A sense of belonging

After my mother passed away , my older sister took the role of abread winner and parent at the age of 21. My mother wanted us to keep the family unit as it was and my sister kept that promise to her.

She stopped studying and found a full time job to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.

I wanted things to remain the same for us, but I soon realized that change is inevitable.

At the age of 15, I was sent to boarding school. My younger sister and I stayed together in the dorms that first year. As she began to make friends, I struggled a bit. We were always together and I knew it was time for me to make my own friends. I am a shy and reserved person, while she is an extrovert. As she strived at school, I struggled. I hated boarding school because the friends I made were day schoolers. I did not have friends at boarding school.

A few years later she decided to go to University to study accountancy.  During the holidays she would come home but she would not be there for long as she had made plans to visit her friends.

Our relationship remained the same but I sensed a change in her. I missed spending more time with her. As I held on tight to what was left of our relationship, I felt her slipping away from me. I became angry. Anger turned to feelings of resentment towards her. I doubted her love for me.

After completing her studies, she did not want to return home. I was working and had moved out of the family home,  into a one bedroom apartment. I offered to share my space with her until she had decided what she wanted to do. 

After spending some time in the one bedroom apartment, we found a place that had two bedrooms and moved into it immediately. We lived with each other for seven years. There were good and bad times in that apartment. 

At the beginning of 2011, we had a discussion that it was time to live separately. We gave ourselves a year to find a place of our own. 

The first week of January the following year, I moved into my own place,  she moved into her place soon after. That first month was terrible as I was so used to having someone to talk to. We kept in touch daily on the phone but eventually I got used to living on my own. 

3 years later we were celebrating her wedding when it finally hit me that life will never be the same again. It was time to let go of my sister and to start living my life. This was final and I knew I did not have a choice in the matter.

I started transferring my need of acceptance to other people in my life. Whenever I made a connection to someone,  I would cling to them and hope that they will not slip away from me. When something changed in the relationship, I would feel rejected and wonder what was wrong with me that they would want to change the status quo. 

I am struggling because I have always wanted people to make me happy. I want reassurance from people that I do matter. 

 I want to have a sense of belonging in this life.

Woman Crush Wednesday –  Author Pamela Power

My #wcw this week is author Pamela Power.

I watched an episode of  Real Talk with Anele last week, her guest was writer and script editor  –  Pamela Power

Anele first came across Pamela’s book Msconception when she was on maternity leave.

She enjoyed her writing and was looking forward to interviewing her. 

This was part of the interview

Pamela grew up in Harare Zimbabwe

She loved drama and studied dance.

She studied Shona for five years when she was young.

Her work also involves being a writer for tv shows Generations and Muvhango.

She was a director for a show called  Top Billing. “I was a terrible director for the show.”

Her father worked as a manager at a department store.

Her mother was a house wife, involved in church but was also a dancer at a young age. 

Her parents did not get a chance to read her work.

One lesson she learned from her parents is unconditional love for yourself which she hopes to impart to her children and  other people.

 Reading

She went to the library to read books a lot. Her parents were big readers.

On stand up comedy

“Comedy is scary. When you get it right it is the best feeling in the world.”

She almost died on stage when her uncle who is a priest came to watch her comedy show on religion. She did not know he was going to be there.

Writing

“You have to continue writing even though your work sucks.”

People she prefers not read her work are people from her parents church.

On her book – Msconception

Digitally released in 2012 and released again 2015.

Finding story lines

“I have many voices in my head. The voices are quite loud.”

Process on getting a book deal

“Send out a lot of your work.”

“You have to have thick skin, as there is a lot of rejection in this business.”

New book – Delilah now trending

The book touches on school bullying.

Her daughter gave her a lot of input on what children go through at school.

“As parents, we worry if our child is a bully, instead of if a child is being bullied.”

An autobiography she would like to write about

She would like to write her family story.

“You find out things about your family, I wish I get a chance to know more.”

A time to say goodbye

It was the day of the funeral. I woke up feeling angry at what I was about to do. When we visited her family home over the weekend to offer our condolences, they asked  if I would be able to attend the funeral on Wednesday. I said no, because I did not know if I would be able to get out of work. I had made peace with not being able to attend the funeral.

On Monday, I received a call from my sister informing me of how the memorial service went.

She tried once more to find out if I would be able to attend the funeral. I told her again that I might not be able to.

On Tuesday, I tried to get her on the phone but she was in a meeting. I had a sense she was upset with me and sent her a message to apologise for not attending the memorial service or funeral.

Her response to the message confirmed the anger and disappointment about my decision.

At that moment I decided to ask for permission to attend the funeral. I promised to be back in the afternoon and my request was granted.

As I arrived on Wednesday morning, I was the first one from my family to arrive. I was greeted warmly and gave her mother a hug. I sat on the sofa and saw her coffin on my right hand side.

Her niece gave me a poster  to put at the back of my car in remembrance of her.

The pastor arrived a few minutes later and began the proceeding of viewing the body. A worship song broke out from the room and the pastor said a prayer.

I stood in front of her coffin and looked at her for the last time. I couldn’t believe she was gone.

They arrived shortly after, carried the coffin to the car which would take her to church.

The significance of the moment had not hit me yet.

I could hear the praise and worship team singing a song as we arrived at the church.

My sister, a long time friend of hers stood up to bid farewell to her friend

” We have always said that we will be friends for life and the only way it would end is through death. My friend, this has happened. You were always by my side even when I caused an accident that almost took our lives, years ago. I was stupid and reckless. Your family forgave and accepted me into their home after the accident. I was never rejected by you. I thank you for that.

Her and her sibling helped me raise my sisters after our mother passed away in 1995. They were sisterly figures and had the opportunity to see them grow up to be the woman they are today. When my sister got married in 2015, with tears in her eyes, she said this was her proudest moment.

In the last couple of months she confessed and made peace with herself and her family.  She always encouraged me to make peace with my sisters. I confess today that I treated them badly. I am ready to make peace.”

I cried as I heard the words of peace and forgiveness coming out of my sister’s mouth.  This was what I’ve always  wanted and prayed to God about.

The significance of the moment clicked. There was a reason I needed to be at the funeral, not only to say goodbye to her but to witness a new beginning.

She did that for us. God used her, in her final days on earth to be a messenger of peace to those closest to her. I thank God for this moment. I thank her for leading by example.

As we drove out of church, I looked at the clouds. I accepted that she was at peace. I was grateful to say goodbye to her. She is no longer with us on earth, but I am comforted to know we have an angel watching over us.

Lala ngoxolo!

Woman Crush Wednesday

​My choice for this week’s  #WCW is radio and tv personality Anele Mdoda.

Anele was born in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape where she spent the first six years of her life, spent two years in Polokwane and then moved to Pretoria.

She began her radio career as a DJ at the University of Pretoria in 2004, where she was studying politics and international relations.

She was hired by Jo’burg radio station Highveld FM in 2007.

Anele’s star has continued to rise. She has breached out into TV, now hosting her own daily talk show, RealTalk with Anele  on SABC3.

As of April 2017,  Anele moved from the afternoon drive to the breakfast slot.

This is what she had to say about the move

“After five years on 947’s drive show, I am honoured to take the challenge of the breakfast show. My first big radio break was at 947 and I am thankful to management for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. The station, and the breakfast show in particular, is home to radio royalty with personalities like Darren Simpson, who has continued to evolve the breakfast show and create radio magic. I know that he’s going to be a tough act to follow. Radio is and always will be a very personal platform and I am driven by the  connection I have with my listeners. I will always work hard to deliver content that evokes emotion, makes people laugh and gets them thinking. I am looking forward to the next part of this incredible journey on 947.”

On giving back: A friend of Anele shared a heartwarming post on instagram, where we found out that Anele bought her baby’s nanny / helper a car

xolisadyeshana – This is a post about the lady on the right of this photo.

Her name is Florence.

She used to work for Anele & I. She was our helper.

She was amazing. No, but really amazing.

In that time, she got herself a learners. Then a drivers.

Then her first car. An old Hyundai Elantra. 

She loved it. And was so proud. So were we.

Then Anele had a baby. And we agreed she would hire Flo full time. 

I was sad. But happy for Flo. She had a full time job.

Then she helped Anele raise Alakhe.

And they were like one big happy family. Anele, Alakhe & Flo.

Then Anele took her to Cape Town & Durban. Her first time. 

Then Croatia. Then Paris. Then Monaco.

And even New York. 

Must be nice. Very nice. 

Then the other day I found out something amazing.

Anele bought her a freaking A3.

How awesome?

Apparently she was the woMAN when she went home in Dec. 

Big up Aneezy.

But more big up to the lady on the right of this picture.

Florence. 

The one who teaches us all that no matter what your past, through hard work, dedication and passion you can always change your future. 🙏

P.S In my next lifetime I want to work for Anele. 🙂

God is for us

On saturday I went to my first social in weeks. I felt heavy for leaving the comfort of my home but I promised I would go and knew I needed to get out of the house. I went to the monthly Christian women’s  group and the topic of the day was 

God is for us.

The host gave us a sheet of paper with bible verses which we read and had a conversation about.

One verse that stood out to me was from Hebrews 13:5-6

“For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you not give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake, nor let [you] down (relax my hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]. So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?”

I looked at the women in that room. I let the feeling of pure faith in that room fill me up.  I wish I had the faith I saw in that room.

As I let the thought sink in, my heart filled up with emotions and I allowed them to take over. Tears welled up in my eyes but I did not allow them to fall. 

On Sunday I woke up with a worship song in my heart, What a beautiful name by Hillsong. I did not go to church that morning.

I want to put you first Lord, I heard myself say. I knew that in the past couple of months I have not been going to church for the right reasons. I was distracted. My focus was on other things and not on the Lord.

Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]”

The scripture asks if God is for us , who can be against us? At the moment I am fighting myself. I am against myself. God is for me, he loves me. I know I have not reciprocated that love. People have said that God loves you regardless of what you do. I understand that and I receive it.  

Why can’t I give him the same love?

Why can’t I love him unconditionally?

I noticed that when I started attending church I went there without expectations. I remembered how welcoming God was to me. 

I have not put him first during this journey. I have been going to church wanting something from God and the church.

I started doing everything possible to get close to what I wanted, I pretended to be someone I am not. I forgot why I was there in the first place. I could sense the distance, the separation from the relationship I was building with God.

I lost focus.

God, was not the centre of my attention. 

I want to put you first Lord.

I want to give myself the time to focus on my relationship with God. I cannot do it with so many distractions I allow in my heart. Church is part of the community I need to get involved in as part of my Christian journey in my relationship with God.

I cannot do it on my own though. God I am asking for your help please. Please help me  shift my focus and direct it only to you.

I want to put you first Lord.


Rest In Peace

Death scares me. 

The first time I experienced the loss of a loved one was  22 years ago, the loss of my mother. I never wanted to go through that kind of pain again, unfortunately life does not work out that way. In the last couple of days I have received calls and messages about people I know who are no longer with us. My body goes numb and I am reminded of what I went through 22 years ago. The pain is unbearable. I am reminded of how death steals your joy of life away.

The wedding invitations were ready and she asked me to come along with her as she wanted to deliver them personally. We gave her a call to let her know we were coming through. She was at work but assured us that she can fit us in her schedule. 

As we arrived at her place of work she was busy relaxing a young girl’s  hair when she excused herself. She greeted us with a hug and commented on how grown we were.

We told her the reason of our visit and handed her the wedding invitation. She was excited and shocked that the youngest in the family was getting married.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world” we heard her say. She couldn’t speak to us for long as she had to return to her client. We thanked her for seeing us and told her we would see her at the wedding.

A few months passed after that meeting, I remember sitting across from her at the wedding. She was so happy to be there. That was the last time I saw her.

The message came through Wednesday morning. I was shocked and I could not believe she was gone. She was not only my sister’s best friend or family hairdresser, she was a part of the family.

She saw my younger sister and I grow up to be the women we are today. She was a part of of our lives. She was proud of us.

I remember her laughter and joy. Her laughter was contagious. She was the life of the party. 

I remember times in December where we would close the salon for the staff year end party. Even though we were young at the time they allowed us to tag along.

I remember how scared I was when I made her angry. I have never seen her mad and I thought she would hit me for disrespecting her the way I did.

I sit here and wonder what her dreams were. 

I sit here and wonder if she was fulfilled and happy about how her life turned out. 

Did she have any regrets? Was she ready to go?

I think that’s what scares me about death. How do you know if you are living your best life? This is the question I can only answer.

All I know is that I want to live. I still have so much to do and this is the only place I know. 

I am scared of not having enough time to fulfill my goals. I am scared of leaving, not having achieved what I want out of life.

I am scared leaving, as a failure. There it is, I have said it.

Every time something like this happens, I am reminded of the limited time I have on this earth. I tell myself, I will do things differently but fall back into my old habits. 

I want to live my life differently. I want to learn how to do that .

I want to do it for her.

I want to do it for myself.

 

I thank you Lord for the moments I shared with her.

I thank you for letting our path cross and a few lessons I have learned from her over the years.

Khosi, I thank you for the love, joy  and laughter you brought in my life.

Khosi, I thank you for being a part of my life and I am proud to call you a sister.

May your soul rest in peace, Khosi.

Woman Crush Wednesday – Antonina Zabinski

My choice for #WCW this week is Antonina Zabinski. When I watched the movie The Zookeeper’s wife the other day I was inspired by her and her husband courage and it was a reminder that we have the capacity to do what we can with the little we have got.

Orphaned at 9, Antonina learned early how to read people. She painted, spoke several languages and was passionate about polka dots – and animals. After marrying Jan in 1931, she reared orphaned lynx and lion cubs alongside their son, Rys, at their zoo home. 

Later, as Antonina helped Jan smuggle Jews out of the ghetto, she adopted them too.

When aiding a Jew in Poland was punishable by death, the Zabinskis saved 300 of them. Their story, recounted in Diane Ackerman’s haunting 2007 book, “The Zookeeper’s wife,” is the basis for the film of the same name, it stars Jessica Chastain as Antonina, a woman of compassion so fierce, you wonder why she isn’t better known.

She and Jan were determined to save as many people as they could, and by many ruse possible. Persuading the Nazis to let them raise pigs for meat for German soldiers gave Jan an excuse to drive his truck into the ghetto: on the pretense of gathering garbage for hog feed, he smuggled food and money in and people out. Both he and Antonina always kept cyanide capsules at the ready, in case they were caught.

Edit“I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m drowning in a gray sea, like they’re flooding the whole city, washing away our past and people, dashing everything  from the face of the earth.” Antonina Zabinski

Sources: New York Post

Timely

I was in high school when I first came across the world of books. It was not easy for me to make friends and the only way I could pass time was being in the school library. I remember the first author I picked, Danielle Steele. It did not occur to me at the time to think about writing, mainly because it was not a profession that was spoken about.

Life at the time meant that you finish high school, go to university, get a degree and find a job in the industry you studied for.

I did not know what I wanted to do when I finished high school. I took a gap year which turned to four years. Everyone asked me what I wanted to do with my life , I could not give an answer. I saw my peers going to university furthering their studies.

During my time at home, my younger sister finished high school and knew what she wanted to study. She had enrolled and was leaving me at the end of the year. I was wasting time, sitting at home and doing nothing. The one thing that did not change was my love of books.  I would catch a taxi to town, go to the library and get books on loan. I would wake up in the morning, clean the house and sit the whole day stuck in a world of a book I was reading.

For four years I lived this way until my older sister couldn’t stand it any longer. She told me to look at potential colleges that offered 1year diplomas to get a skill that will help me find a job.

I studied a secretarial diploma where I learned computer studies. A year after I finished my diploma I started working for a company as an office administrator.

I was in the job for two and a half years when I was offered a new job in a different industry.

During these 10 years I have collected and read different genres by different authors. I still had not thought about writing until I was invited to a dinner with an author. The author was Susan Newham – Blake  and her book titled Making Finn. My sister was seated on my right hand side and I had a publicist on my left.

I began a conversation with the publicist and asked her what advise she could give a person who is interested in writing.   She gave me different options when I could not give her a straight answer about the kind of writer I wanted to be.

Blogging was the first thing that came out of her mouth. She said it was an upcoming thing which seemed to be popular on the net. 

 I had another opportunity to sit at a table with a famous journalist and author who had different advise for me. He said I had to read a lot and start writing. It did not matter what I was writing as long as I learned and improved my craft every day.

Reading was not a problem for me. Writing was. Doubt and fear stopped me immediately. I made excuses why I could not write. Please do not get me wrong, I did write but in my journals. Those were my comfort zone. I did not have to worry about grammar or what I had to say. I did not have to worry about whether or not people would like my work.

I started blogging a few years ago and stopped because there were times I did not know what to write about,  and I was overwhelmed by the number of blogs out there.

I doubted myself and compared myself to others. Something inside of me could not stop and urged me to continue writing. This time though I told myself I would do it differently.

I did not tell anyone I know I was starting a new blog because I did not want to put myself under pressure, by knowing someone is waiting on me to deliver a post.

I would work on my own pace, put some time in the work before I posted it.

Unfortunately this did not last as I had a conversation with someone yesterday, who did not believe I was doing anything to change my life or improve it.

I calmly mentioned to her that the only thing I want to do now, was to concentrate on my writing. I did not want to share with her what I was working on but she understood. I did not want to share with her because she gets frustrated at the pace I do things.

***

The dictionary meaning of the word timely is:

Happening at exactly the right time.

I do not believe that it was a coincidence that in high school I would be introduced to an author who gave me a passion on books which led to a passion of writing.

I do not believe it was a coincidence that I had to have that conversation yesterday. Sometimes God sends us people to give us a message. I was angry at her to think that I did not care about my life. I thought she was nagging me but now I understand what she was trying to say.

I want to become a writer. I acknowledge it now. There will be days where I do not feel like writing the story. Days where I will write something that is not even going to be published and that is okay. As long as I keep on doing what I need to do to fulfill my dream,  which is to become a writer .

The time is now.

A letter to our nourished table blog – Thank you 

​Dear Amy G,

When I received  notification of your new post titled  ‘The Bathroom Floor’, I was not going to read it at all. I am glad to not have discarded it. It has made an impact on me and I am grateful to you for taking the time to put something like it on paper.

I would like to share my story with you.

I remember two weeks ago I was on the bathroom floor. I did not want to talk to anybody about what I was going through or to think about it. It was easier for me to ignore those feelings.

The situation that led me to the bathroom floor moment was the lack of belief in myself. I was given a task that freaked me out. I remember how I watched everyone comfortably do their task but I knew I was not ready for what people had expected of me. I was given a chance to step outside my comfort zone and I froze.

The feeling of not being good enough affected me emotionally and physically which in turn affected my health. It began with a headache and nausea. I tried to drink some headache tablets but this did not ease the pain I felt. I suffered sleepless night and lack of appetite because of the pain, worry and anxiety. 

I remember the day I ate my breakfast when I rushed to the bathroom to flush out the remainder of the food I just had.

I knew what was happening. I felt overwhelmed and afraid of failing on this project. I had no one to turn to,  I was afraid to speak up because I did not want  everyone thinking I was not coping.

I was tired and unhappy.

I even asked God why he allowed this to happen to me. I was really angry with him.

I had plans to go out with people over the weekend but I cancelled on them. I felt weak. I did not want to be around people when I was feeling this way. I knew I was not going to be good company. I wanted to hide from the world and locked myself inside the house.

I did nothing. I cried and slept the whole weekend. I remember drinking a lot of water to calm the nausea I still felt in my stomach. All I had to eat was dry toast and popcorn.

This eased the nausea a little. I began to feel comfortable again.

At the end of it, I knew I had to accept the way I felt and somehow surrender and let go of my problem. This decision gave me the strength I needed.

During this period things were happening around me. Miracles were taking place for close friends and family.

–  Healing, a person who was in hospital at the beginning of the year got great news that the clot in her brain had disappeared. She is getting stronger every day, jogging and keeping herself healthy.

– Someone getting and nailing an interview after two years of unemployment. A contract is being drawn up for her. She is starting a new job in May.

–  Someone struggling with drug abuse for so many years. She got tired of living this way and decided to get help. She went to rehab.

These miracles showed me that anything is possible with God and things only happen in his own time as long as we are patient and put our  trust in him fully.

The second weekend after I read your post I decided to take those baby steps. I took my car to the car wash after months of neglect, I went to church Sunday morning and after the service I went to watch a movie by myself. 

I still felt uncomfortable to be around other people and I was okay with spending time alone doing things I enjoyed doing.

As I was saying my prayers at night the words,  I have not forgotten nor forsaken you crossed my mind.

The correct saying is ” I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” Hebrews 13:5

I shed a tear because during the episode of the past two weeks I felt alone but God reminded me that I was never alone.

 In that state, I chose to forget that.

I thank you for your post. It was just what I needed at the time and a  reminder that whatever I am going through, all I can really do is show up, do my best and allow God to do the rest.

A letter to God – Rise

​She is driving home after a long day at work. She turns on the radio and the host repeats the topic for those listeners who have just joined her  “What is the most embarrassing / honest thing your child has said to you in front of people?”

She is trying to listen to the callers comments but is distracted about her  situation. She loves listening to the afternoon drive show but today,  she was not interested in what other people had to say. She was irritated and decided to turn it off for a little while to have a chance to think. A short while later she is bothered by her thoughts and turned it on again to be free from what was going on in her mind.

She is on time to catch up on the news of the day. The traffic is not moving, the cars behind her are moving closer to her bumper she feels tired from a sleepless night.  To keep her awake she opens a window to get some cold air on her face.

After the news a beat starts playing in the background, she does not recognize the song immediately until the artist starts singing the lyrics.

She is excited as she has not heard the song in a long time. She pumps up the volume, sits up straight on her seat, moves her whole body and sings along  to the song.

I swear it ain’t another love song 

Gotta motivate you

Here we go

All I need is just one moment

All I need is just one chance

I know I was made for something

Nothing here is left to chance

It’s not about how much you fall

Or about how much you slip

So when they say that things are over

Tell them this is part of your plan

I’m gonna rise again

Rise again

When you thought it was all over

When you thought it was the end

Rise again 

When you thought it was all over

When you thought it was the end

I’m gonna rise again 

Rise – by liquiddeep

She senses her mood changing immediately. Her mind is clearing up from all the distractions, even her body language has changed. She is sitting comfortably on her seat, her back is straight and she has pushed her shoulders back.

There is a smile on her face.

She feels herself getting better in that moment.

When she looks in the rearview mirror, cars that were close to her, have kept their distance. She knew why but she did not mind at all. She needed her space.

The  thoughts on her mind she had a  few minute ago were long forgotten. She is enjoying the comfortable feeling and keeps her own pace on the road.

Even after the song was finished, she continued singing the chorus in her head. The song made a difference to her mood.

She mouthed thank you Lord because she was tired of feeling the pain and burden she had carried for the past two weeks, not knowing if it would be sorted out.

Yeah when I get back up high

I put my feet back on the ground

I’ll step back up right now

I’ll stand back up right now

When you find yourself falling

Just stand up and rise again

Rise again

Her situation remains the same, she still has no answer for it all but at that moment she was grateful to see some small light at the end of the tunnel. 

She knew there was hope and the only thing she has to do now is to wait until the situation passes and to get ready to rise again.