My Chartreuse Blouse


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…



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.


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



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How’re you?” Is most probably the greatest sentence we misuse. It has become so routine, so much a greeting, that we have forgotten to actually pause and think about the weight of those three simple words. Do we really want to know how that person is? Do we have the time to listen? Do we even care?

And just like that, we answer “I’m fine“. Because that’s what we should answer when asked how we are. We have learned that that is the appropriate answer: even when we don’t mean it. So we crush and suffer and rot inside because we cannot bear to let the world in on how we are. Shame, pride, even fear… these have become more important than truth.

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We are all liars. We ask questions we don’t want answers to. We answer questions in ways that mask the truth. We mustn’t lose our image, we remind ourselves. People must see that we are social and caring enough to ask how people are doing. They must see we are strong enough to keep our lives in good order and have everything fine.
So what happens to that person who wants to actually tell you how they are? What happens to that loved one who wants to let somebody -you- in to their story? Their pain… their fear… What happens? Are you ready to hear them? Are you ready to listen to their story? Are you ready for their truth?

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My name is Shredded Innocence. And I know for a fact that none of us is okay.