Shark Week

Once a month for 5-7 days I seriously contemplate having my uterus removed, especially considering I am not especially inclined towards motherhood.

For those of you who still don’t know what I’m on about I’m referring to the joy that is the period during the menstrual cycle – when a woman bleeds from her vagina. Stop cringing your not 5!

Now women are given the amazing ability to give life to a new human being, the downside is shark week, when the oven isn’t quite in use. Some women kind of breeze through it while others feel very near to death.

Let’s start with a little education:

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Every month, a woman looses from 4 teaspoons to 1 cup of blood along with tissue and mucus. This is sometimes accompanied by cramps, nausea and a runny tummy, mood swings, random ass cravings and mild self loathing. Some women have it pretty bad with day 1 and 2 of their period being an absolute nightmare.

Why is this shit necessary? Honestly. Rats absorb their uterine lining and move the fuck on, why can’t we do that? One argument I’ve heard is that it is a punishment passed down from Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. -_- OK.

Let’s not forget, it tends to be when some women are at their horniest. Your need to make love is made seriously complicated by the fact that you’re bleeding between your legs. There are some pretty open minded men who will throw down a towel and get things done or even some who are willing to get their red wings badge of honor. Otherwise on top of the fact that your body is retaliating against you, you also have to deal with sexual frustration.

Though unlikely, you can get pregnant during your period so don’t skip on protection.

Then there’s the paranoia that everyone knows you’re on and if you where shorts or skirts, your pad might be peeking through. Then there’s the stain fear…which each woman has experienced at some point. While we’re here, there’s the endless choices of brands, each being more expensive and less effective than the next. By age 30 you’ll have tried everything from pads to diva cups just to figure out what will make you feel less like you peed in your adult diaper.

The mood swings can be pretty tame but there are those months when you feel a little crazy, crying for no reason one moment and hysterically rolling on the ground because your cat meowed. Gentlemen, this is not a good time to point out things, no matter how trivial they are to you.

sigh

So how can you get through them, because they aren’t going away until you hit menopause? Buzzfeed shared a few tips:

 

What are some of your shark week peeves?

 

 

African?

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So this isn’t based on facts and figures and may be a little disjointed, but bear with me.

First off, I am African, Kenyan more specifically with a dash of European thrown in. I am black. This has colored my experiences quite a bit and how I am viewed and treated by people here. I think one of the reasons people react to me as they do is the remnants of colonialism; because my skin tone is lighter I have more money, I’m better educated, I’m uppity, and some people think slutty. I’ve compared experiences with other bi/multiracial people and it’s pretty much the same for them; We are more likely to get robbed, get better service at restaurants and hounded by the opposite sex than out darker skinned counterparts.

Then there’s the issue of us not being really African. I took an African Philosophy way back when, and I remember them telling Anna (not her real name) that she wasn’t an African, she didn’t understand etc. Now Anna is from Morocco and looks like a light-skinned Arab, but she was born and raised in Africa. Apparently places like Morocco aren’t considered African. Also in this class, people seated near me took it upon themselves to point out I wasn’t African either. This left me with one question:

What does it mean to be African?

Is the size, number, shape, and distribution of melanosomes, as well as the chemical nature of their melanin content in your skin, what determines whether or not you are African? Can a Caucasian woman born and raised in Africa say she is African? Or would we refer to her as an American-African? Does she have a right to the title ‘African’ at all?

Is our genetic origin a key factor? Is there a certain percent that is required for on to be considered African?

Ethnicity?

Citizenship?

Are there countries on this continent that are genuinely considered ‘Not African’?

Is my the culture I grew up in what makes me African?

How would this affect black people born and raised outside of Africa?

That last question brings me to Raven Symone’s interview with Oprah:

She, like a lot of black people living in America, Europe etc cannot actually trace their line back to Africa, so why do they choose the term African-American? Does your ancestry play a large role in determining whether you are African?

*sigh*

You know what, at the end of the day, what you think matters, what you choose for yourself. People will pin labels on you, criticize you when you don’t accept them, treat you a certain way because of your skin color, there will be negative and positive connotations in names given, and some will strive to belittle you, blame you for the errors of your ancestors or outright refuse to interact with you….but if you are comfortable in your own skin, then most of that will roll off.

I am a Kikuyu

I am a Kenyan

I am African

I am black

I am a woman

I am me.

Deal with it!

Leaving

Lately there have been a lot of people leaving us, some we don’t know why others we knew some took us completely by surprise. Either way the feeling that hits you is raw and unavoidable. The stages of grief are things you’ve heard or read about but when you go through them, what you read doesn’t quite cover the turmoil inside…the endless waves of anger, sadness, numbness and disbelief that pound against your outside wall of calm control.

Then there’s the endless questions and condolence messages. Don’t get me wrong, support from friends and family is good but flooding every inbox with reminders, forcing us to retell the story of the death, making each conversation about what cannot be changed can overwhelm someone. All the while one must bend to the whims of society and act ‘as is appropriate’. Why? Why can’t we laugh and joke and celebrate that life and how little of greatly if impacted us? Why must we be solemn and seem as though we’re about ready to pack it in and follow those that have left?

Everyone deals with death differently and if you truly want to support someone through it think carefully on how best you can do this. Also consider if what you do or say is more to make you feel better or to support, because sometimes, some of the things we do are to make peace with our conscience or to be seen doing something. Maybe you aren’t consciously aware…I’m sure I have done it.

If you meet with someone who has experienced loss, ask them how they are the way you normally would…don’t looked pained and/or constipated. If they choose to bring it up then listen, don’t offer unnecessary words of wisdom. Sometimes we just need to hear the things in our head out loud, and have someone to share a beer with as we quietly contemplate the meaning of life.

Funerals can be expensive and sometimes labor intensive because of African tradition I do not understand. How is it okay to make a grieving family cook for several people and spend money to make copious amounts tea for people who will gripe about there not being enough sugar all in the name of mourning? Most people won’t bring anything or offer to help and this baffles me. A grieving widow is slaving over a pot while ‘guests’ matter over how unfortunate the death of her husband is? What’s the point exactly? Should the ‘guests’ offer to bring her a meal or help in the kitchen or distract her with tales of the confused shamba boy back home?  *sigh*There are some amazing people though, people who understand what to do…like those aunties with iron wills and strong arms who take charge and protect the family, who hold you when you’ve had enough, and laugh with you as you all share in the chore of cooking.

This is just how I view it, again we’re all different, but I think it’s important to celebrate the person’s life instead of them leaving. Instead of flooding facebook with posts about how horrible it is and gloomy words, it would be nice if people shared their happiest pictures or little moments they treasured with that person.

Have you ever watched P.S I love you? No? Well you should. But here’s the part of his wake:

The whole movie teaches something about death, but I’d rather not spoil the entire experience.

Someone leaving is not only about sorrow and pain, yes we miss that person and for a while it will seem like a figment of our imagination but with time that pain will be dulled by all those moments you shared. So celebrate as you cry because you had a chance to have them in your life, it may have been short or a lifetime but maybe, just maybe it was just enough. And all those people who seem pushy and keep calling and texting to check up on you, they do actually care so don’t let the frustration get to you. Talk it out with at least one trusted person…the dark and the wonderful, try not to hold on to things to tightly. If you believe in God, pray…He will guide you and help you through it, don’t be too mad at Him.

 

“Remember one day we shall all wake from the dream.”

 

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Makeup Everyday? Why?

Let me start by saying I think I’m in the most eye-opening relationship I’ve ever been in. My SO is rather open and we’ve had some interesting conversations about, well, everything. There have been conversations about our general perceptions of the opposite sex and personal preferences, you know, what we and perhaps our friends are into when it comes to other men and women.

So normally I don’t wear makeup, but I got some as a birthday gift: eye-shadow, eyeliner (it’s amazing), mascara, and lippy. I’ll be honest, I was excited to try it and started wearing an eyeliner, lippy, mascara combo, keeping it near natural. My SO noticed, complimented me, and stared all through lunch the first time I did lol. But I stopped wearing anything except lippy regularly. Then I went for a photo shoot and everyone started going on about how I’d enhance my beauty and keep my man interested by applying makeup daily.

“Sorry what?!?”

I’m curious, must I wear makeup all the time? Is my face as it is imperfect to the point that I must hide behind foundation and blush?

Must you?

Do you know there are women who will not let their SO see them without makeup until maybe 3 months to a year into the relationship? They’ll wake up earlier, put on their face and hop back into bed just in time for the morning cuddle.

First of all, where did women get the notion that men prefer a perfectly made up face? Or is it more to do with pressure from other women, a need to look as perfect as the girl in the glossy magazine. “If you don’t have flawless skin, paint it on until you no longer look like you” – pfft. Then there’s media bombarding us with new things we need to hide, flaws we didn’t realize we had but suddenly feel self-conscious about.

Let me ask you something, when you look into the mirror, what do you see? Just you, no thoughts of Beyoncé or the hot girl next door. Is all you flaws or do you see that sexy gap between your teeth? Your gorgeous brown eyes? That delicious black skin? Those cute freckles? The dimple when you smile? If all you see is things you need to fix, maybe makeup is a bad idea.

I like my face, even with the little imperfections, it’s me, so I can walk around without makeup and occasionally put some on for special days or just for an extra SHAZAM. Can you do the same? Just spend a day armed only with lip-balm and see how you feel. If you’re used to makeup it will definitely feel weird but as the day progresses you’ll feel a little more confident.

My SO told me on Sunday that he loves me bare-faced with nothing distracting from my natural beauty [giggle…well]. And honestly, I prefer that for other women. You probably know that one pretty girl who constantly cakes her face, then one day you glimpse the art beneath and you’re like “WTF?”. Sometimes makeup hides more than those blemishes, it hides what’s uniquely you. I think we all tend to forget that there isn’t one set way to be despite all the crap the powers that be [media et al] shove down our throats. Your beauty is defined by you, be confident in it, smile and tell anyone with negative comments to stop projecting their insecurities on you.

Don’t try so hard to fit in, set your own standard. Use makeup as a form of expression, not as a mask to hide the beauty that is you.

“Do you need to always to wear makeup? No.”

“Can you wear some sometimes? Yes.”

In unrelated news, this is me done up and in heels. 🙂 Looks like someone else.

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Not a lady, Still a woman

So I came across this vid and laughed myself to tears, because that’s how I am. Sometimes you feel like less of a woman, and people will say “well you should act more like a lady”. So what if I don’t wear make up, follow trends, kill myself in heels and talk like a pirate? I’m still a woman, just a different kind.

Celebrate the kind of woman YOU are.

🙂

Security = More Guns

While reading this post, Military to help police secure roads, I felt rather unsettled. Here is the summary (as posted in Daily Nation):

  • Roads where the military will be present include the Nairobi-Thika and Nairobi-Mombasa highways.
  • Section 32 of the Kenya Defence Forces Act allows the minister to send soldiers to help civil authorities restore peace in any part of the country affected by insecurity, instability or unrest.
  • Mandera has witnessed cases of armed attacks in the recent past. Though some of the attacks were linked to inter-ethnic rivalry, most of the attacks have been attributed to Al-Shabaab.

There has been a rise in insecurity and the gaps in our national security have been made quite clear, but I have this niggling feeling that there is more to this than meets the eye. The word ‘terrorism’ is being thrown around a lot, Somali people living in Kenya are being discriminated against, I can’t go to a shopping mall without getting a half-assed frisking.

Then now, the solution is to add more guns to an already volatile situation. A+. I don’t know about everyone else, but seeing men in uniform offers me no comfort. At least with a thug you have a very good idea what’s going to happen. There are other issues that need to be dealt with before you line major roads with underpaid, disgruntled, weapon wielding ‘protectors’.

And how’s about waking up one day and finding yourself in a military state, you with mediocre rights and guns in your face…whether friendly or hostile you would never be certain. [being a tad dramatic] But seriously, I see this gesture towards creating greater security only providing fertile ground for anarchy.

 

Please share your thoughts on the issue, and feel free to ‘school’ me if you see a flaw in my reasoning. These are the things we should talk about.