Dear 22

Dear Ferrister at 22, 

Normally the follow up to the dear twenties series is done in August on my birthday but I was not in the ‘right headspace’ to share anything. As usual, one little inconvenience threw me off and I was trying to patch up stuff. 

Anyway, the year 2021 has been rather challenging. Way more challenging than 2020. Late last year, around September, I decided to get a dead year – Why? I was frustrated and covid had hit really hard so there were so many pieces that I had to pick up- financially, emotionally, physically all aspects were down. But it was a much needed break. I was crushing and drowning in the stress of my academics but also by other aspects like friendships, money, jobs, volunteering. Did I gather myself up? – No! I do feel better but that doesn’t mean that the world or these issues went to a hault but I am handling much better than I would have. What has the age of 21 / the year of 2021 brought to me? 

  1. Money // jobs 

I had so much enthusiasm and energy to work as I studied but I came to realise that it just doesnt work. Atleast for me. And I have so much respect for people who work and handle the school issues all at the same time. Honestly, we are in a ‘time’ and we are the generation that is being asked for so much from an inexperienced and under achieved older generation. I said what I said. Yes, they have so much ‘wisdom’ but it doesnot entirely apply to the current pressures and trends or the lifestyles that push our decisions. Alot of things are not understood by them but we have such limited options. These options or rather choices seem absurd to them but its all we have and we are working with it. Earlier this week, I told a few people that I cannot tune in to a television programme or twitter space about business entrepreneurs in Uganda who started their business 5+ years ago. Their experiences are out of reach or touch with my current struggles. It seemed rude but the currency then wasn’t as bad as it is today, the standards of living were definitely cheaper than they are today and something that I’d like to point out is that – alot of people were not keen on their standards or protocals or opinions. They didn’t mind about who runs / heads the whole business. That means even a nobody could ‘easily’ break through or an assaulter would take pride in being an activist and no-one would check in on their background or a corrupt official would come forth and pretend to care but also people with good intentions were easily noticed. Just like the ‘white collar’ job saturation, we are having one today in all fields. Be it knitting, art, music etc. And we are having very tough and quite frankly sub ‘standards’ that are making it hard for some people to break through and yet we are making it easy for ‘pretenders’ to get into these industries. This goes for things like being politically correct terms or language, the urge to ‘cancel’ anything that seems not unacceptable ( and it some cases it is ) etc. Anyway, this is collectively creating a ‘perfectionism’ sort of environment indirectly. Each and every thing is demanding so much from us. It wants 101% dedication. Our education demands for the most dedication, same goes for relationships, careers etcetera. And personally, I could not give 50% for education while I still give 101% in this 50% and again 101% in 50% for a job and I need the money and the degree. It is just so hard, I know my limits – and of course alot of you will term it as lazy and that is okay. And frankly it might seem stupid but I have learnt to e thing at a time.

  1. Feminism 

I become a ‘feminist’ early last year and who knew the shift that can come with this ‘label’ and work. It is like being a christian, so many things become your way of life – your thinking, your language, your actions indirectly become one with your beliefs. Honestly it has been a beautiful thing. I have been pushed to read and learn more about so many topics like marxism, sex work, communism and more about feminism too. I also love that it isn’t tied to just one gospel truth. You push forth with your own truth as long as it stands for women’s rights, equality and equity. That also means that you realise afew truths in so many other truths that might not entirely correspond with your beliefs. For example, afew friends of mine were talking about sex work and I learnt that marxist feminsts believed that ( let me quote a friend’s text on this ) 

“Sex trade/sex work according to them ( marxist feminists ) is commodification under partriarchial capitalism and it cannot be reformed to cater to the rights of women.

 Sex here was a Scandinavian country that legalized sex work and thé report showed it failed to protect women and their law ended up only protecting pimps, Johns and traffickers.

 It’s about changing the way women have to make a living. Bettering their living conditions should be what we aim for imo

 Because sex work, legal or not is very dangerous

And when you think about it, comes very close to rape as we define it”

We are all for women making a living, being independent but some points are very valid when it comes to protecting women. Is there more harm to it then we should let it go. 

A rather interesting topic that also came up was ‘body shaming’. Recently, a feminist put out a tweet about ‘ short men ‘ and it caused alot of havoc. Low – key I understood the turmoil why? When body shaming is done to women, alot of things go south. There are loud uproars and we do cross many lines. The issue about the internet is that there is a thin line between bullying and calling out someone. ( extremely thin ) and we as ‘feminists’ have often crossed that line and it is ‘justified’. But when it happens to us from other parties, we often call for kindness and understanding sometimes. It made me realise that are often not right in so many ways and we often have so much hostility towards us cause it is the same way we handle issues. And I am not a ‘kind’ feminist, I am angry cause we have been saying so many things over and over again. It is exhausting to some extent ( a larger extent ). But we are definitely going to deal with the same hostility if we ever come short. 

And lastly on this is ground work. I work with a small group of feminists and we major in helping people with sexual assault victims. One of the services we offer is therapy. And my oh my, I cannot echo on how expensive therapy is by the way. Crowd sourcing is never a gurantee. It can never cover up that expense. Mind you there are 8 standard sessions and if they are not up to pur then we have more. Spending 30.000 ugx to 80.000 ugx that is about 8 dollars to 23 dollars, 7 to 20 pounds per session is not child’s play. And where do these funds come from. Also, we cannot ignore the foreign nature of feminism in Africa – there is culture and religion that are rooted in the structures that play a huge part in how we perceive and in the ideas we have. Thus ground work is tricky. But my most important point here is money. Yes, money. For people starting up ngos, you need money at the start whether it is to buy lunch containers for children, buying a box of pads a month or even educating people and most importantly paying for labour that is you!! Ground work has alot of finances that go in whether it is to map or carry out research which is inevitable in making a community profile, printing out flyers, renting space, registration etc. It is not a walk over. And most of the young ngos led by feminists are pushed to the brink and they have to accept funds from other ‘unwarranted’ sources and they end u dancing to their tunes. But thats what gets their work moving.

  1. Rejections 

2021 has been that solid year where I have shot a million shots to my crushes, mentors, for blog interviews, pitches etcetera and not all have gone well. I am just okay with it. It stings by the way, not having what you want. But life moves on. 

  1. Sex 

‘Lord knows that I have had beautiful sex’

This topic isn’t as easy to navigate as I thought. Cause low – key I end of bruising and judging afew people as I pass on my own truths. And ‘Lord knows that I carry my own guilt’. ( it will make sense in the next paragraph or rather sub topic ). From realising that I have a type of men that I like to fuck to realising that sex has mild emotions that actually make up the whole sensual and tensity build up. Weirdly, I talked about this in 2020 but at the time I was struggling with feelings that I had for someone but sex was involved. Sex is a whole other component. I have realised that I love it and I want to feel pleasure and to please other people for my own satisfaction. It feels good. But I realised that even for a sneaky link to be successful, there has to be mild emotions involved. Sex with that firy spark is hot as fuck and amazing. And at this point in time, I am looking for sexual experiences that when I have flash backs about then I feel that tingle and firy feeling. It is top tier! 😂😂…. Anyway, having sex at 22 also made me realise that I get to choose who I want to have sex with, I get to ask them if they want to have sex with me, I get to have toys or sexy undies and it is not weird to own them, also if its one thing that I have learnt is that if I know that I’ll later regret it then at least I’d rather feel guilty while smiling cause it was fucking great. 

  1. God 

If you feel like I have committed blasphemy for putting feminism and sex before talking about God, show yourself out. Alot of people have called me a devil worshipper just because I am a feminist and I am not a virgin. Love your neighbour as you love yourself. I love God and in this year 2021, I’d like to say that I am a strong believer in God, I have learnt to let him take charge while I do the work. My faith has grown so much in 2021 and I am grateful. But the sub topic here is sex / fornicating ( since I am not married ) and God. Earlier today, I talked to a friend about sex and God. And honestly, I have met many people who are cohabiting, having sex and all and they love God. I want to highlight that we donot feel good about it. BUT HERE WE ARE! We are not comfortable nor are we happy. Yes, I said it under the same breath as the ‘sex is great’ thing. We carry guilt for not being pure and not moving by His Word. And yes, as christians we have a way of deconstructing God’s word to fit our bodily demands and to play it up as excuses. 

It is funny how I have not got the right words for this. But I know that alot of youths are going through this including me and I don’t have the perfect words for it nor any advice. And I did not want to highlight it as a struggle nor as a demon related issue like how some christians term it, it is a conflict that I am so scared to pray about or to ask God for forgiveness.

  1. Writing 

I love writing and I have evolved with my writing ( my english is still lacking but 😂😂 ). There have been afew lows and highs which I appreciate. Afew topics have gotten harder. I started off as an innocent writer that wanted to blow off some steam and dumb my emotions. But it is taling a wild turn and I like it. I am more kind with my words, I have learnt ( still learning ) how to tune my emotions and formulate statements that bring out how I feel. I take more time thinking through what I’ll present to the readers. Yes, I write for me but it is much better when people follow,  keep up…. For them to feel what I feel. So, it is great. I love it here. 

To greater times, I hope the age of 22  is better like all better. I am tired of suffering. 

Cheers, merry Christmas and a happy new year! 

M. Ferrister 

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