Sjoe but it’s been a tough couple of weeks… I’ve been wiping the sweat from my forehead every five minutes. I have been desperate to sit down and write but have been inundated with life admin. No excuse but there we have it…
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am a born and bred Jozi girl who has now found herself in the enviable position of emigrating to Mauritius. Sounds good ne? But emigration is not for the faint-hearted, I can tell you that much.
My extraordinarily talented husband (I’m allowed to gloat occasionally) and I have been geographically apart for two months now. We prepped ourselves for a month in different countries so that I could do all the admin in SA to take our two very spoilt dogs over to Mauritius. But things don’t always work out as planned, ya’know?
Luckily, my “off-time” back in SA has been filled with a variety of events as well time with some of my closest friends. But mostly I feel like an admin-zombie. My friends will be chatting to me about something cool and interesting while I’m a million miles away, wondering if I remembered to do this and that bla bla bla bit of boring admin from three weeks ago.
There are days when I want to throw in the towel and disappear and other days when I’m so overenthusiastic about life that it’s actually nauseating.
An event I attended recently in Pretoria was the Courageous Women Arise (CWA) conference. I was invited along by the lovely ladies from Ever Beauty SA – one of the conference’s sponsors.
I called up a friend who I hadn’t seen in ages and off we trekked to Pretoria – so far away (a whole 40km on the good old M1 – courage required) but so worth it.
In the past, when I thought about the word “courage”, I might have imagined a sword-wielding man running into battle with neither fear nor reservation. But I’ve learned that this over-exaggerated view limits acknowledgement of the innate courage in both ourselves and others.
Nadia Beukes – the gorgeous actress from “Getroud met Rugby” – was first up. Nadia has written a book – “Paaie van Hoop” – telling the story about the journey she has had to take to enjoy the success she has today. (I am yet to read my copy as it is currently sitting somewhere on a ship in the middle of the ocean. I’m sure it’s going to be fabulous though.)
One thing that Nadia said really stuck with me – “What you allow, will continue.”
On reflection, I can personally think of several things in my life that I have allowed to continue for way too long. I can give you a list as long as my arm of the roles that have been “bestowed” upon me that I do not, in fact, feel comfortable with. And I can easily turn around and just say that “It is what it is” or “It’s just who I am and I can’t change it.” But that’s ridiculous right? It isn’t, and I can.
Nadia is a beautiful human both inside and out. She encouraged us to look at these unwanted roles in life that we have become comfortable with, and to recognise that setting boundaries within ourselves can be one of the most rewarding, albeit difficult, things we can do.
Up next was Laetitia Dee. She is the founder of the CWA conference and a life coach based in Pretoria.
Laetitia spoke about her own challenges in life and about how we, as women, can take the hardships we have been through and “package” them neatly to “give other women the courage to go on.” This is true not only of women, but of everyone. If you think of all the times you’ve sat down with a friend who’s been going through a tough time, you’ll probably realise that all the advice you share is about your personal experiences. A lot of people don’t like to talk about the “tough-stuff”. We’re all playing up to this “perfect” appearance on social media. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we just all indulged in some honest introspection about our own difficulties? We are only human after all.
The last speaker of the day was Sunet Vermaak who is the owner of StylGuru SA. She is an image consultant and personal stylist among other things.
Sunet focused her talk around self-care. As she rightly stated, “The first thing [we do] when we start to stress is we neglect ourselves … and then we feel frumpy.” Sunet proved to us that we don’t have to spend a fortune to look and feel good about ourselves. I can’t give too many of her secrets away but I now understand that I don’t need thirty pairs of pants in order to wear something different every day and feel good about myself – I only need three.
One lucky lady – Judy-Anne – walked away with a fantastic prize of a full makeover worth R16,000!!! I have been watching the CWA Facebook page and I’m thrilled to see photos of Judy-Anne full of smiles on her makeover journey.
My friend and I lunched with the ladies from Ever Beauty SA after the conference. It was obvious that the CWA conference had given us the confidence to start talking about the “tough-stuff”. We realised that we have all been through hardships and that we can help each other courageously through life.
I have taken the lessons of the CWA to heart and have a new self-awareness that lets me replace “It’s hard” with “Wow! That took courage!” It has been amazing to see how that small shift in thinking has changed my whole world for the better.
Be kind to yourself.
Speak. Listen. Be courageous.
Check out www.facebook.com/CourageousWomenArise for future events.