When you are often afraid, you grow accustomed to being brave.
Thanks Stocksnap for the source image.
(Warning: This post contains “F” bombs. Not suitable for prudes, kids or religious fascists)
Perhaps I should rather call this post “7 reasons why Misfits are my favourite people” but I decided that the term “misfit”, though the correct term for the brand of humanoid life form that I love best, is over used. “Misfit” has a certain apple-mac flavour to it which has become hipster, cool, and well, quite frankly, fits in with conventional norms, thus negating the very essence of itself. The Word “misfit” has given in to peer pressure. It conformed.
So I have chosen instead to describe them as “functioning dysfunctionals”. Don’t be confused between dysfunctional and functioning dysfunctional. Full blown dysfunctional people are not really much fun to be around. They tend to be self-centred and generally suck, whereas functioning dysfunctionals are the ones who have found a way to exist peaceably and harmlessly within a world for which they are actually too broken, wide awake and down-right fucking special.
So here goes, 7 reasons why functional misfits (ah damn) are my favourite people:
Okay so that was 9 reasons, not 7. What can I say? I’m a little dysfunctional myself.
You know how people are always saying that Social Media has made the world a smaller place and that we are all so much more connected now? Well I have witnessed it becoming a physical reality as well as a figure of speech.
Okay, I know how dicey it sounds, and maybe it could be a bit dodge if you’re not careful, but Social Media has revolutionised the world of travel and nothing will never be the same again.
I hate catching buses, and my poor, sweet little golf is not up to any long distance travel. As a result I have been pretty much marooned in the swampy Garden Route for a while. Until recently…
I decided that I had to go pay a long overdue visit to my best friend in Cape Town. So I made arrangements to leave the kids behind (for the first time ever – eek!) and I called her up to say I was coming. I just didn’t know how I was going to get there.
Until someone said “Have you tried the Plett / Cape Town Lift Group on Facebook?”
My first reaction was “this can’t possibly work, and it’s probably full of weirdos” But being of adventurous spirit I made a request to be added to the group and I posted that I was looking for a lift, and when. I also started checking out other people’s posts.
In a matter of days I managed to secure a lift to Cape Town, on the Thursday morning that I wanted to go, at the time that I wanted to leave, and a lift back on the Sunday morning that I wanted to return on.
What’s more is that because only members can add you to the group there don’t seem to be any completely random axe murders in the group.
I realised that I could check out the person offering the lift, as well as anyone else who commented that they wanted to drive along. I messaged them, got their numbers and gave them a call to make sure that they didn’t sound like axe-murders either.
If you are really concerned about safety I think it would be perfectly acceptable to ask to meet the person in a public place beforehand. Maybe I was just very fortunate, but I decided that my lifts sounded kosher and they were. Perfectly.
In the end I got to driving up in a car with three other girls, including the driver. We all enjoyed the driver’s audiobook of “Eat, Pray, Love” so she left it playing most of the way there.
I didn’t have to sit on a bus. I got to call a bathroom break (and a stop-and-buy-chocolate break) when I wanted one, and drove at a sensible time of day.
The total cost of that lift? R200. (A bus ticket is about R350 each way)
Then on the Sunday morning, sad, forlorn and extremely sleep deprived, I drove back with an awesome girl and an awesome young guy. It turned out the guy was a fellow Capoeirista and he even knows some of the people I used to train with whom now live in Cape Town! That was an awesome trip. The three of us really gelled. We had all brought enough snacks to share and we spent the trip eating chocolate and flings and drinking coffee out of paper cups while discussing our shared favourite series and movies.
The Total cost of the return trip? R150 (excl. coffee and chocolate)
So for the price of riding a bus one way, I got to Cape Town and back. I travelled with cool people, under favourable conditions. I made good time and arrived at my destinations at a reasonable time of day. What’s more is that both times the owner of the car dropped me off at my destination. No long waits at bus stops for anyone.
All in all it was a very pleasant traveling experience and definitely the way I intend traveling in future. Whether I get my little Golf serviced and let others join me so that I can afford the petrol or even if I drive with them, it is definitely the way to go.
I foresee a lot more time on the N2 in my future!
Thank you for the use of your image: http://loquenoquieroquelean.blogspot.co.za/
Oh the irony!
I am watching myself get softer and flabbier by the day while I write well versed articles on health, nutrition and fitness for fitness websites.
Because I haven’t got time to work out, I just work. Last week I wrote an article on “Maximizing your morning fitness routine” after which I studiously attempted to get up fifteen minutes earlier every morning for three days and apply a few of my own tried and tested work out methods. It lasted for exactly three days. Why? Because you try working out when you’ve been working till 11:30PM the night before and then read a book for an hour as your special treat to yourself. (Special treats don’t include things like actual sex, because that would require a man which would require leaving the house which would require not being broke and having a baby sitter and NOT WORKING for an evening.
So my special treat is to read, provided I have had a chance for my special outing: The library.
But it’s not all that bad. I am doing something I essentially enjoy. I mean, okay so I have neither energy nor time to write for myself or my own blog, but I do get to write a lot of mediocre content for other people. And I believe that they are followed by masses of happy readers.
So I am like the incognito mystery writer who writes articles for people who have time to read them, like you. Or perhaps you are like me and you occasionally give in to an anarchistic streak and read something for pure enjoyment when you know you should be working or sleeping or writing.
I love to write though. I can’t imagine a life without writing anymore than I can imagine a life without water or air. It’s what I do. It’s how I express myself. Writing is just who I am. You don’t choose to be a writer, it just becomes more and more obvious that if you don’t write you will shrivel up into a dried out soul prune and die.
Now if the publishers would just buy my book and maybe put down a nice little advance for the rest of the trilogy I might just get to write something entertaining. Entertaining for me at least. No-one has been more surprised than me by the sudden twists and turns that my tails take, believe me. It’s a very strange thing, actually, writing a novel. It almost seems as if the story is not yours, you don’t make it up. It’s already there and your job is just to tell it. Often you are quite amazed by what happens next.
The fact that one should have to make money from one’s creative work does feel a lot like prostitution, though. Handing someone my freshly finished manuscript for a book is like standing stark naked in front of them and saying “Please tell me I’m good enough for you to pimp me out”
Except in some ways its worse. Because your naked body is one thing but usually whoever is seeing it does so by choice. Your freshly written manuscript is a direct exposé of your inner self, your personality flaws and your intelligence and you are pushing it onto someone is a desperate hope that they might just find it good enough to look at. Writers are intellectual streakers.
And all the while I am writing this aware that I am supposed to be doing an article on electric heaters and another on what your tongue says about your health, which will be published by someone in Singapore and read by someone else in Canada (while having been written by me the South African) all of whom are pretending for the sake of the article to be Americans.
Anyway, must dash, will attempt to think of something more soulful and witty to write soon. Right now am too aware that this would have been worth roughly $20 USD so far and I should be writing for paying customers, not sluttishly flashing about my own ideas!
I love you and I miss you, trusty followers. Soon I shall write to you again about why Cape Town is the only (South African) city I would ever want to live in and why traveling with strangers is the only way to do it, and maybe even a little on why you should dance with cute boys in foreign cities, every so often, just to make sure that you are still, in fact, a pretty girl. Even if you are tired and stressed and are surgically attached to your laptop, or the stove, or both, simultaneously.
All I can say is without coffee I would be a lesser person. And much, much less writing would take place.
Thank you http://www.stocksnap.com for the image!
Real passion, true passion, is not always about feeling your heart pound and your soul soar. sometimes passion is the determination to continue after the initial feeling of inspiration has left you. When you are passionate about something you stick to it, even when you’re tired, even when you are not in the moment of inspiration, because the idea of not trying, of never achieving that goal, is not comprehensible. That is what being passionate about something, or someone, is really all about.
Cake and Gratitude
How saying thank you could change your life.
I have always loved baking and creating sweet treats. I believe I am something of an alchemist with chocolate (especially hot-fudge icing) and I derive huge satisfaction out of baking birthday cakes for my friends and family.
And I recently figured out why I love baking so much.
It’s because I enjoy making something that I know everyone is going to like.
I used to love cooking when I lived in a house with seven people (who were always hungry) but now that I just cook for myself and my two kids I hate cooking! And I here is why: It’s because no one likes the same things, so no matter what I do, someone is always unhappy with my efforts. When I cooked for seven people I made huge pots of vegetarian stew most nights, but I loved doing it, because the pot was always scraped clean by hungry people.
In the same way I love doing other peoples dishes in their homes but hate doing my own. It has very little to do with dishes (or cooking) and a lot to do with knowing that my efforts are appreciated.
When I was writing my book I became completely despondent and unable to work when I thought no one would ever want to read it. It took enormous will power to push on, in spite of my misgivings about how terrible it is, and just keep writing until it was finished. The idea that I was pouring all this time and energy into a project that might not ever bring anyone any joy was exhausting.
On the other hand I can happily slave away for hours on any task that I know will bring joy to the benefactor. Provided they appreciate it.
You see I am a little bit selfish after all, in spite of how noble my desire to please may sound. I want my efforts to be appreciated. If I know that they are I don’t need any more reward than that. If, however, I feel that I am making a sacrifice in time and energy for someone who doesn’t appreciate my efforts, I find that I have absolutely no motivation to continue.
I think that actually most humans are wired this way.
But how often do we actually show our appreciation? Probably not nearly enough.
Which is crazy! Because when someone feels appreciated they are willing to do so much more. They feel better about themselves, which makes them better people, which means you are surrounded by happy, giving, appreciated people who like you and are willing to go the extra mile for you. And you know what? You will find you are willing to go the extra mile for them too.
Basically all of humanity would be a much happier (and more well adjusted) place if instead of trying to demand gratification and service, we all just took a minute to say “thank you” (and mean it) to the people who are helping us.
That means everyone. The lady packing your shopping at the grocery store, the guy sweeping the street, your wife, your boss, your employee’s (paying them is not the same as thanking them), your parents and even your kids. Say “thank you” every day as often as you can, and mean it.
I guarantee that the more you show your appreciation to people (no matter how big or small) in your life, the more you will find you have to be grateful for.
If only everyone in the whole world could show love and appreciation to every person they ever encounter, just think how very different the world would be.
Last week I posted a blog about the power of hitting rock bottom. I spoke about how the best things about hitting rock bottom are learning your own strength (and loosing the fear of living), finding out who your friends are, and being able to reinvent yourself (because you have nothing to loose when you are already at the bottom of the shit pile)
But all of these are advantages that you usually only get to seeing after the fact. When you are there, at the bottom of the shit pile with your tail between your legs and the wind kicked out of you, it is very difficult to see how things will ever get better again.
First of all, make sure it’s finished. If you are at rock bottom the chances are you or someone else (or both of you) screwed up. You have to make sure that you don’t keep going there in your head. You will want to – that is the natural thing to do. You are obsessing about it day and night and unable to sleep or eat (or perhaps stop eating) but you actually have to just. Stop.
Say you’re sorry to the people you’ve hurt. They may or may not forgive you. That is none of your business. Your business is to say sorry and mean it. Sorry doesn’t come with justification and excuses. Justification and excuses prolong the agony. They don’t change anything.
Say thank you to the people who have stuck by you. Even if the situation was entirely the fault of the rat-fink-bastard (or bitch) who left you, the chances are you have not been a little ray of sunshine recently. Anyone who has been brave enough to put up with you probably deserves a medal.
I’m sure that’s a famous line from somewhere that I am plagiarizing, but it is also something that my mother always said to me. My mother is a depressive type, she is also the matriarch who has supported a family of depressive types through thick and thin so she really knows her shit. And she understands how important it is to get your ass up. Have a shower. Put on clean clothes. And go out.
Go to work. Woops, you just lost your job, okay, go to sit at the internet café and job hunt. Go have coffee with a friend. Go to the library if all else fails, but you do have to go out. I know you don’t want to. For the first week you may stay in bed and cry. You have my full permission. But as soon as that week is done get your ass out of bed and off you go.
Usually getting there is more than half the battle. A good idea for dealing with the desire to stay in bed for all eternity is to make small concessions. Set your morning alarm ten minutes later, but then get up when it goes off. And plan to spend one weekend morning in bed. You owe it to yourself. You need it. And if you plan it in advance then you are not giving in to the gloom. Then read a good book while you are there. You don’t want to be lying there feeling sorry for yourself. I always find reading something that transports you to a whole other world to be a great way to escape feeling like slitting your wrists until the feeling has passed.
One of the most difficult things when you are at rock bottom can be dealing with everyone’s sympathy. I know, you need a bit, but after a while it becomes exhausting. Answering the same probing questions over and over and dealing with all the uncomfortable-ness.
New people are awesome. They are part of the new you. They don’t know how bad things got and so it’s easier to brush it off and move on. “Oh yes I just lost my job but I’m feeling really positive about a possible change in career path.” Or “Yes I am recently divorced, so what do you do for a living?”
They are not expecting you to tell them all about your suffering, and so in a way they actually allow you to let it go more easily than the people who love you and are worrying about you. That is not to say that you should ignore your existing friends, you shouldn’t. But injecting different personalities into your mental space can be very refreshing.
So where do you meet these new people?
That is the best part. You have to challenge yourself to do something new. Whether it’s joining a cooking class, a bird watchers group or a martial art, do something for yourself. Build a new piece of yourself from outside of the bad situation and you will find new people in it.
(Please note: Becoming a bar fly does NOT count as meeting new people or getting out. Drinking in hard times will only lead to worse problems)
I personally joined a Capoeira group that changed my life. And that brings me to my next point…
Exercise is highly under prescribed for its anti-depressant values.
And yet probably the best thing about exercise is its anti-depressant powers. We all know that if you want to look good and be healthy you should get in your cardio and your gym time. We also all come up with hundreds of legit reasons why we just don’t have time (for example: I don’t give a shit).
If someone had told me when I was sixteen that sweating it out would give me an endorphin high I would have been all over it like a rash. As it is it took me well into adulthood to discover the powerful healing abilities of exercise on the human soul.
Exercise is a distraction. The less fit you are the better, actually. Because you will be too busy trying to deal with your body and the complaints you are getting from it to think about everything that is wrong with your life.
Exercise in the form of a martial art, dancing or anything that requires concentration and a little skill can be beautiful. Doing something with your body that feels beautiful has amazing healing powers on your soul.
Exercise releases happy hormones. It’s a fact, it really does. It makes you feel better.
In the case of a break-up, exercise has the wonderful added “fuck-you” bonus feature. It says, “Look, I am hotter than you thought and I can do things for myself. So there.”
Groups are a great place to meet new people, too.
For me joining a Capoeira group was so much more than I ever expected it to be. I had been looking for a yoga group to help me through my depression post break-up. Unable to find one that operated after working hours I ended up at Capoeira. I had no idea that it would change my life the way it did. I was so inspired by the beautiful movements I was seeing that I couldn’t leave it alone. The idea that I could learn to do them was unbelievable. Long story short: I learned a new skill, discovered a great passion, found something creative and beautiful that I wanted to do, got really fit and made friends who are still, five years later, some of my very best friends. I had no idea when I walked into that first class just how much I would get out of it.
There are almost as many different sports and disciplines available as there are people to practice them. Have a look around your area and find out what’s available.
If all else fails even going for a run will release endorphin’s, take your mind out of its rut and help you build your self-esteem. (If you are in a wheel chair you can still pump weights. No excuses here people!) just do it.
Music is a gift to the soul. It can comfort you, encourage you, help you get motivated or make you weep.
Something we all do when we are down is listen to down music. That’s cool. That is totally fine as part of your week of self-pity and the evenings of crying yourself to sleep. BUT, if you want to get better you have to embrace your inner geek, turn on the radio and get down to some funky, happy tunes. It is absolutely mandatory that you do the whole sing in the shower, dance in the mirror thing. you need it. Because silly is important. Laughing at yourself is important. Choosing to be happy, even for a moment or two, is important.
As soothing as your sad, beautiful music is (and it is) it is not going to lift you out of a stupor.
I recommend a three stage music program:
Try to remember that you won’t feel this way forever. Get enough sleep, eat your veggies, and look after yourself. You will be okay.
thanks Stocksnap and