Month: August 2016

Next Month I Celebrate 3 Years Of Active Blogging

pic courtesy of crummymedia.com

pic courtesy of crummymedia.com

Next month I celebrate 3 years of active blogging.

I realized recently that I’m quite happy about it. I haven’t yet made it to print media in all that duration. I haven’t earned a dime from my blogging efforts. I doubt 100 Kenyans who are total strangers to me know me as a blogger. None of my posts has ever gone viral. And I still doubt my blogging abilities despite being in the industry that long.

Funnily enough is that I keep on blogging. I still keep on entertaining the handful of fans I have who actively keep up with my posts. Some choose to read quietly. Others let me know that they follow up on my posts and others leave insightful comments and likes behind to alert me of their visits.

I started blogging at the advice of a friend 3 years ago in early September. I fumbled at first trying to find my footing in the blogging world. I created blogs that I ended up deleting after realizing I had really drifted from the initial purpose of creating the blogs. Gradually, I found my blogging niche which resulted in this particular blog in March last year.

In my blogging life, I have been lucky enough (or not so lucky sometimes) to meet with renowned writers, editors and columnists. One gave me awesome advice in the comfort of his home which I began incorporating in my work.

Another made me feel like the dumbest human being for trying to get a columnist slot in a magazine where she happens to be the editor. Others ignored my attempts at trying to get into print media or gave me false hopes only for me to realize that I wasn’t going to be given any writing opportunity.

Sometimes I felt like quitting this blogging thing but my passion kept me going. I posted stuff even when I wasn’t feeling like it or was suffering bad days or the all too famous writers block. I endured friends who thought I wasn’t doing enough to put myself out there for my popularity to increase. Some were insensitive enough (or in good nature) to question why I wasn’t earning from blogging and what I was doing toward that.

I forgave them despite their comments stinging for I know that breaking out in the blogging world is pretty much the same as breaking out in the music industry or arts industry. It is the passion that keeps you going even when your blog hits remain a bare minimum months after embarking on an active blogging journey.

3 years later, I tell people I’m a blogger and they raise their eyebrows trying to connect the human being they are seeing in front of them, with anything close to writing and I can tell they do not believe me.

However, I nowadays care less what they think because I will keep on doing this for as long as I can. I no longer seek opinions from individuals about what they think about my blog. I let my blog speak for itself. Occasionally, I will get someone who decides to point out the flaws in some of my posts and rather than take it personal, I appreciate that they spotted the flaw and were gracious enough to point it out.

I no longer have time for negativity when it comes to my written work. Mind you, I have done fiction for 19 years and I take everyday as a learning process. I know I still have a long way to improve myself as a Writer/Blogger and if I focus on negativity, other people’s perspectives and disappointments now, I will never be able to successfully achieve that.

So today, I take the time out to appreciate myself for these awesome 3 years of blogging, that have opened my eyes to so many things that I would never have found out about, if I never took the blogging chance head on. I believe I’m more stronger, factual and opinionated than I was when I started out.

Cheers to definitely lorna!

 

Kenyans Will Shame You For Not Attending Service

Africa is a religious continent. No doubt about that. Be it African traditional religion, Christianity or Islam. Anyone from the African continent definitely takes religion seriously. But sometimes, in our attempts at being pious, we tend to take it a little too far if the mushrooming of questionable churches and beliefs is anything to go by. My country is no exception.

Picture this scenario;

Last Sunday, we had a work related meeting at 2 in the afternoon. Now a handful of us showed up on time and were already seated before the guest speaker arrived. One of my colleagues of a higher ranking than us, showed up equally early. What caught my attention was his choice of an ice breaker. You see, a majority of us are not well acquainted with each other as a result of the nature of our job. So we were obviously seated there not speaking to one another.

And our colleague (in good faith I presume) asked, “You people do not go to church on Sunday?” (Forgive the very Kenyanised English). And you could immediately sense the kind of discomfort that particular question created among us. I mean, we are Kenyans and over time we have grown used to a majority of Kenyans attending church on Sunday.

I mean 3/4 of Kenyan shops and all Government offices are usually closed on Sundays. It is a day we set aside for religious purposes and sometimes, act hypocritically astonished that some of us never saw the need to attend service as we did on Sunday.

Then we condemn them with hell fire in our hearts, when we notice with hidden glee, how uncomfortable our question has made them. Nobody in Africa desires to be associated with lacking in religious belief. So it wasn’t really a shocker this particular colleague asking if we didn’t go to church. I can’t really blame his choice of an ice breaker never mind the slight negative effect it caused. But was the question necessary really?

Anyways, a couple of weeks back, one of my neighbors (with whom I’m not very close but we occasionally chit chat) decided to play the good Christian and hand me a flyer inviting me to her church. Her intentions seemed genuine so I mentioned my denomination and promised to attend service with her next Sunday if I would be available.

Come next Saturday evening and this neighbor gave me a call just to confirm if I would be attending. Unfortunately, I had left earlier in the day for a relative’s place and therefore, apologized that it wouldn’t be possible and that I would attend my church wherever I was. So I thought the whole thing was sorted then.

The following Sunday, I got a call again early in the morning from the same neighbor and that is when my irritation set in. As if 100% sure of my movements that particular Sunday, this particular neighbor decided to conclude over the phone that I hadn’t gone to church.

And she kept on insisting that she just knew I hadn’t attended service never mind the fact that I wasn’t even home and hadn’t been that weekend. My exasperation got the better of me and I remember demanding to know why she thought I hadn’t been to church. It took a generous amount of self control on my part, not to snap at her and still play the friendly neighbor despite my irritation. That was the last time she called me on those same lines.

My reaction was not at all related to shame and guilt but rather to the fact that sometimes, people tend to assume to know you more than you do yourself. In my adult life, I have never felt the need to justify my beliefs to someone. I have equally never seen the need to put someone on the spot over what beliefs they hold concerning religion.

I used to when I was younger but over time, I realized that condemning others for their beliefs or lack of, was simply not necessary. If condemning someone’s beliefs made me choose who to interact with and who not to, then there was no point in me condemning in the first place.

I have a pretty religious background myself which I hardly publicize. I have been to strictly Christian schools and experienced deep religious Christian beliefs at home.

However, I tend to think of myself as someone who is very private with my religious beliefs. I have been put on the spot many times in the past, by people who assumed I do not pray or attend church as often as they did, just because they have never seen me pray in their vicinity or have witnessed me skip church a couple of Sundays.

I value my relationship with God but it is not something I would like to gleefully rub in the faces of others just to feel more pious than them. To me that is simply hypocritical and instead of drawing people to your beliefs only push them further away. There’s no perfect Christian out there. We all have weaknesses that sometimes need a lot of praying about.

Like it or not, as an adult, you are going to interact with people of all kinds of religious beliefs be it at the workplace or at the social scene. I know there’s that argument of being a lukewarm believer which goes further to state that you have to completely lean on either side and not be in the middle. But if subscribing to that school of thought only makes me constantly rub people the wrong way, I tend to steer clear from it.

I have absolutely nothing against religion. It is what defines us as human beings. It is a way of life. But you cannot force your religious beliefs down the throat of a non-believer who has no intention whatsoever to subscribe to your beliefs. That is where you draw the line and choose to stick to your boundaries without seeming offensive to the other person. However, many of us choose to rattle others on a daily basis on religious lines.

Is it worth it?

 

 

An Increasing Number Of Kenyans Are Addicted To Pornography

I know the title of my post today is going to set tongues wagging but I state the above with good reason.

I’m a frequent guest of cyber cafes. I have been a blogger for close to 3 years now. Actually, I clock 3 years of continuous blogging on different blog sites and this particular blog next month. And in all that period, I have frequented cybers and logged into computers for public use, several times only to be accosted by images of naked men and women. Meaning that the previous user(s) was/were viewing some pornographic material online. Forget the warnings of “No viewing of pornography sites” that many cyber owners like to paste on their walls. An increasing number of Kenyans are addicted to pornography.

Now I’m not trying to be a moral judge and point fingers at people. On average, I think all Kenyans have come across images of near naked men and women alike in addition to simulation of sexual acts in mostly raunchy and risque music videos, soap operas and movies. Born again Christian or not, Muslim, Jew or Hindu, if you are a user of our matatus sometimes the screens overhead showcase all kinds of risque music videos which you have probably glanced at, albeit unwillingly. It is a fact of life that sex is believed to sell and therefore, entertainers maximize on their sexuality.

Anyways, this morning was no different for me. I log into a computer and see one of the sites being surfed by a Kenyan was a pornographic site. It is an observation and a worrying observation. And while some people may choose to argue that pornography has no grave effect on a person and may even spice up sex in a relationship, I tend to slightly disagree. I’m not going to dictate what my fellow countrymates should watch or shouldn’t. It is a personal adult choice.

However, I am going to state that an addiction to pornography leads to feelings of guilt, shame and often an addiction to sex. In this era when HIV/AIDS is a reality in addition to numerous life threatening STIs, an addiction to sex is a road I doubt any normal functioning human being would like to take. Pornography addiction often fuels a lack of respect toward the female gender. Most of these female adult movie stars tend to be violated by the opposite sex in the movies. It might be for show but for the viewer, it only does a good job of instilling the sexual stereotype that women are sexual objects and should be treated as such. Many sex offenders have been known to have a secret addiction to pornographic material. Sex in these movies is often depicted as a sense of dominance by a man to a woman.

Bestiality acts are a constant feature in some pornographic material. Kenyans may laugh and create memes mocking individuals who have been caught red handed having sex with animals and maybe beaten to death by irate residents but in reality, this is a sad situation. For a normal human being with sexual desires for a fellow human being to end up choosing to have sex with animals, something in his psychology must have been previously corrupted by something else. I refer to a he, because in all the incidences Kenyans have heard concerning bestiality, the perpetrator is often of the male gender. However, I state again that I’m not using my post to judge but to enlighten.

Paedophilia stems from pornography addiction. Children have been molested by guardians and adults who are charged with protecting these children. Children have been lured into shooting pornographic material for perverted individuals, who only care about feeding their warped sexual desires in addition to making money in whatever unscrupulous ways. Nobody wakes up one morning deciding to molest a child. He/she must have gotten molested in the past as a child or corrupted gradually to the point where the act being committed does not seem warped to him or her anymore.

Lastly, pornography is breaking marriages and relationships. Forget the belief that it can be used to revive an otherwise dead sexual aspect of a relationship. Pornography will only give an individual unrealistic expectations for his/her partner. The saying of “I want a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed” further proves the kind of unrealistic expectations we are setting for our partners. Of course sex needs to be enjoyed but expecting your wife to do what you saw some woman paid to do it for entertainment on a blue movie, is in reality unfair. Rape happens in marriages and all because we allowed our minds to be drawn to pornography and we are now on a path to sexual self destruction.

The most vulnerable are our children of this generation who are growing up in a technology fueled era where they can access all kinds of gadgets. If you are already a parent, it is time to check if your young son or daughter is already being exposed to pornographic material. It might save you future heartache.

The Woman In Office

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this post are the author’s.

I have never been so much into Politics in the past and recent past. Indeed, I have hardly blogged about politics in my whole period as a blogger. However, I can’t help but be a Clinton supporter in the American race for presidency. I really admire this woman’s strength and resilience and the events that have unfolded during this American campaign period, have only made me really want her to clinch the presidency. Not that I know much about American politics save for watching the CNN News and chancing on Hillary Clinton’s autobiography in the campus library one rainy evening, which I chose to devour as I found the book highly interesting. But that little knowledge I have acquired about this woman, has led me to firmly believe that women can indeed be world leaders.

There has always been a tendency in the past to associate women in the public eye with beauty, fashion and style. All we get to hear about is what she was wearing and who dressed her and how she looked in the process, downplaying some of the significant roles that a woman in the public eye is supposed to perform. And while it is of equal importance that a woman should take care of her appearance and especially, if she occupies a certain position that requires her to look the part, I tend to think that always being concerned with how she looks doesn’t really matter sometimes, but only does a good job of furthering the stereotype that women ought to be admired in the physical sense and not the intellectual sense.

Image sourced from www.motherjones.com

Image sourced from http://www.motherjones.com

In my country, when wife to the late Joshua Orwa Ojode who passed away in a helicopter crash in 2012, mentioned in a recent anniversary of her husband’s death, that she would wish to represent the Ndhiwa Constituency just as her deceased husband once did, it was interesting to note that what many people noticed was how her hair looked in one of the photos. The said photo did the rounds on social media with Kenyan men and women alike bashing her for what they termed as her hair appearing “wild”. With some going as far as to suggest that she needed a salon visit before declaring her political ambitions. I mean, did anyone consider that it could have been windy on that particular day?!

And while I find Clinton to be well put together in her pantsuits ( we call them trouser suits in my country), subtle jewelery and well coiffured hair, I’m glad that the focus is not always on what she is wearing and which designer she is representing, but on what her values are as an American individual and how she plans to move the American society forward should she become president.

Mrs. Mary Ojode, wife to the late Orwa Ojode in mourning of her husband's death. Photo courtesy of www.capitalfm.co.ke

Mrs. Mary Ojode, wife to the late Orwa Ojode in mourning of her husband’s death. Photo courtesy of http://www.capitalfm.co.ke

The photo that got tongues wagging concerning the apperance of her hair. Courtesy of www.nation.co.ke

The photo that got tongues wagging concerning the apperance of her hair. Courtesy of http://www.nation.co.ke

It should equally be noted that women in office should not necessarily be divorcees and therefore deserving of the stereotype that some careers for the female gender cannot accommodate a husband in a woman’s life. Indeed Clinton has had her fair share of marital woes and especially in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I have come across some articles that criticize her on how she chose to handle some of the scandals with other women involving her husband while he was in office. I do not consider her unwise per se, for choosing to stick to her husband as she would go on to state in her 2003 memoir that No one understands me better and no one can make me laugh the way Bill does. Even after all these years, he is still the most interesting, energizing and fully alive person I have ever met.

Her choice to save her marriage remains a personal choice. I bet she does value the family unit and the American people equally do irregardless of the divorce rates in the country. If they didn’t, then none of the Obama family pictures would have constantly been put on display like they have been. And beautiful pictures indeed which serve to show that strong willed, opinionated, educated, career oriented women like Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton can still balance being a mother, wife and office duties.

In African societies, women have constantly been under represented in political issues concerning the country. We tend to sensationalize the fact that women are highly emotional and of a lesser intellectual capability to fully understand what running the country entails. The chauvinistic nature of most African societies firmly imprints in the minds of men that women should not hold positions of leadership. That women should always cower behind the leadership of men. It is refreshing to see that in recent times, more African women are taking up positions of leadership and more African men are beginning to realize that behind that veneer of sexuality and beauty lies a sharp mind.

A woman’s presence should not only be gauged by her marital status and how she looks physically. I recently came across an article in one of the local papers, where women vying for women representative position in the coming 2017 elections, in one of the parts of our country, were being termed as “beautiful”. It was more like who is fairer than the other. I felt as if the emphasis should have been more on their political ambitions and less on their physical appearances. However, this only served to show how much society in recent times, has objectified the woman so much to the point where it did not matter what age she was, what she represented and what she believed in.

Unlike her counterpart in the American presidency race, who has often exhibited high emotions and an ignorance on how some policies, other societies and races function, I feel like Clinton has handled herself with grace and intellect. It would indeed be refreshing to see a superpower being led by a woman and equally, a motivation for African women that high positions in the country are possible for them to hold.

 

 

Non-Committal Men And The Lies They Tell

I think so many men are pretty non-committal in their 20s. Going by the number of Kenyan men I have encountered in the past who just don’t want to be in an exclusive relationship. I know someone somewhere of the opposite gender is already foaming at the mouth at my blatant declaration. Well, just to be fair and not so much of a pessimist, there is a percentage that WANTS to be exclusive. This percentage, sadly, is a small one.

A non-committal man is obviously one who won’t commit.

He will come up with all of these reasons as to why he doesn’t want to be exclusive just yet. You will be surprised that some of these reasons sound pretty justified.

A non-committal man is the kind who will pretend to be interested in a relationship in the early stages. Once you give in to his charms and start “dating”, it won’t be long before he begins acting distant.

You as the woman, will get thoroughly surprised by this sudden turn of events.

Indeed one of the earliest signs of a non-committal man is an unwillingness to spend time with you. These kinds surround themselves with friends so much, to the extent where he barely has time for the woman he is trying to lure into his life. The woman will try to beg, negotiate even, for more time, to which the man will blatantly refuse to give.

Non-committal men have a tendency to give a past broken relationship with a woman he really loved as the reason why they will not open their hearts to love another woman. This ladies, is a TOTAL LIE.

In truth, a non-committal person, male or female, is actually afraid to love. He knows that love will make him vulnerable and that he will have to open up to another person of the opposite gender, while in that situation of being in love. He is completely insecure with the thought of opening up himself to another person and so he would rather create a false illusion, that he is not ready for exclusivity or love for that matter.

A non-committal man will never admit his deep insecurities to a woman. Instead, he will employ the blame game and the poor ex, who happened to cheat on him or treat him badly, will be the one to always take the blame. Until that point in time when this man decides to face his fears and in the process, feels ready to fall in love and actually commits to one woman.

I’m no relationship coach but in my dating years, I have encountered quite a number of young men in their mid to late twenties, who have over time created this very tough wall of being “NON-COMMITTED”.

Sadly, some of these men drag this tough wall into marriages and that is why you get to hear of “open marriages”. Whoever came up with that concept? But it is happening! Not only in the West but in Africa too. It’s only that in African societies, we keep it hush hush for obvious reasons or coat it with tradition and culture and claims of a wife belonging to the community, when in the real sense it is a husband who does not want to commit to one woman.

A non-committal man often seems unconcerned with whoever you as the woman, want to spend time with of the opposite sex. Trust me, a man who truly loves and desires you will be very bothered if you get to hang out with other men on dates and social activities. By stating that, I’m not endorsing possessiveness where the man curtails your movements and does not even seem to understand that you have male colleagues at work as well as male relatives and friends.

I’m speaking about a man who will not seem bothered that you went out on a date with another man, had him accompany you to your house or out of town while you are his supposed girlfriend. I once encountered a non-committal man, who insisted I go out of town with a man whose intentions I did not trust completely and had already shared my concernsĀ  about it with the said non-committal man, because I thought, we were in a relationship. Needless to say, I was appalled that he kept on insisting that I travel with this shifty character and in the process made it seem like I was simply being paranoid.

Similar to open marriages, be wary of a husband who gives you permission to sleep with other men while still married to him. That is not normal. That is absurd. Men get hit by that pang of jealousy when a woman they love and want to be with seems to be getting attention from specific people of the opposite sex. It is human nature. This gender is naturally competitive. So if he doesn’t seem to care and encourages it, he doesn’t love you. He is not interested in commitment. He doesn’t care who beds you.

Same way you wouldn’t care if that guy who keeps on hitting on you and you don’t feel him sleeps with 20 other women besides you, is how this non-committal man doesn’t care.

Some insecure non-committal men will embark on painting you the woman desiring a relationship with them, as various unsavory things. A sex addict, paranoid, jumpy, moving the relationship too fast…blah,blah,blah. You are not any of those things.

Let me tell you a secret.

As much as I agree it is important for a relationship to grow gradually. A man who is interested in being with you will put in the effort from day one. He will call you, be interested in your hobbies, take time to understand your character, create time to see you…

If a relationship feels dead from the very beginning, this man DOESN’T WANT TO BE WITH YOU. He will only keep on branding you as paranoid, jumpy, nagging, a sex addict and all those unsavory things so that your mind gets preoccupied with all the negativity to the extent where, you don’t get to truly see him for what he is. A NON-COMMITTAL MAN. Instead you will blame yourself for the relationship not working out. It is HIMĀ  sister, not YOU.

And lastly, the classic, LET’S BE FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS. This is your time to flee from this non-committal man. Oh, so he doesn’t want to be exclusive with you, but the few times you guys have sweated it out in the bedroom, he has already decided he doesn’t want to give that part up just yet, so he comes up with this ridiculous proposition, because that is how his warped mind sees you. Dear sister, cut this man loose.

You are a strong woman. You can make it without him. In fact, a wonderful man is just lurking round the corner. You only need to get to that space where you are comfortable with your singlehood to be able to accommodate a worthy man in your life. Non-committal men will only string you along for no reason and for your information, you don’t need FWB arrangements in your mid to late twenties. You need a man who is courageous enough to step up and declare that he wants to be exclusive with you.

Forget the idea that your love can change a non-committal man. Most of these kinds are very stubborn. They will only change when they feel like changing. It is not your mandate to change people. Let him be, no hard feelings. Never be down for mediocrity.