Smitten

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I love,
that you give me strength,
that you give me your best,
that you keep me grounded.

I love,
the feel of my hand in yours,
the comfort of my head on your chest,
that i have to tip toe to kiss you.

I love,
that you are sober enough to realize,
that love is bigger than us,
bigger than your ego,
bigger than your pride.

I love,
that you are man enough to understand,
that being a man,
takes kindness, humility and strength.

I love,
this feeling of warmth and protection,
this feeling of contentment and satisfaction,
this feeling of being so smitten.

Sweetheart,
I am in owe of your kindness and sincerity,
and everyday I am thankful,
for the amazing man that you continue to become.

Of failing, and not showing up

 

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You don’t know how to be kind.

You exude traits of selfishness and unreliability.

You can’t do the simplest of things that matter,

The little things that transcend vain words.

 

You don’t know, not because you were born like that,

But because it’s a vicious circle.

You bumped into people who were selfish and unreliable.

You met people who were unkind.

 

And because you chose to embark on a journey of understanding,

You became numb,

You became less questioning,

You became less Naggy,

You became less annoyed.

 

But these things devoured your soul,

And you began being that pillar of disappointment as well.

 

You see,

No amount of understanding,

No amount of love,

And no amount of selflessness from your end,

Will change their Active. Choice. To fail you.

Because failing, is a choice.

Failing you is a choice.

 

When it all seems bleak,

You will meet people.

Amazing people who will melt your heart with kindness.

People who will surprise you with the sheer magnitude of their selflessness.

People who don’t know what walking out is,

Even when you deserve every footstep walking away from you.

 

These People will love you unconditionally,

From the tips of your toes straight to your undeserving soul.

They will give you so much,

So much that your own selfish heart masters the art of kindness again.

 

Sometimes, these people already existed,

Sometimes they just show up when you need it the most.

 

You will then make an active choice to walk with the hearts of those who never fail you.

Not because you know which paths are best to walk through with them,

Not because you are a perfect being, who has it all figured out,

But because you understand that “showing up” in the simplest of ways,

Depicts your active choice not to fail them.

 

Mostly, you will choose to walk with them,

Because you know you owe it to them,

And to yourself,

To show up, as relentlessly as they have shown up for you.

 

Simple organizing tips for your home

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Is there anything else in the world better than sleeping in between a freshly washed and pressed pair of sheets? Chocolate fudge cake maybe?…. Still debating. Anyway…I wish there was a product that could be sprayed on beddings to keep them smelling like they have been freshly stay-softed, and ironed. It would save me the trouble of changing my sheets every two to three days.  My girlfriends think I’m a bit insane. But the heart just loves what it loves. 

Do you know what else I love? Walking into my place and everything is in its place. I like for everything to literally be at 90 degrees, smelling good, looking clean and fresh. I mean, who wants to go home to clutter, dirty dishes, clothes everywhere, smelly surroundings, and all? No one right. Or at least I don’t…

I’m not an extreme neat freak, but I personally feel like the sight of dirt and clutter would add to my exhaustion. Like where do you even start when you have to walk into a space like that after a long day of work?  Anyway, I think getting space in order is a struggle for so many people, so maybe I can give some organization tips that work for me.

Everything should have a home.

Everything you own should have a particular place where it is placed. This makes life so easy like you can’t imagine. For instance, when I’m out in the streets or in a store and I see something that I like, I first think of where it will live in my space. If it doesn’t have a place I don’t purchase it. Why?  Because I will go crazy the next morning thinking of where I’ll put it. I mean, who is leaving the house with things hanging out everywhere?

Set a date for thorough cleaning

I take time every morning to clean my space. i.e clean the dishes, make my bed, clear the table, sweep or probably wipe my floor, lightly clean the carpet, fluff the pillows and cushions, straighten the arrangement of my hangers, empty my bin and all. I also do this in the evening before I go to bed, so that I don’t wake up to disaster. But I also have a cleaning date every week where I get my laundry done and clean those corners which can’t be cleaned on a daily basis. But because I clean every day, my thorough cleaning day is not so overwhelming.

Get rid of excess stuff

Stuff is just stuff. I don’t believe in hoarding at all. Clothes that aren’t worn or don’t fit need to go to charity. Saidia mtu mwingine. Unused furniture needs to go.  Excess stuff isn’t such a cool look to the space. Kama haina kazi it just has to go. Plus it is a lot easier to organize your space, if there isn’t too much stuff in it. I like nice uncluttered, clean cut spaces. Neat homes are kind of cool.

Return stuff to their place

Make sure everything is put back to their space after use. For instance after doing laundry, fold or hang the stuff into their respective places instead of just letting them lay there on surfaces, or in laundry baskets. Let shoes stay where shoes are supposed to stay. Let bags stay where they are meant to stay. Let your stationery stay in their respective pencil cases or holders.  You get the drift. That’s why point one (everything should have a home) is so important.

Minimize the amount of stuff on your surfaces

Try and utilize storage space as much as possible. Let counters and table tops stay as clear as possible. Also make sure the counters are always clean and dry.

I hope these tips have been helpful. Have a lovely, organized week ahead.

Thank you Jonathan Mwanzia for the post’s illustration.

signed,
abby osidiana

GRAFFITI and other funny shit

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The other day i went to a certain washroom on campus and I came across some epic writing on the door. Before I can get into what I read, I’m just wondering how you walked into a loo with a pen and actually used it.  You. Write. On.  Doors. Yaani education did absolutely nothing for your life. Anyway,  I take the time to read this bla bla. Mainly because it is just in my face and I have no choice.

“The last time I shitted there, that shit got stuck, I nearly fainted”.

“Don’t just sit there, close your eyes. Concentrate”.

Right now, I’m not pissed off anymore. Nigger you are so funny, me and you can be good friends. Kama ni wewe, nitafute tujuane.

So this morning, I’m looking for an avocado for part of my breakfast right? I go to this stall where I find some kid selling perhaps on behalf of their parent or something. I pick out one nice green one and ask how much it costs. He mentions a ridiculous price, and like the die-hard Kenyan that I am, I’m like that bei for that size ni kugongwa. So he says to me, “aunty si ni kubwa” and I’m like hapana. Then he says, ni kubwa, hata inatoshana na wewe. I just paid and walked away. Every tiny woman knows that he was not emphasizing on the massive size of the avocado. No. he was emphasizing on how tiny I am. I know I’m tiny and I love it. lakini seriously, a comparison to that tiny ass avocado I saw? Hahaha enyewe I must really look small.

On other matters…
Check out this cool spray paint art.

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Isn’t this one of the coolest street art you have seen in Nairobi? You see where the mouth is? That is a drainage system. And it actually is functional. I think that is why I like it so much. Seriously, this thing is dope. Perfect imperfection.

The first time I saw it, I actually chucked the jav I was in; to take a close-up pic of it.  This painting is right next to integrity center btw; if you want to go take a look. I wonder who did this and how much more cool street art there is in this city. Maybe I will spend a bit more of my free time hunting for these timeless pieces.

signed,
abby osidiana

writing that changes your life

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Illustration credits to Jonathan Mwanzia

It is insane how different your life is from the person seated right next to you. You may have the: same colors of skin, same parents, live in the same country, earn the same amount of money, BUT, you cannot believe how far apart your realities are.

I try to let myself into other people’s worlds through their blogs, looking forward to seeing a new perspective different from mine. And every so often, I come across such great pieces. Pieces written with such sincerity and finesse, that my heart just wants to either shutter with heartbreak or explode with joy.

I know how scary it may be to publish the chronicles of your life, to a merciless world with different personalities. For some, the message hits home; the readers: understand, empathize, appreciate, and relate to these stories. For others, it’s a joke; an opportunity to make mockery of these tales, despite their severity. But still, numerous writers; armatures and professionals, take the risk of disclosing details so personal to them so as to enlighten a person or two.

In my free time I sit in silence, lost in this little world of words. And I devour every sentence, letting every word marinate deep within the most private parts of my soul. As time flies by, I notice that these words resonate. And I realize that these weren’t just pieces of writing. These words change my life.

So thank you to all writers and bloggers who take the time to share the world through your unique set of eyes. Thank you for exposing my soul to such: enlightening, smile-making, soul-soothing, gut-wrenching, and mind-boggling stories so personal and sincere.  I hope that I too can grow in big leaps, so that my work can make an impact in someone’s life in such magnitudes that yours make in mine.

Here is a list of 11 posts I hope you will fall in love with at first read. They are not only interesting and enlightening, but also very comforting and inspirational. I have categorized them by the message that I felt they spoke about. A special thank you goes out to the bloggers/writers whose wonderful pieces I have included in the categories below.

THE READ LIST:

Of writers with a great sense of humour
The pool guy – http://www.bikozulu.co.ke/the-pool-guy/

Of alcohol and substance abuse
Give a man a Hand – http://www.bikozulu.co.ke/give-a-man-a-hand/

Of food and humorous sarcasm
I’d rather not be so popular. It couldn’t be my chicken and pancetta pie, could it? – http://wp.me/p1NUXa-1yx

Of unhealthy relationships
If it smells it ain’t good – https://offoodlifeandlove.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/if-it-smells-it-aint-good/

Of loved ones with mental health problems
A Little Improv Can Go a Long Way with Dementia – http://wp.me/p2YzZa-h

Of love
What I Did For Love – http://wp.me/p5e92X-x

Of heartbreak
My daughter – https://okasungorasaidwithswag.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/my-daughter-there-will-be-days-like-these-by-purity-sowayi/

Of depression and support
You don’t need empathy to support a depressed person – http://wp.me/p3UfZ9-nm

Of children and personal capability
Growth mindset: it’s not just for Christmas – http://wp.me/p43kJZ-m4

Of bullies
Of bullies and low self-esteem – https://offoodlifeandlove.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/of-bullies-and-low-self-esteem/

Of selfies and social media platforms
An Open Letter To All Of My Friends Who Take Selfies – http://wp.me/p2snhO-19y

I hope the read list above was enjoyable to you!! Cheers, and have a lovely week.

#sharing is caring

signed,
abby osidiana

For every girl with natural hair

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Illustration credits to Jonathan Mwanzia

I did not realize the huge obsession that there is to hair until I cut my hair and went natural. There are SOOO many groups, so many blogs, and so many terms especially among women with natural hair; that it’s almost insane. Let’s not even go to all the sorts of hair regimens and routines that are out there, and the numerous products that there are for women with natural hair.

It becomes even more unreal when you go to social media, and get slapped by the numerous uploads of women’s natural hair photos. You are literally forced to search the numerous styling options and hair regimens on various websites and YouTube channels, especially when you see the length and body that some of these bloggers and vloggers have. And I must say the sisterly discussions on other women’s hair journey is quite encouraging and adorable. And I cannot fail to appreciate how easy the journey is becoming for me because of the access to these tips and masses of information being posted. Now that I’m part of this movement or should I call it obsession, I can help a sister out and give some basic information that every newbie needs to understand on natural hair.

Hair types

Did you know that natural hair textures actually have names? Yes, I was also shocked to find out that hair textures have names. So you can either have: type two, which is wavy hair, type 3 which is curly hair, and type 4 which is coily hair. Knowing which hair type you are, will help in choosing the most suitable styling needs or required special attention for your hair pattern. The way to determine your hair type is after it is washed and dried out without product.

For instance, mine is 4c type of hair which is coily and jiggly. It is hair composed of very densely packed strands, and most people say that it is the most challenging of the hair types. Additionally, it is extremely susceptible to hair breakage, damage and dryness. But because i understand my hair type, i know that i need to keep it moisturized well for the day; more than girls with other hair types actually have to.

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illustration credits to http://www.blacknaps.com

Styling options

Natural haired girls have various styling options. They include using flexi rods, wearing the afro, Bantu knots, the pony puff, the wash and go, twist outs and braid outs. The afro and the wash and go may be the simplest styling option, because all it needs is washing the hair, applying the hair product and combing out. The afro requires simply applying product, and combing the hair out. However what you need to do to achieve the twist out  is to basically to  apply your moisturizer, an oil, leave in conditioner, then twist the hair in sections. Allow the hair to completely dry, unravel the twists and fluff. The braid out is almost similar to the twist out, however the second last step for the braid out includes plaiting the hair in sections and undoing the braids when dry,  rather than twisting the hair and unravelling the twists.

Depending on the length and texture, styling may be a tedious daily process. For this reason, you can opt to take a break by trying out other protective hairstyles such as: hair crocheting, or doing cornrows with your natural hair. Basically, you need to avoid hairstyles that will put a strain on your hair and hairline such as: braids, weaves and tight ponytails. If you have to do braids, protect your hairline by plaiting cornrows with your hair and finishing off with braid extensions then plait the rest of the hair as usual.

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I have done a basic collage of styling options for girls with natural hair from some photos i found on the internet.

Must know basics for every girl with natural hair

Moisturize

Keeping your hair moisturized at all times is an integral part of your hair journey. This is because Natural hair needs lots of moisture to avoid breakage due to manipulation, and heat in the atmosphere. You do not need to feel pain while combing your hair out for whatever reason. If it is painful to manipulate, and if it feels hard it just means that it lacks moisture; therefore it is not fit for manipulation. Water is the best moisturizer for natural hair. Get a spritz bottle; mix in some essential / natural oils of preference. I normally mix in some coconut oil, olive oil, and glycerine in my bottle for everyday use. My hair keeps moisturized all day, and is a lot easier to untangle. The ratios shouldn’t worry you, but I make sure that my water to oil ratio is 1:1. Also make sure to invest in a good leave in conditioner for daily use, or on alternate days depending on your hair texture and length.

 Hair washing

You need to switch to more hair friendly shampoos and conditioners. Avoid those with sulphates and alcohols that dry out hair, and make it brittle. In my opinion a weekly wash would suffice, especially for women with hectic schedules.

Hair oiling

When it comes to oiling the hair avoid greasy oils. They clog the pores and weigh the hair down. Instead, invest in hair moisture butters such as Cantu shear butter or beautiful textures moisture butter. Alternatively use edible oils such as unrefined coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, glycerin or essential oils of choice.

Hair treatments

Unlike common belief, hair treatments are also meant for natural textures.  One option is to do a protein treatment at least once a month, with your house hold edibles. An example is a mixture of avocado, banana, an egg and unrefined oil. Blend them/ mix until it forms a smooth consistency and use as your treatment.  You can also do deep conditioning treatments with essential oils. Select the essential oil of choice, such as unrefined coconut oil that is edible. Warm it and use as your treatment.

Drying the wet hair

Avoid the use of heat application on the hair. This includes: blow driers, tongs and hair dryers. You can dry out you natural hair in other interesting alternatives. These include twist outs, braid outs or just applying a leave in conditioner and letting it to dry on its own.

Diet

Have a diet rich in proteins. Also take in a sufficient amount of fruits and nuts. Basically, eat a balanced diet but also make sure you take plenty of water during the day. Some vitamin supplements such as biotin would also aid in healthy hair growth. At the end of the day, you actually are what you consume.

Sleeping

Protect your hair by tying it with a silk scarf, or sleeping on silk pillow case.

Where to get your hair done

The best part of keeping natural hair is that you can do your own hair at home. Just purchase the hair products that you prefer, and maintain a weekly hair appointment with yourself. If this option is not for you, you can look for a hairdresser who understands your hair goals as a textured haired girl, and commit to his or her hair appointments.

A special thank you to my illustrator Jonathan Mwanzia for the cool illustration.

All the best in your hair journey girls, cheers and have a lovely week ahead!

Of bullies and low self esteem

The emotional well-being of our children, siblings, nieces and nephews can easily be shaken by bullies; who make them feel less than they deserve to feel. Let us spread awareness on bullying, and fight so as to put an end to these horrendous acts. Let us strive to reinforce the self-worth of our loved ones, and also encourage them to speak up when such inequities happen to them. Most importantly, lets not only listen but let us act as well.
Spread the word, cheers and have a lovely week ahead.
yours truly
abby osidiana

Of Food, Life and Love

BUL

Millions of individuals get bullied every year. As much as the popular cases of bullying are  known to occur in schools, bullying also takes form among adults. I have never been bullied, and I thank God for that. But I guess someone somewhere, has had this experience at one point in their life.

The emotions that come with being a victim to such atrocious acts in its various forms are clearly not so pretty. But that, we already know. Right now, I’m trying to understand the other side of the coin; where the bully feels like they dominate.

I bet there is a little stupid worm in their head that goes “buhahahahahaaaa, i’m better than you, you little victim of mine”. But when we get to the true bottom of this, you learn that bullies have bigger emotional issues than you can probably imagine. Their acts can be attributed to:…

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I’m just trying to figure it out

I took the first scary jump of handling my hair situation. It started with a small snip of the split ends, then came two more bold chops in two consequent months. With the new do came fore-seen challenges. Challenges that only women with short textured hair can relate to. Right now, I’m fumbling through which products to use, and how to keep it sane. But I must say it’s fun to run my fingers through the kinkiness when I’m bored.  And I love that it’s tough, kinky, and mine. But this is such a strange stage. Because honestly, I’m just trying to figure it out.

I’m not the best at spending or saving money. But I surely must appreciate that I have come a long way. The hustles and bustles of being on the grind trying to make a coin independently, comes with great rewards. But age and some newfound experience teaches me the importance of learning to work, and enjoy my hard earned money; but also being wise enough while doing it . I’m learning that every woman should be sensible enough to save for a rainy day. That the money you make should be able to help a person other than yourself. That money comes and goes. And the hard lesson that unexpected things can happen, that require your financial attention; and have the potential to throw your financial plans off balance. I guess i’m getting better at this whole financial aspect. But this is such a strange stage. Because honestly, I’m just trying to figure it out.

I’m very entrepreneurial in my own right. I guess going to get what I want is an easy concept for me. I’ve had a job in sales, I’ve been an intern in an architectural firm, and have also been an intern in an interior design firm. I’ve have also successfully started and run two small businesses on my own. I’ve done African jewelry and cupcakes all in different time spans. Additionally, I tutor guitar, I run my own blog, and I write on the sides too. I love all that I’ve learnt through the different brief “career” paths I’ve had. Their extreme differences have taught me invaluable lessons, and I want to try a few more; just before I can chose a suitable business venture for my future. Additionally, I’m trying to build my professional interior design career as well. With this comes the massive attempts to master my craft, and learn as many skills as necessary. Because it is important for me to raise my competencies, to levels that will be beneficial to myself and to the organizations I shall work for. But it takes a lot of discipline to juggle all that I set out. And I must say this is such a strange stage. Because honestly, I’m just trying to figure it out.

I love this journey into womanhood. It comes with learning: how to look and feel my best, how to make the most of my day, how to be the most helpful at home, how to make little steps towards my five year plan. Additionally, I’m learning to multitask like every great woman should. I’m also learning how to be a better daughter, a better sister, a better aunt, and a better friend. Most importantly, the day to day running’s teaches me how to incorporate other people in my life other than myself. Although I must say this is a struggle. Why? Because I really value alone time. Then comes the issues of patience, grace and self-respect. The learning curve has proven that people will treat you how you want them to. That having respectable levels of standards, has such vast positive outcomes. That we are responsible to make proactive choices for ourselves that will either uplift our lives, or drop us down a steep cliff. That good things come to those who wait. That respect is two way. And that being patient, gracious but at the same headstrong; will pull more positive people into your space. But again, isn’t some of these common sense items that we often choose to overlook? I must say, this is such a strange stage. Because honestly, I’m just trying to figure it out.

I’m a bit precautious, about the whole dating scene. Because so many forget that a love partnership takes really high levels of: respect, consideration, humility, mutual understanding, and independence on both ends.  But mainly because it is really easy to forget that actions mean more than uttered words. Let’s not even get to the fact that there are hundreds of mediocre men strutting themselves around. But we must agree, no one is really perfect right? And I cant honestly take away the fact that there are so many amazing individuals as well. But i must admit, it gets so lonely sometimes. Then unexpectedly, being single gets so comfortable; that the idea of dating seems like a complete inconvenience. But with all those personal milestones to achieve, would it be sane to introduce someone else into the frenzy? This is such a strange stage. Because honestly, I’m just trying to figure it out.

What are you trying to figure out? please let me know in the comment section below.

Like, share, follow and have a lovely week ahead.

Cheers

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