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Like water under the bridge, that is how our dreams flow when we do not do anything about
them. Or rather, that is what I have done with my dreams. Why would I do this to myself?
This is self-sabotage, and it must stop! It is not that I have suddenly realized this. I have
known it but every waking day I promise myself that I will do something about it and
whenever I have the chance, sabotage begins. Not from an enemy out there or a jealous
person who does not want to see me rise. No! From right inside my head. If I had a big head,
literally, I would easily say it is my big head that is in play. But I happen to have a rather
small head so it cannot be full water. It must be full of good substance well compacted. This
self-sabotage comes in the sweet name of evaluating what I am going to do. I start hearing
things from inside my head telling me, ‘look, you will only make a fool of yourself. “or
“what if you write that article and someone somewhere thinks that you are writing about
them.” And so on and so forth.
The most common sabotage statement I get is, “if you write your life story, your mother will
get to know, and she will be very upset.” I am half a century old for crying out loud! What has
my mother got to do with it? And it is my story anyway! Yes! It is true she bullied me. No!
she terrorised me! She planted the seed of anxiety in me. With her, I never knew when she
was going to hit me next or what the crime that deserved a beating would be. Anything could
have been a crime. I never knew the difference between a mistake and out right disobedience
or misdemeanour. All of them were equal.
Let me give an example or two for you to get what I mean. I remember her sending me to go
and place a saucepan of milk that had been boiled and cooled into the cupboard. I was around
5 or 6 years old then. I remember trying to open the door while at the same time trying to
balance the saucepan. I am not an octopus, and the milk gave way when I got hold of the door
handle and of course it poured. Before I could turn and try to explain, there were blows all
over me. Those of you who grew up between the 70s and 80s in Kenya, you may have an idea
about what I am talking about. After that incident I ached for about a week but before the
week was over, I had been given the same task again and this time I slid and fell and
showered myself with the milk. Wait! Do not judge me too quickly. There was a little patch of
water on the floor which I was not even aware of. I just slid and hit the ground.
My mother was extremely fast and strong. She beat me in a way I cannot forget. I expected a
sorry for falling and showering in milk. You can imagine how confusing this was for a 5/6-
year-old. I fell! I was hurt! So why was I being beaten? In my mother’s head, everything
deserved a beating. In retrospect, having become a mother and brought up children of my
own, what my mother needed to do was to demonstrate how one carries a saucepan of milk,
how one puts it down, how one opens the door, how to keep that door open and lift the
saucepan to pass through the door and safely place it where it was meant to be placed.
So, here I am half a century old and this little confused girl still creeps out of the wood works
to torment me. This little girl in me decides for me more times than I would want to admit.
Great ideas flow though my head but I choose to sit at the bridge and watch them flow by.
Why? Because it is safer to sit there and do nothing. Because trying means making mistakes
and making mistakes will upset my mother. What did you say? My mother? Where does she
even feature in this? She has no idea how you got here. She just knows that you have
succeeded in life but, she has no idea how. It is time to stop the self-sabotage. I think self-
sabotage has made me discover a nice smooth and comfortable stone there above the bridge
where I sit and watch as my dreams pass by. No one will criticize what I do when I am there.
There are no risks. I cannot make mistakes while there. I am just a nice girl watching nature
as dreams pass by. It is wonderfully comfortable. I do not have to do anything I just sit and
the water flows by with my dreams aboard.
There are those of us who struggle with self-sabotaging thoughts. A form of anxiety that
many times comes from our childhood either at home or in school especially during the
teenage years. This anxiety makes us loose ourselves on our way to success because every
good idea we want to put into practice is overwhelmed by negative thoughts of how we shall
not do a good job of it. We start to see crooked lines where there are none. We see imperfect
patches which really are the ones that add to the beauty of what we are about to do. Indeed,
imperfection is what makes original artwork so beautiful. Those imperfections are the ones
that make flowers fresh from a garden precious.
Imagine getting a perfectly shaped plastic rose flower from the love of your life on valentine’s
day. At least I would not smell it. I would take it straight to the bin! Definitely they have their
function in this life. They appear perfect in colour and shape! But no! Not for me! I must say
there is nothing like perfect in life. Even our bodies are not symmetrical. They are not perfect.
At least I know mine is not. In fact, my lips and my smile are perfectly crooked like my dad’s.
As a child I thought it was my dad’s way of making a charming face when he smiled at
people. When he smiled at me. He was just natural, handsome in that crooked smile of his and
I happen to be the feminine look alike. I want to embrace the imperfect me and I ask anyone
who reads this to do the same because that is what makes us all unique and beautiful. Get off
the bridge, jump into the water, swim upstream and hold on to your dreams. Your strokes may
not be perfect, but you are working on your dreams.