The Growing Pains of Change

Loving yourself isn’t always as easy as you might think. It entails holding others accountable to the same standards you hold yourself to. At times, it means letting people go.

Keeping everyone else happy, to your own detriment, is to fall short of the standard you set for yourself. It is to waiver, as you live to standards not your own.

It’s OK to command a level of respect, no less than the respect you afford yourself. As you set sail across the sea of your purpose and destiny, you need to do this so you can have trusted shipmates aboard and not mutinous pirates.




Relationships remind me of deserts. They are vast and leave the travellers in awe. They can also be unforgiving and, if you enter into them, romantic and otherwise, with no direction, personally, they’ll kill you.

Dotted throughout the desert are oases of opportunity that allow relationships to grow. You can have an oasis of trust, you can have an oasis of Love. There are many oases throughout the desert of relationship that, when plunged into, with the right person, bring refreshment to the relationship and prevent stagnation in the fervent heat of life.

Plunging into these oases requires the overcoming of fear and the acceptance of vulnerability. You lay yourself and your intentions bare, pretty much skinny-dipping, through situations and circumstance. When you arise from these situations, bonds are closer or, sometimes, severed. For the bonds made stronger, your position in the other person’s life is a lot clearer, which makes you more secure.


Romeo & Juliet: William Shakespeare

It’s been great to take on reading again, now that I’m getting the train to and from work. I started this reading challenge to get me going. My first book was Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding and today I completed the infamous Romeo & Juliet by… Do I even need to name William Shakespeare?!

Two things struck me as I read the play. The first was that I never knew Shakespeare actually re-told a previous story by a writer named Arthur Brookes and secondly I realized the drastic difference in reading this story again, now aged 37.

When I read Romeo & Juliet, going through school, I was learning. I had exams to take. Romeo & Juliet was part of a stepping stone in life. This time around, things were slightly different. I saw things that I’d never seen before. I understood the relationships between people better and it was easier for me to understand the position the characters played against the backdrop of their 1500s Verona setting.

Understanding the relationships between the characters on a level I can now relate to gave me a primary standpoint. Or, at least a question anyway. Would the story have been complete had Juliet shared a closer relationship with her parents?

As was custom of the class and period, Juliet was raised by a nurse. She was 14 and had been raised by someone who tested her social boundaries as well as her employers, with her dry wit. She also would have been focused on her job security. Between this and the aristocratic carry-on of her parents, Juliet was a product of convenience, necessity and arrangement. When she woke up from her induced sleep, in her family tomb, Romeo was the only real love she knew. To stab yourself takes a real dark place and real desperation. As the only love she knew lay dead, I can only imagine the emptiness she felt, understanding that we all crave genuine Love.

My key thought, having read Romeo & Juliet at this point in life, is on the education system.

Books, unlike TV screens, encourage thought. Reading through this play, I had to use my imagination to picture physical settings, personal attire, voice tones, physical appearance. Secondarily, I could also imagine the disparity of the audience. Where they would sit and how they would react to different scenes and characters. I pictured the masses under a cool 1500s London sky. I feel that I was able to take so much more from this book because of my life experience.

Books like Peter & Jane have their place and one must learn to read but how much knowledge is left untapped in the human mind because we force kids through school and homework from a young age, with the consequence of an incomplete life should they adhere to the set-up? I feel that kids should be allowed to be kids and enter into education later in life, when they are past that stage of kicking their legs under the table, labelled with ADD, etc.

I feel that we are so shaped, during our lives, to benefit the system, that we have become mere minions and totally miss the beauty and poignancy of books like Romeo & Juliet.

Chad Harbach: The Art of Fielding

“Each of us, deep down, believes that the whole world issues from his own precious body, like images projected from a tiny slide on to an earth-sized screen. Andthen, deeper down, each of us knows he’s wrong.” – 467

The Art of Fielding was an interesting read and it took me ages to finish it, primarily because time wasn’t available, but I’m taking the train into work now so I have about an hour a day where I can zone out of the human rush-hour traffic and immerse myself into someone else’s world!

For the first few chapters, I honestly thought I’d be reading a book about the rise to fame of an unassuming boy to a Major League baseball player. As I continued to read, though, I was thrown somewhat of a curve ball (see what I did there?!), as one of the key characters, Henry Skrimshander, makes his way to college, with a baseball scholarship. He navigates his way through relationships, a new, and sometimes strange, way of life and the pressure of expectation, as he rises towards stardom he doesn’t understand. Throw in a love (Lust?) triangle, a gay student/teacher relationship and other life-changing occurrences and you have yourself a good read!

What I enjoyed most, having not read a book this long for a good period of time, was how I could see parts of myself in most of the characters, allowing me to look at myself and also relate, as the book is written from each of their own perspectives at different points throughout the novel. Approaches to relationships, approaches to physical training and dealing with pressure, as well as uncertainty. Those with high levels of empathy will definitely enjoy this book and its parallel running alongside Herman Melville and Moby Dick.

The Art of Fielding brings an interesting perspective to life. What is the art of life? The truth is, there isn’t one. As individuals, ‘life’ will mean something different to each of us. It’ll be something different to each of us and, as such, how we venture from leaving the dugout to sliding through home base, if we make it to home base, is also different. The only commonality is the field we share.

Interestingly, we share this competitive field but what makes this game what it is, is that everyone understands the next. There is this love and mutual respect that not everyone taps into but, as The Art of Fielding shows, when we do tap into it, there is a smoothness and each person can experience their own positive outcome.


I Corinthians 2:9

I struggle with the patience side of things a lot. But therein lies my issue, I realize. 

I often find myself waiting on what has been prepared for me when my heart and mind aren’t wholly in the relationship. Just like any other relationship, the reward has more impact when the relationship is the focus and not the reward.

The reward is actually an indication that the relationship is going well. It isn’t merely part of a cause and effect process.


Sticks and Stones

When I was bullied as a teen, I recited this toxic mantra day after day after day. Sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud, sometimes from behind a smile and sometimes through tears. I wish I knew then what I know now.

As stress blocks developed in my head, I repeated this phrase in my head in a way that resembled banging my head off a brick wall. In the end, I came out alright. For others, the outcome hasn’t been so great. Some haven’t seen their outcomes. They aren’t here anymore…

Be careful with your words. Speak life and Love wherever you can, whenever you can. In the end, we will all be judged, for every idle word that leaves our mouths…