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The Happiness Key

What is the key to happiness? A question presented to myself and others today. 

It was interesting to hear the responses. Family, relationships, health, loving what you do, life moments etc.

I came home and asked my children the question. My daughter, without skipping a beat, said simply “family”. I prompted her on it. She said to me family keeps you safe and happy. It does indeed.

My son replied with ‘meditation’. I asked him what does he know about meditation? He replied by saying ‘nothing, but that’s what he learnt in his religion class at school’. Fair enough!

What is the key to my happiness? I have spent years in anxiety and depression. Perhaps it sounds cynical to say the key to my happiness is my SSRI medication. 

And recently it is public speaking. Public speaking and poetry makes me happy. 

As well as hot tea, reading, writing and my cosy bed. The simple things in life. 

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Boundaries

How good is it to have clearly-defined and healthy boundaries? 

I have a colleague friend whom I have texted privately on occasion, sometimes my friend would reply and sometimes not. But would always speak to me on our work Skype accounts.

Yesterday I was ill in bed and not logged into my work account. I whatsapped to say I am sick and cold and maybe I will play candy crush on my mobile.

My friend replied with a somewhat terse, “please do not whatsapp, keep it to Skype only”.

At first I was taken aback and felt a bit shocked inside.

And then I thought, well, it is good to know that person’s boundaries. I can then respect those boundaries. Much better than ghosting me. Actually more respectful too. I hadn’t figured that we could quite openly communicate on one communication device and not on another. 

But at least now I know.

Toastmasters

The past few months I have been participating in my local toastmasters club. I wonder if any readers have participated before, and what their thoughts might be?

Last night I presented my third speech. It was meant to be a prepared speech, but I was standing in for someone so pretty much spoke off the cuff.

The club president had a word of praise for me. He said that I have a ‘genuine story-telling talent’. I am not able to express how much this means to me.

I have always been introverted, overlooked for many things in my daily life, have a small circle of friends. But when I look back, there has always been a desire to speak in front of people. To speak into a microphone. To speak with authority.

Someone last week mentioned that a far as public speaking goes, I need to push myself. I can either live ten years once, or one year ten times. It is a nice thought. However, I cannot just stand up and speak. It has to come from within. It is the same with poetry. I cannot write a poem. It has to appear in my mind before I can pen it.

These thoughts were echoed in the comment last night. I have a genuine talent. And it’s only a talent I am discovering now.

Everything in its right time.

Scent

Yesterday I bought an old favorite of mine, Estée Lauder Beautiful Sheer. Apparently it is being discontinued. I managed to purchase one of the last three bottles in the store.

I wore this scent on a trip to Harare, Zimbabwe a few weeks before I left South Africa. It invokes memories for me. Good and bad and pain on my then soft heart.

But today! I am wearing it again. And I am back in Harare. With my perfume and my children then still babies, and a new future ahead of me.

And my heart is no longer as soft. The years and scars and experiences and feelings have toughened it up.

The scent, though, still lingers.

Be Inconvenient

It was all of eleven years ago when I sat in a Johannesburg office wanting to see the last screening of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. I had project commitments that needed to be completed, and so I decided not to go. 

This week, I noticed the sequel is being screened at my local cinema. I thought it would be an idea to watch the first one first. And so! Thanks to technology I was able to rent the documentary, and watch it eleven years later.

And this morning I managed to watch the sequel, An Inconvenient Sequel.

Now dear readers! I do not understand how others, as well as leaders (especially leaders) can sit back and deny and / or do nothing. Our planet is crying. Our planet is pleading. Resisting and fighting back. 

The sequel included a two-second Donald Trump insert where we can hear him denouncing climate change, and asking why would we waste our time when we have isis to fight. We see him exiting the Paris agreement. We see him facilititating the production of gas, oil and coal. We see him making climate change jokes. Climate change jokes.

All while Greenland and the ice caps melt. All while Cape Town droughts, Sydney sizzles, tornadoes rampage, floods drown, our planet and life as we know it dies.

My late mother, if she were here, would say (in response to Potus) that the mind completely boggles.

The might of nature and the power of the planet is far beyond anything we can comprehend. We are rendered powerless in the event of major catastrophes. The best we can do at times is to flee. And hope and pray for the best.

And yet. And yet. We do nothing. Trump plays golf, devours his two scoops of ice cream, and utters useless threats. Threatens nuclear war. 

Many thanks to Al Gore. For being the leader that the world needs. For speaking truth. For standing up for what is right and good and true. For making a change.

Trump has children, he has grandchildren. You would think, any reasonable person would think, he might well want a planet for his offspring to grow up on.

Wouldn’t we all?

Depression and Migraines

Long term readers of my blog will know that I have suffered migraines for many years.  I have been getting headaches and / or migraines every single month for at least the past twenty years or so (except during my two full-term pregnancies).

But for the past two months I have had no migraines at my regular time. I started light anti-depressant medication towards the end of March. So far I have not missed a day.

So I can see from my personal experience, that there does seem to be a link between depression and migraines. Even insofar that they can perhaps be treated by the same medication.

I feel like I have been given a new life. I am feeling positive. I am obsessing less. I feel strong enough to make career decisions.

On the downside, my poetry is diminishing. It is evaporating from my mind. I put this down to my decrease in obsession. My mind is ruminating less, and therefore less poetry.

However, I see this as a positive thing!

 

Growing Stronger

On Friday I encountered two situations that would have triggered meltdowns. Not one meltdown, but I would have gone straight from one into another. Things that happened that are my trigger points for sure. Those situations – a comment from someone, a fear of missing out, of rejection, of abandonment came rushing to the fore.

But I am healed and healing. If I ever wondered if I needed to be on medication, now I can testify how much it has helped. I was able to acknowledge those situations, identify that they are trigger points for me, that they would have had power over me in the previous days, and set them aside. Continue with my day.

I have been reduced so many times in the past to tears. The trigger points that  invoke a pain inside that shortcut any rational thought. I would be overcome. But on Friday I was not overcome. And it felt good. Empowering.

Every day I am growing stronger.

Otto Warmbier

The first car I owned was a metallic green basic no frills car, but it was my first car and I was fond of it and it was mine. Until it was stolen. A few weeks later it was recovered and I was summonsed to identify it.

I was unprepared for the shock. It was not my car. Until I looked closer. There were a few marks I recognized. It had been my car. And now it was completely stripped and unrecognizable.

I felt something similar whenever I see images of Otto Warmbier from the last time he was seen in 2016. He was strong and healthy looking, a fine young man, physically full of strength and vitality. I wondered how he would appear when he resurfaced after serving his fifteen year sentence of hard labour. For attempting to steal a banner.

I cannot imagine how his parents must feel today. The pain and shock and anguish. The torment of seeing their comatose son a year and a half of being in the hands of the brutal regime that is North Korea.

They have their son back. But they might never have him back.

And their agony might endure forever.

Feeling Secure

One of the nicest things a man can do for a woman is to help her feel secure. To make her feel that he is there for her. I speak for myself on this, but I have learnt that when I am feeling insecure it prompts a whole rash of odd, eccentric, psycho behavior. Attention-seeking behavior. Random texts that make no sense. Random words that make even less. Mood swings and aggression. Clinginess and tears. Poetry and prose and writing and a never-ending well of words.

When I am feeling secure I am a whole different person. Confident and out-going. Centered and in control. In my own power.

My success-relationships in the past had this in common. I felt secure. I felt wanted. I felt desired. I felt attractive. And I felt the other person was ‘into me’. That they were going to put in effort to pursue. That all I had to do was allow them to do just that. And none of them involved ‘flirting’. There was attraction, but it was on a deeper level than the superficial game of flirting. It involved speaking to me. Getting to know me. And addressing me by name. Like I’m a real person and not a random female sex object. Thats always a start!

Sexism

This is not a topic that I usually have much to say about. Perhaps because I have always worked in a male-dominated environment, and have only felt disadvantaged through my own lack of confidence. But the past few days I have experienced sexism first-hand from a technology company that has left me completely gob-smacked.

I booked for a training course in December, and bought the voucher through the ticketing company that was selling them. I received my voucher, and the Friday before the training commenced I was contacted and informed the training had been cancelled. I was upsold a mentorship program in which I had to pay in extra to cover, this being a superior alternative to the training course. I was not offered a refund, so I hesitantly agreed to the mentorship program but only for the new year, and I did not pay in the extra. As at the end of May I have not had the time or capacity to complete an after hours mentorship program. So I approached the sales person a week ago, and explained the situation of which he is well aware, and requested a refund for the original training course which was cancelled. And told him I cannot commit after all to the mentorship program. Sorry. He referred me to his upline. His upline conjured up a ‘no refund’ policy, and offered a credit note. I checked their training courses. There is one course this week for quarter of the price that I paid in December. And not much else I can use the credit note for.

Not happy. He referred me to his upline, could be the owner of the company? Whatever. I received an emailed with an apology for the ‘heartache’ that this has caused me and offered to speak to my manager. FFS!!! Heartache? Manager? Honestly, would he say that to a man. Would he apologize to another man for causing him heartache?

I managed to get him on the line today. I introduced myself, we emailed on Friday. Oh yes, Veronica I remember. Veronica? My name is so not Veronica, I have just introduced myself at vonita, and you actually emailed my email address on Friday? This dweeb actually compliments me on my name, it is so lovely and where is it from? My parents, and what does that have to do with the price of eggs? Question, would he be complimenting a man on his name?

Still no refund. We are past the point of refunds he told me. Since when? Since I agreed to a mentorship program even though I have not paid for it, and that is not what I originally bought a ticket for. And the course was cancelled by their company. It wasn’t cancelled, he tells me, it was postponed. Bullshit.

A thought popped into my head. This man is so fucking sexist I am guessing there is not one female engineer in his company.

And what do you know. On their website they have a full page of developers and their bios, and not one female. Completely one hundred percent you-guessed-it male. Until the admin section at the bottom. Yup. Ladies for the admin.

F*ckers. And they owe me.