How do I even begin?
No, seriously, I’m not exaggerating. It’s been hell.
I know people face worse things, but for me, this is even more than I can take, y’know.
For twelve years of my life, I believed the worst about myself. I was made to see only my flaws and mistakes and never the perfection of the Spirit of God that lives in me.
Yes, I’m a Christian.
The mistakes I focused on upgraded from being just mistakes to my lifestyle because those were all I saw when I looked at myself. I saw a liar, a thief, someone who’d never be good enough… nah, someone who’d never be good.
I was seven or eight and I already had this perspective about myself.
I’d been called “Satan’s child” or “the devil’s child” on many occasions, I’m sure I believed it.
I have always been one to see the good in people, but I couldn’t even see good in myself.
Nothing good actually came from me and I couldn’t change, no matter how hard I tried.
I mean I didn’t even think I could.
I felt extremely terrible all the time, I started living as a shell of myself, so scared and timid and I couldn’t even speak up. I was scared to do anything because I’d get punished.
We live in Africa, it’s literally mandatory to get your ass whooped when you mess up. And I got a lot of that.
I only spoke or smiled when I was outside with friends and people who only knew the good part of me.
That’s when my double life began
I was a happy child and a darling outside, and simply the bad guy, afraid, timid and prone to make mistakes at home
If I’d call it a home. I don’t think I have for years.
I was always walking on eggshells- what if they break or something???
Everything I did was wrong so I never knew how to behave.
As I got to high school, both lives started to blend and I couldn’t see black or white anymore. It became grey.
I did catch glimpses of it before, but I honestly thought I could deal with it.
But no, I couldn’t
I lost friends because they started to see my other side and didn’t want to be known as “that girl’s friend”. They didn’t trust me and I couldn’t blame them.
I really wanted to stop, especially when I got framed once for stealing an amount of money I’d never seen before.
I just decided I’d had enough then.
But it felt impossible.
When I was sixteen, I made my first attempt to leave “home” because I felt my absence would make things easier for my family because I was a disappointment.
I felt like I was the problem so leaving would be problem solved.
I ended up seeing a psychiatrist with the help of a priest my friend’s mother took me to. Together, they made me understand that nothing was my fault. Yes, I’d made mistakes, but who doesn’t?
I was just misled for years.
Thinking about it, it made sense.
I wasn’t always like that.
When I lived with my mother and father, I was a normal kid, daddy’s girl. I was happy.
When my dad remarried, things changed
Don’t they always?
My mistakes- seven year old mistakes- were treated like the most unforgivable crimes; never forgotten even when I’d apologize. They were held against me for life.
Every time I’d do something wrong, all my past ones would be brought back and I’d be told how I’d never change and how things were going to be awful for me
So, I started seeing and believing exactly that.
I was disgusted by myself and hated myself so much.
I got suicidal because why couldn’t I just do anything right? I was never good enough so what was the point of living?
Well I didn’t actually try, but I thought of it. And then I realized that my step mum and my dad both didn’t care. They’d had enough of me anyway. Well it was either that or they were being typical Africans, telling me to go ahead.
I’d like to believe in the latter
I’d never call my step mum cruel, wicked or mean. She’s a good person and mother- well to her kids
She tolerates me
I guess it’s just hard for her to accept me for who I am, seeing as we are completely different people and I can’t be who she expects me to be.
My mistakes probably threw her off too, I guess
Does it sound like I’m making excuses for her? I don’t know, I just really love her and appreciate her so much. But she thinks I don’t. And no matter how hard I try to create a relationship with her, it’s thrown back in my face.
So, I just give up.
And worse, I’ve already lost my dad’s relationship with me.
After the visit with the psychiatrist, I realized a lot of things.
I’d been led to believe only the worst could ever come out of me and these beliefs were so deeply rooted, they actually manifested in my life.
Even my little sister saw me as a bad person
How do you live with that?
At least I’m lucky I didn’t get on drugs.
I realized the only person who could help me was myself. I had to get rid of the self-hatred, forgive myself, see the good in me, and actually and importantly learn to love myself.
Because God loves me. He didn’t even judge me- I’d be sick or dead otherwise
So, if He didn’t condemn me, why should I? and why should I let anyone?
I started becoming better. I saw a difference, even though my “family” didn’t. I felt good about myself and it reflected in my personality.
My friends helped too, by giving me a positive environment, believing that mistakes should be forgiven and forgotten.
It’s not over just yet
I did say my life is hell
Tsk tsk tsk
I’m nineteen now and in the university. And like every young adult, I like to have fun, live, because you’re this age once. Its normal to want to be on your phone, listen to music, all of that. And most parents I know are cool with it
I’m in trouble for wanting to sleep or stay in my room when there’s nothing to do.
I’m in trouble for wanting to oversleep once a while in this coronavirus era.
Who wakes up early to do what?
I literally do all the chores anyway. It doesn’t matter when I wake up because no one will do it.
It’s wrong to want to read, as the addict I am, at night because it means I wont seep. Ps, I’ve had insomnia for years in high school, my sleeping pattern is terrible so I stay up at night sometimes.
I’m not trusted. At all
Surprised? You shouldn’t be
They say I’m secretive, but when I try to involve them in my life, they’re not interested
I’m called a hypocrite because I’m loud and free and open outside, but in the house, I’m quiet and try to stay out of anyone’s way because who knows what I’d do and get into trouble.
So, I decide to be myself. A little
And guess what?
I’m told that I’m rushing in life and I’m going to end up in a terrible place, bad things will happen to me and a lot.
I don’t drink, or do drugs or sleep around so…
I don’t even know what to do anymore.
I AM CONFUSED
This is the BIGGEST part
I have a passion for fashion. I’ve had it since I was ten and it’s only grown stronger over the years. There is simply nothing else I’d ever do
It’s the only thing that makes me have a purpose and makes me happy or smile. It brings me peace and joy
It’s my life, my love, my all
Well second to God of course lol
I believe parents are happy when their kids have something they’re passionate about. A dream to chase, a purpose and a drive.
If I was a parent, I’d be glad if my child came to me with a dream that he or she has
Well once it’s not criminal of course
I’d be supportive with all my heart. That’s the point of being family right?
My parents hate my passion.
My step mother shows indifference, but my dad makes sure to let it be known that he absolutely detests it.
He’d hit me when I was younger anytime he’d catch me drawing and now that I’m older, he uses his words; insults, calling it a waste of time, telling me I’m going to fail.
My dream is a waste of time
Gosh it hurts trust me
And it’s worse because I really love him, so seeing and hearing him say these things literally shatter me.
If your dad isn’t on your side, who will?
I tried to look into other options to please him so I opted for journalism and then architecture, but he rejected them.
He wants me to be a lawyer
I can’t do law
I hate anything that has to do with constitution, politics and government
When it was time to fill up my forms for university, I had no idea what to do. I didn’t know the course to choose.
So, I just picked Marketing, not having any idea about it.
I walked into it blindly, thinking I could do that for my dad at least and then follow my dream after.
Two years later, I regret it
It’s the worst decision ever.
Like F’s, E’s, D’s failing
And I used to be a top student when I was younger
That’s degrading for me
I mean I got out of high school with three A’s, four B’s and a C and I wasn’t even that proud.
My dad definitely wasn’t
I’ve tried to talk to him about taking a detour so I can do what I’m good at instead of wasting resources and failing at what I’m not, but he insists that my failure is my own fault
I’ve tried hard at school honestly. But its just not it for me. I can’t focus on anything. It’s so hard.
You’d only understand if you have a passion that consumes you, you can’t live without it.
I didn’t choose to love fashion designing
I just do
And there’s nothing else I can do.
I tried again to leave when I was eighteen, to find my birth mother and live with her.
I couldn’t take the insults and getting hit anymore
I did find her, but she literally begged me to go back because she’s jobless and so she can’t take care of my education. I didn’t even care. I just wanted to feel wanted and loved and accepted because I didn’t get that with my dad, but she depends on her brother so I just can’t be an additional burden
She’s supportive of me as a mother should and I’m the happiest I’ve been in years to have her somehow, even if not fully, in my life.
I did put up a fight, but then my friends were getting involved because my dad suddenly realized I had friends that could get to me. These are people he would have never thought about.
So, in the end, I went back after a month
We spoke about school again, and guess what?
No, he didn’t agree to let me do my fashion
I still have to keep struggling
I have failed Accounting this semester and I’m only dreading the day results come out
Isn’t that exciting?
Well I thought at least, he’d let me be and drop the hate vibe
Its there, as strong as ever people
He still insults me daily
It’s my breakfast, lunch and supper
But it only motivates me to push harder because there’s nothing else for me
My step mum is still the same
Well a tad bit worse because now, she uses me wanting to go to my mother against me
She says ‘you want to leave already so just go and join those people outside’
I thought we’d get a chance to sit and talk it out, but it only added to my list of sins
What was I even thinking?
Keep up, this isn’t a fairytale lmaooo
I endure these things for two reasons
I know that God loves me, and no matter what, it’s going to end
I also have a light that I hold on to
My future as a fashion designer.
It’s such a beautiful thing that I know will happen
I just need to hang on for one more year, as I work hard to get a spot in the Fashion Institute of Technology, FIT, New York
It is my dream school and I know I will get there
Staying here has never been an option
I need a fresh start, in a completely new place where there’s no fear of ‘what if my dad sees me’ or ‘this man is going to kill me’ because I can’t do fashion in his house.
I need to able to breathe, be myself and be happy
I deserve to live for me and be happy
And it might sound overambitious, but nothing is impossible for us Christians
I don’t know what you’re going through.
It might be worse
Because I know I’m not the only one
But I want you to know that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what people think or say about you. It doesn’t matter who they are.
The only people whose say should matter to you are God and yourself
If you let people get to you, it will mess you up. You will doubt your value and never feel enough
And its going to manifest physically in your life because words are powerful
But you’re more than enough, you’re perfect
Designed by the Master Creator Himself
Don’t suppress who you are for anyone. Don’t change yourself for anyone
Stay as you are, unless you don’t like the way you are.
Do things because they make you happy first, then you can think of others
I’m holding on to my light, you should do same and let’s endure and fight together for whatever it is that we are passionate about
Don’t give up or stop reading or singing or dancing or cooking or designing, never stop
And we’ll get there
I will see you at the top one day
And I can’t wait to hear your story
And if you feel like no one loves you, God does
And it might not matter, but I do too
And I believe in you