MORE THAN YESTERDAYS SORROW

They think I don’t hear them gossip about me but I do, I feel their stares burn into my retreating back each time  that I pass them in the street on my way to and from my small flea market. They think that maybe just because I don’t have an ‘O’ level certificate then I won’t understand the words with which they use to describe me. They assume that lack of a certified academic certificate translates to illiteracy and that illiteracy is equivalent to stupidity. Just because I keep quiet when they ridicule me they think that I’m just another fool to be used as a means to alleviate their boredom whenever they are in need of entertainment.

At first I used to mind  a lot, I would become upset and allowed myself to wallow in my misery, then that led me to look at myself though their eyes and see myself the way they saw me. A crippled young woman with no hopes for tomorrow whose destiny was to beg and be a nobody. I let myself see the deformed stumps I called hands that repulsed them and felt embarrassed, I saw the charred black skin which covered most of my upper body and wished that I could hide it. I saw the patches on my head with no hair and wished that I could go back to yesterday when I had my long black hair which everyone admired. I saw myself through their eyes and I saw a freak, I saw the monster that they avoided each time we crossed paths in the street and I wished that like Cinderella I too could have a fairy God mother who could take the bad away and replace it with beauty. But as soon as the thought crossed my mind, I realized that fantasy was short-lived, the beauty would one-day fade away and I would return to normal. So with sadness being the heavy burden I bore in my heart I abandoned all those dreams and desires of outward transformation and began working towards an inner transformation. If they didn’t accept me, then the best that I could do was to accept myself and to love myself in the manner that I wished them to love me.

Now today, whenever I look at myself in the mirror, the charred, crippled reflection which I once saw there is no more. I see beauty and strength and determination to make this day a better day than the previous one. I look and see not the flames which engulfed my family home, stealing all that I loved and leaving me an orphan but the flame of hope burning bright in my bosom, that motivates me to wake up each morning and face the insults, stares and mockery with my head held high. I see not the missed opportunities or a failure but I see the young woman who slaves away in her pursuit of education after a long hard day at work with the high hopes that one day she too will be elevated to greater heights.

My past is behind me now,I’ve resolved that I’m more than yesterdays’ sorrow, I’m the hope of tomorrow and that’s why I’ll live today in happiness. I no longer hate yesterday like I did because I’ve made peace with it. I’ve made peace with the fact that whilst most of my peers went to school, graduated,married and started families… I had to watch helplessly as my whole family was wiped out and I was left all alone to rebuild the pieces of my broken life and start all over again from scratch after having had to deal with the physical bruises which are my daily reminder of all that I went through. I know that my journey is still far from over and that I still have a long way to go. I still have to endure the hatred and prejudice thrown my way which will still be there even when I reach my goals. But nowadays even this knowledge fails to slow me down or to discourage me. I am a woman on a mission and nothing can stop me now because I know who I am and what I want. I am a conqueror, my own heroine and I will win all the battles in  my way. One day, irregardless of my past and what people may think, I will live out my dreams. After all I am the author of my own destiny…

BY TANYARADZWA VANADIS17 MASAIRE

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