Category Archives: Friendship

Partnerships

The ship that rarely sails.  Or that sets off and glides along for a good while before hitting an iceberg or a rock.  Or where a mutiny on deck causes a power shift and a new commander makes for ports unchartered for.

Why is this?  Because of inherent differences in people, their opinions, visions and goals.  Often times it is due to unscrupulous partners and greed.  The lack of hesitation in using another for personal gain.  Seeing a talent, skill, attitude or attribute in someone else that can be used to one’s own personal advantage.  Knowing full well, that when the usefulness of the partner has been spent, he will be thrown overboard somewhere at sea.  Having brought to the table what the vulture needed, but could not supply himself.

Signing contracts are of no use.  It will eventually cost more to get out of a contract through a lawyer than what it will to just walk away.  And as always, the lawyer will be the only one who makes a profit as he feeds off the lack of knowledge or understanding, differences of opinion and misfortunes of others.

When two people shake hands, it is on the assumption of mutual trust.  No one does this if they imagine that the other has diabolical intentions once out at sea.

There is the ship owner that offers shares in a vessel as well as a captaincy to another.  The latter mans, repairs, cleans and loads the ship and sets of to trade, waving goodbye and bon voyage to the former standing on the quay.  But no sooner has the ship disappeared from view before the original owner sets off in full pursuit, clambers aboard and wrenches back the controls in an act of piracy.

Then there is the partner that offers a partnership and initially works hard, side-by-side.  But as time goes by, he starts missing voyages due to other commitments and eventually completely fails to board.  The other is left with a 100% of the work and only 50% of the profit, yet is expected to be, and act grateful, forever and ever amen.  This while lining the coffers of him no longer there.

True also is that rosy skylines are marred by partners that are always late, and those who never take calls or return messages.  All of which could lead to mutiny.

Even under the best of weathers, with the most trustworthy of partners, and without an ounce of maliciousness on the horizon, the partnership will have more stormy waters and rough seas to contend with than could ever have been envisioned at the outset.  This ship has the potential to ruin even the finest of friend, or family relationships.

So dear seafarers, I wish to encourage you to study carefully the character of another, read again and again through a ship’s logs and papers, suspiciously revise the behaviour of sea routes, calculate costs, conjure up future scenarios ,weigh, weigh and weigh options, both personal and financial, before ever stepping aboard another man’s ship.


Relationships have to be Transparent

Most of my relationships are of the honest kind.  Or rather, my most meaningful bonds are built on complete transparency.  With people who have seen my good, bad and ugly, and still want me as a friend.

These friends do not judge.  They might occasionally express concern, or gently point out an ugly, but they love and appreciate all the time.

They are people who do not care to let their hair down in front of me, and who allow me to do the same.  I never have to feel embarrassed about anything I have done, or about a way in which I behaved, because they take me as I come.  And they like me because I am willing to just be me, on display, in front of them, warts and all.

Friendships like these are hard to find, and so worth keeping.  They put together on an understanding of mutual faults, and on the insight that we all carry our own bag full and that it is not for us to question what another has to bear.

I did not know all this until I was older, though I wanted to be that which I saw in my mind’s eye.  I could not ever really feel it because I did not really act it.  Now I do because I understand that what I am is what I am, and that those who do not care for me, can do without me.  And I don’t mind.

I never feel quite comfourtable with non-transparents.  That ‘something’ is always between us.  And I know what it is, even if they don’t.  I have a built-in radar for real and make-believe.  Life is easier when you are unaware of this though.  Relationships seem more rosy and true.  But you are less aware of the importance of guarding your heart, and so you will be injured.

I don’t get hurt that easily anymore though, because someone taught me in the worst possible way.  I won’t cry again over a relationship, unless it is my fault.  Because if you keep your eyes open, you can see most things coming.  It is the University of Life as far as I am concerned, and thank you to everybody involved.  You cured me of my friendship romanticism.

Today, I prefer my friends roasted.  Tested and true.  Genuinely real so that I can make an informed decision about whether I want you in my life or not.   It can never ever though, be based on grudges and there has to be a comprehension that I can be wrong when I think I am right.

Every person that crosses my path in life is important, whether for a season, or a lifetime.  I shall keep an open mind, I shall give you a second, a third, a fourth up to a whatevereth chance.   But if you show that your true colours are grey, I shall not give you my heart.  I’ll keep my innermost thoughts to myself and give you that which floats to the surface.

Because love conquers all.


When is a house a Home?

For me, home means safety and security.  That is what our armed robbery almost destroyed.

It is also a place of love, comfourt, forgiveness and caring.  We should feel safe inside our homes, protected from the outside world.  But we should also feel secure in one other, and protected by one another.

The people in a home should be transparent with each other, yet have enough love to overlook a host of transgressions.  I am reminded of Liz Murray, in her book Breaking Night:  A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard of which I wrote in a previous blog.  Her parents were both drug addicts and she was out on the streets early on.  I kept wondering why Liz became the success story that she is in spite of her background and circumstances.  The only answer that presented itself to me was love.  Her parents were honest about what they were, and they loved her.  She never doubted that and it was this love that allowed her to rise above what seemed to be her destiny.

Inside a house there might be much or little, neither which make for a loving home.  Parents who admit their mistakes do.  Children who respect their parents though they might not agree, do.  People who accept one another’s faults, do.

Two, or four, or however many people living together have to be able to give one another space.   My Uncle and Aunt had seven sons, one after the other, nine in one house which was by no means spacious.  They had to learn to cohabit their home in a way that made them one unit, yet where each still had enough space to be an individual.

It is not always easy to share your space with others, especially if your personal bubble is big, and you crave a lot of ‘me time’.  But therein lays the secret.  That which hurts, grows.  That which scrapes and scours, builds.  That is what the people in your home do.  They build character in you, they teach you, and they grow you.

Left to yourself, you would never become what you are ultimately, capable of being.


Every relationship needs an accelerator, and a brake

Whether in marriage or business, one person has to do the spurring one while the other has to slam on brakes.  It is amazing how, subconsciously, we slip into either of these roles.  It is a necessary, and complimentary, occurrence.

What happens when two accelerators join forces?  Although dynamic, they butt heads because they tend to want to assume control.   If they both not quite mature, the partnership could self-destruct.   Interestingly though, almost as if by evolution, one of them will eventually start slamming on brakes to compensate for the speed at which they are travelling.  Without this, the two accelerators would have no caution, nor time to think things over, and high-speed accidents will  be imminent.  Similarly, two handbrakes would never get a project off the ground.  They would be too busy conjuring up worse-case scenarios and stuck in ‘what if’.

I am an accelerator, and one quite hectic.  Left on my own, I am all over the map.   So my husband has been a deeply steadying influence on me.  In fact, the more gas I give, the harder he pulls back, creating an environment where I have to slow down and assess what I am doing.  He is extremely patient and has learnt that it does not help to fight me.  Instead he just slows down and causes such drag, that I have to stop.

I am a good influence on him too.  Although I cannot make him move when he does not want to, I spur him into action quicker than he would have otherwise.  But I have also learnt not to push him too hard because if he makes a decision without absolute surety, I will be responsible for the results thereof.

Whichever one you are, with age you discover to work with your opposite instead of against them.  You start to appreciate the dynamics they bring and learn to be grateful for it.  A relationship is like two rocks rubbing against one another.  Although painful, in time, they sand out all the rough parts in one another until they eventually fit together like two spoons.  The hardest thing is to stay for the duration, and not to bail out along the way.  Why, we will only land up with another stone to grind us, one which might cause even more suffering.

Lol!  It reminds me of graffiti I read somewhere:  “No matter how beautiful she is to you, some other guy is sick and tired of her shit”.


Blood is thicker than Water

We recently had a family funeral.  It had been 15 years or more since I had seen some of those cousins but there was that immediate kinship.  It needed no words.  It is a bond without explanation.  A blood-tie.

I love my cousins and I love the idea of cousins.  I have almost 30.  We make a point of getting together once or twice a year, just to catch up and to have fun.

Cousins are nice for many reasons.  You are not that close to them that they judge, but not so far apart that they do not understand.  They accept you as you are, they don’t backstab or bite.  They have no need to.  They are your blood.   They knew you as a child and they know the circumstances that shaped you.  They identify with you.  They were a source of strength through each family tragedy.  They walked together with you, in your family shoes.

Aunts and uncles will always see you as a child.  They frown easier, like parents do, because they feel that they have a vested interest in you.  They have watched you from birth and wish the best for you.

Sad though are aunts and uncles that become grumpy with age.  Life is difficult, sure, but if you going to sit at a family barbecue with a sour face, why come?  Stay at home and you won’t be irritated or annoyed, nor will the people around you be inconvenienced by your disapproving face and under-handed grumbles.  And hell, if you have become a vegetarian and do not eat bacon, bring your own food.  Don’t sit there and complain about what is on offer when you have contributed zip.

I had to laugh at the funeral though.  An older ducky approached one of my aunts and said:

“Mary, is that you?”

“Yes”, said Mary, “And who may you be?”

“It is me, Sarah, don’t you remember?”

“Of course I do Sarah!”

Sarah stood still for a moment and looked Mary over, from top to toe before exclaiming:  “My Mary, but you have gotten old!”

Mary visibly froze, then slowly shook out her feathers:  “Well Sarah, you don’t look to young yourself”.

“But Mary, you look ancient!”

By this time I was rolling on the floor laughing but neither of them noticed.

“Now listen Sarah, I am seventy-three years old, what do you expect?”

Sarah tapped her foot:  “But you look seventy-three!”

Mary was turning red:  “How old are you Sarah?”

“I am fifty-six”.

With a satisfied grin Mary looked Sarah straight in the eye and said:  “Well, you also look seventy-three”.

And that was the end of that.

Comical as it was, it made me realise that these two had not seen one another for thirty or forty years, and that they have long since passed the age of niceties.  They say it like it is.  And the appearance of the other was indeed a great shock, a realisation of time gone by.

I was sad that I had lost a cousin whom I had not seen enough of.  I was more sad for my aunt and uncle and remaining cousins for the loss they will have for as long as they live.  But I was grateful to find that the bonds with my family were still intact and that it will always be.

Because in the end, blood is very much thicker than water.


I was just wondering …

If you have been friends with someone for a long time, let’s say 20 odd years, and that person suddenly grows cold and distant, you would automatically assume that you did something wrong.  Right?

Then, you would start working through the drawers and files in your head to find out what it was.  Sometimes you will locate it, but it takes time.  In the meantime, that person stews and stews and stews.  And occasionally, you just don’t find it.

Now this pisses me off.  If I have been your buddy for so long, and if you liked me enough to choose my friendship, surely you know that I will not hurt you intentionally.  So work with me on this one because I clearly have to spell it out.  I accidentally/unintentionally offended you.  You are my friend, I like you.  I value you.  I did not suddenly wake up one morning and decide roll over on you.

So why on God’s green earth could you not pick up a phone, write an email, send a text or a smoke signal to let me know that I did X, and that you are hurt?  After 20 years, do you not know that I would set it right?

If you believe that I meant to harm you, then clearly I have been sadly mistaken about you.

So now, here we sit.  I actually did locate the (what I imagine to be) offending file, in the drawer marked “Try something New” which by the way, had nothing to do with you.  I removed it from that drawer, changed everything to the way you like things done and filed it under “The Usual Way”.

So what now?  Once you see what I have done, are you going to become nice again and pretend that nothing happened?  Thinking that I am none the wiser?  Or will you actually say:  “Hey, that thing was bugging me but I did not have the courage to talk to you about it.  Thank you for sorting it out”.

The ball’s in your court.  I hope you surprise me.


To all the dogs I never loved …

Gingi was a Pekingese.  We found her abandoned at the SPCA when she was 6 months old.  Pekingesies have wonderful personalities.  Not really lovable and grumpy when teased, but so unique.  Once you own one, you will be in love.

Gingi came into our lives before I liked dogs.  She had attitude, more like a cat.  She was always so proud of herself when she went to the parlour and loved climbing into nooks and crannies and drawers.

Gingi died before I could love her properly.  She managed to squeeze her way through the fence and got knocked over.  The driver never stopped and she was dead when I got there.  My family gave her love, therein lays my consolation.  But she started teaching me that dogs could and should be loved, she started walking a road with me which Danni (my Rhodesian Ridgeback) carried through.

Then came Ameé, the cutest little baby Pekingese.  I enveloped her in love.  She died in my hands at 3 months old.  Jessie was extremely tiny and had congenital problems from inbreeding.  She also died in my hands.  My road of learning to love was almost complete.

I fetched Cinnamon (in the picture) when she was 8 weeks old.  She was from the same breeder as Ameé and Jessie and had the same problems.  But this time I went to a specialist vet who saved her.  She is a princess too, just like Gingi and gets funnily angry when the kids tease her.  She doesn’t want to sleep with me, or cuddle.  She loves me on her terms.

And I realised that I, someone who regrets very little, regret not loving Gingi enough.  But I am so grateful for what she taught me.  That dogs are wonderful additions to a family.  They enrich our lives, they teach us, they are loyal and love unconditionally.

Gingi my little animal, if you were here today, you would have been queen.