Archive for April, 2014

You are good enough.

You need to tell yourself that every single day for the rest of your life, because if you don’t no one else is going to.

Happiness. What is happiness? It’s subjective. I have no answer for you, what makes one person happy could make another miserable. What is important to one soul is of little or no importance to another. What troubles and hurts me may have no effect on you but your biggest issue is the last worry on my list….

Growing up we are brain washed. Be thin, you will be happy. Be beautiful, you will be happy. Hey, be rich, you’ll be happier!! Why not get the perfect career, the perfect friends, the perfect furniture and house, the perfect man, the perfect children. All of these things will make you happy won’t they? Won’t they??? I’m sorry to tell you but as good as everything I’ve mentioned sounds, they probably won’t make you happy… Not if you’re not happy with the one thing that matters the most, not if you’re not happy with you.

I’ve grown up trying to people please. I have tried to hide the real me and have tried to conform to the standards I’ve been expected to… The old me anyway. That old me was miserable, that old me was fake, that old me was not truly me. Finally, after years of hiding me, I’m now accepting me. I’m accepting me for the faults I have and the traits that make me the person I am today. I’m not rich. I’m not thin. I don’t have the perfect career. My friends aren’t perfect. My house, my furniture, my man and my children, they too are not perfect. I’m a perfectionist with OCD but I’m no longer striving for perfection, I’m striving for happiness and that starts with me.

How do you not look in the mirror and feel worthless? How do you move past placing the responsibility of your worth on someone else? How do you learn to accept that you are human instead of constantly feeling like you’re a failure?

“Let go of the knife you are holding at your throat, the knife of shame, blame, fear and remorse.”

>No one is perfect… If you’re comparing yourself to others you’ll never feel that you’re good enough for anyone. You won’t be good enough for yourself. The scary thing is that people you think are perfect, are probably thinking about ten other people that they think are perfect. It’s a spiral, a downhill one, comparison will only hinder your happiness.

>When last did you have a conversation with yourself? Ok, not a loopy conversation but a monologue with your mind’s eye. You are good enough. Yes I am. You look great today. Yes I do. Tomorrow will be better than today, chin up. Thanks for the reassurance, I needed that. No, voices in your head don’t make you crazy. It’s one of the most intelligent conversations you’ve had.

>Remind yourself. Who you are, what you have to be thankful for and the people in your life. Before bed, over a cup of tea or lying in the bath, just remind yourself that you’re surrounded by people who love you and think you’re amazing. If they do, why can’t you?

>I say it all the time and I’ll say it again… Allow yourself to feel. Be human. There is nothing wrong with hurting, being sad, being upset but you will be ok and tomorrow the sun rises despite what you’re feeling.

>Forgiveness… There could be many reasons you’re not happy. You feel unworthy. Your confidence or self esteem is kicked in the teeth. Some of those feelings could probably be attributed to various people in your life. Parents, teachers, siblings, friends or exes. Sometime, somewhere, someone made you feel like you’ll never amount to much and that deduction has never left you. It’s time to forgive, it’s time to let go and make your own decisions about your life.

>Make a choice. I choose to be worthy. I choose to be confident. I choose forgiveness and I choose happiness. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

The key to happiness and self worth is understanding that you’re the only key. No one person makes you feel worthless or like a failure, those feelings are your own. Think of a child learning to swim… They may feel like they’re going to drown the first few times in the pool. The pool may scare the hell out of them. After a few lessons though, the confidence builds and eventually they’re winning races in swimming gala’s. It’s time to love yourself, if you don’t, no one else can.

If you want to let the good stuff in,
stop beating yourself up.
No matter what.

Everyone is different but here is a list of things that could help you love you. There is no harm in trying…

Source

Read on for steps to discover your worth and enfold yourself in affection and appreciation.

1. Begin your day with love (not technology). Remind yourself of your worthiness before getting out of bed. Breathe in love and breathe out love. Enfold yourself in light. Saturate your being in love.

2. Take time to meditate and journal. Spend time focusing inward daily. Begin with 5 minutes of meditation and 5 minutes of journaling each morning. Gradually increase this time.

3. Talk yourself happy. Use affirmations to train your mind to become more positive. Put a wrist band on your right wrist. When you’re participating in self-abuse of any form, move the band to your left wrist.

4. Get emotionally honest. Let of go of numbing your feelings. Shopping, eating, and drinking are examples of avoiding discomfort, sadness, and pain. Mindfully breathe your way through your feelings and emotions.

5. Expand your interests. Try something new. Learn a language. Go places you’ve never been. Do things you haven’t done before. You have a right to an awesome life.

6. Enjoy life enhancing activities. Find exercise you like. Discover healthy foods that are good for you. Turn off technology for a day and spend time doing things that make you feel alive.

7. Become willing to surrender. Breathe, relax, and let go. You can never see the whole picture. You don’t know what anything is for. Stop fighting against yourself by thinking and desiring people and events in your life should be different. Your plan may be different from your soul’s intentions.

8. Work on personal and spiritual development. Be willing to surrender and grow. Life is a journey. We are here to learn and love on a deeper level. Take penguin steps and life becomes difficult. One step at a time is enough to proceed forward.

9. Own your potential. Love yourself enough to believe in the limitless opportunities available to you. Take action and create a beautiful life for yourself.

10. Be patient with yourself. Let go of urgency and fear. Relax and transform striving into thriving. Trust in yourself, do good work, and the Universe will reward you.

11. Live in appreciation. Train your mind to be grateful. Appreciate your talents, beauty, and brilliance. Love your imperfectly perfect self.

12. Be guided by your intuition. All answers come from within. Look for signs and pay attention to your gut feelings. You’ll hear two inner voices when you need to make a decision. The quiet voice is your higher self; the loud voice is your ego. Always go with the quieter voice.

13. Do what honors and respects you. Don’t participate in activities that bring you down. Don’t allow toxic people in your life. Love everyone, but be discerning on who you allow into your life.

14. Accept uncertainty. Suffering comes from living in the pain of the past or the fear of the future. Put your attention on the present moment and be at peace.

15. Forgive yourself. Learn from your mistakes and go forward. Use this affirmation, “I forgive myself for judging myself for __________ (fill in the blank i.e.: for getting sick, for acting out, for not doing your best.)

16. Discover the power of fun. Self-love requires time to relax, play, and create face-to-face interaction with others. Our fast-paced world creates a goal setting, competitive craziness that doesn’t leave room for play. Dr. Stuart Brow says, “The opposite of play isn’t work, it is depression.”

17. Be real. Speak up and speak out. Allow yourself to be seen, known, and heard. Get comfortable with intimacy (in-to-me-see).

18. Focus on the positive. Go to your heart and dwell on and praise yourself for what you get right in all areas.

19. Become aware of self neglect and rejection. Become conscious of your choices. Ask yourself several times throughout the day, “Does this choice honor me?”

20. Imagine what your life would look like if you believed in your worth. Dedicate your life to loving you. Make it your main event.

21. Seek professional help. Self-rejection and neglect is painful. You deserve to be happy. You have a right to be accepted and loved. If necessary, seek help from a support group, counselor, or coach. It’s the best investment you can make.

***

I hope that I learn to love myself as much as I am loved.
I hope to be as happy as people think I am.
I will one day be as strong as others expect.
I believe I am worthy of anything I desire.

That’s what you tell yourself everyday and then, only then, when you are happy will others love you as you love yourself. As you deserve.

Shevy*

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Yesterday was an ugly day… In fact, yesterday I was ugly. To everyone. For everything. When texting a close friend, the question I posed to her was ‘Am I having a nervous breakdown or could this just be PMS’? Her response was ‘Are you batshit crazy or just grumpy’? A rather fitting response and on that high level psycho analysis I deduced that I must be having a nervous breakdown, yesterday I went batshit crazy.

We never fully understand just how much we are able to cope with until the over bearing weight on your shoulders forces you to think of all the burdens you carry simultaneously, it is at that point that you’re at risk of the anxiety catching up to you. The moment you realize that perhaps your shoulders cannot continue bearing the burdens you’ve done sub consciously for longer than you remember.

I am human.

As a mother, while you love your children, it is not impossible to wake up and think about what life would be like if they weren’t around. Forgive me if that sounded harsh and I don’t mean it to be but all mothers will know that sporadically you reach that point of ‘enough’ where the stepford mother you try to be disappears and you’re reminded that you’ve not thought about you as long as they’ve been alive. As a mother, I made the choices and decisions to birth my children and their existence is not because of them, it’s because of me. It did happen that they woke up being children, making a mess and answering back, not listening and lacking all regard for the cost of household items. All the same, I am indeed human and yesterday had a day where I was haunted by thoughts of what my life would have been without them. No doubt boring and monotonous but the financial security I’m obsessed in retaining for my family wouldn’t be nearly as important if I was on my own, which means I would not be half as concerned with spending my money and injecting it into future plans that may be quite risky but won’t come to fruition as long as I’m striving for complete financial freedom and stability for my children. Or maybe not. The point is that when these thoughts sneak into my mind I get frustrated and angry with myself and take it out on those around me, eventually having to keep quiet to avoid saying anything uglier than I already did.

As a wife, I chose to marry my husband, he is my best friend after all despite all the baggage he brings with him. I’ve chosen to stand by him and the vows I repeated in front of the Gods and him were lifelong. That said, yesterday I was already in a very ugly space and in that time it’s very easy to resent him for the things I chose to accept. The thoughts of life as a singleton, sans children, are enticing. Perhaps never having doing that (I went straight into relationship and children) means that I’ve never known what that freedom is like and I can’t help but think how much easier it must be (or is it?). It’s easy to get caught up in the ugliness and just want to escape, yesterday all I wanted to do was escape my life. I wanted to turn back time and get a do over from the age of 17.

There are so many things in life that I want, badly and yet I can’t have them. I regress to a 4 year old child and throw the tantrum of a spoiled brat and yet I still don’t have them. (Not for lack of trying may I add but responsibility does dictate my needs to a degree). This weekend, something I was working towards has had to take a back seat for a while and this of course made me angry. I was frustrated with the children, frustrated with my husband from whom I wanted more of (or a better) reaction that the one I was less than satisfied with. I am angry at myself for the thoughts in my own mind as well as the mounting pressure I place upon myself to always do, to always have, to always achieve. I can’t sit still, always planning and coming up with a new way to kill time.

It’s difficult to be a person that others turn to for advice and guidance when your own house is not in order, presently understandably so. It’s not easy to always be the strong, reassuring one when within, you’re uncertain of anything and have to bite back while playing the game of wait. It is tiring to have to always have it together because that is what is expected of you when all you’d like to do is cry and it’s incredibly frustrating to sit back and watch other people make just as important mistakes and it’s not your place to say.

I want to be the perfect mother but realistically, I’m not. I’m the best I can be and I have to hope that that is good enough. I want to be a great wife but I will never be a stepford wife, I think my husband realizes that. I try to achieve in my career but I’m learning that my decisions affect those closest to me and so prioritizing needs over wants is imperative. I want to be an amazing friend but I have to understand I cannot carry the weight of their burdens atop my own. I aim to be financially free but right now, having more money than month is more important than being rich. We have many challenges, responsibilities and numerous waits and tough times ahead. Decisions will have be agreed upon, sacrifices made and hurdles jumped, that’s life.

Am I having a nervous breakdown? No.
Is it PMS? Not even.
I am human and for one day, let myself feel.
I’d say that’s pretty healing.
I’d say it’s rational, understandable and most importantly relatable.
I’m not depressed, I don’t hate my life.
I am just human.

Do not be afraid to feel, you cannot be robotic all the time and no one should expect you to.

Shevy

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We had a lovely photo shoot with Liv Stirling Photography and we got some amazing pics… Here are some of my favorites.

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What a confusing time :) Surrounded by various religions and their Easter celebrations without much interest for its pagan origins. I found a lovely (non offensive) article on Easter as a pagan and the truth in the spring equinox and fertility celebrations… Bearing in mind, this is as per the northern hemisphere. Again, here in the Southern Hemisphere we should only be celebrating Easter in September but you try getting chocolate eggs in August. Whatever your religion and whatever you believe, have a wonderful Easter weekend and remember why you celebrate…

Source

Easter : History and Traditions

Goddess Ostara
History of Easter Eggs
History of the Easter Bunny
Goddess Ishtar and the First Resurrection

Easter History : Christian and Pagan Traditions Interwoven

The history of Easter reveals rich associations between the Christian faith and the seemingly unrelated practices of the early pagan religions. Easter history and traditions that we practice today evolved from pagan symbols, from the ancient goddess Ishtar to Easter eggs and the Easter bunny.

Easter, perhaps the most important of the Christian holidays, celebrates the Christ’s resurrection from the dead following his death on Good Friday. . . a rebirth that is commemorated around the vernal equinox, historically a time of pagan celebration that coincides with the arrival of spring and symbolizes the arrival of light and the awakening of life around us.

Ostara, Goddess of Spring and the Dawn (Oestre / Eastre)

Easter is named for a Saxon goddess who was known by the names of Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany by the name of Ostara. She is a goddess of the dawn and the spring, and her name derives from words for dawn, the shining light arising from the east. Our words for the “female hormone” estrogen derives from her name.

Ostara was, of course, a fertility goddess. Bringing in the end of winter, with the days brighter and growing longer after the vernal equinox, Ostara had a passion for new life. Her presence was felt in the flowering of plants and the birth of babies, both animal and human. The rabbit (well known for its propensity for rapid reproduction) was her sacred animal.

Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny both featured in the spring festivals of Ostara, which were initially held during the feasts of the goddess Ishtar | Inanna. Eggs are an obvious symbol of fertility, and the newborn chicks an adorable representation of new growth. Brightly colored eggs, chicks, and bunnies were all used at festival time to express appreciation for Ostara’s gift of abundance.

History of Easter Eggs and Easter Candy

The history of Easter Eggs as a symbol of new life should come as no surprise. The notion that the Earth itself was hatched from an egg was once widespread and appears in creation stories ranging from Asian to Ireland.

Eggs, in ancient times in Northern Europe, were a potent symbol of fertility and often used in rituals to guarantee a woman’s ability to bear children. To this day rural “grannywomen” (lay midwives/healers in the Appalachian mountains) still use eggs to predict, with uncanny accuracy, the sex of an unborn child by watching the rotation of an egg as it is suspended by a string over the abdomen of a pregnant woman.

Dyed eggs are given as gifts in many cultures. Decorated eggs bring with them a wish for the prosperity of the abundance during the coming year.

Folklore suggests that Easter egg hunts arose in Europe during “the Burning Times”, when the rise of Christianity led to the shunning (and persecution) of the followers of the “Old Religion”. Instead of giving the eggs as gifts the adults made a game of hiding them, gathering the children together and encouraging them to find the eggs.

Some believe that the authorities seeking to find the “heathens” would follow or bribe the children to reveal where they found the eggs so that the property owner could be brought to justice.

Green Eggs . . .

…. And ham?

The meat that is traditionally associated with Easter is ham. Though some might argue that ham is served at Easter since it is a “Christian” meat, (prohibited for others by the religious laws of Judaism and Islam) the origin probably lies in the early practices of the pagans of Northern Europe.

Having slaughtered and preserved the meat of their agricultural animals during the Blood Moon celebrations the previous autumn so they would have food throughout the winter months, they would celebrate the occasion by using up the last of the remaining cured meats.

In anticipation that the arrival of spring with its emerging plants and wildlife would provide them with fresh food in abundance, it was customary for many pagans to begin fasting at the time of the vernal equinox, clearing the “poisons” (and excess weight) produced by the heavier winter meals that had been stored in their bodies over the winter. Some have suggested that the purpose of this fasting may have been to create a sought-after state of “altered consciousness” in time for the spring festivals. One cannot but wonder if this practice of fasting might have been a forerunner of “giving up” foods during the Lenten season.

Chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs, marshmallow chicks in pastel colors, and candy of all sorts, most of which are given out as personalized gifts during Easter . . . these have pagan origins as well! To understand their association with religion we need to examine the meaning of food as a symbol.

The ancient belief that, by eating something we take on its characteristics formed the basis for the earliest “blessings” before meals (a way to honor the life that had been sacrificed so that we as humans could enjoy life) and, presumably, for the more recent Christian sacrament of communion as well.

Shaping candy Easter eggs and bunnies to celebrate the spring festival was, simply put, a way to celebrate the symbols of the goddess and the season, while laying claim to their strengths (vitality, growth, and fertility) for ourselves.

The Goddess Ostara and the Easter Bunny

Feeling guilty about arriving late one spring, the Goddess Ostara saved the life of a poor bird whose wings had been frozen by the snow. She made him her pet or, as some versions have it, her lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly (in some versions, it was because she wished to amuse a group of young children), Ostara turned him into a snow hare and gave him the gift of being able to run with incredible speed so he could protect himself from hunters.

In remembrance of his earlier form as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs (in all the colors of the rainbow, no less), but only on one day out of each year.

Eventually the hare managed to anger the goddess Ostara, and she cast him into the skies where he would remain as the constellation Lepus (The Hare) forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter). He was allowed to return to earth once each year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring. The tradition of the Easter Bunny had begun.

The Hare was sacred in many ancient traditions and was associated with the moon goddesses and the various deities of the hunt. In ancient times eating the Hare was prohibited except at Beltane (Celts) and the festival of Ostara (Anglo-Saxons), when a ritual hare-hunt would take place.

In many cultures rabbits, like eggs, were considered to be potent remedies for fertility problems. The ancient philosopher-physician Pliny the Elder prescribed rabbit meat as a cure for female sterility, and in some cultures the genitals of a hare were carried to avert barrenness.

Medieval Christians considered the hare to bring bad fortune, saying witches changed into rabbits in order to suck the cows dry. It was claimed that a witch could only be killed by a silver crucifix or a bullet when she appeared as a hare.

Given their “mad” leaping and boxing displays during mating season as well as their ability to produce up to 42 offspring each spring, it is understandable that they came to represent lust, sexuality, and excess in general. Medieval Christians considered the hare to be an evil omen, believing that witches changed into rabbits in order to suck the cows dry. It was claimed that a witch could only be killed by a silver crucifix or a bullet when she appeared as a hare.

In later Christian tradition the white Hare, when depicted at the Virgin Mary’s feet, represents triumph over lust or the flesh. The rabbit’s vigilance and speed came to represent the need to flee from sin and temptation and a reminder of the swift passage of life.

And, finally, there is a sweet Christian legend about a young rabbit who, for three days, waited anxiously for his friend, Jesus, to return to the Garden of Gethsemane, not knowing what had become of him. Early on Easter morning, Jesus returned to His favorite garden and was welcomed the little rabbit. That evening when the disciples came into the garden to pray, still unaware of the resurrection, they found a clump of beautiful larkspurs, each blossom bearing the image of a rabbit in its center as a remembrance of the little creature’s hope and faith.

Ishtar, Goddess of Love, and the First Resurrection (also known as Inanna)

Ishtar, goddess of romance, procreation, and war in ancient Babylon, was also worshipped as the Sumerian goddess Inanna. One of the great goddesses, or “mother goddesses”, the stories of her descent to the Underworld and the resurrection that follows are contained in the oldest writings that have ever been discovered. . . the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish and the story of Gilgamesh. Scholars believed that they were based on the oral mythology of the region and were recorded about 2,100 B.C.E.

The most famous of the myths of Ishtar tell of her descent into the realm of the dead to rescue her young lover, Tammuz, a Vegetation god forced to live half the year in the Underworld. Ishtar approached the gates of the Underworld, which was ruled by her twin sister Eresh-kigel, the goddess of death and infertility. She was refused admission.

Similar to the Greek myths of Demeter and Persephone that came later, during Ishtar’s absence the earth grew barren since all acts of procreation ceased while she was away. Ishtar screamed and ranted that she would break down the gates and release all of the dead to overwhelm the world and compete with the living for the remaining food unless she was allowed to enter and plead her case with her twin.

Needless to say, she won admission. But the guard, following standard protocol, refused to let her pass through the first gate unless she removed her crown. At the next gate, she had to remove her earrings, then her necklace at the next, removing her garments and proud finery until she stood humbled and naked after passing through the seventh (and last) gate.

In one version, she was held captive and died but was brought back to life when her servant sprinkled her with the “water of life”. In the more widely known version of the myth, Ishtar’s request was granted and she regained all of her attire and possessions as she slowly re-emerged through the gates of darkness.

Upon her return, Tammuz and the earth returned to life. Annual celebrations of this “Day of Joy”, were held each year around the time of the vernal equinox. These celebrations became the forerunners of the Ostara festivals that welcomed Oestre and the arrival of spring.

A section on the Goddess Inanna (the Sumerian version of the Goddess Ishtar), her myths and symbols, is included with the myths of the goddesses at this website.

Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny, the dawn that arrives with resurrection of life, and the celebration of spring all serve to remind us of the cycle of rebirth and the need for renewal in our lives. In the history of Easter, Christian and pagan traditions are gracefully interwoven.

I’m not alone in the world… In fact, more and more people that I meet suffer from (or revel in) varying degrees of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and suddenly it’s no longer an illness, it’s a way of life.

ob·ses·sive-com·pul·sive [uhb-ses-iv-kuhm-puhl-siv] Show IPA
adjective
1.
of or pertaining to a personality style characterized by perfectionism, indecision, conscientiousness, concern with detail, rigidity, and inhibition.
2.
Psychiatry. of or pertaining to a neurosis characterized by persistent intrusion of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or the performance of actions, as repeated hand-washing, that one is unable to stop (compulsions).
noun
3.
a person having such a personality style.

I have never been clinically diagnosed as having O.C.D and for a long time I didn’t believe I had a problem, in fact I still don’t, but I’m certain that my obsessive ways can be nothing but this disorder even though I don’t believe I need counseling or medicating for it. I don’t display most of or all of the symptoms attributed to OCD, in fact, only a few but at times I feel like those few symptoms are so exaggerated that this can only be an illness, surely everyday people don’t think the way I do?

Order. Symmetry. While it’s not important to my house keeper when cleaning to put things back exactly where she found them, it means that coming home from work I proceed to re arrange the house. The tv stand should be in line with the tiles, the remotes always to the left in height order, the appliances in line with the edge of the shelves, the carpet in line with the tiles, the couches perfectly square around the carpet, the fan backward against the wall, the ottoman centered in the carpet, the tv centered to the picture on the wall and so on and so on and so on… I could continue for ages and when writing it down, it’s all the more real. I cannot sit down in my lounge unless all the furniture has been placed correctly, only then can I relax and let go of the anxiety. I have had to learn to let go of my habits in the children’s bedrooms to allow them to be children but still, it isn’t easy.

Excessive double checking. My poor family has to put up with a multitude of checks before we leave the house, worse if it’s on holiday. I have an obsessive fear that the house will burn down which means I will check every plug, plug switch, stove plate, oven switch, appliance etc to make sure everything is off. We have had to turn back home on a few occasions when I can’t remember if I checked that my hair straightener is off even though I’ve checked four times before we left and hadn’t used the straightener in weeks. Many a night I’ve come home from work and been hit by a mild panic attack because I don’t remember if I did or didn’t send a specific email or if I perhaps sent the incorrect mail. I will put my laptop on and check all of my emails to make sure that I didn’t do that and that the email in question has been sent correctly… It always is, but I check anyway.

Non hoarding. The idea of hoarding freaks me out completely. I’m the absolute opposite of a hoarder and rather than collecting junk, I’m constantly getting rid of things and cleaning out cupboards. The only places I allow for some ‘clutter’ is my clothing cupboard (which is still categorized by item of clothing) or my walls. My walls are the only place I love decoration and have numerous photos and pictures up, but all black photo frames, of course.

Friends generally comment that my home makes them feel messy, only because it’s always ‘perfect’ (their perfect, not mine) and yet if you meet me outside of my home or work, I don’t think you’d ever expect me to have compulsive tendencies, I don’t appear a compulsive person. As we speak, the fact that the curtain opposite me is not closed in a neat manner is irritating the hell out of me. Pause. Curtain fix.

My heart goes out to those thinking obsessively compulsively far more seriously than I do… While most of the time these thoughts are second nature, every now and again you catch yourself realizing the irrationality of it all, providing a little bit of humor to those around you at the same time.

Noel Biderman is a twisted man with a penchant for business. He may or may not be religious but the question is not his faith, rather his personal values and beliefs that allows for his interest in his business and website, AshleyMadison.com.

Infidelity, he says, has been around long before his time, all he did was give an opportunity to keep your affairs a secret. I’m sorry, what? AshleyMadison.com is an online dating site specifically targeted at married men and women looking to have an affair with like minded spouses worldwide. Their tag line says ‘Life is short. Have an affair’ and that should tell you a little bit about this site or this man’s character, the man behind its creation. The site allows free membership to women and paid membership to men, clearly Noel knew where he’d make his money. What’s most unfortunate about the nature of his business is the amount of publicity this website gets through blogs (like this one), articles and newspapers all questioning yet admiring the gall of this business that has taken the cheating world by storm.

I have to admit, he is right about one thing, infidelity is rife sans AshleyMadison.com. He saw a need to work with people already cheating on their spouses to make it a more secret affair, affording you the opportunity to cheat on your husband or wife with someone who is also cheating on their husband or wife and no one will be any the wiser. Because, that sounds good and right and definitely a market I would want to tap into right? Wrong. No matter your race, religion or creed, infidelity is frowned upon in many circles (polygamist circles excluded) and the fact that it’s ‘happening anyway’ doesn’t make a website like this (or the thousands like it) any more acceptable. He specifically says he doesn’t encourage cheating, he is offering a secret platform. I don’t encourage drug use either but if I start handing out cocaine to passers by on the street, you don’t think their would be an increase in drug activity? While this guys business model was fairly intelligent, he is a pretty stupid guy. For users, it’s also not that secret as any hacker or IT fundi will tell you, in fact you’re better off frequenting various internet cafe’s that don’t have video cameras, it would be more secret.

His own take on infidelity is that if celibacy was common in his marriage, he would also feel the need to cheat because he doesn’t want to give up everything he has put into a marriage for the sake of having sex, in other words he’d like to have his cake and eat it too. He isn’t alone. Men and women have been cheating on their spouses (not limited to marriage) for many years for various, insignificant reasons. 57% of men and 54% of women admit to committing infidelity in a relationship which leads me to say, WTF is wrong with people? What happened to valuing your partner? What happened to good old fashioned values?

Allow me to share with you my personal opinion (As that is what my blog is). I believe that the human race constantly strives for perfection. We must make lots of money, look like models, drive nice cars, own a house, procreate etc etc. We think that the perfect relationship means love, agreements, no fighting, lots of sex, always compromise. In an ideal world and if we were robots, those would be great and nothing prohibits us from striving towards a near perfect relationship. The problem is that one or more of these goals seems out of reach and suddenly we feel like we are failing. My husband and I fight, we need a divorce. My wife and I never have sex, we have problems. My boyfriend isn’t affectionate, I need a new one. My girlfriend doesn’t listen to me, I’ll find someone who will. What people don’t understand is that all of those things work hand in hand… For one to work, the other needs to be worked on. It’s all very well to say your relationship is amazing but you don’t have sex, but not to worry you can get that elsewhere. You are mistaken, your relationship is not amazing and you have far more important things to work on than the need for an affair. So your wife nags you all the time because you leave your washing all over the floor but if you spent less time rushing to your 24/7 job or your mistress, you’d have time to collect your washing and perhaps realize your wife is a priority. So you hate your boyfriend because he never listens to you and so you deny him sex because you know it upsets him, why not listen for a change and maybe you’d get better results. I’m no marriage or relationship counsellor but the principles are basic… Sadly, we are too quick to give up or look elsewhere because when it comes down to it it’s absolute laziness that prevents the cheaters from making the situation work. You know what? Why not spare everyone the heartache and end the relationship you think isn’t working instead of signing up on AshleyMadison.com, I’d commend you for being a bigger person about it.

For me, infidelity is a no brainer. When my husband and I first met, I told him that there were three deal breakers for me. 1. Never go to bed angry 2. Always respect each other and 3. Never ever cheat on me (and vice versa). I’m very happy to say that we are still going strong, the relationship isn’t perfect but the fundamentals are there, if he ever cheated on me his boots would reach the door faster than an Ox in potjie season… And he knows it. That said, when the question is posed in the reverse he says that it would be something he’d have to think about and take into consideration the circumstances etc. To be honest, this boggles my mind and I told him he is stupid. If your spouse cheats on you, knowingly, willingly (and didn’t trip and fall onto or into a sexual organ, cos that can happen) then they chose to have sexual intercourse with someone other than you. I don’t remember my wedding vows allowing for that, anywhere. I’m still shocked everyday that people, the victims, choose to take back a cheating spouse or partner and it makes me angry because in my books, it’s a form of mental and emotional abuse. Until it happens to me though (which it wont), I won’t fully understand the logic or thought process behind it…

If you’re a member of Ashley Madison or knowingly cheating on your partner, I think you need to take a long hard look in the mirror – the only person who’s values and morals are in question, are yours. What cheaters do and the damage it leaves in the wake is disgusting, I’ve watched too many people feel the brunt (men and women) of a cheating partner and it’s sickening and hurtful to watch. I can only hope that you see the error in your ways and show that the term ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ doesn’t have to always be true.

I wrote a post in October 2013 (The road often clearly travelled) about a stretch of road that I travel daily (still do) that was in a severe state of disrepair. Instead of blaming the government, the roads agency or my wasted taxes I chose to look at this road a bit like obstacles in life that you have no choice but to overcome. It’s definitely become the most difficult part of my journey home and the road was so damaged that without slowing my bike to a ridiculous and almost impossible 10kph, I would have snapped it in half hitting one of those potholes at a speed.

Well, life sometimes gives you signs when you least expect them and aren’t even sure about what the sign actually means. Perhaps this isn’t a sign, perhaps it’s coincidence but I’m choosing to see this as an extreme motivational push… A little bit of what I needed at the moment. Last night, on the way home, I discovered that this road has finally been re tarred and what was the most bumpy and difficult part of my road home has since become the smoothest piece of road I’ve driven on! Now considering I have a few obstacles in my life at the moment including my weight loss journey, challenges in my career and challenges in our family life which I was equating to my better known pothole ridden road, I’m looking at this smooth road surface as a sign that I won’t always ‘have’ to push through the potholes, I won’t always have difficulties and I won’t always have to fight. I’m fact, I believe the universe may be telling me that it’s time for me to have a little break because I’ve gone through enough. If only for a little while, my road home will be smooth and easy to navigate and instead of navigating others through it, for a time I can just enjoy the ride.

It’s not always smooth sailing and in time this road will fall back into the disrepair it’s used to, when the rain pelts down hard and thousands of vehicles beat it down daily. But I’m certain that for a little while I’ll be able to drive on a smooth surface and enjoy knowing I conquered the potholes :)

Shevy*

My husband will be the first to tell you that I have a shopping problem. While I don’t look at it as a problem, he sees this as me spending money unnecessarily on clothes or shoes I don’t plan on wearing or that I have already in another color. Well, this is not true. I make sure I wear every item of clothing or pair of shoes I buy, even if it is only once.

There isn’t a lot in the world that I spend money on, the list is short but to me extremely important. First and foremost I choose to spend money on my tattoos, I like to think of my skin art as jewelry that I can never lose – never a wasted cent. Then, tie for second, comes vests and shoes (and yes, even my friends know it). My wardrobe is fairly simple, I have a few pairs of jeans in various styles and colors which I rotate with a vest of some kind. I believe I do have a vest addiction and even throughout winter remain in vests with a long sleeve or jersey over the top. I have recently cleaned out my cupboard and donated my unworn clothing and after this I’m left with over 30 vests (34 I believe) in all variations, colors (okay maybe more black) and designs from various clothing retailers but most of all Jay Jay’s, I pop in for a look and they greet me by name! Along with vests are boots and shoes for which a clean out also occurred leaving me with 24 pairs of pumps, heels and sneakers and 10 pairs of boots. Paris Hilton has thousands of pairs of shoes so I don’t think this is over the top at all? My only problem is becoming where to keep them all!!!

I am not the girliest of girls but it doesn’t mean I don’t like certain things and go moggy while acquiring them. Tattoos, vests, shoes and boots are my thing… I don’t wear a lot (if any) jewelry, I don’t spend thousands on make up and skin care regimes monthly (though I probably should), I replace my handbag when the existing one breaks and I try painting and doing my own nails over having them done regularly in a salon (cost-conscious). When you’re down on a diet and are not spending as much money on shopping for junk food, eating out and takeaways, there isn’t much else to spend money on and let’s be honest, we all like to spend a little money right? So today I bought a new top that reads ‘I don’t have a shopping problem, I’m helping the economy’ and that’s exactly how I’m choosing to see it.

Shevy*

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I’m better known for having opposing views to the general public on most political and controversial topics, this time however is slightly different. I’ve thought about this for a while but have been hesitant to post my thoughts because of just how controversial this topic actually is, but what kind of a writer would I be if I didn’t share my opinions with you?

I will start by saying that I definitely do not condone rape or sexual violence in any way, shape or form and by no means should any rapist (male OR female) be allowed to get away with their crime… In fact I am all for genitalia being removed and a lifetime of torture being imposed on the perpetrators, however there are a number of factors about the common ‘rape culture’ phrase being thrown around of late and the strange ideals accompanying the latest rape culture phenomena that have my knickers in a bit of a twist.

Let’s start with the basics. So many women have jumped up and down about rape and launched an onslaught on the male population, the rapists. I think that what many women do forget (and I’m advocating for the men here) is that there are just as many female rapists as there are male. I am not here to bore you with statistics and remember that this is still just my personal opinion but I feel like men are getting the wrong end of a crappy stick here. The problem with today’s society is that everything is ‘generalized’ and so the good men, and they do exist, get tarred with the same criminal brush and are assumed to be rapists like their perpetrating counterparts. So many more women are rapists than you realize, the problem is that men are too ashamed to come forward and admit rape because they think people won’t understand how a man was raped by a woman. It happens. It’s a shocking reality and it’s time that men got up there with women to protest rape against men, women and of course most importantly children.

Sexual crimes and rape all fall under the same horrible umbrella. It’s an experience a man, woman or child did not ask for and did not agree to and no one should ever have to experience, please know that I do not belittle this in any way. It is saying no and yet having to endure the experience anyway against your will. Whatever your definition of rape, the end result is clear. Broken souls, nothing fixes that. With all of that said, it is important that everyone understand the implication of accusing someone of rape. It is no menial accusation and once you have been tarnished a rapist, it is a state criminal case, criminal records are received and hopefully a terrible time in prison awaits… For the guilty. This is where it gets tricky, you have to know and be sure that someone truly is guilty. Too often, women (and some men) are very quick to make the rape accusation against someone they believe had the intention to rape, perhaps they were angry and an accusation served as revenge, or maybe they thought that a rape could have happened but they don’t know…. For whatever reason, if you truly believe you have been raped then do the necessary but if you haven’t, understand that a false accusation ruins lives and causes unnecessary heartbreak and heartache. It is a common problem that when mentioned gets quickly blown away in the shadow of the ‘rape culture’ phenomenon we are quick to feed. Recently, the twitter rape war that took place between a column writer and a rape survivor caused a social media outbreak of rape views and experiences and not once was the issue of false accusation taken seriously. Now I’m not saying he was correct or that she was lying, by no means, but what I am saying is that his implications are very real possibilities that happen to men and women every single day… I hope that we be mindful of that. Because I advocate for the innocent man or woman still does not mean I support the rapists, in fact, I abhor them.

An article on News 24 addresses 25 examples of rape culture in today’s day and age (Source). Reading through these examples I can’t help but feel like we are making mountains out of mole hills that didn’t exist to begin with (Some points are genuinely valid but I don’t believe that they all are). Point number 2 refers to the hit song ‘Blurred Lines’ and because we sing along, we are advocating rape? No. I sing along to Lady Gaga’s applause and it doesn’t mean I’m clapping. My point is that more often than not we are looking for things to read into, as if they aren’t blatantly staring at us from the news and statistics. ‘You know you want it’ clearly has sexual connotation but guess what, maybe she does want it (not rape – consensual sex)? The blurred lines may be referring to the lines between friendship and lovers, lovers and friends with benefits, nowhere do they openly sing about committing rape…why do we dig where we need not dig? Isn’t there enough in the real world?

Point 4 talks about mothers blaming girls for sexy selfies instead of talking to other mothers sons about how to behave and I do agree with his point to an extent but let’s be real, there are some sicko’s in the world. Why allow your daughter to post sexy selfie’s anyway? As an adult posting selfie’s you’re well aware of the consequences that may abound from having a slutty internet persona (not specifically rape but perhaps unwanted sexual attention) however as a parent to two daughters, I would hope that they have been raised wise in the ways of the dark side of the world. By all means, post a selfie but you have control over who sees it through various social media security settings (I use them all!) and for goodness sake, if your 12 year old daughter is taking photos of herself in a bikini and underwear and posting it on the internet, you have other problems that need addressing including a massive cry out for attention which will unfortunately attract the wrong attention as well as a very lax parenting approach which could be to your daughters detriment.

Point 6 refers to supports of athletes charged with rape… I think the operative word there is charged because as far as I’m concerned, they’ve not yet been proven guilty. We have to be very careful about false accusations and if the athletes are in fact innocent, why is there not more pressure put onto the false victims for trying to ruin that athletes career let alone their life?

To be real, we live in South Africa and the statistics used in this article refer to a worldwide rape pandemic… Let’s talk South Africa for a minute. Sadly, we cannot really even take into account in our country the statistics on rape due to their inaccuracies. It is impossible to have accurate statistics when most men and women are too afraid to come forward and report their rape or identify their known rapist and children are to small or young to understand. One in 25 women who say they’ve been raped actually report their rape, that means the other 24 live with their experience and carry on as if nothing has happened, when we know that inside they are breaking. I am no feminist but I am a realist, this rape epidemic affects everyone from men to women to children to animals, it is sick and it is horrific and again I say the guilty deserve the worst possible punishment but not death, that’s too easy, something far worse. The scary part? I don’t find many statistics on men and their reporting of rape. Six women are raped every hour in South Africa, how many men and children?

All I’m saying here is that the utmost care and fairness must be taken into consideration when looking at the subject of rape and the supposed ‘rape culture’ that we as a society are supposedly fueling. I know women that have falsely accused men of rape and have had to live with the consequences thereof. I know of cases of men that have been falsely accused. I sadly also know women that have been raped or sexually mistreated and not reported it because they didn’t ‘think’ it was rape… And in my lifetime, I have known of men who may or may not have been raped but they were uncertain. To say that we are living in a rape cultured society is saying that we fake the news… At the end of the day, the numbers are real and the cases are real and we see the facts daily thrown at us in news and media. There is no ‘rape culture’, there is rape and there is reality and giving something like this a name allows those that want to live in the darkness of rape a permission to make it real.

@lifeissavage posted in Twitter yesterday an article against rape which I thought was so fitting and gets to the crux of the problem. (As did others with it’s over 100 favorites and over 300 retweets). Two pages were stuck together in a magazine and when you tried to pull the pages apart it reads “If you have to use force, it’s rape”. This ad applies to everyone… If you use force, it’s rape and if force is being used upon you, it’s rape. It doesn’t matter if you’re man, woman or child. It’s rape. Read more on the article here – Source

It’s sad that so much talking has to happen on the subject and not enough acting. Not enough acting on the part of the human race, the government and the judicial system. I’m all for a community outcry and social media barrage but remember, there is more to rape than a vagina or a statistic… It is about real people, real lives and real consequence.

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