Monthly Archives

January 2016

Guest Blogger

Love Yourself…

I am so relieved. At twenty something I am finally meeting Makanaka. It is only now that I am truly certain that I have grown into myself and met the woman I always knew I was going to be.

It all started when I woke up one morning feeling so heavy and so lost. From the outside looking in, everything about my life was dare I say, “perfect’. I am a graduate, was about to start my Masters degree and  I was working in my dream job. My personal life was lit, I was in love with a magical man and socially I was either pub crawling, eating at high-end restaurants or travelling. While I loved my life and was full of gratitude for everything I had been blessed with, inside I was broken.

Events from my past that I hadn’t dealt with came to haunt me and I found myself spiralling out of control. I didn’t want to feel pain anymore. I didn’t want my past to continue to influence my behaviour. I didn’t want my past to control the way in which I dealt with things. I just wanted to let go. I was in tears – a hot mess.

To outsiders I looked like I loved myself. I truly thought I did. It wasn’t until I learnt that loving yourself isn’t only about being content with your physical appearance it is about practicing self-compassion and self-care. I evaluated my behaviours, my actions and the things I said; I couldn’t believe that some of the things I said were so fuelled by dislike of myself, that some of the things I did were a result of masked pain. As someone who feels everything deeply and intensely, I was also my worst enemy because I would evaluate everything harshly. Instead of celebrating the mini milestones along the way, I was always quick to analyse what I could’ve done differently – constantly pushing myself over the edge.

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They say it takes a single event or circumstance can move a person to change, to love themselves and to evolve. For me it wasn’t a single event, it was the occurrence of events. When you are on your spiritual journey you are met with tests. I reached a point when I was like “yaaaaaas I have conquered self-love” but I found myself in a situation were I thought I was making the right choices then the question of “why is it your well-being is secondary”. At that time, I thought I had self-love on lock but I didn’t. It was then that i had to make a decision that saved my life; literally

I chose to fall in love. I fell in love and I felt a love that was so pure, so genuine, so understanding, so compassionate, so raw and so real. I feel in love with this phenomenal woman who responds to the name Makanaka. During this self love adventure, I realised that when we speak of love, or when we are taught of love it is always about romantic love which you share with your chosen lover, the love you share with your family and friends etc. but we are NEVER taught to love ourselves.

One of the quotes that stuck with me on my daily readings was – “you deserve the love that you so freely give to the world”. How can you love purely when you do not love yourself? How are you supposed to know what love feels like?

When I started loving myself, I did the following:

  • listed and celebrated what it was about my character that I loved
  • observed my characteristics that required growth
  • identified what had caused ill-feelings of myself and
  • started listening to the things I said about myself and how they affected me.

Another aspect of self-love was embracing the blackness that is I. Its no secret I had always loved being a descendant of the Shona people but this time it was different. In the past was about embracing in the revolutionary and rebellious manner – wearing my hair naturally and incorporate an Afro-centric flavour to it. This time it was about fully embodying the spirit of a warrior woman and taking it back to the roots. Thing is the bodies of women of colour has been so sexualised that we don’t even realise the magic that is in us. I did some research on African women leaders, queens and warriors, as I learnt more and more about our people I became more and more comfortable to walk in my skin and to be proud of who I am at the core of my being.

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Seeing the words in black and white I wouldn’t change a single thing. Every single thing that happened to me in my past was all part of the plan for me to be the person I am today. What keeps me motivated is my promise to myself – to always be authentic and to the true essence of my being.

Trust me I have days when I doubt myself and days when I just can’t be bothered. Thankfully, the doubt doesn’t last, the bad days don’t last and the moments of sorrow don’t last, joy is just around the corner. In other words stay true to your authentic self. There is no harm in doing you boo boo just as long as you are not hurting anyone or doing you with an egotistical mind-set, think Kanye.

Love yourself wholeheartedly and do not be afraid to go after what your heart desires. Life is too short to be mediocre.

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My Life

You know your a parent when…

Look at those precious feet. Super cute right? I am not just saying that because its my baby. Without doubt women reading this are clutching at their ovaries and men are turning in their player cards determined to find “the one” so they can sow their seed. Teeny tiny baby feet have that effect on grown folk.

Jokes. Sorta. Not really.

Right now my mini me is being super impossible She doesn’t want her dad, doesn’t want to be breast feed, doesn’t need a nappy change. She’s not too hot or too cold, she is just right temperature wise. Looking at her eyes they are wide awake and doesn’t look like she will be going to bed anytime soon. We don’t know what she wants after eliminating a whole of host of possible solutions.

One thing is for certain. She wants her mama – me. She just wants to be held? Easy. That stops the crying. Mama has lots to do though – finish up cooking, cleaning up because she likes things just so. Not to mention blogging. As legitimate of an excuse as it is to say, “I have a baby” the time has some what passed for it to be valid excuse – tales of incompetence do not interest people. Routines need to be established so that things can get back to normal.

In other words, our little person who weighs less than 10 kilos will no longer be a dictator. As parents we are going to over throw (coup) and reclaim power. We going to work hard to get a solid routine in place to insure that we can literally GET our LIFE.

Right now I am writing this blog post with bub strapped on to me using a baby harness – something like this but I am dressed in daggy home clothes. Initially bub resists being restricted but I think the realisation that she ain’t going nowhere, the sound of my heartbeat or something eventually calms her down. Her being attached to me means my hands are free to do other things. Baby girl then closes her eyes and sleeps – in protest, I guess.

Being a parent is not of the greatest joys that I have experienced in my life time. At the same damn time it can be incredibly challenging and frustrating. Which got me thinking, how do you know that you have crossed over and are slowly morphing into your parents?

You know you are a parent when:

  • You sneak around like a ninja in your own damn house so you don’t make noise and wake the baby.
  • Vomit, urine or poo on you or your clothes no longer bothers you.
  • You spend ages trying to put them down to sleep as they resist it. They finally go to sleep and you realise you miss them and can’t wait for them to wake up.
  • You have to schedule a time for anything and everything. All the things you took for granted e.g. shopping, using the bathroom, taking a shower.
  • The sounds of baby farts and poos excite you because it means things are moving.
  • A 10 minute uninterrupted shower feels like a spa date!
  • You don’t wear white.
  • You drop the kids off at day care and drive to work listening to nursery rhymes….and singing along solo!
  • When you’re using every ounce of energy to keep your eyes open and keep it together.

Yes, it’s all true and I am probably not selling the parent trap. I have to say though, and it will sounds incredibly cliche but even with all of the above your heart is so full of indescribable love and life now makes sense.

Special shout out and a heartfelt thank you to other new mothers who also contributed to this post.

How did you know you were now a parent?

Lifestyle, My Life, Observations, Sisterhood

Got Milk?

You are probably wondering where I got the above image from. Well, I simply googled, “black woman breastfeeding“. Some of the images that appeared were a little strange, others infuriating, but the chosen picture seemed to fit the bill – even if those nails are in desperate need for a manicure. For a brief minute I did consider using  a picture of myself breastfeeding, but that may have been a little awkward for all of us.

So yeah….here we are.

You know I have had this blog post sitting in my drafts section waiting for the right moment. Ironically being sleep deprived because of a demanding breastfeeding schedule has meant I haven’t been able to release the post. In my last post I shared my birth experience, so I guess the natural progression is to share my experience breastfeeding.

Prenatal

Before I had the baby I had made the decision that I was going to breastfeed. I made this decision because I knew breastfeeding extended beyond the nutritional benefits. With that in mind I was keen to learn as much as I could. I remember being about 30 plus weeks pregnant and  going to work one day and telling my colleagues, “I am going to be leaving early today because I am attending a breast feeding class in the afternoon“. My female colleagues who are already mothers looked on in amusement. One colleague who breast fed her child for a total period of one week commented, “Why would you want to breast feed? Its gross”. That was met with a cold glare from me. Another colleague simply said, ” You don’t have the baby yet, how are you going to breastfeed?“. I laughed and simply responded with, “At this rate if they have a class on how to push during labour – I will be going”. With that I silenced the critics.

Later that afternoon I was delayed leaving the office and got stuck in traffic. This meant that I arrived at the class late. When I arrived classroom I was given a caucasian dummy dolls so that we could learn and practise the correct breastfeeding technique – I am an African woman. Even though I half expected them to have dolls from different nationalities – I didn’t make a fuss.

The class was packed and I and had no choice but to sit in the front row. Unfortunately for me being at such close proximity to the teacher made me an easy target to demonstrate to the class. Picture this I was at the front of the class with a big white breast strapped over my clothes with velcro demonstrating breastfeeding with my caucasian dummy baby. It was very awkward yet amusing given my skin tone.  Laugh, because its funny. Anyway, all that aside I walked away with knowledge and confidence to breast feed my baby.

Postpartum

After childbirth, the first few days were hard. Like really hard. Harder than I imagined them to be. All I wanted to do was feed the baby, but it just wasn’t happening. I had sore breasts and nipples and a hungry baby. At that stage my body was only producing colostrum –  a nutrient-rich “pre-milk” or “practice milk.” My baby girl was not only hungry but irritated by the quantity or lack thereof colostrum. After everything I had been through to deliver the baby we didn’t want her to starve. We made the decision to feed her with formula, just to ensure she was full.

About four days after giving birth the milk really started free flowing much to my baby’s delight. I was relieved too as this was a rather stressful period for everyone – mum, dad and even the grandparents. Tell you what though, I learnt quickly that I needed to apply paw paw ointment on my nipples after each feed to reduce the pain and likelihood of them resembling a cheap vintage leather bag.

So what am I saying?

…Did I need to go to breastfeeding class? Probably not. With the baby in my arms it was instinctive, we both new what we had to do.

As I read through this post myself and see the written words it seems more real. Its true, I am really a mother. Lately, I question if things have happened or if it was a figment of my imagination. No I am not insane. Its an incredible feeling, holding her in my arms. I am getting hardly any sleep and even though I have post graduate qualifications and extensive work experience my new job description is to be a 24 hour personal assistant to a relentless boss who doesn’t pay well – my baby girl. You have to laugh because even with all that it’s only now that it’s sinking in – I repeat, I am someones mother.

Like any new mother with a new born its true – I could probably do with more sleep. The Louis Vuitton bags under my eyes can tell you that. Its almost like I am just going through the motions – survival mode.

One unexpected bonus has been the increased breast size. Lets just say, there has been many a selfie lingerie shoots for future reference.

A lot of my friends also had babies in 2015 and speaking to them has made me realise how lucky I am. Right now bub and I have a pretty good routine, we wake up twice through out the night for a breast feed and a nappy change. When I get out of bed to breastfeed, even if its an ungodly hour of 2am or something like – I cherish the moment, as this is our time to bond. Sounds cliche, but it truly is mother and daughter time.

I have been blessed to have an angel in my care who looks to be to guide them through life as their mother.

My name is Tinashe and I produce milk to feed my off spring. Whats your super power?

Fashion, Maternity, My Life

2015 Looking Back|Moving Forward to 2016…

Boom!

Just like that we are in the second week of 2016. We last had a conversation in 2015 so let me begin by wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Most of you are back at work, studies or whatever it is you do. I am on maternity leave doing the best job in the world – being a mother to our baby girl.

2015 was such a magical year for me, so I wanted to look back and reflect on the year that was. Better late than never right?

…lets get started.

I guess the first question to be answered is, how did it all begin?

Well, I remember it just it was yesterday. It was at the end of 2014 and I was sitting with family enjoying the last of the festive season and I declared, ‘this time next year things will be very different!’ I didn’t know how, but I knew that change was imminent. Below are some of the highlights of my 2015.

Relocation

In January  hubby and I relocated to the capital city of Australia, Canberra. Together we said goodbye to family and friends and started afresh in a brand new city. Just the two of us. This is the first time that we had to completely depend on each other in order for us to get settled. Think apartment hunting, furniture shopping, electricity set up, internet connection etc. Lets just say we got to know each other really really well real quick – understanding and appreciating our differences in order to function as a well oiled machine.

Engagement

In April we became engaged. At the time I was fighting a nasty cold that just wouldn’t go away. I was covered in Vix, had tissues close by because my nose was running faster that Hussain Bolt. A sight for sore eyes. When my hubby proposed it was a complete surprise as I thought it was just going to be our regular Friday date night. Long story short, I said YES! I mean this man had me the moment he said, “hello” all those years ago.

Pregnancy

I took one picture with hubby and everyone went crazy asking if I was expecting. I couldn’t understand it and was a little offended that people thought I looking fat. Chubbier than usual. It was the weekend we were letting our hair down at a festival and eating rubbish food and drinking sugary adult beverages that make you bloated. In the photo I was wearing a horizontally striped dress so that didn’t do me any favours. At the time I just laughed off the speculation and attributed it to being a food baby. Three weeks later I missed period. Long story short our baby girl was born 21st November 2015.

Traditional Wedding

“Dowry, Lobola, Roora” – the bride prize paid by a prospective husband.

In July we were traditionally married. I had been a witness to other traditional weddings – but it was an absolute pleasure to take part in the process as the bride. I got to not only see the process but also gain a deeper understanding of my culture. I am proud that we kept our culture alive even whilst still in diaspora.

From that day in July in eyes of our family and friends we are now man and wife. We are still yet to have our white wedding to legalise our marriage but we are in the process of arranging that. Stay tuned.

Glory be to God! That right there was a look back at 2015.

So whats in store for 2016?

Well I don’t believe in new years resolutions because its all a load of B.S. Time is man made, so the turn of the clock past midnight doesn’t automatically mean you can say, “new year, new me”. Personally I strive to constantly be working something that we will create the best version of myself. That being said I would like to share what I am working towards in 2016. It goes a little something like this:

  • Gotta have faith. I want to attend church at least once a month. If I can go to more services – GREAT!
  • Eat my salad, no dessert. Daily exercise is coming back in a big way. I have now had the baby, obtained clearance from my doctor and its time to loose the baby fat, slow and steady.
  • Knowledge is power.  I want to read more, more and more. Being on maternity leave I want to take advantage of this opportunity and read books that I have been eyeing off.
  • Cherishing God. Family. Hustle. In that order. Be the best daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend that I can be.

I spent most of 2015 pregnant and dressing the growing bump was one of the most exciting challenges I have ever faced. I get goosebumps thinking about it. I leave you with images of my five favourite maternity outfits of 2015.

I hope your 2016 is off to a flying start!

IamTinashe