Friday, December 30, 2005

Spending Christmas Solo

He sits staring at the full glass of whiskey.
There have been many changes through the years of his life but not the way he likes his whiskey.
He still pours it over a mountain of ice, filling the rest of the glass with water.
Some things should never change... the way he likes his whiskey is one of them.
He tries concentrating on the things he has do to. There are still DVD´s that need to be copied, covers that need to be printed and movies to be downloaded. He hasn´t yet put onto a CD that new movie that he downloaded about the haunted house. She´d like that movie for sure! She always liked things to do with the supernatural.
A lump comes into his throat as he remembers his daughter, she´d asked him to smile this Christmas but he was finding it hard to answer to her wishes.
A whole year has passed since he last saw her smile yet he sees it in his head as if it were yesterday.
A pile of the latest games lie on his table, they are copies that he made for people who ordered them to give to their children as Christmas gifts... All he wanted for Christmas was to see his boy´s face as he saw all the games Daddy would give him.
But neither of them were there.
It´s Christmas and all he´s got is the memories of the Christmas gone by.
He wanted to smile but all his face could give were tears of emptiness.

Dearest Daddy,
I thought of you all day, not just because it was Christmas day but because today, like any other day... I missed you.
I wanted to remember you with a smile of the wonderful memories you gave us last year but instead, I remembered you with a broken heart.
I would´ve smiled if I imagined you in the kitchen making our special magic stuff, the fig cake and the roasted chicken...
You would talk about Christmas in Madeira, the traditions and the memories you lived and I would feel you rememebering the same moments I was reliving with my brother.
I would´ve smiled knowing that you would smile everytimes you remembered me, every moment we shared as a family.
I would´ve smiled if you´d thought of me with a smile.
Instead I cried because I felt you crying... I felt empty because you felt empty.
Surrounded by people, I somehow felt all alone because I could see you, sitting in your chair reminiscing on your solitude; retracing all the steps that got you all alone in a big house. Bitter are the memories that once were sweet and the thoughts that once brought joy now are no more than painful reminders.
I cried because you cried and couldn´t think of you with the smile that I intended.
I miss you Daddy, not just today, not just on Christmas but everyday...
Everyday I wish you were with me;
Everyday I long for your presence.
I´ve learnt to miss you with a smile, instead of a tear because you are too special to be thought of with sadness.

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

If you make the effort you will find there there are those who want to hear about how much you love your children, who care about you and who want to spend time with you regardless of what is on your mind! You will be happy and I will feel your love from across the ocean.
Please be happy so that I can think of you with a smile rather than a tear.
Even at this distance, time will never change how much I love you Daddy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

As Tight As It Gets

Sometimes when you least expect it, you find yourself in a tight spot and end up thanking the hand of fate that decided to have some fun during rush hour traffic on a dull Tuesday at your expense.

Sunshine says: Enjoy every misfortune for in there somewhere will be a reason to smile or laugh about it later.

I once again began cursing the mob that began pushing their way into the Metro about to once again reduce to me a Sardine sandwich in an economy pack tin can.
But before I finished, a pair of huge blue eyes accompanied by a warm smile caught my attention. It was heaven’s justice that he should head straight my way and I wondered if my angels hadn’t taken my quick prayer too seriously when they began squeezing him up against me.

Pushed by the crowd there was very little either of us could do to prevent getting closer and by the time the doors shut, I could feel his breath on my neck and hear the beating of his heart. I couldn’t quite recognize the cologne he was wearing except to identify that it was suave but lasting – the kind that robs your senses slowly and then intoxicates you completely. I couldn’t help but let my imagination get the better of me as I realised how incredibly erotic it was to be pressed up against a wall by a good-looking man. The slightest movement was a forbidden pleasure. I wanted so badly to take another look at his eyes but at the same time I was glad that neither of us could turn our face to look at each other – our faces would without a doubt touch and even if they didn’t – I’d die of embarrassment if he saw the colour on my cheeks that evidenced my naughty thoughts.

Perhaps he did fell the heat from my cheeks after all, or he read my mind because when the door closed at the second station he whispered in my ear that he liked the way I smell. The sound of his voice took me completely off guard but I still managed to reciprocate the compliment with a steady voice.

Unusually daring, I moved my hand from where it lay and discovered that his hand wasn’t too far apart. Even though I couldn’t see his face, I could feel him smile as our pinkies intertwined.

I wonder if I’d find the courage to find his whole hand but before I could muster the courage, the doors opened for the fourth time and the mob dispersed to the train station. There was breathing space again and I could once again breathe the oxygen as he moved away.

Slightly disappointed, I looked at the door that would open next where I’d get off and felt satisfied for the moment past regardless of how brief. As I positioned myself in front of the steel doors, I felt my arm being pulled and saw for the first time a shiny ornament of the stranger’s hand.

“I’d ask you for your number if I didn’t belong to someone else” he explained sheepishly.

Smiling, partly at him, partly at me mostly at destiny… I wasn’t sure whether I was angry or relieved that fate’s pawn was married. I’ll probably never see him again but if I do, I’ll ask him for his name so I know which kind of guys I should look out for.

Life is about the journey, not the destination.

Moment of Weakness

When your heart is broken:
You can’t see…
You can’t breathe…
It’s like watching your life in grey scales from a dark corner of a stuffy theatre.
People around you laugh and occasionally you manage a smile or two… though it never truly reaches your heart.

I believed that I was strong…
That I could overcome anything… but repeated disappointment exhausts me.
Too many goodbyes…
Too many tears…
Too many promises to myself that I could not keep.

I suddenly forget the goals I had,
The dreams I pursued and the reasons that kept me fighting.
I find myself having to drag myself out of bed,
Every morning searching for the courage to lift my head from a wet pillow and live out the life’s projects that now make little sense.

I wipe away my own tears and manage a sincere smile.
Broken but now defeated, the eyes in the mirror remind me that as long as I’m breathing, I’m still living.
Maybe not today,
Maybe not tomorrow,
But someday… I’ll wake up and see a rainbow in the sky and God will send down all his angels to paint the world in colours for my eyes to see again.

The pale face that stares in the mirror has red blood beneath the bleakness that haunts it.
It’s reflection reminds me that stars still shine…
The sun will rise in the morning…
And butterflies never forget how to fly.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Midnight Rendezvous…

There are days that you wake up in the morning expecting nothing more than just another regular day... And then life happens.
The phone may ring and someone that you haven’t seen for a long time may unexpectedly invite you for dinner.
Those who play it safe would assess the risks, recall the reasons for the distance and cover all possible scenarios before either turning it down or accepting the invitation. I confess that I didn’t think twice and was glad that the adventurer in me was returning to her full potentially impulsive self.

Moments that aren’t planned usually make for better memories than those that are well thought out. As I felt my feel sink into the sand, I knew that my destination was due to an angel that must’ve heard my heart’s calling to be near the ocean. More on a whim than for any other reason, my companion and I decided to go feel the water’s temperature and somewhere along the way we created a moment worth remembering…

On a deserted beach in the cold of the night two adults acted like children as they played in the sand, got their shoes wet and sand in all sorts of places. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to be spun around and to dance on the sand to the sound of laughter. I’d forgotten how good it feels to be tickled until my sides hurt, to be pulled close and to be touched… even cold hands can feel good if there is heat in their touch. It’s hard to stay indifferent to warm breath on your neck and the sound of sexy words mixed with the ocean’s waves. Intense eyes pulled one another to the limits, pulling back before falling off the edge. Each time they pulled away… they knew that it wouldn’t be too long before they got pulled back in.

Two old friends dismissed the cold midnight air with hot chocolate. They spoke of things in the passing and they spoke of things in the past. There are hurts in life we can only exorcise with the words of those who helped put them there.
It’s easier to deal with the pain of the truth than the anaesthesia of an answer not given. Even lies cause less damage than a blank uncertainty. When the answers aren’t given and things are left to say, people feel the need to fill in the blanks by jumping to conclusions. These are the conclusions that cause the most damage because no matter how logic may one day correct the mind, it somehow never manages to reach the heart once the truth’s opportunity has come and gone.
Steamed windows, intense looks and deep confessions… There are conversations you spend a long time hoping for and then they surprise you when they finally happen.

A long road along a coast line that changed from river to ocean… a GPS that didn’t function well… a ring that got stuck (more than once!) falling in a strategic spot… a black hair elastic that got lost… two different mugs of hot chocolate… a table that almost lifted… a seatbelt that served its safety purposes… nails that didn’t scratch… stops on the highway… cold hands mixed with warm skin… there are moments that your whole body remembers along with your mind.

How easy it is to push the buttons… how excruciatingly tempting it is to exceed the limits and drive another’s soul over the edge… out of control, in your control and vice versa… one needs to be very careful how you press another person’s buttons, never push them farther than their limits unless you’re prepared to take the plunge with them.

Moments come and moments go… as I lay my head to sleep I wondered if I would have to wait another three years for the honesty of all those who let me walk away without the words I need to hear. Some truths come too late…

In Love Again...

My lover is patient.
He welcomes me in subtle breaths and gives me the space to get used to his ways.
He speaks very little of himself yet allows me the freedom to discover him.
The more I know and with each passing day, I feel myself succumbing into his world – into him.

At first I gave him very little attention, even though I knew he was there: watching me, observing my every more.
He followed me to work in the mornings and accompanied me home at night. It took a while before I recognised his scent, which now follows me wherever I go.
He gives me control of my life and power to my decisions, yet he robs me of my senses and forces me to face my feelings raw.

A gentleman with cultural background and the spirit of the youth, those who observed me with him warned me of the love I’d surrender to…
And I have…

On a cold night where the lights of the city shone through me, the sound of him filled my ears and the mature scent of him intoxicated my senses – I surrendered to his passion and fell in love with him – in love with Lisbon

I’m in love with Lisbon.

A feminine voice and a masculine silence – Lisbon enters the very heart of your soul. Love him or hate him, no one stays indifferent to his influence. And when there is no once there to be with you – he’s there, standing by your side so that you never feel lonely in the city of lost souls.

He is everywhere that I am. I feel his spirit in the awakening of the city, in the energy of its ambition and the surrender of its exhaustion. He forces me to my limits during the day and embraces me at night. And though I do not belong to him, I simply could not walk away from him.

My lover is patient, he feels my hurt and recognises my needs. He asks nothing of me but motivates my potential – giving me the reasons to move on. Whatever happens in my life I know that ours is a lasting love. My goal in the relationship is the making of a positive difference in each other’s worlds.

May the intensity vary and may the passion never die.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reading the Signs

I don’t believe in coincidences.
I believe that everything happens for a reason and that most of what happens in people’s lives are either consequences of their decisions or the road signs representing the path that they’re on.

If fate is the checkpoints we must all go through, then destiny is the road we choose to get to them. As an adventurer, someone who takes risks in life and enjoys travelling the narrow and less travelled upon roads; I nonetheless am cautious and do my best to pay attention to the signs that life gives me. I don’t always see them, I may even misinterpret them, but I know they’re always there guiding my way or confirming my decisions. It’s easy to take a wrong turn in life but very seldom can one truthfully say that the signs weren’t there…

I woke up this morning from a dream I couldn’t control and decided to start they day putting it out of my mind. The memory was gone by the time I brushed my teeth but it threatened to submerge with the desire to have Philadelphia cheese on bread for breakfast.
This wasn’t the sign – It was the mental association one makes between things and people and I only allowed it a minute to prevail.

By the time I sat in the metro, I was in a fantastic mood ready to take on the world and decided to scan my surroundings for an interesting face. It was at the second station that we stopped that a man with a brown leather jacket walked in, jolting a spark of recognition within me. His face wasn’t familiar but the way he concentrated all his attention on his palm top reminded me of someone who was.
This wasn’t the sign either – This is the mental registration caused by a resemblance between someone you know… or knew.

Work! – The marvellous distraction in life that allows you to succumb to your talents and ambitions, drowning out all of the ego’s influence. Self-satisfied and absorbed in my tasks, I’d given very little attention to any signs that may have surrounded me. So much so that by the time I looked at the watch on my computer, I realised that half of my lunch hour had been lost. Grabbing a sandwich and a can of juice from the vending machine, I sat on my chair for a quick snack and allowed my body to relax and my senses to rein free…that’s when it caught me – the melody playing on the radio. My lips began repeating the lyrics flowing into my ears by Phil Collins. Closing my eyes I was suddenly in a very green place where the air was fresh and my cheeks were pink and I was staring at a face that was incredulous that I’d never heard the song before. In too deep – the song and the lyrics with the power to overflow me with all the emotions of the memory.
This wasn’t the sign – It was the painful reminder of things past and the automatic link that the mind makes to a memory.

Once again, fully concentrated on my work, my mind was so preoccupied that I almost missed the sign put up for me:
The colleague who sat in front of me had fallen into the misfortune of falling in love with a man who was not interested in her. Driven by her obsession by him, she was on the phone to a friend describing how she’d followed him at lunch to see who he was having lunch with and to my utter horror; I overheard her asking her friend who must work with or near him, to report back his every action. She hung onto the most insignificant of his movements that must’ve occupied every second of her thoughts.
That was my sign!
The mirror of what I might’ve become if I hadn’t made the decisions I made when I once felt a love that wasn’t returned. It was a confirmation of my decision, a cry for a help that I could give and the beginning of deeper friendship.

It was a sign and I’m grateful that I saw and embraced it.

We’re once again at a festive season where bad feelings are forgotten and we spend time with those we love and care about the most. It’s been a whole year since I felt my father’s arms around me, and the joy of a family Christmas. I couldn’t hold back the tears that fell as a Christmas tree and the making of a Christmas liqueur reminded me of some of the happiest moments of my life… it feels like they were just yesterday…
These aren’t signs – They are reminders of the blessings God gives us and the reasons why life and fight to survive.
My will was to retreat into the privacy of my room where I could weep my father’s absence but instead:
I wiped my tears and made myself useful in the kitchen where my cousin and I exchanged jokes and memories.

The signs of life are only there to pinpoint our location, remind us where we came from and warn us of the path ahead. We can choose to heed or ignore these signs, decide what to make of them and which direction we want to go.

Have a safe journey.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Metro Blues

A friend of mine once claimed that I was working with the wrong company considering that my slogan should be “connecting people”. Truth is, I thrive off the desire to comprehend people, that drive me to make that connection and lately I’ve found myself once again drawn to strangers.

It’s on my daily Metro trips that I’ve been getting my latest kicks!

Living on the fast lane implies that no time should be wasted. In the twenty minutes that takes me to get to work, I can either read 8 to 9 pages of a book or plan my day going through shopping and to do lists or all those phone calls that I still need to make. At times I’m tempted to drift off into a daydream or allow myself to think about the unresolved issues that have been stored in my mind… on some days, twenty minutes is all I need to write the best columns in my head…

I used to think that the reason that I preferred the bus to the metro as public transport was due to the scenery I’d enjoy on my way to work. Recently I discovered that it had very little with what was going on in the outside world and more what was happening inside. Vulnerable and feeling a little lost, I’d given up my travel time on observing others to tend to my own wounds… now that I’m back on my feet, suddenly I feel that the answers are once again “out there” rather than “in here” and I found myself returning to my favourite pastime: observing others.

I find that most people are too engrossed in their own thoughts to realise that you’re watching them. Never mind… I try to connect with whatever they might be thinking and even though I can never truly know or guess what goes through their minds, it doesn’t hurt to ask an angel for a blessing or two in aid of a stranger. Often I notice young girls who hide behind their coats, their glasses and avoid any if all eye contact – to those I pray for a little self-confidence. Humility is what I desire to do those whose nose is above eye-level and courage to those who’s eyes look as if they’re about to spill a stream down their faces. It can’t hurt to wish a stranger well.

It’s easy to make a connection; all you have to do is to hold eye contact. It isn’t hard or provocative; you simply choose not to look away when your eyes connect. I met my future hairdresser this way; a Brazilian woman who was on her way to a job interview when we met in the Metro. I wished her luck, she told me that she’d let me know how the interview went and suddenly two strangers weren’t so alone in a big city.

Warning: If you look too long at a cute guy on the Metro, chances are that he’ll ask you for your number as you leave!

Of course not every connection you make is the kind you were hoping. I discovered that not all old men are “sweet” old men so don’t be surprised if a friendly smile results in a wink and a pinch of your bottom! – Take it from me, smile at a distance!

Even though my destinations are the same each day, I discovered the voyage in the journey. No two trips are the same and I hardly run into the same face twice. These strangers give me courage to be more of myself, the desire to connect to more people and the awakening of my adventurous spirit.Next time you cross-eyes with someone… Smile… you never know how far it reaches.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I went to see him.
Not for any particular reason other that the desire to look into his eyes and see the smile upon his face.
Time grows short… and so I take in as much of him as I can, before it’s all over.

Feelings are eternal even if relationships are not. Some relationships are doomed to carry a biological clock with an expiry date that determines the point which two souls drift from each other. They take with them only the memories and the feelings… it’s all that I’ll be left with soon.

In life, there are those relationships which we know where they’ll end… death and distance takes away the people we care about. Others are determined by the hands of fate, which either surprises us or gradually takes a person away. I’ve read somewhere that each relationship either lasts a moment, a period, a season or a lifetime depending on what we stand to learn from it. I believe that every lesson life chooses to teach us is given a deadline and many times, we pass it by due to our own stubbornness or distraction… when life is kind, the opportunity may come by again. With people however, it seldom does… we have to wait another lifetime.

When your soul quietens and you drown out the sounds of the world, shutting out reasons and opinions – you hear it… that voice that speaks along with the beat of your heart and speaks to you of things past and things to come. Often we drown out the voice that tells of the things hard to overcome even though it is often the hero that pulls us through. Some call this voice your instinct, your spirit or even the voice of angels as it tells you the secrets of now and the future. The voice that speaks to your heart and encourages your faith… that feeling that you simply know…

I know…
I know our time is short…
I feel him slipping away…
I don’t want to lose him… but it’s not my decision to make.

There are so many things I could try to prevent it…
But I know it’s unavoidable…
I know…

Does he feel it like I do? Know it like I do? Perhaps he’s accepted it the way I have or perhaps he’s chosen not to take heed. Most people react with denial, refusing to believe or believing that they are capable to changing the inevitable. Perhaps I too should fight… but I grow tired of fighting alone in a game for two. Naïve are those who think they have utter control, for we are but fortune’s fools… there comes a time when we all surrender leaving the lesson for another lifetime… taking only the memories and the feelings with us.
Standing on the deck before the ship hits the iceberg, I know now that there’s nothing more I can do to prevent it from sinking so I make the most of the short time I have left. Taking a look at the stars in the sky, slowly saying goodbye although still praying for a miracle – tomorrow morning the sun with rise again with or without the ship afloat. One I’ll board that ship again, but not on this ocean… not in this lifetime.


I finally got my tattoo fixed.
Perhaps the timing has to do with the fact that my ruling planet (Mars) is closest to Earth now than ever. At 69million kilometres, it will only be this close again in 13 years.
Truth is – I didn’t plan it… I didn’t choose the time, the timing chose itself.

Unlike my first tattoo… there was no fore planning; no hours on end over the Internet searching for that right image… just a feeling of what I wanted and fate at hand. Walking into the parlour, my only intention was to pass the time and take a look at future options. It was a pair of green eyes so much like mine that begun creating the possibility. The artist decided to play around with the design I wanted that before we both knew it, I had in my hand the exact image of what my soul commanded. Fate made up my mind and before I knew it, I was preparing myself for the needle…

“Why the sad face?” the artist asked.
I guess that I always imagined that this time around, that someone special would be there holding my hand.
Angry with myself for thinking such things, I reminded myself that my tattoo was an expression of my individuality, needing no other input other than my own.
It will still be there after Love has come and gone; time and time again.
That is what she represents after all, my butterfly – My capacity for Survival. I shall never require a special reason or person in life as long as I maintain faith in myself.

My butterfly – her colour representing so much more than it did when I chose it and her wings big enough to fly any distance. Her four tips reminding me of the four defining years of my life in Madeira and the tribal background reminding me of my spirit… part of the design ironically contributed by my best friend, there to remind me that friends are our special angels which bring out the best in us.

I winced at the prick of the needle, swearing under my breath for having such intense ideas and desires. Before a tear could fall I closed my eyes and allowed the walls around my heart to crumble. The cruel reminder of my tattoo artist echoed in my mind:
Nothing happens per chance – Everything happens for a reason.
Phil Collin’s “Groovy kind of a Love” started playing on the radio and I gave up on fighting the signs and reasons falling into a meditative state where I felt nothing else besides the music. By the time Mariah Carey finished her “we belong together” it was over and she finally looked the way she should.

A butterfly is one of God’s most fragile creatures, yet she survives the pouring rain, the scorching sun and all sorts of predators. Able to travel great distances - needing no guide and no map. The cruellest way to kill her is to grab her by the wings, incapacitating her ability to fly free.
She reminds me of what a worm is able to develop into given the time and opportunity, never going back to its original form. A butterfly might stop to rest, but she’ll never forget how to fly. She’s a survivor – I’m a survivor.
I thanked the artist and both our angels for organising our calendars. He asked me if it had hurt, a curiosity considering he’d assumed it wouldn’t hurt as badly as the first one. I merely smiled and told him that in life there are worse pains that a person has to endure and the butterfly was there to remind me of that.

Monday, October 03, 2005

It Should´ve Been You

This morning as I awoke from my dream, I searched for you in my bed... but you weren’t there.

It was empty...
I still miss you. ... Nothing I do seems to fill this void.

I dreamt I walked my daily trip to the Metro in darkened morning silence. It seems like the rest of the world was still asleep as I descended into the underground. Beneath the world it was empty, there was no one to my left and to my right was only one soul sitting on the bench also waiting to be taken somewhere else.
Taking a closer look, I decided that he couldn’t be much older than I was and that only his damaging good looks ring the possibility of danger.
Considering my heart’s emptiness, I could see no harm in taking that risk so I sat down and smiled at the face that recognised my existence. He rewarded my friendliness by smiling back and I could hear the sound of a thousand female hearts breaking to the handsome face that stared back at me.
"You know... my dad warned me about girls like you"
Just what I needed... a flirt!
"Oh really? What kind of girl is that?"
Another smile that melts icecaps...
"The kind that steals your heart with a smile and never gives it back."
I couldn’t avoid smiling again and decided to let myself relax. A voice from inside reminded me that if I was going to move on with my life, If I’m going to forget you then I was going to have to start letting other people in...
So I included an introduction with my smile.
"You know, my dad’s warned me about guys like you too..."
"Oh really? What’s his theory?"
"They steal your heart without the intention of keeping it"
A smile quickly turned into a frown.
"Now why would a guy like me do a thing like that?"
"Why have one heart when you can have many?"
Uh Oh... here I was reflecting my fears, way to go to mess up a great first introduction! The gorgeous smile didn’t seem swayed though;
"What’s the worth of many if yours belongs to just one?"
We connected.

The next thing I knew, he held my hand as we walked down to a house near the ocean. Wherever it was that I was going that morning... it didn’t seem important now. Here I was with my prince charming and he was taking me to meet his father whose theory intrigued me.
I was lead to a veranda where an old man faced the ocean. My prince charming spoke something about getting us drinks leaving me alone with the powerful presence who’s back was to me. Suddenly the air grew cold; I sat down beside him afraid to disturb his thought.
"It should’ve been her."
I strained to hear him.
"I’m sorry, did you say something?"
"It should’ve been her." he repeated louder than before.
"Her? Her Who?”
Shocked, I stood motionless wishing my prince charming would appear and rescue me from the constraining atmosphere.
"I see you, and I feel her. The one I was supposed to be with. Your smile is her smile; your eyes are her eyes... How I miss her!"
Afraid but intrigued, I moved a little closer, unable to see his face in the shade but attracted to the sound of his voice.
"But she wouldn’t come to me. I didn’t go after her. We were fools. All the signs were there. We knew we were meant for each other, but we didn’t believe. It was too hard, we were too proud." Unable to ask questions, I merely listened... and understood. "We said life was too complicated... how foolish! We lived as if we knew what life had in store for us. Running from what we felt, convincing ourselves we were making the right decisions. Too much feeling, too few confessions. I miss her"
I felt my heart beat faster as he turned his face to me.
“I miss her like the deserts miss the rain.”
This old man who was playing my heart strings a song too sad to dance to, was threatening fresh tears into falling. I felt the panic rising.
Where was he? My prince charming that was supposed to rescue me from what I was feeling? Why was he taking so long?
I can’t suppress these feelings in the presence of this old man. Soon they’ll be stronger than me… I shouldn’t feel this way… I shouldn’t, but I do... but I mustn’t…
Under the watchful eyes I feel my soul attacked by a panic I can’t control and unable to listen to anymore, I stood up and walked towards the ocean leaving the old man with some feeble excuse. I could only manage to see the faint glimpse of what looked like a smile and it frightened me as much as his presence.The more I thought about the smile, the faster I walked until I was almost running. What on earth was I thinking? Behaving like that? What had gotten into me?!!

Eventually I talked some sense into myself, causing my pace to decrease as I allowed my surroundings to relax me… I must be losing my mind!
The wind picked up and the ocean’s waves became more violent. In the distance I could see a woman standing on a rock with her hair blowing around her shoulders. It wrapped around her like a silver silk shawl and worried that she might be in trouble, I went closer.
Afraid that any sudden movements might trigger her into jumping into the sea, I moved closer to her without a sound well aware that she had made note of my presence.
"It should’ve been him."
I suddenly felt suffocated… this must be a nightmare! No no… I told myself, any moment now my prince charming will rescue me. The old lady didn’t seem to hear my thoughts and continued…
"I loved him like no other, he made me happy and yet I ran from the unhappiness I thought he would bring me. That’s the thing about love honey; it’s like a see-saw where a smile and a tear play. He who has your heart has the ability to hurt you as much as make you happy. Scary huh?"
She smiled sweetly at me as she looked my way and I felt nauseous!
From far away I heard someone call my name. It was prince Charming! He was here to rescue me. She heard him too.
"Go ahead, you’ll go back, live a healthy life, have lots of babies and raise a family, living the life you always wanted… like the ones in the books your write... but he’ll always be on your mind. No amount of distance will change that"
I knew I had to be dreaming... I just had to be! How can they know about me, about you? I wanted to ask her…
Gone. I looked into the stormy ocean... she must’ve jumped in!
And from a far I could still hear my name being called.
Looking into the ocean I contemplated whether to jump in after her, she wouldn’t answer to my calling... we both would get killed!
And that’s when I saw it... In the midst of the waves I saw the pink bracelet floating and I knew...

I miss you.
I’m scared of this storm that’s brewing...
Scared of losing you...
Scared of losing me...
Just scared.

Give me something I can hold on to so that neither of us looks back at each other saying "It should’ve been you"

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Hero to the Rescue

It’s been two weeks in the big city, though sometimes it still feels like it was just yesterday that I stepped off the plane.
Let no one tell you that a change of this magnitude is easily overcome… it isn’t!
I was born brave, stubborn and adventurous and already I’ve been reduced to tears more than once, for something as silly as getting buildings confused.
What I’ve mostly learnt (or relearned…) is that success depends mainly on your attitude and perspective; I was reminded of this yesterday when once again life put an obstacle in my way:

To get to work, I enter the blue line in the underground Metro which takes me to a station called Marquês de Pombal where I switch to the yellow line that takes me straight to Entrecampos where I work.
As simple as this whole system may sound, I’ve found myself on the wrong side of the tracks a few times, not to mention the times where I was distracted and got off at the wrong station… like anything in life, it takes some getting used to.
And while all those mishaps may seem like mini-crises in the first few days, nothing could’ve prepared me for complication that awaited me next.
It was only when I arrived at Marquês de Pombal and felt like a Sardine in an ocean of people that I realised that something was wrong… the yellow line broke!
Hundreds of people, hot and irritated swore under their breath at the mechanical failures that were keeping them from getting to work.
Work! How on earth was I getting to work now?!!
Repressing the upcoming panic, I closed my eyes and forced it to subside while I considered my options:
I could wait with the crowd until the line got fixed but from the looks of the things, I realised that the solution was in slow progress and I had only twenty minutes to be at work on time.
I could go up and take a bus, but I had no idea where the buses could be found, much less guess which one to take!
The easiest solution then seemed to be to take a cab, but after taking one look at my empty purse I realised that unless I found an ATM on the way, taking a taxi wasn’t an option.
Standing against the wall with the desire to sit on a corner and cry, I decided to give myself five minutes just to stop and look around me.
It was as if I’d removed myself from the picture and confusion and when I came to, I was looking at the map of the underground when it occurred to me that if I went back onto the blue line, I could reach Praça de Espanha, which I was told wasn’t too far from where I worked.
I’d arrive late, but instead of worrying I decided to embrace my sense of adventure!
With a smile on my face and free from all traces of panic, I got back on the blue line and got off at Praça de Espanha.
Of course when I got out, I felt even more lost!
Nothing looked familiar to me, all the buildings seemed different and all the streets looked the same. I had no clue as to where I was or which direction I should be going. I asked an old man who didn’t seem too sure but at least he pointed me in the right direction, and so… I walked.
I walked past a theatre, then past a museum and an Opel stand. There were no signs that said “Entrecampos” or “Feira Popular” so I walked in the direction of Campo Pequeno where I once had coffee with my colleagues.
I couldn’t have walked more than ten or fifteen minutes but it began feeling like hours and I once again found myself having to suppress the panic.
It’s not that I was afraid I wouldn’t get there… I knew I would eventually; it’s just that the thought of arriving an hour late at work did serious damage to my self discipline.
Once again closing my eyes, I asked for a little help from my angels. If nothing more, I managed to relax and find my sense of North (In this case my instincts are more reliable than the compass on my phone!!!).
And as I crossed the corner… there it was! Two blocks ahead of me was the blue building I’d been searching for. I arrived a mere eleven minutes late to work.

It’s easy to panic, to lose your self-control and fall into despair.
Many mornings I wake up staring at my phone running through the names of people I’d like to call and radio in for help. Some mornings many names go through my head, sometimes none… Truth is, I’m aware that none of them can work miracles on my self confidence, that job is all up to me.
I’ve learnt that the hero we search for lies within us and sometimes we just have to shut out the sounds of the world in order to hear her voice.

It’s true that no (wo)man is an island, we all depend on one another to live healthier and more fulfilled lives. But while we may have a thousand hands of friends willing to help us get up, none of them can make that decision for us. The attitude and perspective in which we choose to see the world and ourselves, depends solely on us.

Have Courage, but above all my friends… Have Faith.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I hate feeling vulnerable; like a turtle without its shell… at times I feel like a fish out of water. It’s not as if I don’t belong… I know I do…
It’s like putting your feet in a pair of high heels you haven’t quite grown into yet…

The thing about feeling fragile isn’t the thoughts that go through your mind… thoughts and fears are so easily camouflaged. The hard part is keeping people away from coming too close, because you know that it only takes one word that might send you spiralling down the emotional rollercoaster.
For this reason, one develops a tendency to avoid sensitive topics and refrain from making new friends.

Every memory, every moment seems to bring with it a reason for a tear to fall. Because I don’t feel safe, because I don’t feel found… even though I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I can’t talk about it… even though there are those willing to listen, those who care about how I feel. It’s as if uttering the words will open a flood gate I’m not sure I can control. And even though I’m aware that talking is the first step to healing, I’m not willing to risk the thin wall between healing and losing all control. And so, I prefer letting it out… little by little; stream by stream, tear by tear rather than trying to control an ocean of sentiment.

Sensitive… Ears attuned to every word; you have to remind yourself not to misinterpret the things you hear.
Jumpy… as if three’s something waiting fall, break or grab you in every corner that you cross.
Frightened… of all the things that might happen and that you can’t control; invoking the desire to run and hide, pull the sheets over your head and never come out again.

I wake up each morning grateful to be alive… a tear might run down my face and yet I wouldn’t want to be anyone else, be anywhere else or live any other life.
I’m vulnerable… adjusting in my skin that belongs to the new life I’ve chosen.
I’m not any weaker, any less strong or insecure…
I’m just trying to find my feet again… trying to keep balance.

Monday, September 12, 2005

There Are No Coincidences.

The hands of Fate draw the world’s portrait – Sunshine.

Four years ago I developed a habit on my daily bus rides to work. Every morning in order to contaminate my mind with positive energy; I look at the people around me and silently wish for good things.

May people tell her how beautiful she looks today…
May that worry be wiped off his brow by lunch…
May she remember everything she learnt in that test she’s studying for…
May his face be imprinted with a permanent smile for the day…
An easy morning…
A sunny day…

I call my blessings according to the energy transmitted by each person I see. There is no formula or any particular criteria, I just look at them and try to imagine the blessing that they need the most.
Sometimes I ask for only one or two people.
Sometimes I get around to asking blessings for everyone in the bus… I like the idea of being an undercover angel and I find that whatever positive energy I send out to these strangers; I always get positive energy in return… even if it’s just to manage a genuine smile, on a particularly difficult morning.

Recently, I connected with a piece of writing about a stranger that the author connected eyes with, leaving a curious air of mystery. The familiarity of this connection made me appreciate even more my daily bus rides and I was surprised to find that my big yellow “limousine” will be among the Madeiran things I’ll miss.
What particularly caught my attention about the piece of writing was the author’s perspective and attention to detail. Even though the details we search for in our strangers differ, we both however try and captivate each individual’s aura or personal energy.
Most people I look at on the bus are so engrossed in their own personal thoughts and problems that many are completely unaware of my analytical eye or just about anyone else on the bus but themselves!
Even though I share my ride with a lot of people, on most mornings, I feel completely alone.
I guess I’ve been so busy watching everyone else, that it never occurred to me that someone might be watching me…

But as my dad would say: there’s always an angel watching!

After moving into my apartment, I’ve been taking a specific bus route for over a year. Considering that there are six busses to choose from, I don’t always go on the same bus and as consequence, nor do I see the same people.
Just two weeks ago, I discovered that a woman that belongs to my Sunday’s meditation group lives close by and even though I thought I recognised her, I much quicker assumed that it must be from some other reincarnation than from the bus stop!
I wasn’t the only one who felt the connection, although neither of us could place each other. It was only when I remarked “I look different without my uniform” that she smiled in recognition. I guessed that she must’ve seen me at work or that I was responsible for her mobile phone contract, it didn’t seem important at the time to ask.

Today as I awaited my turn to be taught my personal mantra by a Philippian monk, I sat and spoke to other women searching for evolution. Having no particular place I had to be afterwards, I volunteered to go last and as one person left after the other I found myself alone with the warm face that I now greet with more than a smile when I see her at the bus stop.
She seemed quite excited to finally catch me alone and told me that she had something she wanted to show me for a really long time. It seemed like the right moment considering how the group had just spoken about there not being any coincidences in life.

She told me that she was studying sketching and that she’d been taught that abstract images hold so much more emotion than a photo. So she took her notebook everywhere with her, drawing the things that caught her attention… She wanted me to see a particular picture she drew some months ago…

I smiled.

There on a yellow drawing pad was a picture of me sitting on the bus on my way to work.
There was no mistaking… that was my hair tied up in an imperfect bun, my small hand holding on to the seat, my jacket, my uniform… it was me!
I didn’t know what was more amazing, the fact that this person had chosen to draw me before she’d even gotten to know me or the fact that I was being watched whilst I was watching everyone else.

It’s comforting to know that you’re not alone…
That there is someone out there trying to connect with you too…
Sometimes, it’s only moments shared by strangers…
Some moments turn into a lifetime connection…
And whether these connections last moments, days, years or even an eternity…
They are to be lived with an open heart and all the intensity of life within them.
It seems that life knows the right moment to introduce us to the right (or wrong) people in our lives and it is what we do with that connection that makes all the difference…

Coincidences?... I don’t believe in them.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Careful Steps...

Stop dancing around me as if you’re dodging eggshells!

This isn’t to say that one shouldn’t think before saying the words, it just goes to say that a truthful opinion needs little or no prior thought.
It comes from the heart… direct and simple… so say it!

If you think it and you feel it… say it!
The painful truth is exactly what person needs to hear… how else can one grow without an honest perspective?

This strange chicken behaviour originates when one person is insecure and begins to worry about the other person’s opinion or reaction to their own.
Suddenly all thoughts and answers are carefully chosen, then actions and behaviour patterns are changed accordingly and before you know it, you’re acting like the idiot you swore you’d never become and wondering what the hell happened to the real you!

You blame me… I blame you and the only steps we take are those of the chicken dance!

One who dances to steps that aren’t his loses the whole concept of dancing.
You may even succeed on avoiding my toes but you’re going to kill the rhythm that made me want to dance with you in the first place!
Its called sincerity… it keeps you from falling on your face!
Dancing is a partnership… you take a step and I take a step.
If you keep dancing around eggshells, soon I’ll be dancing around eggshells too and one of us, if not both of us will end up falling on our faces or quitting..

Loved One… I chose to dance with you for who you are and the way you move, why would I settle for any other than the original?
What good is our dance if you take away the soul?

Don’t say what you think I want to hear, what I want to hear is what you have to say!

Stop It!!!
Kill the music, turn on the lights and look me straight in the eyes!!!
I’m still the same person you were dancing with five minutes ago!
If the steps aren’t smooth it’s because they’re not coming from the heart…
So quit trying to be someone you’re not and attempt the steps that aren’t yours.
Let’s get back to merely dancing; feeling the music for all the reasons we began dancing in the first place! Why dance at all if you’re not enjoying yourself?

The sooner you’re direct and sincere, the quicker we can set things straight!

Who am I writing about?
Is this about someone I know?
Something I saw?
A moment I lived?
It’s about you isn’t it?

…If you stop dancing around eggshells long enough to summon the courage to ask me, you’ll probably find out!!!
So open your mouth and say it as you mean it, so that I respond the same way!

Monday, September 05, 2005

For You… (Dedicated to those who I simply couldn’t do without)

What I am going to do without you?
It is the question I silently ask each time I look into the face of another of my friends.
As time grows shorter, I hear the clock ticking loudly as it reminds me of how few moments I have left with the people that have come to mean so much to me.
I find it strange how my throat tightens in knots each time I tell another client that it won’t be me drawing up their next contract.
Then there’s the shortness in breath when my colleague who left on holiday reminds me that we will no longer be working together…
Small things… small moments that tell me that this Chapter of my life is about to close.
And I can feel the inevitable desire to grab these people and take them with me.

Crouched over a cardboard box, these thoughts began extracting tears even though happiness is in my heart.
About to embark on sob nostalgic trip, I was rescued by one of those friends you know you can count on be it in hell or high waters…
Unable to be serious for more than fifteen minutes, I was glad for the company that wouldn’t let me sit on my pity potty for very long…
Coffee turned into a drive that took us for pizza which we walked off on the promenade at midnight on a hot summer’s evening.
I didn’t feel like going home yet, and so we drove around for a little longer as I surrendered to the image of Madeira by Night.
When would I have the chance to once again take a ride in his 4X4 listening to the great sounds that resounded in my soul, as I stretched my arm out the window, feeling the night air on my face?
Fate has a way of speaking to me with deja vu, unexpected surprises or irony… and this time, two weeks before I leave, I hear the same song I heard two weeks before I left South Africa, four years ago this Friday.
What am I going to do without you, I asked him.
Don’t worry, there will be another Joe on the other side, and wherever you go I’ll still be your friend.

So this is probably the last braai I see you at before you go?
My friend’s question broke my heart as much as it was breaking hers and I had to force a smile while I choked back a tear.
What am I going to do without you?
All of you…
Each and every one of you…
There wasn’t a face present that I wasn’t truly and deeply sad to let go…
And as I left the warm embrace of friendship, I realised how blessed I truly am.

After what must’ve been the most intense meditation I’ve ever gone through, we were read a piece of Buddha’s life in which we are taught to practice detachment from all things, material or otherwise.
Two of the new additions to the group, voiced their opinion about how hard it is to be detached, not so much to things but especially to people.
Although they were merely expressing their thoughts, it felt like they were talking directly to me and inside I found the courage to explain to them my definition of detachment:

Someone recently said to me: “this time around should be easier for you, considering that you’ve done this before and that the distance isn’t as great”.
Not at all, I answered.
This time around, I’ve made triple as many friends as I had. I’m leaving not three family members but around thirty whom I love and cherish. This of course isn’t even counting the new family of colleagues that I’ve adopted at work and not to mention the strangers that I talk to daily which have become a part of my life… the girl that waits with me at the bus stop, the man that squeezes the oranges for my juice in the morning, the lady that cleans up our office and even the old postman that fetches and drops off our express mail each day.
This time around, I opened my heart wider and gave it to so many more people…

The difference is that this time around I will not suffer for their absence…
I will instead feel blessed for the presence that they had in my life and will continue to have…
I will not leave my loved ones behind because I take them with me in my heart.
I will not love them any less or think of them less.
One should rejoice for the love that was given, not hurt because of it.

I refuse to detach myself from the people I love and care about.
I know that when I see them again, be it in a month, in a year or perhaps even a lifetime from now… I will still feel for them in the same intensity that I do today.
Because my heart is big enough for everyone and I’m happiest when I’m undetached.
So if you see me crying… just know the tears are not those of sadness but of pure joy of the opportunity that life has given me to know and love you.

What am I going to do without you?
I will remember you and smile…
And look forward to when we meet again.

No Good-Byes.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Without Expectactions.

I’d like you to look at me with the eyes of someone that feels and expects nothing in return.
Only then will you feel for me what I feel for you.
Because I want you the way you are…
....and want for you to want me the way I am.
Respect, Acceptance and Love…
They exist not because they are expected or asked for...
...but because they’re not.
Joy is found when sadness isn’t felt… and so…
Feel me… not because I ask you to, not because you’re expected to,
but simply because you do.

Await not the hunt, though I’ll be your Seductress.
Don’t treat me like a child, and I’ll be your Baby.
Try not to grab my wings, and I’ll be your Butterfly.
Stop looking for the light, although I am your Sunshine.
Taste not too much sweetness, and I’ll be your Honey.
If you promise not to dress me in pink, I’ll be your Princess.
Expect not pure innocence, even though I am your Angel.
Seek not perfection and I’ll be your woman…

Not because you ask me to,
Not because you want me to,
Not because fate says it’s so…
But simply because I am.

Friday, September 02, 2005


The wise say that one should keep all love letters and throw away old bank statements…

Once again, my life is about to change in such a drastic way that I can only describe it as: a new Chapter to a new volume of my life… and even though I’m about to look forward, I can’t help but look back to the road that has brought me this far to evaluate all that I’ve learnt.

Deciding to leave something special behind for my colleagues, I dug up every photo that I could find linked with the company and its employees and decided to scan all of them onto a compact disc.
Evolution never ceases to amaze, the only thing that you can truly be sure is that things eventually change… nothing truly ever stays the same. Uniforms change, furniture gets replaced, people come and go and most importantly: people and things change.

I’ve always believed in fate… now I simply have more faith in her.

Impatient by nature, it was incomprehensible to me how everything is meant to have timing. Why do tomorrow what you can do now?... Why not today?
To have faith in destiny is to respect her timing and know that she allows things to happen at their right moment with the least of effort… all you need is the courage to make the right change at that opportunity.

To move to Lisbon two years ago, or perhaps even a year ago… would’ve been a mistake. I know this now because I know the difference one year has made to the person I am, the way I think and the goals I’m fighting for... I wouldn’t have said this then, but I can say it now after a year of learning and evolution.

A year makes such a difference, two years, three years… I found an old e-mail on which I denied feelings a year ago that I would be perfectly capable of dealing with today… I needed time… we all need time, to evolve into better people.

Time of wait is a time to reap… my cousin has reminded me a million times that no time is truly stagnant, no matter how slow our pace is, we’re still taking steps… sometimes the most important one’s are those that you take slowly.
Determined to make progress, I never took the time to find the truth in her words… and it’s ironic that now when time is of the essence and I should be working at a fast pace, I finally learn to take things slow and savour every moment.

What’s the rush? Yesterday is gone and Tomorrow Never Comes…
All we really have is now and this moment.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ramming It In...

I could write a poetic story about how an Angel in the form of a hard headed Ram came and saved my life… it would be true and you would be amazed… instead, I’d rather tell the story how it is:

Three years ago when I began working in the department I work for now, I discovered what it meant to be treated like an incompetent by people who wore suits and expected you to bow down to their every whim.
Taught to respect your elders even more when they’re your clients, I often got painful knots in my throat when they made me feel completely hopeless… most nights for that first month; I went home to cry myself to sleep.

One day, after being run over by a nasty client with a bad attitude, I was called in to my boss’s office. And in the midst of tears, I was told that no client had the right to disrespect me and if I was going to make it in this business, I was going to have to learn to stand my ground without losing my cool… it’s been one of the most important lessons my boss has taught me to this day…

Chin up, shoulders back… I finally looked at all my tough clients as challenges! The challenge was no longer to survive the battles… the challenge became turning every frown that walked through the door into a smile before it walked out…

And the tougher of the toughest of challenges would be a stubborn Ram that had no patience for “nice” people on the phone, especially when they asked him for the kinds of paperwork that he hated and considered a waste of time.
At first I did my best to talk around his arguments but it just succeeded in a more defiant lecture from him on how I could make things easier on my client if I skip the bureaucritical part of the job. After the first couple of conversations, I could see why no one in the office wanted to be the person talking to him, and it became clear to me that he had just become “my problem client”.

Stubborn and impatient are perhaps the best two adjectives to describe an Aries and one day, I discovered that I had as much of it as my client! So on a particular day when tolerance was at an all time low, I told him that the only person making things difficult was him and if he wanted to make life easier on both of us he could just send me what I asked him so that I could provide him with what he needs…
I was direct, firm and even nice about it… and from then on something new developed… Suit and uniform found mutual respect…
I found after some time, that I enjoyed working with him… mostly because he brought out the better professional in me. This Ram had become more than a favourite client, but a teacher and in an odd way, a friend as well.

I got it!!!

For those of you who I didn’t hear me screaming and shouting hysterically on Wednesday morning: I got the job I applied for two months ago!

After the initial shock wears off, in comes the stress… and we’re talking major stress! I have an apartment to sell, an apartment to find on another continent and I still don’t know whether my stuff goes with me or not… Oh did I mention that I have about a month to sort all of the above out?... STRESS baby!
And so begins the search for a real state agency…
And that’s when I remembered the Mr. Aries… I looked for his contact in my address book and cleared by throat before letting him know that I was going to need his help.

Three hours… that’s how long a fifteen minute deal took. Not because the details were complicated but because we decided to get to know each other better. I was amazed to hear his partner say to him “So this is the girl her boss spoke to us about?”
What had my boss possibly have had to say about me to these two men?
They smiled and assured me that he had spoken very well about me with pride… I didn’t know whether believe them or ask them if they’d had their ears cleansed recently…
I wish my boss would say such things TO me, rather than ABOUT me…

But this story isn’t about my boss… it’s about the Ram that knows my boss, that knows my story and sat writing an e-mail in front of me to his contacts in Lisbon asking them to find an apartment for a friend of his. It had been a long time since I felt choked up without knowing what to say, but that’s how I was left after reading the words “Find the apartment as if it were for me”.

I wasn’t dressed in my uniform, he wasn’t dressed in his suit and I realised that all this time I developed more than the perfect business relationship… I made a friend as well.
A friend who not only was doing his best to help me, but who spent another three hours with me talking, giving advice and offering a helping hand.
Remembering back to our first lock of horns, I was reminded of that old saying “the toes you step on today may be attached to the ass you may have to kiss tomorrow” and although the saying itself has never motivated me, it rang a bell.

I discovered how much we have in common… besides being two hard headed Arians!!!
He told me his story of how he was successfully working in Lisbon when he fell in love with a Madeiran. While most guys his age saved their money to go partying, he bought airline tickets to see her, until one day he just decided that he couldn’t go on. He left his very successful position, to follow his heart and marry it!
Paulo Coelho wrote in his best book, the Alchemist, that when we truly want something and it is written in our destiny, the whole universe conspires to help us conquer our dreams.
Two days later, he found a job teaching and eventually he climbed the ladder onto the high position that he holds today!
This man is all about projects, he starts one and then won’t let go until it no longer needs him… then he moves on to the next – This is a Ram remember? The First sign of the zodiac! Innovation and Initiative are our motto’s!
His eyes shone as he told me his story… I know knew why he understood me so well, he could see my fears, my motives and my drive.
Confiding me in that he too was planning on moving to Lisbon, his reasons in doing so only made me want to get to know him even more. Married with a beautiful six year old daughter, he knew that one day she’d move away to study and so he was anticipating the move so he won’t have to suffer the distance when that time comes.
Shame kept the tears from falling, although I knew he could see them. I understood completely the reasons that made him my angel…

Friends are the angels that God sends us to help us fly when our wings fail us. In the last three days I’ve been overwhelmed by the love and support that my friends have shown me. Be it the kind words or the incredible actions, the support my friends have given me have already made this change worthwhile a million times over.

I nonetheless had to ask him: “Why are you doing all this for me?”
He smiled as if the answer was the most logical one in the world:
“Because I know you’d do it for me.”

I’ve stopped to consider his answer… but in my heart I know that it’s true.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Steady The Pace

“Why have you given up on him? Why?!!”

She smiled, not only to her interrogator but to herself.

“Who says I’ve given up?
Just because I’m not facing him, doesn’t mean that it’s not his face that I see.
Just because I don’t speak of him, doesn’t mean that he’s not on my mind.
And if I call him my friend, it’s because I’m sure of what we’ve got…
I haven’t forgotten the stronger feelings, but I’m hoping to build on them rather than take them for granted.”

Love isn’t a feeling you fight for… you feed it, you nurture it and you encourage it…
But you can’t create or fabricate it as much as you can buy it in a store.
No one knows where it comes from or how it gets its start… it simply exists.
The challenge is in building upon and around it.

“But how will he know that you’re still interested?”

She continued to smile, answering the same why she answered her own doubts:

“He can ask! Or he can look into my heart through my eyes…
The heart cannot find love where it does not exist, nor hide it where it does.”

What we see, mainly depends on what we look for – Sir John Lubbock

“And if he doesn’t find it?”

A sad look came upon her face, as she repeated her heart’s resolution:

“Then it wasn’t love he was looking for…
We’ll remain friends…
And things will be as they should be…”

In a world where so few hold on to the finish line, it’s easy to imagine that the other person has given up. Have they really? Or are they merely catching their breath before continuing? Have you considered that the time they rest may just be the time they need to make it to the end? Or perhaps… they’re waiting for you to catch up.

Men are more accountable for their intentions then their actions or words, so before you jump to another conclusion… ask a person what they mean and what it is that drives them to make their decisions, choose their words, actions and attitudes.

“...He once asked me if I’d still feel this courageous if suggestions became a reality…
I won’t run from the opportunity to touch his heart…
Nor will I stay if I find it empty…
Time will tell our fate.
Therefore there is no rush, no need for forced words or emotions…
Whatever compliments these feelings will develop as naturally as they did.”

And for those of you reluctant to try consider the following:
Things never go so well that one should have no fear,
Nor never so bad that one should have no hope.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

No Need to be Rescued.

No Need to be Rescued.

I’ve spent a good deal of my life waiting.
Merely waiting…
Waiting for a bus, for a turn, for an opportunity…
Suppressing anxiety, holding back fears, summoning courage and patience…
Simply waiting to achieve, to arrive, to find and to conquer.
I’ve waited to be shown the way, to be taught the crafts and to be rescued.
Ah yes!
To be rescued… from others, from life, from myself…
We all so desperately want to be rescued.
And so we wait…

Hugging my legs to my body I recall staring at my bedroom door just waiting for it to burst open… Mom or Dad was supposed to walk in, ask me what was wrong, where I was hurting and how they were going to make it better. They were supposed to rescue me from my heart ache and make all the hurt go away…
Sometimes they came, sometimes they didn’t… however, it was at the crucial times that I felt most alone, the darkest hours that I sat and waited for them…

I waited to be asked, I waited to be told, I waited to be rescued.

The air hostess begged me to switch off my cellular phone. I couldn’t! I was saying goodbye to my best friend whilst I stared at the doors. Any minute now… any minute someone was going to rush through the door and beg me to stay.
Oh God, they’re closing the doors!
Tears began to fall as I lost hope of being saved off the plane. And it wasn’t until the plane took off that I realised that I’d been waiting all the time… waiting to be rescued from the edge, from my own decisions…

Waiting for the answers, waiting for the maturity, waiting for the wisdom… to know when and how to stop waiting.

I stared at the light dimming on my cellular phone and tried to hide my disappointment. He wasn’t coming. He wouldn’t be sharing the joy with me tonight and I would have to content myself with the music and the friends who share it with me.
I tried not staring out at the stars for they remind me of his presence, nor at the door for it reminded me of his absence. Somehow I ended the night still waiting for him to surprise me, to come and claim that last dance…

Waiting to be appreciated, waiting to be understood, waiting to be loved…

I recall a time when I stared at the dance floor envious of those who possessed it, dominated it and honoured it with their moves.
I felt that I didn’t belong; I didn’t have the moves or the invitation.
Dreaming of dancing upon it, yet having no faith that I ever would.
Desperately searching each hand as the one that would take me there and teach me to dance.
Waiting to be taught to dance, waiting to be taken onto the dance floor… Oh how I waited!
Waiting, hoping, and believing that one day I’d be taught to move, that one day I’d dance… My faith grew weak and one day I realised that I was never going to dance and conformed myself to being no more than a spectator.

Until one day… I got up, I stepped onto the dance floor and I danced.
It was that easy, it was that hard.
I forgot the steps my brain had learnt and entrusted them to my heart that let rhythm guide my body’s movements. I stopped caring who was watching, or how I was dancing… I merely danced.

And when the music stopped, those who saw me applauded me… much to my amazement.

I came to the conclusion that dancing isn’t something you learn, it’s something you do and that it probably looks insane to those who can’t hear the music.
That hand that guides you, the feet that lead you and the voice that encourages is none other than your own.
Our friends, family and loved ones are the angels that God sends us to bear us witness. They give us opinions, they give us advice, they give us support and they love us for who we are but they will not rescue us. Only we can rescue ourselves.

Lost in the music, I thought of no more, than how happy I was that I’d found the courage to step upon the dance floor. I no longer needed or wanted a hand, a foot or a partner.
I was glad to have my friends around me, but I could and would still dance if they left…
It was when I was enjoying the music at lost in the beat that I felt someone touch my hand, take my arm and move along to the music with me. I suddenly heard new songs, tried new moves and discovered a different side to dancing. The partner I’d been waiting to rescue me and ask me to dance had been on the dance floor all along…
I discovered that the teachers and partners that you seek; find you on the dance floor.

I would’ve danced even sooner if I’d joined those who called onto me from the dance floor. I then realised that they didn’t know I danced because I never showed them or shared my desire with them… in fact, in life, no matter how many people you have around you that love you, they can never help or support you if you don’t ask.
How will they know if you don’t tell them?
Even God, who knows your heart, needs your prayers in order to answer them.

Life begins and ends at your comfort zone – Neale Donald Walsh

Once upon a time, I rescued myself from myself and I’ve been free ever since.

Waiting and worrying are the most fruitless attitudes a person can have. Those who wait for the right moment to have children never conceive for there is no righter moment than now and there is no greater hero than you.
Who you become, what you achieve and even how you think depends on what you do with the experiences life gives you. It’s so easy to blame someone else, to shift responsibility and play victim to circumstance. We only truly begin to grow and life when we stop taking ourselves so seriously and accept responsibility for both the good and bad in our lives.

Life is a stage that permits no rehearsals, therefore sing, cry, dance, laugh and love before the curtains closes with no applause…

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Replacement

The Replacement

It never quite ceases to amaze me how quickly some people are able to find replacements for others in their lives. One week you have a guy on his knees declaring his undying love for you and the next you see him with his arm around some girl making out as if she was his soul mate.
This isn’t to undermine these people; after all… life has a way of turning things around in a blink of an eye. Why shouldn’t it do the same with love?
However in my experience, I feel that love isn’t so easily forgotten or replaced… in fact, I believe true love is irreplaceable.
I believe that the heart is big enough to hold a thousand friends in every decimetre of its size but it has only room enough for one true love at a time. Sure, there are times when it may be confused but soon it learns that it only has space and strength to beat for one person and eventually someone falls into one of those chambers where special friends are kept: leaving room once again for only true love.
And should love be lost, dumped or left… the heart is left with a big empty space that no friendship, no matter how colourful it may be, can fill.
That however doesn’t keep people from trying to fill that void.
We so desperately feel the need to connect with another human being that any warmth we find in the hand that touches us can and will be interpreted as fire…
In the meantime… for the moment… for the evening… for the night… maybe longer...
Until one morning we wake up and realise that we still feel that void.
Kill love with love?
Yeah right!
How deep does the feeling go? How happy does it truly make you?... and most importantly, how long is it going to last before the illusion wears off and you need another replacement?
I’ve watched women kiss toads in a desperate attempt to find a prince charming; I’ve seen them waste their time and energy with guys that contribute nothing positive to their lives just so that they can say that they’re not alone…
I’ve watched the strongest of men embrace a plastic doll; grab onto the first skirt they see and flirt with the girl they’ll never take home to their mothers, just to keep their minds distracted from that emptiness in their hearts.

It’s so easy… so tempting and even natural to shiver at a warm touch, to respond to a sweet word and surrender to the desperate desire of filling an empty space in the heart… As a good friend of mine put it: if you join hunger to the will to eat you risk disastrous results! However once you’ve had your fill, eventually you won’t want to eat more… but did you eat what you really wanted?
You may wake up next to the face that you want to wake up every morning to, just as you may wake up preferring to chew your own arm off rather than waking that person next to you. It’s a Russian roulette of emotions, eventually… somebody gets hurt.

At four o’clock in the morning, I stood on a quiet veranda and looked out onto the stars.
Somewhere out there was I being replaced?
Sometimes, I too just want to feel the pleasure to forget the pain… it’s so easy to find a replacement.
I only fight it because I feel it is no more than a selfish attitude… why risk someone getting hurt for a few hours of pleasure if in the morning I’ll wake up still with an empty heart?

I believe that there are no replacements for love, only time can close the door to an empty room and make space in your heart for a new love.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Midnight Walk Home

Midnight Walk Home

Walking out into the dark night, I attuned all my senses to my surroundings. It seems that the sky housed more than its usual amount of stars.
The shadows crept out to inspect what dared disrupt their peace.
Peace… Silence…
The only sound I could hear was the uniform beat of my heels connecting with the concrete floor. Until now, I never noticed how loud the sound is.
Starlight, city lights… darkness.
Taking a deep breath, I succumb to the night and let my mind wander…

My dearest Friend,
If only I could give you a pill, buy you the instruction manual, operate or even wish your pain away I would… I watch it eat you alive, replacing the shine in your eyes with a deep, hollow emptiness.
Your body is visibly intact but it seems to have been drained of your soul.
Standing there looking at me, I feel the silent plea for your rescue and my heart breaks with yours as we both acknowledge that I’m helpless to save you.
Talk… and I will listen.
It doesn’t lessen the pain, but it relieves the pressure.
I won’t bother with advice, comfort or tell you that I understand… we both know that they’re no more than words, incapable of mending a broken heart…
Nothing I tell you will make time go any faster, only time will heal the wounds left open since she went away. When love leaves it takes your heart with it, it takes away all concept of time and everything else ceases to matter.
I know where your mind goes when it drifts off. When you look into the distance I know the face you see and the eyes you seek.
Torn between wanting me to go so to be left alone with your memories and then wanting me to stay so that you don’t have to face them… I sense your inner struggle.
Love is known to be the highest risk one can take due to the fact that it is in direct proportion to pain. The more you love someone, the more capacity you give them to hurt you. And when they go away, they take that chunk of your heart with them… leaving you disarmed, to pick up the pieces and fill the empty holes with only time to help you.
I wish I could make it better, I wish I could make it go away… but I can’t.
I can listen, I can offer you my shoulder, give you hug and hand you a tissue…
All I can truly do is be there for you while time passes us by…

Walking down a dark alley, I stare at the reflexes of broken glass. It looks like someone dropped glitter drops onto the floor especially for me. I remember that when I was little, I was fascinated with a similar looking floor… black glistening… I loved going in the metro just to see the shiny floor… the metro… Lisbon…
Oh Lisbon! – How I so often force you out of my thoughts!
I can’t be allowed to think of you now! Thoughts of you always get the best of me at this hour, leaving me vulnerable and insecure!
I glance at my watch – midnight.
Midnight… on an airstrip in Lisbon, a plane is landing.
Where is it really supposed to land? Where is its home? Flying between Madeira and Lisbon does it know where its home is? Perhaps its home is in the air… between both destinations, perhaps it has no home. Perhaps I’m the plane: destination nowhere.

I interrupt my own thoughts with the sound coming from my chest, I hadn’t even noticed the song playing in my head until I began humming it… there’s always a song in my head, everything just seems to always link up to a song.
“…like the deserts miss the rain...”
Succumbing to the melody, I refuse access to anymore thoughts of self torture and began enjoying the comfort that the night offered me. I was almost sorry I arrived home.
Wincing as I hear the cold sound of the key fitting into the door’s lock, I’m overwhelmed with the desire to turn around and just keep on walking…
Where to? I don’t know… Does it matter?

My dearest Friend,
Tonight I tried to be the best friend I could be by being there for you, keeping you company and making sure you weren’t feeling alone… what you probably didn’t realise is that I was in need of our friendship as much as you were.

PS. To all my friends: Did you know that the sun is the closest star to earth? This means that no matter how far away I may be, i´m still your close friend!
Friends are like stars, you can´t always see them but you know they´re always there. Thank-You to all the stars in my sky.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Dancing Solo

Dancing Solo

I didn’t want to go.
I didn’t feel like being out there…
I wanted to be here, in my sitting room, dressed in my pyjamas, comforted by my music and surrounded by candles.
I hate forcing my soul to get up, to get dressed... I can’t stay too long in the shower or the desire to stay alone will be stronger than my promise to go out…
Grabbing the first thing I find in the cupboard, I grab a skirt that I hadn’t worn in ages… it’s not like I’m out to impress anyway! Just a night out with the girls.
So I summon my smile as I put on my make up and pray for the energy to make it through the night.
I don’t feel like going! Not tonight… not when I so want to be on my own…

A flash of headlights on my window and the ring from my phone tells me that I’m too late to back out.

Smiles, laughter, new faces, and foreign names… the atmosphere that I love…
seems so suffocating tonight.
I drown my exhaustion on a strawberry cocktail and close my eyes as the sweet nectar takes away some of the bitterness in the back of my throat.

Massive Attack.
The music couldn’t be more to my liking!
Slow and Soulful, I close my eyes and drift onto its serenade.
So relaxed and detached from my surroundings, I almost didn’t hear the voice calling me back into the crowd…
No! not yet I thought… let me wallow in my thoughts for a while longer…
But he didn’t hear my silent plea and crashed me down to earth by telling me of his private thoughts:
“We humans are such funny creatures, we take long to realise what everybody else sees almost immediately. Like love for instance! You have a friend that you respect and admire but take forever to realise that you’re in love until it’s too late. It’s so important to recognise love and to act upon it when you have the chance or you might lose that chance forever”
I saw the direction in which his eyes were looking; I knew his words were about someone else… he didn’t know however, that they might as well have been about me.
We never truly know how deep our words echo in someone else’s heart.
I winced as I felt them cut through my inner peace and the music that once brought me calm now disturbed me with bittersweet memories. I sighed, recognising the emptiness as something… someone that was missing in the picture.
Surrounded by my favourite people… I nonetheless felt alone.

Loneliness is such a serious condition that no matter how much fun you’re having, it doesn’t seep into your soul. And though I willed my mind to tell me otherwise, I still felt like I wasn’t supposed to be there.
And so, in a sea of faces and opportunity, I blocked out the crowd and danced.

I danced like there was nobody watching…
Allowing none other than the music for my companion, I let him rule my senses and move my body. I no longer cared where I was and felt nothing more than his beat thumping onto my heart, tempting my spirit and flirting with my soul.
Letting go… to him, the music, and the rhythm breathes back the life into my spirit. That speaks to the very essence of me and makes me feel like a woman… I surrender to the power of the beat, the rhythm of the music that controls energy that feeds my soul.
Drunk on no more than the music, this is where I’m supposed to be.

Full moon on a hot summer’s night with good friends, old friends, new friend and even gay friends… isn’t this where I’m supposed to be?

I didn’t want to go.
I knew that I’d feel alone regardless or whether or not I went out.
I can’t say that I didn’t have fun; I can’t say that I did…
On some nights, it simply doesn’t make a difference.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Stress Prescription

Stress Prescription

I recommend a good dose of stress in your life. The kind that calls for the biting of nails, the scratching of the head and the pulling of hairs. I recommend some worrying in your life, the kind that keeps you up after bed time or the kind that gets you up before the alarm clock rings. I recommend doubt in your soul, the kind that forces you to summon your inner strength, re-evaluate your priorities and brings you closer to those who love and support you.

I once heard that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And although stress is modern time’s most notorious killer; I believe that it’s as necessary to the body as is the air we breathe. Lack of challenges in one’s life makes for a weak spirit, a bored mind and a meaningless waste of time. What good is a life without goals? Without a dream?
What good is a dream if you don’t fight for it?

A friend of mine sent me the following message of encouragement:
It is the most strenuous, difficult, complicated and less travelled upon roads that takes us to the best destinations in life.

She sent this to me nine weeks ago when the stress began to intensify. Over a year ago I decided that I no longer wanted to stay on this island. I didn’t know where exactly it was that I wanted to go but I knew that I needed to be somewhere that allows me to be more than what I am today. After sending countless CV´s to half a dozen countries on each continent, it occurred to me that I didn’t need to change nationality… I simply needed to cross the ocean! I’ve always been a firm believer in fate, and destiny it seems; felt I was pushing in the wrong direction! It’s when I started making steady decisions to move to Lisbon that my heart began telling me that I was on the right track.

I came to this conclusion six months ago and ever since I’ve began my battle for the transfer that is as slow as this country’s bureaucracy… or am I just over anxious?
First it was that “should I or shouldn’t I” of whether or not to respond to that announcement.
Then you go through that “Are they or aren’t they going to give a reply?” phase and end up concluding that you weren’t right for the position in any case.
Just as you begin to relax and forget that you ever applied, they call you up with one of those “We’re going to need you for an interview”
They don’t tell you exactly when so they give you a couple of days to stare at your phone before they let you know that the interview was actually supposed to be for yesterday and could you come first thing in the morning!
So soon?
You’ve barely got time to figure out what you’re going to wear when you realise your stress levels are at an all time high and that one more cup of coffee could represent the caffeine overload that might lead you to strangle the next person that asks you if you’re nervous.

Life has a way of making you go through practise runs… you know… like that first interview that leaves you wondering: “What the hell was I thinking?”.
Fifteen minutes was all it took for both the interviewer and I to realise that I wasn’t meant for the opening and I left with my shoulder drooped, my hopes dampened and a low on motivation.

Back to the drawing board! You somehow manage to salvage your mind from blowing up after it nearly exploded with “What went wrong” reruns.
Picking yourself up and dusting off the dirt, you remember that life is just a journey in any case and you keep filling in those applications wondering where they’ll take you next. And before you know it… the phone rings again!

Getting my head checked….
Big enterprises send their employees future or not on psychological evaluations… they make you look at ink blotches and write down all the first words you can think of starting with an “R”. They expect words like: “reflection” and “responsibility” while the only words you can remember is: “Rodent” “Rat” “Ex-boyfriend”…. Oops, that doesn’t start with an “R” hehehe…
Then you make an oopsie by remembering the word “Repression” but comfort yourself by remembering that the bosses usually appreciate such a word from an employee.
After thirty-two words I was stuck! Blocked… yeap, me a writer running out of words with an “R”.
“Can’t I write these in English? Actually I know a couple in Afrikaans too…” the monitor simply grinned while he shook his head and told me that my time was over in any case.

With three people on vacation and the holiday pressure on, it was almost eight when I left the office. The pharmacy on duty was too far to walk to go buy the special shampoo that’s supposed to cure the dandruff created from the stress I’ve been causing to my head! I stepped on gum and realised that I’d forgotten my cellphone in my desk so I had to walk all the way back… just in time to miss my bus!

I had two choices: Be irritated or laugh it off.

I laughed it off and decided to spend those extra fifteen minutes that it would take to wait for the next bus to visit my favourite spot on the island: The docks.
I watched the reflection of the sun on the calm sea and heard the sound of the waves crashing. I allowed the day’s heat to seep into my veins and I asked God to be with me, to give me patience and persistence not to let go of my dreams.
The start of a new Chapter implies the end of the previous. Every new beginning implies the death of the old and every new destination implies leaving something… someone behind.
Family, friends, colleagues… it seems like too many people to leave behind, too many goodbyes to have to say, too many voids that will need filling…

But I have two ways of looking at this: I can choose to live like I’m leaving, or I can choose to live for the moment!!!

I choose to live the moment, the now, and this instant!… lately I live less the tomorrow that I’m fighting for to concentrate on the today that I’m living in.

I recommend making a joke of things gone wrong, asking for a bib when the juice from a peace makes its way onto your white shirt and whistle “Don’t worry, be happy” when that nightmare client walks in.
The more I live, the more convinced I am that the perspective you choose to have in life is what makes the difference to the glass being either half full or half empty…
Why look at the challenges in your life negatively if they shape and strengthen the person you are and the person you can become?
If life and love weren’t so fulfilling and wonderful, people wouldn’t risk heartache and tears… And the stress in between is merely the excitement that get us from where and who we are to where and who we want to be.

So yeah… I’m a little stressed, but in the end it’s all good. They say stress makes some go mad and the way I see it: I don’t suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!