I met a lady the other day, and instantly connected with her. She became my motivation in a matter of minutes. Motivated, yes, but her story also sent a bucket of shivers down my spine. I still can’t get over the chills from the story she shared with me in the twenty minutes that I spent with her. I am still teary just thinking about it.
So, how it all began: I was waiting, not so patiently at a dealership, whilst reading Ricardo van Rooi’s 7 Steps© on Kindle. Eventually, I got up to take a walk down the block, passing about four shops, and then I noticed an antique shop ahead. I decided to go in to check if they possibly stocked typewriters. I’ve been looking for a specific model since my father’s one grew legs and took a stroll down the road many moons ago.
Just a few steps into the shop, a sweet voice greeted me and asked if she could be of any assistance. In response, I told her that I was just browsing. Looking at her, she could be in her mid to late 70’s. “Scanning” her again, I could tell that she used to turn heads in her younger days, a classy, well polished dame in her own right.
So I asked if they could possibly have or stock type writers. From there we continued chatting about her work. She showed me some of the unique pieces of jewelry she designs, and sold at the shop. As she was talking, she paused, struggling to re-
member one of the items she uses for her creations, and immediately apologized.
I could read the frustration on her face. She frowned, and then told me that since her last “experience” she’s been “forgetful”. Well, I sympathized with her and she started telling me, a total stranger, about her life. It was disheartening, enraging a story to hear, to listen to the ordeals she went through.
This is a woman who became a punching bag everyday for seven years of her marriage, for a man who was supposed to protect her. One of those punches missed their toddler by an inch and landed on her, dislocating her shoulder. This is a woman living with over 12 different types of screws in her
body; from her face to her toes. In one of her ordeals, she “was technically declared dead” and only got stitched up when the doctor saw that she “was still breathing the following day”.
In the twenty minutes that we spent together in her shop, I felt like I was sent in there for inspiration. We connected, but Lord knows I needed it. As much as I was heart broken by her story, I went out of that shop motivated.
I lived in pain for almost three decades, knowing only pain. There was a time when I convinced myself that pain was my joy. I also saw first hand women battered by their own spouses, robbed by their true love, treated like manure by those who had vowed to honour them.
I’ve seen women who were locked out of their own homes because their husband’s were simply in a mood. Luckily with one of my experiences, I had the keys to the gate, but couldn’t unlock the doors into my house ecause another set blocked me from inside. We buried friends, colleagues and neighbours murdered by their own partners, and some like my new friend crippled for life in the name of “inkomo zami”- “my dowry”, in the name of “ngimthanda KABI umfazi wam”.
My conversation with this sweet lady reminded me of how history and society positioned us [women] for sadness. However, I appreciate the strength that we muster to survive and reposition ourselves. Although still a major challenge, but hopefully with the various support structures we’ll eventually realize the desired transformation.
I gave up on my own life, devised means to stop my own breathing, giving in to pain.
This woman is living with her pain. She is living in her pain, and she became stronger from her pain.
She told me that she is in CONSTANT pain. I am in constant pain, but the difference is the way she HANDLES her pain and how she DEALS with it. My motivation, an inspiration, this
woman, an accountant by trade, cuddles the conviction that one day…it’ll all end. But it’s up to me to find a way to deal with my pain; to be strong, to seek help, to be
I watched the movie maybe a hundred times, and of late a bowl of spaghetti with peri-peri hot chicken and veggie by the side has become a must have, whilst downing a glass of some red natural sweet something. But seriously, I love my food, I indulge at times and only worry about the carb effects later. Going back to the movie Eat, pray, love; I value my ‘me’ time with my creator, and make it a personal goal to connect with Him on the regular. Athough sometimes I express my pain somewhat belligerently, but I remain hopeful and trusting to Him. I am grateful for this life, I appreciate his guidance and blessings. Sadly my experience with the last part-“love”-still leaves a bitter feeling in my taste buds, however, I value the relationships I have dwith my children, my family and friends. I give them as much love as I can and I appreciate the love I get in return.
Finding your purpose in life, knowing “who you are”…the real you, and embracing that which makes you tick is important. Once that is sorted out, you can be able to move on with confidence, to ‘share’ yourself selflessly, and fully with those who reciprocate.
Gaining perspective also allows your soul to flush those mosquitoes which tend to create frustrations, hollow and grumpy feelings, and vindictive desires in you.
So my motivator-as slow as the hours goes, is to fantasize about my date with myself… relaxed, watching the movie yet again. Shame, and the kids will unfortunately have to be ‘strong’ hey, but with so much love from mommy.
Have you ever been obsessed with something that people around you start to get…mh annoyed by it? That’s me. My kids are starting to loose interest on the Julia Roberts ‘all things’. I love everything about Julia; she knows how to bring a character to life, she has class, elegance…and yes you know it, beauty! So, I can’t blame my kids for their annoyance, my new obsession for her character in Elizabeth Gilbert’s romantic drama Eat, pray, love is simply insane. Just wanna be her-a dream!
I thought I had a handle on my emotions. So in control that I’d even brag to myself: “you’ve got this lady”. But my resolu-
tion to understand, and ignore instead of finding perspective, has left a King Kong foot print size inimical impression on my
soul. I become even more muddled, dismally failing to glue my emotions back together.
I know that at my age, feeling lost is not an option, but I am. So lost that I feel my mind literally scrambling, scattered into a million pieces, birthing a mass of despairing emotions. I know that where I am, feeling sad is not allowed, but I do. In my life, being weak and vulnerable should not exist, but it does. Instead of counting my blessings, I am weighed heavily with loss. Instead of celebrating life, I am overwhelmed with disappointments.
I made my own family, but it never exited, never came together, it was never true, but a fake reality, my own fairy world. I have siblings-still alive, but they are buried only in memories.
My mother dedicated herself to creating a clan for my father, and our parents kept us together. We are a big family-literally, made of siblings, grandchildren, great grandchildren, extended families, adopted and the people we meet by association who chose to become our own. We are more than just a platoon. We could actually start our own village, a community of…us. We are able, capable, and immensely talented, we are seriously gifted bunch. We should’ve built a strong legacy, but we have not. Instead we are scattered. We have individually become unreal to ourselves, displaced, nameless and lonely in our own corners. We are, and I believe we’ve always been lacking of a strong bond, something to cement our existence and ground us as a family. We have created a huge void, and, instead of transforming it into a well nourishing with genuine love, respect, trust and loyalty, we feed it with nothing. Its trekking to three years since we were robbed of our mother, with no explanation whatsoever. Trailing back few months before that, we stated drifting away, allowing pride, power and external sinister forces to influence us against each other. To date, we havent tried to connect, we are too proud to take the step. It feels like we never existed. We are creating yet another void in our children’s lives.
I’m sitting here today asking myself; what am I teaching my own children? What are we doing? Whatever [it] is, how long will we allow [it] to mess us up. If [it] was a being getting paid by the hour, [it] would be a very rich something by now. When will we stop? How long are we going to allow [it] to dictate how we live our lives? How do we get past [it]? Well, this is my dirty mud, and I’m swimming desperately in it.
My three nieces went through a daunting week after they lost their uncle unexpectedly. This is the man who decided to step in when their own father neglected them and ignored their existence. I felt their pain even before I could see them. With their uncle, they had a dad, he provided comfort, the connection to their relatives, and they could still latch on the feeling and some sense of belonging.
As much as we tried to provide comfort, the hours before the funeral became a test, witnessing as they try to remain strong but the feeling of lost kept overpowering them-as it can be expected under the circumstances. Going to the funeral meant that they could meet their father-in person, uncorking sad memories. They could also meet family members whom they’ve only heard about but never got the opportunity to meet because of circumstances. Mixed emotions.
On arrival I asked them to do the most difficult thing…I asked them to push their feelings aside, be polite to their father and if they feel any emotions taking whole, walk away. Asking them to go and greet their father was the most unfair thing to them-coming from me and I must admit, I didn’t think that they’ll do it-at least without shedding a tear or growing a frown. My girls boldly walked up to him and with the best level of respect they could master, they greeted him. I am not sure if he really felt what I read on his face, a genuine smile. Later on he even brought his relatives to meet the girls. Also, I’m not sure of his motives, but his voice said that he noticed them.
I learned from my girls that one needs to master courage to do what is right, to step up, be bold and go beyond what is, to influence a situation, and maintain control and not just for themselves but for those who are watching and probably appreciative of the efforts.
Maya Angelou said that one needs to master courage first, because without it one cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.
Courage could mean many things, but in this context, it’s a human activity that involves conquering emotions, but also helps to act and guard against threats or acting in a bad way.
Watching them go through these emotions was a stress for me. I wished I could carry the pain and the sadness for them. But sitting here today, I am still amazed at the level of courage they displayed throughout. I also appreciate the type of strong young adults my sister raised. Whatever she did, bravo to her.
And to my girls; I am proud of you!
A day dedicated to celebrating fathers in our child[ren]’s lives. Thoughts and views have been documented on the origin of this event, what it means and what it actually represents. I personally appreciate the consideration that says this day is dedicated to “celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society…a holiday that enumerates a father’s qualities’… And of course, depending on experiences, observations as well as our expectations, we can draw long lists of what qualifies someone to become a father for our children.
You see, there’s the father, the dad and the parent. These could represent one individual, or three distinctly different figures with
specific influences in a child’s life, even a mother’s view of the man in her child[ren]’s life.There’s the man who will implant and then take the next shuttle off to Mars, the other one will plant and nature his child[ren]to grownups, and of course there’s someone who may come
in, assume the parental responsibilities of a child[ren] who is not of their loins-moulds them into mature, responsible, honoura-
ble and loving beings.
Reality is, we’ve experienced both ends; a man who has ‘seeded’ a child[ren] and the one who becomes their child[ren]’s parent.
Through it all, we recognise the male figures in our children’s lives.
So, to all the fathers, dads and male parents out there…
Thank you for sharing your manhood with us. Thank you for fathering our children, for caring, loving and protecting our babies. Thank you for guiding them, motivating and coaching them to become the best they can be and for being
their role models. Thank you for working ever so hard to provide for our children.Happy Father’s Day!
Fact: life is hard and our experiences differ. The truth is when [life happens], the impact is the same; because we are all human beings, we feel the same emotions. However you unpack those emotions; sad, angry, disappointed, frustrated, riled…reality is that non of these emotions are easy to deal with.
Wired deep within our molecules of existence is the conviction that we can deal with anything, and the power to face any situation. We were built and clothed with the belief that we are strong beings and as such no matter how hard we fall, we can pick ourselves up, we can learn and grow. We become wiser and our confidence levels amplified, ultimately we become even stronger and stable beings. We all know this, right?
Now, the part that no one warns you about is that the professor of life lessons sometimes just enjoys messing up with you. He strikes when your tentacles are still in sleep mode, and only awaken when you are way deep, face flat on the ground.
But then again, going back to who we are; it all depends on what you do with the situation, that experience, or the feeling. However you go about dealing with it, do not lose who you are.
I must confess, there’s a time when I’d almost lost my cloth of convictions. I almost forgot how important it is to remain sane even in the worst type of battles. I was determined to get
what was rightfully mine that I almost let go of my values. But my guardians reminded me to not lose myself in the process. It is true that situations differ, and sometimes the outcome may not always be favourable, but some wars are just not ours to fight.
So, keep your emotions balanced and maintain your self-worth. Do not exhaust your heart, because that will only drain your spirit, and crush your soul. Before you know it you’ll be wearing frustration on your forehead as if it’s in fashion. You’ll only be hollow, grumpy and vindictive.
Keep in check.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou
There’s a TV series called The Good Place, the events and messages goad my mind each time I watch them. I like the moral philosophy approach, and there are many lessons from each event.
Personally, I connect to the concept of torture, and I don’t mean in the afterlife human torture sense as depicted in the series
[well, maybe that could be a topic for another day]. I am referring to the actual ‘self-emotional-torture’. Every time I watch any other episode, I keep thinking about the way we [as people] are torturing ourselves. We do it so well that it doesn’t need the “after life” efforts or concept as sketched out in the stories to do it for us. If you think about it; the way we live our
lives, from the smallest things to trying so hard to meet certain standards, to desires of being accepted and fit in, to being better than others, to trying to get ahead in life, to living comfortable lives, to being loved unconditionally…all of these and more requires a lot of work and at times sacrifices.
The issues surrounding our own existence, most of which are beyond our control and of course some of those we do manage, others we tend to resolve and sometimes as we go through the phases and processes of resolving, dealing or managing them, with each stride we tend to dent our [emotional] selves. We live our lives in fear, in anger, 20% happy and 80% frustrated, we hate easily and judge [in most cases] without facts. These are realistic issues, from financial, marital, family, societal, political and or religious.
Our expectations of ourselves, our spouses, our children, our families, our friends, within and around our fractions, from young to old age-are just too much. We keep o embracing issues which are damaging to our own health. We justify other people’s behaviours [even the worst] just so that we can “move on”, we accept wrong behaviours-simply because we are afraid to speak up. We unconsciously condemn ourselves to chronic illnesses; depression, incurable diseases and long term self-inflicted scars. As we neglect our physicalselves we are not aware of how much we damage our emotional selves and how much we are torturing our sols. Think of the weight that comes with simply hating someone or wishing ill on someone. We stop loving ourselves appreciating who we are, what we stand for, letting go of our principles, giving up to sometimes, attempting suicide, to actually killing a soul, to robbery, to skimming, the list goes on.
We lose ourselves which in turn compromises our moral compasses as we maneuver through the stiches of life. We stop living cause of various circumstances. We stop loving and appreciating life. We neglect our duties, we expect too much from others yet we give less, we neglect imparting the important values to our children and our communities, and only accept mediocre behaviours.
This is torture! All of the above and many more, however you look at it, as long as the results drag along pain, it is self-torture .When do we stop? When do we begin, how do we move away from torturing ourselves; through behavirous; self-destructive thoughts and ambitions, self hatred,self-defeating…how do we get it right?
I guess it’s work in progress.
I am learning to appreciate the time I spend with people. I’ve always been reserved, to a certain extent kept avoiding chit
chats in large gatherings, corridors etc. I think I’ve been missing out. I’ve always been focused on what I want to do, getting it done, and care somewhat little about other things. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not planning to just go around looking for gossip. This is about appreciating other people’s view of life, leaning to listen, having a meaningful conversation, and taking lessons around me. I guess some level of interaction is better than solitude. But seriously, listening to someone share about how they appreciate the life they’ve lived is motivating. It is uplifting to hear how grateful they are for what they have accomplished and their blessings: their family, children, a job, a roof over their head and friendships.
I’ve met many people with different views; some very positive, thought provoking, humble human beings, and some, well, we
learn everyday. Just the other day, I learned how a parent encourages her children to appreciate what they have and all the positive things in life, and I hope her children listen to her wisdom. She mentioned that as people, we spend too much time looking at what is going wrong in our lives, instead of focusing on and appreciating what we have.
I do feel like that sometimes. She said that we have a habit of always asking for more from God, and not realize that there are other people who are also waiting on Him, those, in most cases are at a worse situation that we are. True to her view, we must learn to be thankful and whilst we are doing that, it’ll allow chance for others to receive their wishes. She is right though, we must appreciate everything we have, no matter how small or inconvenient, and no matter how overwhelming the situation could be.
The fact that we do have something in our lives, shows how much we are favoured. So, she said, instead of complaining about what we don’t have, and cry for more, we must learn to say thank you more. Be grateful for that job, a roof over our head, food on the table, clothes on our back, family, friends, and life. I am thankful. LAURINDAM
Just like a river that effortlessly flows and connects the world
A river that breathes and nurses life from the bottom of the hills to the tips of the mountains, to the Nile
Gorgeous lady you move, graciously, trailing behind
Beautiful faces, new names, families and clans born of
You are the roots that weave in and cement relations
You were favoured by the powers unknown
Bathed with love, wisdom, fortitude and patience
To smile even when your eyes are flooding
To remain unruffled whilst your heart is being shredded
Though you were crippled by those who wished to tame you and manipulate your position
But from the moment the sun awakens, until the moon mushrooms from its void
You keep your light shining brilliantly, sketching pathways for everyone who asks for it-for your kindness is boundless
And when you rise, you adorn yourself with courage, ready to win even the impossible battles
When you strike, it is to build
And your commands are engrained with so much love and care
You carry your position with such grace
A mother, a sister, a lover, a queen
Your elegance dimples even the chicks of the stars
So, gorgeous woman rise
Stand tall on the very grounds that you nurtured and