Monday, March 27, 2017

All The Lessons

I remember the day a very close friend revealed that her charming, suave long-term boyfriend had been abusing her physically, verbally and emotionally. My first reaction was disbelief. "Not my strong, powerful, opinionated friend. She is not the type of woman who would be in an abusive relationship," I thought to myself. And then I experienced pure rage and anger. Is she okay? How could he even think about abusing her? How could I have missed it? How could he have convinced me that he was a good guy?

That was a while ago. She has since dumped him, cut up his clothing, had him declared persona non grata in our social circles and moved on to much better things.

Louise Carver recently released a new studio album called Hanging In The Void. I have huge respect for her as a lyricist and she knows her way around a melody. Her new album features some of her strongest writing to date. One of the songs that stood out for me was 'All The Lessons' - a song about a heartbroken woman escaping a relationship with a cruel man who wasn't very nice.

Knowing that Louise is an artist who sources inspiration from all aspects of her life, I just assumed she was writing about a friend... or inspired by a book she had read or a movie she had seen. I never imagined that the strong, confident, determined woman I know would have fallen into the clutches of a narcissist, so I was blown away when she bravely shared her harrowing story in the latest issue of Glamour. She spent three years in a relationship with a man suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Like all people with abusive traits he turned her life upside down.

Over the years I have discovered that many of my friends and family members have fallen victim to abusive partners and narcissists. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, many of them carry shame and guilt - even after they have escaped these relationships - and don't speak out about their abuse.

The Lessons:

1) There is no shame in being abused. Anyone can be abused. It can happen to your friends and family. It can happen to you. Chances are that someone you know is being abused. Don't fool yourself into believing that it will never affect you.

2) Abusers don't necessarily drink brandy from a bottle for breakfast and behave badly in public, like they do in the movies. Most of the abusers I have known were charming, good looking and put on a great show.

3) It is incredibly hard to date a narcissist or someone with abusive traits. Unfortunately they walk among us. If you realise that you are dating one - run! It's not your job to fix them. They will break you down over a period of time and make it harder for your to leave as time progresses.

4) Trust your gut. If a relationship feels wrong - honour that feeling. If there are red flags pull over. If you are worried about a friend's relationship, don't ignore it. Don't stay silent. Speak up. Silence is dangerous.

You can find out more about Narcissistic Personality Disorder here, find resources to get out of an abusive relationship here, find out more about Louise and her music here and check out the latest issue of Glamour here.

Images courtesy of Louise Carver (Photographer: Dave Hann) and Glamour South Africa

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

5 George Michael Songs

George Michael died just a month ago.

I am a huge George Michael fan. I grew up with his music. He had a great voice, was a strong lyricist and had mastered the art of reinventing his sound. My mother gave me my first tape when I was around three years old, so naturally I was very sad to hear about his death.

The great thing about good musicians is that their music lives on and I have been playing his music on repeat for the last few weeks. In celebration of his catalogue, I have put together a list of 5 of my favourite George Michael songs:

  • Patience - I love the entire album, but the title track is one of my favourites. It's very simple. His strengths as a vocalist and lyricist are evident on this track.

  • Fastlove - I love this one for the nostalgia. As children, my siblings and I were fascinated by the music video. At the time we thought it was so edgy. Check it out here.

  • Amazing - This was the first song I ever performed at karaoke. It is so much more than a love song. I relate to the themes, and it's arrangement is pretty cool too.

  • Easier Affair - It's a continuation of some of the themes in Amazing, but shows the progression ofhis personal journey. It was released at a time when I was feeling the same. Yes, it's a little cheesy, but one of my favourites.

  • Faith - It's so upbeat, fun, positive... Who doesn't love this one?

There are so many other songs I could have added to the list. What are your favourite George Michael tracks?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

'Tis the season to be jolly

I am listening to a lot of Christmas music at the moment. In fact, I have been since August-ish. I used to only allow myself to listen to Christmas music during December, but I have relaxed my rules over the years to accommodate the fact that I love it. I love Christmas music, but the kind done by famous musicians.

Some of my favourites at the moment:
  1. Mary Did You Know? - The Braxtons
  2. When Christmas Comes - Mariah Carey Ft. John Legend
  3. Santa Baby - Kylie
  4. Merry Christmas, Baby - Rod Stewart ft. CeeLo Green and Trombone Shorty
  5. Christmas In Jamaica - Toni Braxton ft. Shaggy

What are your favourite Christmas tracks? Let me know on Twitter.

This post was first featured in the festive-themed December 2016 edition of my monthly newsletter - the t-list
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