Being a writer in Kenya is a difficult thing. Heck. Being a writer full stop is a difficult thing. When faced by your own insecurities and encompassed by some amazing writers one is faced to take quite the critical look at oneself. Especially in the dog eat dog world of writing (prose, poetry, prosetry, articles it all counts). Just for a glimpse into this let me put it this way. If they like you, they love you. If they don’t, they don’t. No matter how many times you try to change it that is exactly what it’s going to be. A game where balance is the word.
Balance. An amazing word really, three syllables, rolls off the tongue well but probably the hardest thing to achieve in life. To somewhat be able to dine with kings and still keep your common touch (yes I just quoted Kipling) is quite a difficult thing to do. I mean we have seen people who have been the favorites of the crowd only to loose their head once they have seemingly made it. But really is that the only way we see balance in action? Recently I have noticed that in our society we seem to have developed tolerance towards lesbians but have issues with gay men. Absence of balance maybe? Either we reject them both or accept them both right?
Balance. Our lives constantly seem to be lived on a seesaw trying to keep the right balancing with the wrong and whatever is left we leave in the centre and think that maybe if we closed our eyes for long enough they will go away. Then they don’t. We close our eyes and ignore the important things in life so that we can tilt at windmills and throw straw into the wind. So that maybe, just maybe, one day we can be worth it. Work, study, sports, family our lives are a constant labyrinth of matters that seem to be fighting for our attention and every single issue seems to be asking for 110% concentration and dedication. In a society that seems to have left the rest for dead so that the string can survive makes you wonder what is balance?
The alpha male. We all know him. Confident in his stride, stunning good looks, amazing with language, a sportsman, a family man, and amidst all this still a really good cook. Independent woman. Exudes confidence, walks with a pump in her stride, an amazing mother, doesn’t rely on anyone for anything (hence the independent), hits the gym. These are the people society wants us to be. By virtue of society exalting such peole these are the people we want to be. Unfeeling, unrealistic, plastic people, always in control of their emotions, always having some sense of balance and self control. Well you know what I say? Sod them. Sod them to Hades. Balance? The most overrated word in the language we call English.
Being a writer in Kenya is a difficult thing. Apparently you have to achieve balance. So this is what balance is. Balance to me is the ability to know who you are, who you want to be and generally true to yourself. Balance is the ability to show your tears but not to all, to take advice but always with a pinch of salt and always, always to be you. That’s balance.