Growing up is an interesting journey. It is not a guarantee so you just live through it. Though one may plan, tomorrow is never guaranteed and at times we are forced to deal with the cards we are handed. The journey will never be smooth no matter what, always a bump here , a scratch there , broken hearts and dream shattered but we always keep on going. My journey has not been any different. I have had the best of both worlds; the good and the bad. May is a mental health awareness month and the messages shared on different platforms have really made me think about so many things in my life. I have never been clinically diagnosed and/or treated with a mental illness but my mind surely has gone through a lot. For a long time, I have worked really hard on a few issues one of them being ACCEPTANCE. At times I seek validation from or in people but I have learned to tell myself that I am enough. I do not deal well with rejection, which I have faced so many times in my life, and the battle to not take rejection too personal has been HARD WORK to say the least. Here are few areas where I am still work in progress but I can say I am really proud of the steps I have made
I grew up in a home where my mother would lie with us on a mat and gaze at the sky at night while trying to identify constellations. This was bliss. However, I really battled with the fact that my paternal side of the family actually kicked us out of our home. One time while in class four (4) or Five (5) I think, my grandpa came to “close” our house in the morning complete with a wooden bar, nails and a hammer. My mom was seeing us off to school and I clearly remember her telling me to take my siblings to school then she sat on a water container that was at the door. I did not know where we would go after school but lucky to say we came back “home” and managed three more years until enough was enough. African society is a patriarchy one and I would never have imagined that at some point, one could do such a thing to their own son’s children. For a long time, I looked for the wrongs we did to deserve such. I got tired at some point and decided to look at the sacrifices my mom had made, the love she showed us and the way she fought so hard so that the “bullets” would never hit us. I have worked and still working on the fact that family is not necessarily blood. I have met such awesome people who are family. I do not need my paternal affiliations to have an identity. I carry my dad’s name Kisahi so proudly because for the six years I shared with my dad, I was always safe, catered for and put first. His kins maybe trash but my dad wanted me and he was there. I accept that things did not turn out as he wanted but he chose the best mother for my siblings and I and for that , I will be eternally grateful. I have my biological family that loves and appreciates me, just like the family I have met or will meet. I belong.
I was a late bloomer, I am extremely shy and a tom boy. Over the years since my early years in school, I never really had female friends. I was always alive in male circles full of banters, menial jobs, sports and mischief. I was never really welcome in female circles because it always has been too much work being a lady for me. I wanted to be able to do girl stuff, gossip or put on make-up but I fell off the bandwagon as soon as I subscribed. My mom probably knew every boy/man who tried to have a thing with me till 25 I think. She still does here most of it. I never wanted relationships because I knew at some point we would have sex and I would get pregnant. How could a 16 year old without boobs feed a baby? This made me really doubt what intentions of any man were towards me. I was not a “lady” thus question why one would want to date me? With time though, I learned that we like different things in different people, that I was shy but quite good with addressing crowds and that my fear for heels was just that, fear. That A little lip balm and earrings were okay. Still a journey but I know for sure this was a core turning point of so many things in my life. This did boost my self-esteem and confidence in ways I did not expect.
I will not delve into exact details but here are a few reasons why I have been rejected when relationships started becoming serious or were so serious and “serious” talks were happening. Mark you, this for relationships that were, not at the wooing stage.
- Not being Christian enough because I go to bars to watch sports and at times what I put is not “Godly”
- I was not a Muslim enough for the family; duh! A victim more than twice and you would think I learned my lessons. Ohh boy! I never learn
- That I was too bold and too ambitious. I was so mad at this for a long time to be honest. How does one change this?I may be unreasonable at times but there is NO WAY I will stop dreaming just because someone else in uncomfortable. By the way, this makes me a bit of a workaholic.
- For being not cultured enough to be a wife because I suggested a day time movie for our dating anniversary date. Cultured wives, where do people go on first dates? I am will to work on this one
- For ordering wine on a date. See, funny bit about me is that the people I have really liked the first time I met them are teetotalers . Mostly because religion is one big aspect for me in a relationship which to most translates to zero alcohol.This is one bit of my life that I gave myself permission from the word go. If I am to date anyone which may mean a lifetime commitment at some point, I will be so real. I am not the kind of lady who will pull surprises on you later on. I will be me from the word go, take is or leave it because that is exactly what I expect too. I have a very easy time dating.
Now this is the current top on my list. Those people who know me know how good I am at what I do. Be it academics, tasks assigned or my baby projects. I will put in everything to give my best. I am yet to know if at times this is the best approach to everything in my career because the rejections I have had, oh my God, they have really dealt a good on me. I have worked on businesses that I have invested so much and gotten out with just debts. I have put in 48 hours of no sleep on some work, presented got turned down then the organization implemented EVERYTHING I presented and hired a friend to run with it though honestly happy that execution was a nightmare and has never been fully realized. I have been employed, worked so hard and gotten raw deals. At some point, I was so hurt that I just stopped. My body and mind shut down for a while. I thank God for these talks that I do attend because at the end of the day I am very young and still have a long way in my career. I can only get better. My employer or business partners do not define my success. I am the brand so irrespective of where I am, I need to work on me, equip me and add value to myself. This is a big motivation even on the days I have wanted to buy one way ticket and never come back to Kenya. On the days I feel unappreciated , I write a list of things that I have learned or gained related to the situation I feel so bad about . I keep a log of things I learn and I affirm. I work on me because I can not draw out enough to feed my career thirst if I have nothing to draw from. I have to be a well of knowledge.
I do hope that with the little I have shared, someone will gain something from it. The mind is our biggest asset and with it, we rule the world. During this mental awareness month, I hope to continue exploring the many areas of the mind that I need to work on. I am taking charge of my thoughts and mind sets. I am getting rid of things, situations or people who continuously hurt me. I am looking for my spark in the darkness and finding my balance of the pedestal. I am working towards and claiming what is mine. I am finding myself and loving it, I hope you do . #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth