Growing up in a foreign land, after emigrating from Zimbabwe at age eight, meant that for a long time I lived as a foreigner. Everything was unfamiliar and unknown, and this sense of displacement shadowed me for many of my growing years. Most of my jobs and studies were because I sort of fell into them, and to this day I have no recollection of what I wanted to be when I grew up.
At around age 40, after lots of very painful broken friendships and relationships, I knew these two things:
- No more of this sort of relational pattern, thank you; and
- I wanted to help people, whatever that might mean.
Most of the signs pointed to life coaching and I was pretty resistant at first. But I eventually followed that path, figuring that I did not want to ask clients to go where I wasn’t willing to travel. Standing in front of that mirror has been embarrassing and painful, but freeing, joyful and so life-giving!
I’m happily married to an enthusiastic, vibrant entrepreneur and am mom to four wonderful humans – two boys and two girls. It’s a full life and I’m grateful to call it mine. But, let’s be real, this is where all my theories on relationships get tested and challenged!
I’ve always loved questions more than answers, curiosity more than direction, and the more I met with women individually, the more I wanted to smash open self-inflicted and external boundaries.
This is where the tiny seedling of She Gathers began to sprout, and mostly my idea was this simple:
Just gather the girls around a table and let them talk about real stuff.
Talking, sharing ideas and being seen kept translating into one consistent message:
Permission granted… to be who you are, to do you, to lay down the measuring stick, to enjoy who you are, and to find delight in the life you are living.
We are more connected, with so many of the same doubts and fears than we ever expected.
Most events aimed at women are with one purpose in mind: Be ...! We got tired of hearing about all the work we were doing, not being enough.
We needed to thin instantly, mom perfectly, career aggressively, wife sexily and so forth… Really, we became very interested in the women next to us, the one in front of us in the checkout line, the one in the car behind us in traffic: What did she think? How is she coping? What is her story?
We believe story gives permission. Great big swarths of permission – to go ahead and live your very own story. No comparing, no grading, no measuring. Just you do you and I’ll do me.
She Speaks, She Tells Tales
Currently we run two different events:
- Our She Speaks evenings centre around a personal story with a glass of wine and dinner: one lady gets brave enough to get behind a mic and share something she has lived through and learned from.
- Our She Tells Tales is a much smaller gathering over Saturday afternoon tea, facilitating a conversation between all present around women and work (whether you work in the home, work in corporate or are an entrepreneur).
Women today are living with a hard-won freedom that is more far-reaching and more demanding than ever before. We have responsibilities and pressures that our grandmothers could not fathom.
At She Gathers, we give ourselves permission to celebrate who we are and do what we do, while letting go of perfection.
Building these tables, holding the kind of conversations that touch on real stuff is me at my most alive and I look forward to welcoming you to a seat in the circle…The next gathering is She Speaks Transforming Pain by Stacey Lewis at Foundation Family Wealth, 10 Eastwood Road, Dunkeld, Randburg on 13 September at 6pm. For more info, go to SheGathers.co.