Embrace Your Shadow, Gathering: Lerato on Mental Illness

We are keeping it in the family for our first ever, hopefully annual, Gathering of the Academy Goddesses on the 13th of November. The group is notorious of our “oversharing” but it is possible that there is still some things you’d like to know about your fellow goddesses.

Lerato Nkabinde is one of the speakers – sharers is probably a more appropriate description – at the meet-up. Get to know a bit more about her and her topic in this 10 point Q&A.

Lerato Nkabinde

  1. Who Are You?

My name Lerato, means love. I am love, I am love, I am loved. I am also a perfect contradiction of contradicts. I possess both “good” and “bad” qualities.

  1. Who Were You?    

I was a girl who attracted a lot of drama in her life. Everything seemed to be a struggle. Work, relationships, spiritual etc. Even the things that were meant to be simple were a struggle. It got to where I was exhausted and pissed off. Pissed off at everyone and everything. Why did I have to work that much harder while everyone was having it easy?

  1. Who Could You Be?

I can be anything I want to be, I just need to figure out what I want to be.  I am getting there with certain areas of my life, slowly figuring out how I want it to end. One area at the time. I have a handle on the family and career. The rest are a work in progress because I have not yet explored in detail what it is that I want and why. Once I do, I will sure get it.

  1. The Theme of the gathering is EMBRACE YOUR SHADOW, so what are you going to be sharing about?

I am going to share about Mental illness: Depression, bipolar. This topic chose me. I wanted to talk about something else entirely different except that I seem to be coming across a lot of people who are secretly suffering from one or both. It is as if it is a shame, that you cannot tell people that you do not have everything figured out, that you are struggling with some darkness in you and that some days are just harder than others.

  1. Why This Topic?

Because no one wants to talk about it. They write about it in magazines but usually from an experts point of view and includes a step by step guide on how to get through it. Some of us just can’t intellectualize our feelings. They make it all airy fairy. Seems it is easier for people to talk about depression but not about bipolar. You can say I am having a bad day but not that my moods go from one extreme to another.

  1. What Excites You About Your Talk?

I am excited that at the end of it, everyone will know that they do not have to be ashamed of mental illness. That you can go on to achieve great things, that is doesn’t stop you being smarter, attractive, funny, sexy or whatever the hell you want to be. Actually it provides you with an opportunity to get to know yourself. The road self-discovery leads to great adventures. The way I shock myself sometimes. I am like Lerato you did what?

  1. What Scares You About Tackling This Topic?

Vulnerability. Raw, hard, unedited but still trying to keep it light. My strong independent woman front broken?

  1. What Lifts You About Being A Woman?

As of late, my relationship with my period and what it communicates to me. How I feel during my period and the level of pain felt if any fascinates me. It tells me when I need to rest, when I need to get in touch with me, when I am rejecting certain aspects of my femininity, what needs healing. The list is endless and I haven’t even begun to explore the topic. I have a few ideas in mind and the thought of them excite me. Pity they come once a month because for now I can do with twice a month.

  1. What Burdens You About Being A Woman?

I have no idea what society expects from me. I must be smart, but not so smart. I must be sexy, driven, ambitious, funny, witty but be submissive, silent, take the back seat. I must close my legs before I get married, but I get asked when am I having children? I must be a home maker but also be CEO and a freak in the bedroom. There is too much pressure on woman to have it all and what if I do not want it. What if I want none of that?

  1. If you could let go of GUILT, FEAR or SHAME, right now, which would you drop?

Fear. I want to be fearless. I want to go out there and do it. Takeover, change the world, conquer mountains, fall madly in love, swim with dolphins, dance under the moonlight, write that book, have that talk show and smile at it all.

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2 thoughts on “Embrace Your Shadow, Gathering: Lerato on Mental Illness

  1. Titi Manugu says:

    I am inspired Lerato, true this is the beginning of what we should do to remind ourselves on who we are as woman

    We go through rough patches and still keep quiet, suffer and pretend as if all is ok while suffering

    I am one of those who managed to deal with a pain of 35 years, I am getting there slowly but surely through the help of our Father in Heaven

    Thank you my sister

    God bless

    Titi

  2. Michelle says:

    You are such a strong woman to be facing these difficult topics head on. I feel inspired and I too wish I could let go of fear and face life head on.

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