Do unto others…

Almost every religion teaches that we should treat others the way we would like to be treated, with slight nuances in the wording. We all know the difference between right and wrong, and for the most part, we all understand feelings of compassion, empathy, sympathy and regret.

‘Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is a lesson that I have been guilty of not following on more than one occasion, and for many justified reasons – reasons that I have chosen to justify.
It is always so easy to post on social media about our accomplishments, good deeds and intentions. It is far harder to post about all the ways we went wrong, did wrong and, made situations worse and all the ways we were hurtful to others.

When we feel that we have been trespassed against, reactionary hate seems acceptable at the time. Sometimes that hate takes various forms – calls, texts, gossip, lies, social media rants, and really the list goes on. But is it really ok? We all understand and accept that two wrongs don’t make a right, until we feel the pain of betrayal, wrongdoing, accusations, and malicious rumours. Then somehow, that rule no longer applies to us.
There are some transgressions that are harder to move pass than others.

For example, where I have tried to forgive my ex-husband for all that I felt he had done, understanding that it takes two to make a marriage work, I will still have no desire for a friendship with him, or a conversation for that matter. His transgressions were consistently repeated, deliberate and well calculated for over a decade, and sadly continues years after our precious divorce.

But there are other types of hurt that are less intentional because the truth is…life is messy. Nothing is perfect. None of us are perfect. We make mistakes. And most of all, in retrospect, we could ALWAYS have handled things better than we did. Whether we actually care to admit it or not, it’s still true. Sometimes people hurt you, and don’t intend to. Sometimes they know that their actions might, but they proceed and hope for the best.

Forgiveness, however, does not mean amnesia. We do not and should not forget what was done to us, especially when it was repetitious and deliberate. Likewise, talking about it, writing about it and sharing it, does not mean that we are not over it or that we have not forgiven. People share, or don’t, for different reasons. My reasons for sharing have been expressed in another post.

Sharing our experiences is one of the only ways that we can help others, so that they understand and believe that they are not alone in their trials. It give them hope that this too shall pass. Sharing our experiences, good and bad ones, isn’t brave but it is a choice; a choice that should not be made lightly. Sharing ourselves is a big step in teaching and in learning and in reflecting. Sharing also holds you accountable to all that you say and do, thereafter.

Bad things happen to good people and to bad people. Bad things can also happen for good reasons. Things may never be the same afterwards, and that’s ok. But at least, we are finally mature enough to do what needs to be done…accept, understand, forgive.

There is a freedom in forgiveness and a peace in leaving anger behind that cannot be compared to any other form of happiness….except maybe in shopping.

Why Do I Blog?

Long before <> was even a thought, I always spoke relatively openly on other social networks and forums. For that, I always took a hard hit from many people for varying reasons, some of which I have been told directly.

A former acquaintance, whose opinion of me is as important to me as a stack of hay, used to repeatedly complain, observe and share with our mutual friends that he found that I ‘lived my life publicly on Facebook’. My counter question was always, ‘Why does his profile have so little activity, yet he is so in tuned to everything I write? Is it that the purpose of his profile was to judge the affairs of others?’ I never got the question answered but he continually judged for being so ‘public’.

Some former high school classmates unfriended me on Facebook because of my posts about wanting to remain child-free, somehow believing that my choice to not be a parent, equated that they were wrong to reproduce. Others do not speak to me because I am so vocal about education and parenting related issues, even after given the fact that I am an educator dealing with teenagers every day for sixteen years. I have had people respond to my posts complaining that I didn’t know what I am talking about when I spoke about my life, my choices and my opinions, always quick to explain to me how different their lives were, therefore, I must wrong in all that I felt, thought and shared.

The worst I believe is when people I thought were my friends told me that maybe I should write less on social sights as others would not like that I am so public about so many things, especially when the ‘others’ of whom they speak, seem to affect their lives much more than they affected mine. I have even had relatives, colleagues and friends saying behind my back that I obviously feel that I know everything and that’s why I do it…that it is simply an opportunity to boast or showcase myself.

So to be very clear, my explanation for blogging in its various forms, isn’t to prove a point to the judges, disbelievers and assumers. It is simply to explain to those interested in knowing why I do what I do. My life has not been a conventional one but I, by no means, consider myself a victim. I simply believe that the things that I have been through are not as uncommon to others as one may think. While I am also not trying to pull the ’40 year old card’ either, there is a certain knowledge and wisdom and transcendence that comes to you when you reach certain milestones in your life. Milestones can be age by numbers, experiences or simply occurrences of maturity. Likewise, even though I may have met certain milestones, I, by no means, know everything, and at times, just like everyone else, I often feel like I know very little.

I also know that people are not always willing or comfortable, understandably so, to share their experiences, especially their negative relationship experiences, which we all have. I have come to realise that life is a learning process that really never ends so some failed relationships do not necessarily reflect personal failure. We make mistakes. Life is messy. Some days, life is downright disastrous. However, when friends sit to have a meal or some drinks or just spend time together, and they start sharing their experiences and talking about the hardships they are trying to endure, a solace is brought to the table. Hearing that your peers are going through similar tribulations and can even offer advice, serve to be comforting on many levels.

As simplistic as this sounds, it is the premise for my blogs. Some people are private, others are lonely, and many are simply alone. Not everyone has a network or support system to help them through the tough times. What I have also found, is that there are some topics that people do not feel comfortable sharing with others, even though they would like some guidance on it. I like to write and I think that I get my point across clearly, making it easy for my peers to relate to me and to what I have to share.

Another reason I decided to do this, is a very personal one to me: to heal as part of my journey. We go through hurt and sweep it away, in an attempt to never see it or deal with it again. Then, out of nowhere, it resurfaces years, even decades after, to haunt you, hurt you, embarrass you and destroy your peace. I decided that I needed to find my way to heal. I need to heal from the hurt, betrayal, regrets, disappointment and personal shortcomings I endured in my adult life. The necessity for me to find a healthy outlet to help in my journey to healing was based on my desperation to not allow my experiences to make me bitter, jaded, ungenerous of myself and unhappy.

So, one day, March 7th to be exact, on my husband’s birthday, and with his encouragement and utmost support, I decided to create a website on which I can share some experiences and lessons. All I ever hoped to do was to help people to understand that we all feel similar things and share many experiences of which we are so unaware. My aim is never to hurt and embarrass anyone, as I was forced to explain to my ex-husband who called me to complain to me about any mention of him in my blogs. It is simply to help myself let go, let be and hopefully be able to forgive naturally wen the time was right for me.

In addition, I find it important that we understand that people seem find, dress nicely, smile, wear designer handbags, shoes and lovely make-up, but their lives are not perfect. We have all been there, and our perfect IG and FB pictures do not always tell the true story. No one loves to dress up and go out more than I do, yet for an entire decade, people I worked with, people I was related to and people who were my friends, had no idea what my life was really like. They only saw the shell, the perfect pictures and perfect stories. When I was younger, more superficial, less mature, the perfect image was of the utmost importance to me to project. However, that just led to me living a very unfulfilling and false double life that lacked realness, honesty, substance.

Embracing my reality and accepting that I was not perfect, mu life was not perfect, my choices were far from perfect, freed me. It freed me to start to find my true self. I no longer needed or wanted to project something I wasn’t. I no longer wanted to make unhealthy decisions. I wanted to understand happiness rather than just projecting what I thought happiness was.

If I could help younger women to understand that the path I took is avoidable if better decisions are made in their youth, then very little else would make me happier from this process and from my journey. I have been blessed with the honesty and support of many people who message me daily to share with me something that they were able to relate to, in what I wrote. The most touching was a message I received today from a long standing acquaintance from our rollicking university days, and even though he and I were not close, I was touched when he said that one of my articles helped him to change his perspective in his marriage. This must have been difficult for him to share, especially with me and I cannot even express how humbled I am by his words.

Sadly, women still aspire to be our worst enemies, when we can just learn so much from each other, respect each other’s experiences and let go of out insecurities that bring out the worst in us. Women especially share so many common experiences and because we have all reached a different place in our individual journeys, there is so much that we can learn from each other, while protecting ourselves, our children, our friends, our nieces, from unnecessary hurt.

My blog will continue, without the blessings of those who do not matter, but in the hope that it will help someone or guide a younger woman to a less painful path than mine. For those who feel that I gain something more from this, let it be known that I do this free of charge. However, if anyone would like to pay me, that would also be fine. But until then, I am happy, unafraid, heartened and unashamed to share my journey with you all. For those who are unimpressed by all that I have to say, that is quite ok with me. God is not a communist and he did not make us all equal (quote from a former dance teacher of mine), and we can’t all love each other the same. At the end of the day, if we feel offended by something we see, hear or read, then all we need to do is ignore it and continue along with our lives…

Turning 40 – My Brutal Truth

If ten years ago…wait…if three years ago, someone told me about the changes I’d experience as I approached and turned 40, I would never have believed them, and I may have silently and mentally scoffed, assuming that I would escape any sign of…aging.

As I started noticing the changes, or evolution, as I prefer to call them, I was shocked, confused at times. However, that did not last very long, because what I was about to discover, was truly life-changing, life-embracing and completely satisfying.

I would have captioned this list, ‘If only someone told me this before I turned 40’. But the truth is that I never would have given them the time of day. So I would need to name my list something more real, simpler and more to the point.


Turning 40 – My Brutal Truth!

1. Is it early onset dementia?
More often than before, I’d walk into a room and forget why I went in. Worse than that, I’d go to the supermarket for a specific item, only to get home, unpack 8 shopping bags and realise I had forgotten the item. Vitamins on a daily basis is almost impossible, because they’d be staring at me and I’d still forget to take them. I literally started wondering, frightened, if this was early onset dementia. It was truly worrisome, at first. Now I realise that it’s because my brain most likely self-prioritises what it truly needs to remember, and the rest simply needs to be listed, on a daily basis. Needless to say, quick trips are only as easy as they used to be, if I prepare a written list, a week before packing.


2. Weight loss is a mother bitch
I used to be able to lose weight very easily…even the weight I didn’t have. A few weeks of some resistance training and my body was always back in order. At 40, cabbage soup diet, Atkins and daily yoga for 8 weeks, and I may lose a pound, not necessarily an inch, just the pound! Losing weight has become a task, something that needs an insurmountable amount of dedication, patience and time. Carbs are the enemy; bread is now the devil; carbonation and cocktails are made from the water of Styx. The way I figure it is that there is so much more wisdom and grace to love at 40, that fat doesn’t want to do anything but stick to me.


3. I don’t recognise my skin
This one was a bit much to accept since it happened, literally overnight! Furthermore, I think the night it happened was the night I went from 39 to 40, and I kid you not. Although I have no extremely visible wrinkles, age spots or saggy boobies, the skin on my face just no longer looks or feels the same. Make-up just does not go on as smoothly or flawlessly as before, no matter how expensive the product. And at 40, money is no object when it comes to beauty products! The cellulite appears out of absolutely nowhere and shorts suddenly seem safer if they are an inch or 2 longer. The most difficult to look at is the skin on my torso. The tightness loosened. And I never had a chance.

4. Walking up the stairs
I have heard many-a-40 year old complain about the pain and ache that accompanies simple tasks such as these. I have even heard my younger friends complain even more about the same. However, I have to admit that these are not tasks for me and turning 40 has NOT AS YET plagued me in this way. I found myself, just months before turning 41, running up the stairs at work when a colleague commented on it. She asked me how I could still do that so easily. It was only then that I even realised that there are many physical activities that I CAN do without pain and without thought. At that point, I felt that maybe it’s my constant attempt at healthy eating and an alkaline diet that has saved my joints, thus far. Dancing on a daily basis is my job and I could only hope that it has helped, as well. I am just assuming that age hasn’t caught up with that as yet, so I shall just await the inevitable.


5. Fashion, Fashionistas and Fuss
When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to be able to make all the fashion choices I wanted, without the input of my mother which was really the actual permission she did or did not grant. In my 20’s, when I started working, I started wearing very risqué clothes because I was of age and of physique. In my 30’s I became more aware of what brands I liked and did a lot of experimenting with trends. In my 40’s, I look at young, self-proclaimed fashionistas and I am grateful that I am beyond it all. Fashion is a pressure that society places on people who aren’t strong enough to know their own style. By this age, I wear what suits my perfectly imperfect body; I am unaffected by the opinions of the fashion world; I buy the brands that I like for very real reasons; I spend my money on as much clothes, shoes and handbags as I choose because they make me so incredibly happy. Most significantly, IDGAF about who has opinions about my style. It is incredibly liberating to dress for me, rather than for what society dictates. Dress codes are my pet peeve and I don’t do well with following them, for the simple reason that I am being asked to.


6. Resilience
After being through a terrible first marriage and its even more traumatic divorce, death, failed relationships, betrayal and lies, it takes a whole lot to phase me emotionally. The sad part, though, is that I wasn’t even put though all of these by men. I’ve been put through it by friends, as well. Tears come easier when I feel unwell, than from the hurt that another human being inflicts. The resilience doesn’t come from being strong or jaded. It doesn’t even come from being through so much. It comes from coming through it all, and being ok each time. As long as each journey may be, survival still occurs. So this knowledge that everything changes, nothing stays the same forever and this too shall pass, has resonated with me, and I know that whatever is thrown at me, I will take a deep breath, sip my prosecco and just handle it. Resilience comes from faith as much as it comes from knowledge and wisdom, that I will be ok, even if it’s eventually.


7. Make-up is my best friend
It has always irked me when people ask me why I wear make-up every day, or why I wear so much make-up, or when they inform me that I don’t need make-up for a barrage of their reasons. The one that seems the silliest to me is when a friend told me that she doesn’t wear make-up to work, so that she could look different when she goes out. It was a ‘crickets chirping’ moment for me, actually. My school of thought on make-up is somewhat different. I wear it, in the first place, because I DO NEED IT – even more so at 40. Why on God’s green earth would I WANT to look bare faced in public when I could look made-up instead!? There is a vast difference in how I look and feel. I love how I look in make-up and I feel like it is the most feminine thing I can do for myself. It makes me feel taken cared of. I take pride in how I leave my home and choose to look as though I am in public and not in my living room, with my face as dry as a biscuit. I go get my hair and nails and waxing done. Mani and pedi day has to be the best day of my month and I love spas. Life is short. I choose to look my best…or at least, look the way I want, every single day. I live what I love, especially at 40.


8. Public Opinion is as important to me as bale of hay
One of the most important things that I recently learnt was that my opinion about my life and my life choices was much more essential to my well-being than the opinion of anyone else. When you are younger, there is a standard to which you want to aim; an acceptable partner, job, home etc., of which your peers would approve. Social and familial pressures to get married, have babies and be promoted at work, seemed important, essential even, for a balanced, fulfilling life. At 40, all the dust settles and you see things so much clearer. Society and family no longer dictate my pace – I do. So I took the long vacations instead of saving for a baby’s university fund. I passed up professional offers. I didn’t care about what my friends thought about my life partner. I started living for me. I had to stand by the consequences of my actions and I had to face my choices. So my life finally started to become mine, even if it meant losing some friends along the way.


9. Alone vs. Lonely
Turning 40 made me enjoy my own company so much more than before. Especially since public opinion was as important to me as a bale of hay! Being alone never felt lonely and boredom is not something I feel. I’ve embraced who I am and what my life has become and I love time to myself. When I was just a few years younger, there seemed to be a void that always needed to be filled….with friends, going out, being out, and coming in at 4am, anything except just being home alone. Now, dinners-out end by 7 so that I can be on my couch by 8. And I love it!


10. Men
If at 40 you can’t see the red flags and the warning signs that HE is as important to you as a bale of hay, then you have had a rather sheltered, uneventful, safe and stable past decade. Good for you! Didn’t work out so well (or badly) for me. So at this age, I see the worthlessness of the ‘bad boys’; the bore of the man-whores; the dread of the boasters. I finally know my worth so well that I saw theirs for what it really was, rather than what I hoped they’d be. Realising my truth in this way, saved me some heartache and it is one thing that I wish had happened sooner. But it couldn’t, you see…because with age comes wisdom. So I learnt to choose well – who to get rid of, who to keep and why to marry.


11. Love and Marriage
They say that a heartache/problem/mistake repeats itself until the lesson is learnt and sadly, this summarises while epitomising my 30’s. I married at 31 for all of the wrong and usual reasons: we were together for 6 years so it was about time; he owed me that; I was getting older; suppose I wanted to have children; what would people say about us being together for so long; I didn’t want to start over at 31; I invested so much time already; and of course, nobody is perfect so, at this age, he will do. Well, wasn’t that the mother of all mistakes! If I thought that starting over at 31 was going to be a bitch, wait until I had to do it at 38! But it took this experience for me to understand love and even marriage. Getting re-married at 40 was a peaceful, heart-warming experience because I was finally making this life-changing decision for all of the right reasons, and I felt as though this was just the beginning of all things good.


12. Life is messy
I was raised to have a compartmentalised life; everything in its place. Public opinion should not be met with criticism so I should aim to create the perfect life, or at least the image of it should be projected. This was frustrating, and it was most likely one of the reasons why so much went awry in my 20’s and 30’s. Life is as messy as f#ck! There is no black and white – it is an entire rainbow of greys! There is no mould in which to fit me or my life and I stopped trying because it no longer mattered. I CAN go to bed with a dirty glass in the sink overnight. I didn’t need to cook every day when there was a restaurant just a drive away. I can sleep until 11 am or 6 am on a Sunday and still just spend the day watching TV. A Christmas tree meant nothing and did not need to be decorated if I hated packing away the decorations in January. I can drink a glass of scotch or prosecco every evening if I wanted since I didn’t have to cook. And so what! Life still went on just fine! I no longer cared to be a slave to the routine. Every day is now a new and different adventure and an opportunity for new shoes! So I stopped compartmentalising and I started living.


13. Ruffle my feathers, why don’t ya!
You ever notice how easily we curse out someone who gives us a bad drive on the highway…even if it’s from our closed windows; or how easily a co-worker can get under our skin for not doing what they were supposed to, whether it directly affected you or not; or how family judgement about our life, masked as concerned questions, enraged us to jump to our own defence? Well! Turning 40 was the most mellowing thing that ever happened to me. A sigh, chuckle or shrug is the sum total reaction that any of the above would get from me now. Why? Because the clouds have cleared and I see clearly now. Silliness and foolishness is more apparent now and have replaced things that used to be meaningful. I simply do not care about the trivialities around me that do not concern me. I understand when a woman is attacking me because she is jealous or unhappy, and I no longer need to react vengeful to that. I can simply look away and walk away and be back to my life in a matter of seconds. This truth of turning 40 has been quite de-stressing.


14. Health
40 – the age of mammograms, stress tests, blood pressure testing, insulin monitoring, and the list goes on…and on and on. [My disclaimer is that the health decisions I made at 40 are mine and are not in any way a testament to rightness. It’s a choice and a decision I made based on my circumstances. It’s a decision by which I will have to stand if it’s the wrong one, and I’m ok with that.] I vege juice on mornings. I eat my fruits and yogurt. I limit fried foods. I drink my lemon, ginger, cucumber, mint water all day, every day. I eat salads as often as I can. I exercise – weight lifting, yoga, dance of course. And that’s it. I decided, very deliberately, that I did not want to be prodded, squashed, poked, drained and tested for what MIGHT be wrong, JUST BECAUSE I am 40. The slightest feeling of pain, discomfort or anything of the sort, I consult my doctor. But the buck stops there for me. I decided to take the ‘irresponsible’ route of live and let live! I want to live free and happy until I can’t anymore. I have no children to depend on me; enough money to throw me into a hospice; and husband who is young enough to be able to find love again, should I die! So in the meantime, based on what society (drug companies, insurance salesmen, the media) has decided is the inevitable (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, old age), I will do my best to be and stay healthy, with some extra dietary and exercise precautions. I choose to just live happily in my ignorance for as long as I can!


15. Family
In my 30’s and especially after my divorce, my friends were my everything. I am an only child and while family was important, it was my friends, and selected cousins, who I turned to, in time of needing emotional support. I don’t regret this because without them, my journey would not have been the same and my divorce transition would have been so much more painful. But now I see the value in family. I can’t choose my family! But they are still mine, to keep and hold dear, for as long as I can. The drama that oftentimes accompany friendships, is no longer attractive or a viable way of life for me. I no longer need people who use me and are there for me when I’m down, because they prefer me unhappy, as it gives them company in their misery. I no longer want in my life, people that I cannot trust implicitly. My circle has become smaller, lighter and truer.


16. Social Media
This one is simple and to the point…points. At 40, I really don’t care what you think about my social media activity, and I proclaim this, vehemently!
• If I don’t know you, don’t add me
• If you don’t like my posts, don’t read them
• If you don’t like me, please unfriend
• If you think my every post is about you, the Internet is really not for you
• My forums weren’t meant to make you feel comfortable – they are mine
• No, I am not too old for social media
• And yes, I do have time for Facebook, Instagram and Blogging, because your life is not mine
• And yes, I like putting things on social media
• And yes, I feel the need to share a lot. Maybe if someone shared with me in my 20’s, I would have made less mistakes because I learnt from theirs
• Do not assume WHY I post things on social media – my reasons will surprise you. They aren’t as simpleton as you assume


17. Sex
Since my mother and mother-in-law will probably be reading this, I’ll keep it simple, with the rest left to intelligent interpretation (which I failingly hope they both lack). At 40, I finally know my body inside out. I know how things work, how they work well and how they work even better. Parts finally feel as though they fit. My proclivities are not up for judgement or justification and all that was rumoured about turning 40, was completely true! Ok, fine. My husband is 30, so that doesn’t make it worse. (Sorry mums, especially his)

I loved every minute of turning 40. It was a milestone for me because I feel like I have finally found myself and I have unleashed it to the world…even if it is just to my world. I have grown, I have stumbled, I have gotten up, and I have grown some more. Turning 40 was liberating because it freed me from the shackles that I allowed to entrap me for so many years.
When I was younger, I was afraid to change my perspective if it didn’t fit neatly into a box. Now I live outside the box and there is an entirely different world there. I walk peacefully, thoughtfully and happily on a different path. I have no point to prove to anyone and no points to gain from reaching someone else’s standard of acceptability and conformity. I blaze my own trail, for me, and all I can do is hope that others learn from my mistakes. I feel empowered to try anything or to choose to do nothing because choices are finally all mine. The tranquillity that comes from being who you were truly meant to be, cannot be adequately explained with words – it must simply be lived.

What I have accepted and how I feel are two different things:
I accept that I have most probably lived more than half of my life already and that I am tad bit closer to the end than to the beginning. But how I feel is that life, MY LIFE, has only just begun.
So my advice, whether asked for or not, is to go on the extravagant vacation, drink the wine, dance, buy the shoe, leave the dishes, kiss the boy and live!


Understanding and acknowledging that everyone can have a completely different experience in turning any milestone age, and also understanding and acknowledging that any age can be a milestone, the experiences outlined here are mine. This is a reflection of my journey and a sharing of my truth.

Women are controlling…but please don’t tell us that

This is one blog that will start with the declaration and disclaimer that I am not a Psychologist. I base nothing I say here on scientific facts that I have tested and proven. I am simply a woman who has had quite a bit of experience with women – all types of women. So this is just my exploration and exposition of what I have learnt, through observation of and experience with my gender, inclusive of myself, in the past forty years.

I have learnt that women are controlling…but don’t dare tell us that.
If it is one thing women will tell you that they hate and resent, it is to be called controlling. It truly eats away at our core and is a sure-fire way to unnerve us in one single blow. The back of our eyes are on fire, the veins in our necks feel as though they will burst and a thousand responses come to mind in a huge jumble, but little can actually come out. The anger at being called controlling is in a category by itself.

Now don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for our children, families, friends; or wanting to perform optimally at work. In fact, I believe that most people have OCD tendencies in certain areas. I do. I won’t eat my meal if my food touches. I am highly trypophobic. I prefer to eat every meal with a knife and fork. The list goes on. Being controlling of yourself is one matter – I believe that we are entitled to be who we are, regardless of its supposed absurdity. However, when we start to want to change and control the behaviour and tendencies of others, it will be deemed as controlling, no matter how prettily we justify it.

Being controlling can be just as damaging to a relationship as adultery. It erodes a relationship from within and promotes a feeling of condemnation, emasculation and defeminisation, loss of trust. Moreover, it encourages lying and hiding, for fear of an argument ensuing, if one person does something of which the other one would have disapproved. Sadly, being controlling seems an inherent part of our nature as women, and vary in intensity among us.

Controlling behaviour can often reach the point of telling your partner what he should wear; taking out his clothes and laying it out on the bed; demanding that certain outfits, jackets, jerseys etc. not be worn with you. This control way surpasses wanting what is best for your partner, your equal. It reaches the point of dictatorship. This genre of control can take the form of convincing you that you are helping him to be better, look better, and feel better. But what you are doing is sending the message to your partner, that he isn’t good enough, smart enough, and capable enough to dress himself. So, as a result, you need to dress a grown man.

Control also rears its ugly head in the families into which we marry. Many women believe that as they take on that spanking new last name, that it entitles them to a whole new barrage of opinions and dictations about their in-laws. When I say ‘in-laws’ I do not only mean their husband’s parents, but their siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, as well. I believe that we need to be very cognisant of our roles in our newly conjoined families. As an in-law, we do not automatically have rights and control that we think, or should think. A woman’s role in her husband’s family is to support her husband in his decisions and relations with them; not to dictate what those relations should be. Marrying into a family can put you in a very precious or precarious position – it’s all a matter of choice.

I know someone who has used her husband’s love for her, and his willingness not to displease her, against him. She was single-handedly able to turn him against a family member, because she didn’t approve of the person’s choices. She proceeded to involve herself in related matters in his family, speaking one-on-one to other family members, in an attempt to sway their opinions as well. Therefore, the role she took in that family is one of being divisive, destructive, dangerous. Regardless of our personal and sometimes self-righteous opinions, it is our duty to do all that we can to keep our husbands family intact, and as close, if not closer, than when we met them. Even if this means swallowing some pride (which, by the way, never choked anyone to death), turning a blind eye to what does not directly concern us or at least, ensure we are not the reason for any dissension. Ironically, in that same family, another in-law did the opposite. She used her influence on her husband to ensure that he understood that emotions make fly high for a while, but family is family. She encouraged relations that entailed no cutting of ties, drama or discord. She decided to take on a completely different role.

Control in a life-partner’s family can become dangerous, especially when it comes to a man’s relationship with his parents. Unfortunately, controlling women in such scenarios are unable to see a parallel, should the same occur in their families; or worse than that, they find a way to justify it quite differently. It is hard, very hard when your partner’s parents don’t like you or don’t approve of your union and to some degree, I believe everyone can relate to this. The hurt is raw and there is always a need to feel that your partner should defend you and stand up for you. That does not seem too unreasonable. What becomes unreasonable is when we dictate HOW he should stand up for us and when we tell him that he should have nothing to do with them until they respect his choices. Standing up for you is quite different from ending relations with one’s parents, temporariness and ‘all for the better good’, aside. If a man decides this on his own, that is his decision and not one that I would personally support in such a situation. But demanding it, threatening that it has to happen is also a dangerous level of control. It is just as ludicrous as telling him exactly what to say to his family in their family matters. Advising and suggesting should be just that. They should not be manipulative tools used in control. Manipulation is the most deceitful form of control.

Control then has a flip side. It can be the result of being controlled. I have noticed that when women have lost all semblance of control at home, with no voice in their marriages, that they need to exert control somewhere, somehow. Sometimes this ‘lashing out’ can occur in various forms in the workplace. Women who are controlled at home by a situation over which they have no control, tend to need a victim to bully. Someone who represents all that they are losing; or someone who represents all that they want and cannot achieve because of their current circumstance. Other times they are desperate for recognition and validation in the workplace and will do anything and trample over anyone to achieve a position or promotion, so that something in them is fulfilled and they feel in control of something. I usually stay far from these women. I know what it is like to go through a terrible divorce and feel as though your world is crumbling around you in a whirlwind and you have control over nothing but your bowels. So I try to empathise and remember how hard it is, and I let these women be. We have to heal ourselves. But first we have to recognise.

Controlling men with whom we are in relationships is my favourite topic of control. Its predictability and genericness make it quite entertaining to me. These are the women for which I pathologically cannot feel sympathy or empathy. From the beginning of time we have known and witnessed first and second hand that we cannot change men, yet we somehow think that our relationship is different and he can and will spontaneously combust and turn into all that we wanted him to be.

The control here is frightening. The worst form of control that a woman can exert on a man is getting herself pregnant in order to keep him. Ladies, if he isn’t stepping up to the plate and committing or giving you what you need from the relationship, the universe can assure you that trapping him into fatherhood, isn’t going to get you what you desire either. What it will do is trap yourself into a resentful relationship with someone who will and should never trust you. This control move is also an extremely selfish and desperate one. You have completely taken away his right to choose the path he wants HIS life to take. Should a man try to control us in an even lesser way, our girlfriends would not just be up in arms, but nag you to leave him, forthwith! Yet, if our friend traps her boyfriend or husband (and yes, you can trap a husband into unwanted fatherhood), into parenthood, we pacify her that he gave her no choice.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve been there. Making all the wrong decisions, unaware that one of the reasons my relationships weren’t working was because I was trying to control its path. Open communication is essential for a healthy relationship. But if you air your concerns once, twice, three times and he shows no interest in compromising, what do you think trying to control him, give him ultimatums would do? I learnt that answer the hard way. You cannot make a man love you, threaten him into taking you out, bargain with him to treat you better or beg him to give more. If love, respect and compromise don’t happen spontaneously or with as little prodding as possible, the problem is no longer him. It’s you. You need to make a decision – fish or cut bait. You need to stop vacillating, either decide to stay and accept it or leave.

What I have learnt in the past forty years is that control damages relationships, all relationships. It has no place in the same arena with love and respect. It is an opposing entity, one that is destructive and divisive. If we don’t want to be called ‘controlling’ then we need to stop trying to control everything and everyone around us. Some years ago, I let go. Mostly because I was going through so much at the time that I couldn’t keep all the balls in the air. For my mental health, I had to rearrange my life, my priorities, my purpose. I had to start from the beginning because I was at rock bottom and didn’t see a light to work towards. In finding myself, I re-defined as well. I realised, in the process, that many things that I thought were important for my sense of importance were actually fickle and insubstantial. I learnt that I had control over me, but it wasn’t a control that I was willing to relinquish to anyone. Therefore, in the same way, I could not try to take away someone else’s control. Who I am and who I have become has been a hard road travelled and now I treat important relationships carefully, with a little more and sometimes a lot more patience and understanding.

I always resent when relatives and friends ask me why I allow my husband to grow his beard so long. It’s his face, his beard, his appearance, his choice – none of which affects why I love him. I love his beard because I know he loves his beard – it is how he feels comfortable. And I am comfortable with the man that he is. Even with sillier matters, like when my brother-in-law would ask me to ask my husband to let him work the next day instead of them both being there, and he asks me to just use my influence. My answer is always the same: I tell him to work it out with his brother because it had nothing to do with me.

I am not an extremist and if I find my husband is being impatient or hard on my brother-in-law, or in any other family matter, I try to get him to calm down, relax. Think about it more clearly when he’s less upset. I remind him that this feeling is temporary but they’ll always be family and whatever you say and do today…there is always a tomorrow in which you feel differently. His final decisions are his because he is his own person, bad decisions and all. We all are. But controlling him is not an option. Maybe it is as a result of me being non-controlling and non-nagging, he encourages me to be all that I want to…blogger and all, even when it’s a topic he isn’t comfortable with. He encourages me to be me, accepts me for being me and I try to do the same. He’s a little bit nagging, always feeling the need to tell me the same thing at least three times, but I can’t control him. So since that’s my biggest problem in the world with him, I decided to fish rather than cut bait.


The things I would have told my younger self…

Never waste your time on a man who doesn’t commit to you 100%. He’s not doing it because he doesn’t have to. You aren’t worth it to him. But you should be worth it to yourself to walk away.

Never be with a man who doesn’t compliment you every single day.

Never be with a man who doesn’t have eyes for you and only you.

There is a difference between a man who likes you and one who invests in you. Never think it’s the same thing.

Your friendships will never remain the same forever. People change. You will change.

It’s ok to outgrow people. Never allow them to think the problem is yours.

Never ever settle for less than the best possible treatment from everyone in your life.

Never be ashamed of who you are.

Never be around people who want to change you – moulds are for cakes.

Do what you love, the money will come.

Don’t let society dictate the course of your life – again, moulds are for cakes.

Never underestimate or undervalue chivalry, good manners and ambition.

Enjoy every stage and phase of your life, understanding that they are just that: phases.

It is very true that he doesn’t have to buy the cow if he’s getting the milk free. But the milk is NOT sex. It’s your self-respect and self-worth.

Make mistakes. Make many. But learn from each one of them.

Men aren’t all bad. But there is no need to repeatedly choose to be with losers.

Don’t try to change people – you just can’t…and shouldn’t.

Always wear nice shoes. (wait…I always knew that one)

Let people say all that they need to about you. That isn’t your concern. They tell themselves what they want to think about you, rather than the actual truth anyway.

Do as much as you can to help others – you may never get it back, but that doesn’t matter. Do it anyway.

Stay away from negative people. They really are like a wet and heavy blanket. A pain with no purpose.

Drink wine….lots of it. It’s great for celebrating and mourning. It’s just great.

Yes sure, learn to happy with yourself and by yourself. But don’t be fooled by pseudo-feminism and believe that we are creatures who are meant to be alone. People do complete you, they do bring you joy.

Who is meant to be in your life, will find their way in, they will stay, and they will make everything whole.

Don’t follow me…blaze your own trail

Oscar Wilde said that Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I have tried to use this as some consolation in the past year. However, as time has passed and the imitation has continued, relentlessly, I find no solace in being paid homage by mediocrity.


It may sound silly and superficial on my part that I am irritated by people following my actions to suit themselves, by buying the same shoes and clothes and brands and crap that I buy, and using it unapologetically around me. While I understand that I don’t have patented rights to any one brand or product, the reason behind the imitation is the real annoyance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with genuinely liking something and buying it etc. But to buy something just because it’s something I like is somewhat pathetic. Likewise, suddenly blogging and writing things that I write is a clear indication of an identity crisis.


I am who I am and I am where I am based on my journey. It is based on all the pain and heartache and tribulations I have endured. My life is a reflection of my experience. So when you adopt all that I am, you are simply a copycat. You have not lived through my experience; you don’t know how I have reached here.


Finding yourself is a journey, not a destination…it is never something that is finally reached. Imitation cannot be the method of self-discovery. Find who you are and why. Know what YOU like and why. Don’t be someone you think you should be. Be who you were meant to be.


Imitation is simply the flattery that the mediocre pay to those they consider better than them.



Women are liars as well…

Men have always gotten a really bad name when it comes to lying. And truth be told….they DO lie…a whole lot, probably even more than women do. But women lie too. The hypocrisy lies in the justification. Women lie for the very same things that men lie for, yet when we do it, it somehow seems ‘justified’.


If a man lies to us to ‘spare our feelings’, he’s an ass. If we do it, we are compassionate.


If a man lies about the true nature of his current relationship status, he’s dishonest. If we do it, we are just trying to sort things out.


If a man lies to make himself look better, he’s a chauvinist. If we do it, we’re well-marketed.


The list goes on and on. But what I have realised is that we can’t want to be considered ‘better’ than men when we are doing the very things that make us condemn them. We are no better, in fact, it makes us worse, because we claim to know better.


A lie is destructive to any relationship or friendship and is no foundation upon which anything wholesome should be built. If lies are essential for a friendship or relationship to run smoothly then it’s definitely a friendship or relationship that needs to be re-evaluated.



Whatever men can do, we can do better

Needless to say, I disagree with this statement in so many ways. I am all for equal rights for men, women, alternate lifestyles, pro-choice activists etc., but I really never burnt any bra in the name of feminism. Equality doesn’t make me a woman – being a woman makes me a woman.

I understand and agree that we can do almost anything that men can do and vice versa. But do I really WANT to do all that they do? That would be a definite, no. I can change a tyre, I can change a cooking-gas tank, I can wash a car, I can fill my tank (well, kinda with that last one)…but really, I don’t like doing it. And if a kind gentleman, usually my indulging husband, does these things for me, I am always truly relieved and grateful.

I am quite capable of opening a door for myself, but any man that LETS me, is not a man I would waste a second glance on. I don’t have to do everything for myself to be independent or self-sufficient, and a real man wouldn’t allow me to.

I like make-up and dresses and dressing up and being treated like a princess, Princess Margaret according to my very facilitating husband. He says that I am high maintenance, spoilt and princess-like in my taste, behaviour and lifestyle. I deny none of these things and I am not ashamed either. But he also knows that I am high-maintenance because I am capable of treating myself that way, whether he is or isn’t part of that process.

I don’t feel less independent because he physically puts gas in my car whenever it needs. Rather, I totally appreciate that he does it because he knows I don’t like to do it. Of course the list goes on and on, of all the ways he indulges me by helping me with all the things I hate doing.

I am quite capable of doing everything for myself and I WILL do it if need be. But I do not need to be in constant competition with men in order to feel strong in body, mind and character.

I love that some men still understand the value of chivalry and I think more women should expect it and enjoy it. Whereas I don’t consider us to be the weaker sex, I like considering myself the softer gender. Soft doesn’t make me weak or dependent…it simply makes me a woman.



Women’s role in wanting the perfect man

During my younger adult life, I always wondered, and of course hoped that I would meet the perfect man. For so long, and even during my first marriage, I would often hope that my partner would be more ideal, more of the picture I had in my head of what a perfect man should be.

It took a long time, and some failed relationships, for me not to just accept, but to accept gracefully, that there was no perfect man. The ideal only existed in my head. Not only did I accept this, I actually started to question my role in the quest for the ideal.

After some painful and embarrassing reflection, I saw in multiple instances in my past where I would have been the catalyst for deriving somewhat tarnished behaviour from my partner. Things, for which I would have blamed them, could have occurred so differently, and possibly more ideal, if I had behaved differently, if I had reacted better, if I had been more constructive and less destructive.

Being single helped me to discover and uncover different and new truths about myself. I realised that instead of concentrating on meeting or being with the ideal man, I should work on being the ideal woman…the ideal me. The woman I had become was not the woman I wanted to be or was meant to be. She wasn’t necessarily the woman I always even liked.

The mistake I made and the bad habits I had gotten into were at dear prices. The battles I thought I won along the way were not even worth it. Therefore, the onus was now on me to improve who I was as a person, and then as a partner.

I did the work I felt I could have done, given everything I was dealing with, and I finally felt like I have made some improvements. What I realised as a result of all of this self-realisation and self-reflection, is that being a better mate tended to bring out the best in your partner.

I am recently re-married to an amazing man. He used to ask me, I believe jokingly, how come I’m so perfect. It is a question that quietly and repeatedly embarrasses me, knowing how many mistakes I have made in the past, and how many I am probably destined to still make.

But recently, soon after our marriage, I realised something new…Yes, I may have tried to make improvements in who I am and who I want to be and who I no longer want to be, but that may not necessarily be the sole reason for who I am to him.

Being a better partner has come from being with an amazing partner. When you are with someone who trusts you, you become more trustworthy; when you are with someone who respects you, you give respect freely; when you are with someone who puts your needs first, it is effortless to put their happiness first…and the list goes on.

If we all try to be good mates, we can only hope that those with whom we share our lives are moved to do the same. There are no guarantees of this result, but it’s our best plan.

So to answer to my husband’s question is simple….I am by no means perfect….but you truly bring out the best in me.



Mental Slavery

A great deal of inner peace and mental freedom comes from not taking things personally.

Being raised in very much a “what would people say” kind of family, there was always that hovering question in my younger years. My mother, being a single parent in a judgmental society, was especially concerned with how things would look to others. For example, how would she be viewed as a parent in a conservative family if she allowed me to enroll in a modelling agency at 14? It was hard enough for her that I was a dancer from 4 years of age, with Indian Classical not being enough for me, but I then wanted to stop it altogether to start ballet and modern dance.

Since my parents’ divorce OBVIOUSLY made me a fatherless orphan, if my grandparents had their way, an additional pressure of ‘what would people say’ was then exerted.

Whether it was because of a teenager’s urge to rebel or an innate lack of concern for the opinions of others, I didn’t conform well to their school of thought. I empathised with how torn I saw my mother – wanting me to follow my passion but not wanting the stress and judgment and pressure of resisting old-school indoctrination.

As an adult, I became less and less interested in what people thought of me.

I did hear any things about myself that I never knew, from people who knew me even less, but I never felt a need to correct them. I always felt that donkeys should be left to bray.

It’s become worse with evolving to 40, because now I know exactly what people think about me and say about me…people that I am not close to or consider important…but I take none of it personally. How can I, when they are of no consequence to my life.

Why should anyone’s opinion matter? Others don’t define who we are or where we are going or what we go through.

Not taking their malice seriously or personally allows me great mental freedom. Freedom to be who I chose…Freedom to be who I am…Freedom to just be…