I AM A SURVIVOR, THANKS TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS
As a young child, my mom taught us how to survive in this world. She taught us how to stand up for ourselves, to ask questions and not to cry at situations but to fight. I have friends and family who were there. Friends and family who will always be there and who never stop caring. My story is not cup cakes and milk. I am not where I want to be yet, but I hope my story will inspire you a lot. The world is a very cruel place especially for us young adults. And we need all the help to survive. Because we need to be survivors so that we can live.
I was born on the 5th of March decades ago. My mom tells me stories of how I was different and I was always the quiet one in the family. I always knew how to express my emotions especially the mad emotion. Apart from that, I had three childhood friends and two of them were from my family. My best friend has always been my sister Moreen who understands me more that anyone else in the world. She has known me forever and I tell her almost everything if not everything. She is the cartoon in the family by the way.
As a child, I was quite reserved and was only comfortable around my family or friends. Anyone else used to scare the crap out of me. Especially teachers because growing up I had teachers who would make you hate school. But let me not throw away the whole baby because of one dirty napkin. I had very nice teachers too.
Another reason why I hated hanging out with new kids is because they would make my friends change the rules of our games and that made me upset. I remember that one time a neighbors boy came home with his older cousin to say hi to my sisters.
His cousin was friends with my sisters and you know teenage girls and gossip. So he was left with me and I guess he started picking on me because he was taller and older than me. I do not remember really well what happened but I got so pissed and attacked him. Whoever said a young girl could never stand up for herself?!
After that incident, the boy never ever dared pick on me in any way. We ended up being classmates later and I would help him with some school work. He also used to lend me some textbooks when I did not have them. He became nicer I guess.
The Primary school rebel
This did not sit right by me at all.
Why was I being punished for being unable to do something? And was it wrong to say I could not do it? My mom is an angel. She is a bomb waiting to explode but she is also the best mother in the world. Mom had always told us to speak out when something was not okay and she forced us into standing up for ourselves no matter what. So what did little Victoria do? She refused to kneel and she instead went to a different teacher, faked an illness and was released to go home. If you are a teacher, please take care of a child’s emotions because if you scar a child, they remember it forever.
I can not begin to explain how many teachers in primary school we used to pray sickness on, or how many times we wished some of them would get fired. There are those teachers who beat kids like they were the reason for their problems. And there were the nice teachers. To be honest, my favorite teachers were my Math and English teachers. They just taught well.
Anyway, I went home. I took my time so that I could get home late. That way I would not have to go back to school. I was doing well in class and I was always obedient. I did not understand why I was being punished. Even with the crawling, I got home before lunch. My mom thought that I was sick or something but knowing mom, I knew I would go to the hospital the same day. Shock on all of us if mom found out I was faking it. So I lied that I had been sent home for my report card which was required for keying in my results for the term.
My mom wondered how I would be sent home for a report card but thank God she did not call my school. She served me lunch, fetched the report card and sent me back to school. This was the part I dreaded. I was scared. How the hell was I supposed to go back to school after what happened? I could not stay home either because mom would skin me alive if she found out. So I managed to find my courage and made my way back to hell.
Back to school
I do not know how I even got to school fast because I used a longer route and I took my time to study plants and insects along the way. At school, lunch was over and the pupils were back in class for the afternoon lessons. This was good. But the cards were not in my favor. The teacher for the next lesson was not around. So we had fun in class talking and laughing so loud that someone had to come and shut us down. And guess who of all the teachers in the world came. The one teacher I did not want to see. I wanted to run out to go to the washroom but it was already too late for me. I just stared at him and felt no inch of shame.
He was surprised to see me because earlier, I had threatened him that I was going to report him to the school manager. It must have scared him but I had not made good of my threat. But he did not know that.
Apart from that, primary school to me was fun. Those were my best years and I was in the best primary school ever. We used to go on nature walks for science and leisure lessons. There was also art and craft, acting out English stories and cooking.
High school was great till it was not. The food was bad till I became a Home Science prefect, the dorms made you dread sleeping, there were more people and the deputy principal seemed to have a certain problem with my existence. It was not too bad though because most of the teachers were good. I started pursuing my love for writing when I was in high school. I used to write or read just to get away from people. It was like I was in my own world and I had few friends because I was not one to let people in.
My best friends with time became my sister, the only other Victoria in school, a classmate and my bed mate. My antisocial behavior was so bad that I hated going out to Funkiez. I went out of school for prefect trips, symposiums, contests and bench marking activities.
I have bad and good memories of high school. Being quite reserved was a good thing for me because I rarely got into trouble. My punishments were because I used to fall asleep a lot in class and I always had trouble waking up so early. I still maintained good grades though.
My most embarrassing moment in high school was when I was in Form three moving to four and I wanted to repeat a class despite my good overall grades. I had failed in Math and History and I could not get myself to believe that I was going on as a Math failure. I had scored a C in Math and it tore me to bits. Math was my favorite subject and failing this one subject to me meant that I was going to fail in everything else.
So, I carried my desk and chair back to form three and told my classmates that I was done failing and I was going to fix myself. Except that I was not broken and one failure did not define me. But stubborn me had to make a fool out of herself.
I thank my then principal and teachers who took their time to talk to me and find out why I had made that decision. They talked to me and made me understand that one failure did not define my entire success. Some teachers even promised to help me out with the problematic subjects.
I packed my things after a week of thinking it out and went back to form four. Exams were ongoing so I just did three out of eight subjects and I was not even last yet! I knew then , that success is not defined by one failure but by the times you stand back up and how that failure impacts on you.
Of course the deputy principal embarrassed me at the school assembly as the confused girl. It did not affect me as much because I knew that she was always negative. And had I not gone with what I wanted then I would not have learnt anything and I would believe I was a failure because of one fail. Bless all the teachers who came to my rescue.
Campus is not high school. In some twisted way, it is the worst and the best. I went into campus thinking that it was going to be like high school without rules. Campus can make you dead ass broke. You have a million things which you have the freedom to buy, but money is a very limited resource especially for people like me who never applied for the Helb Loan. I do not come from a wealthy family at all. And I am not an only child. I had to make certain sacrifices because I love my parents too much to want to strain them. So during the long holidays I worked and when I could help with school fees or rent I offered to help.
In my third year of school, I started working as I studied. Juggling both when you are a full time student is very hard and it got to a point where I quit working to focus on my books because I was failing in some units. I got a part time job that paid me per hour and I would go to work according to my time. It helped me know Nairobi a little better too. The little I got went to rent or food or upkeep or all of the above.
I finally quit working again and that is when I started struggling a lot. I was so used to providing for myself and asking from my parents was a little hard. Fortunately, I had saved some money which I used sometimes. And to get away from all the pressure, I started my blog.
Remember in high school, I wrote stories to get away from people. In campus, I wrote to get away from myself. I had a few friends who were like my pillars and thanks to them, I never slept hungry. I had a specific friend in campus who was my classmate and she was like a sister to me. These are the friends who somehow made me stay sane. There are other friends who always came through for me when I thought I should give up, friends who talked to me and made sure I was full and I had what I needed. Friends who surprised me on my birthdays, bought me gifts, took me out and updated me on classes and exams.
To be honest, these are the people I always say a prayer to God for. Because they were there. And I am more lucky because they were not even family. Campus was both shit and fun for me. I acted, I sang, I traveled, I fell in love, I got my heart broken, I made friends, I lost friends, I lost baby weight and became who I am today. I even learnt how to conquer my fear of socializing.
My now is complicated but I am happy. I managed to gain a little weight and I have a few coins to spare for grilled cheese sandwiches(laughs). Life is not perfect. It will never be perfect either. I have lost lots of friends along the way. Friends I considered family. But in all, I am grateful for the new ones I gained and the ones who stuck around. Change is constant but life is not. I have gone through hell and I have hit rock bottom many times before. But I never give up. I always go for what I want. That has always been constant.
Note that I quit my job last year which was bold for me. I believed that something better was coming because I know God’s got my back and he surely does.
I have been broken many times before to the point of having to budget for 70 shillings for dinner and that was for two people; My cousin and I. We have slept hungry because we were too scared to ask for help but we both prayed for a miracle. Our miracle did not take long because God surely heard.
I have also gained friends who have become family and lost friends who were my actual family.
Nothing will ever make me stay down because I will always get back up. Well, unless it is death itself but it will also have to drag me because I will not give up easily.
That is a bit of my survival story. It is not even a quarter of everything but that is what is okay for me to share. You may be beaten, dragged to the ground and feel like you will give up. But don’t. There is a reason why you are still alive today, Get back up and fight because you can. Believe in you even when you do not want to. Apologize where you go wrong. Talk to someone especially your parents or siblings. But most importantly, pray to God. BECAUSE HE SURELY LISTENS AND HE DOES ANSWER.