My life is beautiful.
But oftentimes, beauty does not happen overnight. In my case, it’s taken a lifetime thus far of 34 years.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Rhonda Swan and tell some of the story that has shaped me and brought me to this point in my life.
I was often made fun of for being the odd girl.
I went to an all girls boarding school, and only went home once a month. When I was home, I was running around on the land.
In the midst of my childhood, there was violent political conflict in Zimbabwe and there has continued to be for many years since.
My family had two farms, and I would say we were quite wealthy farmers. We grew tobacco and we had cattle and maize. We were living the dream.
Before I was born there was a civil war, which my dad fought in. It was never intended to be a racial war. It didn’t start out that way. But when the Russians started supplying weapons to the guerrillas and a whole guerrilla war broke out, the ‘white’ president was overthrown, and Mr. Mugabe came into presidency.
He was a great president for quite some time. We had no issue with any of this. In the Constitution though, it says that a president can only be elected so many times before they have to give up their seat. It got to the point where Mugabe had to give up his seat. He thought, “Well, hell, no, that’s not happening.”
He was training young people of color to weaponise and to terrorise, to murder and to rape. It became a corrupt government, and the police force wouldn’t help you because they weren’t allowed to, because then their families would be killed.
So it was really this violent pitting against people. I guess the underlying thing was, “Take back the land by whatever means possible. This land belongs to you, these white people shouldn’t be here.”
And we’re talking colonisation, which was way before my time, before my parents’ time and before their parents’ time. Unfortunately, we paid the price for that.
It was very violent, where they would come in, they would lock you in your house for days on end, they would fire shots at the house, they would bang their drums outside, they would kill your animals, they would beat up your workers, etc.
There came a time when my parents were forced to flee the farm. I was at boarding school at the time, and it was the middle of the night. The matron came and woke me up, and she said “Your parents have had to flee the farm. We don’t know where they are.”
I didn’t know where they were and I waited 24 anxious hours to find out. I thought they were dead. That was what was happening. My friend’s dad had been murdered by sticks wrapped in barbed wire the week before.
Eventually it turned out that they were fine. They had fled to my grandparent’s house in the city. We kind of laid low there for a good year because Australia wouldn’t accept us as refugees.
Long story short, we weren’t accepted as refugees, so we had to apply for visas. When we were accepted, we were gone within the week.
It was very disruptive and instead of embracing who I was and my true nature, I changed who I was to fit in with those around me.
I wrote in my diary: “I will become a person that everybody likes.”
I went from a book-loving teen to a boy-loving young adult, making poor choices in an effort to feel a sense of belonging.
I really thought that I was starting to create the life that I loved, but it was simply just a coping mechanism.
I was climbing the corporate ladder. I got a degree in criminology. I was doing full time shift work in the railway while studying full time.
I bought my own house; I bought the perfect car.
By the age of 23, I told myself, “I’m killing this thing called life. I’m so on it.”
But I was sick. Really sick.
I ended up having a burnout. I just got to the point where I couldn’t physically do it anymore.
I remember sitting in my doctor’s office arguing with her and hysterically crying.
She said: “Tarryn, you have PTSD, chronic depression and major anxiety.”
My response? Denial. “There is no such thing. I am not weak. Do you have any idea what I’ve been through? No, that’s not true…”
My life was chaotic. I found myself stuck and in a deep, dark hole.
I quit my job and a few months later got a ‘less stressful’ role with another company.
I was made redundant and a week later, I found out I was pregnant. When I found out I was pregnant, something dropped in me. I thought “This is not going to happen to my child.”
And this is where the story turns. Where I stopped being a victim and started creating life on my terms.
Society says that the ‘normal’ thing to do is go to work five days a week for somebody else. You have two days off on the weekend, you do all the chores, and then you die.
My response? “Yeah, no, thanks. That’s not what I signed up for.”
So I decided that I am going to show myself and my child what is possible, because if I can’t model it for her, nobody else is going to.
I started out as an accidental entrepreneur, falling into a virtual assistant position which I then turned into a business. I then grew that business out to a virtual assistance and web development agency, and then I added in business coaching, and eventually found myself back to my original love: books.
I’m now also the Founder and CEO of a successful publishing company: Four Eagles Publishing.
I get to do exactly what I want to do every single day, live in abundance, and help others up level their business and brands through publishing, virtual assistance, website development and online marketing.
I have developed myself and my story into a place of beauty that I can be proud of and excited to do every day.
Why do I share all of this with you?
Because stories are what shape us in this life, and this is mine.