I Chose Life Over Cigarettes

smoking
Photo Cred: Google

Many a time I have had a “fight” with the Devil himself; several times it wrestled me to the ground but like the resilient fighter, I always picked myself up for another brawl. The “fight” in question here is not the literal fight, so next time you see me don’t shove me up against a wall, I am not a pro fighter. I started smoking when I was in college, it wasn’t something I thought would stick and become a habit. It began just similar a gimmick to look like a really cool cat in the crowd. Occasionally during the many rendezvous that was the life in college, I would light one, huff and puff away .It always starts like that, like a harmless habit your mind leads you to think you are in control of. So a puff became a whole cigarette and eventually graduated into to two, three ciggies a day, but still I had myself believe I wasn’t a smoker.

Every junkie will tell you the devil lies in the details, eventually you will need more and more of the same drug to achieve a high you used to get from a smaller dose of the same, that’s where the problem escalates. Eventually two ciggies turned to five depending on how much booze I drank. The number of cigarettes would rise if I tippled copious amounts of booze. I couldn’t explain the feeling as to why i always needed a light when I drank. When I hit my third year in college, I was smoking almost a packet a day. I still didn’t codify myself a smoker; I would carry with me colognes to freshen up after that much needed smoke break in between the day. Luckily I got a job a few months into my third Academic year, that was enough to sustain the smoking habit, so on pay days I would stock my drawer with packets of cigarettes .I didn’t realize how heavy I was smoking until one day I scaled stairs to the tenth floor of a certain building and found myself panting and out of breath. My chest would always feel clogged whenever I did heavy exercise and my sense of smell went stale. When my aunt found out about my smoking habit, she was devastated. It really crushed her. I had accidentally left a pack on my bed as I went to school and she had stumbled upon it while cleaning my room. She sat me down and for the first time in my adult life, we had that much dreaded adult talk.

I was spiraling out of control, and worse I couldn’t smoke in public places in my hood. It was way risky considering most of them knew me, so that left me with a fixed spot that I would frequently storm to get that much needed puff. By then I almost exclusively kept a smokers  only company, some even chain smokers. In town I would sometimes troop to the three smoking zones littered around the CBD when the craving stuck. Slowly I stopped caring who saw me smoking or not, I was coming out of the closet. It soon became no secret that I had become a smoker, from our hood and among family members ; everybody knew. Whenever a family member tried talking me out of this habit I had picked, I would promise to stop but later fall back to the very same routine.

One day I get this very bad cough after a bout of flu, it won’t go away. Its throaty and I lose my voice a couple of times as it persist. So I am forced to visit the hospital, after examinations the Doctor on duty sits me down and looks me straight in the eye and asks

“Do you have an allergy?”

I shake my head In the negative,

“ Do you smoke? “

I stare blankly.

 

“Mr Omondi, do you smoke? “

 

I reluctantly shake my head in the affirmative.

 

“You need to cut down on that smoke, else you risk obstructive pulmonary disease.”

 

I didn’t get to hear the rest, whatever he said sounded like death itself. I knew what pulmonary meant, but combined with the rest of the medical jargon, it reeked of doom.

 

“You will need to cut down on your tobacco intake because you have an inflammation Mr omondi, it’s an infection that has been triggered by a decreases of anti-viral responses.”

 

I was issued with a booklet and plenty of tips on steps to quit smoking, and try I did, only to find myself sneaking that much needed puff, my hand would tremble a bit if I went a day without smoking. Sometimes I would wake up at three in the a.m. having that urge for a cancer stick. It didn’t matter that I was fast leading myself to the grave; all that mattered was that vital puff. When the infection got worse, I knew I had to quit. I had no clue how to start. Then I met this girl at my neighborhood through a reach out group I had joined who was a reformed smoker, the journey was the most tumultuous thing I have ever gone through, marked with a lot of slip ups here and there but when you have a friend in a woman guiding you down those murky steps the journey is as good as half way done.

 

Eventually after months of induced self-discipline and sheer torture from withdrawal symptoms, I managed to drastically reduce this habit. I can now comfortably say I don’t smoke any more but there is that once or twice the urge overtakes the will. It’s never gone completely, and on those days I slip, I feel I have let myself down a great deal. But the need to kick off this habit is the fuel that keeps me going. At the end of the day, I know that’s the price you pay for having played to the Devil`s tune.

————–0—————–

The Story above is from a friend I have severally implored to write me something real from his life , something I did not know . When I first met him , the first thought was clearly a good looking chap but sly . With time I appreciated his literal skills and how easy he is . Omondi do you ever get mad/angry ? Few years down the line an am yet to see you  pissed off .  Thank you for allowing me to share this here . I hope someone will be helped through this .

 

 

 

 

EMPTY SELF

When I googled the title, this is what came up

  1. The state of containing nothing. The vast emptiness of space
  2. The quality of lacking meaning or sincerity; meaninglessness.
  3. The quality of having no value or purpose; futility.” feelings of emptiness and loneliness”
empty
Photo Cred: Google

Of all these explanations, I intended to explore the third. I don’t know really if there is/are specific definition to the feeling. Maybe, I would not even qualify it as a feeling because at this moment, there is nothing: absolutely void. No pain, no regret, no joy, no confusion, just nothing. Like a hollow tunnel, but with enough coat that prevents it from producing an echo. Just empty.

Being a woman and a first born can make your hands quite filled up. You are always busy worrying about other people. You always want to protect others, be there for the family, stand up for the friends, fix it for those close to you and offer direction to those who don’t ask it but you think they need it. This has been almost typical me. With this kind of life, I rarely care about other people wholly. Why? Because I fear being let down .Having to worry a lot makes the mind resign to the fact you should not have time to worry about me.

At some point, the mind will stop. It will get tired of others and demand you. It will stop thinking about extra and recline to intra. This is when you realize that the you are actually new to your own self. It is strange to worry about you. You barely know yourself and the thought of trying to take stock of yourself is scary. Immediately you try to, you hit a big revelation that numbs you . You discover that you are exactly not that person you think you are , let alone what other people think . Nothing scares the fixer than realizing that she can’t fix herself or a pillar to realize that they don’t have one of their own .

This may sound funny because mostly, many people associate *strong* women to women who have their own lives patched together. Everything working as planned. This is not always the case. Most of the times, some of us fixers hide behind fixing others. When you have the ability to fix others, no one will doubt your ability to hold your own shit. Simple.

However, there comes a time in life when you really have to take stock, dissect, lay bare and accept that your life is not fixed, or close to fix as you think. It’s scary to learn you. For me, it is not scary, it’s extremely creepy that several times, I have literally shuddered, gone numb and if alone, broken down in tears . It is so easy not to see any damage you might have done to your life. There are times you get scared to open your eyes because you feel you are so messed up that you can’t stand to feel sorry for your self. Because feelings are natural, you can’t just throw in happiness ; so what remains, E.M.P.T.I.N.E.S.S!

This may result to the fact that maybe along the way , you overlooked the indicator that you needed to work towards a clear vision free of compromise and short cuts . Yes there might be unforeseen drawback but have you tried thinking what would be a plan B if plan A doesn’t go through . You cannot work with expectations of the society, social clique or class , family , age , economic wishes or dreams . Dreams are good, but a dream without a clear execution plan is as well as dead. I have always wanted to be that woman who other women will look at and say ‘Yes, that’s exactly what I want to be’. But then to be that woman, what are my strengths and weaknesses, what do I have to do , what do I need not to do , who do I work with , who do I speak to , where am I supposed to be placed in order to tap into what I need to be . As long as you stop yourself from feeling who and what you are , the emptiness will not go away and as long as you feel empty , you WILL NOT be able to make decisions about who and what you want to be .

I can’t promise you it’s going to be easy . It is something I have just started and I know I am gonna make it . It needs courage and support. Be in a position to tell those close to you ( must be trust worthy ) that you are frightened , you have let yourself down and you need to pick up yourself . Be genuine and don’t say it with expectations, just say it because you trust them enough to share. Write down what you feel. It might help too . I have seen those who seek services of psychiatrist or psychologist .Some do it by working on spiritual life

1 john 5:5-8 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.

Do something/s that will make you be in full control of you; your feelings, dreams and expectations. It starts with ME!

 

 

TBT: Snippet Of My Growth

Innocence
In a Friends Room, 2nd  year .Here , I was all about going big in media industry

Yester evening , I was working on a sports article for a friend . As we talked on his angle of the story , we somehow veered off topic and talked of how I am not practicing full-time journalism. We tried to see why but never really got WHY ? .One thing however that came up was that i love what I do and from day !, even when i felt shortchanged, i gave my 100% .

Later on when I was done, I decided to compile this easy post ;a reflection on my life . Am gearing towards making major decisions and changes in my life and went deep into archives to see how much I have grown .

Shout out to you all my readers for support . Special mention to two readers from Netherlands and South Korea. Whoever you are , Thank you.

P/s:Dear pancakes and muffins , I need my flattest stomach back.

Kisahi
2012. Final Project shoot in Rift Valley
Doris
3rd house after moving out . First ever weave . First day for lippie too courtesy of my housemate
Aseyo
First Lady Marathon . So much fun with my colleagues . Was definitely going down at Nyayo stadium. That is a thigh gap right there 😉

Sisters Before Misters Violated

More often than not, especially in a girls’ world, we do have a BFF . Someone you do trust with almost every little secrete you have. As we call them, BFF, ride or die bestie, boo ,and all sweet names that resonate with that one person who you absolutely trust . Then comes the inner but not core circle of girls . Those who know you quite well,; at least 50% . These mostly are girlfriends you come across in the line of social life, maybe at work or in a class. At times you meet them in church too. Some of these women give you the comfort that before you know it , you start trusting them with some of your private stuff .

The saddest part: some are broadcasters. Below is a letter to a dear broadcaster, BC.

Dear BC,

I hope this finds you happy and well. I am writing this from my desk, having spent quite a lot of time thinking on how to reach you, for at least a few weeks now. I know we are in same WhatsApp groups, constantly chat on Facebook and finish the day with coffee dates or endless phone calls. I am grateful that I met you and we had already graduated to calling each other siz . The Siz title came in when I trusted you enough with some of details in a world preserved for me, myself and I. Thank you for the much you shared about you , as you started each phrase with , “please promise me that this is between us “ ,,,

You see BC , mostly my conscience has taught me to honor what was to be between us . I thought the same went for you until a few weeks ago. The very evening I will never forget. As you were aware, things have been looking up between me and Mr.X, that guy I have had offended during internship and have been seeking for compassion for the longest time. So finally we did meet .Not really a truce date but somehow, we landed a similar client and had to strategize. The business tuned a lil personal and thanks to his big mouth, I learnt quite a lot. Apparently you have been pouring the little we shared to your yappy pal who told a friend to Mr.X who in turn poured it out during a boys out meeting. So apparently Mr.X had developed a soft spot for me because of the *tough* woman I am. He somehow also applauded how I managed to handle PERSONAL situations head on. I sat there, inwardly shaken but kept a straight face. Never gave explanations but never denied anything, I just did the noble thing, accept.

You know what BC, when did we trash Sisters before misters, Chicks before dicks, Bitches before snitches, Holes before poles? Nothing breaks a heart like a sister against a sister.

Please know that your secretes are still safe with me. I hope an anti-snitching pill will be discovered soon because definitely , you need a prescription of the same

Yours faithfully,

Ex.Siz