Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mom, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Don’t let your age define you – Remove “too old” from your vocabulary

Florence

I had eagerly awaited meeting Florence, she is an angelic, elegant, absolutely captivating mom, granny and great granny. She will be turning a phenomenal 102 years old this October. Florence has an extraordinary presence, who touches the hearts of those lucky enough to meet her. She was described to me by a close friend who passed away in April as a very sharp, intelligent, classy and particularly articulate woman with a pleasant nature who leaves everyone she meets feeling lucky to have met her and spent time in her presence.

After much anticipation, the time finally came when I would meet the woman who had only been a legend up until that moment. I walked through the kitchen door past the dining room into the living room where she sat on a one-seater couch.

The dining room table is a modern rectangular table with 8 chairs. A number of timeless retro silver pieces stood on the table, similar to the tea set, a family heirloom, passed down through two generations and stands in my mother’s living room on a light, varnished oak sideboard. The living room has a warm, quaint vintage feel to it. Behind where Florence sat, stood a classic display cabinet with a collection of porcelain dolls in it. The room was filled with a number of antique ornaments, taking me back to my grandmother’s house in Merrivale, which a tiny town near Howick Natal, where we often visited when I was a little girl.

As I enthusiastically approached where she was sitting my attention was quickly drawn to a loud shriek, followed by some chirping, coming from one of two African Grey parrots. In the corner of the room stood two large bird cages with two African Grey parrots. The birds immediately noticed me, and they caused a racket as if to impress the new comer.

I quickly turned around and introduced myself to Florence and her face lit up as she told me that it is wonderful to meet me. Her voice is soft-spoken and her English, perfectly eloquent. She sat upright in the chair with perfect posture, her walking cane stood next to her, leaning up against the couch. Her light grey hair was perfectly done, not a hair out-of-place. Her face completely content, her eye lids slightly drooped, forehead creased, cheeks wrinkled. Her skin is light in complexion and absolutely perfectly made up, pinkish blush on her cheeks, eye brows neat and light pink lipstick on her lips, framed by lip liner. She was a picture of pure elegance and classic beauty.

I gazed at her, completely in awe at her magnetic beauty and marvelous presence, to me she seemed larger than life. I certainly felt very blessed to meet this enchanted woman. If I had not known her age, I would have guessed her at around 78 at most. I was instantly captured by her elegance, I remember both of my Grandmothers having the same sort of timeless elegance. We chatted for some time about the walk that she had been on earlier that day and the porcelain dolls, among other things.

Her articulate use of the English language struck me and impressed me as soon as she began to speak. I appreciate and respect for the English language and I am often left annoyed when someone abuses the language. I accept that the language has evolved(not for the better in my opinion) but I gave up correcting people years ago when I realised that I was only aggravating myself by obsessing over it and pointing the mistakes people make out because it fell on deaf ears and I realised that it is generally accepted these days to misuse English. I learnt to ignore bad pronouncing, misspelling and misuse of words in the same way I learnt to ignore bad driving by the South African minibus taxi drivers. Shouting and screaming and getting upset at taxi drivers was only driving my blood pressure up and affecting my mood and was completely ignored by them. Eventually I decided that accepting the way in which taxis drive and not getting riled up was the best option for my mental state and health. I still cringe when people use the incorrect to, too or two but smile and scroll past.

Florence left me with a unique warm feeling inside and a wide magical smile on my face that remained for the rest of the afternoon.

I so often hear people saying, “I am getting old” or “I am really feeling the age” or “I am too old to do this”. I am talking about people in their 30’s who constantly bring up their age in a negative way. Come on people, here is a woman at 101, who walks every day and still enjoys the small things in life. She spent the Soccer World cup watching each match and supporting her favourite teams throughout the tournament. I had hoped that Croatia would win the world cup, I often favour the underdog. Florence however was supporting France and celebrated their win. I laughed when she was watching and said, “Oh dear, that gentleman’s pants have torn”. She also said that she had seen his behind. I smile every time I think about that.

She loves sharing stories of her childhood as well as of her children growing up and has also shared stories of naughty things that her grandchildren got up to as children. She assures me that she brought her children up to be well manned. I giggled when she told me about the only time her and her sister ever got a hiding as children. She said that her dad had bought them new rain coats and they put one of the rain coats over both of them and stretched it by trying to fit it around both of them. The girls had wanted to see if they could both fit into one raincoat for the fun of it. They got themselves into a lot of trouble over the rain coats and she told the story in great detail, using the sweetest facial expressions. I found the story cute and entertaining. If only I could say something as small as that was the only thing my children had got up to through the years to hit my nerves.

She walks every single day as well as reading the newspaper every day. She enjoys the small things and delights in the company of her family and caregivers who have become family. She has an incredible support structure and she is surrounded by people who love her. She keeps her mind active and feeds it daily. She has many a pearl of wisdom to share such as “love isn’t always fun, it takes hard work too” among many others. I look forward to spending hours with her and hearing many more of her wonderful stories.

A couple of weeks back the girls and I headed out for a ladies night. We had the pleasure of bumping into a 74-year-old man who was dancing up a storm and really loving life. We chatted to him and asked how old he was. When he answered, we were shocked because we had thought that he was probably around 65 at the most. 74 years old, dancing in a local spot in Fourways, filled with mostly youngsters and thriving on every moment. He was living life and enjoying every minute of it.

Forget that the word “old” exists and stop referring to yourself as old. I have certainly never heard Florence call herself old. Get exercise every day, eat right and most importantly, FEED YOUR MIND DAILY.

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Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Taking back my life

Depression, the huge mistake I made which caused it and getting over it.

As a child, life was fairly easy. I was always good at making friends and was always able to stand up for myself so bullying wasn’t ever a problem for me. I had a really happy childhood and things were always bright and I have so many happy memories. In my early adult years, I began to become more popular and thrived on the positive attention. I was well known in my circles and would be greeted with adoration by people within my community. I had an incredible amount of friends and I was completely driven by their love for me. I spent so much time doing everything I could for my friends and I would run from one event to the next to please everyone. After all I was loved and needed to return the favour. How can positive attention be a bad thing? I mean everyone loves attention, right?

I was indeed filled with confidence as I walked through the streets of my city. I had a very positive energy about me and I eluded complete control of this incredibly amazing person who I thought I was. I had created my opinion of myself and my self worth based on how everyone saw me…which was great while everyone cherished me and made me the centre of attention.

I had literally handed over the remote control to my life to everyone else. I had no control of my life. Not only had I allowed myself to build Me on how everyone else saw me but I managed to hand my remote control over to people who would soon destroy my happiness. When a house is built, the most important first step is building a strong foundation. My house did not have a foundation and therefore could never withstand the harshest of storms.

As my life was hit by some harsh storms, I crumbled. The person that I had built on everyone else’s opinions could not stand alone. I became very depressed and felt completely hopeless. I had absolutely no want to live and more and more I felt that dying would be the best escape. I had no idea that I had in fact caused this problem. It was not the people who had broken me down because if I had built myself worth and self opinion on ME, I would not have been so easily broken.

Six months after being diagnosed with depression I found myself hitting rock bottom. The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way to go is up. When I had nothing left I was forced to learn my mistake and I started my journey of recovery.

Living my life for everyone else had left me completely exhausted and unable to even get out of bed in the morning.

I sat down all by myself and started to get to know me. At first I wrote down my positives and negatives and though the list of positives which I could think of was only one or two things, the negative list seemed endless. How could everyone around me have seen me as an incredibly strong and amazing woman when I myself was unable to think of more than two positive things about me. Luckily I was soon to realize that my mind was completely over powered by depression and I did in fact have lots of positives. So with time, my list grew and the negatives did not seem all that bad anymore. Now was the time to make it. Now was the time to stop giving my energy to everyone else and now was the time to build my self worth on me.

Getting to know me and the journey of self discovery is one that teaches me every day. I have so much to give but never again will I allow people to just take. Giving is on my time and by my rules. I love giving and I truly feel the need to give back as I have been so richly blessed along the way that it would be a complete sin to not pass on blessings.

I have learned exactly what I should not be doing and what I do not want to do. Things that drain me are being cut out of my life.

I cannot choose which cards life has to deal me but I can choose how I play the cards which I am dealt. I choose to paint a beautiful picture and leave the sadness and regret behind. I will take what I need to from construction criticism but I will not allow negativity to define me. I am worth so much more than what everyone thinks of me and I will continue to walk my journey as the whole me. I choose to love the things that are positive and accept the things about me that aren’t so great. I am a whole person and I am the only perfect me.

In the famous and wonderful words of Dr Suess “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Be yourself, build your own foundation and when the storm comes, your house will remain strong and steadfast.

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Not all days are going to be sunshine – My tips to get through the down days

After overcoming depression, I learnt that not all days are going to be good days. Some days the sun just doesn’t shine. Every now and then depression comes to remind me of what I went through but at the same time reminds me how far I have come. I have come a long way since the days when I could not get through, since the days I thought that I couldn’t carry on. The best thing about hitting rock bottom was that I could only go up from the bottom and up I went! I was strong enough to overcome depression and grow through the experience and most of all the journey of getting to know me. You never know your strength, until you need to use it. When I needed to sort my head out, suddenly I had the strength to do it. Never be afraid to talk to those closest to you or to ask for help. Seek professional help if you need it, I know I did.

When the day is dark, I have a guide to get through, these are my 12 tips:

  1. Fake it until you make it – When you aren’t happy, smile anyway. Take a look in the mirror and smile at yourself.
  2. Dress up – Put your make-up and your heels on, looking good helps you feel good. Wear the little black dress you hardly wear or a nice suit. Wear whatever makes you feel fabulous (Leave the sneakers and baggy pants alone on days like this!)
  3. Have a healthy great tasting breakfast, for me plain yoghurt with berries and seeds is a great tasting healthy way to start the day. Salmon is a fantastic way to start the day too, salmon, avo and cream cheese is enough to put a smile on your dial!
  4. Do a couple burpees or jumping squats if you prefer. You don’t have to go overboard, no one is asking you to run a marathon. 10 – 20 is enough to get your blood pumping and lift your mood.
  5. MEDITATE – this one was very difficult for me to grasp but in the world of technology, there are so many helpful apps to get you started. My favourite is “Guided Meditations – Pitashi Mobile Imagination”. This app eases you into meditating with a number of beginner meditations. If there is one thing that is going to take you to new levels in your mental state, this is it! Meditate, meditate, meditate, I cannot say it enough!
  6. Call your bestie up just to say hi and have a chat, this can make you feel a million times better.
  7. Put on your favourite feel good tune (dance around the room if you like). Music is amazing, and it can lift your mood immediately.
  8. There is plenty of motivational stuff online, google or check in at your favourite motivational blog.
  9. If you are religious, pray and have some quiet time.
  10. Give yourself positive affirmation – you are amazing, you are alive, and you are blessed, remember that.
  11. Imagine a place where you are at complete peace. When you do this, engage all five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. For example, imagine you are walking next to a river. You are watching the sparkling blue water as it lazily drifts slowly and you listen to the way it trickles and murmurs as it flows. You bend down to touch the slightly numbing, icy water, cupping your hands, you bring some tangy, cold water to your mouth, you sip it and feel alive. The air smells fresh and drops of water hit your face.
  12. If all else fails…. chocolate. Dark chocolate apparently stimulates the production of endorphins and contains serotonin which makes you happy. What better way to help lift your mood?

You are in control of your mind, you are the only person who can pull yourself together. Don’t beat yourself up for the bad days but always remember that after the rain, comes the sunshine, after the night comes the day. Tomorrow the sun will shine and with the brand-new day, you get a new start.

May tomorrow bring you lots of smiles. 🙂

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Relationships, Uncategorized

The “people pleaser” – bomb waiting to explode!

I love people and I love being loved and appreciated by people.  I love being popular and I love positive attention.  This is one of the major contributors to me falling into depression.  Another major factor was my history of abuse and me identifying with abuse and allowing it to continue without realising it.

As far back as I can remember I have always gone out of my way for everyone around me, winning favour where ever I could and giving so much to the people around me.  I gave and gave, and everyone took and took.  As long as I was giving, I felt great because I thought that people liked me.  I was confident and happy while not realising that I was being completely drained.  I remember running from one get together to the next, never wanting to disappoint anyone by saying no.  My weekends were completely exhausting, and I was feeling as if I was drowning.  I was absolutely exhausted at the start of each week and I never felt rested at all.  I was literally driving on fumes and not coping with day to day things.  My concentration levels were really low, and I was wasting excessive amounts of time rechecking simple things because I had been unable to concentrate properly in the first place.  Small tasks felt like huge mountains and I was waking up each day feeling exhausted and dreading the day ahead.  I was simply wishing my days away.  Waiting for home time, waiting for bed time, waiting for a break that I could just sit and breathe.

Tanu B. Singh.  said:

“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice because the flow has passed and will never pass again. Enjoy every moment.”

I was watching time go by, not realising that I could never get time back.  I was in zombie mode and I was literally wasting my life.  All because I wanted to please everyone. Time is a very valuable commodity, wasting it is a tragedy.

At the end of the day I was only damaging myself.  I had become so used to putting everyone else first that I had become someone that I wasn’t.  I had become the person everyone wanted me to be instead of being true to myself.  I had to hit rock bottom before I even noticed how far I had slipped into the very damaging world of the people pleaser.  I have a terrible habit of trying to save the wounded and find the lost.  This is the very reason that I got into the first abusive relationship at 17.  The guy I got involved with needed saving, needed me, or so I thought.  Although I wouldn’t go back and change the past, I need to remind myself to stop putting everyone else first constantly.

Not only is people pleasing completely draining, it is very dangerous because as quickly as you build your self-esteem up on the positive attention from people, your self-esteem can be broken in an instant by negative attention.  You make yourself completely vulnerable to being made or broken by people.  People’s behaviour is completely out of your control, but you are basing your self-esteem on them.  This is without a doubt the most dangerous thing you can do and the effects on your mental health are catastrophic.  It takes one person to knock you down into the pits of depression or to give you an anxiety disorder.  And at the same time you have completely lost yourself.

Suddenly the people pleaser is faced with turmoil and this is when I was given the amazing opportunity to find myself.  This was the time to get to know me and to learn how to set strict boundaries and put me first.  We grow up being told not to be selfish and to give unto others, but I am telling you right now, be selfish, look after yourself, put yourself first.  Take time to get to know yourself, take time to grow, learn, and better yourself.  Take the time to build your self-esteem on YOU.  You are the only solid foundation on which to build your self-esteem.  If you build your self-esteem on others, you give them the power to destroy you.  Never mind the fact that you are left completely emotionally exhausted pleasing everyone and having nothing left for yourself.

I am not saying don’t do anything for anyone else, I am saying put you first.  Set boundaries, be assertive and learn to say no.  Give yourself time and love yourself first.  Spend time with yourself, take time out of your day to spend on you.  Stop wasting energy on what other people think of you.  What people think of you is entirely their business.  What you think of yourself is your business.  And if you have areas within you that you need to work on, do it.  Fix the things you don’t like and be the best version of you.

Doing good for others is healthy and creates happiness, don’t confuse this with being a people pleaser.  Giving is good but trying to please everyone is when giving becomes dangerous.  When you look after yourself first, you become content, happy and confident and you are able to analyse and decide what you want to give and to who.

Take time to do something that is purely for you.  Paint, draw, write, whatever you enjoy doing, find a hobby.  The satisfaction you get out of doing something you enjoy for you is worth all the weight in gold.  Remember you are the only person who truly knows you, so change what you don’t like and learn to love yourself.  Loving yourself is truly the very best thing you can do for you and everyone around you.

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Uncategorized

When past abuse bites hard

Abuse in any form takes hard work and dedication to overcome. I am stronger, I am a different person and I am the person I am because of what I have been through. Coming out of the abusive relationship, I had no idea who I was. I was broken, confused and just lost. I dedicated my time to writing and coming to terms with what I had been through. It is very difficult, but at the end of the day I would not go back and change what I have been through. It made me who I am today, it made me stronger, it taught me a lot and most of all it gave me the opportunity to help others who have been through it. If I can make a difference in one life then I am blessed.

I feel very strongly about abuse, it is everywhere. When I talk to people, I can’t believe how common it is. I wish I could just wipe all abuse off of the earth, but alas all I can do is help in my own small way.

Abuse tends to come back to bite when you least expect it. When you know that you have moved on and are stronger and healed. A very special friend of mine received a phone call recently from a family member of her ex’s new girlfriend, complaining about the way she is being treated. She was concerned for her family member and wanted to find out more about the man she is dating who is my friend’s ex. Without going into too much detail, my friend was left absolutely devastated. All of the pain and emotions came flooding back. I have been here on more than one occasion, one in particular my ex called me to tell me that he had beaten his girlfriend at the time and I cried on the phone and I said he should have learnt through losing me. I could not understand why the abuse was carrying on with his next girlfriend. The truth is it still is although the wonderful lady he called me about has moved on and has a beautiful life with a beautiful daughter. My point here is that like all bad experiences they sometimes haunt you with the smallest thing triggering a flood of emotions, pain and memories. So, no matter how far you have gotten at times you get stung by the memories of hell.

I spoke to my friend and I explained that her reaction was normal and that she has come so far, I am super proud of my gorgeous friend. She is a strong, beautiful, intelligent lady and she is going to go much further than she ever imagined.

Having once been a victim of abuse means that no matter how much I have healed every now and then something comes along to take me back to the pain. I can be brought suddenly down to my knees, with an agonizing thump, with the smallest reminder. A reminder that puts me back in the situation that caused all of the damage to begin with. Having said that, I am no longer a victim but a survivor, I am the victor of my circumstances and I am going make a difference.

The most valuable advice that I can give is if you are covering up for things in a relationship, lying and pretending everything is okay then there is a problem. I built up a wall of lies when I was in an abusive relationship. No one knew I was abused. I kept on making excuses and pretending. THIS IS THE BIGGEST WARNING SIGN, A RED LIGHT. Being abused is embarrassing, I didn’t want to tell people. I didn’t want them to know. And most of all I didn’t not want to talk about it, it made it even more real. When I started talking, I started healing and in healing I got to know me for me and I got to love the incredible woman that I am.

The road has not been smooth, at one point I had been in another abusive situation and when I was given help and guidance by professionals, they immediately picked up that I identified with abuse. I so easily accepted abuse almost as the norm. I am an intelligent woman but having been groomed in abuse at such a young age, I was exactly that, groomed in abuse.

I know the signs, I am a strong woman and through experience I have gained strength, character, wisdom, courage and even forgiveness. I am the master of my own destiny and I will not allow abuse into my life.

Hold your head up high, know your worth, stand your ground and most of all ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Relationships, Uncategorized

Keeping my cool

We certainly are living in interesting times.  People everywhere just seem to be angry and aggressive.  You can’t pull out of your drive way in the morning without someone flying up a residential road and hooting like a crazy person even though they are not even near you yet.  This is a daily occurrence.  If someone dares to actually wait for the robot (traffic light) to turn green, they are hooted at and have all sorts and vulgar language and hand signs thrown at them.  People swearing at other drivers for no apparent reason other than the sheer delay caused by traffic.  Why is the world so angry?  I get it, we are living in stressful times, we are all under pressure and everywhere you look you are hit with bad news.  I personally do not watch the news.  I also limit the amount of time I spend on social media because social media is a great tool for those negative people to ensure that they spread the negativity.  I guess misery loves company and we all those Facebook friends who have to spread misery, the ones that you unfollow to avoid seeing another post bitching about something or other.  There is always something to bitch about, even if they have to dig or stalk the other negative trolls to find something, they will find something to share.  I went off Facebook for over a year for this very reason.  I have become much better at scrolling past the “feel bad” stuff.  Quite frankly I don’t need it or want it in my life.  But as life goes sometimes it comes flying right at you like bat out of hell.

I am pretty calm, even when the taxi cuts in front of me.  My thinking is that me shouting at him makes no difference in his life but it does make me unhappy and probably pushes my blood pressure up so what is the point really??

I am very good under pressure and very good at calming a situation down.  One of the reasons I absolutely thrived in the hospitality industry is just that, I am able to calm people down.  How do I do it?  If I think about it, I always start by apologising and then asking how I can help the situation or the other way around, depending on the situation.

Today was no different, I get a phone call, after I have done more than my fair share of preparation for the event and even gone so far as doing other people’s work.  The colourful words being shouted at me were fun to say the least.  I calmly said, “I am sorry that you are so stressed out but what can I do to help you?”  He was struggling to paste a schedule into a document and getting himself into a complete state.  Obviously a very stressful day!  Needless to say, I asked him to send me both the schedule and the document and I would see what I could do.  While I was working on the task, including fixing errors as I came across them, the phone rang again.  “Lisa, I am terribly sorry about how I spoke to you, it was unforgivable, I am just under so much pressure and I am very stressed.” I responded that it was no problem at all and that I would have his document to him within half an hour.

Following that he called me back to thank me profusely and everyone was all happy and what needed to be done was done and dusted.

A situation which could have spiraled into a nasty fight, leaving everyone upset and offended, was calmed and sorted out and put to bed.

I have to say, this is something that has taken me years to be in total control over, my reactions in situations similar to this.  I will also say that even now I sometimes lose it and blow a fuse.  I always joke about having an Irish temper.  I noticed very young that I had a temper when I hit a boy who pushed my cousin, or threw a boy off his bike who came to beat my little brother up.  But I have to say thought the trigger is definitely attacking someone I love in the most extreme of cases, I have mastered the art of controlling my temper most of the time and in most situations.  This did not come over night at all, it took years of practice and being conscious of my thoughts when a volatile situation presents itself.  Being mindful of my thoughts before they become actions.  Before I react on a thought I recognise it and then I am able to act the way that I choose to.  Of course, I am the first to admit that I have lost my cool from time to time, but I have to say, I truly have come a very long way and I look forward to changing in other areas.  Be mindful in all that you do and you will not only get the best out of life but you will feel great too.

Start small, start with the person who skips a red robot, or the person who pushes in front of you at the supermarket.  The only thing you are in control of is your reaction to a situation and you can either make it or break it.  So, I say MAKE IT! Make your mark and remember to have fun while doing it.

Be someone that people have nice things to say about. 🙂

Happiness, Inspiration, Life, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Relationships, Uncategorized

I have been knocked down but I cannot let this break my spirit

I was offered a job last year in the hospitality industry, which was all new to me.  Absolutely everything other than the accounts side was all new.  I had never worked on a POS system, I had never been a responsible for a restaurant, bar or venue and now I was responsible for all 3.  The first day, I was put on a massive, high profile wedding and had to quickly work out the POS system for myself (it had been installed that same day and no one else knew how to work it.

There really is nothing like a big challenge to get me going, I love it! I had some staff under me, helping with drink orders.  I had to host the wedding as well as manage the staff and of course keep the clients happy.

I have to say; my biggest asset is my people skills.  I love people, I love interacting with people and I just have an amazing way with people.  My current boss says that I have a certain way with people, that is unmatched and that I could probably sell poo to a sewerage plant! This is a man I have worked with for a long time and knows me very well.  I have a certain ability to put out fires when customers are unhappy and it really comes in handy as you can imagine.

Here I was, completely new to all of this and I nailed it!  The guests at the wedding, one of them being the sister of the bride even followed me to another function on the premises to party with me there.  What an incredible experience it was.  First off, I was witness to an incredible traditional black wedding, guests were in traditional clothing and they looked incredible.  What I loved was the mix of traditions.  Some in Zulu attire with and some in Souto and Xhosa attire, vibrant in colour.  What a sight it was.  The traditional dancing began as they walked in and everyone joined in.  I have so much respect for this incredible country.  The culture and the traditions, all vastly different but all respected by one another.  This for me was a celebration of how incredible my country actually is.

What really was incredibly special for me on that first night was when these beautifully dressed young black ladies walked into a very Afrikaans party at the other side of the property.  At first the black beauties were not sure how to handle the situation, I am quite sure that they had never ever heard the Afrikaans music which was playing.  Something very special happened just then in the mist of the awkwardness.  The DJ put on a traditional black song and the ladies started dancing.  The Afrikaans ladies (in SA we call them “Tannies”) ran to meet me and the ladies on the dance floor and asked them to show them how to dance like them.  This was the most awesome experience, if I have to pick one occasion that made 2017 extra special, this was it!

I danced with them, smiling and laughing and bursting with pride as a South African.  We obviously couldn’t stay long as we had to return to the wedding but the short time at that party was more than enough to take in the incredible experience.  What a first day it was! Absolutely incredible, breath taking and just left me with warmth and fulfillment. Suddenly I found myself with a new-found energy, revitalized and rejuvenated.  Life has never been easy for me, since my 20’s but I have always been very blessed.  I had had a very difficult year and this was exactly what I needed to give me the drive to become more.  So, I was immediately hired on a permanent basis, not knowing the politics which was running wild in the place.  I was incredibly proud of myself for how quickly I learnt, and just did everything that had to be done.  I fitted in so well and I grew immensely in this time.  My self-confidence was at an all-time high and I was feeling great.  I was growing daily, and I was loving working with customers all day.

I was working sometimes 14 hour days but was completely satisfied with my work.  The reality is that I was doing a really good job and the customers took to me immediately.  I truly felt like I had found my place.  Unfortunately, it was to come to an abrupt end when I began to get treated very badly and basically pushed out.  My knowledge had apparently made the wrong person look bad.  Suddenly I was being made the target of a blaming game.  I was being blamed for all sorts and none of the facts were being taken into account.

I walked out and I had my head up high, I did my best, I mastered a completely new industry to me and I learned so much.  I did so well! I cannot allow the way I was treated to break my spirit.  I know how well I did and I know that I will be missed by many.  As I said goodbye, the staff were devastated and the customers that were there were visibly upset.  I made my mark, I made a difference and I left my mark!  I took an incredible amount of value out of the experience and I made myself proud.  I made friends and I made memories.  I feel great, I am confident and I will not allow nastiness to break my spirit.  On to bigger and better things!

The truth is I am sure of who I am, I am proud of what I accomplished and I am steadfast in my values and grounding.

I will not let this break my spirit because I know my achievements and I know myself, I am so grateful for the lessons and the knowledge that I gained and I am ready to tackle life’s next chapter.