Monday, March 29, 2010

They say we are what we eat, but I say we are what we do…what we put out there is how people will react to us, how they will relate to us and how they will judge us.

We don’t realize that there is always a witness to our actions, that more often than not there is someone who sees us even when we think no one is looking.

Does that mean we have to hide? By all accounts that is exactly what we should NOT be doing, we should go out there and dance in the rain, sing at the top of our lungs, even when off key, be silly and just have fun being you. We shouldn’t be afraid of ourselves, we are all unique and we all have that special quality few others have. We were not put here to judge one another but to embrace our uniqueness and our differences.

You are what you do, if you hide who you really are then you’re a coward, if you come out of hiding you’re brave. If you give of your time to someone in need without expecting anything in return; you are caring. Should you be the type of person who only watches out for themselves; you’re self-absorbed and selfish. Are you the hard working student who puts class ahead of the beach? Well then you’re ambitious and dedicated. If you allow others to carry your ‘weight’ through life then you’re spineless.

Every action we put out there will have a reaction in the form of how people will think of you. We seldom think of the consequences of what we are portraying to the world.
If you lie about whom you are or what you do, then you are forever stuck with being that person, lying to those around you and most importantly lying to yourself.

You are what you eat, you are what you put out there and you are what you do.
Go out and embrace life as the real you and just have fun.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I was asked to select three photos of myself which I felt best described me. Well I found this task hard as I’m not one that enjoys putting myself out there. I’m pretty private and trust doesn’t come easily. However after much deliberation I decided to just let go and selected the pictures I felt “speak a thousand words” on who I am.

Family is what my life revolves around; they are the centre of who I am. My family has seen me through some rough patches and they’ve been there for the highlights. They’ve encouraged me to reach for that crazy dream of mine and they have been there to pick up the pieces when all has failed.

Nothing comes before my family and no one who has crossed one of them has “lived to tell the tale”. I know I’m never alone in this big world because I have family members who are my biggest fans, my best friends, my mentors and my confidants.

My parents have sacrificed so much for me, and who I am today, what I have achieved thus far is a tribute to the love and encouragement they have given me. My twin sisters have brought me much joy and much frustration as younger siblings do, but at the end I know they are always there loving and supporting me

When it comes to life, I have high expectations and I’m hard on myself, but I have clear goals and enough determination to achieve them. I believe all goals, big or small, are obtainable if they are kept realistic, broken down into bite size steps and if hard work is put into it.

I just keep my eye on the target, aim and let go of the arrow while ignoring the white space surrouding my goal as it tries to distract me. Take it from me, there is no better feeling than hitting that bull’s eye.

I am very fortunate to have found a job where I get to share my passion for children while simultaneously exploring my creative side through events as we fundraise for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Little Yonela, in the picture above, is one of the many patients who has me wrapped around his little finger while also capturing my heart. Yonela and his fellow, brave patients are my daily reminder of what I have to be thankful for. I am by no way a saint but nothing comes close to the satisfaction and accomplishment I feel of knowing what I do helps these little patients go home to enjoy the childhood they deserve.

This is but a short introduction into who I am...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Naughty but Nice

Naughty but nice and all things spice…don’t deny it, you have a naughty streak in you which is just dying to show its face from time to time.

But what holds us back? Is it our own self-conscious or is society dictating to us, making us hide that fun, adventurous and sometimes flirty side? In a previous blog I alluded to the fact that we fear putting ourselves out there, we fear rejection and we fear failing at something.

Is social media the answer to overcoming our fear of putting ourselves out there, for being braver and maybe just a bit flirtier than what we are accustomed to being?

Lately we find more and more people are using social media not only for business purposes, but for meeting new people in a seemingly save environment. Although you have your profile picture and name on your home page you still feel that safety of being anonymous.

When that anonymous feeling kicks in we find ourselves being more brave than when meeting new people face-to-face, we share more of ourselves and we indulge in that flirting side we so often hide from the world out there.

The question now is, why can’t we adapt that secure, anonymous feeling to stay with us when meeting people in the flesh? Why can’t we just embrace that brave “me” and forget to assess every word before speaking or every action before doing?

I’ve recently met a new friend who does not reside in South Africa, but was visiting a mutual friend of ours. Since then we have formed a close friendship and have continued this friendship even after their departure. We’ve been communicating daily via Google Talk, SMS and Facebook and the friendship has just kept growing.

It amazes me how fast we have come to know each other, how we have picked up on traits or habits the other has. The online chatting has just extended what we already knew about each other from their visit to Cape Town. I find myself looking forward to our chats, to sharing something brave I accomplished that day, or voicing my thoughts, my shortcomings and my fears, knowing that I’m in a safe environment where I have a trusting and caring friend on the other side of the phone, someone I know but don’t have to face.

Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer spending time with that friend here in Cape Town where I can experience touch and facial expressions, but I know I’ll loose that bravery that makes me share more than I usually would. Social Media has allowed us to get to know one another more intimately and honestly and I’m sure our next visit will be a more meaningful experience as we have grown in our friendship.

I’m still very much in favour of real-life friendships and relationships, but today social media just helps us break that ice…gets the ball rolling on what could be a wonderful relationship.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fear of Living

Daily we all wake up to face another day filled with things we fear, things we dread and things we wish would disappear.

We fear having to face the fact that we are all just humans who are capable of occasionally making mistakes. Having to face our boss terrifies us because it might just mean we have failed at something.

We fear having that cute guy we’ve been eyeing notice the 5 kilograms we are so desperately trying to hide underneath our clothes. We make ourselves believe we are just not good enough, not pretty enough, not fun enough for him to notice us, never mind the fact that he might be thinking the same thing as he works through his own fear of approaching you and the possibility of being rejected.

We fear that small, innocent spider trying to hide in the corner of the room, hoping no one notices him. We fear the snake trying to camouflage himself in the hope we walk right past him. We fear going into small spaces even though logic tells us there is nothing in there that can harm us.

We fear being rejected by our friends for standing up for what we believe in and for sticking to our morals and standards. We fear they will think we are dull, a prude or just not worth their time.

We fear being alone or lonely, we fear getting into a fight with our loved ones; we fear that obstacle that is just beyond our borders of comfort. In short we just learn to fear life, we fear actually going out there and living life.

We fear so many things that we end up fearing the wrong things in life. Instead of fearing the materialistic things in life, we should fear that there will be no tomorrow giving us that opportunity of telling those closest to us just what they mean to us.

We should fear not taking that risk of doing something we never would have dreamt doing, not doing the things we love when given the opportunity to do them. We should fear not making the most of every day given to us.

Instead of being afraid of rejection, walk right up to that guy you have been eyeing and just say a simple ‘hi’, that greeting could just be the opening both of you needed to spend forever together.

Instead of not attempting that climbing wall, why not get out of your comfort zone, put on the harness and climb to new heights, I can guarantee you the view would make it worthwhile but the real prize would be the achievement of overcoming that fear.

Instead of screaming hysterically or squashing that poor spider, rather see it beauty and its purpose for being there. It might just “save” you from that fly irritating you on a hot summer’s afternoon.

Don’t waste your time fearing your friends rejection, instead realize that they don’t see your full worth and don’t deserve another moment of your precious time.

Go out there, face your fears and start living the life you were given and deserve. Don’t waste another moment living in fears shadow.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Those quilty pleasures...

We all have a few guilty pleasures we indulge in from time to time for various reasons, sometimes we just need that break from reality, from the pressures at work or the people demanding a piece of our precious time. And guys, I’m talking about the innocent pleasures here…not those naughty and sometimes illegal pleasures.

My guilty pleasures are silly things I do which might seem selfish to others, but its those things I do to make me feel special, help me relax or get me motivated for what’s coming next. We all have them and we all enjoy indulging in them, so here are a few of mine I felt like sharing with you…

Taking a nice, long hot bath with bubble bath and smelly salts while enjoying a good novel as I lock myself away in an imaginary world of fictional characters and far away places.

Going shopping for a pair of shoes, that when wearing them I feel gorgeous and successful when I know all too well I don’t really need another pair of shoes. But I just have to have them.

Indulging myself by curling up on the couch, all comfy and cozy with some of my favourite snacks to watch an entire TV series season. You know, one of your favourite programmes you can just get lost in while watching the characters go through trials and celebrations as they entertain you on the screen.

Spending the day on the beach just being a beach bum, soaking up the sun, listening to the people enjoying the outdoors while I just close my eyes and dream of days with no traffic, business calls or problems to solve.

‘Recording’ all my memories in my scrap albums as I organise my pictures in creative and decorative ways for those days when I might need a bit of cheer. Sitting there all locked up in a room with my favourite music keeping me company as I relive some good memories captured on film.

Taking time out at a spa situated on a beautiful estate where all I can hear for miles is the sound of nature while I feel my muscles relax as the therapist unknots all those tightly spun muscles.

Mmm, enjoying a box of decadent chocolates all by myself while savouring the rich and velvet taste of what seems to be close to heaven

Ending a hard and busy day at work relaxing with friends on the lush, green lawns of Blue Peter overlooking the tranquil ocean while enjoying a beautiful sunset as I sip on an ice cold drink, usually non-alcoholic for me, for which I am teased endlessly in the name of fun.

Flowers are such a beautiful gift from nature and every once in a while when I feel I deserve some of that beauty I indulge in buying myself a beautiful bouquet of flowers. If I’m feeling all bright and cheerful I would usually get a big bunch of sunflowers to brighten my desk, or when feeling creative I enjoy admiring a bouquet of pastel coloured Arum lilies, but when I feel I need to be really spoilt I get some of my favourite roses, those beautiful pastel green and pink ones.

These are but just a few of the things I enjoy doing that bring me pleasure while feeling slightly girlish.

What do you indulge in to escape this crazy, clock-watching world of ours?

It's all Topsy-Turvy

I woke up this morning with fish falling from the sky, cows flying past my window and cars driving backwards…this must be a dream, the world is spinning the wrong way around, it’s all topsy-turvy!

What if it wasn’t a bad dream, what if cows really did fly instead of stand in a pasture grazing all day?

What if fish really did fall from the sky instead of swim upstream to where the fisherman is standing patiently waiting for his catch of the day?

What if cars were driving backwards down the streets, past the children on their way to school?

What if this wasn’t a bad dream and the world was topsy-turvy but topsy-turvy was the way the world spun?

Would you go back to bed instead of get up and go face the world? Or would you sit and watch the moon set after a long day at the office? Would you walk sideways like a crab as you make your way down the hallway and would you be crying and frowning at the good news you just received.

Who gets to decide what is normal and what is topsy-turvy?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What language do you speak?

Why do I ask?
Why haven’t you asked yourself that question before?
Have you ever given your language much thought?

Before you think I have totally lost it, I’m not talking about English, Afrikaans, Xhosa or any of our other eleven official languages here…I’m talking about the ‘language’ we use when communicating with loved ones.

We all have our own ‘language’ we use to communicate our feelings to those important to us. You might express your love for your mom by buying her nice gifts when in fact her ‘language’ is to express your gratitude with kind words.

Your partner might express their love for you by doing the dishes after she cooked you your favourite meal when all you wanted was for her to dress up a little to show you she takes pride of herself in your company.

It is important to understand the language you use when expressing your feelings to those important to you but it is even more important to understand and recognize the language they use in return.

So often I have found we don’t take the time to understand the various ways in which people express their love or gratitude for us and this has often lead to us feeling betrayed, used or unappreciated. We have often missed out on an opportunity where someone was trying to tell us that we were important to them because we were blind to their language.

So before you dismiss someone because they don’t speak the same language try and dig a bit deeper to find their language and you might just learn to communicate.

Wind, Colour, Imagination....

When asked what the colour of wind was I immediately thought of the song sung by Vanessa Williams in Pocahontas….’all you’ll own is earth until you can paint with all the colours of the wind’.

This is such a true statement as we are all so focused on earning that salary, buying that sports car or purchasing that piece of land that we forget to use our imagination, to dream the impossible and to strive for something less materialistic. As we grow up we seem to lose our imagination, that part of ourselves that was free to be whoever we felt the urge to be.

What if we were to imagine the wind as being a spectrum of colours, like an artists palette filled with various magical colours? Where would your imagination go if you let it go free, escape the confines of our everyday life?

Monday, March 1, 2010

When I grow up I want to be the boss...

If I had a rand for every time someone has said those words or a variation thereof I would be retired at the age of 26, living comfortable thinking of all those poor souls still dreaming about being the boss, the CEO, the President.

But the reality is that only a select few will reach this ambitious goal, some of us will go a little further than others and the rest will be left behind in their dust. The easiest way to deal with this is by accepting it, make peace with it and then decide to be the best at what we do, who we are and set new goals to achieve.

Being a boss isn’t as glamorous as we all seem to think, yes you get to be the boss, decide who does what, and you get the bigger salary and in some cases even a few other perks. To those on the outside it sure looks like a load of fun, but if you dig deep, peal away some of the layers you will soon see the ‘ugly’ side to being the boss.

You deal with all the office politics, managing everyone to ensure that everyone is happy, using their strengths to the benefit of the company and managing their weaknesses to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect the organization. You need to ensure key performance indicators and personal development objectives are met while ensuring it all fits into those of the company.

The buck stops with you, you have to be the good cop as well as the bad cop to ensure that all runs smoothly in your department. You have to manage people, tasks, budgets in addition to managing higher management and board of trustees all while maintaining internal and external relationships.

Its not easy being the boss, it’s easier to sit there at your desk and criticize what your manager, CEO or Board member are doing, like a cowardly backseat driver. Its easy picking out individual faults or improvements you would make, but a manager, a good manager would look past that, stop criticizing and get the work done in a manner that is professional, on target and to the advantage of everyone.

If we took the time and energy we spent looking, analyzing and criticizing our superiors we would be so much more efficient and maybe, just maybe you will reach the top, that position you have been eyeing…so put your head down, stop looking at others and do what you have been asked to do and you will reap the rewards…

Do not judge someone until you have walked a few miles in their shoes

Walking into Disney...

If I were given the opportunity to walk out of my home and into a story I would like to visit my favourite Disney scenes….

My day would start by waking up to the clear blue skies of the Serengeti while all of the animal kingdom come to welcome me. As a pride of Lions, a family, we would go hunting to provide for the young and old.

After the feast I would go meat my friend Baloo and Bagheera, we would walk through the tropical jungle. Every so often we would meet up with a troop of Monkey’s known as the Bandar-log and enjoy an afternoon of good music and dancing as they entertain us with their antics.

On other days I would usually meet up wit my friend Pinnachio and Geppetto and we enjoy a whale ride until we make it sneeze to let us out. Arial and Flounder have often invited us to join them on one of their many adventures exploring sunken ships and hidden caves. Some of these trips we have come across some great treasures which we have shown to Scuttle, our seagull friend, who helps us identify them.

Arial usually needs to go home mid afternoon and I then visit Pocahontas as she enjoys time scouting the territory surrounding her village, making new friends with the heron and the otters. She taught me to appreciate the earth and all that walks and lives on it, she is even able to paint with the colour of the wind.

My day is then ended with a dinner prepared by Remy and Linguini at Gusteau's while Belle and the Beast perform their signature dance and song, 'Beauty and the Beast' Tarzan and Jane might also pop in to enjoy some dessert with us before we head out to the alley for some Jazz performed by the Alley cats and accompanied by the AristoCats.

What a perfect day this would be...a day spent in Disney!