Alone.

One day you scroll through your WhatsApp and the last time someone talked to you was hours ago. Which seems like soon, except that that isn’t normal. If there is an app that kinda never goes off completely, its that one.

So you refresh your data. Must be something wrong with the data connection. You restart your phone, nothing. Its silent. Its all silent.

The people around you seem oblivious. While those who get your soul aren’t there necessarily. You could reach out to your other close friends. You know tell them “that I don’t necessarily miss you specifically, but it would really be nice to have someone to talk to right now”?

You are not sad. Or depressed. Or feeling all sorts of chronic feelings that throw you into the abyss of not being okay.

But you are alone. And that’s just new. It comes with weird settings of emotions.

So you skip important things to go watch a movie you’ve really been looking forward to. And when the ticket person says you’ll be the only one in the movie theatre, your heart skips a beat. Though you do find 3 souls too. You choose the seats in front of them. And imagine that you are alone. Because you are.

And as you immensely enjoy the movie, you get jealous when she talks to her mother when she’s utterly feeling lost. You wish that was you being comforted.

And as you lie on your bed in the dark, wondering how humans navigate this space, it occurs to you that maybe the next season of your life depends on this one leaving you alone. Sounds like grasping at straws, which it might be. Its typical of you to find meaning in everything. But its also a game you play with yourself, predicting aspects of your future self and waiting to see if your bet was right.

So you wait. You fidget and wait. You move around in frustration but wait. You consider calling or texting them, but you know better. This phase doesn’t seem like it reacts to normal solutions. Its like the universe is making you a blank slate. And the more you try to fill it with someone or something, the rougher the cleaning after that.

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Today

Today I sat with fellows whose sandals i’m unfit to untie.

They walked with their heads held high. They laughed with loud abrasive laughters. They took jibes at each other with careless abandon. They are who they are. They are where they are. And no one can ever question the facts of their lives. They have lived a life that allows them to be as controversial as they want. Their sarcasm dripped in every sentence. Careless abandon earned from years of hard work. Power gained solely through their knowledge.

And this same day, I can confidently say I was the youngest in that room. By age. To the extent that someone referred to us seated at the back as the grandchildren of the retiring Professor whose party we were attending.

Today I felt right at home.

Among scholars who have seen far and wide. Among men and women who eat books for a living. Among fellows who are so educated that they did their PHDs 30years ago, yet their work is being used for a 2018 world conference.

Today I saw greatness. My kind of greatness. It awed me so much that I was dumbstruck. With a permanent smile on my face. I couldn’t believe a world I would fit right in existed in my circle. Greatness so big that it allows everyone to shine at the same time.

Today I went for a cocktail party thereafter. Where the discussions were purely academic. People sharing their thesis and dissertations. And professors their next publication. Everyone making new contacts or networks. And not for deals or biasharas as is Kenyan to do. For academic purposes. For collaborations in organizing conferences and which concept papers to work on together.

Today I heard scholars mention their 2019 goals. And none of them had anything to do with money or a self-improvement plan. It was all for the good of humanity.

And today, I felt guilty admitting that over half, maybe even 80% of the professors in that room are from Nyanza. They are luo. And whether this is tribalism or not, it was just a fact. Those people read. And by 1960s, some were doing their masters. And in 2018, the trend continues. Whereas in my constituency, the only professor we have is an MP who uses the term professor as a title like any other, not because he is a scholar.

And as my heart and mind felt right at home, I wondered where the youth are. It sounds so cliche, until you enter a room full of highly educated people, and besides the niece of the graduating professor, and maybe me and other 1 or 2 people, everyone is over 40, with a few 30year olds. In simple terms..out of over a 100 current scholars, less than 10 were below 40yrs.

Aren’t my fellow young people interested in learning?

Young people are studying for masters and PhDs. Only problem is most of them are doing courses for money or job purposes. Something beneficial to you personally.

But for our society to move on, we need people who not only care for themselves, but also the society at large.

As we celebrated and honoured the father of Environmental Law in Africa, everyone had words to say about him. And not necessarily good words. The man has never entertained fools.

He studied abroad and was called to teach in Canada, England among others. He refused and came back to beg for a job in Kenya. Despite US offering him a job too.

And through and through the man with his colleagues, have fought for environmental courses in Kenya. He founded the Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy. First of its kind in Africa. A dream he wanted to operationalize in 7 African countries. A dream he started talking of a decade before it ever saw the first light.

Yet when you ask young people what their visions, goals or aspirations are, its a personal matter. I want to create an app. I want to be the CEO of a fortune 50 company. I want to start a business. I want to write a book. I want to get a family. I want to get promoted at work. I want to get a job. I want to travel the world.

Nothing absolutely wrong with that.

Except that society isn’t built by individual goals. Its built by that 1 visionary man who won’t give up his vision of a better society.

I don’t believe in bashing one group to uplift another. So don’t feel bad if all your aspirations are purely personal.

But this is dedicated to that person, maybe jobless or in a lowly paying job, or just hustling to get by in life, but with a vision to make a change in society.

This is to that person, who has come to Nairobi and has been faced with a fast paced life, that they forgot, that when they were getting away from the village, some issues such as teenage pregnancies really wretched their hearts and they would really love to do something about it.

This is to those who don’t fit in a society that measures success with money. That glorifies the rich. And forgets those who make meaningful contributions to society. That glorifies thieves and names every hospital, school and institution after them, yet Wangari Maathai and Conjestina are lucky to have some road in the outskirts of the city named after them.

This is to the one who wants to genuinely make society a better place. But doesn’t see how.

May you know, that one day when you are retiring, and speaker after speaker speak of your dedication in your chosen field, and how you helped them, it shall be totally worth it.

That when you forfeit wealth for fulfillment, having the multitude of people you mentored write and publish a freaking book in your honour, it shall be among the greatest honour a man can get in the land of the living.

And whatever you are passionate about, may you do it so damn well, that others after you shall have no choice but to copy paste your work, because yours was pure excellence.

And wherever you are, you are not alone,we are here. Drops in the ocean. Far away from each other. But we are here. And despite the many crocodiles on our journey to Canaan, we shall make it.

May your being young never discourage you from pursuing matters of the aged.

Today I sat in a room with fellows whose sandals i’m unfit to untie.

And looking around the room , I knew if not me, no one else would take the baton. So I smiled, I laughed, I trembled, I took unclear pictures knowing that one day, it shall be my turn, for now, I hope the baton doesn’t fall from their hands. I hope they run their race long enough to hand it over to me.

Today, my hope in my dreams were renewed.

Today I was re-energised

Today.

Today.

Today.

Feel.

You know sometimes, the child in me comes out to play. At times, she squeals in laughter at silly things. Other times, she goes out of her way to do silly things just for her own pleasure.

And on most of those remaining times, she comes to grief. Over all those times she didn’t get the opportunity to do so when i was her age.

Its almost as if she comes to claim vengeance, but in a sad way. In a sombre mood.

And during those times, I do not know how to handle her. I try the only method that I was conversant with for decades..attempting to move on from an uncomfortable situation without necessarily dealing with it. It doesn’t work out.

Just like it didn’t those many years ago. When we had to brush off those hurtful words or things said to us because what could we do about them? Even if we cried, we were alone ultimately, with no salvation.

But clearly the child in me that comes out to play this time round isn’t interested in ‘accept and move on’ thearetics. She wants her due. And I hate debts.

So at first I offer her a motivational talk. That this too shall pass. That we are more than conquerors. That a bright future awaits us so we can’t let a little hurdle stand in the way. That life is ultimately great, or rather that we are extraordinary.

And such other kinds of bullshit that she doesn’t like.

So when that doesn’t work out, we try dealing with the situation. This entails sitting down and dissecting the sad issue that triggered her to come out to play. We look at it from all angles. We write the pros and cons. We become both the plaintiff and defendant, and hope that she accepts the ruling.

Nothing.

We try distraction. Try and find things that pique our interest and watch or read. Watch things that we know are usually of interest to her. But that turns out to be a futile attempt at serenading a snake.

So utterly clueless on what to do with this child in me who has come out to play, I give up, and let her be. She states her emotions in a way that brings tears to my eyes. She explains her pain using feelings too strong to ignore. She didn’t come out expecting solutions.

She simply wanted me to feel. To illuminate light into those things I brushed off when I was a little girl because there was nothing much I could do. To not tell her its okay. Instead to feel those emotions and know that its okay to do so.

Today, the little child in me came out to play. And I didn’t know how. However, i’ll try. And maybe next time she comes, I won’t struggle as much when all I was supposed to do was to feel.

…what I was before fear.

We now have the chance to remember what we were before fear.

Someone has said this statement in relation to a discussion on African customs. But it has stuck with me because of how personal it is.

I realize that I’ve been living in fear. I got good news 10days ago. And instead of celebrating, I’ve been afraid wondering what if it doesn’t come to fruition? What if I don’t make it? Nitaambia nini watu?( on a light note).

But bottom line is, I’ve been so afraid of failure, that it has crippled my ability to plan and prepare for success. That I’ve postponed thinking about it working out. That I’ve become oblivious to something that would bring me so much joy.

And as I sat down to introspect, I’ve realized that my fear comes from my past ‘failures’. I almost died from them. Almost. I put failures in quote because had the things I wanted to work out worked out, my life would be okay. But it would be just that. Okay.

And because they didn’t work out, i’m here having the best end of year ever in my life. I’m here looking forward to a mind blowing 2019. I’m thriving. All because the things that I wanted to work out, the things that i wept about, did not work out.

But the fear remains. The fear that I’ll want this so badly, and then it won’t work. But isn’t that ironical?

That i’m here admitting that i’m here, in a place I love in life, because things I wanted before didn’t work out, and yet still afraid that I’ll die if this time this doesn’t work out?

I think it’ll take sometime for me to trust my life. To trust the process. To trust that whatever is meant to happen will happen when the time is right.

I’ve lived in fear for so long. Fear demands an army to protect us. You know how much a country is afraid by the seriousness of its army. Nations that don’t have as much enemies have armies as a matter of protocol.

So i’m now letting go, and realizing that no one is out to get us. That if things that I want right now don’t work out, its because something better is ahead. I just have to keep the faith. And trust the process.

So for now, I buy a notebook and plan for that amazing thing that I want. In case it works out, it was meant to be, if it doesn’t, something way better depends on this not working out to manifest itself into my life.

And I do this because unlike before, I now have the chance to remember what I was before fear.

…what I was before fear.

We now have the chance to remember what we were before fear.

Someone has said this statement in relation to a discussion on African customs. But it has stuck with me because of how personal it is.

I realize that I’ve been living in fear. I got good news 10days ago. And instead of celebrating, I’ve been afraid wondering what if it doesn’t come to fruition? What if I don’t make it? Nitaambia nini watu?( on a light note).

But bottom line is, I’ve been so afraid of failure, that it has crippled my ability to plan and prepare for success. That I’ve postponed thinking about it working out. That I’ve become oblivious to something that would bring me so much joy.

And as I sat down to introspect, I’ve realized that my fear comes from my past ‘failures’. I almost died from them. Almost. I put failures in quote because had the things I wanted to work out worked out, my life would be okay. But it would be just that. Okay.

And because they didn’t work out, i’m here having the best end of year ever in my life. I’m here looking forward to a mind blowing 2019. I’m thriving. All because the things that I wanted to work out, the things that i wept about, did not work out.

But the fear remains. The fear that I’ll want this so badly, and then it won’t work. But isn’t that ironical?

That i’m here admitting that i’m here, in a place I love in life, because things I wanted before didn’t work out, and yet still afraid that I’ll die if this time this doesn’t work out?

I think it’ll take sometime for me to trust my life. To trust the process. To trust that whatever is meant to happen will happen when the time is right.

I’ve lived in fear for so long. Fear demands an army to protect us. You know how much a country is afraid by the seriousness of its army. Nations that don’t have as much enemies have armies as a matter of protocol.

So i’m now letting go, and realizing that no one is out to get us. That if things that I want right now don’t work out, its because something better is ahead. I just have to keep the faith. And trust the process.

So for now, I buy a notebook and plan for that amazing thing that I want. In case it works out, it was meant to be, if it doesn’t, something way better depends on this not working out to manifest itself into my life.

And I do this because unlike before, I now have the chance to remember what I was before fear.

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.

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.