I was born on January 3rd 1999, same night that my Uncle Mbugua died. According to some relatives I should have been a boy to carry on his spirit or at least that’s what was expected, there were no sonograms or gender reveals in those days. It hurt to be an alternate reality of another expectation. In all this, my mum hastily adds ‘don’t worry, life goes on’ See I was born into a family with no overt expressions of love. No forehead kisses or goodbye hugs every morning just the usual affection of people who live together. It was also on January 3rd when the United States launched the Mars Polar Lander (don’t even pretend you knew that). A squealing baby girl born in the arms of a midwife, an exhausted mother and an anxiously waiting father. Born in an era where only one person had a smartphone and he was the rich uncle who worked in Nairobi town. Twenty years later and I’m asking questions about my birth while my mum looks at me and chuckles. Probably at how lacklustre and one dimensional the questions seem to her, a woman who only wanted to enjoy an evening cup of tea.
At 20, I already feel old, its flustering to know that you’re no longer a teen, nor a small adult. No, you’re nor a big adult with angst over bad debts, traffic, moving out and loud parties. Big adults hardly laugh and when they do its without meaning. At 19, I would have laughed with meaning that all I meant to do was laugh. Will I laugh the same at 20?
My shoulders feel, broader, I no longer carry the innocuous weight of whether my outfit looks good or how I need to take a picture to upload on Instagram. No, now I need to find a job and get an income the hell mouth of life awaits me.
Hold on mother dearest is calling. You would think that when you turn 20 your mom would stop worrying whether you eat, or that you’re late to get home. Well no, she doesn’t stop. Mothers never stop worrying. Mothers never leave.
Someone once pointed out that when I’m 20 I would have a big butt and a banging body. Ironically it was from a youth at church. Well, now that I’m here at 20 I still have the same body I had at 18, he was wrong. In all this crisis, there seems to be a new hope for twenty. Maybe I can finally wear that red dress stashed in my closet and make men swallow their sentences. Femme Fatale and all. Or maybe I can even travel the world, lay stretched on sandy beaches with a glass of wine on one hand and a book on the other. In all the bleak desperation that 20 holds there is a gleam of hope. That gleam is what I chose to start of our year.
A year where we learn to take the power away from our inner diversionist. That small voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, that you don’t have the body to wear a certain dress. So what if I don’t, I’ll wear it anyway. So what if it’s all been done before and I won’t be the first, I still bring something to the table. That small voice has been the saboteur of many dreams, hopes and visions. This year maybe you and I can learn to take the power away from that voice.
As I post this I can’t help but wonder if this post will speak to someone, get inspired, feel better or simply be a good read. That’s what writing is, playing with words and hopefully they mean something to someone and don’t get lost in the myriad of the web. In that spirit, Happy New Year to you all.