Posts Tagged ‘African Authors’

I had a tree once, she was beautiful, she grew tall and strong. Every year yielding greater harvest than the last. I was the envy of the whole village as I brought the fruit from my tree to the market on market days.

So you ask me why we are now warming ourselves in the fire from her boughs and why there is a big hole in my backyard where she used to be. Why there is a thin vine growing steadily in her place and her leaves lie as mulch in my garden.

We go way back, my tree and I. I found her in the woods; she was beautiful, growing among other trees, not a care in the world, proudly towering a above the rest.

Maybe I shouldn’t have taken her in the first place, but I wanted her, needed her even. She was a strong tree. I knew she would survive. I have a garden but every summer, everything is scorched under the harsh sun and in winter, cold snow freezes the ground over. I cannot weed, I cannot plough. Everything dies in the cold and in spring I have to start over.  No one would blame me if I grew tired of living this way.  I needed to do something.

Every day I would take a long walk through the woods. Everything was in balance there. The undergrowth was thick and plush even when under feet of snow and in the spring, oh the beauty that sprung forth. I loved the summers sitting under the shades of these mighty trees. It always felt like a different world; a utopia of sorts.

So I planned for days and one day with the help of others we went into the forest and brought home a magnificent tree. With innovation these days, anything is possible. I planted it carefully, right in the middle of my garden and watched and waited as its roots found their way underground. It wasn’t easy; I had to tend to it day and night to ensure everything went right. But it was a strong tree and soon, it was doing even better than the plants that had been there for ages. My garden became the envy of all. People would walk past and stare. Winter, spring, summer, autumn, my garden was alive all through.

One day I was sitting underneath my tree and I noticed something horrific, she was leaning. It wasn’t windy so that wasn’t it.  Something far worse was happening; my tree was growing weak and couldn’t support itself anymore. Its roots could go no further. People had warned me about this, years ago. Do not take it from its home, it will not survive they said. Cries of the envious I would shrug. But they were right.

I needed to find a solution fast. Maybe if I found something it could lean on for a time! Just for a few months until she can get back to her feet (roots). I found a vine. I had never heard of it before but it was said to be able to help in these cases. The tree only needs a little support and soon it will learn to stand on its own they told me.

I quickly planted the vine next to my tree and within no time it started to grow together with my tree. At first only just hugging it, taking only a little from it just to survive. It didn’t need much and it was helping.  My tree soon stopped leaning so I let them be.

Years went by and I continued to enjoy the harvest, it was slightly less but that was understandable, you lose some to win some.

One day I thought to myself, it has been long enough; I do not need the vine anymore. I went out to my garden, cut down the vine and went to bed.

The very next morning I was horrified by what I saw. My tree! It was leaning again! Worse than ever before! There was nothing I could do.

My tree had never learnt to stand on its own. You should have known better they said. What could come from such a pathetic weak tree? they sneered. They smiled and waved now as they passed by my garden. We warned you, they would say mockingly. She was dead the minute you took her from her home.

The vine was growing back; steadily,stronger than before. I didn’t even have to water it, it just kept on growing. It was like it had taken so much from y tree and just stored it somewhere. They never told me this would happen. I was sure that if I cut it down and cut down my tree too, neither would come back.

I would dream about my tree for days after that. I would dream that one day I would walk in my garden and find new shoots growing. I have never stopped watering that spot. One day. Who knows? She might just grow back. She might just rise again.

 

At least there is hope for a tree; if it is cut down, it will sprout again and its new shoots will not fail.Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil .Yet at the scent of water it will build and put forth shoots like a plant.

 –              Job 14:7-9

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She walked down the aisle thinking that was it. That was the moment she had been waiting for. The dream she had always wished would come true. The smiling faces filled the pews to capacity. The flowers, the ribbons, the tiny umbrellas hanging from the church ceiling; everything was perfect. The pianist played her favorite love song of all time as she slowly walked down the aisle. She felt like all her life, everything she had gone through had all somehow led to this moment. It had to have been written in stone somewhere in heaven. It was meant to happen, meant to be, meant to last now and forever.
She got to the front, found his hand and they knelt before the altar, before God. They went through the motions; the vows, the rings, the ‘I dos’. Hand in hand, they walked back down the aisle toward the church doors. The smiling faces of family, friends and church still filled the pews to capacity. The flowers, the ribbons, and the party rice everyone flung on them for good luck now covered the freshly polished, hardwood floors.

The church doors flung open. They opened out to a new life, a new reality…and May? May wasn’t supposed to be here. Not today. She said she couldn’t come; that she wouldn’t dare. She said she couldn’t bear watching him marry her. Not after everything that had happened between them. May was an emotional wreck when it ended and so was she. But it had to be that way, they both knew it. That wasn’t the dream, this was. And isn’t love in its purest, most ideal form supposed to last forever? Isn’t it supposed to transcend circumstance and distance alike?

As the sun rays hit the new bride, something else did too but not as suddenly as you may think. Gradually, slowly, she soaked it in. She looked around at all the beauty, the joy. She heard the laughter; she felt the warmth,the love. She looked at her mother and she could see her face change from a smile to a worried frown. Mothers can always tell when something is terribly wrong with their babies. She looked back at him, her new husband. He was the love of her life, her now and forever. That was the last time he saw her. She left him, she left all the smiling faces in the pews and no one ever knew why, and even she didn’t. Not really. He walked back through the glorious church doors and down the aisle, knew that that was it.

It was over even before it even began. 

I’ve been going through my old journals recently. I started journaling in the year 2000.  I have stacks of them now and my oh my have I been through it. Those things read like a telenovela.

Remember way back when, When you thought so and so was the best thing that ever happened in your life? When you thought you will never be that happy? When you thought you would take a rubber bullet for them? Jump on a tear gas canister on a Monday for them? Stand in front of a (speeding) Rongai mat for them? When you thought you would die if they ever left you?

Remember how you didn’t die when they left? Remember how the world didn’t stop turning when they walked away? Remember how you were still breathing when they took your heart, tore it into pieces, put the pieces through a shredder, took those pieces, put them in a meat grinder and just strode off? Yeah I’ve had a few of those.

One time it was so bad I actually thought I could compose songs about that particular human being. Get a load of this one:

‘You came back for me                                                                                   

Or did you come back for more

I gave you my all

Do you still want my soul?

I just want to know, was it that easy?

I just want to know how hard could it have been

Just to love me and care for me like I did for you and loved you?

I held nothing back

I gave you my all

I held nothing back

I lost all control then you broke me and left me to deal

Now I still have to see you, be around you, hear you

and just forget what you took from me and how hard it still is getting it back’

  • Awinja’s journal entry April, 6th 2013

Yup, I died a thousand thought-deaths that year but look at me now; still breathing.

Remember how angry you used to be after the heartbreak? How rage would boil in the pit of your stomach? Angry at yourself; angry at your family; angry at your friends; angry at your government (though that is fully justified); angry at the world? Remember how you were sure you’d end up in jail one day for rearranging someone’s face? How in any argument people around you would just suddenly start looking like punching bags?

Remember how freeing it was after you finally (because we ‘let go’ and ‘get over it’ several times before the final final final one) just let them go?

‘Dear Love (insert her/his name),

I love with all of me; my heart, my mind, my inner being. I see you, think you are totally awesome and cling onto you for dear life. Do not be deceived; I may not fully understand you or what you do. You may hurt me unknowingly or otherwise say ‘I don’t care, this is me, deal with it’ to my face. Yet for me, that doesn’t mean you deserve to be loved any less. Weird right? How I won’t fight you to let me love you because I can love you from afar? I can secretly pray for you daily, asking Him to watch over you, love you, give you peace and providence as you so desire. I won’t stalk you or email/inbox/DM you a thousand times. I won’t hang all our mess up on Facebook. I won’t post sad updates which you will know are directed at you. I won’t send sad texts, followed by angry ones, followed by sad ones. I won’t tell the world your secrets.

My heart won’t beat a different rhythm. When I remember you, the good times will still put a smile on my face and the bad times will still make me cry. But only for a time. Because I loved you once and I don’t think that just goes away. But it will. Because with time, even the heart forgets.

  • Awinja’s Journal entry 4th November 2014

 

 

As you have probably noticed, I’m all marshmallows and honey covered chocolate when it comes to love. If you are reading this then we have all survived some pretty messed up times. Weakness is relative. You cannot stay down, not for too long.

And if you’ve loved someone who you shouldn’t have or who maybe did not deserve your love or who maybe wasn’t ready for your love waterfall/rapids/earthquake/landslide. If this person took your love and fed it to Ramsay Bolton’s starved canine monsters. At the very least they showed you that you can survive heartbreak; that it’s never the end of the world; that moving on is actually a thing that can be done by you. Most of all, they showed you that you don’t have to stay.

 

P.S: we will be peeking into my journals from time to time. No need to stop this Afro cinema series now right? So if you enjoyed this, please be on the lookout for a lot more. And don’t worry, I promise it’s not all mushy.

It’s not a ‘what if’ anymore. It is actually happening. Half the time you are at a loss on how to behave, what to ask, what to say, how to respond.

Love is a weird feeling/emotion/state/ whatever it is you believe it to be. Why? Well because it transforms itself sometimes. Indulge me would you, as I explain myself….

Watching National Geographic a few days ago I ran into this episode; ‘World’s deadliest animals underwater’. I see this octopus; this particular one is a harmless eight tentacle creature yet to every one of its predators, it is a ferocious beast. The commentator called it ‘Octopus Prime’. Yes, I laughed too. So turns out, Prime (let’s call him/her that) can change color anytime it senses a predator nearby. Only it doesn’t transform to camouflage itself but rather it depicts the colour of that particular predator’s worst enemy. How flipping cool is that?!! So say a predator is deathly afraid of sting rays, dude changes into the colour of a sting ray. Say another predator’s predator is some brightly colored but super poisonous sea snake; dude turns into that exact same color. The guy has fifteen (I think) colour combos of this kind. You should have seen predators up to five times Prime’s size swim off tail (fin) between their legs (other fins?) in sheer panic. I’m sure they got home like;

‘Hun, kids (all 1000 of them) gather around while I tell you how I escaped death by a whisker today.’

That’s love for you right there. Depending on the circumstance or situation, it transforms into what you need to deal. Sometimes it’s nice; sunshine, rainbows and sugar plantations. Sometimes it’s calm; blue oceans, picnics and boat rides at the park. Sometimes it’s fun and harsh at the same time; like dancing in the freezing rain, jumping across busted, overflowing drainage lines and landing in potholes disguised as cute polite puddles. Getting home soaking wet because you did not carry an umbrella and Nairobi’s surprise flash floods just won’t let you prosper.

But sometimes…sometimes it’s fiery and fierce. It transforms itself into a flood of savage jealous rage; an insatiable feeling of complete loss of control. A feeling you try to tame but it ends up overwhelming you with such a sense of wildness that you forget who you were before they walked/jogged/sprinted into your life. Before they touched you and ruined how you touched yourself. Before they comforted you and you forgot how you would cry yourself to sleep. Before they kissed you and you forgot how single and satisfied you were. Before they talked to you for two straight hours at 2 am and you forgot how much you loved your sleep. Before they held your hand to cross the street and you forgot how to cross roads on your own. Look right, look left, look at the person next to you…wait, how does it go again? Before they watched you cry and held you so tight that you forgot how to cry into your pillow and use it to muffle the sound of your screaming. Before they made you laugh so hard you forgot how you need reruns of The Big Bang Theory to sleep. Before they let you into their heart, their world and you forgot to consider just how deep your two worlds combined would be. You are not that good a swimmer; Ms/Mr Not-Michael-Phelps.

Or maybe it’s like the Flamboyant Cattle Fish. A tiny, seemingly harmless, beautiful monster. This little guy has hundreds of color combos it can change into. This one too doesn’t use all these combinations for camouflage but rather for hunting. These little guys (they only grow up to a couple of inches long) actually hypnotise their prey with their colour-changing. The poor things don’t stand a chance. As they are stuck gazing into the cattle fish’ magnificence, watching the show of their lives, the finger sized sneaky bugger brings out its elongated tentacle (tongue) and the main performance is over in seconds.

Love is like that sometimes. It’s not always easy to find and sometimes (most times for some) it finds you. It is a beautiful thing. You bask in its splendor. You don’t notice it pulling you in. You barely saw it coming in the first place. You clueless little thing. As it drags you into itself, it might feel like floating in space, I think, I’ve never been, to space that is. You let it carry you. You are still aware of everything around you but it’s not an inhibition anymore. You are still you but there is something else, something almost intoxicating around you, in you. The world doesn’t disappear. It doesn’t feel like it’s just the two of you that exist. No, you are not that cliché. But it definitely feels different.

Then love takes you in, engulfs you, and swallows you whole. You die into it.

I wonder if the tiny little fishies feel any of it. Or do they just die peacefully gazing at the most beautiful thing they have ever seen.

I wonder if you felt it.

‘When you look at me I see what you want, you don’t hide it in sweet nothings. You want to be with me, you want to get to know me. You saw something in me the first time we met and since then you just want to see me.’     

                                                                                                                                               – Awinja

I was too lost in my blissful thoughts to hear the first shot but the second one broke through. I felt something, a pang of pain then something warm trickled down my side. The panic climbed up from my toes yet my eyes remained fixed on the road. ‘What you don’t know won’t kill you right?’ I thought to myself. ‘Well except if it just happens to be a bullet’. I can’t believe I found that funny at the time. He was panicked, covering me from all sides like he had eight arms or something. I didn’t want to tell him what I suspected, I hadn’t even told myself either, I hadn’t looked. There were people running all over the place like headless chicken, I couldn’t hear their screams, but I could see their mouths moving. It was strange; it was all in slow motion.

“Dee!!!” he shouted while shaking me to reality. I heard him, though his face had become blurry.

“Don’t panic,” I told him as I slowly went to touch my side, his eyes followed my hand and it was  the look on his face that made me realize what I already knew; ‘I was in trouble’.

The vendor we had just bought gum from was hiding behind his stand, it was made of mesh. He looked so afraid. There was a woman on the pavement; she was dragging herself forward toward the pillar. She left a lot of blood on her trail. ‘Should I go help her?’ I thought.

A Black Toyota VX with tinted windows was driving on the wrong side of the road, slowing down. There was a man running ahead of it. He was limping; there was blood on his cream khaki pants. He was crying out ‘Don’t kill me! Please! I have a family! I’ll do anything!”

A masked man on the passenger side of the Toyota poked his head out of the window, a big gun followed…

“Dee!!” he shouted again calling my attention from the man on the street and back to him as he pushed me to the ground. Everything was blurry now. “Hold on please, please hold on,” he said over and over. He lay on top of me, his hand firmly pressing down on my side. It hurt worse than anything I have ever felt but it felt like I was feeling someone else’s pain, like I was looking at me from afar yet I felt the same measure of pain. ‘I was dying wasn’t I?’ I hoped I hadn’t said that aloud. I didn’t want to tempt the universe or to add to his panic.

Two other gun shots rang out. (more…)

You’d think we somehow copy paste these race-related stories off of each other as foreigners who’ve been to China but you would be wrong.

Every foreigner interacted closely with in China with an exception of none and more so black people have at least one of these stories. This is the second post on my ‘The China Experience’ series. Look back with me through 2011-2014 when I was studying in China. Enjoy….

Do you remember the first time you discovered you were black? I do. I was teaching at a kindergarten in Beijing for a few months in 2012. Yes, I have imparted knowledge in young minds and influenced the great minds of tomorrow. You may be inclined to applaud me right about now, go on, I would applaud me too.  So I walk into my first class and the kids’ eyes couldn’t be any more widely open in shock. One kid was totally freaked out and wouldn’t sit anywhere near me. My glass ego decided to try to convince me that they were reacting that way because I was new; a stranger. That argument flew out of the window when during the break and many breaks there after I would be bombarded with questions about my skin color from both the kids and the Chinese teachers alike.

“Why are you so black?”

“Were you born like this?”

“Why am I white and you are black?”

”Why is your hair weird?”

When the questions were from the kids, it was ok, they were young, not much exposure; it was forgivable that they asked me the same thing every single day. I decided to have a little fun with my answers; (more…)

29

Posted: July 17, 2016 in My truth
Tags: , , ,

I’m startled from my sleep sometimes by thoughts of my impending doom. Probable failure trickles down my back in a cold sweat.

29 years old…

Never been rich, never been famous

Never swam with the dolphins,never meditated with the Tibetan monks
Never eaten, prayed or loved my way around the world
Never been at the foothills of Mount Everest or on the peaks of the great Kilimanjaro
Never danced with the lions of Serengeti or raced with the cheetahs of the Mara
Living from paycheck to paycheck, heartbreak to heartbreak
Never had my name engraved on a plaque and pasted on a door, never had a corner office on the 39th floor
No house to my name, no treasury bonds maturing at the Central Bank, no millions hidden under my mattress
No stone ring on my finger, no fussy baby on my bosom spitting onto my new white chiffon blouse
No husband to cook for,waiting with his feet up on the poof
No boyfriend to pine for or throw jealous fits about, no distant lover’s photo to frame and place under my pillow

Society frowns on people like me, tells me am growing old, that I’m unaccomplished, that it’s about time,that my ‘girl’s’ clock is ticking. “Cobwebs will grow down there if they haven’t already” Haha! Wouldn’t that be a sight!

Never been on Broadway, never been cast in one of those billion dollar coca cola ads (how does one even apply?)
Never dug wells in the desert, never built homes for the destitute, never planted a forest to save the future

Still, I can’t say I haven’t lived
I have loved to the point of breaking (I think I even broke that one time)
I have kissed and been kissed till my knees grew weak and my feet swept off the ground in sheer bliss
I smile till my jaws ache, laugh till my voice chords grow sore
I have lost plenty and gained much
I have dreamt* of taking bullets for those I love
I jump at the privilege to love and care to the point of smothering, ask anyone,
I can’t help it

I write my soul out
I have written to get by, to heal, to move on from those I have loved and lost

I have written to keep the active volcano that is my emotions in check
I have written to release the fires within, of dangerous lust, insatiable desire,unquenchable rage, crippling distress and immeasurable joy
Oh and I also write to earn my keep
29 years old,
I haven’t done a lot but what I have done I am grateful for, those I have met, those who have left, those who chose to stay,
those I love with undying devotion, those I would love to hate but cannot
The sun the moon the stars and all that jazz
29 years old and I love being me even when I don’t.

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