The Power of Words

A letter to a loved one, a thank you note, a telephone call, a malicious letter or a complaint… All consist of words. Some make you happy, others hurt more than you would ever care to admit. You are the author of your words and you alone choose which ones you use. You alone have that power.

Not too long ago, I sat in my mother’s living room in South Africa, trying to work out where I was going with my life. Some events have turned the life I knew, upside down, and I wanted to take control of my own destiny, I just didn’t know where to start.

I never thought I'd say this out loud, but I would like to thank my mom for making me watch Oprah (she records all her favourite programs and whenever I visit South Africa, she brings me Rooibos Tea and presses play). On this particular day it was one of Oprah's 'Master Classes' featuring Maya Angelou. I'd never heard of Maya before that day and boy…. did I miss out on years of good mentoring! Maya was a writer and a poet and she had this amazing aura around her when she spoke… She told of her horrific childhood and that she stopped speaking for a few years after the suffering which she experienced. It was only when she started reading poetry and was advised that you could only truly appreciate poetry when you heard it out loud… in your own voice… that she started speaking again. She was always very selective of the words she used and said that no negative words were allowed in her house. She said that words were things… And that you need to choose the ones you speak wisely… She also said that negative words were not allowed in her house and that if someone spoke them… that she would ask them to leave. Amazing… what a revelation… That we have the power to choose the words we speak because words are things and they could hurt… or help…

Maya Angelou passed away recently and she wrote 7 autobiographies, 3 books of essays and several books of poetry which will now keep her words alive. I  choose to learn from what she said and to choose my words and the words spoken in my home… I choose to help... not to hurt.

I would like to thank the following people for inspiring me to be creative and encouraging me to live my dreams. I dedicate this blog post to you:

To my Dad, for always dreaming big and regularly telling me that he was proud of me and for never being afraid to tell me that he loved me. To my Mom, for finding the strength to keep our family together after the life changing tragedy of losing my Dad. To my sister Bianca for being such a wonderful mom to my precious niece and nephew and a fantastic friend to me and for always being my number one cheerleader throughout all the adventures of my life. To my dearest friend Gerdi, the Batman to my Robin, for always smiling and making us laugh on a daily basis whilst she is fighting the fight of her life, you are such an inspiration to so many people and so important to me! To Kara and Lee for always encouraging en NEVER discouraging, I love you guys! To Elmie, fellow photographer and friend, for the note she gave me at the airport 12 yrs ago when I left South Africa, telling me to 'Live your dreams'. To Maya Angelou for being so wise and so beautiful inside that it is infectious. To Nelson Mandela who was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in and so freely forgave those who wronged him, he has made me want to be a better person and proud to be South African. To my old work colleagues who made me realise what it was that was really important in life and in turn, made it easier for me to choose my true calling and follow it, thank you. To Julia Kelleher who recently helped me explore my ‘WHY’, thank you for your help. And lastly but almost the most important of all… to Martijn who helped me find my smile again. I love you very much!

You are the author of your words and you alone can choose which ones you use. You have the power… What will you choose? What is it that you want to achieve?