WARNING: THIS IS A RANT
Lately I have been under a vast amount of pressure to deliver perfection. The stupid thing is- it seemed I was achieving these unspoken levels of excellence beforehand but now something seems to be amiss. The even stupider thing is that these parties who are demanding this of me won’t explain what they have found lacking. They are as vague as a cautious false prophet.
It’s not just in this aforementioned world where I am finding myself floating up shit creek without a paddle. My weight seems to be an issue of discontent for a bunch of people. These remarks get on my nerves like an itchy, relentless, implacable, ever-spreading rash. I am fat. I know it. God knows it. Even my neighbour’s cat knows it. Constantly having something to say about my exaggerated hourglass figure is as unwelcome as a bee up my nose.
I have a friend who had to comment about my weight every time we met. It was fat-shaming masquerading as catch up. I mean, really, how every greeting can be, “Wah! Aki you’ve gained weight…” or “Wah! Aki you’ve lost weight in your face…” boggles my mind. I got so fed up that I asked him if he was doing some kind of fat census that he had to keep track of the width of my face. Needless to say, we don’t talk any more.
And it doesn’t end there. There is always that distant relative who is always asking me about my marital plans. I had to ask myself if my marriage included a third party I was as yet unaware of. Why is it so hard for people to understand the fact that my private life is more confidential than a head of state’s correspondence? I shall eventually get married and after, they will receive a notification in their email that I am to now be addressed as a Mrs. Other relatives even go as far as asking why I am not pregnant yet. Is there a memo I missed? Am I on somebody’s agenda and missed the part of the planner where I am supposed to be with child?
I made it clear to some old fashioned folks that my plans are not typical. I want financial excess before I even think of bringing a child into this world. They think I am obnoxious for deciding this for myself. But I have witnessed women struggle with their babies into matatus and I just don’t want that for myself. I already have my momo-ish status to consider. I can’t add a mewling infant.
It’s no secret that I hate partying, going out clubbing and crowds. I enjoy the occasional beer and nyam chom outing but it’s always in the middle of the day and in an environment with a game/race going on or a panoramic view out of an F Scott Fitzgerald novel. This can’t be comprehended by some people I have gotten to know recently and their remarks about this trait are rather unkind. I like cars, so what? I would rather watch Top Gear than do “girl talk” why would that bother you?
When I was a youngun, I was protected by the shroud of parenthood and school rules. The level of social interaction was a bit limited and thus I wasn’t exposed to the unhelpful narrow view of the rest of the world. But now, every Tom, Bitch and Kiddy has a say on every damn thing. It bothers them that I listen to zilizopendwa. They find fault with the fact that I am not Size 8’s size. I would rather watch a Cold War documentary than go smoke weed with the crew at Njuguna’s joint. This is a capital offence.
A lot of people have habits and qualities customized from and/or for their social environments. I don’t. Everything I am is as a result of what I ate and a carefully selected decision of what to do or be. I don’t like having to explain myself. I don’t appreciate enforced self-consciousness. I don’t want to drive myself nuts looking for the highest strata of brilliance when I don’t even know what I did to drop from it in the first place.
Why can’t we all just live in peace? Whatever happened to letting sleeping dogs lie? Somebody once said that what Nairobians are best at is minding their own business but that isn’t true. If you wear a short skirt, some hag will have something to spit about. If your hair is coloured differently, some prude will have something to gawk about. If your outfit is too androgynous, some homophobe will have something to preach about. When was it decided that being different is a crime worse than a horse-tail weave? Shouldn’t we all embrace what makes us unique and just run with it? At the end of the day, it’s just you and the fellow in the mirror you have to answer to.
If you have been a target of this unwelcome scrutiny, chin up and don’t apologize for being yourself. If you are one of those people who have joined a bandwagon of victimisers that constantly question others because they don’t live according to your doctrine- BACK THE FU*K OFF! I have a right to be imperfect.
PS// PEDESTRIAN’S NOTE
I just got a positive review in the Standard’s Sunday Magazine and thank them for the shout out.
My heartfelt gratitude to all my subscribers, viewers, visitors, glancers and mentioners. You make Pedestrian worthwhile. My many many thanks.