Who Am I?

I recently downloaded an expense tracking app and let me tell you Maina, it is not easy. Financial experts keep preaching that this is one of the ways to financial freedom na mimi ni kama siyuko ready. Monitoring where each coin goes is a daunting task but I have become a master at forcing issues of late. On that note, please don’t invite me for drinks (Kenyan Bar Guy umeskia? Wait….. Ama we just go? kama mbaya, mbaya). Coming to think of it, siwezani na hii maisha ya miss independent anymore. Wababaz who want to spend on me, DM haraka upesi. Niko tayari kuwa baby ghurl.

Anyway, the first time I came across a person who was financially woke was when I met my friend Lulu. OK let me take it back aliro bit. I first met Lulu in high school. She was the quiet and introspective girl who slept on the upper decker of my bed in form one. What first struck me about her was her massive beautiful eyes. I come from a family of people with very big eyes but Lulu’s were on another level. Plus, I was also intrigued by how difficult it was to impress her. We would be joking and laughing in the dormitory and she would be sitting on her bed with a blank face. Then when something that was not so funny would happen, Lulu would be rolling on the floor with laughter. Let’s just say that our sense of humor is asymmetrical.

As fate would have it, Lulu became my first roommate again when I got to campus. She brought sophistication to my confused fresher life. This girl came to school with an electrical kettle, a cooker, and an iron box. Mimi nilikuwa nimeng’ethia kama ngamia. Who does that? If she were a product her tagline would be ‘Lulu! Bringing order and sophistication to your chaotic and/or boring life!’ Lulu thank you so much for allowing me to use your stuff aki.

In hindsight, I realize that Lulu had a financial wokeness and self-awareness that was way ahead of her time. She would talk about money and I would be staring at her like ‘si pesa ni ya kuspend ama?’ Her conversations about life were so deep bana. Lulu even made me and some of our friends join some financial wokeness club too. There, we met fresher hungry 3rd-year students who……that’s a story for another day. Lulu being ze fine ghel she was mercilessly killing some of ze brodas in my circle especially…pia hiyo sitasema leo. Everytime these guys would nag me incessantly to share her number with them. I would tell them that mwanaume lazima ajitetee. Chambilecho wahenga, mtaka cha mvunguni sharti ainame.

Last week Lulu reached out to me with her article (she is a brilliant writer too). It is an honor to share her work on this blog. Ladies and gentlemen, without any further ado…

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For me, one of the hardest questions to answer is, “Where are you from?” Let me break it down and perhaps you will begin to understand my dilemma. I was born in Nakuru, raised in Sotik then went to Nakuru, Limuru, and Eldoret for school. I ‘did time’ in Nairobi and Meru and I am currently in the US. However, if you are asking so that you identify me with a group of people, I am a Kenyan coastarian. Even though I have never lived, schooled, or worked there, I do promise to let out an accent when drinking madafu or enjoying a conversation with a fellow coastarian.

Another question that is not extremely hard to answer anymore is “what do you do?”  I am all things development. Put me in a project that has the potential to bring social, economic, or political change, I will light up. That matched with my personality consciously and subconsciously gets me taking different but very related courses which makes it extremely hard to put me in a box. Recently, I learned that the best way to answer that question is to say my most recent job title. This was hugely influenced by my new perception of self. What I do is a minor component of my being, and that I am so many things in one.

I also have other interests outside my career that are so far from the career itself that the ideology of ‘to the moon and back’ can’t compete with (ask Elon Musk and his team). I have taught as a Sunday school teacher, worked as a barista, ran my own business(es), done marketing and so many other odd jobs out of curiosity and/or necessity. There was even one time I was obsessed with event planning; I would spend my weekends on campus running errands for a certain couple that run an event planning business. Additionally, I have biker and pole dancing on my bucket list. The latter have no importance rather than the expectation of an adrenaline rush and fierceness attached to the two, respectively.

The world has many lenses it uses to view us. One of them is the number of tries we have under our belt. Those that make it in the first attempts get adoration. Unfortunately, we assume that there is something wrong with the people that have fallen in love over and over again with different people. Don’t even get me started on the backlash we give people that have changed careers and jobs. Just a point to carry home, you can never satisfy the world even if you take ‘the exact identity’ that it models out for you.

Suffice to say, I have had my own share of identity crises. The kind where what you are currently doing doesn’t match other people’s expectations and is even further from what you aspire to be. I have also been in a room with people that I am identified with and still felt unrelatable. It was a struggle until I realized that I was a multifaceted being. That having one identity would be the actual unrealistic thought in a world that is constantly changing.  

You cannot experience different cultures without a few habits brushing off on you. Besides, you can’t be a reader and never at one-point question your status quo. You can’t remain the same after having tried to save your business, project, relationship, etc several times. It can’t be business (or me) as usual after surviving trauma. It is therefore unfair to place the burden of one identity onto yourself. I think that exposure to all that makes us more compassionate human beings, which is a good thing.

Biblically, we are made in the likeness of God and He was and still is different things to different people. To some, He is a friend, to some, a father. To others he is everything and to others, nothing at all. So, when you find yourself questioning who you are, remember you are so many things in one. You are not defined by your circumstances, your current situation, or your interactions. You are who you are and everything that you are is you.

In the book of Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

Have a blessed week.

Na ka life ni movie, huh, guess who is starring? Guess nani starring?

Muthoni Drummer Queen