It was 5 minutes to 1 am, I had hit the refresh button at least 15 times within the minute…like that was going to make any difference. My fingers trembled as the page seemed it was loading up something different than what it was displaying in the past longest 5 minutes of my entire life. Then, 14 years old, this was going to mark a milestone on one of the greatest challenges I had ever faced. Wait….I couldn’t believe it, What was I seeing? Was I dreaming? No way! There was a short 15 seconds of diverse emotional rush as several flashbacks ran through my mind leading up to this point. My mum gave me a really firm squeeze, she didn’t need to say the words, “I’m proud of you ‘Buks’ baby, you did it!”. The tears trickled and I guess they began to tickle because I began to giggle (haha). It was the sound of victory!
Rewind only 5 months back and empathize with the struggles of a teenage girl trying to get a grip from drowning words of discouragement. It was the daily dose. I was sick of how sick it made me feel. I never understood how it was my fault that this ‘dear’ teacher of mine who was officially preparing me for 4 out of 8 courses of my IGCSE exams, was not happy with her job. What did she mean by I could not do the exams and that I would fail woefully? “Well that’s because you are too lazy to do your work; class time just turned to a youtube video galore!”, I would want to yell at her sometimes. I was so hurt and frustrated, maybe her words began to seep into my reality. I would often just go home and cry and wallow up in depression of how there was no way I could pass these very important exams. For those of you reading who are not familiar with IGCSEs, this was what bridged you into University or into A-levels – essentially final Grade 12/ high school/SATs – so it was a huge deal for me then.
Two months to the exams and I had no idea what I was doing; just hanging in there mostly I guess. This ‘wonderful’ lady had infected every single other teacher, including the principal and proprietress with the ideology that there was no way Ibk was going to make the exams. Although she had left the school weeks before, she had done well to leave her ‘legacy’ behind.
I was the first person to ever take the external exam at the International School of Bearn, Pau, and at this point, the proprietress was satisfied simply with the fact that the school had to be registered to be an exam center at some point anyways.
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”
I had good reason not to do well in the exams; there were countless factors to place the blame on – from the distrusting teachers, to my age, to the food disorder I was struggling with at the time and many others. Placing the blame on all these things only made me more angry and frustrated.
I happened to be flipping through a book my mum had lying around the house at the time. Like any other teenager my age, I was searching for answers to questions about life, about myself and boy, was I glad to have found this book in my quest! I thought the title of the book was not as appealing, ‘Lies women believe and the truth that sets them free, Nancy LeighDeMoss’, hmmm, I opened to a random page and as though it was an intentional flip, the key to some of the answers I had been looking for captivated me so much, I took it all in like a thirsty carmel. It all began to make sense – I needed to take responsibility for what was going on, I needed to take charge of the situation! If I failed the exams, I would be the one to blame; I would have let the situation define my outcomes. Yes, my teacher was not the best, yes, the odds were against me, but if I could restructure my mind to not let the shortcomings feed into my process, then there was no way it would determine my outcome! I couldn’t do anything about what my teachers thought of me but I could do something about me! I could either accept or reject their opinions. “Come to think of it, it was not their fault was it?” I had thought.
This realization and change of mindset was what would set me on the path of discovery in having real results in life – like the surreal excellent results from the IGCSEs that was staring right back at me.
Taking responsibility for our actions and refraining from playing the blame game is something I have found could be difficult for the one who doesn’t understand the potency of this principle. There’s no need throwing pity parties that only you are invited to! There’s no need to focus on all the things that could be seeming limitations. You can defy the odds if you would just own up to the rhetorical, ‘Who is to blame?’ and do something about it!
My next post would be sharing on my personal story, my personal quest in building a relationship with God and the impact it has made on my life. It would really just be a continuation and in context of some snippets I’ve shared in this post.
Please leave comment, thoughts, questions, I would love to hear from you!