BODY POSITIVITY.

Stop body shaming yourself and other people. You are perfect and beautiful. You can’t be ugly because God made you. Nothing God has created is ugly – Tess ✌

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Leo.

His name is Leo. He is in my Psych class. I like to pronounce his name in Swahili; today. 

Today. Now. The present. 

I would like him to be part of my present and my future. Sometimes I lay awake in bed at night and lie to myself that I’ll do it today. 

I pick up the phone, dial his number and say ,”Leo ni leo. Today I’ll let him know. Today I’ll tell him who I am. Asemaye kesho ni mwongo.” 

Of course I’m the liar because I never pull it off.  I never press the call button. I lie to myself everyday and I cower into the darkness yet again.

I dream of him sometimes. I can’t tell him that though. What would he think? We barely know each other. Actually , he doesn’t know me at all. I might as well be a spec of dust on the lenses of his glasses.

It doesn’t keep me from dreaming about him though.

I bet his laugh is the most beautiful sound I would ever hear. I would love to listen to him laugh at my bad jokes, again and again.

I wonder if his afro is as soft as it looks. It looks like a puffy black cloud. One that brings rain and  keeps us inside all day, to cuddle.

And his touch. What would that feel like? His hands are callused. Does he play an instrument or practice an art at his free time? Can he hold me in his arms like a Spanish guitar?

At this point, I feel like a stalker. I should stop before I become obsessed. 

Maybe he hates animals. Maybe he wears neon pink knickers. Maybe he is one of those people who are allergic to avocados (gasp!) . This is my way of unwinding myself from this downward spiral of obsession I’m heading into. 

But just when I’m starting to get over this feeling, just when I’m starting to put my mind into other things, the unexpected happens.

Planets align, the universe conspires to give me hope and fate sprinkles some fairy dust on us. Today, we made eye contact. It was slight but I felt a tug in my tummy. 

“It was probably nothing, just pure coincidence,” I think to myself. But at lunch time, he heads my way, sits next to me and says, “Hey Hannah. I hope you don’t mind me joining you today?”

Today, I found out he actually knows who I am.

~TheQueerPoet~

(Do you guys believe in fate by the way? I’m really curious to know. Let me know in the comments?:D)

When a baby boy grows up without a Dad.

I love J. Cole. I think he is a modern day Socrates. His art is philosophical. His flow is insightful. His music is just awesome, you know? I love that he provokes me to think about life. That’s why I rank him in my top 5 favorite rappers alive list. Yes, I have a list and everything, lol (the others and the rank are a story for another day:)).

So this one time, I was just sitting outside, basking in the morning sunshine,enjoying the site of fresh green grass, babysitting for my neighbor. She’s a young mother, still in University and her son is this adorable 2year old. So anyway, we were basking together, listening to J. Cole’s Enchanted Friday Night Lights and he starts dancing(let’s call this little boy Ray).

Ray just starts dancing, out of tune with the beat (like a mzungu,lol). He doesn’t care or seem to worry because he is just a baby and his youth has not been tainted by the harshness of society -yet. He is just a happy little boy dancing in the morning sun. Even when Cole says // This is where the fathers ain’t living, at least not with us. Might see us round the city and won’t even say what’s up. // he keeps dancing. He is still too young for it to bother him.

Ray’s dad is not around. I mean he is around somewhere, he is just not around Ray and his mum. To Ray, he is probably just a man with a title; Baba

He likes to tell me stuff about his dad, the way kids brag. Ray tells me that his dad is a police officer. He’ll just randomly come up to me and say in my face,” Baba yangu ni polisiii.” You remember in kindergarten when we used to brag to our classmates sijui ooh my dad can beat up your dad, ooh my dad has a car (pickup) and my favorite, nitakusema kwa baba yangu, he’s a cop. Like your dad would walk you into your class the next morning and arrest that big chubby class bully? Ray has a romanticized idea of his dad.

I wonder what the future has in store for this little boy. Will he still brag about his dad when he gets to primary school? When his English teacher asks him to answer with a question tag ; Your father is home,…. Will he ponder about that the entire day then go home and ask his mum about it? Will she tell him the truth? Either way, he will still be a boy without a dad. It is one thing to have a father and another to have a dad.

I am not a man. I may not know what makes a boy a man but I still have to wonder. Who will teach this boy about man things? Ray pees while sitting down on his potty. True story,haha. Sure, his mum has tried to teach him otherwise but still no change. Who will teach him how to shave? But he’s only two. There is still time for him.

Maybe he will get lucky and find a father figure. A male role model to look up to. Maybe his mum and dad will get together again and get married and he can have a dad who is actually there.To tell him what he actually does for a living. To teach him how to shave for goodness sake! To take him to football games. To help him cope during his teen years. To whoop his ass and keep him in check when he starts feeling like an adult at 17 and he hasn’t even gotten an ID yet. To teach him how to treat a woman. To show him what a real man does and doesn’t do. To show up at his graduation from University and give him life advice and covertly tell him that he better get a job ASAP and move out of his house. To just show up and be his dad. For now, his mum will be enough. His everything.

I hope the fact that his dad isn’t around won’t be a handicap for him. He won’t use it as an excuse to be a delinquent or to be mediocre in life or to be another deadbeat or to let his beautiful light fade because he is a ray of sunshine. I hope life is kind to a boy like him and even if it isn’t, it won’t be for too long. 

I hope he’ll turn out great. I mean, look at J. Cole, he’s great!

8 ways to prevent burnout this high stress season.

It’s here again. That mid-semester madness. Classes are suddenly all week long. Lecturers aren’t messing around. CATs are coming. Assignments and projects are piling. We’ve all been there and all you can do is pray you don’t lose it.( I know I’ve contemplated dropping out during this season,ha!)

With this madness comes the burnout. When you’re absolutely tired and you can no longer function well due to overworking. You become exhausted, cranky, skeptical (haha) and sometimes depressed. To prevent this from happening;

1.  Take a break.

 Remember, Rome was not built in a day. You probably will not be able to finish those assignments all at once. But don’t quit.

When you feel overwhelmed:

  • Go scoop some fresh air.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Take a power nap (my favorite).
  • You can also skip class for a day or two. This one is a big risk especially if you’ve got lecturers who take roll call. Sometimes you just need to getaway for a while. You can always ask your pal akusignie ,lol.

2. Eat.

Now is not the time to be skipping meals especially breakfast. You’re going to need all the energy you can get. The key word here is balanced diet + water.

3. Sleep.

Get plenty of sleep. I’m talking 7, 8 hours of sleep. Don’t deprive yourself of sleep.

4. Time management.

Get your shit together guys! If you manage your time well, for example maximize on weekends, you won’t be having a breakdown on Monday morning when an assignment is due.

5. Too much on your plate.

My mum always says,don’t put too much food on your plate if you know you can’t finish it. Bite off only what you can chew. Do an amount of work you know you can handle. 

6. Know when to stop.

Listen to your brain. When you feel like stopping, stop and go back to step one above. You are allowed to slow down.

7. Look on the bright side.

All this stress means end of semester is just around the corner. ☺

8. Treat yourself.

Because life is hard enough as it is and so is Uni.

  • Binge.
  • Pamper yourself.
  • Hangout with friends and forget your troubles for a while.

I’m currently at home but all my friends at school seem to be talking about is this mid-semester madness. Take it easy guys. I hope this helps☺

Be Kind to Yourself.Take into consideration your whole self, not just your writing self. How strong are you physically and emotionally right now? How can you make those aspects of yourself better?

Get enough sleep and proper nutrition. Though eating chocolate and staying up all night watching sad movies may seem like a fun idea, it’s probably not the ideal way to self-care.

Remember when things were worse. Last year at about this time, I was recovering from four surgeries. I’d rather deal with some writing downs than that. Perspective is important.

Use your Lifelines

You know how that show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire , has three lifelines the contestants may use in their answering? You have lifelines, too, if you think about it. When I’m feeling very end-of-the-world, I choose one or all of these lifelines for support:

Phone a writing friend. Call up your writing buddies and make a date for lunch or coffee or a walk. If you can’t go in person, reach out via email or social media (aren’t we all in secret writing groups?). When I admitted to my problems, several people reached out to me to tell me they’d experienced EXACTLY THE SAME THING, and I instantly felt better.

Phone a non-writing friend and talk about anything unrelated to writing.

Do something for someone else. Volunteering with a group or doing something nice for a friend is a swift visceral reminder that there’s more to life than your writing career.

Make other art. It doesn’t matter what it is. Learn how to fold a napkin into a turkey, or string paperclips together. Anything. Your writing muscles need a rest to regenerate into something stronger; give them a break by working out a different creative group. I actually completed a Christmas dollhouse that I’d collected the materials for, but never put together.

Do something physical. Endorphins, sunshine, fresh air. You know the drill.

Get Back to Writing

Make a plan. Maybe you’ll write something new. Maybe you’ll query another agent. Maybe you’ll incorporate your critiques. The important thing is to know what you want and proceed in that direction.

Visualize your completed project. I was at the local Japanese dollar store and saw daruma dolls. The eyes are blank, and you make a wish and fill in one eye. When your wish is fulfilled, you draw in the other eye. My writer friend Jamie Ford gets a new daruma and draws an eye every time he starts a new project, and fills in the other when he’s done. I don’t think he’ll mind me copying this idea, so I got a daruma and drew in an eye.

Or, go the other way, and try to quit. Wait, you say, that can’t be right! But it can be. When I told my husband I was quitting writing forever, he said okay. I was highly insulted. I’d thought he’d grasp me to his chest and declare, “No, no, no, my darling! The world needs your talent! You must KEEP WRITING!” Or at least, “You know, you don’t really have any other skills, so you should probably give it another go.” But okay? I said, “You’re just going to let me quit? Just like that?” I knew then I wouldn’t, and I was ready to delve back into the process.

I don’t remember where I got this from but it really inspired me and motivated me to get out of the rut I was stuck in ✌

Clairvoyance.

Six years ago when we (yes, si we are a family now?) started this blog, Thika Road wasn’t even a highway. Fashion blogging wasn’t a thing yet. Selfies were unheard of. Yoga hadn’t moved to Kileleshwa. Sauti Sol hadn’t started removing their shirts. In fact, Nerea hadn’t even gotten a boyfriend yet, let alone getting pregnant. Folk ate carbohydrates. Instagram was an infant. Vanity was only evolving. Fast. Here, we called this blog High School because we were young and impressionable. We met here every Monday. And we were unhinged. We laughed (still do) and sometimes we got sombre. We didn’t really know what we wanted from each other, but it felt good to meet here on Mondays and have a tickle and a giggle. And nobody gave two shits on who commented first.

We had guys like Kibidubidu whose comments you had to read with a dictionary. Kina Kimutai in his kitenge. Then we blossomed. We graduated from High School and came here and even more people came on board. Interesting folk for the most part. And when we gave Jadudi a hand we knew that this shit here isn’t for just laughs, that we would step up to the plate when we wanted to. We had become a family; diverse, opinionated, respectful and still fun. Even the names became louder – kina Peter Wesh. Some with three names: Caroline Achieng Otieno. Kina Cliff the Tall, who I’m sure isn’t even thaaat tall. Kina Anitah and Mwaura Mswati, an admirer of King Mswati, I suppose. There were also a bunch of commenters who hide behind monikers. And then the thousands of ghost readers who came in quietly, read and went back to their spreadsheets and day hustle. Online phantoms. We became lovers of the word. We became men and women of letters.

So did I know I would get here? No. Not in my wildest dreams. Because all I wanted to do was write.

An extract from Bikozulu’s blog post after winning BAKE awards in 2016, four times in a row, Kenyan blog of the year. @ bikozulu.co.ke (wait, could I get sued for this?)

I was recently asked what my blog is really about.  

“Selina, I am confused on what your blog is actually about.”

I was a little hurt. A little :roll:.Truth is I had no idea either. I started back in 2015 without an end game in mind. I was purely winging it. But I remember that at the time, I had so many thoughts I needed an outlet other than my personal journal. All I wanted to do was write.

A year and 5months down the line and I finally get it. Now I have clarity of sight, clairvoyance, of where we are going. 

It has been a journey full of growth. 9 months into it and I discovered my deep love for writing. Crafting words was a blissful thing for me. A year into it and I wanted more out of this thing (money perhaps or purpose, I’m still figuring it out). 17 months in and I finally know what The Tess Chronicles is about.

It is a creative writing blog. My content is diverse and transcends many areas but written in a creative light. There is perspective here, expression, authenticity, humor, growth, quality, maturity (sometimes, lol) and general concern for important matters affecting us.

Posting Schedule and Categories.
Mondays- Life and my generation. Basically everything to do with our generation. Our culture, lifestyle, issues and how to deal.

 Wednesdays- Perspective. Opinions and perspectives on different matters in the world at large. Important stuff, controversial stuff.

 Fridays- The arts. Poetry, a great piece of short writing fictional or nonfinancial, music, film, a great book, a great piece of painting. This is where diversity comes in. An appreciation for the arts.

 Sundays- Girl talk. All things women. Empowerment, advice( dudes can come here to get advice on women too,lol) and feminism.
I want to showcase life in the eyes of us youth, this misunderstood millennial generation. Young Kenyans passionate and ambitious. I want to put our opinions out there because they matter. 

I want to tell untold stories. I want to help people like me (writers with a million stories to tell but no platform, audience and or looking for a big break) break out of their artistic shells and show to the world.

I want to provoke people to think, especially my peers. I want them to be more in touch with our reality- the Kenyan reality.

I want to create my own community with this blog. A community of young people, friends, artists of great talent, misfits of all sorts. They can come here, find that they relate to my posts, feel at home and belong. I want to belong.

I want to create a place where freedom of expression is as necessary as breathing. A place to exercise feminism because Women’s rights matter.

And why not have fun in the process of it all? 🙂

Now, this is going to take great effort to pull off. I will need help because writer’s block is no joke. It’s as serious as erectile dysfunction! Time will come when I will not only shoot blanks but draw blanks as well. I will need people to help me get the pen up again (hahaha nimewacha sawa).  If you have ideas that can fit in any of the above mentioned categories or have something you can contribute to the categories, be it a piece of art, book review, film review, music review, opinion etc, you could guest blog here. Just email me -selinateyie@gmail.com and we work something out. 

Have you followed my blog yet? Subscribe below after reading☺ Leave me a comment and let’s connect.

Nice day☺ Happy Easter♥

The Crowd.

I remember when I was younger, during Easter ,when we would watch The Passion of Christ movies at home or in Sunday school. I had so many questions to ask my folks. Like :

  • Were there no black people during Jesus’s time? My dad told me that Jesus was a Jew in Israel. No Africans in Israel at that time. Okay. Understandable.
  •  Jesus was the son of God, he was super powerful right? Why didn’t he just kill everyone who opposed him? My mum told me that that wasn’t how it was supposed to work. Jesus was humble. He was to make people believe in him without forcing them. I didn’t get this at all. I would have killed them 😒 I was only six after all.
  • Then dad, why didn’t people defend Jesus when he was being accused of blasphemy yet they saw and believed in his miracles? My dad said it was part of the prophecy. I didn’t get it.

I have since come to understand things. But it is still puzzling. When Jesus was before Pilate and the people were asked what should be done to him, the crowd shouted for him to be crucified. The same people who called him teacher and followed him around to hear his teachings and see his miracles.

Perhaps a few of their cries to defend him were swallowed by those saying he should be crucified. Perhaps. But it doesn’t change the fact that they turned on him. His friends, his disciples. Judas, Peter, the crowd. They turned on him when he needed them the most.( of course it had to happen to fulfill the prophecy but if Jesus were an ordinary human being, he would have needed his friends.)

This was what the priest taught during sermon for Palm Sunday yesterday. He meant us to apply it to our real lives in preparation for Easter. That crowd, those friends, the people we think are really down for us, would they still stick around for us when things get rough? When shit gets real and hits the fan, will they run and hide or cover their noses and still stick by us?

Apparently, only John stuck by Jesus till the end (if he ran and hid, it is not recorded in the good book). He was always Jesus’s favourite. Jesus must have known that John was down for him one hundred percent. Do you have that one or a couple people like John? Those are the ones you should be aware of in your life. Pin point them and stick with them. Not everyone in the crowd will be down for you when the time comes. If you do find yourself in the crowd, do dare to stand out and be different. You never know who might follow.

Have a great week ahead☺