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Out of the Mouth of an Anti Vaxxer Who Has Received Her First Vaccine.

So here I am, writing about the most talked about topic in the world currently….the *&^%# COVID vaccine. In February I posted a blog entitled “To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate? This Is the Question!!” I was (and still am) very skeptical of the vaccine. When writing that blog in February, the possibility of having to make a decision seemed so far in the distant future…..and yet…..here we are.

I had no idea back then, that there would be such a huge dissension between the pros and the antis. I had no idea that there would be so many antis either.

At that stage, I really assumed that I was going to be one of the very few antis. Historically, my viewpoints are not those of the throng. I am sure many assume that I am just trying to be ”different” or ‘difficult’’. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Life would be so much easier if I did indeed just follow that throng! My question is….why am I different or difficult if I don’t follow the throng? I question things. I do not take things at face value. I do not see that as ”different”. I see that as NORMAL, in fact essential!!!

By the time the decision needed to be made, my mindset was still very much the same. I was literally more petrified of getting the vaccine than of getting COVID. Before you go to ”ha ha magnetic chip etc”, let me just say….no….don’t go there. Stop using those conspiracy theorists as a blanket to ridicule the anti vaxxers!! That rebuttal is just getting old and tired.

In any social interaction leading up to ”V Day”, I felt I had needed to justify my decision to all and sundry. People made me feel like I alone would be the reason that we would be stuck with COVID for an eternity. It came to a point where I debated lying to people and just telling them I was going to get the vaccine. But you know me……just speak my truth……… life would be so much easier if I could prevent myself from doing that too!!

There were mutterings in the corridors at work that they were going to make it compulsory. I was paranoid. So of course I spent the next few weeks obsessing on how I was going to argue my case to my employers.

In the meantime these groups of pros and antis were getting larger and larger and moving further apart.

The logical argument, to ALL the judgey pros, would have been first and foremost, to bring to their attention that the vaccine does not PREVENT you from getting COVID. To be honest, at that early stage, not everyone knew that. If the vaccine prevented you from getting COVID, I could still give these angry pros’ thought processes the benefit of the doubt. I would then understand why employers were considering making it compulsory, or why some thought it was acceptable to tell others what to do with their bodies and lives.

So there I was trying to explain to all the nudges and prodders that they needed to stop ridiculing and criticizing people that were anti, as these people are not objecting because they want to irritate anyone, be different, liberal or cause harm to others. They were objecting because they were terrified of the long term effects of the vaccine.

Furthermore, it should not affect them in anyway if some choose not to get vaccinated. The fact that the person next to you has not been vaccinated is no different to the person next to you who has been vaccinated. THEY COULD BOTH HAVE COVID!!! In fact are the imprudent vaccinated people (and there will be tons of those), that feel ‘’safe’’ because they have been vaccinated, and do not feel the need to socially distance, wear a mask or sanitize, NOT MORE OF A RISK TO YOU?????

Apparently you can still contract the virus but you will not die from it. So, if you have so much faith in this vaccine, why are you trying to bully people into having it? It will make absolutely no difference if Joe Shmo has been vaccinated or not. You are vaccinated…you are the chosen ones…you will be fine….will you not??

But unfortunately the anger and bitterness towards these antis just keeps growing and gets uglier.

So after realizing that this would not be the best approach to take with my employers, and assuming that their only possible reason for making it compulsory, was that they were trying to protect themselves from having their staff body on sick leave a lot, (which they still would have, even if the staff was all vaccinated), I decided to approach my employers and explain to them that if I needed to take any leave due to COVID it could be unpaid.

Now the talk amongst my friends was a resounding YES to getting the vaccine. Except for my person, who was going to sit with me in the back of the queue, until the last surviving human had received the vaccine, so that we could have time to assess the short and long term repercussions of the insufficiently tried and tested poison being injected into our temples.

Once our age group opened up, all my friends (including my person….traitor) were like lambs to a slaughter….so excited to go and get vaccinated…… could not get there fast enough. You would have thought they were off on their annual holiday. Photos being posted on social media, What’s App messages….they felt they had done their bit to eradicate this dreaded plague!!

I continued with my inner demons debating back and forth 24/7, and was being lectured and reprimanded by some, and gently nudged by others.

Anyway, after a close friend of mine’s sister passed away from COVID, who was a few years younger than me and had no pre-existing conditions, I suddenly thought that if this is going to be just killing people willy-nilly like this, then damned if you do and damned if you don’t. This on the same day coupled with my brother from Canada gently nudging me to have the vaccine, as well as a friend expressing shock and horror that I was not going to get the vaccine.

So my demons declared a truce, and I decided to go ahead with the vaccine. In some way it was a huge sense of relief that I was at peace with it.

Everything seemed to indicate that I had made the right decision, as the next day I went into work and asked the lady in HR what the procedure was in order to register. She said that everyone who was over the age of 50 had already been registered by the Company. Clearly then, they were intending on making it compulsory, and I was even more relieved that I had already made the decision myself.

I did not even have time to ponder as the next day I arrived at work, and one of my colleagues said we were booked for 9h30. So off we went, and there we were met by this no nonsense, sassy talking nurse, who was having none of my questions or concerns, and pretty much was exactly what I needed to get this job done. In fact I even thanked her afterwards about her brilliant she was, and how I needed that firm attitude

So of course I got this sore arm that I had heard so much about which didn’t bother me at all. That night I started feeling slightly nauseous, and then when I was having my bath, felt so nauseous that I struggled to get out of the bath, but did not connect this to the vaccine, as I had not heard that nausea was any kind of a symptom. But that was the last of the extreme nausea.

The only reason I connected the nausea to the vaccine at a later stage, was because one of my very pro friends was ridiculing me about my initial skepticism. She said, ‘’you see, you are fine. I was absolutely fine, my arm was barely sore, and I experienced none of the nausea that I was warned about by the nurse.’’ Ummmm…..okaaaaay…..but I decided that if it was just the sore arm and the one and only encounter with such extreme nausea I could deal with that. Of course this opened the floodgates for everyone to throw jabs (excuse the pun) at me by saying things like ”did your cell phone stick to you yet?” or ”so you had it, and you are still alive”, etc, etc.

Their complete lack of understanding of my fear made me realize that the pros were just not going to even TRY and understand the legitimate fear of the antis.

At some point after I was vaccinated I developed a rash, which only became apparent to me when I got into a bath and it was stinging….. a lot. At no point did I even think about a connection to the vaccine. But on Facebook one day someone asked if anyone knows anyone who had developed shingles after having the first or second vaccination. There were hundreds of comments from people that had, to the point that for my own sanity, I exited the link and tried to unsee it. Whether it was a mild dose of shingles or not, this rash appeared only after my vaccination…so you do the math.

So yes I have started to become a bit more concerned about the second vaccine. I have heard that people had felt quite ill after the second shot, even though they had not after the first, but again I just decided ……I had come this far….

So last week when I was taking my walk, I noticed that my knees were hurting me for the first few laps. I had never experienced this before and just started put it down to the start of arthritis or other age-related curse.

A few days later, one of my friends who had received her second vaccine a few weeks prior, (a complete pro vaxxer), mentioned that since she had her second vaccination, her knees were so painful, that she could just be sitting and experience the pain. She said that they were not like that before she had been vaccinated. Thankfully my pain was not as severe, but I immediately made the connection to my vaccination.

Now, of course my demons have returned!

Although I probably will have the second (and third…only heard about that after my first), and unless something shows me to the contrary, I will never be a pro, and will forever understand and respect the antis.

Let’s all try give them that, at the very least……let’s just all stay in our lanes!!!!

Namaste

How to Apply Eye Wings for over 50’s!

When I started re-blogging, I still had the mindset of my earlier days…those days when I blogged, but it was not called blogging…….just writing! It was around 20 years ago…….I was a young mother with young children, and had decided that I was going to educate the world about how difficult and life changing having a baby was. I was going to burst every misinformed bubble that the media and other parents had blown. I, single handily, was going to bring down the cases of post natal depression……..aka ”I am a bad mother whose child hates me, and who doesn’t know what I am doing like all those other mothers loving life and navigating motherhood so seamlessly”!!

So, perhaps if I had realised, on starting to write again, that 20 years had passed, I might have gone more with the theme of getting older and telling the world honestly about how bloody awful THAT is!!

Reading that back it seems there is a common thread running through my writings……it’s awful….whatever it is. Oh how fortunate are all those souls who have had me touch their lives…….

Aaaaaaanyway, now, 20 years later, my version of being a mother to young children in this day and age is pretty much obsolete!! I mean, yes……it is surely still an unpleasant experience, this new, first time mother thing is, but there is so much more honesty out there. You are no longer regarded as a repulsive and shameful human being by society, if you are not loving every minute of motherhood! Young mothers are more prepared for the fact that it is not going to be only rainbows and unicorns when they become mothers! They hear of other mothers going through struggles, and pooping and farting (the mothers, not the babies) about their lives. This is good!! This is honest!!

To be honest, if I was to be blogging about the truth of raising children in this era, what with all the social media demons and technological advances, I would surely be sent directly to Blog Prison!! Eeeeek…..I shudder to think!! Tis true, there would be an endless stream of content for blogging…but nope…not worth it!!

So although I have raised children, who are now adults….kinda, sorta….okay, jury still deliberating….. I am not qualified to give any opinions or suggestions on how to bring up children in this day and age. Sisters….you are on your own. Go forth and conquer, and may the force be with you!!

So back to the actual topic at hand…..big digresser I am….

There I was this morning, applying my make-up (a new project of mine)….. in order to make myself look 20 years (or even 5 would be good) younger, and I suddenly realised my blogs really should not be about bringing up children anymore, as my children have been brought up…kinda, sorta….and whatever the end result is, is what it is…period!! I should rather be making myself useful, and be preparing people for their ”mature years”!!

So, back to makeup (for the mature woman). When I was younger, I was never one for makeup…..some eyeliner at the most. You know, when you are all young and fresh faced, and you walk past a mirror and think, oh come on just be daring, and splash an eensy weensy something on your face for good measure? I was also never one of those girls who was looking for a wolf whistle or any attention when walking past a whole group of boys. In fact, if anything that would have had me crawling into the nearest hole. Although at my age, a wolf whistle here and there would not completely ruin my day……..oh how times have changed!!

Mind you, my generation of girls were not really make up mad. Unfortunately the young girls of today, for the most part, pack on that make up so thick, that they all land up looking like clones of one another….with different hair colours. Pretty much like the girls in their 30’s and 40’s, who Botox, lift, tuck and all look like they have been cast from the same mold……with different hair colour.

However, when you are but a teen, this is when you least need make up. You look so gorgeous fresh-faced and natural. But no matter whether you are pro or anti excessive use of make up, one thing is for sure….. when that makeup GLIDES on youthful skin, oh my goodness it is smooth like butter!!

Now, applying make up after 50, having had no botox or nips and tucks, is a whole other scenario. Firstly, one has to apply it as if one was applying paint to a roughly plastered wall…..you know, second coat required, to get into the crevices and craters. Secondly, all those POTHOLES that you are attempting to cover up, are then HIGHLIGHTED by the makeup that you have applied. So, essentially, you look like……..….well…………a fifty something year old, who is trying to look younger, but actually looks like an old haggard and washed up she-pirate!!

Then we have the ”wings” technique with eye makeup. This is to create the illusion of bigger eyes…you know, something NO youthful eyes actually need, but ALL old and haggardy eyes do!! So, again, another cruel joke, this technique is so simple to apply on youthful eyes..…..glides I tell you….like butter!! It is applied, and there it shall remain….intact….until removed by the wearer. But over 50….ha….ha ha….cruel, cruel joke!! What essentially takes place with the ”more mature” (old haggard she-pirate), is a series of steps which have to be undertaken.

STEP 1

Due to the fact that her eyesight is declining, if she is a contact lens user, she cannot have them inserted. If she does, she then needs reading spectacles IN ADDITION TO the contact lenses, to see something that is a nose length away from her old haggard face. Obviously, she cannot be wearing the spectacles while applying make up to her eyes!! If she is not a prescription lens or spectacle user, she would definitely need the assistance of reading specs to see anything too close. Again, at this point, she cannot wear spectacles while applying make up to her eyes….again….obviously!!

So, the first step involves holding a hand mirror in the one hand, slowly drawing it into her face, and once the mirror lightly touches the nose, she will know the distance is correct. Thereafter, she has to use her ONE remaining hand to reach for whatever object she is using to apply the wings, generally liquid liner, sometimes an eyeliner pencil. Liquid liner is preferable, but as you can imagine, creates a whole new set of problems, what with having to remove the liner brush from the bottle ALL WITH ONE HAND!!

STEP 2

Once the remaining hand is holding the object required, she has to then use a finger from……well..…one of her both occupied hands..…to gently lift the drooping skin around the ageing eyes, in order to begin applying the wing where it should ordinarily be applied on droop free youthful eyes. This step is the final step where, believe it or not, a brief glance in the mirror actually produces fairly pleasing results. It is at this time, that the she-pirate thinks that there is indeed some fraction of hope that she can look young and gorgeous again.

STEP 3

During this step, the mirror needs to be placed down, freeing the one hand, so that there is an available hand to replace the lid or brush of the liner. It is at this time, that the remaining finger, which was so strategically placed to elongate the ageing eye, gets removed……and all hell breaks loose. The eye tumbles forth to its original position, and the wing then looks like a dotted line of zig zag horrors.

And don’t even get me started on 50-somethings and exercise………………

Accepting Compliments!

So you know when you are growing up, the tiniest words of encouragement or approval that may come your way could prove to be life altering. Naturally, the opposite applies as well, but unfortunately, as parents we only realise how fundamentally our words can impact our children when little swines are old enough to have the audacity to tell us!!

I remember only one teacher pointing out to me that I was a lot smarter than I thought. Possibly because I spent so much time trying to be invisible, that the others had no idea that I was even their student. I just assumed that, as he was Lebanese, and I was dating my future husband, who was also Lebanese, it was just his way of saying ‘’howzit cuzzie.’’ So that was of course totally lost on me, and did not make any impact whatsoever. Well, other than the fact that I was shocked that he even knew I was his student!!

I remember my father on a daily basis telling me how wonderful I was…. brilliant….. beautiful…awesome…..he once even heard my friend and I singing in the car, and mentioned I had such an amazing voice, perhaps I would grow up to be a famous singer. Now people….believe you me…no….…I don’t. So, that too was lost on me, as I just assumed that he overdid the compliments to compensate for all my short comings. I actually used to get annoyed by all his praise and adoration. For that I am so sorry, and this is one of my big regrets when it comes to my dad, as I know that he knew his praise and adoration was not appreciated by me.

So, essentially, anyone who did compliment me, was argued away in my mind, instead of me using it to boost my confidence and self-esteem.

Honestly, the first time I believed any kind of compliment, was when I was needing to get a letter of recommendation from my ex- headmaster, in order to be admitted to the bar as an Attorney. It was six years after I had matriculated, and after requesting the letter, I assumed, without a shred of doubt, that it was going to be some generic letter, and that the headmaster literally would have had no cooking clue who he was writing about.

But on reading the letter, I was so pleasantly surprised. Each and everything in that letter was so specific to me, and it was so uplifting, that I had wished that he had told me at the time. Although….probably would have explained that away too!

So now we come to my condiments, Salt and Pepper, or more specifically Pepper… yes….again!! He really does hold the gold medal in providing content for a Blog!!

I have had huge, gushy and proud moments when it comes to my children, where I want to shout out from the rooftops about how proud I am of them…how much they have achieved….how I could not have asked for better children. Sometimes I have done exactly that, and I sensed that they felt the same way as I did, when my dad used to shower me with compliments. So, over the last few years, I have totally backed off. However, during the Covid chapter, more time spent as a family and more poignant conversations taking place, I have realised that my children have not necessarily been able to read my mind (idiots), and were not totally aware of how proud of them I actually was. The fact that I am snarky, sarcastic and condescending as a rule, might have aided this doubt in their minds. But come now?? You guys have lived with me for long enough to know me…to understand me….to read my mind??????

Anyway, I have actually moved off the actual topic, which was going to be what this here Blog was going to be written about. So let me remind you…..Pepper. Yes, my Pepper was his mother at school. Dissolved into cracks so that no one would even know he existed, and EVENTUALLY towards the end of his school career, got up to mischief that sometimes got him called into the Head’s office. We will call said Head ”Mr Shame”, for the purposes of this Blog. Now, Mr Shame was feared by the students, and not totally loved by all the parents either…..the ones whose hunny bunnies were never the culprits. I on the other hand, was the parent whose hunny bunnies were ALWAYS the culprits, unless they could provide me with a solid alibi, 4 eye witnesses and photographic evidence, to prove to the contrary!! Having said that, honestly, Salt was never in trouble at school. He just never worked very hard…..…or at all. Pepper was getting up to mischief regularly from about Grade 11.

But Mr Shame understood each child, no matter how different they were. Perhaps because they lost their dad so young, he felt he needed to assume a nurturing role in their lives. They of course were not even aware of it the time. He was so quietly watching out for them, that neither was I initially. They of course were not fans of his, as he was ‘’Mr Shame’’…he was feared and revered.

I never got a call from Mr Shame regarding Salt until Pepper left school. Either Pepper kept him too busy, or he was just trying not to over burden me with complaints. But the Salt calls were calls of concern. He was very fond of my Salty, but felt that he wasn’t reaching his amazing potential…you don’t say???? So he would find tasks for him to shine in, and shine he did….until the task was over, then Mr Shame would find yet another one.

But Pepper………..those calls (always on my way to fetch them from school), went something like this….

“Ummmmm…..Mrs Mummy….it is Mr Shame here….it is about Pepper. Shame, nothing serious…nothing to worry about….but….shame, you know Pepper always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time….”, he would say in a fairly timid voice, which I suspect was not the voice that the students knew or feared!!

What endeared Pepper to Mr Shame though, was his accountability and most of all his integrity. He NEVER revealed the names of his accomplices, never denied responsibility, and took his punishment like a man. This, for Mr Shame, was admirable, and the things Pepper had done were always according to him, ‘’boys being boys’’. And they really were…no one ever got harmed in the process, and he created a whole lot of memories to discuss with his children and grandchildren!

But overall, Mr Shame knew exactly how to treat each of my spices, and managed to see them through some pre and post pubescent crap (a lot of which I am sure I did not even know about), and I feel he needs to take more than a little credit for both my spices’ self esteem and confidence being boosted.

After my children left school, Mr Shame has every so often sent me a message to ask how my boys are, and to tell me what a good job I did in raising them. Now, the new me embraces compliments….sometimes. But every time I receive a message, I am amazed at how he continues supporting from the side lines.

When Pepper started his Articles, he joined Linkedin. He then said that he had received an email from someone at the firm (who had also attended the same school as Pepper years prior), to say that Mr Shame had told her that Pepper would be an asset to the firm, and that he holds my Pepper in high esteem. She then said she wants to arrange a meeting with Pepper, just so that they could have an introductory chat.

“OMG Pepper….isn’t that amazing…..isn’t this man a gem???’’ I gushed

“Well I kind of feel huge pressure on me now mom,’’ Pepper irritatingly mentioned. Although I did detect a bit of pride under the snarky comment.

Anyway, cut to Pepper getting his results for his first of two Board exams he has to write to qualify as an auditor. Yes, he passed….….was dying to shout from the rooftops, but remained mum, as did not think my Pepper wanted me to behave in such an undignified manner. Next morning I woke up to the most special message from Mr Shame, congratulating Pepper on passing the Boards, and telling me how my boys have grown into amazing young men, who he is extremely proud of. Well…….with tears in my eyes, I immediately forwarded this beautiful message on to my spices. Crickets…..….that is what I got….….crickets!! I summonsed Pepper, and asked him if he read the message, which he had.

‘’How special is that Pepper? I love this man! He just continues to be amazing!!’’ I said, expecting at the very least, a grunt from Pepper.

Crickets….I got crickets….

‘’Pepper??? How amazing is this man?” I prodded for SOME type of reaction.

‘’I am just a bit confused….how does he know I passed?’’

Wow……Pepper….just wow!!!!

Although, again  I did detect a bit of pride under the snarky comment.

How To Comfort A Person Who Is Grieving

In case you thought this would be an informative blog, you know, one which would assist you should you find yourself being called upon to comfort a loved one……. nope……..sorry. There is no ‘’right’’ or ‘’wrong’’ thing to do, say or even be.

In one of my recent blogs, I mentioned how, after losing my husband, different people displayed such different behaviour. There were those who were very ‘’hands on’’, but many were just there for the ride. Sounds bizarre, I know, and when it was pointed out to me early on by a good friend, I was actually annoyed that she had implied that. But, to be honest, since then, I have seen how those very same people are the ones who rush off to find the next person going through the grieving process. For some, it makes them feel good about themselves, for others, it is so they can be seen to be doing the ‘’correct’’ thing, and for the rest, believe it or not, it is so that they can report back to everyone who might need to get the lowdown. Kind of ‘’hear it here first’’ vibe.

Then there were those who you had expected to be totally there, and from whom you craved comfort, but did not give you what you needed. In retrospect, perhaps it was just too painful or awkward for them.

Then there were those that would say something causing you to fantasize about handing out one swift slaps across the face, coupled with a facial expression of bewilderment as to the empty-headed, half-witted and mindless words they had just uttered.

Then there were those that did absolutely nothing, but were the most comforting. These are the people we all hope to be when supporting a person going through loss.

I hope that this is not coming across as me in any way being ungrateful for the love that was showered upon me during that time. No matter who does what, or how they do it, you just lap up any and every bit of love and comfort that you are blessed with. And once you look back, you are totally aware of the fact that they all meant well, and did the best they knew how.

So, having been the “griever” at one point, one would imagine that I would know exactly how to behave when I became a ”grievee”. One would assume that I would know exactly what words would be comforting, what words would be annoying or whether there should even be words!!

Why I had thought that is beyond me, as I have always believed that every person’s loss is different. In fact, every person’s different loss is different.

Since my husband passed away, I have also lost my mom and my dad. Each loss was totally different, and I had (and continue to have) totally different grieving processes. The grieving process never ends. It gets easier perhaps, it rears its head less over time, but once you have suffered a loss, it becomes part of your life.

So it would have been totally unrealistic for me to have assumed that, for me particularly (a person who does not even know when and what to say during the normal course of events), I would have had any idea how to comfort a ‘’griever’’.

However, if you feel you know the person well enough, one would imagine that you should have the upper hand, would you not? Would you not know what would help and what would infuriate (yes…some people say the most infuriating things) the person? It is always an awkward situation for the grievee, but some people are just really good at it, and know exactly what and when (and even if) to say something. They are naturals at it, and just slip into the role comfortably. They do no over thinking, they just do them. These people are probably in the minority though.

Even those that infuriate, mean well. One just becomes very selfish at certain points in the grieving process, and people can say the most inappropriate things, which on a normal day, might not have had you wanting to sucker punch them.

Just as an example, when someone innocently says “‘bye enjoy your weekend.”

Those simple and usually inoffensive words, have you thinking, enjoy my weekend??? What???? How do you expect me to ever enjoy my weekend again you blithering mongrel???????

I too have undoubtedly said some of those things too, in the last month or so.

The Blog I made reference to earlier, referred to a dear friend of mine who felt she needed to apologize for not being more supportive, after I had lost my husband. When I was explaining to her how there was no need for her to feel bad, as I had always felt that she was comforting me and continuously embracing me with warm hugs, I had no idea that she was about to suffer the loss of a loved one too.

When this happened, I was at a loss on how I was going to be able to comfort her. Firstly, she lives across the ocean, and secondly, she, like me, tends to internalize things a lot. So naturally, I stepped back, so as not to suffocate her. However, I then started to think about the fact that she felt guilty for having stepped back when I was grieving, so would that mean that she would expect and need more from me in her current situation? And then the over-thinking and feelings of guilt almost start to take over what is actually important. Just being there for your friend, even in your thoughts, as she was for me. Stop over thinking, stop feeling guilty, just send her love, light and strength….be it only in your thoughts and prayers, and she will be sure to receive it.

Shortly thereafter, a friend who I have reconnected with recently (thank you COVID), experienced a double and tragic loss of two direct family members (f*** you COVID). This friend also stood on the sidelines when I was grieving, but in her own way, was uber supportive. I think there are those that can be ”supportive”, to the extent that they catch you before you fall, and then there are those that can be ”comforting” once you fall. Then there are those that are both. Truly, either works, but some find it harder than others to be either.

This friend was the friend who stood by quietly waiting to catch me before I fell. Her and her special family (who did not know me at all before my loss), were so there for my children and I. She is very much like me too, as she just likes to be left alone to process things, before being bombarded with grievees. So, again, there I was, not knowing what to do, how to do it or when to do it. The over thinking and the guilt was even more intense, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, she is a neighbour who I see regularly, and secondly, the two people that she lost were so comforting to me years earlier.

It is just so difficult, as no matter whether you have suffered loss, or been fortunate enough not to have suffered a loss, one just never knows how to behave. Is it enough? Is it too much? Who knows?

At the end of the day, we do the best that we can, and whether there is a ”right” way or a ”wrong” way of helping a person through their grief, we will never really know. The extent to which we contributed to ease their grieving process, they themselves might only realise years later….if ever.

So of course, I made all the standard mistakes…. feeling helpless, useless and guilty …..being suffocating….being absent….saying the wrong things. But hopefully, for both my dear friends, somewhere in that equation, I have also been helpful and been useful….been there enough, but not too much and said some ‘’right’’ things.

Is Too Politically Correct INCORRECT??

Might well be……..

So growing up, I always remember my mom saying, ‘’when America sneezes, the whole world gets a sick.’’

This analogy was the perfect way to explain how the Americans were always the pioneers, particularly in those days, and how the whole world waited with baited breath to see what they would next revolutionize! To a certain extent much of the world has caught up in a lot of ways, but America is still very much the frontrunner in a multitude of ways. There are a lot of things that America should be commended for, but being TOO politically correct is absolutely not one of them!!

I did previously refer to this (what I perceive to be) problematic little glitch in the ”advanced” development of this Country. In one of my previous blogs, ‘’Is Political Correctness A Breeding Ground For Racism’’, I touched on the fact that in my mind, being so politically correct when it comes to the disease of racism, creates more segregation, hatred and anger.

In order not to be perceived as ‘’an American basher’’, I did not discuss in that blog, that the country latches on to anything where a degree of political correctness is required, and slaughters the issue to such an extent, that all those fanatics just become more fanatical! So by attempting to be ‘’too right’’, it backfires, and becomes wrong!

There was the excessively overstated ‘’Me Too’’ movement, which just gave chauvinists, predators and misogynists more food for locker room conversations. And, truly, if anyone thought that any of the guilty parties apologizing was anything more than a PR stunt…….….rise and shine!! The guilty parties are still chauvinists, predators and misogynists, and even more so, as they were named and shamed by their victims.

Another topic that America has sunk its teeth into, is anything related to same sex relationships. I have no issues with same sex relationships. I am quite unaffected by them, and believe that you should just do you. As long as you are happy, that TRULY is all that matters! But the one who sneezes and gives the rest of the world influenza, is starting to work on my nerves, as this issue is being so over embraced, it cannot even be taken seriously anymore!!

I am an adult with a brain (not yet medically confirmed), and I will either have a problem with something, or not. I will either be a prejudiced bigot, or I will not.  Will trying to homogenize certain groups of people by CONSTANTLY engulfing people in the topic, not just diversify these groups even more? I say absadamnlutely!!

I mean….can we not just accept everyone for how they behave, and how they make us feel? Are we so uneducated and unsophisticated, that we have to constantly be spoon-fed on the way we are required to feel about something? Do we really think that the bigots and radicals are going to suddenly become ‘’educated’’ about an issue, if it is constantly being included in every movie, TV show, advertising campaign and every other medium that can possibly be utilized, in order to get the point across by overstating it??

Well I think bloody not!!

Of course the same applies to mixed race relations, and hot on the heels of this, gender neutral, transgender, non-binary etc are starting to be Hollywood’s next ‘’too politically correct’’ projects. It is going to soon reach a point where we will feel like everything we see, hear and watch will be a ‘’Tolerance Workshop 101”!!

Now, the reason I mention this, is because the most blatant misuse of political correctness was highlighted in a Netflix series I am watching at the moment. Yes…….I looooooove me some Netflix binging at all hours of the night, when my manic brain refuses to quieten down. The Series in question shall remain nameless, as, I am kind of ashamed to admit that my guilty pleasures are ‘’reality’’ shows. I use the quotation marks, as for the most part, even the so called reality shows have become scripted, which then makes them just another piece of fictional viewing. But when I find a new series, it generally starts off fairly real, until the producers realize that the ratings will increase with a bit of manipulation of the scripts. That is when I tap out.

My partiality for such shows, is that I have always so enjoyed observing human behaviour and interaction, and that has been the way I have managed to do it, without sitting at a coffee shop, and appearing all weird and stalker like. So, back to my newly found still real reality show. Well, it already has twelve seasons, and I am only on season four, so I am sure ten years after the fact it is loaded with scripted actors and an abundance of politically correct relationships and plots. But for now, I was still seeing the authentic relationships between people, who were not aspiring actors or musicians or social media influencers. Until last night, that is.

So the premise of the show is getting a group of twenty somethings to work and live together for a season. As always, people fight, bicker, fall in and out of lust, and in and out of love. There have been tears, arguments and lots of drama to wet the taste buds. From the outset, reference has been made to these individuals’ home lives and relationships through the whole season, but we were never introduced to any of these people on the actual show. Clearly, this season was the one that was filmed at a time when all the politically correctness of the film industry had made it’s way to the surface. And so the start of the scripted and unreality season began to play out.

One of the female cast members, who had appeared in previous seasons, and who was hooking up with any male who was willing and able, was now in a same sex relationship with someone. We see her Skype calling her partner every five minutes, also nothing we had seen previously. Then lo and bloody behold, her partner is brought on to one of the episodes. Never happened before with any cast member’s heterosexual partner. Not only did this partner appear on the episode, but after each scene, there was a scene devoted to this couple swallowing each other’s faces. Not seen previously with any of the heterosexual couples. In fact, because I have always been a total prude, coupled with the fact that I am……..well…..…old, I have never enjoyed watching any type of nudity, sex or face swallowing on the big screen, small screen or any bloody screen!! So with all the hook ups that had previously taken place on this show, everything was always implied, and I enjoyed not having to endure the uncomfortable viewing of any graphically passionate behaviour……until now.

The thing for me, is that if anyone thinks that this is going to educate the already bigoted person, and that by some small miracle, they will suddenly be more mindful of their bigotry, and more tolerant towards certain people….or by some humungous miracle, actually change their mindset……uuuuum…..no…..not gonna happen!!!!!

And, yes, before you rant and rave about inclusivity and representation, something the younger generation desperately needs to witness, I get that. Of course we need our youth to see that they are accepted and included in society irrespective of race, religion, size or sexual orientation. This is paramount! HOWEVER, what I am also saying, well pleading, is can the one who sneezes not have EVERY SINGLE thing revolve around all these issues to the point where the heterosexual, non-discriminatory and liberal peace and love to all who live on earth people start feeling like they are not bloody normal????

Catch you later, cheers, Namaste, bye-bye, see ya, mind how you go, ta ta, toodeloo, hasta la vista, later,  keep it real, peace, peace out, take it easy, cya, awe, talk soon….. …hope I covered it all!!

Virtual Comfort

So I woke up to a text message from a friend (one of my specials) recently. This friend, I have seen about 4 times in the last 20 plus years, and for those who read my blogs regularly, she was the ‘deserter’ that left me….just like that, plenty years ago, in order to move to another Continent. Before she left, we shared a special relationship, but one of those where we did not see each other that regularly. After she left, we did not keep in constant contact. In fact months, even years would go by without any contact. However, I always knew she was there, and always held a special place in my heart for her.
 
This past December, we had the opportunity to spend more time together and reconnect, more than we had since she had left. If COVID had a good side, that was one of them!
 
So this message took me straight back to an emotional place where I had not been for easily over 14 years. As mentioned previously, I have an amazing skill of locking emotions away if they hurt too much. Just to paint a picture….imagine if you will a whole lot of objects that need to be packed away in a closet. Imagine further, the closet reaching bursting point, but many objects still needing to fit in. Then imagine me (or any old grumpy mummy will do for the purposes of this exercise), cramming the rest of the items in the closet. Items falling and being put back, to the point where I then have to lean against the door, in order to prevent it from bursting at the seams, and slipping the remainder of the items through a little crack. Once everything is in, I then slowly turn, place my back on the door, and use my legs to push me back until the door slams shut. There….that is how it is done. Packed away, never to be unpacked. That door has to be closed for good! Fabulous!!
 
Of course everyone and their granny will totally disagree, and will go on for days about how one needs to ”deal with emotions” in order to ”move on”. Well everyone….and your granny…. some people can never deal with certain emotions, as they hurt way too much to deal with, and the way we ‘’move on’’  is to ‘’tap out’’. It has worked for 55 years. And I do not intend changing the formula now.
 
This is why I ignored the cries of ‘’you need to go for counselling’’ from day one and a half after my husband passed away. I mean it took me five years to stop feeling like I was reeling from shock, how on earth would a third party have helped me deal with emotions that I needed to go through anyway? We know what we can handle, and deal with it if and when we are ready!!
 
I totally understand that certain people need a third party to tell all their tales of woe to, but I have used my friends as ‘’soft therapy’’ over the years, and for the rest of it I have managed to store it away in that closet, which is apparently not healthy. But this morning I realized how perfectly healthy it can be for one such as me.
 
However, as I am one in a million who feel this way, I have often wondered if I would be in a different place emotionally….calmer…. less intense….more sunshine and less clouds if you will….. had I done what the other 999 000 people automatically assumed was what one does.
 
Yet, not on reading the text message, but on replying to it, I went straight back to feeling of shock, fear, sadness and trauma, that I felt for months following that dreaded life changing date of 25 November 2005. And when I say ‘’straight back’’, I mean literally ‘’straight back’’!!!! Perhaps it was on replying to the message that this happened, as I was deep in the throes of trying to explain to her, how I had felt during that time. I clearly let my guard down, and I proceeded to cry the ”death cry”. For anyone (counselled and un-counselled) who has lost someone near and dear to them, particularly when it was unexpected, they will know exactly what type of cry that is. It is not a hysterical or loud cry. There is no drama or even sobbing that accompanies it. Nope……it is as if someone has opened a tap, and tears just come streaming down your face……for..…well as long as it takes…and then that inconsiderate swine of a person just switches off the tap……just like that. And then you carry on with the rest of your day as normal. This happens at the strangest and most unexpected times, and for those fortunate enough not to have lost someone hugely important to them, you will just not be able to understand this strange and involuntary behaviour!!
 
If my chained, bolted and locked closet is not bad enough, I am also that person who feels uncomfortable with physical or verbal comfort. This is only because I feel extremely vulnerable and weak if any such emotions are displayed openly on my part. So bizarre, taking into account that here I am, sharing it for all and sundry to read about. But this is different. Firstly, it is after the fact, so I can just be my ever so self deprecating self about the incident. Also, I am kind of anonymous (other than my friends and family who know who I am. But the latter won’t judge me (too much) for my weaknesses and vulnerabilities. And if they do…that is also okay.

So I’m that person who literally will break down when I am at my stillest moment, and when I flub it occasionally, and do it publicly, I am well aware of the awkward position I am putting people in, and feel extremely guilty. I just feel uncomfortable for them…I mean the reality of it, is that it’s awkward for people….the whole messy encounter….the subconscious head tilting..…the sorrowful expression….we are all guilty of it….even me when the tables are turned. It is just a normal human reaction. This is not the death cry. This is the heart wrenching, loud sobbing worthy of an Oscar performance cry. After this session, you are emotionally drained and it takes a few bits to get back to business. This also comes at the strangest times, and this also, only a fellow sufferer will understand.

Now, because I have such issues with showing weakness and vulnerability, I prefer ‘’virtual hugs’’ and ‘’virtual comfort’’. So, basically, due to my insane intuitiveness, when you are sending me one of those….I receive it. This can be so much more powerful than what you receive from people whose lips are moving and saying comforting things, but you just know there is nothing behind that. For me….rather say nothing, it is better that way. Us grievers understand that not every person we encounter in our lives gives a damn about our grief. Why should they?
 
I do not want to discredit all the people whose lips moved, and who were being totally heartfelt, as they were incredibly comforting as well, it just made ME uncomfortable…if that makes sense? I just always feel the need to say, ’’I apologise for putting you in this position……no need to speak…….just send your wishes telepathically…….if it is genuine and heartfelt, I will receive it……promise!!!”
 
So having said all that, the reason for this blog is simple. My special friend messaged me a brave and raw message, which was meant as a heartfelt apology, but while explaining to her that she had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to apologize for, and that she was one of the people who virtually comforted and embraced me over the years, I inexplicably went straight back to that f**** awful place I was in way back then, had a few moments of a death cry, and realized that I am just dandy not revisiting emotions that are too painful. I also realized in that moment, that I have been so dramatically altered by losing my husband, and with or without therapy, I will never be that semi-happy, at times relaxed, slightly tolerant and tolerable person again. Instead here I am…grumpy, intense, intolerant, angry and bitter.

Coffee date anyone??

Insomnia, REM And CBD Oil!!

If you are not interested in reading about my mundane daily life……catch you on my next blog. But if you are interested in the life and times of a fellow LIFELONG sleep deprived adult….to you I say…..WELCOME my fellow deranged ones!!!

Now, it is important to begin by saying that I have always tried to maintain a fairly healthy lifestyle. I have tried to ensure I was as active as possible and have always been a strong believer that the food we put in our bodies contributes nine tenths to our medical and emotional wellbeing, particularly in this day and age.  I mean….what with our stress levels through the roof, unhealthy environment and manic lifestyles, it is only responsible to try and ensure that we remain healthy where we have the power and control to do so. Of course, even ‘’healthy’’ food is not so healthy any longer, and virtually everything we consume now has additives, pesticides and the like, but we can only do our best.

The fact that I existed on sugar and fat for a good few years is irrelevant. Well, okay, totally relevant, but I was not eating wheat and dairy so at least it kinda, sorta balanced out. Also irrelevant is the fact that I absolutely DO NOT smoke….why would you even think such a thing, who have you been talking to??? Okay, this too is relevant, but it is kinda, sorta my only guilty pleasure. I mean, I hate the fact that I smoke, am self conscious of going within a 50 yard radius of anything that breathes after having had a cigarette, and pretty much only do it in front of people that I am fairly comfortable with. All in all, I am an ardent anti-smoker, and totally disapprove of it…….but yet…..

As confused as you might be, it gets worse. I am very disciplined, have oodles of self control and you would virtually have to tie me down before I would agree to take any non herbal or homeopathic medication. I mean, you won’t find me putting POISON in MY temple……but yet…..

Just prior to our COVID lockdown, we had a days notice that the sale of cigarettes was going to be banned until further notice. While everyone else was screaming ‘’corrupt Government’’, ‘’makes no sense’’, and rushing out to buy gazillions of cartons of cigarettes to stock up for the apocalypse, (as opposed to those that rushed out to buy gazillions of rolls of toilet paper), I chose to reason that once my remaining box was finished, I would be forced to give up smoking. Yaaay, the liberating feeling of me soon becoming a non smoker….my last surviving crutch…..was AMAZEBALLS!!

So there I was, during lockdown, smoking two and a half cigarettes a day. I just do not have the energy or inclination to discuss the logic behind the ”half” cigarette, so I shall just move on. I took up my newfound healthy pastime of walking….…just to keep busy and my mind off smoking, and also to ensure that if I did contract COVID, I would be aware of it immediately. What with the minuscule amount of nicotine in my lungs, and my plan to have my machine well oiled, I was bound to pick up the fact that that dreaded plague had entered my body!! So, that was the plan…..

But back to my sleep deprivation! I have never slept well. As an infant…nope. My poor mother suffered endlessly with me, and apparently so did my oldest brother. I suspect, him being thirteen at the time, had the sense to know when my mother, the most patient and gentle natured human, had reached her limits. So, possibly he would take over for my own protection! As a child………forget about it, and as a teenager, when all other teenagers were ”growing” until 12 noon……..NOPE.

When I was about due with my first child, every person told me to enjoy my sleep….never had!! Of course, as I mentioned previously, it was then even harder for me to get some sleep, as then I had given birth to a shocking sleeper (yes, Karma), who dictated when I could actually sleep. So I was not sleeping as I never had, AND, when I would have ordinarily caught some sleep, Lord Fauntleroy was having none of it!!

So, according to Doctor Google, an ideal night’s sleep involves four to five 90-minute cycles of different phases of sleep as the night progresses. There is ”wake” (check), ”light sleep” (check), ”deep sleep” (not so much) and ”REM” (NEVER!!!!). The learned Doctor goes on to say that in the deep sleep phase (not so much), the body relaxes even further. Well there you bloody are!!! No wonder I NEVER relax. My body has never experienced this thing they call ‘’relax’’!! Then the REM phase (NEVER), is believed to benefit learning, memory, and mood , and a lack thereof may have adverse implications for physical and emotional health. Well knock me over with a feather!! Fifty five years of attempted self diagnosis and it is all starting to fall in place!! NOT ENOUGH SLEEP!!

The reasons have always been many. Sometimes it is stress, and my mind is racing. Sometimes I am tossing and turning for no reason at all. I have been known to have phases where I would be cooking, baking or making glycerin soaps to pass the sleepless nights away. Sometimes I almost intentionally wake up to catch up on my TV viewing. Well currently, it appears, I wake up to eat!!!!

So last night, I had a pretty normal night….for me….slept at around 9pm, woke up at around 11pm, had a ”little” snack, slept and woke up at around 1am, had another little snack….I mean one surely feels peckish two hours after a little ‘’snack’’, went back to sleep, and by 3 am was up and making my breakfast!! After shoveling the filled to the top bowl of porridge down my gullet, I had my best sleep until 5am, and proceeded to get ready for work.

Now, if one were to remove the last part of the sentence, one would swear this was describing the night of a newborn!!!

Although you might think that this is all going to lead to the fact that I had ultimately given up the filthy habit of smoking during COVID, and hence have become one with newborn eating habits in the evening….of course not, where there is demand…..there is supply……and there I was, a first time dabbler on ‘the black market” in order to get my next box of cigarettes!! So the answer to your question, is nope still a smoker……AND an every two hour at night snacker.

So I thought…try sleep later….uh uh, no improvement…..try eat later…..still not…..eat later and more…..nope, still doing the midnight fairy thing. I do not wake up and eat because I am hungry. I wake up and eat because it is another filthy habit I have adopted, and my demented and deranged brain insists, as it always has, with sticking to a routine!! Unfortunately, whether it is a beneficial or destructive routine is never the issue with me. AS LONG AS I STICK TO THE ROUTINE!!

Now recently we have been exposed to the hype of the miraculous CBD products. When I first heard about them, I was horrified. These people are advertising weed…dagga….grass…hash….. cannabis….marijuana?? I was shocked to say the least!! I mean, sure, I had recently dabbled in the dark underworld of the black market, but this was a whole new level!!

Once it was REPEATEDLY explained to me that CBD was just an extract of cannabis, and would perform miracles of ANY and EVERY nature, I still was very suspicious of this. Everyone and their granny had used it for some or other issue, and the results were ‘’amazing’’. It started reminding me of the adverts we sometimes see on our side of the world, which go something like this:-

CONTACT DR GOODFELLOW TO CURE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:-

Allergies;

Heart disease;

Infertility;

Depression;

Lethargy;

Diabetes;

High blood pressure;

High cholesterol;

Anxiety;

Eczema;

Weight loss/gain;

Premature ejaculation; and

Penis Enlargement.

……..AMONG OTHER THINGS (huh…what is left??)

So although I was convinced that the Baby Boomers/Generation Jonesés/Generation X’s and Xennials were being unashamedly exploited by the legalization of weed, out of sheer desperation, I became a statistic in the CBD oil user pool a few weeks ago.

Has it helped? Not even an iota!!!!!

Is Tolerance A Breeding Ground For Enabling?

I might have mentioned a couple (or sixty) times in my past blogs, that I am intolerant. In addition, I am often perceived to be (even by myself at times….actually regularly), insensitive. I also seem to keep feeling the need to explain my intolerance every few hundred times a blog! I think that the reason I do this is because I prefer to see my intolerance as ”sensible” or ”practical”. I say this, because I have been known to be exceptionally tolerant when the need is called for. 

The insensitivity is not as easy to explain away, as I am actually super sensitive, but manage to completely block myself off to protect myself…..from myself, in that I am totally aware of what I can handle emotionally.

So, by way of an example, if someone was to give me a pitiful story about something that I know will hurt me too much, I immediately dive (ever so gracefully) into an imaginary ocean, where I am unable to hear or see anything further, other than the sights and sounds of the beautiful and peaceful ocean. Of course there are times, where the graceful dive is reduced to a belly flop, or I have been caught off guard and have heard or seen something, before I  have had the time to do my graceful dive, which then stings and aches immeasurably…..for a long time.

At the risk of being repetitive to my regular readers, I think the best way to explain this away, is to say that I am selfish and sensible with my tolerance and compassion. Now, truth be told, I was not always like that. No, in my youth, I was the polar opposite! I also used to be the naive and gullible overly sensitive person, willing to do for everyone, feel for everyone and just basically carrying the worries of everyone on my shoulders. But slowly, slowly, I got burnt, abused and taken advantage of. Not in that ”boo hoo, I need therapy to deal with my emotionally abused youth” kind of way. Nope, more in a ”lesson learnt…fool me once” kind of way. So, as with everyone, life happens, we live and we learn, and some of us just learn the lesson a little too well……that would be me. 

Now, in one of my inner circles, one of the members is a logical, calm, rational and TOLERANT somebody. I, on the other hand, am NOT!! I am so not calm, and can become totally irrational at certain times. The third member in this scenario is the member seeking a logical, calm, rational and tolerant somebody. So in other words, not me! For the last lots of years, I have been viewed as the insensitive and intolerant villain in the picture. Not by the rational somebody, as this somebody remains non-judgmental about everything and everyone….I am exceedingly envious of this somebody!!! No, the judgement comes from me, myself and I…..and I am almost certain by the third member and anyone who has been prepared to listen to their one side of the story!

Whenever a situation arose that caused me to erupt into a flaming volcanohot materials being thrown out of my mouth, while huge amounts of expletives go hurtling across the room at anyone in earshot distance, the logical and rational member would try and calm me down…..umm…well…logically and rationally. And while this never really succeeded, it did succeed in making me feel like a crazy and unstable super sinner. All the while of course, member number 3 plodded along…..blissfully unaware of what I had just allowed them to put myself through. Crazy right? One would think I would only allow myself to have made that mistake once in a lifetime, and then adopted the rational member’s attitude going forward. But nope….apparently not!!

So over the years, I managed to beat myself up REPEATEDLY about how I allowed myself to be affected by this person’s behavior. And, although I never thought I was wrong (rarely do b.t.w), I did feel bad about myself for having these negative emotions, at times questioning whether I was just a cold hearted and intolerant cow.

So a situation arose recently where I had an eruption, although, pat on my back, as it was a fairly self-controlled eruption….especially under the circumstances. This could be due to a number of factors…..shock…horror…COVID growth…acceptance that some things will never change….who knows. I did, for a millisecond think that perhaps I was wrong in being highly irritated and lacking even an ounce of compassion, and the way forward would be to try and be more tolerant and compassionate towards this third member. But then, as quickly as that thought entered my mind, it was replaced by another thought. I wondered….. at what point does tolerance become the breeding ground for enabling?

For me, the enabler is as guilty as the enabled. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am as guilty as the next person for enabling certain people in my past (and present). I am well aware of it, but it still does not make it right. Unfortunately, the enabled manages to emotionally manipulate the enabler into enabling them, and this is a very difficult relationship for the enabler to sever. 

In my mind, there are two reasons someone enables another.

There are those…..me….I am those….who are well aware that they are enabling the enabled, are aware of the long term damage and never ending cycle that they are creating, and fantasise about whacking them with a ten foot metal pole….repeatedly!! These are the people that choose to enable the enabled, because they would rather do that, than deal with the conflict, temper tantrums and drama, something the enabled manage to pull off so very well when things do not go their way.

Then there are the enablers who are totally unaware of the role they are playing in their enabled’s life. I assume this is because they are blessed with an abundance of tolerance, compassion (and naivety), and they just assume that they are helping the person, or giving them an opportunity to better themselves. Of course, there would be times where someone does manage to be part of a life changing moment for a person by showing compassion, and tolerance. However, if this has happened, the person he has managed to assist was truly needing a ‘’leg up’’ and not a lifetime subscription to emotional and financial support, aka ‘’the enabled’’.

Now, one can rightly argue that, even if one in two people that you have tolerance and compassion for, will land up having their lives changed for the better, would it not make sense to just trust the process at the risk of becoming an enabler the other half of the time? Probably yes, but I cannot take that risk, as I am way too selfish to feel like I have been taken advantage of! And think about how many enabled people you would collect in your lifetime?? Nope, I will leave it to the rest of the tolerant and compassionate people out there to attend to.

But, despite my self-confessed selfishness, I also think that, as much as the uber tolerant and compassionate person means well, they can in fact become part of the problem, as they are then an enabler. Becoming an enabler is almost like owning timesharing. It is yours for life, as no one else wants to take it from you (even for free), it drains you emotionally and/or financially and adds absolutely nothing positive to your life.

So in this ‘inner circle’ I speak of, I have decided that actually….again…I am right. The one third logical, calm, rational and TOLERANT somebody, has unintentionally become the second third’s enabler, and I have actually behaved accordingly!! Just nod and smile people…..nod and smile!

COVID – Is This Our New Normal??

So like me, I assume most of the World is still waiting in anticipation for things to get back to ”normal” again. Early last year, the entire world came to a standstill for a millisecond, and then we started this adventure into the unknown, where we assumed that a couple of months (which seemed like an eternity at the time) of pausing our lives, would result in the world returning to ”normal” again. Then months later, we were still waiting, and, over a year later we are still waiting.   

This is now the third instance of paranoia that I am putting myself through since COVID became a thing! I naively assumed that by being careful and keeping my children chained to the kitchen stove, we were one of the fortunate ones that had got through the first wave without being affected (or rather, INFECTED). The second wave then hit us, and that time it was not so easy to keep them chained up, or myself for that matter, as I had no choice, but to continue with living as I did before………only with a mask and armed with double barrelled sanitizers wherever I went. But again, I counted our blessings that we had not contracted COVID. I was also so grateful that no one very close to me had been affected by it.

I have been particularly concerned about my one brother, who can ill afford to be affected by COVID. He has been plagued by emphysema for a few years now. It is like dealing with a delinquent, who refuses to listen to my pleas to stay safe, as he just wants to continue being out and about, spreading his bloody kindness everywhere, and saving the entire bloody world…..flipping putz. He then has the audacity to tell me he is doing what makes him happy, and I must not worry about him. Well I AM NOT HAPPY!!! Him staying safe….that is what will make me happy!!!

Now again, we are in our third wave, and everyone around me either has it, or knows someone who has it, and it is even MORE of a challenge to stay safe, as we really have had no choice, but to continue with our daily lives. Now though, we are almost getting used to living with this monster, and I dare say are at risk of becoming ”immune” to it. NOT IMMUNE TO THE DISEASE DAMMIT….TO THE RISKS!!

I have reached that point now, that we are all sitting ducks, and we are all going to get it eventually. This is in total contrast to how I felt initially. Initially, I was THAT person, the one who was quite happy to spend my days in isolation until such time as this ridiculous thing had passed. Being a closet recluse, the idea seemed do-able enough…….actually most appealing! My life would not have changed too dramatically anyway. I would then just have had an excuse for never leaving my shell. In fact, for the initial lockdown, I did have an excuse for never leaving my shell….or even my house. That was until such time as some of my friends became increasingly judgmental and annoyed with me. This in turn led to me feeling that they might have been justified, and that I might have been leaning on COVID a little too much, and for some reason, I felt pressured to venture out….safely of course. I had to endure the ridiculing and their eyerolling as I tried to stay at a distance, sanitized every 1.5 minutes and insisted on keeping my mask on…..did I mention these were my ”friends”??  

Until the ”just ending first wave” and ”just starting third wave”, annual check ups to the dentist just did not happen……not even an option in my mind. Hair was unattended, and the shaver came out for Salt and Pepper. They had not let me near them with that shaver for years (who can blame them). But at that point they did not even care, as they were not sure anyone would ever see them in the flesh again anyway. Pepper was ready to move in with the neighbour (who is a really toxic and impossible woman….well he has lived with me for 24 years I suppose), or anyone who would take him, and my younger child, Salt was ready to be admitted into what is probably becoming a very trendy institution for the exceedingly depressed…..now there’s an opportunity for some rich entrepreneur to make money out of COVID!!  Of course, I refused his request, as it was not safe!! 

So yesterday morning I was driving to work, and I was looking around at how ”normal” mask wearing has become. Imagine if someone had said two years ago that this would be the picture we would be faced with on a daily basis in our future? I know I certainly would NEVER have believed this. This led me to thinking about whether I would EVER feel comfortable not wearing a mask, and not sanitizing every 1.5minutes again!! This in turn led me to wondering, or more specifically concluding, that this IS THE NEW NORMAL.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the old normal is now over. Sure, it might get safer and less scary in time, as it becomes the norm, and sure, there will be (already are) the people (Pepper…..hmmmmph), that have continued on with their lives as before. But for the most part….this is it. No more old normal for the world. This is not going away, and if it does, a cousin twice removed from COVID is waiting in the wings to replace it. 

I am starting to think that we will never again have the opportunity to sing along to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline ……ever again!! One simply cannot sing about ”hands touching hands”, and ”people reaching out, touching me touching you”, without performing the actions as well!! 

I do so feel for the younger generation though….. the kids that are supposed to be mingling and honing their socializing skills, and those supposed to be meeting their future partners. Although for the most part the younger generation have been totally irresponsible from the get go, and have not been hugely careful about this whole thing anyway. Largely to blame was the information supplied that children ‘’cannot get COVID”, shortly followed by ‘’children do not get it severely’’. But what is the future going to hold for this new generation? I suppose they will navigate it amongst themselves, and start living their ”normal”.

Of course the even younger kids will not know any other normal anyway, and probably have hours of amusement and disbelief about what our normal was!! It is probable that there are going to be, as there have been all along, two schools of thought. One being the school that I attend, which is stay aware, stay away and STAY SAFE!!!! But as mentioned, for me that is so simple, as I am that person anyway………you know….….all recluse like and in a constant routine rut. Then there is the other school of thought (also known as ”The Trump and/or Pepper’’ school of thought), which is f*** it, don’t believe this s***t, it is all a huge conspiracy, and it is nothing more than the common flu, so I’m just gonna go ahead and live my life as always. 

So, my argument (vaccination or no vaccination), is that the people trying to stay cautious and safe are not really going to remain safer, as there are a whole lot of other people that do not have that attitude. So, the virus will just linger indefinitely. And as I said previously, if by some ‘’herd immunity’’ or such like, the virus disappears into the abyss, there, hot on its hills, will be its cousin twice removed to take us back to square one. 

From this, the question surely arises as to why then am I bothering to try and remain safe? Well, for the moment, I feel perhaps my cynical reasoning is totally incorrect, and hopefully this is NOT OUR NEW NORMAL!

Truth OR Bliss?

Now because I am unfiltered, intolerant, grumpy and ……um….well….HONEST, people in the know are totally aware of the fact that I am the go to person to ask a question to which they are requiring an honest answer. I mean…what other answer would suffice?? Well, apparently, to many, the answer that they wanted to hear! Now me….. nope…. ask, and ye shall receive! It really is the only way I know. I have been told many times over the years by some, that this (personality defect) is what  they love about me. But of course, the other 99,9% of the people that know me are not really asking for the truth, and either tend to have a horrified look on their faces when I answer their question, or have been in the presence of me answering someone else’s question. So, for those that know me good and proper, either ask for my truth, or, if it is bliss you are after…. choose to ask someone nicer.

Literally….if I get asked a question to which I am aware my answer might be offensive, I will always ask, ‘’do you want the honest answer?” If they say no, I ask them to ask someone else. That is the extent of my filter…….which actually I find very honourable, don’t you?? Well, think about it…….if you want the truth, brace yourself, if you want some sugar coated lame lie…….move along!! Say what you want, personally I think by giving the person the option, I behave honourably!!

So, because I am that person, I absolutely love, appreciate and trust people that grant me the same courtesy to any questions that I might have. I have had most of my friends in my life for over fifteen years (hard to believe, I know), and have learnt who will be honest with me, and who will lie through their teeth just to make me feel better. There is, in addition, ‘’my person’’, who will lie through her teeth, but everything else on her face tells the truth. So sometimes I do run things by her, but she also thinks I am a bit batsh**t crazy, so I try not to ask anything controversial or sensitive, as she quietly goes into Neurogenic shock, which is unpleasant to witness!! She is also the one that has quite happily managed to channel her batsh**t crazy comments and opinions through me over the years.

I have no problem with being her Lucifer mouthpiece, as we kind of know each other so well, and are very similar in our way of thinking. However that similarity comes to an abrupt end when it comes to sensitivity and ,to a certain extent, tolerance. So she remains the ultimate lady, and I take her cues by verbalizing what she wishes she could have, when she has thrown me the bait. This is an unspoken, and most certainly UNMENTIONED agreement between us, which has worked well over the years. Not even sure if it is deliberate, but I do know we both feel better having aired our grievances (even if hers are aired through me).

So an example of my desire for the truth relates to a decision I had make with relation to my one cub, Salt, recently. I discussed the circumstances and my decision I had come to with my tribe of friends, as one does….well as I do, since I don’t have their dad to discuss it with, and they all backed my decision 1000%. Then a while later, the circumstances called for me to reassess my decision. The initial reason for me deciding not to do something had not changed. Just a little time had passed and a couple of related things occurred. But the crux of the argument in favour of my original decision remained unchanged. I reluctantly changed my mind, as I felt it was the only option. Next time I saw my tribe, they asked for updates on the issue at hand, and I updated them (quite sheepishly, as I assumed they would totally disagree with my change of heart), and, again, they backed me 1000%. Now, I realize it sounds feasible, as if the circumstances changed, their opinion could have changed. But that is not what happened in this particular situation. That 1000% original consensus, still applied even though my decision had changed. So what this tells me, is that my friends will back me 1000% no matter what. Sounds like any person’s idea of dream friends. Yes, indeed, but what I wanted was their honest truth!!

Then, on the opposite end of the scale, there is the only person in my world who is even more ruthless and honest than me. She goes further by insulting people (often their appearances), just by trying to be helpful. She literally has no clue what she is doing, and truly means well….and I LOVE her for it. So refreshing!! The only thing that would be even better, was if she spent more time with my regular tribe, who know her, but hardly see her. You see, if they were around her more often, she would make me look like a paragon of virtue!! But to be honest, she pretty much dislikes everyone and everything……in the world….. and will not be wasting any of her time on nitter natter or chit chat!!

I have mentioned her previously, as she was my walking partner for many years, and I would ask her any question that I ever had, even if it was not relevant any longer. Sometimes, I just needed to know if I had made the right decision back in 1923.

So, recently I was told that I ‘’looked tired’’. This is something I have regularly been told over the years. There are a multitude of reasons for this. Firstly….uuuum….I AM mostly tired. Never mastered the art of a decent night’s sleep, and am just a busy puppy generally. To add to the problem, I am a sinus suffererer, so black rings are kind of standard issue with sinus sufferers. Now, being told that you are ’’tired’’ is neither a compliment, nor the start of a compassionate conversation. No, it is merely a ‘’filtered’’ way of being told that you are an old haggardy and raggardy someone with puffy black ringed eyes. Being told that after 50, is a ‘’filtered’’ way of being asked, ‘’at what point will you accept that botox and fillers need to be included in your monthly budget??”

So of course, getting ready for work the next morning, I decided I was going to try harder, and give the people a better version of what I had thus far put forward (relax…only aesthetically…..no way I was going to become a better person!!!!!).  I spent about 10 minutes on my old haggardy and raggardy face, which is another person’s daily regime amounts to at least an hour.

Ten minutes later, I plucked up the courage to look at myself in the mirror (you know…as I would look to others), thought to myself okay, not great, but better, and  off I went on my merry way to work. As I left, I passed my more honest than me friend, taking her morning walk. After we finished with the pleasantries (about five seconds), she pointed at my face and asked ‘’What is going on here? Why don’t you put some lipstick on at least?’’ Granted, I did not have lipstick on, but the rest of the palette was a bloody ten minute masterpiece!!

So knowing I would get the truth, I asked whether she was saying I did not look good, and she unapologetically replied ‘’yes’’.

Dammit, where was that lying, untruthful tribe when I needed them??