“You aint gotta get the frame, ma/ I know you get the picture…”
As the stress starts to pile, I rely on music more and more to help me escape and just clear my thoughts or inception better ones. My guilty pleasure track for this week has been this “Marvin’s Room” jawn.
It’s so damn mushy yet I find myself bumping it even when I’m not in a mushy mood. Ofcourse its very relatable to my life right now but I wish that Drake had come up with a different title. Marvin’s Room? What the hell is that? That light-skinned guy in Finland who wants to push the borders of your friendship by making not-so-subtle advances and saying things like “touch me, please, touch me”?
I wish my mind had a delete button, you know, for random information like that..
Anyways, last week of June. And what a month its been!
See you in July.
It feels like the month of May Day literally blew past. This is probably why:
Workwise: I’ve been working with Government since the beginning of the year and it’s gradually gotten more and more demanding, challenging but also more interesting. I was lucky enough to find the one government agency that specialises in the one area of law I’m most passionate about and after I shook off the newbie label and got to handle real matters, it’s been down-hill ever since.
But I’m now at a cross-roads. The plan wasnt to settle here. The plan was to get here, get all what I needed and get out… six months, a year..max! Thereafter, the plan was to move to private practice. The corporate world with its sleek offices, flaboyant wardrobe and mega-shilling clients. Well, it’s not so clear what the plan is anymore. I could spend an entire post telling you all the awesome perks of working in gava i.e. the endless work/training trips both locally and abroad (I’m yet to do the abroad ones but I’m *this* close), the countless meetings/conferences/workshops (these may seem like idle stuff but for me, this is where theory meets practice, lots of sharing of ideas and experiences, brilliant for eager beavers in the field like moi) and ofcourse, the flexibility, as in we have fixed hours, we have clear performance contract targets so how you spend the rest of your time thereafter is entirely up to you… this would be the most ideal environment to pull a work/study thing especially for me who’s dreading that LL.M workload. SO all in all, the only advantage private practice has over gava is the pay. And I know I have a responsibility to my housemate and my bro to chip in financially to the household running costs so.. yeah, its quite the pickle. This one firm is really keen on having me start next month so I have until next week or soon thereafter to make up my damn mind.
Heartwise: My heart is fine, thanks for asking. Okay, I’ll open up. Just a little. My heart’s hiding. It must. And since you asked, here’s why it’s hiding. It’s June. Her birthday is coming up. Dont even know why that matters anymore. I’ve already told my heart to MOVE ON. And we agreed it would but alas. Maybe it has something to do with next month marking a year since the break-up? Who knows. Anyways, my heart has had its share of good moments. Mostly through surges of testostrone and ego-stroked adrenaline. Sometimes all it takes is to strike up a conversation with a stranger and have them say something about your eyes or for a female friend to compliment you on a shirt, or a scent or a blogpost or something and just like that my heart comes out of hiding and smiles. Then quickly goes back in again. I still do not have balance. I still do not have peace.
Healthwise: I’m fine too. Kinda, sorta, maybe. It’s just that I cant remember when was the last time I soaked a teeshirt with sweat or had my lungs feel like they going to burst out of my chest, or felt my muscles burn – that good burn, that-workout-firmening-burn. I dont even know when exercise routine went off the tracks but it has. The only courts I go to these days are the ones where you bow when you walk in and you bow when you leave. I am aware that its only a matter of time before its starts to show and although I get PLENTY of exercise in other ways, I desperately want to go back to my regular basketball routine.
Spiritwise: My spirituality is orphan. It ran away from its Catholic home and has been roaming ever since. Had a major fall-out with the Baha’i community that had taken me under their wing so we’ve both opted for silence. Buut, at work, there’s this lady. She’s almost my mother’s age. I share the office with her and she’s a devout Jehovah’s Witness. Boy oh boy, she is relentless with the whole trying to get me back to christianity. She’s waay more persistent that the mormons who once tried to get me to join their faith. The absolute height was when she came with issues of their magazine “Watch Tower” in FRENCH!! Because she overheard me talking to my bro, and she caught a few french words. Unbelievable. It’s been weird at the office but I’m hoping she’ll give it a rest eventually. Today, she caught me staring at her reading her little prayer book or hymn book or pocket bible and she quickly asked me: “V, do you pray?” “When do you pray, V?” “You do remember how to pray, dont you, V?” Aii, I give up. lol.
I know there’s lots I’ve left out. But it’s a new month, so I’ll try and come back on here and fill in some of the other stuff as time progresses.
In the meantime, if you bump into me walking around Nairobi somewhere headphones and all or cruising along in Rusty (who is bumper-less at the moment.. long story), I hope something positive comes to mind.
I’ve heard a lot of women use the expression “I have one life”. My ex said it once after a bunch of room keys flew out my hands and missed her face by whisker and since then whenever I look at my own mother or hear stories of other women who walked away from abusive situations, that expression pops into my mind.
When I first heard it, I found it a bit self-centred. Are you trying to tell me that your life is more important than mine or that I am wasting your precious time? Then why don’t you and your own life mosey off somewhere else and enjoy your one life with someone else then?!
I guess that was just the masculine socialization talking, not mention to those bloody heated emotions.
But in retrospect I have come to look at things differently. Women by their very nature acknowledge that they look to their men for strength, protection and love and in order to get their men to feel like men, they don’t mind serving them, soothing their pride, stroking their egos and allowing them to be in charge. However men have often abused this privilege and literally go to town on their women and not in a good way. And so it dawned on me that this expression “I have one life” that I keep hearing Kenyan women using or alluding to as SoulSpinster did in her post on Abusive Husbands, actually meant.
Women are basically admitting their emotional vulnerability in the relationship but woe on you if you take her kindness for weakness, she’ll be gone before you know it. Simple as that.
Meanwhile my namesake rapper Joe Budden just released a new song: “Ordinary Love Shit Part 3: Closure” where he basically admits to beating up his exes, losing unborn children because of it, police arrests for assault and battery, restraining orders and other shit like that. The blogosphere and the twittersphere have been ranting and raving about it especially since Mr. Budden has always put out some thought provoking music but his recent revelations have left many distancing himself from the apparent serial woman-beater. I guess its okay for Eminem to do it, besides that white boy talks shit about his own mother so Kim and all those unfortunate women that crossed his path were bound to end up victims of some sort of abuse, right?
Anyways, back to reality, I’ve almost been that guy that wants to grab her by the throat and make her feel how I feel inside (autoerotic asphyxiation intentions aside) and its not something I’m proud of. I guess relationships and marriages have those intense moments but the important thing is always respect… and never bottling things inside to the point of exploding. Communicate, menfolk! Talk to your women. Don’t let things fester inside of you then take it all out on her. If you’re unhappy with something and you think she’s not doing enough about it, just walk out and leave.
While lying on the tarmac, eyes facing the gray Nairobi sky, I could’ve sworn I was a goner.
Now that I have your attention.
Quick recap: I was walking from Main Campus to Ambassadeur to catch a Hoppa. Somewhere between Wabera and Kaunda Streets I came face to face with death in the shape of a G4S truck that literally smacked me off the road and drove off. I wont go into too many details about who’s fault it was except to say that I should know better than to think/assume that motorists in Nairobi actually give a sh*t about crossing pedestrians let alone basic road traffic rules. That said, people who claim that they saw “their life flash before their eyes” in near-death experiences are all liars. Or maybe I didn’t really have a NDE? Maybe it was more of a strong jolt, a rude awakening, or something like that, meant to shake me at the very core so that I could come to terms with certain inescapable truths about life and what it means to feel/be alive? Much in the same way as the break-up did. Deep down, I’d like to think this new-found clarity about life would have dawned on me without the help of a G4S truck or anything else for that matter, but I would be lying to myself.
Although I rose to my feet, brushed myself off and hobbled to the bus stop, my heart was pumping through my ears the whole time and my mind was working over-time consumed with thoughts but mostly regrets. My biggest regret to date is being afraid to confront my issues head-on.
As your first-born son, I was too scared to step into dad’s shoes early enough and be there for you when you needed someone to bounce off ideas on or someone to just listen and understand what you were going through. I chose to tell myself that you had everything under control and even those times you tried to involve me in making important decisions for the family, I chose to play the child and let you carry that burden all by yourself. And as your big brother, I should have been more firm with you, I should have insisted that you listen to me and hear what I have to say especially concerning my experiences with life, love and school. A lot of the things you’re going through now bear such a striking similarity to my own scars and had I stepped up as your big bro, sat you down and talked to you man to man, you probably wouldn’t have had to go through a lot of the pain and disappointment you’re now feeling.
As your boyfriend, I had kept so much from you. You suffered needlessly trying to figure out someone who seemingly doesn’t want to be understood. I had created this false impression of who I am and what I am all about and it was only a matter of time before you realized that all my lies were all the things I chose to keep from you.
As your friend, I kept you at arms-length, you found my social awkwardness to be endearing, I told you everything you needed to hear while I preyed on you, ignored you when it suited me, used you to my benefit, f*cked you in every sense of the word and then vanished. I hid behind the fact once I’m gone you would struggle in vain to find me before finally realising that your attempts to reach me were purposely being ignored.
As a human being, I have chosen to remain a statistic. I have held on tightly to everything in my possession including my talents, skills and resources and not done anything meaningful with my time to help the less fortunate. I chose to tell myself that I have no material wealth to share and therefore I should not be expected to solve everybody’s problems. I have observed the world around me and never once felt compelled to even imagine ways I could contribute to making it a better place; leaving my mark, so to speak.
As a spiritual being, I’m still a troubled soul unable to decide what, if anything should form the anchor for my religious beliefs. Having grown up in the Catholic church, I have since rejected that church’s rigid teachings and rituals. However I have lacked the courage of conviction to take a stand on which set of religious views I will commit to follow instead I have prolonged my stay in spiritual limbo, experimenting here and there and still undecided.
In short, all these thoughts about my regrets have consumed my mind since I woke up to the crowd of on-lookers staring at me lying on the floor as if I had already been dispatched to meet my maker.
I realise that in alot of respects, I am set in my ways and that I am a mere product of my experiences and upbringing. But there is still some room I have for growth. I’d hate to be that person who resists any form of change both internally and externally while claiming to be in pursuit of happyness and being at total peace with himself and his surroundings. That has been the fool’s paradise I have been living in.
That said, I still maintain that I am not afraid of death. But there’s nothing like facing the working end of a russian AK-47 held by Kenya’s Finest or in my case a speeding G4S truck, to put the fear of God in any Kenyan including me! So as much as I may claim not to be afraid of death, I am certainly afraid of any manifestations that a premature meeting with St. Peter is imminent. I still have alot of growing to do, so I’d gladly take a rain-check.
I started typing this post on my phone after spending the better part of Saturday night at Nyayo Police Station in Nairobi West… yup, it’s been *that* kind of weekend. Allow me to share, from the beginning, if I may:
On the verge of getting dumped, that’s what. No amount of introspection, words, actions and time can seem to change what is about to happen. Apparently the concerns I started to raise about the state of our relationship were nothing compared to the permanent doubts, mistrust and lost hope she’s silently carried with her all these months concerning us. She says she has never gotten over what I did to her and so since then things have just been piling up until now. She told me yesterday she wants a break.
I have never claimed that what we have is perfect although, in my eyes, she is the closest thing to perfection I’ll have ever had and I know there was a time when her eyes saw the same perfection in me.
Indeed, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and my intentions were for us to make the most of being in the same city yet my actions were saying the complete opposite. I acted as if we were still continents apart: emailing, tweeting and smses: relationship on a screen, instead of making efforts to call her, see her and be a part of her life.
Even as I stand at the precipice of our relationship, I fall hoping I was able to make her life a little better in whatever way. And for all the things I cannot take back, I gave them to her with my whole heart and soul. I have never known a love like hers and almost two years later, she is still my world.
I will never forget her.
Now playing: Marsha Ambrosius – “Start to Finish”
One of the things I promised myself I would do once I got home was to look up my father. As the oldest in his long, long list of children, I felt it was my duty to confront the man and ask him the kind of questions I’ve always wanted to ask him. Ideally, I’d want to speak to him man-to-man and not get emotional over it all but I dont know whether I would be able to resist the uncontrollable desire to ask him: “why?” I resent the part of me that wants to ask him to help me understand “why he did what he did” or “why he left us” or “what happened”. Perhaps my resentment is just a deep-seated fear that I wouldnt be able to handle the truth. Whatever that means.
So, all I’m left with is grudges, bad memories, anger, disappointment and sadness that I’ll continue to carry with me until the day I become a father and experience the joys and pains of fatherhood for myself.
The problem with being a “distance” relationship (which I have come to conclude is what I’m currently in, along with every single male courting a female while they’re both living in their respective parents’ homes) is that life always seems to be happening much faster than the communication and information you’re receiving from your significant other about said life. I know I’m the wrong person to preach about communication, follow-up taking a keen interest and such especially where she is concerned. So maybe what is happening now is a bit like me getting a test of my own medicine? To the point where I’m starting to feel like,
if I don’t ask, I wont be told
if I don’t insist, I’ll never know
So now, I’m back to rationalizing our relationship, going over the time-line of our communications to see whether at any point I may have (inadvertently) said or done something wrong, struggling to analyse her one-word responses, her silent moments, her general non-responsiveness and trying not take all that personally. But the problem with rationalizing is that I’m forced to make certain (scratch that, a whole lot of) assumptions and this can be dangerous because I don’t want to assume anything.
I know I should know what I know and what I don’t know or have doubts about, I should be able to ask right?! Right. But right now the only thing I can say I know is that she still wants to be in this relationship with me. Everything else at this stage are subject to my assumptions that she’s just doing her thing, living her life, enjoying her fleeting youth and that somewhere in all of that, she remembers me and thinks about us from time to time.
Life goes on, I guess.
Now playing: Erykah Badu – “20 Feet Tall”
Mood: She moves me
Mode: Pensees intimes
Memories don’t live like people do. Whenever I hear this line from Mos Def, I close my eyes for a second and realize just how true it is. I’m a travellin’ man too and I’ve finally come home. And she has come home too. But as much as we are together, in many ways it may feel like we’re apart. And those memories that we’d want to hold on to forever are the ones that’ll slowly become harder to remember. Where we’ve come from. Our travels along the way, as two strangers, two classmates, two friends, two lovers, two parallel worlds and one inescapable truth. I love her and I know our love is just as nascent and in need of replenishment as before. I also know that our love cannot live on memories alone. We need a Present, we need a Now, what we had can never be taken from us but what we need is to find a way to make our love feel the way it felt. The way we feel when we think back to those days. That summer. Together.
In my solitary moments of foolishness, I’ve wanted and wished that things could go back to that easy life, those simple days just so that I could see her more, be with her more, live in her and hold her hand through life, every day. But every day I wake up and look across the trees and the rooftops and imagine her somewhere over there starting off her day without me, living without me. Adjusting has been the hardest part. But I’ve slowly had to get used to this new form of distance that unites our hearts with longing. A distance that makes it easy to fall into the temptation of reminiscing and going through old camera photos and mental images. In a way, it makes one lose sight of the Present. Coming back to Kenya means that we can finally be together, whatever shape this new “being together” will take is for us to create. So let’s make new memories here at home! Granted, they’ll be different and not as grandiose or spectacular as summers spent back-packing through Europe. But whatever memories we make here will still be ours to hold on to and hopefully to build upon in years to come.
Now playing: Alicia Keys ft. Drake – ‘Unthinkable’