From afar

You might not know this but I had to listen to a whole load of love poems before I got the courage to write this down, from Rudy Fransisco to Edwin Bodley, all telling me how beautiful love is or is supposed to be. But you seem like a very confident person, you might be saying. That might be true, but do you know how bad love messes up with a person, especially me, because girls like me are not supposed to fall in love. Girls like me are supposed to be strong and when we see guys, we fist bump and ask each other about how ‘reppin the streets’ is going. Love is not our thing. But all this changed when I first saw him.

The first time I got an interest in playing chess was after watching ‘Queen of Katwe ‘ and telling myself that I had to be a chess champion or at least pull off the Ugandan accent as nicely as David Oyelowo had. I still do not know what chess has to do with an accent but the man deserves credit, don’t you think? That night when I went to watch a game of chess, I was only doing it to kill the boredom and little did I know that will be the night that you will wreck me and make me at the same time. I was only half watching the game while the rest of my mind was thinking of very ‘serious’ issues like if everyone is the voice for the voiceless, then who is really voiceless and do real people actually listen to trap music? I was lost in my thoughts when he walked in and as cheesy as it may sound, I suddenly could not see what was going on around me. Does he even know that when he looked at me the way he did, I felt so safe. I felt like everything that I had lost was coming back to me. Although each of us was at the furthest ends of the room, I could still feel his presence. I threw glances at him and at some point he caught me looking and just smiled, one of the reasons why I am a very messed up person right now.

A friend of mine told me a few days ago that if I was to write something three weeks ago, I would have written something angry or about feminism. I am still fighting them because why does angry have to be in the same sentence as feminism, but anyway, it’s the truth. I am so full of love that I find myself crying. Yes, you read that right. I cry and I do not even know why I am crying. We’ll, now I know why I cry. I cry because I am scared. I am scared because love is scary, okay? But also because I know that we will never be. We will never be because this is another forbidden love story. Yes, another one. You’d think that we have enough of those already. 😅

People make writing about love seem so cool, so right now you might be thinking that I wrote this on a balcony, overlooking the swimming pool, with a mug of coffee next to a copy of my favorite book on the coffee table. Well, I am sorry to disappoint you, but I wrote this on top of my bunk bed in a room that I share with the most beautiful people ever. The beds are done, because that’s one thing that we do right, the study table is full of things like makeup and jewelry that we all share. There is a pair of really huge shoes belonging to ‘Not boyfriend’ under one of the beds. And I am so hungry, so there are chances I might not be in love, I just need food.

See you!

This is for you, Jay. 😉❤

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Weaknesses

School has been really kicking my ass and that was the initial excuse I had for not posting early enough, but I did not die, so I guess there is no need for an excuse. Do not get me wrong, school is so much fun at the same time, but there are those days when you are chasing deadlines, you have not eaten, spent the whole day talking and hence the ended of the day, your mouth is as dry as some people’s phones. 😉 Those are the days I am talking about. Anyway, I hope that everyone is doing great at school, work or even I’m relationships. Talking about relationships, I had the Maori awkward conversation about my sexuality. Someone asked me if I am straight or not. Now, I did not find it offensive because we’ll, that does not really matter. I just laughed it off and moved on, but boys and girls you see what being single all your life can do. 😅

Anyway, apart from being in school, I have been spending a lot of my time thinking. Thinking about things that matter and those that do not matter too. Yesterday a thought crossed my mind, how amazing it so that as human beings we are able to feel so many things at the same time. We have joy, anger, happiness, strength and vulnerability all inside of us. It fascinated me. I know that someone will want to kill me for saying this, but we should he able to enjoy all these feelings in all there extremes. We cannot be strong all the time. And it is okay to be weak. 😅

These days, I talk a lot about my weakness and brokenness because that is just the first way of telling yourself that you have a problem and you need to work on it. It is not being weak accepting that you can be vulnerable at times, it is admitting that you need help and going for it. Most of us are hiding behind masks in the guise of being okay. This is maybe because we want to fit in or we think talking to someone is disturbing them, but it is okay not to be okay.

When it comes to relationships, I have come to understand that most of us are only getting into relationships because we are seeking just about any form of validation or to feel like you belong. It is so hard being the single one in your squad, when everyone else is getting chocolate treats, date nights and those sweet ‘Netflix and Chill’ moments. You want something like that just to feel like you can also have it like everyone else. This is not the right way to go about things because at the end of the day, ukulele will realize that those things cannot really fill that void that ukulele so bad want to fill.

We are a generation of broken people,m and we need to work on ourselves before we let other people into our lives. I know that when I say that, it is so easy to imagine that it’s the girls I am talking about. No, as the ‘Great Ndanu’😂 once said, our Kings are also broken. They just walk around with straight ‘manly’ faces when deep down they are suffering. So, my point is work in yourself first before rushing into things for validation that will not last. Cry when you feel like crying. Allow yourself to be weak. Be proud of your vulnerability.

Also, I have just had my Dr Love moment here, so if you feel a need to share your stories with someone, here, I am. I do not have everything together, but we can cry and laugh at the same time together,right? ❤

That is a totally misleading picture, but ah well, I still love you. 😅

Photo credits: Pinterest.

Starting Over

Welcome to Kigali,” said a very nice and homely Rwandese woman that my friends and I met at the airport. Before leaving home, I was obviously given the ‘Do not talk to strangers ‘ talk, but clearly I did not heed to the advice. I am not a bad girl, no. The woman was just nice to us , especially when she found out that it was the first time flying for all of us and there was a possibility that someone was going to break into very disturbing screams when the plane takes off. We also had a lot of questions about Kigali. I guess by now you have found out that our intended destination Was The City of a thousand hills. We wanted to know if they had fries, or ‘smokie pasua‘. Yes, we were just thinking about food. And maybe the beautiful people and how clean they keep their city.

The nice woman’s words hit me really hard. I was indeed far away from home. Not in a place that I could just decide one night and walk my tired self back to my mother’s house. That was not going to happen. I was actually starting a life of my own in a new city, in another country. What could be more exciting and scary at the same time than that?

Going around in Kigali somehow made me feel like my whole life has been a lie. How could the capital city of a country be that clean? How is it that there were no people to knock you as you walked along the streets until you’re left thinking that they had left with your shoulder? Why were there no hawkers shoving flashlights in my face in broad daylight for me to buy? Is that not what the capital is supposed to be like? I was in awe. I still am. And I know I will be for a very long time because I am still exploring every rise and fall of these hill, so stay tuned for more amazement. 😉

I do not really know where I am going with story, but what I am sure of is that where I am coming from is pretty clear.

The year started off well for me. I know it is very late to be talking about New Year resolutions right now, seeing that we are almost coming to an end of this year and then we will have a chance to prepare other resolutions that will probably never be looked at again. I did not have any fancy resolutions. I just wanted to read Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’ and I just did a few days ago! So, now I guess I am more than ready for 2019, especially since the book destroyed me. It messed me up, but everyone has to read it, so that we can be a mess together. 😉

A lot has happened, because, this is the ninth month of the year, clearly. I went to my first ever book launch and it was such a great experience, I finally braided my hair, which did not go so well because right now I am committed to my locs more than ever, you would think I am trying to be Bob Marley . I do not have very intriguing tales to tell, like I went hiking, bunjee jumping and such things. I am the kind of girl who gets excited when I get new glasses. Speaking of glasses, if you want to mess with me, just mess with my glasses. I will not hit you, compassion is the best weapon. (Haaa! I am kidding.) 😅

I turned 20 in May. 20! I might have mentioned it some time back, because that is one thing I love talking about it. I was so excited about it because I had so many expectations. I was going to become a better version of myself, probably find love, which is cheesy, but I cannot say that I did not think about it. Although I felt like I was ready to tackle my 20s head on, I still went on and made very stupid mistakes, like constantly lying to my heart and so now I am still apologizing. 😅

I better go on, before we start shedding tears here. I am taking stock for what has happened in my life so far and it would only be right if I say that I have started an entirely new phase in my life. This has nothing to do with love or something like that, because, that is what everyone seems to think about when I talk about starting over. It is funny and annoying at the same time. So, yes, I am starting school again. I am a freshman all over again, but this is a totally different story from all those ones I have been ranting about. I have had the chance of meeting new people from all over Africa and making new friends like Patrick Moko from Congo, Brazzavile, who wants to marry a girl from just anywhere, but his children will be Senegalese. I am still trying to figure out how that is going to happen. 🙂 I cannot talk about friends if I don’t mention Sadikh, the kind guy from Senegal, (With glasses) who gives me books about rich men and loves sleeping, because he is always tired. 😂 I know you guys will kill me because I have not mentioned how much of an awesome company you are and the fact that you can make a girl feel like she really does run the world, but not to worry, that day is coming, I am still taking stock.

If we have to talk about starting over, then we must definitely talk about self love. I am on that journey of digging deep until I find that moment when I will look into the mirror and finally say ‘ I love you ‘ and really mean it. I want to look into the mirror and see a goddess. So, the next time you find me feeling sorry for myself, you are allowed to pinch me and remind me who really I am.

Have a great week, folks. I am not sure if I should say week or weekend. You just have a good time and remember to love you.

PS. None of us screamed when the plane was taking off. 😉

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.😂

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. 😅

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. 😅 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. 😂) 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. 😅

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. 😂 Ras Macho Nne would be perfect, don’t you think?

Have a great weekend, friends.

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. 😂

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