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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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

Taking Stock 003

Stop saying that you poor, you just broke, there is a difference. “

Anonymous


I stopped trying to prove that I am not broke because let’s face it, this chick is broke, take it or leave it. I don’t even think it’s something to be ashamed of, like J. Cole once said, “love yours. ” I was shocked the other day when some tweeps were talking about being broke and all. After a long thread of the reality of their financial state, one of them admitted that they can only talk about such deep things on twitter. Well, it’s true, twitter is for savages or so I gathered. That it’s not things they tell their friends., laud! We can’t be friends if we don’t speak real. I was like, WTF! We are in the twenty first century, being broke should be trendy, to start with. Not trendy like we made mental illness trendy, we went more than a little over board with that, just trendy enough to make us not ashamed for not being rich. Love yours, always. I want to start a community of people who own whatever stage they are in while they keep working towards where they want to be. Instead of swapping flashy ten seconds photos we tell each other what was really going on in our life at that particular moment. Like, “you see how good my hair is there? I had just scored my first big time client and my boss gave me bonus so I decided to spend it all bla bla bla…. ” You feel me?

As long as you working towards improving your bank account and life in general, there is nothing to be ashamed of when you a masterpiece in progress . You don’t have to go deep into debt just so you can go out with friends to places where you know deep down is damaging your finances. You don’t have to pretend you can afford 3$ worth of coffee just to hangout with someone you used to know from I don’t know which lifetime. You don’t have to pretend that you living some sort of life for instagram likes or anything. Own where you are right now. It’s your journey, that is your story. “fake it till you make it” whoever said that I am sure they didn’t mean literally.

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t saying that just because you broke that you don’t deserve “the good life”. No, I am just saying, don’t go an extra mile to prove you ain’t broke when you supper broke. You deserve to treat yourself to all the good things your life has to offer, if they are expensive, you can start saving. Which reminds me, I haven’t gotten around to getting myself that bottle of wine yet, all in good time Riri. I should start saving for it, probably tomorrow or the day after. Just not today.

You see, after graduating, we all get a chance to approach life differently. I can only speak for us who choose self employment. According to my mum, it will be roughly around 5 years for a business that started from scratch to go steady. In plain words, she was just telling me that it will be a long while before I afford that bottle of wine I have been dreaming of. Dammit! I have friends and clients who went into gainful employment and to be honest with you, they are the ones who are winning. They have more spare change to spoil than anyone I know. I call them my rich friends. Every time I am telling my partner stories about them. ……..I am like, “you remember Brenda the rich one? She just gave us an order for black and white polka dot shoe and clutch. ” Well, it’s true they ain’t broke they are rich. Then there is the group that be jobless, don’t stop looking if gainful employment is what you really want, no situation is permanent.

It’s just a matter of owning where you are, embrace it. Appreciate it. Live it. Keep working towards improving it.

Fruitful week ahead my beloveds.

Until next time friends!

Riri from # VaaKenya

Bleeding

I’m officially in the mood to break up with my periods until it decides to be painless, moods Free and less hormonal.”

Dear periods,

It’s been a while since I wrote to you I think it’s high time we have a sit down. I love you like Kenyan parents love their children, tough love BS, which it translates to no love at all, or so I think. Well, it’s complicated, I mean there is love and no love . You’re just as good and annoying as kids are to their poor parents. If I wanted a complicated relationship I would get a baby, you know. So, little period, can you just leave me alone, for a minute?

I love how we(you and I) are in tune with the universe, how you only show up during the full moon, makes me feel connected with mother nature and all. I also enjoy the euphoria after you are gone and am all Bliss and butterflies, metaphorically speaking, of course. it would be weird if I turned into an actual butterfly, you know. I love how my skin glows too. Let’s just say I hate to love you and vice versa. I just hate how you turn me into a psychotic, bipolar, emotional excuse of a human being. I can’t help but hate almost everything around me and crave chocolate. What’s wrong with you, don’t you know that chocolate is very bad for you? What you trynna do?Kill me? Not just yet, bitch! I refuse to indulge you in your little nudge to chocolate land, you little excuse of mother nature. ain’t it enough that you try to give me anaemia monthly? I lose so much iron and you know am poor and lazy. Poor in the sense of having knowledge concerning food and all but none the wiser to indulge and lazy in the sense that I don’t like doing anything food related so I throw in mutura( waste meat stuffed in questionable quality of intestines that’s roasted over open fire) with a few other foods that are obviously bad for me but beggars can’t be choosers, you know. As if that’s not enough you decide to give me More than enough pain that makes, literally. You are more trouble than you are Worth.

Is there a Chance in hell we can break up that ain’t P related. P for pregnant and or pills. I am in my early twenties, far from menopause, dammit! I just want the torture to stop. Is it too much to ask?

PS: lately I have been eating vegetables and fruits so forget that part where I have horrible meals. though it might be true,who knows?

In Getting Married and Having Kids

My friends and strangers online around my age are getting married or engaged or having babies and am here wondering if it’s okay that I don’t want those things, not just yet. My newsfeed is full of engagement parties photos, baby showers and wedding gowns photos from different people. People posting photos of their little perfect families or their cute babies or gross family day out because it’s gross to have a family day out with a little baby since the whole time you will be trying to keep them alive instead of having a good time. Some of you are posting pics in the gym working that baby bum off,apparently, it’s a thing. But what do I know?

It’s a good thing, you guys are moving on, making your lives and all. I am honestly happy for you. Growing up, marriage and engagements and babies and the in betweens is something I have always know is a thing for adults and at almost 23 I don’t feel so adultie. I feel like I have a long way to go to be a proper adult. There is a lot of things I need to do and starting a family ain’t on my top 100 list, conventional marriage is not even on the list.

I am trying to successfully run my shoe company(Like our page on facebook VaaKenya) that needs A LOT OF WORK. If you into unique, customized shoes and that kind of thing then VaaKenya is your shoe company of choice. I also have to do some unpaid internship I have been postponing, maybe I should suck it up and go for it, get my license and be done with it.

Then there is the most important thing of staying alive and reminding myself to incorporate vegetables and other proteins in my diet because having bread/chapati and tea for dinner everyday doesn’t count as real food and that throwing in mutura in my meager meal of black tea and bread DOES NOT count as a balanced diet, though it does make me sleep better knowing that yesterday I ate meat (read mutura). I also need a trip across Africa I have been planning to do if and when Evey gets back in the country if she doesn’t I will figure something out.

I mean, there is so much to do. Well, there is much that needs my attention, and all I want to do is sleep. I don’t think I am an adult, adultie enough to start a family. I am barely taking care of myself, I don’t think it’s wise to include some innocent persons in the picture….don’t you think?

On Clients and In Betweens Of Being Your Own Boss 

So, the journey of being your own boss comes with challenges, who would have thought? I am still new in the game,still learning the ropes of the business.I am in the shoe industry, just in case you didn’t know. Ankara and custom made shoes to be precise.
I heard somewhere that the principles of business is the same everywhere and all you have to do is figure them out, apply them and thereafter, everything else works with the same principle. Well, where I come from we believe in the power of books or is it information? So, before I started my business, I read books from several fields, books written by economist, psychologist, marketers and heavens knows what other related fields. I thought those books will on the least, help me with basic principles of the business and all. Imagine my surprise when it hit me that I had to learn everything from FUCKING scratch. So far so good, still learning, still trying. Haven’t put a bullet through my brains yet, you know. Progress.
Today am in the mood of talking about customers or clients. If you are a start up, the worst clients are your friends or so I found out. I should have known from the start, or I should have taken the advice from that book I don’t remember that somehow stated that friends will be your first clients,and they will grandly ruin you. I mean,some of my friends have been awesome and paid up and all. Most of them did let me down. Some paying half the money,others none and some placing orders and then somehow changing their mind. I mean,what the fuck, why give specifics of a shoe then somehow change your mind? You do realize, it will take a century to have another you with such a poor taste in shoe,right? The reason we custom make shoes is so that we include our clients in the process of creation. I have over fifteen pairs of shoes lying somewhere in my house that I have no fucking idea what to do with them. I can’t even wear them, maybe I will go to shagz(my village) and I might get lucky to find a few feets willing to wear them, donate them for Christmas or something.
They say the client is always right. I know. Some clients I found online bought our products and gave us both positive and constructive critics that I did appreciate. Perfection is our aim and with such criticism we will definitely achieve perfection. If a client doesn’t like a product, that is totally alright. I don’t see how clients are right when they give you specifics of what they want then fail to pick up their goddamn orders.
Then the ones who outright refuse to pay. That was a mistake on my side. I am learning. Soon, I will get better at the game, like everyone else. Apparently, no one escapes bad debts, it’s part of the game.
On the days I feel like giving up, someone restores my faith in humanity in one way or another.
Until next time friends. I will keep updating you on my journey of being my own boss. Tough, I know. We carry on.
Namaste.

Dear Libra 

You is broke.


You is barely surviving.


You is in debts.


You is behind on rent.


You is losing friends 


You is losing money.


You is trying to lose weight and failing seriously.


You is failing in almost everything.


You is finding it impossible to get a job.


You is almost losing your house.


You is having a hard year.


Worry not… survive 2017. We had an easy 2016, in retrospect. It’s alright. It’s written on the stars. 2017 was meant to humble us. We are a proud lot, it was bound to happen someday. 


Let’s get through 2017.


After all odd numbers have always done a number on us.


2018 we will reclaim our lives, our dignity and most importantly, our pride.


We have survived 4 months, 8 to go or less. Maybe when it gets to September, our star will change things and we will reclaim all we have lost 


So we sip our morning coffee. We sip our wine. We empty cups and glasses. We get by. We survive. Something will give,maybe, or maybe it won’t but we won’t break. We are stronger than most. It’s just 2017,duh”. The worst that could happen is not survive 2017 you know.


Namaste