I have always wanted to impress my sisters. I always admired how beautiful, intelligent, and independent they were (and still are). I wanted to be as strong and assertive as them. My big sisters, my role models. Everything I did was to show them that I could be just like them.
I wanted them to be proud of me, and that was how I lived my life. Hiding my true self, because I felt that my true self didn’t meet their standards. I was always in their shadow, just the baby sister who didn’t have a voice, and just blended in. No one ever looked at me as being capable of taking care of myself.
I was so busy trying to impress them that I had no idea who I was. I had no idea what I liked or who I wanted to be because I was so busy pretending to be who they wanted me to be. And even with all of the pretending, I still didn’t measure up. I was never smart enough, not independent enough, not strong enough.
I didn’t find myself until I started advocating for my youngest brother. My brother has Autism, and I have devoted most of my adult life to making sure that his needs are met. By standing up for him, I was suddenly aware that I have never stood up for myself! The true test of my strength came when my older sister went through a traumatic experience.
Having to step up and be brave, strong, and confident, I had to trust my abilities. I quickly learned that God was and is always in control. I prayed that my strength would be revealed - but I didn’t have a choice. Being strong was the only option. I had to show up for her, and I had to be strong for her husband, my mother, and my siblings.
That season was incredibly difficult for me. But as a result, I stopped trying to impress everyone else and started taking care of myself. I decided that I would no longer live in anyone’s shadow and that I deserved to be respected just as much as anyone else.
I grew tired of pretending to be something I was not. I found my voice through standing up for people who couldn’t stand up for themselves – and in the process, I found myself.
“Love does not fail.
There is no way that you can do
things from a place of love and fail."
I learned that love does not fail. There is no way that you can do things from a place of love and fail. I learned to be kind, but firm. I learned that being independent doesn’t mean I cannot ask for help. And most importantly, I learned that putting God first is the only way to live.
I am still a work in progress. I am learning and growing every day. I have learned to see the positive in all situations, and I am someone who brings comfort and positivity to those who surround me. For years, I was so angry and annoyed with my sisters, because I thought they were trying to make me someone I was not. I now understand they only wanted me to be true to myself. They wanted me to be my best self.
Fatou Saccoh (love.and.light) is an autism advocate, educator, advisor, and realtor. She enjoys kickboxing, football and helping people. She’s also a Texan and lover.
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