I Continue To Share Musings

Black women and by extension women of colour producing videos essays on YouTube is MY JAM!!!

The Mitchells Vs The Machines is so good. Get into it.

Too much music, too little time.

I think sometimes how people react online (on social media) to how others live their lives is the same way our parents generation did it and continues to do. That thing where you think your opinion should matter so you opine about it. It is very cringe.

I think it is performative to get riled up when an R&B artist says sexist lyrics and one also actively listen to rap with the mentality of “Rap is inherently sexist”

The way in which Neil Patrick Harris played a straight man as he did on HIMYM is further proof that many things are a performance.

I wonder how many people in this country are bisexual and will never admit it to themselves (this thought is borne of TikTok videos on the subject).

A lot of the manifesting vibes things is quite literally self centered individualism and I am not with it at all.

Musings for the New Year

There is a way, even when I know the Gregorian calendar is ridiculous and that time is a construct, that the new year has a way of infiltrating my soul. While it is just a continuation of days, there is a newness that one feels and part of it is the hoopla of it all.

As usual I will continue to curate my faves playlist on YouTube. You can find my profile here where I have a couple of public playlists.

And as always a reading challenge is par the course. Hoping for 90 books.

I find it weird when people post the videos of people opening gifts. Mostly because I feel like they missing out on the intimacy of watching someone open a gift bought with love. I get the performance of social media but I still find it weird.

I must say that I am so glad that I derailed from the weight loss industrial complex train. I can’t fathom getting caught up in all the madness at the start of the year.

The next train that I need to derail from is that one for continuous self improvement and seeing myself as a work in progress at all times.

Mtaachana Tu and Kenya’s Culture on Love

Wale Lawal on his insta stories when asked a question to do with love said “Love as a concept is cultural: it may have universal aspects but ultimately love inherits the nuances of its social context” and while ruminating about this, I thought about the context of Kenya and in turn, the prevalence of the “mtaachana tu” mentality.

While most of our understanding on love is from media we consume, our upbringing etc, we develop ideas of love from our culture and in this case, I specifically mean Kenyan culture. To generalise, I started asking myself questions: How did our parents show love to us and each other? And how does this replicate in our own lives and relationships, whether romantic, filial or platonic? And in the greater sense, as country, what do we portray, present and embody when it comes to love? What does it mean for us to love?

And the pertinent question, where does the “Mtaachana tu” mentality or dare I say “culture” come in?

bell hooks in All About Love: New Visions stated “It is far easier to talk about loss than it is to talk about love. It is easier to articulate the pain of love’s absence than to describe its presence and meaning in our lives.”

And I am not saying that Kenya is unique in talking about the lack/loss of love, the ending of relationships, heartbreak etc but there is a specific insidious snarkiness which I see and a delight in misfortune/breakups/heartache that is unique to us.

Even if we were to think of love songs, of which I have a playlist, many of them are about the ending of relationships. I am not sure how other forms of media deal with it but specifically music, we talk more about negative aspects, being unloved, ending of relationships etc.

And it begs the question: Do we even know how to love, to give love and to receive love? I think that is the root of it all – Our lack of understanding of what love should be and as a result, a delight in its ending. Because at the core of it, we have to understand that the end of a relationship is not an end to love. And if I am even being more real, I think we overestimate our capacity and capabilities of loving.

It is easier to be snarky about people breaking up because we don’t even have an understanding of what love is, we see it as a loss of power perhaps.

And what amuses me more is that even as there is an adoption of the mtaachana tu mentality, there is also an accompanying desire, a longing to be partnered and to have a romantic connection with someone. Most often than not, this desire includes the assumption that one, one won’t publicise the relationship so as to avoid any scrutiny and two, that they will somehow escape the realities/trappings of relationships or the delusion that somehow they are above it all.

Culturally and as a society, I find that our definitions of love are rooted in power and ownership of people – a mix of tradition, religion and the all consuming patriarchy.

PS: if you saw this post yesterday, my apologies, it was incomplete at the time of posting

Wedding, Pregnancy and Relationship Industrial Complex

Back in 2010/2011 when I was planning a wedding, the wedding industrial complex was increasing in influence. You could tell that people were being sold ideas on what to do for their weddings and if there is one thing that internet has made very clear, it is very easy to be made to adopt other people’s opinions. Therefore incorporating things in your wedding because of seeing them online whether or not they represented you is something that continues to happen (Did I have a damask themed wedding because I wanted it or was it the hype of the season?).

If you don’t think the wedding industrial complex is a thing, you are willfully ignorant. I think being able to see how capitalism infiltrates almost every facet of our lives and in certain instances, seems to dictate what decisions we should make about how we live.

Over the years, it has become fascinating to watch weddings, relationships, pregnancy and the whole nuclear family dynamic be sold to us especially as social media becomes a part of how we connect, socialise and at the same time how advertising is done. I’m not saying that attempting to sell these things to us is new, but we have to agree that social media adds another other level to it. I mean, we keep seeing people announcing relationships as a means to increase followers and become influencers. Couples are the product. Children are the product.

Remember the couple who had a Kshs 100 wedding? Then brands jumped onto that story and it became this big hullabaloo and an apparent Kshs 3.8 million. What was the point? I mean, we do realise it was promotion of consumerism and a marketing drive and had absolutely nothing to do with the couple, right?

At this point, there are people who are actually getting pregnant with the idea that the children will become the content and as a result a way to make money. I have many thoughts on kids being content but high up on opinions is the lack of protection for the money the children generate. How is that money used by their guardians? (please do not say food and education because as a parent, you should be providing those by virtue of having decided to have children).

Is this a product of that late stage capitalism we keep hearing about?

My point is, and I am still thinking my way through this, events/celebrations and relationships have become spectacles, are over-marketed and over-romanticized and then when people are actually experiencing them, they become jaded and disappointed because it is never how they depict it to be and furthermore life doesn’t work like that. Sadly, even as all these things fill our spaces, our relationships are not better, making better decisions or even doing right by the next generation either by how we are parenting or even how the world is becoming. It is all about money and selling ideals.

A damn shame.

There has never been a time when we need to know ourselves like now. So much of what we think we want to do or be is manipulated into our psyche, yes some of it is peer/familial pressure but social media, marketing etc plays a huge role.

Things I Have Yet To Do

Read or watch Little Women. I just know there is a Liz Bennet and a Mr Darcy but I do not know anything about the plot line.

Watch movies/serieses from about 2012 onwards and so I missed out on the frenzy of Game of Thrones and any other show that has come out since then (except Derry Girls). If I had the patience there are certain shows I think I would enjoy like Fleabag and Sex Education.

Be impressed by extravagant shows of wealth. Honestly I don’t know how people get jazzed by the fact that someone spent ridiculous amounts of money ON A CAR.

Enjoy a fruit salad with pawpaw in it.

Sing at Karaoke. Even though I cannot sing I do want to participate in Karaoke.

Clothes

I have started trying to wear clothes that I haven’t worn in a while with the intent of reducing my wardrobe. Removing clothes I do not wear from my wardrobe is a fairly regular occurrence but for some reason I feel like I have too many.

So now I am actually wearing them, taking a picture and deciding if I like it enough to keep it with the question “Do I like this or does it just fit?” in mind.

This includes my shoes of which I have many.

I am at the beginning of this process and I hope I keep it up. If you are reading this, please remind me in January.

Grief

How are you doing?

And how are you grieving?

There is so much loss around us and I do not know how to process it all.

We are forced to postpone things for a future that remains uncertain and to be honest, sometimes I feel like I might explode.

Even beyond the pandemic, there is so much happening – in the country, in our homes, work places, IN OUR LIVES.

And even when grief is one aspect of life that we have been able to do as a community – and now that is even hard. Social distancing and staying safe – you know?

It is all just so sad.

The Lie of Romance

If there is one thing I completely agree with Alain de Botton about is that Romanticism needs to ummmm end.

But before I even go into that, let me say that we mostly like love the feeling and not love the reality of it all. We like the butterflies in the stomach nonsense. What Hollywood (and the philosophy of romanticism) has made us believe love should be.

Anyway

I was watching a True Crime documentary where the girlfriend of a convicted sex offender calls that man “romantic” because he wrote her letters. A SEXUAL DEVIANT. As if the fact that he is romantic should somehow mean something. He killed people Kayleigh, we don’t care what he wrote to you while in JAIL.

Romanticism is why we think in these romantic relationships, one has made amends because they brought flowers and chocolate instead of watching someone’s behaviour. It is why we think responding to texts is a bigger deal than it really should be. It is why we believe someone sharing inane details about their daily lives means they are emotionally open. It is why we put credence to ridiculous things like diamond rings and weddings. And most often than not, heterosexual relationships are better books than in real life, and that’s because women write romance books.

PS: I don’t care about your token good relationship, calm down.

Even astrology apps when talking about relationships focus on romantic over others which COME FUCKING ON!

And that is just part of the lie, isn’t it?

That focus on firstly, romantic relationships and secondly things that further capitalism (buying things to show affection for example).

I keep saying that I do not say all this to minimise the significance of romantic and/or sexual relationships but I do think we must think of the messaging out there a bit differently. I also want to be clear that companionship and marriage are not synonymous despite people wanting to act like it is.

And so let’s talk marriage because most often, the expectation is that a romantic relationship will lead to marriage. We must continue to ask ourselves why we are taught to look forward to marriage, to desire it even and also to want happiness and yet the two are at constant odds (especially women). And also, let’s not forgot the fact that a marriage is a government institution -which we don’t talk about enough.

And you know, despite years of seeing that this institution done one way doesn’t work but somehow we think we are the feneratjon that’s gonna do it better. And then we find ourselves in that cycle of deep hatred, discontent and anguish. A whole reimagination is needed.

I think beyond self awareness we have to accept how society and expectations thereof are ingrained in us. There are things we do thinking they are being done in self awareness but really, we are just doing what’s expected of us.

Are we valid, worthy if we aren’t “chosen“?

Is it what you desire or is it social conditioning?

Is it who you are or are you performing a role?

Buildings =\= Progress

There is something I see often in content online and more so recently prevalent on Kenyan TikTok.

It is where someone posts these new buildings and restaurants and like Thika Road or a bypass and captions it “Welcome to Kenya”

The point, and I get it, is to show development and building and roads are often seen as progress for a country and in a way especially for roads, it has positive effects for value chains. I get it.

But I’d like to kill this trend post haste.

I don’t know who told us all that building things is a sign of development. Especially when done by loans provided by colonisers. And then the government misuses funds at the rate they do. It doesn’t make sense y’all.

In a country where (good) health, education, water and even food comes at a prohibitively high cost it is ludicrous to look at buildings and think “this country is doing fine”

It is not.

And I think we have to agree that the sign of a country doing well is when the majority (if not all) of the population is able to meet their basic needs. And when I speak of health I am absolutely including mental health because Kenya can kill you with stress.

And that’s facts.

This Conversation Amuses Me

We are all on social media and the conversations are cyclical but no conversation is as boring, unimaginative and uninspired as hetero relationship talk.

At this point it has become amusing to me.

Why you ask?

Because at the foundation of it all is the fact that somehow, someway, these men somehow believe that just by being around they have added value to women’s lives. Just by being in the area.

And then spend time telling you how wrong you are to divest from relationships with them. Like honestly.

At this point I think you must IMAGINE better things for yourself. Especially as capitalism continues to suck everything out of our soul.

And in the absence of imagining better, just maintain silence. 😌🤷🏾‍♀️

PS: Before y’all tell me things, disclaimers:

  1. Loneliness and wanting to be partnered with men (I mean, I am) is a valid thing but at this point just go in with realistic expectations. Hollywood and romanticism has got some of you holding onto some romantic notions that make no sense.
  2. Longevity doesn’t mean shit especially when not backed by other things like contentment and joy and all that stuff.
  3. I am not the one.
  4. There is nothing like a feminist marriage.