Trina Cleveland (her real name) has been through some serious stuff in her life. Sexual molestation, drug abuse, prostitution, prison, failed relationships, mental illness, an auto accident. Wow! Just one person. In this interview with NaijaLearner, she tells her story.
What I like mostly about her , is the fact that she has decided to open up her life to the world. Nobody wants to be defined or identified by words like mental illness or prostitution. But I am glad there’s someone who is strong enough to, in Oprah’s words, “lift the veil of pretence”.
I have been following her story closely, and I found myself constantly asking, “why did she stay alive?”.
We have read stories about people who committed suicide for reasons far less severe (some of them even petty). So, I needed to understand how a person could go through so much pain and not give in.
Titi ladette’s response to interview questions after the cut.
Naijalearner: How did you survive all those years of being on the streets?
Titi Ladette: I honestly believe God’s grace and mercy were the only reasons I survived. I believe that there is a purpose and meaning for my life. It’s more than being chosen to help inspire and bring hope to hurting people, I WAS CHOSEN TO GO THROUGH THE PAIN, TO HAVE MENTAL ISSUES, AND OTHER DEBILITATING BARRIERS, so that I could show others that you can overcome them.
Naijalearner: People who have not gone through half of what you have been through have committed suicide. What gave you the will to live?
Titi Ladette: Because my mother committed suicide, I knew that I could never inflict that type of pain on my children, so suicide is never an option for me. However, my children have always been my will to live, but the biggest part of my will to live today is knowing that I am worthy and precious and needed in this world by many.
Naijalearner: What is the biggest lesson life has taught you?
Titi Ladette: The biggest lesson life has taught me is that in life nothing is ever really “bad” or “good”, life only contains lessons and blessings. Instead of trying to change situations, change the way you view a situation, then you will change the only thing that you have power to truly change…YOURSELF
My biggest lesson from all of this, is to own your story. I am not saying it is easy to do that. And I am not saying you can do that right away. But if you commit to a story that ends in goodness and praise, then at the end of it all, you would be strong enough to tell your story.