My immortal

Once upon a time when I was 6 years old I had a nightmare and woke up in the middle of the night. I was scared to go to the bathroom because it was in a different room from me so I took a bucket that was close me and did “number 2”, I then shoved the bucket in the passage and went back to sleep. Whoever woke up first must have smelt the bucket and informed everyone. When I eventually woke up, I heard the commotion that Mojo had pooped in a bucket. Mojo was my brother’s nickname. I was scared of getting into trouble so I stood there and inhaled my breathe to give out the longest “Intoni?” in response. So as far as everyone in the house knew it was Mojo who pooped in the bucket. I got away with it, no one knew that it was me… or so I thought.

In 2017 my brother fell out of a moving train. I got a call from one of my cousins and I immediately left the office to go to hospital. When I saw him I broke down in tears. His face was full of bruises, his mouth was swollen and he had stitches on his head. I couldn’t stop crying, he turned around, looked at me and said “sukhala sba” (don’t cry). I continued crying, he looked at the roof and said “uZenande noMama bayeza, sukhala Sba okanye ndizobaxelela nguwe owayetuwe kwelaBucket” (Mom and Zenande are coming, don’t cry or I will tell them you are the one who pooped on that bucket that day). I started laughing and crying all at the same time, I couldn’t believe that this whole time he knew it was me and took the fall. It also broke my heart to see how he was trying to act so tough in front of me even though I could see he was in pain.

See, my parents first son died when he was only 3 months old, so when my parents had another son only a few years later he became their golden boy. They sheltered him, spoilt him and pampered him until they couldn’t anymore. My brother was a troubled soul and my mother prayed for him every single day, she even had days where she would give him money so he could go to church, he never went though, he took the money and just didn’t go. Growing up I always thought my brother was the coolest person in the world. He listened to rap music and knew all the lyrics, he was really handsome, he could eat a whole loaf of bread by himself but never gained weight and he spoke fluent Afrikaans even though he never took Afrikaans at school. Also, he was a “27” and said “Hosh” a lot, I still don’t understand why that was considered gangster, but I believe it made my brother cool amongst his peers, so he was cool in my eyes too.

When my brother was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 2016 he swore to stop smoking and drinking, we all rejoiced. We were quickly disappointed when he picked up smoking again after only one week of being discharged from hospital. He convinced us he would do everything in moderation, our parents were hopeful. In late 2019 he was officially diagnosed with lung cancer and he could not be saved, that still did not stop my mom from trying. When I was in King for Christmas last year we started planning for a Cape Town Christmas this year and my brother mumbled “if I’ll still be alive by then”, I looked at him and smiled, the saddest smile I’ve ever had. I didn’t want to cry because crying meant I believed him and in my heart, my brother was immortal. He was the guy who fell off a moving train and survived. He’s the guy who was beaten up and survived. He’s the guy who was stabbed and survived. He’s survived so many times before, he was a survivor. He was not the dying type, not in my heart. So I held on to hope and I kept planning our Christmas. My mother kept praying for him, reading the bible with him, cooking for him, taking him to hospital. She did everything, everything.

I called home on the 20th of April and my cousin picked up my Mom’s phone and told me that my mom couldn’t speak on the phone. She was on medication, I asked her about my brother and she sighed. I knew it was bad, I knew it was near the end. My brother could no longer move. He could no longer speak. My mind knew it was near the end but my heart held on. On the 24th of April at 10:00am my father called me, I convinced myself he called to let me know that my brother is really sick, but he didn’t, he called to tell me that my brother had passed on, I don’t remember much of that phone call after that.

I don’t know why but I always thought my brother was immortal. I thought he could survive anything. He would always tell me that he’s a thug forever, I never really knew what that meant because I never saw him being “thuggy”, is that even a word? He told me if anything happened to him he would go to thug heaven. That’s where Tupac is, he would assure me. That’s where all the good thugs go, all the misunderstood thugs. I still have his voice-notes, really weird because as “thuggy” as he wanted to be, he sent me the mushiest voice notes and he would always end them telling me how much he loves me. He called me the other day before he got too sick to tell me he misses me, I could hear he was in the bathroom so I asked him if he still has not told anyone about the bucket incident and he assured me he would never tell on me, we laughed about it and he told me he loves me so much. That was the last phone conversation we had.

I couldn’t go home to spend time with him during his last days because of COVID. On Whatsapp when he could still type, he convinced me that when he recovers he’ll go to church with us, the conversation shifted to how he believes Zola will make a comeback because he’s the best, he also told me to stop swearing so much. Now every time I swear (which is almost everyday) I can hear his voice in my head. I couldn’t write anything for four months because I would break down every single time I thought of my brother. Tall, dark, skinny, straight white teeth, listening to Tupac “Life Goes On”. I mourn him everyday. I mourn the person he was, the person my parents wanted him to be, the potential he had, the dreams he had, the chance he never gave himself. All we’re left with now is memories and his two beautiful children, but to me, he will always be my immortal.

I picture him in thug heaven jamming with Tupac. Hosh Mojo, ndiyakthanda mtase, oko! I hope thug heaven has given you a second chance.

December 2019. Our last image together.

What 5 years of co-parenting taught me

My daughter turned 5 years old in February this year. Celebrating her birthday reminded me that I have been co-parenting with the father of my kids for 5 years now. And yes, I call him the father of my kids instead of saying “baby daddy” and that is one of the lessons I have learnt in this parenting journey.

First of all, when I became a mother at the age of 21 years, I was engaged and in my mind, I never expected that I would end up single and in a co-parenting relationship with the man I thought was the man of my dreams. But life happened and here I am, 7 years out of the relationship and 5 years of fully co-parenting and it has been an eye-opening experience that has forced me to grow emotionally mature in a way that I can never explain but was necessary for the well-being of my kids. 

The relationship, as mentioned before, ended 7 years ago, but because I could not let go fully I continued to go back and forth to him until I conceived my second baby. This second baby was an awakening call for me to realise that the relationship was dead and doomed and that it was time to move on for the sake of my kids. Right through my pregnancy I was teaching myself to learn to deal with this man, as much as I hated him with everything that I had, I had to learn to tolerate him for the sake of my kids. And that has been lesson number one, and the biggest lesson of them all:

My kids’ happiness comes first: Due to the way that the relationship ended, I hated my ex-fiancé so much. I hated him so much that he had a strange stench that I could not tolerate. Whenever I had to be in the same room with him, my blood would literally boil and I could not wait to get out of the room. This happened to a point that I cut his time with the kids short. Most times, this would lead to my son throwing tantrums because he still wanted to be with his dad more. Seeing this, and how it made my son so unhappy, I had to learn to put my emotions and feelings aside and learn to accept that he is their father. It has been the toughest thing to do and at times until now I tend to have to remind myself of this statement. I firstly had to learn to forgive him, trust me it is not easy forgiving someone who never asked for forgiveness, it is a tough emotional battle, but through the help of prayer and therapy I forgave him for the sake of my kids. I had to change my mentality and put myself last and their emotional needs first and realise that they needed their dad as much as they needed me in their lives. I wanted happy and wholesome kids, I sacrificed for them, no one else but for them. It is still a continuous sacrifice every time a decision needs to be taken, I need to put myself last and put them first and make a decision that is best for them and their happiness.

Boundaries: Being in a relationship that was messed up and without boundaries it was very difficult to set up boundaries for the new relationship we were now forming. It has been tough but it has been necessary because the father of my kids overstepped too many times in a way at times that made me uncomfortable. At times the lines would be blurred and we would mistake the good relationship of being parents and think it meant we can go into a relationship again (that meant finding myself in bed with him a couple of times). That led to too much emotional baggage and it was very necessary to lay strict boundaries not just for myself but also for the partner that would come into my life because the father of my kids had a tendency of thinking he owned me and I could not openly date, it went to a point where he threatened a few guys I dated. Laying boundaries was very necessary and it has helped me to learn to respect myself a little bit more, but as well to respect him as the father of my kids. Something as small as letting him know he could not just pitch at my place whenever it suited him, he had to call first. Those boundaries seemed small but were necessary for my kids to accept and get used the nature of the relationship between their mother and father, as young as they were.

Communication: This has been very difficult but very necessary and it goes hand in hand with the boundaries. Yes one might find it funny that I communicate with the father of my kids strictly by email and it has been years now doing that and I do not plan on changing it. Even though he has my number and uses it to call and communicate with the kids but he knows everything that needs to be planned or communicated about the kids is done via email. Yes I laugh sometimes at how formal these emails are, but they are very necessary. They not only act as proof of communication between us in case one day we might need it but also it makes things easier to write down because when writing down one tends to clearly process the words, re-read and edit before sending so that there are no mistakes in getting the message across. 

Do not badmouth your co-parent in front of your kids: This one has been very difficult for both of us and it has been something that I had to continuously emphasise to him and both our families. As said, the relationship did not end well and I hated the guy and that meant I had every bad word to say about him, I easily called him anything that came into my mind, sometimes at the presence of my kids until my son once repeated what I said about his dad to others. This has happened about me as well, some bad things were said about me in the presence of my kids and they found their way back to me, we had to address the issue. It was difficult because I was not his favourite person and vice-versa and we disagreed on many things. But I have learned to bite my tongue in many instances whenever he would upset me so much that I wanted to utter some bad words about him. It has also helped to learn to see him through the eyes of my kids and not mine. To see how much of a good father he is to them and stick that image into my head instead of always trying to see the worst about him. Heck, this isn’t easy, I have struggled a lot and until today I sometimes do, but as I said this is still a journey and I’m learning every day. 

Have the same end goal: Let me just say, the only thing that the father of my kids and I agree on is the fact that we want the best for our kids, no matter the circumstances and this has been our saving grace through  the worst scenarios. Yes, we have many differences in how we get things done because he is too laid back and he is a procrastinator and I am a planner. I hate not planning things and executing them on time and very strict on routine. These things have brought up many quarrels between us, but every time the only thing that brings us back to earth is the fact that all we both want is the best for our kids and that is our common goal. Having that common goal is what is keeping us consistent and accountable, even financially. Simple things as us wanting only the best education for our kids, it has taught us to be accountable. Though we would argue about money etc., but coming to paying fees etc., he is accountable because he knows the common goal. So this may stretch over even in big decisions that need to be made, like when I had to relocate with the kids. It was a bitter pill to swallow for him and he could have fought that but because he knew the common goal and knew the kids were better off with me than him, he had to accept the decision and learn to make things work.

5 years ago I would have laughed at anyone who would say to me that we would be at this point now, it seemed like something utterly impossible. But now, as I look back I’m in awe of the work that I have put in to make this co-parenting relationship work, not for my sake but for the sake of my kids. I’m still learning because my kids are still growing and I believe there are bigger challenges that will come our way but I believe there is nothing impossible for the people you love. For my kids, I will do anything, even forgive a man who never asked for forgiveness and share a table with him for my kids’ birthdays, school concerts and anything else. Because that is what being a parent is: Putting yourself last and your kids first!

My name is Thandokazi and I suffer from Clinical Depression.

“Clinical Depression: A mental health disorder characterised by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.”

My name is Thandokazi Rooiland and I suffer from Clinical Depression.” I never thought the day would come when I would utter these words. Not me. Not the brave and strong woman that everybody knows. Not me. But sometimes, the strong break too.

A little background on myself, I am a middle-child at home, we are 3 girls. My parents never had a son, he died when he was a year old. Growing up, I became the son my dad never had. I did everything and anything to prove myself. I excelled at school and was a bookworm of note, I even became the first black Head girl in High School and became the Top Student. Everyone in my family counted and depended on me, up to a point where no decisions at home were taken without my opinion. I then went to varsity and was blessed with a full bursary to study Chemical Engineering. See, I was the perfect “son”, the perfect stronghold of the family. At 21, I was engaged and my life seemed perfect, I had it all together and figured out until life showed me flames… flames I was never ready for.

Life happened and I had my first child, to make up for that I had to get married and finish my B-tech to keep up with this perfect lifestyle, two years later, I had my second child and a broken engagement. No time to grieve, I picked up the pieces and played the strong and independent single mother. I started working as a Graduate-in-Training for the company that sponsored me. I was earning big money and could afford to rent a 3 bedroom house and a nanny. My financial stability was the only thing I could fall back on as I went back and forth in failed relationships, one after the other. Two years later, the only good thing I had going for me – my financial stability – fell apart. My contract ended and was not renewed and I ended up with a job that paid me half of what I was earning. Being the strong and independent woman that everybody knew me to be, I had a plan. I made a promise to myself and my kids that I would get myself out of this pit in two years, my kids relocated to be with my mom and I moved to a bachelor flat and learned to live off half my salary. Taking no time to grieve this loss, life had to carry on as normal, I couldn’t even see that I was living on ‘survival mode”.  A year later I got promoted, this didn’t make me any happier, instead, I became more frustrated and miserable in my job. I drank a lot to numb the frustration of the fact that I was not coping and I could not dare mention that to anyone. Family had their financial expectations of me, I delivered and acted as though it didn’t dent me. I died a silent death, with a smile on my face and no one knew. To them I continued to be the strong and brave single mother who had it all figured out. I wasn’t. I was drowning. I was dying. I was in debt. I was miserable, and I had no one.

2018 was the toughest year of my life, it is the year that I fell apart. I fell apart inside, alone, behind closed doors until I could not cope anymore, I had to ask for help. At the beginning of 2018 I was still in this newly promoted position, still miserable and still earning peanuts. My kids relocated back to Cape Town to stay with their father because of my irregular working hours. We tried co-parenting with this situation, it failed. In April, he got to my place and physically assaulted me in my own home in front of our children. This sent me off in a depression mode that I did not even recognise, but even through that I fought, I didn’t grieve, I moved on and made things work for my kids.

Being depressed affected me so bad that I could not sleep sober, I drank daily, the only time I did not drink was when my kids were with me. They were my only saving grace. I ended up in a lustful relationship with a man that was in a committed relationship with someone else and on the 4th June 2018 I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks, a pregnancy I was not aware of until the day I miscarried. It was a traumatic experience. I had to undergo a procedure to have the foetus removed and I was all alone without the support of the so-called boyfriend. I had the support of my friends, but because I felt so ashamed of this pregnancy I was so scared to break down. A week later, I was back at work and everything back to normal. Life goes on, I had kids to take care of. I could not be stuck grieving for a child formed out of a lustful relationship. 

On the 7th of November 2018, the father of my kids physically assaulted me again, in-front of my little sister. I was so scared because I did not know what his intentions were. I was saved by God’s grace. 2 days later, it was my son’s 6th birthday and I had to put a smile on my face in front of the kids and his family and act like I was okay. This day was officially my breaking point. After this I went into depression mode. 

A week later, I could not bring myself to get up for work, at the time I was staying with my little sister and tried so hard to act okay until that day. I used to wait for her to go to work and spend the whole day in bed and in tears. That day I was scared to be alone because it felt like the father of my children could come in at any time and finish me off. I felt unsafe in my own place. I had nightmares and struggled to sleep. I stopped myself many times attempting to commit suicide. My kids were the reason I could not go through with it. On the 16th of November 2018 I got up and dragged myself to see my GP. I told her all my symptoms and knowing all the trauma I went through that year she diagnosed me with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and referred me to a psychologist. 

The 21st of November 2018 was my first appointment with the psychologist, the moment I entered into his office, he asked “How are you doing?” I could not even get myself to answer that question, I just burst into an uncontrollable crying session. On the 22nd of November 2018 I was admitted to the depression clinic with a diagnosis of Major depression episode and post-traumatic stress disorder. I was lucky enough to be accompanied by my sister, I don’t know what I would have been without her. My whole world felt like it was falling apart. The strong and independent young single mother that everyone knew had fallen apart, she was broken, and she felt like a failure. She could not cope alone. She needed a head analysis and pills to get her through the day. 

For 3 weeks, my daily sentence was:” Hello, my name is Thandokazi and I suffer from Depression and PTSD”. 

Staying healthy, fit and sane during lockdown

So it’s Day 6 of lockdown and I’ve been receiving so many requests for home exercise videos and detox tips during this period.

The question is “How do I eat healthy, not gain weight and stay sane during lockdown?

I’ve broken down this blog into 3 parts which are vital in ensuring you stay healthy, fit and sane during this time period.

  1. Food.

What’s on your grocery list? It’s so easy to binge eat when you’re at home the whole day. Sometimes you’re not even hungry, you’re just eating because you’re bored. When you do your grocery shopping, it’s important to buy as much healthy food as possible but also mixing it up with a few snacks for your own sanity. I did my grocery shopping a week before lockdown, I returned on Thursday from my mini-holiday and went “panic shopping”. I was so panicked I literally bought things I don’t need. And because of this I ended up eating 3 custard donuts. (I stress eat, badly). Don’t panic buy, don’t be like me.

What should be in your grocery list:

  • Protein is very important so make sure you’re stocked up. Healthy protein – if you’re buying chicken, buy the one without skin. I’d say get chicken breasts mostly, but, let’s be real.
  • Veggies – stock up on your greens, maybe make this a weekly trip if you can. Spinach, beans, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, Avo etc.
  • Fruit – you know what they say about an Apple a day. Banana’s are a great way to start the day. Grapes are a good dessert option.
  • Starch – I would keep this to a minimum. If you must, get rice otherwise substitute this with potatoes. Bread – the healthy kind. I’m not a big bread fan but I found myself getting bread the other day, I’ve only eaten one slice in 3 days, but still, it’s there if I need it.
  • Liquids – WATER! WATER! WATER! I also get the juices from Woolies. I normally have this for breakfast. Green tea either with lemon or ginger. Coffee if you can, just don’t use sugar and maybe swap your normal milk for non-dairy milk. While we’re on that topic – try to limit your dairy intake.
  • Snacks – I normally just buy raw almonds. Crackers as well. Popcorns. Otherwise I mostly snack on fruit.

2. Exercise.

This is tricky. I’m slowly dying on the inside as I’m writing this. My body is crying “I want to go for a run“! I’ve asked 3 people already what the probability of getting caught is if I wake up at 5am and sneak in a 10km run outside. I’m struggling to survive without running, BUT, there are alternatives. This morning I ran around my complex 5 times and up/down the stairs 10 times. I did 1000 skips and some Ab exercises, I have a detox Whatsapp group and we’re doing a 21 day Abs challenge. It’s cool and interactive, click here to join. I’m hosting weekly training sessions via Facebook Live, the first one is on Tuesday with my sister, click here to join the session.

Otherwise here are some fun “At Home” exercises to do :

  • Tummy : Crunches, Leg Raises, Reverse Crunches, Leg Lifts, Planks, Russian Twists etc.
  • Booty – Squats, Lunges
  • Full Body – Jumping Jacks, Skipping, Jogging around your yard, Mountain Climbers

3. Mental Health.

I CANNOT stretch how important this is. Your Mental healthy should be your top priority. If any of the exercises or foods are making you unhappy, stop right away. If you need a day off from exercising, take it. If you want chocolate, eat it. Practise some discipline, but don’t do anything that makes you unhappy. We are already dealing with a pandemic, everyone is on edge, the last thing you want is added pressure on yourself. Take each day as it comes. If you’re working from home, take your lunch break away from your working desk. Give yourself breaks, be easy on your self.

Some key things I’m consistently doing during this time that have helped me significantly with my mental health :

  • Keep a journal. Write how you feel down. Everything. It will be a great memento for when we survive this.
  • Practice some meditation. Seriously, every morning try to spend a minimum of 20 minutes meditating.
  • Start each day with a grateful heart – everyday, ask yourself what you are grateful for. With everything that’s happening it’s so easy to lose focus of the food.
  • Read. Paint. Write. – Whatever sets your soul on fire, try to do more of it.
  • Look at the sunset/sunrise even if it’s from your window or balcony. Life is still beautiful.
  • Stay connected with your loved ones virtually. Call them more often. I have virtual catch ups with my friend and sometimes we have “wine catch ups” it makes things better.
  • Take a walk. Even if you walk around your garden with your furry friend but take a walk.
  • Get enough sleep. Once you start working from home, things tend to get muddy and you find yourself spending everyday on your laptop. You need to still have boundaries and “me time”.

This is something that is foreign to everyone and the best thing to do is to take each day as it comes. It’s okay to have bad days, it’s okay to not be okay. I broke down yesterday because my mental claustrophobia couldn’t take anymore, I literally sat on the floor helpless, got up ate as much as I could and I felt even more crappy afterwards. I let myself go through the moment and when I was done feeling sorry for myself I got up, cleaned my place, took a long bubble bath, did some reading and went to bed promising myself tomorrow will be a better day. It’s okay if all you do is take it one moment at a time, when all is said and done, we will appreciate life more and learn to not take anything for granted.

Take care of your and yours ❤ !

21 Tips to Surviving Lockdown

These past two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster I did not sign up for. I get emotionally imbalanced just trying to re-live everything. The 14th of March was one of the greatest days of my Events career thus far and just a few hours later the world as I know it completely shifted. On the 28th of March I was supposed to host our first (SOLD OUT) High Tea Fundraiser, I’ve since had to refund all ticket buyers and postpone the event to a date I still don’t know. As an offline Events Manager, my job spec did a complete 360 and I’ve now had to shift my thinking to be that of a Digital Marketer. All this in two weeks, I’m spinning!

So here we are now, 21 days of lockdown, faced with this new reality, an uncertain reality. One thing is for certain, we need one another for this to work.

So here’s a look at my 21 Tips on how to get through these 21 days together and still keep our sanity intact :

  1. Exercise – Online videos, Yoga etc.
  2. Get enough sleep
  3. Read
  4. Draw / Paint / Write
  5. Meditate – At- least 5 times a week
  6. Work on your dreams
  7. Water your plants
  8. Eat healthy
  9. Be mentally present
  10. Stay connected – check on your loved ones.
  11. Rest
  12. Listen to podcasts
  13. Start. Do it. Plan your next trip etc. Start whatever you’ve been putting off.
  14. Go digital (Resources, virtual events, content)
  15. Get a journal, capture the moments in your journey
  16. Do some introspection
  17. Donate. Help someone in need during this time.
  18. Share resources. Contribute.
  19. Get clued up on facts. Don’t spread false information.
  20. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Sanitise your hands.
  21. STAY INDOORS (For Pete’s Sake!!)

As a way to do my bit for society, I have an active 21 Day Whatsapp Exercise Group, click here to join. I’m also really blessed to work for a company that has taken incredible measures to ensure the wellbeing of it’s employees during these tough times, so everyday we have a virtual team check in and at 3pm we have a dance off.

What’s incredibly important is to not let these 21 days go to waste. It’s very easy to let yourself slip, especially when you stay alone – waking up late, not being productive, eating unhealthy food, watching TV all the time etc. As an introvert, I’m okay with not seeing people for a certain amount of time but as a routine person, I’m freaking out a lot. I am also excited because I know these are 21 days of new perspective and fresh opportunities, I am not planning on taking any day for granted.

Stay safe and sane, we will get through this together. Don’t forget to share your tips on how you’re planning on getting through these next 21 days in the comments section below.

Getting through 2019 with three words

It’s been very hard for me to try and write this blog without mentioning just how hard and terrifying being a woman in South Africa has been this year. The only time I fear sleeping is when I’m on a flight, I have serious height phobia so for as many hours as I am on a flight, I am fearing for my dear life. However, for the very first time in my life, before going to sleep, I triple make sure all the doors are locked. Whenever I get on an Uber, I share my live location, I struggle working at the office alone at night because I am terrified, I am terrified that I might get murdered or raped, simply because I am a woman. It’s really been rough, so even before even getting to this blog, I would like to take a moment for all the courageous women who have fallen in 2019, all at the hands of our fellow brothers. Rest easy goddesses. You will always be remembered.

So, let’s take a walk down 2019 shall we?

January (Homeless and broke – basically living off my savings.)

  • I have accepted a teaching job in China. I’ve ended my relationship, packed and ready to start a new life elsewhere. New beginnings.
  • Got to Cape Town for two job interviews and started re-thinking China.
  • Mhmm! Maybe I shouldn’t go to China anymore.
  • Went for my job interviews and got two job offers.
  • Changed my mind about China and had a very hard conversation with my agent. He basically just shouted at me on the phone for 10 minutes.
  • Accepted a job offer and started looking for accommodation in CPT.

February (Employed, Smitten and still homeless)

  • Started work
  • Decided to give love another chance! YEYY!!
  • Started a new gym routine

March (Independence… again)

  • Finally found my own place after staying with my significant other for about a month.
  • Started feeling more like myself again.

April (Unlocking my chakra)

  • Baecation
  • Started writing again
  • Went back to Yoga and registered for twerking classes (Are you judging me?)

May (Twerk! Werk! Twerk!)

  • Okay! So twerking wasn’t for me. I registered for dance class instead. Best decision EVER!

June (Another qualification?)

  • Looked in to doing my masters in creative writing or an MBA.
  • Work in full force
  • Ever so in love.

July (Boss moves and sickness)

  • Registered my business ya’ll!!
  • Diagnosed with Acne Inversa and prescribed antibiotics for 6 months

August (I am a Badass – period)

  • Registered for my third UCT qualification
  • Invested the last bit of my savings to get the necessary equipment for my business.

September (Another year beautiful-er)

  • Birthday. Finally got a typewriter.

October (Late birthday gifts)

  • 27 years of living and I FINALLY took someone home. I’m sure my parents had given up on me.
  • Maxed out my savings for some grown up late birthday gifts. Sigh! Adulting is hard.

November (selfish-less)

  • Hosted our second annual Empowered Women Networking Event.
  • Hosted our very first Khayelitsha bootcamp.
  • Made some great connections and partnerships that I am excited to see through in 2020.

Before you start asking me a lot of questions, let me address this. In 2018 I basically ran home to recover and during that period I wanted a “new start”. I applied for a job in China late 2018, I went through the whole recruitment process and I got accepted in October. I started having doubts early November and I applied for a Cape Town based job. Running away seemed was very tempting and it offered the escape I needed but I’ve come to realise that you can’t run from your feelings or your past, and I am no coward. So I decided to stay.

I started 2019 in the worst state I have ever been in my entire life. I still cry when I think about it. 2017 was soul crushing and 2018 was bittersweet. On one hand, I got a second qualification from UCT but I also lost so much more that I could never EVER get back. So 2019 started on a rough patch for me, I was basically on recovery mode for more than half of the year. My friends will attest to this, I’ve been extremely protective of my space this year. I actually have not spent much time with other people outside of my family, my partner and one or two friends. It’s been hard to try to explain this to other people, and maybe this makes me a bad person, but I didn’t care. My health and wellbeing was my priority. When your energy is depleted, you need to recharge.

You can’t pour from an empty cup. You need to take care of yourself first.

Three words have gotten me through 2019 and every other day they manifest in my life – “I am blessed“. Sometimes I forget. When life get’s a little rough I question it but 2019 has been such an amazing testimony for me. I have not only survived things that were meant to break me, but I have thrived. This goes beyond 2019, I am blessed throughout my life. I am the first and currently only person in my family with a University qualification (I have two, going on three. WHATS UP? ). I started working when I was 16 and by the time I turned 19 I was earning more in two weeks than my mom made in a month. I’ve never struggled getting a job. Actually I always sound cocky saying this but I’ve never gone to a job interview and not been offered a job – EVER! I am also the very first in my family to buy myself a car, CASH before 25 years. (Are you still judging me for taking twerking classes?). Shonda Rhimes has this book called YEAR OF YES and she says something so profound –

Lucky implies I didn’t do anything. Lucky implies something was given to me. Lucky implies that I was handed something I did not earn, that I did not work hard for. Gentle reader, may you never be lucky. I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.
― Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

I find it hard to say this because I always get in my head about “jinxing it” but screw it, 2019 has really been such a phenomenal year for me. I reached a great level of accepting love and reciprocating it. I’ve been loved so dearly and I finally accepted that I am worthy to receive love. In fact, I am more than enough. I’ve found a really amazing groove in 2019, only scratching the surface of balancing my work, my relationship and my health. It’s the first time since I started blogging where I can genuinely say I had a fucking amazing year! And every single day, I see it, I am blessed.

Here’s to starting another decade. I am looking forward to more growth, maturity, wisdom, prosperity and greater strength. May all your dreams come true!