Friday, August 23, 2013

My True North

I have never been a city girl. Not at heart, at least. I love the country life. I fantasize about living in a big house deep in the village, surrounded by trees, bushes, grass and wild nature – creepy crawlies and all. Eeew, you say? Fine, those I can do without but I will insist on uninterrupted internet connection, electricity sans blackouts, and running tap water (so much for the rural life huh?) Hopefully, Kenya power and Lighting co. get their act together.

I will spend my days tapping at my keyboard, telling stories. Great stories, if I might add. I will look out of the window and seek inspiration from the wilderness, allowing nature to inject life into me. I will get high on the fresh country air which I will inhale deeply through my nostrils into my system (and no, I’m not a druggie) as I watch the rain falling to water the earth or the sun caressing the green vegetation. With a scalding-hot cup of coffee (Or milk, if I’m to stick to my roots), I will try to change the world one word at a time.

Hailey and Heidi will be big names at the time – you better believe it! Grown women of substance. Hailey will be a big shot model (You should see her pose for a photo, I swear!) or actress, or singer. Heidi will run some company, fearlessly admonishing employees and making management decisions. Making men sweat - in a nutshell.

Md will be in the bushes with me (I don’t care what he tell you, this is my fantasy!). As I am busy on my keyboard, he will be lurking somewhere in the bushes trying to catch something, sword - or some other lethal weapon of choice- in hand. Maybe he will resurrect his passion for art and join me at the window with a paintbrush and canvas in hand? My very own Da Vinci? I don’t know...All I know is that he will be shirtless with just a pair of shorts, the Fabio look-alike that he is. I will stop there before things get all steamy and inappropriate. Ha!

When I close my eyes I get lost in this fantasy. It is so tangible, I can taste it. It is so alive; I can feel it burning my bones, willing to burst out.

My true north! This must be it, isn’t it? Is this my internal compass? “Everyone has an internal compass where their true north is clearly defined. Even when they stray, this compass will point them back on track” so I’ve been told. And don’t you agree?

It’s a journey getting to that point where what you want is non negotiable. There are  so many distractions on the way. So many hardships that all combine to build you to the person you want to become.

Every woman, I believe, has to go through the thick scary forest with wild animals raring to gnaw at her delicate frame, ready to take advantage of her fragility. She has to climb mountains so high while struggling to hang on lest she plummets into the ocean below that is eager to drown her. Every woman, at one point or another, has plunged into deep waters; unable to swim she has stretched out her hand helplessly. If lucky, she has clutched on a straw and stayed afloat.

She has had to run away from danger! Towards shelter! Barefoot sometimes! She’s been pricked in the process! She has bled. She has asked for help along the way only to be turned away. Screamed for help in the dark, only to be ignored. Sought for help among people who claim to love her, only to be misled. She has somehow managed to come back nevertheless.

Every woman has slipped! Has fallen!Crawled on all fours! Dragged their bodies on the mud when standing up was too much for her! She has cried! Boy, has she cried! She has laughed! She has smiled! Given a fake smile! A fake orgasm! She has loved! She has hated! Harbored anger! Resentment! She has gone crazy with confusion! She has given in to pleasure! Succumbed to pressure! She has given up! Thrown her hands up in defeat!

Yet she has picked herself up! Stood tall! Pushed her chest out! Made a comeback! She has trudged the long winding road! Step by firm step! Determined to reach where she needs to go! Focusing on that one point that remains constant through it all. Her true north.

Every woman has gone through her fair share of smelting to become that shining, refined woman who knows what she wants. Whose morals, principles and ideals are non negotiable.

In life's journey we are often uncertain where we stand, where we are going and what the right path is for us personally. My true north beckons me to this place where I am comfortable in my skin; with what I have and who I am. It stops me from comparing myself to others and insists ever so determinedly, irritatingly sometimes, that I make my voice heard regardless of what people might think. It fights me when I try to conform. It dares me to be me. Unique. Different. Blessed.

Take a look, see how far you’ve come. Now imagine how much farther you can go! Never lose sight of your true north. Keep going. Keep North!

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's Daddy's fault

I took out the keys from my purse and struggled with the door a bit. It eventually gave way and I let myself in. The house looked just as I had left it that morning. Every little thing remained unmoved. The remote was on top of the table. The windows were wide open with curtains drawn yet darkness was creeping in. One end of the curtain swayed back and forth courtesy of the wind that was blowing luxuriously through the open window into the living room. I picked the remote from the table and made to close the window while simultaneously pointing it towards the television to switch it on. As I closed the curtains, I realized that the television remained off. Didn’t I just turn it on? I gave it another try. Nothing doing. It then occurred to me that I had turned the power socket off that morning. I turned it on and voila!

The TV came alive on the same channel I had left it, CNN. Eric Holder was talking about something and before I could figure out what, the clip switched to our very own son from Kogelo. I switched to a local channel before I could hear what Obama was on about and headed to the kitchen to deposit the plastic bags with groceries.

The house was too quiet for my liking. It was cold. The refrigerator purred softly through the silence. I opened it and peeped in. What to cook, what to cook? I consulted my appetite, it was nonexistent. I closed the refrigerator. The kitchen sink had a cup and a saucer-my breakfast utensils, untouched since morning. I went to close the bedroom windows and curtains. It was cold. It was quiet. Too quiet.

The kids’ room was in perfect order,  painfully neat. No toys were out of place like is the norm. Their beds were still neatly spread. They bore no depressions from napping or sitting or jumping. All the shoes were still neatly arranged on one side of the room - nothing was out of place. I was used to finding a shoe or two out of place. Not today.

I craved for some madness. Some untidiness. Some noise. Some yelling, shouting, singing. Some fighting, even. Anything but the silence, order and emptiness that filled the house.

I am toughing out this solitude because I decided to stop hogging my kids to myself and took them upcountry to be with their grandparents. I realize that I cannot be everything to them. I can only be their mother. I will therefore let their grandparents be grandparents, their uncles, aunts and cousins be who they should be. Should anything ever happen to me (God forbid) I would hate for them to feel lost in the company of their own flesh and blood.

Normally, my evening on coming home would be quite different. I would knock on the door and the girls would shriek in excitement. Hailey and Heidi would tackle me outside the door and seek to find out what I had brought for them even before I had the chance to walk in and heave my tired body on the couch. Today I had the chance to heave my tired body on the couch but I didn’t. All windows closed, I came back and sat on the sofa; not so much heaved, but just sat carefully. Quietly.

On most occasions, I come home to find the TV tuned to a cartoon channel, or a Pink Panther, Tom & Jerry or Dora the Explorer cd. I never bothered to watch the 7pm news before, opting instead for a shower as the girls struggle to fit dinner into their tight cartoon schedule before bedtime. Today however, I get the luxury of watching the 7 o’clock news as there is no one watching or demanding to watch cartoons.

It had been a while since I watched the 7 o’clock news. They are reporting about a shooting in the city’s CBD where a bride-to-be and her brother- in- law were shot dead as they purchased wedding rings in a jewelry shop. Kenya is now that country where a person is shot dead. In broad daylight! Doesn’t that send a chill down your spine?

I opt to go take a bath and after some twenty minutes or so, am back on the couch, my new found companion. I start writing. Now the keyboard is my BFF. Who cares about TV and the depressing news anyway?

I miss the girls. I truly miss my babies.

I spoke to Heidi yesterday and for a moment there, I thought she had acquired an accent. I think there’s some mother tongue influence creeping into her vocabulary. I kid you not! Hailey on the other hand seems to be having too much fun, that I am almost jealous.

Speaking of Hailey, allow me to digress for a second…

SHE IS IN! Yep, she passed her standard one interview. We really prayed for this and when the admission letter came, we high fived, did a jig, hugged and kissed then we gave thanks. I now declare today a public holiday (of sorts) to all the #TeamHailey members out there. It is only fair that those who sent well wishes for my girl should have a drink on me and send me the bill; be it morning, noon, or night in whichever time zone you hail from.

…and my one second is up!

On the day I took them upcountry, Hailey on seeing a barefooted young boy, who was almost her age, motioned me towards her and whispered in my ear “Mum, that kid is not wearing socks and shoes?” I nodded in agreement as I greeted the boy. Hailey stretched towards me again, cupped her mouth to my ear and whispered “His daddy has not bought for him shoes and socks?” I nodded again. I was puzzled that he blamed the boy’s daddy.

She continued staring at the boy’s feet. Relentlessly. Thankfully, he was too young to take offense. He infact stared back at her, seeming equally fascinated by Hailey.  

“Why hasn’t his daddy bought for him shoes, mum?” she was back on my ear again. She must have decided that she deserved a better answer than just a nod.

“I think his daddy - and mummy - don’t have the money to buy the shoes now. But am sure when they get enough money, they will buy for him” I told her.

The answer seemed to satisfy her curious mind.

Daddies beware, according to my daughter Hailey, if your child has no shoes on their feet, it’s your fault!