ON BEING UNCONVENTIONALLY PRETTY( OR CONVENTIONALLY UNPRETTY)

First things first; don’t worry, I’m not fishing for compliments. I know such posts usually put people in an awkward situation. “This girl is calling herself ugly, now what am I supposed to say?” No, I am not trashing myself, or wallowing in self pity. I happen to regard myself quite highly, in fact. I just thought it would be good to give you a glimpse of the world through the eyes of an unconventionally pretty person. As a young child, I had  an abnormally high self esteem. I suppose all children are like that. I, literally, believed I could do just about anything. Sing in front of the church congregation? You bet I can! Bake a cake in a jam tin? It’ll turn out great! Write a composition? I’ll give you a Nobel prize winning essay! And along with believing I could do anything, I knew I could be anything.  My life plan(and I was dead serious on this) was to be a model-singer-writer-neurosurgeon-super mom.  Yes, it was. And was I pretty? Come on, I could probably knock that Miss World woman right off her throne. Well, then adolescence happened, and slowly but surely, that ludicrous optimism was shed, like autumn leaves, to pave way for a hefty serving of pessimism, with a seasoning of teenage angst and self consciousness. The voice inside my head, as I’m sure it did for many of you guys, spent countless hours convincing me that I would never be good enough. “Special? Hah, there are 7 billion people on this earth, how exactly are you unique?” Also, of course, came the age for awkward romance. At this point, I realized I was unconventionally pretty. There was a distinct difference between the way I was treated and the way particular friends were treated by boys. I doubt that I need to delve into details about what conventional beauty is. Just picture your typical pretty person. Yes, that is conventional beauty. It is not hard to pick out because it is agreed upon by a majority of the population. And the unconventionally pretty…that’s the rest of the population. The population that doesn’t get stares of admiration, or people who stammer when conversing with them, or reassurance that the guy /girl they like surely must like them back because, well, “look at this face.” So, this unconventional beauty, how did it work exactly ? The unspoken guide for us was to be outstanding in the background-to never delude ourselves into thinking we were conventionally beautiful, yet to be confident and not feel sorry for ourselves, because that would just be sad and embarrassing.  So with this invisible guide in hand, I set out to conquer life, albeit a little less starry eyed as I was before. I started off pretty bad ,I admit. I was engrossed in self pity, wondering why I had to be this way. I was the poster girl for low self esteem disguised by a cheery, sociable demeanor. Then, I realized, my unconventional beauty was not a curse. It also was not a gift. It was simply there, a part of me, that would not deter nor boost my dreams. I could either choose to let it engulf me, or to push it  aside and say, “Not now, I’m busy.” I chose the latter. And it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I guess what I’m trying to say, in many confusing sentences, is that I’m unconventionally pretty, and I survived. And I’m not just existing , I’m living. I hope you can all do the same.

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IS MONEY MORE IMPORTANT TO ME THAN IT SHOULD BE?

I recently realised that my interest in money matters has increased exponentially in the past 3 months. Previously, I lived a carefree life, free of any perceptions about money that Iregarded as “morally wrong” and “greedy”. That has changed, and I am not sure if it’s a good or bad thing.

Maybe it’s because I am now having a direct interaction with money at the bank, and with people who own that money, and own tons of it. Now, what was previously a casual desire for future wealth has become a necessity-almost a desperate need. I find myself day dreaming about the company(ies) I”ll own, the money I’ll generate, and how one day, I’ll become one of the distinguished customers who are deeply respected by the bank staff solely because of the size of their bank account. I myself, am guilty of this behavior. It is almost on a subconscious level. When I happen to serve a customer with an impressive account balance, the first thing that pops into my mind is, “Wow, this guy/lady must be reaaaallly hardworking/dedicated/determined/focused.” I immediately admire them, and I do not even know them. I almost feel obliged to try make them like me. Is this the same thing as the “beauty halo effect”, where our first assumption of an attractive person is that they are nice, fun, witty people? Or maybe it’s an instinctual, survival-of-the-fittest thing; that I want to save myself from the discrimination that the financially disadvantaged face? because I have seen this discrimination first hand. If a poor customer is rude, or impatient, or noisy, the teller retaliates with the same, and as soon as they go away, the teller who was serving them makes a snide remark like “Mwangalie, anajifaaanya, na hata hana pesa kwa account ( He’s making such a fuss, and he hardly has any money). If a well-to-do customer exhibits the same behaviour,  the teller maintains a polite, respectful stance, and as soon as he/she leaves, shrugs it off with a “Probably ni kwa sababu ako na ma-haraka, mwache tu” (it’s probably because he is in a hurry, don’t be bothered). If a customer with a huge account balance is polite, then we immediately shower compliments about their “humility” and “down-to-earthness”: it is almost as if we expect and are willing to tolerate rudeness from the wealthy, and so a deviation from this norm is a great achievement. A rich person acting normally will be crowned “humble” while no such praises go to a poor person acting in the exact same way.Then again,  the standards for modesty are a lot lower for the wealthy than for the poor.

Perhaps, I want to own a lot, so that rich people won’t have the ability to look down on me-after all, we’ll be in the same class, won’t we? I can’t tell you how many times wealthy customers have addressed me in a patronizing or dismissive manner as I serve them. I almost want to shout “You won’t be so smug when I have as much as you do!”,but of course, I don’t, because, I still, albeit reluctantly, admire them.  Perhaps, I want to own a lot, because of the nascent feminist in me, who acknowledges, and resents,  the fact that many ladies here have the “Princess Syndrome”, and deeply wish that they’ll marry someone who is so ridiculously wealthy, they’ll hardly have to work another day of their lives? That I want to prove that women can be rich off their own hard earned money too? I don’t know.

The truth is, I miss those days when I wasn’t so captivated by money. When I didn’t feel the pinch as my parents spent more money than they should have on luxuries. When I didn’t get overly excited when I saw an upward move in my bank account balance. Things were simpler back then. But may be this is a part of growing up: realizing that, money matters, and I need to have a keen sense of awareness of it.

May be all of this is because I’m reading “Liar’s poker”, a book full of these notions. Take for example, this excerpt;

“…Whenever I was asked for my motives in investment banking, I handed in the correct answers:the challenge, the people, the thrill of the deal…It was several years before I convinced myself that this was remotely plausible…That money wasn’t the binding force was, of course, complete and utter bullshit..I mean, did anyone, even in those innocent days, doubt the importance of money on Wall Street other than the people from Wall Street?”

Your comments are, as always, highly appreciated.

Can we be friends with an Ex? Solving the Ex

During one of my numerous adventures in the internet jungle ( I usually lie to myself that I can do useful things with the modem), I came across an article about how it is completely and utterly impossible to stay friends with an ex.  The author completely discourages the reader from even considering the friendship option with his/her ex, claiming that it’s like stabbing yourself, then keeping the knife as a memento. That such a friendship is merely the  relationship’s excretory product. Now, those views are a tad bit extreme, but I sort of agree with this clearly scorned lover. Well, at least partly. Seeing as I have only been in one relationship so far, I am probably not qualified to give expertise advice on romance. However, let me give my 2 cents on this one, from limited past experience. I do not completely agree with the author, because I do not believe in holding grudges. You see, there are 2 ways of saying you do not want to be friends with your ex: the first one involves a whole truckload of bitterness ; ” Hmmph! I don’t need him/her anyways! Good riddance! Go destroy someone else’s happiness! Thank you Jehovah, ’cause I dodged a bullet! Independent girl/guy from now on! *proceeds to facebook stalk the ex for approximately 6 months* Needless to say, this never leads to self fulfillment. In fact, you get so caught up in showing that you DON’T want to be friends, and analyzing your text messages to said person to ensure that they are dripping with indifference and disinterest, that you forget how to have proper relationships. You constantly wonder if the Ex has noticed your distant behavior and is worried, or could hardly care less about it. You get so used to this confusing, let’s-compete-to-show-who-has-moved-on-the-most fiasco, that you question any other potential romances. You wonder why someone would show any genuine interest in you, and proceed to dismiss them, because if they like you, then something must be wrong with them.  Eventually, you die a sad death, surrounded with cats.Okay, it might not end like that ,but you must agree that this is not a healthy to live. On the other hand, you could decide to politely and respectfully distance yourself from the Ex, and give both of you time to mature up and properly move on.  Your distance does not translate into deep hatred or bitterness. It is not a trick to get your ex back by showing them just how incomplete their lives are without you. It is not revenge. It is, simply, a healthy detachment, in order to give time for a shift from the romantic aspect of your relationship to the platonic aspect.  ‘Cause that takes some time.  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be having a lengthy discussion about some hot chick my Ex has been eyeing, the day after the break-up. Call me old fashioned. So, to be or not to be friends with the Ex? That is the question. It’s a tricky topic, and I am inexperienced, but damnit, it’s my blog, so I’ll advise you anyways. Only consider this option if you have no left-over feelings, and consider it in full knowledge that you will never have the closeness you had when you were together, so get over it.  Remember all those semi-deep discussions you used to have about life,  love and your future life plans together(marriage,  kids,  etc)?  Well,  be prepared to replace those with stimulating conversations about TV shows  and his/her new found love.  Also, deeply consider whether or not the cause of the break-up can allow you to be friends. So he unapologetically cheated on you. Do you want to be hanging out with that kind of person? So she belittled you and made you feel insignificant. Do you really want to be best buds with that person?  Or let’s say that you had an amicable split, and are trying to get through that awkward phase between romance and friendship.  You still regard the person very highly. First things first; no false hopes are allowed.

” But, but….I still love him/her!”

Unless your life is a Hollywood romantic comedy script, chances are your ex does not reciprocate those feelings. Otherwise, you know, you wouldn’t have broken up. Yes, it’s the tough truth. Don’t expect special treatment, ’cause you’re in the friendzone now-stings, doesn’t it? Get over it. You are allowed some nostalgia, but only in small doses. And if you are a loyal soldier in the friendzone, you will one day be promoted to bridesmaid/groomsman zone. Get my drift? Hahaha. Okay, this was meant to be a light hearted essay, I hope I didn’t spark up any bitter memories in anyone. What say you? Are you friends with your Ex? Or did you decide to jump off that train? Leave a comment! Your wise words will be appreciated. 🙂

The life-altering first post

After typing, then deleting, then retyping, then deleting, I have decided not to give myself a migraine trying to come up with the catchiest first sentence known to man. Simply put, I am a 19 year old Kenyan girl, in that highly awkward phase between high school and University. It is the phase of rediscovery, confusion and romance(where I come from, such relationships among high schoolers are unacceptable). Whilst in this phase, I managed to convince myself that my thoughts and musings are important enough to be relayed to the internet community, so I started a blog. Are blogs like businesses? Only 1 in 10 succeeds? I hope not. But even if it is so, and I don’t fall in that lucky 10%, well, I tried. And that’s halfway through the journey to success, right? 

Stick around, kind stranger, you will enjoy the ride.