ENTRY 3: A mile in my shoes.

Dear Diary,

When I was 18, H_art the Band (a popular Kenyan band) released their song Uliza Kiatu (translation: ask my shoe), which was and still is, so catchy we were always singing it every chance we got. The song is about a love story, narrated from the man’s perspective. He makes all sorts of sacrifices such as paying for her taxi only for him to take the train home or eating githeri (a common meal of maize and beans) just so he has enough money to buy her pizza. Although the act of paying for a meal or her fare home seems like the most basic act of chivalry, the song urges us to ‘ask his shoe’ because only he knows the kind of sacrifices made just for him to be able to afford any of it.

A few weeks ago, I tried to take a picture of the sea on my phone, but through the lens of my camera. As you can imagine, I found that I was not able to do so for two reasons: a) The view wasn’t clear , b) The camera itself was blocking a large part of the view. I then tried to take a picture of the exact same view with my phone camera and it was much better. In that moment, I found myself reflecting how this translates into human life experience.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines perspective as a particular way of viewing something. Going by this perspective of life is simply:

One’s view of life or of a given situation in life

It should go without saying that perspective in life is heavily dependant on a combination of your present and past circumstances as well as your current attitude on things. How you view life, or a situation in life will be significantly different from how your friend or even your sibling sees life. Although you and your sibling may come from the same background, you are shaped differently by unique or even similar experiences in life.

Just like with the camera, no one can help you make sense of life; They can only explain it from their point of view. You will never have a full view if you constantly allow others to stand in your way. They can describe what they see, but it can never replace experiencing it for yourself.

Life will not make sense if you try get to your destination through another person’s path. We all have obstacles on our way and we have been adequately prepared, by our past experiences, to overcome these. You will find yourself stuck, if you rely on and allow others to tell you exactly how to get through these. They can guide you, but remember they can only do this from their perspective. The power to get through lies solely within you.

As we grow up, we need to break away from the rules and ways of living that were imposed on us. The directions received from those above us were limited by their perspective. As we break away we begin walking our own path, our vision becomes clearer and we begin to feel alive.

Perspective demands that we be gentle with one another. A situation that may seem like nothing to you could break your neighbour.

What has life taught you about perspective?