Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Have fun exploring your own neighborhood!

Cape Town V&A Waterfront

Having fun is not restricted to having money! Many times in life, we believe that we have to have money to go somewhere, spend on food, spend on travel, spend on useless memoirs. The best way to enjoy yourself can be found in the simplicity of just being in your own space, environment or even your own neighborhood.

We very seldom explore own own country. We build huge dreams of travelling overseas and salivate endlessly at the adverts of the beauty of exotic destinations, it's people and cultures.

But if you had to just take a step back, you will realise that many people from those countries are actually coming to your own country.

Take a camera and a picnic basket. Stroll through your own town and lose yourself in the tastes and smells of what it has to offer. Looking through a camera lense allows you to feel like a tourist in your own backyard. The very architecture, history, tastes, smells, culture, traditions, everyday life and people interactions that we search for overseas, is right here in your own neighborhood to enjoy.

I love travelling to a new city in my own country, visiting the museums, winefarms, coffee shops and local restaurants. There are always such amazing insights, memories and wonderful stories to be heard from locals. I love it!!

So my thoughts for today is simply this. Choose to explore your own city, neighborhood or country. Don't limit yourself to having to have lots of money to have fun.. become a travellor and stamp your own memory with incredible, funtastic and amazing experiences. Just Coz!!

until we meet again,
take care and have fun!!
Arthie Moore

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent!"Eleanor Roosevelt


“You will do as I ask”, he barked whilst menacingly brandishing his gun, “or else I will kill you”.

Even though it was a beautiful sunny day, inside me it felt like a snowy, treacherous, angry storm.

I was only 13 years old. This big person was forcing me to do something against my will in order to appease his own sick fantasy. What was I to do? I visualised all the protective techniques available to me so that I could defend myself from this monster. None of these helped me against a crazed man who was hell bent on my destruction. I hated every second of what happened next.....
That incident stuck with me and with it began a very painful time in my life. For the next few years, I hated and was weary of all men and boys. Slowly however, I began to notice trends amongst the people of the opposite sex. Not all men were bad and wanted the same thing. Not all men or boys wanted to be with me with the sole intention of using me or my body. Not all men were like the monster who had forced himself on me.

Over the next two years, I experienced highs and lows, moments of uncertainty, untold anger against mankind, a lack of self confidence and  mistrust of everybody, regardless of who they were. I began to stereotype all men whom I came into contact with, and mis-interpreted their sincere emotions as excuses for them to take advantage of me.

I found myself not trusting my instincts. I fell into “Goafer” mode. In order to suppress the craving for stability, love and trust that I so desperately sought, I would do everything anyone asked me to. “Run to the shop and get me some sweets”, somebody would shout. Immediately, I would drop everything and do their bidding. “Shine my shoes, do my homework, clean the dusters, fetch this....fetch that.....” As the requests arrived, so too did I race off to complete them, hoping that someone would tell me how good I was, and how much I deserved to be loved and appreciated.

Little did I know, that kids between the ages of 13 - 15 had their own problems, and also needed approval and generally had low self esteems and lack of confidence. Nobody was particularly interested in boosting my confidence, or help me search for solutions to my problems.
One fine, beautiful day, as I walked toward the tuckshop, my imagination creating exciting images in my mind, I vaguely heard someone scream to get my attention.  I turned slowly to gauge where the sound was coming from. Shocked out of my reverie, I looked at the speaker and her groupies surrounding her, mocking me with their,‘You are not fit for anything good’, kind of look.

“Get me a cold coke, NOW!!!!” she demanded, much to the great delight of all listening.

Hateful images flashed through my mind, pain gripped my heart, painful memories ripped through my body and suddenly, I had a distinct urge to hit her. Barely controlling all my suppressed anger, frustration and hurt of the past, I lunged at her with frightening speed. She never knew what hit her that day.

I verbally blasted her about the injustices of bullying, of being taken advantage of all the time and the for whole world’s lack of consideration for people who were quiet, and unassuming. I lambasted her for unashamedly using people to get her what she wanted, and never giving anything back or even saying thank you. I screamed at her for not acknowledging people as human beings, because they did not have the money, expensive clothes or even fancy things to show off with. 

When I walked off, I felt like a new person. I knew instinctively that this was my “Turning Point”. I never ever let anyone dictate to me again. I learnt that my actions were a result of my own behaviours. I understood then, that no-one can tell me what to do or force me to do anything. I also realised that not all people were bad. There were only a few bad apples and that did not spoil an entire orchard of pure goodness. All I had to do was Choose!

So from that day on, I chose to become authentic to myself. I stood up for myself and stood up to be counted. I refused to let opportunity pass me by. I volunteered to do the things which made me a better person, never those which degraded me. I learnt that the only person who could really give me the love and acceptance that I craved, was Me! I had to be happy with me, before other people could love me. I loved Me for who I was!

I forgave myself and all of mankind for what happened to me, because at the end of the day, one incident does not define who I am and who I will be for the rest of my life!

Inner strength is prevalent in everyone. The trick is to access it, wield it and all its power to achieve all that your heart desires. Inner strength is knowing forgiveness for all of life’s imperfections, accepting that people are human and prone to making mistakes, and that what we put out is what we get back.

I used my “incident” to humble myself and be more empathetic towards all that I met. I also found that every person harbours an incident/s which defines how they react or open up to people. I must never assume that people know what I have been through. In the same way that I must never assume that they have had perfect lives.

After all, as Eleanor Roosevelt so elegantly put it, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent!” And I will never give my consent!

31 January 2005

Friday, March 2, 2012

Short Story - My Ride of Terror!

My Ride of “Terror”...

It was a gloriously sunny day. Blue skies overhead, birds humming their sweet melodies in perfect harmony with the cool silky breeze. Dew drops glistened like diamonds, waiting for the delicious moment that would gently drop them to soak into the juicy softness earth. All was well in my fantasy land. All people were free and equal and lovable. Nothing could shatter my image of my perfect world. Until...The Suggestion!

“Would you like to go for a long drive to a place you have never been to before?” asked my gorgeous husband Brian. I sometimes relive the innocence of the question compared to the silly fear that accompanied it on that fateful day. We immediately set out with much bravado and camaraderie. There was a buzz of excitement in the air as we set out on our adventure.

I decided that such a journey deserved to be given ample respect, so I dressed smartly. After much thought, I decided to wear my favourite expensive leather jacket, brand new army styled cargo pants, with my prized pair of suede boots to complete the outfit. Just to add to the glamour that the occasion warranted, I threw on some intricate gold jewellery for good measure. I was now ready...

As we set off on our journey of exploration, Brian, decided to change direction and head for Cato Ridge. A beautiful piece of heaven hidden in the majestic rural mountains far from the hustle and bustle of city life, yet secretly teaming with activity of a different kind. Enticed by the glorious warmth of the sun, we threw all caution to the wind and continued at a leisurely pace towards the serene Inanda Dam.

Only a little way into the journey, I began to feel the first twinges of discomfort. Normally, I listened to my intuition and took the appropriate action until the feeling disappeared. We had left any sign of civilization as I knew it, and we were now entering forbidden land as I saw it. We left the freeway and the countryside opened its arms and lovingly welcomed us. Cows otherwise known as “zulu-land robots”, periodically caused us to stop whilst they waltzed across the road at their own leisurely pace. The tall brown tinged grass waved excitedly at us as the gentle wind picked up.

The clouds overhead seemed bent on chasing each other mischievously across the clean blue sky, only to crash in tumultuous glee.

However, the beginnings of real fear began to dawn on me. We were in an area I was unfamiliar with. Round thatched huts began to appear everywhere. From my vantage point in the car, I watched as all these “Black” people went about their daily work. They all bubbled with pure energy and inexplicable happiness. Children ran around unattended, noses running, clothes tatty, dirty little faces radiating all the joy of freedom. Whilst their happiness shone like a beacon of adventures to come, my heart trembled with unnecessary fear of impending danger.

Strange fleeting thoughts shot through my imagination. I saw anger and hatred lurking beneath the surfaces of these supposedly happy faces. I imagined that they were going to attack me any second. Hijack us, leave us lying here out in the “wilderness” to bleed to death. Maybe they will see my leather jacket and clothes and strip me and leave me, or worse....

Hastily, I put the clips of the car doors down. I knew that this was a false sense of security. These people were savages. They could easily break our window and harass us. I saw the news on T.V. I read the newspaper. I knew all about them. Violent savage people out to take whatever they wanted with little regard for life....Oh yes...I knew all about them.

Suddenly, the car stopped. I hung desperately onto my precious jewellery in the hope that they would not see it and be tempted. Brian did not notice anything amiss. Why should he? He had worked in the valley for years and everybody loved and knew him as the Peace-maker. He even spoke Zulu better than English. He was one of them.

Not knowing any of the inner turmoil which were shaking the very foundations of all reality for me, Brian casually told me that we had reached our destination. “No, not here!” I heard myself reply. “Aren’t these people dangerous?” I asked. Brian calmly replied that everyone were friends. Shaking with the adrenaline of anticipation I slowly began to get out of the car. Thoughts unbidden blinded me suddenly with anger, as I relived the time my beloved grandmother was viciously attacked.

She was unfortunately a victim of a government which had created much anger amongst the different cultural race groups through its destructive Apartheid policies. During the 1985 Inanda riots, her home was burnt down, her life savings, clothes, ancestral treasures stolen and her precious animals killed. Her attacker also slashed her across her face with a bush knife in the hope that she would be killed too. However, thankfully, she survived.

I was only 7 years old at the time, yet, I never realised until this moment, 19 years later, how much that incident had hurt me and scarred me in a very dangerous way. Unknowingly, I was stereotyping people whom I had never met, with those select few people of the past who had wrought havoc through their own anger. I was stunned with the revelation that I was being racist! Me of all people who had “Black” friends! I thought that I was Not racist.

As I jumped out of the car, I realised, that I had no right to judge the people in front of me and be afraid of them. I should not look at them in anger and hatred and blame them for the wrong that was inflicted on our ancestors and descendants. I felt my anger slowly ebb away like the tide meeting the shore for the first time. I looked at each face with new and renewed wonder. Here were Human beings. Capable of pain and hurt, love and peace just like me.
For the first time, my thoughts cleared. I walked up to the people standing around and shook hands with everyone. Each hand connected to a warm blooded, loving human being. I felt pure delicious relief course through my body as I became aware of my bad thoughts and excited at my ability now to assess where they came from and remove them.

From that day forward, whenever silly racist feelings arrived unbidden in my thoughts, I gently looked at them, and put them into the recycle part of my brain where they rightfully belonged. To date, I have made a concerted effort to learn more about the different cultures and traditions of the people of SA. I am starting from the level of Respect.

After all, “At the level of Respect, All people are Equal.”

Arthie Moore