My Chartreuse Blouse

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I am wearing a chartreuse blouse today. No, that’s not a designer’s name. It’s a color- a green yellow color that’s so bright, it’s blinding me. Basically, today I look like I’m wearing a reflector jacket. The kind nduthi guys or policemen wear. I can stand in the middle of the highway and hold my hand up and cars will come to a stop. Only, it’s a basic blouse. A fucking bright blouse. A fucking bright blouse that cost Ksh 50.

I hate bright colors. They make me dizzy. And they make me stand out. As if my nose doesn’t already do enough of that. I don’t like standing out. It makes people want to approach me, and people assume I am chatty and helpful and have the answers for everything. The brightest color I wear is beige. It’s relaxed. It helps me retain my composure. It even calms my stupid brain that keeps talking even when my mouth is shut. Such a helpful color. I can be pretend to be poised and relaxed and ladylike even when I am plotting a murder.

But today, today I wore chartreuse. Name as shouty as the color. For those looking for “cute baby names from colors”, here’s an idea; chartreuse. Don’t use it if you’re Kikuyu. You could as well call your child Charcoal. Back to my blouse. Every time I turn my head, the color pops in my face. I am so alert today my tiny ears can hear a whisper from across the room. Part of my mission has been accomplished- to be so alert of my surroundings… alert of myself; my inner self. I have been numb to all emotion for a while now. I think it is because I am scared. Scared of myself- of my reality… But most of all, scared of my feelings.

It has made me aware of the clothes I have on. This has made me aware of my body- my very uncomfortable body, trickled to being aware of my surroundings, and given birth to that dreadful ashy feeling of anxiety. Am I walking alright? Am I stuttering in my speech? Is my hair styled well enough? Is my makeup too much? Damn, he’s staring at me. Must be my forehead. Bigger than the cup he’s holding. But the happy sad thing is, anxiety, anxiety and fear, are better than being numb.

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But will anyone but me see my silent cry? Will anyone see my trembling hands folded across my bosom? Or the fearful dashing my eyes do across the room? Will anyone notice the way my voice gets stuck in my throat, or the numerous times I clear my throat when someone talks to me? I want someone to reach out. Speak to me. Ask me how I really am, underneath the layers of foundation and lipstick and eyeliner… underneath the chartreuse.

I am drowning, but no one seems to notice. But I am too afraid to speak up. How will people see me? What will they think? Or have they already declared me a gone case- the thin girl who always wears black.

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Nobody notices the pain behind their loved ones’ eyes anymore. We have become too focused on just the outside. Oh, look at her wig! Damn, his wristwatch is dope! Losing weight has become “getting in shape” and gaining weight has become “getting that flesh”. Going MIA has become “they’re too busy”. In any case, you have your problems, and you ain’t sharing them, why should you bother with mine?

But a few months from now, you’ll all flood my timeline. Asking WHY I had to leave so soon. Flabbergasted that I am no more. Pouring messages of how much you loved me. Trying so hard to force intimacy “I remember when you answered that question in class. I knew you and I would be friends”. as if you didn’t have time to ask or say any of that when I was alive. Then you will gather round my grave. Crying or just shaking your heads. Wondering when I “lost it” this much. And you will take selfies with my coffin or family or outside my grandmother’s house, captioned #LifeIsShort #EternallyRemembered #LoveYouForever but no. The only hashtags you should use are #KuufDead #SheTookHerLife #iForgotHerWhenAlive #TeamHypocrites

My chartreuse blouse is a flag. It’s that reflector you see on the highway in front of you; telling you to slow down. Yes, please slow down on your highway in life and look to the side. There I am by the roadside, waving frantically. Will you reach out, or will you wait till I slit my wrists? I am your sister, your brother, your child, your friend…

You Are Allowed To Be Fake… Once

I can see how this movie starts; Wanjiku has a knife on my skinny throat. (We all know skinny people die faster than chubby ones. The damage is so swift.) Record scratch. Freeze frame. Zoom. “You’re probably wondering how I got here…”

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Have you ever been in a situation where you know your friend is about to get dumped, but you cannot say a word because it will mean explaining HOW you got to know about it? And between explaining and saving your friendship, one has outstanding value to another. That news can be broken by anyone else, so you wouldn’t want to be the one doing someone else’s job, right? And as she rants to you about how he is “weirdly busy” and “acting funny” (which is relative. Someone may have been pretending all along and now “funny” is the end of pretending), all you can do is listen and make as many shocked and disturbed facial expressions as you can. You even do the “Gossip mode expressions” where you slap your thighs and say something like “Ati what?” to emphasize the “disturbance” you feel and how you are moved by her plight.

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I am very petty. Even my own boyfriend knows I am petty. I will get mad that you slept without saying good night, get mad that you didn’t text good morning, even get mad that you slept without saying good night and woke up to give me a hearty good morning. No, boo. Apologize first, then we get on. I am rather spoilt, so I really don’t get it when people get dumped over being petty. Or maybe he just stomachs it because he knows I will auction all his belongings before he can even finish saying, “Qui, it’s over”. But despite all this, I know that Wanjikus are very irritable.

My friend, Wanjiku, or Ciku as we call her, is like all other Cikus. You will want to pan fry them and feed them to dogs. Wanjikus get men very easily. They have these warm smiles and are very seductive. But they are highly irritable. Wanjiku can set your house on fire and take a photo captioned #lit.

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“He can’t be thinking of breaking up with me, right?” she asks, slicing up cucumbers.

At this point, I have two options- play along or change my destiny. So instead of saying he actually does want a breakup, I let out such a long sigh, you’d think I relate.

“Men are dogs” Muthoni, my best friend says before pinching me. She has these eyes that scream “innocent”. Even now! Yes, you and I know we will be dead the minute we say we KNOW she’s about to be curved. And like the squad philosopher I am, I chip in,

“Seriously girls, men aren’t dogs. A dog can’t make you cry unless it’s chasing you. A dog won’t leave you wondering if you’re good enough.”

“Yes,” Ciku waving that knife again. “But they are dogs, anyway.”

Muthoni picks up, “What happened, lakini? Why the conflict?” As if she didn’t know.

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“Hee. Imagine he said he has a hard time being romantic with me because supposebly, I have long toes and he finds it hard not to notice them. So I told him he has a head that’s bigger that his body. He looks like a lollipop. Yeye akasema he can’t stand all these things. And worse, that I always say sijui supposebly. Like kwani how should someone say it?”

Supposebly. Supposedly. Sigh.

We are out of excuses. How can we let a friend with long toes, who says supposebly and cold slaw instead of supposedly and coleslaw she’s about to get dumped, without telling her HOW we know? And don’t ask how we found out. Priss.

Photos: Courtesy

 

DEAR YOUNGER ME

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Dear Younger Me,

I do not know where to start. I don’t know what to include or what to leave out. I don’t know whether to make this a poem or a simple letter. I am so full of life and contented right now. I wish there was a way you’d hear or see me right now… See the current us.

If I could just tell you everything I have learnt so far, you would be so far ahead. You would not don your pillow in endless tears every night. You would not direct angry prayers at God, and forget His promises. You would not sit and wonder if God went back on His Word, and spend more futile hours reminding yourself that He couldn’t ever get to that.

If I could tell you all I have learnt so far, you wouldn’t look for comfort in meaningless things. You wouldn’t turn to human beings for answers. You wouldn’t spend resources and time on Google looking for answers about life, and its meaning, and your purpose. You wouldn’t question your existence or your purpose or worry about your future.

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If I could tell you all I have learnt so far, you wouldn’t be so bitter about those hurtful times. They still replay in my mind. I remember so very clearly how each one felt. Worry not, I can never forget them. But if I could tell you about now, you wouldn’t be so bitter. You wouldn’t wish people ill. You wouldn’t block God’s call for forgiveness of others. You wouldn’t wallow in all the sadness.

If I could tell you all I have learnt so far, you would be one step ahead of everything. You would rejoice in the storm and remain positive. You would look to The Maker of All and Him alone. You would remember that even when you don’t have your life together, there exists One who put things together. You would be happier and fuller of life.

If I could tell you all I have learnt so far, Younger Me, I would tell you I am proud of you. I would tell you I am grateful for the amazing bold steps you took. I would tell you I am happy for the mistakes you made. I would tell you I regret nothing. Because without that life you shaped, I would have learnt nothing. I can’t wait to meet The Future Us.

With all love,

The Older You

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Moderation Please, Facebook Men

Have you ever wanted to fart so bad, but you were in public? You can feel your body trying to be natural enough, pushing to get you to pass that tormenting gas. So you sit there praying that no one will crack a joke or startle you because, heaven forbid, you will just spray them with a new scent. You pore over the possibilities of you farting. Will it be the stinky one? Or the very loud one? Or both? And just as you’re thinking these through, you sneeze. And out comes the fart.

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That is me and men on Facebook today. I have a serious problem with you. Sadly, this is a menace that’s also getting into females. But I am no man, so let me speak as a woman who has been affected by men. I have tried holding in this fart, but no. here it is. Loud and clear.

First of all, just because a girl accepts your friend request, it doesn’t mean she’s looking for dates or relationships or flings. It may happen, yes, but not in the nonsensical mathogothanio way you’re approaching today. “Thanks for accepting. I need a girlfriend in my life, and I believe it is you.” Shindwe. What happened to knowing people first?

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Secondly, tafadhali, if you reeeaally want to compliment a girl, compliment her. Do not scare her away or put the dread of Satan and purgatory in her veins. Complements are supposed to make one feel good, not question where their ancestors went wrong. “Hi. You look really good.” It is simple, and very okay. “Hi. You look gorgeous. What do you do other than being sexy?” Please, Jesus did not die for this. “Hey beibe, I love the photo. Can I photograph you sometime?” This is how serial killers on Criminal Minds start off.

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Then there are the conversations you want to try, but you try so hard it’s repelling. “What is your name?” sigh. You sent ME a friend request. My account has a real name. Whatchu mean what’s my name? “Hey. You are very pretty. Can we make love?” Shindwe kabisa. That will not be making love. It will be the Devil collecting rent, pension, fine, and all other monetary fees from your soul. “Twende whatsapp please. Sina messenger so we can’t talk well” is just a very lame excuse. Why embarrass your mother? “Unatumia number gani whatsapp?” do not get mad when someone replies “natumia yangu”.

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Number four, we love dates. You realize I’ve counted like a Kikuyu. Lol. We love dates. But ask us out like the emblems we are. Not the “uko wapi” syndrome or the very new “There’s a new coffee shop in town, I wanted to try. Si twende” I am not an uber. Go.

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Dear men, we love you. So please, choose good mannerisms. And respect. And cut off the mushy names. We don’t know you. We may want to know you. Do not ruin this for us and complain Kenyan women don’t pay attention to their men. Is it possible to coexist in peace, please? If she didn’t reply to your inbox, do not resend another hi. She saw it. And is ignoring you, bruh.

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My dear man who had the faith to tell me “I am becoming your fan” I shed tears for you. Not crocodile tears. Real tears. You had so much potential. I am neither a musician nor a famous actress. And Nairobi is too cold. Fans are unacceptable.

Photos: Courtesy

Watch Me Eat

I have seen people eat. I have watched people eat. I have observed people eat. Heck, I’ve even LISTENED to people eat. I have had very happy times in this my hobby, but I have also sat and almost summoned my ancestors for an intervention. There are times I have just thanked God for the process of chewing, and peristalsis, watching as that bolus descends the neck. Okay, honestly, this has only been felt when observing someone with an Adam’s apple. But, oh well, you get the point.

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There are people who will eat and you will fall in love. Not love, love, but you will feel very happy. From the way they slice or spoon or fork their food, to the way they bite, the chewing and swallowing… You will not get tired of observing. I’m not talking about the fake slow motion eating and chewing some of my fellow ladies do when asked out on dates. No. I talk about the eating and chewing and swallowing that says, “Yes. I know how to eat well. With etiquette. Even when I am hungry.”

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Then there is the mathogothanio most of us do. These, I have made special columns and categories for

  1. The musicians. They are those who will chew and you could literally start singing. Their ringtone composition is that strong. Dearly beloved, I have never ceased to thank God for Acapella. Making music with the mouth only is a tremendous talent. But my dear people, when it comes to acapella with food… Ma ni tutigei maundu ta macio. Priss. And worse, they will insist on talking in between meals.

Image result for people chewing food badly2. The forces of nature. These ones swallow so hard, you can feel the struggle the food undergoes at the force. My Std. Five Science teacher taught me that the digestion system is designed in such a way that the whole process should be smooth. My dad always told us not to fight with our food. So you see, when I observe someone swallowing forcefully, my chest hurts. Deeply.

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3. The racers. Have you seen someone eat like it’s a competition? Or like you will snatch their food away? Or is it that they eat so fast just in case Jesus comes back? You know, rather die on a full stomach and all? It gets worse when they’re in a group sharing food

4. The improvisers. I first saw this during a funkie. Some guy opened his soda, poured it all on his boflo bread, and within four bites, the bread was gone. Now, funkie aside, these ones will fold pieces of pizza or bread and gobble like it was some soft ginene they was eating.

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Now, I love eating. I eat a lot. But I have not grown fat in years. Why? I have been around these callibres too much. Aki na sijataja mtu. So stop dissing we slim people and reconsider your eating style. Also, stop hating on how Kikuyu women cook. We mix all those ingredients to discourage you from bad eating habits. Because, really, Kikuyu men especially where there is meat… Good Lord.

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As I once advised, “Before you marry someone, take time and listen to them chew. If you can stand that sound for the rest of your life, go ahead with the wedding.” Forever is a long time to persevere terrible table manners.

Photos: Courtesy

When She Asks

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When she asks you,

When she asks you who I am, tell her.

Tell her I was the beat to your music

The strummer of all your right chords

The maker of the pissing tunes.

Tell her.

Tell her I was the breeze in your soul

The whisper in your ear-

The inexplicable tug at your heart.

When she asks you

Tell her.

Tell her I was the anticipation of summer

The longing of a lifetime

The desire that ate all else away

Tell her.

Tell her I was that breath of fresh air

The smell of spring and bloom

The warmth of winter fire

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When she asks you,

Tell her.

Tell her I was the eye into your self

The haven at all times

The pillow for all your worries

Tell her.

Tell her I was the misplaced rib

The oddly unfitting piece

The disappointment that killed you.

When she asks you,

Tell her.

Tell her it is not me no more

Tell her I was a river

That I already swished past

Tell her.

As you hold her dear

And reminisce our times

But smile that all is well now.

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Photos: Courtesy

FACEBOOK, YOU LIED

I had a date yesterday. But I didn’t make it- because I spent most part of the afternoon and early evening waiting to meet the supposed love of my life. The Facebook game told me I would meet him yesterday. At my most favorite spot in town. I guess it lied to me.

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I went back home. Very disappointed and angry at myself. I must get to the bottom of this. So I decided to play more games. “What will my child look like?” “What would I look like if I was male?” Okay. Pause. I attended a high school where we shaved our hair in form one and two. One inch long was the recommended length. I KNOW how I would look if I was male, and it is NOWHERE close to what Facebook showed me.

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Let’s laugh for a minute. Have you seen the photos? Especially those showing how your kid will look like? Boy, I think there are many of us who’ll either have stolen babies or have wives who’ll lie of the real paternity. Because, really, hoooooow??? I need not explain. Y’all have seen the photos. Let’s be real.

I have a long nose. One that makes me struggle with small coffee cups and glasses. The kid facebook gave me has a tiny nose. And big ears. Have you seen my ears? They’re so tiny the piercing lady almost sent me home. And she has a wide face. Mine is oval. Case closed.

We all want a peak in the future. We want to know what will happen, who we will marry, when we will get rich, etc. We are a curious generation, desperate to know everything. And we will go to whatever lengths to get that truth revealed. Remember Loliondo?

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We have shifted our focus from the all-knowing God, and assumed His place. Ours is not to know what will happen. Ours is to live each day working towards the future we envision, all the while praying it is in sync with His plan. Relax. Taxes and prices of commodities have gone up. That’s all you need to worry about now.

On the real though, some of those babies are really cute. Ladies, we need to start paying attention. Genes nini nini, you know? Blame yourself if fate plays kalungu.

Photos: Courtesy

A LETTER TO MY VOTERS

I toyed with the idea of being a politician for a while. Then I decided it was the right choice to make. I sat and thought about it, before approaching my most trusted people. Some told me I was stupid, but the braver ones told me it was worth the risk. And so, my journey began.

We strategized. What would be my slogan? Which seat would I vie for? Which area would be best suited for me? My ideas were fresh. Very clean and forward. I could change this country. The minute people heard about what I had in store, they would wish I was vying for a seat in their region. I had faith you would love me. I was a threat to all “bad politicians” out there. When the time came, I approached you with all humility. And you honored me with your votes. Here I am now- your Lord Commander.

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Hi. My name is Politician.  This is my true story.

Forget my gender. Forget my race, tribe, back-ground, social standing, hobbies, or whatever else you may think you want to know. Forget any and every other question you wish to ask celebrities and popular people. It doesn’t matter. Rub it off. All you need to know is that I am a politician and you are a citizen.  I make the rules and you follow them. I am supposed to do stuff for you, and you’ll pay me in return via taxes. I am your leader, you’re my followers.

I wanted to change this country. I wanted to see a better country, with better leadership. I wanted to see a country where the citizens loved most of their leaders. We can never love all, yes? But to get that, I needed to have a good strategy. Okay. I call it strategy, but, in truth, it is selfishness. The seat I vied for would have to be a seat I would have utmost influence. The region I chose would have to be one I was certain the people would love and accept me. My political party had to be the party with the greater influence in my region of choice. My slogan and objectives had to capture your attention and remain on your mouths.

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I had to leave a legacy. Not for a better country, but to have myself used as an example. Sorry. Plans changed. I didn’t even realize it. Now I fight to survive. No, I fight to remain relevant and in power. I must do everything and anything to bring that to life. I’m sure you understand. You fight, too for your job, yes? I have to show you all the wrong things about my opponents, you know? I have to throw in a few harsh words here and there. I haven’t lost my humanity. I always apologize to them when we meet for lunch. Sometimes, I have to steal, too. We are making our region better, right? That’s what the money is for. I have to use force sometimes, too. Even the bible says “the violent shall take it by force”.

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Bu here is a secret. I blind you, and you’re very kind to remain blind. You are blind to the fact that it is you who holds the power, not me. That without you, I am nothing. That power is never permanent. And I must rely on where it falls at any given anytime. For that, I thank you. Let me not reveal more. You need to learn for yourself.

PS We must remain united as a people. Before they finish us. Will you join me, my people?

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Sincerely,

Your very humble, most able politician who’s not your friend.

Photos: Courtesy

To My Future Son & Daughter,

This is a piece that moved me. Every word seems to have been curved out of my own heart… Just said better. I hope my minions get to read this someday.

Adorned Woman Kenya

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May 25th, 2016

By the time you read this, the world will be a whole different place. The buildings will be taller, phones will be slimmer, blogging will have evolved and I won’t be struggling to access WIFI like I do right now. It will be a basic need.

Morals will be on the verge of extinction. They already are, (hence my reason for praying for you this early), and I will have probably gained a few pounds thanks to you guys.

I don’t know the number of years that will have passed from the time I write this, but I just want you to know how much mommy prayed for you. Before the thought of having you even existed.

From personal experience I know the importance of a good upbringing by parents. I’m also aware that parents can go only so far in shaping your life, but…

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MOTHER, MOTHER

Mothers’ Day happens to be one of the greatest celebrated days on social media. We all want to show off our mothers and shower them with praise and admiration. For the first time since I joined social media, I did not put up a post or photo of my mom. I logged on to Whatsapp and texted her, with guilt burning my insides. It wasn’t guilt of not putting her up and all. It was guilt of just how much we wait for birthdays and Mothers’ Day to celebrate our mothers. And when we have ran out of WCWs to put up that week.

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It is particularly hard for me to write this. I have battled the pros and cons of uploading this post. But I feel it is time we embraced the truth, confronted the shortcomings at hand and started finding solutions for them. The elephant being, our relationships with our mothers are not as glossy as we want to show the world, and we are doing nothing about it.

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The relationship between our mothers and us is one of the most fulfilling relationships we can have, yet can be the most frustrating most devastating most draining relationship. I do not refuse that we love mothers- no, don’t get me wrong. But if we were to be honest, most of us are struggling in their mother-child relationship.

Growing up, I feared my mother. Greatly. To me, she was a teacher and a trainer. I approached her every time I had trouble with my homework, and she trained me when it came to public speaking. If ever I was struggling with anything, I would approach my dad with hypothetical questions while out watching stars or in his study poring over books until I got answers. But of course, whenever he sensed something was up with me, he’d tell my mom. And she would ask me hypothetical questions in turn.

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My mother is an amazing caregiver. Anyone who knows her would testify to that. I greatly admire her. Raising three daughters she begat between ages 22 and 29 hasn’t been easy. She didn’t know how it is growing up around alcohol and boys and super exposure. To me, I don’t think she even knows how to handle a broken heart right on. She is a very good counselor. But most of those things she did not go through, you know?

So she sheltered the girls. Probably with the thought that if she protected us from the outside world, we wouldn’t need to face some difficulties. Her childhood? She couldn’t talk of boys and sex and alcohol. Oh, such promiscuity! She married her first boyfriend. A pastor who adores the life out of her even to date, 28 years later.

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See, our Kenyan mothers mostly have aspired to be the BEST MOTHERS instead of being the MOTHERS WE NEED. That is the void we are trying to fill. We have overly strict mothers who may make it hard to talk to or to approach when things are wrong or ish ish. In other cases, we have mothers who are just toxic to their kids. (Yes, I said it) But are they the ones who we should blame? Should we even blame anyone for how we were raised?

Our generation is in a time when things are just crazy. We crave for parental figures who can be our friends as well, where we can run to them first before Google and before our friends. The void we have, the void we hope our mothers could have filled is still open. And we walk through life looking for SOMEONE who could fill it.

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I believe that the best gift we could give our mothers this year is reconnecting with them. Quit waiting for the time you need money or you’re travelling home to talk with her. Let it be a relationship you need and wish to nurture as much as you nurture your relationship with your crush. Next year, as you put up that post and call her your best friend, let it be true.

You have a mother or step mother who’s been cruel to you? Forgiveness is key. Easier said than done, but it is crucial. “Ephesians 6:2-3 ‘Honor your father and mother’- which is the first commandment with a promise- ‘that it may GO WELL WITH YOU and that you may ENJOY LONG LIFE on earth’” You don’t have to love them. You only need to honor and obey them.

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For the mothers out there, let us try to care for more than just the physical wellbeing of our kids. They need emotional health too. This year, try reconnect with your kids. “Psalms 127:3 Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children are a reward from him.” Don’t waste this gift.

Photos: Courtesy