Digital Grave

VANESSA SMEETS

Digital grave1

GRIM REAPER = Grim realization the dead friend isn’t reading these posts.

I have a terrible addiction that started four years ago after a friend’s suicide. The night he died, I looked through all of his social media for clues… There it was: subtle yet incriminating evidence of someone who felt completely alone. Images of a broken telephone, of a threaded wire (ordinary things we would never look for as deeper symbolic meanings) on his Facebook, as well as updates like: “Seeing ALL my friends tonight. Cheers!” His Twitter was flooded with monologues – “No one sees me.” “Hello, are you listening?”

We were close at varsity; but, with most friendships, ours had its moments of distance. Sadly, I am one of those that live by the rule: “Out of sight, out of mind.” Facebook has made me a lazy friend. I used to phone and message people regularly, but now that most people advertise their lives, I don’t see the point. The ones I see the most are the ones that are the least active on Facebook.

Digital grave 2

RIP: What happens to your social media post-death?

I thought I was doing an okay job: every time my friend checked in somewhere, I liked it. Every time he posted a photo of himself with a new award, I liked it. I had no idea he was lonely. He was the soul at every party. As most of us know, social media gives us a false sense of belonging and of knowing everyone’s business.

An old school pal messaged me the other day: “Wow… You really are a terrible friend…” “Huh?” was my automatic reply. “You never message me. Guess where I am? A mental institution.” I had no idea, through all her beautiful photos of her children, the thought never even crossed my mind. Like most, she had been posting blissful photos to hide her extreme pain.

Digital grave 3

REMEMBERING: Facebook is made up of memories and friendships, which can be stirred up through lack of activity…

My addiction continued two years ago with the suicide of a Tuks lecturer. I looked through all his publicised photos. The ones made public (with that world icon) were actually the most painful to read, even though they were very few. Then this year, I realised my addiction had to stop. I read through the social media of the young girl (14) who killed herself at Northgate Mall. All she had were beautiful photos with very little hints of her darkness… And then I read through her mother’s updates and started crying. I was crying over a stranger, but a stranger who reflected my friend, who reflected my weakness, who reflected my pain through her mother. “If only I had known…” her mom posted over and over again. If only I had too…

After we die, our social media carries on quite the same, except suddenly people who never spoke to you for the last five years, start reaching out. TOO LATE. Everyone messages more: on your birthday, special days you shared and the anniversary of your death. SCARY.

Digital grave 4

WHO AM I? Does Facebook give a false sense of popularity?

It’s time to realise that in a time of so much communication in the form of Whatsapp, Skype, etc, people have actually never felt more alone. Touch is what we need, not a “like”. A cup of coffee is what we crave, not “a selfie.” A genuine “How are you?” beats a “What you up to tonight?” In fact, social media is anything but social. It causes us to shut down when trying to have real conversations, it allows us to become cyberbullies on difficult topics like religion, race or politics, it causes us to be quite narcissistic with an array of selfies and holiday snaps.

“How are you feeling today?” asks my Facebook daily, not even my virtual friends.
Has Facebook replaced my life book, become my journal, a place where I actually write for and to myself mostly? Are my virtual friends still my real friends and vice versa?

Is anyone reading this…?

READ MORE on Facebook’s “death etiquette:”
http://mashable.com/2013/02/13/facebook-after-death/#hxZkTpt9ziqy

The Frenemy

VANESSA SMEETS

Ever have that one “friend” you dread adding on Facebook, because you know she’ll constantly be watching and criticizing your every move? She’s known as the “Fakebooker” (more of an acquaintance than a friend), but she’s not the only species of ‘Frenemy’ you will come across in your lifetime. Here are the others:

Frenemy 1The Boyfriend Flirter

In front of you, she tells how gross your boyfriend is in comparison to hers or, even worse, your exes. Everything he says or does seems to annoy her, but behind your back she loves sending him funny emails, meeting up for coffee to discuss… you. Yeah right. Move on, b*tch.

The Friend Thief

She’s back from her incredible adventures overseas and can’t seem to find new friends on her own, so she now backpacks on your back wherever you go. She organizes events where everyone you know without you is invited. She doesn’t care and neither should you.

Frenemy 2The Expired Cool Girl

At school, you were both the head of this and that and yet you still found time for each other, but then she became headgirl and all that changed… she just didn’t know you anymore. Really? What kind of make-up can hide such a two-faced chick? None. Walk away.

The Wannabe

She knows you’re a great networker, so she invites you to all her open events so that you can invite everyone you know. Looks may attract, but it’s personality that keeps, darling. Nothing can hide the fact she’s using you.

Frenemy 4The Whiner

She calls you whenever she loses a job or a man. You go over and comfort her. She never asks how your day was. When you break-up with your man of four years, she’s suddenly too busy. Cry me a river, she’s an alligator with fake tears.

The Hot-Headed Heels

Frenemy 3

PIC: Internet

She’s like the Samantha from Sex and the City of your group, she always boasts about how many men want to bed her and how her boss sends her saucy, encrypted texts. She makes all your lives feel totally bland in comparison. Truth is, her life is empty and nothing you do will help her feel better about herself or you. Goodbye, Sam. I’ll save you for a rainy day.

The Casper

Yup, she’s the friendly ghost of your past. You think that because you’ve known each other for two decades, you’re obligated to keep her in your life. Yes, she shows up once a year for your birthday, but how do you catch up 365 days in a few hours? You can’t, because she happens to be the first one to leave your party. Time to call in the ghost-busters. De-clutter your life before your party.

friends

PIC: Internet

Win with Arcade Empire!

Name SA  bands

WHO’S WHO? Name the missing bands/ musicians performing this Saturday… Copyright on collage: Vanessa Smeets/ selected pics off Net.

So, you can’t make it to Mozambique’s SIZZLING HOT beach party STRAB (The Subterranean Rhythm & Blues experience)? Don’t despair…

Arcade Empire (next to The Grove shopping mall, Pretoria) is organising their own beach party with some of South Africa’s hottest bands and musicians!

The line-up includes:
– Black Cat Bones
– Bittereinder
– Tombstone Pete
– Natalie Chapman
– Raoul and Black Friday
– Gerald Clark
– Stefan Dixon
– Luna Paige

Would you like to win double tickets to Arcade Empire’s exciting Road to STRAB “Voodoo Beach” Party this Saturday (18 May 2013)? It starts from 3pm sharp…

All you have to do is name the missing bands on this collage (the names are above, just reshuffle them logically). Email your answers to tshwane.people@gmail.com. The first person with the correct five answers will win the tickets! Your name and your plus one will be put on the list.
Please ensure you write 1. name of band, 2. name of band, etc.

See you there!  
Reply to event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/163389610488490/

Happiness is…

VANESSA SMEETS

For years, I searched far and wide for happiness.
The greatest poets and creative people have spoken of it as an illusion or the ultimate tease, being short-lived and unfulfilling. Walt Disney claimed it’s the way one looks at things. William Shakespeare referred to it as good friends. AA Milne, who wrote Winnie the Pooh, referred to it as the secret to all beauty. For many, it comes in four states of being, which I believe could be seen as four seasons: euphoria, bliss, joy, and contentment.

Euphoria: where everything seems to be floating and unreal, your senses are overcome much like in spring.
Bliss: where everything seems almost too perfect to be true. Your body and heart are one, much like in summer.
Joy: where everything still seems beautiful, just like the colours of autumn.
Contentment: where you hold on to the other three, but will have to do with the warmth provided, much like in winter.

But, what does it mean to me? Because that’s what Incitement is about: my story, our story. (For more on Incitement SA, see my previous article: There is HOPE!)

childhood_quote

FREEDOM: The magic of childhood should not be forgotten in adulthood… PIC: Internet

My seasonal journey with happiness has been complex, sometimes raining with splendor, other times hard to harvest.
I first discovered it as a small child from simple things: setting dragonflies and butterflies free in the kitchen, catching grasshoppers in the garden and feeling them tickle my skin, watching my parents kiss, playing with Barbies for hours on end. Yes, I’ve always been a romantic and that is where my disillusionment with happiness was born.

This is quite personal, but I believe many of us have been through it…
As someone who struggled with clinical depression for almost ten years, I am finally free of it. No, it was not through fancy medication or hours at the psychiatrist. If anything, those things worsened my state of being. The meds poisoned my body, to the verge of becoming a diabetic and the shrink poisoned my soul by opening old wounds. I had forgiven. I didn’t need to be reminded of my past regrets and hurt.

Faith_quote

FAITH: Balancing faith against your fears will push you forward. PIC: RobinSharma.com

Happiness is the ability to balance what you have with what you need, appreciating those special moments. I learnt this best as a preschool teacher. Children have the ability to be creative, even when their little heads and hearts are in disjoint. A child will continue to smile, even if things at home aren’t easy. They believe in the power of daily life – every day is a magical reason to wake up, discover your surroundings and explore your needs.

As adults, we forget the essence of imagination. We forget to discover daily power and magic. We keep diaries of our daily struggles, instead of your daily triumphs. And we forget to spend time with children, who teach us to see through new eyes. I’ve always believed children are the world’s greatest teachers.

child_southAfrica

THE KEY: Children are not only the future, but the world’s greatest teachers. PIC: Vanessa Smeets

I discovered a whole new world as a preschool teacher: one where killed spiders are given funerals, where storms are caused by an angry creator and where friendship is about listening and sharing, even if that means your favourite sandwich.

Children, not pills, healed my heartache. Originally, I studied journalism. I was determined to become a war photographer. But teaching taught me to focus on life, rather than death. And the war within myself was finally put to rest. So the trick is to BELIEVE, in yourself, in your dreams, in others, in their dreams. Clichéd but true: what a difference this makes.

For the parents out there, I urge you to write down the beautiful things you witness on a daily basis with your child. Get involved with your child’s preschool: “What did he/ she get up to today?”

Happiness is obeying your bliss, even if it comes from ridiculous sounding things like a fresh smoothie, a yoga session you’ve been avoiding or an afternoon in the botanical gardens. Unhappy people are those that don’t know what they want out of life. They have little focus on where they are going. They keep looking back on past mistakes, instead of embracing today’s beauty. Every sunset should be seen as unique. Every stranger on the street has a story to share.

These are my tips for a state of happiness every day:

euphoria_spring

Euphoria, like spring, is the overwhelming beauty of one’s life reawakening. PIC: Internet

EUPHORIA:

  • Start a random conversation with a stranger, such as a person who sells you a newspaper, hands out a flyer. If everyone listened with more patience, we’d have more interesting days.
  • Put away your phone and Facebook for a whole day. Make face-to-face conversation with a person you haven’t seen in a long time. The power of touch is one which can heal.
bliss_summer

Bliss is like summer, when mind, body, heart and soul beat as one. PIC: Internet

BLISS:

  • Listen to the way a small child speaks to their pet. If everyone spoke with such kindness, we’d have many more friends.
  • Draw. Paint. Sing. Dance. Do something you normally never have time to do, yet enjoy. It will rejuvenate your soul.
joy_autumn

Much like autumn, joy is an array of beautiful colours that envelop the soul. PIC: Internet

JOY:

  • Arrange a coffee-date with your parents and grandparents. Listen to stories of their youth and their search for happiness before it’s too late.
  • Hold your pet for a good hour, cuddle it… That is the only creature that never judges you, criticizes you; despite giving it the same food every day and the same lame excuse “I’ll play with you tomorrow”.
contentment_winter

Much like winter, contentment is loving the warmth of what we knew… PIC: Internet

CONTENTMENT:

  • Fall in love with your life again… Seek that dream job and those fun friends. Reawaken your inner being. A wise friend once told me: “Don’t walk away from negativity. RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!”
  • Meditate on the previous seasons.

Happiness should never be searched for. That goes against its aim. It finds you when you least expect it, much like love and peace. And I do believe those three work hand-in-hand. You cannot be truly happy without love or peace. And what is love or peace without happiness? Go on then, dream some more. Live for eternity.

god's four gifts

BLESSINGS: The essence of life… PIC: Internet

There is HOPE! Incitement South Africa…

VANESSA SMEETS

Incitement_logo

ARE YOU IN? Incitement SA will launch March 9. Are you ready? Courtesy: Incitement Fan-page

Once riddled with negative connotations, the word “incite” now means to provoke and spur on in a positive way. Incitement South Africa was founded February 9 this year, by Tamara and Francisca Al-Halaseh. It comes at a time in South Africa when our mind-set is rife with negativity, speculations and heartache. Originally founded in Malaysia in 2011 by Daniel de Gruijter and Zikry Kholil, as a way for employees to talk about their ideas, the movement has now become a global instrument of positive change. From Malaysia, it spread to the USA, Canada, UAE and Jordan and has now reached South Africa.

Incitement is a global movement of local communities. The site reads:
“It is born out the idea that people have something worth saying. We encourage everyone… who has something to share to get up and get it out there.”

What is it?

Incitement South Africa encourages individuals to create positive thinking, by networking with people from various backgrounds. This will be done by sharing life-affirming values and stories that have inspired and motivated them. The Incitement South Africa Facebook fan-page publishes affirmations of self-growth and self-belief on a daily basis. No judgement. No prejudice.

Incitement_cover

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Are you ready to change or be the change? Pic from the FB fan-page.

How will they do it?

By hosting informal and easy-going events, starting with Gauteng and moving nationally.

Incitement_Tzu

POSITIVITY: What makes a good life? Find out with Incitement. PIC: internet

When is the first event?

The event planned for 30th of March in Pretoria (at Blue Valley Mall) will gather everyone from entrepreneurs, personal growth enthusiasts, thinkers to marketers and students. They will enjoy a series of powerful presentations and participate in unique team-building exercises. These will be designed to help them grow on a personal and professional level. Think of it as a melting pot of incredible and original ideas that stir up weary souls and awaken tired minds. Watch out for the venue on the Facebook page.
Reply to the event: Incitement SA Launch.

The presentations given will be documented with guests’ permission on video and posted to their YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter channels, in hope of making positive affirmations a reality. It will help employers deal with down-trodden staff, parents with unruly children and students with depression.

Co-founder Francisca Al-Halaseh says:

“It is a platform for people to speak up and share their outrageous visions for the future, life changing experiences from the past and ideas for the present.”

But, it’s not all ‘serious talk.’ It’s also a place to have fun in front of a crowd and spread positive vibes.

For more information, visit:
http://theincitement.com/

If you would like to sponsor or get involved with the March 9 event, check out the South African Facebook fan-page:

https://www.facebook.com/IncitementSouthAfrica

Searching for satisfaction…

VANESSA SMEETS

A look on the 5 type of guys to avoid and how to enjoy singledom…

singleness

LIVING COLOUR: Your colourful past, certainly makes way for a brighter future. PIC: Online

You’re in your late twenties or early thirties, everyone around you is either getting married or having kids.

The best thing about being single? Less questions on where you were.
The worst? More questions on where you’re going…

There’s a lot of pressure on women of today to, as well as having a fulfilling career, be romantically fulfilled as well. No matter how independent or well she’s been doing.

This leads to her falling desperately for the wrong type of men, starting with…

The Ex

Things ended because he moved away and you had to pursue a career or studies. You both still like each other and still secretly have virtual sex. Big mistake. The truth hits you when pictures of his new girlfriend show up on Facebook. Delete that chapter. Delete him. For good, this time…

This new chapter leads you to…

The Rebound

Why I'm single

The honest truth… PIC: Online

You meet him at a bar, share a few beers. The attraction is pretty insane. The sex turns out to be mind-blowing, but you have absolutely nothing else in common. Stop having sex, it’s preventing you from meeting someone more worthwhile.

However, your loneliness leads you to that elusive…

The One-Night Stand

Out of the blue, you meet someone incredibly smart and attractive. Problem is, you’re still not emotionally ready, so you come across as desperate and smothering. You end up liking him too soon, not knowing this is the type of guy to lose interest when things become too sexual. In a moment of passion, you end up sleeping together. The sex turns out to be average, but you’re kind of determined to find out where this could lead. He, however, is not:

“Listen, I’m not blown away by you. That was fun, but that’s all it’ll remain. Have a nice life.”

You feel like a dirty tramp and turn to…

single dilemma

The flying solo dilemma… PIC: Online

The Best Friend

He’s liked you for years, but you’ve kept your distance. After all, could there not just be one platonic male presence in your life, for goodness sake? After hours of crying on his shoulder for the umpteenth time, you look into his kind, genuine eyes and end up making out. The next time you see him, it’s really awkward, so you end up flirting with…

The Colleague

He’s the guy kind enough to offer you a lift to work or leave post-its while you’re out on a smoke break. Mixing business with pleasure has as many perks as risks. You two soon become office talk.

It’s time to break the vicious cycle many women find themselves in and rather embrace singledom.
In the words of Sex and the City:

“Some people are settling down, some people are settling for less and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.”

Things to embrace while you’re single:

men to avoid

  • Flirt shamelessly with strangers. It’s okay to practice… Practice makes perfect. Just avoid taking them home.
  • Explore the world. Finally you can go on that Contiki tour with your best friend! Do it!
  • Take up new and strange hobbies. Start pole-dancing, hip-hopping, silk painting… You’ll certainly be more interesting to the next lucky fish.
  • Become adventurous without inhibitions. Take up that job offer in South Korea! Go become a photographer on a cruise ship! Au pair while you still can! So many more stories to tell…
  • Focus on what you want, not what you need. Neediness is unattractive. Want is ambitious. Not keen on divorce? Don’t marry that average guy from the dentist’s office.
  • “Water” your friendships. The Sims illustrated this part of social life perfectly. Remember that girlfriend you stopped hearing about once she got hitched? You’ve become her, without the ring. Catch up with a cocktail party or ladies’ night. Liking their Facebook status is simply not enough, by the way.
  • Realize that marriage is more than just a piece of paper, it’s for life. Could you really marry that rebound guy that litters your place with dirty dishes?
  • Play safe. So your heart is broken, wait till you’re emotionally ready to take up something physical. Getting physical too soon means the next guy won’t have time to get to know you on an emotional scale.
  • Keep a diary of your weaknesses, as well as your achievements. Some guys are mean to girls in order to move on more easily, don’t take all their insults to heart. However, if all relationships ended because you were obsessed with your girlfriends or cat, it may be time to overthink some things.
  • Stop complaining, start living. Remember Carrie’s addiction…nagging on and on about Mr Big? So unattractive, even to your closest friends.
  • Find your inner child. He used to steal your lunch, now he’s stolen your dreams. He used to flirt with the teacher, now he flirts with your best friend. Move on. Mr Nice (yet Good-looking) Guy exists… Someone wise once wrote: “Nice guys always finish last, but isn’t that what women want in the end?”

I want to be a world reporter!

Please check out my video and promote it on Twitter with #sparworldtrip. I can win a trip around the world, reporting for Spar!
To help me earn points:
> Like the video
> Comment on it
> Share it on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, wherever!

For more info, visit http://www.seetheworldwithspar.co.za/

The Clean Cut

VANESSA SMEETS

There are two types of break-ups: the awkward “Let’s still be friends on Facebook” kind or the “Get the hell out of my life” kind. Personally, I prefer the latter. Yes, yes, there are very slight exceptions.
But why still be ‘friends’ with someone who probably made you cry and stress twice as much as made you laugh, who broke down your self-esteem and who made you believe in inflated promises?

Yes, it’s fascinating to be able to ‘spy’ on them virtually, but what for? Is it to remind you that, yes, life does indeed go on; other girls or guys will come and go, just as you did. Is it perhaps to see how their receding hairline has now transformed into complete baldness or see that they have put on 20 kilograms in the last six months? I doubt it, as no sane person puts up such unflattering pictures.

What is the point of a break-up?

Exactly that: A POINT!

  • It sharpens your mind to what is better suited for you.
  • It pin-points your heart’s deepest desires and weaknesses.
  • It helps write over past break-ups through new anguish and questions.
  • It creates new dreams, new visions and new opportunities.

As my dad says: “No pain, no gain.”

Each break-up toughens your mental sword. You suddenly realize you are human and highly emotional, either through grief, anger or disappointment.

You also realize you are more equipped now than ever before: you are great at flirting, at making your friends laugh or at enjoying life like never before.

An incompatible person will always make you feel just that: INCOMPATIBLE. He/ She will make you believe you absolutely need to stop smoking, need to go to gym more or not spend as much time with your friends. Once you do as requested, he/ she will eventually get bored with you and find a new ‘flaw’ to focus on.

However, the compatible person will take the ‘flaws’ you have and be fascinated by them. The time with your friends will transform into endless conversations about what makes each friend special. The compatible person will look you in the eye and make you feel respected, loved and cherished. Yes, as corny as that.

Ironically, there is a lot to fear when this happens:

You suddenly fear you are not that ideal.
You suddenly fear you have to prove yourself.
You suddenly fear his/ her genuine love for you is a hoax.


This comes from failing in other relationships, where you thought of yourself as just another experiment.

Here, though, you should transform from experiment to experience: see your true worth, embrace it and immerse your partner in it too. True bliss comes from peace of mind and sure belief in one’s choices and one’s new relationship…

moving onFrom old to new:

  • Write the break-up letter with all your anger and read it out aloud the next day. You will realize all the toxic has been released. Then, get rid of it before it contaminates you further.
  • Erase him/ her from Facebook and other networking sites. Yes, that easy and yet that hard to do…
  • Erase old smses, emails and photos. There is a time and place for everything and that time has now passed. Grieve and move on.
  • Take up a new hobby and meet new people. All this extra time will help you create new memories, allowing the old ones to slowly fade away.
  • Go for Reiki. A psychologist or psychiatrist may analyse what you already know, but a Reiki therapist will give you the means to heal in your own time. You will discover a whole new you, without being overly confronted by the past.
  • Be disciplined enough to keep a diary… You will be thinking, analysing and philosophising a lot more than before. It makes for a great read in years to come.

Broken wings and puppet strings

VANESSA SMEETS

women abuse

QUIET PAIN: Domestic violence comes in three forms, emotional, physical and sexual. PIC: online

MEETING THE MONSTER

Jane* doesn’t really remember the first time she was struck by a man. She must have just been three years old when her dad hit her for the first time, for having her elbows on the table while eating.

As she grew up, she was attracted to men with short tempers. They fascinated her. At first, watching them shout at car-guards or beggars was entertaining. But then, it became frightening.
When she and her first love, Dylan, went clubbing one night, she realized she was in love with a monster. She told Dylan about the cleaner who had taken cash out of her bag while they were dancing. His piercing blue eyes turned red with anger. He almost beat the cleaner to a pulp, when he was pulled off by a bouncer.

Jane can’t talk at first when I ask her how it ended. She fidgets with the rims of her skirt.

“I told him I was pregnant. That’s when I saw hatred in his eyes. He stuffed the morning-after pill into my mouth. No water. Just his dry fingers reaching as far as possible into my throat. I bit him then and he slapped me across the face.”

That night, Dylan took her out for dinner. He was completely different. He treated her perfectly, paid her compliments and placed a beautiful necklace around her neck.

DECEPTION

It wasn’t the first time he had struck her for “inappropriate behaviour.” Four months into their dating, she went through his computer and found a list of girls he had slept with. There was a name after hers.

“I tried to hide it for two weeks, but the pain ate me up. I confronted him. At first, he pretended not to know what I was talking about. But then, I asked about each one, one by one. His voice changed. He became like a little boy filled with guilt. He hit me for invading his privacy. Then he apologised and even shed a few tears. I fell deeper for him then.”

The pattern of falling deeper for him the more he failed her continued for two and a half years. She stopped seeing her friends and stopped going to church.

PUPPET MASTER

She became his puppet. He told her how to dress, speak and act and she listened diligently.
“In a sick way, by losing my identity, I thought I was growing closer to him. He was untouchable. He was the most popular guy in our group and I, suddenly, was good enough to be his queen.”

alone

SOLE SOUL: Many abused women feel completely alone and embarrassed to talk about what they are going through. PIC: online

Her hands tremble now as I ask her about the night that changed her life.
“His mother was visiting from overseas. She prepared him and his brother supper, but they never thanked her or showed any affection. I caught her crying quietly and told her: ‘Don’t worry. They love you.’
He was furious: ‘Those are forbidden words in my family! Don’t you ever intervene! You have no business telling her that!’

It was so absurd. He had never spoken to me in that way. He locked me outside on his balcony for two hours. I cried. I screamed. To no avail. After two hours in the cold, he opened the door and yelled: ‘Are you sorry yet?’

‘Sorry for what?’ I whimpered back. His hands tightened around my wrists, which he now placed behind my back. ‘Why don’t you jump?’ he said, while laughing. His hands caressed my neck and back, slowly pushing me to the edge. Believe me, I was tempted to do it. I looked at my life and realized I had nothing left to give.

Rihanna abuse

RIRI: Domestic violence was brought to light again in 2009, when Pop singer Rihanna was assaulted by her boyfriend Chris Brown. PIC: online

A few months later, Jane was in a mental institution, diagnosed with Psychosis. Her brain couldn’t take any more abuse. Dylan came to visit her regularly with chocolates or flowers.
“You’re not very strong are you?” he hissed one night, as she lay sobbing on his chest. “I can’t be with someone who can’t get up again. Get up! I dare you!”

Jane was on so much medication that she couldn’t tell what was real or not anymore. She saw worms coming out of her veins. She saw animal faces upon everyone that visited her. She called Dylan to share her fears, but he stopped picking up. At times, he would just breathe into the phone.

suicide pills

TEMPTATION: Jane swallowed a cocktail mix of 22 pills on her 22nd birthday, for every year of what her boyfriend called her of "being a burden." PIC: Online

THE FINAL BLOW

Jane became more and more lost in her despair. She finally decided to commit suicide. She swallowed 22 pills on her 22nd birthday, for every year that she thought she was a burden.
Just in time, the doctors pumped her stomach. The white froth dried up around her lips was the only evidence she had gone to such desperate measures.
She never heard from Dylan again, until Valentine’s Day four months later.

“I’m sorry. I need you. I want you back.”

Instead of falling for the voice she had become so accustomed to, she heard him as the conniving man her soul had once feared, but was now ready to fight. She was finally free. Detectives tried to find him, but he had already left the country. After doing various investigations, they found out that a few of Dylan’s ex-girlfriends were in mental institutions and one had already committed suicide.

Jane stutters as she continues:

“I was lucky enough to make it out in time. Somehow, I got my life back on track. He haunted my dreams for a while, but I refuse to give him any more power. I hope he reads this some day. But, people like that don’t have a heart or conscience. I refuse to ever sacrifice mine again.”

*name has been changed

Signs you’re dealing with a Player Signs you’ve got a Keeper
– he checks your friends out all the time- he calls to say he misses the action- he makes you feel small and inadequate

– he buys you expensive gifts

– his phone is on voicemail when you call

– he talks about himself 24/7

– he speaks about his exes in derogatory terms

– he spends time getting to know your body, saying you’re his favourite

– he checks you out all the time- he calls to say he misses your voice- he makes you feel magical and special

– he makes you sentimental gifts

– he picks up even when he’s busy

– he talks about you 24/7

– he speaks about his exes briefly, with respect

– he spends time getting to know your favourite things


Just another girl…

VANESSA SMEETS

I keep on hearing Rihanna‘s “Only Girl” on the radio…

“Want you to make me feel like I’m the only girl in the world
Like I’m the only one that you’ll ever love
Like I’m the only one who knows your heart
Only girl in the world
Like I’m the only one that’s in command…”

Still inclined to believe in fairytales and living happily ever after, this is a dream for most girls. We dream about meeting someone on a plane with the same hopes and aspirations, who’ll set our soul aflight. We fantasize about being the most beautiful girl at the party. We cherish compliments and over-analyze situations in which we didn’t get any.

little lady

DESIRE: Our youngest dreams help built our greatest expectations. PIC: online

Little Lady

As little girls, our self-esteem depended on the words and actions of our parents. If your parents had a very passionate relationship and showed public affection, you tend to have a more outgoing personality and tend to be a die-hard hopeless romantic. You may, however, feel very frustrated if you don’t find someone as passionate as you.

If your parents were more reserved and hardly paid you compliments, you may make up for it by being overly flirtatious and in need of constant attention.

If your father was absent for most of your youth, you may have had more intense or abusive relationships, often with older men.

If you were Daddy’s little girl, you tend to comfortable with being single or will end up marrying your childhood sweetheart, for he reflects the inner child you still embrace.

fling

FALLING FAST: Do flings really end up into things? PIC: online

Fling into thing

In high school, our Guidance teacher preached:

“Girls give sex for love, boys give love for sex.”

I was only 15, so it didn’t mean much at the time. But the words stuck…

Take Jessica. Looking back on her past relationships, she realized most of them were flings that had turned into things. This may have come from her parents’ painful and unexpected divorce, where she attached herself to unrealistic and heart-wrenching relationships. The guys she dated often had a lot of baggage, which made her want to help them. But the heavier the baggage, the more draining it was on her soul and the emptier she felt after each break-up.

The biggest problem with turning a fling into a thing is that your partner may only view you in a physical way, and not yet emotionally. This often leads to a rollercoaster impression of fears, questions and little peace of mind.

You are often thrown into the deep end of giving a lot, with receiving very little in return. Also, if you break up, you have very little chance of remaining friends, as you keep asking yourself: “Did he ever really know me?” The question is: do you even know yourself? Are you the flirtatious vixen that can move on through one-night stands or are you still the vulnerable teen that yearned for the world to accept, let alone understand, her?

girl in command

CHASING DREAMS: Girls dream of being chased... but often end up chasing the dream. PIC: online

How not to be just another girl:

APPRECIATE YOURSELF: Take time to do the things you enjoy. Take up a new hobbie and meet a diverse group of people. This will break down the wall you’ve built up through distrust and heartache.

SOCIALIZE: Throw the best party in town. Invite your friends and their friends. Have a theme to make it even more memorable. Who doesn’t want to go to a masked ball or dress outrageously for one night? Also, it makes for great Facebook pics.

REPUTATION: You may like the thrill of a one-night stand, but wouldn’t it be awkward to bump into that guy at your regular supermarket or at your niece’s pre-school?

CLOSE THE DOOR: Often women tend to deal with their past by contacting the characters that featured. Weird thing is, the guy you dated then is not the one he is today. You may yearn for that familiar touch or his nickname for you, but he’s probably had a number of women ever since. Have enough dignity to walk away from your past for good and clean up your state of mind…
…Because, in the end, the only girl that knows your heart is the one looking at you from the mirror. She’s in command 😉