I was barely six years old when I observed that I was an atypical girl – I liked to play with toy cars, lego blocks, A-team, ride bicycles, I would wrestle with the boys and other stuff that was considered boyish at the time. Talk about stereotypes! Thankfully, I still loved to play with my Barbie – singing, acting and making up stories as I played. How I recall playing indigenous games, especially ten-ten. Anyways, I would sit outside whenever I could – watching the sunset and butterflies flutter around. Sometimes I was excited to be in the company of several people; at other times, I just wanted me some me-time.
As I grew older, I began to observe that not much had changed in some aspects of my life. Often times, in the company of a lot of people, I found myself been drawn to people that are unique in one way or the other. Some were obvious geniuses; a few were withdrawn and introverted, some had obvious character flaws, a few others, physical challenges. I would get into discussions with people that were a lot older or younger than me. In a short while, I was not just having conversations, I had been sucked into their lives – literally! Within minutes, I would know their hobbies, likes, dislikes, passions, anxieties, aches and fears. Not sure, they could say the same for me. There appeared to be a common thread of people who were not particularly happy with their current state of affairs. The problem was not what I knew, but what I did with what I knew. Often times, I would leave such gatherings with an assortment of emotions. I recall my mum one time being very angry with me, wondering why I was drawn to those kinds of people. It bothered her that I would not disconnect emotionally after my engagements with them. She often teased me about being a burden bearer and would warn me to avoid such interactions. How I often would weep with them who weep and mourn with them who mourn literally. She feared that I was taking a little too much emotionally and needed to detach.
In retrospect, I realise that my eagerness to listen and help is not untied to my purpose. For I educate, challenge and inspire positive change targeted at building bridges and restoration. Small wonder, I would take on burdens that were not originally mine with a resolution to finding lasting solutions.
Although my approach is unconventional and sometimes unpopular, I have since embraced who I am.