#WeStandTogether

From a morning filled with laughter, jokes, people milling about doing their business and others scouring the depths of their photo albums to keep up with the #10YearsChallenge, to events so horrific and terrifying that shook us all as Kenyans.

The moments that followed after I saw an active shootout ongoing in a city I call Home, a city I grew up in, a City my family lives in.
I held my breath in as I called and texted family to know if everyone was alright, and I clutched my hands in prayer, asking God to protect those still stuck inside.

The people inside were someone’s father, someone’s sister, someone’s mother, someone’s friend,and I could only just imagine the fear while one awaits to hear news about your loved ones.

After almost 14 hours of keeping up with all the news, local and international, the area was secured and all hostages rescued and the terrorists defeated.

For most, the horror ends there.

For others, the horrors had just began.

One who had to cover herself with the blood of her fallen comrades and stay still as bullets rained.

One who hid in a toilet as the terrorists combed through the plaza.

One who kept on waiting for hope, already accepted death, said his goodbyes.

One who called his father and ,made it out alive, but lost his brothers.

One who passed by fallen Kenyans, people who were moments ago, alive and going on with their lives.

700 made it out alive. Scarred. Traumatized. Survivors.


14 passed away.

14 never made it home.

14 friends.

14 family members.

14 people who left home with no idea of what the day holds.

Prayers came in all directions.


Support showed through.

Hundreds showed up for blood donation.

Mama showed up with tea for the brave souls that undertook the rescue mission.

And then came the hate.

My close friend locking herself in her room in the Campus hostels to avoid the taunting of her school mates.

Your neighbor Muhammad is now no longer your good friend, but a terrorist who needs to go back to his country.

People calling for raids and attacks on Muslim and Somali owned businesses and Worship places.

This is not my Kenya.

This is the time to RISE above the hate.

Terrorism has no colour, no religion, no community, no tribe.

We all are affected.

As a country.

As a people.

As a community.

Choose love and peace above the hate and division.

#WeStandTogether

#WeAreOne

#WeShallOvercome

HELPLESS

The worst feeling ever

One I never felt so deeply

Wishing I could do everything

Unable to do anything at all

Helpless.

Utterly and totally helpless.

Rationally, I know

There is no thing I could do

To change what happened

Yet here I am

Helpless

I wonder if this comes with the job

Having to remain closed off

Having to not feel

Knowing that others I’ll be able to help

While others I just have to watch them slip away

Knowing it was above me

And I know that what’s written will always happen

The course had been set

The timing was up

Yet I still feel

So helpless

I pray to Allah to ease this feeling

I know it was His will

And I know it was meant to happen

And slowly I’ll come to accept it

But this feeling I wish to never feel

So utterly helplessly helpless

cursed

Cursed one

‘Ulolaaniwa’

He never wanted me

Never will

A father is her daughter’s King

Mine is my nightmare

A father is to hold you

Mine is to hit me

A father is to love you

Mine loathes me

A father is to protect you

I need protection from him

A father is the light in his daughter’s eyes

Mine snatched all the light away

A girl is blessed to have her father alive

Mine is cursed to have me alive

I was taught

From when I could understand

Stay out of his way

He’ll kick me if I don’t

Stay out of his sight

What new curse could he come up with today?

Let him not hear you

You don’t want to be hit

I wonder why

He could never love me

I’ve tried my best

1st in all my classes

Until he made me drop out

Wasting his money

Only to be married

An excellent cook

Until he burnt me ‘accidentally’

A voice like a bird

Until he had me caged

Silent

Silent tears

As I cradled my broken arm

No hospitals

So it never healed right

A painful reminder

Each and every day

That I am cursed

Cursed to be born

Cursed to be his daughter

Cursed to be a girl

Simply cursed for who I am.

blind

Love blinds

So people say

Well, it never did me

I just chose to ignore

Ignored when he raised his voice

Ignored when he broke the TV

Ignored when he threw words around

Ignored, but felt it each time

Then he first raised his hand

I ignored

He left

I cried myself to sleep

I chose to be blind

I held it in

Chose to ignore

For my little 2 year old boy

I chose to be blind

Until I couldn’t anymore

Then I tried leaving

But I couldn’t

Mama said

What would people say?

Baba said

Think of your son

Auntie said

I probably deserved it

Society said

A woman should persevere

And everyone saw

The bruised arms

The black eyes

But everyone chose to ignore

They all become blind

He is my husband

I love him

I should persevere

Maybe, I did deserve it

I’ll hold my tongue

Never ask where he is

Never argue

Never raise my voice again

Blind to his faults

Then came my little girl

One look at her

And I knew

I wouldn’t let her live like I do

I’ll show her what love is supposed to be

Not a broken heart

A twisted arm

Or a bruised eye

Her Mama will make her proud

And I left

For my walking son

He shouldn’t be like

The monster he calls father

Love is not this.

I choose not to be blind anymore

Society be damned

I am no more blind

This time I choose to be deaf

Let them talk

hurt

First time she did it

We both were shocked

I was hurt

Bleeding

And not just from the cut

The one she placed

Right above my eye

8 stitches

But the pain

Was not as much as

The one in my heart

I was hurt

She said sorry

She was angry

It’ll never happen again

She held me as we both cried

And I believed her

And it happened again

A screaming match

Followed by a thrown vase

Then a cut again

This time my arm

And again

A blow to my head

She took me to the ER

Laughed off with the nurse

Men and their competitive nature

Got beaten up trashtalking

Said his team was better

I couldn’t say a word

Disoriented

Confused

Hurt

And again

And again

Every time she’s angry

Every time she’s upset

Elaborate lies

Made up stories

Who do I tell

Who do I confide in

That the one I love

Hurts me the most

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

 

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.

 

HOME SICK

I started feeling lonely recently, withdrawn from human contact, keeping socialization to a minimum, maintaining conversation only when necessary, doing everything I can not to let anybody come close, including being flippantly rude, ignoring calls and messages. I even started losing topics of conversations, with my best friend, my mother.

Other than the weather, the times and how I feel adapted to a new place, here, I feel trapped, I feel suffocated, and I don’t want to feel this way. Anxious, scared and terrified.

And being away from home hits hard. Some days everything irritates me. From the weather to the little things like misplacing an item. Small inconveniences make me want to curl up in a ball and cry.  And being someone scared of putting my emotions out there, I’d rather stay in and be hush about it. When you’ve been labelled a cry baby, dramatic and attention seeking from a young age, letting others in is braver than most would like to admit. Admitting it makes one vulnerable, and human, but vulnerable. I wouldn’t want any one to worry about me, especially my parents and I definitely don’t want fake pity from someone who will pretend to understand only to gossip about it. I might sound bitter, but trust comes at a price if all you’ve seen and mostly experienced is being at the receiving end of broken trust.

When I left my home for a new country, barely a week after my Uncle passed, then a little later, my little baby girl and then my cousin-brother who I grew up with, just days after his birthday. I’ve never regretted being here and choosing to follow my heart more than I did in those days. And there was no one here, I could turn to, not because I don’t trust friends I’ve made here, but scared of what letting people in might bring. I made a mistake of letting one loss slip out, and someone joked about how I can always find a ‘replacement’ for a brother I love and lost. So far, this has been the hardest to deal with.

I’ve had happy times, many a  times. Sleepovers, movie nights, trying new restaurants, exploring new places and meeting new people. All adventures that made me feel happy and excited that I agreed to leave and travel and meet new people. and follow my dream. I wish that I was more open to more adventures, but it’s another issue if you have social anxiety and would rather 100% stay in than go out. Living in fear of being judged, by being judgmental myself. I fear no one would understand, that I judge them where they stand as I myself fear the same for myself. I do try to push out of my limits and comfort zones, maybe not as hard as I can, but as long as I am comfortable.

And I feel more better as I type this out, lighter, a little bit scared, but better nonetheless. It was a big change and for a while, I changed myself in hopes that I would fit in, but it never happened. And it took me a while to see reason and realize that I was not true to myself and my principles. It’s better to be myself and face the world, than change and face the same issues, because no matter how hard I push myself to try to be someone else, the world still runs the same course, and that is not something I can change.

To try to deal with it, I had a routine I followed, pamper days in the safety of the room I live in, cooking for myself, reading and getting lost in words, and movies and series and shopping and walks alone. Some activities work, others remind me that I’m alone here. Then I expanded my routine, added more time for activities I like that made me feel better. Listening to Qur’aan more, reading it more and trying to understand it better, watching YouTube channels that I like and reading and writing more. I’m still finding new ways to deal with it.

Everyone deals with it differently. Any big change in your life and how do you deal with it? How do you deal with homesickness?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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