Thursday, 12 July 2018

What's next?

I seriously thought that I would  be writing everyday post senior year but as per usual, whose rolling on the floor laughing? The universe at yet another well played situation. On the real though, just like about every creator that's on my radar I am feeling uninspired. There was this grand scheme of things post academia where I was going to write about this and about that and the thought of anything not related even remotely to books had me, now in retrospect, unreasonably excited,

The intention was that the first week I would get in touch with my zen side, just ride the wave of non-commitment and just vibe as the kids say nowadays. All the while knowing that I had an assignment due, a paper to write and get little old me back on the job hunting scene. Here we are on week three,with two out of those three things done which by all means is commendable but hold your applause just a minute longer.I am going to ask you to put your detective hats on and on closer inspection you will see that I am getting in to  the habit of half assing more than I should.That assignment, was done in a  literal last minute rush, the paper? Sent out yesterday, late by a week and say two days and the job hunt? I may have stuck my toe into the vast pool of job applications, felt the temperature, flicked some water into the air which  is code for, all I have so far done is bookmarked jobs that may be right up my ally but as for sitting behind a desk and giving the old keyboard a whack with tweaks done here and there to my resumeI have not even  come remotely close.

Sick to the bone of all the time I continue to waste, I can't help but ask why? Four years ago, I would have been up probably by 8 a.m, on my workout routine and chores by 9 am and scouring the internet for job openings all while on my much anticipated academic break .Given,  at the time I was barely in my twenties, unemployed with time from here to Timbuktu to do all these things and them some. Also, I had a pretty solid unwavering future ahead of me; finish my degree program and add a feather or two of co-curricular programs to one of my many hats and if there was a possibility to rake in a few shillings while at it slap me silly and call me Sally,  in the words of Cardi B,where's my pen, &*%$^ I'm signing.

Now, I live in a world where I let myself be distracted. I am failing to distinguish between what I want because its what I see and what I actually want. I am also constantly on a comparison spree, feeling entitled to things, situations, experiences that I never even had the slightest desire for or straight up passed up the opportunity.

I have also grown; in age, just about settled in my twenties, I may just have a degree (you never know until you wear that cap and gown and have the said degree in your hands, especially with UoN) and in my ambitions and aspirations. The hard truth is, working behind a desk as a front office assistant, while being the potential holder of a law degree is not the end game. It could be pride speaking here, it could also be logic, heck, it could just be me allowing myself to dream beyond the confines of the front desk I have faithfully held fort over for the past three years, one thing is for certain just because it started here doesn't means it ends here.  Might I add that my Dad did not spend a few hundred thousand shillings on four years worth of tuition neither did I put a whole lot of hard work and effort for four plus years... you get the drift, the whole front desk thing? Reason and a season.

 Now, let's talk the future. This sounds like a conversation in a relationship that wouldn't exactly fit the description of music to my ears but just like the hypothetical relationship I need to come to terms with what my future holds.

The elephant in the room is if the plan is to have a useful law degree, Kenya School of Law has to be in the picture whether I like it or not. From the look of things KSL isn't exactly a breeze. Here is where the rubber meets the road; having seen my fair share of academic despair which I can't help but owe it all to my negligible balance between school and work, I question whether:

it would be worth it to look for another job knowing the path before me wouldn't exactly be described as a walk in the park,

stay in my current position purely for monetary purposes even though I hear the voice telling, well, yelling, it's time to leave,

or throw in the towel altogether and hope that all the coins gathered over the past few years can sustain me over the year and six months of KSL which also means letting go of all the finer things I have gotten so accustomed to; all the impulse Mr Price buys, thrifting, junk food just the thought gives me a case of the shivers.

There's also the whole question of logistics and commuting. If I stay, school and work will no longer be a stone's throw away from each other, schedules which will undoubtedly conflict and most importantly stress levels will soar to never before seen heights.

And if that isn't enough on my plate, both my parents are retired, in fact we are a month in to this new lifestyle which really isn't any different from their former working girl, working boy situation but the chances of that changing, possibly slowing down are looking up, which is a downer for me. Tuition is not the problem, thankfully, but what about my infamous, 'lifestyle'.

Then there's this whole new job thing; so say I do follow through with this thing, and send out my application here, there and everywhere, as the process goes I get a response, well in the spirit of optimism a load of responses, what happens when I'm seated there, suited up, fingers interlocked pulling all the stops when they ask where do you see yourself in the next five years? Where do I explain the part that I may not be able to give my 100% because of this little old thing called KSL  and worse a year after that roller coaster I kinda sorta have to give my undivided attention to being a pupil at a law firm so this position will have to be second to second fiddle.

There's the option of telling alternative truths but this is not adventure time where over a series of episodes we see how things will pun out. This is someone's payroll I would be messing with. It all just seems like a very predictable script with a not so unpredictable end.

All signs are flashing that sending out applications would be a waste of my time and most importantly a waste of time for the person on the receiving end, but why do I still feel so inclined to do it?

My maker also seems to be of a different school of thought. See, I have been doing a devotional centred around ambition and your work where a lot of focus has been put on  careers and how selfish we are not supposed to be in them, back on my Bible In A Year Plan this week its all remembering God before my plans and not vice versa and wouldn't you know it that this week's sermon on Transformation Church had a little segment on following through with your plans that often are not God ordained and how the repercussions often involve having to stick through with these, bluntly put, selfish decisions. I for one have had, I'm having and if I continue on the track I'm on will have to be on a downward trajectory and there's a high chance that this job search thing will be highly instrumental in my regression.

Yes,this post is a whole lot of gibberish but those are the unfiltered thoughts that have been sprinting through my head over the past few days. Hang tight for the next post which will hopefully have a bit of structure to it and if it doesn't allow me to use this as an outlet. Cool?

Have a good one!


Monday, 2 July 2018

Dear Nairobi Girl

I've gotta say there is nothing as intimidating as a blank canvas. All I can say  is playtime is over. The past one week, I have been reveling in my newly found, 'free time'. My morning routine consisted of drifting in and out of sleep simply because I could and who can forget, the fact that  I don't exactly have any academic commitments.It's unreal, so unreal in fact that in the past seven days I have watched maybe five movies; Jason's Lyric, Beyond the Lights, The Incredible Jessica James, Step and Juice. I have two and three quarters series under my belt; Netflix's Everything Sucks and On My Block and I am currently watching NBC's Rise. I realize this isn't a healthy amount of time to be spending in front of a screen, but that's all it is a realization, will I switch things up, only time will tell...oh, the anticipation.

However, I think its about time I tapped into my creative outlet. The urge has been there to write a piece or two but submitting to a keyboard hasn't come as easy as it used to. I figured I might as well just do it, and write about things that matter to me in the moment which might be trash in a few hours or may reckon with me, maybe even you in the years of yonder.But isn't that what makes life exciting,  the uncertainty?

Last week, there was this post going around on Kenyan social media, let's dub it, The Pressures of Being a Nairobi Girl.

It was...what's the word? Relatable. It made me take a waltz down memory lane of my young, naive, amateur college days. Of course now I can poke fun at that period because of the tremendous growth I've made as a human; from watching a lot of watered down possibly shallow content over the internet and being a conformant to the height of consumerism.

Let's  go back in time, way back, I am talking fresh out of high school,back. That was just when Instagram had started claiming its seat at the social media table. Possibly even before the genesis of TheShadeRoom, before Instagram had an algorithm for posts, Instagram stories? Please those fangled things were  for a certain demographic on a whole other different platform, better understood by the children, Snapchat.

My head was in a whole other different space. It all started with wanting the nicest threads and  bags to top it all of. Going into a post high school program with a dress code, I simply didn't fall into the fashion ideal  I wanted. You would think a dress code would dial down the fashion aspect but no, restrictions to young adults only propels them to unfathomable heights of creatively staying within the boundaries adding a flare of their own in tow.

Of course things only further escalated. My wants were beginning to become unreasonable, at least now that I look back on them; I saw people drive to school for the dreaded 8 a.m classes and I wanted that despite living an hour away from school if I chose to walk and fifteen minutes tops on a good day, code for no traffic. I wanted to look a certain way so that I could be looked at a certain way.

I craved to be perceived a certain way when in reality that perception would have been far from the truth. It took me a few months to get over the fact that if you looked up the-bomb-dot-com, it wouldn't be my face you would see beside it. That and my diploma program was amping up the intensity by the semester, having not even the slightest knack for computer programming, something had to give. Exit stage left craved perceptions, enter the reality that was coursework.

When I started my degree program, it was more or less a case of same script different cast. I wanted to buy lunch not have to carry it, I wanted to  make an impulse buy, don't get me wrong I did, but I wanted the nonchalance that complements it. This time though I was a little bit older, possibly even a bit wiser. I didn't get over it but found my way I round it by scouring the internet high and low for a job. Soon the paper would start rolling in and my hearts desires would have been met. Needless to say, it did not quite work out like that.

Now a long way from the teenage years much has changed. Okay, so yes, I still want to be perceived a certain way, I mean who doesn't? But that's just it.  I have irrational wants just like the next guy and now I list them down, stick 'em against my calendar, what I choose to do after that is up to me. Its normal to want something you cannot have; you can get a sick thrill out of it, an enormous drive and ambition to get it or you can get down on yourself.

Another thing that has come with age is deciphering what I  actually want from wanting simply and purely because others have. It would be nice to look polished 24/7 but with a two hour commute nearly everywhere I'll settle for slobby chic for utility purposes.

It's just as okay for you to be 'just' you as it is  for somebody else to be themselves.Be comfortable in your own skin and aesthiticity or lack thereof. If you are going to change you might as well do it for you because, wouldn't you know it? No one's looking.

To the Nairobi girl who feels the pressure, scrolls their time away, don't I have news for you? Start by putting the phone down,and your blinders on. There's a whole world beyond the four corners of your screen, beyond a fire Instagram post. Block out the noise and just live for you and eventually you will have it figured out.


Saturday, 16 December 2017

22 things I learnt at 22: #1 Finances

Hey guys,

I guess I might as well state the obvious, long time no see. I wish I had a logical explanation for my going from an all time high; reading a book a week  and writing every day to disappearing of the face of the blogosphere. All I know, one minute I had written four posts back to back, the next,I may have had an assignment due, then we were in this class is on, no class stage  which made for a  perfect excuse as to why I couldn't keep up with the whole writing  everyday endeavor.

However in a few days, 22 to be precise I will be turning 23. Some vlogger, probably Lily from LilyLikescom said that 23 feels so much  older than 22. She literally took the words out of my mouth. 21 sounds grown, 22 is just a number but 23 is the near end of the early twenties. 23 carries a certain je ne sais quoi about it; most people are university graduates if everything went according to plan, making their own paper, sometimes have left the nest and are full on adults by societal standards. Granted, I feel some type of way turning the big 2-3.

22 was, well, bad. Let me rephrase 2017 was just a dead end. This I judge based on the amount of time I spent in the classroom. There was a point in time I would ask myself why we gauge milestones through academia. I thought it to be shallow, tunnel vision surely not everything revolves around just the one  thing, education. Then 2017 happened;January-March lecturers' strike, a few weeks in July another lecturer's strike, August Kenyan general elections and waiting on the Supreme Court judgement, October my university was closed indefinitely, guessed it another lecturers' strike. A few hundred thousand shillings spent on tuition and this year I can say I have nothing to show for it except one measly, half-assed semester.

Since I had all this "free time" on my hands I had my fair share of  lessons outside the classroom. This is what this series is all about, the lessons learned this year and the years prior in my 22 years of existence. 22 things might be pushing it, I'll say and committing to 22 articles from now through the festive season and into the New Year is really shooting for the stars but a girl has gotta at least try.

Lesson numero uno.

Get your finances in check.

This year marks my second year in employment if I haven't drummed that enough into y'all. Who would have ever known that the second year is so different from the first. You've got a year's worth of experience under your belt and aren't the meek church mouse you once were. When I first got into the scene I was scared stiff of spending even a shilling worth of my hard-earned cash. That year, I lived like I was still unemployed and just stacked up paper in my account. This fear is what allowed me to have some level of comfort when I would make it rain at Mr. Price, of course, only for items that were on sale or during their end of summer sale. You can take the girl out of the cheap skate scene but not the cheap skate out of the girl.

Somewhere along the line I got a little too credit card happy. If you put the sign 'SALE' on your door, no doubt I would be your first customer, getting in with the sole intent of just having a look around, running my hands over a couple of items here and there, you know, the old in and out, no strings attached, no damage done. Except what was meant to be me just poking my head in, almost always ended up with an impulse buy.

I did the only thing I could, I pumped the brakes on myself. Rather, I found a way around my spending habits.

For one, I set up a savings account. The best one hands down, this is free intel by the way, KCB Goal Savings Account with 8.3% p.a interest rate.  I would like to say that it was a seamless process but you know me, would it be a story if there wasn't a mishap somewhere? Circa August 2017. Side note, I realize I use the word circa with reckless abandon, it adds flavour to all my pieces so just lean with it and rock with it. Circa, August 2017, Kenyans are all jittery with the upcoming general elections and this was when I figured I would make my money moves. All in one day I opened a Savings Account , a Central Depository Account and a few days later bought bonds issued by the government.

For the Savings Account, one word cost me. I intended to open a Goal Savings Account, KCB on the other hand opened for me a Jiinue Savings Account. The expectation was that I would go into KCB, I would tell them I want to open a Savings Account, they would then spell out the options I have and I would choose the Goal Savings option. The reality, I said I wanted a savings account and a savings account is what I got. Just. Not. The. One. I. Wanted. . One word cost me a significant chunk of my Saturday going from desk to desk trying to make sense of this mess.

If you take away anything from this post, take this, it is a Goal Saving's Account you want to open, not just any old raggedy savings account that just so happens to be on your list of options.

Now you have a savings account, now what? Me, I put a thousand shillings in there per month. The ideal situation is having it deducted from your pay directly. This way there is no room for excuses, you can't spend the money if you don't have the money.  It doesn't get any simpler than that.

On to my Central Depository Account. That process went a lot smoother. Actually I lie. I filled out the forms in August and nearly three weeks down the line they must have been in the same spot they were left before we headed to the polls. So I had to do one of the most least liked things that comes with adulting, getting on the phone with customer service. Revisiting the whole ordeal gives me a migraine. After showing them my true colors, over the phone, you would think that KCB would step up their game. I had one simple request, once all the particulars were met send me an email. I even got a call that the next morning your girl would have a notification that it was all systems go. Yet, another one of my precious Saturdays was spent in the banking hall going from desk to desk dealing with yet another mess.

The gag is, I may have to make a trip to KCB sooner than I expected why? Remember the wrong savings account that's where I wanted the dividends to go. Except that account no longer exists.

Even with all the hurdles, remember, I am either investing or stacking up my coins. It goes without saying, that you should be on a similar path as well. My rule of thumb, never ever just let your money sit there. The argument is if your banking it then it's doing 'something',I hate to break it to you but nearly all current accounts earn interest below 1% , in my books that's not a profit to write home about. My take, invest.Investing is as easy as turning a Ksh. 100 note into a Ksh. 200 note, and wouldn't you know it you are on a promising path.

It doesn't matter how much you start with, so not having a consistent cash flow is no excuse. After all everybody has a humble beginning, of course some more humble than others, regardless it still counts as a Bawse move.

Thought I was done making money moves? You thought wrong. I thought I would get myself some bonds. That was much easier. At least that's one thing the government is doing right. All the details to the how are on the M-Akiba website. The one thing I will emphasize though, the line you wish to purchase the bonds with needs to be in your name. My phone number is registered under my Mom because at the time of registration I was either under age or my ID was not yet out, either way if your number is not under your name, sis, that's not going to fly.

Within a span of weeks I had met all my 2017 financial goals. Would I do anything different?

I should have been on the program as soon as 2017 began. Lord knows I put this off for far too long. I would have also written these financial goals down and stuck them somewhere out in the open, that way they'd be a constant nag. For sure that would have gotten the show on the road ages ago.

Have a good one!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Compromise/Dealing with rejection

Good afternoon or whatever-time-you-are reading this, I am Edwina  Mapenzi and I have your daily strike update. Daily is pushing it, but just flow with me. Cue whatever music score that comes with a news bulletin. No news from my campus as yet except these snide, "There's class next week" emails but a couple of campuses have had their exams postponed indefinitely. My major concern is a great majority of comrades are pretty much done with coursework, while we, and when I say we, I mean the university that was closed for the better part of October, hint, hint have barely scratched the surface. What kind of tomfoolery is this?

There is still a smidgen of hope that I cling to so firmly, my knuckles are going pale. Of course its amount, less than yesterday's but it still lingers. I stand my ground, a lot can be covered in five weeks, give or take.

Today let's talk about dealing with rejection, a big, fat, no just hurled straight at you as if to mimic a bulls eye. The older you get you realize there are more variations to rejection than just the traditional no.

In my teens, it was mostly boys. Their No stung the most. So powerful was their sting the whole school had word about it, sometimes the grapevine went all the way down to the school administration;principles, vice principles, everyone. Of course, while nearly everyone in my circle had boo-thangs I wouldn't dare to so much as dream of having a 'little friend'. Not with the reins my mom had fastened around me so that's a No I am no expert in.

If there is a No I remember a little to vividly for comfort, would be the rejection letter I got from Africa Leadership Academy(ALA). I think I still have the print-out lurking somewhere in my room. I still remember the first line going something like, "With the competition pool so stiff this year, we have had to make some hard decisions..."They had the audacity at the end of that email to tell me to continue to strive to be the change that Africa needs in the  future, now how was I supposed to go off and do that if they weren't going to have me on board. This is pure bitterness talking by the way. Of course, as the years went by, the wound has healed and whereas even talking about it would have me feeling like an emotional wreck, now I go the extra  mile and even laugh about it.

The night I got the email, I distinctly remember waking up in the middle of the night, a school night for that matter and trying to distinguish whether it was indeed reality or just a really poignant dream.  Of course I bawled myself to sleep and woke up with a headache, I felt the pain of rejection as a heaviness in my throat and chest, a stiffness in my legs and the zoo in my stomach. I put in the work, yet I would have nothing to show for it.

Getting to the second round of the application process, high key, still remains one of my greatest achievements. Ironically, in as much as seventeen-year-old me wouldn't dream of saying this, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

That just goes to show that there is life after rejection. Of course, in the moment being buried alive is a pretty viable option. Once you get over that hump like I did, you realize rejection besides being a part of life is a rite of passage.The next year I reapplied and got rejected in the first round. Not the happy ending you were expecting at least, not the conventional type but this time round I just moved on as if nothing happened.

Over the years, I have been rejected from so many things I would run out of fingers just counting them for you. Some sting less than other but all of them have come with a valuable lesson in tow.

Right now, I am looking at things from a whole new angle. For instance, whereas I think I have arrived when it comes to the writing game, I may have only just punched the ticket. This may just be the Universe implying that there is so much more to learn before I get my big break,a break that I will be undoubtedly ready for when the time comes. It could also be the wake up call that reminds me that feeling ready and being ready do not mean the same thing. So whereas I feel that I am ready to take on the world, the world may just show me whose boss when push comes to shove. Or, where I think I can be a sponge no more I haven't quite swelled up past capacity.

Here I am wanting the sun, moon, stars and whatever else the solar system has up for grabs yet I can hardly handle what's on my plate. Up until yesterday I mistook complacency and satisfaction for settling. When in reality it's just appreciation. Sure, I don't smile from ear-to-ear when I go into a work neither am I just an absolute delight to work with, although I don't believe that for one minute, but its comforting to know that I have a firm base of financial support. I have to focus, keep my eyes on the prize of graduation and not just moving the  tassle from one side to another but graduate with the best attainable grades. A little birdie tells me stability will be a major boost. But I still wouldn't be mad if I got that Google internship, *nudge,nudge*.

Then comes that pesky word, compromise. It gives of the vibe that you are taking an L and it sure as heck feels like it as well. So, what, I got rejected from the school of my dreams, the experience of being with such vibrant young minds, as corny as it sounds, is a worthy compromise. No feedback from my dream jobs, I still tried anyway, no what-ifs here. Paths of unchartered road still lay ahead, if I am being Positive Patsy all good stuff just waiting to be discovered if I am being a realist, the good,the bad and don't forget the ugly.

Where do we go from  here? Embrace the space and keep trying. You can only get so many No's until eventually that one Yes comes all the way through and the feeling it comes with is inexplicable. For now, why don't you say we cushion the blow of the No!

Have a good one!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

I prayed and I stopped and I started again

Strike update; in as much as we are in academic limbo there's still hope. Today, we are smack dab in the middle of November, I am no academic registrar but we can still work some semester dates around the five weeks left of 2017. If last year they had the bright idea to schedule exams up until Christmas Eve, surely, a repeat of history wouldn't be so much trouble. Understand that I am not coming from a place of academic enthusiasm but more from a frustrated stand point. In five weeks, classes that are taught through group presentations, which by the way I have come to loathe while we are on the topic, can tear through a great chunk of the course work. The old school lecturers, who want to teach the syllabus from A-Z, if they are going to work day and night as affirmed by the union, five weeks is more than enough to ask for all the make-ups imaginable. Sure, make up classes aren't music to my ears but my frustration supersedes any type of comfort at this juncture.

On to today's post.

If you aren't already on the 40's series that Biko has got going on, your missing out. Yesterday's was about this one guy barely in his forties who seems to attract death to every one he loves; first his first born son, then his wife, his mother, second wife, another one of his son's . Biko asked him something along the lines of his relationship with God, how it has affected him,how he kept the faith.The simplicity of his answer was quite striking, "I prayed and I stopped and I started again. At some point you just let Him do what He deems best. "

A few posts ago, I had mentioned how with the lull that has followed my "countless" applications, picking up my Bible for my Daily Devotion is not as easy as it was. Up until now, I didn't realize how self-centered I sound.Here is a man whose lost two wives, two children and a mom yet he is still reminded of the presence of God in his life, then there's me. I get no response from a couple of job applications and I have pretty much subjected God to playing second fiddle in my life.

Looking back on the past couple of days I can barely remember when I sat down for some purposeful time with God. Earlier this year, I discovered the difference  it makes to write down your prayer as opposed to just having it sit pretty in your heart. For one your head space remains centered and you are able to decipher what you really want God to do for you, besides, pen and paper have always been really humbling. It requires from you time, energy, effort and focus. Looking at my Bible journal the last prayer I wrote down was in the first quarter of 2017.

There's a sense of desertion I feel. All of 2015 I religiously prayed, read my Bible and went to church. I was your model Jesus freak. I was also broke and employed which may explain my borderline desperate relationship with God. At the time, I didn't know it but I was pretty happy, even in my unemployment and financial disparity. May I reiterate that my academics were looking up, relationship with God was A1, I had nothing but time, organic free time on my hands which I used to read countless books and write three times a week on this space. My health was good but this was also the year that I got hit by a bad case of tonsillitis, so bad in fact, it shut my airway around the throat area, I still remember the look on the doctor's face of sheer disbelief that I could even swallow. Other than that life was looking up.

When I had finally met my financial windfall, it's just an alternative way of saying that I got a job and  subsequently a steady pay in my heart I knew I was deserving. I had done my bit; prayed, fasted, read my Bible the works and finally God had come through for His faithful servant. I am afraid that also came along with a share of entitlement and over confidence, so much so, I was under the impression that no bad things were supposed to happen to me, God was forever indebted to me. The level of conceit was undeniably well above and beyond the roof.

Like the tower of Babbel it all started to go south from there. The debut Working Girl chronicles pretty much sums it up and so does Surviving College from late 2015 up until now.

Round about this time my pattern when it came to relating with God mimicked the title of this post, "I prayed and I stopped and I started again" except this process was on repeat, on again, off again. I would flat line for weeks on end, maybe even months then out of the blue you'd hear the unexpected beep of a pulse. Sometimes the beep would be consistent and other times it would be a lone beep and all that would be left would be its echo.

More than that, I think I lost the one essential ingredient, faith. The guy in Biko's post went on to say that, "At some point you just let Him do what He deems best". Call it optimism, I call it faith from a deep founded trust.

Over the past two years I have let anxiety take center stage. When I do pray, I only let go and let God just a tincy wincy bit otherwise I am as clingy as they come. By nature, I am pretty worried over even the smallest thing. However now it's amplified to a whole new level, stewing within on the slow cook option.

In my current state of mind, which unnecessarily works overtime overthinking the simplest of things, given all the feedback I haven't gotten the future according to me is pretty bleak. An average life is what seems to be in store; settling for an okay job in a sub-par, by my standards, law firm, settling for someone who is not even my type(for some reason, this is the one that aggrieves me the most) and just falling into the rest of the protocol that's expected because of the surrounding circumstances.

Maybe, on the other hand, it's just your classic glass half full, half empty type of deal. Maybe all the feedback or lack thereof is a subliminal message to embrace where I am now. Maybe there is a sneaky opportunity for growth or this is a much needed lesson in learning satisfaction. Maybe the constant clamour for the next best thing is not so much ambition as it is greed. Maybe I have my heart set on the wrong thing and should divert my devotion to appreciation, acknowledgement but less desire. Maybe I should just let Him do what He deems best.

I feel that I can now return to my devotion with the right soulset, less expectations at least played down expectations for starters and these can be my stepping stones from here on out. The goal is to keep at it, if I stop then, I start again.

Have a good one!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Make, share, make, share, make, share, make, share

Update on the strike, it's still on. We are also in that limbo stage; is class on? Has it been cancelled? When are assignments due? Do they still stand or I'm out here breaking my back over nothing? Thank God for class representatives and their zeal of confirming whether a class is on or not.While I am on the topic of industrial action, maybe just maybe, if the initial strike(January) had lasted longer, even six months but the union had had a take all deal; the 15 billion, negotiated the 2017-2021 CBA and the allowances and arrears, we wouldn't be in this ridiculous pickle of on again, off again nonsense.

 This whole year academically speaking, has just been a wasteland. It sucks that a few hundred thousand people have to bare the brunt of the government's transgressions. My understanding is that a CBA lasts four years, how long does it take to be implemented? That's a mystery to me given all the industrial action we've seen this year alone, need I remind you, doctors, nurses, lecturers, tea farmers. Regardless, within those four years negotiations and implementations only happen in the last year of the existent CBA. Of course, only after a jibe is thrown towards the government, the jibe being full on strikes, complete with a three week notice.

Answer me this, there is 60 billion readily available for free secondary education but not 5 billion for striking lecturers?

But that's an aside. On to today's piece.

Yesterday, I came home from work and began my usual night routine. I  changed from my 'work clothes' it's really just jeans and a tee and into my PJs, there's no better feeling like it. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to have my laptop on. You guys already know my poison, Youtube. I watched a bunch of suggested videos and then of course shifted base to the big dawg himself, Casey Neistat. Yup, I may have graduated from just having a slight obsession for Casey's content to whatever is above a slight obsession.

The click bait is what got me. I honestly thought that him and Candice were getting a divorce. Turns out, spoiler alert, they were on their way to therapy, couples' therapy and were thinking about starting a podcast where they would talk about their marriage and call it, 'Therapy'. If you ask me, which by the way, he did source for feedback, I really wouldn't care for it. If I so happen to be bored out of my mind or I am looking to pass the time or  on an expedition for white noise while doing a major school assignment then maybe I'll give it a listen. But, being a religious listener and tuning in once every week, I hate to be the wet blanket but no, not my cuppa.

Once I got past the click bait there was a video within the video. A collaboration with one of his friends, Shantell Martin and Samsung. Casey, Casey, Casey racking up dream sponsorships left, right and centre. Shantell of course is no rookie to master collaborations having done one with the G.O.A.T himself, King Kunta, K-dot, Kendrick Lamar. Is there even the slightest possibility of topping that?

Shantell is an artiste. Her instrument a pen. What she creates isn't your usual, it's more  contemporary,modern, urban. The type that some may have to squint and tilt their head to the left to make sense of it. On first impression, it looks like large scale impressionable doodles. Her work is on murals, shutter doors so long as it's a white background she can make it work. It's the type of thing, because of its simplicity makes it stand out especially in a world of color.

So anyway, in the said video she asks, what's the point of making art? The point is to make, share, make, share, make, share, make, share. She moves to New York after finding her groove in Japan, which was her runaway destination after being told not to apply to art school because she probably wouldn't get in.

She knows she's an artist. She has successfully curved a distinct niche for herself, so successful is her artwork it's easily identifiable to be hers. This, was a process and with all processes come time, over time she's built her art, her name and all through the simple process of make, share, make, share, make, share, make, share.

Then there's me. I make, make, make and make. You notice the difference?

I have never wanted to label myself as a writer. The title is pretty heavy, reserved for heavy weights like published authors, Jackson Biko, Magunga Williams, Sharon Mundia, Caroline Njung'e people who make and ultimately, share.

Back story to how this blogging thing came about. I had just finished my Diploma circa, two years after high school. I spent countless hours on Biko's blog, was it High School? He referred to us, his readers, as  Gang. Not so long after, came the rise and rise of ThisisEss, she stood out for a couple of reasons, her looks (might as well have that one be the first one out of the gate), quality pictures, she went all out and hired a small time photographer at least back then he was, Victor Peace and  her way with words. Come at me all you want, so yeah her style was good and Victor was a big help as well, but come on, the story behind the outfits and even none fashion posts still had us hanging on to her every word.

I figured if they can do it then I sure as heck can, yup, so did everybody. In that period alone I can bet nearly everybody with an internet connection had gone on a rampage living links to their websites and blogs anywhere and everywhere you can think off. The sharing line was far from blurred, it was full on crossed, a good majority of folks were just leeching over other people's success and that was the last way I wanted to come off. Instead I made, made, made, made and occasionally shared.

The most I shared was on Google Plus which is barely sharing considering, who even uses Google Plus. At some point I spread my wings on to Pinterest which was an unsuspectingly bringing in a healthy number of readers.That, was the epitome of my make and share process, no more, no less.

I would like to say I have upped my game since then, but I have done just the opposite. I am not sharing on Google Plus, Pinterest, nada. In the past, when I would do my version of self-promo, my friends would actually follow the link to this blog and read an article or more, I guess because I am on a lot of their mailing lists so Google is just out here touting my business. I say that with shock yet what did I expect them to do, eat the link, smell it?

Today, I took yet another dive into the deep end. The post that went up yesterday, I put it up on my Instastory for all and sundry to have a read. As dull as the story was, I didn't even sneak in that the link was in my bio, it was a baby step. Am I proud of it? Not really but I made and I shared.

As I write this article I have since come to the conclusion that I have or had a flawed perception of sharing. Blatantly put, if you weren't a whose who in my books then it was just you looking for some self gratification. Now sharing emotes all sorts of reactions it can be inspiration, entertainment, new discoveries sometimes irritation Njoki Chege for a while took the cup at the latter. Sharing can gas you up and take your creation to a whole other level. Imagine if Kendrick just kept his bars to himself in some room up in Compton, we wouldn't have T.P.A.B not even Damn, that's a parallel universe right there

I guess I'll take a shot at this, I already have the first half down, sharing is just a matter of pressing a few buttons and bada bing bada boom we are in business.

Have a good one! 

Monday, 13 November 2017

What they don't tell you about working in your late teens/ early twenties

I remember it just like it was yesterday, nineteen year old Edwina, fresh out of her first year of university. Exams were done and dusted and just in case you were wondering, those were my stronger academic years, my results were above average and I was basking in the glory of my academic success. The long awaited long holidays were finally here, four months of no school. I was ready as the last few months leading up to this were one hell of a roller coaster.

Hit the rewind button one time. 4 months of no school sounds good when you say it, when you see it written down on paper and when you can nearly smell it when you are writing your last paper. What it actually means though, your parents aren't sparing any expense towards you outside of the bare necessities, so that means you are tethered to one spot, home. The same four walls day in and day out. Unless of course you have a stash of a few shillings to ferry you from point A to point B then just ignore that scenario I painted out up there, or better yet your parents are how do I say, liberal? Regardless of whether school is on or out they make it a priority, no, their priority to make sure that you are well taken care of, inclusive of wants and not just your basic needs.

Want to take a wild guess of where I was not too long ago? If it isn't obvious by now I was the miserable, same four walls day in and day out chap. Oh, the misery.

These were also the pretty naive years of course more naive than I am now, at least one thing has changed and I believe my mantra at the time was, "If I don't like something then do something about it". So what did I do you ask, I went on a job hunt. Every morning after my sketchy morning routine I would sit cross legged, put some Mtv Base on and watch Too Fat for Fifteen while scouring the internet for part time jobs, internships, volunteer programs anything that I could sink my hands in. That year,I found two internships and one job, the current one I am at now.

 The Jeffersons had nothing on me, I had moved on up and I was finally going to get a  piece of that pie.

Except my vision was clearly blurred, the irony. What no one told me about joining the workforce this early, was the sacrifices I would have had to make. I was purely geeked out over the money that I would be making. A regular flow of income, my money, not my mom's, not my dad's, not birthday money or graduation money but money that I went out, on my own and got. I was imagining shopping trips, buying my dream phone, going for live concerts, oh, the joy.

I've talked about the sacrifices here before so you can go to town on that article.

However, the more I sit behind this desk the more jealous I am of all the cats who I see on the other side who still look to and can rely on their parents for financial support.

One time, I was on the bus on my way to work just minding my own business, when I looked out the window to see one of our regulars, early twenties guy comes to my place of work when he is on break from school. I am  horrible with cars but the seats were a cream, maybe, off white luxury leather seats and the body may have been of a Mercedes but with me all cars are a Mercedes. Sitting back left, earphones in and just looking on to the distance. His life, so far removed from mine. He was probably in an Uber, I was on a bus. He had his afternoon to himself, I would be working a six hour afternoon spilling over into the evening shift. Our worlds couldn't be further apart. It bothers me that I am jealous. There's a small part of me that thinks I'm as deserving of that lush life  as they are yet I'm stuck here.

Yet another pity party is thrown when when I log in to my Instagram Saturday afternoon and I catch what my agemates were up to Friday night, you know when the feeling's right. Hair did, freakum dress on, turn ups before the turn up and that's just before they hit the club. These guys work the regular and favourable 9-5 or are creatives so when the weekend peeks its head around the corner they were born ready for it and its shenanigans.

Sure, I could take the risk one Friday to paint the town red and party into the small hours of Saturday but I like to get a decent amount of sleep before my 9 a.m Saturday morning shift, think responsibility trumps lituation.

Go out Sunday then, that sounds like a logical enough course of action, right? Look, I work a six daysout of a seven day week I think I deserve just the one day to stay in and be a bum. The truth is I read the week's paper while taking a late breakfast, like a sixty-something year old whose learning the ropes of retirement.

The two times I tapped into the last of my energy reserve for the week was for Blankets and Wine which you can read about here and here. Although I come out beaming complete with an adrenaline rush it takes nearly a week to recover from a mere few hours of having me a grand old time.

If that doesn't do it for you, more times than one I have opted out of going for a concert because I had no one to go with. An aspect of independence has developed or been introduced, probably introduced. You got the job and have now acquired a new found financial status that none of your peoples are on, congratulations, you played yourself. In as much I am a strong, independent black woman who need no man in her life and all that mumbo jumbo, that is not to say that company will get old. As liberating as it is going for concerts alone going with friends just tears past the roof.

Your heart has to be in the right place, so does your mind, if you are embarking on this thing called employment. The most valuable lesson that has come with the jealousy and sense of entitlement is allow yourself to feel, the faster you feel even the slightest pinch of jealousy feel it,soak in it a while then move on. I always like to take comfort in the hopes that my work is not all in vain but my future kids can have the life I coveted so much, then they can be the envy of the kid behind the desk.

Have a good one!