Tag Archives: love

Children; who will protect them? Part 5

When I was a child, I really wanted to become a nun. However, as I grew up, I realized I liked boys, and I’d be happier married. That’s my position to date. Every time I contemplate the life I would have had as a nun, I realize I would have been so miserable, because I do not have the patience and commitment it takes to live in an enclosed convent; especially having gone to all-girls’ boarding schools from the age of ten, until I finished high school.

I usually imagine the experience would be pretty much the same. It’s also worth mentioning that I abhorred boarding school; being away from home only aggravated my anxiety disorder as I could not see my family whenever I wanted.

I feel it’s the same for anyone with a sexual preference contrary to society’s expectation. They might have been socialized to believe heterosexual relations are the right way to go, but somewhere down the line, one realizes they want something different; that contrary to society’s expectations, their happiness lies elsewhere.

Knowing myself, I know I would have fought tooth and nail to stay out of the convent if for instance, my mom had insisted I join. With that knowledge, I wouldn’t force my sexual orientation on anyone. Legally, an adult of sound mind is allowed to make their own choices. They might not be choices approved by everyone, or anyone for that matter, but the least we can do, is accept them.

In light of this, I believe what my neighbour’s niece needs is love, and acceptance. I think if her family had a conversation with Jesus, that would be His response, “Love and accept her for who she is”. Most of the time we assume God’s role then go judging people around, forgetting that at the end of the day, only God has the unilateral power to determine what’s right or wrong.

It’s no coincidence that the greatest commandment is about love. Truth is, love heals. My neighbour’s niece drinks to numb the pain of rejection; so wouldn’t it be right to assume, her family’s love and acceptance would heal those deep-seated wounds that make her drink?

When mom told me this lady feels her parents hate her, I tried thinking what could have triggered it, trying to connect the dots… and my thoughts were simple: possibly the dad raped her, and her mom colluded with him, either out of fear of retribution by society, or out of distrust; chances are the mom thought the possibility of her husband raping his own daughter was too atrocious to even comprehend, that denial was her only solace. If that was the case, then this lady must have felt utterly betrayed by her own parents, who she thought would be her protectors. Mom just thought I was being ridiculous.

A few days later, mom checked in on her, but she only found the aunt. As it turns out, my hypothesis was actually right. The lady was raped by her dad when she was six years old, and in an attempt to cover up his sordid offence, he started feeding her alcohol; possibly hoping it would impair her cognitive ability to rat him out. That, was the genesis of her alcoholism.

Twenty one years later, this young lady is carrying a heavy burden, imposed on her by the same people who were supposed to protect her. Her own parents hurt and betrayed her. Her biological dad stole her innocence, then set her up on a trajectory that has been mainly characterized by rejection. In short, he ruined her life! Her mom, on the other hand, may not have been previously privy to her husband’s paedophilia, but her silence, and inaction after the fact, made her an accessory to the crime.

Now, in the wake of their incompetence as parents, lies a broken child; a young woman, who’s trying to find her place in a society that she feels has already rejected her. Sadly, she’s not the only one going through such anguish; there are many children suffering in silence. 

That’s why I keep wondering: children; who will protect them?

Children; who will protect them? Part 3

My story makes me slow to judge others. People look ‘normal’ on the outside, but deep down I know they could be battling serious issues, owing to traumatic pasts. There’s this niece of our neighbour I used to despise, until recently. She came off as arrogant, and it was with so much patience I barely managed to get through two seconds of rudimentary conversation with her.

They are next door neighbours, but interestingly, our engagement with them is purely business.  When Covid came, the whole ‘working-from-home’ arrangement disorganized things a lot; with teachers being some of the most affected, as they had to stay home until their respective schools came up with a feasible ‘online classes’ plan. In light of this, seeing as our neighbour is a teacher, she ended up getting into an eggs-supplying business pro tem; and that’s where we come in.

When we found out they were supplying eggs, we decided to be buying from them. Initially we’d deal with our neighbour, the teacher, or her husband; but when Covid restrictions were lifted and people went back to work, our neighbour’s niece was left in charge of the business; and boy, was the young missy rude!

At some point, we felt we couldn’t deal with her anymore, so we stopped buying from them. Problem was, their eggs are comparatively big, and they never go bad even when someone buys in bulk. See, one of the habits we acquired during Covid was to purchase things in bulk to avoid instances of them running out when there were lockdowns/movement restrictions. Given that eggs have a shelf-life of thirty days only, it soon dawned on us that our neighbours’ quality was second to none.

After a careful deliberation, we decided to go back to our neighbours’ shop, because when it comes to food, one can’t compromise on quality. Ergo, with regard to the mean girl, we decided to deal directly with the shop’s owners: the teacher and her husband. Mom would call her, then her husband would deliver them in the evening. We didn’t have to deal with their rude niece anymore.

Remember when I said in Part 2 of this post, that there’s usually more than meets the eye? Rude girl wasn’t an exception. In any case, her wounds run so deep, that it might take years for her to heal. I started off despising her, but once I became privy to ‘Her Truth’, my perception of her took a complete 180º turn. Now all I feel for her is pity.

About two months ago, mom passed by their shop and she found our neighbour and her niece. I’m thinking mom walked in on them having a spat, and our neighbour started complaining about her niece’s unruly behaviour. She told mom she’d been requesting the young lady to go to church and get prayed for, but she wouldn’t hear any of that.

Obviously mom got curious and needless to say, went ahead to ask what the problem was. Our neighbour told mom her niece is an alcoholic. In her defence, the young lady told mom she drinks to numb the pain of rejection by people she thought loved her. Turns out, they ostracized her when they learnt she’s gay.

Though I wasn’t there to see mom’s reaction, I bet she must have felt particularly uncomfortable with the subject, owing to the fact that when it comes to sexual orientation, she’s very ‘close-minded’ about it. I can’t blame her though; she grew up in a very religious setting. I mean, she was literally on her way to the convent to become a nun when dad waylaid her.

Furthermore, in her younger days, the internet, which plays a vital role in advocating for the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community, was not as prominent as it is today. Ergo, matters revolving around homosexuality were practically taboo. I cringed, imagining the young lady’s plight; given her sensitive situation, then having mom and her religious aunt as her advisors? I’d imagine she was caught between a rock and a very hard place.

The Love Thief: Part 4

Oddly, he didn’t text or call, and I started getting anxious. I knew I shouldn’t because he probably had a good reason why he didn’t notify me he’d gotten home, but the problem with my mind is that when I start freaking out I’m usually unable to calm myself down until whatever it is that’s making me anxious is resolved.

Since I didn’t want to think too much about it, I took this novel I’ve been reading and continued reading it. I hoped it would distract me and while it did, I could still feel my breaths getting short as the anxiety worked me up. As I’ve been sleeping late talking/chatting with him, and I had to wake up early Sunday morning to attend mass, I decided to seize the moment and go to bed early.

By then I was feeling disappointed, that he had just bailed on me. Wounded, I reminded myself why I don’t like being in relationships; they open me up, leaving me vulnerable to disappointment, and that disappointment triggers my anxiety. I got into bed at around 1.15am Sunday, but just before I lied down, I thought I should check my phone since it had been on silent mode for a while.

I found a couple of texts, where he was apologising for bailing on me. He sounded sincere, and I hated myself for being too quick to judge him. He’d been in some crisis meeting all day to discuss his restaurant’s finances and as he’d skipped lunch, he’d gotten a serious migraine. So when he’d gotten home he’d taken some painkillers and had fallen asleep on his covers.

Seeing as he had not had supper, we texted as he ate and as such, we stopped texting at around 4.40 am. By then my anxiety had subsided and I was even feeling happy. On Sunday we spent a lot of time texting, but I realised something had changed. All my excitement had dissipated, and I was awash with this intense anxiety, which made me feel like I was waiting to sit an exam or something. I was even feeling nauseous.

I was not eager to talk to him anymore, yet his texts exuded this profound warmth. I just found myself dreading to talk to him anymore, and I took a moment to analyse the situation, so I could figure out what was wrong. From my analysis I established a few things: firstly, I like him a lot, and based on the vibes I’ve picked from talking with him, he likes me a lot as well.

Secondly, since I’ve known him for three years now, I’ve figured a lot about him and I’m pretty much ok with who he is, in terms of character and all. Therefore, in the event we decide to get into a relationship, I wouldn’t mind being with him for the long haul. In short, I’m ok with who he is.

Thirdly, I feel I have been disappointed too many times by guys I’ve tried dating; and, that fear of abandonment that subjects me to heartache is what I’m afraid of. So while I like this guy a lot, I’m afraid of him breaking my heart in future, and that’s what’s making me miserable.

Disturbed by the third aspect of my analysis, I Googled ‘relationship anxiety’ to see if there was such a thing; and to my disbelief, it is actually a medical condition. Reading about it made me cry. Everyone hopes to find love somehow, and in rare moments someone nice comes along… but for a few unlucky persons like me, we are unable to embrace that person, and the love they’re offering, because some screwed up part of our minds fills us with this overwhelming fear of all the things that could possibly go wrong in future.

I’ve been sad the whole day, trying to figure out if I should just avoid relationships completely, so I can have peace of mind. My frustration is that this guy is all kinds of sweet… he hasn’t done anything to make me doubt him, yet my fear of him disappointing me in future is already screwing up my mind, to the extent that I feel it would be better to avoid him. That way I will not get attached to him; and that way, he can’t hurt me. Problem is, in my attempt to push him away I might be the one hurting him because I can tell he already likes me.

Before last night, I thought relationships cause me anxiety because of some certain aspects I might not like about someone, seeing as I have one-too-many pet peeves. However, me knowing this particular guy is as kind and awesome as they come has made me realize, that I am the one standing in the way of my own happiness; and the worst part is, I don’t know how to help it.

The Love Thief: Part 3

At the time he was going through some financial constraints, which he hadn’t told me about, so he just pulled away abruptly without warning. For six whole months we did not talk or communicate in any way. I was still smarting over the response he had given me, and unbeknownst to me, he was dealing with financial issues (that he did not want me to know about). He did not reach out, and I did not either.

During our unofficial hiatus, I happened to watch the movie, ‘Not without my daughter’, starring Sally Field, and as anyone who’s watched it might expect, it scared me half to death. If that movie was anything to go by, there was so much to be afraid of, in relation to me forging out a path into the future with my Muslim guy. I missed him so much sometimes, but then the fear would dampen those feelings.

It was only months later (half a year to be precise), that he attempted to reach out to me, acting so casually, like he had never left. Subsequent to my inquiry, he told me he had taken some time off to deal with some financial issues. While I sympathised with him, I couldn’t understand how he had just deemed it wise to disappear without warning.

I tried to walk a mile in his shoes, and while I couldn’t excuse his behaviour, I oddly found myself still so drawn him. The embers of our affection were still burning. Nonetheless, I also noted with concern that my carefree attitude towards our religious differences, and the deep affection that made me feel we could conquer the world and be happy together, was all gone; and in its place was these intense anxiety.

‘He has no qualms marrying three more wives after we’re married’, I told myself. ‘And he will disappear again…’ These thoughts drained all my joy; and talking to the guy I once desired, became the bane of my existence. Every time he texted or called, I’d feel so nauseous, that I had to find a polite way to blow him off. All the excitement I’d once felt was gone.

Eventually, I realised I couldn’t keep dodging him, so I figured I had to be frank and tell him what was bugging me. I told him after analysing our situation, I did not have the emotional capacity to be more than friends with him, so we hit reset and went back to being friends. Just like with majority of my relationships, I was ecstatic when we broke up. I felt I could breathe again.

To date, three years later, we are still friends; and while he usually tries to convince me to be more than friends, I usually decline politely. Hard as I try, I cannot see beyond the anxiety I felt when I was with him; and that is usually the dilemma I face in relationships. Hardly do my interactions bloom into full-fledged love, because for some reason, I always feel too anxious to stay with someone.

Due to this overwhelming anxiety, I’m just learning to avoid relationships. The loneliness is overwhelming, but at the same time it affords me a reasonable amount of peace, since I don’t get to deal with issues which could trigger my anxiety.

Just two months ago, I reconnected with a friend. Since then we’ve been talking every day, and just for a short while, I actually felt alive. Since he runs a restaurant, we don’t talk much during the day, so we usually talk in the evening when he gets back home. Normally we talk from around 10pm until one of us says they’re sleepy. Because of this, I’ve been trying to clear my schedule for the day, so that by the time we start talking I won’t have any work pending.

This past Saturday we texted in the morning before he left for work, and we didn’t text again the whole day. I just assumed we’d talk again as usual in the evening when he got off work. By the time the clock was striking 10.00 o’clock, I was already full of anticipation, because I’ve really been enjoying his company.

The Love Thief: Part 2

While I realized I wasn’t ready to get married because I was not ready to depend on a guy financially, I also realized it was particularly difficult to avoid relationships altogether; seeing as there’s always that fascinating curiosity that draws one to someone they have recently met. That right there, is what has seen me try to date a couple of times; but due to my crippling anxiety, I’m always failing miserably.

The curiosity only gets me through the dating door, but my anxiety pulls me out of that situation just as fast. For instance, I once dated this Muslim guy, who was in so many ways my ‘dream guy’. He was physically attractive, had a great sense of humour and was very caring. Funny thing is, when we started talking we, or at least I, did not have any intentions of getting romantically involved with him.

In any case, since I knew he was Muslim, and I’m Catholic, I tried keeping him at arm’s length. This is because I knew even if we started dating somehow, our respective religions would present a great obstacle at some point. Case in point: in Islam, marriage is a contract that can be terminated at any time, while in the Catholic Church, it is a sacrament which can only be terminated by death.

As a matter of fact, the Catholic Church does not recognise the civil divorce. Therefore, if any of the parties want their marriage fully terminated, they can only seek an annulment by the church. Ideally what this means is that under civil law Catholics divorce all the time; a substantial number of divorce petitions are filed by parties married in the Catholic Church.

I remember getting shocked, when during my court clinicals in the second year of my legal studies, I came across divorce petitions filed by Catholics at the court registry. In my understanding at the time, Catholics never divorced. It is then I understood how it all works. Essentially, state law allows Catholics to divorce.

Nonetheless, this is just a procedural issue because with regard to the Catholic doctrine (Canon law), the couple is still married in God’s eyes, and as such, have no freedom to remarry. Ergo, a divorced Catholic purporting to remarry is only perceived to be committing adultery.

In light of this, I knew if I got involved with this guy, we would hit an iceberg at some point. In my thinking therefore, it was better to avoid that situation in the first place. Every time he brought up the idea of us dating, I would jokingly remind him that as a Muslim man he was allowed to marry up to four wives; something I would never be comfortable with.

However, we found ourselves chatting each day and before long we were already getting emotionally attached. Gradually we realised we were getting out of the ‘friend zone’ and into the dating zone. By then. I already liked him too much to care about his religion. Furthermore, since us dating wasn’t something preconceived, I had not had the time to engage my mind about all the things that could possibly go wrong. My anxiety was still in hibernation and I was really happy.

As months passed by, I became increasingly aware of the fact that our relationship was starting to feel every bit serious, and it’s at that point I started researching on Islam generally, just to get an idea of what I was getting myself into.

I even researched on mixed religion marriages just to get a feel of how they work, and if they are sustainable. I think he usually felt my apprehensiveness because he would constantly reassure me that he would do everything in his power to protect our relationship. His words were calming, and I think that put me at ease.

Over the months, we became so ok with each other’s religion, that he would refer to me as ‘my Catholic girl’. I, on the other hand, would remind him to say his prayers if the praying time reached while we were chatting. If we had questions about each other’s religion we would discuss them. It was just so interesting.

I wasn’t sure how it would turn out if eventually we chose to get married at some point, owing to the aforementioned religious differences; but every time I would just silence the tiny voice in my head telling me I was building myself up for an epic disappointment. I was so upbeat about our relationship working.

However, one evening while we were chatting I asked him if in the event we got married he would contemplate marrying another wife, given that Islam allows it. “I’m not sure”, was his nonchalant reply. Needless to say, that response broke my heart into tiny little shards. I felt that if he loved me for real, he wouldn’t contemplate marrying another woman.

That moment awakened my anxiety, and it sucked me in voraciously, like a fierce tornado. It’s at that point it hit me hard, that our relationship had no future. Even if I fell head-over-heels in love with him, we could never marry. As far as I was concerned, our halcyon days were over.

The Love Thief: Part 1

Being single seems to be my status quo…not out of choice per se, but out of circumstances. Of the said, ‘circumstances’, the biggest determinant is my anxiety disorder. In previous posts, I have delved into my struggle with anxiety: how I started suffering from it; when I was officially diagnosed; and, the numerous struggles I have experienced courtesy of this energy-draining fiend.

As I go along, monitoring myself and all, I’m gradually and sadly realizing the one thing that causes me the greatest anxiety is romantic relationships. I’m almost always ok, until I start dating. In a nutshell, my anxiety shoots through the roof, that I feel physically sick.

Basically when I meet a guy I like, we chat for a while, meet up… and at that point I’m usually fine. However, as days go by I start realizing the relationship is getting serious, and that’s when my problems begin. I start contemplating all the things that could possibly go wrong… and in my attempt to save myself the heartache, I start pulling away; I become distant.

From my observation, when the relationship is in that early stage where we haven’t defined its nature, in terms of whether we’re just friends or we’re dating, I’m usually ecstatic, as the vibrancy of the new found ‘love’ courses through my body. Sadly, I’m also noticing that the vibrancy doesn’t last long enough for me to savour the relationship. A few weeks into the relationship, my anxiety rears its ugly head, threatening to annihilate my relationship.

Anxiety affects people differently. While in some people the relationship anxiety may trigger untamed jealousy and erratic behaviour, mine makes me hold myself back from the guy I’m with. In the event I anticipate the guy might leave me for whatever baseless reasons, I start pulling away until the relationship is decimated.

Normally, some of the triggers include traits in someone that I may not be very comfortable with. For instance, a couple of years ago I dated this guy who was in every sense of the word, ‘doting’. He was six years older than me, and he seemed ready to settle down.

At some point he even proposed marriage, but knowing how my mom has suffered in her marriage because for the most part she was financially dependent on my dad, I gracefully turned the proposal down, telling him I wanted to make something of myself first before I could settle down in marriage with him.

What I did not tell him was that in addition to me wanting to be financially stable first, I had also seen how he treated women on social media. He was condescending; treating them like they were little pieces of trash that could be bought off, since he was from a wealthy family. According to him, money could fix all problems, and as such, he thought women just loved him for his money.

Though we were happy at the time, I feared that someday we would start fighting about the usual things couples fight about, since no relationship is without flaws, and at that point in time, I would be the one on the receiving end of his arrogant treatment. Needless to say, that realization, coupled with his marriage proposal freaked me out, and I started planning my exit. Thankfully, I used the proposal as an excuse, telling him I needed to work on me first; and that was how we ended things.

Since then, after the realization that I wouldn’t be comfortable getting married if I wasn’t financially stable, I’ve always avoided getting into relationships, because I already know I would only end up disappointing the man I’m dating, when I start pulling away when the relationship feels like it’s headed to marriage.

Rejected and Alone: Part 1

Difficult moments bring a lot to the surface. The hidden truth is revealed; the good and the bad, but mostly the bad. At least in my opinion. Lately I have been reminiscing an awful lot, possibly because I recently finished my pupillage, and now I’m in that ‘professional limbo’ where I am technically not a student anymore, yet I have not been admitted to the bar.

Ideally I should have found a holding over (post-internship) position to work while I await my admission to the bar, but as it turns out, finding a job nowadays is anything but easy. Ergo, I have more than enough idle time on my hands. It is this ‘interesting’ predicament that has seen me spend more than enough time strolling down memory lane.

See, during my undergraduate studies, I was my class’ president for the entire duration of our law course. I remember this one time, one lecturer who had taught us in our second year walked into our class two years later, and was surprised to find I was still the class president. “She is still the class president?” He asked, patently surprised. “You guys did not pick someone else?”

“She’s very nice…” “We love her…” “She’s very competent…responsible…” multiple voices rent the air simultaneously.

“I cannot hear what you’re saying if you all speak at the same time,” he interjected.

One of my classmates, who was seated at the front, raised her hand; and seeing as she was already known to the lecturer from our previous interactions, he picked her. “We did not see the need to elect someone else because she is very good at her job,” she said, and the rest of the students said “Yeah,” in agreement.

I suppose the lecturer did not have much to say because he just smiled and said, “I see”.

Every now and then, some of my classmates would come up to me and tell me that if I wanted to run for any political seat they would vote for me, but since politics has never been my cup of tea, I would just tell them politely that I was not into active politics. My sentiments notwithstanding, they would tell me they would still back me up if I ever changed my mind.

In a nutshell, my relationship with my classmates was very cordial. I served them diligently, and they never missed a moment to let me know how grateful they were for my services. A few days before sitting our final exams, they organized a small ‘surprise’ session, where they gave me gifts, among them being a pencil drawn portrait of myself. I loved it.

Their kind gesture caught me so off guard, because most of the times I’m the one who does things for people, never expecting anything in return…so this was definitely very unexpected, and as such, a breath of fresh air. The noble act moved me to tears, and much as I hate crying in public, I could not help it. Next day some teased me, calling me a cry baby.

Less than a month later, we finished our exams and it was time to bid each other adieu. While I was extremely excited to be done with law school, I was awash with nostalgia and sadness. Going by my past experiences, I knew some, if not most, goodbyes were forever. For four years we had all been working towards one common goal; to finish law school. Now that we had done that, our diverse dreams would take us to different directions… and that, is what made me sad.

The Voice Within: Part 2

My friend gave me a detailed account of how her boyfriend had convinced her into skipping work for a week, and how she had her friends loan her money to facilitate their getaway. Consequently, her boss had been calling enquiring about her whereabouts and she was afraid she was going to get fired.

Furthermore, pretty much everything the boyfriend had told her about himself since they met was hot air. He was not even remotely an eighth of the established man he had misrepresented himself to be. He was impecunious, and unemployed.

Owing to this, she did not know how she was going to pay back all the money she had borrowed from friends; and all this, she found out from her parents, who had decided to go digging for information when their daughter went missing.

Worse still, her parents were furious at her for sneaking off with her boyfriend, who in their opinion was as irresponsible as they came. In their opinion, no responsible guy would let a woman he loved get into trouble with all her loved ones, and her employer. It was all so messy, and I felt sorry for my friend, for being caught up in such a quandary. Love had put her in this mess.

For five long hours we just talked on the phone. She cried, poured her heart out, and I interjected occasionally, comforting her. Honestly, heart breaking as her situation was, I was relieved it was not something that would put her in conflict with the law.

Like I said before, I had a feeling the relationship was doomed to fail. There were red signs at every turn, and as such, the writings were very clear on the wall. I just hoped the pain would be bearable for my friend, when the split finally happened.

When she told me how she had broken up with the manipulative boyfriend after finding out about all the lies he’d fed her since they met, I told her I had prayed for God to guide her. I feared she was in danger and love had blinded her, so she could not see the abyss she was walking into. In light of that, I told her I was of the opinion everything that was unfolding was God’s way of guiding her.

One thing I’m gradually learning as I go along, is that God’s Holy Spirit usually talks to us. Nonetheless, most of us usually ignore that voice within. Pope Francis, in his Pentecost Sunday homily on 23rd May 2021, said, “The Paraclete (Holy Spirit) is also the Advocate. In Jesus’ day, advocates did not do what they do today: rather than speaking in the place of defendants, they simply stood next to them and suggested arguments they could use in their defence.

That is what the Paraclete does, for he is ‘the Spirit of truth’. He does not take our place, but defends us from the deceits of evil by inspiring thoughts and feelings. He does so discreetly, without forcing us; He proposes but does not impose. The spirit of deceit, the evil one, does the opposite: he tries to force us; he wants to make us think that we must always yield to the allure and the promptings of the vice”.

In life, we need to listen to the voice within. The red signs we see when dealing with other people, our gut feeling warning us of imminent danger… I believe that’s the Holy Spirit guiding us; because like the Pope said, the Spirit of truth does not impose, He only proposes. Thus, the onus to choose how to proceed in any given situation is on us.

Heal the World

“I love you!” Pretty much each one of us has uttered these words at some point in our lives. Question is, how many of us actually understand what these words mean?

The world is ailing… and the way I see it, love can at the very least, assuage the pangs of the maladies afflicting us. In 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8 Paul says, “I may be able to speak the languages of men and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.

I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains, but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned, but if I have no love, this does me no good”.

So question is, what is love? Paul tells us, “Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud. Love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail. Love is eternal”.

Hypothetically, if this is the general standard of love, how many of us have loved for real? For the most part, majority of us do the complete opposite of what love entails. We are impatient and unkind; always envious of others who seem to be better than us in one way of the other; those who are in positions of power/authority act all high and mighty, oppressing their juniors and all…

Furthermore, majority of those in power are living by the mantra, “It’s my turn to eat!” Sadly, this egotistical attitude has turned those who have been entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of the hoi polloi into self-centred maniacs. Instead of looking out for those in need, they are embezzling funds meant for vital functions like acquisition of live-saving medication; and, locking out qualified people from employment positions in favour of their kin; nepotism at its best.

More often than not, we hold grudges against those who wrong us. We keep a record of their wrongs. The way I see it, most of the wars going on around the world would cease if the warring parties could just forgive each other and call a truce. Again it all boils down to love.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but this Covid-19 pandemic has exposed some of our worst weaknesses. The frustrations attributed to Covid have made us relatively myopic. We only think about how we can solve our own problems, without taking a moment to consider how our actions/omissions affect others.

When the different Covid-19 vaccines were declared safe for use and effective against the corona virus, one of the emerging issues of concern was the corruption that could possibly arise from the vaccine distribution. Furthermore, some unscrupulous people have been accused of embezzling funds set aside for tackling the pandemic. Ergo, my concern is, why would anyone want to hoard money and medication meant to save people’s lives? Does such a person grasp what love is?

The two biggest commandments are to love God above all things, and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Since not everyone is affiliated with religion I’ll refer to the legal definition of neighbour, seeing as love is just a natural inclination we have towards others by virtue of being human, whether we believe in God or not. In that regard, in law, our neighbours are those people who are so closely and directly affected by our acts and/or omissions, that we reasonably ought to have them in mind when conducting our daily affairs.

If we work with that definition, then we have numerous neighbours, because this definition doesn’t just mean our next-door neighbours. In essence, this means if I’m driving, my neighbours are all the pedestrians and drivers along the roads I use; the ones who could potentially get injured if I drove recklessly. If I own a manufacturing company, my neighbours are all the consumers of my products, whether I know them or not. See how numerous our neighbours are?

In light of this, if we are supposed to love our neighbours as we love ourselves; or as the law provides, we should avoid acts/omissions which we can reasonably foresee could harm our neighbours, then we owe that duty of care to very many people. Seeing as there are so many wrong things going on in the world, just imagine, how different the world would be if we applied the aforementioned concept of love, to all our neighbours…

That said, there are numerous things we cannot instantly change, but if we choose to actually love our neighbours, the world will gradually start to heal. If we truly love our neighbours, those in authority won’t hoard Covid-19 vaccines, medical equipment and protective gear, waiting for demand to substantially increase, so the prices can be hiked exorbitantly…

If we love our neighbours, those fuelling wars will realise very many innocent people have unnecessarily and unjustly become collateral damage… If we love our neighbours, we won’t go cutting down trees, because we know the dire impact that will have on the climate, and consequently, future generations.

In addition, employers will not dismiss their employees arbitrarily, callously feigning hardships occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic; because, while this could actually be the case, there are better empathetic ways of letting go of employees.

Therefore, like I said, love heals, and as it is, our world desperately needs healing. Million dollar question is, are we ready to love our neighbours? Are we ready to give love a chance?

pressure to get married

I’m staring out at the sky, praying that he will walk in my life…

Where is the man of my dreams…I’ll wait forever how silly it seems

How does he laugh how does he cry, what’s the colour of his eyes;

Does he even realize I’m here…where is he…where is this beautiful guy…

Who is he…who’s gonna take me so high…”

These are the lyrics to Justin Roman and Natalie Soluna’s song, ‘Where is she’. When I was younger I used to sing it word for word, because I loved it (still do). Now it pops randomly as a reminder of what’s going on in my life.

See, when my two sisters and I turned 13 (at different times), dad automatically assumed we would give in to the raging hormones teenagers are usually said to suffer from at the onset of puberty. Therefore he always treated us like we were just sleeping around with boys. “I know they’ve done it…either in that bedroom, or that bedroom…”This, he would say during his drunken ramblings, pointing at the bedrooms while standing at the hallway.

As a result, we always avoided inviting guys over because we didn’t want to be judged. Even the ones who came over did so without our consent. Like this one evening my childhood sweetheart popped by on his way home from work. Needless to say, I had not invited him over. When mom got back from work, she found him there but since she knew him since he was a child, and was friends with his mom, she was generally happy to see him.

Only thing she was not privy to was that a couple of years ago he and I had been in a relationship. At the time we had already gone our separate ways and he had visited, hoping we would get back together. However, I had already moved on so that chapter had long been closed.

Then, 25 came and suddenly dating was the implied requirement…if one was not dating and introducing their partner to the family, people thought that person was slacking off. The pressure to get married started. Mom light-heartedly started saying she wanted to see her grandchildren before she turned 50.

One of my cousins got a baby at twenty and the entire family ganged up against her. No one wanted to be associated with her, and I couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about. I mean, at the least, she was above 18, if age was the issue. She stayed with us for a while and a couple of years later, everyone was doting on her little girl. Nowadays, in family get-togethers, the same people who had ostracised her refer to her daughter as her second degree, her first being her bachelor’s degree.

So question is, is it just in my family or that’s the norm? Where before one turns 25, dating is almost a felony…then after 25, there’s pressure piling from all corners for one to get hitched. Nowadays, all my dad’s drunken ramblings start and end with marriage; but in all honesty, I sort of understand why. Most of our cousins are getting married and having babies.

Dad yearns to be called a grandfather, like his elder brothers. However, he fails to realise marriage is an almost permanent situation, given that it’s usually intended to be, “Till death…” So the way I see it, it’s not a matter of having attained the suitable age for marriage, but about being prepared emotionally, financially…

I really do not want to end up in nuptials because I’m ‘ripe for marriage’. If marriage was merely about age, right now I’d be nursing my own children, and taking care of my husband. Nonetheless, I want to find a man I truly love…someone who completes me in every sense of the word; someone who understands me in all my ‘damagedness’…and that, in my opinion, should not be rushed. It’s not about whether dad and mom are ready to be grandparents, but whether I’m ready to start a family.