Month: June 2017

The Annoying Habit Of Downplaying Female Assertiveness

Why do we like downplaying a woman’s assertiveness?

And this is not only a preserve of men, but of fellow women too.

Why do we expect a woman to just keep quiet and take whatever is being thrown at her or what we consider the only option?

What is wrong with a female just saying “No, that does not work for me.” ?

Why do we always have to equate female assertiveness to being picky and unreasonable?

I have been asking myself all of these questions lately. It happens on the relationship front, career front, the having kids front and literally in every other aspect of a female’s life. The pressure not to assert for what she feels is right or works for her. Instead, to make do with what is given as the general option for everyone or to just take whatever crap someone feels like bringing her way.

In my job hunting, I have had people suggest jobs that I felt were not really career paths I would feel fulfilled following. However while suggesting, people would often add the line “just take the job, don’t choose jobs.” Already, they had given me a general option. And the general option was, since befitting jobs are often hard to come by, why not take up anything that can give you a source of livelihood. Indeed, there is quite a lot of sense in this type of reasoning.

Former US First Lady Michelle Obama. Image courtesy of Google

However, could it be the reason why many Kenyans are in jobs that they do not love, simply because they were given that particular general option, of just picking whichever job that comes their way? Could it also be the reason why you sometimes walk into shops or organizations and get served by obviously bored and rude employees?

Many times in the past, I have said no to these kinds of suggestions. And I’m almost a 100% sure that those who suggested, thought I was simply being haughty or unwise for asserting for a job that to them, “might be hard to come by.” I always figured that it is way better to start at the very bottom in a field you are passionate about, than to start at the very bottom in a field you don’t care about and were simply urged to take up.

Another aspect that faces a lot of downplaying of a woman’s assertiveness is the marriage and parenthood bit. Whenever I mentioned that I did not feel it was the right time for me to settle down or have kids, someone would openly scoff at my thoughts. I sometimes feel that people tend to view life through their own personal lenses. It can be quite annoying when someone suggests that you are wasting time for waiting before making such major decisions. Everyone’s pace in life is different. However, arguing out your point with these kinds of people is often times meaningless.

We need to raise up a generation of assertive women. Not necessarily to be pseudo-feminists completely averse to the male contribution and thought process in society, but to be women who know and understand themselves and are willing to stand up for what they know works for them. The idea that a woman should be subdued to the point where everything including that which makes her uncomfortable should be accepted needs to go. Being the weaker sex does not translate to being a “yes” person. It is a mentality that equally afflicts women, who expect other women to follow the same line of thought, of suppressing their feelings.

The bitter truth is that only the assertive women manage to make it in life. Those who choose to squash their true thoughts and feelings only transform into doormats. And being everyone’s doormat is not something anyone would fancy.


Are Kenyans Embarrassed By Their Own Culture?

In the wake of Lisa Gaitho’s blog post which caused quite a stir, with what many termed as a bashing of Kenyan culture with an insinuation of Nigerian culture being superior, I decided to take a look at the whole issue from a different angle. My post is not necessarily a response to Lisa, since I do not know her personally and what motivates her thought process. Let it not be taken as a direct jab at a fellow blogger as I believe in this Internet space, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, whether they are agreeable to everyone or not.

Anyways, I’m more concerned with what the post intentionally or unintentionally, brought to the fore. And the question is, are we Kenyans embarrassed by our own culture? Or rather, do we even feel like we have a Kenyan culture in the first place?

Looking at other African nations, we can be tempted to quickly make a conclusion as Kenyans, that we may indeed be lacking in a cultural identity. The first thing that first comes to a Kenyan mind is the fact that many African nations have a cultural dress. Just next door in Uganda, we have the gomez. In Ethiopia, we have the Abeba and Habesha traditional dresses complete with a hairstyle synonymous with Ethiopian women. In Rwanda, there is the mushanana for the Rwandese women. Further afield in West Africa, Ankara rules the region. South Africa has the colorful beads and traditional skirts complete with a traditional cap.

When you come to Kenya, what is mostly identified by foreigners as the Kenyan dress is the Maasai attire. And as we Kenyans know, the Maasai do not really represent the whole country as a whole, seeing that we comprise of 43 different ethnic groups. But since the Maasais are notably the only Kenyan tribe, that has wisely held onto most of their cultural way of life and have been greatly marketed overseas as a result, they are the ones inevitably accorded the Kenyan identity symbol.

Unfortunately, for the younger generation which has grown up in an era of modernization, we may not even have an idea of what our individual, ethnic, cultural dress actually looked like. Reason being that with the coming of missionaries, many tribes in Kenya ditched their cultural dress to embrace the White man’s dress and education in a move toward civilization. So really, the whole idea of lacking in a present day cultural dress goes way back to the pre-colonial era, where to be educated and clothed in modern clothes symbolized being civilized.

The Kenyan flag. Google Images

The missionaries brought us Education and Christianity which was and is a good thing, do not get me wrong. However, our cultural identity got lost in the process and it didn’t help matters that Kenya is not predominantly made up of one ethnic group or just two or three. With the mishmash of 42 now 43 different tribes with their own individual cultural dresses, it would have been difficult really, to embrace just one particular cultural dress that would have incorporated all the ethnic groups  as one. Could be the reason why an attempt a couple of years back to come up with a Kenyan dress seemingly, flopped.

When it comes to food, I see many Kenyans complaining about our bland culinary choices. To be honest, I’m one of those Kenyans who feel like we could have at least tried to be a little more creative with our food choices. However, the Coastal people are touted to have the most tasty choices of food. And it is part of their culture. So when you hear of biryani, mahamri, pilau, chapati, spicy sauces and the likes, think of Mombasa, Kenya.

I must admit it kind of makes the rest of  the Kenyans a little envious that while we are busy mashing potatoes, maize, beans and pumpkin leaves into a dish, the Coastal residents are pounding  a combination of spices together, to create a wonderful aroma and taste for their dishes. Ugali, the Kenyan staple is simply one of those uninspiring dishes that Kenyans had no choice but to embrace due to how economical the dish was. However, the economical nature of Ugali as a dish and especially this year, is up for debate with the soaring prices of maize flour and the scarcity of it.

As for how we treat our elders, it all depends on how a Kenyan individual was raised. Many Kenyans grew up in homes where to be disrespectful to an elder warranted a thorough beating. However, with all this urbanization business, it is not entirely uncommon to have working parents who have absolutely no time to spare for their growing children and may not even realize, when their children are picking up bad habits and manners. There is simply no time for effective disciplining of children since more parents are working more hours than in the past.

That said, I do not feel like it is wise for a Kenyan to simply feel embarrassed for being of the same nationality or to feel inadequate, when compared to other African nations. We do have rich urban cultures that are quite alluring to non-Kenyans. A notable one being the matatu culture of pimping rides with graffiti. Nowhere in the world will you find a public service vehicle decorated with as much art as we decorate our matatus here. This even surpasses the  cultural dressing and the likes. It is uniquely Kenyan.

I also feel like we haven’t really lost touch with our culture since there are some cultural practices that Kenyans still follow.  Many of my peers have held traditional weddings before church weddings. Many of my peers have named their children after family members. Many of us possess traditional second names. Many of us still take our kin back to our ancestral lands for burial and perform all these burial rites. If that isn’t cultural enough for some Kenyans, then I do not understand what culture means to them as individuals.



The Uncomfortable Truths About Love Bombing

I’m guilty of love bombing. I have equally been love bombed in the past. And if you are already raising an eyebrow wondering why you have been following and reading a sociopath’s blog, let me mention that not only sociopaths and those with funny personality disorders love bomb. According to the definition given by Wikipedia, Love Bombing is an attempt to influence a person by demonstrations of attention and affection. Just to add to it, over the top declarations of love and a flurry of texts stretching for long periods of time during the day and especially, in the initial stages of getting to know each other.

Many of us are guilty of doing the same because sometimes, we just decide to let our selfish desires get the better of us. Usually, I would love bomb whenever I was idle or in need of attention from the opposite sex during lengthy periods of singlehood. Indeed, as a result of the highly selfish nature of love bombing, many can attest to the fact that often times, the relationship hardly lasts past 2 or 3 months. Here’s why;

Image courtesy of Google

Love bombing is in essence not real love.

It is motivated by selfish desires. Jerks on the prowl for casual sex employ it as a tool to get easy sex from unsuspecting women. Women are often left wondering what just happened when a man who had come on too strong, with declarations of love, consistent communication and promises of a lifetime suddenly disappears after a sexual encounter. Blame it on love bombing, to fool you into believing that you just met your knight in shining armor when in essence, you simply met your worst nightmare of a commitment-phobe.

And yes, people with personality disorders who are highly insecure of themselves, use the love bombing technique during the idealization phase so that they can get their high. Be sure that this person will take you through the devaluation phase, once you are completely sucked into the lies and deceit and finally, the discard phase. It might take you months or even years, to figure out exactly what had been going on in this so called relationship.

It quickly gets boring.

Imagine spending all of your waking hours and evenings just chatting with a subject of your affection. You will probably end up exhausting all topics and divulging information about yourselves that would have best been divulged gradually. In the end, the sense of mystery disappears and you are left wondering what to do with this person, other than avoid them altogether.

The best relationships do not involve two people constantly chatting or calling each other without any breathers in between and especially, in the initial stages. Remember, men love the thrill of the chase as much as liberated women may try to put this fact up for debate. If it so happens that you are always available for chats, then you are killing this thrill in men and communicating to the man, that you have no other life away from your phone.

Love bombing reeks of desperation.

Otherwise, why would you feel the need to smother someone you are attracted to with very strong declarations of love, far fetched promises and unbelievable flattery? Normal people take their time to get to know someone. They do not begin speaking of a future with someone they just met the other day. Be wary of men, who begin mentioning marriage on first dates or making declarations of “having found the one and being by your side forever”, within the first month of dating. Be equally wary of women, who start discussing a desire to have children with you on the first date or very early on in the relationship.

These are just people lacking in other aspects of their lives who need a love interest in their lives to validate them. They can go to great lengths just to lure this person, into giving them the affection and attention they so desperately need, even if it means making outrageous sacrifices very soon into dating. One thing we fail to understand is that solid relationships take time to build.

Love bombing is best done over the phone because it is insincere in nature.

Meet these love bombing culprits in person and you will quickly realize that, they are totally different persons altogether from the ones who have been constantly texting and calling you. You may even be shell shocked that they seem at a loss for words in person and may struggle to initiate conversation. The first tell tale sign will be a lack of spark or an immediate romp between the sheets, no conversation.

Love bombing is very well executed over the phone or via social media because the culprits can easily hide their true intentions behind a phone or computer. Most are socially inept persons who prefer to mask this by not interacting in person with people they supposedly are interested in. A person who is truly in love and desires to get into a relationship with you will always create time to see you in person. Such persons know and value the power of one on one interactions.

Love bombers make it easier for themselves, by hiding behind gadgets where it is easier and quicker to break it off, once they are done with hapless individuals who had no idea of their true intentions.

Have you ever been love bombed? If so, how did you handle it or how did it end? I would love to hear your stories.