Difficulties Break Some Men But Make Others – Nelson Mandela

I decided to write in my gratitude/musings journal last night for the first time in 8 months and this is the outcome (it’s incidentally 8 months since my last blog post)

Monday 6th January 2014

It’s been over 8 months since I’ve written in here and it’s at once lovely and sad; reading past posts back, digesting the ups and downs, as an observer, as if I were reading a work of fiction in no way related to the protagonist. It’s when the realisation kicks in that I AM THE PROTAGONIST that the pathos and happiness becomes more extreme. The warm feelings come from the positivity I feel when reading all of my gratitude posts, which invariably mention my family, my house, my housemates, my friends and my job and the sadness comes from looking back on an ‘out of sorts’ protagonist, uncomfortable with the world at times and saddened by it.

2013 was an interesting year. It’s been a year of extremes – the highs have been euphoric and the lows have taken me pretty close to rock bottom. Regardless, it’s been a year of learning, which is the one positive I will take from it. I’ve learnt more about human nature this year. I’ve learnt that human beings have an incredible capacity to cause pain and an incredible capacity to create immense joy in another human being’s life.

I’ve been the victim of 3 crimes this year: the first was pretty minor and has happened to most of us – I had my phone stolen. It was the way in which it was stolen that shocked me though! I could not believe the brazen attitude of the thief, who pretended to be pulling back the chair next to me to sit down, so I moved my bag, but there was no need for me to do that, as unbeknownst to me, he had already been helping himself to my phone that had been residing in my bag. I, being thoughtful and considerate (actually naive/foolish) asked him if my bag was in the way. When he wouldn’t look me in the eye and subsequently walked and then ran away, I realised that I had been duped and I felt a bit sick – my accommodating and considerate nature, taken advantage of.

The second crime was heinous. There is no other word for it. Pure evil and set up in such a way as to cause ruin to myself and my family. Those who are close to me know the details of the crime and this is not the place to document it, but suffice to say, it was as malicious an allegation against me as one could ever imagine – contrived, evil and intending to and succeeding in causing a massive amount of emotional stress to those affected and to ruin me and my reputation. I’m happy to say that the plot did not play out in the way that the orchestrator had planned, but enough emotional damage was caused for that person to have gained whatever revenge they were looking for. I’m not one to bear grudges and I can only conclude that the sick person in question was just that, very mentally unstable/ill, but I have to take this one further, as I will not be leaving myself open again to this sort of mental assault. It’s made me more guarded, closed and suspicious of people’s intentions, which maybe sometimes I need to be.

The third crime of the year came on Boxing Day night. I was out for a few drinks with a friend in Reading and a man was being very letchy and intrusive on our personal space. Not being one to take kindly to rudeness (from man or woman), I asked him to leave us alone. The aggressive and abusive language that I was on the receiving end of was insulting and disgusting. The feminist in me wanted to retort, but the old soul in me recognised something in this man’s tone and demeanour that screamed – “I hate women”, so I decided to just turn away and not reply. This seemed to work and the man disappeared for a while only to return again a bit later, invading our personal space again – being abusive and obnoxious. Knowing that I would not get anywhere in reasoning with the man, I had a word with the bouncer and asked him to ask the man to leave us alone, which the bouncer did, but the man was subsequently rude to the bouncer, so he threw him out of the bar.

As I was leaving the bar about half an hour later, as I was just about to open the door to the taxi, I heard, “You fucking bitch” and as I turned round was greeted with a punch across the face from that same man, who had been waiting for me and became in those few seconds the victim of a premeditated, unprovoked assault.

I remember thinking, as I was about to be punched, “This can not be happening to ME!” and as I was punched and felt the blow and crack of his fist on my cheek and nose, I was completely and utterly stunned.  And then I froze. Eyes wide open staring at my friend. In utter shock! All I remember after the blow was blood – lots of it and people – lots of them. It was probably the most surreal 15 mins I have ever experienced before the ambulance arrived.

They’ve since found the guy responsible and he’s been arrested. My nose isn’t broken and I’m feeling better. As I explained to my brother straight after, who was clearly upset by the whole event, “It could have been much worse!”

So, I  guess what I’m feeling from this year is a little bit beaten up, metaphorically and physically. Usually I can haul myself up when bad things happen, but this year’s events have made me weak. But then I look at people who inspire me, people who have suffered great hardships, losses and suffering in their lives and in-spite of all of that, stayed strong, and this is what gives me strength.

We lost a great leader in Nelson Mandela last year. Without suffering in the way that he did, he would not have gone on to be the man that he was and to change the world in the way that he did. I wouldn’t say that I’m a religious person, but I do believe that Jesus existed, that he was a good man and that he had a colossal impact on the world, just like Mandela. There is a likeness in the traits that the two men displayed also – tolerance, humility, leadership. Both referred to as ‘father’ , yet both the victims of terrible wrongdoings/jealousy. Their stories give me hope.

So, I’m looking forward to 2014. I’m ready for the challenges it will invariably bring and I’m excited about learning more about myself and others and growing into a better version of myself, so that I can have some sort of impact on the lives of others, so that I can look to my true path and enable others to do the same.

I’ll finish with a quote from one of my heroes:

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” Nelson Mandela



About looktoyourpath78

I'm on a journey, like everyone else, and I want to start writing about it. I'm passionate about social enterprise, entrepreneurship, young people, creativity, education and the empowerment of women and children, especially within an international development context. I love meeting new people, especially those that challenge and inspire me. I love good food, pilates, coffee and laughing until it hurts. I am a participant @THNK_org, an Non-exec Director for @MindfoodCiC and Co-founder @movellas.
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1 Response to Difficulties Break Some Men But Make Others – Nelson Mandela

  1. lefty1980 says:

    Holy shit Yvonne…I hope 2014 is a wonderful year for you and those three incidents are long forgotten!

    Pete x

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