The following intimate stories of surviving rejection, Covid-19, and sexual abuse were penned by women who are part of the sisterhood of the ‘Love Yourself Campaign’. They are everyday women who have been dealt with extraordinary challenges – things that could have broken them, but instead made them take their power back and confidently stepping out into the light.
These women decided to leave it all behind and to embrace the new version of themselves through forgiveness, hope and peace.
Survivor of rejection
From a very young age, I was rejected. I was left on the doorstep of my father’s house by my mother at one month. The rejection started there. Growing up was not easy because I had to move from one family member to another.
I never wanted to be alone; it scared the hell out of me; being around people comforted me – it made me feel a sense of belonging somewhere.
I would do anything to keep people around me – be it friends or boyfriends – but deep down, I was sad and lonely.
I started looking for love in the wrong places because I didn’t know the meaning of love.
I did things that I’m not proud of because I was scared of rejection.
I’ve been rejected by those I needed the most; I’ve been lied to by those I loved, and I felt alone when I couldn’t afford to be; I cried every day.
At the end of the day, I had to learn to be my own best friend because there’s going to be days where no one is going to be there for me but myself. After my divorce, I’ve learned to be alone and to deal with rejection.
What encouraged me was the story of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, who was also rejected by people. But that didn’t stop Him from His purpose. I started to love and forgive myself for being so hard on me. For not loving me enough and for all the pains I had to go through.
I had to stop blaming myself and remove resentment; I had to put an end to it – all the fears I had. I expected the ‘sorry’ that was never asked for; I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression because of rejection.
I had to tell myself that enough is enough; I’m putting an end to this anxiety of pulling me and my worth. I had to encourage myself every day not to give up on myself. I embraced me; I understand my purpose and the reasons why I had to go through all this. I knew who I was; today, I smile and make myself happy because I let go of rejection.
I started to believe that happiness starts with myself first before I can share and make others happy. There is nothing wrong with me; I will never allow your previous past to determine my current situation.
My past made me stronger; I’m not a weak person. I’ve survived something that was made to break me. I’m proud of my survival’ it’s because of that pain that I am who I am.
“Every day, I wake up knowing that God gives me another opportunity to do better than yesterday.”
Priscilla, the Namibian “Dessert Queen”
Survivor of life
From bullying to eating disorders, depression, divorce and surviving Covid-19, it was a roller coaster. But instead of lying down and sulking, instead of giving up and giving in, I chose to get up and rise!
Not because I’m strong, but because I’m emotionally intelligent to understand that no matter what life throws at me, I still have a choice. A chose to be positive, and to spread the universal message of self-love and acceptance. I chose to pick myself up and dust myself off each time I am faced with the problems of today.
Surviving the scare of Covid-19 was an eye-opener. Before I got sick, I lived in fear – now, we all know the elders use to say ‘What you fear the most will overtake you’, so when I got sick, I thought I was done. I wanted to give up, especially when my taste disappeared and I was too sick to talk – let alone sing.
It broke my heart and spirit, and I realised we take so many things for granted and overlook the gifts we have – the miracle of waking up each day.
It gave me a sense of power to feed myself positivity each day. Even though there were tough days, days I could not clean up or catch my breath, days when all I could eat was maize porridge, the rest of the time I could only live from watermelons.
I got sick last year December, so my go-to food was watermelons; it helped to eat lemon slices because I felt so nauseated and weak most of the time.
No one told me my period cycle would be impacted – that it is now heavier. No one told me of the emotional scar that each time I get a certain smell, it scares me because it reminds me of those dark days. No one told me I will become a chosen introvert. We learn.
However, I also found strength in me that I didn’t know to exist. I’m grateful that God had mercy on me and all I want to do now is impact others positively.
Even if you’re at home, take time for yourself to recuperate and survive. Every day, tell yourself you amount to so much and you matter – your opinion matters, you are enough and you belong.
Tell yourself you are successful, beautiful and kind, wealthy – and you are in balance with your desires and needs.
It takes just a little bit of motivation each day to impact your life becoming a good habit and later a lifestyle.
Love yourself through the ups and downs; cherish who you are – you are enough!
Survivor of sexual abuse
Where do I start? Growing up in an unfortunate home, my dad was bored when I was 3 years old, which meant the only income was from the government.
I started living with family members, seeking a better life – and just there, I was sexually abused by the age of six. I kept it to myself.
At the age of nine, I was sexually abused again; living with this secret until last year October. I started drinking a lot. One night, end of January, while my husband and daughter were asleep, I tried to commit suicide.
I first started cutting myself – and weird enough, it felt good.
After my suicide attempt, I ended up in hospital for three days. I was transferred to a mental hospital for two weeks, where I was diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder and severe anxiety.
Being on my recovery journey, I just want to help people; if it is only one person who could speak out. Keeping my abuse to myself almost destroyed my life.
We hope these stories impact other women to understand that they aren’t alone. Together we will rise.