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Have you ever been at a point in life in which you can’t even describe to yourself what is happening? Either to you, in your friend’s lives, in the stranger’s lives you are meeting or even in your country. Everything seems to be changing at a fast pace. Whether that is good or not, I do not know. My life seems to be in a process. When one phase ends, leaving me different from how it found me, another one enters overlapping with the forthcoming one. Maybe that is what fourth year is about. Evolving from a student mentality to an “adult/independent” one. I have no idea what that even means. Maybe age is actually catching up with me.
When I started writing this, I wanted to tell you a story. I love stories. Bible stories, blogs, books, and of late I have concentrated more on African literature. All in a bid of being told a good story. And Africans are the best storytellers. They will make you cry and laugh at the same time. You should read the Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong’o. And maybe you’ll understand why Bob Dylan’s win made me angry. But of all stories, raw real actual stories take the prize home for me. I love when I read of something that is happening or happened to someone. Because for those few minutes you enter into the writer’s life and go through what they are experiencing. And you are not the same after that. At least in the way you perceive life or certain people.
However, no story is coming to mind. Scratch that. None of the ones in my head feel shareable. Maybe because they have no head or tail. Or are just too personal. For example, of late there has been this memory from when I was seven years that has been haunting me. First of all, I rarely remember things from my childhood, to be precise when I was 8yrs and below. I think my mind blocked them out for its own reasons. This means I can count the number of things I remember from that time span and they don’t even get to number 10. The rest is a blur. But once in a while a memory pops up from nowhere.
In this specific one, I’m suffering from mumps. By then I was staying in a different town from my mother due to my schooling. We had a shop where I was staying with a house help or a guardian. Part of my face and neck were swollen as a result of the mumps. This means that swallowing anything was torture to say the least. We did not have phones by then that we could call my mother and inform her that her daughter was sick. And my caretaker for reasons best known to her had not taken me to the hospital. On that specific day, she placed breakfast in front of me and went on to serve some customers. But in my condition I could barely swallow my own saliva. This saw me not take that breakfast. When she came back, she took the kawaida broom and started beating me on my arms and legs since they were the only parts of my body not covered in clothes besides my swollen face and neck.
And I remember thinking what kind of a human being this was that could beat a sick child regardless of her mistakes. And I cried. I rarely cried as a child. I guess being brought up by people who have no time ya ‘kukumbembeleza’ does that to a child. But on that day I cried. Those who have never been beaten by a broom do not understand how painful it can be, and after each stroke those thin sticks leave your skin inflamed. I needed a savior, from both my sickness and this extra pain being inflicted on me. And God did send a savior. And that is where this memory ends. With my mum appearing on the doorway.
Stories like the above are not the kind I would be eager to share. But we never choose what comes to mind, do we? Maybe you can decide not to think of something but isn’t that called suppression? We were having a random discussion yesterday with two friends and two strangers. The topic of discussion was marriage. The men were claiming to want wives who can cook and can wash the house and all house chores while allowing them to marry other wives or keep mistresses. We on the other hand wanted men who can help around in the house, after all we are also chipping in to the house budget and neither of us happens to be superwoman to do all house chores after a whole day at work.
The lady we met there who joined in the discussion only wanted a man to provide. If he provides a hundred percent then she will do all the house chores without complaining. If he feels like cheating, he can go ahead and get as many mistresses as he wishes though he has to inform her of his cheating ways before. Both of the two suggestions seem strange to me. Like how now? How does a man look at me and disregards the brains, character, personality and only requires a chef and a housekeeper who to top it up sleeps with him and bears children? How does a woman allow her man to cheat? I agree that views on relationships are the most varied on earth. But the ones I have heard so far prove that something is slowly dying within us.
That people are afraid to dig deep into themselves and find out who they really are. What they stand for. What they will not compromise. What they can die for. What they can kill for. What they can ignore. What values they will pass on to their children. What impact they will leave on earth. Or they will just pass by. Find out what their generation is into and go with the flow. Get tossed by the wind from east to west in the name of living the life. But who am I to think my opinion of higher standing than theirs? I mean isn’t it all vanity?
Speaking from my wisdom of being a twenty something year old who hasn’t yet figured out what life means, I have discovered that my fellow young people are very good at running away from themselves. We will try and find solace in habits or other people or addictions. And one of the things people are eloping from with all they have and all that is in them is singlehood. When was the last time you saw or met a genuinely single person? One with whom they have no strings attached? No friends with benefit, no one that they describe as “we are not dating, we are just there”.
Our high school principle used to tell us” guard yourself selfishly”. But you cannot guard well something you do not know what is inside. You might just end up leaving the lion to watch over a goat. A friend broke up with a man who is not worthy of any inch of her. The guy was a serial cheater and very disrespectful among the many things he had going on for himself. She on the other hand being the faithful one stayed with him for as long as she could let her broken heart be crushed over and over again. She might not have gotten over him completely, but she is done with him. Like never ever going back to him. Only problem is that she is feeling miserable being alone. Being single is not her cup of tea apparently. She had plans, by now she should have been in a stable relationship, not wallowing in single hood.
I think being single is an important phase of adulthood that everyone needs to go through. Like complete single hood. No side people. It allows you to befriend yourself. After all you spend most of your time with yourself. You get to learn how to handle your lonely days and how to survive alone. You discover what makes you tick. You strengthen your strengths and learn how to navigate through your weaknesses since there is no one to complement you at that point. You observe the world with only your opinion and your perspective to go by. You find your worth in yourself and make short and long term plans that have you as the center point. It’s the only time when selfishness works well. Single hood allows you to wake up one morning and just pack your bag and go to a place you have never been to before without a care for anyone. You learn to prioritize yourself. It shouldn’t be a miserable time or a time to find people to pass away time with as some people do, it’s that phase that allows you to have a 24hour best friend within you. I mean, when will you ever hold a celebration with you as the organizer, invitee and the man or woman of the moment? When will you ever hold court proceedings with you as the judge, prosecutor, suspect, witness and defense lawyer? If not in your single hood?
There is this Nigerian website (it seems too ‘large’ to be called a blog) that I follow. The name should be Brittle Paper. Per day there are usually several posts by different people. I don’t know why I called it Nigerian considering it covers the whole of Africa in terms of its content. On that note our own Stephanie Wanga has written a very beautiful piece of Mashujaa day. Whoever runs that blog worships Chimamanda Adichie. At least according to my biased opinion and also for the fact that there is always a piece of what she said or did or implied every single week. Or maybe she just deserves all that attention. But one thing that I have observed is that Africans are writing books. As in publishing books, especially Nigerians. Almost eighty percent of all writers on that blog have published books. And per day there usually at least five writers so you can imagine the amount of newly published books in Africa. But I wish we had such a platform in Kenya.
If you have survived to this last end of today’s ramblings, wewe ni shujaa.

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