What is your trademark?

This year has started off with a bang. A week into the academic year and I feel the need for a vacation. My tired is tired, although it can be written down to the blistering heat. Thus far I have had to disappoint hundreds of parents for not being able to accommodate their kids at our school. Some of which took it like real troopers and others who felt the need to tell me where to get off. Fortunately I have somewhat of a thick skin and don’t take it personally. Amused and slightly irritated at them for leaving it to the last minute and playing with their kids educations but not upset where I hate my job. Never that.

The last week I’ve had countless hugs from my teeny-boppers (girls only; teen boys hormones scare me) and plenty of parents wishing me and the school well for the academic year. A few ex learners parents called me up as well to say hi and I’ve only been at the school for a little over six months. Seems like I have made my mark and kind of “earned” their respect. Not every single one though, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

My kids and I enjoy playing the Logo Quiz game. We’ve unlocked so many levels but have yet to complete some of them as we are absolutely clueless as to what it may be. It’s easy to identify the popular ones. Like who doesn’t know how to spot their favourite takeout, grocer or treat? Heck, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to afford a Maserati in this lifetime but will still be able to identify it. You’ll know I’ve made it if you see me driving one.

On Instagram I’ve come to identify certain people by their colour schemes and their filters they use besides their images, without even checking who it is. So too with other social media platforms. I’ll read something and just know who it is. Mostly I’ve noticed that I can identify them by the feelings their images and words evoke in me.

One of my favourite online people I have yet to meet

The last two months I’ve unfollowed and unfriended a large number of people. Some of whom I know personally and others I will probably never meet. None of the unfollows or unfriended were personal. It’s social media and it shouldn’t be personal or taken too seriously. My decision was based on interactions and the content shared. I just didn’t have time for space wasters or the negative committees. Still not personal. I can confidently say this as many of the people I actually know are not like that in real life. They are simply lost in translation. Translations I don’t have time for in my rental space. Again, it’s social media. Not Woe is media. I should mention that @bean_bag_boy is one I won’t unfriend soon if ever. Unless he decides to do something drastic like shut down his social accounts and I’ll be robbed of light hearted fun, some brilliant food for thought, awareness and the occasional iced tea recipe.

The past few weeks has been that time of the year when we reflected on the past twelve months. I don’t have a designated time for reflection though. I basically practice it on the regular. How else am I going to improve on the version of me I was yesterday or even last month. Besides… OCD sort of my thing. But since many people reflect during that time of year and making resolutions not to make resolutions and making sure that 2017 stays in Vegas, it had me thinking about trademarks.

Some people you can spot a mile away by the way they walk.

One of the students at my school recognized me by my hair in a mall the other day. Even though the colour has changed yet again since she last saw me. My daughter #MiddleK can be heard by her laugh from a mile away. The quickest way I can tell my twin nephews apart on days they look exactly alike is by their interaction with me and the way they talk. #E1 says my instead of I and #E2 says I instead of my. And #E2 calls me auntie Jessie and my name is Celeste.

There are people I dread seeing because I know they won’t have anything good to say about anything or anyone. Walking around with a figurative straw and sucking the life out of you. Then there are people who light up the room like a ray of sunshine, like my one colleague. Then are are people like my late mother in law who called everyone “My love” and that’s how people remember her. That was her trademark. It was also the reason I had those words tattoed on my arm.

You see we all have trademarks. It’s in our dress sense, colours people would associate us with, our hair, walk, the way we carry ourselves in general… Yet how we make people feel is so much stronger than any other characteristic or physical attribute. That is where our real trademark lies. A typical example of this is my sister. Although she has a great dress sense and a ball of energy, she’s also one of those people who people naturally gravitated towards. My mom must have done something right.

My sister… My happy place is a person

In real life I look like a real ogre from a distance but when you get closer and I turn on my smile, I can literally make you lose your game. That’s if you wanted to play Street Fighter. I kill with my pearlies and friendly nature. K.O. Looking back on the past seven months in a new job and being on the receiving end of warm wishes from parents and community members I think that my trademark has made an impact and I truly have earned the respect. I guess I’m endorphins on two legs most of the time. Clearly I’m doing something right. Just to be clear it’s not because I get paid to be the “Face of the school”. My general attitude in life is aimed at making a difference and leaving people with a good thought or a smile. A difficult task some days when life just sucks itself out of of me.

I’m glad I don’t live in America

What I have come to realise is that the world needs women who are strong yet gentle, tough yet caring, courageous and kind. We need love and understanding. Sympathy with bucket loads of empathy. We have a multitude of antagonists and rivals. What need are allies, supporters and friends. Too many talking for the sake of having their voice heard; ergo, Donald Trump and his sh*thole statement. And he’s not even white. Pantone suggests he is Golden flame. It does range between various shades of orange and definitely screams of coloured to me.

If you havent reflected on the past year and committed to not making resolutions but mentally compiled a to-do list for things you want for 2018, I dare you to do so. While you claim 2018 to be your year if 2017 was a shoddy year… While you wash the remnants of 2017 out of your system (horrifying litre by litre, because… Level 6 water restrictions) and focus on the next 365 (minus almost a whole month!) days and opportunities that’s waiting for you…

Think about your trademark and the legacy you want to leave behind. When you talk is it from a place of love or do you speak words in the hopes of getting your voice heard? People may forgive a fashion faux pas or a bad haircut. They may vaguely remember the day you forgot to apply deodorant but they will remember how you make them feel.

I’d love for you to share your trademark with me…

With love,



  1. Hee Wanda

    April 4, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I just like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and test once more right here regularly. I am relatively sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

    1. CJ

      April 4, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      Thank you Wanda. It makes my heart sing knowing this.

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