My Journey to Overcoming Adversity

where there’s a wheel, there’s a way

An adverse birth

Life can be such an irony – I was born on the 1st of April, yes April Fool’s Day, and trust me that’s not the worst of it. What a joke, it’s April Fool’s Day and I’m born breech with a parasitic twin, meaning I was born with my underdeveloped twin’s abdominal organs inside of me. This meant that my abdominal organs were duplicated so 4 kidneys, 2 appendices, duplicated colons etc.

To make matters worse my spinal cord was not fully formed, it protruded outwards in a fatty tumour like mass called a lymphoma. That led to a diagnosis called Lypo Myelomeningocele which is the reason behind my paralysis. With all those abnormalities I’m quite certain my mom hoped it was all an April Fool’s joke and that someone would say ‘April Fools!, here’s your normal new born’.

That never happened. Instead, I stayed with her in hospital for 2 years undergoing corrective surgery. She went on to name me Bongumesiya, an African name which means ‘give reverence to the Messiah(God)’ which is formidable given the adversity that she was presented with.

Overcoming adversity daily

I consider myself a joker because I try to make light of every adverse situation I’m faced with. My disability, like many adversities, is an uncomfortable constant: so making light of it helps me find solace in it.

I make fun of my one leg being smaller than the other; I poke fun at my disability and even my tough upbringing. This makes people around me comfortable and they find it easy to approach me. It helps me see things positively and gives me momentum to strive.

To that extent I’ve been able obtain a Bachelor of Commerce degree, play sport at a National level, start-up a disability rights fraternity, and most recently start work as an intern at a leading multinational company.

The ability to step back from your situation and perceive things differently is key to overcoming adversity.

Being born with duplicated organs means I was born with abundance; and naturally, that abundance that manifested itself inside of me had to translate to my life externally.

There are people born without limbs, sight, speech, hearing and in that regard I was blessed because I was born with more than enough. My many scars as a result of corrective surgeries keep me grounded and remind me of how much I’ve overcome.

You can overcome adversity too

We are all faced with adversity; be it psychological, physical, social, calamity induced or even self-diagnosed.

My disability does not make me immune to the rest of life’s challenges but I apply the same philosophy to overcoming those challenges.

When faced with a challenge I envision myself overcoming the challenge and then I slowly take steps toward actually overcoming it.

Surround yourself with positive and inspirational people who will force you to see yourself beyond your adversity and help you become the greatest version of yourself.

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