For a long time I resented(sometimes mistook for being afraid) of the male species. Years and years of experience solidified that in my young mind. When I was about 11 years old my family had a financial crisis (the one we’ve all experienced) so we had to move a lot to places where we could set up new business and find cheap life. And in all the places we went there was always a piece of harassment.
At one point, we settled down in a small town in Western Kenya the almost ideal place and immediately my family set up a small hotel(the best we could manage at the time😁).There is where my fears began I believe. Since we were located near the bus stage, the matatu touts and bus drivers would occasionally stop for a cup of tea or a plate of Ugali. They were always so rude and disrespectful to women(disrespected my mom). I even remember this one time this guy started hitting on my mum and when my mum said no he started insulting her. Fortunately my aunt(mom’s bigger sister) was around and forced the guy to apologize or else he would be reported to the police.
Others were always drunk on Chang’aa and illicit brews. They always felt entitled and bigger as if they owned the place. It didn’t come as a surprise that many young girls in the area had been impregnated by these men, some raped. A silent community of girls who dropped out of school to become mothers. (HIV is also prevalent in the area.)
So I developed a defense mechanism. Rael, one of the employees taught me to give witty and hard comebaks to anyone who tried to mess with me. I didn’t smile at just anyone, or greet them, accept anything from anyone or even regard their presence since it encouraged them to feel entitled to you. I also didn’t have a lot of friends since they were untrustworthy and not everyone had the best intent for you(both male and females).
I hid myself under layers of male clothing so that I could be undesirable. Always shaved my hair even though I truly loved it. They forced me to be ugly. But then discovered what is greater than hiding and loathe for the other gender- words and accomplishment.
I realized that apart from policemen these people feared accomplished, successful women and that is what I vowed to be. So I don’t resent men anymore because I’ve met great men, who would give up everything for change. Men who speak the truth and aren’t afraid of it. Men who push me to be the greatest form of me.I now understand that hate and resentment does more harm to me than good.