Thursday, 3 November 2016

What the feet?

Following on from my last post, I am still struggling along the Tinder trail, swatting pests left all the way! I expected there to be some weirdos out there, but my latest encounter takes the cake. I started chatting to this guy and from the first moment, he was telling me how gorgeous I am. This always makes me suspicious, as in my experience, many men tend to think that if you tell a woman she is beautiful, she will immediately fall into bed with you. Maybe when I was 21, but not now buddio! Anyway, I hesitantly continue talking to him, and his sexual intentions become clearer and clearer with every message. Then, he asks me if I have pretty feet. Yes, feet. Now, I don't know about you, but I think that feet are really weird, especially when you start examining how your toes are joined to your foot, which always conjures up images of square stubs from Roald Dahl's The Witches, but I digress. He then sends me a message asking for a picture. Of. My. Feet. To which I reply, no, I am wearing shoes and sure as hell am not going to send you a picture of my feet! Creepy right? But his answer was the kicker: 

"No feet, no meet." 

I kid you not. He has a catchphrase. And a foot fetish. Tinder 1 ; Karen 0

Monday, 17 October 2016

A dream is a wish your heart makes

After much resistance, I have finally joined Tinder. Actually, I joined Tinder two months ago, but deleted it as it wasn't really working for me. But then, in a wave of "How am ever I going to meet someone?!", I joined up again on Wednesday and had my first Tinder date on Thursday. 

There was nothing wrong with the guy. He was tall, athletic, Scottish (bonus points for a cool accent) and laidback. We chatted, without any awkward silences, and shared a bottle of wine, which he paid for (another plus). He was clearly into me and did all the flirtatious things, like comparing hand sizes, picking me up (literally... tall men always do this) and resting his hand on my arm whenever possible - but sadly, I just didn't feel any sparks. It was almost like catching up with an old friend - and not even a really good friend at that.

When I heard from him this weekend and he offered to cook for me this week, I let him down gently. But then I felt awful. Maybe I'm just being too fussy? Should I give it another try? I ummed and aahed for a while, but then decided that I'm not ready to give up on the dream just yet. I don't want to settle for someone just because he's into me. And my time is too precious to waste to lead someone on. I want to be enchanted. So this Tinderella will keep on swiping until she finds her Prince Charming – or deletes Tinder entirely. Either or.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Say what?

I try not to correct people when they say something wrong. We're human and we all get phrases muddled every now and then, especially when we're speed-talking, eager to get to the point or are clouded by emotions. But even though I don't correct them, I do notice. I notice when I say something wrong and wish I could go back and edit, as I would when I'm writing. And there are some mistakes that irk me more than others. For example: each other versus one another. (Each other = two people. One another = more than two people.) So whenever I sit in a wedding ceremony and the priest says "Do you promise to love one another..." I'm muttering "each other" under my breath. 

There are also those phrases that are misused so often that people think that their version is correct. When I was a child, I used to think that the phrase was "in the walls" instead of "in the wars". (My logic: I ran into walls a lot.) This is called an eggcorn - who knew? Here's a list of some of the phrases you may have been saying wrong. You're welcome!

"For all intensive purposes"
- Should be: For all intents and purposes
(ie: In every practical sense.)

"What's potting"
- Should be: What's plotting
(ie: What's going on.)

"Nip it in the butt"
- Should be: Nip it in the bud
(ie: Putting an end to something before it can grow.)

"First come, first serve"
- Should be: First come, first served
(The incorrect version implies that the first person who arrives will have to serve everyone else)

"The splitting image"
- Should be: The spitting image
(This comes from the Bible, when God used spit and mud to make Adam of his own image.)

"My makeup regime"
- Should be: My makeup regimen
(Regime refers to an authoritarian government.)

"It's a doggy-dog world"
- Should be: It's a dog-eat-dog world
(ie: If you don't look after yourself, you'll get taken out.)

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Healthy = happy

On Tuesday, I celebrated Women’s Day by attending my first ever HIIT workout boot camp class, run by the beautiful Herbalife ladies. I arrived thinking that I was relatively fit, forgetting about the fact that I had been bed-bound for a fortnight thanks to gum surgery earlier this month.  So needless to say, I battled.  Not just physically, but mentally, as I felt as though I was back to square one – and was incredibly unmotivated as a result.

When I got to work yesterday, a colleague noticed my wincing (damn those squats!) and asked what was wrong. I told her about the boot camp, how great it was, but how I really struggled and was feeling a bit down. She looked at me and said, “But you’re skinny, so it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to exercise.” It's not the first time I've heard this sort of statement. When I made a commitment to start on this healthy journey and change my lifestyle and diet, it wasn't to lose weight, but naturally I did - and everyone was on my case about it. "You don't need to lose weight!" "It's because of your break-up, isn't it?" "Are you starving yourself?" These sorts of responses make me think about how misguided many people are about what it means to be healthy and happy. 

Skinny does not equal healthy. Dieting does not equal healthy. Exercising every hour of the day does not equal healthy. It's all about balance, embracing a healthy lifestyle, and doing it for the right reasons. For me, exercising and eating well helps my mental health. It gives me confidence, helps me deal with my depression and makes me feel like I'm in control of my life. I love being part of a community of encouraging, like-minded individuals who motivate me to try harder - even on the days when I want to quit. I like feeling proud of what my body can do, and knowing that I could run that race if I really put my mind to it. I am grateful for the opportunity to be outdoors, and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer.

I am by no means a fitness fanatic. I don't exercise as much as I should, I lack motivation, I eat carbs and love chocolate. I struggle on most days to get myself up and out of the house. But when I do, it is glorious. And I'm trying. It's not just about being skinny. It's about living a life I am proud of. Tonight is my second boot camp class, and I am certain it will tough. But I can do it. And knowing that is the most empowering feeling of all.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Door adornments I adore

I love decorative vintage door handles/knobs/knockers. They are unique, quirky and give any front door so much character. Obviously we don't have a use for door knockers any more, as we generally have to announce ourselves via phone/intercom/doorbell before we even make it to the front door, but I still think that I would love to have one. The only downside: they originated in Ancient Greece and were used to chain slaves to the front door of their wealthy owners, so that's not a great history to have. But on a happier note, many of the ornate details on knockers and handles - especially animals - were considered good luck, and the Hamsa hand in particular was believed to protect those who lived within the house and would prevent evil from entering. And since my grandfather was a freemason, I absolutely love the masonic door knocker, complete with the iconic compass and square. So there's a bit of history for you, and here are some of my favourites door adornments.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Cat Photo Friday

One of the (many) things I love about cats is their ability to look comfortable no matter what. While I was growing up, my cat Smokey used to pass out on the dining room table - with a toothpick holder poking into him! I think what we can learn from these funny felines is to be content with our lot. I am guilty of often focusing on what's going wrong in my life instead of what's going right, and at times like these I need to remember Smokey. He may have had a few thorns in his side, but on the whole, he was comfortable, fed, happy and surrounded by the people he loved - and those are the things that really matter.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Some salty trivia

Today I was in my office kitchen, zoning out as I waited for our ancient microwave to heat up my lunch, and I found myself staring at the logo on a bottle of Cerebos salt. I've never really looked at it properly, and always just assumed it was a little boy feeding a chicken, but upon closer inspection, I saw that he is actually trying to pour what I thought was grain onto the bird. Utterly perplexed, I turned to trusty Google and lo and behold, it turns out that there is a folklore that you can catch a bird by pouring salt on its tail. Wile E Coyote even tried this trick in one of his many attempts to catch Road Runner, but to no avail. Some say that it startles the bird and gives you time to catch it, while others believe that the salt gets into the feathers and prevents the bird from flying. Then there is the more pragmatic theory that if you're close enough to pour salt on a bird's tail, you must be close enough to catch it. My guess? It was a great way to get kids out of your hair. I need to remember this for my future nieces and nephews! 

Friday, 10 June 2016

Cat Photo Friday

Do you love your pet enough to get a tattoo of it? I don't have tattoos, and I don't think they would suit me, but this is one trend I simply adore! And how precious is this picture? Love!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Do nice guys really finish last?

Some people tell me that I’m too nice, and that I can be a pushover – and sometimes, I agree. There are days when I want to tear my hair out when I interact with strangers on the road, in the supermarket, running on the promenade, and I wonder whether life would be easier if I was the type of person who only cared about myself.

Case in point: Cape Town is notorious for its bad drivers and makeshift one-way, two-way streets. Basically, because cars are parked along the side, a two-way street gets narrowed down into a one-way, which leads to two cars meeting in the middle and a frustrating game of “Who goes first?” – which I inevitably always lose. Yes, I’m the person who lets the other car pass first, often without so much as an acknowledgment let alone a thank you hand gesture. It’s at times like these that I feel like pulling a Gandalf and standing my ground, yelling “You shall not pass!” out of my car window and laughing maniacally, but I know that after a brief Mexican standoff, I will probably give in and let them through first anyway.

The same goes in the shops: I’m the person who will step to the side to let someone else walk past me; I will move out of someone’s way if my trolley is blocking their path, even if I’m not done in that position; and I will always let elderly people walk through the door first, no matter how grumpy or ungrateful they usually are. And don’t even get me started on dodging children on bicycles on the promenade! Generally, I’m OK with this way of life, as it was how I was brought up, but sometimes I get really frustrated and think, ‘Maybe I’m the idiot here. Maybe, just maybe, I should just be like everyone else.’

But then I stop and remember the importance of manners – and the fact that whenever I do treat others badly, my guilty conscience kicks in and I feel like an awful person afterwards. So yes, I’m nice. I try to be kind and friendly to other people, no matter what sort of issues are brewing inside me, because you never know what turmoil they are going through themselves. Maybe that makes me a pushover, but since when is being nice a bad thing?

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

One boob at a time

For those of you who are battling with something at the moment, remember to take each day, each challenge, one boob at a time. And then rip off your bra the moment you get home! 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

STOP. And mourn

Life is so fast nowadays. Blink and you miss it. Take an hour's nap and you're behind. We're constantly on the move, with places to go and people to meet, things to do and knowledge to gain, going, going, going that often we don't know how to. STOP. Or when. Sometimes, horrific things happen. Things that break our hearts and make us question our very existence. Family members die, friendships end, relationships fall apart and loved ones go missing. It's at times like these that we must allow ourselves to mourn. Don't know when to stop? This is the time. But we are so busy, busy, busy moving on and up and away that we don't give ourselves a chance to. And neither does the rest of the world. "Life goes on!"They say, in unison. "You gotta get under someone to get over someone!" They cackle. "Chin up, buttercup!" They coo. "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!" They sing. Platitudes, all of them. Said with kindness, while simultaneously encouraging you to "get over it". 

Whatever happened to a mourning period? In the Victorian era, widows were expected to mourn for two years, while children had to wear full black mourning clothes for a year after the death of a parent or a sibling. Some may see this practice as macabre, but I find it comforting. By wearing black clothes, the world knew that you were in mourning, and I like to think that they would be gentle towards you. Surely that would make heartache easier? Not having to pretend that everything is alright? Admitting that you are sad, and people acknowledging and respecting that?

The next time you feel loss, sadness or pain (and whether or not black is your colour), allow yourself to mourn. There is no shame in it, and it does not make you weak. If anything, you will be a stronger person for allowing yourself to experience the pain as opposed to hiding from it, or living in denial. Mourn and remember and cry and feel. They say that time heals all wounds, so. STOP. And give yourself that time. And give that time to others who may be in mourning, too.       

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Time to say yes

When I was 16, I went to a therapist who asked me to complete a personality test. It was scarily accurate, but the one thing I remember most was the section about introverts and extroverts. She told me that people tend to see everything in black and white, and think that you're either one or the other.  You like going dancing? You're an extrovert. You like staying home on weekends? Introvert all the way! The problem with this way of thinking is that it leaves no middle ground, no space for shades of grey. When my scores out of 10 came back as 8 for introvert and 7 for extrovert, I was confused - which one was I? The therapist then explained to me that personality traits and characteristics are never static, but move along a scale, veering from one extreme to the next. You are never one single thing, but a multitude of experiences, thoughts and feelings that combine to form the wonderful and unique thing that is you.

With this in mind, I've realised that I've been indulging my introvert for a while. When someone asks me if I want to do something, my immediate reaction is always no. No, I'm tired. No, I need to go for a run. No, I must clean my flat. No, no, no. But why? Are you really so tired that you can't enjoy a drink with a friend? Are you really going to go for a run, or will you bail on your plan and end up watching series all night instead? Does your flat really need to be cleaned right this second or can it wait until tomorrow? I've been living life, but haven't been truly experiencing it, allowing the negative and the fear to cloud the positive and the possibility of something incredible.

Well, no more. Although it's difficult, I am trying to say yes again. On Tuesday, I went completely out of my comfort zone and attended a dance meditation class with a truly inspiring friend* where you get to express your feelings through dance. There I was in a hall of crazy hair, floaty pants and some hairy underarms feeling completely out of place... for about two minutes, until I told myself to stop thinking and just dance. There was no talking to anybody and, best of all, no judgement – just two hours where you could let yourself feel whatever you need to. The insane thing is that during the course of the day, I had been running excuses over and over in my mind to try and get out of this class. But I'm so glad that I went, and I will probably go again. I said yes, and the world did not come crashing down. I felt afraid and uncomfortable, but that was soon replaced with excitement and pleasure. And at the end of it all, I went home deliciously exhausted and collapsed into bed, getting the best night's sleep I've had in weeks. All because I said yes.    

*Thanks to the amazing Stacey who is always encouraging me to think, grow and try new things – and who never gives up on me, even when I sometimes give up on myself.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Cat Photo Friday

Here's to the sweeter things in life... Happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Do you make New Year's resolutions?

So it's a new year, and once again, I didn't write down any resolutions. It's a silly thing, I know, but I feel as though there is more pressure to perform when you have this tangible list that you can refer to at any point. Plus, I find it demoralising not being able to scratch things off my list. Yes, it's not meant to be a To-Do list, but isn't that the best part of goals? Being able to say that you achieved them? When you have something like "be a better person" as a resolution, it is impossible for you to say that you have achieved that goal as it is an ongoing one that you will hopefully strive to fulfil throughout your life. So then "be a better person" stares at you all year long, from your fridge, out of the pages of your journal, on your mirror - wherever you decided to put it. And if you are anything like me, you'll just feel bad every time you see that damn resolution, worrying whether or not you are "being a better person" this year.

Last year I did exactly the same thing as this year, and avoided the New Year's resolutions concept like the plague.  And did my year collapse into an ungoverned pile of chaos? No. In 2015, I ran further and more frequently, I ate better and I lost weight. I took on a position at work that I thought I'd never be able to handle and came out on top. I strengthened my relationships and tried to be more sociable, getting out of my comfort zone. I grew plants and ate them, spent time on the mountain and made a conscious effort to enjoy the outdoors more. And I loved, with my whole heart and without any prompt from a resolution needed. 

For this of you who don't know, 17 January is Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day, as it is the most common date to give up on your resolutions. So if you're feeling like throwing in the towel already, don't feel guilty - you're not alone!  Here are some statistics from the US (sorry, no SA stats are available) regarding last year's resolutions to give you some perspective. And remember, it's never too late to start working on yourself, regardless of if you've made a conscious list to do it or not. So don't give up! 

The top 10 New Year's resolutions for 2015
1 Lose weight
2 Get organised
3 Spend less, save more
4 Enjoy life to the fullest
5 Stay fit and healthy
6 Learn something exciting
7 Quit smoking
8 Help others in their dreams
9 Fall in love
10 Spend more time with family

45% of people usually make New Year's resolutions
17% of people infrequently make New Year's resolutions
38% of people never make New Year's resolutions

8% of people achieved their resolutions
49% of people had infrequent success achieving their resolutions
24% of people never succeed and fail on their resolutions every year

39% of people in their 20s achieve their resolution each year
14% of people over 50 achieve their resolutions each year

*Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology