The Spring Jump

Spring always brings with this funny, lovely sense of renewal, like we shed winter’s baggage and move on to new things. It sounds trite but it’s true, for me, at least.



Spring day will mark two years since I took the leap and became a freelance writer.

I’ve decided not to spend this post looking back over the past two years, because a lot has gone down. Some of it incredible, some of it scary and, well, most of it left me with a sense of gratitude. For that, and through that, I know I have learnt.

I have had to, out of necessity, withdraw into a little cocoon a lot, over the last two years, in an effort to *just get things done*. There were some people who made me feel bad about this but, they don’t matter to me or my life anymore. It’s been a two-year period of learning to focus, and sticking to that focus. The ability to focus on one thing at a time seemed like a mystery to me for so long. But, I have learnt focus, and I have become very aware that I should not apologise for it.

When I made this jump, it was done with the full support of the people who matter – one of them, in particular, made damn sure I followed through on it – I don’t think I can ever repay her for that. Another person, my absolute confidante and life partner (what a term…he deserves a better term…) consistently believes on the days I cannot. 

But, I did not just make this jump for me, or because of something my parents said to me before they died (they both did, and thinking of it now, I should’ve listened sooner). I did it for someone else entirely, too.

About twelve hair colours ago (which would make it about six or seven years ago), I was conversing with a then-colleague, who remarked:

“You know, now that you’re beyond the survival mode of nappies and wiping butts, you have a girl to teach. And you can’t teach her by dictating to her. If you want her to grow up thinking she can follow her dreams, you have to show her”.

I came away from that conversation, petrified. You can read every parenting book, buy every expensive toy, have your child on a routine and provide them with sensory learning experiences until they are blue in the face…and you’ve still not even begun parenting.

That conversation shocked me and scared me for a long, long time. In fact, it probably made me even more scared of even, ever trying to “be a writer”. Suddenly I had been made aware that, no matter what I did from there onwards, I was not just doing it for me, but it would be the example my daughter would lean on for the rest of her life.

That sense of responsibility sat in my brain for a long time. Suddenly (and yes, I realise I was slow to this game…), I began to understand that all the things I did were not only being watched, but truly assimilated into someone else. This, therefore, gave me an influence I had not expected or thought about at 2am, when I was way more concerned with trying to figure out how to rebundle a sick kid into bed and avoid sleeping in vomit.

But, there it was.

About a year after that conversation, my life uncobbled. It untangled and laid bare a mess I had not wanted to confront. I was completely at a loss, because I’d kinda bet on something, and it didn’t work out. Even worse, was realising that to untangle myself from being driven into some weird and dark life place, I had to use my own mental strength to get out of it. I was scared.

And it was at that exact moment that I got my very first opportunity to write professionally. I read that now, and I want to cringe, because I know just how much life has happened SINCE then…yet, at the time, I thought life was entirely derailed.

But. That moment was the spark that led me towards believing I could do this. I’ve had such incredible opportunities come my way, since then. I have worked with (and still do!) some of the planet’s most fantastic citizens. It was that spark that started my path towards here.


I had no confidence when I began. Everything that came to me, at that time, seemed like it was a favour. I know now that it wasn’t. It was just someone else believing in me, before I could. I am so grateful for their belief in me. 

Every single goal since then (bar one…that was minor, happened this year and really should not have affected me as I let it, silly Cath) that I have set up for myself, I have been given the opportunity to achieve. No, I haven’t achieved all of them but, that doesn’t matter to me, because every single time…I’ve learnt. None of them came easily to me, and I know that, throughout my days. It makes me prouder of them, and the mistakes I have made along the way. And, oh boy, have I made some clanger errors.

So, come Spring Day, I’ll be thinking of the new sunshine, marching my kid off to school in her Spring Hat and, well, I’ll be happy. I have new dreams, and new goals I’d like to achieve. I have new projects and fun things to investigate.

But, most importantly, it’s the look on my kid’s face when I can say to her :

“Remember when I said, I’d like to do this…”

and she goes


and I get to say:

“Cool, you can read it now”. 


The smile that she gets on her face, as she realises I’ve done something I had told her I wanted to…the idea that is planted in her head that “my mom had a goal, and she achieved it”…That is why I do this.

I write for money, professionally, and I love it. It is the one thing that gives me a sense of purpose and enables me to feel that I can use my talent for good.

But, the thing that makes me breathe, and gets me up every day… is knowing that I’m showing a notsolittle girl that, no matter what life throws at you…you can achieve the things you want to, if you are prepared to work for them. Throw in a big bucket of good friends, a supportive family and ditch the fear of being rejected (you probably will be, quite a few times)

and…you can do just about anything you set your heart on

(and sometimes, if you’re really lucky and work really hard, you’ll get to do the things you didn’t ever expect to). 




Winging it.

Sometimes, when I look at people around me, or that I pass by on that usual walkrunslog I do, I’m amazed at how “put together” they are. I’m never going to be one of those people, who constantly appears and seems to have it all planned out.

I’m okay with that, because, for me, every time I do try and smash it altogether and focus on pulling myself towards myself, I end up feeling a little less like me and little more like I have no idea what I’m doing. And, when I’m winging it, that’s when I feel most comfortable.

That’s not to say I don’t wake up every morning with a to do list and a plan of action. Hell knows, I’d be adrift and lost in the kaleidoscope of YouTube for 9 days solid if I didn’t have those. It’s funny how that happens, hey? You start off doing a simple Google search for “best prices on pencils” and, somehow, a million hours later, you’re sitting there dropping crumbs into your cleavage and watching a YouTube video on the African Giraffe’s journey towards crochet or something. So, yes, my to do list is a centrifugal force that keeps me from ending up “over there” in the great, wide Internet.

What I realised, when I looked back at my Month of Saying Yes this week, is that I actually like saying yes. Sure, I’ve felt a little bit more overwhelmed than I wanted to. Yes, I have done a couple of true blue freak out sessions and, well, I’ve got very little sleep. Very little. In fact, our entire family is starting to look a tiny bit like there’s a toddler in the house and they’ve just discovered that staying up all night is actually quite fun.

this is how I see Can-Do-Cath in my head.

For someone whose default reaction is “no”, my Month of Saying Yes has been an extreme eyeopener. I’m suddenly doing things I didn’t think I would and that I really love; I’m not feeling as burdened by things and I think I finally found that little part of me I used to like so much but lost somewhere. I call her “Can-Do-Cath”. In my twenties, I remember someone I worked with being a little alarmed that, no matter what they threw at me, I’d get it done. I liked that bit of myself, and I feel like I lost her somewhere. But, Can-Do-Cath seems to have made a Can-Do-Comeback. I like her. I like her very much.

During that month of saying yes, I proved to myself, and myself alone, that I can run for fun and exercise. I proved that I can enjoy work I did not plan for, and even love it. I learnt that, by immersing myself in things I am not familiar with, I can get over a jarring sense of self-doubt that’s plagued me for way too long in my life. I taught myself that, sometimes, that ability to wing it is beautiful. Most of all, I proved to myself that I am not as afraid as I thought I was.


But, bearing in mind that I am exhausted and I really need a little timeout, I’m going to say No to everything this weekend. It’s all about balance, right? And that’s one thing I have to teach myself and have never really learnt – balance. I’m saying No to work this weekend (properly…none of this “oh I’ll just do an hour of this”) and I am saying No to anything but pyjamas and ice cream. Just for 48 hours. Can-Do-Cath will return on Monday morning, bright-eyed at 07h30.

Until then, Can-D0-Cath is taking a weekend. A real, live weekend that I can smush my face into, laugh through and love. Can-Do-Cath is going to try and prove to herself that she Can-Have-A-Weekend. See you on Monday, world.



1. I have not changed themes on the old blog in ages.

2. Today was the day to do it. I hope you like it.

3. I do. Most of all though, it’s homegrown and close to my heart.

4. Why? Simple. Read this.

5. See that Author name? Recognise it? Thought you might.

6. I’m proud to be part of the team at The Forge.

7. Yes, that means that long after the world has gone to bed, I’m writing and working for The Forge but, I love it. I love it hard.

8. I work with great, inspirational people, who truly give a fuck about every nuance of the work they do. Yes, every nuance. Believe it. The people who made this gorgeous theme.

9. I’m proud to call them my friends, my colleagues.

10. And, hey, look at my blog. It’s gorgeous, right? That’s because of The Forge.

#zaCSO and a kudos to Uthango

//for a change I’m talking about work on this blog today//

Today, I had the honour and privilege to attend this

Termed #digitalnomads, #zaCSO the ability to learn and hear about interesting ways to harness social media for their particular cause or area of interest. Coming in with real-life applications, true success stories and useful tips, the Uthango team put together a programme that is not only inspiring but, also practical.

I know that I am privileged enough to have good backing in terms of management at HIV-911 and I am able to, what we call, “go exploring”.

But, the truth is that, real interactions that have become real products and true partnerships have happened through our social media presence and foray into online networking. And in a sector that is sometimes scared or unsure of how to handle social media, it’s brilliant to know that organisations like Uthango, and my friend and inspirational man, Marlon Parker, are truly enabling organisations to discover and learn about social media, through their initiatives to empower the non-profit sector to engage in social  media.

It makes me happy to know that things are happening in this space. The personal, yet professional space. I had always said, for years, that the personal is the professional. And the personal is real. The personal is what truly matters to me and, being able to take the organisation I work for during the day and have it be present in a space that is interactive, is just so very empowering.

I’m proud to be part of this community. Excited that it enables and does not frown upon failure. In fact, the power of failure is one of the key lessons I took away today. I know that Cath Luckhoff recently attended a workshop on the power of failure, and found it empowering and inspirational. Being humble, being  real…being authentic and responsive is key.

I had the pleasure of finally meeting the infamous powerhouse Dave Duarte, who think may now think I am a complete madperson. And I am okay with that. Heh. I got to share our experiences, as HIV-911, in the mobile and social media space.

It’s nice to know we kinda get it.

I learnt alot today. Something that I haven’t really paid attention to is SecondLife. And I will, as a result of today’s presentations, be looking in to the sphere of Virtual Worlds, and not just from my own history as a girlgamer.

A big thanks to Karin Veltman, Jack Kruger, Dave Duarte, Dorette Steenkamp and Erna Sittig for a good day.

It’s a Friday that’s left me inspired. Thank you.

Correction for WebAddict

Sunday 25 October 2009

Rafiq made an error this morning, talking about HIV-911

I  immediately contacted Rafiq as I am the IT Manager for HIV-911

To correct:

We make all our database information freely available to everyone. The only time we charge is when a printed directory is ordered – this is to cover printing costs.

All organisations, public health facilities and doctors receive a free copy of their provincial directory and our referral services telephonically operate on a ShareCall number, and we make our entire database searchable for free via our website. We are also embarking on a variety of mobile projects to further enable empowering access to the HIV-911 database information

Rafiq has since amended the post and updated it with correct information.

The lesson here is to always be clear, and make sure that you’ve checked your facts – I learnt something today and I know alot of people did too.

I have closed comments on this topic as it’s a work matter and this is my personal blog.

Yes, They’re Doing It

Wow. What a whirlwind, wonderful week, hey?

It started with the Sheena Surprise lowdown…

Then work got really hectic and very exciting.

Then we presented to 200 rowdy, hormonal, brilliant high school boys.

Then came the 27dinner in Durban last night. If I could draw a heart aroud each person’s name who was there last night, I would. Thank you.

And this morning, this morning my latest article on Parent24 went live. It’s here.

I think I’m allowed a quiet weekend, yes? 😛

Random Friday Facts

  • My hair is falling out. This has happened a few times in my life – once when I was pregnant (I AM NOT PREGNANT EVERYBODY CALM DOWN), once when I was breastfeeding (as unsuccessful as that was, and no, I am not breastfeeding, everyone calm down…) and a few times throughout life when I’m stressed. Truth? I’m not going bald. Truth? I can do nothing about it but wait it out and yes, it currently looks a little like Beetlejuice. Truth? It will improve soon, as it always does and last truth? I’m not gonna go bald so, everyone calm down.
  • so why the stress? Truth? Have a lot on my plate workwise. This too shall pass and I will become less of errant blogger. Yes, you can calm down too audience of 12, I will be less sporadic and more garrulous soon, I think. It’s all good though, and worth it.
  • Life is good otherwise. Spending a lot of time in front of this lil computer but, it’s okay. No further fish have kicked the bucket (shoo) and we are but two weeks away from my little Cam turning four.
  • Yes, four. Okay, I’ll calm down now. Dudes, I remember BEING four. Cam and I have the same hair at that age. (here’s just hoping she doesn’t have my hair at 28 going on 29). I even remember my 4th birthday. I can still smell the provitas with marmite at school, and those big round biscuits I would stick my finger on to claim. (more on that one day but, let’s just say, I like putting my finger on my biscuit!)
  • I am surrounded in my life by very clever, very funny and very beautiful people. I know, I say that alot. Because it’s true. Deal with it.
  • My youngest niece will soon turn one. where the hang is the time going people?
  • I will soon enter the last year of my twenties. Cam says I can turn 23 on my next birthday. I think I like her calendar more than my real life one.
  • SARS have completely bunged up my tax return. It’s still not processed! I have to resubmit last years one next week. I mean, seriously dudes. Is it not interesting that it’s the one year that I actually have a bigger than usual rebate due to me? coincidence?
  • Some pretty exciting things on the horizon. more on that one day soon.
  • Late last night, Seh called me up to ask me to be her bridesmaid.  one of my hugest defenders, am really so honoured. Am trying to stave off the cookie urges and grow this hair in preparation.
  • On that note though, little mini-Seh is also turning one soon. WHERE THE HELL IS THE TIME GOING PEOPLE? Is there a time hobbit munching his way through the calendar? Seriously, catch that bloke, string him up and call him names.
  • Oh, and by the way, PCT. grin. 🙂