Brave

I watched Brave a little while back and i loved it! There was something ‘real’ in Princess Merida. I loved that she wasn’t all dresses and slippers. Don’t get me wrong, i have nothing against dresses or shoes. There was just something beautiful about how they let her be …raw.

A little while later though Merida the archer, running across fields, beating the boys at their own game…the raw Merida i loved had a little of a makeover because she was now being crowned a Disney princess and there were certain ‘qualities’ she needed to have.

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I know we’ve come to know princesses as pretty, proper, hair and makeup in place et al. I know that’s what would be expected if you, for example, were crowned today but, i wonder if the princess is the crown or the heart the crown sits upon.

I loved Merida because she was…normal. She had rough edges and a strong will. She had unruly hair and a mind of her own. She made mistakes. She had triplets for brothers and she was sane! 🙂 She was the girl you’ve met before, she was the princess you would love perhaps because she didn’t paint over the cracks or glam up so hard she’d get lost i the glitter. She was…normal.

Now with the ‘remodelling’, she’s a princess and if i were her subject, i’d feel the need to wave by the roadside because she wouldn’t seem like one who could relate to me.

Sometimes that’s what we do to ourselves. Buff up the shells till they shine so hard, we can’t see what lies underneath. I know there’s the constant pressure to be ‘it’. The girls in the heels and the life with everything in place. The guy with the job and the car and everything in between. We fight so hard to be acceptable that sometimes we lose the raw us. The us that was meant to be. Sometimes, we remodel. Only the remodelling takes over and leaves persons we don’t really know. All phases of growing pains me thinks. Trying to find out, define, make over who you are only to lose it in the same quest.

I loved Merida ‘before’ 🙂 If only we were brave enough to be who we are, brave enough not to remodel the blueprint, brave enough not to just be. If only they were.

I can watch it over and over. Brave. It reminds me that in the end, one thing matters : being true to yourself.

 

© Ang’asa Malowa

Why Did You Have to Go?

A friend of a friend was to be a bride this past Saturday. Everything was in place, everything. The bridesmaid dresses, the groomsmen suits, the white and the black was set for their day. No one saw it coming. She did not get to marry the man of her dreams. She didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye. See, a few days before the D-day, there was this car crash on his way home and he didn’t make it out alive.

Devastated. Anguished. Torn. Crazy. Shock. These are just a few of the words that would describe what followed. She got to hear the news from close friends who’d thankfully got to know of the tragedy before her. But nothing could paint any yellow over that minute she heard that her love was no more.

I do not know her but my heart aches for her. Instead of her wedding, she had to attend his funeral. What more to crush an already shattered heart?

It had taken so long to get there; why did he have to go? I don’t know and when they looked into her eyes, gave her the hugs, talked her mind off things; i’m sure they didn’t either.

This life, this life – the more i seek to understand it, the less i perceive. Listening to her story, I do not know what i would have done in her shoes. Ran away, broken down…what? All i know is i’d be furious at him for leaving me, leaving me without goodbye.Even when i knew he left that day and didn’t know the day would be our last. When she stood up to speak at the funeral, i could only think of strength; the strength she had that i wanted but was unsure i could have.

Life is what life is and for the living, pieces have to be picked up; hearts have to be mended if only so they could beat just for one more day.

Through her eyes, i saw how real pain can be, how far hope can ebb away and how certain the dawn is.

© Ang’asa Malowa

16/7/13

Breathe…and say Thanks

Breathe and say thanks

I don’t know about you but recent trends show an increase in the amount of whining there is. I’m not saying that the economy is as we would want it to be or that security levels are at an optimum coupled with food security everywhere, on the contrary. All I’m saying is for every dip in the economy, for every fracture in our social system, there has to be something else. Something that we look at, but do not see. Something we can be grateful for.

Most recently, the Kenyan political scene has been on the spotlight,if you ask me, mostly for all the wrong reasons. As has been the nation’s moral fabric, what with the unexplainable rise in crime and unmentionable sexual deviations taking front page on air and print. This, not to mention the endless show of greed and power from the country’s top to households where battery, child molestation and planned spouse assassinations are fast becoming norms.

Indeed, a lot of the news served to us doesn’t paint much of a yellow picture. If anything, we should be forgiven for turning into a whiny bunch quick to point fingers at flaws on everyone else but ourselves. Quick to join in the bullying trends on social media and quick to forget that the news segment is given just close to an hour to air and many times what tops the newsworthy list isn’t the leaders that are taking steps towards the nations development, the wives loving their husbands and families, the husbands drinking from their own wells and the children growing up into a generation we’d be proud to say we nurtured. Just because a case of adultery gets front page and that of a marriage built to last gets a column in the midsection, does not mean they do not exist.

 I believe that because of what is thrown at us, our hearts have evolved turning us into unfeeling critics rained to find the spot on the garment even when there is none to find.

I also believe that we can constantly make the choice to see the yellow in the grey. To see the hope in a nation we have been ‘trained’ to fall out of love with.

Yes we made mistakes, we are struggling to set up structures against impunity, we have families facing more challenges than before, we have a generation growing up faster than we’d want them too. But don’t other nations as well? Don’t we also have a constitution for the people, by the people? Don’t we also have a diversity of cultures admired world over, a growing infrastructural system, a noted passion for life and a patriotic heart so fierce, we stand by any brand Kenyan even when it fails? Just think Harambee Stars.

We have our trials, our struggles, our failures, our unmet plans and unfulfilled dreams. We do. But we have so much more.

We are Kenyan. Even in the face of many struggles we’d like to wish away, we are a people with a big heart, great minds and horizons still untapped. We do have families struggling but built to last, we do have a rising generation bursting with talent, strength and hope. Hope for a future we can build together. If for a moment, we’d take a breather and say thanks. Thanks for all that we have, that we look at but do not see. And in that spirit affirm our anthem’s cry;

kenyan=matheka

Oh God of all Creation

Bless this land and nation

Justice be our shield and defender…

 

Let one and all arise

With hearts both strong and true

Service be our earnest endeavor…

 

Let all with one accord
In common bond united
Build this our nation together
And the glory of Kenya
The fruit of our labour
Fill every heart with thanksgiving

Here’s to a thankful week.
Picture courtesy of Mutua Matheka Wallpaper Edition

©Ang’asa Malowa

15/7/13

 

 

Dear Imani…

Dear Imani,

That would have been your name you know. Beautiful, isn’t it? I wanted you to have faith in God, yellow days, true love, real friendships and family even when everything and everyone around you said otherwise. I wanted you to have faith as strong as your mama’s and her mama before.

I miss you…I miss you.

You have a brother and a sister now you know. She loves sunny days and candy and he loves her fiercely; I fear for the child that will ever pick on his little sister. Every time I see them play, I can almost see you playing with them. I can’t help but think of how you’d look in your pressed clothes everytime I get them ready for school or dress them up in their ‘church clothes’. I told that to your father and he gave me the sweetest look; but even that could not hide the fear I saw creep into his eyes. He’s afraid of many things your father. Currently, that he will lose my love to one we never had time to love, he says. I loved you. He did too, I know he did.

I think about you less these days, I dream of you less and I feel the need to apologize for it. I know its been seven years since but moving on doesn’t work with time as we know it I guess. The way you left sill burns me inside. I don’t even know who to blame anymore. The doctors that didn’t detect the problem with your fragile heart, the traffic jam that held us back or me; the mother that couldn’t tell her discomfort was a sign of troubled waters.

I can’t be angry anymore, it’s draining the yellow out of my days but I’m afraid to let go of the anger. What if I do and with it, remember you no more? No, I’m not thinking too much, I guess it’s just that It’s been pent up for so long.

I love you. Now I need to love your brother and sister, you’re father just as much before I lose them too. I need to lift the anchor holding me in these dark waters. I’m letting go of the hurt, of the pain but baby, my heart will always hold on to your pure soul.

I know I’ll see you someday and when that day comes, I want you to be the glue that held us together; not the fire that burnt us down.

I love you Imani, I always will.

Mummy.

©Ang’asa Malowa

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Loss of a loved one can draw one into depths of darkness once thought imaginable. The loss of a child for a mother, even worse. Sad thing is, many women have gone through this in silence, in solitude, in anguish because they didn’t know how to deal with it any other way. Many father’s need to be the strength in situations where their own knees won’t hold them up. Even more the children who don’t understand why their baby brother/sister is no longer with them, who don’t understand why their parents seem trapped somewhere, who have no idea what to do to help because they too are just kids. The pain can break you, even tear the remaining family apart or it can build you, make you stronger. I know it’s dark where you are but there are yellow days ahead, if only you can walk towards them. Seek out a support group – you are not alone, speak it out, take time to hurt so you can heal. Your family needs you, you need them – talk to them. Heal so you don’t lose what you still have because you held on to what passed away.
Till the yellow days are here, till the black turns to grey, till the light at the end of the tunnel drawn near; hold on. It may not seem like it but there will be yellow days. Trust me, there will be brighter days. 

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

mum

Mirror, mirror on the wall; am I my mother after all?

Growing up, I always wanted to be just like my mum. To my little eyes, she defined perfection – except of course when I was getting spanked for running off to the neighbor without seeking her consent first (not that I was doing anything at home anyway J)

 

My mum didn’t respond to tantrums; so I didn’t throw many. She believed in loving her kids, bringing them up in the fear and knowledge of God (to my little self, mostly fear), spoiling them when she could and spanking them when she should. And there was always a gift for me under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, there always was that ladybird book or that dress she made.

 

When I was growing up, mum was always on the move. She was a teacher, still is, and a tailor cum farmer on the side. I have pictures of me in home knit sweaters and dresses she stitched up herself and yes; I believe growing ‘sukuma’ and keeping a few chicken always comes in handy because it’s the only way I know how. I remember the afternoons she was neither in church or chama, when I had her all to myself and we’d watch a movie or read old copies of Readers’ Digests. One of us always fell asleep halfway and it was the others ‘responsibility’ to fill the other in on how the movie ended.

 

I’m 23 now. I don’t want to be a teacher or a tailor any more but I love reading and I sure do love clothes! I don’t prefer tantrums, I still don’t throw many but I’ve been known to give in to a few to keep the peace. I still believe in kitchen gardens and keeping some chicken. I still read, watch movies and sometimes fall asleep somewhere in between. I believe in Christmas and Christmas trees with gifts from Santa underneath because that’s what I read in those little books she bought me when I was younger. I read when I can, even as I eat, and if you stay around her long enough; you’d see that she does too.

Mirror, mirror on the wall; am I my mother after all?

Am I growing up into her? No. pieces of the same fabrics, different quilt altogether. And boy am I glad that when I look at her, I see parts of what I will be. She taught me most of what i know. Is she perfect? No, she’s human; one human I’m glad I’m almost growing up into. I hope someday, my daughter will say the same of me.

©Ang’asa Malowa

6/7/13