Epiphany and tools

Disclaimer: … Um… Archer … you know the rest 😉

I was talking to my favourite sailor yesterday, telling him all about my sanguine trip and crazy day, and he was like ‘Why do you think you’re all serious and sober? You’ve always been cheery to me!’

How I love that boy. He has such cosmic timing.

So, I did a sort of survey among my intimates, the people who know me best, both on and offline, and they all seem to think I’m this bubble-of-endless-energy-gummi-berry-energizer-bunny. How very odd. Even my bosses think that – hence the endless workload.

This one guy, who has seen me every day for two years now [he gets his early morning shot of sigara na pepsi at the stage where princess and I wait for the schoolbus] , used to be really scared of me coz I looked all stern and unapproachable. But we got to talking one day – he’s opened a shop with the gorgeous-est bohemain handbags!! Now we talk every day! Of course the handbags helped. And of course there will always be some idiot who can’t read symbols to save his hiney.

The idiot in question saw me talking to my boy and decided I was fair game, so the next day, he sees me on the street, grabs my hand and starts … um… well I’m not sure what he was doing exactly. I could see his lips moving, but I couldn’t hear a word he was saying. And no, he was not drowned out by passing traffic.

He didn’t see anything wrong with this, coz Tanzanians are generally very physical people, and are not above touching strangers and caressing their .. um..body parts. But I am Kenyan, and I am private, and I am very partial to PDA, but only when the PDA’er in question has my explicit permission to touch. To everyone else, I am private property, protected by the government of Kenya and CB-land. Asi!! This I told him, loud and harsh, right there in the street. Hope he got the message – you can’t be too sure with guys…

One other guy who I met in a 23 mat one night started talking to me. He was kinda scary-looking, very mungiki-ish with a level of hardcore sheng that I could barely decipher. But he was warm and open, and I always respond to that. It’s like an in-built autocue. So I talked back, and he was like ‘You’re so friendly!’ – or some such equivalent in sheng. At least I think that’s what he said. He seemed totally floored. I should probably have got his number 😉

I’ve always considered myself too serious for life, and describe myself as dull and boring [it is said I have a way with words, and I know I can hold my own in a flirt session (inbetween blushes of course), lakini, really, my ideal weekend involves ice cream, blankets, a bed and a book.] I think I’m a good conversationalist, but I never really know what to say to people, or how to start, and I suck at chit chat. So I imagine that if I walk up to someone and start to talk, they will yawn themselves to infinity and walk away, so I ‘spare them the trouble’.

I’m great on the uptake, and I can pick cues and follow-ups with the best of ’em. Lakini the whole initiating thing, let’s just say if you don’t throw me some rope, we shall sit in silence till one of us gives up and leaves. That’s what makes me afraid to talk to boys – I can never get the ball rolling! If he could just toss me a little string, even just a noodle thread, and consistently swing it my way, then we’d be just fine. Azawise, I will literally clam up.

Then of course, because I think I’m all serious and social-duncey, I don’t even try to meet people. If asked, I will say that I just don’t like people, and that I prefer to be alone. But cyberville has clearly proven me wrong, coz I’m quite enjoying the people I’ve met here.

I think it’s just fear. I like to be in control, to be competent, to feel like I know what I’m doing. I hate looking stupid. So I’m afriad that I’ll be stuck with a person and not know what to say and end up looking daft. Yet on the times I’ve met people I click with, people who lead me along, who get me engaged, who give off good auras, then I can talk for hours.

In all fairness, I do have a thing for personal space. I hate unannounced visits, and with most people, I’m wishing they would leave after five minutes of ‘bonding’. But there are people in my life who I can stand for weeks at a time, and when they go, I wish they didn’t have to leave. So I guess I’m not anti-people, I’m just extremely picky.

When I first came to the blogworld, I didn’t see anyone interesting. Everyone seemed so self-absorbed and catty and shallow. But the more I hang around, the more people I find that I’d really like to get to know. Perhaps I am growing up, or evolving, or just becoming less prissy, but I’m liking this new experience.

Because of my deep dark nature, I’ve always wished I could be more sanguine, more outgoing and bubbly. I think a part of me is, deep down, and lately, I’ve been trying to bring that part out. Shock on me when everyone tells me they saw that ‘part’ all along, and that it’s just me that didn’t see it! So then, where’d this My Hyde version of me come from? Why do I see myself one way while the world, and I do mean the WHOLE world, sees me another way?

I imagine it came from childhood. My brother is supersanguine, and I guess I was always jealous of him. He was the cute, popular kid that all the relas adored, while I was the trophy child – passed all exams and acted like a grown up. So bro always called me scary and serious, and I could never compete with his playful easygoing ways. Plus I was supposed to be the responsible big sister, so kidihood was not welcome. That’s probably where it came from.

And since I couldn’t fight him, I hid inside myself. Bro says that growing up, he was scared of me coz I always seemed so angry and goth, staying in my room for days, buried in my headphones. He says my pals would come visit me and he’d be like “Chill I check if she’s in” coz he hadn’t seen me for days. I couldn’t compete with bro’s cuteness factor, so I develop an aggression factor, arguing constantly and talking really loud, never backing down. They were sure I’d study law.

I still do that – get lost in music and read so deeply that I forget to eat. But it’s not about anger, I just get really absorbed when I find something [or someone] I love. I’m the same way about my work. When I’m ‘in the zone’, I don’t even notice the people whining around me. I can slog for hours at a time, and not even hear adhana. My brother still warns his [girl]friends that his big sister is gothish and scary.

That same brother says people’s characters are built in high school, away from family influence. He says before high school, I was argumentative and loud, and that when I got back after four years, I was mild, reserved and quiet.

No idea about that. All I know is that I got to seco loud and aggressive, and found 300 hundred girls that were equally loud and equally aggressive. I soon learned that while I could outshout the best of them, I was considered some sort of alien because, apparently, my opinions and thought process were unlike anyone else’s. Unorthodox, unconventional, or so they said. So they all watched me with ‘that look’ in their eyes, but I don’t know if anyone ever took me seriously. Weird and quirky were the most common descriptions.

Like when some boy was dotting to some girl nearby, and she was protesting that she didn’t like to be called a chick. I murmured, thinking no one could hear, that if they called us chicks, we may as well call them cocks. It wasn’t meant as doublespeak, it just slipped out. But after that, he always looked at me differently, hehehe.

Another time some girl was pulling rank on a boy because she was nine months older, and he was insisting nine months isn’t that long. I murmured, again, that in nine months, I could get pregnant and have a baby! I was in Form 2 at the time. And apparently, my murmur is louder than my… well, ‘Little David’ noticed me after that, that’s for sure 🙂 I wonder where that boy is now.

Anyway, with all this assertive competition, I had two options : get louder or quit trying. I chose the easier option and blended into the background; I went wallflower. I did it so well that, apparently, my new schoolmates heard tales of my prima exploits [from prima schoolmates] and refused to believe them. Hehehe.

Then I was thrown smack into boydom with music fests at Saints and KCITI, infamous for that corner where Ditcherians lined both sides of the path and flashed scorecards of girls as they walked by. Surrounded by these beautiful boys, I couldn’t think how to start conversations, so I didn’t bother. Instead I avoided functions and when forced, I sank into default mode.

Default mode is…er…well, when I was little, we had these jobless corner boys who would whistle when you passed, and if you turned to look at them, they’d call you derisive names. To be a ‘woman of substance’ you had to walk past them with no reaction at all. Of course if you did, they’d call you a snob and an ice queen, but it was better than being called cheap malaya when you were barely preteen.

So that’s my deafult. I walk straight, head high, shoulders back, and never ever look to the side. The only way I’ll notice you is if you’re right in front of me. Default was a lifesaver at Ditchez corridor. Girls were so scared of low scores [those boys could be nasty, they’d even give negative points!] that they devised ridiculous ways to avoid the flashcards, mostly walking in massive packs. Me, I’d stroll by all nonchalant in default mode, and to this day, I have no idea what my scorecard was.

Sometimes I’m so lost in my own thoughts that I won’t see or hear people standing right in front of me, and I forget to greet them. They get so mad, especially in Dar where salaams are highly valued. I suppose that’s why I think I’m cold and unfeeling – because I’m mentally stuck in default.Plus my Psych 101 personality test rated me as 0% sanguine, which always bothered me.

I almost feel like I’m playing a role by being all bubbly, like I’m being all phoney with myself. I can be pretty harsh to strangers, depending on how they approach me. If you really want to see my temper unleashed, call my cell and before you say anything else, ask ‘Who are you?’ You called me you nit, so who are you? That said, this warm, giddy me seems almost surreal in my eyes.

Yet nobody that knows me thinks I’m faking, and I admit, it feels really good 🙂 As Ray will tell you, even in my default mindframe, if you jump in front of me and say hi, I’ll respond. Throw in a few helpful story-threads, and we will spark like a campfire.

Ray knew me in primary school, and I’m not sure what he thought of this ‘new me’ except that he was shocked I’d put on so much weight. He seemed jazzed enough though. I met a few other prima mates at fests, and we talked, and I went back to school and sent them one of my trademark ‘notes’. It was nothing too crazy, just a few poetic lines and a ‘thank you for making my day’ that for some reason scared these high school boys s***less.

One boy replied saying “WTF happened to you? You used to be so … different! Ama you were a silent criminal that we just never noticed?” Hehehe I didn’t defend the comment, lakini truth is that in prima, I was so busy playing big responsible role model that I never let them see the cheekiness beneath, especially the boy I let get away. Sigh.

I always say that I’m not a social person. I don’t go out, I don’t drink, I don’t rave, I don’t smoke, I don’t do parties, I don’t do crowds, and I don’t dance.

Except I do dance, alone, in the bathroom, and I do enjoy talking to people one-on-one about stuff that matters, and I do love music. So if I could find someone I can link with, click with, talk to endlessly, then I wouldn’t mind doing it at a crowded party or social thing. Which is actually a surprising discovery for me.

Aaaaanywho, I’m glad to know that the person I always wanted to be, the person I thought I was hiding so well, has always been in plain view to everyone but me. That makes me happy. And I like being happy. I’m off to do my Indian fist jig now.

Are you still reading? This was an awfully long one… choc bars coming to everyone who gets to the end. You have to prove you made it though 😉

Wikendi njema!

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5 Responses

  1. Ha ha ha… Sick

    good sick or bad sick? 🙂

  2. Sometimes being loud has its advantages and disad,i know u know them,yeah those were the days

    life seemed so simple then

  3. all in all i miss chuo

    🙂

  4. Ok, I am waiting for my choc bar….I got all the way to the end!! Woop woop!! cool cool post!! I’m the one everyone always thinks is arrogant at first and after getting to know me wonder why they thought I was arrogant in the first place. I am a true contradiction!! I am a sanguine, but superficially because not many really know me. I like it that way. So I feel you on the not liking unannounced guests…and wishing people would leave after 5minutes. Thank goodness nobody can read my thoughts, because it would not be cool. Ok, I shall stop here before I give your post length some serious competition!

    talk as long as you like hun 🙂 choc bar on the way 😉

  5. Now how d’you manage do pull that? I’d have never read that length of a post before I met you. Choc Bar?

    hahah coming right up love 🙂

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