I am writing this from the comfort of the ocean shore. I’m watching as the ocean waves gently crash against the low hanging cliffs when after their amplitudes die down. The breeze is doing favour to my mind; replenishing my continuously fading mind, calming the random thoughts threatening to tear apart my being. This is not a story, but rather a testimony of what my campus days have made of me.
When I joined campus roughly six years ago, I was excited the least to say. First because I was finally in Mombasa, and most important of all, I loved the look on people’s faces every time I told them I had enrolled for an engineering course. I cringed every time their demeaning looks threatened to scare me. I loved the feeling of mystery. Again, this is not about what school I went to, or what I studied. It is about the impact that six years of campus has made on my life.
I do not know what I will miss the most; the hearty laughter with friends, the cold nights on the floor when I struggled to grasp the mystery behind complex mathematics, the bright evenings when I strolled along the beach, or the mornings that I fought with my sleep, struggling to beat deadlines.
I am however sure of what I will not miss. I won’t miss the hours of talks that objectified women that I had to endure in between lectures. There were times I had to fight back tears when women were portrayed as objects of pleasure and nothing else, purpoting that women cannot be successful without compromising their dignity. I have had to engage in a war of words at times trying to put the right mentality in people’s heads, most of which bore no fruits. I have had to sit in a class where a doctor termed women as “people who will be exchanged for cows”. I have dwelt among people who said it straight to your face that you didn’t earn the grade, it was gifted to you. All the same, I have come out stronger than I ever thought I was. I am still glad that I was turned into a female supremacist.
Three weeks ago, I was on the verge of depression. I went without a proper meal for one full week. No, I didn’t cry. I was emotionally unstable. One minute I was in high spirits, the next I was sinking deep with folded hands. I drowned myself in books. I let my pen speak for me. I spilt coffee in most books when the depression took toll on me. I wasn’t sure I would be able to write my exams. I almost convinced myself that I was bipolar. It scared me. I read “Unbroken Wings” three times and regained myself.
We all have secrets, our hidden emotions…our unspoken words.We all have things we don’t want to say or tell the people who need to hear them. Sometimes it is our egos worn at our sleeves, sometimes it is the walls we have built, and sometimes it is our introvertism or our inability to speak out.
I smiled during the day. I laughed a lot. I knew I had to keep up with my school. School “taught” me to mask my feelings, to shrink into a corner and cover myself with a royal cocoon. I am glad because these days of pretence are finally over. I am me.
Over the years, I have made great friends. I am overly social. I easily strike a conversation with strangers, albeit being quite picky and opinionated. I learnt that friends are real when you let them be, when you let them dance to the beat that sets their heart on fire. Friends are real when you’re free of judgement, when you let them see the real you, the vulnerable you. They are real when you let them understand that they’re not obliged to you.
I won’t be able to forget the friends that campus brought my way. What is that thing they say about memory? I am grateful for the one or two that have stayed true, those that have made waking up worth because I will see their faces, those that have shone their light on my path whenever it was dark, those that have constantly gave me a shoulder to lean on, that have given me a chance to not justify my actions, those that have me theirs.
I have learnt my lessons from the ones that we fell out in the course of time. Those that our paths came to an abrupt end for whichever reason. I won’t promise that there will be a better version of me. I cannot promise that I won’t miss them, it is just that I will shove those feelings away. I just hope that one day, when they hear my name, they will smile and be glad that we met.
What I have learnt
Humans cannot exist single-handedly. Treat people in the same way that you’d like to be treated. Be the sun that you want the world to bask in. Be kind. Give when you can. Do not expect anything in return. Love when you can. Be careful who you trust.
Smile. Laugh when you can. It is okay to wear your scars on your forehead. It is okay to fail at times. It is a good feeling when you work for something and you finally get it. There’s no comfort in comfort zones, there’s no nice in nice try. There’s no limit to your abilities.
I pray for a brighter day each morning. I hope that I will forever look forward to promising mornings. That I will still find solace in sunsets. That my coffee will still take me through the nights when I will be deprived of my sleep. That books will forever be my best friends.
I pray that one day I will look back at all the years and feel their worth. That I will smile at the woman in the mirror and pat her back. I will be a name.