Where is the “good” in goodbye?

On the morning of 10 September 2012, I received the call that I had been waiting for all night.  It was my sister on the other end and she said the words to me, brief but self-explanatory “he is gone”, I gave a feeble “ok” in response and hung up… and wept.  All alone in my bed with my rather horrified cat staring at me I cried like a baby, with nobody to comfort and console me.  When I finally stopped crying, I called my brother thousands of miles away and told him “Dad has passed away” saying the words made the reality all the more tangible and I broke down again.  My father had died, not unexpectedly, but in all honesty who actually expects anyone they love to die?

The events that followed were a whirlwind and a blur, I remember coffee in the home of a caring neighbor, weeping a few more times and traveling home.  I remember the apprehension we all felt as we approached the house, the nervous laughter dying down to be  replaced with confessions of fear and a dire wish for the car to turn back and take us across the border where we had come from.  I remember seeing my mother and my heart breaking all over again, the arrival and departure of people and finally the funeral.  A whirlwind and a blur.

I do not dwell on the fact that my father died, for that unfortunately cannot be changed, and will not help me in any way. In fact I am grateful that my father passed away leaving me as an adult able to care for herself and not a young helpless child as some have experienced.  Someone said to me recently that we deal with death by removing all thought of the deceased and perhaps even living our lives like they never existed.  But how can I do that?  Pretending the person through whom I exist never existed is like extinguishing my own existence.  Instead, I have chosen to celebrate my father’s life.  To remember him with love and fondness, beautiful and full of laughter and to allow him to continue living… in my memories.

The other day I was sitting on my couch looking at the TV but not exactly concentrating and I suddenly burst out laughing, a memory of my father had entered my mind.  A memory of him instructing us on how to kill a giant moth that had fluttered into our lounge so many years ago..  “usatarise mudenga chinokupinda mumhuno” (Don’t look up it will get into your nose)  Dad screamed as we tried to brush the moth with a feather duster.  You see, my father disliked creepy crawlies of all kinds and would never attempt to get rid of one on his own but would rather get one of us to do it!  The only problem was we too had developed the same irrational fear of bugs and lizards and all other manner of creepy crawlies that wondered into our home.

More memories came to me… how we would laugh so hard in the evenings whilst cleaning up after supper, Dad would shout at us to go and laugh outside.  Of course this only made us laugh even louder and in the end, even Mom and Dad would laugh with no idea what we had been laughing at in the first place.

I remember waiting up every evening for Dad to come home.  The moment the lights of the car lit the driveway we would zoom out of the house to open the gate for him (modern day kids have no idea what they are missing with their electric, remote controlled gates) Dad would stop just inside the gate and we would jump into the car for the short 50 metre drive down the driveway!  But that wasn’t the best part, more often than not; something yummy would await us in the car, usually some chips from Royal Sunflower and in later years Chicken Inn or some delicious baked goods.  Of course there were days when all Dad brought was a couple of loaves of bread and I am pretty sure our disappointment disappointed him (ungrateful brats we were).

Finally I remember the evenings after a shopping spree (we did not get clothes at Christmas like most children back then, but we got new clothes regularly and usually for church), after Dad had eaten his supper, we would all put on our new clothes and put on a fashion show to rival any fashion week (Just realised who is to blame for my shopaholic tendencies)!

When I look back on my childhood, I realize that although we were not rich, we were privileged.  My father worked hard and in his mind and his heart, everything he did was for the benefit of his family.

I believe that dwelling on these positive thoughts and beautiful sometimes funny memories will go a long way to helping me and my family cope with the loss of our father.  It wasn’t always all roses but I choose to only focus on the rosy parts and not the thorns.

Image

Chigamba Notice Chambati
1935-2012

From the bottom of my heart, I will always love you Dad.

To be or not to be… Friends with your ex!

Now that I have managed to get my head around technology I can finally get down to the business of writing, which is what I generally do best.

Sooo, we all know about what happens at the end of a relationship, the “its not me, its you” (No I mean it that way) the crying the getting over your heart break yadda yadda, but what about when all of that is over and done?  What if your ex wants you to be friends? Surely as mature adults we should be able to just get along? Send each other messages regularly and chat about the weather or some other mundane topic?  Maybe hook up for a drink once in a while and congratulate each other on milestones?  Are you nodding your head in agreement?  STOP!

Unless you and your ex run a business together or share children, there is absolutely no reason for you to remain friends!  9 out of 10 times when a relationship ends, somebody’s heart is broken and they are miserable, making the end of a relationship the worst way to possibly start a friendship! It’s the equivalent of someone deliberately stabbing you in the face with a broken bottle and then saying “hey lets be friends”. Anyone who believes they can be friends with their ex is delusional because it just doesn’t work; it defies all the parameters of what defines friendship.

There is always a reason behind an offer of friendship from an ex and it could be one of the following (I love lists):

1. They are not over you and are hoping that being friends might be a way of getting back together

2. You have just been downgraded to Booty Call status

3. They are evil and are trying to stop you from moving on with your life by staying in your face.

4. They have self-esteem and ego issues and want to know of any new developments in your life

5. They have self-esteem and ego issues and they want you to know of every development in their lives!

6. They never loved you that way and would have always preferred that you just remained friend.

If the reason is No. 1 and if you feel the same way then by all means be friends, get back together and live happily ever after. If it is any of the other 5 reasons then hell freaking no you don’t need that friend!

Regardless of the pitfalls of being friends with the ex, we all still do it and I don’t know if I am alone in saying it is really a recipe for further heart break.  Most of the time when we accept this friendship  we tell ourselves it’s because of reason No.1 , we believe that our ex is still in love with us and is hoping that being our friend will help to draw us close and repair the burnt bridges.  More often than not its everything else but that.

So how do you know your friendship with your ex is not going to work?

1. You still love him/her and you still want to get back together with them

2. He/she broke your heart

4. You don’t want them to move on

If you still love someone, how does it benefit you to agree to just be friends with them? You know full well its not what you want but you agree to it anyway, then whenever you talk you try and steer the conversation to how good you were together. “Good together”?  Are you serious, this Mo’ Fo dumped your ass without even a second thought and you think you were “good together” ?  They broke your heart and left you crying on your pillow for weeks and the moment you are over your broken heart they are back and want to be friends?  Is that some sort of cruel joke?  Where were they when you couldn’t listen to the radio because like Neyo you were “So sick”? Or when seeing a single dove made you weep because it reminded you that “one is for sorrow”!  When you called them and left messages begging them to call you back and they never did!  And now you think this person has the right to be your friend uh-uh no no no no no no no!

How are you going to feel in a month or so when they start telling you about their hot new man/woman?  Are you going to do the friendly thing, congratulate them and be happy for them or are you going to go back crying on your pillow?  Seriously this is foolishness and you need to move on!   And to all those insisting they want to be friends with an ex, get it into your thick skull, the relationship is over DON’T GO AWAY ANGRY, JUST GO AWAY!

My 2 cents worth!

Letting Go ….. Break the Chains

The most difficult thing a person could ever be asked to do is to let go.  The fact that you need to be told to do it demonstrates the level of difficulty for carrying out this operation.  I must admit I am guilty of, on occasion, tightening my grip and digging my heels in especially when it has something to do with a relationship that has gone belly up and is totally dead in the water!

A lot of the time when a relationship starts to go bad we intensify our efforts to save it which of course is natural.   However, often, the harder we try to revive, resuscitate and rescue it the more life we squeeze out of it.  At the end of it all we are left with a limp lifeless relationship that we drag around with us like a baby’s security blanket!

Why do we do this time and time again? Because letting go means accepting defeat.  Nobody wants to be a loser and so we would rather hold onto the carcass of our departed relationship than bury it in the ground where it belongs. But what are the signs that it is time to let go? In no particular order:

1. If you haven’t seen each other for months and yet they are still in the same country with you…

2. The only time you communicate is to have a fight…

3. Your conversations are all via some form of written electronic media i.e. Blackberry Messenger, Facebook, email and Yahoo messenger etc…

4. The only Cookie you are getting is that yummy chocolate chip with macadamia bits variety.

5. He/She is cheating…

6. He/She is abusive – Physically, verbally and emotionally…

If these signs are present then it might just be possible that your relationship has reached the point of no return and either needs to receive expert medical help or needs to be put out of its misery.

Of course even with some or all of these signs present I have from time to time continued to choke the last breath out of relationships… “Come one there’s still a little life in there”! It seems like such a waste of a perfectly failed relationship to just let it go, especially if there is a chance that your significant other will meet someone who will miraculously resurrect them and re-ignite their interest in love!

But that’s the real truth isn’t it? letting go of a relationship means that you are leaving that person to be free to have a relationship with someone else… Not something you want to think of. So we threaten them “You will never find someone who can love you better than me”  or “You will regret this” and as Mariah Carey would say “The one you gave away will be the only one you’re wishing for”! Well maybe and sometimes yes that does turn out to be the case. But more often than not we are devastated to discover that not only have they found someone who loves them better but they are so happy they are willing to commit to their new relationship, get married and live happily ever after!

In the end is it really worth putting ourselves through the trauma of working to fix a relationship that has been barely limping along or even worse in a vegetative state for a long while? Maybe it is but I will have to concur with the old adage – If you love someone, set them free, if they don’t come back it means they were not meant to be yours.

And if they come back sic the dogs on them and watch them run up the road as bits of their derriere are bitten off by Puma! Then get a restraining order. They don’t deserve you.

That’s my story, and Im sticking to it!

Be Free!

A Womans worth… valuable lessons.

A friend of mine and I were discussing  our value as women to men and what that value was based on, this really got me thinking… As women what are we really worth and what determines that worth.  After much thought I decided a woman’s worth should be based on her standards.  The quality of the standards she sets and her ability to ensure those standards are maintained.

As women we often have a clear idea of what we look for in a man, not the superficial rich, good looking Idris Elba part but the kind, patient, faithful man who is intelligent and willing to treat us right part. Then one day we meet this fine specimen of a man who has no patience and a temper like fire and suddenly its acceptable! Our requirement for patience flies out the window we no longer mind or even remember that patience was a standard we said was necessary in a potential mate. Next, this man turns out to be mean, nasty and selfish and hey that’s ok too another standard goes flying out the window. Slowly but surely as we try to keep this man our standards are whittled away until there is nothing and what does that do to our stock in that man’s eyes?  Our stock loses value and ends up worthless.  Because he knows our standards are not firm and can easily be swayed and he doesn’t need to make any effort to maintain them.

I thought of an example that I could use to illustrate this.  Imagine a Range Rover in a show room.  A potential customer walks in to buy this Range Rover and the price tag is there in all its blazing glory, then he says to the salesman “Ummm sales dude I want the Range Rover but the price is too high” and the sales dude says “Oooh a customer! Well Mr Customer this here Range Rover is going at this magnificent price but I can give you a 10% discount?”  The customer says “well that’s still kinda high how about another 10% off?” and the sales man says “ok I’ll give you another 10% and I’ll throw in the motor plan for free” and customer says “oh ok how about you deduct the cost of the engine and leather seats as well” eventually he pays $50 an old Zimbabwean 20c piece and some gum for your Range Rover!  Now of course He is ecstatic, he now owns a Range but what is it worth to him? If a taxi driver swipes the side of that car and scratches the paint will it hurt him as much as it would have if he had paid list price for it? Of course not it cost him $50 and some change and that’s exactly what it’s worth to him.
We set our standards (the Range Rover) and sometimes they are high so they can be negotiated to a reasonable level but if we have high standards and are ready to drop those standards to zero standards just because we want to keep that man (Customer) then we are just like that poor old Range Rover…. worthless.

Now how do you maintain your standards?  Well firstly by making sure this potential partner knows what those standards are from the get go.  Don’t lie to him about how low maintenance you are then BAMM spring your high maintenance demanding screaming B**** Diva on him.  Do not allow your standards to be deteriorated because you think that’s what is going to make this man stay with you.  You should really only be with someone who is willing to put in the effort or pay the price as it were.   Here’s how the professionals do it.

Customer walks into a Range Rover dealership.  By that time the sales dude has already seen what car he is driving and has some  idea whether he is worth the effort of stopping that game of solitaire and talking to.  Coz you know if the customer drove in in a broke down rust bucket Sales Dude is calling security on him?! So let’s say he thinks this potential customer is worth the effort, he will come to him great him and give him a run down on the great new features now available on the new Range Rover Sport and he will ask him if he likes.  If he likes he will take the Customer to his desk and calculate all the extras and give him a total price for the Executive Package.  If Customer says “err I like but the price is too high” then he will recalculate and offer him another package. Then the customer says “err still too high” then he will offer him the entry level package….. Still too high, he will offer him directions to the nearest Toyota Dealership ok!  This salesman has no doubt his Vehicle is value for money and if the potential buyer thinks the price is too steep, sure he is willing to negotiate but if he still can’t afford it then make no mistake, he is going to show him the door because nothing will make him compromise the value of his merchandise.

Women its ok to negotiate your standards as compromise is one of the Pillars of a long lasting relationship.  But don’t negotiate yourself to the point of changing your value and turning into that $50 Range.  Everyone has their own standards and levels may vary but if those are the standards you have set then stick with them. Remember you are worth a lot, and if not to that man then definitely to God.

But that’s just according to me.

Dedicated to my wonderful friend who inspired this article xoxo

 

Relationship Advice

Now its been said “opinions are like a**holes, everyone’s got one” especially when it comes to relationships.  I admit I do dabble in couples and relationship therapy every so often, but do I have a certificate nailed on the wall qualifying me to do that… Hell no!  It’s my opinion and I am entitled to it and its up to you to use your own common sense filters to decide what advice to take and what advice to let go in through one ear and out the other!

Relationship advice is normally based on bad experiences; broken hearts and bad mistakes.  Does that mean once your hearts been broken a few times you are now the master of how to avoid heart break?  Evidently not seeing as it has happened to you more than once and sorry to say may still happen again.  Does being in a bad marriage give you the responsibility of making sure marriage never takes place on this earth… EVER?  Of course not because as bad as your marriage is people are still getting married and enjoying loving and fulfilling unions.  If you are a Playa and you believe that happiness comes from having 8 baby mamas 13 kids and 5 on the way does that make you an expert on women and qualified to give other men advice on women?  No it doesn’t playa.

Why do people feel they have to advise you on your relationship?  Well firstly because you asked for their advice. Secondly because they care about you and they want to help your relationship or thirdly they know your relationship is good and they are jealous and just want to give you some help to mess it all up!  Either way, it is your responsibility to decide what action you will take because nobody knows your man or woman better than you do, so why would you accept what Joe Soap there tells you is the best way to deal with an issue in your relationship.

This reminds me of a young wife whose husband was being a bit cantankerous, some friends told her men liked things to be changed around often so she needed to change her furniture around every day get a new hairdo more regularly and change things up in the bedroom more often too! Well after 1 month of coming home to a different furniture set up, hairstyle and sex the man got tired and left! Reason, he said if he wanted to be with a different woman in a different house every day he wouldn’t have gotten married!  Now I’m not saying that changing things up is wrong I’m saying different strokes for different folks, what works for Sheena is not necessarily going to work for Tamara and just because Timothys wife likes picnics doesn’t mean Jasons girlfriend will.

A relationship is supposed to be between two people who love, trust and commit to each other. Not him, her, his cousin, her sisters baby daddys mama or his grandmama! Nobody knows the tiny little details of how you met, your first date and why you fell in love with that person so why would you let someone else come and tell you how you should feel and act towards them?

As humans we will always want to give you advice, sometimes its good and sometimes it aint worth a thing.  Choose who and what you want to listen to, obey your instincts, but follow your heart and for goodness sake use your own common sense!

But that’s just according to me!