To The Little Girl, I Once Was

Thank you for your dreams; they shape my reality.
Thank you for not allowing the smallness of your beginnings
to determine the reach of your imagination.

To the Little girl, I once was
Many times life seeks to tell me who I am
Who I should be, based on where I came from
It tells me that where I belong, what defines me
That no matter how hard I work, that’s where I will end up
There are many days when I am tempted to believe this……

Then I am reminded that where I came from is royalty
My origins are not the ghetto, that’s where apartheid drove my people to
My origins are the vast green fields of nature, where women walk around practically naked and unashamed, on the contrary – proud
My origins are a proud people, The great Zulu nation. Part of the even greater African nation.
Where beauty, celebration, abundance and Ubuntu reigned supreme
Where being born is enough to determine my worth.
Where there is no unemployment, illiteracy and unworthiness

To the little girl, I once was.
I have tried to assimilate to what they told me I should be if I want a bright future
Sometimes I win and it almost feels like I belong
But then there are times when my name, my hair and my imperfect command of the language of assimilation betrays my origins, once again I am the ‘other’
Despised, feared, tolerated, not because of anything that I have done
But because I am a reminder of the guilt of their ancestors,
I remind them that they come from a people who could be that cruel,
That they are still reaping the benefits of that cruelty

Just when the impostor syndrome is kicking in
I remember that I am an African in Africa, I belong
I am worthy because I am,
I might be different, maybe have a lot more to learn but definitely never inferior
I am reminded that I too am worthy of a seat at the table

To the little girl I once was, sometimes when life has kicked me to the ground
When I have faced another rejection, another closed door
Reminded of the words that were said to you in anger,
by those who were meant to protect and nurture you
‘You will never amount to anything they said
In those moments I am almost tempted to believe them
Then I am reminded that even they do not have the power to define me

I remember that you always knew you were meant for greatness, even though your circumstances dictated otherwise
Even though you were more often the poor among the poor, yet you still carried yourself like you knew you were somebody
To the little girl I once was, your dreams are my reality
I lean on your blind faith.

Published by Busisiwe Hlatswayo

MBA (Henley), Career Coach and Founder Black Women in the workplace www.blackwomenintheworkplace.com

2 thoughts on “To The Little Girl, I Once Was

  1. I needed to read this. I am currently in the poor and dreaming stage but I know one day I would look back at the girl I am now and I will be proud of her. Her tenacity, her courage in the face of numerous adversities. How she can cry for days but still pick herself up and find a solution. I know one day I will attain my goals and live a dream life even better than my imagination. I love me now, I’m trying to be happy now, so that when I have all that I want I will love me even more. To the little girl I am now, you got this! You belong here and you will make it! I love you *inserts my name*

    Like

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