“Life isn’t fair.” Those were the words I uttered, grasping for light in a pit of sorrows. It was not a good time to be a young black girl in the big city of Pretoria. The ongoing confusion continued to cloud my judgement regarding what I had to do. Firstly, the plan was to enrol in the University of Pretoria and obtain a degree in genetics. What a plan I had, everything jotted down just the way it should be.

The more I started to adapt to city life, the more I began to lose myself. The City of Tshwane was always filled with people busy running to train stations or taxis early in the break of dawn. I made my way to the bus every morning at 6:30am. Same old, same old; the shiny faces with smiles immediately distinguishing the freshers from senior students. I managed to put on a straight face and show no emotion as I wallowed deep into my fantasy world of living life just like in the movies.

I was not very social, but my smile made it easy for people to talk to me. I kept pushing for my life to be just as perfect as the other kids’ were. How I longed to get a degree, yet I was just starting my journey. Life is something else I must agree. It is something that cannot be planned and ordered the way one wants it to be because we constantly interact with other people who also in return influence our decisions. It was not just a matter of being happy and behaving but rather a matter of principle.

It was then that I took a knock, I had a breakdown and no one around me noticed. I lost the one thing I thought pushed me to succeed. My world came crushing down and I had no idea how to deal with studies, friends, family and life in general. The thought of giving up popped up and I just couldn’t even though I was down and out unable to make sense of anything. One deep breath after another just to get a grip of what was going on. One moment I was a bubbly teenager in high school and now I was just another student among thousands of students struggling to make ends meet.

I thought I could cope with the demands, but I was wrong. Life isn’t fair and it never was, not for me and not for anyone else. I had to deal with managing the little money I had and studying nonstop. As if it wasn’t hard enough being in a romantic relationship was also a struggle on its own. The need to submit to the desires of the flesh and please another being was just as draining as the thought itself. Sex was one thing I didn’t want to get involved in since I was not in the right mind to think about any other problem.

It was through all the tears and disappointments that I found peace in knowing that I am only human. I may look strong and organised, but it took a lot of dedication and self-motivation to get through my first year of university away from home. The constant doubts left me wondering whether God exists and why I was experiencing so much pain in just a short period of time. Now I know that the greatest weapon I can ever own is faith in whatever I am doing. Mental health is my priority today because nothing comes for free in this life.

The lens with which one focuses with will determine the quality of the picture that the mind portrays. Life is a gift that I appreciate every day and I will forever be grateful for being given a chance to see the sunrise every morning. Focusing on what it means to be alive today, I refer to a quote by Bonang Matheba: “No one in the world owes you anything. You need to wake up every morning and prove why it is you that is worthy and that you deserve whatever it is that you want.”

Sometimes life isn’t fair, but I know now that I must appreciate every moment.


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