We Need To Stop The Fairy Tales!

I recently heard another story of a couple who seems to be headed to splitsville. Anyone looking at it can see the dysfunction. We jump into relationships too quickly. Intrigued by what we see.  What do they call it? Love at first sight. Where have I heard that before? In fairy tales.

 

We all know that excitement of being wooed. A man-on-a-mission is like a launched missile; going to hit that target no matter what. The whirlwind romance, the fancy meals, the weekends away, the lavish gifts. Most importantly, the attention. Oh, this is heaven. This is the one for me. I could live like this. Sound familiar? Yes, in fairy tales.

 

Crash! You’re jolted into reality. The daily grind, work, life, family, bills. Illness and exhaustion. Maybe a kid or more. Then add crying, snotty, dirty, annoyingly cutesy pies that don’t sleep on command or understand boundaries or the word ‘no’. What just happened? Where’s my fairy tale?

 

There is no fairy tale!

 

The magic of living a life worth loving is in understanding that the flaws and imperfections – in ourselves and others – have not only been created to add nuance and interest, they’re an essential part of our journey and development. Imagine if you opened a book and knew what the end would be. Would you still read?

 

Our souls have been given human form here on earth to uncover our purpose. Often that means we need to go through heaps of muck before we finally get the lesson. In relationships, we place undue expectation on others. That our happiness will come from another. That if only he/she/they do X, Y and Z , then everything will be ok.

 

We regularly take people at face value – at the party, the office, the gym, online, wherever – and never actually take the time to get to know them. It’s a coping mechanism for every day social interaction. But, if you’re looking for any meaningful encounters, you have to engage on a deeper level. Where it matters most. Honesty. Trust. Respect. Those cannot materialise over Tinder. They grow with time and quality interaction.  Not overnight or on the world wide web.

 

My life is crazy and chaotic, beautiful and peaceful, all at the same time. Once you learn to embrace the ebbs and flows, the highs and lows, you learn to live in peace. Real peace. And love. I wouldn’t change my perennially late, soccer-obsessed dude and noisy, demanding, forever hungry munchkins for the world. They’re my lessons. Beautifully packaged. Sent to school me. And by God’s grace, I’m getting my Masters. It may take a while, but I’m committed. All in.

From today, I’m taking @MeneeshaG’s advice and starting to use hashtags. So #StopTheFairyTales. They’re colonial, at best and downright destructive, at worst. And let’s take time to get to know potential and current partners.

When God Is Moving You… Part Two

As the eldest of four, I cannot even begin to understand the impact of Mum’s death on my younger siblings. My father, too. We all just got on with it. Trying to grieve, but subconsciously delayed, as we were never equipped to do it in any meaningful way.  It still fascinates me that no-one recommended that we went into counselling, as a family or individually. Perhaps it was suggested to Dad, as the adult, but the point is we never actually went through a concerted healing process.

I found myself in my mid-30s, angry, confused and not surprisingly, single.

I found myself in my mid-30s, angry, confused and not surprisingly, single. How can you find your ‘other half’ when you’re not whole? By the way, the concept of the other half is one conjured by a society intent on perpetuating the misnomer that we are not complete and need an ‘other’ to do so. Nevertheless, in my distorted sense of self, that was my reality.

 

There was no-one in my recent past or from years gone by, who had any long-term potential, let alone marriage. Some had gone on to be husbands, some were on their way to being married, in committed relationships, still playing the field or having children. You see, that was the essence of my heartache. I desperately wanted to have a child, a daughter, specifically, to reincarnate the relationship I pined for with my mother.

 

One of the hardest parts of my journey was taking 100% responsibility for my 50% in each of the failed relationships and encounters that I had had over the years. I had to stop the blame-game and acknowledge that, for whatever reasons; ignorance, selfishness and basic stupidity, I was very much a part of it all. I was the common denominator!

 

Once I released the victim mentality and label, it opened the floodgate of tears of relief, somewhat tinged with sadness, but overwhelming happiness, that led to healing that, even to this day, I look back and marvel at the power of God and His miracles.

For the first time, I could forgive myself, I was able to bury the past and move on, I removed persons that carried any vestige of negativity in my life.

The next year or so was spent in what I can describe as ‘blissful singlehood’. For the first time, I could forgive myself, I was able to bury the past and move on, I removed persons that carried any vestige of negativity in my life. Above all, I learned to love Robyn and loved spending time with me, myself and I. In the hustle and bustle of work, I would relish weekends when I could get a series of DVDs on contract [pre-WIFI and Netflix], stock up on my favourite foods, switch off my phone, sleep whenever I felt like it, go to the gym, and socialise with some special friends, now and again. To the outside world, it could have looked extremely lonely. But to me, it was heaven on earth.

 

Such was my happiness and content that I felt some consternation when Ipeleng, an ex-work colleague and friend, announced that she had someone she wanted to introduce me to.  My body, mind and soul had become my sanctuary and I was not ready or willing to share any of that. No. I had resolved to remain single for the rest of my days. My only request to the Universe was that I had money; to help my family, travel, enjoy some worldly comforts and so on.  There was no plan for the disruption of another. I was done.

 

And as God has plans that we can never anticipate, so a new chapter in my journey began.

When God Is Moving You… Part One

Hindsight is 20/20. Something also has to be said about advancing along the maturity spectrum [aging is such a decrepit word] and the pauses it tends to enforce, in greater intensity as one goes along. I whittled away my youth always expecting my joy and happiness from external sources. I had no clue that that is what I did, but the rearview mirror quite clearly shows that my misguided life philosophy took me on a long-winded journey of heartaches and pain. It exhausted me to a point that, as I approached 35, I knew I had to jump off the merry-go-round of craziness and find peace.

God speaks to each and every one of us. Yes, even you.

That, in itself, was a process that I could only do on my own. Of course, the Universe will always send what you need, when you need it; and I encountered people and books, in particular, that set in motion my journey to find peace and comfort and above all, know that God speaks to each and every one of us. Yes, even you. It may not be in a biblical sense, but when you have a dream that is powerful and clear in its demonstration; when you’re praying and a particular thought, saying or memory comes to you; when a friend sits you down to give you some hard truths that you’re not ready to hear, when you read the bible, a book, a magazine, a tweet or post that gives you a message that speaks direct to your heart, or when you have an intense feeling in your gut and something ‘just doesn’t feel right’. These are just a few examples of how we get in touch with the Spirit within. Depending on the amount of noise, clutter and external disruption in our lives, we either get the message loud and clear, or we ignore and don’t even notice.

Sadly, I was anything but. I was lost.

I was that girl who eventually grew into a young woman who believed she ‘had it together’ and thought that the world thought so too. Sadly, I was anything but. I was lost. Losing my mother at 17 was the defining moment of my life. Did I realise it then? No. Up until that moment, life had been fairly idyllic, happy memories, no particular moments of distress, anguished needs or dire wants. Everything was provided for, even in the realm of a brutal Apartheid system where as a child, one was relatively sheltered from that harsh reality. I have the recollection of divided beaches and cinemas, not being able to go to certain places, a cousin at university involved in ‘covert’ action and so on, but when you have not been fully exposed, you remain ignorant. That was a common theme in my life; ignorance.

 

To be continued…