Do not bottle your feelings, talk to somebody, because you deserve to be happy. You have your mom and dad. You have siblings, nieces and nephews. You have friends who care about you. We are rooting for you. Please do not give up on yourself.

I needed to uplift this person’s spirits, asking him to give himself a chance to live his best life. I could see the potential in him and I knew he could become a great person if he put his mind to it. He could become a great person if he gave his best.

The piece of advice I gave him made me think of how many times I have heard those words from somebody else. Those words encouraged me to take a different approach to how I lived my life.

***

At the age of 14, I lost my mother to cancer. Our older sister had to abandon her studies to take care of us.

For years I had been ashamed of who I was. I felt out of place when I was around my sisters. They were successful at school while I struggled academically. I wanted to be like them but I knew at some point that I would have to find my own way of succeeding in this life.

It took me years to come to understand this. Before I came to the realisation, I was a pitiful sight. I did not love myself.

I thought my role on this earth was to take care of my family. I never thought of taking a chance on myself. I thought I was a waste of space and I wondered why God still had me living on this earth.

I remember telling him that he was wasting his time keeping me alive. I felt like he should be concentrating on helping my sisters instead of me.

I was wrong.  Honestly, I wanted to live. I wanted a chance to be successful. I wanted a chance to fight for my life.

My sister suggested that I start seeking help from a professional. She told me how it had helped her through the darkest days of her life.

I saw an anger management counsellor. She opened my eyes to the reality that whether I participate in this life or not was a decision that I had to live with.

She told me that time moves fast. I could stay in the misery state I was in or I could change my life completely.

I knew she was right but it took me a while to accept it. It also took a while to take responsibility and not shift the blame to anyone else for not moving forward with my life. I felt alone and left behind when they should have lifted me up as well.

They chose to live their lives while I decided not to move a muscle to build a life for myself .

I felt ashamed for how I had treated the people in my life.  It was time for me to stand on my own two feet.

She told me she was not returning as a counsellor the following year. She had a desire to do something different .

I had to let her go. I wished her all the best but inside I was frightened because I was losing my comfort and my cheerleader. The other frightening thing was, I couldn’t go back to being the person I was. I did not want to.

I was trying new things and moving on with my life when I felt out of place again. My heart was beating fast, I could not sleep and I was irritable.

I asked God for help. I was driving when I noticed a board with counsellor’s details on it.

I messaged her immediately to make an appointment to see her over the weekend. She agreed to fit me in.

I couldn’t wait to speak to her, I even got excited thinking about it.

I arrived at the building. I saw a woman with a jug of water in her hand and asked if she could show me where the counsellors office was. She introduced herself as the counsellor and asked me to follow her. That hour was spent talking about what I could expect from her and what she wanted from me. After the meeting I scheduled another session with her.

It has been a year since that first meeting. I remember moments of anger, tears and laughter in that office.

A lot has changed since then.There is still a lot of work that I need to do which I am fine with because I now understand that change is a process.

The relationship I have with God has also helped me look at my life differently and to appreciate it.

Through it all I have realised that I have a group of cheerleaders who are supportive and rooting for me and in turn have taught me to be my own cheerleader.

They have taught me that life is not a competition as our journeys are different.

I can honestly say that I am loved and most importantly I am learning to love myself.

God you made it all possible with that board. If I did not pass that road on that day,  I know I wouldn’t have received the help I needed. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me know that I matter.

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