26 Dec

The Personality Test

Storyteller. Just one of the words the personality test result chose to describe me with. It also said I was friendly, impulsive, boisterous, cheerfully optimistic,  confident, a lover of people and chronically late. In addition I have a habit of repeating stories- which means this is only the first in a non-consecutive series of blog posts that would tell you I’m a Sanguine. This is what I discovered after taking a test to identify my temperament following my last post on Frenemies. I like the word. I’m glad I’m not a phlegmatic- simply because it’s one of the four temperaments that gets its name from ‘phlegm’. It wouldn’t have been a problem if I turned out to be one because hubby is, and I love him just as he is. Okay even if it was a problem, what could have been done?

Back to me. Sanguine. We talk about ourselves quite a bit and love to be the centre of attention. The word, for some reason fills my mind with images of a chocolate-skinned, beautiful, young lady wearing a floaty yellow sun dress, a red hibiscus tucked into her  hair. She’s twirling around happily on a beach in Anguilla. The sun sets in the distance turning the horizon into a bloody-red backdrop. She is completely carefree and filled with pure joy. She is me.

For me, Sanguine evokes tropical associations. As tropical as a glass of fruit flavoured cocktail with an umbrella and a slice of lemon. Not the astringent type that goes straight to the head. The type that is sweet and tart and makes you feel good on the inside.

I suspect #3 and #4 are sanguines. I will not make them take the test as they are young and I don’t want to define and lock them in a box for life, but they are talkative to the nth degree! Yes that’s a trait of us sanguines we can talk. It’s really odd as I was very shy and quiet as a child. I read a lot. Storybooks mainly. I have lived life as a white upper-class school girl, I lived as a black slave woman in the 1800s  and as a fairy with magical powers- all through the soul of books, but I don’t remember talking a lot. Then again maybe I did, I can’t remember, who cares?

The test is by no means absolute. If it was, the results would have told you more. Like the fact that I am so proud and thankful for my brown skin. And I worry sometimes that my favourite lip gloss, Oh baby by MAC will eventually be discontinued. Or that I long for the day that I’ll be able to pull off my dream hairstyle, cropped afro and blonde. It would have told you that the year Kenny G’s Breathless was released featured one of my best summers ever. It was also the year I must have started falling in love as J and I spent a lot of time together.  It would have informed you that I am an eclectic and can swing effortlessly from one topic to another in a single sentence, without stopping for air. My friend Justjoxy will attest to that.

It has been good for me, taking the test. At least now I know why  I’m the only one who thinks my wedding videographer is telling the truth. That he still has my video and just hasn’t gotten down to editing it- after 16 years. We are gullible and easily fooled.

And now I remember to hold my tongue when my friends call me for a chat, when they need a listening ear. I know to hold my tongue because I have a natural disposition towards ‘one-upping’ other people’s stories. I know.

It has helped me become more forbearing towards a certain relative, I won’t judge her for bringing so much attention-deficient issues to the table again.

I won’t be forcing hubby to get super excited about a gift I bought him or a new piece of information I found. Those poor dears don’t get excited over much, they are not like us. They are a peaceful bunch. Bless.

This isn’t my end of year spill. Sanguines like to have the last word so I’ll be back with my 2012 thankful list! Amen.

Here’s where I did the temperament test, there are four main temperaments andeveryone falls into one, or sometimes two. What’s yours? Do share!

22 Dec

Frenemies

Friendship isn't about whom you've known the longest...it's about who came and never left your side

Friendship isn’t about whom you’ve known the longest…it’s about who came and never left your side

This post was inspired by Charisse, we don’t see often but whenever we do we really jam! Shout out to you my sis!

So Charisse shared a link on her Facebook wall with the title Frenemies. I read it. And of course while reading I did a mental check of my friends to see who- if any had morphed into a frienemy.

A few years  ago I discovered a friend had become a frenemy, actually in fairness to her she had always been that, its just that Toks was so accommodating and a tad bit naive to call a spade a spade. The final nail was hit when she passed a comment that was hurtful (like most of her previous ones) and constructed to cause harm. And it hit its mark. I wrote this poem signalling the end of our relationship as we both knew it.

A frenemy is a friend that has morphed into an enemy but still retains the same qualities that endeared you to her in the first place. There are two classes of frienemies. Intentional and unintentional, or types A and B. The intentional frienemy as her title suggests is determined to hurt, pull you down or step on you to get to the top. To you she’s a friend, to her you are a rung on the ladder she’s climbing to the top of her game. She will not pull you up if you are down, but is gifted at using ‘words of encouragement’ which suggest you’ll always be where you belong- at the bottom, while she sympathises with and is there for you. She is very insecure- though it may not be very obvious, so she has developed a unique way of gaining security. How does she do this?  She takes yours. She grabs your pride and dignity and dismembers them right before your very eyes. Words are her tool, either through salacious gossip or by embarrassing you with cutting remarks in front of others under the guise of humour or innocence.

An unintentional frenemy is less aggressive  You are also a rung on the ladder, but she has no intention of climbing over you. The trouble is you ain’t going nowhere. You are the rung she holds unto to keep you from going forward in life. Ever heard the saying ‘misery loves company? She, my dear is Ms Misery. She is negative, whiny, forever discouraged. Type B frenemy thrives on sharing her woes and like a vampire bat, she wants to suck your strength. She does love you but she’s a user. When she leaves your presence you can tell because you feel drained, tired and a dark cloud of  despair and hopelessness now looms over you. Did I mention she’s a user? She not only drains your emotional strength, but possibly takes from you without ever giving. She’s manipulative and would blackmail you emotionally for gain.

Perhaps a  sub-class of the unintentional frenemy will be the one that loves you, loves your company but not enough to see you excel in life. They want to be ahead of you, always. When opportunities for growth arise they’ll keep it from you. These types do not share vital information just in-case it causes you to become successful. In this relationship, you may not have been told but you are in a race. You see them as a friend, they see you as a rival.

So how do you deal with frenemies? Without a doubt type A needs to be cut off. No ifs, no buts. They’ll never change. Talking to them is pointless, are you God?

Type B requires wisdom. It’s up to you if you want to cut them off, but if you choose to keep them, the phrase Know thy enemy is your weapon of choice.  You need to set boundaries, both emotional and physical.  Do not let them get into your head, don’t buy their sob-stories. Refuse to be moved, refuse to be manipulated. Play your cards close. More tactics can be found in The Art of War by Sun Tsu. If like me you can’t be bothered to read that epic book solely for the purpose of finding out how to deal with a ‘friend’, just cut them off.

A friend is none of these things. A friend sticks by you regardless. She is there for you and helps you get to the top. She is truly happy for you when you succeed, even if things are not perfect for her. I am blessed to have some really good friends, they know who they are.

Finally after my lesson on frenemies, I decided to look deep into my heart to determine if I had inadvertently become one. That voyage led me to do a personality test and the results blew my mind.

Another post, another day.

What’s your take on frenemies? Do you have any in your life?

14 Dec

Eavesdropping

EavesdroppingLast night found me at the hospital with child #4. He suddenly developed severe pain in both legs and couldn’t stand, let alone walk. I wasn’t in the least bit bothered as #2 had that right after a bout of cold when he was 2. At the same time one must not take chances. Off we went to the GP who looked perplexed (she was young and inexperienced) and she panicked, calling the hospital ahead to expect me; she sent me off with a letter to the children’s A+E explaining her ‘concerns over this odd turn of events’ I tried to reassure her that it wasn’t serious, then I realised I had unwittingly swapped roles with her and stopped.

At the hospital we had to endure a 4 hour wait, a situation that wasn’t helped by new patients arriving and then leaving before us. I decided to make time pass by eavesdropping on every diagnosis my itchy ears could pick up. Then my attention turned to the young mother of a newborn, no more than 3 months old. She was having a slightly heated conversation with the police, about 4 of them were with her. Then she disappeared into a room presumably with the doctors while the cops gathered outside the door of the waiting room where Toks was strategically positioned for more gist. They talked amongst themselves and I heard them say ”16 times in the last x weeks”. And I heard the phrase  Munchausen’s By proxy.  I vaguely remembered a nurse in the news about 10 years ago so I whipped out my phone to check on Wiki. Between the great Wiki and my hyperactive imagination, we concluded that this young woman had brought her baby to the hospital 16 times in the last 3 months, trying to convince the doctors that the baby was ill. When she was sent home again and again with no diagnosis she possibly deliberately harmed the baby- at least that’s what the police determined. It is a psychiatric disorder and the mum needs help- if this is the case. An hour later she left crying with her mother- but without the baby. The nurses where stifling their tears. The atmosphere in paediatric A+E was very heavy and sombre. For a moment the only noises were the mother’s cries and the bleeping of the monitors. The machines appeared to be busy minding their own business, yet silently conversing amongst themselves about how crazy the humans were with their strange problems. And how glad they were not to be humans.

About 20 mins later another woman left cradling the baby while receiving instructions from the police  She was either the foster mum or the social worker. My heart was heavy and I felt so sad for that woman. Of course I began to wonder how they determined that she was an unfit mother. What triggered the hospital to call the police? I took my first son to the hospital many times and even once took a carrier bag of  dirty nappies filled with green poo. That’s normal for a first time mum right?  Whatever! to you if you’re busy shaking your head! And what if they were wrong about her? I wondered if there were any false signals I gave out that would lead them to think I had some unpronounceable syndrome. The first time I brought #4 to the hospital I couldn’t remember his date of birth. We tried 3 different dates, all of them wrong and had to call hubby who found it hilarious; he comforted me by telling me I had a lot on my plate. 4 children plus him and running a business wasn’t an easy brew to swallow daily.

Later as I chit-chatted with the doctor, she asked the ages of my other children. Wahala. #1 just turned 13 but I’m still used to saying 12, so I said 12- er.. 13! Long and short of it I muddled up all their ages., I wondered if they’ll see that as a sign of a syndrome. I decided from now on, if I am mistaken with their ages, I’ll stick with my first story. They might be keeping a tab. I can just see it;

  • Appears uncertain about ages of her children- Frequently changes their dates of birth.
  • Takes bag of dirty nappies to hospital and forces senior doctor to look at each one.’
  • Doesn’t cry when child goes camping for a week. Evidence here
  • Uses unconventional threats to discipline children, see tongue-cutting episode and cancer story.

I said a prayer for that mum and had to drag myself out of the feelings of despair that overwhelmed me, there’s just too much pain in this world!

Thankfully we were sent home after a few hours. Earlier when I left for the hospital I was grumpy. I had a sore throat, most of the folks in my house were either dealing with or recovering from the flu or cold. I was unhappy about the icy cold weather. I was tired and felt drained from countless nights waking up to administer cough medicine, rubbing menthol on their chests, and forcing calpol down reluctant throats. But as we drove back home, I did so with joy and thankfulness. Joy that I had a home to return to, and I’m blessed with a sizeable family that’s mine. And of course that I don’t have any syndromes named after foreign Doctors or professors. There really is nothing quite like good physical health and soundness of mind, for that I am thankful to God. No doubt you are too.

Thank you for reading, do come back!