To letting go of your fears, just being glad to be here.
I'm recently talking to a new friend of some friends, a Kenyan farmer who attended college in a rural part of my home state in America, on this other side of the world where most things move differently. Some of her friends here and there thinking she is crazy to go back home after schooling to toil on the soil, however, she likes farming so she seems satisfied with her business plan...
She wasn't seduced by the selection of rural fast food restaurants and the retail buffet we call Wal Mart, or even the nearby shopping malls and concrete cities. I say, "good on her.." While she continues on un-bothered by the commentary of un-supportive friends, she tells me how Americans take things so seriously.
This new friend of mine is right. We like to argue and compete here, to have our differences and levels. We feel pressure due to our cost of living, media influences, mis-education, lack of family units, and I must say our lack of nature. On the other hand, some will feel subdued to their circumstances and live with no passion left, at most perhaps waving an American flag in the yard with little testimony to support the gesture. We are, in essence, serious about our dispassion in these cases. We suck in our entertainment and time killers like I'm still sucking down cigarettes as I internally reason with myself about quitting. We all have problems, of course. It seems we fear facing our existential reality head on, instead looking for the easiest escape, or the cheapest argument without solutions through action. Many choose whichever will provide a dose of momentary solace and reprieve. I've poured over many of the bigger parts of my life in these last couple and a half years of Spiked Tea brews. You notice that it's not sweet tea, warm tea, tea with milk, or anything French sounding. A lot of it has been truths of mine not easy to talk about, and some instances have been brews about our truth - be it about our country or personal dispositions in life. If you pause at 48 seconds in the video here you'll see many things in the photo and my face. The image was taken on Nyali Beach during a photo shoot while in Kenya after I had been in the country less than 2 weeks. You'll see my sunken cheeks of Crohn's disease, arriving much lighter than I left. You'll see age in my brow
regardless of my young face. Knowing myself.. I see a certain bit of pain and old energy, yet falling away. Knowing my eyes, even they are pointed down, I see relief. You'll see a bird cage door on my forearm open for flight as the tree it hangs from is hovering over the Indian Ocean horizon. Behind me you see an inflatable flamingo peaking into the bottom of the frame, like an American memory. Behind there, seing a Kenyan lady balancing herself against a tide you can't see, only imagine, while joy is written all over her face. I see a whole moment of nature-side therapy and a person who was in an spiritually older place than as I am now.
I don't fear much, but I get nervous. Nerves are terrible in conjunction with digestive issues. I was nervous knowing I would have to traverse the country primarily in buses with limited bathroom stops. The one time I specifically asked for a stop (to the other passengers' apparent relief too) I was nervous about how to ask, English being widely spoken but often broken, and my Swahili being small. Before going to Africa I was nervous about what the preachers of appropriation would say about me back home, a white man going to Kenya and partaking in the culture in the way I intended to and did. What response would I get when I told
them I was going? While some were sure to make crude comments - and they did - how would I retort? In light of lessons from many African friends, not just Kenyans, I opted to "leave it" and just grinned. I was warned of robberies and scams by people here and there, which I feared less than the reaction of the trip in itself.. For the record, I was hustled a few times on transportation early on, but I was never robbed or truly scammed. So there I am waiting on my departure to see what's really going to happen... when I get to Africa, and is Kenya gonna be as friendly as they say? I bought my ticket. I slowly made a rough schedule, and I went. My body healed further than it's ever done before - from the goodness of nature, the consideration of people who are quick to ask "have you eaten?" and a mix of good energy. As nervous as I was, I found a calm place internally at the same time, and I trusted my gut. With each year that ticks by, it seems life is more and more of letting go. Fear dictates much of the world, and it should be set free so that you can be too. You'll always be not enough or too much for someone. I advise it would be best to keep it simple - just be you and make no apologies for living out the life that was prepared for you.