I quickly turned to face the window, so none of the other passengers could see the tears in my eyes. I tried staring hard at the busy streets of Nairobi, willing my eyes not to blink and the wateriness to go away. The girl sitting next to me in the matatu opened her purse, flipped out her phone, and started giggling at something. I couldn’t look. I knew it was a phone she was looking at because I could see the screen light that contrasted sharply with the dim blue lights in the mat. ‘Please stop crying,’ the voice in my head whispered. I wasn’t really crying, I had successfully fought back the tears and my eyes were less watery now. I suspected my facial expression was sad and grim, but that was nothing compared to the sadness I felt inside. I was tired, broken, and unhappy. Yet another day when my outsides did not match my insides.
Two things were happening to me this time. One, I was not very happy at work. I felt I was trying too hard to be perfect at things I didn’t really care about. My assignments no longer made my heart beat. Everyday felt like just another chance to prove whether I deserve to receive a paycheck or not. I was practically living for the money, considering the fact that I have to pay rent, buy food, and save some (though I had been able to save almost nothing). I woke up tired and went to bed tired. On the average working day, five hours into the 9-hour shift I’d be too bored and wanting so bad to get out the office and do something different. Live a little. I was tired of routine. I wanted to quit and do things I actually loved. Yet I was afraid of taking this chance.
The second reason I had hit rock-bottom again was I was feeling all alone. The day before, a friend asked me how I normally spend my weekends. I told him apart from watching reality series and Game of Thrones (finally), I attend events of interest. Sometimes I visit family, other times try catch up on all the sleep lost during the week. He looked at me for a while before asking, ‘Kwani you don’t hang out with friends?’ I smiled, a little shy about the true answer to that question. ‘I don’t really have friends. I have one, but she is not in Nairobi right now.’ Thankfully, he didn’t probe any further.
I am probably one of the few humans alive who still believe in finding true happiness, and that life has no meaning if you are not genuinely happy about your circumstances today. It scares me even more that I might spend a big part of my life doing things that never made my heart beat, simply for the money. Maybe if I take the chance, my story could be different. Probably not today, not now, but my story has to change at some point. I want it to.
I envisioned a life without a real job, without friends, without a place to call home. My life as a nobody, the life of a non-factor. I had also envisioned life doing a job I love, with bills paid and hair done. My life as someone who matters and who is making a big difference to hundreds of those who are at a point in their lives where they feel stuck with no way out. A hero to those who feel like all hope is gone.
There is a very big chance I might be without a job soon, without a place to stay and without friends to lean on. It scares me, it frightens the hell out of me. I want the situation to be different, but I understand I have already cast the die. At least my heart has. I may have to walk alone at this point in life, but this is my journey to make and I want to be at the front seat in deciding the direction it takes. I admit I am afraid, but then it is only when one is afraid that bravery can manifest itself.
There is a life out there calling out to my soul, I want to live it.