Are you okay?


I had a conversation with a friend today. That conversation is the inspiration behind today’s blog post. Also, it might be pretty short. I am not sure that it’ll be sweet though, let’s leave that to Sauti Sol to do. So said friend and I have been pals for a minute now. We don’t meet up a lot because growing up, as you might have realized by now, is really the biggest scam after packed crisps. We have stopped blaming each other also. We don’t go about saying those cliché things of ‘ati you’ve become too busy’ ama sijui ‘you don’t care enough because we haven’t hooked up in a year’. No, we understand that, grown ups can plan a meet up for a whole two years and never get around to actually meeting.

So we use the next best thing because we don’t live in the medieval times when people had to write letters in ink on parchments. There are phones, mobile ones even, that one can use anywhere. For clarity, anywhere means everywhere not excluding the loo. Is it Mambo Mbotela who used to say that sijui nini ‘ni nusu ya kuonana?’ I don’t know but yes, we go by that mantra and you can judge us all you want but you know you do the same half the time.

Friend isn’t married. In betwixt the conversation, we ended up talking about marriage and her prospects of it. She said she wasn’t too keen on it. I asked why. She said that she wanted to take a bit more time because, granted, the case studies around aren’t as encouraging-she has a point, even though her findings might be informed by the wrong sample population. Nonetheless, I said that it is fine for her to take her time because in my view, no one should rush into the institution. The good book insists that anyone seeking to get married should do so after careful consideration. So we agreed that she should bid her time.

But then something else occurred to us. We noted that we live in a society that is full of distraught people. Friend said that people aren’t okay, they aren’t really what they seem and I agreed. I mean, forget the flashy automobiles paraded on our roads. Forget the high number of middle class under 40s living in high-rises and earning crazy amounts of money from lucrative jobs. Forget what you see in the clubs on Fridays and Saturdays as people party and drink themselves to skunk levels. Forget the churches packed to the brim with congregants every Sunday. Forget all that, people out here are very sick!

It is allover! People purportedly in love one minute and slaughtering each other at the slightest provocation the next minute. There are those hiring hit men to eliminate their spouses for financial gain. Then there are those who murder their own kids and feast on them while singing lullabies. Many others end up taking their own lives. People aren’t really okay. We are living in a society where people looks great on the outside but in the inside, they are very troubled humans.

But even with this, friend and I noted that people are still very eagerly jumping onto the ‘let’s get married’ bandwagon. So, we could easily have a serial killer and a narcissistic person walking down the isle to take the ‘for better or for worse’ vows. Yet we wonder why our society is in such turmoil. Even worse, these disturbed people are getting into convenient relationships and procreating. So, we have emotional depraved people bringing small humans into the world and then we wonder how we have teenagers who don’t know whether they are male or female. But we still won’t talk about it, at least not loudly enough, in my view.

We won’t normalize the mental health conversation. If y’all hear that I am seeing a shrink then you’ll start saying that I am a nutcase. But really, if most of us saw shrinks, they wouldn’t let us leave. Most of us are sick and we don’t even know. So friend and I agreed that emotional wellbeing needed to be prioritized. We also agreed that it might be necessary for us to introduce the ‘shrink certificate’- that before you date or marry anyone, they at least need to see a shrink to be certified sane. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the bare minimum. Some people need to see a shrink and then schedule an appointment with an exorcist-some people are fighting very dark pasts and demons.

Bottom line, people are not okay out here. Are you okay?

  1. The real conversations need to be held. Apart from that…your writing skills are ever lovely…Am I, we okay…good question…

  2. I really conquer with you. Out here people are not okay. Nowadays even when you are walking on the street you just have to be careful not to bump into someone because before you say sorry they’d have burst on you. Fuming with alot of anger. Sieve every word while talking because a simple innocent statement can cause an uproar.
    That is really timely 👌.

  3. For real people are not okay…Had a conversation sometime back with one of my niece, that’s why i knew you should always check on your friends.

  4. Very pertinent discourse over here.You just had the right words to call it out. A most underrated yet very crucial conversation. We easily get away with the ‘am okay’ phrase when deep down we are tumbling down. IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY.

  5. This is so accurate especially at this moment, I’m in Uni in a nearby country and wueh everything is taking a toll on me school, finances, spirituality, family,social life to sum it up I don’t think I’m okay . I always wanted to grow up but I don’t think this is what I envisioned when I was thinking about adulting. Alafu mental health is not really a thing in African homes every thing is just black and white nothing in btwn that begs the question if you can’t talk to your family who do you talk to . Ps shrinks are fricking expensive.

    1. Hey Ann, thank you for reading. Adulting is a whole new level of crazy and yes, mental health is not a thing in our African homes but we can start the conversation. I guess we have to find someone to talk to, even if it’s not family. P.S. Yes shrinks are freaking expensive but mental breakdowns are worse and more expensive.

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