Monthly Archives: July 2013

Mama used scare tactics!

Last week I asked my mom if she had read any of the posts that I’ve posted on this blog so far; she just smiled apologetically, “I haven’t, but I intend to read each one of them.”

“I don’t know how it happened, but you seem to be the leading lady in most of my stories”, I teased. “So you should read them”.

“Sure I will,” she assured me. I smiled at her. That little talk gave me a lot to think about; how did it happen that I’m always talking about her? Then it hit me; I’m talking about incidents that have happened in my life, and she’s been a major part of my life…she has almost everything to do with the person I am today; she used whatever ways she found suitable to instill good morals in my sisters and I.  We didn’t always find her ways appealing, but we complied and even if though I know we weren’t the best of kids, she reminds us constantly that she’s proud of us.

Basically, most children think their moms are the best; I am no exception. Most of the valuable lessons I’ve learnt in life have either been taught to me by her or by learning from her experiences. Some of the things I remember are a few scary stories she told us: When my sisters and I were young, she told us this story about a guy who had stolen his neighbour’s radio. Before long the guy’s hand, ended up paralyzed, and so did his entire right side. Absent-minded, he would mutter, “I stole a radio”. For a kid with an active imagination, that story freaked me out. screaming child

Again, she told us of a story about a woman, who owned a large maize field. One day the heavens opened, and as the rain hit the ground, it flattened all the maize plants. Later, when the rain had subsided, she went to assess the damages made. “What idiot, did this to my maize field?” she gaped, horrified, as her eyes wandered across the vast field, taking in the depressing sight of her destroyed crops. No sooner had the last word escaped her mouth than a forceful blow landed on her cheek, deforming her face permanently as her jaw dislocated. Like many of the scary stories my mom had told, this one sent the proverbial chill running down my spine.

I couldn’t help shuddering at the thought of receiving an ‘Almighty’ slap. This story helped me to be optimistic; I didn’t want to harbor negative thoughts about things that were clearly beyond my control. So if I was walking under the blistering sun and I couldn’t take the heat anymore, I would remember to not curse.

Early this year I watched the movie, ‘Ted’, where Ted and John-his thunder buddy-were singing the ‘fuck you thunder’ song… the ‘Almighty’s slap’ instantly popped in my head. I thought the two were well…brave. I imagined them being struck by lightning, or being slapped, like the unfortunate lady. Chilling thought.

When I remember the stories my mom told to keep us in check, I laugh at times; they worked just perfectly… as I think about them now, I don’t find them horrifying as I did back then…

If there’s anything those stories taught us was that picking up money on the streets was wrong; Mama told us a story about a woman; she was walking to work in the morning, when she bumped into some money. She couldn’t resist the urge, so she took it and put it in her leather bag which had some of her personal belonging.

Later that day, while she was in bed at night, she heard something hissing…with her heart pounding, she traced the noise to her bag. Carefully, she walked closer and when she looked inside, there was a huge ‘reptilia’ coiled, where she had placed the money she had collected earlier in the day. Instinctively, she let out a loud scream that woke her husband, who had been deep in slumber.

He rushed to her rescue and luckily he managed to get rid of it, unharmed. As the two lay in bed after the scary ordeal, the woman told her husband how she had picked up money earlier in the day; they couldn’t understand how the snake had ended up in her bag, and she had also realized the money was missing. “That’s why you shouldn’t take money that doesn’t belong to you”, her husband had reproached her.

Needless to say, that horrifying story saw to it that neither of my sisters nor I picked up money lying on the ground, if none of us had dropped it. I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but we frequently bumped into money; the thought of finding reptilia slithering or coiled up in our bags squashed any temptations of picking it up.

As years passed, I understood it was wrong to take things that someone else had dropped; things that didn’t belong to us and that little concept applied not only to money, but to everything else. Mama’s scare tactics worked. She knew how to manipulate our way of thinking. I bet in the silent depths of her mind she knew physical punishments weren’t always effective, but a little scary thought would keep a mischievous kid grounded.

Now that we’re all grown, I’m glad my mom nurtured us the best way she knew how, but at the same time I can’t help but feel that the scare tactics only made us prone to fear. They made our minds hyperactive. I understand the concept behind each story, but I want to believe there were better ways of bringing the point across without necessarily freaking us out.

 

SOCIAL MISFITS

loner

Some people feel they don’t fit in the society for various reasons; because they can’t seem to fit completely in one particular group; always teetering on the borders. For instance, there are those born in mixed race families, so they end up feeling like misfits; hermits of some sought because they can’t identify with one side entirely; because they are too white to be black and too black to be white.

I can only relate to that only too well, but for an entirely different reason; that is how my extended family makes me feel; like a misfit. As I’ve mentioned in two previous stories: the only good thing my granma ever did, and family get-togethers, my father’s family is considered affluent, and my mom’s on the other side happens to be a relatively humble one.

Based on this, my paternal relatives find us too poor to mingle with, and my maternal relatives deem us too rich to be considered a part of them. Social quandary! I attribute the latter to unadulterated ignorance…

I always feel unlucky when I think about my relatives because seldom do they give me something good to relish. Sometimes I feel that maybe I’m too critical, then again I realize if it were so, I would be smoldering with unalloyed odium. They work me up with rage effortlessly.

Last year my mom spent the better part of her account’s contents funding the construction of her mom’s house. She was accomplishing one of her childhood dreams; to build her mom a decent house. With the help of one of her older sisters, she found an architect who would head the construction. They agreed that since my mom couldn’t travel regularly to ‘keep tabs’, her sister would do it. If the architect needed anything, my aunt would cater to it.

It was smooth sailing at first…the architect faithfully kept my mom informed, but then things started to go awry; her two brothers, who live on the same compound, started putting up blockades, taking my mom two steps back with each one she took. Somehow, they had assumed my mom was trying to grab a piece of land indirectly; so she could claim the house when granma dies.

What? I couldn’t hide my astonishment as I heard the reason for their callous actions.

While the construction was underway, my mom would receive calls while at work, that one of her brothers had sent someone to demolish the house; once, my cousin-one of my uncles’ firstborn son- was incarcerated for similar charges. He had knocked down part of the brick wall. The police in-charge of the case called to ask my mom if she was willing to press charges but as it turned out, my cousin admitted he was remorseful, so my mom asked that he be released.

When my mom called to tell me what was happening, the first thought that came to mind was a phrase I’d read earlier, ‘someone shook my family tree and a few nuts fell off’. I simply couldn’t comprehend why someone would do that to their own blood. They were making her incur costs she had not budgeted for.

I bet he–my cousin-was indeed contrite because after that unprecedented brush with the law, he willingly offered to be my mom’s personal informant. He didn’t mind if it was his dad he was ratting out; he would just keep my mom posted.

After lots of unnecessary squabble, the house was ready for my grams to move in by Christmas. She was elated. Seeing her mom so happy helped my mom a lot; it made her feel that all the trouble she had encountered was all worth it. My mom made it evidently clear that she wasn’t laying any claims to the house; it was theirs to do with as they pleased…she wasn’t interested in the land either…

Shortly after the Christmas festivities, my mom’s younger brother, who is a subsistence farmer, rung her, to inform her he’d enrolled his eldest son into an expensive private school. My mom was perplexed, “How do you intend to pay for it?” she asked him.

Flagrantly, he told her he was hoping she would pay eighty percent of the total fee each year for the next four years. “What?” My mom couldn’t believe her ears. Her brother went on to tell her how he was hoping that since she had offered to build their mother a house, she could also afford him that little favour. The word ‘opportunist’ came to me in flashing neon lights.

I hated myself for entertaining such distasteful thoughts, but he wasn’t giving me much to work with…

I could only see faults with that arrangement; firstly, he had enrolled his son without making prior arrangements with my mom, who he expected would be the major ‘benefactor’. Secondly, he was taking advantage of her benevolence. Who does that? She had barely recovered the money she had spent on the construction…

She was distraught; if she told him she couldn’t, he would assume she was just being parsimonious … “He clearly doesn’t have your best interests at heart,” I comforted her. “If he did, he would have had the courtesy to atleast consult you before embarking on this issue”. It was the best I could come up with at the moment.

There was just malice written all over it; he was one of those trying to bring the house down when it was under construction, and I even remembered a few outrageous expletives he had hurled at her when she asked him why he was erecting roadblocks, and now this? I couldn’t help but feel he was scorning her.

With so much difficulty, my mom mastered the courage to tell him she couldn’t fulfill his request. He was none-too-pleased about it.

It is things such as this that make me feel lost…what exactly should one do to be at peace with both spheres? For one to not feel like their hanging on to the edges of two different worlds? Lazily, my curiosity piqued, I often find myself wondering if all families are as screwed up as mine… then like an answer to my own question, I remember, I have met some really happy functional ones…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ONLY GOOD THING MY GRANMA EVER DID- she birthed my father

Most of the people I know, me included have one principal desire; to love and be loved. It feels good especially, if the people one refers to as family love them; if that family stands by one’s side during tribulations…but what happens if that same family is the root cause of one’s misery? Where does one turn?

The other day I posted on fb that the only good thing my granma ever did is she birthed my father. I received a couple of ‘lols’… it was one of those numerous moments when I say something serious but people assume I’m just nuts…I didn’t mind it though, I actually felt good that they saw the humorous side of my lamentation. So ‘what would make someone say that about their granny?’ one might ask…

Aplenty! Reasons aplenty…

For starters, my paternal granma doesn’t love my siblings and me, and if she does, then she definitely has a very funny way of showing it. One might be tempted to think I’m just a love-deprived person trying to seek attention but honestly, that’s just so far from it. If I’m writing about this, it is because this little fact has had an unmitigated impact on my life, and my family of course; it is an issue that goes way back in time, back to when my parents were in their early twenties; it has defined the course of the relations my family and me have with our extended paternal family.

Basically, my mom comes from a humble background. Her dad died when she was so small, she hardly remembers his face, leaving her mother to be the sole provider of the family. She was a small-scale farmer, so she only made enough money from selling her farm produce, coffee mainly. When my father fell in love with my mother, he took her home to his mother so she could give them her blessings.

Unfortunately, my mom’s humble background had her at a disadvantage; my granma didn’t seem impressed one bit that her son was marrying a poor farmer’s daughter; he could do better. This was the root of all the tribulations my family and I have encountered so far. I hate it when my mom recounts how it happened because the memories perceptibly aggravate her; she always tells it, her voice forlorn; and one can clearly tell it’s something that pains her a lot.

When my dad took her home, his mother showed them manifestly that she wasn’t pleased; she took to treating my mom like a hand, as opposed to a guest in every sense of the word; she was just a nobody, not good enough for her son. Neither my mom nor dad seemed to mind her indiscretion, as they were madly in love. She remained persistent; she never stopped reprimanding my dad for his ‘poor’ choice.

Later, when I was only six months old, my big sister was slightly over two years of age, my dad finally bowed to pressure and he and my mom parted ways. She went back to her home. It was only after his big brother’s intervention that the two reconciled.

He found a place of their own and they moved from his mother’s. However, in spite of the distance they had put, his mother still managed to get to him. This happened during occasional get-togethers which were held at her ranch. Only my dad and his three siblings attended them. I was just starting to learn how to spell my name then, but I realized I didn’t like it one bit when my dad spent a few nights at his mother’s, because he would leave elated and come home tense, picking fights with my mother. It was horrible.

Sometimes it would be so bad, my mom would threaten to leave; but afterwards, when the storm had abated, she would hug us tightly, telling us she would stay, only for our sake. For the better part of my childhood, I remember vividly, the tormenting dreams I used to have; my mom leaving. I would watch helplessly, crying, begging her not to leave…then I’d wake up.

These dreams made me loathe my dad’s violent outbursts, because I was afraid one of them would see my mom leave. It became obvious, everytime my dad went to his mom’s, he would come back a vicious man; cold. His mother’s castigation was eating at him, slowly by slowly, turning him into a feelingless human. She wanted him to leave my mom; marry someone of a higher social status.

Once my mom told us of an argument she and her brother-in-law had; impudently he blurted out, “My mom doesn’t even like you!”

When we were small, my sisters and I never visited our granma. The first time we went to her home I was fourteen, and we went there because the entire family was meeting there for the occasional get-togethers. She seemed pleased to see us all- cousins, uncles and aunts; my dad, his siblings and their families.

We spent two days there. We travelled back to our respective homes on Christmas Eve. Before leaving, she had her help pack up some fruits and vegetables from her vast farm as a token of her appreciation that we had visited her. She gave three of her children and somehow, managed to leave my dad out. I didn’t seem to mind it- it was just food-but then later on it hit me; it’s the thought that counts; she had brazenly shown my parents she still didn’t approve of their union. Obviously my mom was piqued; when was she going to accept that she was now a part of her family? granny

The other time we went there we were with the rest of the family; usual get-together. My parents were both in absentia. They had deliberately chosen to sit that one out. My sisters and I had only agreed to go so it didn’t seem like we were ejecting ourselves from the rest of the family, but if it was worth it? I think not. We only made more unpleasant memories.

The third time we visited her was three years ago; she was sick and we only wanted to check up on her. That was the first and only time-so far-my sisters and I went there on our own volition. She was happy to see us, though she couldn’t resist inserting her side comments into our conversations, which sadly, made me realize she only favoured the person with the deepest pockets.

At the time, my big sister, who models part time, had plans of travelling out of the country. My granma had gotten wind of the interesting news and was- in my opinion- trying to warm herself into my sister’s heart so she could invite her over when she was settled. I couldn’t help feeling amused as I watched the thrill in her eyes as she pictured herself flying overseas; she was like a teenager in love.

After spending three days there, we left. The next time we saw her again she had only made a detour as she visited her second born’s first wife; we live only a few blocks apart. As usual, it was unpleasant, and I wondered why she had bothered to come.

I can’t say I hate her, because that would be too strong a word; but I can’t also say I love her, because then I would be lying, even to myself. I have no fond memories of her whatsoever; I didn’t even get to call her granma; she wouldn’t let us. Even her children-my dad and his siblings- call her by her first name…

It just makes me wonder, why wouldn’t she want to be called mom or granma? But then again, she doesn’t act like one either. When my sisters and I were small, we were always tense around her when she decided to pass by when visiting one of her other children; we didn’t know what to call her and her first name was out of question; it felt preposterous, blasphemous even.

After so many years of silent agony, when I was eighteen, we decided to call her ‘granma’ and let the chips fall where they may. We felt we were done sugar-coating her old age. Apparently it’s a family thing because last I checked, even her sister didn’t like that word so much.

I have tried so hard to think of any good thing my granma has ever done for either one of my family members or me but I found absolutely nothing. All I see are tears and intense pain; She has made our lives miserable, just because she couldn’t stand the idea that her daughter-in-law was a poor farmer’s daughter…and she made no effort to get to know my mom as a person; I know she would have loved her; but she didn’t bring extra wealth to her family, to her that is all that mattered.

If ever I found myself thanking her for something, it would be only for the primary fact that she birthed my father.

 

KIDS HAVE GOT A VERY GOOD MEMORY

kids have got a good memeory

One thing that has struck me so evidently is that kids have a very good memory; one shouldn’t take their little heads for granted. A few months ago, in February this year, I was coming from the grocery store just a few blocks from my house when my neighbour’s daughter came up to me. We became friends last year but one when I was teaching her and some other kids in our court how to skate; we’re close.

When she approached me I wasn’t sure what she wanted, but I could tell from her nervous look she wasn’t sure I would consent to whatever request she had. “How’re you?” I beamed, hoping it would ease her angst.

Managing a half smile, she replied, “I’m fine”. At first I thought she wanted to borrow my skates, even though they are atleast two sizes big; some older kids borrow them every once in a while, so that wouldn’t have been totally unexpected…but she has her own pair? I remembered… and while I was still in my head wondering what it was that made her look so nervous, she said, “Will you buy me smokies?”beef smokies

That caught me so off-guard…I have bought her and the other kids from our court candy many times before, but she had never walked up to me like this; she happens to be one of those introverted kids who don’t talk much. I’ve always wondered why she doesn’t smile much yet she’s only eight; I can almost count the number of times I’ve seen her laugh; she’s always wearing a grim look. Sometimes I can’t help but feel so much is concealed behind it. Pain? Anger? I’m not sure which.

Regaining from my momentary shock, I smiled, “Sure, I will tomorrow. I’ve run out of change”. She smiled back…and I could tell she was genuinely pleased, the joy radiated in her eyes. She didn’t say anything else; she just walked down the steps, her hand trailing the banister.

As I walked into the house, there were many questions running through my head; “Why did she ask me? What would her mom say if she found out? She comes off to me as a grumpy lady and there’s the other little fact that parents are always so protective of their kids… anyway, I thought to myself, if she had mastered the courage to ask, there’s no way I was going to disappoint her.

I imagined she had seen the beef smokies when the school bus was dropping them off; adjacent to the grocery store, there’s a guy who barbeques them. I was almost certain that’s what had happened…and of course, her mom was still at work…

The next day I didn’t see her, I thought she had changed her mind…well, how wrong I was. The following evening I was startled by the doorbell when it rang. I hadn’t been expecting anyone, and somehow I had forgotten about my little friend.

I opened the door, and there she stood…in the company of another girl, who is also from our court. When I saw her, I unconsciously flushed her a guilty smile; I had forgotten all about it. “Hi…” But then I remembered the previous day I hadn’t see her. I sighed, relieved; I wasn’t to blame entirely and I don’t like breaking my promises.

“Hi”, she smiled back before adding, “You promised me!” It sounded innocent with a touch of accusatory”.  But I understood…

“Yes I did”, I replied. “Wait here, let me go get the money”. I rushed back and a few minutes later she and her friend were on their way to buy some beef smokies, with their hands on each other’s’ shoulders. I couldn’t help feeling amused as I watched them…

Then the now obvious statement popped in my head, ‘kids have got a very good memory’. Sometimes people assume they’re too young to remember things, but truth is, their heads hold so much information… and when one promises them something, they will always come to collect; and even if they don’t, it won’t be because they forgot.

 

 

FOLLOWING CHRIST

Jesus

One of the basic lessons I learnt when I was growing up is that Jesus always preached in parables: it wasn’t for naught that He was referred to as Rabbi-teacher. Sometimes I would read a few verses and realize that I hadn’t grasped the concept…sometimes I would even feel afraid… (Sometimes it happens when one peruses through the enlightening chapters without an open mind). The book of Revelations, especially, does that to me a lot; there’s nothing pleasant about the end times… I didn’t want to feel that-afraid- so I learnt to read the Bible like I would a novel or poetry; always seeking to find the deeper meaning.

Apparently that worked; with it came a deeper understanding of the scriptures.

In church, this past Sunday, the readings were just the perfect examples of those verses that have so much meaning behind them. I thought it would be nice to share them; maybe then I’ll help someone else understand them:

1 kings 19: 16, 19-21 In those days the Lord said to Elijah, “Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place”. So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was ploughing, with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah took off his cloak and put it on Elisha. Elisha then left his oxen, ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother goodbye and I will go with you”. Elijah answered, “All right, go back I’m not stopping you!” Then Elisha went to his team of oxen, killed them and cooked the meat, using the yoke as fuel for the fire. He gave the meat to the people and they ate it. Then he went and followed Elijah as his helper.

Personally, when I read a particular verse, questions pop in my head. For instance, when I was reading this particular verse, I wondered, why Elijah would forbid Elisha from bidding his folks adieu? He- Elijah-was just implying that Elisha had to come back because by draping his cloak over him he had done a very significant gesture; he therefore had to follow him whatsoever. Thankfully Elisha managed to go back and settle things before he followed Elijah…

Once I went to school without hugging my mom goodbye; it wasn’t something planned; it just happened that she went to get me some stuff I had forgotten to buy while shopping the previous day as we waited for the bus to fill up with passengers. I had only realized it when I was in the bus. While still waiting for my mom to come back, the driver ignited the engine when all the seats were occupied, and before I knew it, we were on the road…headed for school. It would be a month and a half before I saw her again, on visiting day.

The feeling that washed over me was so intense…as the bus pulled out from the bus stop, onto the main road, I kept looking back frantically, hoping to spot my mom appearing from the crowds… thank God she didn’t, because at that time I was so sure I would jump out through the window if I did…

My heart paced madly, I was breathing fast…and I felt nauseous as my abdominal muscles tightened…it felt really bad… I got over it weeks later, and even though I was only eleven at the time, to date I consider it my worst opening day. So as I read about Elisha’s anointment, I imagined that’s how he felt… almost… Elijah was asking him to up and leave, without so much as a word to his parents…

But then the priest went on to explain: it was all symbolic; the parents and the oxen symbolize the things in life that prevent us from following Christ; the people we love, wealth… that is why Elisha ended up slaughtering his oxen and subsequently giving the people; he didn’t want anything holding him back…

In Genesis 19:26 When God rescued Lot and his family, from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, He instructed them not to look back; but Lot’s wife defied Him and looked back at the cities that were up in flames. She turned into a pillar of salt. Basically, this emphasizes on following Christ without looking back.

Not everyone is a farmer, so that definitely means we don’t all own oxen…but each one of us has that precise thing that stops him/her from surrendering his all to God. Whatever it is, one  must give it up in order to follow Christ.

In the verse below, we’re shown further what Jesus felt about people who felt they had matters to attend to before following Him…

Luke 9:57-62 As they were going along the road, a man said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go”. And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests: but the son of man has nowhere to lay His head. To another He said, “Follow me”. But he said, Lord, let me first go and bury my father. But He said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow You, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home”. Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”.

One would wonder, why wouldn’t He allow the man to go bury his father; to pay him the final respects? Why wouldn’t He allow the other to say goodbye to his family? But then, what Jesus is trying to emphasize here is that if one wants to be His follower, they must be willing to give up everything for His sake…one must give Him first priority.

It sounds like a herculean task, one might think? Personally, I realized that it’s actually the other way round; when one puts God first, things feel simplified. One can’t afford to worry about their problems because their faith gives them the courage to believe that in due time He will help them out.

He will feed them, clothe them, put a roof over their heads, and one won’t have to stress about it…like the birds; they don’t have food stocked up in refrigerators, but they eat… they don’t pay mortgage, but they survive through the rain, the blistering sun, the chilly nights…and when dawn breaks we see them up in the sky, flying…  He takes care of them…

It’s all about faith; believing that He can make everything right; that He can offload the weighty burden on our shoulders, if we let Him. And He doesn’t imply that we should all be men & women of the cloth, no… all He asks is that we put Him first in our lives.

 

ES TODO SOBRE EL AMOR (it’s all about love).

foot popping kiss

As earlier mentioned in confessions of a soap-aholic, is that in the years that I’ve lived, I have watched so many telenovelas and they all seem to revolve around one principal theme; amor…or love if you rather. Honestly, I must admit that watching them gives one an illusion of what love is. It is after a careful deduction that I learnt to separate the real from the unreal-fantasies.

Normally,   people who don’t do soaps disregard them as mere illusions; and I couldn’t agree more. But then, there’s another way of looking at it; one can watch them and emulate the good parts. I love discussing matters love with my amigos, although lately I haven’t been feeling the whole ‘love’ issue…I intend to hunt down cupid and ask him if he’s got beef with me… It’s only after reading a friend’s-jowaljones– blog and by his special request that I decided to delve into matters amor.

In respect to all the telenovelas I’ve watched, which have given me so much to think about, concerning all matters love, I’ll call this piece, ‘es todo sobre el amor (it’s all about love)’.

The way I see it, one can’t quite describe love. It’s a very engulfing feeling that only a chosen few can describe. If you ask me, love is a phenomenon, which one can only describe based on their individual experience. It’s hard to describe love in only a few words; I attribute this to one simple fact, ‘God is love’… so how do you define love?

Naturally, I happen to be an avid reader; I just finished reading Fifty shades of Grey. Reading through the book, one can gather a lot; Christian Grey, even though is a self-confessed masochist, has his own twisted way of showing Anastasia Steel he loves her. I don’t mean to give the book’s review, but the underlying point is that everyone has their own interpretation of what love is… and as a result, people express it differently; some better than others.

When people talk about love, some of the common expressions are: love is blind, love at first sight…etc. when I hear the former, I always counter, “love is not blind, lovers are…” but truth is, love is indeed blind, for the mere fact that a person in love can do just about anything for the person they love. It is however, the latter that I seem to have trouble with; is it possible to love someone within the first few seconds of their meeting? I think not.

Love is a strong feeling; it doesn’t grow overnight. Love happens when two people have stayed in each other’s company long enough to be acquainted with their partner’s pros and cons. It happens in stages; the first of which is lust/infatuation. This, in my own understanding, is what a vast majority refer to as ‘love at first sight’. This is because, the first time one meets someone, the thing that reels them in is the physical beauty- beautiful eyes, curvaceous figures, evident jaw lines (everyone knows what works for them).

That is what defines the boundaries; is it merely based on physical attraction? On carnal instincts? Some people work on this love-at-first-sight feeling, and a short while later, after the wanton cravings have been satiated, realize that the excitement is gone…

One will realize that spending time with the object of their desire, gives them an insight into who they really are; their personalities. Some will be appalled by what they discover and they will pull away, others will be intrigued by what they find, and they will want to pursue further. That gets them into the attraction phase; when the two realize they are drawn to each other, and it’s not only based on the physical, but a feeling that sprouts from understanding how the other functions.

In this phase, the two people start adjusting their lives; synchronizing of some sought; so they can be able to live with each other’s inadequacies and all…

When the two have assimilated each other into their lives, they get into the attachment stage; the I-can’t-live-without-you stage. When the two get to that point safely-without breaking up- it would be in order to call it love.

Love connoisseurs say love happens within three-four months after two people have met. Based on this, I find it unbelievably insane when one uses the three words, eight letters-I love you- when they hardly know anything about their love interest, e.g. favourite colour, favourite food, movies…etc.

I believe that love, is that beautiful feeling one has towards someone after they have known them inside out, and still feel they want them in their lives…like ‘fifty shades’, he derives sexual pleasure from inflicting pain on others, and even though he knows Ana can’t be all that he expects from his submissives, he still finds himself drawn to her; and she, even though afraid of pain that comes with ‘masochism’, intense spanking and all, still finds herself drawn to him.

That is what happens with love; it brings out the best in people; the parties involved find a central ground, where they make compromises, to be able to accommodate the other into their lives.

From my personal experience, love is many things; it is understanding, it’s kind, it’s selfless-not obsessive, it gives one unimaginable courage; one feels like they could conquer the world with the person they love by their side. One hurts when the other does…it bonds two souls; it’s a feeling that transcends physical attraction.

Love is a beautiful feeling…but it’s delicate too… love could bring out the best or worst in someone. It can build, or destroy… the dark side of love is seen when two people in love start drifting apart. At this point, one should be careful what they do, to avoid intense range and vengeance from consuming them, because these dark feelings turn something so beautiful into a disaster. And the thing with love, is that just like it takes time to bloom, it doesn’t just die…it fades with time. That is why sometimes one finds it impossible to yank an ex from their heart, long after the relationship ended.

The inevitable, brutal fact about love is that it hurts… a lot! Anyone who’s been in love can attest to this. But that only comes with the territories; it is almost impossible for one to share his/her heart with someone and not feel a thing when they break it… this simple fact makes me feel that love is only for the brave; many people avoid falling in love because they are afraid of hurting; they are afraid of getting their hearts broken. In respect to this, I have felt like a coward on more occasions than one…

Infatuation aside, there are instances when one thinks they’re in love, but are only into the idea of being in love… some years back, I thought I loved someone… I felt I loved him, and breaking up with him caused me so much misery, but later I realized I didn’t love him; I only loved the fact that I could say I was in love; I had something to talk about when my girlfriends and I were talking about boys and love… deep inside I didn’t want him-actually I hated so many things about him, but somehow I found myself hoping it would work out between us…it was only after we had gone our separate ways, after I’d soaked my pillows in tears for nights on end that it dawned on me… I didn’t love him…twisted!