Eight Months In

So most of 2020 is behind us now yet there is a part of me that is still waiting for things to normalize so I can actually begin the year. It has been a confusing time coupled with a higher level of anxiety. That is how I am feeling.

I have gone through stretches of staying home to periods of going into work and in both settings I have been uneasy. Staying home gets monotonous and occasionally lonely. Then the idea of leaving home after being safely cocooned from potential exposure to covid creates further anxiety. There is a bit of relief in getting some fresh air and getting dressed to go into work. And then worry over being in closer (social distanced, of course) contact with coworkers whose movements and choices I have no control over. Like I said, these has been a confusing time for me.

I hope that your experience is less jumbled than mine seems to be. Or if it is like mine or more complicated, I hope you have an outlet to help keep you sane and calm. I would like to know what your days are like and how you are feeling.

Sending you much love and well wishes as we continue to navigate a rather unusual way of being.

I Started a Diversity Online Bookstore

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt in my life is to do it now. I am usually a procrastinator with just about everything I do. I always have the plan to get things done but somehow tomorrow always seems like a better day to get started.

In October of last year a cousin of mine and I exchanged the books we were reading (after we both finished reading our own books of course). She gave me what I later found out was a book that’s she reread many times because she likes to remind herself to take action now-and to always start with the thing that she dreads the most. The book is called Eat That Frog. I know right? I thought it was a strange name too. I still do actually although now I get it. The author, Brian Tracy, is arguing that the things we are most resistant to do should be the first that we work on mostly to get it out of the way. Also when you complete the most dreadful or most complex task it gets easier from there.

This book pushed me to finally do something I always planned on doing. Continue reading “I Started a Diversity Online Bookstore”

How Gaslighting Protects Systemic Racism

“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man” – George Floyd

“No, I don’t think there’s systemic racism. I think 99.9% of our law enforcement officers are great Americans … but there are some bad apples in there… Where were the local prosecutors and where was the police commissioner? That guy, I’m told, had a long record of this sort of conduct. Why was he still on the force?”

 Said Robert O’Brien, National Security Advisor, with no sense of irony

Richard Nixon, in his ultimately successful bid for the presidency, saw an opportunity to win the elusive southern votes that had so consistently gone to the Democrats. In ‘The New Jim Crow’, Michelle Alexander is clear: “H R Haldeman, one of Nixon’s key advisors, recalls that Nixon himself deliberately pursued a southern racial strategy. He, President Nixon, emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”

Ronald Reagan, who remains a darling of America’s conservatives today, picked up the baton of Nixon’s thinly-veiled war on drugs during a time of declining illegal drug use. Again, Alexander is blunt: “the drug war from the outset had little to do with public concern about drugs and much to do with public concern about race” and that it was an“… odd coincidence that an illegal drug crisis suddenly appeared in the black community after, not before, a drug war had been declared.”

Not to be outdone, the Democrats then Continue reading “How Gaslighting Protects Systemic Racism”

Nice Guy Syndrome?

A Self-professed Nice Guy Grappling With Self Image

I have subconsciously constructed an identity around the belief of my niceness. It is the only quality that made me feel exceptional with any consistency. Sometimes, I feel exceptionally clever. This perception doesn’t usually survive daily interactions. Sometimes, and this is rare, I feel exceptionally funny. The very next attempt at a joke will almost always bring me back down to earth. Feeling exceptionally nice, however, has proved a very tricky perception to shake.

Continue reading “Nice Guy Syndrome?”

Love, 6-feet Apart

Hello ladies and gentlemen! I hope you are all doing well despite the current state of things. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing my mother who has been kind enough to write the following article for us. She is Meg or Maggie. She was born and raised in Kenya then raised us ‘young ones’ there for a while. She moved to Winnipeg, a city she has come to love. She loves the outdoors ‘even in winter’. Becoming a writer is one of the things in her bucket list. ~Enjoy the read, Valerie. 

Successful businessmen and women say there is an opportunity in everything. When the Market is up. When the Market is down. We have all heard the adage ‘there is a silver line to every cloud’. This is what I decided to adopt for this season of enforced home stay during the Covid19 pandemic. But I am getting ahead of myself.

When the lock down commenced, the first few days were exhilarating. It was the impromptu holiday I always wanted. I could sleep in, watch videos till all hours of night, eat whenever and whatever I wanted. That was back when we could still run to the store as often as we wished :). Well that lasted for about three days. Continue reading “Love, 6-feet Apart”

Home is Where We Are

When I was a child, my father worked for the land arm of the Kenya Defence Forces. As a military member, he was relocated to different parts of the country every few years. This meant that there was never one specific place I called home. Continue reading “Home is Where We Are”

A Tale: The Enigma of the Good Wife

There’s a girl, a young woman, sitting at the far corner of the grandiose dinning hall. Leaning on the wall, at the very end of the room.
Sandi, that is her name.
She is slender, dark, with big white eyes. She is not starring at a cellphone, or a computer screen. She’s not reading a book or eating or even fidgeting with anything. She is, literally, just sitting there. Continue reading “A Tale: The Enigma of the Good Wife”

I Missed All the Signs

“I was at a wedding yesterday and it left me feeling a bit sad.” She told me. In her voice I could hear the strain of a person forcing back tears. Her cheeks had started to turn rosy. Her eyes were water. She did not shed a tear.
I was caught by surprise.
That was not how her sentence was supposed to end. Continue reading “I Missed All the Signs”

Burgers at Breakfast — Memoirs of a Kenyan

I cannot count the number of times I’ve been super hungry at 8am or at 9 and wanted to eat more than a slice of bread and tea. I’ve wanted to eat actual food (and tea, of course). Like a plate of rice and stew or a burger. Something of that kind. ‘No, it’s too early…

via Burgers at Breakfast — Memoirs of a Kenyan

Boots! Boots! Boots!

I just have one question for the guys. How is it that none of you is walking around barefoot? You all seem to wear shoes. And very good looking shoes at that. How? Last night I spent hours on end going through web pages after pages hunting down good winter boots for men! Do you actually but shoes in the price of the hundreds? How can you afford that? So you buy a pair of boots that costs you say $200 ok? Tell me, please tell what then do you eat for the next two week? Why are men’s shoes so expensive?

Continue reading “Boots! Boots! Boots!”

Marry Me, Trevor Noah!

Trevor, will you marry me?
Trevor, will you marry me?

No, it’s not the fame. It’s not even the good looks, although that’s a plus. With Trevor Noah, it’s the humor. Every woman wants a man who can make her laugh. Am I right or am I right! I’m on the floor laughing hysterically and please do not help me up. Let Trevor Noah come do it. This man, mmh mmh mh!
But let’s forget my humongous crush on this man, what do you think of Trevor Noah? His comedy I mean? Particularly on The Daily Show.  

I absolutely love him on the show, but then I am biased. I’ve listened and watched Trevor Noah’s comedy for years, long before he became Jon Stewart’s co-host on The Daily Show. For as long as I’ve known of him, I’ve had a soft spot for the guy (Trevor please find me so I won’t have to use that <of> part and instead just say, ‘for as long as I’ve known him’). If you haven’t watched him yet, after telling me which hole you’ve been living in these past few months, take some time to watch him on The Daily Show tonight.
And Jon Stewart, I just wanted to say thank you so much for bringing Trevor Noah into my home via the Daily Show! I sleep well at night now.
Now I only have one question for you Trevor, will you marry me?

Do Your Shoes Need a Face-Lift?

Shoe Jewels
They were cute and sparkly

The other day I was walking through The Hudson Bay on my way to an evening class. I had a few minutes to spare so I decided to window shop. The boots they’ve got are lovely and so are the pumps. And the bags and OMG the scarves and the fragrances. I was spoilt for choice, except for one thing, MONEY! There was a time when I shopped on alternate weeks. I almost always wore new clothes. Those wonderful happy days, sigh! And then bills started to happen. But I’m not complaining, no..no these are the facts. Anyway, I continued to lustfully ogle at The Bay’s beautiful merchandise. The crisp smell of newness blended with the orgasmic scent of brand new leather. Everything around me was shiny. I could almost hear them calling my name. I have self-control like madness. I love to shop but I hate debt even more. So I clasped my purse a little tighter-you know, just in case the credit card decided to slip out of the wallet and make its way to the cashier. I took a deep breath and started for the exit.
Just before I made it to the door, I spotted something that hadn’t been there before (yes, I too think it’s disturbing that I know the Hudson Bay that well). They were cute and sparkly and tiny, all stuffed into a basket, right by the wall, very near to the exit but closer to the cashier. I paused. I just wanted to know what they were. No harm in that right?
Sheoe Jewels 2
I discovered shoe jewelry

I walked towards the basket half afraid that I would cave and buy something I wouldn’t even have a use for. “You’re bigger than that, I said to myself” before taking another step then reaching for the shiny thing. I still could not tell what it was, some kind of jewelry that’s for sure. So I flipped it over to the back side and “oh shoe jewelry” it said. “Ummh…..Ohkayy…..mmh!” And with that I left the store. A round of applause please, my credit card stayed put. It did not make a run for the cashier. Can I hear an AMEN!
It’s been almost two weeks since I discovered shoe jewelry. For how long have these been a thing? Why am I just seeing them now? I like the malls, new things and stylish accessories. Why did I not know about shoe jewelry? I walk through the bay at least once every week. And each day that I do, I especially go to the shoe area. That basket has not been there. Do people actually buy them? I wasn’t particularly sold on them because when I go shoe shopping I go to town! So my shoes generally do not need a boost, they’re always on point. But still, shoe jewels are a genius idea. I marveled at this new revelation for a week when I finally decided to find out how popular they are. And what do you know? There are actual entrepreneurs who are making a living solely on selling shoe jewelry. I know, I thought it was impossible too. I mean, who buys these? They’re super cute, I’ll give them that. And yes, some shoes I’ve seen desperately need a face-lift.
I mean, who buys these?
I mean, who buys these?

I suppose you could keep a pair in your bag just in case your co-workers decide to go for drinks right after work. Or maybe you have a fabulous date with no time to rush home and get dolled up. I can see how these could come in handy. I like the idea, for others I mean, not for self. Shoe jewels are a good emergency plan. Get yourself a pair, or I just might hand one out to you on the streets on Christmas eve!
Have you heard or seen shoe jewelry? Do you own a pair? When did they come in handy for you? 

I want You Now

I don’t want you when you’ve figured it all out. I want you now. I want you when you’re naïve and young and lost. I want to be beside you while you struggle to stand on your feet. When you’re still stumbling and losing your way.
I don’t want you when you’ve mastered the basics and established your path. I want to hold your hand when you can’t seem to figure things out. I want to Continue reading “I want You Now”

My Monday Morning Transit

My Monday Morning Transit

On the morning transit

It is approaching 8AM and I’m heading off to work. I am tired and sleepy and most definitely cranky. I am not a morning person in any sense of the word. I’m at the bus stop waiting on the ’43’, my morning transit bus. According to the Winnipeg Transit app, the bus should be here any minute.

It is also cold which is not helping me at all.

This particular bus driver is great but extremely perky. It makes me mad just how cheery he is. Not mad at him, at me. Why can’t I be like that?

In the mornings, I would much rather not talk. But since I hate it when I energetically approach people and they give me nothing, I put my best effort for this bus driver. He’s warm, always in a jolly mood. I wish Continue reading “My Monday Morning Transit”

Do Not Give Them Your Control

On TV, we tend to see how personal drama often leaks into professional lives. It is a recurring scene in movies and series to mention just a few. Perhaps it is something that cannot always be controlled, but it definitely needs to be avoided as much as possible.

We are certainly human and at times things beyond our control happen. http://www.csc.com/careersau/ds/12115-flexibility_for_balancing_your_work_and_life
We are certainly human and at times things beyond our control happen. Retrieved from http://www.csc.com/careersau/ds/12115-flexibility_for_balancing_your_work_and_life

We are human and at times things beyond our control happen.
Mankind is not robotic.
We react to words and actions, and when the going gets tough, we give in. And that is OK. However, let us try to keep it at a minimum. If it is a personal phone call that could upset you, call them back later when you are in a more secluded area. When someone offends you, try to notify them without causing a scene but if you cannot help it at that instant, walk away to catch your  breath. We tend to handle issues a lot better when we are composed. A certain wellness coach once explained at a mentorship seminar that in getting worked up we lose our control to the other party. Do not give them your control, own it!
Since we spend most of our days at work, our colleagues tend to also be our friends. It is however vital not to unload work frustrations on workmates. Find a close friend or family member outside of the workplace to rant to every once in a while. You will feel better plus you get to keep your reputation intact and stay out of office drama. This would also saves you from lots of stress and uneasiness. Furthermore, it helps create a workplace free of gossip and other behaviours that could result in unhealthy workplace environments.
On a stressful day, take a brief walk. It could be to your water fountain and back to your desk. At your lunch go to the gym, maybe get a manicure or anything that could help you destress. Some people have reported that taking several deep breaths (3-4) calms them.

 Find what keeps you calm. Keep the drama out of the office and always maintain your control.

Do you think that it is important to separate personal from professional life? Why or why not? What have been your experiences at your place of work?
© Valerie Chela N, all writers herein and Memoirs of a Kenyan, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to appropriate author of content and Memoirs of a Kenyan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Why are we like using the word ‘like’ like all the time or whatever?

Whatever happened to simply thinking quietly or developing a thought completely before attempting to speak? Or sticking to the conventional non-word fillers such as “um”?goodgriefI won’t deny it. I too struggle to keep certain words that add no meaning whatsoever out of my speech. “Like” is one good example. Occasionally, and against my better judgement, this word crops up in my vocabulary. I make a conscious attempt to avoid using it and a few other words that I could still communicate greatly without.
There are several words that tend to be used an awful lot when we barely need them in the first place to communicate. Continue reading “Why are we like using the word ‘like’ like all the time or whatever?”

Just For Foodies- JFF (Guest Post)

Hello Foodies!!

Okay tomorrow is a new day, a new day to explore and discover more food and drinks. Just for foodies is going to be part of this new discoveries, JFF is going to be a continuing segment on MOFAK starting today. My idea for JFF is to post pictures of foods and drinks that I experience for the first time or that i have experienced before and would like to share with my fellow foodies. Okay, so here’s the fun part 🙂 you guys get to participate as well. You guys get to send us pictures of food or drinks that you experience in your everyday lives or during a trip or whatever the case might be. Continue reading “Just For Foodies- JFF (Guest Post)”