Saturday, November 28, 2020

This chic: I don't think I'm ready to get back into Society.

I've been thinking that may be I'm not ready to get back into society.

That things are fine as they are. No house calls no parties and no socialization pressure.

That if we really need to be together in future we can just do a video call or something  without the videos because I have to think about my background and my resident cat's tail swishing across the screen randomly.

I know he knows exactly what he's  doing. 

Just as he exactly knows that he is winking at me when he does.

I always wink back 

Then he winks again

So I wink back 

And then I think

Oh gosh if someone was watching they would be really spooked by this.

So I say in a loud unnatural matronly voice.

'Cat didn't you just wink at me or do you have something in you eye?'

And then I go off to do something else.


The reason I am hesitant to get back to society is because I know people I used to know before corona will say.

'Oh my gosh you are so thin you haven't been eating!'

And then I will go on to defend myself that I am eating it's just that it's going to the wrong places.

"Just look at my Mluhya Legs."


And the person will ignore that and completely ignore my strong Mluhya Legs and say how I should eat more and how the bones below my neck are protruding.

I will by then be feeling a little worked up and in my heard I will have different retorts. 

'You missed my Adam's apple too, it's much more pronounced since I lost weight around my neck.'

'How much food have you fed me this corona and I threw up after eating it?'

' Do you want to run from here to that kibanda over there and see who needs to be healthier?'

I don't get humans

“Whhhrrrr . . .” said Arthur Dent. He opened his eyes. “It’s dark,” he said.

“Yes,” said Ford Prefect, “it’s dark.”

“No light,” said Arthur Dent. “Dark, no light.”

The recliner stars by @Paul Ngummi.


One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about human beings was their habit of continually stating and repeating the obvious, as in It’s a nice day, or You’re very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have  fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you alright? At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behaviour. If human beings don’t keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up. After a few months’ consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favour of a new one. If they don’t keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working. After a while he abandoned this one as well as being obstructively cynical and decided he quite liked human beings after all, but he always remained desperately worried about the terrible number of things they didn’t know about.

“Yes,” he agreed with Arthur, “no light.” He helped Arthur to some peanuts. “How do you feel?” he asked.

“Like a military academy,” said Arthur, “bits of me keep on passing out.”

-The hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Thin people are people too. 

#surfboardprofile.

I know I was born in the wrong continent where having a little more meat especially on the backside and on the thorax area (@Markreen calls it thorax so let's go with that) eclipses everything else.


Personality, positivity, clear Brown skin, agility, shinny nails, even eyebrows,shapely knees.


I would like for once someone to come and do a Jane Austen on me like 'oh, what shapely ankles you have miss.' I will appreciate that very much.

Or ask me about my nutrition, my exercise habits.

It's not always about lemon and starving yourself you know?

As me about the books I'm reading, the plants I'm growing. 

I do think I'm ready to go back into society though.I still got my aunty acid sarcasm intact.Although I never really need to use it at such instances because I've come to know that people will jab at you to try and cover up their own insecurities.

And I don't want to be the one that breaks them. 

I am a nice woman.

As long as we talk about things that really matter.

Like being alive, still.


My aunt told me I've even grown shorter.

'What's  wrong? Are you not eating? Now and the way Kikuyu you can get fresh food why are you not eating?'

So I googled.

'Is it possible to grow shorter?'

Yes you can, because of loss of bone mass, but when you hit 70. 

Not because of not eating enough.


I don't go round telling people 'you are fat, are you eating too much? ' 

'Look at all the meat falling out of your waist'.


Coz it's rude. 

It's rude both ways.


Permission to take off?


I'm an alien. A thin alien. Happy to be alive in whatever body I have.

This is my body shaming rant.

Aliens on planet Africa. 




Y'all wanna be thin anyways.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Romain Virgo - Who Feels It Knows It | Official Music Video


This song makes so much sense to me this year.

Who Feels It Knows It
Romain Virgo
This one is fi all a di hard working people
Jamaican people
Some nuh know what it feels like
Fi a work from six inna the morning straight up to midnight (midnight)
A me fi tell yuh
You think it easy fi Barba stand up inna di shop whole day
And nuttin nah gwaan
You think it easy fi farma stay up inna di sun whole day
A plough the farm
It no easy being offender nor a taxi man noo
You think it easy fi stand up and watch di youth a cry fi food fi nyam
But a Who Feels It Knows It
We a feel it from we likkle and a grow
A Who Feels It Knows It
Sometimes you feel like fi let go
A Who Feels It Knows It
We a feel it from we likkle and a grow
A Who Feels It Knows It
A only Jah Jah know (only Jah Jah know)
You think it easy fi know seh early a morning that you a come fi the rent
When deep dung inna yourself you know seh
You dont have a cent
You know mi feel it fi di youths dem wey haffi sleep on the street
Dem no care fi di youths dem
And a long time mi seet
So a Who Feels It Knows It
We a feel it from we likkle and a grow
A Who Feels It Knows It
Sometimes you feel like fi let go
A Who Feels It Knows It
We a feel it from we likkle and a grow
A Who Feels It Knows It
A only Jah Jah know (only Jah Jah know)
Yeah
The way di system set up
No help poor people no way
But poor people nah go give up(nooo)
No matter how it stay
We still hustle and fight it (hustle and fight it)
All when we no like it (when we no like it)
Still working on an on
From dust till dawn
Sooo
But a Who Feels It Knows It
We a feel it from we likkle and a grow
A Who Feels It Knows It
Sometimes you feel like fi let go
A Who Feels It Knows It
We a feel it from we likkle and a grow
A Who Feels It Knows It
A only Jah Jah know (only Jah Jah know)
Yeah
You think it easy fi know seh early a morning that you a come fi the rent
When deep dung inna yourself you know seh
You dont have a cent
You know mi feel it fi di youths dem wey haffi sleep on the street
Dem no care fi di youths dem
And a long time mi seet
But a Who Feels It Knows It
We a feel it from we likkle and a grow
A Who Feels It Knows It
Sometimes you feel like fi let go
A Who Feels It Knows It
We a feel it from we likkle and a grow
A Who Feels It Knows It
A only Jah Jah know (only Jah Jah know)
Yeah.


Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Donovan Germain / Romain Virgo / Shuana Kensie / Bunny Fletcher

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Pandemic Fatigue catches up with a cowardly courageous woman.




My second last roll of tissue rolled and fell into the toilet this morning.


Great.


Now, on top of calculating how much nutrients my body can absorb from sorghum porridge I have to watch how many boxes of toilet paper I use per visit.

I should have paid attention in Tanzania maybe I could have figured that water in a jerrycan hack.


Else, not being a newspaper buyer I have to start thinking about which of my many notebooks have the softer paper.


It's like that time primary school when my two last tissue rolls fell into the bucket of water I was keeping at the bottom side of the bed. 


I went to the assistant matron with the dump toilet papers and told her I was out. Bless her heart because she managed to get me a roll from the ones they kept for the younger children.


I have ran out tights as well. I have basically been doing rounds in tights and many months down 2020 I am now left with one decent pair which I can't really go out in because it's really a man's tights. It has open pockets in front . That's  how I figure it is men's wear. This is really a strange year, it's long since I wore out clothes. Five pairs to be exact, or maybe I didn't notice because when it was normal to roam I'd come across tights wherever and buy, discarding the faded ones. these ones have holes and lost elasticity and can't even be used as rags.


I've started showing up at the salon in my Sunday dresses that I almost look fresh.

Like I just moved to Nairobi from Kamwakwa where I was working at a timber sales or co-owned a printing shop.

Anyway corona will show us.

I have been wondering what's wrong with me.

Now I know I have pandemic fatigue.

I am trying my best to stay safe but  I am becoming complacent I no longer kick and bite when the conductor tells me to songea huyu kuna wenye wanashuka pale mbele.

Move a little, some people are getting off in the next stage.

I am using the 10bob masks even though I know they are one ply.

I don't wipe down everything quite as vigorously as before.


It's  hard to get into bed

It's  hard to get out of bed

Sometimes I feel a sense of dread so strong It feels physical.

I've stayed awake praying

I've stayed awake sobbing

I've despaired

I have called down hell and damnation to several annoying people

I've spent a whole day in bed, waking from one dream to another because, I just couldn't face the day.

 So I spent the night googling depression symptoms.

But.

I've got up 30 days in a month, sometimes 31 and lived.


In the Samurai's garden, there is a quote. 'It takes more courage to live.'


So I guess, in spite of things I am courageous. 

A cowardly courageous woman.






Friday, November 20, 2020

Battle Fatigue

I feel like I crossed the threshold of something significant today.

It feel like all the weight from the past and for the future has finally settled into a comfortable home within me where I no longer need to haul it along but to simply let it be wherever it wants to  be.

I feel like I've stopped fighting against the goads.

I'm cowardly but very courageous while doing it.

It reminds me of the time my uncle started teaching me self defence.

He had just got out of jail and was trying to fill in the time before he got his ID processed.

While he wasn't flirting with every single girl to woman between 25-50,

he hang around the back of his brother's kitchen singing scandalous lyrics to songs he obviously made up in his time in 'college' as he called it.

He made me do each move over and over .

I lifted weights 

I did squats and kicked and punched and when I felt I couldn't do another single burpie he'd say, 'if you do two more, those are the one's that count.'


Then he told my me to tell my mother to get me a sports bra.


My mother said 'ndigithiai-niī

And then schools opened and I continued to do the exercises and it's true, the ones you do after you feel you can't do anymore are the ones that matter.

(I really miss his, he was the realist relative that lived.)

I feel like I am beyond the two extra workouts.

In life.

I feel like I've been training and training and done the extra rounds and now I am just plain exhausted.

I could do it all again, with less agitation but I really would prefer rest, and probably automation.


In her book, Daring Greatly Brène Says that

'often the result of daring greatly isn’t a victory march as much as it is a quiet sense of freedom mixed with a little battle fatigue.'


I have battle fatigue.


Paper kites- Halcyon 


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Writing Challenge: A favourite movie

In my work as a hustler I get shouted at a lot.

It's just the way things are. In this field, communication styles developed then mutated and  mostly what is left is raw truth said in 

raw anger, lots of raw blame and finger pointing

And many times you find yourself doubting if you don't really live in a tree. The way people will address you.



Writing Challenge Day 7

My Favourite Movie.


I couldn't decide which one it is , so I will go with the two movies I watch when the world stops making sense.

Which is often.

The Princess Diaries 1

The Devil Wears Prada.



In the Devil Wears Prada, Andrea is a writer who gets hired for a PA job in a fashion magazine. 

Her boss is a rude editor who only believes in one thing:Success.

-Wait wait,

The boss Miranda is played by Merly Streep.And so of course it's a good movie. Clare(Miranda calls her Clare even though her name is Andrea)is played by Anne Hathaway who is brilliant. 

I love the intro music, and all the clothes that Andrea get's to wear. Including the black and white bra in the opening song because I once had a bra like that until it lost all of it's elasticity so I just kept it on as a suveniour.

But what I love is how Andrea keeps bouncing back.

When you work under someone that is constantly making you feel small and worthless it's possible to just say- si ikae. But she doesn't let it work on her insecurities.she succeeds in the job, then leaves at her own will. She leaves the glamour behind, because that is not all there is to life. And flies back home to her very very yummy boyfriend.



I like the Princess Diaries because they live in a refurbished firehouse and when the girl needs to come down she slides down the pole. A house doesn't get cooler than that, plus they have a cat, Fat Louie.



(I just googled who played the girl in this movie. Wait for it...Anne Hathaway. So it might see I am her fan too.) I like The movies the limo driver has played too. He is called Hector Lizondo.


When a past she didn't know about resurfaces, Mia has to man up and face up both the past, the future and her present life which has suddenly taken a spin.

The question of why now? Arises when she has to decide whether to forgive or cut her paternal grandmother completely off for not showing up early enough.


She also had to be honest and tell her friend the truth that now she is no longer the ordinary bestie she has been but royalty. Her bestie is way stocked  for her new status more than even herself. Beasties like that are precious.

I like this sub story because it shows how relationships are not a fairytale.


 They have ups and downs but you have to be completely honest with each other.


I watch the Devil Wears Prada when I have an interview that's  scaring me.

And I watch Princess Diaries when I need to remind myself the past can be whatever it please itself to be,  I cannot do anything about the past. I can only have a positive perspective about the future, and live as best as I can for the present.

and everything will be okay, because Anne Hathaway.


Monday, November 2, 2020

This Chic: Single and Happy?

The best bit about being single is the time I have had for self discovery.



I have done many summersorts in my efforts to know who I am what I am and what bits of myself I hate. And what bits I really like about my personality.

The result is each each that passes I say to myself. Gosh I was such a dimwit last year.

And I'm glad that it is all happening within my own circumference. 


30 Day Writing Challenge 

Day 6 : Single and Happy 


Day 4 and 5 are topics I'm not ready to poke at this moment. Day six didn't look so threatening.

Yeah I'm ready to reveal scars but not all of them. As yet.


When I was younger, I used to think that I wanted to get married yes, but could we have separate rooms?


Then I thought that yeah I possibly would like to get married but not before 29 because what if I discovered I didn't like the person anymore and wanted a divorce at 30?

So I thought maybe I should wait until I am past 30, so that the desire to divorce someone would have ended and I'd just be happy to have mūndū wa kūndirithia ūkūrū.


And then I got used to being single because that was the life I knew anyway. It was my mother's life and my grandmother's life and my great grandmother's too. The former two lost their husbands early in life. My mother, well, my mother, we'll poke at that another time.


And me, well. I needed to sort my issues before I got someone's son in the mix and made them miserable.


But how could I be single and happy without being lonely?


Honestly, unless someone mentions it explicitly, I hardly ever feel like my happiness would multiply from marriage.

In my singlehood/ness. I have learned what works for me and what doesn't.

As a creative, I know how to be alone.


I think marriage to someone I really like would add to my joy, but not like from 50%to 100%  but more like from 100% to 150%.


I also have learned that if I am not happy and comfortable with myself now, no son of Adam can make me happy and comfortable.


I have to know how to be happy right now.


I am happy too for the kind of tight deep reaching friendships I have had time to develop.

After marriage, one still needs these other connections.


I am happy that I can be empathetic to those who would really like a mate but haven't found the right one, or haven't been found by the right one or have had to leave the right one because of reasons.


I am happy too to have good relationships with members of the opposite sex without it needing to lead into anything. Just pure brotherly fatherly uncley relatinships.


I've had to come to terms with accepting my position as a middle aged woman in relation to single men slightly older than me  and my position in relation to single men way younger than me.

It's a balancing act of knowing how to be a single woman. A younger woman the older ones could date  or a big sister  to the younger ones but still the sort of woman they might find attractive. 

And the continued condescension between me and single men my age



So single and happy can ? Yeah. 

#singleness #growth#innerwork#adulting


Friday, October 23, 2020

Your Shallow and incomplete guide to cooking food for people who live alone or with cats and are tired of eating ugali with eggs every night.



How to cook a liver with vegetables.

In the book Julie and Julia, Julie describes the buying, preparation , cooking and the eating of liver as requiring special mental preparation.
I agree.
I only cook liver maybe once a year or not at all.
Perhaps when I go to the butchery and see it on display and remember, oh liver is a food item.
I didn't grow up eating liver.
We had access to chicken liver which would get mixed up in the rest of the meat.
I liked to eat the heart though.

I didn't know how to cook liver until my housemate from the Botswana upperclass gave me step by step instructions.

For pig liver.
She also taught me how to bake a ginger flavoured fish.

Then she conned me out of my house deposit  when she graduated and was off to her country setting our other housemate on me claiming I had, her deposit. 

The other roommate was Rwandese.
Thinner than a praying mantis and the daughter of a high profile official in her country.

So she didn't attend her classes but spent her days with a crowd of other moneyed college kids driving fast cars, drinking alcohol by the gallons and breaking into the house each time she misplaced her key.

On silent nights she smoked weed on the balcony with the Nigerian middle aged man down stairs.
The Nigerian man tried to give me a ride to town several times. He called me a snobbish Kenyan until the day he found me walking to my friend's condo on a hot afternoon and he simply said get in the car girl! 
And I sheepishly got in, folded my hands on my laps and thought about kidnapping stories I had heard in the news.
He didn't say a word to me.
When we got to the condo parking
I said thank you and got out.

He didn't stop to offer me rides after that.
The Motswana girl was a good cook. But she didn't cook at all.
Just made cup after cup of coffee which she would drink sitting on the treadmill tricycle that was the only bit of furniture in the large sitting room. That, and an old tv that only broadcast Channel 1 news in Malay. She then would get out to the balcony to smoke some thin  cigarettes.
I broke her coffee cup washing it that time she went to visit her boyfriend, when she came back she was really annoyed, then her friend from her hood back in Botswana came calling and was walking about the house naked.
She also didn't lock the toilet when she was inside and almost gave me a heart attack when I got in and almost went blind with both shock and embarrassment because I had not seen a full woman's grown body since primary school and here was one sitting on a toilet asking me if I was coming in for a shower.
I escaped and spent that weekend at my friend's house. There was no chance of any humans walking around without clothes here.

I ached for the lost deposit but then later on in life I did my math and settled my heart that the deposit was legitimate fees for several cooking classes. 
The Rwandese praying mantis only cooked potatoes with frankfurters and when she did she would use my cooking oil. 
I'd scrowl at her any chance I got but she never would look me in the eye.

 I did learn to make a liver and here is the recipe.

  1. Cut the liver into nice cubes.
  2. You may rub it with lemon juice to remove that livery smell it's got.
  3. Turn it over into a thick frying pan and turn it until it starts to turn Brown.
  4. Add a little oil and keep turning it over and over.
  5. Sprinkle some salt.
  6. Add yellow and red bell peppers, hobo and onions and tomatoes all together and cover for a while.
  7. You can add a table spoon of water and let it simmer.
  8. Keep checking to see if it looks cooked.
  9. It should be soft to cut through and not rubbery.
Enjoy.

I find if I leave it over and eat it the following day it tastes better.
But I have a weird taste choose so don't say I told you to watch your cooked food over night.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Embracing Vulnerability: #Growth From The Inside



I'm 5% steel and 90 percent emotional  rust.

The rest of the 5% is the air that sustains the steel as it combusts the rust.

Basically, it's hard to explain how I'm still standing.

I take hits hard.

I crumble often.

 But my five percent steel

Is a whole five percent.


My friend said  to me a few months ago, that I resembled growth from the inside. 

It's not easy to know how growth from the inside looks like.

And I wondered might I not be worse off than when I began?


But you never really know If you have grown or not until you face a situation you faced before and did poorly, but this time you do better?


I don't mean Maths. I'd still fail maths if I took a test today. But in human relations, in how I view myself and how I interpret other's actions.


After trying to understand it. I finally told her- please explain- 


"Growth from the inside, is often seen by outsiders/ others as a threat or inspiration. Depending on whether the person has a fixed mind set or growth mindset. For me, it's inspiring, to see you all made up. I've never seen you all dolled- up, not like that. It's a risk, that was basically a"touch down ". You look amazing. Then seeing you model....I tell you the dreams you held on inside are surfacing. And the fact that, you accept & own both your inner and outer beauty is inspirational. True, life hasn't been easy.. But, you're taking it in stride and may JH continue to bless you, and strengthen you daily..."


So, inspite of my fear, nerves, constant apprehension? Delabitating uncertainity and the everyday realization that this world is too clever for me, I am growing.


I'm scared yes, but my fear these days fuels my motivation.


Take my hairdressing experiments for example.

 The Kenyan salon environment is the last place someone who has as many fears as I do would want to be.

The caste system, the politics and the competition.


 They are a fast talking ready to contend bunch, but who are so good at their work that the feelings I might have towards them would best be described as a mixture of awe topped with a big red cherry of disgust.


I hold them in equal amounts of derision and adoration.


And here I am trying to earn a living among them, knowing they know I'm not as skilled as they are, yet from the corner of my eye, I see the same feelings towards me, and something else.

They can see the 5% steel. 

They know I don't fully belong here, but they also can't place me. 

 There is something else there too, they admit.

There is fire.


And something else that is quite invisible. You need to posses it to know it.

'We are not sure why she seems to radiate joy even when she is obviously having a rough day.'


I've been reading about vulnerability and how it affects my life.

In her book: Daring Greatly, Brene Brown says that.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity


True after exhibiting vulnerabilityI have made some special connections. I have felt a little braver, I have become empathetic because I have been able to recognise the struggle in others.

And each time I bare my soul 

I have no need to live a lie. I am accountable to myself and those I have or in my life to be fully authentic. In a way I expect the same from them, but I never get disappointed.


"often the result of daring greatly isn’t a victory march as much as it is a quiet sense of freedom mixed with a little battle fatigue."



My friend Angie, overcame depression after a divorce





My friend Lindsey overcame Postpartum Depression



My friend Zawadi overcame intense grief after losing both parents

They are not strong, they are brave for not pretending that they were okay when they weren't.
The result is this clear growth from the inside.
It is the victory of overcoming a mountain that could have wrestled them to the ground.

I am a third of the way in my journey to becoming what I feel I should be.
so in a future post I will write about that.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

My future is my mother getting resurrected looking hot and spoiling the market for me.


The first thing my mother can expect from me when she is resurrected is an argument. 

She will have to explain why she just wakes up dead one day and doesn't even send me an alert before.

Even a text would have sufficed.


"Hi, I am dying, you can have the radio, I knew you always coveted it."

Or "I'm out, you should have been a son."

Or 
"I'm dying, don't make a scene."

Or
"I'm dying, marry someone dammit, preserve this family line for heavensake!"

Or 
"I"m dying yes but I better have four grandchildren when I get up."
Nyawira wa Munyeki & Gathoni wa Nyawira



All in capital letters because if she was dying she wouldn't have been able to find her specs fast enough to type that last message.

I admit I am keeping that little anger for her. Why it was such a bummer was because she always told me whenever she was leaving the house to go somewhere else other than work.
"Hi, we are going to Kisii for a funeral."
"Hey, ndathiī Donholm (her elder sister's house)
"Hey Ndathiī gwa Kami (her younger sister's house)
"Hey, nyuma kwa auntie nī akūgeithia. "(I was at my friend's house, she greeted you)

So for her to take the longest journey to be joined with her foremothers without telling me about it was a little offscript.
or maybe she didn't know about it, let me give her that, it was probably those unplanned trips tuseme. But still. 

I better have a man by then because if she is resurrected looking like this then I may as well make peace with spinsterhood for eternity.
Even at my blossomest age I never looked as fine as this woman.



I also need to have a few grandchildren to show her that hey look the family line is getting on.
So I hope someone nudges me when the time is nigh so I can at least adopt some quickly. A daughter will be crucial of course. And about seven sons, one of them Korean. I want those Korean eyes in my family.

I've been scared of what would  happen  to my emotions this week. 
I was worried my grief would rise up afresh and I would be paralyzed and  my head would be muddled like it was a year ago, a few months ago.
But you know what?
Time heals.
And you know what, it gets easier each day.
My biggest help have been my friends who I can totally trust with my emotions.
When you are grieving you need someone you can gush out confused emotions to.
My friends know when I say 'sijui nafeel feel aje' it means please let's chat until I start laughing at dark jokes.

My friends also know sending over a cute pillow or a cat meme will make me very happy.
I also have an aunt who was loved a lot by mother and who my mother loved a lot. And she didn't leave the scene when most people did.

And dear christian shepherds who check with me often.

It's  true only Jehovah's kingdom will be able to heal us all completely.
But even right now. Our creator is not ignorant of our suffering.
And he is open to questions. 
I've asked him very hard questions and cried to him in a lot of anguish.
But he has never turned me away.
He has been a real father to me.
And everyday I can smile, I owe it to him.
For now, I just keep doing my best to survive each tornado.

But very soon I will say:
“Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and is residing with them, and they are his people. And God himself is with them.  And he has wiped out every tear from their eyes, and death is no more, neither is there mourning nor outcry nor pain  anymore. The former things have passed away.” 
Revelation 21:3,4


Monday, September 21, 2020

Embracing Vulnerability: Conversations with friends vs conversations with family and welcoming the un chat.

I think I like the way cats just move I to your life and settle in like they were there all along. A cat has moved into my life and now he treats me like I'm the annoying roommate who finishes all the food before the other gets home.
I have named him Cherries Long. Because he is quite a long breed and his eyes are bright and playful. When a cat moves into your life. He doesn't waste time with long introductions. He comes in, looks around and decides 'oh, I like it here. I think I'll stay.' A cat doesn't bring baggage. He comes with the clothes on his back and begins a new life with you. A cat does not ask if you have had other cats before and if you are still attached to them.

He is happy to be here with you now.

A cat doesn't need constant reassuarance, that yes, un chat, you are the best cat I ever had and your cuddles are the best I've ever had and yes I think of my other un chats but you are here now and you bring me comfort.
I assure you, this is all about cats. But it got me thinking about the different types of relationships I have. I love the kind of relationships I have with about five of my close friends. The kind of conversations we can have. We are past that game playing stage where -you didn't reply my text last week so I will ignore your whatsapp- Our conversations start when they do and end when they do. They are random Unconditional And honest. My biggest regret is that in the busy business of growing up, I didn't develop this kind of relationship with my family. Yes we talk and laugh and lift each when lifting is needed, but there lacks that essential trueness that I have come to grow into with the friends I have now. I'll talk about it more on the blog. What I mean is apart from how is work and have you eaten and the weather, there is nothing else to talk about. If I was interested in politics or the Nairobi Stock Exchange, maybe. I was, when I wrote financial articles. But the interest started and ended with the printing of each monthly article. I guess if I had given it a shot I may have managed to get my family to talk about feelings. I donno, I am too sentimental and this was not even about my family. I'm thinking of Katie Melua's lyrics 'But the moments we create always seem to ring more true.'

It is a decision.

You decide the rhythm you want your family to have. You decide the kind of conversations you want to keep having with your hexagonal of your friends. It is about the safe space that you develop to allow thoughts, dreams, daydreams and nightmares to be pocked at and be understood. And somehow I believe it's possible. When we embrace vulnerability. I believe I have scared off quite a few potential friends and mates when I started to talk about immortality vs mortality, the futility of a master brain in a seven decade lifesspan and similar topics that many don't want to venture into but what is the purpose of the brain of not to test its limits in safe enough theories. One day I will have a family and I guess my idea is. If I am to have children, I want them to ask me questions and disagree with me and If I am to have a spouse I want him to tell me no you are off But I love you so get off your high chair and fetch me a cup of something. I am constantly craving feedback. No adulation or praise or even a pat on the back. I mean,

I like engagement.

I like to know that you get me. And of you are not getting me I need you to seek clarification. From me. Because I have often been misunderstood. And for that I come off as awkward and disjointed. But here we are in 2020 and I have a clan that totally gets me. So I'm grateful for that.

Layers of me

And as I continue to peel off more layers and layers of me. I believe I may have a chance to stand infront of me completely true. Unencumbered and unhidired by bright my own or the society's expectations of a woman. With less fear With less shame With less regrets With less angst With more freedom.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Your Shallow and Incomplete Guide to cooking food

For people who live alone or with cats and are tired. Man so tired of reheating that ugali from two nights ago which won't get finished. 




So ati my love language is food.
One friend told me.
And another confirmed that, "yeah it's true Cecilia you are into food."
So I asked if that made me a foodie.
"Well, yeah, yes and no.
It's like, in your house you express love by giving food to people.
But in other people's houses then, you kinda expect love to be expressed in the same way."
Really?
Gosh. I might be tiresome.
But it's true yes.
If I love you I want you to try this and that and when you finish would you like to try some of these sweet potato cookies I made? They are really good.

If I pack you a meal it's typically a love letter, if I pack you a meal with drinks just call it a proposal. I'll be home wringing my hands wondering will he say yes?
And I am also a healthy diet freak so it all comes together quite, hippie style.

I went to the posho meal. Because when Tata was asking what I needed from home I mentioned how about some wheat?

We grow wheat, where I come from.

Endarasha really is the promised land and if you are looking for a plot to plant onions  hit me up I can hook you up. You will soon be supplying onions to all Samosa street vendors and even to The Mayura, if you have the right connections.

This is a quick one. 
Baking powder chapatis with veg stew.
The chapati recipe is mine,  Davies The Chef gave me the recipe for the stew. His didn't have the option of a whole jug of water. But you know how it is. How would I be a whole Gathoni if I dared serve food without gathufu.

HOW TO MAKE BAKING POWDER CHAPATIS




You need:

2 cups of brown milled wheat flour 
1Table spoon baking powder
half a tea spoon salt
Half a cup warm water
You may add sugar if you like.
Mix with a spoon. 
See, you don't even have to touch it.
Then mix evenly with a wooden spoon.
Spread a tablespoon of oil on the dough and keep kneeding with the spoon.
Cover it and leave it for an hour or so.

Roll into thick chapati shapes.
Cook over a thick pan, little oil


Here is the stew recipe


                                                         



Wednesday, September 9, 2020

A trip with a couple friends: A cure for wretchedness.




I could see the confusion in the receptionist's face.
She was wondering:

Okay, this man doesn't look old enough to be a polygamist.
And if we argued this was their child, this woman doesn't look old enough to have birthed this grown up child.
Even if she came into the marriage with the child, it wouldn't be this big.
And even so, why would they bring their child on honey moon?
Or maybe she is driving them and going away?
Ai, no. Mimi sielewi, let me wait and see because I don't understand.

That was the soliloquy that went through her head.

I walked over to the pool, it was a decent enough pool. Medium in size.
I hate those tiny pools where you cannot do five wraps without hitting your wrists on the opposite walls.
They make me feel claustrophobic . 
I don't like very large swimming pools either. Unless I will be with someone all the time. Whenever I get to the deep end I feel so sure there is a whale lurking under the dark water ready to bite off my stomach.

This would do.
I would swim under the stars.
There was no mistaking that the cottage on the left was what was reserved for the couple on honey moon.
It had a big heart-shaped flower wreath of red and purple bougainvillaea.

This was going to be very interesting.

I went into the reception and Godi was just informing them yes, I would be staying the week as well. Yes I was their friend.  
No it was not their honeymoon.


And so we walked to the cottage, to find quite blush inducing bed.

We walked over to what would be my room. Nice.

'I should replicate this for my house.' 
I was thinking while 
the room steward came running and apologised and said she would also prep my bed. We went to look over at the kitchen and when I got back to my room my bed had the most beautiful model of swans made out of towels.

Three months earlier Maria had said they had a gift for me, I thought hmm...maybe lunch?

My cousin bro had died a few weeks before, I was still in heavy fog mentally wondering what had just happened and could  someone smart please explain to me in Kenyan English what was going on.

Also,my contract job had ended and I was wondering how I would continue to manage my volunteer work at the sign language department.

There were other subplots in my life as well.

So finally the day came for the trip to Diani.
It coincided with my last week at the Department. I at least had a distraction, else I'd really have crawled into a hole to die.
Feeling my purpose was over.

I was at first wondering how this would turn out. What would we talk about, how would we spend whole days together? The three of us. But by the second day I was wondering why this was not a one month arrangement. It was like being with my close family.
Cooking together, talking and walking on the beach together.

And when we went swimming I could be free because hey, there were two people who would come looking for me.
But most of all was that the wretchedness I had been feeling started to disappear.

And when Maria sang to me one evening.

I really felt awful for not paying attention to people more, you know?

Flash forward to a few months later when my bottom really felt out for real and here we are discussing postmoterm and other unpleasant things with my aunt's and uncles and who comes trouping in to our Umoja house.

Godi and Maria and Ayler and Liz and Swaleh and another couple from TZ And Rosemary and I can't remember who else because I have tears in my eyes.
It's probably 10.pm and we are singing -life without end at last- and they are now singing -precious daughter, he will be there for you, he will care for you- and Ayler is talking and reading something from the Bible and Swaleh says a prayer.
And I stop mid flight. 
I've been running.
Since the day they told me my mother's body was on it's way to outspan in a hearse, I've been running, running as fast as I can. I donno to what destination. I'm just running as fast as I can. I'm screaming too. At the top of my voice and I'm kicking the ground as I ran because I'm angry and I'm scared. And All I want to do is run away.

This is a story of thankgiving.




For these to lovies who held me up when my spine gave in.

And for the lessons I've learned from my own experiences.

That when someone is falling into abyss, you don't walk away. you grab a rope and go down with them, because after a while they will stop and start climbing up, and going back is a lonely journey. But not so painful when there's someone's voice in that darkness.

I'm thankful for those that didn't disappear.
Those who called even when they didn't know what to say.
Thos who gave me things when words were missing
and texts.

If Jehovah had not come to my rescue, I'd surely have ceased to exist.

Psalms94:17 If Jehovah had not been my helper,
I would soon have perished

But now oh Jehovah, I'm constantly with you. You have taken hold of my right hand.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Embracing Vulnerability: The anger of a polymath in a specialist society.

My friend said maybe I should try to less angry at the world. I had mentioned I was having a problem making simple decisions.
 (Me? Angry at the world? Nooo. I'm one of the happiest person I know in this world.)

But when your friend something you should take notice because she must have observed something. And the kind of relationship my friends and I have is, a friend won't say things to build up their own egos. 
No. We say things to improve each other. 

I decided to take it easy and check my behaviour for a while. 
But I had questions to myself.

 I know I used to be angry and did some anger management work and successfully acquired calm. 
And for years now I have been able to control strong angry feelings. 

But could it be as I worked to remove the hurt and bitterness out of me I may have just moulded it into a ball which I project to the world as I carry on with a cynical outlook to situations that try to upset my in-ward balance? 

Or might I still be holding it all in with a smile and just needing one thing to light me up and off I'll go off like a faulty firework? I also thought about the reasons that I could be angry at the world. 

Do I feel like the world owes me?
 Like it hasn't given me what I deserved? 
Probably. 
But that would be a narrow approach to it because. 

What of street kids being raised by druggies.
 What of those born in dire poverty where an egg is a luxury? 
What of those born sick? 

I remembered an interview I read in True Love magazine. 
Muthoni the Drummer Queen. She mentioned that She is a Polymath . 


A polymath is defined as a person who gains expertise in more than one field. Simply put, someone who has many interests. She said that she realised that in school she realised the best way to get her parents off her neck was to score good grades then she could focus on the things that really interested her. 

Thus blankets and wine and all her other awesome pursuits. That way nobody got hurt. I felt like to me, that was advice that came too late because unlike her, when I got bored with school or a job I simply wandered off.


So I was angry that, despite knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life at 15. Here I was in business school trying to understand probability. Or here I was doing this job that I  have absolutely no idea how to do but because that is what is available. I am doing it for the rent it affords me, and food.


You've got to keep a certain balance between a boring job, your interest and hobbies and your personal life.
 And when I realised that that is how the world works I started to shape up and try to get into the job market but there is a big difference between a fresh hot college drop out and the same person ten years later. Your CV gets more scrutiny 10 years later .

 And I guess therein lies my angst at the world. 

When I have raised my arms and said okay world, I will do it your way. 
I will do the 9-5 and work on my interests at night. 
Then the world turns round and asks about gaps in my CV. 

How about experience? 
How about hard knocks? 
How about learning the hard way that early to bed and early to rise makes someone wiser and I can't remember what else but all I am saying is. 

Look here world. 
I'm done being sceptical. 
I will take your dry bread. 
I will sit in long mid morning meetings that could have been and e-mail. 
I will put on silly chiffon blouses and carry a bag with shinny knobs to show accomplishment. 
I'll do excel sheets and colourful word tables. 
Just give me that cheque. 
Never mind I will use it on art paper and paperback classics. 

Then I thought perhaps my anger was because of restrained grief from middle age tragedy. 

I may have felt anger but helplessness is the encompassing feeling that remains when grief subsides so no, not that.

 And then I got it.
 I take myself too seriously. 
And maybe if I learned to take a chill pill from time to time I may just refocus the strong feelings.

 I've been told I take things seriously. 
I do yes. 
I'm strict And rigid And a recovering perfectionist But it comes with trying to keep my world from toppling over. 

But just to see how it would feel. I'd let myself slow down a bit. 

I'd drink coke, leave my data on at night, pick up calls after curfew hours, and sleep in in the middle of the week. 
So I've slowed down in my expectations. 
And I just finished this book by a Kenyan writer. It's fiction. Best humour I have read since Trevor Noah's Born a Crime.
links: https://medium.com/@kkaitue/3-reasons-why-generalists-rule-the-future-77fb4f9ad430
          Nairobiwire

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Blogger Posting Issues


I've been posting from my phone until Blogger decided to change the theme settings. Now I'm confused so the last three posts look like spam. Let me figure it out and your articles will be up soon enough.

Your Shallow and Incomplete Guide to Cooking Food.


For People who live alone or with cats and have eaten too much indo mee and are starting to wonder 'what is the purpose of my life?' 

 Relax. Good news here.

 I had an interesting conversation today. Do you know what is the difference between Kenyans and Americans during this Covid? Trump? 

No. Our poverty. The fact that we can grow our own greens behind our house and the landlord will think 'or nice, some landscaping at last' means while many in the developed world are affording vitamin suppliments and health insurance, 
sisi tunakimbilia ndimu za mbao hapo nje. (Lemons are five shillings each) 

 Have you been to the market lately? 
Have you seen the potatoes? 
Have you seen the cabbages? 
Na minji? And the Avocados?

 One theory is that last season was so productive in-spite of the locusts and despite the floods that spoilt most of the September and and October crop. 

 They other theory is that with restaurants and hotels shut down, the Grade one vegetables have been redirected to the mwananchi markets. 
Does this apply to flowers I wonder. @Homegrown si you just send me one bunch of yellow roses. 
Moja tu. 

 So when my uncle's wife (Tata) called to tell me she wanted to send me a package from home. I was thinking. Eeeeeeeee. I'm not sure.
 'The country is open and I know someone who is coming to Nairobi this week.' 
She said. She asked what I need. 
I said maybe beans? She asked which beans. I said 'let me try the yellow ones, I've heard they don't give gas.' 
Then she said she had pumpkins.
 'Ai Tata, mūrenge ngūtwara kūū?' 
(What will I do with a pumpkin)
 I eat pumpkins. The problem is Tata's pumpkins grow into such huge sizes it would take me a whole month to finish one. She said she had a small one. 

 Then she said she had Pamelo. 
 Pamelo is a fruit they discovered they could grow on the farm recently. It looks like a green eggplant. If you eat it on a cold day you might think you are eating something of a goat's menu. 
 But if you eat it it standing in the middle of the farm on a hot day with the hot soil under your feet. Then it's refreshing. 
It doesn't even occur to you that you are eating the sweeter version of ndongu (Sodom apple). 
Ma. 
 Ouch. 
I did press ups this morning and now my chest hurts. 
For a moment I thought corona was creeping up on me. 

 So Tata packed a package and of course she packed one month supply of potatoes because 'what else could I be eating' and when I got them in the evening and told her she scolded me. 

 'You mean they were brought to your gate? Now see. I could have even sent you maize but you are too wishy washy. Now see. But he is faithful for bringing you today. Ata I could have sent you milk and eggs.' 
(kione ii, kione ii uria uranyamarika, ni mwiiro wa ngoro ii ouria utakinyaga... 
) humming in my head because she was basically telling me 'I told you so.' 
 'Tata you said you packed Pomelo. This is white sapote.' 

'Ooo, ah, I mixed them up.' White Sapote looks like a Japanese Apple inside but with a smooth skin. 
So the pumpkin came. 
And I cut it in half and gave away half. 
And made bread with the rest. 
That is the very thing I want us to cook this week. 
And that story about yellow beans not making you gassy is not true. 

 Pumpkin Pan Bread.

Efficiency, why we must learn to be.

 There are no schools that you will sign up to to learn how to be efficient. Most will teach you a profession or a skill and it's up to ...