You know how you can look at someone and see that they’re happy, I have never seen that in a man. Not any man I know at least. The type of happiness or joy that comes from a man doing something for themselves. Not that he is happy because his kids have turned out to be how he wanted them to turn out. Or the fickle happiness brought by material stuff. I am talking happy because he doesn’t give a fuck about what society says or expects from him. I have seen happy kids and happy boys. But from around the late teens, it becomes more and more difficult to spot a happy man.
I wouldn’t say that I was a happy child. I recall myself being a confused child just drifting through the daily school routines. However, when I got to my teens, I recall feeling the pressure of being a man. It felt like adulthood was a destination. It felt like somewhere I’d reach and build my house, stay in with my adulthood and leave everything else out. I had started living like this. It was an unspoken thing but there were things that were expected of me now that I was growing into adulthood especially after highschool. I don’t know how to explain this but I have an example of what was expected of me. “Sasa umekuwa mkubwa hufai kuvaa shorts.” “Shorts ni za watoto na watu hawajielewi.”
In hindsight, the few years I lived like this were just a continuation of my childhood. I was beginning to drift in my adulthood. And now it makes sense why I recall being a confused child. I always did what I was told and rarely did what I wanted to do. Had I continued living like this well into my adulthood, I would have never been in conflict with anyone. I would have been a very obedient person. But I was losing myself. I wasn’t happy.
I don’t want to get into the philosophy of what happiness is. I just know I wasn’t happy because I was slowly wasting away. I think what happened to me is what is happening to many men out here. They feel the pressure to conform so as not to be “watu hawajielewi.” Some of them would want to stop conforming but feel like it’s too late for them and it’s much more comfortable sticking to a path that is familiar. They don’t want conflict.