Category Archives: TRAUMA

JANUARY 2019 III- WHEN TERROR STRIKES

And here comes part 3 of the series on deadly events that have transpired around us in the first month of 2019.

A TERROR ATTACK!

It sounds surreal even writing about it, like, did it really happen, or did we imagine it?

But, it’s true. It happened. It was not a dream, and 21 people died, just like that.

On the 15th of January 2019, 21 innocent people walked/drove/were driven into the Dusit D2 Complex on 14 Riverside Drive, and never came out (alive, that is).

Their families are devastated, their destinies having been forever altered by the actions of a few deranged, brainwashed, mentally unstable, backward individuals who have not yet realized that they are being used as pawns by powerful people, who by the way, place no value in their lives.

700 people were rescued, which we are grateful for, but, we might never fully comprehend the emotional scars they carry with them as a direct result of this terror attack.

They will morph into completely different people as a result of their experiences on this day. For many, the change will not be for the better.

In cases like this, there is also the trauma faced by the rescuers and first aiders, plus the individuals who live and work around the area where the terror attack has occurred.

It is literally a 15 minute walk between our city home, and the complex that was attacked. I pass this area everytime I am going and coming from home. Ever since the attack, all I keep thinking whenever I pass here is that it could have been me.

Or it could have been my parents.

Or one of the guys I watch soccer with at our local every weekend. Or one of their loved ones.

Or one of my friends from Church. Or their parents. Or their siblings.

It could have been any of us because of our proximity to the place, and we would have never known that our end was coming.

Sadly, the end came for those 21 souls. People who had plans for their days and for the rest of their lives.

People who had nothing to do with the war in Somalia. People who had done nothing to deserve the ire of Al-Shabaab.

They were just normal people, leading their daily lives, exercising their full human rights.

Words cannot even describe how senseless this attack was, how senseless every terror attack (including the ones orchestrated by the West) is.

We created this problem ourselves; all of us as a collective.

There are those of us who participated directly in fueling the flames of religious extremism (mainly for economic gain political dominance), and, there are those of us who stood idly by, pretending that we could not see the monster being created, pretending that we had no power to stop it.

WE ARE ALL TO BLAME! Each and every one of us, irrespective of religion, or nationality.

I personally feel like I am responsible. Like there is something I should do or should have done to help fight terrorism authentically without all of the political nuances and intonations.

Like there is a better way to handle this catastrophe, and it’s my fault for not working hard enough to figure it out. For always putting it at the back of my head because it does not affect me directly in the past.

But now it has affected me directly. And, it has been a wake-up call for me, and I hope for everyone else affected by this terror attack to put our individual efforts in solving this problem.

Whether it’s paying more attention to our surroundings, alerting the authorities of any suspicious activities around us, refraining ourselves from engaging in exclusionary practices based solely on religion, intervening before a loved one is inculcated into an extremist group, or choosing political leaders that promote rather than reject diversity, we all have a part to play.

There is something you can do today that can stop a terrorist attack tomorrow.

We owe it to these 21 Dusit D2 fallen souls plus the millions of innocent victims of terrorism all over the world.

You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones.

Stay safe!!!

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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 💖💖💖💖💖💖

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 💖💖💖💖💖

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?

THE BEDSWERVER’S SIDE TO THE STORY

‘Men are dogs! Men are dogs!’ 

I have heard, and read this statement countless times since I was a little girl. We were taught to expect that men were animals, and they only look at us as conquests. Once they capture your heart, or your body, and in many instances both, they are on to the next one, and the cycle never ends. The victim here is always the woman because when she loves, she loves with all her heart. She is so innocent and so pure. And men, men are just pigs!!

This is the notion we grew up with as young girls, and for me, it played an incredible role in how I viewed men. We were taught that all men cheat, and we were taught to not only expect it but accept it as the norm. We were taught that there is nothing you can do about it, and your only two options were to stay single (which was deemed impossible and just plain weird because you can’t live without a man, duh) or accept that cheating is part and parcel of being a man, and just learn to live with it.

We were also taught that women don’t cheat. Women can’t cheat; women shouldn’t cheat. Women are too emotionally attached to sex, and it is unimaginable that they could be unfaithful to their partners (sad to say but there is a little ho in each and every one of us; societal dogma just forces women to keep their ho-ness on a leash, most of the time).

In my mind, it felt kind of unfair. The society tells us that cheating is wrong, but in most instances, members of one sex are less severely punished for this act than the other. This makes it seem that it is more acceptable for some of us to step out on our significant others but deemed an atrocious, unforgivable act for the rest of us.

This double standards always confused and angered me because it felt like I was being told what to do. For me, it was fine that cheating was in a man’s DNA. What was not fine was being told to accept it and live with it. If men could cheat and everyone is fine with it, so could I.

And cheat I did. In many of my ‘situationships’ with men throughout my late teens and early 20s, I was hardly 100% committed. I did not even try. It did not even bother me an inch, because, ‘hey, he’s probably cheating anyway, and I’m just trying to save myself some heartbreak. No one is getting hurt here’.

Wait a minute! Don’t throw the stones yet.

Let me be honest, I don’t think I would have been so hell-bent on cheating if it had not been drummed into my head that women weren’t allowed to cheat but men were. Most of the time, I was just proving a point; a big FUCK YOU to the society for trying to dictate how I should live my life (it sounds so stupid now).

I know this to be absolutely true about myself…I really do not like being told what to do especially if the instructions apply only to me because of certain physical characteristics that I cannot change e.g. my big forehead. It’s not really a feminist thing, it’s a hard-headed thing. I am a stubborn little person, and you cannot tell me what to do. If you try to tell me what I can or cannot do, I’ll find a way to prove you wrong, and annoy you in the process (I know; it’s a terrible, terrible, character flaw).

But, as I have grown older, I have realized that there is so much more to cheating than just stepping out on someone. For instance, in my case, it wasn’t just to prove that I too, a woman, was emotionally and physically capable of stepping out. It started out as simple as that but every experience shed light on the actual person I was at the time.

I realized later on, cheating came easy for me mainly because I have this inexplicable fear of getting close to people. Like, it’s a serious fear to a point of it being toxic. That probably stems from severe abandonment issues, and cheating was one way of ensuring that I do not get too attached to one particular person who might end up leaving and breaking my heart (daddy issues, anyone?).

Aside from that, I have noticed that cheating was my go-to tactic whenever I wanted to exit a situationship. It was my method of escapism from situations that I am not particularly comfortable to be in. I am not highly effective at communicating my feelings, my needs, my unhappiness, or my discomfort with the other individual. Hence, instead of continuing to suffer in the silence, I choose to cheat as an expression of my dissatisfaction with the significant other and ensure that he finds out about it.

Sometimes, this strategy would backfire, as some would forgive me for my indiscretions. This meant that I was still stuck in this situation, and I had to find other means to get myself out of it e.g. cutting off all communication for several days at a time. I would go to all of these extreme measures rather than just let the other party know that I was not happy and that I wanted to move on (I have never denied that I am a big coward when it comes to telling people what I think and how I feel).

Cheating was also easy because I mostly assumed that the other individual (almost always male) was also cheating. That is exactly what we were taught to expect, and my cheating was a way to ensure that his cheating did not sting as much. That I did not end up crying and shocked, and miserable when his indiscretions would be laid bare. My actions ensured that I would not be the victim like soooo many other women in sooooooo many relationships.

It was fun in the beginning, but it stopped being fun a long time ago. It almost became engrained in my personality, and often times I would find myself chanting prayers begging the universe not to allow me to cheat. I’m in the house on my own endlessly chanting, ‘please do not let me cheat, please do not let me cheat, please do not let me cheat‘.

You get to see the monster and the coward you are when you’re stepping out on someone who actually trusts you. I have come to realize that in the end, you are hurting them, but not to the extent that you’re hurting yourself.

From this VERY limited experience, I have also come to see that cheating is not an overwhelmingly male characteristic, and often, cheating is not as simple as just men having an insatiable lust for the opposite sex, or their inability to keep it in their pants in the presence of individuals who are not their significant others, or the myth that men are allergic to/above commitment.

Nope. There is almost always an underlying personal (almost unique to their circumstances) element that pushes someone, male or female, to that point of stepping out.

People cheat.

We (men and women) cheat because we are unhappy; we cheat because we are sad. We cheat because we are scared of settling for less, but we really have not yet determined our worth.

People cheat because we are scared to be vulnerable.

People cheat because, growing up, some of us never really learned how to accept ourselves and the others around us for who we and they really are.

There is also a ‘biological‘ twist to the entire saga with many people actually genetically predisposed to promiscuity and infidelity. How do you fight against your own genetic makeup? HOW??

People cheat because of their own mental health issues. Some people cheat because they are narcissists.

People cheat because they feel a connection to others that they do not share with their significant ones. You only live once and you do not know if you will ever find such a connection again.

And then there are those instances where someone is just too attractive to let them pass you by without you giving your pudenda the opportunity to have a dalliance with theirs. Again, you only live once!!

The spectrum for reasons why people are unfaithful is so wide and it is not sex specific.

People cheat. Not just men. All of us. The media’s constant portrayal of men as players and emotionally inept smooth operators has had us believing that ALL men cheat ALL the time.

It’s a folklore that has shaped how the Kenyan men and women relate with one another. This folklore has been fanned by our mothers, grandmothers, elder sisters, and teachers who felt bitter that they had been cheated on and they were unable to return the favor, slowly slaving away in relationships they should have ended when they saw the signs. I can honestly deduce that majority of relationships in this great land of ours are RUBBISH!!

Men aren’t dogs who lack control over their gonads. Men are just people. We are all just people making stupid mistakes every day because we do not understand who we are, what our needs are, and how we can have these needs met without getting ourselves or others hurt.

Figure yourself out first before committing to someone you are not completely sure you can be faithful to. Because, in the end, cheating on someone who trusts you is wrong, regardless of the reasons behind your actions.

 

 

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).

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!