More Opinions No One Asked For

It really bothers me when people question others who have dated (and are not married) for a long time. When people are married for a long time it is seen as a good thing but somehow if people aren’t (officially) married but still together for a long time, it is seen as strange. That just seems weird to me.

The underlying notion being that the goal of all romantic relationships remains marriage. Not a healthy relationship, but this government sanctioned union. People need to unlearn that and imagine other ways relationships can exist.

I know it’s a human thing but maybe because I’m here I feel like Kenyans have delusions of grandeur, much like Americans who think their country is the greatest despite evidence to the contrary. Most times, even when people are saying things about Kenya, imagine it is ok to say “enyewe there is a point.”

As social media continues to be integral to our existence we must learn not to internalise everything we come across. Because imagine, it isn’t about you. Don’t try and make what you read, see, hear fit into who you are, what you think and feel (including mental health diagnoses), opinions etc just because you saw it without further thought.

The few readers of this blog, I’ve been sick hence the silence but like the ashes, we rise (FYR it isn’t covid, and that test isn’t pleasant yikes).

Kenyan TikTok

People often tell me I’m hard on Kenyan TikTok but I do not think I am.

I’m just going to say it, I believe it is a lack of personality across the spectrum is so loud on TikTok. Like if you don’t have a personality you come off as boring and that’s most of Kenyan TikTok. Especially when all you can do is copy what other more interesting people do.

Even the refusal to accept this criticism is emblematic of many things wrong with Kenyans on many social media platforms. By design I can just scroll past your boring nonsense and that is my criticism of the otherwise pretty good TikTok algorithm. I shouldn’t be forced to watch Kenyan TikTok just because we are in the same location.

And honestly that snarkiness that is rampant on Twitter doesn’t translate well on TikTok. Those TikToks that are dope and engaging and entertaining require that one have a personality. I wish, most – just like me – would opt to only be viewers. Not all the time posting.

Anyway, some few things I’ve observed thus far:

We’ve been told that we can monetize travel and eating out and that’s why many posts are about that. Oh I went here even if all I did was walk through the place.

I did not get TikTok to see you try and sell me something. And then starting the TikTok with “Don’t scroll” means I will scroll immediately. The posts are dry!!!

Twitter lied to you that you are a thought leader, that shit is boring on TikTok.

How many HR tips can one give? This also goes for every other career talking head person on there…. it is just I don’t know….. dry.

Kenyans married to white people are just…..ugh. This isn’t a personality my people please.

White people with passport privilege moving to Kenya and Kenyans fangirling in the comments will forever be disgusting. Instead of welcoming them, more Kenyans should be commenting “smells like white privilege” in the comments.

Stop taking memes from Twitter and then putting a laughing track on them and thinking that is content.

Christians and other Bible thumpers. *facepalm*

Misogynists. Oh lawd the boring misogynists. The unoriginality of it all.

Thoughts on “This is Pop”

The Boyz II Men episode was fascinating to me because history will repeat itself over and over. Even right now if you look you will see a repeat of the same.

JC Chasez has always been the better singer in NSYNC. Justin Timberlake owes Britney Spears a lot. A hell of a lot.

The auto tune episode where the dude said that auto tune now allowed them to choose between a beautiful person as opposed to someone who can sing is another reason why I believe Jorja Smith is an industry plant.

Listen, most of the time I think people think Kanye West is a genius because he said it.

T-Pain said many things but what I’d like to remind many is when he said “if you don’t like it then I didn’t make it for you”

As I watched Ace of Base I actually found out they aren’t neo nazis. The founder in his teens was part of a group that had those beliefs and he acknowledged, recanted and has apologised over and over about it.

Sexism exists in every single industry and facet.

The country episode was so white you’d forget the genre was initially a black genre.

Let’s specifically talk about drug use and how men are forgiven for it and lauded for overcoming it and women are left to die in obscurity. What happened with Tanya Tucker has happened to many women and a damn shame.

Skin, in the Britpop episode, said “that was what the straights were doing” made me chuckle. Let’s normalise that!

The history of Glastonbury Festival(the biggest festival in the world) is fascinating. Because even the founder was not in the industry and has been able to sustain it for decades. When he talks about the ethos I had to look up the price of tickets and just so you know, it’s cheaper than Coachella.

We need more protest songs. All over the world.

There is power in music and anyone who denies this isn’t listening. And to be honest that’s why leadership all over the world try to suppress it by limiting resources towards it.

What Christianity has done all over the world is just absolutely appalling (this is in direct reference to them forcing Indigenous Americans to assimilate , not sing or dance etc).

Singers need to realise that sometimes, they can’t write good songs and should really consider paying song writers.

Hegemonic Ideals

You know, I am always wondering whether most of us are living the lives our parents want for us and/or the life society wants us to live or what we want. The truth is that our decisions do not happen in a vacuum and therefore it is a tricky situation all around.

Hegemony.

That domesticity thing we do is a performance of femininity as prescribed by society. The things done so a man can pick you, so one can be chosen is a performance. And we do it because you’ve been told a man choosing you gives you validation as a human and a sense of worth.

The other day my mum was talking about how she has started using some of her special/good dishes instead of waiting for visitors and I was telling her how even that is a performance; leaving the best for other people instead of ourselves. Even when I watch house shows and see people talk about how they “love to host” I sometimes feel like that is seen as a requirement for life and therefore we perform it even if hosting causes us anxiety. I mean, I have been there. Never have I felt so settled as when I decided that I did not want people in my house.

And that is why some project onto people who are living their truth, who are bold enough to say that this is who I am and this is what I will or won’t do. It bothers us when people stand in their “no” or “yes” because they refuse to swayed by expectations.

In related news, I have been thinking about personality recently spurred on by a TikTok video that I watched. And most of what we consider personality is performance. I wrote about it briefly in my newsletter. Thanks for subscribing to it.

Addendum

Sometimes I feel like I am talking in circles but I think I am mostly working through my thoughts on this blog.

Are you truly living in the fullness of yourself?

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?

Who Am I? Random Things About Me

What song is in your rotation currently?

Not even gonna front, this is my best song of this year so far.

What’s the best feeling in the world?

Knowing you are going to have the best sleep ever. Like when you are about to sleep and know it’s gonna be good. And then the actual sleep. Sleeping.

Best vocalist in my opinion?

Always Luther. But current crop of musicians?

Gallant.

A random memory

The 1987 All African Games at Kasarani and we actually went. Have no pictures to prove this but we did. I was young but that is not the point.

Fox Drive In was the plan when we were kids especially when we moved to Thika Road. I really wonder what the story is with that.

An Out of Pocket opinion you have

People who cross the road under a bridge have a death wish. Do with that what you must.

Women who think they are special snowflakes and certain things won’t happen to them almost always end up having that thing happen to them.

Listening to things about your kids isn’t interesting to me (sometimes, not always).

Survival for the Fittest?

I wonder sometimes whether we, collectively as Kenyans, are in denial.

We are often proud of being Kenyan but most times, the foundation of that pride is weak.

We survive, we cope by:

1.Being delusional about politics. These politicians do not care and no amount of talking about politics will change that or make things better for that matter.

2. Using religion as a distraction. I said what I said.

3. Alcohol. We are a country of binge drinkers and we shouldn’t lie otherwise.

4. Pretending and loudly proclaiming we are better than other African countries.

5. Being unkind to each other. For example on the roads.

6. Joking about random things. Most often at the expense of someone.

7. Paying attention to and giving people money to tell us how to live our lives.

8. Pretending to be too busy to demand leadership. Also failing to realise that the bigger issue is not tribal but rather classism and all the ills that come with it.

Incompetence and Performance

I wrote in this post: Having watched that clip of those two men on red table talk plus a couple of comments on father’s day, I must say: There is a way fathers are infantilised when it comes to taking care of their kids that I REFUSE to get behind. How are you kekeing about your partner’s inability to remember things about his own children? Yuck. and then I came across a TikTok that talked about strategic incompetence. I didn’t save it so cannot link it.

But basically it was talking about how domestic work is something everyone should learn for their own living but somehow men are able to pretend they aren’t good at it. No one is born knowing how to do anything (except probably eat, sleep cry and poop). And then we are socialised, taught, we learn by observing etc.

Strategic Incompetence is the art of avoiding undesirable tasks by pretending to be unable to do them, and though the phrase was apparently only recently coined in a Wall Street Journal article, the concept is surely as old as humanity

You know how this incompetence is normalised? By making jokes about men not knowing how to take care of themselves or their offspring. And then people laughing about it. Like. Why? How do you not see the ridiculousness of it all?

Is it because doing this labour makes you feel like your life is important?

And this is where the performance of womanhood comes in.

Domesticity is not a birthright for women. And neither is suffering.

And that is why it grinds my gears when women perform womanhood as portrayed by society as if they were born to be nurturers as opposed to something socialised into them. All so that one can be “chosen”

Let us agree it is ALL a performance, ok? And let us imagine better. For us all.

“The ideal woman has always been conceptually overworked, an inorganic thing engineered to look natural. Historically, the ideal woman seeks all the things that women are trained to find fun and interesting – domesticity, physical self improvement, male approval, the maintenance of congeniality, various forms of unpaid work. The concept of the ideal woman is just flexible enough to allow for a modicum of individuality; the ideal woman always believes she came up with herself on her own.”

Trick Mirror – Jia Tolentino

Things I’ve Said Recently

Have you ever said something and then thought to yourself how dope it is? Recently I’ve been trying to remember the dope things I’ve said

We must really stop consuming things with the sole purpose of critiquing them. That isn’t good for the soul and the assumption that people are doing things in bad faith and it is your job to call them out is something social media and especially twitter made mainstream.

I don’t know what kind of super strength people think love has. That they can love someone so much until they change.

Most men don’t know how to be in communion with others. That is why they want to dominate more than anything else. They only know when women are in servitude to them. And also why I think they are adept at manipulation.

I get that you want to be a priority to someone but you can’t force it. Just the same way there is someone out there who sees you as a priority but they aren’t a priority for you.

Celebrity culture must end soon because I do not understand how people think it makes sense to defend these people and also, how do you decide on politics or what is moral based on what a celebrity said/did?

I do not know why parents think their responsibility for their kids ends at 18. It never ends. Why did you bring them into the world? To learn responsibility? That seems like a very silly reason to have a child (legacy is also a silly reason). People really must accept they just want to feel god like… “i created life” nonsense. I am never impressed unless parents are actively working to make their kids lives better, which must include making the world better.

What is Happening with Kenya’s Vision 2030?

I have always felt that Vision 2030 was like many Kenyan ideas, good on paper. And that is it. Because we know with the corruption levels in this country, it would never materialise into anything sustainable. The other day I saw a billboard on Vision 2030 and decided to see what had happened and the status of projects.

Back when I used to work, I had a job where we had to read on Vision 2030 often and link what we were doing to it and so I am familiar with the ideas, pillars – whatever you want to call them.

Like many organisations paid for by taxes that don’t seem to do anything much (I am looking at you Privatisation Commission and Numerical Machining Complex), but still gets financing every single year, the Vision 2030 is still alive y’all.

What have they achieved you ask?

Let me give you a few examples

Action plan: 404,800 hectares will be put under irrigation by 2017 especially in the Arid and Semi Arid area in Turkana and Tana Delta.

Currently: Stalled and in ruins

Action plan: A state-of-the-art BPO Park will be constructed at Athi River Export Processing Zone. The aim is to provide superior telecommunications infrastructure, easy access to international transport facilities, and affordable and readily available energy which are critical for a competitive BPO industry.

Currently: Closed

Action plan: Construction of one pilot wholesale hub in Maragua to serve as a model for the private sector.

Currently: Still a pipe dream

I am not writing this to be a debbie downer. Is there an action plan that has been implemented? Yes.

For example Implement the National Electronic Single Window System that allows parties in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry-point to fulfill all imports, exports and transit-related regulatory requirements has been and continues to be implemented by KRA.

I do not see why Vision 2030 still needs to exist as a separate entity is all I am saying. Look at these tenders. Are they necessary? No they are not.