I went to the best High School in Kenya. No, honestly I did. Ask anyone who went to Moi Girls Eldoret. And since we had left school ten years ago, we planned a reunion on Whatsapp. Created a group, pooled peoples’ contacts and the event was a go. These are some of the things I have been reflecting on;
- Own your journey
One of the people I really wanted to be there did not show. I texted her on Whatsapp the night after the event. Her response was that she knew she would not fit in. She felt she had nothing to show for the last ten years of her life. That we would be judging her for not being successful enough. Funny thing is, I felt the exact same thing, before the event. I think that all the time, that I am the least successful person I know. Have you ever scrolled through Facebook and seen everyone at their peak? One High school friend has been in the list of young leaders for the UN. Another lady I know is such a mind blowing musician. There is another lady who is such a successful fashion blogger. And as you eat noodles at home and look at the glam on IG, you start to wonder why your luck is rotten.
The lesson I have learnt over time, since I suffer from perfectionism, is to always be aware of progress. I celebrate progress. When I was younger, I always celebrated absolutes. Today I take in small wins. When I am aiming to be healthy, I applaud myself for eating greens, and for choosing to eat arrow roots instead of chapatti. Even though I feel like chapatti and I were made for each other and that I hurt every chapati’s feelings when I choose to eat something else.
When I choose to stay home and introvert instead of going out to gallivant, I applaud myself
because it shows progress. I was the people who would never let anyone down. Always showing up,
even when it felt like fatigue would kill me. And now that I can choose to stay home instead of showing up and resenting it later, that’s progress. Am I right?
- Trust the process
I realised, as an adult, (now that I am no longer that teenager), that I am unique for who I am. The hardest thing I ever did in High school was be a prefect. I did not want to be one at all. I hated it so much that I went around asking my friends to please not vote for me as a prefect. Except they did not listen.
That dark day the new prefects were being announced, I went to my class and cried. I was afraid people would hate me for giving them punishments. I was afraid I would lose friends. I was afraid I would fail to focus on my studies enough. I was afraid I would have to punish my friends. And guess what, all these things happened.
I lost friends, so much that I was afraid I had become unloveable. And I definitely performed worse than before. I had to wake up earlier, supervise whether the people I was in charge of had worked. Spent time checking whether the compound was clean, time going to meetings for prefects. And the worst thing I think was that I could not break any school rule after that. This was the hardest. Before being a prefect I always got away with “small sins”. Carrying food to class here, making too much noise, smirking at how prefects thought they were the shit. And now I was on the other side.
But on Saturday, while we sat there, none of it mattered. For that dark period of my life (a teenager who feels hated and isolated is a tragic affair), I turned out better for it.