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.

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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

  Embracing my true signature hair

I haven’t always loved my full hair. I haven’t always loved my shinny black hair.  I haven’t always loved my strong hair as well.

For the past five years have heard nothing but  talks about embracing natural hair from basically everyone around me -From my parent to girlfriends to boyfriends until  I got sick of the topic. But then today I’ll surely pay a thousand shillings just to appreciate anyone talking about this topic.

I remember studying in Lwak girl’s, a provincial high school down in Asembo _ Rarieda sub- County where all students wanted good and healthy. Good hair according to us was nothing less than; dyed hair, straightened hair, and relaxed hair.

I wanted that good hair. It was a culture in Lwak and whenever you had bad hair, you would be that one white lily among red roses. No one wanted to be out of place, I too.

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From relaxing my hair to dying to straightening, it became part of me, it was my routine, it was habit and that what made me Lilian.

And during holidays I would repeat the process again and again because I was in a boarding school and as always finding a salon to treat and make your hair would be finding an oasis in a desert or when you accidentally dropped a needle on a grass and then you would try to finding it.

My hair was my best asset even before my books. In the shopping list, coconut and almond oil, gel and butter cream, shampoo and  hair conditioner topped the list. I was always ashamed when I had to forgo one, two or even three hair products for books or pens whenever the amount wouldn’t cater for everything.

Now, in campus, this lady in her twenties has resort to nothing but having that   ‘bad hair’ she never cherished in high school. She wants not relaxed hair, not straightened hair. No. she wants nothing like dyed hair too. That’s not indigestible to her.

I mean she have lost her beautiful hair line, she no longer have strong hair, full Afro hair no more.

Each and every morning standing by a mirror-she is sure to see a stranger.perhaps she has never seen her or she forgot their encounter. Her gaze at me is filled with resentment and anger.

Why do you think the stranger has that sort of resentment towards her? I mean towards me?

The stranger is angry with me for having taken something special from her in her childhood life. This stranger is mad at me for having given her malnourished hair.

I want to set things right again for her because I’m sure she so badly want to remind me of our meeting. Truth is that I know her but the burden of guilt is weighing me down, erasing my memories. But then she knows me .she just doesn’t want to remind me.

Big chop is the only option and doing it isn’t a big deal like it seems. At the end of it, there is nothing to lose in losing what gives you a chance to mend your mistakes.

Everything is going to be right again. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel.

My late aunt Eunice had had this hair, my late grandmother Elsa had had this hair, my father Thomas has this hair and I have always had this hair. I have this hair.

I want nothing else but my natural hair; I want my true signature hair. I’m not hiding its form anymore.