Weekly Writing Challenge: Just Do It: Why I Couldn’t

I feel kind of bad that I haven’t been following through with the weekly writing challenge of blogging every single day, so I guess I should just give a reason for not ‘just doing it’. At the expense of sounding lame, I would venture to say that sometimes certain excuses are valid. It’s all relative. If you’ve skipped a weekly writing challenge but you’ve made your sweat a part of the earth, appreciated nature and spent time with friends, I would say you’ve done the right thing. (*What do you think?)

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We went to Crystal Pools in Gordon’s Bay, South Africa. After hiking for just about 30 minutes (after just starting to feel a bit faint) we arrived at the pools. A bit contrary to the name, the water is not as much crystalline as it is golden. The first dive into the mountain water was refreshing and crisp; dark and saintly — like diving into a universe where all the weight is lifted off your shoulders. Isolated, but together; yin and yang, four of us lay there wandering (and wondering) in the water.

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DSCN3310Although we built up make-believe dream houses in those mountains, it was still a bit of a bliss to know that the car isn’t very far off and that home is just around the corner. I would recommend this trail to any aspiring hiker — hey, even I did it, and I can’t even run 100 meters without panting like an asthmatic smoker.

There is fun for everyone to be found. For the braver ones there are cliffs from which you can fall from grace. For the lovers there are rocks that seem to reach up into shape-shifting clouds. For first-time friends, childhood wonders in little alien creatures like tadpoles.

Get those old hiking boots out; put on that unfashionable sun hat and go visit some sites NOT in the comfort of your own home.

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Just Do It!: Blogception

The Daily Post’s weekly writing challenge is to blog about anything everyday for a week. I will attempt to blog about blogging — blogception! 

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s rose?”

William Shakespeare: what a rebel - look at that earring!

William Shakespeare: what a rebel – look at that earring!

Many famous writers (like, for instance, William Shakespeare) compare the object of their affection to another significant object by using a simile.Being a relatively new blogger, I cannot yet say that blogging is my ‘one true love’ — at the moment it is only an infatuation: we’ve only just started flirting. But I believe that this little seed of infatuation can grow into a full-grown obsession.

At the moment, blogging is like shaving was to me. When my mom bought me my first razor at age 13, I was extremely excited. I couldn’t wait till night-time just so that I could shave my legs. Yes, I got many nicks and cuts; I made lots of mistakes and frequently it would look as if I was a depressed emo cutting myself ‘so I could just feel something, man’. But I practiced a lot and I am proud to say that I have mastered the art of shaving! Nowadays I stand with my back straight up, balancing on one leg, not looking at the razor and the result is smooth skin.

Yes, I know shaving like a yogi is a kind of useless skill to have, but my point is that because I loved shaving and because I practiced often, it became easier and I could do more complex things. The same goes for blogging. Even though I may make a lot of mistakes and some might possibly see my blog as a massacre of the English Language, I enjoy doing it. Because of this I will (hopefully) carry on blogging and become better. Plus, just like shaving, blogging (actually just writing overall) makes me a cleaner person in a figurative sense: if I do not write, I literally go a bit bonkers.

Fellow bloggers, my advice to you is to only blog if your really enjoy doing it. If you don’t enjoy something, then doing it is a waste of time.

Happy blogging, fellow photographers, writers and artists alike 🙂 [Take it easy on the festive drinks and drive safely!]

So… I’m a bit of a hippie. You have to admit it’s a great idea though.

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“Peace is not something you wish for, it something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away.”–Robert Fulghum

In an effort to actively do something to create more peace in the world in 2013, I am dedicating a number of my posts specifically to peace. I invite you to join me. We can call ourselves “Bloggers for Peace.” Everyone is invited to join. The requirements are simple and flexible.

  • Devote at least one post a month to/for/about peace. If you write poems or fiction, write a piece about peace. If you take photos, post a photo or gallery that reflects, symbolizes, defines, or creates peace. If you write rants, rant at something that disturbs the peace or rant about something that promotes peace. If you are into zen, post a blank white page. If you are an artist…you get the idea. Feel free to…

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Beyond thinking?

I did not watch the whole of this video as I do not have enough cap, but in the 5mins that I watched, I felt unsettled. In the video it says something like “never have we thought so much and never has there been this much turmoil”. This is not actually true. My philosophy lecturer once told us that the past 100 years have actually been the most peaceful in all of human history. So it seems as if the correlation between thinking and peace is actually positive (contrary to what the video is displaying). I acknowledge the fact, however, that we also have to feel, but I really think it’s a bad idea to lose the balance and ONLY feel without thinking. Thinking and feeling = Yin and yang. Don’t discourage people from thinking. It’s propagandistic.

Known is a drop, Unknown is an Ocean

Another absolutely beautiful and amazing video to go beyond thinking…

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Wrap It Up – Top 3 Things I’ve Learnt This Year

Seeing as the world is going to end tomorrow (:P), I guess the time has finally come for me to reflect on what I’ve learnt this year. These are the top 3 things I’ve learnt this year: neatly wrapped up in Santa Clause wrapping paper, ribbons, bells, unicorns and all other good things. Hopefully this can be my present to all of you out there in the world – something you can use and live by.

3) Fashion is not purely reserved for airheads – J

My university friend, J, is feisty in her relationships; interested in her field of study and simply cannot be mean. In short, she is not a poppie [Afrikaans word for a “Mean Girls” type of bitchy woman]. Yet, she delves into fashion magazines and buys pretty clothes whenever she gets the chance. She has shown me that fashion is not to be dismissed as an airhead-activity – it is an art form in its own way and by finding your style you are not (as some feminists might suggest) an object. Rather you are powerfully asserting your artful, unique appearance.

2) “Feel more” – Hale Tsehlana, T, A

My creative writing tutor, Hale Tsehlana, always told our class to “feel more”. I would’ve probably dismissed her as a wannabe hippie if it weren’t for observing some of my other friends – T and A. Both these friends live rich lives and have binding experiences with people because they allow themselves to be stirred. An astonishing thing that I noticed was that even though they’re not always nice to people because they express when they are disappointed, people love them more because they are genuine.

1) Don’t push things – Yoga

When I started doing yoga, it was not easy. Initially I tried stretching as far as the experts did; I tried balancing without a yoga block; basically I tried doing intermediate things even though I was just a beginner. I didn’t improve until I actually listened to the instructors and took things at my own pace. Since then my posture has improved a great deal as has my balance. I’m still not perfect but at least I’m enjoying yoga and not trying to pretend to be an expert. Extending this notion, I think this is a great way to live life by. If you’re an aspiring writer, you can’t just start writing a book straight out of school (well, I guess you could but it would be shitty) – you must start with smaller projects like writing blogs. The same goes for relationships. If you’re a beginner, admit it to yourself and don’t push things. This will make the overall experience more enjoyable and less stressful so you’ll want to carry on and, because of that, only then you will improve.

If the world ends tomorrow (which I doubt), I will be greatly sad that I could not implement these new findings into my life. If it does not end, however, kudos to us. Merry Christmas! Hope all of you take these ‘presents’ to heart.

Justice is Served…Raw

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I think most of the world’s problems arise because we are unable to put ourselves in others’ shoes. We might be able to hear the elegant click-clack of the successful (wo)man’s shoes, but we don’t know how many miles s/he has tread to get there. We might see the dusty worn-out sandals of the poor, but we do not know the of the pain in their soles (pun intended).

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For most of my life I have been intolerant towards criminals. My area is a high-income neighbourhood, and (because of living in South Africa), we always have to be on our guard towards crime. This has caused much irritation and anger in my life because phones, laptops, cash etc. constantly get stolen.

Last night, however, I had a dream. In this dream I had stolen 2 books mainly for the fun of it. Many dream details have become lost after consciousness, but I do remember some things very distinctly. Firstly, I had much pent-up anger towards the woman I stole from. She is actually an existing person. Last year November she failed to pull up her hand brake and her car collided into mine. When I confronted her about it, she said that it must have been my fault and that I must have reversed into her. The thing is, I hadn’t been driving that entire day. So, in real life I also loathe this woman, to say the least. Secondly, I remember being arrested  and that some cops acted humanely towards me whereas others didn’t. I was much more willing to cooperate with the cops that acted humanely towards me than to the cops that treated me like a child. Without the ‘good’ cops even threatening me, I confessed.

These two instances made me understand the inner-workings of criminal minds and therefore I think I might have some clue as to how to treat criminals in order for them to change their ways. Firstly, what I deduced from my dream is that the motive behind crime is that the person feels stigmatised. Although this still does not give them the right to steal from others/ murder others etc., it is a cause that can be prevented through implementation of certain social etiquettes that can be taught in school. Secondly, if the judicial system isn’t as ‘raw’ and autocratic as it is now; if it is more understanding, then criminals might start acting well sooner. The best thing is that they would do this without being threatened — they would do it out of their own necessity to be better people, just like the cops. This might prove to have more lasting effects of good citizenship.

In my country, South Africa, there is a brilliant example of the beneficial outcomes that a good-natured judiciary system can have. Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president after the Apartheid era, was imprisoned for 27 years. Even though the judiciary system as such was not incredibly humane, Mandela’s guard would often talk to Mandela as a human, give him literature and bring him food. I think that through this Mandela observed that not all white people were “out to get him”. Therefore, when he became president, South Africa’s future immediately brightened up because of the lack of that most frightening emotion: revenge.

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I know it’s difficult to not want revenge. I know it’s difficult to not want the other person to suffer. But I think that in today’s world, it is necessary if we, rather than treating criminals like dogs, teach them something by our way of acting peaceful and tolerate. If we put ourselves in criminals’ shoes, we’ll feel the revenge they feel in the burning of their shackles around their ankles. We’ll feel the frustration in their feet not knowing where to go. We’ll feel the need for a more beneficial judicial system.

The Reason for Creating This Blog

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Being an undergraduate student majoring in English, I learn a lot about feminism (amongst other social issues).  Initially, I thought gender issues were long gone. But after spending a few years in the ‘real world’ I noticed that women are still, at least to some degree, seen as being nannies or cleaners — servants, if you will.

To give an example: a few weeks ago I went for a job interview at an advertising agency. I had heard that the company participated in the illegal activity of pyramid scheming, but I thought I’d still give it a shot. When I spoke to the boss, I asked him about this rumour. Instead of giving me a well-deserved professional answer, he said “Sweetheart, don’t worry”. Initially I felt a bit flattered, but after a bit of contemplation, I realised that this form of unprofessional flattery was actually completely demeaning to me as a woman. It was almost as if he, like a ’50s pimp, implicitly said “Sweetheart, don’t worry your little head about it: you just have to look pretty”. As soon as I realised this I got enraged. Ever since then I’ve taken more and more notice of the implicitly patriarchal society we still live in.

So, to get back to the point at hand, the reason for creating this site is that I want to show that, yes, women are made for cleaning up and being nannies. But by ‘cleaning up’ I do not simply mean literally sweeping away the dust; by ‘being nannies’ I do not simply mean nurtuting infants. What I mean is that women have the power to figuratively ‘clean up’ and ‘nurture’ the world: women’s social skills are needed in order to get rid of all the messy problems in the social world; women’s social skills are needed to teach and lull humanity peacefully. Of course, I’m not a feminist to the extent that I exclude men from helping us, but I do think neglected female voices should be heard.

It ought to be encouraged to leave your fingerprints after 'cleaning up'.

It ought to be encouraged to leave your fingerprints after ‘cleaning up’.

By philosophising about certain political, social, personal or even natural problems in the world, I will attempt to set an example to all women (and men?). Go forth, and vacuum!