A sassy, no chills, guide to my thoughts [you’ll need some ice for this]

Fragile egos, one side. Please. Also, this post goes well with a ton of humor, and if you are challenged, a lot of liquor, and nap in case you’re the aggressive type.

I’ve had this blog idea on a sticky note for months, so today, as I wait for Safaricom Home Fiber to get their life together, I thought I flesh it out and serve you a sassy (some people will say rude) post. I’ve had waaayyy too much fun with this piece! What is a broken filter?

Safaricom, look at you!!!! Si you are bae? Giving me a gift while getting your life together!

“Kwani, you’ll blame everything on bipolar?”

This one, I won’t even bother anymore. It’s 2021; ignorance is not bliss. It’s you choosing to be foolish. Someone’s son asked me, ‘Now you’ll blame it on bipolar?”

I can’t. For someone good at calling out her own BS, I know the difference between bad behavior and my mood going dark. Some think I like being miserable and enjoy the anxiety that comes with it. I mean, it must be fun, right? It’s a lifestyle, ama?

That said, coping is a thing. This is me almost on a daily; “Okay, you have two hours to sulk. That’s enough to meet the deadline.” After the time lapses, I get up and work. We have to make money. Or I decide to take a whole day off. What are deadlines?

“I said what I said”

I have said some dumb things in the past and will continue to do that until death- the human experience. I’m even sure in the afterlife I’ll still have a mouth. When I say something stupid, I will think about it and then come back with my tail tucked between my legs and apologize.

HOWEVER. If I say something and you see me not retracting it, I meant it, and I will die by it, damn the consequences.

“I don’t feel like it.”

“You are foolish.”

“I don’t like your tone.”

“Imagine you won’t talk to me that way.”

“You’re acting like a bitch.”

“No.”

All with a straight face. If I don’t apologize, please take me seriously, take yourself into a corner and ask yourself what you’ve done wrong. And what’s with people, men mostly, thinking that you don’t know what you are saying? I said what I said.

“Excuse me, is you my body?”

Pick up on people’s opinions about you, in the famous words of Nyambura, “Excuse me, is you my body?” Why are you trying to tell me what I feel? Are you a mind and emotion reader to know exactly what emotion I’m experiencing?

Here’s the thing, I grew up with a temper, and yes, it wasn’t pretty. As an adult, I feel I’ve tackled it for the most part. Just as with my demons, when I feel irritated or upset about something, I sit down with it and work through it. Depending on whether it’s a trigger or someone did wrong me, I proceed to have a calm conversation with said person

However, if I am angry at you, you will know. Don’t tell me I am irrational, rude, or otherwise. Again, is you my body? Are you the one feeling what I am feeling? Were you with me when I concluded that you, not me, is the problem?

Sidebar: Mum and I have come a long way. I told her I was angry about something, and she’s like, “Anger is good.” Who are you, and what have you done with my religious African mother? LOL!

“I heard you; I just disagree with you”

Imagine I can have a differing opinion, and you don’t have to abuse me. The sons out here in these streets! Heh, that is a blog for another day. For real, though, what’s that about? Like a woman can’t disagree with a man; you have to be onboard; otherwise, you’re the problem. Over the years, I’ve seen men’s fragile ego at play because I am outspoken and don’t like taking nonsense. Imagine we can agree to disagree.

You are not my shepherd ati I have to follow your opinion. Jesus is. Just a polite reminder.

“Stop blaming your parents” and other uninformed barks

Okay, I don’t know what I was going through when I put this down as a bullet point LOL! I want to edit it, but let me respect whatever I was feeling at the time.

This should be a post by itself- oh wait!- but, to break it down, I make fun with my siblings that we have white parents. What is liberal??? Case in point.

The reactions lol!

I have said some things to my parents that if my child ends up saying them to me, I’ll take that L. I would have it coming. That said, I have progressive parents who can sit down, reflect on their actions, and have the moral courage to make things right. I have blamed my parents for me being in therapy, and frankly, it is their fault.

That said, they are humans, and I understand where they are coming from and why they’ve done what they did in the past. They have caused pain in my life, but it is up to ME to fix myself at the end of the day. Blaming them won’t make me better; seeking healing from various sources is my problem. Forgiveness is also a thing; you can’t heal without forgiveness.

I did some IG stories saying how I love the relationship I currently have with my folks, and I mean it. We have come such a long way. My goodness.

PS: Respect goes both ways. You won’t earn it from me through intimidation. Nah fam. As my famous saying goes, “If my father CANNOT talk or treat me the way you are, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?”

“Yes, that’s how internal healing SOMEWHAT looks like.”

Imagine ghosting means I’ve healed?

“I am sorry, did I ask for your lazy opinion?”

The confidence that uninformed people have is fascinating. Kwanza, those people that tell me how to deal with my mental health struggles and analyze my emotions for me. Sir. Miss. Read a book. Better yet, ask me. I am an expert at me, not you. Me.

“Sorry, what course again do I need to take in mind reading?” Experts out here in these streets, show me your ways!

“Yes, I looked at my phone ring” and other stories

For the most part, I don’t avoid picking calls just to be rude. The main reason is typically I am not in the right headspace, and I won’t give you my best. When I am moody or anything like that, I prefer to deal with my emotions, and when I am in a better space, I call back. The same thing goes with texting. I am not ignoring you; I just don’t believe in giving people half-assed responses for the sake of it. I value you as a human being, and I will show up as such.

Now you know where I am coming from. I haven’t ghosted you; I am merely gathering myself unless I have ghosted you. Then yea.

“I love you… but from over TTHEEERRREEE!!!”

I am positive that a lot of people feel this way about me, and I understand. Si ati you have a problem with the person, but them being around you is just a big no. I am surprised I still have people I can call friends. It’s honestly shocking to me. I am a difficult human, ask me, I live with myself, I KNOW!

So, when I distance myself from you, don’t feel bad. Rejoice even. I am one nasty human being when I get tired of you or just lose respect for you. You don’t want to deal with that version of me. Ask my exs. I burn that ish to the ground with ZERO regrets. But even you, by the time I am scorching the earth, it’s mostly your fault. But what is the fragile male ego, gaslighting and taking a [im]moral high ground?

I’m sorry, am I rude? If you’re triggered, check yourself. HAHA! Ah, today, chills melted.

“I’m sorry, you said what?”

At this point, I CLEARLY drafted these points when I was pissed off about something, LOL!

I am tired of the cycle I have been in, and honestly, I have been the foolish one. Let me take that L; it was my fault. That said, I sat down last night and wrote down some of my core values, so I don’t forget them ever again. It doesn’t matter if you’re family, relative, friend, romantic interest, partner- whatever.

1. Don’t disrespect me.

2. No one is above reproach.

3. Don’t take my love and kindness for granted- ever.

4. Never used my mental health battle against me.

5. If my gut and spirit refuse you, it’s a you-problem

(That last one, weh. I’d be so peaceful if I’d listen. Damn.)

“Siblings. What are the homicide levels again?”

LOL!!! Yea, some major piss-so-sity right here!!

This was probably about my younger brother. I have forgiven him, but MAAAANNNN, he had angered me! Me when I am upset, I say things like, “I don’t care if you die,” and imagine I mean it. By the time I say that I have sat down, thought about it, and made peace. Aki don’t disrespect me. Weh!

Now we are good, back to being best friends. It’s all dandy now.

“Will you die if you don’t replace the tissue?”

Again… living with a boychild.

But at least they know to put the toilet seat down. That’s something, no?

“That’s what I said to my mama” and other stories

I have repented, but I’ll understand if I live a short life based on the 5th commandment. To think that a mother-in-law will escape me calling out bad behavior. As Ricky said, “You have balls of steel.” No one is above reproach imagine. I won’t be malicious, but I will call a spade a spade to the boychild. Vumilia is you and the previous generation. Siko hapo.

What’s with this pedestal people have placed their parents on? Yes, respect them, but don’t endorse bad behavior. Si, even parents, are told in the Bible not to provoke their children to anger? Ah-ah! Please. That said, my family culture is different, and we don’t take bullying lying down.

(My mouth and face do need deliverance, though. Let me not pretend I am entirely proud of how I talk when emotionally charged. Case in point, this post).

“Copy-pasting your parent’s marriage: are you a clone?”

This goes across the board. If your mother endured domestic violence, don’t repeat the cycle. If your father didn’t enter the kitchen, and you’re still asking your wife to help with the bills, please stop. If your parents gave you epic beatdowns, don’t repeat it with your children.

Too many broken people in relationships. Too many. If you haven’t dealt with your family trauma, please don’t get married or even have children. The world is already broken, don’t contribute to the problem.

That said, context is everything. If your mother enjoyed cooking and girl child has strengths in other areas, adapt. Don’t try to turn her into your mother’s clone. It’s dysfunctional and honestly disturbing. And you women wanting cars not caring where boychild is getting money from yet you come from a two-parent household with no cars… I mean, thrive, but that can’t be a dating criterion.

Season finale: “Did I offend you? Aki pole.”

Bassss… Woiye… Aki…. Bassss… Bassss…

I’m sorry?! LOL!

You’ve read this far!

Thanks for indulging me in this rant that I have honestly laughed myself through. Weh, when a woman is pissed off… Anyhoo! As always, thanks for stopping by.

Cheers!

Conversations with your demons: A guide to relative sanity

I started this blog three weeks ago. Halfway through, I got into an epic depressive state; my housemates thought I’d traveled. I remained in bed for five days, and every two days, I’d sneak out and have three sausages, just so I don’t pass out from hunger. The point is, as always, I don’t come at you with things I haven’t lived and learned from. For this one, you’ll need 15-20 minutes to read. You’ve been told.

As usual, I am here with some hard truths, so you’ll likely be triggered.

As you know, I am well acquainted with a couple my demons. Have you witnessed my dark humor? Even so, those bastards and I have learned to coexist- for the most part. We do have fights sometimes, but they know who is in charge.

Back story

Context is important.

Like many of us, my younger brother experiences anxiety both at the beginning of a course and when waiting for the results. It is clockwork. First, it’s, “Will I be able to get the units I need to finish this course?” and ends with, “If I fail these units, my GPA will fall drastically.” I don’t remember being like this, so I find it interesting to watch him go through every pessimistic scenario he can think of.

Academics have never made me panic per se; I couldn’t relate. However, for empathy’s sake, I had to dig deeper.

Enter the chanting demons

What mostly drives me crazy is the loop- like the recent episode where I turned into a screaming Karen until I had to let it go. Don’t ask.

What I hate about it is no level of disruption can stop the flow of thoughts, and si ati the thoughts are usually saying nice things. Heck, I mostly wouldn’t even have the power to talk back because, these chanting demons were right. I had messed up; I could have done better, I was not worth the opportunity, people hate me, I will never amount to anything, what have I done with my life, I am an imposter, _____ (insert your demonic chant here).

These chats are SO EXHAUSTING to listen to throughout the day! My word!

My worst chants are the variety “I have nothing to show for my 30 years on this planet.” Add the depression, and it’s “not that you’ll do anything with the time left anyway.” *Enter suicidal idealization*

It got to a point, deep in the duvets, I’d tell myself that at the very least, my parents would never kick me out, and I can grow old in their house and die. I mean, who or what is Purpose?

And then some misguided people come and tell me I JUST have to think positively. Please, stop. You’re feeding the demons. Now you’ve added, “Look at you being so negative all the time. No wonder no one likes you.” I have enough on my plate. Also, is you ‘me’ to know what I feel? Is you calling me a liar? Eschuse.

PSA: Don’t send people uplifting quotes unless you know the space they’re in. Sometimes they need a cast, not a band-aid.

7 steps Wambaire uses to handle her demons

Fam. It has taken YEARS of inner work and therapy to get to where I feel I have an ounce of confidence even to offer advice. The progress I’ve made was only evident when talking to my younger brother as he expressed the worst-case scenarios.  That said, I still have a LONG way to go, so take this with a grain-ish of salt.

Haya basi, let’s start.

One: Acknowledge your demons’ presence

Here is where I went wrong for years.

It was brought to my attention back in 2015-2016 that I had two sides warring within me. There was the “good Christian girl” and the “ratchet around the edges” Wambaire. The guilt I felt every time I woke up after a night out was INTENSE! My word. If I could, I’d opt to remain in bed all day wallowing.

As with wars, I got tired. Nothing seemed to work, ESPECIALLY Scripture. I’d quote those tackling ‘thought life’, but my demons would just stop briefly, look at each other, and turn the volume up.

A word for the zealots: It wasn’t a God problem; it was a me problem. Keep reading. And yes, I’ll keep posting dark White Jesus memes.

Being tired of fighting is good; it means you’re at a point of surrender. Society tells you ‘keep fighting,’ but we all need to rest at some point. HOWEVER! In this case, resting means not fighting your demons. It is calling a truce and having a real conversation.  

Two: Let the demons act up (but under supervision)

Disclaimer: If you’re suicidal, please use this next suggestion with a counselor’s support.

Helpful example: Think of a loving parent observing their child’s tantrums and meltdowns. No reacting- just looking at the spectacle. When the child sees you’re not responding “accordingly,” they’ll calm down long enough to for you to hold a conversation with them. Besides, they’ll see being bratty isn’t working and change tactic.

Practical example: If a nasty thought comes, don’t react; simply calmly ask, “Do you wanna talk about it?” and await a response. If the answer is rude, take a lap, then come back again and still in a calm spirit.

Another word for the zealots: Shouting down your thoughts (never mind other people’s opinions) with loud prayers and condemnation doesn’t help. You’re called to be Christ-like, not a megaphone.

Here’s the thing, there is an element of truth in the demons’ chant. Is it distorted? Absolutely, but when you observe long enough, you begin to see a pattern. To become a reasonable observer, you need to be present and keep in mind that no thought is good or bad; it just is. Removing the labels, though it’s a struggle, helps build objectivity.

Three: Feel. Every. Single. Emotion.

Reminder: BUT don’t act out on it unless it results in talking to a healthy person you trust, journaling, or tears.

Your first instinct will be a distraction or self-medication. That’s why you’re ever watching series and movies, working, spending hours on social media, have sex, masturbating, drinking, or smoking weed. You don’t want to think or feel.

When you begin the journey, an emotion most people feel is anger. Especially men; is there another emotion they express more than rage? Yes, I am coming for everyone. Chills are outside this blog; you can go, cool down and come back. 😊 Another strong emotion is shame. Go call out a man for his wrongdoing and then get back to me. Or tell a woman who knows her worth that she’s worthless.

Learn to expand your emotional vocabulary. Is it fear, dread, loneliness, despair, grief, resentment, outrage, panic, sadness, guilt, shame, embarrassment, regret…? What is it? Whatever it is, feel it, but under a safe space.

It’s going to hurt: When exploring underlying emotions, YOU WILL FEEL A LOT OF PAIN. I am shouting for the ones in the back. Piercing chest pains, swollen throat, moist eyes. Whatever you feel, sit put.

Note: take time off because you’ll be an emotional mess. Trust me; you don’t want people seeing you in your broken state. It’s not a you thing. When you’re raw, you make others uncomfortable, and their instinct is to move away.

Four: Take a nap/ sleep

If the emotions are too strong, sleep. Even if you feel they are under control, sleep all the same.

“When you sleep, God does maintenance on the soul.”

Five: Dismantle and recreate the chant

We’ve talked about observing the emotion, identifying what it is, and sitting with it. Now that you’re feeling, ask yourself, “What is beneath these thoughts, words and emotion?”

When you observe what your demons are chanting, patterns emerge.

For example, I was SO SURE people generally don’t like me. Some don’t, I lack a filter for bad behavior. However, I realized the feeling came from being alienated most of my life. I can sum it up into this: in 8th grade, we were reading a poem aloud, and right after, “Boys rarely make passes, at girls who wear glasses” some guy pointed at me. Add acne on top of that. Who is Self Esteem?

Years later, I started a small counter chant of my own, “I am worthy of the space I occupy.” I didn’t care if I woke up feeling like my face had taken a time out on pretty or I remembered all failed relationships. ‘People mess up, but I am worthy of the space I occupy.” Choose yourself. Especially if you’re a woman, choose yourself and adjust your own chant accordingly.  

Do you see where I am going?

After noting where the thoughts were coming from, I sat down with that 5- year old Wambaire who was excluded from a group because she had bread for break time during Closing Day. I sat down with the 11-year-old me, who was told, “No wonder boys don’t like you.” I sat down with the 16-year-old me that was bullied and ate lunch alone at the back of the library. In the pain, I constantly remind myself, “I am worthy of the space I occupy.”

When starting, find something that resonates with you, then go from there; continue to build on the chant.

There is no growth without pain. Nduta Gathigi said it well in her recent blog post Confronting Our Weakness.

Six: Transform the chant into a conversation

Case in point: I was to help my younger brother run an errand, but my mind was like, “Nope! I don’t want to see humans outside of this house today.”

Demon 1: If it were him, he wouldn’t have failed to come through.

Demon 2: You’re not there for him… What kind of sister are you?

Demon 3: You can’t blame depression for being in bed for a whole week. You-

Wambaire: (out loud) Excuse me. Let’s reverse this. If it was him saying he doesn’t want to see humans, would I understand it? (silence) Why? (Silence) We both get the struggle, sindio? Would I want him to feel guilty?

Demons:

Wambaire: Thought so. Nonsense.

You learning to run the conversation does get more manageable. You’ll find your mind a lot quieter because they know who’s boss. If anything, they’d be having side conversations wondering who to push forward to speak.

Btw: I now understand why it’s taken ages to post this article. While turning the chant into a conversation, you have to talk to yourself A LOT. When the chant is going on, interrupt it with a purposeful, logical discussion. Literally, in your mind or out loud, challenge the demons. Just as in the example, hijack the narrative. Speak of what is true and what you feel, and then sit with it. You’ve lost an opportunity, and you feel like trash? Talk about how you feel like crap, what you did wrong, and what you can do better. When the demon comes at you again, just say, e.g., “I know I messed up, but I forgive myself,” with the awareness of how so many layers of dysfunction that got you there. It’s not an excuse; it’s now up to you to work and not let the same sin happen again while being VERY understanding with yourself.

Seven: Keep at it

Like a child learning to walk, beloved, you will fall—a lot. But keep at it; it gets easier.

You’ve made it this far!

As always, thanks for stopping by. If you want a discussion, slide into my DM on Twitter or IG @wambairem on both platforms.

Until next time, take care of yourself, beloved.

Cheers.

Unconditional love: Dysfunction-ish edition

Disclaimer: I am no expert on this topic. However, you’re welcome to take a peek into my mind.

Context: Ma Familia

I think the unconditional love lesson hit home when my elder brother stated that his main reason for moving out was because I was the most toxic member of the family.

I’ll let that sink in.

Fast forward, now that it’s out of his chest and we can agree we aren’t each other’s favorite sibling, I know for a fact that we love each other. He moved on to start his own family, but if something was wrong with me, and vice versa, we would show up for each other in full support. Once in a while, we’ll trade drunken catch-up phone calls that typically end with “I love you.” Do I think he was right? Perhaps not, because I also thought he was a failure as an elder brother. People see things differently. HOWEVER, we can only speak of our reality.

*He doesn’t read my blog, so this is between you and I, okay? 😊

Yes, that is the type of family I hail from.

Is it the norm? HELL NO!

Do people understand it? HELL, to the NO!

And that’s fine.

Here’s the thing about us. We are zealots when it comes to calling out each other’s bad behavior, whatever the hierarchy. I have swallowed some significant Ls myself for my actions. Somehow, my parents managed to produce three children with no filter and boldness to call a spade a spade. I love my dad and mum, but the epic showdowns we’ve had in the past have made our current conversations so much richer.

What is the recipe?

Respect.

One more time for the people in the back-

RESPECT!

In a group chat with my siblings, not sure what prompted it, I wrote, “we have white parents.” Have you watched those clips of white kids acting schupid, and they aren’t whooped to near-death? You know, those videos that we African kids watch in disbelief because we know if we tried something similar, we’d be dead? Like literally?

Don’t get me wrong; my parents weren’t always liberal. I have been beaten with a mega torch, slippers, a hose, and, yes, a banana. My mum was next level Rambo. She could throw a slipper across the room at a moving target, and it would hit you smack in the middle of the back.

That aside, Wambaire developed a mouth in high school. I’m sure you can tell from the posts I put out. Actually, the mouth was there long before. As a kid, I remember visiting my grandfolks and saying one of the uncles had brought cheap biscuits. He was so offended he told his mummy, LOL! That said, he is the uncle that we as cousins pay the least attention to. Oh, and my aunts choosing not to share a bed with me when visiting because I was used to sleeping alone and made that clear. Ah, and that time I told my aunt to vacate my folks’ house because she was a selfish- she was making things to be about herself. The apology after was cosmetic, because… because. I have a Ph.D. in putting people in check. Is it a good thing? *scratches nose* Bitchness has been strong in me since childhood.

Okay, you know what. I am the problem, just that I am okay with it, as long as I call out bad behavior. If I have ever said something to you, analyze it. If I was wrong, let me know, I will apologize. I aspire to peace, love, and unity. If you’re not inspiring that, then… well… it might be a YOU problem that has me at a “no fucks given” me problem.

But the meme below summarizes how my dad didn’t summon the clan and our ancestors for a lynching when I talked back. Because, my word! If my life is short, I won’t even complain because of that 5th commandment. I pray that Jesus fulfilled it, meaning I get to 100, with a tot of gin in my hand.

The bottom line was, while my siblings and I stormed the entity of parenthood and had what we can call an insurrection, we were looking to be treated with respect. Not as equals, but with respect. This thing for African parents talking smack to you because they born you wasn’t something we were going to live with. The respect we had for ourselves was so strong that we had to get it from them too.

There’s a counseling psychology term for this type of shift in the family dynamics, but it’s not coming to mind at the moment. I know that a lot of families don’t get past the tipping point to positive change. They resist it, and the status quo, dysfunctional as hell, remains.

I thank God we moved past it. Was it messy? That’s an under-question.

I recommend revolutions in families. Conversations with my parents is sooo muuccchhh richer! They see you as a whole and as an independent person they can have a meaningful conversation with. You learn from each other, bounce off ideas, laugh about the past… it’s beautiful. What’s even more fantastic is if you have differing positions, WE BOTH stop and try understand where the other is coming from.

Yes, my folks are better than yours.

And then there’s the rest of the world

I know if I have a fight with my folks now, where we exchange words calling out each other’s behavior (yes, the behavior, not the person), if I was to collapse for whatever reason, they would go above and beyond to be there for me. They have left the house at 3am before to take me to hospital. At 2am to retrieve me from a fucked-up situation.

My parents put the ride in “ride or die” lol

HOWEVER!

I realize that other families out here, based on the stories my friends give me and what I’ve heard, love is VERY conditional. Apparently not meeting a certain standard gets you talked about negatively and basically treated like a non-human. Where, when you make one mistake, you are no longer liked, especially if you’re an outsider. I don’t understand that structure but it’s the reality.

I am living with bipolar. My parents have seen it in its full glory (banging their door at 11pm- demons don’t know time smh!) but love me none the less. “But it’s their job!” Sorry? Have you seen how some parents treat their own children?

So, for me, stepping out into the world, I expect a level of understanding especially when my moods flair up. It is not a license for me to be schupid, no. I only expect a level of understanding when I mess up based on factors beyond me, e.g my mind, and my mood, BIPOLAR. That said, not everyone has the patience for it, and that is okay.

My love language is following up. “How are you doing? How are the meds taking you? Were you able to get out of bed today? What about the nightmares? Also, what is bipolar? You know what, better yet, let me google it for myself.”

Just like racism, it is not my job to educate you about it. We live in an information age; your ignorance is a choice.

So now, what do we do?

I lost fucks. However, they do tend to creep in once in a while. This is how I choose to look at it.

Not everyone is equipped to handle the levels of “emotions” I have. Emotion is a lazy term for people who aren’t capable of understanding the complexities of the human mind. I have also been lazy in some contexts, so I get it on a larger scale. Personality and experience can also be a huge barrier to embracing other people.

The next is working on self-love to degrees that people’s inability to understand you won’t hurt you. And here’s where I say, “How I feel is a me problem. How you feel is a YOU problem.” I can be hurt by someone’s reaction to my essence, but at the end of it, it’s me with the feelings, not the other person. So, I will sit with it until I have moved past it. A recent realization is “If you liked me so much and I fucked up this one time, and you withdrew your affection, did you even like me in the first place?”

Note: There are a lot of people I love, and would wish to talk and hang out with, but. Being compatible, come rain or sunshine, is not something we’re all blessed with. Friendships and family can survive some things, others can’t.

What is my point?

One: Not everyone was Jesus’s fans. Who am I?

Two: Love manifests differently based on your essence and background. However, there is true love, and there is “you must” love. Example is people with abusive parents and still say “I love my parents”. That is fear laced with perverted societal expectations. Call a spade a spade.

Final question

Do you REALLY love your parents?

Call to action

Want to have a conversation? Email me at maureenwambaire@gmail.com if you do have the energy, and we can take it from there.

Until then, hydrate, wear a mask, and love yourself.

Cheers.

Living with anxiety: a story time

My first line was, “this will be short.” I was lying to myself. You can save this for bedtime, a commute, or a trip to the loo- anywhere you have 5 to 10 minutes. Abundance of memes is thanks to 9GAG.

I’m here because a friend and someone dear to me, during a catch-up session, confessed she used to get panic attacks, especially after her daughter’s birth. I never knew she had, and that’s the problem with silence. How else will you know you’re not alone in the struggle? I lay my soul bare to let you know you’re not alone.

A nice summary before you proceed… Since this story time will soon feel like fiction to someone of you…

F**k, all this equals to torture! #MentalHealthMatters

“What’s this I am feeling?”

I’m acknowledging anyone whose heart races, has difficulty breathing, and deals with nausea often. Panic attacks vary; it can be slight discomfort in your chest or stomach area for “no apparent reason.” It can be full-blown, landing on the floor, taking up the fetal position, struggling to breathe type-of-situation when triggered.

My (depressing) story

I was pretty okay until mid-2017. From there, a series of traumatic events unfolded over a year plus. That’s when I started pacing. I’d walk back and forth for 30 minutes straight, feeling the adrenaline, panic and confusion flooding my body. I had only seen it in movies, so at some point, I thought I had managed to program my mind to “pretend” and manifest anxiety as such.

Through therapy, that phase passed, but by then, anxiety had come to inhabit my body. I could manage it through distractions, but in February of 2020, when it became clear Covid-19 was here to stay, my body went into overdrive. I could be performing a task or talking to someone, and then blank. To explain it, it’s like my mind, soul- something- would exit my body and leave a shell behind. It could be for a few seconds or minutes, but the point is I wasn’t there. Oddly, it felt like I was watching the world through my eyes, but not quite. It’s the same way you would use binoculars or some aid. I can’t explain it beyond that.

April came around, and anxiety was one with me. It sat right next to the depression. Cozied up, started beating stories and just became instant friends. Yo. I would sleep with it and “wake up” with it. It’s in quotes because how can you sleep when stadium lights are turned on in your mind, your chest is tight, your breathing is shallow, and you’re feeling queasy. The havoc wasn’t over.

Story of my life, who can relate?
You’re tired, you need to sleep. But your brain either won’t power down or just gives your the shittiest of vivid dreams.

Side note: My partner had to shake me awake from nightmares constantly. What was the signal? Trashing about and “Hm! Hm!” as I struggled to wake up. This is probably the part I hate the most about this whole thing.

Hypervigilance

If my partner turned and his body got into contact with mine when we’re sleeping, I would legit be startled. That was almost every hour- I don’t know what he had for my side of the bed. And don’t aw, though it’s cute. I’d wake up with mild panic and remind myself I am not in danger. A dog barking, a car hooting, the neighbor upstairs dropping something, which was all the time, a call, a text message- I would go into panic. It’s the same fright you’d experience when a car unexpectedly backfires, only that you feel that intensity every time. You can only see it in my eyes or from my jumping, but otherwise, how do you explain it to people who aren’t entirely sure how it could be an every moment thing?

Childhood imagination = adulthood anxiety
Me. Basically.

Nuggets of wisdom: I was seeking a second opinion, and when talking, the psychiatrist brought up a topic that triggered me. She saw that panic attack I was talking about and told me to breathe. So one, breathe deeply, counting from 1 to 10. Secondly, she told me I have to remind myself I am not in physical danger. All that adrenaline doesn’t need to be in my body unless there is a legitimate cause.

The only time anxiety dulls is when taking a drink. Since being an alcoholic is very easy, I opt to sit with the feeling. It sucks because you can feel it in your entire being, and if and when it passes, you are left so exhausted that all you want to do is sleep. The problem is you have to spend a few sleepless nights before your body goes into forced shutdown, and you wake up 10-12 hours later.

And with all that hypervigilance, you want me to take a matatu? It took me a full 10 months to do so.

The struggle is real

What is a social life?

I have typically been a loner; forcing a social life left me fatigued, broke, and filled with regret. It was brought to my attention this morning- shout out that 3 am phone calls are no longer considered booty calls because of curfew! LOL! My sleeping patterns, weh. Anyhoo, I got told if I were given a choice, I would live in solitude. It was evident from the fact that I’d literally leave the house at most twice a week, and it was to fetch groceries or if I needed to visit my folks.

I pretty much ghosted everyone and only brought a few remaining friends together for my 30th birthday party. After that, I went back to my default. My phone is mostly on vibrate. For a while, if it buzzed, I’d knew it was either Telkom, Safaricom, promotional messages I really should unsubscribe from, memes from my partner or cousin, and two other friends. Anything else was a wild card.

A day with a personality disorder
The levels of truth in this…. weh!

HOWEVER! As you might know, depression and isolation are a perfect recipe for a mental breakdown, which eventually came. Where there was once laughter, there was just moodiness and a deep dislike for having to do daily things, yes, showers included. Shout out to those who feel me. And before you question my hygiene, a short trip to the kitchen or washroom won’t make anyone break a sweat. Please leave me alone! Lol!

The isolation was so bad that I would glare at the phone if it rang. I wanted my peace.

I need this

Resurfacing

The problem with ghosting people and then trying to make your way back is you’ll find that they’ve moved on. Nyambura, Ruth, Ricky, Cugu thank you for those outings, albeit they are far between. Oh, and an uncle. I could write a post about how he went all out on stories of “our” generation “being into” anal sex and him creating a theory around it, but let me not traumatize you. And my cousin Camillus for visiting often. A wise and angry man, that one, lol!

So it’s okay, me I understand if you no longer have time for me. I’ll just stalk you in IG and be happy for you. In the meantime, I always have my younger brother, my great drinking buddy, that I can call upon and trade stories about depression and bipolar extensively. Fun times!

Otherwise, a huge pillar has been- you know yourself. Seeing someone daily is a huge help, especially if they do everything in their power to cheer you up, even in the morning. Yes, I still dislike you for that, never mind that it’s your preference. Mschew! No smiles before coffee, please! So, let’s just say solitude has been relative.

Way forward

Ali (sooo tempted to put your full name), this segment is here because you’ve told me to spark more positivity in people. The store ran out, but I’ll use the little I have left.

Life and everything in it CAN feel like trash.

Now that that’s out of the way… Let me echo some coping mechanisms I use to combat anxiety and depression.

Educate. Your. Self: You feel you’re suffering from anxiety? Read a book about it, find something on YouTube- wherever the source, educate yourself. Knowledge IS power-I kid you not. That’s how I know to spot a mood change. I pause and sit with the feeling. Soon, I can tell what cause the shift and course-correct. Imagine being moody the whole day because you didn’t realize the trigger was seeing a color your ex, twice removed, like. Beloved, take charge oo! Stay woke!

Find your tribe: Have at least one friend who understands you. Just one. They act as your anchor when you feel you’re sinking. They send you words of encouragement, scripture, podcasts, and everything to uplift your soul and spirit. Don’t be in a hurry; my tribe is made up of people I never expected to call close friends. You will find each other, but first, you GOT TO let go of some to make room for them. Take inventory. Just one is enough for a start. And yes, an excellent podcast or therapist count.

Add being broke...
Coz let’s be real. That line has been misused.

Be kind to yourself: This should have been the first point, but I also know it’s the hardest. I will quote a counselor I was seeing: “It took you 28 years to get to where you are; you can’t undo who you’ve become in a day, a few weeks, or months.” Or something like that. Cut yourself all the slack you can, especially when you’re feeling bad about behavior you’re having a hard time breaking. Don’t be complacent, but also don’t side with the demons in your head.

See a doctor: This one is not for everyone because my goodness, they are expensive! This one, you have to save and make sacrifices. If you have insurance or someone willing to pay on your behalf, please go.

Basically.

That’s how I am managing anxiety and random panic attacks. I hope I’ve helped at least one person. I do have some rubbish days and nights, but I feel better for the most part.

Before you go…

Want to share your experience? Feel free to comment below, and if you have extra energy, maureenwambaire@gmail.com is how you can reach me, then we can take it from there.

Cheers, beloved, until next time.

Baby girl, it’s not you

This post contains f bombs. If that’s not your thing, exit stage right, where that close button is. Otherwise, as my friends said, this one is HELLA raw.

~~~~~

I was getting feedback from my friends about what they thought my blog was about, and this one guy mentioned abuse in relationships. When I was writing down the feedback in my note book, I put a question mark in brackets next to it.

He was right.

Abuse takes so many forms that it took me a while to see it in every single relationship I’ve had. Gas lighting, silent treatment, the “you’re not respecting me” anthem when you speak your truth, demonizing your character, playing victim… However, in my experience, it takes one major form; lack of respect.

When I was in high school, I REALLY fought with my dad. Yes, fellow Africans, my Kikuyu self would have a back and forth with her father, and I was not polite. Is the fact I am sill alive a miracle? Yes, it really is. We had a lot of heated arguments, and it got to the point where, while he was lecturing me, I would laugh in his face. It was clear to me, teenage years or otherwise, that he did not respect me as a human being. But what African parent holds their children in high regard lol (that was rhetorical). That sounds strange, especially when there are Christians having a fit right now with “respect your mother and father” and the traditionalists who believe I should have been whipped.

But that is not Wambaire. She is a free spirt.

Years on and my father is not condescending. He will listen to my objections, and let sleeping dogs lay. I have a threshold of disrespect, and it goes like this, “If my father cannot talk or treat me the way you have, then you are a problem.” My dad and I can sit down and talk for hours. We will debate, resonate and so much more. I would say we are friends, but he’s my dad and we both don’t like talking in the morning lol.

Not acquittances, not employers.  You will put respect on my name. Otherwise keep it out of your mouth.

Is that a quality that a woman should have, when she is meant to be quiet and humble?

To that I say, “Fuck your opinion.”

Here’s the thing about the boychild I have experienced (I will not mention you, but we do need to have a chat about what the boy child is going through, as per your words) power is everything. And I have noted that some men get power when you, as a woman, are in the dumps. When your self esteem is broken, you’re easier to control aka “this is what will make me happy, so do it.” Like the examples before you, you do it.

And then there’s women like Wambaire who say, “FUCK THAT.” And you too, baby girl, can be like me.

“But what will people think-“ I am sorry, who is more important? And if the answer is not you, baby girl, you’re wrong.

I had never been the priority before. And then, therapy, hospital and meds after, mmmmyyyy goodness. The awareness of who I am cannot be shaken. “Vumilia” is a stupid ass, dumb ass, foolish ass advice that women are given. Tag your mama and aunty, while you’re at it. That’s why it irritates me when someone comes and talks about the boychild in my face. It is men oppressing you, not women, so please, fuck off and challenge your peers, won’t you? Where do I come in?

If you’re in this space…

Find yourself. Find your self-esteem. Know who you are. It’s not who you’re told you are, it is who you instinctually know you are.

Most of all, tell yourself, until you believe it, “There is nothing wrong with me. That is a them problem.”

Something to think about. If you’ve lost your dream and vision, then there’s an issue. If for some reason you’re isolated, never mind you had a huge pool of friends, then there’s a problem. If their mood suddenly turns against you and you randomly make them angry, there’s a problem. If you have to kiss their ass, then there’s an issue. If they throw bombs out of nowhere, even when you’re having a good time, human… there’s an issue. When someone challenges your sanity- sweetheart. If you have to shrink yourself so that you don’t have a fight, psychopath. Are you feeling harassed? Hmm. THEY PUT THEIR HANDS ON YOU? Girl.

Bottomline is this. If when you’re alone you think you’re a decent human being, and then someone enters your space and questions your sanity? On top of that, you’re told you belong in Mathare? Gasligher and narcissist.

Hakuna otherwise.

Hydrate, vaa mask, and be nice.

Cheers.

Savage comments I’ve survived: Part 1

People have said some pretty mean things to me, you know, offering the full human experience. A sleep-deprived brain cell thought sharing a brief compilation just for laughs would be a good idea. The fact that no feelings were hurt in the making of this post is a lie.

Strangers

After asking the liquor store guy to make a delivery to my building, the first words out of his mouth when I opened the gate were, “Oh, it’s you?” just as a relative was walking past. Ku-burn tu?!

Trying on a dress, but I can’t get my head through. Tailor: “Ah, una kichwa kubwa!” You have a big head. He is right, both literally and figuratively.

Family

My innocent niece poking my bra-free boob as I’m sitting and asking, “Mbona ukona tumbo kubwa hivyo?” Why do you have such a big stomach? It’s not a compliment when you know your stomach’s location. I don’t care if she was four and misguided lol!

 “Mbona unaongea kama mtu amelala choo?” Why are you talking as though you slept in the toilet? I do ascribe to being a potty mouth, so…

Complaining about how the in-house beer tastes. Mr. My Dad, “Wambaire, pombe si ice cream.”

When you’re helping your bro with his dreadlocks, and he suddenly says, “You smell sober.” on a Tuesday. And no, I won’t address that.

When someone close to you is calling out your blindspot over drinks… “Wambaire, today’s advice has been brought to you by Dr. Ramani [of Med Circle] and Konyagi!”

On your sibling not approving of [all] your relationship choices: “Khai! If I see him here, I will chase him with a broom kama cockroach.”

Mr. My Dad, when I would make a point he’s not impressed with: “Wambaire, you’ve been to university.”

When your sibling is tired of your many guy friends and overall, your bull: “You’re a whore.” It’s okay; I have forgiven him. It’s the sibling you love but don’t like. (Am I allowed to say that out loud?)

Friends

During the only birthday party I’ve had since 8 (yes, it is sad), a friend who’s known me for almost a decade announces during a toast, “Wambaire can drink anything!” when I couldn’t locate my glass. (And don’t @ me asking where the lie is. Stoney is too gassy for me.)

Others (because it’s a broad category)

Female friends staring at my elder brother, “Ehe! Who’s this?!” (I know we don’t look alike, but *barf*)

 “I just outgrew you.” (I need to see a therapist for this next level rejection!)

My therapist, reminding my dysfunctional self for the 100th time in a sweet voice, “You’re not your mother.” But you can see she’s visibly tired of the repetition lol!

Employer, while terminating my contract: “I think you’d be better suited to work upstairs. Their work is routine; you just key in orders; it’s not complicated.” Yes, chronic typos can get you fired. You can see it’s a running theme if you read my blog religiously. And no, don’t @ me with a typo unless you’re offering prolonged editing services LOL!

Being hit with a gaslighting phrase when you call out bad behavior, “Wambaire, don’t be those chicks” or “Wambaire, you’re better than that.” You’re right pot, you’re right. Weh! Those relationships were toxic. Thank God for age and wisdom.

And my all-time favorite!

Him: I want to be with you

Me: But you’re in a relationship. I can’t be a side chick.

Him: Did I ever say, or did we ever discuss you being a side chick? Hapo, you’ve jumped to conclusions.

Bonus!!

Ever since I started blogging, this happens on a regular. If you’re a blogger and you have this problem too, hit me up. I need a support group!

Me after phrases and entire posts being forwarded to me as evidence of some sin I’ve committed.

Me: “I bet you think this song is about you, don’t you?”

I don’t think I have an honesty issue, and I don’t take cheap shots at people here. If you see something familiar, maybe it’s because it’s a universal issue or a general lesson I’ve learned and want to share. Imagine that’s it?

Before you go…

Have any savage experiences you want to share? Feel free to comment below or slide into my socials.

Savage

Thanks for stopping by, and stay safe.

Cheers.

It’s their narrative, and that’s okay

This might be short. Let’s see what spews out.

For decades (3, but look at me sounding like an ancient of days 😂) I’ve found myself defending who I am. In the great words of the guy who knows a guy that knows all the guys, Camillus Wambugu, “Stop explaining yourself.” As I proceed to lol I’ve noticed that after the end of a relationship, work or otherwise, I was left defending my character. It felt noble at the time, but now I realize most people need a villan in their story.

And I’m quite okay being yours.

Tonight I’ve seen, firsthand, the desecration of me, myself and I. I had some Ls to take, granted (something about mimicking a domestic worker) but there’s one thing I know about myself.

When I am wrong, I course correct. But when I’m right… Imagine you’re also right? We won’t argue. I am the villan? Aki pole. My sincere apologies. And may God grant you healing as He has to me for everyone I deemed to have wronged ( that typo brought Weiner 😂).

Imagine that’s all. You’re right.

And yes, the blog is back.

CPTSD: Emotional neglect in matters human female sexuality

*Post publishing note: I wrote and published this post on the 18th of September, 2020, though didn’t share it on socials. Even so, I ought to have stayed with it A LOT longer. First, the title had a typo, my apologies for that. Even so, it’s since changed. Secondly, I needed to go do another round of unpacking for this to be a complete piece. A LOT of things have shifted, but the theme remains. The last edit was done on the 28th of September, 2020

Now I state, this here, is for women like me. It’s perfectly fine if you can’t relate.

~~~~~

*I am not a medical or mental health practitioner and thus my thoughts or experience should not be used for diagnostic purposes.

The therapy session

*long anecdote alert! You can skip to the next title if you wish to.

And then there was COVID-19. After it became official how screwed we were, and still are, I nearly celebrated at the idea of constantly being indoors. Being an introvert and depressed is an interesting mix. I had gone to the CBD at most 5 times between December 2019 and March 2020. I had my last therapy session in December. I felt I had a lot under control.

* insert procrastination, misappropriation of my few funds, rebounds, spiraling, anxiety attacks, unexplained anger, and moods, putting your foot in your mouth and having an out-of-body experience while doing it, drunkenness….*

Since April, I have had frequent anxiety attacks. Only three instances turned into full-blown panic attacks. You know, clutching my chest, breathing hard, trying not to sink to the floor because, as I was telling myself, this is not a movie type of thing. Laying on the bed or couch was enough. A week ago, after the anxiety was beginning to look like a new normal where insomnia, heavy breathing, gloom, and doom were the following in tow, I realized it was time to book a session.

Yes, I did have an anxiety attack during the session, and because I am smart and didn’t want to be in my house alone, I headed to my folks’, where I proceeded to have another attack in front of my younger brother. In short, I realized that while I had dealt with a lot in the past few years, A LOT of underlying issues remained.

This blog is unpacking one of them.

Female sexuality.

CPTSD- Ati what?

Complex Post Traumatic Disorder. I am not sure where I saw it first, it might be here in this video from The School of Life. What surprised me was learning the term first appeared in 1994. As I was watching the video, I ticked more than eight of the twelve signs of CPTSD, and that got me thinking that, you, sweetheart, have a lot of trauma in your body.

In short, based on the Healthline definition,CPTSD results from repeated trauma over months or years, rather than a single event.” The symptoms are many, you can check them out on the links provided and perhaps venture to depress yourself before you start your healing journey. Just a few examples is lack of emotional regulation, negative self-perception, losing meaning of the world and religion, and difficulty in relationships.

Here’s why it matters. To quote Healthline, it leaves a lasting effect on the “amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. These areas play a big role in both our memory function and how we respond to stressful situations”

HOWEVER! For the basis of this blog, I’ll focus on the symptom of ongoing childhood neglect. In my understanding, not having conversations about sex et al with girls and addressing their emotions around it is a form of emotional neglect.

*Emotional neglect is when a parent, guardian, or caregiver refuses or fails to see, know, or understand who their child is. Instead, they project the idea they have in their mind of who the child is onto them. In some cases, there will be a lack of care, attention, structure, boundaries, or even rules.

By the way: I am not here to bash my parents. We are in a good place and we have unpacked a lot of these things. They too have trauma of their own, so this is not an ode to their parenting failure. We millennials do that so well…

So how does that tie into the female sexuality?

Here’s the direction we’re taking: The prevailing picture is that bringing up girls in an inconvenience, and their sexuality reduced to a single line of thought; keep your legs closed, wait till marriage, and give it to your husband when he asks for. As though that’s all there is to female sexuality. That’s not seeing girls for who they are, that is projecting a distorted image of what it means to be born female onto them.

That itself, raises women who 1) don’t know much about their body or understand their sexuality and preference 2) are emotionally charged when it comes to what’s between their legs because it feels like it’s under constant scrutiny or threat and 3) carry a ton of painful emotions about all this from the moment, as children, they understood they were female.

That’s, I feel is CPTSD. But don’t quote me.

Class is not in session

I won’t get into the stats or the percentage of women who’ve been sexual abused on this planet. If you’re unsure, hit up nine women in your contact list and ask them if they’ve experienced abuse, or almost, or if they know someone close to them who’s a survivor, or who would otherwise have been.

This campaign for the boy-child exhausts me when we see headlines along the lines of “X number of primary and secondary going girls pregnant in Y county”. Here’s why this thing just does a number on me. There’s a girl who learned she was six months pregnant from a test after being forced to go to the hospital. This was despite having unprotected sex and her belly protruding.

And that is the problem. Who was there to teach her? Who taught/teaches us?

While there are a TON of people in this here planet dealing with emotional neglect (educate yourself here), there is still the fact that sex is so taboo for women that we’re not even sure what is going on. Our thoughts and emotions around it have been silenced. You can talk about it, but in hushed tones. And make sure you’re putting a lot of that energy finding ways to keep your vagina husband-ready.

I won’t even get into the biblical and social context. If you’d wish to, there’s one SUPER informative person I know that can at least help you with relationships and also sex. Pastor Michael Todd is all about Relation Ship Goals Reloaded in this series, but you can focus on the ones where he talks about sex for a better biblical picture.

But yo, I had to learn a lot about sex and Christianity, and what it does to your soul, spirit, mind, body, finances, all that and more, from YOUTUBE?

Sexual misinformation- why is the emotional truth hidden?

If you’re a woman reading this, pause and think about what your first introduction to sex was. To physical intimacy or awareness of it. Did your mum teach you? Your aunt? A close female member in your life? When is too soon to tell your daughter? Was your sexuality even ever acknowledged? Did you feel you had a welcoming and safe space to ask all the questions you could about your body and sex? What about your feelings? And you were abused, were you accorded the space to talk about it?

There was a thread on twitter, I can’t remember the hashtag, but it was asking women when they first realized they were sexualized. The average age was between 9 years and 11 years. CAN WE PAUSE AND MARINADED IN HOW MESSED UP THAT IS?

Let’s focus on how, an innocent or naive girl or woman, gets to experience a full range of confusing emotions after sex, consensual or otherwise. For a lot of women, I feel, disappointment and disgust are the prevailing emotions after having sex for the first time.

Now think back to the aspect of childhood neglect, and emotional neglect. If you knew what you know now (assuming you’ve evolved), would you have done it differently? (But also let’s be real here, some of us are just hard-headed). But for the most part, what we have is a distorted image of who we are as women, and our sexuality. And with all that, since childhood, our emotions around this topic was not allowed or acknowledged.

No, for real, why is class not in session?

In a nutshell, we are thrown into society and religion and asked to wait until marriage and not to be a whore. That’s while 1 in 3 women on this planet has been sexually abused or assaulted. But please, let’s not address those difficult emotions for too long. #MeToo should still be in the public consciousness until this nonsense gets solved

We also haven’t talked about unfortunate experiences with fuckbois and other men, and even women, who exploited us. AH YES! And sweet, sweet Hollywood. Ati your first night will be one filled with love, candles, and passionate sex. When it doesn’t go that way, it shatters this distorted image we had about sex as kids, and just leaves you messed up as a woman.

As mothers, daughters, aunts, and the like, we need to make this more of a conversation than we are willing to. We need to stop and see how childhood emotional neglect in matters of sexuality, is affecting us and generations to come. And here’s my point, we need to have a fuller conversation about sex because as women, talking about sex and leaving out emotion and how to deal with them leaves trauma in our bodies. And given how long it goes for, that’s where, for me, complex post traumatic stress disorder comes in.

How do I deal with CPTSD from sexual experiences

Trauma takes many forms, and for a lot of women, it is the realization that the look in a lot of men’s eyes, from a young age, harbors no security. It tells them that they are no more than an item of sexual desire. There is also the constant vigilance of trying to go around life and not getting sexually abused, whether or not one succeeds. Going through that, constantly and continually for many years, is CPTSD.

So, how do you heal from that?

I don’t know. Ask a licensed therapist. 🙂

Here’s where’s what my advice is. As a woman, stop and acknowledge that you hold trauma in your body, and psyche too.

This is hard, but hold space for yourself to unpack, mourn, and heal. You’d be surprised how much of yourself is stuck because of this.

So heal, my sister.

Cheers.

5 signs he’s is faking vulnerability: Lessons learned from previous relationships and entanglements

Conclusion: If his emotions mimic constipation, then he’s faking it.

~~~~~

You know that friend you talk abstract things with? Nyambura is that person. Our demons met and we’ve been friends since. We have hour long conversations about healing childhood trauma, the inner child and everything in between. Heck, she’s even gotten me to do a meditation challenge that I haven’t been religious at. In essence, we all need one of these friends in life- that is not an opinion but a fact. But who am I to tell you how to live your life?

Here’s my argument. She recently brought to my attention fake vulnerability and it made me feel some typa way because I have fallen prey to it. I otherwise wouldn’t have known about it if she hadn’t brought it up.

This post might trigger you.

~~~~~

I wrote the above because I found the circumstances hilarious. Said person wasn’t a Facebook friend at the time, but even when I accepted their request, I knew the post would bring problems. Yes, that conversation happened and he KNEW it was about him. He copy-pasted it and brought it right to my WhatsApp, accompanied with 10,000 “what the fucks?” I liked this guy at the time (I am lying here, that was my dysfunction operating) so I did all I could to appease him.  I am using “appease” loosely because I stuck by the post.

It looked like a duck, walked like a duck and quacked like a duck, so I called it what it is.

I told the lie of the century and “assured” this boychild I would never post anything about him on social media or my blog.

LOL!

If you are trying to describe what a duck is, you’d do well to show an actual duck, or a couple of ducks in this case.

Signs he’s is faking vulnerability

  1. There’s ALWAYS a catch

There was this one guy who would ghost me for most of the week. Guess when he’d hit me up? Yes, Saturday at 11:59pm. I was foolish and dickmatized, so I would respond . Mum, dad, I am sorry, but your daughter done messed up a LOT. You’d be happy to know that I have since changed my ways. Shame and judgement aside, the script was the same. I would rant about being ignored all week, he’d apologize with some long emotional commentary about how he’s been going through a lot, and I would forgive him.

And repeat.

In my mind I thought “he just needs love and understanding”, him and all the other fuck boys.

Baby girl, if you’re still telling yourself that, you’re the clown.

That’s the thing about fake vulnerability. There’s always a catch. It’s either to get you into bed or- nope. It is almost always to get you into bed.

2. You make excuses for them

There’s a boychild I dated for a year, and my goodness. Now this one I should have date for at most a month, but you know, I was a ride or until you fuck up my emotional, psychological and mental health kind of chick. Communication is non-negotiable in relationships but he’d ghost me for days at a time.

Do you see a theme ladies?

He’d resurface and talk about how work was intense and proceed to tell me how amazing his female boss is. I’ll let you run away with that thought. The bone he’d through was “I haven’t been confirmed yet” because new job so I’d tell myself his silence is justified. What’s more, he’d told me about growing up poor, and how he’d buy an extra Nivea lotion to affirm to himself that part of his life is over. He might have mentioned something about his inability to say no, going above and beyond his duties, troubles at home… You know, that hustle-out-of-poverty narrative and coming from a dysfunctional-ish family.

Here’s the issue. When we were together, he’d spend a lot of time Twitter. He’d also randomly send bathroom selfies when at work. Clearly he had pockets of time but he wouldn’t call or text. Note, this is a boychild that came to see me when I was in a psychiatric ward. By the way, that shit never came up again. Checking up on your emotional and mental health ni wewe. More on this later.

You’ve read all that and you’re now wondering what’s wrong with me. That’s a post for another day. But baby girl, if you’re defending that misbehaving boychild based on some sob story he told you about himself, there’s a problem.

PS: I spent two of my birthdays with this guy and he did NOTHING for me. No cake, no date, no gift. Zero. Never mind I did that for his ass. My goodness I have wasted my money and time on some problematic characters. Weh! Stay woke ladies.

3. You feel like you’re the problem

This one pretty much sums up all my previous relationship. Apart from one. I’d name him, but his girlfriend hates me. We even have a code word he uses when he can’t text or call back because she’s around. I don’t know what I did to her, but he and I will love each other till the sun stops shining. In a platonic way though. I’ve also moved on since so… I don’t know why that was important to mention. We don’t even talk no more! Sigh.

THAT ASIDE, in every relationship, I felt or was made to feel I was the problem. I was the overly emotional one. I was too demanding. It was my fault things weren’t working out. I was too intense. I was too independent. I didn’t understand them. I was selfish. I was irrational. Basically everything wrong with the relationship was my fault.

I am aware I haven’t been the easiest person to date before, but EVERYTHING being my fault? Get the hell out of here with those lies. How does that painful story you told me when being “vulnerable” justify your mannerless behavior? Fam. Miss me oo! Miss me!

4. They demonize their exs

Baby girl, you know this script.

There’s this boychild that reached out to me after things went south with the wife. Traditional wedding, one child later and another on the way, she left and went back to her folks. This guy had A LOT to say about her including how he feels the relationship ended a long time ago, he was merely there for the sake of it.

Spoiler: they got back together.

So while I was over here being sent love songs and getting told how much I’m loved, things were in the works to restore the relationship. Guess who was looking like the home wrecker? It is fine, I will take that L because I was foolish enough to believe his lies. Lies, current truth, potato potato. Thank goodness that was only a one month ordeal. But that’s the thing girl, he has nothing nice to say about his previous girlfriends. You, being the kind-hearted, caring and sympathetic person you are, you feed off the bullshit. He’s misunderstood and “you get him”.

Weh, these regrets are coming in heavy!

5. They manipulate you

Manipulation is the weapon people who fake vulnerability use. Someone (every magazine ever) told men that women love men who are open about their emotions. We want to know how they feel and what they are thinking.

With that knowledge, a guy will display a bit of emotion to get you to open your heart. From that space, you become trusting and you’re more than happy to give him what he wants. Here’s the painful part. Once he’s gotten whatever it is, he shuts down. That’s the last of his emotions you’ll see. You’ll trying bring it up but he’ll ignore or shut you down. That part you experienced only comes back when he feels he’s losing you or wants something.

It’s basically emotion-on-demand and manipulation is the route because he knows he doesn’t deserve what he’s about to ask for.

If you’re still unsure if he’s faking his sob stories, there’s the mother of all tell-tale signs.

YOUR EMOTIONAL VULNERABILITY IS IGNORED.

Pause for a bit.

Remember that guy who came to see me in a psych ward TWICE and never followed up on what got me there, how the meds were taking me and how I was doing? In hindsight, my therapist saw his bullshit from an eternity away- explains some statements she made LOL! That’s the thing about such guys; you will share the most intimate parts of yourself and get ZERO emotional support in return. The bottom line is you’ll regret ever opening up.

Bonus: morons will make excuses for guys who fake vulnerability

This last one is for gas lighters. Let me Wikipedia the definition for you.

“Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them, cognitive dissonance and other changes including low self-esteem.”

So, don’t come at me with the “you read that wrong”, “have you looked at how you might have been the problem?” and “who hurt you?” type of talk. I never claimed to be perfect, I just know when I’ve been emotionally played.

Baby girl, you’re not the problem

Girl, lady, woman. I am talking to your inner child now. You missed all these signs and ended up allowing and tolerating such crap in your life. I am sorry for the pain it caused. I understand how much it hurts, and how bitterness feels like the reasonable and justified route to take. Don’t go down that road. Let your next steps be to heal, and most of all forgive and soak yourself in love. You’re not foolish, you were just unknowingly a player in a rigged game.

When you know better, you do better.

Cheers.

3rd Floor: “So, what have you done with your life so far?”

30. Third floor. Dirty 30. Whatever you call it, I am staring at it.

I opted to write about this now to get ahead of “the problem”. Here’s why; on my birthday (October 16th) I want to look back at this post and exhale. I don’t want NONE of the social pressure of “where is your” husband, child, home, car, education and everything in between. I want to wear these top five lessons from my 20’s like badges of honor. Or tiny stickers. 30 is not 90.

I want to applaud myself, especially as we come to the close of Mental Health Awareness Month. This year’s theme speaks to my soul: Tools 2 Thrive, something we truly require with this pandemic. COVID-19 may be with us for a while, and adding that to the shit-storm life can be, minding our mental health is all the more crucial.

Let’s get to it!

Lessons from my 20s

Let me stop you right there. If you have anything important pending, go do that now and come back. You’ll be here a while.

Lesson 1: I have been dumb as hell!

That’s the thing about your 20s though. You’re out of high school, and with little-to-no guidance, you’re told to chart your whole life. You pick a course you think will suit you, only for you to graduate and go “nope, that ain’t it!” After, you go do something totally unrelated. Blessed are yee if you’re still on the same path!

And since your name is not on the 30 under 30 list of people who have their shit in order, you’ll be clueless for a while. But god forbid your peers AND parents find out! So, there you are, struggling with the purpose of it all while life is still happening to you. Since multitasking is not something everyone is excellent at, you drop A LOT of balls, sanity being one of them.

How, you ask? Have you done the same shit over and over again and expected different results? Yes? You are dumb as hell. Naïve at best, but still, not a reason for ignorance! For example, staying in the same job, house, relationship, friendship, deal, mentality, pattern and everything in between hoping things will get better one day. How’s that going?

Falling Apart GIFs | Tenor

Complaining had once been a talent of mine. Still can be. But nowadays, if I complain about the same thing more than twice (or ten, depends), I check out. I kill and bury you in my mind. I forget about you, or it. I move on. I becoming indifferent. Staki ujinga. Why? Because I am tired of being a mjinga also. Stupidity is not a sexy trait oo!

Lesson 2: Lack of mentorship is a pandemic

If I gave you a box of colored chalk and a clown’s wig, who would you put it on? Apart from yourself that is..

Clown Makeup Meme | Saubhaya Makeup

Yes, a majority of our leaders.

My goodness; there is no greater sign of a problematic population than the type of leaders we have. Good leaders are the exception, not the rule. Let’s not even go too far; look at your circle.

I knew leadership was an issue the day my mother mentioned she wished she had someone to guide her right out of high school. Whatever she did worked for her- at the time. However, the pile of interior design magazines on her shelf tell another story.

She did her best, especially with my spirituality, but she didn’t have a career guide, so, how could she fill the role for my sake? Like every African parent she was all about education and making my own money. Her brand of gospel was Money Before Husband, let alone kids. For her and many other African mothers, financial independence is the message she hammered home. However, it was the streets of life and Google that taught me the HOW of attaining financial freedom. And even so, it’s still a struggle.

This is one example. How many of you had to figure life out by yourself? You were told, “Here! Go do life!” and given no tools or even a vague manual to help you through. We lack adequate mentorship in our society. Is there anyone you can truly call ‘an experienced or trusted advisor?” Can you name two? What of the leaders; what have you learned from them?

I have a rule of thumb- consider using it before you run off to look for mentors or advice from leaders, far or near.

Never take advise from someone you wouldn’t want to trade lives with.

Unless it’s a life lesson. So, I am not talking about the fame, glamour, wealth, cash. Look deeper. Which takes me to the next lesson.

Lesson 3: The world can be shallow to depths deeper than an abyss

As a member of this our planet earth, I too have been and can be shallower than water spilled on a table. But we soldier on.

I am turning 30 and there is a lot on the list of what a “standard” woman ought to achieve that I haven’t checked off. And guess what? I. DON’T. GIVE. A. SHIT.

Opinion Throw GIF - Opinion Throw Trash GIFs

Two things brought me to this realization.

The first was how other families perceived ours growing up. Cousin after cousin said they have envied us. Others wondered what was wrong with me. You ungrateful bitch, why you acting like you life is hard? If you’ve lived with other people, then you know it’s hard. Money doesn’t make human interactions easier or even pure. I am not bashing my folks or siblings, but it is what it is. The consensus is that I am moody and difficult. But that can’t be because of a mood disorder. I mean, isn’t money meant to cure that too?

NB: As Maureen Wambaire I am broke. The idea that I somehow have access to Mr. Kingori’s money and wealth is the schupidest assumption I have come across. Do you know my father?

Second thing that opened my eyes to the shallowness is all the miserable “I have made it” people I came and still across.  Here’s how I see it- I don’t care for your money or status. If you have a trash personality and questionable character, please keep walking. Better yet, let me change direction. I don’t want you in my sphere.

It makes no sense to me to look up to, and want to be like, broken and burst individuals. I am talking about the ones that do nothing to work on their inner world. People who don’t want to know better and those who know better but refuse to get better. Those who can’t admit they need help and instead choose to keep this cycle of shallowness going. There is more to life than money, glamor, fame, admiration, privilege and all that.   

See that attitude, I think that’s why I am alone. But what have I learned?

Lesson 4: Single and content than paired and miserable ANY DAY.

*I am not talking to married people.  

A moment of silence for all the dead minutes resulting from relationships I knew where going nowhere.

Were there life lessons? Yes. Could I have followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and remained single? YES. If I had, would I have spared boychild the crisis and realization that I wasn’t it for them? Absolutely. This is not only for myself. I understand the need for companionship- there’s currently two men I am looking at and wondering… just wondering. Beyond that, it’s probably the COVID-19 curfew bothering me.

Holly Logan Comedian GIF - HollyLogan Comedian Comic GIFs

I’ve looked at my life. I have looked at that of my clan, friends and acquittances. I have heard stories, and I have seen it on the news. And if that’s what relationships are all about, I would rather be single. I WOULD RATHER DIE SINGLE.

No, no, no. No. Go back and read those bold letters again.

Coz sis! Bruh!

Before you bring up the biological clock narrative, I suggest you go read an article or several on the statistics and life-long effects of childhood trauma. After, please, miss me with that bullshit. I would rather not birth a child instead of bringing them into a world with a partner not committed to be a better husband, father, and human being. I know I’m doing the work, meaning that my child would go through a lot less therapy.

Allow me to take you back to this Letter to My Sisters because the boychild done been messing up. For me, it’s simple. The measure of misery you subject yourself to in a relationship, is the level in which you loath yourself. Yes, self-loathing is a thing. If you wouldn’t want the current drama and trauma you have in your relationship for someone you love dearly, what are you doing there? You can to better like Michelle and Barak Obama type love!

I am single, peaceful, content, and keep forgetting I own a mobile phone. And I am totally fine with that.

Lesson 5: Take the trash out instead of playing victim

I talk extensively about self-development and personal growth on my blog. Well, maybe not directly, but I do talk about life lessons (case in point) and mental health, because it’s been rough out here. One such example is this post about Minding Your Emotional Business and this one about how people can’t make you “feel” anything, that’s all you. I got tired of blaming others because, well, it was pointless.

I generally write about taking personal responsibility for our lives and the quality of the same. We don’t ask for the trauma, but staying in it is a choice. A perfect example- when I complain about someone for long periods of time, it no longer a “them” problem but a “me” problem. If you have nothing nice to say about your partner, you’re the problem. If you’re complaining about something you can’t change, you’re the problem. There’s always something that can be done internally and externally.

I have such a level of peace and contentment since I went spring cleaning and took out the “trash”. Any hint of a return of the mess I left behind will for sure trigger Ragnarök. It was hard, took a couple of months, and in some cases years, but playing victim didn’t what to be my only option. The path to inner growth is painful and messy, but I PROMISE you, when you start, so many parts of you begin to heal. It’s so worth it. AGAIN! Took me awhile, but I accept it too is a lifelong journey.

Parting shot from this soon to be 30-year-old

That was legit some Biko Zulu length type of blog, but it needed to get said, at least for myself. Stopping to take stock and appreciating how far you’ve come is the source of gratitude. Where you’ve failed, extend grace and love, because that too is part of being human. Lastly, life isn’t one long checklist; it is about being present in every moment, because that’s where life happens. Not in the past, nor the future, but in the now.

THIRD FLOOR, HERE WE COME!

Cheers

Bonus reading: Change the bulb

Before starting this blog, I replaced the third bulb on the chandelier. The other two did produce adequate light to grab things from the drawers and not have furniture assault your pinky toe. However, since I turned the dining table into my office space, night-owling has been a struggle. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I noticed my left eye hurts and the right one was still seeing stars from the strain and sudden illumination from the new bulb. I could have replaced that bulb months ago, but if you ask what took me so long, I couldn’t tell you why. I’m happy though that I finally did.

Food for thought: If something in your life feels like an inconvenience or struggle, ask yourself, “Do I need to replace a bulb?”