Of the house

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The thing about writing is that I don’t know whether it is healing or destroying me. The very thing you love, adore or cherish can be the same thing that destroys you. I have mixed feelings about my writing. If I write, I writhe in pain and sometimes, relief. If I don’t, I feel like a stranger in my own body. My mind wanders, my thoughts hoard and crave to be heard, I talk to myself and sometimes feel like I don’t have anything to call myself because I consider writing my only weapon. Not a weapon of choice, one that my Maker handed down to me, and now I have to make it work, whether it destroys me or mends my grotesque self.

Writing is the kind of medicine that heals my brokenness. It gives me a purpose when I have none. When I find reasons to face another day, I remember the people here, you reading this, especially those who normally follow me to my WhatsApp inbox to know when my next piece will be ready or why I didn’t write on Wednesdays as I always do. I mostly remember those whose encouragements and comments fill my inbox, the ones that urge me to trudge forward as they find my shit intriguing. They give me a purpose because I get to know that there’s certain information or knowledge that they can only get from me. That I might be the epicenter of their growth in a particular field, a role that only I can serve.

At night, especially on a Wednesday night, I get disturbed if I failed to produce an article on that day. I wear some guilt on my sleeve, telling me that I failed someone who always looks up to me. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than the feeling of guilt. A nasty feeling it is, sometimes depriving me of sleep, or continually raping me mentally until I have to wake up and write something even if it is on my Facebook page.

Then there are times when I fail to write and still feel okay. At such time, there’s nothing as good as knowing that I’m not obligated to fulfill some roles because I am nobody’s servant. This, honestly, is a feeling of utter freedom, emanating from deep ends of a carefree pit, which losers and slobs often happen to nurture. A surge of ego and power moves in me, promoting the feeling of ‘untouchableness’.  I can feel like I’m the honcho, and none is above me to tell me the shit I ought to do but I ain’t.

So writing for me is an emotional paradox. It leaves me both empty and full. I don’t know where to place it, or how to determine the effects it has on me. I go with the flow. When the well is full, I try to draw enough content, as much as I can before it dries up because on some days the weather of my mind will be a hot desert that reeks of loneliness and murder thoughts. Words will hang their coat on the nail hammered to the farthest corner and leave town, for a little while.

Not being able to write even a single sentence that makes sense can sound like a joke to a non-writer. It can be the difference between a meal on the table and sleeping on an empty stomach. Of course, it is unimaginable for someone to stop dead in his tracks when all they have known is running on that track. But as I always say, surprise can knock even the bravest. We’re all victims of circumstances beyond our control. When such cases arise, you need to have saved a good amount of money. You need to go out and have fun, unwind and celebrate. It is a low season in your mind.

I have had great success in jostling in between seasoned writers and beginners and making a killing even when I don’t have a remarkable experience in the field. To my realization, writing is a strategic business, one that can take you to places and rooms of people you only see on TV if you package yourself well. For some time, I have had the joy of enjoying the fruits of my labour.  I remember laboring during my early days as a blogger to write ten to twenty pieces a week for different blogs, including mine. I would try as much to create and produce creatively appealing content. And gigs flowed.

Then the journalism part kicked in and caught me off guard because my writing initially was not, in any way, based on the canons of journalism. I left my field to follow a career. There was a lot of money involved. And as a young man who loves the smell of money, I followed it closely to where it lay. I realized things were entirely different. I was required to draft a plan, write down questions during interviews, stick to a particular number of words and other rules, including ethical practices.

Journalism, the wrong journalism, can make you abandon your first love. You begin to love stories that radiate facts. You become impatient because you’re waiting for the next story.

I haven’t been writing as often this year. I’ve lost track, indulging in things that don’t impress.  I understand that this blog has gained new followers, ones that completely have no idea what we are about. First I want to welcome you to this humble aboard. We are here to stay. We’ve been here since 2015. It is a long time, even though our house is not as organized. We thrive by supporting one another when we can- offering a shoulder to lean on when times get tough. We don’t abandon each other because we are of the same house, the house that feeds us, though sometimes meals are hard to come by. Even when the times are tough, we stick together and share laughter and the little that we manage to acquire that day.

On other days, boredom sinks a well in each of us, we gather around to eat boring food. We complain a little, but when we remember others who are sleeping on empty stomachs, we give gratitude to the ones who prepared it. We don’t moan about things that are not working, we fix them. We all take responsibility to ensure our family is functional.

We are petty. Very petty indeed. We talk about everything and anything. We talk about people and their lives; we talk about the neighbors that cook with the sufuria that they bathe in. We gossip about Njuguna’s mating cats. We love the subject of nothingness. We explore things that might not make sense or even help us grow, this shit helps us unwind and get through our rough days.

Life is hard enough. So we discuss sex, pussy, and dick. We don’t care about the rules because it is only by breaking them that we know what to fix. We don’t mind fornication. We believe that all of us should have enough sex; it is good for the mind and the body.  There are days we can talk about sex from morning to evening. Those are the best days because at the end of the day sex matters.

We respect each other. Respect is our badge of honour. We don’t go around abusing each other and crossing unnecessary boundaries. We know where we’ve been. Our pasts hurt, they still do. They don’t define us but they have influenced where we are now. We interact freely and respectively because each of us has had a rough journey. Therefore, none has the audacity to look down on a fellow.

In here, we walk with our heads high. We live by the mantra of self-belief. Not everyone has the confidence to hold their heads high but we encourage and push each other to be better. We take risks and we take responsibility when we need to. We are bold and we have balls to face the bull by the horns. No shitting!

Sometimes we cherish quietness because silence is golden. We all need time to think about our personal issues. We need to talk to ourselves, to review our decisions, to listen to our inner voices and also to relax. We don’t shout or poke each other during such times. We read quietly to nourish our minds.

Occasionally, we get serious. We get down to business and talk about serious issues. We invest our time and mind in them to understand them. We sit around the table and listen to varying opinions.  At the end of the day, we learn from each other.

That is how we roll in here. No judgement. No hatred. No anger. Just love, respect and unlimited freedom.  So if you feel new in this environment, kindly know that our arms are ready to welcome you. That lady seated at the corner in a yellow apron is called Esther. Esther is the tea girl. She will offer you a cup of hot chocolate tea to warm your body with.

We love our women. When we can, we give them first priority. But since we believe in equality, we also offer equal chances for them to fight at the arena of gladiators with men. That way, we don’t leave them behind as we move forward. We buy them books to read. We dedicate our time to educating them on life issues as we do men. We inclusively welcome them to discussions. We listen to their arguments. We encourage them when they are down and lost. We help them in nurturing our young ones.

We don’t gloat about our little successes. However, we do celebrate and make merry when we accomplish certain goals. We don’t drink and talk shit, we eat, dance, and trade stories. When we tire, we lay down on our thin mats and sleep.

We cherish working late. Late when it is quiet. We find a good atmosphere to do our tasks and arrange activities for the following day. We are no early risers. No, that has never been our norm. We sleep late to wake up and catch the lazy, fat worm. And we devour our day with equal measure, the measure that we accompany the things that matter to us. We have zeal when doing our work, diligent and proper. That is what we do as a house.

Perhaps one day you can look back and say that this house gave you something to look up to. On that day, you shall remember this text with deep emotion. You shall miss this moment because it talked to your innermost feelings; it welcomed you and gave you a place to lay your head every week. And you shall say, “This will always be my home.”

Dear one, do not feel left out.  There is a lot for you to feast on while you wait for our weekly meeting, usually on Wednesdays. Sometimes the meetings come early, sometimes they delay. We try to adhere to the schedule. When we cannot, we understand and still find time to attend because it is the only place where things that concern this family are truly discussed.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the house. Welcome home!

Yours truly,

Mzangila Snr

Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?

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About Mzangila

Mentor, media consultant, photographer, editor, poet, writer, and counselor.

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