The last time we spoke, I told you that I was embarking on a journey of discovering vulnerability. The more I explore this subject, the word self worth keeps rolling around my head. It doesn’t matter how much I try to suppress it and try to focus on vulnerability, it keeps showing its stubborn face. So finally, today, I gave it my time and I stumbled upon an amazing realisation.
When we speak about self worth, we mostly view it as knowing what your value is. Understanding where you thrive and where you fall, what hurts you and what builds you. In a perfect world, we would all know our worth. We would walk around feeling good about ourselves, smiling four ways to Sunday. However, as is often the case in life, we stop seeing any good and we start to think of ourselves as worthless.
We feel like we are a waste of space. We feel defeated. This especially happens when things don’t seem to work out. You read so much but never seem to get ahead in your studies. You stay up late rehearsing your lines only to mess up your audition so bad. You dress the part, walk upright and shake people’s hands so firmly yet you never get a call back. You feel defeated and if someone asked you, there is nothing special about you.
So I started to think about what you do when you each this point. When I was 14 years old, I was in a pretty bad situation. I was in a very result oriented primary school. They did everything they could to get us to produce results. I was scared all the time and I remember many nights I lay in bed dreading the morning. Mornings were my worst times because we had mathematics. Our math teacher was brutal, he whipped us, slapped us and generally abused us in every way possible. I was terrified of him and could never concentrate in his class. This off course translated into bad grades. Off course this did not sit well with him, he did not understand why I was not performing well and he tightened his leash; only making the situation worse.
That holiday when I went home, I was last in my class. It was the lowest I had ever felt. I started to believe I deserved all the abuse and did not deserve all the money and resources my parents were sacrificing for me to be in school. That May, just six months to my main exams, I told my mother I was not going to be going back to school. I was done with school and I was going to make a life out of something else. Everyone was shocked. I remember being taken to a doctor, my mom thought I had lost it. When she told me that I did not have a choice but to go back to school, I told her not to waste her money because I was not going to stay there anyway
Five days later, many relatives later and a lot of sit downs, we came to a compromise. They found another school for me. The deal however was that I was to try it out, I agreed to give it a five day trial. Five months into my national exams, I was on my way to a new school. I remember standing at the gate with tears in my eyes. Scared to the bone and wanting to run home. There I was, worried that they would see how worthless I was and they would start abusing me. A few minutes later, the most friendly man I have ever met, approached me and sat with me. He started one of the most pleasant conversations I have ever had. What baffles me is that we were talking about was nowhere near pleasant. We spoke about my experience and he invited me to try out the school. He turned out to be the Principal of the school and later one of my best teachers.
The new school was amazing, it was nurturing and I had such a good time that I did not notice my trial period come to an end. Before I knew it, I was standing at the gate with my box leaving the school after my national exam. I remember feeling so confused about how sad I was to be leaving the school. I remember the lump in my throat when the math teacher got in his car to leave. I remember going to wait for my results in the school compound, two months later. I remember beating almost everyone in the class that I had been last in. I remember how excited I was. I remember feeling like a star. I remember every single thing I felt that day.
That is what a positive environment can do for you. It can bring you from a point where you have no reason to live to a point where life is a delight. If you are in a situation you hate, a situation where you feel like life is not worth it, you do not have to stay in it. No matter how much time you feel you have lost, take a leap of faith and try to do things over. When I think about what could have been, had I stayed in my old school, my insides stir. Don’t be another statistic, stand up and take charge of your life. Best wishes from Angela