To say that I was stubborn, that would only make sense now, but from their perspective I was just a boy falling out of tune, a boy that was yet to discover his own rhythm. Skipper! A name given to someone who has no clue about his very own life was a punishment to start with. Everywhere I found myself, it appeared as if the mantle was on my head. What mantle? Perhaps one would care to know – the leadership mantle. To think that I have my own peculiarity that mother earth would care to behold, that never even crossed my mind. The crowd was to set the tone for me, friends were to set the program for the day, family still was to define my path. Such life was just but crispy and delicious to the body, it never bothered a bit. Whatever came my way, I rolled with it. That a life of partying and drinking would be garbage today, it could only sound like a fairytale then.

Growing up in the suburbs of Zomba, a district in Malawi to be precise, one would care less about the company of their children simply because of the reputation the town had for itself as a somewhat sober town where most of the youths busied themselves with their education. To think like that is like putting ice in the oven thinking that it’ll become more solid. The town really had its own side of the story where negative influences were everywhere.

“Brian, what are you doing here?”

What! I thought I had my whole life figured out! As I gave a firm look of someone eager to know, the next thing I heard was, “You don’t belong here, you’ll get spoilt.”

The voice, that I never had an explanation re-echoed in my mind in pursuit of meaning. Perhaps you would wonder why I never asked for an explanation. Perhaps I was foolish, that would make sense now. I could do nothing but wave at them and escort them with a fake smile as they smiled back at a distance. This happened at a time when I stood on the sides of a basketball court cheering friends on the pitch.

Travelling far away distances from home, my life was much spent on school. Away from home, a place where one would be nurtured and guided by loved ones, that served as an opportunity to do whatever I wanted with my life without anyone telling me this and that. But to really think that I would live my life whichever way I wanted was like throwing an egg in the air thinking that it would not break as it fell to the ground. “Well, I am chained to follow life anyhow,” I would whisper to myself. ‘Impossible!’ Would be the very word that would suit the very thoughts I were having.

No sooner did it get to a point that the joy I derived from living anyhow was no more. The voice grew louder. Telling my life, “you don’t belong here.”

It now became a Herculean task to drink, talk less of partying. Those friends I allowed to set the pace for my life became a problem. At this point, everything seemed clear, the honeymoon was over, it was the moment of decision, choose peace or roll with hell. The friends I thought they were, the things I thought gave me joy, it became clear to me that they were an obstruction to who I really was.

“Aha!” Now I understand what that man meant when he said, “you don’t belong here, you’ll get spoilt.” A true statement of telling me, “Brian, this is not your life.”

We all have our own ordained path to follow, a path that will lead us to success and to tell a story at some point, I finally convinced myself. It was from then on I realised that I was foolish, life taught me wisdom, my past made me wiser, I have a story to tell.

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