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Friday, April 17, 2015

Death, Fear and Living.




My name is Patricia and I am going to die.
Someday.

Not quite what you expected, I’m sure, but most times with death, you don’t expect it. Interesting though, how it’s the one inevitable thing.

I think about death quite a lot, in my day-to-day life. More often than I imagine is normal. This came to light on a road trip I took about a month ago with some friends to Meru. The trip is a long one by road; it took us five hours, which in retrospect, is not as long as a road trip to Mombasa, but if you had only mentally prepared for what you imagined would be a 2 hour drive, then it’s long. Eventually the music will get boring, all the hot stories and gossip will be exhausted, a couple of people will zone out and fall asleep or get lost in their books, iPods, daydreams or the internet, and what will be left is most probably tales that reflect our innermost manifestations based on how we tell them. I was the (self) designated driver, because I’m a bit of a control freak, so I had to stay alert. My only listener was in the back seat. About four hours in, he pointed out that of the different stories I had shared with him, all of them involved death in some way. I laughed nervously, thinking, “Wait, what?”

At our destination that evening, hanging out in the lounge, a couple of us reading our books, it dawned on me that the book I was reading at that moment, The Lovely Bones, was centered around death. I read to my friend, my avid road trip listener, the first line of the book.


“ My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.”

His jaw dropped.

The book I’m reading now, The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night Time, is about an autistic boy investigating the murder of his neighbour’s dog. It’s not a human death, but a death nonetheless. If you’ve ever lost a beloved pet, you may understand the comparison. I’d like to point out that I don’t usually seek out the books I read. I often feel like they find me, when they are supposed to.

My thoughts of death are not the grim kind. I don’t think about how death comes about, what kills people, what they endure or suffer to finally end up dead. I don’t think about the dying; the disease, the evil, or the accidents that result in death. My thoughts are mostly about the state of being dead. The opposite of being alive, of being here, on Earth, of being present. The fact that we shall all end up dead, without rhyme or reason. How no one is ever taught how to die, and it’s the one thing that we don’t go to school for, or sign up for a course, or workshop, or get better at with practice. Babies die, teenagers die, old folks die, and it can never be said that some people are better at dying than others. There’s no prize, and no declaration that a person scored a certain number of points or grades for dying. But then there aren’t any for living either.

I wonder what is it like being gone, what happens after someone has died, where they go (and by they I mean their souls/spirits or whatever essence it is that drives our bodies).

And then how do people move on, the people left behind? What are their lives like when afflicted by loss? Can you tell if someone has lost a loved one? Do they have a perpetual sliver of a shadow across their faces, or a slight lilt in their voices, even in the midst of laughter and celebration, that signals loss? And does that shadow grow bigger and bigger with every person they lose?

As a child, it was a given, in my head, that only the eldest in society died. Only cucus and gukas passed away because nobody lives forever. But when I was nine, my neighbour, Ivy, who was the same age as I was, died in a car accident. Now, Ivy, at the time, was a real life manifestation of all the traits that I had sadly, at my young age, already been taught by media and society, were most desirable. She was tall, and thin, light skinned, with long, chemically treated, light, straight hair and was deemed the most beautiful girl in the neighbourhood. She really did look like a Barbie doll. I was secretly in awe of her. But then she died, and it made no sense, because if anything she of all people must have been put on this earth to live a beautiful, charmed life. That was a confusing time and I was riddled with questions. Are children supposed to die? Did that mean I could die too? Did she go to heaven or to hell? We had done some bad things together so could it have been that she was burning in a lake of fire somewhere far beneath my feet while I got to continue playing shake and riding my bike? What if I died? Where would I go? Would my parents cry for the rest of their lives? That thought alone, that my folks would be left perpetually sad had me crying myself to sleep for the next few months, of course after saying a bedtime prayer and asking God for forgiveness for all of my transgressions of the day.

As I grew older, and I started watching, not just cartoons, but grown up movies and the news as well, and reading the papers, I became increasingly aware of more ways we could die. Plane crashes, starvation, stray bullets from cops or robbers, being a criminal and dying in prison from a lethal injection or electrocution, not living in a country with a super hero like Superman or Batman, having a very jealous lover who would stab you while you slept, or having lots of money and enemies who wanted it for themselves: I probably watched too much TV. But death was always over there. Far. Not too close. Not in my family.

Then a cucu of mine died in a car accident. She was my father’s aunt. I was twelve. I was devastated. I cried a lot. But I didn’t really show it to any one because why do we cry when people die? Loss? Painful loss. Awareness. How people die, I think also has a lot to do with it, the pain they must have gone through, imagining what their last moments must have been like, whether physical or emotional pain, and the fact that it almost always feels as though their lives were unfairly cut short. Because unless a person dies of old age then is it really their time to die? I’m pretty sure two hundred years ago airplane and car crashes, or radiation poisoning were nothing to worry about.

The bomb blast of 1998 happened. I remember that August morning. There was no school that day, as we had just closed for the holidays. I was in bed when I felt the windows rattle, although I’m not sure if that really happened or if that’s a false memory that implanted itself in the days after, just to make my version of the story more gripping. I was still twelve. At first I thought it was just a gang of robbers who planted one of those plasticine type explosives on the bank’s vault door, (again, too many movies) to rob the bank. But when images of what had really happened began to flood all the TV stations, a new form of fear made it’s way into my heart, my gut and my mind, coiling it’s way around my subconscious, and silently taking root as I realized there was an evil greater than the monsters I thought lurked under my bed in the dark, or the angel of death that claimed our people from us because it was the order of life. There was a facet of humanity that brought death to us too. There were people out there whose mission it was to kill others. Because they believed it was their calling, their claim to justice and loyalty to their beliefs and ideologies to kill as many people as they could. Al Qaeda became the name on everyone’s lips. The real life death eaters of the muggle world.

Since then there have been a slew of terrorist attacks across the world. I have tried to find a timeline of attacks since then and my jaw dropped at the numbers. That is a post of it’s own. And I wasn’t even talking about attacks before ‘98.

Living with this reality, that terrorism is now a given, and that a “terrorist attack” is the first thing that flashes through our minds when an electricity transformer explodes or a car engine backfires or an epileptic man rams into cars at a mall parking lot cannot be what our forefathers imagined when they envisioned the future. Heck, this wasn’t the world our parents thought they were bringing us into. Not a world where passenger planes can be hijacked and flown into buildings, or kindergarteners can be shot and killed at school, or people can be executed at a mall or bus passengers shot and killed one by one, or a town invaded and people massacred or university students slaughtered at school. How is this our reality?

Add to that wars over oil, disappearing planes, ebola, suicidal pilots, xenophobia, the list goes on. But where does it end?

That being said, I do realize that I am speaking from a privileged, self centered perspective, seeing as how in the face of all that’s happening I’m here going on and on about MY feelings and MY thoughts. There are people for whom death around them is as frequent as the sunrise. People for whom it’s a miracle to have their kids live past the age of five because hygiene is a luxury. Parents who send their kids to school praying they aren’t killed in a drone strike, or a suicide bombing. People who pray for the relief they anticipate death will provide, because life on earth is and always has been riddled with pain.

I feel as though the awareness of the many ways death can find us, of mine and my loved ones mortality as well as my countrymen and really all of humanity’s mortality has heightened my fears. And those fears have grown so large that they have spilled over into otherwise normal, mundane things. That show “A Thousand Ways To Die”, has in no way lightened the conversation on my part.

I find I eat a lot slower so as not to choke on anything, even air, and I always shower with rubber slippers on so that I don’t slip and I’m careful not to trip on anything in the house and crack my skull and die. (This happened to a friend last year.) I don’t walk too fast and I never lock the bathroom door incase of a heart attack or something. I always keep my phone close enough to press speed dial if I have to. I loved taking walks but I now not so much because I keep looking over my shoulder in case a driver is barreling towards me because he lost control. (This happened two weeks ago in Westlands, and a couple of years ago right outside where I live a bus plunged into a bust stop.) I don’t enjoy road trips as much as I used to because, you know, accidents, and flying nowadays almost always has me on the verge of a panic attack. Boda boda rides used to be fun, I was so good at them, I could even read a book because it’s all in the strength of your thighs gripping the bike but now, I hold on so tight to the boda boda guy that I have to peel myself off him when I’m getting off because apparently Kenyatta hospital receives a lot of boda boda accident victims. Any sharp pain anywhere in my body almost always has me thinking it’s a tumor and my addiction to Grey’s Anatomy and House probably has a lot to do with that. I get the shivers when I’m at the supermarket and standing in line at the till makes me very nervous. Being stuck in traffic is a nightmare and all these forwarded messages flying around warning us about potential terrorist attacks everywhere have me avoiding Whatsapp like the plague.

But most of all, I never, ever, ever journal or tweet or post on FB or anywhere about death or thoughts that could be linked to death and dying because I feel as though when people die, we look for any signs that they knew it was coming, and anything, even a mere “The air smells great today” post by someone who died could be taken as a “They must have known deep down it would be the day of their last breath” premonition. And I am not trying to bring anything onto myself so I always shut it down. But look at this post. Hmm.

With death comes the question.
Why?

And the phrases, depending on the circumstances;

Gone too soon.

It was their time.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

We loved them but God loved them more.

They got what they deserved.

They are in a better place.

May they rot in hell.

May they rest in peace.

Justice was served.

Such a senseless killing.

Their death was not in vain.

Why?


What do you say to people asking why? And what phrase do you use when someone passes? How do you pick a suitable one? Who or what decides that a death is senseless, or significant? Who picked the categories?

We all believe different things about death based on our different religious beliefs or lack thereof. How do we make sense of such events based on our varied beliefs? Some speak of spirits and visitations from those who have passed on with ease and normalcy while others believe those to be manifestations of evil, which we should guard ourselves against. A high school friend of mine lost her dad when we were in 2nd form. She kept saying how in the months after he would visit her in her dreams. Her Christian Union friends told her that that was a demon.

The Westgate attack was horrifying. Many have since spoken of how they would go there almost daily but on that day they were late meeting a friend who then died in the attack, or they couldn’t find parking and left or had planned to go but they just decided not to, or had been there earlier for some unsubstantial reason or other. There were those who died there. Men. Women. Children. The unborn. Are their souls still there, roaming the corridors? Are friends still friends, couples still couples, on that otherworldly plane, bonded in death? Or is there no such thing as life after death, just an eternal slumber?

The Garissa attack. The freshest atrocity on a list that should not even be in existence. The Garissa Attack has left us reeling. Another way no one ever imagined dying. Being massacred at school. At school. By strangers whose aim was to make a point based on religious ideology and patriotism. How do we make sense of that? How do you tell a father that the death of his only child, whose fees he had paid using a loan he took out, was the will of God? Was it? And if so then were the perpetrators playing a part in fulfilling God’s will? So many questions.

There were those who survived. Those who walked, ran or were carried out alive. Are they living fully, are they able to, or did a part of them die that day?

We, the living, who have never been dead, obviously, do not know whether the state of being dead will be different for everyone based on creed, colour, race, religion, orientation or origin. Do souls go to different places based on how they died, how old they were? How much they loved or were loved? Who they loved? We obviously believe different things that inform our living different ways.

We, the living; are we really living? Are we now carrying around with us, on our backs and in our hearts, a fear that taints everything we do? Are our daily lives less “lived” knowing that death could be in the next step? Is that normal? Reasonable? Is it okay that we are told that we just need to be more vigilant and not allow ourselves to be “killed like cockroaches’? What sort of vigilance by the slain students in Garissa would have saved them?

We, the living; are we carrying around with us guilt, for somehow still being here? For still being alive in the very same country that the Garissa University students also called home? For still being able to go about our lives with barely a bruise on our psyche? Social media is rife with disclaimer hashtags being added to selfies and posts and pictures of fun and life continuing as normal, saying #IfWeStopLivingTheyWin #KeepLiving.

Is there an appropriate amount of time that should lapse before it’s okay to go back to regular posts and jokes and memes? Are we being insensitive by not broadcasting our grief and rage? And how do we tell whose posts expressing shock and horror and dismay and sadness accompanied by the appropriate hashtags are genuine and not just for PR? Is angst on social media now required? Demanded? Is there a required number of posts that should be made after such events? What is the right thing to do? And does it only matter if our deeds come with a public declaration and a requisite photo op at Chiromo and the obligatory hashtag? Are we being judged for not “speaking out” on what has become the mandatory medium of expression? Lupita recently got lots of flack for “speaking out too late”. Is that really fair? Are our feelings and grief not valid unless we transcribe them onto the Internet for all and sundry? When did we make this about us?

What should we do?
And when did this ever become a regular topic?

Terrorist attack.
Terrorism.
Terror.

Are we really living anymore, or just getting by until it’s our turn to go?

What do you feel? What do you believe? What do you hope for?
P.K.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Taking Stock - Two.

Hey folks!

So it turns out I'm really good at thinking about everything I want to blog about, and writing it out in my head, rather than here. I figured out a strategy for that. It didn't work. Oh well. This "Taking Stock" series seems as though its one of those things that is going to happen in it's own time, rather than on schedule. Which is exactly how my birth happened. I snoozed for 10 days. 10 DAYS. I was due on Christmas day, but I made my grand entrance on the 4th of January. Right after everyone was tired and broke from too much partying and cranky from having to pay school fees for the new year. Because of that, I've learnt not to expect much on my birthday. As a child I learnt to cherish the gift of education in the form of text books and school uniform for my birthday. Last year I got a half written Whatsapp message from my mum. I have to say, that's a funny story to tell, I don't even think she realised it. The love force is strong, though, I have no doubt.

I also still have this feeling of dread when my birthday approaches. That feeling you get as a child when you know it's time to go back to school after a super long holiday and you wonder why your parents or the TV just can't be your teachers for the rest of your life. They are always "teaching" you stuff anyway and since our folks were all at the top of their classes growing up you would think they would be the perfect ones to mould and inform you. Anyway, yes, it still comes, that feeling, of dread. But, gratitude is something I carry with me always. Thank you, parents. Thank you.

Anyway, taking stock. Here goes.

Making moves. Less thinking, more doing.

Cooking less, as I've realised I eat more than is necessary on the evenings when I cook. I don't even eat because I'm hungry, I eat because it's dinner time and I cooked a hell of a good meal and that's resulted in quite a bit of weight gain. :-/

Drinking lot's of yum Ethiopian coffee. You can never go wrong with a bag of medium ground coffee if you want to make me smile.

Reading The Lovely Bones. I watched the film 3 and a half years ago and it dented me. The book then found me a couple of weeks ago in the streets of Nairobi and I promise you it's making my spirit super anxious. I feel as though when I read it my soul starts to do that dance you do when you really need to go to the bathroom but there isn't one in sight. But I really want to get in there. Also, I'm still sad about finishing Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart. I got attached really fast and then boom, it was over. On a different note though, how amazing is it that the Nairobi CBD has these guys who sell 2nd hand hardcover titles for as little as 50-100 shillings? I bought 5 books yesterday for 500 bob. Bliss.



Wanting... I don't know what I want. Not at this very moment. Adulthood should come with a manual.

Looking forward to a friends beach wedding in April.

Playing Muthoni The Dummer Queen's "Upgraded" album on repeat.

Wasting time on Facebook.

Sewing nothing. But I did do my own crotchet braids, with a crotchet I bought on Biashara Street so that kinda counts. Crotchet braids are fantastic.



Wishing I could make my own shoes.

Waiting on a certain huge gig to happen already. It's been postponed twice in the last month. Arrrgh.

Enjoying my morning coffee. I made a blend today of Ethiopian Tomoca and a local Kenyan gourmet coffee by a company called Cafe Del Duca.

Liking this new app, "Peak", that a friend recommended. It's described as a mobile gym for your brain, and it really is kicking my brains butt. It's aim is to reach it's peak performance in core skills that relate to day to day life.

Loving these crotchet braids. Somebody say FABULOUS! They are so easy to install guys. I will do a post about it.

Hoping that my Cucu will recover quick, fast and in a hurry after two heart surgeries this past weekend. She's doing great so far, and I'm glad she got through it with my mum by her side.

Marvelling at Miss Sharon Mundia of ThisisEss. She's one of the most beautiful, amazing and hard working people I know. Plus, her blog has been nominated AGAIN for the BAKE Awards, in two categories. Please take a minute to vote for her. She deserves it

Needing a dream recorder. My dreams really need a playback device. Also, dreams do come true guys. I've been dreaming about a certain something for months and it's finally happening. Will share the news soon. I know it's been said a million times before but for real, Your dreams a valid, big or small.

Smelling my morning coffee. Yum.

Wearing a black jersey star tunic by Peperuka. It is so comfortable and versatile.



Following Peperuka, an eco friendly, ethical clothing line that launched the #MeILove hashtag on the 1st of March. They are running a campaign called the #100DaysOfMeILove, that will celebrate what things people living in Nairobi, and Kenya at large, love. And yes, they did the "Me I.." repetition on purpose, because it's a very Kenyan thing to say. The baton was handed to them by Angela Wachuka, the director of Kwani!, who successfully ran the #100DaysOfAfricanReads, hot on the heels of the #100DaysOfAfricanFashion that was very successfully run by Diana Opoti. Join in the fun and post about what YOU love, using the hashtag, #MeILove. You can also find them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag.

Noticing that I have become a lot more sensitive lately, it feels as though there is an upheaval going on in my emotional centres.

Knowing deep down that everything that I desire shall come to pass if I let go and let God.

Thinking about my mum. She is absolutely amazing. She dropped everything to take my grandma to hospital in India and has been by her side all the while, and it's absolutely touching to see. I am so grateful for my entire family.

Feeling myself. Seriously, these crotchet braids have me taking at least 20 selfies a day. Vanity is not a good look. Or maybe it is.



Bookmarking nothing at the moment.

Opening a bar of chocolate to have for breakfast. Guilty pleasures my friends. Sometimes it's okay to break the rules.

Giggling at the thought of my brain having a butt. Not a pleasant visual. but still so funny.

Later folks.

P.K.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Taking Stock - One


Picture by Jude Xavier. Edit by Patricia Kihoro.

I started drafting this post in April of this 2014 after checking out Sharon's over on her blog. I thought it would be a pretty cool way to pause and check myself and where I was mentally every so often. The fact that I'm only getting around to finishing and posting it now, on the last day of 2014, is quite telling of the hold procrastination has had on my life this year. Thanks to this brilliant article that could only have been so honestly articulated by a fellow procrastinator, I now know exactly why procrastinators procrastinate. I came upon it while procrastinating, actually. Go figure.

I feel like the increased access to the internet and social media is my main culprit, as I am so easily bored and distracted. I think I may be on at least 8 social media platforms. I have a whole folder on my phone just for them  But not any more. Times are changing and I'm taking the proverbial bull by the horns and shoving it in the trash.




That being said, I have had to edit this post quite a bit because where I was in April and have been over the course of months since I've been revisiting this has changed quite a bit. But, it's never too late to start again, so here goes.

Making plans for a pretty epic 2015.

Cooking a lot more often than I ever have lately. I discovered the versatility of using an oven and over the last couple of months have made some wonderful recipes and even hosted a dinner. I make a mean pork chop marinade. Win.

Drinking water. Well, trying to drink more and more of it. And cutting back on the alcoholic drinks. But only because the hangovers are getting harder and harder to recover from. Seriously. 3 glasses of red wine and I wake up the next day feeling like I ran to Mombasa while being clobbered by a gorilla. And back.

Reading a few books all at once, which is a new thing, that I don't necessarily endorse, but here's why. Since I finished Chimamanda's 'Americanah' in January 2014, I haven't really been able to really dig in to anything else with ease. Which explains why I can't just read these books one at a time. The characters in Americanah became such a part of my life that I've been mourning the end of our time together since I put that book down. A year ago. I had been to Nigeria a few months before I read it so I could easily picture all the places Ifem described, and the food, and the Chapmans.  I may just read it again, just to hang out with Ifem and Ceiling again. I remember I would wake up at 2am just to go back to Ifem's apartment. And when I realised the pages were getting less and less, I started to avoid the book. Just so I wouldn't finish it. It's not so much the writing style that I was into. It was their lives. I often wonder what they talk about and fight about now. S the books. Here we go.

1. "Essays In Love" by Alain de Botton, which I read on my phone when I have to wait for a meeting, stand in line, you get the drift. This is the first book I'm reading electronically. I was never a fan of that because, you see because, well, I'm a book sniffer. And I love the sound pages make when I turn them. Also, I avoided Alain de Botton for the longest time for the silliest of reasons. A former lover idolises him. But the said lover hurt me deeply, in the most profound of ways, and I couldn't for the life of me get myself to rid myself of the notion that they are the same person. (Don't ask me to explain; my take on why that notion rang true for a while would be convoluted.) Any mention of either one of them jolted me, and brought to mind the other. But Meh. I got over it. And now, well, Alain is a man worth your time. Catch some of his sentiments on The Philosopher's Mail (which was an experiment that has since concluded) and over at The Book Of Life, which is his new online property.

2. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", by Jonathan Safran Foer, which I carry with me everywhere. Even to the bath. This book is written in a language that I usually speak only to myself so you can imagine how many conversations have come up in my head, when I read the book, that end up distracting me from actually reading the book. It's been about 6 months now. And get this, I read it every day.

3. Haruki Murakami's 'Sputnik Sweatheart' which sits in my bedroom and escorts me into my dreams some of the time. I'm a huge Murakami fan and I usually devour his books with a rabid hunger, but somehow this one hasn't grasped me as he usually does. 

Wanting to let loose tonight. I plan on having a night that I can enjoy with reckless abandon with new and old friends. I want to make memories tonight, that will set the tone for a 2015 full of travel, adventure and friends.

Looking for a new mechanic. My current one is getting a tad too complacent.

Playing "Dots" and "Two Dots" on my phone. I try to avoid getting hooked to cell phone games, (I'm calling out all Candy Crushers) but these two. Oh man. Someone save me.

Wasting time procrastinating about clearing up my house. (There is that word again. I'm always saying how my name should have been Procrastina instead.) Loads of stuff I don't use/wear/need any more. There's too much clutter in my life at the moment.

Sewing nothing at the moment, but I just finished knitting a sleeve for my laptop. Did it the day before Christmas, took a couple of hours.




Wishing everyone a fantastic start to the new year.

Waiting for my mechanic to get to me. (As I typed this bit, I was stuck outside the Polish Embassy where my car decided was the best place to break down. I must add that the said mechanic was at my house that morning 'fixing' the problem, and assured me once he was done that it was all sorted out. Only for this to happen barely 10 minutes later. I was heading to a TV set, where I was shooting a series, and was required there in full wardrobe and costume 45 minutes before this happened.) This would all have been somewhat okay if I had a loose bottle of wine with me in the car. Oh wait, no. Less booze Patricia. More water.

Enjoying (Enjoyed) the stare downs that happened between me and all the people driving past me while waiting for the mechanic, that thought that by staring and scowling hard at me they could magically give me powers to fix my car and get out of their way. :-/

(Edit: Mechanic came, fixed the issue and was done 2 hours and 15 minutes after I was to be on set. I was too late, obviously, as the required light was lost. They cast someone else.)

Liking all of Njoki Ngumi's and Mkamzee Mwatela's posts on Facebook. Their insight into things is honest and very eye opening. They inspire thought even if you, for some reason or the other, choose to be the most ignorant person on the planet. They also have a compelling way with words. Mkamzee will have you howling with laughter and she takes no prisoners with her snide and brutally honest remarks. Njoki will educate you and open your mind in a very matter-of-fact way. Look them up and follow them,

Wondering how many kilometres I have to cycle before my thighs are as toned as the Williams sisters.

Loving boda boda rides. Any excuse to jump onto one. That's how many Boda guys I have. And the list is growing.






Hoping that someone can soon figure out teleportation and  make it an everyday, normal thing. This stuck in traffic/plane crash/plane disappearance is not pleasant.

Marvelling at how much my self awareness is growing.

Needing to make a decision already on what direction to take this website. Fonts, Layouts, Images, etc. I've been deliberating for weeks. I'm horrible at picking out fonts. I'm a font snob. Sigh.

Smelling my friends perfume on a sweater I wore when I met her at Hip Hop Karaoke a couple of weeks ago. I haven't worn the sweater since but yo! That scent was strong. And nice.

Wearing a dira and no shoes.

Following too many people on Instagram that post nothing. Ever. Time for a purge.

Noticing that nowadays, I don't have much time for things or people that bring me grief or unpleasant vibes. Also that I may have began this post with a lot of enthusiasm that has now dwindled to one line answers.

Knowing that we all have those farts that sometimes make us wonder what the hell is decomposing in our digestive system. And that it's okay to admit it. Sometimes.

Thinking about a master plan. Well, actually, what to do with my hair.

Feeling very grateful to be alive and healthy and to have the amazing family and friends that I have in my life. They really, really are top notch.

Bookmarking The Book Of Life.

Opening up a pandora's box with a couple of people by admitting that I follow both Huddah and Vera on IG.

Giggling because of this video. ( No, I am not obsessed with farts.)

Happy 2015 folks. May it be epic!

PK.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Ngoma (The Acoustic Fooling Around In The Living Room Version)


So, a while back, I was fooling around in my living room with my fantastic guitarist Toby, and we did this acoustic version of my song "Ngoma", I thought you may like to have it so it's available for download here.
So enjoy, while you wait, for, you know.......the album.
:-)


PK.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Boxes, Darkness, Ashes.

It's funny, I think.

How badly we search for and seek out positivity in our lives nowadays. 

'Be positive.'
'Look on the bright side.'
'It's all in your attitude.'

It feels as though that's all we're ever doing now. Joy and happiness are not things that come to us in simple experiences. Life has become such a challenge that we now have to actively seek out the joy in things. We read books and articles and attend seminars and search for answers about how to 'live in the moment' and 'be present', so that we can tune our minds to a frequency that endures the constant drone of misfortune happening around us. We're now seeking out lessons on how to be okay, happy even, despite what life hands us. 

Could be that we bring it on to ourselves, though. The misfortune. For instance, I find myself tangled up in my dark emotions more frequently than I would like. And I think I realize now that usually, in my moments of joy and laughter, I have managed to disentangle myself from the darkness, but rather than shove it into a box and lock it and burn it, I am in the habit of wearing the heavy coils of darkness around my neck. Winding it around and around, mistakenly believing that I'm in control of it. And there I place it, like a necklace, allowing it to sit and bask off of my victories, and letting it have access to my vulnerabilites too often. Not realizing that the whole time it is slowly creeping right back to my neck, lusting after the chokehold I allow it to have. 

Somebody slap me.
Hell, I'll slap myself. 

I'm stashing that nastiness into a box and burning it.

And then feeding the ashes to a unicorn. I hear those creatures have the ability to digest anything into a spray of glitter. 

Later folks. 
PK. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Your Song.

A dear friend of mine, Wangari, shared this today.

There is a tribe in Africa where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.

And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.

In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.

The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.

And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.

You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.


Sing.
PK.

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