Life is like a deck of cards. Everyone is given their cards and has to focus on theirs because in life, we all have a journey to complete, but everyone’s journey is not the same. Some journeys are full of endurance, pain, suffering, perseverance and patience but at the end of the day, we have to walk every mile and live to tell the story.

“What mom said pierced through my heart like a sharp knife, how can she say I’m a disappointment?” Lisa was deep in thought and ended up thinking aloud.

She was lost, depressed and confused. Hurt beyond measure because of the things she had been through at a tender age. Tears fell effortlessly when she thought about her unborn baby and the situation they were going through at home.

Regardless of Lisa’s background she always kept her head high and always worked hard for good grades to make the situation better at home. That changed in a few months when she was kidnapped and raped in her matric year. She felt helpless.

“My life is a mess, I don’t know what to do anymore, maybe my mother is right, I won’t make it.”

“Lisa!” her mom called, with so much authority that her skin went cold immediately and her intestine twisted.

“You’re such a disgrace to the family. I don’t know why I am still keeping you in my house because you’re good for nothing and useless.”

A warm liquid fell down Lisa’s cheeks when she heard the harsh words her mother had said to her.

Her mother’s words unleashed a beast inside Lisa. Hatred towards her mother grew within her. She was tired of crying, tired of allowing what other people said define her. She always spoke to herself to be calm in difficult situations and that worked for her in more than one way.

“I didn’t ask to be raped, honestly, so I don’t know how my mom can talk like that about me. They usually say some storms come to clear your path but i don’t see it this way in this situation. I don’t understand why she’s hurting me when my life feels as if I am being dribbled like a basketball,” Lisa said aloud to herself.

The incident really changed Lisa. She was full of revenge. She was hurt to the core, the pain she felt on the inside radiated on the outside.

“My grandchild, life without problems is fruitless and useless.” Those were her grandmother’s words playing in her mind like a DVD with scratches. She cried most of the nights until she fell asleep. She was a walking zombie because another part of her died when her mother said negative things about her. Her world was trembling and no one was there for her, even the friends that said only death would do them apart.

“Most people think that the journey of my life was smooth. I had been betrayed by people who were close to me and who left a huge gap in my heart. I had been hurt beyond measure, I had failed more than once. I had days where I wanted to end my life because of situations at home. But I never stopped chasing my dreams because I always knew that not even the sky was the limit. I came from a very young age and got infected with HIV/AIDS. Look at me now, I have achieved everything my heart desired. I am successful. I am a motivational speaker, a lawyer and a writer. Indeed there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Today I want to encourage each and every one of you to work hard and aim higher. Always remember the mind-set is what separates the best from the rest.” This speech was delivered by Mrs James in front of thousands of people in Lisa’s area.

Lisa was moved, touched, shaken and motivated to keep going. What Mrs James had said changed her perspective about life. She changed the way she thought about herself and discovered that your background doesn’t define you.

“You know why I admire Mrs James? It’s because she entered my life when everything was black and white and showed me that there are other colours. People like her are hard to find and they come once in a lifetime.”


Tell us: Do you agree that your background does not define you?