IF This Was My Last Blog Post..


We never forget defining moments. Where we were. And what we were doing. The Oklahoma City bombing. Sept 11th 2001. The capture of Hussein. And Bin Laden. The minute Obama became president. The death of Michael Jackson. And now Whitney Houston. When a famous personality departs this life, shock, and sadness are expected. The entire world mourns. Understandably so. However, the devil’s advocate in me must ask, are we sad and mournful when countless children die every day from lack of food, and clean water? No. Do their stories make headline news? No. Is there a world while outpouring of grief? No.

Let me hasten to add, I loved Whitney Houston. Loved her music. The woman was a superstar. She blessed us all with a voice that beckons the soul. And stirred hearts. I danced to her songs. Following the loss of my first love, I cried waterfalls every time I heard “I Will Always Love You”. When The Bodyguard was released, I sat like a sardine, in a cinema with temps rivaling the Sahara desert. Because it was the movie everyone had to see. The point is, let us spare a thought for the children dying every day. Can we? Let us remember them in our prayers. In acts of service. Mourn for the loss of young lives. Hopes. And dreams. That will never be. They were snuffed out by starvation. Hunger. Malnutrition. Yes. I know we cannot save them all. But we can save some. Anyway, my soap box has now been placed under my bed. For now.

When the world loses a well-loved figure, naturally, it engenders feelings of your own mortality. I mulled over what I would write about if this was my last blog post. What I would want people to remember? Here are a few the things I would want my readers to be aware of.

(1) I would want you to become aware of the work of Zainab Salbi. One of my heroes. And founder of WFWI . I have pledge my full support behind this organization. WFWI helps women in war torn countries. They have been used as weapons of war. They were raped. Tortured. Abused. Suffered loss of limbs. They have survived genocide. Civil wars. Loss of spouse. And many other atrocities.  Along these lines, I would encourage my readers to choose a passion. A cause. And fight for it. Leave it better than you found it. Make your contribution. In your own way. Don’t stand by. And do nothing. So many people can use your help. The great Muhammad Ali once said: “You lose nothing when fighting for a cause … In my mind the losers are those who don’t have a cause they care about.”

(2) I did what I could with the time and resources given to me. Yes, there were many false starts. Roadblocks. Harsh learning experiences. However, using the knowledge. Experiences. And skills I had, I did what I could to stay standing. I made the majority of my decisions on my own. I took forever + 1 day to figure out everything happens for a reason. People will disappoint you. Cause you grief. Hurt you over and over (if you let them). Break your heart. Let you down. Stab you in the back. But I kept going. TBH, I had no other choice in most cases. Many watched.  Some judged. Others accepted. The rest turned away. I am who I am today, because of where I came from. What I endured. And the choices I made.  One of my favorite songs is “I did it my way” by the man. The legend. Frank Sinatra. Who remembers this quote by Judy Garland? “Always is a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

(3) Despite tremendously painful experiences in my love life. I chose not to give up on it. And the beautiful experience it could be. I still hope (d) to find someone who shares my passions. Drives. Hopes. Dreams. Love of laughter. The husband whose eyes I meet across a very crowded room, and the contact makes me breathless. My palms get sweaty. Heart rate increases. A man who still gives me butterflies 50 years later. He lets me make mistakes. Because he loves me enough to let me find my way. He is in it for the long haul. He makes all my ex’s look like backyard experiments. Because the search is over. It will not take an act of congress for me to love again. I was/am ready. You catch my drift. I love this quote: “When you ex says: you will never find anyone like me, reply with: that’s the point” Anonymous.

(4) Do not lose sight of your dreams. EVER. I recently published my first anthology of poems Have a Read On Me, two decades after being stung by the writing bug. As a teenager, I sat in a fifth form English class, and listened with pride as the teacher read my short story (along with a few others) to the entire class. This is how monsters are created! Is there is something you want? Go for it. No. Scrap that. Chase it. Pursue it. Relentlessly. Leave the naysayers in the dust. And proverbial wet blankets? Let the door hit them on their way out of your life. Do it. Do what makes you happy. Live your dreams. I love, love, yes love this quote: “Listen– are you breathing just a little, and calling it life?” -Mary Oliver

(5) It’s okay to apologize even though you did no wrong. Yes, you read right! “Apologizing doesn’t always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego”. Before I learnt this valuable lesson, I was there. Holding  the apology until I absolutely had to give it. That was until I saw what it was doing to my spirit. Hear me out. I am not saying to walk around apologizing to everyone. For everything. You will know when it’s needed.  It might be to settle an argument. Soothe hurt feelings. Or just be the bigger person. Try it soon. Sincerely apologize for something you did not do. Use it as a way of opening a dialogue. You will be surprised. I think it was Harriet Beecher Stowe (1865) who said “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and for deeds left undone”

(6) You have the right to forgive yourself anytime you want. Seriously.We are too hard on ourselves. Somehow, we’ve become experts at self-fulfilling prophecies. And social aggrandization. Comparing ourselves to others. Dissecting our failures. Playing host to doubts. Being our own worst enemy. Holding onto things we have done wrong. On and on. And on. Let it go. Forgive yourself. Tomorrow is another day. To start fresh. To move on from this latest failure. The very public fall from grace. It’s the day to look in the mirror. Smile. And say to yourself: “Don’t worry, I got this”. Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.Anonymous

(7) If money was not an option: I would work only 6 months out of the year. Volunteer for three. And spend the other three travelling. Life is a rat race. I believe it should also be well-balanced. We work very hard. With very little time to enjoy the benefits. I would volunteer in Africa for a month. Spend another at a shelter for abused women, and the last at a local humane society. As for travelling, I would spend a month in my favorite place. Another in the places I have only seen in my dreams. The last would be determined by closing my eyes and blindly picking a spot on the world map. Dr Kathleen Hall said: “We have overstretched our personal boundaries and forgotten that true happiness comes from living an authentic life fueled with a sense of purpose and balance.”

In closing, the list above is far from exhaustive. However, these are the things I felt impressed to share. Live. Love. Laugh. Forgive. And while you are at it remember this saying: “Life is the ticket to the greatest show on earth!”

So, if you were writing a final epistle, what are some of the things you would include?

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

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Take This…You Will Need It (ladies)


The one year anniversary of my return to the blogging world is fast approaching. I started this blog mainly to stay in touch with my nearest and dearest. Doing so led to a journey of self-expression, and discovery.

Valentine’s Day is upon us. Yet again. As it always does. No. This post is not about any of the sappiness generally associated it. Yes. It’s expected. Some type of declaration. Perspective on love. And the single life. A yearning for companionship. An update on your love life. I believe that if anyone. Be it a man. Or woman. Waits until Valentine’s Day to express extra love and appreciation, they are failing miserably.

This post is of a different nature. About a week ago, I received shocking news .My cousin’s long-term boyfriend (14+yrs) viciously attacked her, and another friend. The attack (a total of 18 stab wounds) was witnessed by their two children. Sadly, the last memory these kids will have of their father for a long time, is one in which he tried to kill their mother. And in the process rob them of a father too. However, it was not her time to go. If you believe in a God. Deity. Sculpture. Stature. Whatever. The powers that be have other plans for her life.

I was shell-shocked for days. The previous Christmas, I went home after being away for more than a decade. I spent time in their company. Lovely family I thought. The young man in question and I attended the same primary school. My cousin is a strong, beautiful woman. She did not deserve the emotional scars inflicted on her. Or the kids. She will get through this.

As I mulled over the incident, it was a struggle not to hate this man. I went through a series of emotions. Anger was the most recognizable. Finally, my thoughts rested on what attracts us to each other, and in particular how a relationship gets started. Generally, it all starts with a pick up line. An attraction. Yes.

Ever wonder how some guys always manage to say the right things? Listen up. A few months ago, I came across a television program, called the PUA~ The Pickup Artist. A show which taught men the techniques, body language, and words to use to score a date. Get a first kiss. Keep  women interested. Keep her wanting. To seduce her. Pretty much how to have women eating out of their hands.

I remembered SMH, and thinking how freakishly sad. I stared in disbelief as these men worked their “majic” on the unsuspecting women. I soon forgot about it however. Life went on. A few weeks ago, memories of the PUA flooded my subconscious. During a convo with someone, I learned there were places, websites, books, etc, where men can go and hone their skills.

My mind went into overdrive. So, I decided to investigate the matter. There is a book called Double-Your-Dating. With a corresponding website Double Your Dating. Users are invited to sign up for newsletter updates. I shook my head in awe. There is one company here in the UK, the  PUA which runs booth camps, complete with self-proclaimed instructors, who for a fee, will get guys into “shape” to attract women. Be sure to read the reviews! There are a lot more out there, such as This, which might be an US based sight.

I cannot keep this knowledge to myself. I have more than a few girlfriends who have been hurt so many times, I gave up counting. My own education on the matter continues. I leave it up to you, to decide how to use this knowledge. Hopefully, the women reading this will pass it onto the women in their life. Ladies, wouldn’t it be good to recognize a pick up line that is rarely used? When you are being taken for a ride? Some tactics are easily recognizable. Many are downright stupid. Others simply leave you speechless. Click on this link Top 10 Pick Up Lines  and get ready to ROFL.

However, some guys are so smooth. Their tongues are even slicker. They are clever. Charming. They are Master PUA’s. It’s harder to spot them. They are at the top of their game. It takes a while to figure them out. But eventually you do. And hopefully, it‘s not too late. You have not become another statistic.  I think it would be funny if a guy uses a one liner on a woman, and she turns to him and say ‘Double Your Dating, page 4 right?” or “The PUA episode 3”. Unfortunately, it’s happened to all of us. At one point or another. If we are indeed honest with ourselves, when we look back on certain relationships, we will wonder, what in the world?

I am well aware that not every man subscribes to this type of mentality. There are men with good souls. Warmth. Caring. Gentleness. Men who are genuine in their words and actions. I salute you. However, on the other side of the coin. Some are not. They are predators. They are unavailable. They were unavailable before you met them. During the dating process. And will be, long after you decide it’s time to move on. Read this article and see if you have ever dated a chap who fits this description of Unavailable Men. I know I have!

So, how do you separate the wheat from the tares? The wolves in sheep clothing? Practice. Learn your lessons. Pay rapt attention. A lot starts with the first meeting. How you two become so besotted with one another. Statistically, women start labeling relationships long before men. Carefully observe him. Listen to what he says and does to get your attention. See if the same words and actions continue. Or stops after a heartbeat. The majority of my followers are female. A word to the men; if you are reading this, and it does not apply to you, you will not be offended.

If you are a decent, hard-working fellow, who has never had to use any form of manipulation, to attract and keep the affections of a woman, you will not be offended. If you believe that a man should use his natural ability, be himself, and be confident in the fact that one day, he will find his companion, you will not be offended. If you are gentleman who has treated women honestly and fairly. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, then again, it bears repeating, you will not be offended. I won’t keep going. You catch my drift.  However, if this is not you. Get with it. I make no apologies for reminding you of your cowardice in using tactics to get and keep. Remember this quote: “The Karma of mistreating a good woman is the one you finally end up with”. I had to change the curse words!

Life is a risk. Loving someone is a risk. Expressing interest in someone, knowing it might not be returned. Is a risk. We cannot help who we are attracted to. This is a scientific fact. However, you can control how the relationship progresses. Sure, many of us have been forced to learn the same lessons over and over again. Until we get it. Until the brain and heart finally become synced. With love and relationships, they are generally not speaking the same language. Let alone living in the same body! I wish I had come across this information in my teens, twenties, and even in the recent past. I realize now that there are lessons I had to learn. Through some very painful, and emotionally draining experiences.

I hope this post enlightens my fellow sisters. And let the PUA know that at least the women reading has a better idea of what to look for. I hope women peruse the sites mentioned above.  Search for others. You will learn something new.  You will cringe, as I did, when you remember times when you fell for a particular line or tactic. Hook. Line. And sinker. Like a kid in a candy store.

At the risk of being repetitive; fantastic men still walk the planet. However, it’s the not so good which must be sifted. Like wheat. The ones who actually pay to be taught how to attract and seduce women. The ones who watch videos, and read books on how to manipulate you. And a situation for their benefit. So. Next time a guy walks up to us, uses body language, and lines which sound as though they were marinated with honey for weeks, you will recognize it. You will not fall for it, all over again.

You will be more cautious. And decipher whether he can be given the benefit of a doubt. You will be smarter than the average cookie. The lights will be on, and this time, someone will be home. YOU. You might actually be saving yourself from a lifetime of hurt. Pain. Disillusionment. Anger. Emotional scars that takes decades to heal. And the ones that never do. You will learn how to recognize your future ex-husband.

In the season of love, you might be lonely. Anxious. Even mildly depressed on the Valentine’s Day. Newspaper, store, and TV ads will cause you to wonder when you will get your turn. You will be reminded of a time when there was someone. This Valentine’s Day your arms are empty. There will be no flowers. No romantic dates. No passionate kisses.

I hope you spare a moment to reflect on this thought: think about the men you were saved from. You’ve had some really close calls. Afterwards, celebrate you .The wonderful. Loving. Intelligent. Caring. Gorgeous. Smart woman you are. The one your mother raised you to be. You will kiss a lot of frogs, before you find your prince. However, he will be worth it. He will look only upon your heart. He will complement your life together. All other men will be put to shame. He will love the person you are. Without reservations. And conditions. You will be happy. You have to believe that.

One final note; women play games too. I welcome a response(s) from any chap with his take on the games women play.

Here is a pick up line and a subsequent response; Guy:”What’s your sign?” Gal: “Do not enter…:)

In ending, choose well. And wisely.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan