What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear or read the word pain. I will tell you my definition through a series of experience I’ve gone through in the few years I’ve existed on this rock that revolves around a star.
5 year old me was a confident wanna be adult. I talked fast and acted faster. And when I bolted to the kitchen to to make myself a cup of hot chocolate, no one saw me. I was a tiny being who was and is still height challenged. The hot water jug had been placed on the table and as I clumsily pulled it, it tilted and the hot scalding water poured on my chest. The pain was so immense that after I let out a blood curdling scream, I lost conscious.
The following 8 months were grueling agony of trying to heal. School, friends, birthday parties, playing, joy, became obsolete. I then yielded an unfamiliar companion and confidant, radio. My love for music, art and communication blossomed there. Sundowner, radio theater, educational episodes on KBC became ingrained in me and left an impact.
Heartbreak. I was living on cloud 9 first time I fell in love. Then it happened. I never knew love could hurt this bad. My self esteem was in shambles. I lost weight, mind and will to live. I went to a place I never knew existed in my head. Then I found Quran. I know its a cliche when people say “God saved me” but am a living testament. I created a relationship so strong, intense, personal and fulfilling with my God that has enabled me to tackle most challenges in life I’ve faced with certain confidence and assuarity.
Aug 2013,I received a notification from my bank stating that the cheque I had issued had bounced and I had been penalized. I was broke. I couldn’t fathom how I had reached here. Memories of the times I spent money on unnecessary things haunted me the same way our government is being haunted by corruption cases. I had to learn to live within my means. Gone were the days where I used to eat chicken like a caucasian. Nowadays I clean the chicken bones so good that my fellows brothers and sisters from the western community would be proud of me.
Fast forward, to Feb 2018. I had been transfered to Doha Qatar. Money, status quo, and living in the wealthiest country in the world. Yet I was living my worst nightmare. My skin color, gender and age were my shortcomings when it came to my occupation. I did everything, frkn being nice to get the whole office dunkin donuts for two months. Nothing worked. I loathed how I felt preparing myself going to work. I despised how my co workers treated me. I shuddered at the sound of Skype call because I knew it was nothing but it would be something that will totally make me feel depressed. As I lay in bed, I wondered how I got myself here.
That morning I woke up, picked my passport and left for the airport. I left all my worldly possession I had over there. I slept two days at the airport for there were no direct flights back home. All I knew is that I was done, and I wanted my piece and peace of mind. And that I wouldn’t find it anywhere else than back home with the people I love and the environment that my soul knew.
So señoritas and señors, physical, emotional, financial, occupational pains that I have gone through has created fundamentals aspects of these woman you see infront of you. What doesn’t kill, makes you stronger, and gives you unhealthy coping mechanism that helps you to waddle through this journey called life.
Via Nay Nay.
I wasn’t entirely sure why I want to write to you, but now as I start, I realize that it’s more of an apology than anything else.
When I was younger, I always believed that meeting you would be so soon, it would be so immediate; because I always thought that my life belonged to you and would be defined by you.
Of course, I fell in love with the first man that swept me off my feet. Fool that I am, I was so wrapped up in my fantasies and dreams that I couldn’t see everything that was wrong with it. I couldn’t see that this was something so twisted. And every time that it hurt, every time I cried, I told myself that all I needed to do was hold on tighter; fight harder- even if that meant that my knuckles bruised and my heart bled.
See, that’s the type of person that I am. I have never been afraid to love, and when I do, I just dive into it with all that I’ve got. I don’t know how to play games. I don’t know how to limit myself. I just give with an almost insane desire to just wrap one’s world in the light of mine.
This in itself, is so freeing. To submit to love and the fierce will, it exerts upon man. I read somewhere that few are ever strong enough to allow love to inhabit their souls like that. Few are ever strong enough to surrender control of their lives to this force.
Yet I don’t know if this makes me strong or weak. Because while I know what unconditional love looks like, or at least, just a bit of it, it is also this same thing that has caused me such agony. For love, I have felt pain as real and thick as a person, living and breathing in the inside of me. For love, I have been broken, consistently, repeatedly… but I never seem to learn.
But as I sit here, fighting to not be bitter, I realize that with every broken bone, my heart turned a bit darker. With every stab, the light in me went dimmer. With every cold rejection, the little girl in me dies.
I always wanted that the woman you meet is pure, inside and out. I ever imagined that the moment I met you, I would just know. You would only do. And from that moment on, everything would be perfect. Not because we are perfect, no, for how can there ever be an ideal kind of person. But because we would both be wrapped in a perfect sort of magic that would echo the song in our joined souls. That we would walk, no longer two, but 1 being. (Maybe I watched too many movies.)
Now I fear that if you ever find me, it would be this being, half alive, desperately holding onto grace but falling ever deeper into the abyss. Now I fear that if I ever find you, you won’t be the man I always prayed for and dreamed about- and I have no idea if that will be acceptable to me. Now I fear that perhaps you don’t even exist, for how could you be, but the Universe let the other side of you weep and bleed..?
Perhaps my most significant apology is that slowly I feel myself turning into what this world has made me. A skeptic. A cold soul. A hopeless spirit. My biggest apology is that if you show up, I may be sucked in too deep into the darkness, that I may not even recognize you at all. I don’t know if that’s the worst tragedy really. Oh well, such is life I suppose.
A standard measure of a mans’ worth is the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The closer one reaches the top of this pyramid the more accomplished or fulfilled they are. As one completes the five levels the more whole they are posited to be or feel.
The first level or the foundation encompasses physiological needs. These are physical requirements for human survival, which if not met the human body cannot function properly and will ultimately fail. These needs are approximately or fundamentally nine in total and include oxygen, water, nutrition, sleep, sex, warmth, excretion, mobility, and pain.
The next level is environmental needs. Growing up there were a lot of empty plots of land around our neighborhood which were adversely occupied. We tended to convert this lots to our playing grounds, and since they weren’t fenced off yet, I could join adjacent estates’ children in playing football. Sometimes we had access to the Adidas 1970 world cup Telstar design inspired leather bound sphere football replica but more often than not we would wrap newspapers into a globe then envelope it in a plastic paper bag or two and just for good measure tie a string around it in a mesh style fashion squeezing the contents so tight the object could roll in a straight line and actually bounce.
The middle passage of this strata ranking is social needs. As a Kenyan, a majority of your childhood was spent in prison-like institutions called schools. In my particular penitentiary, intermittent breaks of academic learning were spent kicking soda cans and plastic bottles around in a game of pseudo football when an actual football was not available. We couldn’t carry a proper leather one to school since the older boys would deprive us of it and our parents would whip us if it got stolen or lost plus ultimately our innovative polythene bound orbs were banned by the principal.
We had variations of the beautiful game such as the one-touch, where if you scored by kicking the ball once you faced a new opponent, any more than one stroke and you were disqualified paving the way for a new contestant in your stead. Of course, some of the popular kids would get to break the rules but how they arrived to be so high in the pecking order is open for discussion.
Self-esteem is the penultimate stage, and I was lucky enough to have never had an acne breakout during puberty in the meantime gaining a deep bass in my voice in the process. My adolescent years were spent perfecting a three-point shot on the basketball rim my elder brother had fastened to a Jacaranda tree I had hoped my father would build a tree house for me on. At the only basketball court in my town, I always managed to reach 7 points in a game of 21, when men twice my age had to sit out the rest of the play for not doing the same once the leading scorer reached 11 points. My strategy since I was small was to get the ball, shoot from outside the D, after which I would sink the first free throw earning two more points then choose to either score one more point with the second free throw or violently slam the ball against the board in the hopes I could recapture it outside the D for another attempt at a three-point shot for an additional two points plus the requisite two free throws earning one point each bringing a total of five to eight points.
I took up swimming fervently in high school until the pool was drained and the renovations took more than a couple of months. I remember standing in the deep end of the empty abyss, eyes closed, imagining the natatorium filling up with water lifting me up. A hairline fracture I neglected under my right knee limited my professional athlete career although such an excuse didn’t stop polio-ridden right-winger and forward by the name Manuel Francisco dos Santos alias Garrincha from winning the world cup for Brazil in 1958. Perhaps it’s my lack of discipline that’s to blame. My tardiness to school ensured I ran a kilometer three days a week as punishment plus my annual valentine’s day ritual of a thousand sit-ups keeps me fit. One of the many older girls I’ve dated who’ve witnessed my sporting prowess used to tease me on how dirty I was in the lower primary by evening after a day of scrimmage football. I pray the athletic gene traits I’ve been told I possess are passed onto my future generations.
Currently, I’ve taken up cycling and will resume training on my 15-speed mountain bike once I purchase new tires to achieve at least 50km in one and a half hours. I will reward myself with a ‘700’ race bike with 27 gears or more that I see on tour-de-France. I plan to do this and participate in the tour-de-Machakos before it becomes an elitist event needing millions of dollars sponsorship from multinational corporations.
The final and highest phase is transcendence, where one becomes too much associated with excellence in a field that they inspire others to be of the same caliber, even if it’s not on the same genre of practice. This because success has a generic trait of sacrifice and postponement of gratification, in layman terms: no pain, no gain. Cristiano Ronaldo is an icon who at the age of twelve left his Madeira hometown for Lisbon city thousands of kilometers from friends and family. Two decades later he has won every major trophy and award bar one, the world cup. Mayhaps in a fortnight from now this statement won’t be, but nonetheless, with his Spartan-like livelihood, I won’t be surprised if he graces our screens and grass on the pitch in Qatar and America. As with all racehorse champions, we shall retire him to pasture as a pedigree stud. FORZA PORTUGALE!
Via Sir Alan.
He racked his brains, from the moment they met, where they had been to, people they met. Any clue that he thought would be able to solve this puzzle. His brain lit up like a light bulb when he remembered the one place she had whimsically mentioned a couple of times. He had a good feeling about this one. He imaginarily high fived himself for his eidetic memory.
Quickly he picked his jacket, cell phone, wallet and left the house. He didn’t want to drive because he was not in the right state of mind. Ran to the nearest stage, got into a matatu and left for town. The lively matatu culture around him felt surreal. People boarding the matatu, others alighting, the makanga shouting, the driver blasting latest obscene Kenyan songs, all to him felt illusory. The makanga had to tap him twice when he was asked for fare and thrice to let him know he had reached CBD.
He was in his own world. As he boarded a shuttle heading to Thika, he realized that chances of her being there are subjacent. But a gnawing feeling that he might see her there was too immense. The closer and closer he got to the town, the more he catechized himself on her disappearance, him seeking her out and whether he should let her go. Then he recalled how she made him feel, her sarcasm, laughter, terrible jokes…her entire quirks and quiddities made him realize to breathe and live. She brought him a peripheral range of understanding of the world, her and himself that he hadn’t unearthed despite having a brain power than most. Yet in a transitory second he knew whatever the reason she had for abandoning the ship, was valid and him seeking her out would not make much difference. But his ache to see her, even it was one last time, won this battle.
He didn’t know the place, so he got into a cab and asked the driver if he knew the area. Luckily for him, he did. He was torn whether to go empty handed or not. Heck, he didn’t know how to act when he sees her. “It is what it is” he mumbled as the driver sped on.
The the weather was cloudy, cold and grey as if prepping him for bad news. When they got there, the gate-man didn’t allow the cab to go in. He paid, got out and asked the gate-man if he knew where Layla lives.
“Layla mgani? Hapa kwa hii estate watu ni wengi my friend”
Blank stare from the gate-man.
“Ummm….babake alikua mkubwa pale Delmonte?”
“Ah! Si ungesema tu Amin wa Delo! Nyinyi vijana mnakuanga na maneno mingi hehehe. Hata ameingia tu saa hii kutoka sokoni. Nipe ID yako na uandike majina na numba ya simu kwa hii kitabu”
Relief with a tinge of anxiety kicked in as he wrote on. He was given instructions where Layla’s house was located. Like a man on a mission, he stepped forward and fast. He was in a high pitch fervor to see her. As he opened the gate to Layla’s house, he realized he was sweating. A quick wipe of his brows and a pat on his shirt and pants, he wished he had adorned an antiperspirant.
“She likes my smell anyway, hope that hasn’t changed.” he chuckled as he knocked on her door.
He knocked twice. No footsteps, no sound coming from inside the house. Hit harder, no answer. He twisted the door handle, and the door nudged open. He hesitated to wonder whether he should go in or not. As he stepped in, she appeared at the end of the hallway. His feet froze as her hands thawed and she let go of the cup in her hand, breaking into smithereens on her feet.
Via Nay Nay
She’s this type of person that just pours all that she is into others.
She finds that all she needs is to find someone who will just listen.
Someone who will just humor her. Who will just take it all in and look at her like she’s more than just crazy. Like she’s just such a breath of life, of fresh air. This is the kind of affection and attention she craves the most.
So what happens is that when she meets someone who will accord her this, she just dives into it. She finds herself talking. Giving.
She becomes a fountain unending, a fountain forever flowing. She finds that she has this need to fill in her own empty space by filling another’s soul.
She fears that within her is this hole that she craves to have filled, yet cannot find solace nor this spring. She fears that she is forever condemned to long for this water without ever quenching her thirst.
She feels like a wanderer. Without a home or haven. She feels like in the depths of her is a little girl that wants to be seen.
Right now this little girl wants to dance to Indie Rock. She wants to sit on a rooftop and watch the stars. She wants to dance in the rain.
Splash and play under the raindrops until her hair is stuck to her face and she is breathless with exhilaration.
She wants to run between the trees in a forest. To just run as she disengages from every load that burdens her.
She wants to get high and lie on the grass watching the sky. She wants to sit on a hill and feel the sun on her face. She wants to watch the sun blaze red as it sinks lower and lower.
She wants to pour paints on a canvas- abstract mixtures of red and green and yellow and blue. All the colors of a rainbow in a mess that makes no sense but is so beautiful because it is her soul.
She wants the beauty of passion. She wants to feel arms around her.
Hugging her tight. She wants to feel lips on her neck. Tickling all her sensitive spots.
She wants to feel delirious laughter rising from the inside of her as love twirls her to music unheard and melodies only she can hear.
She wants to be wild and free. Wild and free like a bird. She wants to soar across the skies. She wants to watch the earth from on high.
She wants to take flight and leave behind all her fears.
She wants to free her soul.
Via Maggie Mungai.
Sleeping next to him, listening to him breathing while soft snoring made her tear up. He gave her so much peace, asleep or awake. She had never felt this way towards someone. It was a new territory to her. He was different yet so similar to her. He toned down her brazen personality. He understood her insecurities, her vices so well, that for the first time, the walls she built around her tumbled with not much of persuasion. From the moment they met, it felt like they had known each other for eternity.
Everything flowed, energy, conversations, silences, future, past. They were from two different paths, yet the stars had aligned, merged and became a unit. A unit that was so intense that every challenge they had before they met seemed like a tiny bump on the road. They smashed their personal and professional goals like Hulk when pissed. And when he started mentioning that he couldn’t wait for her to carry his child, her heart crumbled. At first, she thought maybe he had seen those cute children being posted on Instagram and got taken away. But each and every day he would find a way to bring up the topic. And each and every day she would find a reason to tell him not now. And she would see his face drop and that killed her inside.
As she waited for the results at her doctor’s, she already knew what the results would be. She hoped for a miracle.
“Miss Layla? Please come in. The doctor is waiting for you” said the nurse as she ushered her inside the doctor’s office.
She took a quick breath and walked in.
“Good afternoon Layla. Sorry for keeping you waiting. Today has been a busy busy day.”
“Good afternoon Doctor. No need to apologize. I understand” she said as she sat opposite him.
“I have all your tests here, and it seems your endometriosis is not getting any better. Unfortunately, you cannot go under the knife. I will change your progesterone drug.”
“So no babies?” asked Layla, not shocked but in despair.
” No babies Layla. As we had spoken earlier…”
” No doc.”
” Just think about it. Just because you cant have your own does not mean you cant be a mother” he said as he wrote her prescription.
She smiled flimsily, picked the piece of paper and left, her heart heavy. She always dreaded when her menses were about to start. Her body figuratively chewed her inside out, leaving her writhing in pain. When she was younger and complained, she was mummed by painkillers, hot water bottle and was told to woman up. When she got older, it didn’t get easier, but by now she was used to the pain.
Till one day she went for a pap smear, and her doctor recommended for a CT scan of her uterus. A couple more test and she was hit with the news that she is infertile. The story hit her so hard. She didn’t know what to do nor whom to tell. And she decided she would sort it all by herself. Through the years she had done that anyway,sort it all by herself.
Through the years she had undergone several surgeries secretively, been on medication, trying to reverse this curse. As each year passed and she got older, realization kept sinking in. She knew it was a matter of time before the world knew about this ticking time bomb. She avoided relationships like the plague, always ensuring that she never got attached. Her mother cries of her not getting married and giving her grandchildren had now started becoming more and more distant as each day passed.
She wanted to tell her so bad but she didn’t know how. She knew she was different, and the dear Lord made her stand out like a sore thumb. How can she save her face, in a culture where family and children came first? Where her whole life she had been taught and instilled skills to run a family.Where her family name and hers were determined by her womanhood. Where she would be congratulated for her PhD. yet, the next question asked was whether she is married or she has kids.
She was a lost soul. She tried to become “westernized” for she saw that to them, you can grow something despite the curse you had. She traveled to places where no ordinary soul would dream to go whenever she got the chance. Yet in the end, the lacuna couldn’t be filled.
Then she met Lewis. And everything changed. For once she decided to live for the moment. And that moment turned out to be 8 months of nothing but love, laughter, peace, and tranquility. But now, she had to leave. She couldn’t rob him of the happiness that he deserved, as a man. She didn’t know how he would react. She didn’t know how he would respond if he discovered that she cant be the mother of his children. And as far as she could gather, it will crush him. With a dolorous and disconsolate mind and heart, she opts to leave, for good……..
To be continued…..
Via Nay Nay.
He knew her routine by heart. She’ll hit the snooze button five times while running her fingers on his back, shoulders and on his arms, drawing images that only she could see. She would plant tiny kisses on his neck then roll on top of him while getting out of the bed. This always made him grunt pretending that she is heavy yet she was half of what he weighed. She would chuckle. A minute later he would hear the hot water kettle come to life, her brushing her teeth, water pouring from the pot to a cup while stirring with ready to drink coffee.
There would be silence for about 7 minutes, and he knew she was on her phone checking out her social media pages. This would entail with giggles and chuckles, sometimes swearing and he knew whatever it was, he would find it on his phone, for she always forwarded them to him. Sometimes she got lost in the virtual world that’s why she had set a timer on how much time she would spend on her phone.
Ting! The timer would go off, and she will run to the bathroom, take a shower, apologize to him as she floods the bedroom by switching on the lights so that she can get dressed. He could hear her moisturizing herself, mumble as she searched for what to wear. Once dressed she’ll close the lights and head to the kitchen where the aroma of food would fill the whole house. Breakfast would be cooked, kitchen cleaned and then she would leave for work. She always stated that breakfast is the most important meal that she never has. She would reach the door and remember she hadn’t bidden him goodbye, rush back, gave him a kiss and run.
This was her, every morning on the weekday, for the last 8 months since they moved in together. But not today, something was not right. She woke up before the alarm went off. She didn’t touch him. No kettle was lit. The only sound he heard was water cascading through her body. She didn’t open the bedroom lights. Everything was being done in hush-hush and hurry. No breakfast was made. He couldn’t take it anymore and sat on the bed and asked her if everything was OK.
“Because you’re acting….different”
“Am I? Maybe it’s because am a little stressed. Don’t worry baby. I am OK.”
“Are you sure? Am here you know.”
“I know Hun. Give me a kiss and go back to sleep. It’s too early for you.”
As she leaned forward for a kiss, he pulled her on his lap. He could feel she was tense as he hugged her. She quickly got off his grip and walked out. He never felt anything like this. His heart was palpitating so hard on his chest, a thousand questions crossed hard on his mind, none of them with answers. He checked his phone to see if maybe she left him something in there, nothing. No messages, no memes, no gifs, no links to articles she always sent him. A hard knot twisted on his tummy and he was sure something wasn’t right.
“Hey, Hun. Is everything OK? with you? with us?” He texted her.
He expected a text back because she was a fast at replying his messages. Five minutes passed, each minute to him felt like a century. No reply back. “Fuck It, let me call her” he murmured to himself as he dialed her number.
“Mteja was nambari uliopiga, hapatikani kwa sasa. Sorry, the no..”
He didn’t let the automated message for an out of reach person to end. He jolted, ran to the bathroom, took a quick shower, dressed and ran out of the house, heading to her place of work. He kept calling her over and over, but she was not available. He knew her phone was fully charged for she always hordes the charger next to the bed. He tried to calm himself down, but it was like adding gasoline to the fire. He cursed like a sailor at the slow traffic, drove like a maniac whenever the truck moved. By the time he reached her office, he was in a foul mood, sweat shining on his forehead and hands shaking. He didn’t greet the doorman, took two stairs at a time, all the way up to the fifth floor, where her office was, instead of using the elevator.
“Hi, Cindy. Where is Layla?”
Cindy was the receptionist that he helped pick when Layla started the company.
“Good-morning sir. She hasn’t been to the office for two weeks. We thought you two had gone for a vacation together!”
His heart stopped for a second. He felt dizzy. Everything was twirling around him.
“Sir, are you OK? Come have a seat. I’ll get you some water. you don’t look well” Cindy said while helping him to sit on her chair.
She quickly ran to get water as she passed by Florence’s office. She popped her head on her door and said,
“Quick, Lewis is here, and he doesn’t look too good.”
Florence was Layla partner. They started this business together after years of friendship. Puzzled, she quickly followed Cindy. She found him in a state of daze, staring at nothingness.
“Lewis, are you OK? Lewis….hey” she snapped her fingers on his face trying to pull him back from the realm he had sunk in.
“Lewis…talk to me.”
He snapped back to reality, and when he saw Florence, he felt some sort of relief. Flo was Layla’s best friend, so he knew he would get answers.
“Where is Layla? What does Cindy mean she hasn’t been here for the past two weeks? What is going on?” he pressed.
“But I thought you went with her. She took a month off from Work. Last time I spoke to her, which was yesterday, she said that you two were planning to go for a vacation. What’s going on? Am confused”
“A month off work? But she has been coming to work daily! ” he said with exasperation Florence took her phone and dialed Layla.
“Don’t bother, she is mteja.”
“I don’t know what to say, Lewis. Am as confused as you are.”
He got his phone out and started texting her on her Twitter page but to his shock, He couldn’t find her account. He tried Instagram and Facebook, but her social media accounts were no longer available.
“What the actual fuck is going on!” He shouted as he showed Florence and Cindy what he had discovered.
Both ladies mouth were agape by the revelations. Layla was a well known social media persona and all over sudden, none of her pages were available on any social media platforms. He immediately called Layla’s brother and as he had presumed, he didn’t know where she was nor anyone in Her family. As he hung up the call, he consciously and devastatingly realized, Layla is gone and gone for good.
Via Nay Nay