Friday, April 30, 2004

When God needs to Whisper to you…

I once met a man that changed the course of my life…

Many people can describe an important chapter of their lives beginning with the above phrase. Most of us can even begin various chapters the same way. I’ve always known that God sends angels in the form of friends or strangers to help us or get us back on track when we most need it. Even so, it never ceases to amaze me when one of these people crosses my path.

I repeated myself for the fourth time to the client who sat in front of me, desperately hoping that my final explanation would wipe the look of confusion off his face. Time was of the essence and I couldn’t afford to waste another five minutes repeating the same contract to him. There was still plenty of work to be done and there was another client already waiting for me. I smiled relief when comprehension finally registered on my client’s face and quickly greeted my next client who sat down in front of me with a smile.

Although his smile was extraordinarily warm and his gaze was piercing, I rushed into my routine talk. He made himself comfortable in front of me and joked that he didn’t know how I put up with some clients. Without removing my eyes from the documents I was filling in, I smiled and replied that cheerful and friendly clients such as him, made me forget about the difficult clients that I have to deal with. It was when he told me that I was someone very special that I finally noticed that he had been taking notes on my character.

Intrigued by a stranger’s first impression of me, I put down my pen and asked him the basis of his analyses. The forty-seven year old man gave me a knowing smile, the kind I recognised on my father’s face when he was just about to give me words of wisdom. He didn’t answer my question and instead proceeded with giving me a little bit of advice. The very basic message in his words rang loudly in my heart as the principles that I base my character on… what he told me, I hope never to forget:

“Beside the obvious fact that you’re a patient and friendly person, you have warmth radiating from you! It’s nice to see; in fact it’s almost rare to see someone your age still so positive and caring. Whatever happens in your life, never let anyone put out that fire inside you! Don’t let people destroy your passion!”

He went on to tell me how difficult it is to be true to oneself. An obvious cheerful person, he told me of how it had been hard to remain positive and how he’d often lost to life’s disappointments. He told me a little about his journey’s obstacles and I told him a little about the path that had brought me until where I am today. Although we spoke of life’s obstacles in general, eventually we both realised that the greatest of life’s disappointments had to do with feelings and our sentiments towards other people.

Trying to lighten the conversation, he told me that he was glad that I’d left South Africa and had come to Madeira.
“You would’ve gone to waste in a country like that!”
I asked him what made him think that I wasn’t going to waste on this island and once again our conversation drifted from cultures and ways of thinking to the kinds of people we know. As he spoke of disappointments, my mind into the memory of the latest disappointment I’d gone through that was still very fresh. It must’ve shown in my eyes, or my face must’ve betrayed my thoughts because he noticed it quicker than I could say: “No matter how prepared you think you are for a disappointment, it still hits you like a ton of bricks.”

I assured my newfound friend that life my journey hadn’t consisted of smooth seas and that many storms along the way had left me shipwrecked. Somehow I always seem to pick myself up again. I like the person I am too much, to let people and life kill the very essence of me. The hardest job anyone has is to maintain your soul intact.

Both our expressions mirrored the good impression that we left on each other. It wasn’t just his words and attitude that impressed… he’s the first man who’s ever said, “ I don’t help out at home… I work at home, because cooking and cleaning is just as much my job as it is my companions”. Commenting that it’s a pity that I’d have to wait for the boys I know to reach forty-seven to reach that maturity, he laughed and left me with the sad news that unfortunately it takes boys long to grow up, and some never ripen! He did however, suggest to me not to loose hope and most importantly, not to settle for second best.

My client took an hour of my time but the good it did me was priceless. When he left, I sighed wondering if that was God’s way of answering a quick desperate prayer. It occurred to me that just as my client had been my angel for the day, I could’ve been his. And as if my pondering needed to be confirmed, he came back just to tell me that he had been glad to have met me and would take me in his thoughts. I believe that these “angels” in form of strangers or friends is God’s way of talking to me.

“To the world you may just be someone, to someone, you may just be the world.”

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, What You Gonna Do When They Come For You?

There are boys out there that are born bad for life. I call them boys because they will never be men enough to assume any kind of responsability or commitment. Yet they´re the kind of addiction that gets so far under your skin that you find yourself wanting to be just as bad as they are.

Danger... the kind that scares all mother´s into praying distance from their little girls. No woman is immune to the man who knows how to where to find her buttons and isn´t afraid to press them. He makes no promises. There is no future or past in his words and indirectly he´ll whisper the kind of suggestions that have been playing on your wildest fantasies and deepest dreams. These bad boys are only guilty of driving you out of your mind. They´ll caress your soul with the look in their eyes. You know that being with them is wrong, but they make the world around you seem so right. When you´re with a bad boy, time stops and the world around you disintegrates into the back burner of your mind. You forget your insecurities, you let go of your inhibitions and feel naked under the lazer eyes of the bad boy scanning you. He´ll fill any room with his magnetism and magically make all the people disappear when he dances with you. He´ll look into your mind, playback the song in your soul and kiss your heart with his imagination.

Seduction is the name of the game. The irresistable dance on eggshells. The more you play the game... the more they entwined you get in the web of illusion. You realise that he has the reins firmly in his grip and that you´re the one who placed them there because deep down you want to loose control to him.

Run? Run from him? Why run from someone that can take you to heaven and back?

Maybe because once he´s taken you to heaven, he´ll steal away your wings and let you fall straight into sentimental hell! You´ll take a look at the face that you gave control to and realise that he has no idea what he´s doing, where he´s going or what he wants. Just as you, he wanted to embrace the moment. He responded to the challenge and lost interest once he conquered it. He can talk the talk, but the walk and the heart is something he just can´t handle. A little boy who doesn´t know how to respond to a real woman, he will run the minute the music stops playing his beat.

The problem isn´t recognising a bad boy... you will see him from a mile away... getting his poison out your bloodstream is what is more complicated. A bad boy is unforgettable and the memories of time spent with him will haunt your “normal” life. You don´t want him, but you can´t help thinking about him when that song comes on... when that car drives past... when you look at the leather office chair. Your mind desperately clings to common sense but your hormones beg you to commit emotional suicide, even if it´s just to feel alive inside.

This isn´t a story about sex nor is it a story about love. This is the confusion created when Mr. Right isn´t in your life and Mr. Wrong reminds you that you´re a redblooded woman. There is no doubt that he isn´t what you want, that you deserve better yet, you find yourself attracted to the person you become when you´re with him. Insanity makes sense when spending time with a bad boy. Are you in love? Maybe it´s just the things you´re going through... Maybe you´re alone, maybe you´re looking for a challenge, spice in your life... but you´re looking for something unattached don´t look at a bad boy. He will only rest once he has your heart and once heaven is conquered, hell will be all that is left.

Some say that bad boys are courageous because they´re not afraid to experiment with every sentiment that a human being is capable of. I think they´re life´s biggest cowards for not owning up to their feelings. The biggest crime a man can commit is to awaken the heart of a woman without the intention of loving her.

Maybe a bad boy is something every girl needs to go through to appreciate the man in her life. He is the modern Peter Pan, the boy that will never grow up. The unsatisfied being that will never know how to keep a real woman happy.

I´m truly sorry that I once again represent a challenge to you. I may be gullible but i´m not stupid. I´m through playing with boys, call me if you ever grow up to be a man.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

As Good As It Gets.

Why is it that we so often rely on other people to tell us wether we´re doing okay or not? Isn´t your best good enough? How do you know when you´re on the right track?

When I look around, I see a crowd of people who battle to survive as individuals. Their faces that look at me show insecurity and their eyes seek approval. Whenever I meet someone new they always sell me their best attributes as if I was the judge to a contest they needed to win. Guys, girls... this vulnerability doesn´t choose a sex and everybody knows “what it´s like” when you feel that you´re just not good enough.

What do you tell yourself when you look in the mirror and know that you´ve given it your best but your best wasn´t good enough?

In life there are times that no matter how hard you try, you feel like you aren´t able to accomplish your goals. Be it that exam that you studied night and day for and didn´t pass. That job interview that you spent hours preparing for but didn´t get. Perhaps it was that person you so desperately tried to impress and that ended going home with somebody else. You end up looking in the mirror and wondering where it went wrong.

Maybe I didn´t try hard enough...
Maybe I was born a loser...
Did I say something wrong?...
I always make that same mistake...
I´m just not good enough.

We tear ourselves down worse than any storm could. We try to make excuses for ourselves or even place the blame on someone else and convince ourselves that there must be a logical explanation to why we don´t succeed. And when our minds can´t take anymore questions and criticism we sit on the cold floor of our bedrooms and cry. Failure has become unacceptable.

Who sets the guidelines? Where did this book of right and wrong came from? To whom are we comparing ourselves to? When did we become so demanding of ourselves? I could ask a million of these questions and perhaps answer them as well. I could give you all advice on how boost your self confidence and stop feeling sorry for yourselves. But it won´t prevent you from having these moments. This is what makes us human, this is what drives us to do and become better.

Lately i´ve been feeling very insecure. I look at the life i´ve constructed and wonder if it wasn´t all just dumb luck that i´ve had so far. When I look at the future that i´m headed towards, I dread the possible failure and fear the loss of my independence. The girl I last saw in the mirror was scared and insecure. My brain registers a million and one things that can go wrong and my heart whispers fear into my ears. These are my moments of vulnerability. There are moments when I look at the ocean and tell myself that I don´t know what i´m doing, when I look up at the sky in despair of feeling that i´m doing it all wrong. Sometimes you can´t take another step up the ladder simply because you feel you can´t get up there, or simply because you´re afraid of falling down. I know i´m on the right road, but then again... by what whose guidelines am I living and if i´m doing it as I should, why do I feel so insecure. Why do I feel like i´m not good enough... like my column isn´t good enough?

Perhaps it´s the loneliness that makes me vulnerable, it´s ironic that I´d have it no other way. God only knows that i´m guilty of setting high expectations of myself and tend to punish harshly when these are not met. Or maybe my self conscious is right when it tells me that i´m not good enough. I only feel worse for being angry at myself for feeling this way. Self pity is the weakness I most despise! And the fact that i´m alone gives me silent relief of there not being anyone around to see me like this. I´m waiting to hit rock bottom because only then will my hero save me...

My Hero(ine)

I know of a heroine that knows whenever i´m in trouble. She might not always arrive on time but she seems to always be able to rescue me just before I fall into the abyss. She wipes away my tears and forces a smile on my face. I can always count on her to be strong and remind me of the courage that sits in my heart. When I doubt myself, she reassures me. She stands by me when the rest of the world walks away. When the world looks at us, it´s her face that they see. I wouldn´t know where i´d be without her and I often wish I could believe in her as much as she believes in me. This special hero sits in the heart of everyone. It´s the person you can depend on to rescue you whenever you´re in trouble. That person is you; my hero is me.

Friday, April 02, 2004

…Suddenly they’re all quiet?

Look he’s talking had “part one” associated because I was convinced that all my male readers would vehemently flood me with e-mails of protest. I was expecting concrete arguments that I would find challenging to contest. Mentally preparing myself for an in-depth argument, the response I got was overwhelming:


The only e-mails I received congratulated my piece and agreed with my point of view. I did get a few phone calls from bruised male ego’s that began something like “I want to argue with you about your piece, but I don’t know how!”. One male friend even said “You should be shot for giving away our secrets!”. The best insult I was given was: “That was brilliant! You know, I think God must’ve changed his mind at the last minute because you should’ve been born a man!”… Ahem… as I said to the unfortunate wise ass that to attempted to insult my femininity: “It’s being born a woman that gives me the common sense to see things that men consider genius”.

I can only conclude from the silence of my challenger that either he has forfeited the challenge or he’s still busy surfing the net for good counter arguments. Either way, I think it proves that my theory rings true for most part of the male population. But as with any kind of talk… be it from a man or from a woman. Words need to be measured before spoken. And what really counts is not what comes out your mouth but the intention that sits in your heart.