A quiet, shy and conservative girl. That is what I was; and what I still am. Having such a personality, making friends wasn’t easy. And the few that I had, well let’s just say relating to them wasn’t easy. See, all through life, my friends have always been a lively fun-loving group. So mostly I just sat with them and listened. Not that I’m complaining… I love listening. With such a situation, what do you do when you need to talk to someone or get something off your shoulders?
I chose to write. I didn’t really choose, it just came naturally. Being born in a generation where TV watching was a main source of entertainment (much as the parents said television fries our brains), I enjoyed watching TV and wanted to become a screenwriter or a director. Then I discovered novels. I guess these are the only books I read without being pressured or watched. I even got in trouble reading them during class. After these I started reading articles in the newspaper and literature class was my favorite of all. And that’s how I got into writing. I started with daily journals, tried poetry and short articles.
Most people tell me I over think… which is true. But that is what makes me who I am. I like looking at people and wondering what are they thinking? And how special they are in their own different ways, whether they know it or not..? I source my inspiration from the occurrences in my life, the people around me and the world as a whole. And that is what I intend to bring here. I also do a bit of photography. Therefore I will use some of my work in this blog. Let’s have fun as we walk together in this journey called life.
Photo credits:- Joy Njeri.
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Of late I was of the mind that I actually am not an introvert. I had written about my personality in past articles. But now everyone was saying how I made friends easily, how talkative I am and how easy to talk to most people found me. For a moment there I started to believe that I was an extrovert of some sort. (Baby extrovert maybe)😃. The symptoms convinced me so. I got excited around hype crowds, I exhausted my quota of words for the day… I mean I drew energy from being with friends. I grow happy even and become low when I was alone. Does this mean I got high on being with people??
But with the lecturers strike and the events I had to attend or plan, I ended up staying in my room doing a lot of nothing not being able to go home. Just watching movies and reading a few articles here and there. As I had stated previously, I have a habit of overthinking and overanalyzing situations especially when I have a lot of free time. This time was no different. I even got to thinking about my purpose in life, what activity do I do that gives me joy and if I could do it as a career. I haven’t yet gotten the answers, but that’s a story for another day.
Whenever a friend knocked on my door, I kept thinking “I hope they haven’t come to stay for long”. Not that I do not love my friends or anything, but I came to realise something… It takes a lot of energy. It takes a lot to hold a conversation. A lot to think of what to say, how they will react to it, how to make sure I don’t kill the conversation. I remember attending a few talks and conferences and almost all the speakers insisted on being able to stand out, to speak your mind. That your network is your net worth. To create a network, one should be able to speak to people confidently and frequently. One should be able to spark a conversation with almost whoever they sit next to. But I think all through my life this has been the most difficult thing to do. How do you just walk up to a stranger and say “Hi, I’m Alfie…”? What does one say next? Do you ask them their name.. what they do.. or do I tell them what I do.. or why I even have an interest in talking to them? I did not want my introversion to be the reason I miss out on opportunities. So I pushed myself to say what I think, to show what I can do. To put myself out there.
I found out that I sleep best when I get home from a social event. Why?? Because I used up all my energy interacting with people. I don’t draw energy from crowds, I use it on crowds. Probably why I hate unfamiliar crowds. But even the ones I know still take a lot from me. I do enjoy the company, Lord knows I need it… But sometimes it just drains me. Some people mistake introverts for antisocial beings. We don’t hate people, we just prefer being in our own company. We’re made to feel as if it is disadvantageous to be quiet, yet we are told to listen more and speak less. When I am quiet, I am either thinking or listening. Do we have to change ourselves in order to fit in or to stand out?
The irony is, I don’t like being alone. At times I like the peace and quiet and to be left to my thoughts, but most times when the thoughts become too much or too dark, I crave companionship. At this point, I go to a friend or back home. To familiar people with whom I am comfortable to be myself. Because they understand me. I am a lively person with lots of love to dish out. I guess that’s why my classmates and friends tend not to believe it when I say that I am an introvert. I have a lot to share and say, it just takes time to feel free around other people. I am capable and talented, I just don’t show it in a hype manner. Maybe all others have to do is observe me and not judge…
Her weekend was long and uneventful. She had gone home on Saturday and to church on Sunday. What was it the preacher had talked about? Running your race?? She had drifted off immediately the word ‘running’ was mentioned. Thought about that guy who had run off on Friday. Rosita knew she had seen enough of him to recognize who he was, but it seemed she had hit her head pretty badly. Monday came and she couldn’t wait to go back to school. Not that she enjoyed the classes or anything. First period ended and she still had no clue as to who was at the door that night. She was staring straight ahead when she walked out of class, at the rails along the stairs.
Then she saw it… It looked exactly the same.
The hand that had a green watch around its wrist. Rosita pushed through the crowd trying to get to him but since she was short, it wasn’t easy. Then she had grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him back so hard he fell. In less than two seconds she was on top of him holding his collar like she was ready to mess up his face. Before she could say anything, the gravity of what she had just done weighed heavily on her. She stood up, her head hanging. At this time, everyone was either amazed by her guts or laughing at her stupidity. Her legs were her best friend at the time as they carried her off to safety far away from her embarrassing moment.
So on this morning, she could not believe that of all people, she had to bump into her lecturer… After almost beating him up black and blue. He calmly invited her to his office expecting and explanation. Problem is, how would she explain that she thought he was some guy who behaved like a stalker?? He offered her a seat and she sunk in the chair hoping it would swallow her. “Umh, what were you thinking last week? I had to go to hospital to get my back checked you know!!!!”. Whatever strength he’d had to hold in his anger before had worn out. When Rosita hesitated, he banged his fists on the table and stood up towering over her. He looked like akuu with his red eyes and scary demeanor. This was not going to end well. She opened her mouth to say something but she was too shaken to utter a word.
Relief is an understatement when it comes to what she felt when the door was opened and a young man’s voice said, “It’s not her fault, it’s mine”. She stood up to see who it was and just sighed. She knew there was something familiar about the figure she had seen…
Welcome back dear reader. If you hadn’t read “The Foreshadow” click here
It had been on a Friday evening. The room was empty. Everyone but her had left immediately the class was over. Rosita wished she wasn’t alone on a Friday but her friends had gone on a road trip to Nyali Beach Hotel. She went through her gallery looking at the photos they had sent her. She had really missed out on a lot of fun. School of Engineering was really messing up her life. So she decided to put on some music. With no one else around she had no need to put on her earphones. A few minutes into her playlist, she was feeling much better. Her favourite song came on and she jumped to her feet. She knew she was a good dancer as long as she had no one to prove it to. She found some space and started dancing letting the music uplift her spirit and the beat sync with her heart beat. Soon her eyes were closed with her hands waving in the air, her body moving to the rhythm. She was really feeling it.
Until she heard a sound… some movement that startled her making her turn so sharply she almost lost her balance. “Who is that?”. Before anyone could answer, she rushed to the door and pulled it open. There was nobody at the door. She peeked down the hallway and saw a figure going down the stairs. Tensed, Rosita ran after it. She knew her behavior went against everything she believed in. Every time she watched a scary movie and the character went towards the danger, she thought it was plain stupid. Right now, she was being plain stupid. But she somehow understood how one would do that. The curiosity made it thrilling, like a spy or detective. Missing a step on the staircase brought her mind back to reality but it was too late. She went rolling down the stairs and bumped her head so hard she felt her brain matter would be pushed out of her all so tiny head. Everything went black.
When she came to, the first thing she did was look at her watch. She was overwhelmed with relief to know that she had only been out for five minutes. She tried to move around just to check if anything was broken. Apart from the bump on her head she seemed fine. She took hold of the railing and pulled herself to her feet. The building was empty and quiet. So who could have been at the door? Had they seen her? And if so, why did they even run away? Why did they hide. Why did he hide? Rosita was sure it was a guy… Question is, which one? Who could it have been?
She had this feeling at the pit of her stomach. One she did not like at all. Something smelt fishy and she had to find out what…
Did you know that our senses take in a lot of things but our brain has the capacity to only process a few? That’s why we hear a lot which we mostly forget and listen to one thing that we intend to remember. Since our eyes are mostly open, we see close to everything, but take note of only that which we are interested in. In short, we hear what we want and see what we want.
This is what Rosita had in mind one morning as she walked around sleepily trying to get ready for class. It wasn’t really early, around 9 a.m. But she had gotten used to waking up late owing to the fact that she was just from holiday. See, every corner she turned, she saw a love heart shape. At first it was on the floor. Some spilt water had spread leaving a dry heart shape in the middle. Then on the table when she was pouring water into a cup and some of it formed the same shape. Chuckling, she reminded herself that she was seeing things because she is very imaginative when it comes to seeing weird shapes on floors, walls or pretty much any surface. She remembered seeing the face of Tarzan on the bathroom tiles or a skull on her soap. This wasn’t any different. It was at that time that it really hit her how lonely she was. She quickly brushed that feeling aside and started dressing up. Navy blue slacks, dark green plaid shirt and black ankle boots. She didn’t really care to look her best because she wasn’t feeling her best.
‘There’s only one thing| to do| three words| for you…| I love you’ kept singing in her head over and over again. It was a song she used to love and had not heard it in over two years. So why did it keep playing in her head like an annoying ad song? To make things worse, those were the only words she knew. Her heart seemed to be in a joyful mood but her mind did not share the feeling. And this made her feel torn… Rosita hadn’t realized she had been staring at the floor all the while until she bumped into something, or someone. ‘Ugh, now what?’ she murmured under her breath as she lifted her head to see what obstacle had the audacity to be in her way this morning. Her heart stopped, her eyes grew wider before she lowered them and her face started to feel hot. She had really hoped, prayed even not to bump into him any time soon.
They say all babies are beautiful, but that was not he case when it came to him. His head was too big for his body, his eyes oddly wide, his ears stuck out too much and his teeth didn’t fit in his mouth. People were not particularly flustered when he smiled at them. They did not fuss after him and when he cried, they did not care. Only one person did. His mother. Every time he shied away from a group of kids and kept to himself in a corner, she called out to him and when he did not answer, she took the children to him. When he did not trust his answer when doing his homework, she helped him out and reminded him “You can do it!”. Years later when he stared at himself in the mirror for too long, she’d say “If you keep staring at your handsome self for so long, you will go blind.” And he believed every word she said. That he was handsome. That he could do it all. When others did not believe in him, he thought of his mother, smiled to himself and went ahead to prove them wrong.
Twenty five years into his life, he realized the truth. He wasn’t ugly or insufficient. He was perfectly normal. His featured seemed enormous when he was a baby for the simple reason that he was a baby. By now he had grown well into his skin. People were flustered when he smiled at them or laughed, just not as much as his mother. They did care when he cried only that by the time they reacted to his outburst, his mother was already by his side sweeping him into her arms. The love she gave him made all else seem exiguous. And people doubted his skills and expertise because that is just how the world is.
When she called him handsome, it was no lie. How did he know that? As he stood in front of a crowd of friends and family looking straight ahead all he could see was the most beautiful lady he had ever seen (after his momma of course). At the altar when he said I do to his now wife, his heart was swell. ” Why are you afraid to approach her? She would be the luckiest girl in the world if she had you by her side…” His mother was never wrong when it came to some things. She always said that he was the best gift that God had ever given her, but he would like to tell her… I… would like to tell you that you are the gift here. Mom, because of you I am and because of your love I grew up to be the man I am today. You never denied me anything, well apart from the play station 2 I had wanted as a kid. But you knew what was best for me. You encouraged me despite my lack of self belief. You allowed me to explore and discover what I did best. Allowed me to pursue my passion and become my own person. I realised I have never told you all these things. So instead I wrote them down. I love you mom!!!!! What else can I say? I’m grateful, thankful, happy and many other things…
How long has it been since my last post? Close to three weeks🤔?? I remember when I started blogging. I aimed at posting an article every week… and I did manage, while I was on holiday. But then we started the semester and I would like to say that campus life is all fun and games but someone clearly lied to me while I was in high-school. Almost everyone who came to preach or motivate us (I’m guessing most of us had their fair share of such) told us the same thing. “This is the hardest level of education. When you get to university, you will have all the time to do all these social things you cry for and the best thing is, no one will be running after you.’ May they all face the wrath of karma for lying to us!!!😠 The only true bit is that no one is running after you. I don’t know about the rest of you though. Maybe I could be the only one mourning the death of my social life since I got to the 3rd year of university. Let’s have a moment of silence please…
Now we resume.
So, since I cannot have an active one on one social life, I am thankful for social media. THANK YOU MARK ZUCKERBERG!!!!👍 Honestly though, I haven’t been tech savvy until I was forced to step up in order to fit in our engineering class. I was the last to join facebook, instagram and snapchat (which I am still trying to understand). But I really like the idea of interacting with people without having to meet them. This may have something to do with my weird relationships with strangers. My parents though, and many more, definitely do not share my sentiments. Social media makes you lazy, rots your brains and will make you poor while you make others rich are just a few of their views and thoughts. But here are a few things parents don’t know about social media. Actually let me summarize them to two.
Social Media gives you exposure
Well there is good exposure and bad exposure. The bad kind definitely stands out more and is the reason for the bad name. Other than that, it’s all good. I can barely count the times when I have had brilliant ideas just browsing. Social media has become my encyclopedia and at times a source of motivation. The beautiful dresses, shoes, cars and houses online are all the motivation I need to make my life ‘The life to live’.
People get access to information on twitter and are able to air their grievances, something Kenyans and Trump have become really fond of. Hashtags are bringing more change and awareness than ever before. I have visited countries and attended events via my screen. I mean it doesn’t get better than that. Well that’s a tiny lie. I would love to be in these places in person, sponsors are welcome… J.K
And now the most valuable point. Drum-rolls please…
2. Social Media can give you a career
I won’t even try to use my own words. I am a huge Instagram fan and as I was doing my daily rounds, I came across the following:
Are you as impressed as I am? Was this an eye-opener? I know what some of these words mean separately but together, I don’t think I understand what they mean yet. But I already think I have an idea of what I want to do with my life.
Businesses nowadays depend on social media for marketing solutions. Start-ups grow right in front of our eyes. Talents are nurtured and turned into money makers at unbelievable ages. That’s social media for us in the 21st century. Everything is going online people… don’t get left behind. Be in the front line!
If your hobby involves passing time on Facebook, complaining on Twitter, practicing your photography on Instagram or experimenting on Snapchat, know that your life is not entirely a waste. There is still hope for you and a bright future ahead too…
Speaking of which, I acknowledge that I haven’t been posting as often as I would like to. Hehe… Writer’s block is real people. I have seen it. Always thought it was a myth. In order to write, inner peace is required. Since it proves difficult to write long articles due to lack of this peace and quiet, I do my writing on Instagram. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see what I have been up to while I was M.I.A. Hit the follow button too😊😊, on both Instagram and the blog…
3rd world?? What does that even mean? 🤔Are the 1st and 2nd world countries better than us? So what, we are broke and cannot help ourselves? But is that really true?
Let’s look at this step by step, shall we… Africa is known as the dark continent. Probably because we did not have electricity before the 1900’s. But we did have the sun right? It couldn’t have been that dark. Oh wait, come to think of it, it might have been. We had a large forest cover that was thick which could have blocked the light from getting to the ground. Oh well we’ll never know… So the whites, British to be exact, thought they would come to Kenya and enlighten us and we became the Kenya colony in 1920. Well that is when they made it official but we all know they had stayed for quite a while before that. From the history I learned in school and the set book ‘The River Between’, the Kenyan people fought for their freedom. The Kabaka guy, Mekatilili Wa Menza and Dedan Kimathi are just a few of the freedom fighters we read about almost every year.
A few collaborated as they were taught about the Good news and introduced to education (these were the guys who followed the saying that ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’). They knew that their weapons were nothing compared to the guns the whites carried with them everywhere. At times I’m not sure if I am happy about the whole colonizing thing or not. I mean sure the Gospel came to Kenya and we were able to access education and utilize most of our unused brain. But on lazy days, I curse the colonizers… I mean instead of going to class and sitting through a long tiresome lecture about the Maxwell’s equations or Bell and Schrodinger (Man I hate this guy😒😒, scientists are weird though. Why did they go ahead and see things that were supposed to be invisible?? Now we have all these things that we are supposed to know and are very difficult)… Uh-oh, I am way off topic. Where was I? Ah, the class. Instead of being in class, I could be somewhere in a forest digging for food maybe. Considering my age, I could have been married with some kids. Well over three I’m guessing. That’s a downside, but it would have been the norm. Walking in animal skin and bathing in the river… aaaah that would have been the life😎!!!
But hey, getting colonized was okay I guess. So here we are in the 21st century and it feels like we are still on a leash. We are still surviving on grants, deep in debt and cannot solve our own problems. The last few months I have attended a few conferences and it just hit me that we are so dependent on other countries. Not to sound ungrateful or anything, trust me I am full of gratitude. How is it that 54 years after becoming an ‘independent’ country we don’t live up to the name? I love our country and would not prefer to live anywhere else but honestly some times I am highly disappointed in ourselves. When I was seated in the UON towers, 6th floor, during a session in the Triple Helix Conference, a question came to my mind. “ARE WE STILL COLONIZED?”. I think the answer came to me just now. No! No, we are not colonized. We have handicapped ourselves. Kenya may seem well off from a far, but we are not doing anywhere close to good. In a population of 44 million, 42% live below the poverty line.
That is like a machine that has an efficiency of 58%. Anyone knows that is not good at all. I remember there was a time when we used to say that foreigners cause war in African countries and meddle in our affairs to drain our resources. That may or may not be true, I don’t know and frankly I don’t care for now. I think it’s high time we stop shifting the blame. We take debts and grants from the world bank(or whoever) and for a moment there, we feel rich. Then we divide the cash among different ministries and counties with the intention of making change. Instead they land in people’s pockets thus the rich grow richer and the poor stay poor. We dwell on giving political solutions instead of technical ones. I mean how else would you explain the same road having to be repaired every rainy season, yet the same contractor will be hired time and time again? Right now the roads are being built by the Chinese. Does that mean that we do not have capable guys to do the job? Every year, well over 2000 engineers graduate from the universities. Where do they all disappear to? How is it that the youth are constantly crying that we lack jobs yet the doctors and teachers, in fact all professions, are complaining that they need more people? Strikes have become a day-to-day thing since that seems to be the only way to communicate. Inflation is a nightmare yet our salaries remain a constant. I know I sound like I am just pointing out what is wrong. That is exactly what I am trying to do.
Kenya is a great country with huge potential and brilliant people (or is it just the ones surrounding me? Nuh, I don’t think so). Why don’t we take up responsibility for our own problems. I believe the solution is within us. I mean the problems are our own after all right? Let’s start with the coming elections. Let us all show up to vote and nominate great and honest leaders. Let’s be peaceful. Don’t harm your long term neighbor because they have different views from you. In fact, kura yako ni siri yako (your vote is your own secret). What is tribalism?? We should refuse to be split by something as trivial as tribal lines. WE ARE KENYA🇰🇪!!!
I invite us all to go read our National Anthem and sing it as a reminder of what our country is all about.
Two strangers cross paths either by accident, as a coincidence or because the circumstances forced them to meet. They exchange a word or two and boom!!! They like each other. They think huh, we can be friends. They start meeting often. This time for coffee, another time for lunch or for a walk. They may be in a group of people or just them two, but they always have this connection that makes them feel as if they are alone. One is shy and the other is bold. One is full of fear but the other compensates this fear with courage. And soon they realise that it’s not just friendship anymore. It’s something more, but neither is ready to share. Other people start asking questions. “What’s up with you and so and so?”, ”I see you two are getting close 😉”… “What?? We are just friends 😶” They wonder if the other said something about them, told people that they felt something. Finally, the guy gathers courage and decides to speak out… in form of a love letter.
I know that we’ve barely known each other for a long time and it may sound weird but please allow me to say what I’ve been thinking for quite some time now. When I first met you, I thought you were the most awkward person I have ever met leave alone seen. But then I got to know you and I realised that you’re not awkward; you’re just a beautifully unique human being. I know I sound like I am exaggerating things but this is my opinion of you. You made me view the world from a different perspective. You know like looking through a kaleidoscope; this is what I saw looking at the world from your eyes. The world just got that much colorful. I’ve always enjoyed your company. I like your smile, your laugh, the way your eyes become smaller and watery when you laugh hard. Always makes me laugh with you even when I don’t understand what the joke is all about. I like how you bite your lower lip when you are deep in thought or how you scratch your head when trying to find a solution to a problem. I like how you jump up excitedly when you finally get a solution; that phrase, what was it again? ‘Eureka, I’ve found it!!’ always cracked me up. I like that you’re a good listener. Every time I have a problem, you’re always there to give an ear. You may not have any solutions but this is always enough. I do not like to see you troubled or sad, it makes my heart cringe. But even when I cannot make the sadness go away, you know that you have a shoulder to cry on if shedding of tears is necessary. I like how your petite figure fits into mine every time we hug either hi or bye. Interestingly, I like the times we just sit there silently with nothing to tell each other. Occasionally stealing glances and looking away thinking the other hasn’t seen. I like how stubborn you are which leads us to have unending arguments. I like how strong-willed you are, that you never let anything keep you down. I like that you are a God fearing person. This is the reason I am convinced that you were made for me 😂. My missing rib maybe, if that actually exists. Most of my sentences begin with ‘I like’. Replace all the likes with love. The little I know about you makes me want to know more. The little time I have spent with you makes me want to spend more time with you. You may have probably heard all this before and it may all sound cliché but I’m just being sincere. This may not be a beautiful poem, it may not be a song, hell it may not even be enough to be called a love letter. But it is the true expression of what I feel the best way I know how. So many words and am not sure I’ve brought out any message. I guess what am trying to say is, I love you. Every bit of you, all your perfections and flaws, everything. I’d like us to be more than just friends, if you’d accept me. What say you?
The sunset being an everyday thing has gotten to a point where people rarely appreciate its magnificence. Still I do not take it for granted. I may fail to notice it daily but when I do, I just stare in awe. You know that wide-eyed open-mouth look? That’s what I always have. When that happens, I always feel my spirit uplifting. For a moment I forget about whoever or whatever made my day hectic. I forget about the deadlines that are quickly drawing near. I forget about where I am and just… stare. The sunset to me is one of God’s miracles; a gift to humanity.