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!!

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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!

MY TWIECES

Yes, it’s a word. My word for my twin nieces; Never mind that I am in no familial way related to their mama. More complex? Alright. Think of someone you know who you cannot absolutely, totally and completely do without in your life. Not your significant other either. A friend who is truly closer than a brother? Now we’re getting warm. That is the relationship between my twieces’ mother and myself.

The angels in question are two adorable girls who hit the one year milestone on 19th July 2011(yes this is a true story) and who long before that date had firmly established their place in my heart and those of their other “aunties”(I use this term very loosely).

Their names are testament to the wisdom of their lovely mother: Pendo and Nuru. With names like that, who wouldn’t find them adorable? And they are. They’ve already taken up their positions on the temperament wheel and aren’t afraid “kujitokeleza”(show their true colours) when the situation calls for it. Just thinking about them gives me a warm feeling.

Pendo is the feistier of the duo, she tells you; you rarely tell her. Nuru will also make her presence known but more by being there as opposed to vocally like her sister, much like her name. The girls will definitely be talkers. They are surrounded by people who want for them all the love, security, joy, excitement, wisdom, favor, peace and success they can access.

I’m sure by now you’re wondering why I’m waxing sentimental about babies you barely know. Well, they have a story. Like many of us who walk the streets with our power suits, taut faces and laptop-bags, there’s more to the picture than meets the eye. These adorable totos almost never saw the light (no pun intended Nuru). This is where Mama Pendo and Nuru(aka Mama Twins) comes in. She is one of the strongest young ladies I know. When I say young I mean not yet at the point where she would normally be having two children and a all that comes along with.  

However this remarkable girl loved, lost and found the most amazing new love of all, that of the two cuties whose mother she proudly is. With the babies’ biological male parent out of the picture, surviving on an intern’s allowance and only months to graduation, Mama Twins braved society’s glare and moved in with Gramp- and Gram- Twins and began a journey that has been and still is a many-splendored thing. They’ve been through it all: financial struggles, emotional warfare running the gamut from anger to joy through pain and back again, physical strain and injury scares but have never lost faith in God and his power to bring them through it all. The amazing bit is that my twieces found a way for their Mama to sieve out her real friends from the hangers on and everything in between. Also those that stayed true have been brought together in a way they never would have before as in their own way each gave of time, heart and whatever resource in standing with Mama Twins. Moments shared in trips to visit the beautiful new family and prayer circles over every single issue have definitely created a bond that is sure to last. Pendo and Nuru have created a family larger than they may ever know and they are yet to meet and get to know them all.

We may know of or know about someone who’s been through the motions and is still coming at life both guns blazing like Mama, Pendo and Nuru. And if you do, I hope you recognize the strength, beauty, faith and courage that is unique to them simply by virtue of the fact that they and their families are healthy, strong and very alive. Having a child is difficult, that is the reality. And that is with both parents. Now imagine going it alone and with not one, but two totos. It’s almost nothing short of miraculous. Well since it’s the baby girls’ one year anniversary:

Here’s to You, now and always!

RIP Acapella

Today I saw a fellow presser post a song by the Acapella company and it brought back fond memories of my interactions with this amazing genre of music. I remember groups like the Acapella Vocal Band (AVB) and The Acapella Company, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, All4One, Take6. Closer home we had Pentharmony, Voices In the Light, Masters’ Voices, Votaries and all the other little known high-school and campus groups that never made it past their school years.

A capella music is soulful, soothing, expressly moving and allows you to know exactly how an artist’s vocals sound because there is no use of musical instrument other than the vocal chords of the performer. I love it because it separates the real singers from the wanna-be’s. Even on albums by celebrated artists, there would still be an intro or outro with just vocals paying tribute to one of the most instruments of the trade: voice.

I write this sadly because I can hardly call our artists of today “singers”. What with the advent  of auto-tune and all other forms of digital manipulation so the music can sound just so. It breaks my heart to see young and old alike idolizing people who cannot hold a proper note simply because they possess a certain sphere of influence either through their lifestyle or poorly put-together popular “song”. I appreciate a dance tune just as much as anyone who is so inclined but I prefer real music, vocals that have been worked on through sheer practice and patience and which carry a lasting message.

I guess a capella has now been replaced by the innumerable live bands that are mushrooming all over the country and I will salute them for doing their best to revive real music, albeit accompanied by instruments other than voice. They do give a refreshing break from the clanging noise that is the “music” of our generation.

If there are any a capella bands still out there, please show yourselves? As for the existing bands that have the ability to incorporate it into your acts, please do?

Bye Bye A capella! For Now…

Toonology

I am a slightly depressed cartoon lover. Yes, I said it. I love toons. Since I was a child and even when my outer inner adult tried to outgrow them, my outer child has held fast.

 

Cartoons transport one to a happy, hyperbolic and carefree fantasy world. We all need a place like this. Maybe your happy place is filled with food, music, flowers or anything that simply lifts you above the droll quality that life can sometimes take on? Then now you understand my fondness for cartoons.

 

However over recent years, cartoons have taken on a quality that belies the innumerable changes that have  become the norm in our generation. What really irks me is the adult content on some of the ‘cartoons’. I mean surely 7year olds and below need not be introduced to the birds and the bees as is the case with some new generation toons. The widespread use of “grown-up” language also rankles my chain. I want to be able to watch toons with my kids but as things are going I may start hunting for dvds of my old favourites and stock them up for later. Cartoons are supposed to make us laugh, in fact, double over in laughter, sing along to the catchy songs and want to buy all their merchandise(all the while pretending it’s for the niece/nephew/son/daughter but happy it is in our house). Cartoons remind me of friends because when I was little we would plan playtime around the various cartoon showtimes on television. As soon as it was 5pm, all toys would be unhanded and all children would run into the nearest neighbour’s house and scramble for the best vantage viewing point in front of the TV. Afterwards, we would all be herded out and into our various homes all the while singing refrains from our favourite show. Cartoons didn’t focus on who was the skinniest, prettiest or could kill new unimaginable creatures. True, there were those, but most were community-centred like the little blue guys(Smurfs, Gummy Bears and Ewoks). In the event that you wanted true heroes, never fear for in came Captain Planet, Transformers, Sheera and He-man, swooping in to save the day and invariably the planet The message was largely about giving and sharing and caring…ah…reminds me of the Care Bears. And those that didn’t have that message were downright silly like Tazmania, Road Runner and Wacky Races. You see toons were not meant to scare or alienate any child watching from any corner of the globe. Good always won over evil and the antics along the way were hilarious.

I tend to have many favourites of every single thing, from music to food and everything in between. So here are some of my all time fave toons in no random order: Tweety and Sylvester,  Road Runner, The (original) Flintstones, Pink Panther, Wacky Races, Muttley, Transfomers(original), Sheera, Smurfs, Ewoks, Sheep in the Big city, Popeye, The Addams Family, The three musketeers, Animaniacs, Pingu, Dora the Cat, Chip and Dale, Dinosaucers, Dexter’s Laboratory, the Powerpuff Girls, Darkwing Duck, Elmer Fudd, Ghostbusters. Ok this list is getting to long so to all toon lovers out there add your toons and keep loving ’em, won’t you?

The Noble Woman

The Noble Woman

by Shirleen Imbuye on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 3:00pm

For the longest time, I have struggled  with the Proverbs 31 woman. Struggle is an understatement. When I have read about her, it has often left me feeling bereft, discouraged, angry, (not sure at who,) that it is a portion of Scripture that’s quite ambigious. I have felt this way because, honestly this woman seems like only a few of them can attain her status.  It makes me wonder what Maya Angelou’s inspiration when she wrote the piece ‘Phenomenal Woman.’

 

In church there has been preaching about her, and at the end of the day when I assess myself in light of the Proverbs 31 woman, my efforts and achievements appear to be totally obscure to the point of embarrassment. However I learnt something new today. Proverbs 31 woman is in each and every one of us. She is embedded at the very core of our spirits and souls before the Lord began to form us in our mother’s wombs.

 

It is encouraging that Ruth was one noble woman that is mentioned in the Bible; and there is a cross-reference of her noted in this particular chapter of Proverbs. Her being pointed out is something worth noting because she was a woman just like you and I, perhaps her experiences were different from yours and mine, one this stands out though is; she lived, and left a legacy for the rest of us womenfolk.

 

Within you and I there is the potential to live the life of Proverbs 31 woman. We may not go out and do exactly as she did, however I believe God has put it in you and me to surpass her because through Christ, He is able to do much more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us. I do not think God ran out of potential, talents, and ideas for Him to have us be copy cats. Point is, each one of us is very unique and have a unique assignment from Him and it must come to fruition before our time expires here on earth.

 

Instead of bickering, muttering in my thoughts and spirit, and asking a zillion questions about who in right mind thinks anyone can achieve Proverbs 31 woman status, I have asked God and will continue asking to help me understand how I can be that woman noble character who fears the Lord and show me practical ways in my current status, situation, in my day to day, in this day and age on how to live to this potential and have loads of fun while at it.

 

This is my hope and prayer for you as well that you may seek to be noble women as God has ordained and commands in this day and age, in the places of influence He has placed you in and will do as the seasons come and go.

 

You touch a soul, you transform the world.

 

PS: Featuring yet another budding writer. Noble in her own right 😉

Ancient thoughts by Faith Kathoka

Ancient thoughts

by Faith Maua Kathoka on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 4:00pm

I pulled up the sleeves of my sweater

I wanted to look like I was fittin’ in

The click

But she stood out

I envied her

I wanted to be in her group

Fate would have it

I was

She talked and I really wanted to be her

She knew what she wanted

Focused

I had no clue what I was there for

Just to make sure I graduated

And not repeat any courses coz I got a very bad mark

She was talented too

Could sing

Act

Lead

Confident

Poise and charisma

She got enough proposals from dudes

They all wanted to date her

She took her time

And settled for the best

Her reflections in class were deep

She charmed the lecturers

She knew her lines

What cords to strike

And when

I wanted to be her

Her friend

In her click

But I wasn’t

In her first semester

She had a GPA of 3.7 out of 4.0

I had a lil over the pass mark 2.something

She had enough friends and running over

She could afford a packet of yoghurt daily

A lollypop and a black forest to go with it

If I bought any of that

I was sure to starve one day in a week

I wanted to be her

She was a leader in the Christian union

A position she did not vie for

Was elected, chosen

I worked hard for years

Two to be precise

So I could be the editor of the campus newspaper

And worked hard to stay there

My circle of friends thinned out more

She never worked hard on keeping any

Many worked hard to be kept by her

She was a leader

Just naturally

I wanted to be like her

Today I saw her

She came by for a party in our court

She didn’t look the part

A lil sad

A lil lonely

As she walked in to the party alone

Walked out occasionally to make a call

I saw her

As I walked out with my fiancé

She did not notice me

Or preferred not to maybe

I was sad for her

As she inhaled another puff of smoke from her cigarette

I remembered her life

How I wanted to be like her

She walked past us

As she gave herself a hug

My fiancé held me tight

I don’t have everything I ever wished for

But I have what I need

And best of all

I have relentless love

She broke up with her boyfriend of 5.6 years

I can’t help but realise that

I have not worked hard to earn his love

I did not vie for it

I was chosen

And with that thought

I inhale another puff of his love

God’s love

 

PS: My girl Faith, this is a heartfelt read!(Originally an FB Note)