Working on self esteem helps fix your sex-life as well.
Last week I told you about the trip I did for my other job as CEO for Dignity Dreams which manufactures and distributes washable sanitary pads to at risk women and girls. What I didn’t tell you is who I went with.
There is an organisation in South Africa called Mrs Africa Pageants. It is to all intents and purposes a pageant and if you had told me a year ago I would be involved in it, I would have laughed and asked you what you are smoking. I am not the beauty queen type of girl in any way or form!
The Mrs Africa Pageant is a big supporter of Dignity Dreams. We are one of their official charities for which I am extremely grateful. What I really want to talk about is the journey the contestants go on.
There is a sex angle to it, I promise.
I don’t know much about pageants, how they are judged or even why someone would want to enter. It’s as foreign to me as speaking Russian but here is what I have seen from the sidelines.
I have watched the contestants and how they have grown since being announced as finalists. One of the organisers and a previous winner, Janet Potgieter, talks about the power of the sash.
The sash is that ribbon they wear across their bodies. I have one that says Bachelorette! The power is just not the same.
The minute the contestants put on their finalist sash, one can see the magic begin to happen. Almost everything about them begins to change. Their self confidence increases and with that life changing experiences. Luckily I am not on the judging panel so I have no influence on the crowning that is happening in November.
I don’t know all the participants but I have come to watch three or four and the change in their demeanour is remarkable.
There are several categories including the Mrs, Ms and Classic and because this is a Mrs Africa Pageant, the majority of the contestants are in relationships or have been married at some stage. I have also met one or three of the partners.
The emphasis on this pageant is not beauty but rather a beauty of the spirit. The emphasis is on serving and raising awareness and funds for charities. Each of the contestants gets involved in community service and (wo)man do they do good work.
For me the interesting part is watching what I assumed to be self centred beauties prove me so completely wrong.
I met one of the contestants at an unrelated function about 18 months ago. She was mousy at best. Could barely say boo to a goose and left me wholly unimpressed. I then saw her at the finalist announcement and she had already started to look different and the physical and emotional change has been exponential.
It may just be the make-up lessons or the how to dress talks but from what I can see this is change from the inside. These women have started to shine from the inside and I have a theory about why.
All the contestants I have spoken to say that the reason they entered was to change themselves and their communities. They all wanted to do something for charity but didn’t really know how to go about it. I believe that it is the combination of wanting to be better that drives these women. Once they start the journey they experience the unexpected.
Being able to find your voice within your community is incredibly empowering. Suddenly the sash gives you permission to ask, be involved and discuss issues. It’s a bit like when I was a waitress. When I wore the apron I had permission to talk to all the patrons without being seen as a creepy woman wanting to start a conversation. I met so many interesting people this way.
Some contestants have gone on to write a book about their lives, exorcising demons that have chased them for years. Some have been survivors of abuse and are now rising above it and after the response to last week’s column, survivors need a reason for meaningful participation.
It’s a bit like watching those make over programmes where the ugly duckling changes into a swan. I often wonder how the partner copes and whether after this journey of self discovery the relationship survives, because the dynamics change.
I asked some of the partners how they were finding the journey their partner’s are on. Some said they barely recognised their partner anymore but that it was a good thing. They had become more focussed and empathetic and that their relationship was changing. Some felt left behind but the large majority are incredibly supportive.
And then of course I have to ask the million dollar question. How has this had an impact on their sex life? After the initial shock and giggle we get down to business. Most have not really thought it through but in retrospect, sexual activity has increased and the outcome has become more meaningful and pleasurable.
So this was a long way to tell you that if you want a better sex life, work on your self esteem.
Each one of these women has changed her life for the better in every way and it may be time for us all to reassess and rebuild – for the sake of our sex lives!
For more information on the pageant you can email me or look it up on www.mrsafrica.co.z
This article first appeared in the Saturday Star on 21 October 2017