3 years ago, there was no sign of my current situation... I was in the 6th grade, and one day my mother told me that "Presidential schools are opening in all regions of Uzbekistan." But I didn't even pay attention to what my mother said, because after hearing her description of the school, I thought that for me it was a dream as far away as the Earth is from the Sun. I was only thinking of having fun with girls. As for my studies, I was good at mathematics because I studied at a specialized school, and I used to participate in Olympiads. But I didn't have a specific goal. I didn't even think a little bit about why I should study and what kind of profession I would get. I lived only for today and did not think about my future at all. Seeing my situation, my mum started to force me to study and taught me English, because she is an English teacher, and she took me to mathematics course. But I still didn't give up having fun, I had no desire to study at all. So I spent another year without studying... For the first time, "Presidential schools" were opened in a total of 4 regions. One day I saw a video on YouTube about the conditions there, and I really wanted to study there. I set a goal for myself and started studying for the first time. I looked around… I saw my peers already making their moves to get in there, and I started studying too, even though it was late. I completed the tasks given in the class on time, in fact, I can't say that I studied very hard. But I knew that my mother believed in me very much and wanted me to study there more than myself. So, 2 years have passed... As the days of the exams approached, my fear increased... All my relatives and friends were also waiting for my results, and I was even more excited when I thought about it. And that day came. My mother took me to the exam herself, and before going in, she said something that I still can't forget: "We believe in you, Durdona, you will definitely do it." Some kind of light came into me and I worked out the first round of exams. More than 1,000 students applied for admission to the school, and only 24 were selected. In the first round, 480 students were passed, and I was among them... I felt that the next exam would be stronger than this one. August 16, 2021. All the students, confident in their knowledge, came to the 2nd stage exams. This time also, my mother gave me motivation before entering the exam. Using all my knowledge, I solved the test, and when I came out, my mother asked "How was the exam?" and I said, "I will get more than 80 points". My mother used to say a lot that an educated people can predict how many points they will get if they take a test (by the way I got 81.1 out of 100). I was eagerly waiting for the announcement of the results. Finally, that day came. It was past 8 o'clock in the evening, and I was watching a video on YouTube, and I saw the message "results are out" on Telegram, and as soon as I saw it, my heart was filled with excitement and I began to tremble. My mother was also in front of me, but I went in without telling her and I saw that my ID was in the 3rd place😍... I didn't even realize how I shouted. At first, my mother was incredulous and asked again and again, "Is that really your ID?" and suddenly I started to cry, not tears of pain, but tears of happiness. I cried because I was happy to hear that I passed the exam that I had spent 2 years preparing for. After 2 months, I started studying at my new school. It was very difficult at first because my school was far from where I lived and I only went home once a week, which was very difficult for a little girl who had never been away from home. For the first time in my life, I spoke with foreign people. When I entered this school, I saw that there are many students who are stronger than me, and I realized that I should study harder. Before passing the exam, a lot of people believed in me, but now it seems to be 10 times more, because this school is different from other schools and there are only 14 of them in the whole Republic. What I learned from this experience in my life is that “nothing is impossible”, even if it is farther from you than the distance from the Earth to the Sun! Just believe that you can do it!
And there they were in Barcelona, looking at the world-famous cathedral. The photographer told them not to look at the camera, but there was no need. The majestic building was mesmerising and it was impossible to look away. But the guests forgot about the architecture and were staring at them. And what about them? They were having a wedding. Just like in his fantasy, just like in her romantic dreams. They said, "I do" and exchanged rings. He stood behind her and the wind blew her hair into his face. She could feel his warm breath and they both felt good. It was the culmination - there were no two parts, just one whole. Incredible emotions from a rich wedding and a woman he could only dream of recently - for his ego and the sentimental part that was ecstatic for the guests and the woman he loved. There were family, friends and prominent industry professionals. It was a victory for him. He couldn't contain his emotions - his cold soul was melted by the great success. His voice trembled as he spoke and a tear of joy dropped from his eye. "I am incredibly grateful to everyone here today for supporting both of us before we met," he hugged his lover tightly, “and after. You are an incredible people. This success is yours too! To all those who told me it was impossible, but continued to support me – you were with me in your hearts, even when my head was against it. I would like to say a special thank you! My love, I'm still in awe of how things have turned out, so I thank the universe for every second of it. We have come a long way but we are here today. All of us together. This is a new phase of life, but it's definitely better than the last one! Salut mi familia!” And now what? I don't know - he went to talk to his best friend. Suddenly A realised that he had been chasing something all his life. It didn't matter if it was material or not, but it was a chase of passion. But why think about lost opportunities when everything turned out in a way he could not even imagine? - Do you remember...? –B asked softly as if addressing the wind, not A. - Yes..., – A breathed out a little sadly. - What's next? - I hope this is the beginning. - New York? – B looked seriously at his interlocutor. - New York... The wind blew strongly, bringing with it the scent of September. They were lost in their memories – looked thoughtfully into the distance and became nostalgic. There was a lot to remember. Those distant, carefree days, 15 years ago, when they were just making a name for themselves, trying to prove themselves in school tournaments and leaving it late – exhausted but happy after such events. And when go outside, nature heals. On a warm sunny day and the crisp September air was filled with the scent of their friend's perfume. The trees, dressed in colourful garments, seemed to absorb the sun's energy, creating a sense of harmonious unity in nature. Birds were singing, some flying south. They quietly contemplated this beauty and gradually merged with nature. September was more anticipated than the New Year: the start of the school year, the end of the holidays and the shorter days encouraged us to get more involved in our work. Maybe this is the year we will be successful or victorious? With their dreams supported by their daily work, the days fly by for them. So the beauty around them goes unnoticed. If only this moment could last a long, long time... Then there was the university. Thanks to the Internet the best relationships have been established and consolidated. Not without face-to-face meetings, of course. During the periods when the pandemic was waning, it was possible to attend classes in person. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm for the educational process disappeared quite quickly, but the fact of going to university was quite pleasant. Most of all, they looked forward to the September evenings. A walk after classes on a clear day – people are coming home from work, young people are having fun and making noise, the first lights are shining on the busy highway, where premium cars are speeding along, ignoring the speed limit. They looked up at the clear sky, only the sun is setting behind the horizon, its last rays filling the buildings with orange light. Once a missile hit the schoolyard, burning the perennial maples, destroying the patterns and damaging the building. It was rebuilt many years later. And they are still there. Just like now, in September, it happened again. But it's not the same. These trees need several decades to restore the overall atmosphere of natural grandeur. - Don't think about it too much, – said V, who was the first to recover from the wave of memories. - I have done everything for today anyway! - Come on, let's go, they're waiting for us. And so began his dream life. After the official part of the wedding, the newlyweds and their best friends went to the Costa Brava. The picturesque road along the Mediterranean coast and the Porsche – it was an unforgettable moment.
If Father's Day hits you anything like Mother's Day hits me, I would imagine your thoughts are casting images of your unmet dreams and countless regrets of the parent you tell yourself you ‘should have' been. It's so absolutely hard not to fall prey to the father of lies on days that cast through our defenses. For now, and until your last breath you can count on your family in Christ's PRAY to be 1000X's greater than Satan's prey of lies. I sit in church as I write this letter to you, my brothers in Christ, hearing …. ‘This is my story, this is my song…perfect submission…filled with His goodness, lost in His love' being sung by a multitude of people with their souls longing to receive the validation of being relevant on this Earth. Your life, brother, is unlike any book read. Why?-- Because your story book is enteral—it lives on forever. This may seem odd or overwhelming. I get that you may be thinking ‘Are you about to get weird?' but as Frankie Mazzapica says, “No, I'm about to get spiritual”. The world of heartache that consumes a father's heart right this very moment is merely the close AND start to a chapter of your story. Your story is your testimony and testimonies replace the chaotic spiraling those falling prey to lies with JOY by casting light on TRUTH that reveals hopes, dreams, blessings, and opens hardened hearts (Ezekiel 36:26-27). ‘Test' is in the word testimony. God's in this with you, brother. He's calling upon you because HE longs for YOU because on this day, your true Father wants nothing more than you to experience His love and for that experience to go past a feeling in your heart and into a transformation of your self-image/worldview. Satan has been attacking you on all fronts. He doesn't attack weak men. He doesn't attack men unless God created you to be a warrior, intended to conquer lies and capture hearts during your time THIS SIDE OF ETERNITY. Brother, your purpose, your gifts, and yes even your failures are crucial to life right here, right now! I implore you to open your heart to the possibilities God has waiting for you with or without the status of your occupation. The sword you weld is far more powerful than anything ‘the job' brings. So many men and women like you NEED YOU to speak into the lies Satan has been using to rip their lives apart. One thing I KNOW is that He is desperate for joining his son's (YOUR) life. Right now, today, and all the days thereafter. Isaiah 49:16 “I have tattooed your name on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Grasping onto things like addiction, trauma, resentment is like living on the dirty side of a hurricane longing to reach the eye of the storm for a quick reprieve only to be spit right back out on the dirty side. It's a fleeting moment similar to striving to 'feel happy'. Recovery (wellness) is living on the edge of the clean side-- knowing with one slip of a choice you risk being pulled right around to the dirty side again. While I can't promise the journey to Recovery (wellness) will come with lasting feelings of happiness it will offer the opportunity to experience living in a state of Joy. This path is exhilarating and taunting all at once. It's an adventure far more rewarding than the false sense of security of reaching the eye of the storm or of watching life chaotically spiral outside our fingertips while. When I make the decision to put my pain to purpose it usually finds me staring at the crossroads of choosing between one good choice and one God choice. Life is hard, brother, and walking out those hard times is meant to be done WITH your circle of support. The center of your circle is you and the Father. I'm so thankful when our heavenly Father appears to us through the life of my brothers. Men have an especially hard job as husbands and fathers and this sister in Christ appreciates your efforts to help the world see The Father through you.
Last night I dreamed about my foster mother. She was wearing a white sari with a blue border, and she looked sad. She passed away in 2008. It has been almost 15 years; I have not forgotten her for a moment. I lost my biological mother when I was only nine months old. My mother's stepmother, Mariyam, took me in her care and became my foster mother. Ten children were born in my foster mother's womb, but unfortunately not a single child survived. After my mother passed away, my maternal grandfather took me from my father, and then gave her the responsibility of raising me. When I was a child, I used to call her ‘mom,' later, due to everyone's continuous reminder, I began to call her "Didi". I did not see my maternal grandmother. Because she died before I was born. So, Didi was my mother and grandmother both at the same time. Didi was medium tall and an incredibly beautiful woman with a pair of deep-black eyes, and thick eyebrows. She had wavy-long hair, a pointed nose, thin lips, fair skin, and a betel leaf shaped small face. She always wore light colored cotton saris. She was used to chewing paan (betel leaves) with lime, betel nut, and tobacco leaves. Her lips were always red because of betel leaves juice. A sweet smell came out from her mouth when she spoke. She was kind and generous, and always tried to make others smile, even when she was sad. I get upset all day when I see Didi in my dreams. Didi's life story was full of sorrows. Her parents died when she was young, but she had a sister. Her sister got married at an incredibly early age, just like other Bangladeshi girls were married in 1940. Two years later, Didi's sister was killed by her husband for his second marriage. Didi's father had a huge land, but her cousins possessed all of those. As a result, Didi was mentally depressed all the time. Didi has brought me up with utmost love and care. Her love was unconditional. When I was young, I was often sick, and Didi had to face a lot of suffering for me. When I was nine years old, my father took me to him for my bright feature. At that time Didi always cried for me and became almost mad. After my marriage, most of the time Didi stayed with us and took care of my children. She raised my children in the same way she raised me. Didi always looked stunned and upset because of losing her parents, sisters, so many children, and finally her husband. There were also various age-related diseases. As a result, Didi became very weak and could not remember anything. She could not walk properly. Her arms and legs were shaking always. After the age 60th, she became anxious for death. She wanted to die in her husband's house. She did not want to stay with us anymore and moved to her husband's village home. There she lived with her husband's youngest son Altaf, whom she raised. She lived almost 70 years. But her death was very tragic. One night there was load shedding at home. A cup lamp was flaming on the floor. Didi got down from the bed to go to the bathroom. It was winter. A shawl was wrapped around her body. Maybe a part of the shawl was hanging inadvertently, and suddenly the hanging shawl attached to the fire. She did not understand anything at first. At one point, the fire started blazing. Didi's whole body was burnt in the fire, and she died on the way to the hospital. The next morning, my aunt gave me the news of Didi's death over the phone. My uncle's house is about 15/16 hours' drive from Dhaka. It was not possible to keep Didi's half-decomposed body in the village environment for so long, moreover, I did not want to see her burnt face. I wanted to keep Didi's acquainted face in my mind. So, I did not go. But I went with my family to make her exequy's program after forty days. Before that, when I went to my uncle's house, Didi was always busy taking care of me. Although recently she could not do it herself, she gave instructions to my aunties. The house, without Didi, reminded me more of her. My heart was crying for her. In my life, there are lots of memories of Didi and I will never forget those! Didi passed away in 2008. It has been almost 13 years; I have not forgotten her for a moment. She is present throughout my being. When I think about the sufferings of her whole life, my eyes fill with tears. God seems very one-eyed then. He floats someone in the sea of happiness, and floats someone in the tears from birth to death. Why did not make Didi's life a little happier! I believe Didi is living in a better place than before. God, please... please keep my Didi always happier in heaven.
The Cathedral Post Office, Uptown, Manhattan. I was walking along with others on the 2nd floor. Each of us was carrying one or more large boxes. We are all mail processing clerks. Our duty was shorting, scanning, and preparing mail for distribution. Job started at 3am, but I always came at 12am. Because my home was too far away. The outbreak of the pandemic has just calmed. Many offices and companies were still closed, and people were facing an extreme financial crisis. My husband recently got a job, but the salary was low. Before this job, he got an unemployment allowance. I didn't, because I was a student. I earned money by working at a study job before COVID 19, but that opportunity has closed. All colleges are online now. It was hard to continue education with only my husband's income, so I joined the postal job. I worked at night and attended online classes during the day. “Are you okay?” Someone asked to see me standing. “I couldn't walk,” I said in a scared voice. “What's wrong?” “I had a terrible car accident last week. Everything was fine, but today I'm feeling a lot of pain in my knees." She helped me to sit down on a chair. After two hours my older son (28 years old) took me home. My doctor told me, “It happened because you didn't get enough rest." After the car accident, I should have taken a rest for a month, but I continued my job because it would become permanent after three months. Eventually, I lost my job and we had to move out of our apartment due to financial difficulties. Then my husband became sick and needed surgery. Despite all this, I didn't give up on my studies, but I was always worried about how I would continue them. After that, I managed to get through three more semesters through various struggles. I'm just on the verge of graduation now. But my misfortunes haven't left me. New critical problems have arisen in my life. I got an urgent call from my doctor before the Fall-2022 semester. She told me that I have heart blockages and that she has scheduled for an angioplasty at Mount Sinai Hospital on August 25. I was extremely disappointed to hear that. My classes will start on August 25. If I die or become sicker from this treatment, my dream of earning my degree will not come true. I only have one more semester left to graduate. So, I didn't want to go through with the procedure. My doctor told me, "Your life is more important than your studies." I couldn't tell my doctor how important studying is to me. When I was nine months old, I lost my mother. My stepmother stopped my studies in the middle, and it took me more than two decades to struggle. In 2015, I moved to the United States and started my studies through the GED program. It wasn't easy for me because I had been out of studies for a long time and English was not my first language. On the first day of class, my teacher asked me some questions and I couldn't understand or answer anything. My eyes filled with tears, and I told myself that I wouldn't come back to class the next day. But I did. Within a week, my doctor called me again. She gave me some medical tests a few days before. After receiving the reports, she immediately deemed my angioplasty as urgent. She said that I could have a stroke at any moment. When the doctor confirmed that I would be able to go back to my classes within two or three days, I agreed to the procedure. After the angioplasty, I had various health problems. In addition to the blocked arteries, the doctor found blood clots. It was a little complicated. When I got my senses, I saw the nurse holding a part of my right arm tightly because the bleeding was not stopping. I left the hospital holding my right hand tightly because I had class the next day. But I was so sick that I couldn't go to class the next day. After three days, I started attending classes regularly and doing class assignments along with household chores. At that time, I had to take so many medicines that I always fell asleep and forgot everything. I felt a lot of pain in my right hand. I often forgot to take medicine on time and became sick quickly. My whole body was filled with big blue and black spots that looked like injury marks. But I was happy when I received my final grades. I got four "A" in four subjects (two were A-)." I am thankful to my kind professors for considering my hard work. My bad luck still hasn't spared me. Right after the fall 2022 semester, my husband twice contracted COVID-19. He was extremely sick and quit his job. I have faced so many difficulties since starting my studies that I am now afraid "will I be able to finish my last semester of graduation!" But I feel that someone is constantly helping me from behind. He brought me back from death's door five times and protected me many times from the conspiracies of my stepmother and dishonest people. So, I believe that he will help me fulfill my dream this time too!
“Here comes the sleepy head.” Some of the students giggled… But, I didn't care. I was used to it for a long time. Well, I was nicknamed “The Sleepy Head” in school since my childhood. That was not a lie since I would always doze off in my classes. Dozing off everywhere was a normal thing in my life. No matter how much I tried, I couldn't stop it. I tried sleeping early, waking up early, having power naps in the daytime, and so many things. But none of them would make any sense. Habitually, I knew I would fall asleep in almost every class except the ones we participated in super actively like doing some papers or group activities. But, it was not something to be happy or enjoy… IT WAS REAL DEPRESSION!!!!!!!!!!! I was very much frustrated in my life because of my condition. Later when I grew up, I searched about it on google and found out that my symptoms exactly matched the disease called “Narcolepsy”. But, a lot of people did not believe that excessive sleeping was a DISEASE!!!!!!!! Most of them told me that I was not attentive in classes or I was staying up too late. BUT, I knew from my experience that no matter how much I slept, it would not make any difference. My life was depressing. Inside, I was all torn up. I cried for hours and hours being unable to cope with it. WHY I WAS THIS UNLUCKY????? FROM ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, 1 IN 2000, WHY WOULD I GET THIS DISEASE?????? I wanted to be normal. I wanted to study till late at night like my friends... I wanted to sleep less during exam days to cover up my syllabus. But, I had to sleep, no matter how much was left to study… Also, mental stress would make my symptoms worse which made me sleepier when an exam was nearer. One day, I decided that I needed to change my life. I needed to rise from the ashes and face all the challenges like a phoenix bird. I found some youtube channels about narcolepsy. There were a lot of stories about people in the world who had the same condition as mine. It gave me a lot of confidence and made me believe that I was not alone. Some of them had worse experiences than mine. So I held up my nerve. I wanted to show them that I was not down. "HATERS" were my best motivation. So, I studied hard. My condition kept bothering me more and more. But, I didn't care. I had only one dream MY LIFETIME DREAM!!!!!!!!!! It was to become a DOCTOR. IT WAS STRONGER THAN NARCOLEPSY. I found various strategies myself to cope with it. Somehow I managed to study well and become a topper in my class. I passed my O/L s and A/L s with flying colours… Then I entered the best medical faculty in the country... There, I got to know more about my disease. Since I was independent, I went to a specialist myself and explained her about my condition. She immediately diagnosed my condition and gave me some medicine… I am still using them and I am happy to say that my condition is getting better now!!!!!!!!!!! Ah, I forgot to say, A few months ago, I graduated from university and got my appointment as a doctor….. CURRENTLY, I AM WORKING HAPPILY IN MY DREAM OCCUPATION…….. :) :) :) THANKS A LOT FOR READING MY STORY
I grew up listening to tales about the television stars my dad met through his job as a carpenter and stagehand. I eagerly waited for my dad to come home from work each night to fill me in on happenings behind the camera. How I longed to meet some of those famous people. Just meeting one would make me happy, I thought as I'd drift off to sleep each night. Visions of Steve Allen and his crew, Milton Berle, and Mitch Miller danced their way through every dream. Arlene Francis became my role model. After hearing the wonderful stories of how Ms. Francis did so much for the stagehands in a tough but lady-like manner, I decided I'd grow up being just like that wonderful lady. One afternoon, my brother, Frankie, raced home from school with some incredibly interesting and exciting news. A local company comprised of young adults formed a small organization for children between the ages of 10 and 16. The purpose of this organization was to teach music and march in the neighborhood parades. It was as much to keep the kids out of trouble as it was to advertise the company. Frankie wanted to be the first to join. Now I'd have the chance to play something. The first band practice interested more than one hundred children. The elimination process lasted two weeks and among those accepted were Frankie and me. Frankie, for whatever reason, chose to learn the bugle instead of the drums and while I tried my hardest to get one note out of the bugle, it was all in vain., I found myself learning to play the bells. Soon, we were not just marching in parades but playing in movie houses when celebrities came to town to promote their latest films. Then it happened. That summer, in 1961, Troy Donahue along with his co-star, Connie Stevens, came to town. While adults ran the operation of the band, they felt as a children's band, a child should represent it. Frankie, being the oldest child in the group at age 15, seemed only natural to represent the band by shaking hands with the stars which never fazed him in the slightest. Since their arrival in town coincided with my 14th birthday, the band's owner arranged a surprise for me. As Frankie made his way to the stage, his friends hooted and hollered from the audience. To my horror and excitement, I heard that same manager call out, “And now, I'd like Donnie to come on stage. Today is Donnie's birthday and I can think of no better gift than to have her meet our guests.” I'd get to shake hands with Troy Donahue – my latest heartthrob! Connie Stevens gave me a hug while wishing me a happy birthday. Troy Donahue, then took both my hands and the crowd in the theater came to a dead quiet wanting to hear what he said to me. What seemed to be an hour, was probably no more than two minutes Mr. Donahue stared deeply into my eyes. He slowly leaned towards me and pulling me toward him, placed a huge kiss on my cheek and then whispered in my ear, “I hope your birthday is as beautiful as you are.” Late that afternoon, as I walked home with my brother, I felt as though my world crashed around me. My mother noticed a downfall in my spirits. “Donnie, what's wrong,” she asked. “I thought meeting Troy Donahue would be the highlight of your entire week.” “Oh Mom! I always dreamed of being like Daddy. Meeting famous people and having them greet you when you go to work. But this afternoon changed everything. Connie Stevens hugged me, and Troy Donahue kissed me. I waited for the star's to shine, their faces to glow or something special happen. But nothing did. Nothing! Her hug and his kiss were no different than a hug from you or a kiss from Daddy. Yours at least mean something. They're just like daddy said, they're as human as we are.” My mom smiled as she realized how much her daughter grew up in the short span of two hours. Calling her husband from another room, together, they handed me a small box. “We thought of giving this to you earlier but decided to wait until after dinner. However, now, while dinner is cooking, this seems like the perfect time. Happy Birthday, honey.” I opened the small box and found the prettiest little ring with a dark green emerald – my birthstone. I immediately put it on my finger, jumped from my chair and with both arms, grabbed my parents and hugged them tightly. “Oh, Mom, Dad! I could meet all the stars in the world and none of them could ever make me as happy as you just did.” All it took was one kiss from an adored celebrity to take the stars from my eyes and put my feet back on the ground. To this day, I will always remember that day as I laughingly call it, the day the stars fell.
Thinking about your childhood days, how many dream jobs have you had? When I was in grade school, I wanted to be a scientist simply because I love science. In high school, I had several options: I wanted to be a businessman only because I wanted to see myself in a suit and tie. I wanted to be a chef because I thought cooking with a pan in flames was cool. I wanted to be a doctor because I watched medical-themed K-drama, which inspired me. When I entered college, my passion shifted again. I took a BS in Psychology course because I thought I could read people like a book. Consequently, I wanted to become a psychologist when I graduate. As an enthusiastic student full of hopes and dreams, I saw myself finishing my Master's and Ph.D. Back then, I was sure that I would become successful in the field of Psychology. But as fate seems to like to interfere with my life that bad, I suddenly wanted to become a doctor again. A medical doctor, to be exact. I then took the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT). I put all my effort into my review, and I was glad to get a percentile rank of 93. I was all set to enroll in my dream school, but I couldn't take all the required course units due to the pandemic. I was also short on my budget, and even getting a scholarship wouldn't save me from my bills on due. I knew I had to give up this opportunity to have a more stable source of income for myself and my family. I had to rethink all the skills I can use to find a job that suits me. I knew that I needed money, but I never wanted to settle for less just because I think I'm on a dead end. I know how to draw, but I don't see myself as an artist. I love photography, but I couldn't go out and take pictures because of the pandemic. I can sing, but only with a choir. So what's left in there for me? After days of thinking, I found an answer. Finally, a 'eureka' moment! Since high school, I've always had this passion for writing. But never did I imagine that writing would eventually become my source of income. I never thought that I had a future in writing. But since I was caught in a dead-end, I had to make a new path. There's no way that I would accept defeat unless I tried everything. Here's when I decided to pursue copywriting. Copywriting is one of the highest-paying writing jobs out there. Perfect for my empty wallet and my late-bloomed passion. Guess what? I was hired by a Digital Marketing Agency even I have barely any experience! I don't know what words to describe how I felt, but I know that I was glad that they saw potential through my writing skills, and now I'm working with them for their company's success. Looking back, it's crazy how I shifted my focus from health to the marketing industry. Never would I have imagined that taking a step back and starting again will bring me to a better place where I am today. Although I still consider becoming a health professional, I'd like to take this opportunity to explore my talent and grab every opportunity that comes along the way. Can you relate to this roller coaster journey? Going back to my question: which one controls your life - free will or fate? At this point, I feel like fate has been pushing me to this path. But I do believe that my success still lies within my hands. Whether you believe that free will or fate controls your life, don't be afraid to make new paths whenever you reach a dead end. Life never stops until you stop trying. Good luck! :)
It was a warm Saturday morning in late July 1996. I was 9; almost 10. The birds were chirping in excitement, the morning dew, fresh and still, dripping from the tree leaves. I had been prepped hard for this day. Daily memory “drills”, 6 hours of schoolwork and 2 hours of home tutorials 3 times a week, learning new words and watching for current affairs updates from the local TV news. Like an athlete, I was primed, ripped and ready for this day. No stone was left unturned. My teachers rated me so highly, my parents never expected any less. I had progressed quickly through the 1st chain link of the famous 6-3-3-4 National educational system, with a “double promotion” in Class 4. Time was a blur. I kept outdoing myself, excelling in my grades and beating the competition. The National Common Entrance examination that year had been a great success, I was the best in my examination center, though one of the youngest candidates. I scored 503/600, if I re-collect. I was sure to get admitted into both Federal high schools selected. However, I wanted a lot more. Parents/Guardians were told to drop off their kids/wards at the school gate, so I parted from my mum with last minute pep-talks, prayers and "pocket money" (the favorite part). With the accreditation and registration processes completed, I was allotted a classroom and seat number. The exams started right on time. The first part – Mathematics & Quantitative Reasoning - was a landslide victory – I crunch numbers in my sleep. I needed the Part B of the exam to go just as well – English Language, Current Affairs & Verbal Reasoning. I knew the pass mark needed to secure a place at the International School, University of Lagos, one of the most prestigious high schools in Nigeria. The Part B section started after the lunch break. It was all going well till I hit a roadblock. There was an essay question, which read, "write an essay, about 150 words on 'Nigeria of my Dreams' ". I read the question again. I read it a third time. “This must be a mistake”, I thought. It didn't sound right to me. I looked around the hall, with my naive, pearly eyes. No other candidate seemed bothered. The room roared on in the ambience of a properly invigilated exam. I felt I was in trouble. How was I supposed to react? Where do I start? Do I have to fall sleep to come up with this dream? Don't we all only dream at night while we sleep? What if the heavens refuse to give me this dream within the required time frame? How do I select a specific dream, dream that dream, wake up and write about it? Would I wake up on time? I just had about 2 hours to write this exam section. I gazed at this problem statement, flipped, twitched and steered. Finally, my guardian angel whispered in my ears. “Leave this section, write the other sections and come back here”. I scrambled through the other exam sections, filled and shaded answers as the clock ticked away. Just as I finished and moved to get back to the essay question, I heard those 2 magic words, “Pens Up”. I felt it was all over. I had let myself and many people down. What would I tell my parents? How do I explain that we were asked to dream and write about it, and I couldn't do either? How could this be happening to me? “My teachers must have left this out; they did not teach me”. That was my conclusion, with my tail firmly tucked between my legs, as I walked towards the school main gate. I squinted from a distance to see if my mother was there waiting. I knew she would ask how I fared and would try to assess my body language. I had learnt not to lie to her pretty early, I wasn't taking a chance this time. I only managed to get a few in till I flew out of her nest to build mine. I happily told her that Part A went well. She knew my capabilities, no surprises here, smiles all round. Then to the bad news, Part B. I told her what happened. She listened intently, laughed and told me what was expected by the examiners. The scales instantly fell off my eyes. How was I supposed to know? I wish they framed it clearer. Could I possibly go back and fill this section? Of course, only in my dreams. I was consoled with an ice cream cone and we drove back home. My father laughed and sympathized with me but was confident I would make the pass list. The next few weeks were a nervous wait, a heavy weight. The hours and days gently strolled by. I could not bear the thoughts of failing an entrance examination into a prestigious school. My mother had left her senior teaching position at a State Secondary school and took a few steps down the career ladder to accept a teaching role at this school, just to ensure that my father only paid discounted school fees for my siblings and I. How could I let her down? How could I let us down? Finally, the news broke. I passed the exams, went on to pass the interviews and was admitted into ISL, UNILAG. I was overjoyed and relieved that I had kept my own side of the bargain. My younger siblings also made the cut in their times.
My dream of being a private detective is the fault of Nancy Drew and, a bit more indirectly, my mother. I come from an avid family of readers, and my mother decided to pass this trait on to her children. Thus, when I was about six, my mother decided to convince—force—me to read a series she had loved when she was my age: the Nancy Drew series. While I was quite reluctant at first, meaning I fought tooth and nail against my mother, I had eventually given in. Sometimes I wish I had ended up hating the books, simply to avoid giving her the smug satisfaction of being right; regardless, I fell in love with those books. Nancy Drew was a smart, resourceful, tough, resilient heroine, and I devoured her adventures. While most kids spent their Saturday mornings watching cartoons or sleeping, I was begging my parents to take me to the library. I simply could not get enough of the rich and vibrant life of Nancy Drew. My deep love for Nancy Drew and her adventures culminated in my wanting to be just like her. So, I decided to perfect my detective skills. For instance, I decided to improve my shadowing skills—i.e. stalking—and followed family members around while taking notes. Sadly for me, their behavior was fairly mundane. Even so, no matter how dull I found them, I knew that a good detective must persist. This resulted in my developing a strong drive and determination. I began to grow restless, which is when it finally happened—my first case. I was beyond ready. So, at the ripe old age of ten-years-old, I decided the student had become the master. When I informed my parents of this, I was met with fake enthusiasm. Sure, their words said to have fun and be careful, but their tone of voice conveyed the truth. They did not take me seriously. Who would not take the four-foot-seven kid with missing teeth seriously? Clearly, I was a hard-boiled detective ready for whatever twists or turns my case might throw at me. This particular case came from a neighborhood friend, Drew, who needed help finding her missing ginger cat. Naturally, she asked me for my assistance. Ever the eager detective, I jumped at the opportunity. So, we set out on our bikes to canvas the neighborhood. After a while, it became clear to me that searching for clues on other people's property, or trespassing as some might call it, was probably not the best way to find a lead. Instead, we questioned potential witnesses and started with her mother. We asked her when she had last seen the cat, if her neighbors had ever had any problems with the cat, and if she could remember anything suspicious. To everything she said she did not know; however, I noticed she would not meet our eyes and kept fidgeting with her jewelry during questioning. I may not have known much about psychology at the time, but even I could tell that our questions made her uneasy. Unfortunately, interviewing our neighbors did not yield much luck either. They either did not know anything about her cat or thought we were selling something. After hours of interviewing and searching the neighborhood, I ended up looking on my own. It was then that I had finally found my first lead. Another one of my neighborhood friends told me that he spotted something somewhat resembling ginger fur through a hole in his neighbor's fence. As I looked for myself, I realized the animal was a cat that had a distinctive patch of fur on its forehead, matching the description Drew had given. I had actually managed to find Drew's cat! Unfortunately, I did not find her cat alive. The neighbor, in whose backyard the cat was in, was the owner of a particularly volatile pit-bull. Even from my obstructed view, it was clear the dog had gotten to the cat. With this sad information in hand, I realized I now had to tell Drew. I contemplated lying to her, but I knew that if it were my cat, I would want to know the truth. So, I rode my bike over to her house and told her what I had found. I explained whose backyard the cat was found in and described the distinct patch of white and orange fur on the cat's forehead. After I had finished telling her what happened, she was pretty upset, so I let her grieve in peace and went home. It was not until months later that I learned that the cat I found was not Drew's cat at all. Apparently, her cat had accidentally consumed rat poison that one of her neighbors had set out. Her mother found the dead cat and decided to bury it in the woods near our houses. Instead of telling her daughter the truth, she simply told her the cat had run away in order to spare her feelings. Though my first and only case turned out to be a complete bust, I never forgot the impact that case and the Nancy Drew books had on my life. I still have the curiosity and determination I fostered in those days. I owe a large part of my childhood to that teen sleuth and I will always be grateful to her.
Sarah was a young beautiful lady. She was ambitious and very social. All her life she spent alone writing and reading novels. One afternoon, her dad came and told her that they were moving to another country. She was very excited about this news because it was her first time moving out of her birth land. Her parents and siblings were excited too because they were moving to their ancestral land. What an adventure it would be! Finally, she's going to meet up with her relative from her father's side. The long-awaited day arrived and they all went to the airport excited. Sarah took a deep breath as the plane departed, she said goodbye to her country. A new life awaited Sarah and her family. They didn't know what was in store for them.
Have you ever thought that you have dreams that probably will not come true? It's a small voice in your head, since you were a child. It was always talking to you, reminding you that so many opportunities and pursuits are out there for you. Then you grow up and the fantasy for a moment is replaced by a reality you didn't even dreamed of. What's the purpose of dreams if they can't come true? Are they realistic dreams or just illusions of things that we think we would like to have? I haven't figured out yet. I just know that dreams are part of our self. Our true inner self and even if some of them don't come true, maybe some better versions of them are going to manifest. Just keep dreaming, and that's not a cliché.
Call me stupid. Call me childish and over dramatic. I don't care anymore. I'm tired of this. I really am. I'm tired of the looks. I'm tired of being looked down on. I'm tired of never having the freedom to roam the world freely because I'm scared I'll be killed. Why us? For so long, I lived in a world where I was free to do whatsoever I pleased. I was happy. I was free to do what I wanted to. Then I saw the news. I saw people like myself being mistreated and killed. They didn't do anything wrong. Why are they killing them? Why won't they stop? I can see the blood, I can hear their cries, I can feel their agony, but why is this happening? I moved to America for a better life. They told me this was the place where dreams come true. I wanted to widen my horizon. I wanted to see for myself the things I saw on the news. I never knew I was going to experience this for myself. There's so much crying and pain here. I can here them screaming for help. I want to help them but I'm scared. I want to run away but my legs are frozen. I can't move. I can taste the metallic liquid running down my face. It hurts so badly. The pain is unbearable but I can't feel it. All I feel is fear. I'm scared. I'm scared of who I am. I'm scared of what they'll do to me if they find me. Why can't I move? Please...help me... I can hear the sirens in the distance and I feel relieved. We're safe. We'll be okay. I was stupid to think that. We would never be safe. The gunshots rang in the air again. I could hear people running and screaming in fear. I wanted to run with them but my legs...what's happening to me? I hear an explosion behind me and I'm knocked further down the street. I open my mouth to scream in pain but noting leaves my mouth. It's like I've gone mute. What's happening to me? How did I get here? Help me! I can hear the voices from afar. I hear them calling us freaks, monkeys, monsters...but I don't understand it. What have we done wrong? Was our existence so much of a burden to them? Why won't they leave us alone? Why won't they let me go? Why? I look to my side and see a little girl crying. She's covered in so much blood and I'm shocked she's still alive. I want to comfort her. I want to hold her but my body won't move. She turns her head to look at me and I grimace at the open wounds on her face. She coughs up blood and I feel like crying. ''Why did they do this to us?'' Her voice is so melodic and calming even as her body shuts down slowly. She doesn't sound like she's dying and I wish it was like that. ''I was going to get some ice-cream for Bessy and they shot me. I didn't do anything wrong. Why did they shoot me?'' I want to tell her she'll be okay but I knew it would be a lie. She didn't deserve this. No one did. ''I was going to sail the world with Bessy. We were going to rescue all the black people and start our country for them.'' She winced in pain when she tried to laugh. ''I guess I'll be leaving all that to Bessy now.'' She searched my eyes before forcing a smile. ''You don't look so bad. You'll be fine. As for me, I don't think I can hold on any longer.'' ''No...'' It came out as a hoarse whisper burning my throat like I had just swallowed acid. I coughed out blood and saw her grimace as she watched me with pity. ''Don't force yourself to talk. It'll hurt you.'' She diverted her eyes from me to the sky. ?old with my husband and five children and three dogs. We'd all live in a huge house by the beach.'' I could see the salty tears running down her face and mixing with her blood. ''I shouldn't have had such high hopes for a better future. It was stupid of me. I should've known. It's simply not possible for someone like me. As long as I'm black, my future will never be happy.'' I wanted to beg her to hold on. I couldn't just let her die but I was too weak to do anything. I think I might be paralyzed. Oh God no. ''Thank you for listening to me. I should go now. Tell Bessy I love her and that she should carry on without me. I'll be watching her now. I'm so...tired...'' Her body went completely still beside me. Her eyes were still open staring up at the sky. She was gone now and even though I hardly knew her, I cried. I cried because I was sick of life. I cried because I hated being who I was. I cried because I hadn't been the one to die. I hate being black. I don't want to be like this anymore. I woke up with a start panting heavily with sweat running down my face. I looked at my brown hands which had been clutching the sheets tightly. I used them to touch my face and felt the tears. Even though it was all a dream, it still didn't change my perception of who I was and the ill fate my kind had been stricken with. I really do hate being black.
Fear and I are no strangers. Growing up with abusive parents and marrying an abusive man at the age of nineteen; you become accustomed to being afraid. Nightmares have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember; but the fear that grips me now is like none I have known before. I am a Christian, so I should not be afraid of dying. I should be happy that if I die, I will go to heaven, right? No. I am afraid. I am afraid because although my soul is ready, my mind and body are not. I am afraid of never seeing my children and grandchildren again. I am afraid of dying on this God forsaken island when there this so much I want to do. I am afraid to go back into the classroom because what if I get the coronavirus and give it to my students? The guilt would eat me alive! Physically, I have trouble sleeping. I can't fall asleep until at midnight or later and when I do, I have nightmares. I have chest pains. Heart conditions run in my family. I can't tell anyone. I don't want to burden them with my fears. I have little appetite. I have to force myself to eat something every day. I used to love food. I am an old-fashioned cook. I bake from scratch. Growing up all my kids' birthday cakes were homemade. Add to that, I am a stress baker. My daughter used to give me a hard time when she came home from school and caught me baking. She'd ask, “What's the matter, Mom?” Food was a big deal. I have often been told I needed to open my own restaurant or bakery. I almost did once. Now, the kitchen brings little solace. Emotionally it's like an alien has taken over my body. I have had some pretty traumatic things happen in my life; but I handled them with relative calm and that lack of a habit of panicking has gotten through them all. I take a deep breath. I tackle the most urgent thing first. I make a list of what I need to do or what I need and mark them off as I go. Over the years I have managed to show a brave front; but I can't anymore. I cry a lot. I am anxious going out in public. My heart races when I do. For five months, I have gotten out to go to the grocery store and that is all. I live on a tropical island and I can't even enjoy it. I am calm one minute and hysterical the next. I'm moody and volatile and it has caused serious strain on my relationship with my fiance. Who can blame him? It doesn't help that I am a redhead and have the trademark temperament. So, how afraid am I? Pretty damn afraid! I have begun to write my will. I have written my daughter a six-page “goodbye” letter. I have written my son a letter. I have always prayed, and I know I am saved; but now I pray every night the traditional children's prayer, just in case… Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray Dear Lord, my soul you take. God bless Quinton and Little Jack. God bless my daughter Christina and her husband Clifton. God bless my granddaughter's Zoey, Malia, and Alice. God bless my son, Monty. God bless Bree (my son's soon-to-be ex-wife), Alaynah, Kaden, and Alex. God bless all of my friends and family and loved ones. God, please watch over all of them and keep them safe from harm. Please God, put a hedge of protection around my family and don't let them die. In Jesus' name, Amen. There are times that fear chokes me and I am unable to get out of bed or do; but don't want to. I force myself to get up and face each day. Going through the motions of fixing my fiance's breakfast (he works nights). I force myself to walk our dog and do the laundry. I force myself to cook supper each night; and then I have to force myself to eat. I look out the window and long for the beauty of the island around me but am too terrified to go out and see it. I have always written a journal, but now I am writing four to six-page entries. I have gone through four ink pens in the last two weeks alone. I have days that all I can do is “depression sleep.” Even this rest is plagued with nightmares. I'm aging fast. Dark circles under my eyes and wrinkles appearing daily around my eyes, mouth, and hands. I am just 49 years old, but I look and feel sixty. With all of this, you would think that it was impossible to look forward at all. You would think that it is impossible to dream about tomorrow, next week, or next year. Even I am surprised that I can, that I have. My fiancé and I have a dream of buying a live-a-board sailboat and sailing around the world. Planning for this dream consumes our days and nights. We have made lists. We watch sailing videos. We talk and discuss what we need to do and what we need to buy. We've laid out all of the steps to follow and have it all worked out. Yet, all the while a shadow lingers behind the surface fueled by the fear that this dream will never come true. That one or both of us will die before it becomes a reality. A voice whispers in our minds, This will never happen. Why do you bother to dream at all? I answer back, “I don't know, but I do.”