Just as I was getting accustomed to turning 40, and accepting it, almost gleefully, 41 just came out of nowhere and bitch slapped me when I least expected it. I thought I learnt a thing or two when I turned 40, but the past year has actually been a lot more revealing than I had ever anticipated. So much has happened and changed in my life and in the lives around me. It makes me wonder if this is how it’s going to be until my last day in this life, or is it that age is making me more observant to the seemingly smallest occurrences.

1. I’ve realised with conviction and conclusion that family is thrust upon you because of blood relations, and they can’t be chosen. Blood, however, may make you related to someone but it doesn’t guarantee you their love, support, genuinity or loyalty. Family can be as untrustworthy as someone you barely know. People you barely know can be more dependable than relatives. This is a sad realisation for me because I always felt that family should stick together,  despite differences of opinon and life choices. The past year has made me stand humbly in my wrongness of believing this. Family is a bond that doesn’t need blood to make it strong. It can come from places and people you least expect and the most important thing about family that I have realised,  is that I really don’t need anyone in my corner who doesn’t have my back, no matter what.

2. In the past months some illiterate fool who doesn’t even know that ‘learnt’ is a word, and who has a thousand and one opinions about VaneetaTellsAll, has been creating false email addresses with the name of my ex husband and has been posting comments under every blog. The comments have been vile and distasteful, to say the least, and truly reflect a drain water mentality, as well as complete and utter cowardice. What I realised about myself if that I actually believed it was my ex husband, at first, it being his name and all. Then I stopped for a moment and considered that this could also be some fool trying to cause trouble where none existed…where nothing existed. So, I called him. Turns out I believe him…that it wasn’t him. This was a breakthrough for me: not thinking the worst of him. So let a clear message be sent: he and I are really on the same page in disgust of you. I have reported it to the police and the cyber bully is clearly a cyber coward who isn’t particularly intelligent or competent in the English language.

3. I realised in the past year that I am much more disliked than I ever noticed before. Because I don’t usually concern myself too much with people who are insignificant in my life, I have not as yet deciphered if it is that they always disliked me, or if the dislike only started recently. The answer to that question is unimportant anyway. What I do know is that people usually dislike in others something they wish they were. So, having a need to be with other people’s husbands and boyfriends comes from a deep, dark hole in one’s own life that cannot be filled with a disingenuous existence. Drowning oneself in fashion and parties and pictures, while trying desperately to project an image of a perfect life, comes from an emptiness that cannot be filled with the insubstantial flattery of others. What I do know is that projecting hate unto me, doesn’t make my life any worse, nor does it drain my happiness.

4. Friendship has been one of the greatest disappointments of the past year. People I thought I could have trusted and people that I did trust with parts of me that we never before shared, turned around and happily betrayed me, justifying it in the most foolish ways. Silence is consent and is thereby a form of betrayal. Doing something that you couldn’t tell me about, is betrayal. Life is too short to burn bridges of friendship over elements that aren’t worth it. At least, so I thought. Until this past year has shown me in the most brutal ways,  that what I value as important, is not as instantly gratifying to others as I had believed.

5. I no longer GAF. Literally. I have no time nor inclination for people who drink and hang out with me at social events, like weddings, then turn around and make fun of a past post I made on social media. I no longer have patience for people who said sorry for hurting me, then continued doing what they are doing with my ex’s and their friend’s husband. I no longer have patience for people who cause trouble among others, in an attempt to use them to fight their battles against me. I no longer have tolerance for whoring, dishonest, cheating men, when I know that better exists.  I no longer have patience for people who are not my blood, deliberately causing dis-ease among blood family members. And I truly don’t GAF about who has problems with my blog.

6. I have realised that women who have no say and no control in their homes, try to exert control elsewhere. It is a form of insecurity that particularly plagues women without us even realising it. We exert control over our children so that we can feel loved and needed, not encouraging their socialization or not trying to develop closeness to others. We exert control over our staff so that we can feel powerful. We exert control over other people’s men so that we can feel sexy. I prefer to exert control overy TV and my prosecco. Only because I don’t care enough about feeling anything but happy. But then again, I no longer have a void to fill.

7. Forgiving and forgetting are two completely different entities. When someone is truly sorry for what they have done and have proven that by changing their behaviour,  it is much easier to forgive and forget transgressions against you. However, when someone claims to be sorry, but continue the very behaviour that is offensive, then one can only try to forgive without forgetting the capabilities that they have. I’ve realised the difference in the past year.

8. I am baffled that in this era of knowledge and self realisation and self actualisation, that silly women put so much worth on their weight. It’s one thing to want to be healthy, and another thing to want to be seen as thin. It’s sad that in this day and age where we are responsible for shaping the self image of young girls, that we put such emphasising association between beauty and smallness of size; and ugliness and weight gain. I suppose I should not be critical of this, as I was the same way when  I was younger, in my 30’s  in a final desperate attempt to feel young and thin and sexy and worthy. Hitting 40 last year was liberating and enlightening. It isn’t until one experiences it, that one will ever truly understand. The only thing that reflects our value is what we do and who we are when no one is watching.

9. Charity really does begin at home. It matters less how many houses we build for others; how many mouths we feed; how many bodies we clothe, if we have no compassion for those closest to us. We cannot be uncaring for our parents,  grandparents,  spouses, but go outside to help others. We must first take care of those in our charge. So if my grandmother…my only remaining and living grandparent, needs the world of attention from me, then she gets it. I have the rest of my life to do more for others after she passes. I can’t claim to love my grandfather, if I don’t do this for him…it’s what he would have wanted. It doesn’t stop me from helping others but it keeps my priorities in check. This is something I try to teach my students – to give, give, give of yourselves, as much as you can. There is no need to advertise all that you do, or do it through a self revering organisation. It is possible to give without talking about it. Feed others, not your ego.

10. The past year has shown me how amazing my husband is. He does everything in his power to make my life easier and happier. He helps with the housework. He does all the things that I hate to do. He reveres me for my cooking and all that I do for him. And he has shown me how wonderful a healthy relationship can be. He makes me feel that nothing else in this world matters but me. He supports my every venture, not just in words. He would take time off from work to help me with my grandmother or take me to the doctor. He insists upon nothing during my vacation, other than me resting. He is truly a man of God, without even realising it. I never knew that men like this existed until I met him. He supports my blog, my choices, my family, my job and my life in ways I never before experienced. And if any of our ex’s didn’t get this from either of us, it’s because they simply did not bring out the best in us the way we do now. Everything else was just practice for this. But I’ve always said it: great parents raise great children.  How could I not love my parents-in-law for what they have given to me.

The most liberating part of being in my 40’s is that I can stand proudly by my decisions with no fear or concern for consequences. My choices are mine. When I wasn’t much younger than this, I thought that I was in control of my choices, but there were always underlying repercussions for them all. Now it’s different, and not everything can be explained. What I do know is that I know what and who I need, and more importantly, I know what and who I am…and while it isn’t all good….it’s still all me.

DISCLAIMER – My blogs are MY truth. I don’t need them to be anyone else’s.

Friendship is but a subset…

Women place very high expectations on men concerning trust, loyalty and honesty. We are always very cognizant of the type of relationship we want and what we will and will not accept.

We often forget that a friendship is also a relationship. Therefore, the same high standards of loyalty, respect, trust and honesty should be placed on that as well. In fact, women should expect more from our friends than we do from any man. After all, these are the people who see us through our lowest points and supposedly help along the way, with no ulterior motives.

Therefore, a betrayal from a friend is always more unacceptable and unforgivable than the betrayal of a spouse.

We forget that the same vulnerability that makes us place our trust in the wrong man, is the same weakness that makes us trust the wrong friends. The blindness that prevents us from seeing a man’s true colours, is the same blindness that prevents us from seeing the falseness in friends.

So when such a betrayal occurs, it really is a no compromise policy about maintaining such friendships.

After the past years of my life, I have no room in it for people who pretend to care about and respect me, when there are selfish, hidden ulterior motives in all that they do and say.
Someone who betrays a friend, is no different from any unfaithful man. She is one that is capable of anything, and that renders her dangerous. The sacredness of female friendships is only destroyed by a very special breed of woman. A calculating, manipulative one.

I am by no means perfect. But the mistakes that I have made over the past years have allowed me to understand consequence and repercussion.

I have come a long way in rectifying my wrongs and learning from them so that I don’t repeat my mistakes. Those mistakes also include not trusting the wrong people.