Friday, March 27, 2009

On the comlpexity of the sensuality of relationships...

“The sensuality between parents and their children often is so intense that only the age old control by society prevents the rise of sexuality. When a single parent is of the opposite sex the situation is more strained. How to show love and demonstrate affection without stirring in the young and innocent mind the idea of sexuality? Many parents, alarmed at the dreadful possibility of raising incestuous thoughts in their children’s minds, withdraw, refusing all physical contact and leaving the children yearning and befuddled with ideas of unworthiness.”

Quoted from Maya Angelou in her autobiography ‘The Heart Of A Woman’ that I am currently reading in addition to several other, i'm multi-tasking!

I love the way Maya phrases this. Its food for thought, and the more I think about it, the more I agree. This is not only in parent-child relationships, but also between siblings, especially when they are very close and of the opposite sex…even between friends, at times of the same sex! Human relationships are indeed very strange and complex, yet so vital to our existence and well being!

It makes me wonder, does the closeness between two human beings, especially between the opposite sex, always develop into something sexual, despite who they are? I’m sure Sigmund Freud would agree, after all he did once claim our development is based on our sexuality. When I first read this, I thought it was ridiculous, but now I really do wonder! There is some truth to this…

I used to have this best friend when I was around 13/14, when puberty had just began to transcend into my life. We shared the same name, were the same height and size, yet we were so different we complemented each other. She was white and I was black; we were like the perfect blend of milk and black tea/coffee! We slept over at each other’s houses all the time and did other things best friends do; we became very intimate friends.

Maybe a little too intimate, because I thought I began to develop deeper ‘feelings’ for her, which left me very confused!…I realized this when I started to feel awkward whenever we were naked around each other (what?! We were both girls and best friends, so we got comfortable changing in front of each other. I thought nothing of it at the time) Then I went through a period I was suspicious that I could possibly be lesbian because I would find myself feeling sexually attracted to her, and I swore I had caught her looking, blushing, denying, smiling knowingly…I’ll spare the sexually charged memories and only say that we did have some ‘erotic’ moments together, but because of being so young, they were quite innocent and naive in nature. After all I didn’t quite know or understand what I was feeling, or why…
She left after a year, so I guess we’ll never know for sure what these feelings would have developed into…though I’m pretty sure…

Soon after I got a new best friend, this time he was male!
He was the opposite of what I thought at the time to be physically attractive, and had never looked at him as the boyfriend type (lol, I was a year or two older and being the smart ass that I am, I thought I had figured out all there was to know about the birds and the bees; what was supposed to be ‘Fly’ and what was supposed to be ‘gay’; a.k.a wrong!). Yet this dude ended up being my first boyfriend!! We grew really close, and told each other extremely personal things that no one else knew. But as Maya Angelou mentioned it was difficult to show affection without bringing rise to sexuality, which we mistook for ‘love’.

Unfortunately, he was Asian and I Black, so I ended up being made fun of at school. A lot! I was young and still very sensitive to peer pressure and what people thought about me, so we never lasted that long. (Why do people find it cool to date a white dude, but if you date an Asian you’re a freak?! I’ve never understood that!)

Anyways our long and deep friendship was ruined by this. He moved to another high school, so I still see him around once in a while, but we’ve never been the same, the awkwardness remained, even up to day. (I miss him sometimes. Never had a best friend after that; you could say he was my last and best-est! LoL)

I guess this would be a similar outcome if the relationship with a family member was not kept in check by society and fear of taboo.

Which actually reminds me of a play I read in Lit class two years ago called ‘A View From The Bridge’ by Arthur Miller, where a man (Eddie) has such an close relationship with his niece (Catherine), who lived with him and his wife and was more of a daughter to him. When another man came into Catherine’s life, he would become irrationally jealous and protective and his relationship with her became almost incestuous at a point when he forcefully kissed her. His character is often grossly misunderstood. He did not do this out of some kind of twisted lust, but immense love he did not know how to show to express, as well as confusion about his mixed emotions. (Beautifully humanistic and tragic play btw, I recommend it!)

To bring this back to a more personal experience, there have been instances I too admit to have felt this sexual tension between a close family member, my brother. We are only two years apart and both quite sexually mature, so it is inevitable to have those awkward moments, like if we both end up watching a movie that happens to have extensive steamy sex scenes and he happens to get a boner (I know he’s old enough to masturbate!)…or those awkward encounters in the corridor on the way to the toilet in the middle of the night when he’s just in boxers and I in a big Tee Shirt…

As Maya Angelou so eloquently expresses it, one has to be careful not to stir up this sexuality. Nonetheless, it is natural!

At the same time, if you avoid showing affection, they end up feeling “yearning and befuddled with ideas of unworthiness”, and will search for it elsewhere, perhaps in the arms of countless lovers…and by other means, such as through disruptive and annoying attention seeking behaviors…

It can’t just be me who has ever thought and felt this; Maya Angelou has too, and even mentioned it in one of her autobiographies.
Just wondering if you have too?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Review:::Kill Me Quick!

Kill Me Quick written by Meja Mwangi

This was the second book I borrowed from the African literature section in the school library, and it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise read! I honestly didn’t suspect it to be so deep so captivating so real…
From the style of writing with to the depth of the plot, the author effectively portrays the struggle to survive, the drive to pursue a better lifestyle, something we can all relate too.
Set modern day East Africa, Kenya to be exact, the plot revolves around these two characters, Maina and Meja; Yes, he deliberately uses his real name for one of the characters, making us assume the story is based on real life, his life experiences…which is really brave, and deep…you just know his gonna write about something so real…and it is:

Its about the difficulties of class mobility, the disappointments of the false hopes of education, the doomed destiny of the poor, how young able bodied educated good hearted men are turned into merciless street thugs and murderers, why they keep ending up in prison despite being genuinely sorry for having committed their crimes, it give a shockingly vivid insight into the lives of ‘slumdogs’, the people we prefer to turn a blind eye too.

What struck me most however is the myth that if you go to school, it will automatically lead you into a well paying job! These two characters, despite being from poor families in the villages, are educated and went to school, they took it seriously too and were top students…yet somehow when they came to the city, unemployment forced them to the backstreets and slums where they lived off rubbish bins. They could both read and write and count, yet the types of jobs available to them were those of farm hands and manual laborers! It was quite a somber thought; that because of one’s class, especially here in Africa, a person is most likely destined to only a certain type of work

What bothers me even more is that these people work as much, and even more than we, yet earn so much less…I used to think that those who are rich and wealthy worked for it and hence deserved it, yet so many people out there work so hard and earn less than they deserve. This imbalance of society is well portrayed in this book.

As to how and why society became this way, I am not quite sure, and the book only gave me more questions than answers to this question…when did it all start?

(If you happen to have some answers please share them, if you have more questions, there welcome too…it will help me get that much closer to understanding this)

This what I do know, (simplified version): once upon a time, in Europe during the medieval ages, people fought for land, blood was shed and the victorious expelled the people of the land and claimed it was theirs, put land titles on ancestral land that belonged to others.
These people were displaced and forced to inhabit barren uncultivated land, whereas the victors had all the fertile land to themselves.
They then used the displaced people to help cultivate wealth for themselves, only giving them a little if anything at all for their labor.
That’s how the poor began working for the rich…that’s why there will always be a hate between the two…that’s why there is talk of revolutions, and taking back what was theirs in the first place by the use of force…but as history has proved, more bloodshed only leads to a swap of power, the poor become the rich and the rich become the poor, but inequality and manipulation remains between the two and more seeds of revenge and hatred are planted…it’s a vicious cycle.
And both sides will use any means to gain/retain power…hence the struggle to survive.

But perhaps it’s a different story in African history, through colonialism perhaps…I unfortunately was only taught European history because I study under a European system, which I don’t mind, its very interesting, but I am more interested in the history of my people these days…so I’m re-educating myself, starting through literature.

Like the story of so many unseen, these two characters situation go from bad to worse. Its quite saddening that their families, as poor as they were “squandered” all their money on sending one of their many children to school so they could become educated go to the city and get a job. It unfortunately isn’t as easy as this, as the plot unfolds to us. One of the characters, Meja, is unable to go back home, although he longs too because of the disappointment and failure and hopelessness he would take back with him.
His family wrongly took his absence as a sign that he got spoilt from city life…quite far from the truth! The hardships and hopeless situation drives these characters to do things they would have never even considered that they were capable of doing, and we the readers are taken along their personal adventures that make us both laugh and cry! Its an amazing lil’book!

Depressing as it may be, its also very inspiring how these characters refuse to be put down by life, although the come close, they can not commit suicide, the will to live, the vitality of life is too strong! It also made me so appreciative and grateful of my ‘privileged life’, cuz shit be hard y’all…

(What I'm reading now: The case of the socilaist witchdoctor and other stories by Hama Tuma...)

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Long awaited 18th Birthday is finally here!

I’m 18 today! Whoo hoo! Officially an adult! what??

Still living under my mothers wing, got a good few years of school left, broker than ever, same height and weight, boobies still small and I haven’t had my big revelation yet.

I guess becoming an adult is a gradual thing. Not an over-night metamorphosis like those ‘when-I’m-18-I’ll…’ conversations lead you to believe.

But there is something different about this birthday compared to all the others I’ve had…my periods came like a whole week earlier, and I’m actually bleeding as I type…okay, it’s not as gory as I make it sound! I don’t even get bad cramps…it just feels weird!

I personally find my menstrual period an almost ceremonial event, it’s the shedding of the lining of the womb, a cleansing of sorts, since I am ‘sexually active’ it means I’m not pregnant so in a way it’s a shedding of the layers and burdens of womanhood. Since I’m not ready for these extra layers, aka motherhood, it comes as a relief, a confirmation of my carefree immaturity! And this kind of immaturity means sweet ignorant freedom! Free from the responsibilities of maturity. So I’m glad at the sight of this monthly blood.

It’s a part of the cycle of the creation of life, natures monthly maintenance of my womb, and it reminds me of my worth as a creator of life.

It’s a time to cry just cause you feel like, a time emotions run high and you can get away with being rude and bitchy and psychotically bi polar and just blame it on PMS! LoL!

So I find it strange that I happen to be in my periods during perhaps one of my most significant birthdays…could it be a symbolic initiation of sorts into womanhood? Adulthood?
Feels too coincidental to just be coincidence! It feels intended…but what does it mean??!

On less bloodier things, here’s my birthday wishlist!

I probably won’t get anything on the list but I don’t really mind, they are mostly just material things…some probably manufactured in backdoor workshops by manipulated children and women forced into penniless labor by poverty, worse still the money spent on these material tings never reaches those that put most effort into making them, they instead end up in a fat mans pocket, and fuel the corrupted capitalist system, widening the gap between the rich and poor…after all to gain means someone is to lose, the balance of the rich and poor…but I would be lying if I said I did not want these things, and I know I’m not wrong to want them, who am I to disrupt the natural balance of things? Huh?

…but I am not in the mood to delve into deep things, so I’ll keep it shallow, put on my technicoloured tainted designer shades that distort the grey grim realities of life and birthday presents, just for a while, in order to enjoy this moment, and compile my birthday Wishlist:

- Lime green apple iPod (my bro smashed mine while skateboarding)
- Cute pair of beaded African sandals, the good quality ones that last!
- Books; ferienhite 101, the vagina monologues
- Movies; a Quentin Tarantino movie box set would be awesome
- Music CD’s; Santogold’s debut album, N.E.R.D’s seeing sounds, M.I.A
- A tattoo above my left ankle, I even have the sketch, will post it some time but its like a cross between the feminist female sign and Erykah Badu’s unk…
- Getting permanent dreads, completed with highlighted ends
- New sketchbook (the ones with textured thick card like paper) with art supplies, paint is expansive these days!
- New furniture for my room, especially a multi-purpose storage unit. Hell, I want one of those TV room makeovers with that gay dude on the style network, the dude who does style my nest…
- A new camera with professional lenses…always wanted to photograph the moon.
- Brand new camera music phone, preferably a Nokia
- A Puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Kitenge…yes I want a cool African dress, one I won’t look like a granny in! lol! They look so comfy…always wanted one
- New pair of glasses and contacts…there’s nothing wrong with mine, just for the sake of accessorizing!
- I wanna get high! Just one blessed fat blunt…a wicked spot and my exclusive circle of friends
- A weeks holiday at some virgin beach island resort…ahh
- Reconnection of my internet! Make that super fast reliable internet connection for the rest of the year!
- A million shilling shopping vouchers for clothes! I could do with tweaking my look a little bit…
- One of those cool world cup yellow-green-red-black footballs! It would be motivating to improve my soccer skills if I had a cool world cup ball…lol
- I want my trampoline cover fixed. I miss jumping up n down for hours in the garden on that thing…
- Full paid scholarship to any university anywhere in the world!! Would make my university choice so much simpler!
- Paid music lessons and music instrument…maybe I should complete what I started in my childhood…not piano again, but something brassy and jazzy…
- Paid tap dancing lessons and shoes and outfit! Lol! Sounds crazy, but I have always wanted to tap dance, I even know some basic moves and basic theory behind it!
- Freedom to go out till whatever time I please; and return in any condition without many accusing questions the next morning!
- A car (I’m currently learning how to drive, and my mum said since she’s ordered for a new car, immediately it arrives the rav4 she’s got now will be mine, but all this is still ‘in the pipeline’…hmmm)
- A pair of rollerblades…I miss skating, and skateboarding needs more muscle and effort than I’m willing to put in…
- An allowance of 400,000/= shillings a month…I know its probably more than most house help earn, but I swear I once knew a kid who had a similar allowance…for doing nothing! Sweet! That gives me 100,000/= a week…I currently don’t have any allowance! I get money when I convince my mother I need it for something worthwhile.

I think I’ve covered most of it, at least for the mean time. LoL.

But on the real, I’m glad to be alive and healthy, and that much older and wiser! I’m so grateful for what I have and the people who care about me in my life. Today I celebrate my continuous physical, spiritual and mental growth as an educated African sistah, my birthday wish if that my purpose in life becomes more clear to me this year…as my cipher keeps rolling on and on and on!

P.S. getting my drink and two step on this weekend! Yeayeah! (I also perform a poem of mine at the international school talent show held at my school this coming Saturday, I have an awesome performance planned which I will blog about when I get the time…but if u don’t have anything u gotta do that night y’all better show up and show some love!)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

less Internet < More Revison (in theory that is!)

My internet connection got canceled this week, and my mother isn’t around to pay for it so I’ve been forced to cut down on my internet time. I suppose it’s for the better since I have mock exams coming up next week that I am not as ready for as I should be! Now I can use the time I spend online doing revision…NOT!

The once habitual routine of revision has been increasingly challenging these days, and I often have to muster all the energy and will I have to do a single topic in a single subject! Its just so boring and irrelevant and too concentrated for my mind to absorb! My failing revision routine foretells an avoidable doom - avoidable only if I can concentrate on revision for more than 30 minutes! (Which has proven to be harder than first assumed) You can’t force yourself to read and revise if you’re not in the mood, even if you do, chances are that you won’t have learnt or remembered anything!
I seriously need to improve my revision methods! (I wish they offered the whole syllabus on DVD!)

Yesterday I was trying to convince a friend of mine to let me photocopy her revision notes, and she totally refused, her reason was that during GCSE’s (like two years ago!) I photocopied her notes and got an A in the finals yet she got a B.
Mbu I fed off her hard work!! This is not only untrue but inaccurate! She was in fact at a better advantage since she wrote the notes, than me who just read through them! No one fed off the other; we both had the same revision notes and sat the same exam! It was totally fair.
She’s just hating that I’m just smarter, and got a higher grade with less effort!

Well I’m not one to beg, so I dropped it, but I swear that if I do get a higher grade than her again this year, I will rub it in her face sooo bad, and make her accept that with or without her revision notes, I’m still smarter than her! Ha-ha-freakin-HA!
I guess this means I’ve got to really revise now…

P.S. I know its evil spirited and conceited but I hope she fails! Okay not fail, but doesn’t pass as highly…

I take that back! incase it backfires and i end up failing for wishing she fails!