I remember being taught Set theory in one of my mathematics classes, and even though math was not my favourite subject, I found Set theory pretty easy.
I can still remember my math teacher, Mr. Owoo explaining to us the principles of the Set theory. He said that because a category is male and 6 foot tall, they must fall in ‘this’ category and because another category is female and 5 foot tall, they must fall into ‘that’ category.
Years after that mathematics class, I found out that the class was only preparing me for the world ahead; the world of classification and boxes. I realize now that categorizing things and people based on their characteristics is very much the way of the world, and it is as easy as Set theory was to me.
Categorization is how our world has always worked and when you dare to leave a box by sheer will and determination, when you insist on being divergent, the world finds you another box just so it can define you.
You see, what boxes do to us is to limit us and tell us what we can or cannot do. And just like set theory, the world gives us reasons why we must stay put in that box.
The reasons may be our gender or even our qualification. The world has taught us to refuse and reject opportunities that do not fit into the category we have been put in.
Take my friend, Itema for example, he found it strange that I took up a PR job despite my lawyering skills. I remember telling him that I have earned that qualification and no one can take it from me. However, I’m much more than a lawyer and my qualification is the last thing I would allow to limit me. Yes, I am a lawyer but that’s just what I do, not all I am.
I also disagreed with a dear friend who was of the opinion that a motivational speaker is not qualified to run for the number one seat in the country. He said what the country need is an executor, not a talker, and while I agreed with that simple fact, I disagreed with the box. I wanted to know why such a person can’t be both a talker (job) and an executor, all at the same time and why his job is the definition of who he is.
I’m asking questions, fighting the stereotypes, daring to break into many boxes to become an enigma.
I think we all should.