Becoming Lumiere, a biographical piece.
When I saw the word “Becoming” I was low-key afraid cause all I could think about was the book “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, and that is a big shoe to fit. I haven’t read the book, but I on the list for the audiobook, I only have to wait for 17 weeks. (sigh).. Well after thinking about the title I thought about how did I become me? other question pop too, just too confused me, cause clearly that was a too-easy question and I asked questions "why I do live?”,“who am I?” “how do I describe myself?” “Do I ever stop becoming”, and then I remember that Michelle said in an interview that the reason she gave the book that title was because we never stop becoming, we always grow so that made me realized that the question is more how did I become the version I am today.
My mind came to power puff girl, you know the in the intro the professor is “Sugar, spice and everything nice, those were the ingredients chosen to created the perfect little girls” and I thought, I would give you my ingredients on how I became me. I’m skipping a lot because or ells this is gonna be too long, so I’m trying to make it short, clearly, it is not short, but I tried okay. So grab a cup of tea or coffee and I hope you will enjoy it. (Trigger warning: rape is mention & suicide thought is mention)
I am an African handicap woman. I was born with a twin, and she has the same disability. I was born with a handicap name “osteogenesis imperfecta” also knowing as glass bones. Glasbones makes your bones weaker, in my cast, I have broken a lot of things, mostly my legs, but I have strained a lot of muscles and my arms a lot, just by small things like sleeping on the wrong side. I have broken my legs about 80 times - one time by sleeping on it on the wrong angle. I broke them even before I could walk. I remember my mom telling me she didn’t know why I or my twin keep breaking our body, and she thought she did something wrong, and we started breaking our legs when we just a few months old (maybe even weeks), and the doctor and nurse keep both of us in the hospital at some point because they thought our parent was abusing us or hurting us, while been in the care of the doctor and nurse my sister and I broke our legs again, so they gave us back to our parent. My parent didn’t know anything about handicaps at that point.
I was born in Rwanda, but we left and lived in Burundi because of genocide. While living in Burundi, and again my sister and I broke something our parent took us to the hospital again, this time there was a doctor from Denmark, and he explains to my parent what we had, because of Genocide at that point, and the doctor who told our parent that in Denmark my sister and I would have a bigger chance for a normal life, so we all moved to Denmark, at that point, I got a little sister.
(I was in a wheelchair until I was 18 years old. It wasn’t that I couldn’t walk, it was just that I keep breaking my legs again and again and my legs were too fragile, to not break so a wheelchair was a safe choice, and also I had to go rehabilitations each time after the operation or when I broke anything cause my legs muscle was too weak. I simply can’t even count or remember how many operations.)
My parents were very religious people, my father was (and still is) a minister and both my uncles was too (also still are), and I am not religious today, but growing up with religious people I was very much. At some point in life, I got another little sister, right before I started preschool. When I & my twin started preschool, that was a lot of concern cause that point we had lived in Denmark for a few years, but my twin and I never played with any other kids because our disability, my parents was afraid that young kids didn’t understand that they had to be careful so they never put us in kindergarten. So when we started preschool it was a lot to take in, 1. Because we never really play with any kids before, and 2. because we couldn’t speak the language. We had only been surrendered by our parents or in the hospital at that time, so we could only speak our native language. Of course, we learn that the danish language but it just took some time, after a few years, the teacher also learns that the reason it was harder for me to understand and learning was because I was dyslexic, I simply had more problem with writing and speak that language. (any language actually)
The 10 years in school were hell. My twin and sisters and I was the only black girls in the whole school, actually the only black kids in that city we lived in. I & my twin was bullied in school because our handicap, people would take part in our wheelchair and hide it. We wouldn’t get invited to party, or to play with other kids. A guy in class once told me that he would never date a handicap girl cause handicap was a burden and probable no guy would ever have a burn like that.
The teacher was awful, I remember one of the teachers laugh at me when I had to read out loud. Another one of the teacher videotape one of my presentation and then made me watch it again and again then used the time to point everything I did wrong, and he did it for years, that video was not just a once time but many times over the years! He also would make me read out loud and again tape it and make me listen to it and point out the mistakes. Imagine what that does to a little girl in a wheelchair who is already getting bullied for her handicap, and skin color, or hair, and to come and should just sit and listen to everything you did wrong, how you stood, speak, and moved. My confidence was pretty much non-existing at that point. I know the intention was good, but for years? to a little girl? in a wheelchair? with no friends. I literally can’t see a video or hear myself talk to this day without automatic searching for mistakes. even if I see myself in the mirror sometimes, I sometimes catch myself thinking “what can I fix”.
I remember when asking what I could be or my options for the future and the teacher looked at me and said: “You won’t do anything, You probably won’t even finish this school with good grades, or get into high school.” He told me that “Handicap people don’t get a good education,” and then when on and on about that “people with dyslexia don’t really get good grades or in university”. I remember being so confused, so what? Am I supposed to just give up and say “Well if the odds are against me? I just had to quit on life and not trying anything.” I always was a stubborn kid, if anyone told me, no, or how to live my life, I always wanted to prove people wrong, because the idea that someone outside my body, my mind, told me what my limited was in life just never sat right with me. I also had a pedagogue (google translate said pedagogue I don’t think that is a word so here is another version of it = "support teacher") who was sent from hell.. Like imagine my teacher beside her, they look like an angel beside her.. so that fun. (sarcasm)
After finishing those 10 years in hell.. I mean school. I went to boarding school, actually, it was my twins' sisters idea she wanted to go, and I kind of follow her, cause after years of talking to my teacher and them not really helping me with what I could do or be in the future, and only telling me what I couldn’t be. I literally had NO idea what to do with my future, I knew I wanted to go into high school and finished it just to prove my teacher wrongs, but that not really a good intention and why? what was I gonna used the education for other than say “I told you I could".. so when she suggested boarding school for herself, I just jump on that train and was like “why not, I literally have nothing ells plan. Like NOTHING”
Before that year on boarding school, I had a few friends from church, and they really were the best, but beside them, I had no one ells, no one from school. Nothing. I had my sisters, and that was about that. It was also that year my parents got a divorce and my father moved back to Rwanda, but that is another story, another time maybe. That year on that boarding school taught me how to have friendships. Like I said I had one of the best friends from the church before that, she was one of the best people, I still think that to this day but before going to boarding school we were slowly dripping from each other, she had her life, and I had no life. She got new friends, and she could go to a cafe, and party with her friends and I had a religious mom that didn’t allow it, and a wheelchair that limited me on where I could go, and I need help so I couldn’t be as impulse as any other teenage at my age. I had to plan everything before doing it.
Got friends on the boarding school, for the first time, I remember someone hugging me for the first time, (and yes I mean hugs, get your thought out of the gutter ) and I was confused cause normal no one in school would touch me, or hugs me, and treat me like everyone ells, (even black people from church feel uncomfortable around me, wouldn't hug me some grown-up couldn’t look me in the eyes or speak directly to me, they always had to speak to my younger sister or mum about me..) but on this boarding school, I was seen and got treat liked everyone ells. Which was new and weird. I remember for the first time thinking “So I am not the problem? There is nothing wrong with me?” as a kid when I started noticing I was treated differently, I first thought it was because I was a bad kid, it was because I didn’t try enough to be a good kid. I remember always trying extra hard to be “good”. A school I thought it was because I was in a wheelchair, or it was because of my skin color, or because of my dyslexic, cause I & my twin was the only black kids in that school, and the only handicap and she got bullied too. In the church, I thought it was because I wasn’t black enough, (it was a church for black people) maybe I was an action to white? that I was doing something wrong cause everyone ells around me didn’t get treated like that, so I must be the problem. (I later realized that the problem was my handicap made black people uncomfortable and they didn't know how to act, and end up ignoring me in some case, and the school was just racist, and of course, had a problem with me being handicap too.) But at the boarding school, I got treat like everyone ells, I actually was one of those teenagers that were invited to everything and talked to every friend's group and were included in everything and that was new and exciting. (I also stop using my wheelchair that year, long story)
After that I went one year in high school and then was “recommend” to drop out, (long story), and then finished a “trade education” in an elite class, that was so cool, after that I went 6 months and not knowing what to do, and then I decided to try high school again, but this time on a line that focuses on economic, and mathematic instead of my first attempt that was biology, chemistry, and geography which I never had in public school (long story). I finished with fine grades, but I was tired by the last six months at that education. I got into a business economics university (BTW. school, university, education, and health care is free in Denmark). I later drop out after 2 months because I was diagnosed with stress, and depression, at that point I had been in school for 17 years, and I was 23. I was tired. I took some class on dyslexia, cause it wasn’t that “hard” or on a niveau* as university and I only had one class every week, so I could manage that.
It was the first time I was diagnosed with mental health, and I was the first one in my friend group or family to ever get diagnosed with it, so not only didn’t I understand it, I had no one to talk about it. My mom didn’t “believe” it, she will say that is just sometimes white people made up to not do a thing, it was a bad excuse for being lazy and I should just pray and it will “go away”, or it was because my “connection” to gods was gone. My doctor didn’t really give my anything, she just told me it was probably a fases*, but she gave me no recommendation to doctor/therapy or medication or meditation or how to get help, and I didn’t ask cause I literally have never heard about it before, only when people said “oh I so stress about this exam” or “oh this weather is making me so depression”, I never thought it was something you could get diagnosed with. So I didn’t really do anything and thought that it would just go away.
The next year I stared at a business economics university, and that year I got into 2,5 years before dropping out. A lot happened in those 2,5 years. The one thing that affects me the most and changed me and made me drop out was I was rape while waiting on a bus. I was a virgin at that time, cause as I said I grew up in a religious family, so I learn "you wait to marriage" and I decide “or you wait to someone you love” and I never meet a guy I liked, loved or at that point. it changes me. That point I was just starting to date again cause at the age 18ish, a guy drugged me, and kissed me, and when I confronted him, he told me that it was because he thought I walked like I was too good for guys, and it annoyed him that I always told guys no, and no one should tell him no and he wanted to proved that he could have me if he wanted to. It was my first kiss, so that pretty much just made me not feel safe around guys and not wanted to dating or wanted to have anything with any guys for a few years. Before I was rape, I had just starting to date, and I was talking and writing, and on skype with this guy for 2 years, and we were gonna meet, but then again that is another story. The rape change me and made me drop out. I got diagnosed again, this time with depression and PTSD.
I took a year free and started getting therapy and group session for my PTSD, and after a year I started at university again this time it was a computer science line. it was hell 2.0 So that was fun. It was an improved version of hell. This time I got friends, but I also got diagnosed with anxiety, so I had anxiety, depression, and PTSD.. so that was fun, and even tho the other students were okay, all of the teachers were male and a few had toxic views on women on a computer science line. At one time, I was in a group with a girl who was an exchange student and who told me that she never really seen a black girl before Denmark, and how she first thought that all black people had aids, and lived in small tent. That was on my first day meeting her, it only got worst after that. Like I wrote this was an improved version of hell. A growing up version of it. With gender discrimination, racism, and slut-shaming.
Oh did I forget to tell you about the slut-shaming? let me explain: I got with a guy from my semester for the first time after the rape, and he told all my co-student at a party that I was a slut who would let anyone “hit” it. It was extremely fun to hear about it Monday morning from those who were at the party. (sarcasm, it was indeed not fun) I kind of tap out after that mental, and started to isolated myself and only talked to one student from school. I was just tired. I did however started group therapy again. 2,5 years into the university I again decide to drop out. Too said I was tired was an understatement. At that point, I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
My heart broke twist that year before I drop out. I have only had my heart has broken a few times, the first time when I was drugged, the second time when I was raped, (not because I know my rapist, It was a stranger waiting on a bus, but my heart broke because I thought I had going through enough at that point, with my handicap, bullied and diagnosed and dyslexia, and the guy who drugged me and stole my first kiss to prove a point and now rape? my heart broke because I lost a bit of faith in the world at that time, and I felt that I had not anything more to give, that I had nothing ells to take. I couldn't understand why I had to go through that much pain and my classmates didn't have to go through just one of those I went through. It didn't seem fair)
Those two times in that year my heart broke again and again. I still can’t talk about how or why, just that, it changed me, just like those two other episodes changed me and I can never be the person I was before I was drug or rape, those "new" two times changed me too, in a hard and hurtful way. I haven’t even really talked about it with my family or friends, I don’t think I ever will.. but those two heart break was the one that made me break down and decide to drop out and to change my life. Without those two heart break I wouldn't be the place I am today.
That was 3 years ago. I was in a weird place in life. I started realizing that even tho I finished a few degreed, and I got good grades, I was good at what I was doing and I loved it, I loved learning, I never really liked the education. I took some of them because I could, to prove those who once told me I couldn't get in, that not only could I get in, I could do it with good grades. I realized I didn’t choose educations that I loved, or who made me happy, even tho I do love numbers, I took it because they made me look good when I was finished. cause I know a person with a computer degreed earns a lot of money and accounts earned a lot of money. I thought that if I could finish a degree, I would get the happiness, I would get the respect and I would feel accepted. But each time I started something new, and I got closer and closer to finish it, my heart would drop, I knew the first 6 months of going into it a new education, that I didn’t like the education, but I keep hoping that I would change my mind, and I would fall in love with it.
3 years ago, I got to a point I was a bit burn down. My suicide thought was bigger than ever. (wrote a post about it here: https://nouw.com/niyonshima/om-at-blive-30-ar-35367354) and I talked to my sisters and mom and said “I need a break from school from anything education and I just need to find out how to love life again, cause right now I hate myself, and I waked up with anxiety and I can’t sleep because of my PTSD gives me nightmares almost every night. I don’t want to live, not because I hated my life so much, but because the pain I carry every day is too much to carry, I keep feeling like I’m drowning.”
When I thought about suicide it was never because I felt unloved, it was because the pain hurt too much. It was because I was too tired to keep carry it and hid it all behind a smile..
So for 2 years, so I stop going out, and being social, and I kind of drop everything to focus on my mental health, to learn about my mental health. It helps, I don’t felt like I’m drowning anymore I haven’t felt like that for a year. I haven’t had nightmares for a year or a suicide thought. Last year I finally started to feel a little bit happier, and find happiness in the small things, it has been so long since I did that. I decided to used that year to find out who I was, what I wanted to do with my life, and what would make me wanna jump out of the bed each morning of happiness and joy. This year, I was gonna be active/social again, but COVID ruining that for me, but I still wanna do some work on my mental health, cause I decide to start a new education next year. I know, I know. But I realized last year that the thing I always wanted to do was to help people, but my teacher always told me “I couldn’t and who would want help from a handicap, etc.” So I never took that root, cause I thought he was right, I try safe choice that was economic or computer science, but my heart always wanted to help other people, so I wanted to educate myself as a social worker, in a line that focuses on diversity, so I can help younger people that were like me. It just a small step on my big dream, I wanted to open a business at one point and do some workshop and learn to help others in the situation that I have been in, make them feel seen, to overcome and gain confidence, and dream big, and go after their dreams. I just had to conquer my own dreams before I can help others conquer theirs, and that is by small step like finished and started my social worker bachelor degreed. I also wanted to create a community for people that help to build each other up and support each other, cause we need more like that.
So I am not nearly done with becoming me, Lumiere, myself. I’m just in a new chapter or a new book. I don’t think I ever would stop becoming a new version of me, cause that would make life to boring. I don’t know if you read it this far, and I did try to make it as small and short as I could, so I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you for reading. I know it looks like I had no friends on those pictures but I didn't have time to ask my friends if I could put them on my blogs, so you just get a lot of selfi of me becoming me.
I'm just gonna end the Blogspot with this, and go out and fight crime or maybe just meditated and go to bed..
"Sugar spice, and everything nice These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little girls. But Professor Utonium accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concotion, Chemical X. Thus, The Powerpuff Girls were born. Using their ultra-super powers Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup have dedicated their lives to fighting crime and the forces of evil."