#TellAFeministThankYou

My dad passed away when I was 7.

He used to tell me I’d be Miss Uganda and the President of Uganda at the same time because I was left handed and as good looking as he was (its ok, roll your eyes all you want). Of course he had no idea how that opened a door for me to dream of all the endless possibilities that could be my future, he probably just wanted me to smile and feel special. I have over time wanted to be an astronaut, a pathologist, a choreographer, a pilot, a journalist and now finally studying to be a lawyer. I can’t wait to know what I’ll want to be at 35.

Nothing for me is reserved for men.

I remember how after he passed away, my mum took on the burden of raising me alone. We still went to our paternal village for the holidays. And while there, mother still only went to the kitchen hut as and when she wanted to (children dint enjoy the same luxury of course). She also continued to sit at the men’s drinking circle dishing out her opinion- a big deal back then.

My mum has been studying all my life: I know she started out with a diploma. She had just began her undergraduate course when my dad died and has since gone through most of the other works and  now has the proud burden of the ACCA certified accountants annual fee. For her, a girl MUST have an education. She says men never respect uneducated girls.

I remember in primary school, telling my mum how I was being bullied and teased by some boys and all she told me was to go and beat those boys up then ran to a teacher if I wanted them to stop messing with me. No sympathy. No pity. No consolation or hug. And for good measure, she pointed out how she had to walk kilometres to her primary school, barefoot, carrying Bab on her back. (I dint take her advice, but my sister Bella did for the both of us. Looking back, they stayed away after that)

A girl crying, for my mother, has always been a big sign of weakness, and it always earned you a frown and a lecture about learning to be stronger. If she caught you in the wrong and was caning you for it, crying only made her cane you more.

The first time, I experienced a flat tyre was with my mum. She was driving us back to Kampala from Tororo when it happened and all four passengers were women. I got out looking for a man that I could stop to help. She got out and gave me an oral crash course on changing tyres. I changed that tyre and have changed every other flat tyre I’ve got since. I also change my own bulbs and manual search for my TV stations. Until recently, I was still the first person my mum called when something wasn’t working J

 

My mum would never consider herself or my dad for that matter, a feminist, most of you wouldn’t either. I’ve also just always considered her a really strong and independent woman, and my dad the tallest strongest man ever, until today.

Every time the words feminist and feminism come up, immediately to most people-especially men, pictures of loud women screaming for their rights, lonely divorced women, overly outspoken and uptight women in trousers and women beating up their husbands for coming home late, come to mind. In Uganda, its images of scary successful women with dreadlocks and big cars kicking men’s egos like balls, single miserable middle aged women that refused to marry in their ‘prime’ and now can’t find a man, and against culture single mothers that MUST be struggling to make ends meet.

It seems every young girl or woman aspiring to be called a feminist should work towards falling within one of the categories.

courtesy of google

Why the story of feminism must be told in a hard, discouraging and downright patriarchal way is something I think needs to change. What a sad picture of feminism we’ve painted.

My parents were the beginning of the definition of what it means to me to be an emancipated woman. Equality can be earned in many different ways-they taught me to think beyond my gender box, they planted the seeds of feminism in me. I love my father for thinking I could be president, a dream of me a skinny 6year old girl doing a man’s job.  More than anything else, my mother has taught me never to be afraid to do the things men do, it’s not rocket science. She’s such a feminist. I’d put her right up there on my feminist chart smiling next to Sylvia Tamale and my best friend Godiva.

And I know there are women like her out there, changing lives, unconsciously making other women stronger through their actions, through their unknowingly emancipating demur. There are men out there, who do not hit women, who respect women’s opinions, who encourage women to be more; who through the respect and love they show to the women around them unconsciously make them set their own bar that other men must meet because they have seen a possibility through him.

Tell me reader, don’t you know a feminist?

I think it’s about time we thank the silent feminists in our lives.

Letter to 12 year old me

Dear me from those days,

so I was supposed to have written this 3 months ago on our birthday, but I’m sure it doesn’t matter because your knowledge of the world wide web begins next year when Bob takes you to that internet cafe near home to learn how to open an email address anyway.

On that point “bended@excite.com” is NOT a cool email username. Please don’t use it

Oh yeah and don’t worry about that hair and its colour, it will grow and  you will relax it and the brown will complement you. There will also be lots of colour and weaves to play with. Right now, its cut to short bob and red (yes, it happens)

Pringles will eventually go off the market, I have no idea why either, and yes, the texas bba flavour goes first. Kiwi shoe polish gets competition, Quencher eventually gets kicked out, and Rwenzori just drops the soap.

The spects will never go away, but on a brighter note, the sizes and colours change and they become fashionable. Being dark skinned will also no longer be so bad. E! tv will replace those bully names like ‘charcoal’ and ‘mucholi’ with being exotic looking and besides you’ll thank the stars you’re black and not a Moslem Arab man called Hussein living in the USA when it eventually launches its war on terror

The first year of high school sucks, and it will continue sucking for the next four years but the last two years are going to rock, that will be the beginning of defining you: the hips will finally break out, you’ll become a prefect, get your first letter from a boy that’s not your brother, and surprisingly manage to be cool. I think.

I know you hate school, I do too, that doesn’t change.

And karma’s a bitch because you wont win a lottery and drop out of school, you actually go ahead to get into law school

Mills and Boon will be replaced by more mature, bigger, better, more detailed novels with better sex scenes.

Because you’re a very late bloomer, you’ll get your first kiss much later, Don’t ask me when, just know there will be fireworks, and tingles in places you do not yet know that you have just like in the romance novels 🙂

That soap Maria De Los Angeles, start a hate campaign against it because its the beginning of a Tele Mundo soap invasion in the whole country, maybe even world. They are going to be everywhere on every local channel and everyone around you is going to be hooked. Be prepared.

Enjoy the innocence of using mum’s Erickson flip,because you’re going to become a slave to phone technology; they are going to come, woe you, seduce you, and leave you hanging like a guy that has to withdraw at the brink of cumming. None will ever be good enough there will always be something better and unreachable. Its miserable

Facebook and Twitter will come along but ,maybe let me not spoil those ones for you, just don’t forget to activate spam settings and don’t accept a friend request from mum or any of the unties.

You’re going to go through some dark times babes, I cant say they’ll be few, I cant say they’ll be easy, I cant say you’ll be unscathed but you will get through them.

Bella will pass on, go join Dad when you least expect it, so stop the fighting and bickering, and enjoy the time you have with her.

You will lose friends, you will get your heart broken, you will get disappointed and frustrated, you will cry and feel alone many times. But it is life. You will at least learn to smile or at least keep a straight face through it

But you will have amazing friends to help you through those times: they will make you laugh, finally give you a proper nickname, and throw you your first ever surprise birthday party.

Yes, a lot of things will change but, Yoweri Kaguta will still be your president with no hope of change

August for my women

Today is the beginning of another month; the start of a new chapter for some, the opportunity to be better than last month for others, a chance to review all those New Year resolutions we made(if you even bothered), but for most, it’s just another day to get by trying to define their happiness. I do not usually attach much to months but this August for me, is a chance to meditate, to slow down, to reflect, to appreciate, and to be thankful for all the women that have joined the pieces that are slowly unfolding the story behind my puzzle of a life.

August is the month my mother was born-that amazingly crazy woman I have endless stories about that drives me raging mad sometimes but that I’d do almost anything for, literally. She; I cannot talk about in just one post but if ever I fail in life (she could cane me for even thinking it), it will never be because of any lacking on her part. I’m so proud to be those mummy’s girls people always complain of because she’s my mummy. We do a lot together; we laugh, we joke, we gossip, we fight, we argue, we share (mostly shoes), we are mother and daughter, we are sisters, we are friends.

August is the same month my sister Bella was born, only one year older than me. Growing up, we were always confused for twins but Bella was always better than me at everything; she was stronger, she was faster, she was the snake champion-for those of you, who had good old Nokia phones, she was brighter in class and unphased by anything, she could even take down boys, that girl. But she died about 8years ago and I still miss her SO much.

One woman, one girl, both amazing, both taught me and are continuing to teach me so much about life. So this moment right now, this first day of August, I’d like to dedicate to the women in my life that like my mother and sister leave footprints, and prove everyday that there is no such thing as the weaker sex.

Liz, my free spirited kid sis who I want to be in my other life because she is so awesome and doesn’t even know it- I gladly cry on her shoulder; Julie, that friend of mine that doesn’t let you cry when you’re down but pushes a cup of peppermint tea into your hands, finds whoever put you in a funk and deals with them; Lady(yes, her name)  who takes on anything with so much love and passion, it seems like a body part the rest of us missed; Suzi, who im so jealous of because she somehow makes everything ok; Amina who reads me like a book and still loves me to bits; Grace who is one of the smallest women I know but also one of the bravest-she’s the kind that always creates new paths; and Isabella, always waiting with a big hug and warm smile and who I want to be when I grow up.

Yes my women, thank you so much for being in my life and enjoy the rest of the month.

I did, however, manage to come up with all this emotion with the help of a couple of bottles of Guinness so burn it to your memory, it’s not happening again soon.

Good night the rest of you and try to be something more to the people around you, you just never know who’s counting their lucky stars they met you

Men in Skinny jeans; I’m coming out of the closet

I’ve been meaning to write about sex for awhile, but of course I cannot talk about the act itself because the judgmental society I live in would brand me too forward for their sons, so I’m stuck to talking about things we pretend are completely not associated with IT so are ok to talk about; like how certain guys with certain buns in certain skinny jeans ooze a lot of nice sticky, finger licking sex appeal 🙂

Yes, there are a lot of standard lists women throw around; like rich, tall and handsome (yes, I left out the dark because I think it’s a bit racist), but we all kinda vary as you go further down the list and I for one have recently discovered that I like men in skinny jeans. There is just ALOT you can tell about a guy in those nicely tight jeans. It’s out and official now.

Jean

Jean (Photo credit: Johnny.Lai)

Yes, they absolutely work for me so stop judging me you man reading this that that has never tried them. If the guy has a nice ass, nice ass + skinny jeans = me trying not to get caught staring. Pardon? what’s a nice ass?; well it shouldn’t be too big and shouldn’t look like it was flat ironed and pressed before wearing the pants, it should be just enough to check out while he’s walking away and enough to slip my hand into his back pocket and play with if we are walking together. A guy’s ass should be like those dorm buns we used to have in Nabisunsa. For those that I’ve lost by now, Nabisunsa is one of the better schools in Uganda; it’s an all girls’ secondary school that used to give out free buns once or twice a week and those buns were smaller than your average Ugandan bun and oh so perfect, they were so amazing for small sandwiches that could be eaten in 4bites or less if you have a big mouth and two of them were just enough, not too filling and not living you wanting more. Now that is how a nice guy’s ass should be, just enough.

So a guy not afraid to suck it in and pack neatly into those babies, means the guy is daring and adventurous and might be the same in other regards but mostly because I can look out for those nice buns I like.

You know what I don’t get though? I absolutely don’t get why the men around here are so afraid of these jeans though, why they won’t return the favor women are always doing for them. Do you think we like the pressure of push up bras, heels, and weaves? But we do it anyway.  They cringe every time they see the brave souls in a pair claiming the jeans kill the little chap down there but I know faster ways to kill your masculinity than skinny jeans; I’m sure those phones always vibrating in men’s pockets take down sperm count using some earthquake theory or something like that and I know for a fact men with very unflattering bodies that wear spedos at public pools are intentionally out to starve their ninjas.

So I’ve decided to let every guy around me know that I will still like them if they get a pair of skinny jeans, maybe even a bit more depending on the buns. So get one pair, at least one, if not for me at least to tell your kids and grand kids that you did it. Ok, I’m done, I promise to write about more serious something more serious in the next post.

PS: I hope I’m not losing my street cred by admitting that my eye candy is that far down though

funk diaries, entry 1: When was the last time you did something for the first time??

I’ve lately been in a funk, which is that feeling you have when you know you’re depressed and yet  can’t quite put you hand on what is putting you down…..you’re just down and don’t want to see anyone else happy and want a nice warm hug but no one is offering and want to be in bed and not comb your hair and hating your phone for not ringing but hating it even more when it does because the person on the line sounds too cheery and sulk and eat calorie filled food while watching E! which depresses you even more because everyone there is so perfect and you’re not and you start counting all the bad things that have been happening to you and you just fell bad allover again…..LONG SIGH!!  Its a such hard world out there in funk world, I tell you….

But i think the reason i’m in a funk this time is because I can’t remember the last time I did something for the first time and that just horrible or at least that’s how funk says I should feel

I want to do something that’ll give me a sudden freshness and exhilaration and make my smile fill me up with sunshine that I can feel right down to my tingly big toes

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I want to do something I’ve never thought of doing before, one that’s so simple I’ll be amazed at how easy it was, one that brings a blanket of soothe over me, like how I imagine lying in a tub of strawberry yogurt might feel

 

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I want to do something only kids can get away with these days

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Or something I can laugh alone about, have my very own private joke because its so stupid I can’t even tell anyone I did it just to see if I’d get a kick out of it, ya, something like those guys in Dumb and Dumber would do

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Wouldn’t the something new I want to try just be awesome and amazing if it could be all the the above? I’m still looking.

What about you?

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I absolutely have no title for this, I’m not even sure its worth a read….

See we go to bed ever night, making plans for the next day, for the next week,

secretly hoping and praying that we’ll wake up tomorrow

And most days we do, and we go about other plans like nothing miraculous

just happened, taking every breath for granted

But some days,

Some days we are shaken to the bone at

how easily we can lose all this,

how all these plans and dates and efforts and savings and promises and hopes may not count

because we may not be there to enjoy them

Each time we lose someone, we are reminded

There are no guarantees in life except to always expect the unexpected

While we mourn the loss of a loved one, we secretly wonder:

Am I next? How many more close people will be taken from me?

And because we are so afraid of the unknown,

we search and seek and probe and experiment and try

to find a way to keep us here longer

We diet, we pray, we faithfully follow our horoscopes hoping that somehow

we might unlock the doors to immortality,

pushed by the fear of the unknown beyond this life on earth

We think that by setting routines and rules and following them painfully,

we are creating a shell that might, just might take us through the waves longer

 

But you see, my friends, even the weather forecast gets it wrong sometimes

 

PS…RIP Steven Crane

To Tell The Truth; or not

This is an excerpt from Maya Angelou’s book “Letters to my Daughter“, I’ve read it so many times, sometimes it inspires my seasoned liar self to be better, other times it only leaves me with questions but every single time, it makes me smile…..

My mother warned me often not to believe that people really want the truth when they ask, ‘How are you?’ She said most people knew it as a conversation starter. No one really expects to be answered, or even wants to know ‘well my knees feel like they are broken, and my back hurts so bad I could fall down and cry’ A response like that would be a conversation stopper. It would end even before it could begin. So we all say, ‘Fine, thank you, and you?’

I believe in that way we learn to give and receive social lies. We look at friends who have lost dangerous amounts of weight or who have added ungainly pounds and we say, You’re looking good.’ everybody knows that the statement is a blatant lie but we all swallow the untruth in part to keep the peace and in part because we do not want to deal with the truth……..

Let us tell the truth people. When people ask, ‘How are you,’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know however, that people will start avoiding you because they too have knees that pain and heads which hurt and they don’t want to know about yours. But think of it this way, if people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine researches on a cure for whatever truly afflict you.

 But reading it today, I thought: it is truly hard sometimes, isn’t it? To tell the truth. Because here is the truth; The Truth is just so damn boring sometimes. Look at how fiction sells way faster that biographies!!

Why tell a child that rats like meat, (In Uganda, the fairy godmother doesn’t exist, instead its a sexy rat, I think, that takes your tooth and leaves money), not that tooth they just went through a lot of pain and discomfort losing, when you could distract their over active imaginations with wild tales and happily ever experiences at only one thousand Uganda shillings or less each time.

I honestly don’t want to know that while you’re hitting on me, the line that got you my number failed to work with the last 16 women or that or that you now have to figure out how to get rid of all your ‘loose ends’ after swearing you were not seeing anyone else. Lets just stick to me being the only reason your heart beats(as if) and revelations of how I’m the most beautiful woman in the world, as if I don’t own a mirror and watch E!

You should here some of the stories I’ve pinned in my life time on my father(rest his soul) mostly because as a person who lost her dad so young, I just refused to allow him to be another government statistic when he was SO much more to me, yet I could start an adventure series about him. But I still think he’s the tallest, strongest, greatest man I ever met in my life because all I have left are an 8year old’s memory.

“Everything is going to be OK” even when you’re not sure it is, could change tears to a little glimmer of hope. 

So why tell the truth when lies make us happier sometimes?