What is it that makes you jump up and greet the day? What keeps you from giving into the fears that yell out to stop? How do you keep yourself motivated?

I’ve stared down some dead ends and often when there was a choice to be made, it meant choosing between all tough alternatives.

Even now, everyday I face the greatest and toughest challenge of all. Myself.

I’m made up of too many things that tell me I should just accept mediocre. I should be satisfied with just being defined as a mother, or “the mother of the child with the disability”.

I should accept that all the mountains I’ve scaled have defined me and like the Lady Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings; “I should retreat to the North” and remain forever just as I am.

The thing is many of the mountains I’ve scaled were not of my choosing. So many times due to necessity and for the greater good of the people involved, I made decisions just based on getting through the moment.

Still I am mindful that on so many levels I have been blessed with having made a magnificent impact in my world. I am grateful for having had the ability to raise three respectful and amazing children and to be in a marriage that has only grown ever stronger over the years. Yet, I want something more, something defined only by myself and not by the mountains before me.

It’s like being the student who scores an A plus in Maths, then becomes a maths wizz with a high paying job, but actually wanted to own a patisserie and serve great desserts and coffee. No, I’m not a maths whizz and no, I’m not in a high paying job. But you get the analogy. I wanted to do what sets my soul on fire.

Here I am, a day away from turning forty years old and am exhilarated by the revelation that I can still pursue ME.

I know that sounds so strange but for twenty years or so I’ve been doing what most women are taught to do: to put yourself at the bottom of the list of people to care for. As wives and mothers it seems honourable to leave yourself out of your circle of care. Yet if you aren’t looking after yourself; you can’t really look after anyone else.

While I understood the concept of self care, I had no idea how to put myself at the top of the list.

I became a woman who stopped looking in the mirror because I didn’t want to see the girl who wanted more from life.

That girl in the mirror kept reminding me that I was smart, funny, maybe needed to shed a few kilograms but still looked okay. I was also thoughtful, passionate, hard working, powerful, kind, wise, determined, a dependable daughter and sister, and a really dedicated mum and a fantastic wife. She would not let me forget that God loved me.

That girl annoyed me. She scared me. She frustrated me. Yet in all these years she has never left me. Now, as I surrendered to the process of being a semi-finalist in the Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa Women Empowerment Programme and also pursuing my love for writing as a Blogger, I finally understand her.

I am everything life has made me and I am also everything I dare to be. It was never about choosing between being all those roles that life called me to be. It was about accepting that I am those roles…. And more.

So I can answer my own questions that I began this post with.

I get myself out of bed every morning excited by all the possibilities still to come. I meet the day with the ache in my heart for all that I have yet to live through, but I rise knowing that God’s grace has brought me this far and will take me to where I need to be. The mornings bring me hope for another chance to be more than I thought I could be.

That girl from the mirror is no longer in there. She is where she should be: exploring what sets her soul on fire.

She is unafraid and unashamed. She is ME.

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