Growth

My Last Post on WordPress, The New Road, and a New Home

So, dear reader, we have a lot of things to talk about since the last time. But not today.

I wish this were clickbait. It isn’t.


TL: DR Version: 
I’m leaving this blog. Here’s where you can find me from now own.

  1. Subscribe to my Newsletter.
  2. Follow me on Medium.
  3. Follow me on Twitter.
  4. Follow me on Instagram.
  5. Connect with me on Quora

Here’s some of what I’ve written while I was away.

  1. Before I Could Date Anyone, I had to Date Myself
  2. 28 personal truths from 28 years of living
  3. Is this what it takes to become a writer?
  4.  Kiss Me Already 
  5. Why Share Your Crises?

A lot has happened since the last post I wrote on WordPress. ‘A lot’ is an understatement, actually. ‘Too much’ would be more appropriate.

There is no easy way to say this: I’ve outgrown the blog. I’ve outgrown the name. I’ve outgrown the kid who wrote about his heartbreaks, the kid who wrote about his crushes.

“You see, it’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in the past that determines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them, that will determine your ultimate destiny.” -Tony Robbins

I write to you from Yaounde. I’m in my friend’s studio living room. There’s a large bookshelf ahead of me. My laptop is resting on my jean wrapped thighs. The warm air interrupts the mosquitoes’ dance. There is eclectic laughter coming from the room in irregular intervals from two of my poetry troupe mates. Deecey’s new album is blazing on the speakers. It’s minutes to midnight.

I know it’s time to say goodbye.

The Mito Mito Poetry Troupe( minus Mafor Glory)

I started here. My poetry, my writing, everything. As I write this, I feel the weight of this decision. I’m almost tempted to just let it be–to let the page exist and not bother about updating it.

Part of me thinks it doesn’t matter. That I can let the page be here for posterity. That I can simply continue where I have been writing more and more for the past two years.

Part of me doesn’t think that’s fair. You, my reader, deserve better. You deserve to know why.

Updating WordPress and Medium has been a hassle, for one. Watching Medium grow my audience, getting the kind of engagement I wanted and using a platform that I think was built for the kind of writing I want to do, all this, and more, have slowly crystallized my decision to jump ship.

However, at some point, I wanted to do both. I wanted to write on the two platforms, doubling down and doing more. But, the truth is, I don’t want to.

My friend is working on my own site ( which, by the way, will be on WordPress’s CMS), but this blog, the reason why it was created has come to pass.

Kamga no longer has a blog.

Hi. I no longer have a blog. Bye.

It started as a place to hide my thoughts, A place to share my woes as a young twentysomething. It was a journey I have enjoyed.

But that kid, the horny angsty writer, he’s done.

You may realize that my writing is no longer as sarcastic or fluffy as it used to. I can barely recognize myself as I type this. Which, to me, is a good thing.

But when it comes to those, like you, who followed me because of that voice, it’s not fair. You gave me light when I was in the dark of my depression, and it’s time to show you the man you made, in all his newfound superpowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Road

“You can’t change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” -Jim Rohn

I now boast over 2000 followers on Medium. As I write this, I am doing the finishing touches on my Newsletter, and I am strongly considering a Vlog. I also just recovered from Malaria, so I have had a lot of time to think. Together with friends, we started a poetry troupe. We had multiple events and were even invited here to Yaounde to perform at a private event.

I’ve had a really great time.

Howard and me just before the event

Because I was indecisive about whether to leave WordPress or not, I used a lot of mental energy justifying my inaction. Not anymore.

At the bottom of this post, you will find links to the main avenues where I intend to keep providing the kind of writing that made you fall in love with me in the first place.

Especially, my Newletter. I am really, really excited about this one.  It’s going to be the kind of content you’d love to consume, share and interact with.

Of course, I will be using these avenues to generate revenue. But, this will not be spammy or click-bait. My poetry collection, for example, and my other books, or products, or services, would be the kinds of material you’d receive occasionally.

Keyword: occasionally.

For the most case, you’d get stuff I found and thought was cool. Articles I read, podcasts I listened to, videos I watched or even videos from me that I think you deserve because you have chosen to give me your time.

The New Road requires growth, value creation and making money in a way that gets everyone, especially you my audience,  to win.

A New Home

“Giving things up isn’t just about sacrifice. It’s also about gain. When you give things up you create an opening in your life for other things. By saying no to everything that’s not aligned with your essential priorities you make space for what it is”.- Srinivas Rao

So, what does this all mean?

For starters, my content will be no longer be on this blog.

Then, if you want to stay in the loop for exclusive material, behind the scenes of my projects, material that may or may not reach the majority of the internet, you should do the following :

  1. Subscribe to my Newsletter.
  2. Follow me on Medium.
  3. Follow me on Twitter.
  4. Follow me on Instagram.

I curated the five pieces I thought you’d enjoy.

  1. Before I Could Date Anyone, I had to Date Myself
  2. 28 personal truths from 28 years of living
  3. Is this what it takes to become a writer?
  4.  Kiss Me Already 
  5. Why Share Your Crises?

You deserve better. And I want to serve you better. Through my Newsletter, I intend to do this at a more personal level.

You’re welcome to join me today. Sign-up.

Thank you for everything.

Always,
Tchassa Kamga.

 

Advertisements

…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.