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“The first signs of warmer weather can be a trigger for some of those with visible scars, eating disorders, and body image issues…” -Munroe Bergdorf

Growing up I loved being outside in the Sun, playing with my friends out in the streets or someone’s backyard. I wasn’t the prettiest or most gentle girl that you might know today. I was very active, all over the place and free spirited.

With the Spring/Summer, my wardrobe attire consisted of multiple outfits with everything way above the knees. My grandmother’s house was on the residential main road so we had to play on the street behind the house and it was all concrete. Every game we played on the street be it South African indigenous games like Bathi, Mkuku, Is’Gusha, and more universal games like soccer, cricket, dodgeball, etc. We had to play them there and we all fell a lot, bruised and grazed ourselves on the concrete. 

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I didn’t care too much for it at the time and at home they would yell at me for being too rough/careless with my body. I didn’t care until puberty hit, I started feeling a certain way about how I looked in comparison to other girls and how I was viewed by guys. Spring/Summer all of a sudden became my not so favorite season because of the insecurities I had with my body. All I could think of was how the scars on my body were going to be exposed by the Sun. I wanted Autumn/Winter all year long.

I have come a long way from hating my body to loving it as much as I can today. I still get the occasional self-criticism that I give myself when my body undergoes drastic changes, especially more recently with my body getting slightly thicker than usual. I have moved from a size 0 to a size 2 and I think I’m moving to a size 4 in a very short space of time. I spent the first 2-3 months of the year crying because everything that I had just bought didn’t fit, my dresses and jeans. I refused to accept the changes that were happening at the time because it was a foreign thing to me, the broader hips and thicker thighs? I didn’t want any of that! I was in a panic, with a pending trip to the beach around the corner I wanted to look my best. No working out could hide the changes that were happening and the worst part was that all my friends thought I had lost my mind. 

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All I could think of was that, it’s more than enough that I am scarred all over my legs and now all of a sudden cellulite & stretch marks decide to holler? I wanted it all gone I still want them gone haha. On the upside I have started accepting my body for what it is. I am evolving from the girl who used to shy away from her scars and tried to hide them. Instead, now I am accepting them on my body and doing whatever I can to make me feel better about them. I use tissue oil to help my skin get rid of new scars efficiently whilst fading the appearance of old ones and most importantly, evening the appearance of my skin tone. I also discovered that African women are sometimes ashy around the lower bum area, inner thighs, back of the thighs and it is something that we can work on as well. It happens to the best of us! A little bit of exfoliation weekly, combined with some tissue oil after will leave you with clearer legs in the long term. If you come across this on your body African Queen, it is okay and normal. 

I am starting to embrace the Sun when it kisses my legs in skirts, dresses, and shorts. I still pep talk myself before wearing anything above my ankles as I go through the whole grooming process, the shaving of my legs and exfoliating them so that they are as glossy as they can be. I bathe them in gallops of oil so as to look as if melting butter had just been smothered on my warm skin. After all of that, I gracefully wear whatever was made from the little material they had to make my short garments – after writing all of that I feel like I can be a poet (laughing out loud)

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The Sun does change everything. It brings more light where there was darkness, it stimulates growth, it warms up everything around us. It makes us happy. I do not care anymore if the Sun shines bright on my skin and exposes every flaw I have. The scars that are on my body tell a story. If I am found less attractive because of that, then that is not me. My soul purpose is to love Me.

“You have the right to feel the Sun on your skin as anyone else” -Munroe Bergdorf

Love Your Body,

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totally Vegan

It’s only February 2019 and I’m already feeling like I’ve gone through the most between the first 2 months of the year and January feeling like a whole year for me! I mean with the beginning of each year comes excitement, new opportunities, a chance to start over and all that yada yada. Contrary to that I was feeling the total opposite, I was filled with a lot of trepidation and uncertainty of what it is that I was going to work towards achieving in 2019?

Fast tracking to the beginning of 2019, I found myself overwhelmed with everything and anything that needed my attention – family, friends, work, financial circumstances, year plan, etc. The list was endless! Every 5 minutes I would find myself emotional, shedding a tear behind closed doors and at times in public. I couldn’t help but feel grateful for everything that happened to me, for me and at the same time feeling alone in all of this. Don’t get me wrong I have a good circle of friends if not the best and very supportive. I sometimes think we all have those moments where we are like okay now this is too much I don’t know maybe it’s just me.

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The one other thing that was bothering me the most was the fact that I am turning 25 soon and feeling like I lacked a sense of achievement if that makes sense? I grew up with the notion that the break-through age was 25, it was the age of ages for me and I believed that at 25 I would be that girl with everything that she had ever dreamed of but hey look at me right now?! Moving on, in all of this there was a change in how I felt about everything and everyone around me around me and a physical change as well. I was trying so hard to understand these changes and make sense of them, tried to put them into perspective but I kept on hitting a wall & ending up crying for the smallest thing like not fitting into my jeans because my thighs got broader or a my computer dying whilst working on it.

It was a very silly short period of denial and accepting the inevitable. I didn’t want to lose certain relationships with certain people, I didn’t want to grow up, I didn’t want to gain a few kilos, but it was going to happen anyway. That’s life you win some you lose some. Instead of trying so hard to keep everything from happening I gave in to the process as it was supposed to happen and let everything go. I mean I cannot control what people do with their lives or how they perceive me. I can only control who I keep around me and how they make me feel around them, and that feeling should always be comfortable – very important. There are still some friendships that I low key want to rekindle and nurture again, then there are those that are just not worth savaging and they hurt a lot.

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I am more appreciative of everything around me now and learning how to build a more kinder relationship with myself, as I grow into this beautiful woman I want to embody. From now on it is only going to get better, I will get the house I want, drive the car of my dreams, live in the cities that I love and be with the man that I deserve *smirks* come on…we all want to be needed.

So be kinder to yourself if you’re reading this. We all have our different paths that are difficult to accept especially when you see other people going in the direction that you would want your life to go in but that difference; is what makes us all so unique and life a little more interesting. Be present in your moment(s). Whatever is supposed to be yours at that time it will be there and stay there, It will all be up to you to notice it and hold it for dear life.

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Love Yours Always You Special thang!

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fruit lovers

This is probably one of the most difficult things to do but I am going to do it anyway and hope that you will not look at me differently, instead draw inspiration from my experience. I hope that this will help someone out there to reach out for help before it is too late.

You hear about mental health issues in passing on the radio, television, you read about it on some article in your favorite magazine or paper. When you read about it, you think to yourself it’s not a me thing or it would never happen to me. It happens somewhere out there in the world.

I personally never imagined going through a mental break-down and giving up on my willingness to live every day. Being in my twenties, I came to realise that the twenties in the 21st century have become one of the most difficult stages of growing up. There is so much pressure to achieve and do so many things all at the same time, All of these pressures being societal and us putting ourselves under this pressure.

I found myself out of check with my emotional, psychological, and social well-being. We wake up every day with a purpose and willingness to do something – its normal it’s what we do as human beings we LIVE. However that was not the case with me, I hated waking up, I wanted to sleep all the time. I would wake up and cry for a then, no apparent reason. It bothered me why I could not figure out why I was so sad. I mean I’m a very cheerful person always spreading that energy to everyone around me, but this time I could not translate that back to myself. t bothered me that I could not help myself out of this ditch I was in.

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Who would I speak to? Are they going to judge me? I had no idea? What about family and friends or even colleagues – could I speak to them? No, that is what I told myself at least. I cannot stress out my family in South Africa I chose to be here, in the United States so I should figure it out myself. My friends would definitely not understand, I’m the fun spirited & happy soul. I am absolutely perfect in their eyes, I cannot taint or obscure that image. I’m the strong one. They can all lean on me and I’ll figure it out. And for work colleagues absolutely not, It is unprofessional of me and I will not be treated the same.

So I continued soldiering on with the hopes that I could figure it out, instead the opposite was happening. I was pulling away from people and my usual activities. I stopped eating, I only drank water and took multivitamins. I was so overwhelmed by this cloud of sadness & grief that I could not explain and everyone around me could see it. I was slacking at work and everything was just falling apart. I was really scared and feeling anxious the whole time. I remember even writing in my journal that “I want to give up and I want it all to end, I tried and this is it”. The thoughts were too heavy for me, I was so tired of crying and feeling like I had no purpose.

In the midst of my mental break down I still had a voice in me driving me to keep on trying, even if it was to just open my eyes. It was there all the time “Lesego you’re going to live another day, wake-up”. It is one of the reasons I reached out for help at work and the reception I received was nothing but supportive. You know the company went out of their way to assist me and taking care of my first few sessions with a therapist. The best decision I ever made. I took the first step towards my well-being. Shortly after that I opened up to my close knit of friends and family about my struggle that I was experiencing.

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The therapy was very enlightening for me especially because I was not informed about the mental state of the mind or what is most often referred to as mental health awareness and how powerful the mind is. My therapist helped me to unfold all the underlying issues that were triggering all of these emotions and feelings of distress, one of the issues that came up was that I missed home – South Africa and the biggest one being that I was not realistic about everything happening around me. I was trying to do everything all at once in the pursuit of happiness and success. The job, the man of my dreams, the children, the perfect home and the car. I mean how much more desperate could I be in life huh?

With the therapy I was first able to collect myself, bring down my thought to sync with the present self and everything around me. I came to understand the development of the being and the different stages of life, understanding that each individual had a story and that it all unfolds differently for everyone. Yes there might be some similar journeys along the way but each one would have a factor that would differentiate it from the other. Secondly I learnt to take care of self – it is okay to be tired, I need to rest because I am human flesh just like everyone else. It was very important for me to do this, because I would forget to rest and eat. I’d find myself working all the time even when out with friends. My brain was always in work mode.

Lastly I learnt how to receive and accept help, very important if you are used to being self-sufficient. That is who I have always been, if there is a problem I want to fix it myself without any help and in a way it is a defense mechanism I use to protect my personal life. I’d always think that if someone tries to help me it is because they want something from me in return, however sometimes it is beyond your means and you need that second hand. You are not alone.

I hope that You reading this today will find the strength to reach out for help if it ever gets to the point where you cannot handle the pressure anymore. In everything you do stay ALIVE because You are worthy in this world.

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I am still figuring out this adulating thing and I am not sure how it works. We are all in the same bus traveling to different destinations and arriving at different times. It will all come together eventually.

To my friend Buyi. Gone too soon.

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CELEBRATE

Celebrating a trifling milestone – the big 3 months! It sounds like it’s a mere 90 days that anyone can survive anywhere in the world with the right circumstances, a great job, a small group of good friends and the right attitude right?

resilience

The answer to that question is a hell no! Well I came to the United States with a Vision and GOALS to SLAY! Well it was the other way around, culture shock slayed me and left no prisoners instead I was left feeling imprisoned with no way of escaping. In spite of it all you know what they say “You cant keep a good man down” I have mastered the art of resilience no matter what comes my way and I have mastered shutting out all the noise surrounding me to focus on the full being “ME”. No matter what always happens in your life, I want YOU reading this to always remember that you are not the only one going through it, it’s very cliché of me to write it to you but it’s true and I know it.

insight

I know this because with all of the noise happening around me I was bound to speak to someone and I did. I came to realise that I’m not the only one experiencing it. My peers and I are in the exact same shoes. I found so much solace in confiding in someone about it, it opened me up to accepting the experience and the communal experience and laughing out loud about it.

fulfilment

I am truly grateful for where I am in the present moment and for my family & friends back in South Africa who support me dearly. They get that I am fussy and finicky and particular in all difficult ways that I can be, and they get that. It makes me feel so much better. I am very hard on myself at times, okay maybe all the time (rolls eyes); all this is because I want to manifest all of my thoughts and dreams into existence in an invariable period of time. I want to be an overnight sensation, but in all of this that is not my current reality LOL. At the same time I am tired of being in the learning phase, I am totally over it – “Universe where are you in all of this? God? Hello…its me…Lesego, I’m just wondering if you’d like to meet” I mean? Come on? However, I am coming to learn that once I can fully give in to the whole process it will all come together in one piece, knowing that keeps me sane and fulfilled.

Resolution

Now what about the United Nations of new friends that I have made here in the States? Honestly, they are just as great. They don’t fully understand me as yet but they try so hard and I give that energy back in return and it works. I might lose my mind every 2 seconds trying to explain myself but that is what it is at the moment, and it is completely okay. So I’m here, I AM fully giving in to the experience finally! I think HAHA! I might be back on this page to moan and groan – knocks on wood. I AM this person now, I am celebrating every single day like it is an occasion. How many people get to work in the world’s biggest non-gaming hotel and still get to live their lives in the eyes of media and entertainment? I don’t know but right now I feel very special, so let ME BE!

Spreading All of that GOOD STUFF,

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It has been 42 days, 1008 hours, 60 480 minutes, and 3 628 800 seconds since I arrived in the land of the free and you would expect that by now I would have settled in, blending in beautifully just like it would be expected of any Pisces. That is what at the least the Stars have to say about the Zodiac sign and its children born under the sign.

The diversity in Nashville is unbelievable, with so much opportunity to immerse yourself in the other cultures and learn the different languages. I am regularly surrounded by the Filipinos, Mexican’s, Spanish Las personas, Peruvian’s, Portuguese, Arabs, African’s, Caucasians, and Asians, adding so much opportunity for misunderstanding on a daily basis. I saw absolutely no reason for such to happen until I experienced it at first hand, leaving me fuming with anger and annoyance.

To my disbelief I am a very patient person and I take the time to listen to the next person, empathize with them so that I can understand the point they are trying to get across. I even think that I empathize way too much than I should, I sometimes feel like I bare myself way too much and open up myself to detrimental emotional sabotage. In an incident I had with this person, I mentioned something I did earlier on that particular day jokingly and I thought they did not take it to head because we joke regularly. To my surprise it was not translated in the same way I understood it.

Now I am in a situation. I am being confronted about it by the friend, I have been painted in a negative point of view, the friend does not even ask me what happened and the actual person I spoke to cannot look me in the eye at this point. The anger is building up, I want to give someone a piece of my mind and I am praying to God to keep me sane.

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The piece of God in me calls my name – “Lesego take a step back…trace back your thoughts to the conversation that you had with this particular person. Is it possible that you might have been misunderstood?” Yes! This is happening in my mind at the very  same moment that I am trying to explain myself to the friend whom also, does not understand me. At this point I am praying in my language “Thixo Bawo, ndicela ubuye apha kum!(Father God please come back to Earth before i lose it! I need you to translate the words coming out of my mouth)”. I let the matter go right there and then spending the rest of my day in a foul mood.

After all was said and done, I had forgiven my friends and most importantly myself. I realized that I was more upset with myself more than anything because, I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what I said that was wrong and the answer to that was nothing. I communicated in the best way that I possibly could at that moment and there was nothing I could do to change their minds, the continued like nothing happen with no worry in their life. Here I am frustrated replaying the exact moment over and over again – there – it is here where I truly understood that it is not everyone who will understand You in the world. Sometimes you should just let things go and move on. What I am learning from the different people that I meet is that they do not dwell in the past and sometimes I feel they are out of touch with humanity; and this experience made me feel that way. Are you not in touch with your true self? Do you not empathize with other people? Do you not want to understand the point that, the next person is putting across?

I Pray that I never lose that part of me – my benevolence and protect it with all that I can, because I really love that about myself and I appreciate it with all my heart. I am truly grateful.

If you are reading this I Pray that you find it as well.

Love,

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New Beginnings, New Life, New Year, a change of Scenery, and all those things that everyone tries to resolute to every New Year.

The truth is, it is so difficult to execute every detail of your life to the Tee. I had no absolute plan or idea that today I would be writing to you all the way from Nashville, Tennessee!!! (“Yasss” just like my girl Zowla would probably say), I had a very good plan of staying fully committed to media and vigorously harassing everyone that I could so that I could make it on radio or television however, the universe and God had a way bigger plan than that I could comprehend. The Universe and God tried having this conversation with me on numerous occasions but I chose to say bye “Felicia” I am going to be a celebrity.

I’m quite sure the one sighed and the other gave me the side look…I don’t know who but, someone amongst the two decided to give me a taste of it and then turn the lights out!

Yes I did not listen and eventually in the end I gave in to it willfully and here I am today, in the land of the Free and * Ya’ll are goin’get a taste of that Southern Hospitality *

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A view of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Allow me to share my thoughts, share some jokes if I can, and keep you updated with whatever it is that is happening on a daily.

this is..#myLife

Xx,

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