To Live and not Just Exist

Choosing life, happiness, peace and joy. Oh and weight loss too


August 2014

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

Today I am sick again. Emphasis on the again. And while trawling through my previous blogs, I found this. And I wanted to republish it. Because when you can’t breathe so well, life is that moment when you stand up and take a step instead of collapsing into a puddle of tears.

To Live and not Just Exist

They say life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

To me that translates as….

Life is that moment in the morning when you decide to be happy instead of sad. Even when sad is easier.

Life is that moment when you smile at a stranger instead of frowning. Even when they do something to annoy you.

Life is that moment when you stand up and take a step instead of collapsing into a puddle of tears. Even when the entire world is on your shoulders and it is hard, so very hard, to walk.

Life is this moment. This moment of being, of existing, of making small choices.

To smile. To be happy. To be free. To be strong. To face yourself. To face others. To step out of your comfort zone. To choose health. To choose exercise. To choose acceptance of self. To be.


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So I turn 39 tomorrow. I have resolved that it will be the last progressive birthday I will be having. Presents still mandatory into the future though.

Thing is – I don’t feel 39. I don’t even feel 29 or 19. Apart from a whole lot more darkness in my heart and spirit, I don’t feel like time has passed.

So forgive me if I reflect.

I have loved. Or thought I loved. And lost very badly. I learnt along the way that it wasn’t love. It was the broken pieces of my nature that needed to fix / be loved / help. I have yet to love. And be loved. Doesn’t matter though. For I have learnt to love myself for who I am. Mostly. The journey is ongoing.

I have cried for friends that have passed me by. But I have learnt that those that are meant to stay, do. And those that leave make space for better ones.

I have buried a father I barely knew. Barely remember. He died too young and because of it, I grew up alone with a broken mother. I have learnt to forgive him, and God, for the reality I found myself in. And I look forward to meeting him again one day. Perhaps he will even be proud of me.

I have learnt to accept a mother that is damaged. Still she manipulates and plays on my feelings and still my nature allows it. But I have come to realize that she is not doing it out of vindictiveness or malice. She is simply broken in her own way, and was perhaps never afforded the opportunity to heal herself. She is my mother, she is old, and I love her.

I have made my own version of an immediate family. Friends, animals, my mother. A sister I never thought I would get along with, who carries me more than she should. Who gets me through sometimes. They care for me and I care for them. And in the dark moments – that is enough. Love is always enough.

And forgive me if I look forward.

I will be who I am. That may seem to be a strange statement, but it has taken me an age to accept that I am me. And it has taken me even longer to just be me.

I will keep dreaming of the day that I get to sit on a train as it slowly winds its way through to Alaska. Perhaps someone will join me. Perhaps I will be alone. But it will always be my dream.

I will strive to be the healthiest I can be. Every day my lungs get a little better I think. And every day I hope to lose a tiny bit more weight. One day – I will walk into a shop and buy a small to medium pair of pants off the rack.

I will try to write more. Because in the writing I find peace. Allot of tears, but also peace.

I will love my family as much as I can. No soul is meant to walk this world alone.

I will love my God as I always have. He has seen me through some serious darkness. With patience and love.

I will be who I am, love who I care for, dream big, diet more, exercise allot and write.

I will be who I was made to be.


I am having a hard time today. Stress I guess. And mourning.

The darkest things keep occurring to me.

What would happen to my animals if I die?

Letting go of my animals if I knew I was to die?

Never being missed.

How it would be when my mother dies?

If I would be completely alone when my sister dies?

Whether my dad is in heaven waiting?

Does he remember me?

The darkest things lie heavy on me today. And try as I might, I can’t shake them.

That feeling of being always on the verge of crying hysterically.

That feeling of hopeless helplessness.

Doesn’t matter that you know you are being silly or overly emotional. Doesn’t matter that you can reason the situation or stress away. The dark heaviness stays.

It has made me so tired.


My sister is 9 years older than I am. I have many memories of her friends being kind to a kid sister.

Rika was a friend and a character I remember true.

She was diagnosed with cancer less than a year ago and given a year to live. She filled every moment of it with gusto, kindness, strength and compassion.

She didn’t make a year.

She died in the arms of the ones she loved. I cannot fathom holding the one you love when it is their time to let go. I can even less fathom letting go.

The world is changed now. For a good soul has left this place.

So remember that you are cherished. You are loved. Breathe deep and breathe long, for every breath you take is a gift to the ones you love.

Breathe long.

You will be remembered Rika. Rest easy now.



Space to hang yourself

I grew up in the wide open spaces of a farm in the middle of Vereeniging in South Africa. The animals and my imagination were my friends. The wind and dust my companions.

I grew up solitary and alone for the most part.

I learnt to amuse and occupy myself. I used the gifts I was born with and crafted entire worlds around my existence, where I was always the hero. I learnt to be alone.

Which is not an easy thing to one who is a vociferous extrovert. At the time I had no idea what introvert or extrovert meant. I didn’t have enough human contact to be educated in the matter.

I was simply alone – so I learnt to be alone.

That skill has served me well over the years.

Now, older and wiser and way more careful with my heart and affections, I find myself spending allot of time alone.

Tonight, at the  tail end of a traumatic week, I wondered – when does a life becomes too solitary?

When does the silence of no answer start to chafe a bit too vigorously?

In a normal day, I will spend 9 hours in the company of colleagues. Talking all the nonsense and business that makes up a working life.

Coming home – I will spend 9 hours sleeping. I do love my sleep. Or is it rather that I hate the silence more.

6 plus hours, barring the odd outing, I spend in my own company.

The radio is always on. The animals become white noise. My thoughts, which are more often than not at odds with me, my company and my companion.

I think my life has become too solitary. And I do not know how to change it.



This blog is the place where I am fully able to be who I am – warts, freckles, fat rolls and all.

It is the place where truth needs to live, if I am to have any recourse from the lies I tell myself in my harshest moments.

Today is a harsh moment.

I woke up this morning and my brain chose to have a judgment day. And I was left wanting.

It is so difficult when you suffer from low self-esteem and you live alone. There is no gentle bolstering. No offhand kindness. There is just you and your brain in overdrive telling you what you are not.

Not thin.

Not fit.

Not in a relationship.

Not missed.

Not adored.

Not enough.

That last one echoes. Not enough. Never enough.

What is enough?

So as I sit here, I have my well-worn and well-rehearsed mantra running through my head on auto play. All of them truth or versions of my truth.

You are thinner than you were.

You are fitter than you were.

You are too independent to be in a relationship.

Your family loves you and would miss you.

Who needs to be adored?

You are enough.

But still the thought and the echo linger. Not enough. Never enough.

I am enough.

I am.


I inspired someone to incredulity today. And perhaps something close to hysterical laughter.

My puppy Blossom is ill. I noticed that she wasn’t her normal self on Friday and she gradually got worse until yesterday when she stopped eating completely.

I bundled her off to the vet and she has some kind of intestinal / gut infection. Lots of medicine, an injection to bring her high temperature down and home we came with stern instructions to ‘keep a good eye on her’.

In all of that palava , in the getting her to the vet and it being confirmed to me just how sick she was, in the stress of the day – I’m afraid my tears got the better of me.

I am by nature an emotional person. I am by nature a nurturer and a carer. I am by nature, an animal person. Put those 3 things together plus a sick dog and you have a recipe for tears.

The incredulous part?

I was telling a friend of mine about all the ‘dramaticals’ as I like to call it when someone from outside of the conversation decided they were entitled to an opinion.

Apparently, dogs are just dogs. There is no point in getting emotional with them. They are just another animal.

Apparently, I have a screw or two loose because I love my menagerie and do everything in my power to make their lives better.

Apparently, I am a somewhat sad soul and my attachment to my animals explains why I am single.

Apparently, dogs (and animals in general) don’t have a soul.

My response?

They may be just dogs to you, but that does not make you right.

I may very well have a screw loose but caring of another living being is my choice and my privilege.

I am definitely not a sad soul, I’m perhaps quite the opposite actually. And I am single because not all of us need to be one of two.

Humans have souls and we are responsible for the worst atrocities I can think of. I am glad animals don’t have souls. They have something better. Purer. Cleaner. There is no word for it I don’t think. But it is in their eyes.

I do not understand people who are intolerant of what others believe or how they live.

I do not understand people who view animals as something to be used and discarded, like last weeks rubbish.

I do not understand people.

I understand animals.

They are what they are, and they have no need to be more or less than that. They live. And they let live within the boundaries of their species.

We really should learn to do the same.

The Death of Friendship

I have a friend who believes that every person in our life, past and present, is there to fulfill a very specific purpose. She also believes that friends, while not only fulfilling a purpose, also cater to a very specific facet of our personality.

Say I have a silly side (so do), I have friends that compliment, elevate and sometimes even exaggerate that facet of who I am.

It follows then that when we go through dark periods, while we do indeed have friends full of light and love, we also draw to us the darker, the hidden agenda and the not always so good for us.

Sometimes we even survive them.

Life is ever changing though. Darkness becomes light, we grow and we hopefully find our joy again.

So what then becomes of these dark period friends? Not everyone is capable of change, of finding peace or hope or joy. And not everyone wants to.

In the face of obvious negativity or overwhelming bitterness, the choice and decision is easy to make.

Not so much when it is just an ‘unpresent’ friend. You know the kind. Always too busy. Never answer anything. When you do meet, usually by chance, they are the one who asks if you have put on weight. They are the gossips. The ones you have a sneaky feeling revel in the misery of others. But they never do anything obvious. And they have their good sides too.

I guess I am wondering when you call it quits? At the first veiled insult? At the tenth? Or is it much like a scale, with the good and bad balancing it out?

I’d like to think I am a good friend. The sad thought though is that I am probably someone’s ‘unpresent’ friend.



I have to learn to start being kinder to myself.

Sometimes, when you live alone, and you are prone to periods of severe introspection, it is easy to get locked into an endless litany that swirls around your subconscious like a black wind. Sometimes it becomes too easy to forget the good in me. The unique. The free.

So I will strive to remember:

Be kind to your self, it is the only self you have.

Be true to your self, far too many others will not be true to you.

Be gentle with your self, because if you cannot be, then how can you expect others to be?

Be alive in your self, not living a dead life, filled with inaction and inactivity.

Be hope filled  in your self, because know that no matter what, it will always get better.

Be free in your self, because all souls were born to be free.

Be strong in your self, for no one can break you unless you give them permission.

Be honest with your self, not critical and unfair.

Be real with your self, see the good too and not only the bad.

Be alive, be free, be joyous, be true.

Be kind to your self. This is the only self you have.

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