Of Breaking Points and tears.

Hello, Family! It’s been a while and my face is clouded with shame as I write this. I should have kept in touch, but then again, here I am!

So much time has gone by, I bet most of you have fallen in and out of love, got babies, got married and aced in exams. All that in no particular order. I, on the other hand, thought was falling in love at some point, but I guess I hit my head during the fall so now I’m back to my senses. Talking of love, it’s Pride Month and people are coming out of the closet. I think it’s a good thing because love cannot be dictated. In that spirit of being open and coming clean, I’m going to let you into the darkest chambers of my heart and mind. But mostly, my mind, since I tell myself that my heart is not that dark.

Strong is not one of the first words you would choose when describing me. Scared. Shy, maybe. I think shy is most appropriate. There is a boy in my class who once walked up to me and said,

“Shy girl, why are you always in a rush? Why are you shy? “

My first thought was to say, because that’s what Shy girls do but the good girl in me did not allow that. So, I ended up mumbling something like, people make me anxious and he bought it. What I didn’t tell him was that I’m also always hungry after every class and food is something I really prioritize. He still calls me Shy girl and I smile.

You could also choose to say that I’m strong and I will flash you one of my very honest smiles and totally agree with you, but let me not get ahead of myself.

Earlier today , I went to see my eye doctor or ophthalmologist, if you are feeling fancy. It was one month after the previous visit as prescribed. I am so tired of all these visits, but I just go, because I need to be there. I remember immediately after the previous visit, I kept on telling my mother I was not going back. I didn’t want to go back, but there I was, sitted across a doctor scribbling things on my now huge file. I think my file is the one which is most written on.

Everytime before I get to the doctor, I have to do the visual acuity first. Every patient has to. This is one of the procedures that I loath with everything in me. And that says quite a lot. You go in and close one eye and then you have to use the remaining eye to read some letters plastered on the wall. Now, this seems so easy, I mean, who can’t read? Let me surprise you, it’s ME! I can’t read without my glasses, especially if the letters are really small. My left eye is also the biggest bummer of all. It is weaker than the right, so I mostly depend on the my right one. I guess you can call me Forest Whitaker.πŸ˜‚

When my turn came to do the test, I took off my glasses, closed one eye and started reading whatever letters I could see, which were mostly the large ones. I did the same thing with the other eye and just staying when I thought it was over, the man in charge asked me to put on my glasses and read again. Now, this seems like it would have been easier, because I had on an extra pair of lenses, but it was not. My eyes were still adjusting and as a result, I couldn’t read anything. It’s embarrassing and annoying at the same time, but what was even more annoying is the fact that the guy looked at me and said in the most condescending tone ever,

You cannot read! In fact, you cannot see!

I wanted to say, ‘Don’t you think I already know that? I have known that for an eternity. Everyone does. ‘ but I didn’t. The man thought he was giving me news, but that was news too old to even think about. The whole episode took me back to when I was eleven years old. I was out playing with my friends and at that age, it had not yet occurred to us that ‘boys are bad’, so we were just playing together. And then out of the blues, one boy just looked at me and said,

“There’s no difference between you and a blind man. “

Up until that point, I had never quite understood the statement Niliskia uchungu kwa moyo. That is the only time I have ever really felt pain in my heart and it’s nine years later and I still do when I think about it. So, being told I can’t see is not news and I still hate having to go through visual acuity. πŸ˜…

One of my favorite essays to write about in school was The Eye. This was my strong point. I knew my way around corneas and cataracts before any of my friend could even think about it. And so, I enjoyed writing about it. This was practically my life. I always hoped that the compulsory essay would be based on the eye, but we can’t always get what we want. πŸ˜… So, as I was sitted there listening to the doctor go on and on about eyedrops, the only thing on my mind was, Can you please get over and done with already? I have been through this enough times already. I could have said it out aloud, but it would have been rude. After all, she did not go to Medicine School for all those years to be disrespected like that, so I just sat there like the good girl that I am. Waiting to leave.

Despite all this, there are some visits that are very nice. Once, I came across this fun doctor. He was a good listener, (I guess all doctors are. πŸ˜‚) young and very tall. Yes, just tall. I’m sorry if you expected me to go on and add the D and H. He was just tall. All through the consultation, I was thinking, why is he slurring his words like that? And then out of nowhere he says,

“You are a very beautiful girl, but you’re going to lose your sight. “

I sat there thinking to myself, he thinks I’m beautiful. He thinks I’m beautiful. But then I’m immediately hit with the reality that I might also be going blind, so I just sit there and smile, because if I didn’t smile, the lump that was in my chest would have melted and drowned the both of us.

If you’re still reading this, then probably you’re wondering where all this is headed? What is she going on and on about? Well, I guess it was about time. I have spent many days smiling and acting strong. You know, putting on that I’m strong, I have gone through this before and I can do it look. Truth is, I’m not that strong. There are so many nights that I cry myself to sleep. Everyone has a breaking point and some days, I break down so fast that I surprise myself. One time in Form 1, a teacher came into our class during prep, looked around and pointed me out saying I was sleeping. I was not! Predictably, everyone in the class burst out laughing. I didn’t laugh and neither did I try to explain to him that those were just my eyes and that in fact I had never slept during preps. I waited until the bell rang and rushed off to my bed where I cried myself to sleep. Until today, I have never known why I cried that night. My classmates just laughed because when in highschool you laugh at everything, even the most nonsensical ones, so I never held that against them. I love you guys by the way, you were there looking at my ugly face when I laughed and cried at the same time. πŸ˜…

I have said so many sad things that perhaps right now you are feeling sorry for me. Please, don’t. A very close friend of mine, Sam and I joke about me having eyes that suck at being eyes. He is a poet, so sometimes he invites me to his shows, and I tell him, “That show is at night, and I have eyes that suck at being eyes, so… ” And that is how we go through all this. Finding the humor in it. I hope you will too.

Apart from all the ranting, I am also thinking of a new nickname. Mrasta or Macho Nne thanks to all those catcallers. πŸ˜‚ Ras Macho Nne would be perfect, don’t you think?

Have a great weekend, friends.

Advertisements

Freshman

I stood still under the shower and let the water flow smoothly down my body. The shower head had small, green suspicious looking plants growing out if it but it did not matter, I really had to take that shower. I watched as the water flowed down my body, then onto the floor and slowly acquired the colour of the bathroom floor, a very annoying shade of brown. The walls of the bathroom were also a dark shade of brown and it was crystal clear that the room I had just moved in had either been vacant for a very wrong time, or the previous tenant did not care for their welfare.

Earlier that day, I had woken up a very ecstatic person. I was going to university. University! An entirely different world, from what I was used. A world where no one cared what you did with your life, to quote exactly what my highschool teachers told me every time they had a chance.

I looked through all the new items that I now owned and I really felt good. It was such an exciting feeling to know that I now had my own sufurias, cups and I was even going to have my own bed in my own room. This meant that I had to grow up and be responsible and frankly speaking, growing up is something that scares the hell out of me.

“You are going to be alone. Your parents will not be there and you must learn how to take responsibility. ”

I could hear my highschool principal’s voice ringing through my mind and that gave me even more jitters.

I pushed all the thoughts aside and prepared myself for the start of a new chapter in my life and within no time I was done and hit the road to school. All through the journey, all I could think of was what I was going to meet in campus. I was going to a new town, meaning I would have to get lost a couple of times before I could finally master my way around. What would the other students be like? What would they think of me? Those were some of the questions that I asked myself.

I was shocked beyond words when I arrived at the University compound. The school was supposed to have a digital method of admitting new students, but the long queues that I met told a different story. The queues were snaking across the compound and I was sure I was never going to make it on that day, but nevertheless, I still queued along with everyone else.

Seeing that I was going to be there for a very long time, I decided to use that time and study my fellow students. I do that a lot, by the way. There were the overly confident ones, whim at first I thought were in their second years in the school, only for me to realize later that they were freshmen, just like me. And then there were the shy, timid ones like me, Who at least made me feel better about myself. Everyone also seemed to be taking juice in some expensive looking cups, which I later found out was not expensive. I wondered what all those people thought of my short hair. At that time I had not realized that no one really cared about how I looked.

After standing in line, for quite some time, I threw in the towel and decided to go and see the house that was going to be my home for the next four years. I was never going to make it in time even if I continued to stand in line, so I decided to do it very early the next day.

I moved into the house that I was supposed to share with my best friend, but she was not yet there, so I had it all to myself on that night. It also meant I had to do all the cleaning on my own before she came. While arranging my items, I realized that my mattress was smaller than my bed. It was not a big deal, after all, I was the only person who was going to sleep there, or was I?

After settling in, I decided to take a quick shower before sleeping. As the cold water washed away my sweat and fatigue, I thought of all the dreams and aspirations I had. I wanted to come top of my class, get a First Class honors and make my mother proud. I also had the dream of sharpening my skills in drawing and maybe even earn some money from it. I hoped that life would be gentle on me and that everything would go just like I had pictured. Only time would tell.

Photo credit : Google

The ‘F’ Word

It is three o’clock in the morning and you are still awake. Strange. Strange because you are a very sleepy girl, one who can sleep just about anywhere, and in the long twenty one years of your life, your bed has never been this stiff. Maybe it is just because you came from the salon earlier on in the day and the hairdresser was not as gentle as you would have liked her to be. But we both know that the reason you are still awake is far from insomnia, a stiff bed or even a visit to the hairdresser. You are looking for flaws somewhere you once believed was as perfect as can be.
He was perfect, or at least that is what you wanted to believe. The first day you set your eyes on him, you knew you had to have a piece of those well-toned muscles and a perfect jawline. Problem is, you did not realize at first that all you really wanted was the whole meal, not just a piece.

He was older, just perfect for you, after all, you were in your ‘sexy twenty-one ‘ . He was always there to listen to your far-fetched dreams of how you wanted to change Africa, be a voice to the voiceless. He never asked you how a mute could be a voice to others. He read through your weak lines that you called poetry and swore that he loved it, maybe he only did that because he realized that you stayed up late to weave those lines together. Perhaps, it would have been less painful if he had just spoken up.

You loved Ed Sheeran while he loved his music local, but he sat through your karaoke performances and even sang along, just to make you happy. Probably he was a little too perfect and you did not deserve it.

He was the kind of person to stay at home and read a George R. Martin book rather than attend a concert, you liked that. It showed that he was into deep stuff, but that did not stop you from dragging him to acoustic music concerts, although he did not even like it. He was everything you could ever ask for.

In the twenty-one years of your life, you had never met someone as good as he was. He understood that you sometimes threw tantrums like a two year old when you needed attention and attention he gave you. He was not like all those boys in your class who wore skinny, ripped jeans and all they could give was a glass of juice and ask for sex in exchange. He was a real man. A real man who knew what a sonnet was. πŸ˜‚

You had promised to keep yourself for your husband, but when he came along, you gave up waiting . What was the point anyway, when you saw a husband in him? You gave it up to him and he sure made that moment special, just like you always wished. He was so sweet and gentle with you, you swore you saw butterflies and daisies. What more could a girl ask for?

You had dreams, of you two together. When you closed your eyes and thought of a future, it was him you saw, strange, because he never revealed to you what he saw when he closed his own eyes.

As juvenile as it may seem, you thought you were meant to be. You thought you will age alongside each other, but the script now reads different. Here you are now, unable to sleep and suddenly you can relate to all the lyrics on Post Malone’s ‘I fall apart ‘ .

Why did he not come with a warning? You wonder to yourself. Why was he that perfect? Why did he not just reveal his true self from the beginning? Perhaps if he did, you would have known that he would have left just like the rest.
Memories of how you used to star gaze together flash through your mind. You never really liked it because it meant staying up late and being bitten by mosquitoes, but for him, you would do anything.

Today, you are up at three o’clock, perfect time for a talk about nothing at the rooftop and gazing at stars, only that this time you are alone and even if both of you were to look at the sky, he wouldn’t see the stars, and neither would you.
He left, just like the rest, but unlike the rest of them, he left you with a void that not even a make-over, endless bars of chocolate or an analogy of sad poems could fill. You’re still wondering what you did wrong, but maybe he just wasn’t the one, afterall, it’s still ‘sexy twenty-one ‘ right?

You’re yearning to blame Disney movies for your pain. They made you believe in forever. There was a certainity about forever in your heart, unfortunately it didn’t last that long.

But how long is forever? Sometimes maybe just five seconds.

Photo Credits : Pinterest

#Youforher

She cries her heart out every night because she yearns to be normal, or at least,  gain a semblance of normality. 

She wonders when the finger-pointing will end. She looks forward to the day when, people will no longer laugh at her whenever she stands up or even walks to the market. 

Just like you, she has dreams. Dreams to change the world and make it a better place. It might seem far-fetched, but who are you to judge the validity of other people’s dreams? She dreams of giving  her mother a better life, but how can she, when a most simple and normal biological process renders her very helpless?  

Having your menses is very normal, her teachers say, but none of them knows the struggle she goes through every month. 

She has to skip school for one week every month or risk going and making herself the laughing stock. She knows the roadside using cotton wool, but what is a girl to do when her options are limited? 

 I know you’re thinking, why doesn’t she just ask her mother?  She could, if she had that option but she has seen  her  month after month wash and hang already used and tattered pieces of clothes, they were sailing in the same boat.  It is heartbreaking for her mother, but what is she to do? 

Unlike you and I, she cannot talk about it because it is a taboo. She wants to ask her father for money for sanitary pads, but he already, shut her down, that is women talk, and where is the money anyway? 

 The first time, her mother only told her that she had now become a woman and she should keep away from boys. Avoiding boys, that she does, but she does not understand how womanhood brings shame along with it. 

She just wants to lead a normal life. 

Help restore a girl’s esteem and belief in humanity. 

Stand with a girl in  need. 

#Youforher

Tach_Kenya

Shidel Mtaani


 

It could get worseΒ 

Lately I have been under attack by the most evil of all… Writers block. Or perhaps, that is what I have just made myself believe. It has not been easy coming up with a decent  sentence other than, ‘I love Mangoes’ . But being the bad ass that I am, I chased  inspiration down the dark alleys and here I am, feeling like the monk who sold his Ferrari. 😁

 Given that the Dons have downed their tools ( I always wanted to say that ;-)) I have had  a lot of time on my hands and as a result, done  some thinking and  I might have also watched the entire second season of Stranger Things and while at it,  I might have died a couple of times and shed bucket fulls of tears at the same time. I know. I know. Crying  is not the ideal reaction to such a movie but,  ah!  Well, what do you expect? This is me! 

You know, Calvin is not entirely wrong. Life could get better, but it could also get worse. I believe in living in the moment or better put, basking in the ambience. Life should be lived one moment at a time, it does not matter if all is going well or not.

Two years ago,  I would sit in class and scribble down in my diary about my dreams.  By this time according to my plans then, I should be finishing up my one year in the African Leadership Academy. I should also be running a company, but here I am. Just like in Ed Sheeran’s Bibia be ye ye I’ve got a couple of texts in my phone from boys I have never met and my pockets are full of coins (Not that much though πŸ˜‚) and broken dreams. But life still goes on, does it not? 

Pardon me, for I digress a lot,  but maybe that is what makes life interesting. I guess by now you have already figured out that I really did not have that important news to share, but we are family now, so you just have to put up with me and my extreme sense of humor that most normal people do not get. πŸ˜‰

Drink that coffee, read those books, eat those mangoes and listen to real music. 

Live life a moment at a time, because it could get worse. 

Have a nice week, family! 😊



Please don’t Β ‘Aaaawwww!’

Just like D’banj,  I have a confession, but no, I will not be dancing while confessing . Lately, I have been scrolling through these facebook pages about make up and women looking glamorous. Before you jump into conclusions, it is not a fetish.  I just do it to pass time and those women kind of inspire me. I mean, how do you manage to look that good, with eyebrows speaking louder than words? 

Nothing much is happening in my life, so apart from looking at glowing faces, I have also been listening to Chaka Khan and telling myself that ‘I’m every woman and I  got it all’  when in reality, I feel like I am in a No life crisis. I wonder what went wrong, because when I was younger, my friends and I used to watch a lot of  Nigerian movies (Please, don’t act like Nollywood did not have a hand in shaping your imagination, because we all know it did.)  and looked forward to how exciting our lives would be. We dreamt of living in one room and sleeping on a mattress on the floor and being invited to lots of parties. Yeah, such dreams exist. But right now I do not need to lie to you about the parties I have attended, because here I am! 

Okay, enough about dreams because I think Lupita Nyong’o already said it all.  

Have you ever come across someone and they just made you feel better about yourself? Well,  it happens to me at times. Like, that ‘Sicho ‘  girl from Nairobi Diaries. Truth is,  as probably you can tell, I have never met her, but she did make me feel great about myself and you should be feeling the same way too by now. 
She is not the only person I have come across who I think is psychotic. There was this guy once who cried just so he could get laid. He literally cried for it, but that is a story for another day. 

If only boys were as good as chocolate, I would not need to talk about them as much as I do.  My brother once asked me what today’s men eat that makes them less macho than they used to be. I had no answer, and I still don’t have it, but also wondering what it is they eat. 

I have this friend who tends to act very manly, or at least that is what I thought. He is always rushing people and handles his problems alone as ‘a man’ . I did not have a problem with him until one day when he was watching  a video of Sauti Sol performing and then his reaction was a very long and clear “Aaaawwwwww! “

What?  I gave him ‘the look’  but he did not get it . He just looked at me like it was okay for him to go all ‘Aaawww! ‘  and focused back on his video. 

Personally, I do not ‘Aaaawwww! ‘  so, why should he? At that moment,  I also noticed that he frequently used the ‘blushing monkey’ emoji. I have nothing against the emoji, but it creates images in my head when a guy uses it. Images I would rather not talk about .

As soon as I had thought that I had seen it all,  I received a notification that someone had written on my timeline. I didn’t want to check immediately but curiosity got the better part of me.
‘Dhnx fir di add. Nakurank Xana.’   He had written. That did it. 

Why can’t someone just write the normal English that all of us can understand? 

So,  after writing ‘dhnx’ , what did they do with all the time they saved instead of writing ‘thanks ‘ ?

I feel like I am going along that ‘Boy child is no longer manly ‘ road, because it is certainly happening. How then do you explain the skinny jeans, pouting in selfies and carrying around selfie sticks? 

Fellas, get rid of those selfie sticks and maybe go get a testosterone jab. 

Anyway, it is never that serious.

Have a great week.  

Nawarank Sana ! =)

She’s a girl

When you meet me for the first time, you would notice that I do not talk much. Or probably you would not. I am that girl who always sits at the back of the class, quiet and cannot start a conversation or walk across a hall teeming with humanity   without dying fifty times over. Sometimes I flee, literally. So, you can imagine how nervous I was when one day in highschool, I was supposed to represent my school at a Public Speaking competition. I could not get my head around what I was being told. I went to a really great school, meaning I met people who exuded confidence with just a stride as they walked,  people who could argue with the teachers and still keep a straight face, so I was shocked.  Me? Represent the school? I could not fathom the thought. 

When that day came,  I was prepared with very many points but I had carefully selected five of which were my best.  I was still  a pile of nervousness but my friends and class teacher really did a great job in assuring me that I could do it. All their efforts in making me feel comfortable came crashing down when the boy who spoke right before I was supposed to, based his argument on the five points I had selected as my best. Did I die? Yes.  He was a really good speaker and so he killed it (aliua) and took me along with him. 

I had to start over, or so I thought. It took a couple of minutes before I decided I was going to speak on the same, but use a different approach. It did not matter at that moment, because I was called to the stage.  As I walked I chose not to see anyone or anything around me. I went there, shared a piece of my mind and went back to sit down. I could not even explain how I felt, until, the results were announced. 

As one of the officials was calling out the names of the Top Five Girls, I could not help but think of how much of a disappointment I would be to my school if my name was not there. Four names were called out and mine was not there and as I sat there, I thought of walking out, but Alas! (It feels good. I haven’t said that since class five. πŸ˜‚) my name was called out.  I was the Top Female Speaker in the sub-county! 

I was elated and pleased. I could not believe it. I felt like Leonardo DiCaprio winning an Oscar, in fact,  they really should have given me a chance to deliver that, ‘I would like to thank my mum, my friends and all my supporters, for all the love they  have shown me’  speech. Though, a handshake did the trick. 

I was walking on air, until the time to choose the Chairperson came.  I was the best female speaker and ‘The Boy who stole my points’ Was The best male speaker,  as was expected.  Either of us could be the chairperson, but they just decided he could do a better job, because….He was a boy! 

‘ Just let George be the Chairperson because he is a boy. Gender equality will be there when you are the Vice Chairperson.’ 

Why couldn’t he be my assistant? That would also be gender equality. Well,  right now, I am not putting on my Feminist hat, so I will not say a much about George and his cool blazer 😁 , but there is still a lot of ranting to do.

I am really grateful that you are still reading this, after my not-so-interesting narration up there. Today is International Girls’  Day and I thought I should celebrate myself and other girls by sharing  my story of being made an Assistant because I was a girl. (Twisted, right?) 

You are beautiful and smart. 

Just like a love letter cannot go without a Westlife song,  this day cannot go without quoting Maya Angelou, 
It’s in the sun of my smile, 

I am a woman, phenomenally,

Phenomenal Woman. 


Celebrate a girl today. 

If you are about to throw virtual items at me because I mentioned Gender equality somewhere, please, not now. Let’s just use this day to celebrate the girl child. Who knows, tomorrow I might be talking about the boy child and write about  George… And his cool blazer of course. 😁



Photo: Yours truly.