Tivania Moodley.

Opinion - My earliest memories are of internal longings. 

A desire not to be known, but felt. 

I was the proverbial black sheep in my family, and I knew that I was different from everyone else.

I hated myself from the time I was very little and despite my every effort, just couldn’t fit in anywhere. 

I was the older of two children and the better part of my life felt like a continuous hit-and-miss effort - never getting first place in school - always coming second. 

I was completely awkward and unco-ordinated and came out last in sport without fail.

I was not pretty by society’s standard; I was dark-skinned, very tall and very thin. 

I was never popular and couldn’t place myself in any of the cliques. I was the misfit in every sense of the word.

Growing up as an Indian girl in the ’80s, there was a prescribed way of living and looking. 

Girls were meant to be selfless and quiet. 

The only measurement of success was determined by the tangible things accumulated, like the title, the big fancy house and the expensive car.

Beauty was always singular - you had to be fair-skinned to be considered beautiful. 

I blended into obscurity and from the age of 11 onwards, I tried to be everything other than me and that caused me to spend so many years of my life in the dark, wanting to be invisible. 

The hiding and pretending made me depressed and the depression got progressively worse as I got older and life lessons got harder.

In June 2014, I thought my life was over and tried to end it. 

But the universe, in her infinite wisdom, knew that there were bigger things in store for me; bigger than my very small imaginings could have mustered. 

It was not my time to die. 

My greatest teachers emanated from the mess, chaos, failure, trauma and self-hatred.

I discovered the false dichotomies I was fed in terms of having to be “either this” or “either that”, with no middle ground in which to find my own identity.

Through my journey towards self-discovery, my single-most subversive act was choosing to figure out my truth and show up for my own life. 

I embraced who I truly am and who I’ve always been: a real-life warrior who was never meant to fade into oblivion, or become anyone else’s version of me.

This is why I decided to tell my story, because it is mine to own.

It’s a human occupational hazard to settle for less in life rather than accepting the invitation to an exquisite holiness.

Love longs to be the driving force of our lives but we continue to settle for fear. 

When I allowed myself to stare fear in the face, I was able to connect the dots backwards.

From there, I could see the bigger picture, recognising the beauty in truth and tenacity, and why every single struggle had to happen to get me to this point. 

It made me realise how much time I’ve spent hating certain choices I’ve made. 

The outcomes and experiences weren’t wrong, even though I made them wrong.

In hindsight, every single thing was a catalyst toward living my soul’s purpose. 

Every day, I am learning how to use my fire to light up my life, instead of burning everything down.

* An exceprt from Moodley’s book.

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