Necessity, invention and everything in between!

Those nights when sleep eludes to the point where you question your specific origins…mammal or otherwise 😉

Which brings me to the content of my post…where sleep hides, words reside. Where warmth is absent, the cold seeps in and we are forced to wrap ourselves in blankets and drink hot beverages and shield ourselves from the icy wind. Since time immemorial, really, the absence of something meant that a gifted human somewhere would “discover” a way to combat the presented challenge, true? False!

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This gifted person would most probably be a frustrated, exhausted and angry person who needed to solve said problem so as to live more peacefully. This is not to take away from the great genius minds that invented the telephone, microwaves (the actual waves not the home appliance – then again, that too), binary code, electric heaters, cars and the list is inexhaustible.

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Closer home, tough times call for tougher measures. In that same vein of insomnia presenting a resting challenge, as it often does in my case, my mind runs through endless possibilities of things to accomplish before that first attack of real sleep hits. I usually get a whole lot done in the wee hours of the night and keep it here for you may yet see the next “big thing” as a result of those restless nights (I wish). Often times I employ various home made solutions to things one notices when the world is asleep; for instance, the reality that lots of creepy crawlies do come out to play in the dark. Now, I can squish a spider along with the best of them, but when it comes to those reptilian creatures called geckos, for the life of me, I freeze! They’re barely longer than my middle finger but that slapping noise their cold-blooded bodies makes along the floor or the “chik chak” noise they make as they call out to each other simply gives me the heebeedeejeebies! Nonetheless, on one of those sleep-deprived nights and having decided that I’m not a fan of having them as room mates; I turned to trusty old Google. What did I have around the house that would get rid of them without us having to be in contact? Unfortunately, all listed consults included the use of my hands- and that was simply unacceptable- at the time.

To cut a very long, drawn out, painstaking story short, due to necessity and an abundance of unsightly gecko poo, I am now rather adept at dispensing of the critters with barely a blink however, and this is for the animal lover reading this, my intentions are noble and little to no pain is inflicted on them in the process. I digress. This whole exercise had me thinking that without the lack of sleep, there would have been no noticing of the presence of the geckos and therefore no need to eliminate them. In a similar thought process, I have taken to observing what else I use to carry out seemingly simple activities and duly pay homage to all who went before us, discovered their “gecko” and devised a method of dealing with them that has been passed on and refined and is currently in use by our generation, rather nonchalantly, I might add.

I do not claim any genius in my method, make no mistake, but I am more aware of the centuries-old steps taken by humans long gone in efforts to make the lives we now live a whole lot easier; and I truly appreciate necessity along with its role in invention.

#AsYouWere

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…where were we?

A new day dawns. I love Fridays so it’s a v.e.r.y good day indeed. I have been silent for a while and then some. It happens sometimes. That time, I think, has come to an end. Maybe I was waiting for this day (subconsciously, because this was definitely NOT planned); maybe I was meant to write this right this moment. Whatever the reason, it’s the beginning of so many beginnings this page cannot hold them all.

It has been a well lived year, yes, I know, we are only but mid-year or thereabouts, but the amount of living that has gone into it is indescribable. So many memories made, so many lessons learned, so many experiences had – these will be detailed here over subsequent weeks.

There is sweetness and sadness in every circumstance, even when we only see one side of the mirror. It really depends on where you choose to focus. Today, I focus on the sweet side of things. And I’m praying I hold my gaze 🙂 Much like this little gem I found on the world wide web >>

Here’s to freshness and sweetness! And lots of tea 😉

PS: Feels good to be back!!

CHRIST(‘S)MAS OR X-MAS?

Call me Scrooge and slap me silly or the Grinch-that-stole-Christmas and pinch me blue! What am I on about? The early Christmas hullabaloo!!

Do not mistake my grouchiness for dislike of the season, I simply do not understand why we must begin to “deck the halls” and gift-shop from the first day of December! By the time the actual Christmas week rolls around I have “festive fatigue”!! See, most of us, myself very included, in this economy and current inflated…everything…do not have the luxury of time to sit and day dream about shiny bright lights and blinking baubles on trees <who’s history in the African context is suspect> and gifts we can barely afford unless we steal hours to make them ourselves! Or maybe we should all, for those 24hours of the feted 25th, revert to our childhood state so we can truly enjoy the festivities without a care about bills from here to the afterlife come the equally celebrated New Year.

I am all for celebrating the birth of our Saviour but I have a huge problem with how it is done by many. Plus by the time the real Christmas day rolls round all the joy has gone out of it, for me, at least. Why must we squander sums irreplaceable when we’ve been miserly all year through and all on our selves(selves inclusive of family)? Trips abroad or out of town, further lining pockets of transporters from air to rail and everything in between as they ruthlessly hike their fares claiming ‘peak’ rates; yet another monster we have nurtured with our excesses. Family gatherings are sweet but when they turn into a contest about which sibling gave the parents the priciest gift, the opposite becomes reality, Rivalries, debt, irritations and misunderstandings between spouses, siblings, parents, employers, employees and the whole lot and you wonder where the “Merry” in the greeting disappeared to! Boss didn’t give you that hefty Christmas bonus? Parents didn’t get you that Nintendo WII? Boyfriend didn’t get you that rose gold ring? Neighbour didn’t invite you to that Choma? Come on, do we always have to receive for it to be Christmas? Do we have to string up ugly hues of cheap crepe and place unnecessary trinkets under even more incomprehensible Christmas trees to truly display our Christmas spirit?

Malls in Nairobi started decorating by the last week of November, advertisements on mainstream media began with their “Christmas Sale” rags by the 5th  of December everyone begun to get into the “holiday mood” >>If you ask me, it’s an excuse to be legally unproductive 😉 True, everyone needs a good break at the end of the year, but why do we fuel the December madness by accumulating our ‘leave’ days, booking left right and centre all roads leading out of our locales and saving up to fill bottomless pits all in a matter of a few days? Surely! And the sad bit is, many of us will not be celebrating the real reason for the season, we will be celebrating ourselves. Feeding the body(self), drinking(self), travelling for leisure(self), partying(self). Alright I won’t bore you with the “sharing is caring” adage but it begs some consideration if you think you need it then doesn’t someone else who can not in the least afford it need a bite of the ‘holiday’ as well?

Again if you love all the bits about Christmas that I seemingly dislike, fear not, you’re a part of the majority. However, spare a thought for those this season who may have nothing to be merry about other than the life they barely hold on to. Spend wisely, travel safely and thank God for your cheery self.

Ah, I tire. Let me go board my ‘matatu’ full of people with already heaped shopping bags loudly making travel plans on their cell-phones in preparation for “Christmas”.

CURLYVOLUTION

Disclaimer: Gentlemen, this might get a tad “technical” for you but if you care to be prepared incase a girl comes to the great choice between straight and curly: proceed!

The much argued over “N” word is now an everyday buzzword for me. Yep! I made the switch from straight to curly and I am loving it!

No this is not one of those , “Fighting for the misunderstood natural-headed girl” tirades. Far from it. It’s a personal victory piece, with yours truly as victor(-ria?) 😉

See I am one of those girls who lived most of her childhood and early adult life by the power of a blow-drier or hair drier for those so inclined, whenever I needed my hair “appropriately” straight for occasions like Church (according to my mother), parties and job interviews. I would look longingly at girls with dreadlocks and short curly hair with such sadness I’m sure I  must have creeped out the poor lasses.  When I did eventually use chemicals to straighten out my hair, locally familiar as “perming”, I was excited for all of a year before I realized I missed my natural, stress-free head! The rules outnumber the 10-commandments and doesn’t God say He gives us everything we need for life and godliness? Well, for all ya’ll still sporting sleek, glossy tresses courtesy of Dark and Lovely, Motions or whatever other relaxers exist, you identify with the:

  • Every two week treatment regime
  • Every six month (less or more depending on your hairdresser’s need for that extra 1500) “re-touch”
  • Every bi-monthly or so hot oil treatment
  • Every conditioning when you go swimming
  • Every morning application of either/and or polisher, sheen spray, hair lotion/pink lotion/moisturizing lotion
  • Every bi-monthly or so (depending on your speed of hair-growth) choice between a weave, wig or braid to protect your growth in that un-manageable state between new natural hair and old relaxed hair.

I could go on with mentions of tongs, flat irons and the like but by now it’s clear it’s quite a task(at least it was for me) to maintain my “perm”.  I would forget my re-touches until my salonist would call me exasperatedly asking me if I still had anything worth calling hair on my head. I would take a peek in the mirror and retort with a “What do you think is keeping the braids up?” shot. Pat, myself on the back and keep going strong into month two with my beloved plaits! I do believe there are people in my campus years who swear they never saw my real hair because I kept it in twists or three-strand plaits all year round. Ahh, the joys of being a student =)

 Well fast forward to a crazy scheduled life with narry a second to spend the at least, note, at least, four hours at the salon and you can guess the frustration I experienced. At this one time I had a job that had me living out of a bag because of all the travel so the state of my hair(well concealed under, yeah, you guessed right…my trusty braids) was appalling! Enough times I threatened my hairdresser with talk of chopping it all off and the look on his face was enough to cow me into sitting meekly as he washed, “moussed”, set and sprayed my hair into submission, all the while reminding me how much time, energy and love, yes, love, I know, he had put into nurturing it! I don’t deny that the outcome was never disappointing but the time!! And then the migraines begun because of all the heat-treatment from the irons/tongs/curlers/driers, I simply could not do it any more!

Come 2011 and I got tired of a lot of things. Those will constitute another piece but the best thing I know I did was grow out my “perm”.  I can be spotted traipsing carefree along Nairobi’s streets with my baby-‘fro’. It’s only three months old but I can’t get enough of it. I won’t deny that it does require maintenance that almost equals that of straightened hair but the best part is, aside from the odd weekend or two, I get to manage it all on my own! With the right products and awesome advice from those who have gone before me, I have not experienced such freedom.

I actually experience the world in a different way. People look at me with all manner of expression, both people I know and those I don’t. When I’m all kitted out for work, comments like, “I want to work there, how do you sport a ‘fro all week?” or all manner of humans wanting to run their fingers through it to determine whether it’s really my hair or “Is it as soft as it looks?” (hehe the pseudo-narcissist typed that last bit). At a friend’s place in the morning, her dad looks at me, then turns to her and asks, “Did your friend forget to comb” and then asking if I was growing it into dreads which he seemed to be more at ease with instead of this half-grown-half-curled do I’ve been pinning to one side. We had a good laugh about it! Then my parents, with whom I do not reside, and who therefore get to see me after a month of Sundays, they saw, pondered and pondered some more. It’s some kind of awesome to stump my mother for those of you that may know or know of her 😉 Oh and the boys. Well, let’s just say there are those that like it and those that do not, and that, my friends, is just as it should be =)

Well good or bad, I am in a very happy place with my hair and intend to be for yet a good while.

To natural hair and natural haired girls: Rock that Curl/Lock!!

And we’re Back!

It’s been so long since I wrote this feels like a homecoming of sorts. I’ve been through here’s and there’s that are too numerous to pen but I definitely will be dishing out the highlights in subsequent posts. In the meantime I have been enjoying the musings of some fresh bloggers I happened upon via Twitter, will list some so you can decided for yourself what you think of their writing.

 A lot has taken place in my life, my city and my country. If you love Kenya like I do you will agree that sometimes it feels surreal watching and hearing the things going on in our beloved Kenya currently. Normally I’d be on here furiously typing out my opinion on everything from the corruption allegations against MPs to the demise of our inspiring Dr. Wangari Maathai(Rest In Peace, Heroine, Champion of Club Do-Something-About-It and trailblazer for millions in activism everywhere), to the inflation that seems to be high on a yet undiscovered substance and the current war…situation. These past months however I took a step back to survey (and pray) over the goings on. Prices of things fluctuate so much it makes me feel like I’ve lived four lifetimes in one and lived to tell the story, not to mention the insecurity levels that constantly re-invent themselves from ‘simple’ muggings to gang rape and murder and unexplained disappearances, no locale within the city excluded.

Feel free to visit The Greenbelt Movement site and see how this badge can help you honour the late Dr. Maathai’s cause>>

This is not to mean I’ve been living in fear, no, I’ve had my share of being out and about. It just means that what I have to take into consideration before going somewhere like transport, timings and location are really starting to give in to pale in comparison to the option of a relaxed night in especially after work weeks like the ones that seem to be an everyday occurrence nowadays. That’s been another issue; I get home sometimes and I could swear my room has moved a few inches farther than it was in the morning! Days morph into weeks, weeks melt into months and the only trick I have up my sleeve nowadays is sneaking a random weekend getaway from the city-to a haven where deadlines, meetings, reports and must-attend-do’s take a back seat for a few blissful day. Of course these getaways aren’t as many as I’d like nor do they come at exactly the right time but they are the silver lining, no doubt!

Ever watched the movie 27 Dresses? I’m living it and probably at 37 by now. I am sure there is a memo circulating that hasn’t reached me yet and If I were to guess it goes something like,

“To … it is officially open wedding season and there’s only a few months left so grab a date and a bride/groom and have at it”, Signed, the Universe!!

 

I wish all the happy couples long, loving, blessed and fun nuptials but if I don’t participate in another wedding for several long minutes, the earth will rotate a little easier on its axis and that is the truth!

Through the writer’s block period I was harshly reminded every day that I didn’t buckle down and write, just how much of an anchor putting pen to paper is for me. In primary school, science class to be precise, we learned about earthing- define. Well, my pen “earths” my thoughts onto paper and that’s what eventually shows up here. Yes, I am of that dying breed that first drafts everything on good old paper before typing out, my thoughts feel much more connected to the resulting words that way. Yes, they (my thoughts) told me that 😉

MUSIC. My other form of release.

 

TOOK ME THROUGH A WHOLE TWO MONTHS

So now my two loves can co-exist as I get back to telling you what I think, feel, am learning and know, Mwixelligently of course! 😉

Check out the musings of Snippets of My Life-esp TGIF by @kawiriaFikira Zangu by @buoghaNanjira: Confessions of Aquila by@ninanjira and feel free to share any others that you like. All rather likable Kenyans 😉

 

STILL RIDING HIGH ON THIS ONE (bonus for reading till the very end of this very long post 😉

The High is Down

The high is down

 

It felt like I was about to fly

Like I was about to hit the sky and land on the moon

It felt like I was going to scale the peak

Like I was going to actually get there.

 

I felt like my inner eyes opened

Like I could truly breathe what I had so missed

I felt like the wait was over

Like I was where I should be.

 

My mind felt like it was free

Like vision was clearer and goals closer to reach

My soul felt like cotton candy

Like petals in a gentle breeze.

 

Heart felt like lotus leaves

Like melting chocolate on a warm and moist tongue

Heart felt like bursting seams

Like full; yet still empty.

 

Then it felt like nothing

Like it had all been a wistful and silly dream

Then it felt like sadness

Like a hollow tree trunk.

 

It felt like I was about to fly

Like I was about to hit the sky and land on the moon

It felt like I was going to scale the peak

Like I was going to truly get there.

 

Then it felt like it wasn’t supposed to feel;

The high is down!

Endangered Men?

I got one of those forwards recently that I did not delete on sight because it had a title that sounded a tad oxymoronic to me:

“Men-the Real Truth” (need I say more?)

The bottom line of the piece was how men sacrifice tirelessly to care for their women(read mothers, sisters/cousins, girlfriends/wives) and provide the best for them at all costs.

Some extracts from the message are:

“He starts compromising at a very tender age. He sacrifices his chocolates for his sister.”

“…thus he sacrifices full youth for his wife and children without any complain.”

“…yet every mother, wife and boss tries to have control over him.”

“Finally his life ends up by compromising for others’ happiness.”

“Respect every boy/man in your life. You will never know what he has sacrificed for you.”

It got me thinking and I must admit there are some guys out there who fit the bill. Unfortunately over time this scenario has changed and I am tempted to replace all the “he’s” with “she’s” because in today’s society, women do way more sacrificing than the men in their lives.

Granted there’s some truth; and as Mr. Ezekiel suggested and I quote:

“You see the truth is that in this era of empowerment n all…men’s roles are really looked down upon. Men themselves are really taken for granted. I cud sing a song but am a man and we are expected to be tough”

I sent it to a few guy pals to feel them out on it and I was surprised.

Rebmann said “…we always see it as a duty rather than a burden.”

Sam on the other hand believes men are macho and shouldn’t wear their hearts on their sleeves. He is also of the opinion that it is not necessary for the women in their lives to pour out their appreciation in buckets, an occasional “thank you” would suffice. I like something Rebmann added “…men appear unappreciated cause most of their efforts are normally viewed as what they ought to do…” This I concur with to an extent and must admit am partially of the school of thought asking why should it be a celebration when men take up their responsibility when it’s basically God-given for them to do?

I’m on the fence because I think my problem lies in:

  • The generalization. Some men do not know what sacrifice is, the women in their lives sacrifice so they can be what others see. The mama covers for him by paying bills, supporting his whimsical ideas and raising his “totos” and when he finally comes round well, if ever, she’s just plain tired of the whole charade.
  • The misconception. You see God instituted that man shall toil for self and family so just where do we get the idea that it’s going to be easy? The woman shall be the help and man also got the good bit, that he would lead the mama.

Alright with the advent of empowerment, women’s rights have been highlighted but just what is the plight of men? Men don’t speak out about issues so we (maybe wrongfully) assume they have none? Women are the fairer gender and where men have the chest hairs to put forward(pun intended) women may need that extra hand. No I don’t mean affirmative action, I mean bringing to light issues such as domestic violence(against women), rape and FGM for example.

What say you?