What it Means to Have a Friend in Me

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I like to think I’m a good friend (although, maybe not everyone agrees with that notion – slide into my DMs if you’d like to chat!)

What makes a good friend though? It’s something I question all the time. I think it’s TIME. Uninterrupted, full-attention (ahem, no phones), no-plans-afterwards time. I feel like the time and energy people give to me is an absolute gift, and I feel like it’s my gift in return.

But lately, I’ve started to realise how an outgoing personality aids me in making friends really easily. Don’t get me wrong; I feel that the word friend is thrown around too easily – I am very much able to differentiate between friends, associates and even acquaintances. I feel as though people who aren’t able to make those distinctions are craving relationships to be something they’re just not, and maybe too soon.

I also feel that a handful of actual friends is far more valuable than a hundred acquaintances. I also don’t see the point of levels being defined as friend< good friend< best friend< most bestest friend< even better than bestest friends< “Like, we’re basically sisters” *secret handshakes*. Honestly, “friend” is enough for me. It’s a word that carries weight and responsibility, don’t take it lightly.

But I recognise how hard it is for people to allow organic friendships to grow – perhaps they’re really shy, or suspicious, or untrusting of people because of bad experiences. Lately, I’ve found it really important to be patient with those types of people, to put in the time and energy to allow the friendship to grow organically. Not trying to force it, but putting in the actual effort to try. Nothing upsets me quite like knowing that someone might be lonely, or feel as though no one likes them, or perhaps feel like they don’t have friends. And what I’ve realised is that they might be surrounded by acquaintances that make them believe they are friends, but it’s too superficial. I imagine that they could be sitting with a massive group of shallow associates, and disappear amongst people who haven’t taken the time to see them.

Thinking of the type of friend you are is a journey of self-awareness and maturity, growing up means being the best type of friend you could be to the people you care about.

My advice to the outgoing people? Put in the time, put in the effort, and put in the work. Your friendship might be invaluable to someone who really needs it, and don’t take that title lightly. My advice to the shy ones? Trust in yourself, and trust in others until they give you reason not to. And my advice all round, be a good friend. A good, genuine, loyal friend. And for that matter, be the best type of friend you could be to yourself.

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Why I Stopped Blogging

It’s been a while. And I start every single blog post off by saying: “It’s been a while” or “I promise to try harder”. The reality is, I stopped blogging because I couldn’t get myself to start again.

A friend had to give me some straight talk today, to address exactly what the issue is. I finally blurted it out: I stopped because I’m afraid and have low self-esteem. I’m afraid that no one cares about what I could possibly have to say. But my fear of judgment exceeds any other apprehension.

This is a result of a fight I had with someone, who’s basically like a sibling to me, almost three years ago (I know, memory like an elephant). During a fight, she brought up my blog and weaponized it against me, and implied that I think I’m holier than thou. So I stopped.

I know that’s probably a ridiculous reason. It was said in anger and probably was intended as a stab in the heat of the moment. But it stuck, and I haven’t wanted to post anything out of fear that I’m giving off the perception that I think I’m better than anyone.

For clarification, I don’t think that way of myself. This blog was intended as a space for self-discovery, and a cathartic way of documenting my growth and life lessons. If others can learn from it, or engage in meaningful ways, then great. If not, that’s fine too.

Today, my friend, who cares about pushing me to do the things I say I’m going to do, and hold me accountable to myself, helped me see the light. So expect to see more of me around. Expect to see more ‘Aha Moments’ from my life.

In the end, if we’re not learning, what are we doing? And if I’m not documenting, I’m afraid I’ll change and not be able to look back on how far I’ve come.

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5 Things I Learnt for Myself in 2015

This is what my 2015 was like:

Kidding! I’ve seen so many people talk about how bad 2015 was for them. The obvious concern is that 2016 will roll around and just be ‘2015S’ – oh gosh that’s a terrifying thought! Personally, this year brought me great lessons, gave me a few meltdowns, but taught me nonetheless.

Here are some of my biggest lessons from the year:

  1. I’m never going to blog regularly and I’m ok with that. I keep writing blog posts about how I’m totally blogging more often. Who can live with all this pressure? I’ve accepted that I’ll blog when the mood strikes and I have something to blog about.
  2. Not everyone is my friend. And that’s ok. I also think we throw the word ‘friend’ around too casually. I also think it leads to using terms like “best friend” and “best best friend”. Calm down. The word ‘friend’ in itself is loaded with meaning, and this year I learnt that not everyone fits the description. I’ve made a conscious effort to invest time into the people who do, and my life has been so much better for it. Right now, I know how I have the best friends I could need (with no emphasis on the word ‘best’).
  3. IDGAF what anyone thinks of me, and it’s none of my business. My life changed for the better when I just stopped caring so much about what people think. This lesson comes with age though, because I’ve been given this advice many, many times before. The difference is that I actually followed this advice in 2015 and learnt that dealing with people is far easier and tolerable when you’re not constantly trying to impress them.
  4. I definitely do NOT have my shit together yet – and that’s ok too. Seriously, I thought my life would be in order at this point, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although I hate asking for help, it’s ok that I’m not completely independent yet. Having said that, 2016 will force me to try harder to get my shit together. Who knows right? How exciting. I’m still figuring it all out.
  5. I can do anything I want if I stop telling myself I can’t. I’m an excuse maker by nature, but this year I learnt the hard way that I don’t need confirmation or even affirmation from anyone else. It’s like I look for someone more adultier than I am, ask them if I’m on the right path, and then take their word for it. But how do they know? I can’t base important decisions on someone’s opinion just because I perceive them to be adultier than me. I need to be the adultiest adult for myself in 2016.

 

2015 wasn’t all bad. I have two cats (and boyfriend) who make me happy. Let’s take stock of the good things we learnt before giving 2015 a bad rap.

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Here’s a quick list of what 2016 needs to bring/I want to work towards:

  1. Money
  2. Travel experiences
  3. Money
  4. Independence
  5. Health and fitness
  6. Money
  7. More blogging (but let’s not put too much pressure on that).

Bring on 2015S!

Here’s to 2015

I know we’ve probably had enough of seeing everyone’s attempts at short-lived New Year’s Resolutions for 2015. I’ve certainly made my own list (it’s sitting at about 9 points so far – I fear in some aspects I’m definitely over-committing myself) but I’ve decided to keep it to myself. I’d rather fail in private than have to explain it to people who I’ve inadvertently given the power to have an expectation of me.

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I am willing to say that one of my resolutions is to blog more, I suppose that why I don’t is because I’m too busy over thinking what I should write about rather than actually just writing what ever I want. After all, this is my space to do as I please as long as I don’t offend anyone or get myself fired. Alas, something I will try harder at moving into the new year. (By the way, spellcheck has tried multiple times to change it to New Year with uppercase, but I refuse because that puts pressure in things.)

Beyond putting things on a list as if I’m going grocery shopping, things I want to learn and do, and stop doing obviously, I have massive tasks of personal growth to accomplish. Here are a few:

Meditate:

I’ll commit myself to writing another blog about my understanding of meditation and what works best for me, but for now it’s something I just don’t do enough of. The weirdest part is that the signs are all there; it’s becoming a calling of something I need to do. It came up about 8 times in the space of a month at the end of last year, in the forms of conversations with people, articles that found me, as well as this Ted Talk
which really inspired me. As soon as possible, I’ll put time aside to myself and meditate, and during the meditation I’ll have a good think about what I want to accomplish from it. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Believe in myself:

One of the greatest issues I struggle with is admitting defeat before trying, and sometimes having a low self-esteem. I need to believe in my ability to accomplish something, anything, and then go try and maybe even fail. This is a combination of believing that I can do it, and actually getting off my butt and trying. Just try.

I also need to find my voice. I actually fancy myself an Ambivert, so in some situations I can speak up, but in others I’m so afraid of what people might think I rather just internalize my thoughts. I struggle with strong personalities and people with strong opinions, yet ironically most people struggle with that side of me. But I’ve decided that from now on, I won’t keep quiet just to avoid confrontation or disagreement or to appease the strong personalities I find myself surrounded by.

F#@! The haters:

Yip. I’m a nice person, and I’m often a people pleaser. Last year I had to confront the reality that just because you give a shit about someone, doesn’t mean they give a shit about you. I also had to confront the fact that half the time I’m nice to people who stab me in the back as soon as I turn around. This is no longer ok in my books. It’s not even about not being nice, because that would compromise who I am as a person. It’s about shifting the focus, and speaking up when someone has made me feel little.

I watch cliques on a daily basis, and how those surrounding the clique feel so small and insignificant, and those in the clique are unaware 70% of the time of how they’ve made someone feel, but the other 30% they’re just not nice people. It’s like playground bullying in adult form. Strange. So whilst I say F@#! The haters, I’m clearly a hater on cliques. So this year it’s my goal to make sure no one ever feels like they don’t matter, or what they say or do goes unnoticed because no one cares. That includes me. Also, when parents say “oh just ignore them”, I used to hate it, but it turns out they might have been onto something.

Those are just 3 things I feel will change my life for the better in 2015. Embracing who I am – because there’s little point in trying to figure out who exactly that is at such a late stage.

 

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The Art of Saying “I’m Sorry”

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It goes without saying that the right kind of conflict is a good thing. If someone has something bothering them, not everyone will directly and openly confront a situation for fear of outcomes. Fair enough. I wouldn’t say I’m a confrontational individual but most times I have enough confidence to stand up for what I believe in, BUT I’m able to admit if/when I’m wrong. In the instances that I’m wrong, I have no problem making sure that I admit my faults openly.

 

There are a few laws of intentionality. Sometimes, you hurt someone without even knowing that you’re the cause, and without intending it at all. However, if you unintentionally hurt someone, the intention or lack thereof means nothing. The outcome is what matters, and if the outcome is that someone is hurt, you have to take responsibility for that, even if you never meant it to happen. Most times I view myself as a forgiving person in a sense of “forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Sometimes people genuinely don’t know the effect they have on others.

 

Taking responsibility means admitting wrong doing, being accountable for your actions means saying sorry even if you’re unsure of the level of your wrong doing (or even if you should be sorry at all). If you hurt or upset someone; let down your guard, don’t get defensive and try blame their hurt on the fact that they may be sensitive, don’t try pass the buck of where blame lies. Sorry never killed anyone. (By the way, the word ‘sensitive’ almost always implies something negative, which I hate, but try not to throw that word around too loosely!)

 

Actions and reactions: In any disagreement/conflict we know there are three sides to every story: “Your side, my side and the Truth”. Keep this in mind. I truly believe that in any conflict, everyone is wrong and has something to say sorry for, even if you’re not sorry for thinking what you think, you should be sorry if you’ve made someone feel less worthy of their opinion. If you offend me, and the result is my actions causing you hurt, then I need to apologize for my reaction even if the cause is somewhat justifiable.

 

There’s nothing worse than telling someone you’re sorry and they don’t return the apology because they believe they were justified in their actions (or reactions), even though it was in reaction to the hurt you caused. However, the trick is not expect anything. Your reason for apology should not be because you’re expecting to receive an apology in return.

 

Accept responsibility for your own actions. Take accountability for yourself. Saying sorry is never ever a sign of weakness, as with kindness, it shows true strength of character.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Worst Habits – Day 10.

You know how they say in a job interview you should change all your negatives into positives? Ie. They ask: “Name a weakness” and you say something like “I’m a perfectionist, I can’t leave until my work is done” and this will give a great impression about your weaknesses. This is not one of those things, these are my worst habits. (Also, is anyone still answering interview questions like that? Stop it. No one is buying it.)

 

  • Procrastinating:  I literally put things off. I don’t know why. I know for a fact that my life would be easier if I attacked a task and got it done, but noooooo. I find myself wasting so much time pointlessly, when I could be so productive!
  • Nagging: Boyfriend will attest to this. He hates it. I nag about the most silly things and I can hear myself doing it, but I just can’t stop.
  • Judgy: Yup. Judgy McJudgerson. I judge people all the time. And granted, I’m hardly ever wrong about someone, it’s still a terrible habit. And once I think something about someone, I can’t help but voice it. It must stop.
  • Back Seat Driver: I can’t help that everyone in the whole world doesn’t know how to drive as well as me, but boyfriend wishes I would stop doing it. However, and he can’t deny, I’m one of the best co-pilots you could ever ask for.

My list is short, but only because I was too busy procrastinating to draw up a longer list. Also, it’s difficult to point out a bad habit without being willing to change it. At this point, my list are only things I’m willing to work on – but don’t hold your breath. I’ll be judging you.

31 Day Blog Challenge: What’s in my handbag – Day 9.

This topic has been looming on me, and in anticipation I cleaned out my hand bag and really taken stock of my life.

The idea exists that women carry their entire lives around in their handbags. This is true for me, only I don’t carry valuables. I’m more prepared for an apocalypse. I am very much prepared for the zombies to attack, the only items I don’t carry around are weapons. But I’m sure I’d make do.

 

My handbag contents:  (What was not thrown out.)

My handbag contents

Money. I have none, but I have a coin purse filled with brown cents and a wallet with my medical aid card, no cash and my atm card that laughs at me when I ask for money at the machine.

Pens. I have a fancy noise-making owl pen and a less fancier pen. Both for emergencies where my signature is required.

Warmth. I always carry a pashmina scarf at all times. I’m not sure why, if I took it out my bag I probably wouldn’t miss it, but in my mind it’s for winter arriving unexpectedly. For the current winter weather I have my trusty pair of gloves to keep my paws toasty and I have the coolest invention ever: an electric water bottle. It keeps me warm on them windy days. Although, carrying it around all day adds on at least 3 or 4 kilograms to my shoulder.

Beauty supplies. I carry no less than 10 lipsticks and lipglosses with me at all times. For reasons unknown. I put it on in the morning and that’s it. I carry my compact mirror (a must) and a perfume so I’m not stinky.

 

I will never be broke (ha, just kidding I already am!), penless, cold or without beautiful lips in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

31 Day Blog Challenge: My Pet Hates – Day 8.

Any excuse for a good gripe right? Ironically, one of my pet hates are people who are constantly negative and complain all the time.

 

I think one thing that deserves a special mention as a pet hate is when people emigrate and then bad mouth South Africa. I really can’t handle negativity about my country. I know people who slate South Africa after emigrating, but if the Springboks win a rugby match then suddenly they’re Proudly South African. I will delete people from my life so quickly when this happens. Perhaps I’m naive but I’m really positive about South Africa and love it so much, warts and all, so be prepared for confrontation if you have anything bad to say, especially if you’ve jumped ship for reasons other than opportunity.

 

Here’s my list:

  • People who text while you’re still busy talking
  • People who don’t use their indicators when they’re driving
  • People who cut in when they’re driving
  • People who text while driving
  • Selfies – some people are shameless
  • Passive aggressive people
  • Racists
  • People who are mean to other people because they’re in a higher position (or feel the need to put other people down)
  • People who abuse animals
  • Unruly children

 

My list is endless. Honestly I could go on forever and ever. I won’t though. I think this topic is one that I can’t even dive into head first because I literally wouldn’t stop.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Earliest Memories – Day 7.

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Let us just take a moment to appreciate how flipping cute I was as a kid. Look at my tricycle skills! *They see me rollin’*

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This is my whole family. This must have been the happiest day of everyone’s lives because I was there. (We’re all way better looking nowadays.)

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Christmas memories!

 

When I was small we didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents worked their asses off and we never knew that we weren’t as well off as others. My sisters and I appreciated everything more and cherished our gifts. We only ever became somewhat more aware of the fact that we weren’t as well off until it came time for family Christmases, when our cousins got mountains of presents, and we would wait for our one special gift. And boy were those Christmases the best!

One of my most favourite memories: I don’t know how old I was. Father Christmas was a distant relative that year, I don’t remember who (I still believed in Santa at this stage), and he came in with a massive bag. After my sisters, all my cousins and I sang Christmas carols, Father Christmas started handing out the gifts. I watched as all my cousins got gift after gift after gift. I waited patiently. All I wanted in the whole world was a Barbie. She was a gymnast and she was flexible and had a gold medal around her neck. Finally, Father Christmas handed out all the gifts and got up, ready to leave. My heart shattered, I had gotten nothing. I went running up to him in a panic and squeaked: “And me?”. He laughed (in his best Santa impersonation) before looking in his bag, he was sure he’d handed them all out. After a good dig he found just one last gift that was missed. He pulled it out and read my name on the label.

I nearly cried from excitement, I remember my heart almost stopping. He gave me the present, and it was the exact shape of a Barbie box. When  I opened it I couldn’t contain myself, it was the exact Gymnast Barbie I’d been hoping for. It was by far the best and most exciting Christmas of my life! I remember my parents most of all. They looked so happy to see me so happy, it warms my heart to think about that time. I look back, and getting that one gift that was so special to me meant way more than the mountains of exorbitant gifts my cousins received, and I believe I appreciate it all much more now, and it’s something I want my children to experience too.

 

Ps. Santa, Easter Bunny and the Tooth Mouse (because we never went with the Fairy like everyone else in the entire world) were debunked when I was about 6 or so years old. My middle sister felt the need to tell everyone the truth, and ruined it for many a neighbour. I believe we retell the story that she told the neighbours children on Easter Morning one year that my parents were the Easter Bunny, and she stayed up to watch them hiding the eggs around the yard so everyone should stick with her because she knew where to look. We laugh. But I stopped believing in these things very early on. No one should wonder why.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Something for My Kids to Know – Day 6.

I have a ton of advice to give my unborn children, and boy will they be getting my opinion at every single opportunity I can! There will be the advice of being kind to people, being polite and being respectful. But there’s one huge key advice that I learnt from my parents that I’ll hand down to my children.

 

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Parents are always right. Always. 

I learnt this really early on in life. Whilst my two older sisters were determined to prove my parents wrong, as usual teenagers do, I chose to believe my parents and was saved the indignation of having to admit that I was wrong and they were right the way my sisters had to.

My parents often allowed me to learn lessons the hard way and tried not to get involved in my process when there was a lesson to be learnt. They’d try not to be “The angel of Doom” as my sisters and I often accused them of being because everything fell apart as soon as they prophesized it would. I’d often learn though that no matter what, their opinions would always be the one’s I’d regard the most. Now, if they say something isn’t going to work, no matter how badly I want to disbelieve them, I take their advice and save myself the time and effort and accept that they’re right.

 

“You can’t put an old head on young shoulders” would probably be the same advice I’d give my children. Also for once I’d love an excuse to say that I’m never ever ever ever wrong and they can’t argue with me. Ha!