Category Archives: Uncategorized

All kids are born artists

One of the songs I’ve always loved is Celine Dion’s Power of the dream.

Deep within each heart
There lies a magic spark
That lights the fire of our imagination
And since the dawn of man
The strength of just ” I can “
Has brought together people of all nations

There’s nothing ordinary
In the living of each day
There’s a special part
Every one of us will play

Feel the flame forever burn
Teaching lessons we must learn
To bring us closer to the power of the dream
As the world gives us its best
To stand apart from all the rest
It is the power of the dream that brings us here

Your mind will take you far
The rest is just pure heart
You’ll find your fate is all your own creation
And every boy and girl
As they come into this world
They bring the gift of hope and inspiration

Everytime I listen to this song, I feel each person comes to this world talented, with a special role to play in this world. Problem is, many people never get to realize their talents because their parents/guardians didn’t help them discover and nurture their gifts when they were still young.

‘Geniuses are not born, they are made.’ I’ve heard that statement severally. Recently I was watching TED talks, where the speaker-Sir Ken Robinson-was saying, all kids are born artists. He was talking about how parents push their kids into getting into college to get diplomas and degrees they might never use in their lives. Many parents don’t like it when their kids pick up anything that has to do with arts. So most of the time someone decides to do music, poetry, dance…etc. professionally, they do it behind their parents’ backs.

Personally I’ve met people who have university degrees, but chose to do something different entirely. Most parents only agree to it, when their kids have taken a shot and succeeded, and given that not everyone’s lucky, some of those who fail end up feeling like miserable failures, especially if their parents/guardians were against it from the start.

all kids are born artists

The speaker also mentioned that the value of education is slowly depreciating, saying that when he was young, anyone with a college degree who didn’t have a job failed to have one out of their own volition. Nowadays, many young people are jobless, yet they have all the credentials they could need to secure well-paying jobs; and even those with jobs feel underemployed because the jobs they hold don’t match their credentials. This is attributed to the fact that nowadays bachelor’s degrees aren’t as valuable as they were back then. People with master’s degrees and PhD’s are given first priority when seeking employment.

This same people who suffer day after day because they don’t have jobs, are very talented people. They feel stuck because they don’t realize they could earn a living from using their talents, because the society we live in disparages arts.

When asked what they want to be when they grow up, most of the kids will say, “I want to be a doctor/neurosurgeon/lawyer/teacher/pilot/accountant…etc. Very few say they want to be painters/actresses/musicians/dancers/writers/athletes/poets…you know, careers that have to do with our natural talents. When all’s said and done, many talents end up undiscovered.

Once when I was in high school, a motivational speaker asked, “Do you know where you can find the most talent?” It sounded somewhat rhetorical, so no student cared to answer. “At the cemeteries,” he finished. Confused, we all stared at him, waiting for him to expound. Thankfully he did. “Many people don’t do anything to nurture their talents. If you ask, some will even tell you they don’t have talents. Eventually, they take their undiscovered talents to the graves with them when they die.”

He gave me something new to reflect on. It’s unfortunate that some people spend all their lives, oblivious to the beautiful gifts they possess. As Celine sings, “Every boy and girl, as they come into this world, they bring the gift of hope and inspiration.”  We all have an important role to play in this world. Everyone has the power to dream; and if one can dream it- if they’re determined- they will achieve it.

LIEBSTER NOMINATION

Liebster Award

I HAVE BEEN LUCKY TO BE NOMINATED FOR A LIEBSTER AWARD BY MYLIFEANDREAHALL.

Take a moment and visit her awesome blog: http://searching4solace.wordpress.com

The Liebster Award Rules: 

  1. You must link back the person who nominated you.
  2. You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
  3. You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award with under 200 followers
  4. You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.

MY ANSWERS TO MYLIFEANDREAHALL QUESTIONS:

1. What inspired you to start a blog? I feel I have been through some pretty intense stuff, some of which have changed the person I am; how I see things, so I wanted to share my experiences, hoping someone who’s gone through something similar would be inspired to make the right choices-better choices.

2. What is your earliest childhood memory? When I was about two years old: As kids, my big sister and I were finicky eaters, so our nanny used to tell us there was this guy who came for kids who didn’t eat and would go chop their heads off. So one day when my big sister and I were upstairs in the bedroom looking out through the window, we thought we saw a man carrying a carton with heads in it outside our gate. We freaked out and hid under the bed; then I fell asleep. My big sister stayed beside me the entire time but she was too scared to leave. Our nanny found us hours later.

3. Where is your favorite vacation destination? Paris.

4. Who is the person in your life who has inspired you the most? My mom.

5. Do you have pets? If so, how many and what kind? Two Goldfish.

6. What time do you usually go to bed? 4 a.m.

7. What is the first item on your “bucket” list? Putting a smile on someone’s face.

8. What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done? Camping.

9. If you had three wishes, what would they be? I would wish everyone knew and loved God. I would wish for global peace, and I would wish to be always happy, no matter the situation with the understanding that everything that happens, happens because God allowed it.

10. Are you afraid of death? What I’m actually afraid of is what happens after death (I’m a Christian). That is what inspires me to strive to be a better person each day because I know at the end I will stand before judgement. I realized what matters is not how long one lives but what one does with the time they’re alive.

HERE ARE THE BLOGS THAT I AM NOMINATING:

I have picked some bloggers who’s blogs I’ve enjoyed reading. Please do visit their blogs and say hello.

http://ilikethesmellofnewthings.wordpress.com

http://whm66.wordpress.com

http://sweetmarie9619.wordpress.com

http://discoveringisland.wordpress.com

http://themostlyconfusedteenager.wordpress.com

http://indishabille.wordpress.com

http://angiekw01.wordpress.com

http://kalipr.wordpress.com

http://naomijjohnson.wordpress.com

http://andasprinkleoflove.com

 

MY 10 QUESTIONS FOR MY NOMINEES

1)      How has your childhood affected you?

2)      If you went back in time, is there one particular thing you would do differently?

3)      Is there any particular experience that has made a significant impact on your life?

4)      If there was one thing you could do to make the world a better place, what would it be?

5)      What are the three most important things in your life?

6)      What characteristic do you admire most in a person?

7)      Is there anything you feel people don’t know about you that you wished they knew?

8)      What’s your favourite pastime?

9)      If you had a chance to dine with three famous people, dead or alive, who would they be and what would you say to them?

10)  Do you have a favourite quote? If so, what does it state?

 

HAPPY BLOGGING. 🙂

 

HE LIFTS US UP: Love… should not hurt! (1 Cor.13:4-8 NIV)

I’m always trying to define/understand true love and this description couldn’t be better put.

ChristianBlessings

love is patient
LOVE… It should not hurt!
Many things have been written about “LOVE”. We all dream of the day that our “true love” will come and we will live “happily-ever –after”. We all watch various “love stories” with dreams for our wonderful futures with the love of our lives. But what is love?

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REJOICE; AND AGAIN I SAY REJOICE!

Think happy, and you will be happy…

cathedralcbs

NB: This piece is best read while smiling

Image “Be happy in the Lord, and He shall give you all the desires of your heart.” That is just but one of King David’s numerous nuggets of wisdom, coming from Psalms 37:4. Here, David debugs one of the misconceptions that have dogged Christian life for years. Many devout Christians erroneously hold on to the belief that just because we should be Christ-like, we are to lead a life that’s full of gloom and suffering. The truth, however, is quite the opposite. I combed over acres of Bible verses and I discovered that Jesus actually wants us to live a life full of fulfillment. In Psalms 16:11, David sheds more light when he explains that in the Lord’s presence, there’s fullness of joy and pleasures forever.

Happiness begets happiness, opportunity, and lots of luck. Sorrow begets nothing but more sorrow and misfortunes…

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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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CELEBRATING THE HOLY TRINITY

Holy Trinity

“Father, You Who sought me;

Son, You Who bought me;

Spirit, You Who taught me…”

This are lyrics to a song I’ve never heard, but my priest said he loves it…and judging by the words I can tell it’s a beautiful song. Just reflecting on the words immerses me in profound tranquility when I feel that deep connection with God, which comes with the realization that He plays a vital role in my life; I am who I am because He lives. The words reassure me of His unconditional love for me.

One of my best verses in the bible is Psalms 139; God knew me long before He put me in my mother’s womb; in His infinite wisdom He knew the days fashioned for me… His thoughts are more than the grains of sand on the vast beaches; they are limitless … His thoughts are different from my own; He knows it all…He even knows the number of hairs on my head…

His Son Jesus died on the cross for me; He paid the price for my sins by giving up his own life on the cross; He saved me from eternal damnation.

The Holy Spirit is the helper sent to us By Jesus…He inspires us. The talents I have, my reasoning, my understanding…all come from Him… When I’m happy, I know He instilled that joy in me; he inspires the virtues I practice. One of my favourite prayers for the Holy Spirit is one which says, “…Lead me to the way of my Father, reveal Jesus my Saviour to me, open my eyes and my heart to the word of God, teach me to pray, help me to love as Jesus loves…” He is indeed my teacher.

Today, 26th May, we celebrate The Holy Trinity- God in three. All through the bible we see instances of God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit:

During the annunciation of the birth of Jesus in Luke 1:35 The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and God’s power will rest upon you. For this reason the Holy Child will be called The Son of God.”

During the ascension of Jesus, in Acts 1:7 Jesus tells His disciples, “The times and occasions are set by My Father’s own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when The Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power…

During Pentecost, in Acts 2:1 The Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, just as Jesus had promised them; He sent them a helper who would be with them after He went up to heaven-there he would be sitted at the right hand of His Father- so they would never be alone.

The Holy Trinity portrays unity incarnate; The Three Persons in God work together. In the story of Creation, Genesis 1:26 God says, “Let Us make man in Our own image…” He says ‘Us’, referring to God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

In our earthly lives the unity of three is emphasized in the family setting; a basic family is composed of the father, mother and the child. And looking at the universe, I’m not a scientist but in my understanding, the basic composition is water, land and air…

The Holy Trinity is a mystery… one might ask, we talk about God-HE, how do The Three Beings operate? St. Augustine, one of the greatest minds the church has ever had sought to understand it. He spent thirty years trying to comprehend the Holy Trinity. During that time he wrote fifteen books in an attempt to demystify the Holy Trinity; but none of those books were published.

St. Augustine’s friends, who knew what he was researching on didn’t understand why he would fail to have such great work published, so they ‘stole’ the books… but later, he explained to them that he didn’t publish those books because they were erroneous; his findings were flawed. He never got to understand The Holy Trinity; God in three Persons.

Personally, my basic understanding of The Holy Trinity is based on the information I have gathered over time. I think of It as a tripartite body; composed of three Beings…The three together are God. Think family… we refer to it as a perfect family when there’s the father, mother and children. With one of them missing it feels incomplete…but we (humans) are not perfect, that is why we still manage in the absence of any of the three. God, on the other hand, is perfection embodied; His ways are flawless…

I could sit here all night trying to find the best examples to explain an extremely complex issue, and fact is however much I try I will still end up feeling like I didn’t bring out the point clearly, like I’m feeling now. So I’ll just leave it at that…

God was never meant to be understood. He remains a mystery. He was there before the world came to be; when the world was formless and desolate (Genesis 1). In the bible He is referred to as ‘The Majestic!’ His greatness supersedes all. He is Infinite; our finite minds can’t comprehend such greatness.

In all honesty I can’t say I understand it myself; but I don’t beat myself up about it. My priest feels the same way too. Light-heartedly he asked, “Do you know when we’ll understand it?” Everyone kept mum, afraid of blurting out a wrong answer.

“When we meet Him face to face”, he continued. “That is when we’ll be like, ahh, so this is it!”

We might never get to understand The Holy Trinity in this lifetime, but one thing I’m certain of is that we don’t need to figure it out for us to love Him. He loves us unconditionally; in my view that’s all I/we need to know.

The sign of the cross honours the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

 

CONFESSIONS OF A SOAP-AHOLIC

confessions I did mention in a previous post that I love staying in… it’s a habit that has grown on me, now I just can’t shake it off. This little habit brought with it another wont: watching soaps. My memory’s awash with all the soaps I’ve been watching since forever… it is there that I met Austin Reed and Juan Pablo, his Mexican counterpart. He is a noble man, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, who doesn’t discriminate against anyone. He mingles with the affluent and underprivileged alike. I was also introduced to Paula- Juan’s old flame- who would do just about anything to keep him all for herself. Forget not, that Juan already showed her the door, but the thought of seeing him in the arms of another woman makes her cling on to him like a wet t-shirt.

Juan’s family tree is endowed with bountiful fruits; some mutated into nuts though; I met his malevolent mother; a self-righteous witch who has rendered old Juan a bachelor as she won’t consent to any of his relationships, alleging that his girlfriends are just out to suck every little penny out of them. The evidently wealthy girlfriends on the other hand aren’t graceful enough for a man of his son’s caliber. Sometimes she finds herself drawn to them but later finds out they were the real villains in the story.

In some soaps, telenovelas if you rather, Juanita happens to be the leading lady who every man wants to get a piece of. She’s acerbic in nature and only goes out with the men who will augment her empire. She perceives all her poor suitors as pure dirt, even though somehow, amidst the twists and turns, she ends up with one of them as she realizes money isn’t everything.

Then there’s the angelic Juanita. She was born dirt poor. More often than not she happens to be an orphan by design; she was separated from her parents by an old family friend who orchestrated a vendetta against them. She is a humble being who finds herself on the wrong side of the law every so often because she caught the eye of Alejandro, a self-proclaimed womanizer and the only son of an influential big gun.

Alejandro is mesmerized by her stunning beauty/personality. To his utter frustration he soon finds out that Juanita is a far cry from the other women he’s been with; she’s a respectable woman who isn’t fascinated by earthly riches; her dignity is all she has and would defend it with her life. Her goodness rubs off on Alejandro as he reforms into a strict monogamist. Alejandro’s family objects vehemently to his decision to marry Juanita but he stands up to them; he eventually marries her and they live happily ever after.

These Spanish characters are not from any soap in particular. It was my portrayal of characters as they have been painted in most of the soaps I’ve watched. The first time I watched a soap I was six or seven and ever since I’ve become a sucker for anything soap. Spanish soaps happen to be my favourite delicacy. I watched ‘Days of our lives’ for the better part of my teenage hood, until I realized it wasn’t going to end anytime soon…and ‘The bold and the beautiful’… the lure of the ‘PG 18’ disclaimer drove me insane as my parents wouldn’t let us (my sisters and I ) watch it; it was for adults. I had a really active imagination then. At my tender age I imagined all the possible scenarios that would make my parents so hell-bent on barring us from watching it…my mind would skip to nudity and moments of intense passion…my curiosity only heightened.

By the time I got to watch it, when I had ‘become legal’, I had already gotten used to Spanish soaps. Funny thing is when I finally got to watch it I couldn’t understand why they even had a PG 18 disclaimer then… based on the hype I’d built in my head, the show felt mundane… the most I saw were the basic kissing scenes, family members scheming against each other –I hate to admit it, but I see how such harmless pictures could corrupt a kid’s mind. I watched it for a while, loved it regardless but then I realized it was ‘incessant’…I didn’t have the patience to see who Brooke would end up with after all the bed-hopping, so I pulled the plug on that one too. That’s how I ended up with Alejandros and Juans exclusively.

I bet when they were shooting these soaps they had family time in mind because we watched them with my parents’ ‘blessings’… when we were away in school my mom would keep us updated… the only hurdle we had trouble  jumping over was my dad; he HATES soaps. He’s never understood why we’d waste time watching them faithfully. In his opinion, soaps are harmful because one has to allot time for them, and the fact that they continue for a relatively long time turns people into slaves; he recommends movies which will only last for two hours tops. I bet that explains all the action movies we watched with him while growing up… can’t complain though, it was fun.

Over the years though, I’ve realized that the script is the same one, only with a different cast. The main male protagonist -Alejandro- happens to be a rich guy who falls for a poor girl. Occasionally the girl happens to be scarred physically but he’ll see past the physical deformities. Not even his parents’ objections and an ex-girlfriend’s ploys will keep him from her. They end up happily ever after.

Many guys have this misconception, that soaps are a girls’ thing; atleast that’s what they used to think back in the day. No guy would openly admit he ever watched them; nowadays they seem to be singing a different tune though-they watch them as much as any of my girlfriends and I would. Ironically, after years of watching them faithfully I’m slowly losing my interest. I’ve watched every conceivable version of the ‘happily ever after’ script.

On average I watch atleast three different soaps a day. That, needless to say, has given me a lot to compare and contrast; that is in respect to real life, and after years of investing my time and money in them I’ve made a few deductions: the perfidious aunts who would sell their nephews/nieces to the devil in exchange for a hefty sum of money do exist in real life;

The protagonist’s bestfriend (frenemy) who snatches her fiancé right from underneath her, or schemes to drive her and her family to bankruptcy also exists in real life.

The wicked mothers who drive their children’s partners away because they don’t belong to their social class, or have some physical deformities also exist in real life.

Alejandro, however, as I like to call him-the knight in shining armour; the guy who loves a woman unconditionally, regardless of how scarred her face is, how indigent and malodourous she is; the guy who loves his girl for real, not because he expects her to sleep with him or because he plans to get anything out of it, like winning a bet he had made with his sleazy friend(s); that guy who will move heaven and earth, go against all odds to fight for the love of his life, even if it meant giving up his family in exchange… that guy, Alejandro, Carlos, or Jorge or whatever fancy names they use, he doesn’t exist; he’s just a figment of our imagination; the guys we would have if there wasn’t so much proclivity for physical beauty in the world; if men didn’t measure beauty in terms of how big a woman’s posteriors are, or how voluptuous her ‘rack’ is, how evident her curves are… Alejandro is the guy who sees past all that; he sees inner beauty.

Just for the sake of not shelving this book before I’ve read the last page, I’ll leave room for a little doubt; maybe Alejandro does exist. There could only be a few of him left, but maybe he does exist…

The most important lesson that I’ve continually gathered from all the soaps I’ve watched, is that holding on to anger and harbouring grudges, only corrupts the soul; additionally, revenge is best left to God… He’ll even all the scores and leave one watching contentedly, without an ounce of guilt…

MEN IN ‘SKIRTS’

men gossiping

Some things have become so synonymous with others-like skirts with women- that trying to interfere with the unwritten laws feels utterly wrong; but lately there seems to be some major revolution; things have taken a one eighty degrees turn from how they used to be: My maternal grams for instance, finds it unconceivable when my dad serves her tea, because she was raised in a very traditional setting, where women were supposed be submissive to men, who were deemed superior to the women; demigods of some sought. Wives were supposed to feed their husbands, run their baths… not of their own free will, but simply because that is what the society required of them.

Today, responsibilities have shifted remarkably; activities that our forefathers- literally- would have spat at have now become a norm. I’m thinking, if I were to tell my great grandpa, who exited this world long before my parents conceived-this crazy fruit of their love-me, that my dad cooks and does his laundry at times, he would spray on me whatever drink he’d be sipping at before exclaiming angrily, “what?’

I’m also imagining he would then convene the council elders for an impromptu meeting to discuss his grandson’s ‘malady’ and some possible remedies which I imagine would include dragging my old man into the forest so he can hunt down some big cat, decapitate it and subsequently have him display its head in his living room as a trophy, just to remind him that men don’t partake in petty household chores; that men should be macho, and that anything contravening that would amount to tremendous emasculation.

Personally, I delight at seeing my dad cooking… it makes me proud that he can walk into the kitchen and fix some snack; I perceive it as him trying to bring down the partition our forefathers so painstakingly erected, to divide men’s responsibilities from women’s… it fills me with hope that in the near future, simple acts as such will finally obliterate undesirable traits like male chauvinism, which undermine women dreadfully.

Irrespective of that, there are boundaries that should remain intact; gossiping for instance… that is one of the few things that should be left exclusively to women. In that regard, men should focus on perfecting their punches… not sharpening their words. Gossiping is just something that men should never be caught dead doing- ‘never’ being the operative word. From a woman’s perspective, it’s grossly unattractive.

My mind always goes blank when I find a group of refined men engrossed in a deep conversation, dissecting and analyzing a certain individual-for whatever reasons- so animatedly; high five-ing each other, using coded words and analogies so that whoever is not part of their conversation doesn’t understand what they’re saying, whispering in each other’s ears, laughing like rabid men… It is totally obnoxious! The revulsion such actions afford me wouldn’t be any different if I happened to sight two manly guys indulging in an affray, with one guy lying on his belly and the other sitted on his back pulling his hair, demanding that he apologizes for ,say, calling him names… that is so girly! They might as well go rock skirts.

Talking about other people is inevitable, and it would be ‘inhumane’ of me to discourage my brothers not to do it, but if they must, a little discretion would be in order. The infamous market women earned that term because they continually make it obvious they’ve no problem getting under people’s skin; they made it their business to callously stick their noses in other people’s affairs. I don’t know if there’s even a soul out there that’s pleased with them, but somehow we all manage to put up with them… I don’t want to imagine men being part of the scuttlebutt group. There’s just something so wrong with that picture. I guess it’s partly because they tend to overdo it… and still insist on being revered as men.

We’ve been busy breaking away from traditions which our forefathers put in place; women are now wearing pants, husbands babysit gladly… all that seems okay, but I’m thinking a guy won’t just walk into his wife’s closet and pick a skirt because his pants won’t fit or something of the sought; because it’s just wrong… if it’s not a kilt, then no freaking way.

That is what gossiping is; a skirt; reserved strictly for women. Manly men have no business giving women a run for their money on this one… it’s a no-go zone. Whoever wishes to partake in it can denounce his balls first; then there’ll be no qualms. Only then, can they wear these skirts.

MATTERS PARENTING-FROM A DAUGHTER’S PERSPECTIVE

parent  Everytime I talk about matters parenting, I always feel like I’m doing parents a major disservice; mainly because I haven’t walked down that road yet. Nevertheless, I feel I know reasonably much about parenting; I’ve watched my parents raising three daughters- me included- and even though I’ve only been watching from the sidelines, I formed my own opinion on the matter. If I may put in my two cents worth, parents should use a relatively soft approach on their kids. This however doesn’t mean they should be lenient; overlooking mistakes and all… Fundamentally, the idea is for parents to understand their children; to walk a mile in their shoes, so they can simply get the rationale of their complexities.

For this to be successful, parents would basically be required to lay the ground rules, which would be used to guide members of the family on what is/not allowed. Parents would also be required to put their feet down, just to ensure that the rules are adhered to.

The term ‘rules’, I realize, brings out the idea as a scheme by parents to tyrannize their children, but that is not it. The rules imply to simple things that are done in the home; for instance, sitting at the table together for meals, doing chores, running  errands… etc. Setting of rules would help parents keep their children in check, and this would help them identify any snags that would arise in relation to that.

In case you’re wondering how I came to this, I mentioned in down memory lane: my childhood sweetheart that I went to boarding school. I was only eleven at the time and I detested it with every ounce of my being. My mom thought it was the best idea though; there were many distractions at home and she felt boarding would counter all that. True to her suppositions, it did just that. She only intended for me to get good grades, which I did…

Looking at the bigger picture though, I impute most of the barneys I had with her as a teenager to that simple fact that she shipped me off to boarding school. See, when I went there I was quite young; at such a pliable age. It was then that I learnt how to spread a bed impeccably, do my own laundry… most importantly, I also learnt how to verbalize my emotions. Before I enrolled there, I was just an introverted girl; I kept to myself a lot. I didn’t bother standing up to other students because I knew all I had to do was squeal on them and my mom would take up the matter with the concerned teachers; I wasn’t bratty though, just that I didn’t find it necessary to engage in squabbles when my mom could easily intervene.  Every once in a while though, I’d find myself in messy fights with boys in my classroom and that would have my mom summoned in school. In the teachers’ presence she would vindicate me, so much so that I always got off the hook easily.  I don’t remember being chastised by any of the teachers on any one of those accounts; but when I got back home, she would set things straight. She would scold me sternly or give me whatever punishment she thought suited the nature of my transgression. She’s always been zero-tolerant to impertinence.

Sometimes teachers would find themselves at the receiving end of my mom’s backlash. If you ask me, they deserved it all… they were brutal! Students who arrived to school late were caned mercilessly with peeled tree branches, which only made it twice as painful. At times they would cut hosepipes into pieces of considerable length and those too would be used to inflict pain on us. Some teachers even went ahead to fill the hollows in the pipes with stems, to intensify the lashes so that whoever they landed on would never be tempted to repeat whatever had brought them there in the first place. My mom hated seeing us (my sisters and I) bruised or with our knuckles swollen because a teacher had hit us with a ruler, so she took it upon herself to discipline us. She didn’t want us to turn out unscrupulous, but at the same time she didn’t want others to maim us alleging corrective measures; therefore she made sure we grew up straight to prevent us from getting in trouble with them. She chose to personally, nip our wrong doings in the bud.

When I went to boarding school I didn’t have my mom to defend me. I only had my big sister who had gone there a year before I did. She’s only a year and a half older than I am. The good thing about my new school was that caning was prohibited. The headmistress was a distant grandma; a strict disciplinarian, who pervaded fear in the other teachers as much as she did students. From the movies I watched as a kid, she was the angelic version of Miss Tranchbul in the movie, Matilda. She embodied perfection. Stained tunics with hanging hems or torn pockets weren’t tolerated; socks and blouses had to be dazzling white; those with discoloured ones were punished. Seeing as the school was catholic sponsored, she made it unmistakable that masses were not optional. That regardless, didn’t exorcize the little ‘demons’ in the school; some of the older girls were brutes. Consequently, I learnt how to defend myself. Slowly, the introvert I was developed into an outspoken lass… no one would mess with me again.

Out of those eight years that I was in boarding school, six of them I spent in school while the holidays only summed up to two years only. During those six years a lot happened; that’s when I learnt who I was…I became distinctly aware of my emotions, formed my own independent opinion of things. I’m not sure if it was just sheer ignorance, but my parents didn’t seem to realize I had changed. Many are the times I felt my actions were misconstrued and anything I said only ignited fights. Whenever I talked with my mom a certain phrase invariably popped up, “You don’t understand me!”  Disappointingly, my parents never made any efforts to understand the ‘new’ me. I only learnt to adjust to my surrounding when I got tired of fighting.

That ‘phase’ I was in, as many parents would refer to it, is a crucial stage in children’s lives; that’s when parents who previously  were awfully close with their children find themselves so detached, feeling like total strangers. Not all parents send their children to boarding school, but the same scenario plays itself out when parents are too busy working that they seldom spend time with them. Sometimes parents fail to realize that kids grow up fast. A month, or even a week could be enough for a child’s perceptions to be realigned; even a day’s occurrence-if incubated- could slowly change a person.

In light of this, I feel that parents would achieve much if they focused more on trying to understand why their children  act the way they do as opposed to just jumping into conclusions- that they’re only going through a phase -and consequently grounding them or giving punishments…