Today I look back at the many times I have failed. Is there any more hope for life?
I have tried so many things in life. Am not sure it is more than the ordinary human. However, I am certain it is enough to get me here. My first real loss occurred in class 6. At the beginning of this year I had to make a tough choice between joining the ever vibrant 4K club that would offer me so many opportunities. Among them meeting wazungus. Learning so much about organic farming and income generation. With a strand of hope that I would get the chance of visiting their country. The other option was to join the Music club. A new club with no assured hope or success. The only thing I was assured of was my zeal and desire for arts. I believed I was born to be an artist. But I had never had a chance outside the church plays I did in Sunday School before I turned ten.
I took the chance on my passion and allowed the many opportunities to pass me by. There were so many that the number of time I regretted my decision till I finished my exams almost equal the marks I got. Marks that earned me a position in among the best schools in the republic. An opportunity I also lost.
A poem The Parking Boy was to be performed at the music festivals. I was among the two favourite candidates to represent our school. It would be the first time we were participating. To ensure the efforts to rehearse and polish up never died, the individual was to be chosen the night before the performance. Among the things I have given my all to, this one appears in the top five. The events of one Wednesday evening are very vivid in my mind. Outside Eight North, next to the dilapidated weather station, Mr. Felix picked a chair and asked us to present to him. Food had barely settled in the stomach and therefore no sufficient room for butterflies.
I gave my best and faced and endured loss. The courage to present this work of art in front of almost 100 students vanished into the air. I had to face them knowing I did not win. No one had taught me to face life with boldness after loss. From this day I feared trying out many things. Especially that would have a massive audience. After this encounter I was never on the front line in the club.
Another Try , Failing Further.
I would then try my luck again in high school. Here no one knew me. It was more than 400 kilometers from the other institution. I gave my all. The possibility of loss very real. My class 6 scenario was repeated in my first attempt. The night before the festival, minutes after 12 AM being the last contestant, I presented A Young Tree by Stella Ngatho.
A vibrant Mr. Irungu would now begin coaching me for the following day’s performance. Finally I had made it through. I went on to win the subsequent competition. At a cost. Anywhere we met, Mr. Irungu expected me to recite the poem with correction prom the last encounter. More than that I was to visit the basketball court every day. Being the coach he wanted to see me and other performers as he coached the team. I had to get the courage to perform anywhere for any audience. I did exemplary well until being number three meant I was not going to the national music festival. I remember that Friday afternoon receiving my certificate. I couldnt help it but sob. It was now sinking in that I was not going to the nationals. Though I had a certificate of performance excellence. One no one told us how to use when we got into the real world.
I would try my luck for the next three years with my own composition poems. None of them would go beyond the provincial level. It felt as if I was born never to taste the icing on the cake. Beyond my efforts I coached others. Some who went through to experience the coveted experience. The pains of seeing your students do better than you in a test, can never be explained.
By the time I was getting to campus I had mastered the art of failing just before you get to the top. Though the competition was not as layered, the competition at the top was higher and tighter. I would make my appearance with five items; two individual and three group performances. Winning one as the best performer, two in second position, one in third and another in sixth.
My quest in the performing arts arena has taught me so much. Some very painful. I had to wait for almost ten years to enjoy the icing. Today, above many other things, I am a photographer. It also has its pains and loss points. However, I still keep on. A click at a time, a moment immortalized. One thing I am sure, I will fail again. But I have to keep trying.
At times, losing at the top can be more painful than at the bottom. But above all, it is always a matter of time.