Just a short Monday post to keep you inspired. Firstly, thank you to all my new followers and those of you who keep it interesting with your comments! 😉 I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘power’ recently. Not in the ‘success’ or ‘world domination’ sense, but in a personal capacity. We tend to let people, jobs, family or life in general take power away from us. We get stuck in routine. Stuck in limbo with a vague memory of creativity. We let life shit all over us (excuse my un-ladylike description). I just wanted to remind everyone that we are ALL going to have to relinquish power at the end of our lives (Lady Death will surely make it an easy transition though), but right now we have power running through our veins. So if you’re sitting there, sipping on your coffee and thinking about the meaning of life and how fragile we essentially are. Don’t! We can refuel and make the most of what we have at any given moment. Whatever your age, or gender or race…whatever your current circumstances…find that little spark hiding inside you and go give ’em hell.
A special note to all the women reading my blog. I think it’s really important that you learn to rely on yourselves. So whilst kindling and nurturing that inner power of yours, please make an extra effort to find your physical power. It’s no secret that I live in a very dangerous country (I’ve mentioned it on many occasions) and I’ve discovered that self-defense can go a long way in making you feel safer, less victimized and…powerful. Wherever you go in the world, whatever situation you find yourself in, it’s good to be able to take care of yourself. So find your nearest martial arts class or go for a self-defense workshop. It will work wonders for establishing your sense of identity in a world that often seems like it’s caving in on itself.
Here’s some badass inspiration…and she just happens to be South African like me 😉
” The myth, the legend…the baddest bitch of all…” Kai, The Vampire Diaries S08
On Of Tales & Dreams, we love exploring characters from different narratives. Antagonists are just as important as protagonists. They offer a mirror in which you can see your weaknesses and propel you towards change. For me, it’s been one of those delightful weeks full of realizations, magic and a return to the root of my identity. It reminded me of a certain misunderstood doppelgänger.
I’ve decided to take a plunge into the Katherine Pierce handbook and remind women of how beautiful life can be when there’s nothing to fear, and no one to stop you from being the most badass version of yourself. #majorfemalesolidarity
Some history first. I’ve been a fan of The Vampire Diaries since it first aired in my part of the world back in 2010. One of my best friends reminded me, the other day, how ridiculous I used to be, rushing like a madwoman (jumping over any obstacle in my way) to cross out my Monday nights on our work roster. This was before we had the wonder of a TV series at our fingertips, when I had to painstakingly wait through the week for another episode. The show isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and it definitely can’t compare to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it has significance for me. I’m going to ignore the coincidence of how I manage to get involved with guys who just happen to have names from the series. I was super sad when the final season was announced last year and yet… I totally ‘called it’ – Is Katherine Pierce TVD’s Final Big Bad in Season 8? – that our favorite little kitty kat would make her comeback.
Katerina Petrova ( better known as Katherine Pierce) is hands down one of my favorite villains. She’s got sass, a wardrobe to die for and, my favorite thing about her, she’s a survivor. One could argue that she’s a manipulative beeyatch that readily throws people under the bus as soon as they cease to have any worth to her… I say if someone’s gonna get on your bad side then they should brace themselves for more than just a bus.
Kat’s character has a lot to teach today’s women. You’re not worthless. You don’t have to be someone’s side order. You are strong, independent and capable of achieving anything you put your mind to. It’s OK to have villainesque qualities as long as you are aware that your heroic ones ultimately mean more. The villainous aspects…well, that’s your survival instincts kicking in. We may not all walk around snapping necks like The Vampire Diaries every time someone pisses us off (in the real world they don’t come back to life after you’ve had time to forgive the transgression), but we can do it metaphorically by being honest. Once you’re honest, everything starts to make a whole lotta sense. And you can start from a better place, one you’re more comfortable with. And that…equals freedom. How I love the taste of freedom.
So here’s some Katherine Pierce advice to brighten up your day with blood and cuteness. You can’t always be a villain out there…but you can learn a thing or two from them. 😉
The answer to whatever life throws at you is always : game on.
2. Know how to make an entrance.
3. There’s always time for cat and mouse games in life, kittykat.
4. But people should know to take you seriously…
5. Always be an honest bitch. The truth can be therapeutic.
6. Know your worth, darling.
7. When you finally find out the truth concerning a duplicitous beau…
8. When people turn out to be just like the rest, resist the urge to ‘comment them to murder’.
Have a drink, shake it off and plan your next adventure instead. Kats have nine lives after all.
9. You CANNOT be badass without dressing the part. Never underestimate a villainous wardrobe. Stick to your yoga regime, feel flawless and flaunt that kittenish sass.
10. Never stop being passionate – maybe just tame that urge to cause bodily harm when people are unnecessarily critical of you.
11. And lastly, if they’re going to drag you to hell,
sweetheart, put on your tiara and wrap the Underworld around your little finger.
Do you have a favorite villain that takes you to your happy place? Keep me posted 😉
The theme for today is ‘sight’. What does it mean to ‘see’? Is it to look? To observe? To notice? To understand?
What do you see when you look around you? The glimmer of a twist of fate? The emptiness of existence? The choice of perception is in your eyes. But there are eyes deep within yourself that need to be opened. So…open them.
“My arm was around her and she was leaning back against me, and we were quite calm. She was looking into my eyes with that way she had of looking that made you wonder whether she really saw out of her own eyes. They would look on and on after every one else’s eyes in the world would have stopped looking. She looked as though there were nothing on earth she would not look at like that, and really she was afraid of so many things…” Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
“Good morning, it’s time for you to wake up.” Sofia, Vanilla Sky (alternate ending)
” A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.” Endymion, John Keats
I finally have a day to unwind from the sudden stresses that have been whirling around me recently, and of course I have a cup of steaming coffee and Lana Del Rey’s new single ‘Love’ on repeat (constant repeat!). I’m at that stage in life where my mind is raging but my heart, body and spirit feel ravaged and over-exercised. There’s a quietness brewing inside me though…like I’m floating through the cosmos and there’s a gentle acceptance concerning life. I could try to explain it with my words, but this time around (for me) my words just won’t do what I’m feeling any justice. I think it’s something akin to what the Romantic poets must have felt. It’s this deep surge of intoxication for the sound of an ocean wave, the melody of a child’s laughter or the painful insight of a deep love that will never be reciprocated in this lifetime. It’s life. That raw, open feeling of being alive. And I love it. That I can feel so much. I spent a giant portion of my life numb (for reasons beyond my control that I won’t go into here) but I fought hard to regain my sense of wonder for the world, for the chance to breathe in it and be moved by the multitude of things in it.
Yesterday was one of those rainy days here in my hometown of Durban, and driving to university is always a stressful journey for me. While I am an incredibly cautious driver, I can’t say the same for the peeps in my city. Despite the complete invisibility due to torrents of rain, people have no issues with driving recklessly and endangering the lives of others. I hate it. I hate that people behind the wheel have the audacity and arrogance to put other people’s lives in precarious positions. It’s the height of stupidity to me. Anyway, long story short, me and my small car were almost demolished into infinity thanks to that guy who decided getting to his destination was more important than my life…but I suppose my guardian angels decided I still have some good left to sprinkle across the world, so I live to see another day. And I am grateful. Incredibly. I don’t care how old I am, or how old I get…I think as long as you feel wonder in your heart, as long as you can love deeply and genuinely with no restraints, then you’re doing a good job at this whole life thing. Do you love who you are? Do you look forward to the life you still have to live? If you’re not answering yes to these questions…it’s not enough. Complacency is not enough. It works for some people but not for me. My heart is too full, my imagination too thirsty…my curiosity for the profound that could exist out there too great.
I might be a nutjob of note. I might be crazy. But there’s freedom in that. Genuine, beautiful freedom. Like Keats and Lana, I choose to soak in the beauty. To let it seep through my skin, into the essence of who I am. To mix with the light and the dark that exists within me, and let it make me feel young with every year that goes by. So that when Death comes to visit, I can be coy with her but give her a wink and say ‘Let’s dance’. Because I never back down from an adventure that could reveal to me the secrets of the universe…of life…and of love. And neither should you.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m not enough
For the future or the things to come
‘Cause I’m young and in love
I’m young and in love.”Love, Lana Del Rey
Sheryl Sandberg offered us the book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead in 2013. As the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and many other accolades clinging to her success belt, what she really was offering us was a way to navigate the workplace and our lives. Since then she has given us Leanin.org (also known as the Lean In Foundation) that strives to inspire and teach women (and men) how to be their most authentic selves when the world says otherwise.
When I stumbled upon the Lean In website, I admit I was feeling like a ghost ship roaming the sea. Everything is so confounding for me this year and although I’m good at creating glittery glow worms of hope…I was scared. Doubtful if I really have it in me to achieve and be who I really want to. But it takes time, and it takes working at it…if you really want to be someone you can go to bed being proud of. So I started fresh this year (despite the painful decisions I had to make along the way) and I’m hoping through all the blood, sweat and tears…the people that really mean something to me will look back on this tumultuous time and laugh about it (with me) in the future. Transformation is different for different people, and sometimes the only way to truly push yourself to your full potential is by going through the war, shield in hand, sword at side.
So imagine my delight, to find a group of like-minded women dotted all over the world on Lean In. Women who are strong (whether at careers, relationships, life- you name it!) and know (like me) that life is about loving yourself and living each day to its full potential. There are a multitude of ‘circles’ one can join on the website depending on location, organization or interests. The one that particularly spoke to me was Wonder Women Unite (I am a comic geek after all) intended for executives, entrepreneurs and educators. Luckily for me they have an open online membership (which means they’re not location specific). We get to share positive words, success stories and books that make you a little more badass in your life. And the greatest thing about joining this circle of positive females is that no matter where life takes me with my studies (from 2018 and beyond) I’ll have a little cyber place where I can go to where people are supportive and willing to share resources that might add a little extra sprinkle to my cupcake.
The group coordinator, Michele Molitor, was kind enough to give me her book recommendation: The Confidence Code (2014) by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman (which I haven’t gotten around to reading just yet but surely will soon). Confidence is one of the best assets any human could hope to have. From confidence spreads strength and love. It can turn whatever cards life deals you into a winning hand. Now that’s something I’m game for!
In keeping with that thought, I recommend The Eureka Factor (2015) by John Kounios and Mark Beeman. The book helps us understand the creative process, how we can nurture that in ourselves, and readily apply it to any area of our lives. Creativity isn’t for a select few. It’s for all of us. We just need to learn how to set it free from the dusty old lamp it comfortably hides in.
What are your book recommendations for success? (Let me know in the comments section!)
For a little taste of what you can expect popping up on your circle feed if you choose to join us Wonder Women, here’s a question that was posed this week: What are some of the simple pleasures that make you happy gals?
I thought about it…and my answer is quite simple.
Giving people hope- that’s what makes me happy. Sometimes I meet people that have let life turn them into shells of themselves…I love reminding them of their hopes or helping them discover what it is they hope for. It’s always a beautiful moment to see that light spread across their face.
To join the Wonder Women Unite circle on Lean In, click here. You have to create a free Lean In account, which can simply be done by logging in through your Facebook account or using your email. #leanintogether
Featured art via Pinterest. (I’m a Pinaholic, can’t be helped. You know you’re one too.)