Ever since I could remember, I’ve always challenged the status quo. I remember my father looking at me in frustration and telling me that I was the most difficult child he ever had to raise – mind you there were 9 of us and 5 were boys! I smugly considered that to be a compliment.

My journey thus far has been long, often quite painful and convoluted, and yet never dull. Growing up was tough, not in the conventional sense of never having enough food to eat or lacking shelter. Rather, it was in knowing that I viewed things differently and my siblings could not relate to it, so they sought to beat it out of me. The slaps and kicks I received for daring to speak my mind, for having the temerity to not only have a mind, but attempting to even use it. So I rebelled! If they said yes, I just had to think no (even if not outrightly say it).

Looking back, I know this was the foundation for me choosing a career in development. I channeled my energy into school, and as soon as that was done, I moved to another city. And it was here that I met people who didn’t pay lip service into encouraging dialogue, but actually worked the talk! At last I was able to speak my thoughts candidly, I met people who were unafraidly controversial and relished it and it was like coming home.

Since then I’ve come to realize that my family was just a microcosm of society in that they couldn’t understand and appreciate difference. Of course it’s easy to hail icons like Nelson Mandela, Ken Saro Wiwa or Steve Biko in their fight for change, but very few realize that such icons are rarely born that way, a lot of them are only able to achieve greatness based on the encouragement and support they get. Soon living in a different city wasn’t enough and I moved to a different continent, although to be honest, it wasn’t all in a bid to get as far away as possible.

That injustice prevails in whatever form it chooses to manifest itself is a fact that we are all too aware of, and often become numb too. After all there are only so many newspaper articles you can get worked up about, and most likely forget as soon as your morning coffee is done. In my work, I have come to realize that unless you tell your story and tell it well, very few can relate to the change you seek to bring about. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; well a well-written story is worth tomes of discourse!

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision.

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Comments

I really enjoyed reading your reflection.

I agree with your point that we are not born icons, but that we can become great leaders if we have substantial support and encouragement.

I also like the point where you argue, "I have come to realize that unless you tell your story and tell it well, very few can relate to the change you seek to bring about."

Have you been writing for long (as in a journal, blog) or did you just start?

Looking forward to reading your future reflections!

Hi Claudia,

Thank you for the kind comments! I'm not sure if I should say that I've been writing long. At the beginning of the year, I decided to try writing more. Can't say I've made much progress on this though, I have a blog which I haven't posted anything yet! But we have 3 months to the end of the year, so fingers crossed...

Again thanks, and I look forward to reading from you as well.

Hi Globewalka,

Yours is the story of a born leader. It is inspiring to read about your awareness from a young age that you were different, and your determination to celebrate your uniqueness. Despite the difficulties you've faced, your voice is positive and hopeful. You are a courageous person and a good writer. Thank you for sharing your personal story!

All the best,

Amy

Globelwalka, Allow me to introduce myself, I am one of the voices of the future listeners. I must say I enjoyed reading your post and found your story very engrossing. You write very well, in a clear and colorful manner with just the right amount of detail. Your ending is very salient. Good writing is like a picture - I wholeheartedly agree. I look forward to reading more of your submissions and learning about your work as an activist. Good job! Terri

Hello, Globewalka, I liked your story very much, and you should feel completely confident to start writing that blog of yours! :) I enjoyed how your sense of humor shined through a serious topic.

I would have enjoyed reading a bit more about your work in development and more details about your vision for your work.

I agree with you completely that it's hard to feel different from your family and they are generally a microcosm of the larger society. That's why I'm glad you found World Pulse and other women who have "felt different" their entire lives and also considered it a compliment when their parents told them that they too were "difficult."

Good work! :) Judy

Hello Judy,

Yes, reading all the kind comments on my post, I can't but feel maybe starting my blog isn't such a mad idea after all. I look forward to writing more in this forum and hopefully meeting more great people. A limit of 500 words doesn't really give you much space to work with, but I will try to share more about my work, space and opportunity permitting.

So thank you very much for your kind comments and the useful feedback.