PLATTE-LAND 002: BASH

 

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Njagi happened to have taken part in a back to school discotheque event that was organized last December holidays at the outskirts of Kahuruko Township by high school and campus students from his village and the neighboring. Predictability, given his mother’s strict adherence to church and considering she was the leader of praise and worship, there was no way Njagi would dare harbor imaginations of being granted permission to attend an ungodly event organized by ‘lost kids’ who own phones more worthy than Madam’s Kui entire second-hand clothes stock value.  Further, these were kids brought up by the so-called ‘busy’ parents who had no time for them. How could Njagi have a commonality with them? Kui would wonder.

Unimaginably, the power of peer pressure overwhelmed Njagi, as he was among the attendants who turned up for this popular event. The likes of Prof. Mwau, Mapanya, Saimo DJ, Milly 1st Lady, Nizzilicious, Mongoose, Anastasia, Ka-Penguin and many others from Nduduri, Kwa Huku and Kia Ndutu villages had equally checked in. Interesting Mwaura aka Prof.Mwau had been nicknamed Prof back in Kia-Ndutu Primary School for carrying his books in a briefcase that had seen better days bequeathed from his Mkorino dad, instead of a school bag, much to the ridicule from the rest of the pupils. Prof’s dad was also known for his ever overgrown and bushy beards and white suits dressed all round the week. Ka-Penguin on the other hand, got her name despite being the creme of the class with her consistent top grades, due to being overly short, hence the pupils teased her that she’d easily be confused to a ‘small bird.

Back to the event, music played loud and booze was in plenty stretching the event to the dark and evil hours of the night. As you’d expect with teenagers and young adults full of life, machismo and vitality, stuff happened. Dancing crews outdid each other while the energetic audience cheered them on. Judy and Lilian, dressed in very raunchy hot pants literally brought the house down with their erotic moves and boneless bodies. At a far corner, teenagers as young as 16 years were sucking on shisha pipes never mind it was banned, engulfing the entire ambiance with their colourful puffs. Meanwhile, outside the parking bay, you could only hear moans and groans of things boiling up from lewd millennials.

Njagi out of influence kissed Shiku and he didn’t like it. He was engaging in a kissing escapade for the first time and the entire experience was incredibly awkward. Shiku seemed to have enjoyed the 30 seconds act but Njagi could have none of it given a second chance. He wondered how people did it so comfortably and called it romance. He felt like he just tasted cement or black cotton soil. Shiku had always had a crush on Njagi and since she was obviously under the influence, took advantage of her state and grabbed Njagi’s arm and dragged him outside the main arena to a dark corner behind a neatly manicured cypress fence where things unfolded. Darkness seemed to wipe off Shiku’s shyness as she took full exploits of the opportune moment to confront her desires.

The taste of his tongue and saliva took her to cloud nine – it was heavenly, beautiful and more than fulfilling. She was intertwined to his body, holding his cheek bones with both of her soft palms and locked to his torso. She didn’t even notice she had raised her feet to match his height. Njagi could feel his heartbeat synchronized with hers, racing like the Jehova Witness drums. A salacious warmth rising from Shiku’s crotch emasculated his slim legs and he knew he was almost crossing the red line to a place of no-return. He couldn’t figure out why stuff happened that fast, and quickly left Shiku catching her breath. He would dash back to the main arena and continue dancing while Shiku still pitched in the dark, found herself making sense of what she had orchestrated, unsure whether to cheer or jeer herself.

Eventually, some got laid, some broke their innocence, some kissed for the first time, some conceived, some were allegedly raped, while some got their names presented to Chief Kiahuthu – a hard-headed, bullish and long human being who’d not fit through any standard door.

Apparently, Anastasia a 1st year campus student and who was Pastor Muchoki’s affectionate daughter was allegedly raped and would later conceive. Names were presented to the local administration and investigation commenced in earnest headed by Chief Kiahuthu. Njagi’s name was among the list of 10 lads who were suspected to be behind the ordeal. Shushu Damaris and Kui – Njagi ‘s mum, could not believe it. They had every benefit of doubt that Njagi would engage in such a heartbreaking act let alone attending an event he wasn’t permitted.

A few days later, the boys would be whisked by plain-clothe police officers and taken to the chief’s camp. DNA samples would be taken and subsequently locked at Chief Kiahuthu temporary cell awaiting to be released on a cash bail that was to be raised within 48 hours failure to which they’d be formally charged at Kahuruko Law Courts pending completion of investigations which included establishing if Anastasia was allegedly raped.

Shush Damaris on receiving the dumbfounding news, swiftly sent a special message across the villages declaring the envious bull that belonged to one of his sons by the name Wamaruke was on sale. This was a desperate attempt to raise money to bail out his grandson from more torment and shame notwithstanding he was a suspect in the alleged scandal. In no minute, word razed across the households more so to Kiamaiko abattoir brokers’ who descended to her homestead with all manner of wit and exhilaration. Just as she was almost striking a deal with one of them, her phone rang eluding some fairly good news that the boys had been bailed out by a village tycoon by the name Kimendoro who was said to be eyeing Kiandutu MCA position come 2022.

Njagi resumed his classes a very worried man. His mum was even more disappointed by him. His conscious was clear though, that he knew nothing about the rape ordeal or when it took place either. But he still blamed himself for ignoring his intuition to remain at home and not to attend the infamous bash. He had let down his own legacy and tainted his family image as well. However, he was still convinced his name was dragged in there for collateral damage. This was pure malice and uncouth, well according to him. He was convinced his god would pluck him from this den of lions that not only seemed to threaten his bright posterity but his very present life. He couldn’t clearly figure out how life behind bars would be like for a crime not committed. He’d die of pain and bitterness.

The subsequent semester wasn’t rosy for him as investigations ran concurrently with his studies. He had to let in Sly to his suck of anguish otherwise he’d have to explode and crash to small remnants. They met at the indoor games hall to watch some table tennis matches.

“Sly, something terrible happened to me during the holidays.” He jeremiad.

Sly was so drawn to the game playing, between the mischievous Mitch who was the class’s most likable and popular classmate courtesy of his wit, charisma and humorous nature and Harrison who was ever annoyingly tidy and sharply dressed with a conservative demeanor. She quickly rose her head moving her sight away from the boys to Njagi with a straight face punctuated by sympathetic eyes. For half a minute their eyes were locked to each other with hardly a word coming from either of them. Sly’s body language hinted to Njagi to get up for a hug but he played it down.

“What happened dear, tell me.”

Njagi’s heart was dazzled by the name dear, momentarily.

“It’s a long story, but to cut it short, I’m under investigation for something nasty that happened during a back to school bash just the other day.”

Sly, couldn’t hold it. They walked out in a lethargy state, Njagi trying to explain himself out as if she’d supposedly bail him out.

Previously on the Platte-Land Series

Photo Credit: upcalehype.com

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PLATTE-LAND 001: UNI.

Related imageNjagi 21 years of age, is a third-year student at a local university. He has never seen nor come across a trace of his father’s silhouette. Now a young adult, his childhood was made up of his single mum Kui, his younger sister Wangare and a kindred of close relatives made up of Shush Damaris, his uncles and aunts. Njagi is slender and way tall at his age and has an alluring passion for drawing stuff. He’s an amiable introvert and quite spotty. He has been brought up in church all his life and wore a pair of jeans trouser for the first time, after High School thanks to his Mum’s strong belief in Christianity religion.

While growing up, he was unsure of which career path to pursue but one thing stood out, it had to be in Sciences. He effortlessly makes stuff with his youthful hands as far as he can remember. In his formative years, he toyed with being a Pilot but he wasn’t very good in Mathematics. Every time he gaped at an aircraft taxing through the clouds, his heart skipped and he’d be overwhelmed by the sheer excitement of watching such a gizmo, at least as it appeared way up the skies.

Njagi was brought up in a typical village life, in Kwa Nguku, living off with Shush Damaris and his mum as well as Wangare. He watched his uncles go through High school while he was a young boy of about 5 years. He saw them struggle with adolescence but was too young to comprehend what they were going through. He spotted them bring girls to their rooms, play chase together and more often than not experiment with alcohol at different times of their lives.

He has such a shrewd and sacrosanct mother as far as religion is concerned. She owns a salon and also sells second-hand clothes. Shush Damaris is a peasant farmer and a window as far as he can go back. He wasn’t lucky to meet his grandfather. In fact, he has no idea about his father’s relatives either. He has neither met them nor knows where they hail. The closest he has ever come across news of his dad was sometimes back when he eavesdropped his uncles speaking in hush voices about how he resembles his dad’s athlete-legs. It’s then that he gathered that his father passed on after a short illness when he (Njagi) was six months in his mum’s womb. Some say he didn’t die a natural death but however unnatural or natural it was, he just wishes his dad had the opportunity to hold him in his masculine arms and wish him well. But Njagi is certain that his dad means well for him in his extra-mundane state and in fact, carries along his blessings and unfulfilled dreams.

On this day, he is meeting his closest friend by the name Sly, in one of the deserted lecture rooms to revise for the upcoming exams and also catch up. They’ve not met since the lecturers’ strike commenced much to their anguish which was delaying their take off to the career world. The strike having been concluded a few days ago, Sly called Njagi and planned for this rendezvous. Besides, she is hooked up to a toxic relationship with Chris her boyfriend. She is unaware how badly Chris is manipulating her. In fact, she fights single-handedly for the mere survival of their relationship. They’ve dated for 2 years now.

Chris has tried dumping her in vain as he no longer relates to her vibe since he is seeing another girl on the side besides having slept with Sly numerously which in hindsight has diluted their chemistry. Sly, on the other hand, is one of those rare ladies who love with all their heart, soul, emotions, physiques, energy, character, fuse in their dreams with the man they are dating and literally all they’ve got. In every two sentences she makes, she will mention about meeting Chris for coffee somewhere along Aga Khan Walk or for a movie date at Nairobi Cinema. If you happen to be her close friend, you’ll have to let in Chris to your life as well. For what goes between them overflows to you, good or nasty.

Not to mention Sly is slender, with tiny breasts, long hair, small face, Colgate teeth, pink lips and such an intellect. She is not a book warmer like Njagi but a gifted intellectual. She has been raised in Nairobi all her life but studied high school in up country. Her parents are strict Catholic faithfuls.

After exchanging warm pleasantries they settle down at a far corner in an empty class adjacent to the long tinted window panes. Through the glass window, one can spot a stack of self-contained residential houses occupied by Asians. You’ll be thrilled to observe domestic workers mostly young women in their late twenties cleaning the occupants’ undergarments and meticulously hanging them on the clothing lines in all their sizes. Further, you’ll espy the sachems as they stroll from the bathrooms swathed in their towels coming along to fetch the briefs that have dried up.

Njagi and Sly go through the notes amid chit chats giving in to small laughters serving as commercial breaks. Momentarily, Sly teases off Njagi;

“Why don’t you ever tell me about your girlfriend?”

“Oooooh, wasn’t aware you’d be interested!”

Making a face… “Surely, Njagi.”

“Seems like it.”

“No, tell me.”

“I know you’ll be shocked….well, I don’t have one.”

“How on earth?”

“Yea.”

“But you don’t live in a cave.”

Kwani, is it mandatory for one to have a girlfriend?”

“No, but how do you survive?”

“Survive what?”

“You never develop feelings for girls?”

“I do, but have never approached any.”

“Aaaawwh.” After a long awkward pause. “I think you should man up and fight for what your heart deserves.”

At that point, Njagi feels subdued and opts to let go off that conversation. What Sly is unaware of, is that Njagi is love-struck by her but what to do when the girl that makes your heart melt down, is intimate with somebody else and treats you like a small bro! It hurts to be family-zoned without your approval, right?

So, they’ve maintained a platonic relationship for close to two years now, starting off as just group-mates during class assignments and have seen their friendship metamorphose, curl through thick and thin and eventually tightening their bond, over the period.

Photo Credit: Rosebank College website

Dear Andreaders, its been a long time coming. I’ve always told myself I can’t do fiction until I came across thrilling writings on fiction and an inner voice was like – You can do it Dru. Here I am, taking a day at a time with no intention whatsoever, of displacing the very talented creatives in this blog-sphere doing such an amazing work. Well, I’m here to prove to myself that I can do it too. I will be glad if I inspire at least one soul along the way, to dash out of the comfort zone and dare to break the glass ceiling. That said, I’ll try to publish an article weekly, purely on fiction and we’ll see how far it goes. My new serialized writing will be referred as Platte-Land. Isn’t it not about time?

DO DISTANT MARRIAGES WORK?

Related image  I’m sure you ran into images that surfaced on social media recently of a guy who stumbled on his wife on one of those Kilimani Mums Facebook page sliding into a foreigner DMs after the foreigner wrote to inquire about the availability of a Kenyan female lover. Later on, this white chap leaked all the messages that had been sent to him by would-be female soulmates only for the poor black guy to come across his wife on that infamous list. Gentlemen, what would you do if you realised your wife has been claiming to be single on social media? (Sighs!) Anyway, it seemed like the husband worked out of the country only for his wife to hoodwink the foreigner that she was, in fact, single while she was actually, a mother. That alone mirrors a blurred picture of typical shivery realities of distant relationships and marriages.

Distant marriages create so much freedom which then invites high chances of infidelity if accountability goes missing. Of course, a cheater will always cheat even when next to you, but then again distant relationships make people who’ve never contemplated cheating, get prone to cheating. You see, vulnerability is not something you just shed off and tell yourself, I’m no longer vulnerable! Hell no. It’s something you’ve got to fight now and then and keep on upgrading your firewalls as the devil and his agents keep on being innovative and just never give up. It’s a question of how solid and authentic your principles are. For distant relationships, it’s even worse. Stakes are higher and so are your self-control systems supposed to be, to withstand the high proportionate of vulnerability.

As a matter of fact, many cheating scandals happen in distant relationships, just do your research. I’m sure you’ve come across Cheats and Side Dishes article on this blog which is inspired by a true story. Living with your spouse is like a tag hanging around your neck that keeps reminding you, hey I’m watching you. It might appear like it’s vexing but come to think of it, it keeps you off vulnerability and being distracted. And that’s a good thing.

Actually, in hindsight, you’ll come to appreciate how important it was to always go home from work to meet your family than living in a distant town where God knows what goes down when you are free, idle and having your family miles away. Let’s face it, we are bound to be distracted by charming people out there and coming across souls that live to steal, rob and kill relationships. Hence the longer the distance you are away from your soulmate, the higher the chances of increased cheating vulnerability. I mean, we are living in an era of being set up and blackmailed, if not compelled to undress by delinquents out there.

You know, human beings continually need reassurances and being reminded where it all started and why they are together anyway. Phone-call communication has its limits. Sometimes we devour for one on one connection and if it’s not available it will probably be created out of the woods be it by side chicks or side-guys if there is such a phrase.

Distance marriages rob one the beauty of being together. Love tends to grow more where ingredients such as sharing house chores or shopping together are made a reality. A couple also tends to benefit from developing one another since it’s impacted directly by your spouse on a daily basis. One also tends to be more cognizant of the other person hence creating a profound blending of the two personalities. We are wired differently and have quite diverse personalities, thereby when people live under one roof, in the long run, learn to cope and accommodate one another’s flaws as opposed to when your spouse lives in another town.

There may also be light moments on some scenarios that may appear simple on the eye like how to squeeze the toothpaste – some do it from the top while some start from the bottom. Some role up the tissue from the top while some down. Some prefer having their ugali served with a spoon (like me) while others don’t. Some will sleep with their legs on top of their partners while others sleep across the bed. It such simple dissimilarities and sometimes small fights that make a relationship interesting and one an accommodating person. Besides, such differences make a marriage tick, smell like a genuine marriage and grow a couple’s bond. But surely, why would one have ugali served with a spoon!

Children also benefit from the presence of two parents, in their childhood. I think this point can’t be over emphasized. The disadvantages of one spouse working in a distant town are more or less similar to those of absentee parents or single parenting, to children. If I can just paraphrase what I wrote in an article I did at the beginning of this year; Maternal Moments Part 3…..a child’s primary relationship with his/her father can affect all of the child’s relationships from birth to death, including those with friends, lovers, and spouses. Those early patterns of interaction with a father are the very patterns that will be projected forward into all relationships…forever more: not only your child’s intrinsic idea of who he/she is as he/she relates to others but also, the range of what your child considers acceptable and loving. Now, if one spouse works in a distant town, the children tend to be denied most of their social aspects that come with being brought up by two parents.

One other thing, when you fall sick and need somebody to watch over you or perhaps help in chores you’ll have none but yourself unless you are rich enough to have a domestic worker while you live alone. It’s daunting to have your loved one hundreds of kilometers away while you’re sick and helpless. Emergencies are inevitable and are way complicated in distant marriages. Let’s be pragmatic – For instance if you collapse in your house, who will come to your aid? Costs of running a distant marriage similarly, go over the roof.

There are those moments in marriage when you just have bad days in the office, or you find yourself feeling sad and low, and all you pine for, is to go home and meet your family to forget about the day’s hurdles. This scenario doesn’t work in distant marriages.

Certainly, it’s naive to assume only distant marriages have challenges. All marriages have their lows and highs, struggles and wars they fight. However, when you put pros and cons on a weighing scale, distant marriages have a lot more to lose than gain. But then again, some formations that lead to distant marriages are inevitable like on matters job placements and this leaves a couple with no option than to work around it by working on their trust and being accountable to one another as naturally as it would be if they were living together.

 

Slayers

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I’m seated in a banking hall clasping on my ticket number, pensively waiting for my turn amid the slow system hardly ever making any meaningful progress.  We are just about to spot a lingerie lining, lay bare from the flaring petite piece of dress that’s the size of my handkerchief which apparently, is miserably trying to cover up a young lass, at one of the tellers just in front of the metal seats. Not to say our eyes have made peace with the exposed kilometers of her brown thighs. She is donning a pale orange dress, translucent and doing lots of injustice in covering her bum. She has a muddle of natural and artificial hair that are blending together, making us struggle to spot the teller serving her. Additionally, she is wearing a bold black lipstick that is fusing with her very light complexion, and on high heels that are doing way little to amplify her height.

I’m here warming my seat next to a gentleman seemingly twice my age. I’ll name him Kibicho* not his real name though. Once in a while, Kibicho will complain to me that queuing in the banking halls before they brought in the ticket systems, was more efficient than nowadays where the process is cumbersome. I tend to agree with him since we’ve been here for over 30 minutes being compelled to consume a marketing gimmick from the tv screen gazing at us. If not that, you’ll find us building castles on such a chilly early morning.

It’s on such a juncture I indulge Kibicho regarding the lady at the teller. I’m so bothered by the length of her dress. To my surprise, he’s like; “That’s not even short! These days they are dressing in very short stuff.” For your information, Kibicho pulled a demeanor of a very hardworking farmer. Look, he was in the banking hall on this hazy morning in muddy gumboots. And he seemed to have concluded few other tasks at home before embarking on a journey to the bank to deposit some cash. He appeared to be one of those who wake up at 4 am to milk, take it to the dairy, feed his livestock, have a session with a vet doctor and take a walk round the farm to find out if the last-night rain reigned havoc on his cow-peas for export, all done while you in bed. He seemed to grow greenhouse tomatoes as well. He could be here to pay school fees for his last born. He looked like those parents who are very organised when it comes to finances. Like, they pay all the running bills well on time and have one of those home-expenses box files kept in the bedroom for all the record keeping. Besides, these fellows are usually ahead of themselves financially.

Back to the girl that made Kibicho and I initiate a man-talk. She seemed to be one of those typical slay queens dotted all over. I’m yet to figure out how she was seated in that erotic dress but then again, nothing beats these ladies’ creativity when it comes to sitting postures.

But what exactly is slaying and who fits in this category and why so many ladies wish to be associated with the whole controversy of slaying?

Well for starters, not every lady who dresses exotically makes it to this clique of slayers. Slaying is the new sophistication a good number of young ladies are using to catch the attention of men. In other words, they dress to impress men. Forget the whole bullshit that men coined the word slay queen to project women as sex objects. That’s far from it. In fact, it is not men who advise women to dress derogatorily. In my local dialect there is a phrase called minji minji which basically means a young, fresh, vibrant, ambitious and beautiful woman. During the last election campaigns, many young women vying for electoral positions rode on that maniac and a number of them successfully sold it to the electorate. My point is, women are at the heart of using certain cards to their advantage and is it a bad idea? It depends with how you look at it.

So, what are the features of a slayer:

No Marriage Plans

Slayers have better things to do than focus on being trapped with the whole melodrama shenanigans that comes with marriage. Well, according to them. They are too cool to be domesticated, caged and to practice submission. They run the show, and can’t afford marriage diplomacy. To them settling down is an anticlimax to life and should only be emulated by boring personas who have nothing better to do than being second fiddle.

They date money

They date any man, married or not provided they own a bank and knows how to treat a woman. They are attracted by financial resources and reckon that the rest will fall into their rightful places in the span of time. They never give a damn whether the alleged men are old folks who struggle to hold together their chain of thoughts or lame duck young blokes or be it men of the cloth if not family men.

Dress Controversially

To cut the niche of a slayer you’ve got to dress bizarrely in the sense that you’ve got to leave tongues wagging, eyes drooling and necks aching. They present the true spirit of ‘my dress, my choice.’ It’s at this point that men are advised to look away and focus on their self-control flaws.

Light Complexion

It might appear unfair but the reality is that, ladies with a light complexion always have a head start in this industry. It is what it is, and the world bends over to that fact. The rest have to work unfairly harder to achieve half of what their counterparts with a lighter complexion tend to gain.

Instagram

They’d rather miss out on any other online platform but have a presence on IG. Here, they post they daily moves from high end washrooms to rest rooms that frequent the big kahunas, in their unconventional dressing styles and flirtatious poses. They also have to be photogenic and exude tremendous affection for the camera.

Physically Endowed

Slayers have to be outstanding in matters of physical beauty. They have to be noticeable and above board. The thing is, they have to be unapologetically stunning and ‘gifted.’ Commonly, they put up quite discernible and disruptive hair styles.

Expensive Accessories

A slayer must have an exorbitant phone to take quality pictures for IG and for hoodwinking potential ‘clients’ that they are the real deal. They’d rather sleep on a cold floor but have a pricey phone to intimidate wannabes.

Party Lover

They are to be found in every exclusive party that’s worth the talk where everything obnoxious takes supreme. They have no problem drinking from Monday to Monday provided somebody is paying the bills.

In the spirit of bro code, gentlemen be advised that the road might be tempting and full of delicacies but very slippery. Slayers have nothing to lose, suffice it to say, you don’t want to be set up like one Deputy Governor!

OFFICE ROMANCES

 

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Office romance is as old as love itself. Its been brewed and given breathe in the high walls of office set ups and graced by likely and unlikely characters masquerading in formal dressing codes since way back. You’ll be shocked or rather amazed depending on which side of the conversation you sit, by the statistics of office coupling. A sizeable number of the workforce have at least on one occasion or another, succumbed to close office relations courtesy of the attraction magnetic pull triggered by long working hours. All be it for quenching lust or seeking genuine love, many get trapped by the blurred web of office affairs.

The interesting bit is, many employees find it annoying, naive and selfish to engage in office relations in as much as they’ve been in them too at some point in their careers. And, did you know women receive more shade than men when they fall prey to office romances. In fact, when women are perceived to be having a thing going on with their senior colleagues or immediate bosses its interpreted to as, a game of coercion for promotion in exchange of sexual favours in as much as, perhaps the woman didn’t make the first move.

But what makes staff vulnerable to these kind of relationships? You know, the more time people spend together, the more they become familiar with one another. The more familiarity grows the more comfortable they become with each other. The more comfortable two people are with one another, the higher the chances of them sharing about personal stuff. The more they share the more subconsciously they view themselves as a couple. While this unfolds the higher the chances colleagues will notice the chemistry in their friendship and start teasing them about it. Do you know so many relationships are cemented by the outside world in this context being office colleagues who start perceiving an office friendship as not just a platonic one!

Interestingly, 90% of office relationships are merely short term in nature. Very few pass the litmus test of leading to something tangible and worth writing home about. Short term meaning they span for less than a year but seemingly one year shelf life out ways many relationships in the outside world. Anyway, where were we; some office relationships die before they start or prior to making the first baby steps. Some vanish in the air before they get noticed by anybody. This is because they are built on sand and in haste. They are moulded by environmental factors and are circumstantial in nature. Meaning, the bigger chunk of the conversations around you two are basically about workplace stuff. Be it about your damn boss, office gossip and so forth. Such a relationship is not sustainable. Few have common values and shared interests outside of the office hence why they are chocked by nature. They say nature has humour.

Office relationships are annoying in the sense that, the consequences of the affair failing are dire. This is because colleagues get attracted by such pep talks doing round in the office corridors. And it’s never funny. They will dig in, gossips will crop up and allegations will be retold over and over again. If you are not careful, the information may even reach to your boss’s desk in very bad state and this may have a negative effect on your career. More harrowing, it might be against your company policy to engage in office relationships. Pleading that you were unaware will not save you but land you at the HR’s office only to be met with a gross misconduct warning letter if lucky not to be issued with a summary dismissal.

The most annoying thing with office relationships is that one tends to be chocked off by the partner. You see, you literally spend 40-45 hours in a week with him/her without even counting hours after you leave office. By the time you reach home there is nothing much to talk about since you’ve been bumping on each other on office corridors and worse still if you work in the same department, you might as well be summoned with the rest of your teammates by your immediate bosses for missing company targets or for poor performance. Moreover, you never can’t have your personal life and space since your spouse is always around you any day and time. And if he or she spots you being hugged ‘intimately’ by a colleague from the opposite gender, your guess is as good as mine how your evening will turn out to be like.

Office relations get over scrutinized by colleagues. Essentially, the pressure becomes too much and there tends to be a lot of public relations to be played especially when things aren’t working out well for both of you. Be it as it may, whether it’s a fling affair or a serious office relationship, a break up from this nature can be the worst of all nightmares you’ve ever grappled with. First of all, there is nothing like amicable breakups in office set ups. You recall my article on Amicable Breakups or Not. Well, it gets uglier by the day, nastier and leaves you dreadful. Office breakups leave you with a permanent punch on your face. They have the potential of making you lose your job or have a serious career take a beating and worst of all, get you paraded in court for allegations of sexual harassment. Before you hop in office affairs, appreciate that office romances and sexual harassment are intertwined and either of it can be used against you in a matter of time.

Plus, who is ready to work with his or her ex in the same office? On my previous post on Amicable Breaksups we delved deeply on the importance of cutting off exes from our lives. Now imagine, your ex being your colleague? Think of the emotional baggage that comes with breakups and ponder dropping at your ex’s desk to work on a particular task together that has a biting deadline. How awkward can that be! What’s more humiliating is helplessly watching your ex warm up to another relationship with another office colleague. Moreover, nature compels your office colleagues to take sides between you two depending on how loyal they are to each one of you. Eventually, such a workplace becomes a stress zone to work from. The thing is, we’ve got to be strategic and think straight with the right ‘head’ before jumping in to every relationship that presents itself right at our noses. We’ve got to think of the repercussions of the potential end even before we toy with the start.

Nevertheless, we all know of couples who’ve dated, gotten married and raised children still working in the same organizations. The thing is, its not a crime to harbor feelings for an office colleague as long as you do it with the right intent and having trusted your intuition. Life should be approached with an open mind and so should it also apply in an office set up. It’s highly important and healthy to make friends, network with colleagues and fuse into the array of office characters. However, boundaries must be set as the odds are clearly overwhelming.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

OF AMICABLE BREAK UPS OR NOT

Related image When you part from your friend, you grieve not; for that which you love most may be clearer in their absence. — Kahlil Gibran. So, is there anything like amicable breakup? Like can you call your significant other and start an awkward conversation with words like’ “Hey babe, I’ve reached a point where I want us to part ways”. And she smiles about it and be like, “sawa tu!” Subsequently, can you then sustain a no strings attached relationship with your ex? Someone said – If you’re still friends with an ex, you’re either still in love or never were.

The longer the relationship, the greater the codependency and the worse a breakup would be. That’s why people who engage in hit and run never get hurt since no emotions are invested in the first place. On the other hand, the would-be ‘victim’ is also likely to heal in no time since the time span is too short to warrant much pain. But of course, there is always the element of being robbed some innocence or being taken for a ride. This mostly happens to women.

But how many people can welcome rejection with a broad smile? Breakups are more or less, versions of rejection especially to partners found flat-footed and bombarded with breakup news. And it can tremendously destabilise one’s life. This is because rejections provoke thoughts of us questioning our true selves and identities. You see, somebody who clearly loved you for quite some time – say several years (not these 6 – 9 months relationships. In fact they don’t suit to be called relationships but hookups.) waking up one day with such hard news or developing signs of breaking up with you can only be tormenting, to say the least. Actually, for some, they jump to friends they friendzoned earlier on just to hide from realities of rejection. Some switch to new-found infatuations where they succumb to unwarranted pregnancies all in denial of a rejection. Some drown to depression or alcoholism.

It sounds very civilized to break up amicably, but I tell you what, the more cordial a breakup is, the higher the chances of a relapse or intrusion into your future. And your future includes you moving on to a serious and long-term relationship or actually marriage. The impact can be dire. Stories have been told of exes showing up at people’s door uninvited for emergency sleepovers. In retrospect, if the break up was relatively hostile or draining the said ex wouldn’t ever show up regardless of the excuse. There is a fallacy that your ex can be a good friend but the reality of it all is that either or both parties will feel vulnerable and temptations are bound to happen.

It’s been proven that any habitual friendship with an ex has every likely element of flirting. And this is mainly aided by the mere fact that the breakup was cordial. I mean with an ex, you can bank on boundaries being blurred and feelings being messy. Haley Nahman a Digital Editor puts it this way; “true motives are often buried in our subconscious, only to be revealed in hindsight, and that’s why this remains a tricky territory.” In other words, you just may never know that it’s not actually advisable to awaken sleeping dogs.

The golden rule is to close that chapter and give the keys to your current significant other to dispose them off. Otherwise, an ex entertained is like having your cake and still intending to eat it. Eventually, you’ll have your fingers burnt off in the cross-hairs. By the way, why an ex’s chapter is tough to close for some is the emotional limbo that comes with a breakup. It’s agonising to reconcile the fate of you being single hence why a majority of the afflicted wouldn’t mind tolerating a friendship with an ex just to find a way of fixing the mess.

On the flipside do you know there could be advantages of breaking up with your ex amicably? To start with, a good term breakup doesn’t mean no one got hurt! It only alludes that there is dignity in letting the other party leave without melodrama. It’s about respecting the mutual reality that things aren’t working for both of you. Of course its emotionally draining, but I tell you what, the lesser the drama, the better the coping mechanism and bouncing back to your old self. Drama attracts people, and people can make you get hurt more. It also robs you respect from would be friends and colleagues or neighbours. However, the main disadvantage with such a breakup is that feelings don’t just disappear even with the time factor. There is a lot of vulnerability at play for the mere reason of a dignified separation.

Toying with an idea that you can be friends with your ex after the breakup, is a catch 22 for many. They find themselves inhibiting their feelings and acting up to a just-friends kind of hook up. There’s the inevitable magnetic pull to each other, which includes still wondering how their family is doing, and still being concerned about their overall well-being. You see, what keeps two former lovebirds apart are the cruel words pronounced during a breakup, revelations that came in too late for instance cheating, and the catastrophic nature of the breakup. You know, there is nothing that tears up and wrenches an individual like cold words coming from somebody you were once adored and occupied your personal space. Moreover, realising your better half was cheating on you behind your back, triggers overwhelming emotions leading to brutal breakups and such chapters getting closed almost immediately.

But the moment you entertain an ex cum friend scenario, the heartbreak progresses from worse to worst.  Appreciate that in such a situation, feelings will just be restrained and the idea of seeing them with somebody else not only makes you envious but tends to hurt you even more. Pundits have it, it’s extremely difficult to watch the same person you once terribly loved with the same lenses of a platonic friend post the breakup. Feelings rebel and become stubborn. Its only easier said than done that an ex can just be a friend. It’s unnatural to reverse your view of somebody who meant everything to you, to just a harmless friend. One or both of you must be lying to each other.

According to relationship experts, be it with relationships, a job or a stage in life, getting closure for any significant moment in one’s life is important for one to heal and move on. A closure means finality; letting go of what once was. And this is regardless of whether a breakup was amicable or not.

‘OVER PUBLICIZED’ RELATIONSHIPS

 

The couple share an intimate moment during aEvery human being devours affirmation and validation. It’s human nature to require some appreciation here and some there. No man is self sufficient and it’s important to feel valued and cherished by the world. Even relationships beg for acceptance. When your friends and family affirm your relationship, it kicks in the feel-good hormones. It works for your esteem. Plus, nobody is immune from street love and blowing of accolades.

Positive affirmations make us feel valued, raises our confidence levels and works amazingly in making us believe in ourselves. Besides, the power of positive affirmation uplifts our moods, make us feel happy and reminds us never to take ourselves for granted. Beyond that, we have to appreciate, to successfully affirm oneself requires a daily ritual of self motivation. Without it, we lose our state of balance and focus which makes everything that matter come down crumbling. Without affirmation we lose the plot.

This brings me to my question; Can we get quality affirmation from social media? After my research, I concluded that, opinion is divided and it depends on who you ask. What is apparent though is that, the online space is not only superficial and addictive but also increasingly unsafe to engage on private matters. Cyber bullying is on the rise and so is data theft. More worrying is a reality that confirms, a primary user has very little control if any, of photos he or she uploads to these platforms. Anyone can download them, and have the reserve to do whatever they so wish including ferrying them to a witch doctor. My point is, don’t over share, period.

Now, relationships…

Every relationship has its private and public life. Depending on how a couple is wired, they may decide to keep off social media and all avenues that encourage public display of affection commonly coined as PDAs. Some may balance it out – letting a teaser of their relationship to the public eye for instance during anniversaries, birthdays and whatever milestones the relationship tends to surmount. And there are couples who go all out, full-blown, sharing their every nitty-gritty, petty or otherwise, aspect of their relationships. To some extent, you feel part of that relationship. Your subliminal mind convinces you, that you’re a partaker and a shareholder of the relationship too. The moment sharing of events and pictures of a relationship simply become too much and go overboard, that is called relationship brag. It’s addictive, makes the couple vulnerable unnecessarily and tends to involve everybody else in their social media space be it complete strangers, virtual friends, secret admirers, acquaintances, frenemies, haters, snitches and anybody else in that composition. They are carried along and consistently fed by the couple’s news-feed.

Image result for OVER exposing your relationship

Relationship brag is a situation where a couple deliberately and actively make a decision to make aspects of their private relationship, public. It’s a psychological disorder. It’s a condition that can be interpreted to mean – “Hey, I matter. I exist.” In my opinion, it has nothing to do with ego but a question of demanding to be validated and cherished by all means possible. The more insecure we’re feeling, the more likely we are to post about how great we are.

What exactly is over-sharing?

Well, oversharing is when the rest of us have an idea of how your wardrobe looks like even when we have never met you in person. It is when your virtual friends can successfully break into your house, eyes closed and putting on masks and still manage to run through all your rooms pointing out your most valuable items even when you’ve never invited them before. Over sharing is when we know all your hairstyles and what pair of shoe is in your shoe rack from January to December yet we only happen to meet in the virtual world.

Facebook depression is the culture of spending too much time on social networks at the expense of doing something constructive. And people who over share depict an unusual sensitivity to social rejection. That is, if they don’t share they feel left out. We have commercialized happiness and equated it to mean, the more you expose intimate messages and pictures about your loved ones, necessarily espouses how much you love them. Hahaha, not necessarily so. It could be a case of coercion or demarcating one’s territory or distracting your spouse.

You see, over sharing is a breeding ground for straight forward facts like – Couples who over share do so to convince us to help them convince themselves that they were meant for each other. Without us, they are long gone, for worse. Voodoo validation from social networks especially for relationship purpose is nothing but smoky, unmerited and holds no credible substance. And by the way, there is a direct and strong correlation between narcissistic people and them that over share on social media. Boy! have you met narcissistic people? You’ll pee on yourself. They are hell and can make you explode. They have the energy to make you lose your esteem if it’s not intact.

One unhealthy way of boosting one’s self esteem is by invoking envy from other people. By oversharing or making private aspects of your relationship subject of discussion by all and sundry, you tend to lie to yourself, that you’re a big deal. You cannot compel people to make you a sell-out! As a matter of fact, that’s being desperate. When you are genuinely happy and in an authentic relationship, you have nothing to prove to anybody. You have no followers to feed, nor tabs to keep. And as they say, sometimes less is more!

A good number of local celebs who’ve engaged in over publicized relationships have been forced to delete their social media footprints that were once awash with overshared private lives after their relationships went downhill. Without mentioning names, there are obvious suspects a case in point being one relationship of two media lovebirds who coughed millions to hold a posh wedding that lit social media streets only for the relationship to go down crumbling after a few months. You also must be living in a cave if you don’t know of this fine blogger who got proposed on top of Mt.Kenya where a meal was prepared by the said man and his pilot in the ice cold ambiance that consequently crushed the online networks for a couple of weeks only for the couple to separate recently.

We watched the rise and fall of Diamond and Zari right in front of our noses. In fact, if the social networks could attest, they could create an entire thrilling series courtesy of the millions of photos uploaded by the once East & Central Africa’s most powerful showbiz couple. And as their relationship disintegrated, their baby daughter Princess Tiffah still commands a whooping over 1.5 million followers.

When Shaffie Weru travelled to the US last year for a vacation, his top notch house was broken into. From then, he ceased from posting pics of his digs. In late 2016, Kim Kardashian got robbed her 11 million US dollar ring in her Paris hotel room after posting it on social media. What’s my point? There is a connection between over-sharing and breakage of houses. Stop it my friend!

The more people you draw in your relationship, the more agitation and right of consultancy they will demand at your time of break up. This is because you made your private life their business and chose to feed them with daily fodder hence the interest to watch you sink just as they stomached you rise, toppling and overshadowing their lives. The right of consultancy will include and not be limited to making you a laughing stock, skinning you alive, trading unsubstantiated rumours, tearing your dignity apart and much more theatrics to humble you. Basically, there is no grace in over sharing especially when it’s time to pack your stuff in a relationship as the internet never forgets even when you delete your over saturated life in the social media.

 

FRIENDSHIPS

Friendships

A best friend is someone you’re not only going to love all your life, they are also your biggest critic and strongest supporter. They are your late-night mentors, daylight umbrellas, and midday co-conspirators. You feel secure with them, but more importantly being vulnerable never felt as comfortable as it does when you’re with them. Best friends calm your deepest fears and tickle all your funny bones. – Sanah Rizvi

The social fabric of any society depends on the quality of the friendship culture. Urbanisation has stretched our socialization and so has it deepened the norm in individualism. Rarely do we find people engaging in estates especially in middle class and high-end residences and if they do it’s exchanging brief pleasantries and that’s it. It’s important to appreciate that human beings were designed to be social creatures. It’s highly beneficial to their wholesome health and stability. In fact, solid friendships aid in the making of better lifestyle choices, maintaining strong mental health, triggering self-assurance, self-worth, and happiness, majorly helping in reducing stress impacts, health problems and contributing immensely in one’s personal growth.

According to Dr.Bitange Ndemo an Associate Professor at University of Nairobi and former ICT Permanent Secretary, – “The Kenyan culture is such that people attach value to friendship, but their friends value them for their money or influence.” He goes on to add that, there is a strong convergence on the nature of relationships with people when one’s fortunes tend to deteriorate. This is documented in one of his popular articles titled – The day I left office my phone literally stopped ringing.

That said, do you know we have a million and one types of friendships and not all of them are beneficial. It’s important to decipher the rules of engagements and whether your interests are protected. As a matter of principle, you should never allow friends to choose you, rather it should be you who choose them. This is because friends occupy the very core space of our lives hence the need to ensure that privilege stands not to be abused.

The very common attributes of true friends include people who point out your mistakes truthfully. However, not many so-called friends grow the guts to confront you with brutal honesty. Many practice a lot of ‘Public Relations’ with you and later confide to skin you alive with their other ‘friends’. True friends tell when you are being unreasonable and yet stand with you even when they never agree with you. They help you succeed and unequivocally celebrate your success and draw immense of lessons from your failures too.

Here are some types of friendships;

Childhood friends

These are buddies that literally coined your formative world. You happened to be village mates or nursery school pals and have watched your life stem up at a cross range. They have been there at your every stage of life, from the darkest corner of circumstances to your glowing season of achievements. They sort of could write a better story of you than any other friend since they have crossed roads with a substantial period of your past and present.

Circumstantial Friends

These are friends you can’t avoid having and don’t amount to much. They are friends of your current circumstances. The moment you change towns or graduate to another stage of life your friendship sinks. They fall away never to be heard again. They could be anything from deskmates, schoolmates, estate mates, church mates and office colleagues.

Friends for validation

It’s weird but it happens. You know of people who literally force friendships just to be associated with you. It could be because of your career, influence, wealth or personality. You could be the most sort after government officer or seem to have it all working out for you – moneywise, success, careerwise and zeal of cutting deals. These friends place themselves in your life purely for selfish gains.

Friends for convenience 

These are friends you always call to bail you out. More often than not, you text them to borrow cash than to find out how they are faring. Since you have these class thing to maintain and protect, you can never solicit cash from buddies in your lane since they will judge and tarnish your name hence the need to have ‘Friends for Convenience’ purpose whom you lose nothing by engaging them for quick fixes.

Best Friends – Forever

Mostly from the opposite gender – they are there to detoxify your emotional baggage and harbor all your secrets and naughty laughters about your latest catch or issues in your relationships. These are friends you keep it ‘real’ to. You share an interesting history which rather creates a soft landing for all your vulnerabilities.

Toxic Friends

They are worse than enemies. They happen to know so much about you and have a way of rubbishing off all your small efforts and achievements by simply ‘blue-ticking’ them. They make you look bad at least most of the times and seem to cherish when your life is at a grand halt. They have this demeanor of proving to you they are doing better, from things they claim to own, to making you understand they rub shoulders with whos who in town. In other words, they breathe a larger than life lifestyle that only exists in their mind.

Spendthrift Friends

These are friends that are there to milk out all your hard earned money. They are never there when you camp at peoples’ offices to pitch proposals but somehow pop out when you have it nice and dry. The only ideas they seem to worry about is making it to Rhino Charge somewhere in the dusty deserts of Samburu, or traveling to a beach party in Nyali if not savoring to the latest joint in town or moon-walking god knows where. They are such a bad influence if tolerated for long. They are broke on ideas that would help you guys make money but when it comes to spending, they light up.

Diehard Friends

You are conjoined by a definitive story of life. You’ve waded over tough times together and been there at each other’s life milestones be it camping with you in the maternity corridors when your wife labored, at respective dowry ceremonies, weddings, graduations, or at your career highlights. These are folks you can trust with anything. They are ever available when life hiccups come calling. They are simply a call away from anything life may present. These are chaps who cover up for you. They are your right-hand men/women. They could also be former schoolmates whom you’ve not met for half a million years but keep tabs with all your progressive life landmarks.

Virtual Friends

These are friends that were born by social media. They exist virtually and are powered by data bundles. You met along the streets of social platforms and seem to share some common interests. You may never meet but hasn’t the world been made such a global village courtesy of technology!

BFFs

Cross-sex friendships are based on attraction and quest for chemistry. A number of them survive devoid of lust but only for a limited period of time before one party develops a crush on the other. World over, the best selling romantic novels and movie series are based on long-time best friends falling in love. Platonic friendships are based on exuding a mutual connection without worrying of judgments, however, they travel along a very slippery path that could beat the whole purpose of the relationship. So, are platonic friendships sustainable in the long run? Do you have a friend of the opposite sex who portends a harmless and too-caring demeanor?

Would you allow your girlfriend or wife and vice versa to have an all-time best friend from the other gender? And the role of a best friend would include advising and acting as a trustee and confidant to your significant other. He or she would be narrated all your weaknesses and advise your partner accordingly on how he or she would react, including having the rights to lend a shoulder to lean on when your relationship hits a snag. In other words, you’d be reported to him or her whenever you disappoint. He or she will also tend to grasp so much of your spouse’s secrets than you’ll ever know. If that’s the case, how far should best friends go and where should you draw the line?

Something is for a fact though – Relationships that rely on third parties to iron out their issues run into a lot of troubles and vulnerabilities. As a matter of fact, couples that engage in infidelity have best friends being their first line of target. Bffs offer the very first grounds for luring couples into cheating if not putting the relationship into jeopardy. And it starts with emotional cheating before progressing to the physical one. Speaking of which, who provides the best fodder and fertile land to cheat on, than a bff who is more than ready and available to suck up all your emotional baggage? That’s where the chicken come home to roost, warming up to his/her emotional attachment which includes subtle flirting.

When you get into a long-term relationship that is likely to lead to marriage, the first agenda should be to identify all his/her bffs and run through their specific roles. Get to know the unique purpose they play and this vacuum they tend to fill. Of course, this should be done at the courtship stage in a very diplomatic way that requires a lot of delicate balancing.  The thing is, you must reign on bffs from the opposite sex no matter how good they are or assumed to be before they reign on you. It’s a question of who brinks fast and whose interests are being served. If it’s to secure your territory in the long run, it will so much depend on how you relate to your partner’s bff on the onset. If they imagine they are unchallenged or it’s business as usual, then they will gradually amass enough guts to even casually tease around your man/woman in your vicinity. You and I know too well where this can lead to. If you make your bed, so must you lie on it.

So, how do bffs come about? How do we find ourselves in these circumstances?

In my opinion, there are four avenues that provide the necessary ingredients and breeding ground for bffs to germinate, prosper and eventually shadow your introspection.

Way-back EXs

An Ex is a dangerous card if shuffled around. They are hazardous and infect like plagues hence why by all means possible, they should be completely shut off from one’s life. If that’s not the case, they have a way of making very calculated risks and scoring long balls from half the pitch. If given a chance, they have a way of warming up to bffs where they will camp for a while as they gather sufficient intelligence and devising ways to disarm and arm-twist you and finally recharge when you least expect.

Friendzone

Friendzone is a situationship where potential boyfriends/girlfriends are sort of locked in for god-knows how long. These are friends who, unfortunately, are not very appealing to being somebody’s partner even when they show the interest and flair of it hence given a soft landing so to speak, in the friend zone arena. There’s usually one or two traits about them that rather doesn’t convince or encourage you to jump into dating them. It could be that they neither have that charm and the wow-factor nor a substantial level of fire that is required for the relationship to bear legs. But they are good keeps for friends though. They end up being very entertaining friends, loyal and dependable since they are always ready to please you.

Familiarity

Familiarity is slightly different from being friendzoned in the following aspect – The person in this context could possess all the qualities of a person you could date but your connection tends to go overboard to an extent both of you develop a sibling-like kind of attachment. If it’s the dude, he sort of fails to give the aroma that comes with dating and you end up becoming too close at the wrong stage of the friendship. Or the person becomes too nice, too genuine and too available. Sometimes that alone holds back someone’s feelings. You see, to be attracted to someone, there should be that element of working hard to clinch it. When the person is too available, too willing to bend over to your terms and too submissive, it kills the magical oomph that is cognisant to keeping the two hearts dazzling and synchronized. Eventually, one can be friendzoned.  You could think of a deskmate or classmate or a girl/boy next door relationship.

Family friends

Any typical family has a tradition of cultivating and maintaining a special relationship with another family sharing the same values.  It happens that under these occasional encounters, children belonging to these two families are compelled to be friends, right from childhood all the way to adulthood and observe the requisite level of diplomacy to their counterparts. Normally, these friendships may lead to lifetime friends if not marriage. These kind of relationships are clouded by a lot of commonalities and history hence forming an ideal basis for bff friendships to blossom.

Couples should be very careful about how they navigate the whole idea of engaging third parties in their marriages/relationships to administer solutions to their marital flaws. The more one engages third parties the more they become vulnerable to infidelity. You see, cheating is cancerous and breeds very aggressively the moment third parties, especially from the opposite gender, get privy to privileged information about the struggles of a so-called best friend in a committed relationship.

More often than not, bff friendships that work around underneath marriage and stable relationship establishments, have a way of draining the enthusiasm and energy from the primary relationship hence deflating these solid relationships to empty shells that risk capsizing.

 

 

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