A Pain Killer

In a few hours I’ll be heading to Beijing so I’m very happy to be sharing a guest post with you today. It’s by one of my favorite people in the world, Leanne Tee. The question people ask her the most is “Are you a model? Actress?” When you see her pic you’ll understand why. She’s a great example of someone who goes after her dreams. After having kids, a career in marketing and starting a business with her husband in South Africa she still felt like there was so much more out there to learn and experience. With the support and blessing from her husband and kids, they all packed their bags and moved to New York City so she could attend Parsons School of Design.

 

Sharing 3 ways to deal with Pain.

With the tumultuous present times intent on volcanically shaking us to the very core, everywhere is a HOT mess. Hot emotions have erupted in every direction spewing like molten larva all over the place…  it’s clear to me that its time to deal with the uglies.

Wait. The uglies?  It’s my new phrase for a collective of pain manifesting and wreaking havoc the world over in infinite ways. The anger swelling in the human ranks is palpable. I mean, in my home country right now where the have-nots are trying to get what the have’s have had for the last 60 or more years, there’s outrage over an artists impression of the Presidents penis. In America, the have’s are upping the ante to maintain the status quo against the have-nots, in what is shaping up to be the showdown of the year, the November 2012 elections. It’s lovely to know, if you take the long-term view that the net effect of all this is: Progress.

But for now… the uglies await us. So, if you want to stop reading here, I understand. Pain is painful.

For the braveheart.

The uglies as I’ve said, is a variety of emotional and physical pain felt by each us in one way or the other that emanates from fear and resides in the ego. It manifests and wreaks havoc in infinite ways. The uglies have so many forms but it all boils down, in the end, to one thing fear. The uglies have so many faces but in the end have one common factor, pain. The uglies have so many expressions but in the end it helps us discover one thing-who we really are.

I think the uglies will always exist in this world of ours. The great relief is we all have them. Even the pretty handsome ones, who would rather you think that all is perfect in their make believe world, have scars of pain. Even Presidents. Even Parents. Even Passers-by. Every people.

I have enough to last this lifetime and then some.  I’ve come to realize that in a whacked way, it’s what makes us human. Ughhh! Because you know, sometimes I just want to live in a nice, nice world all of the time….So before I lose my nerve and ditch this guest blog, let me share how I’m trying to deal with mine. I’ve figured this:

1. Deal with the cards you’ve been handed to get in the game.

Staying numb is not an option anymore. It’s time to deal with the uglies. It’s unavoidable. I have run away into denial land before. We all know it’s a temporary vacation, where you can enjoy free cocktails and overpriced cheeseburgers. When you get back to the land of the living, the emotional mess is still there. Life is just designed that way. Choose to deal and not deny.

2. Dance with your shadows

I’ve learnt that dancing with my shadow/s is like stepping in unison with the dance of life. The more I try to understand my pain the more in step I am with myself. Because you know that which you resist…persists. It’s the greatest experiment. Be daring enough to try out your own moves. There is only right and right. No wrong. Dance your truth. Dance the night away!

3. Design solutions for yourself

Lately, I like to think like this. I’m opening my heart and breathing in compassion. I’m listening carefully to my feelings. I’m building faith in myself. I’m zoning in. I’m only making moves when my hearts in it. I’m constructing my life around my dreams and the whispers in my heart. I’m getting fired up!

Brave hearts can conquer fear and pain. I’m fighting for my dreams. I urge you to join the good fight.

Where you can find me:

Leanne tee on Facebook

@leannetee on Twitter

http://leanetee.wordpress.com

https://pinterest.com/leannetee/

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/leannetee

@leatchi on Instagram

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A Single shot of Truth

I initially wrote a tell-all straight-up-truth post about being single, dating and sex. When I mentioned it to my friend yesterday she gave me a look so horrifying, I thought I’d better sleep on it. Luckily for those whose hearts might have been beating a little faster by now, her look of sheer horror made me decide to spare the trauma it might have caused to some ego’s. It was not a kiss-and-tell, just some general truths women never tell men.

Anyway it was all linked to me watching “Think Like A Man” which I thought was a load of crap, and happening upon this article talking about the new Mr Right: Mr Right Always and not Mr Right Now. Some of the things about Mr Right Always:

  •  supports your career and ambitions
  •  is proud when you achieve professionally
  • doesn’t expect to be waited on but does expect to be helped
  • enjoys doing things for you just as you do for him
  • knows who your friends are and makes an effort with them
  • doesn’t feel competitive with you. Your wins are his too.

I sent this to a few of my single friends and they all wrote back wanting to know if such men still exist? Honestly, I don’t know. Do they? No, it’s not a rhetorical question, I’m asking, do they?

I’ve been single for so long I feel like I need to join a support group.

Hi, my name is Lisa and I’m single. My last boyfriend was 3 years ago.

Say hello to Lisa everyone.

Sometimes I find the topic of singledom amongst women to be like that of ‘giving birth’. Ask a woman what its like to have a child and she’ll tell you all the glowing details leaving out the most important parts, the truth. I’m sure it’s a wonderful experience but what I really want to know is how painful it is, how messy it is, how draining it is, how hard it is?

It’s the same for being single. Everyone will tell you how happy they are, how it doesn’t bother them, how they are not looking. No-one really wants to talk about the fact that it can get lonely. That it can be hard.  That it’s not always fun. That the real truth is that we all secretly want to be in a relationship.

When you’re newly single it can be a bit scary at first, you think can I really do this? Can I survive on my own? Then you start hanging out with friends, going to dinners, parties, lunch dates, shopping, you’re giddy with all this freedom and free time. Being single is the best thing ever. You gain some confidence, you feel amazing and then you decide to start meeting people, putting yourself out there.  And this is where it can start to get a little hairy. (You can read about my “dating” experiences in Korea here.)

Personally I’ve found dating to be complicated, confusing, and hard work. I don’t understand what happened to honesty, just telling the truth and being transparent about what you want and who you are. I don’t want to figure it out, read between the lines or play the game. Because when you not sure what the rules are or how it’s played you’ll find yourself in dangerously painful territory.

There are all sorts of things I never imagined having to negotiate when I first became single. To give you a bit of background, 3 years ago I came out of a 5 year relationship that for the most part was good, but it left me feeling broken and empty. I got lost in the relationship, lost my sense of self, lost my way, forgot my essence. After that, I took the time I needed to re-discover and heal myself before I even thought about meeting someone else.

And let me just say after my foray into the world of dating, that it’s hard enough just trying to meet wholesome people, but now you also have to deal with the notions of “friends with benefits”, “it’s complicated” (are we just friends going for coffee, are we just hanging out and having some fun, are we mutually exclusive, are we just friends having sex, oh no wait, that’s friends with benefits), “casual dating”, and being a “cougar”. I’ve been having a lot of that lately. I’m 35 and just this week I had a 20-year-old wanting to go out with me. Ummm….yeah, just the idea was a stretch for my imagination. I’m no Samantha.

I’ve reached a plateau with regards to this dating thing. After the initial period of being on a high it becomes a bit tiresome. For me anyway. I also think it’s a bit harder to do when you’re comfortable and happy with yourself and you know what you want. When I was younger and stupider it all seemed a lot easier.

I don’t know where this plateau will lead, a climb up the mountain or a descent into a valley, and I think I like it that way. I haven’t given up, just let it go. The only advice I could give anyone in the same situation is to spend this time concentrating on you. Its part of the human condition to want to feel and know that you are loved. The most important thing I’ve learnt is not to try to force it, let it beckon you.

And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Kahlil Gibran.

 

 

 

A sobering moment

On Friday I was in a food coma. I was not hospitalised luckily, but I was confined to my bed like a beached whale. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t see properly. Everything around me was a blur; I couldn’t even bring myself to turn on the television. I just lay there asking myself why would I do this to ME, why? Why? Why?

Naturally this was self inflicted. Let me backtrack a little to give you some context. Last week I launched the #STOPJANANDA2012 campaign. This campaign’s goal is to essentially get me back to fitting into my jeans without looking like a muffin top, for my triumphant return HOME. And up and until Friday at exactly 5:30pm everything was going swimmingly well. I took my mother’s advice for breakfast, which is to eat only half the portion you would normally eat. So I had half the amount of cereal. And I took Commonsense’s advice for lunch and had chicken salad, an apple and yoghurt every day. Now I’m not gonna lie to you. Dinner time was a little wobbly on some days, I wouldn’t say I fell off the campaign trail but I came pretty close.

And then Friday happened.  On my walk home from school, I passed a pizza place. Firstly the smells wafting from the oven drew me in like a snake charmer’s whistle, and then, the warmth and safe shelter it offered from the cold rain outside found me inside the door, and then finally, I saw George Clooney’s face on the pizza saying, “You want me, take me, have me”. Now we all know I can’t resist George and those bedroom eyes and seductive smile so I wanted him, took him and had him. And boy, did I pay the price for my sluttony. Some people need to hit rock bottom to change their situation and I guess I am one of those ”some people”.  The “during” part of devouring George was sensational but the after effects were disastrous. Just ask the beached whale.

Like I said, luckily for me I wasn’t hospitalised so on Saturday morning I rolled out of bed and saw that my ex-almost-sister-in-law had sent me a healthy recipe to try. Determined to regain some dignity and self respect from the morning- after -guilty-conscience which we tend to feel after a night of sluttony, I scrambled to find some paper to write down the said recipe. Of course, none to be found but what I did find is a notebook from 2006 which I brought with me to Korea. I don’t know why but in that notebook in my own handwriting, amongst other things, I wrote, “At some point we all need to have a sobering moment”.  And at that point I knew the Universe was talking to me, so I sat down and had my sobering moment.

If your body is your temple, and I believe it is, and it happens to house things as precious as your heart and soul, why would you do anything to harm it? This was my sobering question.  Now I don’t want to bore you with stories about the army of deep scars that hide in dark holes in my soul, that come out just to taunt my insecurities, which ultimately leads to the sluttonous behaviour. But I do want to share with you how I came to the decision to put up the GOOD FIGHT for the #STOPJANANDA2012 campaign.

Over a year ago, I went on holiday to the Philippines and experienced one of the greatest lessons people get philosophical about all the time.  A friend and I decided to hire motorbikes and a do a day trip around one of the islands. Now we were warned that only a short stretch of the trip would be tar and the rest would be gravel but we thought, hey, how hard could this be.  Indeed.

I wore sandals, not a good idea. Stones tend to fly when you least expect it. I wore a little summer dress, not a good idea. The sun blazes and burns when you least expect it.  The vegetation scratches and hurts when you ride into it. I don’t know how to dance, not a good thing when your bike is doing the electric slide across the road. I can’t break evenly, not a good idea when you about to cartwheel  head first down a hill. I fell off, I got up, I got wedged between the bike and the side of a cliff, and I got on again. We got lost, we continued. Eventually, gravel turned to sand and road turned to a narrow “walking path”. The open road turned to thick green vegetation enveloping us. I didn’t know where we were or how we got there. I couldn’t see where we were going. But just as it seemed as if we were heading to a precarious place called, nowhere, we happened upon this.

An untouched, naturally beautiful, secluded beach, just for us.  I’ve never seen anything more picturesque. And that’s when my friend turned to me and said, “This is a good metaphor for life. Sometimes you have to go through hardship to reach a place of beauty”.  And we sure did have to travel through a long rough gravel road to find this little piece of heaven. And all through the trip we never complained, never worried, never gave up. Each little thing that had happened all formed part of the greater adventure.

Fast forward to today and I’m thinking about how you have to go through hardship to reach a place of beauty. If I’m going to lead the #STOPJANANDA2012 campaign then I need to put my big girl panties back on and continue on the campaign trail. I have to do the work, have the discipline, go through the tough times and get to my little piece of heaven. My campaign manifesto is to try any and all suggestions given to me.  Today it was the healthy recipe from my ex-almost-sister-in-law.

I have to admit to being like a manic banshee trying to make this and take pics. I am no photographer, not even close. So if the pictures don’t do this meal justice I urge you to try it here. Scroll down the comments for the ingredients.

The ingredients

The salad:

The chicken stir fry:

Put a bit of the chicken stir fry and salad in a lettuce leaf and wrap it up and eat it:

It was healthy & DELICIOUS. It tasted of summer – fresh, zesty and light. It made me feel the same way I felt at the end of that long rewarding day in the Philippines – serenely happy & content.

PS my sister suggested a detox. I have to do it now. Pray for my students.

#STOPJANANDA2012

I come from a family of big eaters.  If you had to ask me what I know for sure about my family, it’s that we love to cook, we love to eat and we love to laugh. And normally those three go hand in hand. My happiest memories revolve around sitting at the kitchen table eating, talking and laughing.  It’s the one place where we are able to engage with each other without there being any drama. Because if there is another thing I know for sure, it’s that when my family gets together, there is bound to be drama.

My grandmother was the doyenne of the kitchen. She could whip up a Michelin star meal from the scraps of nothing. I think she was the Food Whisperer. Ingredients spoke to her. They told her the secrets of which herbs or spices blended the best together, and how much of this goes with how much of that, to extract the tastiest flavours from whatever she was cooking.  When you ate her food you tasted love. This is probably the reason why she had so many visitors. She was always in the kitchen happily feeding everyone, and their strays.

And I’m sure this is the reason why I have such a healthy (side-eye) relationship with food. It represents love and happiness to me.  And yes I am still a slut of an emotional eater which you can read about here. But logic dictates that this all stems from food taking me to such a happy orgasmic place.

Now, if my grandmother was the doyenne of the kitchen, then my father is the king of comedy. He loves a good joke, especially a dirty one. And when he tells a joke, he is the first one to roll his head back and let out a roar so loud and so boisterous that you can’t help but get caught up in the tidal wave of laughter.  But as much as he loves a good joke, what he really loves most in the world is to tease people.  If you enter the Lawler household best you do it with your thick skin on.

So I know for sure that if I had to walk into my father’s house right now, with the current curves that I possess, he would say with a big smile on his face, “Ooh I see you getting nice and JANANDA (pronounced Ja-nun-da.). You must be hitting those pots in South Korea.” Cue for two minutes of earth shaking laughter. Now I don’t know where this term JANANDA comes from, but in my family it means that the cheeks on your face and your butt are getting nice and big and rosy, to be polite. And if you don’t have any curves and you’re looking a little mal-nourished then you can be sure to be called SKINNY MALINKS.

This is JANANDA

JANANDA

This is SKINNY MALINKS (Yes, that’s me)

SKINNY MALINKS

When I return home in 5 months time and my father says, “To what do I owe this great honour, that my prodigal daughter has returned.” I don’t want the next words out of his mouth to be “ooh I see you getting nice and JANANDA , you must be hitting those pots in South Korea”.

I want to be somewhere in the middle, somewhere between JANANDA and SKINNY MALINKS. So I took the time today to write down the 5 biggest “white lies” I’m currently feeding myself with regards to food and exercise:

  1. When confronted with anything dessertified or sweet – If you don’t wake up tomorrow morning will you have regrets about not eating this fat slice of chocolate cake? Yes. Then eat it. The answer is always yes.
  2. When deciding on doing exercise – 90% of your weight depends on what you eat and 10% on exercise. (I’m delusional, I make up these stats, please don’t quote me). So, TOMORROW, I will start eating healthy.
  3. Eating makes me happy. I want to be happy. I’d rather be curvaceous and happy then skinny and unhappy.
  4. On deciding to join a gym – I don’t like sweating in front of other people.
  5. When confronted with anything delicious and non-healthy – It’s ONLY 878 calories, if I eat this now then later I’ll have ???Calories or I won’t eat at all. LIES.

I’m an intelligent woman, I know they’re lies but still I listen to them. I need your help. I’ve started the #STOPJANANDA2012 campaign.  I need to put an action kit together. Do you have any ideas? How do I stop listening to the lies? What eating plan or exercise plan works for you?

Balance, my friend, where art thou?

I may be pregnant or pre-menopausal or just highly imbalanced. This past week my emotions have been all over the charts but nowhere near the happy spot.  They’ve been lurking in the dark, shadowy alley of anger, irritation and sometimes rage, waiting to pounce and attack. And when they’ve not been in the dark alley of anger then they’ve been visiting the tearful ducts of sadness. Wallowing in a place of nowhere-ness. Knowing and not knowing, sitting in that uncomfortable place in my chest.

I have something to say but the words can’t seem to find the right channel for expressing themselves. Either they want to scream and shout and throw things, like an implosion of the self. Like that time in my other life when I threw my phone at the ex-caveman and it smashed against the wall and I got more upset, not because my phone was in pieces but because it hit the wall and not his head.

Or they want to break down and sob and cry and sniff sniff sniff. Like that time in my other life when I became emotionally unhinged, after the ex-caveman and I signed the death certificate on our relationship, and my sister had to come and put the screws back in. But don’t worry, all my parts are now safe and secure. The current caveman though,  poor thing, is not taking any chances, and is presently in hiding. Whereabouts unknown.

I started the week in a mood with a facebook friends massacre. I pushed that delete button like I was wielding a deadly weapon.  Delete. Delete. Delete. I was ruthless and deadly and it felt so damn good. And I ended the week with the purchase of my plane ticket back home, even though its more than 5 months away.

Balance is avoiding me like that elusive friend who says they gonna call you but never do, they gonna pay you back as soon as they can but never do, or they gonna see you soon but never do.

And I’ve been resisting putting pen to paper because the undercurrents of these emotions are pulling me in all kinds of directions. This blog was supposed to be about one thing and somehow became about something entirely different.

I hope I’m not pregnant or pre-menopausal or emotionally imbalanced. I hope I’m not losing my mind. I hope the caveman returns. I hope Balance stops avoiding me. He must be a man, who else would disappear at the first signs of emotional upheaval. And I hope my thoughts and ideas stop playing see-saw so I can get some sleep tonight.

A new week is about to begin, here’s to hope and finding Balance.