DEAD CHICKEN

We sat to drink tea with my girl last week. 

Scratch that.

 My girl and I were clutching our flesh on the edge of an overly stuffed cushion in a crowded joint that housed a millennial of jumpy curls, folds of un-detained energy and too much colour dripping from navel-naked tops and artificial finger nails. The ambience was… well, plastic. Forgive my trotting eyes that caught a glimpse of six hippies curled up in a table adjacent to ours. Clearly repulsive to the presence of every heart in the room, the lot chanted their conversations. Well spiced with torrents of screeching laughter. Afraid that their indecent talk would replace my favourite tunes in the morning shower, I looked deeper into my plate. 

Two pieces of chicken, polished in grease stared at me. Almost aware that I was deeply cursing their state. I was actually trying to figure out whether indeed this was part of the brood my neighbour back in the village had brokerage-d at a throw-away price when she couldn’t swallow the bitter gulp of losing all her herd in a night to chicken flu. I could see the dead chicken on a ride to the city at the back of a rusty van sweating in the January heat, anticipating to make it in life. Well, make it in a governor’s stomach. 

But not so soon dear chicken; life is a stepping stone and so is every hall mark of achievement. They would have to wait in the deep freezer mingling with their fleeting counterparts as each shared their story on how they got there. As they would learn, theirs was a decent death, their cold friends had been poisoned. Apparently, their master’s ignorant son was high on something (not water) they had guessed it was anger that burned out in smoke from his nostrils. He had flushed a fussy laugh at them before ‘caramelizing’ their feeding troughs with white powder, happily they let free their appetites only to lose sight of their beings. But they were glad they would make it to a human body; that was prestigious enough!

Flashes of light stomping my forehead raptured my chicken tale. The hippies were posing archived smiles at lenses. The camera flash would roll from one face to another before eventually landing on the ‘dead chicken’ in the plates. I could almost feel those plates whimper; like dwarfs caught up in a stampede. I had to hide my poky face behind the lean structure of my girl, lest I stumbled upon my face in a meme that denoted the hazards of photo-bombing the following day.

My girl was rather at home, separating the chicken skin from the bone. I watched the flesh hide in her mouth. It wasn’t until I saw her throat contract that I had the audacity to ‘enjoy’ the meal in my plate; I had my backing in as much as eating dead chicken was an issue. 

‘So, how have you been’ that was meant to help distract my mind that was already questioning my neighbour on why she had to sell those lifeless birds.

‘I have been good’ she had another bite, larger than the former.

‘And how is he doing?’ she knew who I meant.

‘Ummmh I don’t know’ she said twitching her lips in a jeer that actually suggested ‘I don’t care’

I could read lips… at the moment. ‘Mind sharing what happened?’ 

‘He benched me…. I no longer cry on his shoulder’

No tissue was needed here, she looked just fine, like she had just lost a pencil. I wasn’t surprised either as I didn’t expect a wedding out of that ‘thing’. 

I wanted to hear more before these birds tortured me.

‘He got a chocolate substitute, he is chasing the ball, harder now like it is his first time on the pitch’ she was licking the ketchup on her finger. ‘I won’t deny it, I still wish he was patient with me, maybe I would have learned the rules to his game and we would score!’ 

I was amused! That’s not how Juliet would cry over Romeo; licking ketchup and swallowing chicken? She wasn’t Juliet anyway. This talk only seemed to quicken her appetite, or maybe eating was her stress-coping technique. 

Tossing her plate to the side, she grabbed the napkin to her lips, wiped her hands then cupped her chin in them. She was ready to rant, I guessed.

‘Can you imagine how that feels? To gain the applause of a filled stadium? To carry a trophy to our cabinet? To appear on the cover of the dailies in marching jerseys, flaunting our championship with perfect smiles? To go up the medal table beating all other teams?’ nothing changed not even her eyes; they shone not with tears but the joy her imaginations brought.

I imagined a camporee of ‘millennials’ in blue and green wigs, coupled in the stadium seats, high on infatuation, dancing hard and dirty to imported lyrics, cheering on my girl because she and him wore matching socks. 

‘I would have loved to house his ecstasy’ she rolled her eyes, the only thing that would fall off was her fake lashes. Not tears.

‘Oh! The spendthrift romance of millenials’ I cried inside. ‘The kind that loons over storo bonus and aches fingers typing messages then in no time you call him and he says ‘let me close the fridge door I’ll get back to you!’  

I was feeling old already as my girl sat there waiting for my reaction. The hippies had left, there was a gleaming sense of sanity. I had to ask her the questions that raced my heart… 

‘Where is our place in this world of technical intimacy?

You know I’m gone when the ticks are blue. You delete my photos and your memory of me is lost. We talk about food and favourite places and claim to know each other! The world of clutter and chaos where the sound of the wind is refuted by ringtones and taverns replace nature’s beauty. Oh! The cosmetic beauty of a sere world painted in black, silencing nature.’

“What now, you preparing a speech on this?” her sarcasm was starting to crawl.

“What do you make of a relationship?” I almost knew what the answer would be.

“Happiness?” it came out as a question.

“So how would you define happiness?” I quipped

“Ummh, if he treats me well, shows me to his friends…yeah!”

“You mean; buy you chicken, take you on vacation and endorse you on twitter?”

“Ahaaa, sort of” she confirmed 

Sort of meant exactly!

I could almost smell the stench of the dead chicken at the back of a rusty van in the January heat being transported from our village to the city. To us they were dead, to hopeful romantics they were a sign of love; how ironic. I wanted to tell her just how chicken was not a good idea, she should have opted for something else, something that was not dead. Maybe a home-made meal carried out to a picnic? That way she would know what she really was feeding on, not in a crowded joint stacked with brownies that looked like the rainbow, and greased chicken that was dead. That was not how we found love….. Not among the dead.

“You get what you ask for. Instead of demanding mall tours and snap chat stories, wouldn’t you rather have him buy you a blank 200 paged book and you could recount each year spend together in every page? I don’t think he would want you to note about matching socks and shoelaces. He would want to read deeper than public ovation. More of you to please?” 

I hoped this would be the last conversation we would have over dead chicken. Continue reading

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GOD OF THE LITTLE STARS

God of the little stars.
*The little stars*
The little stars think less of themselves, they do not illuminate the skies as would the larger majestic ones with crowns on their heads. They shine in the shadow of the big and many times their light is assumed as in-existing.
The little stars are pushed to the corner in shame of their inability to glow and be like the rest. They hide into despair in a world where they are barely appreciated or given a chance to prove their muscle. The big ones silence them and deem them unimportant or rather valueless.
The little stars are torn and worn out of rejection. Their light is trampled upon and rendered insignificant. Just like the dark, they are dreaded and hence thrown into the gloom. Not a ray from their worn out hearts penetrates the proud sky and hence are made to think that they are trivial.
The little stars barely have no one in their defence; no one to prove to the rest that they are actually stars regardless of their stature. No one to remind them that their light is invaluable and if only they teamed up; they would compete with the sun.
*The letter*
‘Dear God of the little stars,
Does the siren of our hurt alarm you?
Our scarred hearts light in gloom; the world you created has come to torment us. Devoid of mercy it ruptures and tortures even the defenceless.
Paint the world with your love.
Let there be life where death prowls,
Let there be joy where grief holds dear,
Set us apart from pain,
And let your love, oh your love! Be at home in hearts.’
*The end*
God of love we hope in Thee.

STAMP OUT STIGMA

_Years ago, the term ‘mathari’ brought a lunatic impression in my mind. That was the prejudice I was fed on by society; those were dangerous people in there, they were evil spirits in human bodies.

As I have come to be, I realize that ‘mathari’ is just but a centre for people with psychiatric conditions, in as much as poor management and stigmatization has made it seem like a ‘prison for mad men and women’ where they are kept to count their remaining days on earth.

Stigma is a social injustice that discredits many people with mental illness, terribly harming them in the process, or rather, it is stereotypes that reflect a group negatively. Its resulting injury is broad and cutting.

A few days before I left campus I had my eyes troll through a really good book that shamed stigma towards the mentally ill. I was so intrigued as to ignore the author and its title, but I am glad I kept notes and here are some of the excerpts from that book concerning stigma.

‘In the 1800s people with mental illness were confined to cells or chained walls, with little consideration to such very basics as food and clothing. Sadly, tourists of the time travelled to asylums as fun outing, similar to seeing animals at the zoo. Some of the sufferings the mentally ill faced were; bloodletting- opening a vein so that bad “humours” were ejected and replaced by sane fluids. There were also; twirling people in a chair, tying them down for excruciatingly long periods and dunking them in tanks filled with water.

The following are three sets of stigmatizing attitudes about mental illness commonly endorsed by the average person;

i) Fear and exclusion; persons with severe mental illness are dangerous, should be feared, and therefore be kept out of most communities.

ii) Authoritarianism; persons with severe mental illness are irresponsible; their life decisions should be made by others

iii) Benevolence; persons with severe mental illness are childlike and need to be cared for.

Stigma can bias our memory so that persons with mental illness are recalled in a more negative light, they hence are remembered in a biased manner.

Insights of people like Clifford beers, Judy Chamberlin and Oaks challenged the very core of mental health practice with their viewpoints.’

Clifford Beers generously shares his experience as a mental illness patient; the rough patch he endured in asylum and his journey to recovery. All these he documents in his book ‘A mind that found itself’ He explains the ruthless attention he got from ward attendants defined by the wilful frustration and repression of reasonable desires which made him and others seeming maniacs. Beers remembers an incident where one of the patients, in a ward next to his was discharged to go home before he fully recovered. The man hanged himself in the first month he gained liberty after being discharged as improved and not cured. The memories of the abuse, torture and injustice which were so long his portion may have proved to be the last straw which overbalanced the desire to live. In his book, behavioural discrimination speaks loudly as a stabbing pain in a patient’s life.

Behavioural discrimination occurs most obviously when one person is in a more powerful role compared to the person with mental illness. For example; property owners do not rent an apartment to a person because he was in a psychiatric ward, passengers move their seats when a person with facial tics sits next to them. etc This kind of pulling back is hurtful to persons with mental illness who are trying to fit into their community.

Affirming actions are needed to stop discriminatory behaviour. They include efforts to reach out to persons with mental illness and include them as full members of the community. In Zimbambwe for instance, an initiative to reach the mentally ill in the community has been really productive. The friendship bench as it is called, incorporates community counsellors in different parts of the country who help people in need find mental health support.

Perceptions by themselves are not enough to come to conclusions about someone.

Being aware of stereotypes however, does not mean a person agrees to them. Agreeing to stereotypes is the definition of prejudice.

As this month of May (the mental health awareness month) comes to an end, it is my prayer that we end stigma toward the mentally ill and instead support them._

 

 

FROM RIBBONS TO YARNS

Ribbons and pretty little things are what enchant a young female soul. Fantasy tales of princesses in flowing gowns and shiny tiaras lull them to sleep. They dream about chocolate, wake up craving chocolate, cry in want of chocolate and finally they get their chocolate thanks to Mama’s marshmallow-ed heart that drips with spongy sweetness. A good fold of us must have had their princess moments; when laughter was just a cry away. We whipped our eyes wet to demand our favourite comic animation. No one dared wake us up at awkward morning hours unless we were sick and when we asked for delamere’s strawberry yoghurt in the morning, all other brands took a bow. Well, some of us may never have enjoyed the luxury of ask and get pizza, but the boiled corn we asked for never failed our not-really ravenous but somewhat-haughty appetites._

I am in my early twenties probably experiencing quarter life crisis or rather healing from homesickness. I no longer find amusement in ribbons like my young self would unless I am decorating cards and the ribbons get to play the role of an accessory. Pink coloured walls and dolls warm my heart but they really do not wipe away my tears. Should this be the reality of growing up, or the price I have to pay for being an adult then I am willing to bear the marks since growing up is what I covetously recited daily ever since my lips parted and my tongue functioned.

I am at that age where you have to act like you have your life figured out in as much as my stomach pinches regularly reminding me that I still have a few butterflies roaming in there. I know what my life looks like and I am living it but I still have that stubborn baby in me that knocks in the first hour of the morning demanding to see the sun, the little queer moments I wished Mama got wind of like being served cold beans for breakfast at a new town I moved into but I can only kiss the irrelevance and skip the meal silently and no one will notice, no one will bother ask whether I ate or kicked the bowl. A speck gets in my eye right through into my heart, I can only pull it off modestly in public, but I know when I get into my closet the hypocritical strong walls of my heart will come down in a loud rumble cluttering into my tear ducts and even in the morning the pain stings, and I can’t explain to Mama that my eyes are red because my Knight in shining armour snubbed my text messages. This age where it doesn’t matter how I learnt to cook; if served with three stones and firewood I will find my way out to fill my stomach, in as much as it will take tearing and choking in the smoke.

My ribbons have turned into yarns over time. I have to figure out how to crotchet a masterpiece out of the yarns. The first knot is always the hardest to make, especially for beginners like me, you are afraid it would mess up the next knot or that somewhere along the way you may miss out on the pattern and make a shrimp out of it. Such thoughts hit hard at this stage where I have to confront fear, fight my own battles independently and hope that I am not running off the side tracks. My ribbon days have hit the menopause stage, I can only take delight in yarns. The teddy bears play no emotional role but are as ornaments.

At this time I have found intimacy in one; Jesus Christ. I talk to Him as many times as I can, I tell him everything because to me, He understands it all and it does not bother Him. My irrelevance is His concern so is my wobbly self His muse. I don’t know how I would survive the days without Him, I would have given up! It is amazing though how simple a practice of talking to Him whether in a crowded bus or on my notebook can be so fulfilling and revamping! Yes I tell him about my short hair that is so difficult to comb sometimes, I tell Him about the difficult people I meet, about my dreams and how happy I would be if I lived them all.

Good thing is He listens. And He responds.

I am really looking forward to facing these coming days with God. And of course see what the yarn He has put in my hands will translate into. Oh once in a while I will capture the progress and send images to Mama, she one day will be proud I did not let her knit my yarn._

 

Let me know the struggles you face/d transitioning from ribbons to yarns and maybe what kept/keeps you going?

 

 

 

DOING ‘THAT’ INSTEAD OF ‘THIS’

_

Today my fingers itch but my mind is a zombie.

It’s a typical day in the month, a mundane one. Well, I don’t like mundane days where nothing exciting seems to materialize; when I know I’ll have buttered bread and white tea for breakfast, will jump into my daily duties as it is a sequence, when I know I will watch the nine o’clock news and nothing good will be said; same hospital on spot, same guy under siege. I could possibly close my eyes and work through a mundane day.

The fact that normalcy is boring, is no brainer.

We all get worn out by repetition, singing a particular song over and over again, talking about unchanging weather. That is why we prefer to sing along to covers and to change topics when the conversation gets to the yawning tide.

It is discouraging to start a mundane day;

You wake up, the room looks dark just like the day before, no rays managed to sneak in, because well, it is a mundane day.

You get to the shower, the water beats your body with the ordinary smack of a little warmth, the tune you sing in the bathroom hasn’t changed neither has your voice stopped screeching the lyrics.

You pick clothes to wear, same clothes you wore to a friend’s tea party a couple of weeks ago, ironed in the same pattern, and accessorized as they were last time.

You make breakfast; white tea and bread stained with butter and jam. You carry your bag and walk out. Silence stalks you outside the trail to work. Whichever means you use, the brain is activated by the chatter of two radio hosts talking of the regular topic, different characters.

You get to work and the walls were not repainted, your colleague complains of their toddler’s tantrums you console her with a recited sorry and sit on your desk. Different clients, same issues. You know how to solve them; same order of operation.

Lunch time, you manage a breather defined by trolls through social media. The whatsapp groups are loudly continuing the topic from the morning radio show, Facebook is crowded with chicas in similar eyebrows. Nothing much to read from society, it is sere like the bowl of ‘fruit salad’ on your desk.

The evening hours are lazy, dictated by flashes of gossip, anticipation to go home and a clacking sound of teaspoons stirring the evening cup of chai. When the time is up, you rush out and get home. To the regular soap opera, same news on the telly; different host, same food recipe; different plates.

You sleep and say you lived another day in the year!

Unfortunately that’s what some days are like for us; commonplace and tedious!

I dread such days and when I smell such a day in the morning, I brave myself to counter the darts of boredom.

Change succeeds the ordinary.

When we change our normal, it is challenging but exciting. That, instead of having a constant sleeping pattern, you would choose to sleep in late sometimes reading a good book or talking to a friend over the phone. That instead of using the green marker pen on your Bible, you could blend in a yellow one. That instead of taking just bread, you could get out of the house earlier than usual and eat your breakfast out. That instead of rushing home from work, you would visit a neighbourhood and have a sneak pic of what life next door looks like. Doing ‘that’ instead of ‘this’.

Maybe that way, life would feel brand new each day.

Well, some mundane days are inevitable, but you can always find a way to make it different before it dawns boring on you.

Good riddance to mundane days.

What are some of the routine activities in your day that you would want to change? I would like to know (

 

HE DIDN’T GO TO CHURCH

He walked in looking like he had swallowed a frog -a green fat one. His legs could barely support the weight of his trunk; his head was heavier I presumed. The only thing that moved was his lips, lazily stretching to his right jaw. He was giving directions, insinuating that I move to the study table and he secures the bed. I wanted to resist but there was nothing he would understand then, even if I told him that I would be hosting the Bible study group in the next twenty minutes. His body would hear none of it and I would be wasting time convincing him to take a bow out to his crib.

Helping him on the half-spread bed, I could barely stand the strong stench from him; he smelt like an overly-used kiln watered with gin and spirits. Not even a skunk would contend with him. Growling like a thirsty animal, he lift his half-laced sneakers to the blue and white floral cover; I cringed at the sight of his stained pants lazily clung to my favourite bed cover. There he stretched his hands around the pillow, fondly like a lost lover, and his blood-shot eyes hid beneath the falling eyelids. He looked like a baby so peaceful and innocent, like he had done no wrong swallowing hard liquor and smoking like a chimney and letting me be part of his hangover. I cursed bitterly his state, only I couldn’t blame him for seeking me out as his refuge after the euphoria left him. I had let him since the first day he walked in through the door with a cigar in his left hand and a good read in the other.

He was foul and soul stacked in a package, and I greedily gobbled the parts I craved: Soul. He was deep, the kind you can talk about cuticles and feel like Socrates; and not just a nail technician. He made life easy with his witty wisdom. Even a bag of fries would not just pass by as fattening carbohydrates. He would dig out potatoes: their growing zones, altitudes and soil pH. He knew too much, from the beauty of Cleopatra to the stench of a corrupt government. He was an old soul; the kind that smells like a library, looks like a museum and stands like a monument. More in touch with himself and others. He wasn’t like the ‘good men’ that would in no time storm in my room for Bible study.

They carried huge Bibles with commentaries, a notebook and a blue biro pen. I wondered what they wrote in those notebooks. Reports? It almost looked like they stepped into that door to probe, investigate and file a finding. They were behaviour police, always questioning and not engaging, always talking and not listening. Sometimes I felt more like a fool after the studies and less of a Bible Study Member. What I felt was scorn towards these same people who claimed brotherhood with me; a blue banana. I could feel it each time we walked into a member’s room and I commented on their cute mugs; they would wallow in a sympathising silence to mourn my irrelevance. To them, such was idle talk, a creek to let in the works of the evil one. They kept their compliments to favourite Bible characters.

As I sat there flipping through the pages of my Bible, I was hasty to find a story of anyone in the Bible who would make my struggle a mutual one. Pacing through the pages, my heart whimpered at the thought of the reaction these men would epitomise when they met the ‘sinner’ on my bed. This probably would be the last time I’d claim the Bible study membership card. Or would this open their eyes to love? I doubted.

Deeply dreading the heavy clack of their signature steps, I met the burden that would be as nakedness to me. He slept still, unmoving, unaware of the battle in my heart- to shove him under bed and offer a warm welcome to the men of cloth, or to lock the door and keep off pious eyes from seeing evil.

I felt like grass that was being trampled upon by two antagonizing oxen. I couldn’t stack him underneath; I wasn’t sure how long the floor there had missed the mop. And what if he growled amidst the meeting or slept talked in the hides, where would I hide my pink face?

I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. It was what I fought against and irrespective of who I did not want to be with, my heart was still stuck with him. Though sometimes I lost him to her, I still claimed my share of space in his heart. He said it while drunk, he said it while sober. Why wouldn’t I trust an intoxicated mind that had barely no power to fix a lie? Yes he loved me and hoped to wait at the end of the aisle for me. So he said and I protested. I told his firm face that I wouldn’t be yoked to him. He didn’t go to church, he smoked and drank like a fool.

No way would I spend my life with a junkie… So I thought till I saw the Church bleed whilst casting stones at the mavericks. So I thought till he confessed his Faith in God. He was a candle light in a storm, being beaten to and fro by strong winds. When I read the Bible with him, it opened my eyes and I wanted to know more, but I lost him to her. And though I missed him, I hated the foul in him.

Why did heroin have to snatch a good soul, why were the ‘sheep’ in the world and the ‘wolves’ both clad in white?

The clack of shoes disrupted my mental tour. I opened the door to two men in clean clothes holding Bibles in their hands… the one on my bed was wasted and held on only to the memory of heroin in his head._

 

AMAZING GRACE

 

Little song we sang,

Of

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound,

Little song we made,

Cliché.

Little did we know,

Small a song bore the truth,

Of a Grace,

It couldn’t describe.

We were little, we could sing,

We are old now, we can pray.

Little song made a prayer.

That this Grace shall abide,

With us forever.

TO HUMBLE AND TO OBEY…

Avianna. She is the sweetest two-year old I have met, well, so far. Spending a few weeks with her early last year; we bonded over music, food, Pilates and chores. She could mop the floor with her tiny hands and carry littered food to the bin. She twirled and ate spaghetti like she was sanctioned to it. Not to forget that she was my alarm; every morning she knocked loudly like a vexed landlord, shouting my name (one of the very few kids who got my name right) and if I didn’t open the door she would cry; how sweet! I could talk about her till kingdom come, or do you want to know that she ate every meal from two plates; mine and hers? Or that she hummed lyrics to certain rap songs but couldn’t hum ‘Baby Jesus, I love You, You are my Saviour…?’ Or that dancing was the only thing she did in private?

It hurt to think that such a naive soul, happy and innocent would grow up through the ‘know-it-all’ tides of teenage-hood. I wished she didn’t grow up, she should have remained as she was; tender-hearted and obedient. Oh yes obedient; she reciprocated my word with obedience yet I wore no boring saggy glasses and a tired wig. I was in a t-shirt and jeans and twist outs when I gave my orders, requests or explained something to her; like how to hold a spoon and why we should lock the bathroom door. She listened…I imagined her all grown up, probably my age; will she be willing to listen to me? Or will she have learnt to figure things out her own way? Will she sneer at my advice? And when I teach her how to tie a bun will she consider it old-fashioned?

This kid was so obedient and I realized we too were when young. We rushed to bring mama slippers when she came home tired, we wore every dress bought without complaining, without murmuring. Is it that we didn’t have a sense of fashion or is it because we couldn’t afford to buy what we wanted? Or did we have a mind not-so-devolved as to make decisions?

But wait… I believe children have a voice too. They decide whether to swallow food or not. There still are errant kids who refuse to swallow veggies because they are boring…_

It is their meekness that makes them obedient. Their teachable spirit as well._

We grow up so fast and forget that our parents age gracefully. Some of us probably obeyed our parents because we were helpless in all dimensions. Our full dependence on them is what dictated our obedience. Now that we have financial freedom; we can down play their advice, now that our muscle is ripe; we can contend with their discipline, now that we have a deeper voice; we can silence theirs, now that we have Google and self-made chaperones on you-tube; we can mute their wisdom.

Disobedience masquerades as wisdom sometimes, especially when we are exposed to the imperfections of those calling for our obedience. When we realize that indeed daddy isn’t superman, he can’t really stand the stagger of booze, oh and mummy burns food sometimes; then it becomes difficult to look at them with the same eyes of admiration…

Obeying God’s commands is not as easy yet HE is perfect! How then would it be to obey fellow humans?

There is a specialty tagged to honouring our parents; the length of life! Strong/weak, learned/unlearned, perfect/faulty they are our blessings and are tasked by God to play the parenting role. True, God disciplines us for our own good. It may be difficult but it is worth it in the end.

Obedience and humility are two peas in a pod. If we are going to obey our parents, then we will need to be humble; child-like humility. (Matthew 18: 3-4)

Christ perfectly exemplifies humility in obedience that though His soul was sorrowful, HE had to obey the Will of God. (Matthew 26:36-46) And if HE did, yet HE is God, who are we not to incline to God’s will to obey our parents?

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

Even when mantles pile on our heads, may they not be too heavy for our heads to bow to our elders. We don’t have to wait till we pass on a box of chocolates for pampers or fore-go a road trip to pay school fees to realize just how great a sacrifice parenting is! And how I pray for little Avianna; that she will listen to my frail but wise voice someday… again.

 

YOU VERSUS THEM

Yesterday I was thinking about food when my mind retold me of various table mannerisms I have practised and observed from people when making orders. This particular one of ordering what the person across/next to you has ordered tickled me but as well left me scratching my head.

We all have at several occasions been guilty of the line; ‘niletee kama hii’ or ‘I’ll eat what you eat’

Yesterday I tried to unravel what really makes us punch those lines. Well, a lot of reasons played out in my mind. For instance it could be because you are afraid of making an expensive order that would squeeze the coins out of your date’s wallet, you probably do not understand the menu or it could be because you just want to eat what the other person is eating.__

This last reason; you want to eat what this other person is eating drew me into a practical life opera. Look closely into your prayers, wants and needs and see how many are based on what the girl/boy next door has. What actions you took really resonated with what you dearly coveted? What choices you settled for were triggered by what those around you had?

_Truth is, many times we give ourselves no permission to look within and introspect what we really need/ who we are or what we should be chasing. We want to make orders based on what is on someone’s plate. That gives other people total control over us unconsciously in that we make decisions based on their resolve.

You will opt for a particular shade of colour because ‘they like it’ you will use a particular brand of toothpaste because ‘they use it’ you will take a particular career path because ‘society recommends’ and dress in a particular way because ‘that’s what trending’

Back to the dinner table. It is noble to listen to your stomach first and your taste buds as well before settling on the steak in their plate. They probably have an indigestion issue and settled for green tea yet you starved yourself on the very order. You have a protein allergy but went on to gamble with soya beans because they had it too. They ate everything from the buffet you too did yet your stomach is a sensitive one, you consequentially had to painfully cope with the runs.

Stop and think about you first, that’s why the waiter is there to wait, for you to settle on what you actually need. Take your time, think through, and give power to your internal locus of control. I believe it hurts God when we run errands He didn’t assign us, because we lost touch with ourselves. Look carefully into the menu and don’t just do fries and chicken because they do. Do you.

_‘I’m giving myself permission to voice my opinion whenever I want, without worrying that someone may say that I’m a nobody. Permission to grab my independence by the horns and run with it. I am giving myself the green light to be beautiful without needing to hear anyone say it. It’s okay if I’m not perfect and fine by me, if my mistakes are advertised on a billboard sign for all to see. I have permission now to not care what anyone thinks because the only opinion that matters to me is mine. So I’m walking the walk in whatever shoes I want and I’m owning it so hard. Because it’s my walk and because I can…’- anonymous

As you make/ revisit your resolutions this year, look into YOU.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Baraka 🙂

 

THANKYOU!!

_Halo Pipos, so this is my last post on the blog this year and my heart is oh so full 🙂

Thank you for giving this blog an audience, yes I saw your lights burning through the mist of inaudibility; it gave me hope that my voice had found a home. Thank you so much for reading, for liking, for your helpful comments and for sharing. That is support enough for me and may God bless you for being kind enough, being here and keeping us company.

This year has been really amazing, I look back and marvel at how Gracious God has been to me. But then I won’t pause here and sneak the details though I’ll share some of the things I have come to learn and contend with throughout the year.

Love

After loving yourself, love everyone! Leave no space for hatred in your heart but let it be immersed in love. Not just the game of feelings as that is ephemeral but go back to 1 Corinthians 13 and let it guide you on how to love. Let it be the love that hate cannot repel, silence cannot break, pain cannot kill and distance can’t detain. To love sometimes is to be lonely; most of the time you won’t get back what you give but you have to learn to just give and expect nothing. Pray for every eye in the room, open your door to those who gossip you, invite the hurt to your party, sit at a corner and paint happy on a lonely soul. Go all heart-out on people. Your heart will be in stitches but the love inside will heal it. Go on and love someone.

Read

To read is to travel. Books will open your mind to so many things. I’m grateful for the bookshops I visited even smelling the books was a privilege! Maybe because I couldn’t afford all the books I coveted haha! Good thing is there are so many good books on the streets going for as little as twenty shillings! Like I bought “I’ve got to talk to somebody, God” by Marjorie Holmes; it has relatable prayers for women. Other great books I read are; A woman’s high calling- Elizabeth George, Being a Virgin isn’t enough- Chadia Mathurin, A mind that found itself- Clifford Beers among many more…

Read the Word of God. The Bible makes such a Timeless read. Read through it.

Have boundaries

Drawing the line between you and others is a channel to finding serenity. You will have peace of mind, especially in relationships that are wacky. Clearly letting people know where to stand and letting them hear the stern in your voice will give you much control over your life. On the flip side, you will not have too many casualties nursing broken hearts.

Some paths are yours alone and it’s good that people should know.

On boundaries still; dear ladies, you are Precious Jewels, do not give your pearls to dogs. Dear men; you have no business asking for a girl’s heart and exclusive affection if you are not ready to consider marriage.

Music

So I had good and bad times alike throughout the year and it’s amazing how music resonated with every season respectively. Sing good songs to your soul. Sing hymns and spiritual songs, rap through the rhymes and have cheer. Music will sooth your wound, it will send your feet off the cold floor, and it will harmonize your joy; embrace it. I have replayed Christy nockel’s how I love You, Tedashii’s Perfect, SO’s feminine appeal and you make me brave- Bethel music. Have a listen (

Pray

Pray little flock pray. A holy life would not be so difficult and so rare if our praying were not so brief, cold and superficial. The remedy for non-praying is praying. Whether the need is a small secular thing like a nice pair of shoes or a great spiritual grace, prayer is the means to attain that end and supply that need.

One more thing; keep dreaming even when your wings are broken…

May the Good Lord keep you in perfect peace till I see you again here, next year? 🙂

Love & Love,

Zainab.