Tag Archives: growing up

Kissing Frogs

‘So many frogs you’ll kiss before you eventually find a prince’. That’s a cliché I’ve been hearing since forever. Growing up, I loved reading stories, so it kinda goes without saying that the Princess and the frog is one of those delightful fairy tales I read. In a nutshell, the moral of the story is that in trying to find a good thing, a good partner for instance, one will bump into undesirable versions first. I hold this assertion true.

The other day I was talking with a friend about how tricky it is to find a good guy/girl nowadays. My contention was that sex has become the primary threshold in relationships, where two people jump in bed so casually without necessarily having an informed understanding of each other’s background.

Speaking from a lady’s perspective, I find that nowadays it is almost impossible to talk with someone one could be attracted to (currently or much later), without the issue of sex springing up. From most of my interactions with guys, I find that on average most of them will bring it up within the first or second day of meeting.

Some will hint at it subtly, while the daring ones will just jump in with both feet… That’s why, in my very humble opinion, it is very easy to roll in the hay with a new acquaintance, whose names we might not even remember/know…

The problem with this approach is that so many important prerequisites are overlooked. For instance, if one wants to have a meaningful relationship, a firm foundation needs to be laid. And essentially, this would be friendship. The way I see it, a lasting relationship is one where two people have taken time to know each other.

This is even more advisable because in the quest to know the other person, their undesirable traits might be spotted earlier so one can cut loose and ran for the hills before it’s too late. However, starting off a potential relationship in bed with someone is like putting a cart before the horse. There might be a few exceptions where such relations lead to a lasting relationship. However, from what I’ve gathered, in most cases such relationships are usually short-lived.

So in my opinion, humdrum as it may be, when it comes to matters relationships, it might be preferable to go with the tested conventional way of getting to know each other before jumping each other’s bones.

My friend’s contention on the other hand, was that girls have become so materialistic, that it becomes awfully difficult for a young man who’s not yet established to find love. They want guys who drive posh cars and live in fancy houses, rock designer wear; so if a guy can’t afford all these, dating becomes a herculean task.

He gave me a few examples of some nasty encounters he’s had with girls and I actually found myself sympathising with him. Finding love shouldn’t be that hard. In my bid to comfort him, I told him he was going to kiss a couple of frogs before he finally found his special someone… and he light-heartedly asked me how many frogs we were talking about.

“These sayings mislead people”, he told me. His argument was, someone might go out with so many people they don’t like, hoping they will find their prince (ss), who actually might never come. I’m cognisant of the fact that when it comes to love, not everyone is lucky; so some people settle for partners they might not have chosen if they had a choice.

Nonetheless, I told him I did not find the particular saying misleading as it was attempting to give some sort of heads-up about the rough road one might find themselves on in their quest to find love. From my own experience, I would advise someone not to be afraid of kissing ‘frogs’. They will come in many shapes and sizes, but if someone is willing to learn, they will notice that these frogs will help them treasure their true love when they finally pop up.

Personally, what I’ve learned from kissing frogs is that if you never hang out with the wrong guys/girls, you might never truly appreciate your Mr/Ms Right. This is because, if you don’t go out enough and meet the wrong people, you might never realise just how flawed people are because truth is, no one is perfect. Mr/Ms perfect will not be perfect either.

Difference is that, by seeing other people’s faults, you’ll realise what flaws you can put up with and the ones you can’t. Mr/Ms right’s flaws will be ones you can live with. Furthermore, the wrong people will also help you realise how being treated right feels like.

This is because, whereas the ‘frogs’ will be with you for the various benefits/value you add to their lives, the right one will acknowledge your worth and treat you as a desired treasure. They will love you for who you are; and, handle you with care and utmost respect because they also know that good things don’t come easy.

In short, get to know someone first because that way it will be easier to identify the things you don’t like about them before things get too complicated; and before you invest so much in a relationship that is bound to fail sooner than later.

Advertisements

Of birthdays and milestones: Part 2

Where I’m at now, it feels like the sky is not the limit anymore…sad as that may sound… As it is, I’m all grown up so my dreams do not begin with, “When I grow up…” Nowadays, most of them start with, “God willing, when I get money…” In addition to that, even as I dream, I’ve slowly learned that not all dreams are viable; so again, unlike when I was a child, I try to be a bit pragmatic when I’m setting my own goals.

Now as I turn a year older, every birthday becomes a point of reflection, where I analyse the milestones I’ve made so far, and the dreams, which like my childhood sweetheart, have fallen by the way side. Anxiety sets in, when I feel like I’m growing older and I haven’t gotten where I want to be yet.

One interesting thing I’m starting to note about matters age is that where someone has achieved so many things… climbed great heights and all, they’re mostly termed, ‘young’. However, where one hasn’t achieved much, society perceives them as ‘old’. For instance, where one becomes a company’s CEO, say at 26, society views them as very young. On the other hand, where a person of the same age is working but hasn’t moved out of their parents’ house, they’re said to be ‘too old’.

The long and short of this is that, once a person leaves high school, everything they do will in one way or another be weighed on the ‘too old for…’ or ‘too young for…’ scale by society. And that’s just how it is, in my humble opinion.

Some of the very depressing movies I’ve watched in relation to age are ‘Ass Backwards’ and ‘Lifeguard’, starring Kristen Bell. For a young person growing up, these movies remind one that dreams might just be that, dreams! But God-forbid!

Looking back at the far I’ve come, I’m not sure what I would do differently if I could move back the hands of time… and this is not to mean that I have achieved everything I would have wanted so far. It’s just because, most things in my past were shaped by people who at the time wielded authority over me, say my parents… so it wasn’t about me making choices.

However, if I met my younger self, I would tell her not to worry too much because God’s always in control; and when you give Him time and room to work, He’ll take you, right where you need to be. I’ve struggled with anxiety for a very long time, and this is the one part of me I would wish was different. Nonetheless, I believe God doesn’t err. He made me this way for a reason.

For all the experiences that have caused me so much pain and anguish, I celebrate them. Because as they say, ‘We can’t have a rainbow without a little rain’… So as I turn a year older, I’ll continue to dream, because one thing I’ve learned these past few years is that God answers prayers. Furthermore, when you seek His guidance, He’ll align your will with His, so all dreams will be like great visions of what is to come.

Of birthdays and milestones: Part 1

In slightly over a week I turn a year older. Yaaay! Funny thing is I’m feeling excited, but mostly anxious about it. Excited, because birthdays are that one day in our lives, when we annually celebrate the anniversary of our births and for most people it’s a day that’s arguably characterised by festivities, big or small; and anxious because nowadays birthdays to me, don’t just mean cake and fun.

When I was growing up, I waited for my birthdays eagerly. All I had to worry about was whether I’d get a new dress or not; mom had made it a tradition to buy my sisters and I dresses to celebrate our birthdays. I remember this one time I fell and sprained my ankle on the eve of my birthday… just hours to my big day. Thankfully, the special treatment I received for being the ‘birthday girl’ far outshined every ounce of pain I felt.

As birthdays come and go, I feel I’ve reached a point where, each year sort of signals an evaluation point. See, thing is, when I was a child, I had dreams…so many dreams, which were always introduced by the phrase, “When I grow up I want to/I will… and to be honest, it was fun. The sky, as they say, was the limit. All I had to do was dream it… the rest I would leave to God, and only time would tell whether those dreams would materialize.

Some dreams as I’m realizing, fell by the way side; for one reason or another, they are unattainable. My childhood sweetheart for instance; this far I’ve come, I don’t quite remember loving a guy as much as I did him. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been in a relationship I would term ‘serious’ per se. For an entire decade, he’s the only guy my heart beat for…even on a dull day, thoughts of him would give me that warm, fuzzy feeling and the dark clouds would scud away.

His mom adored me, and she was hopeful I’d be married to her son someday. That’s the beauty of childhood. All dreams are valid. At the time we were around eight years old since he’s only one week older than me. As we grew up though, we started forging out our own different paths and a year after we finished high school, my sister invited him for lunch one afternoon when she bumped into him on her way to school.

At the time we had moved to a different neighbourhood so we didn’t see each other much; not to mention all the adventurous spirits brought to life by teenage hood. It’s usually a time of trying out new things…actually come to think of it, it’s like shopping; trying out all things to see which fit better. It’s all about self-discovery. Therefore, we had not gotten an opportunity to sort of synchronise our dreams.

That afternoon, when he came over for lunch we talked a lot, and somehow it felt we were going to rekindle things. The chemistry between us was intense. However, the next time he came over it was unannounced; and after spending some time together that day it dawned on me, we were never going to be an item again. He had changed, and I had changed as well. Simply put, we were incompatible.

That evening as I saw him off, all the fire that had burned in my heart for years died abruptly. It was then I realized I needed to move on. Interestingly, we have never ended our relationship formally. So just like that, a dream I had held onto for ten whole years went up in smoke. That, is just one of the many beautiful dreams I had as a child that with time proved unfeasible.

Too much parent involvement?

controlling parents

Every sane/loving parent out there wants the best for their kids; that of course leaves out all the perverted parents, who shamelessly molest their children and do other ungodly stuff to them. For this reason, some parents will go to the ends of the earth to ensure their children get the best in life. In the process though, some of the things this loving or controlling parents do feel a bit extreme.

Personally I feel some of the things done would be best left undone; you know, because in the end it will be in the kids’ best interests. So, I beg to ask, how much is too much?

In some previous posts I have mentioned this aunt of mine, whose mom was so protective because she didn’t want her daughter marrying into a poor family. My aunt fell in love while in college and from that love an innocent boy was born.

My aunt’s mother-my grandma-was obviously none too pleased. I’m thinking she envisaged her daughter’s bright future go up in flames, and as she couldn’t let that happen, she took the small boy in her care so my aunt could go back to school.

I wasn’t born at the time so whatever I know about the particular story, I gathered from different family members. The story, as it turns out, is an open secret, which everyone is too scared to talk about because many people stand to suffer if it was to be discussed openly, for reasons I’ll be revealing in the subsequent paragraphs.

I do not have the full details about what happened back then, but what I am sure of, is that the boy who was born thirty something years ago is now a fully grown man. Problem is, no one took the liberty to undo the mistake that was committed when he was born.

When grandma took him, his mom went back to school. So he grew up thinking our grandma was his mom. Due to our strained relationship with our grandma, my sisters and I only got to meet him when he was in his late teens. Given that he is older than us, he comfortably thinks he is dad’s youngest brother, and the woman he thinks is his sister is actually his mom.

After having his son raised by her mom, my aunt later found another guy and she gave birth to a baby girl, who is only a few months older than me. She grew up knowing she was an only child, and it’s not until a few years ago that some cousins maliciously insinuated she had a brother during a get-together.

The way I see it, my cousin now knows she has a brother, but she can’t ask anyone since no one is brave enough to tell it straight to her. Slyly, she tries to get someone to slip up and say it but when we’re around her we try to bite our tongues so we don’t get openly ostracized by the concerned parties for releasing those old skeletons from the closet.

Since I found out ‘my uncle’ and my cousin were actually siblings, I always wonder how it will end. I’m imagining grandma wanted the best for her daughter and that’s why she took her son and raised him as her own. But was that really the best thing to do? I know there are many people out there who have done the same thing and it all turned out fine for everyone. However, I can’t say the same for my aunt.

For starters, my cousin grew up alone and I always got the impression she was very unhappy. During holidays her mom would take her to some relatives’ and as much as one would be tempted to think that was a cool thing, I would totally beg to differ. Her visits felt imposed so they were never that fun. Christmas holidays were some of the worst because essentially they are a time when family members spend together, yet on most occasions she was away from her mom.

Given that her mom was a single mother, I could only think of so many reasons why a child would feel alone and neglected. I doubt my cousin ever had fun. From my perspective, she would have been happier if she had her brother with her to keep her company.

Looking at my aunt, I wouldn’t really say her mom’s idea to keep her son worked for her. She never remarried, and from how I see her, she’s far from happy. Chances are she would have been happier if she kept her son and her baby daddy, who was poor at the time but is now rich. That’s why her mom didn’t want him for her in the first place; he was poor.

If you ask me, my grandma’s attempt to help her daughter only complicated her life. She hoped to fix her life, but instead, now she has everyone walking on egg shells because no one would want to be the one spilling those beans. My cousin had a dull childhood, with her own brother regarding her as his niece. There’s really nothing good about that.

It feels like a complex soap, where deep, dark secrets are revealed towards the end of the story. In this case I’m wondering who will be brave enough to set the record straight. Who will pull down those façades? And when they come down, who will undo the pain caused?

Family isn’t always blood

family isn't always blood

Friends are important to us. In cases like mine, they feel closer than family. In many of my posts I’ve mentioned how I’m not close to my extended family because they regard people based on how much money they have and for the longest time my family has been holding the last position on the ladder so needless to say we’ve always been treated like pariahs.

When I look at the things they have done, they feel somewhat petty, but it’s the implication of their actions that make it really painful. I remember this one time we attended a get-together party and one of my paternal granma’s sister was the one serving food. Somehow she managed to serve all the people sitted in the same table with my small sister and I but ignored us.

We didn’t want to create any commotion so we just let that one slide. It was awkward being sitted amidst people who were eating while we weren’t, but since we didn’t feel free around them (based on previous meetings) we kept mum, even though we were extremely famished after travelling for hours to get there.

Later on when everyone was leaving, she invited all of our cousins to go spend the night at her place but again, she failed to invite my sisters and me. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. Devastated, and feeling rejected we drove back home. After holding back tears the whole day, when we got home, mom, who hadn’t attended the get-together opened the door and I just broke down in her arms.

I was a teenager, an age someone might consider old; nonetheless, rejection hurts. Almost all family gatherings I can remember have always left me feeling rejected; and basic conversations are usually targeted at my family, degrading us, making us feel like we’re simply nothing.

Based on this very wanting relationship, I’ve always felt disconnected from my paternal relatives. The cousins I have are the very condescending type, who only focus on one’s lows; what one doesn’t have and those little blasts from the past that make one want to cringe. Someone might disregard their behaviour citing frivolity, but what hurts is that they’re mainly inspired by disdain.

If for instance I have a phone that seems really beautiful, someone will point out it’s nice, then add, “But it only costs…” So if I was really confident I have a nice phone, I will leave feeling like it’s just a cheap phone. Normally what bugs me isn’t the fact that they only see bad things, it’s why they do it. They do it to hurt; to scorn, and that’s what I always find trouble adjusting to. Most of the times I just ignore them but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

And just to prove the point, they will come with new phones the next time there’s a gathering. So basically at the end of the day our relationship with them feels like a competition. I must admit, I do feel envious of big happy families; families where people love without discriminating; where one isn’t hated or loved based on how much wealth they have.

Last weekend, my cousin invited family members to introduce her fiancé. We only live a few blocks apart, but my sisters and I weren’t invited (not that we would have gone anyway, because our encounters always end up badly). We didn’t even know there was any gathering until one of my mom’s sisters-in-law called her to tell her how it went.

Later, my cousin’s mom told mom that my cousin had only invited people who are close to her. That statement hurt for two main reasons: Firstly, we’ve never had any particular disagreement with her that would make us apparent enemies. If we’re not close it’s only because she has always felt her richer cousins were better.

Again, that sounds petty but her actions have never proven otherwise. Secondly, she got pregnant a few years ago and since most of my extended family members are the judgemental type, they shunned her as they didn’t want any embarrassments. At the time her own mom wanted her to get an abortion but because she wanted to keep the baby she was kicked out and we took her in.

The entire time she stayed at our place we were very close. When finally mom managed to talk to her mom, she went back home and even after she gave birth we were still close. When she gave birth, everyone fell in love with the baby and all those who had abandoned her came back. The instant they did, she pushed us-my sisters and I- away.

Everyone was invited for her daughter’s first birthday, except us. We felt used, and ever since, we’ve never been close again.

Owing to that strained relationship I have with the rest of my extended family, I feel closer to some of my friends. Though we’re not related by blood, I feel they are my family, because they don’t judge me and are always there when I need them.

‘Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.’ That’s a quote I heard some years ago and everytime I hear it I know just how true it is. My friends are my family.

 

Understanding the man in the sky

the invention of lying

As I watched the ‘invention of lying’, I got the feeling the idea of the man in the sky had been blown out of context. He is portrayed as a cold and vengeful being. If I got a chance to speak with Mark and all the people in that movie, I would help them understand that God is merciful, and loves us unconditionally.

If God was actually vindictive like Mark and the rest of the cast made Him appear, there wouldn’t be believers in the first place. I would also help them understand that there is God, and there is Satan; two powerful beings fighting against each other. God builds, while Satan destroys. Ergo, from a Christian’s perspective, Satan is the root of all evil.

Later Mark finds out Anna is getting married to a guy he hates. She goes to see him at his place and finds him looking all unkempt with an overgrown beard and hair, and as he’s gotten right out of bed, he opens the door covered up in a white sheet. His ragged look depicts Jesus. After Anna leaves, his friend later comes and convinces him to attend her wedding and he accepts.

In the ‘church’ where the wedding is taking place, there is an image of mark holding the pizza boxes in place of the image of Jesus crucified on the cross. As the movie plays on, I get a lot of the religious stuff that is indirectly brought out, poking holes in Christianity; and the movie I had initially thought was some sought of fantasy turns out to be an anti-Christian thing, depicting Jesus as the greatest liar.

When Mark stands to oppose the marriage, they say only the man in the sky can stop the wedding. Anna goes ahead to ask Mark what the man in the sky wants. He refuses to tell her and walks out. He visits his mom’s grave and tells her, only he knows she is still there, buried in the ground, contrary to what he told the world about ‘heaven’.

Anna finds him and he tells her he lied to the world about the man in the sky, and that he made it all up; the man in the sky doesn’t exist.

Looking at it from Mark’s perspective, it’s understandable why someone would believe there is no God. There is so much evil in the world, and what’s the point of living a life full of misery so that one can live happily ever after in the afterlife?

Growing up, I always wondered why someone would believe there is no God. I was brought up in a very religious setting and my belief in God became the foundation on which my life was based. But with the advancing technology, the internet and all, I have met people and made friends who don’t believe in God. So now I understand that one’s disbelieve in God doesn’t mean they are evil.

I have tried researching on what atheists believe; what makes them come to the conclusion there is no God, and one thing I have come to understand is that basically the difference between atheists and Christians is that whereas the former don’t believe in the metaphysical world, the latter ‘see the unseen’, through the eyes of faith.

With this in mind, I know it would be difficult explaining the whole idea of an Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and an Omniscient God to someone who doesn’t believe in a ‘supernatural world’.

The people ask Mark, why the man in the sky had to wait that long to reveal himself. I imagine that would be indirectly, questioning Jesus’ arrival; why He came into the world when so many people had suffered and died? Previously, before Christianity began, God was there, and He used to make more indiscreet appearances, talking to people and sending prophets.

However, that didn’t seem to work. So He eventually sent His son Jesus, making Him the ultimate sacrifice, whose blood would cleanse us all and save us from eternal death-the wage of sin.

And about people making choices in life, like with Anna’s wedding, God gave us all free will, to do whatever we want. For a minute, let’s all say God is real. So what would happen if He didn’t let us choose? For starters, we would all be Christians, whether we liked it or not; however, because of His Omniscient nature, He knows things we don’t, and because He loves us so much, He helps us make the right choices.

When God created the world, everything was good. The world was untainted by sin and evil. But then, the devil came in, tempted Eve to eat the fruit, which would help them know right from wrong, and she tempted Adam. Subsequently vices like jealousy sprung up, making Cain turn against his brother Abel; and that was the origin of sin and death. Eve and Adam’s choice led to that and now we have to live with the consequences.

All in all, faith is a complex thing. It’s all about one’s personal beliefs based on their upbringing and life experiences. If, for instance, anyone asked me to give proof that God is real, I would say it’s because I feel His presence in everything. But would that be enough to convince someone who is sceptical about God’s existence? No.

Each one of us has valid reasons why they believe in God or not, and epiphanies don’t just happen; they are triggered by some experience. Something interesting I realized is that from a logical perspective, the arguments many atheists make for not believing in God actually make sense. So the principal aspect that makes all the difference is faith, which essentially defies logic.

In my opinion, this debate about whether God is real or not may continue for a very long time. What we need to do though, is respect each other’s choices and live in harmony, in spite of the varying beliefs.

Incapable of love

incapable of love

In a previous post I mentioned a very disturbing thing dad did right after grams died. The other day mom expressed her concerns about dad playing some songs that were played at grams’ funeral and since dad was still there I asked her to tell him about it, so we could resolve the issue for once and for all.

He has been playing those songs frequently and somehow I had hoped he would be considerate enough to steer clear of them until she had recovered from the grief of losing her mom a few months ago.

In my opinion, what he fails to realize is that she was very close to her mom and her death affected her a lot. He lacks empathy. From what I’ve gathered, he and his mom were never really close. She was a strict disciplinarian and at some point, due to the conflict of interests he ran away from home. That said, I feel he doesn’t quite understand that special bond between a mother and child.

He never had the pleasure of calling his own mother “Mom.” She forbade her own children from calling her ‘mother’. She never really wanted to accept she was growing old and it’s like she imagined being called mom would emphasize the fact that she was losing her youth.

Making up for lost love

However, we understood that fact a long time ago, and for that we’ve always showed dad so much love, hoping it would in a way make up for his love-deprived childhood, though he hardly reciprocates. I feel he deliberately pushes us away.

Shouldn’t the thought that we try to make him feel loved help him overcome the bitterness from his childhood? I am no shrink, but I imagine my presumptions are not too inaccurate.

What ensued though, was a fight. Dad argued that there’s nothing he does that sits well with mom. “People die, you will die too. Let everyone carry their own cross,” he bit out angrily. I hadn’t seen that coming. Somehow I had imagined he would be like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you felt that way.”

On the contrary, he seemed totally unapologetic. “Let everyone listen to the songs they like,” he seethed.

His response shocked me. I had hoped he would atleast empathize with mom. But then, the more I think of it, the more I realize why he seems incapable of love. The one person, who was supposed to show him how to love, didn’t.

Substandard parenting

I may never have this conversation with his mother-for respect’s sake-but I feel she’s entirely to blame for her children’s misfortunes. As damaged as dad might seem, he appears to be the best of the siblings. That definitely tells a lot about her. She failed her children, now we’re left with the empty shells she raised; mean people who don’t seem to know what love is.

How do we teach dad how to love? How to be empathetic? It’s true what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks; how can we possibly fill his heart with love, when he grew up, not knowing how it feels to be loved? How can he love, if he doesn’t know what love is?

In a twisted kind of love, I talked about how he has a weird way of showing us he loves us. He tells us he loves us, but his actions tell a tale of their own. I don’t remember any single thing dad did for me that made me feel he loves me. I get the impression that every little thing he’s ever done for my sisters and me, he did out of obligation.

When I was small, I managed to overlook his shortcomings. I knew I would have wished for a better dad, but somehow I still loved him, and hoped he would love me back. Now I’m all grown up, and there’s nothing he does that even gives the illusion he is capable of love. In any case, nowadays it even feels worse because he has become an alcoholic so any free time he spends away from the office, he spends it alone, drinking; and most of the time he is plainly hostile.

Neighbours who have come to know the type of man dad is keep telling mom whenever they meet outside, “Be strong.”

After that brief argument, he said goodnight and flounced out of the room. Clearly, it hadn’t gone the way I had expected it to. I know mom has her own shortcomings and all, but that’s not the response I had hoped for. She had approached him meekly, in a conciliatory tone; one that didn’t brook argument, yet he reacted like mom had thrown hot coal at him, throwing hands up in the air and all.

I know dad had a difficult childhood and that’s why he has turned out into the hostile man he is today. However, I believe even though we might not have the power to change the lives we led as kids, life gives us numerous opportunities to forge out our own paths.

It’s not easy trying to ditch one’s past, that much I know; but at the same time I believe that with a little determination one can make so much progress.