Growth

I Must Pick Myself Up

Because…

  1. We all have problems.
  2. My solution works for me and yours would work for you.
  3. I cannot live your life and you cannot live mine.
  4. My destiny is dictated by the choices I make (or don’t make).
  5. Because life isn’t fair.
  6. And life, she owes me nothing.
  7. Complaining is draining.
  8. We all have 24 hours in a day. Many have created value with theirs.
  9. My heart will be broken.
  10. I define my version of success.
  11. No matter what I do, I will disappoint some people.
  12. No matter what I do, some people will be disappointed by what I do.
  13. Negativity is self-fulfilling.
  14. So is positivity.
  15. I cannot have a conversation with you if you don’t want to have one with me.
  16. I am responsible for what I do with my emotions.
  17. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
  18. My success is predicated on how much I work for it.
  19. Luck doesn’t exist- only opportunities that meet with a prepared recipient.
  20. Overnight success takes time.
  21. Love is both urgent and patient.
  22. Gratitude is a muscle. It can be exercised.
  23. Miracles happen only when you believe.
  24. Depression is real.
  25. Depression can be overcome.
  26. I am unique. So are you.
  27. I cannot change the past.
  28. I cannot see the future.
  29. Love is a choice.
  30. Death is certain.
  31. What I do between now and then is up to me.
  32. I can.
  33. You can too.

Hi. I’m Tchassa Kamga and I write. I currently live in Buea, Cameroon. I also host a podcast and I freeze stuff on Instagram. You can find me on Twitter,Snapchat, and Facebook.
Together with my good friend
C. Befoune, we started Self-ish where we share personal essays on Self Improvement, Content Creation and Human Relationships. This post was originally published there.

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Who am I?

It’s the parts that you see. And what you don’t see.

It’s the layers.

The lives I’ve lived and those I seek to become.

It’s never what you want, rather, what you have.

I’m only unique because every day, I listen to the silence that tells me who I was and who I must be.

I listen to the silence of my thoughts because it contains more than we fathom.

I’m like you. Different. We all are.

Most choose to be like everyone else and get lost in a sea of carbon hypocrites.

I try, every single day, to be happy. To do what makes me happy. Because I know that when I’m happy, I make others happy.

I try to live in the moment.

I try to improve on who I was yesterday.

I study every day. I learn every day. About me. About man. About the world.

Who am I? I’m a lot of things.

Just like you.

 

Originally published on Self-ish.
Are you on Twitter? Me too!

 

The Thing About Growing Up

Or what happens when you get a little bit mindful about your choices

I know you don’t read a lot of my stuff and…
I read your stuff- she cut in.
Pause.
Huh. Really?
Yeah.
So…you read about
the time when I got my heart broken and I cried for a day?, I said, half hoping she’d say no.
Yes, my Mum replied, I read that.

So, I had a Whatsapp Call with a special someone today. We’re a typical Cameroonian family: we talk about plans for the future without trying to express our personal, usually differing, ideals; we spend christmas together — the first few days blissful, except for when the undying skeletons creep; we love each other but, when anyone says “I love you”, there is this, slight, very, uncomfortable, pause. *clears throat*

Ergo, the idea of a conversation in which we’d talk about my career, plans for the future, my dissatisfaction with my role as the first child, my opinion about her career, my relationships, and my take on responsibility, goes further to cement a singular thought I’ve been having:

I may actually be growing up. Dammit.

You see, this year: I had the best birthday gift, I gained more gratitude for the people in my life, I loved, I destroyed ( single handedly, and I am not being self-deprecating here) one of the strongest bonds I had ever forged with a friend- a brother. I’m still reeling from that loss. I’ll be okay. Thanks for asking.

I’m still incredibly amazed by how much I have been able to handle these situations.

Disclaimer: I had help from colleagues, friends and family. I just like to think that I am a hero. Meh.

Anyway, my mother and I talked. Remember the part where I said we were a typical Cameroonian family? Well, I lied. What can I say? I love me some drama. *wink*

We’re atypical. My siblings definitely have their own narrative about this, but, from my vantage point, having parents who actually make an argument for their decisions in your life, isn’t exactly “ Cameroonian”.

Normally, if you’re smart, you become a medical doctor. No questions asked. If you don’t make it through entrance exam- you do biochemistry, ace it, get a scholarship and leave the country. And oh, if you’re the first child, don’t forget to reel in your siblings when you get “established”. Whatever established means.

I have a tendency to replay important conversations in my head- text messages, meaningful encounters- like that time in the restaurant. I seem almost out of my body listening to myself — fragmenting my thought process. Of course, in time, these recollections become flawed. I try as much possible to milk them before I can’t trust the details.

If the one with Mum today is fresh, then I can rely on my conclusions:

1. You’re never too old to be a kid

I have come to terms with the fact that my mother will always worry. Same for my father. It was a pain the size of a hard drive at some point in my life( read: until very recently). Now, it feels more like a piece of fish in my spacious teeth- it’s annoying, but I can take it out when I want to. Plus, it feels sort of nice, you know. *smiles*

I feel really old at 27. Well… sometimes. But, the people I hangout with make me feel like a kid. All the time. I love the balance. It keeps me in check. And I know I can always count on my mother — she’ll worry, complain, try to make me get a ‘safe’ career path — because that is her job.

2. Sometimes, you need to stop being a kid

I’m currently working with a team that suits and stretches my skills. I don’t get time to “relax”. The work is challenging. For a lazy, stubborn writer like me, I looove ditching projects half-way. Once I don’t like an idea- meh. Dead.

With work ( and with life), I can’t do that. The team counts on me. The mission must be completed! (Did someone say Metal Slug?) I cannot run to my mother and say: sorry. I know my parents will always (want to) be there for me. And I get it- I won the parent lottery. I am certain that when I my own child, it will be the exact same feeling. However, in gratitude for what they’ve done for me , I need to get my life together. For them. For me.

3. “Sometimes, you need to leave your family, so that you can be stable enough to help your family” — hK:

A friend said that to me months ago. I was worried about how best to get to my siblings on ze search of a career. Isn’t it ironic how good I am at proffering advice I have a hard time heeding?

Today, I told my mother about how much she had no choice when it came to worrying about me and my siblings. And how I did. I have a choice. I cannot let my first born son incontinence ( is that even a thing?) stop me from living “my life”. I have goals, dreams, and plans. Lists of books to publish. Podcast conversations to have. Scripts to finish. Ideas to test. Places to see. If I get hung up on solving family problems ( I don’t have that many, trust me. I just take them a tad too seriously), when do I get the time to make my dent? I need to chill.

Inner self: yeah dude, chill ( I just watched Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” *grins* * does 3 second air guitar solo*

4. You always have a choice about how you feel

Like when I said “ I love you” at the end of the conversation. We’re not living ze dream. Our bank accounts aren’t sputtering passive income. My job isn’t “fun”. My parents are not “the world’s best parents”. Heck, I don’t even have a couch! ( I’m working on the couch part though. Thanks Q. 🙂 ).

After my recent break-up, I internalized my pain. It was a lot of pain for me. I justified it with messages, texts, contexts. I even went back to work with more vigor. Then, I had a one day crash — and a one week crash. Then I wrote this.

With my return from ze dark side, I started mindfulness: I label my thoughts — useful, useless — depending on what they are at the time.

I don’t need to “delete” the thoughts. I just need to know — is this useful? Is this useless? That’s it. It takes practice. And I am pretty bad at it ( getting there…). But I know this keeps me from replaying unnecessary conversations. I may not be the happiest person on earth, but I know I am responsible for how I feel about whatever happens to me.

I still have a lot of things to figure out. I still want to travel and write. I still want to have epic conversations (even though my LGG4 gave up on me and I lost months of conversations and pictures that I will never recover * takes deep breath to calm himself down*). I have a lot of things I need to work on. And, I have someone who will die for me if she needed to.

I know she won’t read this ( she actually hardly reads my work. I mean…come on…why are you reading this self-deprecating renegade ramble?), just know that I love you Mum.

And I love you too for reading this far. Thank you.

This is not to all the Mums. This is not to all the friends who make our lives worth it. This is not to hard workers and sweet colleagues. This is not to adorable siblings and best friends.

This is to you who finds a reason to be grateful and to keep being better at growing up.


Tchassa Kamga lives in Buea, Cameroon. This part of the country just got its internet reinstated! Previously, he’s had to travel a long distance to post. However, this was written in his pyjamas. At home. Under myopic influence.

He’s learning the intricacies of curating events and documenting them at the fine dining restaurant and cultural hub- IYA Buea. He has three episodes on his podcast . He also takes blatant pictures on Instagram.

He co-writes with C. Befoune ( he has a not-so secret crush on her) on this publication — Self-ish . Their goal is to share the lessons they’ve learnt from multiple sources in the domains of Self-improvement, Content Creation and Human Relationships.

Easily get him on Twitter.

 

What Happens When ‘They’ Have Faith in You


Click to Check out my Station on Anchor!!

After spending over three months without access to the internet, I can comfortably tell you that my life went on normally — sort of. I found out — among other things — the following:

1. My fear of failure easily leads me through a cycle : despair, then mild depression, then the search for the easiest exit.

In secondary school ( and even during my undergraduate years), I could do “mini-quits” — where I’d disappear from school from a couple of weeks, totally immerse myself in whatever new interest I’d had, then return for exams or catch-up with notes from my classmates.

Eh, good times.

Because I was smart enough to pass tests and major exams, no one noticed the momentary world I’d need to swathe myself through my moments of resistance.

This had always worked for me. Then I became productively accountable to another human — I got a job. What I found out with an employer ( who actually cares about you) is that you can’t climb into a self pity and stay home without showing up for work. You can’t carry a sad mane around the office and expect smiles and pats on the back. You can’t deliver sub-par work and expect cakes. Accountability demands and upgrade in dealing with self-inflicted despair. Which leads me to…

2. When you have people who expect much from you, you tend to do much.

“No expectations, no disappointment”– the popular maxim goes( I hope it’s not as popular as my brain thinks it is). This holds true for expectations in others — if you don’t expect much from anyone, you hardly get disappointed with anything that happens. You know, because you didn’t exactly root for or against his/her ability to achieve anything. This, my friend, is safe.

Too safe.

My boss expects a tonne from me. So do the members of my new family aka colleagues. I was navel gazing and licking my broken heart ( yep, doing it for the nth time), forgetting to see how much they’d invested in me. I almost irreversibly let them down.

The fact that you’re reading this means I didn’t. And that I have learnt more important things about love, life, work, family and friendships. Things like…

Real friends get worried when you quit too easily. They’re not afraid to tell you in your face.

Real friends don’t sugarcoat your laziness. They don’t make it a mean joke either.

Real mentors don’t babysit you. They show you the way. You have to walk it.

Weak ties are powerful. They could pay for your airplane ticket. But you’ll never know if you stay depressed in your room.

Business plans are important. Learn how to write one. It could save your life. Or fund it.

Same for life plans. “If you don’t know where goal post is, where do you shoot?” ( Somebody said that. I don’t remember who. 🙂 )

Resistance is real. Acknowledge it. Respect it. But do what you must.

You are responsible for how you handle your emotions. 

I now practice mindful meditation- I label my thoughts: “useless”, “useful”. I’ve stopped draining with replays of “useless” conversations in my mind.

If you think you don’t have friends, maybe you’re right. But maybe you aren’t a friend either.

 We all have 24 hours. You get to pick your family, gain weak ties and garner identity capital. It’s important to learn how to let go, how to be honest with ourselves.

Guilty as charged. 80% of previous paragraph comes from Dr. Meg Jay.

I have always rushed over my issues by writing every itty bitty tiny things that happens to me. Now I know better: everything takes time. Heartbreaks. Disappointment. Loss. 

Because we see our neighbours smiles and carry on doesn’t mean all is well. 

It’s better to stay on the road to recovery than to rush (with the mind) to the end. The whiplash may be lethal.

And love yourself. You’re worthy.


Tchassa Kamga lives in Buea, Cameroon. This part of the country just got its internet reinstated! Previously, he’s had to travel a long distance to post. However, this was written in his pyjamas. At home. Under myopic influence.

He’s learning the intricacies of curating events and documenting them at the fine dining restaurant and cultural hub- IYA Buea. He has three episodes on his podcast . He also takes blatant pictures on Instagram.

He co-writes with C. Befoune on this publication — Self-ish . Their goal is to share the lessons they’ve learnt from multiple sources in the domains of Self-improvement, Content Creation and Human Relationships.

Easily get him on Twitter.

The Alter Boy Who Panicked #Poetry

Not long ago, in a church yonder,
A suave neighbor swept Martha.
I was there, I watched from the altar.
The Mass went on, and me, being a server, couldn’t falter.

They giggled and wiggled during the sermon.
The itch in my throat grew strong.
An attempt to clear felt wrong.
Even the priest seemed worried. It showed in his stare, long.

Mother had warned me of love come fast.
In the age of twitter”, she said, “these things do not last”.
I could feel her eyes on my skull as I stared into the crowd aghast.

The burden of loss is never a light one.
To ponder alone at the time all was fun.
When I thought my Martha was my only one.
Even against my mother’s wishes, I’d promised her we’d run.

When mass ended. I rushed to clear my robe.
The crowd moved slow-a well played joke.
I found Martha crossing the road with the bloke.
I screamed and cursed at the heavenly poke.

Now, here’s the real joke, that was Martha’s long gone cousin who just came back from four years out of the country.

She was so excited she literally burned all her home including the pantry.

When I found out, I rushed in tears and reached her home panting.

She took me into her arms and said those words I needed to hear: It’s okay boo boo, I am not angry.

What happened?

What happened?

There was a time when you were so passionate about our country? When you talked of our heroes and how much you’d love to meet them.

What happened?

There was a time when you were so polite. When you greeted with both hands and smiled respectfully before the handshake came.

What happened?

There was a time when you’d hurry to keep the house clean as soon as you heard the car screech. When you’d turn off the TV and jump into the bathroom.

What happened?

There was a time when you won’t wake Mummy up when the neighbors came. When you’d stand your ground and have them leave a message.

Wheti happen brother?

There was a time when you’d return home with clean uniforms, all your pens and all your buttons.

There was a time when you’d scream from wherever you were when Mummy called. You’d sprint like Bond across the gate if you had to.

There was a time when you’d stop in the middle of the street to tie Daddy’s lace. You’d be proud of yourself and him all at once.

What, the hell happened to you?

That now you post pictures of your drunken hangouts with peers? Now you post videos of Sheeshah infused scenes?
Now you bet for Cristiano to score within the first 3 minutes (since you have become a dibia)?
Now you share censored videos in the name of showing support?

Who are you?

I don’t know you. I don’t recognize you.
The sad thing is, I used to.

You used to be me.

…And I am Culturally Incorrect.

I’ve been thinking about the responsibility that comes with being at the receiving end of a gift, a favor or a service. One that doesn’t require an exchange of any sort other than the traditional “ Thank you” or “ I am grateful”.

How far do the impacts of such acts of kindness go? For example, someone buys you a birthday present, do you have to in return, purchase the said friend a gift as well?
Now, if you do, is it because you received a present as well, or is it because you actually wish her well?

Or siblings, when you do something for your brother- that white lie( we both know lies aren’t ever white), does she have to lie for you back?

How far does this “reciprocation” reach? How long does it take to eventually pay a debt?

Actually, my question is more of: is there a debt?

Does a child owe the parents his/her life?

Because you are on this earth only because two people made it possible by the heavenly guided meeting of a sperm and an egg( never thought I would ever use a variant of “heaven” and “sperm” in the same sentence in my lifetime), does this mean all your actions, your dreams, your desires, your goals must be approved by your parents.

Is that it?

I have a feeling that I will be called out as trying to copy the West. You know what? Spare no expense. I am copying the West. But keep in mind that I am very mindful of my context. I know where I come from- a Christian family, with catholic married parents. I went to boarding school for seven years and I have a degree from one of the best Universities in the country. So far, I haven’t been convicted and I am not a father. I neither drink nor smoke for sport.

If that doesn’t establish my “uprightedness”, I don’t know what will.

( Then again, worse crimes have been committed by people with a “saner” profile. But…just bear with me)

There is a term I have been fascinated with recently-“Cultural correctness”. I define it as :

“ deliberately avoiding cultural offense;relating to or supporting the use of language or conduct that deliberately avoids giving offense when it comes to what is acceptable by a community.

Yes, you’re right, I stole the term from political correctness.

Now, my “special” definition limits to the behaviors governing those of children towards elders. In the Cameroonian African environment.

Case in point: You’re 16. You love biology. You watch discovery channel in the morning afternoon and evening. When asked why you don’t watch cartoons, you don’t even get the point of the question.
Duh!
Now, you pass the GCE advanced level. You have 5 papers. Awesome grades. You’re going to the Uni.
Yay!
Not so fast.

Mom thinks you’ll make a great doctor. Dad agrees. One of your Aunts is a medical practioner. Both parents call her name with so much respect.

You would love to study biology. Probably get a Phd. Even have your TV show. You try to argue.
Mom isn’t happy. Dad broods. You consider their option.
“It’s not so bad..” you tell yourself.
You’re smart. So you write the the entrance exam. You make it. Every one is ecstatic! The new family doctor is born!

The family biologist just died. You just became a victim of what I call: emotional blackmail ( note to self: write blog post on this. You’ve been a victim way too many times).

How often do we not stand up for what we really want?

How many times do we sit silent and just do what we are told even when we know that we don’t want to. When we can feel our stomach and every nerve in your body telling you this is a bad idea.

Here are some of the verbal cues of emotional blackmail:
This is Cameroon. Not Europe.
You need experience.
You’re in the virtual world. Reality doesn’t work like that.
Who will pay for this??
Where do you think you are?
You’re going to give me a heart attack.
What about your brothers?
What kind of example are you showing.

OR my favourite…

You’ve changed. I don’t recognize you anymore.

You see, I know all too well all (or a lot) about emotional blackmail and cultural correctness. I have suffered from it for a while. But, recently, I have fought my biggest battle ever.

The battle against the voice in my head. I haven’t won the war. But this post, is part of the battle. The war never ends.

And here are ways to recognize people like me- us- who wage this battle everyday.
We are labelled: stubborn, reckless, selfish, rebels, inconsiderate, bad examples, {Insert other derogatory term to describe someone who does what he or she knows to be what is true to his or her DNA.

( Ok, there is a fine line between someone who knows exactly what he or she wants, and someone who is plain confused. Both seem as confident, only time will tell the difference.)

There are others who can stay culturally correct and live a truly decent and happy life. Many who follow what their parents and elders tell them and find true happiness. I have a friend who wrote the entrance exam even though he didn’t want to be a medical doctor. Today, he’s one of the happiest people I know.

There is no harm in listening to counsel and doing as you’re told.

But if you’re not one of those people, if you’re not built to follow orders, if your heart knows what you’re good at, if your DNA tells you the path to follow…if you’re like me…

Then by all means, I urge you to be culturally incorrect! Please!

Learn the rules, break them- but don’t break the law. Give the world an authentic, true, original version of yourself.

By all means- do not listen to me , your parents or anyone. Find yourself. Shine your light.

Am I asking you to be disobedient? To leave home and be stranded because some idiot on the internet said so?
Nah. I won’t take responsibility for what you do. That’s the whole point of being culturally incorrect.

You make your choices. And you deal with the consequences. No pain, no gain.

But, before you chicken out , let me give you a list:

Steve Jobs, The Beatles, Ev William, Bongajum Leslie, Spielberg, Cameron, Bekolo, Francoise Elong.

These may all be artists. But I want to believe that if these people (and many like them) who have changed the face of music, movies, the internet – if they had listened to those who loved them and wanted them to be safe, we would not be benefiting from their true art.

My name is Tchassa Kamga. And I am culturally incorrect.

What about you?

The Boy and The Man

The boy sat quiet. In silent determination he crawled through the memory. He had lost his best friend. His father. It was a truth now as it was when he first heard three weeks earlier.

The mother had shed tears over the phone and his hand had trembled. Not enough to let the phone slip but enough to silent the ruckus in the hostel.

“What is it?” his neighbor had asked.

Maybe it was the look of loss or the aura of regret from words unaltered. The boy could not speak at the time. He was equally surprised when through his mouth the words slipped.

“My Dad’s gone.”

The kind words had played like a broken record, chanting empathy they would never feel.

It didn’t bother the boy that his neighbor felt bad.

He wasn’t worried about his phone either.

The boy was not ready to be a man.

He did not want to be a man.

He knew what it meant and had just heard a real man had left him.

Now the words etched the sad cave:

“I am not going to be here forever.”

The boy was going to be a man.

What choice did he have?

The last man had just exited.

“Whatever you do, though, don’t let an angry teenager be in charge”-Seth Godin

Maybe our bodies do. But in our minds, all the stages of growth stay put. This is what I think: we  chose which ones to show, when and to whom. Think of how soft, sweet and almost ‘childish’ lovers get. Bliss. You hang around your lover all day ,every day. No worries. Or, when you’re with your mom. And you want something. Very badly. I almost unconsciously talk like a baby. I access this ‘lower power’ I know she will react to. Positively.

Those of us who ‘act older’ seem to have mastered this art and tap from observations and/or experience. They are accustomed to responsibility and handle pressures differently. They are our natural leaders. We look up to them. Even when we’re the same age, we know they can take better decisions. They are adults in younger bodies.

Because we all start as children and arguably have access to all these different ‘levels’, some choose the rebellious joy of the teenage years. When we were ‘always right’ and our ‘parents never got us’, ‘never understood us’ and the world was wrong. Some of us are stuck in this stage.

I am. That is why I sometimes pick fights. Not physical fights. No thank you. I am too scrawny to endanger my beautiful body. I mean arguments. The heated pointless arguments like:

Football might be the most popular sport on earth but it is only the most popular because many people love it, not because it is actually popular.

Like I said, pointless.

No matter what you do, never leave an angry teenager in charge. We only want to fight and whine. Everyone is wrong. Everyone hates us. We won’t explain our thoughts rationally and we won’t listen to you. So, please, don’t even bother.

But don’t worry, we intend to grow up.

On Abortion, Homosexuality and Parenting

(c) Flickr user Sabian Maggy

(c) Flickr user Sabianmaggy

A friend of mine wants to terminate her three months pregnancy. That came out too soft. She wants to kill her baby. Too harsh maybe? She wants to abort the child growing in her womb.

She had been having her period as usual and only went to the hospital because she didn’t ‘feel well’. That was a few days ago. From what she told me, she broke-up with the father of the baby and he either has no idea about the pregnancy (she can’t reach his phone) or  doesn’t want to hear about it. Either way, he’s not here now. Who am I to judge him? I don’t know why he did it nor where he is, but letting this young woman go through this ordeal without someone who is as equally responsible is  the true mark of a coward.

Yesterday evening, she told me of her intention and asked for my assistance. No, I am not a doctor. She needs the money to carry the procedure. I am not going to go into a pro or anti-abortion debate. I don’t need one because I believe in two things:

  1. Free will
  2. Choice

You have the freewill to choose your thoughts and beliefs. I have mine. And when it comes to abortion, I won’t agree with anyone that a child should be aborted. Ever.

I am a man. I will never be pregnant. I don’t know what it means to have a child.

On all three counts, you are right. I don’t know what it means to have a baby. Heck, I don’t even have a child. So, who am I to give childbearing or parenting advice?

I am a human. And my only reason is this: I was born. You are able to read this because my mother chose to have me. Also, she did not do it alone. A woman does not conceive alone. That, also, is why I don’t agree with homosexuality. I will not kill a lesbian or gay. Or not talk to them or shun them. No. We are all puny humans and die anyway. Plus, it is pointless. Only God judges us. But, I will not agree that being a homosexual is ‘okay’ for me.

I don’t know if homosexuality is a mental illness. I don’t even know if people are born homosexuals. Being born is fine. And there are worse illnesses. I would not be surprised if I have friends who are homosexuals. Knowing you are a homosexual doesn’t stop me from interacting with you. I don’t have the monopoly of opinions and I won’t be as stupid as to decide who has the right to do what. But you won’t find me anywhere fighting for Gay Rights. I could fight for human rights because everyone is human, But I won’t fight with what my gut disagrees. So no, I don’t think homosexuals should get married. I won’t pull them out of the court but I won’t rejoice when they succeed. At least, I still reserve my right not ‘not be happy’. Before being a homosexual, you’re a person and you have as much Human Rights as I do.

Every person deserves justice, fairness and freedom of expression.

And, no. I don’t think women should abort their babies. I think they should choose to have their babies when they want because a child is the sum of creation. A child is the most beautiful thing human can make. UI designers might disagree.

I don’t know how I will convince my friend to keep her baby. She doesn’t want to tell her parents. I won’t tell either. She came to me because she trusted me and I am not stupid. Trust is the world’s currency. Her mind seems pretty made up. I will try though.

I called another friend whom I thought could help me in my quest. As we were chatting, I stumbled upon the possible reason why an unwanted child could creep on a young university student

“I guess it’s the Molyko virus. Or just plain stupidity. Or what happens when parents don’t make their children comfortable with them”.

So here are a few personal facts: I hide things from my parents. I am not a saint. I have hurt people’s feelings. Intentionally. I have things I regret. And there are things I have done or said I am ashamed of.

  1. Free will
  2. Choice

I have chosen to NOT say those things. And I have learned to choose my thoughts. Like my mentor says: ‘Don’t time travel’. No one can change the past, and no one can predict the future. So why waste valuable energy?

I love my parents. I am lucky to have them both alive. And I am grateful for them. Of course they have their weaknesses. And of course they have made me question my sanity every so often. But isn’t that what being a child is all about? There is no parenting manual .I don’t blame them for their effort.

Except for that time when they came late during the PTA when I was advertising the school magazine. I wish they saw me. They would have been so proud.

Nonsense. I know they are proud of me. They have said it many times.

Mom, Dad I love you both.

What if my mom had aborted me? Now you know why I can’t support abortion.

But life is full of blurred lines. Of humans with various backgrounds and of  thousands of reasons to do or not do whatever. I am but a tiny speck in the billions of souls.

But I am a speck. A speck born of two other specks. I am their speck and they gave me a home, shelter, love, food, care, protected me, vaccinated me, clothed me, and for the past 25 years have always told me this:

“Kamga, you did not ask to be born so, you are our responsibility. Whatever problem you have, talk to us. We are your parents. If you were terminally ill and feces was coming out of you, we will be very willing to carry your feces with our bare hands.”

The relationship I have with my parents has not always been good. I was an adolescent too. I am learning every day. From all indications, so are they.

My father is the first person I call when I do something awesome and I want to share. He reads my posts and encourages me to keep writing.  For 21 years he has been working on his start-up. If that is not a lifetime of courage for me, what is? My mother is the rock of my father’s house. But this is not a tribute.

I believe the reason why I can talk  comfortably (to an extent) with my parents, is because they chose to know and understand me better. That I felt they could listen to me and try as much as possible ( I have seen how difficult it is) to not judge me.

Being a parent is hard. I am not one. But my premise is simple: there is no manual, no school, no Faculty of Parenting and Childhood: Department of Dads. Having this new weird human who just eats, cries and shits must be a pretty interesting experience.

I can’t wait to have mine.

Many Cameroonian parents don’t know their children. I have not carried out the research. So sorry if I don’t have data to back this argument. Having spent 20 years with my peers in classrooms and lecture halls with  hundreds of conversations with young people in the privacy of dormitories and hostels, I can comfortably say that Cameroonian parents have no idea who their kids REALLY are.Or what they are capable of. Their true interests, potentials, dreams, hopes and aspirations and also their sins, evils, worries and regrets.  Of course there are exceptions. But I am not. I think my parents have an idea of who I am. But not entirely.

And I want to think that this poor understanding between parents and children expresses itself sometimes in the form of a daughter who has not slept for three days because she just discovered she is pregnant and believes her parents will kill her if she tells them.

This saddens me. Having to live in a shadow you have cast to hide who you are. Not being able to tell the person who brought you to this world how you feel and not having them celebrate how much you’ve grown. Or changed.

A child doesn’t remain a child forever. Yes, to our parents, we might remain  their babies till death. But we both know at some point, we want them to see us differently.

Parents seem to feel when this day draws close and some don’t take it so well. I guess watching your baby become a woman is like watching a caterpillar. Slowly transforming into a butterfly and knowing it would fly away.

Bad parenting comes from keeping the butterfly in a glass cage.

Do I blame parents for what their children turn out to be? Do I blame children for not trusting their parents and not being themselves?

  1. Free will
  2. Choice

I don’t know if she would keep the baby. I don’t know if her parents will kill her if they find out. I don’t know if homosexuals should be allowed to marry and adopt babies. I don’t know.

But I know I want that baby to live.