LIFE

THE SECRET TO LIVING

‘ In a world filled with endless possibilities, why do I find myself clinging tightly to that which is familiar?’

It is a well known fact that the life we live is unpredictable. One second you’re doing well financially, the next you’re struggling to out food on the table. One second you’re here, the next… Why don’t we then choose to live fully?

A year ago today, I received devastating news, death had once more knocked on my family’s door and claimed a member of the clan. The victim this time? Uncle Dick (God rest his soul). To say I didn’t see it coming would be a lie, but it still shocked me. He was my favourite uncle because, despite not having much to his name, he knew the secret to life; Savour the small moments because at the end of it all, they are the big moments. His way of doing this way subtle, but it worked. He would always take time to talk to his nieces and nephews at family events, even if it was only for 5 minutes.

In this last year, not a single month has passed that I haven’t thought about him and as my heart ached, I inevitably found myself thinking about this experience we call life. How despite knowing that every day above ground is a gift, we tend to live as though tomorrow is promised; like we are immortal. Watching once in a life time opportunities pass us by because ‘ tomorrow, next year, next month.’

My 22 years on this earth has taught me that the confines of your comfort zone is the most dangerous place to exist. In it you’re not exactly comfortable but to settle is better than exerting oneself or attempting to expand the boundaries of your knowledge. It is a place where you merely exist; a constant cycle of repeated actions. Within this space you fail to develop adaptability. This means that you will be unable to get back up when life pushes you over… and life will push you over.

To live, you need to allow your curiosity to force you out of your comfort zone making sure you have an open mind tagging along. 5 years ago if anyone had asked me what I wanted in life, my answer was simple: ‘To go to the University of Nairobi’s (UON) Dental School.’ I had always known I was walking down the wrong path but I chose to keep going, hoping it would amount to something all because I was afraid of venturing out to the unknown.

Its quite clear that I am not a dental student at UON, all thanks to a B+ grade in Biology. I remember being so upset which led me to do something uncomfortable; packing up and moving to the United Kingdom to study. 3 years later and that single decision has allowed me to enjoy life more than I previously did. I’ve made new friends and reconnected with old ones, I started this blog, travelled to Fiji solo on a volunteer expedition and most recently had the chance to take part in the Face of Kenya UK event which gave me the platform to speak from my heart and make a difference in someone’s life. Looking back, the only thing I do regret is not savouring the moments with my family and friends, Instead I would lock myself in all day studying.

I cannot finish this without saying how hard it is to step out of what is familiar to you. However, it is only the first step that’s hardest after you realise that it was worth it. You will fall down any times along the way, but its only by getting things wrong that you truly learn and experience life.

So what will you choose to do? Stay where you are or go out and live your best life.

 

This post was the piece I recently read for the talent section of Face of Kenya UK 2019. I dedicate it to Uncle Dick who may have gone to rest with the ancestors but will forever be alive in our hearts.

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LIFE

TIME.

Well would you look at that, its November, two months left to the end of this year… Time really is flying isn’t it?

While having dinner at a friend’s house recently, one of the conversations that came up was one we may all be familiar with… of a friend who happened to leave the country for studies and unfortunately ended up getting involved with drugs, and had to drop out. Fortunately the person upon returning was able to get back on his feet and turn his life around.

However, what inspired this post was a comment my friend happened to make…

“Yeah well he wasted 5 years of his life”

But did he really? 

Obviously in comparison to his friends, he would be considered to be ‘behind in life’. I personally however do not believe there’s anything like having ‘wasted’ time in your life. Let me explain why:

Where you are in this given moment, is exactly where you’re supposed to be in order to make a difference in this world’ – Me

I started saying this phrase when some of my mum’s friends would question why I was going into university after their children, yet we started school together. The comparison used to really weigh in on me, and I began feeling slightly embarrassed.

‘Have I let down my parents?’

‘Will I never be able to make something out of myself because I’m behind?’

‘Oh no, now they’ll get ahead with life and I’ll be left behind’

These are just some of the questions that would instantly flow through my mind at the time, and honestly they are quite depressing.

However, two years later, I am appreciative of where I am and how much I have matured. I would definitely not be the same person had I rushed into university. All the people I’ve met and activities I have participated have shaped me into who I am today. In fact, this blog is as a result of me going to University when I did, I’d never have gathered the courage to share my thoughts with you if otherwise.

Same goes for the guy in the story, for him to get to where he is today, he had to go through what he did for those 5 years which people claim he wasted. They weren’t a waste as they taught him valuable lessons that hopefully could be a driving factor to his influence on the world. Those 5 years steered him in the direction he is destined to be going. He had to lose himself  first to find his calling.

The fact that we each have different paths and callings is the reason I do not believe in the phrase ‘You’re losing time’. The main reason we are so used to this is because we enjoy comparing our life to that of the person next to us; very illogical seeing as we are different in almost every aspect. Different purposes, different goals.

Next time you think that you’re losing time by postponing a major event in your life such as making the decision to go into University, Start a business or even get married, stop and ask yourself:

  1. Who am I comparing myself to?
  2. Why do I feel pressured to do this?
  3. Am I ready to do this?

I believe that asking yourself this will help you realise that this life you’re  living is your own, and no one should rush or pressure you to doing things that you do not feel prepared to do. There is a reason for everything including the fact that you don’t feel  ready. Possibly that’s not the path you should be following or it isn’t the right time for you.

Hesitation is also an answer

Recently, Ariana Grande released a song that as lyrics I believe resonate with what I’m trying to say.

The song is called ‘thank u, next

‘I got so much love, got so much patience…

I’ve learnt from my pain, I’ve turned out amazing’

Have a listen to it 🙂

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I really like this picture; The fact I could look so calm and collected when I was really a wreck on the inside is amazing.

 

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LIFE

Remember how as children, we’d sometimes compete to see who could hold their breath the longest?

It would all start with a really big deep breath, which was then followed by shutting your mouth as tight as possible and to avoid cheating, someone would pinch your nose.

Everything would be fine at first, you felt confident you could last as long as possible (well longer than your opponent anyway), but then slowly your chest starts tightening as your body screams for oxygen, yet there you are trying to fight the urge to give in. Four seconds later, there you are on the floor gasping for air!

How good did that taste of fresh air feel going down to your lungs? Amazing right?

  • BREATHE

I’ve recently been finding life to be an imitation of exactly that. Holding in the air is me acting as though everything is okay when it really isn’t. I’ve been pushing the truth to the back of my mind while other times I opt to ignore it and move on as swiftly as possible. I’ve managed to last quite a while (I’m talking a few years) through this. Fortunately,my four seconds have come to an end and now, I’m falling to the floor. I’m gasping for air; the tightening of my chest is immense.. I keep breaking down

  • BREATHE

Its a hard pill to swallow but its so easy to be broken to the point you lose yourself. If you’re like me you’ll give of yourself until you have no more of you to give you. You’ll find yourself giving to everyone you consider close to you; friends and family alike. It can get so bad that the guilt of distancing yourself from everyone for a while to focus on you prevents you from healing. In fact you end up so preoccupied fixing others that you don’t take time to realise that you’re also broken. The signs, they’re there but you choose to ignore them until you can’t ignore them any longer.

  • BREATHE

2018, so far has definitely been a suffocating year for me. From experiencing betrayal in a way led me towards a depressing period of my life, to losing my favourite uncle and being unable to attend his funeral, to other more personal issues that have worked hard to drain me of all my energy. I’ve been desperate for the slightest  gulp of fresh air for the longest time without actually realising it. I guess having a 4 month break from school is actually a good thing; my main distraction was taken away and I was forced to see my life as it is.

  • BREATHE

Fact is, this life we live in is filled with ups and downs. However, we sometimes have no idea of the extent to which those different moments can damage us. I’ve come to appreciate that only way to actually be present and aware of this is through self reflection; giving yourself time away from noise and distractions to be truly open and honest with yourself. This is the time to discover what went wrong and at what time, discover your reactions to that, appreciate the damage you may have caused to yourself and to others alike, try make amends where you can and then begin the process of rebuilding yourself keeping in mind that it won’t happen in a day.

Finally, through everything you go through in this life, don’t forget to BREATHE and reach out for help when you feel as though you’re struggling.

Feel free to reach out to me as well if you think you don’t have anyone to talk to 🙂 

 

‘The world breaks everyone but after, many are strong in the broken places’

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BREATHE.

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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. 🙂

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

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LIFE

IF YOU KNEW ME YESTERDAY,

A good friend of mine passed by the house last night to see me before our birthday and the conversation was short and intimate, something I realised lacks in most the conversations today. Where’s the honesty? The intimacy? Where are the deep, meaningful words? Why do we rarely challenge each other to be better than we are now?

Seeing as it’s my birthday I decided to gift myself a clean slate. The past year has been my most challenging one..yet and I’m sure it won’t get any easier from now (I can feel my parents letting go).  Do I have a plan for the rest of my life? I do, but it’s not solid. I however have an idea of how I’d like my life to go.

 

I need to let go of past mistakes. Instead of constantly over thinking a situation I cannot change, I’m learning to accept it and aim to be better.

I need to let go of friendships/relationships that aren’t benefitting me. If they’re not feeding my flame, they are helping to put it out.

 I need to spend more time with family. There’s nothing as painful as watching the coffin of a loved one being lowered, and you stand there wishing you had one more chance..

I need to do more things that excite me. Travel  more,  be friendly to everyone even those who aren’t friendly in return, read more

I need to get better at what I love doing, because that’s what makes me who I am.

I need to learn to say no and not have to give any reasons for my decision. 

I need to learn to live a life with no regrets.

If you knew me yesterday, that’s great but you don’t know me today. However, I understand that your opinion of me is possibly due to my  past actions. I can’t change that but at the same time I can’t let your opinion of me prevent me from living my life.

I’m really excited for this next year ahead of me and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me. 🙂

 

You can’t win the war against the world, if you can’t win the war against your own mind.

 

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Happy Birthday to me! 🙂

 

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LIFE

TO: A YOUNGER ME. (Part I)

‘I know this post was due some time in September last year, but my idea for it kept changing so much I chose to give myself time to think about it. Now thanks to  two of my friends, here it is…’

 The Pilot

Introducing you to the participants of the post.. Some have chosen to remain anonymous but the rest, as you will see at the end, are people you probably already know whether through social media or through mutual friends.

The idea for the post is, for readers to see and hopefully appreciate that we all go through similar things, just in different ways.

Ps/: You can pick one participant and follow their answers to the end

 

 

  1. Describe yourself in 1-2 sentences.

    I find that most people, myself included do not really know who we are.. or rather we find it hard to answer questions about ourselves when put on the spot.. but will be quick to answer about another.. take time dear reader.. find out who YOU are.

R.J.K – ( Law student, a friend, a brother)

A lover of life, making the best out of it and the finer things that come along with it. I’m a realist and will express things as they are or how they present themselves, I believe in truth.Sad but, I’m an extremely materialistic person as well but it’s not something I’m sad about or embarrassed to say about myself.

Nyambura ( A blogger  Click to visit her blog, a friend, a neighbour)

Soulful, free spirited, wild hearted 24 year old who loves icecream, writing and good vibes. Did I mention how much I love to laugh?

Titania ( Pharmacy student, a long time friend, a happy soul)

I’m going to use the basic that everyone tells me ‘you’re so tall’. But other than that I guess I’m an outgoing person who likes laughing a lot and I wouldn’t forget that I’m very emotional

 

Serut- ( Chemistry lab partner, a nemesis turned friend, brainy child)

I would say I’m shy but outspoken (the irony is not lost on me 😅) I’m introverted but wouldn’t turn down an opportunity for adventure and I have the kind of personality which people either hate or love. There’s really no in between here.

Stephanie– ( Blogger, a friend, long distance runner) Her fashion blog

I’m an assertive, confident, and ambitious hella ting with a head on my shoulders and a heart for helping 😊. Basically, I’m me.

Idk the adjective for activist …but I’m also that.

Ivy, two sentences are not enough … 

Rafael- ( Photographer, Friend, Student)Give him a follow

I am a workaholic and I have a mild case of OCD. I am open minded and quite religious, as well as a bit of a weird kid. I like talking to people.

 

Andrew– ( Guitar player, Musician, Friend)

I am an introvert with an interest in music, the arts and sci-fi (of the comic and movie variety). Opening up to others becomes easier when the vibes are comfortable enough for me to do so.

Owen– ( Twin, First ever crush, Friend ) He can sing 🙂

Well my name’s Owen and I’m basically a person who’s in love with art, culture and People.

Louise– ( Friend, Model, Student)  Peep her instagram page

I’m fun, joyful, optimistic and daring. I’m also supportive and a great friend to those who accept my friendship.

2.   Describe your younger self in 1-2 sentences

‘See the thing is, to appreciate where you are now and plan for where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve come from..’

R.J.K – Naïve and oblivious to the realities of the world/life. I was also rather Fat and Chubby lol. I had (still have) a great love for sports but I played more actively then. When I was 13, the first person on my list of people that I will definitely never forget crossed my path. 

Nyambura – My younger self was independent, curious, extremely caring (to a fault) and hard working. In my teenage years, I bore the burden of low self-esteem. Nonetheless, at the core, I have always been full of life and a dreamer; from 9 to 19 to now, almost 24.

Titania- My younger self was very shy and of course shorter, but I’d say I wasn’t confident enough with myself.

 

Serut– My younger self cared far too much about other people’s opinions and was hell bent on fitting in. I was an extremely bossy child. It was my way or the highway. My introverted ways were still commonplace back then.

Stephanie– I was a constantly worried about what everyone thought about me and it affected me greatly.

Rafael- He was innocent, oblivious, shy and hardworking

 

Andrew- My younger self was too impatient with friendships and social interactions, expecting people to be as open (as he was with them) too early. He would also not see the point of practice, mostly with musical instruments, but still do the tasks given by his teachers.

Owen- I was basically a VERY FAT child, like believe me. I was round. And I had no neck at some point. It was quite fascinating 😂

Louise– Well, my younger self was extremely shy and very afraid of what people thought of her. She was way too safe in her tiny comfort zone and didn’t do much to come out of it. She thought so little of herself even though the latter was not true, which I eventually realised as I grew older.

 

3. Given the chance to address your younger self, what would you tell him/her?

‘ Sometimes we wish we could go back, to a specific day/month/year of our lives particularly when we want to change something.

Write a paragraph to your younger self, advise them from where you are in your life. It may help you appreciate how far you’ve come instead of wishing you were in someone else’s shoes.

R.J.K – Be grateful for the people that have crossed your path, they have come with different things to offer and the effect can be seen. Respect the process, do your thing. The older me can say that with affirmation of results. Continue loving yourself like you always have only you love you the most. Keep ya head up

Nyambura– You are so amazing! I love your heart of gold and your perseverant spirit. Trust yourself a little more, forgive often, and place total dependence on God. He got you, I got you, and you got this! Keep going my star!

Titania – I would tell her to relax it’s never that serious and change takes time. I would also tell her to take it easy on herself and not give up with time comes progress

 

Serut– I would tell her to hang in there because things get a lot better. You’ll grow into your head. You’ll get some friends who’ll stick around and others will leave but you’ll be fine. Not everyone you trust will stab you in the back so don’t be afraid to open up. You will find love and you shouldn’t always question it. Drink water because it’s healthy. Get off your bum because you’re quite lazy and have fun because you don’t have responsibilities yet.

Stephanie-

  1. Be yourself, you don’t have to fit in .. that’s why you’re you.
  2. Don’t do stuff expecting rewards or payment back
  3. If everyone loves you , there’s something you’re doing wrong
  4. Go for it , whats the worse that could happen?
  5. JUST DO YOU, BOO BOO!

Rafael– Do not let anyone ever get into your head. Listening to other people and letting them influence how you do your thing is going to mess you up. Keep being you

 

Andrew– I would tell my younger self to be patient with people and with learning skills – mostly music (^__^) –, value practice more, trust the teachers’ methods of teaching and not to be in a hurry to grow up. I would also tell him to learn to be comfortable alone or in his own skin

Owen – If I could speak to the younger me I’d basically tell myself to stop thinking and start living. I let too many good moments and good things pass me by because of living too much inside my head

Louise – I would tell her that it’s never that serious. No one really has it all figured out and you shouldn’t feel disappointed in yourself because you’re not yet where you want to be. Life is a process and as you go on, you learn new things about yourself and the people around you. I’d tell her to be bolder and stop worrying about what people think. I’d tell her that she’s very beautiful and there’s no standard of beauty she should be to be considered beautiful by others. I’d tell her to dream bigger and not to be afraid to go for what she wants. Most of all I’d tell her to put God above everything.

 

Reflection.

Does anyone really know how to answer the question..’ Tell me about yourself/ describe yourself in a few sentences.’?

Think about the times you’ve been asked this question? At a job interview, when interacting with someone new..e.t.c  What did you say?  Is what you answered accurate at this moment?

Fact is we are constantly changing and learning more about ourselves with each passing day..

If you were asked at this moment to describe yourself.. what would you say?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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