Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A positive mental Attitude

I have a friend whom I have known for several years now. I was talking to him the other day and I just had to ask him what his secret for success was. The answer he gave me  just blew me away. He told me that he was naive into believing all things are possible. Talk about child like faith. His mother from an early age taught him to confess that he was the best and he could do anything in this world. He has done exactly that. I'm really proud of him today for the man he has become.

Most of us grew up hearing things like you will never amount to anything or can't you do anything right? and so on. If you grew up in this kind of environment, you think its normal and you don't  actually realize that those things get to you. You go about your life unaware that the little comments made by those who love you most, have affected your perspective of life and now you go about it fearful of not being able to achieve anything. The dreams you have are so big that sometimes you pinch yourself wondering who you think you are. At times you feel so tall in your comfort zone and are ready to unleash the giant within, then you get out to face the world and you shrink back because of the little voices that ask you "who do you think you are?"

The limitations we have put on ourselves and those from our well meaning relatives are really hard to overcome. Especially if like me you've had to fight to live a positive life. You believe there is something better and you pursue it, then you reach a point and you feel stuck because of the limits you've put on yourself. They say the sky is the limit, you feel deep down this is true but your reality tells a different story. You have stopped dreaming, you don't let your imagination run wild anymore because you are grown up, logical and life is not just like that. You see a gap that you might just be able to fill but you think somebody else should do it. The way you think, the ideas you have, the way you would execute those ideas, no one can do it that way. I realized we all have a part to play when I tried to ask my friends how they felt about certain issues in the world that have been such a burden for me. It did not bother them at all. I wanted them to care but they didn't, not because they don't care but because they have a different calling and gap to fill. That is my pain and my pain is my mission and my gap to fill.

After speaking with my friend, I realized I wasn't crazy for dreaming so big. I have sometimes felt naive but he told me that's the only way to change the world because naive people actually do not see the obstacles and limitations. When I said goodbye to my friend I was feeling so tall. I thought I could do anything. I survived in the tall mode for a few days and then I went right back to seriously... who do you think you are.? Then I rose up again and told myself that I can. I have a gap to fill, a mission to accomplish and a call to answer  and no one can do it they way I would because it's my personal pain.
A just man falls seven times but rises up again. So I'll keep rising until I reach that goal.

Because of my friend, today I am determined to change the world, even when I sometimes feel so small. I know I can make a difference. So the key to success is naivety and a positive mental attitude.

"I was naive enough to think I could make a difference" David Gest
"Every true genius is bound to be naive" Friedrich Schiller

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A neighbor's dream

My dreams of being a model began as a teenager when one of my neighbors became my mentor.  She had moved into our neighborhood as a newly wed and she didn't have much to do with her time. She was very tall and beautiful and I wondered why she wasn't pursuing that dream for herself. She told me she was now married and I thought to myself that marriage must be a dream killer. Maybe one should achieve their dreams before they tie the knot, cause that would be the end of them. She thought I was something but this came as a total surprise to me. She brought me all kinds of magazines and tried to convince me that I could make it. A model? I asked in amazement. She did all the visualizing for me and all I did was listen. She complemented me at every opportunity but this only left me confused. She was not the only one who encouraged me to do this, one of my teachers and random people would compliment me on my beauty. I really enjoyed my sessions with her, where we would flip through magazines she had ordered. Her dedication to see me achieve this dream amazed me. The dream for me though died immediately after our sessions. I would go home and sink into my reality.

When I was six years old, My little sister was born. It was a really exciting day for me when she arrived from the hospital. Everyone was gathered in the living room and there was a lot of food and music. My mother at some point sent me outside to get something and my mean grandmother found her opportunity to speak words that would destroy my self esteem for a very long time. She followed me outside, looked me in the eye and told me I was the ugliest thing she had ever set eyes on. There was so much evil in her eyes when she said that. I looked at her and could not believe what she had said. I never knew I was ugly and even if I was, I didn't expect a family member to put it on my face. I went back to the house and because I feared my grandma, I could not tell my mother what she had told me and I figured if she had wanted my mother to know, she couldn't have followed me outside. No one was going to erase the shame and the pain I felt. She left me scared and confused at only six.

While people were complimenting me in my teenage hood, I was busy trying to figure out who I was and why I was ugly. I had my first boyfriend whom I thought was being polite by saying I was beautiful, or it was something boyfriends should say. I had a very had time believing anyone. I would look in the mirror and see beauty, I could see I was fearfully and wonderfully made but my mind was playing the broken record of ugly. 

One day, my broken record was playing so loud in my head that I thought if I could have a stop button, I would put a permanent stop to it.  I decided to play that game and It worked for a while. Then I made another decision, that I would count all the positive compliments and if they exceeded the negatives then I would put a new record in my head. The positive compliments were flowing from everywhere, from friends, strangers and family members. Then I thought to myself... someone has to be right. My grandma or a thousand positive compliments. I decided to go with the thousand. 

After overcoming my many years of a low self esteem, I decided to visit my grandmother as a sign of forgiveness for being mean to me. It was so liberating. I bought her lots of presents and before she passed on, I was all she was talking about. That was pouring hot coal on her head, It was awesome to see the power of forgiveness.

I also embraced my neighbors dream and tried some modeling. At 5.5 inch, I was too short but I tried anyway. It was an awesome experience. Today I'm passionate about fashion and beauty mostly what not to wear,:)  because a neighbor awakened a dream that was deep down but was destroyed by eyes that find fault. Let us be good neighbors and may all the mean grandmothers become good neighbors.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

If I were my mother...

As the first born in my family, I've had to grow up in so many ways, especially to encourage my mother who is a single parent. I had a somewhat happy childhood but my mum's marriage to my step father was nothing but trouble. By the time I was twelve, they had separated about ten times and by the eleventh, I vowed I would not be left behind. In the past, she had left us and my step father would take us to live with his mean mother. I decided to follow my mum who was then a house wife, not knowing what was going to become of us. I had seen enough violence coming from my step father and I was determined persuade my mother to never look back. During the time that my mother was gone, I spent most of my time alone when I wasn't in school. I would visualize a better life and this is how I became a dreamer. I spent a lot of time lying on the grass studying the insects. My favorite was watching the ants come and go and I would imagine they had parents who had sent them to the shops. :) It gave me a lot of comfort and also an escape from my reality.

Encouraging my mother and taking care of my little sister while she was at work became my part time job. I lost myself completely on being her therapist, a teacher and a mother for my sister. Looking back I don't even know where I got the strength to do all that and I was only a child myself. Life became challenging in many ways, I hated not having a father and especially not having his name registered at my new school. When they called our parents names at school I would pause until they called a few more because I didn't want the other students to know I didn't have a father. I got over it with time when I found out I was not the only one with a single parent.

Life changed everyday for the better and we had wonderful times with my mother. Most were conversations after dinner about the miserable past she had, we laughed about it but I always made her swear to never go back. If she was to go back, she would have to go alone. I grew up worrying about my mother and she like every mother, worried about us. She kept comparing me with so and so and wishing I would turn out to be like so and sos daughter. I learned early enough however to say I will turn out better than all of them combined. As the encourager I had grown up to be, I told her not to worry we would turn out just fine. I would tell her about all the dreams I had for my life but I don't think she saw any possibility of them coming true. To her it was impossible to achieve all that.

Till today my mum worries about us but if I was my mother, I would tell myself, my kids have turned out really well and they have achieved most of their goals in life and they are all grown up now and everything is great!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

If I ran the world

I've always wanted to be in a position to influence people, for example when i was a kid i wanted to be a model so that I could be in a position to influence change especially in women's and children's lives. I'm only 5.5 inches though so that was not going to be possible. Years later, I'm still trying to figure out how I can do that. I'm a dreamer and hoping that will get me there somehow. I have ideas that i get really excited about and then I talk myself out of them the following day. I write all of them down, with the hope that someday I'll get the courage to go for it.  I'm big on education and I think every child should have the best possible. The world is not like that though... Imagine if we could all get free and high quality education... the world would truly be a better place. I know education is the key to everything. We do not necessarily get everything we need from school but one thing we get for sure is confidence to face the world. It does not matter whether we pass or fail, once we have been to school we have something to show for it. This is coming from a deeper place. As a person who aspires to change the world I had a seminar with single women a few months ago in Kenya and all that was holding them back, was they were not educated or educated enough. In a country like Kenya, lack of education can paralyze your ability to do many things. This women are capable of doing so much more but because they don't have a certificate to show for it, they have no voice in the society. I proceeded to ask them what their dreams were and I was amazed at the ideas they had. I then asked them how they would feel bout a training center that would give them skills they need to reach their goals... and the one thing they wanted to know, was whether upon completion of the training they would have a certificate. We all want to feel worthy, we want to show the world that we're capable and we all want a voice even a small one.

So if I ran the world, I would give everyone that voice especially through education.

What would you do if you ran the world?