While my grandfather did his best to ruin my childhood, I thrived as a young girl. I did well at school and had a great Christian walk, although the violence and bad language I witnessed did make me a bit of a bully. I always felt I was small and the world was out to get me so I defended myself at all costs! I also had a bit of an identity crisis as I was a tomboy who spent my days up in the trees, something which is totally hilarious now that I look back on it. Who the heck was I back then?! I certainly can’t relate too well anymore!
In all, my childhood was nothing too dramatic, just lonely. I then entered my teenage years and discovered that there was more to being a woman than playing in trees and wearing baggy jeans and T-shirts. I discovered my beauty and embraced dresses and skirts. And as I did so, many noticed the change in me.
My first two years of high school were memorable as I was the youngest Miss Roosy (Roosevelt Girls’ High) and one of the best school debaters. I was a born leader and excellence was in my future; I had a life plan and everything was on track. But then I was easily swayed by the masses and became more daring; I had no back bone and lived to please people.
In the following two years, I discovered clubs, boys, alcohol and things took a different turn. I got pregnant and decided that keeping the baby was going to be my only option. I had to break the news to my grandmother and my church elders which I think was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
Taking responsibility for one’s actions is not easy as you have to explain yourself, which sucks! While I got grilled, I still lived to tell the story. Thereafter, everyone adjusted well to the situation and I moved to a college to complete my studies.
Just before I wrote my O’ Level exams, I gave birth to a baby boy whom I cared for mostly on my own. While writing my exams, my grandmother and my dad passed away two weeks apart and that was a hard pill to swallow; my son was just six months old and I was all alone.
My grandmother was my everything and she was gone. And I never had the opportunity to know my dad and now he too was gone; my son was the only reason I did not fall apart. I had a greater purpose to fulfil; he needed me and I couldn’t let him down.
After my exams, I started a clothing company and designed and produced a line; but the dream needed too much to be fully realised. So I started my A Level studies, determined to prove a point. I completed my A Level studies in a year and while preparing to write my finals, I got my second business opportunity to take over a hair salon I used to work at during my school breaks and on weekends. This was a challenge and I had the odds stacked against me, but I remember giving the then General Manager the sales pitch of my life! She leased the salon out to me.
An early pregnancy didn’t guarantee Donna so much support.
I started running my salon and doing lessons in between and studying at night. After I wrote my A Level exams, I became a full-time entrepreneur figuring the ins and outs of the hair industry on my own. It was a real effort and after a year of struggling along on my own, I decided to get a job. I started working as a Bookkeeper and slowly rose in the ranks to become the Operations Manager of the same butchery.
I learnt the operations of the meat industry so well the owners thought it best to be rid of me lest I take over.
Overcoming death and divorce
During my time working at the butchery and running my hair salon I got married to the love of my life. One year into our marriage, I fell pregnant and the following year I welcomed a beautiful baby girl to complete my ‘pigeon pair’. During my pregnancy, I lost my mother and that is when my world fell apart.
I was so engrossed in being pregnant and grieving I failed to notice my husband slipping away from me until it was too late. Currently, we are separated and going through a divorce which has been difficult as he has alienated the children and is dead set on punishing me for standing up for myself. He was and is very proud of his manipulation and emotional abuse which I can now see through.
Being a single mother of two has been a challenge but I have come to realise my own strengths and capabilities; and my sister has been my tower of strength as she is there for me no matter what. She saw me broken and hurt and is doing all she can to see me whole again.
To anyone dealing with divorce, it is important to have a support system and decide in advance whose opinions matter. Before I left, I told my family what I was doing and they all supported me as I explained why I had to leave. It’s been two months and they all say I have made a great decision but most importantly, I am at peace.
Just before I left my husband, I began writing and blogging. It became my muse as this is how I dealt with everything I was going through; heartache, betrayal and the like. And as I began to move forward, this is how the making of a diamond came to be. This is the space I created to vent and release all my emotions and deal with what I could have done wrongly; it is where I tell my story.
I believe that life is what we make it; I don’t blame anyone or any circumstance for my position in life. I don’t make excuses; I just live. I take responsibility for my actions and I don’t dwell on mistakes as we all make them… it’s how we get up from them that is worth dwelling on. Blaming things and people doesn’t get you far but facing situations for what they are and dealing with them head on does!
My life story isn’t a pretty picture as I have made mistakes, wrong decisions and bad choices but I have lived and I am not ashamed that I am me and that the journey I have taken has moulded me into a strong successful woman.
Life is a journey, so please always enjoy the ride!