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…

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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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CRAZE OF 2015

There was just something about 2015. Maybe it’s just me, but this year was so damn overwhelming. Nothing about 2015 came in limits or small scale; somehow it was either exaggerated or over the top. Am I glad it’s about to end? I do not know.

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My friends got engaged, got babies, got jobs and other life milestones this year, and I stood there congratulating them. Only after celebrating my parents’ 26th wedding anniversary- oops, it’s 27th- did it hit me just how fast life is moving. And I am just here barely committing to what I want to eat for lunch. I turned 23 two months ago. I completed my 8-4-4 last week. Haha. But how much have I to show for it?
The other day someone asked me why I’m not dating. “You’re cut out for relationships,” she said in part. Don’t ask me what “cut out for relationships” means. All my 54-kg body could do was laugh. Because the only reply my beautiful brain came up with was, “Bad karma, my friend. I did not forward those chain messages and here I am. Or maybe it’s my star quality; it’s so bright it is blinding all potential suitors.” I couldn’t say that out loud now, could I?

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2015 has opened my eyes to so much. Like how much I have begun making excuses to run away from responsibility. It’s scary at this age. Any small mistake I make could translate into years of misery and regret. And I know the sting of regret all too well. I do not want to go back there.

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I may write down 15 Lessons Of 2015, but I will state one; what is happening on the inside is far more important than what appears on the outside. We have taken too much time focusing on the perception of people… fitting into a status quo of “what’s-expected-at-this-age” that we fail to work on the inside.
The changes happening on the inside will always find their way to the surface. Will they bring forth a flower or some worm-infested bud? Oh, and Negusse, The Black African Man, perhaps Eric and yourself can whisk me away to Ethiopia. It is still 2003, I hope? My life is skidding too fast for me.