I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, maybe a bronze one which is good enough for me. We never went to bed hungry or to school naked, always had a roof over our heads and once a month we enjoyed King Pie’s famous Steak & kidney pie. Not to say it was easy to cover these bases for my folks but they worked hard and I take off my hat to them for all the seen and unseen sacrifices that they made for us.
In my twenties I introduced myself to a life of financial and emotional instability which eventually led to poverty. After leaving the nest, I set out to claim my independence at all costs and instead became independently broke for the majority of my twenties. Not just broke like I can’t afford to get my hair done kinda broke. Broke like...
“Where am I gonna sleep tonight” KINDA BROKE
“I have this loaf of bread, let’s make it last a week” KINDA BROKE
“Periods? hmmm lets go steal some tissue rolls from the nearest public toilet" KINDA BROKE.
In my late teens and early twenties I was fortunate enough to make a bit of money via TV commercials etc. Most of that income went towards my university tuition, textbooks and daily survival as a student. It’s the confusion after graduating that tripped me up. I wasn’t sure whether to get a job in the corporate world or pursue the model career and entrepreneurship route. From then onwards I was constantly torn between these worlds. Starting a full time job and quitting it became habitual because I wanted to go to castings and take time off work to shoot (ain’t no boss got time for that). When I did book good jobs I paid rent for months in advance but I didn’t have much sense after that. It never occurred to me to save for rainy days or even towards an apartment, retirement etc. So one day almost a decade later, I woke up and I had nothing.
The darkest days!
Some of the darkest days found me living in a very questionable commune in Randburg, South Africa. I lost myself in the company of my suitcase and a few spiders. It was Winter when I moved in, I had no bed, no blankets, no food, no friends (I’d isolated myself for an array of reasons; but that’s a story for another day). In order to make money for rent I did promo gigs when they were available, which sometimes involved handing out flyers at traffic light intersections. As Murphy would have it, my peers from university would be the ones to roll down their windows just to make sure it was truly me they were seeing. This was indeed a soul crushing time on so many levels but I had to pay for my room, so I did what I had to do.
After being well acquainted with my bedroom floor, Winter ended and I managed to save up my promo pennies to buy a bed, so at least that was over. However, the realities of my daily struggle (3 years in) had started to take their toll on me and I eventually I became extremely depressed. I started getting panic attacks more frequently to the point of blacking out. I was drained and exhausted from struggling to survive. I wanted out but had no idea what more to do to dig myself out of this bottomless pit that had become home for so many years.
So I prayed, “Dear God, please help me” I prayed this prayer every day, and slowly glimpses of light that were probably always there started to be more apparent. The work that needed to be done was internal. I needed to dig deep and realize that what had materialized in my physical reality found its' roots inside of me. A very trying journey then commenced. I dealt with my pain, I dealt with grief, I dealt with regret, I dealt with forgiveness, I dealt with fear, I dealt with rock bottom-ness. It was an internal spring clean which took years and in some ways still continues. Once all that clutter was confronted, instead of being swept under the carpet, wisdom started to surface and step by step starting with the little things I gradually learned how to make better life choices, to take responsibility for my well being, to hope again and to mature.
It’s an Inside Job
Today everything has changed for the better in every area of my life, and for that I’m truly thankful.
I would have to write an entire book to go in to the intricate details of my journey but until then I can share this: It all starts on the inside, that’s where the real work should be done every day, in the very core of your character and the things the mold it. Look after your core, for from it the essence of life flows (paraphrasing a Bible verse). I still pray the same prayer everyday…
“Dear God, please help me”