Perceptions and boundaries …… {guest blog}

I asked the very famous and absolutely divine Jana Engelbrecht if she would write a guest post for The Reluctant Mom.  Of course she said yes, and asked me for an idea of what she should write, and then I said “I dunno, anything really….” I am specific like that.

Jana is famous for many things —- not the least of which her ability to be cover model for Finweek and her ability to bring people together on her forum http://www.moomie.co.za/.

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Perceptions and Boundaries by Jana Engelbrecht

I am often amazed at how we all perceive things differently.

I will look at someone and think they have it all sorted out, they know what their goals are, they are well-groomed, their kids are well-behaved, they have this perfect life.

In a way, Facebook and social media is to blame for this phenomenon, because the more I speak to people, I realize that it’s not just me that feels this way. We each have a perception of what another’s life is like but we never really know, do we?

You can create this picture-perfect online-ideal but it can be shattered by reality.

That is one of the reasons I believe blogs like Reluctant Mom and The Bloggess are so popular. And why a forum is such a great platform to voice your fears, dreams and reality.

Hardly anyone wants to read about how shiny-happy-people your life is like all.the.time. It’s depressing. Even though I just adore positive people and every day is a challenge to focus on opportunities instead of obstacles, excitement instead of irritation and joy instead of frustration, it can get a bit too much. Reading is a leisure activity that with two toddlers and a humongous belly with another one on the way, I savour.

I don’t read anything that is not gripping, extremely out of the box inspiring and/or makes me laugh. Blogs? I have three bookmarked on my phone and I check it every night. I LOVE a good blog. To get a peek into someone else’s life and you know that person bared a little piece of her soul. To read an entry you know she didn’t necessarily read through, because she was so caught up in the moment. It’s honest and real. Reality sells and the more raw the emotion, the easier other people identify with the writer.

When I stumble on little treasures like: “It unfortunately gives me a really good view of myself taking a morning squat – and my guess is, that it is not the best time to look at yourself under any conditions. Ever. Unless you are into that sort of that look,” it makes my day.

Especially if that day comprised of trying on 110 different “pregnancy looks” in the horrific mirrors of Truworths. You feel beaten when you walk out the store you vowed you would boycott – if only for their horrifying cellulite-enhancing mirrors.

And that’s what makes me tick. When people are real and honest and put their real thoughts out there. I am not that brave. I provide a platform for women to do exactly that but my own insecurities, un-plucked eyebrows, badly shaven legs and cracked heels, I like to keep to myself. Not brave at all.

That is one of the reasons that www.moomie.co.za is still, to this day and four years down the line, my passion.

I know it provides a platform for women to really open up about their feelings – in a safe and respectful environment.

I am eternally grateful to the women on there. They care for each other, they know each other’s stories and they become friends in “real-life” as well. When I receive an email or Facebook message about how Moomie impacted their lives, it makes my heart all warm and fuzzy. And I want to push forward to provide so much more.

Reading what women write on Moomie breaks down the perception we have of certain situations.

The biggest lesson I have learned in the past four years is not to judge. Not to let my own perceptions stand in the way of helping someone else. Just because I have a certain idea about something, is not to say you have to think the same way. We are all different and each of us comes with her own bag of skeletons. No-one is exempt from that.

And to this I look forward to: to try this year to put information, stories, articles out there that can stretch your comfort zone. That makes you think and push your own boundaries.

It’s so easy to judge another because of what you perceive or think. Meanwhile back at the ranch we each struggle with our own challenges. But sometimes it just takes a minute to step back, go wait a minute and think twice about giving a new idea a place in your mind.

I want to keep learning, keep stretching my own boundaries of my mind and stay in touch with that source of magnificent power that a mother has. Because it’s true.

Being a mother is an amazing opportunity to become more of what you already are. Embrace it.

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Image source:  Finweek, 6 February 2014.

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ….

While over at my local Exclusive Books, I stumbled across “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened {A Mostly True Memoir} by Jenny Lawson The Bloggess.”

I have not read many of her posts, but the one about Beyonce the Chicken stuck firmly in my mind.

I laughed and snorted out loud to that post.

If I am feeling a bit down in the dumps I always think about Beyonce the Chicken, and it perks me right up.

I am always looking for the sister/brother to Beyonce the Chicken, because I can’t think of a purchase that would make me happier.  Well, other than the biker mouse I saw on e-bay yesterday.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Bloggess’ book “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

She really is hysterically funny, and has this dry “there is nothing to see here” style which I adore.  Enjoyed the book thoroughly.

There were so many bits of this book that I snorted at – here are two – hopefully I do not get cited on a copyright infringement :

“Anyway, my dad had just finished cleaning the deer when I made a reckless fast, ninja-turn U-turn to avoid getting tagged by my sister, and that’s when I ran.  Right. The Fuck. Inside the deer.  It took me a moment to realise what had happened, and I stood there, kind of paralyzed and not ninja-like at all.   The best way I can describe it is that it was kind of like wearing a deer sweater.  Sometimes people laugh at that, but it’s not an amused laugh. It’s more of an involuntary nervous giggle of what-the-fuckness.  Probably because you aren’t supposed to wear deer for sweaters.  You’re not supposed to throw up inside them either,but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

“Then I drove myself to work and I almost passed out from a combination of the pain and the not-breathing, and when I got there I hurt so much I couldn’t even move my mouth to talk, so I wrote ‘I HAVE BROKEN MY NECK,” on a Post-it, and my bewildered office mate drove me to the hospital.  Turns out I’d herniated a disc, and the doctor gave me a pamphlet on domestic abuse and kept asking m whether someone was hurting me at home, because apparently most people don’t herniate their discs simply from brushing their hair too hard.  I prefer to think that most people just don’t brush their hair as enthusiastically as I do.”

I enjoyed this book.  Every page of it.  Loved the photographs.  Loved the captions.

I sat and read this book in about a day and a half.  Best time ever in bed.  With a book!

So, listen, I loved the book, and I am sure you will love the book as well.

If you would like to read “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson, and would like a signed copy.  Signed by me.  Not by the uber talented Jenny Lawson I am afraid, then just let me have your postal address.

I have one-previously-read book that I will send on to you – I think this is the type of book you should share with anyone who needs a lie down a giggle.

What would be really cool is if you could read the book, you comment on it on your blog, you sign the book, then you pass the book on to the next person.

How does that sound?  It’s like a game of play-it-forward-fuckness in all its beauty.

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The only downside is Jenny will not be getting royalties as there is only one book doing the rounds.  But I am sure she will understand, or not.

If you have not fully experience the totally fucken hilarity that is Jenny Lawson, then this will be a good day for you.

Want the book?  Leave me your postal address — please only in South Africa.  I only have one book, so this is not an Oprah give away where everyone finds something under their seat.

Happy reading, and laughing, and all kinds of warm happiness.