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 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

Taking Stock 002

Let’s talk about books”

I have been reading a lot in 2017. I vowed to increase my knowledge beginning of the year, at least I was able to keep that resolution all year long.That means it’s worth looking into that part of my life in my series of accounting for my 2017. So, I went into books with an open mind and I got lucky. I discovered a few interesting reads. Read from genres I didn’t think people wrote books about. I won’t go into details for each and every book or anything as interesting, but I will try to brush through and give as many details as possible. You might wonder how some over worked and under paid chick like Riri  would get time to read? Wonder no more, the secret lies in my phone, the gods of e-books did that and Nairobi unending traffic jam majorly contributed to the success of upholding my reading resolution. So, I get stuck in traffic more than once a day, I decided to turn it into reading time instead of getting mad over situations I have no control over. It’s a.life back and it totally works. Also, some Sundays(when I have time) I walk into city parks(Uhuru Park and Aboretum) has been my sanctuary to enjoy a book and nature, I hate working on Sundays,so when I get a chance I bury my nose in a book. I am a morning person, before when I had too much time and little to do I used to blog in the wee hours, in 2017 I have been using those few hours to read instead. Well, that explains why I haven’t been blogging as much-needed. You can’t be everything,sigh! I digress. And I refuse to be a 24 hours on call time of woman. There is only so much you can do within 24 hours you know. Sigh!Again.

Okay. Fine. Let’s talk about books.

  1. My first exciting discovery of 2017 in the genre department was Queer  Romance. The entire over the rainbow spectrum. I should have found these books earlier but apparently everything happens in due time. I have dwelled a lot on the violet part of the spectrum, the beauty of how women love women blew my mind in more ways than one though I have taken some time to read at least one book on the entire rainbow spectrum. I should give you a list,right? I really should. Okay, here is a Deal, I will compile the list and post it as a sequel or something or a mini post something something.
  2. The other exciting genre discovery was Urban Fiction. I was introduced to this particular genre by a friend and my first book was a series. I swear I am a sucker for books that give me a chance to hangout for a while with my newfound friends(characters). The initiation books were from none other than Simon R Greene series- Nightside and The Drood Family. Hanging out with John Taylor(from The Nightside) and Eddie Drood( from The Drood Family)respectively was awesome. I still think Eddie was and is better than Taylor but what do I know? My significant other is head over heels for Taylor and so is my best friend. Betrayers! Them both! Though to be fair my best friend read (The Nightside) only. 
  3. I read from a genre I never thought I could; self help books or self improvement or whatever you want to call them. That was challenging and a little hard, though, I soldiered on. I read “The power Of persuasion” , “money lab”, How To Be Happy(that one had so.much bullshit it’s a miracle I finished it), “How To make Friends and Influence People” and “Every day is a Friday” which at first was tough but I picked some worthwhile lessons. It did give me perspective. I don’t even remember the authors, I will have to Google them. I read enough to last me a lifetime, never again, I ain’t touching that genre again.
  4. I discovered more than a few books on mental illness. I was lucky to get to read books from bipolar disorders to multi personality disorders to depression. I was impressed by the number of books on mental illness, we are seriously making progress on the subject. The books that left impression on me were all the three books by Jenny Lawson the bloggess: “Furiously Happy, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened and You are Here”. Also Mary Higgins Clarke “all around town boys and girls” was a good read.
  5. Contemporary romance kept me sane on the days things got a little tough. I love me a weird romance story with a happy ending when I want to escape reality. 
  6. The Bible, of course I read the bible. Of all the books I have read, The Bible is among the few books that left a lot of room for thinking. As a literature reference book, on it’s own, it’s genius. As a religious read? What do I know, a lot of controversy sprout day in day out. 
  7. It’s not a good year without reading Robert Green books so as a sign of a good year I re-read the art of seduction. Well, it was because I needed to seduce someone whom I had a huge crush on, of course “the art of seduction” did not save me. I was forced to improvise along the way but it felt safe having the awesome tips of seduction somewhere in the periphery of my subconscious ready to be implemented if need arise. Tiara good thing I kinda won them or the other way. I am not sure who is the catch here. At the end of the day, love wins. At least for me it won,anyway.

Basically, that was the highlight of my 2017 in the book department. I use FbReader as my reader and I get most of my books for free from www.ebookbike.com 

Process Of Getting Free Ebooks

  1. Download FbReader from play store(Android users)
  2. Visit www.ebookbike.com and search for whatever you looking for. You can use authors name or book titles.
  3. Start reading

P.S. happy reading from Riri. Just remember to donate to your favourite authors while at it.  LITTLE SOMETHING FOR THE FREE BOOKS.

Taking Stock 001

Spoiler alert : I will be doing something like ten pieces on how 2017 has been. I want to slot them before we go full blown Christmas spirit.

Honestly, I don’t know what to write so I will just ramble until somewhere along the way I start making sense. Right this minute I have some flu, fever and I want this feeling to go away. I don’t like it here. Also, I am super broke and my house rent is due today. I have been thinking of ways to raise this rent and nothing is coming to mind. Business is slow, in case you didn’t know, I am unemployed, started my own business a few months ago, so basically, I am just hanging in there. One thing I learnt the hard way about business is that, Sometimes you make money, sometimes you don’t and most of the time you hope you will make money. It’s weird. I think I finally understood why business persons are always broke. Next year, I will do entrepreneurial posts, probably. I ain’t making any promises.

2017 has been good to me, despite the harsh lessons and challenges here and there, it’s been awesome. I would like to whine and complain, but that will not do 2017 justice. I am tempted to say, it’s been a blessing, double triple blessing for me.

I haven’t been blogging as much, I know, but I think its because I have had such a good year I had nothing to write. Writing for me has always been a way to vent, to bleed my pain through ink, to survive. I had a lot to cry about and I had more to laugh about, I am not saying my pain wasn’t worth writing about, but it was like in every storm there was so much laughter in the thunder.

I didn’t know how toxic my relationship with dearest daddy was until I actually left home. We were just bad for each other. I didn’t know how toxic some friendships were until I grew a pair of scissors and cut the cord. I didn’t know how much unnecessary baggage I have been carrying all these years until I decided to burn some bridges and walk away from some people and things . I have spent most part of 2017 cleaning house and to be honest, it’s hard at first but the freedom thereafter is definitely worth it. It’s hard to admit to yourself that you don’t need some things, things and people you have been holding so dear. It’s hard to start working on yourself, weeding out the unnecessary so you could bloom. It’s a hard start to go on a journey of finding yourself especially, when you didn’t even realize you were lost. It’s tough but necessary. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

I am still cleaning house, working on it, fine tuning some parts, just cleaned others and still thinking about cleaning the rest, one step at a time, there is no need to rush, it’s like learning to fly when you have been walking all your life.

I have been depressed every year of my life, usually in November or there so about but in 2017 I have had a few moods swing here and there but nothing serious. My definition of depressed in this article has been used to mean sad with tendencies of laziness and lack of appetite accompanied with lack of sleep. I don’t think that is the classical definition of depression, though. It’s been a good year. I need to stop saying that over and over again.

The lessons, the opportunities, the freedom and the inbetweens throughout the year has made me grow as a person. I went from “it’s impossible, I can’t do it myself “ to “I am possible, I can fucking do it “. I just feel like all the choices have made might not have been the best but they are the very best for me. A year older and loving it.

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?