Category Archives: Personal Development

Rebirthing Teatart – a bumpy new ride

When I first started ‘Teatart’ I had lofty ambitions of a blog that was relevant to women transitioning into their thirties. I wanted to share my experiences and anecdotes with brutal honesty and humour.

The truth is that this blog became much more than that.  It became my mouthpiece. When I felt out of control in a world that is essentially out of control, I turned to writing in a safe forum that helped me to make sense of how I felt. From my divorce and my short “wild-ish” stint at being single, to my depression and anxiety, losing my job, having a miscarriage and finally, a second marriage that at first just didn’t seem to be meeting any of my expectations, I wrote it all down.

And then something happened. I began to draw closer to God again (ok, stop rolling your eyes) and my life slowly started to represent a picture of normalcy – or at least as normal as any person’s life can be. I stopped needing my ‘Teatart’ crutch and my blogging gradually reduced to a trickle.

Now, while my life is not exactly a bed of roses, I can boast a good job and a marriage to a man I love with my heart and soul. One gaping hole remains in my life – our lives:  we are yet to start a family after three years of trying. My miscarriage early last year left us devastated and, followed shortly by a second early miscarriage, I felt bitter and angry at the world around me.

imageIn March this year, exactly one year after my first miscarriage at nine weeks, we took the brave and bold step to seek professional help. Thorough researching helped us to shortlist several leading fertility clinics in South Africa, and from there to choose a fertility clinic we felt was right for us.  And so began our infertility journey.

This is where I want to take ‘Teatart’ now. To rebirth my beloved blog with a new focus … at least for now.  I hope I can offer women and couples facing the Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART) process an inkling of hope, support and precious, shared learnings.

It’s been a bumpy ride – but hopefully one with a healthy bump in sight :) Chat soon!

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Back to basics – when the going gets tough

When things go wrong, they normally do so on a grand scale.  Ask anyone you know how wrong things can really go … ask me. Descriptive terms like “cascading effects” and “downhill slide” don’t actually do any justice, but it’s a start.

Silly as it may sound, I had a bit of a personal crisis when I turned thirty.  I looked back at my twenties and saw only the bad things:  the things I didn’t accomplish, all the apparently unfulfilled hopes and dreams.  After the past year though, those years look more like a walk in the park than tough times.

Let me tell you, I’m not superstitious by any means. I have no qualms about walking under a ladder or a black cat crossing in front of me. Surprisingly then, the whole “bad things happen in threes” is oddly fitting.  Case in point:  I suffered with depression last year like never before (strike one), I lost my job after being retrenched (strike two), and then for the finale, I finally fell pregnant after trying for quite some time and after 9 weeks had a silent miscarriage (strike three).  Like I said, when things go wrong, it really does feel like things go from bad to worse.

Of course, shit happens!  Whether you’re Oscar Pistorius or just a normal Joe Soap (like me), it is unfortunately a guarantee that at some stage our lives will be affected by turmoil, disappointment and tragedy.  Luckily the degree and duration thereof differs (I’m damn happy that I’m not the one on trial for murder!).

DepressedNo matter how bad a situation may seem and no matter how we may wish for time to pass us by, a new day will always dawn.  I still fully prescribe time off to sulk and skulk around in pyjamas with scruffy hair, unbrushed teeth and no deodorant, but don’t fool yourself, the time will come when a choice has to be made, and that is, the choice to keep living.

It will be about getting back to basics.  Get up, shower, brush your teeth and hair, spritz on the perfume and walk out the door.  The best medicine is as simple as facing the world and literally taking things step by step or day by day.  Getting back to basics is about focusing on the little things that help to get us through the day.  It’s also about not dwelling on the pain, grief or anger and allowing the healing process to begin.

Whoever first said that time heals all wounds is a wise man (or woman).

The problem with relying on good looks

When you are young, slender and beautiful, the world is your playground. A sparkling smile, a flip of the hair and a batting of the eyelashes accomplishes far more than the average person would suspect.

It’s a catch situation:  you know you’re gorgeous; and because you know it, you ooze confidence and charisma; and because you ooze all this charm, people notice you wherever you go; and because people pay attention to you all the time, you know you’re gorgeous.

Whether anyone will willingly admit it or not, if you’re beautiful, things seem to come easier. It therefore becomes quite natural to rely on your good looks to get your way.  Unfortunately, that’s where the real danger lies! Forget the other jealous and insecure women who are not at all enchanted by your youth and beauty, it’s when your good looks start to wane with age that the real challenge is afoot.

Speaking from experience, I relied heavily on my good looks in my twenties.  Tall, pretty face, slender body – I got used to the attention I attracted simply by being attractive.  No wonder I went into crisis mode when I hit thirty!

The ageing process isn’t for sissies

For the vain woman (and yes, I hang my head in shame), it feels like a death sentence. Your attention is taken away by younger, prettier girls and alas, you find yourself in the shoes of the older, jealous woman that you pitied in your earlier years.

beautyTo quote Liz Smith, “One of the best parts of growing older?  You can flirt all you like since you’ve become harmless”.  It’s an appropriate quote, especially to me.  Flirting in my younger years was my weapon of choice; now, flirting is not really something that I can get away with in too many situations. If I’ve learnt anything it’s that physical beauty is not permanent and it’s not ageless.  Relying on good looks alone will only get you so far and no further.

Yes, I do still nostalgically dwell on my twenties at times, but with age has thankfully come a little more wisdom.  It’s far better to be revered for your inner beauty, intelligence and strength of character, than simply as a pretty face that can be easily forgotten.

True beauty is timeless and that is something that can only come from within.

Domestic goddess in the making

Since I’ve been at home a lot more, an interesting pattern has started to emerge.  For some reason my husband has been happier than usual. The reason why didn’t really register until recently i.e. I’m now playing the traditional role of a house wife.

When he wakes in the morning I am there to see him off to work with a cup of tea, and when he returns from the office in the afternoon I am there to greet him.  Dinner preparations are well underway, the dogs have been fed and the house is neat and tidy.  All he really has to do sit down and relax.

Young Housewife, Oil on canvas. The Russian Mu...

Young Housewife, Oil on canvas. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always been a bit of a homebody, so I find myself slipping quite comfortably into this role without too much of a fuss.  I think I’ve always been a traditional girl at heart too.  The whole biblical scenario of a woman staying at home to care for her family while the man goes out into the world to bring home the bread and butter, definitely has its merits in my opinion. After all, didn’t God create man to be stronger both physically and emotionally while the woman was created to be man’s companion – a softer, gentler version? Together the partnership is intended to be a win-win scenario.

Yet on the other end of the scale, I also believe that a woman has more than earned the right to be treated fairly and respectfully.  I don’t want to be defined by the man in my life; I want to choose my own path.  If that means choosing to stay at home and being a housewife, then so be it.

Contradictions

What a contradiction! Can I really be that arrogant to want the best of both worlds? No wonder men are confused as to how to treat a woman. We want to be treated like ladies and still expect a man to open the door for us, to pay for the bill on the first date, to move heavy objects and so on. In the same token, we want to be treated equally, to compete head-on with men in the job market, on the sports field and in the political arena.

I am the product of my environment:  a ‘mish-mash’ of  old-fashioned values and beliefs mixed with a healthy dose of  women’s equal rights to vote, to have a career, to have an active sex life, to choose whether or not to marry and whether or not to have children.  There is a generation of women out like me, so thankfully I’m not unique in this respect.

It’s the grey area in between; all we can do is to try and find a balance.  I’m enjoying my foray into the domestic goddess realm for the time being. But when I have to focus on my career again, it will be the delicate juggling act that most women encounter:  being a career woman, a wife, a homemaker and a mother – all-in-one!

Adapt or die: how to survive the bad

Nuclear catastrophe leaves the world in devastation – only cockroaches and human beings survive.  A rampant virus turns people into zombies – the last non-infected survivors join forces to fight the epidemic. Aliens land on earth to terraform the planet and wipe out mankind – humans form a resistance to end the invasion.

Adapt or die. Survival of the fittest.

Ok, so these may be extreme and unlikely scenarios. My point is though, that whatever the circumstance, life continues. The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening. We can roll-over and try to hide from the world, or we can adapt … and survive.

It really struck home the other day when I arrived at my now former workplace to start cleaning out my desk and to finish off the final odds and ends before my departure.  I walked into a busy and seemingly happy office. No one was sitting at their desks with a miserable look on their faces, or dragging their unmotivated bodies around the work area. Although people like me have been retrenched, the work must still be done and life must still go on. Sadly, I already felt like an outsider.

Fact:  life doesn’t always pan out the way we want it to

Every-cloud-has-a-silver-liningI have officially become a member of the unemployed club.  I’m not thrilled about it, but I know that no amount of tears or misery will change the situation.  It is, unfortunately, what it is.  I can either choose to wallow in self pity for days on end, or I can choose to adapt and seize any new opportunity that may come my way.  Put like that, the decision is quite obvious isn’t it?

I have cast my net and my CV has been deployed into the realms of the greater career cyberspace. While I spend the foreseeable future exploring new career ventures,  I would be a dork not to enjoy the time off. There’s no better time than the present to savour doing the things that make you happy.  That’s what I plan to do. 

Apparently every storm cloud has a silver lining.  I haven’t found it yet, but I’m looking.

Jobless. Can it be a positive?

Well its official, I am jobless. The company I have given over 14 years of loyal service to has given me the axe in the name of cost savings and forced job redundancies.

Office chair with a RETRENCHED sign isolated on whiteIt comes as quite a shock to realise just how heavily I’ve relied on my career to give my life purpose. Losing the one consistent facet of my life that I thought defined me as a person has shaken my very foundations and left me feeling lost and overwhelmed.  For the first time in my life I’ve lost my job without having something else lined up; and for the first time in my life I now have to worry about where the next pay cheque will come from.

I know that I’ve talked about wanting to write more, to pursue my dreams of one day publishing a book.  Yet I haven’t a cooking clue just how to go about doing that!  Yes, I am more than just another employee at a corporate company, but how do I go from being one to a freelance writer? So if you have any tips and suggestions, please feel free to impart your knowledge as I have a lot to learn!

Admittedly, this whole experience has not been all negative. I’ve learnt so much, grown so much in my personal and business life, and more importantly, I’ve made a bunch of fabulous friends along the way. This isn’t the end – this is an opportunity to embrace something new.

The “unknown” has always been my greatest fear.  Now that the “unknown” has now become a reality, it really isn’t that scary anymore. I’m not going to gush that the world is my oyster, but I do know that I will get through this and that I will indeed forge my own new path.  I hope you, dear reader, are ready to embark on this adventure with me? To my dear CC gals, I’ll raise my glass of wine this evening in thanks that you have made my working life not just a boring job. I consider you my friends, and I will sorely miss you.

When to follow your heart

From famous quotes and song lyrics, to words of advice and the guiding life stories of others, we are told again and again to listen to our hearts, to follow our hearts, to be directed by our hearts. 

Apparently the heart knows best; and if we follow the heart’s instinct over the mind’s logic, we are set for success. Personally, I’ve chosen to believe my heart over logic. “The heart has eyes which the brain knows nothing of” in the apt words of Charles H. Perkhurst.

But can our hearts lead us astray? The blatant truth is that yes, it can! François de La Rochefoucauld tells us that “the heart is forever making the head its fool”.  Another profound insight is that “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Our hearts sometimes desire things which we know – if we practise rational thinking – are just not plausible or even possible.  Sometimes, what our hearts crave is just plain wrong!   That’s not to say that dreams and ambitions are wrong, it’s just that each situation we encounter warrants a bit more of a combination approach:  listening to our heart AND that of logical thought.

Follow your heart

I’ve fallen in love with men that I knew were not right for me, pursued relationships in full knowledge that they were doomed to failure, trusted people despite the facts … and in short, have made many bad decisions that could’ve easily been avoided if I didn’t just follow my heart blindly.

The moral of the story is to “follow your heart – but take your brain with you.” (unknown author)

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