Growing up I wasn’t exactly what you would call….academic.
In fact, I was pretty average and that’s putting it nicely. Fast forward to my School Certificate year (Yr 11) and mediocrity was well and truly alive. I even failed special maths. (You know the maths class they put you in when you suck).
Of course it wasn’t my fault, it was that stupid bike-car accident I had when I was eleven that messed with my brain – or so I told myself and everyone else who cared enough to listen. It was after all, the perfect excuse. Maybe it did contribute to my short term memory issues, as I did have a 6 inch scar on my scalp to prove my point, but…. I think the truth really was I just didn’t believe in myself. And I didn’t care (better not ignore that fact)!
Fast forward again to 6th form (Yr 12) and the wheels had well and truly come off, rolled down the hill and got lost in the mud. This was truly my emo year, and it didn’t help that I had fallen in with a truly emo crowd. Death metal and suicidal lyrics were the rage (against the machine lol sorry couldn’t resist), and to make matters worse, I was a sucker for identity issues. I can’t help but cringe when I think about what I put my teachers through that year, especially when I actually turned up to school. I’d like to blame my academic record (or lack of) on the brain issue once again, but the truth is – it was the drugs and alcohols fault.
Yeah….I was that kid.
To be fair, I was deeply depressed as it was about that time that the sexual abuse stuff came out, and my relationship with my Mum at an all-time low. The drugs and music were just the addictive icing on the cake. I don’t know what happened after that, but something changed in me. I think it was because I hit rock bottom, and ran out of places to go (and live). At 16 I had already moved out of home and was finding it hard to stay in one place. I was also running out of options in terms of where to sleep. I eventually ended up at my Aunty and Uncles house whereby he (my Uncle), told me that if I didn’t go back to school (which meant repeating 6th form and doing Bursary English) AND get 90% average in all my classes, then I would be out on my be-hind.
Nothing like homelessness to motivate I suppose.
I guess I have them to thank for seeing me through that year. It wasn’t easy or perfect….I was still depressed and quite suicidal at times – but yes I made it. And yes I did get that 90% average. Part of my motivation was to get University Entrance so I could give the proverbial finger to all those haters. So I got in to Uni (yay!) and then proceeded to drop out 6 months later (*shakes her head in shame). After all, the Hamilton nightlife was waaaay more fun and I was working long hours. Staying awake in lectures was impossible. Hospitality (and getting drunk) was more important. At that age I suppose it is. Wow how stupid are we at that age!!?
Failure. Drop out.Disappointment. Predictable. Looser. No hoper.Dumb. No brains. Unreliable.Good for nothing.Just like your mum. I even got called an a*#hole by one of my teachers – in front of everyone. Fair enough I suppose – he was just saying what everyone thought, including myself.
These were the words I grew up with, and lived with for many years. Some of it was my fault, some of it wasn’t. Young people will always test and push the boundaries, adults will often misunderstand them. It’s a potentially nasty circle. My life was on a one way track for the longest time, but apparently it was never meant to stay on that track – despite all the signs pointing in that direction.
Fast forward again to 2016 and I’m walking across the big stage to receive my Post Graduate Diploma in Management – one short year away from gaining my MASTERS in Business (MBA). The fact that I was even accepted into the programme in the first place without an undergraduate degree was a miracle, let alone come out the other end with an A average grade across most of my papers. I also had cancer. But that's not really the point of this blog. The point is...this level of study is serious stuff – the kind of study only single minded professional people at the top of the tier do. How on earth did I get here – all things considered? Want to know?
Ok part of it was hard work and sacrifice – yes. I didn’t get A+’s (including an A+ average in Accounting - remember how I failed at special maths??) by sitting on my proverbial backside that's for sure.
It all started with this little thing called belief.
I had to believe that I was good enough, at least to try. I had to believe that I wasn’t a failure and I could do something amazing with my life. I had to believe that God would give me an extra dose of energy, strength and yes even a few extra brain-cells to make it through. Because God knows I didn’t possess any of this on my own merit. Especially the brain-cells lol. In short...
I had to believe in me.
And I’m not for one second trying to convince you that this was easy, that believing in myself, after so much doubt for so many years, was a walk in the park. It took guts and determination to pick myself up from that rotting pile of self-doubt and harsh judgement. It took strength and grace to turn my back on other people’s beliefs about myself and accept the encouraging words of others as truth. It took faith and hope to believe that I was created for MORE than what I had already seen and done with my spectacularly crappy life. And you know what the real funny part is?
I’m still not quite sure how this happened, but somehow I became a tertiary academic staff member, which not only involved teaching full time and helping young ones like me get ahead in life, but also developing certificate, diploma and degree programmes and well as resources. Crazy huh? Makes you think really….just let that sink in for a moment. And just to be super clear, I am not for one second trying to say that getting a tertiary education is the be-all-and-end-all. You can be unequivocally successful without it. I was for many years before getting my quals! This is just my story, and I like to giggle at the the irony of my academic journey on occasion.
Ok. So if your reading this and you are struggling to see a way forward in life (for whatever reason) and don’t believe you are capable of changing the broken record – then think of me and my ‘impossible’ turn-around. Stranger things have indeed happened and I’m a big believer in a person’s God given right to dream, to embrace the potential that lies within, and having the courage to take one step at a time (even if someone is holding your hand!). I'm still not at the top yet, although the view from where I'm at is pretty cool and well worth the effort. I'll keep going even though its become harder with everything else I've had to face lately.
My point is -if I can do it, then so can you. Choose to believe, to have faith, and to accept the truth about your true self. Choose to believe that in the famous words of Mufusa, ‘You are more than what you have become’ Lol - I giggle but its so true! Choose to believe that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that you – yes you – have a hope and a future.
Whoever you are.....DARE TO DREAM.
Get up, get moving, work hard and watch what happens. You don't have to do it alone! You are here on this earth to BE someone amazing and DO something amazing with your life. So….no excuses. Get to it already yeah...meet me at the top?! I am officially cheering you on!