2nd January, 2021

It’s 3:19am and I can’t sleep. I set my phone to go off at midnight and switch back on in the morning. This means I can’t use it in the middle of the night to check the time. I thought really hoped it was morning when I woke up. It was but it wasn’t. It was 1:30am, not the kind of morning I wanted.

I find that I am impatient with and often even get angered at weakness and wounds. It’s a dilemma because I also really believe in and desire grace. Why then won’t I accept that in certain spaces I shall be weak perhaps even unto my death? Why do I have such a need to fix everything?

I’m currently dealing with a cold and have woken up the past three days with my throat on fire, each morning worse than the one before. It’s the first thing I notice when my eyes open, the pain in my throat and the discomfort in my body. I was disappointed this morning as I have been before, why isn’t it gone yet? How is it that this cold persists? We have thrown so much at it. I’m pretty sure my blood is currently at 80% dawa tea and flu medicines and the other 20% for whatever else makes up blood.

On 26th July, 2019 somewhere between 11pm and midnight, I was involved in a motorbike accident. I like the usage of the word involved like it was voluntary. As if when making my itinerary for the day I figured falling off a motorbike and scaring the living daylights out of my loved ones was a fun thing to do. I digress. I do not have memory of the incident. All I know is what I have been told. I hit my head, blacked out and was bleeding out in the middle of the road. That was obviously the scariest of my injuries. A head injury is not something to be taken lightly. I lost some hair to get a few stitches that evening, my first ever. Somehow I had managed to go my entire life without getting stitches. I remember waking up the morning after and realising I did not remember a single thing between deciding to get on the bike and waking up with my hair being shaved off. I am told that I was in and out of consciousness and even said some things but I remember nothing.

There was a seemingly less serious injury whose effects I still carry to this day. The injury to my right knee. I woke up the next morning in excruciating pain. Everything that could hurt, hurt. I didn’t understand how I had managed to hit the back of my head and the front of my knee all in one fall. My brother had asked about my knee and the doctor said it was a soft tissue injury and would heal on its own in no time. It was just small cuts and the beginnings of what would later become a rather serious swelling.

Dear Doctor, you lied. My knee has been hurting this week. I have needed the usage of a bandage and knee support to do what used to be the most basic thing, walking. I was pretty active when I was in school. I wasn’t athlete of the year active but I was more active than your average teenager. I am no stranger to injuries. The doctor was right, they usually just heal on their own. This one didn’t. This one hasn’t. It has improved over time, just not as quickly as I wanted. I’m still walking with a limp on most days. I still need to get up and stretch after being immobile for a while. I still need a great deal of support and cushioning to do something as simple as kneeling. I sure could use a miracle one of these days.

At the beginning of December 2020, I went away for 4 days and 3 nights in the first ever Warrior Women’s Weekend with The Usual Suspects. I am still processing that experience. It was without a doubt one of the biggest highlights of my year. One of these days, I shall write about it. I asked a question on one of the nights while we were having our campfire conversations.

“Where do the men go to heal?” . It was a women’s weekend but there were some gentlemen present. The question was directed at the gentlemen.

I’ve always heard that men are not very good with emotions. It has often made me wonder if they ever feel anything outside of attachment to gadgets, cars, sexual desire and anger. I have known men to be more vocal about their love for their sports teams than people. I know men love people, I just wonder what the experience is like for them. I know men feel pain and get hurt in some unimaginable ways because the world we live in is fallen. I know how I deal with pain. It’s unpleasant but necessary because an unattended to wound can become cancerous. It will eat at you in ways that won’t always be obvious. I have more experience seeing women deal with pain. Where do the men go to heal? I know they’re not impervious to this life.

I asked because one, there are many men I love that I want to see live their best lives and I’m often at a loss about how to help. I also asked because as life would have it, some have bled on me and it has hurt. It annoys me because it feels out of my control. I can take charge of my own healing and like the cold, throw everything available to me at it. I can’t do much about someone else’s healing however regardless of how much I want to. It doesn’t matter how much I love or want to love them. God was serious when he gave us freewill.

I find that I am impatient with weakness and brokenness especially in myself. I find that it is rooted in my desire to control everything. Despite my best efforts, I really cannot save myself. Despite my best desires and intentions, I cannot save anyone else.

So, what now?

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NKJV

Hugs

She could feel her heart slipping out of his hands. It’s not like he had ever held it. Theirs was like a bad hug. You know those hugs where one person just stands there like a tree while you go in with all your hopes and dreams? Those ones. His hugs were good though.

She could feel herself walking away from this and she didn’t know why she was fighting it. There was nothing good here. There had never been. Just hopes, dreams and lots of prayers.

“I guess this is how this has been answered” she whispered to the dark room as she wiped her tears. There was something about praying in a dark room. Maybe it was the silence of the night but she was more certain that God heard her.

“I guess this is how it was always going to be answered” She half smiled in the dark.

“I mean, he’s okay and all but I think I deserve better hugs”

She could feel her heart slipping out of the hand that had never held it. This is how it had been answered.

It’s just a thought

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Photography by NinnoJackJr 

It’s silly, I know but I wonder if you’re okay. You have been so quiet of late. It’s not strange that you’re quiet. You are quiet a lot of times. I want to say perhaps texts are not your thing but even when you’re sitting across the table from me, you’re quiet.

I want to ask how you’re dealing with staying alone during a lockdown? I know a lot of your work requires movement so this is like forced rest for you. I want to know what you’re doing with it. I know what you’re doing with it. I saw it on Facebook the other day. I wish I knew because you told me not because , you know, you posted it.

A lot of people advise against this but I wonder sometimes. I revisit moments and conversations from months ago, from when you actually talked to me and I wonder. Were my jokes that unfunny? Was my conversation not stimulating enough? Do you feel bothered by me?

It’s quiet here. I’m getting the hang of this work from home thing. I have one of those Instagram worthy work stations. I took pictures. I wanted to show you the day I set it up but then I went to the chat and realised you had seen and not responded to my last three messages two weeks ago.

Sometimes I want to pretend that I am convinced that you’re not fine so that I do that thing we never do, call you. Then you post a picture with a long caption about how you’re spending your time and sigh…

I wish you enjoyed my company as much as I enjoy yours, even if it’s over ones and zeros.

I wake up hoping each day is the day it won’t bother me so much. I go to bed praying that perhaps in my dreams I shall get an explanation. I want to hear your thoughts on our “new normal”. I want to know if you’re worried about the future as a small business owner. I want to know if you have watched Extraction yet. It seems like everyone has.

 

Maybe

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NinnoJackJr Photography

 

It’s vanity I tell you

Everything is vanity to you

This one really is. Hear me out.

Do I have to?

Do you have anything else to do?

Amos though not amused by the comment conceded because his friend made a good point. He felt like he had watched enough TV to last him the rest of the year and there was no way he was going to bed this early in the day.

OK, what is your big idea?

So, we made huge plans for the New Year, right?

I wouldn’t call mine huge

Don’t be modest. Okay, we made significantly sized plans for the year

They both laughed

Let’s just say we made plans

And there was just something about 2020 and it’s nicely rounded off figures with some arguing it was the end of a decade while others said we had one more to go

Correct

Tell me some of your plans

Why?

Trust me

Amos sighed dramatically.

I wanted to move out of home by the end of April

What’s the date today?

It’s the end of April

Alright, what did you do to prepare for that?

I saved up, I hustled harder. I wanted to start looking at places in March. What’s your point?

Man I had plans too. I still kind of have them but…

But?

Robinsan has this song where he asks us why we worry when God feeds the birds of the fields or something like that

Who’s Robinsan?

You know Robinsan. I’ve played him for you!

Name doesn’t ring a bell

Robinsan, Ugandan artist. He has a song about living life simply.

Okay. What does that have to do with anything?

I thought about it the other day. I had to walk a while to get to and from work, and it was far man. And the whole time I was doing these calculations in my head wondering what I could get, how much money I have, how long will it take me? What if this man locks us up longer?

What happened?

Birds.

Birds?

To be more specific? Eagles. And I won’t tell you that I know much about them but they looked like they didn’t have a care in the world. Do you think they had 2020 plans?

What? Amos said as he stood up half laughing half worried about his friend

I mean, it got me thinking. I actually stopped and watched them for a bit

You did?

Yup, I needed to catch my breath too

They both laughed

My point is.  If God takes care of those birds, maybe we’re going to be okay.

So what’s vanity?

This taking care of yourself thing. Maybe, just maybe, we give God a chance.

No

I want you

But not like this

Not for five minutes at a time in a room so dark I can’t even see your face

I want you

But not like this

I want to miss the safety of your heart more than the tenderness of your chest. A dime a dozen ,chests can be a dime a dozen. It’s easier to find where to lay my head than to find who to hold my most precious.

I want you

But not like this

Not these conversations. Not these walls. Not these barricades. Not this vanity.

The earth was shaken on its very foundation. The curtain was torn. Access was bought at a very dear price.

I want you but this isn’t it

Everyday is Thanksgiving

There’s a black mark right under my chin. It looks like one of those things you’d get if you don’t bathe often or properly. I do bathe however, often and properly. It’s a scar. It’s positioning is strange and was at first confusing. It’s positioned where I assume you’d have a scar if someone held a sharp knife to your neck.

The day after the accident, I was confused about a great many things. I couldn’t dwell on them however because the adrenaline had worn off and unlike the previous night, I could feel the extent of my injuries. Everything hurt ; really badly at that.

I couldn’t stand straight, I needed support to walk, lying down was painful too. I had a thick bandage on the left corner of my head. It was sort of red from all the blood even though the wound had earned me a number of stitches. I had small scrapings on my right knee yet it was swollen to about the size of the juiciest Mango you’ve ever seen. It was also throbbing.

Everything was such a mystery to me because up until this day I only remember making the decision to get on to that bike and waking up surrounded by doctors shaving off the hair on the side of my head where I was injured.

The pain had me asking questions however. What manner of fall was this that had my entire body screaming in pain. Did I fall on my back? Possibly, I couldn’t even sit up without incident. I knew I had hit the back of my head. How then did my right knee get so messed up? And what in God’s name caused this little cut on my neck?

Last night, for the first time in close to six months, I was able to kneel. There was some discomfort. We’re not yet at a hundred but oh what joy! I could kneel. There are moments I wondered if as a bride, I could be exempted from kneeling when it came to the traditional function. Dramatic, I know. Six months doesn’t seem like such a long time when you’ re making annual plans or trying to beat a deadline. However when you think of every day, every hour, every minute . Every night I couldn’t sleep because my knee hurt, every time I had to brace myself when faced with stairs, every limp since the accident, every car ride that felt too long because I needed to switch positions often, six months can be some time . My mind sometimes went wild wondering if this was it.

Last night however, I knelt besides my mother’s bed to show her something I’d bought and it didn’t occur to me until a few minutes in that I was on my knees. I’m sitting with my right leg crossed over my left as I write this. Some months back, this too was impossible and incredibly painful.

Every day is thanksgiving.

Oh, I later figured the cut on my neck was from the strap of my bag. It’s a cross bag and while I have no memory of the actual incident, every account I’ve heard tells me it was pretty bad. I was wearing my bag and somewhere in all that mix, it must have pressed into my skin.

God was watching out for me that night like He always is. I mean who hits their head on tarmac so hard, blacks out immediately, gets a massive wound that bleeds out a lot, hits their knee so bad after 11:00pm on a Friday night and gets to write about it?

“Hallelujah, every breath is a second chance” Always – Switchfoot

 

Pepper Spray

I stood at the bottom of the hill and started checking my bag for the pepper spray.  I remember thinking Becky paranoid the day she gave it to me many months back. Today it made me a little braver.  I Put the Nokia 2330 in the front pocket of my jeans.  There’s some comfort when the phone is not expensive. It is however my mother’s phone; a phone she has graciously lent me for the past couple of weeks since mine was taken. IT mattered that i didn’t lose it. I got my last 2k and put it in the left pocket along with my ATM card; then wore my work ID around my neck. It kind of felt like overkill since that would be the easiest thing to replace but we’re almost getting into cantata season and I don’t want to be hassling with HR.

Today was the first day I bothered to find out how the pepper spray works. Constantly on my mind was the fact that I had to keep it far from my face as I figured it out. No one wants to be the person who shoots themselves with the gun they bought for protection.  This was the plan. If he grabbed me from behind, I would close my eyes and unleash the pepper spray. If He attempted to pull my bag from the side, I would just let him have it. After all, the only thing left there in was my bible journal, lip colour and deodorant.

I was breathing through my mouth by the time I got to the scene of the last crime, treading carefully wondering about my weak knee. I stole a glance at the pathway I believe he emerged from the last time, perhaps hoping that if he came at me I would just hand over the bag so that he leaves me alone. I do not know how to shout. Fear paralyses me.  I was praying under my breath.

“I’m accepted in the beloved” I repeated over and over hoping God would at least remember that part and maybe cover me.  I wasn’t sure. I‘m not sure of much anymore.

I turned the corner and saw a young couple at the half built fence chatting away.  I breathed easy again. At least there were other people on the road and I could see home.

I fell off a boda and it took me a while to feel safe on the road again. About two months later my bag was grabbed from me about two minutes away from my gate.

For the first time since, I walked up the hill without calling home for boys to come pick me up. Progress.Pepper

You should get out more

I’ve got to ask. You and Edmond?

Edmond and I . She sighed more than said the statement

Anything there? he persisted with a lifted brow

Edmond. Not really. I mean I wanted there to be a something. He doesn’t. So yeah.

Silence.

He told me early on. Truth is I was just recovering from the most painful break up ever and I wasn’t ready for another rejection. So I held on way longer. I have been hoping yet seeing reality

It happens sometimes.

What’s your story?

Well, I write stories for a living .

Do you make any money? She smiled as she asked that. I mean who writes for a living in Uganda?

It was a joke but not really. She remembered the day her and Lilly had vowed not to be decieved by the romanticism of struggling artists. Or Men who just didn’t have it together, thirty and sexy she had called them. She almost laughed out loud at the memory.

He laughed at the candour.

Dammit. His voice was distracting. Who laughs and they sound like caramel and honey reside in their throats? Was it even possible to have laughter tinged with an accent ?

Well, writing for a living in Uganda looks different . I do some copywriting but ghost writing is what pays the rent believe it or not. A lot of people want to be known as authors without necessarily doing the work.

Does it set your heart on fire?

Does it have to?

What’s the point of pouring your life into anything in this world that doesn’t?

Avoiding starvation maybe?

They both laughed.

Careful there Kisakye,she thought to herself, you’re entering dangerous territory.

Bandaids 2

May I come in? I have some chest pains and I’m looking for a good feeling is what she wanted to say

Hey. she said instead

Hey. He said back.

They stood and stared at each other.

Tough day? he asked and she simply stretched out her hands for a hug.

Tough life. She said against his shoulder. She squeezed and he squeezed back.

I don’t see you often enough. It would be nice to see you more.

She smiled at him and wished she believed him. She remembered quite clearly how desperately she had begged God to make him hers. The future she had imagined, the hopes she had held on to and the reality she was forced to face. All of it was so fresh in her mind.

What’s stopping you? She asked the question she already had the answer to and regretted it immediately. This is not why she had endured such a long boda ride to his place. Tonight wasn’t for sense and truth telling. So she laughed it away and her lips found his.

Tonight was for good feelings.

August 2017

I almost cut my jeans today. I had it all planned out. You see, I have this theory when it comes to clothes. If you don’t want to wear it, get rid of it. The jeans are quite old. They don’t fit well anymore and any time I have worn them in the past year has been an entire day of regrets and being self-conscious.

I looked for the scissors and set about cutting them into shorts. That way, I can only wear them at home, to do things like laundry. I was going to cut them and then write a blog post about letting go of old things and giving yourself space for the new. Except I didn’t. When I got the scissors, I remembered I was due to go to the tailor to re-adjust some skirts and wondered if I couldn’t do the same for my jeans as well.

I was supposed to come and talk about how it is okay to release things. It is the beginning of a new month and probably the best time to let go of certain things.

However, it’s okay if it’s the beginning of yet another month and you are not ready to let go just yet. It’s okay if a relationship ended and you are yet to change your whatsapp wall paper from a picture of the two of you to…what do you even change to? It’s okay if you are not ready to decide whether you should return or burn all the letters you ever received from the other person. It’s okay if you are not yet ready to decide how you want to pray about this. Just because it’s the beginning of a day or a week or a month or a year or a new age does not mean everything else in your life has to be ready.

Today I stayed home most of the day. I did my laundry. I actually just washed two pairs of bed sheets. I scrubbed the bathroom. I decided on and tried out an outfit for a dinner I have on Saturday. I removed from the line and ironed previously washed bed sheets. I made my bed. I spent an evening with two friends drinking wine, eating ice-cream and talking about life and then I came home and I changed my whatsapp wallpaper.

I don’t know if anyone ever knows when they’ll be ready. I guess the most we can do is hope to be ready by a certain time. You can work towards being ready if it’s an exam or a tournament you’re preparing for. However, I don’t know if anyone ever knows beforehand when they’ll be ready to let go.

I guess I just came here to tell you that it’s okay. Take time. Think the thoughts. Feel the feels.

Joel  told me last week, “Sometimes we need lemonade. Yes. I mean Beyoncé . To go through it all. To feel the anger. The pain. The loss. To want retribution. To come to a final place where Jesus and only Jesus can take the wheel”