I feel powerful when: I work out or wear sexy underwear
Icons/ who inspires you: My friends
Best advice I have ever received: Be kind to yourself as you face unresolved issues from your past. The journey of self-awareness and self-love is a gentle one.
Happy Place: Since lockdown, a sunny spot in our garden laughing with my hilarious sister.
Motto: Authenticity, vulnerability, gratitude, and humility are the guiding compass bearings of my life.
Most used app: Pinterest
IG, Twitter, Facebook handle: dr.blumears
What do you do and what was the journey to get here?
To my knowledge, I am the first coloured female Zimbabwean chiropractor, I hope that one girl will read my story and be inspired to believe that dreams come true even for a girl on the other side of the tracks. I run social media pages that allow me to walk with my followers as we pursue a good quality life through health and wellness. Additionally, I am an entrepreneur, volunteer, and non-profit founder. Recognising how people struggle with aches and pains, my sister and I founded WheatRelief, a social enterprise that makes microwaveable wheat bags. 10% of the profits go into a chiropractic fund that support elderly women with back pain that ordinarily wouldn’t be able to pay for chiropractic care. For 12 years, I have had the privilege of working for Champions for Life, a psychosocial NGO that empowers young adults affected by HIV/AIDS. In my latest venture, I am a founding board member of an NGO called Realize Africa. The heart of our organization is to mobilize a movement for a better Africa led by Africans through an identity of heightened ‘wokeness’ among African youth. We are helping to establish more Africa-centric learning resources, providing access to valuable African businesses by creating connections through our mentorship programs and other activities.
This week, as I was working on a project for Realize Africa listening to Maverick City’s song, ‘Take me back’, I had an epiphany. My journey started one day when I was in primary school. My mom told Bishop Tudor Bismark that she was getting a divorce and I remember he looked down at me and said, “She will go far in life”. I wish I could say that it all fell into place the next day but instead, life got hard. My dad got sick, our family broke apart and we lost our financial stability. About 10 years later, I found myself in what I specifically remember to be the moment I knew I wanted to be a chiropractor. I was volunteering at a chiropractic clinic in Harare when a miracle happened right in front of me. A ‘gogo’ sang and danced out of the clinic as she celebrated her ability to walk without her walking aid. I walked behind her holding the very frame she had previously leaned on for support. It sparked a dream in me. At that time, our financial situation was rocky at best and the decision to chase after this dream was deemed irresponsible by some. However, I had that peace that surpassed all understanding, a certain assurance that though it seemed impossible, I would succeed. I told some of my youth group friends at the time about my new-found vision and they kindly gave me all their old O`level textbooks and past exam papers. I needed more sciences for entry into a university program as I had done business subjects and an integrated science course. Since I couldn’t afford to stay in the Speciss College one-year O’level program, I had to sit at home with all these old books and figure it out on my own, even though the physics looked like Greek. By God’s grace, with the help of friends, some extra lessons just before my exams and hard work I passed with grades good enough to make it into the chiropractic program at Durban University of Technology (DUT).
The years of study in Durban were a mountain I had to summit. I still had no money to fully pay for my fees yet year after year a number of people donated money and provided opportunities. It took six years to get through the Bachelors and the Masters degree. I have been blessed with people along my journey whose faith in me never wavered even when my own failed me. I was challenged in so many ways. From struggling with chronic fatigue and headaches to wrestling with anxiety and eventually medicated depression. These were often silent struggles, but I later realized that many of my friends were going through similar things and it helped to have companions along the way. In the end I not only got my qualification but also made lifelong friends. I had some amazing varsity experiences including some unforgettable karaoke nights, being interim student president in my final year and best of all graduating with no student debt. My story is more than how a young girl from Harare made it through university and beyond. It’s a story of a faithful God keeping His promises.
How would you define a true African woman?
I describe the true African woman as one presenting her authentic self to the world. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to be what I thought people required of me. I suppose it stemmed from my insecurities of not feeling good enough. Like an onion, each year I have been peeling back the layers, uncovering more and more of my authentic self. She isn’t perfect, she makes mistakes, tells bad jokes sometimes, but she is exactly what the world is waiting for. We need to be courageously vulnerable to come as we really are. Whether we have dark skin or light skin, relaxed hair or natural hair, African attire or skinny jeans, from a deep understanding that we are enough. And with that understanding, we show up not for validation but as authentic African women.
What inspires you?
People in the arena because the credit belongs to them. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt.
What is your end game and how do you think your efforts change the game or make a difference?
I have spent most of my twenties chasing after a dream of being a chiropractor and now that I have made it, I realize that there is a lot I am yet to figure out. And that’s okay. Life is constantly evolving. My aspirations have ranged from modelling, medical missionary work to now chiropractic and youth empowerment. I feel my role may not be to explicitly change the game but to be faithful in my arena as best as God gives me the ability to. We may not be able to control the outcomes, but we can control how we show up.
Have you ever struggled with feeling the need to reach unrealistic expectations of perfection or making it? If yes, do you have a way to move past those feelings?
N/A. Just kidding! The biggest thing for me has been adulting. Coming home after school and facing the reality that my life may not mirror my Pinterest boards right away, I was disillusioned. To the point where I found myself a little resentful of my situation, as though I had somehow sold myself short by coming straight home. It’s taken some time, but I have gradually made the shift from thinking in terms of inadequacy to gratitude. The lockdown this year particularly helped me in the sense that it stripped the Pinterest-type expectations away. Previously I felt somewhat entitled to a version of my life that I had envisioned for so long which seemed to be taking too long to materialize. Sure, I still have a Pinterest board, but I realize now that a lack of appreciation for what I have in this moment can rob me of the joy that comes along the journey.
If we could walk a day in your shoes, what is one thing you would say to encourage us to take on a typical day in your life?
Calm your soul through gratitude.
Any last words of advice to the African woman?
You are enough! You are complete! You are African! So be kind to yourself, laugh, dance, and chase after your dreams. Africa is waiting for you to show up.
By Adelaide (@captainesstreats)