Defeating the Demon to become a Barrister.
Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you.
Happy New Year. I wanted to start a new year with a story of hope and encouragement. This is a true story from the heart of England, UK. The interview took place last year in September.
The primary lesson of this true story is ‘Never Ever Give up on Hope’. Few details have been changed but the rest has been told exactly as it occurred. I want to thank this person from depths of my heart for sharing her story with us.
Sarah Ban Breathnach
STORY OF ENCOURAGEMENT -JOURNEY TO BECOMING A BARRISTER
Maya was 13 years old when she developed serious issues with the way she looked. Where her insecurities came from was a mystery even to herself. People always told her about how amazing her family is, from her father to her brothers all too beautiful. Maya have many brothers and but always wished she had a sister. She had to wait a life time to see that wish come through. She was in college when she finally got a little sister. There was a huge age difference between them obviously.
Maya was slightly average in size, with beautiful long hair that reached her waist, glowing face and radiant eyes. She looked bright and cheerful no one would ever think she had a sickness of any kind. But there lived a demon in her mind that constantly told her how imperfect she is, how she needs to be certain size to be lovable. Ever since she was 9 she felt a need to hold unto love, companionship. She envied other girls, wished she were like them but if wishes were horses beggars would definitely ride. She also suffered from low levels of haemoglobin and made repeated visits to the hospital for iron fusion. Having low haemoglobin levels or having low iron in the body is definitely a big deal.
Haemoglobin (Hgb) is the major substance in red blood cells, and its level indicates the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. Studies have shown that low haemoglobin, which may result in anaemia, is more common among patients with heart failure than it is among people in the general population.
Studies have shown that if you have anaemia and heart failure, your risk of death and complications are increased appreciably — with as much as 30 percent to 60 percent additional risk of death and hospitalization from heart failure.
People with anaemia have a lower-than-normal level of red blood cells (RBCs) in their blood. It can cause headaches, weakness, fatigue, and many other symptoms. It can also lead to long-term health problems if not treated.
It wasn’t easy for little Maya knowing all this about her condition. It played with her mind, made her think everyone around her hated her and just couldn’t wait for her to die. Well it wasn’t really her fault if she was paranoid, they all thought she was possessed. Her whole extended family thought she was possessed by evil spirits. It wasn’t that easy for a 13 year old girl. She probably expected a little bit of comfort from her father, A mother to tell her “its ok” or words of encouragement from her brothers, but no…not at all.
At the age of 15, Maya made a visit to the hospital where she heard the most shocking news. The doctor said her condition was getting worse as the symptoms are kicking in even more. He said the possibility of her getting blind by the age of 20 was high as her blood count was very low and diet extremely bad. It wasn’t the kind of news a 15 year old would love to hear. She stayed all night crying, unsure of the future. But all in all Maya still had a dream.
It was always her dream to become a barrister. She always imagined seeing herself in the Britain superior court in that elegant Britain lawyer getup. Yes she had dream even in many unsure circumstances. She had very low self-esteem. It wasn’t her fault, Any 15 year old would feel that way, especially a girl. She never appreciated beauty, when you’re going through such low self-esteem, you don’t think you’re beautiful. At some point she hated everything around her. She thought that’s the best way to survive in this cruel world, but then it didn’t really seem to work.
When Maya thought things couldn’t get any worse, her father thought it was about time she got engage in her early age. His reason for doing this was unclear to her. It was a disaster waiting to happen. She got through school with lots of hurt. Plus at that time she had to deal with body image and depression. Every time she try to express herself or get angry for once they all say “oh she’s finally going insane”, oh i told you she was possessed”. It was so intense her father thought it was actually the evil spirit in her at work, so he decided to take her to Bangladesh for exorcism. It was a painful experience for Maya.
Things changed as Maya got into college. She decided to live life to the fullest. No more sleepless nights no more self-pity. She moved on. Her appearance transformed overnight, she became this stunning girl everyone wanted to know. Her extended family was still an exception though, they were all jealous of her for some reason. She couldn’t understand why, but then she didn’t let that get to her. She became stronger. Despite all the hassles in her life she still chased her dream of becoming a barrister. She worked really hard, got her A-levels and went to the university to study law.
Though she changed, managed to get a few Friends, admirers. But still she was afraid. At 20 she feared that one day she’d wake up and everything would be pitch black, in other words she feared she would go blind someday. She still had the sickness, still getting iron pumped into her body.
Maya also had an eating disorder which was the main reason she had little contact with her fiancée. Jenny loved Ali’s family, she got along with everyone and they all seemed to love her too. But Ali was hell bent on controlling people.
Maya’s marriage was a disaster, from day one they both struggled, well what you would expect from an early marriage. He always wanted to tame her, control her. Leave your friends, first instructions, Give me your phone, erase your contacts, dress this way, don’t dress that way. It was hell, no woman would survive that. Maya couldn’t take it anymore she began to lose her confidence. She was never happy.
No way your becoming a barrister, he said one Monday morning whilst having breakfast with Maya “excuse me”, baffled she looked at him she didn’t have a clue why he said that but that day brought her closer to her final decision. This was the condition. After 6 months, knowing she can’t take it anymore, she packed her bags and walked out. She couldn’t handle it.
She knew very well that leaving Ali would affect her education. Her mum was devastated her Dad kept telling her to go back, “no I’m never going back” she’d say.” Then you’d have to find a job” her dad said after being tired of forcing her. She needed a job if she were to continue her education and on following her dream. She applied for a job at a local company. It took a while before she got a letter of acceptance. Working and going to law school wasn’t easy for Maya, it was a really tough year for her. She was the only one in her class with a working background.
She thought life would be a lot easier after leaving Ali but it was the complete opposite. Her eating disorder became stronger she was losing confidence in herself always listening to the ranting and abuses from people around it wasn’t easy. In her hometown she was called a wild cat a name that didn’t really suit her. Despite all that she was still focused, she wanted to pass the bar. “Passing the bar” is a term used by barristers. A bar examination is carried out to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction.
She wanted this so badly it got to a point what people said didn’t really matter to her anymore in fact it gave her more reason to work harder. She focused on her studies. Whenever she wasn’t working she was studying, her eating disorder seemed to normalise. Maya was so focused on making the bar she cared less on how she looked sometimes.
The day of the examination finally came. It wasn’t what she expected she did her best but still unsure if she’ll make the papers or not. Results were out and she made the bar for the first time in her life Jenny was filled with joy. She couldn’t believe her eyes. People didn’t really see it as a big deal. Some felt she’s actually going to become a barrister. Years after, since Maya passed the bar was the best of her life though people were silent but the taunts kept coming she was still a wild cat. Everything changed her ex, Ali got engaged to someone else but got divorced again. Her parents change their thought towards her, they realized they’ve been wrong all these years.
She took full responsibility of herself. Maya said goodbye to her Eating Disorder when she left home to study bar. It was a journey of long miles, but she knew she couldn’t give into the whispers of the demon of Eating Disorder. She was a whole new person entirely, she didn’t just change physically but in mind and spirit Maya was stronger.
It wasn’t easy for Maya, her story wasn’t the one any person would want to go through. At the age of 13 she was labelled as fat, neurotic, disgusting and out of control beast. She was accused of being possessed by evil spirt, struggled with delusional thoughts though she had people around her but never had real soul friends. She never felt the warmth of a family, but still she had faith she believed in God prayed every night despite her pain, God was always there not in full view of public but he was always there.
Can you imagine growing up with so much hurt? Fed with so many misconceptions at a very young age very few to love and support you, nearly everyone’s against many things you do. Sometimes she prayed she just died. Sleep and never wake up again Maya went through all this but she survived, she pushed on, their misconceptions gave her the strength to move on no matter what she had a dream, pursued it and achieved it.
She’s now a new person loved by family and friends especially by her little sister. She was an angel that glimmer of hope that she could be loved. Though people still don’t seem to accept her for who she is. Though she accepted herself, fell in love with herself now she has the confidence to face the world. Most importantly she believed in herself which was the pillar to support her strength. Never let the sadness of your past or the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present.