PERMISSION GRANTED! Saying YES to Myself

Growing up is an interesting journey. It is not a guarantee so you just live through it. Though one may plan, tomorrow is never guaranteed and at times we are forced to deal with the cards we are handed. The journey will never be smooth no matter what, always a bump here , a scratch there , broken hearts and dream shattered but we always keep on going. My journey has not been any different. I have had the best of both worlds; the good and the bad. May is a mental health awareness month and the messages shared on different platforms have really made me think about so many things in my life. I have never been clinically diagnosed and/or treated with a mental illness but my mind surely has gone through a lot. For a long time, I have worked really hard on a few issues one of them being ACCEPTANCE. At times I seek validation from or in people but I have learned to tell myself that I am enough. I do not deal well with rejection, which I have faced so many times in my life, and the battle to not take rejection too personal has been HARD WORK to say the least. Here are few areas where I am still work in progress but I can say I am really proud of the steps I have made

Family

I grew up in a home where my mother would lie with us on a mat and gaze at the sky at night while trying to identify constellations. This was bliss. However, I really battled with the fact that my paternal side of the family actually kicked us out of our home. One time while in class four (4) or Five (5) I think, my grandpa came to “close” our house in the morning complete with a wooden bar, nails and a hammer. My mom was seeing us off to school and I clearly remember her telling me to take my siblings to school then she sat on a water container that was at the door. I did not know where we would go after school but lucky to say we came back “home” and managed three more years until enough was enough. African society is a patriarchy one and I would never have imagined that at some point, one could do such a thing to their own son’s children. For a long time, I looked for the wrongs we did to deserve such. I got tired at some point and decided to look at the sacrifices my mom had made, the love she showed us and the way she fought so hard so that the “bullets” would never hit us. I have worked and still working on the fact that family is not necessarily blood. I have met such awesome people who are family. I do not need my paternal affiliations to have an identity. I carry my dad’s name Kisahi so proudly because for the six years I shared with my dad, I was always safe, catered for and put first. His kins maybe trash but my dad wanted me and he was there. I accept that things did not turn out as he wanted but he chose the best mother for my siblings and I and for that , I will be eternally grateful. I have my biological family that loves and appreciates me, just like the family I have met or will meet. I belong.

Self-Image

I was a late bloomer, I am extremely shy and a tom boy. Over the years since my early years in school, I never really had female friends. I was always alive in male circles full of banters, menial jobs, sports and mischief. I was never really welcome in female circles because it always has been too much work being a lady for me. I wanted to be able to do girl stuff, gossip or put on make-up but I fell off the bandwagon as soon as I subscribed. My mom probably knew every boy/man who tried to have a thing with me till 25 I think. She still does here most of it. I never wanted relationships because I knew at some point we would have sex and I would get pregnant. How could a 16 year old without boobs feed a baby? This made me really doubt what intentions of any man were towards me. I was not a “lady” thus question why one would want to date me? With time though, I learned that we like different things in different people, that I was shy but quite good with addressing crowds and that my fear for heels was just that, fear. That A little lip balm and earrings were okay. Still a journey but I know for sure this was a core turning point of so many things in my life. This did boost my self-esteem and confidence in ways I did not expect.

Dating

I will not delve into exact details but here are a few reasons why I have been rejected when relationships started becoming serious or were so serious and “serious” talks were happening. Mark you, this for relationships that were, not at the wooing stage.

  • Not being Christian enough because I go to bars to watch sports and at times what I put is not “Godly”
  • I was not a Muslim enough for the family; duh! A victim more than twice and you would think I learned my lessons. Ohh boy! I never learn
  • That I was too bold and too ambitious. I was so mad at this for a long time to be honest. How does one change this?I may be unreasonable at times but there is NO WAY I will stop dreaming just because someone else in uncomfortable. By the way, this makes me a bit of a workaholic.
  • For being not cultured enough to be a wife because I suggested a day time movie for our  dating anniversary date. Cultured wives, where do people go on first dates? I am will to work on this one
  • For ordering wine on a date. See, funny bit about me is that the people I have really liked the first  time I met them are teetotalers . Mostly because religion is one big aspect for me in a relationship which to most translates to zero alcohol.This is one bit of my life that I gave myself permission from the word go. If I am to date anyone which may mean a lifetime commitment at some point, I will be so real. I am not the kind of lady who will pull surprises on you later on. I will be me from the word go, take is or leave it because that is exactly what I expect too.  I have a very easy time dating.

Career/Work

Now this is the current top on my list. Those people who know me know how good I am at what I do. Be it academics, tasks assigned or my baby projects. I will put in everything to give my best. I am yet to know if at times this is the best approach to everything in my career because the rejections I have had, oh my God, they have really dealt a good on me. I have worked on businesses that I have invested so much and gotten out with just debts. I have put in 48 hours of no sleep on some work, presented got turned down then the organization implemented EVERYTHING I presented and hired a friend to run with it though honestly happy that execution was a nightmare and has never been fully realized. I have been employed, worked so hard and gotten raw deals. At some point, I was so hurt that I just stopped. My body and mind shut down for a while. I thank God for these talks that I do attend because at the end of the day I am very young and still have a long way in my career. I can only get better. My employer or business partners do not define my success. I am the brand so irrespective of where I am, I need to work on me, equip me and add value to myself. This is a big motivation even on the days I have wanted to buy one way ticket and never come back to Kenya. On the days I feel unappreciated , I write a list of things that I have learned or gained related to the situation I feel so bad about . I keep a log of things I learn and I affirm. I work on me because I can not draw out enough to feed my career thirst if I have nothing to draw from. I have to be a well of knowledge.

I do hope that with the little I have shared, someone will gain something from it. The mind is our biggest asset and with it, we rule the world. During this mental awareness month, I hope to continue exploring the many areas of the mind that I need to work on. I am taking charge of my thoughts and mind sets. I am getting rid of things, situations or people who continuously hurt me. I am looking for my spark in the darkness and finding my balance of the pedestal. I am working towards and claiming what is mine. I am finding myself and loving it, I hope you do . #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

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Happy Mother’s Week & Happy New Year

In 15 days, I will be starting 20’s last year by God’s grace. I am really shocked at how time flies. Just the other day I was 22, fresh from college and thinking that 30 was so far-fetched. 28 has been my best year yet. The whole growing up and responsibilities thing was super hard on me but I have not achieved much in a year like I have as a 28 year old. My biggest would be graduating after finally making a decision to veer of Journalism and explore the marketing world. I did enjoy the three years in Journalism school but business school was every challenge and growth the adult me was ready for. I still cannot do a balance sheet to save my life but I would have fun bringing a product to life and “balancing” it in your needs. Visiting Rwanda was very eye opening and really gave me time to think a lot about myself. It was my first time ever out of Kenya and I lived it and still re-living it. Winding up top three of my best moments was seeking help when I thought I had reached the rock bottom. I have never appreciated the blessing of friendships like I have this past year. The gift of strangers who have become family, the friends who left when their season was over and above all, family that remained my foundation.

VSL_2015x8x10This being Mother’s week and 12 days to my Moms’ birthday, I will never stop thanking God for my mom. I know it is a cliché in some quarters to say that my mom is my best friend, prayer partner, my rock, my therapist, my gossip buddy but to me, it is not. Liz is everything I pray for. She is not perfect but I really do not know how I would have survived my adulthood without her.

My creative juices have been dry in a minute and here is a brief of my taking stock.

Craving: A get-away just to think, relax, review 1st half of 2019 and plan for the next half

Drinking: White coffee. I am surprised at my self too because I have never been a coffee person

Enjoying: This burst of social energy I have had in the past two months. My two left feet & I have been doing well

Feeling: Motivated about the future. I have reached out to the people who really impacted my life in 2013 when I started my career. It is refreshing and seemed like an overdue audit I needed

Following: More people on social media platforms with a great sense of humor I can relate to. A laugh a day is good for the soul

Learning: To be positive every day. An ohh, to make bomb ass steak

Looking: For more meaningful relationships that will challenge me out of my comfort zone

Listening: Grateful by Rita Ora and Broken & Beautiful by Kelly Clarkson on repeat

Making: A lot of long term decisions. It is new to me but exciting .

Missing.. Live Music/Concerts. Joan I really need you back in this part of my life.

Noticing: How I am living a little more in the recent past.  Being the authentic me is really nice

Needing:  A new boy gang to watch sports with, Some good money to get a few things that have been pending for ages

Playing: A lot of new country and 90 RnB

Reading: Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini that I can’t seem to move at all

Watching: Repeats of World of Dance Performances. I was rooting for LA Unity but Kings deserved it.

Wishing: That I could have taken more risks in my mid 20’s

Working: Being undoubtedly very good at what I do

I really pray and hope that I will have the best yet 29th. I am ready to flap my wings and fly. I pray for good health and wealth in my family and to all my friends.

Happy Mothers Day in advance to all mothers here on earth and those who turned angels in heaven, to the ladies who stepped up and took the mother roles in so many lives and to those who have tiny lives in them. We are glad, blessed and grateful to call you Mom/Mum/Mummy.

Break

img_20100101_073537There is one day you will wake up and realize that you have taken such a long time to systematically destroy yourself. I do not know what day that will be but that day may also never happen if you are conscious of every action you do. For the sake of this piece, I will focus on the day you wake up and realize that you are destroyed. Not by anyone else but you. You have become this toxic person even to yourself that you are actually afraid that it may be only be  a matter of time before you self destruct. You no longer recognize yourself. You have so much negativity flowing in your veins; so evident in your actions and speech that it will scare the hell out of you. You will be so afraid that you will just keep up releasing the negative energy not knowing the stream. After that one day though, you will get another one day where you will wake up and want to know why the toxicity. You will be curious to draw the curtains of your life and feel the rays your face again. That one day, you will want to ooze the positive energy that was once your second name. That day the journey will begin.

You will realize how much you have been the strong one yet you barely get anyone to be strong for you. You will relive the days you had to pull all strings, legal and illegal, moral and immoral, allowed and banned just to make other people okay. You will remember the day you had just to fit in because the thought of letting down those who depended on your strength was not something you could like with. Those are the moments where the nights that seemed so long  will actually start to make sense to have been the best because in those nights, you will have had only you to worry about. In the dark of the night, crawling out of bed to enjoy the cold plate of chips and soda and the remaining ice cream would be surreal that you will actually feel the vanilla melting on your tongue.

The suppressed thoughts will race to the times when those you respected and held in high regard told you that you needed fire to be the best steel. You will recall the moments at the table and corridors when you were told to hold on because, they said, “trust the process”. Hahahha! Process my foot! The process will so cruel that it will leave you weaker that what it was intended to do; make you stronger. You will put up with the things you never believed in, you will do other peoples dirty work, you will be accept everything that comes your way because as they said, you needed to trust the process. In the process, you will see the undercuts, be privy to the back stabs, understand to see but never say. You will actually start to believe in the things you swore against. The process will damage you. However in all hope that it is the only way to the end of the tunnel, you will trust the process, day in day out.

That day when the journey begins, maybe will be the day you actually never wanted to wake up because the body , mind and soul was just so tired. You wanted to close your eyes and just never open them back to reality. That day however, you will wake up , bubbly and ready to face the day. That will be cut short when reality of the present creeps in. You will be too afraid to end it because you are not the weak one to throw in the towel. You will just want the sun to stop so that you can have a moment to breath.  Just a minute where the brain will stop and you will feel nothing. The weight will be too heavy to bear but what about those that think you are that shoulder they need to lean on? What about those you promised that you will be okay and trust the process? What about the promises that they say tomorrow holds. You will stand in the mirror and will not recognize your self anymore. You will turn off your phone and without drawing the curtains, go back to bed and stare into space. You will not yearn for a better tomorrow, you will not want a better today. In that moment, you will not care about those you are about to let down or those around you see you break. That day, you will just need a break from everything.

The Memory Mirror

dsc06969A story of my little memory.

For a long time, I grew up knowing that I had close to zero interest in TV because my dad restricted TV hours thanks to my eyes. There were days he had to run late in the morning because my eyes won’t open and he had to use warm water to dissolve the rheum that glued my eyelids together. Fast forward, I mostly enjoy only sports on TV. The rest is just by chance.

Through that, I discovered that I generally did not like visuals. I like to create my own pictures. I ENJOY, which is an absolute understatement by the way, day dreaming. I may be seated in a matatu and I have to literally stifle my giggles or hide my face in the palms so that the person in the next seat won’t see my sheepish grin. The thrill of identifying a voice over the phone can actually make me squeal.

I was not planning on writing anything tonight but I am seated on the bed listening to Lingala as I plan the week ahead. A friend thousands of miles away is awake and I propose a quick video call. Just to show her something. When done, I stare as my screen, my Skype account then on two subsequent chats I had sometime last year. And all the memories just come rushing. Two very diverse but closely related memories. 8:20 PM, I close my eyes and for five minutes, I am reliving a conversation I had in the lift lobby at work and some call I took at around 1:00PM someday . These two intense moments with two different people who actually don’t know each other but share a passion, just align. I am in this world that I am so grinning that when I get off the zone, all I think is writing this so that I don’t forget the five minutes.

My mind is the wildest, calmest, most vulnerable and open place one can be. My mind is one free bird that lives a little more than I do. It also hurts a bit more than I normally think. But one thing that stands out about my mind is that it is never in denial, does not lie or pretend. It is so genuine that at times I really wish that my whole being would align. It is the only thing that has refused and actually worked its way around my manipulation skills. It has a life of its own. Sometimes at work, I have worshipped and prayed so much in my mind and the best thing about it is that during such times, it is only thanksgiving. My mind NEVER feels defeated or the need to complain in isolation.

Tonight though, my mind is in on the trees, shrubs, thickets, rivers and the warm earth, fresh from the heat of the day. My mind is somewhere near a gazelle and a lion, behind the elephant and above the squirrel. This mind is in the wild !!!!!!!!!

LEARN & GROW

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A new year and a ton of new year resolutions in place. Feels fresh, a new chapter opened, old one closed. Feeling of a second chance handed to us. Not everyone has their goals pegged on new years but for most of us, a new calendar helps us start afresh . For me the thought that I am not growing any younger is one big motivator in the recent past. Of the many big or small goals I have, here is a bit of food for thought;

  1. Listen – Last year I started the journey of learning how to listen. I am just on the basics but it was a good start. Listen and watch. See the body language, the hands and feet movement, listen to the pitch and breath. Do not ignore completely what people post online vs who they are in real life. They maybe worlds apart but trust me, they come from the same person. All are real only the circumstances they are delivered  are different.
  2. Walk out- If you cannot stand something, do not sit down and sustain longer periods of getting hurt. Be it a meeting with your boss, dinner with your folks, having just gotten into bed with your spouse or a brunch with your best friend. Learn to walk out if you think you cannot handle it, have time to reflect and when sober and they are ready to talk about it, then have that discussion. Another one I am not standing is you on phone when we are supposed to be discussing something or catching up. I am so over people who must always be phone even when it is not necessary.
  3. Expression – This for me will go to anyone planning to date or dating. There are no rules as to who is supposed to say “I love you” first. It is not wrong not to want things that your potential or current love does not want. It is okay to let them have a girls’/boys’ night out without you. We should make peace that your ex will get an “uglier” or “prettier/more handsome” person by your standards. Do not complicate things. It is hardest to let go but if that time ever comes, release them, grieve over it and move on.
  4. Oil your skin – I did not know how much oiling my body head to toe meant until recently when I did and was lazying in the house then decided to check myself in the mirror. Try it then get a full length mirror . I swear I was shook by how much a snack I looked. I was in awe of the great improvement my skin has had. Ever looked at yourself and felt like you could literally eat yourself up? I did.
  5. Goals – See , we make goals every January and sometimes end up not accomplishing most of them. Someone close to you may tell you not to have any this time round because it is a waste of time. Please, DO NOT LISTEN! A great man is not judged by how many times they fall but by how many times they fell and rose up. Keep on fighting and you cannot fight without a clear target you are  working towards. Write those goals down, start now . Walk, crawl, run, do whatever you can but just never stop moving.I have my goals written and looking at them, I may already get a bit nervous but one thing I am not going to stop myself from doing is having those goals and  working towards them.

May 2019 be that year that you see the results of your hard work, open doors, good wealth and health, happiness and may your wallets and bank accounts never run dry!

Blessed year !

 

Twelve of 2018

On my life, sharing insights into 12 areas of my life. What it has been like for 2018

Health and fitness –I finally started working out lightly in October after over 2 years hiatus. I am also retracting on junk food and really enjoying my kitchen again. One thing that has been consistent this year is water intake. On average, I do at least two litres in a day though more or less on select days. Major would be doing 10KM during stanchart marathon and I had zero muscle pains after.

Intellectual life – I have read less books than I anticipated mainly because I have read more journals and academic books than I thought I would have. Excel has become my friend and so glad of the new things I am hacking. I also did 40 hours of Mathematics this year and I finally enjoyed differentiation, a topic I NEVER attempted a single question on in high school because I just refused to like and learn it well. Looking forward to learning more about data and its uses on customers a well as digital branding

Emotional life – Growth is all that I can scream. I   have been very keen on my feelings, a bit more expressive and intentionally pursuing happiness in all aspects of my life. Trying to find a balance is not easy but honestly working out helps a lot as much as some episodes of PMS throw me off cliff completely.

Character –  This is an interesting one. I like it a lot when I see people work together, people succeed and some counting on me and I deliver. However, at some point this year, I started to heed my pastor’s advice. That we cannot always give and never receive. You need to replenish by accepting. Choose what you can give, where you can be a pillar and what to run away from. It is draining at times . Though it all, I am for the truth and justice.

Spiritual life – I have not read the bible as much I did last year. The best part of spiritual life this year has been that I have found listening to sermons so enriching either at church, radio, Telly, online or podcasts. I have a bit more perspectives on many issues.

 Love relationships – I fell in love. I got scared and ran. That is a very good space to be at. Love is beautiful. Someone who shares your values and makes you happy. I have learned not to underestimate the power of having someone you can talk to everything and anything. I think I would like to experience it again soon, without reservations.

Parenting vision – I still have very big doubts about me as a parent. But I think I will make a very good guardian

Social life – Going to events solo can be very interesting. Easy to make friends . Going with your friends and/or family is awesome because of the memories you make. I am hoping Ruth & I will actualize some traveling soon

Financial life – Has had a good one on me in a not so good way. No new intentional saving. May not happen for a while as I try to stabilize a few aspects. But I think I have  super cut down on impulse buying

Career – I did not anticipate how my career turned out in 2018. Roller-coaster is an understatement. I am looking forward to seeing my ROI for marketing in 2019.Coca Cola Marketing department remains my dream place to work at .

Quality of life – Live on a farm , in an expansive cabin , driving an off-road  preferably double cabin and be able to frequently do road trips . It would be nice to wake up and get everything for my breakfast for the day from the farm . When the sky is clear at night, I want to lie on the grass and stare at the sky.

Life vision – Continuously grow and be the best version of me than I was the previous day , to make a difference to those around me and be a blessing to someone who did not ask for me to do anything for them

 

J

Three months ago, I was just running my normal mischief on some streets. Normally, I would get too cheeky, enough to make those around me comfortable then when the mischief window wears off, I would get back to my normal cocoon and live the dormant period. So this time round I kept on pressing the mischief buttons. You would think a guru like me would know better. That there are packages of mischief that you actually evade and never keep on flirting with. Shame on me! I never saw the holes being dug in my high walls. The walls remains intact but the holes were through my foundation and trust me, they were properly shaken. The digging on the foundation was rhythmic that I mistook them for my some beat. I danced to it. I felt so light that my feet felt floating in the air that I did not stem on the foundation to realize how fragile it had become that I was caving in. I just kept on dancing. The beat moved from the light taps to the deep rumbles and I kept dancing. I felt so safe because the high walls were intact and the darkness gave me a sense of security that I still was in control of everything that was happening.

During the period however, there  was a day when I stood in the cold shower for the first time in three years after the first morning work out in the same period that I felt something was amiss. I stood under that shower at around 5:30 am and I felt my foundation shake. I do not know why it took such a long time for me to realize what was happening. I was so scared that I broke down. This was because of two things; positively that I actually needed that part of my foundation destroyed so that I could get that wake up call that I have needed for the past 22 years. More so, I really needed someone to shake the recent 9 years in me. Gladly, that was done. On the negative, just like a house, when a foundation is destroyed, you are susceptible to any negative force which will definitely send you tumbling down. This for real sent me tumbling. The worst bit is that I was drowning with no straw in sight. Free falls are not the best.

My health has not been in the best shape in September and partly October. I really wished that it would only be for the physical bit but I hate the fact that I had to go down with so many things at one. I would at times look back at how much August was the best month I have had in the longest time possible then think about what I was going through and never imagined I was the same person. I think the worst was this day I woke up feeling dizzy and spent the WHOLE day walking in wavy lines, blurred vision and throwing up. Silently I thought I was not going to make it the following day. Despite this, I was still battling my now clearly destroyed wall. The supposed light after the walls collapsed got me off-guard. The light was too bright that I was blinded. The only good thing is that I was in the moment. I felt every little thing through that process.

Funny enough, I have unable to really write what I feel. I cannot journal but I think I am in this process where I am having a lot of flashbacks. No regrets but I think I am somewhere when I really feel there are pieces to be picked. The feeling to do a lot of self-forgiving is there. Unlike forgiving your enemy, I think most people have no idea how hard it is to forgive yourself. There is a lot of self-inflicted pain that the thought that you let yourself go through it make you so mad and you derail the process of self-forgiveness. This mischief phase has come with another baggage. One that I really pray to get over and make peace with. I cannot lie that it has caused me so much pain with fragments of good moments. The best part of the mischief is that it has helped me open a lot of conversations with myself. It has broken the walls that I thought were permanent, it has shaken the very foundation I thought was the best. It has opened me to a very new world of starting afresh. Scared I am, heartbroken from whatever I did not anticipate I am, determined to forge ahead I am. I cannot promise that I will not make the same mistakes but I am certain that I will be more sober with my mischief phases.

This is a tribute to J. For making me see that being vulnerable is okay and that sharing does not make one weak. This is for reiterating that, ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCT  and that though a hyena may laugh, it can never be a human being but just that, a Hyena