I grew up always having to nurture my own independence.
I lost my father young, and hard work has never scared me. I’ve been victim to a prejudiced society that judges people on where they come from and what they have. Today I’m fully self-employed, but I feel it’s important that people see the other side. Like the journey. The tenacity, resilience and sheer determination. I want those unsure about their purpose or struggling to enjoy their job to know that you’re not alone.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with earning an honest living. Whether you’re a domestic worker, an intern starting out, or a storekeeper.
I recall a time people felt sorry for me when I worked as a brand ambassador for various brands. Having to carry a few kgs worth of stock and merchandise from retail store to retail store isn’t exactly as glamorous as it seems. Standing for hours in heels hoping for that sale your commission depended on. I’ve hostessed and served at corporate events and had to choke under my breath many times, as I was slowly made aware of a world I’d never had access to before.
I have the weirdest work history, of which I’m so grateful and proud. Never be afraid to start somewhere. Good things don’t come to those who wait. Likewise, those on top of the mountain certainly didn’t fall there. So I say to you my friends, pride won’t guarantee your success.
Keep your head down, dream big, take risks. Start small. Be willing to acknowledge that a journey of a thousand miles, often begins with only a simple step in the right direction.
Sometimes I felt like I never fit in anywhere. I’ve always struggled with this – wanting to belong. I’ve been making mistakes and choices in the past just to fit-in and be accepted. This only changed when I started doing what I love. I forgot that I actually enjoyed my own company. I started trusting my ability to make the choices that are best for me – and if it had to include other people – they certainly had to be like-minded individuals. It is true that your vibe attracts your tribe.
The people around you can either make or break you. People who haven’t believed in you nor supported you will not start now. It taught me that relationships and boundaries DO matter.
I must admit though, due to everything I’ve been through in my life, my friends say there’s a chilled out vibe to me which they find appealing. It hums with welcoming energy, and in a sense; art is within me. It’s in the way I express myself. It’s in the way I find inspiration through the pain. It’s in the way I analyze everything, as the day fades into night and the night into day. They say it always takes them back to the beauty and simplicity of life. Almost like through a pair of child’s eyes, that hide subtle confidence which can only be attained through roughing out some pretty treacherous conditions of life. I suppose these set-backs brought with them a different kind of contentment I would have probably never felt otherwise. I’m now grateful for the journey I’ve walked to get this tranquil time in my life.
The biggest lesson that I learned so far is to live in the present moment.
In a digital world where social media and communication reign, where love and money are often in conflict, where opportunity corrupts morals and intentions – it can be hard to hoist yourself into awareness of the present moment, where everything else melts away.
Instagram photos, motivation videos, highlight reels, ‘overnight’ success stories — while they’ve inspired a new generation of ambition and entrepreneurs, they also reveal the heart-aching possibility that maybe your life isn’t so important after all.
Too often, the beautiful moments of life can be drowned out by a cacophony of self-consciousness, worry, and anxiety. Life, however, unfolds in the present. Once you truly grasp that everything is NOW, and you live fully, consciously in this very moment, life suddenly becomes easier, better and more fulfilling.
I don’t really have a specific saddest moment, but I know I get sad about things that are nostalgic and now seem whimsical (they didn’t last long enough) for me. Maybe it’s because the warm glow of nostalgia amplifies memories, and memories evoke emotion. Like the ones of days spent preparing good food for a good family that now live away. Or of the culturally competent days exploring new cities and understanding people and perception. Or of beach picnics or the most beautiful sunsets, I used to witness growing up in Kenya over al-fresco dining.
The fear of not living to the best of my ability. Of not aligning to my greater purpose because of anxiety or fear itself. Not that I’m all that brave or courageous, but it’s just that after I rationalize things, I realize there isn’t much to fear. Life may end before you get to see and do everything that you want. Maybe you wanted to travel around the world or build a great company. Maybe you want to become an artist or create beautiful gardens. There are so many books that I want to read. There are so many places that I want to see. There are so many things that I want to build. I’ve been called a workaholic before, and as a result, I suffer from anxiety.
So I guess my fears would be anxiety related, and most especially about if there will ever be enough time to do all the things I’d like to.
I would also say my biggest fear is losing my freedom. Especially because I feel like as though freedom is such an inherent part of art and creativity – the two things I feel define my life purpose.
Prayer changes things and helps you find your true self and purpose. Sometimes when you’re in a dark place, and you think you’ve been buried, maybe you’ve just been planted. Trust the journey, and always see the light. You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination. And that includes perseverance through the hard times too. If you’re not happy with where you are, change your situation.
Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. I think too few people do what they love, and I love to encourage people to change that.