Libertine in Dreams

life in e-motion


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finding a new way

Love Is Unselfish

First Corinthians 12:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I’ve been soul-searching of late, and someone suggested I read some scripture for guidance and peace of mind.

I’m not someone who usually quotes from the Bible, but I thought I could do with a different approach.

My usual approach is one of healthy skepticism.  A devil’s advocate, if you will.
But as satisfying as it has been to gain the higher ground; to find myself in the right most of the time, there is a pervasive emptiness that keeps loving relationships and lasting happiness out of my reach.

So here I find myself, on a Wednesday afternoon, reading scripture online and trying to decide if I can bring myself to accept the wisdom therein.

The first one I connect to is one of the most well-known, and oft-quoted:
First Corinthians 12: 4-8.
My favourite part of it – “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Perhaps it’s because I currently find myself wrestling with emotions of that nature.
Of sacrifice, of belief in someone other than myself, of placing myself at the mercy of someone else.  Of enduring all things.

My Dad always used to say, no man is an island.
He would say this when my stubbornness prevented me from engaging in a healthy father-daughter relationship with him.  I could never just let it be, let him be.  I could never just leave anything alone or enjoy our time together.  I always had to be right.
I resented everything he said that was contrary to what I believed, as I believed what I believed and that was that.

Hubris.  It will fuck you up.

It’s taken me a long time to accept that my ego has brought me as much pain as it has opportunity.

And as I find myself surrounded by empty seats and lost connections, it’s been humbling, no, humiliating, to have to accept that if I want anything to change, it must begin with me.

So here I am, googling scripture on a Wednesday afternoon, trying to find something that connects me to something more than my beloved life truths.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Endures all things.

This is what I need right now.  To put my faith in what I have in my heart.  It’s real, and it comes from me.

I don’t know if it’s enough to repair relationships and friendships I may have lost, but it’s a good start for repairing my relationship with myself and those still left around me.
So here goes nothing..

 


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Livin’ on a SNPF prayer

Today’s Editorial in the Observer is entitled, “Time for S.N.P.F to lean a little”.
In it, Keni talks about struggling families left with no other options to put food on the table and pay school fees and cover their living expenses.  To his credit, he does mention that the Fund’s objective is to ensure that members are left with a decent amount at their retirement.

Whilst I don’t disagree with the claims that the cost of living is skyrocketing, nor do I deny that there are a lot of desperate people out there, I don’t agree with the sentiment that this retirement fund should be made available for people to use whenever they want.  Are you missing the point of a retirement fund?  It’s for RETIREMENT.
I don’t really get the desperation to use your retirement fund now instead of saving it for old age.  I mean sure, you could die early and someone else gets it.  Is it really so awful that your family ends up with your money?
Also, are you forgetting that half of your retirement fund is paid by Government?  Therefore it’s not just your money you’re complaining about and want to loan on, but the money of every single tax payer out there?
Yes, that’s right, I am okay with the reduction.  I am all for the SNPF retirement fund being used for my retirement.

Money and Me
I’m one of those people whose relationship with money goes like this: because it’s there, I will use it.
In all honesty if I was smarter with my money, I wouldn’t need a single sene of my NPF entitlement.  I’m not joking when I say that every single expense I have is completely predictable – even the faalavelaves.
It’s a good feeling, knowing that when I retire at 85 I’ll have a few bucks left over to hand out to my great-grand kids so they can give me hugs and bring me my glasses of negroni.  I don’t want to rely on my kids for everything because I intend to live with them and take over the master bedroom and en suite anyway.  I already know my kids will be fairly unsophisticated (blame their Dad, he’s from Aleipata) and I don’t want to have to eat their boring, flavorless suā-meals every day.  I want to enjoy flavourful, exotic foods from NZ and drink dusty and imported wines from Australia.  You know, the good stuff.
Whilst my savings account is looking a little dry right now, I intend to start a faalavelave fund this year so I always have some backup in the event an uncle, thirteen times removed, decides to kick the bucket and has demanded to be buried in marble and gold.
Even if I die before retirement, I have nominated people in my family to receive portions of my NPF fund.  No, not you Mum or Dad.  Your NPF fund is me.
I will also leave a small amount for the grieving widower I leave behind.  Just enough so he can buy himself a vasectomy.
I’m pre-booking it as well.  xoxo.

What’s your bloody point?
So I guess my point is that if you look at this issue closely, the problem isn’t the fact that SNPF have reduced the amount you can loan, it’s that members are using their retirement funds like chequing accounts – cashing in their entitlements to pay for faalavelaves and other expenses (like school fees).  I mean, just look at the Street talk section of the Observer today: 4 out of the 6 people who were interviewed said that they needed that money for faalavelaves.  And expenses like school fees are about as predictable as they come.  There isn’t a parent in this world who doesn’t understand about school fees.

So what’s the real problem here?
In my opinion, the problem is this mucky, muddy, boggy faalavelave life in which we are all so deeply and undeniably entrenched.
The way I see it, most people could get by with what they make until you start adding the pressures of church donations, funeral expenses, monetary gifts for weddings, yearly monetary gifts for the church/pastor/congregation, fundraising activities for schools/churches/villages and so on.  I mean, that’s just life isn’t it.  We take the good and the bad and we go with the flow where we can.  Our communities, our families are a huge part of life, and play a very big role in the quality of life that we enjoy – the freedom and peace we take for granted.  We are most fortunate.
The problem I have with it all is not so much in the act of giving itself, but with how much we are giving.  For most, giving more than they can afford is standard.  Sacrificing your own and your family’s needs in order to look good in front of your extended family, your church, your village is absolutely the norm.  I often hear criticisms of how shameful it was for so-and-so to bring only x amount of money to a combined collection for a faalavelave.  It’s that kind of ridicule that inspires what we call the fia kagaka and fia kele syndrome.
This saddens me greatly.  It’s all about perception, it’s all about the look.  There is no substance.  Only surface value.

Ummm, so what does that have to do with the SNPF retirement fund?
Plenty!  Aside from the financial burdens that encourage people to loan up to their necks, it also puts a lot of pressure on retirees who end up with nothing to live on.
I’m not suggesting that you completely ignore any obligations you have to your family, church and village.  No, not at all.
What I’m saying, and what many others have said before, is to give what you can afford!
The world never stopped turning because you didn’t donate your kitchen sink and a kidney to the church fundraiser!  Funerals will happen no matter what happens and irrespective of the amount of money you give. I learnt this recently when I went above and beyond with my own contribution to a funeral, thinking I was showing respect by overcommitting myself.  After the initial flush of pride when my name was called out, it went away and never returned.
Sayonara.  Kaput.  Gone with the wind.
Just like my money.
When the dust settled, I was left with a sizable loan to pay and a small ulcer developing in my stomach as my reward for being “a good Samoan”.
In the greater scheme of things, the amount I had given meant as much (or as little) as what the others had contributed. And rightly so.
If it’s meant to be given out of love, then the amount is irrelevant.

So how do you avoid ulcers?
I think this country needs a citizens advice bureau or some kind of organisation that specialises in helping people to manage their money.  Offering honest, frank and realistic advice on how to get out of debt; how to start saving for expenses like school fees a year in advance; how to budget your wages/salary; prioritizing expenditure; understanding the interest and fees charged by lending institutions like the banks and loan sharks etc etc.

I have absolutely no interest in being shackled to the perceptions of others in my family, in my church, in my village.. and what they deem is a fitting meaalofa for me to give.  None of you are paying my bills!

So yeah, I’m all for reducing the loanable percentage. Until I run for Parliament 😂😂😂😂


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New Year Tea

Happy New Year!

Am I the only one who wishes we could skip January altogether?  Simply because of the endless greetings and cheek kisses and vague enquiries about holiday activities and health.  No?  Okay…………… Obviously you I need an intervention, perhaps a late visit from the ghosts of virtues lost.

Oh boy and hasn’t this year already proven to be quite the temperamental little tart!  We’re only 1 week in and I’ve already had a wee promotion and possibly taken on about three times the workload and have officially given up cigarettes and Ohmygodthepressurethepressuresomeoneendit I have to say, I’m really looking forward to the challenges.
It’s going to be a wonderful opportunity to become skinny from stress a better version of me and really go for the creme buns jugular of life!

Work-wise, I’m now in charge of all media relations and press for the big boss. WHAAAAAT?
Yes.  I had that reaction too when I jumped in the Delorean and zipped back to 2009 and took another gander at what I was doing:  Selling insurance!  Five years later and I’ve somehow managed to find myself in a completely different career and with radically different prospects for the future.
This is my advice to anyone who will talk to me asks – It’s never too late to make a drastic sea-change in your life.  If you are unhappy and/or want to try something new –  go for it.  You never know where you will end up and you literally, I mean seriously literally, have one shot at the life you live.  Only one.
By no means is my life 100% peachy.  I could write an opus to the mischievous Puck about how much goes wrong in my imperfect and always challenging life, but it’s not about celebrating what’s wrong – it’s about working towards what is right for you and what you really want.  For myself, I have had to learn to be a little forgiving of myself and others – of my/their flaws.  You just have to keep going, keep adapting and move forward.
My ultimate goal?  To feel fulfilled with the work I do, and know that I have done something useful and helped someone.  I’m not going to say “If I helped at least one person, that is enough for me” – because I don’t feel that way.  I want to make waves in the lives of many.  I want to affect a bunch of people.  I want to mean something to someone.  I want to dominate the world.  I want to be happy and feel proud of what I have done.

Of course from time to time I have to remind myself that nothing is forever.  I mean, I could order the wrong dinner tonight and get sick and miss work tomorrow and get laid off because I wasn’t where I was needed the most.  And so one small decision (to order wontons) may change my life for the better [Dream sequence: I meet handsome, billionaire, philanthropist Doctor at hospital whilst getting treatment for bad wontonitis; Doctor Boo happens to be on a year-long, soul-searching voyage around the world. He is instantly smitten and offers to pay for lipo and keratin treatment for my dreadful split ends. He mops my sweaty brow with his batik bandanna and promises me the world without speaking.  We set sail after my bandages come off.  Destination = HAPPILY EVERY AFTER.]

Ok back to this realm.
So work is good so far.  I like it.  I’m looking forward to making some changes and running things how I would like to run things.  I am looking forward to bringing some 21st Century realness to my job.  I also expect to fall on my face a few times but that’s okay, so long as I keep my mother’s advice and always wear decent undergarments – I’ll be fine.  Get back up and start again tomorrow.  Isn’t that a marvelous gift?  The ability to start again 🙂

Hope you all have a wonderful 2015 x


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How attractive are you to men?

Having just read this delightful little number on brainpickings.org I thought I might make a few notes, to personalize it somewhat.

This is from Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts: A Time-Honoured Guide to the Perfect Party.

 

1. Do you bring the names of other men into the conversation to give yourself a sought-after appearance? 
Don’t. This may give a man a sense of inferiority — he is uncomfortable with you, and soon drifts away to someone else. It may make him wonder how much talking you do about him.
Subtext here is – put your ho flag down for 5 goddamn minutes.
If you have to sing your own praises then you’re not really that sought after.
There’s nothing sexier than someone who doesn’t make a big fuss over themselves.

2.  Do you wear clothes that make you a little more up-to-the-minute than the other women in your set?
Good — provided your taste is reliable and that the clothes suit you. Men may rant about the “crazy hat” but they swell with pride when their lady companions arouse admiring stares.
This is true from the Man’s perspective, although..don’t ever forget that clothes DO NOT make the person.
If you are beautiful on the inside, your inner radiance will take the centre stage. And not your faded tshirt or hand-me-down dress. The same goes for those who only buy expensive clothes because they feel it heightens their social status. If you are ugly on the inside, no collection of MENA or Tav dresses is going to fix the shadow that follows you. Smile bitch. It won’t kill you.
Don’t be afraid to wear whatever the hell you want to wear.
On a personal note, I wear whatever fits me, whatever my lovely cousins gift me, and buy whatever I can afford. My style is Roseanne Barr meets Elizabeth Taylor. A retired Liz Taylor, but still!!

3.  If you are asked to get another girl for a foursome, do you pick one obviously less attractive than you are?
You are unwise to do so. Get the most glamorous girl you know, and both men will be pleased.
Oh Esquire. How times have changed the popular meaning of words. (Ok getting my head out of the gutter now).
In this fertilisation race we are on from puberty, it is smart for a girl to employ all her wiles to ensnare a partner worthy of eggsploitation. Why should she make her goal that much more unattainable by inviting along a prettier and smarter rival? (Ps, a real rival is both pretty AND smart. Not one or the other because that’s not much competition when you really think about it. Please think about it).
Ok, ok, so the “right” answer here would be to take someone who would be the right fit for the second gentleman. If your own beauty and brains are not appreciated by someone in this foursome, then you probably need to find a new crew for that evening stroll. Or quit being a pimp.

4. Do you make a point of building up other women, even those you dislike, in discussing them with a man?
This is sound practice. But don’t put it on so thick that it sounds like a line.
If you are self-aware enough to know you can do this, then do it. If you aren’t, then you should probably steer clear of these kinds of discussions (here’s how you can find out – think of someone you HATE. Now list 5 positive aspects about that person. If you can’t, then you do not pass go here..move on to #5).

5. Do men marvel at your capacity for holding liquor?
A great mistake: it gives you a fast reputation and runs into money — the man’s money — besides.
I agree, but for another reason: no one should ever be proud of being able to drink a tank of booze and remain amongst the living. What exactly are you proud of? Your ability to destroy your liver/kidneys faster than anyone else? Well congratulations. You win impaired vision, poor decision-making and memory loss. The plus side is that if you make it out of your 20s and decide that you no longer feel excited about getting sozzled and possibly getting carried to your car every weekend, you’re probably going to be ok. Probably.
On a personal note, holding one’s liquor is not a quality I value in anyone and especially my mate. His ability to bring me to orgasm means more.

6. How many comfortable chairs are there in your living room?
At least two, I hope. No man can fall in love unless he has a chance to relax and he can’t if either of you sits bolt upright.
So this is why a love story never starts in a church pew.
Carseats are rather comfortable. Oh my how times have changed.

7. Do you keep men interested by hinting that later — not tonight — you’ll be really demonstrative?
This is a low trick and one that a surprising number of men see through at once. If you kiss a man, it should be for your own pleasure and not to reward him.
Again with the change in context and use of language. I suppose in 1950 this would have only ever meant a kiss, but modern times would suggest that this is a promise of a circle jerk or standup69 farewell.
Although I have to point out that I absolutely agree with the sentiment that a kiss should be for my own pleasure and not a reward for him. Very good advice.

8.  Do you make things easier for a man by suggesting that he climb into a car first, if he’s driving, or by asking him not to stand up when you come into the room?
This is an error — men know that they are supposed to show these signs of consideration to a girl and they respect her more if she takes them as a matter of course.
I don’t make it easier but I absolutely adore it when he opens my door for me. It makes me all warm and fuzzy and rather receptive to other suggestions from him, like “Let’s go for a walk up Palisi. We need to exercise”.
I also open doors for people and let them through first. Because I am not a rude dickhead who just pushes past people to get to the other side.

9. Do you ever embarrass a man by telling him he’s good-looking or has big muscles or is too, too intelligent?
Try it! Almost any man can stand almost any amount of flattery, however obvious, without embarrassment or surprise.
Agreed. They fucking love it.

10. Do you knit when you are having a cozy, fireside evening with a man?
For some reason, men hate to see a woman doing anything with her hands when talking to her. Undivided attention is best.
Because men are babies. Nothing short of a teat will shut them up.

11. Do you either play bridge or dance really well?
If not, take steps to correct this at once. You’re better off if you do both well, but one talent is mandatory.
Twerking does not apply. Unless you want the rest of your life to be a series of twerking performances at family weddings and reunions. I suggest you learn a siva Samoa.
Or learn to play bingo. Acceptable in almost all, if not all, mainstream religions and nothing says God-fearing womanly purity than gathering weekly at the viper’s pit and gambling for Jesus.

12. Are you so beautifully groomed that you make an average man feel like a lout when he takes you out?
Fine. Men are extremely critical of any imperfection in a girl’s neatness. If he feels like a lout once, the average escort will take pains to be better-dressed himself the next time.
Completely agree. Don’t ever drop your standards to make him feel comfortable and if he is critical of your appearance, or tries to tell you how to dress, then he really isn’t happy with you just as you are. You are something wonderful.

13. Do you, when you have first met a really attractive man, clinch your future acquaintance by some polite variation of “Come up and see me sometime”?
It often helps out on the occasions when the man is too shy to make the first advance himself.
Just make sure he’s not currently sharing a bed with another woman, especially if it’s his wife. A really attractive man is usually being clinched by multiple other advanced variables.

14. Do you keep your friendships warm by chatty calls to your men friends at their offices?
This is fatal.
Until the jealousy gene is eliminated, this is fatal.

15.  Do you use artificial conversation gambits like “What movie would you choose if you had to see it every week for a year?” to start talk with a shy dinner partner?
A very good plan — someone has to start the conversation and a question like this can keep it rolling for quite awhile.
Thinking of a conversation as a gambit should be left to investigative journalists. Just be yourself – if that means you’re an asshole, then so be it. But make sure you smile. Men love it when you smile.

16. Do you save yourself wear and tear by not troubling to entertain men bores?
A grave mistake. Bores have their uses since a clever girl can practice her conversation on them, with nothing much to lose. Besides, they often have attractive friends.
This is called Friend-Zoning. Please don’t be a prick-tease. Be nice and what not, but don’t lead someone on or use them to get to their hot friend. Only fucktards do that. How would you feel if your crush used you to get through to your best friend or sister? Sucky feeling aaye.

17. Do you suffer from indecision when ordering dinner or drinks in a restaurant with a man?
This maddens them — learn to make up your mind rapidly.
Take your time. Order what you want. Chances are, the meal will be the highlight of the night if he is going to get mad at you for trying to figure out what you want to eat. Besides, you will be so hungry after starving yourself all day to look nice for your date. Fuck it. You deserve a good meal.

 


8 Comments

Shane

I grew up in a strange little family, on a small little island, with a parental unit that has proven ‘Dysfunction’ is indeed, corporeal.

My parents are artists.  I say artists because they are the archetypes of struggling, starving creative folk – the definition of artiste right?
My father is what I would call a jack-of-all-musical-trades.  He grew up privileged.  That saying about the silver spoon? Yeah, it goes hand in hand with his upbringing.
Born to a beautifully flawed yet unmatched couple, he was like the Polynesian Gerber baby – a perfectly adored prototype of a child.
Blue eyes, curly light hair, fair skin color.  All the hallmarks of what beauty is to silly Samoans who continue to value that fair skinned look.
He was like a prize – a trophy for all to marvel over and covet.  To say he developed a superiority complex is an understatement.
I have never known a man who thinks so highly of himself and his ability to do ANYTHING.  This has been proven abundantly clear with his numerous forays in to crazy schemes and ever-changing business ventures.  I don’t ever remember my father having a stable ‘job’.  He was/is always on the go.  His mind is like an overpopulated beehive, always buzzing, always moving, forever pollinating, always creating and never stopping.

Oddly enough (or maybe not), I find this to be a wonderful quality.  His faith and belief in himself is an admirable and enviable trait that I wish I could tap, package and mainline.

Music is his true passion.
It’s what defines him.
He is a drummer.  He has been playing since before I was born.  I believe that was part of his charm re: courtship with my mother (It was a COURTSHIP, and I’ll go to my grave ignoring the fact that she may have found him to be a hot musician… *gag*).
Even now, in his 50s, he is still playing.  I am always proud when I watch him play, and even though I am almost 30 and I have long dismissed any association of ‘coolness’ when it comes to my father – in those rare moments I find myself in awe of him.

He is undoubtedly a narcissist.  The world revolves around him and his needs.  He will bulldoze through anything in pursuit of what he wants and has definitely not spent the requisite amount of time with his children in order for us to be productive and well-rounded members of society (so says the manual.. we continue to disprove this theory).
Although we have all managed to inherit some of his qualities, I am happy to say that none of us are truly, really like him at all.  This is not meant to sound cold, but just a fact.  This world can handle only one Shane.  Truly.

Growing up in Samoa, he was a tough disciplinarian.  The word cruel often comes to mind.  There would be no extreme beat-downs, but when he did dish out the punishment – his creativity really came in to play.  Sometimes it was mental, sometimes emotional and of course physical.  One time it included feet-kissing and bowing.  He was a unique master that’s for sure.  I won’t go in to this too much because, frankly, almost every Samoan has a story or twelve to tell of their mother and father laying down the law.
Some of you may be wondering how I can so casually divulge these things.  Well, I’ve come to realise that I’m not going to hide shit anymore.  Pride is a bitch, and I don’t want to be her slave anymore.
Besides, I may be ashamed of him at times, but I accept him and all his MANY MANY MANY flaws.  He is one half of what made me, and to deny it would mean denying a part of my core being.

My father can be wonderful, and he can be ab.so.lute.ly terrible.  At times I wonder how someone is capable of going through life completely oblivious to the pain he can cause.. other times I thank God for allowing me to learn from a man who has such an interesting and alternative mind.

One of my fondest memories of him include running off to the bookshelf to get the next Encyclopedia for him.
“Renate, go get daddy F.”  Several months later, “Honey, go get daddy G.”  You get the picture.  I cannot say for sure whether he has finished an entire set (although if I asked him now, he would undoubtedly say “Yes of course I have”).
I believe I inherited my love of reading from trying to emulate my father’s voracious appetite for knowledge.
I always had my nose in a book, and my sister and I would spend hours poring over the Encyclopedias, medical texts and whatever else we could get our hands on.  No one in our family was a doctor so I’m not really sure why we had so many medical textbooks – the section on STDs was a favourite.  You’d think I’d be more cautious about unprotected sex, but I guess reading doesn’t automatically guarantee being smart.

A fast-talking salesman with an incredible insight in to the way the human mind operates.  He still baffles me to this day with his perspective.  At a certain point, a child will start to think they are smarter than the parent.  I doubt I will ever get there.
I don’t always believe what he says, and more than once his ‘facts’ have turned out to be an extended director’s cut of the neighbourhood surrounding the truth – but with age I have come to accept most of what he says with a grain of salt and he has an uncanny ability to predict the dismal future.  I kid you not.  He can see what bad is to come of something, and 99% of the time he has been right.
There are still struggles, on my end, to stomach much of what he says and what he does.  Every so often I find myself unable to retain my composure and I let loose.  It’s those times I realize that he is growing old, and will soon die.  That’s hard to accept, and as much as I might wish for it prematurely during bouts of anger and hatred, I know when the time comes – I will be a broken person.

I remind myself that he really doesn’t have many more years to go, and after reminding HIM of that, I remind myself again of how I DO NOT want what little time I have left with my father to be wasted on bickering, and hateful comments.

So I reach in to my sagging, leaking bag of memories and recall the little things that makes me love him so.

I remember him being the parent who always woke up in the middle of the night, or earlier hours of the morning, to rub tiger balm on my chest when I was ill and fret over me until I went back to sleep.
I remember him triple checking where I was going, who with and what I was going to be doing when I wanted to go out with friends.
I remember him taking the bus to the supermarket in Grey Lynn by himself to get our groceries , when we first moved to NZ and had not yet bought a car.
I remember him telling me to remember who I am, and where I come from. “If you don’t know where you come from, if you don’t know your family – you are nothing and one day someone will TELL you who you are.”
I remember him saying noone will love me if I don’t love myself.

A smattering of reasons I love my father.  I love him is because I can’t not love him.
It’s in my blood, and I do not hold such a bond lightly.

So what is the purpose of this?  I don’t know.  I felt compelled to write something about him.  It doesn’t come close to encompassing what he is like, and what he has done.. but it does describe my relationship with him as closely as I possibly can right now.
It’s Love/Hate.  It’s life as a daughter of Shane.

RR
x