Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Makings of a Man...

The Makings of a Man...


Every mother’s dream is to raise her son into a man. That objective, army service and a little help from fate is what is needed to accomplish her goal. However, army is service no longer compulsory, life doesn’t easily offer the most favourable (or unfavourable) circumstances and there is very time available for a mother to educate her boy into a man. Most of the male population of today rarely develop into full grown men.
Although they may be better groomed or better looking than their predecessors, they lack the mental and emotional development to handle the role of caregivers and providers that nature calls for. As women develop their leadership skills into becoming the providers of a family, I watch the male race allow their roles to be taken over without a fight.

I often read and write about the great accomplishments of being and becoming a woman. She is the multitasked, a mother, a sister, a friend, a career woman etc.
We often blind our attentions to the difficult task of being a man either because we’re too busy commending women on their efforts or because nowadays, we see so few men fulfilling their roles. Most of my male friends excel in virtues: the colleague, the listener, the fun loving guy, the dancer, the cowboy, the intellectual, the professional… however much they excel at their best abilities, I cannot consider them full grown men. To me, to be a man, it takes more than just possessing qualities and virtues…

I got a call this week from a friend I hadn’t heard from in a while. On catching up, it’s customary to ask about each other’s love life. I was disappointed, but not surprised that my friend is once again single after dumping a two week relationship. Notorious for dating girls endowed for modelling careers, he forgets that the kind of lifestyle that these girls live obliges them to see life a certain way… or not see life a certain way.
When I asked him why he’d broken up with the latest, he answered me that she wasn’t what he was looking for. What is it he looking for? – Miss Congeniality. Unfortunately somebody must’ve forgotten to warn him that Miss Congeniality does not come in the size and proportions that a super model comes in. The Miss Congeniality he is dreaming of can only be found beauty pageants (and that’s when she’s in front of the camera!). I told my friend that to find the girl he was looking for, he’d have to go to Toys ´R Us and look in the Barbie section.

Truth hurts and although my friend was humoured by my comment, somewhere deep down I believe that he honestly can’t deny that he can’t scratch past the surface of a woman. Of course men look for something more, we all look for a deeper meaning, something that touches base with our souls, but people (both men and women) have become superficial, losing touch with what really matters and not being able to see beyond the surface.

A true man can find the diamond in the rough. Even when it is invisible to the naked eye, he knows to trust his instincts that it exists and can be found. Patience is a virtue that will help him find it and faith keeps him trying until he does. A true man or woman is that because he or she has the insight to see beyond, and to see that which is right in front of him. He sees beauty where others overlook it and potential when others feel that all hope is lost. This is not to be mistaken for ambition for not only does he see the beauty and the pure but also the ugly and destructive. Yet, he chooses not to compromise or overlook reality. Instead he chooses not to turn his face from the ugly so that he may see the beauty as well.

A true man accepts reality for what it is, embraces its magnificence and respects its cruelty. He knows what he wants, because he knows what it is that he doesn’t. Searching for answers, he listens to advice and the words of the experienced though he makes his own decisions. He takes responsibility for his decisions, fully aware that every decision holds a consequence. He knows that every choice, every risk and every gain results in the loss of something. Keeping this in mind, our man faces the world with both determination and tenderness… for he knows the effort it takes to conquer the world and at the same time, appreciate its beauty and magnificence. As he worships life, so will he worship a woman in the same way. This is the person we all search for… the kind that knows, recognises and loves our flaws as much as our virtues. Isn’t it a pity that these men and women are virtually extinct?

People often fall in love with a person’s potential rather than the person’s being. We see what they are capable of, and fool ourselves into believing that it is that which they have already developed. This potential is easily visible by children for they are the ones that search for the better in people. However, as we grow older, this vision of potential can often prove disappointing and many of us choose to stop seeing the potential as we regard it for nothing more than an illusion. Those that keep looking beyond what a person is to what a person can be are considered to be either naïve or dreamers.

As a proud dreamer, I know that believing in someone is to risk high disappointment. Having potential does not necessarily mean fulfilling it. Often I am tempted to loose my faith but doing so would be an even bigger torture to my soul as my eyes would stop seeing the colours and contours in the world. So I keep faith even when hope seems to burn a fading flame. One of my dying beliefs is the existence of a man inside of a male… Today, I’m once again a believer.

I met this kid who played the guitar. Not only did he play it with soul and passion, he gave all his dedication to his musical instrument, transforming his deepest soulful thoughts into lyrical poetry. Seeing the world through his eyes and through his music was like looking through a pair of glasses that suddenly made the world around you clear and non-fuzzy. Inspired by his zest for life, one of my favourite memories is singing while he played his guitar. Looking at him I saw the potential within. I saw the musician and philosopher that he could become and the successful man that someday could make a woman happy. I saw a man in the making and I feared for his soul.
I feared that life would break his glasses and take away the vision he had of the world. I feared that the obstacles that life presented him with might shadow optimism and dampen his enthusiasm. I prayed that he’d always look at the world, people and women, the way he saw them then… with fascination, appreciation and respect. Above all, I begged life to keep intact his immense power and ability to love. I prayed that he would always have the ability to find love and beauty in everything he did and discovered.

It wouldn’t have been strange or surprising to have met a different person two years down the line. After all, time moulds us into the reality in which we need to face. He has less time for the guitar now and lives to study for a future career. Choosing a very technical and scientific field, it would not be strange that his thoughts and speech would now concentrate in his ambitions. And although all this is positive evolution, this area of life that he chose often involves changing the way he envisions the world.

I have no choice but to believe when the boy I once knew presents himself as a man in the making. Maturity is evident; however I find it incredible that his vision in the world has remained unaltered! Evolved – but unaltered. Life has not been able to cloud his visions of the world even though they may have become more difficult to accept. This man in the making still finds meaning in lyrics, therapy in music and beauty in everything he sees. I could not help but be impressed if not thankful and relieved. This is the kind of evolution I want for my little brother and I wondered if his mother was as proud of him as I was now that I speak to a mature man in the making…

To me a man (or a woman) is person who never stops believing. Because if there is hope, then there is always something to belief in and as long as there is something to believe in, there is never a reason to give up or raise a white flag. The intelligent man searches for answers and logic, the wise man searches for potential and transforms dreams and ideas into reality. Today I believe that out there are men in the making… and that mine is somewhere under construction or finding his way into our fate.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter Dinner

Easter Dinner


These are the days I live for. Watching a noisy family around a full table must be the most precious of God’s gifts to man. This is why I chose Madeira instead of any other place in the world. This is why I stay, for the opportunity to see them together. And as I watched them tonight, noisily around the table, arguing over who got to dish up first, I humbly thanked God for each and every member.

We raised a toast to Easter, to God and to his son who died to forgive our sins. My grandmother then raised a toast to my Grandfather who would’ve liked nothing more than to be there. When he was still alive, there was nothing that made him happier than to see his family together… any excuse is good enough. However, there wasn’t a seat missing. My cousin brought her steady boyfriend who for the first time was welcomed by our family. We laughed as we watched my uncles pass him through inspection. Their version of a thorough inspection is to give him several of my grandfather’s wine to taste. To pass this test, he may not refuse a glass and has to comment on how wonderfully good each wine tastes. Luckily we’d already warned the new member of the custom and he passed with flying colours.

Before dinner it is customary for all the ladies to go through their medical history and all the men go through their latest car adventures. The aunties all hover and help around the kitchen while the men talk in the wine cellar. My favourite place to be is between all my uncles in the wine cellar. I get passed on from one knee to another and every five minutes I get a kiss for fetching a glass or another plate with bread. The jokes and stories usually begin there but soon they infect onto the women and before you know it, we’re all sitting round the table sharing old stories and new jokes.

We raised a glass to the newcomer. It’s not easy to enter our family circle but once you’re in, you become a member for life. I thought of my dad who regardless of his divorce to my mother, still belonged to this family. My uncle in Brasil, the other in South Africa and the third in Venezuela were not there in body, but they were certainly there in spirit as childhood memories were passed from mouth to mouth. Of course, no Easter dinner is complete without desert and this is where the aunties are put to competition, to see who made the best desert. Compliments and recipe secrets are shared and promises for a new desert at the next family gathering.

This is why we work, we fight and we struggle: for precious moments with the people we love. I remember a time when I was far away from all of this and I prayed for the opportunity that I was living this evening. It’s not always easy when dealing with family. Things don’t always go right, opinions don’t always agree… however, it seems that at moments like these, all the differences melt away and we’re left with the warmth and love that makes up a family. Blessed is the man that can surround his table with family members, for love and family is what we all live and strive for.

I Love You

I Love You


He stared me deep in the eyes and held my hand tightly. I wanted to tell that I knew what he was thinking and that he didn’t have to say the words. But instead, I let them come through his heart and out his mouth.
“You’re so easy to love that it makes it hard to love anybody else…”

I knew that having me and his girlfriend in the same room wasn’t easy. It wasn’t because he’d have to confess that he once felt something for me, it was because he’d have to confess that he still felt something for me. I could feel it from across the room, and I sensed it each time he looked at me. I knew that my presence confused his mind and his heart at the same time.

I’ve learnt that true love is never ending and that the person you fall in love with today, you will still love in a hundred years from now. Love doesn’t disappear or diminish, it is merely your soul that changes and tells you that the love you feel is not the love your soul searches for. Nonetheless, it is love, pure and simple and felt each time you see him or think of him. I know this because there are those that I’m still in love with, long after the story has ended. The confusion and chaos ended when I accepted my feelings understanding them for what they truly are. My heart loves them even though it does not choose them as its owner. I understood this when last year I saw my high school sweetheart in a different light. I looked at him and knew that I still loved him, that I always would but deep down I knew that I didn’t want to spend my life with him... that’s when I knew, that true love lasts forever and accompanies you your whole life through.

What hadn’t occurred to me at that stage, hit me like a ton of bricks this evening when I looked into his eyes. Here was the kind of guy I’d been dreaming about: kind, understanding, intelligent and with a great sense of humour. At first when he demonstrated interest in me, I’d been ecstatic, but as time passed on, I realized that there was something missing. We got along great, shared the same interests and ideas but lacked the magical pull that brings two lips together and so… to his disappointment, I decided not to push our friendship for any further relationship. It had been so hard at that time because I knew that he was the kind of partner I searched for, but I felt that there was a magical ingredient missing. Love is what I lacked for him and no matter how much he said that he felt it for me, I simply could not fabricate from my being what did not come out my heart. And this is where things had been left since I last laid eyes on him.

And now here he was, alone with me on the terrace looking and smelling like the kind of man you grab without thinking twice and looking at me with the eyes of a man who was ready to give up everything to try again. He looked at me through the eyes of a tormented soul, confessed his love for his girlfriend and then his confusion for the way his heart beat when he looked at me. I said nothing and let him finish, I hoped, that he’d come to the answers on his own. Instead, he told me that I was easy to love and made it hard for him to love someone else. Why? Because we feel that we cannot love two people at the same time. We believe that to love one person, we first need to let go of another. Silly are we to believe that the heart only has room to love one person. I needed to tell him what he soul needed to know. I needed to tell him that his heart was big enough to love many even though it was only capable of choosing one to pledge its true loyalty.

I must’ve confused him with the look in my eyes because I’d be lying if I told him that I didn’t love him. Is he the man for me… No.
But I did love him. I love the way he smiled and the way he spoke and the person he is and the person he will one day become. I love the way he twirls my hair in his fingers, the cologne he wears and the nicknames he gives me. I love the way he sees beyond the sky, beyond today and plans his future for tomorrow. I love the way he fights for what he believes in, the way he fights for those he loves and the way he quietly creeps his way into the hearts of those who meet him. Yes, I do love this man even though it isn’t him that my heart chooses to pledge itself to.

I told him this and hoped he’d understand, I hoped that my words didn’t confuse him even more and that he didn’t think me strange. But somehow he understood and we were both left with the most gigantic feeling of relief. The relief of a heart given permission to love. As I watched him go back to his girlfriend and kiss her with all his soul, I knew deep down that I loved him even more and couldn’t be happier that he’d found a partner to share his days with. Did I feel a little jealous that he no longer belonged to me? I guess I could have but I didn’t, because I know that a small part of him will always belong to me.

Tonight, it occurred to me that we fall in love various times in our lives. The childhood sweetheart, the boy next door, the teacher, the work colleague and the best friend’s boyfriend. They are people that we fall in love with but who our hearts keep as special friends. Perhaps the reason that I’m so easy to love, is because I love so easily. I’ve met people that I’ve fallen in love with in the instant that I meet them, people that I carry around in my heart. I feel lucky to love these people, because even in the absence of a life partner, I always feel loved.

To like somebody is human, to love somebody is divine.

Love Always,

Friday, March 25, 2005

Sunshine On Wheels

Sunshine On Wheels


I recommend picking up old habits. Cleaning out my cupboard I rediscovered a pair of rollerblades that I hadn’t worn in almost two years. I recall the day I bought them! My friend had gotten herself a skateboard and I bought myself the pair of blades so I could join her with wheels on the pier. On that hot summer, we skated well into the night, under the stars. Tourists would move out the way to let us through and we’d race to see who went fastest. I recall teaching myself to skate backwards whilst my friend tried learning some tricks on the skateboard. Some young guys, who obviously knew more about the subject than we did, took pity on our feeble attempts and even tried teaching us how to ride up and down the skateboard ramp. Needless to say… we never did reach professional level.

The ramp is gone now; they tore it down to build up a hot air balloon space in order to attract more tourists. My friend no longer skates, she had to give it up when she fell pregnant unexpectedly and with no partner to skate with me, my blade’s found themselves a place in my cupboard. Nobody that I know skates, in fact, I can’t think of anyone who’s even willing to try… excepting my baby brother! He still had a pair of roller skates that my father had bought for him before he left South Africa and as far as I knew… they still fit him!

I got odd stares when climbing on the bus, the old ladies commented on how I’d probably break my neck and the guys behind me whispered between them. I could hear them ask each other if they knew who I was, which school I was from and if the blades were really mine. I smiled. It pleased me to think that on weekends, in my jeans and t-shirt, I still managed to pass off for a high school kid. Before getting off the bus, I couldn’t resist turning around, telling them my name and informing them that I finished school four years ago… oh and yes, the blades were definitely mine. They smiled and told me that I should enjoy myself. One of them suggested I wear a helmet but I told him that I liked living my life on the edge. It was their laughter that gave me the courage to step onto the pier on my own, well aware that many curious pairs of eyes were upon me.

Sitting on a bench, I took off my shoes and proceeded with tightly tying the blades to my feet. The tighter they are the better control and confidence you have as you know they won’t fall off your feet easily. My little brother arrived shortly after I tied my right lace; he sat down next to with a million dollar smile and thanked me for having thought up the idea of a morning skating on the pier. I was glad to have him next to me, it’s not that I couldn’t skate on my own but the fact that skating alone means you have no one to share the experience with. Where’s the point in that?

At first, it felt like my legs didn’t belong to me. They wobbled a bit until I got used to the wheels under my feet. Moving my feet from side to side, I began to move forward and before I knew it, I was zooming past tourists with my little brother not too far behind. The people that were staring faded away as my brother and I jumped over cracks on the floor and skated backwards. Skating is like riding a bike, once you’ve learnt, you never forget. At one point, a flash of a camera caught my attention and I realized that at some point my brother and I had become a tourist attraction. People smiled and some cheered us on and my brother and I bowed for our audience of five elderly tourists who were amused with our fun.

When we were tired of speeding and tricks, we decided to take a long ride to the end of the promenade and back. It took us an hour to reach the end and come back. In the beginning my little brother updated me on his adventures but on the way back we skated silently, merely enjoying the feeling of the turning wheels under our feet.

As I rode, my mind wandered. I looked out onto the ocean and saw sailing boats. They reminded me of a young sailor and his family that had sailed into our harbour two years ago. He had been the best thing that had happened to me and my friend that summer. In a mere week, we’d had the time of our lives. He taught me the meaning of skurfing and I taught him the words to “You can leave your hat on”. I haven’t heard from him in a while, he had been sixteen and charming at the time. I wished that I could see him now, how he is, how he thinks and wondered if he still sings to himself “Why can’t we be friends?”. There are no more words to that song… you just keep repeating it over and over until someone gets annoyed: “Why can’t we be friends”.
I’ve learnt that people come and go and that we must accept that some people we’ll never see again. I accept and understand that concept and I’m thankful for the time he spent with me and for the wonderful memories he left behind but I couldn’t help wishing as I skated to be given the opportunity to see him… even if it were from a distance, just to make sure things turned out okay.

Feeling the warm sun on my face and the breeze in my hair, I could’ve sworn that I died and gone to heaven… until seconds later when I found myself on my ass, spread out on the floor.
“Ouch that must’ve hurt!”
As always, just as you get too comfortable or confident in life… it makes sure that you fall on your ass! I had been so concentrated on blue skies and the sound of the waves crashing that I hadn’t noticed the water on the floor and slipped as I’d skated over it.
A handsome guy dressed in blue jeans and a black Adidas shirt helped me back on my feet. I tried to hide my embarrassment by telling him that it had been my first fall of the day. Laughing at me he pointed out that my pants were all wet and I before I finished wondering where the water came from, a big wave crashed on the rocks and poured onto the promenade, splashing the both of us.
“So that’s where it came from!” we both laughed as we shook the droplets off our shirts. I forgot completely about my brother and wondered why on earth it had taken me so long to come out skating. But before I could think of anything else to say to the stranger, a very jealous girlfriend that held two ice creams on cones whisked him away.

Laughing, I reminded myself that when things felt too good to be true, than it’s probably because they were! My little brother appeared from nowhere irritated that I had fallen behind and strongly advised me to get more practice. I laughed and told him that I couldn’t agree more!

My morning ended with a scratched knee, bruised buttocks and wind styled hair. However along with the ice cream as rewards, my brother and I took home the most exhausted but happy, million euro smiles!

I recommend doing something you haven’t done in a long time. I recommend behaving like a child. I recommend playing. I recommend joking and laughing. I recommend adventuring. I recommend losing yourself in the day and in time and, I recommend skating side by side someone you care about.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Catching a Glimpse

Catching a Glimpse...


Beware of the quiet shy ones… you never know what it is that they’re really thinking. Why are women mislead into believing that the quiet men are the faithful and dependable kind? This of course works both ways. Why do men think that the quiet and shy girls are the kind that you marry or take home to meet your family?

Whilst loudmouths don’t always share what they’re truly feeling, you however always get a good idea of what and how they think by what they tell you. In this way, you can have a more solid feel of where you stand with them. With time, you learn to listen to what they don’t tell you, or the meaning behind the words that pronounce a different meaning. However, their opinions are easier to discover than of that one that tells you nothing.

But the quiet guy is different, not only is it hard to extract any kind of information from him, you’re always left with the sensation that he didn’t finish what he had to say, as if he thinks more than he’s willing to tell you. Some women find this attractive; in fact, some are even willing to get married just to find out what he was thinking… some of course never find out.

I find that people cannot be understood merely by what they tell or don’t tell you. It isn’t always the words or lack of that defines the person you’re looking at. The soul lies in the hidden depths of the person, its window is the eyes and its nature takes observation and the desire to know and understand to be recognized and understood.

Being inquisitive… and flirty. I enjoy the challenge of getting under someone’s skin… of finding out what makes them tick and pressing their buttons. I find that the best way to get a talker to tell you something serious is to present him with silence. He’ll want to fill that void so badly, that he’ll have to dig somewhere more sincere to respond. Try it with someone you know… most blabbermouths can’t handle silence. They’ll be singing like canaries eventually.

Silence doesn’t work on the quiet types… they know how to manage the quiet. In fact, they live off it. You’ll see them as the observers at corners at a party, or the listeners in a group conversation. You mostly get straight, short answers to the questions you face them with or stuttering if it’s a question they weren’t expecting. It takes some observation from your part to find out something that makes them tick and then drop the open question that gets them talking: example:
“Oh you like fishing! So tell… how can one include fishing on the perfect date?”…
This of course might lead to a long tedious explanation on which case, I advise to find a common interest before engaging in such an experiment!

I see him almost everyday. Belonging to a big company that often does business with us, he is sent almost everyday to take and fetch documents and contracts. Quiet and reserved, I’ve been tempted in the last two years to rock his shy boat by asking him how his weekend was or if he’d happened to catch that latest movie. He can’t be younger than twenty however he reminds me of a shy church choir boy at the way he drops his glance to avoid my questions. Some may call my attentions cruel for my personal amusement or even as flirtatious… I do confess that it is quite amusing to see him blush or avoid my questions. However, neither are my intentions, lets just say I’m pushing buttons until I press something right. It was on a day that I wasn’t attentive that I was caught off guard to a reaction! This week being left alone in the office for a morning, I smiled as he walked through the door and then complained that I’d been abandoned by my colleagues! I’m not sure which of his remarks surprised me the most, the fact that he answered me that I couldn’t possibly be alone now that he’d arrived or that he’d willingly stay and keep me company if he could. This was my turn to turn bright pink! One sweet smile from someone who could barely look me in the eyes told me that somewhere along the line I broke a barrier. A barrier called professionalism between strangers. Looking each other in the eyes, I confirmed that feeling and sensed that from now on, he would be a little less formal. After he left I sat in wonder, trying to capture the exact moment that I’d gotten through to him and then was pleased with the fact that I’d seen his smile for the first time!... Mission Accomplished? Hell no! I’m only getting started… next week I’m going to see if I can get him to crack a joke!

Never give up on someone! Sometimes we see the potential in people but we give up on them too soon. Believe! Believe in people as you wish them to believe in you. This doesn’t require you to go give the best of yourself; it simply requests you to share the good in you. A smile and a greeting are such simple gestures that go such a long way… try it out on someone until something good happens.

Monday, March 21, 2005



On writing another application letter to accompany my curriculum vitae, I asked myself the following question: What experience of life do I have? I recall a conversation with my boss about experience and told him that life and time is a teacher and that some things cannot be taught by an educational system. Being a proud graduate he then said to me that no matter how useless a graduate it, he will always be a problem solver whilst the uneducated man is lucky if he finds out the answers. What I responded was what caused the first tension between the two of us: the education the graduate receives obligates him to solve problems whilst the uneducated man that learns on his own becomes an experienced, self-educated intellectual. These are my experiences:

I’ve tickled my little brother to keep him from crying.
I’ve burnt my fingers playing with candles and my heart when playing with fire.
I’ve blown big bubbles with gum that burst and got all over my face and hair.
I’ve galloped a horse, ridden a car over 200km\hr and bungee jumped
I’ve spoken to my mirror and sang to my hairbrush.
I’ve wanted to become a doctor, a singer, a veterinarian and a teacher.
I’ve hidden behind curtains, under blankets and under my clothes.
I’ve told jokes, pulled pranks and laughed until my tummy ached.
I’ve walked in the rain, swam in the ocean under the stars and drowned in my own tears.
I’ve caught a stare, stolen a kiss and gotten feelings mixed up.
I’ve walked down the wrong path, the right path and continue into the unknown path
I’ve opened the door of an empty refrigerator and sat down to a plentiful table.
I’ve missed the bus, cut my finger with a knife and tripped on my shoe laces.
I’ve cried over a song, watching a movie and with a friend.
I’ve regretted, I’ve apologized, I’ve forgiven and forgotten and learnt that something’s and some people are simply unforgettable.
I’ve climbed trees, climbed mountains, reached my goals, reached my deadlines and reach for the stars.
I’ve been a fan, I’ve been a follower and I’ve been inspired
I’ve kept secrets, made promises and given advice.
I’ve stood silent, screamed at the top of my lungs and cried on my bathroom floor.
I’ve ran away and I’ve run back home, I will to stay as much as I will to go.
I’ve wiped tears, offered my shoulder and ran to be with someone that needs me.
I’ve feared the dark; I’ve feared the unknown and feared fear itself.
I’ve felt alone in a large crowd and felt special in the presence of one amazing person.
I’ve seen the stars shining brightly, sunrises; sunsets and the days go by on my calendar.
I’ve put my head to sleep wishing I’d never wake up and lay in the bathtub with my head underwater not wanting to come up again.
I’ve tasted the sweetest kiss and the sourest regret.
I’ve drunk too much and got put into bed; I drank even more and felt sober.
I’ve said goodbye to old friends and welcomed new friends into my life.
I’ve felt at home in cold city and out of place in a familiar town.
I’ve believed in people, in angels and in myself.
I’ve written amazing things, said wonderful speeches and been at a loss for words.
I’ve trembled in someone’s arms and held someone in my embrace.
I’ve died of a broken heart and revived with the smile of someone special.
I’ve slept late and woken up in the middle of the night.
I’ve made bets and taken up dares.
I’ve told secrets and lies to keep a friend from getting hurt.
I’ve had forever end, and an unlikely friendship become eternal.
I’ve lain in the green grass and lost myself in a book.
I’ve cried hard at goodbyes and even harder at hellos.
I’ve stayed up late with my best friend just talking.
I’ve come home at 6am to lemonade and cold pizza.
I’ve lay in hot beaches, sat in the mountains, sludged in the mud and played in the snow.
I’ve held a little baby in my arms, a frightened child and a broken man.
I’ve shared ideas; I’ve shared my thoughts and shared my dreams.
I’ve won, I’ve failed, I’ve tried.
I’ve persevered; I’ve given up and motivated others into trying.
I’ve hated, I’ve regretted and I’ve loved.
I’ve lived, I live and I’ll keep on living.

Experience is a matter of perspective, you cannot predict a person’s abilities by what they went through, and rather you learn their capacities by watching them try. A book is only a book when it has an ending. In the school of life, you only graduate the day you leave inside a coffin.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

7 Days


Being an inquisitive child, I often annoyed adults by asking those kinds of questions that have no answer or takes a million textbooks to explain. I recall on one hot summer day my father cutting up an old table and making it into a desk for me to study on. As we varnished the table together I grew restless and decided that the only way I was going to get him talking was to ask him one of those questions that would get him talking for hours.
“If happiness is made up out of moments, how do you know when you’re living one? How do you know when you’re happy?”
Not in the mood for words and annoyed that I was letting the varnish streak thanks to my slow progress, dad summed it all up in one sentence:
“You know you’re happy when you’re not sad”
Irritated that he had cut me off with one of those answers that kill the question I added persistence to my question: “I’m not sad right now; does this mean I’m happy?”
Dad didn’t answer me, nor did he have to… the conversation ended there and only recommenced at dinner.

On Monday, I walked onto the bus and wished the bus driver a good morning; I was startled when someone from front seat of the bus called out my name. I turned to see the blind boy I’d often spoken to when he was my client. Blind since birth, his senses had developed very acutely and he would often come into the store so that I could teach him something new on the cellphone that I’d sold him. Some people didn’t know how to do half the things he knew about his Nokia 3310. It must’ve been almost two years since I last saw him, since I’d been moved up to the offices.
“How did you know it was me?”
“I smelt your perfume, its vanilla… oh, and I recognized your voice of course”
I sat next to him as he told me about how he was going to town to hand in his lottery ticket; he’d won €12 and was mighty happy with himself. I asked him what he would do if he’d won the jackpot instead and with excitement on his face, he told me about the computer he would buy… not just any computer: a computer with very expensive software especially made for blind people. I simply cannot imagine not being able to see. My soul would shrivel and die if I could not see the colours of the sky, the world around me and the eyes of the people I love. I thanked God for contact lenses and the fact that I can see through them and even though it was Monday, I thanked God for my five senses.

On Tuesday, I stepped onto the bus wishing that I’d gotten under it instead of on it. A long day at work had drained the life out of me. My hands were tattooed red from the heavy bags I carried from the supermarket and my only joy was the fact that there was a seat open on the bus that I could sit on! As I sat down I noticed the toddler sitting in the seat in front of me. His mother wasn’t paying much attention as he stared at me from the piece of apple he was eating. Exhausted, I was slightly grateful that I didn’t have one of those waiting from me at home, from the smell coming from his diaper; he needed at little more attention than I was willing to give… And so I smiled, and he smiled back. So I pulled my tongue out at him and he laughed. I then put my hands on his chair and he laughed as he tried to smack them before I took them away. Today I couldn’t hear the buss’s engines because all I heard was the giggling and laughter of a happy toddler. Before I got off the bus, I decided that maybe having one of those at home could be rejuvenating rather than exhausting.

On Wednesday I got home, stripped to my socks and sang to my hairbrush to Jennifer Lopez’s new song. I hit a high note, I danced… and I slipped whilst doing a double turn in my socks. I fell asleep on my couch after dancing the equivalent to a week’s aerobics’ class and the last thought that went through my mind was how lucky I was to have bought an apartment with double, soundproof walls and windows.

On Thursday, I called my new client to let him know that I had everything set for him to sign. Before I could tell him who was calling he identified me saying that my voice was unmistakable. Two hours later when he came knocking on my door, I identified him before he could ask me if I was the person he was looking for. When he asked me how I knew I simply answered that his voice was also unmistakable. Twenty minutes later, I’d earned a new contract, a new client and a cup of coffee. While I drank my coffee, I realized how grateful I was, that most of my clients were people.

On Friday, I walked into the cafeteria surprised to find that my boss had decided to have lunch with the simpletons. Having reserved the special menu for the day, I was well aware that anyone that hadn’t reserved the preferred dish (codfish with cream) would be eating the liver. Standing behind me in line, it became clear to me that my boss would not be eating the preferred dish. He had forgotten to reserve just as he’d forgotten to inform me that he would be on holiday as from Monday, it seemed just fair that he reaped the rewards of his lack of consideration. But just as it was my turn, I asked the cook to take a share from my plate and from my colleagues and like magic, there was suddenly codfish with cream for my boss’s lunch. He sheepishly thanked me and my colleagues and I was grateful to God that I was still able to share with someone who had more than me.

On Saturday there was a dinner and a party to go to. Running late as usual, I was still in my towel when my friend rang at my door. To add frustration to the shortage of time, I went into a fashion crisis and tried on five tops before finally settling with the brown one that I’d been wearing frequently. My friend watched me as clothes flew in and out the cupboard and sighed. Her baby hadn’t let her sleep that morning and weariness was evident on her face. She sat on my bed and for an instant I caught her empty look staring back at me. Men will never comprehend the power of make up! All it took was the heart shaped chain my brother had given me, my favourite blue eye shadow, some mascara and some lip gloss to bring out the radiance from her soul onto her face. I sat in wonder at how little it actually takes to bring out the life and energy in a person.

Today I watched my cousin walk away, after experimenting in the kitchen; we had a great lunch that followed with a movie I’d been dying to watch ever since I’d read the book. Message in a bottle by Nicholas Sparks had been one of my favourite books and Kevin Costner certainly did justice to the main character: Garret Blake. There were moments of joy, laughter, sadness and romance. I was glad to see it and even gladder that my cousin was here to see it with me. As I gave her a hug goodbye I was glad that I no longer had to travel oceans just to be with her and that most of my family was a phonecall away.

I lay alone in my bed… I switched off the TV, the radio and the computer. The washing machine is off and phones aren’t ringing… there’s absolute silence. I block out the voices in my head one by one until the only one I can hear was my own. As I stare at the red liquid metamorphoses in my lava lamp, I try to find pictures from the round shapes it makes. There is no song I want to hear, no movie I want to see and nobody I want to talk to, I’m content with simply laying here with my chin on my hands watching my lava lamp. I read somewhere that to appreciate time, you should end the day by crossing out the date on the calendar and saying to yourself “There went another day of my life that I’ll never get back”. Keeping this in mind, I thank God for the week that went past and hoped that if the following week wasn’t any better than the last than that at least it should be filled with magic moments like those that happened this week that went by. Before I fall asleep, I’ll ask myself if I was happy this week and then I’ll reply “Well Sunshine, you weren’t sad and so therefore, you must’ve been happy.”

Sunday, March 13, 2005

On my 100th post on this site, I simply could not think of a better way to celebrate it than with a post on which I could celebrate the very essence of my being… Happy Woman’s day, for every day is truly ours…

Woman´s Day


A day especially set to remember these incredible creatures that are a part of our lives. I thought of the great women I know, great writers, singers and actresses: women with talent and expression. I thought of the not so famous women such as grandma, mom, my aunts, my teachers and work colleagues: each with their own individual personalities and womanly contributions. Then I thought about all the great women I didn’t know, women that suffer daily in the midst of wars and poverty, career women, poor women, mothers with children to love and feed; women who submit to strict social rules and women who strive for equality and respect. After thinking about all these women: I felt very small in the world.

The most I’d gotten from my male colleagues were grumbling noises about how men should also have a day for them. I didn’t even bother to argue their feeble protests. To me this was just another day, another opportunity for hypocrites to pretend to cherish their women and another chance for many women to once again feel unappreciated and forgotten. It saddened me that even with so much evolution in the world; women are still suppressed and underestimated in society, family and the workplace.

I once sang Britney’s “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman” song with feeling and recognition. I knew then that I was somewhere in between and on this day, I asked myself what it is that makes me so sure that I’m no longer a girl and already a woman?

I suppose I could trust my friend’s judgment when not too long ago we saw each other for the first time in months and immediately he remarked “There’s something different about you, you’re more of a woman”
It felt true at the time but it cannot confirm the answer to my question, so I tried figuring it out on my own.
I pay my own bills, make my own choices and take responsibility for the changes in my life… is this what makes me a woman or is this merely what makes me independent?
There are skirts in my closet, make-up in my bathroom and high heels on my shoes… is this what makes me a woman or what makes me feminine?
My skin is soft and sensitive, my brassiere indicates that I have breasts and the fact that I’m required to visit a gynecologist… is this what makes me a woman or does this simply prove that I’m equipped for mating and bearing children?

What makes me a woman?
Is it that monthly cycle? My long hair? My interest in angels and butterflies? My fear of spiders? My voice, my touch?

I found my answer under the warm spray of water in my shower. It isn’t just the curves I possess, or the physical features that tell the world that I am a woman. It is my soul, the way I see and feel about the world. The way the water runs down my back, sticking my hair to my skin as if I was enveloped by my own soft curtain. It’s the way I feel when I see the flickering of a candle or when I smell the scent of something sweet. When a man looks at a plate, he sees food whilst I see nourishment. When a man looks at a house, he sees shelter and protection, I see a home. It’s not what I see, but the way I see it. It’s not how I react, but how I feel. It’s not what I do, but how I do it… this is where the difference is between the sexes. This is what makes me a woman.

Yes, without a doubt, being a woman is worth celebrating! So I called my mother, my aunt, and my best friends and decided to make it a girl’s night out. The age gap did nothing to upset the amazing woman’s night out. Our conversations involved ripping off the guys and congratulating ourselves for being survivors in a man’s world. It felt great to be in the midst of some of the women I most admired, it was their joy and laughter that soothed my soul. Watching them laughing over a glass of wine and strawberries with cream, I felt honoured to have them in my kitchen and be their presence. Going wild on the dance floor, we cheered each other on forming a big circle of women that no outside male was allowed to penetrate. Letting the music guide our souls, I watched as pure feminine spirit was celebrated and for those hours that I was with them, I didn’t feel so alone in my battles with the world.

In the man’s world that we live in, I’m proud to be a woman.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

He Love Me, I Love Him Not...


I once thought that the most crushing defeat a person can feel is being rejected by someone they love. Time and experience showed me that being the person doing the rejecting, can have an even more devastating crush…

Love cannot be found where it does not exist, nor hidden where it does.

He is charming, dedicated, funny and charismatic. He loves the same movies and music and shares your interests. Your friends love him, your family loves him and he worships the ground you walk on… only you are out of love.
They say you should marry your best friend so that one day when the passion is gone, you are left with a companion that makes you happy…
What in the hell do they know?!
Being with someone you admire but don’t love should be one of the biggest sins a human being can commit. If God rewrote the 10 commandments, I believe that this kind of treachery would be in the top 10.

It is absolute cruelty to both you and to the person you’re with to try and feign the feelings that make your heart beat, your blood boil and the world go round. To kiss lips without feeling, to be made love to without spirit and to say the words that don’t come out your heart is the same as digging the grave to your soul. As the days go by, you feel like something commercially made into what society sees as acceptable. Because he is good and he will provide, you are the winner of the perfect mate. He shall protect you, love you and cherish you and you are bound by duty to feel grateful.
Where is the love?
Where is the meaning in a relationship without sincerity?… because truth is not just a form taken by words. Truth is in the look in our eyes and in the touch we offer another human being. Truth is not what comes from our minds but what is portrayed by our souls.
To be with someone without loving them makes you: deceitful, dishonest, a liar and superficial.

So why do we do it? Why do we get involved with people we’re not in love with? Last night I was asked why it was that I was single. Without any hesitation I told the person that I loved my single status and that I did need nor want a man in my life. This scientifically intellectual’s answer shocked me into silence. She told me that at my age I am at my sexual prime and that my body physically craved a male. No matter how I denied it, on a subconscious level I craved the ideal partner. She went on to explain that this was the reason that most marriages failed after a few years; because once a man has spread his seed and made sure his mate was okay, he would then look for someone else with that chemistry that drives him to spread his seed again. This is why men have a hard time being faithful and why women fall for the wrong guys, because on a subconscious level we’re only looking for a good seed, or better said: a good lay.

I listened to her with great attention and without interrupting. The scientific reality of her argument felt like a bucket of cold ice water being thrown on my head. I couldn’t deny the truth is her facts but neither could I find the whole truth in her analyses. I closed my eyes and searched deeper before answering her. Although I respect her opinion, I simply could not agree. The difference between us and animals is the fact that we do not work on a subconscious level and yes have the power of choice and decision. I believe that whilst our minds and hormones rule our animal instincts, it is our hearts, our souls that makes us human. I confessed to her that I could not deny my deepest desire to have a man by my side, loving, caring and protecting me. That my body wanted to practice the Karma Sutra in the name of desire and procreation… but that my basic physical needs simply could not satisfy my soul’s.
I need and want more than sex. I want a partner in life; someone that I can share more than my bed with. Someone who I may not need to live and survive, but do not want to survive or live without. When the passion is gone, love must still be there. This is why I’m single; this is why I’m alone, because I will not settle for anything less than real love.

So this is why we do it, we get involved with people we’re not in love with. It isn’t just animal instinct, or the body’s desire to be physically pleasured, it’s because we feel the need to be loved, to be cherished and to be fulfilled. We want this so much that we’re willing to believe that the person who shares our interests can provide the love we need. It is a sad beginning of the end when we alter a friendship into a relationship that doesn’t share love from both parties. We allow ourselves to mistaken the friendship for something more, we so badly want to be loved that we fool ourselves into believing that love is what we’ve found in that person. Eventually time brings up the mirror and there is no denying the emptiness felt when we realize that friendship is no substitute for love.
Then comes the panic, the suffocating feeling that if we choose to continue as such, we sign our own death warrant. This isn’t just an asshole that we can do without, this is someone we care about who’s heart you’re about to break with the truth. Not everyone can face this truth, some people live this lie for years, some even die with this deception all so that we don’t hurt that other person who we do not love but deeply care about.

To hold on to someone that loves you but that you don’t love in return is to deny them and yourself the chance to find someone that can return their love. They will cry, they will hurt but they will be blessed with the chance of finding their true love.

We hurt when someone else hurts at our hands. The worst kind of guilt is that when you cause pain to someone without the intention to. We all know the feeling of rejection, of heartbreak and so why cry with those we have hurt and deceived.

It is so hard to wake up to an empty bed. Independence comes at such a high price when you have no one to share your blessings with. There are days on where I ask God to take away all my worldly possessions for the chance to share a blanket under a bridge with someone that I can share my love with. Every year whilst the fireworks explode announcing the beginning of a new chapter, I always ask that this be the year on which I find that one person to share all my years with. However, there is no greater loneliness and emptiness than the one felt when standing by a person that you are not in love with. And so I choose my single status and wait for something more than just physical chemistry. This I do, not just for myself but for the men that I care about am not in love with.

They say there is a hat for every head, a lid for every pot and a mate for every soul. If this is true why settle for second best, or deny someone to their chance of finding that person? I pray you all find the love that your heart seeks…
May the one you hold be the one you want, the one you need and most importantly, the one you love.