Insomniac

I couldn’t sleep from 3.30 am last night. I had woken up to pee and was wide awake after that. I know better. Not to drink too much water before bed, but I can’t help myself when I am thirsty. So I say fuck it, and gulp. I tossed and turned for about an hour after that. I have been having a lot of these sleepless nights lately, I thought. I decided to write a list of things to do because a lot of times when my thoughts are not organised, I can’t get my mind to stop. Maybe that’s why I cant sleep.

Call Jessica frominsomnia-700x933 Step Ahead 

Email Trevor.

Write speech for Uncle Ndwiga’s funeral (may he rest in peace).

Pack gym clothes.

Fold laundry.

Haircut.

Do not eat sugar or dairy.

But I still lay awake. I did my daily devotion. Gave thanks. I listened to some gospel.Then some Lianne La Havas. I read my texts. Replied messages I had ignored and deleted conversations from the winter wolves in sheep skin. The kind who only call you when the leaves start to fall and the air gets sick with winter’s whispers. The cold can be brutal. These are clever strategists. Trying to stock up on as much…affection…for the coming season where the sun has forsaken us and the wind is bitter. And then I decided oh well, I am up now, it’s 5 a.m. Need to be up by half 6, might as well go to the gym now rather than after work because I will obviously be too tired and sleepy at the end of the day for a workout. So I wore my gym clothes. Trainers and everything. Went up to brush my teeth and heard from the half open bathroom window confident raindrops pitta patta down below.

Hell no, not walking to the gym in the rain. And I turned off the lights. But then I thought… It’s just water. Rain water. And there’s my cousin’s rain coat at the bottom of the stairs.I turned the lights back on,  brushed my teeth and left. The drizzle was lighter than I thought. But I sprinted to the gym nonetheless ,11 minutes away on foot. The workout was great. 40 minutes fasted cardio nothing crazy – 6.30 am. Endorphins were exploding into my bloodstream and I was upbeat. I had a spring in my step, like the proverbial middle aged man’s who has finally cheated on his wife one week before his retirement.

As I turned the corner, the cold raindrops now a relief rather than a nuisance and the crispy dawn shy with a distant glare, a car whizzed past me on my left and a tsunami of urban rain water that had collected at the curb splashed hard and unapologetically against my side.

“Oiiiiii!!!!!” I screamed, surprised as well at the acculturation of British slang.

And I turned around to scold, but saw the blonde girl who had been next to me on the cross trainer at the ladies section of the gym where I trained, brown murky water dripping down her face, not forgiven by the selfish driver either. She flashed me a huge bright smile, sudden and intentional to capture my attention, teeth white and sparkling in childish delight. I smiled back. She laughed. I laughed. And we went our separate ways.

That is the end of my story.

Always,

jules_her

Fate or Decision?

I hardly ever miss an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Since my tender years, I have always questioned my roots; not only by way of origin as this show suggests but also in the way of mannerisms and character. I might have mentioned this once but when I was watching three 2 week old kittens play at the backyard of my neighbour’s house, I was thrown by my mother’s friend’s comment when she explained that the reason she named the kittens Fidget, Spicy and Dainty was because of their different personalities.

As a young girl, my mother always said that I was naughty. Now she says instead, that I was curious and headstrong. Perhaps a synonym at a time when you have no idea what you are doing with your child as a first time parent. Nonetheless, I was definitely a handful; always testing, always beating my own path and publicly questioning authority. I wondered why I was ‘a naughty girl’. I wondered why my sweet brother was never called ‘naughty boy’.“Say your prayers now,” my mom would say as she tucked me in, “And ask God to make you stop being naughty,” And I would.

So on this day, as I looked on at the kittens fumbling in the grass, sitting quietly next to Mama Mariam as she waltzed around a clay pot dotting it here and there in oil paints, her feet  bare and jingling bracelets a spectacle, something dawned on me. I identified with Spicy.Of course I did. And I watched the feline. She sprung up and grabbed a locust from the air. Fidget and Dainty jumped around her in wild excitement as their sister guarded her newly caught treasure. Mama Mariam leaped over to them and grabbed the locust placing it gently on a bush nearby beyond the reach of the kindle. Spicy pounced onto Mama Mariam’s foot, clawing at her toes but doing what seemed to me rather, like trying to climb up to the locust. “Ouch, Ouch,” she shrieked. “ No Spicy! Here, play with this,” and she dropped a bouncing rubber ball on the ground.

I wanted to run home to my mother at my wild discovery. I wanted to tell her that how I was, curious and headstrong, was my nature. If the kittens were born this way then it must be the same for me.  I never came round to doing this. 

What am I going on about? Fear. On this episode of Who Do You Think You Are, British actress Frances de la Tour was pursuing her family tree. Somewhere in her bloodline was Maria, married to a navy officer of some sort. Maria had had an affair with Henry, an affair that began during one of Maria’s husband’s voyages at sea. The maid at Maria’s house had given an account of how she found Maria’s marital bed in a tumble one unusual afternoon after Henry had visited. Maria fell pregnant. After realizing that the baby would be born about 5 weeks after the time it should have come had it been her husband’s child (based on the last time she lay with him before he left for sea) she decided to lie to her husband that the reason for her swollen belly was due to an illness. Rumours of the affair nonetheless reached her husband. He filed for a divorce-rare and only reserved for the social elite at the time. Soon after the divorce, Maria and Henry married and had other children. Maria died at just 50 and as a memento of some sort to his wife, Henry built a monumental inscription which still stands in a church somewhere in England to this day ,

Julia-screenshot

This is a tribute of the fondest affection to the memory of Maria Elizabeth the wife of Henry Jadis who died on the fourth of December 1831 is inscribed by her husband whose days of happiness gone forever by the bitterness of his sorrows…

…her gentle love for his children fearful sufferings and resignation …

…these are the tender and warmful recollections pressing upon his weary heart…”

And so the adulterous pair were shared a genuine love.

And then there was Sophia, whose indiscretions led to undesirable fortune. A daughter of an rich man, I think the last of three siblings, from a different part of the France de la Tour family tree Sophia fell pregnant out of wedlock. This made her marriage prospects weak. And so she married a low level army officer who was an abusive drunk. While her sisters were  attending tea parties, off getting married to the social elite; lords and the like, Sophia was resigned to a lesser life. A hasty and erratic yet affectionate letter written by her father (to whom I don’t recall) was found that described the sadness that filled the man over his daughter’s life. It was also discovered through the finding of expensive receipts from an apothecary (chemist) that Sophia was buying large and frequent amounts of a concoction that contained opium- the stuff used to make cocaine today- and that based from her buying patters, she was addicted to it. This medicine, in those days, was used to cure a range of diseases: depression, malfunctions of the nervous system, abdominal cramps but mostly venereal diseases such as Syphilis. Most venereal diseases at the time came from army men, as was her abusive husband. Sophia died soon after her last purchase. Her father organised an elaborate funeral for her that totaled to more than £500 pounds- equivalent to  over £ 60,000 today.

And thus my alarm. I haven’t committed adultery nor had a baby before marriage but a lot of the decisions I have made in my life , a lot of the relationships I have ended and friendships I have had (or dropped) have led me to where I am today. 27 years old, living in London, single and scared shitless of what my future might look like. Oprah said that your twenties are all about self discovery (smile) and if you know me personally, you know all well that self discovery I did pursue. But Oprah isn’t married. Nor does she have any kids. While all my friends are off getting married now or secure in long term relationships, I am nowhere near the sight of a relationship let alone an engagement.

Sophia, made this one bad mistake that had a negative domino effect on her life and ultimately led to a sad and slow death. Maria on the other hand committed adultery numerous times and then died young (karma perhaps) but she experienced what we all live for in this life; meaningful long lasting relationships. 

Julia-screenshot.JPG 2

Frances de la Tour

De la Tour expressed how startled she was to discover that  she had such scandal in her family. How such scandal even existed in those times. These two women. So improper. So bold. So curious and headstrong.

I would love to end on the note of bliss and somewhat just discovered wisdom; like a silver lining. That even though everyone is getting married or having babies or both I am on my own journey and my time will come too. Or that  even though they are happy on wedding photos, greasy smiles filled with anticipation and promise, plenty are getting into a union whose relationship is tar tarred with rumors of infidelity and secret offspring. The silver lining perhaps?

Deep down, however, the worry is real.

And so when a pompous ex calls me to explain to me a year later that it has just occurred to him that I am the one he must wife, that being in the bridal party at three weddings in three months has sparked in him an awakening, I realize that there surely is a (proverbial) clock. And ticking away it is. So much so that even the foolish who are now repelling good girls like a raindrop that has fallen on an army of ants, are discovering the errors of their ways.

How else can I be, but hopeful?

jules_her.

State of Being

When I was 6 I wanted to be a dancer and a painter and a writer. By the time I turned 8,it became apparent that there were no painters and writers around me and so I decided I would be a pediatrician. Not that I loved kids but I think I figured that Peds would be easier than GP because kids were smaller. And then I wanted to become a vet because I have always had a deep and usually extreme love for animals (I sieved ants from my juice and placed them back onto the kitchen counter)and well since society’s goal for any child (usually) was for them to become a doctor, I thought why not an animal doctor?Then came the vet on career day with his yellowing shirt and broken spectacles, taped along the bridge . He grimmly narrated a story of the horse with a broken leg that he had rescued the day before and I decided that I couldn’t become a vet because I was not emotionally capable of dealing with animals in distress. And so in highschool, I decided I would become a pilot because as I suffocated within the rigid depths of boarding school rules, inflexible routine and hormonally charged girl drama, the twinkling aeroplanes that would fly over us every so often to/from the airport nearby were my only source of comfort and reassurance of life beyond the walls of riara springs (girls) academy. And then I finished high school, with a pretty decent grade. Because aviation school was quite expensive, it was suggested that I go into medicine. “ You have the grades for it,” mom suggested. “How about marketing, I think you are more on the creative side..” dad implied… And so I studied marketing still aware of the fact that I didn’t have the resolution that I hoped to have when deciding on a career.

After finishing university I started to question everything. A job at a corporate firm threw me into disarray after realising that I couldn’t answer emails all day and call that work. My friends seemed to be settling into their “upwardly mobile, corporate bitch” roles easily. I struggled and I envied them. I wanted to be content. I had always followed the ‘system’ but all over sudden this charge within me just wouldn’t give in. It was maddening. Eventually, my conscience became too loud and thus! I became a singer and painter (lol). It was liberating and unobstructing and rebellious and fulfilling. It was also difficult and emotionally draining because I had to explain myself hundreds of times to people who didn’t understand my decision. And then I got broke. And while my father supported my decision he made it 100% clear that he would not be giving me any money once my savings run out. Slowly I started to resent my decision because, money is surely tied to our dignity. I wondered why other people never questioned as much as I, their inherent purpose. I wanted with everything in me to be just like them. After blaming God for giving me this inquisitive, hard headed, audacious nature, I took a fucking chill pill and stopped fighting. I let life flow because I can’t explain why some things happen but I get peace after listening to the likes of Joel Osteen who I heard say today-something about life being like a puzzle and that a complete puzzle is beautiful in its glory however if you took one piece out of the puzzle and looked at it you would say, “By golly! What a strange looking thing. Where would that fit (into my life)?”

me 2 - Copy

I usually reserve such personal entries for my diary but I think this may touch someone. Or maybe lead me to find an email in my inbox from a 65y/o silver haired free and strong willed female reader such as me who will say, “You are doing alright Julia. I did crazier things in my youth and look at me now.”

Yours

jules_her

Who Do You Think You Are?

I have been sitting in front of my computer for over 2 hours and done practically nothing to add to my dissertation. There are days I am on fire and I can write pages upon pages of wonderful literature review-okay that’s a fucking lie. Such days only exist in the singular- “that day” I wrote page upon page of wonderful literature review… Other than that I drag myself through heaps of mundane research just to come up with a review that to me seems tasteless. And so I blog.

conflicted_by_naomi89-d64uyh4I was just thinking about my friend Kimotho who invited me for an event last week that he put together. It was themed something along the lines of interesting minds congregating and discussing popular black culture and African art and nostalgia and areas of intersection. I flaked on him because my friend flaked on me and my friend was my date. I hate showing up to small intimate gatherings alone to be honest. Deep inside I don’t give a fuck until I discovered that everyone started to ask me why I was still single whenever I showed up to places alone. And that bugs me. So, I flaked. And now I just wonder how he must think of me, my friend Kimotho, having first met me on a night I was performing at a gig back in my singing days and watching me get drunk thereafter with his buddy at a karaoke bar. It just got me thinking of how different people may perceive you based on the experiences they have had with you. How you look to them from your perspective.

And so I made a list.

To Charles, who was my ex-boyfriend’s best friend in undergrad I must seem to be smultiple-personality imageensitive yet aggressive, broken/damaged yet determined and smart yet stupid enough to believe the sweet nothings that the guy with the gold tooth in the bar would whisper to me on a girls night out.

To my London girls I’m probably quick witted, overly opinionated, funny, super extroverted and too obsessed with calorie counting and black English boys with beards.

To my flat mates I’m perhaps scary, mysterious, a bit of a bitch (don’t touch my milk wtf) and overly zealous with cleanliness, take- out-trash duty and boundaries.

And finally  to my sweet friend Kimotho, on whom I flaked,I get the sense that I look like this flustered, complicated, artistic, all over the place, unsettled soul with a shitty personal life and an over the top personality that probably says the wrong things at the wrong time.

Well… in a sense I am all of these people. But not really. Because you cant really be defined by one person can you? There is this image that different people have of you, together and singularly and finally there is the image you have of yourself…Kind of how you would answer a “Describe Yourself” section on a dating app (I promise I don’t do those).

Let me get back to my dissertation.

Yours,

Jules_her.

The Head Scarf

Okay dokie… Sensitive topic coming up.

sourced from [https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=black+woman+sketch&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=643&site=webhp&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Bn46VdmHJ8Tiau3zgcAE&ved=0CCAQsAQ#tbm=isch&q=africanwoman+sketch&imgrc=WDg4uRGZyMy41M%253A%3B97e26Vged7dv9M%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fbeautifulrumi.files.wordpress.com%252F2012%252F03%252Fbeautiful-black-woman.jpg%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fbeautifulrumi.wordpress.com%252Fcategory%252Fbeauty%252F%3B465%3B640] accessed 24/04/06

sourced from [https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=black+woman+sketch&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=643&site=webhp&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Bn46VdmHJ8Tiau3zgcAE&ved=0CCAQsAQ#tbm=isch&q=africanwoman+sketch&imgrc=WDg4uRGZyMy41M%253A%3B97e26Vged7dv9M%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fbeautifulrumi.files.wordpress.com%252F2012%252F03%252Fbeautiful-black-woman.jpg%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fbeautifulrumi.wordpress.com%252Fcategory%252Fbeauty%252F%3B465%3B640] accessed 24/04/06

So there was this guy. 5ft 9”, ebony  dark goodness. And he asked me to kindly send him a picture of myself before we signed off from the chat. It was night time. And so I told him, “I meeeean, I’m already in my head scarf,” I wanted him to say, “It doesn’t matter, because you’re gorgeous I’ll do anything for you…”(que music) Instead he said, “Send a pic hon, just take off the head scarf”.

The debate that followed… Boy… And then I sent a picture with the head scarf on. After editing 150 times and wearing a tiny bit of make- up.

Hair.

I was about 11years old and puberty was creeping in: hips rounding, sweat glands on over-drive- I was an early bloomer- and Mariam had come from her new neighbourhood to distribute Christmas cards at ours where they had moved out of a year or so before. I ran to catch up with her soon after I spotted her from my bedroom window and asked if I could make the rounds with her. “Yeah, but my mom is waiting for me so we have to do this like, really fast-running….” And then it happened. The band slipped from her ponytail and her hair exploded into this dark swirl of shiny coordinated motion as she ran in what seemed to me a slow motion gallop. My insides burst with jealousy, “OH MY GOD! Your mom let you relax your hair?!!” (this was a big fucking deal back in my day) “Yap!” she responded.

That evening and for the rest of the year I whined about getting my hair relaxed. My mom would not budge. My mind was filled with visions of the black swirl on Mariam’s head that moved not against but with the wind. I saw myself accidentally dropping my hair band in class and leaning over my desk to pick it up, smiling in egotistical pleasure as everyone around me stared at the flow on my head. I envisioned wet hair, straight and chic at swimming class like Mariam’s. My mom would say, “Mariam’s hair is not like yours Waithera! Her hair is thick and tough and can withstand relaxer. Yours is not! She is not Kikiyu!” And so at the salon after a wash when my afro would poof from the sink scrub, I would show my mom that my hair was thick and tough.

Of course my hair never looked like Mariam’s- when the day finally came.

I could write about all these levels and themes about black hair and mix race hair and white hair and Malaysian hair- fake or real -but I’m going to cut right to the chase. One because I have a short concentration span and I can never get through pages and pages of blog (I skim, sorry) so I wouldn’t want similar readers to have to do the same. Secondly, this is not a rant. Hair and particularly black hair is a multi-layered, multi-dimensional topic laced with real issues around race, identity, origin, ego… and while I’m all about that, this post is not. Finally, I’m at work and I am trying to get this in before my boss gets suspicious because I am being too ‘typie’ on the keyboard.

If you are a black man and you like to date black women of full black-African descent, you are gonna have to accept that the head scarf will be a part of your romantic life. Natural hair girls who really take good care of their hair sleep in silk head scarfs to keep moisture in and etc. Relaxed / mbalas (weave) hair girls like me sleep in head scarfs also to keep the hair ‘right’, moisture in, maintain texture etc. There will be no moments where you can ‘Run your fingers through my Hair’ because there is no fluidity in our hair and if there was, it’s either too oily from the salon or not long enough for a ‘Running’…more like ‘hop down the patio steps through my hair’. Or it could be that there is a layer of tracks (team mbalas) that no girl in the world with a sew in weave is ever  going to let you feel.

I say black men because if I was to date a white guy I get the notion that he would never ask about my head scarf because of the ‘Fear of The Unknown’ element i.e  ‘Maybe its a black thing’ or ‘Maybe it’s an African thing’ or ‘Maybe she will pop off if I ask’. The hair that grows out of my head, brother, looks just like yours does when it grows out of your head. If you want a ‘Run my fingers through your hair’ session or you’re not a fan of the head scarf, maybe try dating a different race? And forego all the fulfilment that comes with dating a black girl? >Que in Big Sean ft Nicki Minaj ”A$*” track<<

And if you say you don’t do the head scarf at night, girl please? And if you say your girlfriend never wears one, probably when you spend the night she doesn’t (high five!)

Much Love

Jules_her

London Baby (32 Weeks). No, I am not pregnant

And so it has been 32 weeks in London. No one drinks tea in tea london babycups at tea parties, water isn’t pronounced ‘wotah’ but ‘wo-ah’ and I now fully understand what is meant by unforgiving nature (ie, biting cold).

So a few things about London that might interest my non-London mostly Kenyan readers…

The water tastes weird. They say its hard water. It’s slimy and doesn’t lather.

London is heavily multi-cultural. Just to put it into perspective; I have 5 out of 30 English friends. And only 2 are white English. The other three are born and raised British but have origins from India, Jamaica (waguan) and Albania. All of my other friends comprise of a mix of nationalities ranging from Italian, Danish, Russian, and American to Portuguese, Romanian, French and Mexican. Also, this is just my feeling but in America I was very aware of the fact that I was black/African. Here, not so much.

When it is cold in England you can’t ignore the weather forecast and hope that a scarf will serve as both a coat and umbrella. You will need the scarf and you will need the umbrella. Plus three layers of clothing as well as a winter coat. Gloves included in the heart of winter where it’s about minus 2 to 3 degrees. Yes and they said it was a mild winter. Hello Spring.

Londoners bitch and moan about the ‘poor’ transport system but really its wonderful coming from matatu beba beba land. But note,  transport is not cheap. Here, using public transport to and from work actually puts a dent on your wallet. God forbid if you have to switch from tube to train then bus.

The city is sprawling and I mean sprawling like ants (strong black army ants), with beautiful, black, handsome, well built, men. Thanks Jesus. >Insert Sarafina’s ‘Our Father’ track<

A lot of people smoke cigarettes here. Everywhere you look when you’re outdoors there is someone(s) holding a cigarette. Do not stare. I found most surprising to be the aged with heir walking sticks and frail postures puffing away, in death defying rebellion…  The women too-there is no shame to smoke in public even if you are pushing a baby carriage with one arm and smoking with the other. No judgement.

Just to give you a rough idea of how much you might need when going out, a regular shot of whatever liquor is roughly £3.50 to £4.00 in the cheaper parts of London. That estimates to about Ksh 550 per shot? Yeah. No 100 bob Molly’s shots here.

I’m afraid that’s all I can come up with today. I am knee deep in my studies and balancing work, school, gym and a social life leaves hardly any room to blog. All in all I am thoroughly enjoying this city. Please call me when you come around.

Duly,

Jules_her

The SH* Fan

shit hit the fanThere is something about the Law of Attraction that has never clicked with me. See, this school of thought supports the idea that if you really want something, you must always have it in your awareness. Think about it. Make vision boards on it. Walk around with mementos that remind you of it. Almost obsess over it but somehow keep your mind in a blissful, positive state. In my experience, if you really want something, the moment you stop obsessing over it, let go and ‘let God’ (if you will), then it comes to you. So really, when you least expect it (because you have let it go) it comes. This Law also states that, whatever you are experiencing in your life, you have attracted into your life…by virtue of your thoughts. Whether good or bad.

These past two weeks have been really rough on me. I lost a close friend. She was a fun loving, complicated free spirit – yet so simple. Everything I ever told her, she ‘got’ it. I never had to say to her, ‘you know what I mean’ because she understood. We did so many things together growing up. She was there when I experienced my first mini heart break from the dude who drove that graffiti painted double cabin pick up. We tried nicotine for the first time together in her front porch when her mom was at work. And we Katie her-break-out-record Perried because we were silly curious college delinquents. My heart breaks when I replay the white casket being lowered into the ground. See you up there sweetie.

Then there is this break up that shot me from the back.

And now I’m leaving for the UK to pursue my masters. Not packed. Not prepared.

In respect to the Law of Attraction, all that I am experiencing I have attracted to me. Even by writing these words down I am reaffirming and reliving these experiences in my current state thereby setting a preface for my future state. How can this be so, yet I am better than yesterday and I am better than I was two hours ago yet, then, I was worse than I am now.

I don’t know. What I do know is that there is a learning that I am meant to get out of this. All this turmoil, all at once and so intense cannot be because He is a narcissist and the reason I am confident about this is because He has been showing up all over the place as if to pull me away from the centre of the tornading chaos while still allowing me to see and feel force it.

And finally He reveals through an unexpected source, ‘I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.’ Phillipians 4:12-13.

Okay chill, not to be deep or whatever. I’m still Julia. I still wanna curse and down 5 jager bombs. But, really, all I’m trying to say is that, a lot of shit just came my way all at once and I was just standing there, no tissue paper or goggles and then He just showed me a lot of Love. You know what I mean? (LOL)

That’s all Folks,

Jules_her