Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Kimone McLeod – From a negative mindset to now inspiring others

Published:Saturday | September 18, 2021 | 12:08 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Kimone McLeod
Kimone McLeod
Kimone McLeod
Kimone McLeod
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Today, at age 20, Kimone McLeod is an author, a certified Christian life coach, speaker, youth mentor/influencer, and a full-time university student, as well as an editorial assistant at an international magazine and, more importantly, a “Jesus Girl”.

Looking at her accomplishments, it is hard to imagine that she was once a girl who had a negative mindset, suffered from depression, lived her life out loud and entertained thoughts of wanting to die.

A now-confident McLeod took Family and Religion down memory lane as she shared about where she was and where God has brought her from.

The Portland-born McLeud said she went to live in an inner-city community in Kingston when she was about 10 years old.

“It was very difficult to get enrolled into a school at that time, and the one that I eventually got into was not one of the best. However, it was what was available at the time. Many said I wouldn’t amount to anything because of the school I attended and because I was living in one of the toughest communities in Kingston, but, nevertheless, I remained focused and excelled to the point where I was awarded a place at Alpha Academy, one of the most prestigious girls’ school in Jamaica,” she reminisced.

High school brought its own challenges for McLeod and she recalled having only one uniform which she had to wash every evening for school the next day. Added to that, some days she had only enough money for bus fare, and had to get assistance from the school campus ministry in order to get something to eat.

Amazingly, not many persons knew what she was going through as she always wore a smile on her face.

FAMILY LIFE

Things, however, took a turn for the worse when she was scheduled to do her Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, as her family life was falling apart. She recalled going to school, crying to her friends and telling them she wanted to die.

“I thought in that moment that it was easier to die than to live, because life was just not looking hopeful anymore. I became exposed to a lot of things just living in the ghetto. I remember how I used to save my lunch money on the occasion when I got some, just to buy Cash Pot or play Bingo,” she shared, stating that she often dreamed of running away but didn’t carry it through because she didn’t have anywhere to go.

School became her safe haven and, even when it was dismissed, she would stay on the compound until night just to avoid going home. McLeod said she felt out of place and didn’t fit in, which plunged her into deep depression and caused her to suffer from anxiety.

“I struggled with low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. I stopped expecting things to work out. In every situation, I was focused on what could possibly go wrong, instead of what could go right,” she shared.

Labelled as worthless and good for nothing, she said she became an embarrassment to her family. The labels that were thrown at her, she said, played over and over in her head like a stuck record and it got to the point where she even started believing the negativity about herself.

“Subsequently, I started to live a life of partying, drinking, promiscuity, smoking and gambling. I was very negative. I became very cold and insensitive. I was at my lowest, my breaking point. Then I was told not to come back to the house. I had to stay with a few friends, until I ended up back in the country. I had so much resentment and hate towards everyone. I felt unwanted and useless,” she shared.

CRYING OUT TO GOD

After hitting rock bottom, McLeod recalled crying out to God to deliver her out of the situation. Growing up in church in the country, she said she started to attend once more.

Shortly after, McLeod said she met a woman who was mentoring at her school and was mesmerised by her. Every word the woman spoke, she said, resonated with her and she ended up wanting to do what she did.

“An influencer, a speaker and an author. I got enrolled in her mentorship programme and my road to transformation began,” she shared.

After hearing others testify how God completely changed their lives, McLeod said she wanted to experience that transformation too.

“I started aligning myself with the right company. I started going to church I started asking God to change my life and heart posture and give me hope to see beyond my circumstances. Soon after, life started to look up. I started to associate myself with people who love God and had my best interest at heart,” she shared.

In August 2019, she surrendered her life to Christ. Fast-forward to 2021 and she is now the first person in her family to start university, breaking a generational curse.

“To this day, choosing to follow God was the best decision I have ever made. I am striving to be the best version of myself and who God has called me to be. My life depends on who God says I am and how I can bring glory to His name.”