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- This is Me - 

Sonya with my loyal Tasha

I am Sonya, a resilient, empathetic, multifaceted woman on a journey that spans continents. From overcoming an emotionally abusive marriage, solving complexities of religious beliefs, to navigating job redundancies, motherhood, menopause, and family traumas, my story is one of triumph over adversity. Through it all, I've discovered the power of resilience, self-awareness, and finding joy in life's twists and turns. One thing has remained my constant immense joy: my unwavering love for dogs.

Read more as I share my inspiring journey of resilience and personal growth.

Growing up in Pretoria, South Africa, I met my first husband at a young age. Naïve and inexperienced, I held misguided beliefs about marriage. Little did I know that behind his charming façade lay an emotionally abusive and quick-tempered man. Eventually, the walls of our marriage crumbled around me. The shocking truth unravelled when I discovered my now ex-husband engaging in extramarital affairs and illegal activities, including running a brothel, and selling drugs. Betrayed and broken, I yearned for a fresh start.

In Cape Town, South Africa, I found my new beginning. In this vibrant city, I crossed paths with my now husband — a compassionate and caring partner. After several years dating, we were married, and later relocated to the UK.

Together, we embraced the joys of parenthood, welcoming our beautiful son into our lives. Amidst the joys of motherhood, I faced the tumultuous challenge of an emergency c-section as my son struggled to navigate the confines of my pelvis. Though the experience was fraught with worry, both he and I emerged safe and sound, forever bonded by that remarkable journey into the world.

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Life's trials did not end there. I've had many setbacks including my closets brother taking to drugs. But that story is for another day.

 

Two years ago, I bid farewell to my beloved mother, who bravely battled Alzheimer's disease. During her final days, I cared for her tenderly in South Africa, while my father fought his own recovery from COVID-19. Despite the risks of travelling to a "red-listed" country, my determination to be there for my parents overcame any fear. I  arranged my mother's cremation whilst dealing with my own emotions but hid my own feelings and remained a pillar of strength for my father. The ache of missing my son was torturous.

 

Due to visa limitations, my father is unable to live with us in the UK and I continue to support him from afar.

Professionally, I am a registered chartered accountant with a wealth of experience in IT Risk Management, as well as governances relating to Information Security and Data Protection. For many years, I dedicated my skills to a global financial services company until the head office closure resulted in job redundancies, including mine. This turning point led me to embark on a new path as a business owner. I needed the flexibility to be there for my young child as he grew, but also because I found great fulfilment in helping others. I have always believed in lending a helping hand to those who truly need it. Witnessing the gratitude in the eyes of those I support fuels my drive to make a meaningful difference.

Throughout my life, I've grappled with personal struggles which I mostly kept inside. My vice was emotional eating. Years of "you’ve done so well, here’s a chocolate" as congratulations, or "let’s go eat out to celebrate", and all other events where the celebration was centred around food, has unconsciously conditioned my mind to believe that eating should make things better. This resulted in my lifelong weight fluctuations. I was constantly between weight loss and weight gain, and always on diets that never lasted a lifetime. Finding a healthier balance and regaining control over my relationship with food is a priority.

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One thing has become clear: resilience and growth often arise from life's setbacks. As a compassionate individual who embraces supporting others, I've sometimes struggled to ask for help myself, fearing the burden it may impose. Yet, I've learned that true strength lies in vulnerability and the power of talking through painful experiences. There is always someone that truly understands. Together, we can lighten each other's burdens and find solace in our shared experiences.

With each setback and triumph, I'm on a quest to shape a brighter future for myself and my loved ones. The road may be winding, but the lessons learned fuel my determination to find balance, resilience, and fulfilment. Embracing vulnerability, seeking support, and nurturing healthier coping mechanisms unlock my true potential on a path of self-discovery, growth, and profound happiness.

Remember, setbacks are not the end—they propel personal transformation. With resilience as our guide, we can overcome any obstacle and emerge stronger, wiser, and ready to embrace the extraordinary possibilities life has in store.

In addition to my journey of resilience and personal growth, there is one unwavering passion that has been a constant source of joy in my life: my love for dogs. These loyal and loving creatures have always held a special place in my heart. Whether it's their boundless energy, unwavering loyalty, or their ability to bring comfort in times of distress, dogs have been a consistent source of companionship and happiness.

Last, but far for least, my awesome Tasha with her wagging tail and excited greetings that never fail to brighten my day. The unconditional love Tasha offer is a reminder of the beauty of simple connections. Throughout my journey, I have been fortunate to have the company of four-legged doggy friends, offering their unwavering support and bringing an extra dose of joy to my life.

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So, with the triumphs, setbacks, and personal transformations, my journey is intertwined with the unwavering love and appreciation I have for the incredible dogs that have graced my life. Together, we embark on this adventure, united by a shared bond and an unbreakable connection that brings lightness to the darkest of days.

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