I knew what defined me was nursing

“What would you love to be when you grow up?” My father,Thomas asked me after listening to a child call in a local radio station, Ramogi FM. I can’t recall his name but what he wanted to be stuck in my head up to this moment. He wanted to be a neurosurgeon.

I smiled and gave him a quick rare glance,not in a shy way,no,not me_ I was sure that was what I wanted. “I want to be a nurse father!”I didn’t see the expression which was drawn on my face but it must have been that of a young girl who has just been told she will be a nurse and now she can’t help but wait for that day.

“That’s great my child, work hard and make your dreams real,” he said putting down a  cup of white tea which he was holding at mouth length all this time.

I knew what defined me was nursing,my smile was nurse’s,my heart was nurse’s and my tone was nurse’s as well.

Day after day I looked forward to dressing in white dress, mounting a nurse cap and wearing white cloves; I rooted for those moments when I would inject patients with a syringe just as my mum Norah would.nurse

My mother had just graduated as a nurse from Mombasa polytechnic and every person from our neighborhood including my grandmother Elsa would come to her for medication and consultation . I felt I took after her. I felt I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I felt being a nurse was running right through my veins and it was that very moment I vowed to stop at nothing but becoming one.

Then one day as we listen to the same program with my father,a girl called,she was called Lilian.She was 10yrs.she was in class four. I’m so interested in this particular girl because she shared absolutely everything with me. From her first name ,to her sir name, to her other name, to same class and to same nursing thing.For a moment I felt I was hearing myself talking on the radio. I wanted to meet her personally, if not then ,maybe later in the future

Days,weeks,months and years passed and that children program was still part of me,by 10 am I would be sitting close to my father listening to five,ten and fifteen children who would call the station to say what they would want to be.

Now I ‘m a big girl in my forth year at the university and attending conferences is my best thing here. Today’s conference I met with journalist across the country; I’m so exited for two reasons. One , I finally got my press card,that means I have a gate pass to press conferences: Two, I interacted with journalists one on one,something many people have done but only on live phone calls

The room was now burning hot, but when a lady walked in, everything became cool including the seat I sat on. I knew from that very moment things were going to be cool like her.
She walked onto the platform and everyone become silent. I personally saw a supermodel walking _ she was not tall,she was not short_she had short natural hair_she was simple,classy and elegant. In a black khaki trousers, purple blouse which was tucked in appropriately, she was just in for the presentation. She was dark and beautiful. They say black is beautiful but I say when a black lady is beautiful,she really is. She had a natural soft smile emerging from a heart and no one in that room responded to her smile with a frowned face.

She said “hi” and I felt I knew that voice or perhaps I had heard it before… but then I couldn’t recall where.”I’m Lilian,”she continued.

Curiosity was now building inside me when she stolen my sir name too;and it was that very moment my childhood memories flashed in my head one after the other. How I longed to meet that particular Lilian who shared absolutely everything of mine.”today is the day you are going to meet some of journalist who will entirely point your passion to the right direction….. ” she continued.

I enjoyed watching her talk and speakers who spoke after her just wasted my time. I wanted to speak to Lilian and ask so many question but first confirm if she was that Lilian or a new one had just emerged.

When we met I started by introducing myself then a bit of how I loved her voice and dressing and the rest followed. But those aren’t important. I loved how she confirmed she is that Lilian. ” Yes I had always wanted to be a nurse. I remember years back when I was in class four I called a radio station to confess how passionate I was!” She said but  this time with no passion at all. It was just a normal confession.

privileged enough, I read some of her moving articles, stories perhaps I wouldn’t have read had I not met her. knowing her in person is,another thing I’m mad about. But I’m not the only one with this privilege,you too.You are just reading through her article as well:You are getting to know her in person as well. Yea me, I didn’t know I was Lilian but now I know. I didn’t know I will be a journalist but now I know.

Look at me,I wanted so bad to become a nurse but that wasn’t what dictated my heart,that wasn’t where my passion was. It doesn’t matter what you love , and wish, and want, and like to be but what you will be.

And today,today I’m going back to my father and I’m going to ask him to rephrase that question he asked  me when I was only ten.

Don’t you think it should have been something else,something like,

“What will you become when you grow up?”

 

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style

I haven’t always loved style. I haven’t always used style. I haven’t always prioritized style as well.
I remember growing my writing skills back in high school, my essays had no beginning or ending. I wrote exam anyhow and everything was jumbled up. I mean my second point would be explained in forth point, sixth or even eighth point.  But guess what? I used to pass.
My teachers wanted well written stories. What they wanted were stories written with jargon and cliche, proverbs and says everyone else uses: What they wanted were stories written with big and difficult words that no one uses. Reading my essay you needed a dictionary beside the article.
I religiously followed this to the latter. No one in form one central had their own style of writing, no one in form two central had their unique way of writing and no one in form three central had their own signature of writing. We all wrote the same way and one could tell I belong to central just by reading my story.
As if that isn’t enough, I crammed a story, I mustered from word to sentence to paragraph; that was the same story I wrote in my national examination. And yet again I passed.

Style imagephoto courtesy

When I joined campus in 2014, nothing changed. I wrote my exams the same old way until I specialized in print journalism as a profession when I developed passion in reading articles written in magazine, newspapers and novels. I was wrapped in reading those articles until I longed for one thing.
I wanted to write like those authors whose articles I read: I wanted my stories to be like those articles they wrote. I started writing well but something was still missing. The more I tried to resonate with what was missing, the more I got lost again and again.
There was no doubt I was losing hope till I attended a stylistic class by Prof. Henry Indangasi. He showed me how to use language bringing out its artistic beauty: He showed me how to write story bringing out its original beauty. He showed me how to develop my signature writing.
“Onyango imagine walking in Nairobi streets today and then you spot a lady putting on blue glasses, same design like you are wearing: putting on black shoes, same design like you wearing. And as if that isn’t enough, she’s putting on white neck tie dress, yellow jacket,” Prof.Indangasi posed looking me straight into eyes.
“Tell me, how would you feel? Would you be happy?” He asked me.
And knowing myself well, how I love to be unique with absolutely everything I posses from my ornaments to shoes to hairstyle , I looked him straight into his eyes tongue tied and what came out after that made me want my own signature.
“I love to be unique. I love to be me. I don’t want to be like somebody else, and me walking to the street only to stumble upon that lady; I will hate her then change my dressing style forever. I just want to be unique.” I answered.
“Then what are you still waiting for? I mean after knowing what you want…” he told me
So I started by braking grammatical norms fitting them in this brand new signature, then another rude thing I did was playing with rules and yet another awkward thing I did was repeating myself to make this signature valid. I’M NOT doing all these because I have no knowledge BUT to create emphasis, to introduce new information, to make my readers engaged just as I’ve done with you.
You are drawn in right?
I know it is three yeses from you.
Last and most importantly, I wrote for the ears. I wrote just as I talked. I hope you are boarding with this well, just how I want you to. I was telling a one on one tale. I’m doing the same thing even now.
And today, I’m promising me that should I forget everything prof. Indangasi taught me in stylistics, I shouldn’t forget one thing. Writing for the ears.
I want my signature writing style, I want my unique writing style and I know how to get it.
Now that I love style,Now that I’m using style, and now that I’ve prioritized style;I’m not going to do anything fishy to forget this style. I’m not letting it slip away.

It’s time to love me

Today I’ve got this feeling I love you more

I give too much attention to you

attention you otherwise need not

attention I otherwise need a lot

its time I act like I don’t care

its time I act like you do

its time I divert this attention to me

Tomorrow  I’ll get that feeling you love me more

I don’t care

I don’t care which way but how I walk through it

I don’t care who to love but how to love

I don’t care what to eat but how to eat

I don’t care what to write but how to right

I don’t care what to say but how yo say

I don’t care what to wear but how to wear

I don’t care where to touch but how to touch

I don’t care where to laugh but how to laugh

I just don’t care about what and who and which but how.

You hate you

I didn’t know how it would feel. I couldn’t guess how it would taste. I didn’t know how it would smell either.

Up until now I couldn’t figure why forgiveness wasn’t my thing, I couldn’t forget neither. But now, after forgiving myself of that crime I committed several years back, forgiving is easy, letting go is nothing at all.

I used to be bitter when you wronged me. It used to hurt me a lot.And with a clear character I possess, I wouldn’t hide my current status behind my face. It would be hanged out for everyone to see.

I mean, I can’t fake a smile, I can’t force a tear.

Then in  one occasion when I tried smiling at a lady who had hurt me, I felt pain inside me. It was piercing sharp through my intestines. It started with large then to small intestine. The pain was unbearable, it was both sharp and numbing. It was as if a hot blade was placed onto my skin so long enough that my body unquestionably  turned off the receptors.

And when I took a breath, the air came through my nostril like a breath taken under water-that breath you take when drowning. I hated that feeling.

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But one Saturday ,of all  Saturdays, of all  days have spent on this earth, everything changed. It was all about forgiveness and forgetting in that sermon.  After service what echoed on my head was forgiveness, and  seven hours later,seventeen hours after, what echoed on my head was letting go .

It was then I felt guilty of not forgiving, of not forgetting.  I hope you’re still listening to me.Even up to this moment as I write this article, I  still feel she was talking to me. I mean the pastor. “There is still someone who needs to come,” she called upon those who were enslaved by unforgiveness. I knew she was talking to me, I felt it, but still, I didn’t walk to the pulpit.

I’m not that kind of a lady who needs recognition or with courage to walk amid congregation. I don’t  like  attention, and besides, I knew God had known my repentance, I  didn’t have to walk to the pulpit to show how remorseful I was. It was in my soul, not my body.

I knew I was a victim of circumstance. I knew everything. I was my enemies slave. I remember how I would walk out of a room when an enemy gets in the same room, or  how  I would sit back but talk less as I would when they were not around. I would quickly change my direction and intentions when I met them. I didn’t want to be a slave anymore.

Untying myself, I had to forgive myself first. I had to deal with internal forgiveness before external forgiveness. In all, you should clean your garments before doing the same to someone, or cleaning the dirt in your house before helping someone do the same to theirs.

I started by loving me, to sharing  with me, to consulting  me, to cancelling me ,to asking forgiveness from me, and to forgetting what me did to I.

That day everything was done I found joy I didn’t know existed, I felt peace of mind and breathed fresh air with ease.Everything around had welcoming aroma only my soul could explain how.

But the best feeling was when I realized pain, discomfort, disappointment enforced to me by those my old self considered enemies were my utmost blessings. I couldn’t see then but I see now.

Now that I know this feeling, now that I can guess how it tastes, and now that I can smell its aroma as well, I’m not letting go.