Family vs Partner

I’m writing this while waiting for my better half to shower. We’re in France on holiday. I usually don’t have much time to write while on vacation, apart from writing personal observations in my travel journal, however I missed writing, so I decided to turn a bit to my blog now, since I have the time.

I was randomly remembering an old article I had replied to some time ago. Someone was asking advice on whether she should prioritize either her family or her partner, since they did not get along well together. I guess most people would reply that family are there to stay while partners come and go. Thing is, I don’t think about it that way. Of course, the best thing is always to try and find a way for everyone to at least be civil to one another, especially if these are all people you care about. However, one thing one always has to remember is that it is a fact that no one gets to choose his/her own family. Family is something that willy nilly, you are born into. Rather like work colleagues. You just find them there and can’t choose them based on likes and dislikes, on their kindness or a nice personality.

A partner on the other hand, is someone you choose to spend your life with out of all other possible choices and after growing up as a person and learning what and who you actually want in your life (unless you’re desperate to get married before you’re 35 or something, in which case as long as the person’s not a serial killer, anyone will do. Lol).

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So, moral of the story, with a partner you go into something with your eyes wide open and because you choose to, not because that’s how things got played out.

In the long run of course, be they family-members, partners, friends, or whatever, any kind of relationship can fizzle out. People drift apart, change, or plain out decide they want different persons in their lives, and one cannot take anything or anyone for granted. Thing is, as long as it’s all about choice, it is important to prioritize those who, through their actions and behavior show that for them you are a priority in real fact.

So, there you have it. It is important to know who you are, what you want from life, and who you want to share it with, because in the end, time is finite, and it is the most precious thing we have.

And remember, real life is not lived on social media. It is not about how many likes you get, it is not about people’s approval, not about appearances and not about money. Real life is about making the most out of every day, learning and growing as a person, and most of all, it is about love, art, and personal evolution.

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Now my partner is finally ready and off we go! A bientot! ☺☺

 

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Runner

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A moment
frozen
crystallized in time
one of a multitude

Icy eyes
what have you seen?
Blue and cold
lost passions, hidden possibilities

A face 
you were smooth
once
before the withering storm

We are all blank canvasses
waiting for life to fill us
waiting to die

The rain falls
carrying with it
all those moments
all those memories

Lost 
once our eyes close
Gone
without an echo

Who are you?
Did anyone ever really know?

© M. A.
29.05.2018

Love vs Selfishness

It has been said that the way you treat and take care of an animal is a direct indication of the way you treat and communicate with human beings. Unfortunately, there are many people who mistreat and have no idea about how to behave towards animals, let alone the human beings around them!

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Here are some tips to consider BEFORE you bring a pet you are supposedly aiming to be responsible for, into your home:

  1. Adopt DON’T buy!

If you really love animals and want one to love unconditionally, his pedigree/how much he’s ‘worth’/where he comes from, shouldn’t matter. Don’t bring a pet into your home if all you want is fodder for social media ‘likes’, or to appear ‘cool’, or different. Better to adopt a dog or a cat who has no one to love him and care for him, rather than buy one from a breeder who, most probably, will be taken care of anyways. 

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In this regard, there are many options to look at in Malta, and many cute animals in need of help, love and attention. To name but a few organisations and NGOs who take care of such strays, there’s the AAA (Association for Abandoned Animals), Noah’s Arc, The Island Sanctuary, the MSPCA and many more, since unfortunately, there are many such abandoned animals in Malta.

2. Make sure you have the FUNDS to take care of your pet properly

BEFORE deciding to take another household member, it is imperative for you to take stock of your financial situation. Seems like common sense doesn’t it? And yet some people take in one dog, then another, then a third, and then a fourth, before they realize that ‘oh look, the dent in our budget is too big and we cannot afford this – let’s let some of the dogs go’. Don’t be selfish. Be an adult. Think about how you will finance your family before you increase it (and this goes for people who decide to have kids too actually).

3. Make sure you have the TIME to take care of your pet properly

If you are adopting a dog, cat or another pet to love and care for, money is surely not the most important thing you need to have.

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Some time ago, a friend asked me why me and my partner do not have any animals in our home since we love them a lot. My reply was that since we are out of the house for 8 – 10 hours almost every day, not to mention the fact that we love to travel and do so randomly 5 – 8 times a year, it would be very selfish of us to adopt a pet, only to pour it into someone else’s lap whenever we decided to go abroad. Not to mention the fact that he would end up spending more than three-quarters of his life alone! And all this for what? So that we could cuddle him a couple of hours every day? So that we could have someone waiting for us at home when we got back?

Some people actually do use pets in this manner. It may be because they are lonely, or because they are sad, because they live alone, or because they feel like they have no friends. They sign up for the responsibility of pets, when in the long run all they want is something to fill in the emptiness of their lives, even though this would mean that the dog or cat got to live most of his life alone in an empty house. THIS is selfishness.

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And then what happens when they find a partner and are no longer alone? What happens when their family remembers them, they find new friends, or they get a new hobby? Does their love for their pet continue unchanged, or do they just realize that he is no longer needed and try to find a way to chuck him out of their life as if he were a broken toy? That is NOT what love is. And definitely NOT the behavior of responsible adults. How can you abandon someone whom you’ve chosen to love and care for? Unless of course, he was always just a prop you were using for other purposes in the first place. And that is how ‘stray’ dogs and cats are made… 😦 

4. Make sure you have the LOCATION and SPACE to take care of a pet

Can you believe it, some people bring animals into their home as ‘companions’ only to realize that they don’t want them after all… because they ‘ruin the furniture’?! Seriously? First of all, how come you didn’t think of this before? And secondly, if your furniture is more important than a living breathing creature who loves you and wants to be with you, well then, you are not worthy of having one! Again… SELFISHNESS

And what about those who abandon their pets when they decide to relocate to a new and more expensive house? Again, ‘because we don’t want our new furniture to be ruined’? Wow, that’s love for you! Ugh!

If one decides to be responsible for a pet, that should be for life. You can’t chuck a cat/dog out of your house simply because you realize his presence has become ‘inconvenient’. Would you do that if you had a child and suddenly realized that playing mummy or daddy was not what you thought it would be? 

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So, yes, I feel very strongly about this subject, because I genuinely love animals and always have. Ever since I was little, no animal of mine has ever lived in a cage, and I hate leashes with a passion. Currently, I realize that it wouldn’t be fair to bring an animal to live with me and my partner because our lifestyle simply means that we cannot give any pet the necessary time and attention he would deserve, so instead of selfishly getting one anyways, we just don’t.

Some people would say that at least if you adopt a dog, he’d be living cozily in your home instead of with a multitude of other strays at a sanctuary – but then again, better for said dog to be adopted from the sanctuary by a loving family who can actually spend quality time with him and take him out rather than him spending his days alone in an empty house.

After all, this is what love is all about. Thinking of the other, instead of only about yourself. Which is why, coming back to the argument I mentioned at the beginning of the article, I truly believe that the way you treat your pets, shows the way you also treat people. If all you think about is yourself, then there is no actual relationship to speak of, be it a dog or a human being. Pets, unfortunately, don’t have the mental faculties or physical capacity to open the front door and walk out of your life if they are fed up with your selfish behavior. Humans do. 

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Not a Boring Post

Yesterday I was talking to my new colleague about an ex-colleague, who had once been her boss (she became her boss after leaving my office). At the time when this person still worked with me (a couple of years ago now), she wasn’t my boss though. Thank all the gods. Thing is, she was one of the most self-centered, obnoxious, hypocritical people on earth. Her low-self esteem, which she transformed into emotional bullying, did not help either. I spent 3 years working in the same office with her, and I must admit it was one of the most stressful times of my life.

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While talking with my new colleague, I vented a bit and told her stuff I had never told anyone except my partner about the way this person used to try and manipulate people. Not to mention all the ‘stories’ she used to tell me pertaining to her sexual and dating escapades, which only served to fuel my antagony towards her. Now let me be clear, I am very open minded and never judged any of her actions – the thing is, when you are in a professional setting, you just shouldn’t talk about certain things with colleagues! Period! This really made me uncomfortable with her, especially since she used to get into graphical details – very PERSONAL details, which I really didn’t need or want to know!

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When I described this one-sided relationship to my new colleague (because I for sure NEVER shared such intimate stuff with her in return), she was astonished. ‘No wonder you couldn’t stand working with her any more! I don’t even tell such personal details to my closest friends, let alone talk about them at work!’ That was her reply, and I was glad to see that I was not the only one thinking like that.

Yes some colleagues are also friends, but there is still a line which must never be crossed.

By the way, NO she particularly wasn’t a friend – in fact professionally, she was actually a fraud. She never did any work, came to the office late and left early, and even tried to get ME to do her work while taking all the credit. And THAT is where I got really fed up, told her to fuck off, and refused to work, talk, or interact with her in any way. I had been fed up with her for a long time, but I am not the kind of person to fight at the drop of a hat, so I try to reign myself in and calm down… HOWEVER when I realize that a person is hopeless and can only be of detriment to me, I tend to categorize her in my mind as a ‘waste of time’, and just move on. And when that line is drawn, I never go back, and good riddance (it’s the kind of thing which happened with most of my exes).

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The line was not drawn when she told me more than I (or anyone would have) felt comfortable with, but since she was a work-mate, it was drawn in relation to her work attitude. Having her moaning and groaning about her ex, and her one-night stands every bloody day for three years, did not help either lol. For me, personal and intimate stuff, particularly that pertaining to relationships, is PERSONAL. Meaning that since for me, it is special and magical, I do not share it with anyone and everyone who comes along – and this is why THIS blog is not a romantic one by the way. I rarely, if ever, mention my soul mate and partner, not because he is not always there, present in my life and a priority – of course he is, BUT because, in fact, my life with him is MINE and I do not feel comfortable sharing it on a blog. There is plenty much else I can write about anyways, so I don’t need to resort to that. 

Not to mention that I don’t want to be repetitive or boring (which so many blogs unfortunately, become after a while).

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Anyway, moral of the story – if there’s a colleague who’s bothering you, don’t wait for three years to set her in her place and show her that you want your relationship in the work place to be strictly professional. And this, of course, does not only apply to work colleagues!

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My Secret Fear

Are you afraid of old age?

Ever since I can remember, it was not the thought of death which really terrified me, but of actually growing old. The thought of not having complete control of my body, and not being able to function in a self-sufficient manner, has always been a nightmare. I hate depending on others and being a burden, and the knowledge and certainty that someday, this time will arrive (if I do not die young that is), has always terrified me.

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When I was nineteen, my grandfather, who was a writer, a poet, and a very intelligent man and whom I loved very much – had a stroke. He ended up in a wheel-chair, was not able to move the left side of his body at all, suffered from incontinence, and had to be lugged about, washed, cleaned, and taken care of by his two middle aged children and their spouses in order to survive. Day and night. Every day. For years. He begged us to let him end it. Twice, my mother found he had dragged his wheelchair to the window and was trying, ineffectually, to jump. Since assisted suicide is illegal in Malta, and since we didn’t want to let him go, we aborted his attempts. He suffered immensely for two years. And then, he had another stroke. A worse one, which caused him to actually forget who we were. I don’t even want to go into the agony I felt when my grandpa, who had been so independent, witty, and wise, who had survived the war and taught me to love books, reading and knowledge – didn’t even know who I was.

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Anyways, after four and a half years of terrible pain, my grandpa died. I know that for him, this was a relief.

My grandma, his wife, is currently over 80 years old. She suffers from severe arthritis, can hardly walk, is almost deaf, and blind from one eye due to a botched cataract operation. She is lonely and misses my grandpa a lot. All she does is cry, swallow her pills (she has many of those), and pray. I love my grandma, but I know she is waiting for death. And that terrifies me.

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It terrifies me because when I look at her, I see myself, as I will be, in some fifty or so years. It seems far away now… but time is short and flies quickly… and someday, that part of my life will arrive…

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It does not bear thinking about…

 

Goodreads Challenge – NAILED!

One of my favorite websites, Goodreads, organises a ‘Challenge’ at the beginning of the year. Basically it asks all readers to set a number of the books to read by the end of the year, in order for one to keep track of his/her reading acumen.

Unfortunately, gone are the days when I had the time and opportunity to read at least 7 books a week (thick dreamy ones not thin ‘young adult babble’ ones). Now I have a demanding full-time job, house chores, a live-in boyfriend and many many errands. HOWEVER I did try to set a reading challenge anyways, at least to see how far I had fallen from my previous pinnacle.

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So, my target was to read at least 50 books (almost one book per week – terrible I know). The catch is this – I was not to record any books RE-READ!! Some books, I fully feel, are like good old friends – one misses them at times, and ends up re-reading, re-living and re-meeting all one’s friends at least once every couple of years. Taking into account how many good books I’ve read in my life, it’s obvious that I do a lot of re-reading. A LOT. So, the target of 50 books for 2015 actually meant 50 NEW books and it also meant that I was conscious that I would actually be reading many more books than this.

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Well guess what? I reached the 50-bookmark yesterday, during the second week of October. Considering that one must keep in mind the many life-changing and time-consuming things that happened this year – some examples; moving in with bf, buying a house, renovating said house, chasing after plasterers, painters, etc, moving for the second time this year into said new house, and going abroad twice) AND also re-reading tons of old friends, I am really proud of myself. I have fallen from my Tower of Incredibly Insurmountable readership BUT I have not fallen off the grid. There is still hope.

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And for those who ask, NO I did not stretch myself to the max trying to reach this goal. I did it naturally and effortlessly. I simply read when I wanted to (which is all the time), when I had the chance, and wasn’t sleeping/eating/consorting with people.

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What I am going to do next is note how many new books I will have read by 31 December 2015 in total, and then set a new target for 2016. Resolving to make time for old friends like Gaiman and Pratchett, Rothfuss and GRRM, but also to read new stuff from new authors, whenever I can 😀

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What is Flash Fiction?

My most recurrent problem with writing has always been that of writing too much. I guess there are just too many words flittering and skittering in my brain. This was an issue when I wrote essays at school (they were always too long), when I wrote my Bachelor of Arts dissertation (which exceeded the word count set by the University board) and when I wrote my Masters dissertation (which I spent months trying to shorten, while most of the other students couldn’t make ends meet).

This may sound like me bragging – but it really isn’t. When it comes to writing, I believe this consists of three parts. First, one must be a reader. One simply cannot be a writer, if one does not know the world one is delving in. Most importantly, how can one handle the written word, if s/he hasn’t encountered different examples of how it can be used again and again? Secondly, technique (which is where flash fiction comes in). A writer should be able to navigate through the sea of words and meanings, and steer herself clear in order to arrive wherever she wants to go. This means that if she sets out to write up to a certain word count, she must know how to economize and use her writing skills in order to do just that, and stop the extra flow which is mostly only frills.

Thirdly, of course, a writer sees the world like no one else does. She sees the world with a thousand eyes and none. This is what is called ‘imagination’ by some, ‘inspiration’ by most, and ‘dreamland’ by others. But that, of course, is another story.

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Flash Fiction, also called Micro-fiction, are short moments in time, or very short stories, described by a writer in a few words. Flash Fiction is usually something which happens in one single act. Opinions differ on how long a flash fiction story ‘should be’, there being markets for works as short as 100 words, up to 300 words, or even as long as 1,000 words. There are also many competitions, especially online, for writers of flash fiction.

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Flash Fiction is fun, economical, easy to write, and is really good for ‘flexing’ one’s mind, so to speak. It is also quite good for exercising one’s stream of consciousness approach. Having limited time, but an infinite amount of words waiting to come out, I have decided to post some of my flash fiction stories from time to time, and maybe letting my ‘dreamland’ suffuse my waking moments… and make them more interesting.

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I Read therefore I AM

Each year, goodreads (which is an excellent website for keeping track of what you read, not to mention reading comments and opinions about books) organizes a GOODREADS CHALLENGE in order to promote reading and show readers how to value their reading time more. It’s pretty simple, you go on the website, you click on the challenge link on the homepage, and you just set a target for yourself. For example, my target is to read 50 books by the end of the year.

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To be honest, I am kind of ashamed of myself. 50 books??? I used to read a book a day!!! SERIOUSLY, my reading quota is one page per minute! And no I AM NOT JOKING! I m not a bookworm, I’m a book devourer.

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Yes, I used to read 1 book a day, and I’m not talking about paltry 200-pagers here, no ‘young adults’ claptrap for me, I’m talking about the 400-600 epic fantasy tomes by the likes of Terry Brooks and Brandon Sanderson. The emphasis, however, is on the USED TO. I USED TO have the time… before I started working full time, before I started living in my own place, and before I got in a serious relationship. Life-wise, these changes are obviously very important for me as an individual, however the VERY UGLY TRUTH is that everything comes at a price, and the price of monetary self-sustenance, freedom, and love, is having less time to read. Before, I used to read a book a day, now I’m fortunate if I can manage a book per week 😦 And I try sooo damn hard too! I read while I’m on the bus, I read during break at work (when I have any), I read while I’m on the toilet, I read before I go to sleep, I read while my bf plays ps4, I read in the car when there are longish drives… and still…

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So, to be on the safe side, taking into account evenings out, festivities, holidays abroad (already booked and payed for 2), sickness, etc, and that one year has 52/3 weeks, I set my target to 50 books this year. *sigh* I want to bang my head against the wall whenever I look at that in writing, but there it is.

I wonder, will I manage to surpass that? Am I being too pessimistic? I’ve already finished two books since the beginning of the year, but to be honest, the first one was already half done when it started, and the year started with a long weekend too, so I had quite a bit of free time. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll be posting again about it in 3/4 months saying I had been too hasty in my 50-book bet, and that I had already achieved it. Fingers crossed!!

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Tick Tock

Mosquitoes nattering
Jabbering, whimpering
                                                            Gaze at the mindless hypocrites                                                             
and move on
Waste the time
Feel the minutes slither by
Your life is slowly putrefying
Withering away in the dankness
Slowly. Very slowly.

More’s the pity…

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