Walking in the dark

I’ve been listening to so many sad songs, I read somewhere that happy people listen to the tune and sad people listen for the lyrics. The thing is; it is hard to listen to other kinds of music because I just can’t relate. I’ve been trying to clear my mind the only way I know how, earphones on blast and staring into the abyss so I wouldn’t see a thing. Nothing seems to be working though. I’ve been reading a lot of books too; its hard to finish any of them though because my thoughts start drifting mid-chapter and I end up looking for an alternative distraction, mostly skyrim or trying to perfect my driving on dirt 3. My current favorite song is Writings on the wall, am reading the Secret history of the CIA; It’s like a sequel to an earlier spy novel I read “The art of Betrayal”.

It’s difficult to explain how I feel. I think too much and yet I can’t explain this feeling. I feel as if I’m empty inside; I’ve been meaning to do a lot of things but can’t muster the energy or will to start. I’ve been procrastinating calling my Mum for a while now and sometimes want to get away from my Dad. I just heard that a family friend passed away and for a moment I was sad, I thought about how happy he looked the last time I saw him, always reminding me to pass his regards to my father. There was no indication as to what caused his death and my father informed me of his pre-existing medical conditions, which might have caused his death.

I keep finding myself in this dark place inside my head, I’ve been looking for an escape from this mood, sometimes I go out to drink and other times I would do anything just so I wouldn’t have to let it sink in. I could sit for hours in silence wondering what I’m doing with my life, I wish there was a simpler answer. Everything I’ve done so far has been unfulfilling. When I was applying for University I wanted to be an Electrician because it was the only field of physics which excited me, I’d given up being a doctor when the KCSE results came out and Law was probably the last choice I’d wanted to make but seemed to have qualified for.

I’m done with law school and yet I don’t feel drawn to the legal practice. I use my understanding of the legal principles to guide my reasoning but I’d rather work as a news editor. The Juba Telegraph has been closed for a while now due to the economic recession, they promise to reopen as soon as possible. I’ve been working at the law firm trying to get admitted to the bar but am not particularly thrilled about that. The legal procedures in South Sudan are incredibly bulky and frustrating to institute, my understanding of the common law greatly differs from my colleagues and I’m left to wonder the viability of my education.

At the end of each day, I get off from work with enough energy to get home. After entering the gate I feel hunkered down by a cloud. I lose interest in doing most things that would involve me getting out of the house; even going to the shop to buy credit feels like I’d be exerting too much effort. I’ve been meaning to make several calls but haven’t got around to doing it. It’s hard to get out of this funk. For a while I had decided not to go to work because it just felt like I was wasting away in the office space. I’ve lost the inspiration to write anything meaningful and everything just feels dull.

I remember the days when I could lose my temper and wouldn’t talk to anyone for days, my brother used to call it artistic flare. I would stomp out of the house and go walking around in the dark for hours; I practically walked around the whole of Eldoret in a night trying to get my head out of the fight. It was hard to cool off my temper and I’d go back home only when I realized there’s no escaping my culpability. I’d get home at around 3 a.m, knock on the kitchen door hoping someone is listening and sit at the servant quarter’s corridor trying to keep warm; I mostly got rained on during the long walks. My mother would open the door in her nightgown with a sad look on her face and I would bow my head and walk in to my room.

Compared to now, I miss those days. I could at least express myself better than now, feeling numb to everything and still having to fight the loneliness in my head scares me. There’s this girl I like and there are so many reasons why I think I shouldn’t, it’s a process I go through when I’m getting new feelings. The gist of it is that I’m no good and I think she’s great. I told her I like her but I can’t seem to open up to her. I’ve barely scratched the surface telling her who I am. I’m struggling with my own identity for now, listening to people telling me what they think of me has just created doubt in what I know about myself.

I’ve written so many poems trying to express my rage on a page, my father tried to get me to write how I feel down a few weeks ago. I hated that he told me to do so; I wanted it to come out on its own. Is deleting a post on a blog the equal of tearing out a page from the notebook? If it is, it’s not that satisfactory. I sort of stopped writing down my thoughts because I was stuck in a rhyme scheme. Every talk I had felt scripted, a repeat of another conversation I’d had prior. Now, I’m only looking forward to the Korbandi Saloon where I go to listen and share poems and short stories.

Last week I got to learn of a South Sudanese writer, Majok Tulba ( http://www.readings.com.au/news/alice-pung-interviews-majok-tulba-about-beneath-the-darkening-sky ), author of Beneath the Darkening sky. He discusses the life of a South Sudanese child soldier, he himself having avoided being recruited as one because he was an inch shorter than the AK 47 they were being measured against. The author lives and writes in Australia and his book was nominated for the Commonwealth book prize (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jun/09/majok-tulba-beneath-darkening-sky ). I’ve read several books on the origins of the SPLA and read up on my maternal relations; due to the long separation, we have hardly met most of our relatives and each day I get introduced to a new face whose name I try committing to memory. None of them though compared to that short excerpt which was read out at the Korbandi saloon. The reader had captured everybody’s attention and when he was done everybody wanted to chip in and talk about the main themes. It felt as if I was back in a class for English Literature.

I met my grand uncle, Brother to my grand mother, this past week. He was so glad to have seen me after 20 plus years since we left Egypt. He recognised me even though I was an infant back then and hugged me tight. The smile on his face as he looked at me was heart warming and I felt exhilarated. My father told him about the old photos he’d come back from Kenya with after his holiday, promising to take them to him on the next dental check up. He explained to us how we were related even asking if we knew the names of my mother’s mother. The lunch break ended and we departed to our offices excited.

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6 thoughts on “Walking in the dark

  1. Hmmm.. Quite a piece. To escape any dark moments or clear my mind, I look for books; short reads especially, or play loud music. Other times I try to catch a nap. Naps work for me.

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    • Tried all that. I think it’s a quarter life crisis/ existential crisis am having. Trying to get a new perspective though, it’s harder when everything’s stuck on repeat.

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      • I’ll check that. I enjoy reading things feminism. I’m not a fan of inspiration books. I don’t find them real. I’m most of the time unable to feel the content of pure inspiration writers. But that’s just me. I hold nothing against them. I read Sidney Sheldon’s ‘The Other Side of me’ sometime last year and felt like it was inspiration enough for me. I don’t know if it’s coz of what I was going through. I bet you’ll love it if you’ve not read it already. Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’ is also something I’d recommend. For poetry, I have five poems which act like my daily guides:
        1. If by Rudyard Kipling
        2. Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
        3. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
        4. Alone & drinking Under The Moon by Li Po
        5. Invictus by William Ernest Henley.
        Works for me every time. IDK if they will for you.

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      • Thanks btw. Read if by kipling, its quite a guide. It’s quite a list to read through, so far i know two. I like being adventurous with reading poems, my favourite poet for now is warshan shire coz her message is closer to home. I think her poem home is phenomenal so you can try that and maybe rewatch dead poet society theres the poem they chant about losing religion which i can’t get out of my head

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