Like most, I’ve encountered my fair share of obstacles in life… I experienced a ‘troubled’ childhood, in terms of having to deal with my parents’ problematic relationship.
Their divorce at age 4, led to my mother and my moving from the sunny, warm climes of the Caribbean to live in a cold and grey London, which I never really much took to.
Growing up with my maternal grandparents provided me with some sense of stability, although I always sensed tensions, beneath the surface…
My strained, almost non-existent relationship with my father (and his second wife and family), along with my mother’s disastrous second marriage, which took her to the Ivory Coast and provided me with my first taste of Africa, did little to confirm my faith and trust in human nature.
My adolescence was marked by a long and difficult period of severe depression. At 16, I decided to leave home and make a life of my own. I worked and put myself through college and university – miraculously – as the depression made it almost impossible to study or concentrate. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to receive the support of two psychologists who made a major difference in my life. I remember how comforting it was to have someone who would listen to me, without judgement…
At 22, I finally managed to achieve my dream of living and studying in Paris, which later was followed by my fulfilling my ambition of being accepted at the Sorbonne to do my Masters, and subsequent first year of the Doctorate. I went on to continue realising my dreams: living in Rome; working at the UN on rural development projects; attending the Beijing +5 Conference at UN HQ; and continuing to travel a lot, the love for which I was lucky enough to have been able to nurture and indulge since a small child.
More recently, I’ve had to face a series of major health issues. Over the past 7+ years I’ve been dealing with the reality of living with M.E./Chronic Fatigue Immune Disorder (CFID)/Fibromyalgia. Often, I’ve been unable to hold things, lift my arms, wash and shower without assistance, sleep, even write or get out of bed. I was unable to read a book or newspaper for more than 6 years.
It’s been one of the most challenging experiences I’ve had to encounter. However, interestingly, it’s made me re-focus on what’s important to me, at the most basic level: what am I doing? Where am I going? How do I truly want my life to be? Somehow – almost ironically – it’s allowed me to become stronger. Suddenly, finding myself practically no longer able-bodied, I’ve had to face one of my worst fears: losing my independence and not being able to do things on my own.
Sometimes, when we break through the fear that holds us back, we discover that what lies beneath is not quite as terrifying as we’d thought…Peeling back the layers of fear that separate us from what we desire allows us to access the courage that we all possess within. Or, to put it another way – it’s only when the pain of what we’re currently experiencing exceeds the fear of change – that we move forward, often to achieve what we’d once considered the impossible.