LETTERS THAT MATTER

TO MY SON,

This letter, unlike your sister’s Tafari, has been the hardest thing for me to write. With her I simply wrote things I wanted to hear from my mother and things that I heard, until it occured to me that with you I am free to recreate the image of the modern day man by fixing their perfect imperfection.

***

There are so many names I would like to give to you, inclusive of Simba, Kion, David and Jabali. I will have like a list of seven, but your father will let me keep two. Time will tell, but one thing is for sure, your names will be a symbol of strength and pride and nothing has ever looked better on man,than this two values combined.

As a mother, there are so many things and decisions I can not make for you boy, and someday you will grow into a man and choose your own path in life: your occupation, love, beliefs and values. But there are certain things that only I can teach because the pain of watching the world teach you would break my heart into a thousand little peices every time I see you hurt.

Asiye funzwa na mamaye hufunzwa na ulimwengu                      -swahili proverb

I would love to carry you in my arms every single day, but baby time passes by so fast, but before it does, I will make sure I hug every single day kiss you and tell you I love you with every dawning day, so when the time comes for you to leave I will be carrying you in my heart, so that even if you are ten thousand miles away, the smell of your hair in your childhood, the mild body mask in your early years and the beautiful cologne in your youth will still linger in the air every time I think of you.

 You will outgrow my laps but never my heart, because the space inside is for me to carry you around. I promise to love you so much that even when two thousand women break your heart, you will always know that you have a place in your mother’s heart and a home in my arms even when your grey and old.

The bond between mother and son remains unchanged by distance and time since it’s the purest kind of love so unconditional and true, it is understanding of any situation and forgiving to any mistake.

I will gladly show you that there is nothing wrong with loving or being loved a little too much so that when you get your own wife and kids you will shower them with love so beautiful and blissful. Baby, this, however, does not mean that it will be a smooth ride all the way. People argue, fight, some go for a long time but there is beauty in conversation and conflict resolution. I will teach you that blows and punches, never solve a thing, a pitcher of wine or a mug of beer only make things worse, and raising your voice only makes it a little more difficult to be heard.

It takes a strong person to say sorry but an even stronger person to forgive, forget and move on. The weak never forgive, forgiveness is an attribution f the strong -MahatmaGandhi

I will never put myself down, disregard myself or another woman ever in your presence. I want you to learn to see me as I veiw myself and that way, you will learn to respect other women through me. Even at my old age, you will learn to view me as the most beautiful woman, for it is only that way that you will learn to appreciate beauty in its dynamics and not confine yourself to social standards of beauty. It will make me happy to see you appreciate internal beauty and mental strength, before you say another person is not beautiful simply because he or she does not look like you or go by what you perceive as beautiful. That boy is the beginning of inner beauty.

If only eyes saw souls instead of bodies, then our ideals of beauty would be different.

Baby, you are beautiful, but I would never want this fact to get into your head, making you thick, shallow and big-headed. You shall learn that your beauty is not to break innocent girls hearts simply because the society will let you get away with it. Your beauty is for you to share with the world…your eyes to communicate hope to the hopeless, your lips to smile and bring the sunshine into other people’s world, and baby your beautiful mouth is for you to speak peace, love, intellect and integrity.

You create beauty with your attitude, your behaviour and your actions. Personal beauty is better than any letter of recommendation. -Aristotle

My biggest prayer is that my abadunt love for you does not make you arrogant and out of touch with your masculine side. I want you to have a beautiful heart like Jonathan in the Bible, courage like David with the humility of his son Solomon, selflesness like the four chaplains of tha United states and peaceful like Muhammad (PBUH) in the Qur’an and alittle soul like Mahattma Gandhi and Buddha never hurt somebody.

Do not walk proudly on the earth. Your feet cannot tear the earth apart nor are you as tall as mountains.                                                -Qur’an

Do not mistake that I claim perfection from you. Baby your human and I will embrace your mistakes and redirect you in the best way i know (you do not come with a manufactures manual). All I want is for you to be the best you can be. I want to look at you in my old age and cry of satisfaction that I left a mark in this world embodied in the soul of my baby boy.

I saw you were perfect, and I love you…I will see your impafection and love you even more.

 

 

 

 

PAPER TOWNS

I ran out of his room crying, clutching my mitumba high heels. It was well past midnight. It was insecure outside, but the inside of his self-contained room taunted me. The feeling of home had been replaced by silence and the cold grip of shallow reasoning and hostility. I has sold myself short, and  I was afraid.

I loved him…but I had to ran save me from myself. I had to run for my ever failing heart that forgot all the torture and hurt it had grown through, I had let him in again. The last time, I had made up my mind,but my heart was undecided. Blame it on the woman nature. As I ran,I swore never to go back again but deep down I knew it was the emotion talking. I convinced myself that this time was different the same way I convinced myself the last time.

***

love is such a beautiful thing, but just like roses it has its own thorns. Young love was the best thing that happened to me . It made me feel at home when home was a wreck and all I wanted was peace. Being loved by this young man meant so much to me that I held on to it like the last breath. Being a part of my life made more sense to  me than most things had in my entire life. I was young, I was foolish, but the one thing I was so certain in my life, being with him was beyond the limits  of perfection.

His name was Brian. There was something about him that I could never discern. he had so much charm to him than most men have in their entire life. His charm did things to me; that  that ever composed self could never comprehend. I loved the way he touched me and the meaning he gave to every single touch. I loved every time he smiled at me because my mind would drift to utopia of how I would get babies who had his beautiful smile and how he would come home to me with the same smile.I loved it when he spoke. I would shut up and watch his pink thick lips go on and on about things that I barely knew about and matter of factly cared very little about, for instance, the way he had played FIFA with his friends what was happenning in the stock market blah blah blah…

Just like roses fade and loose all that is beautiful, so did we.  Brian said he loved me no more. He said that things had changed and he no longer felt the same as we did the first time we met. I tried to call and text him back saying that we could work things out and we could build what we had. With every desperate call, I made, the more depressed and  disappointed I became. My friends told me that I had put all my hopes and dreams together just like eggs in one basket, and now I had none. I never knew how little energy and Safaricom credit would be used to destroy so much perfection until that instance.

I loved Brian and I don’t blame him for each tear I cried, instead, I blame me because he blamed me. He said that I wasn’t good enough and no woman to his discretion, but he did no use the exact same words. He found a reason to console me and show me that I was the bad and he was the better person. He said that I was hard to speak to and I did not have people skills…in short, I was boring and irrelevant to him. He even insisted that I should read self-help books to learn how ho have a conversation naturally.  Every time he asked what was wrong with him, I told him that I loved him just as he was. I insisted that I had learnt to oversee his weaknesses and in the same way I expected him to overlook mine or rather help me through them. His excuse, however, was that he was being truthful and that he was just created to see fault in other people.

I knew that I should not be throwing in the towel, but he was doing the same. I understood that we are both people. We are a lovely mess and masterpiece all at one go. I wanted him to understand that I did not expect a man without flaws and he should not expect a woman without them. I was not about to give up because we were arguing once in a while, and I wanted him to hold on too, because in relationships worth something, there will be fights about everything. I did not expect perfection but respect and honest love.

Being boring to me, was just a cover up a story. I was just a mere PAPER TOWN to him. Every time he needed somebody to  kiss and touch my relevance came into existence. Every time we tried to make love  and it didn’t work out he said it was okay, “we will try it the next time”, simply  because he needed it but as soon as it was a success I became the bad one in bed. It was  always my fault. Nothing  I did was ever good to him I was simply never enough but good enough to always be at his disposal.Being a paper town simply meant that just like an unmapped town I was only important when it was necessary. It didn’t matter if I loved him…I was only a necessity for him.

Love is a two-way street. I should have been treated the same way he expected me to treat him. But I was convinced that he was not willing to return the treatment. I expected a breathtaking love story but too sad, I was writing it on my own. At that point, I started to believe in what the world was telling me. The signs indicated that i was unrealistic being loving and giving my all. It was all some sort of fantacy because I craved for a meaningful relationship, for having higher standards and wanting high value of friendship in my relationship.

***

This is all that went through  my mind, as waited for Gods grace to send a matatu my way. All I wanted was to be home. I had let loose  again Brian had used the same old charm to lay me  only to say  that he sought affirmation if the spark was still there. What he had enjoyed for twenty minutes would haunt me for the next twenty years since I had given it my all only to be left bare. I was shortchanged.

As I  stood there in the burning cold, I took every frostbite with courage, as a punishment for offending nature. I prayed that this was the last time. I continuously told myself that relationships end;and I could not sit there every time looking forward to a life of no heartbreak. No heartbreaks meant no lessons learnt. They end, I would cry, I would hurt, but at the end of the day, I would go on. I consoled myself that it ended simply because it was not  meant to be. It was no ones fault, and no matter what, my absence of fulfilment, my emptiness was my problem.

All this consolation made me smile at myself as I boarded the first matatu towards the city center. I knew that I would hurt and take the time to heal, but I deserved the best. A soulmate would come along eventually. One who would be thrilled to meet me and learn, love and appreciate all my perfect imperfections.  T his was the beginning of my journey from apaper town to unicorn island.

DEAR NAIROBI

Growing as a in Nairobi has been both a thrill and a hustle. As a child not growing up in Nairobi, was like a bad thing. we would call fellow children not from Nairobi ‘washamba’. Being  a mshamba meant that you did not wear like us, you did not watch the cartoons we did you did not go to a school with an over rated name, where the teachers made you speak in English all through like we did. It instead meant that, you wore tailor-made clothes as we wore infamous mutumba, telly was not a priority since you spent your childhood playing childhood games like bano,kati and brikicho only to return home late in the evening too tired to watch the TV and above all you went to a school that vernacular was a subject (no stereotype intended)

***

Dearest green city  in the sun,

Thank you for my childhood. I can clearly remember the joy and excitement  that filled my face at the age of six when my mother announced that we would be going to the CBD. This meant that,we would stop by a crowded poorly lit diner for sausage, chips and soda baridi then walk through the crowded streets to Uhuru Park,  and probably take a photo ‘on’ KICC. Walking among the crows was a scary experience. Thoughts of getting lost and being separated with my mother always crowded my mind. I imagined that a big bad man carrying a sack would carry me away and sell me(ideas our parents filled us with when we did wrong and they did not have the energy to beat us).  What actually scared me the most was the sky scrapers…what held them up there, I did not understand. At Uhuru Park, we would picnic on the grass, get my face painted and get a chance on the many swings and slides,but the prime time of the day is when i got a boat ride on the shaky leg paddles rafts. OH!the good old days.

The overpriced and overrated schools had their own advantage, school trips which always ended up at the parliament building, The National Museum and the Nairobi nation park (I am not advertising Nairobi). This trips especially to the national park confused me. Teachers in school we busy spanking and scolding me to get my facts right yet reality proved me wrong. School taught me that most animals are found in the savanna, yet the same school took me to see them in the city and Alex in Madagascar the movie sealed the deal.

As a teenager being in the city felt like being alive, like being part of the action. Nairobi to me was more than an escapade from reality of all the problems that went on at home it was a happy place. I could sit outside the Kenya National Archives waiting for my boyfriend so that we could go out for ice cream and if we were ‘baling’ enough a pizza on a terrific Tuesday and a couple of rounds of FIFA at Game Masters(class of 2014 I am sure you relate. As I waited for bae, staring at the statue of Tom Mboya and watching as many people pass, meet and greet, all that went through my mind is how old the city feels in touch with its past, yet multi ethnic enough I was part of the difference and experience. it was always funny to sit beside Tom Mboya, and have the best internet access.

Meeting with a boyfriend in the city center was nothing in comparison to when your parents sent you to some office in the city center. Meeting a boyfriend was easy since I knew where Archives is from my  s and I followed that route every time I was on y secret rendezvous, in comparison to some vague directions by a busy soldier of a dad. The worst part was not the directions, but how you would beat the directions and time limit at the same time. YES! I do have google maps, but the threat of loosing my phone and getting to face my father kept in the depth of pocket. the long green building (afya center), its comb shaped brother (KICC) and the mother and father of all saving graces Nation House and Times Tower, guided me through. Thankyou  Nairobi for never-changing.

Early twenties and the campus urge to have fun and belong has taught me about the hype and the beauty of Nairobi’s night life. Need I say much about the pomp, colour,quality sound  and drama of the likes of Florida 2000, Tribeka, club Bettyz, Black Diamond and my all time favourize Skylux(pardon me for th cliché). Girls in this club have taught me that you don’t have to buy Dolce & Gabbana to ‘slay’ mutumba will just do, and the guys taught me that style doesn’t matter, all that matters is who looks the best in it.

My love letter to Nairobi however ends on a sad note. In my late twenties having to wake up very early in the morning only to get late to work because of the traffic jam is my everyday regret of growing up. every memory of my childhood joy and adventurous youth is broken down every time I have to struggle for a matatu back home in my tight skirt that I wore to impress my boss and my mitumba high heels. Worst experience is when it heavily rains in the city center and the gutter water ovrflows, and the  bus fare  to rongai are overpriced.

But with not so much of a choice but patriotism and for old-time sake, I LOVE YOU NAIROBI.