3. Despite all the Challenges you face, celebrate your victories no matter how small.
I found one of my old notebooks and I found a paragraph where I had written about how bad life was at the time. I was 24, I was broke, living at home, single and truly thought it was the end of the world. I really did not see myself having a future everything was wrong and I had no idea how to make it better.
I was very sad when I looked at my friends and all I saw was good things. They always had good stories about their lives, they were dating, enjoying themselves, employed and some even running their own businesses and here I was. People were doing very well and I was miserable.
What I find most interesting was not only did I feel miserable because everyone else was doing well, I felt miserable because it felt like for some reason I had to have certain things in life to be a person. Somehow I imagined I had to find myself in things. I would be much better if I was dating, if I was employed, if I had X amount of money in my account and I forgot a very important thing.
My value and yours for that matter does not lie in what we have but the fact that we are individuals. You do not have less of a right to be here just because you have less materially or otherwise than some people and your friend’s journey is not your journey. You have to find yourself, love yourself and be confident that you will make it.
Learn from your journey. each and everyone has a special purpose. Sometimes it is hard to believe that. Maybe you were bullied and still feel bullied by your peers, maybe you grew up without a lot of money but all these that you may think are misgivings must have taught you something. They also show that you have grown and your value has grown through.
Your value is in your uniqueness, skills and talents. I know, you don’t think you have any but that is because you are so caught up in what you should be you fail to see the amazing you that is. The beauty of having another day is that you have another chance. reintroduce yourself and have that first meeting with yourself and you will find that you actually really like you.
I mentioned that when I was 24 I was hopeless, I felt the end of the world had come. 4 years later and I kid you not I am in the same position, single, not employed and sometimes it is hard to see anything positive but this time I am doing it at my own terms. I am single because I have dated out of urgency and been hurt and I have decided I will take my time. It does not matter that there is a wedding everyday for the next few months, I know when i meet the right person I will just know.
I have had jobs, I have been ill treated and I stayed because that is what people do. I later decided enough was enough. I was not sleeping properly, not eating properly and my peace of mind was nowhere to be found. I left and decided to give myself a break. I was scared, very scared and I still am but I can write and that can also very well put food on my table without killing me of stress. I will be doing what I love and enjoying it. It is not easy but nobody said it would be.
When you are whatever age you are and are going through a lot of turmoil. Nothing seems to be right. You feel as though the end has come let me assure you. You were once younger. You were once three years younger and it was over then but you pulled through. You turned a year older and hated some things you thought you loved and loved some that you thought you hated.
Here you are older and wiser. You have made some new friends and lost some old ones. You have fallen in love and imagined you found your one true love but you lost that. At each turn where you lost something or messed up it felt like the end. It always felt like you would never recover but look at you, you are here stronger and wiser.
At some point if you are honest admit it to yourself, you were a bowl of awesome and then this came. At some point things were fine and then they were not. Despite what you might have taught yourself to think, this happens to everyone no matter how perfect they may seem.Everyone doubts themselves, feels sad and sometimes does not want to get up in the morning.
Whatever you are going through right now be it debt, heartbreak, just outright failure, believe me whether you believe it or not, this too shall pass. So get up, dust yourself off, smile and hold your head high and start all over again. It does not matter how damaged you feel, you will get past this as well.
Be inspired and enjoy the gift of a new day.
You know how sometimes you feel like life is passing you by? How sometimes you are just overwhelmed by everything around you and all you want to do is just run away, take cover, go far from all those people who seem to be doing so much better than you, and no matter how much you try, your life just doesn’t move.
Yes, I am talking to you stuck in a bad job. I am talking to you who has been applying to all those prestigious firms and not landing any gig. I understand. Sometimes you have nowhere to go, you cannot quit because you have bills to pay and you want to be comfortable but all you get is misery.
There is hope. You can try out the few things below to cope until you have the courage to leave or until your breakthrough comes;
Pick one thing you enjoy to keep you going
A friend of mine gave me this advice sometimes back. You spend the majority of your time at work, more than anywhere else. Most jobs operate from 8 a.m. to 5p.m. which is around 9 hours. Add about three hours commuting, you are only left with 13 hours and you will sleep for say 7 hours which leaves you with only about just 6 hours
That is all the time you get to interact with friends and family so work takes the bigger cake. It is imperative therefore to find that one thing that makes your day memorable. It doesn’t have to be something big it could even just be the 10 o’clock tea! It will do wonders for you.
I once had a job that paid me very little and the work I did matched my pay. You see, I had applied for the job imagining I would get a mentor. i wanted to work under an experienced person but I ended up being a clerk. I hated the job and I also did not have any collegues my age.
Despite most things being negative, I tried to enjoy the little things like I had a lot of free time on my hands on most days. I had actual lunch time that I never had at my previous job and I took it and ran. They also had tea, yeah, the jobs I had were crazy, small things excited me.
I also started a blog. I would sit down and tell tales, like this one, and feel better. Slowly my life stopped feeling so boring and even more bearable.
Find a hobby to look forward to
You may say that there is no time because you work all day but I am sure you have heard that if you really like something, you will definitely find the time to do it. Make a rooster, do something different every weekend for example. Having something to look forward to will help you glide through the week.
Work on a talent
This could almost be the same as a hobby. But a hobby to me is just something you do without expecting any returns; a talent on the other hand needs work and may not be very delightful all the time. You could get a talent that could enable you make passive income to substitute your income and who know, ultimately give you the freedom you so desire.
Maybe this should have been the first point. Belief in a superior being brings a sense of optimism that makes life more bearable. There are even studies that have shown that church goers may end up living longer than people who do not have religious affiliations. Finding spirituality will also help you find yourself and your true purpose if you haven’t already.
So I had a friend of mine who has relatives in the United States. He says they are doing so well and they encourage him to move there. “So why don’t you go?” I asked. “There is no ugali matumbo there I couldn’t possibly survive.” He answered.
At the moment it was so funny but now in retrospect, no matter how hard life is, there is always a matumbo fry somewhere that will keep us going. Find your own matumbo fry.
A friend of mine picked me up and took me to Njoro Golf Club and taught me one or two things about golf. For the first time in my life I was on a golf course to actually play. It has never been a sport I was interested in; though come to think of it, it is not like I like any other sport anyway. That aside, now that I have tried it, it might just be the first spot I pick up and enjoy. I was even able to make a few shots which I enjoyed and I will definitely be going back to learn more and play more.
I did however learn a few things about life from golf. I also learnt that learning golf is like learning a foreign language. In life,
Lesson number one, if you take your eyes off the ball, you will not hit it. As we have heard, time and time again; if you do not focus on your goals and work towards them, they will not pan out or they will take far longer to achieve.
Every time, I did not focus my eye on the ball, I either made a lousy shot or just missed the ball altogether. Every time you do not keep your eyes on the ball, the ball has the potential to not go your direction. It is like the ball has some sort of feeling and feels neglected when you do not give it enough attention, I just don’t know but all your energy need to go to the one goal you truly want to achieve.
To get the perfect shot, your legs have to be positioned a certain way, your hands too, you have to bend your back a bit, your head has to bow a little, simply put, you have to put your whole body to work to achieve that one perfect shot.
Likewise, you have to put your whole being into your big life goals and want them with the whole of you to make them happen. It is said that the things you get in life are the ones you want really bad. So bad that you cannot sleep, before you know how far you are and how you will get there.
The goals you put the most work in, get your best energy and are the ones that actually make it.
Personally, I had no idea how to make my play better, however, I was playing with seasoned players and they knew when they had messed and they knew exactly what they had done wrong.
It brought to mind that bible verse about chance and opportunity being given to every man. It also made me take a look at my life and yes, I did get some chances I was too scared to use and sometimes I just refused to see them because I had put myself in a box.
You have to be open- minded, see every chance as a new lease of life. Seasoned players always do a dry strike before striking and you can actually see them looking at the direction of the strike as if they can see the ball in the air and then they know if the strike will be right or wrong.
Visualize your dream, see it coming together, know what you want, it is the only way you are truly going to succeed.
At each hole, one has the number of shots one can play to still have points after which you don’t earn any points. The whole can be marked par 4 which means you have four shots to get to the hole, there are also par 5 and par 3 holes. Each course is different of course and I am a novice so I am not really an expert on it.
Also in life, failure is a big part. I only think that in life there are no specified number of failures one can have to get better at an opportunity. Life like golf does allow for failure and it is far more generous because you can fail as many times as you can as long as you do not give up you will succeed.
Unlike golf, life does not have a manual. Life does not have a rule book but all I can say is, follow your passion and want it so bad that nothing can take it away from you.
Have yourself a hope filled day, make a goal and make a plan to achieve it.
So last week I decided to take a friend to Menengai Crater because he had never been there and also because I had made a very big life decision and I was still in shock and I needed some air.
I had taken the trip about 15 years ago, I really feel old, and it was from that trip that I was basing my expertise of the area.
I didn’t tell him where we were going just that he should take me somewhere shortly and we would be back real quick. Yes, you guessed it, I wanted to surprise him. So we took a notary from Nakuru town and all the way to Maili Sita.
When we alighted I wasn’t sure if the turn I took was right but my gut seemed to like my odds with this one. We started our steady walk and for five minutes I was confident we would get there.
“You know, you haven’t really told me where we are going and I am just following you, you could be taking me to be slaughtered,”
“Yeah, I just might be expecting a cool 10 million after the drop, “I said. I really don’t know why I chose ten million but then again people have been sold for far less.
We walked on for a bit and he started to get impatient and everytime we passed a gate, he would ask if we were there yet and I said no. Everytime there was a turn, I peeped to see if we should make it or not.
“Why don’t you just call? ” he asked seemingly getting annoyed by watching me and suspecting the truth, we were lost.
I did not answer probably because, who was I going to call? I soldiered on but we just walked and the end was not in sight.
“Actually, I think we are lost,” I finally admitted.
“Are you serious?” He asked frustrated.
The road behind us was very long and going back without achieving anything would really hurt.
“I wanted to surprise you by taking you to the crater but I came here when I was in primary school and a lot can change in that amount of time.” I said thoroughly disappointed at my surprise skills.
“If you had said so earlier, we would have asked for directions,”he answered.
Luckily for us, there was gentleman coming toward us,
“Excuse me sir, how are you?” my fellow ‘lostee’ called.
“I very fine,”
“Where does this road end? ”
“Right where you see it end, beyond there is the creator”
“Thank you very much.”
Yes, that guy did say creator, I did not misspell that.
I have no idea whether it was because we were tired or what but the edge was just ahead but we were not getting to it. After what seemed like hours but was probably just two minutes we saw it.
Stretched out majestically in all its glory was the biggest crater I had ever seen. It was vast and covered with a thick green carpet of vegetation. It was deeper than I remembered and then I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed. I kept feeling that if I moved I would roll to the bottom of the crater. I felt it pulling me like a magnet to the North Pole and it was terrifying.
My companion on the other hand was on a roll. Running around and going to the edge. I couldn’t take it. I just saw him falling in. I wanted to move closer to him but I couldn’t I just stood there like a statue.
You will be shocked to know that I actually went inside the last time I was there. I volunteered with a small group while the rest went back but this time I couldn’t even look.
He found a spot under a shade and sat beneath it. He was like two meters away but I kid you not, I went over on my behind. Two meters! I couldn’t walk, I went sitting down.
Until then, I had no idea I had such a fear of heights or maybe just craters, is there a name for that.
My good friend asked me if he could take a nap and he did. I sat there trying to admire the view but no, all I could think of was rolling inside. I kept wondering if anyone would even find us if we fell and after how long. I gave up and woke the peaceful sleeper and told him we just had to go. He was dissapointed but he agreed.
You know how getting out of there was. I was still paralysed and we almost fought for him to hold my hand but luckily here I am, the one who got away.
So, in social settings I can be very quiet or loud depending on the crowd. But of late, I have had such a big mind block. My mind believe it or not has been blank for the most part.
I have a lot to say I just find it very hard to put it in words. Sometimes I feel that maybe I have let things pass me by. I have been living passively and I should just let myself go and live a little.
I feel like it is about time that I made some drastic life decisions. I feel like I should get out of my comfort zone. Comfort is no longer fun, it is no longer secure.
As you might have guessed by now, this post is just me trying to get back on the horse, only I don’t know where I left the horse, or how I got off in the first place but I will find it. I know I will and I will tell you about how I do it.
Have you ever been so comfortable you became uncomfortable? Have you ever gotten to a point where you ached to live and all of you is aching to move on and yet you don’t know how.
I am in a phase, that kind of phase. I am crying out of myself to find myself. I want to become the true me but I am trapped.
One thing I have learned in life however is, getting what you want is not always as easy as it sounds. The only thing that makes it bearable is the drive, or the anticipation to get to where you want.
When you get too comfortable, something might be wrong. Which is why I am on a journey. When I am ready, I will share it with you.
Just know, nothing worth it is ever easy.
Over the weekend there was a lot of buzz about Ivan Ssemwanga he died and there is something about death that just brings about reflection. Some of you will judge me but until his death, I knew nothing about him but he was everywhere so I decided to go around and my dear friend Google and many other tabloids helped me around and now I know a few things about him. He is one of those people that inspire me.
From this man’s story I learned one or two or more things that I will share with you.
So the story goes, Ivan was in high school with another guy, his friend and after high school his friend came back to Uganda from South Africa and Ivan begged him to show him the way and his friend told him come to South Africa.
The guy went via road through Zambia; he was arrested for illegal documents and after being released, guess what? He continued to South Africa he never even looked back he just went. He got there and he was shown the trade and he broke off from his mentor and started on his own practice, he was a Sangoma or rather, spiritual healer, mganga in Swahili. He had no training but money was on his mind and he would make it no matter what.
When he was in high school Ssemwanga (I have never quite got the concept of the same consonant twice in the beginning of a word but oh well) used to hoard and sell sugar to fellow students at a profit, it is said he even made supernormal profits at times. He saw that opportunity that nobody else had seen and he actually reaped.
He could have made it in Uganda but he probably would not have made it far if he hadn’t followed his friend to South Africa.
He abandoned his comfort and went for gold and he did get it.
So, Ivan had this Sangoma practice in South Africa but he was allegedly not a real Sangoma. At some point in his career he was visited by a very rich client, he knew that the client could change his fortunes for better or for the worst.
Since he had no expertise himself, allegedly; He consulted a real Spiritual healer in Uganda and sneaked him into South Africa and the client got the results she wanted and hence she referred other rich clients and his name became something. He also did pay the native doctor a lot for his services.
Had he been selfish or had he believed he was self-sufficient, he might not have gotten the results he needed and he would have destroyed himself. There is no shame in asking for help sometimes.
Those are some of the insights I got from his life. In my opinion he did live a full life for it is not the years in life that determine life, it is the life in the years and though young he will surely be remembered fondly.
Fare thee well, Ivan Ssemwanga. I am inspired
Edith could not hold herself. She just had this itch to talk to Antony she really wanted to meet him out but she really did not know how long to wait. All day after getting his number she wondered how long she could wait. She felt excited every time she thought about it. She felt like a current run down her spine every time she imagined spending time with him in a casual environment.
The following day she had a minute and she decided to text him. Impatience will be the death of me, she thought as she looked for his number to text him.
Edith: Hi. I was wondering if you could fix me in your schedule tomorrow.
Antony: Tomorrow is not bad. What time do you prefer?
Edith: Eleven ish
Antony: How about two ish?
She stopped texting for a minute, or maybe it was twenty.
Antony (after she did not respond for the about twenty minutes): What say you?
Edith: I say, I think I can compromise.
Antony: Ati compromise? What do you mean? How about now?
Note to self, this man was high on something that I need to know ASAP, am I really all that?
Edith: Now is good.
Antony: I am behind your place. I was taking my mum shopping, she just left and I thought maybe I could see you.
Edith: Give me about ten minutes, I will be right down.
Edith was dumbstruck she just could not get herself together try as she may, but, she had started this and now she had to go through with it. The man was just downstairs and they were going to lunch. She did a little touch up, she really did not wear much makeup so a little powder and some lip gloss was all she did. Her tummy was so full of butterflies she did not even think she would make it down but miraculously, she did.
She got outside the building and there seemed to be a whole sea of cars, it had not even occurred to her that she did not even know the make and model of his car until now but she was not going to call simply for that, he had to be close and he would be in the driver’s seat. She circled the building and just about halfway she saw him, on his phone and my, did he look good all serious and unaware he was being watched. She straightened herself and walked over. He saw her just as she approached,
“Zunguruka,” (go round) he said to her.
She obeyed and went to the other side, opened the co driver’s seat and let herself in and felt like she was in a dream and wondered if she was crazy, it was a rollercoaster for her.
They started on their way and well,
“So where are we going for lunch?” He asked
“I set this up, I thought you would surprise me,” Edith replied, actually surprised the burden was on her.
“You will just have to pick a place,”
“Why don’t you pick it this time and I will the next time,”
“You pick a place this time. I picked you up and it would be wrong to pick you and still pick a place. Anywhere you want within town.”
She ended up picking a nice classy hotel in town. Quiet but with the best food she had tasted in the town so far and the best portions too.
Ten minutes later they were at the Restaurant. He let her get off and go in as he went in search of parking, seeing as it was lunch time it was a hustle to find one just at the restaurant.
The restaurant was nice place. The décor was simple, the walls were white and looked rustic, rough but beautiful, the ceiling was moderately high and the wooden floors were well polished and carpeted.
She sat at a corner and admired the décor and begun wondering what she would take, normally when she was anxious her appetite reduced but if past meetings with the guy were to be believed she would have an amazing time and maybe she really did not have much to worry about. “Just be yourself and you will be okay,” she said to herself.
He came in and tried to locate her she watched from the corner of her eye. She liked how confident he looked and she did not know what it was about him but he just made her feel at ease. With another person it would have taken forever to connect to that kind of level but this just happened so fast and yet he was not demanding. It was completely amazing and rare.
“I am sorry for keeping you waiting,” he apologised
“Have you ordered?”
“Just a drink, I was waiting for you to order food,”
He signalled for a waiter for her to order which she did.
“How has your day been?” he inquired
“It has been good but slow, very boring,”
“At least it is not bad,”
The anxiety was setting in on her and this small talk was not helping matters, faster conversations give less time for musings and time moves faster. Her drink arrived and she was happy by the distraction of its setting and that she now had something to take the edge off a bit.
“So when I asked you about honeymoon, I saw it’s like a clock wound really fast, rrrrrrr,”
“Kinda, there are things I just do not think about; you just caught me off guard.”
“Ok,” he said, “Then the other day you said, you were trying to be a lady.”
She smiled, ‘You just had to remember that?”
“I just meant that I couldn’t have asked for your number first,”
He laughed, a real hearty laugh, she loved that laugh it almost reassured her. This day was getting better and better than Edith had expected. She liked Antony’s company; she was having more fun than she had in the past.
“Welcome,” he said when the food came.
“Thank you, it looks really good.”
“Yes it does,”
“I really love the chicken in this place,”
“Their food is really good, eat up,”
“I definitely will,”
As she finished eating she felt his hand on her’s and at first she did not know how to feel. He looked into her eyes and she felt comfortable, she smiled. There was something about the confidence he exuded. They held hands for a minute. It was one of those moments that just spoke for themselves where hearts and eyes say more than words ever could.
Last weekend I was in western again. I lost my paternal grandmother and for the second time in two weeks I saw a parent lose a parent. For the second time in two weeks the priest, the same priest coincidentally, called for family to drop soil into the grave, for the second time in two weeks, I wore a black T-shirt with my grandma’s photo and I am drained.
There is something about seeing the body being lowered into the ground that brings such finality to all situations. It signals an end of that person and reality hits you so hard and all the things you wished you had done for that person or with that person flash past your eyes and then the tears, the somberness, the disbelief and oh yes, the realization that it comes to everyone that death has no respect for humans, that death does not care who you leave behind, it does not care what else you have to do it just comes.
My paternal grandma, Paulina Nassubo Ogema, God rest her soul. Had lived to a ripe old age but that only made the loss worse. She lived to be 94 but she touched so many lives, mentored many people, raise children, grandchildren and great grand children the loss was all the more damning. She was a christian, a catechist’s wife for that matter and she spread the good news. She endured a lot and in her last days even suffered memory loss that broke hearts, she couldn’t recognise people and her body just gave up. She could not leave the bed, she could not walk, could not eat and she withered. Nothing prepares you for how to deal with death. You just have to find a way.
Over the last month since all this started, I have found myself thinking a lot about life in the present and in the afterlife. I am a christian and I personally believe in heaven and hell. Over the past month I have wondered what it would be like to be dead. Do you hear everything like people say but cannot do anything, do you see your body while you are in spirit form and watch people cry for you? Or are you just gone until the day all the dead will rise for judgement.
I have wondered where God’s mercy ends, and where hell begins, I have wondered if I am a good person, I have wondered whether I am good enough for heaven. I have been terrified of hell. I have judged myself harshly, maybe I am mourning, maybe I have just had an awakening.
Losing two very strong and influential women has made me wonder how it will be when I die. I have imagined a small intimate ceremony, I don’t know what people will say about me. I don’t know who will cry and who will not. If it happens now, will I have done anything worth mentioning? Have I lived a full life? Have I even lived at all?
I am drained, I am down and so sad right now but I hope I will snap out of it and will have a break from all the funerals. I am really all ‘funeraled’ out.
Yesterday to me was one of those days, I woke up worried because things were not going well at all. I had no appetite, later I got so busy though and at least the day moved along and the nerves were gone, I met a friend in the place I least expected then I looked at my phone and my heart sank, it was a text from my sister it was short and to the point, have you heard Grandma has passed away?
It was shattering, I called my mum and the only thing she could say is “Mum is gone,” my mother was actually there, they had taken her to hospital and she died even before being admitted. There is something about death, you never quite know how to feel about it or how to console those most affected, it just makes you numb sometimes, it shocks and then there is pain, pain in the realization that they are never going to make you laugh again and in an instant all that you shared flashes in your mind and you hope it is a dream that you will wake up from then you realize it is not.
Instead of mourning by crying, I want to eulogize my Grandma Hendrica Wandera. Nahayo, we will miss her, I remember her for he resilience, she one day was a strong hardworking beautiful woman with working legs that arthritis took from her. She was later confined to a wheelchair but she would make you feel ashamed for complaining about your life because despite that she was the most hopeful person you ever saw, she never slept without praying and it’s not a five minute prayer, there would be reading the bible and saying the rosary. Whenever she called and you spoke to her, she would always end with a bible verse for you to read, she never lost faith despite all she went through.
She had a sense of humour too, once she called and we talked and I was in college, she said, “Soma kwa bidii, soma kabisa mpaka ufike mwisho, Onyango asikuje akudanganye uwache kusoma, siku hizi hata wasichana ndio wanasoma kabisa,”(Study hard, study very hard until you finish, do not let Onyango lie to you to stop studying, now days, it is actually girls who study a lot) I cracked up about the Onyango thing and it is unfortunate, she died before I found my Onyango. My grandmother made the most moving speech during my uncles wedding, I was sobbing not even just crying, I am sure she would have made an even better one at mine.
She did not go far in school but she was a linguist she knew how to read swahili very well, she could speak good English, she spoke Khayo, Luo, Teso all fluently. Imagine what she would do if she learnt French, German and the rest.
She inspired me and if I had half the faith she did, I am sure I could do a lot, if I had half the resilience she had, believe me you, I would be President if not more. That is how strong she was, nothing weighed her, through her sickness she fought with all she had and was even the one encouraging us instead of us her.
I could write all day, I just hope I have eulogized her enough for now, I know she is in a better place. May your soul Nahayo, rest in peace. Say hi to Grandpa. Peace be with you.
You have fought the good fight, you have have finished the race and kept the faith. until we meet again sweet grandma.
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