Have you ever had to indulge a ridiculous craving?
Not yours, somebody else’s. So that was obviously a rhetorical question for all the supportive baby daddies out there. The rest of you irresponsible sperm donors shouldn’t even read my blog.
“Isn’t changing minds and making a difference part of the reason you do this?” You ask. Maybe it is. Lately however, I ascribe to the politics of not educating my oppressors: of not explaining people’s fuck-ups to them. Because these people know what they are doing. I don’t believe in wasting emotional labour and time. If you want to learn, you can pick up a book or just listen. These oppressive systems are entirely set up to distract us. As Toni Morrison put it, you spend your life trying to prove your humanity to people that are committed to erasing it. I’d much rather spend my time looking for T-shirt designs for the revolution that is brewing in the uteruses of the women that are tired of your shit.
Before we continue, this post has no particular directionality. I’m just following my brain along and typing everything out. So here goes nothing. And because it’s me, I think you should know by now that my default state is anger (mild to mind-numbing) at capitalism and patriarchy. So this post about nothing had to include some radical feminist ramblings.
Back to indulging somebody else’s cravings.
It’s 9.30 at night when three of us find ourselves in a car heading towards Naivas Greenhouse because my aunt swore she would die if she doesn’t eat udongo. I honestly can’t translate that. There are words that can’t be translated. Like ugali or mursik. I feel like to do that would be to allow whiteness into a dish that is distinctly ours. Also, the irony of giving examples of aesthetically white dishes as examples isn’t lost on me.
So I’m seated in the car thinking, this would make a great story someday, because all writers eventually turn into hawks, scavenging through people’s lives, looking for stories to tell. The darker, the better. We’re on Ole Dume road and there’s a Kiswahili show about basic Chinese phrases on the radio. I don’t even have to ponder on this oddity because the Chinese are building our roads and funding our debts and I can’t help but wonder why they have to spend so much of their resources to colonise a country that performs brain surgeries on wrong patients. Haven’t we proven that we don’t really care to protect ourselves?
The Chinese show (I’m just going to go ahead and call it that because, why keep up the pretenses?) reminds me of the Philippine (guys, I’m aware that Asians don’t all look alike) soaps we used to watch when we were younger and for the first time I consider that maybe the reason the characters never kissed was because of censorship and not morality. It strikes me just how perversely fulfilled Ezekiel Mutua would be in The Philippines.
We’re cruising past a car dealership. My aunt rolls down her window to say something and/or point at a car she wants to buy I think. I want to ask her how much the car would go for. I don’t. The words get stuck somewhere between my brain and my throat, perhaps infantilized and grossly unprepared for putting out into the universe. I look away. I’m not ready to have the universe crush another of my dreams.
We get to the supermarket and my sister is sent to buy the udongo. I sit waiting, half hoping that she doesn’t get the udongo. I’m like that, I don’t like happy endings. Because, if she gets it, then that’s it, we go home. But if she doesn’t, we have to go looking somewhere else and maybe then we get lucky. We hit a car or get arrested. Wouldn’t that be a fabulous night in hindsight? The stories I would tell! But more than that, I wouldn’t have to bare to the incessant tugging at my stomach. This constant reminder that my life is going on without my consent or enjoyment. I want to live. You hear that universe?
My sister has been in the supermarket for a while now and I’ve just about resigned myself to the fact that she got what she went in there for. And then it hits me that an ignorant onlooker would think she was pregnant. Think about it. A nineteen year old in an extra-large t-shirt, looking for udongo at ten o’clock in the night? For some weird reason that feels me with such joy. Not because of the imaginary babies but for it’s potential to turn our lives upside down. It wouldn’t be my story to tell but dear Lord wouldn’t that be exciting? Stress seduces me. I like books that wreck me and movies that get my blood boiling. I like happiness in morbid forms.
We are listening to a luo radio station on our way home. Maybe it’s the cold that’s seeping in through my sweatshirt or the realization that I haven’t written a blog post but I’m feeling rather sombre. As if on cue, this song comes on. The lyrics? Bende in’geyo ni koyo donjona kapari? It loosely translates to do you know I feel cold when I think of you? It hits me that I am cold but I’m not thinking of anyone and it makes me a little sad. I know I am going to spend a disproportionate part of the night beating myself up for feeling this need for a romantic partner so acutely, even if it was just for a split second.
And because I’ve said nothing substantial, I leave you with a video of Blythe Baird’s pocket-sized feminism.
2 thoughts on “Cravings”
That picture is a project by Alex Bertulis Fernande, a student who was told by her art teacher to “dial down the feminism”, & she instead incorporated that into her latest art project 😅
Also great piece 👌