Saturday Mornings Will Never Be The Same

I’m lacking in words. Nothing I conjure up can properly paint out the feeling I have deep within my soul. Emotions that I once knew, but lost touch with somewhere along the journeys of life, have found their way back into my skin. The air around me feels fresher, the nights seem cooler and the world, my world, has this shy grin slowly creeping across its face. Happy clouds tinged with boundless promise have spread their creamy existence across the skies, one that looks clearer than ever. And as I gaze at the heavens, I can’t help but pause with nostalgic adoration at how wonderful this moment in my life feels.

Its the kind of feeling you get when a heavenly voice graces your aural senses, something like Susan Boyle’s first performance of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’. Or maybe the feeling you get when you experience fun you never thought you could. Or when you’re caught up in the rain, yet you don’t want to run from its shower. Because every raindrop that falls onto your face feels like a kiss from the skies. As the whiff of freshly rained-on earth skates through the chilly atmosphere, you’re taken on a nostalgic voyage. Your spine emits a certain warmth that eats through all the cold you are currently exposed to, leaving your senses mesmerised at how beautiful a feeling it is to just let loose and bathe in the simplicity of life’s joys.

You think about all the beautiful things that have happened in your life. Those of the past, and some from the present. Memories of the laughter from your care-free childhood echo through your brain. Your mind is a whirlpool of images, as you reminisce over the days when you ran about in wild joy each time the rain caught you out playing. When puddles of water were fields of play that had no bounds, and you splashed about without regard. When a bruise to the knee was just another daily occurrence, one that didn’t need any doctor’s report for you to be allowed to miss school. Unlike today, when a day-off from work needs the right documents from the right medical sources.

Nonetheless, the tender longing for your past is one heck of an emotional rollercoaster. Heart wrenching even. I’m trying hard not to let go of my sanity, or ruin my current state of happiness. For the past eight hours, I have successfully avoided thinking about the worries that blot our every day life, and still am counting. I have fully embraced this feel-good sensation that has swept over my afflicted being. The endorphins swarming through my brains chambers have given a classically new meaning to the word rejuvenated, for the variety of happy I feel has an absolutely different taste to it.

Now may be a good time to note that my untimely sense of euphoria has been brought about by the thoughts of how memorable my childhood days were. How enjoyable playtime was, and the timeless hours I spent watching T.V. throughout my younger days. Cartoons were by far my best, for they are the sole reason my urge to hold a pencil and bring lines into artistic life ever grew. Every time I watched them, I felt a sense of relief from the tiresome days at school, and the (stupid) homework that we were burdened with back then. Evening cartoons had me insisting on four-o’clock tea, just so I could delay my time to do homework, on the merit of two-dimensional comic-relief. Don’t get me started at how engrossed I was on the black box with moving pictures each Saturday morning, because we all know what fun that was.

Try and try as I have, I have not for the life of me found the perfect similes or metaphors to make my story curve. I find no means of describing this nostalgia that has brightened up my day. My entire morning has been but a bootless journey into a vault of words, shapes and colour. The harder I struggle to describe the feeling in me right now, the tougher it gets. So I raise the all white flag, and concede that these sensations running through me fit no description. I can only recount the experience as it is on the surface, and nothing about the odyssey it has taken me on.

Enough with my words on how emotive this mid-day excursion has been. I have wasted your time stringing you along this headless story of mine. Wandering about in mindless circles as I thought back on the days when cartoons were funny, childish and enjoyable. Long before all this non-humorous, scientific bull on T.V. these days ever existed, or adrenaline-filled teenage mutants were ever born. When cartoons had characters that made no sense whatsoever, and some didn’t have a single word uttered throughout the screening, yet still had your ribs cracking with laughter. Those were the days when cartoons really and truly were – cartoons.

So, I now pass on a montage of reasons as to why Saturday mornings will never be the same again. You be the judge, but don’t you dare cry on me.

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My Kind of Woman

#np Mumford & Sons – Ghosts That We Knew

There’s a certain sense of exuberance we all get when things are going okay for us.

A cloud of joy descends upon our lives, and our days are filled with endless smiles and cheery laughter. We wear effervescent glows to match the sprightly feelings floating within our shallow hearts. A world flowing with milk and honey is what we see the earth to be. And each step we make feels like a giant leap towards a heavenly realm filled with clear skies and sweet-scented flowers, that is, when things are going okay for us. Yet the beauty about life is that the world isn’t as benevolent as we wish it would be, and there’s always a mean bend on every smooth path we tread on. If you’ve never reached it, damn you for being such a darling of the gods. If you have, well congratulations, you are human and are (un)lucky enough to have experienced as much reality as every average worldling ever will.

Yet in these fickle experiences of reality, I do get this thought that despite each human being worlds apart from the next, there’s a difference between a reality check, and what’s a mere test of our perception about reality.

…………

Quick question: Have you ever arrived home feeling both extremely tired, and extremely hungry? With each feeling being so extreme you feel as though you’re on the brink of demise? You never really know which to do first – sleep or cook, because either way, doing one will so tremendously impact the other. Maybe even escalate the torture to greater heights…

…………

More than once, I have questioned myself on what it is that makes a female worthy of the title ‘a woman’. Not in a biblical or theoretic sense, but in a more definitive sense of the derivative word ‘womanhood’. As unrealistic as it may sound, I feel as though there needs to be a guideline on the various types of females around, and what it is to expect out of each type – including the ‘woman’.

My Dictionary graciously states that as a noun, the word womanhood refers to: 1. female maturity 2. womanly instinct. These, to me, represent traits lacking in many a female, hence this discussion on what I feel defines my kind of ‘real woman’. I repeat, “hence this discussion on what I feel defines MY kind of ‘real woman’ “, okay. So, heat yourself some popcorn; draw down the curtains and the portière if you have one; turn off the lights; grab yourself a seat; and press play.

My mother is what you would call simple, and unsophisticated. Being at an age where most women would definitely be fed up of some of life’s routines, she chose going to the salon as that customary routine which she wished to do away with, completely. So in the unordinary state of things, she decided to trim her hair down to a manageable length (which, for this piece, would go by the ordinary name of ‘shaved her hair’). I remember her coming home, after no more than thirty minutes of absence from the house, looking like a young girl preparing to be shipped off to a super strict Catholic school, one that prohibited long hair. Everyone in the house was stunned. Turns out, what we had previously assumed was a short trip to the neighbourhood kiosk, was actually a visit to the barbers. Most stunned of all was my immediate younger sister, who has never caused a fuss as she did that day. “What were you thinking?”; “Are you insane?”; “Now how will you look in photos?”…these were just some of the questions she put my mom through.

This got me thinking as to what would prompt a woman to shed off that part of her features that is most closely associated with being the quintessence of her femininity. Her renunciation of this myth that ‘hair maketh a woman’ sparked a curiosity that lacks any form or definition, as I pondered about all the women I know who have taken the same route of abnegation as concerns doctrines on what makes, and what doesn’t make a woman.

Legend has it that a certain prince fell in love with a (certain) girl (or lady, I don’t know which) who was locked up in a castle, by some wicked somebody. If I remember the story right, the princess was never allowed to leave the castle, and only got to experience the world through the gaze of her tiny window. From this window, she would gaze at the sky, the vast green fields and the birds flying about. Soon though, this picturesque view was taken over by the love of her life, as she stared at him and he back at her. They probably even blew each other wet, innocent kisses once in a while – as they wandered through fields of conversation while holding hands and chatting each other up in romantic prose. The story goes on to state that one day, the prince decided to take matters into his hands, both literally and figuratively, and visited the girl. I think he did so due to the limitless feelings he had for her, but I’m not one to “judge”. Yet he did, and how? He used her long, fair hair as a rope, to scale the castle wall all the way up to her solitary room. (In my version of the story, however, this prince was so in love that he couldn’t wait to get his hands on the princess and share the world, the flesh and the devil with her. For as any normal human would have it, pure sight never really marks the end of satisfaction for a man or woman in love.)

Maybe this is the point at which our African ladies were duped into believing that men would do anything for a female with long, fair hair. Maybe the (fictional) prince’s love made them believe that silky-smooth hair would get you a prince willing to scale walls for you. Psh…!!! I mean like – Puh_lease ladies!!! For one, none of you lives in a castle. Moreover, there are no tall castles (of which I have heard) inhabited by beautiful ladies anywhere on this blessed land of Africa. And even if you did live in a castle, the current state of things has it that most of today’s men are more worried about their biceps, or ruining their (fake) “designer” clothing and manicured nails, to even spare a thought about a wall that will lead them up to your room.

To me, all this weave-therapy most of our dear skirt-wearers put themselves through – at the expense of their natural beauty – is nothing but waste. The weaves and add-ons many ladies most graciously stink the environs with are all part of a commercial plan that a horse-owner once proposed to the business world, and by the looks of it, did one heck of a presentation; since it has seen him afford the horsing industry runaway success. Everywhere you go, everywhere you turn, there’s a lady, who was brought into the world with very dark and nappy hair, trying to look like a singing sensation from a B-movie. With her face padded up with layer upon layer of complexion additives (read: make-up), she will go on to swish her head now and then so as to try and get her hair, to float in the air. (I hope you uhmm, noted – that last bit rhymes. You know hair, and air – they rhyme, right). This she would do, while she courses her fingers through the miserable horse braided onto her scalp, trying to theatrically pull off the whole ‘Look-At-Me – I’m Beautiful’ move.

Exactly as it sounds, I do not for once love ‘fake hair’. I also do not believe that hair does make a woman; but I do stand by the conviction that natural hair does complement the true nature of a woman. I say this with the reasoning of a man brought up around women who never in their lives took up weaves as their way towards beauty. Yet in their natural scheme of things, still managed to attract enough attention from men and boys alike. Perhaps you could blame my upbringing for being backward and lame, I can take that shot. But as long as I have words to put to use, my argument at least begs address. For as I have come to realize, women with natural hair come across as being ‘realer’, and even more down to earth, than their add-on contemporaries.

Susan, a cashier at a local supermarket, is a young and vibrant cotton-ball who always has more than enough paws chasing after her. She is well fed, has the right proportions in the right areas, and thus attracts more attention than is normally accorded to ladies of her profession. Her immediate manager, a single lady in her late thirties, is but her least admirer. With no man in her life, Deborah – the manager, is devilishly jealous of the beautiful cashier at post number 6. Even with her short skirt, high heels and latest hair-do, none of her efforts at attracting male attention seem to work in her favour.

It could be because she isn’t as curvy as Susan is, or maybe the guidebook to sexual attractiveness just didn’t get its way into her cheat-sheet. Maybe her age just isn’t a match for the youthful, and beautiful, cashier who’s just been passed a business-card by a well dressed fellow of the handsome sort. Maybe. But I’ll tell you what it is. It is that ‘realness’ that women comfortable in their natural skin possess, and synthetic ladies totally lack. This lack of a unique selling factor to help you (as a synthetic female) match up against the entire female kingdom, is what makes our desperate Deborah lose out in her search for a man.

There is a certain rareness that is seen in a few, and not all, women who wear their hair as natural as it came. The manner in which they walk, talk, and behave exudes a certain lack of pretension, and more honest approach to their walk of life. Even their search for companions revolves less around revealing skirts and low-cut tops/blouses, and more around a ‘get-to-know-my-personality’ approach. When around such a female, the air feels different, as though it were a cool breeze brushing against your face after a trip to the northern end of the Majabi desert. You feel overcome by a peace that you’ve never felt when in the company of a member of the opposite sex. Each word shared between the two of you feels sweet to the taste, the laughter like crackles in a campsite fire, the stares like endless voyages into the soul of the sea. The chemistry feels so enchanting, the experience feels magical.

I don’t know whether men think of such experiences objectively, because many wouldn’t know to put it in words or even describe it, but I’m sure some few ones do feel it. That difference in room temperature whenever you’re around an all-natural woman; that room to be yourself and rid yourself of all chivalric pretences. It’s all in the works of a true African woman.

This, compared with the girl you met at the bar last Saturday: dressed in a purple jumpsuit and purple stilettos, in purple braids and purple make-up, (a purple extravaganza if you may) with each accessory ill-assorted with regards to the whole do; is a contrast light years apart. Because when with a female so inclined to a synthetic approach to life, especially those with undying love for multiple layers of make-up, everything feels synthetic. The air feels hot, sweaty and icky. Conversation feels like the buzz of houseflies flying about an empty farm on a hot, Sunday afternoon somewhere in Texas. When you stare at her over-emphasized eyebrows, your thoughts constantly have to pull themselves out of pools of contempt and disgust, as you picture mud-slides occurring on her very face. Chances are her English will be no good, and that pea-brain of hers might only spew forth words like ‘As in like’, ‘Ahaa’, and probably some ‘For real’. I can go on about how ugly things could be with such a female, but the long and short of it all is that, nothing seems real about such a female, nothing at all. Not even her very name. You feel cheated by the very sight of her, and the sight of a woman in all her natural majesty feels like a very welcome change. A very welcome one at that.

Each time I see a high waisted woman in fake assets, fake hair, fake lashes, ‘fake facial-complexion’ (read: light-skinned on her face while black and blue elsewhere) – my mind immediately shuts itself from any beauty that she might otherwise have in her. Because honestly, from the onset – she really isn’t selling herself, but rather the many fake products her body can handle. As for an ebony woman in a ponytail, plain-old blow-dried hair, all-natural hair, dreadlocks, even shaved hair if it works well – I immediately think about how easy it would be to converse with her in a poorly lit, and none air-conditioned club; about the ease with which I would approach my parents and introduce her simple, and unmolested, beauty as my companion’s; about how much I would enjoy buying her gifts since the purity of her fashion taste is so virginal it hurts; most of all, I would think about how honest my feelings for her beauty would be.

Simple dress/pants, unpretentious jacket, flat shoes, natural hair, little or no make-up, and an impregnating smile – now that is my kind of woman. The kind who I have always fallen for and always will. Never have I dated, or even taken a second look, at any woman who wears shoes taller than the length of my middle finger. Or one who uses excessive make-up as her only way to feel “beautiful”. I’m a keep-it-real sort of guy, so I sure as hell will only breathe for a woman who keeps it the same.

My woman should be the one with enough wit and emotional maturity about her to help me through my reality checks. One who’ll fuel the sense of exuberance I will get when things are going okay for us. One whose presence feels like a cloud of joy descended upon my life. Who will share with me days filled with endless smiles and cheery laughter. Together we’ll wear effervescent glows to match the sprightly feelings floating within our shallow hearts. A world flowing with milk and honey is what we will see the earth to be, and each step we will make will feel like a giant leap towards a heavenly realm. One filled with clear skies and sweet-scented flowers.

And if ever things go awry, we – that’s me and her – will take that mean bend along every smooth path we tread on in real style.

#np Robin Thicke – Teach U a Lesson

Family Portraits

simpsons-family-wallpaper-1024

#np Sade – By Your Side

As I listen to Sade, I can’t help but feel mortally awed by her expressions on love. The words, the notes, and her voice; all in harmonious unison as she infuses my house with sweet melodic sounds. Sounds filled with declarations on the pleasures of the body, the joys of the heart, and the gift of life. Her music paralyses me from all feelings of sadness, or depression, and takes me to a time long gone. A time now buried in the caves of history, when I was but a young boy growing up in Nairobi’s – Komarock estate. Long before one (disorganised) Kayole eclipsed the stately air of the estate’s environs with its absolute lack of order. On this specific day, the court is filled with children of all ages, and the road is a mess of chalky-doodles. Some kids are playing rounders, others chase each other about as they play ‘hicho’ (ie. tag), others sit on their bikes. Bikes with horns, some with adjustable gears, others – like yours truly – with the tiny ones whose seats are upwardly adjusted such that they end up at the same level as the handlebars. My friends and I are planning where to pedal-off to, when suddenly, the bark of a dog ruffles through the air.

Pedals on the ready, its a dash for safety as an ugly, super-starved dog from the neighboring court gives chase. In a well synchronized show of cowardice, we race off as fast as our dear wheels can take us. The owner, and a few friends, grin wildly as they run after us with the ugly mongrel leading the way by the length of a rusty chain. As I ride away, panting my ass off at the front of this band of escapees, I look back at my friend and feel sickened. Sickened by this cross-court bullying which I feel has gone way too far, and of which I’m getting absolutely fed to death with. The prison-break routine we’ve been forced to adopt as we plan our escape routes on a daily basis feels demeaning, even by the standards of a normal eleven year old. Because the truth is that, for as long as we’re on the run, this December holidays will be no fun, no fun at all. And I will have no one ruin my break from school, so I mask up all the bravery my feeble masculinity can accord and decide to put a stop to it all.

Barking madly, the damned dog comes to a wild halt by my side. It gives me the teeth as I stare it down in wild terror, yet brimming with absolute confidence on the surface. My younger brother – standing some meters away – cries, literally and very tearfully, for me to run away from the dog. He screams about how badly he doesn’t want me to get bitten by the depraved, four-legged mutt. I ignore his tears, however much he pours forth, and tell the brat-owner and his crew that I’m fed up of their buffoonery. I tell him that I’m not going to be any part of their daily enjoyment, and if he – this big nosed, gap-toothed owner – feels brave enough, he can let the dog loose on me. One young boy against a crowd of pre-teen dimwits, the odds are obviously stacked against me.

The fire in my eyes, however, tells of a bravery that children my age are not supposed, or allowed, to have. You could say my nuts were a little too big for a kid my age, or probably even bigger than most older kids. Nevertheless, my ground is stated, and the only way I’m ending this fiasco is by taking one for the team, or forcing these birdbrained brats to concede defeat and let us be. One guy in the crowd, named Oscar, seems to be the only one who sees the actual scale of things. He definitely had to be the brains and conscience of the pack. For after protracted shouts hither and yon (*glee* – I just had to FORCE that one in) as to what the hell a kid my age thinks he can do to a crowd of eight, he mentions something about how things might get sour for them if anything happens to me, at the hands of a dog. As if by cue, the dog too stops its madness after seeing the charged spirits of its “owners” subside into nothingness. Eventually, I’m allowed to ride away, but not with a “warning” about how I should never try such bravado again. My youngest sister, who happens to have watched the whole thing, runs home to tearfully pass news of the unfolding events to my mom. You can almost guess how much of a tongue-lashing I got for my ‘macho-stunt’ that day. Even so, ladies and gentlemen, I kid you not – this is, an actual life-story of events that took place years ago.

9:08 pm, Nairobi time. It’s Wednesday the 8th of May, and I’m tucked-in to my brows. A blue duvet and the white sheets I’m enveloped in spread soft kisses all over my body. Tracing undiscovered pathways on my skin, they leave a faint sensation similar to warmth, lingering between my legs, just below the waist. It’s the cold season, see, and the definition of warmth tends to get a whole different meaning during these cold and sleepless nights – a whole, different meaning.

A very gloomy phone stares back at me as my stubby thumbs repeatedly stab at its buttons. Letter, letter, letter, comma, space, letter, letter…the cycle goes on, and on, and on. Two lit candles are the only sources of light within this dark, lavender-scented, room. A room filled with memories of how broke one can get; it remains engraved with etches of my planned route towards success, and plastered with blueprints of world domination. This here, forms half of what has come to be known as my solitary abode. Having no posters of half-naked girls on any of my walls, it is, by all means, nothing of what people think a bachelor’s house would look like. Save for my collection of manly scarves, numbered at sixteen and still growing, the walls are quite devoid of any evidence of being a man’s fiefdom.

There’s nothing spectacular about this night either. It really is the same period of darkness that comes between evening and morning, every_single_day. Yet the darkness carries with it a certain whiff of nostalgic voodoo – one so potent it only seems second nature to heed to its beckoning. And boy does the nostalgia drag me down its bottomless pit.

I reminisce about the holidays I would spend with my feet covered in dust, most notable of all being days when we played ‘bano’ (a game of marbles). ‘Brikicho’ (hide and seek) was another dusty encounter, as our hideouts included the craziest of places. Empty car-boots (or car-trunks), ceilings of old uninhabited houses, leafy trees, even the under-bellies of vehicles – all these were very opportune hiding locations. The holidays never lacked a single day when I would lose touch with time, only to be brought back to earth by the sight of a very angry mother at our doorstep. Days immediately before the opening of school were the best of all. They had the most turnout, and the most fun, with playtime lasting until the early hours of night. To this day, I can honestly say that I have never experienced as much fun as I did during my younger days.

Then there was my family. A super-strict mom whose right palm would constantly have communion with my cheeks at the slightest sign of misbehaviour, and a chilled-out dad who always spoke to us in English, never once in Kiswahili. (Not really worth a mention, but quite the phenomenon, I can say, especially to friends who were born and raised in Eastlands, and probably spoke very little English.) It is these two parents that thankfully brought me to the world I am now at battle with, as I struggle to survive. I muse over how much I misbehaved in high school, the pain this definitely put my parents through, the struggles they had to endure to raise me in the right way; and wish I could cry all the hurt – they obviously felt – away. Sometimes, I stare at them and try comprehending the level of love and sacrifice a parent has to go through for the sake of his/her children. Its so unreal that I wonder what I can, or will, ever do to show my appreciation for their love.

Of my siblings, three of the them, much has to be said. The same brother who cried for my safety on that “heroic” day, the third born of us all, is now one with whom I rarely talk – even when in the same room. We might occasionally meet in the many rugby events held around town, and chances are that we will not even share a word of Hi. I tend to think I stopped being cool enough for him to look up to as soon as he hit high school. Now that he’s in his first year of university, I don’t expect things to change because his rebellion has grown tenfold. He wants to forge his own path and do things his own way, without any interference from anyone. Who am I to change that? My second-born sister, one that I didn’t interact with as much even in the times of yore, (for reasons I’m about to share) is unluckily still as she was. She hates me along with everything about my very presence on this earth. From my (very opinionated) comments, to my talents, even on visits to my parent’s place – she never misses the chance to voice her disapproval. I can’t count the number of times I have cursed as she mentioned something against me, most times being when I get praised for a feat well done. It’s so crazy I once said I’m done with her (which I doubt my soft heart ever will allow). My youngest sister, a little bag of emotions, is growing up so fast that soon, I might be forced to smack the neighbourhood boys around just to keep their greedy paws off her. How I’ll do that after relocating to my new home on the other side of Nairobi, I don’t know. But I will do anything, anything it takes, to be the brother she can always looks up to, for she’s the only one who still treats me with love and affection.

Yet I have to accept that I will not be the adored elder brother all the days of my life. Sister number two is in university so she probably has many more things to adore, while brother number three, who plays rugby, now seemingly prefers the brothers he has found within his team. Last born sis, the only one I’m still tight with, might just love me for life. She always greets me with a hug each time I go visit my folks, and still treats me with the adoration she would give Justin Bieber – but pardon that comparison. Funny enough, she even happens to love (some of) the music I listen to, the only one in my family who does. I still remember the proud feeling I had when she said she loves a certain song by Damian Marley and Nas, ‘As we enter’ – boy was I beyond myself. And when she added ‘Hip Hop is Dead’ by Nas to that list, I almost cried – I actually almost cried. It’s a feeling I really hope will last forever, since my parents too say I’m her favorite…

All in all, every one of them is an irreplaceable member of my life. Each carrying with them a huge chunk of the world I have grown around, and will forever cherish. I’m proud to be a first born, to have lived the fun and depressing life that I did, and to have been the care-giver of my younger siblings. Despite our various tiny foibles, our moments of war, or our lack of communication, I don’t doubt the love we share for each other, not for a second. So, for the elder brother in me, I still am a member of that crazy household I only get to visit once in a while. For the bachelor in me though, that house represents an overbearing existence filled with rules and restrictions that really are a nuisance, especially when compared to the silence and reserved nature of my empty and humble house.

Be that as it may, I’m very overjoyed to say that I have found a new family on this very page. A family made of readers who I regard as my brothers and sisters, some even mentors. From those who have posted numerous likes on my small collection of posts, to those who have given me advice on where to go from here – this is the family love I experience in my solemn days as a guy living on his own. On cold and rainy days, when I draw up drafts and plans for my life – occasionally sipping on some wine – it is you guys that I dream of making proud.

So, as I fortify myself for the cold night ahead with a glass of white, Black Tower wine, I’d like to send a huge thanks to each and every one of you. For each click that brings you to this page, and each minute that you spend tearing through my bare thoughts – one more tooth pops up in my smile. Each one of you gives me a reason to grow, and a moment to appreciate that rare quality that is brotherly, and sisterly, love. Wherever this blog goes from here, and wherever it takes me, you can all trust me not to forget where I came from, and the family that took me there.

Now, it’s time for me to try and pipe out a tune as the effects of the wine pour down on me. ONE LOVE…

 #np Amy Winehouse – Body and Soul (ft. Tony Bennett)

Men On The Run

np #PattiLabelle – Take The Night Off

For the past month, it has been in my schedule to spare 5 hours a week for no-one, and nothing, but myself. A time spent secluded in a realm of hushed conversations shared between my consciousness and this blue-skied world. Religiously reflective moments, when I let go of my inner-self, and let the world bathe me in the rarely acknowledged essence of its relentless stride towards eternity. Reflect on what? Well, nothing worth half a rhinestone really. Yet in the time that is, and that which was, the constant is that these hours never fully elapse without me getting the unruly urge to put my thoughts in writing. Like today…

In breaking news this morning, my thought-waves happen to have taken multiple detours during their unguided travels of the dust-filled alleyways inside my brain. It would seem, that after aimless wandering about and dipping of toeless feet into shallow pools of curiosity, they have finally found their way into ‘my mind’s mind’ – the brains behind all my silly wisdom, the holy grail of all my alphabetical nonsense, the Taj Mahal of my disturbed creativity, and the Central-Kenya of my money-making spirit (one love Central-Kenya[ns]). Yet here I sit, both quiet and motionless. Neither squirming in my bed nor feeling any pressure to go ‘crai_zay’ because of how bad things may turn out. I trust my thoughts, and respect the need for them to want validation as to where all their juice comes from. So in that light, I’ll jot down, in entirety, exactly what is passed on to my frontal lobe throughout this experience.

Only recently did I get to watch the first episode of Mad Men’s sixth season. It was, in true fashion, nothing of what I had expected. Blows to the chest and (repeated) bangs to the head are what I had to endure, as the entire length of the episode danced around the width of my computer’s screen. In all these, it came to me that everything in that episode seemed to have a deeper connotation apart from that which was implied on the surface. For instance: “People will do anything to alleviate their anxiety,” said Dr. Arnold Rosen, just as the entire run was about to end. As far as this statement’s truth is concerned, there is still so much more revealed (to me) than the mere context of ‘people’ at large. Hence my reason for spending this week’s five hours embarking on a short trip into the minds of men.

In a world of successes and failures, it should be noted that women deal better with failure than men do. Whereas men, the ever-driven to success species, look at failure from a (near-constant, brain-damaging) mental perspective, women look at it from an emotional angle, where some tears and boxes of tissue paper are almost sure to do the magic, no matter how bad the situation is. So allow me to air dry my reasons behind this notion, of men and failure, for you.

Case A: Charles, a promising banker with an illustrious portfolio, is seated in his black Toyota Allion as he heads off to work one wet, and grey-clouded, Monday morning. The journey to the office is nothing short of drama, something most men are never able to deal with, and as a constant rule, there was traffic throughout his journey across Nairobi, loads of it. Having spent nearly two hours getting from Valley Arcade to his workplace along Mombasa Road, he arrives slightly late, some twenty eight minutes past the official arrival time. He curses at the skies, venting out at how the earth is right rolly taking a piss on his enthusiasm for the week. Yet in spite of this unappetizing start to the day, things are about to take a darker tinge of grey for one successful Charles.

You see, most men are blinded by this thing called success. It’s like a cloak that we wear every time things seem to look up and the world takes on the colours of the Vegas nights. We feel invisible when kisses from Lady Luck are all we wake up to. We are, by all intents and purposes, slaves to success. Whether it be by circumstance or by design, I dare not discuss. But two questions beg address, not today, or soon – but someday: Are we still men when not successful? If we aren’t, then what are we?

Back to Charles: He approaches his office only to see three human frames inside his glass-walled corner office. Two are male, and by the looks of it, one is female. His mind double-checks on any appointments he might have overlooked, or any meetings he might be late for. Nothing registers. So he slowly opens the door and enters a room bubbling with the unknown. Forty-five minutes later, exit Charles, and in flies a heavily dejected human soul. Eyes stuck in a time long gone and forgotten, with a face that seems worn by the hands of time, he drags his forlorn state out of the building and into his car. Where he goes on to spend an eternity mulling over how it is that he got to this point, what went wrong, at what point, and whether there’s anywhere to go from here. His world seems to be crushing, with the storms closing in fast. We last get a glimpse of him as he unbuttons his coat and rests his head on the steering wheel. Time of snapshot: 0934 HRS, GMT+3.

In the darkness of night, O2OO HRS, Mrs. Charles receives a phone-call from a number she doesn’t know. It has an ominous ring to it, different from any of the calls she would receive during normal hours, like the caller is about to spell doom on her life. The caller’s message is that her husband is beyond his liquor and needs to be picked up. As faithful, caring and dutiful a wife as she is, she gets out of bed and dresses in the first thing she can get her recently manicured hands on. She immediately calls her brother, who lives in the nearby Oasis Apartments, Mbaazi Drive, asking him to pick her up and drive her to the CBD to pick up her drunk matrimonial partner.

Charles is found passed out on a sofa at Tribeka’s ground floor. Seated next to him is the club’s manager, who personally saw to it that the man now sleeping next to him would get home in one piece. Having declined to let the man drive out on his own, he had the bouncers seat his induced existence in a corner, where he asked this man, this promising banker with an illustrious portfolio, for his wife’s number. Seemingly, that was the last clearly audible thing he was able to utter before taking a trip to the other side of the froth. After all parties share their thoughts and their stories, none the wiser as to what took this man to the brinks of public shame, brother and sister take the man into their custody. The trio is then seen walking out of the club with an unconscious man, held up by his arms between them, doing something close to the moon walk before being dumped in the backseat of a midnight blue Nissan Navara. Time of snapshot: 0246 HRS.

What this is, is a classic case of a man dealing with his darkest fears the best way he knows how. Fears that revolve around his weaknesses and deepest insecurities. Moments when life pounds at you with all that it possibly can, and turns those Vegas lights that previously adorned your ego into even brighter beams of despair. When your own name is the only thing left between yourself and poverty. Times when hopelessness becomes your best friend. Why this grim description? This is because of the fact that when a man loses everything he has, is broke, or doesn’t have a clue about how he’ll provide for himself or his family – life makes no sense to him, no sense at all.

Because the reality is that the core of most men’s happiness is tied to their ability to provide themselves, and their loved ones, with a livelihood. Contrary to popular belief, first thought lies not with their girlfriends, wives or children, but in the very existence of some financial means at their disposal. Very few, and I can boldly shout that to the world, can claim to be content with their lack of money, or stable income. Unlike the love-sick chap, ‘Marius’, in the musical Les Misérables, wailing his heart out at how much the love for the beautiful ‘Cosette’ was the only thing that would give him happiness, delight in life for most of us, men, only happens when our pockets have a little something between them.

All in all, the reality is this; most men have no clue about how to deal with either loss, or failure. We don’t seem to be the strongest of cats in the darkest of times. As men, the experience of getting absolutely rumbled when trying our arm at making a life for ourselves is enough to take any of us over the edge. The thought of ‘I have nothing left’ is a catalyst for self-destruction which most men take ever so willingly. Hence the reason why men in despair seem to be the single-most dedicated patrons at any and every bar you will ever walk into. Whether it be a financial crisis, marital problems, loss of a job, a bust relationship, divorce, or any other sort of life-problem, indulgence in the vices of the world seems to be our only remedy to irresolvable issues. Very few are able to hold onto the railings of hope for a better day and allow life to hit and just keep on hitting; or sit back and leave resolution of our weakest moments to The Almighty.

Why else would men run away from their pregnant girlfriends, leaving single mothers to raise their kids – kids it took two to make? Or fathers stay out till late hours of the night when they know they haven’t a cent in their wallets, and didn’t leave their families with any food? Even Cain tried to run away from his guilt, but it wasn’t that easy for him because God was on his case. I feel that all this escape from reality is because we always have and might always be men on the run, running from our anxieties and our problems. Hoping the escape remedies the hopelessness, praying that our absence cures the despair. Wishing we could undo whatever it is that took us to that point of despondency, or maybe even done things in a different way. Very few coming up with solutions to better their situations…

Through and through my deliberations on this matter, no moral reasoning could give my thoughts rest, nor give me reason to believe there is hope for change in every single man out there. Given that it would also be quite pointless for me to back my fellow men in this flight or flight take on reality, I thus make my bold claim in saying that: “Men will run from anything to alleviate their anxieties.”

np #MarvinGaye – You’re The Man (Alternate Version 1)