Maybe there’s only a dark road ahead. But you still have to believe and keep going. Believe that the stars will light your path, even a little bit.Kaori Miyazono
Who am I? Why am I blogging about challenges in life and the need to develop a strong mindset? Why do I feel strongly about these issues?
Growing up in Africa (Zimbabwe to be specific) as 27 year old young woman, I loved going to church. I attended church regularly. Going to church was a highlight of my week.
Being in church gave me a sense of value. I loved teachings on faith and knowing that ‘all things are possible if you believe’.
It gave me hope. I could drift away in imagination to a beautiful life that I could only dream of. A far away land in a different planet. A place of peace and tranquility. A place where there’s no pain or sorrow.
It will never be the same again
At home my reality was bleak.
I had just lost my mother and brother within a week of each other.
My mother fell ill and died shortly afterwards at age 49. My brother died unexpectedly exactly a week after my mother’s death. He suddenly became unwell and died within hours.
Absolutely devastated. Crushed. My world collapsed on me….
I had already lost my father at age 14.
My three siblings and myself were suddenly alone; in a home full of memories.
Plunged in grief and mourning. There were lots of unanswered questions. Lots of tears. But, none of us dared speak of our demise. It was still raw. Too painful. It was heart rending.
I was angry and bitter. “Life’s cruel” – I’d tell myself. I hated life. I wanted to die. I felt like running away from myself. Running from everything – to some place I’d never been. Some place out of this world. I wanted to disappear – without a trace.
I wanted out….one way or the other.
At work, I would go into the bathroom and cry. I would beg God to ‘just kill us all‘ (me and my siblings) because life wasn’t worth living anymore.
“Wipe this family off the face of the earth”! Yes, destroy it completely like it never existed . That was my anguished cry to God.
I couldn’t bear the pain of losing both my loving parents and my cheerful brother.
I blamed God for the misfortune that had befallen my family. “He’d done it!” I’d tell myself. The pain was too much. I felt overwhelmed. I just wanted to end it all.
By night, in a dream, I would see my mum as though she were still alive. She would be in her favourite aqua blue morning gown. In that vision of the night, I would ask her if she had come back (from the dead). Only to discover it was just a dream.
I would also have visions or dreams of my brother. Again, I would ask if he had come back. Unlike my mother, my brother would answer. He told me he had been in excruciating and unbearable pain, he had to go. He would reassure me that he is happy where he is and that I should stop ‘worrying‘ about him.
I would wake up from these dreams and weep till my head hurt. I would cry so hard I yearned to die….I just couldn’t get myself to do it! I was losing my mind. I was depressed and I had no-one to talk to.
Learning to live again
Church became my place of solace. My comfort. I would feel a calmness within me. A ‘peace‘ in the midst of all the chaos. I would still cry but this ‘peace‘ washed over me, gradually giving me strength and courage to continue living. And have some hope.
Almost 20 years ago, I attended a ‘Youth Easter Conference’ organised by the church. The topic was “It is finished“. We had fantastic speakers who spoke of entrepreneurship, starting small, believing in your vision etc.
The speakers underlined the importance of developing the ‘right mindset’ (attitude) to get from where you’re to where you would like to be.
I loved the message.
I documented it in my little diary because I wanted to remember itRashiElla
It stayed with. It resonated with me. I documented it in my little diary because I wanted to remember it. The speakers spoke of a new beginning, a new life.
I wanted that new life – anything but the pain I carried in me everyday.
That day I vowed I would take steps to develop a ‘strong mindset‘ by filling my mind with the right ‘stuff’. Positive information. Positive thoughts. I was determined to develop the right attitude towards life and achieve victory over my excruciatingly painful situation. I needed victory. I needed my life back.
Life was hard. Money would always run out before the next paycheck. Sometimes I would walk about 20 km to work because I had no money for transport. I was now the breadwinner providing for my 2 young brothers. My older sister was married and had gone back to her home.
My parents were poor so they didn’t leave us much money but we had our own home.
As I continued listening to (positive) motivational messages in church, I gradually felt at peace with myself and my surroundings. My perception of life changed. I slept better. The tears became less.
As time progressed I started to dream again. To hope again. I developed the strength and courage to love life again. Healing was taking place. My life began to transform.
At work, I got promoted to a very high position of deputy manager – managing operations at a big grain depot. Life was looking up. I even bought myself a nice car and managed to save lots of money.
I met a man – thought it was love. Turned out it was just a whirlwind romance. The result of that romance was a beautiful baby boy. I took full responsibility and was now a single mother. A ‘baby mama’.
The hardships and challenges I had experienced in life had made me a strong person. As I carried on listening to motivational teachings in church as well as reading books and christian magazines, I grew stronger and better as a person. I confronted whatever challenges came my way….and they were plenty!
Two years later, the political situation in my country deteriorated to anarchy. There was unprecedented political violence. The economy plummeted. Big companies started closing down.
Because I worked for a government institution, the army and militia were drafted in to ‘take control of operations’. Things got nasty. It was not business as usual. It got too political and messy.
Starting all over again
So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the lightMumford & Sons
I decided to leave the country. Suddenly, I was a refugee in the UK. A first generation immigrant with nothing to my name.
I had left my year and a half old son back in Zimbabwe – a broken family. A family torn apart by circumstances beyond my control. It was devastating. It was heartbreaking to leave behind a child so young and vulnerable.
Not a day passed without thinking of my little boy. At times I cried. I cried for my baby. I cried for my life….all that I had worked for was gone in the twinkling of an eye. Gone…just like that. I cried for my shattered dreams.
I had to start life all over again in a foreign country. I worked hard and long. Very long hours. I did cleaning jobs in superstores, hotels and offices. I also worked as a carer for the elderly in the community.
I regulated my stay in the UK and eventually got my citizenship. Life was hard. I kept telling myself “this too shall pass“. At age 37, I started my 3 year nurse training at university. At age 40 I was working as a nurse. Life was looking up. Things were starting to line-up.
By this time I had been re-united with my then 7 year old son. I had also met a wonderful man who is now my husband.
Today, I’m living a comfortable life and fulfilling my dreams. I still encounter challenges here and there but that’s life. Difficulties are a part of life as are opportunities. I’ve learned to handle them better. I continue to develop a strong mindset because it enables me to live a victorious life.
I’m not bragging….just blogging.
What am I saying?
The hardships I encountered in life made me a stronger and better person. The hardships prepared me to understand and encourage others who may be facing challenges in life. Today I share my experiences, views and stories with the world. I hope this helps someone to dream again. To hope again – against all odds.
You can change your situation today. Develop a growth mindset. A strong mindset. Be strong and courageous. Defy all odds and walk in victory.
Live life to the full