There was an owl hooting that night. And I hated hearing an owl hoot. I was convinced someone I love is going to die if the owl hoots too close home. But I wasn’t home.
The wind was whistling, the pines amplifying the noise and the shadows. Those pines were also home to some gigantic horned chameleons that made my skin crawl. It was one of those moonless nights, spooky as a flying angel on Halloween. The previous week, someone had said they saw a ghost outside when they went to take a leak.
My stomach rumbled for the 7th Hundrenth time. I tossed again, trying to calm my bowels down. The urge to go was so strong that my cheeks got hot. The toilets were about 200 meters from the dormitory. For a class five pupil, that distance felt like the valley of the shadow of death.
My bowel muscles felt like they have been running a marathon uphill in summer. They were giving in. And there’s no way I was going to soil my pink bedsheets and sleep on the mess until morning. My school was on the slopes of Mount Kenya, it got colder than a penguin’s soles. I needed my bed warm.
When I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I jumped out of bed and squatted on the floor. Oh, the relief! That must be how mothers feel when the baby finally pops out and the labour pain ends. But I have cervical dystocia, I don’t get labour pains so I will never know.
I slid back to bed and waited for the morning, where I would act as surprised and disgusted as everyone else.
I have been ashamed of that incident for 23 years! I never shared it with anyone until a couple of months ago when I told my husband. Even when the four of us who were on those adjacent beds were pulled from class later that morning and questioned, I did not confess.
I think I owe them an apology, I’m sorry guys. It was me :D.
Why have I been ashamed of something that happened when was in class five? I was scared shitless (Oh, the pun!), I had just enrolled in boarding school and missed my mother terribly. And there was also an owl and horned chameleons outside! Anybody can understand that, can’t you guys? No?
Thinking about that incidence and the shame it brought me whenever I thought about it has had me thinking about other instances that have secretly silenced me in shame. Things that are non-issues really but my head has convinced me that others remember and they are guffawing while pointing fingers at me.
One time, back in campus, when I was an overzealous bible reader, I came across a verse that had the name of one of my friends. It said, “I’ll never leave you (insert the name)”. I quoted it to a group of friends, the name owner included and the giggles and stares seemed to deduce that I was probably smitten and was now covertly confessing my undying love. I still hide my face from myself when I remember that, and the innocent with which I was quoting that verse.
People will do outrageous things when they are scared, frustrated or when they’re in life-preservation mode. This does not apply to people who hurt other people just because they can. Narcissists, to the left, please. Your blog post is coming up shortly.
These may seem like small matters, but can you imagine someone who lives with this huge secret or shame because of a blunder they made at some point in their life? Or something that was perhaps taken out of context and they can’t take it back?
Guilt and shame are terrible paralyses that can keep you on an invisible wheelchair for a long time. sometimes, no one else knows just how deeply ashamed you are but yourself. What you may not know is we are all hiding a wart somewhere under these designer clothes and ridiculously expensive wigs.
Some warts may be more serious than others, but we all have them. You do not have to write a public apology in font 12, Arial Black and pin it on every poster in your hood. But if it keeps you from doing some things or it’s giving you ulcers, let it out. You can do that in your bedroom on your knees to God.
You can talk to someone about it if you are up to it and you don’t risk jail time. If it’s an issue that might get the boys in blue at your door, you need to think about it harder and maybe get a lawyer, that’s above my paygrade.
James 3: 2 says “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.”
But who is that man who never at fault? There isn’t one. Separate yourself from your mistakes, once you have learnt the lesson. You do not have to spend too much time on a mistake because you spent a lot of time making it.
Life comes with its own fair share of bloopers. Even the most awesome of movies have their bloopers. How do you react to the bloopers at the end of a film? You laugh at the flops and the silliness of the characters, who seemed perfect in the film.
In the same way, learn to laugh at your life bloops and keep your head held high. That thing that causes you shame and guilt is most likely forgotten in most people’s minds. And even if it’s not, it should not be a ball and chain on your foot.
Set your heart straight with God and with the people that matter. You are the equestrian in this horse called life. Hold the reigns and create the cadence you need for this race.
The stench may have been erased from the foot of the bed in the class five dormitory but if it still stinks in your brain, it’s time to do some ‘brainwash’.