How do you step from the top of a 100-foot pole? – Confessions of a Show Stopper

Remember when I told you that I wanted to fly?
Just spread my wings and fly high above this world, to discover all those places hidden from the eye and previously forbidden to try. Well, I’m flying now and the view’s not so great from above. Looking down on all of you and feeling just a little blue to be here in this vast place all by myself.

Remember when I told you that I wanted to be great? To be strong and courageous and never break. So great that no one would dare to mess with the likes of me and men would simply fall at my feet. Well, I’m pretty great now, but it’s kinda quiet once I take a bow. People just stare in awe and wonder, no one dares to speak to me for I am just a marvel to be pondered.

Remember when I told you that I wanted to be beautiful? So beautiful in fact that I would be desired by men and women alike and that the very presence of my beauty would entrance all those whose paths I crossed. Well, I’m pretty darn gorgeous now and after countless procedures with needles and knives, there’s not a flaw in sight. But now I look in the mirror and I can’t seem to find myself beneath this flawless reflection and this plastic exterior is my only protection.

Remember when I told you that I wanted a big house, a nice car and other frivolous possessions that would turn heads? Flashy cars and fancy clothes, fluffy dogs and furry coats, well I sure did like to gloat. But, they’ve all been ticked off the list and I’ve got nothing left to acquire, nothing at all left to desire.

I remember now so well, all the things I told you. Now that I exist in this solitude amidst all the human traffic which constantly surrounds me. In this world where my possessions don’t seem to fill the void inside of me and where beauty seems ever fleeting. I remember so well all those things I told you and I weep, I ache, for I wish I remembered all the things you had said in response.

But I refused to listen, except to my own voice, which seemed the most important at the time. Planning out my brilliant future with so much detail and passion, and I imagine that you said all the most important things, when I wasn’t listening.

Remember when I told you that some daft fool had said: ‘It’s lonely at the top!’ and I said that that fool had probably only ever been on top of a dumpster? I bet you remember that and I bet you probably told me that that daft fool was right.

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We are what we do…but are we really?

Of late I have been confronted with the question of what I’ll be doing with my PR degree and somehow I find it very difficult to answer that question, as the answer that people generally expect to hear is something along the lines of ‘I plan to further my studies and do my Masters;’ ‘I want to work for a consultancy;’ ‘I’d like to work in a corporate environment;’ or ‘I’d like to start my own events company.’

Unfortunately or fortunately none of these statements apply to me, as I am still undecided about what I desire for my future beyond this year. I have a keen interest in many things and I intend to explore as many of these interests as I can, as long as I have the capability to do so.

I’d like to explore teaching one day as I believe that it is one of the most humbling vocations which is highly undermined. I’m also interested in communications, as I think that as humans we so often get it wrong and that sometime the simplest solution is clear communication. I’ve always been interested in radio broadcasting and perhaps I’ll spend some time looking into that one day. I’m a keen writer and at some stage in my life I’d like to indulge in some creative writing. There are so many things I’d like to do and I only hope I have enough time on this earth to explore them all.

Although many of these fields may not be remotely related PR, I am not at all bothered by that, as I think the best qualification one can have is life experience. A while back, in a frenzied state of panic, I chatted to my sister about how none of my plans for the near future seemed to involve PR, yet this was my major. She said something to me which I’ll never forget, ‘the great thing about studying is that we don’t have to become what we study, it’s merely a learning process.’

I thought that this summed it up perfectly. So many of us are concerned with becoming lawyers or doctors or business analysts, because that is what we studied, paying no regard to the fact that we no longer have an interest in that field or that there are other areas we wish to explore. The great thing about this generation is that we have so many possibilities available to us, that are ripe for the picking. Where in the past our parents and grandparents were limited to becoming teachers, nurses, janitors, factory workers or military servants.  

I plan to have a long, successful career in many fields and i feel it is my duty grab the opportunities which are available to me and make the most of it. So I would therefore argue that we are NOT what we do. We create our own futures, we dream our own dreams and how we choose to re-enact those dreams is entirely up to us. What we do in this life is of our own doing and what we become is our legacy. 

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Isn’t it funny how the best part of a story always involves someone getting lost? Like Little Red Riding Hood getting lost in the forest or two people getting ‘Lost in Translation’ or Dorothy getting lost on her way to The Wizard of Oz. Funny how getting lost is considered a hindrance or how it’s considered a waste of time or a bad situation. How people tend to get into a frenzied state of worry or panic about losing their way or losing material things.

Funny how when you get lost you discover so many hidden streets with names you’ve never heard of. How tiny stores with weird displays and hidden gardens seem so magical. Funny how when you get lost you tend to notice all the little things, like people rushing by and children playing in a park. How the little things in life that we take for granted everyday seem so much more prominent.

Funny how the blue of the sky and the warmth of the sun on your skin makes getting lost not such a bad thing. How every breath fills your lungs with fresh air and new life and assures you that though you may be lost, you are still alive.

Funny how when you get lost you hear the sound of the traffic and feel the rattle of the train running by. How everything around you seems to move at an unstoppable pace and you seem to be frozen in time, moving to the sound of your own metronome.

Funny how you seem to notice those everyday things when you get lost, that you don’t normally pay any mind to. How life seems so much more extraordinary when you start to notice the ordinary.

As for me, I rather enjoy getting lost. Losing my bearings, losing all inhibitions, losing track of time, losing myself in the moment. Lost is a place I feel most at home, a place where I make the most amazing discoveries while walking down unknown streets, past unfamiliar faces. I try to get lost everyday. Lost in love, lost in thought, lost in the time, lost in imagination. Because getting lost makes the getting found that much more amazing.

Funny how finding what you’ve lost, feels like coming back to life. Whether you’ve lost your direction, your purpose, a love, a friend or just a penny, finding it makes life seem that more precious and makes you appreciate getting lost that much more. Because sometimes we need to completely lose ourselves in order to really find ourselves.

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We are afraid of the wrong things

I’m afraid of spiders and snakes. I’m afraid of Rottweilers and lions. Moths and lizards really give me the jeepers creepers and I simply despise rats and pigeons.

I’m afraid of balloons that go pop and cupboards that slam on your fingers. Cyclists riding on highways gets my tummy all tied up in knots and I’m always overly cautious when placing anything in the oven for fear of searing my skin. I’m afraid of sleeping with the windows open and when I was little I used to dream of a wicked witch climbing through my window with her broom stick and hacking me to death.

I’m afraid of getting hijacked or raped. I’m afraid of being brutally murdered or losing a loved one to a gruesome murder. I’m afraid of people in positions of authority who have the ability to abuse that authority.

I’m afraid of being in an abusive relationship. I’m afraid of my voice being silenced as a result of a dictatorship government or losing my identity amongst the millions of people who walk this earth everyday.

I’m afraid of conforming to a certain way of life because it’s easier for everyone else to deal with or agreeing with ‘the majority’ to avoid awkward confrontation or fear of being shunned. I’m afraid of being mediocre and boring.

I’m afraid of getting old and regretting not doing enough in my lifetime. I’m afraid of never reaching my full potential or being resigned to a life without substance because of a major traumatic incident or a life threatening disease.

I’m afraid that no matter how spectacular my life is or how much I retaliate against the norm, that my individualism will one day amount to nothing more than ordinary. I’m afraid that my children will think that their mother lived a pretty conventional life.

I have so many fears and maybe I am afraid of the wrong things most of the time, but my biggest fear in life would be to not truly LIVE! Fulton Oursler said that: ”many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.” Personally I choose to neither harbour fear or regret and although it is easier said than done the things in life worth having are never easily gained, so here’s to the past and to the exciting unknown future which lies ahead.

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I have a dream

I dream of a world where stereotypes are unheard of. A world where the colour of your skin is irrelevant. A world where people are rewarded according to their achievements and not their status. A world where your income bracket does not define your class.

I dream of a world where companies’ recruitment drives are fuelled by a need for talented individuals and not their BEE quota. A world where black is the colour of tar and not a darker shade of brown. A world where white is the colour of clouds and and not a milky caramel colour. A world where children don’t need to be confused by the colour spectrum because the only race that exists is the human race.

I dream of a world with a government who’s main agenda is to develop and improve the nation. A world where government coffers are half empty because they spend so much investing in their people and their country. A world where politics is not based on racial battles, fraud, ego’s or hidden agendas. A world where people are seen as human beings and the driving force of a nation.

I dream of a world where gunfire, atomic bombs and nuclear warfare belong to a decade long forgotten. A world where children can play freely without having to ever handle a loaded gun. A world where people have the freedom to express themselves without being persecuted. A world where freedom of speech is actually honoured and peaceful protests are the order of the day.

I dream of a world where peace, hope, prosperity, freedom, liberalism and expression are not just empty words without action. I dream of a new South Africa, which is not defined by it’s past, but it’s future. A South Africa where democracy is not just a political classification, but a way of life for all individuals. A South Africa where hands are not held out in fists but in solidarity with our fellow citizen and a common vision which is shared by all who live here.

 I dream of a better tomorrow.

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Fish falling from the sky

Isn’t it weird how people try so hard to control everything nowadays, from the traffic to the weather. Everywhere you go there are preventative measures in place or crisis plans prepared in case the unforeseen should happen. We try so hard to control every aspect of life to accommodate our lifestyles, without really appreciating that certain things are best left untouched and in it’s natural state.

The temperature in your car is controlled by your air conditioning, the texture of your hair is controlled by what hair products you use or for those who are fortunate enough a GHD, your wonky teeth are forced to stand at attention by carefully fitted braces, the lighting in your living room is controlled by a dimmer switch and even the number of  steps you take everyday can be carefully calculated by a pedometer.

With all these measures of control that surround us, it’s a bit of a comfort to know that there are still certain things that are beyond our control, like your umbrella turning inside out in a rain storm, or belching after finishing a can of ice cold coke, or getting sand stuck between your toes after a day at the beach or your ice-cream melting on a hot Summers day or being the last one to hold the cute little baby, just at the moment he/she needs a nappy change (good luck).

Fish falling from the sky might be an unbelievable phenomenon for some but for me it just stands to show that when you least expect it the universe can surprise you with something so spectacular and who’d have thought it could all be done without anyone really being in control?

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The things we leave behind

John thought he had it made. He’d worked real hard and it had finally all paid off. After 25years at the same company his loyalty had finally been rewarded.  He’d been made partner and moved into his big corner office on the 21st floor, with it’s black marble floors, white leather furniture and impressive murals.

When he first landed a job at one of the biggest accounting firms in the country he was ecstatic. John was fresh out of university and filled with optimism for the world which awaited him. He had a full proof plan: work hard; put in the hours (and then some); make partner by age 35; make good investments; buy a nice house and some property and retire to Italy at the age of 45 with his wife and kids.

But now here he was, not quite the scrawny, naive 25year old he used to be, making partner at the age of 50. Not quite the way he planned it, but people are bound to make concessions for what they really want in life, John thought. At least he had managed to secure himself a reputable image in the corporate sector and professionals respected him as much for his work ethic as his insight and that says a lot, he thought.

So retirement would come later, but who would want to retire when you’re this high up anyway and who’d want to give up an amazing top floor view of the city he reassured himself. John had managed to buy his beautiful big house in the leafy suburbs and acquired a very desirable property portfolio to boot. There was no doubt about it, he knew how to use his head.

But, somewhere along his journey he’d lost his heart. Sure there was a wife and kids, in fact there were several, but none of them seemed to stick around for very long, but in all honesty neither did he. The long hours at the office, the business meetings on the weekend, the international conferences and the awards dinners eventually took on a life of their own leaving behind those who cared most about him, those who loved him more than money or success could and those who’d stuck by his side when he had little more than £10 in his bank account.  

John had finally made it to the top and the view was unbelievable, unbelievably lonely. At the age of 50 John sat down in his black leather swivel chair in his corner office on the 21st floor and examined his life. He examined all his accomplishments and his losses.

At his funeral two weeks later, they said he was a smart man, a good man, a man who was fully committed to his work and would be a tragic loss to the industry. They said he left behind a magnificent mansion, a portfolio of properties worth millions of pounds, an estate in Italy, five cars, no wife, no children and no relatives.

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I’m surrounded and bombarded by words,
which define words, 
which classify words, 
which describe words, 
which in the end are undefined.
And though there be a million dictionaries, thesauruses and encyclopedias, 
they fail to define with words, what words are. 
And so I am also, undefined. 
I cannot be classified or identified or even just described by one word, which in itself is indescribable.
And yet, as it is, society has managed to conjure up one word,
based on my birth name which supposedly describes me. 
”Effervescent” it says in the book of names, 
which inevitably are just words. 
One word which makes me sound like a fizzy Barocca capsule in a nutshell.
Then again, who came up with these stupid words anyway?
Since words cannot be defined and words cannot define me, my boundaries are endless and more complex than you would ever dare to dream and I…

What is the colour of the wind?

The wind is invisible. It’s boundaries are infinite and it can never be contained. It knows no fear or hesitation. The wind follows it’s own intuition, coming and going when it pleases and turning our worlds upside down at the most inopportune times.

It pushes and pulls us, prods and pokes us. It is unpredictable and shows up at our doorstep when we least expect. It causes havoc, throws trees from side to side in a jealous rage, blows sand across highways leaving us blinded and then unexpectedly restores the order with a gentle breeze.

The wind embraces it’s invisibility and plays tricks on everyone; pretending to be asleep, but in reality it lurks in the near distance unseen to the human eye. The wind is fickle and aloof, never touching the ground for very long and never settling into one place for very long.

The wind harbours secrets of lovers whispered on a calm breeze. It carries the tears and heartache of those left behind and the hopes of a better tomorrow follows it wherever it may roam. Where it’s headed we will never know, but it is never very far away, always waiting, lurking in the distance.

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