Football Or Marriage

While most smart females worldwide have begun making plans of getaways with girlfriends and are grabbing their men for last minute dates, I am on the other side of the court. With the men who are about to disappear for months. Forget about the elections that will torment us for a few days and then we’re back to complaining of this MP and that Governor. I am on the side of the court that is about to unite people worldwide. Football season is a whiff away!

With such kind of excitement, you can only see the sense in why I have continually thanked God this whole month that I am not married. Fam, I had a “Life Book”. It explicitly highlighted my plan for my life. I was supposed to be married by 25. Lol. I am 25 and cannot even begin to imagine HOW I would have been someone’s wife, let alone mother, at this point. My mother had 2 kids by 25. I am here struggling to find my bra straps, how can I even match my child’s name to his/her face? I salute all women who have children by 25. I have refused to can.

Imagine how I would be struggling next month. Mr. Man and I get home from work. I get in and place my bag somewhere, wash my hands and take a fruit. Any team is playing, and I am all psyched to watch and place bets and have stories. And, of course, piss Mr. Man. (It’s in the constitution). Mr. Man will ask for food when the game is hottest, like a typical man. “Master, wait till half time” I will say, before being taken back to my mother’s house the next day.

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I joined campus in April 2012. World cup was so lit at the time. I already had relatives telling me how I would never get a husband when they heard I was going to study Politics. A Nyerian woman studying politics. That’s the kind of sentence that makes you join campus with so much humility and you become too conscious. Because, you must look wife material, you know? I didn’t even speak of football, because, you know… Until my newest friend mentioned it. And I knew I had found my soul-mate.

Guise, it is one thing to look for plot in campus. It is yet another for two first year females to look for a place to watch football. But our mothers didn’t raise quitters, so we approached one of her male friends.

“Where do you guys usually watch football?”

There is laughter only men can give when a woman asks for a place to watch football.

Moi University Student’s Center, also known as “Stuudie”, was the spot. Strathmore and USIU students shouldn’t even attempt to imagine how stuudie looks like. It is the equivalent of a chaotic empty hexagonal space. With a roof so open, even the echo echoes itself. But we went. Not quitters, remember? Surprised that men were carrying chairs, but even more surprised that more than 500 students would follow this anticipated match via a 30 inch television.

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I used to attend Gor Mahia matches. If you have never seen miracles, please attend one… especially when against AFC Leopards. How people suddenly turn the papers and money in their pockets into stones will forever remain a miracle that should be in the Guinness Book. Forget the backward writer who called Gor Mahia a “little-known Kenyan club”. But the stones and teargas I witnessed at Nyayo Stadium were nothing compared to the flying chairs these very dry Moi University goons called men threw.

I can confidently say that that was how we got inducted and oriented into Political Science. What is African politics without chaos? If that is how these MPs feel during those chaotic meetings, I think I will be comfortable working behind the scenes.

A Mr. Man left me in a club in 2014. My team was playing against his and we won. Apparently, I celebrated too loudly. Sigh. Story for another day.

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I have been through too much for football. I am working to reduce this appeasement. Ba is harrd. I can see myself putting my kids to bed at 6 pm just to enjoy my football time. Or cooking at the beginning of the season and stocking the fridge. Sigh. And if my relatives get to read this, prayers will be convened.

Brethren, take your women out for dinner or drinks or something before August. Appreciate the effort they put all year. And the loneliness they will feel. And if you’re a woman with a man who doesn’t watch football, and you do, Mwathani akuririkane my sister because! This life is tricky.

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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

 

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

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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SECRETARY OF THE HOLY GHOST

Mama Lucy Kibaki becomes the first Kikuyu woman to die and leave a rich husband behind. I tried so hard not to laugh at this, but, oh well. That’s beside the point.
After watching a whole lot of Hollywood movies, I am almost convinced that people can turn in their graves, or be delayed from “proceeding to the other world” by others. That a person can just roam about in purgatory, for those who believe in it, happens to be one of the scariest things you could ever encounter. Believe me, the minute you sit down for a marathon of Sleepy Hollow, you will understand what I am saying.
Today, we woke up to the sad news of the untimely death of Mama Lucy Kibaki. Untimely because, we are never prepared for the death of a loved one, even of those who basically live on a hospital bed (no pun intended). Amidst the many condolence messages and jokes about her eyebrows, something caught my eye and mad me really pissed off. Comments and posts about how the family deserves the pain.

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Who are we to judge who deserves pain and who doesn’t? Has Jesus been hiring and I missed the memo? We are up in arms about how Mwai Kibaki was corrupt and took his wife to a bomb shell hospital most of us can’t afford, while our relatives rot on those KNH floors, thus the family deserves such pain. Ranting about how our sins always catch up with us and it’s their turn.
Well, self-proclaimed Secretary of the Holy Ghost, shame on you and take a seat. No one should ever have to be cajoled and ridiculed because of misfortune. The sins of a spouse or a family member should never be intertwined with the life of any of their spouses or family members. So what if Mwai Kibaki was corrupt? So what if he rigged the elections? Let Mama Lucy be!

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You need to point a finger, direct them to the person at fault. Let the others be. If she died as a punishment to Kibaki, that is for God Almighty to decide and know, not for you, self-proclaimed Secretary, to determine.
Mama Lucy deserves to “cross over” and await her day of judgement in peace. But here we are, already turning her over before she’s even in her coffin. Being silent over Kibaki’s alleged sins for all this time and bringing them up in a time of sorrow is plain wrong. Let us stop being so conditioned to celebrating people’s misfortune.


Unless, of course, you already have The Book of Life in your hands? I would love to know my fate.
Rest in eternal peace, Mama Lucy. We will forever remember your boldness.

Photos: Courtesy

BLIND DATE? NO, THANKS!

In this new world of phones mambo yote, SOS messages come in handy. But let’s face it- they’re only useful when you have someone to send them to. Someone who will actually RESPOND to them; not just wonder why you’re sending them an SOS message as they go back to polishing their nails. Remember those stories where people lie to their spouses that they were with their best friends and when called, best friend is like, “When? I haven’t seen him in a week!”

“But he said he was with you?”

“He did? Oh, shoot! Haha. I forgot. We were together. I’m actually looking at him right now.”

“Thank you for lying, Tom. Mark is right here with me,”

Sigh. Tulikosea nani kweli?

About a year ago, I decided to “grab it by the balls” and “jump into the deep end” by doing something I had never thought of doing. I went on a blind date. I need not say it was one of the most stupid decisions I have ever made. And to this day, I get goose-pimples every time I remember that fateful cursed day.

 

 

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There I was, rushing to meet this seemingly wonderful man who wrote like his life depended on it. Oh, wait, his life does depend on it. He writes for a living. But, yes, you get the point. Someone whose words can turn your body chakras into flute holes? You know the kind, yes?

Bright and early, like it was some job interview. I am on my way to Rongai. Pause. From Embakasi to Rongai! Can you see the effort I even put to this?! And all along, I’m nervous and smiling. Oh, this is going to be so exciting. Seeing him for the first time, hearing his voice for the first time, oh dear heavens, shame on me! But still I went. Vroom vroom here I was alighting at some petrol station in that forbidden land.

I followed the directions sent to the hotel we would be meeting at, before heading to his writing studio (tuwache kudanganya priss). And as the “cautious” person life taught me to be, I text to ask where he’s seated, all the while standing by the door, ready to bolt if what I saw was not pleasing. Too late! Mr Hawk Eye Journalist had seen me! And was standing beside me like the wonderful gentleman he is.

I froze. Literally.

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First of all, he didn’t look ANYTHING like his photo. (I now understand why men complain), didn’t look like he had taken a shower either. He was shabbily dressed for a person meeting someone for the first time. (I don’t mean cheap clothes, that isn’t a problem. I mean you-was-cleaning-and-ran-out-of-soap-so-you-rushed-to-the-shop clothes). He has these chins that make you remember that rough Subaru vroom. And then he spoke… Saitan is real my friends. And he can play kalungu on your destiny with tins.

I don’t remember ever confessing my sins as I did that day. And as I sat and ordered a Coke soda, all I could say was “Jesus, thank you for the weather. Because I am in stockings and I cannot imagine showing my legs to this man.” I had been played. Ten minutes into a monologue of his past and present and future, I took my phone.

To: Gff J

Message: Save me. Now. Code Red.

To: Sam J

Message: Save Me. Now. Code Red. Date going bad.

I have amazing friends. My Gff, Diana, called! Apparently, our “friend” was in an emergency and “needed our help ASAP”. I even adjusted my phone volume to maximum so my amazing date could listen in. (Let’s just say Sam called too. But instead of “saving me”, he called to laugh. SMH. Men.)

 

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And with the little dignity I had left, I stood to leave, apologizing for cutting our date short in such an uncouth manner. Life couldn’t even have chosen a different day, bla bla.

And as a matatu came, he turned to me, “I believe I will be seeing you soon.”

Beliefs are sometimes on steroids, my man. Blind date ni gari za wapi tena?

PHOTOS: COURTESYsteroids

YOUR MYTH, MY LIFE

If you’re African, you are constantly reminded not to sound or act “white”. Truth be told, our fear of “appearing white” has resulted into we Africans burying our heads in the sand and sweeping critical issues under the carpet. Stress and depression is a problem that has been ignored for a long time, and as a result, Africa continues to lose a great number of people through cancer, HIV/AIDS, depression, etc. I have lost a couple of friends through suicide. Having had my encounters with stress and depression, I can tell you it’s not a happy place to be.

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I may not reach the whole world with this post, but I believe that getting to two or three people will be a worthwhile first step. Ripple effect, if you may?1.

  1. S&D don’t mean a person is moody and sad all the time. Being sad and moody may be symptoms of stress and depression, but they are not definite SI Units. If anything, there are many people succumbing to stress and depression yet they appear happy and jovial. For a majority of people suffering from Stress and Depression, they are in a constant state of numbness. They are like a void- with only extreme feelings of anger or pain, and even extreme happiness.
  2. Stress and Depression is not caused by witchcraft. Yeah, I understand that we Africans hold our beliefs sacred, but sometimes, they have resulted in fatal mistakes. As mistaken as the belief that malaria is caused by spirits or that HIV/AIDS can be healed through rape, believing that S&D is an effect of witchcraft is misinformed.
  3. S&D is not a death sentence. Just because someone succumbed to the effects of S&D, in this case, suicide, it doesn’t mean that you will too. Anyone and everyone can recover from S&D, if and when appropriate steps are taken.
  4. Seeking professional help for S&D is not weakness. S&D is not weakness. It is a disease. Seeking professional help isn’t weakness either. Men, especially, get stigmatized for seeking professional help. At the end of the day, is it worthwhile living a troubled tormented life just because we fear what people think or say?
  5. S&D is not a hormonal problem. It’s not because you have flaring emotions, or because your hormones are barely ever in check. No. Even emotionally balanced people can have spouts of S&D.
  6. S&D is not a white-people problem. SIGH. Really. Africa is losing thousands of vibrant people full of potential to this menace. S&D isn’t a respecter of race, color or religion. Everyone is vulnerable. No matter how “African” they may feel.
  7. S&D is not the same for everyone. We all react differently to different stimuli and problems. It is the same for S&D. We will all have different manifestations and different processes. Our time and modes of recovery will also differ. Don’t compare yourself.

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Was this helpful? Do you know of persons suffering from S&D? Do you know of anyone willing to share their story? Why not share and help spread awareness? One person at a time.

 

Photos: Courtesy

BUT HE BOUGHT ME FLOWERS

 

 

 

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Last week was bad

He was very drunk and

His backhanded blow knocked me

Hard against the wall

My ribs hurt and

My ace is bruised and swollen

But I know he is sorry because

He’s brought me flowers

 

He broke a tooth

When he hit me Saturday

My eldest tried to shield me

They’re fighting for me but

I don’t want them to hate him;

I want them to understand it’s

Just his temper; he doesn’t mean it-

And he’s bought me flowers!

 

 

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Yesterday he hurt me so bad

I had to go to hospital

But I didn’t tell them how it happened

He’s my man and I

Married him for better or worse

He’s the father of my children

And I know he’s sorry because

He’s brought me flowers.

 

My mother wants me to leave him

But, if I leave, where can I go?

How will I take care of my children?

What will I do for money?

I’m afraid of him

But I’m too scared to go

And I know he needs me- look;

He’s bought me flowers!

 

Photos: Courtesy

PHOTOS, REALLY?

We live in a generation where our whole life story is narrowed down and narrated in photographs. Digital generation- as we love to call ourselves. But in reality, we are but a photo generation. A generation of self absorbed, narcissistic show offs- all trying to fit in. Hate me or love me, we are all in this together. We want to show the world how amazing our lives are, to the extent of downloading photos from Google to drive the point home. Oh, bless my heart for apps like photoshop!

So what? We cannot run from this. We have to face the reality of the current world- photos are our life story. A super wise person once said that “A photo is a secret of a secret; the more it tells you, the less you know”. How true is this? Oh, hail Queen of Selfies. She will never let you know how broken and lonely she feels. Neither will the King of Selfies show the world just how much he suffers from low self esteem. He hates his body- but his face looks awesome so what the hell? That sells it.

The greatest disaster though is RELATIONSHIPS.

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Honey moon phase is clogged by the numerous photos the lovebirds take. From selfies to photos of each other to professional shoots. The world must see just how good we look together… And the greatest lie most often, how happy we are together.

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Then soon, the photos reduce. You begin to realize your spouse has lesser photos of you in his or her galleries, and more and more of others. Somehow, the photos got “deleted by mistake” or their “phone is low on space” or obnoxious excuses of how their “mother may find them”. Make a fuss about it and a can of stinking worms of how unappreciative you are gets opened. “Do you not understand? I am with you, not them.” Or the stupid “See I have two photos of you in my vault”.

Sell this at an auction; our galleries speak volumes about us. You want to know what dominates a person’s mind- check their galleries. Let alone their messages. Our galleries are what we turn to when we are feeling mad or happy or bored or I-don’t-know-what-my-mood-is. We will reminisce and get nostalgic based on what is in our galleries. If your spouse’s photos are less than those of your crush or ex or secret fantasy, something is definitely wrong.
Yeah! Phone out. Let’s confirm the ratio.