Month: December 2015

I’m Not My Make Up

I’m not so big on make up. I was obsessed with eye pencil at 19. Couldn’t leave the house without. Mind you, my eye pencil functioned as both an eye liner and lip liner plus doing the eyebrows. Yeah I know, call me backward. I have never been one to spend my time in the make up section of a cosmetic shop, debating on whether the blue eyeshadow works well with me or the copper eye shadow. I tried full make up at 21 and it just wasn’t my thing.

Quite recently, I was at a salon having my hair done and this hairdresser goes something like, “We’ll shape your eyebrows as a complimentary service.” I immediately declined and I could see the look of utter surprise on her face. Then I went on to clarify that I don’t do make up so shaping my eyebrows would be a waste of time really. I suggested they do my pedicure instead as a complimentary service. Hahaha turns out that was not part of the package for free services!

When I go out clubbing, I do some make up. If there is a wedding function, I also do some make up. Mostly just the lips. I have sensitive skin which constantly throws surprises at me. So foundation is totally out of the picture unless it is something which works with my skin type. I haven’t been that aggressive in identifying one yet. I have had male acquaintances including a workmate in the past suggest that my forehead was breaking out because it was that time of the month.

Please guys, stop going all cluelessly gynecological on women you hardly know that well! I mean it! It sucks. Who gave you the idea that faces only break out because of our monthly periods?! Come on!

I was once reading something where this foreign guy firmly stated that Nairobi women should go easy on the make up. His argument; we were still pretty without. I totally agree with him and echo his advice to Kenyan women. I don’t own a car meaning I’m a frequenter of Nairobi streets where I see all kinds of garish looking make up on women. Some make up is usually so nicely done that I wish I had time to get a tip or two from the ladies wearing such. Others, oh well.

I’ve seen eye pencil drawn like crowns on a woman’s face. I’ve seen really bold shouting colors of lipstick on women I thought their skin tone needed a much less bolder lip do. But hell, I’m not a make up artiste so I shouldn’t really be voicing my opinions on the color of lipstick women of certain shades should wear. Sometimes though, I can’t really help it getting these kinds of disapproval thoughts in my head. Nairobi can get really hot at times. My hometown of Nakuru is even worse. Badly done, cheap foundation stands out in the heat!

I have a problem with mainly the Western media making it seem like a woman without make up is ugly. I have pored over comparisons of female celebrities with or without make up. Some of them are pretty much average looking women without make up. We get so used to seeing them with professionally done make up to the point where their normal selves come out as rather plain and a rude shock to us. Bloggers and columnists maximize on this.

 musician-ashanti-without-make-up-www-pinterest-com

musician-ashanti-without-make-up-www-pinterest-com

 

I have seen celebrities being branded ugly just because they stepped out one day without make up and the Paps snapped a picture. I saw a commenter state that one female celebrity who always looks gorgeous in make up resembled a homeless person without. My point; How is a homeless person supposed to look and what is a female without make up supposed to have in common with that?!

I firmly believe that a woman’s looks should not be judged by the make up she wears. There’s just much more to womanhood than make up. Woe unto the man who overlooks a plain looking woman for a woman caked in heavy make up. There are indeed such men, don’t go all war like on me for stating that! Men obsessed with vanity. The real beauty of a woman lies under the many layers of make up.

It is time we taught our women to embrace their flaws rather than to conceal them. There’s this illusion  the media creates that all female celebrities are flawless. There was an unedited picture of Beyonce doing the rounds on the Internet where you can actually see that her face had an acne breakout. Many people seemed to react with outrage that for years, we have been duped into believing that Beyonce was the epitome of female flawlessness. Boy, did she get bashed for it!

Beyonce just like any other female is indeed human. We have put her on a pedestal of perfection to the point where, we actually do not view her as a normal human being with a body that might not be all that perfectly hourglass and a face that may at times work against her. We have forgotten that with technology, anything on a music video or photo can be fixed. I saw no need for the reaction the unedited version of the picture got.

Nobody is perfect. And while I have nothing against make up, don’t misinterpret me, I simply think that this obsession we have with make up to perfect us and give us a confidence boost of sorts needs to go. When it gets to a point where a woman is totally insecure without make up on, then we need to go back to the drawing board to find out what exactly went wrong with this make up business.

I’m all for women embracing their natural beauty first before anything else. Trust me, there are days I pass by my reflection in the mirror after walking under the sun for hours and my face reminds me of a pubescent. Women have battled image insecurities for ages. It’s pretty normal really with all that outside pressure on what constitutes real femininity. We yearn to look perfectly feminine. However, using make up to hide our insecurities isn’t going to be the answer to our image issues. What needs some real work is actually our esteem.

Before I sign off, wishing y’all ladies a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Make those resolutions and rock those natural manes and seemingly plain looking faces you’ve got in 2016!!! You are woman enough! See you guys next year 🙂 😉

 

A Feminist’s View On Writing In General

My blog has been thrust into the spotlight twice. By choice, really.

The first time was earlier in the year when it was about two or three months old. A friend told me about an advertising company she worked for that was hiring. She thought that since the job description was more of blogger like,then I could definitely do it. I got called for the interview. Interestingly, one of the interviewers had printed out a page of one of my posts as a reference point for the interview.She was a pleasant lady who gave me a few more helpful tips on blogging that I use till date. Though I didn’t get the job, I can say I came out a little stronger as a blogger.

Before I talk about the second time, let me give a little history about my writing life. I know this is an entirely different topic from what I normally do here but I thought I should do it nonetheless. Being an African, my first language was of course Swahili. I commenced learning in English in nursery school. By primary school, I already knew that English was my forte. I was excellent at it.

At around age 7, I discovered my passion for writing fiction. My childhood years were spent holed up in the house writing short stories. I carried on with my penchant for short stories all through high school. And though I have never been a published writer, my mother’s house is an archive of the short stories I wrote from early childhood and a horde of unfinished manuscripts from my older years. For some reason, I never got round to finishing my longer stories.

My first completed manuscript which I finally sent to a publishing house came into being in May of 2014. It was a book I managed to pen from November 2013 to May of 2014. Unfortunately, it did not meet the publisher’s standards and the hard copy is currently with my best friend, a literature graduate and enthusiast while the soft copy is somewhere in my mail.

Luckily, by then I had discovered blogging through a friend. I started blogging in September 2013 through wordpress. At the time, I was running a blog called LIFE’S MUSINGS BY LORNA: the things that make a delightful read. I was fumbling in the blogging world which meant that I blogged on so many different topics. I ended up changing the blog title to LORNA’S DELIGHTS which took me completely off track.

Over time as a blogger, I had realized that women’s issues and relationship topics appealed to me. I had pretty strong views on those two topics which I decided to pursue. I did away with the previous blogs and started this particular one in March of this year. So far, I can say that this blog has been way successful than the other two blogs. Not in a recognition way but in a way where I can feel like my words, impact most of my readers and that more people are reading and following my blog because of the substance it has. Not because they just stumbled upon it.

I have been asked by so many people who come across my blog if I’m a feminist. Of course I am. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be blogging on a feminist view. My title says it all. There’s this idea out there that a feminist is someone who can easily be spotted. I’m not that kind of feminist. I also know that many women who subscribe to feminism are equally not that kind of bashful feminists as is expected.

I’m your average person. I seem timid. Unsure of myself even in person. I have always been very secretive of my writing and only became open about it when I began blogging. My manuscripts from my younger years were always hidden. Stashed in a drawer where nobody could find them. But my incessant need to write made sure that my elder sister’s school exercise books were not spared either. I would scribble in all of her books with writing space which meant that inevitably, she would stumble upon my fiction stories mostly, when I was away in boarding school.

Which brings me to the second time my blog has been thrust into the spotlight. Last week.

For a while now, I have been trying to get a columnist slot in the newspapers or magazines. I have tried a couple. Maybe I’m not that aggressive in trying because so far, none has yielded fruit. Last week, one of the magazines finally responded. I was surprised that they actually had. I got called for an interview. Funnily enough, I have never been to an interview concerning writing for a magazine meaning, I was unsure of what exactly I was supposed to do in preparation for it.

I’m the type of blogger who incorporates blogging into her life. If I get a blogging idea during the day, if there’s time, I will put it down on my blog. Most of my readers do not know that I was working a sometimes fast paced job these past couple of months yet, I managed a record 12 posts in the month of November. The highest I have ever posted in a month on this blog. I had to create time for that.

Sometimes I may be walking on the streets in town on totally different errands then suddenly pop into a cyber and do a post in the middle of the day or at the end of the day. That’s just how I manage this whole blogging thing.

Anyways, I turned up for the interview and it didn’t go the way I had expected. I knew of the magazine. I had pored through it sometime back but it had been quite a while back. I hadn’t factored in the fact that I was supposed to pitch ideas or rate myself on how much I should be paid per column. I always thought that my blog spoke for itself and if I was to do a column, it had to be feminist based or relationship based.

I could deviate a little and do a muse or a travel based one or a beauty based one. See, I’m already pitching ideas on my blog. And since I have done this for so long as a hobby that is not a salary earning thing, I totally forgot that with columns in newspapers and magazines, you get paid. My bad.

I’m more of an expressive person through written work. Not so in person. I can be terribly shy. I panic on a whole lot of other levels. Some of my job interviews which backfired were mainly because I got a panic attack. My palms were sweaty, I couldn’t express myself, my throat was dry. It’s hilarious really. I take it in my stride. Perhaps I had expected to be cut some bit of slack in this said interview which rarely happens in interviews.

But the disappointment was all too real for me. It bothered me for days that I hadn’t been prepared for this interview or felt like I had been taken seriously. That’s the worst feeling for a writer or blogger. I may sound like a defeatist but I’m not applying for columnist slots in the near future. Don’t get me wrong, writing is in my blood.

I have plans for published books. I need a lot of time on my hands and concentration for that. I have absolute admiration for successful writers, magazine editors and publishers, newspaper columnists and amazing bloggers.

All the same, I think I love this blog too much and I hope it continues to speak for itself. When I feel ready again to do a column or article on a newspaper or magazine, I shall be prepared for it then.

The Misconceptions Surrounding Cougar Relationships

One of the most epic cougar relationship we ever encountered in Kenya definitely has to be that of Wambui Otieno and Peter Mbugua. At the time of their civil wedding, Wambui was 67 years old while Mbugua was only 25 and boy, did tongues wag! The Redykyulass trio (a quite popular comedy group in Kenya at the time) re-enacted the whole wedding thing and it was simply hilarious.

A few years later, there happened to be yet another wedding between a much younger Kenyan man and an obviously older Kenyan woman. It equally made it to prime time news just like the Wambui-Mbugua one did.

The reason for this furore; we haven’t quite embraced this whole cougar relationship thing in Africa. Not that there’s anything wrong with us frowning upon an older woman and a much younger man getting into a relationship. It’s simply how our cultural make up has been for years. It has always been the other way round. Older guy, younger woman. Much younger woman or girl even, in some communities.

Wambui Otieno and her much younger hubby,Peter Mbugua. Photo courtesy of http://www.youtube.com

My most favorite couple in a cougar kind of relationship happened to obviously be Mariah Carey and heartthrob, Nick Cannon. I have been a fan of Mariah’s voice from the time I could make out the difference between good music and bad music. Thanks to having a much older sibling, I know most of her early 90s hits by heart. Nick Cannon of course is such a good looking guy. Plus they take lovely photos together. So when I got to hear that they split, I was quite disappointed.

 

Anyways, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding cougar relationships and especially in our continent. There are those interracial types, where it’s quite obvious that the younger African guy is after the older White woman’s money which further contributes to it all.

Then there’s this notion that an older woman should be done with sex and therefore seeking a younger man to date only reeks of her immorality. Yet another notion points a finger at the woman for supposedly corrupting this young man’s morals, when she should have left him to date women in his age bracket. To top it all of, in many quarters, cougar relationships are considered unAfrican.

I have never quite paid attention in the past to this particular kind of relationship. However, I have always been curious as to why a woman rumored to be married to a much younger man, elicited whispers of prejudice from society. Almost like she had committed the biggest crime and therefore deserved to be punished for it with rumors and nasty gossip.

Then being a phenomenon synonymous with the West, it has always been made to seem unnatural, yet older men in some societies in Africa, were still keen on marrying girls barely in their teens. It has actually taken the intervention of feminists to imprint early marriages as unsavory in the minds of societies, keen on marrying off young girls to old, greying men.

Being a feminist, I firmly believe that no woman should be put at fault for having sexual desires no matter her age. If at all a woman at a certain age should be done with having sex, then the same should be applied to the male gender.

The idea that men can be excused for having sexual desires way past their 60s and 70s and women should be frowned upon for having the same at that age, should totally be done away with. It is this belief that actually contributes to society pointing fingers at a woman married to a younger man as only being after sex at her age! A further misconception that marriage is only about sex and nothing else.

Marriage according to my understanding, is about much more than sex alone. It is understanding, support, companionship, care, friendship, sacrifice, building a family…with sex being part of the equation and not the overall ingredient. Wow, preached that like someone who’s been married for years already!

So if this woman is getting all that from a younger man and feels ready to spend the rest of her life with him, I think it would be unfair for the rest of us to go all judgmental on her. Plus as per my Christian understanding, no definite age bracket between couples is given in the Bible. I guess being very spiritual as a continent, many of us are tempted to find something wrong with an older woman getting into a relationship with a much younger man, that may lead to marriage.

We tend to assume that it’s against Biblical teachings because we are more familiar, with the other way round and saw examples of the man being older than the woman in the Bible and not vice versa. But hey, I’m no teacher of scripture so it would be rather unwise for me to give my opinion on this in spiritual terms. These are basically my views.

Whether to get into a cougar kind of relationship or not is only a matter of choice between the persons involved. It is quite unreasonable trying to impose our own beliefs on others of a different belief. I believe that there are societies that see nothing wrong with this phenomenon. If we are not into it, then we have no business whatsoever paying attention to it. If we are comfortable with it and are in it for the right reasons and not our own secret, sly motivations then, why not?

I would love to hear your views too 🙂

 

Would You Date A Workmate?

There’s a challenge that most single career women have to face; finding time to date.

Being on duty for more than 8 hours, 6 days a week for some, can tend to be quite hectic to the point where your social life starts to feel dead. Yet we all know that for us to be able to meet eligible bachelors, we need to go out and mingle. How then do you navigate around your equally important work schedule to be able to have time to socialize and mingle? Sometimes, it starts to feel easier settling for that handsome, unhitched workmate sitting across you in the office.

I have a couple of personal reasons why I would not dare date someone I’m working with. The major reason being that I would feel unchallenged, dating someone with whom I share an almost similar schedule every day of the week. The fact that we both wake up in the morning and head to the same organisation whether different departments or not, is enough to make me get bored with the whole idea of dating this man. It has nothing to do with the knowledge of the salary scale. I simply would want someone in a whole different field, different work environment from the one I’m in.

The second reason is that I’m particularly scared of the complications that come along with dating and especially, if it is someone I see each and every day. Relationships are not always smooth sailing. We sometimes disagree, think we’ve fallen out of love only to realize that the feelings still linger, stay angry at each other for days…I have a strong feeling that bumping into someone you argued with or broke up with just the previous evening on the corridors, wouldn’t exactly be such a pleasant surprise, whether we act all mature about it or not.

Slut shaming.

Let’s face it, not all men outgrow the adolescent stage of kiss and tell. Supposedly juicy tales of “I banged that chic in the Marketing department and she’s not all that in bed”  are not entirely uncommon in some workplaces. It has nothing to do with being idle. There are just some men who take the conquest game too far to the point of spilling the beans to their colleagues. Of course to the often times clueless female, that is just too embarrassing to bear considering the fact that you have to show up at work each and every day and further endure gossip, from your female workmates who got to hear about it too. Yet another reason that gives me the chills concerning office romance.

However, my personal reasons should not at all discourage anyone who is considering dating a workmate neither should it discredit those who met in the workplace and forged wonderful, solid relationships. It does take a certain level of maturity for these types of romances to work. Depending on your organizational policies, you can either decide to follow your heart or totally ignore the feelings developing toward a workmate.

Indeed, there are situations where two workmates have ended up fired as a result of an office romance which came into public knowledge. With public knowledge being the rest of the employees including the management. Workmates who’ve been caught in compromising situations in the office during working hours. In this regard, I consider it cases of bad decisions made by the involved parties.

I’m of the idea that employees should employ some level of discretion if at all they are dating, banging or whatever. After all, it is your career that matters. I don’t think having a reputation of banging all your secretaries is something a head of some organization would want to have. I also don’t think that the epitome of a successful career woman, should be characterized by just how many times she slept her way up the career ladder with her colleagues in higher ranks. But that is simply my thinking. In the end, I’m just a blogger expressing her views on this whole subject.

Feel free to share yours too in the comment section.

Exes And Their S***t

There are quite a number of reasons why most women hate loathe their exes.

Exes are the kind of people who show up when you least expect and thought you were long over them. Then they elicit all forms of negative feelings because you realize that you are still so damn angry with them, yet relationship blogs state that the reason why you react with anger toward an ex, is because you still harbor a soft spot for them.

Let’s face it guys, exes remind you of your stupidity levels. You question your sanity in choosing such a man or woman to date. They almost, always appear so ugly when you see them after some months of total absence from your life. Probably, you are still vengeful as a result of what they did to warrant the break up. Assuming they are the ones who f***d it all up in the first place.

 

In other scenarios, they look oh, so handsome or beautiful if you happened to be the dumpee and them, the dumper. Trust me, it hurts like hell, when you realize that your ex has moved on yet you can’t seem to find a worthy replacement of him or her. Almost like you are doomed to Singleville and to constantly remember the good times you shared. It’s even more worse, if you broke up amicably so you are left there with a dumb plastic smile on your face, when h/she tells you about a new woman or man h/she is seeing.

Your well wishing words do not even sound authentic to your own ears but you utter them anyway, just to seem really mature with how you are handling the “amicable” breakup. All the while wishing that the new man or woman in the picture goofs up really bad, to the point of being relegated to the backseat of this so called wonderful, brand new relationship.

Ever walked on a street and you suddenly smelled your ex’s scent? Then you turn in anticipation expecting to see him or her, only to realize that some people have similar natural body scents or are probably, using the same perfume or cologne that your ex used. Classic case of hallucination. But what if it was really them? How would you have reacted? Rushed into their arms? Hallucination + Psychosis.

 

Funny quotes about boyfriends exes. http://www.simwallpaper.com

Women cry over break ups. When we were younger, our friends and some close family members knew about it. They may have even offered a shoulder to lean on and some advice we hardly ever took, judging by how much, we still entertained the possibility of a rekindled relationship. When we grow older, past the early twenties mark, crying openly over a break up sounds dumb so we still cry, but make sure to conceal it perfectly.

All the more reason to hate loathe an ex because they make you act all shifty, as if you are hiding a crime made entirely worse, by other women friends pretending to be so in control of themselves that they developed selective amnesia, over the last time they shed tears for a man. Then they preach “suck it up, woman!” yet deep down you know, it’s never easy breaking off a relationship with someone else, the getting-over-it phase and then back to the dating scene again.

How green with envy you get, when you see other women with loving men in their lives and how oblivious they seem, to your dating predicaments when you get close to sharing. You wonder why you even trusted them in the first place. Dear woman, you are probably on your own during your break up phase if all the advice of “he’s not worth it” and “you are pretty, you’ll get someone soon” is anything to go by. Grieving over a failed relationship is a complete MUST whether your ex was from Pluto, with strange habits or from Earth, with equally the strangest habits.

So since our exes are so loathable, if there is such an English word even, it’s only fair that we grin devilishly, if by any chance we get a surprise call from them, after so many months of “you are no longer lovable to me so i’ll keep off” from their end. The decision to pick the call or not is up to you and so is the decision to reply to the classic, “hi?”  text. As for friendships with exes, I simply think it comes with its own bagful of challenges. There is a reason why ax and ex sound almost similar. Axing the ex for good is a better option for me.

 

With sarcasm and dark humor from Proudly Feminist.

On Children And When I’m Going To Have Mine

I find it quite frequent nowadays, that I encounter the question, “So do you have kids?”

Some are satisfied when I quickly reply that I don’t. Others find it rather unbelievable that I’m not a mother yet, as if I would deny my own child/children for that matter! Yet a small section thinks that I’m delaying by not having children. One went as far as calculating the age I’ll be when my kids will be in high school. His argument was that by my 50s, I should be done with educating children in high school and primary school levels.

I understand that when you get to your mid twenties, you are bound to have everyone on your neck trying to prod if you have that special someone in your life, has he hinted on marriage yet, are you feeling broody…and so on and so forth. I must count myself lucky, that no one from my immediate family, has taken it upon themselves to jolt me back to reality that “I’m growing old” and therefore, need to be settled or thinking about settling and actually start having kids of my own.

Quite recently, there was an article on one of the local newspapers concerning women, who had chosen not to have kids or something on those lines. Of course being an African nation, where we value children as the continuation of a generation, the article in question sparked a heated debate on one of the popular radio stations that I got to listen to. I heard men calling in and branding such kind of women as “selfish” and “out of touch with reality”  blah, blah, blah. According to the callers, who wouldn’t want to have kids? We were commanded in the Bible to multiply and fill the earth.

I’m not sure if any of the callers touched on women, who couldn’t conceive and therefore couldn’t enjoy the luxury of being called mothers, even though they may yearn to or they simply dismissed them, as people paying for their past misdeeds. I can’t tell because I didn’t listen to the whole debate. Plus I’m of the idea that, when it comes to personal choices concerning when to have kids then, who are we to judge another’s decision?

I must admit that I do get all cooey seeing babies on strollers and toddlers running about. It’s not like I’m completely closed off on the idea of having children. Children are such a blessing. Who wouldn’t tell really, from all the photos of cute faces being posted on social media by proud first time or second time or even third time parents, on a daily basis? It can get annoying at some point but many times, we can’t really help not noticing how much of a pleasant welcome and blessing these tots are to their mommas and pops.

So definitely, someday I would want to be a mom. I would want to experience the full package of mommyhood, labor pains, changing diapers, deprived sleep, terrible two tantrums, first day of school, buying school uniform, budgeting for my child’s pocket money and all. However, I’m not going to hurry up and have kids just because a couple of people believe that it’s their mandate to push young, unmarried women well into their mid twenties, into parenthood. As a matter of fact, I have no timeline in place. I only hope to give my children a solid family which of course contributes greatly to my “seemingly delay” in being a parent.

In the meantime, I shall pick one or two parenting tricks from my friends and family, who have preceded me in this aspect for future tests 😉