Hi, I’m Nicholette. Welcome.
This is my story:
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1979, where I attended Primary and High School and lived in a Christian family as the firstborn, with a mom and dad, alongside three lively siblings.
I experienced childhood wounds from bullies in Primary School, and then learnt how to put some ‘armour’ on to protect myself. In high school I fought back and made sure I was accepted by those around me, and did everything I could to be seen as ‘cool’.
Not knowing exactly where to go from high school, I enrolled in a couple of courses, first following my passions at the time, with photography and painting, and then moving into a more ambitious phase when I turned 21. After studying Travel & Tourism, I left the ‘nest’ to live in England for two years on a working holiday visa, where I got my first taste of ‘adulting’. What a shock to my system!
Luckily, I was fearless and nothing kept me down for long. I travelled around the UK while there and also got my first bite from the travel bug. What a rush! There was this whole wide world out there that did things so much differently to the small town I was from. I was in love with travelling and wanted to see and explore the whole world.
When my visa expired, it was my intention to go visit my family for a while and wing it from there.
By this time, I was only 23. I was off to a good start, and then ‘Life’ threw me a few major curveballs to wake me up and shake me loose.
In the space of four months, I had arrived home from England, my grandfather died very unexpectedly from a heart attack (the first time I’d lost someone close to me), I found out I had cancer (a tumour in my thyroid), had to undergo two surgeries, radiation therapy, a boyfriend breaking up with me, and the cherry on top: I got hijacked with a gun to my head outside a friend’s house, where the perpetrators stole my car.
Life had been so rough for those four months, that I remember thinking I didn’t want to live anymore because it had been so hard. Yet, the first thought that crossed my mind when I had the gun to my head was: “I want to live! There’s still so much I want to do!”.
Why did it take a gun to my head for me to decide to live? Why did life have to threaten me with my death for me to choose to live?
Still not sure what it was I wanted to do with my life, I studied once again. This time it was a diploma in Journalism. It was during a project for my Travel and Tourism course that I discovered I was a natural writer, and so pursued a career in print media.
Of course, my first gig as a ‘journalist’ was for the community newspaper in my home town, and while I did not completely escape writing hard news pieces, I proved much better at writing human interest pieces, entertainment and features articles. I loved my job completely, but felt a bit ‘stuck’ in life as I could still feel nags of more travelling howling at my soul.
From there, I took the first opportunity life brought me to get out of my hometown again, and flew to Norway to work at a cable ski park, where wakeboarding was a part of daily life and became a bit of a culture for me.
This awesome sport not only ensured I met people who had a lust for life, but also grew in me some wonderfully constructive things. While learning to ride a board moving on top of water at 29km/hour can leave you with all sorts of learning injuries, the act of falling and falling and falling over and over and over again, until I got it right, gave me such wonderful belief in myself. The only person I could be proud of when I got whatever I was trying right, was myself for not giving up and keeping on. I recommend this sport for any parent wanting to teach their child perseverance, self confidence and self trust.
While in Norway for three months, I saved all the money I made, and tried to go to USA after that. After being denied a tourist visa for USA while in Oslo, I decided I didn’t want to go back to my hometown, and did the wildest thing ever. I literally walked into a travel agency, asked them where the cheapest ticket was to somewhere I didn’t need a visa for, and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Phuket. It took me a week or two to sign up for a TEFL teaching course, and two months after starting the course, I landed a teaching gig at a few Thai primary schools.
I worked minimal hours during the day, and wakeboarded at the cable park there for the remainder of most days, and yes, par for the course with ‘island lyfe’ was loads of beach time and island hopping.
I then caught wind that the local English newspaper on the island was looking for a features editor, and it wasn’t long before I found myself doing restaurant reviews, spa features, and all sorts of awesome media work again.
What started off as a two-week ticket to an island ended up being a two-year working holiday where I have felt the most alive I have ever felt in my life. I felt like I was truly living and not just existing. I could literally feel the blood pumping through my veins from how alive I felt.
And then, it got to the point where sometimes an island just isn’t enough. As happy as I was in Thailand, the culture there does have its stigmas, and western women generally find it quite tough to stay there. At the end of the day, I left because I felt starved for physical affection. Hugs were very few and far between, unlike being able to grab a quick hug or kiss from family or friends whenever needed at home. I balled my eyes out when I left Phuket. It was the happiest I’d been in my life.
Off I went to the Middle East, which technically isn’t a better option if you’re starved for affection, but I figured it would be ok since it’s an international hub with millions of foreigners in and out all the time, and the wakeboarding community is always so easy to infiltrate and meet people.
Life did not go according to plan in the Middle East, and after losing my job and not being able to find another one, I had no choice but to come home.
I wrote as a freelance travel writer for a while, before concluding I needed to get a full-time job, and that I couldn’t float aimlessly around the world forever. And so I took on a sub-editor role at a traded publication house near my hometown. That was going well until the company decided to get a new publisher, who called me into his office one day and said: “You definitely have potential, and I think you’re going to be great in two years or so, but I need someone who’s great now, here’s a mutual termination contract to sign.”
The second time in a year and a bit that I had lost a job in the media industry. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have given up so easily… You don’t have to throw the whole car away if you’ve just got one flat tyre. But in all honesty, my soul was nagging me to do something more fulfilling for my time in exchange for money.
I signed up to do a couple of energy healing courses, and while studying, I naively decided to declare out loud to life that I was giving up on looking for work, and that ‘Life’ should bring me the work it wanted me to do. As they say: Be careful what you wish for!
My life ended up taking quite a sharp turn from the media industry with regards to work. I found myself being appointed manager of a ‘women’s intimacy boutique’, working with sexuality!
It was perfect for me, and I loved every minute of it. I threw my entire self into my job and gave the people I encountered the best of me. A lot of counseling work, but also fun stuff and helping women embrace a part of themselves society has conditioned the ‘fairer’ sex to suppress.
But then, for the first time ever, a year into the job, I experienced ‘burn out’. I was constantly exhausted and angry. All I found myself doing was work, home, work, home. I found my employer to be a bit restrictive too. She did not want me going to gym after work, as I needed my energy for work.
My exhaustion and anger escalated to the point where myself and the business owner had a blow out and I ended up resigning and moving to Cape Town with my aunt.
Well… I’ve travelled the world by myself, and lived in so many cities around the world. It’s quite a task picking up and starting over from nowhere in a new place, and it seemed I had a penchant for this sort of lifestyle. It takes at least a year in most places to establish yourself, find your bearings, find a support system, friends, hobbies, activities, etc.
In Cape Town, everything takes much longer. There’s even a joke about how long it takes to get stuff done here. Q: Why is Cape Town called the Mother City? A: Because it takes nine months to get anything done.
It took me over two years to even find a stable job and living space. In the space of 11 months, I moved 16 times. My first two years in Cape Town were much, much harder than my experience with Cancer. Cancer felt like a walk in the park compared to how tightly life squeezed me when I moved to this beautiful city.
Added into the mix with my extremely destabilising survival issues finding work and a home, was coming to terms with my mother almost dying from alcoholism and spending a year in rehab, my grandmother passing away, existential crisis involving my belief system, and my relationship with my father taking massive strain because I did not share his belief system anymore, while it was his biggest crutch that helped him deal with my mother.
Dark Night of the Soul much?? I turned to tantric practices to move through my shadow, and although it was the hardest four years of my life, I realise I am mostly a whole, pure person again.
In the four years I have been in Cape Town, I have run two more ‘intimacy boutiques’ after asking ‘Life’ to bring me the work it wants me to do. Both times, I left from ‘burn out’. I seem to throw my all into these jobs I’m so passionate about, to the point where I have nothing left for myself, and life becomes very overwhelming for me. But still, I continued to work because “a job is a job, and everyone works those hours.”
My turning point for each of the jobs ending came when, at the one, I was so exhausted I shouldn’t have been driving, and crashed my car. The other, my body just started crying uncontrollably and didn’t stop for days, and I was getting yelled at for not being committed to the job, despite being at work for 12 hours that day.
I went to visit my family in Johannesburg just before leaving the most recent gig, and all I did for four days was cry and sleep.
The thing I noticed about burning out, is that employers seem to project weakness onto the staff member who is burning out, like they are not good enough, or lacking in some department. I’ve done research on burnout, and experts not only validate this phenomenon, but claim it takes months to recover from, and that it usually happens to the “star” employee who gives 1000% of themselves to their job.
Funny thing then, that me burning out took me from hero to zero in my employers’ eyes. And that it was me who was at fault for not feeling better after having four days off to rest. People have died from burnout. Regardless of how much I love my job, or how fulfilling it is, I am not prepared to lose my life or wellbeing over it, just to be replaced in one week like I never existed.
I have been very loathe to keep myself employed with any establishment since then, and although the work was extremely rewarding, and I miss it so, I am only a human with valid functional limitations.
To me, being a happy, healthy human is top priority in this life. If our body is not in a state of well being, we are not able to do anything to our full capacity.
If you’re drawn to working with me, write me a mail and let me know where you’re at with life. How old are you? Where did you grow up? Do you have a cultural heritage? Are you in some form of relationship? Are you happy? Where does your life feel stagnant? What would you like to change?
Sessions are one hour long, and can be held via Skype, or Zoom.
I am happy to accommodate the session to work in favour of your time zone.
Please email Nicholette at email@example.com to set up an appointment.
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