I Graduated ... Now What?
By the time you read this, I will probably be failing the GRE or about to fail it. No, there is no need for tears… at least yours. The least you can do is commiserate with me as I wonder why we mathematically inept folks must suffer math. We have people who go to school to study this, they willingly chose this path that the rest of us ‘two plus two not knowing bitches’ left behind. It is necessary for me to point out that it is dumb that we still have to do mathematics. It is rude and selfish that we take money out of mathematicians hands when we could be paying them to do what they have been trained to do.
With that being said, my mini-rant is over. We can now focus on these things called emotions. I’m just going to lay my cards out on the table, I think feelings are dumb. They are annoying and completely get in my way of being a boss ass bitch. I thought of going with 'boss' but there are some people out there who would say, this is why women can’t rule. Completely ignoring the fact that men have emotions too, but back to the main point, I’m not a fan of these things called feelings.
I don’t know about everyone else but what kind of blog would this be if I did not rope them into this stereotype. As Africans, it feels taboo to show emotions when they are not necessary. No one has died, no one is miraculously healed or going through a difficult time, and you want to cry? Are you drunk?
I'm pretty sure every child in Kenya is familiar with the proverb, “Wacha kumuangalia, ata anza kulia.’ Meaning, do not look at the child because they will start to cry. Now, if you have dealt with a toddler before it is kind of true but at the same time, it is pretty ruthless. It teaches you strength and resilience at an early age. A lot earlier than the annual lion hunt can impart those life lessons.
When I came to America and people would willingly admit that they had been crying or would burst into tears in front of me, I would be taken aback because I don’t know how to deal with emotions like that. I will admit to the fact that every once in a while a solitary tear does escape my eye but I still don’t know how to deal with other people’s tears. I don’t think too many people in Kenya know what to do. My instinct and general teachings say that a hug or a pat on the shoulder are required. But what if that is not what they want?
Should you hug them? Give them tissue? Should you look away? Pretend the tears did not happen? Make a joke? What do you want me to do?
Kenyans are generally interesting people but the way they deal with emotions is astounding. We make jokes, and find humor in situations that are miraculous to even find a joke in. I am constantly amazed by the cavalier and nonchalant attitude some people discuss living under an autocratic leader. Not once, but twice. I am mind blown.
These are the people that will tell you stories of their classmates disappearing for complaining about the president, the way someone would say the sky is blue. Once they are done with their story, they will add ‘it was a bad time… no joke at all.’ On top of that, some refuse to acknowledge the havoc wreaked by colonialism and its lasting effects in our lives today.
How am I supposed to process emotions when these are the people I come from?
This is the position I am in as school starts for the new year. I have been feeling weird and anxious. Maybe it’s anxiety from the GRE or maybe it’s gas, but I think it just hit me that I’m really not a student anymore. It feels weird to see people on Snapchat and Instagram go back to a space that I inhabited for four years and not have to think about going back, my class schedule or extracurriculars.
I have been a student since 1998 ... this date may not be accurate but I don’t math so this is what we’re going with. Since the first day of kindergarten I have been engaged in formal education and I don’t know how to feel now that I am not. Don’t get me wrong, I am SOOOOO glad to be finished. I don’t think I can even emphasize how happy I am to be done with school but it still feels weird that I am basically done. (We are ignoring the fact that I may or may not go to graduate school.)
Growing up I had internalized the idea that you suffer through school and then go to work and do whatever it is to survive. The whole idea is birth, school, work, death. Life is the thing that happens in those moments. But here I am after 20 years wondering, what's next?
Before university, I had my life plan figured out. It changed a little bit over the years but the general idea was to finish school, move back home and change whatever I can in the little amount of time that I have on this earth.
Then I went to university and experienced those annoying things called emotions. They had not been included in my life plan. I hadn’t been taught to account for missing home, missing people, missing things, or feeling nostalgic for a moment. Like the first time, I sat down in a lecture, the first time I made a friend or the first time I said my dad is the president of Kenya. I wasn’t taught to think of the endless possibilities that could shape my life and admit that I was scared that I did not know what was coming next. I was taught structure, classes, good grades are how you make it to the next level in life, and have fun but not too much fun, it will all work out in the end. I was taught how to be a student and now I don’t know, or rather, I’m anxious to see what comes next.
I could literally become anything. I could become the Black Panther, a housewife, a politician, a comedian, a writer, the list is endless. I could also become nothing. I have so much I want to do and so many plans that I have but where I am and where the plans are, seem like they are worlds apart.
Is this adulthood? If it is, I'm going to need a refund because buddy this ain’t it! On top of all this, people willingly choose to feel emotions? I caint.
I’m one of those people who needs instructions and reassurance that I am not the only weird one out here experiencing these things, and this was not included in any of the manuals of how to human correctly. There was no class to teach me how to deal with FOMO or the prospect of having your entire life ahead of you but no clue of how to get where you are trying to go. This is why I was pressed about getting a job immediately after school. It would have been much easier to ignore my feelings but typical capitalism, it wants you at your best so it can break you down itself. #weshouldallbecommunists
I have waited for what seems like a lifetime for this and I'm not sure if I know where to begin. Everything is the same but different.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is, how do you turn off emotions? Because they are getting in my way and I would like to read my books and listen to music without being interrupted by feelings.