I see dead people…

As you may or may not know, the line I see dead people comes from the movie The Sixth Sense starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment. If you have been reading my blog posts in the past, you will know that my posts are often spoiling the plot if you have not seen the movie yet. So – if you have not seen the movie yet, and want to, please do so before reading this post.

As you also know, when I talk about a movie, I don’t give a review. I look at the lesson that I have learned from the movie, and I share that lesson with you.

In the movie, Malcolm Crowe (Willis) is actually killed in the beginning of the movie, but the viewer does not know this until the very end. Cole Sear (Osment) has the ability to see ghosts, and states at one time that people only see what they want to see. This is what this post is about.

How often does it happen that you see something the way you want to see it? How often do you think everything is fine in your relationships? Nothing wrong. Zero defect. Or do you actually only see in hindsight the millions of things that were wrong right from the start? Do you realize in shock that you should’ve seen the break-up coming? Or do you realize that a particular thing you did caused much more damage than you wanted to believe? Or, after the break-up, do you only then see the signs that your significant other was cheating on you with someone else? Or, do you only see after the fact that your child lied to you about not stealing that money from your purse? Or what about those flowers your husband brought you today? It is not his usual behaviour, so why now? Who knows. Maybe he just wanted to be romantic. He wants to show you he loves you. Right? Maybe. Maybe he is apologizing for something he did…?

It is very difficult to do, because you’re often blinded by your circumstances, but try to look at every situation as if you are not IN the situation. As if you are an observer viewing your life from outside your body, and as if you are totally impartial to the outcome (sort of like the ghosts in the movie Stardust). But if you start to manage this, you may actually see the inevitible before it happens. Good luck with that…

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…

The hurt in the past

Having never liked jazzy music before, I have only recently discovered how delightful Norah Jones is. In particularly her songs “I Don’t Know Why” and “Come Away With Me”, however, the song I want to talk about today is sung by Norah, but written by Hank Williams, called “Cold Cold Heart”. I have been through a few breakups where these were the words I have been looking for to say, but couldn’t find them. Now I have them for future reference. 🙂 These words hit me right in the mind with their simplicity, yet deep, deep meaning.

Song: Cold Cold Heart
Writer: Hank Williams
Singer: Norah Jones

I tried so hard my dear to show that you’re my every dream.
Yet you’re afraid each thing I do is just some evil scheme
A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

Another love before my time made your heart sad and blue
And so my heart is paying now for things I didn’t do
In anger unkind words are said that make the teardrops start
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

You’ll never know how much it hurts to see you sat and cry
You know you need and want my love yet you’re afraid to try
Why do you run and hide from lies, to try it just ain’t smart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

There was a time when I believed that you belonged to me
But now I know your heart is shackled to a memory
The more I learn to care for you, the more we drift apart
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

Wow! That’s deep!

Note: This post will be in Afrikaans, because it deals with the deep words of a song that is written in Afrikaans. I always heard the song as a theme song for a popular South African series, but only recently when I bought a CD that has the entire song on it, have I really listened to the words. If you do not understand Afrikaans and are interested in reading what I have said, kindly contact me, and I will do a quick translation for you. My comments indicate what these words mean to me as a person.

Liedjie: Binnelanders
Sanger: Jak de Priester

Buite in die strate
Bars Jakarandas uit hul nate
En alles lyk van ver af so gesond
Maar in die gange is dit wit
Is dit blink en baie stil
Almal sluk vanaand ‘n bitter pil
Almal sluk vanaand ‘n bitter pil

En daar’s ‘n engel teen die mure
Wat van alles eintlik weet
Al lyk dit op die oog af
Of jy van die vloere af kan eet
En Dokter, luister nog ‘n keer
Of jy my hartklop wel kan hoor
Iewers het ek my hart op jou verloor
Iewers het ek my hart op jou verloor

En hoe kan ‘n vuur uit die woede geblus word
Hoe kan die liefde hom red uit die dood
Hoe kan ‘n hart wat al lankal vertrap is
Weer gered word uit die nood
Hoe kan ‘n tong wat uit lewe gemaak is
Later weer sag word soos ‘n lam
Hoe kan ‘n bitter pil weer soet wees
As ek jou net eenmaal kou
Maar buite in die strate
Bars Jakarandas uit hule nate
En alles lyk van ver af heel gesond

Van buite af lyk jy altyd in beheer. Die samelewing verwag dit van jou. Maar diep binne in jou, warrel wilde orkane van emosies; hartseer; pyn rond. Maak nie saak hoe goed jy dit uiterlik hanteer nie, daar is altyd iets binnekant wat gedokter moet word.

Soos ‘n bekende skrywer eens gesê het: “Show me a sane man, and I will cure him for you.”

Ons is almal slagoffers van groepsdruk op een of ander tyd in ons lewens, op een of ander manier. Die groepsdruk om altyd in beheer te wees. Ek bedoel nou nie mens met “op crack” vir elke klein dingetjie nie, maar mens moet nie die verbintenis met die realiteit verloor nie! Jou emosies is wat jou mens maak. Wees mens. Dit is soms goed om iemand te hê wat na jou luister as jy hartseer (of gelukkig) is. As meer mense praat en meer mense luister, sal daar minder tragedies (selfmoorde, gesinsmoorde, misdaad…) wees (net my beskeie opinie…).

Een van die mooiste dele van die liedjie handel oor die hartklop in jou en die verlies van jou hart. Hoe kan dit nog daar wees as jou hele hart vir iemand anders gegee is? Maar die hart is ‘n wonderlike ding. Hy laat nooit toe dat iemand hom geheel en al vat nie, en hy groei weer, al is daar net ‘n stukkie DNA oor. Daar is lewe na seerkry – onthou dit altyd! Met die woorde wonder ek of die skrywer nie sinspeel op ‘n suggestie dat meeste mense se grootste probleme emosioneel van aard is nie?

Dis so maklik om kwaad te raak en in woede te ontplof, maar as mens kalm bly gaan jy minder mense seermaak en ook jouself baie emosionele pyn veroorsaak, wat op sy beurt jou verder afstomp vir mense.

Indien die liefde van jou lewe opbreek met jou, voel jy dat die liefde nie weer gered kan word uit die dood nie. Maar hou moed! Die liefde sal weer blom. Die pyn sal weldrae verbygaan, en jy sal iemand nuuts ontmoet, en agterkom dat die vorige persoon nooit eintlik vir jou bedoel was nie.Mens wonder altyd wat jy verkeerd gedoen het indien iets nie uitwerk nie. Het jy iets verkeerd gedoen? Miskien, miskien nie. Kon jy iets anders gedoen het? Miskien, miskien nie. Wat was die impak op ons verhouding oor ek “dit” gedoen het? Wat van as ek eerder “dit” gedoen het? Dit los egter die twyfel in jou gedagtes van “As ek maar net ‘n tweede kans kon kry, sou ek dit gemaak werk het…” Maar dink jy regtig so? Die skade is reeds gedoen, en as jy dit nie die eerste keer reg gedoen het nie gaan daardie persoon heeltyd skepties wees teenoor jou. Dit sal ‘n wonderwerk van jou, en absolute geloof in jou van die ander persoon verg, om die tweede keer te laat werk. Maar dit is nie ontmoontlik nie.

Ja, ons hou almal ons front voor. Niemand mag tog weet ons bloei aan die binnekant nie. O, die absolute swakheid! Ai…

What do you miss the most?

When asked by someone you once dated what you miss most about that person, it is frowned upon if you say that you miss the physical intimacy most. Usually you will say something like you are missing the conversations. You are missing the fun you have had at the ice rink. You miss the dancing.

In a previous post I said I missed the dancing the most. While that was close, I do feel I have to change my mind. I miss the physical intimacy the most. Hmmm. Let me explain why. During times of intimacy is the only time she lets her guard down completely. She gives herself fully to you. She knows she is being taken care of and she lives herself into the moment. Well, at least that has been the case for me mostly. Maybe you are not so lucky (or unlucky, depends on your view…).

So – next time someone asks you what you miss most, think carefully.

My Claudia Schiffer

In the movie Love Actually, Daniel is mourning the death of his wife, Joanna. To mask his sadness, he talks about how he would not want anyone to be his date for his wife’s funeral, unless it was Claudia Schiffer.

As the movie progresses, he mentions Claudia Schiffer a few more times, and it becomes evident that Claudia Schiffer would be, besides his beloved Joanna, the person he would most like to be with. She is his fantasy girl.

As it works in fantasy movies, he laters bumps into Claudia. For real. But – in the movie she does not play herself. She plays Carol. One of his stepson Sam’s school friends’ mother. Obviously she is not Claudia Schiffer in terms of the story, but there is an immediate attraction between Carol and Daniel.

Why am I telling you all this? Because Carol is NOT Claudia Schiffer. And she is NOT supposed to resemble Claudia Schiffer in person but Daniel’s Claudia Schiffer. Daniel’s fantasy girl. All of us have our fantasy Claudia Schiffer or our own Brad Pitt or Elizabeth Taylor in her youth, even if he has a beer belly, or she has more wrinkles than a Shar-pei, he or she is out there somewhere, for love is blind…

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.

Dealing with the loss of love: the substitute

Disclaimer: Most of my posts have disclaimers nowadays. Haha. Well, anyways, the disclaimer here means simply that if this is not done correctly, it can backfire on you. Always consider the feelings of the other person involved, and be true to your own feelings and honest to yourself and your friend before trying this techique. It is important however, that you are only in a platonic relationship with this person, so that this does not create false illusions of romance or deceive your friend. If the other person feels romantically inclined towards you, this can damage or totally ruin the friendship, and should not be done! So – it is better to be honest with this person to tell him or her your intentions. This technique works for me, and may or may not work for anyone else, so do not hold me to this! Here goes…

I have found, besides anger (as described in the post directly below this one), that there is another way to deal with the loss of your lover: a substitute lover. No, this does not mean lover as perceived from the name I have given this tactic. It is not a real lover. It is also not a rebound girl. I am not talking about getting a lady of the trade either. What I am talking about is to get someone to do things that lovers usually do together, with one exception – remove the physical intimacy part.

How do you do this? Ask your substitute lover to go walking in a mall with you or go eat out at a romantic restaurant. Do silly lover-things such as smelling perfume testers, or eating by candle light, hook arms while you laugh or chat, or whatever, to simulate that you are with a lover. This will partially fill that void by the lover that has departed.

Another positive thing that may come from this approach, is that in time, as you heal from your current loss, this friendship of yours may bloom into a real intimate relationship, since you are doing a lot of more-than-friends things with this person and really get to know this person in another way that you usually will not.

The Devil in us all

Disclaimer: If you have not seen the movie Devils Advocate yet, and want to, do not continue reading this post until you have seen the movie, as this post will be a plot spoiler. Since this movie is over 10 years old already (1997) I felt it safe to post the punch line here, in an attempt to explain my post.

While some people believe that the devil is your own ego (and I am a partial believer in that), this post is not dealing in its entirety about that. What this post addresses mainly is the sin of vanity, which is actually feeding your ego, so it is actually only a subset of this egotistic devil inside us.

I recently saw the movie Devils Advocate again, and in this movie, Al Pacino (the devil) claims that vanity is his favourite sin. This is because humans are so easily overcome by their own vanity. In the movie, Keanu Reeves (Kevin Lomax, the son of the devil) is a hot-shot attorney with a 64-0 case win history. He only took prosecution cases in the past where he must present the evidence to put the defendant away, but in his latest case, he was attempting to set the defendant free.

At one critical stage during the case, he leaves for the bathroom, and experiences a strange phenonenon (you did read the disclaimer, right?), where he lives into the future which we as the viewer see as about 90% of the movie, although in the life of Lomax it is but a split second. Once he is out of this split second, he knows exactly what will happen if he wins this case for the defendant, so he opts out of this case, regardless of the consequences to his career, only to be tricked again by the devil minutes later.

Satan hammers on our own vanity hundreds of times per day, and this movie shows this so beautifully. Humans will often do everything to boost their own ego by believing things like I am the greatest or I am so good or I am God or I am worse than Satan. By the way, have you ever realized that God detests that humans pretending to be God themselves, or even better than others? But Satan flourishes on humans calling themselves the devil or better than others? This is again to feed your vanity! You are GOOD! Just as good as me, or even better than me! You are better than the Prince of Darkness (no, not Eskom…)! You are my equal! Humans love this! This should give you an idea that Satan can not be a God! No God will allow his followers to be his equal, and no God will like his followers to put them higher than another fellow human being who were created equally by God, in the image of God!

Satan loves to make you feel good about yourself, usually at the cost of others. Your ego tells you that you are good, that you are better than others. Your ego is indeed the devil, because it is the devil that feeds you this information through your vanity. Whether you are better at maths than the next door neighbour, or whether you have won 64 court cases and lost none, the ego is responsible for the feelings of superiority you experience. The devil is in you. Fight him.

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.