Monthly Archives: February 2013

VAGINA ON THE WALL

When I finally got hold of her, she was seated behind a pile of books, reading and scanning through some papers, she welcomed me to her study where I was supposed to have an interview with her.I had chased her for close to two straight months, and my editor was getting impatient, so i was relieved when i walked into the room and found her sitting there.
That was back then when I was doing science stories and I needed to get her comments on a story I was doing. So here I was, in her study, a place full of books, the place where I was supposed to conduct the interview. She was a top scientist in East Africa. The most slippery source I have ever chased.

The story starts here: On the wall of her study, was the biggest painting of a VAGINA…staring in all it’s glory. blown up to infinity. It was huuuuge.

I blushed. I asked the questions concerning science. I ignored the vagina that was there, like a blooming flower on a misty dawn.
 
What can Africa do to control the famine that has been experienced recently…” I asked.
She sipped the tea that was on her table, adjusted her spectacles and answered the questions so carefully, sometimes she would pause mid sentence, and stare at the wall, at the vagina, as if she sought answers from that painting….

It stretched on and on, dominating the white canvas upon which it was drawn. Consuming it whole, outstanding….

I couldnt look for long.

I was battling with so many thing. I knew vaginas are supposed to be hidden. There is a reason they are called private parts, there is a reason layers and layers of clothes are piled on it to cover it, and here I was, face to face with the naked organ…the clitoris outstanding…


She looked at it and smiled. “Its mine, my own vagina” she rolled the words slowly.

I cast a glance and blushed.
What!?

“The vagina is a beautiful organ, it is us Africans who mistreat it, we cut it, we stitch it, we rape it…I apprehend the human morphology in all it’s possible forms…”

Haiya!
I didnt know what to make of her openness (pardon the pun)
Maybe she is brave, maybe she is crazy.


I couldnt look again. My gaze remained on my shoes. Until today, I still remember the woman with her vagina on the wall…and i think: That was one hell of a courageous woman…Or maybe she is mad. Science has distorted her mind.

 

Thank God i didnt study sciences..

 

Oh woman…Oh AFrican woman!

 

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I REMEBER CHILDHOOD…I SMILE

~Childhood is measured out by
sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows
”—John
Betjeman.

 

–My childhood is defined by the smell of fish, of how we would get home from school and find my mama bent on a black basin, removing scales from fish – sometimes some would jump off and stick on her body, but my mama, she would go on and on….scaling fish, hanging them on the barbed wire that surrounded our house, and telling us to keep watch so that a cat doesnt run away with them.

And then the smell of hot oil boiling, as my mama dipped the fish into the oil while we watched …every day. What I didnt imagine at that time, was that in this routine, I was learning the essence of hard work, of independence, of doing all you can to ensure that you take care of your family. Yes, my mama sold fish, and the reek of frying tilapia is a part of my childhood.
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My childhood is defined by the smell of cake baking in a jiko. How my mama would mix the ingredients as we children milled around her. Watching her so close, like a cross between an albatross and the king african vulture….waiting, watching as she mixed the flour with blue band, as she crashed the eggs and poured the contents into the sufuria, then her hands would swirl the ingredients over, sometimes she hummed a song, sometimes she sent us to get her sugar, more icing, more cocoa…she experimented with the things that make cake, looong before the existance of google. Yes, my mama she baked cake on 24th December of ever year, and us kids? We surrounded her and watched, and these little things bonded us so much, and they are etched in our memories. How my mama would send us to fill a sufuria with soil, and then place it oh so carefully on the jiko, and then she would occassionally test to see if the cake is ready by piercing through it with a sharp knife. Sometimes the cake got burned at the bottom, and my mama would scrap off the burnt parts using a knife. Then, she would slice the cake for us, and we would marvel at the beauty of my mother’s creation. Yes…my childhood is full of memories of burnt cake and LOVE…

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Any time that I slide into those days, I evaporate into a past that created who I am today, I sink into a beautiful time when my beliefs were being formed.

When I remember those days…i find myself remembering the double decker bed that I shared with my sisters, the bed where I started journaling and writing about the things that bothered me the most. It is on that bed where I buried myself to the dark poetry of Sylvia Plath, I sat on that bed and read the magical words of Plath, words that I identified with and immortalized in my mind. So most of my childhood is engraved in that bed, most of my formation and introduction to adulthood. It is in that bed that I tried to quench my thirst for anything put in print.

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My childhood has tunes of Dolly Parton blasting from the radio, as my mama danced and sang along exactly like Dolly Parton…as she said: “We got too much of a good thing going…, as she sang to Island in the stream, as she shuffled her feet on our red colored floor…as she smiled and got engrossed in the rhythm of the song. We sang with her too, sometimes as we washed plates, as we cleaned the house…

my childhood is defined by the song KUMBAYAH, how every night, we would gather around my mama and pray. How she led us into singing Kumbayah, and how we would huddle around the jiko for warmth, because the house was too cold. And we held hands, we sang and our voices merged into a beautiful rendition. We sang and bonded, and we talked to God as a family, because we knew just how much we needed God. We saw our mama fall down on her knees when things got too much…the ultimate surrender when things get too heavy. My childhood is full of memories of my mama surrendering….for us, for God.

My childhood, it is a series of continuous growth, it is such memories that made me who I am today.

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YOU ASKED….I ANSWERED…AT LEAST I TRIED TO

In my previous blog, I asked that you ask me anything that you would want to know about me. This is a concept I borrowed to help me fight writers block and keep things moving. (Haha, isnt blogging fun?)

1. How does your mister react to some of your blogs, like the previous one (sex pistols)?

I got to tell you this Gracie, my mister is sure that he is the one that takes me home, he knows, through these years that we have together that it takes so much to hold my mind, that a man has to do my mind so many times before I lower my defenses and my privates for him….and he knows that he will always be THE MAN that holds my attention. He knows damn damn too well that I cannot fall for another man as long as he lives, that no man will ever love me right like he does. He knows that we fight severally, that sometimes doors get banged and clicks follow in rapid succession, BUT he is the man who carries my heart…so I may have these sex pistols, but it is too fleeting, he holds my heart. Always. Forever and I have always made him know it…so he doesnt feel threatened by Laurie Hugh. (Whoooo, that was some long damage control)

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2. what drives u in life.

I live for LOVE and LAUGHTER. Really, those are the things that have pushed me this far.

3. Apart from writing, what else do u do?

When I am not writing, am practicing motherhood. I am also a certified psychologists so I do drugs/substance abuse therapy when I am called upon. I studied Human psychology; the human mid just thrills me to no end.

4.If u were not a writer, what other profession would u have done?

Everyone thought I was going to be a lawyer. Before I went to journalism school, I went to the university of Nairobi and got an admission to the school of law, but I bailed out for the fear of getting bored to the skin.

lawyer

5.how did u meet ur man n for how long have u been dating?

My man and I will be doing seven years together at the end of this year. It has been a journey of knowing the other, self realization, tears, laughter, and LOVE. Mostly love. And we met in a bus 🙂

6.What makes him so special, as in, what did u see in him that other men dont have?

What makes my man special is the fact that we have a connection. From the very first time he talked to me, he got me. We are so in sync such that I am can almost predict how he would react to situations. Another special thing about him is that he makes me laugh…seven years and he still tells me the most hilarious stories that knock me off my breath…and his ability to stay calm and patient when things get off, when the winds of life blow to hard, my Simon holds on and sails it with me. He always has…and did I say he makes me laugh? He is also the most forgiving and understanding human being, and he is too mature for his age.

7. where do u see urself in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I want to publish three books, and then I want to sit home and earn from it. And I want to come back five years from now and see that it has become a reality.

8. If u were to die now, what would u be remembered for?

I donno what I would be remembered for. It is hard to tell what people think about you, given that humanity can be so pretentious and sneaky. I stopped wondering what they might think of me.. One thing that I will always remember, and God knows I will never forget is the experience that I have gotten as a volunteer with the Kenya hospice and palliation. I have battled disease and I know what it means for the body to fail, I know what it means for you to think you are dying…I know because I have been through it. Being a volunteer and going to KNH to talk to someone going through chemo, to hold the hand of someone in the last stages of cancer…to see them crack a weak smile in the midst of pain…to whisper to them that they matter…those are the experiences that i will carry with me, even to death.

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I hope that when I die, I will be remembered for putting a smile to those in extreme pain and worry….

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9.if ur dad was to ask for ur forgiveness so as to make things right n mend things, would u forgive him?

I forgave my dad a looooong time ago. I did, all he needs to do is to forgive himself and realize that he is the one who lost, not us. My mama did a good job with us…he missed a lot of good things, it is his own loss. we have blossomed to be beautiful women, and that is all that matters. Hooooray to my mama, who never even once bowed out.

10. Are u born again?

I am not born again. I havent declared it at any church. I was born a catholic….but my religion is: I live to do good to the people I meet. I live for doing good. That is what drives me…I know I fall short so many times, but I try to see the good in people.

11. Who is ur role model, ur mentors?

My mama….I want to be like her. She is so graceful. Ever since I was growing up, I have never seen my mama ooze negative energy. And I have never seen my mama turn her back on anyone who needs to be helped. Allow me to declare that my mama is a SAINT to me.

12.What is your philosophy

My philosophy is to LIVE and LET LIVE. I live my life the way I see fit. Yes, I do not live according to people’s definition. Those who know me will tell you that I rattle the status quo…i ask questions when I feel I need to. I demand for my space when I feel I am being crowded. I walk out of conflicts when I know that they will not benefit me…i am a coward when it comes to getting to a battle zone whose results will not elevate me in any way. I LIVE. And I let other people live too…if one needs me out of their life, I make myself scarce. If one decides to live in a way that I do not believe in, I let them be. I will never change for anybody, and by the same token, I dont expect anyone to change to fit my expectations….i live and let others be….that is my philosophy.

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13.what do you love most about what you do?

I love that sometimes I give people who have been robbed of their voice by the situations that they have been through. I love that sometimes I am able to tell the stories of those oppressed and put in shackles because they do not know who and how to tell their stories to. So I take their stories and I put words into them…and sometimes, they find liberation through this. I love that sometimes I become a vessel of telling stories that should have been told a long while back, but people were too scared to tell them. I love that I am able to remove the gag from those thrown into the murk of any form of abuse and suffering.

14. which people have had impact in u as a writer?

I will choose writers: David Sedaris, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Wahome Mutahi and so many more. Writers who are RAW and uncensored always inspire me.

15. What advice would u give someone going into writing for the first time?

Good writers are those who write their TRUTHS. Those who can tell their stories and not give a damn about being judged. Good writing is not about the language used, or the metaphors, or imagery. Good language is to tell your ordinary stories and undress in front of your audience and tell them…you know what, this is who i am…

anne lamot

16. what have been ur high n low moments as a writer

my high moments as a writer is that I have been received well by my audience as a writer. This month of February alone, my blog has gotten more than 10,000 visits. My low moments as a writer is that I do ghost writings, I do freelance journalism, sometimes I am hired as a stringer, so I sell my stories…so when other people bump into them elsewhere without my by line, they think that I copied from those sites…yet I am bound by media law and ethics to not reveal when I do ghost writings. So I end up lacking a defense.

17. What motivates you

what motivates me is when a stranger writes to me and tells me: “Hey, your stories inspire me…Hey Mercy, you have encouraged me to move…” I feel motivated when that happens.

18. What is your favorite meal?

Fries, salad and mountain dew. I eat it too many times.

md

19.tell me something few people know about u

I am very SHY and laid back, in as much as people think that I am too outgoing. Most of my free time is spent sleeping and listening to music. Also, I stammer and speak in so many segments. Also, I am so forgetful. I have to be reminded stuff A LOT. I also forget faces very easily.

20. What gives u sleepless night

I cant sleep when I am broke. I know, but I worry a lot about going flat broke.

21. what does ur target as a blogger entail, what is ur target audience?

My target is young adults. People who are discovering themselves and are battling issues that they dont know how to handle. My target is people like me, people seeking answers in the things that life brings.

22.As a young kenyan, what kind of leaders does kenya need?

I think Kenyans need to embrace the leadership that lies in them. If only they found the fire that burns in them, and are able to use the talents that they have, then probably, they wouldn’t need a leader to help them to be  self sufficient.

23. who is Mercy Orengo?

I am a woman who was brought up by a strong woman, born in Kisumu, schooled in Nyanza, and I am turning 26 this year.

xxxxxxxo.

LIVE. LOVE. LAUGH. CONTINUE…………

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ASK ME….AND I WILL TELL YOU

In today’s blog, you are to ask me something, anything that you want me to answer, and I will answer all of them in my next blog.

 

You know nothing is off limits, just ask me whatever it is that turns your crank.

Ask, and I will answer…

 

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SEX PISTOLS…MY LIST IS OUT

Every woman has them. Even men have them. Oh, I see where this is going. Every single human being has them, even they that live in the convent and seminary. Haaaaiya, they are dangerous. Some are small, some are shiny, some are ragged…but they all do the same things. They all turn our fantasy. They all make us close our eyes and tremble. They all make us imagine…if only for a minute.

Ahhhh, am talking about the sex pistols. Yes, the men who you see on Tv, meet on the streets, ogle at on the newspaper and the hairs on your nape stand up. Men who you cannot say no to.

Very fast, I will let you into my sex pistols. I will tell you about men who I would marry and make love to over and over, if I had the chance.

  1. Hugh Laurie (Dr. House) House can make the seams of a woman’s dress to break open from the heat emanating from his gaze. Jehova! He is is the reason I watch that show. Ahh, and I find his limp so damn sexy. Mhhhh. Watching House for me is not just about watching a medical show, naaaah. That man just catches my insides and triggers very dangerous animal instincts in me that make me want to grab him and do some stuff to him. Le sigh! And he is intelligent and rugged too…ummmh, exactly how I love my men served to me. and maaaaan, have you seen how sexxxy he looks when he is in his contemplating mood…thinking, trying to solve something. HOLY CRAPPOLAH! Allow me to draw in a deep breath.

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Antonio(Ronalo’s waiter) I warn you, very flaming man. And he is way too young for me, I suspect, but I dont care. He is too sexy. And he has the most charming smile. And oh my! He flirts too….he does. There is a day my girlfriends and I had gone to eat fish there, and then I asked: “Can you get us some cocktail sir…”

He said: “You have to pay for it first…”

So, I jokingly asked. “What if I forgot to carry my wallet…”

And theeeeen, he calmly and ohhh so seductively told me: “In that case, I will be forced to drag you behind the counters and make you pay in kind. “

DISHNYAAAAW! Not that I wanted to be taken behind a counter and have stuff done to me. Only that….eeerm, its the thought of a young man, barely into his twenties, offering to take you behind the counter that is too delicious. I say! Thrill me baibe! If only it was legal to grab a man, tear his waiter uniform and DO THINGS with him…oh my….oh my!

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3.Kenny Rogers. Fine. I know he is old. I know. I know. Buuuut that man rages inside me. His voice. His damn voice. It is all syrupy and have you guys heard him sing :”Ruby don’t take your love to town”? Mamamamama…orgasm. Instant. Aaaah! And scarlet fever? Jehova! Sex pistol…and there is a DVD I was watching where he sat during one of his concerts, and he was so composed, he sang from his soul in front of a live audience. SULULU! dishnyau! I am finished.

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5.A while back, I went to a church in Zimmerman that had the hawtest pastor called Joe. Alas! I could almost sense his breath upon my neck. Mayie preacher man….you gon’ make me sin abeg! When he called for people who had visited the church for the first time, I shot up like a bolt of lightning…hoping he’d call me later and convert me, or do “whatever” with me. he never did. I almost wept. Never went back to that church. I know, very wrong. God might have gotten very angry with me, but I repented.

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6.My philosophy professor whose name shall not be revealed, cuz you never know who knows who and it might get to him…and then he might think am a weirdo. But the man makes my feet curl. He is by far the most intelligent man I have ever had a conversation with! there is just something about a man with beautiful brains that attract me so much, I can take that mind, out it to bed and make out with it thoroughly.. The heat in me as he once interlocked eyes with me was just too much! I could almost feel it rising up from me, to the ceiling and bouncing to him. true story. GRRRRRRR!

 

And then finally, this one i had to save for last….*swallows an ice cube* things can get intense when I attempt to describe this magnificent creation of God. Boris Kodjoe Heeeh, and then there was this movie that I watched with my mister where he got naked after showering from a basket ball game….ehe…yes he did. *Swallows another ice cube*  I closed my eyes too…I could have broken my Tv, grabbed him and put him on the carpet and done a lot of things that I also cant describe here because my whole family reads this blog, and also, because if i start describing, i might finish a whole bucket of ice cube. Woloooooolo Boris, MARRY ME!

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haki, I dont think I watched that movie to the end…all I could think of was…COME TO MAMA!

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but of course,  we all know who gets to take me home when the fantasy is over. I have the most awesome man in my life. So, I see, I like, and then I go home to my man.

Who are your sex pistols? No, just tell me, I want to know.

 

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SISTERHOOD- TO DECODE, TO DESCRIBE, TO DEFINE

In previous blogs, I have attempted to define motherhood, fatherhood, friendship and other things, and it is not an easy thing, because I get so subjective to an extent of annoying people. So, the other day, when my friend told me: “Why dont you try to define sisterhood…” I was swayed, but I didnt have the right description, so I called for other sisters and friends to help me define sisterhood.

 

How do I start this? What is sisterhood?

 

Sisterhood is a bond that is above blood relation. It is a connection that goes beyond being siblings. Sisterhood brings together two or more women who share a lot in common, and helps them thrive in their union. Sisterhood is to be there for your friend, it is to be present when your friend is passing through the hot furnace of life, it is to be there when your friend is going through incapacitating disease, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, difficult birth, surgery, dark edges of mourning, divorce, separation, pain, sorrow, confusion…it is spending the nights with a friend who is puking her guts out, it is to wipe her tears when she gets overwhelmed by her situation. It is to be by her side when she needs you, without expecting a favor in return. Sisterhood requires that you stay and offer a hand for your sister to hang on. Sisterhood is STAYING.

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Sisterhood is a call to hold the secrets of a fellow sister. Yes, it is. Your sister will tell you things that lie so deep inside her. Her fears, her worries, her beliefs, her dark past, her attempt to rise, her mistakes, her erratic ways. Sisterhood requires that you listen and keep these secrets regardless. Sisterhood does not mean that when you fall out, you scatter these secrets and embarrass your friend. That is IMMATURITY. A sister who tells on the secrets of the other presents herself for judgment, she shows how stupidly low she can sink. You see, sisterhood is a call to safeguard the integrity of a fellow sister and to ensure that her secrets are safe no matter the situation. A sister is one who can hold the secrets of the other, even when the foundation of that friendship is crumbling deep and fast. Sisterhood is a RESPONSIBILITY.

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Sisterhood is to teach. To hold the hand of your fellow sister and teach her things that continually evade her. Sisterhood is to send a fellow sister a recipe she has been struggling to grasp. It is to hold her baby and teach her what to do when she is walking through the confusing maze of first time motherhood. Sisterhood is to help her calm the troubled waters of her life. Sometimes sisterhood is silence. It is watching your sister from a distance as she makes the weary trudge towards finding herself. Sisterhood is to embrace the differences that you have, and not force a fellow sister to be like you, that is BULLYING. Sisterhood is to let your sister express herself in the way that she knows how to, and encompass these differences to create a beautiful thing. Sisterhood is ACCEPTANCE.

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Sisterhood is presence. It is to be there when your sister is crushing her teeth and her tears are flowing. It is to rush to her when she has lost her baby, and to hug her so tight. It is to assure her that you care…through deeds, ala, not just words.

It is to try to be there when she is making the small beautiful milestones. It is to be there for her graduation, her wedding, her job promotion, her loss of job the burial of a loved one. Sisterhood is to ensure there is communication. It is not to always wait for her to be the one who calls. No. That is selfishness. Sisterhood is to pick that phone and call not only when you have a problem or when you need a soft loan, or company. Sisterhood is to call, even just to catch up and see how the other is coming. Sisterhood doesnt mean you exploit the other…to borrow money, to borrow clothes, to always be needy on a shoulder to cry on. No. Sometimes sisterhood is to take care of your own shit just to relieve the other of the burdens of carrying your issues. Sisterhood is a CALLING.

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Sisterhood is respect. It is to draw that indelible line and know where you cant cross. It is to respect the spouse of your sister. It is to say a big NO when your friend’s partner makes a stupid move. A true sister cannot even think of snatching the man of the other, that is for cheap woman and HYPOCRITES. A sister does not sow hatred among other sisters. She does not spread rumors and light a fire that will take so long to extinguish. Sisterhood thrives on peace and laughter. The small conflicts are resolved amicably among sisters. A sister knows where her class is, she doesn’t need unnecessary drama to establish her presence. She doesn’t always have to cause a show for her to be noticed. That is for children and people with low self esteem. Sisters know where the standard is, and goddam it, they never stoop low to compromise that standard. Sisterhood is STANDARD.

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Sometimes sisterhood is to stand up and tell off a sister. Yes, itb is to face a sister and tell her: “Chick, you are tripping… Madam, you need to control your drinking….sister, you are too pretty to have a man who doesnt respect you….my dear, look for a job and stop over depending on your husband…sweet heart, you have shed enough tears because of a past you cant erase, it is about time that you rise up and start living the present….”

sisterhood is to advise, but not in a judgmental way, it is not to stand in a high place and don the clothes of perfection. Sisterhood is to listen to a sister’s dreams, ambitions and rising without feeling that tinge of jealousy climbing up on you. It is to cheer your sister on, it is not to bring the other down, just so you can get a thrill. no. Sisterhood is to be able to watch a sister going places, and to smile genuinely and say: “I am happy for you bitch…i am also on my way up that ladder….” Sisterhood is CONTRADICTION.

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Sisterhood is not to cut the other out just because you have gotten married. It is not to leave out your friend with whom you have walked through childhood, teenage and growth together just because you have gotten into an institution. That is WRONG. Sisterhood is not to look through your friend because you now wear suits to work while your sister is a hustler who still wears jeans. Sisterhood is not to ignore a sister who has been your treasured confidant just because you are now a mother and you feel she will wast your time. Sisterhood is enshrined deep inside, that it is able to crushed the barriers and still triumph. Sisterhood is ETERNAL.

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Sisterhood is to fight for a sister when she is silenced by some situations. It is to stand up for her and defend her. Yes, sometimes you do not even have to support what she has done. It is however to stand between her and the people who are attacking her, and defend her when she is so powerless. Sisterhood is to guard her honor, it is to shield her against the blows that come with life. It is to have her back. Sometimes sisterhood doesnt even need you to fight for her. No, sometimes, it just requires that you keep quiet until things calm down. To crush your friend and join the ones who are talking ill behind her back is BETRAYAL. Sisterhood is to help your friend choose the battles that are worth fighting. It is to whisper to her: “Baby, let it go…you is BEAUTIFUL, you is LOVELY, and regardless of what happened, you are still my friend. Sisterhood is not to throw your friend under the bus just because she is not with you at the moment. Sisterhood is putting yourself at the shoes of a fellow sister and asking yourself “How would it feel…” it is to know that perfection is an Illusion. Sisterhood is setting a bar for your friendship, but ensuring that you dont complain when the same bar is used on you. It is not double standards this thing called sisterhood. It is TO LIVE AND LET LIVE.

 

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So, hoooray to my beautiful sisters, they that have held my back even though we are not related by birth, hooray to the spirit of sisterhood – the very thing that has helped women rise. Hooray to my blood sisters for the block that they have created around me. Hoooray to my friend Amy, without whom I wouldnt have been who I am.

 

And of course, a special thanks to Josephine Otieno, Wairimu Kiiru, Sara Oduor, and Muthoni Saruni for helping me define what sisterhood is.
Hug a sister out there. Write to them and tell them you are glad to have them as sisters. Call them….

 

what does sisterhood mean to you?

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I WOMAN, I RISE…WITH ONE BILLION OTHERS

Today’s post is inspired by Maya Angelou’s poetry, One Billion Rising, and womanhood….

 

They told my grandma Nyaboke that she has to go through the knife, they told her that she has to be “cut” to tame her wildness. That women are supposed to be easy, the small demon, the clitoris is a fire that blazes too hard and needs to be put out. So, as a child, she was pinned down and a sharp knife sliced off her body part that was believed to cause insanity in women. And she believed them…but now things are changing.

I woman, I rise.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

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They told my mother that she was useless, she was not worthy, she had shortchanged my father because she had given birth to four girls. They echoed it over and over till she believed them. Till she started wishing she could have a boy to prove herself. But hey, the girls she gave birth to have risen and done everything a boy could have done. Things are changing, the old order is burning.

I woman, I rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

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They raped my friend and fled with all the belief that she had in humanity. They wrestled her to the ground and got on top of her, then they robbed her of her voice, because rape happens inside you. Because when you are raped, they rape your mind, your emotions, and sometimes your dream too. So my friend started struggling with identity, she started seeking for her old self that they had taken by force. And then society started segregating her, making her think that she was somehow responsible, making her think that to be raped is to be destroyed, so much such that she started believing them, she started thinking that she had been destroyed. So she battled the inside demons that refused to leave her, she relieved the moment of rape till she felt she was going crazy. But not anymore. We are going through a revolution.

I woman, I rise.

 Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

 rising 5

They told my 13 year old cousin Anette who had been born with HIV that she was different. They failed to protect her, and they discriminated upon her. They thought taking her to school is a waste of money, they were sure she was going to die. They forgot to consider the innocence of this kid who is a victim of circumstances, and whose parents are buried deep in the belly of this earth. So they kept focusing on her disease. They kept moving away from her, they waited for her death…until she started believing them, so she stopped taking her drugs, so she huddled in the corner of the room and cried when her classmate teased her. So she shook and cried whenever she felt low…but not any more. We are going through cross overs. She scored above 380 marks in KCPE. Women are rattling the status quo.

I woman, I rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

noose 11

They told me that I had gained so much weight and that I looked ugly. They told me that I needed to shed off that weight if I wanted to look beautiful again. They recommended diets and starvation. They mentioned chinese tea and cabbage soup. They told me who I needed to become. They opened glossy magazines and showed me models I needed to look like. Severally, incessantly, till I got corrupted and I started believing them. Till I got scared of looking at myself in the mirror, because the image in the mirror didnt fit their description of beauty. But not anymore…i have fallen in love with the I. I have made my own description of beauty. Damn it, I am so beautiful. In voice, in belief, in body…i can shake my fat body, I can ignore the spots in my body, I am so BEAUTIFUL, really, I am….

I woman, I rise.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

i am i

They lashed on her with their demeaning words, they made her feel so damn useless. They pointed out her past, the mistakes that she had made in the days that have gone by, but they put it in focus. Her days when she took too much alcohol, days when she lived a care free life, days when she was driven by the follies of her youth. All they saw in her were her mistakes, they never gave her a chance to rewrite a new life, they only read what the past had written. Until she got drowned in that box they had put her in, so much that she lost the power to move, so she started living in the eyes of the judgmental folks, she moved back to her past and buried her head there. But now she begins her resurrection.

I woman, I rise.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

rising 8

They told me to get love, to survive in marriage, I have to surrender. I have to give my sex, I have to give my money, I have to give my time, I have to give my everything. I have to surrender, and demand for nothing in return. They told me to quit complaining when things went wrong, to swallow it all like a woman and move forward. They taught me the drunken philosophy of giving, but they forgot to mention the philosophy of receiving, so much such that I started doing nothing but giving. I gave and gave and gave…yet I got so little in return. But the sands are now slowly shifting, I am learning to demand for what I deserve.

I woman, I rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

risng 10

They told her that she couldnt make it on her own, that she could pack and leave an abusive marriage, because a woman is supposed to stay, for better for worse. They told her that once a woman has stepped into her marital home, it is death that is supposed to remove her from it. They shut their ears when she raised her voice, when the slaps and kicks rained on her body. They said it is normal for a man hit a woman. They looked on as she nursed the bruises, of her scarred body, riddled with cuts, burns and her heart, plastered with sorrow, tears and deeper wounds, yet they told her she has to stay. They told her only cowards run away…that a woman has to fight for her position in marriage. So she believed them, and she stayed on…the fights never ended, her body got so many bruises ~ but now she is learning to soar and fly off the cage.

I woman, I rise.

abuse 6

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

 

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