Today I woke up to a comment posted on this blog.  It was from a guy name John, and he thought he needed to lambaste me for my “lameass starbucks life”.  Here’s the comment:

gee whiz you women talked about everyone being miserable and didnt even explain that peoples problems have to be fixed for them to live a happy go lucky lameass starbucks life like yours. all you said is “COME ON PEOPLE SMILE!!!” oh and by the way the lady who wrote that lameass eat pray love book left her soon to be husband to “make her dreams come true” so maybe there are reasons people are miserable ya think??? do you wake up everyday and go to work and get cussed out for 12 hrs a day? do you quit your job over and over again only to end up in another $10 an hr hellhole doing heavy lifting and feeling like your 60 at age 30?? do you ask girl after girl out only to get rejected because you’re not good looking and dont make enough and yet she will date the drugdealer down the street??? Ever think that all that shit people talk about has some VALIDATION TO IT!! AND THAT THEY’RE NOT COMPLAINING ‘FOR NO REASON’. put yourself in their damn shoes and maybe you wont be so bright eyed and bushy tailed as you drink your mocha frappachino. cheers 🙂

sigh

Want to know what’s interesting?  I’m actually sitting here with a smile on my face.  Seriously!  I’m sitting here in my lounge… kids playing and laughing nearby… music drifting in from Nick’s studio…. (with my cup of steaming coffee on the table next to me)… and yes, I have a smile on my face!

(in spite of John’s ranty comment).

A good friend passed away yesterday… and I still have a smile on my face (because every time I think of Wayne – and the colourful-crazy person he was – I can’t help but smile! ).   It’s a different kind of smile.  You know what I’m saying?  It’s not a “funny-ha-ha” smile… because this time is definitely not a funny-ha-ha kind of time.  But it’s a smile that appreciates and remembers and is grateful for the time we had with Wayne… and it’s a smile that sees how a community of caring people have gathered tightly around Wayne’s wife and child – flooding them with love and support.

And it’s a smile that Gaenor hasn’t chosen a formal church ceremony to honour her husband – but (and this is so typical of the person Wayne was)… rather a Bring & Braai… at their home… to “celebrate his life”) – and celebrate his life we all will!  (Wayne would be revolted at the idea of kitsch, gaudy, organ-led funeral… he’d hate that!  And I smile too… picturing his look of horror at the very thought of it!).

Geez Wayne, dude.  We’re going to miss you.

So, in spite of John’s ranty comments on my blog… I will remain “bright eyed and bushy tailed”.  It’s a choice I make – and I make it all the time.

John assumes that I have never walked in his shoes (or the shoes of those going through a tough time).  My life is, apparently, just a happy-go-lucky… lameass… starbucks life!

No, dude…  I CHOOSE my happy-go-lucky, lameass Starbucks life!  (well… not quite Starbucks… since the famous coffee brand hasn’t quite made it to our neck of the woods).

  • I CHOSE to walk away from an abusive, life-sucking marriage.
  • I CHOSE to quit a career that made me miserable (even though it meant I needed to work like a rabid dog… for much less than $10 an hour… so that I could gain experience in the field that I was actually interested in).
  • I CHOSE to stand up to the cussing boss (and he never cussed at me again afterwards).
  • I CHOSE to do what I loved – and to find a way to earn a living from what I loved (instead of settling for years of misery in a 8-5 job).
  • And then I CHOSE to take a really big risk and start my own freelance business.
  • I CHOSE to marry Nick (one of my best decisions, ever).
  • I CHOSE to stop shaming my body.
  • I CHOSE to stop hating / cutting / beating / abusing myself.
  • We CHOSE to downgrade our lives, get rid off debt, ditch the TV, homeschool our kids, live with only one small car, etc… so that we can afford to live life on our terms (and I can drink lots of single-tall-skinny-lattes and cappuccinos with foam! – also MY choice)
  • We – as a family – have made a series of CHOICES that allow us the freedom to travel (whilst earning a steady income).  It has nothing to do with “luck”.  None of this has magically “happened”.  None of this has dropped from the sky.  We CHOSE the life we wanted… and we have walked a road (with many challenges) to make those choices into a reality.

On a daily basis…. I CHOOSE to be happy (and sometimes, I get it wrong.  Sometimes I mope and whinge… but, most of the time, I choose to pick myself up… dust myself off… and embrace the unpredictable beauty of life).

And don’t even get me STARTED on the many awesome… strong… women that I know (I live in Africa, remember?)… who break their backs tending crops… washing clothes by hand… earning a tiny income to feed a large family of children (often orphans that have been generously ‘adopted’)… who cook over fires… carry water from rivers… and whose hearty, belly-aching laughs you can hear from the end of the street…. whose warm hugs engulf your sadness… whose generous hospitality has you re-evaluating your priorities in a way you never imagined possible.

I don’t want to make any assumptions about you, John…  but I assume that you’re not a 60 year old woman living in a poverty-stricken, disease-ridden rural area of Africa… feeding, clothing and schooling 9 children (many of them orphans) on the minuscule income you get from cleaning other people’s homes?

Talk about a tough life, huh?  John?

But my point isn’t actually about whose life is “tougher” than whose.   It really isn’t.

All of us know people who are both better off and worse off than ourselves.

My point is this:  how do you CHOOSE (and it really IS a choice) to deal with your lot in life?  How do you CHOOSE to respond to it?

Will you wallow in your misery?  Pass the buck?  Blame everyone else for your misfortune?  Whinge?  Complain?  Insist on being miserable… indefinitely?

Or will you take a leaf out of the book of my beautiful friend, Adelaide… (a single mother… who has endured the most unimaginable suffering in her life)…  who laughs heartily, loves deeply, gives generously, warmly supports others – and chooses happiness, laughter and general bright-eyed-bushy-tailed’ness over misery and pessimism.

Your choice.

Quick Disclaimer:  Re-reading this post –  I realised that I might come off as sounding as though I’m really angry or offended by John.  But the truth is… I’m not.  I was a bit exasperated this morning (when I read his comment for the first time) – but I’m not raging… or angry… or hurt.  I seem to have grown  a thicker skin after all these months of blogging… and besides, I have made so many wonderful friends (through this blogging process) – and the joy of those connections far surpasses any negativity thrown my way.

John doesn’t have to agree with me – or my way of life.

I’m totally okay with that.  I guess I’m just a bit irked by his ASSUMPTIONS about who I am.  I have this “thing” about not being got… (guess I’m going to have to get over that, huh?).  🙂