Introvert musings

Why are you so quiet? You are so shy. Do you ever talk? Open up a bit. Don’t be too serious. Be yourself.

If you are anything like me, you’ve heard these statements so many times…including from your inner critic. But you aren’t shy or serious or closed off, at least not that much, you are just an introvert. And by the way, you are being yourself.

Don’t worry, I’m not here to give a long monologue on what an introvert is and everything else you could have Googled about introvert life. Just a realization on my own change of opinions on my personality over the years.

Admittedly, I hated the fact that I was quiet. I hated my natural inclination to avoid the spotlight, my love for sitting in a quiet corner alone and enjoy my thoughts that somehow always seemed more interesting than any conversation I ever listened to. I hoped it was a phase. Something I would grow out of and one day I would crack jokes on how quiet of a teen I was. In fact, I decided to speed up the process at one point, making daily goals to talk to at least one person, make as many friends…you get it. But try as I might, I always ended up exhausted, frustrated and an over thinking mess wondering why I didn’t have anything to say for most part of the conversation or why I zoned out within ten minutes of talking to one person.

Introversion, it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows. Unlike movie depictions, we don’t sit near windows on rainy days, drink hot chocolate and wear oversized sweaters. It’s a personality viewed mostly as snobbish, antisocial and most times arrogant. It doesn’t help that I’m a girl. Remember all those articles you’ve read on researches done on men and women? Women are more social they say, they talk double the times men do in a day. It’s common for a woman to talk your head off than a man. An article I once read put it better, ‘we are so used to grandpa going up the attic to read a book while grandma entertained the guests, but what would happen if roles were changed? Everyone would think of grandma as a crazy old woman, right?’ Well think of me as the crazy old woman then. I would rather stay indoors and read a book than get out there and meet up with people. I would rather write my thoughts than talk them. Socializing exhausts me so much I need a day or two to recharge.

Of late though, I decided to do some research on it. Call it my way of self acceptance. Just trying to understand some things much better. And no, reading that Bill Gates is an introvert did not make me feel any better. He’s a billionaire, I’m just a student. In all honesty what made me feel better about it, was the realization that there are so many introverts in the world, who go through the same social exhaustion, judgment, criticism that I do. So yeah, I am one of those people who finds relief in solidarity.

Whodunit series 6

During my campus days, my biggest fear was getting in the wrong side of the law. I had heard stories of campus students who had gotten in trouble and had been consequently expelled.Knowing the expectations the people I had left at home had of me, that was one thing I crossed all fingers to never happen to me. The last thing I ever wanted to see was my father’s aged face crinkled in disappointment and my mother hunched in shame as neighbours pointed fingers at their daughter. I knew they would take it personally.

”Na venye amesoma alafu anaenda kuharibikia campus’!’

(”She has a lot of education but see, she gets indisciplined in campus!”)

Or at least that was how I imagined they would say in their little groups sipping their milk_deficient tea. Ha! Nosy neighbours they were.

In my final year, there was a raid in the hostel room I resided and the administration discovered couple of rolls of weed. I, despite the knowledge that I had bought them only a few days ago, denied vehemently to high heavens that I had known of their existence.

I’m ashamed to admit it but one of the things I was known for was my lying skills. I had somehow lied my way past a lot of things and had confidence in this one ability.Despite this, I spent a week behind bars, until I luckily got a friend to bail me out. I somehow had survived my biggest fear with my parents being none the wiser.

That was the dream I kept having. Only that this time, instead of the cell I was bailed out of, I was thrown into an endless black hole. I did not wake up in a cold sweat, no.I slept through the nightmare, slept even when I felt the sensation that I was forever falling, slept even when I felt the fear I had felt in the presence of the dark morbidity that somehow had appeared in my dream. After all they say dreams are the product of our unconscious thoughts including our fears.

I woke up hours later, the sun high up in the sky. My ancestors had to be turning in their graves at my show of laziness. Even with the hours of rest, I still felt tired, like I had an unshakeable weight on my shoulders. I gave up the hopes of finding a job today and decided to take a walk through the busy Nairobi streets. Maybe I would cure myself of the madness I was slowly becoming.

Today the streets were busy as ever. Not good news for a person with only few hours of sleep and whose last meal seemed like eons ago. I felt dizzy under the city sun, scorching my forehead mercilessly. One too many times I had wondered what kept me in the city. Nothing was working out for me, the least I could do was the act of the prodigal son. Back at home, my parents would obviously show me more mercy than the city ever would. I banished the thought from my head. My pride would never allow for me to do such a thing. I would rather die than go back to the village. What would my peers say of me? At least now everyone thought I had a job in the city. They were just waiting for the day I’d show up in a big car. Or the very least, a rich husband. I was here to make sure the former happened….somehow.

Bipolar disorder

It’s been a while since I wrote anything…anxiety has been kicking my butt. But I think writing is my little sign I’m getting better. For me, finding inspiration on what to write is usually comes very randomly. So the other day I was watching the news when two successful public figures talk about their struggle with bipolar disorder. I’ve read about bipolar as I was researching on depression but never really put too much thought into it. So watching these two who would look like they are living the perfect lives as top athlete and hotshot politician…I just got a little curious. And so I went down the rabbit hole trying to understand bipolar disorder.

*This information however is aimed at spreading awareness and not for self diagnosis.

Through all the research I’ve done, one thing stands out..bipolar is a disorder associated with mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. Causes for this are unknown but genetics, environment and altered brain structures and chemicals play a part. The two mood swings are two sides of the same coin, manic episodes manifesting through high energy, reduced need to sleep, loss of touch with reality, a decreased need to sleep, increased talkativeness among other symptoms. On the other depressive side of the coin, there is low energy, low motivation, lack of interest in daily activities, insomnia or sleeping too much and significant weight loss. The symptoms will obviously vary from person to person. This disease can occur in any age group as well leaving no age group at more risk than the other.

There are,different types of bipolar, Bipolar 1 disorder, Bipolar 2 disorder, Cyclothymic bipolar disorder among others. The most common forms of treatment are therapy and medication but in some cases may require palliative/ hospitalised care.

To be honest, as I listened to these two people talk about their struggle with BPD, I couldn’t help but wonder how great it was that they had achieved the highest echelons in their respective feilds even with their mental health struggles. Through people like them, stigma around mental health is slowly erased as we see a different light to people struggling with mental issues as not people in straight jackets drooling all over themselves but as normal functioning and even highly achieved humans. They make us see mental issues just as another hurdle in life and not necessarily a stop to it. And if that doesn’t give hope to me and other people struggling with mental health issues, I don’t know what does.

The other gender.

I have two cute yet sometimes obnoxious little brothers. (They are the reason I watch too much cartoon by the way…it’s not my fault😂) And as much as they can sometimes drive me up walls, I love them to death. Don’t worry though, I’m not here to bore you to death with details of their little adventures that you could care less about. It’s just that I was watching them the other day and they got me thinking.

Pardon me, but I talk to many kids. Once I met a bunch of kids playing and one looked uncomfortable. In the scorching afternoon sun she still wore her warm tights. Of course I asked her why she let herself get so uncomfortable and sweaty to which she replied that her mother had strictly told her not to remove them as if the boys saw her legs they would do bad things to her. Cue awkward silence as I quickly walked away thinking….kids have no filters. A while back I watched a random Ted talk about a certain culture’s myths on sexuality and I couldn’t help laughing. They had beliefs like…male eyes produced radiation that caused female skin cancer. And therefore male and female students could never sit together in class. Wild…right?

It just got me thinking about random scary stories of the other gender that I was fed when I was younger. When I look at my little brothers…I kind of realize how exaggerated all these things were. Kind of a weird thing to feed young impressionable young girls without considering how it will impact their future relationships don’t you think? Anyways pardon me as I go to listen to how their new toy car works for the millionth time. I’m not a naysayer but I give this car only one week and it will be random pieces of broken plastic hidden behind the couch.

Ps A Happy Mother’s day to all mothers out there. Including my mummy. I love and appreciate you!❤

Whodunit series 5

Now maybe it is at this point that I should give you the tour of my small apartment that my landlord obnoxiously referred to as ‘kasingle’. It was humble, to say the least with the couch I slept on serving as the only piece of furniture. Mostly because it took up all the space in the room. I had taken one corner that had a small white sink and declared it the kitchen. One that I hardly used as I became a loyal patron of Mama Chipo. It could be seen by how I had added weight,enough for my mother to imagine what sort of a nice life I was living in the city. Then there was the door , a black metallic one that the landlord had obviously splurged on considering how heavy it was. Heavy enough that not just once had I called a neighbour to help me open it in the dead of the night. And heavy enough that it would produce this horrible scratching sound every time I opened it, one so horrible it was worse than nails on a chalk board. You could never open the door without me hearing it.

In my sheer panic my brain just so happened to connect this thought. This one dark morbidity could not have passed through my window. My fear turned to an adrenaline hyped confusion as I suddenly sat up willing to fight for my life.

But just like that it disappeared. It almost felt like a magic trick, now you see me, now you don’t. All I was left with as evidence of the ordeal was the speed at which my heart beat, as if it had been so close to death it had vowed to beat harder for the rest of it’s life.

It goes without saying that I didn’t sleep that night. I was scared. Was it just a bad dream? A vivid one at that? Or had what I’d seen real? And for some reason my mind could not stop thinking about the murder sprees that had been happening. Actually, that thought kept popping in my head like an unwanted advert. By morning, I was shocked I had not driven myself to madness. But when the first ray of sunlight snuck through my curtains,a sudden baby like sleep overtook me.

I guess it was safe to say that I was now afraid of the dark.

Pains of the pandemic

The country is going through yet another lockdown……

People who have left the country have to go through a 14 day quarantine….

With new Covid infections being at…..

The death toll has risen to…..

The curfew officially starts at …..

Just last year even I admitted these were new vocabularies. Right now though I’m pretty sure these particular words have been used more than freedom and happy if you get my gist. When Corona became a world pandemic, I, alongside a lot of people optimistically hoped it was a yearly thing. We said 2020 in disgusted tones, couldn’t wait for the cursed year to be over. When 2021 came, our hopes were up waiting for the disease to magically disappear but I think me and a lot of people forget that years are just a human evolution and days move the same despite the year change. Just a few months in, Corona had lashed out his claws again, infection cases rising, lockdowns happening again.

I remember last year writing a post on how I viewed the pandemic, ending it in penultimate motivational vibes of….go easy on everything. But now when I look back, maybe that message doesn’t really suit everyone. If you look at it, a person who has lost every means of income can obviously not just go easy. A person who is using the last of his/her income to treat themselves or their loved ones of the disease will not go easy. Telling them that is almost like rubbing salt on an already festering wound. It hurts enough already.

Such pains always come with their own mental health issues. In the past one year, statistics have shown a sudden spike in the number of people who are in mental distress. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders are on the rise. And if I am to be honest, my own mental health has been pretty tough on me as well. I cannot count the number of times I’ve had random anxiety attacks, worrying about the already blurry future that from this end has gotten uncertain.

This has led to a new pandemic, cases of domestic murders have increased. Every day on every news channel there are new reports of domestic arguments gone deadly. And even in some bizarre cases, peaceful loving families that have in the spur of the moment murdered each other. As in the monotonous words of experts, this is due to the mental health issues that have been on the rise. People have been pushed too much to the corner they are finally breaking.

This wasn’t a doomsday post, here to remind you of how tough everything has become. Neither was this a motivational post of go easy or we’re in this together. This is just a call for hope. Of better days to come. I’ve heard of a wiser person who said…..hope is never lost.

Also yesterday was earth day…so Happy Earth day!!

Femininity

I remember an article I once read. Thrasher hoodies and Drake are cool, Ariana Grande and sweet coffee is too girly and therefore uncool. This is the only sentence that stuck with me from the whole article…not because what was written was boring but because this one sentence got me thinking. And of course led me into days of introspection. I’m guilty of the same mindset…being a tomboy is cool, loving pink and Barbie just isn’t. Being girly is stupid and weak and just plain annoying. Being all black and headstrong and basically more masculine is strong and more acceptable. And so I declared myself a tomboy for the longest time. But in light of that one sentence, I decided to read more on the topic.

And I found out that this mindset can be traced from feminism. Most specifically the second wave of feminism that for lack of a more fitting word demonized feminine traits like wearing makeup,dresses, talking in high pitched voices the whole jazz. Maybe the goal of these feminists was to make women more noticeable, more competitive in the male dominated world. To prove the saying, what a man can do a woman can do better. I’ve declared myself a feminist and I believe my version of feminism is ever changing, ever growing to avoid closed mindsets such as toxic, man_hating feminism. A while back I would have convinced you that feminism is all about females showing more masculine traits like over competitiveness to be seen and heard but now I don’t.

The most empowering thing a feminist can do is accept themselves as they are. And accept the behaviours, traits, quirks that come with it. Even if the society might be set on perceiving them as weakness. Because as I’ve said before, feminism is about empowerment. And you can’t empower someone you don’t want to accept.

End rape culture

I’m a woman…. if you didn’t guess yet. And as a woman I agree that we have a lot of challenges. For women, the world is constantly portrayed as unsafe, a place we should always look left and right almost every second. I cannot count the number of times me and other women have been told not to do this, go there, wear that…just to keep us safe. And as it is, it is usually in our best interests.

But honestly, we cannot take care of ourselves enough. We cannot wear long enough clothes, choose people we interact with well enough, go to places that are safe enough with danger being everywhere. Danger in this case being rape.

Rape, I heard that word first when I was around seven years old. I was a curious cat and probably knew about sex way faster than a lot of kids my age. And when I heard about rape, the first thing that came to mind was being held down by a stranger on the dark alley, screaming and crying for help. But I’ve grown, and I’ve learnt that the world may actually be worse than that. Close friends, relatives and even spouses have now presented themselves as rapists. This week a young woman was raped (I wanted to say violently raped but rape in on itself is a form of violence) and killed by a man she went on a date with. Another unfortunate incident, a woman was thrown from the 12th floor down ultimately being crippled just because she rejected her boyfriend’s sexual advances.

Of course there is the question of how careful these women were, going to meet with these men that they didn’t know well, using these men for financial gains but for the life of me I cannot understand how that becomes a justification for rape, crippling and ultimate brutal murder.

Many women all over the internet were pissed, going to their social media platforms to rant about how unjust these deaths were. The hashtag justiceforVesh was among the trending hashtags all week. But this was mostly promoted by women, men for the most part keeping quiet. Of course I could go into a heated rant on how misogyny and male privilege has led to this heartbreaking and ignorant silence but I won’t.

Then the one thing happened that sent everyone into a shock, a group of high influencing men on radio decided to victim blame and demean not only the two women who met their unfortunate gender based violence fuelled crimes this week but also every other woman who has gone through any form of GBV. Now we all know how ‘women’s fights’ are usually left to women alone. By ‘women’s fights’ I mean the feminist cause, I mean inclusion, I mean rape and other forms of gender based violence. And by saying this I don’t mean that men do not go through this sorts of acts, I mean most women do and it’s wrong that the patriarchal society has normalized it, making it the so called ‘rape culture’ where rape is normalized and where women are blamed for being rape victims.

I’m pretty pissed off right now, ranting about this instead of sleeping. But somehow I feel like a lot of people need to hear this. Never will there be a justification for rape or any form of gender based violence. Never will victim blaming rape victims be a solution to the rape problem or better still keep women safe. Never will women wear long enough clothes or walk home early enough to prevent rape because the problem is never with them but with rapists. And never will disrespecting women just because make you the ultimate alpha male. I could say rape needs to stop but we already know this. I could say men need to stop normalizing and making a joke out of rape but we know this too. All I have to say is I hope one day no woman will have to look behind her back every two minutes because some guy stared at her for a second too long.

Whodunit series 4

tick tok

That was the only sound in the apartment that evening, and the previous and the day before that basically since I rented the apartment. I was fresh from college and had not come around getting a job yet let alone filling the house up. The high unemployment rates did not help either. I got on with odd jobs and today being a waitress was more tiring than any job I’d ever had. 12 hours of constant walking and attending to irate hungry customers did no good for my mood and my bones. All I wanted was to sleep and hopefully dream of a better tomorrow. And who knows maybe my dreams would come true.

So I lay on the old rickety couch that my parents had given me as I went to start a new life alone. God bless their sweet souls, they probably thought I was making it here in the city, I had a prestigious degree after all….I wasn’t about to tolerate the depressing thoughts so I closed my eyes and tried to will some sleep.

Not going to lie, I once had good instincts. Before coming to the city I could tell dangerous situations just by the ‘vibe’ I don’t know why I loved that word anyway, guess I thought it was cool. But now, I had lost the good instinct once had. I had been robbed by people who had a good ‘vibe’. I had seen people with bad ‘vibes’ do good things. That was what the city was, grey. Not black and white, just grey. So maybe that’s why I didn’t notice that presence in the apartment that day. And if I did I could have realized it had a bad ‘vibe’

I was having a dream_less tired sleep when I felt it at first. Almost like a light tap on my face. Then another one. Of course I woke up at that. It wasn’t like I was enjoying my sleep anyway. Right in front of me stood a dark figure. I couldn’t see their eyes but I could feel their evil stare almost burning into me. This wasn’t a movie and I was not the movie protagonist whose scream dried in my throat. I’m only human. And so I let out the loudest, most scared shriek I had ever heard in my entire life.


Perfectionist deception

I’ve been active on instagram over the past one month. And what can I say? It has been an experience. I have had to scroll through hundreds of ‘perfect’ lives, bodies, relationships, cars, heck even cups. And no, I’m not exaggerating, people have perfect cups out there. Don’t even get me started on the perfect spoon😂😂 Anyway social media is to a great extent toxic as it is helpful. I’m pretty sure Mark Zuckerberg and his counterparts had a concept in mind of a virtual gallery. A place where people from all over the world posted pictures of their happy memories, talents, creative ideas, the jazz. But not for the razmatazz that we see on the platforms right now that basically has shaped our society into a, well for lack of a better word, perfectionist society.

Social media is just the place you want to be if you want to sell something or share something beautiful, very many different people will see it and of all the people who see it, a percentage of them will like it. But it’s also the place you want to be if you want to be dissatisfied with your significant other who doesn’t buy you a Benz every time you get sick or at your body for not fitting the perfect beauty standard. And don’t even get me started on the fact that you can’t buy that million dollar spoon that was advertised by your favourite influencer.

The toxicity from most of the social media posts we see has impacted our lives greatly turning us into people who are mostly chasing either clout or perfection which has negatively impacted our own images, esteem and can we also acknowledge how bad it is for our mental health? Can we not talk about how it has made more people make questionable choices with their lives just to get the life that they admire so much? Lives that we see on those perfectly curated instagram feeds that are not real? (I keep saying instagram because it affects our lives these days more than other social media platforms) Also what about the fake and toxic ideologies and stands that are constantly sold on Twitter (yes toxic feminists of Twitter who keep pulling the feminist cause years back I see you, and no men aren’t trash) and inevitably shaping the next generation into something we are not even proud of. Most eating disorders for instance come from the feeling of not being perfect enough, not fitting into a standard set by social media. Most lies sold to us these days are sold to us on social media making us feel horrible about ourselves for being twenty years old and not having three companies and having travelled all the countries of the world and to the moon as well😂😂.

And no…this is not one of the rants that I end with what we should do. A solution to this problem. After all I’m just a 19 year old girl, just in the right age group to be either positively or negatively but still heavily influenced by social media. I’m just trying to get my opinion in the world, I hope to make good choices. And I hope that you my dear reader make great choices as well.