Want.

I keep on thinking that some things are kinda taboo to talk about. Not things like sex, but things like certain emotions. Like that heavy article I read in the morning of them breaking up. I feel as if we are okay with feelings of love being aired, or sadness after being jilted by the one you loved. But in between? I could tell not many people knew how to react after reading that piece.

Because when someone faces themselves, their innermost self with nothing but kindness, there is little anyone can do to make it better or worse. The power lies solely with the person.

So I struggle with this in between feelings. The ones that I don’t hear people talk about. The ones that I can’t hold in a conversation because how do you bring it up? The ones that right words to describe them can’t be found because they lie in a really thin line between one extreme feeling and another.

Recently I got a glimpse of what I would love my future relationship/partnership/situationship to look like. Lots of laughter. Being comfortable with each other. And just pure joy. And I realised that the things that complicate relationships aren’t necessarily ingredients for one.

And as I reminisced today, I realised that I desired that. A partner. A romantic partner to be specific. It wasn’t one out of a place of lack in me. Or out of loneliness.

It just was.

At first I fought it. Because what I’ve learnt of late is that most times when I want something that can be found in another, it could be that i’m looking for myself in others.

But it took a while to realize that its okay. That me wanting to laugh deeply with another doesn’t imply that i’m not enjoying being single. That it doesn’t take away from the self love that I’ve been trying to figure out. That it doesn’t make me less independent.

The hardest lesson I had to learn some months ago, was that I needed people. It was one statement that undid my insides completely. Because I grew up aspiring to be independent of humans. Just to be told that fulfilling life doesn’t work that way.

That I need humans.

So its from that place of trying to accommodate my humanity, or trying to fit into who I really am, that I find myself here.

With desires that require another human. With thoughts pointing to that direction of that beautiful human. And a body that suddenly doesn’t like cobwebs.

At first I squirm. But upon looking closely in the mirror, I realise that this is a part of me. A part of me that has remained under wraps for many years. That has been brought into existence by relationships that didn’t serve their purpose. A part of me that I don’t usually think about. Because a part of me feels as if what happens is not in my control.

Till I catch a glimpse of the heaven I want and my whole system shouts, ‘that is the kind of thing we desire’. And so for once, or for the first time, I gladly welcome feelings of desire for another human.

Advertisements

From a Sunday to a Monday girl.

Happiness found in laughters that seem to come from an endless spring inside of me. Sadness that is made worse by the breakup of one of my favorite authors in my country. And pictures to forever remind me that life is kind sometimes.

Which one goes first?

Sundays.

Sundays were always intense days for my heart. We would dress up in Sunday wear. These are dresses(definitely dresses) that are too pretty for everyday wear. My friends don’t get how I have Sunday clothes. Well, this is how, where I grew up, all days except Sundays are work days. Work days mean wearing clothes that we can comfortably carry chicken feed in. That we can move oil in, knowing it’ll spill on you definitely. So on the day we get a break to be pretty and clean the whole day, we shine, both literally and figuratively.

We forget the tiredness of the week, the days we slept with our backs paining, the days we woke up early to deliver orders, the end of days when our math didn’t add up and we calculated and recalculated for the a thousandth time to find the missing penny. We push all that at the back of our minds, dress up to look like people who grew up winning in this life and go look for a miracle.

And even in the city, the cycle repeated itself in me. At least figuratively. Dress up and try to forget the week. The emptiness, the depression, the anxiety, the darkness in my soul, the skeletons in my thoughts, the heaviness in my chest, the dirt in my spirit and the complicatedness of life. For that one day, I forgot all that and went to church.

Looking for a miracle. I just wanted to be happy. Happiness. That is all I ever looked for in life. And for the longest time ever, that has been the most elusive thing for me.

But I thought I would find it in church. So I tried. So I took my burdens to Jesus. They said that would lighten my burdens. So every single Tuesday, I went to church for my personal prayers. I made sure I left no burdens at home. I carried all of them to his cross. And I cried. I cried as I let it all out. Tuesdays were cry days. I let it all out. All of it. My darkness and pain. Hurt. All of it.

But every single Tuesday, found me at Jesus feet, unburdening myself. Burdens that never ended. Burdens that this cross never really got rid off. Burdens that were clearly too large for miracles. Burdens that sexual purity talks didn’t remove. Burdens too strong for ‘God loved me so much that he gave his only son…’ sermons. Burdens too heavy for Trust in the Lord and he will direct your paths verses. Burdens too heavy for the cross to bear.

We even burnt those burdens in an exercise of faith. Were given a sheet of paper full of burdens to tick where they apply. Like a hundred burdens. You ticked what was most appropriate for you. Things like depression, witchcraft, drinking too much soda and taking too much sugar were also burdens. I ticked furiously on that Friday night. You should have seen me. Then we had a bonfire. We burnt those burdens down in Jesus name. Burnt them things down.

The next Tuesday found me crying in church. And the next Sunday found me all dolled up. Waiting for a miracle. Searching not for happiness, we had long ago realised that, that one fruit of the holy spirit, may never locate me in this land of the living. But searching for a painless life. For sleep. For existence that functions. Searching for thoughts that don’t torture and hearts that don’t bleed.

And fast forward those Sunday to yesterday’s Sunday.

Seated on top of a moving bus in a wildlife sanctuary, observing giraffes, staring at wildebeests, ogling at zebras, laughing so purely with friends and strangers turned friends, I found what happiness looks like finally. Hearing my own laughter spill over and over again as if it never ends, I can now say that I know how happiness sounds like. And feeling this space in my chest fill up with joy, I know how happiness feels like.

So when I read this heavy story about that break up, I understood it deeply. That some things, though beautiful don’t work out. It cut my heart across literally because I could tell he wanted it to work out so badly.

Because that Sunday girl would have given up her two lungs and kidneys to just have life work out. To just live. That girl wanted it so badly. So damn badly.

And I remember one day wondering, that if I lived, would the happy days have been worth that sort of anguish? That if I one day saw the light, will that kind of pain have been necessary? That if I one day laughed, would the Tuesday cries camouflaged as prayers, have been a well deserved price to pay for this happiness?

And I remember knowing that regardless of how many motivational stories I read of appreciating the low moments because they prepare us for the high ones, that my answer will never be a yes. I would never wish living death on anyone.

And so when someone close to me said something spiritual about my life in the morning, I got all worked up inside there.

I now understand why some people amass and amass wealth( okay, I still don’t actually) . But if hunger was what you were running away from, then you would never want to go back there ever again. Ever again.

I realise that I will never ever go back to a place where a miracle, that depends entirely on a deity’s whims, is the difference between a smile on my face and anguish in my heart. That shit almost killed me man. Almost did. It was this close.

That I don’t mind if anyone tries to hurt me in any way. But don’t touch my soul. Don’t you dare take me back to that place of hopelessness, anguish and unburdening burdens that just don’t end. Don’t take me back where I an unworthy and undeserving, because then I would rather be dead dead. Like literally dead.

Coming from all that indoctrination, to smiling in the mirror, and seeing the most worthy person in this life, seems like the kind of miracle I was looking for all along. And I found it outside miracle centers. The irony of life.

Had you asked me before yesterday, if I had something I would kill for or to maintain in my life, I would have said no. But seeing all that beauty and feeling how good a day can be, I knew that no one is dragging me back to that Sunday girl. Nothing and no one. Its not even negotiable.

Nowadays i’m a Monday girl. We lazy around on Mondays. Sundays are just days of the week like the other days. On Mondays we rest, and plan for the coming week. We think of what we would love to read and do for that coming week. If its a month, we figure out what our desired outcome would be. We trust our souls to know the way.

Unlike before when Sundays were days of drowning the sorrows of the ending week, Mondays are the days of welcoming and anticipating the future. We look forward to living some more nowadays.

And days like yesterday, prove that happiness did indeed locate me. Just not in a deity. Or in environments that sought to tell me what to do or be. Instead it found me in me. When I finally faced myself without squirming. When I finally dusted of my eyes and saw myself for real.

And if I had a choice, I would commemorate all my Sundays. I know, sounds really extra to just go out there and try and replace every anguished Sundays with a happy one, but I get how tempting that can be.

I saw someone write that those who grew up in love and those who grew up on survival view the world from very different lenses. And most replies were of how its difficult for those who grew up in love to date the survival group. I’m the survival group. And I see how letting go of all that memory of pain is hard. Not just because its all we’ve known, but because nothing scares me more right now, than anything that seems like it’ll take me back to my Sunday self. That’s my ultimate nightmare right now. Like i’m willing to cross mountains and cut friends if that’s what it takes.

But I also realise that, that in itself is a binding thing. So we work on that on Mondays. And look forward to beautiful Sundays ahead.

I woke up old

And then on some days, my soul wakes up old. Like really old. Like sit on top of a hill in the evening, sipping some palm wine among fellow old men kind of old. Its the kind of old that observes but wants nothing to do with activity of any sort.

I just want to be. There but not there. Alive but not active. Like a frog during hibernation. Do frogs hibernate by the way? I suppose they do. Ugly creatures have the best survival skills sometimes. And they make it out of situations that take away the beautiful ones.

Anyway, I digress. Not that there is any focus in this old age phase. Everything is just as it is. No getting worked up about anything. Reminds me of a literature review. And how we were being told it shouldn’t read like an activist’s manifesto. I found that funny. I mean, I personally can low key see how people like me can turn it into a spirited activist manifesto. But most people are never that passionate about things. And if they are, they don’t put them out there for harsh critique.

But most weekends find me like this. Full of energy for staying idle. With an active mind. Rather, an over active one. But a passive one too.

Where only the writers of old interest me. Older writers than Ngugi was Thiong’o. Or his age mates. I didn’t know much of those ones, except Wole Soyinka( I love this old man’s mane of a hair! See, everything old seems attractive right now). Till I chanced upon this short stories book, titled ” Looking for a Rain God” , that has maybe 30 of those interesting species that we young people ditched in favour of Chimamanda, Chinelo, Yvonne Owuor , Nnedi Okarafor and the likes.

And reading the likes of Ama Ata Aidoo, Aineo, Charles Mungoshi, Barbara Kimenye, Bessie Head and Tayeb Salih, feels like coming home. From the hustles of the youth. From the worries of the young. From the hurry of the energetic.

These people don’t hurry. They don’t know all these rules young people are bombarded with when telling a story. They simply tell you a story. With all its juiciness. And with no particular attachment to any part of it.

And that aspect of the kind of stories this old me enjoys isn’t the only good thing to come with this day.

Music. Old kiswahili music. Man, couldn’t those mzees come up with lyrics. Listening to their songs is like someone taking my hand, and gently leading me through their lives. Through ‘mtoto si nguo utaomba mtu’, to ‘Singula Nakupenda’. Easy. No stressing over where or who. Just telling a story with a guitar. Even the voice isn’t that much of a must. Just allowing people to glimpse into an aspect of your life authentically.

And i’m a little afraid. I say little, because it is more of a thought process than an emotional feeling at this point. That I will wake up, and find myself restless with the energy of youth coursing through my veins. Telling me to do. To be active. Refusing to listen lovingly to the rain with no particular attachment to neither rain nor sunshine.

That I will be back to listening to music that has been processed and packaged purposely for me, with no authenticity to it. And I will listen, and forget all about it. Till years down the line when its throw back Thursday, i’ll hear it somewhere and think to myself, that I once loved that song.

That I once loved a,b,c,d. That I once worried over someone. That I once was over the edge with nerves, waiting endlessly for their next move. Willing their next move.

Isn’t it a pity, how we want things so badly when we don’t think we can have them?

And life moves on. 2018 nears to its end. I’ve seen people already talking of January 2019. And all I can think of,is that one day, I’ll be seated on top of an African hill, sipping whatever will be my fancy then, and I’ll know that my time is up.

I’ll look back to the days of obliviousness as a kid, to the troublesome days of teenage hood, to the self awareness of my 20s, the self discovery of my 30s, the relaxation of my 40s, the new stress free purposefulness of the rest of my life, and I shall be ready to join those who went ahead of me.

And should that moment come before then, I hope it finds me relaxed like this. With a soul lazily unmoved by nothing.

Listening and reading old people who are mostly dead has that effect. In case you are wondering what led to all this. Reading words that are so damn well written, dialogues that teleport you to the scene and imagination that uses so little words but gives you such a vivid picture.

And then thinking, that this weren’t 80year olds blessing us so, they were in their 30s, 20s and 40s. They had dreams. They had hopes. But above all, they had energy coursing through their veins. And they used it as was appropriate.

So maybe my youthfulness isn’t such a folly after all. After all, who shall indulge that old soul of mine that shall reincarnate in that young lady many decades to come, if I don’t appreciate the restlessness that comes with being young and give it its fair due?

So I wait for the day to break. Drink more tea. And appreciate these kind of days when I wake up old.

And I miss home.

When it rains there, the vegetation takes a day to turn from death to life. The next day insects that were extinct come back to life loudly. You can’t just run in the paths as before, lest you step on the thousands of black long millipedes with hundreds of red legs that appear everywhere. Its a season of bloom. Its a season of sleeping with nature singing loud lullabies. Its one of freshness and green. Utter green.

The joy among people is almost always palpable. Its a bad season for businesspeople. Because everyone goes home to farm. They’ll come to trade when their food is assured in the farms. But its a heavenly season for the farmers. There is a certain vibrancy to their faces. A certain assuredness to their walk. Kids stop disturbing as much, and learn to make toys out of the multitude of insects flying around.

I miss home.

Here when it rains, people scatter around in panic. Matatus increase their fares as if rains elongate the distance. Traffic comes to a standstill. Shoes get muddy. And for people vertically challenged like me, carrying an umbrella in the streets is a hazardous activity for anyone who comes close.

The drainage gets clogged up. Water everywhere. Mud everywhere. Anxiety as people carry jackets and umbrellas in the morning uncertain of the weather. And should you be caught unawares by the rain, you keep walking. No sheltering somewhere to wait for it to pass.

No joy for the rain of the city. No one likes it. No one smiles at it. No one sleeps smiling at the sound of it pounding the roof. No one greets their neighbour with the rain as an icebreaker. No one predicts how food will be in plenty next year. Its a distraction for them. An unneeded one at that.

And I miss home.

Not necessarily the people, though I do miss them dearly, but mostly the rhythm of the place. The way a time like this, signifies the end of the harsh sun that comes before these rains. August, and now September are usually the driest months at home, especially in terms of water. For those in our neighbouring county, they trek kilometers to get water. Till this rains come and everyone has water at their doorstep.

This season signifies the bloom after a particularly hard time. Its the time we get to seat and marvel that we made it to the end of the year. We roast maize and laugh, because at some point, we were at our wits end. We get to look at all the green that could have been mistaken as a desert some weeks ago, and wonder at the miracles of the universe. After all, aren’t our lives like that?

Home.

That ground, that foundation that through seasons remains the same. That after coming here to seek a fortune, after being beaten by the sun mercilessly, after wandering looking for ourselves in people’s souls, after taking ourselves out seeking for validation from our own hearts, after holding on and giving up and rising up again, after getting lost and finding new paths and getting lost now in those strange paths, home is where we go to lay our heads on, and know that we shall rise again.

Home is where we meet familiar flaws and weaknesses, and know that though we change, some things remain the same. Its where we go to church ceremonially and get immense peace, not from the service itself, but from the familiar circus that our hearts grew up in.

It is in getting a new pastor, who shall be no different from the tens that have stood where he is. It is in watching the girl who used to lead worship, and break her agile body dancing some years ago, run after her baby girl, who shall be dancing there some few years to come. It is in watching that man and his wife who insist on presenting a hymn every once in a while, knowing very well, that the young neighbour of mum’s friend, is the husband’s new mistress.

It is in looking at that girl who used to have the biggest ass we had ever seen, and a voice that though could sing averagely , be stretched to Celine Dion levels much to the detriment of our ears, and notice that she looks familiar with Kush Tracy’s back up singer. It is in seeing fellow ‘youths’ and see the new crop of youths that have taken over, and without acknowledging it to each other, deep down we know. We are young. But we are no longer the young.

Home is where we ran away from with all the energy we could master. Blood boiling in our veins. Our minds working at an overdrive and in need of new challenges. Our eyes tired of familiar sights. Our hearts eager for new heartbreaks. Home is where we left with our heads held up high and our chests puffed up.

And home is where we come back. Regardless of how life has been for anyone, every single person who went away behaves the same when they come home. No one comes home sad. Or forlorn. Even when you know that you didn’t pay rent for December back in the city. No one comes home looking like a mistake.

The ones who made it big in the city, and the ones the city made a pulp out of, we all go back home, with the same rhythm in our hearts. The familiar. The foundation on which we stand on. The substance we are made of. We go back home with pride. Because as my mum used to tell me, I never killed anyone in our home.

Its a loaded statement that people of the tribe understand deep inside their souls. That home has nothing to do with your achievements or failure. Its just home. Regardless of how your life turns out. Even when you become a president or the village drunkard, home is just home. No one can take that way from you.

I Miss home.

A coffee place in Rwanda.

The simplicity of moments. There was this coffee place I found in Rwanda. It had shiny metallic seats that were quite comfortable. But it wasn’t the quiet simple ambience that took me in. It was their sandwich.

I don’t consider myself a foodie, but I can say for sure their fries, sandwich and coffee was the best thing I tasted there. Their fries had a funny shape that gave them a personalized feel to their preparation.

I loved that restaurant so much, that I cancelled my activities for that day to just sit and enjoy the fact that i’m alive and i’m in Rwanda, a dream come true for me.

And as if that moment couldn’t get better, I opened a book that turned out to be magical. I gave up on recommending books to my friends. Because sometimes its personal. No one would understand how that book came in at the right moment in the right place.

The author of that book had the kind of humor that I never knew my soul liked. I laughed as I read that book. Out loud. It wasn’t the kind of book that gives one time to package their laughter before letting it out.

That story was so damn well told!

I have never had such an amazing experience with a book. It was such a simple day that day. I took a late breakfast. Facing a beautiful cathedral ahead of me and across the road were huge trees with colourful flowers. And I read a book that didn’t just give me a story, it gifted me an experience.

And so i’m seated here with birds chirping, and bees nearby since I can hear that buzzing, and all I want, is to redo that experience. That one moment.

I don’t even remember that book that well, or what made it that funny. But I do remember that for the few hours I read it, while eating a simple but delicious meal, was the best moment I had. It was so beautiful that my soul misses it dearly. Just sitting and being, in the best way I could at that moment.

And sometimes, the simplest things in life, are the ones that make the best memories.

Am I addicted?

This morning I learnt something that has blown my mind away. Its those things that are phrased differently but end up giving us a totally new perspective of something. And regardless of what you do, you can’t pretend to unhear what you’ve just been told. It sticks. It pokes at you. It disturbs you, till you turn it over and over in your head.

What are your highest hopes? In relationships, your career, wealth, spiritual connection etc? Like what is that thing you aspire to achieve in life? For example work in Google or be the best Doctor, or marry that guy, or drive a Lamborghini. Those things you want or would like to have, experience or achieve.

Then what expectations have you placed on them? Like for example, if I date that lady or guy, my life will be complete, or i’ll see myself as successful when I get to that job position, or i’ll be wealthy when I can afford that car. What are those things, you think having your highest hope actualize, will make you feel? Like what is the desired outcome of those things you want?

Now, have you made that desired outcome a Requirement in your life? Personally I have. Especially relationship wise or career wise. Where if I don’t get that job that I want, then my life will not feel fulfilled. Or if I don’t date that person, then my happiness won’t be complete. Or if I don’t get somewhere with my career, then it was all a waste. Or if I don’t travel Africa, then i won’t have lived.

Requirements based on the desired outcome of our highest hopes.

Now, that Ladies and Gentleman, is what we call an Addiction.

An addiction, in extreme basic explanation, is that something, which in its absence you are not happy, or you don’t function normally. For example, for alcoholics, they don’t get a drink, they won’t perform their basic functions properly. Some will even have headaches, shaking etc.

You don’t get it, your life kinda stops functioning the way it is supposed to. That is what an addiction is.

So now, that I have pegged my complete happiness on the outcome of my desired hope, then technically speaking, I have made my hopes my drugs. Where if I don’t get them, then I won’t have lived the way I am supposed to – which is wholesome living.

So how does one get over that addiction? How do you separate your hopes or goals from wholesomely living your life?

I’m not a doctor, clearly, but anytime anyone tells me of a relative or a friend who is addicted to some drug, and they’ve tried many things to stop the addiction to no avail, then my first response is usually, why were they on the drug in the first place? Because I think you solve the root of something, then the leaves and stems and branches will sort themselves out automatically or easily.

Why are you here? And What are you?

You answer the above well, and no, don’t use the rhetoric we’ve been given all our lives of “everyone has a specific purpose on earth etc”. Though this is a whole topic for a another day.

Either way, your existence will be complete on earth without you getting that job or marrying that guy or driving that car.

I can go on and on, but how I’ll go about it might be different with how you decide to solve your addiction. Some drug addicts need a rehab while others, using self will and determination quit the drugs.

What I wanted to communicate is the addiction part. Because it makes so much sense, that it is illogical for me to be against drug addiction, but be addicted to something in my own life without knowing it. What’s the difference between that cocaine addict that needs a fix to be happy or to function, and me who needs a job or some achievement to get the same happiness or to function well? We are the same just different shades of it.

I lived!

There was once upon a time, some few months ago really, maybe two or three really, when I couldn’t watch a movie or a series without crying. A normal series. I was so damn broken, that the sight of someone being punched, made me break into a pool of tears. You know the way its normal for any series with Afghanistan to start with bombs? I would pause and mourn for those families. People move on as if we didn’t see a whole family being wiped out. My heart was in such a mess.

I never thought I would once watch a shark cutting up a human being into two, and not a single tear in sight. I didn’t think I would one day have the option of being alive. I had given up hope. My heart was in pieces. Literal pieces.

I crawled to the next day. I stayed awake at night, waiting for a morning. Then I spent the morning wishing the day away. Then I would come back to my bed, to silence as the world slept, to a heart that felt too much, to a mind that had over thought its daily capacity and to a battered body.

Yet I lived.

Yet I lived to see a day when I would talk comfortably without my heart aching.

Yet I lived to see a day when I watched Zambian Astronauts and I laughed heartily for the first time in years. I laughed and laughed. And almost fainted at it. And paused the 1 minute clip. And laughed yet again.

I guess I was laughing for all those tears I shed for my broken heart. I laughed for all those times the grim reaper had opened his door for me( definitely has to be a He), just for me to turn back when my other foot was about to join the other one in the land of the dead.

I laughed, because despite it all, I lived. Man, I lived! That is not something I expected.

I didn’t know what I expected. Certainly not life.

But life doesn’t hand me what I expected. Out of the a 100 things I want, it gives me the 3 best. The ones I didn’t expect at all. And leaves me flabbergasted with a what just happened there?

I’ve heard so much about depression. And thank you for those brave enough to share their stories. You were a candle to our darkness. You were a guiding light to the tunnels we were in.

But I rarely encounter stories of how those people bounced back to life. Something I am struggling with.

What do you do when you wake up one morning, and the sun is shining on your soul for the first time in 2years?

That’s what i’m trying to figure out. I don’t know what to do. But now I do know what to not do.

Don’t make a to do list. This is a fatal mistake I made. You see, I’ve been unproductive for the last few months, so armed with life, energy and the folly of youth, I thought this is the time to pay back for that inactivity.

Wrong move. We didn’t come from shackles of life, to be bridled by rules, my system reminded me.

And after much struggling, not understanding why between Me, Myself and I, I seemed to be the only one interested in doing stuff, I realised, that I was trying so hard to Do. Instead of just Be.

Depression goes against Being. Its almost suicidal to Be. So you do. You wake up, you eat, you survive. The sun sets. The sun rises. Another day.

Not being depressed, requires me to Be. But you should have seen the a 100 things I purposed to do. Its like this thing called life had been leased to me for a few weeks. And I was trying to squeeze in all I could in that little space. I was trying to rush the ones I love wondering they aren’t boarding this train as fast as their legs can carry them to my heart. Man, being depressed for years can really damage someone.

Its like coming out of prison. And gorging on food. On freedom. On people. On light.

I guess I’ve been in utter shock. That we are alive. And enjoying stuff. And laughing. And loving without dying. And watching someone get punched with a straight face.

So what am i learning to do now? To take a pause. And eat the cake with delight. To slow down a bit. I’m not going anywhere. Neither is my newly found lease of life. And even if it does, we’ll deal with that when the time comes. For now, I enjoy the seconds of the day. And stop worrying about the week.