Culture? What culture?

“If you love your spouse, which you should, you should devote yourself to them” the instructor says.
 I highly doubt devotion exists in people’s vocabulary these days. Everyone is tough-headed and selfish, most people that is; we all want to know what’s in it for us. How is this to my benefit? We ask too many questions. Because we know better than to jump in or follow blindly.
“Some women now propose to their men, doesn’t necessarily have to be the man doing it” he says this with a smirk on his face; you can hear it in his voice too.
I look around; all the men in the audience are silent. The look on ladies faces indicates an interesting conversation is about to crop up if they all decide to mouth the rumpus going on in their heads.
“Preach!”the blonde with a bob cut seems to think.

The fresh make-up lady at the back seems to think, “Yes, you said it!!”snapping in her head.

“Why not? I mean we are equals now, aren’t we?” The ‘human-right-activist‘attitude says to herself.

“Some of us are the bread winners and most of the time make the decisions so why not?”The bold woman I like thinks to herself arm’s crossed in a tight knot now.

“What is wrong with this generation?” The old woman thinks to herself probably in her mother tongue J, her face ever so readable than others, shock so clear in her eyes.

I would’ve loved to know what lady in red dress and shocking lipstick thinks but she is sitting before me facing the other side of the room.
                              
No one says anything, I’m surprised. ” If you like it put a ring on it” is what I’m thinking.
 “Do you think it’s time for the reversed roles?” he seems to have seen what I was seeing so he wanted people to “fungua roho” and spark a debate, he succeeds.
People mumble and chuckle to themselves but lady-in-red says quite firmly and sure, “No, that’s against our culture.” It probably is, I hope she meant it as different as Indian and African cultures and not asking someone out. No. It’s not the same.
Probably in their culture it is a taboo. But I do not see her wearing hides and skins so I’m left wondering what she is talking about. The dictionary meaning of culture is, the customs, ideas, beliefs, etc of a country or society. Which to me means it is ever so evolving. This year and next year have very little in common.
People no longer pay dowry in livestock, no one has to soak their face in animal blood or kill a lion. Because we are liberal. Men do not beat up women to show love or even when they are angry; they will bite off your luck at being a biological father if you laid a hand on them. Women are now working as hard, some twice as hard as men. So please tell me what culture we are talking about here? 
Women are raising children by themselves and doing a very good job. Women run successful businesses, head organizations, some run empires and countries. These women don’t care what is allowed and what isn’t? Who is allowing us by the way? Exactly! I do not think these type of driven women would be afraid to tell a man they like them if he doesn’t do it first. 
These women don’t like to make assumptions. Since men say they are not mind readers, we like to point out some things to avoid wasting time. I don’t know about proposing though. It is in a man’s place to ask the woman to marry them but in the initial stages I like to see it as this, we are adults and we know what we both want, so are you game or you are just playing? Do you wanna try this? More like finding Mr. Left and dragging him to the right. 😀
People should find a new scapegoat. Culture is too vague unless you are willing to explain exactly what you mean. These are the same people who will not shave their heads when bereaved or wash their husbands feet because who follows culture anyway?!!!

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KEEP YOUR RESOLUTIONS

Remember how you swore by 2015 to be the year your turn your life around? Well, we are a few days into March and how is that working for you?  How many things on that list (if you have any) have you checked? How many more to go? Do you have a plan? Have you already thrown in the towel and resolved to “do you” the oldest excuse in the book?
 I am not speaking this from a place of self-righteousness because all the things about planning and failing to plan I can relate, I am one of you so here’s what I have learnt from the people that have done it and keep reinventing themselves relentlessly.
1.       Make small achievable goals: You can’t eat a whole elephant in one bite. But you still have to eat the elephant. So you have one option. Plan accordingly and break it down to daily routines so that you increase efficiency as you go. If you want a toned body, start by doing simple exercises from home even in your bedroom and build towards tougher exercises to allow yourself to adjust gradually.
2.       Change your routine for the better: You cannot do the same things over and over and expect different results hence you change the way you do things so that you can achieve different results. As simple as that.
3.       Manage your time: your plate was probably full by the time you thought of the new ideas and here you are trying to add something else onto it. If you do not plan to manage your time efficiently this could be a recipe for disaster. You could end up messing up something important. Establishing a balance is what you need to do and time management is a good place to start.
4.       Avoid Burnouts: when you do not plan, all new things you take up might become exhausting and wearing you down because you are still into your old routine and you could start wondering why you took the new thing up which could lead abandoning it. The secret is in the planning, that’s how people manage.
5.       Keep your eyes on the prize: When you want to give up the cooking class, yoga, foreign language, martial arts class because you just can’t handle the heat and all you want to do is get out of the kitchen, remember why you started. What was your end in mind? Always remind yourself how bad you want the prize and keep going.
Get to work.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and so is the hot body. Good luck.

Book hangover

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I am sitting on the edge of my bed. Hurt. Feeling like I have lost a part of me. As if my friends just left without saying goodbye. Or waking up from a dream too good. A dream that has been going on long enough. A dream I managed to regulate how long it would last but a dream altogether. Then I realize, its a book hangover. Just like Biko taught us.

Books change you. They make you dreamy its sort of magical and light up a far but sure amber of hope. I love getting lost into an in-existent world someone creates. I feel the characters emotion. Some of them grow on me. I laugh with them, cry with them, I like things they like and dislike others in the same fashion.  Books are said to be mirrors of society. Some vibrant than others. Some books I read I feel myself morphing into a character, relating and a little wishful thinking. Hoping as well.  Little maybes garnishing my hopes. Although, it is in these maybes that I could be thriving in. The changes.
Chimamanda Ngozi has wounded me deeply. Why does she finish a book with “Come in?”
Why is she shutting me out of the good things I have been hoping for all that while?

Why is she leaving me out in the cold? My mug of hot tea is still here. Plus it’s raining as I write this so I feel lonelier than usual. Am I the only who feels lonely when it’s raining? Or it’s a thing? 
Whatever.
But I understood her setting and the characters she created. She shut me out.
‘Americanah’ is like an award winning Hollywood movie and I had the chance to cast my actors and choose my setting. Ifem looked a lot like Chimamanda herself I have to give you that.“ahn-ahn”, “ehn”  and all the other things. Ranyinudo sounded like somebody I know. Obinze a little like the love of my life I never had, Ifem as myself with her blog and her tough-spirit and stubbornness. I think I am stubborn and curious when I’m not busy hiding behind safe words. Her parents, Obinze’s mum, Aunty Uju, Dike. I do not know if his name is really Dike /dyk/ or /dikeh/. we might have to ask Ms. Adichie herself. 

I read the Nigerian italics in their accent thanks to Afro-sinema.

Ngozi took me to places I have never been to before until I came close enough with her ever so vivid description of people, feelings, places, situations. I grew sad when the mood was somber and giddy when everyone else was happy teasing and all. I didn’t like some guy, I don’t remember his name but I hope no one has been faced with the tragedy of being associated with his name.
I traveled through Nigeria cringing most of the time. Because I am reminded of crowded places and disorganization like a Nairobi I don’t know. And I honestly do not like crowded places and disorderliness. So many things came alive in my eyes in that moment and I don’t regret squinting through the tiny handwriting and carrying the big ass book every single day whipping it out in traffic regardless of the distance.
I however don’t understand why she rushed my favorite part of the book. Part 3. There were parts I had a huge internal yawn but being the reader I am, I couldn’t just put the book down. I never skip pages. I go back a chapter just to take a second dip in these peoples imagined lives and feel again. I fell in love with The Zed as well. I hope to find my “Ceiling” and that he would want to smooth all the roads for me. Chimamanda, you have a way with words, and you got me good.

Whats love got to do with it

I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to do a post for today, its 9:35 PM and I am still contemplating then I come across a tweet and I’m like “this needs to be addressed.” Cynthia Nyamai @cynthianyamai ‘Men go through so much pressure in life, so this year I decided to treat my man and let him know he can sit back cause I got this.’ I nod in agreement.

The pressure on Valentine’s Day is blown out of proportion. However, it is the men that cower from it that engross me. I wouldn’t judge you. One thing men need to realize is that women don’t expect that Kempinski suite or a trip to far-away land although if you could afford that we would be ecstatic. Ever heard “it’s the little things that matter”? Must be a woman who said that because we can attach sentiment to anything and everything. Yes. It’s the little things that you would do with a personal touch that go a long way. I bet you already know this but I will repeat it anyway, women are the easiest to please.
If you do not already treat your woman to a random date or a night out/in then I think that is when it becomes a task for you. If you work out often, you will not find a run to be such a task. The same applies here. If you still find the little things really hard to do then I think you are a problem and God bless the woman putting up with that. If the woman settles for that then, well, to each their own.

Even with the changing times, it is sort of an unwritten rule for the man to be the provider. That could be the reason women tend to let the man do all the giving while they do all the taking. That’s when you become the house-help and are expected to do all the cooking and cleaning. If this is the case it means he hardly ever thinks of taking you out. Hence, the expectation of a day out during valentines. If you do have those on the regular, the ‘stay-cation’ would definitely work for you.

I will not lie, I like a man who treats a lady with a thoughtful streak. Treats her like they actually are the best thing and they would rather be there with them than be anywhere else. Isn’t that what love is about anyway? I have an imagination I can’t tame so believe me when I say I fantasize beyond what you could ever imagine. I am just that girl. And people like me appreciate very little things, because for us, its the thought that counts.
Take some time and do something out of the ordinary. It doesn’t have to be expensive, at all. Ladies love surprises, well. Most of us do. Although, I think if you are seeing someone it is your duty to find out what your better half likes. Take the time to listen to her, not hear her rumble like Kanyari speaking in tongues but listen to what she tells you and ask engage her in the conversation. Or just Google something dammit!
There are men who purposely bring up a fight when its almost valentines and apologize on the morning of 15th. I think that is fear of thinking, fear of using your brains, its stupid, beyond despicable. If you genuinely love someone you wouldn’t pull such illiterate stunts. You can tell her you love her a little over a thousand times out of habit but if you show it, she would never doubt that. She would probably go out of her way and do extra things just for you. I saw the grocery guy buy a teddy bear and a couple of roses for the wife and that surely could be the oldest trick in the books but I could spell the love for his wife through such a simple gesture.
Ladies, its not always about the men to shower you with gifts or exchange them either. A relationship is two way as you already know. Do not be always on the receiving end otherwise you will receive a dump too. It would really mean a lot to the man if you took care of this for once. This way you set the standards and maybe, just maybe he can have a clue of what makes you happy and top that next time.
Men, we know you do not volunteer information quite easily but please try and talk to your woman when she seeks your opinion on some of these things. We will appreciate when it is not a one word answer. It comes out as arrogant when you ignore. Its a give and take. Compromise. (So that you do not have to sleep on the couch) You will be surprised what those little things can do to your relationship. Thank me later.

THAT’S NOT MY NAME

Long before the coke ad, I had thought of this post so, no, that’s not my source of inspiration. Although, I like the song & I must say I am into the personalized cans.  They are just the coolest thing since…….. Ok, they are cool but sliced bread cannot compare. Uuuh, there, coolest thing since personalized sweatshirts logos, right?
My name is Tracy. Written as T R A C Y, not T R A C E Y or T R E S I or T R A C E (Keli please leave my name alone) or however else people decide to spell my name.  It is not Teresa either. I had to ask my father if he intended to have my name as Teresa but he did not.  It is not Stacy either, *hangs head in irritation* I don’t know how we got here but I dislike that name with all fibres’ of my being.   

 This is how most of my introduction goes;

“Hi, my name is Tracy.” (pronounced as /treisi/)
“Jessy?”
“Tracy.”
“Rossie?”
“No. Tracy.”
“Stacy?”
(Rolling my eyes in the back of my head) “Tracy. T.R.A.C.Y”
“Oooh, Tracy!!” (pronouncing it as /tresi/)
(Smiling in half approval) “Yes, that.”
 Sometimes I want to say “never mind just call me Gesare” but trust people to make it a guacamole of a conversation.  But most times I let it slide, so if I said “Tracy” and someone is like “oh, Xavier?” I’d be like yeah, that. Someone called me Trez. T.R.E.Z. I can’t. I might not be able to change much but I have a request to make. Here we go.
Dear Coke East Africa/ Kenya,
 I have been to the supermarket enough times rummaging through the CocaCola fridge for a can with either of my names but for reasons well known to you, you don’t have any. The guy at the freezer section knows me now, he sees me approaching and he is like “bado, bado, si nilikuambia wakileta nitakuwekea.” So I just pick the first coke with something like Odhis on it but I walk on, resisting the urge of looking through for my name just one last time. I just want to see my name or something closer home on it. Sigh!

I have been watching my fellow bloggers and the rest of the lucky squad flash their personalized cans on social media. All I do is like the picture and move on now. One secret, I am a hoarder (as explained here) so if you ever considered giving the can I’d keep it till the end of time and probably ask to be buried with it. Is that creepy? Oh sorry, then I will pass it to my grandchildren. Guys are teasing how people should be striving to have names on title deeds and not on cans. They don’t get the difference; at least no one can grab my can. Plus I would rather have my name on a Coke can than on a Nairobi Aviation College certificate. Lol. Let me stop running around the bush, it might end up burning from the rounds I have already made. Is it too late to ask for a personalized can? Ok, deal? Thanks.

Sincerely,
Tracy the Coke lover. 😀