A Year of Lessons

The year has gone by fast. By ‘the year’, I mean last year because this post was supposed to go up before 2018 closed its eyes. One minute the blog is down because the nice people at the domain company decided to ignore my payment, and the next, it’s January and I have gone about six months without writing. Around the third month of postlessness, Sally and her battalion of post-demanders began harping on me to do the good and responsible thing. But I had already gotten too comfortable in my recklessness (yes, as a certified risk-avoider, my neglecting the blog can be considered recklessness) so I kept shrugging my shoulders and changing the topic when they brought it up. Still, it felt good to have post-demanders, even though they were only like three people. Small victories.

I haven’t been lying around since my last post. The second half of 2018 was eventful. So eventful, in fact, that it turned me into a quasi-adult. You know, like, I have the age qualification and a few of the freedoms and responsibilities of an adult but I’m mostly ignorant about how insurance and mortgages work, and instead of handling it when I face a minor crisis, I burst into helpless tears and then want to go back to bed.

I got a job. Sort of. An internship that, a couple of months later, transformed into a proper job job. That was the first step into the terrifying realm that is adulthood. And if I may just say, so far, everything here is a scam. Just when I was getting excited about my newfound financial independence, my father told me that he has had NSSF money cut from his salary for all the thirty or so years he has been working… and since he retired like three years ago, he has received like 1000 bob back from the government. I was done there and then. I want a refund. Nothing shows you what garbage adulthood is quite like paying for your own stuff.

I graduated with honours. Not quite as high as my mother would have liked, but honours nonetheless and I am going to take pride in that win. I completed the post-graduate diploma that I enrolled for at the beginning of the year. Guess who is seeing clients now? Me. A whole therapist. I know. Wau.

I got two kittens. I also got my mother all riled up by getting two kittens despite her eternal loathing of cats (and, really, all animals that give neither meat nor milk). She fears for her curtains and the couches because my last cat (RIP Charlie) really did a number on the seats. We have new seats now and my mother vowed that if the cats did any damage to anything in her sitting room, she would kick both them and their owner out. A large part of me believes her so Celine and Werrason have been living in my bedroom and are a whole blog post on their own. Yes, one is indeed called Werrason.

I bought a bunch of books. I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately, and I am enjoying it. Who would have thought? Many of them still end up sounding generic somewhere around the middle, but many of them have been pretty great. I’m even re-reading some of them. I just bought Michelle Obama’s Becoming (after convincing my mother to pay for half of it because wau, books are expensive) but I am yet to read it and confirm that the people saying it’s amazing know what they are talking about. Interestingly, my last post, written in July, was titled Becoming and the point of it sort of ties in with what the more famous Michelle is supposedly talking about in her book, so that settles it: I’m psychic. Also, maybe the people who hear me introduce myself and immediately (and unimaginatively) go, ‘Like Michelle Obama?’ have a point.

I’ve also been reading a lot of fiction. I’ve been reading two or three books a week, and that’s without counting the manuscripts I deal with at work. Amazing, I know. I’m finally re-learning how to read the way I read when I was 11. Incidentally, I finally bought and read the entire Harry Potter series. I don’t care how many people hate on it—that was the best fictional adventure I’ve had in years. I can’t wait to re-read the entire thing. And I will never forgive my Class Six English teacher (also CRE teacher, go figure) who pumped into me the belief that Harry Potter is a tool The Enemy uses to convert unsuspecting children to witchcraft and Satanism. So I never read Harry Potter as a child, good Christian girl that I was. And because I never read them, I also never watched the movies. I’ve had the privilege of finally doing that as well and I must say: absolute garbage compared to the books, I don’t care. Go fight your primary school CRE teacher.

I learnt that I’m a fantastic editor and you should all give me work. I impressed someone whose writing career and passion for stories I admire. I postponed enrolling for a Master’s degree so that I can figure out what I like doing enough to write more research papers about. I thought about the future. I began thinking about and planning to move out of home despite all my fears that the economy will chew me and spit me back into my parents’ house before I can say ‘KPLC tokens’. I am still at home but just thinking about moving and knowing it’s no longer far out of my reach has been liberating.

I wrote a book. A compilation of short stories that I am still working on, but the point is that I finished it. I think I’ll put it on here when I am done so you can download it and rip my writing to shreds. I will be bothered by your criticism, but I will accept it graciously anyway because I am a quasi-adult and I must accept that feedback, no matter how ego-shattering, is going to be helpful to me in the long run.

Last year didn’t start out great. I got mugged and drenched in my own blood only two weeks into 2018.  I battled the resultant trauma for months after. I realized that I am a chronic worrier whose anxiety and worry looks like generic pessimism on the outside but really cripples me from the inside. I worried and fretted even more anyway. I stood in the witness stand of a courtroom, across from my attackers, and watched them plead innocence while looking me right in the eye. I wallowed in despondency for a large chunk of the year because looking for a job in this Nairobi is just one long heartbreak. I struggled to accept that the system lied to me that my aptitude in classrooms would serve me well when school was done. I questioned everything about myself and my abilities. I cried.

But it turned out okay.

My mentor (because, again, as a quasi-adult I have one of those now) spent all of last year telling me to trust the process. To stop worrying. To believe that things will work out because that’s just how life is. And I spent the year fighting my own doubts to believe her. And now, as I settle into 2019, I find that she was right all along. Shi, thank you.

I didn’t hate 2018, even though I really wish those guys hadn’t pummeled my skull with a home-made gun. If anything, I am grateful. Last year was a year of lessons. I guess I’m hoping that this year follows suit.

To more lessons, more healing, more love. And hopefully, more consistent blog posts. On that last one, I am already not doing so well. Send reinforcements.

Hey! Did you like the post? Let me know what you think!