Expensive life, empty wallet

NEO MATHEKA

I know how it feels to be overshadowed by magazine cover girls. Feeling that even saying your name in an uncool tone won’t get you into hip events. Having nothing to offer but brains isn’t cool anymore. No matter how many times J Cole and Kendrick sing about it, our men are still impressed by the size of bra you wear and how high your miniskirt length can go.

I don’t know if it’s what’s happening of late or if this has been an issue even with our parents. Not being able to afford up to date attire hurts, especially if you’re the kind of person who finds it hard to be content with what you have.

The foundation of the blesser-blessee business isn’t only the love of money. Most people go into that arrangement merely to find someone to cater for a life we were tricked into believing is cool. Our parents advising us to carefully choose friends wasn’t because they didn’t want us to be happy, they only wanted us to have a lifestyle that was aligned with their bank balances. One can’t hang around people who make them feel that there are certain things they lack and remain content.

There’s a difference between having friends that encourage you to better your life and friends that purposely make you feel out of place.

“Friend, spend one night with Tšepo and you’ll never beg us for daily data bundles again”. Tšepo is a married 45-year-old man who always drives the latest models of cars, there’s also a huge possibility that he is sick.

Because you cannot accept yourself, you let your friend lent you her black lace number and tight dress that expose just enough to have Ntate Tšepo swallowing gulps of the poison he can’t wait to inject.

He gives you what your mind tricks you into believing is the best night of your life. The following morning you wake up with an envelope on the bed side lamp of a hotel you only see in movies, your smart kicka phone is vibrating due to messages of your friends wanting to know if their ticket to the next event, (which is you) has been sealed.

Just like that, you blend in with your posy of friends who can’t define what PHOTOSYNTHESIS is even to save their lives.
How long does it take for you to realise that you just been handed a spade to dig your own grave?
Female prisons are filled with a lot of women and girls who did a lot of bad things, one of those things is shoplifting. Have you thought about how embarrassing it would be if you were caught with a pair of sunglasses you slipped into your tearing bra? You could instead decide to walk away with your pride still intact and save up enough money to buy those shades the next time you are in that store.

Well, not all girls think that beautifully. You walk into Mr Price and see a beautiful wallet that Keke was holding last week and because you know your mother is drowning in debts just to put you through school and Thato will not loan you a single penny until you pay her the M50 you asked for to refill your cocktail. You decide to cop the wallet. Walk out like the pretend angel you are and don’t look back. You got lucky this time. The store was packed and somehow the cameras and the security guard missed you.

This becomes a habit, stealing scarfs here and there, the jumpsuit that Bokang loves so much he actually decided to go ask for your number, every time you do it, you don't think that you might get caught. Then the day of reckoning came. The event that's been all over social media is finally here. The streets of Maseru are buzzing, outfits sold out and you know you can't wear that white dress with black heels again, what will your imaginary haters think?

You decide to try your luck one more time and snatch that pair of jeans and t-shirt that have been on your mind since your last heist. You confidently walk into the shop, smile with those you lock eyes with and go about your business. Inquire about shoe sizes you know you're never going to buy just to distract the sweet assistant lady. Just as you prepare yourself to close your 2nd hand probably fake Gucci handbag, there’s a pat on your shoulder. Your heart is racing and a big part of you wishes it's someone you know. You turn around and see a tall slightly light skinned woman in secretary spectacles with a tag that says manager.

Just like that, you get to share the story of how you spend a weekend in a police officer holding cell and no man wants to be seen around with a shoplifter.
We never really think about how far we go to impress temporary people in our lives. The stakes we take just to maintain shallow popularities and stay the talk of the tip top or lisofeng drinking table. We bury ourselves in debts and start avoiding people. With the little manpower allowance you get, you start forgetting all the promises you made back home. Your little sister has been waiting patiently for a new pair of shoes, they have been repaired so many times that they've lost shape. Your mother even knows your new number by heart from all the “please call me” messages she sends that you ignore.

When you finally have time to talk to them, it's a new story every day, either you were robbed or the allowance was delayed and by the time you got it, you used it to pay all the people you owe. Liar.
You and the barman are on first name basis now, conversations don't start before you arrive. You’re suddenly the party girl and you have a boy check list as long as your arm. Because now your social circle is expanding, you’re going to need more dough. It’s true that you don’t pay all the time but the woman you’ve become cannot go out without a few hundreds in her pocket.

So, when Manpower doesn’t cut it, you start frequenting loan sharks, you’re in the mouths of your “friends” because you now owe every one of them. Your mother has lost hope in you fulfilling your word and you’ve started selling your valuables to settle your debts. Because of the name you’ve created for yourself, no one wants to hang out with you anymore and you’re stuck in your room eating morvite for the tenth time today. I bet you’re starting to miss that KFC dunked wing you threw into the trash because it was too cold to be consumed by her highness.

“Know who you are so you can know where you’re going “
We often roll eyes at that statement, but it has led a lot of people in great paths. I’m not saying don’t have fun, but just don’t have fun for the wrong reasons. Don’t impress people who don’t even know what your major in school is or why your little sister was hospitalised last week. Friendships and relationships aren’t expensive. With the right people, you receive more than what you give.

As we grow older, there are also certain things that we need to outgrow. You cannot expect us to sympathise with you for putting yourself in situations you could have avoided had you stayed home.

We live in so much fear of missing out that we put our heads on the plate just to have a few hours of care-free fun.

Think of everything that you have done since you became a young adult. Went to restaurants you thought you needed some sort of a password to go in only to embarrass yourself by ordering things you couldn’t even pronounce just to impress Ntate Tsepo who always ordered steak and chips.

So many times, we blame people for how our lives turn out, talking about “I was led astray,” that’s nonsense. No one holds you at gunpoint and forces you to make those kinds of decisions. You go there willingly because you hate being in the background while girls your age are the talk of the town. So many times, we come across girls who have sad stories to tell about how they took wrong paths that led them to where they are now. Some will tell you how they started slacking in school and ended up failing the school year, was unable to go back to school because they couldn’t afford it and are now stuck doing their friend’s laundry just to be able to have a plate of food that night.

Has your mother ever told you “u tl’o ba sebeletsa bona bakhotsi bana ba hau bao u mathang kamor’a bona hakana!” Then, we only thought she was bitter because she wasn’t as popular as you were in her times. But really think about it, all she was doing was knock some sense into your empty head and now you visit her grave every weekend and beg her to talk to your ancestors to pave better ways for you. I swear we overwork our parents even in their resting days.

Growing up means making mistakes you learn from, meeting people that show you what you need and do not need in friends. Friends are supposed to push you to do and be better, not make you want to kill yourself because they bluntly told you that they are tired of you being broke all the time.

So often we chase a life that we don’t even like, an easy life that gets things going and forget that with every wrong decision you make, you kill a small part of your soul, until there’s nothing left and you’re a walking corpse just because you were driven by your fear of missing out. How sad.

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