Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Green Eyed Monster

Everybody has a family member like Amy, and while her eternal optimism makes you wonder whether she's sneaking massive doses of Prozac-laced Lithium into her morning coffee, you cannot help but envy her. Everything about her is effortlessly perfect; her career, her husband, her tan, even her fucking mini's extremely difficult to top any of her achievements and no matter how big the news or how great the accomplishment, Amy always seems to have something bigger and better to share.

A part of me wondered whether this was pure dumb luck or whether Amy took some kind of sadistic pleasure in rubbing her glorious feats in our faces. Ever since we were kids, she loved to boast about everything and anything and while most of her fans seemed genuinely happy for her, I personally wanted to stab her in the eye with a pitchfork. Don't kid yourself...jealousy has been in vogue for centuries ever since that Brutus bloke murdered Caesar for Rome. It's a horrible colour that so many of us choose to wear discreetly, lurking behind fake smiles and insincere praise, accessorized with just the right amount of diplomacy to pull off a look that is convincing enough to fool the untrained eye. The stench of bitterness and desire concealed behind false gestures of admiration made me wonder why someone else s' success would bring out the worse in me?

The thing you have to know about Amy is how ridiculously uncanny her life is. Everything about her is so animated, so automated and oh so amazing even at the worst of times. How the hell could one person's life be so annoyingly perfect? I started to decline family gatherings simply because of how crap she made me feel about my own life, so when a close source confirmed a delicious rumour about her sex life, I could not help but revel with malicious glee. Finally, there was one aspect of my life that was better than hers, and even though it made me feel just a little bit better, I was amazed at how much life I had given this little green eyed monster inside of me? Was this fiend a manifestation of my own fears and failures? Why did her success affect me so negatively? Was it because of my own frustrations or was it simply because she had the one thing in life I longed for the most:: a sense of accomplishment?

Whatever the case, life is full of phony characters like Amy who'll always make your efforts seem feeble and worthless. Whether it's intentional or not, there is a definitely a higher level of insincerity in someone who is so sure of themselves. If it helps you sleep at night, take satisfaction in knowing that you're most likely a better shag than they'll ever be. The truth is while they were working hard, you were most likely laying on your back with your heels up to Jesus. As for jealousy, well it's an ugly thing and just like any other life threatening disease, a cure is yet to be found, so until it has, you're just going to have to deal with it. 

When it comes to jealousy, I couldn't help but wonder, is green the new black?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Once upon a time in faraway land called Titania Way, there lived a righteous king and a bitter queen. The King was warm and kind but the queen was selfish and spoilt. She was bewitched by an evil curse that left her barren and unable to reproduce a successor to the throne. One day, against all odds, the queen had been visited by the adoption fairy who had blessed her with two beautiful boys. Aiden and Kevin were without a doubt the apples of her eye and although she remained stoic throughout their upbringing, she taught them discipline, kindness, generosity, and above all courtesy, especially when it came to treating a lady with respect. As the years went by, the youngest prince had fallen in love with a beautiful Princess from a fair County, and they were to be married.  The eldest prince had also found love, but not of the conventional kind. When the evil queen found out about this unnatural union, she banished them from the kingdom forever, never to be seen again...

When did my life become such a fairytale? While I was definitely more of a queen than Mrs. Cranklin could ever be, the woman certainly knew how to run a monarchy. This alpha-female who reigned supreme over every man in her life was beginning to become a huge problem in my relationship with Aiden. Her stubborn and relentless nature made her impossible to like and even though I had extended the olive branch nearly seven months ago, she made it abundantly clear that as long as she lived, there would be no room for me at any family occasion.  The mere fact that I had been excluded from a certain nuptial ceremony set the tone for all future events. Baptisms, birthdays , funerals (one can hope) ...was I really about to let this monster-in-law affect my relationship with the rest of Aiden’s family?

Monsters in law (or matriarchus extremis) are extremely selfish individuals who do not like to be challenged or put in uncomfortable situations, so you can only imagine Mrs. Cranklin’s reaction when Aiden finally came out the closet in August last year. Her disappointment and intolerance of Aiden’s lifestyle was obvious and caused an unfortunate divide in the family dynamic, and in a household where pink elephants are left to die in silence, no one dared question the dictator. I couldn’t help but a world where life is so preciously short, surely she would have set aside her differences and start accepting the things she cannot change? Was she capable of loving unconditionally or did the love she had come with traditional t’s and c’s? And what about my future brother-in-law and his fantastic wife to be? Should I write them off if they keep adopting the same defeatist attitude to every other family gathering or will everyone eventually grow a pair and start standing up to this insufferable force of nature?

It’s true what they can choose your friends but you cannot choose your family. You can however stand up for the ones you love despite the discomfort it may bring. Everybody loves a hero and although I am quite capable of slaying the dragon on my own, the adult in me chooses to take the high road out of respect for my partner and his family. To the happy couple, I wish you nothing but the best. Sorry that I could not be there.

When it comes to obnoxious mother-in-laws, why is everybody so quick to bow down? 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Season's Change

It's that time of year where the days become shorter, the nights become longer and before you know it, you've overslept because the power failure from last night’s rain storm cut off your alarm clock. Pull out those blankets and say goodbye to our beloved summer days and hello to those dreaded winter nights.
Stuck at home congested with the viral plague, I started thinking about the seasons and their temperamental nature. Four times a year we experience these magnificent transitions, one more extreme than the next. From the sweltering heat of lazy summer days to chilling winds and miserable winter rain; from the dull, lifeless atmosphere that autumn brings to the vibrant nature of spring’s awakening. Yes, all four seasons have their own distinct characters, and while most Capetonians are able to experience all four of these characters in a day, I could not help but wonder whether the same extremes applied to relationships? Are relationships broken down into various stages and if so, what happens when we’re caught in a storm? Do we bail out and move on or wait for the sun to come out again? 
The seasonal cycles got me thinking about my turbulent relationship with Jaden. Like most of my relationships, this one started off with a spring; young, fresh, new and bursting with potential. It’s hard to forget those first few dates filled with flowers, butterflies and virgin territory when something is definitely blooming but you’re not quite sure what it is. Then suddenly out of nowhere you’re hit with this intense sensation, a heat wave of passion and before you know it, you’ve transitioned into the next phase of the relationship; hot amazing sex with cocktail induced nights of crazy summer loving. It’s the sunniest of dispositions to be in and like everybody else you wish for that endless summer. But what happens when the sizzle slowly fades away? What happens when the winds of change are more than just a breeze but a forecast for a stormy future? Should we stick around and wait for it to pass or move onto to a different climate? Was he always this cold and distant or was I merely blinded by the light of the sun?  

Seasons change all the time and while we may be able to anticipate them, we are not always able to predict a change of heart. While a summer fling may lead into a winter cuddle, know that it could also die out and be blown away in the swirl of the wind. Let the rain wash over you until you are ready to rise again. You never know what kind of new possibilities are budding before you…       

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Truth Hurts

When we are children, our parents make up the most elaborate stories in order to ensure that we are well behaved. They even throw in the occasional incentive programme from time to time; for every time we lose a tooth, the tooth fairy would pay a pretty price; if we leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus, a present will somehow find its way underneath the beautifully decorated Christmas tree and we could never forget the elusive Easter Bunny as he leaves a trail of hidden chocolatey treasures for us to find in the garden on Easter Sunday.

As a young Catholic boy, I was deprived of such nonsensical illusions. Instead, my sisters and I were told about a great man called Jesus, the celebration of his immaculate birth, his untimely crucifixion and the ultimate sacrifice he made to save our souls. Thanks to our parents’ religious dogma, not once were we exposed to the pain and disappointment shared by all the other kids when the truth had finally come out. I couldn’t decide whether this was necessarily a good thing and that I had somehow missed out on one of life’s most valuable lessons. Were the fallacies told to us an integral part of growing up or just another way for people to control us? Do we need lies at this stage of our lives in order to prepare us for even bigger lies and disappointment or does honesty remain the best policy?  I couldn’t help but wonder...

Last night I had dinner with a friend of mine from the UK. She told me about her whirlwind romance with a younger gentleman from South America whom she had fallen deeply in love with. After their four day romance, she returned to England where they remained in touch for about a month until suddenly all communication from Jesus had stopped – he even unfriended her! Cameron could not make head nor tail of the situation and so she started asking questions. Was there some kind of awful truth that he could not bear to share with her? Was the age gap simply too wide? Were there cultural differences or was this young man simply not that into her? Whatever the case, their encounter has had a lasting effect on Cam’s mind for over a year now. She was “absolutely gutted” and heartbroken and will probably always wonder “what went wrong?” Would the truth have set her free and if it did, what were Jesus’ motives for leading her on the way that he did?  Was it just innocent fun or were his actions a more deliberate mind control game?

The truth hurts but a lie can be far worse, no matter how white or innocent that lie is. You can either live happily in denial and choose convenient truths or grow skin thick enough to handle whatever comes your way. So what if Santa Claus was invented by Coca-Cola or the Easter Bunny was a marketing gimmick made famous by Cadbury and Nestle? Are these concepts really that daunting to digest or do people sadistically enjoy controlling one another?   

When it comes to honesty, how much truth are we willing to accept?