of Superheroes

A while back, I developed this habit to cope with negative emotion; I would imagine myself as a superwoman of some sorts. Invincible by whatever disappointment and hurt life would throw at me all so regularly. With time, this coping mechanism evolved into a “personality” of its own. I like to think of it as my alter-ego. So on times when I am not being the Clarie everyone knows (okay, very few people really know me but that’s not the point), I am being super clarie. (I will think of something more creative in a while) super clarie is a very emotionally composed person. Actually, she is very un-feeling (is that a word?). She has a poker face and the closest she will get to show any emotion is looking away. And very importantly, she wears long white dresses, red lipstick, drinks expensive wine and smokes cigars. So it is in those days when I can feel emotion gnawing into my soul, threatening my very existence. When I have promised myself not to cry so many times it begins to sound like a broken record. When I can barely hold it in, when it all crumbles down, that I put my super-clarie cap on and for days or so, people have told me I become a very cold person.
“It is like you are a totally different person.” of course, I cannot tell them that on those days, I am. With the exception of the dresses, lipstick, wine and cigars. So I usually end up saying something like, “I am just trying to get through life, aren’t we all? “ So recently someone asked me, “can’t you just talk to someone?” I just shook my head. But honestly, is it not a lot more fun, to be super-clarie? You see, I just did not wake up one morning and decided I would create an alter-ego and make her wear long white dresses. It was a process. Plus, of all colours, you think I would choose white? For all I know white symbolizes purity. And what part about red lipstick, wine and cigars spells purity? And white is a very difficult colour to maintain. This alter-ego business is me trying, just like everybody else, to get through life. It is me pretending, hoping to be stronger than I feel. It is me reaching into my depleted smile savings account and loaning one or two just to keep me going. It is me offering a helping hand, giving a friend a shoulder to cry on when I can rarely breathe. And come to think of it, isn’t this the concept of superheroes? Putting our pain aside and in the process hoping we can get through life and while we are at it, make someone else smile wider, if not brighter?
And while super-clarie doesn’t always last that long. Eventually, I find myself on the bathroom floor crying my lungs out. And once in a while, I will open up to a close friend and admit I am not okay. That I am screwed up and don’t know what to do. But those few days of being super-clarie have taught me one vital lesson; that deep inside there is a superhero. And yeah, sometimes I have to look a lot deeper compared to other times to find her. Also, there are times I feel like I have lost her. But if I keep at it, she will come through. And when she does, there is nothing she wouldn’t get me through. She will move mountains, cross seas and pass through fire just to see me smile again. And when that doesn’t work, she will sit with me in that bathroom floor and wait for me to finish crying then gently remind me that I will be okay.  So what really am I saying? That we all have our superheroes. That we are our own superheroes. We just have to be crazy enough to believe it.

Whatchamacallit..these laughs maybe??

So i came across this post. quite frankly, i don’t know what to call it.so lemme back up a little. i like to think of myself as one of the very few “real” people left roaming this messed up habitat we insist on calling home, earth is what my science teacher called it. by “real” i mean i have a life outside my phone, or whatever device that offers connection to the internet. a case in example, is i can spend a whole day without checking my phone. or even when i am checking my phone, i am not on those networks that are anything but social. i hear they are called social networks. i am mostly reading a book online or reading a blog. or my favorite pass time,www.smartphowned.com. those texts are as hilarious as they are made up.(are they?)and yeah, i read books(hard copy) and rarely text when i am with people who i have deluded myself into believing are my loved ones. my point is, i like to pretend i understand that people are more than their phone numbers and a little eye contact every now and then won’t kill me, or worse still, make me blush. but i digress. and no explaining done, but that’s the beauty of writing, freedom to not know where you are going.

But truth be told, i live inside my phone. as it would happen, i stumbled upon this piece of internet junk.i quote, ” dude, if she didn’t make you wear a condom, then she didn’t make the other guys wear it too” now, i realize there are so many things wrong with this piece of internet junk. in fact, anyone who has been to a Kenyan high school will tell you this statement can be analyzed complete with themes, character traits, setting and stylistic devices. one of those themes would be the place of women in society. and i realize this is a far more important topic to talk about, but i just won’t. here is why; i found this statement too funny. in fact, i laughed so hard after reading it, i had to sing myself a lullaby to get my formerly sleepy eyes back to that status. but then again, i have been told on numerous occasions that my sense of humor is very unorthodox.

so here is why i laughed, laughed and laughed some more..

1. this guy has entrusted something as vital and personal as his sexual responsibilities to another human being. please tell me you find this funny too. i do not know why i imagine these two people in this said carnal relationship as strangers. which makes this even funnier. it is the same level of funny as when i heard this guy advising his friend not to marry his long-time girlfriend because she just couldn’t cook. he was like, “my guy, do not wife that bitch.” now i could go on and on about why i find this funny but i want to believe i have already explained that. but in case you did not get it, why would you entrust your well being, the fundamental process of nourishing your body and soul to another being? but the reason i found this funny is that it reminded me of a totally unrelated situation. here we go;

one early morning in a bus headed to town. an officer of the city council enters the bus to inspect, or whatever they do. and since we are near the CBD and there is traffic, he doesn’t alight. so he keeps hovering in the bus and good lord.his breath. his breath. good lord. was horrible. so he asked for my ticket and halfway through the first syllable, i was convinced i had gone blind. you know when something smells so bad, you can(not) literally see the smell. so imagine the state of my health when he was done. ladies and gentlemen, i might be exaggerating, but i have reason to believe i might have gone into cardiac arrest.
this experience, traumatizing as it was, still makes me laugh. again, my unorthodox sense of humor.
and now i get the correlation between this three instances, people who just won’t take care of themselves. and i find that funny.

2. On second thought, these coitus-engaging mammals might be acquainted. so assuming they are, i am assuming this instance is their first without those rubber things that we are told could break and expected to believe are a source of protection. you know what i find funny, is how people can take an act of trust( read screwing an undeserving bastard without a condom) and turn it into words only worth writing on the wall of shame. and, i cannot resist the urge to add, that what i really think though is that the above stated act of trust, is an act of stupidity. and stupidity makes me laugh. and you know what makes me laugh even harder, is when some virus or those little disease-causing organisms they learn in biology find free passage into your system, we are supposed to act human and sympathetic and tell you it is going to be okay. no sir,(and for those of you who do not know me, the title sir applies to both genders for me) i will give you a blank(read accusing stare) then go my way and laugh the sleep out of my system.

Writer’s bonus;
here are more of the things that tickle my funny bone
-people burning to death because they just had to harvest oil from that truck that overturned
-people getting hit by cars because that footbridge fifty metres away is just too much work.

so maybe i am just insensitive, or perhaps i have a dark sense of humour, but things like this; make.me.laugh.

Just How Misplaced Are Our Priorities?

So just a few days back, for the sake of peace, i found myself in front of a television watching news. I say for the sake of peace because i had spent this past few weeks in my room, with the lights off and curtains drawn, only getting out to drink water or yogurt.so, i got out for an hour or less to pacify these people who were scared i was beginning to lose touch with civilization. as it turned out, they knew what they were talking about. if i had not watched news that day, i would not have known that somewhere in Kenya, some women have to walk miles and miles just to get water because they cannot get water from the nearest source.why is that? because they are sexually harassed by these men. so for these women, its either they agree to these demands,or they walk those miles to get water. and here is the sad part, some of them are raped on their way to the river by these men. now maybe i am too emotional, but that made me so angry, i cried.and yeah, i cry when i am upset. and so for the last few days, i have carried with me this sense of hopeless helplessness.i have been feeling like there is just too much wrong in the world for my poor self to right. but that was until yesterday. going through my Facebook news feed, i found this post by some guy. he insulted the news anchor who told(i am not sure if that is the right word) this story.and this is how annoying his reason was. so this news anchor comes from the central region of Kenya which is inhabited mostly by this one tribe, Kikuyus. so according to him, the news anchor who is female by the way should not have highlighted this story because the region in question, nyanza is inhabited mostly by this tribe, luos. and luos and kikuyus have a long history of political intolerance. moreover, the central region is infamous for their men who perform acts of bestiality, you know sex with animals.(i have always wondered though, just how, do you rape an animal like a chicken?) so according to this guy on facebook,(and i have this urge to refer to him as the faceless dummy on facebook but i feel like that would be stooping down to his level, like fighting with a pig in the mud.) the news anchor should know that charity begins at home. that before she talks about men raping women in luoland, she should first make sure that her backyard has no sins to confess. afterall, is it not better to have sex with a fellow human being than an animal, even if it is without the consent of this human being. now that, got me blogging.

what really annoyed me was how people were commenting on this post and supporting him, hurling insults at this news anchor and worse, just how many people shared this post.i considered commenting on this post to give these people a piece of my mind but i thought against it because i knew it wouldn’t make a difference. moreover, i like to think of myself as a ghost facebook user, i only read my news feed, no active activity. but i realize he is not the only one who needs to hear what i have to say, so i am going to throw in my two cents. Rape is Rape. there is nothing justifiable about rape. and anyone can talk about it, because as far as i can tell, talking about it is the only way to protect our mothers and sisters from such an inhuman act. so if it bothers you that someone from a tribe that you cannot tolerate politically talks about it, then pray to your God that i never get any power because to me, expressing such a callous opinion is as bad as committing the act. just what are you saying, that it is okay to rape women? that just because they are from your tribe you own them? that you can do whatever you wanna do with them and an outsider should not talk about it? how dare you insult July Gichuru?(that is the news anchor’s name).just what do you know about her that would warrant you the right to hurl insults at her?

just what is wrong with this country? how misplaced are our priorities? since when is politics more important than protecting our women? those women have a difficult time already accessing water and as if that is not enough, you rape them? and yet you want us to turn a blind eye to this and focus on our messed up political system? what is wrong with your head that you’d rather pledge your eternal allegiance to a politician who cannot even dig a well for just one village and victimize a news anchor who is just doing her job? how heartless can you get? i am sure as i write this blog, someone is being raped somewhere. and if our imagination is so incapacitated that we cannot see our sisters in those victims’ faces or see our tears in their eyes, then where are we headed as a country? i do not know the first thing about being a man, but if your masculinity wont allow you to be noble enough to protect the weak and the curved( by that, i mean women and children), then you do not deserve to sit in the table of men.if every time our brothers are going to harass a news anchor for telling a rape story, then may God help our women. we are so doomed. but this i know, what goes around comes around. maybe someday someone will rape your sister or mother(God forbid) and maybe then your sister’s story will speak more clearly to you than July Gichuru ever will.

Of Reflections and Taste.

I have heard people say “the mirror has a thousand faces.” growing up, i did not understand the meaning, let alone the truth in this statement. see, early on in life, i had been convinced that whoever i saw when i looked in a mirror was my exact replica. but as i got older, there are days when i barely recognized who i saw when i looked into a mirror. and i mean this both literally and metaphorically? there is a time i had not seen my reflection in so long( at least, not consciously) that when i finally did, i gasped. but what i really want to talk about is those days when i hated the reflection, then i would hate myself for hating my reflection because deep down i knew that i did not hate my reflection, it is the being that stood in front the mirror that i could not stand. so, like every normal human being, i looked for someone to put the blame on, and i found the being in the mirror. so i lied to myself that i disliked the “fact” that i wasn’t pretty enough, or how my ears were too small, or how beautifully long my eyelashes are. or how clear my eyes are. but there are days i woke up and in those few minutes before my destructive spirit of self-hate caught up with me, i would stare at my reflection and i loved what i saw. and in those moments i would allow myself to be brutally honest with myself and admit that i loved my reflection, it is me that i hated. i hated how my life had fallen into a routine. how i woke up every morning to do the same stupid, destructive shit i did yesterday. how in the process of adding days into my life, i had lost the life in my days. how i had lost feeling. how i felt so numb and empty, it hurt.how nothing was ever motivating enough or good enough. how i lost things and people even before i found them. so i became a machine. there are days i could get through a conversation with someone without listening to them. i knew when to fake a smile, a frown or force a laugh. but one can only fake so much, till you get tired. and it is mornings like these, that i cried so hard i could not breathe. it is those random moments when i would get a text from my best friend saying he missed me, and i would lie and text back saying i missed him too when the truth is i was too invested in myself and lack of emotion i hardly thought about anyone else. and a lot more honestly, i wanted to ask him, ” how do you do that, just how do you feel?” and it is nights like these i would laugh myself to sleep because i knew that if i ever started crying, my lungs could never handle all the emotionlessness i wanted to breathe out; all the emotion i needed to breathe in. and so yeah, it is in those days when i looked into the mirror and didn’t know who i saw; how rapidly i was changing and becoming someone i hated. how it was not because, i was incapable of feeling(actually, i am a very emotional person.), but how slowly i had accepted mediocrity, how i took too much crap from people, how i no longer had the active willingness to better myself, how i was settling for second best, how i almost believed every belittling, mean things people said about me. how i was letting people mistreat me and take advantage of me. how i had gotten used to it, it didn’t feel wrong. and along with that, i lost my sense of right, my desire to be happy or even let myself feel good.

as a kid, i knew that the only way to taste something was to put it in your mouth and let it touch your tongue. but, leave it to life and the passing of time to unlearn simple yet true lessons. you have not been confused until you can taste blood in your mouth,yet no part of your flesh is bleeding. simply put, life taught me that pain is not something only the brain and nerves recognized, something only the heart felt. there some things in life that are just too painful. and even when you are afflicted with numbness, pain will find a way to make you feel. even if it means tasting blood in your mouth. it is those mornings when you intend to waste your days in bed and pretend not to have anything useful to do, that you will wake up with the taste of blood in your mouth, and those tears you are trying so hard not to shed will look like blood, and the air you breathe will feel like blood. it is those mornings that everything is so bloody that you will have your wake up call, literally. it is those days that you will appreciate the beauty of feeling; the irrelevance of that thing you call pride; the reason you will not admit you miss someone. it is in mornings like those that you learn just how important it is to mean it when you say you love someone. and it is in mornings like these, that i learnt that occasionally saying i love you and meaning it won’t make me choke to death.

and this is for everyone who has experienced just how painful it is to lose feeling, and in a huge part, lose yourself.

don’t let them tell you shit

so i was just lying in my bed doing a lot of day dreaming when this high school history lesson popped up. so the teacher goes like, “girls, don’t ever let anyone pressurize you into getting married. i mean, when you are in primary you are too busy reading to come to Alliance Girls High School.( and for those of you who don’t know, Alliance Girls High School is the best girl high school offering the 8-4-4 system of education. and if you disagree, keep your opinion to yourself, i didn’t ask for it.) in high school, you are too busy reading to go to university. and when you are in university, you are too busy reading to get a good job. and then you get a job and suddenly you should get married. seriously, where were you supposed to get this guy you should marry??” and this got many thinking, just how much pressure do girls in Africa and the world at large have to go through just because they are girls? i mean, if a guy isn’t married at a certain age, he is just taking his time choosing his pick. but if a girl isn’t married at that same certain age,her character must be seriously flawed. something must be wrong with her powers of seduction. what is so wrong with her that no man wants her? so i ask, is a woman’s self-worth determined by how many men are willing to put a ring on her finger?

when i was in high school, i would hear people say it is a man’s world and i would challenge them vehemently. a few years later, and i see the truth in that statement. which is sad, cause we have lied to and convinced ourselves that we live in a liberal world; a world where males and females have the same rights and opportunities. i say that’s bullshit. while this might be true in a hypothetical sense, the real world could not be farther from the truth. and i won’t deny it, women have come a long way thanks to the likes of Maya Angelou, God bless her soul. and it is for those women and many others that i am able to write this blog post and not have to worry about someone coming for my neck, because you know I’d be called a witch.(and if you do not understand this reference, i will advice you to do a little more reading.) it is because of those “witches” that i am able to call myself an unmarried university student at the marriageable age of nineteen. it is because of those women that i am able to pursue a bachelors of SCIENCE Degree. it is because of those women that Alliance Girls High School teaches sciences and those girls are taught more than just being wives to their brothers, just across the valley, in Alliance High School.( but i do wonder though,why were they called our brothers if they were going to be our husbands?) so while i am grateful for the opportunities i am able to enjoy right now, i still think we could do better.

i was having a conversation with an acquaintance just recently and he asked me my ten year plan for my life. so i said something along these lines; completing the institute of actuary exams, a masters in whatever field I’ll choose to pursue,blah, blah, blah then maybe marriage and a family. i was not sure about this last bit. so he asked me, “you are a woman, how is marriage the least of your priorities?” and for some few serious seconds, i could not fathom the correlation between my gender, marriage and listing my priorities.but he was not done, he still goes ahead to ask me, ” are you not the least bit worried that men will find you intimidating?” now that got my tongue rolling. so i asked him,”why? because i work hard? because i am going for my dreams? because i want to be successful? i mean, if a guy is going to find me intimidating because of my achievements, then he is exactly the kind of guy i would never be attracted to, not even if my life depended on it.” while i would have loved to get mad at him, i realized it was not his fault. he like many others, have been raised in a society where men are taught to marry a woman who is “lesser” than him. a woman he can subdue. a woman who will be at your beck and call. while we would like to sit here and kid ourselves that modern men like independent women. but ask them how independent this independent woman should be, and their tone of voice and body language will tell you independent enough to be dependent on him.

my friends call me a feminist. and for most part of my life, i did not like it. because i, like most of us, have been taught to believe that a feminist is a woman who hates men, a bitter woman who has failed in the most basic female duty; clinching a husband. and then i learnt the true meaning and i am proud to call myself of a feminist. and while i realize most people are ignorant of the true meaning of this word, i am not going to define it for you. i would feel like i am trying too hard to make you like me, which i will assure you, is not in my list of concerns. so these days when someone calls me a feminist, i ask them, ” are you not?” get this, i believe that if you are in my age group and you are not a feminist, you have serious self-esteem issues. i will explain it for you. if you are not a feminist, you are the kind of guy who’ll feel threatened by successful women. you are the kind of woman who will give up her career because you earn more than your husband and you do not want him to think you disrespect him.or funnily, for the sake of peace in your marriage. seriously woman, what is your definition of peace?!! you are the kind of woman who will get beat up by your useless husband and you will stay and convince yourself that it is for the sake of the kids or more ridiculously, for fear of what people will say. you are the kind of college girl who will sell your body to older men to get money for fuck knows what. and don’t stand there and tell me you’re forced by circumstances. how many people from miserable poverty-stricken backgrounds have risen above their circumstances and made something out of their lives. so no, you are not a victim of circumstances, you are a victim of your inability, perhaps, unwillingness, to believe in yourself to make something out of yourself. and yes, you are the guy who called me rude, proud, arrogant and stuck up( and this is a rough translation of what you said because you lack the fundamental ability to express yourself properly in any language, yet you are in a top Kenyan university, or so you said.) because you showed up out of nowhere and made an insulting remark about my breasts in the name of complementing me and expected me to let you buy me french fries. you see to this guy, a woman is half her breasts and half the rest. nothing more.

so do not tell me, that our environment is fair to both genders when people still tell me things like,” you have such strong opinions, you should have been born a boy.” then expect me to smile, cheer and feel so appreciated. when women look at me like i am a prostitute because my guy friend is helping me down the street because my health is not so good and i feel faint. no, seriously, why am i the one with loose morals in this case? why is he not getting the weird looks? when a girl gets raped and people, most especially WOMEN have the callousness to ask why she wore that knee-length skirt, or why she was in a room all alone with that childhood male friend if she wasn’t asking for it? when i have to get so emotional writing this article and hope that just one more person will understand that woman too means human.

so this article is inspired by one Mr.Peter Ayiro; the teacher who in his own little way, reinforced in me my completeness as a human being in spite of my gender.