I have strived throughout life to identify what lesson I’m on Earth to learn. My mind always wants to skip ahead and know what the point of it all is. Struggle is something we all go through in one form or another. In Buddhism, it is believed that struggle is universal. It is the common thread that holds the human experience together. Without it, we do not advance through maturity and awareness as efficiently.
In my story, struggle has presented itself in a myriad of ways, but it has never weakened my resolve to resilience. I was born to Moses and Mary in March of 1989, in a small hospital at the northeastern border of Kenya in small town named Mandera. My mother worked at this small hospital as a Registered Nurse and she worked right up until the 8th month of her pregnancy. At my birth, there were some complications that made it so my mother and I started having complications. Very quickly, a natural birth was no longer possible and a Cesarean Section was becoming an option. The doctor explained to my mother that there was no Fetal Heart Rate and that it would be pointless to give her a scar to extract what was a “dead baby”. They suggested that my mother allow a “destructive delivery”. This is a procedure involving 4 steps where they (1) Open the skull with large scissors, or a special perforator, and remove the brain (craniotomy). (2) Sever the neck from the body (decapitation), and then deliver them separately. (3) Cut the clavicles (cleidotomy). (4) Open the trunk and remove the the organs from the chest and abdomen (evisceration or embryotomy). My mother told the doctor to bring in the surgeon, because she would want to bury a whole body anyway. When it was clear that she would not be deterred, an emergency Cesarean Section was ordered. By the time the decision was made to begin the operation, I had been without oxygen for quite some time. After a grueling 24hrs, I was finally here. The doctors had all but assured my mother that I would never have a brain function more advanced than a 2 year old. According to my mother, I did not speak a coherent word until I was 3 yrs old. But when I did speak, I spoke 2 languages fluently; Gíkũyũ and Swahili. My mother now likes to joke and say I was just listening.
Even now, as a trans man, struggle continues to be familiar in my human experience. Becoming aware of yourself is the most magical time in one’s life. For trans people, self-awareness is a very different experience. We have to hold on to who we know we are in the face of incredible abuses from the social and political systems. We have to educate ourselves on how to best stow ourselves away until it is safe to actualize who we are. For me, self-awareness came with incredible violence from my community. But the struggle is not what defines me, the resilience is not it either. It just all happens to be part of my story. The question I must answer is, what do I want my story to be about. I have chosen to be a collection of resilience, openness, self-awareness, honesty, success, happiness, and self-fulfillment. But more than anything, I want my story to be about unconditional love. Love of myself, of others, and hopefully I can inspire others to love just the same.