New day, new opportunity. New Monday, new Monday story.
This week’s Monday syndrome fighter is another one of my classmates. Someone who has a very special place in my heart, because he’s taught me so much without even being aware of it. With just being him. His infinite positive energy is an incredible energy source for everyone around him. His name is Becks, and he’s the second male storyteller in this series (yay!).
His stories are so awesome we’ll all get the chance to hang out with him next Monday as well, since I really had to share everything he said without cropping anything out. Enjoy!
”Now, there are points in my life where I was high and the points I was low. It happens every day. Like every single day. The small things. For example, I turn on turn on my computer and there’s not Internet. There are always highs and lows; it all depends on how you deal with them.
I come from a typical family where there’s a man and there’s THE MAN (laughs). What I mean is in order to be a man, you can have no emotions, you have to cover up your weaknesses, be strong, lead the family and all that stuff. This is the type of a society I grew up in. Part of this being a man, and this is going to come out really offensive, was having a girlfriend who is older than you. I don’t know why, it’s really stupid, but that’s just how it was. And it was so important! Can you imagine how something so useless and so pointless was so important that without it you felt left out?
I thought differently. I didn’t think being with a girl who is older than you defines you as a man. This was me back at the age of 15-16. And because of this I even got mobbed by my friends. In addition I’m pretty short, so I had a double problem. ’’You’re short and you don’t agree with us.’’ This was really stressful for me. So, this was my lowest simply because I felt rejected by the society. Both my dad and my brother are also really tall and huge, so I was the small and fragile-ish kid of the family. The one that always stood out. Not only in size, but other things as well. For example, I didn’t really see the need to go to church on Sundays. So, yeah..
In addition my family was having economic problems as well. So, the advantages I used to have, like taking a taxi. Or going to school by bus. Or having an allowance. Or going to field trips. They were all gone. I had to start working. And walking to school. And I couldn’t go to field trips. I would wait for my friends to come back and then ask them a ton of questions so that I could learn about the place.
I lost a couple of friends at the time. I felt alienated because I wasn’t man enough. We were having economic struggles. AND my parents were in all this divorce situation. So, for a boy of my age, this was a hard period. I felt as if the whole weight of the family is on my shoulders.
Then two things happened.
One was me spending more and more time with my mum after my parents had separated their ways, listening her cry for hours, trying to give her that sense of support even though I didn’t know what she was talking about. But I was there for her.
The other one occurred a year later, when I was 17. A friend of mine introduced me to this organizations started by this lady, whose aim is to bring different people together. Christians, Muslims, atheists, whatever. The aim is to show how no matter what the differences are, there is still a lot of what’s in common. The humanity. The love. And this was sort of an escape. Because I knew that I wouldn’t be judged there.
We had meetings where we would talk about random stuff and it was really therapeutic. Because you felt good about yourself. I even went to Italy on an international program that lasted for three months. I represented Cameroon there. And it was really nice. I met people who were similar to me even though they came from different parts of the world. Our lives were really similar. I felt like l wasn’t alone. I felt free.
After the program had finished and we all had to go back home, I decided I didn’t want to stay in Cameroon anymore. I felt suppressed. I wanted to leave. I was staying at my aunt’s in South Africa when I received a call from the same organization for another meeting, this time it was a Pan-African Congress. Again there were so many different people from different African countries.
Then, I got a scholarship offer to learn French in France. Of course, I took it. And I’m lucky I did! Because this was the moment in my life where I started feeling free. A point in which I found this certain amount of self-confidence and I didn’t feel oppressed by all the things that have already happened. Things back at home. It was a point where I told myself ‘’Screw what the society says. I’m going to do me. I’m going to do whatever it is that I want.’’ And that is when my confidence started going up. I was able to talk to people much more freely. I was able to actually love people and be loved. I started making friends. My mind got this whole new perspective on the world around me.
This was definitely a point where I started being myself. And being confident about it.
I guess I had to see my family in that vulnerable situation in order for me to be able to build myself up. And to realize that life is not a smooth path filled with pedals of roses.”
If you have a story you’d like to motivate others with, feel free to e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.