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Life Lessons

I initially started writing this little list as a fun way to get myself into the spirit of celebrating my 30th...but shortly before my birthday my cousin, Annika, committed suicide. She was just 17 years old. This post is dedicated to her...

Thirty Life Lessons I Would've Loved Teaching You:

A girl with ABSOLUTELY NO FEMALE FRIENDS OF HER OWN* sends up a red "Do Not Trust Me" flag. If she cannot nurture relationships, which do not rely on sexual attraction in any way, she's not true to you or who she is. I've experienced that the ladies whose female friends are all somehow connected to their partners, tend to be bitchy & two-faced. Do not waste much of your time/energy on them & definitely do not let whatever they do/say affect how you feel/think.
*My rule of thumb - of course - excludes all introverts who have very little social interaction in general and/or find it difficult to make friends regardless of their gender.]

Many people underestimate the time & effort it takes to plan a wedding.  Not to mention the savings spent! I guess some Bridezillas might act the way they do because of who they are, but some of us probably just become so anxious due to the large number of guests who don't get it that we go overboard with the whole control issue. Especially if we have OCD tendancies. The guests I'm referring to are those whose RSVP's have to be chased; those who assume their children & partners are invited without checking/asking first; etc. All despite the personalised wedding website specially set up to address all such FAQ's.

Teenagers are self-centered & selfish, but maybe not because they mean to be. Their brains make it difficult for them to put themselves in someone else's shoes; and as I get older I realise how much of what was going on around me I missed out on during my teens. Now I know why. Unfortunately knowledge is power, but it cannot send you back in time.

Depression is real & should not be confused with that blue feeling we all have from time to time. It's a lying bastard which devours its victims alive & hides everything else from their view. Many sufferers end up taking their own lives - not because they're being selfish, but because they literally cannot foresee any hope, light or how the consequences of their final act will affect those who love them.

So is bullying. Physical & verbal abuse have been around forever, but these days we can all count ourselves lucky enough to also experience it in a new modern way. Parents have to try harder to instill better values in their children. "When we know better, we do better."

All forms of abuse are irrevocably unacceptable, but verbal/emotional abuse often hides itself better. It took me years (and A LOT of weight gain) to realise it was happening to me. Recently I also had to stand back & watch someone I love very much go through the same lengthy awakening. It sucked big time.
When you are physically being abused, you can show people proof of the abuse (bruises); but how do you convince others of the unseen monster? After our break-up it took years of reflective celibacy to reach a spiritual plain where I once again knew who I was so that I could let go of the embarrassment I felt (eg. for "being weak" & not being enough to "change" him). Gradually the need to make others (incl The Narcissist) believe what I had to live through with him dissipated too. Today I don't settle for less than what I deserve & I'm no longer afraid. I own my power.

Whether you read them or write them. Words create the best roads to free adventures. You can read without having to deal with anything/anyone; you don't have to go anywhere to read (but you can if you prefer); you can read when you're sick in bed; or even when the power is out. Just find a book & read it. Now!

As a way to escape, music is a close 2nd to books.

Family is important. When they're good, blood is stronger than any other bond.

You have to Speak Up! Against unfairness, abuse, discrimination, rudeness, oppression, immorality, negativity, and hate. Even if there's nothing in it for you.

Youth IS wasted on the young. They have all that spunk & no clue yet as to how they should be using it for better life results.

If you're leaving school & you have no idea what you want to do with your life, it's always better to do something rather than nothing. As long as its legal. Start at the bottom & work your way up or onto the right path for YOU.

You always have a choice. Even if all available outcomes are awful, you still have the right to choose.

Growth is where it's at. It builds character & thereby makes you more interesting.

If it makes you feel bad/uneasy, don't do it. "If in doubt, don't."

Have fun as often as you can. Those are the moments that mean the most in life.

Brussels sprouts aren't evil. Fry onion & bacon, add sprouts, season with honey/brown sugar. Ta-da!

Try it before you diss it. A little something my father taught me. He had a cultivated palate & it therefore applied to foods that I refused to eat as a child without actually ever having tasted it before, but I honestly think it applies to almost anything in life. It does not mean that you have to try absolutely everything if you don't want to (refer point 12), but it does mean that you cannot criticise it if you have no personal experience with it. You can also take it a step further & say that it means that you cannot complain if you haven't even tried to change what you don't like.

Effort is needed before reward can be gained.

This is the best salad ever!!!

Kilograms/Pounds, followers, likes & friends are not measures of self worth. They just tell you how much you weigh & how many people you've met & clicked with. That's it. No more, no less.

Everything on earth is temporary. Just a speck in your existence.

I've often heard people tell others to stay positive by focusing on what they should be grateful for or on what's good, but although I think it's not a bad idea, what I found really works for me is to imagine how it could be/have been worse. Seriously! "It could've been worse" is a staple phrase in our household. Stephen Hawking also helps.

If you're overweight, you're overweight. Clothing is not going to magically make you look like Gisele, so go ahead and wear that outfit you adore. "Those who mind, don't matter. And those who matter, don't mind."

I also learnt some things about love along the way. Have a look at my previous Love Notes for this lesson.

Different is beautiful & fascinating. When you're younger you think being different sets you apart from the rest & tacks a target on your forehead for potential bullies, but true originality is quite rare* & should be revered.
*Have a look at geek chic. Yes, it's great to find something appealing in what's different, but nowadays there are people trying hard to fit even into that new mold. Or notice how you need to be "individual" to be popular?

Don't hold anything in! It may cause unhappiness, loneliness, & isolation. Also bladder infection, bloating & possibly constipation.

No means no. Date Rape is more common than people think; and are perpetrated in various ways. I guess the first thought that popped into your head when you read the term was "something slipped into a drink"? That happens I guess, but it's not the only way - and sometimes the rapist is your partner.
I was 15 when I was date raped in a grimy alley in Kimberley, March 1999. Even though I had previously had sex with him (I was a virgin before we started dating) I did not want to have sex with him that night & not there. I told him 'No' & 'I don't want to' more than once while he took me by the hand & led me around the street corner. He didn't punch/hit/kick/scratch me, but I still felt helpless & eventually caved. I was so young & did not understand that I had more to offer than sex. I just didn't want to lose another boyfriend. Afterwards, we went clubbing with friends like nothing out of the ordinary happened.
Physically it hurt a lot, but my life was never in danger, so I never told. I don't think I've even ever told my mother & by not talking about it I managed to close the lid on it entirely. I think the reason for not telling was not mentally grasp that I was raped. I'm 100% sure that he didn't think he was doing anything wrong at all, just taking from his girlfriend what he was entitled to.
After finishing high school it all came bubbling to the surface one night (while I was watching Boys Don't Cry on television for some unknown reason). I finally started opening up to my boyfriend at the time & eventually also to other loved ones, but I still felt so stupid for allowing it to happen. I was ashamed of myself & thought people would think I'm lying/making the issue bigger than it was. Even sitting here & typing this I know that it wasn't my fault, but a part of me feels like I could've done something to stop it & that the fact that I didn't removes the 'rape' label.
If only I realised how important it is to open up about rape back when it happened, I would've reported it & saved myself from the continuous struggle with my sexuality right into adulthood.

High School BFF's aren't always forever. There will be exceptions, but I am constantly surprised to see which friends are sticking to me for life.

Human interaction is crucial to survival. Even introverts. Here's why.

In Loving Memory ~ 31.07.1996 - 21.12.2013 "Drie & 'n Halwe Hande"


Comments

  1. Moes ek hard sluk aan die trane... Mens vergeet soms dat daar 'n more is en dat daar mense is wat nie kan deel wees daarvan nie.

    Hierdie is beslis my favourite post en laat my besef dat my probleme niks is nie.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Sam. I mainly started writing to give a voice to my own thoughts & feelings, but I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't feel super soothing to know that my words have impact.

    ReplyDelete

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