I’ve been thinking… always dangerous I know. I think and think and over think. Especially this blog. The numbers of readers are increasing and I’m sweating now. It’s so much easier to close shop and run away than to face an audience. So much easier to plead writers block. But I can’t because I don’t have writers block I have writers fear. Fear of being a widely read writer, which is of course my greatest dream.

Mandela said, ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination.’ I read this in his book ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, nine years ago when I first came to this country (my Johannesburg ‘look see’). It resonated with me then and it still gives me the shivers now. Why is it that I’m so scared of my light side, my God-given talents even more than my dark, sorry qualities? I think it’s true of a lot of us. Women and men.

I’d like to say especially women because this is a women’s blog and as I just read in this marvelous book ‘Succulent Wild Woman – Dancing With Your Wonderful Self’ by SARK, Maya Angelou once said before reading a poem at a performance, ‘I know that there are a lot of incredible men out there, and that this poem may seem to exclude them – it doesn’t. And I want to say to all the men out there, Honey – you got to write your own poems!’

Love it! Pass the message on!!!

So back to women. I can only talk about  women being a woman myself and I’ve been searching for what it means to be a woman. And the more I search the more I’ve realised that I grew up with completely the wrong idea. I used to think being a woman meant hiding from ourselves. Being ‘hidden’ in society whilst making it run seamlessly. Like a good, hard-working Kenwood machine, which whirs ceaselessly making lovely cakes and scones till its wires burn out. (That is exactly what happened to my machine. Thank God it’s fixed and right back to whirring.) Yes it’s martyrdom, yes it’s negative, but I really thought that’s what it’s about. Beauty must be hidden, you must be a good cook and clever of course, but don’t be too loud or too out there because you’ll draw attention to yourself. And definitely don’t wear your curly hair down.

Did anyone ever tell me that in those words? No, but it’s what I picked up unconsciously. Was I angry when I discovered that women don’t necessarily have to be smiling wives and child makers, backing their husbands without a thought to their own needs. Yes. But I’ve recently discovered a beautiful thing. It’s not too late. As long as I don’t let my fear stop me I get to relearn what it means to be a woman. Read lovely books like SARK’s that really lovely friends lend me. And it’s fun!

It makes turning 30 a new adventure for me. My journey that I can do from my bedroom with a cup of tea as I open up my mind to what being a woman can be. Of course there’s always the danger of running off to Italy, India and Indonesia like Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love). But as I’ve argued before, we can discover ourselves within our four walls. Challenge our boundaries, rediscover ourselves beyond our comfort zones.

‘Like what?’ you may ask, tut tut tutting. ‘What can you do that is exciting and extending your boundaries in a safe environment? You do have to run to India.’ Well you don’t. There our exciting opportunities right at our door step. Take dancing. How many women allow themselves to dance? I always dreamed of dancing as a girl and finally last week I went to a Zumba dancing class at Virgin Active Gym and it was more fun than I expected. Although it took me a while to relax and find my hips, but by the end of it I was salsaing with the best of them with a huge smile on my face.  Try it, try Nia dancing or even free dance. Try anything that gets you moving freely with music. You’ll feel something more than just your body moving. You’ll feel your spirit soaring.

You can take the risk to be wild and wonderful. Explore ‘Who are You?, as the smoking, doping caterpillar in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ asks.

SARK writes, ‘It is tempting to sleepwalk through life. To tell half-truths, listen half-way, be half-asleep, drive with half attention… Wake up!

We need you as an alive and awake woman, listening and contributing. Wake up your creative genius and let it out into the world. Wake up your power and use it wisely. Wake up your pain and investigate it. Wake up the dull old parts that are hiding from the light. Wake up to love and let it flood through you. Wake up to see the other souls around you. Let them affect you. Live in the center of your life.’

She’s talking to me. She’s talking to you. She’s talking to herself. We are all on parallel journeys. I hope in describing my journey I’m helping someone’s journey on the way…

We all deserve to be joyous, fulfilled, alive women. It’s our birthright. It’s our destiny. It’s what we would tell our daughters. (In my case daughter in-laws.) How can we tell them something we don’t live?

So it is done. I’ve faced the dark side of fear – I’ve written through it…and will keep writing as I keep facing it. I’m glad Mandela is the one who wrote about fearing being great and powerful. It means he also had those fears and look how he overcame them. He is human and he used his voice. We all have a voice. And it’s good to hear it. So let’s all ROAR!