Pure Madness

My thoughts on the "behind the scenes" of life. You will find inspiration here. Share it generously


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Its time for the Heart-Run!

Last weekend was The Mater Heart Run and apart from the madness that is traffic on such days, it is a noble event. I wish more publicity was done around the lives you touch when you participate and with the funds you raise.

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Last week however, I  was involved in a different kind “heart run”.  I decided to run away from my heart. We broke up and went our different ways. I couldn’t take it anymore. I can’t say I am heartbroken but I have definitely lost heart.

You should too if you haven’t. How many times have you trusted your heart and it let you down? How many times have you followed your heart and ended up lost? How many times have you given “with all your heart” only to get nothing but a heartache in return?

When it comes to heart issues, we are all so gullible. We get irrational. Think about it. How many songs have been sang about this component of our lives called the heart? One artist actually sang “Unbreak my heart” and the song became a hit.

Really, unbreak-my-heart? First there is no such word as “Unbreak”. But we’ll let that pass. Why would such a song become a hit? We might as well sing the song “rebreak” my heart!

What is it with our hearts? I remember my mum used to say that she loves me (with all her heart) but she hates the sin in my heart. She always made it clear that the beating I was about to partake was to remove the sin from my heart. But she never punished the heart. Every other part of the body felt the pain (for a couple days) while my heart went on to covet the same thing I had been punished for.

I have never understood the heart and honestly, I gave up trying. Relationships are the most ridiculous exhibitions of places the heart can take you. You have everything working for you and you are happy with where you are and what you have.

Then another person comes along and tells that “he/she loves you with all their heart. What do you do?  You start dating and maybe eventually get married. All because someone told you that they loved you with all their heart? Hasn’t your own heart mislead you before? Now you want to trust someone else’s heart while you don’t trust your own?

The shocking bit is that we invest so much in going to school to learn how to make good choices (to use our heads) only to go out and do very “strange” things in the name of the heart. You know (with your head) the kind of guy you should date and you have well laid out reasons. A few giggles later, coffee then lunch then a heartache.

Ever wondered where the brain goes in moments when you are “thinking with your heart”? How come it’s only after the heartache that we “can see clearly”? How powerful is this heart that it throws out all reason and the things we have painfully learnt to over the years only to land us in trouble and pain over and over again?

If you are willing to spend your life trying to understand the ways of your heart you will be seriously disappointed. To be more explicit, you have got to be out of your mind (otherwise referred to as mad or insane) to embark on a journey to know your heart. You will fail. Every time. I would know.

What will take for you to stop trusting your heart that much? What will it take for you to turn and stop following your heart? Into how many pieces must your heart break for you to stop listening to it? What makes your heart better than any other part of your body? I wish you trusted your legs more because they can run. I wish you trusted your eyes more because they can see. But trusting your heart over everything else? Are you out of your mind!

I have found a remedy. It’s very simple. Run! Let everyday that you are alive be a heart –run day. Unlike the brain, the heart is very deceitful; it will desire what it knows it shouldn’t have and want it knows it can’t get. You can never quench its thirst or satisfy its appetite. Run I say. The mind has never offered to pump blood yet heart often offers to think. Why? Why won’t the heart mind its own business?

Well my friends today you and I feast from the same table. None of us (mad or otherwise) can out run our hearts. But I sure do try and you should too. The heart is deceitful. One day it will lead you in an exceptional memorable journey the next day drag you in the dungeons of pain, shame and regret. One day it will bring with it success and glory, the next day failure and loss. Why would you trust such an erratic formula? It sounds like a pyramid scheme!

 Truth be told. Your heart is your greatest investment. You chose whether to invest it in high risk or low risk returns. One thing is guaranteed. It will yield returns but just like every worthwhile investment; not without a few loses.

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Every human being mad or sane, young or old woman or man, you are not exempt from the battles of the heart; the battle FOR the heart, the battle FROM the heart and the battle OF the heart.

Enjoy your heart-run.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbC5j_L9MuY&feature=kp

 

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#BringBackYOURGirls

They say that the most dangerous man is one who has nothing to lose. Sounds to me like a Mad Man!

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There was a certain kind of madness that infected most of us when we were growing up. We would take pride in suffering to cover up for each other. Remember the whole class being punished for something one person did? What about your mother having to beat you and your siblings because no one will say who broke “the visitors’ plate” (sahani ya wageni)?

Back then, as deceived as we were, we protected each other. Friendships were about going out of your way for another person. My mother would kill you (then resuscitate you) for eating sweets. But every Sunday she would buy me pussy cat chewing gum. Remember that tiny chewing gum? No? Ok. Carry on.  No matter how much I valued the tiny chewing gum, I would only eat half of it and the other half I would carefully wrap and keep it for my best friend. Of course on the way I would nimble on it further but it had to get to its destination. He did the same for me even if it meant bringing me melted ice cools; it had to get to me.

My friends’ battles were automatically mine. All he needed to say was that he doesn’t like so and so and I suddenly felt the hatred for that person too. If my friend got into a fight I threw punches to whoever was on the other side. Those days’ boys were close and would hold hands the whole day without people worrying about their sexual orientation.

Today things are different. First, your parents don’t want you to go outside and when you do, they want to dictate who you befriend. In most cases, they want you to befriend someone of your class, not from your class – of your class. And so our children now grow up looking down on certain people and envious of others; both unhealthy perceptions.

Today’s society doesn’t know what it means to pay the price for standing up for someone else or for a certain cause. We are very good at fighting our battles but that’s as far as it goes. “Sort yourself out” we often say or in more familiar terms “Jisort.”

I will tell you the danger of such perceptions. When the country almost went to the dogs because of the post election violence we had gotten to the point that we sympathized with certain people and got annoyed with others by simply looking at the name of the person being interviewed on the evening news. These days is there is an attack in the affluent estates, we almost want to say “let them also feel what we feel ” and when it’s an attack on the not so affluent communities, we almost catch ourselves saying “they brought it on themselves”.

I am sure you have heard about the “current situation” in South Sudan and the over 200 girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria. What do you think is going through the girls minds 30 days in the hands of the rogue captors? What about the parents? It seems far from us but the militia did not just wake up one day and kidnap girls. No!

I know I am a Mad Man and thinking straight is not one of my strongest character attributes, but allow yourself to think like me, a mad man for a while. What if the recent cases of security lapses that we have been experiencing as a country are just the tip of the ice berg? The beginning, the introduction; what if this is just level one? What will be level two and three?

Not yet home? What if in level two your child is kidnapped from school? (God forbid)What if in level three they bring down your entire office building? What if they blow the matatu your family is in? Who will be left to take care of your dependants when you are gone?

If you know what happens anytime a country is in turmoil, then you know that women and children are the most affected. Whether it’s through displacement from their homes, separation from family, or rape and physical abuse no man would wish any of that on their mother, sister or daughter. Am I now getting your attention?

I think it’s time we took a stand. To some of us this means it’s time to stand up and stop the discrimination of other tribes. At least not in our sight!  To others it’s time we stopped turning the other way while people are planning to harm fellow Kenyans. Yet to others it’s time we stopped selling our country by using our influence and leadership positions to bring in immigrants into the country without following the right channels.

But for you and I, it’s definitely time we stood up for a fellow Kenyan (whoever they are). Make your fellow countryman (not the drink) feel they have a right to be here. When that conductor is mishandling a passenger call him out! When those street kids are harassing a lady go and help! When someone is discriminated because of their tribe or religion, call it out. Let others go home and wonder why they too did not raise their voice. Don’t you keep quiet! Not today.

Standing up is never easy. There will be a price to pay. For some it will be costly to stand up for someone else. You might become unpopular; you might get the same treatment as the person you are trying to help. You might make enemies and they might come after you. You might lose your life or the life of a loved one. It is never easy. It takes courage to stand out.

What you may never know is that when you stand for someone else’s daughter someone will stand up for yours. When you lay down your life for someone else they will lay down their life for another and soon we will be a country of citizens that are ready to lay down their lives for each other.

It is possible. Even from a Mad Mans perspective, it can be done. It should be done. So today don’t turn the other side; go out and stand up for someone else. Fight for them. Start with “the small things” and soon you will muster enough courage to stand up for “bigger causes”.

Today, if not for any other reason, let us stand up for their sisters, their mothers, their wives and their daughters. Tomorrow our sons will go out and bring back your girls.

We may not STOP terrorism but we can FIGHT it. We might even die before we see the fruit of our labour, but in the end, we will be glad we chose to stand and fight.

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To fight Terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized by the fear of doing nothing. #BringBackMyGirls #BringBackYourGirls #BringBackOurGirls

 

Maybe its time we got a new set of eyes:


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Dear Mama

Dear Mother,

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As the world celebrated Mothers Day last week, I found myself thinking a lot about you. Oh what painful thoughts I have of you mum. I remembered (painfully) what I went through as a child and my heart was sad. Today, I keep asking myself if I would the same to my kids and I can only come to one conclusion.

Just in case you have forgotten mum, I haven’t. I don’t think a day passes without me remembering you mum. Please take a seat and allow me help you remember:

Unfortunately, the earliest memory of my interaction with you is when you had to carry my sister to the hospital after every 6 hours. I don’t know what had happened to her but I remember you carrying her to the hospital on your back every 6 hours day and night for a certain shot.

I also remember when my creative madness inspired me to make a car out of an old calendar. Proud of my brand new innovation, I stepped out to test drive it. I had just left the house when I glanced at the rear view mirror clearly fascinated by my latest achievement that I forgot to look in front.

My joy was short lived as I had a head on collision with a pot of githeri that was on the jiko boiling. The pain must have been too much because all I remember was you coming out of the house running. You put me into the family ambulance (your back) and rushed me to the hospital. With half of my thigh severely burnt, you took up the role of the “night nurse” taking care of me all through those long and lonely nights. (Back then, there was nothing much to do at night since TVs closed down at midnight and there were no DVD players.)

I also vividly remember a day when my madness “told me” that I was a grown up and I could reinvent circumcision. I decided to take a “short cut” as foolish as that sounds now, at that time I was convinced I had found a way to evade the pain of the cut. A few hours later I woke you up again in the middle of the night with “minor complications”, you put me in the family ambulance and off to the hospital we went. Thank God you did not listen to that drunk doctor and whatever prepositions he gave you.

As if that was not enough, I decided to put a bean in my nose. We tried everything but the silly thing wouldn’t come out! It just kept vibrating inside my nose. Oh dint you have fun! You laughed at me and teased me that the bean couldn’t be removed so it would have to grow out of my nostrils and branches would grow out of my nose and ears. And people wonder where I got my madness from?

Long story short we had to go the hospital at night (in the family ambulance) and I don’t remember how the doctors managed to get the bean out but I do remember we got home very late. You would think I would learn from these experiences. I did not. We were back to hospital because I was playing with a knife and it fell and cut my leg and many other times including broken toe nails and constant nose bleeding.

Strangely, I never got injured from the beating you gave me. You threw anything and everything at me: plate of food (with food in it) salt shakers, shoes whatever was in your hand at the time. You threatened me with fire, with hot water and even with a knife! I mean how bad was I really? Nobody answer that. Its not about me.

Schools have nothing on what I learnt from you. Respect for you was key. We had to give it. Disrespect was never punished later. It was an “on the spot reward.” I remember when “the demons” came over me and I would run (yes run) to smell the seat every time a visitor left. I still don’t know why on earth I would do such a thing but thank you for “the exorcism”. No Mpesa was needed, no seed, just laying of hands and feet repeatedly and I was good to go.

I remember trying to impress you by snitching on my sisters and their boyfriends but even this did not spare me the beating any time I did something wrong. You taught me to be God fearing (those are two words). I actually literally feared God. I feared Him because of what you told me He would with me in hell (that I would be the one He uses to turn other people as they burn in the eternal fire). I also feared God because of what you did to me when I “ate” the offering. Those triangular sweets that cost 10 cents get me into trouble (yes dot coms I lived in times when 5 cents and 10 cents was enough to get you in trouble. And that was after the Second World War)

Its not just my sisters and I (your kids) who had the opportunity to experience your transformational life lessons. You went out of your way to help strangers. I remember many occasions when I would find you feeding strange women at home. Which by the way I often thought was a contradiction of what you always told us about strangers.

I remember us hosting one of your colleagues who was a victim of domestic violence. She stayed with us for such a long time that we almost called her “Auntie”. People came to you with their problems and you helped them as if they were your own brothers and sisters. You never had limitations when it came to helping people.

I only saw you cry once. When your mother passed on and after that your world seemed to have passed on with her as well. Nothing else was left in this world for you either. Come to think of it did you cry at your husbands funeral? I don’t think I remember you shedding a tear. Well I wouldn’t be surprised if you did it behind closed doors and then came out to encourage everyone else.

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I know I still have a long way to go. Especially now that I live alone there must be some “demons” that came back and found the house clean and “the strongman” asleep. But I am eternally grateful for teaching me by example what is important in life. That it is OK to pause and give others a helping hand even if they don’t deserve it. None of us do.

Thank you for leading by example. Everyday I wake up and dance because you taught me that standing on the sidelines will only lead to regret. I take risks (most of the time, very foolish ones) but am happy you taught me to take them nonetheless. I dive into the deep end, I laugh I cry ( a lot) I reflect and most of all, I am grateful for what I have however little.

I couldn’t have asked for a better Mother. (Well, uhm, maybe I could actually)… One day when I am in my right mind (as I always am) I will tell the world of the sacrifices you made and the cost you paid over the years just so that my sisters and I can have a better life than you did.

So yes mum, I do have painful thoughts of you and what you did for me. When I pass an opportunity to do good, when I am blind and deaf to other peoples needs, when I am so engulfed in what only makes makes me happy, when I am ungrateful and don’t pause to consider how blessed I am regardless of where I am, painful thoughts of disobedience haunt me. I should know better!

I should give more, Love more, respect more, believe more and risk more. I know that’s what you would want from me. So on this Mothers Day, maybe I should go back to the basics. Maybe I have “grown up” so much that I don’t see the value of the simple lessons you taught me? Maybe I need to loose to mind every now and then.

If I could afford the world, I would get it for you Mum. But I know that’s not what you want. More than anything else in the world, I know you would want me to find the joy of living for something more than just myself. You would want me to know the joy of giving and most of the time, without expecting anything in return. That would be best gift I can give you.

I know I should do all the things that you taught me Mum, but I still don’t do it.  Do you think I’m Mad?

 

Here is some inspiration of who Mothers are to the world:

http://faithtap.com/922/ward-miles-first-year/#t/922/


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Nyumba Kumi? You Should Know People!

“Who is your Mother”? My mum would always ask.

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I recently heard a conversation between a child and an older person who I really hope wasn’t  her mother. I say that because my insane mind could not comprehend the fact that such a conversation could exist between a parent and their child. I actually cringed in my corner in broad day light like a man haunted by the unseen. Yes like a mad man. I know what you are thinking. I will not indulge you.

Let me tell you about a certain extinct group of people who in my days were referred to as “our parents”. To them, Madness was not something that you woke up with one day. No, certain behaviours were taken to be signs of early infection and once detected, some mitigation techniques were introduced as a treatment. Like many children those days, my mother (shudders) once detected what seemed to be an infection. And she dealt with it.

You may not know it, but boys(at least from our age) start liking girls at a very early age. I was not different. I liked one too. There is no madness in that. Here is the madness, I liked my teacher. Here is more maddening madness; I told my best friend about it. And the insanity of it all was in discussing in detail what I would like to do with her. I was young then and that did not mean much but whatever I meant landed me in a lot of trouble.

My best friend on the other hand was in a more advanced stage of madness because he told his mum and his mum told my mum. I always knew something was wrong whenever my best friend was frog marched to our house. I would start confessing to myself all the sins I had knowingly and unknowingly committed that day.

The only problem was I never thought the conversation we had about the teacher I liked would ever leave our bones where we hid all other secrets. I still wonder how that foolish boy even started telling his mum about that particular story. Come to think of it, I don’t know how he still had all his teeth intact after the first line of the confession. Lucky for him, his mum had somehow started evolving into a “friend-zone”  kind of parent.

Well, the first line is all my mother had to hear. One line and no witnesses and my case became extra judicial. Well to cut the long story short, I was frog marched to school (read, beaten while being asked rhetorical questions like “Whose child are you?” and since I thought answering the questions would stop the beating, I honestly did. The beating continued). I was told to apologize to the teacher and tell her what I had done wrong. I had no problem with the nasty beating ( I knew I was adopted) or the apologizing bit, but the confessing of my sin to my teacher? That was a low blow. I can actually trace my average results throughout school to that day.

In my days, if you were playing outside and an elderly person passed by, we would stop playing go over and say hi and if she was carrying any luggage we would help her carry it to her house then go back and play if she did not insist we sit down for a cup of tea. It was unheard of for me to sit down in church, a hotel, in the bus or even in our own house while an adult stranger or not, stood.

If a visitor came to our house, regardless of who they were and what we were watching on TV, we would switch it off, I would go outside to play while my sisters prepared something for the guests. We knew everything about our neighbours and they knew everything about us. If any of our neighbours was known to have bad manners (the true meaning of the word) everyone was to stay away from them.

We did not wait for special occasions to visit each other. It was obvious that if I am not home then I am at so and so’s. If I did something wrong, I was punished “on location” and on the spot. Our neighbours would even at times have people call them using our land line. Remember reverse calls? (If not that was an advanced flash back)

If our parents had to travel, they were comfortable leaving us in the capable hands of our neighbours for days! Our neighbours reserved the right to send us to the shop if they wanted. We were a community we were a society. No one was trying to outdo the other. You could not ask for something that your neighbours did not have and if they had then you were to share. No need to get another one. That’s how I never got my own a BMX bike.

Back to the story that made me cringe the other day; how do you talk back to your mother like you are age mates? How do you click and still have a tongue? How do you walk away and not have your legs broken? How do you listen to music or watch TV as your mum talks to you and you still survive to tell others that you did it?

I know it sounds like we were brought in a military camp or a cult, but we looked out for each other. People were genuine. If someone walked up to you and said they dont have food, they meant it. Not only did you give them something to eat but also some to carry home. If someone asked for directions, you would go the extra mile to point them in the right direction.

Mothers were sacred. Fathers were kings. Little children were angels. I cannot remember how many times a stranger stopped what they were doing to help me cross the road. My own sisters would not leave the school compound until they saw me in front of them. Not just me, but my neighbours too. If you saw one of us the other seven, were nearby.

Today, who cares! Children are on earphones from the point they get home or are in their rooms the whole day. Very minimal interaction with each and the rest of the world. We even have names for them; introverts and so we excuse them. Those who are not in the house are outside and no one cares where they are and what they are exposed to?

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You cannot correct someone’s child even if they insulted you to your face. If you tell their parents (if you ever find them) they say you must have done something to aggravate the child.  And so we grow up and we maintain the same attitudes. We “mind our business”. If you see us walking in town, we have no time for anything that does not concern us.

Our “How are Yous” are superficial and our “I am Fines” plastic. We see someone who needs help over there but there is nothing we can do. Someone else will. We walk on. We hear of car-jackings and robberies, our neighbours fighting, and our friends committing suicide but not even that can distract us. We are plugged in to ourselves and our world.

We scoff at the government for talking about Nyumba kumi (ten houses). “Will knowing my neighbours help me pay rent?” We ask each other. “The less I know about you the better. I have my own problems, why should I listen to yours? Don’t tell me how to run my life and I will not tell you how to run yours. Mind your own business!”

And so one day, its  your story we are talking about. Your neighbour blew himself up and brought down the entire flat. That new tenant who was “doing renovations”, that guy who you met with every weekend at the gate. He was not a stranger. You had seen him a couple of times. But you went on to mind your own business as he did his.

Now you need to raise a ransom to free your daughter, if she is still alive (you pray she is). You need to live without a limb after someone threw a grenade at you. You need to start a fresh after your business was literally brought down and the the insurance “cant help you”. You need to bury your entire family who had gone shopping  when they were attacked.

You look for “that guy” that fishy one. He is nowhere to be found. You want to make it your business. But its too late. You hate and avoid  “that tribe and those people.”  But not even hating them will make you feel better. You should have said something back then. You should have made it your business to know their business. You should have cared. You should have.

Mind your own business. But mind “the environment” in which you mind your business also. This is Mad talk I know, but could this be the remedy to terrorism and crime in general?

But what do I know, I am just a Mad Man minding my own business. Mind yours!