— By Maria from Uganda
From a very early age, I started to feel like I didn’t fit in. I was awkward, shy, and an introvert. There is nothing profound about that revelation, because most people feel that way about their life. I mean we’ve been doing this human thing for thousands of years and we are still discovering new things about our minds and our bodies every day. Being Human is not easy! Dealing with other human beings is also not easy. Depending on our personality, background, culture, beliefs, or environment, we all handle it differently. My naïve adolescent self decided that I needed to find a way to fix my wallflower nature. I wanted a book that would help me figure out the best way to deal with people. I felt it was necessary to become a person that fits in effortlessly, someone that everyone loves. At the time I didn’t know the true meaning of the terms introvert or extrovert or the extent to which they affect our environment. I would just pray for God to change me. I would daydream about being someone else, some beautiful girl somewhere who was popular and successful.
When I reached 19 years old I started searching through libraries and bookstores. I started buying books mostly from the self-help section. I must have looked so strange in the bookstore. But, despite all the books, my best learning experiences have been life experiences.
My twenties have been a decade long lesson on mastering the art of being an adult human being. I thought my husband would be in my life by now. I thought my mother would hold my first-born child by now. I thought I’d start gingerly climbing up the career ladder in one lateral line. However, in this decade my mother passed away. I got a job in my dream organization and realized how damaging and unhealthy competition can be. I have not met my husband. My room is still untidy. Life is every shade of grey you can think of, instead of just being plain black and white.
In my strange imagination, I can see my introvert myself as the soul who was probably shoved into the birth canal, to start her journey as the female Maria Nabatanzi. I can see myself refusing all attempts by my heavenly spiritual teachers to convince me to come to earth and learn some universal lessons about being human. I can imagine me as a soul who told the teachers that I agree with ALL the theoretical lessons but I have no interest in learning the practical side of being a human on earth. I probably threw tantrums and spent time in the naughty corner of heaven for my behavior. Of course none of that worked because I am here.
I am here on earth as Maria Nabatanzi.
When I got to University in the first week, I realized the opportunities available to me were endless! How could I let such good fortune pass me by? One evening I sat in my new bedroom and gave myself an internal pep talk. I wasn’t going to let my timidity stop me from living my life. So I got dressed in my favorite dress, slid on my leather boots, grabbed my jacket and matched out the room to my first social event alone. My stubborn soul has finally accepted the wisdom of my teachers.
Life puts me in situations that challenge me. This is what I think God would call LIVING. But it’s not my lesson alone. We must all bring something new to the table through human experience. Just look at all your favorite heroes; whether they’re a saint, president of sports hero throughout life, they did one thing. They taught you a new way of living, a new way of handling a challenging situation.
I bet my spiritual teachers are high fiving themselves in jubilation, “You see, she is not a lost cause after all!”
Visit Maria’s blog: Happily Flawed