I promised myself that this year I would attempt to shed my ‘nice’ image. I don’t mean that I would not be nice anymore, but that I would live my life to the fullest edging towards skirting any obstacles or any rules that could be flexibly interpreted. I noticed that, in the past, I tended to always be the ‘good girl’ and finally Rihanna’s songs sunk in and I had an AHA moment because a friend told me that good girls always finish last. In love. In life. And I decided that this year, that would not be me…I was going to seize life by the cajones and just paint my life a brilliant hue of red.
So the first step was choosing to come to Ethiopia and work as Public Health Director in a village located in the middle of nowhere. Now that I am here, I realize that perhaps I have been skirting away from the edge of ‘good girl’-ness for a while. In the month and couple of weeks that I have been here, I have picked up on some things about myself that I am loving. One, I am very proud to be Kenyan. I am also quite proud that I can speak up and that I am not a wallflower. Two, I can talk to anyone in any setting without feeling a twinge of embarrassment or shyness. I danced alone in Addis. I talk to anyone who can listen in my broken Amharic. I can now drive a stickshift thanks to my best friend here. I will not take any bullshit from the team that I manage…and they know it. I can jump in and do the ‘dirty work’ if my nurses or public health staff are unavailable or unable. I can survive without meat (this is a BIG one…anyone who knows their Kenyans knows that we absolutely thrive when we eat meat). I still love reggae. I am always listening to music, perhaps this explains my ever-present good mood. I sing aloud without any shame, despite being tone-deaf, when I am working. I make friends very easily but I still don’t trust very quickly…not sure if that will change any time soon.
Well, I have been trying to embrace the bad girl in me more often these days. So I am proud of myself of pushing myself beyond some boundaries and I am excited because I really feel like I am actually living my life instead of simply existing. I really acknowledge that life is so short and heartbreak is so much more common than we expect so all you can do is live your life, maintain your own level of dignity and values…and let everyone else get in where they fit in. You shouldn’t let anyone else control your joy…do not let them take it from you. My joy has been found in various activities which have been severely curtailed since I am deep in the village out here. Nothing big, really. I love to dance. I love music. I love socializing and having some pints with friends and I can’t really do that here…but I have decided that I can have a solo dance party in my house every Saturday night or something. I know, sounds depressing but after a week of public health headaches and stresses, sometimes you are happy not seeing anybody at all and dancing to some Konshens or to some Azonto in the privacy of your cottage. My best friend here did introduce me to a tiny pub down the street from the clinic so I have been there a few times now, in the daytime as he instructed, and I have been able to watch Athletics when Kenya and Ethiopia were competing. The owner stocks gin and is close with my BFF so I feel very safe when I head there. Of course, I haven’t been there alone and I may attempt to do so tomorrow (Friday) after work. I can have them plug in my reggae files and listen to some Gramps Morgan out in the mudhut bar…
I only have a few months here and the village is uber tiny and everyone now knows of me as the ‘new’ girl – kids yell out faranji to white folks here but the started yelling out ‘Kenya!’ when I pass by so I cannot be as bad as I would like to be but, if you know me, then you’d understand that it’s about time I did this. My friends have always said the one thing they love about me is that I live my life without waiting for anyone. I didn’t feel this way about myself but since I have been here, I have started to slowly realize that this is very true. I am the only one of my close friends who travels to remote areas or some very exotic countries for work or school…and I am thrilled that I am realizing that about myself.
Perhaps being bad means opening myself up more to what the universe can and is offering me. Nothing has to be in perfect place and I vow to let go and live. If I cannot control a situation, it’s not the end of the world…unless it is, of course!
Being bad means that I am leaving myself open to life’s lessons, love (if it’s there and true and in the moment) and to experience it all as much and as soon as possible. Being bad doesn’t mean breaking all the rules but it means that I can try to live and color outside the lines and see what comes my way…
Here’s to being bad. And loving it. And living life.