We used to take these walks with my dad at night. Then we’d head home and look at the sky. He’d go on and on about constellations and how to identify them. I often paid attention almost as though it would be my last day like that with him. Who would have known that it was? He had been out of my life a couple of times, but I was always too young and naive to think that he was just working. Then one night, while we lived in Tanzania, I realized that he was never gonna be different. He would always be this man whom I adored so much but more often than not took vacations from me, From us. One time he was gone for too many years I welcomed the idea of life without him.
I loved my dad…more than I would ever want to admit. Ever. But he had been me my first heartbreak, and I have been on a downward spiral since then. It took something so horrifying to happen to me to realize some of the things that held me back. It took these three men, also looking for a living, to realize that I had so much pain from all the trauma I had been through to let go. Really let go.
Charles Bukwoski, in one of his poems, wrote: be ware of the people who read all time. I was one of those. Still is. I never quite understood what he meant in that line until recently. I was the reader, who did nothing but read. Who only read, but never adopted any of it in my life. Who only read, but really never made the initiative to write her own. I was the average woman he talks about in his poem; ‘So You Want to Be a Writer”. I was taking an early walk on the beach when this came to me. It had been almost two months since those men brought all my life set apart in shuckles. It had taken these men for me to realize that I had all this pain buckled behind my heart cage that needed to be sorted. I had all this pain, from years of pain, that needed to be sorted. I loved my dad. Still love him. But sometimes I feel so mad at him. So mad. So mad.
But I needed to make a decision. An initiative. I needed to move forward. I need to reconcile and make a complete U-turn. So I did. 3 weeks after what had happened to me, I was depressed. Utterly depressed. I was in this dark hole- I couldn’t hear anybody, didn’t want to talk to anybody, didn’t want to be alive, and didn’t want any of it. Any of it. But here I was. A week after this beautiful Samatian Trip, clutching at my phone asking my friend to come help me and take to hospital because I felt chained to the thought of it ending my life. I felt growth. I feel growth. Because for the first time in my life; I knew I was clutching at straws and asking for help. My friend and small sister came through for me in ways I couldn’t imagine and it was the first time in my life when I felt vulnerable to come clean about everything I had gone through when they kidnapped me. You see, I’m recognizing, that my country’s system has been set out to work against the victims. Almost as though, victims are an abomination for the society. Like a stain, like a wound, like a foul smell, like a rotten egg. There’s no hope for the victims.
I remember it like it was last week. I had just turned 25. It felt like a lifetime achievement- only it wasn’t. I had not known that all my red and blue butterflies would turn dark at the echo of pain. This guy had taken advantage of me and the police had looked me in the eye and told me that there was nothing they could do because he was the son of a politician. So there I was, no room for a fragile, hurt, broken woman. No room at all. I was all alone in it. Literally and figuratively. If I had known, I’d have done better. But I didn’t. And so I decided to move – out of this dark town into a different town. I needed to go so far away, and so I did. But I didn’t think that I would walk out of that pan and into the Domestic Violence pan. It was the first time a man had hit me. The first time.
But even then, I felt like I had deserved it. Like it was my fault. But it wasn’t. Took years to understand that. Years! My daughter had seen that shit. She tells that story to date like a thing that happened just two days ago. Her memory astonishes me. Buffles me. But neither am I suprised by it…I mean- she is her mother’s daughter. What she didn’t know is that I had tried to kill myself a couple of days after he hit me. She didn’t know that. She wasn’t there. But I thought of her in that hospital recuperating from wounds I had inflicted on myself. I thought of her. I thought of my mom and my siblings lying in that hospital bed, clad in these ugly hospital clothes, wondering how the hell I even got here in the first place. How did I get here?
How did I get here?
We’re creatures of habit. Creatures of routine. Creatures of the mundane life that society has laid down for us. Creatures of vagueness. Creatures of pain. Creatures meant to grow – and I was growing. I was growing. I! Was! Growing!
And here I was, walking at the beach, at 5:45am, acknowledging just how far I’d come. How long the trip had taken. And just how far I’d traveled. But it all felt worth it. Worth it! I was on that beach, all alone with my thoughts, wondering how I’d even lived 28years. At 26, them doctors told me I was going to die soon – and honestly, it didn’t matter because I had tried to kill myself just a couple of months before. It felt like punishment- one I did deserved. But the disease seemed to have not killed me, almost like it was buying me time. I just never knew it. Then here I was, blindfolded, weak, scared, shattered, destroyed, with no hope whatsoever. I never thought any praying could help. How could it? It never did! But this time it did!
They had dropped me at the edge of the road, in a place I never knew existed, but here I was – Alive. Alive! Alive!
But then again, here I was in the North Coast. Pretty much for free. A trip sponsored by my school to motivate the teachers. Did I feel motivated? No. Did I appreciate the trip? Absolutely YES! I had been going through this self-discovery journey since Samatian, and for once in my life, I felt like I was ready to do it all. Face my pain. Face my sorrow. Face my grief. Face my trauma. Face my sama. Face my dissonance. Here I was, ready to write this new chapter in my life. And here I am writing it!
Sometimes we go through the darkest of days. Darkest of shit. Darkest of pain. Darkest of days. And even though we may not understand the ‘why’ behind it, we recognise that even though that happiest day has happened yet, it was going to, and when it did – no one would dim that light. No one would.
Here I have been, two months since those guys wrecked my life, making it happen for my daughter. She means everything for me, but, I want to teach her to have her own. That was what my mother taught me, and if she hadn’t – the hike would have been hard! But I made it to the top. And here I am! And the only thing I wanna tell her is that she is the hope that keeps me going! She is the leader I never knew I needed.
Then again- here I was, for four days, in the coast. In the most beautiful spaces ever -enjoying my own company and going through it all. On the bad days I told myself it was gonna be okay. And on the good days, I appreciated how far I’d come. How much I’d conquered. How much I’d grown. And how much I’d actually come to love my own company. This was it! The blink opportunity I never had to take my life at the balls and really transform it. And I’ve been doing it since then.
There was the Ocean, trees, the Parrot, the swimming pools, the polite people, the wonderful room, and the wonderful people. And here even hough I had been a loner during this trip- I really loved it. Really did. I went there aware of my brokenness, and came out aware that I needed to fix all the empty holes within me! Are you?
My daughter asked me yesterday;”When was my happiest day?
And I told her: “My happiest day will probably be soon!” When I am the best Female Kenyan Writer to ever exist, writing the realest of stories, trying to make real change in my country, but most of all, appreciating how much she had pushed me through this hike. Because when I do, I’m gonna tell her, that she had been it. The hope I never knew I needed. The love I never knew I needed to learn from. And the grace to survive that I never knew I needed. So! How are you doing pal?
Four days the north coast taught me that I am supreme! I am human! And I am me! And though I am still taking this social sabatical, I need you to know that I’m still me. I’m still here. It’s been more than 2 months since I took this journey and I know some of you worry about me – But, I need you to know I’m okay. Just give me a little more time, please!