Photograph by Nzonda Kenneth

Flexible Emotional Rigidity

Kamga Tchassa
Dec 2, 2016 · 5 min read

This won’t work, she said.

She told me I didn’t have charisma. That’s how she dumped me. She was cute, intelligent and mean — in a nice way. Or that’s what I thought the first time we kissed.

She took a couple of seconds to look for the right word — that’s what she came up with- charisma.

I was still confused by the time she left the room.

Two days ago, we had lunch. Serendipity. And I told her all about it. She told me about the current changes in her life- especially spiritually. She seemed happy.

She was intrigued by my story. She laughed at key points. I was laughing most of the time.

We talked about her thesis and what she’d do after that. She stayed after her meal was finished.

“Have you wanted to tell me this?”


“All this time?”

Yes. I told myself the next time I’d see you, I’d tell you.

“I guess that’s how to not miss an opportunity, huh?”

I guess so

That was the first time we were meeting in over two years.

Never talk to me again, I said.

She told me about her new venture. It was dark, but I could feel the increased pitched courtesy of lady enthusiasm. She also spoke about the new position she was considering.

“There are people who would die for such an opportunity”

Can you handle both?

She paused for a microsecond. I noticed because I’d always noticed for the past three years.


Alright then.

We were having dinner. I was famished. She was too. After that, I put her in a taxi and she went home.

The first time I met her, I fell in love with her lisp. She had a boyfriend. I had a crush on her for two years.

She knew it. I knew she knew it. Our friends knew it. She knew our friends knew it.

She told me I wasn’t the type of person she’d date because of …wait for it…my physique.

I agreed I’d help market her brand. That we’d have a meeting. And that I’d find a way to get her a spot at a cool location for her exposition next year.

We walked hand in hand before she got her taxi. It was fun.

How did I get to this point?

How was I able to move past the person who dumped me for a superficial reason and the person who strung me along…for a superficial reason? I think I know why:

1. Charisma

Personal magnetism; the ability to inspire enthusiasm, interest, or affection in others by means of personal charm or influence. She was right. In 2011. I had none of that. She may have been mean, but that was just the truth. It may be an audacious claim, but I have charisma now. Or, my definition of it.

I do have influence. We all do. But because we seek to influence people in spheres we have little or no knowledge/expertise in, we come off as subservient and attention seeking.

One way I have found to increase charisma, is confidence. One way I know to increase confidence, is knowledge. One way to increase knowledge is to study. One way to ensure that studying takes place, is to find a domain you have both the natural aptitude and genuine interest in.

By gaining skills in various domains, I became more confident and exuded a certain type of “knowledge based” charisma that has attracted people to me.

This has snowballed into an ability to influence others and even gear my future in a much more conscious way. Bottom line? Study harder, the chicks will know. And so will your family.

2. Self-love:

We are all selfish. Even when you do a favour, you’re doing it because of the feeling in your heart- that sweet, marvelous feeling, that someone is better off because of you. Am I cynical? I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t care. Even a mother loves her child because she gains something in return-love. What won’t you give for a hug from someone who loves you? Admit it, you’re selfish. Or at least, I know I am.

Until those conversations, I never understood that before I could truly forgive, truly love, I had to first love myself. The charity had to begin in my heart. Being able to accept my weaknesses, my mistakes, my past. To be able to forgive myself. In order to truly forgive the world, you have to forgive yourself. Once I did that, it was easy to wave off my own prejudices, my desire for revenge or my need for an elaborate apology.

3. Time

But the forgetfulness of death is worse. Time is a marvelous phenomenon. It seeps and stretches everything. From friendships to memories. Time made me feel less pain. It let me reflect. And I can write this now with an image of who I was, and who I am. Time happened. Time may heal all wounds. For some, it just alleviates the pain. But it doesn’t leave you unchanged. With time, I came to appreciate the role these two beautiful, exceptional souls played in my live. I came to see that they too have grown. Changed. They too have issues. They have been dumped. Cheated on. Mistreated. As selfish as I am, they have had their issues. Holding them to a “crime” their past selves committed while the sum of their experiences has provided them with a current, different narrative is not fair to them.

And it is not fair to me either.

It’s okay to have emotions. It’s not okay to be so flexible that everyone tramples on you. Or to be so rigid that you develop cancers from family feuds that span eons.

I choose to be flexible in my rigidity. What about you?

Hi. I’m Tchassa Kamga and I write. I live in Buea, Cameroon. I’m an English Language Post Graduate student at the University of Buea. I also host a podcast and I freeze stuff on Instagram.
You can find me on
Twitter,Snapchat, and Facebook.
Together with my good friend
C. Befoune, we started Self-ish where we share personal essays on Self Improvement, Content Creation and Human Relationships.

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Personal| Authentic| Black. Telling African Stories, one Youth at a Time.

Kamga Tchassa

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Personal| Authentic| Black. Telling African Stories, one Youth at a Time.