Eighteen Minutes Passed the Hour

If a day had only eighteen hours I would gladly spend the first sixteen musing over the thought of her. A more amorous day I find hard to imagine, and were I to be proven wrong, that day too would become only if she insisted.

I am completely and utterly bemused. Reason tugs at me – It cannot, must not – should never be. It’s not reality, it’s all just an orchestrated play. But yes it is – as real to me as the shadow that follows as each footstep takes me further from away.

Drunk in awe I am of her. A fact I wish I knew of ways to adequately say.

I blink and she is gone too long, her touch I have so long evaded for fear of what I wish to never say. I really should just come out and say it, I mean really. But what if I ruin it? What if I make this beautiful place disappear – or even worse still, what if I make her disappear? I couldn’t bare that thought. As much as I long for just a moment to hold her – just a moment – not to speak or breathe or think, just a moment to be, I cannot risk it. She means so much more to me than superficial bits and pieces.

Why exactly I don’t think I will ever be sure. But then, I don’t think everything in life needs to be validated by proof or facts or even reason. Sometimes some times are just there. And they exist as do we…the trick however is to find harmony between them. The joy lies in experiencing them for what they are, precious.

Each time that I am near I sway to the pulse of her smile and have to stop myself from saying that “gods dammit I am so swept away by you”.

And I know that even as she reads this, the sweetest grin across her face is just appearing, a giggle, a chuckle or a smile perhaps?

I know she knows, because we both know.

You inspire me. I am captivated.

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Winter’s lesson lies hidden in Spring

Spring is in the air as we ready ourselves for flowing floral dresses, knee high pants and our favourite pair of strapless sandals. Soon, the trees will start to blossom as they do each year and swarms of bees, chirping birds and sunny rays will bring our gardens exploding back to life. But it wasn’t always like this. Not a week ago we still experienced the last lashes of a delayed winter and one would have been hard tasked to pinpoint exactly when summer said it’s goodbyes. Three months into winter and we can hardly imagine what it felt like to walk outside without a jacket or leggings. People complain about the cold and the stuffy noses and miserable moods that winter brings, forgetting that without winter there could never be sunshine, for along with all the ailments, weight gain and apparent moodiness, Winter brings us the gift of spring – or rather the appreciation of it.

There is a lesson that winter brings

We prepare for winter by stocking up on jackets, scarves and woolly hats and bid it farewell by discarding them. In life too, we continuously discard and replenish as we wade through our personal seasons. And it is personal, as each of us experience change in a different way. Change is scary for all of us no matter whether it be good or bad, in fact there is no bad change only a negative perception of something unknown – change therefore, is relative. To illustrate this point, one could look at a rose bush and be sad that it has thorns, or be happy that the thorns have roses. The trick is to ready yourself always for an approaching winter, knowing that everything is fleeting and that if good exists then so too there must exist the opposite in order to restore balance. Manic depressive sufferers struggle to see the rays that their Spring brings, because they refuse to look outside the window. So there they stay, stuck inside the circumstances they have created around themselves. Most of the time those circumstances are related to financial stress and the instant they come into some money, they feel empowered once more – until the next winter hits. In the summer months we don’t sell our jackets and winter wear, because we know that the season will change and we will need them again. The same outlook should be adopted when we look at our personal lives.

It is not about the money

The greatest lesson winter teaches us is that we need to learn to let go of our routines and hold onto change. Let go of the things and people in our lives that keep us locked up inside, unable to experience the joy of Spring, the freedom of change. Learn to take chances, dance in the rain, phone your loved ones, kiss your children as often as you can, roll on the grass, walk to the store, if you like green apples, buy red ones, ride a bike to work, smell the pages of a book, switch off your phone, turn on the radio and play it loudly – smile. Forget about the confines that social media and corporate marketing forced around you. Surround yourself with good people instead of good things, because in the end it is the things you own that end up owning you. Wear your heart on your sleeve, you never know, somewhere there might be someone who needs to see it. In all things never forget that winter will come, and it will pass, but when it comes be prepared with memories that warm more than just your hands.

What I would say to the younger me

I read something quite profound today. It was on one of those really stupid e-card things, but for once, instead of inducing an uncontrollable scroll-the-mouse-wheel reflex, this one actually made me think. A little. The card read “ask yourself this: would your younger self like the adult version you’ve become?”

That moment when

Wow. Like the first time you see boobs kinda wow. Or that time you kissed that girl behind the grandstands and walked home smiling all the way – even though you knew you were half an hour late and dad was waiting for you with his belt at the ready. Man, it was worth it, and you’d probably do it again regardless of the outcome. (And I actually did – quite a number of times after that, he he).

I remember the day in the first grade when our teacher, Miss Barnard, asked the class what we would like to be “one day when we grow up”. The boy next to me wanted to be a policeman, the ponytail in the front (goodie two shoes) wanted to be a teacher, of course, and my friend James was aspiring to greatness as a pilot. Me? Well I wanted to be Superman.

The Epiphany

Miss Barnard, James and even Ponytail didn’t get it. But I did. I wanted to be my dad. He was invincible, bulletproof and how the hell did he manage to lift me up just like that – with one arm? He was a werewolf killer, a boogieman hunter, a detective of note and never, ever did he cry. I’m pretty sure he had a blue spandex with a red cape hidden in some secret superhero cupboard somewhere. (My sister and I will probably find out one day.)

He’s in his sixties now, and he still has his powers – although I’m convinced he only uses them now when it’s absolutely necessary. The point is, he’s still tough as nails. I recon life made him this way because it was an easier task than trying to get him to quit. He is a man who has had his back up against the wall many times, and never backed down – instead he pushed back harder. “They can kill me, but they can’t eat me,” he always says. I believe that to this day.

So would I like myself?

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The present day me.

Actually, yeah, I kinda think I would. At least I hope I would (if not, I could probably give the younger me a wedgie until he did. Or I did.) But the older me hasn’t done too badly really. Sure, I’ve made mistakes and Ive hurt people along the way, but it was never intentional and there are times I wish I could go back and prevent those happenings. But generally speaking, I kinda think Ive done alright.

I’ve traveled the world without any money, played in a real life rock band, lived in more places than I remember – mostly because I was fresh outta cash and couldn’t pay the rent, partied till the sun came up and even, almost, got hitched. It was tough, but I survived.

I have two beautiful, healthy kids whom I’m trying to raise by myself and I am fortunate to have friends and family helping out with that. Went through a terrible break up, lost my job and had to sell everything I owned a few times over to make ends meet – but I survived.

I’ve had my car repossessed, walked my son to school for three months during the winter until I eventually managed the cash to buy an old ’84 Honda which took another two months to get running. I lost some weight during that time, but I survived. During this time my daughter was born. I was forced to work three jobs to make ends meet. But I survived.

It has been little over a year now that I’ve been unemployed in an effort to follow my dream of owning my own magazine. I sold every little piece of furniture I owned to pay the rent – again. Lost the apartment I stayed in because, well there was that little cash issue. Many told me to go get a job in the months that I couldn’t pay my rent or even put petrol in my car. I refused. Three months ago the first edition of my magazine – The Planner’s Notebook – hit the shelves. The second edition is printing in three weeks by the way. So far, I’ve survived.

Even Superman has a weakness

Mine is love. It is the one area I seem to keep screwing up. And again, this is not because I want to screw up, but rather I obviously don’t get “the game”. Or I do, but I’m over it. This “game” is starting to become more and more appealing to the spectator in me. I could rant on about this, but I won’t – this blog is already way passed the attention span limit of most readers. I will say though that the further you keep away from your own kryptonite, the safer you will be.

So what’s the point?

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The younger me.

My point is that I probably wouldn’t like myself as an adult. But more importantly I wouldn’t care about the opinions of that younger me. In retrospect I probably wouldn’t like the younger me. In fact, if I could travel back a few years and meet the younger me, there is something I would say to him. He wouldn’t get it until now. “Pussy”.

That illusive corner piece

Sobering. That’s what it is really. The moment when you find that corner piece of the massive puzzle you’re trying to piece together. Most of the time it was staring you in the face but the rest of the pieces laying all muddled up around it, had hidden it from your sight. So you take that corner piece and put in place to start building the frame work. Suddenly, as the pieces start sliding into place you notice that the picture on the box looks a little different to the one you’re trying to put together.

“Why is that,” you ask as another piece locks effortlessly in. “Why is it that the pictures on the boxes of things differ so dramatically from the one you spend so many days working on creating?”

puzzle-pieces-bw-001

Is it not maybe in that where the problem lies? Maybe we should stop trying to build a picture and instead, take a step back, look at the box and ask yourself if you really have the time to build that 1500 piece. And once you’ve pieced it together you face another conundrum – where to find a space for it in your home. Do you break it up, put it back in the packaging and trade it at the local pawn shop or do you throw it into the cupboard next to the rest of the puzzles you only half finished?

Or you could try and mount it on a cardboard, frame it and hang it on a wall somewhere to show off to everyone. And this will be fine too, until someone comes along, looks at the picture and explains how he also pieced that same one together, and he did it in half the time. Your first instinct is to retort with “what? This same puzzle? But how could you have done it in half the time it took me to get this far? I’ve spent so much time meticulously piecing it together and loving every moment spent on it.” And then it hits you. It’s only a puzzle, just like every other puzzle. And this one has a price on it, like every other one. And a puzzle doesn’t care who wants to build it, it only cares that it is being built.

So why then does it feel so profoundly shit knowing that your puzzle, that one you really wanted to complete and display proudly in your home, also hangs on the mantelpiece in some other home? Is it because the puzzle itself is not the art you thought it was, because before you bought it you believed that it was unique and now, you realize it actually isn’t. And is this really the case with all art? Or is the only truly unique piece, the one that goes to the highest bidder to ensure its authenticity.

Like I said, sobering. And hangovers hurt like a caning on a wet bottom. But hangovers, like your desire to build puzzles, pass. And then we feel better. And then we decide to build another puzzle…maybe this time one that we created ourselves. And maybe this time one that will be a perfect fit on that empty space above your bed.

Why falling in love has nothing to do with orgasms

A lot has been said about the idea of falling in love, or love for that matter, and what attracts us as mammals to the opposite sex. Religion says it’s a spiritual thing, science claims its all chemicals and Hollywood states it’s all about sex, letters in bottles and rose petals on the wooden floors of loft apartments to entice newly divorced neighbours.

But what makes us fall in love?

Cosmo just recently published another completely construed, sensation-seeking piece of defecation entitled “What makes men fall in love“.   In this pile of horse manure the world’s 13A-Can-you-Love-Someone-without-Physical-Attractionleading cause of heartbreak and dysfunctional relationships claimed to have found the four reasons that make a man fall in love with a woman. Being a man I developed Tourettes syndrome while reading through this crap and decided to set the record straight. Because let’s face it, it’s always the guy that cheats, its always the guy that’s not romantic or well mannered enough, or not well dressed enough and its most always the guy’s fault that the relationship didn’t work. Really? So you don’t think that maybe he also gets a little fed up with your crap as much as you do with his? Maybe he doesn’t think that Hollywood’s version of romance is actually romantic at all.

Why do guys and girls fall in love? Nobody knows, least of all me. Especially not me in fact – but what we do know is that being in love is fantastic. But why don’t we stay in love if it’s so amazing?

Sometimes we do, and sometimes those moments are the ones we hold onto.

Cupid, the Scientologist 

So Cupid’s quite a clever little bow-toting angel winged assassin. Another “recent study” has found that a lot of the times this little dude really is blind. And that it actually a good thing.

Time clipping Cupid's wings. By Pierre Mignard back in 1630.

Time clipping Cupid’s wings. By Pierre Mignard back in 1630.

At least it has to be if nature is to ensure that a species continues to procreate. So a number of tests were run and a number of people interviewed etc etc and what they found was that basically there are three stages of falling in love namely Lust, Attraction and Attachment. (And in the process they debunked the whole Cupid idea which I foresee will be the cause of many a Valentine’s Day break up.)

Each of these stages are driven by different sets of complex hormones and other really clever sounding chemical reactions – all of which have allegedly been studied to the nth degree by really clever dudes in white coats somewhere in the States. Isn’t it funny how “they” are always scientists from somewhere in the States?

Be that as it may, these guys asked some of their shrink buddies for input on the matter. These Psychologists showed that it only takes between 90 seconds and four minutes to decide if you like someone. Their research stated that this has little to do with what is said when you first meet, but that it kinda works in percentages as follows: 55% is through body language, 38% is the tone and speed of their voice and only 7% is through what they actually said to you. So it’s mostly very superficial.

The first stage – Lust

As it states, its all about getting it on. It’s that simple apparently and it’s because of the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen in both guys and girls. So would all the girls please stop with the “guys are so pathetic, all they wanna do is have sex” nonsense. It goes both ways, or according to science at least.

The second stage – Attraction

So here it would seem we have the three musketeers of all those butterflies in your tummy moments. Apparently attraction is all because of Adrenaline, Dopamine and Serotonin. imagesRoughly translated it means that the same stuff that helps you scale a six foot wall when that Rottweiler is coming at you from across the road, is the stuff that causes you to like someone. Which is probably why its so scary. Not the Rottweiler, the really hot girl in the bikini applying sunscreen at the pool or the six pack wielding hunk of man meat washing his Kawasaki in the drive way.  The initial stages of “falling” for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new “love”, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry. Nice!

The third stage – Attachment

Love_Hormone_InfogramAnd finally we have the evil sorcerer, the big bad wolf, the ogre in the woods. Oxytocin. Even the name sounds a little “dark side of the force-ish”. This is a powerful hormone released by men and women – you guessed it – during orgasm. Pay attention dudes, an orgasm is that thing you didn’t know girls also liked. Scientists have agreed that it probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.

So now what?

Well I don’t know. Do I care? Nah.

What I do know is that “falling” implies that the process is in some way uncontrollable and risky – as in the phrases “to fall ill” or “to fall into a trap”. The famous biologist, Jeremy Griffith, suggested that people fall in love in order to abandon themselves to the dream of an ideal state (being one free of the human condition).

I for one believe that it’s the physical consequence of a spiritual awakening. I like the fall. It is exhilarating and if it were likened to skydiving I would never open my chute. Hitting the ground at terminal velocity would be a welcome reprieve from the notion that pulling the chord and playing it safe could  forever take you from me.

And if I were forced to look at this through the Petr dish in some lab, I would still see you there under the microscope of things. Because maybe it’s all just chemicals and maybe it all boils down to stages and hormones and natural progression. Maybe they’re right and maybe all their scientific research has finally proven it…

Chemistry exists

and

you

are

my

drug.