Categories
Decoding Love

Self-care Glow Up: 3 Skincare Favorites

I have been very fortunate in life…skincare has not been much of an issue for me.

A source of insecurity and low self esteem for many, I thank God that I have my skincare distress has been manageable at worst.

Since my teenage years, I credit my mother with ensuring I had a regimen that worked for the hectic, activity-filled lifestyle of a young girl. As I grew into an adult, I would say my calendar is just as full if not even more occupied. And now more than ever, I appreciate multifunctional, effective products.

My quest to attain glass skin has been a journey having suffered mask-acne in 2020. But now, am sharing three of my favorite products that got me back on track.

1. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 30ml

If you are looking for a fixer for all your skincare woes, The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid offers great benefits. Affordable, compared to most serums, it works to rehydrate skin on a multi-depth level. The moisture offered me a chance to smooth out and plump-up my complexion. Used in combination with Vitamin C, the results are actually magical. I recommend you use this product diligently for at least 2 weeks.

2. Pixie Glow Tonic 5% Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner

If you search for renewed glowing skin, look no further. Pixie’s Glow Tonic renewed my dull, unremarkable skin within two weeks of using it. For someone who has somewhat sensitive skin, I had to do a lot of research about glycolic acid before taking the plunge and purchasing this product. If your skin concerns are hyper pigmentation, dark spots and dullness on the skin, this just might be the product for you. The Glycolic Acid breaks down dead skin, revealing new, radiant skin.

It costs a pretty penny, but the result speaks for itself. After battling a bout of mask-acne; this toner offered reprieve, and more importantly delivered results faster than I expected.

The tingling sensation was unexpected, however one does get used to it. Another factor to consider when purchasing is what other products you pair it with, as well as how frequent you use it. I suggest you do your research sufficiently before use.

3. Simple Kind to Skin Skincare

The older I get, the more aware that my skin requires extra work. With pollution, climate change and hormones, I have noticed my skin seeks hydration. I have sought out reasonably priced products that quench my skin; leaving it moisture-filled and glowing. I would say the Simple range, has several products that deliver more than what the bottle says.

The Hydrating Moisturizer comes in two variants, light and rich to suit various skin types. Among the more satisfactory revelations was the Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream. A perfect, more affordable dupe for the famed Laneige Water Sleeping Mask; this product is soothing, plumping and hydrating all at once.  

Simple Skincare was once one of my mother’s favorite skincare brands in the early 2000s, am glad that now we can share a love for this brand.

***For these and all skincare products, I recommend a skin patch test before trying out the skin on your delicate face.

Categories
Decoding Love

Your Hands

Your hands I long, to hold so long
Strong. They draw me in, hold me near
Dear, the song you sing I hear so clear;
when you hold me with your hands.

Sweet caress… Always suggest
In jest, your grab my hand and cup my face
Your hands never another buttah my ass.. Like an ace,
You handle me… Hold me tightly, love me quietly
Always proudly; respect me as your Queen

With your hand, love harder
You hands I grab tight… Coz I never want to spend
To hold so bold… Even the stole’ glances
Thinking of their chances, that will never be
Because I will always have your hands.

Categories
Books et al

3 Books That Contextualize Mental Health in the African Setting

Mental health is currently all the rage. A hot topic of discussion in all arenas, it rings true with the pressures of the 21st Century.

For those with an African background, the portrayal of mental health is often disconnected from the realities we face. It is often said that art imitates life, and so literature is doing exactly that. In my most recent reading, I have three texts that well encapsulate the African experience of mental health; these books offer an alternative to what Western pop culture describes, portrays and relays it to be.

Here are three texts that you should definitely delve into:

1.Biko Zulu – “Drunk”

This Kenyan creative writer and published author has a knack for describing Kenyan-isms. And with a growing population, and troubled middle class in Kenya, Zulu tackles addiction and depression with ease. The book dubbed ‘Drunk’ is funny, clever and more importantly relatable for the African reader.

Set in Kenya’s bustling capital; the upward strokes and downward draws of dating, career management and general city melee consume the main character. This book is definitely worth a first and second read. You can also gift it to several friends as I have; they will not be disappointed.

Zulu’s second publication “Thursday” is also available for purchase.

2. Alain Mabanckou –  “Tomorrow I’ll Be Twenty”

Congolese-born Alain is gifted. Not only for how he structures his stories like a rollercoaster, but more importantly for me, for how he bottles and packages all things African into a platter of wordy delights. As a reader, if you are craving consuming a text that screams “innately African”, Alain will always have something for you.

In this text, the main character a young pubescent boy strikes a friendship with the village madman. In most African communities, the saying “every village has its mad man” rings true and yet in this title Alain explores that anecdote much further; much deeper than one would imagine. His take on schizophrenia, poverty and African life is such a beautiful offering.

Alain Mabanckou tu don de Dieu!

His book, “African Psycho” is also a great read.

3. Akwaeke Emezi – “Freshwater”

The highly feted book made headlines, and remains a point of conversation. Now a famed novelist, Akwaeke is of Nigerian and Tamil descent and shares a heart-wrenching story that leaves readers on the edge of their seats. The narration acknowledges various aspects of being, expressions of selves and a troubling yet bundled together scheme to manage it all.

This text was Akwaeke’s big debut, and she has written 7 books including her most recent release “You Made a  Fool of Death with Your Beauty.”

Let’s connect in the comment section. What are you reading?

Categories
Thoughts

The State of Us

The state of us.

Yes us.. me and you,

It’s all a tragedy,

We wake up and long for unity,

But it’s all smoke screens and mud pits.

We remain stifled and out of emergency kits,

We die slowly.

Yes, you and me…we;

This is the state of us.

The call this a state of emergency,

It’s all a falacy.

We all want to get by; watch time fly.

And we get high, so high our bodies go limp.

The garbage is piled high and the sewers drip,

Into the ground; they seep in to the water

Trip one body on top of another.

Yes, you and me…we

This is the state of us.

She called him a liar,

He said he would be fired.

He’s just a gun for hire;

Another one…one for one.

But it’s time she wanted than this…there’s got to be more to this

“It’s not the same” she says.

“It’s like someone’s in his head.”

His heart is dark, the room is occupied where he parked 

His emotions in a state of toxicity.

Unkempt, unattended…from the inside he starts to rot

In the society marked with ports.

He hopes to plug in.

Yes, you and me…no longer we.

This is the state of us;

A new start for me.

So often we care for what others say, do or think of us…but really our overdependence on the approval of others leads to the degradation of our own identity, and distances ourselves from our true selves.

To thine own self be true – Hamlet

Special thanks to Max Bwire, a Ugandan photographer who so gladly shared her images for this piece. Max is a talented artist who uses her lens to capture the beauty in the ordinary.

Follow Max on Instagram here.

Categories
Thoughts

Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3

“What’s troubling you today? How can I help?”

His badge read “ Dr. Ibrahim” and as she sat there in the cold room, the bare walls devoid of personality she could hardly contain her nerves. Her eyes darted across the room, until she finally found a plaque that would be the perfect ice-breaker.

“I see you attended the infamous University of East Africa?” she noted.

You see Dr. Ibrahim was an old man, an experienced doctor a credit to his many years in service of the public; from his time in a remote village in Emurua to his post-graduate studies in France, there’s hardly anything he had not encountered went it came to the female reproductive system. On first glance, one may notice the furrows on his forehead; an indication of his expressive habit while ingesting the sometimes unexpected symptoms, leaving him fuddled; often sending his head reeling.

But Dr. Ibrahim was well respected; his approach was methodological and sometimes unforeseen at least by industry standards. But he always seemed to figure out it. Either he knew his stuff or his God nudged him in the right direction. Dr. Ibrahim had a darkened spot on his forehead; an indicator of his reverence for God. He never missed any of the 5 prayers Muslims are required to make. He must have made dua for his patients.

This was the third doctor she would be seeing in 6 months. She was desperate and tired. She wished she was not alone. She hoped her husband would make it but he was pre-occupied. He was always pre-occupied.

She was alone, but by now she was used to it.

So there she found herself, gripping the chair as she consulted with the doctor. In any other occasion, she often gave off the impression of being in control, poised and self-aware. Here she was scared, worried and alone; she was a shell of herself. Dr. Ibrahim could tell. He offered her a glass of water, and as he handed it over to her his old hands passed over hers.

He looked up to her saying, “Everything will be alright.”

She wondered if he knew the Bob Marley tune.

Dr. Ibrahim has a waiting room full of patients but he always had a way of making every patient feel like they had his undivided attention; there was nothing more important than what was going on right there and then.

He asked, “What brings you here today?”

“Well, you!”

The tension, nerves seemed to overwhelm her and as the jitters got the best of her she could no longer hold back. Her tears streamed down her face, as she struggled to compose herself, get a sense of herself as she unraveled.

She was a well-adjusted individual. For intents and purposes one could say she had her wits about herself. She was a doting mother, supportive wife and a high-powered human rights lawyer who’s kindness for others meant that she never said a bad thing about another human being, even when that human being was her callous in-laws. She was no saint, but she did her best.

She said, “I bleed every time my husband and I…I have sharp pains that leave me in agony and chills. I’ve tried everything but nothing seems to help. I’ve tried meditation, I’ve been diagnosed and treated for a myriad of conditions, but no medication seems to help…this might be the end of my marriage…I can’t imagine he’ll continue to want… ”

As she continued to babble on with her list of concerns, she was more than glad to have a sympathetic ear in Dr. Ibrahim. He handed her a box of tissues and continued to question her on the lists of tests, examinations and medications she received. Silently jotting down everything on his notepad, he often interjected with “aah…I see” as if every piece of information would led him one step closer to a proper diagnosis. 

His presence was reassuring, he was gracious yet focused.

She handed him her ultrasound scans, previous test results and sat there, like a school girl waiting for instruction as she sniffled into the now large pile of used tissues.

He asked her, “I need to do an ultrasound…Datu will help.” He reached over his large, ornate mahogany desk and picked up the phone.

“Please call in Dadyu,” he said.

Delightful Dadyu walked in, baring a smile that bared sunshine. She gestured her to the examination bed and told her to roll up her sleeve. She pricked her skin and drew blood. She almost always winced in pain when having her blood drawn, but today the thoughts in her head occupied her, overwhelmed her so much so her fear for needles could not compare to the unknown that brought her here.

Dadju then asked her to unbutton her pants. “Please unbutton your pants and lift your top ever so slightly, we’ll place the gel on your stomach region, and pass the wand over it. It might hurt a little as we have to apply some pressure to get an accurate reading. But do not worry. Try to relax.”

Although  Dadju’s sunny demeanor and unusually broad shoulders would have been a welcome distraction, she was more concerned with what they might find; or if they would find anything at all. He proceeded to carry out the examination, and all Dr. Ibrahim did was to grip his pen tight as he stood not too far away but close enough to see the monitor. As she grimaced in pain, she wondered what would come next.

As delightful Dadju finished the examination, she wiped the gel off her stomach, collected her items and smiled at her. She proceeded to lead herself out, leaving Dr. Ibrahim to do the explaining.

“Well, there are two probable causes for your unrelenting frustrations, but I need to conduct further tests. We will know more when the results are out.”

Cervical cancer and pre-cancer lesions can be detected through a Pap smear test. For this test, your doctor/nurse looks inside your vagina using a device called a speculum. He or she will then use a small brush to collect cells from the cervix that will be examined in the laboratory. Depending on your age, the doctor will also do a test for a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). Women between the ages of 25 to 64 are advised to have Pap smears every three years. However, HIV positive women are urged to undergo the procedure every year. The widespread use of cervical screening programs has dramatically reduced rates of cervical cancer in the developing world.

Dr.Khadija Warfa recommends, a well-proven way to prevent cervical cancer is to have testing (screening) to find pre-cancers before they can turn into invasive cancer and vaccination in pre-teens against the virus that causes the cancer. According to reports by Aga Khan University Hospital, Cervical cancer ranks as the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women and yet is a preventable disease. According to WHO 2018, 33 per 100,000 women in Kenya have cervical cancer and 22 per 100,000 die from the disease.

Categories
Thoughts

Sukuma Wiki: 3 financial habits to swear by

The term ‘sukuma wiki’ does indeed refer to a popular leafy green side dish  that accompanies ugali, Kenya’s most popular dish.

Simple, nutritious and cost effective the meal is popular because for anyone and everyone who’s just trying to stretch a shilling, this meal is a saving grace.

For many of today’s millennials stretching a shilling or a dollar is an integral part to making sure you make it through the week; basically “sukuma wiki”. With a range of experiences, some major mistakes when it comes to money and some eureka moments on my journey towards financial freedom there are a few habits I have cultivated to ensure I do not fall off the tracks.

  1. Multiple streams of income

In today’s fast moving world, it is important to realize the value of time and how to best use it. Employ your skills, and if you have none, it might be time to learn a few. Once I joined the work force, I quickly learnt that my salary would hardly carry me towards the lavish lifestyle I thought I would be living. You see, we all have these dreams of one day living it up in a home of our choosing, able to indulge ourselves on the regular. However if you think your salary will meet all your needs, you have another thing coming.

I suggest taking up a part-time job, or investing wisely to earn a passive income that requires little of your attention.

2.Set your accounts up for success

Saving is one of those habits that requires loads of practice and discipline. However, if you are not a fan of the envelop method for managing your spending and monthly expenses, it could also be worth considering the importance of multiple accounts.

Keep a rainy day savings account for unexpected major expenses, a goal -related account perhaps for your bi-annual vacations, a sacco and a current account. Such a structure with ensure that you are well set up for contingency expenses, annual expected expenses and strategic saving should there be need for a low interest loan. This is just a simple example of how to structure things towards your current and future needs; foreseen or otherwise.

3.Supermarkets are a dark hole, be careful

Always be aware of your shopping habits. Your mental and emotional state may often contribute to your spending habits.

Shopping on an empty stomach is a faux pas, not to mention entering a supermarket without a detailed list. Whether you are just going in for some specialty candies or some particular soap you can only find in that exact store, never enter the store without a list as it is a sure way to engage in some impulse buying.

When I joined college and began managing my monthly expenses, I quickly learnt the benefits of buying in bulk. Now, almost 10 years later I can guarantee you that shopping in bulk for items with a long shelf life such as grains and  toiletries will definitely save your some considerable cash.

Money and personal financial management is something Africans hardly discuss openly about. Though we are not too shy to live the flashy lifestyle, how to get your coins right almost always remains a mystery. However, I encourage us all to ask, don’t take any answer for face value and do your own research.

Cultivate generational wealth for you and future generations to come.

A journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step.

Categories
Thoughts

But Did You Die?

It was a dark evening, and the rain fell to the ground with such ferociousness.

I had spent the day chained to my desk, hoping to tie up some loose ends before going away for a few days. Everything was planned out. We were to arrive at dawn in Kampala, and join our friends on an unforgettable adventure.

And so I switched off my desktop computer, packed my bags and headed towards the station. As I navigated my way to the bus port in one of the busiest streets in the CBD, I could not ignore the feeling in the pit of my stomach. After working more than 5 years in Nairobi’s Central Business District, I had never seen a street with such chaos. In my eyes, not even the hectic pandemonium of the infamous Bus Station could compare.

I arrived before my travel buddy Duncan. I waited patiently at the dingy, poorly lit waiting bay and indulged myself in one of my favorite pastimes; people-watching. I looked out the window and watched the commotion as people on the streets went about buying clothes, shoes and groceries on their commute home.

When that got boring, I sat down and stared out into the room trying to figure out where my fellow passengers were headed. I notice a group of young men, with their attention captivated by a smartphone they shared. Evidently they were on YouTube, entertaining themselves with a popular music video or viral skit I could only assume. They did not have much luggage; and just like me they looked restless, eager to reach their destination.

I also notice a shapely woman sat behind me, she was accompanied by a man who seemed to be a close relative based on how they interacted. People-watching can reveal more than what’s presented on the surface, and is one of those pastimes that I thoroughly enjoy. She apologized for stepping on my bag and smiled. I smiled back.

Minutes later I received a call.

Duncan called me, “I am in town finally, am on my way.”

I drew out my book, a recent purchase from a recent trip only a month ago. The title ‘Janissary Tree’ intrigued me and so I thought “what better time to start a new read than on a trip?” I flipped through before the first chapter and before I could be too enthralled, the announcer notified passengers that the trip was delayed by 30 minutes.

Soon, Duncan arrived and at the very least I could manage my anxiety by engaging in conversation with Duncan.

We boarded the bus, an hour later than the expected departure time. And it was quite the experience as we boarded and prepared ourselves for the long drive to visit the Pearl of Africa. I would like to believe that my nerves had calmed, but as the rain began to pour my heart was not at ease.

I called my father, “Dad, we have left …we are using a shortcut through Ruaka, there is construction on Waiyaki Way. I’ll keep you posted. Love you.”

The roads were terrible, and the night’s darkness was frightful. The rain continued to pour even harder, at some point the rickety bus whose windows could hardly close let in water, making my new hoodie wet. The hailstones pelted the vehicle, as the bus-driver  stepped on the accelerator determined to make up for lost time. He was on a schedule, and the journey had to go on.

We made our first stop in Nakuru, and as we prepared to continue with the journey, the woman behind me noted his feverish speeds. He continued to drive at top speed. So much so, one woman seated at the front complained. And as he grumbled under his breath, he seemed to slow down but it seems that he was only waiting for his passengers to nod off to sleep to pick up the pace.

We stopped again on the side of the road not too far from Kericho. Passengers including myself had to relieve themselves; and as we alighted to heed nature’s call the irritated driver reminded us not to take too long. The journey must go on.

As I went to relieve myself, he brazenly asked me “Bwana wako ako wapi?”

I retorted “ Kwa nini?” as I snarled at him.

 I’m not sure if this was his poor attempt at a chat-up line, but Duncan was sure to make it clear he had no chance. I was not interested, and my friend had my back. Such stupid incidences are just a reminder why solo-travel as a woman requires such bravery and nerve. It was a quick pitstop, and we were soon on our way. He continued to drive and top speed, and again there were complaints, which he totally ignored. And as he grumbled under his breath, he seemed to slow down but it seems that he was only waiting for his passengers to nod off to sleep to pick up the pace yet again.

I listened to Chance the Rapper’s new album ‘The Big Day’ as I drifted off to slumber. I was woken up by the driver shouting, screams and a big bang. I did not have much time to rethink my sitting position, or the fact that I was right by the window as we rolled off to the side of the road.

There was distinct silence.

Women’s screams pierced the atmosphere that was now burdened with so many unknowns as we emerged out of the water. Where were we? What happened? Who was hurt? My heart was beating a thousand beats per minute, I thought it would soon fail. As I tried to move, I felt glass on my feet, and I my clothes were wet. And I could not feel my left hand. I knew it was broken.

But where was my friend?

  I shouted out “Dunkie!”  I heard no response.

“Dunkie!”

He finally responded, and now we needed to get out. Can you imagine trying to get out of a wrecked bus that is lying on its roof in a muddy, water-logged trench in the darkness of night? Women were screaming, men were groaning and it was just horrific to feel helpless, and baffled by your current state with no help from the locals.

Some men came moments after the crash to help passengers and steal whatever they could. I remember one man helped us lift this heavy woman out of the side of a window. Dunkie and I pushed her out from the inside of the bus, while they lifted her out; all while she screamed and hollered hysterically. She must have been in shock, she was scared and cried for help. We were all scared.

The men lifted me out next, and although I could easily fit through the window, I had to leverage my right side to avoid causing more injury to my left arm. I mustered all my strength in my legs, and pushed through the pain to get out.  Dunkie soon followed. And he even went back to help others.

I had no shoes, no pants as sat on the roadside in my soaking wet dheera. The glass had sliced my hands, thighs and feet and as I bled all I could do was think about the young man I saw on the ground as I moved away from the bus. I remembered him from the group of young men who sat together at the station. He may have just older than 20. He was sat in the back, and must have been thrown from the back of the bus through the emergency glass exit from the impact of the accident.

He lay there, not too far from me and I prayed. I prayed and begged God to sustain him.

“Please keep him, Father.”

An older woman who had deeper cuts on her leg prayed too. And we prayed for what felt like forever. His ribcage was barely moving, and his breathing was labored, a chore for his badly injured body.

Some 3 gentlemen in a Probox passed the scene of the accident and stopped to offer help. They carried the badly injured which included the young man, the woman with deep cuts, another woman who had broken both arms, a man who had injured his leg as well as Duncan who had banged-up his head and myself.

We arrived at the hospital, and found the sleepy-eyed staff barely awake. They were shocked, disorganized and confused.

The men brought in the young man, and he was pronounced dead on arrival. And it seemed the sting of death jolted the medics into action, finally getting themselves together to help the injured.

I don’t remember much now, but I had my arm x-rayed, three times. The first, to confirm the extent of the injury. The second was after they had popped it back into place after confirming it was dislocated. The third x-ray confirmed that it was not successful, so they removed the cast, and tortured me again hoping to get it right. A lady stood on my shoulder as two men pulled on my arm. The pain was unforgettable and I just gave up. I had no more energy to give, no more resolve to handle myself. I did not have the energy to scream. I just wept quietly and lay there for a few minutes numb.

And then they sent me for the final x-ray.

Then they proceeded to address the numerous cuts and bruises, stitching me up and I could barely react. Though it was painful, it felt like I was in a daze. This could not have been real.

Soon, other passengers made it to the hospital.

The sun came up and it was a new day.

*According to a report on The Nation, “one person died while 23 others were injured when a bus traveling from Nairobi to Kampala, Uganda, crashed in Kericho County. The accident involving a bus belonging to Modern Coast company occurred near Brooke trading center on the Kericho –Nakuru highway at around 1.00 am on Friday.”

Capital FM News reported, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) suspended the operating license for Modern Coast buses in December 2019 after a series of accidents on various highways across the country claimed several lives and injuring nearly 100. However, the Modern Coast transport service was soon reinstated; and allowed to operate only days after the suspension.

Since the accident, Modern Coast is yet to compensate or reach out to the passengers involved at the time of publishing this article.

Categories
Thoughts

3 Lessons I Have Learnt In 2020

The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most memorable in recent history. If not only just due to the fact that the Coronavirus disrupted everyday life for all on the planet, the tensions and internal turmoil spilled over into how we related to each other.

The year tested all principles individuals held dear, and exposed our deepest and darkest fears. For some we had to stare them down, and for others we avoided them all together. But no matter your approach to the various situations life presented to you in 2020; the end of the second decade of the 21st Century was definitely one for the books.

Here are 3 lessons I have learnt:

  1. Love conquers all

Love for family and friends is something we often take for granted. In African communities, we hardly ever express our love in words, opting to let our actions do the talking. However, with everything so volatile, and with the masses feeling even more vulnerable than ever before, I found myself saying “I love you” more often.

I take these three words very seriously, and appreciate the gravity they carry. After being involved in a tragic accident in 2019, I have realized that I never want to leave things unsaid. Life is too short not to express what you truly feel. I don’t believe I am so great with spoken words, but this year I have pushed myself to express myself. I also found that those that meant the most to me, felt free enough to reciprocate their true feelings too.

Anything could happen, but one thing will ring true; you will never doubt how I feel about you.

2.Don’t be afraid to be seen trying

I have always been scared of taking risks. I am someone who calculates all possible outcomes before making a decision. But I have learnt that you cannot calculate what you can’t see. There are many factors at play at any one time, and just like Johari’s Window with our personalities, even in life you can’t be aware of everything and neither can you prepare for everything. There will always be a blindspot.

So the idea of not wanting to get involved if I can’t guarantee a win is no longer a tenet I hold onto.

Now I vow to myself to at least try. They say “failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor”. With a renewed mindset, I am free to fail, to fall and ultimately to succeed. The perspective that held me afraid to be seen trying could be a kin to a child afraid to crawl or not attempting to walk for the fear of falling. It actually makes no sense, and stunts growth.

There is no harm in trying.

3.Give up control

As a control freak this was probably one of the hardest lessons I have learned. It was a difficult road to a new plane of realization, but the truth is no one person is ever in control. Life will always have a way of humbling you, and your plans will be subject to different varying factors. One might ask then “So, why bother?”

Well the fact that you are not in control of every factor does not mean that you do not have any power. For the things you can control, such as your attitude, perception, effort and relationships with others do you best to put your best foot forward, the rest leave it in God’s hands.

As we get strapped in for another 365 days around the sun, it is critical to not only take time to appreciate the lessons from 2020, but more importantly to apply what we have learnt.

Happy new year!

Categories
Thoughts

Highly disfunctional

Life has a funny way of catching up with you, no matter who you are.

Your demons will always rear their head at the most inopportune time, and sometimes it could lead you down a rabbit hole that consumes every fiber of your being, when you least expect it. For some, alcohol offers some sort of escape, the libations that coat our throats as we let our hair down every Friday night. On the other hand, some point out it is a drug, an addiction that has a choke hold on our potential, our dreams, and stops us from truly realizing our better selves. This story is about the man who could not tame his fears, the terror of missed opportunities, and the dread of his potential.

He was an honorable man, loved by all. Successful, he gave off all the signs of a man in control of his destiny. But as we know, only God know what the next chapter holds. Obsessed with holding onto the steering wheel of his life, he clutched at the wheel; keen to determine its direction and maneuver it towards his so-called perfect life.

But you see, life is never about what you think you want.

 And so it began, the slow fade into the dark, secluded, desolate world. Late nights, strange fights and a series of decisions clouded in paranoia as he drifted farther and farther away from his loved ones. Soon he was left alone. He remained cut off from reality, in his own unique kingdom where he ruled as king. They called him the mad, drunk king!

With a kingdom of disloyal subjects, he set sail to conquer new territories and rule new lands. But it did not take too long for his delusions to catch up to him, reminding him that he was a man of limitations. A man devoid of peace, grappling  with his own vices that neither time nor space could resolve. In an attempt to seek inner peace, the mad, drunk king sought the sage advice of various wise men. He travelled the seas, and climbed mountains to see priests and prophets alike, but none had what he searched for. None could deliver the truth.

Finally, he visited the village soothsayer. After months of travel, his heart was weary and his resolve weak. He grew continually mad, and more  drunk than ever before. But it was clear that he was in dire need of a solution. An end to his misery was what he truly desired. The soothsayer upon meeting him looked at his cup of a thousand vices, and told the mad, drunk king some words he was not ready to hear. He said, “King, you are a high functioning alcoholic. You think you are in control; but the longer you cling to your so-called power, the faster you lose dominion over your life.” To regain some semblance of normalcy; the mad, drunk was adviced to relinquish control and surrender to his vices…thereby diminishing their power freeing him finally.

Now more than ever, there is an increase in alcoholism cases in the population. As life’s pressures continue to pile on high, one may lean on various coping mechanisms to make it by. However, as one drink leads to another,  that leads to another; alcoholism is pulling away individuals from their potential and claiming lives in more ways than we can narrate. According to reports, alcoholism is a disease that causes individuals to compulsively drink despite knowing the health, social and legal repercussions. High-functioning alcoholics have an addiction as real as those of the people who get in car accidents, show up to work drunk or lose their family and friends.

If you are dealing with unresolved emotions, speak up don’t drink it away, or you might just end up as the mad, drunk king with no true friend or family to live out your life.

Categories
Books et al

3 Books That Changed My Perspective on Being A Woman

They say he who reads lives a thousand lives, and although I have not read a thousand books I can definitely appreciate the broadened mindset I’ve gained from reading.

So here is a trio that I believe are super important reads:

  1. ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott

The book by Louisa May Alcott is a classic. It was the first school-mandated text that I enjoyed, relished and continue to cherish to this day. Although the stories of the individuals are set in 17th Century America (hundreds of years before my time), I have found some comfort in the lives of the female characters championed in this book. It is written from a woman’s perspective and challenges societal norms in a way most classics hardly ever considered. For a feminist, or anyone interested in the pre-occupations of young girls, ‘Little Women’ gives a glimpse into the fixations of young women, the societal pressures they face and how every woman’s ideas of life are constantly evolving.

If you’re interested in also watching the characters come alive on-screen the 2019 remake is not too bad.

2. ‘Becoming’  by Michelle Obama

Prior to reading this book, I hardly knew anything about the first African American First Lady of The United States of America. I was pleasantly surprised to learn Michelle Obama was a pioneer well before becoming the President’s wife. The book is a page-turner revealing Mrs. Obama’s riveting backstory before her life under the glaring lens of the media. She had a life, long before she walked the hallowed corridors of the White House, and her life was full, challenging and significant.

The book offers an insider’s take on life in the White House, the ins and outs of Former President Obama’s exciting yet tedious presidential campaign race and the struggle every woman faces in achieving the so-called perfect work-life balance.

Mrs. Obama offers intimate details of her life; and draws great lessons from her life that any woman would appreciate.

3. ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Award winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has a way with words. She shares the stories of African characters, refined with imagery and colorful culture. For an African millennial reader, her words come alive when met with the fast paced, intertwined well outlined character plotlines; the book ‘Americanah’ is a read that is worth re-reading again and again. For all those who value stories told from the African perspective, Adichie’s writing exposes the internal conflicts of African youth and unveils layers of truth, that are hardly addressed.

I have always been draw to the work of female authors, and the more I explore different work; the more apparent it is that women across the globe have and continue to face similar struggles. Nonetheless, it is riveting to read how we women manage to make the most out of what life throws at us, and it is exhilarating to see more stories told from a woman’s perspective.

‘We Should All Be Feminists’ author Chimamanda has a host of other award-winning books that are worth reading, and adding to your collection.

What female authors have you explored recently?