Zithande beyps! 

“I need to be selfish.” 

When these words come from a potential boyfriend, anyone’s initial reaction would be panic and devastation. 

Ok maybe I speak only for myself because frankly I was shocked as I heard these five words and thought: “how can being selfish be a good thing?” 

A part of me immediately dismissed this notion but over time when the anger and disappointment of things not working out finally left me – I got it. He was right – prioritising oneself is key because you can’t give from a proverbial empty cup. 

Self-care is an essential part of our well being. It’s important to pay attention to yourself as it helps you to feel more connected to yourself and those around you. 

This month, because it’s my birthday month, I’ve made a decision to be kinder to my self and have some self-care activities which I hope you can also adopt in your self-care routine:

  • Unwind – tea makes it all ok – add some lemon and mint and some delish biscuits and you’re good to go.

  • Escape – my budget doesn’t allow for weekends away so I’ve chosen the more affordable way – I read. 

  • Mediate – I find this one challenging. It’s hard for me to quieten the mind but if you can take a few minutes each day to reflect, it all adds up. 

  •  Pamper – painting my nails while watching something on TV is a nice way to treat myself. From soaking, to scrubbing then moisturising my feet – it’s really the little things. 

  • Treat – a good glass of red, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and spicy snacks are my go to after an exhausting day. Whatever the problem is, I’ll find the solution at the end of the glass. 

  • Write – ever since grade 6 English class, I’ve been keeping a journal. Writing helps me to ‘talk’ about my feelings without any judgement. I also love reading back past entries and giggle about some of the crazy things I’ve overcome. 

  • Record – count your blessings. Last year I read about keeping a good things jar and I started one this year. Each time something good happens, I write it on a sticky note and place it in the jar – when the year ends I’ll open it up and look back at all the lovely things that have happened. 

  • Listen – music is an amazing way to help lift the spirit. Despite the mood I’m in, when certain songs come through the speakers, I immediately feel good. 

  • Unplug – switch the phone off, go outside and watch the clouds float by. 

When self-care becomes part of your routine, you’ll feel less stressed; you become happier and are able to deal with situations more positively. Luckily good vibes are contagious so the people around you will be grateful too.

Please share some of your self-care activities with me so I can add them to my list. 

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Honey, I’m queen sized! 

Over the weekend I found myself watching the 2008 movie, Queen Sized, a high school dramedy about a plus sized teen dealing with body image issues and it took me down memory lane to my own run in with body Hitlers.It reminded me of an incident that happened about ten years ago and although I handled it like a boss (even if I do say so myself); it still stayed with me. 

I was a cadet journalist at the time and we lived on campus at the training college so we spent most afternoons chilling and chatting. So as we’re having a great time giggling one of the girls we’re sitting with turns to me and asks: “Siya, how much do you weigh?”

The tone in the room changed and threw the entire vibe off. I looked at her and then took a real good look at her (you know that would you like to take that back before I send you to your ancestors look). I looked at the smug look on her face like she’d somehow made me come undone. 

I laughed out loud as my friends reprimanded her for being insensitive and out of line but I looked at her and saw that her self esteem must be so in the depths of low that hoping to make me feel bad was probably more about her than me.

When you humiliate someone, the intention is to bring attention to what you assume are their flaws, that way that person can walk around feeling less special. I’ve seen this happen with people when they relate to plus size women. If they have nothing better to say about a plus size woman, they’ll easily gravitate towards commenting on her weight. 

I remember listening to Highveld DJ, Anele Mdoda being interviewed a few years ago and she recounted about listeners and comments on social media and she found this when she had put them all in their place for whatever reason, their only comeback was “Well you’re fat.” 

She laughed and said that there was nothing else that these people could say to her except point out something that’s so glaringly obvious as her weight.

It took me back to my own incident and had me thinking that what Anele said is true: “Ok so I’m fat, I’m glad you noticed. Now that we have that out of the way, can we engage like adults please?” 

As I looked at the girl who asked me how much I weighed in front of friends and totally crossed a line considering we were never close. I really felt pity for her and realised that putting me down was her pathetic way of feeling good about herself and so I turned to her and replied with a smile: “I weigh as much as a baby elephant. Anything else?” She was floored and later apologised for her inappropriate behaviour but honestly it was so unnecessary in the first place that her apology was just meaningless to me.

It’s sad and pathetic that people think that by pointing out what they consider to be your flaws, it’ll somehow take away from your fabulousness. From that incident I took away two things, firstly you don’t have explain yourself to anyone. Secondly I learned that’s when you come across someone trying to steal your joy, remind them that honey, you’re queen sized and sashay away! 

Amathoughts afresh: Siyabonga, 31 

I still remember the day I turned 29 – the first thing I did was start the official countdown to my 30th birthday.

I was so excited about finally reaching my 30s although I didn’t know what being in my third decade would mean, I just got excited at the thought of leaving behind my 20s and finally saying to people “I’m 30.” 

I think at the back of my mind I was looking forward to finally coming into my adulthood and settling into it. 

In my 20s I had met a woman who was 32 at the time and as I was lamenting relationship woes she told me that as a I get older, I’ll learn to deal with matters of the heart better. 

“Don’t worry Siya, by the time you reach my age, you’ll stop sweating the small stuff. The things you worry about so much now, won’t even matter hey.”

She was right. Although it wasn’t like some miraculous fairy godmother moment where I suddenly had this air of nonchalance about me but I’m slowly moving towards that.

I remember reading these funny lists that get circulated over the Internet about 30 things to do when you’re 30 or 30 things every 30-year old should know or 30 telltale signs that you’re 30 – I’d read them and think “I clearly have a long way to go” 

Then when I started chatting to people who were approaching or have already reached the 30 milestone, I realised that although these goals and achievements were a great way to map out the next steps of your life, don’t feel like an absolute failure if you don’t tick all the boxes. 

I’ve learned that if you don’t have the corner office, 4×4 or that estate property it’s ok. Still single with no children? That’s ok too. You’re still figuring out what your next move is because you’ve quit your job? Perfectly fine. 

Your 30s are not a destination, you’re still on your journey and this is just a stopover – enjoy it! 

Spotted this list that was shared by one of my friends on Facebook and I thought I’d go through it seeing as I’m 4 years away from 35:
  
1. It’s a struggle but it does help to actually have savings in your savings account! 
2. I’ve always thought it’s impossible because I’d decided that “you can’t control these things” then I realised that you always have a choice and being picky with who you spend your time with is totally justified! 

3. Tricky for me – I like my roommates mostly because we’re related! At this point I should own property but I don’t, so what? 

4. Thankfully I have never been encouraged to accumulate it so that’s one aspect I have handled! 

5. It was given to me 31 years ago and I’m still taking care of it! 

6. I thank God and the ancestors for the people I’ve had and still have in my life – they inspire me every single day.

7. See number 6.

8. A little bit of sexy never hurt anyone – B wasn’t lying about digging in the wardrobe for that freakum dress and killer heels. 

9. It’s not easy but it’s not impossible. I’ve also accepted that the child in me isn’t going anywhere either! 

10. Yes but don’t forget to live in the present because it’s what you have certainty of. 

What I’ve come to realise is that 30 isn’t a destination but a stop along the journey and I’m definitely enjoying it!