July 4th 2019 might remain to be the day permanently etched in my mind, just because it is the day I quit a job I had been at for roughly nine months.
It was not easy. Typing the resignation letter was so emotional, and the only ting that prevented my tears from flowing is because I knew that was not what I had signed up for. That was not what I expected when I signed up. That was not the environment I wanted to grow around. Those were not the kind of people I wanted to associate with anymore.
That was not the kind of life I wanted to live for any day longer.
I had mulled over the decision for quite a long time, with people throwing the ‘wait till you find another job’, ‘there are no jobs out here’, ‘ better be stuck at that than have nothing at all’ my way.
No one was pro of the idea, apart from my person who said, ‘if it brings you happiness, just do it.
What I learnt, I was the only one who knew what I was going through. Even if I tried explaining my predicament, no one would feel the pich in the shoe I wore. No one would understand what it meant to break down every morning when the alarm goes off, and literally beg yourself to take a shower. No one would understand the rapid heartbeats everytime evening approached, because it brought with it a wicked sense of horror.
Someday, sometime, we will get the time to talk about how I managed to endure both the physical and emotional harrasments. From people who spoke a language I didn’t understand and laugh in my face. To the night drives through a secluded dark road, alone in the car with someone who tried to touch me inappropriately. To the consistent women objectification because to them, ‘mwanamke ni kitu tu. Hamna zaidi”.
And another who doesn’t think saying ‘najua unanitaka pia, ni vle huwezi sema’ is so demeaning.
We will talk about a situation where you hold your breath throughout a one hour drive at night, because the designated driver is drunk, singing at the top of their voice and unbuttoning his shirt. And the sadness that clouds your eyes when you are later told, “We knew he was drunk. But duties had to be executed.”
Some other day, I will talk about how the very people who are supposed to train you on the job, do all in their means to pull you down. And how hard it was living with words such as:
“Sasa kanajiona ju kako na degree.”
“Hata na degree she is still the lowest paid. Atatuambia nini?”
“Na alipata wapi pesa ya kupublish kitabu? Ama ako na mbaba mahali wa pesa?”
“Si you see she has resigned? Wasichana wa siku hizi hawakai penye hakuna pesa.”
I laughed off at these comments. Because well, hata kama niko na mbaba na sio baba yako, where is your problem?
We are told to ignore the stones that are thrown at us. But what if the stone lands right in your eye? That shit is so painful. These things bothered me, so much to an extent I was on leave almost every two weeks.
I always needed a safe space to escape to. A space I could be my true self without fear of being judged. A space in which I could be genuinely happy. A space with people who really know the value of going for what you want. I always wanted to be as far as possible from all that toxicity.
A day before I resigned, I talked to my boss and asked him to kindly reconsider reviewing my salary or changing my job description to something I could at least enjoy. Or to something that would challenge my brain. I even had proposals on what I thought was quite implementable. Because well, I believe a job is supposed to grow you either knowlegewise or financially or in an ideal case, both.
“Eunniah, you just came the other day. When someone is starting, they do just anything. Even cleaning toilets,” he said.
I am not opposed to washing toilets. I will gladly do that, if I rest assured that someday, I will move to cleaning rooms, then maybe clothes then to something better. What I am opposed to is cleaning the toilets forever with no hope whatsoever.
Maybe I was over ambitious. Maybe I wanted too much. Maybe I was just in a space that wasn’t created with me in mind. Maybe, just maybe, I was trying to reach for something else that others couldn’t see.
Some other day also, we will talk about the tiny bits of racism still rooted within our systems, and how people become so accustomed to being mistreated, that when you try to go against the system, all the accusing fingers point at you.
Today is my last day here. I have waited for this day with so much love. But I have lived the past few days with so much hate and resentment for this very place. When asked why, I said “I do not want to look back at this year and hate myself for tolerating such a huge amount of bullshit.”
I do not know what the future holds, but tomorrow is a beginning of yet another journey. I do not know what lies at dawn tomorrow, but what it is, I know it will be well. That too, shall come to pass. Because no one deserves a life that they have to heal from in future. No one deserves to live the rest of their lives with their hearts in their palms.
The same way no one deserves to shout Wamlambez and fail to get even a single Wamnyonyez in reply.
It is well.❤