Going with the flow

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I have been away for a while engaging laziness in an unfathomable way. I would have loved to come back here and tell you how exciting my life has been in the last couple of weeks but alas! I cannot because there hasn’t been anything exciting. I have been cuddling with laziness and suffocating in an immense lack of purpose and direction. When you are inspired by some great purpose or some extraordinary project, all of your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person than you ever dreamed yourself to be. But amidst all the awareness of the said fact, I feel my life moving in the complete opposite direction. In fact, at this moment, the opposite of that statement can be said to be true. All my faculties have shut down indefinitely. I am bored and lack the energy to leave my bed and do something constructive on this particular morning.

Out of habit, I pick up my phone trying to find something exciting. I normally find books exciting because they take me to another world entirely and for some time I forget my troubles but not today. My usual enthusiasm about reading has deserted me. I log onto Instagram and feed my eyes on the fine species that inhabit that place. The fine light skins that have made the black folks racists. I am tempted to DM one I have set my eyes on for some time but decide against it for exactly the same reasons I am writing this article today. My heart is not ready for some more high voltage insecurity, not after the last one but that’s a story for another day. I realize am torturing myself and log out. I log onto twitter, particularly trying to catch up with the Kobi Kihara challenge and the trolls but I come to realize KOT have already moved on to other important topics like Omushambulizi (Lukaku) scoring two goals for Man United.

I know some of you might have expected me to mention the hiking fuel prices but in all honesty, that is of very little concern to me as I do not own a car. But if the resulting ripple effect causes the price of Unga to hike which I know it will, then I will be concerned. I feel sorry for her (Kobi). Perhaps she just wanted something to fill a void and when she couldn’t find anyone, she decided social media was her only refuge. A safe space where people could look up to her, where people could want her, want her life, a place she could feel desired. I can totally understand why she would go to such extremes. I feel a void inside of me that needs to be filled too. Twitter can’t fill it so I log out.

The song on my sound system comes to an end and I can’t exactly feel the one coming up. I change it. I play Rayvanny’s new acoustic wasiwasi. I like the beat. That song makes you want to just get married. I continue scrolling my playlist looking for a song that matches my mood. I find one and put it on repeat and then log onto Facebook. It is Zayn Malik’s Dusk till dawn. I can feel myself floating in the waves of the beat, entwined in its lyrics and embedded in its soul. That song has a soul.

Not tryna be indie
Not tryna be cool
Just tryna be in this
Tell me how you choose
Can you feel why you’re in this
Can you feel it through?
All of the windows
Inside this room

I have been particularly silent on Facebook. The silent commentator. Reading other people’s post without a comment or dropping a like. On this particular morning, I can’t help but stare at Zuckerberg’s odd question “What’s on your mind?” Truth be told, I flinch every time I feel like this (which is most of the time) and then log onto Facebook just to find that question staring back at me. Sometimes I just wonder if he really cares about what is on our minds and how that actually helps. And does he do that that with everyone? That would be a classic case of a best friend having another best friend but I can overlook that because I too have other friends. On whether he does really care, I really do not know what to go with.

I have been having a lot on my mind lately that I need to share but not on Facebook. Top of the list is an unexplained void I feel inside of me. An emptiness in my stomach and my soul or somewhere in there. What do I want in this life? What makes me do the things I do and act the way I act? What is my motivation? One thing I’ve always heard is that there is always a woman whenever a man, a straight ass loving man, mentions motivation. That the only difference is the extent of involvement of the said woman. Perhaps that is what I first need, a woman in my life. Perhaps she can fill the void but how can we know for sure that she will? And what if she doesn’t? What happens then? Nonetheless, I have to set the record straight that I have the controlling shares and interests of this search for motivation. That is to say that more than half the source of drive comes from within but I can’t help wonder if maybe that other half might come from this woman am talking about. I can’t help but wonder if there was actually a woman in my life, maybe I wouldn’t try so hard to remain motivated. Maybe she would fill that void and the overflow would be unending motivation and drive to plough through this life.

So, I continue to scroll down my timeline and when I can’t find anything captivating, I try another way. I hit the search button and type in the name of a person, a lady to be specific. A Facebook best friend that I do not actually know in person but her posts keep me glued to my phone the whole time wondering what she was actually thinking while she wrote the things I’m reading. Trying to get into her mind. We all have that person or persons. A crazy guy or chic whose timeline is full of crazy stuff and you just have to check there first whenever you come back because that is where good laughs come from. I have several of these. They make my days and they never disappoint. In that instance, I take a moment to think about all the people I keep disappointing whenever I do not show up on this platform for weeks (myself included). Maybe out there someone has fallen in love with me and just longs for my posts. For my crazy self-proclaimed philosopher tagged opinions. Maybe she longs for the day I will drop my personal number and she will slide into my inbox purporting to make inquiries about the e-book we are selling and our journey to a happy-ever-after oblivion would start there. Perhaps I should share that number after this.

My virtual friend never disappoints. I come across a post that very much covers one of my concerns; an area of interest and the thing that has been troubling me on this particular morning. Something I have been struggling with. Something I have been wanting to write about but couldn’t find the words. I say virtual friend because we do not know each other personally, neither have we met nor even texted (I will text her today) but I have come to find her posts very endearing. Some of which I totally identify and resonate with. And due to recent happenings with the Kobi kihara situation, I find it imperative to acknowledge that this has been inspired by someone else and in due regard I should give credit where its due.
I have already mentioned how crappy and empty I have been feeling and I know we have all had that feeling once in a while and this is what she says about. More often than not we look for someone to fill it and as it so happens most of the time we find ourselves ‘not wanting a relationship’ with that person we so much crave for in our lonely moments. We guys love our space as does everyone else, we care about our careers (even if we don’t have one yet) and our gym time (those two stones you keep in the house that you stole from your landlord’s compound) and our boys time and time to watch the games on the weekends without interruptions because that lady keeps checking in on you every five minutes. And we know some girls can be clingy, right? After all who needs romance when your bromance is at an all time high?

We are all tying to figure out our lives at this point; trying to decipher what to do with this gracious God-given life and that is fine. Being selfish and single is vital especially in your twenties and many people, men and women alike crave exactly the same freedom. The thing is, you’re going to meet a lot of great people along the way; people who are also happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. People who also have a void to be filled. What we don’t realize is that sharing this stage of our lives with someone special can be equally as beneficial and as I have come to learn we all yearn for that.

We genuinely enjoy talking to someone on a daily basis and getting to know the other person better. We like the comfort of having a cool guy or lady to hang out with not to mention hook up or shag regularly. We want all this but we keep avoiding being in a relationship for whatever reasons we tell ourselves to sleep at night. At this point I feel the need to change the song I’m listening to. I play Scared to be lonely by Martin Garrix and Dua Lipa. The chorus happens to be quite catchy. It also happens to be what I need to sum up this whole article. My three thousand words in one verse: these guys are geniuses.

Is it just our bodies?
Are we both losing our minds?
Is the only reason you’re holding me tonight
‘Cause we’re scared to be lonely
Do we need somebody
Just to feel like we’re alright
Is the only reason you’re holding me tonight
‘Cause we’re scared to be lonely

I do not want to say that am exclusively sharing my own experiences here because as I already mentioned this is inspired by the experiences of another. But mine also have a bearing in it and that’s why we are here. We have all found ourselves in this scenario. You keep texting, keep hanging out, late-night calls, outs on weekends, coffee on the evenings and after a few months of casually seeing each other, one of you (mostly the girl) wants more for obvious reasons. She’s human and doing relationship-like things with her will make her want to be in an actual relationship at some point.
She will ask you what this is, they always do. They want you to define the terms of your engagement. Put a label on it. And you being the boy you have always been will respond that you are just going with the flow. That you are not good with the whole commitment thing and that you don’t really want a relationship at the moment. That you are just looking for someone to hang out with, just hook up, talk and enjoy each others company.

Now, newsflash to all the boys and girls out there- and I say boys and girls because these are not men or ladies. That is called dating. Real men and women know what they want in this life and yes you do want a relationship. I need not be psychic to know that, only being logical. Now, why do I say you want a relationship? Because you want the perks of a relationship; texting all the time, sharing details about the stresses of your day, relaxing together, having sex, going out to grab food and drinks and whatever else people in relationships do together. But you just don’t want the damn title.
For quite some time I have struggled to figure out this dating phenomenon myself and every time it escapes my grasp. Being in a relationship used to be the in thing, the cool thing to do. Because then, that person would be yours, your boyfriend or your girlfriend and no other would dare throw shade on them while you were there. But then came colleges and universities and dating quickly became the thing that “held you back” from the parties and all the fun. After graduation, the game changed but the players remained the same. Now you have to actually put effort, a lot of it by the way (what is wrong with us Kenyans with this phrase ‘by the way’), into getting to know another person. Ironically, most boys put in lots of initial efforts just to tell the girl that “they don’t want a relationship right now” in the end. And not just boys, even girls use that line. They welcome you with open arms and keep leading you on until they drop that nuclear warhead on you Hiroshima and Nagasaki style. Savages! I have actually been on the receiving end of that Nuc.

Even more ironic is when a guy finds a woman who is down with the casual hook-up arrangement and he thinks he has scored it big. In most cases (which is all the cases by the way-there it goes again), it’s because the lady or woman or girl doesn’t give two flying fucks about you. That is why she is so detached and many women play this game as I have been made to understand. Sadly, the moment the woman realizes that she has started having real feelings for you she gets nervous. Nervous because of every boy in her past who is just going with the flow, who doesn’t want a relationship right now, who is really just looking to hang out, just talk and enjoy each others company. In other words, all we are saying is “I like doing relationship things with you but I don’t want to find out if this could be an actual successful relationship.”

These boys (and girls) are scared. Scared of what a possible relationship might change and they are naïve enough to think that they couldn’t be happier than they are right now. In all honesty and from the very bottom of my being, I would like to know when caring about another person became such a negative thing. How did it come to evoke such a negative vibe among folks, the young especially? If you are genuinely interested in someone, why would you forego the chance to explore and pursue that happiness to its fullest potential? To see it through.

If it’s a sport you loved to play, you would practice your heart just like I do every day of the week on that dusty pitch trying to improve my footballing skills just to win the local league my team plays in. You would be committed to the game. In fact, you probably already know that in order to appreciate anything fully in life you have to be committed. That desire is the key to motivation but it is determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal, a commitment to excellence that will enable you to attain the success you seek and that includes relationships. Somewhere along the way dating got a bad reputation: a negative stigma blossomed and everyone hopped on the band wagon. A while later, dating got so lost in translation that boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen now have very illogical knowledge and beliefs of what it actually entails.

In reality (let go off those stereo types you hear from your friends), dating has more advantages than being single. Why do we say this? If it’s a steady hook up or shagging as we call it here that you want, you all should realize that people in relationships have not only more but better sex. Feelings not only create someone who cares about you but someone who cares about pleasing you. Many women out there would agree with me when I say they are scared or would not engage in certain ABCs in the bedroom if it was just a one-time thing but would give it a try if it was someone committed to them. What’s more? Dating offers continual support. If you had a bad day or if you’re working toward a goal, being in a relationship means there’s someone in your life who’s there to celebrate when something amazing happens or cares for you if you’re not feeling so hot.

Dating however doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with your friends, go to the gym or watch your favorite team in the EPL every weekend. It definitely doesn’t mean you two will be joined at the hip or forced to report your every move as we have been made to believe. Women as it so happens, equally value their own space, hobbies, girls’ night and so on. That street is two way. A real relationship is one where two people have separate lives and share them the same way they do with their family and best friends.

The worst of it all is the notion that many of us view a relationship as being tied down or settling down. First and foremost; for the boys, if you do not really care for the girl, stop hitting on her. Stop making her feel special. Stop trying to convince her to hang out if “you do not want a relationship right now”. Stop texting her every day if you have no intention of dating her. Stop making her feel like you two are headed somewhere when in fact you are just circling around the streets of nothingville. And for the ladies, if you are not interested, stop leading us on. Stop teasing. Stop making us feel as if our lines have gone to school and graduated when in fact they are only fit to katia high school kids. Stop making us feel like Supermen when in fact we can’t even fix simple electric circuit problems in our bedsits. Spare the boy-child. For the sanity of everyone involved, let us spare each others hearts and feelings.

Do not chase someone just to let them go. Do not talk to someone everyday if you do not want an emotional connection. Don’t do relationship-like things with a person if you don’t want a relationship with them. However, do not hold back your feelings. It is not often you find someone that you actually connect with. So, take a chance when that happens. If you find someone you like, do not stand in denial because of your young age or the opinions of your friends. Act like an adult and pursue the feelings that make you happy. In the end, a great relationship will enhance your life. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out and there will only be lessons thereafter but you will never experience the true thrill and joy of love or even the full perks of a relationship if you keep your heart locked in some box on an island like the captain of the flying Dutchman. You will not find that person if you do not try in the first place.

So, let us take our chances because at the end of the day, all we want is to be proud of the person we have become. Deep down, we want to be proud of the love we gave, of the way we risked our hearts despite the things our hearts have been through. We want to be proud of the effort we showed those we care about. We want to know with a ruthless certainty that we showed up as much as we could, that we made people feel seen and not for naught. That we made those around us feel less alone in this chaotic world and that that meant something. We want to be proud of our lives; of the way we healed and loved again and got broken again over and over until we found the one, of the way we made mistakes and learned from them. Of the way we felt everything even when it was not convenient or comfortable with us. We want to be proud of the way we grew from grown boys and girls to men and ladies of character and substance, of the way we let go, of the way we pushed ourselves to be better persons. At the end of the day, we want to be able to say without hesitation that we lived our lives, that we did not just take a back seat to our fears, or to our flaws, or to the emptiness we felt inside or to whatever hardships that came our way. We want to be able to say that we are proud of the way we survived. We want to be able to say that we did not take days or people for granted; that we truly gave it our all and in the end it was all worth it.

©C.J. Njoroge

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About The Philosopher King

Writer, philosopher, painter and a student of life and politics. Follow on Twitter @cj_njoroge. Instagram @cj_njoroge

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