My human interactions.

Human interactions are messy and awkward.I get awkward almost all the times. Especially for an extroverted introvert. I still don’t know how to bridge that line between friendly not so aloof and bored like I’d rather be elsewhere. 

When we are small our parents..or most parents tell us to smile and be nice. Greet people with a wide grin like you mean it. Don’t fidget. Don’t sulk or bite your fingers. And yes, do share the toys. Oh, and stop being bossy while playing with the other kids. As we grow up though, our true forms morph and since you can no longer be admonished for being quiet for too long we are left to survive. Polish up our social skills or whatever. Just get along with the rest of humanity.

As an extroverted introvert which simply means that yes, sometimes I will want to be out there. I may even be the life of the party but at the end of it all I will want to be curled up in bed reading or just staring into space. Recharging. Because, you see, small talk wears me. Which is what we do most of the time when we meet an old acquaintance. So I sort of have a rehearsed script that I can go over and over in my head and with each new person. Because society dictates it most of the time. Being friendly and warm is what is considered ideal even when silence doesn’t necessarily mean animosity. Maybe I just want to sit at the corner because I need to keep running out and I don’t want to have a flurry of legs in my wake as I walk out. Or maybe the plants there are very spectacular and I need a backdrop for a selfie. Not. I probably want to avoid the least amount of conversation that almost starts with an enthusiastic hello, then some routine questions and ends in a series of grunts. Always feels unfinished ..like we should pick it up later. But when.

Over the years I have been described as quiet, reserved, too serious sometimes proud will snake its way in there. All this because I refuse to talk unless I have something serious to say or I’m answering a question that no one else could. I have also been described as lacking enthusiasm. How more enthused can I be than actually showing up for this party?, Maybe I could make up for my lack of enthusiasm by dressing largely or less. 

It gets awkward when a random person or even not so random but not overly close person unburdens their problems on me. Depending on the side of the spectrum  I’m on that day ,I could be helpful and at least  provide a listening ear and some remarks so they don’t feel like they are talking alone but often it makes me feel uncomfortable. ‘Should I simply say ,sorry you feel that way, or your boss is a terrible person or maybe they just need silence. ‘Somehow I can’t get past this monologue before they are done and gone. See, I don’t understand how you just shared that bit of information about yourself, shrugged it off and are walking happily into the sunset.

Which brings me to the few interactions I actually make. I have very few close friends because I  am not going to share every tidbit to just everyone. Except the internet of course, I’ll be reminded of this very many years to come.I digress. My friends. At any one time I will only have a handful of people I can call real friends. Too many and i just don’t know how to divide my extroverted nature among them. I have lost many friends over the years. Good ones even ,because I couldn’t reach out and say, ‘ hey, i miss you, it’s been so long let’s do something soon.’ So we just drift apart. Friendships , just like everything else need loads of nurturing. My energy levels wane on this one.

I have been confused many times for being shy. Although, yes, I’m not particularly fond of being handed the mic to say something in front of a crowd of people, I’ll do it if I have to. The point is, I’m not afraid of putting myself out there every once in a while. Just don’t push me. I’ll analyse every situation beforehand and decide whether its jumpworthy or not. If it is, I need no prodding. If its not, maybe next time.

In retrospect, in the few years I have walked on this earth I’ve realized human beings simply want you to be who they think you are. Well, that’s a nice cheat sheet right there. If you like to be put in the proverbial box then you are in the right planet. I , however, would like to be left alone to stay next to the gigantic plant for as long as i feel like it.

Unapologetic.

That you are too smart, too opinionated, too stubborn, too brave, too care free, too unyielding, too unapologetic.Too emotional.

That you are too loving, too caring, too smothering, too affectionate, too trusting, too passionate, too naïve, too beautiful.Too accomplished.

That you refuse to be any less of these things. You refuse to compromise. You refuse to yield your identity to fit. You refuse to change to be what they want. That you choose to be these things even when they would rather you were not.

They say, ‘you are too opinionated there is no space for anyone else. You are too stubborn only your way wins. You are too smothering I need to get away. You are too naïve, you are not mature enough.’

You know you could choose to be less of this things. You could be less loving, less trusting, less passionate.Less opinionated. Yet, you could never really be you.

You are all these things because they make you you.They say you have to compromise but no one tells them to compromise. They don’t have to compromise because nothing is too much for them. Everything in measured quantities. As it should be.

You begin to be less. Less opinionated, less stubborn, less brave, less smart. Less passionate. Until all that is left is a shadow of you. Unrecognizable even to you.

All you had to realize is that you don’t have to be unapologetic for being you. So what if you are too trusting. So what if you are too naïve . So what if you are brave. All these things are you. They are not perfect but no one is. Nothing is. They are true. They are real.And next time they want you to be less, tell them you would rather be real than trade it off for measured quantities.

When it’s said and done, when all the too much is put together, there’s a beautiful soul not afraid to be who they really are.

Why I might not be voting this year.

Last General elections I was very excited. With a fresh new ID and voters registration card I would finally get to exercise my right. My right to pick a leader. I did not care that my picks won. Yes, it would be nice if they won but the very thought that i was old enough to contribute to this event was enough for me to get my still teenage bum out of the house, walk a relatively long stretch under the scorching sun to go put some ticks next to peoples’ face. Even the prospect of the having to stand under the scorching sun did not faze me. My mind was made up. I was voting.

I have had middle class upbringing. This means I got the chance to have a good education and generally good upbringing. Not luxurious not littered with excesses. Just simple but nice and enough. This is the category that most people fall into in our country. Salaried individuals or individuals in business with enough to provide basic needs to the best of their abilities.

This is not all the country has though. There are throngs among us who have very little. Casual and unskilled labourers who rely on daily wages. Most don’t even make the minimum daily wage standards. With families, mouths to feed and clothe, children to educate, health care to think about.

Then we have the super wealthy. Or rich. Semantics. One would say that wealth is subjective and that even the wealthy have their own financial struggles but this is after they have sufficiently covered the basic essentials and there’s enough left over to worry about investments and how to multiply their money.

The leaders we are going to elect are supposed to have all these people in their best interests. So far, I see the first two groups being the ones missing out in this party. Middle class Kenyans, average Kenyans suffer the most when the wage bill is so high that the tax man has to keep slicing the citizens. Our leaders on the other hand are content to eat and drink in this sweat having some of the most outrageous salaries in the world. I am yet to hear an honest aspirant who instead of beating around the bush with some manifesto just comes out and says..’ Hey, vote me in because by God you’ve seen me struggle and this is my one chance to get rich fast.’ That’s what political offices are in the country. Just a get rich avenue.

Of course one would say that these are my opinions and that they do deserve these monies but it is also my opinion that no nation should have striking doctors and education stakeholders with  people who have the power to turn around the situation earning that much money. I don’t understand why the same leaders who almost line their tongues with promises of better development, better health , services can not see the correlation with the active nationwide doctors’ strike. I am sure these doctors did not just wake up and decide to down tools it was just an action after lack of reactions from the responsible stakeholders. This is the face of a dying nation. What the leaders don’t realize is that you can’t have convince sick people to vote you in with promises of better health care. Heck, if they are not careful the population will have heavily declined come August due to lack of medical care. Now, unless you are content having ghosts vote you in then proceeding to lead a nation of ghosts then there is better use for you. In getting doctors back to work.

I might not be voting this year because now, less disillusioned by the feeling of having just acquired official adulthood status, I know to expect more from my leaders. Having come from the much anticipated USA elections and seeing what true democracy and choice is, I know I don’t have to get up and vote just because I can. So far, I get no motivation and no faith in our current crop of leaders to make that stretch in the name of exercising my rights. What this spells for this country if every other citizen harbours the same thoughts. I do not know. I know it’s absolutely impossible to please everyone but it is very possible to make an impact. Given the right mindset and resolve. My leaders are not giving me this. Instead of criticizing each other all time they should tell me what they intend to do for me. How do I benefit as a citizen? Does my life improve or does it get worse. At the moment  I  am praying that my health remains as it is because I can not afford to fly off to timbuktu to seek treatment .My faith in the entire system is as strong as straw.And that is not a good feeling for a patriotic citizen.

As a middle class Kenyan I know what a failed system spells for a country. When I need to pay an extra 20 shillings to get to a destination because the policeman has to have something to take home I’m at a loss. When I have to further endure the same journey packed like a sack of potatoes because the extra money does not cut it to satiate those pockets I begin to think the nation has gone to the dogs.

Now, I would like to vote. I would like to feel as if I contributed to choosing my leader. But who do I pick. A country’s affairs should not be made to feel as if a rock and a hard place situation . If I pick I won’t be picking because I feel a particular conviction or that a particular leader’s ideals appeal to my individual needs. I’ll pick because its the lesser evil. Now, if leaders put themselves in their citizens’ shoes then all this will cease to be rocket science and maybe, just maybe they will begin to take notice of the realities facing us and be in a position to articulate them. If this happens then we have leaders to elect. Right now what I see is a country full of vain political ambition and little respect for human life.

What my writing feels like..sometimes.

Dear readers,

At any one time I’m going to have 2/3 drafts of mostly a bunch of gibberish that I think  I can’t let you see yet. The problem is I’ll have so many ideas that if I don’t check the drafts every so often I find myself forgetting my initial thoughts. I think my mind is conspiring against me. I promised to write as regularly as possible instead i find myself starting off strongly then finishing in a trickle. Forgive the imagery but its like a stream running dry.

So I’ve been looking through my drafts..four by the way and just realized the tones are as off as my singing and I’m a terrible singer. I’ve decided in lieu of this to instead write about how hard it becomes to write at times. It’s not that you don’t have something to write ..it’s just the coordination. There’s just none. Your brain won’t agree with your heart and your feelings feel hurt that the two don’t respect each other. Then all you are left with is a few very impersonal words. It’s a very complicated relationship.

Anyway, my earlier draft. Like the one right before this one, I went on a rant about how the buzzing of mosquitoes makes me feel like my brain is on lock down. I ranted on and on and had enough to fill two long paragraphs. Imagine that! Then after I was done I realized this is the internet and I do not want to make a joke out of myself by talking about creatures I hardly know about so I stopped. I could not easily change the subject and turn around that conversation.

So now I’m seated in my room feeling the itch to write but  finding it extremely difficult. Killed the mosquito by the way. Now I don’t have an excuse but I feel that admitting that I can be a dead zone even without a mosquito buzz is a good place to start.
Don’t get me wrong, my head is crawling with ideas. Some very good, others so terrible I’m afraid they even came out of me but they refuse to go past a few lines. Unless of course I decided to do a few lines then a hook that I could type over and over again.

I’m done. I’ll publish this because I’m laying my soul bare and what not and this is what my mind feels. Forget my soul. I don’t want to go there. But if I stay longer the signals in my brain will keep blinking that I need to keep my word to myself. Hopefully next time I’ll have something meaningful for you to read.

Yours,

Frustrated me.

Taking the plunge.

This year, I plan to write consistently.. The more I write, the lesser I over analyze situations and the easier it gets for me to keep writing.

On the eve of New year’s I pierced my ears. For the umpteenth time. Wait, one, two, this will make my third time. I told myself that this time I’ll take care of the piercing like a baby. You see, these other times they never got to heal. At least not properly. They closed up. I was too impatient and they did not get the time they needed before I took out the initial set of studs. Anyway, this is not me rattling on about how I have two tiny scars on my ears to remind me..no, you can’t see them. I pierced my ears again because I get earring envy all the time and I just have to get me some pierced ears so I can rock whatever earrings I want. That’s part of the reason. The major reason that is,but my motivation was, if I can get them to heal properly this year then I shouldn’t make any excuses for myself from now on.

My ears are my little ‘ egg’ project.. The kind where a young kid is entrusted with an egg  break before getting bigger responsibility. My ears also signify my willingness to try firsts this year. Like, making mandazi. I have to confess that my tiny bit of narcissism and fear,mostly fear, would not let make mandazis. Because mandazis involve deep frying and for the longest time I’ve had images of the oil flying out of the pan and scalding my hands. Call it paranoia.Today I made mandazis. Did I get burnt?no. Were they tasty? yes. Did I enjoy it? Hell yeah.. So I will be making lots more from now on. I couldn’t have known it would be easy if I hadn’t tried.
Now that I have started with conquering my little fears I’ll move on to the big ones. They don’t have to be fears. Even the things I have wanted to do but never got around to trying. Like skinny dipping.. No I’m kidding. But I think about it. Like baring my soul..even that is proving quite easy and unburdening. That’s the whole essence of why I keep writing even though half the time my thought process seems so convoluted at times and I have no idea why I put you readers through it.

On my birthday this year, I’ll take stock of all the firsts during the year.No matter how small they seem. I’ll make a list, I’ll celebrate them. That will be my gift this year. Maybe I’ll go get myself some fancy earrings while I’m at it.

Reflections..(2)

Funerals in my book, fall under the social situations that make me antsy. It’s not just the loss and realization that a loved one is gone but also the realization that life is as fleeting as time.

I have only a recollection of one, that of my late grandfather. I was too young then. Young enough to understand what was happening but not old enough to grasp the magnitude of the situation. Until recently, now I’m old enough to understand grief and the entire process of having someone then not having them anymore.

Back to funerals. I never did and perhaps will never understand why one would say nice things when you can’t hear them. I know its to pay tribute to the deceased but it beats sense that the one being praised won’t hear. And no, imagining that they are hovering somewhere in the air does not count. If the same people could not say the same things to you while you were alive, then they should keep them to themselves when you are gone.

We idolize loved ones when they are gone yet had taken them for granted when in life. I think of funerals for the living and not for the dead. Because  it is at that point that the reality of our lives sinks in. How easily we will leave just as we came. In case some of us are beginning to get too comfortable here. It is nice to hear nice things about the departed ones but it would be nice to have told them when we had the chance.

So I begin grappling with the whole notion of death and life. They say if you think too much about death you forget to live. But if you don’t think about death then you forget to plan and live well. It’s necessary to accept that we are not to spend much time here while still trying to live as well and as much as we can.Death comes in many forms. Sometimes its sudden, sometimes one gets a form of preparation but once it hits the reaction is the same. One of jolting shocking realization. One day we will be in a casket while the people around us say things we perhaps never got to hear.

Why so emotional?

There is a reason why I would not go to the cinema to watch a movie. See, I’m terribly afraid. Afraid that the movie will appeal to my emotional side and I’ll end up releasing the water works and having to sniff through the end of the movie. All the while dabbing my nose and looking around to see if anyone is looking my way. It would be worse if i had a date and i have to do all this while making sure i do not get a panda situation.That’s no way to enjoy a movie.

I have realized how emotional events deeply affect me. Embarrassingly most of the times. There’s nothing cute about getting teary every time I read or watch something that tickles whatever that part is in my brain that is responsible for emotions.I don’t want to be caught choking on my words when the conductor asks for my fare in the bus because that book has me so carried away. So in a bid to cope I have to really and I mean extreme concentration kind of really try hard to keep them in check.

No, I’m not suffering from depression or any other condition a specialist might think to assign to me. I’m a fully functioning young adult with some quirks .( nothing strangely unusual). This is just one of those things that just is. Granted, as a woman there are times that the emotional radar is particularly on red alert but that also comes with a myriad of other variations like sadness or anger and all those mood swings that we love to hate.

The tearing up though, that’s a constant all year round thing that has no vacation time. So, instead of trying hard to fight it I’m trying to embrace it. Writing about it here is one. Maybe if other people can read it  it becomes less of an embarrassment and more of a thing. I’ll call it a thing.. It sounds less threatening to me that way. The beauty is I don’t tear up in professional situations. I’d have no idea what to say about why all of a sudden my eyes look a shimmery shade of clear liquid.

Anyway, as I’m writing this I’m in the middle of watching a movie and I can feel the familiar tickle in my eyes. Its not a tickle really..more like a sudden or gradual filling of liquid then the feeling follows. Now   I’m blabbering but I know I cannot possibly be the only one who experiences this. It would be really nice If I could find people equally facing the same uum..problem. Now I don’t know how to end this banter so I’ll just put a stop to this.

Reflections.

I don’t make new year resolutions. Partly because there’s so much pressure to do it. Not directly but impliedly and I choose to make any resolutions on my birthday. It makes more sense that way if I’m taking into account how many years I’ve lived. Also, my birthday isn’t too far away from the new year. This does not mean that I do not reflect on the present year as it comes to a close. I do. I ruminate over everything that has happened and think about it with a new appreciation and with reduced skepticism. I do not want to carry that on to the next year.

2016, I wrote before has been a lack luster year . That is the skeptical voice speaking but in all honesty there has been much sorrow in 2016. One can only hope that 2017 does not choose to follow in the same trend. There have been failures. Personal failures speaking for myself lots of lows and little highs to make them seem less gloomy. Such is life, one would say . it is also human nature to look at things with the glass half empty mentality. The same mentality that sort of tries to justify any shortcomings that seem to be.

 I’ve chosen to put the skepticism aside and admit that the year was not all bad. Beautiful things did happen and  I got to meet equally beautiful people along the way. Most importantly though, are the ones that were present and still are present at this time of the year. They are the ones who made this year bearable.It is the people and the memories that I consciously choose to carry with me through to the next year that really count.

Tonight, as I wait for the new year to begin, I know that I am consciously choosing to make the next year better. Yes, some events are beyond our control but those that I can control I’ll choose to do so. This in effect means that I will choose that which makes me feel the happiest and fulfilled as opposed to gambling with what I’m unsure about. I will chase after what I want. If there is anything  2016 has taught me is that not trying is worse than trying and failing . Oh, and failure won’t kill you. So, my dear readers, all you need to do is make up your mind to give 2017  and  yourselves a chance to get what you want. It’s a simple resolution really.

On baring my soul.

When someone asks me to open up or stop being so abstract or give us a feel of you. I start to get scared. I feel like its an invitation to get naked and bare myself. Only this time I’m baring my soul. I find the latter harder to do because its not an act I’m used to. The former, well, I get naked all the time before I take a shower and while dressing. Its all mundane.

Baring my soul though, is something I am yet to learn. Its not as easy as they say on these talk shows that advocate letting go and opening up and all kinds of phrases that are used to synonymously mean being open. For me it is a sort of conditioned response to stimuli. To not open up. To shut down or shut in. Bottle up.whatever you want to call it.

Yet, I should open up in order to write from my heart. Its a sort of conundrum really. On one part, I would like to totally lay my self bare so as to experience an outburst of words. Thats how I envision it in my head. A sudden outpouring of emotions that has an equal measure of outpouring of words. I do not want to feel naked though.

So what do I do to achieve this delicate balance of openness without feeling like I am betraying my own confidence. I have been thinking about it for a while now. How to achieve that state or how to know exactly what needs to be said and what needs to be kept hidden. Maybe the secret is to not think about it and just write. Then let my mind decide. Or my heart. This is hard. Extremely hard but I’ll give it a try. I’ll heed the advice of a good friend and give my writing some more soul. Maybe that’s the answer to all my problems after all.