I’m Traumatised

A few years ago in my last year of school something happened which has traumatised me ever since. I had a cat. A very beautiful, playful, extremely energetic kitty cat. One midday I was sitting inside playing a video game. I remember hearing a car hooting outside, but I didn’t think much of it. But then my mom received a phone call saying she was run over in front of our house. It seems our cat crossed the road, saw a car, wanted to turn back, and was hit by this second car. I still curse that driver who did this to her. I remember her lying there – dead. Or was she dead? Her eyes had blood coming out of it, and her tongue hang out of her mouth. I really hoped she was dead, rather than paralyzed and slowly dying.

If my previous cat was my best friend, then this dear one, Millie (Russian for “cute”) was my daughter. Because I lost my previous cat, Leo, I appreciated every day with Millie. Honestly, each morning I thanked God for her. But what struck me was her being killed in the day. Not during the night, but in the day: right there for my eyes to behold her dead body lying there. The following day after school my best friend and I buried her. I still remember seeing the blood in the street for a few days afterwards. Luckily the rain washed it away.

Later the same year my mother wanted a new cat. I didn’t, for obvious reasons. But over time I’ve grown extremely attached to this one as well. Her name is Espi (shortened for Esperanza, which means Hope).

But I’m traumatised.

Every. Single. Time. for the last three years now, whenever I hear a car hooting outside, I am afraid Espi is run over. I cannot rest until I see her alive.

Today, just around twilight, a car stood outside for a long time. Damn those damn people always stopping outside our house for no reason! Damn them all! Everytime I see a car outside I look for Espi to see if she’s alright. This time I couldn’t find her. My mother was jogging, so I looked at her phone to see if she has a miss call – perhaps Espi is run over and somebody called her. A missed call from an unsaved number! Where’s Espi? I went out the front, came back inside and searched the house, went out the back, and still I couldn’t find her.

But when I came out the front I saw her little eyes looking at me. So I just picked her up and hugged her fat little tummy while she struggled to get loose.

Mense met Fiemies Ruin Als

Een van die dinge in die lewe wat my irriteer is oppervlakkigheid. Nie in ‘n normale sin nie (dit pla  my ook), maar as dit kom by klein dinge.

Wil jy regtig eerder gaan bad as om ‘n maansverduistering te sien? Wil jy regtig rondfok in die kombuis as om hierdie goeie storie te volg? So what as ons laat eet, enjoy hierdie. So what as jy laat gaan bad, hierdie is beeldskoon.

Ek het netnou ‘n storie gelees van ‘n Amerikaner wat op ‘n first date gegaan het met ‘n meisie. Hulle het Guardians of the Galaxy 2 gefliek. En wat doen sy? Sy tik op haar selfoon die heeltyd. Arme ou, hier wil hy sy gunsteling fliek deel met ‘n meisie… en al wat sy doen is om nie om te gee nie – dit moet hom die meeste pla – en deur hom te pla met die foon se liggie.
Toe gaan hy en dagvaar haar vir dit.

Ek meen come on, die fliek verveel jou dalk, maar terwille van hom maak asof jy dit like. Jou gevoelens vir daai ou is mos sterker as jou haat vir ‘n fliek?

Anyway, dis al wat wou sê. Sacrifice jouself ‘n bietjie vir iemand anders en jy sal sien dat jy daai persoon net meer en meer lief sal hê as wat jy selfsugtig is en hom onderbring met jou irritasie.

Dit tel vir jou eie geluk ook as dit kom by net jouself: jy speel dalk DOTA en jy “moet” aanspeel tot die einde, anders gee hulle jou ‘n penalty. My antwoord is… “so what?”. Ek WIL nie NOU aan speel nie. Gee my die penalty, ek mind nie.

Of soos gisteraand was daar een stupid steam game wat ek wou aflaai. Maar eers vanaf 12 uur die aand het ek night data. Ek kan opbly vir nog ‘n uur en dit dan aflaai, maar ek wil nie. So screw dit. Ek gaan nou slaap, de hel met die game.

Sulke mentaliteit maak jou vry van allerhande valse verpligtings. Jy WIL dit speel. Jy HOEF nie. Die oomblik wat dit jou irriteer, gaan uit! Maak jouself vry van hierdie stupid digitale ding voor jou. Of iemand wie ek ken wat hou van hardloop, wat sal moun oor hoe sy die volgende oggend vroeg moet opstaan. Ek het geen simpatie vir dit nie. Jy HOEF nie op te staan nie. Jy WIL. Los dit as jy wil.

In kort: een ding: prioriteite. Sit die ou van wie jy hou bo jou haat vir Marvel flieks. Sit ‘n maansverduistering bo jou roetine. Skuif ‘n bietjie jou planne uit, maak tyd. En vir jou eie issues: maak duidelik wat nodig is en wat nie nodig is nie. Dit wat nie nodig is nie moenie ‘n hou vas op jou hê nie!

By The Babe Unborn by Chesterton Explained

If trees were tall and grasses short,
As in some crazy tale,
If here and there a sea were blue
Beyond the breaking pale,

If a fixed fire hung in the air
To warm me one day through,
If deep green hair grew on great hills,
I know what I should do.

In dark I lie: dreaming that there
Are great eyes cold or kind,
And twisted streets and silent doors,
And living men behind.

Let storm-clouds come: better an hour,
And leave to weep and fight,
Than all the ages I have ruled
The empires of the night.

I think that if they gave me leave
Within that world to stand,
I would be good through all the day
I spent in fairyland.

They should not hear a word from me
Of selfishness or scorn,
If only I could find the door,
If only I were born.

G. K. Chesterton

This is the most beautiful poem I know. And once you understand Chesterton’s philosophy, it becomes so much more beautiful.

If trees were tall and grasses short,
As in some crazy tale,
If here and there a sea were blue
Beyond the breaking pale,

If a fixed fire hung in the air
To warm me one day through,
If deep green hair grew on great hills,
I know what I should do.

Chesterton had a “fairy philosophy”. It sounds very mystical, but it is actually very logical. He thought – and it makes a lot of sense when you think about it – that a fairy land presents the way things might to be. In this fairy world the ocean may be red, the skies pink, trees short and grass as long as mountains. You might have flying whales and wingless eagles. In a similar vein, in our modern world, science fiction would also be a good analogy. In a good sci-fi film you might find a planet with three blue suns! And two moons! The people of this alien planet might be living in purely crystal palaces, and only live off acid rather than water. I remember reading a series of books called the Sage of Seven Suns. In it the author had aliens living within gas giants, and other aliens within stars! How peculiar it must have been for them to find aliens living on the surface of a rock.

A reflection on fairy land (or Dune if you wish) makes one realise that in a very real sense, we are living in a fairy land. Our oceans are blue! Isn’t that amazing? It could just as easily have been orange. Trees are tall! Wow! I thought they are always short! In my world there are a lot of flying pigs, but in your world you have a rhinoceros. Ask yourself, doesn’t a rhino look rather… out of this world? It really looks like it shouldn’t exist, should it? We live off bread and not wood, our money consists of gold rather than spice.

When I first encountered this idea of Chesterton, that we are living in a fairy land, I considered it to be merely some romantic idea of a long dead journalist. But the more I think about it, the more I realise how true this is. This truly is a fairy land. I mean this in a very real sense.

Yes this fairy land is broken, just as Sleeping Beauty was poisoned, the giant killed, the pigs eaten and Goldilocks homeless. Most fairy tales have a condition: “He shall be a beast until he finds true love”, “You, a disrespected daughter serving your coldhearted stepmother, may dance the night away with a prince… as long as you are home by twelve”. It is this somewhat odd or peculiar condition which makes fairy land brittle. Something so beautiful but so breakable. For Rapunzel (in the Disney movie), her hair can heal as long as it is not cut. In our world we can live forever as long as we don’t taste the apple.

Return to the poem again and you see the child dreaming of earth as a very real fairyland. A place of wonder. A baby’s eyes are always full of wonder! Everything is to him a new creation. Just as we would be stunned at seeing another moon tomorrow night, this baby is stunned that there exists a moon!

In dark I lie: dreaming that there
Are great eyes cold or kind,
And twisted streets and silent doors,
And living men behind.

Let storm-clouds come: better an hour,
And leave to weep and fight,
Than all the ages I have ruled
The empires of the night.

This baby is not some naive optimist. He is aware of fairy land being ruled by the evil stepmother. He is a realist. He knows of the evil in the world among all the beauty. He is aware of goblins and orcs, and Sauron, living next door to Elfland and the Shire.

Yet still he will take this broken creation over the darkness within which he lives, within the darkness of his non-existence. He would much rather suffer though some periods of pain, than not having had known fairyland at all.

I think that if they gave me leave
Within that world to stand,
I would be good through all the day
I spent in fairyland.

They should not hear a word from me
Of selfishness or scorn,
If only I could find the door,
If only I were born.

If only they will allow him to enter fairyland he would be good through every moment of it. If only they will allow him to see it. He would never be mean, or ungrateful. If only he is born.

The message is one of beautiful, clear minded hope being expressed by the most innocent of all beings: a child, among a world of blind, cold and ungrateful people.

P. S. This short piece by Chesterton on “worshiping” babies is both insightful in further appreciating the poem, and beautiful in its own right.

I Turned My Back on You All

You know, last year was great. Last year I knew that year was great. This year is good, but not so much, you know?

But anyway. For a few months at the beginning of this year I stayed by myself at this residence a decent walk away from campus. I shared the kitchen with someone else, but all in all we kept to ourselves. I had a car, but I had to park it far away. This is crucial because it means I am stuck at night.

Do you know how many times I would go to stay there with the idea of “Maybe you and I will do this Monday, maybe this other friend and I will go watch a movie on Tuesday”. And it almost never happens, does it? Even when we plan it, it never happens.

Where the hell is the spontaneous inclusion of me in your life? And I’m talking about more than one person here. It’s not a case, it seems, for you, when you plan on going to some museum or rugby match to think “Hey, how about I invite him (me)? “He is after all a friend.” No. Screw me. I would sit and see facebook posts of this one game you went to watch, hear about how you all went to this club, about this exhibition you went to, etc. To hell with me.

You know what I miss, so, so much about school? All the guys were actually friends. With this I mean it was a case of “Obviously we invite everyone”. Of “when you and I happen to walk attend the same classes, then obviously we wait for each other”. Of “Whenever one of us in the group leaves to go home, then obviously we say goodbye”. Not this bullshit of leaving people out (not even taking a second to think about them), and of just running away as if friendship is some myth.

But it seems university life, and the particular type of people who happen to be students are incredibly individualistic. And forgetful. They rarely if ever take other people into account. They lack that true inclusive spontaneity.

Well screw you.

I’m staying here with my true friends.

Ek het weer van jou gedroom

Jy weet, gewoonlik as ek van jou droom skryf ek daaroor in Spaans. Hoekom? Seker maar omdat dit ‘n meer passievolle taal is. Ek weet nie.

Maar anyway, in elke droom lyk jy anders. Soms is jy ‘n brunette, soms is jy blond, soms lang hare, soms kort. Die keer was jy weer ‘n brunette met bruin oë. Jyt baie gelyk soos iemand wat ek ken. Miskien het ek gedroom van haar en nie van jou nie. Dit kan wees. Ek dink amper iemand het ons gejaag. Ek kan nie meer onthou nie. Maar op ‘n stadium het ek jou gesoen. Dis die eerste keer wat ek jou in my droom soen.

Maar dit was so ongelooflik diep. Ek het myself heeltemal vir ‘n oomblik verloor. Asof ek vir een oomblik in my lewe nie bestaan het nie. Maak dit sin? Ek glo nie. Dit maak nie eers sin vir my nie.

Maar anyway, dis net ‘n droom.

 

Mi Dios, El Terapeuta – Pensamientos #6

(Escribo esto para practicar español. Por favor dígame donde me equivoco, especialmente con los tiempos).

He escrito el mismo cuento (más o menos) en inglés y alemán, pero quiero escribirlo en español.

Hoy es un día como todos los demás: no hago nada, solo pierdo tiempo mirando Supernatural (es sobre los hermanos que cazan fantasmas y demonios, pero generalmente es muy gracioso), jugando Endless Legend (un videojuego), o leyendo libros de CS Lewis y GK Chesterton (los dos eran sumamente inteligentes).

¿Por qué hago nada?

Porque no quiero pensar en mis problemas, en mis elecciones. En momentos como estos escribo algo en este blog.

Pero a veces hago algo diferente: salgo afuera (con un café) y hablo con Dios. Lo digo todo lo que me preocupa. No espero que me contesta, solo tomo un momento para darle mi mente (y todo que esta dentro de él).

Es lo que me gusta de él: siempre allí para mi. Siempre mi terapeuta.

The Paradox of Christianity

A century ago G. K. Chesterton, at the time I believe still an agnostic, noted an odd dimension of Christianity. He would read one book about how evil Christianity is because it was so fierce during the crusades… and he would agree. The next moment he would read a book on how evil Christianity is because of its overly pious monks. A very strange monster this Christianity must be for both of these facts to be truths.

But let me draw you deeper.

Throughout the Psalms, and through a lot of modern Christian music I notice a similar aspect: that of pain and joy, coinciding together in some transcending level of happiness.

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? … But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.

Psalm 13:2, 5-6

“Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favour again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

Psalm 77:7-12

Why this? Does that make any sense at all? A few years ago I did not understand this. I considered psalms like these to be structurally nonsensical. If you want to talk about pain, talk about pain. If happiness, talk about happiness. Why throw in the happiness after a section on pain? That doesn’t make sense. It’s an insult to both the pain and the happiness.

At least that’s how I thought. And I’m pretty sure most of the world would think the same thing.

There’s a wreckage, there’s a fire

There’s a weakness in my love

There’s a hunger I can’t control

Lord, I falter and I fall down

Then I hold on to the chains You broke

When You came and saved my soul

Save my soul

Then this:

Hallelujah

We are free to struggle

We’re not struggling to be free

Your blood bought and makes us children

Children, drop your chains and sing

The Struggle – Tenth Avenue North

If I were an atheist I would simply look at this and think “What absolute madness! God is giving you that pain, yet for some reason you take joy in it like a masochist?”

Going deeper…

But all I hear is what they’re selling me

That God is love, He isn’t suffering

And what you need’s a little faith in prosperity

But oh, my God, I know there’s more than this

If you promise pain, it can’t be meaningless

So make me poor if that’s the price for freedom

Then once again:

Don’t stop the madness

Don’t stop the chaos

Don’t stop the pain surrounding me

Don’t be afraid, Lord, to break my heart

And bring me down to my knees

Don’t Stop the Madness – Tenth Avenue North

What insanity is this?! He promises pain? You don’t want this to stop? If this is God, I don’t want anything to do with Him.

And yet… and yet… this makes so much sense, doesn’t it? It makes no sense at all, I’ll give you that. But still… At an intensely deeper level my soul cries out, saying: “Yes! This makes sense! Absolute sense!”

 

 


Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles … “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Matthew 10:17-22

P. S. If you truly want a logical explanation for pain and suffering, let me know. I can give you one.

 

Your Beautiful Tears

It’s your birthday today. Or was it yesterday? Is it a coincidence that I dreamed about you on your birthday?

The dream was odd and yet beautiful. All I recall was you coming down the stairs as you cried your heart out. As you did so my heart burned for you. I don’t recall caring for any person at any moment as much as I did then. Then I held you closely in my arms. Holding you was the most amazing feeling I’ve had in my life. It was then that I wondered why I haven’t married you.

Warmth in the Cold by yuumei

The Anti-Intellectual Intellectual

Screw all of the decorum and formality. People think if they are courteous, well versed in words, have relatively high grades and think differently that they are by default “smart”, “intelligent” or “intellectual”.

Did you know that 6 out of 10 people consider themselves above average in intelligence? Think about that for a moment. I’ll wait… The average ought to be “5 out of 10”. Yet 6 out of 10 think they are intelligent. That figures, doesn’t it?

I despise smart people. I really do. Not the really smart people, of course. No. For those I have the utmost respect. I’m talking of those who think they are intelligent. Perhaps they are, but merely being aware of it does not make you an intellectual.

For the sake of the argument let me arbitrarily make up my own definitions for “smart”, “intelligent” and “intellectual”, and proceed by condemning them all.

“Smart” is the ability to solve things. “Intelligent” is the ability to think outside the box. I guess both of them are the same. “Intellectual” is not the same as those two. Yes, intellectuals often are smart or intelligent. But here’s the thing: they don’t really have to be. To be intellectual is to understand. To understand how things fit together. To understand people.

I hate all of that. In fact, if I had read the above paragraph on someone else’s blog, my first thought would have been “Look at this pathetic ‘intellectual’ wannabe blogger who thinks that by breaking down intelligent people he is somehow putting himself on a higher plane”. In all honesty, perhaps I am doing that. I am doing that. But I despise myself for it at least.

Smart people are so ridden with ego and condescension. Their pride blinds them to fundamental truths; and in so doing they become foolish. We’ve all met someone who is so “intelligent” that he dismisses out of hands sacred truths merely for being sacred. People so blinded by their intelligence that they become narrow-minded (foolish). They have absorbed some “higher understanding” which, in fact, is just intellectual bullshit in disguise.

Come on, do you seriously think that a bunch of “intelligent” people together are talking about fundamental truths about the world? After all, they are all “intelligent” people sitting together. All of them talking about abstract political nonsense while forgetting to ponder the basic questions of life.

Besides all the talk of being “intelligent” is all the people who think they are so “deep” and “empathetic” and “religious”. Not a day goes by that I don’t see some Facebook “test” testing your “empath levels”, or whether or not you are an “old soul” or your personality type. People like to think they are empathetic and deep. But guess what, more likely than not you are not one of those things! Just wanting to be deep does not make you deep! Thinking you are a deep person, or empathetic (as opposed to sympathetic) does not make you deep or empathetic! Take a look on YouTube and look how many videos are for “smart people”, or google things about intelligence and you’ll find yourself thinking “Wow I must be intelligent”. You can delude yourself, but you can’t fool me… fool. 

This song by TobyMac is not talking about the secret society of the Illuminati. He is singing about people who think they have gained some higher “understanding” (people who have been “illuminated”), and therefore think themselves on some higher plane of existence. In short, the post and the song are about pharisees.

 

 

Another Day in South Africa

 Very short stories on true everyday events in this damn country

Somewhere in 90s

My Grandmother’s brother tied up in his home after losing a fight against three robbers.

2010

Someone breaking into my uncle’s home, clubbing his labrador to death.

2012

My friend and I (both 16 at the time) mugged along the road, held at knife-point while they took our phones.

2016

Someone smashing my friend’s car window, hitting him in the head, taking his stuff.

At our residence people’s cars were broken into three times.

February 2017

People broke into my friend’s home at night, taking everything.

Someone stole my pensioner grandfather’s car battery out of the car. Arguably the thief waited for us to go buy a battery so he could take the car. I waited while my grandfather bought a battery. The store owner where he bought it ripped him off, suspiciously.

Me and my best friend held at knife point to hand over money.

April 2017

Someone breaking into my car, leaving a hole in my car door and a gap where the radio used to be. Oh and the spare wheel and GPS are gone.

June 2017

Two people broke into my uncle’s friend’s house, tying up his family and taking everything. The whole night long his 18 year old daughter was asking them, repeatedly, when they will shoot her.

The black man who sits next to my mother in their work’s bus, accused my mother of racism. She won the hearing, but the written synopsis twist everything against her, saying things like “She says scientifically black men are smelly”, even though that’s a blatant lie (the conversation was recorded). She refuses to sign this document and might end up in court for refusing to do so.

 

Other events

I’ve heard about a number of farm murders the last few weeks. Usually the family members are tortured to death. This is an epidemic.