Woah! What a week it’s been. I’ve had a couple of balls up in the air with a few landing where I wanted it to, and others not landing at all. That is how life goes, right? You win some and you lose some. Some people work with you and others work against you.

The challenge is how to keep my pace, motivation and stamina to keep pushing forward. I know that owning my own truth and respecting the journey plays an important role in being successful wherever God plants me.

Last week I wrote about my affinity to Maleficent, a Disney fairy Queen, and this week I’ve been reflecting on the life of Frida Kahlo. I was speaking at an event where the theme was inspired by this controversial artist.

I know a little something about what a person goes through when living with physical pain that will only get worse. For this reason I have much respect for Frida Kahlo’s persistence to do what filled her soul and to express her journey with such blunt honesty.

In our age we are largely defined by the visual content that we share on social media platforms. We are able to instantly create a community with similar ideas to us and we quickly find ourselves belonging to a social network.

As a participant in a women empowerment programme earlier this year, I became aware of what makes a good selfie and what makes a great selfie. I’m not shy to admit I’m still hopeless at this. I don’t have a discerning eye for colours, lighting and poses. I just want to capture the moment in case I miss it. And so alas from time to time, you my dear readers will be subject to a few really bad selfies from me.

This new way of living whereby we capture our lives and shared it through visual mediums with the world is exciting. Businesses are flourishing as anyone can now make their products available far more quickly to a wider stream of people. Being a social media expert is also quickly becoming a career for many people.

It’s an exciting time to live in.

I wonder though if Frida Kahlo was alive today, would she enjoy the same level of respect and admiration as she has gained since her death? Would we have “liked” the graphic and violent artwork depicting her physical and emotional pain?

Broken Frame (1944) https://www.fridakahlo.org/the-broken-column.jsp is a graphic portrayal of her semi-nude torso after her back surgery. If that appeared on our timeline would we have clicked “like” or would we have scrolled on because her post would not have improved our own social media presence?

The Two Frida’s (1939) https://www.fridakahlo.org/the-two-fridas.jsp is another symbolic portrayal of Frida Kahlo’s emotional state regarding her husband Diego Rivera. I wonder if this piece would have been reposted or would we have commented on the dress and completely ignored the broken heart?

Oh yes, then there is that facial hair depicted with clarity and confidence in many of Frida’s self portraits. How many people would have unfollowed her on social media after she might have shared one of those pieces?

What would have become of Frida then? What would have happened to her bravery and her self esteem? Would self doubt have set in and would she have stopped painting? What a travesty that would have been? And what a void that would have left for the generations since.

Whether we agree with how Frida expressed herself or not, her influence is undeniable. By using her platform as an artist to mirror her life, and in turn by mirroring the lives of many people who face insurmountable struggles; Frida gave heartache, strength and courage a face. Her work is honest and raw. It is untainted by the influence of how many Instagram followers she lost or gained.

It seems that social media statistics seems is the benchmark for what we decide to feed our intellect and our hearts with. For myself, I hope to remain true by continuously living the truth of my journey with integrity and bravery. Our children need to know that we were more than perfectly taken selfies. They will need to know that we were genuine in our joy as well as in our pain.

So tell your story.

Even when they unfollow you.

Someone, somewhere is waiting for your bravery to set them free.

Here I am in the final week of semi final judging for the Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa Women Empowerment Programme. I’m not nervous. I’m both excited and nostalgic as I think about my best moments so far.I’ve lost weight and found my energy and strength again. I’ve been forced to take better care of myself and that has been good for me. In my motivational talks to women, I always drive home the point that we must be kind to ourselves first but I did not know how to do that before this competition.

I’ve also met amazing people. The staff and owners at the BloBar and Meyersdal Nail and Beauty Studio with their vibrancy and laughter was always refreshing. My cousins too have taught me so much about belief and empowerment and love. Through their companies, Shipping and General Transport and Supreme Rubber Rollers they gifted me the opportunity to “do me” by sponsoring me for this competition.

My sister-in-law took care of all my social media so that I could juggle everything else. My mum, my aunts and my girlfriends pulled together outfits like fairy godmothers. My husband and children have been so supportive and respectful of the times I had to be away from them.

People have written to me or called me or stopped me at events to tell me that they admire me for doing this competition at this age and as a mother of three. Women have shared that they are re-evaluting their lives and weighing up what challenges they would like to tackle.

It makes me glad to know that my journey to explore my womanhood in this way is meaningful to other women too. It’s been a wonderful opportunity and I am proud of myself for doing this.

I also recognise too that I am not on a journey of discovery because I already found myself at the age of twenty-two years old. I knew then who I was and what I was made off.

This journey this year has been about showing my second daughter Talisa that life is more than just facing down one challenge after another. It’s also about enjoying the moment and having a sense of adventure. I got to step out of my comfort zone and meet people I would not ordinarily have met.

The other semi-finalists are each amazing and powerful in the own right. I couldn’t have been amongst a group of more beautiful ladies both inside and out.

So here’s to them; for their drive, their determination, their friendship and our sisterhood. I will be sad that after Friday we will never all be together again. The top twenty-five Mrs South Africa finalists will be announced and their lives will never be the same.

In all the possibilities that lie before me, I am sure of this: I’ve given all of me to the people that count and to the opportunities that were presented to me. I know for sure who I am, and that is my gift to me.

Be True To You, Always.

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