Frankly Put: Facing the Sober Realities of Life

Frankhie Muthumbi
5 min readJun 5, 2024

--

Photo by Frankhie Muthumbi

Adulting. That’s it. That’s the post, we can all go home now and enjoy our collective existential dread. Cool? Cool. Let’s meet here next week for the short story. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

On the real though, it is not common that I presently pick directly from my life to write these things. However, let me take this for the sake of the theme. Not too long ago (talking about this week) I was on a bus heading down to school as one would normally do. That day, the traffic was crazy as much as I had left in good time and I would have been late just sitting longer in that traffic. Knowing the road, it could have been the president of this here republic for all I know (okay, the possibility is slimmer these days but maybe, humour me).

The bus driver, being a matatu guy, decided to take an alternative and longer route to town but that was not a route I was interested in following since my stop was on the way and remember, I was trying not to be late. I got off not too far off; a walking distance still, just an unnecessary detour and extra steps in the unbecoming sun that was that morning. Nevertheless, I walked the distance and as I did, my mind was abuzz with the thoughts of getting late and the hustle of reorganizing schedules for the work to be done that day.

As I ruminated, the irritation was evident that this thing had been an inconvenience to life as I knew it. Imagine the interesting twist as I get closer to where I should have gotten off to find that the cause of the traffic was not the president but in fact someone’s near-death experience. An accident between a personal car and a concrete mixer lorry. Far as I know, no casualties. So of course I am now thinking about how I am complaining about getting a few minutes late yet someone was nearly not here in an instant.

A thought that crossed my mind is how the world has desensitized me to such by virtue of the exposure to everything that is happening around the world but a story for another day. I would be lying if I said that didn’t slightly shift my perspective. Yes, I still went to reorganize the day’s work and all but I think I was slightly more aware that being able to was a privilege. Sometimes, I think I just need that nudge. Yes, I call it a privilege because … It is. Then it got me thinking of how many times we are at that crossroads. It runs deep. As deep as love, career, thought and life itself; as in breathing.

A belief I like to go back to every so often is “You have this privilege, what do you choose to use it for?” I am for the train of thought that if you have a privilege use it but I guess the common understanding is that it can only be used for your selfish benefit. I learnt that it can be used to connect with people; if the arrogance of it is taken out of the equation. At a base level, privilege can be broken down to the capacity of choice. In the presence of choice, choose to be the grateful one, no?

Not to self plagiarise but it is hard to have an abundance mentality with a heavy heart and I think adulting does this thing where it raises the curtain on the show that is life and for real for real you are the one on the stage and every decision you make is made into a reality. It also awakens you to the sorry state of life that many people escape from with their vices. However, I think these realities are not to be ran from…. Mainly because why are you running? There is nowhere to go. It’s you, a dollar and a dream or more accurately; you, adulting and reality.

Life is not fair in how it deals its cards but at the same time, the game on the floor is played to your hand. Now I’m not here blindly leading you with passive optimism because I’m also learning to ask “and then?” to the sorry attempts to soothe the struggles when all I really want is the space to acknowledge the deep that I have found myself in. It is not that I cannot figure out that up is the direction to swim but if you cannot give me that moment of pause, my body will never know it is in fact floating before it it sinking. We can’t share things because even if I am going through it, the next person is going through it and they can’t fix what i am going through and neither can I, what they are going through. Learn to swim in your own deep.

There is a privilege to the act of swimming. Life’s taught me, so generously that this thing of space to acknowledge the deep comes in both negatives and positives. It’s hard to share in your wins when someone else is going through a loss. I am not trying to be a negative Nancy here but it is a matter-of-fact truth. I know we say that if someone is really in your corner they will be happy for your happiness but it is only human to feel the pinch of a win when you are in a loss. You could just step on them in a bid to have your moment but that’s not the move for long-term relationships, no?

How do you tell someone you are happily in love when they just had their heart ripped out from its roots? How do you tell someone you love how your job gave you a promotion when they are one of the unlucky few who were pulled out by their company’s lay-offs? How do you celebrate a new life in yours when someone is going through losing someone? There is a guilt that you can’t quite shake. It is as if in these dualities of life, an acknowledgement of your good is a taunt in the face of another’s loss.

All this thinking has silenced me though. Maybe I should pick a different vice from self-reflection facing these sober realities… to put it Frankly.

--

--

Frankhie Muthumbi

Perfectly Imperfect || Human, Alexithymiac Poet, Writer, Musician