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All families weren’t like ours by Chantelle Ashley

Why did you enter this storytelling contest?

I’ve finally decided to figure out who I’d like to be on the inside.

What does storytelling mean to you?

Storytelling to me means the ability to transfer experiences and share humanity with strangers. It means connection.

Why did you tell this story?

It’s a story I’ve never told and seemed like a good place to start excavating myself. I know this is a common experience, but as a child, I thought it was standard and when I realized it wasn’t, that all families weren’t like ours, it seems strange, but my identity collapsed. I’d like to share those parts so that there are fewer dark corners for people like me to get lost in. – Chantelle

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15 thoughts on “All families weren’t like ours by Chantelle Ashley”

  1. Matimu Marcus Manganyi

    “The steps to change the trajectory of your life…”


    Beautiful Madame Chantelle 👏🏾

  2. You have inspired so many people with your voice.. You are an advocate for change and I am honored to know you.. So proud of you

  3. Thank you for sharing Chantelle though the story is a sad one but it is so beautifully narrated. Was pleasure listening left me yearning for more.

  4. I guess it all “starts by starting”
    You know in the black families/coloured.. people would hurt you and have an audacity of wanting you to be okay with it. You not allowed to question people’s actions or else it would be deemed disrespectful..

    I am glad you trusted me with a part of you., these type of experiences believe me have a may of manifesting in our lives, in most times in an aggressive manner .

    But as you said in the beginning, it was like a norm.. till this day I don’t know anyone in my age group who wasn’t subjected to that life.

    I will share and I will vote ..

  5. Thank you so much for being brave enough to be vulnerable and share your story. Healing can be scary and daunting, and your story can help others with their healing.

  6. Healing can only start once there is confrontation.
    Most of the ills in society are born of the pain of children who come from broken parents who sadly come from broken parents. No it’s not a mistake the ugly rolls back a long way.
    I have often wanted to say sorry but it seemed like such a little word. How do you make up for the fact that you have ruined the lives of three perfect people. And yet
    We were taught to be quiet and live with it but why?
    So I am now saying I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart for all the pain you have been through and still experience.

  7. I feel like I’m reading one of those books I stumbled upon in a run down old bookshop with lots of books everywhere. I stumbled upon this book quite by some strange reason to simply ‘get it’ and not because the author was acclaimed or even because there was a catchy title or anything really…like it said to me quite casually “pick me.”

    And then, having scored myself this new purchase, I sit down to read..with curiosity more than expectation.
    And as I turn the pages, one by one, find myself being unexpectedly pulled into something quite indescribable. I get lost in its pages, savouring every word, making meaning and connecting the dots, transported to a reality so real for so many and yet so specific to the teller of the story….

    And then.. itching for more.
    Only to have to accept that right now, this is all I have.

    The acceptance then yielding a deep appreciation for the magic of my discovery and the joy it brought me to spend 5 minutes just story-listening.

    What a joy. Thank you for sharing. I vote for Chantel.

    1. Wow Ms Chantelle (you will always be)! Such a powerful and heartfelt story. I was so captivated by your vulnerability that in my mind I almost said ‘how can I reach out to this teenager to offer support even if it is just a shoulder to lean on’ quickly my mind got a grip of itself and remembered that you were telling a story! If this was a play, an award was heading your way… just like Thurso Mbedu is on prime right now… Thank you for going back into that space and time and sharing your story with us, I still commend you as thee strong, powerful and courageous woman and continue to learn from you.

      My reflection from the story is that no matter what happened in our lives be it a decade or 2 or even few years or months, with a determined, disciplined and persistent will to thrive and change the odds, we come out of worst situation and be the best that we were created to be! I learnt that our pain are actually shaping and preparing us for who we were ordained to be, this is evident in you Ms Chantelle! Thank you once again and continue to ‘Arise and Shine’!

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