Thanks For Teaching Me How To Love

“How?” he asks beyond incredulous at this point. “You’ve seen the statistics, you watch the news, you talk to you people, your friends, clients, classmates… So tell me, how? How can you be so na├»ve? Why do you still believe? It just doesn’t work.”

My answer?

“Ah… but it does. I’ve seen it.”

I’m sure you know the saying: monkey see monkey do. I’ll be the last to call myself a monkey but kids do learn a lot from seeing their parents/guardians in action. I will have you know, this guy’s been doing a lot of seeing, this guy’s been doing a lot watching – when your guard was up or when it was down. I was listening when the words were smooth. I was listening even when annoyance had long barged in. I was learning – I still am – how one ought to love and how one ought to accept being loved.

As your son I’d like to utter words that might seem odd to you now but ring true nonetheless. You’ve done a stellar job! Thank you… and I’m so proud of you. I need look no further for a greater example of how I want my marriage to be. Yes the journey is still ongoing but you’ve done real good so far, hontou ni (there’s that Japanese becoming useful). Obviously this is from my selfish point of view but I hope you keep it up… so your grandkids can learn this lesson from me, their mom… and from you too.

It’s because of you that I can say these words with ease and with meaning. I love you ­čÖé

So… to my heroes, to my parents, to my inspiration –

Happy anniversary

What Does It Feel Like?

Dear Follower,

I’d like to say that this break I’ve been taking is because I plan on churning out fantastic content on a weekly basis as opposed to mediocre to good content daily. If I said that I’d be lying. I set myself a target: to produce great pieces daily, no matter the cost. Obviously I’ve been slipping. So… I’ve decided to try something different. I’m fast approaching the 50 mark for blog post followers (yes… and thank you!). I believe it’s time for me to open up a discussion which might help me with a project I’m working on. The topic is:

What Does It Feel Like To Be Hit On?

If you would like to contribute please feel free to use the comment section. Anyone whose ideas I use for my project will make┬ámy “Thank You” page. They will also make my day.

So… Start typing. Thanks in advance.

Yours,

Joe

I Am THAT Guy

I am THAT guy. That wasn’t always the case. I used to be that guy. I started out really petty, for what reason I will never be certain. I craved success and absolutely detested failure, I still do, but my attitude towards obtaining both has changed. Young Joe would pout if he lost. He’d think about it all day and all night and would not be consoled until he either forgot or won at something else. If I’d lost in a competition then whoever would have beaten me couldn’t be my friend. At the same time though, cheating wasn’t something I would take pride in. I remember a race I took part in, in 1st grade. We were meant to race to a building touch it, then return. I remember racing to the building, turning back without touching it, taking first place for the majority of the return sprint and… I still finished 3rd. In the end it wasn’t coming 3rd that hurt – it was doing so after having cheated. I didn’t talk to the boys that beat me, that was the way I was back then.

I liked being top of the class. In 2nd grade I didn’t; I came 7th instead. Who remembers what position they came in 2nd grade? I do, isn’t that odd? Well it’s because it pained me greatly. I went to the prize-giving ceremony and felt like a big helping of poop watching my peers receive prize after prize while I was relegated to just watch and clap. I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t let that happen again. I was beyond jealous and couldn’t even bring myself to applaud the winners.

That was the old me.

After teaching from my lovely parents and role-models as well as a bit of first-hand experience, I shed that skin off. I decided to be THAT guy instead. You know THAT guy? THAT┬águy who celebrates your victory more than you would. THAT guy who you can always tell your success stories knowing you won’t receive resentment, just encouragement and an supermassive dose of enthusiasm. Part of the transformation was being taught to value the success of others and never to moan when someone one-ups me in anything.

Use the success of others as inspiration, as motivation. Celebrate them as you would celebrate yourself and if possible, find out how they earned that success.

So what if we went in for the same scholarship and you got it and I didn’t? So long as you don’t follow me on the way home saying, “Sorry you didn’t get it,” or “I totally smashed you!” (You probably wouldn’t do that because you’re not a certified prick) I would be glad for you. I would probably want advice on how you edged me and feedback from those that made the decision so that next time I have a greater chance at the scholarship. Of course I would be sad I didn’t win it. I’m bound to be if it’s something that I wanted but I would also be happy that you did. I will strive to congratulate and motivate, “You did fantastic! You deserve it! Keep up the good work! Hopefully next time we’ll both get scholarships.” It’s in my nature now and whether you think it’s cool or not, I’m not getting rid of it.

That’s what I’m all about. Tell me about your victory, it motivates me to pursue my own. You need a hype-man to bounce your excitement off of? I got you! I am THAT guy, I like to say probably even the best THAT guy! If you didn’t know that by now, you probably don’t know me very well.

P.S. You can be THAT guy too. It’s so much more liberating than being that guy.

Zendaya On The Tube

If you didn’t know this already I have a unique fascination for celebrities close to my age, none more so than for the young lady in the title. You should bear in mind there are only three occasions I’ve ever gone full fangirl:

  • Agueroooooooooo!
  • Messi scoring past Edwin van der Sar
  • Meeting Will Smith

I thought that would be all… unfortunately I was wrong. When I saw her on the tube my eyeballs nearly exploded out of their sockets. I’m not proud of what I did next. I went berserk I tell you. Berserk!

ZENDAYA! (In the most rural most excited Shona accent I have within me.) It’s Zendaya!

I did this while shaking the person seated next to me. Perhaps if said person were a stranger I could let it go. It wasn’t a stranger – the person won’t ever let it go. Why? Because Zendaya… wasn’t actually Zendaya. ­čśů She just looked an awful lot like her. That’s what I’ve been told. Deep down though I truly wish and feel that it was her. Nah, who am I kidding.

Next time I’ll say actually say hi as opposed to the overly embarrassing behaviour I exhibited.

P.S. the events in this retelling may have been embellished for comedic effect.

A Bit Odd? Yes! (Dry Cleaning)

I watch the washing machine do it’s work.

That’s my entertainment.

The sounds and vibrations they sooth me.

They are a heartbeat – after a thousand Redbulls!

Thump thump. Thump Thump! THUMP THUMP!

The clothes pick up pace! Swirling in dirt and waste…

Then – soapy bubbles!

“Bloop bloop!”

I didn’t make that sound.

Not out loud… did I?

Of course I did!

So I walk away from the other fella in the room.

Dry clean washing is over.

PS The clothes get wet; why is it even called dry cleaning? It better not be a dry joke.

Don’t Break His Heart

“Don’t break his heart, his achy breaky heart. I just don’t think you understand.”

Bastille’s cover of ‘We Can’t Stop’ is nothing short of incredible, especially for me. I know how taste differs from person to person so I will say that line in particular strikes a chord in me.

I considered writing about a man with a heart of steel just the other day, I still might because come to think of it it’s an intriguing concept. But a heart of steel – that’s normally a fa├žade. Men have hearts of flesh too.

“Women are more in touch with their emotions.”

Is this a stereotype? I hear this statement often. It’s often coupled with another statement diminishing emotion in men. I can’t speak for all men but from my own personal experience what you see on the outside doesn’t necessarily correlate with what’s on the inside.

I’m rarely envious (this comes with a lot of effort from myself and my parents) but there is a group of people that I can honestly say I’m envious of… those who cry. I’d give a lung to be like that. Unfortunately I’m not. My tear glands are among the most miserly in all the world. How I wish it were not so. I’ll be happy as can be on the inside but unable to show it on the outside. It makes me feel like I’ve cheated whoever has made me happy. If it can be fixed trust me, I will do just that… but this links to the crux of this post. I fail to show my emotions as well as I’d like… that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It is just like a bride behind her veil by the altar. Just because she’s hidden behind her veil doesn’t mean she’s not there. If you remove the veil you’ll see her in all her beauty. If you can remove the veil to a man’s emotions. Well… I believe it could be a wonderful thing.

Bastille adds lines to the song which didn’t exist prior, in Miley Cyrus’ original. The added lined are: “Don’t break his heart, his achy breaky heart. I just don’t think you understand…”

Achy breaky… doesn’t that just bleed vulnerability to you? His heart isn’t steel – it’s just brittle.

Even the way he sings has a brokenness to it. It’s almost like he’s screaming out: there’s a heart to be broken underneath all that macho bravado. The pain of it being broken is just as real. It’s just hard to understand.

We Can’t Sleep

Joe: I can’t sleep. Help me.

Ayanda: Tell me about it.

AJ: Us having a chat won’t help you sleep and you know that.

Ayanda: Selena Gomez!

AJ & Joe: What?

Ayanda: Remember that interview on BBC radio where they had Selena and you said you could be a better interviewer?

AJ: That was a while back though mate.

Ayanda: Well we can’t sleep… so let’s do it!

Ayanda Joe: *awakes from deep slumber* Do you have any idea how much brainpower it takes to project a well-known character accurately? Worse off one you’re making on the spot while slipping in actual bits of your own character? I’m sorry but I don’t think it’s a job just the three of you can do.

Joe: “Just”… I guess this means you’re going to help?

Ayanda Joe: You know me too well.

I was definitely reaching there. No way I can produce a good conversation with self/ves as well as have a fictional interview with Selena Gomez at 4 in the morning. So… I’ll get to it just… eventually. Just let me take a short… little… nap…

Subconscious Joe: You did it! You son-of-a-brilliant-man! You’re finally asleep. You’re finally asleep. Oh, the things I have in store for you…

Rejected

“Unfortunately you’re not what we’re looking for at the moment.”

“You have shown great credentials but unfortunately you will not be…”

“You’re great but…”

No.

 

Rejection sucks!┬áThere’s nothing like giving your best or opening yourself up only to have someone else decide you’re not good enough. Very few of us take rejection well, I’m definitely still learning and have a lot more to do but I’ve been given some advice that has helped make it easier. It’s still pretty damn hard though.

Rejection comes in all forms… maybe even literal ones. You apply for a job, scholarship, internship, raffle prize – and you’re told you won’t be receiving it. Sometimes you don’t even get that courtesy and you’re left guessing for ages until you figure out that it was a “no”. Humans don’t like hearing that, “no”. It hurts. How most people circumvent the painful feelings is by saying things like, “I never wanted it anyway.” or even “I’m too good for that place.” Although it may numb the heart a bit to the pain, this is one of the worst ways we can react. It is widely accepted that a key component of growth is,┬áironically, acceptance. You know who reacts┬ábadly when not getting what they want, every single time? Babies. As we grow we have to learn that sometimes things don’t always go our way. At some point in your life you will get rejected. #Fact

I guess rejection helps give life purpose. If you had everything at your disposal at all times, with no effort required – what would be the point? I know you’re probably saying “I’d rather have things fall on my lap all the time than feel the sting of rejection even once,” I sympathise with you even as I type this, but I believe it’s something programmed deep inside of us that makes us want to succeed and break barriers. How can you succeed when there is no competition, no opposition? What barriers are you breaking when everything goes your way instantly?

The good thing is this and I’ll ask that you hold on to it.

‘Rejection will let you know that you are aiming high enough’.

If everything is moving smoothly without a hitch then you aren’t extending yourself. It’s like going to the gym and doing a session with 50 g masses. It will be easy to do because it’s not hard for your body. The heavier the weight the more difficult it is to complete sets. You know you’re at your level when you can just about finish/fail to finish. Anything less is too lightweight for you. So rejoice for a little rejection, you’re in good company.

Then comes the matters of the heart. I so wish that love was a feeling that one could concoct in a pot and dish out at parties. I wish cupid actually existed and would shoot love arrows at whoever you aimed at. But that’s not how things work, those are just wishes.┬áRegarding this sensitive issue, there are several definitions of love. I have one that I think is consistent with how people that say they love each other act (or should act). Here it is:

Love is wanting to do what’s best for someone at all times. Love is a choice, not a feeling that just magically happens.

If love is a choice, if you have to choose to do the very best for someone at all times then surely you can choose not to? As beings of free will we deal with choices daily and therein lies the conflict. I could want to do the very best for you, always… sometimes you may even know it, but you just won’t have it. It’s your choice. You may be the best thing for said person in the whole wide world – but even though we know broccoli is really good for us, many┬ápeople still despise it.

So sometimes you will get rejected. If there’s anything you’re going to take from this blog post, take that! Everyone gets rejected. Even though you may feel like you’re alone – like your pain is your own and no one else feels like you do, the person you’re looking up to right now was rejected one way or another. This should help you to move on and try again with even more zeal, more enthusiasm. The feelings of pain and frustration, use ┬áthem to motivate you so that you don’t feel the same way again. After rejection ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • “What is it I can improve?”
  • “Am I the reason for this rejection?”
  • “Is it worth trying again?”

The last one is a bit tricky but unfortunately sometimes we reach that crossroads when we need to know to let something go, especially when it comes to relationships. Human beings are stubborn creatures, sometimes they won’t budge no matter how much you shower them with love and attention. It’s funny how a majority of us are attracted to those who don’t care at all about us and sometimes don’t even acknowledge our existence yet there’s someone out there willing to love you as much as you’re willing to love your “crush”.

In the end, failure or rejection doesn’t define you. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ It’s not that you were rejected that matters… It’s all about what you do after.