This piece is inspired by the following quote by the Late Great Fallen hero, Nelson Mandela, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
I write this, knowing that someone will urge me to get out of my fantastical realm and back to reality. I write this knowing full well that someone somewhere who has just watched the season 4 finale of Game of Thrones will comment and tell me that this is not how the world works. The irony. That won’t stop me; so now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with it.
Sometimes I’m guilty of coasting through life with my eyes shut; kind of like a chicken egg tumbling down a hill. I blab and laugh and tease and go to school, without any proper deliberation, hell, without being mindful about it all. And the moment I realize that I’m doing this, I clamp up, and get scared of even thinking this way because the world I live in is set in a way that over-thinking things and over-analyzing is instantly unattractive. So I’m expected to YOLO through my life, not doing things with deliberation simply because it feels wrong, somehow, to just sit and wonder: Why the hell did I just do that?
I live in a society where following passions is best left to those who are desperate for financial insecurity; where poetry is not a respected art form but a practice best left for girls to giggle over as “gay” guys dazzle them with flowery nothings; where I go to school to study Engineering instead of music because when an African parent looks at you and asks, “Where do you work?” a little cloud of embarrassment hovers around me before, in pseudo-confidence, I say, well, “I work as a musician.” I could do with a look of disapproval, but what happens after is worse. The brush-off and they totally ignore what you said, as if you were musing to yourself, and follow it up with, “But what will you do your degree in?”
Do I realize that by going to school to study something “marketable”, something I’m studying just to be financially secure, I am making money my enemy? Well, yes, I actually just realized that. Because when the money starts pouring in, I will expect it to make me happy; I will expect it to fill in the void that abandoning my writing left, because I made a trade-off, because I sold my soul; because I took what God bestowed upon me, said “Thanks but no thanks”, put it in my back pocket and nervously backed away. I already know that it will NOT fill the void that abandoning my writing will, because this life has no re-runs, I cannot rewind or fast-forward to the good parts. I cannot regain a lost minute or reuse a crucial moment of hesitation. These are the facts; this is reality. And when I sit behind that mahogany desk pretending that handling construction contracts is what I want to do 9 hours a day for the rest of my life, it is my essence and my dignity will be stripped away. It is my fingers that will ache to write and my mind that will desire to wander and explore, tease and jump through intellectual loops as I curse the papers on my desk every day of my life. I have seen this happen, I have watched those close to me rue and plead and beg, and I have also watched those who chose ONLY their passions with an inner peace, but also struggling to pay their rent. This is real; this is happening.
Because I will be responsible for my deeds; and when God asks me at the end of every day what I have done with what He gave me, I WILL have an answer. So I will work twice as hard. I will serve two masters, and I will balance. I will not back away from the challenges this social system has established. I cannot afford to live, trying to befriend money while money seems so ready to betray me. I will not live scared because I can screw up, because I know I will, once in a while; we all do. But that’s the beauty of this broken world; that we screw up, and it does not stop for us, it continues turning. So DO YOU BOOBOO!! in as much as this task of fulfilling society’s expectations while pursuing my writing seems crazy, I’m not scared of being called crazy because I understand that it may be impossible; and a crazy person doesn’t know what impossible means.


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