My Take

In The End

Every story has a beginning and an end. But, we don’t decide that, the author does. When to cut off the narrative and give us a happily ever after or a sad conclusion – which always leaves me feeling short changed. But, truth be told, life delivers more cliff hangers than cheerful demises.

A few weeks ago, the lead singer of Linkin Park – Chester Bennington committed suicide. You can find the nitty grtties strewn across the internet. I had not heard of the details until I arrived at work on a Friday morning. Generally, a happy time.

Linkin Park iHeartRadio Album Release Party Presented by State Farm at the iHeartRadio Theater LA

As I caught up with the news and realized how his death came about, I was shocked. Not because he seemingly had it all. But because he seemed to be in a better place according to his recent interviews. If there is one thing that cannot shock me anymore is the fact that mental health issues are very real. They lead to such acts, which cannot be reversed. No matter how rich, famous or successful you are, you are still susceptible to mental health issues.

I headed into the studio to start my radio show. All of a sudden, dozens of listener’s were talking about death, depression, suicide and more. It was like a wall had been eradicated and people could speak about mental health. I also realized how deeply musicians can be ingrained into our lives. Chester was a hero to so many because Linkin Park’s music is cathartic. It makes you feel like somebody somewhere understands what goes on inside you. You are not alone.

As much as I love their music, I have had a similar connection to many different artists and songs. My tastes are varied too – From The Scripts “Hall of fame”, to Iggy Azalea’s “Work”, I have found songs which soothe me and make me feel better at low points in my life.

The “downs” as some may say,can be much more brutal for some people. Leading to depression, anxiety and more. This act of Chester’s and the subsequent conversation was closer to my heart, because I do have a family member suffering from such issues and most days, 100% recovery is a bleak prospect. I think it is especially hard for people who are trying to help loved ones work through mental health issues.

But here is what I have learn’t and want to share with anyone helping others with mental health issues. Firstly, you are going to need to keep your own head in check. This kind of raw, unraveling problem can affect you inherently too. Rule number one is to take care of your mental health regularly. I don’t care whether your me time consists of reading 50 shades of grey or meditating. Praying or bungee jumping. Do it – and do it regularly.

Secondly, it is impossible to be sympathetic at all times, so aim for empathy. Put yourself in their shoes and try to see the world from their not-so-rosy perspective. You will be able to relate and help them more, than you would if you just felt “sorry”.

And lastly, never give up hope. It can be the light you need in the darkest of times.

Have a blessed week ❤

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My book bag · My Take · review

Thoughts on: Pride and Prejudice

Title: Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen

Originally published in 1813

___________________________________

Oh what a read! It took me a moment to grasp the lingo and use of overly elongated and complex English sentences, but seriously – Wow. I gobbled up this book in two days.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is clearly worthy of its popularity through the ages. I am actually glad I read it now, so that I can indulge myself in watching the movie version which features Keira Knightley, straight after finishing the book.

Now, when this entire saga began with the infamous line:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

– I was forced to think of how removed this is from our present time. Women can freeze their eggs, men can want men and freedom at every level is the agenda. Equality too of course!

But keeping in mind that this novel was written in the early 1800’s I found it progressive yet, in many ways. Our leading lady, Elizabeth Bennet (affectionately, Lizzy) is a force of pure brains and good nature. She is more progressive for her time and I think if Austen were alive today she would be so pleased to see the strength women display without having to bend their backs over in false politeness.

Next, we have the “salty” Mr. Darcy. An unlikely protagonist in the beginning, but his evolution through this entire novel is amazing to watch. Someone you initially loathe, like Elizabeth, turns out to be as good hearted a fellow as any.

Essentially the story revolves around the Bennet family and their five daughters. Elizabeth is second to Jane, who is the most beautiful and genuinely nice human out there. Third in line is Mary who preaches morality over the slightest of situations. Fourth is silly little Kitty and fifth, notoriously wild and worldly Lydia. Unfortunately, owing to an entail, the family heritance will go to the next male heir – Their ridiculous cousin, clergyman Mr.Collins. He initially tries to marry Elizabeth so some of the fortune can remain in the family but she flat out refuses. He turns to her best friend instead who settles in life for a most unsatisfactory partner, but a physically comfortable existence. Mrs. Bennet is a fretful, crude woman whose mission is to get her daughters married to the richest men she can find.

Many a sub-plot plays out in the novel, always keeping the pace going. Mr. Darcy is haughty, “proud and prejudiced” until his love for Elizabeth leads him to change his ways. He opens up to her liKe nobody else, in the most tender way.

What struck me powerfully was the fact that the author was trying to reinforce the fact that you do not need to marry for money, but for love. This is embodied by Elizabeth and Jane. The consequences of not keeping a close check on immorality as it leads to disaster, is displayed by Lydia. Lydia runs away with a bad-reputed Mr. Wikham who is indebted to several people and shares a bitter history with Mr. Darcy. The latter comes to the rescue to save the Bennet’s without ever wanting the credit.

There is also brutal honesty and mischievousness in the entire book. Elizabeth eventually acknowledges that her family dynamic is dysfunctional, her sisters need better guidance, her father is absent and her mother is a most deplorable woman. Yet she rises above her surroundings and does not dwell on it.

The upper classes and their high mannerisms are made fun off, mostly at the expense of one Lady Catherine – Mr. Darcy’s aunt.

Since Elizabeth ends up marrying Mr. Darcy and is the mistress of a gorgeous and large estate, the phrase “happy ending” is apt. Her mother is obviously overjoyed about the fact that Mr. Darcy is “uber-rich”.

We have come so far from the time when money was inherited, estates exchanged hands and the only way a woman could be comfortable is by marrying into this. Today, you make your own fortune, women are obviously entitled to earning as much as men (although that is still an on going battle) and the idea of only engaging in certain society depending on your stature is much receded.

In the age of BDSM heroes like Christian Grey, who is forgiven his kink due to childhood trauma and the fattest of bank accounts, Mr Darcy is a nice relief.

If you are into the classics then you must have read this. If you are wanting to get on the band wagon, there is no better introduction then “Pride and Prejudice”.

My Take

Tools

I love to do it all alone. Make it all happen. Have everything on my plate and chew through with the efficiency of a culinary connoisseur. But, that’s not really the way the world works.

Another adult lesson I have learn’t, nine months after leaving the womb of university life, is that you need a mentor. But, the idea seemed so formal to me in the beginning. Looking back, I realize I have had great people who have guided me through so many challenges. Be that in my studies or in the workplace. Never did I look at them as “mentors”, but more as friends, advisors and “big sisters and brothers”.

That’s where we get it twisted.

A mentor does not need to be a 50 year old tycoon in a given industry. Mentors, as I have come to understand it, are people with experience in your area of interest. You can pick up the phone and ask them the most basic questions without fear of judgment. Something like, “So, how much salary should I ask for?!” Let’s be real, that is a tough one. You would like to say a million Kenya shillings net, but somehow the figure always ends up way less.  Economy and whatever!

Anyway, I met up with one of my mentors recently and he had some real pearls of wisdom I thought I should share. Now, as a hyperactive 23 year old with dreams the size of boulders, I tend to be all over the place sometimes. Experimenting with radio, YouTube, blogging, possibly some TV (stay tuned) and more can get overwhelming. And you need to schedule “me time”. Find the balance and all that idealistic life stuff.

However, he said, you can think of it like this. In your 20’s you are essentially building a tool box. All of the jobs you do, the experiences you have, are meant to help you acquire different tools. When you put them all together from these diverse areas, you are able to know exactly what you can do and where you want to go. **mind blown** Literally.

I have a terrible habit of chastising myself for not knowing EXACTLY WHERE I WANT TO GO. It’s a question always running at the back of my mind.

Photo / Vector Toons

Perhaps, I am just building that tool box. One bolt at a time.

 

 

Poetry

Mine

Is my uterus too loud for you? 

Does the tumult of flowing blood offend you? Perhaps you are against life

My lips are meant to be lined with red pigment, plump and ready for a smooch. But they are open and gaping at the ideas you have about my freedom. My choice 

The flesh of my thighs has to cater to your taste. Subtle curves,  not too much. Wiggling softness in all the right places. I’m not your art project. 

If my bones sticking forth poke your eyes, if my jiggling flesh slaps your vision, if my scars burn your cornea – look right on. 

It’s all mine. MINE

My Take

Thank God for girls

That’s a song by Weezer. Thank God for girls. I just played it on the radio while doing my show, and something else popped up on YouTube for me to watch. It’s an interview between Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Christian Amanpour. These are two very powerful, well established women in their respective careers.

And they were having a conversation about Adichie’s famous TED talk entitled We should all be feminists. She has also written something about how to raise a feminist.

Weezer still croons in my ear “God took a rib from Adam, ground it up in a centrifuge machine. Mixed it with cardamom and cloves, microwaved it on the popcorn setting.” Fantastic.

There are women out there who champion the idea that girls should not be raised with the concept that they must be “likeable”. And yet, we have “relationship experts” who advice women that they are helpers of men. Not whole beings. Helpers. Who were made from the rib of Adam.

This was actually the theme of a talk I attended yesterday, here in Nairobi. A female relationship expert was doling out advice to a gathering of 50 couples, about to tie the knot. I truly don’t know how I ended up sitting there with my best friend by my side, wondering why we were there. But all these instances have culminated in my mind and the conversation brewing within is certainly about women. Me. You.

So, one of the extremely juicy bits of this advice was that as a wife, you need to forgive, forgive, forgive, and it keeps on rolling in the same way. Another gem was that as a wife, you need to give love, respect and submission. In that order, mind. Because, heaven forbid you ever disrespect your man. I literally thought that my brain cells had somehow traveled to 1946.

Standby. There’s more.

The male speaker had advice for the grooms.

One little bit of classy thinking was that, men are lions. All of them, who must “uncage” themselves. They are leaders who guide their wives. And as they climb the stairs of status, they need to groom their women accordingly and teach them what is expected of them. Also, a woman’s dreams are “secondary” and to be intertwined with that of a man.

There was so much conviction in each of these deliveries. A web of passionately spoken limerick with just the right amount of dramatic pauses and lingering questions. They had me in this cocoon for two hours, where I started evaluating my relationship and making notes on how to be more “gracefully submissive” and willfully respectful at all times. The good old “men are kids” saying was also very popular.

And then the internet breathed reality back into my senses this morning. It is so ironic that these two worlds of thought co-exist in today’s time.

_______________________________

Dear future husband,

Not all relationships are the same. There is no text book with word-for-word description and rules on how men and women must act. Yet, we are surrounded by people who feel the need to impose their perspectives on willing sheep, drawn in by the promise of greener pastures. Furthermore, who decided that women need to be secondary class citizens in relationships, marriages, workplaces, schools and families?

The idea is not to say that my dreams are more valid then yours. The crux of the matter is that, my dreams are mine. And they do not need to marry yours. They are not smaller then yours. They are valid.

I do not need to forgive every mistake you make, similarly you don’t need to extend that leeway to me. Mistakes happen, and they differ. Forgiveness is optional and it takes time, understanding and working together.

Finally, dear future husband. Submission is not a word I grew up knowing. I do know the definition of equality though.

PS: I will raise our kids with the same ideals.

xo

My Take

Pokes and prods

There’s nothing interesting on this “idiot box”. What is the point of it? I mean, if you are writhing in pain, you should atleast have good cable. 

What an odd place. I have been here countless times in my life. Always playing the role of a concerned daughter, sister, friend or well wisher. Never the star lead in this medical drama. Untill now, that is. Twenty three and first time in a starched white bed, being poked and prodded by people in blue scrubs every few hours. I wonder if they even register the flinch of a face when they sink a sharp needle into your flesh. Or do they just switch off the humanity button when they clock in. 

Back to the  lack of proper entertainment. The TV has local channels in blurry design blaring out election news and primary poles. International channels are busy speculating on 3rd World War (nuclear edition) breaking out, courtesy of one man who possibly could hold the title for “most spontaneously destructive tweets ever”.
Truly, lying here I would appreciate some quality programming, as opposed to such dry barrage of political undertone. Also, the Wi-Fi “sucks”. Actually, if it did that, it would probably have more juice. 

So this lack of distraction forces me to ponder on my predicament. Endlessly buy bundles and google symptoms. As well as sleep. Much needed sleep. This lack of distraction also makes me think of how I don’t care enough about my health. Case in point, regular trips to the fast food watering hole – and very rarely to the world of weights, sweats and naked show offs. But perhaps that’s the point of the bad TV. Get back out there and eat right, exercise, no more shirking gym day, no more than two trips a month to Art Café, etc, etc. Or maybe they just didn’t feel like paying for the whole bouquet of channels because that would mean adding an extra fee on the already astronomical room rates. 

Hospitals! 

My Take

Boxes and ticks

Fill a form. Make an application. Create an online profile. Sign up for a marriage website.

Everywhere you turn, there are boxes to be ticked. They may appear tiny on paper, but have such huge implications. Recently, I have been grappling with self-definition. Whether that has to do with working in radio, creating a YouTube channel (maalika101) or writing a blog. Every facet requires you to know you and what part of you, is being put on display.

Almost every blogging advice website will tell you to define your niche. So, are you a fashion blogger? Do you write fiction or non fiction? If you are giving advice on pet care, is it home pet care or stray? Wow.

How about this –  as a human, I have many sides to myself. Unlike a coin, almost like a decagon. But severely more complex. A ten-faced shape can hardly be contained comfortably in a square box. But, each outlet that promises to be a creative expression advocate, tries to define you in black and white.

It took me a long time to realize that I need not stifle one part of myself to let another breathe. I do not have to contain myself in a definition that is easy and simple for the world to understand at a glance. Mystery is not a deal breaker, variety is not a vice.

Let each of your parts be free. Only then, will you feel truly liberated.

 

__________________

Featured Image: terryfreedman.blogspot.com