This was one that took a lot for me to write. I deleted the draft several times because I was not quite sure how to approach my story.
I grew up as an only child. This is what led to me finding comfort in writing and reading as I often only had myself for entertainment.
As I child I was made aware pretty early the downside of being an only child to an immigrant parent. It meant that all the hopes and dreams my mother had were placed on my shoulders. This had its pros and cons.
The pros meant that early on I had the drive to succeed and make something of myself, however, this same reason was also a con it meant that I also placed a lot of weight on my shoulders which made me have anxiety when it comes to my future. I was desperate to be a people pleaser and till this day I feel the ramifications of this thought process. Luckily day by day I am learning how to exercise boundaries.
As I got older I was then made aware of my body. This was an interesting one. growing up I heard aunties mention my bum and often asking my mum where I got it from and she would laugh saying it wasn’t her.
But just as I became aware of my body that also meant that men did too.
Sexual assault is something that is spoken about these days in great length but while I was growing up it was an incredibly taboo conversation and victim-blaming was often the course of action taken. Which only further enforced the ideology that yet again I was disappointing people
My stepdad molested me for about two years. It was a strange two years because as you can imagine coming into puberty and not understanding why my body would react to him touching me but also me feeling like that this was wrong and I would feel so dirty. Child molestation is rampant in the African community but that is a topic for another day. Yet this added another layer to me. A layer that I would start to shed years later.
I then had my nudes leaked on the internet and was tormented for years on end. The butt of everyone’s jokes all while I was battling impostor syndrome, suicidal thoughts, trauma from my childhood and a splash of body confidence issues.
The change in myself came in 2019 October when I finally took control of everything that had happened by telling my story (if you are curious to read it click here) and that is when the real journey of Becoming Vanessa began.
I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and for once I could breathe. You know that feeling when you kick off your shoes after being on your feet on then and you can sit down and breathe. Yeah, that.
The next de-layering came when my mother returned from Sierra Leone and I finally addressed the molestation I had faced at the hands of my stepfather and how I felt she was not there for me and the impact this had on my life. There is still a lot more that need to be done in this realm as having these conversations are never a one and done situation BUT the first step is having the conversation.
So while this blog post is about Becoming Vanessa. I have only started becoming Vanessa over the last 12 months which is insane when you think about it. But I am pleased I no longer live in the shadows of who I was and I can now see some light at the end of the tunnel.
So cheers to the future and stayed tuned for Chapter 2 of becoming Vanessa.