I am always amused when I walk around shopping centres and can hear the hushed voices of people that I once attended school with. Quite honestly, I always expected to be thrown in the category of young girls who got knocked up to get attention – but all that mattered was that I knew the truth. Unlike those girls though, I chose motherhood. There was no mistake, there was no “oh no, what am I going to do?” and there was most certainly loads of tears – happy ones!
You see, I was the girl who got good grades, was harassed by the local university and college to attend their fine institutions but chose not to. It wasn’t an easy decision, quite frankly it went against everything that I knew. It went against my parents, teachers and grandparents expectations of my future – and when I told them my plan, they stood flabbergasted.
Growing up, I didn’t like socialising and most certainly did not like putting up with kids my own age. I still struggle to find a common ground with youth and right from pre-school, my reports read something along the lines of, “prefers to sit and speak with teachers instead of interacting with classmates.” I was surrounded by loads of cousins and kids of my parent’s friends, yet, I would lock myself in my room to play in an environment that I could control.
I would spend hours writing out lesson plans, creating worksheets, filling them in (in different handwriting, different pens and different answers) before marking it (with the all-important red inked pen) and lastly entering the marks into a class list. Just as I had watched my teachers do, on the daily basis. I loved it. I was so into playing school-school that I would feel guilty if I did not play daily, for whatever reason.
As I grew older, I stopped playing and naturally took on the role as a tutor and the smart-girl who everyone used for her homework. Looking back, I question how many of my childhood friendships were real and which were just for the use of academic skills. It is quite a sad thought.
When you ask a child what they’d like to be, when they grow up. It changes with time. From firemen, to astronauts, to mad-scientists and finally settling on careers like accountants. However, I always would proudly answer, TEACHER! Hence it was no surprise when I started applying for universities that both my choices were for teaching. I was accepted and even received a bursary. Everyone was happy; my parents, teachers and family. Everyone, but me.
Something did not gel inside and instead of feeling proud, I found myself questioning all that I knew. Eventually I sat one evening, chatting to my then-boyfriend-now-husband. Darren had spent time studying law, before realizing that it bored him and took up web design. He expressed that if you are not one hundred and ten percent certain of the direction you are wanting to take, to not waste time and money just to put yourself in an unhappy and unfulfilling position.
I announced to my family that I did not wish to study and that I felt I need the time to rediscover what I, not my family or teachers, am passionate about. Not long after I matriculated, I announced the news to my family that my ultimate wish in life was to become a wife and mom. I remember it so clearly, Darren and I were having dinner with my mom at a local Spanish restaurant and after making the announcement, my mom’s nervous laughter filled the air. I know that no one really took me seriously, nor did they support me fully – but I have to admit that no one ever spoke negatively about it.
Seven months later, I was set to walk down the aisle in the weeks to come. I was feeling discouraged as despite many false alarms, there was still no pink lines indicating a positive pregnancy test. I had even gone for blood tests which came back negative. I had mapped everything out on a calendar, worked out my dates – and still… nothing!
On the 13th of July, I had an appointment to have my hair-trial done, in time for my wedding set to take place in two weeks. On the way there, Darren and I stopped at Micky D’s for a Mc Muffin, I was sooooooo keen on breakfast, until it sat in my hands. I cannot begin to describe just how nauseating the smell was. While having my hair done, I was toying with the idea whether it was possible that it was morning sickness. It was hard to say, as I have always suffered from car-sickness. Later that afternoon, when I attempted lunch, the same nausea returned and I realized I would take the final test to confirm my suspicions in the morning.
There stood the two, perfect, pink lines that I longed to see for the past 7 months. This marks the most exciting moment of my life, one that I cling on to the memory of. It has been almost a year since that day and looking back, I am so grateful to have gone against everything that everyone had planned for me.
I have been permanently employed for over a year, by one of the most kick-ass companies ever! I work from home, in the evenings for a US based company, supplying kids and adults with gaming services for birthdays, team-building, fundraising, bah-mitzvahs and sooooo much more. Name an event and we have attended it! Mobile Gaming Revolution is set to take the US by storm and I am beyond proud to be part of its reign. Our team has the most unique, fun, loving people that I have ever had the pleasure to work with and the craziness never stops! I get to chat with Americans on the daily basis and help create their dream parties – what more could I ask for? The best part is that I do it from my bed, with my son snug in his cot.
In my spare time, I was able to rediscover my love for writing and speaking. A passion that was ripped from me by spiteful and selfish people – but a passion that never really left. I was encouraged and inspired to launch my own Beauty Blog and before long, I launched my second blog, Baby Blog. My blog is something that I am very proud of, as I did it all on my own. Everything that you see, is me. I love that I do not have to sugar coat things, that I can be honest and that somewhere out there – there is someone reading this, right now. I have had the most incredible opportunities to work with companies and people who actually value my thoughts, I get to meet others who share my enthusiasm and who are driven, which in turn motivates me and my pursuit.
Lastly, my greatest pleasure is being a wife to my favourite and bringing up the most incredible little boy, together. I always questioned myself when it came to doing anything, putting ridiculous pressure on myself which pushed me further into the depths of depression. For once, I feel that something comes naturally and I am so confident in everything that I do for this little guy. Axl is my greatest joy, with each screech, shrill and smile – he completes me in every way! I could not ask for a better little-family, honestly – I am so grateful!
The reason for me putting this all together is a few months back, I got into a heated discussion on Facebook with someone that I attended primary school with. She was expressing how it upset her so much that kids are forced to choose subjects at the end of grade 9, as this decision will stick with them for their entire life.
I do not disagree but I feel that everything we do, impacts our life, somehow, in the future. And that the decision of whether to take science or business, is only the tip of the iceberg. These are minor decisions, decisions which can be changed at any point until the first month of matric, and even then – you can choose to take a new subject the following year, if needs be. But this is an essential part of growing up, as you need to seriously consider whether this is for you – and what you see yourself doing in the next 5 years.
If I could go back to the me, five years ago – 16 year old me – and tell her something it would be to “let it go.” I allowed so much to hold me back, I allowed people to walk over me and I allowed myself to fall so deep into depression that I never predicted there to be a way out. I would remind myself of my favourite story of Pandora and that there is ALWAYS hope, that one day you will find so much happiness, that you won’t even know where to begin in expressing it.
One speech which I play to myself often is the 2005 commencement speech by Steve Jobs. In it, he refers to connecting the dots. When you look forward, things don’t necessarily make sense, but when you look back – you are able to connect the dots. He refers to the day he dropped into a calligraphy class which later impacted the decision to create different fonts for Apple and seeing as Micorsoft copies Apple, had he not dropped into that class, we wouldn’t have the amazing typographies we now indulge in.
I believe that this is the ultimate lesson in life. Every day, something happens and I marvel in the fact that if I had not faced the struggles that I had, I would not be able to handle a particular situation in the way that I have. For instance, I only knew of the aforementioned speech due to my matric Afrikaans teacher, having finished her syllabus, decided to keep us busy by listening to the wise words that flowed from Jobs. It further inspired me to read his biography which saw the beginning of my relationship with Darren – funny how things work, isn’t it?
My point is – you need to follow your heart. Sometimes, it won’t make sense at first, but one day you will look back and smile at how things fall into place. You need to do what makes you happy, what fulfils your passions and ambitions and not worry about what others think. Be confident in your decisions, only you have to live with them – so make sure they count! Don’t see decisions as final – you are allowed to make mistakes just as long as your learn from them and at any point, you can make that decision to change them.
Thank you to every single one of you. Somehow you have impacted and moulded me into the person that stands before you, today. I have never been happier or more confident in the person that I am. And it is because of you – it is because of you questioning, challenging, hurting, abusing, encouraging, motivating, supporting and pushing me to do what I have, to be who I am!
So next time you see me, in the mall – with my amazing husband by my side, my beautiful son who fills my arms, nappy bag in tow along with the pram and car seat. Instead of turning your gaze elsewhere, instead of whispering to the closest person about the girl you used to attend school with, a simple smile and hello will be suffice, because after all – I chose motherhood and I am certainly not ashamed to be the mom that I am.