Traffic Light Lady (A story about running your own race) – To the Trompies “MADIBUSENG” soundtrack

Someone I barely know asked me how I find the energy to chase my dreams with such gusto?  She continued by stating, quite matter of factly, that I seem to be one of those people to whom great opportunities “just come” and the lovely lady ended off by saying that she also noticed that I didn’t really have to “work very hard” to get to the finish line, often beating the ones who “slave away 9 to 5”.  


She touched my shoulder and smiled warmly. For impact.


I did not respond. I could not.  Words failed me.


Now, it doesn’t take a PhD student to understand why this was so problematic that it actually left ME speechless.  I think it may have something to do with the tone.  The tone of the 3 “facts” wrapped up as compliments, when in fact they were not.


I went through them in my head again:

  1. Accusation 1:  I am the one chasing with gusto (implying that I am workaholic running uphill at high speed). So, a GREEN light sort of person?
  2. Accusation 2:  Things just come (implying that I am in neutral, just waiting). So, an ORANGE light kind of person?
  3. Accusation 3:  I don’t have to work very hard (implying that I pretty much rely on my fake boobs to bring in the moola). So, a RED light kind of person? – Every pun intended!


And, here’s the part where the penny is supposed to drop and I am supposed to deliver some profound sermon, dispelling the accusations and leaving the daft woman looking dafter. But no.  I fancy a different approach….


I’ve decided that the next time I see her, I will play the famous Trompies Song “Madibuseng” featuring the late and very great Lebo Mathosa (“Sometimes you red-y, sometimes you green-y, sometimes you orange-y”)  in my head and say:

  1. “Good morning, can’t talk, gotta run…to Paris for my croissants and then back to Dubai for a meeting with Oprah and finally back to a TED Talk in Vegas. Gosh, when will I eat?” (The colour GREEN should come to your mind right about now)
  2. I will continue “Oh wait! Sorry, I think I will just go back to bed and meditate. You know? We can have anything we want if we just believeeeeeee (and do “ohm” with my hands)” (You feeling organgy yet?)
  3. Acting all excited I will then add, “No, no, actually, let me call my butler. I sooooo need a wax (roll eyes), a spray tan, my extensions fixed, eyelashes lifted but first…let me pop this pill. You know? It puts you in a coma so you don’t have to be awake during the process” (at which point I can put a red Smartie in my mouth).


Crap man! Who am I kidding?


While I do love that Trompies song very much, I won’t have timeeeeeeee to disarm the woman because I will be so busy driving to work on a tank with a flashing orange fuel guage to finish a PowerPoint presentation in order to meet a deadline in order to meet my KPI’s, hoping to get a bonus while touching up my grey hair with mascara and wondering how to turn leftover KFC into Chicken A La King for a family dinner!  You know? I will be busy chasing, working, running, hustling, doubting, fixing, negotiating like the rest of the world…..


So, before I let old Chairman of the Peanut Gallery get to me, best I remember that what other people think of us, is actually none of our business.  © A Heart Full of Stories, 2016



Aluta continua, as they say. The road to learning to run our own race and let others run theirs is longer for some than others.  I wish you a short one, friends.




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Sweeping Things Under the Carpet (A story about leading by example)

My 2 year old took a tub of black eye shadow and sprinkled it all over our cream bedroom carpets. He didn’t spill. He sprinkled. Liberally.



I was very upset. And the look on his face told me that he understood how I felt about his “magic dust”. 



After I calmed down, I took a small Persian rug and threw it over the black marks.  Out of sight, out of mind you know?



While I took a shower to try and calm down (it was too early for wine), my son called for help from his most trusted ally and together they got busy with Operation Clean-up.  They had it all figured out:

  1. Soap (Green dish liquid)
  2. Water (poured into a nearly empty cranberry juice bottle)
  3. Sponges x 2
  4. Tell Mama the good news
  5. Ask Mama if the sushi date was still on


Well, the 7 or so dry stains turned into one giant wet puddle of green/cranberry and MAC Carbon Black.



So, my daughter tells me (behind her brother’s back), they abandoned their mission after Step 3 and followed my example.  They took a rug and covered up the catastrophe.  Out of sight, out of mind you know?  



Well, let me tell you, I took the darlings for sushi.  Right after that shower.




I figured that some things are indeed best left swept and left under the carpet.



Besides, what’s a childhood without memories of “magic dust” anyway?


© A Heart Full of Stories, 2016


Aluta continua, as they say. This parenting road is indeed still long…. (for me) but gosh it can be funny sometimes.



Something Fishy (A story about value judgement)

Our seafood platter arrived and it was spectacular! I grabbed a fat king prawn, downed it and chewed hard on the shell, spitting the crushed muck into my cupped right hand. Next, I broke off a piece of sweet lobster and sucked hard, making sounds my mother would not have been proud of.


Then, just as I reached for that second scoop of lemon butter for my crisp squid heads I heard a loud smack.


The recipient: a red-faced 8 year old.

The smack-deliverer: his father.

His crime: eating with his hands.


That blow was right in the face. Hard.


My little people kept working their mussels and muscles too. Dipping, twisting, licking, squeezing. Hands, hands, hands is all you saw. I reckon they were quite delighted that I lost my appetite. You know, more Cajun calamari for them?


I tried hard to shift my focus away from the child and more towards the delicate Sole before me but my head was spinning. Not from salmonella setting in, but from the shock horror of that smack and the many young men I had the displeasure of seeing with that very expression in my life.


When my husband got back from talking to a friend at the bar, I whispered to him that I was upset, and when I pointed (discreetly) in the direction of the smacker, all he saw a smiling dad kissing his son on the forehead as the happy mom snapped a holiday pic for their album with the caption #blessed, no doubt.


My husband said he “smelled something fishy”. And, of course it did look like I was drunk and just trying to distract him from the sad chips and 3 pieces of dry hake left on the “Deluxe Seafood Platter for 4”. 


I tried to sleep but could not. So, I wrote a note:


“Dear Sir


I noticed with absolute horror that you hit your son in the face at the dinner table last night. 


Sadly, I cannot get his face out of my mind. 


I have no doubt that your intention was to teach “discipline”. I also have no doubt that your family business is “private”. 


But, I do believe there is a better way. 


I speak from experience. 



Tired Voyeur


P.S. You know what they say hey?…Once you know better, you have to do better. Aluta continua, as they say. it is indeed easier said than done” 


What I did with the note is a story for another day.


…but, let’s just say that my head won.


© A Heart Full of Stories, 2016