Survival Instinct

This morning, I rescued a gecko from one of my cats. This was an eye-opener in two ways for me. First, the look on my cat’s face; a look that says: “Dang you! I worked hard for that! You are taking my livelihood away from me!” My feeling of guilt was short-lived though, as something else totally grabbed my focus shortly after.

As I held this little gecko, in total not even the length of my little finger, this brave little creature started to bite me. It bit me with all its might, and with a passion I can hardly describe. I wish I had a chance to take a picture of the event, but it struck me how much of a will to survive the little creature hard.

I stood there for a few seconds, observing the tenacity with which it bit me, and I simply had to admire its will to live. I could squash this little thing like a bug, if I wanted to, and it probably instinctively knew it, but it did not give up. It bit me as if it knew I would sooner or later have to let it go in a yelp of pain.

After a few seconds of watching this brave little thing, a few seconds that felt like an eternity in awe, I went outside and put it down in the garden. This leads me to another thought about where did my cat grab this gecko in the first place, and would it be able to find its way back from where it was initially kidnapped from? We know that cats and dogs can find their way home for miles and miles, but what about this little gecko? Your thoughts?

Until next time…

Life

We are very sad today – our friend Jaco was taken away in a car accident this morning. SJS will not be the same without Mayor around. Mayor, friend, you have enriched our lives.

The collective sadness we feel today at SJS is so overwhelming. Everyone is quiet, keeping to themselves. Nobody is posting much, so I thought about this:

If we assume that there are at least 50 people mourning Jaco’s departure, and that all departing people are mourned by at least 50 people, this would world is a sad, sad place. Every day millions of people die. Considering South Africa as on July 2009, 16.99 of every 1000 people die per year. With a population of almost 49 million, that means around 832000 people died in the last year in South Africa alone. That would make 41 million people mourning the death of a loved one througout the year.

Well, this post was not meant to be negative, depressing or even 100% accurate, but I think you get the idea. When we’re sad, we’re often sad for our own loss, as the person who left us for eternity is in a better place. His or her job on earth was complete. It is not for us to try and figure out why.

The point of this post is, that even though 41 million people mourn every year about a loved one lost, that same 41 million people rejoice every other moment in time about the joy that people brought to their lives while they were alive.

Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened. Yes, harder to achieve than to say, but we have to try, otherwise nobody will ever be happy…

So – let’s celebrate Jaco’s life, for who he was, what he has meant to all of us, and what we’ve learnt from him…

Out of sight, out of mind…

Someone once said that a tidy desk is a sign of a cluttered draw. Does that necessary flow that a cluttered desk is a sign of an empty draw? No, it does not. We often believe that if something is out of sight, it is out of mind. In many cases this works, at least for a while. Until the desk gets too cluttered, and the draw is also full. Then we need to purge. To clean up. To detox. To rejuvinate.

Envision this tidy desk of yours, or the cluttered one, if you wish. Envision this cluttered draw or empty one, should you so desire. Make sure you are thinking of YOUR desk and YOUR draw. Not a generic one or one of a family member or a friend. What does your desk look like? Is it messy? Is it tidy?

How do you think this simbolizes your life? Are you hiding your pains and fears away in your draw, or are they available for everyone to see? Are you a control freak who keeps everything around you tidy, but inside yourself, you’re a mess? Do you want everything in its place? Do you HAVE everything in its place? Are you in control of yourself, or not? Are you trying to control everyone else around you because you can not control yourself? These are just a random bunch of questions. I want to make you think. You don’t have to think sense, just think, and really, nobody has to know that you thunk at all – it will be our little secret.

I am equating my desk with my mind. My desk is usually messy, but so is my drawer. And with messy, I don’t mean dirty. Not in the gutter, nor is it unkept and dusty, and coffee spilt over it. It is untidy. But everything is in its place. It is usually easy for me to find something on my desk or in my drawer, even though it may be impossible for someone else to find it. I know where everything is.

That is similar to my mind. I can find things in there that I never knew I collected before. I get random flashbacks from when I was 5 years old, that probably nobody in the world would remember, even if they were present at the time, and had the same memory stored away somewhere. The reason being that for them it was just something that happened, for me, that same event made a profound impact on the way I do things.

Some days I get this urge to clean everything up around me. I pack out my draws, and repack them. I clean up my desk, and reorganize everything. I have realized that I do this only when I am in a situation where I have absolutely no idea what is going on around me. This could be work pressure, some other issues, such as missing someone, or being in pain, or whatever your situation may be. Once I have packed and reorganized, everything starts to pile up eventually, and it gets messy again, but I know where everything is, until I don’t know anymore. Once I get to that point, I purge again.

I do the same with my mind. The same with my emotions. This is evidence in the posts I make on my blog, and when I make them. I tend to write stuff when something is bothering me. Lot of the posts on here revolve around losing the love of my life last year. Then it went quiet. I dealt with it, and moved on. My blog has been quiet. Until now.

So – what is bothering me now? It is simply that my desk is getting cluttered, and I know that soon I will need to clean it out. For me that is a good thing. It rejuvinates me. It rejuvinates my soul. It makes me feel back in control. My desk and my draw are both tidy. At least for a while.

The winds of change

Whether we want to admit it or not, we often change little things about ourselves to be likable to others. Or do we? What constitutes change? Is wearing your hair loose because your partner likes it that way considered to be a change? Is agreeing with the one you love for the sake of peace (or because you love that person) considered to be a change? What exactly is change?

From the Unabridged Dictionary (v1.1): Change (verb): to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.

If you consider that definition of the word change, my given examples would be considered changes. So what if we change something, and then change it back to the way it was? Does it cancel out the change, or is it now two changes? Technically speaking, it is two changes, because a change alters the state of something from the state that it is currently in.

But why this discussion about what change is? If you understand the concept of change, you can try to define what someone mean when they say You are changing yourself so that I will like you. What the heck am I on about? E., an ex of mine always said that I was trying to change myself to be more likable to her. Did I? She seemed to think so, but I do not. If you merely agree with something she says, even if you disagreed yesterday, does that mean you changed yourself? No. It means you have changed your opinion about something.

Let us presume you are asked if you want to have children. Let us say a few years ago you did want children, but at the current moment in time, you are not so sure. I mean, it is possible that you are unable to have children. Do you see your self waking up at two in the morning to change a diaper? Do you think you would expect too much of your children and press them too hard to achieve what you were unable to achieve in your younger years?

I was like that once. I wanted children. Then, at the time I met E., I was unsure whether I wanted children or not. The thoughts given above where running through my head. E. proclaimed even before we were seriously dating that she would never have children again. I can understand that, with already having had 2 (beautiful) daughters, and having to raise them alone. She would not start over for anybody, and that was okay. This got me to thinking, and it affirmed my thoughts about having children. I decided that I did not want children, at least not at this time in my life. No way, Sir.

Now the following question remains: By affirming my feelings about this, that I do not want children at this time of my life, did I change my opinion about this so that we have a better chance of staying together? Considering the facts, if she does not want any more children and I do, would that not cause a lot of trouble in our relationship? Yes, but only if I wanted some and she did not. But since I made up my mind that I did not, would it harm us? Probably not. Unless one of us changes our minds again. But did I change my mind in an attempt to make our relationship last? I doubt it – because I still feel the same, almost two months after the breakup.

So, I ask again… Did I change myself to ensure our future, even at a great cost to myself? I think no. But what do you think? Drop me a line by using the contact link in the navigation bar. Would be interesting to hear some other people’s take on this…

Until next time…

I for Incapacity

I for Incapacity

A short story by Kobus Myburgh

“Ahhhhh…” Danny rubs the tense muscles in his neck as he walks on his way to work. Where does this ache come from? And why is he feeling so dizzy? Did he eat something funny? The shapes of the trees around him begin to bleed into each other; dark, oozing and green. The palisades start to look like devil forks, beckoning him to come closer. The faces of people around him seem to laugh at him, their teeth long and sharp. And those eyes, oh so empty… Danny falls.

…4 months later…

The pain is becoming more unbearable every day. Why does everybody just stare at him? Why don’t they do something about it? The faces around his bed seem to pity him. Their eyes are wide and sometimes teary. What is going on? Oh! The pain! “Please! I need something for the pain!” his soul scolds the bystanders.

It has been four months since he last moved on his own. Four months since he last uttered a single word. While his eyes were usually closed, his mom often opened them in hope that he can see what is going on around him. His large dark brown eyes were wide open now, howling in pain and fear, dry like the Sahara. It is not only the pain of his aching muscles, but also the pain of the humiliation of being totally incapacitated. He needed someone to wash him, to turn him to prevent bed sores; to feed him and take care of his bodily wastes.

Danny would’ve cried if he still knew how to. He would’ve cried if he still had tears left. No-one seems to know that he is awake and can hear everything they say.

“Still no improvement,” says the one he knew as Father Simon. “I wonder if he will ever wake up.” A high pitched voice out of his range of sight, vaguely familiar, speaks faintly, unintelligible over the rustle of the autumn leaves outside his open window, as if praying to her ancestors. Someone bends over him, stethoscope in hand. Why don’t they warm the darned thing before pressing it against his already nitrogen-fuelled heart?

Mama Jane cries in a wailing tone. Oh, she used to be so brave and strong, for her eldest son’s sake. She didn’t want him to lose hope of ever recovering. Now it seems she has given up, shown by not only in the siren-like anguish in her voice, but also her bent back as she looks down onto him when the two of them are alone in the tiny room.

Danny lies flat on his back, on his rusty spring mattress lain on a high base made of bricks. If he could speak he’d tell them that he didn’t believe in the age-old beliefs of the Tokoloshe. Can you imagine a man with only one arm and leg and the face of an old man on the body of a boy? Ridiculous!

“The Tokoloshe can not reach you now.” Mama Jane said one day, absolutely certain that the evil spirit was responsible for her son’s condition. In spite of his disbelief, Danny sometimes wondered about the Tokoloshe, with the big evil spirit of the devil himself encaged in that small body. He was threatened constantly as a child that the Tokoloshe will make him ill if he was naughty. Does it really exist? Was it responsible for what he is going through now? Was his modern lifestyle in which he openly denies the existence of the creature the cause of why he is bedridden? Are his sins finally catching up with him?

A single tear runs out of the corner of his left eye. He can feel it trickle down his temple, cold and clammy; seemingly emotionless.

“Danny,” his mother said. “You have a visitor. He says he is an old friend of yours, and his name is James. He said he wants to speak to you alone. I didn’t know you had any white friends?” If Danny had the ability to change his facial expression, he would’ve seemed confused. He had very few white friends and definitely not one who goes by the name of James. If Danny could speak, he would’ve shooed the visitor away. James took a seat beside him, and starts to talk.

“Danny, I know you can see me from the corner of your eye, and that you can hear me. I know that you are fully aware of what is going on around you, as long as it is in your range of vision. I also believe that you have probably heard your family talking that you will never speak or move again.”

James stood up, and turns Danny’s head sideways. Their eyes meet and he saw fire in James’s eyes, flaming so intense, like two volcanoes about to erupt. Did the Tokoloshe manifest itself in this stranger?

“I also know that you are in pain that is getting gradually worse every day. I also know that, by now, you can move your eyelids if you concentrate. I also know that you are asking all kinds of questions about what happened to you. I may be able to answer some of those questions for you, but only if you agree to answer a few of my own by blinking once for ‘yes’, twice for ‘no’. Ready?”

…a long silence follows as Danny seemingly concentrates on blinking his eyes…

*blink*

“Good! You initially thought I may be a doctor here to help you, but you don\’t think so anymore, do you? Do you know who I really am?”

“I didn’t think so. Danny, I know exactly when your illness started, but I was not there. I know the exact day that you collapsed. I know the exact day your ability to move your eyelids returned, even though you didn’t know until 30 seconds ago that you could do that. I know exactly how your symptoms started, and I know what brought it on. Do you know what happened, Danny?”

“I might have been a bit naive to think that you would know. You probably think you are cursed, and even that I am a manifestation of some evil spirit or angry ancestor. Do you have any idea why you think you may be cursed?”

“Four months ago to the day, you broke into a vehicle, caused a lot of damage and stole a lot of what was in the vehicle. Do you remember that?”

Danny became pale, but doesn’t blink. The stranger seemed to notice the flow of blood from his face, and gets a sardonic grin on his face.

“I am the owner of the vehicle you broke into. The vehicle was armed with a nerve-impairing gas that slowly infiltrates your body and incapacitates you within 12 hours – growing on you like a virus, engulfing you, making you gradually weaker and dizzy until you finally collapse. Although there is no antidote, the effect of the gas works out in six months; only two more months to go. But with this bit of good news comes some bad news: the pain will become worse and worse. Do you know why?”

*blink* *blink*

“The pain is becoming worse as your sense of feeling returns. The gas has affected your nervous system, and hence your ability to have any feeling. You were in excruciating pain over the last four months; you just didn’t know it, due to paralysis. Over the next two months, your nervous functions will return to normal and with it your feeling, and at the same time the pain will become less.”

With that, James stood up, smiled at Danny, and walked out of the room. As Mama Jane came back into the room, Danny blinked and faintly smiled at her.

The power of one

Everyone knows it, but nobody applies it. Some motivational speakers keep telling people this at almost any chance they get. If everyone knows it, then why does nobody apply it? Especially if applying it meant that you will feel a lot better? What am I talking about? I am talking about the fact that someone can only have as much power over you as you allow them to have.

I have recently been through a rather nasty breakup, which, according to her, was actually very good until I asked some bad questions (imagine that. A good break up? Is there something like that? Maybe for the one doing the breakup, but not for the one at the receiving end…). Yes, the questions were bad. I admit to that. But since then, I have tried profusely to make it up to her to at least have a friendship with her. She is giving me the silent treatment. The quieter she becomes, the more I try to apologize. The more I apologize without getting a response (heck, even a picture message of her middle finger would make me feel better…) the more desperate I became to get her to forgive me about the blatantly rude questions I asked about the breakup and her motivations for it.

This is where this whole power thing enters the arena. Someone can only have as much power over you as you allow them to have. I have now decided that I am DONE apologizing. I am sorry for what I asked, but I am now done. It is now up to her to either accept the apology and we can be friends, or she does not, and we never see each other or talk to each other again.

What this means for her is that she loses someone who will stand by her through all of the troubles of life. She loses someone who will always be there to talk to, no matter the time of day or night. What it means for me? I lose a good friend. I lose someone I really have a connection to. I lose someone who captivates me with her smile. But that is okay, for I have tried to make peace. I have apologized over and over. I have revoked that power she had over me to make me feel bad all the time. She does not have that power over me anymore. I have apologized, I am done.

Of course, if she comes round, I will gladly take her back into my life as the best friend I have lost through all this, but until she does her part to restore this, there will be nothing from my side. Nada. Zip, Zilch. Zero. Comprende?

In summary – do not give someone that much power over you to make you miserable indefinately. After a fair effort to rectify what you did wrong, simply make peace with it, and move on. Yes, not easily done, and I will probably fail a few times while I get used to this, but I am sure as heck going to try.

Lost the one I love…

In spite of everything I tried, the love of my life recently broke up with me, and I have a hard time dealing with it. Initially it was because she could not give me a real reason that satisfy my need for an answer, and now it is because I sent her a mail to ask her for reasons why, and I messed up royally. I am no better off than I was directly after the breakup, although the reasons have now changed from feeling sorry for myself, to feeling sad that I have hurt her in the process.

I have decided I want to stay friends with her, because I am losing only about half of what we had. There is so much more than just the relationship part. We were actually getting along very well and had a lot in common (although she sometimes felt I was changing myself to be likable to her, a statement which I detest, as I am my own person. It only happens that we have so much in common naturally that it may feel to her that this is the case…). But I cannot do this before I have made peace with the fact that it is over between us, and that we will not get back together (no matter how much I would hope for that to happen), and also, I cannot do this until she has forgiven me for my hurtful questions.

I figure that with losses such as these you have about 75% ego problems. You are sad for YOUR loss. That person is not necessarily sad, so it is your own ego and your own needs that make you unhappy about the loss. Then you go through a phase where you feel that you were not good enough for that person. Again your own ego. If you think clearly about this, you may notice some mistakes you have made, but overall, if you feel that you did the best that you could, this feeling is not justified at all!

Sometimes during this process, you also go through a stage that you are BETTER than that person, such as She was not worthy of me anyways, so good luck and good riddance to you! and that is ALSO your ego trying to intimidate you, or falsely pacify you. Whether this is wrong or not, I cannot determine 100% certainly yet, although I am starting to feel more negative towards this phenomenon, however, it is just your way to make you feel better with it and deal with it, no matter how twisted it is.

Then there is anger. The anger of being dumped (or that someone died, or whatever…). One way I deal with loss like this is to vent my anger on my Rugby ball, or put on some angry music such as Rammstein or Radiohead (a little milder) on full blast, and shout as loud as I can to get it out of my system. This seems to work wonderfully for me, and I often feel a lot better after such a session. It does not last forever though, and when I feel that way again, I just follow the procedure again. It is better than letting it bundle up inside me and become a walking time bomb…

I am still trying to figure out any additional steps, not sure if there are any, and I am sure that the order in which any of these happen is not fixed. Some may experience the anger first, or others the self-loathing for being inferior.

I have disabled comments on my blog posts, simply because I like to write my thoughts down first, and then if I have thought about this myself, I may open it up for comments from others, to see what they think about my problem/philosophy/thought/whatever. So – if you have a comment to leave me, for now, use the contact form.

I strongly believe in what Descartes said: I think, therefore I am. If I let everyone else solve my problems for me, I am violating that rule. I let others think for me, and therefore they are. Of course, they have the right to be, but I should not allow them to be at the expense of myself, or on my behalf 😉 Okay – that may have some potential for a philosophy or psychological topic as well. Maybe more later 🙂