What Is It Like In Their Shoes

My friends are better than me. Not that I’m complaining or anything. I’m just saying, If indeed we somehow were the average sum of the five people we spend most of our time with, I wouldn’t be this person I am right now. At the very least, I’d be this multi-talented big shot entrepreneur loved and adored for all the things I create. But oh well!

I wouldn’t trade them for anything though. I swear. They’re like amazing, and so much more. They’ve all got the  kind of confidence that would have me line up for days if it were possible to have it bottled up and sold to me. I have friends running these successful businesses that are already profitable, writers who’ve achieved the dream; being published and currently working on new ideas, young driven professionals who are already stars in their fields, beautiful selfless souls doing great things in their community, just generally good people who know what they’re doing, where they’re going and are heading towards that at a relentless pace. And I can’t be anything less than happy and supportive of them.

My friends are just something else you know. They make up for all the places I lack. I don’t like to admit this but… that bugs me at times. Being around all these overachievers, I can’t help but feel that all  I do will always be overshadowed by their achievements. They’ve put the bar so high that I’ll always fall short of being good enough. That makes me mad. Not at them though, that would make me a terrible human being, but at myself. Especially because they consult me for everything. It’s like somehow I’ve got all the answers to the universe but they don’t apply to myself. Like why could I not just be better, you know.

There’s like a million things I haven’t done but I’m also somehow running out of time. There’s something self destructive in me that doesn’t want me reaching for greatness I suppose, hence the endless wait, procrastination and at times self loathing. That’s something my friends wouldn’t think about. They don’t seem to hesitate or have any kind of restraint, they jump into something and somehow the universe always conspires in their favour. I would give anything to be that I swear. And that makes me so hard on myself.

Sometimes though, I think I’m too hard on myself. Isn’t the point of life to just find your most authentic self and be a gift to the world. Like without comparing yourself to anyone. The last time I checked it wasn’t exactly a competition that makes you entitled to being better than everyone else but just grow into someone a little better than who you were the day before. Isn’t the reason why we feel we’re not good enough because we deem ourselves unworthy of the things we think we deserve.

Self-love is so underrated you know. We somehow went through all these years of schooling and no one thought of touching on the most important part; no matter how great you’re doing, or amazing the people that surround you. If the source of love and admiration doesn’t start from within, it’s all a jungle out there. I’m reminded of a quote; everybody wants to be somebody but nobody wants to be themselves.

I think life starts once we step into the realization that even though we might all be in the same ginormous stadium, we’re all here to run our different races. Some of us in different games. I keep coming back to that Einstein quote, everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it’ll live its whole life thinking it’s stupid. I’m the fish in this story, deeming my self-worth through the metrics of other people. My goal has always been to be a smart decent kind and supportive human being and I think I’m slaying at that to be honest.

Ultimately it doesn’t really matter who’s better than who you know. I can assure you that that’s a sure way to be miserable. Perhaps the only way to know where you’re at right now is by taking yourself from the crowd altogether and reflect on how far you’ve come. Spoiler alert; it’s pretty damn far. So yeah, break free from your mental shackles and stick to your path without a care in the world of what the rest are doing. Stick to your timeline even when you feel you’re falling behind or running late. That’s true freedom. Doing your own thing.


be yourself, better, competition, decent, einstein, freedom, gift to the world, good enough, hard on myself, inspiration, Life, mental health, mental shackles, running out of time, self destructive, self love, self worth, shoes, supportive

Hassan Kassim

Hassan Kassim is a Mombasa-based Creative non-fiction writer, recently longlisted for the Toyin Falola prize, blogger and translator of Kiswahili work. A beneficiary of the Penpen program by African Writers Development Trust(AWDT) commissioned by Culture at Work Africa and the European Union(E.U), and holds his Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Management. Hassan writes about the ill-documented Communities of Coastal Kenya. His work has appeared in Writers Space Africa; his 2 non-fiction stories published in the anthology 'Twaweza,' a collaborative effort of 12 African writers on the African identity and set to appear in the forthcoming anthology for the Toyin Falola prize.

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Hassan Kassim is a Kenyan-based Creative non-fiction writer, blogger and translator of Kiswahili works with over 2 years of experience. A beneficiary of the Penpen program by African Writers Development Trust(AWDT) commissioned by Culture at Work Africa, and holds his Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Management.


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