When Giving Up Is Not An Option
by Clementine Bihiga
Sometimes as humans, we are so quick to give up.
How many times have we been turned down and decided to stop?
How often do we take rejection as a sign that it’s not meant to be?
Seek others’ approval before running after our dreams?
Feel defeat because things are not going our way?
As a refugee, I started facing rejection at a very young age. For starters, I fled my country when I was 8 years old and had to fend for myself when my parents disappeared for a period of 2 weeks. When I eventually reunited with our parents, my naive self thought I was going back home to Rwanda. This didn’t happen. We went to live in refugee camps where we faced death right in the eyes every day. In these camps, malaria, cholera, typhoid, etc. claimed over half of the refugees in the camp. We would wake up every day and find ourselves surrounded with dead bodies. At this point, l felt like life wasn’t worth living. This was too much for my little 8 year old brain and body to handle. Fear was my best friend.
One day I went to Lake Kivu to fetch water and wash a shirt my mother had bought me and laid on a “log” to help me swim towards the shirt (I couldn’t swim) and when I made the small leap to grab my shirt, the log turned and it was a dead body. There was not enough room to bury bodies so these bodies were being thrown in the lake. We used this water for drinking, cooking, washing clothes, dishes and our bodies. Life wasn’t fair. I wanted to give up.
When my family eventually got to the USA, I was bullied in high school for being “different”. Every day, I would want to quit going to school because I had suffered so much. It felt like life was not giving me a break. In my adult life, I lost a daughter at 27 weeks pregnant. No one could explain why it happened. I was told it’s like getting into a car accident. I felt lost and angry and many more emotions. After this, I really wanted to give up.
But even with all these life shattering experiences, giving up was not an option. I had to be resilient. Resilient for my young son, resilient for my family, resilient for my country and resilient for the world. I want to leave this world a better place for the future generation.
So I put myself to college, started being involved on campus, started my public speaking journey, got a master’s degree with a 3.9 GPA, and wrote a book about my journey, hoping that a tired soul, one who is just tired of living and wanted a break, one that’s on the edge of giving up would pick up the book, hear my story and decide to keep pushing.
So, how many people are saying NO to you? Are tired of your bills and are just stressed out? Have a teenager that’s out of control and are ready to throw in the towel? Can’t get telemarketers to stop calling you? Can’t get those sales numbers high enough for your manager? Can’t get your business off the ground? Going through a health crisis? How many times have you wanted to give up and tell yourself “I Can’t”? Next time you want to give up, remember my story and say to yourself, if that 8 year old girl can do it, so can I. Yes You Can and Never Give Up! Your family depends on your resilience. Your business depends on your resilience. Humanity depends on your resilience.
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Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.