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Is your life defined by labels?

One of the things someone once told me when X was diagnosed with dyspraxia that it’s a label but they should never live the label.

“Your only purpose is to grow beyond the limitations you have chosen to impose upon yourself for this lifetime. “

It has taken me 2yrs and my own personal journey to completely understand what that meant. I mean, sure we know what it means… But yet we still find it difficult to fully comprehend that. It’s as if a label becomes our excuse, when it’s really just a diagnostic term used by professionals or society. And we gladly use it to judge, criticise, condemn or explain differences.

I have gained large insights by going within myself and going through one of the most profound journeys I have ever been through. It’s one that transforms my very foundations.

I myself have lived a label, one given to me by society but it matters not what society labels us as. The defining difference is whether we label ourselves as such and allow our lives to be defined by labels – especially negative ones.

The questions you should be asking yourself is “do you like the label”? “Do you want to live that label”? “Is the label who you really are, what you really want and who you wish to be”? If that/those labels is what you allow others to judge you by and what you choose to live by then so it shall be and remain.

The ultimate personal victory comes when you are able to free yourself from the enslavement of your own mind and thoughts. When you are able to forgive yourself for living with and allowing your life to be defined by the label you stuck on yourself.

Are you a battered woman? Are you a depressed person? Are you a drug addict? It can be any question you want it to be, it can be any aspect of your past or present you want it to be. See yourself as broken, battered, hurt, depressed or any other – and that you shall remain.

The choice is yours completely and fully. How you think and what you think shapes your life. You choose whether you corrupt and defile your ideals or not.

It’s about as simple as saying: as much as I have dark brown hair, so too does my son have dyspraxia. Being called a brunette is a label, but it’s not a life defining or soul destroying label. It just is – it’s what you will use to define me. Much the same as X has dyspraxia. He is not a dyspraxic he is my son, a person, his own self…He is Xavier. So he may not quite be what his peers are…does it matter? Absolutely not! It is the label that professionals use to define the differences between him and his peers.

Is it a label I choose for him to be defined by? It has been – largely due to my own thoughts of wanting to explain his differences. Why excellence may not be achieved right now.

Through my own transformation not only have I destroyed my own label that defiled my ideals but I have been able to destroy the label I have chosen for my son to live with and the one label I defined him by. It’s unfair and largely flawed because he is and we are far more than what labels are.

I am not a special needs Mom, I am a Mom. X is not a dyspraxic he is my son.

You are not your disease/diagnosis, your past, your present or your future. You are who YOU want to be. Who and what you CHOOSE.

Never again will a label define me or my boys again. Regardless of what society and professionals choose to label us by. Those labels will be just that, your labels, not ours.

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Divorce through the eyes of mine… The boys

Divorce involving children is a completely different experience to the divorce where you can make that clean break away.

I have had to hear from many different sources how the “kids are going to suffer”. These words come from both the married and divorced with children.

Now I am not oblivious to the fact that there will be challenges and periods of difficulty. I am also aware that words have serious impact on the psyche. I also know that words can make or break people depending on what we choose to believe and how we react to those words.

Every single human grows up with some insecurity no matter their upbringing. Whether in a household with 2 or 1 parent, privileged or not, good or bad upbringing. And we all deal with them as adults.

As I said before, I refuse to accept the worst and all the negatives people speak over my boys. As their mother I either accept that they are going to suffer or not. They are very young still and what I as a mom believe for them is what will come to pass in their lives. And suffering is what no parent wants for their children. So I will say it again – speak the words you want, try to make them suffer and I will refuse to let your words live in our/their lives. I do not accept it and I will not believe it. Those words are simply like a curse people choose to speak – I accept only the blessings, not the curses. If you feel the need to curse, best you reevaluate yourself and why you would wish to speak negatives over my boys.

Having gone through the dyspraxia diagnosis with Xavier and living with the challenges that comes from it, I’m in a position that makes accepting the challenges of any situation a whole lot easier. Through the challenges I always see the positives and I make no time to focus on the negatives. We work through the challenges but we don’t live with negatives.

My boys are at an age where they don’t understand the concept of marriage or divorce. They are also not completely immune to the change in the relationship dynamics.

Of course my boys are asking for their Dad. They know their routine has changed and that he’s not around like he use to be. They know something is amiss. Even when I was in Rustenburg with the boys and their Dad went to work, they would ask for him. Only now, it’s a lot different.

All I as their mom can do is to talk to them like I always have as we go through things. Xavier never flinched when he had blood drawn because I remained calm and explained everything that was going to happen before it did. If we go for haircuts, outings, you name it, I communicate these things with my boys because this prevents major melt downs, fears or refusal to participate.

I’ve explained that Mom and Dad aren’t going to live together anymore, that Mom is going to find work and they will start new schools and make new friends (the school part makes them super excited). They know Dad lives in Rustenburg and we live in Joburg.

Memphis is a busy body that goes about life in an almost full frontal assault kind of way. He’s easily distracted by play and mostly asks for his Dad when I discipline him or if he can’t do what he wants to do. And I must add that discipline is something you can’t forego because you may feel sorry for your children and how they may be feeling because that will only create more instability and uncertainty for them.

Xavier is a secretive, sensitive soul. He can easily withdraw and his inability to communicate and express himself verbally about how he feels means that there are days that I just need to cuddle up to him and hold him. Also trying to help him communicate his feelings. He has gone from “wanting Daddy”, to “want to see Sascha and Oscar”, to “go to Daddy’s house” multiple times a day, they change daily somedays more than others. I will try to communicate that he may be feeling sad and now when he feels sad he’ll come tell me and we take it from there. He’s also giving me a million hugs a day. He’s looking for reassurance and security.

My boys love riding in both their Oupas bakkies and yesterday I let them drive with my Dad. Memphis was in his element and Xavier cried because I didn’t go with. I know he’s just wanting to know I’ll be there with him. I told him I’ll wait for him at the house and be here when he gets back. He went into total melt down but when he got back he was a calm, happy boy. And I was here.

I have in the past month always responded with the day they will see their Dad depending on the arrangements. The boys will argue with each other over whether it’s Tuesday or Friday (the days of the week is still a work in progress – you see). So for self satisfaction it’s a Tuesday for Memphis and a Friday for Xavier even if the reality is only a Saturday. However, because of the way things have been going and the uncertainty of dates and times my standard response to when they ask for Dad is “you’ll see him soon”. Because I honestly don’t know when they will see him again.This weekend they should’ve, Today they should’ve but they didn’t. This is my challenge but I work with/through it.

He phones them most days and the boys love hearing his voice and engaging in conversation. Sometimes very random, silly moments too. It’s precious to watch. Memphis likes to respond with “see you later, Daddy. Love you Daddy” but Xavier refuses to say goodbye or “love you,dad” at the moment. I won’t force him, but I still try every time.

So as you can see, Xavier is finding it more challenging than Memphis at the moment. I don’t ever ignore their talk about their dad. I engage with them and we talk about their Dad and how they feel and I acknowledge their statements, requests, needs and wants. I also don’t talk any divorce matters or frustrations in front of my boys. They may not understand but they also don’t need to hear those things. As young as they are. When we talk ‘Dad’, it’s only positives.

And I am also pleased to report that it only took 2 weeks for my boys to stop swearing. This makes things a whole lot more pleasant for me.

Apart from the obvious missing parent in the house, routine stays the same. AND my boys have slept till 6 every morning this week a wonderful change from their 4:30-5:30 am wake up. Nap times have become easier too.

My boys are awesome, super stars that fill my days with countless treasures. We laugh and have fun and play(and tidy too) just like we would any other day.

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Here’s to 2014

A Happy New Year to all as they say.

New Years is a time when the world is hypnotised by hope. A time of year many think is an opportunity to let go of yesterday and start new today. Yes, New Years is a significant gateway we encounter. A rather visible one. We all know in essence the things we haven’t dealt yesterday will follow us today and until such time that we deal with it.

Yesterday was merely the end of the calendar year. Today the start. There’s no need to wait for Christmas and Easter to pass to start a diet. Or New Years to stop old habits and make changes.

Everyday has a gateway. You just need to recognize it and have courage to pass through it.

I leave you with this very apt Thought.

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Don’t be apathetic and wait for “better days” to make changes. Start each day with the thought that today is a better day.

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2013 – a review of my year

Stole this MeMe from Sharon who stole it from Tanya who stole it from
Nafisa. I don’t really do reviews of my year. But sometimes the reflections are good to go through.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

I saw Cape Town for the 1st time in my life. I didn’t do much sight seeing that wasn’t the purpose but my hosts made sure I saw a lot in 3 days. I also learnt many aspects of my fathers trade – tool & die making and I’ve made my boys their new beds which are almost complete.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t really make any. But I came across a list I wrote over a year ago and pleased to say I have done most of what I had jotted down. The most important ones anyway. I have my new path in mind for the new year and will set out to achieve all of those in the next year. (Or less than a year) there is one that will take longer than a year.

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

Like I do every year … At home, with my boys, sleeping. I’m most likely to be babysitting my nieces and nephews too. I’m not much of a party animal and drunk doesn’t work for me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Nope.

5. What countries did you visit?

None. I wanted to go to the UK and Germany this year – but that got canned. Depending on how 2014 plays out I may do that still in the new year.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Sleep. Space. My piano.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

7 Dec. The day I got told to pack my bags. Also the day I left my life behind as I knew it to move forward. The end of a challenging 2yrs.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Regaining my strength and confidence early on in the year.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Perhaps my biggest failure is that I don’t see anything I’ve done or haven’t done as a failure. I can’t think of anything.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I popped my ankle in January at my cousins garden wedding in heels. And then proceeded to stuff it up more by walking on it on the beach. I’m a Mom, we don’t have time to put up our feet. Even if we’re injured. It’s almost a year and I still battle some days with it. No I never saw a Dr, I probably should have.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Uh. Leather? Does that count? I haven’t bought anything else apart from the normal day to day stuff.

12. Where did most of your money go?

My boys for sure.

13. What song will always remind you of 2013?

Collapse the light into earth – Porcupine Tree.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Read.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Talking.

16. What were your favourite TV shows?

House of Cards. The Fixer. And of course anything crime channel.
BUT I look forward to having NO TV in the very near future – just books.

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I really don’t hate anyone. Not even my MIL. Life is far too short to be occupied by hating others.

18. What was the best book you read?

Shitty Mum. It was also the only book I read this year. It was a short book and I read it on the flight from Cape Town to Jhb. Hence, I’m feeling deprived of books this year. I have a stack of
Books waiting to be read.

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Hmmm, perhaps not a discovery, but more a rediscovery. Apocalyptica – Amplified and Samael. Those 2 have their purpose in very different settings.

20. What was your favourite film of this year?

I’m terrible with remembering movie titles or which I might have watched this year. Despicable Me 2 probably tops it. It was my boys 1st movie. Memphis slept until the Nee-Naw and Xavier was a champ.

21. What did you do on your birthday

That was faaar too long ago to remember. The up side is that my birthday isn’t that far away. Maybe I’ll remember next year. Unlikely.

22. What kept you sane?

My thoughts. As they always do.

23. Who did you miss?

My sister in the UK. Miss her all the time! But I got to spend time with my nephews this year which was pretty awesome.

24. Who was the best new person you met?

Hmmm… new person? My best friends baby girl was born in March. That’s what you mean by new person right?

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:

Put Me 1st.
If you can’t do for yourself what you do for others, no one else is going to do it for you.

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Divorce through the eyes of mine…parte dois… A thank you

I’d like to say thank you to everyone that’s been concerned and the well wishes and strength, the admiration in dealing with it, the kind words and encouragement you’ve sent my way re: divorce. In all honesty I don’t really need it but I do appreciate it.

I am the pick up and move forward type. I am also very much dead certain and don’t look back when I make up my mind. I haven’t been consumed by the negatives, unfortunately there are times I need to deal with the negatives or ignore them.

I don’t wallow in self pity nor do I seek any recognition or reassurance. I’m not looking for pity or “sorry’s”. I don’t even need support, understanding or acceptance of my choices, flaws and actions.

There are those that talk to me because they want the details or want to be there for me because maybe I need someone to talk to. There are those that listen with the occasional input. There are those that look at me with pity(the worst) because this must be so hard on me. And then there is my parents, who just listen. They say VERY little. They mostly wait for me to talk. They understand how I operate. They know they’re allowed to voice their opinions and concerns. But ultimately they will support both sides without taking sides and they will never make our choices for us. They are pretty awesome to have as parents. Sometimes a little frustrating because you want them to say something. However, my
Dad doesn’t like confrontation or uncomfortable topics and my mother processes a lot like me – by herself over a period of time.

And then there are my favorites , my friends and my sister in the UK. They want the details but really couldn’t give a shit as long as they know I’m good. Our conversations go completely off track as they always do no matter how serious and become something a little more warped. We share tears of laughter because we can be that ridiculous with each other. And let’s face it, there’s a lot about life we can laugh about because there’s a lot that is just totally ridiculous and absurd in this world. And laughter is a pretty good escape from the seriousness of it all.

Through these past 2 weeks I’ve been a tad frustrated because the people I really want to talk to because they make me laugh are the ones I’ve set aside to appease the other minds that want the details or want to add their input and perspective. So much so I had to take a walk through the botanical gardens today to just quite my mind. It was the best thing I could’ve done and that renewal is glorious. I feel fantastic and whatever stress my body has felt has disappeared. Monday looks incredibly gorgeous from where I sit – under the cloudy skies and shiny stars.

So a heartfelt thank you to those concerned. And a not so much of a thank you to those that look at me in pity.

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Divorce through the eyes of mine…

In a week where our country bids farewell to one of the greatest leaders and politicians the world has ever seen. So too do I bid farewell to the life I’ve know for the past 6 years. As much as our nation mourns the loss, they celebrate his life. So too do I have my own sense of loss to deal with and still I look forward to the life ahead with copious amounts of positivity.

I do not wish to bore you with the details of my dirty laundry only to express certain thoughts throughout this process of divorce. Baring in mind this isn’t my 1st divorce, it’s my 2nd.

As you may have read in a previous post, we were going to try the separation in the new year anyway. Clearly that alone speaks volumes in terms of where our marriage was at. However, those plans have changed considerably due to the events of last week Saturday and separation is no longer an option and divorce is the decision.

I am OK for those that want to know and by OK I mean I’m still awesome, just a little subdued. I am calm, peaceful and focused. It matters not what life throws at me or what consequences I face due to my own choices in life. I do not spiral. I cannot. I deal with pressure fairly well. Yes, if it wasn’t for my body that gave me achy shoulders I may not actually be able to recognise stress. Right now it’s a matter of process and priority. My material things are fairly disorganised, it annoys me that I need to live with my parents for a while, it’s not the ideal time to look for work, but it’s not the impossible. At least my mind is organised and free of clutter and chaos.

Our focus and I use the word ‘our’ loosely is on the boys because my husband doesn’t quite cope with things as well as I do. It is no longer a process of trying to salvage a marriage. It’s trying to avoid the ugly side of divorce. The opposed divorce that adds to conflict and breakdown in communication.

The dynamics of our situation is that we have 2 little boys that CAN have the best of both worlds. But it takes the 2 of us to communicate through this process to ensure that our boys do have the best of us and the circumstances. Our communication channels need to remain free of conflict for the sake of our boys. I don’t want to keep the boys from their father. It would be hellishly unfair towards all of them and it would benefit neither of us at all. As their mother, I am there to help facilitate their relationship with their father. Not break it down, creating uncertainty, insecurity and instability. My boys don’t need that. In fact, I’m not even happy with standard visitation rights and will look at increasing this for the well-being of my boys.

I refuse to accept the negatives of divorce for my boys. I refuse to accept that they may be worse off because everyone else says so. I wish people would stop speaking and thinking the negatives – focus on the positives. (this does not only apply to this situation but to every situation any person may be going through) Yes, I know they may have challenges that will arise. They will see child psychologists in the new year, do play therapy, whatever it takes. The only thing that matters is what we as parents do through this process of paper work. To do it in a civil, amicable manner for the sake of the boys.

None of us are faultless, blameless or perfect. And I see no reason to bring the ugly side of marriage and ourselves out in divorce proceedings. Marriage and divorce should never be seen as a win/lose situation. But that often gets clouded when people are angry or when people hurt.

I can assure you, the ugly side of things sure has reared it’s head this week. But I will keep pushing for civil and amicable proceedings with the outcome of conflict free communication being the end goal. So that we can move forward in our new journeys without the unnecessary unpleasantries. And to raise happy, healthy, balanced boys.

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Unleashing the Dragon Mom

We all hear the terms ‘helicopter mom’, ‘mama bear’, ‘tiger mom’, etc. They all have different meanings, some will bare the same essence.

In all honesty, most Moms(yes, sadly not all) are protective of our children. Anything that involves you and everything that doesn’t, you can be assured our thoughts will lead us to make decisions, even robotic ones to protect you and give you what you need and sometimes what you want. Ultimately, your survival is important; physically, mentally and even spiritually.

We do not want to see you harm yourself or be hurt by others. We also know that this is something we cannot fully prevent unless we were able to keep you in utero forever – however we may land up offing ourselves if that were the case coz well, 9 months is damn long enough!

I am a Mom, but I tend to refer to myself as a dragon mom. While human, I have a fairly thick skin, the hard outer coating which can be impenetrable. I love the mountains and I love water. I absolutely hate serpents and reptiles though – but here I am.

I am fairly strict without being restrictive, I resemble traits of the helicopter mom for my boys survival. Mostly I watch from atop my perch, silently, my boys being boys and enjoying the exploration.

Together we take journeys filled with magic, fantasy and fairytales. The sense of wonder as we explore imaginations. Our exploration will take us to towers where we save princesses that don’t need saving, ride stallions with tangled manes, fight off ogres with skirts, dance with dwarves when they really should be mining, pick flowers with fairies even if it means they have no home or their latest craze “knocking Thor’s hammer” which can and does break . It is not I that creates the magic – together we create magic moments. Our treasures. And dragons do love treasures which we guard.

There is however the aspect of my fleshy, beating heart and the ability to rip it from my body. My boys are my heartbeat and any attempt to harm them aka rip my heart out will result in my calculated attack. Yes, I see everything from my spot on the mountain and because water is my cloak, you will never see me coming.

I may very well be silent but I will summon the dormant fire from my core to make sure you are nothing more than a pile of bones. You may fossilize over centuries but the earth will reject even your bones as I drip my bleeding heart on your abhorrent remains.

I have listened to and watched as my boys have endured the callous creatures. I have felt my heart bleed but vengeance is mine – it will not be sweet nor a victory – it will be what it needs to be and be what it is.

My boys do not need to be degraded and defiled, nor should they bare the brunt of anyone’s pale, meager existence. The attempt to be mighty dragon slayers will reap no reward. They will not inherit my power, my strength nor my ferocity or inflexibility. Neither will they wear my talon around their neck – it shall dissipate into the ether.

My hope is that my boys become
Substantial creatures with illuminating facets – the kind no one can break or take. I know the day will
come where I will have to leave them to go their own way. But for now, I am still their Mom, their protector and will do what needs to be done – in all aspects of parenting.

What kind of Mom are you?
Do you liken yourself to animals or objects? Perhaps more than 1?
What are your positive and negative traits?

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