I’m supposed to be in class right now, preparing for an exam that would see me finish my undergraduate degree. But as fate would have it It’s not that I have nothing to write, I do, but I have left my rough notes at home to go to our KPLC (Kenya Power and Lighting company) branch to complain about a power blackout for almost a week now and my laptop has been off ever since. Power outages are rare here so we really don’t have standby generators at hand and hopefully will never have to . Am I so sure of this? Nope. The disconnect between what should happen and what is happening is widened every single day by the governments unwillingness to serve its people and the peoples silence as all this happens.
I asked my cousin if he’d ever consider writing on what he wants to do after school; what his plans for the next 40 years are and got an “I really don’t know” reply. Someone asked me the same question yesterday and I couldn’t answer, not because I didn’t have an idea of what I want but because my goals are tied to other goals, dependent on other people and I want to live and work in Africa. The lack of electricity in our households, the long-tiring queues at government offices, the corruption in our system, are all testament to the fact that things are not working. And I don’t kid myself that they’ll work out just because I want them to.
So many people think that just because they are achieving things and you aren’t that they have a right to police your actions, throw judgement and life plans at your face. You’ll get unsolicited advice from every corner, the ones with “abroad degrees ” that think they are better, the ones left here who although intelligent, see these “abroad minds” as threats to the opportunities that are already scarce in the first place.
Unformed dreams, unrealistic expectations—or maybe they are but are not informed by facts and are not willing to withstand opposition.
So where do all these hurdles leave us? To dream, to let the world decide for us or conform our dreams to the already existing regime. We are left trying to fit in, getting white collar jobs, side hustles, drinking ourselves to stupor, getting married, pleasing our parents, building our own homes, buying cars, staying young, seeming old; not in any particular order. Working too hard, improvising at each and every twist. The battle to achieve, to be better than our peers, to have our own success stories, to widen the disconnect.
The fight against conformity has led to a self-identification crisis where new genders and identifiers are coming up left, right and center. It’s a discontent world to say the least. And the way I see it, this is just the beginning. I wonder how many suicides have come about due to this, how many friends too tired to drive home yet having to are involved in road carnage’s that kill not only them but also their fellow road users, how many people are giving in to depression and we are left with corpses to tell tales of what could have been.
As a woman, I have always thought that finding a husband was all I had to do and then I’d raise my kids and wait for grand kids. Now feminists are telling me I need to do better, get a job, I can earn more than my husband, my husband should also cook, we both should wash utensils, change diapers. The role I have been groomed for is being ridiculed, my beliefs are being ridiculed. They’ll say that being a stay at home mum is fine if that’s what I want, but I can see them, looking down on me, accusing me of failing the fight. I can hear myself, accusing me of wanting a simple existence while other women work for better. I can feel myself being torn in two.
I just lost a friend, my friend just lost her husband, the number of young people dying each day has gone up around me. Not to say that the is the only cause, maybe not directly, but indirectly we are losing too many people, young, impact people to the pressure to achieve. And this is something no one wants to talk about, or if they do, it’s just to complain then conform. Amidst all this competition, the unhealthy fights we have with unaware competitors, we have forgotten to look and love; to appreciate ourselves and others, to look at the state of our continent and accept we all need each other.
I want to change,
I will change,
If not for anyone for my own sake
Tired of living life behind blinds
Curtains, walls, stumbling blocks
Within and without placed only to see me settle
Settle for what the society deems befitting of my stature
A vicious life cycle
One that stays rooted on our rigid education system
Focused on grades not skills or competence
A system where book smart individuals are poised worthy
The rest thrown out to fend off poverty and the filth stench of ‘failure’
A system that fails to recognize diversity in ability
Wasted talents deemed failures just because x + y was never z to them
A government bound by the fetters of corruption
Stemmed from historical injustices
A people unable to redeem themselves from the shackles of tribalism and impunity
Children tied to their parents’ history
Each election bringing with it a fresh wave of fear
War cries all in a bid to quench power thirsty bigots
Youth lost for footing
No resting point as uncertainty reigns
Behind the calm facade runs a society entrenched in self wars
Trying to edge a living even at the expense of a soul
Graft, industrial strikes, tribal wars, domestic disarray…., gambling!!!
Everyone for himself. Trying their hand into quick cash
Where does one see the light?
Dying embers everywhere
Genders fighting for supremacy
Unemployment pushing people to early graves
Allure of quick cash pushing people into addiction
Perversion riddling our streets
More religion no love
Where do we turn?