Personal Development

composing, woman, fantasy

THE STRENGTH OF A WOMAN

MEETING THE MATRIARCH

This past December, my family and I took a road trip to East London in the Eastern Cape. I met my husband’s grandmother, and now my grandmother.

In the ten days I lived in her home, I saw and experienced raw strength.

She is the matriarch and a true one at that. Mama is my husband’s 81-year-old paternal grandmother. She is also as fierce and feisty as they come. For you to understand my admiration for Mama, you need to understand a bit of her life and her history.

Mama, as she is so affectionately known, lost both her husband and only daughter of five children, who was also the youngest sibling, within the space of 6 months more than 15 years ago. She ended up having to take care of her late daughter’s son, who was two years old at the time. He is now a well raised young man.

Through conversations I had with Mama during our stay at her home in Buffalo Flats, I was in awe of how she relayed stories of when her husband, Dada, died and then how she lost her daughter only six months later. When I listened to her speak, I could hear pain, sadness, loss but also acceptance. She made me realize that acceptance like that only comes from a very deep-rooted strength.

I also realized that she didn’t have a choice but to be strong. She took on the responsibility of raising her grandson like he was her own. I cannot fathom the sheer determination and willpower it had to take for her to get out of bed every morning and be there for her grandson, the rest of her children as well as other family members.

Mama, strength, children, great-grandchildren
The first day we arrived, Mama showed her new great-grandchildren some photos.

SHAPED BY EXPERIENCE

I watched her as she sat on her red lumpy but very comfortable sofa in her home, hunched over with all the experiences from her past trying to weigh her down but she gets up every day, determined to live her life and do her daily chores.

It was at one of these moments when it hit me; she wasn’t sitting on a couch but a throne.

Mama also very much reminded me of my mother who died in 2020. Both women have seen and have been through some of the worst pain you can imagine, both refusing to be dictated to by bad and negative circumstances and both set in their daily way of life.

During the time I spent with Mama, I learned that yes, we are shaped by our experiences but we can choose how to live out those experiences. We choose how to live, we choose whether we give up or go on. We choose to forgive.

Mama, strength
Mama, my husband and out two children.

ACCEPTANCE

There was a point where Mama said to me that she didn’t know if she could ever accept or get through what had happened to her but God had gotten her through it and she did manage to accept her fate.

She could have chosen to be angry and to turn away from God, which I’m sure there were many of those moments when those bad feelings overwhelmed her. She could have chosen to become a lifeless vessel of her former self but I can assure you, that woman still has a lot of life left in her.

Her relationship with God is so secure and I truly believe that that is her source of strength. Every morning she wakes up and reads devotionals and her Bible. I’ve decided to put that in practice as well.

LIVING WITH INTENTION

Every time Mama would tell a story and explain the difficult parts, she would say, “but it doesn’t really matter

For me, that didn’t mean she gave up or lost hope or didn’t accept things. For me it meant that in the bigger picture, the grand plan of God for her life, her focusing on the past was not the point. It was what she got out of all her pain and loss. The wisdom and understanding that her loss and pain was not for nothing. The way in which she imparted her wisdom and what she learned, to others around her. It was peace beyond all human understanding. It was knowing that love is sacrifice and that understanding comes from compassion.

Mama showed me that life demands of you to be intentional; intentional about your actions, your energy, your focus, your thoughts and emotions.

I learned patience and I saw accepting the things one cannot change, in action.

I loved sitting in her company, I loved watching the movie of her life play out as she told me stories and showed me old polaroid photographs.

In ten days, I lived a life of 40+ years through the eyes of a woman who lost everything, was forced down on her knees and found herself in the perfect position to pray for the strength and will to live to tell the tale.

hope, dandelion

MY HOPE FOR YOU

I hope you fall in love with yourself. I hope you know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I hope you learn to appreciate all your flaws and find the beauty in every scar, wrinkle, and folded skin.

I hope you learn to love your voice. I hope that you use it to change your world.

I hope you learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes you made and, I hope you let go of the burden of guilt.

I hope you find love in all the different relationships in your life. 

I hope you chase your dreams and get the chance to watch them come to life.

I hope you share your stories and adventures and inspire others to do the same.

I hope you learn to be gentle with yourself and remember that bad decisions do not define you.

I hope you find the strength to fight through the bad times and come out the other side a stronger person.

I hope you remember to pray.

I hope you remember how beautiful you are.

I hope you laugh more.

I hope you play more.

I hope you find more.

I hope you always look for stars in the darkest of nights 

and know that the sun will always rise in the morning.

I hope you start believing in love again.  

Just believe it again.

I hope you can look back on the last season in your life and find the good

And I hope that you will always be grateful that you have made it this far.

I hope you know that your story is far from over and that the next blank page is waiting for you to create the life that you want.

I hope you know that you have the power to change your life and I hope you remember to never give that power away.

I hope you know that you can push boundaries and break barriers.

I hope that you know that you are never alone.

I hope that you witness great things and climb majestic mountains.

I hope that you find the courage to reach deep within yourself and do what makes you happy.

I hope you walk away from anything that no longer serves you and, I hope you walk away with your head held high.

I hope that you smile again and laugh with all the joy in your spirit. 

I hope it’s so loud that the rest of the world can’t help but laugh with you.

.

girls, women, happy

I hope you remember that saying goodbye is not always a bad thing.
I hope you know that the pain doesn’t last.
I hope you know that love is plentiful.
I hope you dance in the rain and roll in the mud.
I hope you plant seeds instead of picking flowers.
I hope you remember that having a bit of fun is good for you.
I hope you hold warm hands and kiss soft lips.
I hope you get the chance to look into loving eyes and fall asleep in a warm embrace.
I hope you take care of yourself.

I hope you know that your story is worth telling.

woman, desperate, sad

PURSUING A KINGDOM MARRIAGE

PART 3 – FIGHTING TEMPTATION

We all struggle with temptation, and we all give in to sin. Luckily for us, God knows our hearts, and He knows what we need and when we need it. He also knows when to show us the way we need to go, and He gives us direction. I believe that is exactly what He did when He gave me this message that I share here.

Temptation within a marriage is not something that is uncommon and as part of the kingdom marriage series, I want to explore this idea.

The temptation will come at you looking like something beautiful and desirable. It will be something that looks good, makes you feel good. It will come across as someone speaking well, someone who sounds as if they have a lot of wisdom, and it will make sense to you at that moment

Think of Eve in the Garden of Eden. The serpent approached her and spoke to her in a way that she understood.
It made her doubt that which God had instructed them not to do. The serpent painted God in a bad light, making it seem as if God didn’t want the best for them but in actual fact, the serpent was manipulating her.

That is what temptation does. It manipulates you and makes you doubt the truth. It makes you question what you already know is the truth.

GENESIS 3 VS 6

“The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it”

When the door of temptation is opened, we allow others to become a part of it. For example, if you are married and you are tempted to cheat, you unknowingly invite that deception and temptation into your home and your marriage and this happens before you have even acted on the temptation. Your spouse also becomes tempted, a riff is caused between you and neither of you can understand where the trouble in your marriage is coming from. Temptation looks good and feels wonderful and makes you feel good. That is how the cracks are created within your life. 

We need to learn to kill temptation before it seeps into our lives and affects the different facets of our lives.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT TEMPTATION

open book, bible, scripture
1 CORINTHIANS 7 VS 2-5

Each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

What I take away from this verse is that it reaffirms that marriage is a 50/50 partnership between a man and a woman. It tells me that we take care of one another in every way so that we are not tempted by the world and by Satan in cheating on our spouses spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. We need to take care of each other in all facets of our relationship. That is my interpretation of the above verse.

1 CORINTHIANS 10 VS 13

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

This verse says that the temptation will come but God will provide you with way to overcome it. God gave us free-will; we have the choice to give in to temptation or fight it. The power is already given to us but the choice still has to be made.

JAMES 4 VS 7

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

1 TIMOTHY 6 VS 11

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”

The word ‘avoid’ literally means to keep away from something or to stop yourself from doing something. You can also interpret it as not putting yourself in a situation where you know that you will be tempted. Don’t go to that party, don’t have that conversation, don’t engage with that person. Avoid all these things if you know it will tempt you into unrighteousness.

adventure, trail, hair
MATTHEW 26 VS 41

 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

This is why we fast, so that we can deny ourselves and our bodies of the things of the world. In this way, we make room for the Holy Spirit to take over. We make room for the Spirit of God in our lives. When we are tempted in any way, we should pray, keep watch, be aware of all the different types of temptations that can sneak into our lives.

2 PETER 2 VS 9

And so the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trails.”

Simple; God knows how to help you, and He will help you; you only have to ask.

cross, sunset, humility

MORE ENCOURAGING SCRIPTURES

PSALM 25 VS 21

“May my goodness and honesty preserve me because I trust in you”

ROMANS 12 VS 21

Do not let evil defeat you; instead conquer evil with good”

ROMANS 12 VS 2

“Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind, Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to Him and is perfect”

Papertrailza literary journal

PAPER TRAIL LITERARY JOURNAL – REVIEW

LAUNCHED 31st OCTOBER 2021

It was fun to be a part of this project. I recall, when the Whatsapp group opened, and all the discussions started flowing, I thought what a wonderful group of people who would come together and contribute to the idea of one person. I believe that is the foundation of Paper Trail.

An amazing group of writers is brought together with a variety of thoughts and ideas and it’s all mixed together in a melting pot of creativity.

I spent some time reading through the journal and it was really hard for me to choose which pieces were my favourite. When you read through it, it really highlights the importance of young people and the pivotal role that they play in society. It gives them a voice.

Where there are challenges there is bounteous space for the cultural economy to flourish. All that is required is clarity of vision and openness”

On the Twitter page of Paper Trail, the pinned tweet reads as follows:

“Our mission is to inspire young people through modern storytelling, and our vision is to create a digital journal that includes collaborators of all age groups to share poetry, short stories, articles and write-ups on young leaders and small businesses that improve our community.”

A TRAIL OF FAVOURITES

Like I mentioned before, there are so many facets and a variety of topics in this journal, that it makes it pleasantly difficult to choose which ones were my favourite. There are however some pieces that I would like to highlight.

Back In The Day” by Shiara Sharanund. A learner at Westville Girls High school wrote a beautiful article that makes you reflect on the days past and how they made you feel. It sums up the idea of nostalgia stunningly. Below is a piece from her article.

An extract from Papertrail Literary Journal.

There is also a sweet little piece from a Grade 4 learner at R.A Engar Primary school. This piece made me feel a bit sad but also put a smile on my face. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, we have forgotten that the little ones have also gone through some major changes but they have adapted so well.

The following quote is from a piece written by Shika Budhoo from her column titled “Align and Shine”

“Be the producer / radio DJ of your own mind and make sure the thoughts you think stay focused on your blessings and goals.”

Shika’s column gives you easy and practical tips on how to change the frequency of your thoughts from negative to positive and I think we can all do with a bit more positivity.

An extract from the column, “Align and Shine”

Another important piece that I would like to highlight is “How To Take Care Of You and Your Mental Health” by Robin Cleote. This piece speaks to all of us and after everything we’ve been through, it’s definitely worth the read.

KOFFEE FOR THE SOUL

I also contributed to the journal and I truly feel honoured that I could do that. I shared a space with amazing writers and if you haven’t heard of them before, you surely will now. Paper Trail brings communities together from across the world through the power of words. It reminds me of my review on Letting In The Light. Another body of work that simply reminds you about the beauty of words and shared experiences.

When I thought about the column that I wanted to contribute to Paper Trail, I wanted to write something honest and something that anyone could relate to. I didn’t want to give advice, I simply wanted to reflect and that’s the brief I proposed to the founder and editor, Ekta Somera.

The name “Koffee For The Soul” was inspired by how when we drink a warm beverage, its comforting and relaxes us and that is the experience I wanted to give the reader.

My first column in Paper Trail

There is a little bit of wisdom in every piece that has been added to this journal. I am amazed at the array of writers and their contributions.

Paper Trail brings together a range of articles for every kind of reader. From recipes, poetry, history, fashion, and makeup to anime and so much more. There is truly something for everyone.

It is not just an enjoyable read but is also a learning experience.

Well done to everyone involved and to Ekta Somera for the idea of starting this journal.

A SOCIAL MEDIA TRAIL:

Twitter: PapertrailZA

Instagram: Papertrailza

Literary Journal: PapertrailZA Journal

If you would like to get involved in future issues of the journal, please do contact the editor Ekta Somera by email on ekta.somera@gmail.com

******

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.

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.

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.

self-care self love

SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH

I was looking at myself in the mirror the other day and I didn’t like what I saw. I felt miserable because my clothes didn’t fit right and I realised that I had gained weight. The truth of the matter is, I haven’t been taking care of myself lately; I haven’t been eating properly and I haven’t been giving myself well-deserved self-care.

Growing up, I know we are told not to focus too much on our outer appearance. We are taught that “it’s what inside that counts” I teach my kids the same thing but I’m learning a very important lesson now as an adult that we sometimes forget that it’s what we put inside our bodies that affect our outer appearance. I don’t want to look in the mirror and not like what I see.

I’ve been going through the motions; work, home life, kids and school, working on being a good wife and mother ,and all my other responsibilities but in all of that I’ve neglected myself. I find myself eating more than usual, drinking ample amounts of coffee ,and reaching for chocolate or cake for no reason other than comfort. Feeling sick, nauseous ,and weak has become the norm and my headaches are relentless. The worst part is, I am always and I mean always, tired.

I think the last time I had a proper self-care day was three months ago for our wedding and that wasn’t something I did for myself. Other people did it for me.

Self-care should be something we prioritise often. It should be a part of our lifestyle.

Self care can come in many different ways:

  • Getting your hair and nails done
  • Going shopping and buying yourself something that you’ve wanted for some time
  • Taking a break from work
  • Going on a short holiday away from your usual surroundings
  • Taking a break from social media
  • Spending time by yourself
  • Spending time in prayer or meditation

SELF REFLECTION

All these things can help bring you back toward yourself. We can’t take care of others if we’re not taking care of ourselves. You can’t give from an empty cup.

You’re scraping from the bottom of the barrel and giving yourself and your loved ones, your work ,and your business less than what they deserve. Less than what you deserve.

It’s okay to step back and reflect on your life. You can say no to another project or event. It’s okay to put yourself first. Sometimes, it’s required.

When I was standing before the mirror the other day, I looked around me and the house was a mess. I felt completely overwhelmed by everything that I burst into tears. It was tears of exhaustion. I hardly have the energy to take care of myself let alone the house but somehow I still find myself cleaning and cooking but I’m doing it from an empty cup. I’m scraping from the bottom of the barrel.

Reflecting on all of this has felt like a very honest conversation I’ve had to have with myself about how I’m treating myself and my body, my mind ,and spirit. I want to experience holistic health and the truth is, the mind, body ,and spirit are all connected. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. My family and career and all my responsibilities keep my life full and exciting. I see the growth in all the areas of my life, the problem is, I can’t seem to keep up with it.

If I don’t take care of the one, all the others will be out of sync. My family, career ,and business cannot thrive if I am not at my best.

MAKING THE EFFORT

As I said before, self-care has to become a part of my life. It is a daily habit that has to be learned through repetition. I now have to learn to take care of my body and my overall health. I understand now that self-care is simply doing things that will improve my mental state, everything else will flow from there. Below is a great list of how to practice self-care.

Remember, self-care is self love!