Change

Change is a difficult thing to do. You see all these things everyday that you want to make better but it so damn hard. Sometimes its just plain frustrating. How do you change people’s thinking and their perspective? How do you convince someone to speak up and fight all these injustices when they are comfortable with it. When did people get this closed up?

You ask yourself if it is even worth your time because anyway change is gradual and you can’t do it alone. You are in no position of power or influence, no one knows you and if they do to them it is a joke. You make a point and it is thrown around like a smelly sock. You know so many injustices have been been done but not directly to you and people are quick to question why you are so uptight when it isn’t your problem. It’s so freaking hard.

But then you remember the feeling you get when you change something and it is so great that you soak in it. You can clearly remember the faces of the poor kids you helped and there is no better feeling in the world.

When you think of what you will have helped achieve in the later years to come, you die with contentment. After all even the great scientist Albert Einstein didn’t even get to see the realisation of his dreams and calculations and yet here we are more than 50 years later applying it.

I am glad that someone years ago stood up for change and that’s why I’m living in a better society than it was during my Father’s younger days. And even though I’m so tired and afraid, I still work hard for change so that years later someone like me will look back and say that I made the world a better place.

It doesn’t have to be great, it just has to touch someone’s life. For if I do not try , it’ll never be achieved.
Pause

Survival

Survival. It’s like the child trying to wake after an anaesthetic procedure. Or a lazy student studying overnight for exams starting the next day. It is a developing nation living on debt from developed nations (FYI without the aid, the situation could be worse, it’s so said).

Survival is when a kid born in rural Africa has to be a doctor, engineer or lawyer to make it in life( which is so absurd). It is the girl on the streets selling oranges to get school fees😦. It is the disabled boy you saw yesterday begging for cash at his mother’s command.

Survival is the depressed person going for therapy every other weekend though it makes them feel like hell. It is the lost trying to find their way though they’ve lost it a thousand times. Survival is making friends when you are an introvert and the society forces you to get out.

Survival is waking up every single day to feed your family and yourself. Survival is following your dreams no matter where it leads you. Survival is being you whether fake or not.

Survival is the most ordinary extraordinary thing I’ve found out about.

Survival in it’s own ultimate state is success.

Ordinary

Hold Me Close Mama.(Daily Prompt: Conquer )

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Though she be but little, she is fierce.~Shakespear

Mama hold me close in your arms,

For I am afraid of the worms,

They crawl up my leg and into my skin,

Nasty scars left from my head to shin.

This feeling how could I forget bud,

When he dragged me through the mud,

Maize plantation closing in on me faster and faster,

The bugs of the soil laughing at me mama,

He held me down, my clothes no more than the street urchin we saw the day before,

Mama I was left for the dead, alone

Seven days later , worms are feeding on my flesh,

But the doctors say that it’ll end just like a rash,

That I’m strong and I’ll conquer it all,

But Mama hold me close for I may fall.

via Daily Prompt: Conquer

Self centered

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Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack. Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

Almost everyday I look at myself in the mirror and ask the girl I see, “What do you expect from me? “. I have discovered that it is the one of the important things that should matter in my life especially in this little corner of the world.

If you are a doctor what do you expect from yourself?  I’m no doctor but I’ve always wanted to be. I guess that’s why I took a great liking to the famous series Greys Anatomy. The passion the surgeons have is just mind blowing. But let’s go back to our main focus,  expectations. What do you expect from yourself? Such a simple question with such a complicated answer.

It’s complicated due to the fact that everyone has different expectations of different things and people.  Sometimes they become too much that we forget what we expect from ourselves and just go with the flow of being people’s robots and machines. Other times I don’t even know what I want exactly. My mind has been  programmed to think and function in a certain way and you know what the worst thing about all this is,  I let it happen.

I sat my ass in the Society’s hospital bed and let it mound my thinking, my actions and my beliefs according to its needs. I know I bash the society constantly but I can’t help but feel and believe that it has let me down. I expected a lot more, there is the word again.

Anyways every time (since I learnt of the Society’s  need to control )I ask myself what I expect from myself I answer, “The best for me”. Call me self centered but really if you can’t do it for yourself who will?

Expectation

Defiled

On the International Women’s day, I wanted to write a beautiful post on how empowerment women all over the world is bearing fruits. Then on a second thought , I decided to wait out and see how my day would turn out and therefore have a more personal thing to write about. By night fall, my day was still pretty uninteresting with a few ‘Happy Women’s Day’ here and there. Then something happened. I watched a story on one of Kenya’s leading local News Station titled JUSTICE DEFILED(video below).

I have never felt so disappointed in my life. These were stories of young girls who had been sexually assaulted by people they once knew and still justice had not served its course. Children as young as eight years old having their whole lives change painfully. One raped by her teacher, another by a relative and another with her father. How dare we say that the society has evolved for the better.

As much as you may want to dismiss it, how many people do you think are living out there this way. You may want to come to the conclusion that this is after all a developing country a ‘Third world nation’ where it is an expectation for people to live this way but even in the developed world people still live in hushed murmurs not able to vent their frustrations and pain to the world. They are forced to deal with depression and stay mute. Such a shame!Image result for reported sexual assault numbers globally

Make sure to note that even though most of the assaults are against women, It goes both ways with men and young boys also being subjected to rape, sodomy and sexual assaults. Transgender individuals too have been harassed, bullied and left to rot on their own. Seriously Rape is RAPE no matter who the person is and it is just wrong.

And to think someone once associated the clothes we wear with sexual assault. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says in her book Dear Ijeawele,”Clothes have absolutely nothing to do with morals”. It is absolutely wrong to rape period.

http://www.carbonated.tv/viral/project-unbreakable-victims-quote-their-rapists-and-assaulters

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I could never understand how someone survived this, I have never been there. But I fear that it may happen again and this time it might be ME

Therefore I take a step for these people because as much as I want to, I cannot allow myself to sit at the back and watch this happen. I may not be changing much but in my little way of changing the world I say ‘LETS FIGHT RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT‘ and ‘ Let justice be served’. And to all those in this kind of situation I wish you peace in your little corner of the world.

via Daily Prompt: Murmuration

Different is Okay! (thoughts of a Kenyan girl)

Hello world ✋,

Yesterday while I was going through my facebook page I found a gem💎. My facebook friend and a previous mentor, Ndila Mumbua, shared her thoughts with the world  and it was more than touching really. I couldn’t decide what emotion to go with after reading it.  Below is the post, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

“4.00 am thoughts, East African Time. (damn it, I wish I could type all this in lowercase.) also, I can’t sleep on this.
pre-america I had a very narrow definition of anxiety, the depth of it, and perhaps a shallow understanding of the entire spectrum of human emotions. Anxiety to me was defined by a few things; sweating profusely before or during a test, waiting for the girl you liked to respond to a note or message, waiting to find out your national test result to find out if you were gonna be an engineer, doctor, lawyer or a disgrace to your family. All of these things are things you could feel and consciously know you felt them and usually they lasted for a short while, not nearly enough to accumulate to toxic levels.

And then America happened. Honestly, I didn’t even know this was happening. I felt some things, things I couldn’t account for, describe or even know that I felt them. Freshman year was probably the worst. I lived in a … freshman dorm, which was a pretty good representative sample of the entire Stanford undergraduate population. Most of my dorm-mates were from different states in America, there were few international students (mainly from Europe, and S.E Asia) and I was the only one from Africa (from Kenya really).

I unknowingly hated the person I naturally was. Unknowingly hated my background. Unknowingly hated all the experiences, events, circumstances etc that truly had for 2 decades shaped my identity. Unknowingly hated myself? I was (am) different. But this difference over time became a source of embarrassment to myself. Really, I was ashamed of who I was. Unlike most of my peers, and the expectation of most international students I was poor. (not soliciting pity, just telling it as it is). Not American poor, but poor by the global standard of ‘poor’. I was on a full scholarship whose major eligibility requirement (besides being ‘smart’ enough to get into Stanford lol) was to be poor and belong to the bottom 5-10% of the population of our sub-saharan mother countries.

From the word go I felt intimidated by a ‘small things’. Things I otherwise wouldn’t be intimidated by because I never felt like I was different. The first time I had flown outside my country was to attend Stanford. Boy that flight was hella long. I didn’t feel as different settling in for ISO bc I was the only one of two others in my dorm. These small things mean nothing, I know. But I started feeling ‘strange’ afterwards. Most of my peers were dropped by their parents. Proud parents. Helped them move their things, get set up, but most importantly be present at the beginning of this next phase of their lives. I set my mind to attend Stanford or MIT in 2008. I badly wanted to make my mother really proud and stick it up to my father for being absent all of my life. The harsh reality was also that even if they were both alive they wouldn’t afford the tickets and other associated costs. Heck if I were to pay for my own ticket (scholarship) my extended relatives would have had to put up a fundraiser (or harambee. Actual meaning of the word Harambee is ‘pulling together’) My differences weren’t a source of ‘inspiration’ or ‘will to work hard’, instead they were things I felt ashamed/intimidated of/by. And in hindsight these ‘things’ look small, or things I now do not feel intimidated by.

I remember feeling embarrassed about not knowing what foods were served in dining halls and even more by how these strange foods were to be eaten. IDK, all my life I had been mostly eating a carbohydrate (or starch) and soup/stew (yes, here these words are interchangeable) for most of my meals. If we had rice and beans at home everyone had rice and beans. No options, and I’m not saying that is a bad thing. I always felt like people would be staring at me, watching me as I picked food or struggled to decide what strange food to try (today). And the worst one was trying to look for a table to sit. Most of my dorm-mates were SLE students and usually had mutual interests and substance matter to talk about. I have never read Shakespeare let alone Plato or whatever other white men wrote about how to think or how people think or how these thoughts are manifested when scaled. I didn’t care much about American politics either or keep up with the New York Stock Exchange.

I hated how words sounded when they came out of my mouth. (unrelated: there are so many times at COHO, Axe & Palm when I had the same thing as the person ahead of me because I did not understand what was on the menu or how to pronounce it)And I felt ashamed of myself for having to put ‘these people’ through the trouble of having to decipher the things that came out my mouth. So I began to keep quiet a lot. Most freshmen from my dorm would tell you that I was shy, quiet and awkward. In reality I am loud af, opinionated af, witty af, outgoing af, smart af amongst other things. But these ‘things’ made me recede into myself and move further from who I really was. I felt insufficient and a ‘victim’ of my background. Class was the worst (seminar classes and sections). Most of the experiences described were things I had never experienced. Top that with I was deeply ashamed of my own unique experiences. Top that with a Kenyan accent and the things I already felt thus far that made me feel different. And differences kind of makes you stand out. As it were you stand out (right words?) as a black student in class at Stanford. Couple that with African-ness. Imagine it. (unrelated: have you ever been in class and thought about how to think-how you are expected to think- instead of freely thinking whatever you genuinely think?)

And then I started to evolve. I started to turn into what people expected me to be. I wasn’t myself, couldn’t be myself and instead being what other people expected became a substitute. Over time I drifted further away from my true honest self. Instead of being Ndila (or Nadila or Nidila really) I became ‘the Kenyan girl’. Wasn’t expected to bring meaningful contribution to a class (except diversity)? Check! Wasn’t expected to confidently express opinion? Check! Wasn’t expected to be gifted, intelligent, diligent*? Double-check and check! Wasn’t expected to be gifted at making music and DJ-ing cohesive pieces? Check triple check! Wasn’t expected to be a human with diverse experiences? Check. I was simply the standard American expectation of a kid from the 3rd world. Africa kind of 3rd world.

I now know what all those things were. Anxiety. And after being home for so long, after processing so much for so long and finally healing and releasing I feel like I understand my past better. Anxiety took me away from myself and denied the people I came into contact with the privilege of knowing someone as unique, funny (:P), varied and interesting as myself. Most importantly though, I have experienced first-hand the differences between the outcomes of a settled mind and an anxious mind. Emotional outcomes (God, I’m so happy), Spiritual outcomes, mental outcomes… Academic outcomes!

Sharing this why? Bc I want people to listen. Bc I want ‘different’ people like me to feel comfortable despite their deviations from the standard. Bc I don’t want ‘different people’ feeling like they are feeling different alone.”

I know it’s a little bit long  but totally worth it don’t you think?

Overwhelming

I Dare You To be Great

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“Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have.” –Oprah Winfrey

I’ve always known myself to be normal and so have many other people.  Most of you have lived your lives making sure you’re normal, always in the comfort zone. We want the society to accept us and love us for abiding by it’s rules.

Then one day you change. You become yourself. You’re daring and unafraid and the world notices this immediately. You are bombarded with questions and dissapointed heads shake. “You were so different, what happened to you?”. They don’t notice it’s who you are, who you’ve always been.

When this happens you become so overwhelmed that you want to go back to how it was  before, Normal but its too late the damage is already done. You can’t go back you won’t move forward.

Today though, I dare you to be great as cliche as it sounds.  Write on a controversial topic. Try something new. Sing like you’ve never sang before,  be charitable and visit the needy. Pick your stand and defend it, debate it and stand by it. And when the world accuses you,  look them in the eye and say ‘So what if I’m  different! ‘.
Simple