I write each of my posts inspired by events that happen in my life which often dictate how I feel and today, I felt like that title.
Not too long ago, I had a conversation with my brother who made a comment about my car, which I have had for a little over 6 years now. I drive a black Toyota Passo and he said that I needed to sell it and get another car. He suggested (if I remember correctly) an older model of a Mercedes.
This was interesting to me for a few reasons; One of them being that this was not in fact the first time he had suggested I get myself another car and the other, was because each time he did, he always suggested a car that reflected ‘class’. He even one time went as far as suggesting that I should get a car fit for a ‘radio presenter’.
In fact the more I think about it, his comments about my car started when I joined Radio Africa. Each time he would ask me about work, he almost always followed it up with ‘what kind of car does Mike Mondo drive?’ and ‘What kind of car does Jalang’o drive?’ Almost always.
At first I brushed it off, thinking maybe it was just his love for cars. I mean he is a guy after all right? But after years of feeling grossly undervalued at work ( I mean, would I really drive a Passo if my pay-grade allowed for a much bigger car?) these comments of his started to make me feel some sort of way.
Now if you know me,… you know that I’ve always tried to be very self-aware and so when I noticed how these comments of his would make me feel, I began to question whether my feelings towards them weren’t in fact just a projection of my own insecurities from feeling undervalued.
Truth is, I remember buying my Passo. I was 24. You see, my dad had passed on when I was 22 and I was single and pregnant at 23 while still living with my mom. I felt like I had failed on so many levels and thought the one thing I would give my kid was the luxury of having a car to make maneuvering to places a lot easier and safer for the both of us.
I was earning 40k back then and saved a solid half of that every month for a year to secure the money I needed to get a loan. This was the same year where I was pregnant, hormonal and was going through all this pretty much alone. Well, to be fair, I was living with my mom still so,…I wasn’t entirely alone.
I got the loan and the car just in time for Alexis’s arrival. (She’s my daughter) and as any single parent will tell you, things got pretty expensive after that. Long story short, I loved my car. It had never been about its size for me or how ‘not extravagant’ it was. It was knowing that my baby and I wouldn’t have to worry about waiting for a jav while it rained (something I had done countless times before) because at least we’d be in the warmth of my car.
Over the years, I prioritized many other things that were important to me but my brother’s comments always left an uncomfortable feeling lingering. I would sometimes even consider taking up his advice.
To him it seemed, that a better car would mean, people treating you better, being able to socialize in more ‘important’ circles and eventually, this would mean more money. Somehow. I mean I don’t know how but somehow.
I started to imagine it to be how everyone else saw me. You know? Like ‘what if they are all secretly thinking how silly it is that she has been in this industry for this long and that’s the car she drives?’, ‘What if people would give me more opportunities if I pulled up in an Audi and not a Passo?’
These thoughts would play on loop and for someone who is already an expert on talking down on herself, they were not helping. Did his comments weigh heavier on me because he is my brother? Was it how the very people I am meant to turn to for help (family) looked at me? Why did I even care? I mean he and I certainly didn’t and still don’t earn the same and I can’t be out here buying cars on a whim cause someone thinks I should right?
That’s literally how it played out in my head. That and thinking about how everyone’s journey is different. That everyone’s version of ‘success’ is different and like it or not, you will never be able to get inside someone’s head to change their perception of life which inevitably schools their perception of you.
The longer I would think about it though, the more I tried to wonder if I had ever made anyone feel this way with my own comments. About the times where to me, it may have felt like ‘friendly advice’ but maybe to whoever it was, it may have come across as a little hurtful.
I wondered too, if my brother would have kept making these comments to me had he thought this way as well.
Truth is, what matters most, is the kind of peace and happiness you can enjoy without material things and after realizing that people often speak without first considering how the other person will feel, I remain a firm believer in the motto ‘if it’s not something you can help the person you are talking to change in the next few minutes,… keep your opinions on their life to yourself’.
So like I said, in this life, F what everyone else thinks. Define success for yourself and work tirelessly to achieve THAT!