Woman

Woman is powerful. Life-givingly, awe-inspiring. Captivating.

The raw beauty that the world relies on.

Only to be overcome by herself.

Her  own insecurities.

Her over trusting nature.

Her bad decisions.

Woman is powerful.

Realize this.

Selfies, selflove and hypocrisy.

I have younger sisters. Teenage sisters. It is like having a backstage pass to that Generations roller coaster ride of life. In between snapchats and crop tops, I tend to judge them A LOT. I don’t want to come across as a grandma and I love current trends and fashion, and have even been known to send an ugly faced snapchat or two but somehow watching my sisters walk around midriffs on display, iphone in hand, brings out the boring older sister in me. On more then one occasion I have had a stern word or two about the effects of social media and the narcissistic implications of all those selfies with an often vague and unrelated quirky quote underneath on their Instagram.

As with most things in life, I found myself relenting to their madness and becoming a hypocrit. I recently got myself the iPhone 6, and of the things I LOVE about it the main one is the camera! It is such an upgrade from my previous phone and slowly but surely my camera feed filled up. And slowly but surely when left with nothing to photograph I found that little camera pointed at myself.

Selfies. It is like a dirty word in my vocabulary. Yet if someone was to steal my phone right now I would DIE of embarrassment at the amount of pictures I have of myself. Although I do not post these pictures anywhere nor send them to anyone, selfies have taught me some valuable lessons.

1. Looking after yourself is important. Nobody wants a photograph of themselves with greasy hair and yesterday’s makeup plastered on their face. So often I find myself out and shying away from photos because I am not confident in how I look. The only person to blame for this is myself, a little effort goes a long way and at 23 it is far too late for me to be realizing this! I have always envied some of my friends for how perfect they look, yet have always felt it vain to get my nails done or spend time doing my hair. I don’t think I will ever manage to be a high maintenance girl, and my bookshelf will always be more full then my makeup bag. BUT the value of drying your hair properly and some mascara everyday goes a long way.

2. Self love is important. Not that I am advocating narcissism, but you need to be secure in how you look. First impressions can’t be based on your personality as much as that would be ideal. Humans judge, it is in our nature. Feeling confident in yourself is one of the first steps to being beautiful. Very few of us live in a world where plastic surgery is the norm (thank goodness) which means that you are stuck with your nose, or your dimpled chin. Embrace it, nobody else (barring if you have been blessed with a genetic replica of yourself by your parents- I’m talking twins here, not A.I level robots) looks like you on this earth. That is amazing, nobody has your exact eye color mixed with your eye shape and the shape of your face. I am sure Zoe Deschanel had a few moments in front of her mirror as a teenager fretting about her amazing big eyes, which she is now so famous for!

3. The mirror is a lie. No, it is not some conspiracy theory that makeup companies created so that you would hate yourself, it has more to do with the fact that the mirror can’t see you all the time. Your mirror can’t catch your face crumpled in a laugh or sneak a peek at the sparkling in your eye as you see your crush. You are more than your reflection, and more beautiful while doing everyday things than your mirror would like you to believe!

Coffee Shop Counselling

I have an addiction. Okay if I am honest I have a few addictions. And I love every single one of them. No, this is not my version of Amy Winehouse’s song Rehab, and by no means do I take addictions lightly. Some addictions are entirely debilitating and I would be the first to encourage a friend to get help, but as for my addictions I don’t think I need help just yet. Call me a nerd, a dork (wow I haven’t used that word in a while) or a loser but my addictions are slightly more soft-core than alcohol or drugs. I am currently fulfilling one of my addictions as I sit and sip on my Cappuccino with foam, listening to a religious debate happening on my left and watching an awkward coffee date on my right.

I love coffee shops. The quirkier the better. The more isolated the more I love them. This is not merely because I love coffee, or tea (though I do). Nor is it because I love not having to make the coffee myself or to clean up afterwards (though trust me I do appreciate this). It is because the introvert in me, loves being around people yet being by myself. Sometimes I write, sometimes I study, sometimes I just sit and people watch. Breathing in the company of others but enjoying my own thoughts.

Today in particular, I am using it as an escape, I sort of cheaper version of therapy. It is an emotional day for me, for various reasons, but let’s not get into that. The girls I live with have shown me support since I woke up, my family has harassed me with unconditional love all day. Yet here I sit, just me and my thoughts. This might seem like a cry for help- who on earth wants to be alone around others when upset. Well that would be me. It makes me feel alive, it makes me feel at peace. It somehow makes me feel more normal. More human.

In fact most of my therapy methods would be seen as unconventional. Other than coffee shops, another favourite is escaping into one of my favourite books. This is often Harry Potter (and on more than one occasion I have reread all 7 books before feeling normal again), occasionally it is Jane Austen that offers the most sympathy and every now and again it is AA Milne and my childhood friends that have the most wisdom. This therapy is often accompanied by another, which is a blanket fort, I dare you to feel sad or scared in a blanket fort. This is easily made and the more you make them the better you get at it. I have an emergency kit handy complete with battery operated fairy lights to set the perfect mood. The last one is for when I am sad. Go to your computer, type in “Baby laughs at ripping paper” and I dare you not to laugh at the squealing innocent laughter that peels through your headphones. Okay maybe babies aren’t your thing, try typing in “Post wisdom teeth operations, funny”. The  things those people come up with will make the most hardcore drug addicts jealous. How did that woman think she would be Nicki Minaj when she woke up? Or the boy that thinks he become Mexican while having his teeth removed. Or the other boy who can’t figure out why his eyes keep leaking and is absolutely amazed by clouds. Funny animal pictures, yet another winner. And actually animals in general for that matter.

And finally as the cloud has lifted and my therapy method has worked I venture back into reality, let my family love me, let my roomates support me and my friends take me out for a treat. Whatever therapy works I guess.

On life, death and wearing purple.

My mom had a birthday yesterday, a biggish birthday I suppose. On the eve of this age old aging tradition, some feelings were had, some tears were shed and some truths were realized. The feelings and tears were not mine, the realizations will however be something I will always treasure.

My mom fears age, she fears wrinkles, and hormones and health issues. She fears the small amount of fat deposits that have settled around her middle (and when I say small I am not under-exaggerating to spare her feelings). She fears being alone, she fears being lonely, she fears being forgotten. She fears what people will say, how they think she looks, and how she will be judged. She is the first to refuse to have a photo taken and the first to mention her own flaws. And this saddens me. It makes me want to cry out while shaking her shoulders until the thoughts manage to fly into her psyche and take root without her realizing. I want her to know how incredibly beautiful she is, how courageous she is, how worthy and how significant her life has been. I want her to see herself through my eyes, to see a woman that gave birth to and is raising three beautiful girls, to see a woman that has known loss yet walked through the flames with her head held high. I want her to see the naughty twinkle she gets in her eye, like a rebellious teenager. I want her to see the blessings she has been given, and to understand the depths of her intellect. I want her to hear the passion in her voice while screaming on the side-lines of my sister’s hockey game or at the ref on TV. I want her to see the joy on her face while laughing over a drink with friends, the softness in her eyes as she plays with our kitten. I want her to see that her age is something to be celebrated. Her wrinkles show life.

On the other hand there is death. I have been confronted with death numerous times in my life, however a recent story about a girl who I attended varsity with has left me jilted. At the ripe young age of 23 she was merely a glimmer in the eye of life, yet she encompassed so much of what it means to live. She was enigmatic, charismatic and alluring and this all comes from a distant perspective of her life. We were not friends, but on speaking to her friends and reading status updates, I feel their loss. This glimmer of life was taken far too soon- while on a gap year after varsity, travelling the world and following her dreams. Death. Gone. No more dreams, no more thoughts. Nothing. She will never see those dreams realized, her ticket home never used. She will never feel the joy of walking towards the love of her life, and making a commitment in a beautiful dress. Nor feel the thrill of growing a life inside of her, and holding that life in her arms and watching that life grow up. She will never achieve success beyond her wildest dreams, or know the disappointment of failure. She will not feel the cold sting of betrayal or the warmth of a friends hug once more. She will never again laugh uncontrollably, or cry for no reason. Her beautiful face will never get a single wrinkle, laugh line or scar. She will never have to worry about gaining weight or become obsessed with losing it. She will never have to look in the mirror and not like what she sees, because she will never see again.

This is what I realized. Life is wonderful, growing up is glorious and old age is a privilege denied to many. Cliché as it is. I did not read it on a motivational poster or search it up on Pinterest quotes. Although I am sure it is probably on both. I feel it in the core of my being. I want to live, and when I say live I do not mean merely exist. I mean I want passion; intense and barely controllable. I want to feel so full I could burst, and I don’t actually mind if it is full of love, full of pride, full of sadness or full of food. As long as I feel. I want to treasure each new stretch mark, and wrinkle and scar as I treasure each new memory, piece of wisdom and mistake. I want to read so much that my brain is full and my bank account empty. Dance so much that someday in the nursing home as I get up and my knees creek I can smile with a twinkle in my eye and a memory to warm my heart.  I want to teach, and learn, and write, and travel. I want to argue, and fight and cry and forgive and forget. I want to sing the wrong words on long road trips and have conversations with strangers on airplanes. I want to laugh so much that the laughter’s only choice will be to forever etch itself on my face, and so be it if that means laugh lines and crow’s feet. But most of all I want to love. I want to love so much that I simply can’t anymore, and then find it in me to love some more.

And when the big O comes, and I’m reaching the climax (and by the big O I do mean Old Age, for those of you hanging out in the gutters) I want to follow the wonderful Jenny Josephs advice,

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,

And I shall spend my pension

on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals,

and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,

And run my stick along the public railings,

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens,

And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,

Or only bread and pickle for a week,

And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats

and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,

And pay our rent and not swear in the street,

And set a good example for the children.

We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me

are not too shocked and surprised,

When suddenly I am old

and start to wear purple!

The Liebster Award

WOW! This is exciting, just over a week of my blog and already I feel so much love! Thank you to Lichtern from oraculargrace.wordpress.com for the nomination! I am truly honored that you even read my blog, let alone liked it! This award is specifically for bloggers that have less than 200 followers, and I must say since starting my blog getting followers to read your blog is quite a mission, so this is definitely a worthwhile award in order for new blogs to support each other!

The rules are as follows:

  • Post the award on your blog. 
  • Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
  •  Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions

11 Random Facts

  1. I love reading. A lot. I started as a child who had to take the bus for an hour to get to school in Swaziland every day and never made a single friend. Harry Potter became a wonderful companion and this started a great love affair with books.
  2. I went to 7 different schools before the age of 10, this was not due to any misbehaviour just due to my parents moving a substantial amount.
  3. I live in South Africa. No I do not ride elephants to school. Nor do I have cheetahs in my backyard. I have however touched a cheetah, held a baby lion; baby crocodile; and baby leopard.
  4. I am an introvert that enjoys entertaining.
  5. I love having coffee by myself in beautiful coffee shops.
  6. I am deeply passionate about politics- a fact that not many friends know about. Especially South Africa’s political shenanigans.
  7. I love animals, all animals- even snakes.
  8. I am petrified of the dark, and even at the age of 23 I struggle to walk outside in the dark on my own.
  9. I love children- hence my choice to study teaching.
  10. I studied law first. I hated it!
  11. I love learning. Not necessarily studying, but definitely learning.

11 Questions that Oracular Grace wanted answers to:

Q: Why did you start your blog?

A: I started my blog about a week ago now, the reason is slightly more complicated I think. With the recent acceptance of being an introvert, I realized that social settings are not necessarily where I enjoy expressing my opinion- yet tat does not mean I don’t have opinions that I would love to share. I also have always been told I should write- I have tried (a few times) with futile attempts at novels, in order to satisfy my need to write I thought a blog would be a good place to start- to organize my feelings, in writing. 

Q:Who or what is your greatest inspiration?

A: I am inspired by many different factors. Many books have shaped my life, and I am very inspired by the writing of Ayn Rand, James Joyce, TS Elliot, Paul Caelho, JK Rowling, Alan Paton and many, many more. I am deeply inspired by the plight of so many African Woman, they are so forgotten in the patriarchal white dominated society, many of them having to work ridiculous hours in demeaning jobs, yet still going home and looking after children and trying their best to provide for them.

Q: What is your favorite genre of books or movies and why?

A: Book genres: I love classics (a la Joyce and Fitzgerald), romantic classics (enter Miss Austen), I also love historical fiction(hello: The Book Thief). Historical Fiction combines two loves of mine: History and Reading.

I am quite ashamed to admit that my movie choices are very, very cliche: I love Rom Coms- the more gooey and predictable the story line the better! Give me The Notebook, or Friends with Benefits any day. I also absolutely love Midnight in Paris, and Paris Je’taime.

Q: If you were given the opportunity to host your own talk show what would you discuss with your guest?

A: To be honest- I would be mortified if I had to be the center of attention while talking to people in front of any kind of a crowd, let alone if it was recorded for more and more people to watch. If there was a way to host without actually appearing in front of people: I would love to help young women come to terms with who they are. Oh and probably books- or something educational (once a teacher always a teacher)

Q:If you were given the means to make a difference in the world, what worldwide problem would you decide to challenge and why?

A: Definitely education. In South Africa due to our horrid past, many schools are severely under resourced, and many children (most of whom have terrible home situations) never get the oppurtunity to learn which means they never get the oppurtunity to rise above their situations. This is the same in most African countries and in countries such as India which I have visited.

Q: Where were you born and raised and if given the choice where would you prefer to have been born and raised?

A: I was born in Pretoria, South Africa. And spent most of my “being raised” years on a farm in a village called Mooi River in Kwa-Zulu Natal (also South Africa). I loved it- but regret having to ever leave.

Q: What part of world would like to visit?

A: On the top of my to travel to list at the moment is Turkey. I love visiting different places and different cultures- and this is a place with deep cultural history that I have not visited yet.

Q: What is your favorite time of the year and why?

A: As mentioned on my blog- I love spring! New growth, green trees, new flowers- whats not to love.

Q: Name one crisis you overcame and how?

A: My dad was murdered 5 years ago. It was tough to overcome, however with the help of family and friends as well as time, I have finally come to accept what happened, to forgive the person involved and to be able to think about the happy memories I had with my dad.

Q: Describe your idea of the perfect day?

A: Starting with tea in bed, followed by reading a book in a wonderfully, sunny garden. Followed by coffee at a beautiful coffee shop. Maybe a lunch with some family. A wonderful afternoon run. And a glass of (red) wine with dinner and friends.

Q: Name one thing you plan on accomplishing before you die and why?

A:  I will write a novel, whether it is published or not is besides the point. School teachers, lecturers, parents, friends- have all told me I should be a writer which I have never actually managed to get right. To prove it to myself I would love to write and finish a book.

 

11 Questions I would like answered

  1. What is one thing your parents taught/ showed you?
  2. If you could tell your 13 year old self 1 thing what would it be?
  3. What is your favourite time of day?
  4. What do you remember most about school?
  5. If you could choose to be in any time or place in history what would it be?
  6. What would the first thing you would do if you swapped genders for the day?
  7. What is your favourite pastime- why?
  8. When you have had a good day- how do you like to celebrate?
  9. What is your go-to- move when you are sad?
  10. Where is your favourite place in the world?
  11. Why did you choose your blog’s name?

The Blogs I would like to nominate are:

http://peacfulyogamama.wordpress.com/

http://getmebetter.wordpress.com/

http://neuroticsandloners.wordpress.com/

http://ladyunemployed.com/

http://teenageintrovert.wordpress.com/

http://havau22.wordpress.com/

http://ofopinions.wordpress.com/

http://aworldofintroverts.wordpress.com/

http://tegzdelacey.wordpress.com/

http://hollyindiadexter.wordpress.com/

http://bmdevore94.wordpress.com/

Dinner Party Panic Disorder

I have recently discovered a giant flaw in my personality. A juxtaposition if you will. Or maybe it is an undiagnosed social anxiety disorder- Dinner Party Panic or DPPD maybe. If I had the patience to start a Psychology degree now, in 3 years I would definitely do my honour’s thesis on this exact topic.

The subject of this thesis would be: ME, of course(I’m not sure what the ethics would be surrounding doing a study about myself however). The scenario: I absolutely love dinner parties, I love cooking, I love decorating and I LOVE the hours spent on Pinterest that go with choosing the right recipe’s and themes. I send out the invites, do the shopping, start the cooking and lay the table…. And this is where the panic sets in. What if some people don’t come at the last minute? How will the table setting be messed up if that happens? What if they hate the food? What if the different groups of people don’t get along? What if there is a looong awkward silence? Will I be expected to fill it with some witty repartee? This is usually accompanied by what could definitely be diagnosed as a severe panic attack by most healthcare professionals. I often consider cancelling a dinner party just before the guests arrive, or even just leaving a note saying “Enjoy the food- sorry I couldn’t make it, thank-you for coming though”!

I must be honest that usually these dinner parties run without a hitch and somewhere after the second glass of wine and the main course I actually find myself having a decent time, some could even use the word fun. Goodbyes are said amongst giggles and thank-you’s. Yet afterwards as I sit washing dishes, I breathe a sigh of relief, as if I’m letting out a breath I’ve been holding all night.

Somehow I continually find myself in the same position, while I type this blog after I have just sent out the invites to a dinner party on Thursday and am busy scouring Pinterest. Roast chicken or Lasagna? Or chicken lasagna? Or maybe little mini chicken lasagna’s made in muffin tins (Pinterest idea, not mine). But what if they are gluten intolerant? Or hate chicken? Or hate wine?…. The panic of an introvert that loves entertaining, never a panic free moment!