I could think of a thousand ways to start the opening paragraph to this letter but I’m pounding on thousands of ideas and each new one keeps drifting away. So forgive me for lack of creativity, but I just settled on nothing more than this abstract representation of my current state of mind. Yes, your mother does have a tendency to ” sometimes“ overstate things,please bear with her . 🙂
You should probably know, I’m in a very good mood as I’m writing this piece. The weather is perfect for starters, just sun, sand and the wind in my hair (My long hair!). I’m sitting on the front porch of my beautiful reclusive cabin. I come here often, when I want to rid myself off life’s drudgery. Whenever I feel I need to remember how it feels to actually hear my own thoughts, this is where you’ll find me. It’s a really nice place, best of nature’s finesse. Trees, lake side view, fresh air,peace and quiet. Basically everything the modern day human being does not think he needs.
Oh and did I mention the cute little squirrels and the chirping birds which sing outside my window every morning as the Sun rises.And the unicorns and the dolphins?? Okay wait…Don’t go… I’ve stopped…no more overly imaginative taradiddles. If I continue any further I’d sound like I’m in the Garden of Eden and I very well am far from it.
By now, I’m sure you’ve probably figured out that none of what I had exorbitantly described earlier is even remotely real. I’m sitting on my bunk bed, the air is stale, filled with nothing but unquenched desires and unfulfilled dreams. It’s dead of night and even the neighbor’s dog is asleep. And trust me that wretched dog does not sleep.
To be honest, these past few days have been really hectic, there has been so much pain and death all around, I’m starting to think that “hell on earth” is not just a metaphorical statement any more. I mean, I’ve always known that life is short, you’ve got to treasure each day, such and such the quotes are endless. You grow up hearing these things. You read them in the papers and in books. You hear people say them. But it never makes much sense to you until in one way or another, life deals you such a heavy blow you’re left there motionless on the cold hard ground, struggling to come back to your senses.
I’ve watched people lose everything they have in a matter of seconds be it, life or wealth, joy or health. All these things can disappear in the blink of an eye, quite literally. So here I am, writing a letter to my unborn daughter, not because I am assured that I’ll get a daughter or that I’ll even live to have one in the first place, simply because this is what I want and I hope it comes true.
As human beings we like being in control of our situations but we are crippled by our inability to see or control what happens in the future. So all we can do is hope and trust that the future holds in good faith, everything we aspire to do, or become. But most importantly, we have to hope that, this same future also holds us in store.
So my dear Reson, life is capricious in itself, learn to accept what it brings your way. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, trust me, I’m making mine every day. There’s nothing wrong with being a young girl, with a barrage of dreams and aspirations weighing on her head. No matter how heavy they get, hold your head up high.
In all the wealth that I will posses in my life, this is probably the most valuable thing I can offer you. My thoughts and experiences, which I give to you wholly and with the purest of hearts. For I know that as I go about my daily business burning bridges and building them back up, as long as I know someone will learn from them, I have the strength of a thousand men. And I can burn and build bridges as long as I have air flowing in and out of my lungs.
So when that boy steals your heart, go steal it back from him, if it’s broken, pick the pieces up, put them in a duffle bag and go glue them back together in the comfort of your home. When you start doubting yourself, find the nearest stop and get off that train of thought as soon as you can, it’s going nowhere. When you cry, cry until you can cry no more and when you laugh, laugh as if your whole life depended on it. When you’re down as long as there is a sky, always know that there is something to look up to. And when you find whatever it is that you are looking for in life, no matter how frail or insignificant it might be, nurture it with all your heart, mind, body and soul.
A billion thoughts, a billion mistakes a billion experiences, a billion regrets, as long as I live this is what I shall leave. For you to use as a torch when there is no light, as a sword when you need to fight, and as a shield when you need to hide.And so my dear with those “few” words, always consider yourself “A billion heir” you are far more wealthier than you can ever imagine.
I finally started writing that book I’ve been meaning to write for a long time. That book about the Kenya-Uganda railway, (the one that’s been sitting on the library shelf since you can remember but you’ve never bothered to open…Yeah that one. 🙂
Now, there are two things I like to think God blessed me with in abundance, dreamsand animagination in fact I’m quite certain he did. If you take after me (which I hope you will) then you’ll always know in your heart and soul that this world is too small to contain you, that with all its limitations, its barriers and its conditions it can never be strong enough to stifle your dreams and curb your imagination.
Today’s letter is about risks and doubts. You’d be surprised how little it takes to break the human spirit. A thought, a word, a comment really anything can do it. You just have to be strong enough I guess. Even Rome was built from ruins.
I’m starting journeys of my own and by all means I’m clueless. I don’t know which way to turn and sometimes I wonder what If the bridges I need are the bridges I actually burn. Just like Bilbo Baggins I’ll embark on an adventure with a heart half willing. But I’ll get there and realize I probably had it in me since the beginning.
Picture yourself standing at the edge of a cliff,
The wind is in your hair, your thoughts are everywhere,
Your feeling cold but the sun is shining,
You’re feeling bold but the dread is piling.
You really want to jump,
The ground below is not at all dreary…
…As a matter of fact, it’s most inviting.
You want to jump but your feet are numb,
You calm yourself and tell the voices in your head to shut up,
You make amends with your thoughts,
Take a moment and summon the force.
You break through that “Are you really sure you can” force field,
And summon those “Don’t be silly of course you can” forces,
You’re left foot is fixated on the cold ground, you right foot is one step in the air.
You know your right wouldn’t want to leave left behind,
So you put it back on the ground and try to calm left down.
“I’m not going to let you down” I’ll be “right behind”…
You jump off and begin your descent to the far-off ground,
For a split second you ask yourself “what on earth have I done?”
Then you remember, you’re not in control that’s gravity’s task
“Let your will be done”.
So my dear Reson I’m writing this letter to you, I know someday you’ll read it,
As for now I’m taking risks of my own, even I can’t believe it
When you need to jump off cliffs of your own,
Jump! It’s a chance you only take once.
If you’re looking for answers to questions you don’t understand,
Look up to the sky, the heavens have them all, there’s always some sort of plan
The promise of hope and feeling of reassurance are all sitting there,
Trust me, through rain or shine, doubt has never been more scenic”
I know that at some point in your life you’d be reading these letters and wondering “Where on earth did she get all this time to sit down and write letters to a daughter who wasn’t even born ,didn’t she have things to do ,places to go, people to see?”. I’ll have you know I had a social life and it was really interesting and really fun and I was really cool and awesome and I was so popular and all. Haha okay who am I kidding it’s probably none of the above. But think about it; how many of your fiends have mothers who wrote them letters even before they were born? That’s right ”None” \o/ There you have it, you can thank me later.
Even as I write these letters to you, the main lesson you should learn is not that you’re mother was thinking of having children when she was still in school, no. Just wanted to make that clear so that you don’t pull that “Mum I’m pregnant card “ and use these letters as an excuse against me >> “but Mum you were thinking of me when you’re in school the only difference between you and I, is I actually did it”. Don’t even dare. I guess the reason why I write them is simply because I want to relate different points in your life and my life .Some part of me believes that there is nothing entirely new under the sun and someday in these letters you may find the wisdom and courage to deal with whatever obstacles life may throw your way. I’m in the business of immortalizing thoughts and memories, this is my forte.
The day is Sunday the 26th of May 2013, strange day this one. I woke up in a really bad mood .Okay not bad as per say let’s say sadish, nostalgic, melancholic…Basically just a combination of all the above. I’m not going to tell you exactly what prompted this forlorn state I found myself in, but I will tell you that things we ‘rent going to well at this point in time. I grudgingly dragged myself out of bed, had breakfast, took a shower then decided to go to church.I should probably mention that I hadn’t been to church in a long time, reasons why? , let’s just save that for another day .
The sermon was interesting the lady preaching was incredible, the weather was lovely.I mean this was like the perfect Sunday-service cocktail. As she spoke it felt like she was reading my mind. She spoke about purpose and pressing on, believing in you and believing in God to fulfil his promises to you. If a week from now I remember nearly nothing about this sermon the one thing I will always recall is this “In as much as we are blessed, we should also be a blessing to others”. Now usually I’m not the kind of person who goes around waxing religious topics but this one I had to write about.
She ended her beautiful, succinct sermon, then she begun praying .In the middle of her prayer I heard her call out to a young lady, sitting in the crowd. My eyes were shut; my mind was far far away so I didn’t bother to look at whoever she was calling upon. That’s when the guy sited next to me tapped me and said “she’s calling you”.
What!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Just then my heart did what felt like a thousand cart wheels, my tongue tied itself into a thousand and one knots and my stomach churned like the old wind mill in Shrek.
”Ok Chao be calm, there’s no need to panic, don’t you dare trip or fall off your chair..”
“You have done nothing wrong, or wait…..”
“This has nothing to do with the fact that you’re the only female in jeans, no I don’t think so”
”…Or maybe it’s those Bob Marley looking dreadlocks on your head errrrr no that’s not it”
“… Okay maybe it’s the fact that you stole a couple of glances at that cute guy in the congregation…Come on they were like micro-seconds long, nobody saw that”
“Never mind what you did, you’re doing great, just continue going you’re almost there, you haven’t tripped, you knees aren’t wobbling, oh I’m so proud of you ….”
Finally, an eternity later I get to the front, she says hi to me puts her hand on my stomach and begins speaking in tongues she prays and prays and prays .Then she asks me if I can speak in tongues so I say no and she says something like don’t be afraid and puts the microphone so close to my mouth I could almost swallow it. I froze, I just stared at her with such a blank look you could probably paint an entire portrait of the New York sky line on it .I didn’t say a thing; I probably didn’t even breath as far as I’m concerned. So she just looked at me, smiled and said “Have faith, God wants to give you a new start” .And just like that I went back to my seat. After the service I went back to my room, half mesmerized half bewildered, I had lunch, watched a movie and fell asleep.
Two hours later I woke up and decided to write this letter to you. See, I learnt something today, God has a reason for everything you go through.That It must be for for a cause that our lives have so many doors.If you believe it then you’ll know that he never gives you anything he knows you cant handle. When it gets to that point in your life when you feel that you are alone, and no one really understands what it is that really makes you tick or what it is that makes you weak.When it seems like you’re the only person who understands you and there’s only one of you so that pretty much reduces the number of people you can talk to, to null. Always trust that every experience in your life is an ingredient that determines the kind of person you are and the kind of person you become.The good and the bad alike.
I had a roughly strange morning it seemed like all I needed was a sign; someone or just something to tell me “hold on, you’ve come too far to give up now”. This is yours.
“Whatever happened to the dreamers who always looked beyond the sky,Who saw the world that they believe in but only when they closed their eyes….”
Letter to my daughter,,,,,,,,
I don’t know why I felt the need to write you a letter describing the events that shaped the year that was 2012 and how it played a huge role in making me the kind of person you will know by the time you’re reading this .I’m not sure whether it’s because I felt the need to reinstate that indescribable feeling of hope, pride, disappointment and fear that culminated in a seamless epiphany or simply because I felt the strange need to immortalize this year just in case I end up forgetting some aspects of it.
If you’ve ever had one of those days where nothing goes your way then you’ll relate with what I went through for the better part of an entire year. I’ve always believed in life, in the sense that I’ve always been one to trust that there has to be more to it than meets the eye. Then again I was never one to have put my theories, principles and beliefs to the test, until now. I realize that on one too many occasions I’ve been wrong in my judgments and correct in my assumptions.Ive been held back by insecurities and driven by uncertainties and I’ve been my own student and my own teacher in a school that many drift through unaware of the role they have to play.
Looking back I have reason to laugh at myself particularly all that fussing and musing I did that got me to all of nowhere. My year started on quite the high note I ended up being called to study in Taita somewhere I had never been before and had probably never imagined I would end up, Lord knows every bone in my body was against it. They say every curse comes with a set of blessings and if you’re the kind that’s pessimistic well, every blessing comes with a set of curses. My blessings came well in disguise I confess, I learnt that hope dethrones doubt and at times doubt dethrones faith. It’s important to find peace and contentment in a world full of stereotypes and set in stone measures of happiness .Your view on life, places and people should be subject to what you decide and to your own prejudice not to what people say or want you to believe. I tell you this so that if you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re not at the place you would like to be, you should always trust that there is a reason for it and make the best out of it. I don’t regret where I am ,if anything I’m thankful for the people I’ve met, things I’ve seen and things I’ve learnt; I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience such and such if my life had taken a different turn.
It was in this same year that I lost two people who I loved dearly. They say that death begets life and I see life in all those who they have left behind. At some point in time I changed my perception on death, I sat down one day and asked myself how many people I have to lose to become accustomed to it? I thought about everyone who ‘left’ over the past few years, who left behind their families, their friends, their money, their property, their actions, their words. In that delicate nostalgia I stumbled upon a revelation. A revelation of life and death, a revelation of pleasure and pain, a revelation of lies and truth, a revelation that it all comes to an end one day regardless of who you are or what you have, a revelation that your life has only as much value as you give it, a revelation that you never get used to death you merely learn to confront it.
Reminiscing on an intellectual perspective, I read a lot I must admit, some stories long some short, some articles succinct some uncontrollably long. I read about Mandela and how he read Shakespeare. I read about war and peace and wrote about it too.I thought about leadership and the inane reasons why we chose the leaders we chose.I read in detail about the Mau Mau movement in Kenya and how thousands and thousands of people were killed and brutally punished for demanding for something that essentially belonged to them. I shook my head as I read about settlers who preached against African barbarism yet proclaimed themselves slave masters .I figured that as thousands of Africans were being segregated, massacred and treated like lesser species it was perfectly okay because they were being liberated from their ignorance and their resistance to unjust practices was proof of this very ignorance they didn’t know they possessed. I thought about all those who fought for independence and how they would feel to know their beloved country was flourishing in corruption, poverty, crime and tribalism. I dared to think that maybe if they knew what this so called independence would lead to, they wouldn’t have fought for it in the first place-A lost cause. This sense of estranged pity inspired in me a strong desire to write about forgotten heroes and an overwhelming sense of pride in who I am and where I come from.
If you’re wondering about my accomplishments, this is all I’d have to say. Financially…none, Spiritually…tonnes, Mentally…milestones, Socially…I lost some I gained some, Emotionally…well let’s not go there. I spent sleepless nights working on applications that have only managed to see the light of day on my laptop so that pretty much cuts it for labour in vain. Probably the hardest thing I went through was wanting so badly to make a life for myself and not knowing exactly where to start. Truth be told I did feel disappointed in myself particularly, I felt I had let those who look up to and believe in me down. But first things first you learn this the hard way; you fall down, you pick yourself up. As I continue developing more applications I know that some will cut it, others won’t but as long as you have a purpose and a love for whatever it is that you do in one way or another justice will never be denied from you . Concentrate on what really matters, there’s no room for wasted thoughts. In the midst of all that denial and self battering it suddenly hit me that even in those moments I had none, I never lacked some .I always take to heart a prayer my grandmother taught me, ”Some have meat but they cannot eat, Some would like to eat but they have none, Thank you Lord for we have meat and we can eat.”
We all have those moments where we question the things we do, the decisions we make, the people we chose, the paths we take, mine came in a different fashion; I started to feel uncomfortable in my genes. I began to question my passion for things seemingly unreal and uncommon, I remembered how, not so long ago I had dreams of going to Cambridge or Oxford and studying History, Literature or Philosophy just because I want to, not because I want to make money or seek recognition ,not because education is important in life and I need a degree or two, heck!! ..Just because I would love to. I thought about this young girl who has dreams of visiting Florence, Tuscany, Rome ,Bologna and writing about mind blowing mental, spiritual, artistic escapades. This same one who dreams of visiting the Louvre and Uffizi gallery ,dreams of setting foot at The Parthenon in Athens, standing by the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi at the Piazza Navona and finally kneeling down to pray at the Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. I recall times when I tried to explain these things to people and their facial expressions screamed reality check!!!So I figured that until I finally do find someone who would actually understand, me.. myself & I would be good enough company.
As I tried to find a way to resolve my qualms of conscience ,something remarkable happened,I met Grace, and I selfishly related her story to mine, her doubts were my doubts her society depicted my society and her accomplishments spelt out part of what I want to achieve. So with that in my mind I held on to the notion that something great will come out of this human being that I am either blessed or cursed to be. That the passion I have is not useless and that this same passion will be my light in the dark. That my pain is a manifestation of my hard work and sacrifice. That my inability to know what the future holds is my greatest weapon in a war whose cause is also unknown to me. That my strength and courage though outwardly wasting away are replenished day by day. That my beauty is a confirmation that God does love his people. That my doubts are proof that my life is not in my hands and that I am irreplaceable and so is my purpose.
I’m not proud of the fact that I conned a 6 year old off a bar of chocolate but I’ve got to admit it was heaven in my mouth .I’m not proud of the fact that because I am born of this world, at times I am of this world, so concerned with all the gloom, all the material and the self-consuming desire to fit in. I’m not proud of the fact that sometimes I feel I should settle for less because present day circumstances seem to amount to nothing. But I’m proud of the fact that there are many things that I can say today that I would never have said before, that I gained my first measure of wisdom when I admitted my ignorance. With all that said and done, at the back of my mind I know that the journey has just begun, and that a day will come when the fight is eventually won if that day hasn’t come already .I only hope that one day my stories will serve as an inspiration to you and to millions of people around the world who just like me are trying to find some space to breath in a world so cold yet so amazingly beautiful.
“For what it’s worth; it’s never too late or in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” (Benjamin Button)