Monday afternoon I was stuck in the library staring at the screen of my laptop willing my mind to think and daring my hands to write. It does not help when you are trying to get things done but you already doubt your ability. There is always that desperate need to be good, to be the best at what you do or at least be counted among the best. This is the pressure associated with having to impress someone else. It’s the discomfort of being the subject of scrutiny. It’s no different from having someone ask you to sing for them, you suddenly become self-conscious and even though you do it so well in the shower it becomes daunting.
We often find it hard to step out of the circles of our comfort. To venture into worlds unexplored.
My hand wouldn’t move, they remained resting on the keys like lizards on a wall waiting for the sight of a fly before they can start chasing. I waited for the whirlwind of the numerous thoughts running through my head to settle so I could Isolate them, turn them into words and then let my fingers dance on the keys just so I could lay my deepest and most intimate thoughts naked at the feet of readers like you.
Life often feels like reading from a script, we are more comfortable predicting our next moves. I think it is this school of thought that gave rise to the formation of institutions such as insurance firms, social security and pension schemes. What if we never had it all planned, what if we dared to break free from the shackles of this routine and simply become outrageous? Dare to live. Instead of attempting to control what goes on in our lives, we leave ourselves to become subjects or vessels to the waves of life.
My fingers remained adamant, they just wouldn’t move and my brain remained unwilling. I was not making much progress; I was not making any progress at all.
Without much thought, I closed my laptop and left. I did not have a clear idea of where I was going. I boarded a Ngong bound matatu. I do not have knowledge of any relatives or friends that reside in Ngong, but I had once gone to Ngong when I was 9. I sat by the window, paid my fare as if I knew where I was going and stared outside. I know it can be considered a little irrational and some people might call me idle but the truth is there was so much I needed to do.
So here I was going to no place in particular just because I could. For the first time in a long time, I was headed towards an unusual route. I could not predict what lay ahead, I simply kept going anticipating to see whatever would catch my eye. For the first time in a long time, I enjoyed watching things race in the opposite direction, like I was a kid again. I saw things with the eye of a child, I missed nothing.
We are all bound by limits we set for ourselves. For example, it’s a lot hard for us to walk into a showroom to check out cars if we deem ourselves broke or unable to afford a car. There are restaurants we have not dared to set foot in because we deem ourselves unworthy by simply looking at how they looked from the outside. Why would you board a matatu if you have nothing to do at the final destination?
Stepping out of our comfort zones and doing things we would otherwise not do is geared to ensure we grow. New experiences give rise to new knowledge. Ignorance is the fear that has put boundaries on how far we can go and the dreams we have. It is important we interact effectively with our world. Dare to be adventurous bring your imagination to life, go see places you have only heard of, and see how the people live. Is it not frightening we might die having not set foot in some places in Kenya? We have allowed ourselves to be bound in our neighbourhoods, workplace, school and the usual circle of friends we always interact with. We are the only limit as to where we can go, how far we can go and what we can do.
We should allow ourselves to be surprised by whatever happens next, this is how we make memories, it is why first times make great and long-lasting impressions. How many first times do you gift yourselves with? Do the irrational just so you can and just because you can.
Onduu Oluoch is a writer, poet and human rights activist obsessed with being black and African. He is currently a student pursuing linguistics media and communication at Moi University. He is an ardent reader of African literature and believes the whole point of life is being part of a good story.