No Jane of the Jungle: Part 2

2 years ago while in Korea I decided to put my big girl panties on and venture out into the jungle. The dating jungle that is. I really don’t know what possessed me to do such a thing. Perhaps it was one too many nights spent cuddling up with a book or some misguided fear of missing out.

Even though I had heard some nightmarish stories, I felt strangely brave and excited. I mean, how bad could it really be?

Let’s just say, that it was disastrous an eye-opening adventure. An adventure that led me to one realisation: I am No Jane of the Jungle.
I decided at that point to stick to my books, movies and numerous dates with chocolate cake.

As a result, my curves are now amp-ler, my cleavage is lots-er-er and my butt is cushioned-der-rer. I am packing in all the right places.

Luckily for me, I have since left the Land of the Skinny and am now living in a Place of Undulating Foothills and Mountainous Terrain (my home South Africa). I feel like a normal part of society again and not some alien fatty inhabiting the shores of a shapeless race.

With this new sense of normality came a false sense of optimism and confidence. Whilst not actively seeking to date I have been out.

Now, how can I put it to you? Ummmm….let me put it this way; I’m no longer in jungle territory, more like the open Wild.

In the jungle, I wasn’t sure what was lurking around, it was all foreign to me, including some of the animals. Now I’m in familiar territory. I can spot a baboon a mile away. I can see the vulture swooping in for the kill and I can hear the laughing hyena.

While the animals are now identifiable the behaviour is not. You think you keeping company with a lion in the meantime it’s a fox. You think you’re conversating with an elephant in the meantime it’s a parrot. You think you dining with a giraffe in the meantime it’s a pig.

I mean it’s very confusing. The evolution in the Wild is taking a different turn. I can’t keep up. So what I’ve now realised is that I’m no Jane of the Jungle nor am I a Winnie in the Wild.

So what am I?

I don’t yet know. What I am thinking though, is that I may have to stay indoors…….

and start collecting cats?

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Grandmother Power

* This was meant to be posted leading up to Mother’s day as part of a campaign paying homage to Grandmothers. I could’t do it then but I thought I would post anyway, even though it’s late*

With a cup of sweet milky tea in one hand and a cigarette in the other; a husky voice and a deep, throaty laugh; a witty quip in one pocket and a soothing handkerchief in the other; she was a woman that everyone loved.

With thick grey hair that told stories of a life fully lived, and soft wrinkly skin that showed experiences fully had, she was both a gentle soul and a fierce lioness.

From the scrawny neighbourhood kid, to the friendly milk man, the doctor doing his rounds, and the drunkard down the road, she was known simply as Gran…

…the Light that safely brought to shore the broken, the wrecked and the wary. The most wretched of sailors would find a warm, comforting meal at her table just as the most gentlemanly would.

If you found yourself out in the cold or staggering in the dark, alone or misunderstood, the intoxicating smell of thyme would lead you back into her kitchen, her table and the embrace of her food.

With not a question asked or a cross word spoken, she would talk, laugh and tease you, all the while quietly weaving something magical from her heart through her hands and into the food, so that with every bite that you took, you would feel like you’ve come home.

And there is nothing quite like feeling you’ve come home. That she knew.

Of course she had her own little secrets in the kitchen. Like the special ingredients in her mac and cheese, the special way that she fried her steak and the special flavour in her tomato gravy.

She didn’t go to culinary school, take a course or read a book to learn how to cook. She just did it. With love. A smile. And a story.

Those were her most special ingredients. And that is why she made you feel so good. And that is why she is missed so terribly.

Now I can’t give away all her secrets but I can give you a few tips that I’ve learnt:

  • When you receive visitors into your home, move your ass into the kitchen
  • While you hit those pots, tell a story, crack a joke or just smile
  • Make more than you need, dish up more than you should
  • Always take a slice of bread and soak up all the goodness at the bottom of the pot/pan because that’s where all the flavour is
  • End with a cup of sweet, milky tea

I sometimes think the act of bringing food is one of the basic roots of all relationships. – Dalai Lama

I think Gran knew the Dalai Lama too.

Back in the day!

Back in the day!

I see her Rise!

As I sit in my makeshift office drinking green tea, I look out from the mountain top view of the city, and I ponder the state of my nation.

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From where I sit I see green. Lots of it. And scattered amongst the greenery I see buildings.
And in those buildings I see people.
And amongst those people I see women. Grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, cousins and aunts.
I see faces of every race, of every culture and of every age.
I see a swollen lip, puffy eye, and a bruised upper arm. I see the burn mark, the choke mark and the horrific bite mark.
I see the slap, the punch and the kick. I see the shove into the mirror, the push against the wall and the throw to the floor.
I see bruises, cuts and blood. I see fractured, I see broken and I see dead.
I see the heartache, the pain and the suffering.
I see the guilt, the shame and the blame.
I see fear.
Turn to anger. To outrage. To protest.
On the horizon from where I sit, I see a sea of blue sky and soft marshmallow clouds. I see birds and I see sun
And I see change.
I see her power, her body and her country
Re-claimed.
On the horizon from where I sit, I see her. Un-shamed. Un-blamed. Un-tamed.
I see her.
Rise.
I see her Rise!
I see her Rise!

If the statistic is true that a woman is raped every 4 minutes in South Africa, then in the time it has taken me to write this post, 60 woman have been raped. Are we angry yet?

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

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.