Category Archives: PARENTS

JANUARY 2019- THE SAD, UGLY, AND DOWNRIGHT DEADLY II

Hi there,

It’s me, again.

Here comes part 2 of the series of sad, ugly, and deadly events that have transpired around my parents and I in January 2019.

Event 2

We had barely come to terms with my elder cousin’s deadly diagnosis, when a death occurred in our church congregation.

Just last Sunday, a week after my cousin was transported to Kenyatta National Hospital for emergency treatment, we were informed that the son to one of our fellow congregants had died suddenly in his sleep.

By all accounts, this was a healthy man in his late 30s living a healthy lifestyle, and yet here he was,….gone and never to be heard from again.

He was at the peak of his life, based on testimonies from friends and family, and now, he was no more.

The saddest part is that he died an ocean away from home (he was working and residing in Australia at the time of his death).

It’s so sad that his parents and sister never got the chance to say goodbye. Or maybe they did, but they just didn’t know that that would be their last farewell. That’s even sadder.

It’s devastating to think about the pain the family is going through right at this moment, and even as we keep on going to condole with them at their residence, the shock, for both us and them, isn’t wearing off.

We were told that he died in his sleep from a brain aneurysm. The assumption that most of my fellow congregants are making is that he died peacefully without any pain. If this is true, I hope it gives the family some form of comfort.

We are waiting for the full medical report from the coroner abroad so that we can begin the process of transporting the body back here as well as the funeral arrangements.

I have never met him, but I can tell how loved he was by the grief that we are all experiencing and the pain we are feeling on behalf of the family.

You can literally see the turmoil in their eyes. His sister has lost a dear friend, a confidant, a companion…an only sibling!

His parents have lost their first born child, their only son. An unbreakable bond that’s been dissolved before their very eyes.

The three of them were so used to having him as part of their life; his presence was guaranteed. For 39 years, he was an intrinsic part of their tight knit unit. How are they supposed to move on from this?

How?

They’ll be no getting over this for them, and even for us as a church community because three of our members will forever be hurting. When one of us is hurting, we are all hurting.

This is our pain, this is our loss.

——————————————————————

YESTERDAY, COME AGAIN by Kui

If only we could go back to yesterday,

When I could hear you speak,

When I could hold you,

If only we could go back to yesterday,

When your smile lit up my heart,

And we talked and laughed,

If only we could go back to yesterday,

When I was sure I would see you forever,

Ah, yesterday, won’t you come back again?

And if we could go back to yesterday,

I would hold you, and not let go,

And I would pray,

Pray,

That that lonely tomorrow,

That tomorrow that’s without you,

Never should I have to live through it.

Yesterday, won’t you come back again?

Rest with the angels, our dear son 💖💖💖💖💖💖

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JANUARY 2019- SAD, UGLY, AND DEADLY (PART 1)

I hope wherever you are reading this from, you are having the best January of your life.

Too much of a stretch?

Okay, let me try again.

(Clears throat)

I hope wherever you are reading this from, your January 2019 is unfolding much better than mine is.

(Is that better? I hope so).

You can tell by the title of this post, that this January for me, and for so many people around me, is nothing but pure HELL.

It’s only the 17th of January, and I feel like I and the people I care about have lived 10 years within these first 17 days.

Let me explain.

Whenever we usher in a new year, we hope and pray for prosperity, health, success, promotions, wealth, love, and so many other desirable things.

We do this every year, and usually for me, January is a quiet month with very few surprises. Everything is moving slowly as we try to adjust ourselves to normal life after a long month of festivities.

But, not this January.

Nope! This one we’ve been hit by deadly surprises one after the other, and I can barely catch my breath. It almost feels like we are being cornered as we watch the invisible hand of death pick from all around us.

It’s only human to ask, am I next? Is someone I can’t imagine life without, next?

She’s hitting so close to home, and a pattern is forming, at least in my mind. And, I know I’m usually the paranoid one, the worrier, the overly anxious one, the overthinker; so maybe my concerns are baseless. Or are they?

So, what exactly has been happening? What’s got me so frazzled?

I’ll tell you. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Event 1

On the first weekend of 2019, my elder cousin was transported from a town called Nanyuki to Nairobi, our capital city, for emergency treatment.

She arrived at the wee hours of Saturday morning at Kenyatta Hospitality (our public national hospital), and my parents drove there to help with admission and stuff.

I went there during the day on Saturday, and I was shocked at how ill she was. She couldn’t swallow anything (she still can’t) because there was something blocking the food and water from passing through. She was so emaciated it was hard to believe it was the same woman. And, she’s in so much pain.

My parents and I have been taking turns visiting her since the day of admission, but it’s getting harder now to see her because her condition is getting worse every day.

This week they finally told us that she is suffering from throat cancer, and it is at the advanced stage. The doctors are not very confident that we can beat it.

This is not the only life-threatening disease that she has. She has suffered from epilepsy all her life, and these epileptic attacks have caused her to suffer so many physical injuries. For instance, during one of these epileptic episodes, her leg was severely burned when she kicked over the stove, and it burned her. To this day, several surgeries later, her leg still oozes pus sometimes, and her mobility is diminished.

She’s also suffered from chronic nose bleeding for years, and this has resulted in further complications.

This is not the first time that we as a family have experienced cancer. Both my maternal grandparents died from cancer. My maternal uncle and aunt also died from cancer. My real mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a year or so before her death, and this must have contributed significantly to her decision to take her own life.

So, we’ve been down this road before, we know the outcome. Yes, there are better medicines now, and better equipment, but my research indicates that the survival rate for late stage throat cancer is still quite low in the country.

But, I’m not going to think about that. I’m going to think about her, her mother, her children, and her children’s children. I’m going to think about her healing, and I’m going to think about how we can reduce the pain.

I’ve seen her laugh a couple of times before and after the diagnosis. Seeing her laugh gives us strength; it gives us hope, and renews our spirit.

I’m also going to think about her eyes. She has these incredibly innocent white eyes. They are so beautiful, so childlike. I have never seen a middle aged woman with eyes like those, so clean.

Wherever this journey takes us, we shall walk together, for each other.

Did you know that Kenya is in the African Eosaphagal Cancer Corridor, which means we have the highest incidences of throat cancer in this region? We are basically a hotspot for throat cancer. Shocking!!

Part 2 and part 3 of this series are coming up shortly.

Try and have yourself a wonderful January, for my sake 💖💖💖💖💖

THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON I LEARNT IN 2018

2018… it’s almost done, y’all, and I’m still here…. yaaaaaaaay!!

It’s been an interesting year for me, full of challenges, intrigues, and mysteries (psyche! My life isn’t that interesting).

I have had fun living this year, and I can honestly say that for most days in 2018, I lived my life with intention, I followed my passions (baby steps), and I remained true to myself.

For most days….

I think my biggest achievement this year was being able to prioritize my loved ones despite how crazy busy my schedule got, or I wanted it to get. I managed to do this by completely turning my life upside down (😮😮😮) in order to accommodate the people who mean the absolute world to me.

Okay, maybe I’m being a tad dramatic as all I did was relocate from the capital city to upcountry (in order to help my mum manage her farm- she’s getting old and she can’t keep traveling to and from the city in order to oversee farm activity) where I spend most of my weekdays.

On the weekends, I travel back to the capital city in order to take my darling nephews to church every Sunday (I’m a Sunday School teacher, and a deacon, remember?), and to spend time with my best friend, John.

My new lifestyle took a lot of adjusting, but, honestly it’s been worth it. I feel whole now as opposed to how I felt at the beginning of the year. The depth of my relationships with my loved ones has increased, and all I had to do was just be there, be present.

Take my mum, for instance, we’ve become absolutely inseparable since I moved to the farm, (and began to spend weekends with her in the capital city).

Before I moved, I had no idea how much her age and deteriorating health (she’s a 70 year old with high blood pressure and diabetes) was affecting her life and her mobility. Don’t get me wrong, she can still move around and stuff, but she has so many things to manage, and it’s becoming very taxing for her.

She’s also quite forgetful nowadays, and her eyesight and hearing have had better days.

There’s also the loneliness bit of it. Aging can be lonely, that’s for sure!

I would have never known the challenges my mum was facing if I hadn’t stepped out of my self-centric comfort zone.

But, I am so glad that I have gotten the opportunity to make her life, in her old age, much easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable.

She relies on me so much nowadays (including mentally and emotionally), and it’s an absolute honour for me. This beautiful lady has sacrificed everything for my brothers and I to be where we are today- and, I am glad that I am physically close enough to her to be able to give back to her every single day in all the ways that I can 💖💖💖.

I can say the same thing about my relationships with my brothers and my best friend. My bonds with these boys is considerably stronger than they were a year ago.

I’m here when they need me, and they know that- what a spectacular feeling!!

Here’s a pic of me, two of my brothers, and my nephews.

The quality of my life has also dramatically improved- I can’t compare to how I was when I was living alone. Don’t get me wrong, living alone was immensely fun mainly because

– I like being alone most of the time (my company is that awesome),

– I am a workaholic (it’s not a good thing)

– I don’t like sharing my time (refer to the first point)

– I love routines. I am sure I have told you this before, but I absolutely love routines. Living alone meant that I could follow and enforce my own routines without anyone judging me or interrupting me

– My apartment was my sex pad, and I could dictate my sex calendar (so liberating)

BUT….

………it was still empty. Why? Because I wasn’t paying attention to the people that matter, people that actually yearn for my presence i.e. my mother, my best friend, my father, my nephews and my brothers (in that specific order).

My spirit wasn’t at peace knowing that I wasn’t giving the very best of myself to the people who have loved me through EVERY stage of my life.

There’s something very selfish about spending all of your time alone when there are people that love you and would love to share some of your time. I have been selfish for a very long while.

This by the way is my biggest weakness when it comes to relationships (familial, sexual, or romantic)- I just don’t like sharing my time with others (probably why I am still single)

But, I realize now that this is not the way to live. Something about the way I lived my life had to change in order for me to be the best daughter, the best sister, the best aunty, and the best best friend that I could possibly be.

That something involved relocating upcountry and traveling to the capital every weekend (it’s only 1 1/2 hours away).

The best part is: I was able to purchase a parcel of land just right next to my mum’s!!!😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁

My biggest lesson learnt in 2018 has brought with it an abundance of blessings, and I am truly happy that I chose this path.

I have found fulfilment in sharing my time with the people I love; I have found balance; I have found purpose 💖💓💖💓💖

And, you can too.. don’t wait until it’s too late!

DEPRESSION, SEX, AND DRUGS

Ask anyone who knew me in campus or two years after that about the kind of girl I was, and they will probably tell you a myriad of stories, all of them revolving around my drinking and smoking.

This is despite how sweet and innocent looking I was. Exhibit A:

My habits were not only bad, they were excessive. I tend to be a slave to routine, and unfortunately, those days, alcohol and cigarettes were a big part of my daily life.

Whenever I look back at how I used to live my life a few years ago, I see that my habits were extremely unbecoming of a woman with a forehead such as mine (I’d like to believe that there is a code of ethics that girls with HUGE foreheads have to live by; such facial features are a gift that come with their own set of rules and morals).

But that is the girl I was back then.

A heavy smoker, an alcoholic, and a depressed little girl trying to hide herself and her forehead from the world.

Of course, with the excessive alcohol intake came the many sexual escapades, some of which were a pretty risky undertaking.

There was A LOT of sex! A LOT!

And there was also the RA (rheumatoid arthritis), most likely triggered by my excessive smoking.

Even that didn’t stop me from engaging in these harmful activities. In fact, the pain from the RA fueled my drinking and smoking because they helped me forget about the pain and also the shock of having such a condition at such an early age.

Yes, I was using drugs and sex as a way to cope with things, and I had been doing it for years without realising it.

It’s like I wanted my life to end, but I was too scared to go through with it the quick way (although, I did try once and it failed miserably. It’s crazy; after a failed suicide attempt, shouldn’t you get like an epiphany or something, that leaves you wanting to live your life better?)

The epiphany never came in my case.

And so, I chose the slowest, most painful, most accessible, yet most concealed way of ending my existence.

The drinking. The smoking. The sex.

No one knew that I was on a mission. I don’t think even I knew I was on a mission.

On the surface, I thought I was doing it because I liked it; but, on further introspection now, I can see that I was doing it to cope.

Unfortunately, I had no clue what it was that I needed to cope with, which fueled my frustration further.

So, even though I promised myself not to kill myself, I found relief in engaging in such risky activities because they had the potential to do the job for me.

There was something wrong inside; but I didn’t know what was wrong, I didn’t even know how to find out what was wrong.

So frustrating!

And so, the drinking, and the smoking, and the indiscriminate sexual activity continued.

But even the most well laid out plans can backfire, and my deep conscious’ attempt at ending this seemingly miserable life through drugs and sex, wasn’t working.

I was as wreckless as I could be, risking my life in ways that you can only imagine, and not even a scratch (okay, maybe apart from the RA, which came and went as it pleased- it wasn’t doing its job fast enough, and I wanted results).

I was tired. I was bored. Nothing was working, and so, I became recluse.

The more I spent time alone, listening to my thoughts, the more I became aware of the sadness that had engulfed me mentally and emotionally.

I had never known I was sad. I had never known how sick sadness was making me mentally.

The sadness was emanating from wounds in my past (mostly childhood) that had never healed; grief that I had never properly processed; anguish and pain that I had never acknowledged.

Bad things had happened to me, and I buried these memories so deep making them virtually non-existent.

But they didn’t go away, and I continued piling memory after memory, pain after pain.

Introspection led me to start reliving these memories instead of running away from them.

It felt like an endless horror movie each time I did these mental exercises, but they helped me gain a better perspective of my experiences. They helped me validate all of the anger and all of the pain that I felt I wasn’t allowed to feel.

For the longest time I had believed I wasn’t allowed to mourn the death of my mother, abandonment by my father, or the loss of my innocence at such an early age; they happened, and there was nothing I could do to change it, but to just move on like everyone else, and forget.

But that wasn’t right. The girl inside needed to be heard, needed her pain to be acknowledged, needed her vulnerability to be seen.

No one else could do this. No one else but me.

Bearing witness to the pain inside helped me heal. The inner me could now trust herself to be open, and I am a beautiful sight.

I learnt to love the wounds and the scars and the damage inside, and to accept them as a part of who I am.

I learnt to authentically love myself despite of how messed up I was, despite all of the miserable choices I had made.

I also learnt that there was so much more to me than my trauma.

I learnt that I am obsessed with routines, and I absolutely THRIVE when there’s a routine in place.

I learnt that I love to be alone. I love being left to my own devices for long stretches of time. I find it so refreshing.

I love to hear the sound of my laughter. It makes me laugh more.

I love to eat (alone), and to cook for myself. I find immense pleasure in spending time by myself doing normal, simple things.

I love to read. Economics is a great turn on for me.

I learnt to look deeper past people’s actions in an attempt to make sense of why they do what they do. This little nugget helped me come to terms with my mum’s suicide, and my dad’s leaving.

And, of course, I learnt more about my sexuality. What I like, what I don’t like; who I like it with, and who I don’t like it with. I’m still at the sex-without-commitment stage because I’m really into variety and I LOVE my own space. But now this is no-risk sex. It’s clean, it’s fun; no alcohol or drugs . My physical needs are met, and that, for me, is a top priority.

Maybe in time, I will learn how to share myself emotionally and mentally with someone. But, I am not there yet.

I also learnt that there are people whose regular presence in my life has been a boost to my mental health.

Wahu, my adopted mummy is number one on this list. She is my rock. We are INSEPARABLE!!

My best friend John is also on this list. And so are my nephews and niece, Justin, Jude, Aiden, and Jasmine, plus my annoying brothers.

I have learnt to follow my intuition, my own voice, and the more I do, the more I end up exactly where I want to be. Fulfilled!

Most importantly, I have learnt to value myself. To appreciate myself even when no one else does. To feel beautiful inside and also to acknowledge and appreciate how physically attractive I am.

And to learn and love people… just the way they are…

Have an awesome rest of the week, won’t you?

SEVEN YEARS OF BLISS

It’s Justin’s birthday this week.

He’s turning 7 years old…I think, I hope.

Why am I not sure despite the fact that I spent two years listening to him and his younger brother repeatedly telling me their ages?

But, I am pretty sure he is turning seven. I mean, he cannot be older than that, at least I don’t think he is. Let’s just settle on seven then.

So he’s turning seven, and unfortunately this time I won’t be there to celebrate.

Last year, my elder brother (his dad) and I took a cake to the school. That was fun. I still remember the look in his eyes when we walked in. He was shocked at first, and then embarrassed for a short while, and then the excitement started building up. The other kids kept asking, ‘is that your dad? Is that your dad?’, and ‘will you give me cake, will you give me cake first, si I’m your friend’…

His teacher asked him to come forward with his closest friend so that they could cut the cake together. I could tell he was a bit shy about it, but he seemed happy. We left when they began singing happy birthday. He was ecstatic when he got home later that evening, and all he could do was talk about the cake and his friends.

I can’t believe he is seven years old. I remember the day he was born so vividly like it just happened yesterday. My mum called that afternoon to tell me to get to Nairobi Women’s in the evening after work. It was my first long-holiday from campus, and I had finally managed to land an internship at the National Bank of Kenya. I worked in the data capture department, and I absolutely loved it (I love repetitive jobs).

Wah, si I got lost. Like completely lost. When I finally arrived, my mother was pissed off. How can a grown woman, who has been born and raised in this city, get lost in between town and Nairobi Women’s, especially given the fact that she had painstakingly given me directions over and over and over again? Hahahaha.

To this day I still get lost in this town, which completely baffles her, because according to her, she knows Nairobi like the back of her hand, and I should too.

Anyway, my brother and sister-in-law were happy I made it just in time. And then, they let me hold him. I could not believe that adults could trust me with a newborn baby. I carried him over to the sofa where my mum was sitting.

I remember looking at him and getting scared because he looked like he could break. His skin was peeling, and he was doing this weird thing with his eyes. It’s like he was capable of rolling them to the back of his head. Oh My God, I was transfixed!!!!!

And then, they told me they do not have a name for him. Poor things were too tired to even come up with a name for him. Woiye. We started brainstorming, and for five minutes or so, we were completely stomped. I seem to remember that we wanted a name that started with a J because my brother’s name is James. And then out of nowhere, while staring down at the newest baby I had ever seen, with the most bizarre eye movement I had ever witnessed, I just shouted, ‘Justin!’

And that’s what they named him…Justin!

It’s been a gift to be a small part of his life. His parents have done a marvelous job here. He (and his brother, and his cousins) has brought so much laughter into my life. He loves to laugh, and it is infectious. He loves to read, and he loves knowing what things mean and what they say. He loves to run, and he is getting faster by the day.

He is obedient, and he has a lot of love to give. He has love for everyone around him. What amazes me and has sometimes caught me off-guard is how well he knows the difference between right and wrong. He likes doing the right things, the right way.

He is a sensitive soul, but he also has a strong personality. Even when homework gets tough, Justin hardly gives up. Speaking of homework, this boy is super neat. His handwriting is perfect and symmetrical (can you describe someone’s handwriting as symmetrical? I don’t know. I’m just trying to tell you his handwriting is on another level for a standard two child).

Imagine he gets peeved when the letters do not come out exactly the way he wants them. And his work is always neatly arranged. You can tell how bothered he is when he gets something in his homework wrong. And he’ll work at it until he gets it right. He always has psyche to revise. Always! Even during the holidays.

He is just very conscientious about his homework. And about brushing his teeth. And about finishing all of the food on his plate. And about brushing his shoes.

He is kind and ever-so-curious about everything and anything. He is also a very quick learner.

I hope he remains this way for the rest of his life. Happy, curious, loving, diligent, and kind.

I hope when he is reading this twenty years from now, he will be happy with the man he has become, and I hope we will always be close.

It is such a blessing to be his aunty!!!!!!!

May this be an everlasting love, and may I be the aunty that he, Jude, Aiden, Jazmine, and Ethan deserve.

*******

Just an update! Here’s a recent picture of Justin and I.

FORGIVENESS AND THE DRAMA OF THIS TRAUMA-RIDDEN LIFE

‘How are you today Kui, it’s still Fathers day’

That was on 17th June 2018 at 6:35pm. This was a message from my biological father on this year’s father’s day. Here’s what I wrote back:

‘Hahaha heeeey daddy…sorry for not wishing you earlier, ndio tunatoka kanisa…happy father’s day dad, you’re a fun and amazing father and I love you with all my heart’

And then he replied,

‘Thanks, wish u the best.’

He is such a dude! What kind of reply is that? Hahaha. But, I love him, and I love this big forehead he gave me although I hide parts of it most of the time. (It’s humongous; it has sections and sub-sections).

When I used to live with him after campus, I used to joke that I would sue him because of the forehead. I mean, I’m a girl, I should not have such a big forehead. It does not make sense. Kids and adults have made fun of me all of my life for a variety of reasons, the biggest one being this forehead. Hence, his actions (siring me knowing full well that he passed on this big forehead gene) have directly caused me great emotional turmoil, and thus he needs to pay me as compensation.

I’m sure you’re wondering about the other reasons. I’ll tell you in the spirit of being open and vulnerable. I’ll even arrange them in chronological order. I am super short, my voice sounds like a cartoon character, I look, sound and sometimes act like a pubescent, despite the fact that I am three years shy of 30, I have a mustache (it’s small but it was a big deal in primary school), and nowadays, I never seem to grow, fat or otherwise.

I also used to have the tendency to talk a lot when I was growing up. People at home used to call me ‘kasuku’. Thank God they stopped! I also couldn’t lie very well (I still can’t), so it was really difficult trying to keep secrets or covering up for someone, no one trusted me in that household, not even the woman who was raising me.

Wahu (the beautiful woman who raised me; my real mother’s elder sister) credits herself for reigning in my disruptive talkative nature, which is true.

Back to Nderitu. I lived with him briefly for almost a year and a half after I cleared campus. This decision did not go down so well with Wahu and her husband (my other dad). They saw it, understandably so, as a betrayal. They were pained by the fact that I would still choose him over them; over all of the sacrifices they had made to raise me and my brother.

He never helped in our upbringing. He never paid fees (he only began contributing to my brother’s fees when he was in university), he never took us to the hospital, he never worried about what we were wearing, or if we were happy. He only came once to see us when we were growing up, and I was in upper primary by that time. He was a pariah in our house, and no one even said his name. That part hurt because I missed him, I wanted to know him. I think the most painful part about this entire fiasco is the fact that he never claimed us or my late mom. I do not even know if he contributed to my mother’s funeral expenses. His folks refused my mother to be buried in their land in line with our customs, and my mother’s family was pissed.

My parents, my mother, Wahu, did all of those things that my dad was supposed to do but never did. This couple stepped in and loved us with everything they had, with everything they were.

It was hard. My mother’s suicide was difficult on every single one of us. It was difficult for my loving adopted parents because they loved her, they adored her. They considered her their eldest child. It was difficult for my amazing elder cousins, who are now my brothers because they had lost their best aunt. They had grown up with that woman, she was a part of them. She was a part of their family, and now she was gone forever.

It was also difficult for my grandparents because they had lost their baby, their last-born. They were also very poor and very old, and could not imagine raising two babies on their own.

The death was hard. But the way it happened made it even more inconsolable. Everyone was at a loss, but my dad never stepped up when he should have, the way he should have. And that went on for years until almost finally we had forgotten he existed. The trauma of my mother’s death was buried deep within us, and we were almost finally happy. We were moving on together as a strong unit.

I had formed an incredible bond with Kamande, Wahu’s husband. I think he’d always wanted a girl, and then I mysteriously showed up. If anyone in that house, including Wahu herself, wanted Kamande to buy something, I would be the de facto person to talk to. I could make things happen hahaha.

And my baby brother was the baby of the house, and he went from a fear-struck little boy to a seemingly happy one. He was mummy’s baby through and through (and the situation has never changed). We were exceptionally close to Mwangi, the last of Wahu and Kamande’s biological sons. He is 10 years our senior, but we had so much fun growing up together, it is unbelievable. He taught us almost everything we know and use today because he was Wahu’s sidekick when it came to raising us. I will have to dedicate an entire article to how amazing of a brother this man was and is.

Despite the trauma we had gone through when we were barely out of kindergarten, we now had a family. We were in a unit that worked. Our needs were being met through the bonds we had formed in this unit, and life was good. Our entry into their lives brought a major financial strain but everyone was working in their own way to make this work, under the good leadership of Wahu, and for a while things were quiet.

And then, Nderitu came back, and all hell broke loose. He sent us a Christmas letter one year, with his address and phone number (that he has never changed). My parents were pissed off, and I think they were scared. They were scared we would choose him, and that this bond we had spent years creating, this bond we were all invested in, would break apart. They were scared to be just placeholder parents; they wanted to be more, and they wanted the sacrifice they had made to mean more. Because they had given it their everything.

Communication between us and my biological father continued to grow stronger while I was in campus. The exact opposite was happening between me and the parents who raised me. I had demons, strong demons, and they couldn’t help me. Every time I was home, I felt stifled. Every time I was in school, I felt scared and invisible. I developed an alcohol addiction just to ease the discomfort in myself. I also smoked a lot. My parents were losing me and they did not know how to stop it.

I was rebelling against them, but it was more than just that. Even after successfully managing not to kill myself, I still couldn’t find my place with them, and in this world. Internally, I was still being haunted. I had all this noise, all this anger, all these mommy and daddy issues that had been piling up and multiplying since my mother’s death, and I was taking it out on them. Our relationship was at its breaking point, and I needed to run away. And I did, first to a boyfriend’s house and then finally, to Meru.

They couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it. In my head, it seemed we were enemies now. We went for months without talking to one another. It was that hostile! I think at that point, I had made so many mistakes in my life, I just wanted to start over. Meru seemed the ideal place, next to my dad, and I thought that would help fix the conflict inside. I thought of him as my hero and my parents as the villains.

I didn’t know it at that time but I wanted to understand what went wrong between him and my mum. I wanted closure, and I had questions that only he could answer. I wanted to form a bond with him because I felt linked to him. I wanted so badly to be owned, to belong authentically to someone because I thought that was what was missing. I thought that was the reason I was unhappy.

For some reason, he still felt like home even though I had not seen him for decades. Even though everyone was telling me he abandoned me and my baby brother after my mum’s death, I felt safe and I felt warm when I was there. At that point in my life, that is exactly what I needed.

I went there with the wrong intentions (to piss my parents off), but that decision has changed my life. I got to know him, some of the questions I had were answered. We began a relationship that I feel has been integral in helping me heal my wounds (self-inflicted or otherwise). I’m at peace with his decisions, even though these decisions have burdened us with further psychological issues. He was wrong, and he does not make any excuses for how reckless and selfish he was. He has been terribly sorry. It felt amazing when he opened up to us about his relationship with my late mom. Finally, the pieces were fitting into place, and the haze and confusion were slowly fading away. I no longer feel like that abandoned kid because he finally stepped up and filled that hole he had created. I loved getting to know him.

He owns and operates a couple of wines and spirits in Meru. He is a very good businessman and a creature of habit. Even when I am this far from him, I can accurately tell you where he is at this exact moment. He looooooooves routines, just like I do, and he loves to read, just like my baby brother and I. And just in case you are wondering why I am so talkative, I finally came to realize that I got it from him, although he pretends to be so serious and reserved. He’s also a big kid inside.

I love his laugh, especially when he has had a few drinks. He finds everything funny, and it is infectious! And I am his kryptonite, I know it. He won’t admit it, but I know it.

I also know that as much as he is my biological father, and that he is a wonderful dad, I have parents. I have a family. He’ll always be a part of me, but I’m also a part of something way bigger, something complete.

Wahu and Kamande mean the world to me, and no one will ever take their place. No one can even come close. They are my mum and dad. And it took me almost breaking their hearts for me to realize I belong to them in every sense of that word. I am theirs. They are the best gift I have ever received.

But, it’s really cool to have two dads. I’m just glad everything worked out the way it has, and that I don’t feel guilty about loving either. I have a big heart and everyone has a place in it.

Cheers to amazing dads!! (and I’m sorry for this overwhelmingly long post).

WHAT A WOMAN! WHAT A STORY!

If there is one Kenyan woman in the public stratosphere that I hold in the highest regard, other than Wangari Maathai of course, it is Esther Akoth. My reverence for this woman cannot be put into words, but I will try.

I love this woman. I love everything she embodies. She is all of the things we women have been conditioned to not be in order for the system to keep us ‘in our place’. She is confident, she is aggressive, she is a provider, and she is a dream chaser. She makes her own path. No one can tell Akothee no, and it is such a shame that more women like these are missing within the public domain especially in our entertainment industry.

She is unaffected by all the hateful and condescending criticisms that Kenyans throw at her on an almost every day basis. We do this because we want to break her spirit. We realize she is a force and we want to put her back in her ‘rightful’ place. She is shaking our patriarchal establishment to its core and most of us, including many of us women, were never ready for this change.

We ridicule her, her lifestyle, her music, her life choices, and we label her as a Kenyan laughing stock. But, as has become the norm for us Kenyans, we are living in denial. Akothee is not a laughing stock. The only laughing stock here is us Kenyans for not realizing the true magnitude of Akothee’s influence. She is a freaking revolution! And she is changing the narrative on a whole list of societal issues, the most important one being how single mothers, and women, in general, should view themselves.

One of the many things I have learned from her and her lifestyle is to embrace womanhood and be unapologetic about it. She is a sexual being and she is not ashamed of her body. She embraces her sexuality, and she flaunts it. She works on her body, and flaunts it some more. All those pictures of her in skimpy clothing, is for me, an appreciation of who she is and where she has come from. She looooves her body! She works hard for it. That body has given her five amazing kids, and she is literally paying tribute to the miracle that is the female body in each of those posts.

Multiple kids later, coupled with the stress of raising them on her own seemingly has not deterred her from fulfilling her idea of a healthy, sexy body. She has worked hard for that body and no one, not even a vast number of self-loathing Kenyan women, will stop her from flaunting it at every opportunity. That is more than inspirational for me as well as for the other countless women who know deep down they are not working hard enough to keep their bodies healthy and fit.

Another thing that completely blows my mind is her love life. She has had 5 kids, and her love life is still going strong. 5 kids and she still has some time to develop a sexual relationship with someone. She is a single mother of 5 kids, a musician, and a businesswoman, and she still has time to develop a serious relationship. Where does she find the energy?

This brings me to my next point. This woman is the mother of fresh starts. She has not given up on love even after her baby daddies left, one after the other. This woman has a backbone and a half. I am sure she has gone through a host of heartbreaks with the men that she has been involved with in the past, and yet, she does not let that phase her. From my armchair observations, it has actually helped her figure out the kind of man she really wants, and she is not willing to settle for less.

She is also the queen in my book for chastising the majority of women on their inability to stop relying on men for their upkeep. She has children with different fathers, yes. All these men are expected to pay child support, which is the law. However, child support or not, she hustles seriously in order to give her and her kids the best.

How many women in this country are using their children as meal tickets? How many?

You cannot put this woman down, regardless of what we and life throw at her. She should be lauded for her tenacity, her courage, and her perseverance. She deserves it.

She has risen above her circumstances countless of times, and this is something worth celebrating and idolizing.

She’s a real-life heroine and we better recognize.

#Callpolis…

BREAKING THE CYCLE: THE GENESIS OF THIS TRAUMA-RIDDEN LIFE

Trauma. That is life summed up in one word for many of us.

A series of unending torturous events whose effects touch on every aspect of our lives from the moment they happen to the moment we die. They define us; our thoughts, our impulses, our ADDICTIONS, our biases. They break us. They turn us into something we were never meant to be.

They shape how we respond to the world we find ourselves in. They kill us from the inside, and before we know it we’ve messed up; we’ve hurt the ones that love us-the ones that never hurt us; we’ve missed out on life because we were so fixated on these bad things that happened to us. Many of us never learn how to deal with these events. Majority of us never get over it.

The worst thing about these traumatic events other than the way they cause the victims to self-harm is that that pain is passed down. Studies have shown that the fear, the pain, and anxiety we experience during a traumatic event is stored in our memories and gets encoded into our DNA. This genetic material is passed down to the next generation, and this is how irrational fears, anxieties, and phobias develop in people. In short, trauma-related stress, fear and anxiety can be inherited just like many of the disorders we suffer.

I am chicken-shit scared of heights and speed. And domestic animals, for goodness sake! Domestic animals. My ancestors must have experienced some pretty nasty things in their lives. Poor them. They must have been short. I feel like they were short. Could that be my DNA linked to their DNA talking? Science is so cool!

Trauma.

Some of us never learn to move past it regardless of what we try. The experience becomes a permanent shadow; an ever-present, over-bearing guest in your body, in your mind, in your soul. You want to run away from it, you want to escape, but it’s futile to resist. It chokes you and you know you have nowhere to run. Nowhere. You’re just an empty shell, going through the motions of daily life.

You’re broken, and the voices keep telling you you are. They keep getting louder, and there are no more places to hide within yourself. You can’t escape this, and everyone else feels like they are a million miles away. You’re scared to look into people’s eyes because you don’t want them to see inside. To see the horror you’re living through.

You’re embarrassed because you’re broken. You’re embarrassed to be this broken.

Suicide becomes so alluring every time you think about it. Finally, you and those voices are on the same page. They want you to disappear as much as you do. You’re giving up, they’re getting stronger. You’re exhausted, and you do not have it in you to fight anymore.

It becomes easier thinking about it. It gives you some relief thinking that all of this could be over in an instant. You spend months gathering the courage to go through with it. The voices are constantly taunting you, and your spirit calmly resigns to the fate that they are right. You’re useless, you’re pointless, you keep making mistakes. These voices aren’t lying, and you know it, and they know it. It’s just a matter of time.

The day comes. You didn’t plan it to be this day, but something throws you over the edge today. It’s finally too much and your spirit begs you to go through with it.

The shop. A bunch of Piritons, about 12 of them. You hold on to them as you walk back home. You’re heart is not even racing. Your mind is made up. There’s peace inside for the first time in a long time.

1st pill. 2nd pill. 3rd pill. Nothing is going through your head. Nothing! But there are tears. No wailing. Just tears flowing down your cheeks.

8th pill. No more tears to cry now. You’re tired, you’re drowsy. It’s done. You sleep.

But, I woke up. Fuck it, I woke up! This was just a couple of years ago, about five. Something in me refused to die that day. I don’t know what. What I do know is that I have been awake ever since.

My biological mother never woke up. I don’t how many she took. No one ever told me.

She left a note. I know some details of it, I never got to read it. I don’t need a note to know what she was thinking.

I write these words because I know what she was going through. I’ve lived it. It’s inscribed in me, in my memory, in the way I see my world.

I finally understand how it was to have been in her mind especially those few months before THE EVENT.

When she took those pills, when she went to sleep, and never woke up, she probably didn’t know that she was opening the door for us to do the same thing.

Her trauma was the beginning of my trauma. I don’t want my trauma to lead to my kids’ trauma. I want to break this cycle, and I feel that I started breaking it the day I woke back up.

Trauma! What a bitch!

THE CL FINAL, PARENTS, AND ABORTION

To be honest, that Champions League Final was not as epic as I had anticipated it to be. Maybe because the team I was supporting lost, or maybe because they lost undeservedly. There was something really off about that game especially when Salah had to leave the game so unexpectedly.

It broke my heart. Like, literally, I felt a sharp pang inside me when he went down from that Ramos tackle. And a wave of anger, confusion, disbelief, and bewilderment washed over me as I watched him try to soldier on, and eventually leave the pitch.

There is a dark, lonely hell waiting for Ramos, I hope he knows it. (Please sign this petition in order to have him punished for his intentional assault on Salah; be a trooper and let’s change the world together).

And then there was Karius. His career is obviously over, and I hope he knows that. I am not feeling empathetic towards this man and his situation right now. I doubt I ever will. And that says a lot considering I feel sorry for almost everyone and everything, regardless of what they have done. Well, except bad popes, bad US presidents, all Kenyan presidents, and the rapist that lives in the hood I grew up in (why is this man still alive?).

Anyway, back to Karius. I am convinced he half-arsed that game; all I want to know is why. Just why. He is toooooooo fine to be making such egregious mistakes at such a stage. There has to be a reason behind his poor performance. There just has to be!

I hear he could be going to Rimini FC; let’s see how that works out.

So, my heart bled that night, that game cut me really deep. But, I noticed something else, something outside the game. I really really really really enjoy my parents’ company. I thought football was just my thing because I am the only one in this family who consistently takes the time to watch these matches. It’s a big deal because I’m the only girl…in a family of five.

But, last Saturday night, I realized that football could be a family thing. Okay, not my brothers, I feel like they feel that they have better things to do. Things I’d rather die than do. But, it could be a thing for me and my 70-year-old parents to do together; our thing on top of the other many things that we do together like going to church together, and watching and arguing about Kikuyu soap operas on Inooro.

Which reminds me; we have been having a recurring conversation over the last few Saturdays that I have visited them. It revolves around my love life; specifically my lack of one. They are a tad concerned that I do not seem to be in a hurry to find someone, scratch that, get knocked up. Yes, my parents want me to get knocked up, and they do not care whether there will be a man or not in the picture. I can even quote them word for word, but I have never really known how to write in Kikuyu, so I will spare you. My dad is particularly unbemused by the fact that I may not want to have children.

That man wants a grandbaby, and he wants one now! Too bad for him because he knows my ovaries are waiting for Miguna Miguna to become president.

So, yes, football. We had so much fun that night. I made my dad laugh so hard with one of my reactions, he nearly choked. And they love how dramatic I get in life in general, but more specifically, when I’m watching football. And my mum, the antagonist that she always is, was on Real Madrid’s side. You have not had your worst football experience as a fan until you have to live through your own mother berating you and your team, and actually celebrating as you mourn. Her taunts were like swallowing hot glass; she’s really good at it (the taunting, not the swallowing hot glass part). IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!

It felt much more fulfilling than if I was at some club somewhere, or at my place, alone. I cannot wait to watch many more games with them during the World Cup. This is going to be epic.

Oh yeah, I also found out they are pro-abortionists later on that night. I was shocked, especially hearing it from my dad. They believe women do not need to go through unwanted pregnancies. They think the reason why there are so many kids on the street, and so many kids into drug abuse is because their mothers never wanted them from the get-go. Why bring a child into this world when you know you’re never going to love them the way they deserve?

I cannot wait to uncover more layers of my parents’ inner thoughts over a series of football matches.

Happy days, people! Happy days.