Yesterday through my glasses

Yesterday was a beautiful day. No, scratch that, yesterday was an absolutely fantastic day.

After spending the whole week telling myself not to go because Sundays are my “me” days and I will need all the rest in the world to prepare for a new week, I finally went to my book club meeting.

I woke up, complained to my mother about how awful it felt to leave the house when the weather was so gloomy, and went to the meeting, hoping for a text to come in along the way with a “Sorry guys,the meeting has been cancelled,” so I could return to the warmth of my sheets; Between The Covers.

The day turned out better than I had imagined, and even scolded myself for wanting to skip the meeting. I walked home happy, bubbly and contended.

I was ready for bed after a long, warm shower, a fruit pudding, and a chapter of the book I had left unfinished. Except I was up until the wee hours of the morning, furiously typing on my laptop with tears clouding my vision.

I should have just eaten my fruit pudding and gone to bed, checking in on people in the morning, but I figured a quick ‘how are you?’ wouldn’t hurt. I texted JJ, simply asking how he was doing, and waited a long time for a response, despite the fact that I could see he had read it.

I had talked about him during the day and mom says talking about people in their absence can make them choke on water or bite their tongue.

I sat there waiting, hoping he had not choked on anything, my fingers itching to write, to ask if he was all right, if he was mad at me, or if it was just someone else using his phone like they always do.

We don’t talk much nowadays; there’s an unpacked silence between us that no one wants to reveal, a cloud of anxiety hanging over what lies underneath the silence.

“I’m fine, sis.” I read the text right before it reached my inbox.
I should’ve been happy. After playing all the what ifs in my head while waiting for his answer, I should have sighed with relief, knowing he was fine.

Instead, I slumped into my seat, heavy with grief, as if I’d just received death news. A lump in the back of my throat grew quickly to my throat, and my eyes welled up with tears.

I’ve been fighting the tears for a long time, and I couldn’t hold them back in yesterday. So I slid down the coach to make room for the river of tears that was about to flow.
I cried. I’m the long, ugly, muggy kind who only stops to take a breath and blow my nose.

I cried because, for a long time, my brother has not been fine. He hasn’t been himself. He probably has no idea who he was yesterday. I cried because of all the things he could have said to me, fine was not the word to throw at me as though I was a stranger to him.

I cried for the days when he was my younger brother but old enough to look after me, for the days when he was my voice and advocate when I was too afraid to speak for myself. Days Mom boasted about his vibrant personality in her ‘chama’ meetings for the rest of the day, and just said, “That’s a quiet one.” when it came to me.

My heart ached for my boarding school days, when the anticipation of seeing him during the holidays was the only thing that kept me going through the long school days.

To his huge dreams and his enthusiasm for following them. To his deep belly laugh, that came out as if he was laughing at the world for not preparing for the person he was, and his lively voice and energy that filled our home with life.

I cried for the days when we sat and talked about who we wanted to be, him trying to change the world and me wanting to hide from it. How determined he was about being free in a world full of chains and enslavement.

I cried for our love for books and art and how it echoes so loudly that it jolts me out of my solitude and into his vivid, colorful world.

Hell, I cried as I remembered the days when we would laugh at drunkards lying on the road side and wonder why their parents never took them to Sunday school. When he was too tired to lift his arm but squeezed my hand tightly when we prayed before bed.

I cried for the best friend I have had in JJ on days I didn’t know who to turn to in my circle and the brother he has been when I needed family.

Then I cried for the pain in his eyes, which clearly lingers and slows him down whenever he attempts to step forward.
For the chaos within him and the demons he battles alone.

For the days when mom weeps and asks me what happened to his son as if I have the answers hidden beneath my bed.

Days when my father calls to say, “I don’t know how to help your brother; please pray for him,” and his helplessness is so tangible that I want to take his hand in mine and dry his tears.

I wept for the days when my siblings look at me, scared, and ask if JJ was okay or if he’ll come home after he’s been gone for too long and the house aches for his hearty laughter.

For the nights when I have to say a prayer before picking up an unknown call because bad news is always lurking around the corner. Nights when I send him money, knowing full well that I could be digging his grave, but can’t resist the urge of wanting to save him.

I cried because of the sadness on his face when he speaks, the hopelessness on his neck when he walks, the loss in his eyes, and the weakness in his voice when he says, “I am trying.”

Does it occur to you that you’re an alcoholic?” I asked to answer his text after I had calmed down from my sobs.

I was, but I’m better now. I’ve quit. I haven’t had a drink in the last 6 months.”

But you have had a drink in the last 7 days?”

Not more than 5 times. I know yesterday was bad, but it’s under control sis”.

It makes me cry even harder because, if yesterday refers to the bubbly, sober boy he was before today, then he should see yesterday through my eyes, or perhaps through my glasses because yesterday was beautiful. No, yesterday was absolutely fantastic.

Words from my mother

Yesterday I spoke to my mother.

Told her how anxious I’ve been and how I haven’t left the house in a long time. She asked if I was okay and if I was eating because she can never stand seeing me thin.

I told her I am still struggling, with my identity, the person I am becoming, and the scars of my past.

That I am still angry at myself and them even though they’re not to blame. That though I want to, I still cannot trust doctors, and it took food poisoning for me to walk into a hospital the other day.

I am angry that I am learning to feel beautiful in my skin now, to feel whole in my scarred legs in a world that is too broken to let me try.

I told her how I have been getting in a pattern of negative thoughts every time I feel stuck in my goals and my dreams seem too big in my eyes. How I sit and cuddle negativity while kindness begs me to let her in, to be gentle with myself. 

Of how I am stressing over small things and keep snapping at people close to me when they ask how I am because I’m too focused on the storm building inside me, the havoc I keep creating for myself.

That even when I am in beautiful spaces, in arms of people who cover me with all their warmth on the coldest of days, I still break down and slip into the emptiness inside me. That I no longer smile at strangers and my laughter sticks in my throat whenever I try to let it out in my happiest moments.

I told her that even though I can’t place a hand on what hurts the most, I am hurting. My body is shutting down with each passing day and not any of the addictions I’ve gotten myself into, is good enough to keep me afloat. That each time I crawl out of my darkness, I do not see the light.

I told her how I am struggling to get a connection with God, to talk to Him without stopping in the middle to question Him of things that have and that are yet to happen in my life. That though I trust Him, I still worry, and it’s frustrating.

That lately I am scared. Scared that if I close my eyes to sleep, I will not come out of it. Even though my brain seems to be giving up on me, I am too afraid of leaving the world behind, afraid of seeing them take a blame that’s mine to carry.

That sometimes when I pray, I do not hear my voice or trust my words, and it makes me wonder if I believe in Him at all.

I truthfully told her how nowadays, I am scared to check my emails because I do not know what to expect anymore. That I do not know how to put the pieces of my life together although I have it all figured out in my head. That although my age is the least of my worries, the numbers just don’t add up.

I told her of everything that hurts, everything that does not feel okay, everything that lacks life inside me. Of the taint that is on my skin, my mind, and heart. A taint, that despite the long showers and the different oils I use on my body, remains strong, loud, and unshaken. Like a distant memory of a lost lover amidst stars, waiting for you to pull it down.

And when I was done talking, she calmly said;

“Healing, growth, and peace come with a price, my baby. It’s messy, it’s awkward and uncomfortable, but you will find your precious heart, then your wings, and believe me, the soaring will be beautiful.”

Ella



Two out of three days, I have contemplated committing suicide. I’ve thought of ways to take my life and get done with all this pain because I do not know what to do with all of it.

If I could, I’d give some to the greedy, selfish politicians fattening their arses with our hard earned money and still lusting for our sweat and blood, but none of them have the balls to stand any of it. Bloody cowards!

It’s like ripping the heart open and jamming it with needles, the pain. Like a woman in labor being urged to push harder after being told the baby died in her womb. Like an ache from the prints of a lost soul mate. It’s like stabbing yourself in the heart, holding the knife in, and waiting for the last breath.

I feel it every day, you know, it never goes away. Even when Roberts’ hand gently searches my body for any part with desire, the pain rises above the passion and the pleasure, right into the wounds all over my body to form a coldness he can never warm.

I know I lost my last piece of humanity when I lost her. She was the beat of my heart, everything that filled my hollowness and made me whole. Now, this empty shell I call a body doesn’t recognize this life existing in me.

First, I hated her. Right when I realized she was inside me. I loathed, cursed, and swore never to let her see the light of day. I did not want her or the idea of her.

You see, when you get raped by three hungry, merciless men who have nothing to live or die for but your body, you’re not left with any mental strength to withstand the possible stunt of pregnancy.

It takes everything from you, your dignity, your pride, your emotions, and all the bits that make up your soul. It pushes your body to the limit, scrapes all the life out of you, and fills you up with shame, guilt, trauma, and silence.

But you do not know that until the wreck and havoc start unfolding and the mass of pain inside you starts to spread and merge with a numbness growing in the hole left by what used to be your soul.

The doctor said I was lucky I survived, but the violence that was done to my body was beyond damage, I had lost everything that belonged wholly to me, everything I called mine.

Two months later, after the doctor stitched and patched me back to life, my body gave in to the pain and havoc inside me. I woke up in the hospital, my neighbor Fatma was staring down at me with eyes full of pity.

Poor thing! She lost her whole family in a car accident a year ago, now those monsters have done this to her, it must be too much for one person.” These were the only words I could remember from Fatma before passing out again.

Hours later, when I received the news, Fatma was seated by my bed, rocking my shoulder. I wanted to tell the doctor to get it out of me, to scrap every last bit of it out of my body and cleanse me of all its attachment, but I just lay there with my mouth shut, struggling to find any strength left in my bone to open my mouth.

For a whole month after Fatma took me in, I stayed in bed, leaving her with the burden of nursing and babysitting me. She walked me to the toilet, bathed me, and fed me like a baby. All the time, I never spoke a word to her, the only sound she ever heard from me was my sniffing and loud gulps of breath when I was choking on my tears.

She dragged me out and sat with me in the sun, walked me around her house, made my hair, and called her nurse friend to check on me and the baby.

I developed complications in the last trimester and spent most of the days in the hospital. Even though everything inside me wanted to get rid of that baby, I never even once tried to harm it.
Maybe because it was the only thing alive inside me, and with everything in me dead, I did not know what I would be without it.

She was born 3 weeks early through an emergency Caesarian. Fatma named her Ella after my mother Helena. For another month, I was in the hospital with Fatma running up and down the hospital corridors like a nurse on duty.

Seeing Ella in that incubator birthed in me a new life, a heart that would only beat as long as she was breathing. Everything that had died inside me now lived in her, and I knew right there that I had been reborn.

She would have turned 5 today. We would have gone to Mwendas’ ice cream shop before going to the castles. “Mom,toka haraka twende kwa weda, ashcream itaisha.” She would say, pulling me out of the house by my clothes.

I never held her in my hands to say goodbye or feel her pale, lifeless body. She was taken by men in white overalls, wrapped in a thick plastic paper that will never let her breathe even if she wanted to find her way back to me.

She was buried like an animal. Like she never deserved me or life, carrying my heart with her. Now all I am left with is pain, loss, and the emptiness threatening to swallow me.

Maybe Corona was the punishment I got for not wanting her first, or maybe the virus did not come to steal her from me but to set me free from her. But tell me, doc, how much does one person have to lose for them to have lost too much?

“A man once said, loss and possession, death and life are one, There falls no shadow where there shines no sun.” I say.

“Do you think we can still do something for Ella’s birthday?”

“An ice cream at Mwendas’, that’s all Ella would have wanted for her birthday,” She has with a distant look in her eyes.

“Do you want me to come with you?”

“I will call Robert, he must be done with his shift by now. Thank you, Doc.”

“You have done well today Monica, I am happy with your progress. I hope to see you again on Tuesday.”

As Monica rises to leave, I close my almost full notebook on Monica’s therapy sessions, hold it close to my heart, and sigh heavily.

Of all the sessions we have had in the last three months, today’s session has been the longest. I could see a glitter of hope and life in Monica’s eyes when she mentioned Robert, and that alone gives me life. I hope it gives her life.

Day 30: 🎊How I feel about the writing challenge🎉

When I first started writing, I sure didn’t think I would get to day 15, leave alone day 30. I played with the idea of writing consecutively for 30 straight days and I knew that it was only great in theory.

Not that I would lack something to write but knowing how my days had been for the better part of the year, I didn’t think I would be able to put a post every day, especially when I wasn’t taking part in the choosing of the topics.

After writing day one, I felt drained, like I had been writing for the whole year and this was the day my back broke and I downed my pen, but I woke up the next day to write another post, and other than a day that I missed writing, I’ve been religiously waking up every day at 4 am to draft an article for the day.

Hell, it’s not been easy, there are days I’ve regretted taking up the challenge. Days when I had too much on my hands that I doubted I’d get even a second to write a paragraph. When I’ve woken hours past my alarm and struggled out of bed, getting past midday before drafting even a line on the topic given.

Days when I have wanted to stop, do away with the already done posts and go on with life like I never started a challenge. Struggling through my lunch break to write a whole post, I’ve wondered if it was worth it all, if it was even adding any value or filling me up with satisfaction.

There are days I had to put up posts without editing or crosschecking, days when I rushed home after work to finish up on the post and put it up late because I couldn’t steal a minute at work to write.

When I got past my destination in the morning or in the evening going home and had to travel back because I was busy on my phone trying to get half of the post done or edit an already posted article.

So how do I feel about the challenge? God, I am proud. I’m proud of the effort I put in and the far I’ve come. Ah, my heart is full. I am happy that I not only finished the challenge, but I found happiness, comfort and peace in it.

There are days I felt exhausted and drained by the days activities and all I wanted was to get to my room and write. To sink in the flow of my imagination, fantasies, dreams and experiences as I wrote away.

I have loved the feeling of accomplishment when I finished a days post on time and still had time on my hands to read a blog or a book.

I have found peace in this writing like I’ve never before, a comfort that cushioned me from pain, fears and difficult days. It has woken my journaling demon, making me fill up all my diaries because a door of expression opened inside me and my soul found freedom again.

Hard and challenging as it has been, I have enjoyed every bit of it, falling in love with each day and looking forward to the next. It has filled me up with purpose, a course and dreams too big for me to carry.

With it, I’ve learned to push myself to my full potential, to beat deadlines, uncover myself and mostly, I finally got to face the procrastination demon head on.

I have learned new words, I’ve made favorite phrases, discovered new vocabularies, listened to new music while writing and found so much peace in it.
He’ll, I’ve had the best meditation moments from this, uncovered memories that filled me with happiness and made new ones while at it.

Writing for the 30 days has been a superpower in my creativity, my thinking and interaction with my inner self.

I’m beat and could use a break, read all the 30 days like you have been doing and enjoy it at a seating because writing for 30 days has been beautiful, thrilling and a fulfilling experience for me and I cannot imagine how being the reader feels.

I do not know what happens from here onwards, what I’ll embark on writing or how I’ll do it, but I do know that I love writing and I enjoy it with every bit of my soul.

Whatever happens, I hope that I get to write better, to master the art of writing in ways that’ll fill me with joy, contentment and satisfaction. I hope I get better ideas, grow, thrive and make my heart proud.

Mostly, I am happy that you’ve been here all along, stuck to my sometimes unedited work, urging me to keep going even when my heart and body begged me to stop.

We’ve finally made it to this day. Thank you for being here, for reading, for cheering me on and correcting me the best way you could.

You’re inspiration, support, strength,love and my heart is full because of you. Thank you for choosing to be here, I hope the new year brings us better. We all deserve better.

I hope we meet again on this blog. You’re a bundle of joy and I love having you here.
For now, let me wish you a happy, peaceful and productive new year. Be well.

Sending you Love, happiness and pretty hugs. ❤😁🤗

Adios!

Day 29: Lessons I’ve picked from 2020

For a moment in 2020, the world stopped and life went on in a slow motion. I bet no one expected that a year supposed to begin us a new decade full of hopes, aspirations, dreams and ambitions would turn out like it did.

We live in a dynamic world, where everything keeps changing, but 2020 hit us with a whole surprise, carrying with it its own share of challenges and a bucket full of lessons for everyone. It’s no doubt the year will remain a history in our lives and in our hearts forever.

With a few days left to close the year, I cannnot say or expect that next year will be a great year but I’m hopeful that it’ll bring us better, fulfilling days.

2020 has been one hell of an overwhelming year for me, one that’s left me breathless and holding my pieces close to my chest. I have crawled through days with the hope of getting to the next day with even just a little strength left for my heart to make a heartbeat.

I have had a better days while at it, happiness and tremendous growth. I have picked my lessons wherever possible and only hope that they make me a better person.

Of all things I have picked from 2020, I don’t think there’s anything that beats gratitude. The year has taught me to be grateful for the tinniest things I have in life. To count my blessings however little they seem to be. To appreciate the basic things I tend to think I’m entitled to, the people in my life and the little things they do to show me love.

To appreciate the moments and times I have on my hands knowing that they’re not guaranteed to last forever. I’ve learned to be grateful for the people that chose to be part of my life, to love them truly and fully when I still have them and let them know just how much they mean to me.

2020 has reminded me that basic is expensive and that I have to be thankful for every little thing we take for granted.

I’ve had losses in 2020, friendships, relationships, jobs, spaces and people, which opened my eyes to a new realization.

That not everyone who comes in my life has to/will stay. I’ve learned to let go. Let go of people, things, energy and spaces that drain me empty.

That it’s okay to end relationships that break me more than they build me, to walk out of friendships that are toxic and not feel bad about it. To let go of spaces that are not safe for my mental health, to chose myself first and be at peace with it.

The year has given me a new strength in letting go. In knowing that not everyone will choose me and that’s okay. To open doors to people that want to walk out even when they’re deep rooted in my heart. To release people that drain me empty even when my soul craves for them.

I’ve learned that some people are just friends, some family and some are just acquaintances. That sometimes, you can want people who are not good for you and your soul, to love them but never have them, and it’s okay. It’s okay to
let people go and create space for others that deserve it.

With the pandemic, the year gave us a hell lot of time to ourselves, to sit, talk and be with ourselves as much as we could.

With it, I’ve learned to put myself first, to care and love myself enough to realize when I am filling up myself with toxicity. To protect my energy and mental health at all costs because I have the power to save or destroy myself.

That I cannot be productive every day, 24/7 however far I want to go, and it’s okay to slow down and look at the far I’ve come from and where I’m headed. I’ve learned to give my body and mind breaks, recharge and rest until I’m ready to begin again.

Mostly, I’ve learned to never give up on myself. Self-love is a journey, something you chose to do every day. That some days it will be hard and exhausting, my flaws will stress the hell out of me and my insecurities would hit the roof, and it’s okay. Okay to feel low and have dull days, but to always walk out of them stronger and better.

Hell, 2020 made a wreck of my emotions. I don’t think my hormones have ever been that confused since they discovered their function.

They’ve tortured and terrorized me like never before, sometime leaving me confused and helpless but they’ve also given me a chance to understand them and the relationship we have. To embrace and love them as a special part of me.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to be vulnerable, to be weak and ask for help. That I cannot heal a wound if I pretend not to be bleeding. To open up when the world weighs heavily on my chest, confess that I am not okay, and I need a hand to hold.

To express myself straight from y heart, embrace my vulnerabilities and find help in my deepest struggles.

I’ve learned to let myself be loved and care for like I deserve. To listen to my heart and give it a chance with places it wants to go and the people it beats for. To rely on my faith and trust my steps. That it’s okay to be happy, hurting and healing at the same time.

I cannot express how broken I felt when my skyscraper plans and dreams came crumbling at my feet after Corona happened and the world came to a standstill. For a better part of he year, I was frustrated and devastated, fighting nature and beating myself up trying to make things work as I had planned.

I was drained, depressed and broken when my world fell apart while I watched with very little I could do to save it. The year hit me right in the face,reminding to be content with today and only hope that tomorrow brings me better things, people, opportunities and moments.

Instead of worrying about what will or how tomorrow will be, I’ve learned to be happy and grateful in the day I have. To make the most out of it the best way I can. To live, love and laugh.

To see the blessings in my hands and only chase what’s within my power. To live my dreams today, because tomorrow is not promised.

Mostly, 2020 has taught me that nothing happens by magic. You have to put in the work, however little. You have to wake up and show up even when your body begs you to stay.

That it’s okay to try and fail, ask and get turned down, to give your best and still not be good enough. Whatever happens, you have to keep going, keep putting in the work and not stop until you’re where you want to be.

That if I don’t like the course my life is taking it’s up to me to change it. To stand and fight for what I want even when the battle is too big for me. To ask for help and guidance when I feel stuck instead of giving up.

To get at the top of my Mountain, I have learned to fix my thinking, work on my attitude and take control of my dreams everyday. To know when to let go, when to turn the page and when to close that door.

2020 has given me a chance to dive deeper into the person I am meant to be and given a chance, I don’t think I would do 2020 differently.

From it, I’ve found my silver lining and from the ashes, my soul has risen. I can only hope and pray that 2021 brings me better.