This year, we have asked out students to write their stories. We are going to periodically post them for you to hear from them in their own voice. They want to be heard! For some, we have changed their names to offer them some degree of anonymity. Thus, we have noted these stories with an asterisk (*). For others, they do not mind you knowing who they are and the struggles they have endured in becoming who God has ordained them to be. You will hear from students in various phases of our program. The grade levels are evident in their writing, but we did not want to take away from the authenticity of them explaining themselves in their own words. This is Thandie’s story*.
This is the story of a little girl who was devastated by her parents’ separation. She was raised by a drinking single parent, her mother, and a father who was almost never there for her. That’s my life.
When I was a teenager everything in my life turned from bad to worse. During my second year at Wittedrift High School while I was doing grade11, I started to do things I never thought I would do. I didn’t realize that I was digging my own grave.
Nothing was right in my life. I left my best friends because we started fighting. As with every group of friends one of us had to be the leader, and I was tired of living in her shadow. Two new girls came to our school that year and they had no friends at all. I was more than willing to join them because they had the money and popularity that I longed for. They had everything I ever wished for and that was more than enough to draw my attention. I had rich friends now and that was all that mattered. They paid for the cigarettes and alcohol, and I was more than happy. It was us against the world.
While the fun increased, my grades started dropping. I didn’t care. I was having a great time! We were smoking in the school’s bathroom and drinking at school functions. We had friends with cars who took us anywhere for free. Everything was too good to be true. We were living the good life.
That was my own way of forgetting about everything that happened in my life –My suicide attempt, the separation of my parents, the men in my mother’s life and all the violence that came with them. Everything was my fault. I thought committing suicide would be better for everyone. I thought that it wouldn’t make a difference if I was gone because no one noticed me anyway. No one could see the pain that I was feeling. I just had to take the blame. Wasn’t I a mistake, anyway? No one had time for me and I just had to do it. Everyone was too busy with their own broken lives to notice that mine was also reaching a breaking point.
After all that drama in my life, I dealt with more drama. Things were now way more than worse. In my matric year I was kicked out of the Learning Center because of changing the subjects that they believed I needed. I was furious and sad at the same time. I was their responsibility; at least, that was what I thought. It was now time for my parents to do their job. They had to pay my school fees on their own. My mother could afford my school fees if only she drank less and wasn’t in debt. But, she wouldn’t. What else could go wrong in my life? Why was I being punished? I started asking myself questions that I couldn’t answer. I needed answers.
One day I decided to make a change in my life. A good change. A spiritual change. I felt a need for God. I just had to turn to him for comfort and answers. I needed to be uplifted; so that, I could live a better life. It was time for a new life. I’ve been through so much, but it was time to put all that behind me. It was time to move on, and with the help of the Lord I could learn to forgive and forget. I had to break the cycle. As time went on my mindset changed. I grew mentally and spiritually. I learned how to make the right choices so that we don’t have to be caught up with consequences. My self-image was once broken but I had a choice. I could either rebuild it or keep it broken. With the help of the Lord and my spiritual leaders, I chose to rebuild it. My life is still not perfect, but I have hope that it will only grow from here.