Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2, glad to see you stuck around. Here’s the rest of my list of things you might not know about me.

16.     I grew up on a farm

No, it wasn’t a we-own-the-situation, it was a my-family-worked-for-die-boer-to –have-a-house situation. I’ve had a lot of amazing times there and I won’t change my childhood for anything as it shaped me and made me who I am. I’ve refused to call any person “baas” though as I never felt I could respect someone calling my 80 year old granny by her name when she was decades older than them. I don’t have an issue with authority but that not what that set-up was at all.

17.  I avoid confrontation

There’s nothing I fear more than confrontation as human beings are an unpredictable species. I’d take verbal abuse, sms’, phone calls etc. from people and not respond back as 1. I won’t know what to say and 2. I don’t want to get my ass kicked. A lot of people tend to take advantage of that but I know I’ll reach a point someday where I’d have enough and stand up for myself despite the consequences…that day is not today though.

18. I stutter

A lot of people don’t know this, even those that have known me for years but yes, I stutter. It added to me being an over thinker and an avid reader as I had to know alternative words to the ones that I knew I’d struggle with to pronounce. I also don’t get angry because I struggle to get words out and then I’d end up crying, out of sheer frustration.

19. I hate attention

I hate being the centre of attention or being put on the spot. When I get nervous, my stutter gets worse and I always get nervous when in the spotlight.

20. I blue tick people…a lot!

This is a Whatsapp term that basically refers to the fact that you’ve read someone’s message, acknowledge it but you choose not to respond. I do that, mostly to guys as I’m not sure how to respond to their advances. When I’m being nice I tend to lead people on so the complete (extreme) was absolutely necessary.

21. I do get hurt,constantly

I never tell people when they hurt me and that’s something I need to work on. I often hide it until one day I explode and everything comes out, even stuff you did or said to me 5 years ago. I do forgive easily though and try not to hold a grudge (operative word being “try”, easier said than done).

22.  I hate flowers

Whatever you do, don’t ever give me flowers. I just don’t get it. It’s pretty and all and it may mean something to you but I know they’re going to die. That means that whatever it meant will die as well. Put it on my grave, I’m fine with that.

23.  I constantly have to defend my name

I’ve had many cases where I spoke to someone on the phone, gave them my name and surname and they would immediately switch to Afrikaans, which I obviously have no issue with. My issue is with the fact that people automatically assume I’m white and when they eventually meet me, they have this shocked expression on their face with the usual condescending smile that you give in an awkward situation. I had people asking me why I have a white Afrikaans name and surname countless times and I have no explanation for it. I’m not going to delve into my lineage to establish why because I honestly don’t care, this is the name I was given and that’s it, finish and klaar.

24.  I’m never completely honest…about anything

I do that avoid hurting people’s feelings and it’s wrong on so many levels. I’ll try to rectify that in future though as it goes against everything I value in other people.

25.  I’m a hoarder

I love shopping but the fact that I’m always in black means that I hardly wear any other colour so I have a lot of items with the tags still on them. I’m working on that, trying to incorporate other colours in my wardrobe etc. but it’s not an easy task.

26.  I can’t sing or dance to save my life

Actually scrap singing; I can’t even hold a note to save my life. I can move, to a certain extent but I can’t dance to save my life either.

27. I hate waiting

That’s one of my pet peeves. I can’t stand waiting for someone if they specifically said a certain time and aren’t there at said time, it irritates me endlessly.

28. I don’t open up easily

If I do, it means I like and trust you. I do get really awkward with emotions as I don’t know how to console people.

29  I have a dark sense of humour

It usually shocks people as apparently I look like this innocent, mild human being. I don’t reveal it to a lot of people though as a lot of things I do find funny would be offensive to others.

30 I’m actually quite funny

I really do think I’m funny. That’s it.

 

30 Things you may not know about me (Part 1)

I’m turning 30 today and it’s scary. I’m not afraid of looking or even feeling my age, my fear is being my age, not sure if that make sense but let me try and explain: We all have goals that we’d like to reach by a certain age, things we’d like to do and places we’d like to see. I’ve never set any goals for myself; I’m a “go-with-the-flow” kinda person and seriously didn’t think  I’d live to reach 30. I never had plans to start a family, never knew which career path I’d follow or what dreams I’d like to have realized. Now that I’m 30 and alive, I’m stuck because I have to start figuring these things out. It’s cute to be indecisive in your 20’s, in your 30’s it become a nightmare as certain choices will determine the course you life will take and that’s scary. I’ll give myself 2 years to figure it out and I’ll ensure that when I do a similar post in a few years and reference this one, I’d have made it at whatever I’ve put my mind to. Now for my list; I’m an open book most of the time and some of these things you might already know but bear with me or skip to the next one.

  1. I’m an over-thinker

Try as I may, I can’t switch off. I’m slightly OCD as well so that’s not really helpful.

  1. I’m an insomniac

This one is definitely linked to being an over-thinker! I can’t remember the last time I’ve hit the hay and fell asleep immediately and I really envy people who can do so.

  1. I love to sleep

My weekends usually consists of struggling to sleep until o4hoo am and sleeping until 16h00 pm the next day. I never get enough sleep in during the week and unless something really important is happening on a weekend I’m not going anywhere.

  1. I’m an impulsive shopper

Shopping malls are my favourite place on earth and if I had an unlimited supply of money, I’d be the happiest girl on earth. I tend to buy things I don’t need or even want just for the sake of having it.

  1. I want to be rich

Most of us won’t ever admit to it but since this is an honest look at me, I’ll cop to it. To a certain extent I want it to feed my shopping addiction but I would really use that money to make a difference in the world starting with friends and family. It would also be helpful since I would love to either travel  the world or be a hermit.

  1. I have no need for human contact

I’ve mentioned this in another piece I wrote earlier as well. I love being on my own, I interact with fellow human beings at work and social setups only because I have to. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just the problems and issues that come along with interacting with and letting people into your life are draining. My friendships with other human beings survive and thrive because we barely see each other but when I need you, or vice versa, I know you got my back.

  1. I’m in a relationship

I know it’s shocking considering my previous point but somehow it works. Obviously it’s not without the usual ups and down but we always seem to overcome it. I’ve got “daddy issues” and for a long time relationships served as a means to even the playing field with men. To walk away from someone who truly love them without blinking and to hurt them without any regard for their feelings. I’ve hurt a lot of people by doing so and I sincerely apologise.

  1. I have social anxiety all the time

I’ve worked in the same place for quite some time but I still have to coax myself out of bed every single morning. It’s something that a lot of people fail to understand and I don’t really blame them. A lot of what I do is in the media industry which involves events, networking etc. and it helped me to get out of my shell a bit.

  1. I’m an introvert

Depending on when you’ve met me, you’d never guess I’m an introvert. Working in media required me to be more outgoing and involved interaction with human beings, which I couldn’t do for quite some time. I invented or explored a side of me that was more spontaneous, easy-going and talkative and that’s the side that I bring to events and basically anything that involves human interaction.

  1. I suffer from sleep paralysis

It’s one of those really scary experiences and if you don’t know what it is, it can leave you scarred for life. I’ve done a post about it here and detailed my experiences.

  1. I don’t get jealous in a relationship

I think most guys would think that you don’t really love them or are just using them if you don’t get jealous of other women trying to get with him. I feel that if you’re with me, I should be secure in knowing that, regardless of whether other women want you or not, you’d still want to be with me. I don’t feel the need to compete with others for your affection. At the end of the day, it’s your choice whether you want to stay or leave.

  1. I need constant validation

That might be weird considering what I said in 11 but I do need constant validation.  Subconsciously, all men in my life would have to make up for fact that the one man that was supposed to love me literally turned his back on me. I can handle rejection but not from people who claim to love me, that’s the worst.

  1. I’m not confident, at all

I’ve always been very insecure stemming from people constantly criticizing my weight and looks when I was younger.

  1. I’m not a nice person

I know if someone says they’re nice, they’re usually not. I have a nice persona but I don’t think I’m a nice person overall.To be honest, I’ve stopped caring and it’s all thanks to human beings.

  1. I would love to travel

My ideal lifestyle/job would be where I could travel the world, stay somewhere for 3 months max and move on, without a care in the world. That’s why #5 is important as I’d need funds to do so and I get restless and don’t get attached easily so it would be ideal

Part 2 will be up soon

Let’s Talk…

There’s so many topics that are considered taboo to talk about openly, things that you only discuss with your closest friends or family because you’re afraid you might offend someone or the fear of being labelled ignorant. I’m one of those people who shoots my mouth off about everything to anyone and it often lands me in trouble. That being said, I do that because I’d like to hear others’ opinions about certain topics as I like to see life from a different perspective. I’ve had an interesting conversation with someone recently, a Facebook friend and I realised that things I experience on a daily basis and accept as normal in my life, were not as normal as I thought it was.

Let’s start off with my absolute inability to have a need for human contact, and I’m not referring to haphephobia. I love being on my own, I interact with fellow human beings at work and social setups but if I could choose, I’d be a hermit, a recluse. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just the problems and issues that comes along with interacting with and letting people into your life are draining. My friendship with other human beings survives and thrive because we barely see each other but when I need you, or vice versa, I know you got my back. I often allow people in, only to be met by all the issues I’ve tried to avoid. I’m not rude, most people perceive me as friendly and would randomly walk up to me to have a conversation. I don’t have issues with that but often the conversation become monotonous, which is partly my fault as I tend to zone out a lot, and I’d be too polite to stop it so it goes on and on and on and I’d need an entire weekend in my own company to regroup afterwards.

I’m a overthinker and I’m seriously considering meditation, hypnosis, well anything that can assist in combatting that. I’m unable to relax, that’s a foreign feeling to me. I often visit the spa to “try” to relax, to no avail. Something as relaxing as a bubble bath with candle lights sends my mind into overdrive. I’d sit in there, thinking about relaxing but not actually relaxing. I also suffer from social anxiety disorder where I tend to envision social scenarios in advance, like I’d get invited to an event and I’d be thinking about how it will go down, what I’d be wearing, how I’d interact with people, what I’d be saying, how I’d be making a fool of myself etc. It psych me out so much that I often end up not leaving my house. It’s ironic that I’m in the media industry, as someone pointed out, because that usually involves events, interacting with others, etc. Surprisingly I’ve managed to control it in recent years as I always thought I felt that way because I’m an introvert and I’m extremely shy, which most people don’t know about me. I’ve created a persona that helps me cope with that, I overcame my shyness because I had to and moved on from there.

I almost had a panic attack once at a women’s day conference because, wait for it, there were so many women! I mean, I expected it but seeing about 400+ females in one venue scared me. I’ve always been friends with mostly guys because, as cliché as it may sound, it’s less drama. It also had a lot to do with the fact that most of my cousins I saw on a regular basis were boys and so was my neighbour. I used to play rugby, soccer, cricket or whatever they were playing with them. It comes through in my life right now because I’m really chilled and most people assume I’m lesbian (not sure when chilled started equaling being a lesbian but yeah)I don’t have issues with lesbians, one of my best friends are lesbian (see what I did there?) My point being, I’m so over being affected by what people think of or say about me as I’ve worried about that most of my life. I’ve tried so hard to conform until I realised how unhappy I became because of that.

In retrospect this post started out as a conversation on Facebook and I thought it would remain that. I don’t know why I decided to post it on the blog, I guess I wanted you, as my readers, to know a little bit more about me. Let me know if you can even remotely relate to anything I’ve written in this post, it will make me feel less weird but if you don’t, do share your quirks. I’d love to hear from you.

This too shall pass…

I always get excited when I see my mom’s name appearing on my screen, not that I ever get a word in but she always keep me updated as to what’s happening with the family, neighbours and everyone at home. I love hearing her voice and listening to her stories as it makes me feel less lonely and far away from her. This call however was different, there was no emotion in her voice when she told me that her house burned down. At first I thought it was some cruel joke, then I started crying, I couldn’t even utter a word, couldn’t ask her if she’s okay…and she comforted me, told me that it will be okay. The same woman who watched everything she’s ever owned go down it flames, comforted me as she always do, like I lost everything and not her.

This was the one place that my entire family called home, where all the kids and grandkids were raised by granny and mommy, where happy memories and love reigned, where you could escape to when your soul is in dire need of peace…that was our home. My mom kept every single certificate I ever got in school, from primary to high school, she had actual photo albums with our most embarrassing pictures, oh how we had a laugh every time we saw it…that was our home.A place where we learned the hard way to never swear, ever, where we learned to respect our elders, love our neighbours regardless of who they are and what they did, where we learned that punishment for wrongdoings were painful but we could have a laugh about it afterwards, a place where love reigned supreme…that was our home. It was the one place that reunited our family as we all had amazing memories of our time there, where the good always outweighed the bad, where love always healed you…that was our home. Where we were kids and in no rush to grow up, where we were poor but rich in the love that we’ve received, a place that we often wish we could go back to. A place so genuine that when you leave there, you won’t fit in anywhere else…that was our home.

The road to recovery is long and hard. When you uproot a young plant, it has a fair chance of survival but when you do the same to a tree that’s been rooted there for years, it’s a whole different story. How do you even start over at the age of 60+? My mom is left with only the clothes on her back, nothing else. The healing process will be long and hard and I plan to be there every step of the way. For the first time in over 11 years we will live in the same house again, we’re both set in our ways but I can adapt, will she? Coming to a place where she doesn’t know her neighbours, where you’re not 100% safe at all times, where you live in an enclosed complex with burglar bars in front of every window and door, how will she adapt? Home represented freedom, fresh air, leaving your door open if you’re just running to the neighbours, a place where you knew everyone and their family history, where you could still depend on each other…that was home.  I pray that this ordeal will bring us closer, as a family and strengthen our faith as I believe that God gives His toughest battles to His bravest soldiers, I know my mom is but I’m not sure I’m brave enough…only time will tell.

9 Things to do in your 20’s

We always see articles telling you “what to do in your 20’s” or “what you should achieve in your 20’s” and quite frankly it always make me feel inadequate. I’m in my 20’s, for now and most of those things I haven’t even achieved and most probably won’t because that’s not my mission in life. On the other hand you can’t compare us “normal” 20-something year olds to the likes of Rihanna, Taylor or Adele as we’ll always come up short. I’ve decided to do my own list, based on what I’ve achieved or set out to still achieve.

1. Have fun

I know that sounds like something to do in your toddler and preteen phase but we often forget to let loose and just have fun. I did that in my early 20’s and to a certain extent it’s out of my system now. If I go out out twice a month that’s sufficient which means that it won’t interfere with my job etc. If you don’t get it out of your system, you’ll end up being the only 40 year old in the club, hitting on people in their 20’s, I’ve seen it and it’s sad so don’t be that guy/gal.

2. Travel 

Early 20’s are perfect for exploring the world, broadening your horizons.If you don’t have money, work while you travel. Au pair, if you love kids, work on a farm in Texas, etc. Also it’s imperative to find the right people to make new discoveries with. I haven’t travelled that much, sadly but that’s my own fault as I was too afraid. You know how you make excuses all the time? I can’t work in Brazil because I don’t speak nor understand Portuguese, I can’t be a waiter in Paris because I don’t speak French etc. but you know what? There’s always someone that speaks/understand English almost everywhere so you don’t have an excuse. Do start off in your own country with roadtrips, “shot left” etc. to get familiar with the concept.

3. Empower yourself

Make provision for your future i.e do courses that will help you at a later stage in life. I’ve done everything from debt consolidation, law, psychology to computer classes, one of those things will help you in your future career. If you don’t know where to go, have a look at Shaw Academy, they offer amazing online courses that are free of charge. Get that diploma or degree or even that experience in a field that you know you love and would love to work in.

4. Make lasting friendships

You won’t always have the same friends throughout life, if you do, consider yourself lucky. Find people that will grow with you and support you on your journey. For some people that constitute of 4-5 people, for others it’s more, others less. There’s no set number of bffs you can have but make sure it’s people you trust, that’s reliable and will be honest with you.

5.Take a leap of faith

Whether it’s working in a new field without experience, moving across the country/globe to do what you love or falling in love with someone that’s not your type…do it! Life’s too short to always be cautious, weigh the pros and cons or be afraid to take risks. You only have one life, make the best of it.

6.Save and Invest 

It’s important to save money and invest wisely. I know that a lot of the youngsters (I sound like an old hag) believe in this “YOLO” philosophy but what if you live until you’re 80 and you haven’t saved a dime? What will happen to you? Who will look after you? We hear too many horror stories of the elderly being abused at homes when their children are unable to look after them. Speak to a financial advisor or a broker to find out what’s affordable for your lifestyle. If you are interested in figuring out what your net worth is, check out Personal Capital’s net worth calculator.

7.Love unconditionally

Whether it’s a human being or a pet, love someone unconditionally that is NOT related. Lasting relationships are forged in your mid to late 20’s as at this age you ought to be emotionally matured enough for it. If you’re not, nothing wrong with it. If you prefer to be single and focus on your career, that’s okay but do go out on dates and meet new people. Kiss all the frogs you have to to get to your Prince Charming.

8. Make memories

This ties in with lasting friendships and travelling. Make memories that will make you smile even when you’re 80, sitting on the stoep in your rocking chair. Life is not lived if you don’t make memories.

9.Leave a legacy 

Or rather start working on the legacy you’d like to leave behind. We’re not guaranteed a full life and we don’t know how much time we’ll have to work on our legacy so use every waking moment to ensure you leave behind a legacy that will be worthy of the amazing human being you are.

My unofficial number 10 would be to achieve everything people said you never would. If you want to do modelling but were always considered to short or too skinny, do it. Show them that once you put your mind to it, you can achieve it. Mingle with celebs, buy that house and car you promised your mom, do whatever makes your little heart happy but never forget where you came from, ever because if you do, you won’t know where you’re heading.

Stalked_my tale of horror

I love using my personal experiences to get a point across as a) it’s easier to write about and b) it provides credibility to my work. I’ve had an interesting conversation with a male colleague yesterday about sexual harassment that women are subjected to on a daily basis and he agreed that some men “just ruin things for everyone”. About 2 years ago I went through something that I don’t wish on any woman, ever. It all started when he stopped next to me on my way to work. Firstly, do you honestly think that women should be flattered if and when you stop next to her in your vehicle? If we were, we’d all be “ladies  of the night” as that’s how it made me feel. Secondly, I don’t need a ride, did you see my hand stretched out with my thumb raised? If not, then don’t stop and offer me a ride thinking I’ll get into a vehicle with a stranger, as that’s what you are to me. I’m straying but you get what I’m saying. Anyway I responded and told him that I work in the next street, 8 minutes from home and he responded, “I know”.

At this point I actually looked at his face and realized that I’ve never seen him before. How did he know where I worked? I kept my cool and told him I need to go because I’m late for work and he responded, “I know, you usually start at 09h00”. Alarm bells went off instantly and I literally ran away from him. I looked over my shoulder and realized he was following me but I continued running. When I finally reached the office, stressed out and exhausted, guess who’s waiting outside next to his car? You guessed it, Mr Stalker himself! He had the nerve to smile at me like he has every right to invade my space and asked for my number. I froze as he approached me as I didn’t know what he’s capable off. He saw the sheer panic on my face and just smiled, in his mind he wasn’t doing anything wrong, he just wanted my number…what’s so bad about that? Luckily one of my colleagues walked up to me and he scattered, got into his car and drove off. I dropped to my knees and started crying, I couldn’t believe what just happened. This is a road I walk every single day, a road I felt safe on and now, now I have to look over my shoulder, memorize licence plates so I would know when it’s him, is this really a life I wanted?

Over the next 3 months or so I lived in fear. Walking to work didn’t bring me the joy it used to and I encountered him a few occasions but simply ignored him. I couldn’t sleep, focus on work or even walk Summer as I used to. I eventually decided that I’ve had enough, that it’s ludicrous to allow a stranger to rule my life. I went on holiday, saw my mom and it became a distant memory. Upon returning to Johannesburg, I’ve decided to start my daily walk/run with Summer and even walked to work again. Things went well until I arrive at the office one day and saw his car in the parking lot. I immediately freaked out and when my colleague eventually managed to calm me down, I told her who he was. As I approached reception, I gingerly asked them what he’s doing here. To my shock he was there to see my CEO about a job offer, the very same man that made my life a living hell might turn out to be my colleague if I don’t do something drastic about it. After the meeting concluded, I finally confided in my CEO about his identity and he was refused a position. That didn’t stop him though, he started his own company and guess where he rented office space? You guessed it, he’s renting an office here and I’m subjected to seeing him every day. Turns out he’s married with a gorgeous wife and beautiful children. At first I resented him, it bordered on hate and I realized it’s not healthy, I can’t depict where he goes but I sure as hell can control my emotions. I despise anger, I try my utmost best not to get angry but it’s not always that easy. I’ve told him what effect his actions had on me, I expressed my anger towards him and he apologized. He apologized but he still doesn’t see anything wrong with it and that’s the problem with a lot of men that does this, they don’t think it’s wrong. They think we, as women should be flattered by the attention, should consider ourselves lucky that they even display a bit of interest in us. This is the society that we live in, these are things I’m personally subjected to daily, the wolf whistling, the name calling…These are the things that we accept as a norm and it will continually happen until we take a stance.

What did I do about the situation? I’ve warned others because he didn’t stop with his tricks. He continued hitting on women despite his marital status, despite the fact that his wife and kids would visit him at the office and everyone knew he was married, he didn’t stop and that says a lot about his character. I’ve worked through my anger issues, I might be forced to work in the same vicinity as him but I don’t have to acknowledge his existence. I don’t interact with him even though he continued seeking me out after all that happened. I despise him and what he represents, men are supposed to be the protectors and providers but lately that’s not the case and that’s depressing.

An ode to mothers…

Your first love, first hug, first friend…Nothing will ever compare to a mother’s unconditional love even though some may come close. This post is dedicated to all those unsung heroes, wingless angels and everyday Super Women. I’ve asked my friends, family and acquaintances to help me out by sharing what they love most or will always remember about their moms. I’ll start off by sending a special “Thank You” to my mom, Martha Pretorius.

Mom, thank you for not turning your back on me when everybody else did, you are my strength and my beacon and I can’t imagine a world without you.”

  •  Pat Shuttle all the way from LaFayette, Georgia said: “Words to live by from Mz SZU SZU my Mom. “Be kind and say nice things”

 

  • Fellow blogger,mom and wife, Charnelle Avontuur credits her mother-in-law that “taught me what it means to be a mother.”

 

  • Alicia wrote this heartfelt message about her mom: “My mother taught me what real friendship is. She still teaches me everyday about faithfulness, love and grace through her walk with God. she taught me that no matter what you never give up on people…..yes, you can decide to keep your distance but keep praying and keep believing in the Goodness that God placed inside of them. Above all she taught me about God and His Love for all His children. And I am yet to learn many more lessons from the woman who loved me first in this world. Rachel Arnoldus, the best mom ever.”

 

  • My gorgeous and ever optimistic colleague, Noleen said that her mom is “completely selfless, extraordinary and wise to a point where she amazes me. The word “can’t” doesn’t exist in her dictionary and I love and admire her for that.”

 

  • My bestie Melissa wrote: “My mom is truly my pillar of strength. After her stroke she still wants to do her motherly duties, even when she’s unable to .  She’d try it on her own and always tell me that if you ask for strength from God, He will provide. She is a true inspiration and I admire her willpower and strength everyday. I wish that one day I could be half the woman and mother she is to us.”

 

  • Stefan’s mom always says: “Respect everybody, you are not better than anyone and no one is better than you.”

 

  • Ntsiki was short and sweet when saying: “I’ve learned the hard way that my mother can knock me out.”

 

  • The gorgeous Khanyisile aka Lady_K said “My mother taught me that with God, all things are possible.”

 

  • From Madie Faith Magoro: “Dear DimanzoI would like to thank you for everything you’ve done and keep doing for me, all the little things I did and still do to piss you off but you still smile and show love. No woman can ever compare to you. I pray my future lady gets blessed with one of your qualities for mom you’re a remarkable soul and I’ll forever love and celebrate you!”

 

  • The gorgeous Thuto said “Thank you for teaching me how to find my inner strength, I have  thick skin because of you.

 

  • Tumi got all philosophical on me when saying, “A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one can take.”

 

A blessed Mother’s Day to everyone and I trust that you’ll have an amazing day. If you still have a mother, treasure her every day. For those who lost their mother, my deepest condolences and I sincerely hope that you have amazing memories that will ease the pain a bit. 

 

Love Yourself…

Christina Aguilera once sang,”You are beautiful no matter what they say,words can’t bring you down.” The latter is, no matter how badly we want it to be, not true. Words can and has always been able to bring you down, regardless of the level of confidence you possess. I always thought that if you know your weaknesses or shortcomings and make peace with it, no one can use it against you but I was sadly mistaken, it still hurts. Many have been talking body confidence so allow me to add my 2 cents.

Idealistic standards have always been set by the media and fashion industry specifically. The whole size 0 concept has always been the metaphorical thorn in my side and I’ll tell you why: I’m naturally skinny, petite or whatever you may call it and most people assume that I starve myself or have this crazy fitness regime when in actuality neither are the case. I eat more than a lot of people I’ve met and I’ve only been in the gym 3 months of my life. I walk my dog whenever I have the energy to, which ranges from every day to once every 2nd week. The scale is not my friend, never has been and probably never will be. My reason for that might be completely different to most people as you usually hate the scale when you want to shed the pounds and don’t see the difference in numbers. Mine is simply that I want to gain weight and it’s disheartening when you’ve scoffed down tons of food for months and there’s no increase in that number.

I find it highly irritating when people scold me for trying to gain by reminding me how many people would “kill” to look like me. I honestly don’t care, you do you and I’ll do me. All I want to do it gain weight and actually look like someone in her late 20’s and not some 15 year old boy. I don’t get excited about the concept of shopping anymore, even though it’s one of my indulgences because everything I like is usually too big for me and I don’t have the energy or sewing skills to alter it.

People seem to preach a lot about overweight/thick people accepting themselves and loving their bodies. I agree wholeheartedly with that but I don’t agree with statements such as “real men love curves, only dogs like bones.” Seriously? You can’t empower one without putting the other down? You think I like being able to literally count my ribs? Or that it’s fun walking into a table and experiencing paralysing pain because you hit your protruding hipbone? Or walking into a shop and the only things that actually fit you have flowers and butterflies on it? Yes I’m skinny and I’ve been that way my entire life. I’ve had people asking me if “Are you sick?” or my absolute favourite, “Do you tik?” at a time when I didn’t even know what the hell tik was nor have I ever actually seen it.

As a skinny person it’s assumed that you don’t have the usual problems of stretch marks, cellulite, body insecurities etc. but trust me we do, well I do. I’ve never worn skirts or short dresses because I hated my skinny legs, I don’t wear watches because they slip right off and chokers, don’t even get me started on those.It might seem like I’m complaining, which I am to a certain extent but I just wanted to put it out there. We all suffer from insecurities, whether you’re skinny or fat, beautiful or less beautiful than prescribed by social standards. It took me a really long time to accept what I look like and the struggles that comes along with it but all of that work comes undone when someone makes an insensitive remark.

My conclusion is that no one is ever 100% happy with the way they look, if they were makeup brands, medical clinics etc. wouldn’t be booming businesses. The point is it’s OK to want to change a few things about yourself as long as you’re still YOU. My motto has always been, “I may not be perfect to you but I’m perfectly me” and I try to bear that in mind whenever I’m faced with negativity. I hope you find yours if you haven’t already.

About me…

I don’t really like talking about myself as I often feel that no person can aptly describe themselves in any language. I tend to refer you to someone who knows every aspect of my crazy, bipolar personality as they deal with it on a daily basis. That being said, in my professional life I’m actually quite boring, yes I am. I never really feel that I make a difference, my company does, me not so much. It’s been a year but I’m still immensely proud of this Who’s Who interview I did. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a few radio and TV ones but I sincerely hope those have been destroyed. Read through it and maybe just maybe you’d think I’m interesting after this.

Melanie Pretorius Head of Junto Media and 2015 Tomorrow’s Leaders Convention nominee, tells us more about her career and shares inspiration for other young professionals.

How did you get into your line of work?

I started off in retail and was offered a position as the Personal Assistant to the CEO of Junto Group in Johannesburg. When the media division was introduced, I was offered the position of Head of Media, which I accepted even though I didn’t have any experience. Thereafter I studied Media Management at the AAA School of Advertising to assist with my new position.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals in your industry?

Believe in yourself even when no one else does.

Who has been the biggest influence in your professional career, and how have they affected you?

Definitely my CEO, Dr Lucas Moloi. He saw potential in me even when I didn’t believe in myself and I’ll always be grateful for that.

You were a nominee at the 2015 Tomorrow’s Leaders Convention. What did you take away from attending the Convention?

Whether inherent or not, we’re all leaders, we don’t need to be followers. The choice is a conscious one.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Being nominated as a Tomorrow’s Leader is definitely the highlight of my career thus far. It’s a great honour and I would love to live up to it.

Who or what inspired you to start your career in your industry?

My inspiration in this industry, especially in South Africa is Bonang Matheba. She started off as a presenter and continued to cement her place in this industry through various other ventures. What I admire most about her is the fact that she’s a hard worker and never rests on her laurels.

Tell us about a risk you’ve taken during the course of your career and how this affected your path?

The biggest risk I’ve taken was to relocate to a city where I didn’t know anyone. The move advanced my career and encouraged me to work harder as I didn’t have anyone to rely on. I had to make a success of my chosen path.

If you could do anything now, what would you do and why?

At this very moment I’d love to take a vacation (laughs). On a serious note, I’d love to create awareness about the digital aspect of the media industry, i.e. online radio and TV as most people are quite sceptical about it. Whether we like it or not, we need to realise that the digital sphere is the future, and if we don’t get on that bandwagon we’ll be left behind.

Who or what keeps you motivated, and how?

My mom keeps me motivated. I’m an only child and the sole provider and I’ve always wanted to show gratitude towards my mom for all the sacrifices she’s made for my success. She’s the first person that invested in me and I want to make her proud.

What’s next for you?

I’d like to continue learning and growing. I’d love to continue my studies which I plan to do soon.

Tell us about your role models or mentors, and how they have affected your career?

My mentor is Dr Moloi and just like me, he came from humble beginnings. He always encouraged me to believe in myself and to be the best I can possibly be.

What do you think is the most important innovation of your lifetime and why?

I think it’s definitely technology; it’s made life easier, especially in the media industry.

How important has social media and online brand management been in managing your career?

I feel that most individuals do not realise the vital role social media plays in a company’s decision to hire you or not. To a certain extent they believe their social media accounts are their personal platforms and they can express themselves freely. Unfortunately that’s not the case.

Personally, social media has played a vital role in networking opportunities as I’ve made new contacts and have had strangers approach me about the company, my work etc. I’ve realised that I’m a brand and as such, I need to be cautious as to what I post on my social media platforms as most people believe that’s who you really are.

Which three Southern Africans would you most like to have dinner with and why?

I’d invite former President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Patrice Motsepe, who have all remained humble regardless of their prestige.

Individually, from Nelson Mandela I would’ve loved to learn unconditional forgiveness, from Archbishop Tutu, how to be firm in my beliefs and not waver, and from Mr Motsepe how to remain humble regardless of worldly riches.

What would you like your legacy to be?

I would love my legacy to be empowering to the youth of today. We often feel that we won’t amount to anything because that’s what we’ve been hearing all our lives and I’d like to be an inspiration to those feeling that way. I walked down that path but overcame my insecurities as soon as realised I’d never manage to please everyone.

What does success look like to you?

Contentment, which doesn’t necessarily need to transcend into monetary value. I believe that if you’ve made an impact on one person’s life, your legacy will live on and that’s what I strive to do.

Full interview can be found here

Red my lips

For most people, April is best known for April fool but it’s also Sexual Assault Awareness month. As an almost victim or shall I say survivor of 2 near rape incidents, I consider myself extremely lucky. According to Red My Lips, Sexual Violence is a term that describes a wide range of behaviors including:

  • invasion of space & leering
  • sexual harassment in person or online
  • taking and/or distributing sexual photos/videos without consent
  • unwanted sexual touching, kissing, groping
  • vaginal, anal, or oral penetration without consent
  • sexual contact with someone who is incapacitated or unable to give consent
  • child sexual abuse
  • human trafficking

Red My lips  is an international nonprofit organization designed to raise visibility and awareness about the realities and prevalence of sexual violence, while combating rape myths and victim-blaming. They run an annual global awareness and action campaign where  fierce and fearless supporters rock red lipstick all throughout the month of April to demonstrate solidarity and support for survivors and start important conversations with people in their lives.

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We all know someone who experienced sexual violence in some of the forms stated in examples above. Often we accept it even when uncomfortable because we don’t know who to turn to or where to get the necessary help. I know I didn’t, the second time it almost happened to me, I took off and ended up in Johannesburg. I’ve only disclosed the details to about 3 people and everyone keeps telling me how lucky I am. I find it extremely frustrating because that’s not a society that I want to live in. A society where the fact that I managed to avoid it somehow justify that it almost happened in the first place. One of the things that angers me is when the victim are being blamed for the incident. In my case I worked until 21h00, got off the bus around 22h00 and had a 15 minute walk home because I had no other alternatives. Just because I walked the streets of Cape Town after 22h00 doesn’t give you the right to try and rape me, if anything else it gives you the right to make sure I get home safely.

According to Red My Lips , “victim-blaming includes any statement or question that focuses on what a victim of sexual violence did or didn’t do, implying that their behavior makes them fully or partly responsible for being assaulted or for failing to prevent their assault. Victim-blaming typically stems from commonly held myths and misconceptions about sexual violence,along with people’s desire to distance themselves from these types of crimes. One of the most common examples of victim-blaming is saying someone was “asking for it.” However, victim-blaming is frequently less direct and at times unintentional.”

I stumbled upon this amazing initiative last year and joined via their Facebook page. You can support them by donating on their site, plan an event and spread the word via social media or share your story with them. The red lipstick is used as a weapon, a tool to create visibility and combat the damaging myths and victim-blaming attitudes that lead many survivors (from all walks of life) to suffer in silence.

Bear in mind that sexual violence is NOT a “women’s issue,” it is a human issue and men can also get involved. Men’s voices are not only welcome but vital if we truly want to transform our culture of sexual violence. While the majority of rapists are men, the majority of men are not rapists. Many men stay silent because they believe sexual violence is a ‘women’s issue.’ but sexual violence impacts us all. In order for real change to occur, we ALL need to join together and speak out. If you don’t want to wear red lipstick you’re welcome to wear red clothing or draw the logo on your skin to show your support to this worthy cause. Let’s all join together and put an end to sexual violence and victim-blaming.

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Content and pictures courtesy of redmylips.org