The Women in My Life

(True story, biographical.)

“How do you know you’re at peace?” I asked my mother once, in my teens. She told me “when your masculine and feminine stop fighting each other, when you stop fighting yourself, that’s when you’ll find peace.” So I asked, “which side should I be then? Which one wins?” My mother smiled and said “figure it out.”

I watched, trying ever so hard to understand how my mother could be so at peace despite everything she had been through as a mother. Then I looked at both her sisters, and realised they’re made of that same metal that makes my mother who she is. Naturally, it made sense to get to know my parents’ siblings better so that I could better understand them…

In the last two years, I’ve learned that mother’s younger sister has been doing remote work from home for almost as long as I’ve been alive! What my generation aspires to do, she’s already an expert. Last month, I discovered that mother’s older sister is one of the first women who ever wore trousers as work attire in corporate London, back in the early 80’s. When she told me this, it hadn’t even occurred to me that there was a specific “skirt / dress only” dress code.

“We were supposed to only wear skirts to work,” my aunt told me, “but skirts can get very uncomfortable, you know. So one day I put on a pair of trousers because it was more comfortable. Next thing you know, other women start doing it too. Eventually, it just became accepted in our company (Ernst and Young).”

I reflected, and pondered: it stood to reason that the strength came from my grandma. With R20 (USD 1.50) in her pocket, my grandma moved the family of ten (five went ahead, I was told, the other five came later) to the city in the 1960s during the apartheid in South Africa. As a family, they never let the Apartheid become a factor hindering them from just living their lives. When survival is your main focus, and it slowly seeps into the “norm”, you learn to embrace the better parts of life.

My grandparents always opened their homes, always welcomed those in need. Though they didn’t have much, they gave what they could: love, shelter, and a hot cup of tea. They didn’t discriminate who came through the doors. They were loving, but they were tough.

To the kids, they were very disciplined, from what I was told. Swearing warranted washing your mouths out with soap, dishes had to be cleaned immediately after dinner. Beds had to be made and tucked in completely, without an angle sticking out anywhere (although, I was recently informed that bed-making was my great grandmother’s rule). Disciplined, but always out of love. They knew that as long as the kids were disciplined enough to later be self-disciplined, then they would be able to take care of themselves.

They were right. And so it continued in the family line. I see it in my mother, I see it in how she is with our family. I know it comes from her family, that strength, that unity, that togetherness. The way she always did her best to stay strong for all of us when we were all falling apart; when we’re at our worst, she’s always the one motivating us, holding us up, comforting us and letting us know that “it’s okay not to be okay, as long as you get up again when you’re ready.”

My mother is the strongest woman I have experienced. She taught me everything I know and more, at least by providing the platforms where I, too, could become self-disciplined and self-motivated. I am where I am (literally) because yes, she birthed me, but also because she is the one woman who has always, always been there for me, through thick and thin. The one who has lifted me when I was down, but humbled me when I was arrogant. The one who can fight me when I need it, and calm me down when I diverge.

I am strong because my mother is strong. She is strong because the women in her life are strong.

So how do I know that I am at peace?

Because my masculine energy and my feminine energy are no longer at war.

I am a person, a human. A human with strength, both inner and outer; a person with emotions, both aggressive and passive. A human with weaknesses, both external and internal; a person with flaws, both on the outside and on the inside. A human with motivation, both physical and emotional; a person with compassion, both expressed and empathised. I am not perfect, but I am balanced, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.

Balanced, and equal.

Within myself.

Peace
Mikavelli

Weakness is not A Failure

When “weakness” is no longer deemed as failure, rather as sacrifice, then strength alone lies in the success of what is gained. ~Mikavelli~

Much like any logical flow of pros and cons, humans have a pattern of “strength” and “weakness”. But what if those “weaknesses” were not actually failures, but sacrifices that are made in order to achieve something that is for the greater good of self vs. man?

Take a human example, Einstein. Much as he was a genius with an intelligence that was through the roof, the sacrifices that he made were his ability to communicate with and be understood by people. As a child, young Albert had a speech delay that was not rectified until his later stages of childhood, leaving the boy uncommunicative, misunderstood, and alone with his thoughts. In his solitude, Einstein was given the space to develop the most advanced theories that till now still roam the planet. If anything, many of Einstein’s theories were so far ahead of time that it is more in today’s day-and-age that we understand the sacrifice he had made for us. And essentially for himself, because Einstein’s theories are his immortality.

Another prominent example is Beethoven, who is famously known for sacrificing his “hearing”. What fewer people seem to bring into discussion, however, was Beethoven’s obvious cyclothymic tendencies, where he would snap into “highs” of writing multiple symphonies simultaneously. In these phases, he would throw dinner gatherings and socialize religiously. However, it is argued that Beethoven would intentionally overwork in order to push himself into a melancholic state of mind whereby his best and most prominent works were created. In the latter stages of life when he lost his hearing, Beethoven unfortunately stooped into full-blown depression.

These are merely two of many well-known examples of Greats who have sacrificed aspects their own “humanity”, as millenials would call it. Incidentally, if the resources of our modern world were available at the time the Greats created the work that deemed their titles, then perhaps they would have been more stable, but at the sacrifice of our future. Perhaps, what made the Greats “great” is how much they sacrificed of themselves — of their time, of the effort, of their reputations, of their loved ones, and of their sanity.

What few speak of, are the people who are caught in the crossfires of what the Greats set-out to do. The failed relationships, the conflict with family, the friendships that always seemed unfinished…

It takes an inner strength to make sacrifices. A strength that comes from a drive only those who follow their passions find.

Everyone is set out to be Great in his or her own way, but we cannot assess each other by our weaknesses and sacrifices, only the strength that comes from it. We, in the modern world, are taught to “rectify” our weaknesses and conform to a standard, a norm. But sometimes, when we set our priorities straight, harmony falls into place.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction: we reap what we sow : what you give is what you get : what you sacrifice is what you gain

Everything is cyclical and everything is connected. Sometimes, the best action is inaction, and let things fall into place naturally.

If the Greats were pushed to conform by modern standards, there would be no modern standards in the first place. So do what you are compelled to do, let that drive be the motivation that opens your eyes every single morning. Be it your passion, your family, your friends, your work, your job, your religion or what not.

Be Great.

In your own way. Because ultimately, things fall into place.

Surrender to yourself.

Peace,

Mikavelli