On Valentine’s Day and Other Things

Dear future husband,

For reasons unknown to me right now, I’ve decided to write this letter to you on the 13th day of the 2nd month of the 2nd year of Cardi, 14th or so of Rihanna and about the 20th of Beyonce. I mention them because I want to, not much reason to that. The crazy part though, is that I don’t know you, can’t picture who you are or even point out on a map where for the life of me I will find you. But it’s the day before Valentine’s and I’m just hoping when you read this, you’ll say, “that’s cute!” and smile maybe (fingers crossed.)

As I mentioned before, the “official day of love” is tomorrow and in all my stubbornness I can proudly say I have never celebrated it willingly. I hope you haven’t either. Why? I am a fan of things uniquely catered to individual experiences. I’ve been called a snob for it but I like it that way. So between the two of us, we’ll have celebrations like the day we met, the day we became official and the lot. They’ll mean more to us. There’ll be less unnecessary worldly pressure and all I’ll need really is to spend that time with you. I’m a lousy gift giver so I won’t expect you to be good at it either (if you are good, I’m not complaining, I promise)

Also the day you propose. Getting used to manicured nails so that I’m not caught off guard 🀣

Now as I write this, a few reasons for the letter are coming to me. One of them being the fact that I’m tired of being asked why I haven’t been on a date in 2 years. So this is kind of my explanation for those that keep telling me not to give up on finding you.

First of all, I haven’t given up, I am just working on myself. You must know how hard dating is these days. Sieving through all these people to find you is a lot of work. Just as much as working on me. So I decided, why split my time between two activities when I can pick one and master it? Of course the one I can control won hands down. I didn’t have sleepless nights pondering and it’s working well so far.

In addition to that, I am tired. Tired of having to entertain conversations I’d rather do away with just to seem approachable/ agreeable (I don’t know which word fits best) enough to be dated. Being told I am too picky because I know exactly what I want in you. “Give him a chance,” they say, “being picky will not get you far. Time is running out.” For who though? Funny thing is, I’ve always had a list of what I’d want you to be like. Turning 12 this year, it’s evolved with my age and mindset but a few things have remained constant. Just a few, you shouldn’t be scared. I’m not here to make rules for you to abide by.

I am not in a hurry to find you. Take your time. We will meet when the time is right. Maybe we have met and we both know nothing about it *insert picture of current MCM* The universe knows. So I’m putting this out there, I think that is the right thing to do.

That’s all I have to say for now. I will continue another day when I have more for you.

Your future wife,

Mwanyi 😊

Podcasts & The Freedom of Speech As We Know It

This thread should have been a blog post but I only realised it after I was drifting away in sleep. Let’s leave my life story for now and get to why we are here. Podcasts! 

This is just the first page of my podcast app

A form of entertainment that has been around for a while, I remember The Ricky Gervais Show times, but one that has grown massively in the last 2 years, at least in the UK. Rising out of the need for a relatable voice and unfiltered views, you’d expect that to happen by default.  Especially after seeing how much the mainstream media is focused on agenda. We are in an age where our eyes are open (or should be) and we know our opinions matter more than those of the ones “allowed” to speak. So when I see people complain about how the podcasts are all talking about the same topics, I say a precise “so what” to myself. It honestly doesn’t matter and here’s why.

Mainstream media has talked about the same damn topic (terrorism) for over 16 years now and none of you are complaining. All they do is change how they package it to you but because it’s “established” media, you go with a “that’s the way they are” shrug. I’m not stopping you. Podcasts on the other hand are controlled only by the people that start them. In most cases these are people that feel they have something to say and your mainstream friends will not let them say it. The topics are focused on the buzz issues that we are talking about in both our online and real life circles so of course they will be the same. So instead of focusing on the similar aspects, why not look at how these hosts and their guests think? Look further than just listening for the sake of having something to tweet about and actually pay attention to the delivery. 

New grounds are being broken in the world of media, we should embrace that. Many of these podcasts are in their first and second years of existence. Depending on their consistency, they are still learning either about themselves or how to navigate the world of information and being a platform. Not everyone is media trained. It takes time for a creative to find what makes them who they are when they have no clear blueprint. Definitely not like being a lawyer or doctor where you follow your steps to getting there and you’re good. So when they dabble in the same topics, let them say whatever is on their chest. This is their platform and freedom of speech is extremely difficult to attain these days.

Speaking of which, isn’t it refeshing to listen to raw opinions, having people being read for their filth in various ways? I can tell you for a fact that the way Tolly of The Receipts Podcast will say let people be will be different from the way Skribz of DMD Podcast will say it. Also the way Kelechi says suck your mum in Say Your Mind will differ from when Keith says suck your dad in 3 Shots of Tequila. The sentiment behind it is the same and they’re both handing you straws but I guarantee you it will give you the spice we desperately need in this world of flat tasting views.

It’s already hard to be heard without  being crucified or policed so I’m asking, can we let the podcasts be? You can always skip to the next topic or forego the episode by reading the notes if you’ve had enough of it instead of trying to control their content. It is fair for their growth in the long run and the eventual return of freedom of speech as we once thought of it. 

Happy Birthday to Me πŸ˜ŠπŸŽ‰

Every year, on my birthday, I write a little letter to myself. It’s like a recap for the year I’ve had and a reflection on how far I’ve come in life. Before I was 25, I used to write it in my diary, then I started this blog, and well…

26 was a good year to me. By good I mean I made so many strides personally. Most of them not tangible but not everything should be seen anyway. I started the year on an all time low, slipping back into depression and hating where I was 

The day I turned 26
(of course I smiled for the camera) but I wasn’t checking in mentally and emotionally. Then one day after a harsh conversation with my mum, I made a vision board. The main things on it were

  • To make friends because I was lonely and basically had no social life
  • Have a better social life. One with less alcohol abuse and more interaction with people on a platonic basis
  • Travel at least once in the year
  • The biggest one of all, was to get out of my comfort zone. That included one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Go out alone on a night out or day activity where I’m sure I know no one and enjoy it without the Dutch courage from alcohol. Meaning it was all cocktails and no straight whiskey on ice, my favourite (that chaser life isn’t for me) 

    I am happy to say I got to fulfill all of them! All and more than I bargained for. I discovered new places in London, I went to Carnival on both days and even left with a few numbers (never called any of them though but it’s a milestone, I count it! πŸ˜›) I got some girl friends and I now don’t have to have to go everywhere alone πŸ’ƒπŸΎ

    Left to right: Charmaine, Me, Milka and Mima. And this isn’t half of the friends I made 😊 I had a picture of girls looking like us here on my vision board πŸ™ˆ

    I also found out what I want to do with my career, after a 3 year hiatus! I cannot explain the joy in my parents’ voices when I told them I had decided to go back to school. A rest is all I needed to figure myself out. I was exhausted and now I’m excited to study something new. Before I didn’t care much about it.

    One overall thing I learnt though, is that you need to ask to get anything that requires someone else’s input. It doesn’t hurt to ask. The most you can get is a ‘no’ but that shouldn’t stop you from asking someone else. I found out when I was looking for references for my university application. Having to get what you need through emails is one of the hardest things to do. From writing the perfect one, to the wait for the reply, it’s all gruesome but I did it.

    27 in a few minutes, I feel amazing. I see bigger things happening for me this year. 

    To more years, friendships and eating life like a true baby girl πŸ₯‚

    Real joy from within aka when he says “you smell nice”

    51: Take Me Back to Uganda

    Take me back to Uganda, the land of my people. The place where most of my kin live. Where I can decide I need a hug from my grandmother during a tough day at work and get it by the end of the day. The city, Kampala, is small enough for me to navigate after work and still be home in time for dinner and a good night’s sleep.

    Take me back to the place where I don’t need an AC on the hottest days nor a heater on the coldest ones because it’s right at the Equator. And we all know tropical weather is the best. The place where I smell the soil when it rains, and the clean air after the skies clear. Where I can climb a tree to pick my fresh fruit instead of walking into Sainsbury’s to buy one that lacks the sweetness of a fruit that’s lived it’s full life out on the tree.

    Take me back to the place where I see and talk to my parents everyday if I want to. I can still talk to them now, but I miss their facial expressions. Their faces say much more than the words. I want to dance to kadongo kamu and Zouk with them and talk about more than just how I’m getting on. I want to attend my cousins’ weddings with them (can’t lie, I miss being my mother’s handbag) and share opinions after. I miss hearing my dad say, “mbalesse!” To my mum and I as we get ready to leave the house.

    Take me to back to my brothers. They may be a source of my stress sometimes but we do have some good times when they aren’t ganging up against me. Calling me names and shit. I learnt to hold my own too though. Always a good laugh

    Take me to my friends! Lizzie, Mandy, Phoebe, and Irene. The mad girls that brighten up my WhatsApp now. I need the tea and chapati/samosa moments. I have them after church now but without my girls it isn’t the same. Plus it’s church, I really cannot say have the same conversations I have with them.

    Come on, just take me! At least before winter or my next birthday.

    50: Prayer & Listening to your gut

    “We pray to God for what we want but sometimes we are too pig-headed to listen to what He is trying to tell us.” – Victor Nambago (aka my uncle)

    0dd87faaac1d6aa9f7f6702c53b45444--black-love-black-is-beautiful

    Ever prayed for something and heard your heard tell you another? An example is when you are in a tough situation, let’s say a relationship, you pray for it to be fixed but God or the Universe is telling you to pray for yourself to heal after the whole ordeal has ended. It happens to me A LOT! Now I am not a very spiritual person. I cannot even say I am that prayerful either. In fact sometimes when things are looking mad for me and I decide to pray to God, I feel guilty asking for help. Simply because I don’t feel I am faithful enough to be rewarded. I have a complicated relationship with spirituality but that’s a story for another day.

    The story that inspired this post is short but it is going to sound really weird to some who read it. Just last week, my mother called me to tell me that an aunt of mine, who had fought and won the battle against breast cancer last year, had been hospitalised again. The cancer had spread further into her body and hadn’t been noticed the first time. The instructions to me were to PRAY! And I did, I honestly did. Over the weekend though, whenever I prayed for her to recover, my conscience would change it to a prayer for her to rest in peace. Now as someone that chose (quite recently) to always listen to her intuition, I was bothered! I kept asking myself why I was fighting to pray for the right thing. Of course no one wants to lose their loved one. I was not getting the answer I was looking for. Until today, when I woke up to the news that my aunt had lost the battle. It was baffling that I wasn’t shocked. Of course I was devastated that a family member has left us but it didn’t hit me as hard as I expected. It’s until I shared my thoughts with my uncle that he cleared it up for me.

    So what’s the moral of the story? Your intuition, God and the Universe all tell us different things all the time but our “all knowing” brains never listen. We think logic is everything and when stuff we cannot explain or work out happens, we are shocked. Most times in the deepest parts of our guts we know the truth. Don’t ignore your gut.

    RIP Auntie, till we meet again on the other side.

    49: Evaluating My Decisions

    Or taking stock, whatever you may want to call it.

    Things in my life are falling into place. Slowly, but they’re still falling into place. Not in the order I wanted them to according to my vision board though. I honestly will not complain about the order because I’m still getting what I wanted to anyway. I am grateful! The time has come for me to ask myself the questions I have put aside for 6 months (I knew they would come up but answering them at that time would have left me in confusion and made me stall) I’m a big time procrastinator, getting stalled is not a joke!

    So the questions! It’s basically the usual ones;

    • Am I heading down the right path?
    • Am I getting fulfilment from the life I’m living?
    • Am I following through with my goals? (It has to be asked when you have a habit of getting lost in the sauce like I do) Let’s be honest, it’s good for focus but not for moving forward or knowing when to end. 
    • Am I balancing the scales of my life while at it?

    Out of all of them, the last one is the most important. I’ve always found it hard to strike a good balance with the mess in my head. I focus on one thing to forget the other, especially when it proves to be hard. I keep it until it’s impossible to avoid then I work on it. It is a horrible habit. I am working hard to beat it…

    Still loving myself 😊

    48: Healing

    I have been away for a while and like the title says, I have been all about the healing process. Not that much has happened in my life. Let’s be honest, it’s basically been a work-home routine. Sometimes life gets at you and you forget the extras that add sprinkles to it. It’s not the reason I have taken time off to heal though. I have just been drained emotionally for a while.

    Since election time, to be precise, I had decided to go against all my promises to myself and engage in the media fully. I couldn’t afford to be ignorant at at a time like this. My Constitution said I had to know. We all have to. What I had didn’t take into account was why I weaned myself off the news in the first place by at least 80%. It takes a lot of energy from me!

    For the past 6 years, I have been taking in only the main points in the news. No details, no emotional drain. Actually, I read the little strips at the bottom of the screen whenever the anchors are talking (their rehearsed voices are noise to me.) It has been my way of life and it has worked perfectly for me. As an empath, it is what I can manage. I seek out emotional energy naturally. I see joy, sadness and pain and I take it on like it’s my own. This is why the news messes up my system. It is also the reason why I stay away from hospitals and avoid all eye contact if I have to be in one. I read more than I want to see in faces and voices around me so I have to control what I take in to stay emotionally balanced.

    These past weeks have had a lot of pain and suffering in the news. Not to say that it is more than ever, but because I have been indulging in more of it every day, to me it is more magnified. My worry, anxiety and anger have escalated. Sometimes to boiling point but because I lack ways ways to describe it, it’s come out in tears (also the easiest form of expression for me.) The situation got so bad that I haven’t slept properly in a while. That, coupled with the heat, has had me sleeping for about 4 hrs and less every night. I’ve basically been living on coke and coffee for the days I’ve been working (thank God there’s an endless supply of both at work or I would have been in crippling debt.)

    With all that going on, I’ve been slowly burning out and not replenishing my reserves. Last good break I got was an hour sitting buy the river watching the water. It was calming but I need more. So starting next weekend, I’m going to chill for a bit. I still have work lined up for the next 5 or so days, I cannot run away yet. I need to flush my system, spend time with my classical music, zoned out and enjoying the world on mute! I can’t lie, most people are so loud! Especially on Twitter but that’s a story for another day. I’m getting me some healing 😊

    Some skittles? No? Okay, I guess my sweet tooth should be thankful for your decline 😊

    47: Humanity still has it’s beauty

    Today I woke up at 6:30 am to a call from my dad, asking me whether I had seen the news on the fire in London. My first thought was, “Huh?! What is he talking about?” After our conversation ended, I went to my first news source, Twitter, to see what was going on. I didn’t expect the sight my eyes met with. A fire so large engulfing Grenfell Tower that it deserved the inferno from hell description it got. I read the accounts from the survivors, witnesses and everyone that was at the scene at the time. I read about how the tenants had warned their landlord about the hazard that was the building. I am not here to point fingers but to cut the long story short, it was enough for me to say that a lot of negligence went on. It has been a dark day, watching the horror being fought by the fire brigade, people frantically looking for their loved ones. It is all heartbreaking.

    With all this darkness however, there is always a silver lining. Something that makes you think we, as humans, are not as savage as we are played out to be. The response from everyone, making donations both at the refuge centres and online, offering their homes to the now destitute tenants. They have lost everything and people have come up in all ways they can to provide for them. It’s been a beautiful sight today. Humanity still has its beauty tucked under all the filth we manage to see everyday on the news (there’s almost no positivity broadcasted these days!) As much help is needed, not just today, but until the victims of the fire are rehoused and they pick up with their lives. So I am sharing a few go fund me pages I have seen on my time line so far. Every little helps.

    Grenfell Tower Fire Fund by Charmaine Hayden

    Marvin Abbey Grenfell Tower Fund

    These two are the ones that have made it to my time line so far. Started by two people who have decided to take the initiative they want to see around them. It’s a beautiful one, support them where you can.

    May the souls of the departed Rest in Peace and may all the ones affected otherwise by the fire be comforted and continue to receive the love they have been shown today.

    People-coming-together-as-a-community-can-make-things-happen.-Jocob-Rees-Mogg

    46: I Drew A Blank

    I don’t know why, it just happened. It happened last week. I had a lot to say, and I drew a blank. Trying to recollect my mind in my notes now. Nothing much for me to say yet. The mind is sometimes it’s own entity. When it runs to a halt, you let it be. I learned early not to force anything. Take the break when you need it. Always do, it’s self care. You have got to take the initiative yourself. No one is going to be there to tell you to take care of yourself or better still, make you do it. No one! Unless your being unwell costs them a lot. And even then, they’d rather let you go than bother with you. Sounds tough but that is the world we’re in.

    I drew a blank, and I am taking the time off to fix it because I care about me first 😊

    Here is a picture of a canal somewhere in Uxbridge for you to enjoy. See the swan? It’s beautiful, isn’t it 😊

    45: Drew Barrymore

    The song by SZA, not the actress. My first listen of CTRL, SZA’s new album and this song is already on replay. Track number 4! I haven’t gone through the whole list to 14 yet, but I’ve decided in my heart of hearts that this one is where I’m camping for now. See, it’s gotten me in my feelings. Deep! Much further than I want to go on this Friday night. A night where scrolling the timeline is dangerous for my thoughts. I was better off bingeing a series till bedtime.

    See SZA sings about the insecurities and questions I have often asked myself whenever I fall in love, have a crush or generally have someone I’m interested in. Am I warm enough? Am I too clingy? Am I in love, interested, or just lonely? All these harsh questions but without asking if the other person is worth it all. It’s amazing what I have put myself through for love. 

    I get so lonely, I forget what I’m worth
    We get so lonely, we pretend that this works
    I’m so ashamed of myself think I need therapy-y-y-y
    I’m sorry I’m not more attractive
    I’m sorry I’m not more ladylike
    I’m sorry I don’t shave my legs at night
    I’m sorry I’m not your baby mama
    I’m sorry you got karma comin’ to you
    Collect and soak in it right

    Second verse is my favourite 😊 I have nothing more to say, more like I lost my train of thought. Just listen to the album.