Somewhere Between the Doek and the Pencil Skirt

by Phumeza Langa

There are moments I catch myself thinking about the “Do’s and Dont’s” of being umakoti: the expectations, the ideas that I have swirling in my head and then my brain goes back to that looming work deadline I have, what the term “career progression” means to me and where (how) on earth we’ll manage to spray paint twenty boxes for table settings for an event and not get high on the fumes. These are just a few of the things that I think about on any given day, sometimes I have to silence my thoughts for fear of going completely looney…which on my best day, I think I may have gone well past that point.

Since my wedding two months ago, I’ve had to come face to face with the reality that I may need to take my Superwoman cape to the laundry as I’m going to need it. Not so that I can “Do it All!” according to the notion I had thought was true, but to remind myself that I can give all that I do the very best of efforts and not tire myself out in the hope of keeping it all together. I don’t wish to present an argument on why or why not women should have it together, do it all, be it all – wife, mother, sister, aunt, working woman, homemaker and numerous other titles that we’ve taken on, knowingly or not.

superwoman

The reality for today’s woman is different from that of the time of our grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’, and the notion of a woman’s role in society has changed too, except for the parts where we want to totally rock at anything and everything that we do. However there’s no manual for any of the roles that we play, no checklist of the things that need to be taken care of for the people that we care for and no more than 24 hours in a day to get through as much as you can without passing out from sheer exhaustion (and perhaps a little dose of disillusionment).

Without sounding like I’m suggesting we start a revolution, sans the bra burning, I do believe it possible to successfully fulfil the roles that we choose as women and at the same time, to do right by ourselves. We not only owe that to ourselves but to the people in our lives, our loved ones most especially, to walk our own chosen path.

I may currently be working in corporate communications – in some ways it scratches that proverbial itch related to my career, but my instinct tells me that there is a world beyond these borders that I need to explore… and that excites me! One of the things that I’m proud to have pursued is my writing, on different platforms and in a way that allows me to tap into another part of myself (and also relinquish the idea of eight hours of sleep every night in order to chase after a passion).

businesswoman

I do not know what my journey as a wife will bring, having to combine it with being a career woman, a daughter, a friend, cousin, fledging freelance writer and other roles that I play…but I have a lot of faith that I will make it work, in the manner that I so choose for myself and with enough chutzpah to ensure that I do not lose myself in the process of becoming more of the woman I was born to be. 

There’s no harm in being fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire, the harm is allowing yourself to stop pursuing your dreams, and to stop trying with all your might to stay true to who you are. People will always talk, society will forever judge and form opinions but would it not be incredible to go to bed every evening knowing that you did something that day that completely allowed you to be you?

As for me and that Superwoman cape… I’m going to stash it far away or perhaps burying it in the backyard would be better but either way I want to stop trying to live up to that image and stick the image of who I want to be.

phumeza

Phumeza Langa is a communications consultant plying her trade in corporate. A lover of road trips, sunsets, writing and everything that sets her soul on fire. A rebel with a cause and an adventurous thrill seeker with a “Have passport will bungee jump” mentality and if you find a way into her heart she’ll lovingly refer to you as “My sunshine”. Follow her down the rabbit hole on @phumezamzai