That Picture 

Facebook memories recently offered up a memory from a year ago when I changed my profile picture. It was the photo I had till my return to Facebook a month or so ago, the one I had on Tinder. I shared it and said I had so many memories associated with it. Here are some of them. 

That photo was taken without my knowledge. You can tell if you know me. I dislike photos with a passion but it candidly captured a moment of joy. A friend commented and said I looked really happy in the picture. She knows me. 

It was taken at the World’s Loudest Library (WLL), a monthly event I used to attend that featured a book exchange, music, and assorted mood-altering substances. All good fun. I’m at my happiest among books and lovers of books so it’s no surprise that my face is alight. 

I was dating a man then. The person I was then thought we were a good enough fit. Yet when I look at that picture the enduring sensation is the freedom I felt being there – away from him. We lived together and he came by later that night to pick me up. There are no photos I can find from the time he arrives. 

This informs the other dominant memory: the cycle of relationships I didn’t even realise were unhappy. The feeling that grips me every time I see that picture – look how happy you were to be away from your  boyfriend. 

A lot of the things captured in the photo are now past. I haven’t been to WLL in a while; I’m rarely out after 7pm. I don’t even know if it’s held these days. I gave away the hoodie I’m wearing soon after; it was a gift from a person I no longer speak to. I will be single this one year on Thursday – I broke up with a person I dated for slightly over a year and I’m still recovering from the abuse that marked that relationship. 

The picture marks a moment of joy. One I wish I would inhabit more often – unfettered, true, consuming. I work now to take myself there, to stop and look at myself and say: look at that carefree Black girl. 

Men, pay for my labour

Before I took a hiatus from Twitter about a month ago, I declared that I would be charging men for my labour.

Since then, I’ve had an interesting time talking to men and informing them that there will be no uncompensated banter after a point.

Last week, two things happened:

1. I met up with a friend who asked me if I would go through with erotic labour should a man pay. The answer is yes. He said that it might not look like it but some man would pay and to be prepared. I await that moment with enthusiasm.
2. I had a friend over and she said I should start a blog chronicling this (mis)adventure. Nothing like a holiday to get one energised; find the blog here.

Credit for its title goes to @viru5detected, a smart, interesting, amazing friend whose Telegram channel I absolutely love.
Let’s see how this adventure goes!

The 2017 birthday wishlist

Hey :):):)

This is a first on this blog, I know. I am trying to be forthright about the things – or experiences – I’d like and especially on my birthday (30/01). I posted the first wishlist on Twitter earlier this year. (I got a few of the things I asked for – colouring book, TBC voucher, a Kindle for myself later in the year – & would not mind the watch, charity donation & Bluetooth headphones this year 😆.)

I’m putting it here for 2017 (long story) so here goes (not in order of importance):

1. Cash. Because then one can get themselves something nice, pay for therapy, tests, give to charity etc
2. A watch. In a world where phones show the time, one person… Update 21/12: One of my best friends told me yesterday she’d get me this.
3. Books. My Goodreads ‘to read’ list is a good place to start. Alternatively, an Amazon gift card 🙂
4. A phone. This is a very ‘out there’ request but I’m putting the ‘wish’ in wishlist, OK? 😎
5. A camping trip. Haven’t been out of the city and in a tent since April. Camping gear would be the gift of the year tbh; and it would do amazing things to my soul to be able to pitch a tent somewhere.
7. Time with someone who cares about me. This coming year will be the first in a long time when I’m not in a romantic relationship with someone. I am, for the first time in a while, pretty happy, so I’d love to make it solid by spending it with a person (or people) who love(s) me.
8. A bag like this one. I’ve thought about it for so long; it would be lovely to own one.
9. Makeup because why not. Though really what I mean is eye stuff and lip things. One step at a time 🙂
10. Subscriptions to magazines, newspapers, journals; this especially to those of us who enjoy my Telegram channel (hop on if you haven’t joined yet!).
11. A sturdy backpack because really my back may soon break from carrying a laptop in a shoulder bag.

Yes, I know some of these things feel repetitive – because, yes, I’m a simple girl – but there you have it!

Happy holidays and thanks for reading 🙂

Off for the weekend

I haven’t camped since June last year and this week, this situation will be rectified with Roo and our friend W.

This will mark the second hike/ trip I make this year, the first being a Valentine’s hike with a group of people I like. Thanks to that trip, I was able to reconnect with a person I had, in the words of one of my cousins, ‘cancelled’ and it feels good to have a friend back. I should write about it over at the neglected travel blog but you know how these things accumulate. Short version: We went to Ol Donyo Sabuk…talk to me for details.

I may not write tomorrow because the connection can be sketchy in some parks. If I don’t, you’ll get a double bill of #CuminWrites366 on Sunday. Brace yourselves!

Have a lovely weekend 🙂

Ready for the election

I hope.

I went to a registration point today and applied to have my polling station changed. I filled in a form, left my signature in a variety of places, and walked away with nothing but faith to show for it.

I have never voted at a polling station – or in a constituency – twice so each registration period is an adventure. This is the first time I have been given no acknowledgement and I must confess that I am anxious beyond belief. I know I’ll have a chance to check pout the register but I can’t quite name the source of my uncertainty.

This is me hoping for the best…and unsure exactly what to do if I have to go to another constituency to vote, if at all.

#2016Books Update 9

I finished Julia Alvarez’s book last week. It was a fantastic ride and a reminder about the cost of freedom.

On Tuesday, as I waited to conduct an interview that didn’t happen, I read The Lavender Hour. It was a moving story of death and love and  I was done in a day. I wrote about my thoughts last week.

Over the weekend, I started on Pankaj Mishra’s The Romantics. I’m only 2 chapters in but I think I’ll enjoy it greatly. It received high praise from book critics and seems like an interesting look at India.

Akello: I’m going through it slowly, taking in a poem a day. When I’m done, I’ll share my thoughts here and on Goodreads (which I should update).

Keep reading!

Dead phones & numbness

One of the challenges of daily writing is what to write. Sometimes one wants to just skip a day but I gave my word, so…

My phone died today morning. Ergo I am sans WhatsApp and all the other things that come with phones (calls & texts, per example). I am available on social media and email, though, but responses will not be swift.

My sister-friend wrote a post about depression that was so apt, one must read it. Find it here.

ION Freelancing Joblessness and questions of self-worth are such happy bedfellows. That and this: I should learn how to code. It seems to my broke self that everything with code is valued at a premium. What I wouldn’t do for that.