Saturday 26 July 2008

Should we ever let go of our dreams?

I’m always fascinated by stories of people who have overcome all kinds of odds and gone on to do incredible things with their lives. Men and women who refused to give up no matter how many failures they encountered. Something inside of them wouldn’t let them give up; they KNEW that they would make it.

There are also equally incredible stories of men and women who had a dream and pursued it with everything they had; but somewhere along the line they came to the life changing realisation that they were supposed to do something completely different. It got me do you know when you need to fight past the obstacles to accomplishing your dreams, and how do you know when you need to wake up and ‘smell the coffee’? WHAT is the difference?

I think of Carmine Giovinazzo, a highly successful actor who plays the character of Danny Messer in CSI New York. His lifelong dream was to become a major league baseball player. He set the wheels in motion to pursue his dream, but a severe back injury put an end to it. During his recuperation he discovered he had a talent for acting. Guess what his first role was? As a baseball player!!!!

I’ve been 6ft 8ins tall since I was about 13 years old. While I was still at secondary school, a lady suggested that I try modelling. It sounded like a great idea; I had never even considered modelling. I remember calling the Association of Model Agents to find a good agency for me; an incredibly snooty lady answered and during our conversation I asked her if I would be able to model at 6ft 8inches tall. She exclaimed “certainly not, you’re far too tall!” I hung up, angry but not surprised.

Over the years I have made a number of attempts to start a career in the modelling industry. I joined a number of agencies, I had a few modelling assignments in Holland which didn’t work out, I posted my details on a site which specialised in modelling opportunities for very tall women, but I only ever got sleazy offers. In short, I ended up with zilch.

Last year I finally ‘smelt the coffee’ and re-evaluated the whole situation. For every Naomi Campbell there are literally thousands of others who don’t make it; not because they didn’t give it their all, but simply because the industry will not allow them entry and they realised that their dream of living the jet set lifestyle of a model simply wasn’t to be. Despite the fact that people have always said to me that I should be a model, I know it isn’t going to happen.

As I took stock of my life, I tried to figure out what path my life SHOULD take. I assessed all of my strengths and weaknesses. So far I know that I want to dedicate myself to a purpose/cause greater than myself. I love helping people. In my old secondary school I was great at giving advice. People would always come to me for pearls of wisdom, such as they were at 15 years of age! I also enjoy writing, when I can figure out what to write! This blog is the most exposure my writing has been given. I’ve written a few pieces for magazines which have been rejected. I must admit that, even though my writing tutors told me that I must expect A LOT of rejections, I did lose heart when it happened. But I’m back writing again, albeit it for free!! So far I cannot say I am passionate about writing, but it is a thrill to get an idea about something, write it up and post it on my blog. Who knows, it may develop into a passion!

But still...what is the point at which a person should reconsider whether or not their dream should be pursued? Some were highly successful while pursuing their dreams, but through one set of circumstances or another they realised they were to follow another far more rewarding path. With others, persistent failure to make it in their chosen dreams served as a sign that it wasn’t to be. Maybe the point at which a person knows whether or not to press ahead with their dreams or to change paths is an individual thing.

I don’t think that realising YOUR dream is over signifies failure or that you made the wrong choice – it just means that there is ANOTHER vocation for you to pursue. What do you think?

Friday 25 July 2008


I've been pondering a few things lately. This year more so than any other year in my life I have been studying my relationships with people. At primary school I had a friend, Joyce Quinlivan, who I regarded as my best friend. As little kids do, we had a cycle of fighting and making up again. When primary school was over, as we were not going to be attending the same secondary schools, we never contacted each other again.

In secondary school I made friends easily, but then as the inevitable fights occured, I found that I was viewed as being cause of the problem and left out of the group. For some reason everyone sided with the person I was having the issue with. I'm very analytical so I always looked at both sides of an argument. I could see where I over reacted sometimes and other times I could see where the other person was totally out of line. But for everything that happened, I NEVER started fights; I always responded/reacted to situations. I wondered why I could never see these incidents coming; the drama ALWAYS caught me off guard, they were so unexpected. But somehow I ended up the bad guy in the situation. This pattern has continued throughout my adult life. The last three years especially I have found that no matter how polite and friendly I am, I'm the one that ends up with no genuine friends. Friendship to me has become the Eighth Wonder of the World. I look in awe at people who so effortlessly make friends and end up having true heart relationships with people, and on earth do they do that??? It really does seem like a miracle to me.

Then I got to wondering whether or not I really am the problem. When you see a pattern of something there has got to be something in that, right? I remember someone once upon a time saying something to the effect that, if you have a problem with one person then that is normal, but if one person has problems with lots of people, then that person is the problem. I have come to believe that maybe this is true of me. Maybe the way I view myself and the way others view me is totally different. I see myself as friendly, outgoing, genuine and loyal. One person said to me not so long ago that I can be a bit full on, a bit much. She suggested that my rough edges needed to be smoothed out. But is that a problem? I'm not the only one with rough edges. But what standard did she use to determine that my edges are rough? I read a scripture in the bible which says: "He who desires friends must himself be friendly." But I think I am!!!

I often wonder if it is a cultural thing. The Brits and those who have been in England long enough to really take on the culture aren't renowned for their friendliness. When I was in the US I loved it so much because you could talk to people. Yes, people ACTUALLY would approach me to talk to me. I recall when I was in New York for the first time in 2005. If I looked like I was lost, within moments someone would come and offer assistance. I was never left needing help for up to 30 seconds; I am NOT exaggerating. In England you would be left standing for hours before someone would come and try to help you. Even in the bars in the US people would talk to me. In the streets I could strike up conversations; I'm sure that if I had been there longer, I may have made friends with some of these people.

Or is this a cop out on my part? Maybe I simply need to humble myself, and listen to all the things that people have said and deal with them as needed. But how do I know that the things that happened weren't to do with the other person's issues and not my own? If I change the things that a few people have said (some people have split on me and I sincerely do not know why) do I not run the risk of conforming to their idea and understanding of how I'm supposed to be as opposed to being who I really am, warts and all? Will I not lose my identity? Will I not just be a people pleaser? If I change one element of who I am to satisfy one group of people, another set of individuals will despise me for that element now being absent from my personality. What in the world is a person to do????

Answers/suggestions/advice warmly received!!

Thursday 24 July 2008


I had my tooth pulled out this month! Wow, what an experience; I definitely do not recommend it! I'd had a root canal done five years ago and had a crown fitted on what remained of the tooth. Unfortunately the crown wasn't fitted well so the germs caused my tooth to decay all the way to the root. My cheek was so swollen. Once I can figure out how to download the picture from my phone I will show it to you; I looked like a bull frog!! Once the swelling had gone down sufficiently after taking copious amounts of antibiotics, I was scheduled to have the tooth pulled at a teaching hospital. I felt a bit sad because the tooth had been a part of me for so many years. I don't know if I've always had it, or whether it appeared after my milk teeth had fallen out. I don't know if it was my wisdom tooth or my molar, but it was second from the back on the bottom left hand side!

I was a bit apprehensive at first when I went to the hospital. Ordinarily I would never let a trainee touch me at all, but I reasoned that as the person I would be seeing would still be in training and be supervised, they would be a lot more careful and thorough than regular dentists. I was right. I had a lovely Zimbabwean chap attend to me. He was very thorough and explained everything very clearly. Then after checking with his supervisor that everything was ok, we proceeded. First the dreaded injections. iii-yiii-yiiii! What a barbaric procedure! I had opted to just have the area where the tooth needed to be pulled numbed rather than having a local anaesthetic. The pessimist in me says that if I get put to sleep by injection I may not wake up again!! Don't worry, I'm working on it!!

When the area was finally numbed, which took at least four injections, he proceeded to remove the offending tooth. He had in his hand what looked like a screwdriver-like tool. I gasped and closed my eyes. The pressure on my mouth was tremendous. He was really digging away at something. I realised I was holding my breath and started to breathe again. As I did so I opened my eyes only to see him pick up what looked like a pair of pliers! My eyes widened in horror; was this guy for real???!!! He tried to latch onto my tooth and pull. This went on for what seemed like a long while. He tried to pull again and I made a strangulated sound and he stopped. I asked if it wouldn't be better, as per his previous suggestion, to cut my gum and remove the tooth as he seemed unable to pull it out. He said it would be better to do it the way he was attempting now, as the post operative stress of cutting the gum was quite severe. I said ok, but I didn't believe him. I could see that his male ego wouldn't allow him to take any other course of action. I imagined him saying something to himself like: "this piddly little tooth won't defeat me; I train at the gym three times a week for goodness sake!"

After a few more moments wrestling in vain with my tooth, he called over the senior dentist. They discussed what the problem was in dental slang, and then the senior dentist picked up the screw driver again. I was soon sorry that the trainee wasn't able to remove my tooth, for the senior dentist, with no regard for my comfort or squeamishness, commanded me to open my mouth wide, and proceeded to dig away with tremendous force with the screw driver, then when that mind blowing experience was over, he latched onto my tooth with the pliers and pulled it with all of his might. Have you ever watched weight lifting competitions? You see how every muscle in their body trembles when they are trying to pick up those seriously heavy weights? Well that is what was happening to the dentist! His arm was trembling like mad. I was making increasing louder strangulated protestations, when there was what sounded like a soft crunch, and then the tooth came away. I remember thinking, if having a tooth pulled is this traumatic, there is no way I'm having a baby!!