Tuesday, 28 October 2014

To Feel Worthy

A post of personal reflection and my struggles with worthiness and self-acceptance

One thing that I have been battling with since genesis is feeling worthy and accepting myself.  I think back to a small moment in my life when I was probably 11 or 12 years old.  Our neighbor, who was also our little town of 300's nurse, congratulated me because I achieved something or it was my birthday.  I shyly replied "Okay."  Luckily, my mother was with me and quickly taught me how to accept a compliment.  "Say thank you."  From that day onwards, I learned to say thank you when people did find some reason to compliment me.  However, my difficulty of accepting the kindness of another person didn't decrease all that much 9 years later, although my decorum did improve somewhat. 

You can ask me why I find it hard to accept a compliment and truly manifest it as part a part of me and I'm not entirely sure why it is what it is.  I guess that's why I am writing this post to try and mull over my problems, but for once outside of my head.  My family have told me before that I am one of the last people that should have self-esteem issues.  I have many things that the Almighty has so gracefully blessed me with.  Yet,  I can't seem to believe it.  A month or so ago, while I was leaving our campus recreation building after a solid few games of wiff-waff (ping pong apparently) a young lady came up to me and said to me that I had beautiful hair.  My autonomic reflexes kicked in and I gave her a glance and said "Thank you, I appreciate that comment very much."  I walked away, my pace was probably hastened because I did what I do best - run away from my problems and opportunities.  I felt very bad about that minute situation for the rest of the day.  I felt as though I did not respect her bravery for complimenting me.  I mean, I know how incredibly hard it is to walk up to a stranger and tell them something like that.  In fact, it's so hard that I've never done it in my life before.  I should have looked her in the eyes and said thank you, maybe even a hand on the shoulder and compliment her for her bravery.  I guess I could have said the same back because she had a glorious bush of blonde, curly hair, which I have a liking for.  Instead, I ran away.

My self-worth and self-acceptance seems to take an exceptional nosedive in the presence of women.  I hate to say this, but especially in the company of beautiful women.  I hate saying beautiful women, because society is so fixated on facial and bodily beauty that we look over the majesty and wonder that lies within our hearts and souls.  I try to not cloud my judgment by looking at outward appearance, but because I am a human with sexually hardwired predispositions, I fail in this regard too.  Maybe I take my rebellion against mainstream overvaluation of beauty too far.  Maybe I should learn to embrace it too.  I just find it hard to be a man driven by his penis.  I want to be driven by my heart, my brain and my God.  I don't want to be an animal, even though my mind is inseparable from my natural body.  I just feel incredibly bad when I look at a woman because she is attractive instead of trying to value her personality.  Instead over the course of my lifetime I conditioned myself to not look at all hence the lack of female friends.  I guess you need to see something on the outside first before you can take the first steps to knowing the inside.

I feel as though I am unworthy of other people's time therefore I don't always speak first to someone.  Almost all the relationships I have with other people was because they approached me first and because I was at the right time and place, doing the right thing.  Unless someone else set me up to do something, I can't do it on my own.  I that case I am doing it for someone else's sake, which I am very willing to help.  I can't seem to help myself though.  I just can't seem to go and talk to a random person without having a clear, well-defined goal.  I feel completely unworthy of someone else's time, even though normally people find my company pleasant or at least stimulating.  It seems as though the positive reinforcement of other people's comments that they enjoy my company or that I find myself in these people's company often (which would imply that they like me enough not to avoid me) is not enough to break through to me.  Why won't it just get through to me?  People reading this may think that I have no self-worth issues, but if you struggle with something long enough your array of masks to don for different situations increases by quite a bit, I can tell you.

Yeah, I mean sometimes it's so bad that I walk slowly or stop and pretend to do something to avoid the person in front of me having to hold the door open for me.  In that moment, I tell myself that I don't want to inconvenience them.  They don't have to halt their busy life to do something for me.  Right after that I know within my heart that I didn't only stop and/or walk slowly but because I don't know why someone would do something good for me.  Why would someone stop and care about me?  Why am I worth wasting a second or two from someone else's life?  This leads into the next section quite well.

Why would anyone love me?  Yeah, this is gruesome and hard to grasp.  My parents laid down their lives for me and always told me they loved me.  I cannot blame them.  I can blame myself, because I didn't pay them back for their selfless sacrifices that have stretched well over two decades for myself  and our family.  Maybe this is partly why I have never even come close to being in a romantic relationship.  I look at myself and say I am not worthy of this woman's time, life and love.  That's why I never approach, even though I almost always only mean good.  It gets worse when I talk to someone I find a wonderful person.  "This person is so amazing, they will have no time for a sorry sack such as myself.  I have nothing to contribute, therefore I am not worthy of their love."  Then I stand in awe of some men.  You know those short, unattractive, unemployed men who think they can have any woman in the world and then often they are successful?  Ha, I see that too.  I think to myself, gosh, I am a little bit smart, I have a good sense of humour, I am witty, I am not ugly, I have a good sense of values and  I truly care for other people so I should be an even better candidate, right?  For some reason, I don't believe that, even though there are a myriad of cases that would prove that I am so, so wrong. 

I guess I will never truly be able to love another person until I can love myself.  For that reason, I thank God that I have never been in a relationship because it would have ended in tatters because I would have needed too much support. 

Thank God that I'm still only 20 and more than half of college to go.  I can learn to start believing in myself, loving myself and finally feeling worthy in the my time left on this earth. 

Hopefully, I can share this love with another

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Circle of Life: Birth and Death in 7 Days

By my standards, I had a quite the interesting week.  I had to stand witness to both a death and a birth from friends of mine.  Maybe this isn't the most novel of experiences or the most original story you will read, but it was a profound 7 days that I added to the 20.5 years I have had the privilege of experiencing here on mother Earth. 

Last week my friends had the honour of adding to the 7 billion humans on Earth by bringing a new baby girl into this world.  They are both still in college, so you could say that this little bundle of joy came early in their relatively unseasoned lives.  I went over to their apartment on Wednesday night to see the latest addition to life on Earth.  I should tell you that I am the youngest of 2 children, a whole 3.5 years younger than my elder sister.  As far as cousins go, they are all at least 10 years older than me and I have two cousins who are younger than myself.  Therefore, experience with dealing and handling an infant: zero.  I might have seen infants from a distance before, but never as close as on Wednesday. 
I entered the apartment as I had done in times past.  Very familiar; a few decorative changes, but I have had pleasurable times here before.  I walked further into the apartment, walked into their bedroom and the sight of a tiny, pink, helpless being on their bed turned out to be the most striking moment of the life.  No longer was this a college couple's pad where all things associated with youth and young man- and womanhood happened.  It was now the home of to the most recent human.  The apartment immediately had a totally different feeling about it.  Now there are definite responsibilities and dependency.  No more freedom to go on an impulsive roadtrip, no more liberty to leave home without worry or concern for those left being.  An infant is an anchoring force.  Maybe this ship wants to drift to the great horizon, but baby anchor keeps it right at the dock or wherever the anchor decided to drop.
It's very easy for me, as someone who has been unbound in terms of relationships his entire life, to go on and create naval metaphors of how a baby holds one captive to your current way of life, lest a gargantuan effort is made to change that.  Children can challenge and change you like no other force in your life ever got close to doing.  For my father, he doesn't know what there is to live for were it not for my sister and me.  In spite of seeing this helpless bundle of screams lying on that bed that night, I know that I still want to have part in creating and raising a life.  Sleepless nights, vomit-stained shirts, diaper changing, fatigue, discomfort for decades all lie ahead, I imagine.  I imagine that there could be no feeling quite like your child running to you at the end of the day in excitement because he/she is reunited with daddy.  There must be nothing quite like the feeling of the whole family squeezed onto one couch on a Sunday night watching a movie.  There couldn't be a more binding force than kissing them good night and reveling in the wonders you and your spouse created. 
That makes it worth all the bad things, for me.  That said, Wednesday night's trip also confirmed my suspicion that I am not ready to create and raise a life.  I still have much to grow, many places to see, many thoughts to think, many hands to shake and obviously find someone who is willing to do this thing with me, before I will add to our overpopulated Earth and open a new chapter in the Human Story.

If Wednesday was the birth, then Saturday was the death. 
At noon on Saturday I got a frantic Whatsapp from my coach who urgently required me to phone him.  As someone who has a slight fear of speaking to people over the telephone, I did not have money on my cellphone to make the call. 
"What's going on?" I asked.
His brother just died.
I am not sure I have ever read a more chilling line of text in my life before.  My friend's eldest brother had died a short while prior to the text due to cardiac arrest on a walk in town.  On the one hand, the shock was for my friend's part, as he had lost his big brother who took on the role of father figure when their father passed away when my friend was six, and also because for the first time in my life I had to be the bearer of fatal news. 
My hands instinctively went to my gaping mouth and I asked God how, why?  After corresponding about some other pragmatics, I jumped off my bed and got dressed (I was leisurely scrolling through Facebook and wondering how I was to spend this Saturday, in underpants) and rushed to other friends and teammates' dorms to get a cellphone which had money on it.  My friend's middle brother was to be the bearer of bad news, luckily not me, but I would be the very first person my friend would see after the traumatic news.  I got a cellphone and was relieved to find him awake in his room (I did not want wake him up with news of a dead  brother, because that would be absolutely horrible).  I told him that his middle brother urgently wanted to speak to him and we needed to find out his number.  In the end, we didn't need his number because, but this period of searching provided a well-needed buffer for me and my coach to extract my friend's passport details (the university bought him a ticket to go back home for the funeral).  After getting the details and telling him that his middle brother would be calling, instead of us calling him, an extremely tense 3 or so minutes elapsed.  I sat on a ledge in our shared bathroom staring at the cellphone, waiting.  My friend was pacing around in his room and stopped to stare out his room window. 
The phone rang.  It was his brother.  I answered to a very teared-up voice and handed the cellphone over to my friend.  I closed the bathroom door and walked to my room.  Our rooms are connected via a shared bathroom.  I took a seat on the floor and played ear-witness to the agony of the death of a loved one.  Pure, unadulterated emotion came through that closed, wooden door.  I was despondently staring at the door awaiting its opening.
What will I say?  I have never lost a sibling, a parent or a child, I have no idea how this must feel and this is his second round of familial pain.
The door opened and I rose to my feet.  He abruptly handed the cellphone over to me and told me that his middle bro wanted to speak to me and the door closed again.
The teary-voice of earlier remained and I tried to remain strong and said "His death was unfair."
The moment of inspiration seemed to hit the spot.
I finished talking on the phone and went to my friend in his room.
I have never seen him as morose as he was on that spinchair of his on that day.
"His death was unfair."  I kept to my strategy of blaming the external powers for the death.
My friend felt the same way.  I embraced him like I have never embraced another man before. 
Never underestimate the power of human touch when grieving.  Should science ever be able to replicate the wonder and beauty of human touch completely, swing low sweet chariot and carry me Home.
The rest of the day and night I simply tried to be his friend and distract him from the pain in healthy ways, whilst still bringing the conversation to his brother every now and then to not become detached from reality. The outpour from his friends and our teammates was fantastic and made the process so much easier and joyous.  In fact, we had so much fun on Saturday night that for fleeting moments I completely forgot about the events that transpired only hours earlier.  I managed to stay very strong and few would be able to say he lost his big brother only hours before.

Such is life.  We are born, we eat, we poop, we mate, we die.  The cycle perpetuates itself with new faces and names to replace the former and has been doing so since the dawn of time.  Maybe we erect monuments and statues, write poems and compose music to honour the dead and gone.  The undeniable fact remains that no human holds power to return from the gates of hell.  Those who do, we honour as God.  These 7 days once again highlighted to me how transient and futile our existences are on the Great Green Menagerie.  The springflower blooms, shines its beauty for all the world to see, only to be consumed by a  wildfire the next day.  Maybe the one day of shine that flower cast upon the faces and hearts of men and women who passed by its temporary glory, made its abrupt life absolutely worth it. 
We are here today and gone tomorrow, but who ever said that was a bad thing?  If the one-day flower can shine its beauty into all of eternity with its petty existence, how much more can we not bring beauty to our Blue Planet with our megalithic lifespans? 
More than you may think.

May your light shine into all eternity, my friends

In memory of Jean Frechou (1982-2014)
In honour of Elizabeth Anderson (2014- )

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Fighting the Good Fight Against Mental Illness

A select number will, but the vast majority of readers will not know that I actually have a mental illness.  Maybe that's not such a big surprise considering my abnormal behavior and uncommon way of speaking.  Some of you are probably quite chuffed because, "I knew that weirdo was crazy all along."  Good for you, not only have you successfully shown your ability to be judgmental and conceited, but also your ability to be stone-hearted.  You are willing to make demeaning judgments about another person from the distance, but you most certainly do not have the bravado to try and reach out and help the person in question.  We would appreciate that fare more than those stares, thank you!  Faith without works is dead as one of my guiding lights would say, not that I am glittering example of works, but still.

I was "diagnosed" (the psychologist did not officially write out a document stating this, but she did say it verbally) with mild Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) in June 2013.  It came after concerns from my parents that I am not being the best person I can be or, in my father's words, I am not letting my light shine before the world as I am more than able to do.  When your whole family has consensus about something about you, maybe you should give ear, they normally only want the best for you.  I know at first the SAD diagnosis was a tough thing for my mother, because she felt she was directly at fault for my shortcoming as a person.  I on the other hand was actually glad to be able to label the anxiety I sometimes experience when in conversation with other.  Being able to name something and confine it, in a way, takes some of its power away from your life.  In the past, the extent of my fears, its origins, its triggers and all of its long term repercussions were unknown to me, but the diagnosis and labelling gave me the power of knowing.  That old saying "Knowledge is power" couldn't be more truthful in this case.  I could fight back.  I could attack the problem more effectively, because now I know who my enemy is.

Many people out there would brush off mental diseases as not being real diseases.  I mean, the person is not visibly vomiting, the person is not visibly burning up from fever.  Eyesight is possibly one of God's greatest gifts to mankind, but it also hampers us from seeing that which is not obvious from sight alone.  You don't see the tear stains on my pillow from all the nights I have cried because I just can't utter a word to a girl, you can't see the monumental weight on my shoulders from worrying about whether I could actually make friends in this new place, you can not feel the anguish and feelings of being defeated because I ran away from another conversation.  These are the unseen.  These are the battle wounds and scars that blot our souls.  Only those who are willing (and I can testify that there are very few) to delve deep into the often barricaded and much restrained hurting soul of ours, will feel our pain almost as we feel it.  Maybe then you won't refer to us as cowards or pussies anymore.

As for me, diagnosis with a mental illness as a teenager has been a transformative experience.  I am still light years away from being a conqueror of SAD.  That said, I also learned that SAD is as part of me as my foot or my nose is.  It has made me the person I am today, it has helped to take me to places all across the world and it has helped me construct and open and thinking mind.  I will never truly divorce social anxiety and, you know, I am fine with that.  When all is said and done, I am still an ambivert leaning mostly to introversion.  I should not denounce the introvert side of myself simply because society values extroversion above introversion.  Oh no, don't let them ever do that to you. 
We are introverts and we are as important to society as those who stand upon the Godlike pedestal of extroversion.  Our contributions are done long after the curtains are drawn and the performers are off partying.

I thank my God, for all that has transpired since diagnosis.  If there is anything you can take from this, know that mental illness sufferers are all around you.  They are your coworkers, your peers, your mailman, your brother, your best friend maybe even your mother.  Turn your heads up from your electronic screens and see the wonder and majesty that God has placed all around you.  There you will find us, a face in the crowd, with pain in their hearts waiting on someone to just say hi and talk more than what the weather is like or what this or that sports team did.  Ask us what bothers us, whether we believe in fantastical creatures and what existence means.  Before you know it, the barriers guarding our pained souls disintegrate and you can see a world untouched, untrodden as no one has ever seen it before.  Then, my friend, you can SEE!

Run the good race, fight the good fight

Friday, 4 July 2014

Guess Who's Back in Town & Adventures Through Athleticsland

Ja, ek het skaamteloos daai titel van 'n Jack Parow liedjie geneem!

It's been 3 months since I last posted and I forgive all ye avid readers of this blog.  I had some grievous laptop problems and I was unable to log back into this ol' blog of mine.  But, as the title indicates, I am back on The Lonelyman Diaries and also in South Africa for a month or two.

Quite a number of things happened to me during this period of radio silence.  I suppose those of you who know me because of athletics might point to the end of my 2013-2014 season as one of the major highlights (or lowlights) of this past time.  I shall tell you about it.

I started with discus throwing back in 2005 (that's 9 years ago, can you believe it?).  My uncle who coached, at what was to be my future high school- Paarl Gymnasium, one day in I think December '05 brought some discuses and shots along and I threw them into a the veld, which was a situated next to our house in the little mining town of Koingnaas along South Africa's relatively untamed West Coast.  I threw further and further every time I put my hand to the discus, at least initially, and before you know it I was gunning for the IAAF World Youth Championships of 2011 in Lille, France.  I was ranked second and had my heart set on gold.  Many nights I would fall asleep dreaming of how I would clinch the title with emphatic 67m+ throw and become the hero of my country, but interestingly enough for me, of my high school.  I had a torrid day and finished up in 5th position with one of my worst competitions of the year, almost not reaching the top 8.  Worst of all, I had to witness the fellow who won the competition let his discus sail past 67m.  It's one thing to see how you fail at reaching a goal, but it's another when someone else replaces you in your dream in real life.  I thank God that I had no resentment against him, except that he I felt he didn't seem happy enough after the win.  I mean, I was dreaming of how I would do a kneeslide a la footballer or rip my shirt off like Robert Harting.  He only had a big grin and held his nation's flag aloft.

Later that year, I had some respite when I got 3rd place, and thus my first medal at an international meet, at the Commonwealth Youth Games.  Yet again, the winner let his discus sail past 67m and broke the National Youth Record I set a few months prior.  Double whammy.
A year later, I failed to reach the final of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain and the chap who clinched gold in Lille did it again.  Two years of massive build-up and expectation with failure in the end.  A failure that was not glorious, but the failure was also not ultimate. 
I was so fortunate to get a scholarship from the University of South Alabama right after that disastrous World Juniors Qualifying Round.  I dreamt of going to America for university since 2010, now it was a reality.

My freshman season in college had one or two flashes of brilliance, but overall, was quite above par for me.  I didn't reach Nationals, even though I only needed an average distance to make it.  I was homesick, I thought maybe America was not for me.
In May I stepped up to the plate at the NCAA East Region Track and Field Championships, not at all favoured to make Nationals.  The top 12 finishers on the day progress, I was ranked 16th.  After a cracking start which saw me in at 6th position after round one, I witnessed how my ranking slowly trickled away from 1 and closer to 16.  At the start of round 4 I was 15th.  I pulled out what was to be my best throw and narrowly clung on to 12th position.  In round 5 I was surpassed and finished 13th.
Now in athletics you have 3 cruel numbers - 4, 9 and 13.  You don't want to finish in those positions because they signal that you were as close as one could possibly be to a medal or to reaching the top 8 or to reach finals, but not a actually reach those goals.

Why would I tell you such a depressing tale of losses and insufficiencies?
Hope.  Hope is what permeates a tale of seemingly unsuccessful attempts at striving for goals.  I reached a minority of the major goals I set myself over the last 4-5 years.  Yet, my heart is still pumping, my soul still yearning with the fire that was stoked by wasting years away in front of the television that told me magnificent stories of sporting glory.  I still want that.  The Jan-Louw that watched Yelena Isinbayeva crying like mad after claiming her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the Pole Vault at Beijing 2008, is still the same Jan-Louw sitting in front of an Lcd typing these words - yet more wiser, yet more hardened, yet more at peace, yet more balanced.

In the poem Ulysses the old king reflects "All times I have enjoyed greatly, (I) have sufferred greatly".  A powerful saying.  Or as Samwise Gamgee- the biggest hero- said in The Two Tears "It's like in the great stories. The ones that really matter. Full of darkness and danger they were... those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something.  Even if you were to small to understand why.  The kept going, because they were holding on to something."

I hold on hope

Monday, 7 April 2014

Destiny, Nerve-Wracking, Eternity - all that and a bag of Grey's Anatomy

There must be something wrong with me.  I am not following 20 different series on Netflix or Hulu.
There must be something wrong with me.  I am a male and I watch Grey's Anatomy.
There must be something wrong with me.  Episode 17 of Season 10 has moved me.

When I pressed play on ABC.com and waited for the episode to load, I had no idea what was to hit me.  Sure, I knew it would be subject to another absolutely smashing episode of Grey's Anatomy, as the show is always good.  But I didn't expect that a string of pictures could have me as scared deep down into my core.

This episode focusses on Christina and her relationship with Owen.  The episode basically asks the question, "Do you know who you are?".  Now, as a 20 year old still trying to figure out this thing we call life, I was already put aback.  Christina saves the life of a man who became paralyzed from the neck down and asks him (with his wife standing by) whether he wants to live or not, as he is being kept alive by a tube down his throat to sustain breathing.  The episode looks at two different outcomes and the effect they have on Christina.  In the first instance the man wants his tube removed.  Christina is moved by this and realises that she wants to be with Owen forever.  The episode flashes forward to their life together where the acquire a house, get a dog, have 2 children and culminates where Shane receives the Harper Avery Award for outstanding service in medicine.  Throughout out this eerie flash forward, a sense of dissatisfaction builds up in Christina.  During labour for her first child she screams  "This was a mistake!"  I do not know the last time when a string of four words rocking me as deeply to my core as those words did.  My head was ablaze with all kinds of possibilities.  What if my mother said that when I was born?  What if I might say that one day when my child is born?  What if cry that when standing on the front porch of my home at the age of 50, all alone?  I was terrified at this point in the episode.  The child was a great thing for Owen as he was the happiest he had ever been.

In the second instance the man says that he does not want his tube to be removed and Christina continues with her on and off relationship with Owen.  This way of life works very well with Christina, however, Owen grows ever more dissatisfied.  They break up and get back together numerous times.  Each time on the premise that Owen really doesn't want kids (even though his soul years for a child).  Owen reaches his defining moment during the rehabilitation of the man who chose to live.  His wife confides to Owen that she is deeply dissatisfied of who she is now.  She really wanted children, but never will.  This rocks Owen to his core as he realises that even though his love for Christina is immense, he cannot shake the fact that he wants children and she doesn't.  In the end Christina goes on to win the Harper Avery Award 4 consecutive times and she is clearly deeply content being one of the greatest surgeons in the world.  Owen is a broken mess and a slave to alcohol as he cannot shake his love for Christina or his desire for children.

There is much to be said of this episode.  Firstly, this episode looks at love.  Clearly Owen and Christina loves one another as much as a couple can. They are soulmates and made for one another.  The problem is that both of them want fundamentally different things in life.  Christina wants companionship and a world-class career , but Owen wants the love, a big happy family and a good career.  Their love shows to us that maybe love does not conquer all.  For them to be together one or the other has to give up something that is incredibly dear to them.  We can put up a strong face and bear a the burden of love, but if we are deeply dissatisfied to our core about where we are, what we are doing in life and who we are in life, then maybe this is the one thing love cannot cure.  Maybe this is the one time we must say no to love and rather be where our heart shall be at peace.  Not everybody is meant to follow the societal definition of life and happiness.  Children is not for everyone.  On the other hand there are some people who this way of life is perfect.  These people were born to live that way - maybe like Lilly and Marshall on How I Met Your Mother.  They were meant to be together but they also wanted the same things in life.  This episode taught me that when picking a spouse the most important certainly is not beauty or their job or their maybe even to an extent their character, but the most important thing is that you both should want the same fundamental things in life.  Another way to put it could be to say that both of you can find peace, rest, solace, serenity, satisfaction and contentment in the same things.  That, my friend, is your true companion.  There where your peace is, there is your love.

Finally, the episode addresses existential concerns all of have at some point or another.  "Who am I?" "What is my purpose?" "What will I do in this life?"  For people like me who are still young and haven't really found their true calling in life (or maybe might have been ignoring it this whole time?) these questions always rock us.  Seeing first hand how Christina is deeply dissatisfied with children and Owen deeply dissatisfied without children made me realise once again how important these questions are.  Until you can truly deeply answer these questions, you are not there yet.  Until you can see yourself doing this for the remainder of your days on the Great Green Menagerie, you are not there yet.  Until you can answer this question and pursue your purpose in this life even when every last thing is taken from you and you are still content, then you are not there yet. 
These questions are bloody tough.  Sorry for the power word, but honestly it is hard.  We cannot peer into the future and see all the possible outcomes of our actions now.  There is no true guarantee in this life.  Even if we could see into the future, that would sure spoil all the mystery, discovery and intrigue of becoming who you were destined to be.  Come on God, why do have to make it so hard for us?  Even the wise Solomon couldn't really answer these deep existential questions.  He said that one must do what your hand finds to do and serve God.  Maybe there is a gold nugget therein.  Those of us who are still seeking, still wandering, still discovering.  Maybe we must latch unto something we really like a lot and see where it takes us?  Cling to you boyfriend and maybe you'll end up in paradise.  Hold fast to your career and before you know it, you found peace.  Embrace God and trust that He would take you to your destiny.  Yeah, maybe that will work.

As Elliott Hulse would say, "Damned if you, damned if you don't."  If you "drift like a feather on a breeze" as Forrest Gump thought or found your purpose on day one of your life, we are all going to die either way.

Find what is good.
Find what is peace.
Find you.
Find eternity.

I'll never stop wandering

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Noah a Surprisingly Good Watch: We Are the Protectors of Earth

I remember sitting in the food court at a mall in Austin, Texas somewhat dreading the movie that I bought a ticket for.  I so badly wanted to see 300 Rise of An Empire in the Imax cinema, but alas, the earliest screening was too late for a 4 o' clock get up the next morning. 

I sat down in cinema 1 and Noah was spreadeagle across the Imax screen.  I had my concerns of this movie beforehand.  I was convinced that Hollywood would (too much wood in this sentence) deliver a highly-sceptical, highly-critical motion picture to account for the Biblical account of the Noah and the Great Flood.  I had this idea that nothing positive about Christianity could ever come from America's bluest state.  I was so wrong.

Noah, even despite the fact that I have read the Biblical account quite a few times before, was a gripping, emotional roller-coaster.  My hands were found around my mouth or head for most of the movie.  There were numerous goosebump (or we would call it in Afrikaans chicken-skin) moments.  The Bible was never written in the most exciting manner and thus reading the story of Noah didn't seem like such a big deal.  The movie, however, masterfully captures the enormity of the ark and the actual flood.  The movie (unlike the Bible) focusses quite a bit on "Man".  In the Bible, God basically condemns Man for being sinful and evil and there is a mention of how Noah was ridiculed for building an ark whilst Men went on with their lives as normal.  The movie shows some of the sinfulness Man committed unlike anything  in the Bible.  Cannibalism, infanticide, slavery, etc. are all shown in a brief scene where Noah stands among Men.  You know, one reads about things like cannibalism and think, "Hmm, that must be really suck."  However, when you can see how a starving husband ruthlessly rips his son from his distraught wife's arms to eat the poor babe and get to see the emotion and hurt involved, one is left shell-shocked in one's seat.  To think, we built the world on such evil and sin.  To think, it probably still happens today seeing that there are more slaves on Earth now than ever before in history.  Very graphic, as the Bible also is, is the movie.  Reminiscent of The Wolf of Wall Street.  The two movies don't hold back to show you how things really transpired.  I absolutely love to watch films that are expository in nature, because it broadens one's horizons, gives great understanding of the plight of others and therefore can expand on true empathy (and less sympathy) for others.  Empathy is more likely to lead to action.  Action is a good thing.

In a way that I did not expect it, the movie strengthened my own personal faith.  I really enjoy experiencing a story by watching or playing it (such as the Assassin's Creed series or The Elder Scrolls).  I do sometimes read, but it is mostly limited to required readings of college classes or articles from newspapers and magazines.  Maybe my world-forming creativity which fictional reading expands is just weak, I'm not sure.  Noah allowed me to see the Bible (the book I have read more than any other, but without real colour or flair) in a way as never before.  I felt unashamed, more convicted of my own personal faith.  Whenever I stop by in Genesis again, the words will come to live as never before. 

Finally, whether or not you believe the story of Noah is true or not (I am biased, I'm afraid, in saying that I do believe) the movie carries a strong, impactful message.  Love and mercy wins.  Always. The task that has been set before us is an almighty one.  Possibly from afar insurmountable, but remember we were ordained from time immemorial to take stewardship of this Earth.  Whether like me, you believe God gave that task to us or whether you believe billions of years of evolution has brought us to the apex of existence and has through our innovation, intellect and above all curiosity given us the incredulous power to shape our world and universe to our whims, power to you.  But our task is clear, we are the protects of Earth.  If our first priorities in life does not include some form of preservation or protection of nature then woe is us! 

Be ye fruitful and multiply.  Let thy seed be as the stars of the everlasting heavens.  Protect this Earth I have given to you, my children.

Let the task that I have set before you, never depart your wanderings on this Earth.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Die Manseun op 20

Vandag omstreeks 7305 gelede is ek gebore in 'n klein dorpie genaamd Kleinzee in Namakwaland.  Dit was die begin van 'n wonderlike reistog waarop ek die afgelope dag of wat heelwat gedink het. 
Ek het meer as 20 lande besoek, duisende mense ontmoet en in verbintenis mee getree, meer as 100 keer al gevlieg (gelukkig nooit weggeraak soos die Malaysia 370 vlug nie!), die voorreeg gehad om teen die wereld se bestes deel te neem in my gekose sport, hoërskool in die beste skool in die wêreld voltooi, universiteit toe te gaan in Amerika, maar rerig dit is alles nietighede as ek dit moet vergelyk met die mense in my lewe wie my gedra het tot waar ek vandag is. 
Mamma en Pappa kry obviously die grootste eer, die dat ek vanuit hul kom.  Ek het die afgelope paar maande so baie van kindgrootmaak geleer, veral oor alles wat kan foutgaan.  Sjoe, ek het ampertjies-ampertjies verkeerd uit gedraai, maar deur die Here se genade en my ouers se liefde en ondersteuning, het ek darem al 20 jaar gehaal.  Te dink miljoene der miljoene mense gaan nooit hul 20's bereik nie.  Daardeur alleen weet ek dat God my met veel meer as wat ek ooit verdien geseën het.  My ouers was daar vir my struikels en my juig.  My eerste treë en my grootste teleurstelling.  Ek weet ek is geseën met hulle.  Soveel mense het net een ouer, geen ouers of kom uit gebroke huishoudings, maar ek is geseën om vanuit 'n ietwat normale huishouding te kom. 
Van alle mense buiten my ouers het my  suster my die meeste beinvloed.  Van my musiek smaak, die movies en series wat ek gekyk het, die games wat ek gespeel het, die video's wat ek gekyk het, die manier waarop ek sekere dinge sien, dit is danksy haar.  Soos enige broer en suster het ons seker meer vasgesit as saamgespeel, maar al die goeie tye sal ek vir altyd onthou.  Die mense wat daar van die begin af was Ouma, Joyce, ooms, tannies, neefs, niggies en familie vriende, baie dankie vir al die goeie tye en die kere wat ons kon saam spandeer en saam lag. 
Sekere onnies het ook groot rolle in my lewe gespeel juffrou Goosen wat my 4 voorskool jare gelei het in Micky en Minnie speelgroep, juffrou Engelbrecht in graad 1, juffrou Schreiber in laerskool, juffrou Nel-Hugo in hoërskool en meneer Veldsman ook in hoërskool.  Baie dankie ook aan elkeen van julle (en ook die wie ek nie genoem het nie) vir die massiewe rolle wat julle in my opvoeding gespeel het tot dusver.  Ek sou maar dom gewees het sonder jul leiding.
Sport het ook 'n redelike groot rol in my lewe gespeel.  Baie dankie Pappa, Oom Johan, John, Janus, Marius, meneer Veldsman en Paul vir al die raad en diskusse terug gooi.  Veral dankie aan Pappa wat omtrent soveel gooie soos ek gegooi het, ook gegooi het.  Ek het nie baie oefenmaats gehad nie, maar Nielké was een van hulle.  Baie dankie vir die saamoefen en dat jy altyd my nors buie kon verduur!
Vriende en vriendinne Schalk, Lourens, Albert, Hekkie, Marina, Renaldo, Alwyn, Viktor julle is legends.  Obviously is dit nie almal nie.  Baie dankie vir julle ook.  Ook dankie aan familievriende soos die Swanepoele, Van Zyls, De Beers, Matthees, Kotzes, Engelbrechts, Mosterts, Du Toits, De Wets, Zandberge en Burgers saam met wie ons baie goeie tye gehad het en hopelik nog baie kan he!
Baie dankie ook aan Koingnaas, Kleinzee, Hondeklipbaai, Paarl, Struisbaai, Kaapstad, Mobile, Suid-Afrika, Amerika, Gim, KPS, South Alabama en al die ander instansies en plekke wie my die manseun gemaak het wat ek vandag is.
Ja, so hierdie was meer van 'n dankblog, maar ek inderwaarheid is dit wat ek vandag meer as enigiets ervaar - dankbaarheid. 
Al is jy glad nie genoem in die blog nie, baie dankie vir die rol wat jy ook in my lewe gespeel het.  Somtyds was een minuut van jou tyd iets wat lewenslank by my bly.
Mag die genade en vrede van my God altyd by julle wees. 
Dit sal moontlik die laaste Afrikaanse blog vir 'n hele tydjie wees.
Nou om te gaan eet

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

My Onrustigheid Broei

So die afgelope klompie dae was nou nie die lekkerste vir my nie, dis seker waarom ek weer 'n Afrikaanse blog moet doen.  Als is maar net beter in mens se hartstaal.

"Maar jy het dan anderdag so goed gedoen in die atletiek, jy moet mos bly wees?!"

Ja, dit het vir my tydelike geluk gebring.  Dis die tipe geluk wat jy ervaar wanneer jy weet jy het moeite vir iets ingesit het en jy sien darem vir 'n slag 'n produk.  Nee, maar dis bakgat.  Ek is bly 8 jaar se oefening het my gebring tot waar ek nou is en waar ek nou is, is nog nêrens nie.

Maar my oë kyk leweloos en blank in die verte in, die verte wat deur grys wolke gepleister word en die spasie tussenin wat deur die sagte reëndruppels gevul word.

"Wat nou?"  vra ek myself.   "My rewolusie is verby." lamenteer ek. 

Jy sien, in Amerika is die mense gaande oor die uiterlike.  Dit is waarom as jy 'n rolprent of 'n Amerikaanse reeks op die televisie sien, is almal so grênd aangetrek. Hul vingers  met allerhande juweliersware en jaarsalaris horlosies hang pronkerig om die gewrigte.  Hare netjies gesny en in 'n sosiaal aanvaarbare norm gevorm.  Geselsies volg standaardformate waar koeitjies en kalfies voorrang kry bo jou naaste se lyding.  Skoene netjies gepoets. 

Hm, skoene.  Weet jy wat mense hier doen as jy NIE skoene aan het nie?  Nee, nee, die polisie kom sluit jou darem nie toe nie, maar, om die waarheid te sê, ek is verbaas ek is nog nie toegesluit oor my kaal voete nie.  Die konformiste brand 'n gat in jou siel deur hul genadeloos staar.  Die ooms en tannies wip hulself oor jou tekort aan skoene en bevraagteken jou geestesgesondheid.  Jy word summier geweier om in 'n eetplek in te gaan.  Ja, jy lees reg.  In Amerika mag jy NIE EET NIE tensy jy skoene aan jou voete nie.  Nou, ons doen baie dinge verkeerd in Afrika, maar ons kommer ten minste nie oor hoe iemand aangetrek is as hul eet nie.  So, was ek al 'n hele paar keer geweier om in eetplekke in te gaan, omdat die skaam nie bedek is nie.  Dan vra ek die ondersteuners van die valse god, waarom ek my skoene moet bedek.  Die reaksie is ongemaklike, effens geirriteerde gesigte, gevolg deur 'n repitisie dat jy skoene moet aantrek.  Ek maak 'n halwe glimlag, lag in my mou en vra weer.  "Uhmm, want dit is die reëls.  Dit is onhigiënies." 

Op daai oomblik skree die stem so diep in my middeste dat ek hulle moet teregwys.  Ek wil so graag hul argument stuk vir stuk uitmekaar haal en vernietig.  Ek wil SO GRAAG.  Maar ja, ek is 'n lafaard.  Ek mompel die kreet van my hart en haal onwillig plakkies uit my rugsak uit, duidelik het ek al dit oorgekom in die verlede.

Laterhand skryf die koerante van jou kaalvoete.  Nou is ek in die publieke oog.  "Kyk, daar is die kaalvoet ou!"   Jou afrigters ban jou kaal voete later uit plekke waar jy daagliks moet wees.  Jy druk hul geduld tot op die laaste.  Jy kyk of hulle sal toegee.  Hulle staan vas.

En dan op 'n grys, nat Dinsdagoggend kom jou afrigters se base en knip jou vlerke vir goed af en dan vind ek myself aan die staar na die grys horizon.

Mense, ek het probeer om die mense hierso te wys dat voete nie lelik is nie.  Ek het hul probeer wys dat voete natuurlik is.  Ek het hul probeer wys dat voete nie iets is waarvoor ons bang moet wees nie.
Helaas, my moeites het die tenoorgesteld veroorsaak. So, ons gaan terug na die gevoel van die atletiek.  Ek het moeite in 'n ding ingesit en gehoop vir 'n sekere uitslag, maar nie net kry ek nie die uitslag waarvoor ek gehoop het nie, maar die tenoorgestelde. 

So, hoe met 'n mens dan voel?  Wel, ek voel ietwat depressief, ietwat soos 'n mislukking. 

Ek kan die situasie verder vat, soos die groot rewolusie leiers van ouds sou, maar daar is te veel om te verloor.  Deesdae heg ek ongelooflik baie waarde daaraan om vir jouself op te staan.  Dit is seker maar gekoppel aan my idealisme.   Ek het probeer opstaan in my geloof in Vryheid en om Amerikaners nader aan die natuur te bring, die natuur van ons eie liggaams.   Hulle het my egter aan die ballas beet.  As ek sou spartel of hul verder kwaad maak, dan gaan die houvas seerder word.  As ek nou opgee, dan sal hul houvas verslap, maar my Vryheid ingeperk. 

Hierdie is seker maar een van daardie situasies waar mense moet ingee.  Maar wat is volgende?  Gaan hul later vir my sê ek moet my jaar en 'n half lange hare ook skeer?  Gaan hul vir my sê ek mag nie meer kortbroeke dra nie?  Gaan hul vir sê om hul landslied te sing en hul regering te aanbid?

Ek hoop, om Vader's naam, hierdie is die einde van my stroewelinge met die magte bo my.  Laat hul net weet dat ek nie agteroor gaan buig nie.  Hierdie is die einde van my toegewings, al moet ek later meer Vryheid en/of voorregte prysgee. 

Ek kan nie my hele lewe wegkruip en 'n mat wees waaroor die wêreld kan loop nie.  Ek is tog ook 'n mede-mens, ek verdien tog ook menswaardige behandeling.

Ai, nou moet ek net myself hiervan oortuig

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Along Cometh my Dating/Relationship Indictment...

Being an observer is so much fun.  Except for the parts where you find yourself crying, because you never do anything yourself.  As an observer we trade tears for one of the most precious gems our great green menagerie can offer - wisdom.  Not that I have any.  I have my own perspective, though.  For some my perspective might be wisdom, for others meh and for the rest total bollocks.

Oi vey, fellows!  Something I have spent way too much time observing is the dynamic and chemistry between two lovers or potential lovers.  My observations are very much limited to heterosexual relations, I'm afraid, and virtually none of my own.  Sorry LGBT friends.

Anyway, I find an injustice in the accepted norm.  Men are expected to pursue a lady whom he vested his eyes upon from afar, a la The Notebook.  The idea is not to get to know the woman for who she really is -  what scares her, what makes her happy, what her hopes for this life is.  Oh no, this information is irrelevant.  You must scout out the most attractive female and try to gain her number.  No, not the one that you would be able to share a laugh with on a rainy day or the one that stays loyal to you in spite of outside pressure.   Simply the one who makes you tingle on the inside and in certain places, actually.  You must garner the little bit of self-confidence you have left and go up and face certain rejection from the female who is supposed to play hard to get.  No, she is not allowed to give this brave man a chance, because she has been told to be an ice queen. Men are pigs, the only want to have sex with you.  Well, if he approaches you in a bar, he probably wants that. 

Then comes the pursuit.  Honesty and practicality is not important.  It's all about which man can display the biggest fireworks.  The one who can organize a flashmob for her to feel like she is in a musical.  The one who can put the biggest Carbon-Carbon-Carbon.... ring upon her finger. 
Why are we humans so attached to gestures and signs?  Actually, why are we so attached to and glamorise one-off events such as the proposal, my training for a two week Olympic Games or a few hour long wedding ceremony?  Why are we not more interested in what comes after the pursuit?  The companionship of having someone who will join you on a year-long roadtrip on a moment's notice.  The peace of knowing someone will love you regardless of whether you lost your face when your workplace took fire.  The joy of waking up next to your special person for the rest of your life.  Why don't we romanticise companionship as we do romance and dating? 

You know what also sucks about being a male?  Unless your significant other or girlfriend is Victoria Secret level hot, you are an absolute failure.  You may be the most successful accountant in your company's history, the man who spends all his free time working at charities, the man who still keeps in touch with his family and the one who is intelligent, but have an average looking lady and you immediately a "Beta Male".  You can be the biggest scum on earth, but if you have a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit covergirl vainly by your side, you are hailed and revered by all men. 

Why does physical appearance matter so much to us men?  Why do friends, family and society pressure us to believe that we are subordinate men, lest our women are beautiful? 
What if I love her for 1000 more reasons than the fleeting vanity?

 Why must we remain quiet about the way we feel?  Saying you feel a certain emotion when being in someone's presence is not saying "You are now bound to me and struggling against the bondage will only hurt you."  It is merely me not trying to hold a false front in front of you. 

Why are men always expected to lead and to pursue?
Why can women not stop wishing upon a star hoping that mr. Right will coming swooping into their lives?  Can't you just go out and look for him yourself?
Then when the pursuit is over, then the man's work is over.  Oh you, got to put a ring on her finger and now you are released of all duties you previously had towards her.  Now the missus needs to do everything.
Crash boom bang, another divorce, because we have been indoctrinated by society to believe that there should lopsided efforts in the whole spectrum of a relationship.  Man does everything at the start and woman does everything towards the dénouement.

Goodness me, the system is broken.  Society wants men to vainly chase after the most attractive female in his tribe and the woman to only accept the attempts of the flashiest man.  No thought to children and companionship.  No wonder you don't have anything to talk about anymore.  You though infatuation will last forever. 
It does not.
 Love, however, does. 

Forgiveness and acceptance go a long way.

My soul shall ever wander the lone trail, until it leads to whom I can call mine

Even then shall I wander
But not solitary

Equality in pursuit, courtship and love is all I really want.

Goodness this was quite poorly written
I'll have to revist

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street is a Must-See/Read for the Sheltered, Ignorant and Naïve

Instead of doing homework tonight, I decided to indulge in a movie that has recently created quite the stir in popular culture.  I was discouraged from watching The Wolf of Wall Street by my bible study group.  The reasoning was that a Christian should not consume that type of obscene material.  Therefore I had to watch the movie.
The warnings you were told about all the sex scenes, swearing in nearly every sentence, explicit use of drugs, domestic violence and even possible animal abuse, I can confirm, are all true.  I would imagine that the most puritanical and conservative amongst us might have stormed out of the movie theatre after the first 5 minutes, fuming at the portrayal of sex, drugs, female subjugation and swear words all in one scene.  For those who left on a moral premise, they made a good move, because it wouldn't change much for the remaining 3 hours of the movie.  Numerous scenes shamelessly depict massive orgies, fully nude women and domestic violence.  The main characters were depicted many times snorting cocaine or binging on some other illicit drug.  Some would argue that the film took the depiction of "the real Wall Street" way too far. 
They might have a case.  I, however, found the explicit material to be suitable for the film.  As a Christian myself, I understand the warnings thrown about by believers that, at the very least, fellow believers should not watch the movie.  As children of God we should strive to be perfect and holy like God the Father is perfect and holy.  Fair enough, I will agree with that, but is avoiding the things that happen in front of our very eyes the right way to go about the situation?  If we continue to live a life where we avoid all forms of evil we might just as well delete ourselves from this world!  A film like The Wolf of Wall Street reminds us that evil is all around us.  Personally I knew that there are some things done on Wall Street that is a blight for humanity such as money laundering, corruption and lobbyists from big corporations courting politicians to influence legislation in favour of said corporations and thus only furthering the destructive overly-capitalistic machine.  I only knew this because I gave an ear to non-mainstream news sources that are actually focussed on delivering the public the facts and not merely telling the public what the government or corporations want them to hear. Now there are many ill informed people out there who actually think that the people working on Wall Street are suited and booted (well, they are well-dressed, I shall concede) professionals wanting to make the most money they possibly can from your investment.  It's exactly from ignorant, naïve people like that that these stockbrokers and corporations make their money.  Don't be an idiot.  Most of those people don't really care a thing for you, your money, your mortgage or your children's college tuition.  All they want is to line their own pockets and buy shinier and faster cars.  And they call themselves professionals?  Ha, show me a true professional that engages in as much debauchery as in The Wolf of Wall Street and I will show you a snowball thriving on the surface of the sun. 
Of course, I have over-generalised by implying that every single person that draws a breath on Wall Street is greedy and selfish.  Of course, there are some magnanimous men and women, greater persons that I can ever hope to be, who wander through that famous street.  My point is that people, especially really sheltered people, should watch the film and see what happens out there in the "real world".  I am an optimist myself, but even I know that not everyone out there wants to be your friend.  For some people, when they see even a single greenback in your wallet they want to get their hands on that and for what?  To spend it on lavish holidays in some exotic European destination to please their vain friends and brown-nosing employees, that's what they are going to do.
If watching the movie would cause too much of a moral stir for you, luckily the movie is based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort.  Read those memoirs and find the even more gruesome details of life in the most all-or-nothing business in the world - stockbroking.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

An Incovenient Youth: The Generation Y Situation, A Defence of Our Hope

So, I believe I am qualified to write about this topic.  Attached to this document will be a 3 page list of all the degrees I have received whilst on full scholarship exclusively at Ivy League schools. 

No, sorry I do not have any of those I am afraid, unless high school counts, yay?  I am a member of Generation Y.  Born in the sterling year of 1994, South Africa reached full democracy, Forrest Gump won Best Picture at the Oscars and Justin Bieber was born.  Wait, scrap that, 1994 wasn't such a great year. 

On a more serious note though, we as Generation Y have received quite a great deal of flak as many Generation Y kids are entering the labour force of their respective countries.  Laziness, disloyalty, lack of commitment, disrespectfulness, etc. fill up the ever growing clamour cloud above disgruntled CEO's heads.  We are known as the entitled generation, the generation that won a trophy at a sporting event even if you finished dead stone last, the generation that fills in bubbles in school instead of writing something profound.  Anti-intellectualism runs rampant in mainstream media where we glorify people for doing unlawful deeds for a fleeting moment of light on CNN's headlines, whilst great inventions such as 3-d printing is still unknown to many people. 

"We are the middle children of history, man, no purpose or place" as Tyler Durden said well in the movie that must not be named.  It seems almost as though the period where a child learns to fly has extended well beyond the historical 18 (or 21) when you suddenly became an adult.  Record numbers of young adults still live with their parents at 25.  Youth unemployment is high across the whole world.  A culture of entitlement, procrastination and ignorance plagues my brethren and sisters.  Older generations like to point to this dark triad as the reason for Generation Y's struggle to adapt to society.  You can't really blame them, because for many Generation Y kids the dark triad is a reality.  Older generations need to realise, however, that the dark triad is not the cause of Generation Y's struggle, but rather the symptoms of far deeper and wide reaching problems. 

To address the issue of entitlement, Generation Y was born into the probably the greatest era mind kind has ever been in.  Wealth and prosperity is possible for any person regardless of your background, every living person on earth is guaranteed unalienable human rights, universal social justice has been as close to realised as it has ever been in human history, literacy is almost universal, life expectancies are through the roof and our connectivity to other people is faster and more convenient than ever before.  All the technological, scientific, engineering and societal advances that mankind has made to this point was basically presented to Generation Y on a silver platter.  We were born knowing that all the societal safety nets are in place in case we stumble.  We live in a day and age where few things we do truly is risky.  If we break our leg, a doctor can fix it.  If we miss rent payments, we can live in a homeless shelter.  Civilisation has grown so mighty that people have nothing to drive them.  As far as human motivation goes, fear is the absolute strongest form of motivation.  If you know that mommy and daddy will indefinitely care for you, what reason do you really have to go out and discover the world for yourself?  This is why a disproportionate amount of startup businesses in the US are established by foreign immigrants.  A child that faced a life of struggling to till the land for survival in Kenya has far stronger motivation and reason to rise from his/her bedstead than one who never had to work a day in his/her life.  Our educators, parents, governments and society failed miserably to give us reason to get up out of our comfortable beds to endure the grind.  We must give purpose and reason to the lives of Generation 2K and younger Generation Y members.  "We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives." once again Durden highlights the issue.

As far as procrastination goes every generation must have struggled with this.  In the society of today the issue is possibly stronger.  From the day we are born we are placed in a culture of quick-access.  Fast food, fast cars, fast internet, fast entertainment, fast relationships.  Instant gratification is the only way for some people.  The wonderful value of delayed gratification may have been a weapon in our parents' child rearing arsenal, but society's message runs contrary to this.  In the media we are shown people that are already successful, never told the decades of hardship and failure they had to endure to be where they are now.  We see these successful people and think our own success should come quickly.  A little bit of effort and we'll be rock stars!  We end up procrastinating on the real grind that gets you to a place of success and are perplexed by the lack of progress.  We give up and seek the next fad that might bring a passing moment of adrenaline.  Stronger emphasis needs to be put on teaching youths the glory of the grind.  Crashing your car into a tree whilst high on hallucinogens should not be the stories that litter CNN's headlines.  Stories of struggle and overcoming those hurdles should be what drives media.  Children will then realise that purposeful living is what makes you esteemed in the eyes of others, not temporary vainglories.

The final edge of the dark triad ignorance is the one that moves me the most.  It would be unreasonable to suggest that every person know the names of all the dictators in South America, Asia and Africa and know the reasons why we consider them dictators.  It is unacceptable however that someone knows not that the Syrian people are in great pain at the moment.  It is unacceptable that someone knows not that Global Warming threatens the survival of the human race.  If all that two people are able to converse about is other people and quote catch phrases out of movies, then our human race is doomed.  Eleanor Roosevelt said "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people" .  Sure we can gossip as it is human nature and relieves stress, but woe the day if all we can do is gossip.  The destruction of ignorance starts with educators and the media.  We must value knowledge of history, the arts and current events.  We must encourage deep and creative thought amongst our youth and certainly greatly reward novelty.

I am an optimist.  I believe in the power of the human spirit to overcome challenges.  History has evidenced this countless times.  Generation Y is not lost, we are asleep; waiting for our rude awakening to unleash the heroes inside each and every one of us.


Friday, 31 January 2014

On Creating a Legacy

This is an excerpt of a message a wrote to a good friend of mine on Facebook.  Hopefully we all might gain at least a granule of purpose from this text
As we grow up we are exposed to messages from all kinds of people and events that happen in our lives.  Those messages filter into our subconscious and we integrate many of those messages into our very soul, into who we are.  The messages form our beliefs and values.  In these messages we as Westerners are taught the ideals of hard work, independence, planning, goal-setting, logical thinking, conformism, one-track mindedness, capitalism and individualism.  Many of these are good values and will most certainly give you support in achieving whatever your heart desires.
But you know what they don't tell us?  You know what we only learn when we are ransacked by society and wonder about the meaning of life and our role in the great menagerie of life on earth, your heart starts wandering towards the idea of a legacy.  If you ever read through history or watch a historical movie you get hit by this question of legacy.  One day when my days are spent and I am ready to depart to the hereafter, what was the significance of my life to the lives of others?
For many people this question absolutely stumps them.  They then go on to completely avoid it and leave a conformist life and be a little cog in the economic machine that powers the current state of society.  Some are deeply moved by this question and go on a great adventure in search of truth, in search of answers.  Many of these adventurers might not ever find what they think they were looking for.  But then there are The Few.  The Few brave men and women who have come to find an answer to the question of Legacy.  They are the Ghandis, the Mandelas, the Joan de Arcs, the Jesus's, the Mohammeds and the Teslas.  They are also the Hitlers, the Stalins, the Kim Jong-Uns and the Satans of this world. 
My thinking of one's legacy is a very figurative one here above.  What is for certain is that certain things could possibly hold us back in creating our own legacy.  Comfort and fear are possibly the biggest enemies of our legacy, of our God-given potential.  If one's desires for a comfortable life or a life of avoiding fear, is greater than leaving a legacy then one has reason for concern.
So, most people would give you the verse from the New Testament (I think) that states "Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you".  Usually people use it out of context, but it is applicable in this case.  You must first set out to seek and discover your reason for existence on Earth.  God is a good way to start because he will eventually direct you to why He wanted you on Earth.  When you have found that purpose without a shadow of a doubt, pursue it with all that you have.  As in any great adventure there will be dragons, magic, mountains, bandits and enemies.  Know that the process of seeking your purpose will not be easy. 
May your travels be fruitful and purposeful, my friends

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Art Saves

As a young boy in primary school about a decade or so ago, the class period I dreaded the most was probably Arts & Culture class, Literature came in a close second to that.  I remember telling a classmate of mine in Grade 2, "Literature is litter!"  All those years spent learning the language of music, which is the note, didn't resound all too well with me.  I only put in some effort to make sense of these other-worldly scribbles so that I may get my A.  Later on, we actually had to study a little bit of the history of art.  Ugh, I don't care about romanticism and impressionism, I just want to go outside and play some soccer!  Modern Art was obviously a target of much criticism and resentment.  I was all too relieved when the Arts and Culture curriculum ended in Grade 9 and I could choose different subjects to study for the rest of high school.  I didn't get the jest of Classical music at that time.  It seemed like squeaky music that pretentious, snobbish bastards would listen to.  As you could, see art in its purest forms was revolting to me.
Things changed in college when I had to take a music appreciation class in my first semester as a freshman.  Now I had to pretend to appreciate and care for this hunk of junk (as it was mostly Classical music) for a whole semester, as my commitment to get an A was still there.  We were required to listen to some symphonies from back in the day and attend at least 4 classical music concerts.  On cold January nights I would unwillingly pedal my bike along to the other side of campus over hill and through dales to slowly rack up my tally of concerts.  The blaring sound of the trumpet gradually evolved from an obnoxious blast to a soothing melody. The strings of the violin morphed from squeaky shrills to flowing honeydroplets that would feed the hunger pangs of the oppressed artist that abode in my being.  The former discomfort now moved me.  It shattered the chains that fettered my inner, starved romantic.  The joy of the symphony enveloped me in its gracious overtures.  A new world dawned upon me, previously darkened by narrow-mindedness and hate.
The powe of music spilled over to other areas of my life.  I realised that I was engaging in artistry all along.  I found out that I was not the entirely left brain person I thought I was.  My right brain had been driving me all along, it just liked taking the back seat and seeing the right brain have its moment in the sun.  By unlocking my inner artist, I also released the demons that lived inside of me.  I realised that I was lonely (hence The Lonelyman Diaries), I had few friends, I lived a one track life and that I was a very moral person, but with absolutely no grey areas.  In other words, I had no room for grace and mercy.  In the this great explosion I also truly came to terms with my muse - writing.  Through writing I have given the demons within me a place to run to.  Maybe even a place to escape from.
Every person in this life has an outlet or something or somewhere where they can express their innermost fears, hopes, desires and dreams.  Some find their solace in gazing at a starry night, some find serenity in worship of the Lord, others experience nirvana through the heartbeat of the universe - music.  My hope for this world is that all would discover their outlet, their joy, their passion.  I pray that we may get to spend as much time as possible within or "zones".  Even more so, I hope that each and every one of us would find a special someone (or two or three) to share in our muses.
For life was not made to lived alone, but to have koinonia with all people. 
Art saves, as it has saved me.
There lies happiness

Danksy Ons Vaders - Hoekom Geskiedenis Belangrik Is

Ek put baie genot daaruit om meer oor geskiedenis te leer.  Enige geskiedenis, rerig.  My gunsteling tydperk is egter vanaf die Neolitiese Rewolusie van omtrent 10 000 v.C. tot die val van die Westelike Romeinse reik in die jaar 476.  Sommige hou glad nie van vroeë geskiedenis nie, want hul glo dat dit glad nie van toepassing meer op ons vandag het nie.  Op sigself sou dit moeilik wees om nie saam te stem nie.  Ek meen as 'n mens net terugdink aan hoeveel die wêreld reeds sedert die 1950's verander het, is dit ondenkbaar om te peil hoe die wêreld in byna 2 000 jaar verander het.  Ons is heelwat anders as mense van die 1950's byvoorbeeld.  Minder preuts, meer liberaal, meer gekonnekteer deur wyse van die internet, ryker, beter opgevoed, langer lewensverwagtinge, meer berese, ens.  Die lys kan moontlik nie op hierdie blog pas, sou ek vlugtig moes opnoem hoeveel ons van die antieke kulture verskil nie.  Of sou dit nie pas nie?
Die heel eerste ding wat geskiedenis aan jou oordra is 'n meer oop gemoed en verstand.  Jy leer dat daar meer in die lewe is as om net voort te gaan en te jaag na die volgende sonopkoms.  Jy leer van hoe skynbare kranksinnige mans en vrouens op 'n skuit geklim het en 'n rigting ingeslaan het.  Daar was geen waarborge nie.  Jy mag dalk oor 4 maande wal slaan aan 'n landstuk wat vloei van edelstene en lekkernye of jy mag dalk deur die berugte meerminne of seerowers van kant gemaak word.  Dit is al te maklik om aan pionierende skeepvaarte te dink in moderne terme.  Ons kan gou Google Maps oopmaak en 'n goeie roete van Portugal na Indië karteer.  Ons kan navorsing doen van hoe ons baie reën langs die sentraal-Afrika kus sal ervaar en hoe ons moet wyk by die Kaap van Storms.  Ons sou satelliet selfone saamneem ingeval ons dalk gestrand word op Madagaskar.  Ons sou Google Translate kon saamneem om te vertaal wat die Indiese handelaars ons prober vertel.  Vir reisigers soos Da Gama en Dias was nie een van daardie dinge waar nie.  Hulle het net stories gehoor van die inwoners van lande soos Ethiopië en Mali van hoe daar lande suid van hulle lê, maar waar geen mens al heen gegaan het nie.  Hul het figuurlik blind by die Wes-Afrika kus afgeseil en gehoop hul sou nie by die kant van die wêreld afval nie!  Wat 'n sig was dit nie om by die Kaap aan te kom en Tafelberg en Valsbaai in hul natuurlike majestie te sien nie!  Dit is altyd vir my wonderlik om te dink hoe mense van ouds 'n kaal stuk land wat duisende kilometres weg van beskawing is kon sien en sê, "Hier gaan ek 'n nasie bou." 
Nie net het ons die groot reisigers te danke vir die wêreld wat ons vandag ken nie, maar ook ons vaders en moeders van regoor die spektrum van mensegeskiedenis.  Hiermee verwys ek meerendeels na die die wat hul lewens opgeoffer het vir die relatiewe gemak wat 'n gedeelte van ons kan ervaar.  In die tyd van die antieke Grieke was al politiese sisteem bekend aan hul monargie en militêre diktatorskappe.  Tydens die Goue Tydperk van die Grieke het vele denkers voortgekom wat ons tot vandag nog groot ag - Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Archimedes, Pythagoras, Ptolemy, ens.  Pericles was ook 'n groot denker asook 'n groot doener.  Dit kan geredeneer word dat hy die vader van demokrasie is soos ons dit vandag ken.  Dink terug in 'n wêreld waar mans met die grootste swaard  en meeste goud geregeer het, was daar 'n man met die waagmoed wat kon sê dat elke lid van die gemeenskap 'n sê kan hê in hoe hul regeer moet word.  Dit was waansin, maar die Ateners het die vroeë vorm van demokrasie aangeneem.  Soos geskiedenis neig om te verloop het hierdie nuwe idee nie sonder teenkanting gekom nie.  Die Ateners moes hul man staan teen hul eie broers van van die ander Griekse polisse (Stad-state) en later teen die magtigste ryk wat die wêreld nog tot op daardie stadium gesien het - die Persiese Ryk.  Danksy oorwinnings by slagte soos dié van Maraton en, hoewel dit nie 'n militêre oorwinning was nie, maar ideal-oorwinnings soos die by Thermopylae, het die idee van demokrasie die sward oorleef.  Die Romeine sou ook 'n vorm van demokrasie eersklaps aanvaar en later sou die Westerlike wêreld ook demokrasie aanvaar.  Ons het die bloed van ons Griekse vaders te danke dat ons vandag in lande kan woon waar ons (hoewel baie klein en soms weens ander euwels, nuttelose) 'n rol kan speel in hoe ons regeerders ons lei.  Ons hoef in vrees te lewe dat die koning more sy verstand gaan verloor en besluit om alle seuns onder 2 jaar te vermoor nie.  Ons kan in relatiewe vrede met mekaar en ons regeerders lewe.  Te min mense, in my opinie, is dankbaar vir die bloed van biljoene mans en vrouens wat eeue voor ons gelewe het, om die lewe wat ons vandag ken te verseker.
Mans en vrouens het hulself oortuig dat ideale soos vryheid, gelykheid, demokrasie, ens. die moeite werd is om voor te sterf.  Danksy dit wat hul in hul lewens vermergel het en die feit dat hul tot die dood getrou was aan hul ideale, kan ons vandag lewe met daardie ideale.  Ons aanvaar dit gans te veel as vanselfsprekend.  Nee, seun, ons kon nie altyd almal lees en skryf nie, ons kon nie altyd almal 3 etes 'n dag bekostig nie, ons kon nie almal 'n warm stort vang en daarna in 'n warm bed inklim nie.  Ons moes deur baie millennia van swaarkry gaan om te kom waar ons vandag is.
Baie van ons gaan sit nou op ons louere, want die lewe is lekker en ons hoef nie elke dag 6 ure te spandeer om hopelik kos vir die gesin bymekaar te maak nie.  Daar is egter steed biljoene mense in die wêreld van vandag wat nie deel het in dit waarvoor biljoene reeds hul lewens opgeoffer het nie.  Daar is werk.  Daar is lewens om aan te raak.  Daar is mense om glimlagte op hul gesigte te sit.  God alleen weet hoeveel biljoene se lewens nog opgeoffer moet word, voordat almal in die lewe kan deelhê soos ons dit vandag ken en of dit ooit gaan gebeur voor die mensdom se onafwendbare einde.  Dit sleutel is dat ons egter elke dag steeds moet voortbou op wat ons voorvaders gedoen het.
Miskien, net miskien, mag ons eendag terugkyk en sê: "Ons het dit gedoen!"

Inspirationless Ramblings and Whatever Crosses Me Mind

As a person who likes to write, the one thing you hate most is to write when you have no inspiration.  Having a paper due for school is a prime example.  I'm one of those people who writes right from the heart or more accurately the brain or more accurately, whatever electric impulses are generated in my prefrontal cortex and I deem fair to pen down.  Not really penning down things in this day and age.  Slammin' keys to hopefully assuage your overactive mind. 
Snippets, ah yes, snippets.  Sometimes I think of myself as a flashpoet.  Credits to the photo studio who came up with that name.  Applicable, I think, to writing, as well.  Too many commas in that sentence...  Basically you have short bursts of inspiration of maybe a few words or sentences long.  It's great to be a flashpoet on a microblog like Twitter or if you are a photographer apparently.  Translating that same passion, brilliance and inspiration onto a comparative megablog like this one poses quite the challenge. 
That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

F*ck Them All - Time For Some Controversy - Tirade Against Materialism and Narrow-Mindedness

Ya know, there's one thing in this world that I find hard to come to terms with.  From the day we are born we are told things.
Thank you Captain Obvious, more specific?
Finish high school, go to college, get married (for men, unless your woman is hot as hell, you've failed), work your way up in a corporation, buy a house, get 2.5 kids, tell your children the same things you were told from birth, retire and die.
Oh son, you must study engineering so that you can make $100k a year and buy a nice car.
Girl, you must become a nurse so that you can help people and get money for helping them.
Young man, you must scour the bars at your university and place of work until you find the woman who is most attractive and base a relationship, engagement and marriage solely on the fact that she is attractive.
Young woman, you may not have a say over your body and you must abide by the rules of a patriarchal society which were designed so that men may permanently have dominion over you.
Man, you must buy insurance, mindlessly spend hours in front of the television watching burly men wrestling over an egg-shaped ball and spill copious amounts of Superbowl advertised beer down your oesophagus and blame your broken family on things other than yourself.
Woman, you may never look beyond the kitchen stove or your children's mouths.
You will do this.  You will do that.  You need this.  You need that.
F*ck them all.
Stop believing the lies we are fed from our youth which over the plethora of time has nestled in our hearts as "normal".  Stop thinking that there is one way of life superior to another.  Stop mindlessly ploughing through another 9 hours at work thinking that this is good for my pension check.  Stop buying all the useless crap that beams from our tv sets, magazine covers, billboards, radios and newspapers.
You don't need the latest iPhone.  You don't need to drink a sixpack of Budweiser to find joy.  You don't need to drive the Mercedes your colleague drives.   You don't need to conform to the hetero-normative social expectations for relationships laid out by society.
The only things your physical body cannot survive without is water, food, sleep, urination, oxygen, defecation and some other smaller things.  If you have these things, you don't need anything more. 
Keep the above necessities and rather pursue the non-tangible, which can never be corrupted.
I dream of a world where every person gets to follow the calling of their hearts (as long as activities involving others are done with consent of all parties, including fauna and flora).  If filling up a bag with essentials and running towards wherever your feet takes you give you peace and brings you happiness, no one should look down upon you.
"Don't let anybody ever tell you you can't do something.  You've got a dream - you've gotta protect it."
Experience the joy and fullness of the planet we were given for free and go where the wind takes you.  You are the Captain of your soul and the master of your fate.  Don't let anybody force you into a certain way of life.  They will try and suppress the feelings of escape and rebellion in you by waving dollars in front of your face.  They will calm you by keeping you as deep in your comfort zone as possible.
Don't be fooled, my friends.  There is so much more to life than we are told from the start.  If there is one job for you out there, it is to find out what this life means to you.  Explore.  Adventure.  Take the leap of faith.  Drop it all and run.  You will discover greater treasure than any $100k a year job could ever bring you.
Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The "Kaapse Klopse", Cape Coloureds and Cape Town

So, my mother and I went to Cape Town yesterday to watch the "Kaapse Klopse" or as foreigners might know it - the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival.  Some people compare it to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, but to be honest it isn't nearly as large or impressive.  I've never been to Carnival (I really hope to go one day), so I can't compare the two.  I can, however, tell you about what I saw and experienced yesterday.  I can tell you about our Coloured community.  I can tell you about Cape Town.

First and foremost I must talk about the term Coloured (or Colored, as our American friends would misspel it :) ).  In the South African census, which takes place every ten years and the most recent in 2011, you get 4 options in which you indicate your race or ethnicity - White, Black, Coloured or Indian/Asian.  It seems pretty limited right?  Some will obviously question the validity of the idea of categorising people according to physical characteristics, but that's a debate for another day. There are mainly historical/cultural reasons for the four choices.  Back in the Apartheid years, government decided to divide the populace into 4 main groups.  Whites, because they were of European descent.  Black, because they were the natives. Indians, because they were descendants of Indian immigrants in the late 1800's.  Coloureds, well... they were a little bit of everything.  Coloureds are as uniquely South Africa as braai on a Saturday or a Vuvuzela donned in a myriad of colours blaring in Orlando Stadium.  They cannot trace their ancestry to a single ethnicity in a faraway land, as, for example, most white Australians could.  They are the product of the confluence of peoples from all over the world who have gathered in Cape Town over the past 350 years.  If you thought pandas were special because they are white, black and Asian. Coloureds are all that and even more. 

The incredible diversity of these people is probably one of the most striking things of the Kaapse Klopse.  Over 60 000 people (mostly Coloureds) jam packed the old narrow streets of the Cape Town city centre.  There is a constant buzz, constant movement and you don't see the same thing twice (except Monster or YMCMB caps).  Children climb the barricades along the streets to better see the Minstrels passing by.  Old friends share a laugh.  Older women dressed in their Sunday best enjoy a wine in the January heat.  You turn your gaze to the flow of people behind you and the Coloureds's diversity is apparent.  A short man with mostly African features walks by.  A tall woman with distinctly Asian eyes passes.  A child with skin lighter than my own runs by.  Scientists say that African populations (East and West) have the most genetic diversity of any other population in the world.  I hope that they come to Cape Town one day and see that they were wrong all along! 
Not only are the people diverse the Minstrels passing by are colourful and sparkly.  Generally children as young a five would dance at the front of the troop.  The age of the Minstrel members increases as they pass by.  Towards the end of a group you would find men and woman slowly dancing along at the grand old ages of 80 and upward.  They've been dancing in the Klopse since they were five year old long before the Nazis shook the world. 

My mother and I left well before the real party started.  We were both left with warm feelings and a greater appreciation for our Coloured people.  The Klopse was a family day, yet they did not waiver for a moment to give my mother and I, not only non-family members but also white people, a seat and offer us sweets. 

Carnival might be far better orchestrated, more impressive and something more fitting to record on your iPad.  The Kaapse Klopse is, on the other hand, something you would rather have more of in your live - family, friends, love, hospitality and joy.

Want onse bruin mense ken van paartie!

Photo credits to my mother

Om te Baard vir 'n Jaar - My Ervaring

Ek gaan darem so af en toe ook Afrikaanse stukke skryf, die dat ek eintlik Afrikaans is.  'n Mens bereik net meer mense deur in Engels te skryf.  Afrikaans > Engels ek moet dit net noem!  Hierdie stuk is reeds byna 2 maande oud, maar dit was 'n groot ervaring in my lewe en ek wou dit graag hierso deel.  Die korter Engelse weergawe van hierdie stuk het 5 keer meer likes op Facebook gekry, al sien ek hierdie stuk eintlik as 'n beter weergawe van my ervaring.  Helaas, geniet dit. 

Vandag merk die dag wat ek uiteindelik die einde van my baard-reis bereik het! Vir 365 dae vanaf 25 November 2012 tot 25 November 2013 (dus het my baard ‘n volle omwenteling om die son voltooi!!) het ek my gesig...hare (baard en snor) geensins verkort of verwyder nie,. Dit was ‘n baie besonderse ervaring waaruit ek vele dinge wys geraak het. Ek deel dit met jul (brace yourselves, dit gaan lank wees)
So ja, die werklike rede waarom ek die baard-reis aangeneem het gaan ek ongelukkig nie in die openbaar openbaar nie. Ek kan wel met jul die ander redes, die ervaringe, die positiewe en die struikelinge vertel van ’n jaar wat my lewenslank sal bybly. So, ons as Afrikaners en Suid-Afrikaners lewe in ‘n kultuur waarin jou voorkoms vir die gemiddelde mens iets belangrik is. En wanneer ek sê voorkoms dan bedoel ek goeie voorkoms. En wanneer ek sê goeie voorkoms dan bedoel ek “jy jongman/vrou sal in hierdie klein boksie inpas van wat ons kultuur as ‘netjies’ en ‘aanvaarbaar’ beskou en as jy hiervan afwyk is jy erger as ‘n heiden”. Na gelang van ons mense se definisie van voorkoms het ek verseker die kluts kwyt geraak. By Interskole het stringe mense my aangekyk asof ek sopas uit die grot geklim het. Jong kinders sou met ‘n mengsel van verwondering en vrees opkyk na my as ek verby stap. Ooms en Tannies sou dan die verbysterede kinders bietjie nader aan hul en bietjie verder van my wegtrek en met ‘n eenvoudige handgebaar hul kinders se aandag van my af probeer kry. Ek was Moses, Noag, Jesus, pedofiel, Zeus, ens. genoem. Dis mal om te dink dat ‘n mens Jesus en pedofiel in dieselfde sin sou saamsien, maar dit was nou ek gewees vanjaar! As ek langs ‘n vreemdeling op ‘n bankie in ‘n winkelsentrum gaan sit, het ek met die kant van my oog gesien hou hulle hul besittings bietjie stywer vashou. Dieselfde het gegeld vir wanneer ek verby tannies sou stap en ek sien hoe hul hul handsakke stywer vasklou. Ek het toegekyk hoe mense staar, fluister en onderhands dinge vir mekaar sê oor my. Dit is nodig om te sê dat ek al die bogenoemde aksies en reaksies ervaar het aan beide kante van die Atlantiese Oseaan, maar ‘n lekseltjie meer in ons geliefde Suid-Afrika.
Inderdaad het die mensdom se slegte kant – die veroodeling, die onverdraagsaamheid, die oppervlakkigheid – bietjie die jaar ontsier. Die goeie nuus is egter dat die goeie, die mooi wat ek vanjaar gesien het, is wat my sal bybly. Nadat die gesigshare jou ken, jou wange en jou wangbeenlyn begin te verdoesel sodat dit die wollerige, onduidelike grens van jou gesig vorm, dan begin jy juis die veroordeling te ervaar. So, dit is juis van hierdie punt af waar jy ook die deugde in die mens kan sien, want almal sien die grotman, maar net die sterkstes onder ons gee ‘n kans vir die wese wat agter die keratienlaag skuil. In die jaar het ek geleer wie werklik nie oppervlakkig is nie. In die jaar het ek geleer watter mense het die Jesusliefde van liefde met totale verdraagsaamheid werklik uitgeleef. In die jaar het geleer dat daar nog wel hoop vir ons mensdom is. Al wens ons hoe hard dat ons “die goeie ou dae” weer mag ervaar, moet ons besef dat hul verby is. Die lewe beweeg. Die lewe gaan aan. Die lewe en die wêreld amalgameer teen ‘n vinniger pas as wat dit nog ooit verander het. Vroue kan stem, swart mense het gelyke regte as wit mense, homoseksuele paartjies mag met mekaar in ‘n huwelik staan. Ons kan nie so aanhou om te beoordeel op grond van dit wat ons sien nie. Ek is so Afrikaner soos wat ‘n mens kan wees, maar selfs my eie landgenote het my somtyds verstoot. Ek skryf nie hierdie om die Afrikaner of die mensdom af te breek nie, maar ek skryf dit sodat ons kan leer en besef dat daar meer aan die lewe is as om mense te verstoot, mense te na te kom of om onverdraagsaam te wees op grond van voorkoms, ras, geslag, geloof, nasionaliteit, ens. Ons moet liewer onsself vermoei met die voorkoms van ons naaste se hart. Ken my naaste dit wat liefde werklik beteken? Ken my naaste werklik die waarde van droom en hard werk? Ken my naaste die waarde van dink vir hulself? Kom ons vergeet van al die oppervlakkige strooi en rig liewer ons veroordeling op karakter, as ons nou die dag moet beoordeel.
Ja, oukei ek maak altyd ‘n berg van ‘n molshoop - dit is seker ook net ek wat al die bogenoemde kan kwytraak na ‘n jaar se vryheid! Ek wil een ding doen en dit is om elke jong man (miskien selfs die jong vroue ook, hmmm?) daar buite aan te moedig om iets soortgelyk aan te pak in hul lewe. Jy leer die mens ken, jy leer vir God ken en jy leer ken jouself. En die beste van als? Jy sien wie jou werklike vriende is – die wie verder as die vel kyk.
Maar nou’t ek weer gaan konformeer na die die gemeeskap-standaard van baardloos wees, ai dit blyk amper of ek ‘n huigelaar is...
Hoe dit ook al sy, vrede vir jou, leser!