On Nudity, Makeup and Looks

PREAM: If after reading this you feel like I’m talking about you then I certainly am.

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Now as man of certain intellectual and moral standards I will say that our moral fabric is severely tattered. The society is increasingly becoming debased. Things that were reprehensible in the days past are now almost perfectly unobjectionable: Things like premarital sex, abortion …
People these days don’t care very about chastity, virginity, honesty, temperance, decency, respect for senior citizens. They are becoming bold in sin.

But I will talk about decency.

Now dressing is not exactly an easy subject to broach because when you talk about dressing you are talking about people. And when you are talking about people – and how inappropriately they dress – they become defensive, dismissive – even grouchy.
But nonetheless skimp dressing is one of those things I will always talk about, write about and determinedly scoff at. I recently penned an article on Magazine Reel that spanned morality and dressing. You can click here to have a peek into the earlier post. And in this write-up I’m doing pretty much the same.

I will begin by dispensing with the idea that dressing is a woman issue. Decency is not a woman problem (pretty much as it is). Nor is it a man problem. It’s rather a moral issue and I will want it to be tackled that way. So judge this write up in the same light.

Image is superficial

Firstly we simply can’t deny that image is powerful and that image is important. How you look can make people like you, hate you, admire you, employ you or judge you. And so we should much care about our looks.

But image is also superficial. It’s external. It’s shallow. It’s just on the surface. Beauty fades away. Looks are only secondary. That’s why
to be smart is always better than to be good looking. #Deep.

I’m no stranger to a class of young people who have deluded themselves and who are absorbed in just way they look. And they are not just women because there are men who are dandies. These young people are damaged vains like Narcissus. ‘Narcissus got a bad rap. Sure, the guy was self-absorbed—what with all that staring at his own reflection in a stream. But once he fell in and drowned.’* They are unduly obsessed -‘obssessed’ take note of verbiage – with looks and make-up: pedicure, manicure, hairdos, eyeshadows, lip gloss, plastic surgery, makeup tutorials, matching colors, body shapers…
They nitpick and prink before the mirror for ridiculously several minutes. All they post on social media is their pics – snapshots of the face,  new hair,  bum – funky though. Looks for them is the upfront thing and that’s certainly a problem they need to come to grips with.

Nudity is selling out.

We all can relate to the fact that nude people are deployed in the advertisement of commodities: from soaps to magazines to electronics. Nudity is used to promote certain brands and videos and ideas. Some models and socialites are
-without mincing words- cashing in on nudity just as sex workers are.

So nudity is a device to sell out. Huh!
And this is not just happening with socialites and sex workers. It has taken its place in the real public space and even close, among friends and classmates. But they are not nude outrightly. They are nude understatedly. They are nude with some clothes on: in tight pants, in leggings, skimp cleavaged dresses which do much to expose rather than hide. So they are selling something too. Not brands. Not ideas. But themselves.

NB: The thing about ‘nude’ people is not just that they are ‘stripped’ of clothes. They are stripped also of respect, of demeanor, of class.

Discouraging make up

It is a buzzword. Make-up is in the fullest sense of the word to make up, to conjure up, to concoct an image.
So what happens when  you apply make-up is that you make an image that looks like you but which is not the real you. Make-up is a construction. It’s artificial beauty. That’s what the thing is.

Sarah Kay backs me up on this one:

“No matter your wreckage.
There will be someone to find you beautiful,
despite the cruddy metal. Your ruin is not to be hidden
behind paint and canvas. Let them see the cracks.
Someone will come to sing into these empty spaces.
Sarah Kay, “Ghost Ship”, No Matter the Wreckage (via the-untranslatable)

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Sometimes Even Miracles Take A Little Time

I’m one kid who’s always been pampered by God. My life has been a sequence of miracles. Here is one of them:

Mark 5:19 – “Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”

Now, It is known in a relatively big circle that I have ‘problems’ with my eyes. My glasses are a testament to that. But my close friends know they are not just ‘problems’ with my eyes. They know that my eyes ache badly.

But it’s been more complex than that. I have experienced for 5 fraught years multiple inexplicable symptoms: itching skin upon exposure to the sun, photophobia, allergic conjunctivitis, fatigue, eye pain, neck pain, back ache, loss of appetite, poor vision, fever, tooth ache, facial pain, falling hair and even occular hypertension (abnormal eye pressure)- almost all of them simultaneously.

All this time I have been trying to treat these symptoms to no avail. The number of times I have gone to hospitals is ridiculously high. I remember at one time a box of batches of tablets that was prescribed to me, a box of the size that can accommodate a pair of Bata Shoes.
And lately I went for a CT scan, exposed my self to noucous radiation, to find if there is a problem in my head.
Awful, right?

I don’t know what kind of sickness this is. It’s not Malaria, it’s not typhoid, it’s not Ebola. It’s not a definitive kind of disease, at least to me.

What has been prominent though is the eye pain , clinically known as chronic eye pain. I have always thought the other symptoms were its appendages , that the neck and back pain extended from it. I don’t know whether I’m right here or not.

I have suffered an egregious pain.I m not putting a stretch to it. I have suffered for real. I could cry sometimes. This mysterious disease has taken its toll me on me. Life has dealt me it’s bad hand; excoriated, reduced me piece by piece in a way somebody who’s not me can not fully comprehend.

Firstly, my academic life.
I was born a precocious kid. And for most of my life I have been ranked in top positions in class. But when all this started the graph on my transcript started to dip and I could not do anything about it, tumbling from the top of the class to the bottom.

The pain I experienced was damaging and almost crippling. Reading become utterly strenuous (until lately) and sometimes even impossible.

In my form 4, I read virtually nothing the year long. I slept or made noise or flipped through magazines or just pretended to read. And being the class perfect, I shouted down the class to silence during morning and evening preps. Sometimes I sneaked out to go and sleep. ( I was never caught. I just don’t get how ). And during classes I would not concentrate.

Long way after the syllabus was done I was still grappling with the first topics and actually I never did the whole syllabus before I sat for KCSE.
I barely read the set books.

Secondly, my social and spiritual life.
This nagging, hardworking pain saw my social life suffer. I become unusually silent and withdrawn. I become loggy and grouchy. I also become a blithering idiot.
My spiritual life also went faltering.

BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED JUST AS MYSTERIOUSLY.

It’s my fifth day feeling whole again, after what seemed like a lifetime of dreariness, pain and torment.

It’s hard to be believe I can wake up without squinting my eyes, without the duels with light that made me feel like ‘passing out’, without notorious back , eye, tooth and facial pain.
And also this is the fifth day I have had real sleep.

Right now I’m on medication of a godsend wonder drug.

Let me explain.
In our church-I’m a Seventh Day Adventist-we believe in medical missionary work ,that is, using simple naturopathic means to heal maladies: use of juices and vegetables, hot water baths et cetera.

Now last week after church I bought a queer reddish brown powder from a medical missionary. He is a professional doctor but he deals in this sort of unlikely medicine, now which is the ideal medicine.

To him I explained my symptoms: the eye pain, the back, neck, tooth pain. He just told me those are allergies, allergies simple as that! And then he prescribed the wonder drug; ‘One tea spoon in a glass of very hot water, cover for 20 minutes ×2 daily, morning and evening.’

You know I have gone to hospitals, many of them, but no doctor really diagnosed my problem. In fact they told me, on several instances, I’m not allergic. I have also tried medical missionary before but it failed.

I’m recuperating.
And this healing can not be called anything else. It’s a miracle.

Thank you God for this miracle.
You had a reason for my pain. In the end it’s all your perfect plan.

For those who’s energy is fizzling out because they have been praying about something for far too long and their prayers don’t seem to be answered, don’t lose heart. Sometimes even miracles take a little time. For me it was 5 years.

Remember you have a heart and a brain too.

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It is almost Valentine.

My friend was asking me why love is often  represented with a heart. And you hear a lot of people say,  ‘You make my heart pumb so hard’ , ‘I heart you’, My heart is broken.’
So the question is spurred: Does the physical heart harbour romantic feelings?

Well, of course it doesn’t. The heart pumbs blood- nothing else. What is responsible for romantic love is a hormone known as dopamine. It is responsible for sentimental gush , for what are  often called crushes. This chemical substance has a lot to do with ‘when I see her my heart races. I start sweating’

We all know the spark between newly smitten lovers. It’s rediculously strong. Hormones make the heart beat fast so that the pumbing of the heart becomes a physical manifestation of love.

But in this purview, the ‘heart’ is the seat of affections or sensibility as love, joy or hatred. I talk about it here in that light. It is imperative because it is what makes us human. We are able to cry, to pity, to love, to feel.
It is nothing short of prosaic but we do also have a brain, the organ for discernment and judgement. It is the seat of thoughts.The sad thing however is that we don’t get inside our brains very much. We don’t think a lot of what is right to do with our feelings.

These two factions, the heart and the brain, are incessantly at war and a lot of times the heart is on a winning streak. And the word ‘follow your heart’ is thrown around a lot.  But following your heart at times, and those times are many,is not a good idea. It is much the opposite. Here is why-Feelings can be very blinding.

Sometimes we are somewhat able to see that ‘it is not meant to be’.And yet we go ahead and wade into relationships with people that are wrong for us because of how they make us feel. That’s how vulnerable to feelings we are and it is repugnant.

Dopamine is mean’t to throw us together in order to procreate, not think. But we are smarter than that. We choose whom we want to be with. And certainly feelings often don’t choose right. We have to decide sagaciously. Here the brain is very handy, even in the midst of the din and confusion of hormonal rush.

So I suppose the best thing I can do about this relationship thingy is to tell young people to be a little wary and think. Feelings are important but they don’t necessarily mean we are supposed to hook up.
Always make sure your brain is in gear when you are saying ‘I love you’ or ‘I love you too.’

Remember you have a heart and a brain too.

Not Old Enough

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I have just ‘finished’ writing my new book dubbed, Thrills and Chills. And I’m 20. It has been painstaking, tedious and daunting. It has been hard work but now I’m done with it. One of my regrettable failures is that I took so long to reach the back cover. I should have completed penning this lilting muse a year earlier but regardless, it is something I’m infinitely proud of-as a young person. My next move definitely, ultimately would be looking for a publisher.

And this reminds me of Gideon a medical student who doubles up as my friend and a fellow writer. He related to me an odd experience of a very disheartening rejection he once went through after he had prepared his manuscript, just as I have. He was turned down by a number of publishers, not so much because his work had failed- because it hadn’t-but because of his tender age. They told him he was a first-timer and that he was not old enough. They then ‘encouraged’ him to continue writing.

NOT OLD ENOUGH

Of course being turned down is something that’s relatively commonplace particularly when it comes to beginners and it cuts across all the ages. John Creasy, a criminal novelist, for example was rejected 753 times and it had nothing to do with his age. In the context of Gid’s story, however, age was a predominant factor in determining his plight. He was just not old enough.
This story bespeaks in a succinct manner of the horrible sidelining that young people face for being young here in Kenya and Africa as a whole. It is an insidious adultism-repugnant and unprepossessing. ‘Adultism is
prejudice and accompanying
systematic discrimination against
young people’-Wikipedia.It goes together with agism and it is almost as deplorable as sexism, tribalism, ostracism and other isms but people don’t talk very much about it.

Young people in this country face adultism and similar challenges in different guises. They are incessantly being told they are not old enough. Here when you are told you are young, ‘Wewe ni kijana tu!’ it is not meant to be a compliment. And even in the way it is said, it is supposed to be condescending. I think this is terrible. There is a certain prejudice, a certain distaste that is unstinted in measure that you are subjected to when you are young.
To many grown-ups the word youth is a euphemism for pretty ugly traits, for vice, for lost direction, for despair. To them we are young and fledgling, young and spoiled, young and good for nothing. I’m willing to contend that we the youth are a hard demographic, that we are vulnerable to a lot of things so I won’t blame them for their disposition very much. We have our own frailties and too often these ugly traits are part of what we are. We do a lot of shady things-generally speaking. We make wrong decisions. We are attracted to false scents and we don’t listen. But we can’t allow ourselves to be defined by this singular descriptor.
I once listed to a ted talk by an acclaimed author and one of the leading voices of Africa, Adichie Ngozi Chimamanda. She spoke about the danger of a single story: how we end up sizing people up from the very few things we know about them. The single story  is damaging not just because it is incomplete but also because it makes one story to become the only story. The single story that is told about young people in many places is that we are fledgling, unfit and not good enough. And it’s almost become a stereotype.
But we know of course young people are incredibly smart. They exude stupendous mental and physical strength. Just this week my country,Kenya has launched a large scale offensive to tackle down al-shabaab in Somalia, in something like a revenge mission after its camp got attacked. It is quite fascinating that the troops in the battle field are largely composed of young people, young people who are fighting for sanity and peace. I could wish, also, to talk about Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace prize laureate at only 17. She is an intrepid young woman who is fighting for rights of women and girls. And also of Mark Elliot Zuckerberg who is the CEO of facebook and he is only 30. I think it will be stunning to say that he launched this widely used social site at 20 from the dormitories of Harvard University.
There are countless other exceptional stories of young people who are rooting for change in their communities, youth who have notched uncommon success and older people can not help but drool with envy.
So I think its of great import we listen to these bright narratives as well because they add up to what it means to be young.
Young people grapple with drug and sex addiction, they are slugabeds, they binge-watch but they are also fly, determined and very talented.
We should help them overcome their frailities and leverage their unique skills and talents. We should encourage young ambition not cast it away or mark time expecting it will grow by it self.
I have taken a personal initiative to mentor and goad young efforts. I have a Facebook page known as YOUNGlegacy-Africa mean’t for that. Please you can like it.

To a best friend

Life is not so bad after all,
When you’ve that  sister-friend,
Because even if you’re pressed onto the wall,
wearied, hounded and sunk into the  bottom end,
She knows how to put that smile back on.

And she isn’t like ‘others’,
who crave after you with uncommon aim,
who ‘love’ you, then hate you.
She just ain’t like ’em.

She could even carry you on her back when you’re sick,
and when it is thick,
in ills and chills by you stick,
cause she’s got a big heart.

****
I’m obviously talking about you Fave,
I couldn’t put it in any other way,
that you are kind, warm and brave,
personable, likeable and so many things to say.

I couldn’t put it in any other way,
that to me  you’re so huge a blessing,
so invaluable that no amount of money, can pay,
that you’re a good company impressing.  

Finally I’m really grateful,
so much and cheerful,
And i know you are my best friend,
now till the end.

TALES OF WOE

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This last chapter here is an emotional roundup of expurgated versions of personal tales quoted from an online compendium dubbed ‘My Miserable Life’. These stories bespeak of  the welling melancholy that is common to all humanity. They tell us we are not alone and that life is a little bit good for us. One of these days you hit a rough patch remember these people and their crummy situations.

I hope there is no life after death
Andrew, Wales, Age 17

“Until my parents divorced my dad used to beat me so hard for looking at him. He now refuses to pay child support. I have to support my disabled sister, 15 year old brother, and my mother who is falling apart more each day. My “job” is selling home grown marijuana to little pricks that I would kill if I could get away with it.
I caught something from my first girlfriend. I’m too ashamed to get involved with anyone else and because with my life who could I get. Everyone thinks I’m a Satanist including teachers
(I am not) because I listen to heavy metal.
The friends I have are cool but everyone messes on them because they are like me; all the girls have self-inflicted cuts and the guys get abused or have been abused in some way by someone in their life. Everything is wrong with the outside world and if I was god I would have no qualms about wiping the world clean. Nothing has been accomplished I hope there is no life after death so I can finally rest.”

There’s not a lot left, is there? –
Anonymous, West Texas, Age 46

“I have had diabetes for nearly 30 years, and my body is just about worn out. I’m a tenth of what I used to be. Women that I meet, catch the vibe from me that I’m unhealthy and no one wants a guy who is in failing health. The disease has lately progressed to the point where I can’t work, I can’t physically make love to women, and there’s not a lot left, is there? I’m getting help from the state, but it’s very little to speak of, and I have to live like a homeless person to qualify for the benefits. I’m sick and tired of all the trouble I go through each day. I try to think about how much worse it could be, so that I won’t feel so bad, but even that doesn’t work anymore. I’m living the life I always thought would be the worse conditions to be in. When I hear people say, “There’s always tomorrow”, I want to tell them to shut up their mouths, unless they have all the hemorrhoids like me and can’t get anything up there if they wanted to.  Yeah, life sucks all right.”

I find it hard to muster the slightest smile –
Brooks, US, Age 41

“I’m cursed, warped, sexually repulsive and totally unlovable. The loneliness is hard to live with. To know I’ll never have the great highs and vast challenges of having a husband/partner or family is pure agony. I am always in pain and find it hard to muster the slightest smile or will to go on. There is no life left in me. I’m just a piece of human waste.”

I can barely sleep –
Miami, FL, Age 26

“After losing three jobs in a row I am currently unemployed. I have had anxiety/panic/depression for 5 years, causing thousands of dollars in medical bills, and destroying my credit. I flunked out of college. I am extremely overweight. I chain smoke. I have high cholesterol, high amounts of fat in blood and diabetes.  I get constant infections everywhere from the diabetes. My skin is covered with zits. I have no friends, I have no girlfriend, and my car is on its last leg. My eyesight is really bad and can barely see out of my left eye.  I have chest pains every night. My whole family is virtually broke, I am virtually broke. I have attempted suicide more times than I care to remember. I cry when I sleep, I have anxiety shakes when I am awake. I can barely sleep 3 hours a night. I have real bad stomach pains due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  The loneliness is unbearable at times. Sometimes I go to public areas and watch happy people, and dream of their lives. I am too scared to die now, but do not want to live anymore.”

I’ve slept with guys just to get a fix –
Rosemary, Age 20

“My stupid father shot himself in the head when my mom was pregnant with my brother, just in time to leave us with a merry x-mas. I’ve been using drugs for six years. Now I can’t stop. I’ve been diagnosed with severe depression and psychosis. The ceiling never stops moving. I keep having these delusions where everyone is going to torture and kill my family. I slit my wrists so I could kill myself before “they” killed me which only sent me to the State Hospital. Now I don’t even have the nerve to kill myself anymore. I’ve slept with guys just to get a fix. Of course I’ve always been a slut. Within the last year 3 of my friends have died from using heroin. I don’t know how to stop using it.”

I never even slept with her – Scott,
Ontario, Age 23

“I’m 23, shy and I don’t make friends very easily. A few years ago I dated a girl who wouldn’t put out, and I was fine with that. We broke up after a year and went our separate ways.  Last year she shows up with a two year old and says it’s mine. The problem is, I never slept with her.  She sues me and then gets her lawyer gets the blood test thrown out of court.  So I’m a 23 year old virgin paying child support for a kid that isn’t mine. Oh yeah, I just filed for bankruptcy.  Bye bye law school.”

The fourth and final round killed my cat
– Anonymous, New York, Age 23

“The first time I got shot, I was only 16. It was a random thing. It could have been anyone, but why had it to be me? I thought I was going to die, there was so much blood, and it ruined a good shirt. A .38 cal round clipped my shoulder, lodging near the joint. After 5 years of physical therapy, I regained full movement of my left arm. A few months later, when
I was 21, I was shot again, this time by some fool who thought he was a man.
One round pierced my abdomen, and I bled black bile. The second and third hits he scored (he fired at least 10 times at me, from no more than 15 feet) almost completely severed my spine, leaving me paraplegic, no use of my legs (and little feeling in other parts). The fourth and final round that he landed killed my cat, which was in my arms at the time. Poor Kiniko, a sweet little black cat. Today, I live on the fourth floor of a building with no elevator, which makes it hard to maneuver a wheel chair for simple things like going to the store for smokes. I have no family, as my father died recently, and social security is a joke. Meals on Wheels is a godsend, bless their souls! Those goons who shot me still run this neighborhood, too. I’m thinking of getting a white sheet and rolling down the stairs, maybe they will kill me.”

One guy went totally limp – Mila,
Ottawa, Age 20

“I caught a staphylococcus skin disease just after I had my first taste of sex, when I was 18. The skin infection spread through my entire body (worse on my arms, legs & bum) that I didn’t wear short sleeves or shorts or skirts in the summer for 2 consecutive summers. I feel like a freak. I have been too scared to show my body to anyone because the stars and stains are just too disgusting, I don’t really look at myself when I shower. Laser surgery isn’t an option because it may cause a relapse and the creams I use don’t really work. One guy I’ve shown myself to went totally limp. It’s really painful because I have girls and guys hitting on me on a regular basis, but can’t do anything about it. I never knew how much having nasty skin can affect so much of your life. I wonder if I will ever wear summer clothes or bikinis ever again let alone have sex.”

I’ve lost track of all the humiliations
(6/29/00) – Ben, Philadelphia, Age 29

“Five years ago I was on the top of the world. My life was pretty amazing…….then I messed it up by trying to be a good guy and invest in some property with my family. Long story short, every one of them disappointed me, right down to my gray haired old grandma. My credit got fucked up, I lost every penny I had and everything I owned. In the midst of all this maelstrom, my dumb head of a brother decided he wanted to become a drug dealer and we had police and junkies pulling up at the front door every five minutes.
When the music stopped I was the only victim without a place to live…suddenly nobody knew me anymore. Oh, and my alcoholic father committed suicide, which my mother reacted to with barely concealed gloating. I was turned out of the house I put the money up for by my own family and found myself living on the streets of this mean city. The woman I love tried to stick by me but she has a life of her own and I understand why she doesn’t have time to wait for me to get my mess together. I’ve lost track of all the humiliations I’ve suffered, which actually is a bit of a relief. My friends are all laughing at me behind my back….I don’t blame them either, if my life were happening to someone else it would be hilarious.”

I work in the radio business is self-centered, immature, and neurotic. I can’t date because the only people I meet are neurotic freaks. Anytime I try to be nice to someone, particularly girls, they misinterpret my intentions and treat me like some kind of rapist. My immediate family is neurotic. I live at home because the radio business pays so poorly I can’t afford to live on my own. I work and live in small towns where nobody has a life and life is like living in a fishbowl. Going to church only causes more stress, because the small town church is full of selfish, lazy, arrogant parishioners. My old friends from college offer no comfort because they all refused to grow up. I work for a spoiled rotten millionaire kid. He hires his lazy spoiled irresponsible friends, and though I don’t hold a management position, I am responsible for their success. I joined a community service club full of bickering, sniping officers. I haven’t had sex in six years. I am the only decent person I know– “the great white hope.” My patience, my endurance, my strength and my trust in God will pull me through– that is my only hope.”

The older I get the more withdrawn and weaker I become (6/14/00) –
Anonymous, Pennsylvania, Age 25

“I have muscular dystrophy, it is going to make my life shorter and a lot less fun. It’s so hard to have any motivation or feel good about myself when I am unable to function like a “normal” person. The older I get the more withdrawn and weaker I become. I have never had a girlfriend. Women want nothing to do with an underweight withering freak. But I can’t say I blame them. Employers don’t want anything to do with me either. Even with all this there is one person I have never met but talk to online almost every night who has put up with me and all my mess. She will never know how thankful I really am to her. I just have to enjoy the things I can do because I know when I can’t function normally and hold my job, I will finally end it.

(In response to the previous story)
I read the story from the guy who has muscular dystrophy. I believe I know him. You see I am that girl who talks to him night after night on the computer.
What he doesn’t realize is that I have really bad days too that I don’t always share with him and it brightens MY day to talk to him.  I can always count on him to lift my spirits and give me a good laugh. He doesn’t feel very highly of himself but I would like to take this opportunity to say that I do think highly of him. I think he is wonderful and I consider him a great friend. Thanks for giving me the chance to tell him.”

I’ll have to get used to a life of solitude
(5/25/00) – Joe, Oregon, Age 26

“My life sucks. My fiancée, the one love of my life has left after we were together for 6 years. I met her when I was 20; she’s the only girl I’ve ever dated, kissed, had sex with and been in love with. Needless to say, I have a hard time meeting women. Add to that I’ve been diagnosed with severe depression. I work as a delivery man and am not that good looking. I have bad teeth and am short, skinny and pale like mayonnaise. I have a handful of family and friends. Looks like I’ll have to get used to a life of solitude.”

I’ve caught head lice about six times
(5/25/00) – Alonzo, NY, Age 20

“My life is a mess. I go to beauty school in Albany. It sucks. All I do is work on scumbags’ hair all day long. I’ve caught head lice about six times and I think that I have it now. I suck at doing hair and I was mugged this weekend.”

I still steal money out of my mom’s purse (5/13/00) –
Tom, New York, Age 29

“I don’t have a college degree and I only need 7 credits to get one. My job will pay for the credits if they relate to my work only I can’t let them know I don’t have a degree because I lied on my resume. I can’t afford the credits on my own and can’t get a loan due to bad credit. My brother is a crack head whom I have not seen in over a year, when he pawned all of my parent’s jewelry. That doesn’t really bother me because he used to terrorize me and kick me hard all the time. He knocked out my teeth, broke my nose, and gave me two concussions and other injuries. He’s 6 years older than I am but acts like he’s 15, still. I haven’t spoken to my Dad in 8 years or so, and he is a self-absorbed, self- important asshole anyway. My grandmother is getting nuttier by the day and has become almost intolerable to be around. I drink way too much and lie about it. I’m 29 and I still steal money out of my mom’s purse when I visit her sometimes. My mom is upset about my brother and is turning to Jesus–she is slowly becoming a
Christian nutjob and it is frightening to watch. I feel powerless to stop her. I live in the god forsaken Bronx where the people are too stupid/lazy /prideful/ignorant/disgusting to clean up after their animals or themselves. There is litter everywhere and it smells and people are rude and violent and I want to wall up some of the neighborhoods and let them eat each other alive.”

Here I am, a disfigured freak –
Anonymous, US, Age 37

“I was destined for great things. I come from a very wealthy family. I had a privileged youth and was a good student in school. Hell, I even have a master’s degree in electrical engineering. I had money, friends and a good job as an electrician. But around 10 years ago everything started going wrong.
On my 27th birthday I was involved in a major car crash. I was paralyzed from the waist down and had third degree burns on 80% of my body. I spent a year and a half practically bed ridden and in intense physical therapy. When it was all said and done I looked like Freddy Kruger in a wheel chair. I couldn’t do my contractor work anymore because of my sorry state and I didn’t go outside because people would not stop staring at me. I blew almost all my savings on plastic surgery, alcohol, porn and drugs.
Well here I am, a disfigured freak who lives in his parents’ basement. They won’t even let me out of my room sometimes because they think I’ll scare away company. But on the bright side, I’ve taken up smoking two packs a day, so it’s only a matter of time before I die of lung cancer!!”

Can’t resist older men – Rui, Age 19
“I was born into a broken family. My bastard father left my mom for a filthy whore and only crawls back to us when he runs out of money. My mom has to sell herself to get us out of his massive debts. My sister hates
everyone and utters no more than a.syllable to anyone in the family. If we hadn’t known better, she may as well as well be autistic. I have a bright future and a good head on my shoulders, but was forced to drop out of school because my mom couldn’t afford to keep me educated. I refuse to
whore for the family, but can’t keep my hands off older men. At last count, I have been with my 9th older man.

History repeats itself each and every time, but I am unable to break myself out of this vicious cycle of obsession and heartbreak.I am now in love with this 59-year-old professor whom I run into often at the suburban mall near the dinky hut that
we live in. I am also 4 months
pregnant and freshly dumped by the last older man that I’d been with. I want to abort the loathsome thing growing inside me, but I don’t want to further damage my reproductive organs. I have previously undergone 7
abortions. I am bitter and miserable, and at 19, have lived and suffered a million lifetimes over and over again. By the time you read this, I would’ve
poisoned me and my baby. Goodbye.”

Preface To Thrills And Chills

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This world is hectic.

Derrick (not his real name) was born about 40 years ago to, as he himself avers, ‘a very wealthy family’. He had a good start in life. His parents could provide almost everything and anything he ever needed. To top it off he had uncommonly good brains. He was a brilliant student in school. He was privileged indeed from all sides and ostensibly nothing could prevent him from reaching the acme of success in life. He had the oomph. He had a well-heeled family behind his back. So he was destined for great things.

He graduated from high school and went on to pursue a bachelors in electrical engineering. He even did a masters in the same area of study. And he started degusting the pleasure his work had reaped. He says: ‘I had money, friends and a good job.” But little did he know tragedy was brewing. He didn’t know a grisly incident could suddenly come and change his life forever. Sadly, he was involved in a deadly car crash that got him paralyzed. He sustained third degree burns on something about 80% of his body. He was bed-ridden for one and a half years and could live on a wheel chair the rest of his life. Now he can’t do his contractor’s work anymore. He’s disfigured, lonely and miserable. He smokes two packs of cigarette a day and he just wants to die… from lung cancer.

Or get the story of Allan Edgar Poe who had odds heavily stacked against him the whole of his life. This is a review of his tragic biography: “Tragedy visited him early and often, [and] did nothing to thicken an already abnormally thin skin.” He loved and lost an endless string of women, beginning with his mother, who died when he was 2. The love of his adolescent life — an older woman, the mother of a schoolmate — “died insane” when he was 15…..An unsurprisingly macabre teen, Poe spent much of his time at her grave.” -TIME magazine, a 1934 issue. When Poe finally decided to get married his fiancée got engaged to someone else while he went to school at the University of Virginia. He eventually got married at age 27 to a thirteen year old cousin who unfortunately suffered from tuberculosis and breathed her last.

Ouch!!

Plainly, he (Poe) was a troubled man who lived a cheerless, stinging life. He suffered egregiously.But he earned himself a glamorous title as a giant fiction writer, something we remember him for.

Here above are life stories that describe in a nutshell the maelstrom some people are going through and how life can hurt so badly sometimes. They insinuate the ‘thrills and chills’, the up-and-down times of life. They are tales of woe, tales of bad circumstance each one of us can relate to or have even found ourselves in.

Looking at my own life,at 19, I have fought stern battles. I have been hounded and wounded a little. I have asked pointed questions about life. Sometimes, the thought of the future frightens me. There’s angst, there is fear, there is anxiety. There are moments when I feel empty and discouraged weighed down by worry and defeat. I have hinted this in the book. I wouldn’t want to repeat it again and again.

I know you share somewhat a similar experience with me because after all we live the same life. And like me you could be feeling life is such a rollercoaster and a real bummer.Yea it can be. But we can always make it an enthralling and worthy experience.

Life’s full of annoying inconveniences, bristling threats, heartbreaking losses and disgusting occurrences, even people. But there is little, if any, we can do to change the nature of this bitter-sweet, unsparing experience called life. It has always been that way and will always be that way. Even so we are not completely powerless. We can gradually turn life’s obstacles around, achieve greatness, stay upbeat in our down times and show up for our stricken brothers and sisters and lend our ears to these dispirited souls hitting a rough patch because we will need someone by our side during our cloudy days, too.

It is for this reason I got myself scrawling down drafts on paper to encourage people-and even myself- to outgrow bad circumstance. This quote here goaded me in the entire process of writing this little, lilting muse I believe will give hope and cheer to souls that become occasionally disheartened and who want to get something out of life.

“What men need most in this world’s struggle and strife is not usually direct help, but cheer. . . . Many men have fainted and succumbed in the great sthruggles whom one word of cheer would have made strong to overcome. We should never, then, lose an opportunity to say an inspiring word. We know not how much it is needed, or how great and far-reaching its consequences may be.”- “Week-Day Religion,” by J. R. Miller, page 170.

So the rationale of having written this book is to ‘say an inspiring word’ to a lot of people who are hurting, crying and sounding defeatist, an inspiring word to millions of people who are living in pain and indigence. I wrote it for a young chap who hopes there is no life after death so that he can finally rest, for a dejected ailing woman who thinks God enjoys tourturing her and for some hopeless folk who threatens his friends he’d shoot himself. I wrote it for them and for my self.

I can’t finish without saying- life is bleaker than ever. Here is why? “The rate of serious clinical depression has more than tripled over the last two generations, and increased by perhaps a factor of ten from 1900 to 2000.” We have to accept we are more vulnerable today than our sturdy primitive progenitors were. Although life is easier now, it is replete with temptations, dangers and whatnot our forbearers didn’t have to face and that are very likely to induce stress and depression by extension. We have to get proper mental ammunition as we trudge through life. That ammunition is this book. It’s a constant reminder of how truly amazing life is and a source of cheer at those times you’re feeling down for some reason.

This book may not take away the sting in your particular circumstance but from it you will certainly get a good vibe, little, lilting words of cheer and that’s what really matters when you are hitting a rough patch.

Welcome, read and get inspired.

The author.

MUSINGS FOR VALENTINE

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So…Valentines’ day is lurking around the corner, and perhaps you are out looking for a perfect gift, a perfect surprise to make an intimate expression to your sweet pie. Or maybe you’ve no special plans for 14th February. But, regardless of whether you’re ready for  lovers’ day or not, the day is fast approaching and for sure it’s here with us.

You know, Valentine is a celebratory stint but not at all times. Little awkward things do happen on this day. To some people it doesn’t pan out so well. It can turn out to be a rude disappointment. Some love birds can get locked in a heated disagreement or even break up on Valentine. It’s downright heart-crushing but the truth is, it does happen. I don’t wish that for anybody on this saturday.

Love is kind, love is patient but for a romantic relationship feelings matter too.

I don’t wish to spark any kind of debate and I don’t want to appear controversial. No. No. I don’t want to. We know, ofcourse, feelings won’t sustain relationships, because they come and go. They are on and off, and as River Ewaso Nyiro,they vary with season.But crucially,romantic relationships are formed as a result of, and are usually based on, sexual attraction.
I have a lady friend who just dumped her boy friend because all through the affair she could not feel any spark. She felt his boy friend was more like a brother.It turns out, feelings really matter in our love life and especially to women. It’s not an opinion but a well observed fact that is backed severely by science. Women want an emotional love. They want to be loved and more importantly to feel loved. Men however are created differently, they want to give and recieve a physical love. A man can go as far as hiring a drone to deliver a diamond ring during a proposal to his fiancee. Men buy lots of material gifts ranging from cards to cars for their sweethearts, but to a woman, there is no greater gift than that of staying close to her and saying really sweet words and making her feel something. That’s why women admire the worlds in soap operas with a religious panting.

“Never forget that a woman is a
romantic. She enjoys wine, flowers,
and chocolate. Let her know that you,
too, remember these things… by
speaking of them occasionally.” –
Woody Allen .

You’ve got a heart and a brain, too.

The heart and the brain are two factions of the human body that are always and incessantly warring. The fight between thoughts and feelings is never an easy one. We are influenced in our actions not so much by reason as by feelings, atleast most of the time. And so when it comes to love feelings, just remember ‘you’ve got a heart and a brain, too’. When you get attracted, it’s the heart at work. Your brain will tell you whether it’s wise and convenient to start a relationship with the guy or the chick you are falling for. Most of us just rush and wade into loving people that are wrong for us and break up the following day and worse still get mired in a vicious cycle of nebulous hook-ups and break-ups, and terribly so.

Its both natural and expected that we should get attracted to persons of the opposite sex or even get a crush. These are feelings and it aint sin to feel. But here is the trick, never allow yourself to be taken hostage by feelings, because sometimes, they,can be decieving. Yea, in the purview of love and dating. This is to men: it doesn’t immediately and directly mean that when you see a cute girl and get attracted,you should make a move on her. There is more to what meets the eye. Feelings can be very blinding. To the ladies: never say yes when you’re still not sure. You should look at the man making advances at you, weigh him properly, scrutinize him meticulously by looking at, not just his looks or economic status, but character and compatibility and then make a verdict. Let the heart feel wildly and freely but never allow it to decide. That’s why you’ve a brain.

Ladies I dare you! Go for the man you want.

Unsurprisingly few women initiate relationships.  We had this discussion on a WhatsApp group, MEA Inspiration. Is it wrong for women to approach men? One of our members give his own story. A lady courageously made a move on him and they started dating. Though it sounds a little bit weird, women should give it a try because they too have feelings. A man can actually listen to you and give you a chance.
Sometimes, women don’t get the man they want. Here is why:I read this story on TIME magazine. The writer related her own experiences with men she got crushed on. She could actually initiate friendship with the man, but when the man was about to make a move on her she could curl up and play uninterested. She built big walls around herself and expected the men she wanted, to climb over the walls to get her and that was not fair at all.

With lots of love.