Of the old, current and yet to come

There are people once upon a time, their names used to be the reason I smile, now I don’t really know, it is just a mix of strange emotions that I don’t recognize and maybe that’s the thing about people; they’re meant to be temporary. Most things really, life itself is the ultimate example of impermanence. We are born, we grow, we wither, we perish.

If you believe in reincarnation like the Buddhists do then yes, you have several lifetimes and perhaps that’s why we experience déjà vu. Also, every ill thing you do in this lifetime will haunt you in this lifetime or the next. I learned this from a certain Buddhist my colleagues and I met in Entebbe, Uganda about two years ago. He is one of the Rwandan genocide survivors and after undergoing what I imagine are the 5 stages of grief( denial, depression, anger, bargaining, death) , exempt the fifth, he found his answers in Buddhism so he quit being a Christian and permanently relocated to Rwanda. His face told stories I’d never seen on anyone’s face before. He looked as peaceful as the sea on a calm night, clean shaven head you’d think he had decided to shave away every strand of hair that told tales he no longer wanted to tell, his gaze intense and his eyes would drift away as he told us of how his parents and brothers had been murdered right in front of his eyes and how he couldn’t sleep the months that followed. How he spent nights in church questioning God’s intent with his misfortune. How he had taken up karate when he felt neglected by God and decided that he would never fail at self defense again, for himself and for those he held dear. He spoke as if he was relieving the experience. His voice low, audible and with no betrayal of the anger he must have once felt. He walked and sat with a poise that emanated strength and strong will. His slow, almost calculated steps could tell you that life had taught him the value of patience the hard way. I had only watched the Rwanda genocide movies and even then, I couldn’t sleep easy that night. The events were horrendous and gory. I could not have possibly been able to walk a step in his shoe, leave alone a mile.

Not to digress, we clearly are mortal and therefore we shall die. Valar morghulis (if you know, you know).

So, do not hesitate to do that which scares you. An author signed one of her book copies for me and here’s what she wrote what you want is on the other side of fear. I still smile when I read it because it’s simple yet profound. So go ahead and write that book you’ve been wanting to get to, write that research proposal you’ve been putting off so much, call your mom and tell her you love her, appreciate your father, text that person you love but in your head (lol) – say it out loud already! For most hearts are broken by words left unspoken.

And by the way, this is inside the temple we visited.

Outside the Temple.. Kind of blurry though.

The view of the Lake at Entebbe(its to die for, right?) The water is crystal clear here.

So it is true there are people you meet and they change your life in ways you can’t explain and there are people you meet that you want to forget.

Be phenomenal or you will be forgotten.

Advertisements

Who are you?

You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with they say. Which makes me wonder, I’m I a cocktail of all my friends? A little bit of them. But then again aren’t we attracted to what we aren’t? Which is why opposites attract and similar people seldom end up together.

It’s a mystery, isn’t it? Human relations.

I believe that not everything is the way it seems and I remember hearing that from a speech that Mr. Kariuki, the former Alliance Boys High school principal. He told a story of a boy who loved to draw and his teachers had always warned him against spending most of his time drawing. One evening preps the teacher on duty found him, as usual, drawing and decided to punish him by demanding he draws a million people assuming that it would take him eons to culminate. On the contrary, after a couple of minutes, the boy walked up to the teacher with his paper on his hand and handed it to the teacher. He had drawn a church with one cartoon at the door going in. The teacher was vexed and asked angrily where the million people he’d instructed him to draw were.

The boy pointed at the church and said, ‘In there’.

Brilliant, right?

So it is true that not everything is what it seems. Most times there is more than meets the eye so, can you ever really unravel a person when we ourselves are dynamic? Can you put people in a frame? Is it black and white with humans?

I read somewhere that life is not about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself. Perhaps you can never describe yourself with totally certainty for even as you speak, with each tick tock you’re changing.

Does the camera love you?

Some people, no, most people love taking photos of themselves. I don’t. The camera doesn’t love me but most of my friends, well, let’s just say the camera does justice to them and the captions! I swear some people were born gifted. The captions makes you hit like if it’s on Instagram and smile a tad bit if it’s in WhatsApp and text them ‘ You’re looking gorgeous’.

I bet when I die, my mom would have to go to my Google drive to find my images because well, I love deleting stuff. It’s an obsessive compulsive disorder of sorts. After a conversation, I delete it. I like my phone looking tidy. It’s not that I have something to hide, it’s just a preference. But I do back up all my photos.

Not to digress, yes the camera is picky. I feel like it hides the parts that matter. It’s a facade. Someone can look prettier, more handsome than their actual self or mostly, better than they look in person and we fall for it then get disappointed when we meet them I guess that’s why blind dates have been known to go sour.

C’est la vie.

But hey, when you’re photo phobic like me you live for other people’s photos. You compliment where it’s due and appreciate the photography. I wish I loved photos because they’re a source of immortality, apart from writing. Once you’re gone, it’s what remains. It makes you invincible because the internet never forgets so snap away that meal that looks gorgeous before you dig in. Snap away that city you’re visiting. You don’t have to post it on social media because your mind and camera will always remember. The moments will be frozen in time.

Jewels

I’m honestly not the person you want be chatting with. I’m terrible at chatting especially on WhatsApp. I either reply in seconds (okay, minutes. Let’s be honest, I don’t sit around waiting to hit reply on my notification window) or 2 days later. I know I suck but interestingly enough, some of my best friends have never given up on me. I swear my best friend from primary school still texts me. He’ll send me a meme and I’ll see his text when I manually open WhatsApp because I’ve turned off the notifications. I’ll stare at the conversation and because I love him so much, I don’t want to open it then not reply hence blue ticking him. I’m not impolite like that. I press back button and log off and then three days later when I’m looking at my phone screen, I recall that he’d texted me so I log onto WhatsApp and I find the meme hilarious so I laugh out loud and send him the ‘I’m laughing and crying simultaneously emojis’ because yes, he cracks me up and even though I take ages to respond I honestly love him and think about him. We call each other, maybe not as often as we should but he’s still my best friend. He’s so patient with me and my terrible texting habits that sometimes I just want to show up at his workplace (he works a town away) and buy him lunch and have him talk to me about life and how his girlfriend wants to meet his parents and he’s not ready but he’s serious about her and how he wants to buy a car before the end of the year and then he shows me his mpesa messages from sportpesa and for a few minutes I consider gambling too but then he tells me ladies don’t do that and I’m like yes, I’m a lady like that and drop the idea as fast as I adopted it. He honestly makes me laugh till my ribs hurt. An hour spent with him feels like a lifetime of happiness. It’s nirvana for me. Which I think is why I’m terrible at chatting with him because I feel like the words and the emojis are insufficient to show him how happy he makes me and how much he makes me laugh. It doesn’t mean I do not care for him and something tells me he has come to understand me and that’s why even after I reply his message after a week, he’ll still text me, make me laugh and we’ll catch up for a few minutes then go back to our lives.

Nevertheless, when we talk over a phone call, we catch up on everything, literally. And then my heart rests and I smile to myself and thank God for giving me the gift of such a good friend.

To have

One my worst fears is finding love then losing it. Having it in the palm of your hand and then like water it slips smoothly through your fingers as you helplessly watch.

It’s a hellish feeling. Almost as if someone punched you in the gut and reminded your lungs how much they like the taste of air. Close to that terrible feeling is saying goodbye to someone you deeply love. I read somewhere that hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of churches and airports have heard countless painful goodbyes. Methinks what makes it unbearable is the helplessness of the situation. If you could, you’d accompany them and not leave their side but no, life has a wicked sense of humor like that. It gives you a mouthful taste of that which your heart craves for then pulls the spoon back and leaves you gaping at it like a child crying for more food after a little teasing.

What can you do when it all becomes overwhelming? I guess you have and hold onto that which you can while you still can and hope that the universe smiles upon you a little longer and let’s you waltz in your own happiness a little longer.

Ruskin Bond, in his book, A book of Simple living says that happiness is a mysterious thing, to be found somewhere between too little and too much. But it is as elusive as a butterfly, and we must never pursue it. If we stay very still, it may come and settle on our hand. But only briefly. We must savour those moments, for they will not come our way very often.

The kind boy

I stood there one hand clutching onto my backpacks strap, my phone and my navy blue sling bag and the other lifting the slightly heavy green bag with food that I’d just had warmed hoping it won’t get cold before I found my brother.

It had been a grueling journey which is why I’ve always felt that if God granted people pleasure from doing certain activities He definitely had removed traveling from the list of mine. After about 7 hours of sitting in that tiny car courtesy of the old geezer we had for a driver I arrived at Gitaru stage and headed to Kikuyu town in a rush that only God knows.

In hindsight, all this could’ve been avoided had I woken up as early as planned but apparently a girl can sleep through 3 very loud alarms!

As I stood there looking like a lost puppy, I walked up to one of the boys – he was a few inches shorter than me, in a navy blue sweater and a grey track trouser that hang loosely onto him as if borrowed or not made to his fit.

‘Excuse me, what form are you in?’

Form one.’

I’m looking for Jay, a form four. Is there any way you could help me locate him?’

Not really. It would be hard for me to find him as he’s in form four so he’s either watching football or in class.’

‘Okay. Could you please ask any form four for me?’

He responded by moseying towards the football field.

‘Sorry. I couldn’t find him.’

‘Okay. He’s in form 4D, could you direct me to the class please? He could be there.’

It’s a grand school, alliance. The boys waltzing around in their faded green shorts and jungle green sweaters others in their games attires wildly cheering at their football team. I would later learn that it was sports day as usual – every Saturday. I had a hard time catching up with the kind boy. His steps were small and quick.

Can I help you with that?

He suddenly asked pointing to the green bag that was weighing on me. Not to judge but judging from his body frame, I didn’t want to impose but he insisted so I handed it over. It was a gesture that reminds you of the goodness of people in a harsh, corrupted world.

After minutes of walking, we got to the class and Jay wasn’t there and we went out again to search for him. All this while, the kind gentleman carried my bag without the slightest hint of complaint for taking a break from his activities to help me find my brother.

‘Thank you very much. Its been kind of you to help me find him. I wish I could repay you.’

I thanked him graciously as my brother approached and he smiled, nodded and replied,

its no problem.’

I hugged my brother and we walked away and guess what, I had to force my luggage which was in other words, his, on my brother!

His first instinct wasn’t to help!

Where does this distinction arise?

And who said chivalry is dead? Unless you met my bro then yes it is lol. Just kidding.

My day’s looking up

Nothing beats the sight of a brand new diary and the day’s blank page at 3a.m. To say it makes me giddy is an understatement.

The realization that I can make every hour count and the day memorable leaves me flushed. I’ve always adored paintings much as I’m not a skilled painter myself. I imagine the painter staring at their blank canvas and having their thoughts transform into reality by each stroke of the paint brush. Stroke by stroke they give life to what once existed only in their thoughts. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

A friend once told me that everything you see was once only a thought in someone’s mind. The house you are in, your phone, your shoes, your cup of coffee, your favorite bag. The list is endless.

Our thoughts are powerful and that’s why I’m all smiles this morning and I sure I’m going to make today count.

Make yours count too.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 go! ~Mel Robbins.

Of silent hospital hallways


The pin drop silence in a hospital hallway makes your mind wander. A number of strangers,  seated in deafening silence,  some typing away on their phones furiously with questioning gazes at whoever dares to have a peek at their screen. Some staring into space,  lost,  maybe praying for a miracle. Some perhaps debating on whether to wait out the queue or just  come back later. The later that never comes.  It is a scary experience,  this one. 

The person on your left could be fighting off the urge to scream in pain and you’ll never know. They could be seconds away from passing out cold and you’d never be able to tell. Some, could be worried sick, hoping that the doctor’s assessment won’t be as life changing as they fear it will be. Praying for a happy ending is what we do behind our screens and behind the slight fidgeting of our feet. 

Indeed, hospital hallways have heard more prayers than the walls of a church.

No, it does make you a woman

Bleeding four or days a month has absolutely nothing to do with being termed a fully grown woman or a woman for that matter.

Menstruating has, for long, been used as the pillar in defining womanhood. I beg to disagree. A young girl of 12 years begins her menstruation today(thanks to genetics and the foods we consume) and we call her a woman? In what aspect is she a woman? Menstruating means she can get pregnant, yes. But has it come to that? Reducing womanhood to the ability to conceive and bring life into this world?

My bleeding is not enough to enable you brand me a woman.

What could a 12 year old possibly know about being a woman? Close to nothing, I presume. If you told her she is a woman I am certain that she’d look up at you with big, round, cute, innocent eyes and blink in confusion because she cannot comprehend your insinuation. She knows not the first thing about making decisions, being assertive, thinking as a rational human being, leave alone as a woman.

A woman is the embodiment of strength. She is expected to be a career woman and be a mother. To be dominant at the workplace but submissive in the household. To be stern but kind. To shoulder other people’s troubles and still stay strong in her own. To be strong physically but not so strong that the men in her life feel insecure. To raise a bunch of children and still maintain her performance in the workplace. A woman can choose not to cry now because she needs to be assertive. She can choose what to do, say she gets pregnant and the partner forsakes her. A woman can raise a child. A woman can create a schedule that fits her and make it work. A woman can choose to be a career woman or a housewife. A woman can make her own decisions.

Can a 12 year old do these things?

Can she decipher that daddy was just angry, not at her, when he unintentionally raised his voice at her? No. She will cower in fear and confusion.

A woman is a person who is able to make sound decisions, stand by them, tell right from wrong, be a functional social being and a responsible member of society, one who can exist on her own.

So please, enough with telling girls they are women the moment they start having cramps. Its because of this thinking that some rapists think it justifiable to dehumanize a girl and rob her of her innocence.

Lets know what we mean by what we say and no, talk is not cheap.

Talk is powerful.

Of feminism and bitter women

Lately, feminism has become synonymous with man-hating. When people think about feminism, they think about bitter women. Nevertheless, can you blame this notion? Most women out here claiming to be feminists have no clue as to what feminism is all about and what it means to be a feminism. Basically, any woman feeling hurt or stepped on will lash out and claim feminism to her aid. It has become a against every man movement. Which is a complete distortion of the original meaning of the word. I like Chimamanda Ngozi’s we should all be feminists book where she addresses the unequality issue in Nigeria giving examples of daily happenings in Nigeria. Merriam webster’s definition of feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Its all about equality. Some careers that used to be deemed male jobs can now be done by women too unopposed. Feminism is not about shaming men for basically being men. If a man cheats on his woman then he is not validating the feminism movement so women will come together to breathe fire and brimstones on that man. God help such a man for hell hath no fury like a scathed woman. They will cry, mock, joke and do everything to make this man hate himself. But again, not to defend this man but a man’s philandering ways do not make him misogynistic. It only makes him human. It saddens me that somewhere along the way we lost the bigger picture of why feminism is here. Its not here to give fuel our victim mentality. No. Its here to empower us and enable us do things that only men could before there came about the feminism movement. To create awareness that your sex should not be an hindrance to the heights you can scale. This goes to the men and women alike. Feminism is not here to separate and create wars led by bitter women to whom life has been difficult. Lets face it, everyone of us has problems. Yours are not the only problems. I understand, women can have it rough but sometimes its not because you’re a woman. It could be because you created these problems for yourself or they are consequences to your actions and you’re quick to blame them on your male counterparts. They are as human as you are. Remember that. And never forget that feminism is about equality and we are not looking to wipe out and trample on men to make it. We can make it together. Be careful not to fight oppression with oppression. We will be fighting a losing war if we cannot reclaim feminism to the former glory it held and stop hiding behind the word.