I still try

As the year fast approaches the end, my energy and zeal for life has been slowly slipping away with it.

All I wanted to do was eat and sleep, eat and watch TV then sleep. I dragged myself to work, forced myself to wake up with the help of 8 to 10 alarms each morning. Thanks to Yardley, I looked pretty much okay once I left my flat, but I counted the hours until I could eat and sleep again.

I feel liked I failed this year.

Work was rough.
My health could have been way better. In fact, I had flu about 4 times this year. My back and shoulders have been a consistent issue. Not to mention how I battled with insomnia. Exercising has been a chore and the “it’s a lifestyle” mentality went out the window. I am always tired. It’s official: I have raccoon eyes.
I cried so many times. I felt heartache in so many ways. I held back the tears at many ‘inappropriate’ places and times.
I worked on my friendships but was it enough?
What have I actually achieved in 2015? It just feels like another year down the drain. I look back at a couple of months to now, and I can’t even bring myself to truly admit what happened.

At the centre of it all was my work and my emotions. If I wasn’t exhausted from my 8h00 -19/20h00, I’d be in bed cuddling with Barry until I unfortunately had to find him a new home. My emotions drained my energy and my spirit. At times I look at my reflection or my photos and I see sadness.

What helps me are my check ins with my Dad, my usual night events with my friends, my bed and my drives in the city.

How did I get this way?

That’s what I ask myself. At times I reach out, but I’ve grown accustomed to this. Sometimes I hear my mother’s voice and I remember her words, “you like to feel miserable.”

I wouldn’t say that I like this feeling, but I do think that I’m a miserable soul. A feeling which comes in waves. Many years ago I learnt how to keep it together, I mastered the “I don’t have time for this crap” attitude. I’ve grown tired of this.

2016 is days away. I don’t know why I’m still writing for Benita’s Laine, I don’t know why you still read my posts.

If you have been feeling this way, you are not alone. What is your comfort? Who is part of your support system? What do you seek?

I don’t want this.
Even if I can just reel in happiness in just one area of my life, I’ll continue to seek it out each day.

Do that too. Please.
With all you’ve got.

May 2016 bring contentment, a renewed heart and rejuvenated smile.

Love, Nita

Oh boy…

I’ve been postponing uploading this post and hoping that I’d have a better story to tell. I’ve been hoping that something would have worked out so that I could tell all of you just how I’m glowing, happy and have butterflies in my stomach.

I’ve had that, just for a moment, then BOOM, it went from literally one extreme to the other. In all honesty, I don’t think that I can do this dating thing. Could someone gift me with a Handbook or a How-to book on dating?

One the followers of Benita’s Laine suggested that after my brief arrival back to my blog, that my next post should be about my dating life. Remember in my previous post, I listed a number of things which have been happening and what I’m experiencing? At the time when I agreed, I had met this hunk of a man who really wanted to love me. I embraced it and adored him for about hmmm… a month, and the ideal began to fall apart piece by piece as the weeks went past. Just 2 very different people who wanted to come together but the energies were off. We couldn’t connect. When I think about the morning we met and how it all just seemed to be it, I struggled to make sense of it all. In its simplest form, we were 2 very different people who spent their time and thoughts on different things, whose words and actions failed to meet at the same place to form that path towards love and contentment. The brief story of us.

I bumped into him recently. Oh that beautiful smile and warmth. On my drive back home he called me. When opportunity strikes, I guess. We haven’t spoken since, because in all honestly, we didn’t treat each other well, and it hurts even more to admit that and to know that you are unable to love a person the way s/he should be loved. It’s not you, it is me. I am not right for you.

Deep breath.

So yes, this dating thing…

Going on dates is fun.

I enjoyed it! Dress up, make pretty but don’t over it, do something interesting and share a few laughs. I feel like I’m playing Candy Crush, stuck on the same level, I’ve run out of chances and I’m waiting for time to pass so that I can receive the notification to say that I have “full lives.” Until then, I’ll continue with everything that I’ve been doing and should be doing … Living, improving my skills, saving for that trip, spending time with those who make my whole week and heart light up.

My head space when it comes to dating and men:

  • Men are cats. Forget the dog theory for a moment and see where I’m coming from, even if it’s only for 2 minutes. Don’t be clingy. They wander around; wandering to find better food, a comfier couch or bed. Should your home be sufficient, they’ll stay and love you back. One wrong move, or change, and they’re off, at times with an explanation and apology, sometimes nothing. When a cat is off, you can tell by the way it hits its tail on the ground or from the unimpressed look on its face. Give it space, and at times that can develop into a cold, far reaching distance. The tenderness and love that the two of you once shared is suddenly only remembered by you. Oh, and you do things on the cat’s schedule – when it wants and how it wants. Make sense? Or am I too cynical right now?
  • Attracting the opposite sex is not a problem. Keeping him around and interested however is another story. This here has been disappointing and a confusing area for me, in the sense that when all seems well, it takes that one call for you to realise that the you’re the only one looking forward to the next date, movie and snuggle on the couch. The tone between the two of us has changed. The air is chillier. I’m standing alone in this. Sigh. In most cases, it’s easy to tell that 2 people have moved into a different spaces, but in my last 2 cases, it literally went from 1) really good to complete silence, and 2) from really good to I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I know that I’m not one of those thoughts anymore.
  • I become disinterested easily. So you see how the point above and this one is a problem…
  • Luckily I’ve stopped chasing the ring. It’s been a huge a leap forward for me. It’s allowed me to be stronger within myself, comfortable in myself and actions, and filled my relationships with my friends with more love. It’s made me think about going back to JHB to be with my family and to make more trips to BFN to be with my dad (I don’t see myself living in the Free State again).
  • The good thing is that I do not feel or think any less of myself. I’ve loved myself more in the last 3 months than I ever have. It’s been such a beautiful and freeing feeling.
  • I still love love. It’s beautiful, and like I’ve said before, it comes from so many sources. Love lives and moves forward at its own time, with the right person.
  • Silly decisions can be avoided. Not everything has to be a story.
  • I. Am. Over. This. Dating. Business. For Now. I. Think. I. Am. Done. Thanks.

I’ll continue to #relationshipgoals on other people’s Instragram posts, realising that timing and connection is everything, and following my intuition is actually not such a bad thing at all.

It’s still all love on Benita’s Laine!


Where do I begin?

With a very shy smile, I greet you all.

I chose not to blog/write and share. As I read the last posts, I felt that it was too heavy. I didn’t know if I was helping myself or others with my words. I was unable to determine if all my sharing actually made a difference – did it uplift, did it motivate, did it serve a purpose, was I stagnant?

I’m here now.
I’ve had a lot on my mind, so much happening within me and even more around me. I thought about my laptop. I thought about my blog. I remembered you.

I was asked on twitter about Benita’s Laine by a couple of people. I felt encouraged to type this up.

In a nutshell:
– I’m 26 headed fast towards 27.
– Barry is still with me.
– I changed jobs.
– I moved away from others.
– I opened up to a few.
– I think my mourning phase is over.
– My dress sense is morphing. I like it.
– I want a new car.
– I’m supposed to be saving for a trip.
– I’ve managed my weight. I still weigh 57kgs.
– I’m emotional.
– I’m broody.
– I want cuddles. This is so unlike me.
– I’m still single.
– I tried dating again. Oh Lord…
– I’m a daily headache sufferer. But I’m coping.
– I miss my family and close friends who are based in Johannesburg.
– I miss Johannesburg. Have I outgrown Cape Town? Am I done hiding?
– Don’t you feel like everyone is having a baby, getting engaged or married? What am I doing with my life?
– I’m battling with my energy levels and time management.
– I’ve signed up for two courses: 1) Makeup Artistry and 2) Personal Styling and Fashion.
– I’m having trust issues. People change.
– The older I get, the more I look like my mother.
– I have days when all I want to do is sleep.
– I love my flat.
– I love love.

The above might just seem like a lot of random statements, but there is so much behind each sentence. There’s a story.

In fact, I’m going to be put all those statements into packaged (and hopefully meaningful) blog posts as time goes on. I literally go through these things in my mind, and at times in my heart.

Well that’s that for today. Looking at the above makes me think that it’s possible to get back to what this blog is about: It’s about sharing, and in that sharing, introspection, healing and advice or inspiration to at least one person out there.

Here’s to Benita’s Laine, reconnecting and finding meaning.
Love, Nita!

He is mindful of me

Sometimes when I become self-consumed and consumed in my daily life and all stress or joys which I experience, everything that I do, see or feel is just there, right in front of me. I process situations or feelings on my own, seeking no help from others or from God. All of it is just there, draining my time, sleep and energy.

The universe and its timing, however, is incredible. It’s magical, understanding and perceptive. Something which we take for granted more often than not.

On Tuesday, the 3rd of June 2014, I was sitting in my car with two new found friends listening to music and copying a series onto my laptop. We had just had dinner, the conversation got away with me and I forgot that I wanted to share a story about ‘why I still choose God,’ and I suddenly remembered and I shared my story. I’d also like to share it with you today.

I had stopped going to church and praying in my second year of university, 2008. I had been told to be patient, that God hears, answers accordingly and that He will only test us to a certain point because He knows each of His children and their limits. I got to a stage where I was tired, frustrated, hurt and angry with God. So I stopped believing and I told my mother not to expect me to go to church on Sundays or anything that required my time for fellowship or prayer.

Three days before she passed away, I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t have peace. Funny thing is, I had seen her that afternoon, she was sitting up, was jovial and she said that she’ll “be back home soon.” I got up from bed that night and called the hospital where she was and asked one of the nurses in that particular ward how she was doing. The nurse asked me stay on the line, after a minute or so she picked up the phone again and told me that she’s fine and that she was asleep. At the end of the call, I still couldn’t sleep. I found myself crying and looking for a scroll which she had given to me on my 10th birthday. It was titled ‘I believe in you.‘ It had a very empowering message which I didn’t quite understand when she gave it to me, but I knew that night what it meant and that I needed to follow through, that now is the time. Eventually I found it (I wasn’t that organised back then).

The next day, I arrived at work and I found myself crying at my work desk. I pulled myself together and continued on with my day.

On the 10th of September 2011, I was lying back on my bed waiting for our helper to finish cleaning so that I could go to see my mother at the hospital. While waiting, I heard a voice say to me “read John 14:15-31.” I don’t remember ever reading that passage before that day. I sat there for a while and thought that I was being silly, because for so many years before that day, I had waited, prayed and fasted so that I could hear a word from God. Eventually I stood up and got my Bible. Basically, Jesus is telling His disciples that He is going to die, but that they should not be afraid because He will not leave them alone on this earth. That instead, the Holy Spirit will dwell inside of them to give them peace, hope, to guide, to teach and to comfort them.

In that very moment I knew.
I went to the hospital and my mother literally said her goodbyes, and I had said mine. She passed away the next day.
I chose God once again.

What I know now is that God is mindful of me. And before the 3rd of June 2014 I seemed to have forgotten that. I’d been making all of these decisions which I feel I could have handled better, plans for my own procedure at the hospital, organising everything at work, home, etc. and I realised just how afraid I was of hospitals due to my past experiences. But there I was telling my new found friends my story, and I had my own revelation.

I am not alone.
I have been showered by such love from my father when he was here (not to say that he’s not normally like that), the nurses in the hospital, the other patients whom I shared a ward with, my land lord and lady, colleagues, my manager and friends, even my cat has been more patient with me in the past two weeks. I realised that I had closed myself up so much, that I had to let down my guard because the truth is I really did need help. For one, I don’t like having visitors at my place, but do you know how many people I’ve had to direct to my place and open the door to lately? Then it’s the issue of calling someone up and saying “hey…. could you help me with…” and having to be honest about how I was feeling, because normally ‘I’m fine’ and ‘don’t need anything.’

That is God’s love and His love through people.
He is mindful of me.

Here’s to love, conversations with loved ones and those subtle reminders right here on Benita’s Laine.

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer (1999)

“It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.”

The Invitation. I encourage you to find this book and to open yourself up to its challenges.

The Invitation.
I encourage you to find this book and to open yourself up to its challenges.

As thin as this book is, it took me quite some time to finish reading it, 2 months to be exact. A dear friend of mine and I met up at the beach in February and she brought it along with her with the intention of reading it as we basked in the sun. I too had brought a book, but neither of us read our books. Instead we talked about a lot of different things, but mainly about my breakup, my hurts and disappointment. That was when she took it out of her sling bag and wiped the front cover as if it had dust on it. She said to me “I bought this some time back and I still haven’t read it, but right now I think you need it more than I do.”

Timing is everything.

Oriah challenges you, and that’s what makes it a difficult read. She challenges your way of thinking, your approach to life, how you treat yourself and says “if you want more out of this life, then why aren’t you going for it?”

It took me a while to finish reading The Invitation because I made mental and physical notes. In some instances, I felt that I applied my new-found learnings in my daily life. It’s a book that will appeal to you when you are at a certain point of your life; you’ll have to want to read it and most importantly, to be ready. It’s an eye-opener, it reveals what’s in your heart and encourages you to let your mind and actions think and move towards making your heart’s truths realities. I’ve finished reading the book and here’s my blog post about it, but it won’t end here for me. I will buy a copy for myself and I will read it again and again. As soon I find myself in a place of complacency, where I’m losing my way and I’m not hearing my own voice, I shall read it once more.

Normally I list quotes, but not this time. Instead I’ve copied and pasted the prologue above. If that didn’t draw you in, then hopefully my next book review will speak to you.

To a life awakening, light and blessings here on Benita’s Laine.

To You, on Mother’s Day

Today is supposed to be a celebration, but for me it isn’t. I’m going to very honest today, do not hold it against me, especially you, my conscious.

I want you to know that I decided to go out with friends today because I know that if I stay home all day, it will do me no good. It’s tough moving forward because there’s an element of guilt. One thinks: is it too soon? Is it right? What will my family think? Do I really deserve to be in a place where I can enjoy myself, laugh, dance and just be in the moment?

I was thinking about the last Mother’s day which we shared together back in 2011. I bought you cross shaped-earrings, a card and I took you out for dinner. I was wondering what you would like this year. I thought maybe the latest Joyous Celebration CD (by the way, I gave your collection to Auntie Zo), or maybe a trip somewhere together or … actually I don’t know. It’s been 2 and half years since I’ve received a list of what you’d like for your birthday, Mother’s Day and Christmas.

Yesterday after work, I met up with my friend Abigail and on the way back home in the car, I asked her what her plans were for Mother’s Day, and obviously she said that she’d be with her mother. I asked what she had bought for her and she responded with “nothing; I normally just get her a blank card and I write, since that comes naturally to me. Last year one of the things I wrote was: you say that I am a good mother, but that is only because I’ve seen you.”

I thought about that line and how Abi said that there’s a biblical reference to it and that she knew that her mother would understand it. I also thought that it’s true that Abi is a good mother to her son and how wonderful her mother is as well. Then I thought, well I only plan to have kids in my early 30s and I’m 25 now, how much would I remember of what I’ve seen you do, things that you’ve said, what to do when certain things happen? Funny enough, in this past month, there’s been a lot of people who have asked me if I want children, and my answer to each person was that it scares me. It’s not just the delivery, it’s the fact that it’s a life. A life which for a long time I will be the ‘everything’ for him/her, then they’ll be a stage where that child will have his/her own voice, ideas, opinions and path for him/herself. But in everything, I’ll always be there and one day, my time here will be no longer. It’s not just the responsibility of raising a child that scares me, it’s how will my children be affected when I am no longer here. I’m sure you’ve seen me flounder. I’m sure you’ve heard my phone calls to my dad and heard the long pauses which are filled with my sobbing. Or you’ve seen me wake up in tears. My restless nights and how I miss our long chats in the evenings. I’m sure you’ve watched me in my car talking to myself, trying to find clarity. I’m sure you’ve watched me get ready for a special evening or as I straighten my hair. Seen me looking at wedding dresses and maybe you don’t like my décor or agree on the furniture layout in my flat. And I say this because there have been a few times when suddenly I just feel your presence, I hear your voice or my mind finds a past memory of something you’ve said and the times where we really enjoyed each other’s company and stories.

It’s taken a long time to feel like my life is good and that I can continue to achieve my dreams and aspirations again. I’ve been haunted by the words you said to me in August 2011 for a very long time. So Ma, I’ve decided to go out today. I can’t seem to remember what I did on Mother’s Day last year. The year before I went to church, went home then to the gym and came back home again. I hope you understand and I hope that you’re not upset with me. I also want to tell you that I’m going to be studying again. Then there’s the surgery which I was supposed to have years ago; well I’m seeing the surgeon tomorrow and I’ll go through with it this time. I’m trying to grow my hair again. I’m making time for people. I am more open to ideas without the guilt-trip afterwards. I’m learning how to speak Xhosa. This for me is my Mother’s Day gift to you: to let you know that I shall love, live and be whole again and I say to myself that that’s ok and where there is peace, there is freedom.

As we would say to each other, I love you more than the whole wide world and back again.
Rest well Ma.

“Sometimes you just need to breathe the air in…”

This is what my dad told me in 2011.

Basically, I’m ‘always thinking.’ I struggle to relax and sometimes just to let loose. It’s just one of those things which I, let me say, picked up along the years. It’s something which I’ve had to do, but like everything else in this life, there’s pros and cons to it.

I must admit that a lot of the times I don’t like it. I’ll not do something then I get home and I replay the scene until I’m like ‘argh it’s done now.’ But in all honesty, I’m not happy. Feels like I’m in a constant twat with myself. There’s a side of me that wants everything to be stable, safe, make sense, a clear action and reaction. Then there’s another side that just wants to live without hesitation, forget about the questions and would rather laugh at the outcome, the side that has walked into tattoo parlours and walked out with tattoos, etc.

It’s all about balance really.

The past month has been an exciting month. I asked less questions, I laughed more, danced more, socialised more, ate whatever I wanted when I wanted, I’ve sat at the beach and just watched the waves and the kids without being self-conscious and pulling my stomach in, I sang more, shopped, I’m doing sales, I cut my hair (well a little), I basically just sat and breathed the air in. And I’d like to say that it’s been lovely!

No … wait, I’m not talking about completely losing it. I work, still love my cat to bits, still follow my gym schedule, still showering… I’m talking about saying to myself “Benita, it’s OK to just be you. It’s OK to go with the flow sometimes. Your life is not an equation which you need to answer correctly before the next section. It’s a life which needs to be lived to the fullest.”

As I sit here in front of my laptop, I’m thankful for parents. The one was a Doctor and Psychiatrist, the other an Artist, Lecturer and now in Management. I’ve seen both of you in me. But in the last year or so, I’m seeing more of me. I say thank you to my dad for that lecture, and thank you for those close to me. Can I say thanks to myself? Well I’m going to!

Well thank you Benita for allowing yourself to get out of your restricted zone and into a place where you can allow yourself happiness, and being comfortable with yourself and ideas. This is where you ought to be and don’t allow yourself to retreat back into those walls.

I’ve enjoyed this post of reflection. Now you know why I’ve been scarce.

Peace. Love. Light.
All here on Benita’s Laine 🙂