Taking Stock 005, for your eyes only

Let’s talk about women. My journey to being a ” bad feminist” because I only truly care about women. “

I don’t think I’m such a bad feminist like people in social insinuate. I like to think of myself as a pretty opiniated feminist who has women’s and girl’s interest at heart. My approach in feminism has evolved over the years. Let’s just say today’s article will focus on how I have evolved as a self proclaimed feminist,not just a 2017 thing. I will try to detail each turning point, how the women in my life gave me perspective and the hard lessons I had to learn and or unlearn.

Let’s start from the beginning as I remember it
I knew women needed every support they could get to survive at a pretty young age. I was 7 or 8 years old when I stood up to a male teacher for spanking girls on the ass every time he was punishing us. It just felt wrong. He had some weird look when he did it. Of course I was punished for defying a teacher, male to be precise, but at least he stopped. Though he used to punish me worse when he got a chance henceforth. Luckily, my parents moved and I was transferred.

When I was 12, there was a male teacher who sexually abused girls in my school, they were just stories we heard, we were twelve, he hadn’t come to me or anyone I knew so I figured may be they were just rumours. He was my math teacher and he had never disrespected anyone in class. When he came to one of my cliques, we knew we had to do something. We were scared because he was a senior teacher and no one had openly come out to speak of the abuse. So in our little clique we decided that every time he called her to his office we would go together. Well, we almost got suspended, we got banded “bad girls” but at least my friend finished school without incidence. We didn’t necessarily feel safe around him but at least we had the numbers.

I would like to lie to you and say I have had male mentors and role models. Sadly no, except family, may be. Like my big brother was “cool” back then. He still is, I mean, he is over six feet tall with a some laid back personality and he writes.  Then there was dearest daddy, because, we think the men in our lives are all that just to realize how heavily flawed they all are. Well, I did write that into my unending list of daddy’s issues. I’m still working on it. It disgusts me sometimes, mostly because after growing up you realize how flawed men are and you Wonder why you idolized them in the first place. But then agan, we were fed stories of warriors and Prince charming growing up. The women in most of these stories were in distress and or very submissive and devoted their lives to men.
My first mentor was a woman, Mrs. Otieno, she was also my English teacher. She did walk with the Grace of a goddess and had some type of poise that commanded attention yet she was supper successful( drove her own car, did her MBA bla bla bla) At some point, I wanted to grow up to be like her. She commanded respect without effort. Afterwards, there was a string of teachers and other women.

The most recent, as an adult, was my professor. She didn’t mentor me or anything but when she walks into a room and starts talking, she inspires you to want to be better. Daktari, is the kind of woman you want to be. Almost everyone in my class studied her subjects with a little more effort and did her assignments in time. You Just  don’t want to let her down. Then there is my mom, well,that woman is superhuman, her strength and zeal is out of this world. Then there was Jenny, she was both a mentor and role model, she did teach me most things about being a woman that I know now.

My first step on seeking freedom was the day I decided to filter all the BS the Church and patriarch in general fed us. All the things they kept insisting a girl should and should not do. So, I decided to do with my hair and nails whatever I felt like. It was librating. I decided to wear whatever I felt like. I was told things like; that dress is too short it ain’t ladylike. Or that Dress is too long it makes you look like a grandmother. You can’t dye your hair red because that’s what women at 40 do. I let them talk and at the end of the day, I just did me. I realized I could never do anything right, so I just did whatever I felt like. Deviant? Well, a girl had to grow and find her self. I let them adjust or leave me alone. Well, except their snide comments never really did stop. Good thing I never stopped exploring whatever I saw fit.
So, somehow, I started encouraging women around me to embrace lifestyles they felt fit. To free themselves from the chains of society. To spread their wings and fly. To stop putting all their hopes and dreams to men. To unlearn all we have been taught. Some caught on, some didn’t, but that’s okay. I ain’t stupid, I know that it ain’t just my path that’s true. If getting married, popping kids and massaging ego is your kind of thing, then by all means, embrace. As Long as you don’t feel oppressed or forced to live in a certain way, then just do you.
So, how did a girl from a small town went from being daddy’s girl to a woman actively seeking freedom? How did a girl from a small town decide to be her on person? How did a girl raised in fairytale stories of Prince charming and warriors saving the day and or women in distress decide to actively seek companionship from women instead? How did she become such her own person? Why did she get so deviant?

Pretty sample. It started with a lot of painful lessons. Unlearning and learning. Getting perspective from different people. Different cultures. I found most of my gems from books. Reading books of flawed characters, mostly of women who refused to conform. Poetry by Emily Dickson made me feel understood. I found support system from books of witches, stories my mother told me, stories from my Grandma before cancer. Stories of women who broke free from the patriarch gave me strength. It made me forge my own path. Stories of women running with the moon. As time passed by I met such women in real life. It was freeing. Women who became more, who strived to be more inspired me some more. It gave me perspective. It did open my eyes. I knew I had to be more.
I continued working on my unending daddy’s issues. I started using whatever opportunity I got to tell my story just in case it would inspire someone. I encouraged women I met to be more, strangers and acquittances alike. I became more. I wanted more from life.

One morning I woke up and decided I will never jeopardize or compromise what I wanted from life because of early childhood conditioning or because of “Prince charming”. I’m still forging my path. I’m still learning. I’m still unlearning. I’m still growing as a person and I don’t apologize.

Most importantly, I became pro choice. Let a woman do with her life, her body, her soul and all that is her life on her terms. I became a woman who lived on her own terms 



PS: I will write about the challenges I faced in my path to feminism may be Next time

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The Girl That Gave Me Pause 

Once upon a time in the land faraway I met a girl, the once in a lifetime kind of people. I can’t describe her even if I wanted, she was most things, diabolic comes to mind since complicated is cliché. This girl I speak of is nothing cliché, that much is clear. Today(a year ago to be precise), I thought about her, about something she once said. That was during my self destructive days. Well, usually I’m self destructing but those were worse times. I could say, darker times. She said something that gave me pause. 

In her own words;” BTW the only reason you are working hard to ruin your life is because the only person that you thought mattered decided to make you feel invisible. Well, ruining yourself won’t make you visible either. Get your head from the gutter and take charge of your life anyway. ”

 

It’s not the words that gave me pause, it’s the way she said it. Of course those words made sense and cut me deep in a wake up call kind of way, they make a lot of sense even right now. 
She is among those people who live in their heads, they don’t share their thoughts and rarely offer advice. So, when she said those words to me, it gave me pause. I knew she had thought about it for a while, and they weren’t meant for comfort or advice. More like facts.
Eventually, I reduced the rate of my self destructive ways, or so I told myself. There was no Happy ever after for me or anything dramatic of course. This is real life,lower your expectations. Today, when those words came rushing back to me, I realized my mistake. I went down that self destructive road because I had given someone(dearest daddy) so much power, trusted that they would always have my back and all. I was wrong, still am, the only person who got your back all the way is just you. The person who stares back at you when you look into the mirror.
If memory serves me right, I didn’t build walls around me from nothing. I think every brick was handed to me by somebody, either intentionally or not,it doesn’t really matter.  But the foundation, that was from those darker times or maybe before, we can’t really depend on memory. Well, I didn’t become not so a nice person from nowhere, after all. My friends call me selfish, I like to think of it as selfless love towards one self. I’m not narcistic, if I were, I think I would know. Maybe a little Self absorbent, but nothing chronic, it could be cured by everyone leaving me alone, mostly. 

Taking Stock 004

“Let’s talk about the tough lessons Riri learnt in 2017.”

This is a continuation of my new series. I am accounting on some of the things that happen in my life in 2017

  1. No friendship, no matter how solid, can survive bad debts.  My goodness, now when I call my friends that took Shoes from VaaKenya on debt, they don’t pick.  I just want to say hello sometimes, and yes I still want my money, but I honestly thought our friendship was more solid than that.  Thanks for the lessons BTW. I learnt that I should never sell on debt amongst friends. Also, it taught me that I need better friends. And the better friends did pay up, thanks for keeping us(Vaakenya) In business.  You my heroes, and the economy of Kenya is proud of you, when you buy Kenya, you build Kenya. Like our slogan in VaaKenya says, “When we grow together, we succeed together. “
  2.  That sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t but most importantly, keep walking or doing it anyway. It doesn’t get easier but you get to grow as a being either way things go.
  3.  That love doesn’t have to be work. It should flow. If you have to convince them to stay, they are not worth it.  And some people are not supposed to stay. That some relationships are meant to be butterfly interludes, to prepare you for the real thing. When the real thing comes along, there will be no mind games because you two will be busy trying to get to know each other then want to build together while getting to know each other at a deeper level. There will be fights, of course, the difference between the real thing and a butterfly interlude is that fights make you grow not break you. 
  4.  That some people are like Mombasa, visiting is fun but no one wants to live there. I need lots of down time after hanging out with some people and others is just comfortable
  5. Patience in life, love and business. Most part of adulting revolves around being patient. You have no idea how many times in a day I close my eyes praying for patience. Apparently it’s frown about in polite society to use curse words and you can’t just throw stones to things that annoy you.
  6. That the saying ‘The darkness hour of the night is the hour before dawn’ totally applies. The universe has a weird sense of humor. Every time I thought things can’t get worse than they already had, they did, and I kept the faith and somehow things worked out in the end. The hardest part was keeping hope alive through every storm. Perseverance does pay.
  7. If you stand up for what you want and believe in people are going to impose what they stand up for and you will be lost in the end.  Don’t be afraid to do what you think is your thing.  Do you, the world will adjust.

Another from Riri the Miss. 

Until next time friends. 
#rambling