A chapter of my life

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It is extremely difficult to lead a simple life nowadays. Life has become more complicated, demanding and competitive that it has lost its zeal… I don’t know whether it is life that has lost the zeal or it is we who have made life difficult for ourselves because life is just life, we cannot affect it. Life gives us the power to do things that we want, and live the way we want. Therefore, it is somewhat hard to explain the relativity between life and challenges.

In recent times, I have seen the kind of lives people lead change. Life has become more competitive. People have lost humanity and placed their value in material gains. In today’s world, material gains define happiness. Well, to be precise, material gains define success. If you don’t have any money or property, it means you are a man of poor means in all aspects of life. In the eyes of today’s world, you are a nobody.

There are many nobodies in this country of ours, including me. I will particularly talk about Kenya because it is a nation that amazes me. I have had an opportunity to travel to other parts of the world… there is a different spirit in our country than there is in other countries. When you step out of the plane at the JKIA, you feel the energy change.

We are commercial beings, I have come to realize. Our affections and ties are entirely dependent on what the other person has got. There is no respect for humanity anymore. While I have seen the same in other countries, I can attest that there is an inch or two of “respect a human being first before you respect what he has” in individuals of other countries.

I am not saying that all of us are that way. The majority are. We revere people who have money sometimes more than we do God.

This trend has led to people using any means to acquire money so that they can be deemed important. This culture has planted a seed of selfishness in us. We want to loot and grab, hoard and then live pretty. That way, we will be respected and feared. People will talk about us. They will praise us. We will be invited to forums, TV, and schools to give speeches of success, even when we know nothing about success.

Maybe many of you don’t know this but I made my first million shillings when I was barely 18. The story about my relationship with money has always been coarse. When money sees me, it eludes me with speed of light, and when I get my hands on it, I kick the lights out of it by spending it like I manufacture it. You will ask how I got the money.

My past has been that of questionable merit. I didn’t start breaking bad yesterday or the day before that. I started leading a rugged life when I was young. I grew up quite fast and thought way far than my age. Therefore, I did things beyond my age at a very young age.

I was a thief, a burglar, a mugger. Then I changed when I went to high school. The joy of my high school life was meeting cougars and, of course, Alexa. That is how I made my first million shillings. I slept with cougars for money. It was little money. But one had the audacity to give me an inheritance of a million shillings when she went abroad.

At the age of 17, I was a millionaire and a father. Now, I am just a father. I kept the money until I finished school and gave it away because it didn’t belong to me. I had not acquired it the way I have always wanted to acquire money.

I am not the kind of person who steals money or cons people so that I can be rich. If I were to do that, I’d be someone not in this world. I am a man who believes in creating wealth.  There are many changes that I went through to be the person I am. It was not one day-change-of-paradigm kind of thing. It took years of self-discipline, learning, and training.

One thing I have always struggled with is living different lives. There is that part of me that cannot abandon the rich lifestyle I once lived, and there is the real part of me that embraces living small. There is that cool, disguising part of me that misleads, and there is that humble, real part of me that makes me do the things I do. There is that brilliant liar spirit in me, and there is that integral spirit which makes me stay by my word all the time.

I don’t know if you’re two-faced too. As for me, this is the real struggle- being different people to different people. If I summoned people who know me in a room and asked them to describe me I am sure I’ll get varying answers because I show people the side of me that I want them to know, depending on the person.

In the darkness, it is the only time when I remove the cloak of multiple persons, pretense, and self-righteousness so that I can be me.

The struggle of trying to belong is real nowadays. We want to be appreciated, recognized and patted on the back. Therefore, we are forced to go to extra miles to achieve this status of recognition. It is costly. We live double lives: fake and real lives.

Fake life is the one we show people when we are in public or on social media. This where we want to show people how perfect, happy and rich we are. We want them to know that our lives are pretty well. We want them to know. Whether these people want to know or not I have no idea. These are people we don’t know, but we go to great lengths to impress them. It is so ironical, per se.

It is mind-blowing that we can spend our ‘esteemed’ and hard-earned resources to impress people we don’t know on a personal level, or people who don’t know us on a personal level, people who don’t directly affect our daily lives.

Then there is reality. This is who you are when you are alone. This is you… in your nakedness. The person you are when you’re dead asleep. The person you’re when there is no one around you. The person who walks around the crib in a torn underwear. The person who drinks milk straight from the jug. The person who sleeps hungry when things get thick. The person who gets real stress when things take a mighty, wrong turn. The small person you are, weak, needy, whiney, and imperfect- that is the person you really are.

In your smallness, you do mundane things that every other person should do, and deep inside you know and understand your smallness. There is a huge chance to let go, for a moment, that person you are and adopt a new being when you’re around others, for reasons only reasonable to you. That is where things start changing for many of us, stopping being us.

It is when we stop being us that we begin to feel inadequate, flawed and dissatisfied. We become someone else and we have to behave in particular ways in order to meet the standards of the person we’ve become and displayed to others.

The world around starts demanding more than we can give and treating us differently. Due to this, we start living a different life to meet these demands and maintain a particular image. What a better way to start struggling in life?

The reason perhaps I am delving into this subject is that I have been so many persons. I don’t know whether I wanted to impress people but now I know that I have never wanted people to really know me. I have, in the past, tried to fill people’s minds with lies about who I am.

Over the last few weeks, I have had a chance to think about life and my choices. This chance has enabled me to reflect upon the life that I have been leading, and the reasons why I am going backward. Since the year started, I have been through multiple hurdles, moving from one to another until I reached a moment when I didn’t know who I was. At that moment, I stopped thinking.

Life was so terrible that all I wanted was to stop functioning. I wanted my mind to stop, I prayed for my body to freeze. I managed to lie to myself that I could do so. While I was busy doing so, things were happening and I was going into more mess.

But since then, I have had a few runs to my therapist, or should I say shrink… opening up and asking for admonition. It is not that I don’t know what to do when I am deep in shit, I know, but when I someone encourages me I garner more energy to pursue life with confidence. There are those times when I need someone to whisper to me, “You can do it, Justine, you can do it!”

She asked me to be vulnerable, to let the world in, to allow people to move into my life and help me with my reactions when things get fucked up. She advised me to go with the flow, to loosen up and to drop baggage that didn’t help me. I asked her what kind of baggage a man has because I didn’t know if I had any baggage. We sat there half a day examining things that could possibly have come out as baggage, isolating them and examining their importance in my life.

I am glad we did that. When I discovered the kind of baggage that I have been carrying with me all along, I was extremely happy to drop it like a bag of weed, and run into my freedom. Since then, my mind has been at ease. I have had a change of thoughts, though not the way I write, and things have generally started getting clearer.

While at it, she taught me the art of saving. And that is how we’ve managed to come up because when our domain expired, I didn’t have a dime to renew it. Learning this art has not only brought joy in my life but it has boosted my financial strength, aiding me strongly in meeting my financial obligations.

But most importantly, I now can live my life. I can live in reality. I can now let people in. I can love. I can laugh. I can cry. I can say no easily if I need to. I can let loose. I can go into the wild for weeks with the hope I’ll come back. That is the smell of freedom.

So folks, welcome back from that long break. We shall resume to our Wednesday routine. Jose will (hopefully) be going for Mondays and Fridays. Brace yourselves for the good things to come.

As always, we are grateful for your support. Kindly leave a comment after reading the story. Also, do not forget to share with your friends.  Much love!

Mzangila Snr,

Where shall we go, we who wander in this wastelands in search of better selves?

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About Mzangila

Mentor, media consultant, photographer, editor, poet, writer, and counselor.

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