Borrowed, Life Lessons, Rantics, Therapy Sessions

When facing a difficult week, here’s a poem for the soul: If, by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
African Woman, Life Lessons, Therapy Sessions

The cliches surrounding how to live life without regret

Enjoy flowers, they are like life. Flowers with all their beauty shine like stars for a period of time. And then they wither. Yet, during their short life, flowers sustain the bees that spread the pollen that helps to produce the fruits that sustain all other life.

Live as if you wont wake up tomorrow. No regrets for the past & no anxiety for the future. Leave a legacy every day! Most politicians have never heard of that one either

Find people who make you laugh, who you feel peaceful & fulfilled around and who have your back. Keep them close. Toxic people will increase your stress levels. Stress does not improve your life length and it definitely doesn’t keep you happy in the present. This does not apply to those who love drama, if you re one of these, go look for your dose of drama to be happy.

Once you find these people, treat those you love as if you won’t ever meet them again. Thank you, please, I am sorry, a smile, a hug and best wishes does wonders. Don’t waste time on petty issues/situations or/and petty people. There is no time to waste! Every day with good friends & family is a blessing. Give & take with the heart & soul.

Fall in love and move in together! Damn, marry if it works for you. Optimism is good for you! Having someone to nag, impress and share the daily drill with is a lifesaver. Apparently, married men live longer & healthier by more than 5 years compared to eternal bachelors. Women do good if they have close women friends to fight with, gossip with and love. We are social animals and don’t do well alone.

Work is a part of life. Give work the attention & respect it deserves & then go and live the other parts of life. An idle mind is the devils workshop did not come from nowhere. Though science hasn’t found the devil in anyone’s mind yet, we all know that idleness doesn’t make us better people. Except when we are on vacation of course.

Don’t obsess about money, Money is to sustain life, not to govern life.  Donald Trump does not know this one

Drink tea with honey! Lots of honey if you can handle it. Honey is good for the stomach and other things science can’t explain yet. Tea with good honey is like meeting a good friend who knows you well over & over again. And you can do it all your life.

Drink a glass of wine every now & then. Too much alcohol is not good for you, you know that already. Some alcohol does stimulate your heart and blood vessels. Ask the queen if you doubt me, she drinks some good wines though. Not cheap booze and beer. Trust me guys, there are few lovers/husbands/wives who “really like” a bear belly. Never mind what they said…”I will love you no matter what” excludes beer bellies, abuse & infidelity I think.

Borrowed, I am not a feminist but...., Rantics

Girls sentenced to be raped for brother’s crimes. Really??! Seriously???!

A all-male council decided that two girls, a 23 & a 15 year old, should be raped and humiliated.

Why? because their brother stole another man’s wife. It’s like living in the stone age!! In some places, women live worse loves than homeless dogs. Women are stoned or disfigured with acid for their own crimes. Women are raped and married off for the men’s crimes*. In some places, whatever a woman does, she can’t catch a break!

God, I wish I could unread that because that was annoying to read!!

moving on to nicer topics:

My maternal grandmother, Lia, eloped with her secret boyfriend, Reuben. They went to his parents’ house, had dinner, slept in his little hut, woke up the next morning and announced they were married. And then they left for the city together. That’s it! no bridezilla moments, no caterers, no banks robbed and loans acquired. Just declare yourself married and it becomes a fact.

2 years later, they married the traditional way, parents and relatives meeting. Dowry agreed upon. I know what you are thinking! Yes I do. You are thinking, “dowry?? Women are not for sale!” And you are annoyed. I am with you. only  I challenge you to keep your hat on and remember that this was in 1920, and we are not here to unwrite history. Atleast am not. We are here to  influence & drastically change the present & the future.

Anyways, over 50 years later, Lia & Reuben got legally married, not in church, just at the registrar’s. To make sure they got the papers they needed to own property together. Colonialism was over but papers were still an important factor if you wanted to “own” anything. Even a wife.

In my childhood, I heard lots of talk on how many choices, potential husbands, Lia had and how she chose the worst of them. Lia was apparently a beauty. There are no pictures of my grandmother in her youth so I cannot have an opinion on that. I can imagine she was pretty, headstrong and she definitely had one of the most wonderful laughs I have ever heard. She was 16 years old when they eloped. Reuben was 17.

According to myth, Reuben was the poorest, quietest and most adventurous of the choices Lia had. He was restless, the opposite of stable. So Lia and Reuben moved from the countryside to the city, and then to the coast and then to the west of Kenya. After almost 10 years and parents to 3 children, they went back to the countryside to build a house (not a home). This was done purely to please relatives. And they were back to moving around. Both of them worked all their lives.

I call it myth because Lia in her old age was adamant that she never had choices. My sister and I asked her why she chose Reuben and not anyone else of her many suitors. She answered that Reuben was the only choice she had and she took it. But she also noted that her family had several guys lined up as choices. Only problem? she does not remember who they were really, she never looked at them. Her brain and heart were preoccupied with the plans to elope. There was no space for anything else. It took 2 years to plan a simple elopement.

They eloped because Reuben the vagabond could not afford to marry her the right way. He and his family had nothing to offer. And they could not wait for him to amass wealth, because wealth would never happen to Reuben. Thank God.

In some places, Lia would have been stoned to death or burned with acid. or raped? And Reuben would be challenged to find another girl, of good morals (read virgin). Because the whole would be blamed on Lias morals, the lack of them.

Men are often expected to lack morals & forgiven, even celebrated for it. Women live & die to uphold their own morals & cover for men’s lack of the same. In many places still.

*Pity is, in some places, love easily escalates into a crime that could kill several women and ruin several lives. Sigh

Life Lessons, Rantics, Therapy Sessions

Quidam, Dysfunction and the Victim syndrome

I saw Quidam for the second time when Cirque du Soleil was in Stockholm this spring. First time was at the royal Albert hall in London in 2013. Quidam went straight to that part of my brain where childhood & childishness rules supreme. Same place I have Tom & Jerry, climbing trees, Pink Panther, Sliding down the hill on my bum when it rains (that’s a dirty business with consequences defined by adults), Twitty bird, Fred Flintstone and Hiding behind doors to scare family. I am digressing.

QuidamIn the imaginary world of Quidam, a girl is so lonely, she longs for parents, friends, family, anybody really, that can be available to and for her. She creates friends of all sorts to play with. Although she is so lonely, she does not feel like a victim of neglect. She is quite busy with life to be a victim of anything really. This reminded me of my childhood and the experiences of loneliness.

My best friend announced quite ceremoniously that her mother was sick. Me, very worried: “what’s wrong with your mother?” Friend: “she has the victim syndrome!” My friend then went on to patiently, albeit dramatically lay it down for me. Like in psychology for dummies. This was the first time I heard of the victim syndrome. I was just 14½.

Friend: “you see, a patient with victim syndrome thinks of how a situation is affecting only her/him. And the analysis ends there. People with a victim syndrome do not consider how they contribute to a problem, how they can neutralize a bad situation or how a bad situation is affecting anyone else.”

Everybody knows someone who suffers from the victim syndrome. Socially or/and professionally.

These are often the ones who ask “why me?” These are people who go on to tell you all the things superduperbirdthey have done right. And yet, the drunkard/abuser etc still does not appreciate the angel like personality of the victim. And they sigh in disappointment and continue to feel sorry for themselves. Sometimes, they threaten to leave, punish etc but they don’t follow up. So the problem repeats itself in 2000 different ways and the outcome is still the same.

This syndrome was so destructive, by the time we were 17, my friend moved in with us. All homeless cats , dogs and people we welcome, to our family, where, according to my friend, there was less victim syndrome and more open dysfunction. Think Shameless.

Once I understood what my friend meant, I also realized that we had the victim syndrome in my family. Not as severe, but present nevertheless.

I don’t know who Hans F. Hansen is but he said: “People inspire you, or they drain you—pick them wisely.” Pure Sherlocky stuff