Do you know your worth? Do you see the richness in your particular brand of beauty? Be it in the almost aromatic, warm tones of your golden brown skin that just smacks of rich dark chocolate...
Or the pale dainty whiteness complemented so well by your fiery red hair? Do you see the absolute sensuality in the close cropped natural hair that accentuates your round face or the luxurious gloss of your long silky fine hair. Do you revel in the beauty that is you? The beauty that you share with others that call themselves, WOMAN!
So this blog started off about two women in my life. Amazing, strong, liberated beautiful women who know what they want out of life and wont let anything stop them. Coincidentally both women are 'black' south Africans. This got me thinking, is it a black thing? That makes them so strong? Does it stem from the culture of the formerly oppressed?
It quite possibly does when considering that I also know MANY strong, ambitious fiery 'Indian' women including my mother, sisters, female cousins and aunts not to mention two of the strongest women I have encountered in my 30 odd years, both my maternal and paternal grandmothers. Again, something in common, formerly repressed, yet... The plot thickens when I realise that three of my closest friends are white females, formerly oppressed? Hmm probably not. Yet they too share this oddly attractive trait, an inner strength. Once more the similarities when viewed under the unforgiving stare of the racial microscope don't make sense. What is it that make these people share this amazing strength of character? If not race, religion, hair length, facial shape?
Got it? Simple right? They are women!
Fondly known as Lips, she is an analytical, measured individual who because of her huge heart is quite a sensitive being. She sees the world through lenses that pass stringent control testing before a single word is uttered. She hates the fact that I think she 'has no chill'. What she doesn't realise is that if she could see herself as I do, she would see a strong opinionated woman, a phenomenal mother, a hot wife! He agrees - I've asked! She is also exceptionally intelligent and will 99.9 percent of the time go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that her work is within deadlines and budgets and all things corporate. She is a true woman of the future and a budding entrepreneur at the same time, yet she holds onto her routes. Her culture is bred into her actions and words. She takes care of her mummy and her baby brother like nothing else matters. But it does, everything does. If she could read the meaning behind the 'no chill' comment, she would understand that I am in awe of all that is her.
This is a Diva in every sense of the word. She looks and sounds the part. She works full time at her corporate job, runs a successful vintage clothing business, is a moderately successful photographer (for now) and has just embarked on a BOLD new adventure doing branding and design.
She is also the mama to one point five gorgeous babies (yes she does all of this while 7 months pregnant). Did I mention that she is one of the creative and motivated individuals I have ever met? I watched Diva and waited while she toiled away in her comfortable corporate job, she didn't recognise her own frustration or for that matter her own talent. 'The Man' continued to drain her creative spirit until one day she had an 'Ohmigot' moment. Then out of the chrysalis emerged... DIVA! A strong, powerful, motivated, loving force of nature that is now about to take the world by storm. Diva as an entrepreneur? 'Ohmigot!'
Remember how I said Lips has no chill? Well This She is the opposite. The most chilled individual I have ever been so blessed as to meet. My Fuzzy provides a calm to my disordered world that can't be bought. She has seen more tragedy and hardship than any person should see in one lifetime, yet through it all, her absolute inner peace remains steady, never wavering, never fading, ever calm, (well except when she lets that deeply hidden temper show, then we should all run for cover). She wears her heart on her sleeve and would lay her life on the ground for her children, this exceptional being doesn't see her own strength, doesn't realise the potential that lies within the breast of a strong woman.
This woman is the only person in the world that I fear. But oh, how I love her! Her life is a testimony to all that is good and pure. Pure of heart, pure of spirit, pure of conscience, she is on a pedestal of good in my mind. Her kindness doesn't make her a sucker though, oh no! Her mind is as sharp as a tack and her head for numbers makes mine swim. Having built her own 'mini empire', passive revenue is how she operates. And in the grand scheme of things what more could you ask for than an income that doesn't require too much effort. It didn't come easy though, however through countless nights of stress and thousands of hours of inconvenience later, her brilliant idea panned out. Again... A strong woman that doesn't realise just how much strength of mind and character contributes to a life well lived.
This perfectly balanced duo of women are all that I aspire to for their spirituality and discipline. You know when you look at someone and know that even with all the turmoil in their lives, they can still hold it together, still keep their heads above water, because above all their faith in God is so strong that nothing shakes it? That's them! I have watched them in difficult moments, I have watched them in peaceful moments and I have yet to feel anything but awe for how much they accomplish and how low key a style they do it in. I could say that they help women, but that is such a narrow view of how open they are to providing assistance and guidance to whomever they can, however they can. They work full time in two extremely demanding and uncertain industries, yet somehow they are both always filled with faith and light. Even when they are constantly exposed to the cruelty of the world we live in, they maintain their positivity. Ah, if they could see themselves as I see them.
The not so shy, shy girl. There is nobody in my life that knows me better than my friend. We have laughed and cried and everything in between. She was the only person I called when tragedy struck, the only person I could count on to understand the need for companionship in silence. She was there through what felt like everything of consequence in my life as an adult. She even has her own language. It seems to be the trend that these amazing, strong individuals just don't see it. They don't see how the way they have weathered the storms in their lives inspires others to stand TALL, hold their heads high and just keep on swimming. She is a pillar of integrity, she is respected by many, yet she sees weakness in her soft heart. If only she knew.
Just a snapshot into the many many amazing, diverse, 'spine of steel' women that I have been fortunate enough to encounter. There are so many more! So much I could tell you about them.
And still, the question remains... What does race have to do with it? Can you tell which is black, white, Indian or coloured? Didn't think so...