Monday, 2 July 2018

Dear Nairobi Girl

I've gotta say there is nothing as intimidating as a blank canvas. All I can say  is playtime is over. The past one week, I have been reveling in my newly found, 'free time'. My morning routine consisted of drifting in and out of sleep simply because I could and who can forget, the fact that  I don't exactly have any academic commitments.It's unreal, so unreal in fact that in the past seven days I have watched maybe five movies; Jason's Lyric, Beyond the Lights, The Incredible Jessica James, Step and Juice. I have two and three quarters series under my belt; Netflix's Everything Sucks and On My Block and I am currently watching NBC's Rise. I realize this isn't a healthy amount of time to be spending in front of a screen, but that's all it is a realization, will I switch things up, only time will tell...oh, the anticipation.

However, I think its about time I tapped into my creative outlet. The urge has been there to write a piece or two but submitting to a keyboard hasn't come as easy as it used to. I figured I might as well just do it, and write about things that matter to me in the moment which might be trash in a few hours or may reckon with me, maybe even you in the years of yonder.But isn't that what makes life exciting,  the uncertainty?

Last week, there was this post going around on Kenyan social media, let's dub it, The Pressures of Being a Nairobi Girl.

It was...what's the word? Relatable. It made me take a waltz down memory lane of my young, naive, amateur college days. Of course now I can poke fun at that period because of the tremendous growth I've made as a human; from watching a lot of watered down possibly shallow content over the internet and being a conformant to the height of consumerism.

Let's  go back in time, way back, I am talking fresh out of high school,back. That was just when Instagram had started claiming its seat at the social media table. Possibly even before the genesis of TheShadeRoom, before Instagram had an algorithm for posts, Instagram stories? Please those fangled things were  for a certain demographic on a whole other different platform, better understood by the children, Snapchat.

My head was in a whole other different space. It all started with wanting the nicest threads and  bags to top it all of. Going into a post high school program with a dress code, I simply didn't fall into the fashion ideal  I wanted. You would think a dress code would dial down the fashion aspect but no, restrictions to young adults only propels them to unfathomable heights of creatively staying within the boundaries adding a flare of their own in tow.

Of course things only further escalated. My wants were beginning to become unreasonable, at least now that I look back on them; I saw people drive to school for the dreaded 8 a.m classes and I wanted that despite living an hour away from school if I chose to walk and fifteen minutes tops on a good day, code for no traffic. I wanted to look a certain way so that I could be looked at a certain way.

I craved to be perceived a certain way when in reality that perception would have been far from the truth. It took me a few months to get over the fact that if you looked up the-bomb-dot-com, it wouldn't be my face you would see beside it. That and my diploma program was amping up the intensity by the semester, having not even the slightest knack for computer programming, something had to give. Exit stage left craved perceptions, enter the reality that was coursework.

When I started my degree program, it was more or less a case of same script different cast. I wanted to buy lunch not have to carry it, I wanted to  make an impulse buy, don't get me wrong I did, but I wanted the nonchalance that complements it. This time though I was a little bit older, possibly even a bit wiser. I didn't get over it but found my way I round it by scouring the internet high and low for a job. Soon the paper would start rolling in and my hearts desires would have been met. Needless to say, it did not quite work out like that.

Now a long way from the teenage years much has changed. Okay, so yes, I still want to be perceived a certain way, I mean who doesn't? But that's just it.  I have irrational wants just like the next guy and now I list them down, stick 'em against my calendar, what I choose to do after that is up to me. Its normal to want something you cannot have; you can get a sick thrill out of it, an enormous drive and ambition to get it or you can get down on yourself.

Another thing that has come with age is deciphering what I  actually want from wanting simply and purely because others have. It would be nice to look polished 24/7 but with a two hour commute nearly everywhere I'll settle for slobby chic for utility purposes.

It's just as okay for you to be 'just' you as it is  for somebody else to be themselves.Be comfortable in your own skin and aesthiticity or lack thereof. If you are going to change you might as well do it for you because, wouldn't you know it? No one's looking.

To the Nairobi girl who feels the pressure, scrolls their time away, don't I have news for you? Start by putting the phone down,and your blinders on. There's a whole world beyond the four corners of your screen, beyond a fire Instagram post. Block out the noise and just live for you and eventually you will have it figured out.


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