Category Archives: Rant

God Made Me A Woman: Part 3

“Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.”
Khaled Hosseini ( A Thousand Splendid Suns)

Sometimes I feel like I’m the most unfortunate citizen of this world.

I am African. We who have been used and abused over the centuries, first by foreign powers who came and “discovered” us to our detriment and then by  our own leaders who believe our continent main use o help for increasing their wealth and big stomachs.

I am a Muslim. With Arabic ancestry. From the shores of Lamu where the first Arabs settled in Kenya. My Swahili dialect is filled with hot sands of the deserts of Arabia.  Also, right now, the world’s most wanted. In today’s world the word Islam most times connotes the image of a bomb strapped, beard faced fanatic. With madness in his eyes.

And then I am a woman. The default victim. Everyone’s scapegoat. An afterthought.

On any given day, I can find at least 2 articles in newspapers, on the internet or even  within conversations that make me feel attacked, belittled, oppressed.

A headline like “Woman sexually assaulted by Muslim barbarians” raises all sorts of emotions from me. This was from the Lara Logan sexual assault story.  My Muslim brothers attacked a fellow woman. Wooosah.

But from all these identities, I have found being a woman has been the hardest. Especially when it comes to personal goals . When you’re a kid you live in a world where you think every thing is possible. So you build your dreams with an innocence and naivety. When I was younger I wanted to be an actor. I did a bit of drama in school, but it was just for Prize Giving day occasions. I  imagined myself on stage the first Kenyan to win an Oscar. But that remained a vague dream. I’m a Swahili girl. I cannot be on stage. It’s just not done where I come from. Those who have, have had to endure a lot and fight hard for it. I commend them.

I have dreamed of many things. I have had to lay many of them to rest.  Stillborn pieces of what I could have been.

A lot has changed for women. Even for Muslim women. We are educated and we  are allowed to work. Note that I said allowed. It is never our choice. We are contributing members of our societies. But not too much, lest our voices become louder than our men. But we still have a long way to go. My friend recently quit her job because she was frustrated. She was qualified to be head of her department but they would not promote her because she was a woman. The cherry on top was when she had to train the person that they eventually hired. A previously dedicated employee became disillusioned.

When a woman does something wrong, the whole society feels like they’re entitled to correct her. She can be undressed in the streets for not dressing up to standards, she can be insulted in public. She is a woman, a community property; It’s their responsibility to keep her in the right path.

Women are still raped and abused. Simply because they’re there. Children are destroyed everyday. Simply because they’re female.

When a man does something wrong, it is his business. God will handle him.

I have been overwhelmed by the sentiment today. I am celebrated. The same mouth that called me a ho last night, is today calling me a queen. I wonder how that tastes.

I am not proud to be a woman. I had no choice in the matter. I just was. But I accept and I live up to it.

I am a woman; I carry with me the magnitude of the word. I celebrate myself.

Happy International Women’s Day. Beyond this day.

Monday Rant: Don’t. Call. Me. B*tch

I think I attract melodramatic men. Seriously. Remember this guy?.  There must be something about me that forces them to unleash their inner stubborn and obnoxious. Unfortunately for them, it’s usually a bad time for me so it goes unappreciated. And I don’t suffer fools for long. As this idiot found out.

Sometime back, I was having lunch in one of those establishments that was ranted about here, minding my own business. I was feeling relaxed, looking forward to about an hour or so of me time before my next engagement. Since I wasn’t in the mood for company, I was reading a book with my meal. It had been a long morning of running errands. The restaurant was half-empty so it wasn’t noisy. Perfect setting. I was feeling so good, I had one of those half smiles on my face. Maybe I should have frowned a little.

About half-way through my meal, a dude approaches my table and asks if he can join me. I didn’t want him to join me and without even looking up,  I smiled politely and told him I would prefer to sit alone.  He goes away and I’m soon engrossed in the book, while munching slowly at my food.

A few minutes later, dude is back.

“Hey,” he said with what he probably thought was a cute smile.

I look up,  a polite smile masking the laser side eyes I’m giving him. “Yes?” I asked. Anyone could see that I wasn’t amused by his interruption.

But I guess he was dense as well as rude.

“I was wondering,  if I could join you. I see you’re eating alone and so am I. Why not sit together give each other company?” That smile again. As if I should be glad he’s allowing me to share his space. I was ready to wipe it off.

I looked at the free tables pointedly and he at least had the grace to look ashamed. “I know there’s free tables, but come on, I know a pretty girl like you wouldn’t want to sit alone while there’s a good-looking man who wants to keep you company.”

Raised eyebrows. Homeboy has a high opinion of himself. Time to take care of that.

I give him my freeze look. It has been known to turn otherwise confident men into blubbering fools. His smile slips a little.  Good.

I ignored him and continue eating and reading. AND he sits down! Yes, despite saying no thanks and my body language indicating that I didn’t welcome the intrusion, he had the audacity to sit down!! My patience was wearing thin by now.

“So what are you reading?”

Without looking up, “A book.”

“Haha! That’s funny”

“It wasn’t supposed to be”

Silence.

“So what’s you’re name?” he asked after a few minutes. I couldn’t believe this guy. I was starting to think he was a glutton for public humiliation. I pretended I hadn’t heard him. “Mine’s John,” he continued as if I had answered him.  (yes I’m using his real name, hope he reads this!). I loudly turned a page in my book.

“Ok, so seriously you’re going to ignore me? Don’t you feel bad ignoring someone who’s just trying to be nice to you?”

I looked up and said ” I have no qualms ignoring a rude person.”

“Man, you’re cold.”  Blank look. “Ok, fine I’ll leave you alone.”

He stood up and muttered, “I bet you’re single. That’s why you’re eating alone anyways. I know no man would want a cold bitch like you”

Blink. He didn’t just got there!

Dude will never forget what happened next. I loudly told him just where he can go shove his mediocre attempts at picking up a woman. The other diners looked on with amazement. Management and security were soon involved. And since I was a regular at the place, dude was finally escorted out muttering bitterly. My apologies to the women he took that out on.

You. Don’t. Call. Me. Bitch. Especially since I had been pretty civil the whole time and politely told you to leave me the eff alone!

Seriously though, is it difficult to accept that a woman can sit in a restaurant, enjoying her own company without assuming there’s something wrong with her?