Mum, Dad, we will disagree on everything except this: I know you love me with all you have.
I have written multiple times about how being a first born son has largely impacted my life. Everyone was born at a particular time and could use his/her position to justify the course life has taken. My arguments may indeed just be me justifying my means with the end. However, the last time I took to expressing this first born position as the hub of all my failures, I may have been a little bitter.
Ok. Fine. I was very bitter. And I truly dulled the emotions I had. However, when I read the post again, the events of last week make me feel like one of the precogs in Minority Report- maybe I do see the future after all my myopia and astigmatism.
Summary: I left home and declared I would take care of myself. So far, I have. But it’s been only a week. So… meh.
Either way, for the very first time, I feel fully responsible for my actions. I can’t blame anyone for my daily deeds gone awry. As you read this, I await admission to begin studying a Masters in African Literature- a programme I am particularly excited about even though nearly everyone I tell twists his/her mouth in repugnance. Earlier this evening, I had a meeting with an amazing young lady who needs my social media services. I have a Facebook Ad campaign to run. I launched a Medium publication with my friend, I actually cooked in my house and took food to the office where my boss/client/friend has offered a space for me to work.
I feel really good about a lot of things.
Even though I need to figure out rent. Even though I just got my heart handed to me after I thought I was done being single. Even though I have not slept well in a few days ( this is not entirely true. I sleep too much and I need to adjust that now). Even though I have not begun the sporting regiment I said I would. Even though…
There will always be things to dampen the joy of progress. There is always a reason to feel bad. I choose to embrace the miracle of life.
Speaking of life…I am the first born son of two amazing human beings. I don’t just mean this because they are my parents-I know this because after all the mess I’ve made ( dropping out of the University twice, quitting a promising internship, brooding because I was asked to find a job, etc), they’re still worried about me and about my safety. They still sleep with difficulty thinking about their son full of potential who has difficulties writing a business plan and who may not live to the said potential.
My parents sent ALL their four children to boarding schools. They paid at least 400,000frs CFA per head (every year for seven years each)for tuition and boarding fees. And this amount excludes school items like clothes as well as food. These two did this AFTER my father quit his job in a private company where he was well paid. During this time, my mother got her degree, and my father worked on his startup- a task he’s carried for the past 22 years. Even when I quit my internship, acted out, my mother still took the patience to listen to a stupid angry kid and helped him out.
Those are not even all of the hard facts. There’s worse. But hey, this is not a therapy session yeah? Let’s just say these two could actually die if it would save any of their children.
I have always known this. Which is why I have always, ALWAYS had difficulty choosing a path they didn’t approve. There are certain professions that are difficult to make a living from. And I mean difficult…IN THE WEST! Picture this: in Cameroon, your child says he wants to do his passion for a living. However, there’s a problem- he loves writing and wants to do that for living.
Even the blog I started back in 2012 could have been way more popular if I’d chosen to be the stubborn.
I would have made more progress in the direction of my dreams if I’d had the courage to stand my ground and try my ideas on my own terms.
I can see this in my Cameroonian youth- dead dreams because “In which country do you want to be a musician? Cameroon? Leave this place!” or “This is not Europe. Get a degree and find a job. THEN you can do something about that writing passion of yours”.
And I get the veracity of the context. It makes sense. But only if you negate the power of determination and that of trial and error.
This publication for example is the fruit of a project with my friend C. Befoune. We talked. Agreed. And now the wheels are turning. Who knows where this would take us? Who knows where writing everyday would take me?
I have chosen to be the bad child. The one who doesn’t go home during the holidays. The one who informs you of his plans without asking your opinion. Simply because I have understood that my parents’ deepest desire for me is this:
That I should be happy. And I should be able to take care of myself and be independent.
This is all they want. We may disagree on how to get about that, but I know that ultimately, when they see me thrive, they’d be pleased. I just need to be able to take care of myself- especially financially.”Times are hard”, and in a world where a college dropout can become the most influential man on earth, anything is possible.
Then again, I get the practicality of my old people. I get their fear. And their concern. Understanding their context and goals has made it easy for me to take decisions on the outside that seem outrageous.Because I know that in the long run, when they finally see what I meant, they’ll be proud of me like I want them to be.
In the meantime, I’ll be proud of the person I am becoming.
Mum, Dad, I love you so much. But this time, I’m doing things my way.