I am what I choose to become

Everyone has a past, their own personal story book of experiences, hardships, blessings, losses and all of those wonderful and not-so-wonderful things that life puts us through.

I know that many of us have faced battles while growing up whether it was going through a parent’s divorce, facing poverty, losing a parent or family member, moving around a lot. There could be a number of things that you went through that really tested you but then also molded you into who you are today.

My childhood has always been something I feel would make a good book. Not just my personal book but a book I actually write and share with the world.

Because I am no author (yet?) and this is my space to speak my truth I want to share parts of it with you.

I have mentioned my dad’s brain tumor on here before. I have also mentioned that my mom has bipolar disorder. Now I have to say that even though both of my parents faced massive battles, they did their best and I might have gone without a lot of things, but love was never one of them.

Our lives changed when my dad was diagnosed with his tumor because he was the bread winner. He had his first operation and it left him unable to work permanently. My mom had to take on the role of provider, caregiver, and so much more all while trying to make ends meet. At this point she was undiagnosed and was fighting her own demons but that didn’t stop her from putting on her superhero cape and doing her absolute best for my dad and I.

                                                                     My first day of Grade R. This was before

We lost our home in 1997. We moved around A LOT. We were always fortunate enough to have four walls around us but they weren’t always conventional. We lived in garages, outside quarters, shared a room in someone’s house, these were all pretty normal but didn’t help my social life at school because I could never invite anyone over. When it got to a point where we were almost homeless, my primary school who were very aware of our situation offered for us to take a storage container that they had on the school property to live in. We put it in someone’s yard and lived there for a while, until the municipality got involved. This is obviously the unconventional four walls I mentioned.

I shared a bed with my mom until the age of 17 and majority of that time it was a single bed. The only time I had my own room was before we lost our house and I barely remember it, I just know that it was pink and I had a Minnie Mouse duvet. I hardly even slept in it because I was so young and wanted to be by my mom and dad during the night. Do you know how often I wished for that pink room?

Not only did I wash for that room, my own space, but I wished for a proper, real, fully functional toilet. For a while we stayed in an outside room with no plumbing so we had to get creative and make a long drop of sorts. Now I know this is something that many people experience daily but do you know or have you ever known anyone, anyone that you went to school with, anyone you’ve worked with, a neighbour, who has had to use a “long drop”? Well now you do, kind of. It’s a reality people, and it was my reality (I told you, this is the stuff books are made of). And if you’re wondering about the technicalities of all of this, we used the bath in the house upstairs and sometimes that toilet, but at 12 o clock at night when nature calls you don’t go and wake an entire household up. You step outside and use your DIY toilet.

It often feels like fiction when I talk about it. I genuinely wonder if people think I am living in some sort of fantasy but I wish I was.

I can honestly say that even though it was tough, the only thing that ever really got me down besides the health of my folks was that I never fitted in and I was embarrassed about all of it, I couldn’t invite friends over, my parents didn’t have a car, I hated civvies days because I didn’t have what everyone else had. But behind closed doors, I had more than I could have asked for. Love, support, a real understanding of how important the small things are, and that nothing, not even a slice of bread should be taken for granted.

Every day was a struggle, there were never any guarantees, of food, of a roof over our head, or of my dad’s physical health and my mom’s mental health but my mom did a damn good job of making it seem like she knew exactly where that next plate of food was coming from. She never made me feel like I needed to worry about anything or that I needed to do anything other than be a child.

When I finished school (which of course was a blessing in itself because I was fortunate enough to receive a full bursary from primary school all the way to matric) I went straight into a job and things started to get better for us. Well, better for my mom and I.

Unfortunately my dad has deteriorated over the years and we find ourselves at a very difficult time with him. We are waiting for test results to see whether or not another operation is required and if it can even be done.

I look back now and I honestly don’t know how my mom did it, how my dad did it, and how we actually survived. But we did.

This is a summary, there is so much more, which you may read in a book one day or maybe on here. But I wanted to share it (I warned you that I overshare). I am at a point in my life where I have decided without a doubt that I want to help others and if this can help someone, somehow, then it is totally worth it. I am also no longer embarrassed by it. I am proud.

This is not a cry for sympathy, I’ve had more than enough of that throughout those years. But I also had my fair share of blessings and people helping me so I want to pay it forward in some way or another.

I have moments where I get angry that I was dealt this hand because as much as I pulled through and set up a life for myself, the past still affects me in my life today. But more often than not when I think about it I have so much to be thankful for – the relationship I have with my parents is what it is because of what we went through, my genuine compassion and care for others is because of it. I am strong, most of the time. I have such a passion and drive to succeed and make a difference because I had so many people who made a difference in my life and because I want to make the rest of my life the best of my life.

I will leave you with my favourite quote of all time.

“I am not what has happened to me, I am what I choose to become”


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I speak my truth. 🙌Body positivity ❤️Self love 👗Budget plus size fashion 🎬 Real life 💼 Fashion Merchandiser 9-5. Wannabe helper of women 2


  • Meg

    Dearest Kerry, thank you for sharing your story with us – especially as you were so nervous to do so. And what a story it is – you’re right, you should so write a book. Your mom sounds like the most incredible person. You have so much to be proud of – as you say, of the choices you’ve made despite the hand you were dealt, and who you’ve chosen to become. You’re an inspiration to us all, and I am so excited to see the future you’re building for yourself. Sending you so much love! Xxx

    • Kerryberry9

      Thank you so much lovely lady. I would love to write a book, I might start working on that once I have got some other things on my to-do list done.
      My mom is the most amazing, caring, loving, strong person you can ever imagine and I thank my lucky stars for every single day. She is my entire life and my best friend.
      Thank you for the constant support. You are just as much of an inspiration to me.
      Sending you all the love right back xxx

  • Lauren Cannell

    Wow!!!!! You are such an inspiration! Your story has touched me and certainly will touch many lives. You are the epitome of strength & courage. Thank you for you life & your message. Thank you for sharing parts of yourself with the world to make it a better place. May you be blessed abundantly!

    • Kerryberry9

      Thank you so much. Your stories and journey have also touched me in so many ways.
      I like to think I am strong and courageous 🙂
      Thank you for reading and for always supporting me and sending me the loveliest words of encouragement. I appreciate you!

    • Kerryberry9

      You, are one of the kindest and most caring, supportive ladies I have ever had the joy of meeting (like once or twice) but I feel like in a weird way we connected even though it was only once or twice.
      I realllllly appreciate you and all of your support. You are one of my absolute favourite cheerleaders xx

  • Victoria de Costa

    Kerry, my love, this made me cry! Literally sob!😭 This is the first time a posy from anyone has made me cry and just envelope you in a hug! Do you see why I look up to you so bloody much?! This is the reason! You have been dealt a bad hand in life, and look at what you did with it! You literally made lemonade out of the lemons life basically threw at you!

    I am so happy to have actually made a friend like you, because you are someone I will want to keep around in my life for a very very long time! You are such an inspiration to me and I will keep this post very close to my heart!💛

    I can’t wait to meet you, so we can share similar stories and create a friendship from a basic understanding of what we both share. (Things I haven’t told you yet.🙃)

    I love you and this post so much!💛

    • Kerryberry9

      My darling, you have been there from day one and I appreciate you more than you will ever truly know. Your comment has made me ugly cry.
      I can’t wait to hear your story if you trust me enough to share it with me.
      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for these lovely words and for being such a loyal, kind and caring friend.
      You are beautiful inside and out and I am so glad we got to connect! xx

  • Mariska Goussard

    Your story brought tears to my eyes❤️ Thank you so much for opening up and sharing this story with us ❤️❤️❤️ I will be the first to buy that book! You are an amazing writer ❤️

    • Kerryberry9

      Thank you lovely. You are just the kindest soul!
      That amazing writer compliment is probably the best thing you could have said to me 🙂 because I am really thinking about this book thing xx

  • Rasheeqoh

    This is SUCH a beautiful and inspirational story. It really takes ALOT of courage to write about something like this, about something personal. I take my hat off to you! Thank you for sharing this with us, as the saying goes “we are all facing battles not everyone knows about.” <3

    • Kerryberry9

      Thank you so much darling.
      It didn’t take courage to write it but it sure took ALL of my courage to share it 🙂 but I am glad I did. It has been a healing process of sorts for me.
      That is very true and is actually what my very next blog post is going to be about.
      Thanks for the support beautiful!

  • Chereé

    Dear Kerry

    Your story made me cry. Life is so unfair to so many people. I am glad you have loving supporting parents they and I think you are unbelievably strong but as a mom of a two year old girl I wish I could somehow go back in time and give you that pink room back. Thank you for sharing this part of your story with us. I am sure it wasn’t easy. It made me realize how small some of the stuff is I worry about.

    Keep telling your story

    • Kerryberry9

      Thank you so much for this lovely comment. It made me cry on Instagram stories haha.

      I will definitely keep telling my story.

      Thank you for the support, I appreciate it so much!

  • Justine

    Darling Kerry, thank you for sharing such a personal story about yourself with the world.
    I think that you are an amazing person, and your post has made you the lovely, kind, honest and friendly person you are today. We al get dealt different hands in this card game called life, but its what you do with the hand you are dealt. You are playing such a great card game and I wish you only good things and only the best. You are truely a lovely and inspiring person. xoxo Punky

    • Kerryberry9

      Wow, thank you darling. You know I think the world of you even though we haven’t met so this just means so much to me!

  • Steph

    Dear Kerry, such a beautifully written post. I can feel ‘you’ in your words. It is the hard times that define us, we just need to make sure they don’t break us and we focus on the path ahead. There will always be light on the other side of the tunnel. keep on going strong. Can’t wait for the next post. xx

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