By Lizbeth Kariuki
In line with the upcoming StoryMoja Festival (read more by clicking on the link), I wrote a story that was published on the StoryMoja Festival Blog. You can also read it below:
“I don’t want to study law,” I whimpered. I would never be good enough for her. My demeanor was sluggish, my writing was mediocre at best, and my entire being had to be revolved around doing tasks her way. And the worst of it all, my voice could never relay what my deepest thoughts were.
“But mum…” My desperate cries interrupted by her continued shrieks of disappointment. Her unrelenting comparisons between me and my (much older) lawyer cousin clearly conveyed that I would never be as perfect. I would never be her poster-child. Perhaps what scared her most was that I didn’t care what she thought.
In my mother’s eyes I am meant to be the ever obedient child, and should never question status quo. Her word was law. Funny thing about rules though, even the enforcers tend to break one or two, especially if there are too many. But my mother is “perfect” and I could never question her mistakes, so I feared her and I could never speak out. Plus, her stringent view that she must control what I do in life is ultimately one of her biggest mistakes.
My sweet escape will come when I join university… that is my hope. But not to study law or any other subject my mother dictates I study. I want to study art. There’s a lot of freedom in it, and my heart yearns for that freedom. I love the blank space, the white canvas, so pure and untouched. The white sits there beckoning for me to splash all my imagination and it will never condemn or insult what I do.
I want more white blank spaces because they never set expectations; I set my own. I cannot ever make a mistake – it just becomes art. My freedom from my mother’s tyranny will come essentially from locking myself in art. It’s ironic that I’ll be locking myself in another prison, but it’s going to be my choice, and not my mothers.
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