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One step at a time

May the 26th and 27th. In all honesty I’ve been dreading this week. Today, one year ago was my last day, living and working in the South African bush and I have to say thinking back of the days, weeks and months that followed, I feel quite sad, but also very proud. I remember the feeling of not knowing how I would ever get through the heartbreak, to even make it through the next hour (or minute)… but I did. There were moments when I didn’t think the pain would ever subside, that I would be hurting forever, but things did get better and one step at a time, putting one foot in front of the other I made it, 365 days later.

A year ago I felt like I had nothing. I had left behind the person I loved so very much. I had no career, no house, no car, no money and I would often lie in bed, curtains closed, and cry, feeling depressed and alone. Simple things such as getting out of bed cost me so much energy, that the idea of getting a job and moving on completely paralyzed me.

I felt ashamed to ask for help. I didn’t want to be seen as weak. In my eyes I had to be strong and get through this on my own. I put up a façade and told myself I was ok, but it didn’t last long before I realized that asking for help is alright and that being vulnerable is not a weakness but a sign of strength.

Although it took a long time to get to a point where I felt like I was able to slowly let go of the past and move forward, I did get there and along the way I discovered the importance of self-respect and that loving yourself is crucial in order to be loved. I learned that it’s better to be honest from the start, instead of waiting, hoping things will change in order not to hurt the other person, because unintentionally you are doing just that: hurting someone and giving them false hope.

The truth is, it’s been a tough year for me, but I am also very thankful. A lot of people have made an impact on my life and if it wasn’t for the support I received I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I have come to a stage in my life where I feel worthy of focusing on me and doing what makes me happy instead of solely doing what makes others happy. I guess it’s all about finding that balance of give and take.

365 days ago I ended a chapter and started a new one. I left behind a person who will forever hold a special place in my heart and a country that showed me the raw beauty of nature and the fight between life and death. I left a job that was far from what I was truly passionate about, but over time I have managed to turn that around. Today I am working as a youth worker and am so very grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to make a difference in young people’s lives. Although the days can be long and the situations intense I love going to work and knowing that I’m following my dreams. And for the first time in a long time I can say that I am happy with everything that is happening and don’t feel the need to move on to bigger, better and more meaningful things, because I am already there, content and living life to the fullest.

Fleur - May 28, 2015 - 00:25

Thanks Marita!
I really am!

marita fox - May 27, 2015 - 07:16

Lieflik blommetjie. You can be proud

Life at 25

At 15 I thought I was pretty wise for my age and truthfully felt I had learned most life lessons that were to be learned in life.

Oh how wrong I was!

Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, BOOM, you’re a quarter of a century old and you realize that yes you have grown tremendously, but at times you have absolutely no clue what the hell you’re doing and what this thing called “Life” is all about.

You remember thinking back about your 10 year old self who was convinced that you would live a very grown up life by now, living with your (soon to be) husband, planning a life together, dreaming of the children you would have in the next couple years to come, having a successful career etc. Well surprise, surprise, you’re more like Goldilocks, wandering off the path and getting lost in that damn forest.

Maybe I’m having a quarter life crisis?

At 25 half of my friends are married with kids and settled, while the other half still passes out in random guys’ beds, waking up the next morning thinking “WTF am I doing with my life?!”.

At 25 I’ve become a Pro at convincing future employers that it honestly is my dream job to show that arrogant son of a b*tch to his Suite where he will completely ignore me while I show him around the room and instead complain that the wine glasses aren’t big enough and that he will need a bucket filled with ice, asap! So you bring it to him, with the biggest and fakest smile you can muster and receive a phone call 10 minutes later telling you he’s dropped a glass and if you could clean it up for him while he’s having his 7 course dinner. “Sure no problem whatsoever, Sir! Do you mind if I leave a massive shit in your toilet while I’m there?”

At 25 I’ve looked at the cat and felt jealous of his life. So in order to feel better, you watch all seasons of Game of Thrones and feel grateful that at least you don’t have to deal with fighting off creepy ghost like, skeleton creatures in freezing cold temperatures or catching your mum making sweet, sweet love to her brother. Eww?!

At 25 I’m constantly faced with the question “So where are you from, and what do you do for a living” and answer it by saying “Well…I’ve lived in 4 different countries, 13 different cities, about 20 different houses oh and sometimes I crash on my friends couches, so uhmm I’m not sure where I’m from. Oh and what I do for a living? Well…f*ck all at the moment, I’m trying to figure it out.”

At 25 I’ve come to a point where doing a ninja roll, because a 6 year old begged you to, doesn’t look or feel as graceful as it did 20 years ago and now you have to deal with a pulled muscle for the next couple of days.

At 25, I’ve got a student loan that’s through the roof and although I got a Bachelor’s Degree out of it, I’ve kind of realized it’s not really what I want to do as a career for the rest of my life, so now what?

At 25 I’ve dealt with some very challenging people and been fooled into thinking I knew someone. A boss that hired me for my looks and continued to act extremely inappropriate or one who thought it was acceptable to yell and scream and literally throw her toys at me. I learnt how to tell people to shove it, while remaining professional and calm, but also how to tell people to go F themselves, while not remaining so calm, because you’ve had enough of being Miss Nice and Understanding.

At 25, I’ve tried to live my life according to The Secret and Oprah’s “How to live your best life”, but there’s days when I really don’t give a shit and feel like telling Oprah to stick it, because I’d be happy too if I had a 3 billion dollar net worth!

At 25 I moved back in with my parents, again…

At 25 I’ve let my life be controlled by others, whether it’s unrealistic ideas of how I should look, act and be according to society or simply lying in bed at 2AM, thinking of reason why he hasn’t texted to say good night. I mean who does he think he is?!

At 25 I’ve traveled far and wide, experiencing things I never thought I would. I’ve been inside million dollar mansions and seen people die on the side of the road all in one day. I have cried with homesickness and laughed until my stomach couldn’t take no more.

At 25, I’ve gone from feeling like I could take on the world one day to stuffing my face with a bag of chips, a bottle of Fanta and chocolate, watching sad movies, feeling sorry for myself the next.

At 25, I have felt that every single love song has been written especially for me and an emotional breakdown isn’t out of the ordinary, not even while out in a club at 3 in the morning, extremely drunk or whilst sitting on a bus, staring dramatically out of the window while a tear rolls down your cheek. They should make a movie about this!

At 25, Google has become a close friend of mine. She often has the most profound answers to questions such as “Why do I fall in love so easily” and “Am I having a quarter life crisis?” Combine this with listening to John Mayer and you have a scene straight out of Bridget Jones’s Diary.

At 25 I have been deeply, madly in love with someone I thought I would be with for the rest of my life. Someone who I thought was The One, but didn’t turn out to be. There’s times I still get upset and wish I didn’t have to experience the hurt that goes hand in hand with a break up, but at the same time I feel grateful, because it’s taught me a lot about myself and has made me so much stronger.

At 25 I learned that alcohol is NOT the best solution when trying to forget. That the only way is to go through the pain, not around it, to not close your eyes and ears and demolish a bottle of vodka in one night and be THAT girl.

At 25 I know what gut-wrenching loneliness feels like, but also what it’s like to have a support system of people who will do whatever it takes for you.

At 25 I have made some big mistakes, but wouldn’t change a thing. I know what it’s like to royally screw things up and do things of which you later think “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!”, but if it wasn’t for the failures I wouldn’t be the person I am today and have the wisdom that helps me overcome the next challenge.

Looking back I realize how much I’ve learned and have been through, the soul searching I’ve done and trying to find my place in the world again. And yes, life can be a b*tch sometimes and this “crisis” we go through, it’s kind of like when you start dating someone new and you really have to fart, but just because you don’t want to admit it, that gas is undeniably there.

I figure that sometimes we maybe just need to take life a little less serious, to acknowledge and accept that it’s pretty rough sometimes, that it’s ok to feel like you haven’t got a clue what you “should” be doing. Maybe the only solution is to stop obsessing over how we can live the “perfect” life, to not worry so much about the expectations, the ones we’ve constantly have had thrown in our face. The adults asking us at 5 years old “what do you want to be when you grow up?” The teachers telling us at 15 years old that we better pass this algebra test or we’ll fail at life (well, ok maybe not exactly like that, but you know what I mean), the girl with the “perfect” body and guy with the ripped chest, the couple with the most amazingly romantic relationship in that movie or the person who seems to have his entire life together, because chances are even all those people have moments where they haven’t got the faintest idea what they’re doing and are all searching for this so called “perfect life”.

Maybe we just have let go of the fact that we may not have the perfect husband or wife, career, house etc. by the age of 30, maybe even 40, to just stop thinking for a second, to get up, go for a run, read a book, meet up with a friend or just do something that you know can’t hurt and as long as you can accept that things may not be exactly as you had planned, but know that you’re moving in some kind of direction, eventually it will all be ok.

Look at yourself as an explorer. All the great ones that have come before us were willing to get lost. They may not have known exactly where they were heading, but they kind of had an idea. And with guidance and experience they were ok to get lost with purpose on purpose and eventually that is how you will find your destination.

As Parker Palmer – Let Your Life Speak, says: “We are merely embarking on a journey toward joining the human race.” I think instead of looking at it as a crisis, think of it as being some kind of changeover, a transformation, moving from one experience to the next, guiding you to where you want to be.

And one day you will find yourself hearing your name being called through the loudspeaker, saying where you can be found.

Fleur - May 7, 2015 - 22:07

Wow thank you so much to both of you! For some reason I only saw this now, but know that it means a lot! xx

Debra T Hlabane - April 10, 2015 - 17:34

Ur words realy inspired me!I realy enjoyed reading ur life story u knw ur a good wrighter! U made me realize wat life is thnx Fleur ur truely the best

levin club local - April 9, 2015 - 01:05

oh fleur your amazing come back

A Valentines Wedding Day

Saturday, 14 February, 2015.

It’s 7AM when I wake up. Eva is still fast asleep next to me, knackered from getting up so many times throughout the night to feed Maddie, when Jani comes walking into the room with two cups of tea and a smile on her face. She opens the curtains and orders us to get up, because today is the day! My “little” sister Eva is getting married!



Eva and Dan’s Engagement Shoot

A few weeks back I photographed my sister and her fiance for their wedding invitations. We had so much fun using random peoples driveways, paddocks and getting mooed at by cows. I have to say, I’m pretty darn happy with how the photos turned out, but then again, look at the two of them…:)



Ellen - January 22, 2015 - 19:57

They’re absolutely gorgeous, Fleur! They turned out really great! I love the way you always succeed in capturing people the way they truly are! :)