Isn’t social media a crazy place? A mess of the wealthy and the wealthy wanna-bes, the high schoolers and the campus-ers, the odis and the classy all mixed together in one gigantic cauldron.
Everyone has forgotten those terrible blurry selfies with the ridiculous poses and just as bad captions. I recall a time when we identified our accounts on Facebook (because Facebook was all we had) by our profile pictures.
“Nilikutumia friend request na hukuaccept,” a classmate would say 2 weeks into a new term.
“Who? Me? No you didn’t. What account did you send it to?”
“Si wewe ndiyo Mish Lianna? Profile picture ya Willow Smith.”
And it would be Chris Brown the next term. Bow Wow after that. Usher. PSquare, et cetera.
These were the times we would go to cyber cafes to change said profile pictures. When the creativity of user names reflected loosely popularity.
Xs replaced Ss and we scrubbed vowels from our vocabulary altogether. Some words suffered as much as being replaced by numbers but it was a good life.
I texted Chris Brown with so much hope. Sent messages so many times I’m sure he had to block Mish Lianna from Kentucky. Did I mention she was from Kentucky? I didn’t even know where the hell Kentucky stood on a map. She had a home there but never posted pictures of the house.
She posted pictures of cars she owned. A Lamborghini Gallardo she had and let her model friends on the bonnet. The Bugatti Veyron on the highway. Mish Lianna always took the pictures. Photographing was what she really loved.She also posted pictures of herself, and whenever she did, she made them blurry. The Gor Mahia jersey in the robust hills of Seme. That time she had her feet in the Awach River or was in some matatu just because she felt like it.
There was never a bad day. Her researched captions were always positive messages. Quotes from people who inspired her at the time. She was always in a good mood. Always happy because what was there not to love about Mish Lianna? The 748 friends obviously agreed. The Bugattis got about 650 reactions and the Seme selfies about half of that.
Self-employed, had gone to Havard and was both a doctor and engineer at Unspecified. Life was good.
Charlene has skin that could advertise for Vaseline instead of that ka-leaf.
Her mane of hair could be used to wrap onto shoes instead of Kiwi. (Been looking at Kenyan ads on YouTube, bear with me). But real talk? Her clothes fit so well that I felt a little uncomfortable.
She always has this air about her that makes it enjoyable to bask in her glory.
You know how prisoners have to obey all orders from the officers? When I met with Charlene, I felt like a prisoner myself. Like I had met my warden and her word was my every command. It was strange, seeing someone with that much power in their presence.
Her smile is outrageously beautiful. Eyebrows well-trimmed-not-drawn. Lashes lush. Even her foundation matched her neck. I presume she must have her own foundation maker.
With a powerful name like that, she obviously doesn’t ever worry about pronouncing it to others.
“What’s your name,” they always ask.
“Mirriam,” I always reply.
“Mirriam,” putting emphasis on the i’s. Thats where they always get it wrong.
“Oh, Mirriam. You don’t look like a Mirriam.”
Oh yeah? Well what do I look like Nancy? Nancy will then say ridiculous names that my mom who went barefoot across hills, through crocodile infested waters and into tarantula habited forests to get to Nyagoto Primary School has never heard of. Instead I half-smile and say thanks for thinking I could get a name as absurd as that Jane or Bridgit or whatever. No offence to all Janes and Bridgits and Whatevers…
Charlene sits across from me at KFC. It feels like being illuminated by first light. Her perfume quickly creeps into every crevice of the vastly populated room and she unapologetically becomes our Airwick.
She sits there looking straight at me.
“You’re weird,” she says with a chuckle.
“Let’s play a game.”
A game? Here? Char must be delusional.
And she must be koo-koo too.
Who plays games in restaurants? Preposterous!
We play the game.
It was simple. Just write down on the serviette (Char says Napkin). So, just write on the napkin, whatever you want.
“Anything at all. Assume you lived in a world of no limits and boundaries were a thing of the past.”
I just stare at her. She is mad. But she goes on.
“Imagine the world was a perfect place and anything you wish for could come true. Unicorns are real. Mermaids dance on ocean beds. Fairy tales exist and Prince Charmings have hearts that love true and deep.”
Ah, I see the problem. Hidden in her game and bizzare wish to have a perfect world.
Who broke your heart? I ask.
She smiles briefly.
“Why do you assume that my heart is broken?”
She smiles again. A full one this time. The kind of smile I am used to seeing her wear.
Char is strange. She has 2,467 contacts saved on her phone and yet she swears she talks only to 7, including me, her dad and brother. What is the other two thousand, four hundred and sixty for? She can’t say. She only says that I cannot understand with my contact list of 64 and that I am not cut out for the life she lives.
She and I are different in more ways than we are similar, but we are better friends this way. She understands the need to keep to myself, just as I respect hers to flaunt her new designer clothes on social media, or to party every weekend to keep her circle lit.
She has some strange friends as well. I have not met many of them. Usually I ask her to come alone when we are supposed to meet. Once, she came with a group of about 10 people, all our age, yes, but in some very strange social circle all together.
Three weeks later she was in some financial conundrum and called me when these same friends all deserted her. Long story short, she deferred a semester, they all cut contact with her, and last week her Instagram post was a picture of more than half that group with her in the middle, captioned ‘Friends for Life’.
Char has beautiful eyes. She is never the duff. She resembles these video vixens we see, if all that perfection was put together and had a baby. It doesnt help that she has an amazing heart. She gives clothes to children homes and goes on walks for cancer, sickle cell and other diseases I never hear of until she tells me about them. She is in a group that is working with children with autism.
“My hearts not broken Silly,” she says, waking me from my reverie.
She knows I was lost in my thoughts because she stares at me for a moment longer before lowering her gaze.
“What were you thinking about?”
“Nothing really,” I reply.
“Really Mir? I thought we were better friends than that.”
She hands me her serviette together with a pen. Sorry. Napkin. It is folded into a triangle.
“Dont look. Give me yours first.”
I take the napkin and think.
In a perfect world, what would I really want? Definitely not flying powers; terrified of heights or falling and crashing into my death. Not X-ray vision. Not heat breath or morphing into a dragon-human. A draman. Definitely not lightning speed.
“We dont have all day,” Char rushes forcing me to write down the first thing that comes to mind.
She looks at it and laughs first. I knew that was not clever.
“Why this? Why a mirror?”
“I dont know” I whine You rushed me.
“No,” she gives me a determined look. I should have just given her the flying thing and gotten done with this. “Tell me. Why, of all choices, would you want to be a mirror?”
“Well,” I stutter now. “People would get to look into me to see themselves? I think.” She is not satisfied. And when Char is not convinced about something, you have your work cut out for you.
In all honesty, I wanted to be a mirror in our little made up world because maybe then, Char would see her reflection. She would know her level of perfection surpasses all other measures. She would realize that she does not need 2,467 people to make her wanted, or worthy. She would understand that having 7 dependable friends is better that 2,460 who wouldnt give a rats ass about her. I wanted to be a mirror for my one friend who needs to know her worth, and when she was done realizing how amazing she is, then she would also be a mirror for someone else.
She asked me to look at her napkin, since I had refused to tell her why my choice was a mirror.
Char had scribbled the 5 letters into the napkin so well it was rough in the underside.
She too does not care to explain. She said I have to interpret it however I wished.
If Char wants to be a shadow, I think she is scared. I think she wants to hide half of her life behind whatever will help. Cellphone. Instagram. Fake life. Fake friends. Prada and Louis Vuitton. I think she uses the life with the group of about 10 to validate herself. To prove that she too can live like the other kids if she wishes to.
But secretly, I think my Char is longing for escape. She craves to trade the life she has online for the peace and quiet of the night. She however is not ready to deliver herself from it completely.
That is why she wrote Shadow on the napkin.
She wants to cling to it for the occasional relief. For when she is beat from living within herself. Exhausted from getting to understand her being. She wants to escape from the camera life, but with a catch. Escape that allows a backslide every now and then.
Life was not “always good” for Mish Lianna. She cried. She lost. She got angry and lost her temper. But 748 wanted happy and positive and sensational.748 wanted downloaded Lamborghinis and quotes that Mish could not believe in when she was broken. She let 748 control what she herself was supposed to control.
This is what social media has done to most of us, only in a greater scale. Because despite the great benefits it has brought us, while Mish Lianna was fiction and my friends knew it, the Mish Liannas of today are living the lie. They are buying the clothes and going for trips with money they have not been raised with. Holding on to friendships that are as detrimental as the delusions of grandeur that they try to sell to us. Letting their worth be measured by numbers. 1 friend request. 3,700 follow requests. 10,000 followers. 53 following. 7 real friends. 1 being.
She hasn’t texted.
It feels like I have so much unfinished business concerning her. The Jacked Up Stranger chick.
Link to it if you are among the few who know not what I am talking about is this: https://notyetadults.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/jacked-up-stranger-the-meet/
Is it right calling ladies chicks? Sometimes people remove the ‘k’ to make it more bearable. But doesn’t that only serve the purpose of enhancing the effect of the word? But this is not a morality piece. This is about she who has not texted.
It sucks, being blue-ticked all this time. I posted the first post about her thinking that it would trigger her texting me back but boy was I wrong. I was expecting a “Why would you post about me?” text or in the rare chance a “Yay, you posted about me!”. But no. Nothing came.
So for all of us who have been sending me messages asking “What happened to the Jacked Up Stranger chick” … I am as much in the dark as you all are. I have the same anxiety to know if Jack still has his heads attached to him or the Medusa in her came alive and gave her the spirit of those Nyerian mamas.
All this unfinished business is frustrating. You and I deserve to put the uncertainty to rest already. So, Stranger, if you are out there, we need you. We need to focus on other things. To write on other things. To read other things.
You fed us well the first time. Gave us hope for a better story only for you to leave us like a forgotten lover. You had our throats flapped open for you as wide as a hippopotamus’ jaw, then you disappeared on us. Please reach out, if only for our sakes.
I am writing this at 4.24 am. Slept early and you know the drill. 6 hours at most. Till yesterday I didn’t know what to write about. I have been crossing fingers and toes wishing that she would text last minute but from where I stand, I have had to face the reality.
She doesn’t care about us. About we who are not yet adults. About you. Only I care about you from now. Believe that. That is why I wake up at ungodly hours to write for you. To explain why I have no continuing story for you, even though I had promised to find her. But how do you find someone who wants to equate themselves to Jason Bourne and disappear? I just hope that, like her mentor Mr. Bourne, she will see it fit to come out of the shadows if for one last time, to reclaim her public life and explain to us the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ that she left us with.
School is hectic. I am tired all the time. I miss lunches unintentionally. Sometimes even breakfasts! I am in school all day, and if I am home, I am either thinking about the next day’s school or finishing on assignments or thinking of fresh content for the blog.
I feel like a dog that just needs time to have its mouth open so that it can let its tongue out. Just for a few seconds. But I have no time to put my tongue out.Also, I am almost always surrounded by group members in school. I don’t want to be known in school as Mirriam-who-puts-her-tongue-out-in-school. Especially not when I am in forth year with no time to clear my name. These days I don’t even try any more.
People I thought were my friends have recently become the ones who talk behind my back when I’m not looking(I’m just guessing here. They probably talk of how well I articulate my thoughts in words for you)
In high school, they put quotes on little metal placards and perched them in the ground at strategic points all around the compound. There was one placard that went something like:
“Nothing bites like a friend that stabs you in the back”.
Not exactly. It could have been:
“Your friends are the ones who will stab you in the back”
But there was stabbing and there was your back and the two had met with the help of your friend. The verb and the noun made the matrimonial union and your back is stabbed and you feel the stabber-thing, or whatever they used still sticking out from behind there every time you see them and don’t confront them.
I don’t even know where I am going with this anymore!
I recall this specific quote because I would pass by it with my two friends and we would almost always ask each other to not stab each other’s backs. I’m just glad that we have kept that promise that was made with dirty plates in one hand and warm cookies from the school bakery in the other.
Hashalla draws the most amazing of Afghan Hounds. I just found out yesterday. Just when I thought that her recipes were the one good thing about her talent she comes up and shtuas us with an amazing drawing of this. (Her easy-step recipe blog is hurshlinda.wordpress.com)
I think it is amazing how young people are coming up with different ways to express themselves in this age.
Considering how messed up our generation is, it is only fair that Kimyong has his dance crew and sends links to their videos each week and Raheel’s Mesisisi head wraps are a bombshell and Patricia just met her one-year natural hair mark and Wabs has her #WednesdaysWithWabs where she gives Wednesday motivation on various issues.
I am a firm supporter of all things creativity and so psyched that I get to be sorrounded by so many people, most of whom I cannot mention by name, who do what they have got to do to make that extra mulla or just simply have FUN.
Breaks into song;
I know I can *2
Be what I wanna be *2
If I work hard in it *2
I’ll be where I wanna be *2
Bloggers are busy with sending links and singers like Lil Vince send their videos to us and Anselm is still the “Funny Introvert” and poets are poeting or poeming and my friends made their first feature film known as “I’m Still There” (P.S there are bloopers) and we are all working at something to bring out the madness that swirls in our heads.
Designing the semester project is so hectic, but the group is so supportive of each and everyone’s effort and there is so much fun in creating The Scroll that I don’t want to stop. We laugh at our frustration when we have not had breakfast because we thought we would have lunch but then when we next look at the time and it is 6.30 pm and now you have to rush home to eat the leftovers you had left for lunch as supper.
The Scroll is a newspaper that focuses on stories from a specific region, meaning the first issue, (the one we are creating), will be of Multimedia University of Kenya and the next is the Coast issue.
It is also the reason that my back aches, my shoulders are tight, my eyes are exhausted and my legs are musclier from all the walking to and fro. ‘Musclier’ has a red line under it, so I’m not sure if the language police want me to use ‘more muscly’, but we’ve come so far with you that I am sure you know what I mean by now right? Spell Checker doesn’t know what we’ve got.
This is why when I came across Hashalla’s drawing, I was immediately drawn to it. (Take a moment to appreciate the word play there)
The drawing is beautiful in the most basic of ways. Black and white but with enough detail to have you frustrated. I texted her for details at 4.32 am but it seems she is among those of godly hours.
The Afghan Hound can at times have facial hair, kind of like a Fu Manchu mustache –Google it– and the mustache is called “mandarins”. Kind of cool especially when we are told that Mandarin is the language of the future and now everyone is learning “Chinese”.
Its temperament can be aloof and dignified according to Puppy Facts, but it is also happy and clownish when she is playing, and I have never met a dog whose character I could identify more to than Hashalla’s Afghan Hound. She does not get along with smaller animals but is a successful competitor in dog agility trials, plus, and listen to this, she can be an intuitive therapy dog and companion. Considering people I don’t know like the Jacked Up Stranger girl vent to me, I consider myself a therapy human too from this day henceforth.
Also, the first cloned dog was an Afghan Hound named Snuppy. Isn’t that a cool name? I’ve been calling to an imaginary Snuppy Puppy in my head all day to get to pet her. I’m so dumb😌
This is where I generally end with some wise words but I think it is best to give you yesterday’s #WednesdaysWithWabs.
She talked of new beginnings, it being a new month and coincidentally her birthday month as well and some of the incredibly insightful posts included the following:
1. Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. –Robin Sharma
2. You’re the author of your life’s story. You can start a new chapter any time you choose.
3. Do things for yourself; in 30 years, nobody is going to remember your choices except for you.
4. So, I close my eyes to old ends. And open my heart to new beginnings. (I particularly liked this one)
Then she ends it with a “So Happy New Month even if it’s all gloomy and raining”
(PS. I know you know I googled most of the facts about Afghan Hounds. You’re so smart)
First things first. Coast was amazing and hot and beautiful and chaotic and did I mention hot? It was so hot I seriously considered sleeping outside on a mkeka and being a Nakuru person, that is saying a lot.
There was so much to see and do and complain about and enjoy and have a bus full of students lost in its industrial area.
It was actually my first time there and I have never been happier to lose the v-card as I am at the moment.
If you haven’t caught on yet, I am trying to say that I did not post last week because I had travelled to Mombasa for the better part of the week and I couldn’t post last Thursday because I left my laptop in cold and freezing Nairobi.
It was definitely, absolutely and totally not because I was lazy and the heat got to me and I lost track of time and I realized on Friday that I had not posted. Definitely not.
So, the bus. There was so much energy in all areas. So much creativity and fun and happy-angry people in there it was crazy. My back was killing me and a whole morning was wasted driving around lost and we were all playing at being happy or just plain old pissed at our first day.
We went by school bus. University bus to be precise since it wasn’t all yellow and ugly. There was chatter. Lots of it. It felt like people spoke to each other the whole journey there and still had more things to say to each other after we arrived at around half past midnight.
I was not talking to people for more than 5 minutes. Rude, right? It wasn’t intentional. I tried to but after the first 3 minutes I started missing my thoughts while staring out the window, meaning I was forced to cut conversations short because every fiber in my being was screaming defeat. I couldn’t do it. Especially not on the journey there. I was bubbling underneath to read every sign post and every banner hoisted up. To know where we were at each moment by not looking at Google Maps but by staring out into unknown lands and reading where we were.
We were to think of stories to write along the way. There is a school project where we make a newspaper with all the perks and since everything is a story, I didn’t want to miss anything along the way. At least that’s what I thought I was doing.
All through school, I have been the one person who is most likely to lack a partner in class when the teacher says everyone should pair up. I prefer the group kind of assignments, simply because they are easier. I can place myself strategically around an already formed group when I see they lack a few more members and I will automatically be in the group. But the pairing part? Na-ah.
Usually, I have one to two people in a class that I am friends with. And sure, I might talk to a good number of people in the class, say 5, but I will most definitely not always be comfortable to be paired with any of them.
I have always had the kinds of friendships where if you see me, you have to ask where the other person is, and often, they experience the same thing. And I bank on these friendships. They are my world.
The friends have to understand me, understand who I am and that I will need time alone in a day to get lost in my thoughts. and more often than not, we end up having a falling out. It breaks my heart, but life goes on.
It’s not all sad though, my best friends are these two amazing souls I have known for about 8 years now and they make me happy, despite the many falling outs of the other friendships I try to conjure up.
Now, the bus. I brought up the friendship thing because seated in that bus for 12 hours got me thinking. Do extroverts have this same problem? The bus was crawling with them. Students, all who I have shared a class with at some point and some who I have spoken with but none who I was really comfortable to talk to about how beautiful the stars looked in the nighttime or how my butt ached or how much my brain needed to be picked on because I had so many things I was thinking about at the same time that I wanted to scream.
Do extroverts also lose friends? And what do they do if in the rare case that it happens? Do they go out and look for new friends immediately they lose the ones they have? Do they mourn the loss of good friendships? Do they feel the emptiness that comes with losing the one person you depend on for months or years on end? Or do they just cruise through life, being the friends that let go immediately we really need them.
That bus had all characters. It had the silent shy types. The loud obnoxious types. The brooding types. The travelling while reading types (my favorite humans). The book hater types. The talking because they were talked to types. The talking just because types. The walking in the bus types. The standing up only when the bus stops types. The going to the loo types. The not peeing while travelling types. And the two lecturers and two drivers.
We stopped at Mtito Andei. Both times. On the journey to they told us that was supper. On the journey from we had breakfast there. Friendly people. One good but expensive hotel. Chips kuku was 400 bob! Only if I was mad! I ended up spending slightly more than that amount though, but I got myself an Afia Mixed Fruit and some nice nyama choma and ugali and kachumbari, a one and a half litre of water and a pack of gum. Totally worth it.
The Voi Standard Gauge Railway terminal looked amazing in the dark. Then we went through Taru and a place called Maji ya Chumvi and Mariakani and Jomvu then Mombasa. I thought the Maji ya Chumvi place had to be the oceans headquarters because my braids still taste salty.
Here’s what being an introvert is like;
1. When you are sitting comfortably with the people you think are calm enough to be your friends and their friends show up, that is the most awkward thing in the world. You never know what to say because suddenly, even your friend becomes an alien who talks of strange things you have never heard of. It gets worse when the intruder friends ask why you are so quiet and you had not even noticed that you were quiet because your mind was running at speeds you had not realized it could reach but you know that they would not understand that so you just stretch the corners of your mouth in an attempt at a polite enough smile and hope to heaven that your friend will explain that you are sick and need to go home. (Breathe)
2. You are in class. You have an idea to what an answer could be to the question asked by the lecturer/teacher but no one else has raised their hands so you too are not going to. But because of this, the lecturer/teacher just randomly out of the blue says that because no one has answered, he or she will have to call on some random person to answer. This is where you try to shrink yourself into the seat but it only ends up making you squirm and now the lecturer has you in their sights and he or she is totally going to choose you but the flip of an idea that you had to the answer has also squeezed itself out of your brain at the same time you tried to get swallowed by the seat.
3. Those dreadful PTA meetings in schools that we loved for the food but hated for the teacher-parent sit down. I can’t count the number of times my parents have heard the phrase “She is well behaved and polite but she should participate more in class” or “Your daughter is a very bright girl, all she needs to do is answer questions in class. Thank-you-so-much Mrs. Randa from primary. (PS. Sorry Mom)
4. You know that time, when you were young, and relatives would call and ask to talk to you, but you clearly shake your head at your parents but they see it as an invitation to make your life a living hell? Then they smile sheepishly at you and say to the phone “She is right here, she is actually begging to talk to you”. I hate those times. These parents don’t have our backs no more.
5. Campus. Still in class. I swear classes are the worst, apart from the learning and gaining knowledge part. So in class, you have done an impeccable job on your assignment and everything is in order, but for some devilish reason, the person required to make the presentation of the work to the rest of the class is out somewhere pretending to be sick and so with your heart thudding in your chest, like those Tum Tum West African drums of primary school essays and compositions, you get infront of the class. Everything is going well, you even start tooting your own horn until some mumu at the back shouts “I can’t hear you”. Ladies and gentlemen, this is where we wish to kill ourselves or George Bush the mumu at the back with your sneaker.
6. You know when you are thirsty and with a friend at their house and their mom asks if you want a drink and you awkwardly say “No, thanks”. Because you want to seem polite and you were given explicit instructions at home to not eat elsewhere… but the parent asks if you are sure about not wanting a drink and suddenly the Kalahari invades your throat and you are in desperate need of that drink but you now cannot say you would like a drink because the parent will start saying things like you should not be afraid of her and that you should feel at home and that she is not a monster and you know you do not need any more awkwardness in your life so you remain adamant with your Kalahari throat and all your mouth can say is a frail “No, thanks. I’m fine”. But even then, the last part of what you say does not come out clearly because it feels like your brain is slowly being encroached into the desert.
This, is what it loosely feels like to be an introvert, without the daily struggle and the strange looks and the whispers that you are a snobbish B-word and the awkwardness at parties and the loneliness of having no friends and the learning to accept and love your introverted self.
But introvert, extrovert, you need to learn to love yourself. To not depend solely on others for happiness. To make yourself your own entertainment. And be good at it. This has to be the ultimate law of life. Because until you get to the point that you are sincerely bored with yourself for days on end, then you will have learnt everything that makes you tick. And since this will obviously take you long enough, by the end of it, all you will have learnt is to truly love yourself. Isn’t that the ultimate goal to a happy life?
PS. Sorry about the long sentences. This was kind of a rant and I wanted you to read it the exact same way that the words were coming to me. Glad you were in my head.
Sitting in a matatu has to be the most stressful thing of this lifetime. I’m not only talking about finding the perfect seat. It begins with the matatu itself.
It needs certain levels of perfection that need to be quickly assessed.
Are the seats well spaced or will I reach my destination with cramped feet?
Does it look roadworthy or will it disrupt your schedule by breaking down somewhere in no man’s land where you can’t get another means of transportation?
This assessment is done in the three seconds you have as the matatu glides magestically past. One wrong move and you either let the perfect one go past you or you get into one with seats that have seen so much of the world all they know to do is dig into the next human that sits on them.
Then there is the issue of the sun. Oh God’s greatest candle. Usually I consciously check on the sun and map out the journey in my head so as to get the least amount of time on ray exposure. Those sun-filled seats always seem to have some sort of heat intensifier.
After this, it is paramount that you find somewhere with the minimumest (read most minimum) physical contact with other humans – this being the window seat. Bonus point: you get to look out the window and imagine yourself in Katy Perry’s music videos.
The isle seat kills me. All these people rubbing their hips on your shoulder. Bony hips. Drumstick-y hips. Thigh-like hips. So many hips!
Also, this perfect seat needs not be at the back, because in these Rongai matatus the journey from the rear to the door could literally kill you. PS – I wobble so much in those nganyas it’s always embarrasing. Straight up social suicide.
After the assessment, if you can, put on the meanest face you can.
Bring your eyebrows together, purse your lips, enlarge your nose holes. Do everything to make you look mean. This is to scare potential weirdos from sitting next to you.
If you come into the matatu late and all perfect seats are taken, I recommend sitting next to friendly-looking people who look like they know the value of minding their own business. Never sit next to someone trying hard to enlarge their nostrils. Never!
I had done the whole analysis on a matatu that I had my eye on. All window seats at the front to the waist were taken so I had to do the next logical thing. Look at people’s noses to see whose looked enlarged.
In my quest I see a nice looking young woman, University age. No luggage so I will not be forced to carry her cross. No scowl on the face. Knows how to sit (guys always have one leg on your side so you have the hour long journey with some random dude’s knee rubbing against you).
I say hi. Or hello. Good manners dictates you greet people. Even mean people soften their hearts a little bit when you begin with a hello. Wish someone had said hello to Hitler.
Take out my phone and type in Bikozulu on the Google strip-like thing. I’ve been reading from the present posts going back. I’m somewhere in 2015 posts right now.
This stranger is looking at what I’m reading. I can sense her shifting her eyes to the left but leaving her face facing forward just in case I catch her spying. I intentionally read the post much faster and I see her frustration and she stops spying. But then I feel bad for doing that so I too stop reading the post and look out the window.
“Is that your blog?” Stranger asks.
Pfffft. Yeah it is.
“Oh this? Haha, no. I wish.”
“A friend’s?” She prodes.
Yeah, Biko and I are amazing buddies. He wishes me journey mercies each time I travel to Ronga.
“No. I’ve never met him. I’m just a fan.”
“Oh,” she says and looks out the window.
Now I’m disappointed. This is a chance to add one more click to my own blog. Or even learn. She might have been a professional writer undercover looking for amateurs so she could train the to be super writers with codenames working for an elite agency that has branches all over the universe.
“I have a blog though,” I blurt out before I can stop myself. Can’t waste my chance to go to write-spy school. She seems interested so I leave Bikozulu and find this blog.
She reads ‘Coasto’ and says I write well. Well. My qualification to be a write-spy is well. I start thinking of codenames now. I’ve made it!
I laugh at the second one. It sounds like a water spot that is haunted by a corrupted mind that gives children goat nightmares.
“Why did you laugh?” She asks.
Nothing. I’m just hilarious in my head.
“Nothing,” I reply.
She takes her phone, it’s an iPhone. Someone once told me you never call an iPhone a phone. So she takes out her iPhone X (I hope you are proud of me wherever you are). She touches it randomly like a pedophile who knows not what they are doing then finally gives it to me with the dial pad on the screen.
Instictively, my fingers begin putting in my phone number and since I don’t know how to use it, I return the iPhone to her.
“Mirriam,” I say, trying to sound like I could have saved it myself but these little jobs are things I prefer others to do.
She still saves it wrong. Miram or something.
“I’ll text you, Mirriam.”
How does one say the correct thing and type the exact opposite?
Fast forward to night time. I am at home having a wonderful time listening to Simi’s album Simisola when my phone pings.
/Hey Miram. I’m blocking your contact by midnight./
\Uhm, alright. But why did you even bother saving it then?\
/To be polite./
Points for her politeness just went low on my scale.
/You still therr/
\Yes. What’s up\
I decide to make hay while the sun shines. Learn as much as I can from this mystery matatu girl.
She says she needs to talk to someone. A person who wouldn’t judge because they wouldn’t know her. I didn’t get her logic. Don’t strangers to us judge us more than people we know?
She tells me the story of a man she was is love with. She called him “Jerk” but we’ll read it as Jack.
Tip: For every Jack, insert Jerk
She and Jack met online. Not on those dating apps, no. She doesnt do dating apps. They met on WhatsApp.
One time, in her crazy bout of insomnia she was scrolling through the app, looking at people’s profile photos when a text “entered”. It was a group.
I ask which group and she says she can’t tell me. He might end up reading this and know.
/and new rule miram no more questions/
Oh I like her. Despite her lack of punctuation.
She clicked on the group and saw that Jack had asked if anyone was awake. As if he was looking for a heart to break. His next victim.
She had not saved Jack’s number yet so she went to the group’s participants section and searched for him. I ask why.
/to see his pic of course and know if he was cute/
He was cute. He played a sport too. She says his profile picture showed him in games kits. She however refused to tell me what game it was.
/he might know/
Now I think she is either giving this Jack too much credit or the extra credit is for my underperforming blog.
They sent four texts in that group.
She: /I’m up/
He: \You up early or late?\
She: /haven’t slept yet/
He: \Damn, sucks to be you\
Then he had invaded her inbox. It was 3.27am. They had talked all through the darkness and well into the morning. All texts replied fast. All parts of her texts covered. She felt she had found her Jesus. He came at a time no one knew and on a day no one expected. And at a time she had needed someone the most.
She gets vague in the details but she had also said no questions.
No questions yet I had so many. I look at the time. 11:55.
\Yeah. What did Jack do?\
/Jerk? I’ll tell you some other time/
\Do you love him\
/Probably, but I don’t know. Love is a strange thing, sometimes I think it’s bigger than just an emotion/
\Do you or don’t you?\
I didn’t post yesterday because I have been waiting on that second tick.
I feel different.
Like I am the only one who is different
And I fucking love that
I never have to follow the written down rules
For being the one who is not like the rest
A little different
The one that is different
I like that
Being unique in yourself
Being not perfect
Loving who comes and letting go of those who let go
I really like that
Because conformity is not right
Agreeing with all that comes your way is not right
And it’s been going on for a few days, yes
I’m still pretty excited about this
And being different isn’t weird
Like watching flames
Big humongous ones
Watching those flames as they burn anything in it’s path
Watching them devour every single doubt
Every single misfortune
And loving every bit of it
Fear. The four letter word that does to me what it was meant to. Scares me blind.
Uncle Google says that Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events.
I think that one’s biggest fear is something else.
I think it is the crippling feeling you get when you are faced with a situation or thing that you cannot run from.
What is your biggest fear?
I asked this question to some of the people I felt were diverse enough to represent a significant number of the population and I got a number of interesting answers.
This I understand. God is the eternal being who created and preserves all things. Christians believe God to be both transcendent and immanent. For an existence like that, one is warranted the right to fear the doctrine of the Trinity.
It doesn’t matter what time you fear for this. Some fear dying before 40, some right now and others in the near future.
I however have come to terms with the idea that death comes to us all. The circumstances leading to it may all be different but in the end, but it will happen to us all. It may seem scary and dark, and maybe it is just me, but death is a natural part of a life lived.
3. Being poor
Don’t I know it. This was one legitimate answer. It made me rethink what my actual fear is. Nobody wants to grow up, go to school, live life and end up being the poorest you could ever be.
I used to be afraid of snakes. Don’t get me wrong, they still make me uncomfortable but I have had a number of interactions (if I may call them that) with snakes that I am not out rightly afraid of them. Instead, I think I am wary of their existence.
5. Crawling insects
A favorite of mine. I hate anything with a thorax paired with 3 or 4 pairs of legs. Slithering ones also make me cringe. Generally, I simply can’t stand anything that is not either human or an animal. Millipedes in particular have a special place somewhere that is not near me.
6. Not achieving one’s dreams
Honestly, I think I strive to achieve my dreams everyday for this to be a burden for me. I believe in doing all things possible to do what you can to be happy.
My last few posts have been about being happy and happiness for me is being content with who and what I am, meaning that I have to work to achieve my dreams because that will also make me happy.
(I don’t know if this makes as much sense as it does for me)
7. Losing all you worked for
Another thinker here. Imagine doing everything to achieve all you dream of and ending up losing it all. Tragic.
This came in all forms. Not getting a job. Not getting that guy or that girl you like and such.
I don’t think this should be a problem for anyone though. Rejection is part of life. Not everyone is going to like what you do and you are not going to satisfy the needs that everyone around you has. So let loose, be free and remember that Hakuna Matata.
Also, not being enough for someone falls in this category, I think. And you should never ever think that you are not enough. Maybe they are the ones that are not for you. Remember… Hakuna Matata
9. Being hit by a guy
This was a little personal but I thought I should also address it, since there has to be a number of those who have grown up in households that their mothers were hit and where domestic violence was a norm.
It should however be motivation enough to find someone who is better than the one you grew up under, but I don’t know much under this.
10. The dark
This is mine. It’s not my biggest fear. That comes later. The dark, for me, gets kinda scary because I have a wild imagination and I put myself through horror movies for this reason. I get a kind of adrenaline rush that has my heart beating faster and my breathing becomes laboured.
I have grown to like the feeling that the dark gives me, and I might be alone in this, but I love that I am scared of the dark.
My biggest fear however, is being afraid.
Cliché, I know.
I am scared of being too afraid to try new things or living life or making life changing decisions.
I’m scared of being afraid of being me so much that at times I hold myself back from doing the things that might alter what and who I am.
I struggle so much with making new friends because I am afraid of losing them. I am afraid of fear itself because fear can be crippling.
Fear can make you do things you never thought you could do, but also, fear can make you do things you never thought you could ever bring yourself to doing, and that is the beauty of it all.
(PS… Yesterday I removed a really long slug that was on my wall after being scared of it for about 30 minutes)
But someone just told me that life is too short to be afraid of outcomes and eventualities. And that hit really deep.
It’s late. Almost half past 2.
Yesterday, while I was making my usual late night meal for when I’m up at ungodly hours, I was holding a matchbox and something hit me.
You ever wondered how a matchbox is a universal thing (unless you live elsewhere in the universe and don’t know what I’m talking about)?
How it exists in all households, in both mansions and slums. Like laughter. (This comparison is not inclusive of the 5 shillings required to purchase a matchbox), though you can but laughter though purchasing of bundles to look at memes.
I can’t sleep again for the fourth night in a row. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I keep waiting during the day to at least pass out for hours or something but that also does not happen, so I’ve been in my head a lot lately.
It’s difficult when you’re an introvert with zero social skills, social anxiety and a number of other very numerous issues. I wish I could talk to people and not feel different or judged or anything. Instead, my happy place is a pen and paper or the one or two people I call friends and who I burden with all my twisted issues.
I am not happy. Even with my pen and paper.It’s not deliberate, and I’m not unhappy either, but I feel like I lack a sense of excitement that has always been there. My heart is not lit up and I am told that I constantly have this resting “angry” face.
I should be happy. Almost everything is going well for me, except for the fact that I have not been feeling well.
I should be joyous and jumpy and weird but I don’t feel like my usual self. Maybe that’s the reason why I can’t sleep. Maybe that’s exactly what my mind is trying to figure out.
I don’t know how to get my matchbox of laughter. I’ve not laughed out sincerely in so long. I crave something to make my ribs hurt.
I have also been looking at lots of memes lately. I think that is the one place I find genuine comedy that has individuality and is sometimes just as dark, awkward and weird as my occasional sense of humor.
I might have lost my spark somewhere in the past few weeks but I am working at fixing it. At fixing me.
I’m not seeing any change yet but maybe that is because there are a few more things I know I need to do to start seeing any altercations to my general mood and for me to achieve what I want.
Maybe I just miss home.
I made pancakes today.
They were pretty good. It’s weird how with time, I feel like I am getting better at making them.
Yesterday I had an idea of selling them to people. 10 shillings or 15 depending on the size. That would be an easy way to make some money. Then I could get to buy some things that I know I need in this house.
But then my body is unwilling to move.
I know that I am a very lazy human being. And even if I start making those pancakes to sell, I would eventually stop because maybe I just couldn’t sit up one day. I just lay there all day knowing I would need to be active and make some pancakes, but I will not get up.
I am even more stubborn against myself.
I’ve just finished eating them. My almost 7 year old laptop is right beside me. The chocolate bar I got for my birthday is halfway on it, and a jar of honey is on my right.
I don’t want to do anything, think anything. But my brain is it’s own boss.
What if I was an island?
(Image from Fiji Guide)
What if I could have water all around me and sit still while people vacationed on me?
What if the only thing I had to worry about was how hard the ocean waters could hit and how deep I had to let the trees go before they were old enough.
What if I was an island?
What if all I had to do was sit on my own, with my other island friends a little too far away for a daily hello.
What if I had my own problems, but couldn’t let my island family know because they would be worried and I don’t want that.
I don’t let people around me get too close because I feel like an island. Like nobody could ever understand the many little things that makes me tick.
Like they seem to have it all figured out and all I have figured out is maybe this chocolate bar doesn’t stay here for long.
Sometimes I don’t like being alone. I get lonely. And being alone then has me thinking of when I wasn’t alone. And that makes me try to find someone who wants to pretend to be with me, till my use for them is due then they leave me to be alone once more.
Sometimes I really like being alone. Because then I can rotate my mind around things that don’t really make sense.
So I can dance around my place in my own weird little way and feel, well not normal really, but me. And feel like me.
Sometimes being alone is my happy place. I don’t have to sit upright or listen to conversations that I might not have had to listen to.
I don’t have to hurt my eyes in the sun (I have a condition: myopic something : I don’t really remember the last part, but my eyes hurt in the sun and I have to wear glasses now, plus I am short sighted). So it literally really hurts to go out.
Maybe I am cursed to be inside the house. Maybe I will always feel like an outsider.
Maybe I really am destined to meet people in the comforts of my home. It would be really cool. If I didn’t need to leave my place and go outside to meet people. That there was a way I could sit at home and still have reasonable conversations with reasonable humans and make meaningful relationships.
Sometimes I am too philosophical for my own mind. I should loosen up a little. But how? Dancing around right now feels weird. I am typing with my phone.
My laptop’s problem is that it is old. I think. It shows movies really slow. It does any and all things while buffering every 3 seconds. So I can’t use it for anything but background noise to my thoughts.
I got it from my uncle after he was done with campus and I was starting.
Sometimes I feel like my thoughts are too compact. Like I need to use more sentences in my thinking and delivery of those same thoughts.
Maybe I can find something to watch on the laptop. There is a really cool series I was watching, “The End Of The Fucking World” it’s about this awkward boy and this awkward girl. And they are perfect together.
Today I’ll have a happy to be alone day. I never know it until about 4 hours from when I wake up.
There is this piece, by Samuel Schudder. “Take This Fish And Look At It”. I read it in class last semester and it did seem farmiliar, but I just could not place it. A few days ago, however, before I wrote “Looking At The Drapes” I remembered where I had first seen it. I was thirteen years old, and in my final year in primary school. The head mistress had called me to her office, and as I waited on her, I saw it on a seat placed outside her office.
The reason I recall this particular piece is because of a number of things. The story itself is one. It tells of a young man studying to be a scientist. He goes to this class and the professor basically gives him a fish specimen in a jar. Over time, the professor asks what the young man saw while looking at the fish, and every time, the student, though struggling, manages to come up with an observation. He tries so hard to look at it that at one point he draws the fish down on paper.
Schudder’s article reminds me of a number of things. Persistence in our endeavors, hard work, humility, love for what we do, together with lots and lots of patience. These are things that we often forget as we go on with life. At least I know that at one point I get too lazy to see something through and this piece is actually more for me than for you. It is to remind me that no matter what, we need to get up, dust ourselves off and take one more step. One more look at the fish, because you do not know what you might just learn unless you look more closely.
Ever connected with someone at a level so deep, you know you can never dig yourself out even if you tried?
And not with just anyone. Not a person you have grown up with, or a school mate you we’re forced to interact with. I’m talking of an eruption of friendship and closeness with a total stranger.
Someone you shared a table with at a random restaurant or we’re introduced to for the first time by a mutual friend. Someone you never saw coming, so being set up does not count. Someone who just emersed themselves into your life so suddenly that you had to come up for air. So suddenly that you had to literally think of ways to manage the connection.
Ever had a soft spot for someone you didn’t really know? Whose name you only know the first but it doesn’t really matter because your ship goes beyond last names?
A connection so concentrated that the chemistry is undeniable. It almost seems animalistic because you have never seen anything like it in humans.
Ever related to another being so much you think of calling your parents if only to confirm that you do not have a long lost twin? So much that you feel like dancing all around a room full of strangers, because you know they can never have what is between your new friend and you.
Ever known someone so well that you finish their sentences and they yours on your second meet? That you give them your secrets, those intricate parts you hold dear, unknowingly, and only realize it when the damage is done.
Ever had that one person, that one angel, sent to you and only you because they belong in your life?
Have you ever had that?
Because I don’t believe I have.