Single mother, kenyan version

Adulting

It has been more than a minute since anything substantial was posted on this platform. This so called platform was meant to be my salvation to the daily routine of an average-income-earning-single-Kenyan mother – Goodness gracious, that is such a mouthful- but, that wasn’t the case. I ended up on a rut, posting seemingly uninteresting stories. I guess i got bored too. I do not do well writing fiction or other peoples stories that have no connection to MY life story. it is no wonder then, i experienced a self inflicted writer’s block.

fast forward to 2017. Single mother status still stands. It has been nine years and counting. She – yes, I have a girl – just interrupted my affair with you my audience, to ask a math question. Apparently she only knows one sign, i,e ÷ as the division sign as opposed to knowing there are about three (if I am not wrong, which highly likely i might be, loathed math back in the day, possibly why i think I have a shot at writing or blogging….). I had to convince her that what she saw was just as legit a division sign. She insisted on changing it, as opposed to finding a solution to the question. This is just the beginning to many a tales about this pre-teen and my role in both our lives.

The life of a single mother in Kenya falls in two categories; the co-parenting single mother and the ultimate single mother. I will focus on the latter and specifically so, the medium income earner. Granted, single motherhood comes in various forms. Focus will be on those who had children out of wedlock and specifically we who are, what society calls ‘statistic’. I will not delve into the statistics though but I will mention this, in 2013, a research concluded that the single mother phenomena was on a rise in Kenya. With three in ten girls becoming pregnant, under the age of eighteen. That is a story for another day. Today, we are going to be enlightened about the typical single mother. Case study, ME.

I got pregnant at age twenty six.  Had my future plans in a pretty little journal and had one belief and plan about parenthood – if i was not going to get pregnant by the time i was twenty-six, I was never going to have a child. It was a good belief but a stupid plan. You either plan and believe to have a child by a certain age or you simply don’t. Anyway, as my good Lord would have it, I got knocked up at the ‘right’ time and since marriage was a no-no for me, I decided to go at it solo. After all, I had an income and if I could afford to spend it on meaningless endeavors, then I had found a profound purpose as to why I was employed – wrong reasoning.

I am still employed, I earn more than I did when I got knocked up and frankly, I don’t work for my child. It was a conscious decision to go at it (parenthood), single-handedly, yes, but it took a whole other look at life to realise that :

  1. Raising children is shitty business.
  2. Raising children, solely, dents your single income in an unforgiving way.
  3. Raising a girl, let us just say, is no mean feat; you want her in the best company, best school and frankly you just don’t want her making the same or worse off silly mistakes you did.
  4. Raising a girl child is daunting. Single parent or not. You want her to know all there is about positive feminism (is there negative feminism?).

So how do you juggle your average income versus your need to bring up your child in the best possible environment? You invest and you save and you sacrifice. Actually there is a sequence, you sacrifice so as to save and invest. If you are like me and have established that you don’t need a man, you work girl and your work hard at all you do. You strive for perfection. You give it all you got.

I will recommend Taking up insurance policies such as education. Invest in assets and any other kind of investments you deem pocket friendly. I know you are asking, ‘what viable investment options do I have considering my average income’, well,  I will share investment options for we average earning mothers in another post.

There is another question now, do you stop dating and dismiss all men? Especially once you have it figured out or have a plan in place.  Well, this is a personal decision. Women were and are blessed with the ability to forego the pleasures of the flesh. But what about adult male company,  the typical adult conversation over a nice meal or a movie or a beautiful glass of whiskey (or fresh juice) you ask. Well, my sister, you have it all in your willpower to call the shots for whatever arrangement you deem fit. I will say this though, you are more empowered by God, on and by your side, than you are by a fling, a relationship, a gourmet, refined liqour or a phallus. You got this. If you need any adult conversation, come to my blog. We’ll figure it out.

There are days, I feel like ‘ what did i get myself into’. These are days when she is sick and it just flared up in the wee hours of the night. Or when she asks, ‘ so, I have no daddy’ or when i feel i need some male arms around me, comforting me and telling me it is all going to be alright. Then I remember, all men I have seen out, at night, partying while their newborns are back home, or men with children and a wife back home, trotting out of a party in the early hours of the morning and I remember my case scenario. Right then, I thank God for the opportunity to be there every step of the way,  every good, every bad and even the shitty.  I remind myself that God has plans for me, plans for you, to make US prosper. All we gotta do, is do our part, to our very best and let him do His thing. He’s got us.

 

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Adulting.

When I was in my early twenties, I was a sucker for love. I loved love, and love, well, she had her moments and boy did she teach me lessons. Did I listen? No. Did I learn from her? Eventually, yes. Was/is the lesson to be shared? No. Each one of us learns in our own way and no one love experience warrants it to be a guide for a perfect relationship.

I was nineteen. He was twenty three and so good looking i felt the stars were finally aligned in my favour. I should have realised that was not a boost to my self esteem, but we live and we learn. Finally, all the high school divas and drama queens could suck it. Somone saw the ‘tomboy’ in me and loved it and he was HOT! (I was not a tomboy, i simply enjoyed buggy tees and pants).

I was a good girl. Good girls don’t give it up to the first guy who hits on them, good girls wait for Mr.Hot and for three months to see if he’ll stick around then decide to give it up, (for their first time) , before he loses interest. Mr.Hot took my precious and with that came the most exhilarting four years of a relationship. (What? you thought he’d bolt after he accomplished our goal? – yes, OURS, I’d decided to was either him or a convent).

I had heard tales of how the first time is a nightmare and easily craeted a crime scene ‘down there’ and on the sheets. But mine was beautiful. I think that is when I fell in love, for the first time, with (awesome) sex. Although that evening (yes, it was a beautiful countryside evening), I wondered what the fuss about sex was all about. After all, it didn’t take as long as it did in the movie scenes and it was all messy and the sounds – in this case from the man – were anything but sexy. Ladies, you know what I mean, right. I mean, a man can turn us on during the ahem with his oratory skills (pun so intended), but those groans… ayayai… Hands down, moans are sexier than groans.

I was faithful. Something tells me he wasn’t. Ours was a distance kind of relationship and back then I didn’t appreciate that men, well, those older than teenagers they’re dating, need a little ooomph. Who am I kidding though, right?! ALL men need that oomph, if you arent there to provide it, someone else is. So after four years, my curiosity couldnt take it any longer. I needed to know what was out there. Were all men the same in the sack? Did they all make noises before they came? Did they have the same shape of dicks? (heck No!) What was it like to give myself to another man? And so I took the plunge. Also I was busted.

Four years of lessons learnt from love, did I mention we once got engaged? I didnt right? We did. We were two fools madly in love. I blame him though, for introducing the older me to cynicism. He was older, he should have held the reigns tighter. Onto the next two years.

I was twenty three. Twenty three year old me knew about safe sex, contraceptives, a man whos aura reeked of  an  awesome one night stand affair and a man who was not worth my attention. Coincidentally, it’s around this time that a tarvel bug hit me. I wanted to eat, love and discover the 20s me. Something tells me I skip the details of this part and go straight to my late twenties, because this is one period that i tend to believe heightened my disbelief in relationships. However, for the sake of curiosity, I will say this – my early twenties were embodied with drugs, sex, partying – lots of this – and basically less culinary affairs.Fortunately, it was a brief eight month old stunt and as we all know, there is no place like home. I packed my bags and with one last look in the mirror, decided it was time to give myself a break.

In the course of my break, I don’t know what it is about my aura but men are ever drawn to it (I have to blow my own trumpet), I met this beautiful human being. I was at a bar with a male friend. It was a Thursday night. A chilly one, we’d gone to have a few and catch up and wait for traffic to ease before making our way home. He was sitted alone by the bar, and from both our angles we could see each other whenever he turned his head. He had long hair that made him look older than his actual age. He came over to say hello (instant turn on, his gutsy gait that is). After the pleasantries and I insisting that my friend was actually A friend, he asked I join him. I did. I shouldnt have.

Fast forward to the following night. We met at my hotel and needless to say, the obvious happened. We dated, for two years. I should have stuck to my guns. I was on a break, from all matters relationship, why did he have to be there that Thursday. See, Mr.Beautiful wanted a long term relationship. He’d pictured us, with me having bore him 3 babies with a white picket fence that wed’d ‘patent’ with the babies’ hand prints. I just wanted to party, travel, explore cullinary delicacies and sex occasionaly. It’s at this time that I coincidentally met Mr.Cold. It made it easy for me to exit Mr.Beautiful’s life, however, to this day, I wish I had left us cordially. As much as I didn’t share in the love he had for me, he was a nice guy and I hope wherever he is, he never let’s his hair grow too long. It always masked his youth and his beauty.

it’s hard for any man to understand my values when it comes to relationships. Along the way, as I tried to discover ME albeit unsuccesfully, I met Mr.Love. I stuck it out with Mr.Cold because I thought I was too old to be chased after or to chase after the elusive teenage love version. Mr. Love however, showed me a different side to it all. It was possible to let go of all fears and to love wholly and completely. The only downside to this show was that I wasn’t ready. Deep down, Im still on a break from all matters relationship. Yes, I party less now, in fact, rarely. I read love stories a bit more now, I focus on things that grow me, I try to maintain the little wanderlust I have and I focus on relationships that build me.

Mr.Cold. I could walk away from him, I should have done it a long time ago. I feel worn out and without energy to do so and so, we exist. Why does he stick around though. Deep down he must know I don’t love him. anymore. Because he became cold and unlovable. Yet he chains me to his existence Mr. Love came into my life at a time I was ready to pull another 23 year old me stunt, but I saw his aura. It was different. It was good, really good. It was deep and I wanted so bad to be in his depths and to feel what he felt about love. I wanted to smell love, I wanted to love without a care in the world, I wanted to believe in my depths of emotions. But, I am Miss Cold now. I harbour no depths. No beliefs in love. No beliefs in commitments. Yet here is a man, who shows me that I deserve to be chased after, age notwithstanding, that if I let go of the reigns in my depths, I will find release.

This new decade I am in, we infamously call it adulting. It hurts me to not be able to express a gift, freely given by God to another that expresses it to me. Sometimes I want to let Mr.Love go. To let him know he’s better off without this elusive love from me. But he sees my depths too. He knows I am capable of showing depths unchartered. He however fails to let me grow in my own stride. That is why Mr.Cold remains my master and I his slave. He knows not to ask for my depths. He manipulates and controls it instead.

 

THE OTHER (WO) MAN

TOW

Theirs was a typical office affair that started off on a rather interesting twist of events. I will call her Bella – you know like the twilight character who was into two weirdos but chose to go for the blood sucking one and dismissed the howling wolf who interestingly fell for her half human-half blood sucking daughter, when she was just an infant. That’s not only fiction but it’s also highly questionable. well I hope it is/was fiction. Deep down, (and let’s keep this between us) I believe there are vampires. These are the do good-kind though and don’t have humans for dinner, however the whole man-turns-into-wolf melodrama…Nah. That I don’t buy, there is no way our bones can contort to that extent and where would the fur come from? And let’s not forget the tail. And the four limbs.

Back to Bella and Mr. X… that sounds too cliché, right? Let’s see, what name will we give our guy that will depict his demeanor as aptly as possible. Let’s call him Ben. Bella met Ben on a random evening in one of the local hotels in town. Her clandé had just landed that morning and after a raunchy welcome, they decided to go for a quick bite and call it a night. At this quick bite joint is where they met a few guys from the office, oh yes, the clandé was a colleague too but from the Head-quarters in the City.

After the usual niceties and greetings at the eateries and some awkward silence, Bella couldn’t help but feel someone was staring at her and so she glanced around the table and locked eyes with Ben. They both looked away embarrassed. Bella had to leave, she couldn’t stand being there. There was a weird aura about the whole situation (or maybe it was too obvious to the others what sins she and clandé had committed) and so she excused herself.

Their first meet – (don’t ask how numbers were exchanged, long story short, it happened) – was at a new bar that had opened in town. They had a long talk about work, life and all matters general. They got along easily, laughed at the same jokes and enjoyed the same T.V shows and movies. They had a flare they felt made them feel like they had known each other for ages. Truth be told, their sexual chemistry was palpable. Interestingly he did not hide the fact that he was happily married, she didn’t hide the fact she wasn’t out to break his happy home.

When Bella got home that night, she felt an overwhelming sense of joy. She had never felt such a connection with any man. Ben said all the right things, when she complained about work he understood her perfectly, they had talked endlessly about their future plans and marveled at each other’s present achievements. Why didn’t she feel this way with Alex? Her boyfriend. Was it because they had dated for four years and were at the “comfortable stage?” Alex was always there for her although he never understood half of what she talked about when she complained about work and he never listened, you know? Like really give her his full attention whenever they talked. Especially when a football game was on! The Sex was great, so what about Ben made her feel so giddy? Her thoughts drifted back to Ben, when he saw her off their arms lingering, grazing each other, she had never wanted anyone as much as she wanted him. Right there and right then. Damn, what was wrong with her! Just a slight graze of their arms and she was already hot for him?! They hadn’t even gone on a date and she wasn’t intending to but whatever was happening, she didn’t mind the nervous yet happy feeling she had.

The following morning after resisting the urge to text him, she woke up to a text from him; Ben : “Arrived home safely. Miss you already. Talk tomorrow”. That was the beginning of Bella’s first affair. The following morning and many days thereafter, they got to know more about each other. He talked about his wife, opened up about his marital woes and she provided the caring ear and shoulder whenever he was down. They spent Saturday nights shacked up in hotel room after hotel room. He said he had never met a woman like her and that he was afraid he was falling in love. She said he had a loving wife and he was highly likely in lust – they would shag for the third time that night and fall asleep in each other’s arms, see theirs was a friendship built on lust and whether either one of them knew or not, it didn’t matter then. They had become junkies to each other’s lust, comfort, understanding and one was a fix of / for the other.

Ben and Bella tried to keep their affair a secret just like it is dictated in the “Affairs Dos and Don’ts manual” but it wasn’t easy. Working for the same company meant they were in the same circles more often than not and try as they may to keep a distance during official functions, he could never keep his eyes off her and the number of times they sneaked in a quickie during such functions made the chemistry pretty obvious. Rumors began milling around but they cared less, until the day SHE confronted him.

The truth is he made time for HER, always and at first it was no big deal to Bella and in fact she encouraged him but as time went by and their closeness grew, it began gnawing on her. Bella was getting to that point where she had promised herself she wouldn’t – getting jealous whenever he couldn’t meet her because of Her or whenever he cancelled plans they had made because of Her. Try as she could, she was getting uncomfortable sharing Ben.

A typical day in the office encompassed many a phone call, texting and online chatting;

Bella:  baby am online!!

sorry was caught up

Sent at 5:19 PM on Wednesday

Ben: I missed you

Sent at 5:32 PM on Wednesday

Ben:  and guess what, my lunch never ‘came’

Bella: wanna do hotdogs after work?

Ben:  I wanna do you

Bella: *blush*

Sent at 5:35 PM on Wednesday

Ben:  raincheck…

Bella:  bummer

Sent at 5:38 PM on Wednesday

Ben:  WE be in town

Sent at 5:39 PM on Wednesday

Was she really sharing Ben though? Didn’t she have Alex and Patrick on her beck and call? And she was still seeing clandé too. Oh Bella, Bella, Bella, the epitome of a world-class bitch. (well maybe not world-class, but you get my drift).

Bella had a boyfriend and his name was Alex. Bella had another steady boyfriend and his name was Patrick and Bella was still seeing clandéwhenever he was in town. Alex and Patrick were the stable boyfriends and clandé was the one whose shags she could not just get enough of. Or so she thought.

So why two steady boyfriends? It’s simple really. Alex loved her more than she loved him but was a tad bit of a miser. Patrick loved her more than she loved him and was as magnanimous in his loving as a King is to his queen (and he treated her like a queen) and clandé was well, a clandé. Nothing to write home about there. And then there was Ben. He was her Alex-Patrick-clandé all wrapped up in one, the only upside, he was married. That made it all the easier for her not to commit to him as well. How did she juggle all four men? Other than Ben, the other three lived in different towns.

Ben was crushed when SHE confronted him about his philandering ways. He was however man enough not to deny it. As they talked about it during one of their rendezvous, Bella couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy. He seemed torn between his new-found escape from reality and his “real” reality. Bella decided it was time to pull the plug.

Ben:  why does the thought of losing you freak me out?

Sent at 5:04 PM on Tuesday

Bella:  Because I am your missing rib   (Really Bella, really? Could you be any more cheesy!)

Ben:  i can’t reconcile myself to being without you

Sent at 5:06 PM on Tuesday

Bella: why

Ben:  I feel an emptiness just at the thought

Sent at 5:11 PM on Tuesday

Ben:  in you i find acceptance of who i am

Understanding of who i am

you are the only person i can tell anything

without fear that you will judge

Sent at 5:14 PM on Tuesday

Bella liked him, a lot but he had too much baggage but she had to break up with him……..

Bella:  And I know you will never break up with me, so its up to me to do so….and it sucks

Sent at 11:24 AM on Wednesday

Ben:  I promise to try to make it easier (Liar)

Sent at 11:30 AM on Wednesday

Bella:  F*** you 🙂  this isn’t easy for me either.

Sent at 11:31 AM on Wednesday

Ben:  you smile

Bella:  I don’t even know why I sent a smiley

Ben:  seriously though what does breaking up entail

Sent at 11:34 AM on Wednesday

Bella:  I don’t know.

okay, breaking up as in the real meaning?

Sent at 11:39 AM on Wednesday

Ben:  THAT I CANT HANDLE

at least let it be gradual

IF AT ALL

Sent at 11:42 AM on Wednesday

Bella:  baby, stop with the caps. It’s freaking me out.

and what exactly does gradual mean?

Ben:  can’t seem to help it. I feel heartbroken

Sent at 11:45 AM on Wednesday

Bella:  what exactly does gradual mean?

Sent at 11:53 AM on Wednesday

Ben:  I can’t take a break up with you baby

Bella:  Don’t you want me happy?

Sent at 11:57 AM on Wednesday

Ben:  baby….

Sent at 11:59 AM on Wednesday

Bella:  yes..

Ben:  you know that I want you happy and wish you happiness

Sent at 12:04 PM on Wednesday

Bella:  but..

Sent at 12:08 PM on Wednesday

Ben:  no buts I want you happy

Sent at 12:20 PM on Wednesday

Bella:  Isn’t it a bit selfish if you want me all to yourself and I don’t have the same with you? (Bella you bitch!)

Sent at 12:31 PM on Wednesday

Ben:  sigh

Sent at 12:42 PM on Wednesday

Bella:  that’s not an answer

Sent at 12:45 PM on Wednesday

Ben:  okay baby fine. we break up. for your happiness we do.

Sent at 12:46 PM on Wednesday

Bella:  Fine

Sent at 12:51 PM on Wednesday

Bella:  By you tell me, you tell it to my face what you just said..

*but

Sent at 12:58 PM on Wednesday

Ben:  you know it’s hard for me

or you wanna see how hard

Sent at 1:03 PM on Wednesday

Bella:  Here is what we are going to do..

this break up will happen, not today

so status quo remains

Sent at 1:10 PM on Wednesday

Ben:  until when

Bella:  right now I am not thinking straight..I am upset, confused, randy and    pissed at my boss..

so until I get my act together

Sent at 1:40 PM on Wednesday

Ben:  Ok. got a lot in my basket too

Sent at 1:43 PM on Wednesday

Bella: Okay baby. Is it about her procedure tomorrow?

Sent at 5:43 PM on Wednesday

Ben: Yes it is. See you for a drink tonight?

Bella: Sure, same place?

Ben: No.. tonight we don’t do the usual. Go home and put on the LBD. Will pick you up at 7.30. No undies…..

[TO BE CONTINUED…..]

OLD SCHOOL VS ‘NEW’ SCHOOL

old school

This particular one was inspired by a good friend. It was a rainy Tuesday in my Tropical City. We were unwinding, not after a long day’s work. He was on holiday, I was in between jobs. Before then, we had indulged in what I’d promised myself to be my last French-fries meal of the year (it was my third of the week). So, to make the guilt more bearable, we decided no other remedy would work on such short notice other than alcohol. In any case, all gyms were closed by then. Plus neither one of us was a member to any.

We were in a nice little spot that I liked to call The Joint. More often than not the music was lousy but the service was incredible, the toilets – cleanest in town- and the beers, somewhat price friendly. Also there was ample and secure parking. On this particular night, they were mixing it up a little better than usual. A CB track here (lame) and an Aaliyah track there. Donell Jones, Naughty by nature, R Kelly (back when he was Aaliyah’s number one fan) and basically no tracks saying ‘you can eat my booty like groceries’. As we nodded our heads to the awesome tracks that were/are what real music is all about, my thoughts wandered;

I was fresh from high school with no clue as to what boys were all about and with no interest in them whatsoever. I had found a new kind of interest though and it was to be found at the bottom of say, six cans. Seriously, shouldn’t it have bothered me that as my peers were getting to more than second base with their male partners, I was more interested in sampling alcoholic beverages. I hadn’t even had my first kiss yet.

One particular gentleman was on my case. He claimed he was in love with me and I was the love of his life. I told him I wasn’t interested and was pursuing a new kind of love affair where no feelings or emotions were involved and it was bound to be a long term affair. That mine was a journey into self discovery and I only had one ticket and it was in a brown bottle. He pursued me for a pretty long time and we became pretty close as time went by.

Before I knew it I was off to campus. The realm of all places amazing, promising to provide a map to discovering one’s true self. I left Mr. Gentleman and all that was familiar to dive into unchartered water and boy was I excited. My mother never took her time to talk to me about sex. However I had vowed I would only give it up to the one man I would fall in love with and he would be my husband and together we’d jet off into the sunset and live happily ever after (or was that the effect of too much Mills and Boon).

Life in my new home was anything but friendly; the foxes – both male and female – could smell fresh meat from the moment we walked in through the gate. Lesbians were on my case and young men were constantly harassing me. I had thought my tom boyish ways would do nothing to appeal to these hyenas, I guess I was wrong. They could smell the sexual naivety any time I walked by in my dorky glasses and baggy jeans. They knew underneath all that façade, was a wild cat ready to run wild! *chuckle*

I did a pretty good job of keeping all the foxes at bay and I also found out I was a heterosexual. Before I knew it, a year had gone by and all the foxes, or is it hyenas, had given up on their pursuit to introduce me to canal pleasures. All, except Dan. The short guy with a weird demeanor who wore his jeans way below his butt and somehow it always remained intact. I always waited for the moment it’d drop to the ground, it never did. He was a unique guy and all he ever talked about were his ‘female conquests’ and how he was the Christian Grey of our time. Even I knew anyone who blew his own HORN, had no horn worth blowing. *adjusts hood and walks away*

Back home Gentleman was still waiting for my frozen heart to melt and see he was the only man meant for me. Time had gone by so fast, we’d known each other for five years now and as much as I hated to admit it, campus life was creating a wedge, I was keeping more and more information from him. Like my first kiss. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and I knew it’d kill him if he found out.

I don’t know whether it was his relentless pursuit of me or his bad boy wannabe demeanor but somehow I was beginning to get weird hot flushes and butterflies whenever Dan boy sent silly text messages, or came to my dining table to bug me or whenever he stalked me with a bougainvillea in his hand. He had weird sense of humor – he knew I hated flowers.

Before long, we began taking walks, talking about where we are from, things we hated, his prowess in all matters female and his love for my dorky specs which he swore turned him on every time. During these walks, He’d light up a cigarette and I’d admonish him for it then he’d pass it to me and I’d throw it away, he’d light up another and say he loved me. I’d hate feel the hot flushes creeping up my rosy cheeks, thank God it was dark…and I was dark.

Gentleman began feeling the distance. I was less inclined to talk about my escapades and he complained. He wanted to know who was now dating who, whether my pregnant roomie had decided to keep the baby or do ‘the needful’. Whether Dan was still prowling the campus pathways like the macho dude he wasn’t and whether I still felt that the cafeteria French fries tasted like cotton wool dipped in glue. One Sunday morning while still inebriated, I told him I had found someone and I was in love. He asked me if I had done it yet, I told him that was none of his business and if anything everyone was doing it and he can go figure.

I felt sick to my stomach; the last thing I wanted was for him thinking about me in the arms of a man who barely knew me. Whose carnal knowledge of me superseded that of any other man. A man who taught me how to love and hate him with the same intensity. I was a junkie and he was my fix.

Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t introduce me to drugs or become abusive or do any crazy bad things to me. Simply put, he got me, it’s like he could read my mind every time. He could tell when I was on my menses are about to be, just by how I behaved or as he always said, my ‘girls’ looked/felt like. He knew how to handle me in whichever mood I was in, it’s like he was infused in my body.

I felt it was wrong to fall so deep for a man and have such intense feelings that the world came to a stand still whenever I thought about losing him. You may call it ‘The First effect’ – you know, when females go ga ga over their first, but that wasn’t it. I had genuinely fallen in love with a guy I least expected to. We lasted four years.

New School

I moved back home after campus, my job search earnestly began and Gentleman was still in my hometown. We easily rekindled our friendship. We laughed at our jokes, had many lunches together and basically made up for lost time. He never asked about Dan, I hoped he never would. It was a painful memory in more ways than one. I guess he thought and felt, he still won in the war of love. I was back and he had another shot at making me see he could love me to the moon and back. Heck, if an ***hole such as Dan could, he’d do it a million times better. He was wrong.

The same year he started dating a bi-spectacled young lass. He told me things were serious and even though I had eluded his advances and undying love, I’ll always be his only true love. I told him to stop wasting his ‘lines’ on me and go wife the ass out of Lass.

Fortunately, I landed a job in a fancy multinational company. I was in the marketing department. We were two new broads in the department. We instantly hit a rapport. We were both single, enjoyed unwinding from what was coincidentally our local (bar) and had plenty to talk about.

Nancy and I became close friends in no time. We even had a number of sleep overs where we’d drink ourselves silly and do self improvised karaoke stunts and cry and laugh. We talked about our present conquests – both professionally and personally – and encouraged each other in all matters that added value in our lives.

One evening as we were heading home we bumped into Gentleman. He was looking sharp in a white shirt, blue pair of jeans and a nice pair of black loafers. I introduced the two of them and after a short ‘how-are-you’ conversation, went our way. Nancy suggested we go for two before going home and since I had time to spare (okay I was single and had no one waiting for me at home other than the doorman) I agreed. On our fourth beer, she asked me whether Gentleman and I were ‘having a thing’. I almost choked on my gulp and I told her no (preceded by a curse word beginning with F). I explained I had known him for a pretty long time and although he had been interested in me at first, we had grown to be good friends and he had just started seeing someone and it seemed serious.

That year during the staff Christmas party, I was by the bar and I overheard Nancy on her phone saying, ‘yes, I am sure she…. but we should….her. I’ll see you tonight?’ I thought nothing of it, grabbed my double scotch-whiskey and went by a window. It was a star filled night, street lights shone and from that twenty-sixth floor, my tropical city looked beautiful and although I was going to spend the holidays cuddled up in my sofa watching re-runs of my favorite sitcom, I felt hopeful. Nancy interrupted my reverie, she was bidding me good night. It was barely mid night and usually during such parties we’d be the last to leave. She said she wasn’t feeling very well and needed to lie down, I volunteered to take her home but insisted she didn’t want to ruin my night and that she’d take a cab. Nonchalantly I let her go.

The night didn’t feel so awesome after Nancy left. I tried to drown my negative thoughts with more liquor but that only fueled the thoughts. – Single-childless-me would die alone and no one would find my decomposing body until maggots had infiltrated every inch of my face and I was barely recognizable. Before any more nasty thoughts found their way into my mind, I grabbed my handbag and decided I couldn’t spend Christmas night feeling sorry for myself, I needed to go dancing. I knew who to call.

Kelvin, my booty call (sounds nasty). I shall rephrase, my clandestine friend Kelvin, apparently could not join me for a gyrating/twerking session under disco lights. He was out of town. Could the night get any worse! I hailed a cab and decided to take my inebriated behind home. I gave directions to the cab guy and fell asleep. A couple of minutes later, he woke me up and told me I was home.

As I tried to stand straight and inhale the cool night air to get a sense of stability I couldn’t help but get a nagging feeling that as much as the surrounding looked familiar, this was not my neighbourhood. Drats! I was at Gentleman’s neighbourhood. How the heck did I give the wrong directions! Was that Scotch Whiskey that amnesia-inducing? I should stock up on it. I decided to ask Gentleman to let me crash on the sofa and I’d take my sorry ass back home after a strong cup of coffee the following day. I knew he wasn’t with Lass because they were to go to some resort on boxing day and he was meeting her there.

I was surprised that the house lights were on but relieved that I’d find him awake and it would not be an oh-so-awkward moment for me. The door was open, and so was the scene on his sitting room floor. She didn’t look like any sick-near-collapse person, not the way she was riding him and calling out his name anyway, and he looked guilty the minute he saw me there, glued to the floor. Not moving a muscle.

To this day, I don’t understand why whenever I think about that Christmas, I cringe. I tried and still try to understand why they kept their clandestine affair from me. He, betrayed me the most. He was a sleazy lying cheat. How could he do that to his girlfriend? Is this what the ‘new age’ love encompassed? Whatever happened to The Greatest love of All –as sang by the late Whitney. Was this what it meant to be drunk in love?

I miss love the old school days. When women were ‘hunted’ and courtship meant more than just sex. When relationships had meaning and when women appreciated a little chivalry. With the New school love it’s every (wo)man for him/herself. Chivalry is quickly dying and women proudly show case their inclination to clandestine affairs with taken men and feel no remorse.

I judge no one, I simply miss the good old days, when dorky was sexy.

DOUBLE STANDARDS

DS   DOUBLE STANDARDS

For a long time I did not believe in marriage. I have been a skeptical cynic from my teen years up until I turned thirty. This is not going to be one of those ‘things I wish I knew or did in my twenties’ kind of post. I am not out to give tips and advise on how to make up for lost time or how best to live your twenties, thirties or whatever. Not today anyway. Today I want to share a story that depicts the forlorn and disillusioned woman.

Keith was a good man. He had the-from rags-to riches kind of story. He was a hard worker; he was the first-born in a family of only boys and the sole bread-winner. He only had his brothers. His parents died in a car accident when he was in college. He was also my best friend.

Keith and I met when I was barely twenty years old. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was with my girlfriends and we had been ditched by some rich kids after planning a hook up on a Saturday afternoon. We decided to hit the beach. I hated the beach because it felt so cliché. Every teenager went to the beach on Saturdays but I was broke and couldn’t afford to buy myself any alcohol (geez, my affair with alcohol started that early?) and so, I tagged along. Hoping the beach affair would end as fast as it had crept up on me.

He spotted us first. He says we had our backs to him and we stood out (probably because I was trying to convince the girls to ditch the beach and I looked lost). I remember I had on my favorite pair of jeans and a pretty little red top. I felt overdressed for the beach, warranted I had dressed to meet some rich kids who’d have bought alcohol and we’d be cruising the city in their daddy’s car feeling like superstars. I guess the stars had other plans for me.

With our backs to him and I guess my then curvy self in a red top looking oh so beautiful, we pinned his interest. He had two other friends and they decided who went for which female. He chose me. To this day I laugh at that story. I was such a tomboy then, with no interest in boys, at all. However, I bless that day and long story short, as much as we never dated; we remained good friends for a very long time.

Fast forward to a few years ago, when everyone around us was getting married or planning a wedding. He called me. Said he needed to talk. When a man tells a woman ‘we need to talk’ it’s just as scary and creepy as when we tell them the exact same words. I knew what he wanted to tell me. I have a very strong sixth sense you know.

He wanted to break up with me, because of her. Her name was Jules. She and Keith had dated for a pretty long time, almost for as long as I’d known him. She was one tough lady – I’m being polite, she was a handful! Yet he loved her with his all. If I could write about how she drove him to hell and back on numerous occasions, I’d end up writing a book. The title would be anything but polite.

He had been there for her in so many ways. Had been a patient man, never rushing her to do anything she didn’t want. She came first and he did all he could in his power to give her a comfortable life. Even when he could barely make ends meet, he never said no to her. As time went by, wedding conversations started to happen, he decided he couldn’t provide for his new family with the financial muscle he had garnered. He had brothers whose education depended on him and a soon to be wife. With a strong resolution, he opted to go for greener pastures very very far away from home. This bold and selfless move for the love of his life, worked.

Keith was able to improve his living standards a great deal, and once he felt he had reached a point where he could be a provider to all he cared about, he proposed. After all, seven years was enough time to know someone and settle down with, right? She said NO. She was not ready to be a wife and least of all a mother. He said he was okay with it (and he wasn’t) if she didn’t want to have children. She still said no. He was heartbroken, but being the Keith I knew, after consoling him and even advising him he should move on (to a willing participant in the nuptials affair), he still hang in there with Jules. Bidding his time, waiting for her to change her mind.

Two years later, he proposed again (can you believe this guy) and after a long and heartfelt conversation with his one and only, she said yes, on one condition; that our friendship comes to an end. And so as I sat there sipping on my warm beer listening to this amazing person tell me that it was over between us with tears lingering in his eyes, I felt an overwhelming sense of annoyance. Why do good people always have to go through such useless tribulations just to prove a point and why couldn’t he have some balls (hehehe, okay, not balls but you know what I mean) and put his foot down. Say that he knew me before she even came into his life. That ours is a friendship based on respect and mutual understanding. That it has never been anything more than that. Why did he agree to this shitty ultimatum? But this was Keith. The one who always put everyone else’s needs before his.

We broke up, no wait, he broke up with me. I felt sorry for the poor guy. He tried not to keep in touch (and failed). I never responded to his texts or calls, see, I was being a good friend and didn’t want to land him in trouble. But one day he had a dire emergency and had no one to turn to except me. I helped him sort out his issue, needless to say, we were back to keeping in touch. He was engaged by then. He told me it had been a grand affair with pomp and colour and a lot of dancing. I was happy for him. Skeptical, but happy.

For her to accept his proposal (even though she had to go through numerous therapy sessions) and for him to accept to marry a woman who wasn’t going to have his children, I must admit made me respect their relationship. Then trouble brewed just a day after their engagement party. She found texts between us. Women, when you go through your man’s phone, albeit you are looking for trouble and you will find it. She called off the engagement.

It took a council of elders, their local pastor, her entire family and a lot of cajoling from Keith to get her to calm down and not call off the engagement. Considering all the time, money and effort that had been put into it, it was ridiculous that she would call it off just because of a hello here and there between Keith and I. I became a ‘household’ name, literally. Keith had to promise before an entire congregation that he would stop talking to me. Even after he explained that we were no more than friends, Jules would hear none of it. She wanted him to cut all ties with me or the engagement was off. Total BS. So Ties were cut. Friendships blocked on social media and life took a whole new meaning.

The wedding was on, plans were underway to identify various suppliers and the guest list was taking shape. I was not on it. Obviously. Everything was going according to plan. I could hear the excitement in his voice when he’d tell me about the kind of ring they had settled on, the kind of wedding he had envisioned and how he couldn’t wait to be her husband.

On a particularly sunny day, ‘an accident’ occurred that led to a series of events. Once again Jules had stumbled upon recent messages between Keith and I and I think hell froze over. She pulled her usual stunt – called the wedding off. Seriously!! Why couldn’t she see she was going to lose the best man she would ever find just because she couldn’t get over her immature emotional self. Needless to say, a council of ‘advisors’ converged to have a conversation about this Tish (me), who was becoming a home wrecker even before there was a home (to wreck) *chuckle*.

Keith couldn’t take any more of the BS. He told everyone in that council that he was not going to fail to pick my calls or respond to my texts just because he had been told to. That if he were interested in me, it was me he’d have proposed to. That after all he had done for her selflessly she was losing sight of the bigger picture by focusing on a trivial issue that was baseless and unwarranted. That he had had it with all the BS and if she wanted the wedding off, then so be it. He was done. He walked out of the ‘intervention’ a changed man. Thoughts began going through his mind; was he ready to get married? If the love of his life could not fathom how much she meant to him, how would she make an understanding partner till death did them part?

Ladies, it is okay to have doubts, but let’s not let these doubts cloud our judgment. There are men that we can make good husbands of. Men who add value in our lives and we add value in theirs. Men who are there for us and do all they can to protect and provide. Men like Keith. Men who don’t just take away the lonely days but men who let us in so deep it scares our very core just thinking about how our world wouldn’t be the same without them. As you act like a lady, think slightly less as a man. There is a reason we were created from their rib(s), it’s because we already have part of their way of thinking and we need them (men) as much as they need us, to make it all complete.

I feel sorry for women who believe they have it all and need no man in their life. Women who have their cats or dogs or fish for ‘babies’ and their glasses of wine to warm their nights. I might still be a cynic of the institution (marriage), however I applaud good men who make good their vows and I know a good man when I meet one. I am not disillusioned by the freedom that comes with single-hood. I embrace and love my space but I do know that when the time comes for me to share that space, I shall be ready. I shall compromise. I shall chuckle at the altar and say, I lived a great and fulfilling single life, I’m going to live an even more rewarding one now that I have someone who knows and understands me. It is going to be double the trouble, perhaps, but it’s going be double the fun too!

THE REBOUND PHASE

It is a rainy morning in my tropical city, then again, isn’t my beautiful country IN the tropics? I suppose my city being a holiday destination known for its beautiful sandy beaches, hot weather (not warm, this place can get freaking hot) and the beautiful blue sea and its palm trees reminds me of a tropical vacation somewhere in Barbados. Thus, My Tropical City. Back to the rainy affair which took me back to my yesteryears.
Hi. My name is Tish and I love sex. That was my opening line in my early twenties. Maybe, just maybe, you can resonate with a ‘woman’ who knows what she wants and goes for it head strong. I was twenty-three. Could I have been any more naive? * Laughs out Loud at younger version of self. I never minced my words back then and somehow I believed that’s what head strong meant. *Laughing louder. I was twenty-three, employed and felt an overwhelming sense of independence; I was also on a rebound. It opened up a whole new world of sex and its relevance to my young life. For the nine months at this new job, I was a carefree female.
My (then) new job encompassed a lot of travel. I basically lived off a suitcase. Hotels became my new home; their bars became my pick up spots – so cliché. I was getting over my first break up and boy was I on a roll. It is amazing how self-confidence has an all too magical aura to it. I knew what I wanted and whom I wanted it with. The nitty-gritty such as getting to know each others names was pure BS to me. I saw, liked and if I knew he liked back, we would only sit up to finish our desired bottles of beer and go straight to business.
A few pointers I came up with during my rebound phase: Never get laid whilst highly intoxicated – Always have a sense of control. Carry your own condoms and unless this is a clandestine affair, never shag from his house nor hotel room. Always do it from the comfort of your own abode – Makes the morning after easier to handle. I had a cardinal rule; never shag a married man. Boy, my sex life had never felt so ‘intact?’ *sigh*
Ten cities later, I was in a beautiful town in the Eastern, part of Kenya. The weather was fantastic, cool with a little bit of warmth to make the morning sunshine a feeling to behold. It is in this town that I was jolted to reality. Moral judgment sank in, decisions that have since had a tremendous impact on my life were made and I began my journey to solitude. Not Celibacy, solitude. Huge difference.
He was talkative, witty, had a good sense of humor and when we locked eyes, I knew this was a sealed deal. In certain instances the chemistry would be so palpable that no effort would be required from either party. This was one of those rare instances.
We were staying in the same hotel. I saw him from across my dinner table; he was the most talkative at his and had everyone in stitches. You could not fail to notice him. I don’t remember his name, I never intended to anyway, unfortunately I remember his demeanor and the son-of-a-bitch tacky move that he pulled. For the purposes of this write-up, we shall call him Mr. SOB. Every pun intended.
At the same hotel, I had made a new lady friend. We shared the same sad story of men being jerks and breaking our pretty little hearts. Hers however, was a bit different. She was still in love with her ex. They had been living together and she only broke up with him because she brought home the bacon and his young behind did nothing to make any ends meet. She would repeat this story almost every night after a few shots of her Baileys. I needed stronger liquor just to keep up with her rants and so when Mr, SOB came into the picture, it was a breath of fresh whiskey-laced air.
On this particular night, being his last night in the picturesque city, the three of us, decided to have our drinks in one of our rooms – hers. My gut wasn’t very comfortable with this arrangement. My needs however outweighed my sound judgement. As she sipped on her milk infused alcohol, I on my whiskey and he on the same, it became evident to me that she was as just sexually drawn to him as I was. My only question was who he’d go for. He wanted us both.
This is not a mills and boon – 50 shades of grey – type of write-up. I shall spare you the details of what happened between three consenting adults in that hotel room. I shall however spare your lewd thoughts from spewing out of control and say this; Half a bottle of Baileys later, she was out, dead out. I have never heard a snore that bad, ever! And so as not to be implicated in waking up anyone – dead or alive – we opted to take the party to my room. Like I said, this is a PG G-type of write-up; I shall spare your wondrous mind the details of that night’s escapades.
The morning After.
A long hot shower later, as I was combing my hair admiring all my flaws and smiling sheepishly at the vain thought, there it was. Glaring its nasty and contorted fiscal look at me. I gagged and almost threw up. The SOB had left me some Benjamins (the local version anyway). How dare he? SOB. Probably as you read this, you are ululating thinking I got what I deserved and are grinning from ear to ear. If you have not got your vuvuzela out yet, you are probably wondering what the big deal is. That it was a win-win situation. Well, it was not. Rule number two: Do not pay me for sex.
The moral injustice that bundle (of notes) did to my ego was far beyond repair. I avoided all bars and only drank from my room(s) from then on. Funny thing is, just barely a fortnight into the incident, I met Mr.SOB at a popular city spot, with his pregnant wife. Karma had it in for me. What went around was coming back around, in big packages. It is then that I put an end to the rebound phase. I had vented, I had gone all out to prove I could be sexual without any emotional attachment and I was an independent woman, still learning the ropes but still had moral values I believed in.
No matter how bad I felt or how shattered my world felt, I believe (d) in the sanctity of marriage. I might not have understood the depths of it or the reasons behind such callous men such as Mr. SOB but I was no intentional home wrecker. Little did I know how far my beliefs would be put to the test in years to come?
That period between a female turning twenty and twenty-six is a period of self-discovery. Many/few mistakes are made, we learn. We get over our tribulations and we grow some. Do not fret, young woman. The world has a lot in store for you. Hold your head up high, love like you have nothing to lose and most importantly, value your values. For your first rebound, let it be your last. From it,  learn the values you hold true. Learn to  let go of people, behaviour and things that add no value to your life. Learn to decipher the true meaning of an extra ordinaire YOU. Heck, you still have your thirties, make those mistakes now. Learn from them now. Your 30s will be another whole different kind of learning! (And mistakes).

Do sweat the small stuff, from them, we grow some.