Better wear your running shoes.  

I have had an eventful past two, three weeks. It has been crazy is all I can say. I think I’m ready to go back to school now because Eldoret has shown me quite enough. I’m not complaining though , I’ve just had my quota of drama for the first quarter of 2017. I think my thighs are toned now 😂😂

Confession: I haven’t ran in the morning for like a month( I feel terrible 😩 ). My sleep demons have been winning but I’ll be back to wage a bigger war soon. By soon I mean June. May isn’t looking lucky either coz it’s started raining for real here and it’s muddy(excuses tu) and I know I’ll compensate for it later when I go run errands for my mum in town and it turns literal.It’s election season and you know how Kenyans turn crazy during this season. (Our problem is, we forget too quickly). 

I’ll be walking around town, doing some shopping in the market when I’ll hear screaming and and people running for cover and so I won’t wait but run for my life too even though I don’t know why we’re running. I will have guessed it though. Teargas. This has happened to me three times. 

Have you ever been teargassed?? Haha! It’s like a slow death by suffocation. You were just walking in town, minding your own business when you see people running and you don’t know where the danger is and you suddenly start chocking. Then the tears. Then the running nose. Then the sneezing and you don’t have water in sight. It’s ugly. So imagine if a grown man can’t handle it, what about children? Babies on their mothers’ backs? Aki I saw a kid being led away by his mum crying looking for water. It was so sad. Let’s be woke guys and help each other out.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve encountered gunshots and a fire. I’m from the hood, gunshots don’t scare me much (lol) and I know what to do It’s like drilled into my head. A fire though? I’ve seen infernos on TV, read about them, I’ve seen smoke from a far but never actually witnessed one up close and helped put it out. I learned one thing though, I’m actually a quick thinker (and here my mum was worried that I was a sloth IRL 😒).

It’s been a constant race against time. Running. Learning to be woke! It’s a tricky season in Kenya currently and we better be cautious. Let’s try to think before we act or speak. Be careful who you confront and where you tread. Maybe carry a bottle of water sometimes ey? You never know when it might come in handy. 

You see when we are running from teargas and we run into someone’s shop, for example, for safety? Remember that person helped you without thinking ati sasa which tribe are you from. They were just being human. So come 8/8/17 , be human too and don’t throw a rock at that shop’s window because the owner is not your tribe. Am I making sense?

My dad was around this labour day and he’s a fussy dad. Since we were kids, he’s been telling us to wear closed shoes when we go out. I wanted to wear sandals on this particular day. We had a small confrontation. He told me,”okay, fanya kile unataka.” In other words, he played the guilt card. I’m a sucker for the guilt card. He said I should wear my running shoes to save time because they were right at the door. Let’s just say I wouldn’t have been able to run for my life with sandals on.

How’s your side of the country looking?Is it peaceful or people are running too? Let me know in the comments ☺

​​

TAKING STOCK 02/2017.

Craving clarity in my life. But when is life ever so completely clear?

Campaigning silently for positive body image.

Crushing on Olivia Pope from scandal aka Kerry Washington, aka Judy Smith. One word, Badass!

Complaining about the cost of living! Eish. Milk. Ugali. Sugar. What???

Dreaming about traveling, sigh.

Dreading 8/8/2017.

Drinking chai ☺ (this luhya isn’t playing.)

Eating brunch from Monday to Saturday. This means I eat two meals a day. Hmmm.

Feeling cold. It’s been raining here since Friday evening . (I love it ☺)

Figuring myself out. I have been working on learning my personality and self-improvement for a while now. Progress level, 7/10. (yaay!)

Finishing up on that mat I was making for my mum. It has taken a long time because my mum was micromanaging me. She’s a perfectionist. I’m a perfectionist. We both wanted different things.

Listening to Classic 105. My old soul is on the loose ☺

Learning new words from different places. Did you know a squish is when you want someone you met to be your friend? Like a platonic crush. Am I making sense?

Loving how my locks are growing so far. 6 inches long😌

Playing a looot of Luther Vandross (his voice and his words,dang❤) and Lemonade ♛

Planning to wash this dog ,Victor. I suspect biting and screaming will be involved. I’m a little scared.
Reading “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, recommended by a squish of mine. It’s a short book and it’s fast paced and I’m so hooked right now. I may be late to the party (29 years late) but that’s the best way to arrive ✌. I’ll be done by this week’s end then I’ll let you know. No spoilers please if you’ve read it already, thanks.

Writing two stories at once (yikes!). One involves a wolf. The other involves a lot of ice. I’ve never seen snow yet I’m writing a story with snow in it?  Never encountered a wolf either. I got crazy guts man!

Working on my confidence as a writer. All these pieces I’m writing need to go out into the world. And those unfinished ones need to be worked on.

Needing some serious mentoring. Someone know how to help?

Considering submitting a story to this year’s Short Story Day Africa. The theme this year is ID, identity. Deadline is July 31st. Opening submission is June 1st. Then again, my confidence is lacking, sigh. I need to get a grip.

Spreading kindness and peace this election season. Lest we forget 2007/2008.

Smelling herbs. I’m kinda sick and my mum is sort of a herbalist…. it’s a long story.

Smiling more over the little things in life.

Watching Shadowhunters season 2.

Wishing  for a fictional boyfriend like Jace Wayland 😒

Feeling grateful 🙏

Happy labour day guys. Happy new month. I hope May is kinder ✌



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 ✌

Gallery

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 ✌