Do you remember the eighties when everyone “break danced”, I simply couldn’t do it. Colonel Abrahams would be belting out; “ can’t you see am so trapped...” I must have looked very comical trying because everyone burst out laughing whenever I did. I soon stopped bothering with it. I was made to understand I was backward. “Mshamba”, to be exact.
I finally came to Nairobi city in the early 1990s. Most of the enlightened people in the estate spoke in the sheng language. They spoke so fast, my head hurt every time I attempted to understand what they said. I was deemed even more backward.
And then I went to college and every single one of the popular girls spoke in terms of “wanna” and “gonna” while I went with my regular “want to” and “going to”. We called them the “yets” girls. (I do hope that’s how it’s written!).
My English teacher would have been mightly proud but that was the last nail —I was an officially certified villager. This did and still rings true. I am a villager, born and bred.
Now there really is nothing wrong with that except that I permitted it to mean that I was inferior. And for the longest time, I let that meaning shape my decisions on who I spent time with.
What I said in public, how much I put myself forward whenever there was an opportunity to have my voice heard. I let that meaning bar me from sharing my input. I let it keep my ideas and capabilities as some of the best kept secrets. What a waste.
There are few experiences worse than knowing you have a whole mine of gold to offer but feel tied to that same place you’d like to move on from. I imagine zero-grazed animals feel this way.
You can relate to this, I know — many smart, creative and hardworking individuals can. I also know you are very familiar with that disappointing feeling of continually failing to reach your goals, aspirations and potential.
Resolution after resolution amounting to nothing. You’ve stopped resolving because you no longer see the point. Most of us wake up every morning wanting to be the best we can.
Hard as we may try, there seem to be some very industrious guards commissioned by some unknown power to hold off our forward progress. And they do an admirable job of keeping us whining in our stagnation.
What have you tolerated; that you’re not qualified, you don’t look the part, you don’t “fit in”, you’re not of a certain breeding? Smile.
Smile wider still until your molars show! Shake your office building with the thunder of your laughter! While these may be true statements of you at any given time, they mean absolutely nothing. They are the exterior of you.
The real you is perfectly created with all the intelligence you require woven into every cell of your being. It is yet to unfold. These statements do not define you.
They only hold you back to the extent to which you let them. But that’s not the bullshit (BS). The BS is that you tolerate and allow them dictate you, your journey and in effect, your destination.
We all want meaningful relationships, great health, immense wealth and serenity. Feel free to put those in any order of priority. We wanna positively transform our lives and enjoy greater levels of success in every endeavour. (Note: I learned to use “wanna”!)
We can do this in a flash. It’s a simple decision on just how much we are willing to do to achieve our dreams.
It’s about how much we are capable of enduring on that journey, how much we are willing to let go of, to create the space in our lives to permit the greater achievements we desire to come in.
One fine day, I stopped tolerating the bullshit that held me in shackles for years. To do that, I had to come face-to-face with the fact that the BS was in my own mind. Right now, I need several telescopes to see where I was back then.
I love the way our Oscar-winning sister put it; “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid”.
What are your dreams?