it’s not about you, and things people don’t ask

This week has started off to a rough start for some of my acquaintances. A friend of theirs has died, and from all their “Why? What could I have done?”s, it is assumed it was as a result of suicide. I used to have this person as an acquaintance, and as such, news of his death startled me, but I didn’t ask why, or what I could have done. I asked what happened, and what will happen from now on.

Because it’s not about what I could have done, or anyone else short of physically intervening in the act if it was suicide. It’s about what he felt, where he was, and what he wanted to happen after doing it. It’s not about how they feel, or how affected they are by the death. It’s about what he was going through, and what led him there. Maybe why for some, but not for me; because the why is pretty easy. Existing is just not worth the effort.

Why suicide is mostly about the people committing it weighing the efforts expended in staying alive to the worth off staying alive. Some aim to commit suicide and find that staying alive is worth it. Others find that it isn’t. Some are motivated by external forces; bullying, financial ruin, academic pressures and demands, work stress, social burdens like ungrateful, demeaning family and friends, and a social environment that demeans one’s existence, or caring for family with conditions that drain upon one’s energies. Others are motivated by internal forces involving mental unhealthiness. Mental disorders, and illnesses can lead one to try and commit suicide multiple times. Stress is inevitably a common factor in motivating suicide. People are not.

Making suicide about the people who cared for the deceased can be noble, and appreciative of how much they feel for the deceased, but it isn’t the only thing, or the greatest concern. Unless one person’s suicide is a motivator for others’, the focus should be on the deceased. On what motivated them, and how one doesn’t need to look dishevelled, and distraught to be suicidal.

Stating that they were always smiling, or cheerful; that they were outgoing and friendly every time you saw them doesn’t mean they were always that way, It means they were that way with you; and even then it doesn’t mean they never once thought of suicide in your presence. It  means they never showed it to you, or said a word.

So when someone commits suicide, don’t look for moments of sadness, or hopelessness. Realise that suicidal people smile, and interact with others regularly without any hint of their feelings of dying. They can have children, and families; they can have exceptional careers, and strong spiritual faith. They can be suicidal, and fighting it everyday. You don’t push them over the edge. When they decide to do it, they have decided to do it. Some may regret it for their decision was flimsy, and had a solution. Others probably won’t care, others still be relieved because the fight with death and life is over. Whatever the case, keep in mind them, their moments of greatness, and moments of great failure. The small gestures that pleased them, and those that made them flawed. For the suicide is about the deceased. May they rest in the peace they sought; and those they’ve left behind be at peace, eventually.

trigger warning, depression

It’s a day in which waking up is an inevitability, but unwanted. I can’t sleep for more than two hours this week, and getting to sleep is a struggle, although I am sleepy all the time. I want to hate it, but the effort is too great. So, I’m in this limbo where nothing is happening, and I’m whining because there are options I should take, but I won’t because I’m too tired, or apathetic, or watching a series and unwilling to turn it off for a few minutes to deal with the insomnia.

It’s a day in which the ground is firm, the sun is hot, the air is dry, and my hair is glossy because the sunshine warms the lotion in my hair, and makes it work the way putting my hair under a drier for a few minutes would if I tried to go near a hair dryer. My skin is dry, my nose bleeds, and my eyes water a lot because of the air. So, when I feel like crying, I have an excuse.

The world is going on with their plans around me. There’s a pregnancy, a loan, a renovation. People are getting jobs, and promotions. Income. People are doing things they want, or as close to it as they can get.

My world remains the same: try to sleep, try not to wake up and fail. Write the story, and keep writing no matter how much I hate it. Listen to music that doesn’t make me cry, or curl up in myself. Listen, and watch shows that will keep my mind from thinking that it’s a good time to google what types of drugs I can overdose on that won’t destroy my organs. I figure contaminated blood is a loss worth the rest of my organs being viable for donation. Or run away from home. Leave and say nothing to anyone. And never return.

It’s been a day; the kind that I will put down as one I found at its end with me still in existence.

It’s culture

I’m angry; raging a storm inside; and that my blood pressure reads normal should indicate that I have low blood pressure when unstimulated. I’m mad as hell.

This has been a week entrenched in misogyny, and rape that is not of the legal definition.

First off, Njoki Chege, the unnecessary antithesis to womanhood, and positivity in womanhood in Kenya, wrote an article describing the men who don’t fit her standards of being a husband. Now, for the purpose of this, I read her article. It is surprisingly painless.

She lists quite sensibly why she doesn’t date, or want to marry men who should be in her league age-wise. The points she lays out including bad drinking habits, bragging with unimpressive things, basing dates on frivolous, overhyped, or cheap gigs, and not holding intelligent conversations. She also points out many of them despise strongly opinionated women.

The reaction she got was exactly why she doesn’t date men of the age-set she assumes is expected of her. They hated on her opinions, and her. The irony was grating; and the hypocrisy made me get off facebook, and twitter. People read, but saw what they wanted. They didn’t comprehend her point. Typical but still irritating. The culture of misogyny took its practitioners off a cliff while they raged, and yelled about how unfair, and stupid Njoki Chege is for writing that she wants a man with an expensive car, financial stability, and good money management, with intelligent conversation content for a husband.

Second act of violence took place on Accra Road where guys take Embassava buses, and matatus. A hoard of men stripped a woman of her clothes because they were too tight, and provocative. To hear Embassava touts talk about it, they distance themselves from the crime that took place before them, and defend the criminals by portraying the woman as having provoked the men by talking back when they insulted her, and ripping her clothes by grabbing her pant leg out of the grip of one of the marauders.

I was stupefied by the defence. Some guy slept on the violence he witnessed, and decided it was the victim’s fault. She took herself there, and provoked the assaulters to rip her clothes off. Stupified.

Less stupifying, but equally as irritating is the reactions to the video of the assault. The typical rape culture enablers were there to regurgitate age-old tropes of “she shouldn’t have been wearing”, “she provoked”, “this is decency blah blah blah”. The others were annoying with their “what’s wrong with society” “what’s wrong with men” “I wonder why they did that” queries. The answer is simple; rape, misogyny, and male entitlement culture.

Kenya is a terrible place for women. Not as terrible as most of the continent, and that is saying something of the continent. Africa is riddled with disgusting misogyny, and rape cultures. Women work the most, the hardest, the longest, for the least. the money goes to men, and not all men, just the ones who have wrought havoc upon others, or have the power to do so. Men supported by women, and women who think being a man gains them a superior, and utmost level of humanity, and wealth.

It does, but it’s not acceptable, or ethical.

Men, and some women, think they have the right to police women. They tell women what to do, how to do it, why, when, and where; and if a woman refuses, she deserves the violence coming to her. Why do they think like this? I don’t have the words, coherency, or motivation to map out millennia of anti-woman ideologies designed, and distilled over time to become damn near inherent to humans. Millennia of anti-woman ideologies, and colonisation by Arabic, and European empires, and cultures have influenced, and been entrenched in the education of people in Kenya, and Africa at large to the extent that men think it’s natural to police women, and most of their time, to the detriment of the women.

It’s rape culture that has pervaded this country, and its citizens, and it’s killing the spirits of men and women who are its victims, and poisoning those of men, and women who are its perpetrators. Yes, women perpetrate the culture. They rape, and they enable rapists. Are they significant? Rapists who are women are difficult to tally up because their victims rarely report the rape officially, or publicly. It has everything to do with the shame attached to womanhood that is not only domineering, but strong enough to violate another.

Thank you Victorian era culture brought to us courtesy British Empire.(sarcasm)

Women who enable rapists are of a significant number. They are the ones that tell victims to keep quiet, demand victims prove their assault, fault victims for being assaulted, say victims deserved the rape, accept payment to keep assaults quiet, especially to save the rapist’s public reputation from the ugliness of being known as a rapist; and worst of all, support rapists. These women are in such great numbers that you could enter a matatu full of women, and they’d be at least half of the seats.

This anti-woman culture is ingrained in the country’s general society, and it’s not dying off any time soon. Before the Brits came through with their brutality to change cultures, there were cultures that meted violence upon women and called it nature. Circumcision robbing girls of natural sexual bodily functions, lack of political powers, lack of economic powers; and lack of equal footing with men in terms of being seen as human are many cultures that were prevalent in plenty of old nations in what is now Kenya. They have only thrived in years since independence, with people even laughing when shown the consequences of circumcision when it comes to birth. It’s a gruesome thing, but not to people practising it. Old women believe they’ve survived the pain, so can the following generations. Men believe it’s an honour, and since they see it as an honour, women must conform to their standards if they want to be married by them. In Kenya, tribalism is at level with overt racism in Europe, and Asia. Some people will literally rather stay single than marry outside of their old nation.

Such entrenched cultures can only be done away with using the same avenues the colonisers used to impose their cultures upon African natives; but are our teachers willing to teach a different culture from that which they were raised to believe was the utmost superior culture in the world? Not in the next two lifetimes I bet. Not unless it goes down with guns, and whips, and brutality to change for the better.

Truth Be Told

The year is drawing to an end; at least by the Gregorian calendar. People in China, and Ethiopia have more weeks to theirs, and utterly different year numbers. For the purpose of this post, I go with the UK fronted calendar, and it’s coming to an end. What better way to mark it, and depress myself than by thinking on what I have achieved this year. Truth be told, it’s nothing to write about, and that’s why I’m setting this down.

This year, I have been 27, and depressed.

I have been lazy, and unwilling to get a job.

I haven’t finished my thesis, and collected data by not engaging anyone face to face.

This year, I have met my friends less, I have thought of them less as friends, and even dumped some former friends.

This year, I’ve had less headaches, and more toothaches, less money, and more frustration than I remember. Though not more than 2013.

This year, I gave up. I had planned on publishing books on Amazon, get a job that I would hate, but keep at nevertheless cause I will inevitably hate everything, but commitment is my greatest challenge.

This year, I sucked, and I don’t care enough for it to be a shame for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to make it a shame. I’ve used all the tactics including what my parents think of me, what I think of myself, my family, my friends, my 13 year old self. None of them are enough to make me feel so ashamed that I change.

This year, I had less suicidal thoughts; and those that I did have weren’t overwhelming. I suck so much that even the thought of my death does nothing for me anymore. No elation, no pity, no motivation to change; nothing.

Truth be told, I’m a woman who works everyday but gets no income; I take care of my grandmother 6 days out of the week, most weeks out of the month; and I am too tired to fight when the world makes me angry.

I’m not the story that people tell to amuse, or caution, or uplift. I’m not a story to anyone but myself, which is why I write this.

One day I’ll come alert and regret these days, and weeks, and years that I have wasted. One day, my mind, and my will will gel, and I will do things again. One year, I’ll sit down, and tally up what I have done with those 365.25/366 days, and they will constitute of tangible things like saving a life, making a life, leaving lives lived. This is not that year.

And if I die before that year; well, it’s a good dream, and a good intention to have.

Careless Corps

Wondering what it would take for the law making, and implementing institutions in this country to take assaults seriously. Cause murders are clearly not enough, rapes barely catch their attention, and they don’t even take the verbal assaults seriously unless it affects them. Look at how 2007/2008 riots were handled. How many people have been prosecuted, and convicted for their crimes?

The more the heads of these institutions claim to be reforming their organisations to better serve the country, and its citizens, the less effective the organisations are in carrying out any of the policies put in place to change the system. Which is why I can’t fault the heads, not when the majority of the people in the organisations are refusing to work with the new policies. Unless of course it brings them some kind of remuneration.

Police don’t care to increase patrols in some areas, don’t care to operationalise different, or new policies if they don’t bring them money. Case i point, the NTSA rules. The cops were quick to put up mobile courts, and catch jaywalkers at certain points in the city because they could charge, and fine people on the spot. Considering how many pedestrians a place like Nyayo Stadium roundabout sees in a day, clocking Ksh. 20,000 a day isn’t tough. In a month, the traffic cops around that area could net Ksh 500,000 for themselves, cause if anyone’s been to police stations around Nairobi this decade, they’d note that there’s a bit of coin coming from bribes, confiscations, and fines going into upgrading, remodeling, or repairs of the stations.

It’s as if they couldn’t care unless it gains them monetary remuneration, and what level of remuneration exactly is unknown. Because the greed that Kenyans in general are raised with is insatiable. Constantly being told to never be satisfied with what one has; to never be content. Following the heart, doing for the cause, for the living standard set by the government is not enough of a factor for policies to be implemented, for people to do the jobs they signed up for. It’s always about the money, and not enough of it will ever make majority of the cops, the judges, or the National Assembly work for the people positively.