Kimberly Fray

conversation, restaurant, pair

MY FEAR OF CONFRONTATION

FEAR AND BEING A CHRONIC OVER-APOLOGISER

I’ve always had this fear of confrontation. Speaking to people or addressing issues with people that bother me or put me in an uncomfortable position. I get nervous when I simply think about speaking my mind about certain things of which I have an opinion. I’m that person at the restaurant that will eat the wrong order that the waiter or waitress brings me. I am also a chronic over-apologiser or if you will, a knee-jerk apologist ; I constantly say sorry for things that certainly do not need an apology. Instead of saying ‘Excuse me, if I need to pass by someone, I would say, “I’m sorry”. I would rather write a long letter or text message, than confront you face-to-face.

At times I find myself apologizing for apologizing in the first place.

In an article by Psychology Today, it speaks about the different types of people who apologise. It also referred to a 2010 study that indicated women tend to apologise more than men.

“A 2010 study found that women apologize more than men. Women also self-report committing more offenses, or engaging in behavior that warranted apologies, than men. Do women simply misbehave more than men? Not exactly. The study found that men and women have markedly different thresholds of what constitutes an offense deserving an apology. Women have a lower threshold; men have a much higher one. In other words, women see more acts for which we must apologize than men do; we see more of the things we do as wrong, out of line, inappropriate, or hurtful. A man and woman may do exactly the same thing but regard it differently; she will see it as an offense that requires an apology and he may not.”

sorry, excuse me, i beg your pardon

I get this uncomfortable feeling in my gut, like a knot when I think about confrontation. Even after I’ve said something or on the rare occasion that I do address an issue, it would sit with me for hours afterward and I would replay conversations or try and think what I could have said or done differently or maybe what I should not have said. I would have second-hand embarrassment for even doing it. Sometimes I find myself simply typing something on a Whatsapp group and instantly regretting it once I hit send.

Some of us are so over-apologetic, that we don’t just apologize to inanimate objects we may have accidentally bumped into, but also feel the need to apologize for the actions of others that are beyond our control.”

I prefer to be invisible but at the same time, I want my voice to be heard.

As I sit here and write this, I have this fear that I will be judged or criticized for this post.

ROOT CAUSE

I can’t tell you where this fear emanated from; there wasn’t a specific day or event when I decided that I will fear confrontation and I won’t tell you either that I am working on it. I guess I simply get used to certain settings even though I still get nervous or anxious, even when I know I’m not doing or saying anything wrong.

There have been situations where I have accepted an outcome when I knew it was wrong. In that situation, I did not retaliate or address the issue, even though it sat heavily on my heart.

I need to specify that the confrontation I am speaking about is not the aggressive / physically violent confrontation. Kathy Caprino in an article for Forbes writes the following:

“I’m defining confrontation here not as aggressive or angry conflict, but as the act of facing something or someone that needs to be addressed head on – directly and proactively. I’ve found that many of us (particularly women) dread confrontation, or certainly go to extreme lengths to avoid it.”

I know it takes bravery to speak your mind and say what you think or feel. There have been times when I’ve been told that I let people walk all over me and maybe I can be labelled as a ‘people pleaser’ or even weak but I don’t see myself that way. I just want to save my fight for when it matters.

Sometimes people tend to get into verbal confrontations which end up going nowhere; you interact with people who love the sound of their own voice more than the actual topic at hand and more than they try to reach a reasonable conclusion based on facts. There are some people that you simply cannot win an argument with and at times, it’s not worth the breath that you waste on that confrontation or argument.

argue, angry, husband and wife

TIPS TO DEAL WITH CONFRONTATION

I’ve found some amazing references on positive or healthy confrontation. Here are some tips to get over the fear of confrontation in no particular order:

  • Start the conversation with a positive statement.
  • Be flexible – allow for the possibility that you might not have it right. 
  • Acknowledge your part in the problem
  • Try to be as specific as possible.
  • Engage productively
  • List what you might gain by speaking up

There are many other ways in which we can work through our fear of confrontation, but always try and determine if the situation calls for a confrontation or simply for a nod and a smile. It might save you a lot of unnecessary long-term conflict.

There is a saying I love that goes;

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt”

Sometimes it is better to be silent and other times it’s best to speak up; we just need to know when is the right time for which action.

pray, church, kneeling

TO LOSE A CHILD

Today a mother buried a child.
Sitting in the rows behind her
In the church,
I watch her;
Straight back.
Head covered.
Blank face.
Dignified sadness that she carries.

As person after person
Speak words of comfort,
I wonder if it reaches her
Or
If the umbrella of grief is so
Overwhelmingly broad,
That nothing can penetrate it.

Today a mother said goodbye
To her child;
An unnatural and unreal occurrence.
The small precious box on display
Holding everything that she holds dear.
And as I sit behind her,
Head bowed,
Hair undone
And tear-stained face
I cry the tears that this mother
No longer can.

a book, rose, heart

AM I NEXT?

Your smile and your smirk are the same to me.

I can’t see the difference between your sharp navy suit and your blue working overalls.

Your soft touch is just as violent as your fist to my jaw.

Every day I wake up and I ask myself #AmInext?

Black, White, Coloured;

Your sense of entitlement and abuse know no race, creed or colour.

The weight of death tip the scale when it comes to the worth of my life.

I’m no longer sad.

I am pissed!

I’ve had enough!

We have had enough.

It’s enough!

I’m tired of being afraid of making eye contact with men, thinking that if I don’t look at them, they won’t see me.

I’m tired of being afraid while standing in a public place,

Not knowing who is about to haunt me, stalk me or hurt me.

I’m tired of sitting on the bus or waiting for a taxi and wondering; did this man just come back from raping a woman?

Did this man just murder my sister?

Am I next?

Bank teller.

Post office clerk.

Businessman.

Father.

Uncle.

Son.

Rapist.

Murderer.

Criminal.

I no longer know the difference.

I’m tired of being distrustful of all men because of the faults of a few.

I’m tired of feeling like it’s my fault.

It’s not chivalry that’s dead.

It’s me.

I am dead.

Every year gender-based violence and femicide has a different face,

I can’t help but wonder, am I next?

flower, blue, rose

WHY I CRY.

I find myself being terribly emotional lately, I’m always choking on tears and having to look away when I’m in a public space.
I’m both sad and happy.
Both grieving and celebrating.
Both fearful and brave.

Everything that has happened over the last year and 8 months is indescribable
I’m still sad that we lost our mom and I relive that sadness every time I hear or read about someone else dying or someone else losing a loved one.

I cry for everyone who is hurting and I cry for everyone who has survived. I cry for everyone who don’t know which direction to turn and who feel as if the world is just dark.

It’s as if the sadness has latched on to me but then I experience joy and peace and happiness, I feel hope and I feel as if I can conquer anything.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, he rescues those whose spirits are crushed’ – Psalm 34 vs 18

There is something greater at work in the world. We may not understand it and maybe it’s best if we don’t. It’s already enough that we experience these things, can you imagine being able to dissect the intricacies of God’s plan. Our minds would probably literally be blown.

I’ve also been experiencing a great sense of gratitude. I realise how blessed I am and how full my life is. I do not take it for granted.
I love my family so much, seeing my kids happy and seeing my husband happy brings me so much joy. Sometimes it feels as if I can’t handle it and that too, makes me cry.

Maybe this is just a season of feeling. Understanding that we are all vulnerable and that we are all afraid sometimes and that we all have something or someone to lose.
It’s a season of cleansing, cleaning out the cobwebs of our life. Taking stock of what’s important.

Yes, it hurts. Its painful to carry on when you’ve born the brunt of so much loss. Sometimes, it can make you feel guilty. I’ve experienced that. Feeling guilty for being happy when so many others are suffering. Your happiness shouldn’t be a source of personal guilt. It should be a light in the dark to those who can’t see the way.

beyond, death, faith

Letting in the light, mental wellness anthology

LETTING IN THE LIGHT – REVIEW

I have to admit, it took me a while to really sit down and read this book. I think mostly because of the subject of the book; mental wellness or if you like mental health. It shouldn’t be surprising that so many of us suffer with some form of mental terror; depression, anxiety and sometimes we deal with feelings, thoughts and situations that can’t be described. When I started reading Letting In The Light; I felt a sense of coming home, a feeling of being welcomed into someone’s heart with open arms.

The foreword by Pick Me Up Poetry founder, Webster Chagonda encompasses this feeling so well;

“Remember, darkness will always make way for the day, and wherever
your mind may lead you, I hope these poems become your place of
refuge.”

It’s difficult for me to tell which one of the poems are my favourite; there are pieces of each poem that speak directly to me.

They are all relatable and also somewhat confrontational but quite necessary,

“A fleeting moment of peace

as you cease to wonder when the next red drought will dry out this puddle

And if you won’t have drowned in the depth of your head until then”

girl, sitting, jetty

When I read through the poems, I realised that so many people understand the feelings and circumstances around one topic. I felt safe reading it and saying to myself, “It’s okay to feel this way”

It truly is a stunning body of work with a beautiful use of words, descriptive methods and metaphors. It is almost as if what you’re reading is being carved on your skin. That is how deep the words go.

“Everywhere you walk, you will be a constellation of footsteps”

The anthology sheds light on all the parts of your life that is affected by depression; your mind, body, soul, family, friends and your career an daily life.

“I am ready to recite myself into existence. I am ready to tell anxiety a prophecy even though I sometimes don’t believe”

I want to encourage you to get this book. The words will speak to us all differently and once you get into it, you’ll realise its not just a book you can read once off. You can always go back and remind yourself that you are not alone in your darkness when you feel overwhelmed.

I was bound by the plight of life and could not get away. I was blinded by the pain of this fight and could not see my way but I heard Hope’s gentle whistle and Joy’s hearty squeal, gently fanning the embers of my heart”

tree, nature, wood

Well done to all the poets who contributed their words, feelings and experiences to this book. Thank you for being brave and baring it all on the pages.

Congratulations to the publishers, Chasing Dreams Publishing and everyone who worked to put this amazing body of work together.

I give this book a 10/10!

I AM HER

I stare at her in the dirty mirror on the wall

She stares back at me, all the cracks showing

Unwilling to smile

Asking me questions with her eyes.

She looks tired

She feels exhausted

Her body is in pain

Her back hurts.

Her eyebrows are untamed

I should do something about that,

I think.

What about the hair, it’s so dry and unmanageable

We should cut it,

I say

“No”
 I hear a whisper

The breeze floats through the open window

Strands of hair dances as it does

The sun frames me with a golden light

Almost angelic if I didn’t know better

Mmm, that felt nice, we both think.

I’m not that pretty,

I sigh

A bit on the bland side

You’re beautiful

I look away from the mirror

And inhale.

She exhales

We’re staring at one another

Through purpled framed specs

I’m tired” I think

I know” she whispers back

I arch my back in cat-like stretch

Feeling the muscles in the lower back

Tensing as I do.

She inhales

I exhale

I lift a cup of tea to my lips

Not too sweet

A bit cold

I lick my lips to taste

What are we going to do?”

I ask

We carry on

She replies

I move my hair from right to left

Feeling the texture

Dry, yes

But still beautiful.

A smile touches my lips

I look in the mirror hanging on the wall

You’re strong

She says

I hesitate

The eyes that stare back at me

Look hopeless

Deep set and underlined with shadows

As if years of sleep have been lost

And years of tears have been shed

You’re strong

She says again

Say it

I inhale

I exhale

I fix my hair

And straighten my clothes

I am strong

I whisper

This body is merely a vessel

Your spirit is flourishing

She becomes louder

I can feel her banging on the walls on the inside of my head

And my heart.

I inhale

I exhale

For every one thing that I find is wrong with me

There are ten more things that are right with me
.”

I hear myself say.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Inhale.

Exhale.

I am strong.

I am beautiful.

I am capable.

I am

Her.

alpine-grass elke, flower, armeria alpina

LIVE AND LOVE LOUD

Watching Connie Ferguson at her husband’s funeral broke my heart. I can’t imagine saying goodbye to my husband of only 4 months, imagine the pain she feels of losing her best friend and life partner of 20 years. 
Death is such a painful experience and before I lost my mom, I couldn’t really relate to anyone who lost another person. I couldn’t understand that grief and pain. I couldn’t fathom the emptiness and now I see and feel it all around me, almost on a daily basis.

Shona and Connie Ferguson. Shona died this past week from Covid-19 complications

It’s painful to read, report or hear of someone dying, it’s heart-shattering. When someone you love dies, a part of you dies with them. There is constant emptiness, a dark and hollow feeling. You can never shake it and you live with it all your life. 
It rocks you to your core and breaks every resolve you’ve ever had. Then you have to rebuild. You need to start again. 

Something that is beautiful though is love, love makes the memories that you carry worth all the pain that you feel. Memories and the feelings associated with that person, makes it bearable. 

What this death has reminded me of, is that we run out of time.

We do not live forever.

The time that we have on this earth is more than precious, it is sacred. 

The people we have in our lives, the ones we love and cherish and adore, are the ones that deserve all that we have to offer. 

We cannot afford to be selfish and arrogant. We can’t live in a way where anger and hatred dominate our lives. 

Say ‘I love you’ as often as you can and mean it. 

Enjoy every minute you can breathe. 

Laugh as much as possible and love even more. 

Create art and enjoy it too. 


Live each moment as if it’s your last. It might sound like a cliché, but it doesn’t make it any less true. 

coruh river, river, streaming
girl, sitting, jetty

LIVING IN A PERPETUAL STATE OF SADNESS

IT DOESN’T SEEM TO END, DOES IT?


Every single day we hear or read about someone dying. They become a number in the statistics and leave a hole in the hearts of people who loved them.
Every single day when we hear of someone losing their lives; whether to Covid-19 or something else, our hearts break a little more.
You don’t need to know the person who has died. You simply need to have a sense of humanity and compassion to know that somewhere in the world, someone is left reeling from the death of a loved one.

The entire world is sad. We feel it all around us and see it on the news, we hear it from strangers. We see it in the tear-filled eyes of our friends. Some of us live it daily. It doesn’t seem to end.


As I write this, I’m sitting in my kids’ bedroom, on the floor and the picture of my late mother is right in front of me. I moved it to their bedroom a couple of nights ago because my 6-year-old daughter was crying in her bed. After all, she was missing her Ouma. She too, is sad, having lost her grandmother just over a year ago.

woman sitting on wooden planks
Photo by Keenan Constance on Pexels.com


The sadness seeps into our lives, our work, creativity, our ability or lack thereof to be in social settings. It’s in our bodies and minds as we lay on the couch, watching yet another episode of a Netflix series that ends up adding to the melancholy.
You might think this post is so depressing but, the truth is, we are all living in a perpetual state of sadness. Denying that will do no good to anyone. It’s okay to be sad, don’t dismiss anyone’s feelings simply because it doesn’t fit into the narrative of the day.


But just because we are sad doesn’t mean we can’t have hope.

dandelion, flower, plant

12 THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN THE LAST YEAR

Earlier today: It’s Saturday afternoon, the house is quiet, the wind is howling outside, keeping the sun company. It seems like a good time to reflect on the last year.

I’m braiding my hair and thinking about this time of year. Last year (2020) we lost our mother. It was a Friday and she died in a car on her way to the clinic, my then boyfriend (now husband) right next to her. A shift happened then and a shift is happening now. My husband, sick with Covid-19 and myself, also sick but I haven’t tested for Covid-19 at the time of this post but we’re treating the situation as if I am sick with Covid too. Though I feel strong enough to clean the house and make sure we have something to eat, I still don’t really feel like myself.

REFLECTION

All these health issues have done a very good job of distracting me from what day it is. The day my mother died. I’m not feeling incredibly sad or melancholic when I think about it; I feel a sense of peace, maybe even gratitude, that we as a family have been able to make it through the last 12 months in one piece and then some. We had an addition to the family with my niece, we had a wedding and we had the birth of our company. Those are quite huge life milestones. It just goes to show that life really does go on after the death of a loved one, at least if you let it.

Still in the quiet of the house, I wonder to myself, why is it that these shifts or life-changing events seemed to have happened around the same time for the past 2 years and I can’t help but wonder will something else happen next year around this time? I also don’t really want to question why these things are happening and happening in the way they are and around the time they are. I understand that no one truly knows the inner workings of time so I simply want to breath and say, “Thank you Lord” .

sol, nature, gratitude
Have an attitude of gratitude

GRATEFUL

Something that has really stood out for me during this time of isolation over the past several days, is the kindness of people; everyone we care about checking in on us and bringing us food. That especially has reminded me of the week when my mother died; everyone brought us food and groceries so that we didn’t still have to worry about that. I’m really grateful to all the people who have come through for us during this time.

flowers. roses. love
Flowers from my friend Reesha.

With that said, I’d like to share 12 things I’ve learned in the last 12 months since my mother died.

  1. It’s okay not to feel in control.
  2. You can cry whenever and wherever you need to.
  3. Change will always come, don’t fight it.
  4. Nothing ever goes the way we expect or plan, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared.
  5. It’s okay to feel the ‘bad’ feelings; fear, sadness, anger, frustration ect.
  6. You won’t always succeed at everything you take on and that’s okay.
  7. You are allowed to want to be alone.
  8. Grief throws you into an unending spiral of self-confrontation.
  9. Cooking or baking is therapeutic.
  10. Love is all there is. It will get you through your darkest nights and brightest days.
  11. Don’t waste the time you have. You won’t get a refund.
  12. Live well.

japanese cherry trees, flowers, white

GRIEF

The other day I heard two young girls speak on the train on my way home. The one said to the other; “Time heals everything”.

I wanted to speak up and say no, time does not heal everything.

I no longer believe time heals everything. Time allows you to get used to trauma and pain. That, however doesn’t necessarily mean you are healed.

It simply means you’ve learned how to live with what hurt you.