MOT Youth blogger of the month: Anna Mloya
Hi MOT family! My name is Anna Mloya, and this is my story
This is one of the many stories I am open to sharing with you all in hope that it encourages someone to speak up or have the courage to live amid all the craziness life keeps giving us.
I come from East Africa (Tanzania) and I am a second born from a family of 4 siblings. For those who don’t know, Tanzania is one of the many developing African countries.
As educated as most communities back at home are, many are still subdued to the primitive belief systems. Issues such as mental illnesses are very taboo. If the illness isn’t physical, you can’t convince them otherwise. Understanding that mental illness such as depression and anxiety exist, is still a huge challenge.
Travelling approximately 3 997,6 km away from home all the way to South Africa, as a young woman, was exciting and adventurous until the exposure hit me. All the excitement to make new friends and be at college vanished halfway through my first year of college.
I grew up in a family where I was very sheltered and raised to always own my truth, stick to my morals, values, principles and break down if you must just not in-front of an ‘outsiders’ type of environment.
Again, coming from a sheltered home, I suddenly had all this freedom to do as I please. I had to start making choices and decisions for myself and find out who I was as an individual. Overwhelming is an understatement.
So here I am, 19 years old in a foreign country with all this freedom, not accountable to anyone anymore and this is where peer pressure, rejection, culture shock, depression and anxiety crept in. Not knowing I was battling with all this and instead it came out in various ways such as being angry, agitated, sad, impatient and fatigued. And I always felt like everything was just out to get me and that nobody understood me. I also had no support, especially because I was never vulnerable to anyone outside of my family before. When I tried opening up myself, it would feel strange and would feel like some sort of betrayal.
It took me a while to accept my challenges because I didn’t know how to cope with the many things like academics, friends, family, self-discovery, but in the end, I did! It took me almost a year to have the courage to speak up and not beat myself up about it and it’s an ongoing journey as I still find it challenging to speak up, however, there’s a huge improvement now.
Another challenge was and still is being able to find people that understand and accept my character I spent so much time trying to blend in and finding “my type” of people until I couldn’t anymore. I had to accept that at times my personality comes across strong as I am very opinionated, competitive and blunt. Even funny at times and I realized that it’s okay. It’s who I am and what makes me unique! Realizing that has given me freedom and introduced me to amazing people who appreciate me as I am!
I remember when I was first introduced to MOT, it was the exact time where I felt like I had no purpose and didn’t exactly fit in because I was confused as to who I was at the time. I remember being very reluctant to let loose at the Young MOTivators’ Education on the first day, but by the time the camp was over I was sad to leave.
MOT helped me understand that despite everyone’s facade, every single one of us has challenges to face. I learned that it’s okay to share the load with somebody else through the backpack activity that is one of the MOT tools. I also learnt that each of our different characteristics can create some mind-blowing things!
Being selected as a Young MOTivator and being trained as one has helped me to see my true potential and the great things I can create! And what a great way of sharing all of this? Having the platform to share my stories, teach and help other young adults has been incredible! I have gained and continue to get exposure from every single person I have an encounter with, and each MOT session leaves me excited for the next one!
If something doesn’t resonate with me I’ll have the freedom of saying so!
I now have the courage to live and just be me!