Image

Chapter 3 in Pictures

Hey, when I first saw you, I got excited

Tried to keep my composure, tryna hide it

But I didn’t know

I didn’t let go 

Then it occurred to me while tryna fight it

Just like a kite, you learn to ride it

But I didn’t know

You’re s’posed to let it go

Like a gust of wind

You hit me off sometimes

Like a gust of wind

You push me back every once in a while

Like a gust of wind

You remind me there’s someone up there




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Why Is It So Hard To Find Love In This Present Generation? 

@BlueBlood_elia tweeted that line this week. We weighed in with our opinions,  some of them were profound while others were flippant.  I have many single women friends and I ask myself the same question sometimes. A single friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, how she just wanted a man “who would show up and stay”. I thought this was just a women’s issue until  @DirectorSolomon tweeted the following:


The responses ranged from hilarious to heart-breaking. My response to him was that this kind of stuff makes men skittish (nervously shy away from commitment) and for every girl that cheats on a guy there are dozens of single women who are searching, sometimes desperately, for a man to love them.

It is not easy to find love, not just in this one, but in every generation. My parents have been married for over 40 years and even they have close friends who never got married or went through multiple divorces. This is not a new problem, but it’s a sad state of affairs.

Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist says we are “wired” for love, i.e. drama, stress and heartbreak etc. are not a natural state of affairs and they literally change our brain chemistry. Human beings are made in the image of a God and God is love. Her approach is both biblical and scientific. Check out her YouTube videos, she’s phenomenal. By the way I’m no expert but I see many people in pain and have experienced some pain of my own in the past from bad choices. Are you in the swamp of despondency when it comes to love? if you are single and searching think about the following issues.

Who Are You and What Do You Attract?

This is the principle of  ‘As within, so without’. Your visible reality is a manifestation of your thoughts. Thoughts can become unconscious and habitual if you hold them long enough. Ok you don’t believe me. Think about it. Your constant thoughts create habits and patterns of decision making that have brought you to this point. Think back to the decisions you made in your last relationship, when it started, why it ended and how it ended. What were you thinking. How would things have been if you had different thoughts about the person. By the way, ending a relationship is not always a bad thing, particularly if it is not good for you.

Consider these questions:

The first question is who are you in the relationship equation? What are your needs? These needs are based on the story you tell yourself when you are on your own. Your story is so very much a part of you, you don’t realise it’s there and it determines your every move. This story is created by habitual thoughts from when we were children and trying to make sense of the world. This background story shows up with you in every situation and causes you to make automatic decisions that determine the outcome of a situation. Are you:

a) Mr. or Miss Right-Now. i.e. not looking for a serious relationship. The background story is most likely because you need a temporary escape from the pain of physical, emotional or sexual abuse and want someone to make you feel attractive and blot out the pain. In this case love and sex are the addictions of choice. This is a typical addict’s profile. Zoleka Mandela’s book When Hope Whispers is an excellent example, where she talks openly about her journey back from addiction. Psychologists have coined a term called limerence, which is the emotional high you get when you are in the early stages of a relationship. This had been investigated and identified as changes to brain chemistry that happen when you are in love. So you can be addicted to love and change partners frequently to feel like that over and over again.

b) Mr. or Miss I’ll-Make-Him or Her-Right-For-Me. This background story is , I’ll change the person into my ideal partner because I’m perfect or I’ve worked so hard to be this person and my parter needs to meet my unremitting standards. Deep down, the story is that I need to control every situation so that I do not get hurt or taken advantage of. Many abusers fit this profile because their abusive behaviour comes from a place of unacknowledged raw pain.

c) Mr or Miss I’ll-Make-Myself-Right-for Him or Her. The background story is, I’ll be whoever my partner wants me to be, because I feel so unworthy and unloveable. I’ll do whatever it takes to have them in my life because deep down I don’t believe that I deserve to be loved. Many victims of abuse fit this profile.

d) Mr or Mrs Married-But-Available? No need to state the obvious. However any of the first three background stories apply. Infidelity is really is not just about sex. Emotional infidelity is just as devastating for the spouses. However for infidelity you need both motive and opportunity. Temptation presents itself based on your background story. James 1.14 says each person is lured and tempted by his or her own desire. And if you have a motive from your background story, e,g. a) ‘I need sex as a temporary relief from my pain or stress ‘, you will find an opportunity to be unfaithful whether it’s your next door neighbour, a colleague or on Oxford Street.

The second question is who are you attracting when you look for Mr or Miss Right? Is it

a); b); c) or d)?
Relationship Arithmetic

Let’s do a little bit of relationship arithmetic, shall we? In my relatively short life, I’ve learnt the following from observation and experience. A mismatch of the four doesn’t work, that’s pretty obvious right? But, a perfect match of any of the four needs does not make for a fulfilling long-term relationship either. A coincidence of wants should make a perfect whole right? No? Why is that?

a+a = one night stand; booty call or ‘friends with benefits’. It’s ok if you both walk away unscathed. Sometimes one person ‘catches feelings’ eventually. Then there is awkwardness or drama if you still bump into each other. Or you have another another hook-up for all the wrong reasons, because you’re lonely, bored or drunk.

b+b = a prison without bars of nagging, manipulation, physical and or emotional abuse. There will be a prison break eventually. I guarantee it. You cannot change a person. A person needs to change by themselves and have really good personal motivation for doing so.

c+c = an illusion, a game of smoke and mirrors. This one ends in tears without fail. That sounds like the lady in @Director Solomon’s tweet. She probably made herself over for them and played the two guys, then picked the first guy who popped the question because she just wanted to get married. That is not genuine love, if she loved her fiancé, she would not have cheated on him until a week before the wedding. For the other guy, it’s like showing up for training every day, not knowing that there are trials in progress or there’s a scout watching.

d+d = a perfect storm. Refer to a+a, only add trauma for your children, depression, the drama of divorce and or suicide or murder to the mix. The truth is someone is always playing the other person  in an extra-marital affair, not just the spouse. Very few extra-marital affairs, studies say only 10% end up in marriage and many of those marriages end in divorce because of a relationship built on a shaky foundation of deceit.

So How Do We Find Love?

We know what doesn’t work. So what does work? Actually, that is the wrong question. The answer is that you don’t search for love. When you do, you will be disappointed because you will invariably look in the wrong places based on your mental programming, the background story. The truth is that there is no formula for finding love. Love finds you. You have to be the person that someone will fall in love with. The real you, the one that you are behind closed doors, when none is looking.

These are just a few examples of what repels love. If you are bitter, twisted and resentful, that will eventually drive love away. If you are jealous, angry and controlling, you may hide it well but eventually the mask will slip, the person will see the real you and disappear from your life. If you are clingy and desperate because you need the other person to make you happy, then, what you fear most will happen, the person that you live will leave you, because the relationship is too much  work. Being happy is your own responsibility, not that of the other person. What are you willing and able to give? You cannot give what you don’t have. To attract the love, you want, change your background story. Martha Beck’s book Steering by Starlight has great advice. Dr Caroline Leaf and Iyanla Vanzant also have some great Youtube videos on that subject.
Attractive vs Loveable
There is a difference between an attractive person and a loveable person. An attractive person takes care of their external appearance, good skin, a good hairstyle, apparel that suits them, smells great and has the right toys, car, cellphone, handbag etc.  They know what to say, how to flirt, when to stop and when to make a move to get you interested in them. They make a great first impression even without saying a word. A woman’s  reaction to them is: “Damn! He fine! So hot I gotta fan myself” (sic). For guys, well, let me not speak for them.

A loveable person is genuinely interested in the other person. To do that, you have to forget your ego, how you look, sound etc. and focus on the other person. Get to know their heart. Spend more time talking. The club or a party is a great place to meet, but not the best setting for  you to truly get to know someone. Decide whether this is someone you want to spend time with. If they are not, it’s ok, move on, you can still be friendly, or not. It’s your choice.

A loveable person may not generally make a great first impression, but they make a lasting one because they make a connection from the heart. People can tell the difference between someone who is genuinely interested that they can trust with their feelings. The typical reaction to this type is, ” I really like this person, and it’s not just for their looks.”

Here are a couple of suggestions for letting love find you. Don’t limit yourself with pre-conceived ideas about who or what true love looks like, or what he or she does for a living or what car he or she drives. A person can get an education, a better job, buy a car, or buy designer shoes and acquire certain skills. A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions (Luke 12:15). However a person cannot buy a good heart. They cannot be honest, show up for you and show affection and concern consistently if it is not from the heart.
Make the Circle Bigger

Meet more people, more often, make that circle bigger. Spice up your life. Go places and do different things, things you enjoy and you will meet like-minded people. Don’t keep to the same boring weekend or work routine. We spend to much time with the same circle of people and never create opportunities to meet other people. Or when we do, we find reasons not to get to know them because they are not from our little universe.

Next time you meet someone, talk less, listen more, and listen with genuine interest. You may not make a love connection but you can make a lasting one, which who knows could grow into love, or lead you to the love of your life. Do this often enough and I believe love will find you. Finding love is easy. Keeping it is hard. I’ll save that for my next post. Until then, stay attractive and be loveable.

Chapter 2 Ndihamba Nawe (performed by Mafikizolo)

(Xhosa) Literally means I’m going with you. Alternative meaning I choose you, from a girl to a guy. One of my favourite songs by Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza. 

It was quiet in the apartment. The interior was a modern design with clean lines, minimalist, almost spartan. This was clearly a man’s space with the bare essentials, couches and a coffee table. The focal point of the room was the entertainment centre, with a massive curved TV screen and a bunch of different gadgets. The remote controls were all neatly lined up on a side table near the couch. I was quite intimated by all the gadgets. He tried to explain what each one was. I didn’t even get half of it.

Jide invited me to sit on the couch as he played some music, mostly Soul and RnB. I remember hearing Pharrell, John Legend, Anthony Hamilton and Nelly. He then brought two wine glasses. It was so clichéd, dimmed lights, soft music and wine. Great! I thought, if this man thinks he can get me drunk and seduce me, he has another thing coming. Of all my friends, I have the highest tolerance for alcohol. As my brain went into overdrive, strategising my escape, I took a sip. It turned out to be sparkling grape juice. This man is full of surprises, I thought. He must have been watching my reaction. He laughed,

“You thought I was going to get you drunk and try to seduce you. I’ll admit the thought did cross my mind. Unfortunately I don’t hold my liquor very well, so I don’t keep any.”

“Oh!” This was a surprise, but I had to ask, “So what happens on boy’s night out? When everyone else is getting drunk?”

“I’m the designated driver,” he said, “All the time.”

I must seem quite depraved in comparison. I enjoy the occasional glass of wine, but only when I have company. I avoid drinking when I’m alone, it seems like a slippery slope, once you start, you can’t stop. I keep the bare essentials on a bar cart at home, for occasional entertaining. It was a cute idea that I found on Pinterest. It makes it easier to serve drinks when you have company and is a great conversation starter.

“That’s so larney of you to serve grape juice in a wine glass,” I said. He laughed, then explained that it keeps the juice cool when you hold it by the stem, just as with champagne, then you don’t need to add ice. You shouldn’t add ice to fruit juice, it must just be served chilled. He was very particular about that. Even at restaurants. He often sent the waiter back with his fruit juice when they added ice because it wasn’t chilled. His Mum bought him the wine glasses when he moved in. It made sense, I thought. What single guy has wine glasses? Most single men had single items, but nothing co-ordinated or matching when it came to home ware. They never buy anything but end up with an odd assortment of stuff pilfered from hotels, restaurants and other people’s homes.

We went out and sat on the balcony. Again the enormity of the situation struck me. Here I was, alone with a man I hardly knew. “I don’t usually do this,” I started, hesitantly.

“Do what?” He asked, “Oh I get it!” he continued in teasing tones, “Go off with a man you don’t know! What if I turn out to be a rapist or a serial killer?”

I blushed, then brushed my fingers along my hairline. “I mean, I don’t want you to think I’m well, you know, easy.” My voice trailed off as I looked intently at him, trying to read his reaction. He looked at me, smiling at first, then a brooding solemn expression came over his face.

“Pelo, I’ve never done this before either.” He was really sincere. I believed him. I realized that he was just as unsure, only the attraction was too strong for either of us.

To lighten the situation, I asked, “What is wrong with us?” Why didn’t we follow the script, like other people do when they meet for the first time?” He looked at me quizzically. “You know, exchange numbers, say we’re going to call and all that.”

What he said next blew my mind. “I had never seen you before and I had to make sure you were real. When I realized that you actually exist, I couldn’t just settle for your number. I felt you were going to slip away, just vanish.” He seemed so vulnerable. Then he with a teasing half-smile he continued, “And when you gave that guy a lingering hug, it felt like my heart was breaking and I just wanted to punch him. He really seemed to be enjoying himself and I couldn’t bear to watch.”

My mouth opened wide. I tried to slap him on the shoulder. But as I moved towards him, he caught my wrist, then kissed the palm of my hand. I was stunned by the searing heat of his lips on my palm. Somewhere deep inside of me, the flame of desire leapt up. He took me into his arms and we kissed. A series of lingering, passionate kisses, I almost passed out. I know he felt it too. We couldn’t stop. Eventually, out of breath, we reluctantly pulled apart, still clinging to each other. My head was spinning. I wasn’t sure whether my feet were still on the ground. My head was on his shoulder. I felt his beating heart and heard him inhale deeply.
It was exhilarating and scary at the same time, meeting someone and feeling such a connection. It felt like I had known him forever. I was so sure he wouldn’t hurt me or take advantage of me. The rational, intellectual part of my brain insisted it was folly to be alone with a complete stranger. My soul however, rejoiced because being with him felt so right. The truth is, I was falling for him more and more with each passing moment. It was as if someone was watching the movie of our destiny and had pressed the fast forward button. Everything was happening so fast but at the same time, but weird and unsettling as it was, it was pure bliss. “I want you so much,” he whispered, still breathing heavily. I don’t want to let you go. Ever! ” he said, emphatically. I looked up at him in surprise. No man had ever been that intense, or honest with me.
“Jide,” I stepped away from him as I spoke, “Men have names for girls who get them aroused, and then say no. I don’t want to be that kind of girl.” I told him about the time when I was at university and met a guy. We had a great afternoon, but it was spoilt, when he insisted on having sex with me. He wasn’t rough or violent, I gave in reluctantly but insisted on protection. In his mind, that meant I was a willing participant. I had only recently met him and despite the attraction, I wasn’t ready to get physical. I wanted nothing to do with him after that and he couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to be with him even though he pursued me for weeks afterwards. He then got nasty and called me names. I was a nervous wreck for months afterwards and blamed myself for leading him on.
I expected Jide to shut down or quickly lose interest. I guess I told the story to put him off because things were happening too fast. Instead, he closed his eyes and moved towards me and held me tight. “I’m really sorry. I’m so sorry he did that to you. I’m so mad at him”. Gently placing his fingertips under my chin, he lifted up my head, looked at me, those beautiful eyes filled with such love and compassion, then said, “We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Ok?” I was so overcome, I almost wept, I nodded silently. Then he said, “it’s getting chilly our here, let’s go inside.” I nodded, then he led me back inside the apartment.

Chapter 1 Gimme The Night -George Benson

So come on out tonight

And we’ll lead the others

On a ride through paradise.

And if you feel all right

Then we can be lovers ’cause I see that

Starlight look in your eyes.

Don’t you know we can fly?

Just gimme the night. Gimme the night. 

https://www.play.google.com.music. Written by Rodney Lynn Temperton • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

No Rules: The Back Story

What inspired you to write this story?

I am an idealist and an incurable romantic. I believe in love and in the happily ever after. My parents have been married for over 40 years and been together for almost 50 years. My husband and I recently celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. I have witnessed the struggles of my single friends, both male and female when it comes to dating and picking the right person. I want to portray a positive view of marriage and relationships with a minimum of drama and pain. I also have friends and acquaintances who are in cross-cultural marriages and relationships and I have written about some of the issues that they face.

Why did you choose the title of No Rules?

Mwoyo muti unomera paunoda is a Shona saying which means the heart (love) is a tree which grows where it wants to. There are no rules to love. People have tried reducing the phenomenon of love to a formula, but there really isn’t one and have come up with all sorts of written and unwritten rules. The relationship in this story breaks all of them. The laws of physical attraction may be fixed but love is really a supernatural phenomenon. Magazines and self-help books are full of advice on how to get and keep a man, how to affair-proof your marriage and relationship etc. but the reality is love is about how two people feel about each other. There are different kinds of love and we feel them at different times for different reasons which makes it hard to predict and manipulate.

What are ‘the rules’

A tricky issue where people attempt to define rules is how long do you wait before you have sex. Many men driven by pure lust would want to have sex on the first date or soon after. Lust is a biological phenomenon intended by God for humans to multiply. A man in this case is driven by the instinct to spread his seed. The majority of men lose interest immediately afterwards. So women have a dilemma.  Do you insist that he marry you, then watch him move on? Or do you compromise and have sex because you love him and let’s face it, women have needs too, then risk him waking up the following day and deciding you’re not the one?

There is a double standard that applauds men while denigrating women for having sex outside of marriage. Steve Harvey wrote Think Like A Man for his daughters because he understands how men think. He suggests waiting for 90 days, in order to be sure of the man’s intentions. However, there are people who had sex from the day they met and are still together, while others waited years, got married and still got divorced. So the only rule is not absolute.

In the novel, the couple wait for a while. They try to fight it. They don’t do a very good job. That is the reality. We have so many roadblocks, obstacles and protocol around marriage which make it an onerous process. In Genesis, God created Eve and simply put her in the garden. Adam decided she would be his partner saying she is the flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.  I don’t believe God ever intended for marriage to be so complicated, these are human rules for whatever reason. It would help if people were honest with themselves and with each other about expectations regarding sex and a relationship.

The other rule extends to marriage. How long should you wait. Again, there are people who get married within 6 months of meeting and stay together, while others wait years and still get divorced. Jide and Pelonomi meet, endure challenges and survive them to get their happily ever after. In some relationships a couple can go through in six months, what others take 10 years to experience. There is no absolute rule. The question is is how well do you know your partner and do you love him or her enough to live with their imperfections? Some people close their eyes to the truth, only to realise they can’t handle those imperfections and then they get divorced 2 years or 20 years later.

The story is set in South Africa in 2017? Why is that?

I have lived in South Africa for over 10 years. It is a beautiful country, vibrant, cosmopolitan and has such a rich history and diverse cultures. It is also a place that attracts people from different nationalities. I want to showcase what makes our country special. South Africans know to have fun, we can really party. We are among the earliest riders in the world and we strive to do better for ourselves and our families.  If you live in South Africa, you can relate to the setting. I will be publishing photographs and other media to make it real for readers overseas because I want them to see what I see.

Why choose Millennials for the main characters?

I wanted to represent a young urban African professionals who are educated accomplished and cosmopolitan. I have not come across too many stories about this cosmopolitan generation. The Millennials have been the subject of research and debate. They are different from previous generations. They are more socially and environmentally conscious, they think differently. They also value family and tradition even though they practice these in their own way. They are technologically advanced and connected via social media. They want to change the world. They are the leaders of the future and that future is not far off. I wrote the story in the first person, which is incredibly challenging, because I want the reader to stand in the people’s shoes and experience the emotions. My children are from that generation. When they come of age, I want them to choose their partners wisely so In a sense, I am writing this for them.

Why does Pelonomi have to be studious, in other words, a nerd?

Nerds fall in love too. Pelo is a highly intelligent, educated and cultured young woman. Many men would be attracted to her face and body and not pay attention to her amazing mind or her crazy ideas. But crazy ideas are the ones that change the world. When we appreciate everything about our partners, we can support them and they can achieve extraordinary things. Jide is a nerd too, he just doesn’t look like one, because he plays basketball and is in great physical shape. So the story is about two nerds falling in love. In a sense it is a way of letting intelligent girls know that they can be themselves and find love and not have to hide their brilliance because it makes men insecure.

There are some highly charged and explicit love scenes. What is your reason for including these? 

This is a work of adult fiction. Sex is an integral part of life. We are all here as a result of sex. Studies show the number of times men and women think about sex. It is a primary biological need, whose purpose is to keep the human race from extinction, not that we are in any danger of that now. In the novel, I wanted to portray sex in a loving committed relationship because many people believe sex is boring when you get married or commit to one partner. It really isn’t unless you make it so. If you do, you will forever be lusting after other people. Too many people destroy their marriages because they are fantasizing about what is out there. In my opinion, casual sex is the equivalent of eating junk food when you can have a gourmet meal at home, because you lack that intimacy and emotional connection that makes it special.

You don’t pull your punches when you talk about xenophobia. Why is that? 

I was born in Zimbabwe. My paternal grandfather was Zulu. His family were immigrants in what was then called Rhodesia. I am classified as an immigrant because I was not born in South Africa. I have personally experienced xenophobia because I use my husband’s surname and my passport does not bear witness to my genealogy.

The reality is that there is no pure race or tribe. We’re all from somewhere else. The borders that we live within are artificial ones created by the colonial powers in an effort to keep peace among themselves. These borders split up families, clans and nations from a common linguistic and cultural point of view. In South Africa the only truly indigenous people are the Khoi San, everyone else is an immigrant.

My two main characters are from different countries and they each face hurdles in believing that the love is real and getting this relationship accepted because of the stereotypes and barriers that we have developed as African people.


You talk extensively about religion and spirituality. Why is that?  

The lovers are both Christians at different stages in their walk with God. Our spirituality is an important part of who we are. When we do not spend time in some sort of devotion, we lose touch with a vital part of ourselves and we try to fill that emptiness with drugs, alcohol, sex, food or whatever other addictions. I want to promote a positive image of God as a loving deity, not a harsh taskmaster. The God that I worship is interested in all the details of our lives, including our love lives and believe it it not, sex. There are also different ways of relating to God, known as spiritual pathways and God will meet you on the pathway you choose because the Bible says God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6.

Who needs to read this story?

Single people, particularly women, who struggle with issues of relationships and expressing themselves sexually. Married people too will find some wisdom to revive the passion in their relationships. Writing the novel helped me to appreciate things about my husband and our marriage that I have tended to take for granted.

What can we look forward to in the novel? 

There is romance, fun and laughter. There are interesting conversations with friends and family as they come to terms with the relationship. There are moments of crisis and conflict. There is the bridal shower where the pastor’s wife gives an iconic speech and the preparations for the four different ceremonies for the marriage to be complete.

What other plans do you have for the story? 

I would love to make a film of it. I think it is a great story. I would also like to get people to engage with the story on different platforms, because there are do many issues that are relevant to our society that we need to think about and debate and confront and change our minds if possible, in order to make better choices for ourselves and for people around us.

No Rules: Synopsis of the Novel

This is a an urban contemporary love story between two Millennials from different backgrounds. Pelonomi is South African woman whose family is from rural Limpopo but grew up in Johannesburg, while Jideofor is a Nigerian man who was born in the United States. I chose the title   ‘No Rules’ because the relationship progresses in a manner that differs to the accepted norms of how people get to know each other and decide on whether a person is ‘the one’.
The story takes you on the roller-coaster journey of their relationship from the moment they meet, getting to know each other and meeting their respective families, to eventually getting married. While the couple have different personalities and interests, they have similar core values and they are able to overcome their differences to build a solid and intimate relationship. There are also some interesting conversations with the couple’s friends and family as they try to come to terms with this whirlwind love affair.

The couple struggle to resist the their mutual physical attraction to establish their relationship. Pelonomi as a young black woman from a fairly conservative background and a survivor of date rape, struggles with her need to express herself sexually. Jideofor as a man, has no such hang-ups but has to be sensitive to her needs and give her time to get over her fears.

The story is set in Johannesburg, giving the reader an view of contemporary South African urban life. The story shows the contrasts between global contemporary lifestyles and lingering demands of both Pedi and Igbo tradition and custom. The story also touches on current issues of xenophobia, the conflict between tradition and modernity particularly when it comes to women, sexuality and marriage, the influence of religion, and the idea of the common origin of sub-Saharan African people.

The novel also proposes a radical view of sex within a committed relationship that opposes the prevailing negative narrative of boring monogamy. The story also touches on the impact of religious fundamentalism and dogmatic tradition and custom which dictates how women ‘should behave’.

The story tells of the drama of planning and carrying out of four different marriage ceremonies to accommodate tradition on both sides of the family as well as religion. However, the couple manage to get through it all through their intense love for one another and with the help of their friends to get to their ‘happily ever after’ moment when they set off on honeymoon.