Last year I went all out for Halloween, turning our office space into scene from the Waking Dead with cobwebs, trash bags and debris everywhere. I even went to several parties. It was a hoot. This year has been marred with so much real life tragedy that I just can’t bring myself to indulge. I will however enjoy the treats. Boo!
Muthoni grew up a tiny village hidden in the dense forests of Mount Kenya. She was one of ten children. As a middle child she felt lost and neglected. Muthoni had a keen sense of adventure often easily bored by the things that captured the attention of the other children around her. She would steal away disappearing into the forest for long periods of time only to return to find that no one had noticed her absence. On one of those solo adventures she ventured out so far that she could not find her way back. After going round and round the same area she finally sat down at the bottom of large tree and started think of her family. She was cold, alone and afraid. She wept as she pictured her siblings all huddled around the fire in her grandmother’s hut listening to her stories of old then she cried herself to sleep. Some time later she woke up in a jolt to find herself cradled in her father’s strong arms as he carried through the forest accompanied by men from her village. She hugged him tightly in gratitude and relief for she thought she was lost forever. All the rest of the villagers who gathered in their homestead let out large cries of jubilation upon their arrival. He looked up at her father and apologized for causing so much trouble. ‘I did not think you would know I was missing?’ she said. He shook his head. ‘You foolish little girl how could I not miss one of my jewels? he asked. She was confused. ‘But I go out everyday and no one notices’ she replied. ‘That’s what you think but today you went too far and you brother lost you’ he said. That was when she found out how much her father had liked her sense of adventure and had charged her brother with watching over her every time she went out. Indeed she had been a very foolish little girl.
Three months ago I tip toed cautiously into the world of blogging. I was not as enthusiastic as I had been with my first few attempts. Previously I had started with a bang and ended with a whimper. This time my sister encouraged me to not overthink the whole process as I am accustomed to doing with everything. So I ventured out here. One blog at a time, one sketch at a time. Consistency being my only goal. I am still learning, evolving, growing and perfecting. I am grateful to her and all who have encouraged me.
This past weekend I spent time with some friends reminiscing about growing up in Kenya and the common experiences we shared. It was an afternoon filled with laughter and playful discord. I must say that most of us would not very likely be friends had we not somehow ended up in the same city thousands of miles away from home. We come from very different backgrounds. In spite of this there are very deep threads that bind us and being in a foreign land only strengthens them. When are are together we are in a safe haven were we can be ourselves, a place where we are not the outsiders. Truly we are kindred spirits.
I am not a grudge holder but I have occasionally indulged in this practice often fueled by a sense of injustice. Nothing angers me more than unfairness. Being a very practical person in an impractical world ensures that I crash into this everyday. My parents sheltered me so very well that I am still appalled by it. I have learned that holding on these feelings of anger and pain causes me to shrink from the inside while maintaining firm but luck luster exterior. So now I release them as soon as they start to fester.
‘Self expression is a vital part of understanding life, and enjoying it to the full.’
We very often admire, praise and reward those who make sacrifices and risk their well being for the sake of others and so we should. Where would we all be without them? But there is another kind of bravery. The one that endures pain, suffering and hardship without the knowledge of those around it. It cannot be fortified by others to lessen the burden. It is cannot acknowledged because it is never shared. And it cannot be rewarded for the sacrifice is untold. Only those who possess it know why they prefer it so.
I peered at them through the window as they jumped around barefoot in the muddy puddles, shrieking in delight. I was warm, clean and dry inside where we had been told to remain. I feared for the punishment they would have to endure later when they were found out. When it had started to rain they had abandoned their chores and scurried outside. I had tried to reason with them but they had ignored me. Now as I watched them, I longed to join them. I wanted to be good, but I also wanted to join them. So finally I kicked off my slippers and ran outside where we played until we were drenched and exhausted.
It was marvelous.
It was a slow day at my new job, so I had one eye on the monitor and the other on my phone. I thought it was a good time as any to see if there were any new prospects. I started swiping left and right but really more left than right. Soon I got the notice I had been hoping for. I had a match and before I could even look him up he sent a message. Thank goodness I thought as I checked out his profile which was summed up in just two lines and some fuzzy photos. It was accompanied by sweet compliment and a request to connect so I decided, why not? After a few messages back and forth we agree to meet for a drink downtown by the pier. I was excited but also a little nervous as I dressed up for the date trying to balance chicness and comfort. After a brief drive I met him at the entrance of restaurant. We stood for a moment sizing each other up. I now understood why he had only posted photos taken from above the waist. His cardigan stretched a little too snugly around his rotund waist. As if he read my mind he remarked in an amused tone that I was a lot skinnier in person. ‘I prefer big girls’ he said as he held the door open. I opened my mouth retort but instead I giggled and stepped inside. Surely one drink couldn’t hurt.
This this past Sunday a friend offered me an extra ticket she had for the Janet Jackson State of the World Tour. I attend a lot of free concerts all summer so I am usually not inclined to pay for a concert unless it is an artist I really like. We planned to meet at the venue. Then everything that could go wrong a few hours before did. My phone which I thought was charging all night but really wasn’t died as I maneuvered through the horrible Hollywood traffic. Unfortunately we had not yet decided on an exact meeting spot so I quickly plugged it into my car phone charger hoping to send her a quick message. The charger would not work for anything. Once there I found that had to park a mile away and walk up the hill in the wrong shoes to avoid inflated parking prices. Finally inside the venue I positioned myself by the box office hoping against hope that my friend would see me in the melee of people. There I stood in the middle of it all frantically looking around for her. Hallelujah! She spotted me. The warm evening weather was perfect for an outdoor concert and Janet, she was exceptional.