The Illusion of Self

I’d set out to write about ‘what makes you you’ and did quite a bit of research but because I figured you’re here to read my thoughts and not an essay, I’ll try keep it chilled. 

For now. 

From the School of Google there are varying thoughts on what makes you, well, you. Some say your brain defines you, some say your memories… Head over to Wait But Why here, the author did such a good job that by the end of it he realized he didn’t know who he was. 

‘What makes you you’ didn’t churn out a lot results online so I headed over to a few psychology websites to answer ‘who am I?’ And basically I’m a fake. 

And you’re a fake, and everybody is a fake!!! Yaaaa!!! Fake for everybody!

Disclaimer: I’ve had no sleep last night so I am a bit dark. 🤓😁

It’s called The Illusion of Self. It basically says that the illusion of who we are is in the mind, not nature. Perfect example: afrer a girls night at my friend’s, these two women (oh dear, I think they have a point🙈) have the audacity to tell me that I am heartless and emotionless. I commuted twice to feed someone’s cat while they were away for crying out loud! I’m a nice person! 

Or so I tell myself. 

Our perception of reality and even ourselves is generated by our brains. ‘Self’ is an intergrated individual inhabiting a body, ‘I’ is the conscious and aware present version of ourselves and ‘me’ is who we think we are with regards to our past, present and future. You can see the problem already. According to the author of The Ilusion Of Self (2012) *Bruce Hood, the illusion is ‘an experience of something that is not what it seems’. The dictionary could have told me that but the ideas I’ll share with you are his, but the spice and sauce is mine. 

So in my mind I think of myself as nice because I try to be a decent human being but my inability to register facial expressions ranging outside the ‘go kill yourself’ spectrum has people thinking otherwise. This ‘nice’ self is generated by my brain to help me relate with the outside world causing me to, well, be nice. Because good Christians are meant to be nice people. Illusions are also a great way of showing us that our brain is playing tricks on us. How people look at the same image and see two different things or one person think someone is nice and the other think that a homocide is in order just shows how the ‘self’ is a mish mash of different parts of our brains that combine our thoughts, experiences and behavior into a narrative. 

We are storytellers and the main charater in our drama. 

Oliver Sacks, a neurologist, through study has found that an inability to form a narrative of self hampers our path to meaning, satisfaction and happiness. This was the case in patients who’ve lost functions in some areas of their brain specially the region where memories reside. I thought I let you know that a narattive is important lest you despair. 

Totally unrelated: My dad’s uncle (Maureen, you mean your grandfather? 🤔) has dementia but this man, though he has no idea who anyone is, told my dad, ‘Good people live here.’ That’s how you know what a beautiful spirit his wife has. #goals

Basically guys, there is no you or me. Saying you know yourself is an oxymoron. No one is solid, we are changeable, often mechanical and delusional. We think we can figure life and ourselves out but we can’t, we can only perfect the narrative of who we think we are. I know I haven’t, that’s why I’ll tell myself things like, ‘If only they got to see the real me’… *cue Jesus*

You don’t have to take my word for this, there are counter argumets and different schools of thought out there. I just thought I work on being whole and balanced, not just partaking in one narrative given to me since birth.

Anyhoo, who does your narrative say you are? 

Cheers

*Accreditation is sexy.


Alafu sasa?

*Then what?

I always thought that in order to have a blog that serves a purpose I have to be like Cynthia Kimola, you know, writing about relationship and such like topics that generally affect people’s lives. Then there is my type of blog, rants, thoughts and short stories that feel neither here nor there. I can’t write amazing poetry like one Portia Opondo or hilarious matatu stories like the beautiful and multitalented Trezer Oguda. And just like that I have given you the power to take your traffic elsewhere while acknowledging other people’s awesomeness. Ha!

Someone however told me to do me- you never know who’s reading, and really, I don’t.

That aside, you are never truly lonely until you feel alone among friends. That has been me for a while. You want to say something to your close friends but you know they won’t get it so you choose to keep quiet and send silent cries to the God in you asking for a hug at the very least, which of course never comes. You and your issues will then walk to the stage together, suffer loud music in the matatu and at the end of it all try to drive each other off the bed late at night.

Lonely is when you feel you have nothing to offer. Lonely is when you don’t feel like offering what little you think you have. Lonely is the slight feeling of depression, only difference is you are aware that it is a temporary state. Feels like The Garden of Gethsemane. You know that the great struggle is looming, you can’t escape it so you just ask for strength to get to the point of glorification.

Depth!

We thank T. D. Jakes for that.

The thing about being a Christian is that you have to die alone. *erm…dah!* No, your flesh has to die. Your needs and wants and ‘me’s have to die. Then it starts being about God. I haven’t the slightest idea how that looks like but it’s much better than this lonely state. For the longest time being in God’s will have been associated with private jets and huge ministries but I want to know what being smack in the middle of God’s will in an NGO that works with women and girls means.

No one can walk this journey with me. No one can walk this journey with you.

You learn to keep quiet, you learn to reach within and just sigh to God because you have no words. You are walking but you aren’t sure what path you are on. You don’t know if people are prophesying into your life or simply pouring out their ideals about your life into you.

YOU DON’T KNOW IF MEN SHOULD BE IN THE PICTURE AT ALL.

Whoever said all that matters in friendships and relationships is love was a deluded soul and a fool.

What then becomes attached to your lonely state- okay this is specific to me, this whole journey may be quite different from yours- is fatigue.

I mean, is it really worth the effort?

They say that if your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough. I now see what they mean, and I also see why and how people self-sabotage. That’s why you’ll hear things like, ‘(S)he showed so much promise! What happened?’ They chickened out, that’s what happened. I am in that state, trying not to run away from what’s ahead, nervous, confused, tired and downright afraid.

I don’t want this cup taken away from me so drink from it I must.

And no, this piece does not have a conclusion.

Yours truly,
Laboring Christian.

For real though? Sijiskii.

So there goes my plan to work from home… the kitchen is being renovated and when I left this morning it was but an empty shell, kinda like something you’d see as the aftermath of intensive gun fire in a war film.

I have this friend, shrink, brother in Christ… can’t quite figure out what he is to me *chuckles at inside joke* and he reminded me the reason why I started writing in the first place was because it acted as an outlet.

BIG MISTAKE

happycampo.wordpress.com

happycampo.wordpress.com

That said, here’s my current state of self and mind:

  • I didn’t want to stay in the office. I wanted to go work from home in the comfort of my pajamas, duvet, and if things are really thick, my fluffy white rabbit. Power naps would have of course been essential to keeping my [mental] energy level at an optimum.
  • I don’t feel like exercising. This is nothing new but the defiance levels are at an all-time high. Getting out of bed feels like I have unseen powers pinning me down!
  • I don’t want to run a 10k. What for? What am I getting out of it? Sure I want to get fit but running under the hot sun in Nairobi being subjected to stares as my body parts jiggle is not my idea of a good time. Take me for a nature walk in Karura. That makes more sense.
  • I don’t feel like talking to people most of the time. Folks take this personally never mind that I have explained this phenomenon severally. It’s not you, it’s ME! But sometime, for real though, it’s you.
  • I climbed the Elephant Hill (it’s meant to be called a mountain- some random person decided it ought not to be to cheat people like me into believing it was an easy task…) and it was gruesome. I thought I would want to go to Mount Kenya after but, naaah! Scratch that off my bucket list. Drive me up for the view, nothing more.
  • J’etudie francais maintenant mais je suis TRES fatigue avant ET apres la classe. It takes sheer willpower to not skip classes. I am curious to see how my masters unfold…
  • I have reached my charity spirit limit. I am currently running on fumes.

What else….

Ah yes! I would like to take this opportunity to blame all this on my acne meds. I have to be on them for a total of 9 months and that stuff wears me out. I have been reduced to dunking my eyes in water when they get to dry, being utterly petrified when I can’t find my lip balm and getting random skin reactions that make no sense. Not to mention having to explain to guys I AM NOT USING A CREAM, SOAP OR ANYTHING OF THE SORT… but saying ‘I pop pills’ kinda makes me feel hood… yebo!

That’s about it folks… yes, a day in the life of a ranting Wambaire… Yea… maybe next time I will talk about what I wanna do and not fill the post with a lot of don’ts and negativity. As you were… as I proceed with my emotional burnout…

 

Cheers.

PS: it says on the side effects section of the leaflet something about feeling suicidal…

No need to apologize booboo!

I had every intention of writing this post cautiously but the words of my good friend came to mind.

 

random cat chilling... wallpapersinhq.com

random cat chilling… wallpapersinhq.com

There is one thing that my mother told me when I was younger; Wambaire, never apologize for what you have. In as much as she has told me this severally, I have had to remind her these very words when the stares, snide remarks and whispers of society cause her to ‘lower’ herself into fitting in. This is not a middle class rant but rather about this ridiculous thing we do that makes (most?) people feel bad for what they have.

‘Heish! Ubabie ndio zako!’ (there is no way to really translate this but it’s basically telling someone they are rich) are some of the things I have been guilty of telling people who have fancy stuff that I do not (yet :)) have. What I have just realized is that when this is told to me, I always have this feeling that I am immensely blessed to have what I have- which is an okay feeling to have- but at the same time bad because I have to downplay what is being talked about which leaves me feeling guilty for having whatever it is.

Case in point: my friend Kabera thinks that what I have is really not an internship- interns don’t get to stay in fancy hotels, fly to random parts of the country/continent and take leaves. That is true; this is the first of its kind- or at least what I have heard. At the moment, I am staying that a nice hotel for the duration of a conference. I think my supervisor and I were the only Kenya based organization staying at the hotel. Top that off, some of the people I am working with around my age live in the same neighborhood as I do.

I was asked severally what the point of staying here was and it was asked to imply 1. That doesn’t make sense and 2. It’s a waste of money.

The reason is really simple- there is a budget for it. There is no profound reason because morning traffic doesn’t cut it.

My supervisor left (she has a family) though she was meant to stay for two nights. She did insist that I could stay for the second night; it really was no problem since it was planned for. Last night I nearly packed my bag ready to check out today after the conference because of how it looked among my peers… however that is.

I talked to two of my friends last night and one of them started a speech with something like, ‘There you go again Maureen, doing things because you care what other people think about you and what you do…’ (I know where I got that from lol) and the other was like, ‘Remember the story you told me about Joseph?’ Gosh didn’t that get me to roll my eyes! Just last week I had pointed out that Joseph, a HEBREW SLAVE, was head of the household of a top EGYPTIAN official, then placed in charge of all other inmates in an EGYPTIAN prison he was thrown in AND THEN made ruler of EGYPT with only Pharaoh as his boss. Have you any idea how ridiculous that scenario is? You start off as a slave then you are given all these leadership positions like the natives themselves don’t know how to run things.

cat2

That is what I call favor.

I had a moment of realization that all these things are coming to me because God gives feely. It has NOTHING to do with what I do, feel, say, wish, pray, blah and blah. I also heard a voice (I know at this point some of you have inserted crazy people music) telling me not to despise my position, which I have been doing with phrases like, ‘But I am an intern!’ This is honestly how many of use block off blessings because we feel we don’t deserve it. And we don’t. But it’s free. So take it.

And with that I am FORCED to conclude-1. don’t make people feel bad for what they have, rejoice with them or just find a corner far off and eat lemons  and 2. I’m going to take all this in and not feel guilty or the need to apologize. Because I mean, it’s not my fault! 😀

 

Cheers!

 

Mwanamke ni mood swings

Loosely translated to mean ‘a woman is characterized by her mood swings’

This phrase holds true to me for the past week so I thought I take this opportunity, throw caution to the wind and say what really what thoughts make rounds in my faculties. Along with an array of typos 😀 It will probably come to bite me later but hey, we live and we learn. And plus I am on acne meds and one of the undesirable effects is ‘change in mood, depression…’ So let’s just blame those, yes?

Fantastic!

Let the rants begin…

My posts have been conservative. This is because of the sort of people who read my posts. Some of them are family and other people whose perception of me I should be concerned about but the dip in stats tells me everyone is busy- I can relate. Finding time and energy to write a post is getting rather hard.

Conservative is not what I feel some of the time. I would love to dedicate an entire posts to this one guy who I perceive to be an utter nincompoop and then write at the bottom ‘Also see’ and provide links to other posts of guys who I thought were utter morons.In the same breath I would write a heartfelt apology letter to my former editor. I really was the nincompoop in this one 😦

I could write about how my previous employer (ya…) is acting rather… let’s just say she is testing my patience. I am all for ‘living in peace with fellow brethren’ but I am also of the opinion we don’t have to communicate. Really. Si lazima. Like ever again. I simply don’t owe some people my time. Or energy. Or anything for that matter. Peace of mind should join that list as well *working progress* #bitterness 😀

Then we can talk about how the title ‘intern’ usually comes with a ‘give her all the stuff you don’t wanna do’ tag attached to it. I am okay with my supervisor asking me to fetch her coffee (which she will never do) but I am not okay with other people I don’t report to giving me work they don’t wanna do that does not relate to what I do. Not unless I am learning something, like auditing, but scanning your stuff for you? Come on! That ain’t on my JD! 😥

I could also talk about how I think the church is so broken yet no one in it wants to admit it. I know I am broken and flawed but isn’t that what we all are? A body of broken people seeking wholeness in a Divine Being? So this business of using the pulpit to give personal information about a flawed sheep is wrong on so many levels. These types of preachers are worse than the men and women who present them with gossip. This has happened in just about every church I have been to and I am FED UP.

sycographix.co.uk

sycographix.co.uk

Let’s talk about women, shall we? We are our own worst enemies. I think we are just plain dumb. We all look down on Eve for what she did when we are the same damn way. We spend time and energy hating and gossiping and tearing apart and comparing and being insecure about anything and everything…Woman please! Get a grip! Or Christ! I acknowledge the awesome ladies and women in my life that who aren’t like this. Thanks for being you and a blessing.

And while we are putting this out there, yes, I do go out. To clubs. Not often, but when there is cause (birthdays, cousin reunion, weddings, grad parties, depression or a conglomeration of all mentioned a fore). Yes this is me being real. If this blog is meant to be a representation of the person I am then I might as well be honest. That said, I have lost my taste for alcohol. My mum must have been praying real hard for me to get out of that phase…

Summary

This is me saying I am imperfect but a working progress and God knows where my heart is. What the rest of the masses conclude doesn’t change my state of being.

So, until my next outburst… *sips coffee*

 

Cheers!

 

 

PS: If you disagree with any opinions expressed here, approach me and let me know, don’t go blabbing out to the world about it. You clearly wouldn’t be helping my life in any way. Thaaaaanks! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Marriage ni Kuvumilia

‘Marriage ni kuvimilia.’

These were the words of one mother to her last born daughter when she complained about her husband. (Marriage is endurance) 

I like listening to stories and not those that beginning with ‘Once upon a time’. I want to hear real life stories because fiction, to be honest, is overrated. Not unless you are J. K. Rowling or someone who writes some seriously good fantasy books.  I spent an hour listening to our help Pauline talking about her naughty kihii (uncircumcised boy), the marital problems plaguing our gardener and the life and trials of her sister. Pauline has two kids and is divorced, but that has not stopped her from living her life. She likes having fun but all calculated; she has kids to worry about.

She is by far the most hardworking help we have ever had and truth be told, I am sure no one’s help beats ours work-wise. Yes this is me bragging. She checks in at 8:30am and when she leaves at 5:00pm everything for the day is done, including veggies chopped ready for supper. On some days she will leave at 3pm and that is because quite literally there is nothing left for her to do.

This was meant to be about my love for stories, not about how awesome Pauline is. But hey!

Back to topic!

It doesn’t always sit well with my friends when they do most of the talking about their life and I do the bare minimum- enough to let you know that I trust you but not enough to quench your curiosity. This has nothing to do with my trust issues because I like telling myself they don’t exist. I just genuinely like listening to people talk. It really is that simple.

I have those friends I will go on an entire rant, rave and minute by minute narration of an event with but once I am done, the remaiming time is spent trying to get them to talk about whatever it is that is on their mind almost like a penitence for my ‘self-centred’ conversation.

If you have a psychological analysis of what is ‘wrong’ with me, leave a note on the comments section below. Or call me. Or text me. Or something.

I like Pauline’s stories because they seem so detached from my reality. For example:

 

Kuenda-Kurudi

 

download (3)Her sister had left the husband, nicknamed Mapesa (monies), because of his drinking problem.  She got Pauline to help her move out of the husband’s house with everything she owned and relocated to Homabay to get away from the husband. He did get violent when he was drunk but it was always because she provoked him verbally. After a while she decided to move back to Nairobi and live with her sister. Problem was that this was a five minute drive from where her husband lives.

After a three months, Pauline gets home to find her once crowded house seeming spacious. Upon asking her daughter where her sister was, she was handed a letter simply saying, ‘Niliona nakusumbua’ loosely translated to mean ‘I saw I was bothering you’. She had moved back in with her husband.

When she started calling Pauline and their mother complaining about her husband and asking to be helped out of sticky situations, that is when they decided to stop sympathising with her and told her to sort her issues out and to stop complaining.

Mapesa does love her but thinks that his wife has horns.

 

This narration of events is apparently quite normal as per what Pauline has seen in her environs. Marriages break up all the time, women are given major beat downs and leave with all they own, only to move back in later. Those who stay… stay! But some leave never to be seen again. 

That is Pauline’s reality. It is so intriguing that I deemed it worthy of a post. My reality is currently little dramas within my work environment, both paying and volunteer, centred around love triangles and hexagons with crisscrossing lines, strong relationships, failed relationships and all round vumiliaring (enduring) or lack thereof. None of my close friends are married, mostly just acquaintances or people I saw while in campus. Of pregnant ladies and their supportive boyfriends, of abortions (usually friends of friends; not sure why that disclaimer felt relevant), of fornication, drunken nights and regrets but also of miracles, blissful walks with God, a new understanding of self and dreams coming true.

Basically everything that characterizes 20 somethings in this century, yah!

So stories help me paint a more realistic image of the world around me. Therefore if you have stories, offer them to me, I am here to listen. In return I promise to ask for your permission before posting anything that has a possibility of being traced back to you! 🙂 

 

Cheers.

 

Coffee Series: The business of minding our own business

I was watching Jerseylisious earlier (for those who have not watched this reality show, it is basically about these group of friends and foes working in hair and makeup salons) and the drama was as fierce as it was when I last watched it… probably a year ago.

There is a lot of gossip and backstabbing going on and as my mother observed (she was kind enough to let me finish watching the episode before changing to something more… soul filling), the cycle is always the same. A person says something to someone about another person that is not so nice and this someone tells it to the subject of conversation so when ‘a person’ and ‘another person’ meet they end up in a cat fight. Then ‘someone’ will butt in and just create more problems.

So the lesson I took away from this show that I will probably not watch for another year, if ever, is that shutting up is key. Fine, a person can come and tell you something bad or even private about ‘another person’ but as the ‘someone’ in this equation, just keep it to yourself. Nodding is nice. Don’t say anything and if you really have to, make sure what you say is constructive: ‘maybe if you were in their shoes…’ or ‘yea that was nasty of her but judging her is maybe not the way to go…’ Basically say something that even when repeated to the public it will not bring blame or shame to you.

Plus it means less animosity and cat fights in your life.

This is of course addressing females and males with this female-like tendency.

Another thing I took away from Jerseylicious (I know, this notion is rather amusing to me too) was I am not alone in this ‘thanks-but-no-thanks-I-really-wanna-be-alone phase. This year I have had enough… not drama? But just… enough of that relationship scene. I literally have no energy now that the last of it was depleted recently. My favourite person and in my opinion the sanest and most reasonable person in the entire show, Olivia, had a thing going on with this guy that was not defined but she put an end to it to be able to focus on herself. And she was really happy with where she was.

I am not alone! \o/

If my dad happens to read this, after a mini heart attack he will probably be happy. VERY happy.

That said, I am not having coffee but nettle with honey and lemon to fight off a looming cold. Ew. And neem must be the nastiest tasting thing on this planet. I console myself by saying everything that God made was good, not sweet.

 

 

Cheers.

 

 

PS: Just walked away from Tusker Project Fame on telly. Someone tell these people not everyone is bought in by the sex theme they are imposing on viewers.