SHOULD I BLOW THE CANDLES?

Tomorrow is my birthday, for the past years it’s never been a big deal to me. Just a day I eat cake, drink, get new stuff and have fun nothing intense. This year is different I don’t want to celebrate my birthday. I am analyzing the past years and I feel strongly left behind it’s like I’ve been moving in circles. Am slow in starting things I should have way back. All I have is a bag full of excuses on why? But to be honest I’ve let fear cripple me and hinder me from exploring my limits.

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This year I just felt I should do different if it’s better well that’s an advantage to me but if it’s worse at least I tried. Ever felt like you got a lot to offer but you chose to lock it deep inside somewhere?. of what use is a hammer in a shelve stored for display or a candle under a bed? I’ve had a lot of time since I graduated 3 years back can’t believe I haven’t finished writing a book I started during my last semester in school and to be precise it’s not the only unfinished book and poem I have.

This morning I lay in bed awake for hours trying to figure out why and I have no answer for this question what keeps holding me back? Why don’t I have time to do what I like or am supposed to do?. Then I shouted at myself do you some people work more than 3 jobs a day in the same hours that we are all equally given by God? What’s my reason then if I even have any?  Fact is I should be having more than I do at this moment. The best part is it’s never too late to start over again and am no longer scared to rewind and fill the missing pieces. I’ve find out my love for parties and late night clubbing’s is what holds me back.IMG_20171021_194726_edit

In 2018 I’ve partied even during the weekdays as early as Monday to the next Monday, most blogs have written when I was hangovered, at other times I could not bring myself to write. Unnecessary travelling that’s been costly and honestly fun but not really worth the struggle have drained me financially a little unnecessary debts to top it up, and you know what this money could have been invested in a better asset. I thank God that this year it’s not only a birthday day but a growing day, yes age comes with wisdom I think am getting there. I wish to grow with every birthday, so when the next one comes, I get to celebrate for a reason for the years won’t stop and wait for me. Tomorrow I am cutting ties with chains that holds me behind and getting a fresh start I hope anyone in my shoes gets to find out what holds them behind? So you can move forward.

SILENT SCREAMS” can i be myself ?”

SILENT SCREAMS “can i be myself?”part 2……

 

…………..I come from a family of academic genius apart from my uncle Philemon, the rest will proudly show you’re their PhDs and masters. It does not end there as they insist it’s not about getting a masters it’s about getting it with a first-class honor’s. They always seem perfect in everything they touch and do. I remember growing up any negative aspect I had, would be associated to my dad’s side while the positive always had to be from my mum’s side since they were too perfect to have spots. At times I felt like I hated my dad’s side like why won’t they be as sparkles as my mamas family so I would be spotless too. They spoke the best English since unlike their age mates during those years they grew up in the city instead of the rural and went to the top schools were they were taught by white teachers hence their great speaking skills. To top it up not only were they great in academics but man they got talent too. Although my dad can draw I know most of my uncles draw more though as a hobby since to them they don’t consider art as a profession. Come to music they are a family of music mostly gospel since my grandparents are church pastors, when it came to dancing oh yeah I can dance but I know its inherited from my mama she can move even at this moment old yes but she is still queen of the dance floor. My passion of writing and poetry I like to bet it halfway as my dad’s brother was a lover of books too but again my uncle from my mamas side has written way more novels in Netherlands, so has his cousin who is a Swahili writer in Tanzania writing many set books that have been used for fasihi study’s in high school. My grandpa’s poems, set piece, dance, and music has won his students national drama and music festival awards taking them all the way to state house so again where do I get the talent from? As a child this aspect looks like you’re growing up in the royalties where you’re not allowed to be yourself but a trend follower living through the footsteps of customs that existed way before your conception. You had to be perfect or perfect, win or win make it or make it to be sincere there was no choice it had to be their way. I try to look down the line where this urge of perfection came from what felt so empty inside them that needed perfection, medals, titles and awards to fill. I can know there childhood but I think maybe it was imposed on them as they imposed it on us the third generation.

If I had talked longer with Phil that day I know he would have told me how odd one out he felt in his own family. For he was different but they don’t recognize different! You have to go through school and bring excellent results home and take a course that’s important by their standards and get a good job the end!. Maybe he desired to fit in this steps and that’s why he tried though it was not what he wanted in life. But the urge to please people or fit in made him loss himself in the process of trying. At a point in his life he had lost his dream and didn’t know who he was or what he wanted and he felt hopeless. I remember he used to hate the holidays since he would get so many lectures on his performance in school. While everyone was happy celebrating he would be given hours of lectures I was young but I didn’t like how it felt to watch him being shouted at I think it embarrassed him and this made him more resilient. With years he was changing towards them he started drugs soft till he was addicted to the hard ones too. Our relationship didn’t change he might have closed down on them but not us the nieces and nephews from time to time we would share our misery about the expectations placed before us and laugh about it mostly the rude answers and sarcastic replies from our parents when they were mad at us which was often and we learnt to take it as jokes. We thought this helped as it was our secret therapy what we did not realize was that when the holidays was over we all left him alone since he was the last born. I thank God for my siblings at least we had each other and we learnt to love each other more through our childhood a bond that’s still strong and unbreakable to this day, but Phil stood alone I cannot assume to know how it really felt all I know was he was depressed and addicted to drugs and in silence he lost himself speaking less and closing doors, his hopes he locked away and gave up on life and mostly on himself. He realized he had no place to be himself in this set up and decided to be who and what everyone expected him to be, and when he failed at this also he lost it and snapped in silence.  Not even rehab could hold him now.

I always feel sad he didn’t even leave a note and I know my family feels the same. But I walk into his shoes and notice from his last call and the conversations during the holidays he had once said when I had protested very strongly about my sisters opinion of remaining silent during lectures and letting it be so the lectures would end, I was of the opinion to argue out till my point was noticed and heard. Philemon had looked had at me and said “why do you bother talking when no one listens, it’s a fight you can’t win because no one cares about what you want just what they want you to be, their opinion is all that matters” so I sit down and think why would we expect him to leave a note . We didn’t hear him when he screamed at life how can we understand words scribed on a paper?

The last heap of dust fell on top of his grave, we stood in a row holding a flower each on one hand our faces wet with streams of tears. All eyes on the grave I can’t believe he’s gone. Our hearts broken our joy shuttered guilt and anger brewing inside us. Placing a ring of flowers around his grave it was time to say goodbye. The grave remained still just like the air stood, footsteps faded away as they left the grave site only close family remained and it was a moment of silence before we broke into a song to sooth our pain.

Depression is never considered as a serious sickness in the African community mostly when it’s a man. An African man is expected to stand up at all time and never shade a tear since men don’t cry. What we don’t realize is they are human and have emotions too. The expectations of society on people are not always favorable as we are all different in a way or the other. As you can’t teach a fish how to run nor expect a bird to win a swimming completion, the same way it’s wrong to put standards according to one to define the success of all and this can be stressful leading to depression. No one ever tells us it’s okay to fail or lose and it’s okay to be different as that’s your uniqueness and most importantly it’s okay to choose what you want to be and live for at the end of it it’s your life and you should be its only author. Although suicide is considered a taboo in Kenya and Africa it doesn’t out shadow the fact that it’s real and its creeping in our society stealing away beautiful souls. Its time to address this calamity and face it. Its time to create awareness and know its okay to seek help and there is no shame in it. I am happy to have come across this mazing organization in Kenya BEFRIENDERS KENYA that deals with depression, suicide, bereavement and abuse. Your voice matters so does your opinion, your diversity is your uniqueness and YES!!!! YOU CAN FINALY BE YOURSELF!!!

              Call us now –  +254722178177.Email befrienderskenya@gmail.com

ANGEL IN CHAINS

A final look at her white wedge shoes satisfied her curiosity, perfect she thought as she straightened her white skater skirt. Picking her bible and phone she joined her two sisters outside the house and the three ducklings walked to church. Although the day was regular close to normal but inside her she felt a spark that was foreign a feeling alien to her. This Sabbath was a musical Sabbath and among the alien feeling deep inside she was very excited for she loved music that was her balm that soothed her soul and took her to limbo. Honestly it had been a while since she had last set foot in church as most Sabbath morning’s found her hangovered. It was her love for music that made her rise up this morning. The church service was to take part inside a prison situated a few miles near her home. It would be their first time to visit one and they all felt thrilled and anxious it was going to be a great experience and maybe that was the alien feeling burning deep inside her. As the saying goes good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter, the walk uphill the prison was exiting as they met fellow church members and the crowd proceeded.

After the tight security check at the gates and leaving all other belongings apart from her bible at the entrance Naomi and her sisters were guided to an open field on the east side of the prison where a large congregation sat under tents. Multiple choirs gathered in different tents all differed by their uniforms that made a mosaic carpet of colors on the bare field. On the north near the pulpit a crowd of inmates sat down under the scotching sun as the bibles or hymn books were used as an umbrella shielding them from the sun. Despite the uncomfortable situation their gaze remained focused on the speaker at the pulpit and it was easy to note the hope and joy that was displaced on their faces. Wow she thought what a thirst they have for the gospel? Naomi felt a little bit guilty of how she had all the time and freedom but at times chose not to keep the Sabbath as per Gods law, while the captives could give anything even sit under the hot sun just to worship with fellow believers. They found a spot at the first tent near the pulpit and She sat at the begin of the raw a few meters from the inmates with nothing but space and one warden separating them. The choirs sang graceful fully that time flew by so fast the morning session was almost over. The preacher took the stage a big smile on the face of the man of God. Naomi felt the joy how glad was she that she had made this choice this Sabbath. As the preaching went on her gaze navigated through the congregation, different people but with one expression. It was difficult to distinguish between the free and captives as they all wore the face of hope behind their wrinkled faces. She looked at her sisters sited next to her and was amazed. Though they had walked happily to church that morning she knew deep inside the amount of pain and frustrations that filled them. It had not been an easy year and things were getting worse. Naomi had almost lost her faith hence the reason why she drowned her sorrow in booze and missed most of the Sabbath. But looking at them now alas!! What a transformation the worries had disappeared and hope replaced it while joy stood in place of sorrow surely there is joy in the house of the lord.
A cold wind swept by and suddenly the hair on her back stood. Strange since her dreadlocks had been all tangled tightly she thought. As sudden as the wind had blown she turned and looked to her left side where the inmates’ sat and she froze. For a while Naomi failed to withdraw her stare from an inmate among the crowd neither did the guy make any effort of retreating. He had seen the best of life one could note from the white hair that was almost covering his semi bald head. His face was wrinkled and complexion dark, the thick glasses made him spookier to her. Finally he smiled at her nodded a silent greeting familiar to her and looked away. The rest of the summon was blank to Naomi as her mind tried to race back in time trying to identify the face but failed. She was sure they had never met him but why did he make such a disturbing contact. Naomi fought against all her instinct not to look back at him. She even tilted her legs to the right so she could face the opposite direction from the man. Since it was a musical Sabbath, the sermon was to be short and she was glad when it ended a little music would take her mind off and yes it did. So much in love was Naomi with music that she couldn’t restrain from joining the choirs together with other Christians as they happily sang and matched in circle at the center of the arena to one chorus led by the host choir, at this she forgot all her worries. All that bears a beginning must have an end no matter how sweet it was the chorus came to an end marking the end of the first session.

She stood halfway to her seat staring hard at the sheet of paper folded like a rose that lay on top of her bible. Although she was scared she continued walking to her seat and picked the pile before seating heavily on her chair. “What’s wrong?” Nancy inquired a worried look on her face. Naomi turned to look at her sister but lacked words. She turned to the crowd of inmates who were now being ushered away, desperately she tried to look for the man to no avail. Although she felt hot and sweaty, she knew it was not from the singing as her hands felt cold at the same time. The lady was horrified what was happening? It was lunch break and one could easily leave for home or stay and eat the food provided as they waited for the afternoon session. Yes she loved music but all she wanted to do was run so far away from this place. Nancy had already wandered off to greet a few friends unlike Naomi, her sisters were more social and very outspoken. She sat alone under that tent everyone was chatting or singing along to the background music as they waited for lunch.
Looking down at the paper shaped rose she held between her sweaty fingers, she was astonished to see words vividly written in tiny handwriting. Part of her wanted to dump the paper rose and walk away but curiosity got the best of her and she craved knowledge of the words, maybe the words would clarify the puzzle, either way she just wanted to leave. A small metal rod fell on her feet bouncing on her toes that were exposed from the open wedge shoes as she stood up to leave. Looking down at her feet she saw a rusty key, where did it come from? It had fell from her bible. She quickly picked it up looked around to be certain no one had noticed and matched quickly towards the gate not even bidding her sisters farewell. The walk down the hill had been longer as she was anxious to know what the flower held and the key? That was another mystery not forgetting the man. Halfway home she stopped and sat at the foot of a large Cyprus trees and unfolded the paper rose. In blue ink with tiny handwriting a paragraph unfolded. She read out……

Life is a paradox somethings have meaning others will never have the beauty or ugly part of it is we will never know the difference. I worked loyally for 18 years doing all that is required of me and more without a single complain. All this years I saw light in everything. But one day everything turned and I found myself betrayed by the ones I trusted and worked for all this years. They chose me as a sacrificial lamb to cover their own tracks without my consultation, this I would have no knowledge of if I had not overhead the conversation. I couldn’t save myself from the slaughter house so I decided to take a collateral before I left. Twenty seven years I have been locked up in this walls all I see is darkness even at daylight. I lost my hope and made peace with my circumstance but yesterday when they made the announcement about the church service to take place here, I prayed for the first time in years since I landed inside this walls. I asked God to show me light once more for I had dwelt in the dark so much. This morning I sat there looking at the congregation but nothing moved me until a bright light struck my eyes suddenly and when I looked up I saw you. I am not sure if it was the bright clothes you wore but I felt this was it, I saw light for the first time in twenty seven years. The key opens a gate to an empty house with treasure i took as collateral 27 years ago now it’s yours. Your bible holds the location to the house, All I ask of you is to keep shinning for there are others in the dark that needs a reminder of the light.

Was this a joke? But she held the key in her hand and opening the page with a bookmark on her bible were the coordinates boldly written……….

BLEEDING EAGLE

The loud laugh replaced the sad sobs
The eyes dried to tear no more
Each finger slowly unfolded from the tight
Grasp

Her hands shading the last blood drop
She looked up and smiled
For burn she felt not
She knew pain not
She felt hurt not
From her knees to her feet
Gracefully she rose as a flower boastful of
Its petals

Reborn, no more fight, no more pain
Vengeance she forgot, letting go of the past
Never again would the storm steal her
Peace

Never again would pain chain her wings
In darkness she won’t have a position
Her wounds she kissed with pleasure
Her scars she wore in pride
Broken but perfect
The pages closed a new chapter began
Empty not for purpose filled her being

#inkedtears

SILENT SCREAMS “can i be myself?”

…. It passed on more as a drama festival than a funeral. Brother turned against another and parents in tears torn between which sides to take the living or mourn the deceased. I come from the Luo community, one of the major and popular tribes in Kenya. My tribesmen celebrate life even at death. You see when someone dies a big ceremony follows immediately after the last breath. Neighbors and family members’ camp at the deceased home until a day or week after the burial. Food is cooked for the community from breakfast to dinner. One can easily identify a bereave d’s home from the numerous bonfires set by the fence in case the homesteads kitchen is too small, trust me it’s always too small. Women fetch water filling big drums arranged along the outdoor kitchen, while the men gather in small groups some clearing bushes or making the tent others just sat talking and eating something. Normally the immediate family members would be gathered inside the main house receiving visitors and financing the expenses that could be their only duty the rest the community would handle. We mourn our dead with vigor and swag just as we live……but today was different one could get reprehended for just a loud cry. The crowd was unsettled silent whisper from ear to ear in groups. Everyone had their own version of the story from the thousand speculations. I sat silently lost in thoughts looking at my grandmother who sat in front of me. She didn’t need to look behind for one to notice the sadness in her eyes and her tear stained face. Back then I couldn’t relate but just imagine the pain she was feeling though I empathized with her the pain of losing a child is unbearable, worse when it is suicide. It was clear she didn’t want to hear that word and that’s the part of the story she tried to block away, but according to my tribesmen suicidal deaths are a great taboo and traditional rituals had to be performed to clean the homestead off that bad omen. Rituals that reminded her that her son took his life. The tension was growing as my two elder uncles exchanged bitterly. I knew she couldn’t take it anymore it tore her apart. How could they not see she was suffering she is a mother and to her just like any mother her little Babyboy will always be a saint. i took her by hand and led her out of the heated congregation to her room. She sat down and let out the storm that had built inside her, oh my poor grandmother I held on to her tightly as we cried our hearts out. After a long silent she looked up to me and asked me “why did this happen?”. i am naturally good with words and I find a way to twist them to every occasion but today I failed my granny. Every single word chocked me intensely instead of talking I coughed terrible.” haven’t I prayed enough?” she continued “don’t I serve the lord in truth and honesty like he directs us to, where did I go wrong?” she broke down in a fresh stream of tears. i wanted to yell back at her to stop! her words denied me peace they pierced my heart deeply. i felt her pain and misery.” is not that a son buries his mother…” I couldn’t take it any more i wanted to run away or be mad just like everyone.
can i be myself 1

i remember his call three days ago around seven thirty pm . It had been brief and weird but I had been working since 4 am that day and was too tired to notice the red flag or rather delayed to act on it. His tone was usual but deep and he had spoken a little bit slow sluggish maybe, I assumed he was drunk or high as usual. His first words had been “sheila do i have any importance in life? Haaaa” I had laughed with him dismissing the weight of the words and thought it was more of a joke. You see he was more of a brother than an uncle. He was my elder sisters age mate a young and free soul whom we had spent most if not all holidays together. He was the first person all the cousins looked for when we arrived upcountry he made vacations adventurous. We were so close that we called him by his first name “Phil” short form for Philemon, although he was a generation older and we were required to use the title uncle. But he didn’t mind he liked it that way and that was how it remained. All I had taken from the call was the part he needed cash which i sent the 200ksh he had asked for. i was to call him back that weekend to talk more since i had an early morning the following day so i dismissed him. he told me” you know you are stronger than me you are a fighter and i admire that your always bold enough to be yourself no matter how much they judge you, don’t ever change for them continue being you” this was a usual speech when he was drunk. So i just laughed cut him short and said we shall talk. Little did i know this were his last words to me. The fact that he called all my other cousins that same night talking in parables doesn’t give me comfort for i still feel i failed to play my role that fateful night………

part 1

Continue reading “SILENT SCREAMS “can i be myself?””

MAMA STILL

Under the stars she lay awake on the damp sand her skin cold and numbed. The tides roared vigorously against the silent night overshadowing the Swahili taarab playing from the beach resort. Her arms crossed each other on top of her holding a note book closely to her body as some priceless treasure. But who could blame her for that was the only memory she had of her lost daughter. Warm fresh tears replaced the prior ones painting two wet strings of tears that fell down her face to her ear on both sides. They said time is a healer but two years had passed and she hurt still just like the first time. Rehemas body was freezing it was time for her to leave before she got sick. It was her last night home she would leave in the morning to Europe she didn’t want to get sick before the journey. Maybe a new place will make the pain more bearable, maybe she will find her strength again. Her daughter had loved the beach the water fascinated her so much. She always ran and crawled towards it. Her smile always widened when the waves slapped against her tiny legs and she could giggle loudly and gasp. She would have grown up to be a great swimmer just like her. Rehema smiled at the thought. The beach was the most memorable place she spent with her baby and may be it might have been the reason she got asthma, she hated herself for that. But maybe “it was no one’s fault” just as doctor Jane puts it.

mama still

Rising to her feet the notebook still in her hands, she caressed its pages stopping at the last page that had a picture of her daughter in a pink swim suit with gold details. “Oh God she was beautiful!” was oh yes past tense it had taken her so long to refer in that manner. At times she still felt guilty after she did. Below the picture were words scribbled in her handwriting. Looking at the ocean she read out the words aloud against the roars of the tides.

You could be two
You could be joy or tears
Maybe this world was unfit for your kind
I could never know but guess
But one thing I attest my little one this world never
Rejected you
You repelled its cruelty
But could s are puzzles questions
I will never answer …… in peace my angel
Lay forever

A beautiful poem for her daughter……taking a last look at the note book full of poems she had written for her little angel since she passed away, rehema signed breathing heavily she tossed the book into the ocean and left, her eyes dried for now she cried in her soul but with hope of a better dawn.
#inkedtears

MAMA STILL

……narrow strings of sweat traced down her face falling on the white sheet
of paper with large black letters that she held in her hand. For a long time she remained glued to her desk in the same position. This was the first time in her life that she resented her job. Putting the paper down as if it disgusted her, Jane walked to the window she needed to breath the room suffocated her. It was hot outside not even the breeze from the ocean did enough cooling. From across the room a crowd gathered around a man at the public park opposite the hospital. Judging from the dress code of the man at the center, it was difficult to tell if it was a dancer or magician. Though the crowd seemed fascinated by him Jane s attention could not be swayed at least not today. In her head she kept on arranging and re arranging words trying to find the best phrase for relaying the message to her dear friend. ohh rehema!! Her heart sink at the thought of her. three that was the number, today made it four, but it was still painful as the first.” damn!!” she cursed throwing a clenched fist at human dummy that stood by the wall next to the open window. “Ouch!!” she screamed back at the pain imposed by the thrust. Looking at the watch on top of her work desk it was twenty past three pm in the afternoon. It had been almost an hour after walking away from ICU. Prolonging the talk wouldn’t change any aspect and Jane knew this very well.it was time she was not ready but then, who would ever be ready to relay such news?
Rehema sat next to her mother who held her tightly in her arms. In one hand she held on to her Rosalie she had been praying the entire night. On her lap lay a pink cotton sheet with dark brown teddy bears holding colorful balloons.” just tell me!” she screamed at her doctor cutting her long speech short. Rehema could no longer withstand the salutation or suspense Jane showed. She wanted to know how her baby girl was. It had been 26 hours since she had last held her and she missed her terribly. Part of her was missing and the void was suffocating her she needed to be complete again so she can breathe. “……..we did everything we could…… am sorry….” those were the only words that echoed in her ears. Again!! Four times she had gone through this pain how many more would she take? Her mother’s embrace tightened around her, her head buried on her daughters shoulder like she wanted to shield herself from this cruel world. She couldn’t hold back her pain her heart tore and her eyes opened wide the tears gates. She wept furiously with rage and bitterness. For a moment the mother forget her daughter and it was all about the pain she felt at the loss of her grandchild. She realized rehema remained still under her embrace not a sound not a move, unlocking herself from her, she looked at her daughter seated next to her. Rehemas eyes were dry, her face was emotionless, and her eyes looked lost far away beyond the hospital walls. The Rosalie was at the floor beside her. Miriam was worried about her daughter. She pulled herself together she had to be strong for her just like the other times. But this time she was scared unlike the previous occasions when her daughter would have wept in her arms and screamed her pain out. Today she sat still blocking the world and locking all her feelings inside, this was dangerous. Rehema responded to no one and nothing not even her friend Jane the doctor could penetrate her.”……..at least do you want to see her?….” jane was pleading. She stood up slowly like a zombie, the tiny pink sheet belonging to her deceased daughter fell on the floor on top of the Rosalie. “all I had until I got my little baby girl were corpse memories of my still births, some too young to even make a face and decide whether they would have my eyes or teddy’s and that broke me, every night I would fight to push the images aside but my heart would fail me for they were still beautiful to me, they were my babies. No I don’t want to see her like that dead and lifeless like her siblings. I don’t want my last memory of her to be dead. i want to remember her as the beautiful angel who came and replaced all those faces and I lost . The one who replaced the nightmares with sweet dreams. i want to remember her smiling and playing around. i want to remember her calling out for me and her tiny sharp scream. i want to remember her living not dead on some bed. Aha! At least she gave me six beautiful months to taste motherhood. At least I got to meet her” her eyes still remained dry not even a single tear. Rehema shook her hand free off her mother’s grip who now stood beside her both facing the doctor and walked away silently passing and ignoring her husband at the entrance. The three looked at her as she left closing the waiting room door behind her……..

#inkedtears