I wanted to be intelligent.
People around me would talk about intelligence like it was something very very special in life but only achievable by some.
You heard them talk about someone’s child or the other:
"We we we! Ta tiga. Ucio mwana kaĩ Atarĩ tobo mũtheri. Mbũthĩ mbuthĩ."
They would say about the kid who topped the exams in three divisions.
“Kwanja when he speaks English, it comes out through the nose.”
I was at that stage when I didn’t say much so someone would remember I was in the room and say
“Hĩ, this child of Nyawĩra is very quiet, nĩ akirire ũũru.”
“Ah, ũyũ tiga rũng’athio atonagio ndũtigane nake, hinga ya mwana.
I was trying, really trying to say something clever. I was not sulking, I was not a hypocrite but after such an expression of faith in my cloudy disposition I would of course start to sulk and when I talked it came out in a whinny voice. I might as well have been bleating like the sheep I am.
But I had another problem. Not one that you take to a special education teacher, a kind of social slowness and lack of adeptness. As a girl, of course I should have been in on the 411 of everything happening around me but I was always the last to hear about which teacher was getting married, which girl was dating an Alliance boy’s high school head boy. Who stole the food from another girl’s box.
Maybe I don’t care much about gossip. Maybe I was afraid of being caught up in drama.
“What did you say about me?”
“What did I say about you?”
“I swear when we meet no grass will be left on the ground.”
As such I never really got to hear what people said about me, apart from that one time a girl said I was writing four A4 loose leaf sheets of letters to a boy. I laughed and asked her if it was true she had said that, she said yes.
I asked why would you say such an untrue thing? "Four foolscaps?"
But I wrote too much on my composition papers so people believed I was capable of such scribbling.
I frowned at the girl then found the boy and told him the story, I had such fun, telling him I would never do such a thing. " Imagine, four foolscaps to you?"
Not much got to me about me after that. Probably people whispered behind my back but I didn’t really care what my peers thought of me. I was always an old soul.
It was the grown ups’ opinion I wanted to hear, or not hear, in case I heard something like I feared they would say:
“Ndongoro ĩno kuri kĩndũ ĩtihagia…”
(She has the brain of a mollusk, she is incapable of any intelligent ideas.)
And then I decided in my simple brain that :
1. Intelligence was not really something I need to pursue.
2. Being smart in the head is relative
3. Not every intelligent or smart person is necessarily happy.
I stopped worrying and if I have nothing to say, I keep quiet. If I am with my friends I say everything I’m thinking and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a smart idea or a really stupid one. I’m just interacting, and there are no rules to that are there?