When Giving Up Is Not An Option

giving up

Sometimes as humans, we are so quick to give up.

How many times have we been turned down and decided to stop?

How often do we take rejection as a sign that it’s not meant to be?

Seek others’ approval before running after our dreams?

Feel defeat because things are not going our way?

As a refugee, I started facing rejection at a very young age. For starters, I fled my country when I was 8 years old and had to fend for myself when my parents disappeared for a period of 2 weeks. When I eventually reunited with our parents, my naive self thought I was going back home to Rwanda. This didn’t happen. We went to live in refugee camps where we faced death right in the eyes every day. In these camps, malaria, cholera, typhoid, etc. claimed over half of the refugees in the camp. We would wake up every day and find ourselves surrounded with dead bodies. At this point, l felt like life wasn’t worth living. This was too much for my little 8 year old brain and body to handle. Fear was my best friend.

One day I went to Lake Kivu to fetch water and wash a shirt my mother had bought me and laid on a “log” to help me swim towards the shirt (I couldn’t swim) and when I made the small leap to grab my shirt, the log turned and it was a dead body. There was not enough room to bury bodies so these bodies were being thrown in the lake. We used this water for drinking, cooking, washing clothes, dishes and our bodies. Life wasn’t fair. I wanted to give up.

When my family eventually got to the USA, I was bullied in high school for being “different”. Every day, I would want to quit going to school because I had suffered so much. It felt like life was not giving me a break. In my adult life, I lost a daughter at 27 weeks pregnant. No one could explain why it happened. I was told it’s like getting into a car accident. I felt lost and angry and many more emotions. After this, I really wanted to give up.

But even with all these life shattering experiences, giving up was not an option. I had to be resilient. Resilient for my young son, resilient for my family, resilient for my country and resilient for the world. I want to leave this world a better place for the future generation.

So I put myself to college, started being involved on campus, started my public speaking journey, got a master’s degree with a 3.9 GPA, and wrote a book about my journey, hoping that a tired soul, one who is just tired of living and wanted a break, one that’s on the edge of giving up would pick up the book, hear my story and decide to keep pushing.

So, how many people are saying NO to you? Are tired of your bills and are just stressed out? Have a teenager that’s out of control and are ready to throw in the towel? Can’t get telemarketers to stop calling you? Can’t get those sales numbers high enough for your manager? Can’t get your business off the ground? Going through a health crisis? How many times have you wanted to give up and tell yourself “I Can’t”? Next time you want to give up, remember my story and say to yourself, if that 8 year old girl can do it, so can I. Yes You Can and Never Give Up! Your family depends on your resilience. Your business depends on your resilience. Humanity depends on your resilience.

If you think this article can be helpful to someone, please share!

Photo by Theodor Hensolt

11 thoughts on “When Giving Up Is Not An Option”

  1. Hi Clamentine,

    What a powerful story.

    Today, I have been inspired by so many powerful women.
    First of all, Marilyn Mosby, the youngest State Attorney General from Baltimore who is fighting for justice for the African American young generation. Second of all, Nasima, a badass and the first Bangladesh female surfer who was kicked out by her parents for refusing their demand to be a prostitute and insist on surfing even when many people call her a whore for getting into the water. And thenDeesha Dyer, the White House African American social secretary who was a college drop out and did not give up by still pursuing education in a community college which landed her the opportunity for internship in the White House.
    And now you.

    I am from Bali Indonesia.

    I wrote articles after articles about social injustice in my island and I have been oppressed. My writings have been deleted and my account has been blocked because I am considered a threat.

    I survived physical and emotional abuses, sexual harassment and assaults,bullying, depression, racism, sexism, and societal’s pressure about being a perfect woman.

    I was suicidal and I bounced back every time because there is vanity in me to prove them that their oppression will not weaken me.

    However, I must admit that I have been tired of rejection, tired of trying and do not seem to get anywhere.

    I am now building my courage despite my fears.
    Thank you for sharing your story because it does inspire me.
    It brings back my fire again.

    1. 100% True. As they say, pain and suffering are blessings in disguise. We may not understand it while it is happening but eventually we will thank God/Allah for all the tests. A beautiful rose won’t be a rose without its thorns. :)

  2. Purna,

    I’m glad y article inspired you. You are truly doing some great work. Sometimes great meaningful work comes with rejection, danger, backlash, etc. This doesn’t mean that we give up. So many women depend on you. Maybe seeing your resilience and persistence would encourage them to join your movement. Keep up the work and you have also inspired me. We need more people like you in this world.


  3. Very inspiring!

    I have several stories of being neglected and bullied.. it is not a good experience, indeed. Of course, there are times giving up is easier than moving on. But you are right, we have to be resilient because our family depends on us. :)

    Have a nice day!

  4. Thank you for such a powerful story. I am sometimes disheartened by society and our behavior to one another but when I read your story I was motivated to continue to work hard and to continue to help people who cannot help themselves.
    Keep up the good work and do your best to represent yourself, country, family and the rest of the world..

  5. thank you for your story, journey, call it what you will. only through pain and suffering can we find our true selves, and reach out to others, find our strength and be free. free of fear , of selfishness,illusion, envy, pettiness.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *