You all know by now that I had a rough childhood growing up and I wish I was writing about happiness or improvement in my life but so far so bad. Nothing has changed. The main cause of my stress which is my dysfunctional, mentally-challenged family, has poven to be consistent and resistant through time. I was born and raised in a chaotic, aggressive, hostile, crazy, functionless family environment that almost got me for good. I don’t remember much but my crazy family wanted so much to recruit the child me into their gang of nut jobs that they came up with all this nonsense about me being possessed by jin saying I was bewitched or something. I was still in elementary school then. They made me sick and word got out that I was crazy. I cannot believe it!These people are truly, officially bananas! I was just a child! Had it not been for my aunt who stepped up and saved me insisting that my father should send me away to start highschool far away from my family, I would not be where I am right now!I cannot thank her enough!
So I went away to pursue my highschool education and later college and would only interact with my family over holidays. I dreaded holidays because they meant coming back home. The word home lost its meaning.Home to me was a house gathering dust. Home to me meant a bipolar mother who refuses to accept she is sick and therefore never takes her medication ultimately leading to exasperatingly frustrating manic episodes and outbursts. Home meant a grandmother who thinks neighbours are stealing her money through magic and who wants to do things her way or the highway. Home meant having to come back to a house gathering dust since grandmother is too weak to maintain the house and does not trust anyone esle to stay with her because she would rather be alone in the house than live with another human being who might steal her belongings or get in the way of her obsessive compulsive behavior. I have no words!
I know that I am not the only child in the world who comes from a mentally challenged family,but problem is, mental illness is so misunderstood and highly back-staged in Coastal Kenya,that cases like mine end up severely underestimated and dismissed as just another case of evil eye or witchcraft! What is worse is that mental illness is the last suspect always! Nobody seems to notice abnormal behavior and even when they see smoke, they do not pay mentally-challenged members of a family the proper attention such a situation obviously deserves: medical diagnosis and treatment!
So this explains why I have had to single-handedly struggle living with my mentally-challenged grandmother and mother. I thought I could dream big and be a successful person one day. My success story being, “From the bottom up:a girl from a dysfunctional, mentally-challenged family in Africa beats the odds to become a successful writer and esteemed intellectual!”. I still hold onto this hope:the hope that someday I will make it big despite the roadblocks and rollercoaster rides in my life.
It is always darkest before dawn. I feel completely helpless right now. How does anyone expect me to care for my grandmother who is weak and has mental problems? In my community people look after their mothers. My mother bailed out on hers so I am left taking care of her during the holidays. In the same way,I will be duty-bound to look after my bipolar mother when she is rendered functionless which is a guarantee if she continues denying that she has a problem and needs medication. I want to shout and scream. I want to cry my eyes out. There is no one around to live through the crazy with me. I wanted to become an intellectual,an academic, and that is the reason I chose law because even though it was not what I previously had in mind,I was able to appreciate the course for it opened my eyes to reasoning and logic. It made me think without any barriers. I took it as a challenge to make my dream of being an intellectual true. I embraced analytical and critical thinking in law with the hope that it will help me understand life better and will help me find my own philosophy in life that will work specifically for me and my case scenario.
I completed four years of law school. There is two more years of Advocate Training Program(ATP) to go but I will be happy to have completed the four years and to move on to my passion which is writing. I am proud of myself for having come this far despite all the problems in my life. I am trying to look after my grandmother as best I can. We have better days and worse days. On the best of days I feel grateful for wanting to take care of her. On the worst days I feel helpless and pessimistic. I want to run and never look back. But something always whispers in my heart, “your granny is way too old. She has no one else. Please do not leave her.” I am not capable of cruelty. I think it is cruel to let an old woman like her suffer alone. I think I can still sacrifice my comfort and happiness to look after her. I think I can afford a little more emotional and psychological damage for a good cause. I am righteous. Some praise me for that, some pity me. What I found defeats my purpose is pity. When someone pities me, I feel unable to focus on the positivity in this whole experience and instead I spiral into a state of pessimism and depressing thoughts. I tell myself for someone to pity me it must be so awful. Oh I cannot handle awful.This is too much! But they are wrong! Just because they think my life is too awful for them, does not mean they are the best judges of awful situations! Maybe the worst experience they ever had in their lives was that moment when they slipped in public. To others awful means cancer, or to be hit by an avalanche, or to live without electricity, or to be a war victim! The word awful is relative to the person’s limited understanding of the application of the word to their personal experiences. In other words, what might be too impossibly difficult for some, can be handled by others who are mentally strong and are hard-wired survivors that can live through anything really! So I am telling myself right now that I am a survivor and survivors never quit! I will never let my experiences hinder my development as an aspiring writer and intellectual! I am fierce and strong! I can and will continue to beat all odds to achieve my highest intellectual and creative potential. Take me to crazy town, forget me there for a lifetime and it still won’t stop me from becoming the best I could possibly be!