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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Twitter

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:

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

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

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:

Blog: Miss Pretorius

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter


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

Girls With Curls

Nappyversary*, shrinkage**, BC***, LOC****. Just some of the many terms that have become part of my natural hair discourse since dumping the ‘creamy crack’ (chemical relaxers) and, literally and figuratively, embracing my roots twelve years ago.

1-Fullscreen capture 20160829 12715 PMI had started researching issues of slavery, oppression, Apartheid, class and race for my third year mini-thesis “Representations of ‘Coloured’ Women on Stage”. The bigger issues are too much to go into here. But the scales fell from my eyes as I realised that centuries of societal conditioning, no pun intended, had me hating my hair as it grew out of my scalp! I saw within my own community how beauty and worth in women were directly linked to the straightness of their hair and European features, rather than the naturally kinky-curly hair and African/Creole features.

Well, this all kicked off my personal revolution. I ‘returned’ to my natural hair, giving up the seasonal chemical trip to the hairdressers, the weekly rolling in and blowing out of hair, and wearing a swirlkouse at night (pantyhose cut and tied, swirled around the hair and used to hold the straightness overnight). I also gave up being scared of getting my hair wet or even close to mist or inclement weather, lest it mince (frizz)! I started to acknowledge or try to understand all my cultural roots and those of ‘my people’. More importantly, I started to care about what I thought about MY hair, not others’ opinions.

I officially entered the entertainment industry a year later in a tribute show where my fabulous, new afro shouted out my debutante arrival! At castings, I was usually the only brown girl with hair like mine. Walking around my hometown of Cape Town, I’d get asked if I was Brazilian or American – so strange was it to see someone embracing their natural hair. Acquaintances or old family friends would brazenly ask when I was going to “sort my hair out”. Other female friends dealt with family or partners telling them they looked ugly with their natural hair.

Fast forward to the present day and the world at large is seeing a move to people of colour loving themselves as is! The Natural Hair Movement is part of that revolution as more and more women are seen sporting their natural afros and curls, from business to the government. Natural hair salons are sprouting up all over, tailor-made products are everywhere and the myriad of supportive natural hair forums make it so much easier for the women of colour who choose to embrace it.

So, aluta continua, Naturalistas!”

*The anniversary of going natural
**When the curl coils up on itself when it’s dry, making your hair appear shorter than when wet
*** Big Chop, cutting off all chemically-treated hair
****Liquid, Oil, Cream – a combo of products to get the curls popping

You can reach Chantal Stanfield on:

Twitter – @chantalstan

Instagram – @chantal.stanfield

—oOo—

Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories.

Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me: wenchy@mweb.co.za

Happy Woman’s Month!

I wish you enough,

Wenchy

For some reason, I can still touch my toes.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall
Sometimes I don’t like what I see in you at all…”

30 years ago, I don’t think I had a clear idea of what my body looked like. I might have envied some of the lithe, swan-necked “It-girls” who floated ethereally around campus, but I was too busy stomping my way angrily out of the horror movie that had been my childhood.

Sandy
Taken in the States in late 1993. I thought I was obese! If only I was as fat now, as I thought I was then!

My body was merely a container that transported me, took my brain to lectures, helped me emote my way through my drama classes and tried to stay awake nights at the security phone-bank job that was essential to my financial survival. As to what it looked like, that was somewhat irrelevant.

My wardrobe staples were tracksuits and takkies. My other uniform consisted of a voluminous ankle-length skirt, a much-loved hand-me-down from a distant relative that I would pair with one of two holy thrift-store sweaters. My boyfriend would beg me to let him dress me, to not hide my body (no surprise that he’s now the co-owner of the largest costume hire company in Southern Africa – and married to a man), but I had no interest.

I remember being in a production that went to Grahamstown and then months later, travelled to the Market Theatre. Someone who’d seen me in both cities, came to comment on how much weight I’d lost in the time between, and all I could do was stare at them as if they were insane. I’d had absolutely no idea. Weight didn’t factor into my concept of self. My terrible twin/best friend with whom I was joined at the hip since first-year drama-school, suffered from anorexia and my idea of trying to help her get over it, was to eat for her. I was aware of her losing the hair on her head and sprouting it on her forearms instead, but personally, I was never one for scales, and obviously lacked a certain self-awareness.

Somewhere along the line, that changed. Maybe it coincided with my move to the States, becoming a gym-rat and trying to start a career in Hollywood, but somehow a scale made it’s way into my bathroom and its daily fluctuations began to rule my reality. I had a recurring role on a show called “City of Angels” with Blair Underwood and Viola Davis (yes, THAT Viola), and I recall going to Vancouver during the shoot, and enjoying a lovely meal which was rounded off (pun intended) with dessert. The meal was barely over before I was overcome with an attack of anxiety so profound that I promptly found the nearest treadmill to try and run away from the calories I’d just ingested. I firmly believed that that one meal would stop me from fitting into my character’s wardrobe after the weekend.

So, many years and BMI extremes later (including, dropping below 48kg during times of emotional duress), I’m living proof that diets don’t work. I’ve Master-cleansed and eaten lean, taken pills and gone to the gym twice daily. A few years ago the Dukan Diet helped me to shed 10kgs for a movie, and I managed to keep it off for a long time. However, after this last year where my regular running sessions fell victim to frequent sinus infections, bouts of bronchitis, multiple courses of antibiotics, cortisone, sessions of nebulizing, etc, and a final diagnosis of Asthma, most of those 10 kilos have snuck back and I find myself middle-aged and sporting the dreaded middle-age-spread. And the only thing firm about me, is my belief that diets don’t work.

sandi 1
Sandi Schultz

I need to start the uphill climb back to health, so together with starting chronic asthma meds, a few weeks ago, I restarted my yoga practice and I’ve been on my mat between 4 and 5 times a week ever since. I, who once trained for rollerblade marathons, taught cardio-kick classes and could effortlessly touch my toes (okay, for some reason, I can still touch my toes), felt like I was going to die. My belly-rolls compressed painfully into my chin, felt like an elephant sitting on my chest and made it impossible to breathe. Every joint creaked and complained, and yet, I kept going back. I show up and keep my eyes and my practice on my mat. Now, less than a month later, I am amazed at how our bodies forgive us for our multitude of sins. I do what I can and I thank this body for giving me a chance at a do-over. And an interesting thing is happening. I haven’t really lost weight, but I’m stronger. I’m standing taller, stretching deeper and each day I become more flexible as I listen to what my body wants. I can now do headstands, those shoulder-stands aren’t nearly as impossible, and my breath-capacity is increasing.

If I’m honest, I’ll admit that for most of the last 20 years, when I’ve weighed more, I’ve felt less than. I feel so much better about myself when I’m leaner. My clothes fit better. I feel confident, even sexy. I’m not comfortable when I’m “coloring outside the lines”, when my bra-straps cut painfully into my shoulders and my usually quirky style of dress consists of whatever fits. In a strange contradiction, when my body takes up less space, I feel like I have more of a right to my place in the world.

And yet… as an activist, I sit myself down and lecture myself about the fact that we are not our bodies. I want to bookmark all the body-positive blogs and frequent the fat-girl-yoga IG feeds. I’m trying to be kinder to myself – as kind as I am to other buxom, big-boned beauties, or to the skinny waifs who will always look prepubescent, but are no less woman. The irony is, I can see other women’s inner and outer beauty so clearly, but I’m myopic when it comes to seeing mine. Maybe my chosen career creates this kind of body dysmorphia, but I’m going to keep insisting that a woman’s worth does not lie in the numbers on a scale, or the size on a clothes-tag. It lies in how we love, our empathy, compassion, strength, resilience, our creativity, in how many times we get up when life knocks us down, in the grace, or galumphiness, with which we navigate our daily challenges. That, to me, seems closer to the truth and I’m going to keep repeating it to myself till I finally, whole-heartedly, believe it.

I’m going to keep pounding into my brain the fact that even when I think my body, reflected in the mirror, is too much, I, am more than enough.

Sandi Schultz is a South African actress best known for her role as Dr Jennifer Adams in the Afrikaans language soapie Binnelanders.

You can find her on

Instagram

Twitter 

—oOo—

Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories.

Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me: wenchy@mweb.co.za

Happy Woman’s Month!

I wish you enough,

Wenchy

I am free!

When I was asked to write a piece for woman’s day, I found the thought quite intimidating.  What would I write about?  What could I possibly offer that would be worth reading about?  Obviously because it was my #bestie, Wenchy that asked – I couldn’t say no.  So here I sit pondering on my life gone by, trying to decipher the best advice or even the best recollection that I may pass on to other women.

Gail and Wenchy
#Besties Gail and Wenchy

I think that the hardest part about being a woman in today’s life, is to actually be a woman.  Most of us grew up in a time where it was prime choice to have a boy.  Unfortunately for me (and my two sisters), we were born female.  This turned out to be our greatest crime in the eyes of our father.  No matter how hard we tried to get out of that stereotype, it stuck.  Granted we learnt to do a lot of things that other women generally cannot do – like service a car, change a tap washer, tile a bathroom, paint a house etc.  While this took up our weekends, our mother fervently tried to embrace the feminine side of us – teaching us to cook, bake, and sew and other such suitable activities.

So many of my parents’ quirks have moulded me into the woman that I am today.  That combined with a 20+ year marriage.  As a young child and growing up into adulthood, we were melded into the role of prisoner / house help / gardener / and anything else that might have been needed.  The absolute terror of my father coming home, lest anything be out of place or our school results not good enough.  We were brought up in a house where children were not seen and most definitely not heard. We were not allowed to have friends over and it was very rarely that we were allowed to go to a friend’s house. It was a different upbringing, one that required survival skills sometimes tantamount to Special Forces. The three of us learnt the art of karate – after all we needed some sort of defence mechanism against the father; the drunk, abusive father.

In my matric year, I met my soon to be husband.  Also a difficult man, but certainly better than the other option of staying at home.  The day I got my matric results, I was told to leave.  This after many bitter arguments on the subject of tertiary education.  So at the tender age of 17, with only my clothes, I stepped into the wide world of adulthood and moved in with my husband.  I am sure that I might have loved him, but I loved the idea of “freedom” more.  How wrong I was!  As the years passed, we had three daughters.  I had started studying in a highly specialised career and he plodded along to his own routine.  This routine unfortunately did include much work, and the burden lay at my feet to ensure that the children had a place to stay, had food to eat and all their other needs were seen to.

As the years passed by, he became more withdrawn and more difficult – becoming more and more like my father.  I was torn between wanting to leave and having a stable, two parent home for the girls.  I was caught in the cycle of keeping my mouth shut and doing what was necessary for everything to run smoothly.  Irrespective of the snide and biting comments, or the lack of income from his side, I did what was necessary to keep it all going.

I am freeI can’t exactly say what snapped in me, but something did.  On a balmy night in November I had enough of his threats and accusations.  I marched over to him and told him in no uncertain terms, that I was done with this relationship.  I just couldn’t carry on the way things had been going for so long.  (Things had become worse after his nervous breakdown and suicide attempt.)  I can’t say for certain what actually triggered this event.  After all, things had been like this for so long already.  Once again, I was at the point of not going out anywhere, not having friends and living a totally secluded life.  I was even being checked up on at work (just to ensure that I was actually at work and not some other devious place.)

After the brave act of telling him that I was done, things became unbearable.  Between the threats and accusations, we literally fled with our clothes and our beds.  It has been just over a year now and slowly but surely I have been working through issues that imprisoned me all these years.  I still have a long way to go, but each day I am learning to be free – to be me.  Actually, I am learning to be me and learning who me is.  I have had such a different life up to now, that the most normal of behaviours in others absolutely floor me.  The differences have culminated in some really interesting OCD traits and a lot of naivety.  The best thing that I have done for myself – is to escape the male dominance and to live for me, to the betterment of me.

Every woman deserves this freedom.  The freedom to be completely herself, unashamedly.  So for now, I have this constant reminder to never get into that position again.

You can contact me on Twitter.

—oOo—

Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories

Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me: wenchy@mweb.co.za

Happy Woman’s Month!

I wish you enough,

Wenchy

Who is Gaynor Paynter?

Gaynor Paynter is a wife, a mother, a pet-owner, a business owner, a blogger, a 41-year-old woman. But it doesn’t really answer the question, does it?

Sometimes it’s confusing to think about which role to fill, which person to be, and whether deep inside there’s still something left of the original person.

gaynor 2A conclusion which presented itself recently was the following: Deep inside I’m still the 13-year-old girl who came about in 1988. My theory is that the burgeoning teenager is our true self.

We love things because we do. Not because we’re conditioned by the world or the people around us. You hear something or see something, you love it and that’s that. That’s why people from the 50s still love Elvis. People from the early 80s swear by movies and TV from that time. Because it’s your true self reacting, your true love without bull shit. And if you’re lucky, you’re worry free, so you can give your whole self to it. Pop music, fun, celebrities, animals, writing. At 13, I knew who I wanted to be as an adult. The saviour of the world. Someone who mattered and who made a difference.

I wonder if this is not something that a lot of women deal with. Somewhere between being 13 and being 35, that original person gets lost under other things. Responsibilities  comes along and kills just about every other thing. Family, love, just ….. growing up.gaynor

For me personally, the loss of the original person was a contributor to depression and anxiety. You turn from being a person into being an automaton. Not LIVING, not really – just being.

Providing. Caring. Paying. Raising two sons with unique and special needs BY OURSELVES. All necessary, but not exactly FUN. I don’t know if it’s got something to do with turning 40, but when that number approached, the realisation dawned: the world was not saved. The fun had pretty much …. stopped. No difference was being made. I had let that 13-year-old girl down. Do all women go through this?

Depression and anxiety are no joke. And in most cases (as in mine) there are many contributors. But there are things that can be done. FIND the time for fun and for self. A happier you is a happier family. I did a lot of damage to my family by being emotionally absent while I was trying to keep all the other balls in the air, and we are still recovering from the consequences of that. Go back to all the things you enjoyed.

It’s easier now with the internet. Through iTunes and YouTube the beloved music was easy to find and now my kids know all the cheesy 80’s music that I love. The internet makes amazing things possible – like this blog post. Thank you so much Wenchy for asking me to be a part of this. I’m honoured to be featured on your site!

Instead of having to write fan mail to pop stars, we can email them or contact them on Facebook, and promote them on the internet. Old passions that you’ve lost touch with are doable again. This may sound self-indulgent and maybe a little self-absorbed. But take it from me – your family needs you to be happy. A happy family needs a happy mom.

This is Women’s month. Which is a bit of a joke to me until people like the head honcho Jacob Zuma take it seriously. But we can make it worthwhile for ourselves without help by getting back to who we are and honouring the young teenager inside.

Owner: Typewrite Transcription and Typing Services CC
Website: http://typewritetranscription.co.za/
Contact: gaynor@typewritetranscription.co.za
Twitter: @TypewriteSA  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TypewriteTranscription/
Buy my ebook: http://typewritetranscription.co.za/index.php/e-book/

Entertainment / Pop culture blogger: Pop Speaking
Website: www.popspeaking.com
Contact: gaynor@typewritetranscription.co.za
Twitter: @Popspeaking

—oOo—

Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories

Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me: wenchy@mweb.co.za

Happy Woman’s Month!

I wish you enough,

Wenchy

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

What is it that makes a woman?

So let’s get this out the way so nobody dies wondering: I’m a crossdresser and unlike a full-on transsexual (think Laverne Cox or even Caitlyn) I probably can’t handle (trying) to be a woman full-time. The scare tactics of periods, pregnancy, labour and nurturing certainly worked their trick on me. Please forgive my intrusion during women’s month admittedly only being a part-timer. Not too sure though whether a pseudonym like mine will go down well with the representatives of the braaivleis fire when they get their chance next month.

1-Fullscreen capture 20160817 115326 AM

The plethora of differences between men and woman have been explored extensively (and exhaustively) by people a lot more adept (and qualified) at it than myself. So, eager to appease my hostess and not descend into beigeness, I’ll cut to the chase: Why does someone like yours truly cherry pick the perks of womanhood, transforming into the best female version of themselves they can realistically attain, and then head out into public space?

Does the answer simply lie in the delight of dressing, the embellishing of the self in the process mostly managing only half as haute a look as the naturally gifted (read pretty much all genetic women)? Experiencing the pleasure of wrapping in the purity of Prada? The sheen of selfies courtesy Chanel cosmetics? The unparalleled pairs of Choo’s or the hegemony inherent to a Louis Vuitton handbag? (Not that I can afford any of those but a girl can dream right?).

Humbly acknowledging my aspiration to (not to mention the inspiration of) the above, the answer leaves me short, disconcertingly short. No, the answer lies in the principle of elegance which is simplicity. It lies in the infatuation with who you are, not what you wear. Why? Because woman can feel! Which means, when we’re with you, we’re allowed to feel too! Half a lifetime’s worth of (and in my case more but don’t mention it!) exposure to emotion numbing drugs (called hormones) will ensure summary dismissal from the clan of the braaivleis fire, should one venture bravely into the forbidden land of speaking about feelings. When we’re with you though the landscape changes and we dare open that treasure trove of gut wrenchers no shot of testosterone could kill off.

Let me infuriate you by digressing for a moment. It is amazing that women can be anything they choose to be. I celebrate women in fiercely fighting for victory at the Games. I am in awe of it! I celebrate the gentle kindness of the woman regularly offering me coffee in the office since I broke my leg. I appreciate it! I also celebrate the quiet strength of the woman (still) putting up with my crap 12 years after she caught me wearing a dress in her spare room 12 years ago. I love you and hope we can overcome the obstacles to us being BFF’s again soon.

The answer (for me anyway) thus lies in the pursuit of the essence of womanhood. It is in your essence that one finds your substance, the ever-elusive bit I venture to capture in emulating you. A fancy way of saying I want to be (like) you every now and then by dressing like you. I attain assimilation through simulation. A lame way of saying I believe (or kid myself into believing) I can be part of the sisterhood by looking like I belong. As a (genetic) male I can never fathom the full breadth, width and depth of feminine experience, the everyday differences or the finer nuances, the wide open expanses nor the major chasms, but I can kid myself that I do and for a brief moment I am free.

So that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it! And to be perfectly honest, it is too much fun not to! Admit it, dressing up is fun! Personally, it’s the most fun I can have with my clothes on, remember the “wedding dress” episode in the sitcom “Friends”? Please forgive me my forays into (my take on) femininity, I promise I won’t impose myself for too long. And consider being kind to your friendly neighbourhood TG (transgender), again I promise, we don’t bite.

—oOo—

Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories  Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me wenchy@mweb.co.za

Happy Woman’s Month!

I wish you enough,

Wenchy

​Lize Jacobs – An Author in Potent Pink

31 Things people don’t know about me:

1. I am Geographically Impaired: I can get lost while in possession of a map, written directions, cell phone and GPS – all at the same time. Yes, this is a legitimate medical condition, or so I am convinced, that urgently needs research funding to find a cure.

2. I am not a girly-girl but I love Pink: Strangely enough, with all my tomboyish tendencies, I am crazy about pink – pink shoes, pink shirts, pink in my hair…Just Pink…potent Pink!

3. I have a talent for hitting curbs: Driving over, against, and onto curbs is just one of my special gifts.

4. I love strangers: I prefer meeting, talking to, and listening to strangers…Their experiences, points of view, and plans.

5. My happy place is Lize-land: A realm where all the characters that live in my reality peacefully exist in a functional society.

6. I have seven and a half voices in my head: These belong to characters (which incidentally reside in Lize-land), that systematically come into existence on the pages of my books as the main character. (The half-voice belongs to a teenager – just in case you were wondering). – Hope I don’t only have 8 books in me.

7. I prefer sitting to the left of someone: When I need to be seated next to a person, I am more comfortable being on their left.

8. My favourite number is 25: In my opinion, 25 is the most beautiful and complete number that exists.

9. Mathematics nauseates me: When I need to work with numbers; add, subtract, multiply, etc. I get nauseated – even when I hear or see others doing it…ugh! (Even now when I’m writing about it)

10. Every 7 years, I get injured on my birthday (Except when it’s Friday the 13th): This is a proven fact! On my 7th birthday, I broke my arm. On my 14th birthday, I fell off my bike and hit the pavement hard. On my 21st birthday, I broke my wrist. When I turned 28, nothing happened (Friday the 13th). The year I turned 35, I severed my Achilles tendon – this didn’t happen on my birthday…but still, really?!

11. I love Country Music: I could listen to only Country Music for the rest of my life and die happy!

12. I think life should be a Musical: I would be ecstatic if people spontaneously burst into song and dance as if it were normal.

13. Very bad with detail: Predominantly in everyday life, especially when it comes to people’s hairstyles. I would not notice if someone with long hair suddenly cut it extremely short, or someone dramatically changed their hair colour.

14. I believe that when your ears tweet your brain is resetting itself: The tweeting sound your ears sometimes make is just the process of your brain getting rid of its RAM.

15. I have a very bad memory: I sometimes struggle to remember what I did the day before. When someone asks me if they have told me something already, I just generally say ‘no’ to be safe – because even if they had, there is a distinct possibility that I won’t remember anyway.

16. I absolutely love beer: And as I’ve recently discovered, I love Lager! Except for water, my drink of choice is Castle!

17. I get Goosebumps and tingly all over when I pass a theatre: Stage productions are the coolest thing the human race could have invented.

18. I was diagnosed with Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) when I was 8 years old: This diagnoses happened accidentally and I am thankful every day that it was discovered and I am still alive.

19. My car is always dirty: When my car gets washed and cleaned it is a celebration among my friends.

20. Huge fan of quotes: People’s ability to express or in inspire with just a few lines is absolutely amazing to me. One of my favourite quotes is;

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Shakespeare, Hamlet.

And one of my favourite personal quotes is:

“Stop following your dreams and catch up to them.”

21. I can spell my name on a calculator: 3217 (Made you tilt your head, didn’t I?)

22. I don’t like shopping: A store is a shop is a store… Except for toy shops! Love toy shops!

23. I love balls: This sounds weird, I know… But should anyone ever wonder what present to get me; balls! Stressballs, rubberballs, beanbagballs, soccerballs, basketballs, rugbyballs, etc. etc. etc.

24. I get super excited when I see Playing Cards in shops: I love the look, feel, and smell of Playing Cards…I just do!

25. I love wristwatches: Although I don’t really wear them anymore, I love wristwatches; especially a sexy watch on a man…

26. My favourite outfit is a denim, t-shirt, and tekkies: I have recently started to experiment with turning this outfit of choice into an actual look that could reflect my personality better. Make it different, make it me!

27. My favourite smell is wet concrete: Don’t think I need to expand on this.

28. I don’t like ice-cream: About every 8 months or so, I would get a craving for ice-cream and eat a Magnum, and then I am so over it!

29. I love Romance in stories: Whether it happens in books or movies, I love clever interesting Romance; especially when it is coupled with banter-battles.

30. I believe characters are real: Once a character is created, they exist, and all you need to do is listen and follow their story, attempting to comprehend  what they try to convey to the best of your ability.

31. I have a very bad memory: Have I mentioned this? Can’t remember…

Twitter:  @LizeJacobsBooks

Facebook:  Lize Jacobs Books

—oOo—

Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories  Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me wenchy@mweb.co.za

Happy Woman’s Month!

I wish you enough,

Wenchy

Amazing Grace how cuddly you are !

I am a 31 year old, self employed, married to an amazing husband, new mom to a very expressive entertaining two month old baby. My entry is about the trials and tribulations of new motherhood. It’s a whole new world!

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Let me start at the beginning.

Finding out I was pregnant came as a big surprise, as I have always been told I would struggle, being diagnosed at a young age with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).

When I saw those two lines appear on the pregnancy test my heart leapt. I ran out calling my husband in shrieks, he was shocked in the beginning as we had only planned for a baby in maybe two years time but elated all the same.

I let my Mom know the very next day after another 10 tests from the pharmacy confirmed we were indeed expecting our first born. Fast forward  38 weeks later, I am huge and you can actually see my child’s bottom in the shape of my tummy. I have a permanent pain in my hip and dizzy spells and sleepless nights have me wishing the days to my C-section away. Pregnancy is NOT a glamorous glowing affair, anybody who tells you they loved every moment of their pregnancy is lying to you.

When my big day came I was relieved and scared silly all at once. I could not wait to meet our little girl. She arrived without hassle and seeing her for the first time, my entire life made sense and I felt totally complete.

Everybody tells you that breastfeeding is this magical bonding time for you and your baby. For me, it was anything but! She had a terrible latch and despite it all I persevered, as it gets drilled into you “breast is best” She has since developed severe reflux. I got severe bronchitis, which I then gave to her, and she nearly ended up in hospital.

The stress lead to a nervous breakdown due to my post natal depression. My milk dried up like spilled water in a hot pan. I have now put her on a half formula and breast milk diet,and guess what, we are both much happier, so I can tell you this, breast is only best if BOTH mother and baby are happy and fed.

As women we are bombarded with opinions and way too much conflicting information while pregnant, I advise you to follow your own gut, listening to all of that can make one’s head hurt.Your body will never be the same, unless you are a Hollywood celebrity, but then neither will your heart, it’s amazing how much you love this tiny helpless being.

The other night I was out for the first time since I found out I was pregnant,leaving our two month old daughter with my mother in law. I ended up with such engorged breasts I had to express into the toilet (not a tidy effort). At the end of a fun night of dancing and my first glass and a half of wine, I turned to my husband as I noticed dried breast milk in my hair and said “hmm 5 years ago this would have been vomit”.We laughed at how much our lives have changed and how much joy our tiny human has brought us in such a short time.

Being a new mom is amazing,terrifying and exhausting but totally worth every sleepless night when she looks up at me and smiles that big gummy smile. Don’t try and be super woman. You are not super woman. Take time to bond with your child, the dishes and laundry can wait.

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You can make contact with Bailey on Facebook


Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories  Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me wenchy@mweb.co.za

Happy Woman’s Month!

I wish you enough,

Wenchy