S.U.I.C.I.D.E.

Ssshhhhhhhhhh…

Don’t talk about it

Don’t even think about it

The more we ignore it

The more it’ll go away

Soon enough, it’ll all be forgotten

Killing oneself?

That only happens in the West

If you ever feel like doing it

Probably because you don’t believe

You lack faith in God

You have no hope in life

Stop thinking about it at all

It”ll all pass

And you’ll move on

So forget about it

And Ssshhhhhh

Never bring it up again.

The amount of times I’ve been silenced on suicide and mental health astonishes even me at this point in life, never have I seen people be so ignorant and treat a matter as taboo, even when it happens several times in their community as they treat mental illness and suicide. It looks like staying silent on the matter is just increasing the rates by the tens and thousands.

In 2017 , suicide rates in Kenya raised by 58%.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that close to 800,000 people commit suicide every year, which means one person every 40 seconds.

Kenya is ranked as 6th in Africa for the highest number of depression cases reported.

For ages 15-29, suicide is the second leading cause of death.

And get this, males are at a higher risk of suicide than females.

Toxic masculinity, where men aren’t allowed to feel, talk about their feelings or express emotions should stop.

We have big issues to address in our community, and instead of treating it like a serious matter which needs attention, we push it aside, sweep it under the carpet and hope we never have to ever talk about it.

Suicide is not a single thought, of I want to die.

It’s walking up in the morning wishing you had died in your sleep.

It’s feeling no will to continue living, barely surviving

It’s wishing you never have to explain, why you always tired and down

Wishing you’d just fade away and no one would notice

It’s trying to escape the suffocation

The drowning, the exhaustion

It’s thinking you don’t have anything to live for

No one cares

No one ever did

No one will ever do

It’s not wanting to cause pain

Not wanting to be a burden

It’s feeling left out

Like no one can understand

They never do

They never will

It’s feeling too much

Then nothing at all

Craving the lightness of just being a soul

It’s the depression talking

The misery setting in

And anxiety rooted within

It’s the dark thoughts clouding all good

That even when you try to remember that there is hope

It disappears

Cause in the end we all are alone.

That is what feeling suicidal is to me

That even when you want to hope

It runs fast leaving coldness

It’s losing one’s self to

Numbness

Darkness

Drowning

Cutting

Jumping

Hanging

Swallowing

Hopelessness

one small act and it’ll all fade away

No more pain

No more dismay

No hurting anymore.

 

But see, all this is a LIE. PEOPLE CARE.

Even when we think that it’ll all end with us, it doesn’t.

We still have mountains to climb

Sunsets to watch

Drinks to enjoy

Rains to dance in

Oceans to explore

Cultures to experience

We are yet to love and be loved

To care and be cared for

And it all begins with me

And you

You mean the world to someone else

You never are alone

Stop with the depreciating jokes

Every morning

Tell yourself

You are strong

You can make it

You can make it

You can make it

Then strive for it

Strive for a better day

Strive for a real smile

One day at a time

Just one more day at a time

Smell the fresh earthy smell after rain

The warm coffee scent

The rich chocolate taste

The feeling of the first morning ray

The sound of the chirping birds

You never are alone

Seek help

Lean on others to support you

 

 

 

To family and friends dealing with people struggling with mental illnesses and suicidal thoughts, talk about it, don’t shun them away, and later wonder why they never said anything, why you never noticed and that you were always there. If you can’t handle it, ask a professional to intervene.

Be a good listener, listen well.

Offer emotional support.

Encourage them to seek help.

Remind them that the sun will rise again.

HER STORY

 

SENSITIVE TOPICS AHEAD!

 

I write this to share a story I hid deep inside, a story I fear being read, a story I wish no one ever experiences, but sadly many do.

I grew up surrounded by men, an only girl in a family of seven, I loved and trusted all my brothers, for I knew safety was home. safety was in the confines of our room, our room, one I shared with my 3 brothers. Growing up, money was tight but still life was good, we went to good schools, slept with our tummies full and walked around well dressed. I remember family road trips to the rural,  food made from mud and of course, family. Family made everything better.

One trip was different though, coming back we had a new guest to add, a cousin who wanted to study in the city, tired of the local run down college back home. A Harambee was done, and he was sent away to live with us. I was happy, gained another brother, 7-year-old me couldn’t stop smiling, another family member, another blessing.

“I know it’s hard adjusting to live with an extra person in a crowded room kids, but remember a guest is a blessing, I don’t want to hear any complains, understood?”

We all understood, no body wants to embarrass Mummy, so we all promised to be on our best behaviour.

Days passed, and we all got along so well that when asked, 7-year-old me had 5 brothers now, 5 brothers to play with, to eat with and to go home to, where home was safe, safe was our home.

A community pool opened up in our neighbourhood, one that was affordable to us, provided we saved up a week of our allowances, a measly Ksh 50 per head, so we did. And I couldn’t have been more excited, even though the only waters I knew were the rushing stream near Grandma’s house in the village and the big lake, where only big boys could swim because of the sharks and crocodiles.I’d watched Jaws with my brothers, there was no way I would risk swimming in shark and crocodile infested waters, I heard even an anaconda was spotted swimming one day! Finally I would know what it was like to swim. I couldn’t even sleep the day before.

Clad in my first ever mtush Disney one-piece,I was the happiest 7-year-old girl in the pool, it even had Bella and Cinderella! I stayed in the kiddie side of the pool, splashing water and holding the rail and kicking my legs into the water, enjoying with all the kids my age, and occasionally hitching a ride on the backs of my brothers’ backs, while others pretended to be sharks, it would have been the best day of my childhood, if the story ended there. The reason I probably remember everything in detail was because of the events that occurred after it.

My new ‘brother’ wanted to carry me around in the water, so I hopped excitedly, hoping for another games of Jaws and Crocodiles, only he was the monster after all. Creeping hands into my beautiful Disney one-piece, one that I found and burned a couple of years ago.

“SSSSShhhhh, don’t make a noise, I promise you’ll enjoy it, don’t let anyone see”

I didn’t enjoy it, I was confused and angry and scared, I was terrified. I didn’t know what was going on and I couldn’t tell anyone, not even Mummy, because she said

“NO COMPLAINS. BE ON YOUR BEST BEHAVIOUR”

That was the first time it happened, in a public pool, in front of my parents and 4 siblings.

Days later, it happened again.

Being the youngest and in Class One, school always ended early for me, I loved it because I had more time to read and play. I had a very healthy books collection because whenever I did something good, I was always rewarded with a new book, it wasn’t new in age, but it was a new story to read. I knew all about the Cunning Fox, the Quick Hare, the Wise Owl and the Brave Lion.

I had left school early, as always and I was excited to be home. I had recently passed my Mid Term examinations and I already had 3 books waiting for me at home. If I had realized earlier than it was home, I would have willingly stayed bored at school till 5 waiting for my brothers than go back home.

It cornered me in a room, alone and scared, still in my uniform where I was gagged and shoved on the floor. I tried fighting but it twisted my arms, successfully dislocating a shoulder, I think I passed out several times where I woke up in pain, in bed, face free of the tears I had wept, begging it to stop hurting me, begging it to stop, crying for it to leave me alone. It said it would kill me if I ever said anything, it was easy to squeeze my throat, it showed me by doing it. Or smothering me with a pillow, it was easy to do it too.

I walked around with a dislocated shoulder until it was too painful for me to handle, I showed Mommy and told her I had fallen in school playing at the monkey bars. It said no one would believe me, even if they did ask me, what happened, how was I to know what was going on? How would I say it? Every one was blind to it, and they loved it so much. When it realized, it had hurt my shoulder bad enough that I had to go to the hospital, it started being “nice and sweet.”

For 3 years, until it moved away to start a life, it bribed me with sweets and soda, promising never to hurt me again, never again. It was sweet to me for a long time, long enough for me to nearly forget.

But it happened again, again and again.

For 3 years until it moved away after finishing college.

I had stopped talking as much, no one noticed.

I didn’t want to leave the house as much, no one noticed.

I grew terrified of my own father and brothers, no one noticed.

It said I deserved it anyways.

I was JUST  7 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!

I took an oath to hate men, they were monsters, I had lived  and slept in the same room as one.

The room that was safe, haunted me in my nightmares.

I had night terrors, no one noticed.

I woke up in tears, whimpering and crying no one noticed.

I’ve never spoken out loud about IT, how could I?

I see it every holiday when I go to Grandmas

I see its wife

I see its daughters

I know Mum and Dad love it so much.

They call it son.

So how could they believe me?

No one would

They never noticed anything, why would they now?

The rage I feel for IT is so consuming so powerful

I wish I could burn it to ashes with my eyes

I shall never forget it

Never forgive it

The monster that I lived with

I can’t say who I am, or who IT is,

I never was one to cause chaos, I wonder if anyone would believe me, if they did, what would happen to it? Will they risk breaking up not one but two families based on something they never knew about?

I’ve seen around and I’ve heard the excuses.

“It’s too late”

“You should have spoken earlier”

“Why did you stay silent”

“We can’t do anything”

Sorry, I was scared for my life

I’m sorry I lived in fear

The statute’s expired while I drowned in nightmares

Since I can’t sue you here

I leave with my scars and cries

See you in the Court Above.

I still live with nightmares, I’ve seen therapists, counsellors and life coaches, it does get better, but when?

Every time a story like mine comes up in the news, I wake up terrified of my own shadow.

Every time I see the backlash and stigma in this topic, I am relieved I never shared mine, then angry, so angry and furious that our uneducated and uncivilized society would blame the victim, again and again.

I contemplated killing myself when I was ten, ten year olds SHOULDN’T EVEN THINK about killing themselves, but I did, I have tried several times, but I now know that it wasn’t my fault, I DESERVE TO LIVE, I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY.

Slow but steady, I have rough nights where I wish I could just off myself, I hate being touched by anybody at all times, I have panic attacks randomly and I am on depression medication. I have never been in a relationship, simply because I still do NOT trust easily, I understand that not all men are monsters, but I am yet to believe it myself. It took me years to accept love from and trust the male figures in my lives, my father and brothers, SEVERAL YEARS.

I AM A SURVIVOR!

I tell my story, not to gather any pity, but to remind others and myself, I have lived this far, reached this far, and hopefully will one day reach where I want to be.

“WhAt WeRe YoU WeArInG?”

A one piece long-sleeved Disney swim suit.

“YoU sHoUlDn’T hAvE wOrN tHaT!”

I was 7, and I was swimming.

“YoU InStIgAtEd It!”

I was  SEVEN YEARS OLD!

“PrObAbLy DoN’t FeAr God?”

I was raised in a Religious household, Religious God-fearing Household.

“WhY dIdN’t YoU SaY aNyThInG?”

I was terrified for my life, I was tied, gagged, smothered by a pillow, choked and it dislocated my shoulder.

“YoU cOuLd HavE sToPpeD IT!”

HOWWW????? I WAS SEVEN! HE WAS OLDER! STRONGER! MORE POWERFUL!

“ThReE YeArS? YoU oBvIoUsLy LiKeD iT iF iT hApPeNeD fOr ThAt LoNG!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Any more ignorant and stupid idiotic questions?

 

All those who blame sexual abuse victims are as bad as the abusers themselves, we fail to provide a proper supporting society, and continue to stigmatize and terrify the survivors more.

UNTIL WHEN WILL PEOPLE SIMPLY UNDERSTAND THAT NO IS NO!

Child molesters and sexual abusers might be the scum of the earth.

We live in a terrifying world where a Sexual harassed or abused victims called a liar, even when there is proof, a coward for not stepping up sooner, a

Rape culture trivializes the experience of women while at the same time blaming us for what we’ve experienced. It perpetrates myths about why men rape and simultaneously underplays and exaggerates its impact on victims and survivors.

1 in 3 women has experienced sexual harassment.

Every 5 minutes, someone somewhere is being raped.

To every survivor reading this.

You are strong,

You are beautiful,

It was NOT your fault,

It never was, never will be.

I am sorry for society, its backward thinking and stupidity.

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!

#METOO

 

 

*BASED ON A TRUE STORY, SOME DETAILS HAVE BEEN EDITED TO PROTECT THE SURVIVOR. 

 

ORGANIZATIONS THAT CAN HELP:

Childline Kenya : www.childlinekenya.co.ke

Wangu Kanja Foundation :  www.wangukanjafoundation.org

Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC- Kenya):  www.gvrc.or.ke

Centre for Assault Recovery of Eldoret (CAR-E): +254 532033471, +254 53 2061005

Gender-based Violence Recovery Centre- Coast Province General Hospital ; 

Helpline: 254 20 2179519 / 2179521
Airtel 0734 466 466 , Safaricom 0722 208 652

 

Divinity FGM Rescue Centre: http://divinityfoundation.com/

CARA Girls Rescue Centre: https://caraprojects.com/

Women’s Rights Awareness Programme (WRAP): http://preventgbvafrica.org/member/womens-rights-awareness-programme-wrap-2/

 

 

JUST GOOD ENOUGH

Not the prettiest face out there,

Not the kindest soul

Not the innocent one in a bunch

Not the funniest in the lot

Not the ONE

Still deserving

Deserving of respect

Good enough for love

Just good enough

 

I believe

In my heart

In shades of gold and white

I believe in my soul

Colorful and light

Little bit old, Still bright

I believe in my smile

Mismatched teeth and dusty lips

I believe that my eyes

Brown and warm

All are good enough

Just enough

 

DARK SKIES

Dark skies

Proof of storms

In a bright time

Even storms are beautiful

In its destruction, we romanticize

We live in illusions

Of never-ending storms

We enjoy rainbows

A bright thought

After heavy showers

We look at dark skies

Wondering when the sun shall shine again

We know for sure, storms don’t last forever

Or do they?

Till now,

They’ve always been temporary

The winds come and blow

Thunder booms and cracks

Lightning flashes and blinds

We still believe,

The sun shall shine on us once again

It is said, (Vivian Greene, 2006)

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass,

it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

So why lose hope,

Dance in the rain,

Learn to live, even when in pain

Whatever has come, shall pass

So have hope and believe

Even this,

Shall come to an end.

I write as I breathe

I write as I breathe

Inhale the words

Exhale the art

I write as I breathe

Of the day I had with a smile

Of the night I spent in tears

I write as I breathe

Of the love I left broken-hearted

Of the soul I set fire to.

I write as I breathe

Of the journey I take

Of the stops I make along the way

I write as I breathe

Of the pitter patter of the rain

Of the ring ring of a bell

I write as I breathe

Of the coffee scent, warm and rich

Of the ground smell, wet and home

I write as I breathe

Of the warms hugs and beautiful words

Of the  cold hearts and sharp tongues

I write as I breathe

Of the yin

Of the yang

I write as I breathe

For as long as I shall live

For the souls, searching, just like me

I will write as I breathe.

What Love Is NOT

Love is NOT to me

Two souls becoming one

Two strangers walking on the same path

Or two people sharing one last name

Love is NOT, to me

All consuming

All overwhelming

Like a forest fire

Leaving ashes and destruction behind

Love to me, is NOT

A storm that lights up the skies

Creating beautiful distractions

Leaving rubble in its wake

Love to me is NOT,

Centering life around his core

Existing because he is

Breathing because she is

Living, because we are in love

Love to me is NOT,

Empty words

Broken promises

Drowning in tears

Left alone in shatters

Love to me is NOT,

Seeing perfection in your being

Seeing dreams in my dreams

Living recklessly while beaming

Love to me is NOT,

Chasing away my demons,

Forgetting my problems when I’m with you

Or getting addicted to your presence.

Love to me, is NOT

Using words

It’s not in a thousand poems

Or a thousand songs

Love to me, is NOT

this and more.

So ask me what Love means to me?

It’s two friends

Accepting

That they are two individuals

Living and loving each other

As they move separately in their own paths

Love to me,

Is loving one’s self first

Before learning to love another

For no one is more important,

Than one’s self first

Love to me,

Is loving the twinkle in her eyes

The mischievousness behind his smile

The 3 am senseless conversation

The simple act,

Of him showing his love

Don’t just tell him, you love him

Let him see it

Love to me is,

Accepting

Loving entirely

Flaws and all

It’s seeing them at their worst

And staying, and accepting

It’s the imperfections

The shortcomings

Love to me is staying

In the arguments

In the struggles

In the high of the swing

And the low of the trip

It’s being there

Warm hands and all

With a place in the heart

Love to me,

Is never-ending support

Is correcting me when I’m wrong

Is leading me home, when I go astray

Is lighting up the path, when darkness is all around.

Love to me,

Is helping me face my nightmares

Is being supportive, as I tackle my problems

Is believing I can do it on my own,

I’ll just need you there, to cheer me on.

Love to me is,

Not needing words

For you can feel it in your bones

From deep in your heart, to the edge of your soul.

I love with a passion

Never shall I let it consume me whole

I love with conviction,

Never once shall I doubt you

I love healthily

My happiness belongs to me

I love with trust

That forever will we last

I love with sincerity

In me is my loyalty

I will love you separately

For once, I will love me firstly.

Trust me when I say,

Love to me is everything and more.

Be my beacon in darkness

I’ll be the light of your eyes

Be my support when I’m tired

I’ll be your shoulder to lean on

Be my warmth when it’s cold

I’ll be the coolness when it’s hot

Look for me in the night sky

For during the day, You are the sun of my eye.

 

 

 

In this society, we all have our versions of what love is. To me, it’s sweet and beautiful, sometimes hard, but it’s about compromise, not full sacrifices. We don’t need to lose ourselves in ‘goals’ and those we love to be in love. Love builds, it doesn’t destroy, it heals, not harms. Love is finding yourself and loving yourself first, then loving another.

I pray you all find the purest love there ever is.

 

 

 

 

Stay Home Little Girl!

Stay home little Girl

The world is big and bad

You wouldn’t survive it at all

Stay at home,

Don’t come out

Lock your doors

Don’t open them for none

Stay home

You need to be safe

Stay home

If you don’t want to be raped

Or abused

Or even killed right on the streets

But be wary

Of those you stay at home with

For sometimes betrayal comes from deep within.

So stay at home

But even so,

Don’t stay at home alone

With a man you don’t trust

But those that stab you in the end

Are those who’ve always had your back.

I’m not sure, now

Should you stay at home?

Risk your life?

Or go outside?

And risk your life?

When you go out,

Cover all

Don’t reveal

Not too short

You’ll be asking for it

Not too tight

How dare you!

Not too sleeveless

Not too showing

Not too beautiful

Are you serious right now?

Conceal

But even in jalabiyahs,

Do girls get raped too

So walk fast

But don’t run

You know what?

Maybe just run home

So you, little girl

Can stay safe

Be pretty,

But not too much

Don’t say you are pretty

Cause no one likes a vain princess

Be healthy, eat well

Be thin

Don’t eat too much

You need to fit in

Watch your surroundings well

Don’t draw attention to yourself

Hide your intelligence

Don’t reveal your thoughts

Let your speech be silent

No one wants a loudmouthed wife.

Do as your told

Don’t ask for your basic human rights

Listen to me little girl

Why should you always disobey?

Stay at home

Learn to cook and clean

To sew and stitch,

Maybe even learn to knit

Stay at home,

For that’s where you belong.

Not in a man’s world

Where at school

You fall prey to lewd glances from all,

Not in the roads,

Where you are vulnerable to all, not a thief, not a rapist, not a murderer

Not at home,

Where your own blood can turn against you

So stay in my heart little girl

I’ll protect you

I’ll give you my cavalry

Confidence and courage

I’ll give you an army

Women just like you

I’ll give you weaponry

Hope and dreams

I’ll teach you skills

To create a name for yourself

I’ll give you everything

So be careful when you leave home

Preserve your modesty

Know your worth

Have your goals

Speak

Let your voice be heard

Believe you can achieve

Let not any man bring you down

You are more than just your gender

I’m standing right beside you

Little girl,

Go forth and face the world.

You are pretty perfect,

Just the way you are.

Don’t change for the world

Go out and change the world.

 

Forgiving Humanity

She’s asked

Why are your thoughts sad

Why do your dreams sound broken

Why does your heart seem crushed

Do you not believe

In humanity anymore

What about its redemption

Can we earn not forgiveness

From our never-ending repentance

Our regrets. Our confessions.

What should we do?

To right our wrongs

To earn our vindication

Can we not earn back your trust?

Pretty little girl,

Forgive humanity

For turning a blind eye

We’ll turn over new leaves

Never again, will we concede

To evil, and what it yields

Excuse our misgivings

Pardon our shortcomings

Forgive us,

So we may learn to forgive ourselves

There still is hope

For not all of us cower in fear

We’ll stand up

Behind you, Right next to you

We’ll be brave

We’ll fight the silence

We’ll preach to the masses

Behind #metoo

We all shall be right there, with you.

 

 

Listen Up, NO means NO.

I feel my heart heavy

My feet dragging on

Everywhere I look

I see pain and heartbreak

Girls been raped

Abused then accused

There was consent

They lied

After all, they enjoyed it

And then they were asked

Why didn’t you speak up sooner

Stop changing the narrative

We know what happened

Even when were not there

We know

After being told

To cover up

Wash up

Clean yourself up

Then shut up

It’s done anyway

We’ll raise you higher up

Worry not,

We’ll give you free tuition

To cover up this flawed situation

Come on, we are in a corrupt nation

Seems like we gained naught from our education

That No means No

Say yes, say Yes

Even, when you tried to say no

We’ll prove it was yes, it was yes

Before educating me for free

A price you want to buy me

For my silence, for my screams

I’ll give you a lesson for free

NO MEANS NO

I say NO to your price

I shall not be bought

I say NO to silence

I stand NOT alone

I say NO to rape culture

I only wish I was heard

When I first said NO.

Let’s learn consent

If I was tricked into it, then it’s a NO

If I was drugged, Then it’s a NO

If I said yes, then changed my mind, it’s my choice, and I choose to say NO

If I was held hostage, knife on my throat, Trust me it’s a NO

If I did NOT explicitly, without doubt, force or willingness, say Yes, then it’s a NO

I owe you nothing

No matter who you are

Not my body, Not my choice

It’s mine, My decision to make

And if it’s a NO, It’s a NO

Take a hint, and LET GO, It’s A NO

How many more times

Do I have to repeat myself

I seem to be not passing the message through

But if I will be believed

Then

See you in court

See, I kept an If

Because in this corrupt country

With most high ups deep in bigotry

I doubt that I’ll ever be heard

But for you, listening

Reading this, and understanding

Share my story

So we can stand together

To fight this creature

An ugly monster

In the form of rape culture

#metoo

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