Flight of the flamingo (extract)


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Flight of the Flamingo, the first title in the Beyond Pink series, takes a look at the real dilemmas of urban women who choose to follow their gut, using their talents and career options to design a life they can be proud of.

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Flight of the flamingo (extract)

  1. 1. 2 ‘The book begins with my story. I wanted to begin the book with myself. For, as a business head, I know that one of the first principles of leadership is to lead from the front. If I don’t describe myself in these pages, how will I inspire others to do so? All of us have stories, sad stories that we want the world to know. When I first read what I had written I was filled with horror and disgust, disgust at my own weakness and vulnerability. I saw myself as an abject failure and wondered what right I had, professionally, to be a leader of people when I had failed to make my personal life a success. I wondered at my ability to deal with clients and vendors, and inspire their trust, when I had been so easily fooled by a man. Was I really capable of judging humankind well when I had been such a poor judge of character personally? ‘All these questions hounded me, and there was nowhere for me to seek answers. All I could do was continue with life as though nothing had happened and allow my professional performance to speak for me as a person. But inside I was being eaten up by conflict. I needed to understand why things had turned out the way they had, and whether I was at all responsible for the way my life had changed. I tried the usual methods. I went to an analyst, and discovered how my anger was turning me into a dysfunctional being. He gave me methods to overcome the utter sense of defeat and despair that I felt. I tried everything that he suggested, writing
  2. 2. Flight of the Flamingo / 23 out my thoughts, going out with my best friends, spending more time with the people who love me the most, my parents, making a checklist of the number of times in a day that I thought about the train wreck that was my life, and trying to reduce this number, but nothing worked. I was determinedly unhappy. After about a year, I came to a conclusion, that nothing would ever mitigate the pain of knowing that I had failed at the most important project of my life—my marriage, and that I would never know the reason why. How much of the responsibility for this debacle was mine? And would things be any different the second time round? ‘All one’s life one deals with uncertainty of different kinds, and all of these lead up to only one thing—when are we going to die? But nothing can compare with the trauma of not knowing whether we are always going to fail. If we fail once, what about the second time? And what could we have done different the first time round? I had no answers to these questions. So, like an inoperable wart, I would have to learn to carry these doubts around with me for the rest of my life. It was baggage that I hadn’t asked for, and never thought I would carry. But like barnacles stuck to the side of a ship, weighing it down during its stately ride across the ocean, I was going to be weighed down by a sense of my own inadequacy for the rest of my life. ‘Moreover, there was no one with whom I could share this insecurity. All that people would say, I knew, was that eventually things would work out, that once again I would learn to be optimistic, that I couldn’t stay with anger and insecurity forever. What did they know? Only someone who had been where I had been would feel what I felt. Writers look for other writers, painters thrive in art communities, doctors find reassurance in meeting their colleagues, even homemakers have reasons to get together. So why couldn’t I find women like me to steer my boat through these troubled waters?