I love asking questions. I ask a lot of questions. In one of my former work places one of the older employees (who has since died may she rest in peace) got tired of my questions and one day in frustration, raise voice and hands in surrender she told me:
Joyce, you are a walking questionnaire!
As you can imagine, I stopped asking questions unless it was absolutely necessary. Through this experience and many like it, I learnt early on two critical things about my questions:
- There are spaces where you should not ask questions.
- There are people who should not ask questions.
These two realities are a double tragedy because one of those spaces was at home and one of those people was my parents. The second space was school and the people not to be asked questions was teachers. And the third space was work and the people not to be asked questions was virtually everyone from bosses to the gatemen!
As Providence would have it, I gave birth to myself! My children ask alooooooot alooooot of questions. They ask: why? who? when? what? and then? why not? why me? . . . in a loop so it seems. And I absolutely love it! I enjoy answering their questions with questions. I enjoy the places we have discovered in our minds as we weaved conversations around questions. I love to see their eyes pop up and their limbs move in excitements as they dramatise these questions led conversations.
I may not ask as many questions in spaces and with people who I know hate questions, but I have not stopped asking questions with myself. I have lots of question led conversations in my head, in my heart, with my God that have and continue to contribute greatly to the person I am today. One of the realities from my question led convo’s is the realisation that the reason many people do not welcome questions is what @rixpoet aptly calls ‘trauma responses’.
The fury, vitrol and violence with which most adults respond to questions, especially from anyone they deem below them in age, social/education/economic status is staggering. Not asking your elders questions is one of those ‘kenyan cultures’ passsed down to us. However, the more questions I ask 😂😂😂, the more I realise these are ‘trauma responses’. Many adults were indoctrinated with the false belief that to ask an adult, an elder, anyone above you (economically, socially, educationally etc) a question is to disrespect them! Yep
What in the name of confusion, toxicity, lack of selfawareness is that way of thinking called?
We have all been there.
💔Ask you parents a question, an innocent question with your inquisitive mind; get all your questions and inquisitiveness beaten out of you
💔Ask your teacher a question, an innocent question with your inquisitive mind; get ready to cut an entire football field of grass using a razorblade
💔As you boss, your Pastor, your doctor, your fundi (nguo, mbao), your landlord/lady an innocent question with your inquisitive mind; get ready for insults, ostracisation and consequences!
We really need to have a conversation around our traumas and how we project those traumas to ourselves, those we love, our children and in the different spaces that we occupy. If we do not have these conversations, with self and others, we will join the statistics of those who pass down ‘trauma responses’