Home Improvement - Unclogging The Drains.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 Nairobi, Kenya

No filter, no make up, no Photoshop, nothing.

Every once in a while, you notice certain things around your home need fixing. At first, they aren’t much cause for concern. A loose crack on the wall here, some peeling paint there, maybe the curtains in the bedroom look a little faded and there’s a tear in the sheers in the kitchen. You don’t think too much about them because, hey, it's what gives your place character.  

A few months down the line however, you realize you can’t keep pretending the spreading leak in the bathroom ceiling is abstract art. (Something I’ve been doing for the last year.) It was a brilliant idea to paint the bathroom ceiling red a year and a half ago but right now it looks like all your nightmares converge to torment you whenever you're in the pursuit of bodily hygiene.

Where am I going with this?

Home improvement.
Right.
In this case, I’m talking about my body. Because my body is my home. My soul’s/spirit’s home. So profound, yes?

I turned 30 early this year so of course I expected the confidence and self assurance that women in their 30s profess and proclaim to punch me square in the guts. I wasn't dreading the big 3-0. In fact, I was pretty sure that I would get this sense of clarity, focus and productivity that I craved. It's probably because I have some pretty amazing and spectacular women who are in their 30s in my life. I had this grand vision of my friends and I sitting at Newscafe, or Artcaffe or some cafe (the floor of my place most likely) regaling each other confidently of our professional accomplishments, egging each other on, sharing our networks, encouraging each other, discussing important issues facing us and the greater humanity, and breaking down our romantic encounters and conquests.

Yeah.
Not quite.

On the day I turned 30, sure, I was at Newscafe. Except, the celebratory drink the management gave me on the house, “The Flaming Lamborghini”, had me ejecting my dinner at the feet of my "special" friend, in front of my closest friends, and before my family. Yes. In front of my mum, her sister and my brothers.

Actually though, it’s not as bad as I’m making it out to be. I had a "Final Destination" type vision and I ducked under the table super quick, so nobody actually noticed the heaving because apparently I’m very lady like and discreet whenever I have to retch. (Poor Joy Kendi had to hold my hand and sit through my classy regurgitation on a horribly turbulent flight back from Vipingo a few weeks ago and she said the very same thing – that I am very classy when I ruminate. Should I add that to my special skills maybe?). My mother and brother however, did shots with me afterwards and the world was back on its feet again. Talk about a welcome to the dirty thirty’s. And then there was the surprise party 4 days later. Great times, no hurling. Score.
Things may have spiralled out of sorts since. There's nothing quite as disheartening as being a 30 year old feeling as lost as a 17 year old trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life.

Throw in that teenage angst with the constant “So what are you really doing nowadays?” and “You know, as your aunties, we are not tired of eating njahi”. (Meaning can there please be some meetings arranged for us to assess our future in law and eat some njahi?) Where do I even begin to describe the cynical looks on their faces when I say, "Samahani, mteja wa nambari uliopiga hapatikani. I'm sorry, there is no future in law at this time."

Now, I'm not necessarily feeling too pressured about this, because I am still finding restoration from a couple of devastating heart breaks. I am perfectly fine taking my time when it comes to this part of my life, but it does get exhausting having to address it at every family get together.

But the absolute clincher? Not being sure I know what it is I wanted to accomplish with my life any more. Where did my dreams go? When did I lose my grasp on them?

On the bright side, I'm starting to have some clarity again now on what was driving me, but the last couple of years have been very blurry, and the first couple months of this year did feel like being in the midst of a tornado. (From what I've seen in the movies, of course.)

I’ve been working on stuff though. Working through things. Having extremely enlightening epiphanies about myself and the world around me every single day. Which is pretty trippy to be honest; to feel so very wise and yet so clueless at the same time. Maybe this is what the thirties are all about. Or just life, generally because to be honest I don't think my age has much to do with it. Growing pains, learning and self-discovery. What remains clear, is that I want to be great. I want to make a lasting impression. I want to be remembered for creating something grand. And for making people feel wonderful.

I can tell you this. It’s painful. And hard. And extremely difficult. Nothing quite like I imagined it to be. Which, to be honest was real life episodes of Girlfriends. Or Sex And The City. Which, come to think of it, were actually quite agonising.

I struggle. With confidence. Self doubt. Pain. Cluelessness. A heavy sense of paralysing fear. A blank self identity. Feeling like I’m lagging way behind my peers because the people in my life are doing so much better for themselves. (Comparison is the worst). I tear myself apart every day. Ruthlessly so. And some of the things I say to myself I would never say to anyone, because that would be rude and uncalled for. I pick at myself. My face, my eyes, my lips, my skin, my body, my personality…. me.

My skin isn’t clear, my teeth aren’t straight, my eyes aren’t clear and white, my hair isn’t thick (although I shaved it off so that doesn't really count), my thighs aren’t toned and my abs aren't tight. My thoughts are all over the place and aren’t clearly stated and I don’t articulate myself as well as I should. I’m not as productive as I’d like and my consistency is almost a rumour. I’m not as good a friend as I should be and I don’t keep in touch with my family as much as I should. My confidence is wearing pretty thin and because of that I'm pretty sure I come off as unattractive and if you mix all these things together, I pick at myself for picking at myself. Like surely Patricia, nobody’s perfect and you should revel in your youness and if you don’t then you’re just a mess. I'm starting to call myself out for it but jeez, where does it end? And then add to that the fact that I project all these thoughts towards those around me so I torment myself imagining they think the very same thoughts of me.

The result? Spending less and less time outside of my apartment with people, and more time by myself. Going out has become this thing I need to mentally prepare for, and many times I end up cancelling events I had confirmed attendance to.


Then there's that thing where whenever I sit down to try and churn anything out, a heavy anvil makes it’s way to the bowels of my mind and summons the demon of procrastination. Procrastina. This is when I get everything except whatever it is I had set out to do, done. When I sit down at my desk to begin typing, I suddenly get the overwhelming urge to dust the back of my fridge. Or the top of my curtain boxes. Once that is done and I’m back at my desk but I can’t move forward until I find the missing sock that I last remember seeing three years ago. This particular post, I’ve been typing out for a couple of months now. (No, it's not the result of post Lemonade inspiration guys.)And of course that means there is a back log of things I’ve been meaning to get done which I couldn’t get started on because, well, “there is a certain way they are meant to flow”.

My getting to actually finish typing this and posting it is the equivalent of me pinning my hands to my back and forcing my face to the ground and screaming some sense into me a la the Tyra Banks “I was rooting for you” rant.

Okay.

So, action. That’s the answer. I have to just friggin' force myself to do this stuff. Whether or not I'm in the mood, or right energy to do this. I mean, I want to, I really do, but most times I can't get into the right frame of mind to just...do stuff.

But, truth is, I can’t really just sit here and keep thinking about things but not doing anything about them. And two, because getting stuff done feels so damn good. It does. Getting even one thing done, feels great. Just making the bed, or washing the dishes. It sort of just gives you momentum to get on to the next thing. Unplug the drain, Patricia.

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t exactly been doing nothing. I’ve been very, very, very, very, very busy. Just not entirely with what should ideally be getting me to what my dreams are and this is probably the main reason I ended up at a point where I couldn’t figure out what I actually wanted any more. It does feel like I've just been doing the bare minimum and the honest truth is that there’s a whole lot more amazing things I know I can do and frankly I know they will either be epic, or epic fails. Either way, I won’t know if I don’t go for it. So I just need to get to it.

I've started to take a really hard look at myself.
Not to pick myself apart though, but to just know myself. Like I would with a new friend who I suspect is quite awesome. 

I'm earning about myself as I am. Because I am definitely not who I was 5 years ago, let alone yesterday. I’m scrutinizing myself as objectively as I can, and coming to terms with myself. All this stuff I keep picking at, is really all me. My heart has been through some pretty intense pain and shattering, but it's still in really great, solid shape. I'm also learning that the people around me are nowhere near as judgemental towards me as I am about myself. Sure, I can change the things I feel could be better, I can work towards being healthier both physically and emotionally, work on my skin and my thighs, but first I just have to realize how every single bit of me already adds up to this pretty dope human that’s capable of and has already done some amazing things and is really pretty cool. And the best part of it is I can work on whatever it is I need to work on, to get to that epic place I want to be.

The piece below is what I'm using as my guide. Just replace the last word of the title with whatever it is YOU want to be. Plus, there's always room for new dreams and Bukowski makes defining them a lot easier.

Image source: Alex Elle on Instagram




Thank you for reading.
Here's to unclogged drains, many more posts.
PK.

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