Of Withered Roses

Cause lately I’ve been waking up alone.”

He broke your heart, and for that, you know you’ll never forgive him. You let defenses down, dropped your guard, let him see the real you…and he shat all over that trust. You suppose it was partly your fault, for being so guileless- but either way, the wound is fresh. The hurt is raw.

Pain splattered tear drops all over my shirt.”

You hate him, you know you do.  You loathe every cell, every tissue, every organ in his shameless, uncaring, unfeeling body. You cannot stand the sight of that filthy excuse of a human being, of a man.  That little rat. How was it that you thought him an angel? How was it that you defended his every single action, even though the lie-ridden excuses scalded your mouth as they came out? How can you bear the memory of yesterdays, the innocent times, the paddling about in the warm, safe, familiar shallow end? Now, gasping for air in the middle of the dark ocean, grappling for something to keep you afloat, you remember the days in the shallow water, and you want nothing more than to die.

Maybe I should let you go.”

Does he think of you, as you do of him? Do memories torment his soul too, keeping him up at night, drowning his pillow in salty tears, filling his stomach with a hollow despair that no amount or flavor of food could replace? Does he, too, wish everything could just go back to the way it was?

It’s been a while, but…I still feel the same.”

You must forget him…you must not contact him. At all. The no contact rule…it’s the surest way. Your hands itch to send a meaningless WhatsApp text message, and you cuss out loud at the air and delete his contact number. But you are in a number of chat groups together. Does he realize your pointless, silent torture? Does he even care?

Give me love, like her.”



You want to hate her, but you know your body may never recover from it. You want to be the bigger person….you want to be the mature one. But you can’t be. The same familiar feelings of anger and ill usage creep up, slowly but steadily, whenever you see her. How could he…how could she…how could they…? The bitter rage of betrayal in your chest is almost suffocating. It is suddenly replaced by all consuming melancholy. A dull ache in your disconsolate heart.  I  am not good enough. I never was.  I am not pretty enough; interesting enough. I never was.

You’re the only one that knows I lied.”

You lied. Through your teeth. You said you were fine…you lied. You watched them hold hands, exchange looks, go off together. And you said you were fine…you laughed it off, occupied yourself with your friends, did not notice, put on a smile…you lied. You saw everything. Every image was a blow to your already fragile ego, and you had to close your eyes and sigh to repress the sob that threatened to rear its ugly head every time. You lied…you were not fine. You wanted to scream, to be avenged, to make them feel even a fraction of what you felt. You lied through your teeth, as the sight of them made you die inside.

It’s not a good look; I need some self control.”

You hate that you are so emotional. God, you are so soppy, so sentimental. You hate that this is affecting you so much more than you know it should. You wish you were calm and calculating; never letting anything faze you. Why can’t the easy detachment and professionalism you apply in all other aspects of your life spill over to this one too? You want to forget him- you would give anything to forget him. The bastard. But you care for the bastard. And you hate yourself for that.

“..Thinking all love ever does is break,and burn and end..”

You schedule a lunch with him on Friday. What will you wear? You know it does not matter, but the thought occupies your mind.  It keeps you from remembering that this is the first time you have seen him in 3 months, keeps you from letting your fiery hopes rise from the ashes. He is going away for a long time…that’s it. That’s why.  It’s a perfectly reasonable request. You will stay professional. You won’t break. You owe that much to yourself.

You won’t let the truth leak out.



You are furious

He almost broke your arm

He couldn’t wait one moment for you

To withdraw yourself from his car

He is the one who asked for a look anyways

Bastards. They are all bastards.


Now your carrots are sprawled all over the road

Quickly rolling away, retreating

Just as your happiness had.

The sun is high-your shirt is already soaked

And your arm, sore.


Just because he has a middle class car

He thinks he has the right to stop at the roadside market

After a long self indulgent Christmas trip to his ‘homeland’

Waving his overpriced Samsung phone

And  demand that you sell your premier carrots, worth at least 100 shillings, at a measly 10 bob price?

What use did he have of the 90, anyway?

Sadists. They are all sadists.


90sh would do you good

Add a couple more zeros, and you would be sorted for a few more months

The noisy hum of the market place infuriates you

You can’t remember the last time you were engulfed in silence,

The last time you were peaceful

Maybe back in your childhood in Nandi Hills

Nowadays, chaos is the order of the day;

And uncertainty, plastic smiles, embarrassing sycophancy for the loud mouthed, middle class Kenyans who almost break your arm on a daily basis

You are supposed to revere those shining examples of what it means to ‘escape from the village’

To live in the city- to make it.


He had a youthful daughter in the backseat,

The girl was not pretty, but she had poise

She was scented, and absorbed in her equally overpriced Smartphone.


You think to yourself:

“That could have been me.”

An envy beyond all imagination engulfs you.

You are good-looking

You still turn heads

And you need no make-up, no perfume, no fashionable clothes.

It gives you some sort of perverse satisfaction

To know that you are much prettier than the daughter of that narcissistic excuse of a man.


The sun beats down on your face

You scrunch up your features in exasperation.

You have grown old- much too old- these past few years.

Would anyone believe you to be 17?

You can’t remember the last time you were peaceful

But you go on…

Life conspires against you,

But you go on.



  • The ‘cool kid’: This kind of infatuation stemmed from the desire to attain the seemingly unattainable. This was the guy who had become too popular to associate himself with plebeians such as yourself, whose only goal at that point in your life was to get his attention(he lived close to your estate, so in your head this was moderately possible). He was the guy who had 10000 followers on Instagram but only followed 7; he was the one whose pictures would amass thousands of likes in mere minutes (while you quietly contemplated deleting your snaps that your ‘friends’ had casually ignored), who would be seen at every event, being taken pictures of by one of the many professional teenage photographers we seem to have an influx of these days, who would have that one odd snap with a semi-famous Kenyan celebrity or socialite. If you thought about it carefully, you weren’t really sure why you liked the guy- he wasn’t particularly talented in anything other than promoting himself. Maybe he wasn’t even that good looking. But other girls wanted him, ergo so did you.
  • The athlete: You wanted him almost exclusively for his body. But you were also attracted to his discipline. He toiled every single day to reach his level of fitness, showed unbreakable concentration during games, and took control of his team and the pitch in such an enchanting way. You could stare at his furrowed eyebrows- as he prepared himself to shoot the free throw- all day long. You ogled shamelessly as he stomped across the court, shouting husky instructions to his team mates, jersey soaking in sweat, and plonked himself down onto the bench, in a heated exchange with his team mate. When he lifted up his jersey casually to cool down at half time and narrowed his eyes at the crowd, you almost died. You endlessly fantasized about fainting in the middle of the game, or finding yourself in some other precarious medical situation near his presence, and having him stop what he was doing, run over to you and carry you to safety. In his oh so gloriously chiseled and sweaty arms.
  • The choleric leader– You fell for him because he was self-aware. He wasn’t like one of those other confused, directionless boys, no- he was a leader. When he spoke, you could tell that he enjoyed the sound of his own voice. He wore that Captain’s badge proudly on his meticulously neat sweater, stood with his clean, neat fingers intertwined, as if in deep thought, had his back straight and barked orders at the people he ruled over. He furrowed his eye brows in the same way as the athlete, only that he did it when expressing extra disgust over another student’s disobedience, tardiness or shabbiness. He licked his lips when in deep thought, and smirked at hapless students- that one always did you in.You loved hearing his deep commanding voice bark orders at people. You loved him being assertive, taking control- heck, you even liked that he thought he was better than you. That way, he would be extra chivalrous. And anyways, standing next to this feared authority figure made you feel powerful enough. He would be rich and influential in the future; you could feel it. Maybe you would be standing next to him when that happened. All the better.
  • The funny guy- Two minutes into any conversation with him, and you would be gasping for air. He could mold any situation or story into a hilarious joke, and never took himself seriously. He made you feel at peace, and at home around him. You didn’t like some of his gags, which were inappropriate or aimed at you or your friends, but most times he made you laugh. And the best thing was, he was popular with everyone because of his humor, and that made him even more attractive. And his sudden but rare shifts from cheery to serious and introspective, for some reason, made him mysterious and appealing.
  • The shy guy- You liked him because he was a puzzle. He never said much. You can have hours and hours of silence between you. Your friends don’t like him because he comes off as haughty in front of them. He simply won’t reciprocate their energy and enthusiasm for conversation. You probably had approached him first.He is talented- probably a writer, or a musician, or a sketcher. He is probably really smart in class. He doesn’t let much out, but his quiet anger can frighten almost anyone. He can crack a really good joke, but will do so without any pomp, and it will probably pass unheard. His impenetrability is just so hot– you just want to get into his mind and figure the whole of him out. Kind of like in the movies. Then it’ll end with a passionate kiss and a horse ride into the sunset.
  • The ‘one’– He was a beautiful mix of qualities. He was kind, physically attractive,moderately responsible, smart, and funny. He was not perfect, certainly not what you had always dreamed about, and there were many things about his behavior that you did not approve of, but…he liked you too, so it felt right. You thought you complemented each other. You decided to see how far it would go- after all, he wasn’t too bad. You would definitely enjoy being his girlfriend.


This…This is pure gold.
Everyone needs to read it.

Mark Maish


I’m seated on a wooden bench under a makuti shed located at a vantage point deep in the heart of a national reserve watching a herd of elephants grazing peaceful below, oblivious of the chaotic world out there. A fortnight ago I handed in my final year project which marked the end of a 5-year pursuit for my Undergrads. Faced with the biggest dilemma of my life, I traveled down to this remote camping site in south coast to strategize on my next step. The decision I’m about to make is to either take the job offered or turn it down and instead follow my passion which is unconventional.

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Why I have a problem with ‘Bye, Fuckboy’

I recently read an article on cracked.com that basically shattered any conceptions I had previously harbored about respect and dignity. The author informs the reader, in the funniest and bluntest way possible, that the world doesn’t give a hoot about respecting them if they aren’t bringing something to the table. This is the reason we see a stark change in the way our parents, relatives and society treats us as we grow older; as kids, we could do the most outrageous things, but the world would continue to invest in us; when we became teens, the world began to frown on our delinquency, but kept on supporting us; and when we crossed the 18 threshold, the world heaved a sigh of relief and began to give us a piece of its mind. I think we can all agree that as an everyday adult mwananchi, we go through  A LOT. Rudeness, long cues, insecurity, accountability for our actions and the painful realization that we just aren’t as important as we thought we were. I worked at a bank as a teller last year and I was 18- trust me ,I know what I’m talking about. This sudden stripping of sense of entitlement is, I think, crucial to the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Ugh, Norah, cut to the chase already!” Calm thyself, young grasshopper, I’m getting there.

So: fuckboys.

I read the article last night, and my fingers have been hovering over the keyboard since then, itching to reply to it. I did a comment reply, but I didn’t feel the space was adequate to air my  sentiments on the matter. I was a mix of strange things when I read it- amused, mildly shocked at the obscene amount of foul language splattered all over it. I could tell, however, the writer knows how to write.  But the content-that’s the question.

By blog definition, “What is a fuckboy? An aint shit nigga”

The author goes on to explicitly state why these ‘fuckboys’ are loathed by the general human population- they are slow, lazy, selfish with their money, tacky, pretentious and have no grasp on female issues. She used a term that gave me a bit of nostalgia- a scrub, the term made popular by the female trio TLC back in the 90s to describe what I suppose today is more crudely known as ‘fuckboy’.

Now, slow, lazy, selfish, tacky and pretentious boys exist. But I have a problem with labels, because at many points  in your own life, you have exhibited the same traits. It’s a classic case of judging others when we ourselves would not want to be judged. And do these boys deserve to all be bundled up into a single stereotypical moniker? What if they are also doing other things with their lives? What if it’s just a stupid phrase they are going through, and someday in the future when they have made something out of their lives, they will look back and be mortified by their past behavior? Because nothing is black and white. Even the most seemingly crude individuals have a story, and have some sort of potential for greatness- whether it will be tapped into or not, is the question.

And I have a huge problem with the real life examples given to show the character traits of a fuckboy.

A fuckboy is the type of nigga that will call you up and tell you he wants to go out with you. So you’ll dress up in your sexy LBD,  six inch heels  and get your makeup on fleek, only for him to show up in a car full of his ‘SQUAAAAAAD’ cranking Cheif Keef

A fuckboy will ask you out for lunch but will tell you ‘we’re splitting the bill’ when it’s time to pay up. What happened to chivalry?

 On the contrary, if she is in the position to pay , she should do it once in a while. 

 I have every right to want to surround myself with people that have a positive impact on me

Now, there is no problem with wanting respect from those you associate with. But thing is, the world doesn’t work that way. We live in a society that doesn’t care about us simply because we are us, but it cares about what it can get from us. There’s a reason why surgeons get more respect than school dropouts- they serve a greater need in the society.

The article expresses these sentiments purely from a woman’s perspective, and comes off as selfish as such. Is Chivalry about footing bills? I think not. I’ve gone out with the absolutely loveliest of gentlemen, strong ambitious fellas who know where they are going in life, and we split the bill. Sometimes he just can’t afford to pay your expenses, it isn’t a sign of rudeness. And I have gone out with the worst of the bunch, and they practically begged to foot the bill. As a liberal, I believe that no one is obligated to buy me food just because they offered to spend time with me. After all, we should both be intellectually benefiting from the encounter. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go on coffee dates at Java just to eat Java food- if I wanted to do that, I’d save up some money and masturdate (the act of taking yourself out to restaurants).  I go with someone to enjoy their company.

As for clubbing…well,I don’t have much expertise in this area, but I’d say express your thoughts! Don’t expect the lad to read your mind and know your tastes and dislikes- sometimes, dudes are just not capable of that, you know J If you don’t want his crew tagging along, then tell him that. If you want to go to a classy club, then TELL HIM THAT, and be prepared to foot part of the bill, depending on just how classy we are talking about. Don’t silently seethe all through the night, and then argue about it later-communicate to prevent a breakdown in communication.

And yes, it is true that we have every right to surround ourselves with people who have a positive impact on my life. But the thing is, this swings the other way around too. Other people have the right to surround themselves with people who have a positive impact in their lives. So instead of complaining, how about we strive to make ourselves people worthy of consideration, respect and association with successful individuals? Far too many people believe they are entitled to all the good stuff, just because they are them, forgetting that the world is a cruel and unfair place. You have to fight to get what you think you deserve, not wait on it impatiently. Ask yourself, are your character and achievements worthy of higher consideration? Are you someone that people would say has a positive impact in their lives? Because if not, you need to look inside first before you think about others.

Oh, and on the question of feminism.

A fuckboy will always have some unintelligent takes when it comes to topics that involve women , such as rape and feminism.

We keep saying that word, feminism, but I don’t think we really know what it means. A feminist isn’t just someone who can initiate a pseudo-intellectual debate on female rights and issues, and get all fiery and passionate about it- a feminist is someone who is actively involved in turning things around and ensuring equal rights for women and men. Instead of expecting that these boys know everything about feminism and be gung-ho about women’s rights, and if they are not, retreating to a corner to continue the quasi intellectual debate and condescending quips about the ignorant male species, why don’t we educate them? Perceptions can be changed, trust me. And then be the kind of person who would be a role model to girls and women around the world. There’s a reason why Wangari Maathai, and not Huddah the Boss Chick, is a role model and the face of Kenyan feminism. Huddah can declare and plead for equal rights however much she wants, but let’s face it- unless she cleans up her act, those words will remain shallow and void.

And this is, by no means, meant as an attack on the article or the author. It is simply an expanded version of my 2 cents. And tough truths that I think we all need to hear.

The Festering Wound

But why do you still?

Why do you keep at it?

Stabbing the wound; festering the wound,

Keeping it from drying?

“Because…I don’t know,

Because I don’t understand how I work;

Because my logic says one thing,

And my hands do another.”

It makes no sense; realize that!

Why do you pick at the scab?

Why won’t you keep the bandage on?

Why won’t you let it heal?

“Because if it heals;

If it heals…I will forget about it;

And I don’t want to let it go;

I never want to let it go.”

Your mind works in strange ways!

You want to keep something that causes you discomfort?

Something that sparks so much pain

So much pain

That you wish you are dead?

“The flesh, as it peels off…it hurts.

It always will…I hate the feeling.

I wish I had no wound to begin with;

But if I didn’t, I wouldn’t also have the memories,

That came along with it,

Or rather, preceded it, before the accident,

The accident that changed everything.”

You pick at your wounds.

Understand that! You pick at your wounds!

It isn’t healthy.

“I know I do.

I don’t want to.

But I do. It feels bad;

No, it feels terrible, painful, excruciating;

But it makes me feel good, too.

It makes me remember,

It makes me remember when I was loved.”


The moment we realize that the course of our lives is solely in our hands, is the moment when everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, changes.

We stop believing that some people are simply inherently good at what they do. We stop thinking that we need to ‘know our place’ in society and humble our ambitions. We stop staring at successful and famous (for the right reasons) people, wondering, “Well, how the hell did that happen?”

Yesterday, there was a crazy storm that passed by Lang’ata region. I thought I was lucky because I arrived just when the first drop of rain was falling, but quickly realized I was not, when the lights abruptly went off because, well, this is Kenya. And being the middle class and highly westernized family we are, my father and I lamented at length over not having access to the internet and our devices, because where I’m from, when the lights go off, they carry along network with them. So after grumbling for quite sometime, we decided to light some of our kerosene lamps, and do something we rarely did- enjoy each other’s company without social media distraction. After a few minutes, we realized this was not working, and Dad went off to the car to get a copy of TIMES, the magazine we both loved but had both neglected for the past few months. And, surprisingly, Kanye West was on the cover, with the heading ‘100 most influential People in the World.”

Naturally, I refused to believe that these 2 things could coincide( sorry Kanye, it’s just….how?), so I promptly grabbed the magazine, teared off the transparent cover and skimmed through the pages for about 10 seconds before Dad duly snatched it back (“you’re not the one who bought it, you know”) and, with a torch in one hand, began to read out the names of the chosen 100, as marked by their countries and states of Birth on a worldmap.

As he continued calling out these names, I would respond whenever I knew the person (in the process, I realized  knew way waaaay too much pop culture). These were people from diverse backgrounds and careers; from actors, to neuroscientists, to activists, to our very own “Yeezus” rapper ,to Governors, to Biologists. They certainly didn’t have the same gifting. So what made them part of the distinguished 100? And not in the rest of the 7 billion crowd? What made THEM stand out?

You see, I do not believe in blessings. And I believe that luck and talent will only get you so far. People get recognized in public for what they have been sweating blood in private to accomplish. And the people who graced the pages of TIMES were, simply, good. They were amazing at what they did. And not because they were child prodigies. It was because they fully understood the net cost of sacrifice and dedication needed to attain their goals. They understood that to get where they wanted to in life, they needed to realize that people’s opinions of them were worth absolutely nothing if they were not building them.

And see, I don’t think we fully understand this. I know, a few years’ back ,I certainly didn’t. I was a product of peer pressure and the desire to fit in in my younger teen years. Believe it or not, being liked by everyone formed a big big part of what drove me in life. I was the quintessential people pleaser, who didn’t want to show that she was too ambitious, or too courageous, or too outgoing. I didn’t want to be  a ‘kimbelembele’.  I believed that the more I played down what I wanted, and what I was good at, the more ‘humble’ I would be perceived as, hence the more people would like me. But after spending quite sometime in the shadows as that ‘clever but quiet and always friendly but never assertive’ girl, I realized that shadows were not fun. They were not fun at all. I was stuck in a zone of regret, frustration, bitterness, envy and lost dreams. And I wasn’t about to spend the remaining 60 or so years of my life being a pathetic, washed down version of myself. No siree.

So, just like that, I had a paradigm shift. I decided to be ambitious and outgoing; to consciously let words slide off me, and to live life like there was no rewind button. Because you know what? There isn’t. Life is short- ridiculously short. And I don’t know what will happen after I take my last breath. Nor do I know when I’ll take my last breath.

So why waste the limited time you have on this blue planet trying to please other people?

I’ll be honest. The quality of my life has never been higher than it is right now. I’m heading off to the school of my dreams, I’m surrounded by friends with the same level of ambition as mine, and they constantly challenge me to improve myself. And I refuse to be coy or shy in saying that. Things are going great. I’m not about to slow down for anything, anyone, or any circumstance.

Because all you need is a mindshift. That’s what makes the difference between the doctor and the patient. That’s what makes the difference between the School Captain and the average student. Between the President and the ordinary citizen. Between the subscriber of TIMES magazine, and the person on the cover.

So, what’s your excuse?