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By: Viwe Tyolwana.557586_4290336423141_1350032642_n

Bare chapped feet, standing in front of a green robot but with nowhere to go. He begs in sign language. Windows closed, its cold … nobody cares.  His eyes resemble everything that is pain, that is hurt, and struggle. He is the only black rose among the privileged white daises and lilies who mange to drive by him without a second glance. Last week my biggest complaint was how my medium rare steak was actually well done instead, idiot waiter had to take it back and guess what – he wasn’t getting a bloody tip from me. From the very first time I learnt how to speak I was taught to always say thank you. My mother made sure I said thank you for my food, for my family, for my life. But time managed to change me because suddenly as an adolescent, I had become obsessed with the idea of ‘wanting’. Blood-thirsty to keep up with trends and with friends, I would expect everything from everyone. Winters became bitter, summers were broiling because I never understood why all the things I struggled to get could never quite satisfy  my hunger for happiness and fulfillment. I wanted more because the feeling of receiving for me was only temporary. I had forgotten where it all came from, I was fixated on the fact that it was here and I had it and that it was MINE, but was it? It took a lot of growing up for me to eventually realize that all that I had, I had not worked for. All my privileges were made possible by the sweat on my mother’s back. I forgot how to be grateful. I had to start from scratch; I had to learn how to speak again.  So I threw my pen and paper together and here I am writing a gratitude note because I have witnessed the greatness of a single mother carrying the world on her shoulders and still raising a young lady simultaneously. I recognize the women in my life, like my aunt who was born with an ‘S’ on her chest and has been undercover for far too long .Thank you mama. More importantly this note is to highlight how God has kept my entire family in perfect peace. You see for me, Gratitude didn’t start from where I was standing, it started from when I learnt how to stand. Because once I knew how to stand, I learnt how to walk and soon I will be running.

I’ll always remember the year 2012 because it is in this year I learnt how to walk upright and independently. I found myself leaping and conquering goals on my own. I conquered some of my fears and got most of the things I deserved. I thank God for my talent and my will to work hard for what I want. I am grateful for the powerful minds I surround myself with everyday. I am grateful for my new heart of patience, for managing life’s pressures and circumstances. I am Thankful for my thick skin and my backbone made out of pure steel. I am grateful for the fruitful words that have met my ears, that have planted seeds of growth, humility and maturity. I am grateful for the 20 years I have lived in this beautiful world as a healthy and somewhat normal human being. It is truly remarkable how much we take our blessings for granted. How we cry about things that are not even remotely parallel to things we need in order to survive, to breathe and to wake up each and every day. So let go of that boy who did not call, or the girl who gets all the attention because she never really leaves much of an impression. You see it takes real mature eyes to recognize the heaven in your walk and the beauty intertwined in your limbs and your mind. It takes a real angel to match up to your level, so be grateful that you have not settled for meritocracy, or the ordinary. Be grateful that the masses have not bitten into your forbidden fruit, that you are still rare. Stay close to your truth, for its flames are powerful enough to awaken the dead and inspire the living. So for every mountain, grain of dust, for every river, every bird, every sunset and every horizon and for all the memories in 2012, I truly am thankful. But Most of all I am grateful for still being able to be grateful.