bookclubThis past weekend I was reminded how amazing and gracious and incredible my group of friends is. Around this table are some of the powerhouses that make up what we call bookCLUB (don’t ask). We are missing a few people from the setting, but eight or so years later when the name was coined from some mischievous endeavours, we’re still going strong with the love.

This afternoon, Tumelo reminded me that I had written some of them a random letter of love back in 2012 – reading it again, I think it’s time for another. Not that much which change – they are still wonderful, just better versions of their 2012 version. Also missing a few on the old list.

I am grateful for my circle of women.

Here is the letter: unedited – grammar and spelling errors not omitted

From Akona To bookCLUB:

Dear friends

I’m just a girl, standing (well sitting) in front of her computer, asking you to accept her love.

In different and unique ways I love you all and hold you in very high regard.

You are beautiful, passionate, caring and absolutely amazing. Enough for me to want to express the glowing feeling I get when I’m in your presence, when you are on my mind and when you I read your emails and messages in your voice in my head.

What you have in common is how self-aware you are, and that makes for incredible women to be associated with.

Anele:

Your heart is so big, your mind so fast, your laugh so true. You are deliberate in all you do and that speaks to how well you align your heart, mind and your soul. You are kind and thoughtful and have a way to make everyone feel special, and seen. You are a breath of fresh air. I appreciate you.

Bontle:

Buddy, you easy going nature with a mix humour makes you so wonderful to be around. As elusive as you are, as soon as we are together it’s as though we haven’t missed a step. I appreciate you.

Dawn:

You are calm and not. You are crazy and collected. You are passionate and full of life. You are honest and trustworthy. You know how to carry a friend in need, and you are willing to listen. Even as you change, as one does with time and experiences, I always know who you are. You make me laugh and help me escape the mundane, and do it all so effortlessly. I appreciate you.

Kate:

The way you see the world is so refreshing. You are warm and hilarious. You have heart, and a lot of patience. You make me feel like anything is possible if you look on the bright side. I love that you love, and love the human you created who brings such happiness to me. I wanna be an ussist, just coz you are. I appreciate you.

Natalie:

Your focus is incredible. The way you do what you want to do without feeling hindered by what other people think is inspiring. I love that you don’t buy face for the sake of keeping things cool. You are beautiful and watching you blossom into yourself is wonderful. I appreciate you.

Nomfundo:

The lady. I love how open you are. I love how you stand by your opinion. I love that there isn’t a debate you can’t sprinkle with your Nomfundoness. I love the love you have for black people. I love your militancy in your beliefs. You are surprising and familiar. You are a woman of substance and class. You make me want to be better, try harder, question everything until I know where I stand. I appreciate you.

Nonhlanhla:

You are a woman of women. You trust, you love, and let life be beautiful. You are selfless and caring. I love that you are passionate and share knowledge with ease. You give of yourself without expectation. I appreciate you.

Nomathamsanqa:

Your over the top laugh is experience that leaves me lighter, always. Your heart is big and the number of times you have been my rock are immeasurable. You love, you live, you laugh. Even when it is dark, you try and put everyone before you. You are willing to try new things, even if they scare you and that is wonderful. I appreciate you.

Rose:

Quick wit, considered thoughts, and fantastic running commentary make you such a pleasure to have a conversation with. You make even the most complicated situation seem like a piece of cake. The way your mind works is a maze I love trying to figure out. You are an amazing woman who keeps being the gift that keeps on giving. I love being in your company. You are welcoming and loving. I appreciate you.

Simone:

Nah ah man, I wanna make my own soce. Your passion is contagious. The adventurous spirit in you is inspiring. You try, you do, and won’t stop until something is great. I love that you can walk into a room full of strangers and walk out with friends. You are fast paced and intense, and that it quite a ride. I appreciate you.

Tumelo:

Easily the most dynamic woman I know. I’m your biggest fan. I love that your dreams scare you a little and you challenge yourself and ask yourself those difficult questions. You are creative and speak your personality through so many visual and audio facets; it’s a great experience to enjoy. It has been beautiful to watch your soul come alive with every passing day. I appreciate you.

You are all women I would have been proud to introduce to my mom.

I love you.

(No I’m not dying)


Source: Ryan McArthur

Source: Ryan McArthur

So it has been a bit of a weird run in the love department lately – I don’t want to call it failure, but maybe let’s call them opportunities for learning. Honestly, all I’d like to just say is that men are weird – but that’s just puerile. They are a strange bunch of hot & cold blowers and particularly those men who weren’t exposed to affection between their parents are the weirdest of them all – in my experience of course. There is something about men or women who don’t know how to be loved that need a lot of work – sometimes it is a mixture of broken families or just a tough time growing up and feeling like they have to fight for everything that makes it difficult for them to let their guard down and receive.

I had fallen in-like with a somebody who seemed exactly on my path; a somebody that I could vibe with honestly, a somebody that I could share my secrets with, a somebody I could try new things with and share experiences with, make memories and be me as I am. We shared similar values and outlooks on the world – very important – with somewhat similar as well as different experiences which made us compatible enough to be our true selves at every moment. We flowed quite easily in the getting to know each other space; with everything seeming to flow well and literally fit. As though I’d met the male me in present, past and future form. Without a head in the clouds stance I can honestly say he felt like the human I could share tomorrow with (I don’t know about forever). And it was nice.

It “ended” abruptly – he basically stopped responding to messages and calls (I don’t call or text more than twice) and it has not been too long since the silent treatment began (from speaking and texting everyday *weep*) and I’m left wondering WTF? I’m a little confused, angered and in a bit of a strange space wondering why. No regrets, just wondering why was he brought into my life? Look, this is not an original tale in the single in the city girl’s dating experiences, it is just so shocking when it happens. I know someone is nodding along here.

I had a slight moment of clarity and contentedly figured that it is he who chose to walk away; he who was afraid – men who have ever been made to feel discarded tend to discard easily and mix that up with not knowing how to deal with receiving affection and goodness from people will have them running and hiding. They go from hot to cold and back again because they don’t understand being cared for like that. Some are just assholic beings but, mostly, I think it is the fear of not feeling like they’re good enough or that it is too good to be true or making sure they protect themselves from being hurt before it happens (even if it wasn’t going to happen). Not to toot my own horn, I give good girlfriend. (I also do single quite well, so it’s an interesting fusion of being). Apart from it being rude to ignore someone, I’m distraught (a little dramatic) that he walked away before we could explore what this incredible connection could have been; either way I’m letting his childish behaviour go & allowing.

So, as opposed to crawling into foetal position and crying myself to sleep wondering what I did wrong, I accepted that this being does not want me and that is okay. Yes, it’s a knock to the ego and I have to start the process of unlearning the things that remind me of him – what a mission! For his own reasons, reasons he chose not to share with me, he has chosen to go through the ticking of time without me. These things do happen – maybe it is a blessing in disguise, maybe not. I’ve chosen also to accept that I tend to attract broken little birds; a huge part of my interactions with people is that I end up being their healer in some way or another. Healing was something I enjoyed and I felt gave me some form of purpose, but I had to release this part of me because it made me vulnerable to being taken advantage of and taking too much away from me for the benefit of others. Broken birds are a lot of work, I know because I too was one. Or at least I can recognise my own bullshit.

I must say that it was nice to get some male attention, some cuddles and laughs and being a part of someone’s life, having a witness to my life and a sounding board for my thoughts – however brief it was. It was nice. It was fun. It was easy. It was scary. It was exhilarating.

I don’t know what the universe has in store – I was mad at some point screaming to the sky that yet again I got a taste of exactly what I want and it was ripped away from me cruelly. I’m over it now (sort of) but I do wonder if I can trust the universe, my angels, ancestors and the stars with my hopes and dreams and wants and needs if they will continue to be mean to me. Maybe I need to visit a medium or iSangoma or shaman and find out what it is I am missing – not just in the area of love. Something feels off under g.

Anyway. This is a deeply personal post and not my usual, however it felt right to just get it off my chest.

Now to live, let live and let go. And for the love of all that is good, not fall into the trap of trying to get “closure”. Sometimes we just have to forgive without an apology.

An old friend used to say “self-preservation is a noble act” and I might agree.


Credit: Leonita*

Credit: Leonita*

There is an important project currently being run by Dove, the champions of beauty through their Real Beauty campaign, and it has touched me in a reflective way, inducing some well needed soul searching. At any age women grapple with issues around positive body image, beauty and gender stereotypes on a daily basis and in various forms. We think we are less than or not as good because we see airbrushed supermodels on the covers of magazines who have become the standard of beauty. We’ve stopped teaching ourselves to strive to be anything but ourselves.

You’ve probably seen some of Dove’s beauty campaigns helping women realise that real beauty is what matters. Now it’s time to talk to young girls and young women – who in  their growing years contend with some of the same body issues, albeit in a faster more connected and more expectant world than when I was younger.

The project, aptly called The Dove Self Esteem Project, is aimed at helping to dispel low self-esteem in young girls around the world by creating content for parents, mentors & teachers that empowers them to start conversations around body image, beauty, self-esteem and to re-establish or instil self-love in our young girls. I was asked to contribute to this project and while researching all the content on the user-friendly website –Self Esteem Project –  I was struck by how I didn’t have this sort of perspective or support for my self-esteem growing up. My only points of reference depended on the women in my family and magazines; which really didn’t represent me. There is a difference in how you feel about yourself as a 14 year old and when you are 30. There is something different about speaking to elders about sensitive issues that you think no-one actually understands. The thing about that adolescent age is that we simultaneously know-it-all and feel completely isolated by the things we think we know and no one else could possibly be experiencing. So I thought the best way to contribute in any valuable way to the project – and hopefully inspire you reading this – would be for me to reach back and speak to my young self and tell her everything is going to be alright. What better time than this season of reflection.

Five things I’d like to tell my younger self:

  1. Be Present

There’s always something to look forward to, plan for, strive for and this is a good thing. Sometimes we worry too much about what may or may not happen and we lose sight of what is happening right now. In all the things you want for yourself in life and everything you work for, you are not wrong, but you will sometimes forget to just be in the present moment. By being right where you are and absorbing everything around you and learning to feel what you feel in that very moment you teach yourself how to appreciate even the little things. You will want to “move on” when things are tough, I ask you to please allow yourself to be in that moment whether it is good or bad and fully experience it. You will teach your heart to laugh when it is light and be strong when it is dark. This is how you will be passionate about anything; being present.

2. Be kind

Even when you are angry, be kind. When you are happy, be kind. The thing about kindness is that no one can take it away from you. There will be times when someone upsets you, maybe hurts your feelings and because we are human and prone to lash out in these times, you may feel that you must retaliate. You are allowed to feel hurt and angry, but there will never be a need to be malicious to anyone (even if they deserve it). Remember to be kind not only because it is one of those things about your character that will be remembered and loved, will also feel better about it as the world turns because we receive what we put out. The world goes around with love and kindness.

3. You are always in season

I know that you wonder if you are good enough. Who told you that you are not? Tell them that the reason there are so many people is that we all bring our uniqueness into the world and we are each necessary. We cannot all be the same, otherwise what is the point? We all offer something specific and important to the universe and it is your job to be who you are at all costs. No matter what you look like, you are always going to be in season because you are you. You will sometimes feel a little low, but don’t let yourself get down; remember that you are necessary.

4. You are everything you believe

The saying goes; “if you think you can or you can’t, you are right”. It may sound like a cliché young one, but it is true. Our thoughts and words become actions and perspectives. It is really important that you know that your thoughts will guide how you feel and how you act. If you think you are not beautiful, you will believe it and you will go through life thinking   and acting as if you are not. If you think you are capable, you will believe it and you will go through life thinking and acting as if you are. So be aware of what you think, and even if you have to fake it to yourself, think only the best. Dream big, because why not

5. Try, fail, and try again

Not everything you do will result in a win. The difference between a winner and a loser is the one who tried again. It is not always going to work out the way you want it to, but please don’t give up. The strongest and most successful amongst us fell but then they got up again. Know that you can. Believe that you can, then try. Try and try again. Even though this is meant to be a letter to my younger self, it is exactly what my adult self needs to remember and live by everyday

Please visit the site: http://selfesteem.dove.co.za and see how you can help a young girl remember that she is valuable and important


This morning read something about Dove creating a Beauty Patch to help women feel more beautiful

I was skeptical and properly rolled my eyes.

I watched a video showing the journey of women feeling more beautiful. At first I was annoyed with the idea that confidence was just a patch. I wondered what chemicals these women were putting into / onto their body. I was practically screaming at my computer screen “you have to love yourself, all of you, as you are, and you have to work at it”.

I felt a little cheated watching these women take the short cut on a road I’ve been struggling with recently – not feeling beautiful. I don’t think it matters if someone else thinks I am, it’s about me believing and feeling my best, and for a little while my mojo was gone. She’s coming back though.

No short cuts, but I realised that any helping hand, big or small, to believe in yourself goes a long way, so I’m not mad at Dove for continuing to be that helping hand – no matter how strange it is

Watch the Dove Beauty Patch journey. And remember to smile. (They say smiling even if you don’t feel like it tricks the brain to think all is well and stop fretting over the little things)


Let us begin by me saying I am not a mother. I don’t have a maternal bone in my body. I do like to care, and nurture, but in small doses. I love little babies, their ‘seeing everything for the first time’ eyes and the joy in their laughter and the innocence, and how compact they are. But I love even more the fact that I can hand them back to their creators once the cute wears off, which it often does

Something else that I found I enjoy is asking the moms “personal” questions. I want to know all about pregnancy, the pretty and not so pretty stuff. I like to know what child birth feels like, not just about the screaming aching parts we see in the movies. I like to know these things; what does breast feeding feel like, what does it mean when you spend hours just staring. Do you like the way your baby smells, and those moments I’ve seen with my own sister, mother to my nephew, when moms just break down while trying to calm their crying baby. Strange, I know, considering I don’t want to be a mother.

Here comes a blog that asks moms about the journey into motherhood. The things our moms never told us and that Hollywood glazes over. The intimate and beautiful. The frightening and affirming. Those moments that moms talk about amongst themselves, but not really outside of that circle.

JohoMoms. Started by mother Nandi Dlepu recently, interviews mother in Joburg about their story. I imagine it is a place for moms to share and a bit of community. For me, it’s a peep hole into all the things I love to know. After every article, I’m left smiling, not wishing, just pleased. Happy.

It’s a aesthetically pleasing and simply laid out blog and the content is well thought through. Honest and beautiful accounts.

Check it out. It might make you broody, it may offer you insight, it may deter you, it may affirm and confirm things. Either way, it is a lovely space of sharing.

I particularly loved the interviews with my cousins Matahle and Yonda on their experiences. Of course I am biased so do go read for yourself.

johomoms

Great initiative Nandi!


Almost didn’t recognise myself. So much of happy.

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It’s been a tough start to the year, so when I saw these I felt like everything was going to be alright.

Captured at the first wedding of the year; my beautiful friends Rose & Nash said their vows surrounded by and sharing love at a gorgeous venue in Muldersdrift.

Images by Natalie Noels.

Photobomber: Bontle Buddy Modiselle


In September, my beautiful friends Rose & Nash gathered friends and family to celebrate the process of Lobola negotiations and agreements – essentially, got married.

It was such a beautiful day. The families coming together, the love they spoke and shared, the blessings they wished for the perfect (in my books) couple, the way that you could tell that both families were meant for each other as much as Rose and Nash are. Grateful to have experienced that day and be a part of the union of love.

Anyway, back to talking about me, seeing as this is my blog.

Rose sent some pictures that were snapped. and look, it’s me. In my late mother’s tan leather skirt and my signature headwrap. I also wrapped the bride’s head piece.

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A few days ago, I took my nephew to the park down the road from our house. He’s at a beautiful age where everything is still new and interesting. He makes me so happy and helps me remember that there is magic in almost everything. Sometimes I forget the simple pleasures in life. I hope to always hold on to my imagination and hope and belief in magic. In any case, still on a bit of a blog hiatus. Lets connect soon again.