Growing up in different parts of Kenya, I learned early enough to quickly adapt to change. I was born in the capital, Nairobi and then moved to the northern part of the Rift Valley. Three years later, we moved to the coast where we lived with my aunt for about six months. My mother then took me to live with her eldest sister who resided in the Cherangani Hills (in Rift Valley). She would later enroll me in the local nursery school. I had about two months to how to scribble my books and lose my crayons during breaks (recess).
I don’t remember the exact age when I noticed that a boy in my class was cozying up to me. I use the term cozying up to describe the awkward and unflattering way of shoving himself next to me. You get it that it wasn’t as cozy. Back then we sat on bench-desks that were big enough to accommodate at least two people, thus we sat two by two.We had the choice when it came to our desk-mates. Our teachers would switch us up as a form of punishment. This one occasion one of the teachers assigned us to a boy-girl seating arrangement. We hated it. Girls shared their desks with girls and the same for boys. If the ratio exceeded, the extra person would squeeze up space with their respective gender. The seating arrangement went against our instincts. Having a desk-mate that you didn’t choose, and on top of that they are of the opposite sex was like getting into a forced marriage.The girls saw the boys as gross and the boys found girls weird. Continue reading
You know you are in over your head when his face pops up whenever you blink. Of course I am a bad girl. Who said the bad ones have to love leather (which BTW I’m obsessed with) and party recklessly. I am a reclusive person. Sometimes when I talk, I describe myself as a hermit. A hermit that causes trouble way too many times. I guess that’s life. It is never that simple. No black and white.
I am the whole spectrum. Direct and raunchy when I’m feeling bold. Shy and fuzzy when the day dictates. Cold and indifferent when I’m thinking about leaving Earth and moving permanently into Mars. In my teens I was a human wrecking ball. I didn’t necessarily wreck people’s lives but I screwed up with minds. That explains why I don’t have that many friends. Yet I still want to have a BFF (some days). I wasn’t the prettiest. I wasn’t ugly. I was good to average academically. Man my life was such a bore. I don’t have killer memories of going on road trips or movie dates. Sounds sad but I never let it be my tagline. Indeed I was a hermit. Exploring social constructs of high school was hella scary.
That all changed after high school, at least a bit of it changed. I still wore black. Had the same hair style. Hard rock and metal was my drug. I slept a lot too. I mean a lot. Then one day I bumped into him. There were no butterflies. It was more like a million chain saws ripping through my stomach. I dreaded talking to boys who showed interest. I would be thinking, Is this n***a crazy? He must be desperate. I had a huge dirty brown hoodie on. I don’t think my pants were anything to look at. My face had all sorts of white streaks, evidence that I had just woken up. Instead of turning him down as I did usually, the new me went ahead and gave him my number.
It went downhill. To this day, light brown eyes trigger shitty memories. Along the way I died inside. Loneliness pushed me to a place where I didn’t care who I was hurting. The horror of teenage loneliness isn’t something to glean through. Mistakes are made in the process of correcting other mistakes. I am not the same person but there are some parts of her that still lurk behind the sweet smile. Sometimes I wonder how it can be that you are your own enemy and friend at the same time! We tend to imagine ourselves as diamonds but some days we are just glass. Transparent and fragile. Still, others fail to see through our pain and end up crushing us down by their careless words.
I am not a fan of romantic books/TV shows and such. It is cringe-worthy when you sit there and listen to a corny conversation that makes you question if you are still on Earth. However this doesn’t mean I am against the idea of love stories. Whether based on true events or pure fiction, some stories have moved me to tears. I literally sob loudly as much as the avid fan. No regrets. The one problem I have is the way society pushes some crazy ideas about women. A woman is expected to go through pain of childbirth( a beautiful but also traumatic event) without showing signs of depression. She is meant to push away her feelings and woman up. Taking care of her husband is her priority always. Excuse me. Pleasing her husband should always be her desire.
Let’s say we were some kind of a twisted society of robots programmed by some chauvinistic demigod living deep in the dark web, then maybe I would not protest. How could I? But I understand that I have feelings which I can’t just push back for the convenience of others. Since when did love equate to ignoring the need of others? Isn’t love displayed in putting the needs of others before ours?
There was a time in my life where I was trapped in this illusion. I was working my butt off to please the other party. I busted my feet trekking under the January sun. I kept telling myself that I was doing it out of love. There was nothing wrong in doing that. The thing is I pushed myself so hard to the point I had to compromise my core values. The things that were essential to my character were now like gangrene on a limb. Man did I fall for this trap. In the end I lost myself and hard to scramble for memory of who I was.
Love doesn’t strip you down and shame you. It doesn’t leave you hopeless and hating yourself. I have failed to love myself many times when I needed it. I paid heavily for it. I was so bitter because of how others broke me. All I wanted was to see them hurt. Remind of a diary that I had a while back in high school. I know what God means when He says Love covers a multitude of sins. Some of these people who have hurt me countless time are way deep in my heart. I am in a place where I see a hint of frustration in their eyes and all I want is to comfort them. Absolutely insane! is what I’d say if I saw me now years ago.
God has a way of flipping us on our heads. It seems crazy when we go through it but we soon realize that He knows us better. It is true that love heals but it takes a lot of processing it. When it’s done we can’t help but recklessly love those who are unlovable.
It has been approximately two years since then. I feel like a recovering addict, checking off the days on the calendar. There is supposed to be a satisfaction in looking at the gap of the dates. Sadly I can’t throw a party and say ‘Hey guys I am two years celibate!’
Some days are way too easy. I wake up without even the slightest of desire. I literally have to slap myself back to normalcy, reminding myself that it is okay to have flash backs of hands grazing skin. There are other days that I feel like I am losing my mind. My body isn’t diplomatic when it comes to cravings. The tough part is it knows the taste of it. I was the bad parent that fed her kids junk every day then out of nowhere I cut them off. The withdrawals alone are enough to question your sanity. How could you do this to me? Well, I did.
It was an uphill battle. I essentially ruined my relationship because of the crazy two-sided girlfriend vibe that was a complete shift of my behavior. One day I am monkey-griping him wishing he didn’t have to leave. The next day I am cursing him for making me turn into a nymphomaniac. All of which I was the one to blame.
Chains are your worst enemy when you first see them on your hands. Our human instincts kick in immediately. We fight to break free of them. We strive for freedom. Kicking and screaming through the process. Physical chains can break free through sheer force and manipulation. Emotional and psychological cuffs are harder to crack. You only realize how good they are when you are about to take a step, only to feel the taut of the rope.
I thought I had conquered it. Surely, nothing could ever survive twenty four months untouched? The devil must have snickered. The nasty symptoms came back. I don’t remember fighting as hard. In fact, I seemed desperate. The same hole I said I’d jump over was the one I was now crawling into. My body would have enjoyed it had my mind not screamed, What are you doing? What the hell are you doing? I could have stopped myself if I had the ability. It is now that I realize that I was as helpless as a rabbit caught in a snake’s coil.
Have you ever slept on your limbs and woke up numb? My body went dead. It was as if someone had switched the one with cravings with a corpse. You go through it knowing well that you will regret it. Guilt. Oh the guilt that swallows you up is a dark claw that just can’t wait to have you. The second time, you wonder what is wrong with you. You hate it actually. You hands are not tender anymore. All you want it to tear at his flesh. Crack his skull for making you feel like nothing. But you can’t do that either. So you push away and swear not to look back at his face. The problem however is still close. What do you do when you can’t stand yourself?
The hardest part is to forgive yourself. If and when you do so, then you can work on trusting yourself. Trusting God to help you with the deep seated issues in your life. The rejection and the self-loathing can be dealt with. But therapy requires vulnerability. That is a hard task on it’s own but it all starts with constant communication. I feel left out. Please help me understand these feelings. Baby steps.
I heard the lyrics to a song by a pop band where a girl is involved in a love triangle. The sneaking around, the lies and having to keep it a secret takes a toll on her. She finds it uncomfortable walking into a room knowing the other girl is in there too. As soon as I heard the song I knew that the girl and I were the same.
Quite often I have found myself in situations where I feel invisible. I am the friend in public and the girlfriend in need. Some of the experiences involved me being the second one in the relationship. Whenever I’d find out about the situation I was quick to end things. I don’t believe in wrecking relationships so as to cater to my selfish reasons. However the line gets too thin and blurred sometimes. Especially when you are craving for attention it gets to a point that feelings are given priority. I have been driven to seek out for my own needs without really thinking of the burden that comes with it.
The first time you tell yourself that it won’t hurt anyone. She doesn’t know. Take yours and leave. Next time you start going a little mad when you tell yourself that he likes you more than her. This is the lie that ends up hurting you. I have felt like a zombie, dragging myself after these guys who are never serious as I am. There is the side-dish, side-chic, co-wife,friend with benefits “positions” freely offered. How can someone share something like intimacy. Yet I have failed too many times to stick to my principles.
That is how the disease starts though. First, it bites you so hard that you swear not to ever mess with it again. Then just when you thought you had left it all behind the hunger pulls you back. All you are left with is a heart that is always aching for love.
So don’t wipe your eyes, tears remind you you’re alive ~ Ed Sheeran
I had another breakdown yesterday. Even after I had promised myself to never cry in front of someone who is not my mother. My eyes, once again, betrayed me. Continue reading
I know it is scary to hear someone talk about a personal stuff. It is even much harder ton the person speaking about it. We have grown up being told not to cry because it is for babies. That it is weakness of some sort if you feel sad let alone show it.
When it all comes crashing down, we look at each other. Baffled by the news of our loved ones ordeals of abuse, drug addictions and suicidal tendencies. We let it get so far that we have resulted in putting up walls of passive ignorance so that we don’t deal with the inconveniences of listening, talking…working out solutions.
I am not that brave. I am sick.It doesn’t show through the goofy smiles and laughter. I know the rot has spread quite far inside. That’s why some days it is hard to go outside and be this person that I am expected to be. To be strong. I hate being strong. All I have gained from it is muscle pains, chipped nails and brokenness.
I feel my legs going numb by the second. “Looking good! You will smash this.” Clare knows that I am having anxiety attacks hence the barrage of compliments. “As long as I get to beat Jess, this will be the most amazing day ever,” I swear. “Good. Now look at your new look.” Did I ever say that Clare comes with many talents? I have never seen my eyebrows look like Eva Mendez’s. And my facial art makes me look like I am from another dimension. I give myself a mental hug. “Ladies!” We look up to find a head of brown curls leaning inside the bathroom. “The contest will start in about five minutes. I believe you all are ready.” With that she steps out into the corridor. Some girls yelp out loud as they crash each other with hugs. Presumably friends like Clare and I. I twist my body sideways just to see if my tummy is flat. A small bulge at my waistline catches my eye. I would rather not think about my weight issues right now.
“I just ran into this super-hot guy on my way out of the washrooms!” Clare joyfully announces. “He says he is in a band of some sort. Can’t remember its name but his is Jake. OMG! He even asked for my number!” Is it the same Jake from the Crossway band? Yeah that’s the name of their band as Dash had informed me. “Clare I think I know his band. Well … Maybe it’s the band I told you about.” This might mean that Dash is definitely here. ‘Holy crap!’ I curse out louder than I intended to. Clare gives me one of her concerned frowns. ‘What’s wrong? Do I look okay?’ I ask nervously. “Gabbie? I swear your face turned red beneath that chocolate brown skin. Could it be…”Before she can finish her dead on guesses I pull my `don’t ask me that question now’ look. I quickly grab her hand and head out into the waiting room.
Showtime! The contest kicks off with a short speech from the patron of the Nairobi Arts Association Community, Jake Lewa. We are backstage getting, learning our cues and confirming with the sound operator if our mixes are in the right order. I lift a corner of the blue curtains just enough that the stage is visible from where I am standing. Our hosts for tonight are presumably some Uni. Students. I forgot to listen out for their names. Manju band from our school open the show with a couple of their songs. I share a class with Suzie who is their bassist. They have pretty cool songs but I am not into funk/trap music which they are known for. My cup of tea involves some psychedelic trippy tunes that would get you teased at school. I most definitely don’t care what people say. After roar of cheer and claps that seemed unending, Manju leaves the stage. The girl hosting jumps on stage and shouts into the small mic. “And now we invite the Funky Crew to the stage. Give a shout for the Incredibles Dance Crew from the Everett High School!” It is like the whole is jeering their lungs out. The reaction is warranted of course. They have made a reputation in every high school in Nairobi. Thank God I don’t have to compete with them either.
After them comes the first act. Jimmie Kim belts out a tune while playing the piano. He is singing about some girl who died for love. Sadly the crowd does not reciprocate the longing sadness on Jimmie’s face. Love songs don’t get to exist in occasions like this. The narrow corridor that is our backstage is cramped with all of today’s performers. Someone has been farting the whole time since the stage had been opened up. I pity the people stuck in the middle.
I am number seven in the list so I will perform after six people. Mary Beth is performing just before me. She is not nervous at all. Her smile is as bright as it can get and those teeth have been whitened for the show. If only the teeth did the dancing. Crappy people. Jabulani is done with his robot routine. He has like four claps from the crowd. Ouch. “Up next, contestant number six Mary Beth Nambia!” She glides into the stage with grace that I can’t master any time soon. I have to admit that she is really good. Her ballet is perfect and to top it up she does some hip hop moves too. Future’s Looking for Her comes to an abrupt stop and Mary Beth bows her head.
“Up next, Gabrielle Lebajoa performing a contemporary dance!” Suzie calls out. “Go Gabbie!” I look down into the crowd. Clare is on the first row with three guys. One of them flashes a wide grin at me. I respond by smiling back and mouth his name, “Dash”. Carlton, my music classmate, plays some notes on the piano. I tense my legs and take a leap to the other end of the stage. I manage to catch Dashe staring at me with strange awe. Is it my crazy imagination or are his eyes brown. Compose yourself. I remind myself of the matter at stake when I spot Jess craning her head behind the curtain.
After waltzing and doing several rabbit-like leaps my routine comes to an end. Carlton joins me and we take a bow. Whistles cheers and an occasional scream goes off soon after. I run off into the backstage meeting Clare just by the door. “Oh gosh you were incredible up there! You take the cup home today!” She immediately bombards me with praises. I am overwhelmed and breathless so I take a seat on the bench next to the door. I turn to Clare and say, “We have to pray that the bitch trips on the stage.” She gives me a smug look and blurts, “Oh she will if she dances with those slutty stilettos she has on.” Jess is the ninth contestant out of fifteen. We have to wait it out for like thirty minutes. I won’t miss watching her dance. She is really good but today I have got to beat her.