Ducks and Doors

by Abaho Katabarwa, ’15

Hi, I’m Abaho. You may see or may not see me around. I’m weird. I was born in Uganda, East Africa, and I’m African through and through, but I lived most of my cognizant life in Atlanta, Georgia. I like to exercise, read books, and listen to music (OMG Abaho you are special and unique at Stanford!) I don’t really have much to say about myself. I was born and sooner or later I will die (barring any bionic body technology that sustains our brains past the degradation of our original bodies) . Therefore Y.O.L.O, L.O.V.E, H.N.I.C, and remember to keep a well laundered sock draw.

Okay I admit it. I am one of those cynical people. Those that see a treasure and question its worth to the point that they overlook its beauty.

The “Stanford down” (I’ll explain what that is.) just added fodder to my cynicism. Prior to enrolling, I was enthralled by the tales of grandeur of the whole place. When I first stepped foot on campus, I remember thinking that I was in some kind of dream. I felt like I could float just a little bit, and everything was covered by some surreal aura. I couldn’t believe that this place existed, and I couldn’t believe that I made it here.

Stanford and I had that honeymoon period. Sometimes we’d just steal stares and knowingly giggle at each other (It was more like the giddy period.). We were so in love. But we all know that that can’t last forever. At some point, we had to see each other for who we were. Stanford saw me for the naive high schooler that I was, and I saw it for the cold place that it could be. I’m referring to what I call the “Stanford down”.

Stanford down n. a soft but roughly textured exterior layer meant to withhold any untamed straying emotion. It also serves to insulate the student from any free blowing winds of freedom.

I know this is such a cliché, and you probably already know what I’m going to refer to, the dreaded Stanford duck. I don’t have much of a problem with the duck really. My qualm lies not with the whole creature but that outer part of our tasty friend. Sans the turbulence beneath, what gets me about our ducky friend is that she can’t seem to show it to anyone else. I hate that. She just holds everything in and pretends like its all dandy and doesn’t eat at her (which I’m sure it does). But it also eats at me because I see what she is doing, and I realize that I have to do the same if I don’t want to turn into the teary blubbering sot.

I don’t want this to be another boo hoo story about how hard freshman year was, but well fuck it is. I’m not one to dwell on hardships, but I’d like to tell her something for the future. Stanford ducky its okay you can tell me anything. I’m going through the same thing too. We’ll cry together. We’ll both look like a horrible mess, and we have to suffer (sorry, enjoy) some vulnerability. In the end, you and I will understand, and we’ll both feel much better. My door is always open and I hope yours will be too.

I, Abaho Katabarwa, was born in Uganda, lived there before moving to Atlanta. Now, I spend my time in college doing whatever catches my fancy. 

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2 thoughts on “Ducks and Doors

  1. esqg says:

    You have to be careful being open with people, but overall it is such a good thing.

    • Abaho says:

      Thanks for the comment. I totally understand what you are saying. The current atmosphere is one where must tread cautiously. I doubt that we will ever be able to be open to everyone, but I’d like to make sure that everyone has a base of people to go to when they need to.

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