I wish I would’ve been more SELFish

They call it a “rude awakening” hey? That’s what they refer to it as when reality hits you in the most unpleasant way? Okay then, I guess I had a rude awakening. I ran and I didn’t know where I was running to, I wasn’t familiar with where I was, my mind just shut down and all I could see was an open road. It was 11pm, I was more than 20kms away from home and I was all alone. Couldn’t the rude awakening have chosen a better day? A better time? A better scenario? I thought I knew this story, I thought I had better orchestrated the “awakening“, it certainly wasn’t meant to be a rude one.

Sometimes life happens so fast that we lose track of what really matters, we forget to breath, we forget to pause, we forget to pray.

Life happened – University became more demanding, JAGWAT grew, one of my closest friends went through a divorce, I took on more responsibilities at work, I was hardly in Cape Town, my sister gave birth, my best friend went through a break-up…and….and…and! So many things demanded my attention, my time, my energy. I didn’t have the emotional capacity to fall apart neither did I have time to acknowledge that I was broken.

I recently went to a high school reunion and you know how intrusive people get when they haven’t seen you in years:

Are you married yet? Do you have any kids? What car do you drive now? Where do you stay? Are you in a serious relationship? What do you weigh? What do you do? Where do you work?

Funny enough, no asked me if I was happy. People don’t ask you if you’re happy, life has become some sort of shopping list these days.


Career ✓             Home ✓               Husband/Boyfriend ✓               Baby ✓               Car ✓


Elizabeth Gilbert, author of one of my favorite books EAT. PRAY. LOVE. has this quote which absolutely resonates with me, please excuse the profanity:

I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.”

That was it, I was tired of my own bullshit, I couldn’t “fake it till you make it” anymore. I was tired of being there for everyone while neglecting my own mental and spiritual needs, tired of having to put on a show and cry myself to sleep at night, I was tired of being broken. My soul was tired, my spirit needed some rest. I had to recoup, disconnect from the world and reconnect with God.

I decided to go on a “detox” – social media and food. I deleted all my social media apps (including whatsapp – rather dramatic I know). No alcohol, no coffee, no dairy products, no meat – hence I became vegan. I couldn’t “hang out” anymore, my days revolved around writing in my journal and praying.

When I told one of my friends about my decision, she said

“Well that’s a bit extreme! You promote JAGWAT on your social media platforms and your sister really needs you as she’s about to have her baby any day now. That’s rather selfish of you.”

And I thought to myself… “Yeah, SELFISH, that’s the correct word. SELF-OBSSESSEDSELF-SEEKINGSELF-SERVING. SELF-LOVING. If I look at it this way, I choose to be SELFish, because at least I won’t be doing half-ass things anymore. I’ll be healed and I know I’ll thank mySELF once it’s over.”

Going through these forty days of reading the bible, praying and meditating helped me embrace my solitude. There are so many scriptures in the bible where Jesus goes to pray alone and it dawned on me just how much God needs us to take some time alone to listen to Him, reconnect with Him and rediscover ourselves in His presence.

“DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALED?… Get up, pick up YOUR mat and walk” John 5:6

It’s all YOU, it’s all up to yourSELF. YOU need to decide if YOU want to heal. YOU need to decide that YOU’RE not going to wear that wedding ring anymore, YOU need to decide to delete all message threads and mementos, YOU need to decide to delete the pictures and numbers, YOU need to decide to forgive, to move on, and YOU need to do it all for YOURSELF. Don’t apologize for taking your time to be alone, to rediscover yourself, to learn how to love yourself again and to put back all your broken pieces. I guess the journey of healing is indeed a SELFish one. The “SELFISH” journey of healing has taught me that

It’s okay to not pick up a phone call or return a text.

It’s okay to cancel plans made if you don’t feel up to it anymore.

It’s okay to say no without the need to explain yourself.

It’s okay to not take work home when it is not urgent.

It’s okay to leave the library on time and get a good night’s rest.

It’s okay to go running on your own, take in the views and listen to some good music.

It’s okay to go watch a movie alone and take yourself out for lunch after. 

It’s okay to not agree to a second date if you’re not feeling any kind of connection on the first date. 

Dammit! I wish I knew sooner, I wouldn’t have wasted so much of my time on things I didn’t want to do. I would have spent more time reading, writing, praying, meditating, hiking, running, volunteering and petting dogs. I’ll tell you one thing though, being selfish has never felt so good!!


Published by Sibahle Teyise

Mholo, Hello, Groete, Sawubona, Lotjhani, Dumela, Ndaa, Avuxeni! I’m Sibahle Teyise, JAGWAT founder and head content writer. I have an Undergraduate Degree from UCT majoring in Public Policy and Literature, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma from UCT specialising in Marketing, Events Management and Business Communication. I am an author under construction, working on my book to be published soon- "When It Happens For Girls Like Us". I started JAGWAT in 2017, following the success of my personal blog - Tales Of The Mute. The inspiration to start JAGWAT came after hearing the sad stories of women being murdered on a daily basis, the violence against women as well as the many stories of women taking their own lives because of suffering in silence. JAGWAT provides a platform for women to take back the power by sharing their stories on a public central platform and with this, they show other women that they are not alone. I believe that when women stand together great things happen. No women should suffer in silence and the more we speak up as women and create a sisterhood and support group, the more powerful we can become. I am passionate about communities with women from disadvantaged backgrounds and JAGWAT supports Women Initiatives as well as making a difference in various schools from the township by offering assistance to learners in the form of mentorship and tutoring. I am a self-proclaimed book-worm and although I am a shy person, I am a motivational public speaker. I was heavily bullied in primary as well as high school and I am extremely passionate about Anti-Bullying campaigns and initiatives. I read, I write, I gym, I pray, I cycle, , I hike, I run, and pretty much everything in between. I am a weight loss motivator having lost 16kg in the past 2 years, which is quite an achievement for someone who can’t cook. (Thank GOD for food that can easily be boiled!!) I am a firm believer that an empowered women can empower other women and JAGWAT aims to be that platform for Women Empowerment. On a lighter note: I have the worst music playlist in the history of playlists.

20 thoughts on “I wish I would’ve been more SELFish

  1. We can talk about your legs, glow and shoes later. Can I just say how much I admire you? You are such a beautiful and enlightened young woman Sibahle. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If wisdom was not a by-product of time, understanding what you know and knowing what you understand, it would be far more effective for people to give time when they’ve learned to give themselves first, the same time. As it stands, unfortunately most learn later in life that for self to contribute significantly to the other, self needs to know and understand self first.

    Liked by 1 person

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