Category Archives: TRAUMA

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN NAIROBI: A SURVIVOR’S STORY

I can’t believe I’m finally ready to write this post.

Shit. Fucking hell.

Here goes.

I was at a funeral last Friday. Another one.

Christ, I’ve seen so many families cry this year. Remember my January posts, this one, this one, and this one?

And, this post I wrote about my friend’s passing?

It’s like every month of this year, someone around me died or lost someone they loved.

The month of May was not spared the touch of death either.

My favourite cousin’s father died this month after a short illness, and our whole extended family traveled upcountry on Friday last week to pay our last respects and lay him to rest.

The funeral service was packed, we couldn’t even get inside the church to listen to the sermon. So many of us had to stand outside and listen to the proceedings from the blaring speakers.

He was a pastor, and you could tell that he had impacted a great number of lives while he was still amongst us. It was truly humbling to see that many people come to pay their last respects to a wonderful man.

My baby brother and I were outside during the service, busy chatting with the wife to one of my other cousins. We were just catching up, making jokes. We’d missed her after months of not being together.

And then, out of the blue, with the conversation between my brother, my cousin’s wife, and I getting funnier and louder, I saw him.

He had just walked into the compound, and he was probably looking for a familiar face when our eyes met.

My heart froze. I just looked at him, into his eyes, willing him, nay, daring him, not to come and say hallo.

He quickly looked away as he walked past us, but, I kept my eyes on him for five more seconds.

I was transfixed. I didn’t want to be the first to look away because a part of me wanted to show him I wasn’t scared any more.

Another part was just trying to comprehend if this really was the man that I remembered from so many years ago.

The other part was just trying to mess with his head. ‘Boy, I see you! Run!’

But, I needed to look away because every extra second was becoming unbearable for the little girl inside.

I was a bit frazzled after that, and I remember telling my brother that I was going outside to look for another family member.

Anything to ensure that I don’t come into any contact with this individual.

I think my baby brother understood immediately because as I started to walk away, he followed suit, leaving my cousin’s wife standing there confused by the abrupt end to our engrossing conversation.

Sorry, T!πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜ͺπŸ˜ͺ😫😫

She probably thought we were so rude. I did feel slightly guilty for dragging my brother along when I was the one with the problem.

Hope she didn’t think ill of my brother. He was just being a loyal sibling and friend.

For good reason too. He’s the only witness to what I am about to tell you.

Our history with this man I was avoiding now dates back twenty years ago.

Our birth mother had just passed away, and we were living with our aunty, Wahu, and her husband (mum and dad as we now refer to them) in their huge house.

At the time, dad’s ailing grandfather was also staying with them. He was a mean old man, but my brother and I (mostly me because I was the cheeky one) always found a way to make him laugh.

Owing to his age, and his deteriorating health, he needed a constant caregiver. We too needed a minder because we were still young, and our adopted parents had full time jobs.

Their youngest son, Sam, had just joined med school, so he wasn’t available to look after the three of us.

That’s when mum made the fateful decision to hire extra help from upcountry. One of dad’s relatives was struggling with school fees for his young kids, so mum decided to hire their eldest son in the hopes that he could use part of his earnings to educate his younger siblings.

He was a teenager when he came to work for the family. I think he was in his late teens at that time.

It worked out well for the first few weeks, if I remember correctly. My grandfather was happy with the arrangement because this was someone he knew, someone he could trust, and definitely someone he could order around (my granddad loved ordering everyone around).

My mum was happy because now there was someone to take care of the old man, my baby brother and I, the house and the yard.

Everyone was seemingly covered, and life became manageable again for my adoptive parents.

But, things weren’t so rosy if you peeked below the surface.

After he had acclamatized to his new surroundings, the nightmare began.

My mind has successfully blocked out most memories from this time, but this is what I do remember;

– the taste of his mouth from him forcefully kissing me whenever he’d find me alone in some part of the house

– screaming myself hoarse and wondering why no one could hear me everytime he’d pin me on my back and mess with my privates until it hurt (usually happened on Saturday mornings- we were home from school, and the house was usually empty)

– how painful it was to take a piss after he’d touch me down there

– my baby brother’s confused and scared look when he’d heard me screaming one time from our room only to run and find me pinned to my back, kicking and screaming, with the houseboy forcibly fondling me (He stopped when he noticed my brother was at the door)

– him twisting my wrists painfully or squeezing my hands everytime that I tried to resist him, or I refused to do as he said (like touch him down there, I was not a fan)

– I remember endlessly kicking him, punching him, scratching him, trying to get him away from me, and he would be smiling and laughing all the while as he held both my hands together tight with his one hand, use his free hand to abuse me, and use his lower body to keep my legs still.

To stop me from screaming, he would be suffocating me with his mouth (his idea of kissing)

– I remember how tired I would feel after every encounter, and how sore my wrists, my hands, my arms, my privates, and my legs would feel. My head would also ache from the screaming and the crying

– I also remember how stupidly defiant I was. I would insult and berate him (with the little English and Swahili I could master back then) after every episode knowing full well he was going to come after me again.

I would fight, and I think that’s where my violent streak comes from (Don’t worry, I’m much calmer now).

This is just the gist of the abuse that probably started in 1999/2000 and ended in 2001, to the best of my recollection.

There was never any penetration. Not that I can remember. I don’t think my mind would have been able to block that out.

I never told my mum. I never told my elder brother. I never told my best friend. I never told a soul until now as I narrate to you what I went through.

I don’t know what, if anything, my baby brother remembers but he must know something. We talk about everything else in our past except those two years this man was living with us.

If I remember correctly, the man left as soon as or slightly before my grandfather died. I was in class five, quiet, withdrawn, and yet highly attention-seeking when I was out of his reach. I think I just wanted someone to ask me what’s wrong.

No one ever did.

When it hit me that he wasn’t in our lives anymore, it’s like I awoke from a deep sleep.

I remember I started making friends in school. I began to actually focus on schoolwork and getting better grades. Like better grades to a point that I started receiving academic awards in class 6 and beyond.

Before that, my grades were sucky, and I would get into my fair share of trouble with my class teachers, Mrs Okumu (class 3) and Mr Nyambu (class 4).

I was exhibiting behavioural issues at this time that no one really latched onto.

But, now that he was gone, I was a whole new girl. Making friends became easier. My studies became easier. I was finally able to flourish.

I pushed the memories of that time down so deep, and for years, I couldn’t allow myself to think about it.

Then I started writing this blog, and I began to see how events in my childhood had almost messed me up completely.

And, I began to realise the power and the healing that comes from writing about them, not so much for people to read, but for me to acknowledge my pain, and to be open and naked enough to show others where the wounds were.

It was easier to talk about my mother’s suicide, my father’s abandoning us, my dalliance with depression, drugs, and sex in my previous posts than it was talking about the sexual abuse.

But, I knew one day, I’d have to. It’s part of the journey in shaping my own narrative devoid of the horrific things that happened to me, to us, when my brother and I were kids.

Yap, that’s it!

In memory of the little girl I was before this, and in solidarity with the millions of children abused in our country, Kenya.

πŸ’œβ™₯οΈπŸ’–πŸ’œβ™₯οΈπŸ’–πŸ’œβ™₯οΈπŸ’–πŸ’œβ™₯οΈπŸ’–

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ILLUSIONS OF LOVE, A SICK MIND, A BROKEN SPIRIT

Once upon a time,

you were the man of my dreams.

I saw my future in your eyes,

I held your dreams in my heart.

Once upon a time,

Your smile was music to my soul,

And,

you laying next to me, asleep in my arms

Felt nothing short of divine.

I felt connected to you,

Honoured to share with you,

Stolen glances

Stolen kisses

Stolen nights.

I say stolen because you were never mine.

Not wholly.

Maybe not even in the slightest.

Everything I thought we were,

The connection I thought we had,

Turns out, Was only in my imagination.

There were no lies, just subtle half truths,

Omissions you didn’t even try to cover up,

And, I, was still non the wiser.

Poor, little, confused orphan girl,

Looking for love,

Looking for salvation,

in all the wrong places

Reading too much into

the way you looked at me,

Into the little time you gave me,

Into the half-hearted attention you paid to me.

I thought this was love,

I thought this was enough,

I thought this was all I could get,

And, this was all I deserved.

Desperate for love,

I clung to the illusion

there was something more,

That we were something more,

That we were something special.

I compelled myself to believe,

That I was in love with you,

And that you were in love with me,

I was wrong.

This wasn’t love,

It was just the creation of

A love-depraved mind,

Looking for somewhere to belong.

But, I thank you,

For taking care of me,

Instead of taking advantage of my weak mind,

And misusing me.

Thank you for letting me be annoyed with you,

When really, it was never your fault.

Thank you for the stolen glances,

The teasing,

The kissing,

And the love making.

For a time, they saved me from myself.

You are a good man, AK,

And the world deserves to know it.

Sincerely,

Your once upon a time lover,

Jiggah!

BETRAYAL- A DAUGHTER’S PAIN

I, Georgina Wangui aka Kui, have been blessed with the opportunity of having two fathers in my life.

That’s two men who consider me as their daughter, as their blood.

There are two grown men at this instant, whom if and when asked to talk about their kids, I’d be part of that lineup.

One man passed on his genes to me, and the other helped raise me.

There’s no denying that each loves me, and that I belong to both of them.

That kind of makes me feel somewhat special. Not so much, but somewhat.

This blessing of having two fathers also comes with its own set of problems.

They are men, and each has done some pretty shitty things that have been revealed to me as the years go by- things that are akin to betrayal from my perspective.

Like mind-bendingly shitty things!

I think that’s why I am not as excited about having two dads as I should be. It’s like being heartbroken twice; a never ending heartache from men I once held in such high esteem.

But, the most messed up thing is I can’t hate them. I can’t find it in my heart to push them out of my life for the dispeakable things they have done.

I can’t say a bad word to either of them.

I smile every time I am talking to either of them.

I am warm and consumed by this warmth everytime I am in their presence, or just talking to them over the phone.

It’s like in that instant, with each individual, they are just my dads.

There’s no anger towards them, just disappointment that, funnily enough, rarely shows itself whenever I’m communicating with them.

Love is a funny thing.

But, I am disappointed, thoroughly. I wish they hadn’t done the things they did. I wish they hadn’t caused the level of hurt they have on people I care so deeply about, and on myself as well.

I wish they would have been men of honour, and I wouldn’t have to feel conflicted between anger and acceptance.

I’m mad at myself too. I should be angry and let them know their actions have hurt us. I should be demanding for apologies, rather than acting as if everything is okay.

Why am I so complacent in this?

Why am I not giving them the opportunity to taste my disappointment?

Love is indeed a funny thing.

Maybe deep down, I don’t want to believe the things they did.

Or maybe, I’m just empathetic. They have to live with the knowledge of all the wrong things they’ve done, and how life has humbled them time and time again because of these mistakes.

That is pretty haunting! And, maybe that’s our revenge- us, the victims of my fathers’ hurtful actions.

I think that’s enough for me. Knowing that they are not getting away with it, that their peace of mind is altered owing to the hurtful, fucked up things they did, and possibly continue to do.

Yap, that is definitely enough for me.

So, I will continue being nice. I’ll continue loving them to my heart’s full measure.

I will revel in remaining their baby girl because, a) it makes me happy, and b) hopefully, it adds to their torment.

Sincerely,

Daddies’ girl πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ’–πŸ’œπŸ’–πŸ’œπŸ’–πŸ’œπŸ’–πŸ’œπŸ’–

ANOTHER MONTH, ANOTHER PAINFUL LOSS

Hallo awesome people,

I’m back.

With something I would like to share. It’s a bit heavy but here goes…

A friend died by suicide on the 17th of March, and it was such a devastating loss for everyone involved.

I’ve hang out with him just a couple of times after moving back home, and each time was an absolute pleasure.

The last time we hang out, it was in his father’s car at our local grocery shop. I was sitting at the back, his favourite female in the entire world was sitting at the passenger seat, while he, obviously, was on the driver’s seat.

As we waited for the attendants to load the items that were on the list into the car, we talked, laughed, and made fun of each other, and our other mutual friends.

We didn’t have a care in the world at that point, at least that’s what it seemed like. Everyone was okay, everyone was happy.

I left the two in the car as I had a short errand to run for my mum in town.

That was the last time I saw him alive. 5th March 2019.

Before this, he had graciously accepted my invitation to our church’s Valentine’s dinner back in February.

He came, and obviously, he was the life of the party.

Here he was, trying to explain what he looked for in an ideal partner.

Before this, he had been playing with an adorable three year old princess, distracting the speakers with how much fun they were having together.

He tried his best to tone it down, but the little girl was having too much fun, and he just got sucked into it completely.

You should have heard the child giggle as they played on the grass. It was the cutest thing ever!

On the afternoon of 15th February, he, along with our two mutual friends, and Sammy, had come to help me with the preparations for the dinner that would be held that evening.

The conversations were endless, and again, everyone seemed okay. Each of us seemed happy and content just being there with one another.

And now, he is no more! He’s gone, and by his own hand, nonetheless.

It just goes to show that we never really know the extent of the darkness that lies beneath our glowing smiles and hearty laughs.

And, it’s no one’s fault.

It isn’t our fault- despite the fact that we were his friends, and could have caught a glimpse of this darkness once or twice, but couldn’t do anything more for him than just laugh with him, and make everything seem okay, albeit for just a couple of minutes.

It isn’t his family’s fault either – I know they tried to show him love and support the best way they knew how. I’m sure they went above and beyond for him, and somehow, it still wasn’t enough.

Sometimes, love is simply not enough.

You can love somebody so much, with every being in your body, but still be incapable of saving them from what is eating them from the inside.

Sometimes, love isn’t enough.

Sometimes the darkness overpowers your will to go one more day.

Sometimes the thread that holds you to your loved ones becomes too miniscule compared to the monster growing inside you.

To quiet the voices, to drown the pain, you choose to do the one thing that would crush your loved ones’ hearts.

But, at least, finally you get your peace. And, eventually, you hope, that they’ll find peace in knowing that you are finally resting.

I am in no way condoning his decision, it hurts, and I can’t possibly imagine what his family is going through.

But, every time I put myself in his shoes, or in my own mother’s shoes, I can see how the battle can become overwhelming, and no amount of talk, love, or support can stop the disease, this darkness, from taking over.

Recently, (literally two days ago), we were ranked the sixth most depressed nation in the world.

That means hundreds of thousands of us are depressed, and our suicide rates are skyrocketing especially amongst our young men.

I think the best thing we can do is to be on the lookout for the earliest signs of depression in our family members, and act upon it immediately.

We need to help people fight their demons way earlier on before the disease spreads farther, and our love, support, and listening ears can’t do much to help.

It’s like cancer – early detection is the only way we can circumvent the effects of the disease.

And, depression is a disease. A serious one, and I’m tired of people my parents’ age not understanding this point, and behaving as if all those that are depressed are a bunch of entitled brats!

Some people are born predisposed to depression.

Others fall into it because of the poisonous societal conditions we’ve managed to create over the years, and seem unwilling to change at least for the sake of our collective mental health.

Right now, I’m at peace because my friend is in peace. He was so young, but somehow the disease had progressed to a point nothing we could do or say would have changed the path he chose to find that peace.

But, I know that in order to stop such a tragedy from happening again, I need to be extra ALERT and pick up on the earliest, smallest signs of depression exhibited by the people around me.

My conversations and interactions will be more meaningful, more insightful. It’s going to be me listening more rather than talking, and allowing my loved ones to be as free as possible around me.

I hope that somehow this helps, and I hope that you too, dear reader, get to do the same for your loved ones.

Anyway,

Goodbye until the next time I have something to tell you.

Kisses πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

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!!!

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 πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

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 πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

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!’Β 

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.Β 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.Β 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 chantingΒ 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, cheatingΒ on someone who trusts you is wrong, regardless of the reasons behind your actions.

 

 

FORGIVING YOUR FATHER FOR HIS PAST MISTAKES

‘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).