Pre-London, I was single. Sure I wanted a boyfriend. Sure I wanted to settle down. But I was too busy discovering myself. Well, no. I was too busy trying to make something of my art and music only to realize that self-discovery was part of the deal. Another thing I discovered when one takes such a leap was the plenty of self-time. Alone-time. I woke up alone. Went to the gym alone. Came back home alone. Sketched on my canvas alone. Painted for hours alone. I did so much alone that I got used to being alone. I was no longer in an office dealing with colleagues and emails and badly brewed coffee. And so on weekends, I would be invited to a night out and I would drive out of my house alone and walk into a party alone.
Over time I realized that people would often ask, ‘Who are you here with?’ I would say, ‘Solo…’ It was no big deal. Matter of fact I didn’t realize it was a deal to be made into any matter. The non-boyfriend man I was seeing at the time went out alone a lot too. And my friends would say, “Oh, we saw Anthony last night. He was alone.” Or “Spotted Anthony at such and such, he was having dinner by himself.” At the time all I was interested in knowing was if he was with another woman and so, obviously, I missed the undertones of perplex in my friends’ comments, ‘He was alone…who clubs alone? Who dines alone?” is what they were really asking.
After a few parties though I got fed up. Not only by the questions but also by the pity party that formed around me when I joined a group at a party that I had attended by myself. So I started to call a friend to tag along. And then one day I asked Anthony, ‘Do people often ask you why you move around alone?” And he said, “They used to. Now they don’t. I am a grown ass man with a lot of money and power Julia. Why would I give a shit.”
I went to London. Like I have always said, London became my second love. I had an exhilarating love affair with London and left Nairobi in the dust, literally. No one cared that I was alone. I drunk coffee and smoked cigarettes and people-watched and hang alone all I wanted and no one ever asked, even once, “Who are you here with?”
I ended my affair and came back home. She was still kind of beat up and unkempt my beautiful Nairobi, but you know- East or West. I told Anthony, “You know what I miss? Going to a bar alone. Sitting at a restaurant alone. I want to do that and not get odd looks from people wondering what a beautiful young woman such as myself is doing there by herself.” Anthony sipped his whisky and smirked, “You’re a grown ass woman, single…um, well… unmarried, at a bar by herself, in Nairobi. You will get an odd look.”
And there it was. The same rules just don’t apply for women. He was single. I was unmarried. And what if I had Money? Power? Just like him. The conclusion would be that I am alone because I am too rich for a man. Too powerful for a man. I am threatening to the man.
And I get it. I don’t think it is fair but I get it.
Why am I writing this then? Look. This blog post will be my buffer. My get-off-my-case card. I am back home. I am still single. I am finally embracing singlehood and not in that sad miserable way but in an enlightened way. You know… I came to the conclusion that a beautiful young woman such as myself is still single because there is a lesson I am yet to learn before I can meet my partner. Simple. So I will just learn it. In the mean time I want the liberty to move alone. Whether or not my girlfriends are available. Besides, I am single. And I want when I go out alone, like tonight when I attend Patricia Kihoro’s ‘Life in the Single Lane,’-go figure, and someone asks, “Who are you here with?” I just want to say, “I came alone. Here is the link to my blog.”