I wrote this as my leadership story.. unedited… unfiltered

* * — action
~ ~ — Flashback
“” — Speech

“A leadership story? really? ” *bangs desk* “Really Hellen? “I said to myself frustrated . “My leadership story is not a story at all, it’s a story of a young techie in Africa.” I sit there frowning, *sigh* “Not much of story huh?” “How would someone be interested in a guy like me! ME!?” I paused, “ Who am I? who shaped me?” a smirk releases itself on my face as I calm down, lying back on my chair “Who am I? Am I, the boy who got threatened by my mother?” I lie back in my chair, thinking of my past, ~” Abdul! If you don’t pull up your socks I will send you to boarding school where you will sit in dimly lit rooms with a candle, eat stiff porridge with cockroaches!” ~ I thought as I smirked. “She went ham with those stories.” ~” You will sleep on a bed made of wire and metal! ”~ I just sat there in my cold room , Darth Vader jammies and a cup of tea. My roommate asleep, the night so quiet that a pin drop would be too loud. *Sigh* “When I think about it, my life wasn’t that blissful at all”. ~ “Let me go check on mom, she seems to be quiet for a while” as I jumped off my bed and walked towards the door, I heard my dad. I didn’t know he was home. I walk in and as soon as I walk through. “Why aren’t you studying?” , mom as usual starting with this bullshit again. “How about you let me take control of my own education for once?” as I said this, I regretted it immediately as I felt the sting of my dad’s belt on my back. Once, twice, thrice, four? I lost count, it became too painful to count. I argued over the pain, the shouts, the screaming; my thoughts were an ever sprawling mix and match of violence and screams.. I lost and won at the same time, leaving the room with some control. I was in control of my education and despite the blood leaving my skin, it felt good ~ “Do I really regret that? Or was it worth it in the end, I can remember it till this day.” ~Walking into the room, just me and the notice board as I scan for my IGCSE results, feeling nauseated, sweaty and knowing in my head “If I fucked up, I am dead.” It’s been 3 weeks since I was awarded my “medals of honor” which made it all the more satisfying when I could finally open my phone and send a message with the best grades I had ever received in my life. Cementing my control over my education and my maturity ~ “it felt good.”

“When you think about it, I am privileged” I proceed to look around the room, to all my tech and my knowledge. “How does it feel to be anyone?” , “Boy, was I happy when I got here.” A beautiful island where I met very welcoming people and I met a beautiful girl who I understood, surprisingly enough someone I knew for 8 years who hid her depression under a beautiful smile and a smell of roses and peaches. I smiled as the thought crossed my head.

A girl who understood me better than others and helped me achieve self-confidence in who I am as a person. It was then that I realized that I am not alone, I am not the only person who breaks down in the middle of the night; has moments of crippling anxiety. Moments where all I want or need is a hug or to simply lock myself in a crippling dark silent box where I can annoyingly hear the world’s footsteps outside my door trying to attract me into the “light”. This crippling anxiety, I am a part of this community, a community of people who wear masks, masks that are colorfully painted and decorated to other people in this masquerade party that we call life. A party where you can be shunned by others for not simply being like them. It is brutal how quickly you can see a human turn from a friend to a nobody and leave you like dust; swept up into the darkness that is the human subconscious. It leads to a world of securities beyond comprehension.

This was my last thought before it happened again, the whole room dimmed, my skin got cold, my heart beat faster, my tongue was caught and I was scared, scared to speak, breath , I proceed to check my face if it’s a stroke , if I am dying . Fear grabs me and I lie in the corner, breathing like I was taught and slowly but surely it went away. Panic attacks another medal I developed with my whole life of stress and I consider myself very lucky. I thought to myself as I stood back up, shaking, back to my mug and seat. “How bad does someone else have it? Am I not lucky with my privilege to be able to even have this mug, to not have that attack in the cold night?” “What about the girl who is depressed or anxious and does not know. Suffering life one second at a time, consistently questioning herself and her mindset.” *sips tea*,” The mother who slaps her son from a bipolar breakdown but thinks it’s her fault, her anger until eventually her child is taken from her … or she takes herself from her child… “ I start typing on Facebook, “Elizabeth”. “I am so lucky that, I am not describing Elizabeth’s funeral right now, or her mine .”

You see, anywhere in the world, therapy is expensive, it costs sometimes 75$ a session which is weeks of food and I had to go through multiple sessions to the one that saved my life . Only to discover it was my friends, who I surrounded myself with ,you see you have people like Elizabeth who don’t have that , who don’t have a way to have people to surround and support their emotions and way of thinking and that leads to us discouraging people for opening up so they end up marinating in the torment. Even more so men , shunning us for crying saying “we need to be like men.” Bullshit! We are human from the janitor , to the security guard to your caterers , we are human. It’s sad that even though the human race is probably at its peak, but there have never been less humanity. Show recognition , show love , show passion; Show Africa a better place.