Standing in my Light,Two Years On

 

The past years two have been a very challenging. In 2015 my way of life changed. At that time I described it as it catastrophic event. I had a stroke and nothing has ever been in the same. I was unprepared and experienced a gamut of emotions ranging from shock, fear, and sadness. I had gone from being totally independent person to someone call couldn’t do anything. However I was never in denial. I realised that things had changed and  I quickly went into fight mode. When faced  with danger I’ve always walked away standard of stayed to fight. This time I was fighting for my life. I was determined to recover. I had no idea how long it will take or how I would do it I just knew I had to.

It’s been a long journey, learning to speak, walk and do everything again. In addition to making lifestyle changes I had to do adjust to peoples attitudes. I realised that I wasn’t only fighting for my life, I was fighting for my existence. The old me was no more and I couldn’t recognise myself. I felt myself fading away into nothing. So I had to find myself and create a new reality that was still authentic and awesome. But first I had to grieve and I had lost a lot. Being ill was one thing but in the process life also dealt me it’s own blows and I had further losses. Yes I had to make changes some I was expecting and went on with determination. At this point I must say I had a wonderful support network. Friends and family were truly amazing. Five months in hospital and I was never lonely, every day had a string of visitors some travelled far to come and see me. Some within England, and others far as Europe, Africa and America. Eventually I had to go home and deal with what was the new reality. I set about adapting to my new life. I had long had a disability that wasn’t visible and never described myself as disabled but this time it couldn’t be ignored. Although I had no obvious physical impairments things weren’t normal. People changed, some were expected. People are much more helpful and considerate. Mostly willing to help. As time passed other realities is set in. Before then I had experienced racial and gender discrimination maybe a little bit of ageism. Now I was an unmarried childless woman with a disability. I wasn’t prepared for that. I soon realised that people love a good news story. I wasn’t fun to be around any more. It wasn’t cool to be friends with me any more.

Most people celebrate a woman when she gets married or gives birth but not when she’s a survivor. So the joy went to those that did, rightfully so. On the other hand they got to thank God for my life. Unfortunately for me, respect and recognition also did. In many ways I began to feel invisible. But I’m no fly on the wall. I still mattered to a lot of people. I’m still awesome and many people cared about what happened to me. Not only did I I still get invitations and they even made it possible for me to be present. So I found out who my true friends were and discovered those truly loyal. I learnt unconditional love was something people bandied about without really knowing what it meant.

I created a new world in which I was Queen and the centre of my universe. So I embraced all my imperfections. I hurt a lot but I’ve learned to let it all go. Many things are just vanity and ego.

Other people’s opinions ceased to matter. The wonderful things about me hadn’t change when I feel ill, I had only lost some physical capabilities. Although I became weaker in some regards  I grew stronger in so many ways that I never thought possible. The discovery was both exciting and frightening. I have so much to be thankful and grateful for. For a while I grieved things that I had lost and in many ways the things that I‘ll probably grieve for a long time yet. At the same time I’m celebrating new capabilities and discovering new talents and gifts. Through it all and I gained a new confidence and I know now but I that no matter what the whole world throws at me I’ll be okay.

The greatest gift I was given in all of this was learning to stand in my light and knowing what confidence really is. Nefertiti is truly reborn.

©Khadi Mansaray

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Author: Khadijatu Mansaray

Entrepreneur, Publisher, Activist.Born and raised in Sierra Leone.Formerly an accountant is passionate about Africa, Literature and social justice.

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