It is not every day that you can claim to have an author as a friend. When Thuli first told me about her plans to write a book I was excited for her. It is something that I have been thinking of doing one day and to see someone my age, from a similar background realise a similar dream is inspiring. Inviting her to the book club was a no-brainer!
Thuli is passionate about youth education and empowerment. Her book-The Scent of Freedom: Rest in You is just that-Empowering! Within her first year of publishing, Thuli has already been nominated for the Zimbabwe International Women’s Awards-Author of the Year. You might remember the article http://blvbookclub.com/2016/08/11/the-scent-of-freedom-why-i-wrote-the-book/.
The Scent of Freedom is the type of book which you will extract a lot of value from if you are ready to do the work. By work I mean, taking time to face your demons head on, being brutally honest with yourself and furthermore, reflecting on how you can live your best life. I read this book at the perfect time in my life, even though I will admit, I tried to resist it because of the deep thoughts it made me confront. Having it as our November Book Club Read helped a lot and the discussions during our last Meetup made me realise that there is a need for books like this. It also served as the perfect book to end the year.
I will share with you the parts in the book that stood out for us:
Reflection time- Because the nature of the book requires setting some time for reflection, a question was posed on the importance of reflection. The Scent of Freedom has reflection points in every chapter. These are some questions that help steer your thoughts. This is useful in helping you clear your thoughts and come to a resolution on the best way forward. A common thread I have observed with the leaders I have encountered is that of setting time to reflect. They use it to look at the past-what worked and what did not work and to look at plans for the future.
How often you reflect is up to each individual but there is also a danger in ‘overreflecting’. Be careful of this to avoid spending too much time wallowing in your thoughts and not enough time doing something about it.
Playing charades- This was my favorite chapter in the book. This mainly revolves around authenticity. My initial interpretation was that of the image we portray to those around us. This could be our immediate friends and family and on social media at large. A quick disclaimer that the ladies so rightly pointed out was that social media will always be a tool to show the best version of ourselves to the world. Very rarely do we find ourselves being vulnerable on this tool. The important form of authenticity is that which is to ourselves. It is so easy to believe our own lies. Are you being honest with yourself? It is all good and well to smile at the world and act like everything is ok but you owe yourself the highest form of authenticity or else you run the risk of the faҫade you have so well created unmasking itself.
At the toughest point in my life, I found myself learning to answer the question we often overlook – ‘Are you ok? How are you?’. I learnt to say no when I was not ok. I am glad I did that because it allowed me to address why I was not ok. Pretending to be ok would have left me dealing with the issue 3 months later. I urge you to do the same when you check in with yourself or when someone close to you asks you that question.
It does not take much for our dreams to die- It is so easy to find fault within our dreams and reasons for why they could never work out. We allow society to guide our worth. I urge you to look back at what dreams your 16 year old self had. Have you accomplished those dreams? If not, why? Chances are high that you allowed your dreams to die gripped by the fear of failure. Well, the next step is to ask yourself what are your dreams now. My favorite quote by Sheryl Sandberg is ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ Do it. Don’t let those dreams die.
Forgiving yourself- ‘Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you’. We tend to bury our heads in the sand, ashamed of the scars that serve as reminders to the whole world of the fact that our lives are not perfect. Scars- emotional or physical, are reminders of our past. Regardless of whether they are self-inflicted or caused by others, you are still standing. Let us own our mistakes, forgive ourselves and use those scars to prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes. Better still, let us use our scars to serve as testimonies to those around us. Let us turn lemons into pink lemonade 🙂
Lerato is a Supply Chain professional in the FMCG industry. Not satisfied with being confined to her day job, Lee is always reading something different. The development of women and Africa are what fuel her passion. She would one day love to have dinner with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and pick her brain on so many issues.