An extraordinary, unexpected and inexplicable development. This once-upon-a-time avid drinker of all things alcoholic has slipped and fallen… Onto (of all God forsaken places) the wagon. It began with the discreet elimination of certain favoured clear liquids: Silver tequila, vodka, gin. Then it progressed to a gradual decline in anything grape-related. Eventually, only ciders were consumed. And these were cut down to 2-3 at a time. Finally, even the ciders were left unattended, undrunk and unloved. After 2 weeks of sobriety, the panic kicked in. Where was the urge to drink? Two weekends came and went and no alcohol was craved or taken. When at long last the occasion to drink presented itself, two drinks were consumed but the behaviour was of one who’d had enough for one night. Shock, horror: one was now what avid drinkers refer to as a ‘lightweight’. Oh the shame! How can it be? And why should one be ashamed of ones semi-sobriety? So many questions and not enough drinks. Then the bulb above this sober head flickered on. A non-drinker I have become. Good grief. Feeling a loss of identity: you are what you drink. So who is this lady now? Is this non-drinking permanent? Or is it temporary? The lack of roaring hangovers to complain about is distressing. The lack of amusing drunk-tales is disturbing. But… (Big but) tendencies come and go and come again and go again. If my destiny is to be a non-drinker (and an indignant one at that), so be it. Health benefits, saving money etc aside, change is not to be feared. I am not afraid. A little anxious, a little bewildered, but unafraid.
According to the BBC, Wendy Hleta said women in Swaziland make it easier for rapists by wearing mini-skirts. Easier? Because rapists can justify their criminal inclinations by saying: too much on display! In that case, I’m off to rob a store: the mannequins looked too good in the clothes, too many nice clothes, must. Have. Them. Or was Hleta suggesting it’s easier to undress a woman in a mini-skirt? So on the morning in question, a woman put on her mini-skirt while repeating the mantra: I’m making it easier for rapists. I’m making it easy for rapists. Strange times we live in. Where criminals (because rape is a crime and a rapist is a criminal) are given the tools they need to justify their acts. ‘Well, if she had a pair of trousers on I’d not have done it!’ Has this ever been said? Or is Hleta suggesting there are two criminals here, the rapist and that dreadful, dreadful mini-skirt? And how sorry I feel for doctors everywhere. They see us naked. They probe us and prod us. Poor, poor doctors. No wonder 99% of rapists are doctors.Wait a minute. They aren’t. Strange times we live in. Once women stood together and burnt bras (the old scabby ones with the wire poking out already). Now women tell other women that clothing may influence rapists. Somewhere clever, clever men are rubbing their hands together because they got a woman to say it. On second thought, this could all be Hleta’s idea; what fresh hell would that be? Many African women in traditional attire must be at risk then. But Hleta has that covered, a ban on ‘immoral’ dressing won’t extend to traditional clothing. So as long as the clothing is traditional, it is not immoral. What’s the difference between a mini-skirt exposing one’s legs and a colourful traditional bead skirt exposing one’s legs? One represents tradition, the safety to express oneself. The other? Represents a willingness to be abused? Does such a person exist? Does anyone on this earth enjoy having their rights and their body violated? No. No. No. A thousand times no. Rape needs to be stopped, no doubt about that. But a mini-skirt makes it easier for a rapist? What does that even mean?
News: it can be good but it’s mostly bad. Rape, murder, child abuse. Someone somewhere is a perpetrator, and someone somewhere is a victim. There you sit, reading, watching or listening to the news and often you lament in a monotone: oh that’s horrible. Poor girl. Poor guy. Poor kid. Other times you’re indifferent. It’s emotionally draining to care. But once in a while, you see it: the tear-bringer. An elephant massacre. You think: well if people can massacre people, it’s no surprise they’ll massacre animals. 86 elephants. Slaughtered. Left to rot and be forgotten. From majestic tusks and trunks to a pile of decaying flesh and bone. 33 of the elephants were pregnant females. It’s strange. You’ve seen worse, Rwandan genocide. The holocaust. And yet this story can’t seem to leave you alone. You go to the zoo and look at the elephants and you bite back a sob. Are you losing it? You’re reduced to a tearful mess over elephants. When the news moves to other matters the sadness turns to despair. Despair over how news never stops. How things never stop happening. How horrifying acts never take a day off. How do you watch the news without drifting into a despair-induced coma? Do you switch off? Act like an unfeeling creature. Do you ride the despair; let it crash over you like a wave and smash the air from out of your lungs? Decisions, decisions. What to do when you find yourself obsessing over the news? Breathe. And breathe some more. Let every breath remind you that you’re alive for a reason. Find that reason. Embrace that reason. If the news teaches you anything, it’s that the world doesn’t stop. It pauses to mourn, to celebrate; but it never stops. And you shouldn’t stop either. Take pauses, have moments of despair but soldier on as soon as you’ve recuperated. Your life is a gift; treasure it. And when despair knocks on your front door, let him in and show him out the back door.
Easter. Chocolate eggs, church service, a meat-free but fancy meal, family, friends, laughter, prayer, wine, happiness, an argument or two, more wine, more laughter, argument resumes, more chocolate, even more wine and laughter, argument forgotten… It is a truth universally acknowledged that where there is a family there is a circus. Family gatherings start with warm greetings and proceed with peals of laughter that may lead to tears of frustration followed by awkward apologies. There is no such thing as normality where family is involved. There’s only varying degrees of weird: hardly weird, barely weird, fairly weird, weird, very weird, exceedingly weird, astronomically weird and full-blown X-Files. But it’s this weirdness that makes your family unique. And special. And weird. It’s when you gather as one that you feel whole. It’s also as one that you feel the gains and losses acutely. That empty chair, that missing smile, that voice you used to hear… Gone. This Easter acknowledge your losses but remember to celebrate your gains. People come and go, but love stays. If you find you have nothing to celebrate; celebrate love and it’s ability to withstand the sands of time. Happy Easter weekend one and all.
Many people think they’ve been sent to this rock to evaluate and dictate other people and their everything, that is, lifestyle, sense of dress, personality, life goals, everything from one’s lucky socks to one’s stay-at-home clothes. Mostly, this interest in everyone else’s everything, is expressed due to love or concern. But sometimes, someone comes along with all the wrong intentions and sometimes, they manage to creep under your skin and make you feel that maybe, just maybe, you aren’t as adequate as you felt you were. Small comments, whispered words dripping with implications, snide remarks, thinly veiled sarcasm… Suddenly it seems the other person knows more about how you should dress or act than you do. Sounds preposterous. But it happens. And here’s a little golden nugget of information: Nothing you ever do will satisfy that person. Why? Because their issue isn’t with you, it’s with themselves. And the more you try to gain their approval, the more they’ll ask of you until eventually, you’re a mere husk of the glorious human being you once were.
The advice then is this: Live and let live. Live your life and let others live theirs. If your interference in other people’s lives is with good intentions, then hopefully good results will be produced. If however, your intentions are of a more sinister nature, how then can the results be good? And for those on the receiving end of the interference, a simple ‘thank you but no thank you’ will suffice. It’s not always easy but that’s just life being its usual female-dog self. And remember Spongebob knows best:
While this author of all things strange and twisted was away by order of the Gods of the scholars and knowledge, a strange occurrence took place. Some people partake in the activity with great joy and gusto. Others shrug and say they haven’t the time. Others shudder and say they’d rather not. But this writer is part of those whose reaction to the mention of the activity ranges from sheer disgust to a violent allergic reaction. While this author refers to the activity as ‘dying’ others simply call it ‘jogging.’ That is correct. One has taken up dying, er, jogging. And though the first jog felt like a spot of torture from the Spanish inquisition, the rest felt … less torturous and more liberating. This jogging hasn’t led to my untimely demise but rather, to a wellbeing that can only be compared to the one induced by alcohol, except with health benefits other than ‘getting wasted’ and so the advice is this: Try some sort of exercise and see where it takes you. It may not be ‘to your grave’ after all. Jog, swim, cycle, walk, crawl- no, the line is drawn at walk. Go on. Give it a try.
After an age and a half, a very prim and proper, dare I say sober Very Vodka returns to dish out free (no strings attached, no hidden costs) advice for the new year: 2013. As always, you’ll hear of lists of slightly ridiculous and unrealistic hopes and desires. These never-to-be-realised-dreams have been a part of every January of every year since before that little flaming rock laid waste to the dinosaurs. That’s right: resolutions. Just the word brings shivers to the spine that have nothing to do with lack of alcohol. So where is this post leading? To a little dollop of advice that reads as follows: Resolutions may seem foolish but darn it all there must be a reason people cannot stop making them! As silly, pointless or downright idiotic as they might be, they exist. Make them, fulfil them, break them… Do as you please. Live, live and live some more.