I noticed that she was incessantly moody and withdrawn from other people. I thought she was quiet and shy, until by inquisitiveness, I decided to go close in order to find out why she was always drawn away from other people.
We had a discussion on the phone; it was a long conversation; long because, I am a man of too many questions. I like to know, and sometimes, my best way of knowing is to probe. Maybe, my years of being a market researcher have gotten hold of me, so, I don’t leave issues on peripheral levels, until I have reached the bottom of it.
As she dug into her history, she mourned and sobbed over years of total neglect, endless ages of abuse, and all the mental tortures she’s been through. She recalled how she was thrown from the first floor, down the stairs of the apartment where she lived with an uncle that dubiously diminished her self esteem until it went below zero level.
As she spoke, she couldn’t help, but cry. All I could do was console a woman whose future was ripped into pieces by those that should have been parent figures to her. Today, she struggles to relate. Today, she gets irritated by the presence of people even if they mean no harm. Today, she fights her past, not with courage, but with the weakness of a drained woman. Such is the story of the woman I would prefer to keep anonymous.
Reading the story of Tyler Perry reinvigorated my inner beliefs that a man may have gone through the tunnel of Shades and Hades, but if he can tell his story, it can make a glory.
One day, while watching an episode of Oprah Winfrey show, one of the guests talked about, how your bitter beginnings can help you make a hit in life. Tyler took advantage of that singular information, and after years of enduring the hardship encountered by every purposeful visionary, today, he is a household name.
As a man with a very painful beginning, I know how telling my story in a few places has helped inspire certain people, so I never cease to, when I have the opportunity to.
To the young woman above, I said, ‘Your life is full of emotional entertainment, but my only concern is that you don’t have the emotional strength to cash-in on what you have. It may have been tough, but those with dented background are privileged because their history can become their glory if they know how to document it, and use it. You need to leverage your pains, so that it won’t be in vain’.
As I wrote my latest book, BE AN ICON, I began to search for success stories of African descents. It was extremely hard to get, because apart from few histories that have been written, mainly by those who aren’t Africans, it hasn’t become a culture for individuals to document their stories. For this reason, our motivational quotes always reference people of American or European origins since we didn’t take the time to write down our rich history of rhetoric, poetry and other literary innovative creativities.
Even in our dispensation, many have not yet realised the importance of documenting their pasts. They sweep history under the carpets, and expect destiny to unfold riches for their respect. It doesn’t happen that way!
To inspire those who are, you must, without bias, say, what was, so that those who live will draw strength and purpose from your pains and gains. Don’t throw away your history; tell it no matter how bitter it may be. In telling it, you save those that are downtrodden. When you say it, you become a guiding light to those stuck in the darkness of confusion. The best way to pull people out of doldrums is to say how you got out when you were there. So, don’t be ashamed of where you came out from. It was given to you to help someone that is there. Your success can begin with your story; don’t hide it.
Today, Tyler Perry is a multi-millionaire and multiple award winner, including winning academy award, all because he decided to tell his story. Your history can make a hit if you, with purpose realise that it is not all about pain; there is also gain in it. Don’t be ignorant; your story can bring you glory!