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Hey Young World!

By Kgomotso Mpendulo

It is not a one-way path. The world has too many corners, ups and downs, to be supposedly round. We all have a route to take, not to reach a destination but to travel.

To journey and come across plenty on their walks of life. Living, sharing losing, winning, dying, trying, worrying, wanting and not getting. I wake up and reach for my phone. I am aware it’s an unhealthy habit which I cannot help but commit unconsciously. Habit conquers thinking. This practice is bad for my mind which is just awakening up from slumber. It gnaws at my confidence start of day, settling in the place of joy coming first in the morning. It causes me to lose my self-trust. I doubt myself; I question my existence, I seek validation.

A disease enters me from comparison to my counterparts. In my personal perception that is how I am low on the hierarchy. Shame is she who blames. Where I stand, they are steps higher on the ladder. I’ve fallen behind on the climb. I see my hopes crumbling down the staircase. I don’t know my place in the world, I feel as if I were a tiny drop in an ocean which I am, in this universal vastness. It is unclear where I’m headed.

I am misplaced. I barely feel like I am doing anything with my life. Who can tell me my purpose? I tap on their profiles to see what my peers are getting to. My being gets lost in the search for what makes them better than me. According to their timelines online, most of my former classmates are ahead of times.  Feelings of inadequacy creep in. Now my entire day looks gloomy. The more I scroll down, the more depths of my being are dug deep. I pick my worth apart, measuring myself against set standards of where young women my age should be in life.

I have made bad choices on the bed I now have to lay on the basis of this feeling of inadequacy. I elected to study a degree that ended in wasted years which went by dragging. Both me and the degree stand incomplete like an unfinished business, owing each other only a module for second semester. But nobody knows, not even my parents know that I’m home without the qualification.

My brain did not have to overwork the way it is said about over working it to think lies, thanks to the pandemic, it shifted their attention from me to survival, aloneness and unprecedented suddenness. Perhaps one day it will come to light as it is said about what happens in the dark. Especially if I do not cover my deceit with enrolling back for completion. Cover temporary falsehood with the ultimate truth. At that point I felt like I lost focus like a key to success. I became de-motivated. A deeply seated rock, nothing moved me. I no longer cared. Withstanding the results of wrong decisions.

Not even a threat of an F7 academic exclusion shook me to pull up my socks. My head turned into an empty shell and my body was without soul. Sucked out by doing something one unloves. You think that my ego would make it hurt less when the reality of being a drop-out hits.

I was at a wrong place at a good time. Because it worked for others and for I in ways that helped civilize and adjust me into society with enriched life skills, to align my personhood with Ubuntu and regain focus, maybe not to start over but to finish what I have started. I appealed and was approved with a side quote accompanying the email saying – “ignorance is bliss until you are in a room full of smart people”. It came as a second chance, third or maybe tenth chance. Countless in total.

As a youth, I am a keeper of secrets. Surreptitious in ways my parents may never know about. Like what happens at death taverns where knives are pulled out and life suffices or gets wiped off floors the next morning. Black-out to eternal sleep, off from the face of the earth. As a youth we get caught up in our webs of lies and pretentious deception, we host unspeakable experiences.  Painting ourselves in good light until we step out of our parents’ sight. We became otherworldly. I asked myself ‘how will they know me when I clearly still need knowledge of self? I keep this to myself.

Friends come and go and then you are left all alone with habits you started as a group. Now they are embedded in you to support on your own. And if not careful, they with you grow like an investment and get deposited into your adulthood.  When I finally arrived in university, I thought that it was a place I would pick my friends like flowers. Water them with preserving qualities so I can keep them for life.

To make-up a tight circle, to build connections and have their backs too… After Uni, friendships withered just like flowers. Others died sooner. The concept of best friend forever thinned, almost precisely how it happened in primary and high school. So, it shall happen in the work placement. We all started forgetting each other’s birthdays, canceling on planned meetups, if lucky enough not to be stood up at the rendezvous. Then eventually renamed BFF with their mother-given names. Truly there’s a time for gathering and losing contact. A time for loss and a time for finding.

May I welcome growth like a visitor in my abode. May I accept change like death and all else that is inevitable.  To comprehend that contentment comes from one hundred percent personal  encounter and zero percent comparison to others. In its randomness radiate a force of positivity.