Suffering on this earth will never end. Our hearts yearn for lives where everything comes easy hence a lot of people end up becoming tired and weak. Many people end up giving up on their toil. It is sad many submit and end up conforming to the mediocre standards brought about by the ugly phases of life. It is never easy.
I write this article to share with you the simple secret to success that I have mastered. I grew up in a family whose warmness was cut off before I could even experience it. My parents’ marriage started facing problems after my mother had been unfaithful to my father. Quarrels were the song of the night and at times we would have our meals in silence having to absolve the tension that had built up between my parents. As the deputy parent, I then had to do most of the duties to take care of two younger siblings. My father would leave the house during the day and come back the following morning super drunk and probably with one or two of his possessions stolen in the process. He had started smoking and would skip work days which actually got him fired. As he had been the only breadwinner of the family, bread started disappearing from the table. I was now even going up to half term with my school fees not paid and had to endure the shame of being chased from the classroom to go home and collect funds from nowhere. My mother had left to go live with the other man hence there was really no one to lean on. On the other hand, papa was dealing with his depression and also needed support from me who was drowning in my sorrows. With the days I stayed at home before my father found someone to borrow money to at least cover my fees, I would study hard and try to keep my head level above the water. I was writing my finals in three months and knew that no transcript would ever come written “ she had no money to pay for school.” I would do laundry for neighbors to earn extra cash that we would use to buy food. As people who had been financially stable previously, it was difficult to adapt to the new normal but I had no choice. I grappled though the remaining months, wrote my exams and managed to come out with decent results that got me a scholarship into college.
As if the struggles were not enough, relationship problems caught up with me. Every man that I dated would leave for one reason or the other. Maybe they didn’t stay because I had been raised in a house where my parents had divorced, hence I did not know how to properly love someone. I vowed to myself that I would keep moving until I found someone who cherished and loved me in a way that made me feel safe. For a moment I did and I got married. Two years down the line we started dealing with issues of infidelity. Society advises women to stay strong and endure a marriage even when it becomes unbearable. I gave up. Maybe if I had applied this advice into my marriage, I would not have been a twenty eight year old divorcee with one child. I feel that I did not put enough effort in communicating with my partner over the issues that we were facing. From being insecure about not wanting to follow my then husband when he relocated to a different country because of work. My reasons were that I wanted to live my life at home and follow my dreams but no! I just did not want to compromise nor sacrifice my little comfort for my marriage to work.
Recently, I was talking to a friend in medical school who has now spent about eight years without graduating and only left with two to be timed out. Failing every single year except the fourth has stripped her of any flicker of confidence that she had. “I can not make friends with anyone because I know that come the end of year I am going to fail and they will leave me behind,” she says. With the cycle of failures as the new norm, she is just about to totally discard any hope of ever making it. I was then encouraging her to use that little spirit of positivity left in her and carry on till she succeeds because never giving up is secondary to one-step that will determine your fate.
My marriage status did not stop me from obtaining my medical degree. I had to fight against mental instability till I got to the finish line. I always tell myself that before you start chasing a dream, before you declare a war and before you engage in a fight you should level up! I often ask the little children at church in Sunday school what they would want to become when they grow up. In a resource poor setting, where I come from, you hear young children talking about becoming pilots and scientists even in a country that can only boast of having one functional plane. This dream becomes a reference point such that each time the child needs motivation to stay focused, the mother reminds him or her of how one should behave to become a pilot.
In the difficult experiences of growing up, I would dream of becoming a doctor. I made that dream my baby. Like a driver going on a long journey, I assured myself that my vehicle was fit for the road by first dealing with my spirituality. I would lean to God and tell him everything I wanted to achieve. I would form healthy friendships with peers like a driver taking energy drinks or listening to good music to keep himself awake and alert on the road because they would be there to lift me up when things got difficult.
I have always wondered why nations with small military power behave well when dealing with nations with superior military powers? The subconscious mind-space would just register that they are not fit for the challenge and eventually make a choice that reflects discretion. This was unlike me. As the only female who was part of the medical students association body, I would fight to be heard by men who have only known patriarchism all their lives. I was my biggest cheerleader telling myself that at times it calls for you to do the impossible to get what you want. At a point the tunnel looks bleak, enter it! Everything will figure itself out as you go. This helped me keep my head up.
Strategic planning has also been an important aspect of my life since school. I may not be the best advisor but I can tell that anything planned properly has a good chance for success.During my college years, the question “How do you study?” came a lot of times than I can remember. I always think that strategies are personal and particular and it takes time to learn your patterns and stick to them. For you to develop discipline, there is a need to learn your strategy and understand why you are doing it. It also doesn’t say that each time you plan, things will go your way. I have had my downfalls. Few years back after applying for literally anything online, I was then singing the “we regret to inform you that” chorus when reading the response emails because of the number of rejections I was receiving. I sat down with myself to figure out where the problem was. I was not putting enough time and research into my applications. I then developed a policy that I extensively read around the topic before filling in an application form and from that day I feel more capable of tackling opportunities.
My life has been a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs and tears along the way. That’s being human and that’s life. When I fall I pick myself up because I know I am on a journey which has a finishing line to be reached. Dirty or clean, a medal is what I seek at the end.
25 August, 2023