Monday, 30 March 2015

What are little girls made of?

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In the 21st century, girls are made of less sugar and spice and more of a cup cake with attitude, vicissitude and some gratitude. Little girls are now powerfully made and I'd like my little one to grow up one day to be:

.....wise and sassy, though she shouldn’t get bigger than her Jimmy Choo’s. A good head on strong shoulders just so that everyone knows she means business. Life’s tough enough for a girl in the 21st century – and mine’s born at the tail end of one century and with her destiny to be found in another. She straddles a number of worlds and how she negotiates each one will be where her success (and failure) lies.

The modern woman has a power play role in life’s jungle. Life will pull her in many directions and into differing roles. I have no qualms with that but I’d want her to get past some of the conventions that dog many a career path. Marriage is unnecessary and there’s little security in the male/female coupling any longer – unless she’s extremely lucky. Motherhood is optional and, if she’s not an earth type there’s no need to fret. She can influence the next generation (not as a productionist) in a great many other ways. Procreating ideas and birthing them is a rewarding pursuit and one that I’d wish her to throw herself into whole heartedly.

The pace of her life will be fast and furious. She lives in a disposable society where relationships as much as consumer goods are not built to last. I hope I’ve managed to impart the 3R’s – re-invention, resilience and respect.

Today’s woman is a pioneer. She learns, she believes, she executes  and delivers– her motto will be that of a trail blazer. It’ll be a helluva journey and she’ll need all her emotional intelligence to push through the obstacles. She’s forging a path that future generations will walk on. The road I paved for her is in need of renewal and renovation.

She’ll need the stamina for re-invention -business woman cum adventurer. Motherhood should not cut her off from all other interests and pursuits – if you dream of golden sunsets on far off shores or crocodile hunting in the Florida Keys then take the kids. It’s a must that she follows her dreams no matter how dangerous I think they may be -  white water rafting or swimming with dolphins – may fortune smile down on her but if it doesn’t she’ll soon know what she’s made of. Her wish list doesn’t always have to meet with my approval though we could share the personal trainer!

Image result for woman in a canoeShe’ll be a risk taker, a woman who dares often and wins. Her schedule may be crammed with business and personal commitments but she can’t allow herself to become a corporate cog in anyone’s wheel. Rock solid confidence will smash that glass ceiling dear

 Cultivating independence of mind will enable her to dance to her own tune. It will be challenging on all fronts and she should be prepared to go to war many times to keep her peace.  A resilient spirit will allow her bounce back, up and over. Possessing a tough mind (tougher than most) will be invaluable and a not too tender heart – at least one that doesn’t break easily. Self-respect will be key– a little reverence goes a long way. I’d want her to value herself enough to say no and to say yes to things that deserve merit.

In the financial stakes, she’s got to learn to be part of the solution. The main problem being that when she sees trouble coming she doesn’t have to go on a date with it or even marry it!

She will have earned her degree in Sheconomics – loosely translated as -  taking care of her business before someone else does. Shopaholic tendencies and all things bling could undoubtedly be her Waterloo but she’ll curb those desires once she’s had a meeting with her financial adviser. Savings, Savings, savings shoud be her mantra – saving herself (for someone worthy) and for a rainy day.

Finances are the biggest troublemakers in relationships whether it be with a significant other or housemates. She’ll have to decipher the small print and get herself a PEP, that’s NOT Parties, Excitement and Prada! The shecomonist has a good head for figures and it’s more than counting calories and those curves in the mirror.

Tuning in her to her inner voice and negotiating between choices of the head and her heart will be her life’s work.  Heroic work awaits her and a healthy self-image that attracts the like minded to her will help along the way. I hope she has a supportive group of real friends and confidants (not merely the electronic kind found on social networking sites).

I wish for her mind to be uncluttered; free from unnecessary slavery, at home and elsewhere. Intelligent leisure is where her passions will lie and may lead to a fulfilling source of income. She should know that the best things in life are not cheap. Working hard for them is no crime but not at the expense of her well-being. Taking time out for spiritual growth and for a chance to smell the roses will be refreshment for her soul.

Her life is hers for the making – it won’t be a fairy tale and the happy ending may take a long time. There’ll be frogs to kiss and dragons to slay…but whatever happens I hope she never forgets…that in the end…. a mother is a girl’s best friend!




Fatal distraction.......Mr Wrong-For-You!

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Mr Credible - is he?!

Did you have a thing for the boy next door, a fellow uni student, a colleague at your first job, a friend’s friend or maybe your boss?  Was it mutual or one sided? Did you say a tentative yes or a firm no? Did it become a dalliance or dangerous liaision?

 The meeting of a potential partner relies on many factors, fate, synergy, chemistry, the meeting of eyes and minds.  What attracts us to people is buried so deep in our psyches that we’ve got no inkling that those deep eyes, dimples and a winning smile can be the forerunner for relationship doom. Dysfunctional characters are no more men in dirty raincoats or down and out saddos. The dark side of human nature flourishes in intellectuals and educated men as much as those at the lower end of the social stratum.

Our fallibility and psychological triggers lie at the heart of the matter. Lack of experience in youth means that we just fall in with the crowd.   We’re encouraged to network and create an online social identity and, in all innocence, we share and pass on sensitive information.  We know the rules but we flout them for the sake of not being left out of the media loop. When you’re young, anything goes and warnings from elders usually fall on deaf ears.

There’s a new awareness in society about insidious forms of harassment and bullying, effectively the trespass of your personal space, but more the invasion of your mental and emotional recesses. A large number of the perpetrators of stalking and cyber bullying happen to be men and the macabre terminology of psycho, freak, creep have evolved from these practices.

Statistics reveal that 36% of women aged between 18 to 45 have been on the receiving end of this new wave of misogynistic cyber-terrorism.  Many divorced and separated women, following a relationship breakdown, have endured a  backlash from a husband and partner. If “hell hath no fury than a woman scorned” then some men are putting on a great show for equality!

The knock on effect of mass communication in the Information Age is that via mobile phones and computers we are accessible 24/7. 36% of teenagers are reported to have received an explicit text or email and the senders are alleged to be from their social circle.

Empowered women as we may think of ourselves, we don’t like to acknowledge our physical and psychological vulnerabilities. If we’re harbouring feelings of low self-esteem then we’ll read something more into a stranger’s smile or fleeting glance.  It might be an attention seeking ploy when we mistake need for love.  It may be flattering at first to have an admirer but don’t let all your defences down.  In your eyes this may be a casual encounter as you spy him at the gym, the station or in the supermarket. By the time reality bites, a sinister chain of events is in motion.

Take the case of Ruth Jeffrey, a student, who had been with her boyfriend Shane, since the age of fourteen. Her mobile phone number and pictures were sent to adult websites and shots of her face were superimposed onto glamour models. She endured a long campaign of cyber stalking that near destroyed her emotional well being. If not for the intervention of her parents who hired a company to put tracers on the origin of the messages and sites she may have never have discovered the truth. This psychotic behaviour earned him a spell in prison but the judiciary are still a long way off from providing effective sentencing and rehabilitation.

Obsession can be fatal as we saw in the tragic case of Jo Yeates, a 25 year old landscape architect, who was murdered by her neighbour, Vincent Tabak. It was a week before Christmas and, whilst her boyfriend was away, she had invited her Dutch neighbour one evening for a festive drink.  No one knows what transpired but it appears that Vincent Tabak may have tried to make sexual advances towards Ms Yeates and her rebuff sent him into a violent rage that resulted in her death. He is now serving a life sentence.

Each psycho, freak and creep you may stumble upon is unique. They’re charming and persuasive or  anti-social and withdrawn.  Most of these disturbed individuals seem harmless in appearance and have higher than average intelligence but there’s a short in their emotional circuitry.  Psychiatrists will have lengthy case files and may offer eloquent prognosis on the motivations but none of this bodes well for the woman in the street who just wants to get on with her life. Who knows what the combination of selfish genes and a malfunction of testosterone will throw up?

The only advice I can give is to be aware of the first signs of an abusive and oppressive personality.

 If he calls or texts just a little too much and becomes angry if you don’t reply instantly.

 If he tries to isolate you from friends and tries to come between you and your girlie nights.

 If he makes you feel guilty for wanting to spend time on your own pursuits.

 If he never allows you to be alone.

If he accuses you of having an affair when you work late.

 If he calls and texts repeatedly and wants an instant reply

If he ever uses violence against you, verbal or physical, then it’s time to leave.

Avoid mixed messages and be clear in your intentions, in word and deed. Limit your social networking (you don’t need 740 friends on Facebook or 2000 followers on Twitter!). Put your security and dignity first; resist divulging personal information and use networking sites responsibly.  Switch off your mobile and gadgets and have some down time. Never reply to malicious communications and report them to the police.

Improve your self-esteem  and you’ll attract a like-minded partner; not just someone who’s distraction from work and social obligations. The maladjusted will continue to be fodder for movie makers. Freddie of Elm Street and Michael from Halloween may have achieved Hollywood infamy but do your utmost to ensure that they don’t have a starring role in your life story.



Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Dear Future Husband............

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Dear Future Husband....


If you wish to stay dear…… to my heart…… then there’s a few things I preach here that you may endeavour to practise:

When our waistlines grow; we must take steps to eliminate the unhealthy causes; let’s fill our minds more than our bellies!

Remember clean living begins at home so let’s make an effort to keep the atmosphere and our spirits fresh! We'll concentrate on improving our minds more than our home.

We must be friendly motivators to each other’s unique talents and passions.  Critiques need only be aired if they’re requested in advance.

Alone time is important but don’t let me wallow in it too much……………you’ll become pointless.

Follow my heart and I’ll follow yours……that way they’ll both stay young without requiring surgery.

A compliment a day keeps divorce lawyers at bay…….so make an effort to notice how I look/cook/wear/do/ say…………but don’t worry about what I think!

Look me in the eye and be sincere…………..fakes are emotional bandits (and I take no prisoners!)

Anger never made a home sweet so keep a check on your fury-o-meter. Get control of it or seek therapy……….I’m not sharing my life space with it!

Surprises are welcome………scented candles around the room, petals scattered across the bed, little treats (for home and away)……………………but leaving a pile of dirty dishes in the sink is not one of them!

Let’s agree to be less self-invested and more invested in ensuring that we are taking care of our partnership (that means the planning and delivery of a host of adventures – date nights,  high days & holidays).

Please value my input in your life (more than you do the car) and you’ll be on the right track!

Reminding ourselves of the reason we got together in the first place, at least once a day, will hopefully bring peace to our souls.

If it doesn’t, let’s not become resentful and vengeful but make a plan for a smooth parting of the ways – gracefully and like adults! Don’t let’s damage each other for no other reason than we weren’t good at the game (of marriage!)

Speaking of games; the bedroom is a playground but before we engage in any contact sports chore-play is required.

An unclean and untidy home will never raise an interest……..let alone libido! A chore a day is reasonable but an excessive interest in cleaning means you’re less interested in me!

Marriage is a mental challenge and our brain circuitries are hardwired differently  – mine  has lots of wires (that often get crossed)and yours are in let’s connect the correct wire to the  correct box to help us think out of the box!

Our minds should meet at least once a week but this won’t be a “bored meeting”, more of an analysis of our husband/wife satisfaction levels together with a course of action to solve any contentious issues.

Our children are not mini-us. They are individuals who are counting on us to show (not tell) them about the highs and lows........let's lift them higher and never drag them down.

In-laws are outlawed - enough said!

Our marital landscape is a virtual country with border controls, penalties, beautiful sights, fine dining, rules (that can be bent not broken), incisive and positive thinking, progressive principles, breath-taking innovation and a strong work ethic.

Singapore style rules will apply – no litter and certainly no spitting!

When we’re out walking, hold my hand and tell me I’m “the one” and then I’ll know you’re a “keeper”.

Laughter  is a great way of getting more air into your lungs (and beats cross country running) but any time you laugh at me…….you could end up in stitches….in hospital!

Be a friend always and a husband when it matters.

When it feels as if  I’ve got 99 problems……………..don’t be the hundreth!

I may be right and I may be wrong…… gentle in your assumptions.

Kindness is not a weakness……..its powerful……so don’t kill anyone with it!

Love is a verb – so action is far superior to speech. But if you use words…….....make them tender or this will be a roller coaster ride to hell. Words can either make or break us!

Money - is funny.....and has a way of fooling us into believing that its the ONLY thing that matters. Let's make wise investments, share our bounties with the less fortunate but never forget that the greatest treasure is found in our hearts.

Most of all, remember I’m a woman…………so handle with love/intelligence/humour…....and a bomb disposal unit!








Monday, 9 March 2015

How to win friends and influence people......

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If Norman Vincent Peale is the godfather of positive thinking then Dale Carnegie was the 20th century father of motivation. When Mr Carnegie wrote his ground breaking book in 1937 some of his gems no doubt fell on stony ground but a few seedlings managed to take root. The masses quietly succumbed to the persuasive and uplifting language eschewed in his books that aimed to help people  develop confidence and build a stoic character. Mr Carnegie believed that financial success is due 15% to professional knowledge and 85% to “the ability to express ideas, assume leadership and to arouse enthusiasm among people”………and how right he was.

The rise of the celebrity culture and a new breed of air heads in the 21st century has sadly produced several pea brained motivators known as vloggers. Not all vloggers are bad and not all equal and  some even stimulate the old grey matter (I'll leave that discussion for another post). The dubious ones, however, invest in a  business model that consists of  85% self-aggrandisement activities and 15% of intellectual power. Forget integrity, we want followers!

 These are young people who are given a platform thanks to You Tube/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat to while away the hours telling us what they had for breakfast/lunch/dinner, how they clean their teeth, wash behind their ears, the latest nail varnish trends, their trans-atlantic trips to buy even more cosmetics to clog up their fresh faces, fashion that you might not want to be seen dead in and other fripperies that will end up in charity shops or landfills.

We are treated to virtual tours of their mansion/penthouse, Halloween/Christmas/Easter décor and even their charming pets get a look-in..... puppies, guinea pigs and goldfish……and all paid for by their sheep (and cheap) followers from the “ hits” (think  cash registers!) they receive on their YT channel.

I won’t name  names but it all seems a bit mindless, senseless and even worthless. It appears that the more cerebrally challenged you are, the sooner you’ll stumble across a get –rich-quick scheme that can hijack the brain cells of the masses (aided by ruthless advertising companies).

It’s a shame that most of these brain cells belong to teenagers whose mushy cerebral cortex is ravenous for  meagre intellectual morsels.   The daily (You Tube) diatribe also showcases the fanciful idea of presenting vloggers as regular people  when in fact they are on the sharp side of business savvy. Wannabe business men and women who'll one day be paraded on global rich lists!

A certain well-known vlogger recently published a book about their online world and made a ton of readies from that little deal. Later it was revealed that the “author”(in cahoots with a publishing company) had hired a ghost writer to birth this “book” into life. On can only presume that the vlogger’s mental capacity was limited and the thought of sitting down to write for long periods would have proved a pain in the proverbial a*** (and no self-respecting vlogger would want to reveal that they had made a dent on their perfect, little tush from engaging in anything like “meaningful work”)!

The other malady on display on their channel is their health issues. Hypochondria has now been elevated to new level whereby it is acceptable to vlog about your ill health and turn your angst into a money spinner. There’d be many more of us who could afford private health care if we shared (and vlogged) about our unique inabilities and hang-ups! The truth is that some vloggers are suffering from the lingering symptoms of affluenza. In a nutshell, they’ve had too much too soon – fame, money and time to kill and....... people to kill it with!!!

Affluenza is a hedonistic affliction. The affluent are anxious. The affluent are weak minded. The affluent are (sometimes) ungrateful. The affluent are influential vloggers.   They may even raise  anxiety levels by creating bling-envy for the trinkets they pick up in designer stores. How healthy is coveting that Tiffany diamond bracelet dangling on a vlogger's wrist?
Its internet highway robbery with a Midas touch; spinning straw into gold and turning your “views” into ready cash.

Vloggers don’t so much care for their following as much as they care about themselves (and their bank accounts). They’ve found a nice little earner funded by yours truly – the fans. Yes, talking about themselves is their number one preoccupation and I’m quite sure Mr Carnegie (or anyone worth their salt) would not approve. To the sane minority, watching vlog updates is about as interesting as watching paint dry (they vlog about that too!).

Vloggers are the winners and you, if you spend precious hours on their channels, are the losers. Vlogging time is money but yours is wasted. So get a life, don’t subscribe, keep your brain cells intact and find a fruitful past time that’s not like like v(f)loggng a dead horse!

If your role model is a thief of your mind and time then you need to re-evaluate life. Take some time out to read/watch/experience someone/something inspirational. There's a new role model for teens; a young owman who raises self worth and actually uses her brain to further humanity though she faced a bullet for her trouble. I won’t name her but she’s worth looking up on a search engine.

Fill your mind with good stuff and a return to humble values (not blowing your own trumpet!) is still the way to win friends and influence people….....positively.