I’m Joseph Rung’u. Growing up in the rural area had always been fun and adventurous until I joined high school. I had to interact with people from different regions in the country. My Alma mater was a provincial school and thus admitted students from far and wide. It was not long till I got to understand that there were these born tao cliques that existed almost everywhere. These boys had so much influence and their lifestyle was just admirable.
It wasn’t easy to deal with the fact that these guys wore cooler clothes, watches; during tea breaks they would afford to buy bread and of course ‘pimp’ their tea. All left of me was to envy their way of life. During school holidays break, they would get a matatu that they would fill and go to town doing their crazy fun stuff together. These had me thinking how boring my life was. I mean, all I did was take an old matatu that drove straight to shagz. To be honest, I always sought the matatu that I would travel on my own so that other guys wouldn’t know where I came from.
Back to schools were even worse. We would line up at the gate, my search taking barely 3 seconds while the teachers had to take a seat for the town guys because of the bags of shopping they had. They could literally start their own cafeterias. Have a I mentioned the night preps chronicles? Their stories were always entertaining and had me and others distracted. As for me, any questions regarding my holiday would be met with one word answers because there was nothing to write home about shagz anyway. The stories continued to the dormitories. I must admit I enjoyed listening to them a lot. The influence further extended to school outings commonly known as funkies. I was not used to approaching the beautiful ladies during interaction time. I always got nervous trying to. Sometimes I physically made an effort but verbally failed. Beautiful ladies just need you to be confident in yourself and you’ll definitely have a chance. That I did not have since I didn’t quite believe in myself.
Sadly, I had shuttered myself to believe I was not as worthy as others and it pained me. It can get really uncomfortable if you cannot truly be free with yourself. I thought that I needed to have some good money to be happy. That I had to be cool to live comfortably in my skin. It was tough since I had nowhere to take my thoughts or share these challenges as others would think it as a small issue. I died inside, I killed myself for I had not known how amazing and important it is to be myself. With time I started expressing myself. I was the talented musician and the less I got shy the more people accepted who I was. I felt important as I filled a gap that no one else could fill. The moment I realized that where I was brought up was even better than the urban life made me more comfortable than ever. I learnt to own myself regardless of how imperfect I was and I got to interact with people without fear. It changed my life completely so just simply be yourself
(Joseph is a student at Maseno University. He is the director of music at the Jiji Africa Band where he also doubles as a drummer. He’s a music teacher at various learning institutions as well with a special bias for musical instruments)