Have you ever wondered why people give up on life and take their own lives? I have never been able to understand it until lately, when I was faced with the stark reality that yes, everyone, no matter how strong they are, has a breaking point. But in it, I also realized that the choice to pick ourselves up and stand is ours.
I had a friend who died a few months ago. Looking back, I wondered who she could have been if she had fought a little longer. I imagined how life would have been for her loved ones if she had just held on for at least a minute.
Although I initially blamed myself for what happened to her – I thought if I had been a better friend, if I had insisted she saw a therapist, if I had paid more attention to the little things she left unsaid, maybe she would have been here right now – but I finally figured that there was nothing I could have done to prevent what had happened.
As much as I would have loved to take her pain away, there was no way I could have, for the pain she carried was too deep and before she would let anyone in, the wound had festered way beyond healing, given the time of her demise.
My friend Tolulope had been raped by her uncle when she was younger. She was eight years old at the time. The sexual assault went on for two years. When she finally decided to speak up about it, she was called a liar and a witch.
The very first time I came in contact with her, I could tell she’s been hurt. Behind those beautiful smile laid some unimaginable pain and no, she wasn’t keen on letting alone in. After a few months of just trying hard to break the walls, she finally opened up to me that she’s been bruised, battered and yes, afflicted. Afflicted with the thoughts of suicide because as she put it, there was no reason to go on.
Through the pain of losing her innocence and a chunk of her life, she did manage to get on with her life. She went to the university, met some remarkable people and made some progress in becoming a normal human. But that didn’t last.
As at the time we met, she had relocated to my city, in pursuit of a better life and she seemed to be doing fine, but the feeling of unworthiness and shame will not leave her be. Or should I say, she couldn’t let go of those feelings. She tried and heavens know that she did. She just couldn’t let go. And because of this, she made wrong choices. Because she felt unworthy, she didn’t expect something good to happen to her and when life smiled on her, she quickly found a way to piss it off.
As at the time of her demise, she was in an abusive relationship. She wouldn’t leave and when she did, each time the guy came around, she found a way to take him back. As the time she died, she was in the hospital, getting treatment for severe depression which she couldn’t get out of.
Seeing her laid on her hospital bed, I search for a friend who was once filled with life, who would smile with the assurance that everything would be alright and you would believe her. I realized then that although she gave assurances, she didn’t seem to believe in them.
What exactly am I trying to say? Life seems so deft and dealing us some gut-wrenching blows and the pains so hard we find it particularly hard to get back up. But the truth is, we have a choice to decide who we give the mastery over own destinies. Are we going to allow fate to turn around like the Greek gods or are going to do something about it and take some control over our lives and future?
For me, choosing to focus on the great possibilities that lie ahead of us and deciding to beat life at its own game seem like a better choice than to just choose to curl up in balls and gave up. From where I am standing, not giving up seems much prettier decision than being life’s punching bag.
But how do we really move on when something bad has happened to us? Personally, I seek and find strength in God through Jesus Christ. My relationship with God centers me. I also seek for support from my family and friends.
Look, I have had a big share of life’s disappointments and pain and I am sure you have too. But each time those happen, I tell myself that I won’t give up because I choose to focus on the glimmer of a brighter future I see everyday and I pursue that beautiful life that lies ahead of me, vigorously.
I am not going to lie and say it is a smooth journey, because in reality, picking yourself back up is one of the most difficult thing to do. But I will urge you, as the Chinese proverb, “do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.”
I hope you will find the strength to get back up!
Leave me a post if you have something to share or you need help.