Everything was here – my whole world only at the touch of my fingertips and I could see it all just by roaming around a single building. The structure echoes of laughter no more present, bringing forth desolate emotions in which compel me to walk onward. I am pushed even further to reveal the silver lining I so desperately search for. One foot after the other, I stroll gracefully around the rust covered tin walls, reaching out to caress the dilapidated material that projects forlorn memories into my mind. A faint, sorrowful smile creeps upon my face as I close my eyes to take in the crisp summer air, complete with a fragrance of damp earth and wood smoke from evening fires, and the distant sound of cicadas resounding in my ears. Sunlight streams through the window and envelops me into a warmth I had felt the absence of for years, constantly leaving me craving for the feeling to consume me once again. Tilting my head upwards I get lost in sun beams and the sensation of my heart against my chest, pounding and screaming for me to recall all that I have accomplished. There is a bitter taste in my mouth as I take a deep breath to expel the tension building up in my lungs and suffocating me.
I have defied the expectations of my family who tell me to give up on my dreams. I have disregarded the community’s loathing around me, and displayed to the world that I’m capable of becoming a professional ballet dancer – writing me down in history as the girl who sprung high against the odds… I am the dream, leaping and wide; and no one has the power to stop me: not even myself nor the dreadful laughter in my face and the persistent insults plaguing my mind. Better yet, there is still one aspect that urges me to be thankful through all the disputes.
“You’re a failure. You’ll never make it. You aren’t good enough…”
I have as much of a chance as anyone else!
“You live in poverty, and yet you expect to rise above us. Give it up already!”
No. Absolutely not. Nairobi, Kenya is my home, but that in no way will affect my dreams. It’s a beautiful city, full of hope and ambitions waiting to be shared by everyone within it, including those who choose to hide it. They can’t tell me money is an issue anymore for I will not listen. The words they use to wound me only drive me further in wanting to prove them wrong; I long to defy their conventions and attitudes of contempt and to become the person they never thought possible. I do not become weaker… I rise.
Did you want to see me broken? You can’t. I am only pushed with the inclination to become stronger and more powerful than ever before. The actions they have taken upon me only serve to shape my own beliefs, and I burn to prove them so completely wrong.
You will not break me.
They can stab me with words, pierce me with hatred in their eyes or shatter me with their detestation. They can weaken me, lower my worthiness or throw me away like dirty waste…
I will not succumb to the way in which I am treated.
I am more than what they believe me to be, and I am more than just a hopeless dreamer. In times when I feel myself slowly descent into the dark void of abuse, I slap myself back to reality. If I let them know their spur of words have affected me, they will know they have won: and I will not let them win.
If I believe myself to be inadequate then I will become inadequate. Once I lose the passion I’ve grown to depend on I cannot receive it back: I will only be thrown under further scruples, for my weaknesses will have been displayed, and redeeming myself will be past the point of no return… In the end, however, this idea has no matter.
For I will always continue to rise.
Let them watch as I’ve got diamonds in my heart and gold in my soul. I’m not a failure – I’m stronger than anyone who has tried to come in my way. I will always put myself first in times of hardship as they all have not proven their worthiness to be in my life and support me.
Words of hatred are effortlessly thrown onto others, but what takes the most courage is to disobey your family and community in turn for your own happiness. I have done just that. They all have made me who I am now and shaped my belief in myself when they had pushed me to forfeit my dreams.
For that, this is the only reason I can be thankful.