Unbreakable.

The morning my aunt called me about a publishing internship, I spent the half hour that followed concentrating, as I never have before, on washing the dishes in the sink. I don’t like washing dishes. I don’t like domestic work. Her call came in the middle of Alan Walker and Sia’s “Unbreakable”, a recent obsession of mine. I stared at my phone for about five seconds wondering if I should pick up as I knew what she was calling about. Even before I picked up, I knew it would be a destabilizing call emotionally.

Spoiler alert guys: I am not unbreakable. And now I feel cheated that I still cried even after I gave everything I had to washing dishes. Because what was the point? What good are distractions if they don’t assuage your emotions?

Let me back up.

I have this recurring dream.

A couple of friends and I are at a restaurant with good music but really bad service having an okay time. Would I rather be in bed, yes? The answer to that question will always be a yes. But my friend is holding my hand for some weird reason and he’s telling a stupid joke and I’m laughing, partly to humour him and partly because my sense of humour needs prayers. And then everything goes dark and I’m sitting with snakes (literally) yapping (hissing?) on about my plans professionally. A lot of the snakes, which are very friendly looking I might add, are of the opinion that I should go back to school and every time the word school is mentioned, venom is sprayed on my skin. My skin slowly cracks and peels away until my true self is revealed and she is just a little girl shaking at a corner, crying for help, begging the snakes to leave her be.

This dream worries me. It is an accurate, albeit bizarre, representation of how I feel about school.

Anxiety.

Whenever I tell people I hate school, I get the classic response, “who doesn’t?” And maybe I don’t hate school entirely. School gave me a first taste of pride, and largely, a sense of purpose. We were learning standard six trigonometry and nerdy me just knew all the answers. I was answering the teacher’s questions as fast as he could get them out and after the fifth question, he made a declaration, “this is why she defeats all of you.” Other than the few hateful glances I got, the class was intensely silent. I said nothing for the rest of that lesson but for the very first time in my life, I wasn’t backing down because of shame or guilt, I did it to give others space and a false sense of achievement. I was thinking, “I’m going to own these people!”

But lately, I just hate school. For the place that built me, it sure did break me. I often joke that the only things school ever gave me were mental health problems and righteous anger.

As early as my youngest sister could understand me, I’ve been teasing her about school. At first, it was about how Jesus would come back even before she starts school and now that she’s in class eight, I keep joking that she should quit school because Kenya is too messed up for her education to do her any real good. My mother missed the memo about this being a joke and she gets so frustrated when she catches me saying this. One time it escalated and she ended up berating me about my unwillingness to do a master’s degree. Somewhere between her not understanding how I became so anti-school and trying to reconcile it with her parenting style, I remember mumbling, “school gives me anxiety and until I’m in a mental space where the very thought of school doesn’t make me want to slit my wrists, I won’t go back.” She of course didn’t hear me, and I left her “soul searching” because I needed to scream into a pillow as getting those words out of my mouth had left me feeling utterly spent and exhausted.

My aunt’s call made we want to scream into a pillow. I had to go to go back to school to get some documentation. I had to go back to the buildings that I was bullied and traumatized in.

School; a physical representation of my inadequacies. It’s been about eight months since I was in a class room and I still can’t get over how small and stupid the gates of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology make me feel.
Just the thought of going to school and I’m already spiraling out.
It’s the reason after I read Tolu Daniel’s essay here, I sat slumped in a chair for five minutes wondering what right I have to call myself a writer.
It’s the reason after a meeting with my friends yesterday where I mostly cackled and had a good time, I crawled into bed last night, sadness and disappointment wrapped around my throat, wondering why in the hell they would believe in me.
It’s the reason I’m sitting in my bed, writing this blog post that I’m convinced is subpar, hoping one of my friends will call so I can talk it out and get some emotional validation. What in the fuck?
It’s the reason I took it way too hard when I couldn’t find inspiration for a blog post. Because it stops being about having nothing to write about and becomes statement on my failure as a writer.

It’s the reason I couldn’t answer a simple question my sister asked me in the morning because it felt like an attack on my spirit which needed nothing more than to fly away to a safe, quiet corner.
But I’m writing anyway. Because, as far as I remember, it’s been my way of saying,”Screw you universe.” I mean I could actually more vulgar variations of that phrase, but you guys know what I’m saying.

From School’s Lectures to Life’s Lessons..

people have a hard time believing i hate school.why? your guess is as good as mine. i like to believe though that it has something to do with the fact that they think i am smart. okay, i am smart(that was my failed attempt at being modest.) and now, i have one more reason to hate school,; i can’t blog as regularly as i would want to, for multiple reasons. two of those reasons would be that i am having a hard time getting actuarial mathematics into my head(again, did i say i am smart?) and that i go to school where the administration would rather invest in anything else but their WI-fi.( read, i am just too lazy to go to school to access WI-fi, so I’d rather just blame the administration. i call it being Kenyan). anyway, school isn’t all bad. for one, its one more post on this awesome blog. so i thought i would do the life lessons that my units have taught me during these few weeks of school.

anyone with the slightest knowledge about probability will tell you that if the probability of an event occurring is zero, then that event is an impossibility. that is what i thought too till this probability and statistics lecture we had some weeks ago.get this, for continuous random variables, having a probability of zero doesn’t always mean that the event represented by the random variable cannot occur. and that got me thinking about the many assignments i did not do just because most people couldn’t get the right answers. and more importantly, how many things i have given up on just because people thought i couldn’t do it. so as trite as this is, i am going to go ahead and say, just because it hasn’t been done, does not mean it cannot be done.

it is a common misconception that calculus is hard.in fact, that is the only thing most people know about calculus.but if there is anything calculus has taught me, it’s that things get easy over time. you just have to stick at it long enough. i remember being a freshman and calculus one was stranger than Greek and all the ancient languages combined. i still do not believe i passed those exams. fast forward to calculus three and i actually look forward to calculus lectures. and at the expense of sounding like a nerd with no life, i am going to say that given the choice between a night out and calculus, i would choose calculus six out of seven of the times.

general insurance has taught me to prioritize. there is just no way i would allocate the same amount of time to calculus or actuarial math and general insurance. this particular lesson is vital to me because i have an especially hard time prioritizing when it comes to people in my life. for a long time now, i have pretended i believe that everyone is equally important. but that was until i had to choose if i would spend thursday night prepping for an actuarial math or general insurance test. i chose general insurance because thursday had been a long day, and i was tired and i was having a hard time concentrating. and when i finally fell asleep, i grudgingly accepted that it is okay to invest more emotion,time, money or whatever i could invest in someone to people who cared enough to do the same for me. that it is okay to severe some relationships, or at least, spend the very least on people who just do not care.

numerical analysis is one depressing lecture. i am usually so exhausted by the time i am out of the lecture hall, i cannot bare the thought of having to walk five minutes to go get something to eat. this is because so much happens in just one lecture, its practically impossible to get it all in. so they just end up jumbled up in my head. and that is life. so much happens, you lose sight of whats important. you are bombarded with pain and joy, freedom and rules, life and death, sometimes you forget what’s what. so here is what i do; a few hours after every numerical analysis lecture, i go through everything again, and it always looks easier to swallow. so maybe I’ll just take a break every once in a while, give my life some breathing space and hope it gets easier to live.

linear algebra has proved to me that i have the resilience and determination to do things that i might think are just beyond me. so this lecture is usually immediately after numerical analysis. a lot of times, i am usually like,”nah, I’ll just go back to the house, crawl in my bed and sleep the day away.” yet week after week,i find myself sitting through a linear algebra lecture, listening to a not so very interesting lecturer, and actually writing readable notes. so i guess the reward comes when people borrow my book and go like,”damn it!how do you write so well?”. and so for the rest of the day, i let those complements just get me through.

computer interactive statistics is my favorite unit. which is ironical because it is usually on a Friday afternoon and i am usually already operating on weekend mode. but this is one lecture that i do not have to worry about how i look. i can burden my small self with a baggy shirt and even baggier shorts and walk into the computer lab looking like i just crawled out of hell and no one tells me shit.and it gets better. the highlight of my afternoon is the coding. i think its sheer pleasure how you write a few lines of codes and the results are just amazing. i adore the way i can create a very detailed graph by just a command. its like a miracle, you know, things just appear.no pressure. and so as my friend put it, “you don’t always need a plan. sometimes you just need to breathe, let go and see what happens.”

and finally, actuarial mathematics has shown me that things get complicated. i remember this one particular lesson feeling like i was drowning in a sea of exponentials, probabilities and rates of mortality.i tried so hard to understand what was going on i ended up thinking about french fries instead. so it was around 8.30 on a Monday morning and all that was going through my head was,”is it too early to eat fries? because fries is all i can think about.” and then went to,” oh god, i am going to die. if i eat fries daily, doesn’t that increase the probability of me dying before my next birthday? if so, what would my rate of mortality be?” but in retrospect, I’d say i was not too far off; i drifted away in context. and so i have learnt to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. like being able to eat french fries with just your hands. so when i finally got to buy fries, i dipped each one in really thick tomato sauce(regardless of the fact that i hate tomatoes and all its products) and relished every moment of it. i just didn’t have the energy or time to get a folk. plus, i figured my life was already complicated.

BRAZIL Vs. GERMANY; THE GAME IT WASN’T; THE MEMORIES IT TRIGGERED….

Now, i am not much of a football fan. Admittedly, i know more than the average girl knows about football. But when it comes to the World Cup, i am with the other girls, it just doesn’t tickle my fancy. I can hardly wait for this madness to be over. and yes, i said madness. that’s me cluing in to one game. if the game between Brazil and Germany wasn’t madness, i don’t know what is. but it was entertaining. my only regret was someone should have given me a heads up about the humiliation i was going to witness when i let some people talk me into watching  that game. 

truth be told, i was indifferent. okay, that’s a total lie. i wanted Brazil to lose. nothing football related though. when i think of Brazil, i see brats who are used to having their way. i wanted someone to teach them a lesson. that doesn’t mean i like Germany. i hate Germany. point of correction, I hate Adolf Hitler.i hate his mustache, and maybe it was the history books in my high school library, but he had a horrible sense of style. and that guy was merciless. a trait some eleven players seem to have inherited with unmatched precision. but i digress, my point is i am not a fan of Germany either.so technically,( we could argue about the correctness of that word in this context, but i have a point to make) i was  indifferent.

that game got my mind reeling to a time in high school. a history lesson learning about the Battle of Adowa. how Ethiopians with just their bows and arrows managed to defeat a whole army of equipped Italian soldiers. obviously, i do not know the specifics of that battle. i can only speculate. i have managed to convince myself that the only way the Ethiopians won that battle is by ensuring the Italians were thoroughly traumatized. would you imagine how depressing dark Africans adorned in hides and skins only in specific places, chanting frightening war songs as they wage their bows and arrows at unexposed Italian soldiers can be? and to top it all, leading the pack was one Menelik the second who as much as try, i cant picture as a handsome fellow. the Italians must have felt overwhelmed and scampered for dear lives. traumatized. which is what i think is how Brazilians are still feeling. i wouldn’t say i understand what they are going through, but i know very few things bruise a man’s ego more than defeat in your territory. but if it’s any consolation, at least they do not have to purchase tickets back home. oh God, that is not comforting. in my head it did sound comforting though.

another thing i was reminded of was a very cruel chemistry exam we sat for. most of our scores as we liked to say could not afford us a hot dog in the school tuck shop. and that’s code for we scored less than thirty percent. what followed was intensive chemistry lessons and practicals. as exhausting as those were, they paid off. most of us aced our final examinations. so this is to Brazil, the world cup comes once in four years. that’s four years left to you guys to win the next world cup. i am sure if you will be as good as ever come 2018. but who am i kidding, i still see you guys as spoiled kids who need to be taught a lesson.

so maybe Brazil and I will never stand on common ground. but i respect them. they are a good team. which is what i could say about Germany, but thanks to one Adolf Hitler, that ship already sailed.