It is three o’clock in the a.m and sleep eludes me. I have been tossing and turning for a while. Insomnia and I are bedfellows (wink, wink!). Then Md woke up for a glass of milk and the morsel of sleep that I could have used to ignite much more, flew out the window. I had to throw away the covers and seek the solace of the keyboard.
Writing at this hour is so peaceful. So quiet that you can literally hear the ‘tap’ of your fingers on the keyboard as your thoughts flow from your head to a Microsoft word page. The sound of silence is so seductive. The air is still. The only movement is from my fingers, the only sound is the soft tap, tap, tap. This is profound serenity. I wish it could last forever.
All day yesterday, my mind was on a post I was to do. I wanted to give my two cents on Vera Sidika’s body changes. Her skin lightening and boob enlargement, mostly. I wrote paragraph after paragraph but the story was just not connecting the way I knew it should. For me, the best thing to do to an obstinate story that refuses to come together is to leave it alone. Let it lie there and ferment for a while. When you come back to it, its ripeness will sting your nostrils as soon as you open the page. Then you can devour it like there is no tomorrow.
I therefore let the Vera story be and I slept. All the while knowing that I owed you a post. That must be the reason why I woke up at a few minutes to 3 a.m to answer the call of nature (the things I share with you on this blog yawa!) and couldn’t go back to sleep. It’s the guilt of leaving you hanging yesterday. I could see your evil eye cast in my direction as you refreshed the page and no new post was forthcoming. Yeah, I could sense your indignation. I saw how you looked at me. How you closed the web page in annoyance. Yeah, thank you very much for interrupting my sleep by the way!
When Vera Sidika first talked about her skin lightening on TV, I wondered loudly what the hell was wrong with this woman. I shook my head, like I suspect most Kenyans out there did as she twirled her hair backwards in a ‘don’t care’ attitude. “My body is my business” she said. I analyzed her. I diagnosed her to have self-esteem issues. Concluded that as a child, she was never told that she was beautiful enough times. I, in my most judgmental outfit, prescribed a shrink to talk to her and help her deal with whatever issues she was dealing with.
I am a woman in my thirties and I too believe that my body is my business. I don’t like being judged. No one out there knows me better than I know myself. My choices now reflect on my experiences while growing up. My thought process is based on my beliefs, my values and my morals (or lack thereof, depending on who you ask)
I imagined therefore, someone telling me that their life is better than mine. That I should do things their way, based on their beliefs and values. I imagined how it would sit with me to have someone dictate my choices to me. I concluded that it wouldn’t augur well with me. Not in the least bit. This train of thought is what prompted me out of bed.
It dawned on me (at dawn nonetheless!) that at this point in my life, I don’t appreciate being judged or being told what to do, and most probably so doesn’t Vera. As an adult (of sound mind, if I might add) I embrace the person that I am ever so tightly, than ever before. I love my hair in dreadlocks, I love how I dress. I love who I am, warts and all! I make my decisions based on what I believe in. If I can live with the choices I make, then so should everybody else.
I am all woman. Perfectly WOMAN. All grown. I have earned the privilege of being allowed to make my own mistakes. I wouldn’t appreciate it if that privilege was taken away from me.
I don’t know how old Vera is (really) but I know that the people we should be paying attention to are our children. Vera is a grown woman. We should leave her to her mistakes and focus instead in influencing our young children and our teens. We should be helping build their self esteem. We should be telling our young girls that they are beautiful. We should be teaching them to value themselves so that when they choose their role models, it will be someone who is comfortable in her own skin.
If I don’t appreciate an adult woman lightening her skin, tough! That is my problem which I have to deal with. I don’t advocate for boob enlargement through plastic surgery, but tough on me! Those are my demons to exorcise, not hers. So what if she is all fake? If she is happy with herself, who are we? Just because I go to church every (most, really J ) Sunday, does it mean I should go knocking on other people’s doors and prevail upon them to go to church with me? And if they prefer to sleep in, should I sneer and point fingers, predicting fire and brimstone on their souls in the hereafter?
Personal choices, as long as they don’t border on criminality, are to be respected. And mine are as important as the next person’s. Infringing on those choices is denying someone the right to live their lives. The right to be themselves.
Even though you will never catch me dead getting a boob job or bleaching my skin (I could only ever afford ‘River Road’ bleaching anyway), I realize that people have a right to make their mistakes. They then get to learn from those mistakes. Folly is thinking that I hold a stake in someone else’s destiny. I don’t. In the same way that no one else does in mine.
Vera could possibly have whatever issues we would like to diagnose her with. But all that is speculation. We haven’t walked a mile in her shoe. We don’t know how her typical day looks like. We are clueless on how she sleeps at night. What goes through her head as it hits the pillow at the end of the day? What does she think about when she can’t sleep at 3am in the morning?
We are in no position to judge her.
I am in no position to tell her story.
When faced with decisions, whatever makes you sleep better at night suffices. It is your life, your beauty sleep. If your conscience is clear, you owe no one nothing!
We will talk and give our opinion about you, but in the end, you are the only one who gets to live with the choices you make. You will stop living the day you let others make those choices for you.
Please don’t ever let that happen. Live your life!