The Power Of Encouragement:
Words have power. Words begin and end wars. They create and destroy families. They break hearts. They heal them. If you have the right words, there’s nothing on earth you can’t do.” (Quote by Isaac)
I have never considered myself a writer. And I still don’t. I have never had any formal writing training and I am by no means one of those super intelligent people who use big words and can create magical sentences. But I do love words. I often find myself trailing social media for well written content. When I do make the time to write, I am humbled by the warm response and encouragement I receive.
Encouragement is the sugar in my first cup of morning tea. When the people I love, support and cheer me on, I find myself willing to consider jumping from my safety net. I consider learning how to fly. So finally, with the Covid world imploding around me, and as I sit home alone, I feel that I am finally ready to take this jump. And as I do so, I hold all of you that ever encouraged me close to my heart! You know who you are. Thank you. Thank you.
It’s Okay To Delay! But At Some Point You Must START!
The truth is I should have started this blog a while ago, but I couldn’t. I was in hole and although I could see the light above me, I didn’t have the courage or the heart to write. You see I had spent 5 years living in Kenya. I had been devastated to leave South Africa and embark on an African journey at the time of our departure, but I quickly learnt that feeling sorry for myself would yield zero result and that to be happy (and useful to my family), I would have to sink or swim. So like a chameleon that changes its colours, I set out to adapt to my life in East Africa.
It didn’t take me long to find my groove. I was born for the simple life. I soon felt like a rainbow coloured chameleon sitting on a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That doesn’t mean that life was only sunshine and stars. On the contrary there was huge amounts of pain that we endured, alongside the laughter. Death of friends through cancer, terrorist attacks and plane crashes. But the deeper the pain and trauma we lived through, the deeper our friendships were carved into rock. The harder the rain beat down, the tighter we held onto one another. This is what community living is all about. Your tribe become your lifeline. And what a tribe I had. Leaving them was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences I have had to face.
So although I was delighted to be moving back to South Africa and to be closer to life-long friends and family, the pain of leaving my Kenyan life and my tribe was indescribable. There were many days my husband had to pick me up the bathroom floor as I was sobbing too much to stand. I missed everything. My Kenyan friends kept asking me to write, but I had nothing in me to put onto paper. I was raw and I was sad. I am generally an eternal optimist, so these dark days didn’t scare me as I knew all I needed was time to come right. So I gave myself that grace. That chameleon that had been sprouting rainbow colours, had turned grey but I knew with time she would again find her shine again.
Finding My Way Out Of The Hole:
The game changer for me was going back to church. Leaning on God when I can’t find my crutches always helps get me back on feet. Soon thereafter I stated a little Marketing consultancy business focusing on the safari industry (to keep close to the Kenyan way of life) and within no time, I was back to living my best life! I have always had a massive passion for brand building so I truly was operating in the sweet spot of life. Every morning I woke up and pinched myself to make sure I really wasn’t living in a dream. But then Covid hit and international tourism was decimated. I loved the work I was doing so much that I kept working for free to deliver brand assets and websites but when the lodges closed down, sold or retrenched everyone in the respective companies, I realized that even working for free for lodges that don’t exist isn’t possible!
Taking (Another) First Step:
I was once again at a dead end. What were my dreams? Where was I going to take my next step? I had no clue. I decided to write a post on social media to see if anyone would read it. At the time I wrote about showing up because of a comment my son had made. I thought if 3 people read it then that would be a good start. I was taken aback by the response I got. So I wrote another one about being an exhausted mother. This time people stopped me in the school parking lot and told me how much my words had helped them. Friends started messaging me demanding I write more……and so I started this blog because of you, my friends and my cheer leaders.
Where To From Here?
I have no clue where this blog will take me but I know that I am not afraid of speaking my truth and in my humble opinion, we all need more people who are not afraid of being real. Perfect people may be admired from far but they can never be loved from up close because to be truly loved, we need to be known. Warts and all. I have also learnt that when I lift the veil of perfection, I allow others to do the same. Ironically when we confront the hard, we release its power over it’s us. When we realise that our pain is universal we are free to step forward irrespective of it. And that’s when we need to be encouraged and fill our minds with positivity and possibility so we can build real and loving communities.
In my 42 years, I have known pain, rejection, loneliness and failure and they all suck. Often epically. But I have learnt that taking control of my mind and looking for the good always, ALWAYS helps me take the next step back towards the light.
Thank you to all of you for your encouragement. You know who you are. Your words truly did have power: you helped this little chameleon shine again, but this time, I hope to take you with me!!
With the right words, there’s nothing on earth we can’t do together!