Africa, We Need to Talk

The first time I saw sexually explicit content, I was in form two. A night meant for movies and nothing more turned my life around, just like that. See, I knew what sex was and I knew that a few friends were having it but for me,  that was just a distant reality. I sat there staring at the television,  this is not something I had planned, it was too sudden,  too abrupt,  if you have watched” Baby Boy” by Taraji P Henson,  you know what I am talking about. So there they were,  two naked people grinding at each other, screaming,  cursing and calling each other names and I just sat there while my innocent mind was being corrupted. Why is this important?  Well,  did I forget to mention that I had a grown up watching it beside me. That awkwardness found us all unaware and the sad part is we never talked about it. How could we, when we knew that when a kissing scene came up on television that was when out parents needed a glass of water or dirty dishes removed from the table pronto? 

Needless to say from that day I became a sexual being, intrigued to know what was what and just how many ways it could be done,  with pornography comes a whole lot of other stuff. It is a gateway to sexual sin and pervasion. A few conversations I have been having lately have revealed the extent to which as African milenials we have become  perverted, bit by bit, by things that could have been easily avoided with a simple conversation. There are people who were exposed to sexual content as early as ten years. Those who have been struggling with pornography and masturbation since they can remember,  too broken to speak up, too ashamed and afraid to be  judged. Funny how when you start talking to people you realise that you are not alone in this. 

What’s that saying about glass houses? See the #IfikieWazazi is total and utter bull!  The aim of it being to rebuke and condemn, slut shame and judge those young people. Were they doing the right thing, absolutely not! But while we are basing our arguments on how immoral they were could you please kindly tell me where you got the moral compass to gauge  their behaviour. 

If you had my generation of parents you never got word of what was expected of you especially when it comes to sexuality and our bodies. You were simply supposed to pick it up as you went by. We were told to stay away from boys, why? Probably because they had Ebola or maybe they were witches, we do not know. And when you were seen standing with a boy on the street, your nosy aunt or neighbor went to tell your parents and you got scolded, perhaps you should have  been sitting? We were supposed to learn on the job so yes most of us made crazy mistakes that we would not have if we had gotten the proper guidance. 

#IfikieWazazi is total and utter bull! When it gets to them what will they do?  Let me help you out,  the girls are going to be called prostitutes( you know it sounds worse in Swahili) and be told that if they get pregnant they should figure out where the will take the baby. The guys are not going to be told about using peoples daughters wrongly.. ooh no.. They are going to be asked  not to misuse their parents money, if they do not want to study they should just come out with it. See this #IfikieWazazi is meant to portray our parents as a force to reckon with,  not nurtures, not educators,  just brutal people who will deal with us accordingly for misbehaving. 

Our greatest problem is in assuming that our mistakes are solely our own. Yes some of those people in the photos know better but still, some of them are just projecting the knowledge and wisdom they never got from their parents not to mention affection and attention. When you are told to learn on the job sometimes you learn faster than others but that doesn’t mean that those who learn at a slower pace are lost. Speak and teach,  it resonates with those who are willing to learn. 

If you had great parents who were straight about everything, well, lucky you. Our parents were good to us and they still are, they are just victims of the generation they grew up in. It’s on us to break the cycle. 

Then there was #IfikieKanisa and since I am a Christian,  here’s a bit of church,  when you confess to your brothers and sisters at church you are told to pray about it,  rebuke the devil,  but really?  How am I fighting a demon I do not understand. Yet sometimes I feel like that demon and I are one and the same thing. These are some of the reasons why people don’t go to church. We should talk about these things more,  so many youngsters are suffering thinking they are the greatest sinners in the world. When you talk about it, you see the commonality of your faults, knowing that if those people overcame so will you. The greatest thing I have learnt is that the devil can’t use what you talk about. To the spiritual parents,  as you pray for your children remember to speak to them. 

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The Spirit of Entitlement 

Photo from;  Dr. Dalton-Smith – I Choose My Best Life. 


I understand that we all come from different backgrounds and that we are shaped by different circumstances. Our upbringings do not in the slightest compare and from all these factors we are different people. Our individuality is essentially our greatest asset. For some of us however, our diverse character, beliefs and understanding of the world and what is expected of us becomes our excuse of not putting effort into ourselves and the life we are living.

All my life, I have had people working hard for me to have the kind of life I wanted; being the last born and all. My brothers and sisters have had to forgo luxuries so that I may be me, without lack, hustle or disappointment. I always knew that I could depend on them, so every time I needed something, instead of stretching out my whole self and working for it, I made a call and asked for whatever it is that my heart so desired.

Recently however, I started working for my own coin and I remember just how hard it was for me to make my first 1000 shillings. The effort, the sweat, and the tiredness I had to persevere to make a clear cut of a part of my upkeep. See, I had done odd jobs since immediately after high school, earning very little but still just enough for me. The fact that these jobs did not really require much of my effort I assumed that every person who ever gifted me money had it that easy. Having a business that requires investment and commitment, now that’s a whole other level of hustle.

Many of us, and if you are honest with yourself you will admit to being guilty of this, live life pampered and provided for. With the people around being expected to fulfill your every whim whether by choice or by default. And if you live long enough under the provision of other people it gets to your head that whatever they have is yours and that you deserve part of the money they earn. I believed that my elder siblings had to provide for me because they were born before me. The fact is, yes they should provide for the essential things that your parents cannot cater for like fill up on your school fees, but you get to a certain age where your contribution into your own life needs to be seen. 

For those of you who don’t have elder siblings, or are the eldest and you are reading this and going like ‘yes!’ Hold your horses. What our friends put their effort and grit into does not at any one point belong to us. People give us things because they want to, not because we are entitled to them.

Maybe it is just part of growing up but today, more than yesterday I am grateful to all the people who gave me, what they should have used on themselves, out of love. For all the sacrifices they made to get me to where I am at. And now that I am growing up, I know better, I understand better.

Don’t be there waiting for someone to provide for you, not just financially. For people like me who are almost done with school, don’t just sit there and wait for opportunity to come knocking on your door or for a person you know to hook you up. Always be ready to make an effort I believe that God sees your effort and He will bless you accordingly.

The spirit of entitlement to other peoples blessings is ugly and drowning, you will lose time waiting for handouts instead of working for your blessings. The same way you will not go to heaven simply because your mother is a pastor is the same way you do not have a car just because your father has a car. Jesus was the son of God, yet when He was on earth we are told that ‘The Son of Man did not even have a place to rest His head.’ Riddle me this, if Jesus wasn’t entitled to a luxurious life, dining with kings and living in palaces, yet The Bible tells us that ‘Silver and gold belong to Him (the Father),’ who are you? You that are accorded the privilege of living off other peoples backs and eat of their sweat, who do you think you are?

At the End of it All

Have you ever stopped to wonder what it all comes down to? When all is said and done, what happens then? See, I have had interactions with the reality of death at a close range and it is not what I thought it would be.

Standing over his grave was different than I had expected. I felt at peace, I felt a sense of joy, a sense of okay-ness. After a whole year of wondering how much of my strength it would take to visit the place where we laid my father to rest, it finally happened. Let’s just say, I have grown incredibly since the last time I was there, spiritually, emotionally and mentally so to speak. My greatest source of comfort is in knowing that he is with the lord.

Our lives add up to nothing if the things we do while we are still alive are worldly. If you buy houses, cars and all material things you leave them in this world. There’s an interesting concept I heard during a funeral. The preacher speaks and says that the person who is dead has finished building her house in heaven and now that it is ready she had to go. This got me thinking about my own life and the things I invest my time in.

How long do you think the actions you do, the things you participate in, how long do you think it will take you before your heavenly house is ready? This is basically a concept of investing in the kingdom of God, focusing your energy and resources in the family of Christ. David, asked God to help him number his days, that he may know how fleeting this life is.

When you interact with the reality that is death, when that cloud lives over you for a while you come to understand the depth of its cruelty. The lives we live are vanity, our beauty, our strength, our power, our finances, they don’t mean a thing.

It is loss to invest in the things that are going to end and ignore what will last forever. In my heart, while standing over that grave, looking at all the others that surrounded it, I got a revelation, and my life was reduced to smoke. Something that could easily be lost and once it is gone it cannot be recovered. My greatest fear isn’t death because I believe that there is life after death for those who are in Christ Jesus. My greatest fear is in dying without fulfilling my purpose effectively; dying without contributing to the kingdom of God and its growth by loving people and being kind to them.

If I could ask you, right now, at this particular moment, if you were to die, would you have done your part in the family of Christ? Believing is not enough; there are roles, tasks to be done. Our lives, as young people mostly, are defined by instant gratification and what is good for me. Never for those around you, never for that stranger you met, never for the person in the street, not for the hungry neighbor. We are consumed by the ‘I mentality’. And this is our greatest problem, especially for Christians.

Do good, be kind, love unconditionally and help people out where you can, start placing bricks in your heavenly house in whatever way you can. These, the things you do for others for the glory of God, are the things that will live on even after your body is dead and in the ground.

 

Thank you… 

There’s a concept I heard once- a while ago- that I have been living by. When you tell people your dreams there’s a very high likelihood that you will not achieve what you set out to. The explanation to this being scientific but I don’t do science so here’s a summary; when you speak about ideas that your mind has only just conceived your receptors take it as an indication that you have already done it. 

During the crossover kesha at my home church I introduced an activity that ensured we had goals for 2018 but not by speaking about them. We wrote down the things we wanted to leave behind in 2017 ,this list we burnt. See, 2017 had been a hard year for me an maybe one day I’ll write about it. 

We wrote down the aspirations we had for 2018 and these we passed around to random people so that they would help us pray. Today one of my aspirations came to manifestation. I was awarded first place in an essay competition held by Kartasi Industries Limited. 

Today I am thankful;  to the person that got my list of aspirations thank you for lifting me up in prayer. For all of you who read my work and give me feedback, thank you and may the Almighty God bless you. To my friends and family you are an awesome support system. 

To Kartasi Industries; thank you for allowing God to use you in impacting my journey. And thank you for the pilot pen,  I genuinely like them, it feels so comfortable in my hand. 

Habakuk 2:2 ” Then the lord replied, ‘write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that whoever reads it may run with it. “

Allow Yourself to grow

I am in transition. Those simple words seemed to do wonders to my overly dump mood. I wrote them down and put them up as my phone screen saver,  why?  Well,  because it was the only way that I could actually get myself to sleep. I had had a bad day and the raging hormones weren’t helping the situation. I felt angry, annoyed,  sad, disappointed, broken, happy, prideful and heartbroken all at once. And this little statement helped me put things into perspective. 

I was angry at my world, I was angry at myself, I was angry at my friends (they had done nothing wrong and this is the first place they are hearing about my anger). I felt like the walls were closing in on me and breathing was becoming troublesome. Mostly it was the hormones but I had course for my feelings. See I am at a point where I am changing considerably and the world around me was not changing with me, so I am struggling with keeping my sanity, progressing my change all this in a stagnant world. 

The guilt of changing on people, the fear of what the people around me were thinking about my radical shift in character and moral grounding was suffocating. And the fear of being stuck in the same place if I did not bare the pain of change freaked me out. 

Bla bla bla… You have an idea. But see what I was struggling with was the guilt. I love my people, I really do but sometimes people you love don’t serve the purpose of the place you are going. Maybe like me you end up feeling like you are betraying the principle of the friendship you forged. And however much you try, your journey was aligned with theirs for a particular period of time and this place you are at is where your paths diverge. 

It is hard to leave the world you knew but it is even harder to realise that what was familiar to you is being separated from you and you will be enstranged from it. I know,  it sucks,right? But, who likes stagnation anyway? Writing that I was in transition was my way of forgiving myself for all the people I will hurt in my metamorphosis. It was my way of embracing every hurt I felt when plans were made and I had to exclude myself for the sake of my growth. 

I forgive myself,  for all the pain I will cause myself. You should too. Growth is not easy, but then stagnation is not worth it. Allow yourself to grow from one version of yourself to the next according to God’s timing and no matter how much it sucks embrace the pain, the uncomfortable situations it will be worth it in the end. I promise. 

Cheer Yourself On!! 

As of late, I have developed the habit of seeking lessons in moments and in experiences. Everything I go through I try to learn from. Bear with me. This past weekend our school had a cultural festival and it was amazing and fun filled. On the last day however something worth my evaluation happened. A musician, known as Otile Brown came for a performance and well, it wasn’t that great. The reaction of the crowd was the farthest thing from what any musician would term as encouraging or supportive. The problem was that people didn’t know who he was, (I was part of this group) and those who did were not crazy about him. 

And this incident stuck around in my mind long enough to engage my thought process, in my spirit, in my inner being I believe that all of us have been at this point once or twice in life. All of us experience moments in life where no matter how good what you are doing is, people will not cheer you on. Atleast once, you have put your mind and your might into something only for people to reward your effort with lack of enthusiasm. We try to engage them in all possible ways but we do not ever get the kind of appreciation we deserve. And at the very least you end up flapping in the wind calling  attention on yourself, looking for just one person who will tell you to keep going, that you are doing great.

It is important for you to note that people’s reaction to what you do does not determine the greatness of your achievement. Often times people lack enthusiasm for your art only because they do not understand the beauty of the things that you create. And if you are not keen, you will be left at a point of wonder, a point of self judgment, a place where you begin to question whether what you are doing is good enough.

There is also this bunch of people who want to be associated with you, those that know that what you do is great but they do not really believe in it. Your only source of evaluation of the might of your ‘performance’ should be yourself. If you do your best in all that you do, if you give it your all and don’t hold anything back, then you are a winner. 

Do not let people play down the things you do, do not condone the urge to term yourself as ‘failing’ simply because no one is rooting for you. The key is in being your own cheerleader; it is in talking yourself on even in situations where you are not sure whether you can make it to the other side. Your victory lies in muting people’s silence and encouraging yourself through the moments when you need a pick-me-up. Believe in what you do, believe in yourself, pat your own back and continue being amazing.

Remember to Go On

Photo; Toronto’s Elite Promotional Group est: 2012

Have you ever had to talk yourself out of crying? Well not really talk yourself out of crying but rather convince yourself not to cry in front of people. Is there a time you found yourself drowning in frustration and disappointment or nursing a broken heart but you had to smile through it? Smile through the pain. A time where you are barely surviving through the day but when someone asks you what is wrong you say its all fine? Honestly, have you ever looked forward to getting sometime alone so you could shed one or two tears knowing that it would help take some of the weight off? Just me, okay?

So I am walking through a valley (literary) and my tear glands are on overdrive. I can feel my eyes filling up, I can feel the pain and it is all too familiar. I try to control my eyes; I try to think ‘happy thoughts’ but it doesn’t work. I was disappointed and crushed and I was hanging on by a thread. I had uplifting music playing just so I could find hope maybe in a word or in a tune. All through the way I was negotiating with myself like a mad person, not really mad, because we all do it.

 I am here telling myself to hold it together, for just five minutes and that when I got to the house, I could cry as much and as ugly as I wanted. The trick was to keep it together then freedom would be granted, I was making promises to myself. I was not sure if I would make it to the house before I became a weeping-freak-show but one thing I was sure of was that I would cry myself to sleep that night. Good news (atleast for me) I did get to the house but just before I entered I fell apart.

Sitting outside my door crying like a mad woman, in total darkness I learnt something valuable. I heard a voice clear as day, and it asked me, “with all the things you have made it through, is this the one you are going to let tear you apart?” No, I won’t tell you why I was crying, let’s focus on the message. There comes moments in life, times when we are crushed, for one reason or another, I know you have gone through episodes like mine. Life hands us a bad circumstance and we feel like it is the end, like we are not strong enough to handle it. So the only thing we are left with is breaking apart and giving up.

And sometimes it takes a good cry to put things into perspective, because if we are crowded in our mind, the only thing we will see is the greatness of our problem. And I know ‘men don’t cry’, but Jesus did, so it’s okay to cry. If you look back at all the things you have gone through since you started fighting your own battles, if you look back critically you will realize that you have made it through more than you would have imagined. So is this the one challenge you are going to give the power to break you?

I know its insanity, but could you please keep fighting? For me? There’s something about seeing another person overcome challenges because that means I can also overcome. Cry a river, build a bridge and get over it! Keep fighting; keep believing that you will make it through this as you have made it through so many other things. And for pits sake, allow some tears fall if need be, when they hit the ground, it shakes up your life and maybe then you will get clarity of the might of your problem, or lack thereof.