JOHANNESBURG – I just want to inspire, motivate, uplift and give thanks. May 2016 was my time. I was abruptly brought to a stand-still. You know when everything just stops? I was forced to sit back (well, lay back in a hospital bed) and take stock of your life. Never did I imagine I’d suffer a stroke or have a successful business after everything I’ve been through.
Overworked and too ambitious
I had a lot going on, my main focus was my career, shifting everything else in any corner that would not interrupt my goals. Friends and Family took a backseat… because I needed to prove my self-worth to this undeserving corporate rat race.
I woke up every morning, going to give my all to a place that did not appreciate or value me as a person. A means to reach targets, make profit, get the clients, keep the clients… be the voice and face of a company. As a result, I lost my true self in that race, that jungle, in that game. Elouise Damons was just another number on some payroll, not a person, just a number.
Unfortunately, my story is the story of millions out there. Nothing new! It is still happening to many on a daily bases. Society needs us to work, run this race and bring our part to grow this economy.
We need to work to survive, to live, to eat, to breathe, to pay bills, to pay school fees, to be… So don’t get me wrong, we need the jungle, just like the jungle needs us.
Without this jungle, we cannot be. You will just become a part of this ever raising sad statistics in this country.
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Minding Other People’s Business
I learnt first hand how the place you called work, you gave your everything to could turn on you. It starts with… maybe I could have done better. Then it’s, I should have stayed a bit later, burnt more midnight oil, I should have…I could have.
Next thing, I started doubting my ability as an employee, my ability to do my job and my ability as a person. The anxiety sets in and you ask yourself, “How can I better my skill to show them that I am the best person for this job?”
Trust me you can’t and you won’t. I was replaceable… I never wanted to say it out loud. But the fact is, there is always someone lurking in the background, waiting to replace you. And guess what, I was replaced… just like that. I “left” the jungle behind. It was hard, it was scary, but it needed to be done.
Fighting the Good Fight
I was not fortunate enough to be born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I’m a Brown child from the Cape.
I’m a Brown child that have worked hard for every single thing that I have. I’m a Brown child that was made strong by this world.
My strength comes from above. Growing up in a very strict Christian home made me a believer. But life happens, we grow up and forget to give thanks, because we are busy.
I had a stroke at the age of 37, the prime of my life. Everything came to a halt…it stopped right there. When you lay in a hospital bed, for days on end. You are forced to think, reflect and take stock.
This God I serve has a great sense of humor. He needed to talk to me, but I was to busy with my own agenda to listen to Him. So he decided to make me silent, to force me to listen to his voice. Today, just over 2 years later, I look back and see that I was on a path of self destruction. I was on some… I’ve gots this… on my way to the top… and I did this on my own.
I learnt to pray and seek Him again; to be still and let His Will be done. This process and road that He put me on, made me strong, made me believe and made me whole again. I am healed and grateful.
I have new people in my life, only a few from back then made the cut to be apart of me now. It’s clear now that not everything that shines is a diamond.
I have become compassionate, I now truly care, listen and understand. I can advise where it is needed and also give constructive criticism; without being harsh and hurtful. I know who I am, a Brown child that knows better.
El’s Nail Box, My Business
After praying and seeking his guidance, I opened El’s Nail Box in 2016. My pride and joy, a place where things happen. Where I am boss. It’s not all that its made out to be… It’s hard work, sweat and tears.
El’s Nail Box, is situated in Rabie Ridge, Midrand. I built the salon for the working class that cannot afford the bigger well known business brands. It’s a small luxurious haven for the girls. The ambiance and the culture was built up in time by my clients. I went from 4 clients at my dinning room table, to now just over 200 clients. The business is growing.
I’m currently working on expanding my business and turning the salon into a household brand.
There are great days, good days and there are bad days. Sometimes I sit and ask myself and God if this is worth it. I wonder is this what I signed up for, is this what you had planned for me? And the answer is yes! Because, I have walked the walk, now its time to talk the talk.
I am a mother, wife, friend and a business woman trying to make a success out life.
I am a Brown child that is strong, proud, believes and has faith.