There is an adage in Swahili that says, “mtoto akililia wembe mpe,” We all, if you went to 844 system schools, had to at some point write an ‘insha’ explaining one of those methalis. I did not like those ones because, believe it or not, for the best part of primary school I wrote the same story in my inshas with different variations of the same story. This story was told to us by one of our house-helps who we had when I was very young. She would tell us restorers to cam us down when our parents were not around or when the lights were out and we were scared. The thing about methali inshas is that they threw me off my game because the story had to have a teaching and well you can’t use the story about a girl kidnapped by ogres who ate her up and when someone played certain beats on the drum her bones would rise and she would come back to life, she was a very good story teller that house help.
I remembered that story one night I was in bed and I couldn’t sleep and a thought on mistakes came to me and I remembered the crying child and the razor. Obviously, this saying wasn’t meant to give parents leeway to give children razors, it was for the older people to me, the child reminds me of innocence and a tinge of vulnerability and a sense of trust in people. The razor is the result of stubbornness of risk taking.
The razor though, I will not use again because of blood, I am not a fan. I thought of another story though; so one day, I go to the cobbler with lots of shoes and a woman comes with a child’s shoe which she needed repaired. Turns out one of the modifications on the shoe involved removing a light that came on when baby walked because well, she cried when it came on, it also turns out she was very afraid of fire and hence the crying. The light reminded her of fire. That little incident reminded me of life in the grown up world and a little something called risk taking. Other small children were bragging about the little lights on their shoes and having fun running around because they loved the little lights on their shoes.
My little friend however, was extremely terrified of the light and never got to enjoy some pretty awesome shoes. See there are two things here, it is not just the shoes, it is also experience, the fear comes from somewhere. She might have been severely burnt at some point or maybe she just had been severely warned. Don’t beat yourself up too much if you are risk averse give yourself time to soul search and find out why then start there.
Sometimes in life we hit a snag and we just sit there because well, we have gone through things that make us risk shy, it does not even have to be in the extremes of bungee jumping, it could just be the fear of wearing red or white or anything bright, it might be the fear of socializing, I have this by the way because I think very differently from people I have come to call, ‘normal’, but that is a story for another day.
I am yet to find a completely workable solution except maybe just daring, daring to dream, daring to try, and daring to face whatever fears there are to be faced but, it is not easy because I am still afraid, of being judged, of it backfiring very badly on me or falling flat but as someone once told me, it is just a matter of deciding. Deciding that fear will not hold me back again, deciding to just dare as long as I am not doing unnecessarily risky things, who knows what I might find there. Don’t get me wrong, fear is not a bad thing but like everything else, too much of it will paralyse you so much you will not be able to even do those little things that shouldn’t use much effort.
I will definitely get back to you once I have bungee jumped but for now, I will dream impossible dreams and imagine unimaginable things as I make them possible and imaginable, I will let the child in me play with the lights on my shoes as I explore what else there is out there. If you are also not sure, you could try it with me and the most important lesson that we learn from the simple things in life, one foot in front of the other, the one in front has no pride and the one behind has no shame because each knows the situation will soon change.
Just take it one day at a time and believe you have a purpose because you do. Most importantly, talk to God in every situation good or bad. Believe if anyone can understand how crappy you feel, it is him. Believing in the supernatural can take you very far and don’t let anybody kid you, that still small voice you hear that is soothing and not forceful is always right.
So let’s explore!