Now I'm convinced that I should be harsher with myself than I am already.
About two weeks ago, I read a story in a major newspaper in this country; the title was SINNERS AND LITERARY THEORIES and I exhaled heavily after reading it. The article was about how far away the minds of Kenyan youths are from books. My eyes grew wider and wider in disbelief as I moved from sentence to sentence of that unbelieving tale. Not reading on its own is a mistake enough but doing other mistakes on top of that is suicidal. The reason I exhaled heavily after reading that story was because I was thankful that I read.
That story came shortly after I read one in pulse, a pull out that is normally distributed with the Friday Standard Newspaper titled CAMPUS HALLS OF SLEAZE, a story about some of the dirty stuff campus students do. Once again, I exhaled because really I'm not so bad after all.
I have been in my comfort zone these past few days 'seeing no evil and doing no evil'. But I was jolted by several things in the past...8 hours. First, it was a phone conversation with Sheilla. Sheilla is... I don't know what to call her and if I knew a word that is bigger and better than a friend, I would use it. But for now, let's just say she is my friend, a good one at that from high school. Sheila knew me better than I did and she still does; our doing different courses in campus hasn't changed anything.
So I spoke to Sheila and as I busied myself telling her how hard it had been for me to get through some tasks, Sheila said, "Daisy you are a special person and you can get everything you set out to get if you put your mind to it..." We continued with our conversation and as much as I tried to veer the conversation to other things, those words still stuck within. We talked for another hour about things we liked and valued; how important it was that we all worked hard to achieve all the dreams we had in high school.
"We'll catch up as soon as I'm back in town..." She said and I agreed knowing fully well that it would be nothing short of a business lunch; business in the sense that whatever we will discuss will be serious matters only and if laughter will arise, then it will be because of memories. I know Sheilla.
So eventually when I put my phone down, I realized that, no matter what direction the world takes, I already set my personal standards and people are watching... No one expects me to smoke bhang so the fact that I don't smoke bhang is not an achievement at all; it doesn't matter how many other people are doing it. People expect me to soar high up in the skies academically, spiritually and professionally and that is what they are looking at. If my academics are not up there no matter who is not up there with me, it will be considered a disappointment. The world is harsh and the bar seems to be moving eternally higher.
So after a while, I resigned myself to the fact that 'business-as-usual-complacency' will never be my way.
After a little more meditation, I signed in to one of the social networks I'm a member of and on impulse, I decided to run through the inbox messages. They are numerous. But the last conversation I had with Sochima mythically arrested my attention. Sochima graduated recently and she is moving first... she has talent and she has ability but above all, she has the breastplate of salvation and not even hard economic times is standing on her way. I like chatting with her whenever I have time and she has time too.
The message from Sochi that drew me more is this;
"Never u join the bandwagon, put God first in all that u do, always aim
for the best and of course, u will survive all that. i spent 4years in
the university and i never for one day went for clubbing... not that its
bad, but i knew why i never did...dat did not stop my department from
giving me an award as 'the most beautiful'...my point is that u can be
anything u want to be without being influenced by the crowd...dont worry
swèetheart, u will excel!"
I read that message twice or thrice before I logged out to rethink. If I know Sochi well, then I know she wasn't joking; she has her priorities right. I took sometime to think and I discovered that, in as much as a lot of people want the best for me, only ME can make it happen. I should be incharge, do what I can maximumly and forget others especially those who do not share my vision because all said and put aside, we have different destinies.
After that, I picked a book and decided to read one or two things but nemesis was not through with me yet. I needed to find out something about Petina Gappah's An Elegy for Easterly and as such, I logged on to her blog(The world according to Gappah). But something else caught my eyes; there was a blog post titled YOUNG, GIFTED AND NIGERIAN: MEET CHIBUNDU ONUZO. I followed that link immediately and I met the 21year old author of THE SPIDER KING'S DAUGHTER and the blog authorsoundsbetterthanwriter and I was awed!!
There are real people out there who are making 'things' happen and if we choose to be lazy because everyone around us seems to be doing worse, then we will be shocked one day when we look up and discover that a lot has happened in our 'absence'.
I am sure at this point I needed no sooth-sayer or prophet to decipher the fact that life is not a game as most of us have been led to believe. It is a journey that follows the path you lead it on...and this is my humble submission. I will work towards my goals without looking at the side tracks; even my competitor will meet with me only after we cross the finish line. First or last, makes no difference as long as I have done my best.