Today’s menu

It is one of those mornings that nothing is going right. It is really cold outside, I’m having a bad hair day, the head scarf I’m trying to put on is not cooperating and I am late for an appointment with a friend in town. I like to keep time, I pride myself in that. I definitely wear it like a badge of honor and I am usually quick to scold anyone who can’t make it to where they are supposed to be in good time, my friends can attest to this, sorry not sorry. If we are to meet at 8 am, I will try to be there by 7:55 am. So forgive me if I don’t understand the ‘pathological’ late comers. Anyway, I need coffee to jumpstart my system into optimum functioning otherwise I will look like a zombie the whole day. I walk into a restaurant along the way to the rendezvous point. The waiter approaching my table has this beaming smile that is almost eccentric because his teeth are so white in comparison to his dark ashy skin and black tailored uniform, complete with a black bowtie.

“It is 7 o’clock in the morning, what could he possibly be so happy about?” I wonder.

He keeps humming this joyful tune that I can’t place. See, I’m a bit irritable because I am going to be late and for the love of the universe, where is my damn coffee? His tag reads Joe.

“Sasa Joe? A black coffee, no sugar. Make it extra strong,” I blurt out even before he has a chance to reply to my greeting.

I have just about 5 minutes to spare. He doesn’t look that surprised at my lack of mere human decency in the form of some courtesy, I didn’t even say please and it’s like I did not accord the man the time of day. If he was surprised, he did a good job at masking it or he’s probably used to it. He disappears behind the high counter to fix my daily drug; scalding hot, bitter coffee, just the way I like it. I take in every sip relishing the effect the precious liquid has on awakening my brain. Every single drop is magical. Joe comes to hand me my bill and he is still smiling. His jaw is probably unhinging from all that smiling. Isn’t he finding it strenuous?

“Have a good day madam,” he tells me as I leave and gets back to his tune.

I can’t stop thinking of Joe even after I leave, slowly, I find myself humming the same tune. I don’t know the song, but heck! When I get to my appointment, my friend points out how happy I seem. Apparently, I look radiant. The coffee has definitely kicked in and I have to attribute most of the joy I am feeling to being infected by Joe.

Yes, he literally infused joy into my life that morning!

The menu should have read coffee and some happiness at 100 Ksh.

Later that day even when I got back home I kept wondering, was he truly happy or was it just a facade? You know, appear happy for the customers. Appearing calm and collected, and being polite is what I think is required when dealing with customers. But happy to the point of making one’s miserable morning turn into a tolerable one and eventually a joyful day, I don’t think so. It still bugs me up to this day, was Joe really, truly happy beneath that enchanting smile? Boy, I have never seen teeth so white before, just immaculate! That doesn’t really matter because what people saw was how happy he was in his own little bubble and was unbothered by the outside. No one saw the pain, the hurt, the disappointment or the struggles he was facing. We didn’t see the demons he was slaying. We only saw that beautiful, captivating smile and the dance in his step. We only saw what he allowed us to see.

So, I decided to serve myself some happiness from the menu each day. You can draft your own menu and serve yourself some love, joy, kindness, peace, forgiveness and whatever else you need for your wellbeing. Do you need some healing or strength to carry on? How about some discipline or honesty? Well, it’s up for grabs.

What’s on your menu today?

FRESH STARTS ARE A CLICHÉ!

Yes, I said it. Fresh starts are such a cliché because wherever you go, there you are. You might choose to run away from reality or to simply ignore its existence but at the end of the day, it’s still you. In all essence, you are still the same person.

The COVID-19 pandemic happened and forced everyone to kind of put a pause on their lives. So, we have encountered talks of fresh starts all over; from social media platforms to our very own households and social circles. Every other person has taken up new hobbies, discovered new talents, you name it. Perhaps you have been caught up in the frenzy of learning how to cook and bake, started on yoga and workouts, read countless books.. It has been a process of discovering your inner yen and remaining zen, a breath of fresh air onto your previous everyday life; a process of discovering or rediscovering oneself, you know, just anything to remain sane.

I know for sure that most of us are really excited about not having to go to school as much as we are grumbling about, ‘tutazeekea shule’. It’s like the free trial of adulting that we had just subscribed to has been cancelled and now, we get to be back at our homes with not much responsibilities. However, there’s another version of the story. The other side of the coin is full of despondency and frustrations at the loss of livelihoods, yet the cost of living is the same if not higher. To make it worse, the virus has rendered most jobs obsolete so now the sword of unemployment is double edged , cutting across all wakes of life. Kenya being Kenya, the saga of COVID-19 millionaires at the expense of the common wananchi has surfaced, disheartening really.

We have to be grateful for the graces life has bestowed upon us, little or not. Is your family healthy? Do you and your loved ones have a roof over your head, food on your table and clothes on your back? So, if you can, take that pause and retrace your steps, as much as it’s easier said than done. I read a post saying that had this pandemic not happened, perhaps this version of you that exists now wouldn’t have existed at all. And I couldn’t agree more. Fresh starts are a cliché, yet you owe it to yourself to just pause, get a clean break, assess, re-evaluate and carry on as you see fit. No one else can do this for you.

Fresh starts are a cliché, yet you owe it to yourself to just pause, get a clean break, assess, re-evaluate and carry on as you see fit.

You have all the time in the world now, there’s no excuse. This reminds me of St. Augustine’s aphorism: “What is time? If no one asks me, I know. But if I have to explain it, I do not know.” If we start talking about the concept of time, that will make another article.. Anyway, is there something that you have always thought of doing before but you couldn’t? I don’t know what was holding you back then, maybe you were just caught up in leading a normal life and you got so busy you hardly had time for yourself let alone for pursuing other interests. Well, the dynamics have shifted now and the new normal which we must embrace is such a different paradigm for many people. I think this alone warrants a shift in priorities.

So, go on and pursue what makes your heart sing. Be impetuous even. Cook all you want, bake from sunrise to sundown, start on that book you’ve always wanted to write, innovate something, make bomb music recordings(even if it’s just on your phone!), throw in an hour or two of yoga, learn how to play a musical instrument, start an online business(beware of the online scammers though)..really just do anything. Put that mind to great use. Acquire new skills, who knows when and where they might come in handy. To be honest, the only thing stopping you is you. They say that when life gives you a lemon make lemonade, well, also use the lemon rind(it makes mandazis taste soo good I tell you), throw some pieces into a cocktail, eat the damn lemon if you have to..

the only thing stopping you is you

I think life is giving us another chance, to right our wrongs and to consider those things which we hold important, and even the people we hold dear. So if you think you deserve a fresh start when it comes to relationships, or a change of attitude and a change in how you handle some things, do it. If you need to get closer to God, then read scripture, study it and pray some more. Change is inevitable, yes, but sometimes change can be good. Do all these things for yourself, then do a little more because why not? 😊 And on days when simply existing takes up so much mental energy, and all you want to do is curl up in bed and binge watch your favorite show, then do it, no one should fault you to that. Just don’t let the days spin along and fuse into one endless monotonous rising of the sun and the setting of the same without doing a thing to better yourself.

Do you know why fresh starts are such a cliche? It is because they work. You might be the same person but with different interests, which is allowed. Who knows what might happen tomorrow? They say that each day is a clean slate, so let this day, this moment count. Be kind to yourself, invest in you.

Do you know why fresh starts are such a cliche? It is because they work.

To making little ripples that shall amount to huge crashing waves of impact, cheers!(sips some lemonade)

You know better, listen to your gut!!

To love someone is to put yourself in the way of suffering, and that’s the truth.

Of love and hurt, and the aftermath... 

You can smell the smoke, it’s choking you. Since the room is well ventilated, you don’t give a damn. The smoke should clear away soon, you think.

The room is getting darker now, your eyes are blinded. It’s definitely the smoke billowing but wait, it’s getting late. That’s why it is dark in the room, you think.

Soon enough you hear the crackling of wood, like it’s being burnt. And sure enough, you can definitely smell something burning. You panic a little but oh well, the sound must be from the trees outside. Hasn’t it been so windy lately? You think.

The flames come licking up the door and consume most things in the room. You knew it was a fire, but this happens to other people and not you. Everything is consumed and soon enough, you are left with ashes, blackness and third degree burns; and there’s just no coming back from that. You’re now scarred for life.

There in pain and agony, it slowly dawns on you. You could have done something about it, right at the moment when you smelled the smoke. You could have moved a muscle even when the blackness of the smoke stole the light away from you. At the crackling of wood, you could have run for dear life. But here you are now, nursing a wounded heart, a bruised soul and a crushed spirit all because you ignored the tell tale signs, the so called red flags.

Many a nights, you cry yourself to sleep. You’re an optimist, your hope is never deeming. That maybe everything will turn out to be rainbows and magic. But you know better, right from the start you knew better and you should have listened to your gut and all the sirens blaring that something was amiss. Maybe the fire will consume you. Maybe it was just smoke.

Hitting the self sabotage button..

What is it with we humans always wanting to hit the self sabotage button?? It’s like a deep yearning within us, we almost can’t help it. You might think that this doesn’t apply to you but you’d be surprised at how often you actually do it. It may be self consciously but it still happens. So what am I talking about? How would you in your right mind be self destructive yet you’re the most important person in your life? (Laughs! We actually love ourselves a little more than we care to admit.)

So here is my theory.. We’ve grown up in a society that has trimmed us to be the best at everything we do, no excuses! From a young age, you were told that you’re special, that you deserve the best in life. Perhaps you’ve been told time and again that you’re the torch bearer of your family and it’s your sole responsibility to mold the family name into something far much greater, that you have to elevate your family’s financial state and upgrade their social class. This is a lot of pressure you know. So there has been no room for mistakes.

Before you know it, you’re all grown up but there’s always that constant, nagging fear at the back of your mind that you’ll turn into a failure. Who are we kidding, we must thrive. Yaani, kwa hii life lazima umake it! So, when faced with a challenge, you do what is required, you give just enough to get by because you can’t set yourself up for failure. You might never recover, the society can be so unforgiving.

Yaani, kwa hii life lazima umake it!

Before long, life goes by and you somehow manage to convince yourself that you are just ordinary, there’s no superstar inclination in your DNA. After all, so far life has been unrewarding, everything should be working out in your favor, you deserve the very best in life. So you decide to settle. I mean being average is not so bad; you haven’t failed according to society’s eyes, at least not yet. You’re still not a success either, you’re just caught up in the middle. Yet deep down,you know that you have failed yourself. You still believe that you are special, the world just can’t see it. It is so frustrating.

Let’s face it, failing sucks. So you tend to hit the self sabotage button before it happens. Letting it get too far makes everything so real and breathes life into your insecurities. That’s there’s nothing more to you and you can never be extraordinary. So we just settle, become comfortable with being average. We end up with miserable lives, mediocre friendships, lousy relationships and careers we hate. At this point it’s just downhill, there’s no care for anything in the world, we simply stop trying. Then the self loathing begins, you no longer take care of yourself, probably drink some more, smoke some more..anything really that pulls you out of your misery for a little while. Talk about ‘resigning to fate’.

However, I don’t believe in all that. Where you can’t excel with natural ability, substitute with discipline and hardwork. Choose not to self destruct. Believe in yourself a little more and become a better person each day.

These are just my thoughts, let me know yours. 😊