Poem: Already gone.

(This is a poem about the thoughts & feelings that so many suffer with daily.)

He fought so hard“,
people would say.
And he did,
he did,
until he didn’t.

Gone, long before his heart stopped beating.
In a moment living merely became the passing of time.
He was defeated by the long hard struggle
of being alive.

He looked upon life and realised that everyone
should have the right to reject this gift
that they had never asked for.
Was it not more selfish to demand of another
that they endure the intolerable pain of existence?

In the end it takes more courage to stay
than to leave and everyone leaves eventually,
Everyone is going to hurt you.
He wished to leave, to give in
before He could see the rest leave too.

They taught him how to give up,
They gave up on him.
He gave up on him.
He gave up.
He gave.
He poured all of his soul into the world,
He was now empty with nothing more to give.

He did not mean to drown. He was to swim until he sank,
It was not quite the same thing.
As an anchor, touching the depths of the sea,
It was comforting to know he could sink no further.

He could no longer see the point of getting up.
What was in this new day to look forward to?
All he was doing was suffering sunrises,
And the sun will rise again,
But one day he wouldn’t.

One mans treasure is another’s curse.
What he once saw as a curse,
He now saw as a treasure,
For he was no longer the same man.

For weeks he was afraid he may leave,
and then he was afraid that he wouldn’t.
There were so many things he could have become.
But he will remain, made up of possibilities,
for he was already gone.

Words, lasting longer than people.

My Talk on Mental Wellness at WordCamp Cape Town 2016

At WordCamp Cape Town this year, I gave talk on Mental Wellness, the WordPress Community, and You. An unusual talk for a tech conference, but one which needed to be spoken about – and I had no idea how it would go down.

The talk will eventually be on WordPress.tv, and I will publish a link to that once that happens, but for now, here is my summary and the slides I presented:


The main point of this talk was to raise awareness at the intensity, the struggle, and the seriousness of various Mental Wellness issues within our current space.

To raise the awareness of Employers who have Employees with issues, for Employees to understand their colleagues and employers better, for people to change the way they think about mental health in general.

To remove the stigma that mental wellness issues have, especially in the working environment, and even more so in our daily lives for those who live with it.

During my talk, I told my story. Maybe one day I will talk about it more here, but here are the main points I touched on:

  • We have too many people living in our midst who need help, but do not get it, and who are too afraid by the stigma to seek it and talk out.
  • I was one of them, I said the three hardest words during my talk: I have depression.
  • As a society, when someone breaks their arm, we run to sign their casts, but when someone has a mental issue we run the other way. We are okay with any body part breaking down, except our brains, our minds. This needs to change.
  • When you have a broken leg, you cannot leave it outside the office doors when you walk in in the morning – why do we expect this too of people who have mental health issues?
  • People should be as okay with speaking to someone on a regular basis, like a therapist, life coach, psychologist or psychiatrist. We should have subscriptions to these just as we have gyms subscriptions for our physical wellness.
  • Employers need to be more open and understanding, currently we are very far away from this.
  • Employees need to be more open with helping themselves, and seeking the help they need, or being supportive of their peers who need it.
  • We all need to be more open and understanding of the current state of Mental Wellness in the world.
  • When we ask people “How are you?” we need to starting caring about their truthful reply. When we are asked “How are you?” we need to start being more open and brave to give an honest reply. On the day of WordCamp, before my talk, I was asked sixteen times how I was, I lied sixteen times.
  • Started the WordPress Hashtag called #WPHugs, a way of sharing, appreciating and caring within the community.
  • I need you, you need us, we need each other. People need people.
  • When someone has an issue, in my case depression, people believe that its simply because of the things going on in their lives that are not going well. This is often furthest from the truth. In my case, life was at its best and I was depressed, absent, and in that time I started losing hold of life: Been through break-ups, losing friends, losing a home, feeling more hopeless, work performance dropped, and not being able to have any say or control of any of it. Those around me thought I was depressed, because these things happened. No, because I was depressed these things happened.
  • Depression is something that we know to be so common, yet know and speak the least about, as with all mental wellness issues. Its time this ended, I began the end of silence by telling the world my story, maybe you would be brave enough to tell yours? Or open enough to listen to anothers?
  • As an open source community that relies on the work of the people behind the scenes that make this possible, we need to also spread the idea of 5 for the future for ourselves, you cannot pour from an empty cup so before giving back, start giving within.
  • Stop the Silence, Remove the Stigma, Care.

After my talk, so many people opened their hearts out to me and for that I am extremely grateful. I was more than surprised at how well this was received and about how many people had been suffering in silence and are now brave enough to speak out.

Cory Miller, a very brave man told his story which inspired me to tell mine, will you tell yours? You can leave a comment or send me a link (Totally open to coffee too.)

Dear Mothers

Dear Mothers,
Please forgive us children who do not understand
That You offer only a helping hand.
A hand that has the strength to hold up the sky
and we reject you and we make you cry…
Please forgive us…

I have seen the love of mothers, of all mothers
with a love unmatched, unfathomable, unconditional.
A mothers love is love in its truest and purest form
given to all her beloved children.
You show love how love should be.

How cursed am I that God fashioned me into a man
for i shall never know the joys of being a mother.

The joys of carrying within me the life of another.
The joys of holding in my arms the life that has come
from within me.

The joys of having two souls occupy my body.
But I shall never know these joys as anything other than a witness,
a witness to the most beautiful thing in existence.
The Love shared between mother and child.

Kahlil Gibran said that Your children are not your own.

Yes, your children are indeed not your own,
They are the children of this world.
And Dear Mothers,
Although you may not have given birth to me,
You are my mother too –
all mothers to all children.

Dear Mothers,
We grow up believing you are invincible,
infallible and immortal – nothing can hurt our mother
because she is strong, the strongest being we know.
And yet, we forget that you are human too
and time will oneday take you from us
too soon… it will always be too soon.

And while you live in this mortal world
you nurture us, you feed us, you love us
and the moment we can do these things without you
Dear Mother, we forget you and all you have done for us.
We strive for “freedom and Independence”
We want to “make our own decisions”
We curse you and cast you away…

and yet, you never stop loving us.
Your love defines the word “Unconditional”
for in your every heartbeat we hear the rhythm
say, “No matter what you do, I will always love you!”

We have never stopped to think of the pain of our Mothers,
Who have children grow up to be ungrateful and uncaring,
and when their child hurts another, the mother sits crying
as if it was her fault the child was the cause of another’s dying.
We know that no Mother brings up their child to be murderers,
just as no mother brings up their child to be murdered…

We think we feel pain.
When we bruise our knees and hurt our elbows, mama kissed it better.
When we ‘grow-up’ we’re ‘too old’ for our mothers love because
no one could ever know our pain and our pain is great,
We curse you for always trying to help for it is the nature
of love to want to ease the pain of the object of love –
who loves more truly than a mother loving her child?
Yet we charge you for interfering.
“Leave me alone!”
“Stay out of my life!”
Never will we ever say such words we would do anything to be able to swallow.

But nothing compares to a mothers love
and nothing compares to a mothers pain.
To be unappreciated by ones own children,
or worse rejected and cursed…

What hurts more than a C-Section Birthing Dead Babies?

Thank God for not fashioning me into a woman
for I shall never know such pain as that of a mother.

My Dear Mothers,
I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.
Please forgive me,
I love you,
Thank you.

Presentation at Cape Town PHP Meetup Group on Efficiency in a Development Environment

Last night, 17th November 2015, I had the honor of speaking alongside Sarah Nicholson at the Cape Town PHP Meetup Group on the topic of ‘Efficiency in a Development Environment‘.

The evening was wonderfully organised by Shaun Morrow, who sets up these events in the PHP community in Cape Town as a wonderful way of giving back. Continue reading “Presentation at Cape Town PHP Meetup Group on Efficiency in a Development Environment”

Lessons learned from an examined life – Part 1

In Plato’s Apology, which is a recollection of speeches of Socrates at his trial, he quotes Socrates for having said:

ὁ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
Vita nec scrutata vita nequam est.
“An unexamined life is not worth living.”

Socrates would have much rather given up his life than given up philosophy – and his wish was granted. While I still live, I would like to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the greatest lessons that have helped me live a fuller life – this will be written in parts. Lets begin.

1. Slow down to go further.

This is something I learned in practice whilst running, which can be applied to the rest of life, and has been for me. The world is working so hard to get more things done in less time, everything wants to be sped up. We have so many tools for alarms, for reminders, for time keeping. There is never enough time in a day.

Whilst running I learned this important lesson that if I wanted to go further the best way to do that was to slow down… you do this often enough, consistent enough, and you will find that your body learns and adapts and you can go further and further every time. Haste makes waste, as the old adage says.

I used to put a lot of effort into running a certain amount of kilometres in a certain amount of time. I was quite consistent and it quite consistently took a lot of the energy out of me. One day I decided that I would just listen to music and run slower instead of trying to make ‘time’. It was the best run I had. I enjoyed the beautiful scenery. I got to take in the sights around me, the dogs playing, the kids in the park, the beautiful blue sky and the setting sun. When I was done and checked my time, I was only 6 minutes longer than my previous consistent time – 6 minutes extra that gave me joy and I was barely tired. Slow down to go further.

2. Postponement is the greatest waste of life.

The things we regret the most in life are not the things we have done but the things we haven’t. While I am in my early-mid twenties, I look upon teenagers and little kids and wish that I did more when I was their age and had more time, less responsibilities, and higher energy levels. The trouble with doing this is that someone older is looking at me and wishing they did more when they were in their twenties.

Not doing the things that would bring us joy while we still have the ability to do it is the greatest waste of life, not doing the things we wanted to when we could is the greatest regret of the dying.

Do the things you love, do them often.

3. This above all: to thine own self be true.

These immortal words as said by Polonius in Hamlet have been part of my greatest source of contentment – my Eudaimonia as described by the greeks. We so often go through life trying to sacrifice who we are to please others, to keep the peace, or to be liked – all this ever brings us is suffering or displeasure.

What is the point pleasing someone else by causing suffering to oneself? What is the point in ‘keeping the peace’ when doing so creates an inner battle? What is the point being someone that others would like when we don’t love who that makes us?

Deathbeds and graves are built for one – let that be a place you go to having lived a life you are proud of. There is no one that its worth being untrue to yourself for – not your parents, your siblings, your spouse, your lover, your kids, or your friends. You alone will live with who you are, you alone will die with who you’ve been.

For many years I was false to myself in order to be accepted by others, and to be liked. Changing this and being true to myself has costed me most of the people I believed were my friends. It hurt, but it is amongst some of the best things I did for myself. These people who left my life simply vacated a position that would be better filled by someone who would love and appreciate who I really am not whom they wish me to be.

4. Question Everything.

Everyone has their own version of the world. Each version is made up of each persons own perceptual biases and self-inflicted limits. When presented with something in life that should be seen as an accepted truth, ask yourself if there is sufficient evidence to believe it before you make it part of your own reality (this does not apply to the laws of the universe though, the universe is how it is whether or not you believe it).

Questioning everything has allowed me the freedom to be true to myself and to actually know who I am. It has freed me from the shackles of other peoples limiting beliefs and ideas about the world. It has free me from indoctrination and allowed me to lose my religion. It has allowed me to judge what is right and wrong for myself without the delusions of others offering their own flavours into the mix.

5. This too shall pass.

The Romans would say this in good times and in bad. Everything is temporary. Understanding this allows us to not get too attached to good times and to happiness as well as to not be too affected by bad times – This too shall pass.

When I was younger and something would bother me, my brother would tell me:

“If you worry, you die. If you don’t worry, you still die. Why worry?”

In the grand scheme of things, whatever is getting you down today will not affect you in a week, month, or a year from now. In fact, it will grow you. This is an exciting way to view adversity, each new turmoil of today is shaping the beautiful you of tomorrow.

6. Let go of expectation.

Expectations are limits you set to life.

Letting go of expectations opens you are to fuller version of life without the limits you set on it. If you give someone a gift and expect reciprocity, you may get joy from the giving of the gift but will be disappointed if it is not returned – remove the expectation and all you have is the joy of your gifting. In relationships, if we remove all expectations from the beloved to behave in a certain way in relation to us we will have no disappointment if they act differently – we are left with all their little acts and gestures of kindness giving us immense joy.

Most disappointment arises from expectations that are not met. Little happiness is gained from matched expectations.


The Egg – A short story by Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words. Continue reading “The Egg – A short story by Andy Weir”