Tag Archives: LIFE

THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON I LEARNT IN 2018

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

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

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

For most days….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUT….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

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.

 

 

I HAVE A TINY, TINY, TINY GIFT

I have a Youtube channel. I know, I know, everyone has a Youtube channel. It’s all the rave nowadays. All the cool kids have one (I do not fall under this category obviously).

There’s nothing serious about mine, it’s just for kicks. And, also a way to show off my big forehead because it too deserves love, attention, and admiration.

The main theme of the channel is football, which is by far my favorite topic ever. Don’t get me wrong. I love talking about books, about economics, the environment, evolution, about religion, about different cultures, about healthy eating, and physical exercise. But football is above all of these.

Hold up! Let me make myself very clear.

I love talking about football, but the most epic conversations, the ones I find most alluring and compelling are those that usually revolve around food and/or sex. Luckily, discussions on these topics, especially the latter, occur mainly inside my own head. I would not want to pollute any of you innocent souls with that kind of filth.

So, it’s food, sex, and THEN football, got it?

So, yeah. It’s a vlog on football and the elements that keep me interested in the game. I just blab on and on about what I found amusing, bemusing, offensive, or impressive about teams and individual players. Don’t forget the hot players with the nice beards, and the long hair.

I have been doing it for months, and it’s just so much fun. It’s like having a conversation with the mirror and having the luxury of your mirror record every single one of those conversations for future reference. This awes me for some weird reason, and I am not going to stop doing it anytime soon.

But, I have recently introduced another aspect to the vlog. A scary aspect about myself that I thought was only for me. An aspect that I had sworn I would never let anyone see until I stumbled upon the quote below:

‘If you are a gifted person, it doesn’t mean that you gained something. It means you have something to give back.’- Carl Jung.

I don’t consider myself a really gifted singer, but there’s something there, and if you struggle to listen through, you can find it. I’ve always found it, and for as long as I can remember, it’s always been my special treat for me. I sing when I’m sad, I sing when I’m happy, I sing when I’m running on empty just to get myself fired up again. I sing when I am anxious, I sing when I’m bored, and I even sing when I’m horny. I sing when I’m trying to get over something, something painful or embarrassing. I’m just constantly singing, and I have been doing it obsessively for years.

But then I came across the quote above, and it made me feel a little bit guilty. I have never really tried to share this particular gift of mine, even though we all agree that it is quite small.

It’s quite sad really because small gifts can have a huge impact (I’m not saying my singing will).

Anyway, that is why I decided to start doing rookie covers of some of the songs that have made me happy over the years. Maybe there is someone who’ll like my singing and my song collection, and it will make their day just a little bit better. Maybe there is someone who’ll find some solace in my voice like I have; maybe this is the small gift the universe intended me to give to someone else.

I don’t know; just maybe. What I do know is that I’m having a blast practicing and doing the covers. It’s just one more good thing in my life.

On that note, here’s the playlist of the covers I have done so far. Feel free to laugh it’s allowed. It’s a small gift, but it’s what I have, and it’s what I can afford to give back…

SEVEN YEARS OF BLISS

It’s Justin’s birthday this week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s what they named him…Justin!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*******

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

MOVIE! MOVIE! MOVIE!

Hey y’all, I hope you’re having a fantastic Wednesday evening. I am, so far. I’m just here downing my second glass of sugarcane juice. This juice is heavenly, and I am addicted.

Anyway, here we are.

I’ll keep this uncharacteristically short.

Drum roll, please.

My baby brother, my forever stomach buddy, made a movie. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Okay, he’s made several, some for class projects, and some for hobby-sake.

But this one is kind of special, I forget the reason why, but I know it’s special.

But everything my stomach-buddy does is special. He draws, he writes evocative stories, as well as writing and directing his own scripts/movies.

Yap, that’s my stomach-buddy transforming himself into a creative genius. I call him ‘stomach-buddy’ because we came from the same womb. He didn’t like the term at first, no one would though, because he did not get it, but now he likes it, and he responds to it. That and toto. There is this child-like innocence about him that makes toto so befitting especially when he is asking me a question. He’s a gem.

Here we are acting goofy!!

And, here he is being absolutely cool!!

So anyway, he made a really cool movie with some of his classmates, and I’m really proud of him and his work.

Here is the link to the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7kDeBk7Y6E

Have an awesome rest of your week, and get some sugarcane juice too. It’s delicious.

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).

MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM ‘MINIMALISM-THE DOCUMENTARY’

Hi there!

I know, it’s been forever. Hope you are doing awesome, I am.

Now that the niceties are out of the way, I wanted to share something with you.

Last week, a client of mine asked me to transcribe a documentary for him. The documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, is about two guys, known as The Minimalists, who are on a journey to raise awareness about the benefits of a minimalist life. The film also includes other speakers, from authors to neuroscientists, economists, a former Wall Street broker, and high profile news anchors.

The overwhelming conclusion from the documentary is that majority of us are addicted to consuming; not because we need it; but because we all have this empty void, and over time, our brains have been conditioned to believe that we can only fill this void with more and more stuff. We have been made to believe that we are not happy or content unless we have the latest gadgets, the latest fashion, the latest product in the market, essentially.

Advertisement and consumption go hand in hand, and this is why we are constantly being barraged with adverts, seemingly everywhere we look. And this is not only happening in Western nations. It’s happening right here in Kenya, and we have so many examples of how we are evolving into a people who over-consume.

If it’s not our love for stealing and consuming money that isn’t ours, it’s our love for over-consuming alcohol and drugs. Our greed is so evident in the things we do, and we are not ashamed of throwing vulnerable people under the bus just for a quick shilling. It’s our love for always looking fashionable and spending money we don’t have or didn’t earn.

More, more, more. Nothing is ever enough for the average Kenyan. Nothing!

The unfortunate thing is that now our kids are being sucked into this consumption cycle, which by the way, is highly unsustainable and is quickly leading to the degradation of our environment. Our kids are now the targets of these advertisements convincing them that they need to spend more on things they don’t need, and less on the things that they really need.

It’s a sad state of affairs that we are in.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite quotes from the documentary. I hope you find them as profound, as thought-provoking, and as behavior-altering as I did.

Dan Harris: Author, 10% Happier

So much our life is lived in a fog of automatic habitual behavior. We spend so much time on the hunt. But nothing ever quite does it for us and we get so wrapped up in the hunt that it kind of makes us miserable.

Ryan Nicodemus: The Minimalists

‘I had everything I ever wanted. I had everything I was supposed to have. Everyone around me said you’re successful. But, really I was miserable.

‘There was this gaping void in my life. So, I tried to fill that void the same way many people do. With stuff. Lots of stuff. I was filling the void with consumer purchases. I was spending money faster than I was earning it; attempting to buy my way to happiness. I thought I’ll get there one day.’

Eventually, I mean, happiness had to be somewhere just around the corner. I was living paycheck to paycheck. Living for a paycheck. Living for stuff. But, I wasn’t living at all.’

Imagine a life with less. Less stuff, less clutter, less stress, and debt, and discontent. A life with fewer distractions. Now imagine a life with more. More time. More meaningful relationships. More growth, and contribution and contentment.’

‘The people you bring into your life; you should always be hanging out with people who have the same values. And that’s really what minimalism is about; it’s about living deliberately. So every choice that I make every, every relationship, every item, every dollar that I spend; I’m not perfect, obviously, but I do consciously ask the question, “is this adding value, am I being deliberate with this decision?”’

‘The whole point of this message. The whole point of Sharing the story is to help people curb that appetite for more things because it’s such a destructive path to go down. I’ve literally have used people to sell cell phones. I’ve used people to get bigger and better clients, and what I love about my life now is that I can be genuine. That there is no manipulation.’

‘Imagine a life of less. A life of passion unencumbered by the trappings of the chaotic world around you. Well, what you are imagining is an intentional life. It’s not a perfect life. And it’s not an easy life. But it’s a simple one.’

Jesse Jacobs: Entrepreneur

‘It’s why lottery winners are miserable. It’s why homeowners have three car garages. The first car creates an exponential awesome rush of happiness and joy and utility. The second car comes about because we tire of the first car, and as humans, we are wired to become dissatisfied. It’s an addiction really. And we are encouraged to maintain the addiction through technology and information.’

Juliet Schor: Ph.D. Economist and Sociologist

‘Advertising has polluted and infiltrated culture.’

We are too materialistic in the everyday sense of the word and not at all materialistic enough in the true sense of the word. We need to be true materialists like really care about the materiality of goods. Instead, we’re in a world in which material goods are so important for their symbolic meaning. What they do to position us in the status System based on what advertising and marketing say they are about.’

If you think about the concept of fashion, it embodies in it the idea that you can throw things away not when they are no longer usable but when they no longer have that social value or they are no longer fashionable.’

Historically companies which had products aimed at kids would go towards the mothers and get the mothers to wanna buy the stuff for the kids. What happens is, the companies decide to go around the mothers, and go directly to the kids.

‘There is a problem that both process and content. And the problem of content is huge. The products that are being advertised to kids are junk. It’s a junk culture. It’s food that’s bad for them. its crappy toys that are gendered and violent. I don’t see the argument for subjecting children to this like there is no positive social benefit from it. we just know there is a negative and it is just a political power of advertising and the companies that do the advertising that keeps us from doing something about it.’

If I had to revise the American dream, it will be more about coming together in community. It would be more about a society, which had much less inequality and more fairness in which everybody had a chance that is responsible towards the planet and our ecosystem. To me, that would be an American dream.

 

Patrick Rhône: Author of Enough

‘It’s been a slow revolution. This is not something that just happened yesterday. This is something that has been sold to us over say the past hundred years, slowly but surely by those that want to make a whole lot of money. They want to believe that you really need these things.’

‘Because you can do anything you want, you can potentially do everything you want. But to do everything you want you to have to sacrifice the things that really are important. When it comes to the overwhelm, the easiest way to solve all that is to turn it off. Really, just turn it off.’

‘We think we need those things because we have been told we need those things. We have been told we need those things by our society. It has been this kind of slow little thing that’s just kind of trickled in, and suddenly, it becomes the thing you do.’

‘It really does come down to a value-based ideal. You want to do the most amount of good and get the most amount of value with exactly what you need. Having too little is not going to give you that and having too much is not going to give you that, right? Having that balance, having enough, that’s what you are looking for.’

Joshua Fields Milburn: The Minimalists

‘All of these things that I brought into my life without questioning. But, when I started letting go, I started feeling freer and happier and lighter. And now, as a minimalist, every possession serves a purpose or brings me a joy brings me joy. ‘

Everything that I look around, I have to go and justify to myself, not to anyone else, justify to myself, does this add value to my life? And if not, I have to be willing to let go.’

‘We want to promote a message we really believe in:  A simple living message of living more deliberately with less.’

There’s a template out there, you can call it the American dream or keeping up with the Joneses or whatever. That’s just a template; it’s not the template. And once we realize that we can create our own template that works just for us.’

‘There is this underlying discontent and I think that it starts to manifest in our stuff. and what I am finding as we go out on the road and we talk to so many people is everyone is looking for more meaning in our lives.’

‘Love people and use things. Because the opposite never works.’

‘I don’t think there’s anything wrong with consumption. The problem was compulsory consumption. buying stuff because that’s what you’re supposed to do. That is what advertising tells you to do. That’s what this magic template is for happiness and when you get it, you realize that it doesn’t make you as happy as you thought it would.’

I was living the American dream and I realized it wasn’t my dream. I looked around at all the stuff in my life, when my mother died and my marriage ended both in the same month and started questioning what was actually important. What things were actually adding value to my life and I realize that many of the things that I bought to make me happy they weren’t actually doing their job.’

Minimalism is not a radical lifestyle. Yeah, I absolutely believe in quality over quantity. ‘

David FriedlanderCommunications Director LifeEdited:

‘So we have people living in these enormous homes and if you really look at it, people don’t use the space that they have. it creates this big vacuum that you have to fill so people are throwing all this crap into their homes that they don’t need.’

Frank Mascia: Architect

‘We are living our lives depending on the space we’ve got rather than creating our space to fit our lives. It’s so easy to go wrong. And you wind up with three dining tables in the same house. Nothing is more responsible than living in the smallest space you possibly can.’

Jay Austin: Tiny House Designer

‘I think there is this element of affordability, simplicity, and sustainability that just makes tiny houses seem like the perfect solution to a problem that we haven’t yet figured out. Which is how do we go from working all throughout a lifetime to enjoying a lifetime with a bit of work here and there.’

‘I think we’ve only begun to re-examine what it means to be successful in life. It’s no longer about white Picket fence; It’s no longer about the big mansion. I think people are beginning to recognize that maybe they have been tricked. And that maybe they have more agency over their options Than they once thought they did.’

‘We’re not going to ever be able to achieve the environmental gains that we are seeking whilst we are expecting our lives to be the same. We’re going to have to get up a lot. The secret is that a lot of that, we are not going to actually miss.’

‘It’s not so much about financial gain for me as financial freedom. which is the ability to wake up in the morning and spend one’s day as they see fit. A part of why we consume things is that we work for so long and a lot of people aren’t finding fulfillment in their jobs and they need some way to tell themselves that it’s all worth it. that it’s amounting to something more than just a few numbers in a bank account. That there is more; there’s more to life than bills and money and work.’

Graham Hill: Founder of LifeEdited:

‘Very quickly, I realized that small space made so much sense environmentally, but also made sense on many other levels.’

Sam Harris: Author and Neuroscientist

‘I think we’re confused about what is going to make us happy. Many people think that material possessions are really the center of the bull’s-eye, and expect that you gratifying each desire as it arises will somehow lead to a satisfying life.’

‘We have this capacity for focus. But we are living in a context where we are continually moving from one Stimulus to the next in search of the dopamine experience where we are rewarded by the next email or the next retweet or the next thing that comes into our phone, rather often. I think there is a price we pay for that.’

We are ruminating about past and future in a way that keeps us from really connecting with the present moment in a way that values it as good enough. Meditation is a technique of finding well-being in the present moment before anything happens. You can be happy and satisfied simply being aware of the sensation of breathing. Very rarely are we fully dedicated to one thing. We are interrupting ourselves and allowing ourselves to be interrupted by these streams of data and what would in any other context to be thought of as distractions, but now we think of them as being necessary parts of our bandwidth.’

Gail Steketee: PhD, compulsive hoarding expert

‘It is clear that, as human beings, we have a strong attachment initially in our lives to people who are caring for us. And sometimes it feels like those attachments spillover to objects. As if they were as important as people. I’m not so sure that we have such a great relationship with things.’

Shannon Whitehead: Sustainable-Apparel Consultant

‘Now we work in a cycle of 52 seasons per year. They want you to feel like you’re out of trend after one week So that you’ll buy something new the following week. 

There have actually been accounts of big fashion retailers bailing all of the clothes from one week together slashing all the clothes from one week with scissors destroying them and leaving them on the side of the road so that nobody can resell them or even wear them. They want consumers to buy as much clothing as quickly as possible.’

Leo Babuta: Author, Zen habits

‘I think people buy because they are trying to fulfill this void inside of them. I know that because that was me. But no matter how much stuff we buy and how many different fads that we try we don’t become a more whole person. We keep looking. This hunger never gets fulfilled.’

Rick Hanson: PhD neuro psychologist

I think it goes to the bottom line fact that you can never get enough of what you don’t really want. In other words, deep down, we don’t really want more goodies, more toys, more cars; we want what they will bring us. we want to feel whole, we want to feel content.

Colin Beavan

This mindless consumption, this same thing that is not making us Happy is also causing the degradation of our habitat.

Colin Wright: Entrepreneur, Full-time Traveler

What did it at the end of the day, knowing this path had been well tread, the direction I was going and very successful men and women with all this money and all this prestige and all this professional background behind them -they weren’t happy. They’re very successful but in an absolute sense; they are dollars and cents successful. It seemed far more likely that I could find something; find a definition of success that will actually get me to a place where I was both successful, and just incredibly happy.

 

Famous quote by Jim Carrey- I wish everyone could become rich and famous so they could realize it’s not the answer.

 

Mark:

In any disease or sickness, one of the biggest factors, one of the things that contribute to these things in the negative ways is the stress in your life. By getting rid of these things in our lives, these material items, and all of these excesses that we used to live in, good things happened.

Joshua Becker author clutter free with kids:

I wonder what the most common three words are in American homes. I don’t know if it’s I love you or if it’s I want that. 5000 advertisements we see every day from the moment we are born. And they all tell us, ‘hey, this is what your life should be about. it should be about accumulating more things or it should all be about focusing on you.

In 1983, companies spent $100 million marketing to children. In 2006, companies spend 17 billion.

Former US President, Jimmy Carter:

Good evening. It is clear that the true problems of our nation are much deeper, deeper than gasoline lines or energy shortages. Deeper even than inflation or recession. In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities; too many of us others now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we have discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We have learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives, which have no confidence. Or purpose. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance. But it is the truth. And it is a warning.’

 

AJ Leon:

‘When you recognize that, this life is yours and that it is the one and only and when that ceases to be the esoteric bullshit. When that’s not hippy poetry anymore. When the pragmatism of that statement sips directly into your bones, and you recognize that this is it. Everything changes.’