THE WOODLAND CREATURES AND I

 

Lately, I’ve had all the time in my life. So much free time in my hands. Not by choice though. I have sat and watched the woodland creatures. I am not kidding you. I sat on a seat, well, not so much of a seat, a tree stump and looked at two bush squirrel run after each other on a tree. At first, I thought they were plotting on how to make a meal out of the rabbit.

Oh yea, there is the rabbit, which I call Bunny. It’s so cute, with its big beautiful eyes and its wonderfully soft grey fur. I have watched it eating a carrot. It goes nibble-nibble-nibble on it for what seems like forever. It reminds me of my little sister. She used to eat like that in her younger years. She probably eats like that still. I am pretty sure her spirit animal is a rabbit or a bush squirrel.

I have had a lot of time in my hands. Have you seen the picture of two doves looking at each other, usually a sign of peace? I have witnessed that. Well, not doves, pigeons. They are of the same family only one is ‘the fairer one’.  Ironically, they seemed to be fighting. Or dancing. This is not an excerpt of National Geographic so don’t expect facts.

I have been woken by the flaps of the pigeon’s wings. It is such a fun thing to watch. I think they are sisters playing an interesting flap-me-I-flap-you game. Or maybe it’s a lady and a dude courting. Whatever it is, it is a fun relationship.

Talking about relationships, I think our dog and the hen are in a relationship. Every evening they sit together at the verandah harmoniously like an old couple. If only the dog knew that that is a meal-in-waiting. It is the hen, Chicky that comes to the dog. Chicky, like our today’s woman is very forward.

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Sometimes Ed the dog will move to the grassy field and Chicky follows. This is a lesson to the timid lady. Make the first move. Text him first. Propose. Also, that could be a bad advice.

Some evenings are so still and all you can hear is the chirp of a bird. It tweets a lonely tune for a moment, falls silent, then starts allover again. It goes on and on.

I have watched then sunset. It is glows red hot. I am yet to see the sunrise. I am not an early riser plus the fence blocks the view. There are some nights when it is so dark and the sky seem to be painted with shiny stars. Some nights I have switched off the lights but the room remained dimly lit. I couldn’t help but take a peak through the curtains to see the moon in its night glory.

If you have free time by choice or by nature’s act, make it count. Travel to the village and get a touch of its magic. If you are going through a rough time, look for the silver lining in the cloud. Mine, I found, was the woodland creatures.

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SEE, HEAR, SPEAK NO EVIL

If you would be well spoken of, learn to speak well of others. And when you have learned to speak well of them, endeavor likewise to do well to them; and reap the fruit of being well spoken of by them.

-Epictetus

see-hear-talk-no-evil

Doesn’t it feel good when you say something nice about someone when they are not around? Now, doesn’t it feel even grander when somebody comes and tells you how well you were spoken of by a group of people? I call it positive gossip.

So, the one-million-dollar question is; why are human beings more inclined to say bad stuff about each other? Is it that we don’t like feeling good? Is that nice fluttery feeling inside after a good action too distasteful for us?

Hardly anything good ever comes out of slander. Let us look at various possible outcomes after gossip occurs.

Outcome 1. The other party could go and tell the gossiped. This fear of the unknown causes mistrust, fear; that knot in your stomach when your gossip counterpart seems to befriend the victim.

Outcome 2. The secret comes out. The word secret is being used very loosely. The expected reaction will probably be a big fight or the quiet seething hatred for each other.

Outcome 3. The horrible feeling inside knowing you spoke ill of someone.

Outcome 4. When they look at you and you wonder if they can see deep into your evil actions.

Outcome 5. They do a kind act to you and all you can feel is shame eating you up.

In conclusion, nothing good comes of gossip. The thrill of that particular moment when sharing it is pretty exhilarating. One might even say that it is so tasty, how we love to swallow it. You know that something feels good if you compare it to food.

It is interesting to know that human beings get a little happy when bad things happen to people they know, even their friends and family. They also tend to feel bad when good things happen. Stop looking at these words skeptically, you self-righteous person, this is science (social science) that I am imparting in you*. You might deny it but it is the hard truth. Otherwise, what is that feeling that you got when you saw your peer driving a Range Rover? Tell me what is that, for that one quick minute that you felt when you heard that your friend got promoted to a management position while you have been at the same position for the last three years with as little as a three percent raise? Can you deny that tug when your BFF shared the news that she just got hitched?

Face it humans, we lean heavily towards these feelings. That is why we slander. It takes effort to say nice things (not to their faces, mark you) especially to people we do not like. Having said all this, let us work harder to go against the grain. Give what you would like in return. Speak well of others. If you cannot, like the monkey emoji; see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.

 

*For more information on social science and human behaviour look for ‘barking up the wrong tree’ by Eric Barker.

 

AREN’T MOTHERS THE GREATEST?

Mother and daughter

She was in a tough spot. She didn’t know who talk to. Have you been surrounded with so many people but felt so alone? That is how she felt as she walked under the August heat.

Today felt like the worst of all her other bad days. What if she couldn’t find anyone to talk to? It is crazy that one could have so many friends but cannot share with them a struggle. Maybe, she didn’t want to burden them with her problems. It won’t be fair; she comforted herself with this thought. It felt more unselfish. The truth is that we never want to show people this other side of our life. It can be hard, especially for her. She was the happy-go-lucky kind.

She felt that she would burst with emotions. She wanted to scream. I am going to scream. Did she just talk to herself? Looking around, she wondered, “Am I going crazy? Is this how it starts?”

Then the phone rings. Her mother. Picking it up, she says, “Hello,” in a tiny squeaky voice.

Hello my dear.

Ma, I just… I don’t know…

What is wrong?

I feel like I can’t do it anymore. It’s too much.

There is not a stronger feeling like talking on the phone wanting to say everything but unable to say a thing. So her mother will talk endlessly. She will say encouraging things and quote the Scriptures. Mother and daughter. The daughter half listens as she nods roughly and tears well up her eyes. It’s not so much what her mother is saying but she can now let it go. Her frustrations, her composure.

Somehow they will deviate to the local gossip. They will even chuckle and share a little laughter. Alas, she always had someone to talk to.

How Putting On A Wig Feels Like

This week I have been trying hard to be nice. I have majorly failed. Who knew saying, ‘You can talk to the hand because the face is not interested’ was still offensive and rude. I was trying to be funny but clearly was misunderstood.

This is why I have to be Miss Nice Lady this week. I decided to put on a wig. I have had this huge fear that someone will come and yank it off my poor head. I would run away, screaming like a mad woman. With the look that I have under the beautiful side-swept pixie hair-do, I would fit the picture.

I had confided to a colleague about getting a wig so when she saw me on Monday, she asked loudly, “Oh, so you got the wig?” Who does that? Also, people ask too many questions. Where did you buy it? Who fixed it? I have most of the time had to end the conversation with ‘It’s a wig’.

I actually prefer wearing a wig instead of a weave or fixing braids. I am not a big fan of salons. I really dread the pulling and unending hours at the salon. Also, I feel like I have more control when it’s a wig. I can remove it anytime (well, not between the day) I feel in need to go back to my natural hair.

If you would like to give your hair a rest or maybe you are out of inspiration on what to do with your hair, maybe you should try a wig.

Here is a look at how mine turned out:

Pixie

All the best as you try.

WHO ARE YOU?

Who are you?

When everything is stripped away,

When you lose what was gold,

Who are you?

 

Beauty comes, beauty fades away

Like a beautiful rose

Today it stands in its glory,

Tomorrow it hangs in shame

 

Money can’t buy happiness,

Investment going wrong,

Bad business decisions and bankruptcy,

We soon buy despair

 

Most precious things,

Are those we can’t see

Love, truth, hope, courage

For when all things are gone,

These remain.

 

THE WEAVE WONDER

andreas

I have never understood the relationship between men and weaves. Nearly all men want the ladies to keep it natural. The amusing thing is that these men won’t recognize a head with a weave if it hit them. In time, the hairdressers have learnt how to fix them without the bumps. Of course there are the extremes. These weaves should only be reserved for hair shows. A weave can be so big enough it forms another head on top of the real head.

I think these types of hairs are what convinced one radio host that we ladies can’t be trusted. He said that he couldn’t marry a lady until he knew the shape of her head. His claim was that some females (they call us that these days) wear weaves back to back and you can date one for a whole year without ever seeing her natural hair.

I have fixed a weave. I have fixed a bulky curly mess of a weave. I will still blame Tyra for this hair inspiration. I watched lots of The Tyra Banks Show in my younger years. I had gotten a two-week job during a college break as a front office lady. I wanted to impress.

I love shopping for hair stuff. Some girls find it therapeutic to shop for clothes and shoes. I find it stressful, especially shopping for shoes. I grew into my big feet but the world has yet to make my size. Nothing fits. So I love hair shopping. It took me one hour or more to pick my best weave choice. I had a fantastic time.

I had been advised by a friend on the beauty salon to go. This was my first time fixing a weave. Being so ignorant about this kind of thing I chose to consult those experienced in the field. And experienced she was. Beryl, that’s her name, was one of those ladies you would never see without a hair extension. She is very beautiful; tall, dark and slim. She also had a wicked sense of humour. Apart from my sisters, she is the only lady who got my jokes (read sarcasm).

I find it very intimidating going to a salon, especially a new one. You would think you have the power since you are the one with the money. Oh no, it doesn’t work like that in the salons. These ladies, they have the power. You come with some airs; you may leave the salon with what looks like a bird’s nest on your head.

Not only was this hairdresser talking in a tongue foreign to my ears to her colleagues, she was also pulling my hair like crazy. I did not want to be impolite and interrupt. I figured that this could be my first lesson on torture. When they were done, I congratulated myself on not breaking. However I didn’t like what I saw looking back at me on the mirror. I looked wild. It was like I had gone through a tornado and my hair was telling the story. The hair covered half of my face. They told me that I looked nice. It was late and I knew some of them were sitting impatiently waiting for me to get done and go. Don’t trust the ladies.

I managed to reach at the hostel safely even with the hair impairing my sight. Beryl was polite about my look. It was her hairdresser after all. Also, she is more human than I am. I am honest to a fault. This is a nice way of saying that I am blunt and downright tactless.

Once she came from the salon with the weirdest style ever. There is a weave that usually has a strip standing tall at the top of the head. This could be the one she used. It was a short weave. It appeared like an inverted hat that opened out at the front.

I saw her and burst out laughing. She smiled awkwardly at me. I tried to be polite and muffed my laughs with a pillow. “Is it that bad?”

“It is okay I guess,” I replied. I was grinning. It was all I could do not to laugh.

“I thought so.” She understood what okay actually meant. “The ladies gushed at how pretty I looked.”

“Never trust the ladies!”

She picked a mirror.

“If there is anyone who can pull it off, it’s you,” I encouraged her. She got rid of it the following day.

We love weaves because they let our hair rest. Don’t wear them all the time though. Your hair might want to rest but remember it also needs to breathe. Also, don’t let the hairdresser pull your hair. The edges are the most delicate and weak part of your hair. Constant pulling will lead to balding. Do you want that? Lastly, let your significant other see the shape of your head.

A GIRL’S QUEST FOR LONG HAIR: PART III

lupita

I kept the hair. With the coastal climate, it was usually limp. It started getting a tint and I would cut it often to keep it looking full. A thought of shaving it never occurred to me (that is, while I was still in college. It occurred a few years later as you will soon find out). How could I survive looking like a boy? I’d rather keep the limp hair than have no hair.

With time, nothing seemed to salvage my hair. The time and the relaxers had started taking toll on it. It was damaged and weak because of the over processing. I had used relaxers since I was thirteen years. What was the point of it all? I had long hair, so what? I decided to cut it. This was much later, after my college days. It was in the stage of ‘finding myself’.

I didn’t do it in the Stone Cold style I had donned in my earlier years with the assistance of the master barber. I cut it short in the Lupita style. It was a bold step but then again I was finding myself.

It is always scary to cut hair after having it for more than ten years. You can’t remember the shape of your head. What if my head looked like an avocado seed? I remembered a girl in high school who told me that my hair looked funny when I held it because I had a bump at the middle of my head. I never saw the bump but what if others could see it? I tried to picture my childhood birthday photos. I knew I had a big head but I consoled myself that I had grown into it just as I had grown into my hands and feet.

I now have short natural hair. Technically not so short but with natural hair, you can never tell. I put down blow-driers and relaxers. I decided to start afresh. It is so funny, I have embraced the things that I was in such a hurry to leave.  The Alleluia comb, the coconut oil; the simple things my mum had tried to teach me.

I believe all hairs are beautiful. I believe that natural hair is the most beautiful. I have dropped the chase for the long straight hair. I have embraced the curly, coily and kinky that my natural hair is. Natural hair has helped me learn a lot. People ask me, “How can you keep your hair like that? I would look horrendous!” I tell them that confidence is the key. If you believe in your beauty, everyone around will believe in it too.