We’ve been here three whole years, friends, can you imagine?
I have written before, vaguely, about the dark space I was in when I started this blog, and how good it felt to have a space where I could just let my creative energy flow and take a life of its own, even though that initial blog design was hideous.
I’ve also written about my hopes for you beautiful people who allow me to sumbua you with links on all forms of social media except WhatsApp, although one day I will work up the courage to compete with our African aunties and start inboxing you all on there too.
I’ve also written about what I want this space to be and why I want it to exist long after I’m a young woman trying to secure these degrees so that I can afford Kenyan taxes. Because memory. Because history. Because growth. These things are so important, and I want to have some enduring chronicle of them.
But today is about celebration. I’ve been at this for three years and procrastination hasn’t gotten to me yet. I’ve made constant reflection a given and planned my life around it. I’m finally okay with not looking at my stats page every half-hour, because I now write for both you and me. I’ve made it back from every. single. episode of writer’s block. I’m more aware of myself. Of the world around me. Of the spaces I occupy and ways in which those spaces can be harmful to other people and how I can start fixing that. Gotten my head out of the sand a bit too and recognized that my teenage angst was lying and it’s not always about me. I’ve made friends on here, too. I’ve learned a lot by simply listening to others, critiquing where appropriate, owning up to my mistakes (because we all make them), and standing up for what I believe in.
The me who began this blog on October 8, 2015, and the me writing this are two different women, and so in this spirit of celebration, I’m sharing three lessons I’ve learned along the way, before I go buy myself a big packet of Haribos and toast us:
nurture your capacity for grace.
The weird thing about this world is that struggle is permanent, and so while we need to be kind to each other, we also need to be kind to ourselves. I realized this after leaving Kenya for the first time; I thought that since I had cried and prayed and wished for the chance to go to college outside the country; once that happened, all my problems would somehow miraculously disappear. Didn’t happen, fam.😂 Not even close. And the biggest lesson I learned out of trying not to have problems that year, was that I need to be kind to myself. I need to give myself the grace to not know everything. To be completely new to something and make it work for me. To fail, sometimes, even. To not have it figured out.
leave spaces that don’t value you.
There’s nothing as comfortable as stagnation. My favorite place in the world is my bed. My favorite form of stagnation is the ten, or fifteen, or let’s be honest, twenty minutes of burrowing in my blankets after my alarm goes off in the morning. But the main reason I ever get anything done is because I get out of bed, even when I don’t exactly want to. The same thing applies to spaces, and people. I’ve found such relief in saying the words ‘this does not work for me,’ as difficult as they are. I might want this and my emotions may be telling me I should keep doing this, and I may even be comfortable here, but this just does not work for me, and so I can’t stay here. Nothing is ever a must, I’m learning. Free yourself of the burden of proving that you are enough when you already are. The person you are becoming will thank you.
I cannot overstate how much checking in with myself has helped me survive these past two years, so I’m going to be talking a lot about self-care as a theme during this last quarter of 2018. School is hard, life is hard too, and escapism doesn’t work, to the best of my knowledge, so self-care for me involves answering the question, ‘What do I need from myself right now? How can I be more whole?’ This way, I am in tune with my inner self as often as I can in between trying to get everything done, and I can also recognize when I am overwhelmed and need to take a step back and reassess things. Also, if you remember nothing else I’ve said, listen to Beyoncé. Listening to Beyoncé is self-care.
And lastly, thank you. For three years of reading, commenting, liking, and sharing. Yes, it’s really cool to see my words living outside my head, but it’s also a nice validation/ ego boost to the little child inside to have you read them. 😂 This little corner of the internet would be a lot less alive without all of you, and I hope this space will be healing and restorative to you in some way. 💛