Please, let me grow my potbelly in peace

Do people know how expensive a gym is for a broke journalist?

In my younger years, I was a lanky lad, wore this creepy smile that kids dreaded, and repelled women. Now, I’m filling up pretty fast, and my potbelly has announced itself in a big way.

Lately, when I meet someone who hasn’t seen me in a while, their first reaction would be to gawk at my tummy, which looks like that of a pregnant woman! They will say stupid things about my belly, warning me of life-threatening diseases if I don’t hit the gym.

Do people know how expensive a gym is for a broke journalist? There is diabetes in the family, and you may think that I will be scared. I am the least worried about my ballooning body. It is perfectly natural; as a man ages, he develops a potbelly. As we get older, we lead more sedentary lifestyles.

Many have said that being tall and potbellied is disastrous, and as ugly as a Kenyan politician’s brain. But so what? Just mind your business buddy. Even the missus has offered to pay for the gym, maybe she is communicating something, but I want everyone to leave me alone.

I’m the laziest human being alive. I have never played any physical sport (something to do with upbringing and bullying) and can’t withstand any physically intense activity. I was pressured by the family to join the military as a cadet. But I’m a conscientious objector, not only because of the killing, but also I’m opposed to the whole concept of policing and military. Besides, I hate taking orders from anyone, including myself. But the bigger reason was that I couldn’t withstand the intense training.

I tried playing rugby in high school, but I realised it was a ridiculous sport and proof that the human brain can conceive some really atrociously stupid things like rugby. I have tried cycling at Hell’s Gate, but this young girl out-cycled me and when I tried to overtake her, I had a bad fall. When in the US, a friend took me to cycle around this beautiful water reservoir, Loch Raven.

It was a small hill, but I barely did 30 metres before I saw my world tumbling down. I nearly fainted and felt like someone had set my lungs on fire. My friend nearly called for a chopper ambulance to pick me when he found me laying by the roadside, gasping for air.

I long accepted who I am. Everyone should and stop trying to be who they cannot be. From the time I was a child, I was nicknamed a wuss. I never took offence, because that is who I am.

I think people try too hard to be who they can’t be. Don’t take loans or steal to sustain a lifestyle beyond your means. Women should stop this too much make-up business to mask their insecurity. We strive to be smarter than we really are. Kenya has become such a fake country.

All these glittering malls, fancy foreign fast food joints and the unhealthy lifestyle we have adopted are based on our bottomless capacity for pretence. Foreigners know it. In fact, a significant portion of our budget is mostly loans so that we can buy our police Chevrolet, Peugeot and Ford cars, besides funding projects like the SGR and fancy roads, and ignore our doctors and teachers who are rightfully clamouring for what they deserve.

Kenya is a country that is run entirely on BS. BS is what fuels our economy and schoolboy showmanship. Sometimes, I wish I was born in Kazakhstan when I see our president or deputy doing some things that are so ill-timed, so insensitive, you wonder who they have for advisers. I mean, I’m younger, probably stupid, but I can suggest a better way to run a government.

We can’t be ourselves. The reason everyone wants to change me. But I long accepted who I am, and what my fate is. I will grow bigger as long as I have my ravenous appetite - and roasted goat ribs and fries taste decadently delectable. I will live with the consequences.

You go on pretending. Let me balloon. The world will be a beautiful place if we all looked at ourselves in the mirror and accepted who we are.

@nyanchwani

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