Friday, October 17, 2014


I'm jealous!

Yes, no matter how many times I try to hide it- that stuff just comes through my veins and it surrounds me like it owns me and for a moment I stop to think 'this is wrong' and then I let it be. I breathe in and out, and feel as though every step I take is a confirmation of my jealousy.

I met a school mate today. She waved at me from the other side of the road and rushed to hug me. She was so happy to see me, and I couldn't help but wonder why.
We barely shared such space in high school and though I hate to admit it- I liked to dance in high school.
I loved writing too, but dancing- that was another level for me.

She immediately asked me "do you still dance?" I took a step back and looked at her, she'd gained roughly five or six kilos, to give her form such vibrancy I just couldn't stop staring.
"So, do you still dance?"
"Yes, but it's not like an every day thing. I'm a Research Assistant now, and I walk a lot."
"That's good, and you write! I love your books! Aki, kwanza the guys! I need some of the men in your stories,you can keep the women, but I need some men- you know like that one about the days? I was hoping that the girl would take him back, you know, jamaas mess up, but you can forgive once in a while- aki that chic, what was her name again..? Wait, Zora! Wait, hebu tell me was that you? I know that for real, Lelia was you! I just read it and knew ilikuwa wewe...but wait, can we get something to eat, ama you're busy?"

I stopped to breathe. I think it's only in Kenya where you get a stream of compliments, questions and assessments and an invitation to lunch in under one minute!
It was half past noon. I had eaten half an apple and wouldn't mind being complimented- and so we walked into the nearest restaurant.

She's been married for three years. She has a one year old daughter named Marie-Precious, and loves being a mother. She lived in Nairobi but had to move to Kisumu when her husband got a promotion, and she's also working as a teller at one of the banks within town. When she'd finished all I could say was "wow!"

"And you? What about you? Any kids? Husband?"
"None so far. I'm committed to someone, but kids? No, not yet."
"Well, all in good time, now tell me about your writing? Has anyone told you that you are great? I mean just great, and am not saying this because I know you- but sometimes I read your stuff and it just makes sense. Do you know what I mean?"

I smiled and thanked her- and the rest of our conversation consisted of high school memories and tales. She asked if I was still seeing any of my high school crushes  and we laughed about it. We used to write names of idols on our shirts, and when we untucked all people could do was call you by your idol's name. I was Samantha Mumba while she was J-Lo. She told me how her brother goes to the rival boy school that we loathed- and she wishes he'd have gone to the boy school we loved. ( I tell you beef is real!)

I saw her to the junction where she took a matatu home. We'd exchanged numbers and twitter handles with the promise to call, but I felt drained.

She saw something that I was not seeing. I have been struggling to write this book "Detached" which follows the every day question "why am I here?"
I have been struggling so much with the words and story that my sleep pattern has changed and so has my walk.

It's not a block because the words are there- it's just that the words are not alive to me. Piece after piece of draft feels like it's empty- like it's detached from life itself, and I have been hating myself for this. So, I set it aside and started reading. I've read three books this week- and am onto the fourth one. I'm doing everything to forget about it, but suddenly meeting her just brought it back to life.

I realized what my problem was.
I did not appreciate myself for the journey that I was embarking on.
I did not value the story itself or what it would achieve and as such it became as empty as what I put into it.

And even though I've often said that it's good to value yourself- today as I watched that matatu speed off with her hand waving at me, I realized that I was jealous of her.
I was jealous because in her joy she saw the good in me- the good that I took for granted.

So, here's to Eunice for bringing me back to life!
Do not let anyone define you.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tug of War

Sometimes we fail to see what's before us, not because we are blind, but because we believe that it cannot be there.

In short- we find ourselves in denial sometimes.

I have had enough time in a matatu from Sondu today to work through my state of denial and trust me it was not a good feeling. I do change like the wind, and have come to accept that 'bottling' is my specialty when it comes to emotions. If there's anyone who knows how best I do this, they always know to best leave me alone and not dance around me hoping that I'd get out of it.

Grace stepped on my toes today. I forgive her because she's carrying my future niece or nephew, and I want that baby to know how much of a doll her mom is. She did not take it kindly when she read my last entry on Grumpy.
I have talked so much about her here, that I believe she's famous and it's gotten into her head. She said that I do the same thing that guys do when it comes to any relationship. I withdraw after some time.

But, most guys withdraw from a relationship for any of three reasons: they've lost interest, they feel rushed and they're afraid.

None of those apply to my case.

I thought so then- but not now.
Let me choose my words carefully then tell you why.


Okay, I have it. Have you ever been in any relationship where it gets to a point that you are just there? Nothing moves you about the relationship, but you do not want to break it off?

Okay, so there's a term for it (thank heavens for Psycho-therapists!) and it's called Emotional Withdrawal.
Things were great between you and suddenly you do not want to connect with someone more so it feels as though you have created a distance and no matter how much they run, they never catch up with you.

In most cases you'll find someone pushing and the other pulling back. In most cases it's the person you distance yourself from who tries to reach out to you (pushing) and you keep retreating (pulling back). The more they push, the more you retreat- and this often leads to a break-up. It's not that none of you care for each other, it's just one person felt he/she was fighting a lost cause and they gave up.

So, why does Grace think I am withdrawing from Grumpy?
If I said, "I don't know," I would be lying, but on the other hand, if I said why, it would become the cold ugly truth that would stare at me for years to come because
  1. the internet never forgets
  2. if it's written, it definitely happened
  3. Grumpy is my number one fan and supporter-and he'll read this before he sleeps tonight
  4. I love the feeling of not running out of excuses which makes it
  5. easier to have a fifth reason that does not make sense!

I do like Grumpy, but I am not withdrawing from him- rather I am taking a step back to give him time to prepare himself for me (yeah #denial if you really think about it). Does that make sense?

It's like taking a shower before going into the swimming pool, or wearing armor before going into battle. He's not prepared to have me in his life as a 'constant' - and I did let him know my reasons for saying so and gave him time. His only weakness is to rush into restructuring his life so much so that he keeps checking up on me because whether he admits it or not- he's afraid of losing me.

But, I ask, which one's worse- losing me or losing to know himself?

Do not let anyone define you.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hold up! Let's do this again.

Do you remember on that Thursday evening last month when Grumpy turned the tables on me?
(Psst! You can read it here )

Well, I have been on the down low about the state of things with him because truth be told there was nothing mind boggling or eye-opening to share, and that's until now!

For starters, it was my off day and all I was doing was giving a detailed report of what has happened this week and it turns out that the man who always takes me to town on his bicycle was as high as a fiddle today! Yes, he was drunk and the bicycle kept making some MJ moves on the road that it scared me senseless.

So back to Mr. Grumpy- remember the line, "I'm serious about us Arch, what do you want me to do to prove it.Say it and I will do it?"

Twenty days later and my answer was "commit." It was simple, just one word and yet as I said it, I laughed not because it was funny but because I did not expect it of him. It made me think of all the things I have wanted to do but never done simply because I could not commit and follow through on them. It was a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black, and instead of being embarrassed about it or wearing the 'look of shame' all I did was laugh.

​So here's the question: have you ever gotten to a point in your life where you wanted to hit the re-do button?

I know there are moments when the undo button is most desired, but cast those aside for a moment and think of three or better yet five moments in your life where if you could have some remote control you could simply hit repeat. I had that today because I finally had an answer for Mr. Grumpy but it's not so much as telling him, but having him prove me wrong that made me want to hit the re-do button.
So, there I was expecting that he'd pause or demand a breather like I did on September 18th, but he smiled and said, "I'll do more than that Arch."

He got to turn the tables on me twice! I was not pleased about that because I love being in control, but today I learned that sometimes letting go is the best way of taking in.​

Do not let anyone define you.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What happens when work's all about complains of the boss?

You have to read this post if you are: working with people, working under people or working for people.

Do you answer to someone?
Do people answer to you?

And forget the employer-employee relationship that results in a salary or wage consider also any relationship you have with people. You invest time, attention and emotions and expect the same from others too in your life- so that's work because you constantly build on it and learn new skills as you grow.

So for now, I'll focus on bad bosses!
I mean they always mess up your day and seem not to care for your development but that you slave without thinking or feeling and worse off voicing these feelings. So, it's lunch or tea time and you are out of the office and someone starts talking about how much they hate the boss and would definitely beat them up if they were to meet in a dark alley. You listen and, brilliant idea...but you say nothing and soon everyone shares how one time the boss was mean and disrespectful to them.

​I have had such an experience and trust me- it does not help trying to see things from the boss's side, but here's the thing I live by at work:
First, my boss clearly told me one time when I tried to make him realize he was wrong that "I am the boss! I run the show!"
So, I know he is the boss. I do not give a hoot about anything other than ensuring my work's done- we talk work and nothing else just reports- because he made his position clear.

But-see bashing the boss takes up too much time that you could spend at work, it does not advance your career, and when you bash him you lose the opportunity to learn from his mistakes because you shall have labeled him the evil one in your mind already.So, before you bash your boss this will help (trust me, I use it daily!)
  • will this comment help the organization?
  • will it help realize our vision or attract and retain customers?
  • ​will it help the person I am talking to?
  • will it help the person I am talking about?

If your answers are: no, no, no, no- Shut up!

It's true that bad bosses create an emotional climate with their attitudes and behavior but you can choose to not let it be your topic of concern. If you want to dwell on it you will only grow into a gossip and there's nothing as active and a quick way of losing your job and integrity by fueling the rumor vine.

You can learn so much more about being a good leader from a bad boss so don't despair, turn things around in your favor. And sometimes while bashing your boss you demean yourself without intending to or knowing that you really are doing so- because if he's so mean and doesn't know what he's doing, why are you reporting to him? Why not report for someone else who is brilliant? Your bad boss as you see him/her might be the reason why you gain good leadership skills- so if he/she does something you feel is untoward ask yourself what you could have done- and why?

But let it be clear asking for sexual favors, stealing, lying to cover up some organizational crime or being flogged does not apply here.

So, if you ask me, what happens when work's all about complains of the boss, I will share with you what I will be doing- pulling out my novel and reading a good story. I would rather use the time to develop myself, because let's face it- if your boss is bad- people will complain and you cannot cut off their tongues while they do this- if one thing is certain- you can forward them this post so they can learn from my experience.

He/she is the boss today, and you will be the boss tomorrow.

Arm yourself with the necessary skills so as not to be the one who is bashed tomorrow.

Do not let anyone define you.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Who came up with this DIY thing?

Imagine having exhausted your muscles at work only to come back home and find yourself caught between two people arguing over who will buy charcoal or not?

Yes, so that's not so serious right? You have experienced two hours in traffic, exhaustion, and the thought of waking up at 5am to do it over again so my rant has nothing on you.

Well, you are right but so am I, because I learned that even though it is good to do things yourself- sometimes a little help is all you need.

Now, can I go back to my charcoal story?

So, I get home by 11am feeling exhausted after trekking up some hill in Nyakach and am told "Arch, hakuna makaa ya supper."
I hand these two girls who are watching afro-sinema a hundred shilling note and tell them it's for charcoal. They look from one to the other. Jackie tells Joan to take it. Joan tells Jackie she should take it because she is the one who said there was no charcoal. I am thinking Jackie is my younger sister and Joan is my nephew's nanny. I am covering the cost of electricity and cable that is fueling their love for afro-sinema. I also bought the juice they are drinking and probably a whole lot of stuff to ensure that they never miss a meal.
So, I simply withdraw my hand and keep the money in my bag.

I sit down and write my report then prepare to leave for a meeting with my supervisor. They are still watching afro-sinema.
I come back later on at 4pm. They are listening to radio and showing each other texts they have received from admirers.

I walk into the kitchen and pick a paper bag then change my ngoma's for slippers. My nephew sees me and asks 'Arch, where are you going?"
I tell him I am going to get charcoal. He jumps off the seat and says he is going with me as long as I buy him something sweet.

We leave and when we come back Joan is taking a nap while Jackie is watching music videos. I do not say anything but simply prepare my things for work for the coming day.

It's been three days and I find it amusing that I really needed their help that day but it did not come due to their bickering. I could have stood my ground and asked them to get up and go get the charcoal, but I didn't. I had turned into my sister (love you lots too). She never argues with anyone when it comes to doing things that she can do. She can accept help but almost always does things on her own. She's the epitome of DIY (Do it Yourself).

So, sometimes I am bound to be disappointed but when it comes to getting things done, it does not hurt to do them myself. I have learned that I can push myself in my writing and now even to get some chores around the house done.
Talking of writing, I am preparing for NanoWrimo this coming November. It will be 50,000 words to write and I can't wait to see my progress!

I even bought stationery for it!

Do not let anyone define you.

Monday, September 29, 2014

What Can You Afford?

I finally read the copy of the Daily Nation newspaper that I had bought last Friday.
I'll admit that I do not watch the news (and I am glad in a way that there's a wrangle with GOTv and hence, I have more time to read) or read newspapers- except for the Friday edition.

Jobs and Wale Akinyemi

I love to check out what's out there and get the chance to edit my CV and apply for any interesting and challenging jobs. But, I love reading Wale's column- it's short and mostly towards the end of the paper- but it always enlightens me. So, this past Friday he said "people remain stagnant because they can afford to. What can you afford?"
If you procrastinate like me, then chances are reading his article would make you rethink your life! So, by a show of many of us have had dreams? I mean, you get excited about something plan to take it up, talk endlessly about it- and then realize that five or ten years later you are still talking but have done nothing?

I see you!

So, I see that nodding is a big deal- but don't worry no one is watching you. You are reading this blog and laughing or smiling to yourself, so how about that nod, eh?

Thank you! But question is, what can you do about?

Get up and work on it! Just do it!

I learned this the hard way because I have been talking about having my book in print by December- but it is not finished. I have the end of this month to submit it, get a proof copy and the get copies shipped to Kenya. It takes roughly 31 days of standard shipping so that means November is a no-go zone, plus I want to participate in NanoWrimo- which leaves me with 31 days to complete my writing.

I have no excuse, I cannot afford to sit back and watch my book write itself and so, I am embarking on a marathon of sorts and this is what keeps me going. So, ask yourself, what can you afford? Because success, self-actualization costs us something. Take time after reading this and write down what your endeavors cost you.

How much does that job cost you?
How much does postponing a visit to the gym or engaging in healthy eating cost you?
How much does slander cost you?
How much does postponing a break-up cost you?
How much does talking and not acting upon your projects cost you?

Do the Math, and have a lovely week!
Do not let anyone define you.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Weekend things

​So, Saturday's here.
I can't wait for Monday because that means two things for me:
  1. A new work schedule
  2. A new writing schedule 
Work's been good so far and I have to get my duties accomplished and that means visiting schools I had not visited this month- so with the rains and all, I'm sure it'd be swell!
I passed by Nakumatt yesterday and got this book:

I was intrigued by the title and thought it'd be a good read and so far I'd say that the author does say for sure that French women do eat three meals a day, drink water, eat fresh fruits, take wine or champagne, and they love fashion...but that's not all there is to this book. I love the recipes and it's gotten me to appreciate a new way of making breakfast fun and delicious and that means I'll be cooking more!
I also entered the Narrative iStory Contest and I've got three more submissions to make towards my writing goal this year. As for Mist it's still a working progress because I've come to explore various genres in writing and I am learning as I go. I make mistakes along the way and pick up as I edit and revise my work and that's more than I could say for myself two years ago.

This coming month my main focus is on "adding flesh" to a book that I have been writing.
You've probably heard me going on about Currents- but I would say that it's a journey for me. I have achieved so much more than I had hoped for while back in high school, and the more books I read, articles I write and competitions I enter, I learn that there's more to my writing if I put all my resources and energy into it.
So, what do I mean by adding flesh?

Have you ever read "Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe? He's my favorite Writer of all time- and though he's departed, I still refer to him in the present tense because of the life that thrives in his writing. I mean reading a book that not only speaks to you but leaves you asking questions, searching for enlightenment days or even years after you've read it.

That's what it means to "add flesh."
 Most books that don't have this quality are what I always call "Give me a Break" books. You can read them in thirty minutes or less, all you do is flip page after page knowing what the ending would be. I'd say Mills&Boons, but if you've read much, you already know that.

So, you may be less of a planner like me- but I'd love to know what you hope to work on this October, and I do wish you all the best of luck hoping that whatsoever you choose to do will make you an even better human being.​