One Year Older

Anniversary Reblog.

It was my birthday a few days ago. I read this post again and realise just how much of it still holds true for me.
I’ve made new friends, fresh relationships and met awesome people I’m fortunate to call ‘family’.

I’m still in shock from all the cake I ate on Tuesday lol, and cringe at the extra hour of work I need at the gym to get all the calories off my hips. But it was a good day– the very best, and I look forward to everything this new year brings 🙂

Mirrored Lens

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This is in response to the daily prompt Cake. I’m doing this as a free-writing exercising after abandoning us for over two months. Coincidentally this is one day of the year when I’m allowed to eat lots of cake without thinking about calories.

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Thirty Years Later

Because this is everything I would say to myself ten years ago, and everything I need to hear today.

A Holistic Journey

I don’t know why people seek out fortune tellers. Why would you want to know the heartaches that lie ahead, the assurance that life will take your spouse and body and dreams?

He will be with his family tonight, Doctor, when he goes home, the deathless man says. Why should I tell him that tomorrow he is going to die? So that, on his last night with his family, he will mourn himself?…Suddenness. His life, as he is living it – well, and with love, with friends – and then suddenness. Believe me, Doctor, if your life ends in suddenness you will be glad it did, and if it does not you will wish it had.

Not me, I say. I do not do things, as you say, suddenly. I prepare, I think, I explain.
~ The one quotable text from Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife I can’t recommend

We hope…

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Your Story Doesn’t Count

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His was the only familiar face as I stepped into the bus. I made my way to his side—more leg space I told myself, but it was curiosity that propelled my feet. Then I spent the next minute stealing glances, willing my mind to connect the dots three weeks old.

We’d moved only ten minutes when he switched from the movie he’d been watching to hit up his friend on a social media channel. My waning curiosity piqued, searching for answers that eluded my mind.
Remember that babe I told you about that ran away with my money?
—Eh, you see am?
She’s beside me. She was looking at me when she came in like she couldn’t recognize me.
—Lol. Remind am na.
No. Leave am.
—If na me I go talk. I wan chop too.
No, it doesn’t matter.

My heart sank. This is the reason we must never eavesdrop on people’s conversations. I picked up my phone and told my friend what had happened, calling the young man beside me a jerk for his action. I could hear his laugh in my head.

It had been a mistake. Three weeks ago some driver with a temper gave four of us money to split among ourselves because he couldn’t be bothered to find loose change. That was difficult. I had custody of a boy’s change—a meager sum considering, but no less his. We spent the first few minutes looking for a means to split the money without succeeding because buses were going in different directions. Buses going my way were scarce, so as soon as one pulled over I was eager to jump in and get to work looking for change from other passengers. I succeeded. But when I looked out the window for my companions not one of them was in sight. When they eventually showed up, my call for attention was drowned by honking vehicles and the driver was already on his way.

Three weeks later I was beside one of them without a clue if he was the gentleman owed money or just one of the others. I contemplated raising it up and asking. It seemed awkward– for me. I figured I could pay his fare anyway and get the debt out of my system. But what if the real owner of the money meets me tomorrow? The stolen conversation set me straight, infuriated me, embarrassment burned my cheek. I turned to him willing myself to break the ice.

What’s the name of your movie?

He responded and asked if I wanted it. I nodded in the affirmative. We spent the rest of the journey pairing devices over Bluetooth, losing connection, sharing hotspot (his), searching for a quicker means to give me a movie I was half interested in watching. I watched him with curious eyes as he held my Tablet.

The driver requested for our money. I stilled his hand as it reached for his wallet.

Let me pay.

I didn’t think he was going to let me, so I pulled out twice the fare and handed it over to the collector. I glanced at my feet. Had he said thank you? Was that a smirk on his face when I touched his hand? Did he think I paid out of guilt or perhaps as payment for sharing his mobile data? Did he really believe I ran off with his money? Would he have thought that if I were a man? Was he simply a decent guy or living out the biblical mandate: pay back evil with good?

Was I over thinking this?

My eyes wandered to him again. He’d abandoned his movie and was trying to download a heavy file on my Tablet that would allow him send the movie faster—with his mobile data. None of this made any sense. He was a jerk, right? Why would he do any of this after obviously gloating to his friend an hour ago? A part of me wondered if he intended to run away with my Tablet when we arrive at our destination as revenge.

Finally the bus stopped and the passengers alighted. I got my Tablet back as we got off too. He asked for my destination and I responded. We stood in silence. My bus came, I turned to him, said goodbye with a half-smile. He smiled back.

Neither of us knew the other’s name. Neither asked what had happened that day. No story volunteered. It didn’t matter anyway. We each formed our opinions.

Alive, Barely Breathing

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The days past since my last post on a pet friend turned food. The stats tell me you’ve visited weekly, especially Sundays and Fridays. Everyday my Reader and mailbox flood with new posts from other blogs and websites I follow– I wonder how they write, where their inspiration and drive comes from. One word comes back each time, discipline.

According to Brian Tracy, discipline is doing what you need to do, even when you don’t feel like it. Timi likes to write about this and sustaining momentum—I think it’s an admirable thing, being able to push yourself to do the necessary. One of the biggest problems of my life is keeping to something. You’d declare me mad for writing that now seeing as I’ve kept this blog for over a year and stuck to writing one of the most life-sapping exams of my existence lately. Indiscipline should not exist in my vocabulary yet sometimes it seems that’s my enemy.

Few weeks ago I read a post on Holistic Wayfarer’s blog. Where does your writing fit in the scheme of your life? Is it hobby, work, life, cathartic, fun?

I’ve thought about that—what writing is for me. Writing isn’t fun. Nope. It’s not hobby; I’d rather read a book. It’s neither work nor sums up my being. There are a number of things capable of filling those slots. For me, this is air; the cut I bleed through. When the voices in my head refuse to shut up, I write. When my eyes see too much, I write. When my heart is heavy, I write. When the injustice around me becomes too much to bear, I rip the Buffon behind it in the comfort of my ink.
At this rate when I’m married dear future husband might have to keep his eyes peeled for epistles in sheets from a troubled future wife. Just because.

There is a backlog of unwritten trouble. The people in my close circle have been supportive and I love them dearly for this. Sometimes though this thing around my neck squeezes a little tighter, and I don’t think it will go away until I write and do something I’ve toyed with for a while now—stick the pages in a bottle and let it float across the Atlantic… or sink. It’s a very cliché thing to do, but it does seem like fun. Briefly considered burning, but when have I ever been able to let written words die? It’s sacrilege.
What ritual would you do with your pages if you had to write something cathartic?

On a lighter note;
I signed up for a course on WordPress about brand building… or something similar; then didn’t follow-up. I’m blaming indiscipline, disinterest or the world was too much with me.

Also been toying with new themes for the blog– can’t seem to settle. Perhaps you could help. I’ve vacillated between Motif and Highwind and… searching. I’d like to go grey (no colours.) What do you think?

The news is downright disturbing lately; reports of rape, violence and sexual crimes against women and children. The madness in the world now is capable of taking the shine from your perfect day. On the one hand I think people have gone mad and these things are end-time signs; on the other I think maybe this isn’t entirely a bad thing—the news. Bad things have gone on for decades, if there’s so much of it hitting the news now then it can also mean people are speaking up and becoming vigilant with our children. The latter gives me a modicum of hope; the former depresses.

Well, guess I’ll be seeing you. Do tell me how you’ve been and what pages of your life this hermit has missed.

the generation of gender equality

Amen to this. It’s a strange world of misunderstandings we live in, but this woman here sure breaks down this biological need men and women carry around.

See, there's this thing called biology...

There sure are some smart women in the world. One blogger posted these poignant words, “We are the generation of gender equality, and we can’t stop hurting each other because we have no sense of how to get along.”  A-yep.

Men and women have never had an easy time of it. Relationships have always been about angst and stress and trying to figure out how to get along, but we have done a grave disservice to the cause of love.

When our culture decided to completely rewrite the biological narrative, I doubt anybody understood the implications, the cause and effect that would snowball down the hill and impact every area of our society. But never mind the decline of Western Civilization, today I just want to bemoan some the harm that’s been passed down to the generation of gender equality, myself included.

It’s really hard to have a relationship…

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Love is hardwork

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That one moment in your life when you realise you’ve just met that one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. The rush of emotions; the initial confusion, trying to come to terms with the sudden realisation or make it go away. That feeling of breathlessness when the object is near. The air cracks and sizzles–chemistry. The invasion of your mind, when it’s away. When you think you just saw it up ahead, or smelled it’s perfume by the roadside….it’s everywhere and nowhere.The hard thump of your heart against your ribs, and the mad dash of racing pulse. The stone at the pit of your stomach…or are those butterflies? Leaving you tongue tied when you really must say something.  Heightened emotions–everything matters so long it comes from it.
That helpless feeling when you realise you can’t walk away. It’s real when you can’t walk away, they say.
You get used to it. You accept it. You’re in–hook, line, and sinker. The whole 360 degrees.

But it isn’t rosy. It’s only as perfect as when you are together, and you must work to stay together. One day, all that breathlessness goes away. You must learn to coexist in the same space. Accomodate quirky habits. Fight. Make up. And they get more frequent–the cycle. You want to go away. End it. But you don’t. You fell for a package, and so you fight for a package. You fan the embers periodically. Build a flame. Revel in it.

But it grows old. It grows cold.

Someday you settle for comfort outside passion–or the next best thing. The deafening silence that screams a thousand words. That hums in the day and whispers at night of spoken promises of long ago to old weary bones. The cycle continues.

Then into the darkness you ask, ‘why?’
And the silence whispers, ‘because love is hardwork.’

Romantic relationships: Understanding the opposite sex.

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A couple of weeks ago I lost touch with a friend…a male friend. Of all the problems we had, one seemed to stand out: somehow we (or one of us did) let emotions take centre stage. That single unconscious act alone became the seed that eventually germinated to reproduce many issues that led to our eventual estrangement.

Our ‘break up’ hurt like nothing I had felt before—at first though—not because I was romantically inclined towards him, but because I had come to value our friendship a lot and acted as such. On hindsight I think the ‘act’ bit of my attitude confused the hell out of him.

Men and women it would seem have different ‘processors’, and don’t actually understand each other as well as we love to think– I mean if I had a penny every time I heard a guy say, “You took advantage of my feelings for you”, I’d be a frigging billionaire today.
So in a bid to clear the air and preserve future friendships WITHOUT that tiny organ getting in the way, I’ll attempt to explain why we keep getting our signals all muddled up and royally screwing up every good thing that happens in the form of the opposite sex. Perhaps we’ll reach a compromise eventually and hopefully everyone—men and women—can go home happy.

What does a man see when he approaches a woman?
It’s pretty much straight forward. Our one-track-mind better halves have a lot of difficulty seeing beyond their immediate desires…obviously. To them it’s either what they want or nothing at all. You are either friend material at first glance, or girl friend material. Anything suggestion to the contrary is not welcome, thank you.
Briefly summarized:
Brains+Ass+Boobs+(personality)=Girl friend material.
Brains+Ass+(Boobs)+(personality)=Friend material.
ABSOLUTELY NO MIDDLE GROUND.

What does a woman see when she meets a guy?
Women are unarguably the most complex creatures in God’s green Earth. So how do you figure out what she thinks about you? You can’t. Unless she tells you, reading her body language and speech pattern is absolutely useless (please do not make the mistake of trying this unless you have psychic powers).

There are three reasons a woman will be attracted (not necessarily romantically) to you:
You’re drop dead gorgeous. You’re stinking rich. You’re Einstein smart. OK, maybe not to the extreme like I just suggested, but I believe you get the point (you could however fall in the category of triple threat extraordinaire).

Women unlike men as a general rule don’t start off relationships ‘heart first, head later’. We like to take our time getting to know more about you. More importantly is that you may not ever be lucky enough to grace our ‘potential boyfriend’ list…EVER. But when we like you, well we’ll want to keep you.
Even so, the wait can be tiring seeing as men aren’t the most patient beings around, and women will take twice as much time picking a beau as she would choosing the perfect nail polish.

So while waiting in limbo here are a couple of things you could chew on:
1. You aren’t the only guy who wants her. A girl is allowed to be confused if there are many eligible bachelors seeking out her awesomeness. You observed and found her ‘worthy’ of you, give her time to decide where and how you fit into her life too. Be considerate.

2. While you’re hoping she sees something more special than friendship in you, do remember she will treat you like everybody else she likes. She’ll flirt, place her head on your shoulder, laugh at your jokes, call your mobile phone and spend long hours talking with you, maintain eye contact and smile from across the room. She’ll use phrases like, “you abandoned me” and it still wouldn’t be giving the green light to her. Why? Because that’s how she is with her friends, and right now that’s exactly what you are. Women are more mentally flexible than their male counterpart, which means we can crisscross the line between friend and lover flawlessly while keeping to heart who plays what role to us. Don’t over think things.

3. You may never have her. But really isn’t that what life is all about: chances, risks, frigging probabilities? You may never become anything more than the Bradley Cooper-Mark Zuckerberg-Einstein-like guy who she just likes…as a friend.
So decide if she’s worth having around at all(come on there must be something that made her worth having around in the first place) and if you can stand the impending heart break you just might receive always bearing in mind that to her you are friends first. Be realistic.

That said, since I promised a compromise I’ll deliver. The men are pretty much covered, so ladies:
Men have delicate sensibilities, handle them with kid gloves. Decide if he is worth falling in your boyfriend list(you can achieve this speedily by keeping a checklist of potential boify attributes, unless love happens and you chuck it out the window). If his performance is not satisfactory , let him know. Being friend zoned by a girl you’re literally dying for is as bad as being raped(it is emotional rape). If you think he has a chance with you then let him know, but be sure to tell him he’s got major competition(s) too and could possibly lose(just in case he loves to build sand castles). No matter how difficult it will be, try not to flirt with him. Men can’t always differentiate between green lights and no lights(they aren’t wired that way).

There, case solved.

10 Bizarre Animal Mating Rituals

From handing out flowers to serenading and the dazzling display of colours(and money of course), the mating ritual is as old as time itself.
Some rituals go from awww inspiring to horrendously weird. And of course, the outcome which we all hope will be awesome sex don’t always end nicely.
So here are some utterly bizarre animal mating rituals that will leave you gaping;

1. Bonobono:
                This primate closely related to humans are known for their social behaviour. They live in fission-fussion social groups whose societal structure revolves around sex. Their bedroom antics however go beyond mating; sex is used as a form of greeting, means of solving disputes, favour in exchange of food, and making up for fights.
They tongue kiss, engage in oral sex, mutual masturbation and face to face genital sex.
I’m not quite sure why this big guy is really excited, but one would think all that mindless copulation would get boring. On the flip side, the human society could pick a leesson from this: violence is not the answer, why don’t we just have sex?

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2. Giraffe:
            With their ridiculously long necks, mating is hard work for  the male giraffe. Males wander from herd to herd looking for females in estrus; when he finds one, the male begins to nudge the rump of the female to induce unrination. He then takes this urine in his mouth and decides if it’s good enough. If the female passes the urine test, he decides she’s ready to be courted. This ritual is called the fleshman sequence. But since Giraffes are non-territorial, succesive males will mate with a receptive female–which roughly translates to following her around like a mumu(flea) till she lets him tap it.

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3. Flatworms:
              Due to their haemaphrodite nature and because Jesus frowns on fertilizing one’s own eggs, flatworms have to combat to decide who carries the baby. They literally whip it out and engage in  what is called penis fencing(briefly imagine using an erect penis as a sword)in a way that will leave gladiators green with envy–winner becomes whoever succeeds in ‘stabbing’ it in and depositing sperm.

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4. Banana Slugs:
                     With a 6inches penis–which is twice their body length– this little guys are endowed in ways some animals can only dream of(like the Silverback Gorilla). But certain endowments come with downsides. To mate, slugs find a partner of about the same size, then each proceeds to penetrate the other. In a situation where there is an ‘accidental’ pairing and a penis is stuck in coitus, nature has found a way to remedy the situation without spending medical bills: chewing. You read right. The receiving slug chews off the offensive baggage to save himself the problem of dragging a 6in load around.

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5. Porcupines:
                 Just like the long necked mammal, our prickly friends appear to have a thing for urines. The male porcupine from a distance drenches a potential female lover to test her willingness and readiness. If she likes the urine, she bares her non prickly underside to him. Spiky can then have the time of his life without permanently impaling his manhood.

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6. Red sided Garter Snake:
                            If there was ever a definition of orgy, this is it. The garter snake goes into hibernation in a large group….and by large I mean some 30,000 snakes. At the end of hibernation, they emerge in some kind of sexual frenzy that is sparked by a lone female who wanders in their midst and releases pheromones. Every male then rushes to hump her and strangely enough each other should their effort prove abortive. To take weird to a whole new level, some males even go as far as emmitting what I would probably call decoy pheromones to get humped! Now that’s downright dirrrrty and freakish.

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7. Whiptail Lizard:
                      I don’t know how they managed to do this, but this specie from New Mexico only comprises of females. How do they reproduce, you ask? Asexually. When it’s time to mate, the females engage in a ritual dance by acting out the actual procedure of copulation. Strangely enough it stimulates reproduction and the offspring becomes an actual clone of the mother. Who’s the mother, you might ask again? Well, every season the females alternate on who plays the male. You’ve got to give it to them, these lesbo Lizards have it all figured out.

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8. Hippopotamus:
                      It’s difficult to comprehend why an animal as butt ugly as the Hippo would do something extremely worse than peeing on a female to attract her.
When an adult male is ready to mate, he shits himself. It doesn’t end there….he then swings his tail in a circular motion to spread the shit so the smell travels further. Apparently the stinkier the poo, the greater the probablility of getting a female. For some reason only known to the Hippos, the females find the smell of poo attractive.

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9. Bed bugs:
              In a ritual that can only be classified as serial rapist extraordinaire, the male bed bug in a bid to bypass the stress of courting stings the female and leaves her temporarily immobilised, leaving him to do his business. They’ve even got a fancy name for this: traumatic insemination. It’s however uncertain if it’s traumatic because the female is paralysed, or because the stinger also happens to be the penis.

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10. Angler Fish:
                     Scientists often wondered how the female Angler fish reproduced since they had never seen them mate before. Luckily we don’t need to worry about the answer anymore.
At maturity, the male Angler fish become totally useless to himself–his digestive system collapses meaning if he wants to live, he needs to find a host body. Quickly, he finds a female unto which he attaches himself in a shameless show of clingy wussification and literally lives off her. With time the rest of him withers away leaving only a small hump on the back of the female, which fertilizes her eggs when she is ready to reproduce. This way, the Angler fish’s manhood lives on.

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Do you know of any bizarre animal mating ritual not listed here? Please share it, or write about it and link back.  

 

                 

               

Unmasking Mast Cell Disease: An Interview With a Fighter and Survivor

This is one of those stories of bravery in the face of trials.

The Other Courtney

I saw her photos on Instagram and was immediately drawn to them. We had a lot in common, it seemed. We both owned chocolate labradoodles, had anaphylactic allergies, and lived in the Carolinas. The more I got to “know” Brynn Duncan, however, I realized that while we did have things in common, our lives were nowhere near similar.

Her photos were captivating and touching

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But equally heartbreaking

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I started feeling sympathy for this girl I had never actually met, and only interacted with in the form of “likes” and Instagram comments. The more I read about her constant anaphylactic reactions, hospital visits, feeding tubes, and seizures, the more curious I became about what type of illness she was dealing with.  As someone who has anaphylactic allergies and knows the physical, mental, and emotional toll they take on a person, I could hardly comprehend a disease that causes spontaneous anaphylaxis, sometimes…

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Love, Friendship, Happiness

“I want someone who will love me for who I am, not someone who is trying to change me”

Love requires that every man accepts you just the way you are. It does not try to visibly change you; it doesn’t ask that you become less of yourself. It sees you for what and who you are, and chooses to accept you good and bad.

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