Pure Madness

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


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You; The Bestseller

They are both on top of their worlds. She always seems to be the center of attention when she is with her girls and he, he is known to make friends so easily that he can chat up a statue. People often call them the life of the party and they don’t mind the attention. They are both known for their generosity. It’s part of who they are. They are confident and thrive in any environment whether in crowds or small groups. They are outgoing and social. They have an opinion but they always try to accommodate others and so they will always strive for a win-win.

Bestseller

I am not a fan of interviews. It’s an environment that is often full of tension and high anticipation. Everything in that room seems like a test. The glass of water in front of you, the pen and note book on the desk even normal regular greetings always sound different. I personally don’t appreciate the question “Tell us about yourself?” I know I have lived with myself for all those years but every time I am asked this question I always feel as if I don’t know myself or I am lying about who I am.

I keep getting worried about the many bestselling books about “me” that are out there. How do they know me and why am I not the author of these books if they are about me? They tell me about becoming a better me (who said I need upgrading). They are ready to tell me about the best activities for me, the best career, the best diet, the best exercise and even the best spouse. As if that’s not enough, these books will then crown it all by telling me I how unique I am, a special order and the only model ever released by my manufacturer.

I always enjoy seeing babies discover the mirror. Naturally, girls seem to have a liking to the mirror than boys. It’s not strange to find a girl attempting to apply makeup or having an intense conversation with her twin in the mirror. These “mirror-tendencies” continue to develop as she ages and more time is dedicated every day to refer to the person on the mirror. As they grow up they seem to learn how to spot their reflection anywhere, wood, stone, mud you name it and a lady will see her reflection on it and adjust whatever she deems appropriate. .

mirror-landscapeweb

What I don’t understand about us humans is that even after living with ourselves that long and even after knowing what our “selling points” are, we still listen and value what others say about us.  The Bible talks about a person who looks at themselves on the mirror only to walk away and forget what they saw. Our society is highly sensationalized on what other people think. Our spending habits are often influenced by fads and trends. We even have TV programmes that discuss how prominent people dressed.

In the end, we suffer from identity crisis due to the many messages that bombard us and dictate the kind of person we should be. The light skinned feel they are not light enough and the dark skinned feel they are not dark enough. The plus-size women are celebrated for certain features while the slender ones end up being anorexic in a bid to remain a certain size why? Your guess is as good as mine.

Men, both young and old alike are not spared either. The TDH (Tall Dark and Handsome) syndrome seems to haunt many of us. That’s not all, you need to have certain well-formed abs and muscles. Beyond the body you need to dress in a certain way, groom yourself in a certain way, hangout in certain “joints” and with certain people, drive certain cars, drink certain drinks, live in certain neighborhoods, come from certain communities, talk in a certain way and even date a certain type of woman.

funny-fat-cat-looking-mirror-what-done-with-my-life-depressed-unhappy-pics

Is there a place for you and I outside these “certain criteria’ What would happen if you and I were comfortable being who we are as opposed to trying to fit in? How can we ever bring ourselves to stand up and fight for others if we don’t know how to stand up to fight for ourselves first? The fight to save the world must begin with fighting to redeem ourselves from the cells of criteria and opinion. If we can accept and celebrate our own diversities, preferences and opinions, then we will accept the differences we see in others.

We all desire our children to grow up to be “great people” who will do amazing things for their generation but even before they can conquer those battle fronts, they will need to conquer their own battles to remain true to themselves first. Are you fighting yourself or for yourself?

Edited by Wanjiku Kimaru


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20 Years Later and Death Still Hurts As Much

It was August 27th 1995; we were in school for remedial tuition. I was called from class by Mrs. Wang’ombe. This was not strange since I was the class prefect and it was common for teachers especially my favorite (Miss Carol), to call and send me out of school over lunch.

Guess who that sweet baby is...

Guess who that sweet baby is…

Something was different though. I could feel it. Mrs. Wang’ombe told me I needed to go see Mrs. Mathenge who lived near the school. She asked me to make sure everything was in order before leaving. As I walked to Mrs.Mathenge’s   I thought about many childish things but I never anticipated what I was about to be told.

I found Mrs. Mathenge waiting for me at her house. She started with some chit chat about how big my dog had become (a German shepherd I gave her since my mum would not let me keep it). Her eyes were blood shot red. I could tell she had been crying for a very long time. After trying to make me as comfortable as possible she finally gathered the courage to say it.

The entire world sunk. I became numb and every second seemed like a hundred years. I stared blankly at Mrs. Mathenge as she moved closer to where I was seated. She started crying and that’s when everything sped back to normal. I wailed heavily and from the heart. “You are a man Githaiga and you need to be strong for your sisters,” she said. At that point my tears dried up instantly and I never shed another tear until the day of the burial.

Mrs Njuguna back in the day

Mrs Njuguna back in the day

The last time I saw her, I was out playing with my friends. I saw my uncles walking her to the car and I dashed to say hi. “I am fine,” she said. “Go back and play, I will be back in no time. Please behave yourself. OK?” and she got into the car and they drove off. I went on to play. Everything would be OK. I was so wrong.

Mrs. Margaret Waihuni Njuguna was a woman I loved deeply. Even though I denounced her as my mother a million times, I loved her. Mrs. Waihuini was unpredictable. She was the love and terror in equal measure. She would switch between both characters anywhere and in a second. I seemed to provoke the terror side more than anyone else.

Mrs. Waihuini loved her family and especially her mother. Mrs. Waruguru Githaiga was the world to my mother and when she passed on my mother evidently lost her zeal and vigor. She was never the same again.  She had lost her source of inspiration. It’s like all she wanted was to go be with her mum. God granted her wish a few months later.

The Njugunahs. See those socks that boy is wearing?

The Njugunahs. See those socks that boy is wearing?

I lost the two most important women in my life at that time. My mother gave me over to my grandmother when I was a young boy. My grandmother ceasing the chance tried to take me to a local school but I couldn’t learn in the language they were using and so I refused to go back. I got my stubbornness from these two women.

My mother’s death was not painful until four years later when I finally cracked. It soon dawned on me that I was always too busy trying to be a man that I forgot to mourn her. I became bitter at the world for robbing me of my mother; my life, my everything. I was even more bitter at God because of not doing everything in His power to stop death from taking my mother.

What kind of a God can’t stop death? What kind of good God allows bad things to happen good people? Why would He take both of my parents when they world had billions of people he could take. What made it even worse was that “His people” said the wrong things in an attempt to console my sister and I. “She is in a better place”, “We loved her but God loved her more”, “She is watching over you from up there. “Though meaning well, these statements came back to haunt me four years later and I was furious because God seemed to have told everyone else about my mother’s departure apart from me.

Mrs Waihuni Njuguna. Quite Fashionable

Mrs Waihuni Njuguna. Quite Fashionable

When my mum died, my world ended. I was convinced that life wouldn’t go on. I believed that was the end of time as I understood it. I stopped dreaming unless the dream was about being with my mother. I hid my heart from hope and from faith. Nothing was worth holding on to. Moving to Nairobi made things worse because I was constantly reminded that I am in Nairobi because my mother was not around.

It’s been 20 years since my mother passed on. I have lived longer without her, something I never thought possible. Even though every now and then I miss her, I have learnt to live with the scars of her absence. Death of a loved one is a language that is unique to an individual but it’s the most painful experience anyone can ever go through. It only gets worse with the unanswered questions, the missed opportunities, and the ‘if onlys’ continue to haunt us long after the world has moved on.

Mr and Mrs Njuguna on their wedding.

Mr and Mrs Njuguna on their wedding.

I scoff at people who demand that we “move on.” Yes our lives must go on and they eventually do but if we are honest enough we will admit that we left a huge part of us “back there.” All the same the longer we live; the pain becomes part of us enough to be bearable. We learn to see the benefits of being alive. God grants us “better moments” every now and then like finding love, fulfilling our dreams, having our own family, being a source of hope to someone else or making a difference in other people’s lives.

But the more “better moments” we get, the more we wish our departed ones were here to be part of the stories they inspired. It’s been 20 years since I got to the end of the road. God has been gracious to give me many “better moments” including surviving a snake bite and life continues to surprise me every day. My mother’s corrections and affirmations continue to influence the kind of person I am today.

For everyone who is still asking the questions. There is nothing wrong with you. There is no expiry date to missing someone who passed on. One day, twenty or so years from now your “better moments” will creep up on you and warm your once frozen heart.

The Njugunahs representing about 25 years or so years ago

The Njugunahs representing about 25 years or so years ago. Do not look at the feet.

Hope.

Edited by Wanjiku Kimaru