As the heavy rain pattered on, marking the beginning of Kenya’s corona virus lock down; tension could be felt as it dawned on us how serious the matter at hand is getting. It has only been 2 weeks since the directive by the government to its citizens to self-quarantine. Public gatherings have been banned and public spaces like restaurants, churches and nightclubs are all shut.
At first, there was a little excitement about catching a break, but now, the damaging blow the economy is taking is not only scary but also extremely dangerous especially to third world countries. I will however divert my attention from the technical bit of it and read insights on what economic analysts have to say; while I speak on the social effect that I find a bit more comfortable.
Digital platforms are facing an all-time overload and I honestly do not understand where everyone is getting the time. Working as an editor in music, my workload has immensely doubled since the ‘work from home’ directive. Having so much to do and not being able to take an evening walk or go swimming is not how I imagined my death would look like. Enough about me, I think it is time to check on our extroverted friends, they must be dead by now. LoL!
My mother calls often since this madness began to ask if I am sane. She cannot wrap her head around someone living alone, not making/answering calls and being perfectly fine. Many of my friends have also tried to reach out and catch up on phone but I am not about to answer those either. If what you need to say, cannot fit in a text; send an e-mail or a voice note, thank you.
I have understood that a lot of people are not exactly comfortable with their own company, as they’d have imagined. You were perfectly fine having a place of your own, but you never tested to see if you would survive staying indoors for an entire week now, had you? I know a couple of people who always insisted on being introverts but I guess they had no idea how that works; because they are almost at the brink of depression. May I remind you that it has only been two weeks?
So why are some of us extremely comfortable with staying indoors and alone all day yet some of us are losing it? I wish I was a renowned social expert who could break all this down with illustrations and real life experiments. Hahaha…well, since I am not, I will only speak about my experience and why I think I got to this point of extreme self-suffiency.
This week, I saw two friends; Winfred and Brenda post online about self-reliance. Their questions were more or less asking, ‘Have you ever felt like you had no one to talk to completely even with your very own family?’ YES! This was the beginning of everything.
If you read A Good Day to Be 26 , by now you know 2016-2018 were dark years for me. Just to give you a little back-story. I had moved out of home and later on quit my job as Huawei Sales Agent at Safaricom. As a girl and from a Christian background, this was not exactly taken well. Family distanced themselves, rumors went round, friends gossiped and church mates swore over the doom my future held. It was around the same time that I made my big move to the city. Everyone I knew at the time, swore I will never make it out alive. If I ever did, is if I probably went into prostitution. Isn’t it the oldest job in the book, it’s about time we stopped shaming it.
Jobless, not a penny to my name, rent closing in, I continued to write for a living but at the time, the money would barely even cover my rent. So I will not lie; thank heavens for being disciplined I had a good credit score. I would borrow bank loans and pay them back just in time to borrow more. The cycle got me through a couple of rents as I got in and out of meeting rooms with employers and clients sent from hell. The thought of everything in this paragraph gives me chills.
I remember desperate moments when I would scroll through my 1000+ contact list to see if there was someone I could talk to or ask a favour. I’d soon scroll past my name knowing how close ‘O’ is to ‘Z’. You would argue that blood is thicker than water and I should have called my family, right? It might be the exaggeration in my head but it felt like suicide calling people who predicted your failure to concede defeat. LoL! Don’t judge me, its human nature to prove people wrong.
If I was to narrow down to why I felt like I had no one; looking back with sobriety now. I felt my parents had done so much for me already and instead of prospering and being the successful daughter they can brag about, I was turning out be a complete embarrassment. I also felt it is not fair to give them sleepless nights because we all know a parent is only as happy as their saddest child; so I insisted on being fine when they asked.
You wonder, this girl has no friends? LoL! My two younger sisters are sweethearts but I knew they wouldn’t be of much help and I felt I was the one they should come to for help and not the other way round. I do not keep friends and I used to be embarrassed about it but not anymore. Out of sight out of mind, I make best friends everywhere I go. I joke and say if I was to have a wedding every year, the maid of honour would be different every year. At the time, my best friend was going through her own struggles and we lived in the same town but never even got to see each other or talk for months over a year.
Let me tell you who came through for me at different times all through this period. STRANGERS! Yes, people I have never met before and most came, went and we’ve never talked again. These random people, treated me with kindness, showed me favour, and never asked for anything in return. I live everyday hoping to be this sort of light to everyone around me.
Don’t ask about intimate partners, I have been single for the best part of my life and so was I when I was going through all this. I am lucky to have never dated bad humans though.
Looking back now, I realize, these were the experiences that prepared me for blissful solitude. I learned to accept that people and things are temporary. Finally, I understood that I am complete and anything that comes by is just and accessory and we change that quite often. In all this, I became my own best company. I customized and accessorized my house to extreme comfort and reliability; because it’s my safe sanctuary, my sacred place.
I am not immune to loneliness and stress, but I have definitely found coping mechanisms for such moments. You might not always have someone to share with, so find a way in which you can expel the bad energy. I also am aware that this is easier for me because I am alone. It might be a little more challenging if I had say dependents, spouse, and extended family. I hope we all find safe spaces and activities to expel. Feel free to talk to me too, I might not help but I do listen. I don’t judge but when I do I will laugh at your sorry ass in your face. LoL!
This is why social distancing has not affected me in any way; except financially of course, money is not flowing.