Warning: Kindness is Dope

I met someone recently who thanked me for something I did for her 20 years ago.

I kid you not.

To be quite honest, I did not recall the detail or that act of apparent kindness at all. She tells me that it came at a time when she desperately needed a strong mother figure and that young-me stepped up.

I must say, our exchanges back then never did feel like “rescue” or “help” to me. In fact, I reckon I was the one who felt good. I was the one who felt useful. I was probably the one who felt high from the endorphins that make us drunk with purpose. That’s really all I remember about our interactions ~ how lovely I felt around her.

How cool?

Her testimony has since inspired me to write some random “Thank You” notes of my own. Because the stars know that there are plenty of people who have touched me over the years. And just like that, I’m part of an energy that keeps the magical vibration of GRATITUDE in motion.

Perhaps you feel inspired to hop on the train and thank someone today too? If so, I can tell you without a doubt that the wise ones were right: It is indeed GIVING that we RECEIVE.

Try it. Thank me (29 years later).

Lee Mayimele

Chief Storyteller

Sitting at the same coffee shop 20 years later

I used to work in a first floor office as a secretary a long time ago.

Each time I went to the loo, I had to ask someone to “relieve” me.  The “relief” was always brief as I had to rush back to my desk in case the boss called my name. And he did. Often.

Just below my feet, on the ground floor of my office, was a bakery.


They made fresh croissants each morning and although that memory is still as fresh as their scones, it is the smell of the coffee that I recall called my name. Often.

Today, nearly 20 years later, I am sitting in that very bakery.  I am having that very coffee. I can go to the loo whenever I want, for however long I want. Gosh, I don’t even have to tell anyone. Would you believe it? And, I am “WORKING” while all this happens.

The scones are still fresh, the croissants still smell amazingly buttery but today I am different.

And, I am so grateful!  Grateful the coffee, grateful for the change of pace, grateful that as I allow my life to CHANGE, so too do I.

A Heart Full of Stories ©

Copyright and all rights reserved

#reflections #change #gratitude #20yearslater #shortstory

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.



Do YOU Over Promise and Under Deliver?

I believe in under-promising and over-delivering.

But, if truth be told, I never really feel like I am on top of my game as a parent.

There is always a sock with a hole, a teacher’s birthday I forget or a tooth fairy duty that nearly slips my mind.

As I stood at my kitchen counter, I stared at the half-eaten chicken pie that no one said thank you for. I looked around at the yoghurt smears on my curtains. I read the note in my daughter’s diary, reminding me of an outstanding indemnity form and I thought: Gosh girl!….are you sure you are qualified for this gig?

I couldn’t dwell on the thought because I needed to give my kids a bath. They had jumped into the mud, right after I told them to stay clean.  We were on our way to a dentist appointment.

I snuck in a quick photo (who doesn’t love a muddy face?) before I turned on the bath tap.  There was no water. Our cleaner reminded me that if I had read the letter on the fridge, I would have, and damn right should have, known. Boom!

It was a rough day at Mom HQ.

As I walked into the dentist with the two kids from Mudville, the nurse and I got talking straight away. She was a lovely old woman with a round back — an observation pointed out to me by Miss Mudville herself.

The old lady had lost her daughter 50 years ago. She had been standing on a pavement, minding her own business, when she was knocked by a car. She died instantly. She was just a young girl.

I asked her how she ever found the strength to live and she said “The memories! The memories are all we have in the end!”  She pulled out a small album and shared her most prized possession with me. Her pictures of special family milestones.  I saw muddy faces, spilled drinks, and grazed knees. The other thing I noticed was smiles. Smiles and kisses, hugs and laughter.

I drove home, observing the fighting and moaning coming from the back, and thought: “Of course I am qualified for this gig. The giver of life chose ME by name! Remember?”

We stopped off at the ice cream store and my daughter said, “I thought you said NO ice-cream because we are muddy?”

Now, how do you explain the under-promise and over-deliver concept to a child?…

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and http://www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tequila Girl vs Action Girl (Choices)

We arrived in Dar es Salaam on a Friday.  It was a girl’s holiday and we were heading to the beautiful island of Zanzibar.

The scenery was magical. Turquoise water, white sand, tanned bodies, spices, sunshine and the prospect of endless cocktails.

Just when I thought that the day could not get any better, the hotel set up a solo dinner table IN the shallow water of a beautiful private beach, at sunset.  And right before I was about to die from sheer bliss, I learnt that the menu for the night included spicy prawns, grilled before my eyes.  We were in the land of spices and I wanted to cry! Haleeluuuuuia!

The next morning, we decided to go local. We ditched the tourists from our resort and went exploring.

Before we left, I met a girl in the loo.  Her face was bust up. Black eye, swollen lips, cut on her eyebrow.  My instincts told me not to trust her and NOT to make eye contact.  She said “clumsy me! Too much tequila last night”.  She told me that she had fallen down the stairs in her drunken state.  I have been acquainted with tequila a few times in my life.  Not as well as her, but still – I knew its power.

My friends laughed when I told them about her.  They had heard from the guy cleaning our room that there had been a domestic abuse drama.  “Same old story!” he said to them.

That night we went dancing. I saw the girl.  She was drunk.  She was dancing with a group of guys.  One guy had his arm around her.  I figured he was the baddie. What an idiot, I thought. 

I was glued. I could not stop staring.

When they moved to another bar, I said to my friends “Hey! Let’s go next door.  I love the sound of the music there”. They bought it.  We moved and I positioned myself strategically.

Now, one of my friends is an ACTION girl.  She is driven by her heart and when she is confronted with a situation where she feels that there is an injustice, she acts. Mostly its heroic but there are also times when it isn’t very pretty.  I did not want her involved in my movie. I needed to act cool.

Now, acting cool got hard when she saw me talking to security. She knew that something was up.  She said “What are you doing? It’s that girl hey!?” and as much as I tried to deny that I even remembered the girl, Action Girl saw right through me.  She said “don’t tell me you believe her story?”

I had zero chill.

Action Girl said :

“Look, you have two choices: 

  1. I help you get to the bottom of this shit 
  2. You forget about this shit.

BUT we can NOT spend our holiday with you obsessed with some drunk hooker who invents stories of an abusive husband to scam strangers, steal their money, their boyfriends and their memories of their dream holiday.

Make the choice”. 

I chose option 2.   More out of fear of Action Girl in scenes from Option 1.

I decided to honour my company and resist the pull from the drama magnet, filled with its lies and deceit.

I chose instead to order more spicy prawns and a Long Island Ice Tea (with a little tequila because I was still on drama-detox and had to slowly let go of the memory of Tequila Girl).

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Regrets Come in The Morning

Each morning he woke up before his children.

He walked straight to the coal stove and lit the fire.  The water that he boiled was sacred.  First, he used it to cleanse himself, then he watered the garden with the dirty remains. His mother’s ashes were buried in the garden.  Their souls connected each morning.

He was a proud father. 

When his girls woke up, their porridge was ready, their shoes were polished and their lunches made.

They had all archived the previous day’s indiscretions and together they prayed for protection and blessings.  

Each new day brought new hope.  They hoped that no one would remind them of the ugly sights and sounds that permeated the neighbourhood air and he hoped that he could be strong and resist the call to the bottle. 

By noon each day, those hopes stood no chance.

They had to walk past the pub on their way home.  He always saw them.  They pretended that they did not see him.

While the other children played freely, their minds were always on what evening would bring.

Sunset brought feelings of fear mixed with fatigue.  It was quite a nice combination.  After all, it meant that the end of the horror show was near.

They would hear him coming from two blocks away.  Cursing and hissing with each step.  They said nothing to each other.  There was no point.

As he entered their home, he hung his pride at the door. 

God only knows that sort of beatings they endured.  From the sound of it, a life sentence would have been too lenient a punishment for him. The silence that followed was worrying.  The walls stored those sounds, tainting its memory for eternity.

By morning, the coal stove was ready to serve again and he was ready to cleanse again – just as he had watched his father do all those ugly years before.

Both girls ran away from home when they were in their teens.

The older sister ran straight into the arms of a man just like her father. The beatings and booze were warm and familiar.  When she finally found the strength to leave him, she threw herself into perfecting her art as an actress.  Her ability to go inside the head of the characters she plays is magical to watch.

The younger sister found solace in travel.  She never stays in one place long enough to become emotionally attached. She practices as an intuitive healer, going around the world to help people heal their pasts to gain control over their futures.

As for the man, time has faded his memory.   The framed pictures of a family holiday taken 40 years earlier hangs strategically in the entrance to his room at the nursing home.  They look like every other happy family at Christmas time. When strangers ask him about the girls in matching red dresses, he simply says “I did my best for them. I hope they know that”.  

So friends, I wish you love on your journey to healing and growth too. The idea is that when we know better, we ought to do better, right?  Aluta Continua, I say!

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and www.aheartfullofstories.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Twenty Something & Crazy

I arrived at the office at 6am. I rehearsed my speech a few times.  First at my desk.  Then in his office. I was planning to do that a few times more before my boss arrived at 8am sharp. But, as life would have it, he arrived early.   He neverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr arrived early.

“Oh!  You’re early too?” he said.

That’s when I had to make the decision.  I could either talk to him right away or let my nerves win and postpone the chat to another day.

I dived right in.

I asked him to let me take leave of 1 week.  No, not to go to Thailand.  I wanted leave to go and try out at another job while keeping the safety net of my current job!

Mad, right?  Who does that?  

The background is that I had just received an offer for a great new job!  It was a new company and everyone was talking about them.  They wanted someone IMMEDIATELY, so I told them that I would negotiate that with my current employer.  And, that’s what I planned to do.  Negotiate.  I came armed.

He said “Well, I can let you go for 1 week”.  I heard angels!  “But, if you want my honest opinion…..”   The angels stopped.  (I hate those words.  “Honest opinion?” What’s that supposed to mean?  Are some of the opinions not your honest ones?)

Anyway, he said “If you want my honest opinion, I don’t think you are good enough for that sort of environment.  Maybe in a few years’ time.  Of course you are very bright, don’t get me wrong (another phrase I loathe) but it needs someone a lot more mature and….ummmm…..I don’t know.  I just don’t think you are ready”.

I put down my weapons.  Negotiation over.  I hurt. For two seconds. Then, I smiled.  I did it!  I did it, I thought.  I just did the scariest thing my 20-something old self could imagine!

After a Strawberry Daiquiri in the sun after work that afternoon, I proceeded to buy my first designer pin-striped suit and I marched on into the unknown.

But hey, if you want my “honest opinion”, I do think I was pretty damn crazy!  But look at us now, sitting and writing stories about those wild days of youthful guts.

Aluta continua, my friends!  The road is long (for me).  Allow me to wish YOU many beautiful moments of crazy ideas, mad leaps of faith and unconventional routes to your scary hallways too.  

Young and Wise