The clock struck six and Makena heard Dan’s chair move and his shoes shuffle. She tensed and waited for the door to open. The hair on her arms stood stiff and her mind went blank. It’s funny how she had never gotten used to it despite the numerous number of times he did it. Then a familiar knock. Three times and then a slow turning of the knob. She got up from her chair and unbuttoned her blouse and sat on her desk. As she leaned back she felt the warm trickle of her tear racing down to the back of her neck.
“One minute!” she gasped as she quickly snatched some tissue and wiped her face. She didn’t want him to see her crying. She felt horrible but convinced herself it would only take a few minutes.
Dan walked in and without saying a word he locked the door drew the blinds. He then grabbed her by the waist and slid her off the table and turned her to face away from him. He was aggressive. The kind of aggressive displayed by a person taking back property that belongs to him. He unclasped her bra and lifted her skirt almost ripping it along the seams. Using his right foot he kicked her legs apart just above the ankles and pushed her head down on the table like a policeman apprehending a suspect with the intent of finding a concealed weapon. He undid the buckle of his belt as he held her down and dropped his pants this time with his hand tightly gripping the back of her neck.
She felt pain as she felt him enter. More tears. She couldn’t close her eyes while he pushed in roughly. As he grunted and heaved behind her, Makena let her mind wander off by looking at the windows on the building across the road. She watched the people busy moving about their offices as they worked overtime to meet their deadlines. It was interesting how everyone was so engrossed in their tasks that there was definitely no chance that they would look her way.
Her mind wandered off to her husband and kids. How earlier in the morning they all had breakfast in the master bed and laughed their hardest when the youngest child kept missing her mouth as she tried to feed herself like the rest of the family. She made a mess and everyone was happy. The parents had been working hard lately and the kids were ecstatic to have a much needed but rare unwinding occasion as a family. She recalled how her husband dropped her off at work as he started his Uber shift. He was really trying and the fact that he had had better days made her love him more for not giving in to frustration. The last couple of years had been tough financially and both man and wife had to make it work with their meagre incomes.
Makena felt him shake like an old car running out of fuel. He let off a deep guttural sound as his grip tightened on her hips. She could smell his cigarette breath as he contorted forward on her back. He was sweating and for a moment it felt like leaning on a wall of slime in a dirty, humid bathroom. She felt sick, ashamed and worthless. Moreso because it was Valentine’s day and she would later have to pretend to be horny for her husband.
Her boss pulled up his pants and tidied up his shirt. He pulled out his wallet and slipped her two one thousand shilling notes.
“Now you can’t say I didn’t give you a Valentines day gift,” Dan said in a low voice as he walked out, “And don’t come in late tomorrow”.
She could feel the triumph in his voice and how confident he was that this arrangement was permanent and that she had no power to stop it. More tears.
As she cleaned up and put on makeup she couldn’t help but acknowledge the hopeless emptiness she felt. She picked up her back and hurried out to the elevator. She took in three breaths of air and forced a smile as the doors slid open.
She desperately wanted it to stop but she couldn’t figure out how. She badly needed this job and since this had happened in her two previous workplaces, she had accepted that it is normal. Most of her friends were going through the same experience and even though this didn’t make her feel any better, it added further to the hollowness she felt in her being.
As she sat in the bus on her way home she couldn’t stop tidying her blouse and skirt. She felt uncomfortable and insecure as if everyone around her knew what she had been doing a few minutes before. Across from where she sat was a pregnant woman holding her bump as the bus hurtled down Valley Road towards the city center. Her heart skipped a beat and for a moment she couldn’t breathe. Earlier in the day she had taken a pregnancy test in the ladies bathroom. It came out positive.
This is a #TrueStory dedicated to the women and men in Nairobi who are subjected to sexual coercion every day at their places of work.
I have always been a spoilt kid. Apart from reading me story books at bed time (oh yes she did until I was 10!) my mother has been the voice in my head all my life. Despite our ups and downs as a family, she has been our rock and the strong glue that holds us together. This woman happens to be a thousand years old in wisdom. She passes wisdom in a way that is funny, reflective and unimposing. I credit her for installing in us this ever present homing instinct that guides us back to consciousness every time we get caught up in life’s complexities. I’ve been in serious trouble a couple of times in my life and it is her words that brought me back. I have deep respect for all mothers and the role they take in shaping who we are. Everyday is Mothers Day.
She said “My son, to work is worship God. Even the lowest of jobs has to be done by someone. You were born a prince but also a servant. Let no title be too big for you and let no humble task be too low for you to carry out because humility is an expression of confidence and gratefulness. A humble man is a powerful man. He can stand confidently before Kings and be trusted to lead by the poor”
She said “Love is first an attraction then a choice. If you find someone you truly love, hold on to them. Love is loyal despite betrayal. Love forgives despite hurt. When you love someone you stand by them unconditionally. Love is what you make it to be. You can be happy if you choose to be happy. You can never be sure of the character of a person you love as it takes time but in the meantime you can trust. But look for a person who loves God because only a person who loves God can truly love another human being. The rest are details. You will fight over the tooth paste tube and the socks you left at the door but you will never fall out of love.”
On Being a Man
She said “A man is only as good as his word. The character of a man is built of his action. A man never complains, he finds solutions. He takes care of those he loves and offers help to those in need. A man is honest and industrious. A man does not give up. A man is not scared to love and to say sorry. In the face of adversity, a man stands his ground. A real man knows that sometimes to win he has to lose. A man is the high priest of the house. A protector and warrior who lays down his life for his family.”
She said “As long as you have breath and are of sound mind, God has given you everything you need to succeed. From the deepest holes on the ground come the rarest diamonds. Never work for profit because this type of gain does not last. Work to fulfill your purpose because real wealth comes as a by product of a passion fully lived. Do not spend your gains on eating like a King but spend them on the moments that count. After all they are the most eternal of all investments.”
She said “To be sincere is to conquer yourself. To conquer yourself is to conquer the world. Know what you like and what you dislike. Know what you want and what you need. Know thyself. Be honest with yourself and you will know the reason why you are here. Be sincere with everyone especially the ones you love. Sincerity is the deepest and most profound expression of love.”
She said “ Son, the pain of work should be a reminder that nothing comes easy. Take care of the little you have. Water it and let it grow but most of all use it wisely. The bible says ‘A fool and his money are soon parted’. Thriftiness shows gratitude and it is the ultimate sign of responsibility. To be frugal is to be the master over money and not a slave to it. Before you spend, think. Do not spend your hard earned money to please others who add no value to your life. Every coin you spend should be an investment. Remember the story of the servants who were given talents?”
She said “I would be sad if I heard that you did everything just so your own belly would be full. I would be ashamed to hear you saw suffering yet you turned a blind eye when you could have ended it. We are all here to take care of God’s Children. God gives you strength and wealth to take care of others. You my son are just a tool that He uses. You can never be too good to serve others. I love you but I would be proud to hear that you met your last day giving up your life so that another would live. After all, what is it in this world that I cannot give up for you?”
She said “ If I was laying on my death bed today waiting for my last breath, I would only have one instruction to give you. Love God and devote your life to Him and you will receive measure beyond your wildest dreams. It is only a fool that says God does not exist. There are many questions that make you doubt if He is really there so devote your life to seeking Him. God is not on trial so as to be expected to prove His existence. Pay attention, look close and in your silence you will find Him. I have felt his presence and I have seen his work and I am still in awe of his greatness.
She said “In your time, life will be tough. Misery and hopelessness will be the order of the day. But you my children are special. You have the world under your feet. Write your dreams down and make it a prayer to God to bring them to life. God will grant you the desires of your heart but first you have to be clear of what you want. Dreams do not come to us by chance. They are the distant echo of destiny. It is sad for a man to die without fulfilling his purpose. Let your dreams be devoid of boundaries and let no one tell you that it can’t be done because it hasn’t been done before. Dreams become thoughts and thoughts become things.”
This woman is amazing.
I’ve talked to many people but sadly most of them don’t seem to know their purpose and what they want from life. I too have struggled with this question all my life and I still am. I hate that it has become the monkey on my back and I hate that I have to wake up everyday to look for myself. I can’t concentrate at anything I do and I have turned into a hopeless scatter brain. I feel like time is running out and the prospect of growing old and miserable, haunted by dreams that never materialized scares me. It makes me go into panic; a miserable state that can be observed by looking at how many things I’ve tried in my life.
I have tried starting my own business more than once and I have tried going up the ladder in my career and still, there is this nagging feeling that I am just not where I want to be.
When I’m at work I find my mind wandering to distant places and I am fearful that maybe those places are where I should be instead. I observe other people and suddenly it looks like everyone is getting onto their path. They seem happy and everything they do looks deliberate and based on a well defined purpose.
So is it that I have failed in finding my path or am I expecting [unrealistically] too much from life? Do I have the wrong paradigm of how life works? Is my purpose locked in this ‘uneventful’ job that I don’t seem to give the appreciation it deserves? Am I part of those who will never amount to anything? Is that my destiny?
On the other hand I also see many people who are like me. People who don’t have a clear plan of what they would do if they won a million dollars today. People who procrastinate and are always anxious because they are not sure of the future. One day you are excited about this new idea you’re pursuing and the next day you’re not sure if it is what you want. Your life goes in phases that come and end as fast as a flame on a matchstick. First there is the ‘I need to buy land phase’, then comes the ‘I need to start saving phase’ and today you’re on the ‘I need to start a business’ phase and the cycle never ends.
I’ve heard people say that you are always in the path that God wants you to be but I am beginning to doubt that. Why? because if this is where He wanted me to be, why am I not happy? Why do I feel like I am in limbo?
I have seen many of our parents live their lives in simplicity and mediocrity; retiring at sixty five and immediately going into the last phase of life where they miserably wait for their sunset. Somehow it has always felt wrong because [I believe] life is not meant to be a mere existence and a process that is predictable as to how it ends. What happened to dreams? At what point do dreams die? Is it to late for my parents to start dreaming all over again? Why I’m I getting sucked into the same cycle of broken dreams and surrendering without a fight? Why is this the more comfortable path to follow?
I’ve had a good career so far; it would be ungrateful for me to ignore that. Learning new things has been the best part of it all. Being challenged to do the impossible has kept my adrenaline pumping and like a junkie, I want more. I want more because there is this strong unshakable urge inside me that tells me I have a higher purpose. Something I can write my name on. That THING that I can do for free and not worry where money will come from because it will be automatic. That purpose that will make my life count for something. I want to be remembered for something great!
I have looked for it everywhere and I am willing to do everything to know why I am here. Sometimes I wish God would use my friends, family or even a stranger to tell me what is it that I am good at so I can dive into it NOW. Or maybe that’s not the way He speaks, maybe it is. But at the end of the day I just want a nudge in the right direction. Or maybe I have already been nudged but was too distracted to feel it? Where is that ONE clear hint that will show me which door to knock? Or maybe a hint is not supposed to be clear after all?
Whatever and wherever my purpose is, I have decided I’d rather die trying to find it. I can no longer sail blind in this darkness. I need to find a beacon and I need to find it sooner than later. I hate losing sleep over things I can’t decipher. I hate to be a person who always changes his dreams because he doesn’t know where he is going. One thing I am sure though, is that I am here for a purpose. What it is, I don’t know. So I’m going to start my search and I will hunt down my purpose to the ends of the earth if need be.
Last week I decided I will put all my dreams on paper because I had a feeling they will lead me to my purpose. It was a challenging experience to decide on what I want for my future, but it’s a start. After pasting cut-out pictures of what I want in life on a white page, I am starting to have this strange experience that I like. For some reason, I feel like I am on to something good and long term. For once I am pretty clear on my dreams and when I would want to achieve them. How I am going to achieve this is the billion dollar question. Whether this yields anything only time can tell, but I can’t shake off the conviction that this is probably what I should have done years ago.
You see when I was young, my mother taught me this trick and it got me my first car. She told me to write down what I wanted in future and keep it where I could see it every day. I bought a car a few days to my twenty fourth birthday -which is the date I had written down. When you are a child belief is raw and unadulterated, but as you grow older logic gnaws at your dreams and suddenly they become fantasies. I guess somewhere along the way I forgot the basics; that you have to visualize what you want because it’s the first sign that you can and will most likely get it.
It’s time I started all over again. After all, maybe life isn’t about finding yourself but creating yourself.
I’d like you to take a moment and ask yourself this simple question. Have I found myself?
Just as a drop of blood in the ocean attracts a frenzy of sharks from miles away, there are certain types of man that are very magnetic to women. For the man who wishes to know how he can raise his profile, I’d suggest you read this and share it as wide as possible. To my sisters, I will try as much as possible to steer clear of hurting your feelings as I explain my view. Discussion like these usually end in a stalemate. But first, a disclaimer is necessary. I have no moral or technical authority to advise on relationships. I have come to acknowledge that the whole relationship affair is a complex algebra that we never really get to solve. It’s funny how many people are hiding in the comfort of what has come to be the biggest façade of all time. Most men are getting a raw deal when it comes to relationships. I will therefore speak solely on behalf of the boy child. I will tell you why the modern man is in trouble. I will do so by talking about every type of man I know. So back to my topic. The men that attract; blood in the water.
The good man
He is good natured and always has good intentions in everything he does. He is the guy that opens the door for you and brings you breakfast in bed DAILY. He never forgets your birthday and every other anniversary as long as it means something to you. He listens to you and never gets tired of putting up with your flat jokes. He doesn’t mind kissing you even when your mouth is filled with the ‘ass smelling’ mixture of bread and tea. He asks you for permission whenever he has to pee or poop. What do you know! He has your picture in his wallet and office desk. He listens to mushy music and is very in touch with his emotions. This man lacks an aggressive bone in his being and seems to be liked by everyone. He is focused on you and you are sure he will never play you. Those lovely romantic texts in the middle of the day are just SO HIM. Your friends are envious of you and your puppy.
To the ladies: If you have this type of man, hold on to him tightly because he is a fast declining species. He is going to be very good for you when you are past your mid ages [if you get what I mean]. He bottles up emotions and gets very bitter when he is betrayed. He is the most likely to turn into a bad man when his options run out. If you want to protect your sisters in future, don’t mess with this man now.
To the men: If you are this type of man, I have a mixture of admiration and worry for you. You see as much as women claim to prefer your type, they really would prefer the opposite. Correct me if I’m wrong but how many have let you down? The last one cheated on you right? The world spits on the good man. They want excitement and the drama that comes as bad boys. Women are addicted to turbulence and for some reason, they seem to like it when the boat is on the rocks. One word. Thrill. You don’t have it good boy and that will be your downfall.
The rich man
Like black oil, he is rich, attractive and very liquid. He dresses well and seems to always have an in-house barber. He is cultured and literally gives the other men in your life (including your man) a run for their money. A date with him makes you feel like a Bond™ girl. He is the man with a plan. Have you ever been to the Mara? This type of guys make it happen. Then there’s this status thing. Women will envy you. Some of them even have the nerve to tell you they prefer this guy to your ‘good guy‘ who’s back in the house doing the dishes.
He treats you to the fine things in life. What’s more, he is single and searching. He is just the perfect playboy.
To the ladies: Good luck on your find. He could be a good guy. One thing is clear, these type of men are not good for the women without ambition. At first it will be all rosy but after a while they will need to connect with like minded people. No successful man wants to be with a woman who can’t hold it down on her own. It’s just the way the world works.I’d advice that you adopt an aggressive method of protecting this man and looking out for his interests. It works like magic.
To the men: If you are this rich man, you are definitely blood in the water and the sharks are heading your way fast. Try as much as possible to never commit until you are ‘tricked’ well. Most of they women interested in you are after your success. With that said, there are still good women out there who will be attracted to you in good faith. You just need to be aware of your surroundings. Meet and date as many women as possible. About you money, do take care of the people that really matter to you. When was the last time you got your family together?
The bad boy
This one never commits. He always has women wailing after him. He gets them, dates them, beds them and he is done. No strings attached. He spends money mostly on himself and the rest he invests in women who will give him a good return. One curious thing though, women have come to like this breed. Everything about them (bad boys) is attractive and they seem to say everything right. The thrill of being with such a guy is irresistible. The allure they posses makes them very valuable targets. There is so much loneliness and want in the world today and all you need sometimes is just a person who can ‘sort you out’ as you look for your Mr. Right. I know, I know… He probably has your underwear from last time still hanging on his fridge as a trophy. He is the guy with the prettiest women and guess what else? They don’t mind!
To the women: I know you’re probably thinking that one day you will change him. I just hope you can say listen to yourself. You are part of a statistic. Remember those thongs you saw at his place? He is definitely not a cross dresser, believe that. He is just an honest man who has decided to be honest with himself. In my opinion, he is the most straightforward guy in the spectrum. Unfortunately you know what we say about a woman who’s been around. If you have to do it, just be discreet and please don’t do it when you’re in a relationship. As boys we look out for each other. If not, we brag out loud with every conquest. You’ll be on the news soon.
To the men: Is this you? Let me just say this man to man, you are a star! You are the villain too! You are the man responsible for the shortlist. You clear the way so that the good man doesn’t have trouble in choosing a good woman. You are probably one of the few men who know how dissatisfied people can be. You help out the desperate and those in search for adventure. You break hearts and feel jerk about it. I cannot blame you though. You always state your intentions before you ‘touch and go’ so technically you are the better guy.
They call this type ‘hussler’. He is a paper chaser among other things. He most probably runs his own business. He believes ever moment spent well, means more. Be it money or relationships. He approaches life in a business sense. He will not be with you if you don’t give him anything in return. He values his friends and family more than anything else. He is the type that takes the biggest risks. He doesn’t trust anyone especially women. He is practical and he compliments rarely. When he says something positive about his woman, she takes it seriously because his approval is hard to come by. He is not an emotional creature but he happens to be strangely romantic. He believes in sticking where there is good business so he will stick and invest in a good woman. He is uncultured and doesn’t give a rat’s ass if a chicken just farted in china.
He has ambition and is always trying to win. He doesn’t rely on job security but he makes things happen all the same. He has his highs and lows.
To the women: This type of guy is one whole tricky affair. It could work or fail because he doesn’t give promises. Women are always looking for a guy who will give them security. This, is a catch 22. On a positive note, this type ends up striking gold almost always. The bible says that man will live by the sweat of his brow. This is it. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. Be it romance or time together. This type will always come back home after straying. Please stop rolling back your eyes. If you have ever been in a serious relationship, you know how painful and necessary forgiveness can be.
To the men: You’re on to something bro but you need to tone it down a bit. Money is good and important but so are the ones you love. You can afford to surprise her ever now and then. Improve yourself by striving to be a world class man. Take time to travel and see the world. Ever wonder why the women in your life keep disappearing on you? Well, they think you don’t have the touch. You have the ambition, the money and the heart but no touch. Get it?
The self righteous guy
He is the complete ass. He believes he represents the only right that exists in the universe. He is the type that believes they are God’s gift to you. Unfortunately, you can’t resist them. For one reason or the other, they have this attraction that women can’t resist. He is neat and precise. He keeps time and is always waiting for you to mess up so he can reprimand you. He is assertive and very blunt. He is ver conscious of what people think of him. He is most likely very religious. Unfortunately this type can have very bad secret fetishes. The reason he is always evaluating others is because he is in constant effort to hide his shortcomings.
To the women: Stay away form this guy! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
To the men: If you are this guy: You will burn in hell.
The normal guy
This one is the guy that describes the average man. Sometimes he forgets the important days because he is one track minded. He is constantly trying to improve himself but not too hard. He is not a bad man but also not the best man. He lives an average kind of life. An occasional drink on the weekends and maybe church on Sundays. He is easy to figure out because most of men are just like him [or so you think]. These type stay in employment for a very long time. In terms of drama it’s the same old scenarios. In my opinion, he is sort of a mythical creature. Why are women then attracted to this type? Well, with this man, anything goes. He is easy to control and hold at ransom. Unfortunately, he gets played a lot because he is average and doesn’t leave a mark on women’s memories.
To the women: Unless you’re looking to settle, just stay off this guy. If you are serious about a normal relationship then he is the right candidate. He gives you peace of mind. However, you have to train him and mold him into what you want. He is a very good learner. He is also very likely to be a good father. He is as untidy as boys come but as I said, you can install in him some new software.
To the men: If you are this type, don’t worry. The universe will always look after you. You’ll get a raw deal now and then but you’ll be all right. You also need a hobby or an activity that will jolt you from your comfort zone. It doesn’t hurt to have dreams and ambition.
If you have something good going on for you, hold on to it. If you haven’t found the right one, hold on to your cards. It happens in the most unlikely fashion. I have so much respect for the men and women who try hard everyday to find the shoe that fits. I have much more respect to the ones that constantly repair and patch up their old shoe. Next time, I will talk about relationships and money. Is that a good topic?
First of all, I would like to send my warmest regards to all the readers who sent me hate mail in the past thirty-four days of my absence. I feel embarassed for letting you down and disappearing despite having promised to always update my blog on a regular basis. At the same time, I am humbled that you were following my blog all along. I decided to take some time off after I noticed I kept on writing negative things about life’s experiences. I honestly thought the break would change my paradigm and I would come back with lots of positive energy and all the other flowery things that come with it. Then we’d go ahead and talk about a happy world with nice people who in the end, get to live happily ever after. Well, I’m back and I have sad news. Nothing’s changed. Life is hard and everyday is a new challenge. You can’t run from this fact unless you choose to end it [get my drift?]. Call the waiter, order whatever you want; I’ll have a double syrup and Krest™.
I quit Jack & Coke. Yes I did, and I don’t think I will ever miss the drink. I think it’s a hopeless drink and it’s overrated. I am embarassed that I even dedicated three articles to the damn soot-smelling poison from Tennessee! It’s funny because I never thought a day would come when this drink would taste like bile in my mouth. That’s just life. And in the process of living, we learn. In my short relationship with Jack & Coke I learnt probably the biggest lesson of my life. Letting go. Also now known as Jacking Off. I invented the phrase just incase you’re wowing at how genius the term sounds and you happen to be a literature Nobel Prize judge looking for new talent (hint). Let’s talk about your life. Let’s explore all the valid reasons why you need to Jack Off from the things you are so attached to; I’m talking about those things that drain you and limit your potential. Everyone wants to be happy but only a few people have what it takes [the freedom] to BE happy.
You like your job but don’t necessarily love it. Mondays are a nightmare. Your boss is an eye-sore. Routine. Whoever invented routine? Was this how a JOB is meant to be? Why is your heart weary and your body exhausted? It’s right in front of you. This is not supposed to be your destiny. Remember when we were young? Two-thirds of all young boys wanted to be pilots in the future. Only a handful in a million actually even became air stewards. Now, our house of cards keep toppling over. You can still be a pilot, but in another life. You’re stuck with your lousy job and this ugly cycle seems like it will go on for five lifetimes. YOU NEED TO JACK OFF! It’s never too late to dream again. Pick yourself up. Slowly, try to find out what else you can do that will give you satisfaction. Don’t rush to quit your job without a back up plan. When Jacking Off, you need to go easy on yourself. After all, you want maximum satisfaction in the end right?
In this day and age, most people in my age group have more than three ex-es. We have lived such turbulent love lives that these ex-es have somehow become a permanent part of our lives. In fact, I would be right in assuming you are where you are in your love-life because of your ex. Hate me. Hate your boyfriend’s ex. You can’t change the past. You just have to deal with it by learning from it. However, there is always that likelihood of the looming ex. Awfully bad for business I tell you. Here’s the thing. You have a steady partner who you love and are happy with. Everything in your life is going well. Why the hell would you want to mess that up by involving yourself with your ex? Why did you break up with them in the first place? Wasn’t that hurtful enough? Now you are almost falling over trying to hide your phone from your woman. You pick up calls in private because you’re too conscious that you could press the speaker by mistake and give yourself away. Curiosity is a good excuse but lame none the less. Fire is good when it gives warmth but consuming when it burns. Love your own and let the mirages entertain you at a safe distance. You need to Jack Off that ever lingering ex.
Finally, a habit. What is it that you keep doing that messes everything up? Could it be your alcohol? Drugs perhaps? Laziness no? Whatever it is, consider what we keep losing due to our bad habits. We lie through our teeth, no wonder the truth is a fairy tale! We love money so much that passion for work is a fleeting fantasy. We love what we can’t get. What we get we can’t love. We despise that which is meant for us. You want the pretty girl in the music video so much that you can’t stand waking up next to your own; beautiful, virtuous and ever loving you woman. Our lives are a constant rat race. We chase after the wind hoping to catch the rain. We get sad when we can’t go out to enjoy the sunshine yet we still refuse to leave the comfort of the rocking chair in the house. For once, let’s be selfish and think about the things that would make us happy. It’s an uphill battle but it CAN be won. Jack Off all those those things that prevent you from fulfilling your destiny.
Dedicated to my great friend Nishan in Ethiopia who sadly, has stopped believing in a positive destiny. A Jack Off is in order.Follow @ngigimichael
I have no words to explain how beautifully Flo Mwangi has put everything into perspective. I literally feed from her words. She has mastered the art of making sense out of the melee that has become the tipping point of many a relationship. I believe that if she’s not careful, she could end up as an undisputed best seller or with me. I present to you my Final Jack.
By Flo Mwangi
Every time I speak to her over the phone or pay her a visit, I am left reeling in laughter and with plenty of food for thought. This is why I cannot wait to see her over my vacation, plus she made me promise to anyway seeing as how she is in her grace years as she likes to call them; kind of like extra time where that whistle can go off any minute. And this she says with a hint of laughter. I tell her she’ll be around for quite a while. She is a tough nut.
My grandma; I don’t even know where to begin with the phenomenal that is this woman. I am overcome with emotion whenever I think of her; this woman who raised me and to whom I remain forever indebted, who shaped my ideals, who I feel a deep and profound love and adoration for. I am in awe of her sheer strength, her unshakeable Faith, her compassionate nature, her wit and wisdom and her charm. She has lived to see four generations; now that’s a fit and all generations through we appreciate and hold her in high regard. She has touched each of our lives in a special way. We all have a tale to tell as far as this wonderful woman is concerned.
For me it’s the first few years of my life which I spent with her. When my mum was off completing her undergrad studies, my grandma nurtured me. I applaud my mother; having me young did not stop her from pursuing her dreams, and achieving them, she made no excuses, expected no sympathy nor loved me any less. She took it all in stride and pressed on. I am truly proud of her. Those are some wonderful memories -me and my grandma- I still fondly remember this lovely little basket she kept in the living room, especially for me, filled with juicy oranges freshly picked from the garden by her, which I was treated to after a long day at school, and we all know school can be pure torture for a kid. I remember her dressing me up for church every Sunday and me sitting up next to her at the front pew. She has always played an active role in church; I admire her Faith evident in all she does and passionately stands for. She is an astute believer in God’s overall role in every aspect of our lives from creation, to our daily existence.
Her Faith inspires and rouses all around her and has remained unmoved by the changing tides of time and circumstance. And it has been tested no doubt. She was not bitter at the passing of Grandpa -if anything we all drew strength from her- and as he lay in hospital, those last painful days, no one needed to tell her he was gone. She knew the exact moment he had breathed his last. How many of us can boast of such a connection with their spouse? The love those two shared I’ll be forever in awe of. They were inseparable and in an age where expressions of love or treating each other as equals was not too common, I have to commend those two.
Submission as I have observed through her is not losing oneself rather it is appreciating each other’s role in a relationship and having mutual respect for each other. It’s not about yelling matches but learning to listen -difficult as it maybe- while the other is talking and then stating your case as you would to a friend and finding a middle ground, compromise. And of all else a lifetime partner should first be a friend, because for such a commitment there’s a lot more at play beyond all the temporary fiery passions. It’s not about who ‘wears the pants’ in a relationship it’s about recognizing each other’s strengths and building on them and collectively applying them to build something of value. It’s not about finding fault and playing on each other’s weaknesses but rather compromise; there’s what initially attracts you to your partner, the mistake we make over time is averting our eyes from these wonderful things and focusing instead on each other’s shortcomings and before we know it we no longer feel the same, we become revolted by the sight of each other, we begin to fall out of love. You need to revert your focus back to what drew you to that person in the first place, it’s all still there you just became blinded to it over time. In doing this you will begin to cherish each other more and rekindle the flame once again. We easily loose those that we love because we never take time to make it work.
She was always meek with grandpa; she let him hold the fort while she was run the show behind the scene. He adored her; his respect for her was evident. She was forever at his side, never behind him. He valued her insight. They’d claw at each other sometimes but the love was never lost and in no time they’d be laughing over a joke either of them cracked. They were a vision of happiness those two. Never did they keep in silence or let the sun go down on an argument. And when he was taken ill, she was by his side till the very end.
She is appalled at the sham we have turned the marriage institution into. Women no longer appreciate their role in marriage –we feel so liberated now we want to steer the family ship in complete disregard of the men. Men on the other hand appear to have lost sight of what their role is exactly. A marriage is a partnership, a union, not a power struggle, going about it as such beats the whole point of getting into one in the first place.
Dear enlightened woman -not all men are evil and they do like to be in charge and that’s unlikely to change. Let him reign, play up his ego once in a while. So what if you are more educated? Or make more money than he does? It doesn’t make him any less of a man and there really is no point in rubbing it in, making him feel inferior in the process, that is cold and uncalled for.
Dear man – excessive control over your woman is not how you assert authority, neither is aggression. Take care of your own, always, evading responsibility is a sign of weakness and just plain unacceptable. Applaud your woman’s achievements, complement her, support and protect her and please work in some romance while you’re at it, we dig that. Companionship is human nature. It is possible for two people to share a happy and fulfilling life together so long as they keep their pride and ego in check, and learn not to blow up trivialities. If there’s a problem, nip it in the bud; keeping it in only yields more problems that are even harder to resolve.
They upheld the value of hard work, respect for self and others, discipline, were virtues that were engrained into us from the minute one could walk. I remember we’d all get up early, my cousins and I, and join them as they set out to pick flowers, we just loved running in the endless beautiful fields; picking and laughing and playing our way through. Whatever the tasks we did them together making them less daunting. We might have been up to our necks with chores -that’s inevitable when you’re living on a farm- but we were all content because we understood what needed to be done and everyone’s role in all of it and the whooping one got if they failed to do what was assigned to them. I had quite an early start on all matters work. At the end of the day when we were all done we ran around in the grass (my grandma’s yard has the softest, forget carpeted) and played in the moonlight till she called us back to the house when it got late. One thing I admired about them is how they treated their workers; feeding them -on a daily- paying them well and on time. It was a valuable relationship they had, one of mutual respect and beneficial to all.
She is a fiery one my grandma, despite her diminutive nature. She needs no amplifier when she needs to be heard. She speaks her mind. She, just like many who watched as the country fought for and attain independence knows the true price of freedom. We should not take democracy for granted; we just need to look at other oppressed states and the turmoil they’re in to appreciate its worth. Allowing ourselves be influenced by our selfish so-called leaders who most times don’t see beyond their noses is truly a sad affair. Stay informed; knowledge is power. Love thy neighbor and seek divine guidance in all you do. On a lighter note she doesn’t get the logic of my prancing around in 7-inch heels which in her view are uncomfortable and worse still might leave me with a damaged ankle. I of course promptly remind her of the sky-high platforms that they rocked in their hey days 🙂
She still went and got me the loveliest boots though, and what do you know, they were high heeled -how sweet. She misses the point in walking around in clothes that are barely there, we might as well walk around naked “oh how times have changed” she mourns. “Didn’t they rock them shorter in the 60’s and 70’s?” I argue, “Well back in those days people were definitely not as blatant or half as wild as the lot of you is today, running around like all the blood done rushed to your heads” she quips. She’s not overly cynical, she appreciates that times have changed, yes, what she can’t stand is how our values have become eroded over time. And I don’t blame her, a shameful lot we have become indeed; self-centered, egotistic. It’s all about self-interest, the age we’re living in; success at whatever cost, self-gain in relationships. Whatever happened to extending a hand to one in need? Most of us have lost sense of direction we live as though we are of no purpose and are more of a burden than of value to those around us. Spirituality has become fourth nature to us; no wonder we’re lost. “God save us all” she pleads.
She is loved and cherished by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. To live to see 83 and make light of the challenges that come with old age is a reflection of a self-assurance one can only hope for, an amiable strength.
She is blessed. In my eyes she is a legacy and I am proud to bear her name.
You ask ‘who are we gaining independence from’…I’ll tell you. And it has less to do with this generation and more to do with our forefathers that passed this down. Off course ‘Independent man’ sounds silly. In the same way that say ‘colourless water’ sounds silly.
The man has always been independent…The term independent is almost synonymous with the word Man. Society (as far back as African traditional history goes and pretty much many other traditions) has always painted the woman as a dependant and one that needs provision by a man. This in itself is not toxic. What is ugly and what we are seeking ‘independence’ from is the scorn accorded to the said species as a result of this perception that she cannot provide for herself.
You and I agree that yes she can provide and depend on herself…but when she loves you she will let you do these things because you love her but with a full understanding that she can do it for herself. It shouldn’t be a choice of independence or love. I think an independent woman is easier to love.
The journey of life is much better travelled with someone. While you say a man’s needs are simply to have an eat-drink-work-sleep-play lifestyle, remember to leave room for what she wants to do other than stand beside you and watch you eat drink work sleep and play.
Superman didn’t find Loise Lane sitting there doing nothing. She was at work. There is more trouble out there to get into for superman to come save her from 🙂
By Michael Ngigi
Yeah sometimes I want to think I’m the greatest writer that ever lived. So I won’t lie to you that I came up with this heading after I had written this post. I just thought it sounded clever so I decided to write based on the heading. Cool huh? Hater. Well let me see, we have three women and one man…no…two women. Otherwise we wouldn’t call them TWO sweeties right? Ok, here goes my story. The first part is real, the other parts are made up. It’s interesting how you continue reading even when you know the ending will be a lie. Dummy.
While we were out drinking Jack with some of the readers who responded to my offer, I overheard a disturbing concept. That a man always has two women in his life. The mother of his children and the love of his life. He loves them equally. Is this true? Please tell me. I don’t have children so I wouldn’t know. As for the love of my life? Well I think mine is perfect. You should meet her. I also have a feeling she will not comment on this article. She happens to be a very proud woman; one of the reasons I love her.
Dear woman, I know you love your man and you are confident he loves you. Well he does. Trust me. He does. He also loves your counterpart. Equally. Have you met her? Let me introduce you to her.
You see, your counterpart used to be you at some point. The love of his life. Let’s call her Mary. When your man first laid eyes on Mary, he lost his breath. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. He loved her…no…lusted after her instantly. She wore these high heels and sexy outfits that seemed fresh every time he saw her. He asked her out and wouldn’t back down until she accepted on the fifth time to meet him. On their first date just like yours, the two instantly knew they were meant to be together. And so it didn’t take long before they started going out.
Their relationship was like a dream just like yours now. There they were, a beauty and a prince with nothing to loose and a great life ahead of them. She took care of him and in return he did everything for her. Sex was great, in fact the appetite and energy never seemed to run out. Young, energetic and madly in love. She was homely and in time she proved herself worthy of a long term commitment. He proposed to her and after a few weeks they got married. Contrary to most marriages, theirs was made in heaven. It still is.
Last year they got their third child. You wouldn’t believe this but Mary is now hotter than she was when they were dating. She looks well kept. She is shapely and looks like one of those MILFs in our local Dettol™ ads. Hot and hard to get. So begs the question, WHY is her husband friggin dating you?
Let’s go back a few hours this morning. Sam (your boyfriend or Mary’s husband…whatever…) went to work very late and completely worked up. He hates the fact that for the second year in a row he has woken up to no breakfast in his own house! His wife is too tired to make him breakfast. She knows he doesn’t have a any clue when it comes to cooking. So why is he late today? You know the answer! He passed by your place to have breakfast. He likes the way you cook. It reminds him when he was dating Mary. Did I tell you that Mary quit her job a year after they got married to take care of the kids? Well she did. So every evening they fight over small stuff such as why he came home late by 5 minutes. It seems she has too much time in her hands.
Everyday she has to go to the mall to chill because she doesn’t have anything else to do. The kids are at the day care all day. There at the mall, she will meet with other ‘like minded’ individuals who will tutor her on how to manage her husband better. In management mode, she will occasionally deny her husband sex untill he gives in to one or two of her numerous requests. If not that, she is tired and just wants to rest. Managing the house help and dropping off the kids in school is tough work you know.
Last week on Sam’s birthday she sulked. Sulked because he didn’t bring her a present. Yes it doesn’t make sense to Sam but it does to her! And the list goes on and on. Issues and more issues. Luckily, you have none of those issues. Believe me when I tell you, Sam truly loves you. You are independent and better, you have a nice job. You always remember to buy him something at least once during the year. You take care of him like a child and ask nothing in return. You just love him innocently. He loves you and he also loves the mother of his children the same way. You are both VERY important to him. His two sweeties.
I have been getting very emotional responses to my writing. I would therefore like to state clearly that the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent me or any of my co-writers. Keep sending your reactions but I can’t and will not guarantee to alter or edit any post in this blog because of your moral standing or personal opinion. Let’s just have fun reading hapo vipi?
By Michael Ngigi
Every once in a while I ask myself out on a drink at my favorite bar near my workplace. I like the status this small old place accords me. They know my drink and what day to serve it. On a day like this, they know that I want something that tastes woody, almost like charcoal. So my 70 year old bartender dissappears behind the counter and a few minutes later he appears with a double Jack and Coke poured over ice flakes. This is a perfect man-drink, bold, sophisticated and mature. You should see a woman drinking Jack & Coke. It is curiously sexy, more like a woman driving a muscle car only less dramatic. You have to be careful though. When a woman is on Jack, you may have to help her protect her own reputation at some point. Know what I mean?
So today, I invite you to drink with me; make time. It is enlightening and refreshing. You will get to know how I think and why I do things different. I like to think of this as ‘my yoga’. This is where I come to re-live moments and sometimes, to chart the way forward. Other times I come to lick my wounds and once in a while, to fight my battles. All in all, I drink for a good moment. Great memories. A interesting conversation. A clear thought on my family, great friends, my woman and lastly, success.
First Jack. Critical thinking.
Among the things that interest me and get me all emotional are world politics. Lately, I am a bitter man. Depressed by the news, I am constantly on the lookout for other things to watch. Among the things that make me angry is the all too familiar allied interference in third world politics. I still can’t place a finger on the exact reason why Libyans started a revolution. Before you call me a jackass please here me out. Why would you take to the streets when your country has one of the highest HDI (Human Development Index) in the world? What valid reason would you want to take up arms when your country has the 10th largest proven oil reserves in the world? Free education up to university level would certainly make your life very easy no? And the list goes on to include free health care and a mean wage of $9.51 per hour. Any way I look at it, I can’t help aknowledging how the Libyan question is too familiar. It has the same feel as Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Egypt. The first world is hungry for energy and raw materials; it is understandable why they would want to interfere with some in the the third world. Some because they choose to rush to Libya’s aid while Ivory Coast is let to drown in chaos. Feel me? Anyway one can only take so much when it comes to politics. Let me get me another drink please. I insist you taste my Jack. Very smooth.
Second Jack. Is it just me? Or…
Now all women want to be president. Fair enough. We are equal. In this day and age we have to appreciate that they are making faster strides compared to their male counterparts. They hold the best jobs, drive the best cars and what not. I am proud of the woman especially our African woman. She keeps our families together. She makes sure that our wealth remains in the family. She is a superwoman. However, there has been a strain of women that are cropping up and it’s scary. And as I say this, I would like all the women in my life to know that I light not this match with the intention to start a fire but to shed light.
The first time I heard about the term independent woman I was confused. I mean, is there anything like an independent human being? Who are we gaining independence from? Think of the term independent man. How does it sound? Silly? I thought so. Being born on your own and having a name unique to you is proof enough that you are your own person. You have a role. Get this. Which woman does not want a man who can protect her and provide for her regardless of her ability to do the same? What woman wants a man who hides behind her when trouble comes calling? A woman wants a real man. A man who is gentle yet still has the fire of a fight raging within him. A man who gets silly and funny but has the wisdom of a centenary man. Women want a man who has solutions and answers. The kind of brother who would lay down his life for a fellow human being. A MAN man.
And so it is, with the other side of the divide. A man wants a woman. As simple as that. A woman who works had and is an achiever. A woman who is intelligent and adds value to a man. A woman who is humble despite the life on the fast lane. Which man wouldn’t want a woman who can at least cook an egg? One thing women should know about cooking for a man is, it is not the outcome of her cooking that matters but the heart behind it. We could eat boiled shoes for all we care! But how it tastes will depend on the heart behind the cooking. I love me a woman who let’s me love her in all the ways a man should. Protect her. Provide for her. Learn from her and gain her trust. A woman who doesn’t have anything to prove. She has a bigger title and takes home a bigger piece of bread (it could happen boys) than me but it doesn’t matter as long as I play my part. A woman who knows I am superman. That type of woman would have me do anything for her.
Lastly, head of the house. Yeah I said it! Shoot me. There can only be one head of the house. So boys and girls, please go, seat, have a discussion and decide who it will be and do the math while you’re at it here are examples to work with. Driver and co-driver. Plug and socket.
Blackjack. The Game.
Whether you like it or not. Love is a game. As Sun Tzu would advise you [were he alive] play only if your chances of winning are good. Secondly, one hand cannot clap. If love is one way, let it go. There are things that should act as clear indicators that your relationship is headed for a fall. The first one is PRIDE. If you are the type that finds it hard to say you are sorry when you wrong someone, you’re headed for doom. If you talk down on your woman just because she is a woman, you will end up a lonely and biter old man. If you disrespect your man just because you rake in more than he does, you will suffer frost in your heart and when you’re older, you will be seen molesting young boys, quarter your age.
The second one is ignorance. When you love someone, be observant. What is a small issue to you could be the biggest issue to them. Pay close attention to what your partner is feeling and what they communicate. It could make you or break your relationship. Communicate. Good communication is the key to everything. Deeper love. Great sex. Trust. Zeal for life and happiness through good and bad times. Ignorance is the most stupid form of foolishness. Someone quote me…
Love Jack. Why I did it.
I remember I was the first to wake up that morning after partying through the previous night. Looking at my watch, I realized we only had 15 minutes before the hotel restaurant downstairs closed down the breakfast buffet. I tried waking her up but she was clearly not in a state for breakfast. I kissed her and went downstairs to feed hoping I’d bring back some food for her. At breakfast, I couldn’t help fidgeting. Meals never taste good without her at the table, that is a fact I have given into lately. It’s like watching an interesting movie without the sound. I tried looking out the window but that too wasn’t fun. Then a flood of thoughts, feelings and emotions drowned my mind. At that moment, I wanted her next to me. I wanted to hear her Pa-ha laugh more than ever. I still find it odd how she manages to make me laugh even when I don’t want to. We hit it off from the moment we first met. It almost felt like we had shared a lifetime together before. She knew me by heart. I knew her by soul.
I left the table hurriedly and rushed to our room. Just before I opened the door I reached into my pocket and took out the pouch to look at the contents. There it was, shining brightly. The old man in Ethiopia had crafted it beautifully. These nine stones would express exactly what I felt about her. I was ready. I hid the pouch in my pocket and I started the tense wait for the right moment. I didn’t know that fate had arranged for us to visit the ski that evening. Opportunity.
A man’s needs are very simple. At the end of the day, we just want a simple, eat-drink-work-sleep-play lifestyle and most of all to be next to the woman of our dreams.
Final Jack. Closing time.
It starts to rain as I beckon the waiter for the bill. I love my drink why lie! Just before I leave the balcony, I instinctively pull out my phone to call her. Honestly, however good my drink is, I know that there’s nothing better than to end my day with a stimulating conversation with my final Jack.