LIFE

HOME.

When asked what home is to them, a vast majority of people would respond by saying ‘Its where I live’ – a structure. While that in itself is an answer, it may not be the most accurate response. (Everyone is entitled to their own opinion).

Sometimes, your home in its physical sense is just that, a structure with which you find your shelter from horrible weather, the place you have your own/ shared place on which to lay your head after a long day, it doesn’t feel like how a home should. Instead of providing you with the taste of peace and love, you arrive there just to find a continuation of all the negative energy surrounding you in the outside world.

You may ask, what is home to you then?

The past few months have been quite tough for me. It is in these dark moments that I began my journey HOME.¬†I don’t live with my parents majority of the year and so finding home wasn’t a matter of walking into my parents’ home to plenty of food and drink. It was a matter of finding myself, what I love and what I don’t, figuring out why I was placed on this earth, all while going about my daily life.

I can’t say that I’m home yet, but I’m definitely closer than I was when this year begun. It definitely was thanks to my trying period this year that I realised how far away from home I was. It took life shoving me straight into a storm that helped me open my eyes. When the storm finally began to settle, I decided its time to find my way home.

Some of the few landmarks that have helped me along the way include:

  • Being comfortable with myself –¬†This is something I thought I was okay with but turns out I still need to practice it a bit more. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy; there are days I feel like I’m the sh*t and then proceed to feel completely disgusted with myself the very next day; literally less than 12 hours later. It just happens and its completely normal. As I wrote in a previous post {¬†INSECURITY; IT EATS YOU FROM INSIDE.} sometimes those we think are close to us, can use our insecurities to try bring us down. But when you’re comfortable with yourself and your flaws, keeping in mind that no one is perfect, you won’t let this phase you and hence will be one step closer to being comfortable with yourself.
  • Liberating myself from the ‘group mentality’ –¬†This occurs when individuals act collectively, mostly without sense of direction. I don’t think we realise how easy it can be for anyone to fall into group think; more so with those who may suffer from low self- confidence. Speaking from experience, it begins when you agree to something that deep down know you’d rather not, or when you’re made to feel that something you love isn’t worthy of attention. You’re afraid to speak out, so you just go along with it. Slowly and without realising it, your flame is extinguished and you may no longer see the need of doing what you love. One way of escaping this is learning to speak out, even when you’re afraid to. Practice this often, and eventually it’ll become like second nature to you. Another way is:
  • Spending time with and by yourself. –¬†The best way to discover and understand yourself is to actually spend time alone. Just like you’d go on dates with people to get to know them more, so should you do that with yourself. Despite what society may try make us believe, its not weird to take yourself on dates and enjoy your own company. Most time it is what we truly need. We get to recollect our thoughts and do whatever we feel like without the fear of letting others down or feeling rushed at some place because the other person you’re with just has to get home. Other times, its best to just curl up into a ball, under the bedsheets and watch all the movies we love. One can also choose to sleep, read or catch up on the hobbies that their busy life has been keeping them away from.

‘ We need quiet time to examine ourselves openly and honestly- spending time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself ¬†and create order’- Susan L. Taylor

  • ¬†Finding your outlet – If you’re like me, and I’m sure a good number of you are, opening up is not easy; in fact it may possibly not even be an option. Its not that the people around you aren’t trustworthy; you’ve just secured the position of the strong one/ the one who seems to have their life in order, but you know that thats not necessarily true. That being said, it is very easy to get worn down by the obstacles life throws your way. To avoid breaking down, its important to have some kind of outlet. For me, its the gym. There’s something about pushing beyond my limits and breaking down the barriers my own mind creates that makes it just a little bit easier to breathe. Like I said above, the past few months have been somehow dark, and were getting darker with each passing day. I had taken a break from the gym to go on my volunteering expedition, and things seemed okay because I was distracted and disconnected. Once I was back, everything came rushing back, almost all at once and brought with them new obstacles, I needed to let it out. Getting back to the gym has been painful yes, but I feel lighter, both physically and mentally. I’ve come to appreciate it as my space; I can be distracted but at the same time clear my mind enough to try sort out the things that are bothering me.
  • Knowing your people-¬†You know those people you can be yourself around? The ones who you don’t need to talk to everyday but you’ll always try to be there for one another when need be. Those are the ones you keep close to your heart. Why? Because when you’re around them, you feel at home. Coming back for the holidays has definitely been refreshing for me. I’ve managed to meet most of my people and I can say for a fact that I feel more at peace now than I was before. This is something I noticed after my best friend came visiting last week. Being able to unpack and open up was one thing i didn’t realise I needed. We don’t always have the best responses and in fact may find ourselves with no response to certain situations, but I’ve come to appreciate that someones presence or listening ear may be the one thing you need.
  • Being gentle on yourself– ¬†I’ll just leave this to my KIPEPEO, to explain it here :¬†GENTLE¬†¬†

In summary what am I saying?

Home, is definitely wherever your heart is. Its with those you hold dear to yourself; be it friends or family. Home however, starts with you. You begin building your home by working on yourself, showing yourself love and doing what excites you. From there you attract those who resonate with you and are willing to help you build and vice versa. However, just like the physical structure, your home will attract those with ill intentions, the ones who will want to bring you down. To prevent that, you definitely need to ensure your barriers are high enough to block them out.

Find yourself, build your home and ensure that you secure it as well. ūüôā

Home should feel like the taste of a cold milkshake from Java on a hot day.

Standard
LIFE

INSECURITY; IT EATS YOU FROM INSIDE.

Insecure (n) : Not feeling at all confident about yourself, your abilities, or your relationships with people.

This ‘condition’ of insecurity is something I’ve suffered from for a big part of my life. It’s crazy the things we allow people to say to us and worse still the negative comments we make to ourselves in addition to that.

‘Would you be friends with people who spoke to you the way you spoke to yourself?’ (Found this on Twitter¬†@jyoungwhite)

I’m going to tell a story about what I have personally allowed myself to go through. Before I begin, I must warn you that this is a very personal post and it may be quite lengthy.

THE BEGINNING

Younger me was very well fed and I say that without exaggeration. I was round but my parents weren’t worried. I was born underweight at 2.9kg, so you can imagine my parents’ satisfaction when I ate well and added weight over the years. In fact according to my mum I couldn’t wear the clothes my brother wore at four months when I was only a month old.

img_9350.jpg

My mother and baby me. I wonder how she got me to smile because I was a grumpy baby.

HOME IS WHERE IT HURTS

Kids can be cruel. I was about 6/7 , walking around the estate. I saw some girls and decided to go and try befriend them but when I got close enough one made a comment about my weight and size and they both burst into laughter, “fat mama” is what they called me.. there was no one else around us at the time.

We moved, this brought about mixed emotions in me, this is because having no friends in the previous area, I resorted to playing with my pets(we had dogs, cats and birds which were sadly eaten by the dog )and this current estate does not allow pets.

I wanted a change in my life. I was 11 and wanted to have ‘neighbourhood friends’. One night KPLC decided we didn’t need electricity and unfortunately the generator that was available was only for the security systems and street lamps. We were out walking, all of us but I was shy of talking to them, I didn’t know how. As we were passing under one street lamp one boy not so quietly told another “Look at the size of her stomach” and they then proceeded to laugh. I think I cried that night..in my bed the only place I felt safe.

IMG_9349

I miss Mombasa!!

IMG_9348

I honestly look at such pictures and laugh at my choice of clothes

FAMILY DON’T REALISE THEY HURT US TOO

You’d think your family wouldn’t partake in bringing you down right? Wrong? When it comes to family, it hurts the most¬†because these are people who are supposed to love you unconditionally and aim to bring you up when you’re down.

It was an uncle’s wedding year 2012, I was asked to be a bridesmaid, God knows why, I am not close to him, in fact that was the first time I had heard of him.. anyway.. I went for the dress fitting with my mother , I wasn’t feeling confident at all in the dress especially because of the design and the material but it was too late to back out .. I step out of the changing room to find an aunt of mine ( married to my dad’s brother) talking to my mum. She didn’t even bother to say hi, just watched as my mum checked on the dress and the fitting, she then decided to unleash her thoughts..‘Ivy you’re too fat!”

I honestly cannot explain how that made me feel, and how for the rest of the day I had to hide the fact that I¬†wasn’t affected by it, I even managed to convince myself that I wasn’t hurt at all.

IMG_9340

This man is my hero without the cape. I was clearly not amused with being lifted

SCHOOL, THE SECOND HOME

Personally, I was in the same school for 12 years (cue the 12 years a slave jokes)¬†and reflecting on my life there now, I can safely say that they also had a role to play in feeding my insecurities. First of all, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, the liturgical dancers were always a certain height/size.Okay, maybe that was their personal preference but did they really take the time to think about the impact selectively excluding a group of girls because of their physique could have on them? Probably not. The rest of us were made to watch them practice day in and day out because they didn’t have clothes that could fit us. Couldn’t they have invested in adjustable outfits? (I must admit however that I noticed a change in this trend a few years later).

Now my close friends know that one of my biggest insecurities is my thighs. Trust me when I say that the school played a role in feeding this insecurity. Being called aside during a swimming class and told to invest in a biker(a tight fitting¬†black short) to wear with your costume because your thighs are thick and not firm doesn’t really sit well with a young adolescent, it wasn’t only me though, in following classes I noticed that all ‘big’ girls had been made to buy it. Ever since then, I’ve been so ashamed of my thighs, I’ve always fantasised about getting a thigh reduction just so that they aren’t as big.

IMG_9343

Who remembers how Village Market used to be the best place to go to for swimming?

BE CAREFUL OF THE FRIENDS YOU CHOOSE TO KEEP

When it comes to friendships, we really only have ourselves to blame, because these are people we choose to keep around us.

I had a friend in high school and we were close, inseparable you may say. Our friendship was not a healthy one at all. She’d make all sorts of comments about my body such as my weight or the thickness of my lips(yet another insecurity of mine), you may say it was just banter but truth is it was beyond that and I knew it. Instead of distancing myself from all that negativity, I chose to stay and suffer. Things got so bad I slowly started changing things about myself like my smile, I tried to reduce the thickness of my lips during that simple action because apparently light skins aren’t supposed to have thick lips.

We were reshuffled at the end of form 2 and I was moved to the other class. Honestly, I saw this as my escape route despite feigning sadness at the thought of not being in the same class. For the remaining two years I was constantly being asked why we stopped being friends and being thrown for comments such as “…but you guys were soo close…” someone even had the audacity to tell me that I was hurting her by ignoring her and not¬†talking to her.

Okay maybe I used extreme methods to distance myself but if I was to go back I wouldn’t do it any other way knowing the kind of person I am.

Truth is, when you allow people into your life, you give them some sort of power. With this power, they can either help you or destroy you depending on ¬†how close they can get. It’s better to find yourself and save you from being put down so much you can’t take it anymore. If a friendship isn’t beneficial to you, leave, no one is holding you back.

IMG_9347

I can see the effects of insecurity in this one picture.

 THOUGHTS..?

Who came up with the idea of a perfect body type? ¬†Everyone is allowed to have their preferences but there’s no need to bring another down just because they don’t fit your idea of perfect.

We all need to watch what we say carefully, truth is you may think you’re just messing around with someone but once you touch on their insecurity you can really hurt them.

Children should be taught from an early age to love each other despite their differences. That way as they grow up, they’ll embrace the diversity of people openly.

 

CONCLUSION

You may ask why I’m doing this? Well I’m doing it for the big girls, the small girls and the ones in between. I’m also doing it for the boys because they go through similar experiences but shy away from sharing them.

Love yourself so fiercely no matter what anyone says to you because at the end of the day you only have yourself. Walk with so much confidence that no one will be able to bring you down.

My insecurity ate me from the inside. To date I¬†consider myself a¬†very shy person and would¬†prefer to be alone majority of the time. I am still very insecure about a lot of things, still learning how to deal with my insecurities. I make baby steps each day , because I know I’ll eventually get to a place where I have a sense of security.

IMG_0653

Photo was captured by my friend Brian Wagako. Instagram (@w.a.g.a.k.o) and the makeup by my talented friend Terry Mburu ūüôā

Standard