How did I do it?

The title for this post is a question that I have been asked on repeated occasions, especially within the past two weeks.

The question is relating to me having a desire to live, and not wanting to party anymore (and by not party anymore, I mean days on end partying and essentially doing this on the daily), and not wanting to do drugs and to just essentially get better. Of course my desire to change came well before this post and well before going into university, but real change and its progress happened with these key events.

I wouldn’t say that there is only one thing that made me want to change, or that there is a magic pill or potion out there. There was an array of factors, events, happenings in my life that made me want to change. And by change, I don’t mean over night and I don’t mean the easiest change either.

Part of this change started when I was at the hospital, after a suicide attempt, and I saw an old friend there. I tried to avoid her because I felt embarrassed. A week later, I found out she was there for the same thing, attempted suicide, but I only found out after she hung herself and her funeral was being arranged. It hurt me because I didn’t say “Hi” and it scared me because I thought, “That could have been me.” I decided right then and there, I wanted to live.

I still struggled with thoughts of not wanting to die, but wanting to escape pain. That’s what strange about me and my attempts, I never really wanted to die; I just wanted my pain to stop. Someone might consider me weak for taking that route, but I don’t think I am weak given my experiences and the fact that I am still here.

I then went onto to really look at the people I chose to let into my life. I began to change my friends completely. I literally changed my number, and stopped talking to people I didn’t think were necessarily good for the changes I wanted to make. And someone might think “well, that is rude thing to do.” No, it’s not rude, especially when certain types of people are toxic. (ugh, toxic… what an ugly word to use).

But even that, wasn’t all. I had an academic counsellor ask me “What do you want to do when you are done school.” My answer literally was nothing. I got into university, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with it when I was done. So I started setting goals for myself, and I started telling people about them when they asked me, “So what is it that you want to do when you are done school?” I proudly tell them what my dreams are. Trust me, the most inexpensive way to make yourself feel better about life is to have dreams and share your dreams with others (And also let others share their own dreams with you too!)

I also decided I wanted to eat healthy and start exercising again. Two things that naturally can make anyone feel good.

But that is not even everything that contributes to my desire to live. The number one major change in my life is this little fella.

Now, I am not saying go out and ask your sister or brother or someone else close to you to go and have a baby. I am just saying, find someone who you love dearly, and just think for a second, what their life would be like if they didn’t have you. I thought about my nephew many times, especially when I thought about how much I wanted my pain to end. I thought about how I wouldn’t see him walk, or how I wouldn’t hear him say my name (or his attempts to say my name…Auntie Momi, Auntie Nomi, Auntie Noni) or thought how he wouldn’t be able to make me smile by just being him.

I thought about how if I wasn’t there, he would only hear stories about me doing silly things and he would only see pictures of me doing even sillier things. I wouldn’t be able to be silly for him, or I wouldn’t be able to make him smile and laugh.

We wouldn’t be able to make our own memories of each other together.

So in a nutshell, I decided who I wanted to keep in my life (people who weren’t “toxic”); decided to have dreams and share those dreams whenever I can (and let other people share their own dreams with me, and really listen to what they are saying); decided I wanted to live healthy and be healthy; and most importantly, decided I wanted to be there in the future of my new nephew.

Some advice to people who want to change their lives: Find people who are good for you and your life; dream and dream big; and find someone you love and think about what his/her future would be like without the good person that you want to be, then ask yourself: How do you want to be remembered?

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