Courage. Core. Consent.


I really wanted to pay her fare. I felt like this is the one. But in my mind thousands of questions swirled in between the time the conductor moved from the seat in front of us to ours. Would she accept my offer? How would she take it? Would she see it as a kind act from a strange stranger or as an arrogant act from a stranger who has judged her to be poor? Finally I didn’t pay her fare. Courage and boldness failed me again. For the a thousandth time now. I’ve always wanted to pay fare for a stranger. And I know that one day i’ll gather enough courage to do it.
Speaking of courage, today I attended the third Stories of Courage event. It has happened five or four times I think. But for me it’s the third time. My close friends know ever since I attended it the first time, I’ve never looked back. And that is for two major reasons. The first is that I got a ticket to attend it for my first time, as a reward from Kawi Snippets, a blog I religiously read. Now, that is like earning from your hobby.The second, which you might have already guessed is that I love stories. And i am at awe that Marcus Olang and Njeri  came up with that simple, refreshing and amazing idea of sharing our stories and then went ahead to do it. That there, is a story of courage.
Today’s event was different from the rest. The same setting, same host(minus Njeri) but different in that there was laughing gas in there. The other two events had a lot of tears passing around. And I need that in my life right now, lots of laughter that is. I’m at a point where a smile or a hug goes along way in keeping me alive the next day. Read this with a Kikuyu accent..hapo dio maisha imenifikicha!
Consent. If I forget anything else that was said there, that is one thing I will not forget. Adelle Onyango was asked to explain what consent to her means in the No means No campaign that she started. Apparently, society thinks consent is a gray area. Something that can mean this way to person A and that way to person B. Others say that if he buys you drinks, then surely, you know nothing is for free. Others say that if you have already started any sexual encounter with you willing, then you can’t change your answer in the middle of it. Others think marital rape does not exist. Consent. And I can’t explain it better than she did. If a guy takes you for lunch or drinks, if there is more to it, he should state so from the beginning. Sex is something two adults should talk to each other about. Not assume about. She gave a very graphic example to show how black and white consent is. If a lady was doing an oral to a man, and in the middle of it the man started feeling pain, and he said so, should the lady continue? Ati because they had already started? The moment somebody says No, the rest is rape. And can be acknowledged so in court.
Maybe you read the above example and thought that it was too explicit. That some things should not be said. That is what is ailing this generation. We sweep too much under the rag. Sex especially is rarely talked about. Yet casual sex is among the most commonly practised things by the youth of this generation. As the three guests of today spoke, one thing was clear, learn how to be vulnerable. Acknowledge when you are weak. Speak up on all areas of your life. It will seem strange to the people around you because we all are programmed to answer “I’m Okay”. And for the church people in the house ” The Lord has been good to me”. Now I am not refusing that the Lord is good to people or that people are okay at times, but in most cases, we are broken inside. And we keep on maintaining a facade externally. By the end of the day relationships and friendships become fake. And it reaches a point when we can’t handle the fake us on the outside and the broken us in the inside, and that is when we break.
That is when we kill ourselves, and at our funeral they all claim ” he never looked troubled, he was always jovial and disciplined. Ni shetani mgani huyu alimshika?” Yet all along they were signs. No one is ever perfect or okay at all times. Even Jesus at some point confessed that the good Lord had forsaken him. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Don’t stay in fake friendships or relationships, where you only discuss on the weather or politics or trending topics but never about your sex life, love life, spiritual well being and above all your happiness. This life is too short to waste it on things that don’t mean life to you. Do what you love.
Speaking of that, our sermon today was on Service. Serving others. According to Pastor Steve Thuo, that is doing something to meet the needs of others without expecting any sort of recognition or payment. The question that stuck with me was ” would you do, what you do or plan to do or did, if no one was watching ?” If you removed human eyes from that activity, would you still do it? On a personal level, that struck a chord away from service matters. When I first opened this blog, I remember I didn’t write anything for the first six months. Not for lack of content,but by then I was pretending all was okay with my life. If you ask around, writers especially those who write on personal matters, write only when they are going through a conflict. Even in the newspaper, you will never find something normal being reported. Ati, the headlines are ” Man is paid his salary and pays his rent”. By then I used to feel nothing. I was numb to emotion. But with time I started dealing with my demons. And that is when I stopped reblogging others and started writing my own pieces. But even then, I have never been entirely frank here considering I never fully dealt with my demons but I started acting and lying to myself that I did. Anyway, with time my blog grew, followers increased. The views kept on rising and rising. And that got into my head. Until last week when I posted something, and it didn’t get as many views I expected. And I started wondering, has my writing deteriorated? Or what has reduced the numbers?
Vanity. I couldn’t believe that I had reached that point in life that people seeing what I have done means that much to me. To the extent that I second guess myself and my work. If you know me, then in one of our conversations I must have pointed out on the way people should never follow crowds or depend on what others say of them. Always listen to your heart. And now its time I take my own medicine.
Thank you. You who is reading right now. I appreciate you taking your time to read my work despite the fact that I am an emerging writer with a lot to learn and improve on. Why do I write? Because i enjoy writing. It is one of the things I love doing. Writing is also an emotional outlet for me. The only one I know for now. It is my equivalent of crying. Would I still write if I didn’t have this blog? Yes, I always have written since I was young and will always do for as long as I can. So why do I have this blog? To share my life experiences with the hope that somebody else learns something from my journey in life. And to also reciprocate for those other writers that allow me to have a glimpse into their lives and minds. Blogs like Clarie’s Ramblings. Would I still write if no one read this? Yes, by all means yes. I might have lost sight in between, but I’m going back to the core. I do this because I love it and because I can.
Anytime you ever start a business, or journey, always have your goals clear. They will keep you on track once you get lost, and that will happen lots of times.
The moon of late has been so big and clear. I can even see shapes on it. Speaking of seeing. I now wear spects. That has been a long way coming. My eyesight has been one of my prayer requests that God has said No to for the last six years. Or maybe He said Wait. All I know is that I asked for healing and I didn’t get it. As Christians at times I think when we share our testimonies, we only tell the good news (no pun intended). We tell people of the time the good Lord delivered us from this or that, which is good and we are even instructed to do so in the bible. But as Rick Warren says, people can associate with you on an intimate level when you show that you are human. And what better way than to use your weaknesses, temptations and vulnerabilities. But one thing I hold on to is that God knows what he is doing with me. He is not a potter who does not know what to do with his vessels. But that does take away the frustrations of not getting one thing or two that i asked for knowing fully well that He has the capability of giving it to me. I’m learning to be honest with myself and others. And if only one or two people remain in my life after that, so be it.
My seatmate, the one who I didn’t gather enough courage to pay for her bus fare spoke to me. She was complaining on how the matatu crew have on more than one occasion forgotten to alight her at her location. And since she is new to thika road, she does not know when to remind them of her destination. I assured her that I would tell her when to remind them. I continued admiring the moon from my window seat and the beauty of thika road at night with all those car lights. Especially the rear lights on the lane going the same direction as us. Apparently the conversation on her destination was only an ice breaker on her part. She requested me to fix something for her on her smartphone. And set her a ringtone. I did gladly. But what got me thinking is the frequency of this. I can’t count the number of times I have helped strangers with something on their smart phones especially in matatus. Is it just me or do young people go through the same? Even for my uncles and aunts, whose children already have smart phones, usually request for my help. I am not a phone wizard and compared to my age mates, they know more about phones than I do. But think of it, would you ask for a stranger’s help? In anything? I rarely ask for help. I’m in the bandwagon that claims to be okay when deep inside I’m screaming for help. And above that, I rarely even borrow anything from even my closest friends. It reached a point my friends assume I’m never broke. Saa hizo I have a KCB loan I am yet to pay. I guess what this strangers are teaching me is that, it is okay to ask for help. Even from strangers. And coincidentally I’ve always been able to help them out with whatever problem they had. Ask for help, know when to start looking for strangers who seem best fitted to help you out. And who knows, they might just sort you out in whatever area you needed clarification on.
But in everything you do, in every success and especially any failure that you manage to dust yourself from, always remember that you are a story of courage. And if you carry nothing from this piece, at least carry the consent concept. No means No.

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