Sunday, August 22, 2010

I am who I am

I’ve had a strange few months of trying to get to grips with who I am (yet again!) Isn’t this supposed to be a done deal by the time you’ve spent all your teenage years grappling with it??? Apparently not. It seems with each new stage of our lives, we have to discover our equilibrium once more – it isn’t a natural progression, but rather something we really have to grapple with.
So with the advent of a new baby, I find myself in the midst of round 3,041 in the boxing ring of life. The fight is with my deadliest opponent – myself. And to be honest, I’m not sure I have a clue about how to deal with this opponent, despite years of practice. She is a chameleon, a shape shifter, a mystery. Just when I think I know her, some new aspect bursts forth and makes me question her all over again.
But I digress… Here’s the point: I’m an A-type personality, always have been and as any true A-type will tell you, that’s just the way it is. I LIKE doing the impossible. I get a kick out of studying two degrees at once. I like juggling a career, a husband and a kid whilst running a project in Soweto. This is just who I am.
But since I’ve become a mom, my desire to do all things has not been greeted with the same enthusiasm it once was. To put it in plain English, I have felt serious pressure to stop being Miss Do-it-all and just focus on being the best mom I can be. The current theme of this pressure goes something like, “Just enjoy your pregnancy.” (That particular statement makes me want to induce food-poisoning in the speaker. Perhaps after a day of constant nausea, they’ll think twice about glibly chucking THAT one out!)
For some reason, I stupidly decided to take on this new challenge and go with the whole “yummy-mummy who does tea in Sandton” routine. I’m still trying. It’s not working.
In the process, I have sustained major collateral damage. In trying to fit into a mould that simply is not accommodating my current pear-shaped figure, I’ve simply lost huge chunks of what makes me me.
So after months of swimming around in this self-imposed limbo state, I’ve finally realised that it’s ok to want to study and work and write and be a mom, and whatever else takes my fancy. It’s ok because it’s what works for me. By shrinking all these aspects of myself down to the one major role of mom, I stopped being the mother that I was made to be and started playing out some shadow version of someone else’s life.
We are not meant to shadow the lives of others. Yes, we can learn from others, take their advice, and even ask for guidance and mentorship. But in all this, we are never meant to become carbon copies, even of our most adored heroes. The reality is that we will never live up to them - for the simple reason that we weren’t meant to be them. And so we will always feel like we’re lost when what’s really happening is that we’ve just got the wrong directions.
I have felt small, insignificant and lost for the past few months. In acknowledging who I am and what I’m meant to do with my life, I’ve felt the blood rushing through my veins and reinvigorating my senses once more. I feel as if I am waking up after a long, drug-induced sleep and it’s beautiful!
Sure, people are questioning my sanity as I start taking on big projects just weeks before my second son is due. But this time, I choose me.


  1. Really good writing skills! Glad to hear you're becoming more you. I think seeing that you are helps other people do the same.


  2. Always be you ... it can only benefit your family!

  3. Awesome Leis! I am amazed by your capacity but now I see it's who you are. You're not trying to be Wonder Woman. You're being you. Love that! I'm going through the same actually. Maybe it's because we're nearly 30 ha ha!