Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Scenic Route

Hey guys,

So I have been trying to get a hold of some of you but to avail. No worries though I understand, it’s hard for us to communicate over seas. But because of this I guess I’m just gonna announce this here.

I’ve decided to stay in Kenya a little bit longer. Actually a lot longer. I’ve decided to go to USIU, an American accredited school, and move myself to Nairobi.

Now some of you might be asking yourself what in the hell am I thinking. Believe me I have thought that to myself a few times as well. The thing is I am truly happy here. I have created myself a life here- I have people I consider my family and friends whom I love just as much as I love all of you back home. I feel comfortable here and just like all of my friends who moved out and went to college it’s time for me to move on with my life too.

I love all of you. I love my family. I love my home. But just as the rest of my friends and classmates have moved on with their lives so must I. I feel like the best version of myself in Kenya and I don’t want to lose that just because it seems like I should go back to the states or because I’m scared of the adulthood this decision brings, or because I miss Chipotle.

Don’t mistake me, I am terrified. This is a huge decision that feels a little bit crazy to me as well but it stops feeling so scary when I think about the friends I have here. I miss everyone back home terribly and think of you often but the truth is we have all grown and changed into new people. I am not the girl you knew in high school or even 6 months ago, just like you are no longer that person either. We will never again live in the same cities, go to the same parties, or have the same ideas or feelings. I will love and treasure our friendships forever and look back on it fondly but now it is time for me to move on with my life.

Please don’t think this is because I don’t love the people in my life back home or because I love the people here more then any of you. I love some of you so much that it might terrify you. The ferocity of the emotion I feel for some of you back home can bring me to my knees when I think of how much I will miss you. When I imagine that I will not live down the street from you, I will not wake up with you, I will not drive to your houses in the middle of the night just for a cigarette, I want to cry. But the truth is I wasn’t going to do those things anymore even before I came to Kenya. That part of all our lives is over; me staying here just gave it some finality. The tears I want to shed are not just about missing you but about mourning our childhoods. It is mourning for the days in which our lives were ahead of us and we were unaffected by the logic and reason and extremities of the real world. For when we were naïve enough and our love was ferocious enough and simple enough for us to think those days would never end. For the days when we thought we were the person we wanted to be, not knowing that we would lose ourselves in a few meager years and would develop a soft moldable surface the world would act upon. Our evolution was shocking and inevitable. I love you all, old and new versions, but not more then I love me. Thus we all move on.

It’s not Africa that scares me so much but it is the fact that I will be an adult when this decision comes to fruition. It the idea that I am now old enough to start my life in earnest and am making decisions that will effect the rest of my life. Being in Africa actually makes it easier as I’m not going to be starting somewhere at this all new school where I know no one but in a city where I have friends and safe places to go and people who are incredibly invested in my doing well.

What’s scary is that I am no longer a child. I might not be fully matured yet, I don’t even really know who I am at this point, but I am now the person solely responsible for my life. I no longer have an excuse for my life not being what I want it to be because I have the power to effect it myself.

Although terrifying this is a glorious realization. I am completely free in myself and in control of my life. Me taking control of my life like this and not doing things the way they are supposed to be done because they are supposed to be done that way makes me truly belong to myself. My happiness, my victories, my joys, my sorrows, my everything is wholly mine because I have chosen and fought for it. I may stand on a precipice but I chose this precipice. I may fall into the valley but at least the rocks and sticks that I will hit on the way down will be of my own making. And if I don’t fall but I end up happy with all of my decisions then I can look anyone in the eye and declare myself the full owner of every choice I make. The worst thing I can imagine is looking back on my life and thinking that I wish I had been the one behind the wheel rather then letting conventions, or society, or others push or pull me in a direction I didn’t want.

I want to live a life of consequence. One that means something to not just to me but to others, one that in 50 years I can be proud of but more then anything else I want to be able to look you in the eyes and say I made my fate, not the other way around.

All of this feels more possible in Kenya then it ever felt in the USA. Here I have a peace that I never knew existed.

I am terrified. I am elated. I am humbled. I am sad. I am screaming. I am living in a glorious mix of emotions that reminds me of the wonder it is to be really alive.

I am ready to get started.

I love you all. I miss you all. I will see you all in 2 months. But then I will be leaving to live my own life, just as you will.


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