Posted in ... a bit of that, Events, Movies

Die Ellen Pakkies Storie

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

I attended a VIP screening of Die Ellen Pakkies Storie tonight at Ster Kinekor.

It was one of two occasions where I was so emotional that I chose not to interact with the cast, but leave to cry in my car.

To grasp #DieEllenPakkiesStorie would be to open yourself to the unthinkable. A mother killing her adult son.

You have to see this heartbreaking, raw, unbelievable true love/life story to understand the depth of a mother’s love, and the width of her despair.

I cannot rate this movie higher than I do.

Jill Jazz Levenberg portrayal of Ellen Pakkies is authentic, crippling with emotion and without pretense. Wow.

Jarrid Geduld in the role of Abie Pakkies, is pure to the point of cringing at the pain, evil and psychologically feeling the desperation every time the word “Mommy” escapes. Phenomenal.

I wish you enough,

Wenchy


#wenchytude

Posted in ... a bit of that, August Woman's Month Guest Blog

Guest Post: A part-time transgender woman.

Male Privilege: Yes, It Is Real

HPIM0011 (2) (002)When typing the heading to this piece I felt myself fighting back the words ‘no shit Sherlock’ and then wondered, ‘should I carry on writing this?’ Then I remembered why I wanted to write this and resolved to carry on bashing the keyboard relentlessly. You see, I have been told, sometimes by women close to me and very definitely by many men of varying degrees of closeness, that male privilege does not in fact exist. But, I know that it does. I experience it daily both as the beneficiary and the ‘victim’ of it.

As a part-time transgender woman, I make my way through the world, sometimes in the guise of a man and sometimes as the woman, I know myself to be. I am not ‘out’ at work and very few people I know socially know both iterations of me. I am therefore privy to much of the unedited, ‘normal’ male decision making, thought processes and behaviours that underpin society. I also enjoy some ‘passing privilege’ and am assumed to be a woman rather than the dreaded ‘man in a dress’ by many I meet socially. This changes at some point after meeting, but even after I have been discovered, being feminine means I am treated fundamentally differently to the way I am treated when presenting as a male. I know this because I experience it.

So let’s get this out the way … I’m a cross dresser

As a man, I can walk freely down the street, without fear.
As a woman I feel afraid to walk down the street, wondering whether I will be sexually harassed or worse, be the victim of a gender-based assault.
As a man, I can visit pubs and nightclubs (should I want to) at will.
As a woman, I am afraid to go to the mall at night, let alone a nightclub or bar alone.
As a man, I have little fear of my drink being spiked.
As a woman, I have to think about what I order, how it is delivered, who has opened it and where it is at any given time.
As a man, I can engage in debate and argument (both online and in person) and have my ideas respected (even when I am not agreed with).
As a woman I have my own arguments repeated back to me and I am regularly mansplained to.

HPIM0003 (2) (002).jpgThe sad truth is that men think less of women and men dominate work and social spaces. Their ideas carry more weight, their voices speak louder and with more authority and they move through the world with little (if any) fear. Some women accentuate this. They listen more attentively to men, they reinforce the male ego and they often do not support other women in business. Some women even think those who experience gender-based violence were ‘asking for it’. I have experienced unwelcome sexual attention. It has happened to me in mid-winter wearing jeans and jackets, it has happened to me in summer wearing a skirt. I have never welcomed it. This proves that this is a fallacy. I am fortunate in that I have never had anything escalate to physical assault, but men feel empowered to act like this. This is not normal it is not acceptable.

We need to change the way we think. We need to change what we think. We need to assert our power in the face of this male privilege. Men get away with thinking it does not exist because that is the nature of privilege, it is so entrenched it seems normal. We, women, have no such excuse. We are in this together. We should stand together.


You can reach Daniella on her Blog , and on Twitter as well as in a business capacity, Priscillas Services – Assisting the Gauteng LGBT (especially transgender and cross-dressing) community, with make-up, accommodation, storage, fashion (personal shopping) and transformation services. Safety and discretion guaranteed. Fun and happiness assured. Johannesburg, South Africa.

Posted in ... a bit of that, Chronic Illness

Fibromyalgia

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

I felt it building. The exhaustion. From Monday to Thursday I realised I was incredibly tired by bedtime. Like there isn’t enough sleep in the world to feed me.

Last night I felt myself crashing. It’s a tired I can’t explain. I took my daily meds to assist sleeping and not having my body present itself as a stiff job in the morning. Usually I fall asleep soon after. Nothing.

I’m so tired that my eye lids feel heavy but still, no sleep. Round 3am I took my anxiety meds. Again feeling more relaxed I should fall asleep, but nothing.

I think I have the feeling that toddlers have when they are over tired down. No wonder they are so grumpy.

I lay down this afternoon and slept about 90 minutes… but again, not a deep sleep either. I woke up with a headache firmly in place (probably from a lack of sleep) and that familiar Fibromyalgia ache all over my body. I really am not keen on a flair up please. Spare me.

It makes me sad. I feel guilty if I ask @SirNoid or my children for help as they work long hours and I feel like a burden during weeks like this one.

I physically hurt and psychologically it makes me feel pretty useless. Really positive on the self esteem chronic illness is.

I try to communicate how my body feels but I know it doesn’t translate well into words. I just sound like I need some cheese with that whine.

I wish you enough,

Wenchy


#wenchytude

Posted in ... a bit of that, August Woman's Month Guest Blog

Guest Post: It’s all about the boobs!

1 October 2008

It was a normal Wednesday… Work, clients, paperwork, homework with the kids, dinner…. A lovely day actually… That evening, after bath, I was applying body lotion, and when putting it on my breasts, I felt something strange…. A bump/lump…. WTH??? I checked, checked again, lay down on the bed, felt this way felt that way, went to the mirror, turned sideways, checked again… and yep, there it was…. a fricken bump, about the size of a large marble (a goon as we called it as kids)!!!!! I called Jacques, more like a little scream actually, “come here quickly!!!”… He hurried into the bedroom and asked what’s wrong… a spider? what???

.I looked at him, big eyes, and I think I resembled a fish… I wanted to tell him what I’d found, but the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth…. I put my hand up, “wait”, I took a breath, gulped… And told him I felt something funny… Funny haha or funny strange he asked… Funny strange I replied…. I told him, “a bump” pointing at my upper right breast, I showed him the exact spot, put his fingers over it and moved them in circles, his eyes opened wide, he felt, felt again… stepped back… He looked worried…. and that’s when I burst into tears.

marietjie

How did this happen? I often checked my breasts, as per doctor’s instruction and various magazine articles… One week after my period, every month… Wait, had I checked the previous month? And the month before that?…. I tried to recall when last I’d done the self-exam. Jeez, almost 7 months had passed since I’d checked them the last time!!! How could I have forgotten? I’m usually very good at the “look after myself, thereby look after my family” thing.

I didn’t know what to do, the only thing on my mind was CANCER. Shit! What the hell do I do if I have Cancer? I’m the breadwinner, I have responsibilities, my kids are still small, I’m the MOM for goodness sake!!! I immediately called my mom, and asked her if we have a history of Breast Cancer in the family, nope, never had anyone with those issues, on either my mom or dad’s sides. Thank goodness, a small comfort at least…. I explained what I’d found and she said to call my GP first thing in the morning and make an appointment. She tried to comfort me, telling me not to worry, wait until I’d seen the doctor, and then, once I knew the facts, take whatever steps are required to “handle” the situation. Truthfully, I’d always been very good at “handling” situations. I’m a tough cookie. Stress, issues, worries, problems… Yep, I can handle anything…. Anything but the thought of losing my breast?????

I went onto the internet, BIG MISTAKE! Any idea how many articles on lumps, breast cancer, breast abnormalities etc. there are on the web??? THOUSANDS!!! After the 5th or 6th page, I freaked and turned off the computer. I felt sick to my stomach, and suddenly very tired…. I tried to watch tv, couldn’t concentrate, and around 10pm, went to bed… No sleep, nil, nothing, nada…. I kept feeling the bump, hoping it’d go away, or just feeling the texture… It wasn’t painful, but hells bells… it was THERE… It felt bigger every time I touched it! The scenarios going through my mind were not pretty, I’d seen pictures of mastectomy op’s before, and of course, my little internet visit hadn’t helped at all…. I kept thinking about what would happen to my family if I died? Shit sakes!!! I’m 37 years old, and thinking about death???? No way Jose!!! I just simply would NOT die! Well, that’s what I thought, and I prayed…. Wow did I pray… Hadn’t prayed so hard since the day my dad was killed in a car accident, and I prayed that my mom would survive…. I’d been 8 months pregnant with Danielle at the time… Yep, it took 17 years for me to talk to God with such desperation and begging, I’m sure the poor Man didn’t know how to handle a sobbing, begging, praying, sniffling ME! I just remember saying please don’t let me die, please let me raise my kids… please, please, please.

I was up, dressed and ready for the day at 6am. I waited until 8 and called my GP, explained to the receptionist what I’d found, and begged her for the earliest appointment. I think the poor woman must have heard the fear in my voice… She told me to come in immediately, and that the doctor would see me as soon as I arrived…. I drove to the doctor’s office, walked in, and was told Dr C’s waiting for me… Dr C has been our family doctor for 17 years, direct, honest, and nice! I walked into her consulting room, and the tears literally flowed… She sat me down, and we talked…. I explained what I’d found, she told me to lie on the bed, examined me, and actually took the time to check the left breast as well…. Yep, as I thought (and of course felt), there was quite a large lump in my right breast…. She told me I’d need to have a sonogram so that we can see what we’re dealing with.

Well, off to the Clinton Clinic for me. Arrived, went through, and waited, then into the little room for the sonogram… The poor radiographer could see that I was very nervous.  She completed the sonogram, both on the right breast and the left, then advised that the Doctor would be in to check, and explain the findings… The doctor arrived, had a look, and explained…. Yes, there is a rather large cyst in my right breast… along with several smaller ones… WTF? SEVERAL SMALLER ONES? And then he checked the left breast, and yep, you guessed it…. MORE!!! SHIT!!!! My mind was reeling, cysts? In BOTH breasts? How? Why? How? I had to ask the doctor to stop talking, and backtrack; I’d missed some of what he was explaining to me…. It looks like Fibrocystic Breast Disease…. OMG… DISEASE????? He told me it’s fairly common, but that the large cyst in my right breast was indeed a concern, and also two in the left breast…. He also advised that I’d need to go for a Mammogram… But But But…. I tried to argue… Mammogram to me equals Breast Cancer… He’d just called it something else??? He explained that due to the size of the large cyst, and the number of smaller ones visible, that a Mammogram was also required… He typed up his report and off I went to the Union… Filled in forms, had to wait for the Medical Aid to authorise the Mammogram… Went into the little room… and there it was… the torture device…. Yep, the vice grip of all vice grips…. The radiographer was very professional, explaining how it all works, that it “might hurt a little” etc…. Then it began… Well, “might hurt a little” was the understatement of the fricken CENTURY!!!! FRICKEN HELL!!! It felt as if my breast was being squeezed enough to pop…. A very very unpleasant experience!!! First the right, top to bottom, then side view… then the left…. I stood there, crying, not quite knowing if it was the pain of the Mammogram or the fear of the results…. Done, and report in hand, I was on my way back to Dr C….

Again, walked right in, she was waiting for me, she took the two envelopes, opened them up, started reading, and said, MMMMMM. I never thought I’d ever say this to a doctor, but I just blurted out… “what the F&ck does MMMMM mean?”…. She looked at me, and explained, all over again, about the Fibrocystic Breast Disease, the number of cysts found in both breasts, how it works… (little bubbles that fill with fluid during your period, then go away)…. Surprise surprise…. Mine did NOT go away!!! They’d taken up residence in my breasts, and seemed quite happy to stay and thrive!!! She informed that the large cyst in the right breast would need specialist attention, so I was referred to a Specialist Physician…. I was lucky enough to get an appointment for the Friday…. Oh groovy, just another sleepless night or two… Not like I wasn’t tired or anything….??? I left her rooms, feeling numb, and not quite focused…. I didn’t even bother going to work, no way could I do anything constructive with the stuff on my mind… I called Jacques and explained in a very clinical manner about the sonar, mammogram, results, referral etc… Yep, when I panic and stress about something, I treat it as if it’s happening to someone else, and does not bother me in the least…. Yeah right…. I was actually quivering inside…. Shit, I was so scared!!!

Friday morning, off to the Park Lane Clinic… One Specialist Physician appointment to nail…. A page and a half of questions (yep, I do that… write down every single thing that I think I might need to ask, and make a list, so that I can quiz the doctor, all the while, shaking like a leaf, and wishing I was one of those people who kept Prozac in the bathroom cabinet…. DAMN, felt as if I’d pop one or two very easily)… I was scared.

It was a female doctor, a Professor…. Lovely lady… She was sweet, and when she’d read the reports, told me to go into the exam room, she’d come and have a look…. She prodded, she poked, the checked, she looked… And yes, there was indeed a fairly large lump in the upper right breast (oh wow, this was NOT news to me!!!), and it would need to be removed surgically… The cysts in the left breast did not require surgery, as they were small, and their “walls” were smooth and according to the sonar and mammogram, nothing to be concerned about. She said she could operate the following day… She explained the procedure; she’d make an incision around the areola, remove the cyst, and stitch it back up…. The growth… (ugly word… cyst sounded better, cyst sounded not dangerous… like a blister… growth sounded like a foreign thing… an unwanted foreign growth in my breast… YUCK)…. I asked if it was Cancer? She said it was impossible to tell, she’d remove it and send it away for analysis…. It takes about a week for the results she said…. SHIT SHIT SHIT!!!! A week??? How the hell was I going to make it through a week….?

My head was reeling, it was so much more real to me now, knowing I’d have to go into surgery, they were going to cut my nipple off, and remove the “uninvited guest”…. I asked her about scarring, she said it would be minimal, as she’d make the incision around the areola, and would do a fine stitch to put it back together.

Surgery is nothing new to me… I’ve had three kids, two by C-Section, and I’ve had over 20 surgeries to have ovarian cysts removed… But these surgeries were on my stomach… the scars not really noticeable with all the stretch marks and c-section scars… They didn’t bother me… But DAMN….. My BREAST?????

I left her consulting rooms, went downstairs to the hospital reception, filled in forms for the procedure, got authorisation from the Medical Aid, all on Auto Pilot…. I felt numb… I think I was hoping that once I saw her, she’d tell me to take a course of antibiotics, and I’d be fine…. Now I was not so sure… I left, and called Jacques once I got in the car… The poor man was worried, I could tell, but he just said, it’d be a breeze, that I’m tough, and that we’d deal with the test results when we received them….

Next morning, arrived at the hospital at 6am, booked in, and assigned to a ward… Visited by the doctor and anaesthetist, drip inserted, and the procedure explained again, in detail…. The surgery would take no more than 45 minutes, and I could go home after 3pm…. I told Jacques he could leave, and go to work, but he’d brought the latest Clive Cussler, and waited. I went into surgery around 9am…. LOVE those little pre-med tablets they give you… WOOHOO…. Drowsy and happy was ME!…. I woke up around 11am, and expected to feel pain… I felt nothing… I immediately checked to see that I still had a breast…. Yep, it was there, bandaged, but there…. I smiled at Jacques, said something stupid like I love my boobies, and went back to sleep…. The doctor came to see me about an hour later, explained that the procedure had gone well and that the cyst (5cm round), along with some surrounding tissue, had been removed. About the size of a golf ball….. This would be sent to the lab for analysis, and she would contact me as soon as the results were back… I asked her why I felt no pain, she explained that she’d injected me with some aesthetic into the breast, which would keep me pain-free for 72 hours…. YUMMMM…. I don’t like pain, so this was good…. She talked to me about wound care etc, and that the stitches would dissolve. I had to see her on Tuesday, to remove the bandage and for her to see if all is ok.

We left just after 3…. A week, I had to wait a week? DAMN!!! Jacques tried to tell me it would be ok, but I didn’t even take it in…. I was worried… It’s a woman thing, I don’t think men understand about us and our breasts…. They’re what makes us female…. and mine was not exactly fantastic, but they weren’t awful either… I liked them, they were mine, I’d had them since I was 14, kinda became attached to them, and would very much prefer to keep them… !!!

The weekend was a quiet one…. I tried not to think about anything…. Monday came, had the checkup, she removed the bandage, and there was just a little white sticky tape on the breast, basically halfway around the areola…. Very little swelling… and she was pleased that there was no sign of infection…. I asked her whether she’d heard anything about the tests??? No, nothing yet, she would call me… she promised…. F&ck!!! Call me??? I can’t wait another four days…. I left her rooms and went back to work…. I have no idea how I functioned during the next few days…. Auto Pilot… I love Auto Pilot….

Thursday morning, 8h15am…. Phone… Dr…. NO CANCER NO CANCER NO CANCER!!!!! Oh my word, those were the best words anyone had ever said to me in my entire life!!!!!!! She explained that all was well, no problem, NO CANCER!!!…. She explained that I’d need to keep a close eye on my breasts, must do self-exams EVERY month, and have both a sonogram and mammogram every 6 months….

If I’d found the lump/cyst, when it was smaller, I could have had it drained via the needle aspiration process…. Surgery could have been avoided, and also the stress, and pain, and fear of those AWFUL 8 days….

I check my breasts EVERY month, I don’t miss a single time… NEVER…. I go for the sonar & mammogram every six months… Yes, I have Fibrocystic Breast Disease… Almost 60% of both breasts consist of little cysts… Smaller than Jelly Tots… But they’re there… and I know the feel of EVERY SINGLE ONE of them…. If they DARE grow a little bigger from one month to the next, I realise it immediately and can take the necessary steps to have them checked, and aspirated if needs be.

The scar healed nicely… well not nice, but it’s ok…. I hate it, Jacques says he doesn’t see it (sweet sweet man)…. Due to the size of the lump/cyst removed, there was quite a bit of tissue loss, and yes, it was very noticeable… About a month after the surgery, I started inserting a little silicone bubble into my bra, to ensure that the right breast looked like the left…. Evened me out a little…. Nobody ever knew… Until now… Shit, won’t be able to face half my friends after this….

marietjie 2The main reason for this note… (ok novel)…. is to stress the importance of monthly Breast Exams…. Ladies, please, check your boobies…. Gents, remind your ladies…. the 8 days of hell live in my head as if it happened yesterday…. And to think, if I’d done the exams, as I should have done, I could have avoided almost all of it….

I’m glad I went through this, in a way…. It’s made me stronger, and it’s also made me realise the importance of looking after myself…. Life sucks sometimes, but hey, mostly life’s pretty damn wonderful…. 🙂

M

I thank God every day, that it turned out to be something small and I pray, every day, that it never becomes something big…. Every day… x

You can contact Marietjie Albasini on :

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Posted in ... a bit of that, August Woman's Month Guest Blog

Guest Post: Rephethile Kgwale

My name is Rephethile Kgwale and I’m the founder of a campaign called Matters of the brain, I’ve been living with Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety disorder and Dysthemia for eight years.

After being diagnosed I experienced judgement from society due to the expectations they had of me. I realize how stigmatized mental health is especially around the black community. I realized the gap and need to start this campaign to find ways to eliminate and educate people more about mental health in a safe space.

Rephethile Kgwale
Rephethile Kgwale

Matters of the brain is a non-judgmental platform implemented for those suffering from various mental health issues, those whose loved ones are dealing and not dealing with their diagnosis.  This campaign aims to target mainly the black community within South Africa.

It mainly focuses on these parameters because black people are not well educated to deal with and accept mental health challenges. Many black people are not comfortable to engage in conversations about mental illnesses. Black people can’t differentiate the different disorders, therefore our aim is to open the channels and create a safe educative platform. A platform that will clear the confusion and create a detailed supportive forum.

The minute you start talking about your mind, people get very anxious, because we associate that with being who we are, fundamentally with “us” — us as a person, us as an individual, our thoughts, our fears, our hopes, our aspirations, our everything.

38017320_2302249976458945_2062864691960479744_nFeeling miserable could, in fact, be seen as part of you or an extension of your social world. Applying a medical label to your emotions is not always something that everyone with depression, for example, is comfortable with.

Banishing the stigma attached to mental health issues can go a long way toward facilitating genuinely useful conversations.

 

Hook up with Rephethile on social media:

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Posted in ... a bit of that, Restaurants

Mozambik Linksfield Review

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

We visited Mozambik Linksfield on Sunday. We arrived at 12h00 and by 12h30 the restaurant was full.

Mozambik offers an extensive selection of Afro-Porto cuisine and the necessary Caipirinha! Naturally, I did have to check up on the Strawberry Daiquiri offering… Oh the suffering I endure! 😂 (It ✅ ed all the boxes btw.)

We shared Chicken and Prawn Rissoles for starters which I enjoyed. Crispy with plenty flavourful filling. The Prawn was my favourite.

Almost everyone had Pregos which they said was nice (like Mrs Jones down the road). I chose a garlic chicken with veggies.

The flavour of the chicken was delicious although there is work to be done amongst chickens to encourage body positivity. An extra grain for lunch won’t hurt! A plump chicken is much sexier. The veggies turned out to be the star item on my plate and I enjoyed it very much.

 

 

 

 

 

Clearly a popular weekend spot, it is the kind of place you can sit at for hours, chatting and eating at leisure.

Unfortunately, there was none of that for me as Premier League has kicked off. #YNWA

Service was excellent, great vibe and sitting outside was a treat. I would like to give the prawns a try next time, but I’d say the food we had was good (no complaints) but also not orgasmic.

There is a huge play area to keep the kids busy, and for those of us who have moved on from such, the play area is located at a suitable distance that you don’t hear them! 🤣

 

I wish you enough,

Wenchy


#wenchytude

Posted in ... a bit of that, August Woman's Month Guest Blog

Guest Post : Behind the door

I have always been fascinated with doors. I find myself photographing various shapes and types of doors wherever I travel throughout South Africa. My Pinterest account has a board aptly named ‘Doors’ and on my ‘France’ and ‘Architecture’ boards, you’ll find numerous beautiful photographs from around the world featuring… you guessed it… all kinds of doors.

Some beautifully carved front doors are comfortably nestled in a blanket of soft green ivy creepers. Brightly coloured rows of striped beach houses sport crisp white doors, where shafts of late afternoon sunlight play a game of hide and seek. Stately homes parade ornate doorknockers, some inviting and others to scare away evil spirits. Doors in far-flung destinations fit neatly into architectural masterpieces where arches stretch to the stars. Other buildings have fabric doors that flap in the dusty winds.

Elizabeth Arden, founder of the well-known cosmetic house chose a red door to capture people’s attention when she opened her famous Red Door Spa on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1910. This famous red door still stands today and became the symbol of female independence around the early 1900’s. Behind this red door, women who joined the Second World War were given lipsticks in varying shades of red to match their uniforms, to show support to their war efforts. The iconic name of Elizabeth Arden still provides confidence to women all over the world 108 years later. It all started with a single red door.

My favourite doors are the well-worn ones, held together with rusted hinges and heavy metal locks. This makes me wonder. Do these doors protect family secrets inside or keep strangers out? Or perhaps both…? If these doors could talk, what stories would they tell?

My fascination with doors, has made me think… what do these doors represent to us? Doors are part of our everyday lives. Church doors may bring consolation or conviction. Hospital doors can cause anxiety or bring relief. Doors allow us to enter and leave. The doors where we live protect us and let the sunshine in. Doors give us choices…

If I had to create my perfect door, it would be a huge wooden door, painted red and adorned with solid brass hinges and an impressive round doorknob. I would see my reflection in the brass fittings and know that no matter what the world thinks of me, I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (I might have to remind myself of this every now and again though.) I believe that I would not be afraid to confidently take hold of that beautiful round doorknob and push open my bright red door.

I wonder… what would I hope to find behind my red door? Hopefully I will find a fresh desire to live my life with newfound passion. I want to see new words tumble down from heaven in a myriad of colours, penetrating my heart and mind. Words that will set my pages alight and inspire my readers. There must be words of excellence that inspire others and make them think. And bucket loads of kindness and compassion to heal the hurts that cross my path.

What does your favourite door represent to you? What does your door look like? What is hidden behind your door? Are you hesitant to open it because you are afraid of the unknown?

I dare you to take hold of that handle that has been beckoning you for days or even years and let a new world into your life.

All right here goes… my hand is on the cool brass. My palm is sweaty. Let us see what life holds for me behind my door.

You can contact Laura at:

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*Photo – http://inspirage.info/cool-the-door-photos/
** All other photos courtesy of Google images

Posted in ... a bit of that, August Woman's Month Guest Blog

Guest Post: Being a woman

My name is Melanie but often I can’t pronounce it so let’s stick to Miss Pretorius or Lu.

It’s no state secret that I stutter and that it gets worse when I’m nervous…and I’m nervous a lot. It’s funny that I would choose a career in the media that involves interacting with strangers and often requires interviews, the things that triggers my nervousness and therefore intensifies my stuttering. I didn’t choose it, it chose me and I’m happy. It taught me to get out of my shell, overcome my social anxieties and live my best life, be the best me I can possible be.

I’m often told I’m weird and I don’t get offended by that statement. If being my authentic self constitutes to weird, well then I’m the weirdest person around. I’m awkward, socially and otherwise and relate to animals better than to humans. I take eons to open up but when I do it’s because I trust, irrevocably. I love the colour black and feel it has a lot to do with the Greek meaning of my name, which is literally “darkness”. I’m drawn to it, like a moth to a flame; it’s my security blanket, my safe haven.

I’m often in battle with myself over insecurity issues that stems from my youth. You’d think by now I’d have a fail-safe way to overcome it but alas some of it still haunts me. I’ve been teased endlessly about my tiny frame and I’ve come to accept it with time but on some days, when you already feel low and a random stranger makes a remark, you’re sucked into that cycle of self-doubt again. I’ve learned that my strength comes from accepting my weakness and apparently caring about others’ opinions about me is one of them. I don’t lash back, oh no, I won’t stoop to their level and the art of meditation has helped me through many such battles.

Being a woman means being strong. Dealing with constant scrutiny, stereotypes and being judged by different standards than men, well it requires a lot of strength. I’ve written several posts about sexual harassment, slut shaming and now pink tax that we as women constantly have to deal with, often on a daily basis. Frankly, I don’t feel that it will ever stop so we need to arm ourselves with the necessary tools to withstand the temptation to get embroiled in fights by our male counterparts. How do we do that?

Ignore them; nothing makes people angrier than you not acknowledging their existence. Show them that you’re a better human being than they could wish to be. We have one thing that they’ll never possess, that try as they may they can’t take it away; we give life! We are your first love as we are your mother, sister, aunt and grandmother.

The strength that comes from being a woman is unlike anything you’d ever be able to acquire artificially. We love hard, even though we know pain is inevitable. We forgive often, even though the cracks will always be visible in our fragile hearts. And yes, our hearts are fragile but it’s strong, stronger than a diamond. When we give our hearts, it’s a treasure rarer than said diamond as it would be unlike anything you’ll ever possess.

I’m always open to hear new opinions, random thoughts and late night musings so let’s be weird together.


Melanie is a Lifestyle Blogger and Editor at Rhose in Bloom.

You can get in contact with Melanie via:

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In celebration of #WomensMonth, I open my platform to guest blogs. You are welcome to send your posts to wenchy@mweb.co.za for publication.

#wenchytude

Posted in ... a bit of that

#IamTheLegacy with @TheSADAG

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

I have shared openly with regards to my struggle with depression and excessive anxiety during my 21 years of blogging.

In South Africa, one in three people are affected by mental health problems. I am that one.

There are 23 deaths due to suicides in South Africa every single day. 460 attempted suicides are reported every 24 hours. Imagine how high this number actually is for those of us who have never spoken up?

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group need your help to continue providing crucial support – #BeTheLegacy and help save a life :

R67 will pay for 14 key-rings with our Suicide Helpline number, to be given to Students, so that they know they can call us for help.

R100 pays for the call costs for 5 calls to our Toll Free Crisis Helpline.

R167 will pay for a Teen Suicide Prevention Speaking Book that can reach over 100 youths. These Hardcover books contain 16 pages of colorful illustrations, a celebrity narrator to listen to and text to read.

R1,670 helps train 25 Community Members in rural areas in Gauteng, Limpopo or Mpumalanga, on Depression, Treating Trauma, Starting Support Groups and learning how SADAG can further help in their community.

#67minutes
#BeTheLegacy

I wish you enough,

Wenchy