Dear Depression ,I can’t begin to imagine how many times you’ve received letters from others who’ve been acquainted with you. I wish I’d say it didn’t bug me that others have felt you in some form or way but it surely does. I am never ready or excited to share or hear of other people’s encounters with you, it unnerves me for some reason. I’m yet to figure out exactly why. I wish I was somewhat prepared with bullet points on what i’d wanna say to you but i honestly don’t have a plan on how to do this. You do that to me… render me speechless & drain me of any strength that I’d have put into making some sort of effort, at anything technically. But I’m not mad at you, on the contrary, you’ve been the longest underrated relationship I’ve been in for the better part of my life. You maintained consistence even without always being at the fore front of my mind. I felt you way long before I understood what you were or what you represented. Then, you preyed on my naivety on the lack of articulation & appropriate description of what you did to me ; on what you made me feel. I always just thought I was an akward, sad and lonely kid while all along, you planted your seeds in me and watered them over the years until you were strong enough to sprout out of the ground that was /is my mind.I don’t honestly need an answer for why you chose me, or why you altered my personality to match the aesthetics of your nature. It wouldn’t make sense to seek such an answer since I wouldn’t know who I’d be weren’t it for your meddling…and anyway, you have never been one to explain yourself ,you thrive on the uncertainties you give. What a lot of people don’t understand is that you are limitless, it should be explainable since you are a guest to many. I can’t elaborate on your whereabouts while dealing with other people, no, you have made certain that you are the center of my attention & are rooted as a part of me whereby seeing & living beyond you is downright impossible.When I said you’ve stuck around for a while it’s because you have been there for as long as I can recall. You were there when I couldn’t explain why I felt this immense sadness inside me to my mother. You watched in the shadows as I struggled to bring to sense to her that I was feeling everything different from every other child around me. That I was scared, anxious & the least carefree. You’d just started to wrap your arms around me for it was just a matter of time before you’d fully have to engulf me. Before long ,you made yourself known to me, you came to me in the face of grief, anguish & an Inerasable sadness that became the beginning of your true manifestation in my mind. You carried me in your arms & sunk me under. You sunk deeper in me and built a wall behind my thoughts & feelings where it was only ever gonna be you and I. Eight years down, you and I have created a history so deeply inbedded, it’s turned to a maze.…you are no longer just an overhwelming sadness that pops up when I can’t handle the gravity and the intensity of my emotions. You are the face of the grief I feel when I miss my mum. You are the face of the sorrow I feel when I get paralysed in my mind as a fourteen year old girl who’s every dream with her mum got shattered after I learned that I’d have to live without her for the rest of my life. Depression,you are the face of the constant fear & anxiety that engulfs me over not being good enough for anyone, even for myself. The face of the abandonment issues that plague me everytime I make a friend or have a lover. You are the face of the shame I carry every time I have to bandage up my cuts so I don’t have to feel them, let alone see them. You depression are the face of the self destructing habits I’ve picked up on everytime I can’t deal with the betrayal from my mind…As of now, I can’t tell if you are my fiend or my friend. Sometimes you are all it takes to remind me that I am human & that as much as I try to escape pain, I’m rendered in it. So for now, you are my face, you are my demons & for all I know, you might be me for the rest of my life.
Recently I have become more aware of the black culture and it’s dynamic that goes way back centuries ago. This was more or less brought about from watching the tv series Blackish which is hands-down amazing. It’s not just funny but also quite motivating and inspirational especially to Black Americans. It’s able to bring out so many diverse aspects that distinguish black people in America from the white folks. Watching it really got me thinking about being black but not just for those living in the states but for me as an African, what exactly being black means to me.
Let’s be honest, being Black here isn’t much of the big deal because that’s exactly what stands out about all of us. It’s what unites us as African setting aside all our cultural differences. The colour of our skin is what makes us black Africans. For black Americans,its a constant struggle for them to feel equal and not undermined just because of the pigment of their skin. Thank God, racism in Africa isn’t something as rapid and fast evolving as it is in America .It’s quite admirable how much they fight for their rights as equals in the states and they are completely deserving of equality because their colour shouldn’t be a defining factor for any sort of degradation towards them.
Now here in Africa, what divides us might not be the colour of our skin but it’s other things that are still just as petty. For example tribe & gender among other countless things. I’m not here to rant on how much we suck for stooping to levels so low we banter over something as meager as what tribe we are from. I’m here to trace back what makes me uniquely black as an African. To be quite honest, I’m only now becoming aware of how much my Blackness matters to me. As a child, I wasn’t raised to be aware of it or conscious of it. I was raised quite the opposite. I was raised with the mindset of a completely urban culturally woke sort of American sense of thought and culture. I was raised to know I wasn’t completely meant to be African, let alone Kenyan. My mama always aspired to have my family and I move to the states at quite a very young age and a lot of my childhood had an American aspect incorporated in it. From the way I was dressed, to the way I speak and communicate (I’m sure now most of you can tell why I talk the way I do 😁).It went as far as to how I grew up and how I perceived the world. I don’t mean to say I regret how I was raised, on the contrary, I wouldn’t change it for the world because from that, I wouldn’t be as intellectually smart and aware of life as I am now. I probably wouldn’t know how to express myself through blogging like I do now. I’m sourly grateful to my mum especially for wanting more for me and my sister and if that meant not being completely aware of my African self, so be it. I’m learning it now anyway so it’s a win win for me.
So now, I’m trying to pick up the small things that I proudly acknowledge that make me African, a Black African .One of the things that really stands out quite a lot is the countless ass whoppings I got as a child… This I can honestly say ,if your mama or dad didn’t whip your ass as a child, a part of you cancels itself off as an African child. Ass whoppings are completely African. It’s sort of a crucial rite of passage to adulthood because that’s the only way discipline ever got through to me and all the other African children. Grounding kids is what I refer to white people shit🙄. Circumcision is another very distinct African cultural practice that is carried out in so many African countries. In previous years ,it was for both genders but now it’s reserved for boys as a rite of passage to young men. It’s regarded as quite degrading for a young African man to not be circumcised. Young girls were mainly nurtured by their mothers and vice versa for the boys. In the African culture, there were gender distributed roles for the females and males that are common across many different African cultures and communities. All this and more is what stands us out as black Africans. I’m gradually being more aware that I am grateful to have something that I’m able to refer to in relation to my culture as not just an African but as a black African. It allows me to feel proud of where my origin comes from. It’s gives me a sense of ownership and belonging. Being Black is a blessing, it’s a chance to be unique and special. How Black do you feel? ✌🏿