2016…New Year, New Me? Idiot!

I’ve never been big on new year’s resolutions, I never do well with calculated social targets. I’ve lived most of my life at a YOLO pace where today happens and tomorrow will generally sort itself out. So every time the new year comes, I’m one of those “let’s wait and see what these idiots plan on changing for the first four months of the year.” But this year…I think I want to be one of those idiots.  I want to make a list to better myself and I want to try to stick to it…I want the corny “New year, new me” ‘bullshit’ that everyone so ‘loves’. Lol.

I remember going to a church service many moons ago, it was the kind of service where the preacher speaks directly to you, (you know that one?) every word pierces into the depths of your dirty soul and calls for you to change and realize the errors of your way. Anyway, during this service the sermon series was called “Meeting, Dating and mating” and focused on those three stages on a relationship – as I listened intently to the Godly order for relationships (light bulb!!!), and I vowed to change the way I viewed these very difficult stages, the preacher said “if you keep doing what you’ve done, you will keep getting what you’ve got.”. WHOA! At the time I remember those words slapping me across the cheek. Suddenly every rubbish male I had met in my lifetime (which are numerous) made perfect sense…because I kept doing what I did, I kept getting what I got. And I got rubbish! Lol. The truth is…(no offence to any of the guys I’ve dated, met or been with)…but as I stand at the end of 2015 I realize that the slap I received in that church from the words clearly wasn’t hard enough – because I was still doing what I was doing and STILL getting what I got.

So what have I got?

In terms of my infamous love life…I don’t even have words, I got a few cheaters, those scumbags kept resurfacing in new forms always with the same 1.5 – 2 year timeline.
I got a really old guy who was scared of commitment…I mean really? After all those years, death is more imminent than the chances of you ever being able to bag a younger, fresher version than me.
I got a few younger ones – so much fun, only momentarily – they’re full of emotion and have a whole lot to learn about being gentlemen…! Errrm, I got some baby mama, ex girlfriend, current girlfriend (whoops) and “I don’t know her” drama…drama in any form is exhausting…we don’t need that going into the new year.

Yesterday morning I woke up to the most amazing article, (Read it here: http://www.brookeputney.us/a-letter-to-every-young-girl-if-he-wont-someone-else-will/). This was another one of those “I got slapped” moments and as I read each word, I had a fairy dancing around in my head and belly as if suddenly all the lights were turned on and the music turned up.. Now I’ve had “ah-ha” moments before but this one was all that my soul needed. It spoke to my heart and told her to be patient, it told her that love doesn’t require settling, it told me about my worth and my past pain. It told me that love is waiting and that gentlemen are REAL and deeper conversations feed your soul…”Our problem today is that we are settling. We are settling for men that hold doors behind them instead of in front of them. We are settling for surface level relationships when we should be seeking deeper conversations, deeper moments. We are settling for, “talking,” for “things” when we should have an, “if you know, you know, let’s do something about this or I’ll be on my way,” kind of mindset.”
As I read through every single paragraph it made me feel like my ‘getting what I got’ was over, like the article was sent at the exact and most perfect moment and that 2016 would bring with it a perfect gentleman, whose conversations spoke to my brain and whose eyes saw my soul…but I also realized I have to stop my “doing what I did”…and that’s the hardest part.

I spent the year falling in love with who I am, growing in strength and beginning to understand the way my head and heart work together. I learnt about my own heart and its magnitude. But I haven’t learnt how to change, I haven’t begun to understand where the “doing what I did” ends. I’m not sure I understand what exactly I “did” and what I keep “doing” which keeps me getting what I got. You with me here?

But anyway, I’m going to go out on a whim and say that my ability to see ‘potential’ beyond his current situation is maybe my first flop. We are NOT responsible for the success, expectant potential or repair of any single person except ourselves. I am responsible for my own success, I am responsible for my achievements and I am responsible for my own progress.
Secondly, I need to stop justifying unacceptable behavior or traits for the sake of ‘love’ or like or whatever girly emotion I can attach to the insanity, or begin to believe that he will change…the only man you can change, is one in diapers. Love him as he is, flaws and all, or don’t go down the road. This has a great deal to do with my ability to love so completely that the things I really DON’T want a part of my future, I accept, because I imagine they will ‘fall away’ with the new wind…unlucky sunshine, wind don’t move concrete.
Finally I need to learn that things end…it’s just the way life goes. Relationships, friendships, pain, heartache…zonke, it will end and I will live. Heart break was only lethal in Shakespeare’s day, today we live, beyond heart ache, beyond diseases, beyond a whole lot more than we think we can survive. I have a hard time putting FULL STOPS on things. Walking away unaffected by THEIR mess is something I’m not capable of doing. So for 2016…I’ll remember that sunsets are proof that endings can be beautiful too and heartache means that you are capable of great love🙂

In terms of work.

I’m so driven that I see nothing else, I see success over the mountain, I see pots of gold in my future and personalized stationery. In my race to the labelled door I tend to walk through the workplace like a nerd at school, books covering my view, tainted glasses and a nerd speed walk past everyone, making no real contact or solid friendships.  In 2016 I need to work on being less “employee” and more Carla, because life is sweeter with friendship, and the greatest learning come from speaking, listening and drawing from each other.

And finally my loved ones…

I’m the worst person at keeping in touch, I know birthdays because of Facebook, I call back and never first, my chatting ability doesn’t go on for much longer than 20 minutes and letting people know when I’m ‘safe’ is something almost impossible for me to get right.

What I’m continuously learning is those “I’m safe” texts help my mother sleep better at night, birthday messages mean that I took a second out of my day to think about important people, having a chat to fill my friends in on how life is in big bad Jozi makes them feel more at ease about my “solitary lifestyle”, and the occasional “i’m good” means that I’m smiling, and growing and learning and loving life…and very far from hanging from a chandelier or rocking in a corner…:) hehe…okay that was dramatic.

Last year was the year of authenticity, where I wrote about working on real friendships, ending old ones and viewing people with their pasts and better understanding their makeup (AUTHENTIC POST) The truth is, I did exactly that. I started new friendships which make me smile, I rekindled lost friendships which I find soul fulfilling and necessary, I lost a lot of friends and I strengthened my already REAL bonds with my corpse cleaners. Moving away put my friendships and loved ones into the clearest perspective for me – my corpse cleaners (Definition explained here: CORPSE CLEANERS) are becoming more real to me, I appreciate their never ending support, constant encouragement and love. My family is the closest thing to me and the year made me realize the importance of the support of family, the unconditional love of parents and the special relationship that only sisters share.

But hey…my day is done and it’s time to begin celebrations of the ending of this soul draining, mind altering, insanely, torturous year which taught me so much. It’s time to drink to a new start and a new me (idiot!) …
To never getting what I previously got, to being friendlier and talking to people through my nerd glasses and to my people who have made the wave of 2015 a bearable one.

I wish you all renewed love of yourselves, continued fulfilling relationships and the strength to never settle for the rest.
I wish you corpse cleaners who will remind you that friendship makes life sweeter and the strength of numbers makes any struggle easier to bear. I wish you belly aching laughter, exciting love stories and real relationships.

“May you be fulfilled in your love, your work and your friendships and may your faith be strengthened through your trials. May 2016 be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful. And don’t forget to make some art – write, or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. “

Happy New Year Gorgeous people!

 

2015 is over!!! Wheres my Rainbow???

I don’t even know where the year went, but when deciding to sit down and write, I realised it’s time for the annual “OMG the year is over, I’m so grateful” blog post. But before we go thanking the heavens for blessings and the end of another year, let’s just take a minute of silence for how INSANE this year was (I know I’m not alone, but I bet you I win).

As 2015 comes to an end I’m all about rainbows and pots of gold because the thunderstorms which I endured this year have made me wiser, happier and a whole lot stronger.

The metaphor of the storm and the rainbow was always an irritating cliché for me because when the storms are raging, the lightning is brightening the sky and the hail is damaging your car the last thing you think of is a rainbow…truth be told, when the rainbow comes out we’re sometimes too busy emptying our gumboots of the water and trying to touch up the bruises from the hail that we don’t even notice the rainbow. So since we’re a generation of “ers” (that means we want bigger and better everything) let me help you understand the magnitude of my storm and the intensity of my rainbow…and the size of my gratitude basket.

If you’ve been following my blog this year, you would’ve realised two things, firstly, I didn’t write much, and secondly when I did it was my complete naked soul. This was the first year that I wrote with raw honesty, where I used this platform to help me through what I can describe right now as the toughest season of my life…yep…THAT dramatic. in 28 years, i have never experienced heartbreak, fear, trauma, insanity (for real) and downright madness all in one year.

So I started the year off with a twofold battle, a legal battle and a battles of the heart. I had made a mistake…over and over again…but I’m not one for exposing old wounds so you can go ahead and read a little bit about that here (It will be okay…). The storm was long and draining, it costs me my dignity, a great deal of respect and a bucket load of friends who fell away like dead leaves in autumn. This thunderstorm lasted months, and with each month a little more of me was exposed and a little more of me broken down. With each court appearance I was transformed, negatively. The person I used to look at in the mirror was confident and independent, she was motivated and bold, the shell I had become was exhausted and drained, I was angry and negative and most importantly I was cold-hearted. I had happy pills which helped stop my brain from functioning and plastered a dead smile on my face to show the world I was unaffected. I floated through the storm with my plastered smile, not realizing the impact of the water and hail and believing the words around me…”this too shall pass”.
The truth was, it did pass, but when the hail and thunder stopped, it was more like a few days of gloomy weather, and then darkness. No rainbow, no sunshine, just doom and gloom. Unless I missed the rainbow, I’m pretty sure it had a free pass on me.

As months have passed, I can see the rainbow of this situation. I may have missed it on the day but 4 months later the colours shine brighter than a kid’s party. I see the colours of love and realise that it’s a sacred emotion shared and so easily broken. I saw the world through rainbow coloured glass and realized that people don’t treasure moments and unfaithfulness has become a common behaviour.  I learnt that my ability to trust everyone with my heart and soul is something that I need to curb…considerably. I’ve seen the rainbow in how my own heart works, I love so completely and totally that I give my entire life, soul and heart away and these traits are admirable and will make my love so worth it to someone who appreciates it…one day. And I see the brightness of haters; that they really do make you stronger and forgiveness of self is so much more rewarding that public opinion.

But if that wasn’t enough…my hailstorm saw a gap between the gloom and hit again. 3 gunmen, three hours, our family home torn apart, as we sat in fear, disbelief and so much uncertainty…and a memory which will last forever. That night rocked our worlds. The days after the holdup I began to understand what a mothers love meant, the fact that my mother lost her mind (only momentarily), my sister cried uncontrollably as she held my 2 year old niece and I said there staring around the room praying that they would leave, not thinking about anyone around me, not concerned for my life or worried about the millions of possible scenarios or endings but dazed by the reality of crime in our country and again…numb to the harshness. As we spent the new few weeks sitting up late together in the lounge simply because we couldn’t sleep, or crying out of the blue, because some realisation hit or some image was triggered, there was no rainbow. For months, no colours, our world was black white and grey and coupled with my cold heart from the last hailstorm, I was sure that I would be ‘damaged’ for life.

But again, three months later I look back at the situation and see rays of colour between the gloom The rays that allowed me to view my family in an entirely different light. The bright colours that made ‘my dad the hero’ make perfect sense for me…(even at ‘nearly 30’). The realisation that material things truly mean nothing in relation to the people in your life. As I played over situations of “what if’s” in my head, I thought of my niece and I began to understand what unconditional love means. The lessons that come from storms are always hardest to bear…but the rainbow comes out, even months later and when you see it. It’s magnificent.

A month after most of the chaos had settled I made a big life changing decision and moved to the big bad city of Johannesburg. I remember the psychologist making sure I understood that I was willingly moving to the crime capital of our country, just a month after our ordeal. I understood and moved anyway. The hail wasn’t as extreme and the gloom wasn’t as real, instead Joburg became my breathe of fresh air, I began spending most of my time with a group of insanely hilarious, very confusing and all round fun guys. They made me feel young and fresh and like I could party again (even momentarily) and it was everything that my soul needed. It needed to be revitalized and awakened to the reality of life and all its guilty (and not so guilty) pleasures. Sunrises and lots of smoke allowed my rainbow to become a reality.

But it was big bad jozi, and between the laughter and partying the doom, gloom, hailstorms and thunder were very real, from a near hijacking, to falling on my first day at work, to having to step back and realise that im a grown up, (LOL)…but the rainbow is realer. The biggest lesson I learnt is that the bigger the storm, the brighter the rainbow.

And so now, as the year ends, I’ve already popped my champagne and I’m sitting back and want to thank those who added to my hailstorms. I want to thank the courtroom crew for showing me how real ish can get and how serious people can be about protecting lies, I want to thank the three men and their guns for making me tougher and preparing me for big bad jozi, I want to thank my heart for having it together all the time and I want to thank lost friends and haters, because you’ve added to what was the most difficult year for me, you added to my gloom and hail and thunder and because of that, my blessings are abundant, because of you I stand in the 7 colours of wonder and am overwhelmed at the beauty and grateful for the end of the year.

I hope your year hasn’t been as rough, but if it was, and the rainbows seem to be hidden by the clouds…believe the cliché, pop the champagne, smile at the haters and drink to hailstorms passing and rainbows and colours.

Have a safe festive season and may 2016 bring you rainbows and colours and love and some more🙂

 

Dirty Money and Bravado.

I’m a sourcing specialist – which means my most important KPI is to create savings for my company. So…I am paid to look at spreadsheets, analyze years of spend and information and say “Hey! Do you see that money in that pile of mud? I’m going to get it for us”.
My job has taught me to analyze a situation, to find a solution and to deal with risks, and it seems my life has begun to take that same shape – I’ve become a problem solver, not dwelling on pain, hardship or failure for too long…but rather finding the money through the mud. Within this mammoth task of finding gold beyond the slime – we’re also called to be very loud, firm and no nonsense kinda folk and because of that, I find myself wanting to share my opinion with the world, all the time.

The past few months have thrown the most mud at me, like ever! It was more like a mud slide of absolute chaos, in every form. I now sit, as the mud settles and I’m beginning to wonder a lot of things. I’m worried about our country…as young kid’s murder each other in daylight it makes me nervous for the generations to come. As I turn on the TV, I’m worried about our women and their lack of self-worth. As I look at our crime rate, I am worried for my safety. There’s a lot to be worried about, enough happening around us to make us question our faith, the people who there to protect us…and most importantly, our sanity. The dirt is real and finding the money gets harder every day. But this post is not here to point out the ills of our society, to place judgment on any race group for their behavior, or to crucify women in little shorts dancing around falling notes, what it’s aimed at is understand where we fit in with our loud mouths and sometimes hurting opinions.

A young man was killed this month. A young man from a coloured area in Durban. Now I don’t have the statistics of deaths in our city or in each ‘legally-racially-segregated area”, but I’m willing to take a risk on this one…and say that he wasn’t the first youngster killed in our city this year, to say also that there have been other murders in this town by other race groups, and to point out that murder is a worldly phenomenon and not (believe it or not), common only to coloured areas. But let’s get back to this young man – he was killed within a more public setting. He was killed on display for the whole of Durban to see, he was killed and his death (literally) stopped the party.  The muddiness of this situation resonated through every area in Durban, the mud of a society and race group was splattered on the doors and windows of coloured people all over the country. People began to point at us, to separate our behavior from those of coloured people in other parts of the country. They began dissecting and prodding on social consequences, upbringing and location and placing blame on parents and communities for the behavior of a single group of boys (regardless of how frequent this occurs).
I don’t have a problem with opinion or with your thoughts across paper (or your PC screen or wherever), I have a problem with a lack of healthy debate. When someone comes out saying “THIS IS THE PROBLEM, BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT” and the sheep of society, click share, like one hundred times, throw around a few gold stars and applaud the outright defamation of an entire race group – that’s not healthy debate. It’s a one sided opinion that has created a hell of a lot of mud to get through. A one sided opinion that created the type of dirt that no race group needs. The type of opinion that had co-workers questioning when I would stab them… (Really?!)

The problem with society’s mud is that we get to a point where we throw it around so much that we begin to lose sight of the money altogether – and when opinion does that, the consequences can be diabolic.
Coloured Bravado was described as a need to be heard, as an idea that coloured people “Don’t take shit!” that we bring with us a social fear and personal demand of respect.
Is this a particularly coloured phenomena?  Are the rest of the race groups in our country laying back and allowing shit to happen around them? Are white people giving away their companies, homes, money and wealth which was left to them from their rich great great grandfathers? Are black people allowing any other race group to continue the behavior imposed some 30 years ago? And are Indians jumping back on boats and floating off to their motherland because someone said “go home?” No! The idea that “WE DON’T TAKE SHIT” is human behavior. It is not a race specific character.
What was displayed in this article was a certain group of people (not race specific). A young white man was sentenced very recently for getting into a fight at a local rugby match and killing a guy. Dead! In the townships (within our city), there is black on black murder more regularly than in any other area in our city. Indians have fought at the club every single time I’ve been to one (and that used to be quite regularly). Male bravado is an actual thing. Coloured Bravado is an opinion, of one man, which has resulted in splattered mud and NO healthy debate.

Coloured bravado can be named integrity, it can be named opinion (much like the article was). It’s a characteristic of people who want to be heard, who are strong and sure of themselves. We, as coloured people, may have used it incorrectly, but then again, so did the white people a while ago. So do black people when they deal with the crime within the township. The article is a ‘concoction’ of loosely used terms that could be synonyms for a host of different race groups and character traits. And the results of this particular loosely used term have had the worst effect on our community and coloured people at large. You have THOSE coloureds and THESE coloureds stepping over the mud and moving as far away from each other as possible. You have some saying “I didn’t grow up in a community and can’t relate, but I agree”, you have others saying “Those coloured people behave differently to me”. NO! Coloured is a race group, which means we’re a culture of intricately woven fabrics, all different, which make up a group. We may not all be the same (as is any race group), but I am as proud to be a coloured today since the public killing as I was before the fateful day.

This sums up my entire need to write…as humans who have freedom of speech, are we going around throwing mud at people? Are we naming them BAD and full of shit because the thought popped into our minds…and are the rest of the sheep saying “Baaaaaaaaa-eutiful piece” before understanding the impact of the words. How do our thoughts, words, and actions affect the people around us? How do we, as coloured, white, Indian, black south Africans feel about the impact we have on our country.
What this article has done, is taken one big paintbrush, dipped it in slimy mud and painted us, all coloureds with the same brush. Yes, we have poverty, yes, we have dysfunctional homes, and yes we have aggression. But the actions of SOME cannot be dirtied across the group.

I’m a coloured South African female, I’m 28 years old, which means I have lived longer than the kids who have killed each other this month, and I understand that transition takes time and encouragement. I have been given opportunities and experiences that have shaped who I am. I have travelled, seen parts of the world, learnt about communities and worldly behavior.  I believe that my experiences and travels have made me street wise and not ‘coloured wise’. When I see the world – I don’t focus on the mud of my own society in relation to the money of another. I don’t see the nicety of one culture in relation to the aggression of my own. And this is what we as South African people need to move away from. As we become mud focused, we create justifications for behavior. We create reasons for  certain behavior, we give it a name, define the why, what, where and who is responsible, we place blame and then we move on, more “educated” on unjustified behavior and we become accepting of this. This is not healthy debate. It is unhealthy opinion.

There was an article in the 80’s around gangsterism in Wentworth. It expressed the idea that living in Wentworth during those times meant that people were afraid to walk in the streets alone. This is no longer the case. If we begin to name a society for a single aspect of their past then the mud would never be clean. All that opinion does is, it places generalized views on groups of people…

All black people steal!
All Indians commit fraud!
All white people have money!

And…all coloured people fight each other to death over a dirtied shoe!

I, for one will not accept this generalized opinion. I will not accept the mud thrown and the lack of money seen.

This right here is my point. As human beings we have this desire to be heard, we want the world to see our thoughts and yet complain about invasion of privacy. We want the city to understand our anger and yet think no further than the harshness of our words. We want our opinions on culture, the behavior or women, the strength of men, the downward spiral of our society’s moral capacity, the behavior of our children, our race and our people to be ‘understood’…and yet in screaming out aloud, we pierce the world, inflicting more pain, more anger, more distaste and dirty the nation with muddy opinion.

My opinion is valid and should be heard…as should yours. But are your thoughts encouraging healthy debate or are they throwing dirt? Is a display of your minds working based on your belief in what you say or in your need for the world to hear you? Being bombarded with social media I am faced daily with the pains of minds expressing their disgust in various aspects of our country. My writing is not to point out the right from wrong…my point is to encourage healthy debate rather than selfish opinion.

As South Africans, whether black, white, green or blue, our focus should be on the money. We should spend less time looking at the mud and more time to find the money. We need to stop placing blame and creating descriptions and terms for groups in a generalized way and we should be encouraging discussion rather than enforcing opinion. We should use our life experiences to realize that we are a developing nation, we have opportunities and we have people, we have lots to be grateful for and we have cultures which are full of money. We need to start taking responsibility for our own actions. Not placing blame on our parents, on our circumstances on our wealth or poverty and start growing up and showing up. Respect is earned – not by bloodshed or aggression, but by your impact on your society. As coloured people, we are full of culture, yes, we are strong, we are opinionated and we are beautiful. We are real! We offer honest friendships, we offer loyalty like no other race group and we laugh and love passionately. That’s our money. We have mud, we have flaws, we have pain and we have hardship – but we have to stop throwing mud at each other and start dancing in the falling notes, because being able to point out flaws in easy, but being able to see the money is something we will continue to learn daily.

The term bravado means: a bold manner or a show of boldness intended to impress or intimidate

I am a coloured. I am brave and bold, I am strong, and I don’t take shit. I AM educated. I respect people, regardless of race, who have worked, achieved and overcome adversity. I admire growth, I encourage conversation and I find joy in my people’s success rather than their dirt. I am proud. I intimidate with my brain, in the boardroom and with my conversation in social circles, the conversation that inspires healthy debate. I encourage growth of fellow people, regardless of race, culture or upbringing. I offer support, loyalty and real friendship. I dance. I sing. I love and laugh (loudly).

I don’t accept the mud of my society but instead, can see the wealth in my people!

A tribute to Faith-fill (ed) father

Yesterday, we had two main reasons to celebrate. The first was that 7 years ago, my dad stepped towards what he believed God was saying to him and started a church…the second was that he turns 60 years old today. There were a number of other celebrations, around Gods goodness, his blessing, providence and his faithfulness and we enjoyed the moments of grace together.However, for me, beyond these celebrations, i was honoured to be able to give a gracious expression of words, to my dad, mum and their role in my life and the church. 
Surprisingly enough – this was not difficult to do and didn’t bring with it tears – instead it encourages me to throw around my words and give you insight into an area of my life which isn’t always displayed across these pages.  
My blog has never been a podium for my beliefs or an expression of my faith. This expression is a glimpse into the working of the more spiritual side of my heart and head and maybe the beginning of a better understanding of whats to come…anyway, whatever the background- I had to share. 
I stood up in front of the church (i know, daunting) and spoke to the masses on  what my father means to me and my appreciation of his life, love and ministry…so while my blogging has been on hold, i’ll share this one with you to let you know, i’m still here🙂

Enjoy it…    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

The story of the prodigal son is one of my dads all-time favourite scriptures. He’s managed to view it from every point, to break it down and dissect it. He’s made it real for all those who listen to him speak on it, with a passion which he throws around every Sunday morning from this exact spot (which is very unfamiliar to me).

Despite the many years of learning and hearing and understanding this scripture from him, it’s only more recently begun to take perfect shape for ME.

In Luke 15: 11 the story begins:
“Jesus continued, there was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them. 13 Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.”

My parents have always provided a united front – in their raising of us, discipline of us and the way they related to each other. They have always spoken the same language and for many years offered the same advice. We never had the joy of playing one up against the other because they always knew what we would do before we did it.

During my varsity years I was referred to as the prodigal son in family discussions. I would return to my homestead after a weekend of partying or at the end of a rough month. My dad would, as always be ecstatic about my arrival, he would welcome me with open arms, with my washing done, with my favorite French toast ready for breakfast…and very often with an open wallet, without question, with complete love and according to my sister, with a favouristism that only younger kids have the pleasure of experiencing.
Now, varsity is over, partying is long forgotten…I have my own washing machine and I provide the eggs, but my father still displays the exact same excitement when I come home (much more frequently these days). The reality of Jesus’s story about the prodigal son is that the father displayed in the scriptures is a man who my own father has managed to mirror almost perfectly in his nearly 60 years.
Some of the most direct comparisons are visible in the scriptures:

The father in this story displayed an unimaginable patience.

IN verse 17 the scripture continues:

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

Having lived with three very loud and opinionated women, my dad’s patience has developed to an award winning level.
During my 21st speech my dad used the letters in my name to create adjectives to describe who I was. The L in CARLA stood for Leech. My ability to always be THERE, not giving him a moment to breathe. The joy of this idea was that despite this expression– he never complained – he took his moments of silence when he could, but he answered questions, explained unnecessary ideals and listened to my rambling without complaint.

The scripture continues…

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him

The father in this story displayed forgiveness and compassion.

My dad has a heart of gold. His road to forgiveness has been a long journey of pain and learning and through this journey he has taught me more than he realizes. He’s taught me that no matter what hand is dealt, the way you walk out of it, is what counts. Your struggles, your past and your circumstances don’t define who you are today. Your pain does not affect how you love people and your suffering does not determine how you love suffering people. He taught me that you never have to be anything that you’re told, taught or lived – instead that through Jesus we become exactly who he wants us to be – wonderfully and perfectly made.

Having lived my entire life as the daughter of a preacher, I’ve always had to share my dad, with the community, with the church and with anyone who needs anything. For me, this has never been a burden simply because of the pride i feel being able to share this great man with the world. Despite being everywhere for everyone, he had the ability to be exactly what we, as a family need him to be at any given moment. While I may not be around as much to leech off him, he’s still my go-to guy for everything, from one hours conversations helping me understand my spiritual confusion, to my broken heart moments. Your ability to understand my pain, to give me hugs just when they’re needed and to tell me when “He’s got to go” are appreciated.
While we celebrate Edward, his birthday and his years of ministry, his life and his passion, being able to stand on the inside, I know that while my father is a great man of God, his role here and in the last 37 plus years was due to the wonderful woman of strength and patience that he has right beside him

In verse 31 it goes on to say:

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

The father in this story displayed commitment.
My parents have given us this is the best form yet. This building and all of you here are a direct reflection of that commitment and team work. They have given my sister and me a perfect display of what a team is and how support and encouragement are vital ingredients in a perfect marriage. They have shown us that conversations around the table are always united and any disagreements are never heard, and they showed us that despite two different personalities, when your focus is on God, all things are possible.

The most important topic in the entire scripture is about inheritance. J

“Luke: 15:12 says that the first thing the younger son said to his father was – give me my share of the estate”…

The cliché would have me say that what is left is not as important as what I have now – the reality is that what is left is the ONLY important thing. From my parents I have already inherited buckets of gold;
I’ve inherited the joy of understanding how I deserve to be treated.
I’ve inherited the meaning of a relationship fixed on Jesus.
I’ve inherited the role of a woman who encourages and supports her husband and a man who loves his wife like Christ loves the church.
I’ve inherited the joy of a loving and real family.
I’ve inherited a gratefulness for right now and an expectancy for what lies ahead because of who my God is.
I’ve inherited true love and an understanding of my faith.

In understanding the prodigal son – I learn that the story isn’t about discipline but about membership. While I remember many moments of discipline through the years, the fact that I now, 28 years later understand completely that no matter what I do, the love of my parents is exactly the same love that my heavenly father has. Through disappointments and hurt, regardless of where I’m at, how old I am or what new dream I have on that day – they will support me. No matter who I choose to spend my life with, they will encourage my happiness and no matter what I do to fail, their love will remain constant.

The prodigal son was lucky enough to have a real dad, not a birth father, but a dad. A man who displayed compassion and constant love. Today I celebrate my father, as a man of God, whose heart is in line with Gods, whose passion for people makes him a great leader and whose ability to love everyone makes him someone to admire.
I celebrate a mother who encourages my dreams, gives me just enough hugs and a perfect amount of “hell no’s” to keep me grounded. I celebrate a woman who has allowed my fathers passion to be the center of her life and who has given of herself selflessly to our family, to this church and to my fathers’ hunger for the word of God.

So now, as we look back at a church on a 7 year journey, we can be proud of the pastors who lead us and the hearts that they have for Jesus. As a church we can acknowledge your commitment and selflessness and understand that without your obedience to God we would not be here.  I, as your daughter can be proud of the many years before – where you created in me a heart for Jesus and a passion for people. Where you allowed me to be myself and continue to help me understand what Gods complete and perfect love means through your love for me

Matthew 5:14-16 says:

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

So today – we celebrate you both. As a couple in Christ, as a leading team in this church and as the pioneers in what was once a vision to be discovered. We thank you for your obedience to Christ and for your hearts for Jesus and Grace Family Church North Coast. We pray for your continued blessings and that your light will shine into this church and community for many years to come.

“It’s all going to be okay” :)

The common courtesy for death is a paradoxical one for me. You see, what happens is that someone dies, and from the day of death, the deceased’s home becomes a hive of activity. Filled with food, support and bodies offering comfort in whatever way they know how. Calls. Messages. Flowers. Prayers and praises, it becomes a sudden surge of support. The family who have lost the loved one find themselves bombarded with love, slapped with comfort and what I would imagine to be a very uncomfortable display of reassurance that ‘everything will be okay’. This family is in mourning, they are hurting, they feel hollow and broken, they have lost a part of them and life without, isn’t something that can easily be grasped. But as humans, we offer support for the people we care about – we linger a little longer when we see pain and we hug a little harder when we see tears.

The paradox comes in when the funeral is over – the body is in the ground and the house is empty. Because at that point – life begins to be unbearable.  At the final point of death, when the funeral is over and the family is forced to live without…day to day, week by week – this when the support is most needed. But as humans, we move on with our lives, oblivious to the longing, the pain and the lifelong hardship of losing something.

As I sat in my home last Thursday evening, this is what I felt. I had lost, I felt depleted and without energy to function. The day had come – the day I had prepared myself emotionally for, the day which for a long month had flashed in my mind daily, the day where I would be rid of fear, miraculously, tears and pain and the common discomfort associated with ill emotion would be gone. The day which was the end of a reminder of my mistakes. That day was today, and as I sat in my ‘funeral home’, in hollow, depleted pain, surrounded by the people who loved me the most, there to offer comfort, and emotional support for my ‘loss’…all I could think about was “what happens tomorrow, when you’re all gone?”.

The past few months have taught me some of my greatest lessons. The terrible thing about learning lessons is that the learning part is always painful. We learn lessons from our mistakes, we learn lessons from our broken hearts, from ended friendships, from unexpected personality traits and from tears. Life lessons are particularly difficult…but being able to sit alone, when your funeral home in empty and realize that pain is okay, and it will pass – that’s the ultimate goal.

As I sat in my noisy home I battled to understand how I got there. How I managed to find myself in depleted pain. Why my eyes felt sandy and my bones ached, I couldn’t make sense of the dramatic current emotions based on past mistakes. The reality of my funeral was this; I had, during my tender selfish years of self-loathing, made a choice which would ultimately effect a lot of people negatively. I made a conscious decision to act without thinking of others pain and I allowed myself to enjoy temporarily what I didn’t need. I tripped on the curb of choice and satisfied my selfishness with deflecting the need to care. While my intentions were not for the pain of anyone – my actions in themselves were.
After a year, I walked away from it, not accepting my role in someone else’s pain but with the thought that “if it wasn’t me, it would’ve been someone else”, I satisfied my ego by accepting that I walked away, out of choice, settling my demons and making sense of the discomfort. And I walked away unscathed, unaffected and without emotion. Two years later, my unscathed demons reared in the form of unbelievable pain for another person. My actions, despite years ago, came out in the most knife piercing way.
And while I listened to the laughter in my own funeral home – my mind jolted back to the other funeral homes, riddled with confusion, punctured with misplaced anger, hollow and pained, just like me.

A common and old school ideal often thrown around by all-knowing parents or warning grandparents “What happens in the dark, comes out in the light” – the words hold as true as can be for me, and in understanding the enormity of this statement, I take from my experience lesson one.  The confusing thing for me was that my actions would ultimately and inevitably result in pain, for someone –does the fact that we know death is imminent make it any less painful? Does the fact that we can prevent or prolong that death make the tears any less salty? Nope – my funeral home was filled, by myself, I caused the funeral and I now sat, drenched in my misery and surrounded by the people who would come back again and again, no matter what the cause for the pain, as long as there was pain – they would fill my house…again and again.

Which brought me to my second lesson. Nothing shows you true friendships better than hardships. During trials a major lesson of life is learnt, during pain, a main message on relationship is better understood and during tears, the ones who are there to hug you – those are your people. As I stood (metaphorically) in front of judging crowds everyday I had three different kind of relationships show up. I had relationships on the outside – these people called, offered moral support and ensured that they would stand up for me…only silently. They offered their thoughts and encouragement but would not carry the coffin out of the church, they wouldn’t be throwing a handful of sand into the hole and they most certainly would not be preparing a eulogy. This group would show up, at the funeral, in their Sunday best, sit at the back so no one saw them and leave before anyone asked any questions. They were the type of relationships which happened in silence. The ones who would express profusely and never act, they would call, encourage and agree – but the ability to boldly shout out, this wasn’t their portion.
The second group were the same, but different. They would carry the coffin, they would shout from a distance and even give me a hug in public, but they don’t do dirty work. Just support, in more clinical ways.

The final ideal, which I have come to learn is a very very minor number of people – this group, they filled my home, they fed me, and they cleaned the corpse, ordered the coffin, filled the hole and came back when the funeral was over.
You see the thing about pain is that these three groups reveal themselves in what is another painful step in the journey. They take their place in your life as the corpse cleaners, the coffin carriers and then the rest…
This lesson was hardest – as I look back at my life and see the numbers of people who have been a part of it, and now as I stand in infamy I am no longer suffocated by people, but stretching out to the few who are real.

Another thing I learnt was that pain has friends. They round up like a happy crew in sunshine – they pile the car and pack their baskets for a group day out. Pain brings with him, guilt, negativity, anger, confusion, resentment and all its cousins. They put up their umbrellas next to your coffin and host a party long enough to prolong the lowering of your casket. This family of horrid emotions, will stay, like unwanted guests, until you chase them. But I knew this lesson, I knew it before I learnt it, I understood that my negative emotions fueled everything else that was hollow and mechanical. I knew that my pain was a result of my misery and my blame and and and, and only now, do I understand how important it was for me to take down their umbrellas and end the party.

As I stood in my now empty funeral home, a day later and unpacked my mind. I went back into time and re-wrote the story. I broke down how and why and when and I made sense of my drained emotions. I separated the groups and forgot about the questions and demands. The most important lesson that I finally made sense of, had nothing to do with blame, with hatred, with infamy. Instead it had everything to do with pain. I learnt that while pain is hard and sore, and emotional, the power that pain has is COLOSSAL.  The person who played the largest role in my funeral production, I had come to know some two years ago – he was kind, generous and relaxed. He had a way of making everything okay for me with a smile and a hug. He was soft and caring. The same person was now the reason I was afraid of everything. The reason my bones ached and my soul was depleted. He was hurting and I was the aim of his arrow. And that fear, was fueled by his pain.

We all deal with our pain differently, some, like me, cry, emptying our tear ducts to leave us swollen eyed and salty. Others use anger, expressions of hatred and revenge and fear. But we’re all people who feel. While this post may be mildly (that’s sarcastic) gloomy, take from it that your pain is okay. How you handle it is what needs to be broken down. Learn your lessons, understand your ache and then take down the umbrellas and let the casket go down.

My coffin isn’t quite in the ground, my pain is not complete…but my lessons continue. As I struggle through another day of fear, pain and judgment, I have learnt and I have come to love myself, deeper. I have come to understand that as my years go on, I only need corpse cleaners, I don’t need funeral attire don-ners, or coffin carriers, I need real, authentic people who have my back, even when I’m not around. I’ve learnt that life becomes more real through pain, and while we all have family we don’t particularly enjoy, these unwanted guests that come with him, are essential to you becoming the best you yet. Don’t chase the pain too quickly, embrace it, learn what you need from it and help him pack his basket when you’re ready. Prevent yourself from preparing for unnecessary funerals in your own life, by staying out of the dark and walking on sunshine, and appreciate your people. Because you will host a funeral, a few, in your lifetime, and you need to make sure that you aren’t chasing feelings, or coffin carriers every single time.

It’s been a rough start to 2015, but the pain has been welcomed, I’m packing up his basket now and getting ready to drop the casket and place the flowers. The coffin is halfway in the ground, the funeral will end and I will walk away, with my corpse cleaners, knowing that when the next one begins, I’m already half way through it. I will make sense of the hollowness and forgive myself for my indiscretions, and I will start again, because “it’s all going to be okay” despite the loss, the pain, the emotion, the fear, and all the bad family that come with it.

May your pain last only a moment and all your funerals of 2015 bring with them a ray of sunshine once the ground is covered.

Hashtags and heart moments

After many years of love and life I am at this cross road. This cross road is probably fueled by extreme emotion and will probably seize to exist a year from now (OK, I’m lying…a week from now); however, despite that, today I need to decide what is best.

I’m standing between Single town and Relationship Street and asking where my soul needs to be? While this may seem extreme and impossible, I believe that any decision can be made, based on logic, understanding and enough information – so I’m going deep, and I will come out (even if it is momentarily) as a winner, with clear direction and a heart which will follows suite.

The joy of partnership or the idea of uninterrupted freedom in all aspects of my life?  Do I desire the cohabitation and gender meshing, the coexisting which means toilet seats will be left up, you will forever have someone to clean up after and yet you get to experience the joy of union… or do I prefer to live a life of freedom. The type of freedom that has you eating peanut butter with a teaspoon and has you worried about your bulges, dirty dishes and unpainted nails only when it suits you…

Def: Crazy Single
A time when you have NO one and the delivery man makes you smile.

I’ve had my fair share of life on all ends of the spectrum. I have (what felt like) a decade of being CRAZY SINGLE. Crazy single is by definition the time when you have no one. And I mean no one to text, no one to think about before bed. Not a giggle at your phone type of feeling or a “Let’s go for a drink and make out afterwards for fun” kind of friendship. Nada, nix.  The type of single where if a light bulb went out in my house and I couldn’t reach it…oh well. The dangerous thing about being CRAZY single is that you can easily misinterpret any form of contact, interest and genuine conversation as explicit love. The very friendly petrol attendant – yeah, he loved me. The guy behind the counter at the movie store, he saw stars, and the Debonairs delivery man and I had a secret unspoken love. It’s a difficult time of searching, lusting and loathing, all in one. This crazy single stance wasn’t once off for me – instead it was more like a series of crazy single moments – sporadically spaced across my years of life. Every single time with a promise that I would never be in another relationship…Now I sit, after another relationship has ended and assumed I would fly right back into the pool of singles and do it again…but News flash grannies, the game has changed and we don’t own a rule book anymore.

Def: 28 and single
Viewed as desperate, crazy and searching relentlessly for a fertilizer

Being single in the 21st century means that you are an immediate option of interest for men. And by men I mean ALL of them. A single woman, at 28 is viewed as many things – we’re either crazy (hence being “left” alone at this stage in our lives), we’re viewed as workaholics, meaning that we focus way too much on our work and are incapable of satisfying any man’s extensive list of needs (which usually include, food and sex), we’re viewed as overly independent, which intimidates a lot of ‘them’ and most importantly, we’re viewed as desperate – that any guy who comes into our lives has to try very little to please us, and don’t worry about the effort because all the desperate singles are wanting is marriage and to fertilize our nearly dried up birth creating eggs.

Def: Generational gap
A time frame when men get more appealing and women get a whole lot more outdated

When I think back to being single at 18, during my “weekend starts on a Thursday” days, when love was usually dependent on how good you looked next to me and how, loving you, was generally dependent on how much fun we could have together and not at all on what sense you spoke or the composition of intellect you threw at me. The years when your outfit, heels and killer legs would more often than not get you whoever you wanted, with no real effort, or even conversation. During these very exciting years, finding a mate was a senseless duty of most nights out, it was a result of a variety of things – if you were unnecessarily nasty to her, she would kiss your boyfriend, because she could, if he was the bane of your cheating boyfriend’s existence, go on a date with him. We lived every single day with a guard of emotional protection around our hearts. Every action (no matter how harmless), came from a place of protection, ego and sometimes social revenge. Falling in love happened quickly and without too much thought – you would go from “he’s ok” to “I cannot live without him” in a mere month. The years were fun and dating was always a dramatic affair or cold love war.

Def: Real men
Men who aren’t intimidated by a woman’s success, independence and ability to buy her own drinks
.

Some ten years later, I think the needs and desires on both ends have changed. No short skirt, or branded heels are going to get you the caliber you search for. With real men – by definition I mean those men who aren’t intimated by the fact that we live alone, drive ourselves wherever we need to go and earn enough money to fill our fridges, buy our own drinks and run a household…for ourselves. Those men are few and far between, however those men need intellect, they need conversation and a connection beyond their eyeballs. For the desperate single who actually isn’t desperate at all, but instead is secure enough to understand exactly what she deserves and knows beyond belief exactly what she wants and is comfortable enough to be on her own rather than to settle for the rest, these women need laughter, conversation and communication well before intimacy. We need someone to speak to our brains and acknowledge our intelligence before they acknowledge our assets. We require so much more than your effort and we steer clear from your love dramatics.

As I sat in a local club, just a week ago, I felt afraid of what the future looked like for me and was adamant that a life in Single Town was where I would create a home. I stepped back and glanced through the dull lit room as the beat bounced off each of my brain cells, adding to my already full cup of frustration and I realized that these things once excited me and today…all I wanted to do was trade it for bedroom slippers, cheap wine and a bowl of spaghetti bolognaise. I felt exposed as hungry men looked straight into my chest and ignored my eyes, mouth (which was moving) and my freshly done hair. I looked at the number of over exaggerated females, who shone bright like diamonds, sparkly earrings, exposed bellies and pants tighter than a ballerinas favourites. I looked around me and tried to understand the beauty of single life, I tried to create a list of why I would choose to be subjected to this as a lifestyle and I decided that I don’t. Because being happily single means that slippers and bolognaise are a perfect evening, choosing to keep my brain cells away from the bounce was a choice and being single was actually nothing like the display of insanity I subjected myself to.

So here’s what I came up with…

#TheThrillOfTheChase
This was once something which enticed many single girls. To be chased, admired and acknowledged for whatever it is you were offering at first glance.  This is definitely a BAD aspect of the single life. While it was exciting years ago, today, the desperate single realizes that the chase has been tossed out by the gentlemen, and all we’re left with as we return to the streets we were once familiar with, are the leftovers of mildly satisfied boyfriends, finance’s and even husbands of those in long term commitments who are either too scared of  their partners to leave and make themselves happy or are looking for a private satisfaction to help them remove themselves (only momentarily) from their rather mediocre love choices of the past. OR, we’re bombarded with under educated males who speak in acronyms and show me more clearly the fact that the generational gap is real… But my absolute favourite – under 21’s looking for cougars. No thanks, I’m not looking for a Madonna or Demi kind of life.

#CrappyFriends
The truth is that most men have really horrid friends. They have the crazy single guy who turns all his dates into an explicit tale of sexual detail, no matter who’s in the room, they have the guy who thinks he’s the hottest male to land on planet earth and is capable of getting any girl he wants, they have the lost in translation friend who wants to turn higher up than anyone else every weekend, and goes into absolute silence mode when his girlfriend is around, and most importantly they have THAT friend who every girlfriend blames for their boyfriends misconduct…you know that one😉 The joy of being single includes the notion that never ever will you need to sit through a day, evening or even weekend of any one of those friends, you will never have to bite your tongue to save his friendships and you will never be forced to turn up. Your time is your own, your social circle is a choice and spending time turned up or turned down is a choice and not an imposition.

#StoryTime
BEST BEST BEST part of my single life is story time. The continuous dates, with some great and some, well, not so great individuals allows for a detailed and yet simple expression of truth. With no reservations and the joy of being able to date, freely and maturely, you’ll have the perfect balance of laughter and “Awwwww” moments.

#SooooooMuchTime
Your evenings, weekends, phone time, call time, sleep time, wake up time…basically all your time is your own. You can randomly decide to go for dinner with friends. Decide at 2am that you feel like getting dressed up, you can plan a weekend of girly movies and actually watch them all. You can basically do whatever you please, at anytime of the day, not having to think about how happy your actions would make someone else.

#StupidPhase
When I’m single I get to a place of boredom and during that time, I feel like I need to make a decision more stupid than the ones I’ve made in the past. This is known as STUPIDPHASE. It can usually be broken down to loneliness, boredom or a basic need to do something that will have an after effect. But most times this is MY worst thing about being single. Truth is, its just a phase and if you surround yourself with people a little wiser (even momentarily) and a even a tiny bit understanding of your situation, you’ll usually come out of this an absolute champ.

#CheatingFarting
Men do these two things way too often. Having to deal with your flatulence is unappealing enough, however once I have to deal with the other, I’d hit repeat on Karyn White and sing my heart out to Rather being alone “than being un-haa-haaa-pppeeee.”

#BeyonceSingleLadies
That ISH was written just for you! Claim it!

So, after that Single town introduction – I’ve come to love the single life, I enjoy the peanut butter teaspoon moments, I enjoy deciding what my day comprises of and I love being self-governing. I miss the companionship and I do NOT enjoy being immersed in the sea of hungry men and overly excited 20-year-olds. I’ve come to understand the idea of loving myself and being able to function completely on my own.
Despite my eager attempt at finding a solution to my undecided saga, I think I’m going to settle my spirit.  Whether I will make this place my home or use it as preparation to be an awesome girlfriend one day… I don’t know, but I’m definitely going to enjoy where I am on the way to where I will eventually end up. Whether I end up with dried up eggs and grey hair…or I experience the search for something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue… I know that where I’m at right now, is exactly where I need to be and while I am able to acknowledge that I haven’t found MR right yet…I am oh so grateful that I ain’t with Mr. Wrong.

Carrie Bradshaw said: “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself”, and I cannot argue with that, so I’ll build on this relationship, past the acronyms and chest staring males, I’ll enter the unknown waters to remind myself that all I should be working on is me…and I will ignore the requests of dissatisfied boyfriends and accept smiles from gentlemen whose eyes stop at my neck and go no lower :)  Being single isn’t a life sentence, it a journey to greatness.

Hope Valentine’s day brings you closer to those you love and teaches you love yourself a whole lot harder.

“Unapologetically” Authentic

After spending a quiet new year in the bush and being away from tedious things, such as signal and my laptop, I had time to enjoy the end of another year in the most grown up way (ever). I enjoyed family moments of laughter, games with the kids, braais and wine. I enjoyed moments of thought and reflection and took some time out to think about what 2015 has in store for me.

What has 2014 been for you?
I haven’t had any major problems, I made some mistakes, I made some major discoveries about friendship and I learnt a whole lot about my aging self, but it wasn’t one of those years that I couldn’t wait to wrap up – it was pretty chilled. I did see a change in myself over the year – I saw how I started the year and how I ended it off. I examined how my priorities changed, a Friday night out was replaced with movies on my couch and Saturday sleep-in’s were substituted by early morning rising, washing and house cleaning. I looked at how my desires evolved, how friendships are no longer based on shared loves, but on a mutual respect and understanding of differences and I realized the fundamental lesson in growing up…that its okay for some friendships to end  and letting go of people as we grow up is absolutely fine… and expected…

Going into 2015 I, personally will be focusing on my new favourite word – authenticity. In friendships, being able to create bonds which are based NOT on personal gain or selfishness but on a realness which goes beyond needs and desires and into support and constant encouragement, sometimes admonishing but always mutually respected. I will be focusing on my own personal journey of authenticity and how I can ensure that when people look at and remember me (one day), I’m someone who has portrayed loyalty, honesty and an unexplained realness. I want to ensure my life is filled with authentic people and genuine moments of pure positive emotion. I want 2015 to be a year when I become myself, totally and unapologetically – with first regard for myself and my needs, without bashing anyone down, but being able to walk into my 30’s, sure of who I am, and striding towards the things I most desire – with no reservations.
2015 is the year of everything authentic.

In terms of my own journey of authentic living – I have many memories of me being me. Always strong headed and opinionated and very seldom the type to back down for anything (or anyone). While there have been moments where I’ve ‘lost’ myself along the way – I will remember the “ME-moments” more this year and try to understand how the moments have reflected a glimpse of my makeup.

During my years at primary school, I was independent and showed signs of defiance at a very young age (something which I’ve definitely taken with me through my years.) I became a class hero in grade 2 for my ability to stand up for what was right…or not right, the theory behind the action is a bit jaded. As a 7 year old, the most important thing about school was getting as much play time into break as was possible – going to the toilet and other menial tasks like eating and relaxing were not meant to be a part of the time allocated solely for playing.
After a long session of catch during second break, we heading to our final lesson for the day which included an hour session with the bane of my existence – Ms. Kilpin. After settling into class and getting ready to sit around and listen to her stories I stood up off my miniature chair and requested to use the toilet. Her response was expected (I think she always hated me), “You’ve just come back from break, you do not need to go to the loo”, the truth was, I really did need to go and after a back and forth conversation (which may have sounded like an argument) regarding the overflow of my little bladder, she refused. At this point I felt as though my need to be respected and my right to empty my bladder (a bit dramatic) had been disregarded and as I looked around and had 19 other miniature people looking at me for my next reaction. I did what was, in my books, the only option. I sat in my mini chair, in the library and emptied my bladder – in the seat, in the classroom. Ms. Kilpins reaction was one of horror and disgust and my response was merely; “I told you I needed to go”. (Blasé as they come).
Ms. Kilpin allowed me a moment of self-discovery and learning – while it may have taken some 20 years to learn, I did. While we (and this is a broadly human and not gender specific response) walk around with a desire to be respected and a need to stand up for ourselves – are we standing up because we have 19 eyes on us awaiting our reaction, or are we standing up because we unequivocally believe that our cause is worth it? Are we thinking of the actions of our reactions and standing up for beliefs that are worth having a wet bum and distinct smell for the remainder of the day? If so, then go ahead and be strong willed and demand respect. Being a struggle hero is an admirable feat, however being a grown up authentic means that you consider the reactions, actions and consequences and act according to those.

In my more final years of primary school (my hero status had clearly been forgotten at this stage) I had the pleasure of a world class bully. This dude was something else, he was violent, vulgar and mean. He was quite scary and I seemed to be his daily target. To this day I’m not too sure why and after looking at many pics from back in the day I realized that while I was a rather tiny soul, I was a shade darker than almost all the kids in my school and I had the wild kiddie hair that most of “us” can be very proud of (that’s sarcastic) – I think I would have been a bit afraid of me, if I was him. But never-the-less. His fear was non-existent and so he aimed his darts at me, day after day I dealt with his insanity.
After scars and scrapes from being shoved into walls and thrown onto the concrete I would head home, not in tears, but with a strength that made me believe that it would be better the next day? After coming home with two bloody knees, my parents sat down and spoke to me about the bully. My dad, being a man of the cloth gave me the kind of advice that I knew was right – “Turn the other cheek” and “God will deal with him”. I agreed, as my mother watched in silence, I sensed her disapproval of my blood stained knees. In his final attempt at what I’m sure he hoped would be my death, I went home with a burst lip and the taste of concrete lingering. My dad looked at my disfigured mouth and as he examined it and was about to speak my mother butted in – her words rang in my ears like cymbals, I was waiting for them; “Carla, you go to school tomorrow and you hit this boy, proper.” As my father tried to get a word of compassion in for the bully who was now under the watchful eye of mother Schroeter, she responded to his look with a glare of authority; “This will continue if she does nothing.”

I marched into the school gates with purpose on that Wednesday morning, I knew I had a task which needed to be completed and as the break bell sounded, while full of fear, I walked up to Bully-boy and beat him up – with no words shared and no explanation for my actions, I punched, kicked and pulled his hair. Whether fueled by fear or purpose, I had a mission, (which was encouraged by my mother). I was directed to the Principals office and made no excuse for my actions I looked at the principle and the weeping bully, pulled up my skirt to display my still bleeding knees and pouted my swollen lip in his face. I spoke no words and walked out of the office, unpunished. My parents were not called and the bully never returned to school – ever!

While I may not be dealing with bullies and swollen lips, I have come to realize that friendships and relationships hurt as bad as a swollen lip and bruised knees and being able to stand up for your own pain is what is most important. Not necessarily bashing everyone who hurts you up, but being able to understand what you deserve, in relationships and what you expect of friends. I don’t deserve to be hurt or to feel less than I am in my relationships and I certainly do not deserved to be kicked or live in uncertainty when it comes to my friendships.
Authentic relationships and friendships mean that mean girls don’t faze me, competing females will never compare to those who empower one another. Honesty is a priority and understanding realness is what will be vital in 2015.

My high school years had no major political upheaval or demands of self respect; as stated in my Reunion post – I knew I was lucky to be there and didn’t have too much of a spotlight on myself. I did work hard, and came to realize that whatever opportunities handed to you, the results were dependent on you. That the outcomes of our lives are based on how we choose to live each day, what we choose to gain from our experiences and how we choose to ignore, appreciate or grow from experiences, privileges and misfortunes.

By the time I got to varsity and through the first year or two I had swopped friends and replaced career paths. I had found my spot and was proud of who I was. I never had a problem standing up for my friends, myself or my beliefs. I was never the gossiping type and surrounded myself with like-minded people. I spent these years walking into who I am. I generated myself through my friendships and through heated debate on religion, abortions and unfaithfulness. I shaped my thoughts through learning, observing and loving and I began friendships which I was convinced would last a lifetime.

The truth is that while we overtook the outside benches and struggled to play a simple game of four because there were so many of us, in our overflowing group or varied personalities, outspoken characters and very opinionated selves. I stand, some 6 years later and realize that a mere 2 out of the (sometimes) 30 people are today authentic friendships. A painful and difficult realization, but necessary. However heart sore to let go of the rest, I realize that in 2015, these are the friendships I will work on. These are the friendships I will spend time and energy on and these are the people I would take a bullet for, whether in their presence or not. Because being authentic means – not being aware of the eyes watching you, but being who you are, in the presence of the ‘mere’ 2 or the copious 30.

The most difficult thing to find in life, no matter what area of the world, what generation you’re born into and what kind of lifestyle you live is…authentic people. I’m not talking about the people who speak their mind with little or no concern for how you feel. I’m talking about people who are unapologetically themselves. People who speak… and you’re certain that their words express volumes of truth and honesty. The kind of people whose loyalty, allegiance and genuine-ness never has to be questioned. In my 27 years of life – I’ve probably met about 4 of those kinds of people, across the world and across my life-span.

In 2015 I aim to be who I am. I aim to love what I love whole-heartedly and forget the things I choose to forget. I am Carla. I don’t have a soft spot for animals. I don’t cry for movies but watch the news in tears. I read. I write. I run, I eat (a lot). My attention span is very short and I can watch the same movies over and over again. I laugh a lot, I cry even more. I love green and hate pink. I think Barbie is a dweeb because she’s achieved nothing (I feel strongly about this). I would watch American Gangster 50 times over before watching A Walk to Remember or some other sadly emotional love tale.
In 2015 I aim to be proud of who I am. An independent, strong willed and extremely opinionated female. A woman whose passions go from food, to the world, to suffering people, to politics. I will embrace my intelligence and admire strong people who have achieved greatness. I will be honest and real. I will stand up for my friends, as I have done in the past. I will not apologise for my decisions from here-on and I will not compromise myself. I will acknowledge my failures and appreciate my make-up.
In 2015 I will work on real friendships and make no excuses for ending old, unfulfilling ones. I will love whole-heartedly and risk the pain and I will continue to view people with their pasts and try to understand their makeup before judging. I will love. I will encourage, I will try to understand…and I will be genuinely, originally and honestly…AUTHENTIC.

Authentic
adjective

  1. Of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.
synonyms: genuineoriginalrealactualpukkabona fidetrueveritable.

Hope 2015 brings you self discovery and authenticity at its best🙂