Your Body Is The Home Of Your Soul

I’m still reeling from the revelations of the Bryanston Hockey Club. For those not in the know, it’s an exclusive club housed at a secret location in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. The realm of uber-wealthy men, who buy whatever sexual favours they can dream of from men and women. Money is not an object for those willing to indulge in pleasures of the flesh. It’s also the subject of a bestselling book.

 

This is not a book review, by the way. I have not read Jackie Phamotse’s account of her life as a ‘blessee’. Again, for those not exposed to this growing phenomenon, it’s a term used to describe men and women who are ‘blessed’ by extremely wealthy lovers, usually older, who shower them with anything and everything money can buy, in exchange for carnal relations. The contents of this ‘hot’ novel have brought to the surface discussions around transactional sex. And it has South Africa divided. Literally.

 

There are those who applaud this young woman for taking a stand against this culture of older men preying on younger ‘victims’ to, hopefully, show others the pitfalls of what is deemed a ‘glamourous, aspirational’ lifestyle. And there are those who are quite vehement in advocating the rights of sex amongst consenting adults. I have zero judgement against those consenting adults who choose to play out their sexual fantasies with whomever they wish. I have zero judgement against same sex/bisexual/whatever-turns-you-on between consenting adults

 

But here is my sentiment. We cannot position these interactions as ‘between consenting adults’ when it is clear that the power dynamic between the ‘blesser’ and ‘blessee’ is skewed and unequal. That the Bryanston Hockey Club favours a higher-class sect with the trappings of the mink and manure brigade, far removed from the township rendition of the sex-for-money clique, does not make it any different. And in a depressed economy with unacceptably high unemployment, especially amongst our youth, it’s easy to see how being #blessed can indeed be salvation for many. In some instances, the difference between food on the table and starvation.

 

Again, zero judgment to those on the receiving end of the ‘good fortune’. It’s a jungle out there and the fittest survive. Often, they thrive in extravagant luxury and beauty because they are usually the finer specimens of society. They have my empathy, even though many would haughtily laugh and accuse me of jealousy, at best, and wretchedness, at worst.  But the reality is that prostitution is transactional sex, changing the players does not change the game. And in any transactional relationship, one party usually wields power over another. Our gender dynamics and rampant women abuse make this proposition all the more exploitive.

 

This is not a holier-than-thou rendition; I pray that’s not the takeout. I’ve had a life, some parts messy and unwholesome.  Rather, it’s a reflective look at how we view our bodies and what we are willing to do with, and for, them. The body is merely a casing for the soul. In the spiritual world, the body is superfluous. Sex is not only physical, it is also emotional and spiritual. Every part of you is involved when you engage with another.

 

When we relegate sex to the physical experience only, we often interact with individuals whom we only know superficially. We may lust them, but once we get to know them on an intimate interpersonal level, may not even like them. Yet our spirits collide, unwittingly, more so in the case of transactional sex, all in the name of sexual liberation. In this process, we deposit parts of our spirits with each other.

 

And we wonder why we wake up, one day, with baggage that weighs us down heavily. Pain that is indescribable. Hurt that stabs at the heart. And sorrow that heaves a haunting emptiness.  We accumulate pain bodies from souls we may never ever see again and take them on as our own.

 

Woman, your body is the home of your soul. It has been designed for your desire and enjoyment. It is your right to be nurtured and loved in a mutually beneficial connection that satisfies and pleasures both the giver and receiver. One can never put a price on that.

 

What Motherhood Has Taught Me Thus Far…

Since I’ve been struggling to get into work today, I think I need to lighten it up. Motherhood is that immense blessing that comes with intense emotion and challenge. It’s one of my toughest assignments. Ever. One that will always leave me in doubt; have I done my best? Here’s what I’ve learned to date, in random order:

1. I can’t do everything

No, we can’t have it all. Telling women that they can have successful marriages, families, careers, personal growth and development, all at the same time, on their own, is a lie. A lie I believe is purported by men who secretly know that it’s not possible (since they can’t do it), but want us to continually try to attain this elusive perfection which always leaves us feeling deflated. It’s true, there are women who are successful in many aspects of their lives, but they have amazing support structures – stay-at-home husbands, the nanny, au pair, the driver, helpful in-laws and so on. Since I don’t have much of that support, I will do what I can.

 

2. To bend my knees

I’ve always had a sensitive lower back. I remember one doctor saying it’s long, so the base is inclined to take some strain. It was one of the reasons I started pilates back in 2006; to keep my back and other joints supple. And pregnancy was quite brutal to my back. So, I have learned to ‘be a lady’ and always use my knees to bend.

 

3. To step over stuff on the floor

Children are God’s creation to unshackle one from the chains of order; replacing it with absolute and utter chaos. To fight it is a losing battle. I’ve learned to move through this like an obstacle course. Avoid, jump over and importantly, keep your gaze up. What you can’t see, won’t annoy you.

 

4. It’s ok to get dirty

Small children spend a lot of time on the floor, it’s how they discover and play. I’ve discovered that it’s a fantastic way to ‘come down to their level’ and also takes strain off my back. Getting messy and dirty is par for the course. It’s not uncommon to have milk, food, spit, tears, vomit stains somewhere on one’s clothing. And I’ve strangely come to enjoy walking around barefoot. Who would have thought?

 

5. Go with your gut

There’s the time my eldest, who had been fairly healthy from birth, developed a fever, for the first time at the age of 23 months. Yes. We had been extremely lucky without children in and out of doctor’s rooms and hospitals until then. So, when my usually active, vivacious boy was uncharacteristically timid and just lay around, I initially put it down to the extreme heat. It was only a little while later that I realised he had a fever which was promptly treated with over-the-counter meds. Over the next few days, the fever would subside and he would seem normal, only to return. However, we had it under control, at no point did we feel like he had to see a doctor. But by the Friday, about five days after this, he developed red spots over his body. I had to involve the doctor and caught the receptionist who, after asking some questions, gave her diagnosis of roseola, also known as baby measles. “See it all the time”. When the spots appear, the worst is over. We made it through one of his first ‘big’ incidents without too much panic and drama.

 

6. Patience is really a virtue

I could never describe myself as patient. It’s actually one of my life lessons. Call me a perpetual student, as I keep failing. I was blessed with children who cannot sleep on command. Another thing I failed at. I could never get them into that sleeping routine where, once the lights are out, tucked in, with a song perhaps, they would gently ease into lala-land. No. It’s been a process of holding them over the shoulder, patting, walking around [on the plus-side, I don’t have “Oprah’s bye-bye arms”]. And as they get older, laying in bed until they can no longer fight it off. The patience of Job comes to mind.

 

7. A tantrum-throwing 2-year-old can get a reaction from the Pope

If, unlike me, you have a calm and patient disposition, you’re in good stead here. Again, my eldest, has been known to make his father, one of the coolest, calmest people I know, lose his temper. Secretly, it makes me feel so much better about myself (disclaimer: not condoning losing it with anyone). Just means that we need to count to 20, instead of 10, before reacting. And it also limits the inclination to point fingers at each other.

 

8. Make time for me

I initially said that my list of lessons is in no particular order, but this is a big one. If I cannot find quiet moments, I’m useless to anyone around me. This usually includes the simple things I previously took for granted like meditating, going to church, reading, writing and even decent sleep. It also extends to exercising, doing my hair now and again, and if I’m really being indulgent, facials and massages are in order.

 

I’m neither a robot, nor SuperWoman. Love the body, outfit and cap, but I just don’t cut it. So, ladies, it must be high on our agenda: get ‘Me’ back on the priority list.

 

Happy Monday!

 

The Waiting Game… Part Two

Even though I had come to a point where I acknowledged that the craziness had to stop, I still had no idea that God was only getting started. I slowly unplugged myself from those around me that didn’t add any value, that, in their own ‘chaos’, created fuel for my fire. God was starting to speak louder and louder through the connections I made, the books I read and the quiet moments I came to love. I enjoyed going to church, even on my own.

I’m a fierce believer that God speaks to every one of us.

I’m a fierce believer that God speaks to every one of us. There was one of several defining moments during my ‘lost years’. It was through my dearest friend, Sindile. We were hanging out, just the two of us, we lived around the corner from each other, and as we engaged in the open, frank conversations we still have, she clearly sensed a longing, a need for some direction. She said, “my friend, I wanted to buy this book for your birthday, but it’s too many months away and you need it now. I think you should get it”. With all my free time, ‘no dog, no cat, no nothing’, I was a sponge for any books I could get my hands on. I also refer to this time as my ‘enlightened years’ as I was led to the people and books that I needed to connect with and read.

I started reading immediately and couldn’t put it down.

I got my hands on a copy of “The Power of a Praying Woman” by Stormie Omartian as soon as I could. God has gifted each one of us with a talent. Stormie’s is the power to speak to the heart and to pray. I started reading immediately and couldn’t put it down. It was the healing balm that soothed my soul, what it had been crying out for, but didn’t even realise it. As I turned the pages, I shed tears. I cried for myself, I cried to release, I cried as I forgave myself, I cried as I let go, I cried as I realised that God had been with me all along and above all, I cried with joy.

 

The water cleansed my soul and for the first time in my life, I felt lighter and at peace. I realised that God had a plan for me. It may not have been what I had wanted, but notwithstanding, it was His plan. I was at peace with being single, but not alone, since He was with me.

 

Nothing else mattered.

 

The journey to surrender is a deeply personal commitment to let go. Lord knows, we all have stuff to release. Today is a promise to make a difference. Let’s start with ourselves, before we try to control change the world.