Hope In Love

I take the train daily to and from work. 

The evening train gets quite full because a lot of people are going home from work. Well, the third class gets quite full…the first class stays relatively empty. I have a first class ticket, but I mostly use third class. Once in a while I get brave and use the first class, but then I sit there and worry about the fact that I’m alone and I could get attacked and would anyone hear me if I screamed and and and…

The mornings…well, that’s a different story. Neither the first nor the third class is ever full in the mornings. Each person could sit in their own carriage. But as I said, sitting alone is not the wisest choice. However, the only other choice is sitting in a carriage with one or two (or like this morning, 5)  strange men. Strangers. Men I don’t know. Men who could very well be the guys I’m running away from in the first class. This morning I was afraid the whole train ride from Cape Town to Bellville. Any one of them could have done something. If he did, would the others help me? Join him? Ignore the whole thing? Oh the scenarios that ran through my mind…

Which is the wiser choice in that case?

The other day I was sitting in the first class, and at the very last minute, a man steps into my carriage. Before he came on I was the only person in the carriage…so every other seat was empty. He chose to sit next to me. Not near me, but next to me. As in right next to me. Not even an inch of space. I was freaking out. My brain running all sorts of scenarios of what could happen. We said our good mornings and how are yous then sat in silence as I tried to look calm and collected and not scared senseless. 4 stops later he gets off, but before he does, he gives me a little lecture about how I shouldn’t be sitting by myself cos anything could happen…someone could come into that carriage and do whatever to me and there’d be no one there to help me. Turns out the reason he sat next to me was to offer protection.

Ironic. (or is it :p)

All that fear. All. That. Fear.

I was afraid of the protector. Who then told me as he got off that I need to be afraid. *sigh* It’s all very tiring.

So again I ask, which is the wiser option?

(Don’t use public transportation would probably be the wisest choice…but what if that’s not an option?)

My little two cents to add to the #YesAllWomen movement…

April 4th…Aries…

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As a kid I used to have major birthday parties…as an adult, not so much. But here I stand, 30 years in the making…

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This year I had a VERY understated celebration…simple dinner with a friend , then drinks and dancing and taste of Cape Town with another friend.

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I also had lunch with my mom in Cape Town and dinner with the siblings and my dad in PE…

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There was also more drinks and dancing with the siblings… (Can’t believe my younger siblings are old enough to go clubbing and drinking, but alas…)

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Beach visits are a must while in PE obvs…

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Summer also decided to make a comeback, which I took full advantage of…and I also played Cape Town tourist…

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So here I stand, 30 years of life…looking forward to the next 30!

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So now I bid good night to a beautiful month…

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Thank you, birthday month. You have been awesome!

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30 in 30

Posted on: April 4, 2014

I am 30 years old. I am old. I am wise. Heed my words. :)

Jokes…sort of. Anyway, this is the obligatory “30 lessons in 30 years” post. Basically it’s lessons that I have learned from the past and want to carry into the future…just thought I’d put them down in written form…easier to remember/revisit.

1) know thyself…your likes, dislikes, desires, and most importantly your worth.

2) life is so much easier when you accept who you are and stop trying to be other people.

3) not everyone will get you, that’s okay.

4) some will stay even though they don’t get you…they are keepers

5) when it’s all said and done, it will be the people in your life who mean the most…start appreciating them now…make time for them now…”if you live life there’s no society, in the end there won’t be”

6) don’t settle

7) you don’t have to play by THEIR rules – get married, don’t get married, have kids, get a puppy instead, a cat even…do you!

8) not everyone has the same goals, dreams, desires, and financial lanes. stick to yours and you’ll do fine.

9) money might change your circumstances, but it won’t necessarily make you happy.

10) some people will stick around just to watch you fall…

11) if you do fall, fall in style, and get back up again

12) placing people on too high a pedestal will only lead to them letting you down…no one is perfect.

13) surround yourself with friends and acquaintances who are better than you in the areas you want to improve yourself in and let them be your motivation

14) have role models/mentors…people in whom you see traits you aspire to, but understand that they are also fallible humans.

15) listen to the wisdom of the old…i know in the moment it seems like no one could possibly understand what you’re going through, but trust me, they’ve also been there before

16) when someone lets you down, remember they were only ever human…the perfection you saw in them was your own projection…learn to see it and build it in yourself

17) let them label you if they must, but don’t let the labels restrict/define you

18) life is too short, and there are no do-overs. find what you love and do that…even if it’s part-time/weekend hobby, “find what you love and let it kill you”

19) read – it’s the cheapest way to experience what is beyond your means/resources

20) laugh! laugh! laugh! after all, laughter is the best medicine

21) your gift is yours; use it! don’t dim your light, others need it

22) hindsight is in 20/20. if you knew then what you know now, you may have done things differently, but you didn’t, and you can’t go back and re-do it. learn from your mistakes, mend the relationships, then move on.

23) stay as young as possible for as long as possible…you have enough time ahead to grow up

24) it hurts now, and it seems like the hurt will never end, but it will…

25) “question religion, question it all. question existence until them questions is solved” doubting/questioning/seeking is not the opposite of faith

26) there is no instruction manual, no right and wrong, no perfection, just what works for you

27) the rain falls on the good and the evil alike. sometimes bad people prosper and good people fail…do good anyway…

28) do good to others. do unto others as you would have them do unto you. not for a reward, sometimes it will go unseen, but you’ll be a blessing unto yourself

29) forgiveness is very healing. forgiving others releases you from the pain of hate and baggage of unforgiveness

30) love is good. love is beautiful. love!

I found these from 3 posts by Neil Gaiman. They are my wishes for myself as I step into my 31st year of life:

From 2004
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May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

From  2008
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I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be,  be wise, and that you will always be kind

From 2011
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I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
It’s been a great 30 years. Lots of mistakes, lots of learning, lots of tears, and joy and pain and love and so much life.
Here’s to an even better 30 years to come.

The last couple of weeks, South Africa has been chaos, especially on the political side. Meanwhile, we the people, in order to form a more sane union (that was stupid sorry…if you didn’t catch it don’t worry, it was stupid…) laughed our way through it. I love that about South Africans, we laugh through it all, and keep on rebuilding.

Yesterday I came across a video that made me so happy. Today I came across a few more. I’ll share the links in a bit…

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about NekNominations. If you haven’t, be glad.

The next few videos show South Africans putting an awesome spin on NekNominations…I’m so proud to call these people “my people.” I’m so happy these are the people I get to share my country with.

Thanks for renewing my hope in humanity once again, fellow South Africans.

The one that started it all: by Brent Lindesque

Another one: by Andrew Donkin

And Another one: by Danny Acuff

A different spin on things: by Andrew Ross

One by an uber cool guy I know: by Howard Fyvie

#ChangeOneThing #ChangeEverything

Yesterday was National Reconciliation Day in South Africa. 

It was also the first day post mourning period for the death of President Mandela.

Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela died on Thursday, December 5th, 2013 at the age of 95. 27 of those 95 years were spent behind bars. His crime: fighting the unjust laws of the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment on June 12th,1964, after a 90 day trial.

During the trial, Mandela uttered these words: 

“During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realized. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

 

Mandela walked out of jail on February 11th, 1990. He walked out to a very different South Africa. The Apartheid system was crumbling, and in it’s wake it left behind a lot of pain and anger…understandably so. The people of South Africa had long been persecuted and denied their rights, and they wanted vengeance. The country was on the brink of a civil war…until Mandela stood up and reminded us that, if we rose up and killed off our persecutors, we would be no different from them. Their system had taught us to hate and to hold on to anger, in order to beat their system, we had to turn it around with love and forgiveness.

Mandela shocked, not only the nation, but the whole world…forgive? How could he possibly expect us to forgive? However, this was the man who had spent a huge chunk of his life in prison in the struggle for our freedom – he who had sacrificed his own freedom for ours. If he could forgive, surely we could as well. And we did.

Since then, a lot has happened in South Africa…many changes – for one, Mandela became the first democratically elected president of South Africa. However, for some the changes have been too slow. Racism is still very real in this country. The economic gap is still very much racially divided. While it is not enforced by law anymore, residential areas are still very much racially divided. There is progress, but it is very slow. Which means that old anger has started to rear its head again. People are tired of waiting for change. People are tired of feeling like second class citizens. 

On the other side of the fence, there are those who I believe are intentionally provoking the divisions. Those who cry “white oppression” and “reverse racism” in South Africa, throwing fuel onto the fire. 

I watched the movie “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” a few days after Mandela’s death, and the thing that stood out most for me is how that anger and hate fueled his then wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, to fight…to keep the struggle alive while Mandela was in prison…to make the country ungovernable under the Apartheid system, and thereby causing change. At the same time, the anger and hate changed her, hardened her, and in the process of fighting, she lost some of her humanity. It was heartbreaking to see.

More than Mandela’s words, or his willingness to forgive, it was seeing what unforgiveness did to Mam’Winnie that has replanted the seed of forgiveness in my heart. The passing away of Nelson Mandela has provoked in me a desire to continue his walk, his fight, for “a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities”, one in which love rules…where love trumps out all anger and unforgiveness.

I want to dedicate my life towards this ideal. 

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