Saturday, December 06, 2003

On the market

I´ve been told that Prince Charming is a myth.
The more we search for Mr. Right, the more we find all the Mr. Wrongs and we then realise that the picture of the fairytale soulmate we have in our heads is just a dream short of reality.
This is the disappointment that kills our souls... When you take a look around you and you can´t see one single person that can fit into your world. It´s a terrible crisis when you find yourself in the “dating years” but you can´t find anyone who you want to spend your time with...
A while ago, I was preached to by some of my closest friends who decided that it was about time that I started dating. I was told that I was wasting my youth by not going out there and “trying out” all the different kind of guys that life surrounded me with.
Most girls know exactly who their “type” is. Be it tall, dark and handsome, suit and tie or the jock look... girls know what it is that turn them on the most.
Not knowing exactly who my “type” is... I decided to take a look around me to see what it is that my other girlfriends were looking for.
Justin Timberlake is what one of my best friends considered as the perfect man. She looked for guys with style and a great sense of humour. A car was one of the main requirements (preferably the sporty kind) and he had to be a romantic. He was the social expert whom she could hide behind whilst every other girl envied her... Considering that I hate the limelight and I can´t stand a guy that wears more hairgel than I do... Justin Timberlake is not the type of guy for me.
A suit and tie is all that it took to make this next friend of mine swoon. All he has to do is walk through the door with the “executive” look upon his face and all her selfconfidence would drop to her feet. A man with drive and ambition, who knows how to play with stocks and figures and chase after corporate dreams... someone who knows what he wants and isn´t afraid to risk his all for it... Of all the household chores, I despise ironing shirts the most and I don´t see myself being attracted to someone who will spend more time on his palmtop than with me.
Rough a rugged. That´s how you describe how most woman love their men. And I have a friend who somehow is magnetically attracted to construction workers or ex-convicts. Although opposites attract, it´s hard to picture why this fragile creature that lives mostly in pink is captivated by dirty jeans and callous fingers. A scar and long hair simply add to the charm... but as much as I try, I can´t see myself with someone who´s vocabulary is limitted to “That´s nice.”
Then there´s the scrawny sensitive type of guys that another of my friends somehow finds alluring. A guy who knows how to play a guitar or spell out poetry has a first class ticket into this girl´s heart. From holding hands to watching sunsets, this is a guy who tells all that is going on in his heart and who demands total devotion... this kind of guy couldn´t possibly understand my carreer goals and therefore wouldn´t be able to deal with a passion that makes a big part of who I am.
The jock, the outdoor man and Mr. Super Active couldn´t possibly be with me if they didn´t grasp the concept of slugging under the blankets with popcorn in front of the TV on a Sunday!
Then what kind of guy is my style? After looking around me and not finding any answers, I looked back and examined the guys that once managed to catch my attention...
The first who caught my eye was a guy who owned a rat called Charlie. His passion was WWF´s undertaker and to this day i´m not sure what it was that drew me to him. What I do remember is his deep blue eyes that could focus deeply into mine. To him, there was more to life that society´s blueprint and his patient viewpoint on life had me smitten...
The next person who caught my attention was someone i´d known for years. I spent my whole childhood fighting with him and had never seen anything special until... a late night with a full moon on a babysitting job. The two of us wrestled each other with pillows. I´m not sure if it was the way the light hit his skin when he took off his shirt or the way he breathed lightly on my neck as he pinned me down and demanded that I ask for mercy... Like a moth drawn to the electric fly mat, I was in for more than a rollercoaster ride. It wasn´t exactly his shoulder length hair that I loved running my fingers through that held me to him. Even though he had a rough edge, that radiated from him, this man knew how to light a candle and talk about something other than sport. I saw his perseverance in his work and studies his passion when talking about his favourite band and guitar player. I saw potential and a man in the making.
Your last years of highschool have no meaning without the “highschool sweetheart” and mine was the kind that would make me want to throw my books at him! Cocky and arrogant! This guy knew how to hold himself up above the teachers and all the girls around him fell to his feet. Just for that Mr. Popularity had my utmost scorn. I couldn´t stand him!... until I got to know him. I was surprised to learn that he wasn´t very much interested in girls that swooned at the sight of him. The porcelain dolls were just something that looked good on your bike and a relationship wasn´t something that he took into lightly. This boy oozed confidence and ambition in life and wasn´t afraid to fight for it. The fact that he could smile at me and tell me about the wonderful weather while I was busy throwing my books at him and threatening to stab him with my pencil still brings warmth in my heart. Being of the peaceful nature that I was, it was amazing to see how he knew to press my buttons to drive my into a frustrated frenzy.
I could tell you more about the other guys who I was attracted to but rather then focus on them, i´d like to focus on the qualities that drew me to them. They´re all very different phsyically and not one of them has a personality to match the other. It´s hard to pinpoint features that attracts me to a man, I guess it all has to do with the magic in their eye... that unmistakable pull that erases the world around and forces me to pay attention.
It´s been a while since I´ve felt that magic. And bitter experience has taught me that that kind of magic is the kind of drug that leaves a trail of a tornado in your life...
Yet... I yielded to pressure and accepted a dinner and movie from a persistant neihbour.
Respectable and decent, my date was nothing short from the kind of guy your parents would be proud for you to be dating. Stable job and clean car, his hobbies were not of the nocturnal nature and yet he had an album collection that would put a CD store to shame. He put on the perfect music playing in the background when he picked me up. After dinner we checked out the latest bestsellers in the bookstore and listened to all the best songs in the music store. He was the perfect gentleman with all the right moves and conversation... it was a dream date... my body was present but my mind screamed escape.
I looked into the eyes of the best date i´d had in ages and fell into a deep depression. Is this it? It this the best that´s out there? Scolding myself for being ungrateful and judgemental I tried to concentrate on what he was saying but none of his words captured my soul. I felt nothing, even though I tried an emotion other than admiration for him. No matter how I tried, I couldn´t bring myself to want to spend another perfect date with a guy who obviously deserved far more attention than I was giving. I imagined myself being a part of his life and he a part of mine, and suddenly I preferred instant death rather than percieving that to be my future.
Just because he´s a nice guy doesn´t make him the one for me, nor does a bad ass make him the wrong guy... or vice versa...
I don´t know... I guess that I simply haven´t found what i´m looking for. I might not know what I want, but at least I know what I don´t, and I´d rather be alone that keep “dating” people that will never fit in with my puzzle. So yes guys... I´m an elligible single girl with a bright future but i´m off the market... so go play with your barbies and quit trying to screw up my world.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

When I started this column, the idea was to share my more positive thoughts with the world. I intended on contributing what I´d learnt so that others might learn with me, or at least feel like someone reciprocated something that they too once felt or went through. This column isn´t a sunny one... but I want to share it with you because I believe that even the dark moments are something worth sharing, and anyone who´s ever lost someone can feel with me...

My Grandfather´s death

I arrived Saturday afternoon at my grandparent´s house with the funny feeling that it wasn´t going to be a pleasant visit. Although the sun was high, the air was cold and I felt the chill right down to my toes. My uncle was there fixing a chair that was broken. His face that was normally without expression, was paler than usual. From the few words that we exchanged, I realised he needed something to fix, something to keep his hands busy and his mind off the pain his father was going through.
It was a shock to see my grandfather lying on a bed, weaker than i´ve ever seen him.
The whole room reeked of death as he gasped for air and screamed “mother” over and over again. From the sound of his plea and the look on his face, I didn´t think he was going to make it through the night.
My uncle barely handled the sight of his father in that state, my cousin who once wanted to be a nurse barely touched him and everyone around me fell into deep despair.
When I looked in the mirror, I was surprised to see my eyes dry. My face lost all of it´s human semblance and I was left with the reflection of someone who had a job to do.
I spent the night at my grandparents house.
There was little sleep and lots of anguish as my grandmother and I tried out best to get him to drink some soup and take his medicine.
The sounds of his cries still ring in my ears.
When he wasn´t looking at me, he was staring at the blank wall behind me and cried for his mother to take him away. “Mother” “Mother”... he repeated it louder and louder each time and no matter what we said to comfort him, he wouldn´t quiet down.
So I sang.
I sat by his side and I sang the songs that used to put my brother to sleep. Holding his frozen hands in an attempt to keep, I used my other hand to brush the worry and strain from his eyebrows. Hours passed and other than his constricted breathing, the night´s silence outside was defeaning. My grandmother dozed off a few times in the room beside us and my only company was the tic toc of the clocks in the house. How had they become so loud? Back when I still lived with my grandparents, I could barely hear them but that night, the rang in my ears like church bells.
I tried curling up on his favorite couch to get a few minutes rest but the loud ticking kept me awake and minutes after I´d laid down my head, I would find myself by his side again.
So I rubbed his back, ran my fingers through what little bit of hair he had... whatever I could to relieve his suffering! As long as I was there, there was life that he could hang onto. The darkness could not take him.
It wasn´t the frustration of seeing him gasping for air that peturbed me the most, or the fact that he cried with pain whenever I had to sit him up to take his medicine. It wasn´t when he spat out the pills and the food that we tried giving him that broke my spirit. Nor was it his crying out for his “mother” that tore at my soul that left me with remorse... It was the horror on his face when I changed his nappy. Unable to pick him up and change him by herself, I had to help my grandmother with the arduous job of changing a grown man´s nappy. It wasn´t much different from changing a baby´s nappy, at that point I remembered an old proverb from school that went something like “What creature first walks on all fours then on two legs and then on three?”... the answer was a human being... We crawl when we´re babies, then we walk and when we´re old we need a “third leg” or a walking stick to get around. After a certain age, the growing process is reversed and we all end up like the babies we once were.
The shame on my grandfather´s face will haunt the rest of my days and i´ll never know where I found the strength to do all that without so much as a twitching. I did what had to be done, I wanted him to survive. But at one stage when his cries got too loud and the despair got too much, I closed my eyes and thought “Dear God, please, either take away this pain and make him better, or take him away from this suffering”
When morning came his breathing hadn´t gotten much better and I got into the clothes I´d worn the day before to accompany him in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Once we were in the ambulance, the paramedics gave him oxygen. His breathing stabilized and he stopped calling out for his mother. I was instructed to sit on a chair behind him and I put my hand on his head in hopes that my touch would comfort him.
Once we got to the hospital, I was still numb. The look on my uncle´s face when we arrived wasn´t very reassuring and the hot chocolate I drank in the waiting room didn´t warm me up much. Returning to my grandparent´s house, the room my grandfather had occupied hadn´t seemed the same. My grandmother had cleaned out the room, changing the sheets and opening the windows, letting the sun shine through what she had described the night before as a “boiling coffin”.
So not to leave her alone, we prepared lunch together and sat talking about all the trivial things we could think of. We didn´t talk about my grandfather or the fact that he was dying from lung cancer. We didn´t talk about the night before or the night´s after. We spoke about food and work and told jokes, making each other smile. After a certain hour, I knew that soon other people would arrive and so I took it as my chance to go home. I still had my shirts to iron for work and I intended on getting on an early night to recover the sleep i´d lost the night before.
The clocks at home also ticked unmercifully and the hot, steaming shower that normally took all my aches and pains away did nothing to relieve the tension in my neck and back. Getting ready to grab the iron, my spine froze when my phone started ringing and I saw “Betty Aunt” on the display.
My aunt carefully asked me if I had gotten home okay and asked me if I was alone. With no need for preliminary talk I told her that she was calling me because my grandfather wasn´t coming home and when she confirmed my statement, I fell back into automatic pilot, got dressed and made my way to my grandmothers house.
The phone suddenly wouldn´t stop ringing, everyone that was anyone in our family called to check if I knew the news. I was surprised to find that once again, no tears fell down my face and with a deathly calm I informed my uncle in South Africa and my cousin in Brasil that my grandfather wouldn´t be turning 81 next week.
The world fell apart at my grandparent´s house as the faces around me cried and grieved over our loss. I couldn´t understand why I couldn´t cry with them, I simply felt nothing.
My grandmother wept like a child with remorse that she hadn´t said goodbye when they´d taken him into the ambulance. I myself remembered that I hadn´t said goodbye to him either at the hospital. Once they´d taken him into the emergency room, I was told that I could see him the next day and I didn´t think to ask the nurses to allow me to give him one last kiss.
Everyone grabbed onto me, asking me every detail of his last hours. Being the last person to have been with him alive, they clung onto me for comfort that I could not give.In the hopes to console their grievances, I told them about the good things that had happened that night, about the kisses given in their names and the songs that had lulled him to sleep. But they wept even more and an uncle of mine, a grown man threw himself in my arms weeping like a child. Strength remained in my soul whilst lulling him in his despair.
Tranquilizers started being distributed between family members, looking at a tiny pink pill I wondered if I really needed it. I don´t believed in tranquilizers, they simply delay the inevitable rush of pain so why take them?
Instead, I made my way to my grandfather´s wine cellar and with my uncle´s I tried my grandfather´s alternative medicine! Wine was never something I liked to drink and not a liqued my taste buds enjoyed but that night, it tasted sweeter than honey and before I knew it... I couldn´t stand on my own two legs.
Getting myself drunk didn´t do much to let out my pain and Monday morning I got dressed for work as in any other normal day. I don´t recall much of the work I did, or the things I said (not that I´d said much to anybody) but I do recall very coldly telling my boss that I would not be there the next two days. Worry was set in the faces around me because of the fact that I hadn´t dealt with it yet, but the grief would come.
I was hoping that at the funeral, all of that would change and that I could release my anguish. After getting dressed I sat in the bathroom, on top of the toilet seat and thought “Okay Sunshine, here we go... just let it out”. But it didn´t come out.
The faces of the loved ones there did nothing to trigger my agony. It was at the sight of my grandfather lying in his coffin that froze the rest of my body. His body was cold. His expression was of somebody sleeping. My little brother looked at me and said that the only difference was that his stomach wasn´t going up and down like it used to. I tried to hold his hand but his fingers wouldn´t curl around mine like they had before. I placed the palm of my hand on his cheek but it was cold and there were no tears to wipe as there had once been. When I did feel wetness upon my hand, it had been my own tears that had fallen. The tears fell, but it wasn´t crying... it was just an involuntary reflex.
I stood against a wall in case my knees betrayed me. I got kissed a million anonymous faces, shook innumerous hands and heard condolescences every other minute. Although we were a room full of family and friends, I think we all felt like strangers.
Next to me stood my uncle that had been fixing the chair that Saturday. His face remained expressionless even though the grief was evident in his aura. Touching my shoulder, he thanked me for what I´d done for my grandfather and asked me how he´d spent that night. Not feeling restricted like I had the day before, and I shared with him his father´s last hours.
I watched my mother from the corner of my eye. We stayed away from each other, considering that I was furious with her for not being there when my grandparents needed her the most. I really felt sorry for her and her grief but I couldn´t give her the hug and kiss that wouldn´t come out my heart.
When I saw her on her knees in front my grandfather´s coffin, my heart went out to her but not my arms. So I hugged her in my own special way. I recalled when I was younger, that there was a song that she´d always asked me to sing to my brother. She said that she loved it so much that one day at her funeral, she´d climb out her coffin if I didn´t sing it for her. As she wept in front of me, I stood forward and prayed that God would give me the strength... so I sang...
I sang “Amazing Grace” to a church full of people that don´t speak english. At first the words wouldn´t come out but then it filled the whole church and the people outside could hear me. Even though many didn´t understand the words, the melody reached everyone´s hearts. I know I reached my mother´s heart, I know my grandfather must´ve heard it too. Where I found the courage, i´ll never know but without planning, the song came straight from the heart.
Before closing the coffin, the family got to say their last goodbye´s. I heard a woman chuckle behind me when my brother replied to my mother that there was no way he was going to kiss a dead guy! Even when they closed the lid, I still didn´t feel a thing. It felt like a movie, a nightmare that I was going to wake up later from. Lowering the coffin into the ground didn´t trigger me off either. The tears where there and so was the runny nose but the crying didn´t come. Then it was over, he was buried. I closed my eyes when I was pulled into someone´s arms. I knew to whom the strong arms belonged to but at that moment I didn´t feel attracted to him like I had once before. Not even his blue eyes or his sweet voice penetrated through my soul, I was just grateful for the warm embrace I found myself in.

My grandfather is dead and buried.

I´m grateful that his suffering ended. Nobody should have to live in the shame and helplessness that were his last days. I haven´t managed to switch off automatic pilot yet but i´ve been told that when I least expect it, the sorrow will come. My heart has said my goodbyes to my grandfather and i´m comforted by the knowledge that somewhere, somehow he´s up there with front row seats, watching over me.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Bus Stop Blues.

Whilst waiting at the bus stop, I stood thinking of all the morals and principles that I wanted to enforce in this column. I wanted to warn the young nation against the dangers of letting your fantasies destroy your dreams. I searched my mind for all the strong words I could think of to indignantly protest my viewpoints. I wanted all my readers to feel as angry and as strongly as I do... I want people to protect their dreams!
Sadly, I didn´t come up with many of those words, so instead, I share with you my grief.

The wonderful age that sits between childhood and adulthood is that in which I sit in. I´m no longer bound by my parent´s rules and laws, nor am I bound by their responsibilities... these years, are the blank page years. It is in these years that we all write the storyline of our future and we can be as creative as we want! These are the years that we can all shape and mould our present as we like. We have free reign over our destinies, it is here that we chose which roads to follow. Some of your will fight for your chosen careers, others will travel and see the world... all of us will try and make the most of our secret dreams.

My father once said that time would catch up to me. “One day, you too will hear the ticking of the clock...”. His words are so fresh in my memory that I find it hard to believe that he said them on my eighteenth birthday, five years ago! Has five years gone by already? I take a look in the mirror and hardly believe the changes since then. So much has happened, changed and grown... five years have already gone by!
At that time, my response had been “Eighteen ´til I die!” I believed that the spirit was as old as you wanted it to be, my father didn´t disagree with me but he warned me that the world would not stop and that when I least expected it, times would change and I would either have to change with it or live in the past. More than ever, I remember my father´s words.

I have a friend who looks like a walking, talking, Ripcurl advert. Besides her cool shades, bellyring, eyebrow piercing and tank tops, she also wears shoes that gives her at least another 15cm on her height. She is never found alone and you most probably will find her socialising with some new friend that she´s just made or planning another group event. This friend of mine dreams of being a professional skateboarder and wants sing in front of audiences. She plans to travel the world to meet new people and spread the word of God that she so lovingly cherishes. This friend of mine is twenty two years old and pregnant.

Of course in this day and age, this situation is one that only happens by will or irresponsibility and my gullible friend pleads the second. Being the first person to be told of the third party due in nine months, my reaction was one of shock. My friend who had fought with me because she was too embarrased to book an appointment to see a gynaecologist was suddenly going to be forced to see one every month for the next nine months! I didn´t know wether to yell at her or cry with her!

It´s been a few days after the inicial shock and acceptance is all that is left to do after having a bomb like that fall on your head. I don´t think that my friend knows that i´m sitting at my computer at 3:00am in the morning because my heart keeps bleeding for her. Besides the fact that the circuimstances are bad and that she´s totally unprepared, it´s the loss of her freedom that is killing me the most. As her best friend, I have dreamt with her every dream she´s ever had and I know how much she will be sacrificing. I´d feel happier if I knew that my friend was relishing in the fact that now she´s going to build the family she´s always dreamed of... but I can´t see her shine, my friend is not smiling and my heart cries with her.

Last night I watched a wedding tape of a couple that got married. I tried not to remember that the divorce rate is up to 58% worldwide and as I watched two people that I care so much about pledge their lives to each other, I prayed fiercely in my heart that they would be part of the 42% of the world that works out. I also got to see a part where I was dancing in the arms of someone who I once thought was capable of making me happy. Anyone who didn´t know better and had watched us would´ve written a fairytale future like the wedding we had attended and I chided myself at allowing myself to once fool myself into fantasizing that very fairytale. Luckily, fairydust eventually wears off... but the damage that it can cause in that time frame is incalculable.

Whilst I checked my watch again for the bus that never came, I argued that even whilst under the fairydust, I had enough good sense to keep myself out of trouble... but one good look at the car parked in front of me felt like a crack of the whip of honesty penetrating into my soul. The silver Renault Megane chilled my body from head to toe, it was a living reminder of my own insanity whilst under the influence of the moonlight. I realised that living our fantasies can be like playing Russian roullette with our hearts.

One by one, the people around you fall out this freedom phase. You begin to attend more weddings and baptisms and you begin to lose touch with the conversation that once focused around the latest shoe sales and now focuses around the latest household detergents sale. I´m not one to feel pressured by this, nor do run from. I guess that i´m just wary of the things people get themselves into because they feel alone or they feel that it´s the next step in their lives. I often encourage people to follow their hearts and take risks. It isn´t today that I´ve changed my mind and hopefully never will, but I do warn people about chasing their fantasies... once the fairy dust wears off, all that is left is reality and your dreams will have passed you by.

Perhaps not all is lost for my pregnant friend, it is an unwritten chapter that nobody can predict and I pray that her dreams will nonetheless still be fulfilled. Hope and faith can be frail but they can´t be killed! Worrying would get me nowhere and faith is what would take me all the way. I left the weight of my worries behind as I got on the bus and said goodnight to the Renault Megane.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Independence Days

We learn to crawl before we learn to walk.
To learn to make the colour lime, you first have to learn that yellow and blue make green, only then will you learn to add more yellow and white to the equation.
Our learning process works pretty much the same. We learn in phases. We crawl through being babies to toddlers, then skip on to being children, stumble through the teenage years, race onto to adulthood and before you know it we´re grumpy senior citizins!
Should you make it this far, what you learn on the way is what we call survival techniques. When you´re a baby, your mommy does everything from feeding your face to wiping your bottom. Toddlers begin to feel how much it hurts to fall, but always have a teacher or parent close by to pick them up... as children we learn to avoid bullies along with the falls, and by the time we grow into teenagers we begin dodging the first of many killer heartbreaks, the kind that cause major damages with every nose-dive!
Most of you still have your mom and dad to soften your falls. No matter how old you are, some of you still have mom or dad´s phone number on speeddial. Even though you learn to use that button less and less with age and experience, it´s still a comfort to know it´s there and you can dial it whenever the gravity betrays you.
Some of us don´t have that luxury.
Some of us learn from early on to be independent. We learn that only person we can count on is the person who stares back in the mirror. The one reflection that stays with us when the rest of the world turns it´s back on us. As dramatic as that may seem, the fact is, that survival depends on one´s ability to depend on him/herself.
Independence is the art of surviving on your own.
When I get kicked down, all I pray for is to hit the floor quickly so that I can´t go down any further. When you hit the bottom of your pit, the only way to go is up. Sooner or later, we all fall. We fall once, twice and many times in our lifetime. When we´re younger we might find the hand belonging to one of our parents or friends to help pick us up. But as we grow older, we learn that there isn´t always a hand available to collect us from the ground.
So we do it ourselves.
We cry. We sream. We hurt.
Then we pick ourselves from the cold floor and wipe ourselves off. We shake the mud and dirt from our faces and we learn to stare proud back into the eyes that looked down on us... this is survival of the fittest.
This is independence in the real world.
Sometimes we get hit so hard that it takes a litte longer to arise.
Sometimes there will be many willing hands around us but none have the strength to pull us up.
But we always get up, because the only choice you´re left with is to either get up or die.

I know a true story of a determined Soul that fights with fire and Ice against the world´s storms. A real courageous Soul, it knows it will fall, but it won´t let that fall kill so much as an ounce of it´s spirit. This independent Soul learnt from early on to get up without any helping hand. Being thrown against the hardest walls, the coldest floors and being shut in the deepest of pits, this Soul always found a way back into the light.
Having a mind of it´s own, it often chased dreams into the worst of circuimstances.
We all get overconfident when we repeatedly survive many storms. We stop fearing the decline and begin to think that no matter how hard we fall, we´ll always be able to get up. This is what the Soul imagined before walking into another storm. It walked into the biggest hurricane it had ever seen, with the confidence that this one would be no more difficult to survive than any of the others.
But this hurricane was different from all the others.
The wind blew with all it´s might, the thunder rolled gloriously and the lightening blinded the way. The Soul lost it´s way in a storm that was bigger than it could handle. And just when our Soul thought it could take no more, the hurricane passed, and our Soul was dropped in the deepest, darkest hole it had ever found itself in...
The darkness was thick and suffocating and when the Soul could fall no more, it landed with a huge crash... and then the rain began pouring on it´s head.
After many days and many nights, the clouds varied in shades of black and blue. Raindrops fell hard along with anger, guilt and shame... The sky looked empty, the air was cold, and the Soul longed for sunshine that had been stolen from the sky.
After some time, our soul became too numb to feel the rain and it wisefully sat waiting for the rain to pass...
Then and only then, would our Soul manage the strength to get up ... so it patiently sat and waited...
But the rain did not stop, and the sun did not come.
The Soul heard the many voices around the pit, but was too afraid to make a noise. It knew that some people, rather than help, would throw him back harder into the pit, so it prefered not to take that risk.
No one knew that it was down there, no one could see the darkness it was trapped in. The Soul could only depend on itself.
So it waited...
It knew that it couldn´t keep on raining, and that the sun would eventually come out. Sometimes when the rain became a drizzle, the soul would look up at the clouds and imagine the face and hand that once pulled it out of trouble when it was younger. The memories would comfort it against the cold of the rain, but they could not pull it out the pit...
...but it can´t always rain. The Soul knew that... so it sat and waited.
Just when the Soul was about to give up. Just when it was determined on leaving some of itself behind and salvage what it could, a face under an umbrella appeared. The eyes belonging to the face had soon before seen the soul falling into the pit and had been waiting for the Soul to ask for help.
But the Soul did not ask for help and the face did not reach out a hand.
Instead, it threw the Soul a rope and waited for Soul as it pulled itself out the hole.

These are our friends.

They are not there to rescue us out of our troubles. They can walk with us through our journey and offer a shoulder to lean on, but their hands might not always be strong enough to pull us up.. Instead... they throw us the tools we need to dig our way our our holes.. God sent these angels in the form of family and friends. They are not to interfere with our mission, but they can watch our backs. It´s a jungle out there and although we need to be independent to survive, we are not alone. We all need someone sometimes, just like someone one day will need us.

I dedicate this column to all the people who threw me a rope when I found myself in the quicksand. May I always be able to return the favour.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

A place in time.

Life is a question of time...
After hearing this phrase a couple hundred times, you feel like throwing the biggest heaviest clock at the next moron who repeats it to you! Obviously things are going to change, grow and develop but considering that we don´t live in the future, the time and moment is always right now!
As Impatient and impulsive as that may seem to most of you, I´d like to defend myself by reminding you of all of the good things that passed you by because you didn´t seize the moment.
One could argue that in the midst of these great moments you might´ve avoided some bad one´s, but I prefer to think that we regret more the things that we don´t do, than those that we do.

Anyone who´s ever chased after their dreams will tell you stories of harsh weather. When you seek the golden sun, you´re bound to go through cold showers, crashing thunder and blinding lightening... this is of course when you´re not being scorched by the heat and drought. Whilst recovering from my last hurricane, the wind blew in two cowboys from out of town.

I call them cowboys because they waltzed into the office with posture and confidence, and by the time I was aware of their presence, they were already standing in front of my desk anouncing their arrival. They looked out of context in the cold proffesional environment that we found ourselves in and a chill ran down my spine as I recognised them from another time and place... (Of course the chill could probably also be from the freezing cold air conditioning!)

My father once said that time works like the ocean, it brings people from near and far. Some are washed away too soon... others stay for years and it is impossible to predict the difference they´ll make in your life. This theory has been proved right over and over again through my existance and this feeds my quest to get to know people... I never know what novelties they´ll bring into my life. Adventure normally doesn´t come announced and people don´t come with name tags. You never know what it is that you can learn with someone until you get to know them. It is so easy to stereotype people, to lable and bookmark them like you do a book. But when you judge a book by it´s cover, you tend to miss out on a good story.

These two cowboys were completely out of context! Being the computer experts of the company, you would expect to meet pale nerds with thick glasses at the end of their noses and palmtops in their hands. Considering that their language is computer jargon, you would expect them to be either bore you with pc lingo or stare at you impatiently if you told them the latest office joke. Either way, I was predicting two microchip fanatics, whose skin probably only saw the light from their offices and who were going to become uncommunicative after realising the I didn´t know a thing about circuit switches and fuses... what I was faced with, was none of the above!

Instead of yellow striped shirts picked out by their mother, they wore comfortable well picked t-shirts. There was no hunchback from hours of sitting in front of a computer screen and these guys certainly had their share of time in the sun! Their language was understandable, their attitude far from distant and the glasses that the one had on the tip of his nose, made him look anything but nerdish! Equiped with the lastest ringtones and modern style they looked like more the hotshots of the movie than computer experts! But don´t be fooled by their exterior... they knew their stuff!

I thanked God for diversity and the young intuitive staff in human resourses! And prayed that more computer experts were made from the same mould that these guys were! Although I spent very little time with these cowboys, their presence was a relief from my boring routine. Their company gave more colour to your average working day and I find myself a little sad that they won´t be there on Monday.

Okay... so I guess this is another one of those: “When you least expect it, the most extraordinary people are brought into you life... blah blah blah”. And all this I could conclude with my initial paragraph about time and adventure...
Considering that I was simply reminded of something I already knew, and that I would simply be repeating something i´ve already said in other columns. I leave you with just what happened and trust you all to take your own conclusions:

One of the cowboys left early after being victim to the common cold ( ...and office air conditioning!). The other, stayed a little longer so I got to spend more time getting to know him. The person I met was another voyager in transit. A fellow adventurar who´s destination was unknown and Madeira was another checkpoint. He impressed me with his knowledge of music (and shocked me with his age). We spoke a bit about work and people we knew in common and then he told me of all the places that he had travelled through. Although he didn´t know it, he was describing some of my dreams and the journey´s that i´m mapping out for my future. Time with him reminded me of some of the things I believe in and distracted me from some things I had wasted time worrying about.

I wish that I´d have more time to get to know them better, if they´d come at another time, I would definitely have organised to show them more of what this island has to offer... However, I know that paths will cross again, and this is one time in the future that I can patiently look forward to.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The slow death...

Modern times leaves us with more solutions than our forefathers could´ve dreamed of. From the earliest inventions of something as important and usefull as the wheel. Science and evolution has drastically improved the quality of man´s life. The speed at which we grow is unpredictable and I´m reminded of that almost everyday when I tell another client that when mobile phones were invented I thought I would never own one in my lifetime and yet... nowadays not only do I own one, so does almost every Tom, Dick and Harry! What started off as a luxury is now an important working tool in most people´s lives.

But no matter how much science evolves... no one has managed to stop the ageing process.

I once knew a man whose presence would silence a whole room. Some would hold their breath when spoken to by him, other´s literally wet their pants. This man demanded respect and if you didn´t give it to him, he would force it from you. Be it respect or fear that mobilized you, there were few people who challenged his strong character. Those who did, even if they were right, would be brutally crushed to his reason.

This man is my grandfather and the person that my mother, aunts and uncle´s knew.

Being the independent rebel that I am, I earned this man´s respect by not allowing him to control my decisions. Our clashes were few and when we did disagree on a subject, we would end it by respecting each other´s view points. You might say he softened with old age but I´d like to think that he matured into a better understanding. My secret was simply to insist with a hug and kiss even when he grumbles and shoo´s you away.

An atom replicates itself in the human body. A replicate means that it makes a perfect double. It´s twin isn´t supposed to be superior or inferior to the original, just a copy. Keeping this in mind, no one can understand why Science hasn´t been able to stop the deteriorating of cells, why people get old and why poeple die.

I saw in the news a piece about a portuguese doctor that managed to prolong a worm´s life from 20 to 128 days and thought with sadness that this news came too late to contribute to my grandfather´s health.

This week, I went to see him at the hospital. Besides the low blood pressure, the osteoporosis and the partial paralysis that he suffers from his previous stroke... you can only conclude that he´s dying from old age. His spirit once unchallengable is now broken. The once stubborn man I knew, now subdues to instructions from nurses. And the eyes that once could make your every nerve freeze, now water each time they recognise the face walking through the door.

As I helped the glass of water to his lips and touched his face, I could only imagine the person he was at my age. I could only imagine the person I will be at his! Suddenly my life seemed so trivial and my heart wept at the thought that we all await this destiny.

Maybe I just don´t like hospitals, I know that I would make a really crappy nurse considering I´d probably have a nervous breakdown each time I lost one of my patients. Yet there´s something about the illness and old age that leaves me desperately frustrated. Nothing I can do will snap the vegetable laying next to my grandfather out of his deep coma. Nothing I can give my grandfather will renew his youth or slow his aging process. I feel helpless and worthless in the face of old age. This makes me realise that I really haven´t got as much control as I would like myself to believe.

As my grandfather fell asleep, I lightly passed my fingers through what little left he has of his hair and prayed for the health of his memory. Even though he lays there, I hope he remembers a time when he was healthy and strong . I hope he hangs onto the memories he constructed through his lifetime and that tomorrow I´d have another chance to remind him of another great time I´d spent with him in his healthier days. I also reminded myself to make more of my moments... one day, they will be the memory I will hang on to when it´s my turn to lay in that bed and wait for my journey to end.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The Movie…

Standing in a huge crowd, the world suddenly begins to spin faster and faster. You feel like you´re in a time warp whilst everyone else around you is in fast forward. Their lips move and although the sound comes out, you can´t understand a thing they´re saying! You begin to panic and you realise that you´re the one freeze framed in time whilst rest of the movie is going on without you. Your movements are pre-programmed, your words pre-written and you feel like that cheesy actor in the afternoon´s never-ending soap opera.

These film cuts, though rare, are built into your life when suddenly you forget your lines and you can´t remember what movie you´re in. Somebody shouts “Cut!” and you recognise the voice as your own. However, you´re the only one that stops to take a look around and should there be a mirror near by, you might not recognise your own reflection.

Most people when confronted with these movie breaks, search desperately for their remote control and only breathe a sigh of relief after pressing the play button. They return to the lines that they learnt off my heart and the movie goes back to it´s natural speed. Other´s take the time to reread their script and analise the role they´ve chosen in the great theatre of life.

Running through some old tapes in my memory archive, I found myself doing some Science homework. If you add so many grams of substance x, and you slowly add it to so much of substance y, you get the desired product z. My formulae were always spot on and I loved the fact that I controlled the outcoming product. Even when I experimented with different chemicals, I could still control the measurements and the desired outcome.

Unpredictable, is what every writer, screenplayer and director tries to make their movie, and because of this word, every movie is screened differently. On upcoming auditions, we often turn to our fellow actors for the perfect formulae... depending on how their role went... they will give you the perfect lines and poses, which unfortunately might not work for you on your screenplay. This causes confusion on set and until you find your own script and positions, you end up hiding in the limelight or behind the cameras.

I once sat on a beach, under a full moon with a writer that has big dreams. Somewhere under this sky that we share, he´s making it big in New York and from this distance, his movie seems to be a box office hit in the making whilst mine resembles a small town puppet show. One thing he taught me (other than to make pebbles bounce on the ocean´s surface... which I still haven´t learnt how to do, in case you were wondering!) was that every writer, reaches a block. An empty page with plenty of space to write words that refuse to flow through your dry pen. When that stage comes, you panic and look around desperately for inspiration. Some borrow words from a stale song or even copy the words out of their neihbours book, anything to write the perfect novel!

At the bottom of a Macdonald´s Sundae I reminded myself and my two fellow stars in the making... that you control the role that you´re playing no matter what movie you´re in. Of course, there are those bits in the movie that you can´t avoid (like kissing a prince and him turning into a frog!) but you still get to choose the face that you put on for the camera and the growth your character takes. The quicker you can come out of that coma and start kissing amphibians again, the sooner you come across the toad that turns into a prince!

Being the energetic jelly bean that I am, I was gifted with an unlimitted supply of inspiration and optimism. However, my critical role came on air and I had to scream “Cut!” before I fainted on set! During this break, I stressed about my upcoming role. I came to the part of the movie where I could continue to allow my character to fade into a supporting role or drastically change her screenplay. Not only was my role on the line but whatever changes I made would affect the roles of the actors around me and I knew that I could turn a perfectly good movie into a Hollywood Hit... or Major Flop! Desperation took to isolation where I found myself watching reruns of all my former episodes, looking for a formula that would garantee success in my up and coming attraction.

I´ve got the remote control in my hand and soon i´ll be pressing the play button once more. I didn´t find any formulae and i´m going on set with no notes in my hand. This epiphany came to me whilst writing my comments on a site for reuniting old schoolmates. I wrote “If I´d known then what I knew now, I would´ve laughed more and stressed less”. As I wrote this, I wondered if in the next ten years I would be giving the same comment about present that i´m living. Looking back at the last video in my memory archive, I smiled as I remembered my english teacher so passionately saying “This is no rehearsal people! Don´t save your talents for a future that never comes, smile coz you´re on stage!”. I take one last moment to wonder if she´d be smiling her knowing smile whilst reading this column...

Throw your scripts out the window! And roll camera!

Saturday, October 18, 2003

The Other Person

Deep inside our souls lives a lunatic. A person so insane that we struggle all our lives to keep him\her quiet. As children he\she was often the cause for reprimand and disciplining, with age we learn to control that voice so that it almost ceases to exist.


What makes this other person dangerous is that he\she had a mind of it´s own and isn´t afraid to express it. You will recognise this person from the times when you are drunk or have been pushed to your limits... that´s when he\she speaks her mind!

I myself haven´t dominated this other person as I would like to...
She´s the most abnoxious person to relate to! She says the things I least want to hear when I make important decisions!
I can´t get rid of her no matter how hard I try! And when I manage to silence her for the least amount of time... I begin to feel as if a part of me is missing.

This person that lives inside me is responsible for almost all times I got hurt:
At the age of nine she got me into trouble for challenging the catholic religion with the priest. Three years later I was grounded because she skipped school to go to the river with her friends. She embarrased me one year when she decided to sing in front of the whole school and that isn´t even to mention all the times she disagreed with the teachers in class and earned me detention! All the downfalls, the heartache and the suffering i´ve gone through is her fault! I knew better than to tell someone that I liked them before they told me, and yet, on more than one occasion, the other person got us both rejected!


There are times when I ignored her and locked her in a closet and ended up on passing by the best moments of my life...

I wish I had listened to her on times when I wanted to reach out to someone and didn´t. I wish I had said some of the things she had wanted me to say on occasions and oh! How I wish I had run off with her and chased after crazy dreams and destinations!

She makes me suffer but she also makes me stronger. When I challenged my religion, I found the courage to question and earned an open mind. When I skipped school, I learnt things from the time with my friends that I couldn´t learn in a classroom. When I sang in front of my school, I found the courage to speak in front of my peers and colleagues. When I argued with teachers, I found the courage of my convictions. And finally... when I got my hurt, I discovered a stronger more independent woman.

Some people call this other person my heart because she´s responsible for all the risks I take... I call her “the other person” because she seems to have a mind of her own and we often argue about the decisions in my life.

It is unfortunate that we don´t always see eye to eye and she often has to fight for a moment to shine... Not too long ago, I decided to give her full reign to see where she would take the both of us. She immediately spoke to me of my dreams, the kind that are written in the depths of my soul. She reminded me of the most important dream, the one that I´m most afraid of...

I watched in horror and amazement as she made plans to set after that dream. Those plans involved big changes and sacrifices of the things I´d worked very hard for. When I reminded her of all the hard work it had taken to come as far as we had, she reminded me that the journey was not over and this wasn´t my destination. All the things I had conquered, I could lose with life´s tragedies... and taking a risk, I could conquer so much more.
This other person showed me once again the possibilities there are in taking risks, she gave me back my faith and my dreams. In return I gave her a moment to put her plan into action...

Alas, her moment ended in 15 long minutes... Although she was ready to change her world in the search of her dream, the dream was not ready for her and all her plans got washed down with our tears.

I watch her now with pity, she sits in her little corner and says nothing to me. I could be upset with her because of the turmoil she put us both through. The adventure she put us on has wasted hours of my time and energy! And left me once again hurt and insecure. It will take me ages to build my self confidence again!... And yet, I don´t condemn her or her actions... perhaps now we can walk peacefully for a while without saying a word to each other. I know that somewhere in the future she´ll stand up again... but that´s another column...

Thursday, October 16, 2003

True Blue

There are certain things we human beings cannot avoid doing. Breathing, eating, sleeping... these are essential in keeping you alive. If you stop breathing you die. If you stop eating, you get sick and die. If you stop sleeping, you go mad and then (yeah, you guessed it...) you die!

Often I have come across people who rebel against these responsibilities imposed by mother nature. They claim that sleeping wastes too much time in ones life, food is a waste of the earths natural resources and if only we didn´t have to breathe, we could habitat and conquer other planets!

Among these life essentials, man often overlooks the need to be true to one´s self. To all of you shaking your head and rolling your eyeballs... let me remind you that the difference between a human and a robot is the soul... the spirit... the personality... the power of decision... it also happens to distinguish the difference between us and animals.

If you have no spirit... you die! You become another zombie, another programmed robot in the crowd! You disintegrate slowly and yes... you eventually die.

So how is a spirit created? How is it maintained and how is it killed? A spirit is born with you, it is elemented by everything you learn and everything you experience. Morals are built by your parents, principles from your teachers and experiences from your friends. (These of course may vary) and soon you come to realise that almost everything around you influences your wellbeing.

How is the spirit maintained? Well... that´s debatable but research shows that love, care, friendship and good sex keeps a person and their spirit happy. Of course we can add the sunrises and sunsets but everyone knows what it is that gives them that innerglow that shines out their smile. Whatever makes you happy, builds your spirit.

Just as lack of sleep, food and air can be a slow death... so is the death of a spirit. Like a virus: insecurities, self doubt, criticism, disappointement attack your spirit and you learn that the same people who build up your spirit, have the ability to tear it down!

Sometimes you get more clowdy days than sunny ones, sometimes there are more words to make you feel unworthy, than there are words to make you feel whole. When things keep going wrong and there´s no one to pick you up from the ground... all you have is you!

How do you keep yourself from breaking? From being moulded into other´s opinion of you? From being programmed by society or by letting experiences tarnish you?... Be true to yourself.
The hardest job created in the world was given to all it´s inhabitants... You have the sole responsability to be you! Life can influence you but only you control your attitude.

You may be thinking that all of this is so easily said and not applicable to the “real life”. Then let me tell you about a true story that i´ve been pondering about all day...

A girl I once knew found the courage to pack her bags, leave her home and follow a dream. Her dream was to return to her birthplace, build a home, a carreer and make friends. When she arrived at her destination, slowly but surely she managed to conquer all that and she was and is happy. Anyone who knows her will tell you how hard it is to make it as far as she´s come how lucky she is. Most people will tell you that they would not have the courage to follow in her footsteps.
This afternoon I had a talk with her and she shocked me with talk of leaving her comfortable world to chase after the prospect of true love. I couldn´t believe that she was willing to give up her dream that she had worked so hard for and tried to remind her of how hard she´d fought to conquer all that she´d had. I knew that she was happy with her carreer, her home and her friends so it didn´t make sense to me that she was willing to sacrifice all that to chase after something that wasn´t even solid.

She smiled at me sweetly and reminded me other something I´d almost forgotten... life isn´t about the destination, it is about the journey. Her life hadn´t ended here just because she had succeeded on conquering her dream and to keep her spirit happy, she would keep following her heart.
Often we´re afraid of the next step because we´re afraid of losing what we already have. We forget that nothing is garanteed and that at any given moment you can lose it all. All that God really gave to you to survive was your instincts and your heart. The challenge is to survive listening to them both. This is what is called as being true to oneself...

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Earning your wings...

The most critical time in a bird´s life is when it first learns to fly. In it´s early stages of life, it is protected by it´s father and nurtured by it´s mother until it grows the feathers it need to fly off and fend for his own. Of course, no one said mother nature was fair and not every bird that jumps out it´s nest, successfully flies through the air. Some birds immediately take into perfect flight the minute they take that jump but many fall into an instant death, others may break a limb and never fly again and then there are those that stumble, fall and get dirty but never cease to try until they succeed.

We all children of mother nature. Wether we like it or not, our genes and hormones shape who we are and biology gives us the instinct that moulds our decisions.

My personal jump from the nest wasn´t the worst, partly because my parents didn´t have the typical birdlike instincts. Whilst their attentions were elsewhere, I often got to practice independence. These adventures out the nest helped me see other´s flight tactics and resulted in enough bruises to help calculate my own big jump. But no matter how much preparation you have been given, your first jump, is always your first jump!

There is a first time for everything. Your first walk, your first word, your first crush... your first kiss. For most of these first times, your parents guide and educate you onto the next level. For every first time in your life, there will be someone there to help you get back on your bicycle, wipe the tears and teach you to move on... This doesn´t necesarily mean you won´t fall again... it means you know what you´re in for!

Disappointments and falls will keep repeating themselves in your life, but with each time, you learn to know what to expect and how to react. Control is the key sanity. When you know what to expect, you can determined how to react and then are in control of the results. This is the reason that people in love can plead insanity... they lose control of their power to rationalize.

Birds never caox their young ones to jump until all their feathers are grown and their wings are strong enough to glide through the air. Humans however, spend their whole time hovering around their offspring and never do seem to feel like their children are ready to face the world. Part of that reason is because unlike animals we are not purely drawn by instinct. God gave us the power of decision.. in other words, he gave us emotions. That way our lives become a maze of possibilities and the Almighty gets unpredictable entertainment.

Hand in hand with our creator, mother nature adds to his sense of humour by providing us with animal instincts. And all this conflict that begins at birth... or rather puberty... is the obstacle course we all have to pass through to survive in our existence.

There´s a first time for everything. Unfortunetely we don´t experience all these first times while we´re still in the nest. First job, first car, house, first commitment. These are some of the things we might experience while we´re already in flight and away from the nest... weather is never seems quite as bad from the nest, but just wait until you´re out there in the rain or scorching sun! (These are the times we value more our parent´s efforts) And it is then when we feel the hail for the first time that we wish we were back in our parent´s nest under their protective wing.

Going through one of these first time crisis in my life, I find myself very homesick. Feeling the desperate need of daddy´s presence. Being the free bird that I am, I have no desire to return home and give up on my journey of independance. Nor do I feel the need for answers, for I have already gone through the questions with the elders and know which path I must take. I simply feel the need to take a pit stop. To stop while the rest of the world keeps spinning and feel the groud beneath my feet.

Every bird flies home even though it doesn´t stay there. Everyone of us creates a nest which one day will nurture the future of our country and repeat our life cycle. But although I am following my instincts as nature wills... I can´t help but feel insecure about my flight. It is not enough to have the rest of the flock tell me that i´m doing well and since life is not about the destination but yes about the journey, there are times when I realise that flying isn´t always that good alone.

To those of you nodding your heads, thinking about your own flight and journey, read my message again. The message itself is an oxymoron which I can only conclude as so:
I am a bird, I was born to be free. I have my own wings and don´t need you to flap them for me. Sometimes I need to stop and rest, other times I will take the routes less travelled on, either way I do not ask you to map my journey. Do not fly ahead of me, for I might not follow. Nor should you fly behind me, for I might not lead down the right route. Rather fly next to me, we can share the adventure and learn from each other´s experiences.

For those of you flying... I wish you clear skies and a happy landing.
Unwanted: Public enemy º1

It is blind to race, age, culture, sex, religion, language, colour or beliefs. This enemy is the evil that does not sleep, the evil that creeps up at you when you are at your lowest, and pulls you farther into darkness. A timeless enemy that has survived through generations of victims... you cannot run from it, you cannot hide from it... sooner or later you will come face to face with the enemy... once, twice and perhaps many times in lifetime, in a month, in a day, in a sentence. The truth is that sooner or later you too will lie and be lied to.

The lie is the enemy that has no purpose but to distort reality.It begins as a means to get us out of trouble, a way to keep from being punished. It then grows into a way of escaping situations that force us to change and before we know it the lie grows into a monstorous addiction that overtakes our sense of right and honesty.

A white lie is only served to simplify the complicated truths in life. How many times have you told someone that their new haircut doesn´t look too bad just to keep from hurting their feelings? Or told a suspicious birthday boy/girl that you had no idea about any party when the whole gang was planning a surprise party? These are the lies that we consider white because they are meant for the good of mankind. So when does a lie change colour?

How many times did your dog chew your homework to keep from being punished? Or you had something really important to do so that you could skip those plans you made with your neihbour? Perhaps you missed your bus or you had to work late? You could consider these to be innocent lies too, until your teacher, mother, friend or partner finds out that you made up excuses to avoid your responsibilities.

The lie intelligently fools you into believing that it can relieve you from unnecessary stress but fails to remind you that should you be caught, the initial stress tends to double. It also fails to reveal to you its purpose. It lives to spread insecurity, the lie is the virus that destroys trust. Love and trust are the foundation to any kind of relationship, and lies are the termites that have the ability to destroy it. It either eats away at it slowly, waiting for wind to blow it down or it eats right at the core causing the whole house to crumble. Once the walls of a relationship falls, it is nearly impossible to rebuild.

The newspaper will never tell you of the role the lie played in the bankruptcy of a company. It probably began with a tiny lie to a client or perhaps the boss. Then whilst overlooking important details, the lie fooled the colleague next door that all was well. The lie then went as far as to convince others that things were as they should be and suddenly when reality could no longer be distinguished between all the lies, all that was left was the remains of a company that is no longer trusted by its clients or the community. They will blame corruption but what is corruption really if not the accumulation of lies?

We all get confused at times and need time to set our minds straight. In the jungle of choices, we all have the ability to search for the truth anyway we see fit. Some isolate themselves in their shells whilst other feel the need to go out and embrace the world. We may not be able to control the world, but we control our attitude towards it. This distinguishes every word that comes out our mouths and it´s intention.

In one particular case, our friend felt that he needed time out at night with his friends away from the girlfriend who was beginning to confuse him with all her mind games. In this cauldren of thoughts and feelings he failed to find the words to explain this to his girlfriend this need, and so decided to rather tell her that he was staying home. What she doesn´t know won´t hurt her. Unfortuntely for our friend and thanks to gossip, his girlfriend found out that he´d been out that night, and after bitter arguing the relationship ended. What had made the situation worse was the fact that when confronted, our friend made the same mistake by denying that he´d been out. If he´d just told her where he was going in the first place the would the results have been the same?

What you probably didn´t notice from the story above was the lie´s ally... gossip. When I was a child I played a game called "broken telephone". A group of friends would sit in a circle and a person would choose a sentence and whisper it into their neihbour´s ear. You weren´t allowed to repeat your sentence to your neihbour and you had to be as quick as possible. The idea was that the last person was supposed to say out loud exactly what the first had said. In all my years of playing this game I don´t remember any one incident where the last person managed to repeat exactly what the first person had said. Gossip works in the same way, it spreads like wild fire and distorts the truth into a completely different story... a lie. So many lives have been unnecesarily ruined because of these two best friends.


Why lie when you can tell the truth? Isn´t the reality that God created for us beautiful enough that we have to distort it into illusions? What kind of innerpeace can you have if the worms of lies eat away inside of you? If sooner or later you have to confront the truth, why delay the inevitable? If reality isn´t what you hoped it would be then why not fight to shape it into the way you want it, be rather than to create an illusion what will only harm you and those around you. If a man has no word, what worth is he? Who wants a man who turns his back on his responsibilities, who lets you down times without end, who doesn´t keep his promises and who swears sentiments that don´t exist in his heart? No amount of money, etiquette, wisdom, courage or talent will ever stand heavier in favour of a liar.

We are all born liars, sooner or later we will distort reality to what we would like it to be. Yet, we are only fooling ourselves if we allow someone else to believe it. The truth will set you free. No matter how painful it may seem at the moment, it will wash your soul of illusions. The truth will keep your chin up, earn you respect and dignity, and leave you free of regrets.

The man who tried and failed earns more respect than the man who promised and failed. Silence is truth´s friend against the lie´s illusion. It keeps you from spreading the lie´s infectious disease. Rather smile and keep quiet than create an illusion. Want for others what you want for you and you will never tell another lie again. The truth will not free you from making mistakes but it will leave you will dignity. Before you say another word, there is no need to think twice, only the need for it to be the truth.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The Right to Judge

From early on in life, we´re taught the difference from right and wrong. Be it from our parents, teachers, superiors or even from the holy book, we all learn what is and isn´t acceptable. Society also sets up its own set of rules and ettiquete and manners also become an issue of right and wrong. With all of this programmed into our minds, we easily judge and criticise when someone else falls out of line with these rules. It so easy to point a finger at those who aren´t walking on the right road as we are, but what happens when we find ourselves walking their steps? We always argue that we would never walk down the path that would take us to the situations which lead the judged ones into sinning but isn´t it true that often taking a wrong turn gets us onto wrong roads?

A flashback takes me back to the image of my father looking at me from beyond the rim of his whiskey glass saying "Never say that from that glass of water you shall not drink, one day you might be forced to swallow". He had a knowing smile and his eyes shared a secret only learnt with time.

Never Say Never.

"I will not have sex until marriage! Never ever will that happen"... years later that somehow all seems to chance with the magic of a kiss that went too far or a touch that was too good to resist. Resistance that crumbles isn´t a case to cry victim, it is a process of metamorphasis... it is when our brain suddenly breaks through a barrier and allows us to think differently and see things a different way. This is perhaps one of the most classic examples of a wrong that suddenly becomes right at the heat of the moment. In other words, as the surroundings change, so do then the rules.

To kill is wrong... unless it implies that someone you love was threatened.
To lie is wrong... then there are the white lies that help keep the peace.
To drink is wrong... yet a simple glass can help you unwind and bring rythm to your feet.

Society creates the rules and then spends all it´s time breaking the rules without anyone looking. We are all guilty of criticising, judging and pointing fingers and yet we all break the rules. At some point, we all used the word never and sooner or later ou never suddenly came and we changed our minds. Time is our greatest teacher and it teaches us do adapt to our surrounding. No matter which path we walk, somewhere along the road, we will take wrong turns and find ourselves having to break a rule to survive. If all our sins were to be written in a big black book, God would have to have an infinite library to keep our records.

More spiritual than religious I am more ruled by my conscious than I am by my religion yet I know of two girls that once ran a really tight ship of morals drawing limits close to those of nuns. Any guy that wanted to have one of these two girls as a girlfriend had to come with a double dose of patience for neither of these girls gave in quick and set limits that left any hot blooded man boiling with frustration. For those men too stupid to see beyond the cover, these two girls were labelled as upcoming nuns and there shoved to the side for girls who wear shorter skirts. But I know of a guy that was lucky enough to be at the right time and the right place to get a taste of these two girls souls... at the same time! No one would believe that on the same day they had gone to church in the morning and ended up making out with the same guy at the end of the night. Best friends who both believe very strongly in the difference between right and wrong, ended up watching the sunrise in the arms of the same guy. Considering that none of the three were emotionally tied, some would argue that they had done nothing wrong... some might support their actions... however what makes it wrong is that they went against their own morals (at least the girls did).

For those of you who wonder where this story ends, it won´t surprise you to know that these girls suddenly think a little differently about one night stands. Guilt isn´t one of the leading emotions although they are conscious of what they did is wrong. What might surprise you is that it hasn´t changed who they are. They don´t plan on going out and finding the next guy to make out for one night... but next time they walk past a couple making out savagely on a bench by the pier they won´t huff and point fingers, instead they will smile secretely with some kind of inner understanding. To satisfy curiosity, I must confess that although the girls broke the rules they still set limits. I will add that the guy walked away with one of the best experiences of his life, his own words were "There was no sex but G#$damn there was pleasure!" he walked away satisfied with being touched like he had never before been touched and left wondering if the people who knew these two girls knew what amazingly hot girls they are.

On coming back to consciousness these two friends came to the conclusion that what they had done was something they´d certainly swear the day before that they´d never do (much less with each other!) but from what I know they both learnt never to preech to anyone about their morals as they so did in the past. Never say never when you haven´t walked the path. Don´t say that you know what it´s like when you yourself haven´t walked down that path. Rather say that you imagine and give support rather than advice. Never point a finger when you have three pointing back at you. Life and time will make you change your point of view many times. You will make mistakes, you will betray your morals at one time or another... the only comfort I can offer is that I believe that on judgement day, your intentions will weigh more than your actions.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Grow Younger

One of my distinct childhood memories was of looking at my parents and thinking "Man, adults sure are stupid!". They turn things that are so simple into complicated brain teasers!
On that specific morning, my parents fought over which desert they should serve to our friends that were coming over for supper that evening.
Unable to reach an agreement over a pinapple or fig cake, they stubbornly challenged each other to a competition, making the most eaten cake to be the decisive jury that would end their argument.
My parents rushed off to the supermarket to buy the ingredients, barely talking to each other, both sure that their cake would win the dispute.
Wise enough to know that my opinion didn´t mean much at that point and also knowing that with such an atmosphere I could get away with putting pretty much anything into the shopping trolley... I grabbed a big tub of vanilla icecream with nuts, hiding it under the frozen chicken (at least the they agreed on the main course!)
And would you believe it! Only two or three slices got eaten from both cakes but EVERYBODY dug into the icecream when it came to desert time...

Moral of the story... take advice from your kids?

Well why not? If my parents had asked me opinion at the time, I would´ve told them what I wanted for desert... Icecream! It would´ve saved them both money and useless arguing!

When we were children life was simpler... or do we make it more complicated as we get older? You probably walked right past that stray dog that you saw because you were afraid of its fleas, its smell or of catching some contagious disease. Do you not remember of once looking at it as a new potential friend that needed petting? These days we seek shelter from the rain when once we thrived on getting wet. Mud and puddles once represented hours of fun instead of extra laundry and it is no longer wise to smile at the person next to you on the bus... If they smile back they probably want something from you rather than just being friendly. I remember looking forward to going to church on Sundays just so that I could give the old beggar lady a coin or two.

So where does all start changing? Some say that children grow "conscious", other´s say that we simply lose our innocence... whatever it is, it seems that with age we start building more and more barriers around ourselves. Of course we could argue that certain barriers are necesary to keep ourselves from getting hurt (experience is a harsh teacher) but to what extent are we really protecting ourselves? Countless times it has been proven that those who overprotect themselves and refuse to take risks end up with far more regrets than those who take their chances, but that isn´t what I´d like to shine through in this column...

Not too long ago, a very good friend of mine and I had a stupid argument. Although no little dispute could ever hurt a great friendship likes ours, I found myself torn wether to drop the meaningless subject and leave it hanging in the air or to risk talking to her about the same subject that could once again lead us to the same argument. Over the whole weekend I struggled with an answer and I whilst sitting down on a chair asking God for a little guidance, my little brother jumped on my lap smelling as if he´d just been playing with horses! I ignored the fact that he desperately needed a bath and tried my luck asking him for advice. Not giving him too many details, I let him know about two friends who fought about something but now don´t know wether they should speak about it again or not. Without thinking twice my brother told me that frienship means that they should be able to talk about anything, that nothing should be left unsaid and that if all else fails... hug, shake hands and neither one plays with the toy (Hehehehe... Child language!). He also reminded me that there should be no name calling because that´s cheating and it hurts.

As it so happens, my little brother´s advice worked... I didn´t even have to get to the hug part which i´m pretty sure wouldn´t have hurt though...
Later that week I observed some more of my little brother´s tactics... I find that he brushes my hair when he wants something (It´s a weak spot of mine!) or smiles when he knows i´m angry with him.
Using my clients as guinea pigs, I found that most of them didn´t have the courage to yell while I was smiling at them and that a five minute massage to my colleagues helped relieve more than one kind of tension in the office. Some of the biggest problems at work were resolved with a solution as simple as beginning with a deep breath and a smile.

We´re all intelligent beings and with experience we learn not to make the same mistakes. However, we have the tendancy to overprotect ourselves to the point avoiding risks... avoiding life!
I´m a firm believer in living and loving but even I recognise that often my decisions become cloudy due to the falls i´ve taken.
Using Icecream language, I tried asking my brother what he would do if he one day he woke up with this enormous craving for Macdonalds icecream! He would get all dressed up and wait the whole day to visit Macdonalds just to find... that there isn´t any and that there won´t be any for a whole week! How would he satisfy his craving?
I asked him if he would try something from Olá? a Nice big Magnum perhaps? The perfect icecream with a chocolate layer and creamy vanilla icecream? (one of his favourites!)
But my brother said no, that somehow eating a different icecream would just make him full and wouldn´t satisfy his craving for Macdonalds... that would just be fooling your stomach he said! So what do you do?
Acording to my brother, you only have two options... either you wait a week for Macdonalds icecream or you walk around town until something else catches your craving... like pizza for instance!
Considering that in my case, Macdonalds went bankrupt and i´ll never get to taste that icecream!.. I´ve resolved that with time, as I walk around town, something else will catch my craving.
With his simple logic, my brother helped explain and inner-war that I as an adult had difficulty putting into words and with this innocence (and icecream language) my brother spoke of one of life´s most important lessons... Time and patience.
I think from now on, i´m going to stick to asking my little brother more advice about life... perhaps the answers are truly more clear if I see them through a child´s eyes.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

When Nature Calls...

Being God´s creatures, we are all part of the animal kingdom and sooner or later we react to nature when it calls. Just as the moon affects the tides, so does nature affect our senses. As if it wasn´t hard enough controlling our lives without letting our hearts get in the way, mother nature also decides to put in a twist just to keep up the drama! At 21 years of age, fresh into the adult world, the last thing that should enter a young carreer woman´s mind is children! Studies, furthering one´s carreer, acquiring an apartment or car should be on top of the priority list and yet somehow there will be a day where Johnson & Johnson baby cologne will avert this young woman´s attention away from the latest perfumes. Fortunately just as the moon phases pass, so too do these phases of nature. We realise that we were possessed by mother nature´s magic spell and manage to repossess control of our senses.

Not having any children of my own, I´m always curious to hear about other people´s experiences... skipping the part where you scream and pass out from the pain of pushing something the size of a rugby ball through a golf ball´s hole, tearing your insides apart... I noticed an interesting fact that all these women unconsciously shared a common ritual before their child was born. As it so happens, if you ask any of these women what they were doing the day their child was born the answer you will most likely to get is that they had been cleaning. Each of them remember cleaning and disinfecting their whole house the day they gave birth to their child, one even managed the energy to bake a chocolate cake! Reading up on this phenomenon, I found it that it is common for females to want to disinfect their habitat for the arrival of their new offspring. I distinctly remember the on the two times that Dyna (our toypom) had puppies, she scratched and scratched at her bed until you could swear she had vacuumed her bed in slow motion. Holding this true to other species, it doesn´t differentiate us much from the animal kingdom.

If we were to label this call of nature, the closest word we could come up with would be instinct. Sitting down to meditate I realised that instinct, or this so called "call of nature" dominated more of our lives than we realise. Even men go through a stage where their priorities change from fast cars and easy women to a wife and a good home. Suddenly mini skirts don´t catch their attention as much as sweet smile. If it were animals that we were studying, the environmentalist will probably explain to you that a male will search to mate with a female capable of having strong children and looking after them. Which means even your average player will think about settling down, not because he wants to but that it´s in his nature to do so and when such day comes he will search rather for the type of specimen that he can create a home with rather than show off.

The more I thought about the subject, the more I wanted to explore it. I started to study the reactions I saw around me to see how much of them were influenced by mother nature. Starting with the mirror, I detected a certain possessiveness in myself when it comes to my brother, I lost count of the times that I defended him when he couldn´t stand up for himself. Instinct makes one stand up for the weak especially when it comes to those of the same blood. The call of nature makes you run when you´re scared, attack when you´re threatened and adapt when your surroundings change. I´ve seen carreer women dream of marriages and babies between meetings and phonecalls. I´ve seen men in their late twenties start to stress when they realise that they haven´t begun to construct their families yet. Instinct calls on us to protect, provide and nurture our families and so the circle of life is complete. What makes you think that you´re not a part of it?

Taking all of the above into consideration, one would think that we were no different from any of the other animal species. Once again we look at what makes us different... the power of choice. No matter what your instinct is, you have the power to decide what do with it. We have the sole responsibility for our own happiness, only you can know what makes you happy. What makes us different from animals is that when nature calls, we chose what to answer back.

Friday, October 10, 2003

The Imperfection Disease.

Science argues that what makes us different to animals is our ability to rationalize. An animal when faced with any kind of decision, will react by instinct. When it´s provoked it will attack, when it´s scared it will run, when it´s hungry it will hunt... animals act on instinct whilst human beings were given the power of decision. What gives man power over the animal kingdom is the power of decision. Scientifically speaking, that would make us perfect beings. Because if we are a species that can tell the difference between right and wrong and have the ability to rationalise then we have all that it takes to create the perfect environment... so what is it that goes wrong?

Greed, lust, hate, hurt and anger are but just a few of the reasons that things go wrong. But why does an intelligent being allow these emotions to make bad decisions? Perhaps it´s easier to take a closer look at what causes the above emotions. Any psychologist will tell you that a negative emotion is a secondary emotion. For instance a greedy person is driven by their love of whatever it is that their system craves. Lust can be argued in the same way, it´s a shallow form of love. He who lusts is loving the physical being of a person (rather than the person themselves). This reverts us to that age old saying that Love makes the world go round.

You won´t find one person who hasn´t made a bad decision in the name of love! It´s a euphoric feeling that somehow overrides our systems and takes away our ability to rationalize. Like a computer virus it catches you unaware and even when you do become aware and realise that the decision you´re about to make is wrong, somehow your system is overrun and big damages are caused before you manage to control your senses. A virus, a disease, love is as common as the cold and yet some people never get to feel it´s true effect. There are those who have and we call them survivors. Although love is a teacher it is also responsible for many deaths of souls who simply couldn´t handle the devastation love brought into their lives.

When love runs smoothly then heaven becomes a place on earth but when love ends then suddenly all the world loses it´s colour and hope dies along with the relationship. The worst kind of love is the kind that isn´t reciprocated. Anyone that´s ever been in love without being loved in return will tell you that it takes strength the size of mountains to recuperate from such an ordeal.

I came across one such sad case that left me more than just touched. For confidentiality´s sake let´s create two names... Casey and Nick. Casey and Nick met at a group event and had been friends ever since. With time they saw more and more of each other and before Casey knew it, she developed stronger feelings for Nick. Unfortunetely for Casey, Nick didn´t feel the same way and when he found himself a girlfriend, she suddenly found herself being torn apart. Although they promised to preserve the friendship, they suddenly they saw less and less of each other and conversation somehow shortened. Nick avoided talking about his girlfriend for obvious reasons and Casey also couldn´t share the turmoil she was going through because of him.

Rationally looking at this situation, there shouldn´t be a problem... Casey could just accept that Nick has a girlfriend and isn´t interested in her, they would once return to sharing their lives with each other and they could all be friends... yet as much as all parties involved want this to happen, this isn´t the reality being created. Casey isn´t the kind of girl that lives upon illusions and anyone that knows her will tell you that she´s one of the most rational and intelligent people you´ll ever meet. So why can´t she simply end the attraction she has for Nick? Her system is overrun with that disease that she can´t control and no matter how hard she tries she can´t help hurt everytime he mentions his girlfriend´s name. Although they remain friends, a special part of their friendship has been left behind in memory lane. No matter how hard they try they somehow can´t seem to return to the safety of their old frienship. Nick no longer has the courage to ask Casey for one of her famous massages and Casey avoids touching or looking too long at Nick, afraid that he might see feelings that she hasn´t managed to quite get rid of yet. Not too long ago this was proven in a car ride, Nick had been coughing thanks to a cold that he´d picked up and Casey who was sitting next to had to restrain herself not to rub his back like instinct wanted her to do. You could argue that there´s nothing wrong with rubbing your friends back to relieve their cough and Casey wouldn´t have thought twice about it if there was any other friend sitting next to her but emotions and fear kept her from doing it. Afraid that he might take her reaction as prove of her emotions and most importantly, fear that emotions she had already surpressed could surface and make it even more difficult for her to drown completely.

Casey and Nick´s case is a sad one, they might never return to the more open and honest friendship they had while Casey still walks around with this disease. Only time will tell what destiny awaits their destiny. Another victim of the worst disease known to mankind... no one can tell how long it lasts or how much damage it can cause and no one is immune. It is the cause of bad decisions over generations behind us and many more generations to come. A timeless disease that doesn´t chose race, colour or religion. A disease that makes us different from animals, it steals our power to rationalise... it makes us imperfect, it makes us human beings.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

What turns you on?

After a big sleepover with guys and girls, the inevitable conversation related to sex came up, and this weeks topic was "What turns you on?". The group´s pervert immediately brought out short mini skirts, wonderbra´s and his all time favourite... fishnet stockings! As the question got flown around the room answers kept varying and I suddenly realised that I had my next Sunshine´s Column topic!

Research brought me a vast amount of answers and the results were beyond my imagination! High heels, blood red nails, dark lipstick, white pants, panty lines, belly rings... the list is endless!!! I was alarmed to see how observant men really are when it comes to how women are dressed! So yeah girls, if you think he didn´t notice the coffee stain on your blouse, the huge zit on your forehead or the fact that your skirt is a slight bit too short... THINK again! We are scanned from head to toe the minute we walk through a door! Some of you might argue "That´s bullshit! I know plenty of guys who never remember what a girl was wearing two minutes after seeing her". I hate to break it you girls but truth is that that image is only saved in his memory file if it´s aproved by all the hormones in his body. Which means if he doesn´t remember what you were wearing, it didn´t catch his interest or he is faking disinterest. Even gay guys notice a women´s appearance and no matter how busy a man is, he will always take head to toe measurements before continuing on with what he was doing.

Not that women are very much different! In fact, I got wider and more detailed descriptions from the fairer sex! From tight jeans, open shirt, suit and ties, sunglasses to perfumes with all different kinds of exotic names. And we haven´t even gotten to anatomy yet! Answers ranged from firm buttocks, big hands, amazing smiles to big eyes and straight white teeth. Oh yes! All you have to do is figure out what turns your partner on and something as simple as a leather jacket can turn your evening from warm to volcanic heat!

As shallow as all of the above might be, the truth is that our hormones are programmed to be attracted to one or other feature of the opposite sex. However, although being tall, dark and handsome might attract attention, it won´t keep it unless you play your cards right. The next step involves pushing buttons and this may prove tricky as no two person´s buttons are the same. What might work for one person might not work for another... for instance, I still don´t see the pleasure in sucking someone´s toes but i´ve been told that it´s one of the most erotic sensations in the karma sutra. However, he who is wise enough to run his fingers through my hair has the power to make me swim around the world in a yellow polker dot bikini, lime green flippers, in the middle of winter and bring back a tuna fish that i´d prepare myself! Whispering seems to be a favourite among men although rough talk doesn´t fall far behind. Some like biting, other scratching, other feather light touches... all agreed that a massage is definitely a strong button to push! My research took me to a whole different spectrum of possibilities! Whole books could be written just on one of the many buttons above...

For instance... what more erotic than a kiss? How do you like yours? Do you like it hard, crushing your head against a wall? Or feather light... just enough for you to feel warm breath and leaving you wanting for more! Maybe you like those dry kisses where you feel lips moving erotically against lips... or wet involving tongue and the exchange of warm juices. How about the duration? A short quick, noisy kiss or is it a long, slow erotic one? kisses with lipstick? maybe you´re the kind that enjoys flavoured kisses? I myself use vanilla flavour... but getting back to the subject... we haven´t even begun discussing mode of delivery! Are surprise kisses better than those that you are expecting? Should he grab you to kiss you? Warn you that a kiss is coming? or just let that magnetic pull your lips together? From the lips should he travel to the neck? maybe a nibble on the earlobe? there´s so many places a kiss could stop on the way down...

Yes folks... the list is endless and I realised that there is no way that I could put all the different turn on´s on one column. I guess you just have to push a couple of buttons and figure it out for yourself... It´ll be the best research project you´ll ever do! Be inquisitive, take lots of notes and have lots of practicals! In a demanding modern world, experience is most valuable! Whatever you do, be adventurous and you might just discover things that you never knew could turn you on...

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Check your baggage at the door please.

Once bitten you´re left with the teeth marks as permanent scars. If two lions get into a fight and one takes a big fat bite off the other´s leg, the bitten lion will carry the battle wound with him until the day he dies. If two antelope happen to cross horns and somehow one horn happens to poke an eye out, the unlucky antelope will be blind in one eye for the rest of his days. Most inflicted wounds tend to somehow leave some sort of a handicap or scar behind.

As humans, we´re no exception to mortality. The tiny scar on my left eye will forever remind me of a car accident I had on my third birthday. Even though it´s barely noticeable, anyone who takes a good look will see the scar that landmarks a page in my history. Not everyone carries physical scars but everyone carries battlewounds that are invisible to the outside world. The emotional kind. These kind of wounds have no measure to how deep they can go or how long they take to heal. Perhaps the most frustrating part is that no two wounds are alike and no two people react the same way. A little boy who teases girls at school by calling them fat might cause temporary waterworks and sulking in one girl or the begining of compulsory eating disorders in another. What should scare you is that you never really know just how much you´re hurting somebody.

My inspiration for the column came from a conversation that lasted into the early hours of the morning not too long ago. I was told a story about a girl who had the sad fate of dating one of life´s losers. Her boyfriend, or so we shall call him... possessed her as if she was a disposable object. From isolating her from her friends, criticising her every move to using profanity with her, these was no form of abuse unused in this relationship. She survived his behaviour in the name of love but even bears wake up from hibernation and eventually she found the courage to escape this abusive relationship. Not too long after her life changed from a nightmare to a fairytale, she found a good man that took care of her, treated her like a princess and showed her the power of love and tenderness.

Once you´ve been bitten by a dog you can have one of the three following responses:
1. You run every time you see a dog
2. You kick every dog that comes your way or
3. You fight your fear and learn to love dogs again.

The sad reality is that option 3 is the least chosen. Our girl couldn´t handle the pressure of both the harassing ex-boyfriend or the overload of love from the new one. She chose to kick every dog she saw and run before they managed to get up and defend themselves. That leaves the good man wounded and also left with one of the three options above. He paid for the pain inflicted onto her by her ex. She kicked him with the same abusiveness she´d been treated to and ran before he had the chance to ask her for his heart back.

At this moment the pain is too fresh to predict his reaction. His pain throws him from one extreme to another. First he feels the urge to run away from the world and himself, wishing that when closing his eyes his sleep would be eternal. In the next second the rebellious side of him surfaces and he decides to use every other woman just as he felt that his love had been used and abused. Deep down he still holds the hope of finding true love but in the midst of his inner war, hope is a light very faint in the near future.

After getting constantly knocked down, most of us resign to stay down and not bother to get up again chosing either the first or second option above. Those insane enough to keep getting up will simply keep getting knocked down. The choice is his to make. Unfortunately emotional pain isn´t the kind you can share or easily repair. There is very little one can say to help pick up the pieces of a broken heart. As a friend all I could do was listen but I did remind my friend that in the animal kingdom, caterpillars metamorphosis into butterflies and that lizards that lose their tails grow a new one back in less than two weeks. Thanks to modern times, limbs are replaceable and almost nothing is irreparable. The point i´m trying to make is once the pain is gone you´re still left with chosing one of the above options.

After trying out all three options I personally find that i´m happier rolling with the punches but only because i´d rather love and lose than to not love at all. Whatever your decision is the next time life takes a big fat bite of your soul and shatters your heart...
1. If you decide to run, don´t steal someone´s heart to run off with
2. If you decide to get revenge, make sure it isn´t on a dog that doesn´t bark at you
3. and lastly, should you decide to stand again, make sure that you´re completely standing before you take another plunge.
Nobody should have to pay for another´s bad experiences. Should you love again, then make sure that you love with your whole heart... only then are you giving both yourself and your partner a fair chance!