are saying ‘no’ and we are always told to trust our instincts. For me that is something I have always lived by, but in recent years have realised that those very instincts often stop me from stepping out and experiencing life. At times it has been hard lessons learned but necessary, other times it has been a life changing experience that I have really enjoyed and not regretted one bit.

So as I ponder these things, I ask you the reader to share with me any of your experiences and lessons you have learned along the way. Have you regretted it? Have you enjoyed it? What have you learned? Would you do it again? What makes your morals and ethics different to mine?

  1. Moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behaviour. The moral correctness of specified conduct.
  1. A lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
  2. A person’s standards of behaviour or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.

Creative juices flowing …

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday with a murder mystery dinner. My first official party since my 21st birthday brunch. My man chose the theme for the party and facilitated it for me. He made sure everyone was forwarded their characters and info that they needed to make the evening a success.

My job was to organise the decor for the party and the other small details. The theme was “Origami and the Gentle Art of Murder”. My mind started buzzing with ideas for the decor, I googled origami projects and then set about testing my origami skills. My first project was a cube using sonobe units. I set about doing this and loved the challenge and ended up with a pretty awesome cube. Inspired by this I searched for other ideas and things to make for the table decor and room decor. The internet has thousands and thousands of ideas and tutorials. I downloaded and printed some simple ideas and armed with a ream of paper set about making some cranes and pelicans. My character for the murder mystery dinner was responsible for using origami as a rehabilitation tool at the local prison and the prisoners were working on folding a 1000 paper cranes for a special project in Japan. I wanted to make some cranes and hang them up for display purposes.

I need to back track a bit and say that last 2 weeks ago I was struck down with migraine type headaches that lasted for ten days. My man was on a training trip to Nigeria the weekend before my party so I decided to spend the weekend in bed folding paper, in the hope of kicking my headaches. Now for anyone who suffers from bad headaches and migraines know just how debilitating this can be, for a day or two after the headache/migraine you feel rather fragile, well I felt as though an 18 wheeler had ridden over me and then reversed just for good measure. So sitting in bed I was attempting to make the A4 sheets into squares and had a production line going of folding the cranes to a certain point and leaving the remaining folding for the following week.

On Monday bright and early I collected my man from the airport and went home. Very proudly I show him my masterpieces and explain that I will complete the folding of the cranes during the week. While talking to him he casually picks up one and very quickly completes the crane! I was gobsmacked as I had been very carefully following my googled step-by-step video. I forgot that when he was a child his mom bought him an origami book and he is very good at origami. Then he proceeded to inspect my half folded cranes. The long and short of it was that my folding really sucked and my lines were not crisp and he told me off … I wasn’t mad at him for doing this, he was right, the secret of origami is a perfect square and crisp lines. (My 10 days of headaches is been blamed for my poor folding techniques.)

I decided to recycle my 50 half folded cranes and start again. So instead of having 50 cranes in my display I landed up with 8 perfectly folded cranes, about 50 pelicans (much easier to make) and a host of other stunning paper decorations. I made some fantastic paper daisies and made a ‘curtain’ of hanging flowers. I also made some really easy paper lanterns using strip of paper, very effective, will definitely use them for other functions. For the table we folded paper napkins into Lotus Blossoms, and it looked so pretty. The ream of paper I bought consisted of 5 bright colours – red, orange, blue, green and yellow. These colours made the decorations look bright and cheerful. The total cost of the decor was R60, the cost of the ream of paper! The reward for me was priceless.

The problem with me when I start something like this is that my creative juices start flowing and I am continually finding more and more things I want to make for decor and I have to stop myself from going overboard and exhausting myself. I now have a host of paper creations that I am planning to work on during the course of the year, simply for my own satisfaction and to show my craft ladies how simple it is to make some decorations for any occasion from ordinary paper.

Happy crafting!

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